Heyy, look at me, relatively on time (and hoping to keep it that way now)! We've got District Six (with our girl Trista Minniver from LexisZ-10 and our boy Calisto Milas from Deadly Animals Are Cute) and District Nine (with our girl Geneva Torres from thgfan9 and our boy Arcas Kodo from bobothebear). Enjoy!
DISTRICT SIX FEMALE: TRISTA MINNIVER
"Landon," I mutter into the old carpet of my best friend's house, "Landon, I don't wanna get up, we've got ages until the Reaping."
I feel his hand on the top of my head, tousling my already-disastrous hair. "Don't you have to get home? You are covered in dirt from the game last night."
"I'm not going home, I've been gone all night and my mom would probably murder me if I had the audacity to show up this early in the morning, in this condition, and say I was hanging out with you and the guys."
"Your mom does not know you, huh?"
"Tell me about it. She'll spit out some miserable lecture about how I should be more ladylike and then try and force me into a dress and bows." I skim over the fact that she'd be utterly horrified that her little girl was playing sports with boys and doing who knows what else in the middle of the night.
"I know, right?" I roll over, the sun momentarily blinding me through the slats of the window blinds, and groan blearily. "I'm going back to sleep, wake me up at a reasonable time, dork!"
Landon nudges my shoulder with his foot again. "Come on, any sleep now won't help, we'll still be swaying on our feet at the Reaping."
"Leave me alooone!"
He laughs, but complies with my request, backing off to get ready for the Reaping himself. I snuggle into the carpet as much as I can and try to fall back asleep. I can just sneak over to my house next door in another half-hour if I decide to care about the way I look.
The carpet must have some sort of magical sleep-inducing power because the next thing I know I'm being shaken awake and Landon's got his face about six inches from mine. "What the crap, man?" I manage to get out before rolling away from him hurriedly.
"You've got ten minutes to be as ready as you want for the Reaping ceremony without being late!"
I halfheartedly reach out and wave my hand around in the air until he grabs it and pulls me to my feet. "How do I look?"
He chuckles. "Aside from the carpet marks on your face and the dirt all over your clothes and the rat's nest you call your hair, looking fine!"
I pretend for a moment that I'm a Capitol model strolling down a catwalk and take three steps towards my best friend. "Not so bad yourself for a guy who can barely knot his tie!" I pretend to leap for the blue strip of cloth around his neck; Landon flinches back.
"You're a mess!"
"Yeah, but a hot mess!"
He rolls his eyes. "Nine minutes, Trista!"
I stick my tongue out. "I know, I know, I'll be fine!" I do need to get ready, though, I may joke with Landon but I'd hate to go see the whole rest of the district looking a total wreck. Scooting out the door, I tiptoe over to my home next door, listening at the back door to make sure nobody's standing around nearby, then slipping in and up the stairs to my room. I still don't hear anyone thumping around. It wouldn't surprise me if my worrywart brothers were already off to the Justice Building and my mom bustling along behind them.
It also doesn't surprise me that Mom's laid out some frilly old dress of hers on my bed, along with an angry note demanding to know where I've been all night.
Yeesh, Mom, calm down, it's not like I'm sleeping around or robbing banks. I'd be better at hiding things from you if I were doing questionable things.
I ignore the dress and the note, finding capri-length pants and a light green blouse to wear although I don't change my comfortable shoes for more formal ones. It takes me years to get all the knots out of my hair and mud off my hands and face, but at last I deem myself presentable and scurry back over to Landon's.
He's gone. The jerk.
I take off running down the street, trying to catch up with him before he enters town. Wait! There, ahead, a little blue figure on the path. I speed up, finally catching him as the buildings of the main town loom over us.
"At last! I told you I would leave without you," he quips, but my face still turns a bit red.
"I didn't take that long!"
"Sure, you say that, but the carpet marks have already faded completely. You took ages, I'm surprised with all that time you spent getting ready you're not wearing makeup!"
"Don't generalize. Anyway, I'm here now."
"Yeah, and there's the check-in station. Do I have to remind you to not say anything stupid about the Capitol?"
"Fine, fine… it's my brothers you'd have to remind anyway, they're the ones who think they're all grown up."
"You talking about me now? Aw, thanks!" I joke, winking at my friend. We both blush after that. Oops. Awkward.
My stomach twists into its first knot of the day as I hold out my hand to the Peacekeeper with the needle. After flinching at the brief pain, I move into the roped-off sections and wait for Landon.
"Trista!" Sadly, the voice doesn't belong to Landon. It's my brother Harley. "Trista, Mom was freaking out last night, where were you?"
"Not your business," I mutter back. Harley shouldn't be acting like a dad, not when our dad was such a jerk in the first place.
To be fair, maybe he's just stressed over the reaping? It's his last, after all. Alexander, only a year younger, is probably far less worried at the moment.
But it's my life, not his.
Landon finally comes over and when Harley sees my friend he only nods suspiciously and turns to find his section.
"Let's get this over with," I whisper to Landon, grabbing his arm and pulling him towards the crowd.
DISTRICT SIX MALE: CALISTO MILAS
The roar of emotions and chatter surrounding me is rather irritating, you'd think more people would just be plain old scared and nervous (point in case: me) rather than getting all clingy and talkative. To each their own defense mechanism, I guess. It's be a lot easier if people just thought the same way… although to be fair, way more boring.
I fold my arms over my chest and shuffle forward with the line at the security checkpoint, trying to focus on just getting through this mess and not on the thirteen year old almost hysterical right in front of me.
They shouldn't have to be this scared in the first place, though. But according to the Capitol, life's not fair.
I manage to survive the Peacekeepers' atrocious organization skills and march straight over to the seventeen-year-olds section, taking up a position on the boundary line between us and the sixteens. It doesn't take long before someone lays a hand on my shoulder.
"Calisto? It's Lysander."
"I could have guessed, honestly. You're the only 16 year old guy I talk to on more than a monthly basis."
He lets out a quiet laugh as I turn to face him. "Good to see you too, Calisto."
"Any of the others coming over here to visit before the ceremony starts?"
"I don't think so, the Mayor's already preparing to give the speech as it is. Not enough time to just chat. There's Tanith, though, right across from you." I whip my head around to the girls' section, and there's another friend of mine, waving. I wave back halfheartedly.
"You know, Lys, it's been ages since you lot tried to set me and Tanith up. I suppose Pallas and Diana are in the middle of some scheme?"
"It would be rude of me to tell."
"Come on, grow a pair-"
"Ladies and gentlemen," begins our inexperienced new Mayor- it's her first reaping ceremony this year, actually, "Welcome to the District Six Reaping ceremony for the Twentieth Annual Hunger Games!"
Another year of stupidity, that's all I'm getting out of this speech.
Our escort is still Varro Catiline, and I think he's wearing the same seven different floral prints that he's worn the previous two years of escorting. Whatever. If he wants to look like a walking flower shop that is entirely up to him.
"Shall we go with ladies first this year?" he asks cheerfully, but to my amusement he's greeted by dead silence from the entire square. "All right, ladies it is!" He strides over to the reaping bowl, filled to the brim with tiny paper slips, and accidentally knocks a few names out as he selects a piece of paper.
Time slows to a crawl for the whole district as Varro unfolds the slip and pauses once, twice before moving to the microphone.
The first yelp of realization comes from the fifteen year olds, and as I turn to see exactly who's life has been ruined I catch a glimpse of my sister Pallas in the same age group, stepping back as a dark-haired, fair-skinned girl steps into view. Even from here I can see her cheeks reddening and her eyes brimming with tears.
She makes it to the stage, visibly trembling, and then Varro lets loose. He's asking questions this year. "How are you feeling, Trista?"
"More than a little terrified, no thanks to you!" she spits back at him halfheartedly. He pats her on the back and then moves to the other bowl. This time the tension weighs heavily on all the guys, and no one breathes until he opens his mouth to read the slip.
It doesn't register until I hear the all-too-familiar comment, accompanied by the ubiquitous snickering, from some immature kid behind me. "Isn't that a girl's name?"
It's my name, that's for sure. Trying not to clench my fists and give away the fear I'm drowning in, I begin the long walk to the stage where Varro and Trista wait anxiously.
I've heard plenty of stories where tributes found themselves in a panicky shock at this point. I can't bring myself to that, maybe because somehow I expected this. "It makes sense, I'll probably die in the bloodbath anyway," I mutter under my breath as I ascend the stairs to the platform.
I shake Trista's hand, basically on autopilot, but I snap back to reality when I glance out on the crowd. The stupidest thought comes in my head: if I ever were to come back alive, the gang would probably have made a bet that I would finally date Tanith. And if I were to come back alive, I might agree.
I'm being an idiot. Tearing my mind away from trivial thoughts, I try and pick out the rest of my friends and family. It'll be pointless finding Mom and Dad in the vast crowd of adults, but I can locate Lysander, and Tanith, and my poor dear sister Pallas is sobbing where she stands with the other fifteen year olds. If I concentrate I can hear her near-hysterical crying from the stage.
It breaks my heart.
I see a ripple effect among the guys still in their sections, and tracing it find Adonis making a beeline for Lysander and standing with him… a small comfort that my friends care.
Varro asks me the same question he directed to Trista. "How are you feeling right now?"
"Forgive me for not jumping with joy. Sprained ankle."
I find Diana in the crowd right after I say that, and she's grinning despite tears in her eyes. A comfort that she's upset, since out of all my friends she was always the one who annoyed me on purpose.
How twisted must I already be becoming if sadness drags comfort out of me now?
No matter, it won't be long before I'm dead.
DISTRICT NINE FEMALE: GENEVA TORRES
"Why do we even have to go?" I shout downstairs to where my parents are sitting in the kitchen, "Why bother? Giselle and I are hardly in that Reaping bowl at all, why do we have to go? We shouldn't have to support this!"
"Geneva…" My father's voice drifts upstairs, muffled by walls and distance.
"Tell me why!"
"Geneva," he repeats, harsher, "tone it down."
"We're alone in this house," I retort, "I can say what I want!"
He mutters something that I can't fully hear. Probably along the lines of 'You need to learn respect and boundaries', one of the lessons I've been hearing since I couldn't even walk. One of the lessons that I've never taken seriously.
I grumble to myself as I slip into a lilac summer dress. It's miserably humid outside, everything about the day is conspiring against me. Ew.
Something about the ensemble feels oddly incomplete until I put my hand in one of the dress's pockets. Sitting on my dresser is the ribbon that I always keep with me, and I grudgingly slip it into my pocket. I don't even talk to Isis anymore, but a piece of her still comes with me wherever I go. I'm just pitiful sometimes.
Going downstairs, I nearly collide with my little sister Giselle as she heads back up to our shared room to finish getting ready to go (the main difference between us being that she prepares without complaint). She squeaks in surprise and I giggle, squashing myself against the wall to let her pass. Then I meet my parents in the kitchen, my father still wearing his infamous 'tone it down, Geneva' expression. Luckily, Mother is just drinking her coffee and she offers me a smile. I return that sentiment gladly.
"Good morning, Geneva," she says calmly, sipping her coffee carefully.
"Is Giselle upstairs getting ready?" Father asks, his tone much more stern. I nod in reply, fighting back the desire to make another complaint about Reaping Day. Maybe I sort of do like the 'tone it down's I always get. Acquired taste, perhaps? Or just acknowledgement.
"Wasn't she ready to go before she came downstairs to eat?" I wonder aloud; Mother shakes her head. Guess I missed something while I was still half asleep. Shrugging, I march over to the stove to collect the remnants of the family breakfast: pancakes and sausage links. It makes me simultaneously proud and upset that we have one of the best breakfasts in the district today.
I eat in silence for a few minutes, wolfing down my breakfast to get away from the awkward silence of the dining room table, before Giselle returns downstairs, adorable as always in her pink dress.
"Do I look all right?" she frets.
I grin. "Will I have to beat up any wannabe suitors for you?" Giselle blushes and laughs at me; I just roll my eyes.
"Geneva, tone it down. You won't be attacking anyone."
"I know, Father, I know!"
Mother shoots both of us a regal, angry glance. "Girls, you can go on ahead to the town square. Your father and I will be there soon after, we'll just clean up here." I hurriedly wipe my mouth with the back of my hand, jump up, and herd Giselle to the door.
Caught between a rock and a hard place: the awkward but secure breakfast or the relative freedom of the town square on Reaping Day.
Freedom. That'll be my choice every single time. Why am I so predictable?
Giselle manages to get out a goodbye to our parents before I close the door behind us and we join the flow of other kids on the way to the square. I immediately start scanning the faces near us for friends… or in my case, it's more likely to find enemies. Sigh. The prices you pay when you're honest.
Of course, just my luck, the first familiar face I see belongs to Isis, the one girl I've sworn not to talk to again. (My fingers automatically reach for the old ribbon in my pocket, but I force them down to my side out of pure spite.) Instead of continuing my path and come up alongside her, I slow down and make sure she's far enough ahead that we won't run into each other.
Giselle gives me a weird look when I veer off path, but I've already seen Talia and I'm making a beeline towards my best friend.
"Geneva!" she cheers when she sees me coming towards her.
"Hey sweetheart," I joke, slinging an arm around her shoulders.
"And you know it," she replies.
"Have you seen Mariana around anywhere? It'd be nice to be the trio today. Emotional support and all that."
"Nah, not yet, she hasn't shown up. Either she'll run in still wearing her pajamas or, more likely, she's already inside, waiting for us."
"Well, I hope it's the second, but with our Mariana who knows?" We laugh, stepping up to the Peacekeeper's table with Giselle in our wake and hands already outstretched. The needle doesn't hurt too much and as soon as I've been registered I'm dashing off to the other seventeen-year-old girls, scowling at anyone who gives me a nervous glance. I'm in no mood to talk with anyone but my friends.
Mariana is actually waiting for us, and as we approach she breaks into a grin and nearly tackles me into the ground with a hug. "Sup, ladies?" she greets us with easy confidence.
"Nothing much, just… this," I reply, sticking my tongue out at the stage.
"Yeah, the one day I get someplace early you two are nearly late."
We laugh, but the Mayor steps up to begin the speech and it kills the mood effectively.
"So we'll have to catch up fully after the ceremony?" Mariana whispers.
"Yeah, sounds good," I reply.
Talia worms her way in between the two of us and nervously grabs our hands. I squeeze back to comfort her. We'll get through this.
DISTRICT NINE MALE: ARCAS KODO
Our escort takes her place on stage, tall and powerful and terrifying, honestly. I've never seen her before, so I guess she's new?
Yeah. Definitely new. I would have had nightmares if she'd been here before.
"Good morning, District Nine," she says, sounding like some sort of magical queen with a resounding voice that echoes around the square, "Welcome to the Reaping ceremony for the Twentieth Annual Hunger Games. We will be selecting two tributes, as always, for the glorious honor of competing in the arena."
I shrink down among the other fourteen year olds, hoping, somehow, that it'll decrease my chances of being selected. Hoping that she won't see me.
"I am Ausonia Marullus, and I will be your Capitol escort this year, District Nine. Let us begin the selection by choosing a female competitor!"
She strides over to the first glass bowl, shoving her hand among the paper slips to select a name. I have a petty wish for her to get an awful paper cut. If some kid has to go fight, it would be a small favor for her to feel something too.
But of course it doesn't happen, because I never guess things accurately, and she comes back to the microphone and reads in her booming voice, "Geneva Torres!"
The girl is older than most of us other kids, seventeen or eighteen surely, and taller than most of my older siblings, even one of my ineligible older brothers. She walks with grace, and that is just as impressive as Ausonia's big voice.
She has to be scared, right? Isn't everyone scared? I've been trying all day to not be scared like my brothers and parents and grandparents told me- they told my sister Cynthia the same thing, but she's seventeen so I don't think she got told as many times. I'm old enough to not be babied, I don't know why they insist on doing that sort of thing.
I watch Geneva carefully as she stands onstage beside Ausonia. There isn't a lot of fear in her eyes, but she could be hiding it. I would try to hide it.
I shift my eyes and attention back to Ausonia just as she unfolds the second slip. "Arcas Kodo!"
Forget hiding it.
My heart feels like it forgot how to beat, and I'm convinced I'm dying already. It takes a couple seconds for the word 'shock' to work its way into my mind.
I've done crazy things my whole life, haven't I? With my friends, we've done plenty of stupid things. Seriously, my whole family chides me on it all the time. If I do stupid things, can I be smart for once and maybe get through this? Kids younger than me have gotten really far in the Games.
That gives me the courage to step forward, just before the Peacekeepers reach my location to bring me forward by force.
My legs are shaking but I survive the walk to the stage, joining terrifyingly powerful Ausonia and terrifyingly controlled Geneva onstage. Up close, Geneva doesn't seem as collected and cool, and I can sense anger. Maybe she is just good at hiding it?
They take us back into the Justice Building, but by now my legs are so reluctant to move I can't move until Ausonia nudges me to turn around, motivating me to motion.
My family comes into the room all together, pushing and stumbling over each other to cram the whole big group into the visiting room.
They're finally all paying attention to me. Who could have imagined that it would take this turn of events to catch their eyes?
Mother, Father, and Grandmother are all crying as they surround me, clasping my hands and Mother crushing me in a tight hug, the closest display of affection I feel like I've ever gotten. Father's wiping his eyes, still trying to hide his tears as they slide down his face. Grandma's whispering something to herself, I can only catch a name or so that I recognize from the studies she tried to give me when I was little. "Jesus…" I don't even know what she's going on about.
My siblings are crying as well, Trinity crying the hardest with Cynthia barely containing hysterical cries. Even Klaus has watery eyes.
"You can come home, okay?" Cynthia encourages me, putting her hands on my shoulders and shaking me a little bit.
"Arcas, we believe in you, all right?" Trinity and Klaus aren't quite in sync, since they're not crying at the same rate.
Mother calms down enough to crack a few more of my ribs. "I can't believe this has happened to my baby!"
"Mother, I'm old enough to win. I'm not twelve, I'm fourteen. I'm fast and smart, enough to pull all those dumb pranks you hated, remember?"
She doesn't even seem to hear me. "My baby!"
What if I'm not a baby anymore, Mother? Ever thought of that?
Malachi steps forward from the back of the crowd with dry eyes. "Old enough to win, Arcas? You're a year younger than the youngest Victor, and you're pretty fragile as it is. You've never been the best at anything in this family… I suggest getting used to the thought of death."
He lays a hand on Mother's shoulder.
"You don't even think I have a chance?"
Begrudgingly, Malachi shakes his head, but Klaus gently shoves him out of the way and kneels down next to me. "Don't listen to him. Trust yourself, Arcas."
"Good to see ya, Klaus. You spend most of your time with Alicia these days."
"You're my little brother, I would never disappear on you."
He backs up and pulls Malachi back with him, frowning at my other big brother.
Grandmother, still whispering to herself, pulls Grandfather to my side and helps him sit down. Everyone grows quiet to give the old man a chance to speak.
"Who… who is this again?"
He doesn't remember me. That disease he has, All- Seltzer or something, made him forget me today.
I glance at Grandma and Mother, hoping for something.
"We won't ever forget you, honey," Mother says, "As soon as Grandpa comes round, we won't let him forget either. You'll always be with us."
The door slams. Malachi has left the room.
I'm actually pretty proud of this chapter XD
Hey, is it just me or are you guys disappearing? Each chapter is getting a fraction of the views of the previous. If it's the story I'd like to know what's wrong.
Favorite from these four and why?
Which of the tributes so far do you most relate to and why?
What interests you most about SYOTs?
And as always, tell me what you thought!