written for the golden snitch: "valentine's day date 2018" competition, the "through the universe" challenge and hogwarts: assignment 4

hogwarts prompts: Wizarding Geography: Wizard Villages: Task #2: write about joining forces

valentine's prompts: (colour) scarlet, (object) bow and arrow, (colour) forest green, (food) berries, (word) danger, (word) exuberant, (object) cornucopia, (pairing) GinnyTom

through the universe prompts: Galaxy — (AU) HungerGames!AU

school, house: hogwarts, slytherin

points (total): 15 — not counting potential prizes

wc: 1810

a/n: thank you, dee, for creating this perfect prompt. bless your soul. [also for betaing. tyvm my babe] another thanks to shay for feeding my crap muse

there will be a lot of gen-mixing in here haha, this is very AU

also yes, harry is 'harrison' because i headcanon that name as his birth name (it's the most logical choice to me…) and i don't think his real birth name is "harry" idek

. . .

Tom Riddle is doomed.

He's been Reaped. He's going to go to the Hunger Games as the District Three male tribute and he's not going to be immortal, not any longer, because his Horcrux technology is far from finished and he's going to die in the Games.

No, he repeats to himself resolutely. You are going to return home, you are going to win, and you are going to live forever.

But there's doubt in Tom's head: he can win it if he is determined, but everyone in the arena will be determined, everyone will want to live.

Tom is not sure if his resolve will stick out. Tom is not sure if he even has enough resolve to make it.

But he will make it home to the device, he will finish it, and he will kill just about anyone to get what he wants.

The resolve is enough for him. He is not so sure about everyone else.

. . .

Perhaps he over-analyzes things. He fastidiously studies the Reapings and accounts the competition.

District One brings forth Lucius Malfoy and Bellatrix Lestrange. Lucius is a leering man with long blond hair that Tom rather wants to chop off along with his head, whilst Bellatrix is a woman with heavy, dark eyelids and an evil smirk — a menacing pair, but not quite a threat, Tom thinks. They're much too privileged to survive the arena.

District Two reaps up Alastor Moody — principled, paranoid-looking, with heterochromic eyes: one brown and one blue. Nymphadora Tonks is the girl tribute, and she seems harmless enough — but there is a quiet kind of fierceness to her — Tom doesn't write her out.

The other tribute from his district is one Ginevra Weasley. It's only now that he really notices her, really, being too curious about the male names and his potential Reaping to actually pay attention to her. But Tom notices fire in her eyes — like the scarlet, burning red hair adorning her head — and he thinks that perhaps she is his biggest danger after all.

The rest of the tributes fade a little bit. A few stick out: Harrison Potter and Hermione Granger — Five; Ronald Longbottom-Weasley — Ten (he wonders how the family separated, but then again, he doesn't really care. It was probably by marriage or perhaps even the Capitol. Still, he thinks he might take on Weasley first), and Luna Lovegood, Twelve.

They are much younger than him, barely teens. Tom can take them anytime. They are threatening to his mind but not to his body.

Tom gauges everyone and he writes some off and he is cautious of others.

Ginevra Weasley — she is his biggest threat, and as such, he needs to look like a big weakness.

. . .

The plan would've worked, Tom maintains. Ginevra Weasley is just a bit too smart to fall for it.

"Drop the act," she says during training. "I know you can do a lot worse with that knife."

He can. In the Horcruxes' early days, Tom had tinkered with them using kitchen knives and he'd thrown them around in frustration and it had become somewhat of a stress reliever after that, coming home, getting angry with his progress, and then training.

Now he is pretending that he cannot throw a knife two inches ahead. He supposes he should keep doing it. He doesn't want to show off in front of the Careers, though.

Tom pauses. He needs something on Ginevra.

He looks her up and down, at the muscle in her arms. Finally he says quietly, "I could say the same to you."

She smirks. Laughs. It's a tinkling sound, and Tom tells himself No, because that exuberant laugh probably is twice as terrible as it seems.

There is a pause — one, two heartbeats pass between them — before she stops laughing and actually answers him. "I'm not doing anything. If you're not doing anything." Her face sports and innocent expression, but there is a glint in her eyes that says she has a plan.

Tom dismisses it. He has a plan of his own, and it will not be involving Ginevra Weasley — and so anything she is planning has nothing to do with him.

Perhaps he is overlooking her. Perhaps, at this point, he shouldn't. And perhaps, at this point, he is past caring.

. . .

Tom gets an average score — 5. Of course, he isn't expecting a ten, since all he can really do is throw knives, but perhaps it is better this way, with no one rooting for District Three's underdog.

In his interview with Albus Dumbledore, Albus asks, "So, what are your motivations?"

Tom replies, "I have...a few projects I'm working on, and I think they could really have a good impact...of course, the tech is still in its trial phase but I'm quite optimistic I might return home to get back and finish it…"

"Color me intrigued!" says Albus, goading the crowd into curiosity. "What exactly would this technology help us with?"

"Now, now, Albus, a magician never reveals his secrets," Tom teases. "I have full permission for my project" — Tom speaks a half-truth of sorts. He has full permission to make life-prolonging technology, not Horcrux technology for immortality: which is his side project. The prolonging is so very done, but Tom pretends it is not since his side project is not done and he still needs the lab. It can still, maybe, be called prolonging, can it? Immortality is elongating the duration of life, is it not? — "and when it's done I think the reveal will very simply be marvelous."

Tom has intrigued the audience as well as Albus Dumbledore — though that might've been fake — when his time is up. It gets him a few points. Perhaps a seven in their eyes.

It doesn't matter. Tom is District Three's underdog.

The upper hand belongs, clearly, to Ginevra Weasley. She is bubbly, warm, and she twists her brother from District Ten — there, somehow, from a mess of relatives and an incident during his childhood forcing the Capitol to give him to the Longbottom family — into a story of a girl with no choice and a girl with a determination to remain innocent despite the circumstances.

It's smart. Tom wants nothing to do with it.

. . .

Tom is positioned right behind the Cornucopia, which is not very good if he wants to get in the thick of all the good supplies, but great for running away and potentially getting some stragglers.

The sun shines upon the golden horn of plenty, light reflecting upon the woven texture of the metal. The forest-green trees are a point in his peripheral vision that he notes.

He does not look for Ginevra Weasley's face.

The countdown ends. Tom runs — he runs away from the Cornucopia, from the Career tributes, and hopefully, the cameras. He spots an orange backpack and grabs it quickly on his way out.

. . .

She finds him halfway through the Games. They are in the top Eight. Tom has hidden for the entirety of the competition and he wishes to keep it that way.

He is half-starved, following a stream he's found somewhere, somehow — he can't remember. Tom can fish if he uses the wire he finds in the backpack wisely, but he never strays too far and he never does too much, because little food is much better than no food. Occasionally he finds berries, and he will only consume them if he knows they're safe to eat.

She looks much better than him in terms of food but much worse in terms of water. Tom sees that Ginevra has a bow slung on her shoulder and a quiver full of arrows on her back. He does not ask how she knows how to use them, but he is not sure if he should be grateful or concerned that she does.

"I need water. You need food." She cuts straight to the chase, blunt and straightforward. "We team up. We take the rest of these idiots down. And when the end comes to the end, well. May the best one win."

"Deal," Tom agrees immediately. He cannot win the Hunger Games if he is starving.

"Deal," Ginevra affirms, holding out a hand to seal the alliance.

Alliances are bad ideas. Tom knows he'll regret his choice later, but perhaps he's allowed to be impulsive: after all, he'll either be dead or a murderer by the end of this.

He takes the hand. He ignores the roiling in his gut when he does.

. . .

Her bows and arrows help to finish off Harrison Potter, Hermione Granger, and Luna Lovegood.

He throws his knife into the neck of Ronald Weasley for her.

"Thank you," she tells him.

"You don't kill family," he replies simply. It is ironic coming from him — he would very much like to murder his parents — but it is the kind of thing one says at this point.

She smiles. He thinks he wants to kiss her — she ends up taking that step and, very gently, connecting their lips. They're soft, Tom thinks nonsensically.

It is his fault for growing attached to her and teaming up with her and killing her family for her. Yes, it is his fault, and perhaps he doesn't care, because his hands are in her hair and her lips are on his. For one moment it is paradise.

In the end, they take on the Career camp, comprised of the two remaining at this point of the competition, from a distance — returning to the Cornucopia with stealth, they find some spare knives, and collect others from the dead — Ginevra shoots a barrage of arrows at the Careers and Tom throws his knives into the ones remaining when she has few arrows.

Now, it is just them left. Tom brandishes his knife. Ginevra draws her last arrow.

They stand there at a stalemate for a few moments. Tom raises his hand, poised to strike, but he hesitates — this is Ginevra Weasley, and he had kissed her a night before. He would like to remember her before he kills her and she is carted off to her family, bloodless and lifeless —

Her arrow lodges itself into his heart. Tom feels it pierce his skin, feels the pain and his heart growing weaker; something red gushes out of his wound and Tom cannot stand for any longer, cannot bear the pain of the arrow, stuck in his heart and the blood, the blood, the blood —

"I'm sorry," says Ginevra remorsefully. She thinks for a moment, and then amends, "No, not really. But there can only be one victor."

"Gi — ne — vra…" Tom croaks in reply, but the rest of his vengeance dies on his lips.