AN: Picking up right where we left off with day 2 of the Games. Things have heated up after a major incident at the rooftop of the Grand Palicea Hotel, and we finally saw how our two storylines intertwined.
Slate Winter / 18 / District Twelve Male
The two of them dive into the safety of the hotel lobby, Slate being dragged along by the arm. Amid the chaos, he had tripped in the garden just before a piece of debris landed on his leg.
He lies back on the cold floor and stares at the ceiling lights, a sharp pain shooting up his body from the right leg.
"How bad is it? I don't want to look."
The dampness around that area tells him there's quite a bit of bleeding.
"Not good," Corianne says quietly, "I—I think part of the bone is about to stick out."
"Oh fuck me," Slate mutters, slamming his fist on the marble.
Corianne remains silent for a moment as she sits there with her body turned away from him.
"So what do we do now?" he asks.
Regardless of what she says, Slate knows what will happen. He's going to die here, inside this stupid hotel in the Capitol. If it weren't a certainty before this, it surely is now. He cannot walk and can barely move without putting himself in excruciating pain. It may take some time, sure, but someone will eventually find him and put him down.
"It's fine, I get it. This is it for me," Slate says, annoyed by her lack of response but resigned to his fate. "You shouldn't let me weigh you down. There's a decent chance you could still get out of here."
"I'm sorry it has to end like this," Corianne finally replies, still not facing him. "One of us was always going to die before the other."
"I guess I'll just stay here. Who knows, maybe Henry will send me some fancy Capitol medicine or whatever."
"So you never had any idea, did you?" she asks him abruptly.
"Any idea about what?"
"The way I feel about you."
Seriously? Here he is, with one leg mangled to shit and she's talking about the crush she has on him?
"This isn't really a good time…"
"There will never be a good time, will there?" Corianne replies. "Not that it matters because I know where you stand on this."
She then turns around to face Slate, revealing a small switchblade in her hand.
"Wh—where did you get that?"
"I scooped it up at the Cornucopia right when I got off the plate," Corianne answers. "But you were oblivious to that as well, I guess."
"Cori, you're scaring me," says Slate as he tries to put some distance between himself and her.
"I've decided that if I can't have you, no one can. I won't let those Careers torture and kill you."
Corianne suddenly springs forward with the switchblade, causing Slate to panic and kick her away with his good leg. Still, the motion itself sends another fresh wave of pain through him. She tries again, leaping on top of him and sinking the blade into his stomach area.
"You're mine, Slate," she says in a low voice, ignoring his cries of agony, "Whether you like it or not."
Slate then feels her weight being lifted off him. He opens his eyes to see that another tribute has grabbed Corianne and thrown her to the ground. It's the boy from Nine, Devlin.
Without a word, he walks toward him and yanks the switchblade out, which prompts more curses to spill from Slate's mouth.
Corianne tries to fight him off, but just the size difference between them is enough to give away the outcome. Slate closes his eyes again as he listens to Corianne's screams, which end with the faint thud of a cannon.
Only a few seconds later, Devlin is standing over him, the switchblade thickly coated in blood. Slate remains completely still, his mind clouded in a noxious mix of pain, fear, and hopelessness.
The boy from Nine speaks up.
"Time to end this."
Shae Argyros / 18 / District Two Female
Shae sits there in silence against a tree trunk as the diminutive Five girl lies unconscious on the grass before her. She had done what she could to bandage her wounds and stop the blood loss, but the rest was out of her hands.
You must think I'm some sort of monster, and for good reason, Shae muses. After all, I trained for years to kill kids just like you in the Games. "Monster" might seem like a fitting-enough label for me.
But does the girl from Five know how little of a say Shae had in the matter? Does she know how most of the trainees in Two are from poor working-class families? How signing kids up for the academy was more of an economic decision than a matter of glory and honor?
But above all, does she know about how much the Games have taken from her?
Shae closes her eyes as her mind goes back to that night before the launch, when Harper met her on the rooftop to inform her that there was nothing they could do for Ria, even with all the medical technology the Capitol has.
Shae had then asked to be left alone while she stood there in the chilling wind, thinking about how life would be without any hope for the most important person to her.
Ria had joined the academy because, like many others, her family needed the money from the stipend. She never had violence in her, and actually coming to the Games and killing – it was never something Ria considered. Since the accident, Shae had been telling herself that she was always meant to become the volunteer, to go to the arena and fight for victory. But as she stood there alone on that rooftop, she realized just how much of a lie it was. Shae would've abandoned any plans to qualify as the designated volunteer. She would've kept her mouth shut on Reaping Day if she it came down to it. The backup could have it for all she cared, and the critics could say whatever nasty things they desired to, for she'd happily return to Ria and live a quiet life together.
If it weren't for that fucking accident… an accident Ria suffered while training for the Games. Shae thought the Games could fix a problem it had created, except it couldn't.
By the time she returned to the District Two suite that night, only a few thoughts ran through her mind: fuck the Hunger Games, and fuck the Capitol. Shae was done being their pawn. She would no longer be theirs to control.
The girl from Five stirs as she awakes from her slumber, her eyes widening in fear as she sees Shae.
"You—you're one of the Careers."
"I'm Shae," she responds in a soft voice. "And you are?"
"Well, Claire, I'm glad you're awake. Looked like you lost a lot of blood when I found you. What happened?"
"There was some sort of… attack on the rooftop – a hovercraft tried to rescue us, I think. But it exploded and we got hit by all this glass and metal."
"Who else was up there?"
"A lot of people. The Careers, plus the pair from Eight, and Dillan too… but they killed him," she replies, her voice fainting near the end.
"I'm really sorry that happened."
Claire wipes a tear away. "He would've wanted me to go as far as I could."
"And I want that for you too."
"But why? Why are you doing this?"
"Don't worry about that for now," answers Shae. "What matters is that we're a team now, okay? Allies."
Claire nods silently.
"Where are we, by the way?" she asks, finally acknowledging her surroundings.
"There's a big garden just outside the hotel," explains Shae. "I figured it was the best place to stay while you recovered."
"You brought me all the way down here?"
"Well, you made it down a few stories before I found you. And it turns out the elevators do work, but they only go downward."
Shae then unzips her backpack.
"We can't stay here forever," she says, "But I need you to eat and drink something before we go anywhere."
Dawson Gregor / 16 / District Eight Male
There wasn't anything else Dawson could've done short of leaping out from behind cover and tackling Calia to the ground. He had begged her not to go, but she wouldn't listen. She was no longer the person he thought she was even just a few days ago, back when he told her he needed to do whatever it took to return to Sadie and Brooks, back when she agreed to do anything necessary in order to survive. But killing Gail had changed her into a different person, one who desperately sought to escape from the bloodshed and paid the price for it.
Many questions remain. Who sent the hovercraft? How did it manage to fly into the Capitol undetected? Could it be District Thirteen? Back home, rumors were circulating that they're still active in their bunker, though surely they wouldn't have any aircraft at their disposal.
None of that matters now anyway. The rescue attempt clearly failed and no announcement has been made regarding it. From what it looks like, the Games will continue as normal.
In a way, Dawson is thankful for how things played out. Without the hovercraft being shot down, his chances of surviving when facing five Careers would've been slim to none. He and Calia had one knife between them, and he didn't expect the pair from Five to be of any help in a fight.
His hands are still caked in Kian's blood. Dawson wondered if he might feel something akin to what Calia did, but he hasn't so far. Kian was a Career, someone who had trained for years to kill. He had every advantage and there was no need for Dawson to feel sorry for him.
Currently, he had descended the hotel building, returning to the lobby where the now-deserted Cornucopia stands. He holds Kian's bow in one hand, with three arrows in a quiver strapped around his shoulder. It's not a weapon Dawson bothered to practice with during training, for he considered it too unlikely for him to ever obtain one in the arena. Fortunately, he also has Calia's knife on him.
The trip back down the building had been entirely uneventful. Two more cannons fired soon after he killed Kian, meaning there were eight to ten other tributes left by his count. He isn't sure of the exact number since the cannons seem to be inaudible from the stairwells.
With the rooftop rendered useless, Dawson decides it's best to explore more of the hotel grounds. He isn't certain what he'd do should he encounter another tribute – killing Kian was one thing, but would he be able to do the same to someone like little Clairita?
Dawson heads away from the Cornucopia and past the grand staircase, soon arriving at a sign in the middle of the wide hallway: ballroom to the left, auditorium to the right. He chooses the latter, thinking it would be a better place to lay low for a while.
He gently pushes one of the doors open and enters the auditorium, which is dimly lit except for the stage. Trails of tiny lights on the floor show the walkways between the numerous rows of maroon seats.
Dawson's only a few steps in when he notices some movement on the far side of the auditorium, somewhere in the shadow cast by the upper level. He slowly pulls out an arrow and draws the bow.
"Who's there?" he calls out, stepping forward.
There's a brief pause before a voice replies, "Does it matter?"
He instantly recognizes it: Thorin Cliffe, the girl who turned down their alliance offer, opting to stay with her district partner instead. Speaking of whom…
"What happened to the rich boy?" Dawson asks.
"Killed in the bloodbath," Thorin answers flatly. "Where's Calia?"
"She was killed fighting the Careers."
As far he's concerned, Thorin doesn't need to know the details of what transpired on the hotel rooftop. Not that it really matters at this point.
"And your other allies?"
"So we're both alone now," says Thorin, who continues to sit still on one of the seats. "Are you gonna kill me for not joining you?"
"If I have no other choice," Dawson replies. "The offer is still on the table though."
Thorin scoffs. "You'll have to forgive me for not trusting you."
"Look, there are still several Careers alive. We have a better chance of taking them down if we—"
"The problem is, Dawson," Thorin interrupts him, "I'm in your way as much as any of the Careers are."
"I was hoping I'd be able to reason with you."
"And just how good are you with that thing anyway? Barely saw you use it during training."
"Guess we'll find out, if that's what you want."
"I think we'll find out that you're a lot better at making threats than you are with that bow," says Thorin, raising her voice. "This place is dark as shit, full of cover, and has four exits. Do you really think you'll be able to hit me?"
"You're probably right. But the way I see it, we're either allies or we're enemies. I think we'll both be better off with the first option."
"Fine then. But you're gonna keep your distance."
"How's that supposed to work?"
"Easy. You stay on that side of the auditorium and I'll stay on mine. If anyone comes in here, we'll fight them together."
"What do you have to fight them with?"
Thorin is silent for a second, enough to confirm Dawson's suspicions.
"You're unarmed, aren't you? What if I give you a weapon? Will that be enough to earn your trust?"
Before Thorin can answer, there's a loud bang from outside the auditorium, sounding fairly close by.
Thorin stands up. "What was that?"
"Sounded like a gunshot to me."
Niels Hyla / 18 / District Ten Male
He takes a deep breath and tries to relax, the gentle music inside the elevator helping him in that regard. His plan now is to return to the Cornucopia and see if the Careers left anything useful behind, especially water.
Niels had just been up to the hotel's rooftop, where he came upon the aftermath of an unusually destructive battle. The smoldering wreckage of a hovercraft rested in the swimming pool while the whole floor was covered in a blanket of shattered glass. But what caught his eye was the bird that flew in and perched on the ledge.
The force field was down.
He had half a mind to test this by tossing something off the roof, but he remembered where the arena was. He could kill one of the spectators. After surviving for so long, it certainly wasn't time to start attracting the gamemakers' attention.
The hovercraft must've crashed through the force field, meaning it's most likely a physical screen or wall, one that can be broken through… It then made sense why there was so much shattered glass everywhere.
Not that this information was of much use to Niels. Even if he somehow managed to get through the force field, where would he go? They're in the heart of the Capitol after all.
The elevator stops at the seventh floor, as selected. He figured that if someone were waiting in ambush, they would go for the ground floor or mezzanine.
Niels checks to see if the coast is clear before leaving the elevator. Judging by the amount of blood he saw on the rooftop, it wouldn't surprise him if multiple tributes were killed up there. He'd be another few steps closer to returning home, back to Hirca and the child she'll soon bring into the world.
But he shouldn't get ahead of himself. Plenty of others are still in the way, and unlike Niels, they're willing to kill.
He takes the stairs down to the mezzanine, freezing in place when he hears voices in the lobby below him. Niels sneaks over to the railing and carefully peeks over the edge.
The Careers, or what remains of them, are gathered around the now-desolate Cornucopia, arguing about something. It's clear from their appearance that they've just been through some sort of ordeal, likely whatever happened on the rooftop.
Before Niels can figure out what they're discussing, he sees someone else on the other side of the mezzanine, watching the Careers. And he has a pistol in his hand.
Requiescat in pace
11th: Corianne Venner (D12F) – killed by Devlin Mead (D9M)
10th: Slate Winter (D12M) – killed by Corianne/Devlin
AN: So the Twelve pair met their demise, Shae decides she's no longer playing the game, Thorin and Dawson enter into an alliance, and Devlin has obtained a gun. A lot of developments going into the next chapter, day 3. Only nine tributes are left: Shae, Sett, Ryba, Terrance, Claire, Thorin, Dawson, Devlin, and Niels.
Thanks for reading. Let me know what you think of all this!