CHAPTER XIV: DISTRICT ONE


Kieran Locke, 18;

District One Male, HE/HIM

- A WEEK BEFORE -


There were lots of ghosts in Kieran's past. Ghosts of several things that had been lost: a childhood, a brother, a lover.

There had been a time where Kieran made music, noisily and carelessly. With his sprightly fingers, he'd clack on the piano for hours at a time, singing at the top of his lungs like he had no care in the world. District One was over-saturated with fleeting ideals like beauty and perfection, but Kieran had his music to remind himself of what was important. In a district full of shallow superficialities, the sounds of the piano keys underneath his fingers and his father's resonant melody seemed to be the only sincere thing left.

Kieran could vividly recall the first piano lesson his father gave him. He had tenderly positioned Kieran's chubby child fingers on the ivory keys and then placed his own an octave higher.

"Watch me," he had instructed, and Kieran watched. He watched his father's fingers dart up and down the piano in an effortless blur. A flurry of sound erupted from the keys, light and unbothered.

"That's C major," his dad said. "All white keys."

Kieran tried his best to mimic his father's nimble fingers, and to his delight, he was able to replicate the scale with little trouble. It was significantly choppier, but even in its rhythmic asymmetry, Kieran thought it sounded beautiful.

His dad beamed down at him. "Look at you, sport," he crowed, a crooked smile appearing on his face. "You're a natural."

Kieran and his father repeated the C major scale until they were able to play it smoothly in unison. Then, his father moved on to the next one.

"This scale's a little different," he instructed. "Like C major, it's all white, but it starts on a different key, A instead of C. And the sound, the sound suddenly becomes completely different."

Kieran listened intently as his father demonstrated, and sure enough, it was like a whole other world from the first scale.

"Whoa," Kieran said, incredulous.

His father laughed seeing his reaction. "That's A minor," he said.

Awestruck, Kieran copied his father once more. Where the first one had been joyful and carefree, this one was somber and almost tragic— deeper, and rawer, somehow. Kieran was rendered speechless how the same keys could create such different melodic combinations. The only difference between the two scales that Kieran could see was the initial note.

In Kieran's early youth, he and his father enjoyed many piano lessons like that. However, a good thing couldn't stay good, especially when there was an obnoxious, needy little brother in the picture. When Kieran started playing intermediate-level music, Aurelius began making a habit of interrupting his lessons in classic younger-brother fashion.

"Dad!" Aurie screeched, barreling into the room clutching a guitar that looked far too big for him. "Teach me guitar!"

Aurie set down the instrument hazardously, paying no mind to how the wooden contraption rattled back and forth on the black, granite floor before clattering to a halt. "Teach me teach me teach me!" He approached the bench and started tugging at their father's arm furiously, like he was trying to tear off a chunk of him for himself. Eventually, their father let himself be dragged off to give Aurie his guitar lesson, cutting Kieran's session short.

Whenever this happened, his father would give Kieran an apologetic smile and a wink. The gesture always gave Kieran the affirmation he needed. Music is your gift, the wink seemed to say. Not your brother's.

However, no matter what his father's opinion was, Kieran had always known that his mother held a drastically different sentiment. Aurie was guilty of stealing their father's attention from Kieran, but he had already secured the affection of their mother without any interference needed. In her eyes, Aurelius had always been the golden child, quite literally; it was even in their fucking names, and Kieran could never separate himself from his reputation as the inferior Locke son. His mother was a C-list model from One, and held all the traits that such a job entailed: vain, conniving, and entitled. No surprises there. Kieran had always suspected she just wanted a child that had her same blonde hair and sea-green eyes, which would explain why he had been an immediate disappointment to her from his birth, and the reason she took to Aurie so affectionately. He and Aurie were only a year apart, so the difference in the way she treated them was jarringly obvious, like night and day.

With a shared aptitude in music and training as well as the Locke family name, the pair of brothers had held many of the same burdens and expectations on their shoulders. They had both thrived in their pursuits, but Kieran couldn't help but notice that Aurie had always had things cut out better for him as soon as he was born. Lady Luck shined on him while Kieran lay cast in shadow.

It was true that he had envied his younger brother back then, but that wasn't quite the case anymore. It was kind of difficult to be jealous of someone who was buried six feet in the ground. No, his childhood resentment for Aurie had taken on a different vessel, hopping sanctimoniously from his brother's bloodied corpse, along the knife that had been stuck in his chest, and finding a home in his murderer instead.

Harshly, Kieran's hands halted to a stop, clenching abruptly after a screeching crescendo on the piano. He blinked. He had been playing mindlessly the entire time, but his fingers were cold and stiff as if in rigor mortis.

This specific piano was the only one that Kieran had grown accustomed to as of recently. Pandora, his closest friend, had gotten a job as a bartender in a local club after their band had fallen apart, and that was where they were both at now. Kieran supposed this place was nice enough; the brick walls and the ashwood floors had a comfy feel to them, and the gazebo lights cast everything in a pleasant, warm haze. There was a lengthy amount of time before the rush hour started, so the club was empty, save for Kieran by the piano and Pandora behind the bar counter, walking aimlessly back and forth.

If Kieran closed his eyes, he could pick up faint notes of alcohol and sweat. He could imagine the pulse of the bass erupting from the speakers. The warmth of neon lights and dancing bodies, stellar and intoxicating. The vision he conjured in his head was all too fresh, all too familiar.

Still, it was no De Lu Iris, and Kieran couldn't delude himself into thinking this club would even come close to the former's grandiosity. The De Lu Iris had once been his favorite club, but he couldn't go back there anymore. Kieran couldn't go there without wondering whether Aurie's murderer was on his heels, whether the ghost of his brother still haunted the dressing chambers, whether the ghost of his band still haunted the stage. He couldn't go there without thinking of days he had once spent riffing and belting until everything inside him ached, letting the adrenaline course through him until he was lightheaded and empty in a performer's high. Alongside his band members, he had spent every other night surrendering to the pressure of the crowd, the bass, and the riveting vocalist, her piercing, haunting melody stirring something deep inside of him like a fucking professional-grade stand mixer.

Something about that voice held an alluring, siren-like quality. It led men to their deaths. That same voice had later proposed robbing the patrons of the club for the hell of it, the same people that watched them perform with their hearts in their throats.

"C'mon," the siren had pressed. "It's not like they're gonna miss it. Whoever this belongs to is rich enough to buy another coat, and replace the feathers in their pillows with hundred-dollar bills while they're at it." There was a twinge of acerbity resonating within her words. "Let 'em know loss. You know that you and I have had our fair share of it."

Kieran was no stranger to stealing a bracelet or a wristwatch for a cheap thrill here and there, but that had been a long time ago. Plus, he had never taken anything as expensive as a mink coat. Something tugged at his conscience, but under the high of performance, the promise of adventure, and the face of a pretty girl, he couldn't muster a refusal. Little did he know that fucking mink coat was only the first domino, but it led their little band down a slippery slope that they could never come back from.

Prepare. Perform. Party. Grand larceny. The patrons at the De Lu Iris couldn't resist both their music and their robberies, and Kieran's band would loot them dry over. She and Kieran and Pandora and Aurie would repeat the cycle each night they performed, over the course of weeks. Eventually, however, Aurelius grew tired of it and confided in him his worries back at the Academy dorms.

"This has been weighing on me since the beginning," Aurie stammered. "I didn't think it would go on this long, but… you just let it happen, and now we've been thieves, Kieran. What would happen if everyone found out?" He ran his hands through the front of his hair. "I just… I don't think I could take it. You have to help me here."

Kieran swallowed. "What are you trying to say?"

"Well," Aurie whispered, breaking eye contact. "It was her idea."

The next day after their performance, he was killed. Slaughtered. Massacred in the dressing room behind the stage, in what had once been the band's sanctuary. The room was forever marred by the stench of his brother's blood, the metallic and bitter notes that tainted the air. Worst of all, Kieran had seen the murderer. He had seen the siren by the corpse, somehow nonchalant despite her entire body having been painted over in Aurelius's blood. She had been escorted out of the club by the police but still got away scot-free, and Kieran couldn't forgive her for it. Kieran just watched her walk away, and he couldn't forgive himself for it.

Sweat beaded down his forehead as he strained to keep his fist from slamming down on the keys. His days of pickpocketing were long over, and he sure as hell wasn't going to ask his witch of a mother to pay off the damages. Panem forbid her least favorite son ask her for any favors. After a few moments, Kieran calmed down, but his blood was still practically simmering underneath his skin.

Stiffly, he made his way to where Pandora was idly wiping glasses. "Can you make me a drink?" he croaked, his body suddenly zapped of energy.

Pandora looked at him, her dirty blonde hair casually behind her ears. "What has you fucked up all 'a sudden? You want your usual?"
"Well, I won't say no," he chuckled dryly, slouching into one of the bar stools. He watched as she poured him out a drink, her hands slinging bottles back and forth with the same grace she had once wielded drumsticks with.

Wordlessly, Pandora slid his finished drink over to Kieran. He clutched the glass in his hand and took a sip. As soon as the liquid hit his tongue, he recoiled slightly, sucking his teeth as he set the drink back down.

"This has some, uh, punch in it," he said.

She snorted, putting the bottles back in their respective places on the shelf. "Well, yeah. You looked like you could use something to take the edge off."

"Is this peer pressure?"

"Only if you want it to be."

Kieran rolled his eyes at her, hoping that the glass he raised to his lips concealed the faintest trace of a smile. He took another sip, more hearty this time.

"You ever miss it?" Kieran said suddenly.

"Miss what?" Pandora said.

"The band," he whispered. "The De Lu Iris. The patrons. The lights, the drinks, the atmosphere, Aurelius, R-… Aurelius."

She sighed. "Yeah," Pandora said. "Every fuckin' day, Kier." She cast her eyes downward, wiping at nothing with the towel in her hand. "Would you go back?"

A lump formed in Kieran's throat. He would give anything to forget about all of it. "You know I can't. There's no point thinking about that." His voice faltered. "Can't change a goddamn thing."

He tightened his grip around his glass for a split second before forcing himself to calm down yet again, slipping back into the bone-tiredness he was all too familiar with. If Pandora detected the bullshit in his words, she didn't say anything about it. But Kieran still knew exactly what she was thinking.

Pandora hummed. "I think it'd be good for you to take it easy the last couple of days before the Reapings, yeah?"

Pfft. Yeah right. Kieran would do no such thing. "Yeah, I hear you."

"You're ready to do what you have to do?"

"About her?"

"Mhm."

Kieran closed his eyes, trying to conjure an image of the siren in his head. It came to him much easier than he would've liked. Her fingers plucking guitar strings, the metal vibrating underneath her nails. Her breath against his cheek in that supply closet. The way she wouldn't speak for an entire week before their first performance, not uttering even a single word to preserve her voice. There was a time that Kieran would gush about this impossibly riveting girl endlessly to Pandora, this gorgeous angel with a voice that sounded like honey-coated rock candy. Pandora would have to smack the back of his head to make him stop going on his tangents, yelling "Tell her, not me!"

However, for every good memory he had of her, there was another that left an overwhelmingly bitter taste in his mouth. The way that she had robbed their patrons without a shred of remorse. The way that she had slaughtered Kieran's baby brother, completely stone-faced, his body lying cold and cast aside on the linoleum floor. The way that she had been rewarded for it and promoted a year ahead to Kieran's circuit, surpassing the girl in his year, Callista, that was supposed to go into the 99th Hunger Games with him. And the way she couldn't even let him pretend to move on, murdering Callista after replacing her, the person that Kieran had gone to for solace after she had shattered him.

It drove him insane how all of these things coexisted in the same person, in the same set of keys. The difference was like C major and A minor. Only she could uplift him and destroy him in the same breath. It was the way she had looked so beautiful with the mink coat draped around her shoulders, and the way that Kieran had still thought she looked beautiful with Aurie's blood smeared on her face.

A time before, Kieran dreaded the Games, but that was back when he had other things to look forward to. He once had a band, a girlfriend, and an audience who loved him. He didn't need to win the Hunger Games to make a name for himself. But the official announcement of the District One volunteers flipped a switch in his head. Something about seeing the names Kieran Locke and Reverie Berlusconi side-by-side cemented his objective for him. Nowadays, all those things he had cherished so dearly were gone, and he could feel nothing but a bitter excitement churning within the deepest recesses of himself in anticipation of the Games. The Arena would be where he could finally put down the girl who had taken so much away from him.

He couldn't have any hesitation. The end of the Games was going to be the end of his life, in more ways than one.

"Readier than I'll ever be," he said. "Nothing will get between us in that Arena."


Reverie Berlusconi, 17;

District One Female, SHE/HER

- A WEEK BEFORE -

CW: MENTIONS OF VIOLENCE, BLOOD, AND SEXUAL ASSAULT


For some reason, Reverie's district partner seemed to have a problem with her.

Admittedly, it wasn't just for some reason. Killing someone's brother would do that. But Reverie wasn't going to waver, especially not in the face of Kieran Locke.

It was like déjà vu; Reverie was back in the Headmaster's Office for the first time since she'd been promoted for "taking initiative", which loosely translated to killing her former district partner, Aurelius Locke.

Reverie could recall the aftermath as if it had happened yesterday: Aurelius's crumpled form on the floor, the ghastly pool of crimson glistening underneath a corpse that was still warm. She had gored him repeatedly with the knife she always kept on her, because if there was one thing Reverie knew from growing up in one of the shittiest parts of One, it was that she could never, ever be too careful. The stench of iron lingered in the air, a tangy melody she couldn't seem to forget even after all these years. She had duly wondered if the De Lu Iris would ever be able to bleach the smell out of the dressing room. In death, he was just a sliver of the prodigious golden boy that strangers and loved ones alike knew him as, though Reverie's perspective of Aurelius had already been completely tarnished long before she killed him. But both the sight and the smell of her crime paled in comparison to the way Kieran couldn't even look at her as Reverie was hauled out of the club by security, completely drenched in blood with the murder weapon still clutched in her hand.

Her greatest mistake had been trusting Kieran Locke to take her side. Looking back, Reverie wondered why she had such high expectations for him at all, seeing as he couldn't be assed to use his critical thinking skills or even form a single, original thought of his own. That had been half a year ago, however, and Reverie had done a substantial amount of growing up since then. She didn't need that numbskulled brute anymore, and it was embarrassing enough to admit that she once had.

Reverie sat in a plush armchair enveloped in red velvet, scanning her eyes over the desk that stood across from her and repressing the urge to roll her eyes back. She wouldn't have been surprised in the slightest if the Headmaster never actually did any work on his desk; it was flawlessly polished, free of chips and dull spots in the way porcelain was when it was fresh out of the kiln. To Reverie, it seemed superfluous and entirely impractical to have a desk for cosmetics, but she couldn't expect the affluent people of One to understand what practicality was, even if it smacked them across the face with a luxury handbag.

In the armchair on her right, her trainer Violet leaned back nonchalantly, one leg crossed over the other as if it were every day her student was called to the Headmaster's Office for a final meeting before the Reapings. Reverie wouldn't be surprised if Violet was accustomed to this, though; her trainer had never spoken of past students, but she was most definitely cutthroat enough to cultivate more ripe soldiers. Still, Reverie knew that she was the best trainee Violet would have in a very, very long time.

"Once again, I'd like to commend you on your exemplary performance at the Academy of Youth Development for the past six years," The Headmaster began, his voice gravelly. "You are an extraordinary attestation to the… perseverance of scholarship students."

Reverie almost snorted aloud. Yeah, perseverance. She wasn't like the other Academy kids who could buy everything under the sun and just let their Daddy's credit card do the talking. Her family was working-class, and the most luxurious item they owned was a chipped flat-screen some rich person left in front of their lawn for disposal. There was no fuckin' way Reverie would've been able to afford the tuition without a scholarship, so she had to get good and stay good. No amount of scowls and insults from her peers would have deterred her from doing what she needed to do. In fact, it was the thought of surpassing and spiting them that fueled her even further.

The Headmaster continued. "It's the same drive you displayed that we need in our Academy, to light the spark for future generations and secure glory for District One."

"Oh, but of course," came Reverie's curt reply. "I wholeheartedly believe that it's exactly the kids that are less fortunate who make sure to secure their shot any way they can."

That had been exactly what she did when she realized that her family had fallen short on funds, and wouldn't have enough to cover Reverie's housing costs for the term. Tirelessly, fifteen-year-old Reverie searched for a quick way to make bank, and she found her little piggy in the boy she would end up dispatching later. When she had met him, Aurelius Locke was a machiavellian rich boy who had a mouth far louder than the guitar he strummed with his cloddish, rhythmless fingers. It had taken Reverie only a couple of "coincidental" run-ins and vague comments about her guitar expertise until Aurelius was practically on his hands and knees begging her for a performance.

Reverie sighed exasperatedly but was secretly pleased. "Fine, I can show you a thing or two with this lullaby I know."

"What's it called?"

"Jade City Whore, my rendition," she smirked. "Not exactly for the faint of heart." The raw, gritty energy that proliferated from her fingers left the boy speechless.

"That was… wow," Aurelius said, intelligently.

Reverie didn't acknowledge his compliment. Aurelius's appreciation meant nothing to her; it was only about what he could give her.

She was upfront with it and said, "Do you want me to be your teacher?"

"Really? You'd do that?"

"Well, you'd have to pay me, of course. It's all in the game."

"Yeah, of course, of course," he assured her. "But could I take you to The Tavern sometime before starting? I'd really love to get to know you better, Reverie," he smiled, the implications all too clear.

Well, it didn't matter if the poor boy was interested in her. If he couldn't separate work from pleasure, then that was just his problem. Reverie could more than manage herself. Plus, it didn't hurt to have her own walking, talking wallet at her disposal if she ended up needing more pocket change.

"Sure," she said. "That won't be a problem at all."

It turned out that Aurelius took Reverie to the dive bar to meet two other people: his older brother Kieran, and a girl with dirty blonde hair named Pandora. Aurelius pleaded with her to give them the same performance she had given him, and by the end of it, Kieran had both of her hands clasped in his and was inviting her to become the fourth member of their band.

Well, there was no way she was going to say no to a proposition like that. But in hindsight, Reverie really should have turned him down. It only ended up being a dream sequence just as fleeting as the other fake shit in One.

The Headmaster leaned back, his chair groaning with the movement. "Miss Berlusconi, you have proven on numerous occasions that you know how to take initiative. You have more than what it takes to bring victory to District One."

She knew it was true. Reverie wouldn't, couldn't, settle for anything less than an overwhelming triumph, on both the battlefield and the stage. There wasn't room for even a fraction of an error as she practically shredded her fingers against the metal strings, her electric guitar strapped across her chest like an ammo sling. Not a single ounce of soul was vacant from her melody when she poured her lungs out with an addictive fervor that only amplified the siren call tenfold. She displayed the same mercilessness on the stage that she did in training, boasting a technique that was jagged, filthy, and raw, crudely refined by constant repetition and countless rehearsals. The sweat and adrenaline that flowed through her body after she finished a performance and an opponent were one and the same. And the speechless stares that followed afterward only made it all the more worth it.

It was only a matter of time before she'd be recognized for both of her talents. Soon after Reverie had joined the band, she was informed that she was on track to be the Designated Volunteer of the 100th Hunger Games. What quickly followed suit after their band gained traction was an invitation for them to perform at one of the most coveted venues of District One, the De Lu Iris. Upon receiving the news, she had tried to act nonchalant; after all, the spotlight was simply her natural place of habitat, and she knew she'd be recognized for her musical prowess sooner or later. But for the entire week leading up to their make-or-break performance, she didn't utter a single word, lest she present anything less than the best at what was surely the gig of a lifetime. It had all been worth it to receive a standing ovation from the audience, and a glimpse from Kieran right beside her, his face alight in awe. His gaze had felt hotter than the spotlight. It had been… endearing. Reverie had decided she liked it.

However, as much as she had wanted to, Reverie couldn't pretend her night was without worries. Two nights prior, she had received news that her parents had lost their jobs, and she knew that she had to resort to something desperate and slightly illegal to keep both her parents and her spot at the Academy afloat. And she had found her salvation in an unattended mink coat, hanging tantalizingly on a rack inside the dressing room.

The plan was so minimal that it could hardly be called one at all; Reverie knew that she could easily get away with it if she chose an opportune time and played it off with confidence. All she had to do after she had successfully taken it was strut outside the club with that mink coat around her shoulders like it was hers, because if nobody stopped her, it was.

She needed her band members in on it too, though. Revealing her financial deficit was not an option but luckily Aurelius and Pandora were eager to help before Reverie had to choose between losing her pride or dropping out. Kieran, however, was hesitant until she won him over with the promise of an adventure. She had won him over again when they were pressed against one another in the dressing room closet, shallowly panting in the painfully compact space. In that moment, Reverie couldn't remember for the life of her who had had the brilliant idea of hiding in a supply closet after almost getting caught with the stolen coat, or who had leaned in to make the first move, but she wasn't going to complain. Reverie Berlusconi was a girl of several priorities, but what she realized after that moment was that she'd have to make a separate one for kissing Kieran. Later when the club shut down for the night, she took the coat to a pawn shop but could only think with flushed cheeks the real luxury she had acquired that night.

As the band grew more and more popular at the De Lu Iris, Reverie began to sink into the lull and contentment that the routine of performance and theft brought. There was never a dull moment in any of it, whether it was singing her voice hoarse, snagging a bedazzled clutch, or feeling her lips on Kieran's. It was all good as long as she didn't think about how she was scheduled to go into the Arena in the same year as Aurelius. As long as she didn't think too hard about how she was essentially robbing the patrons. As long as she didn't think too hard about the way Aurelius's eyes would linger on her skin almost hungrily every time she wrapped herself in Kieran's arms.

Reverie had won the affections of the band, the De Lu Iris, and the boy she was enraptured by. But Aurelius Locke's roaming hands and refusal to take no for an answer had turned all of it to shit.

"Kieran! He tried to-" Reverie screamed, as she was dragged out of the club in cuffs, the flashing lights from both the inside of the club and the siren casting neon kaleidoscopes on her skin. Her voice was completely hoarse as she tried in vain to get his attention. "Kieran! You have to believe me!"

Kieran hadn't been able to even look at her. He had only stood there, unblinking. She could've sworn she saw his lip quiver, but it might've just been her tears fucking up her vision. Everything was blurry. He did nothing as she was hauled off the premises; offered no words, no consolation, and didn't even let her explain herself or give a sign that he would listen.

Reverie supposed if there was one good thing that emerged from the whole fiasco, it was that she was not punished but instead congratulated by the Academy. The administrators were impressed by the ruthless way Reverie had killed him, as if it was a scheduled kill test that she passed and not something she had to do to keep her District partner from fucking assaulting her. And they decided the best way to reward her was to put her a year ahead so that she and the fuckhead whose brother she had killed would enter the 99th Annual Hunger Games together.

What a fucking stupid idea. It was a disaster waiting to happen. But the last thing Reverie would do was voice her thoughts; after all, it was the genius in front of her that came up with that brilliant idea, and Reverie knew being impertinent would not bode well for her.

After a long pause, she nodded solemnly at the Headmaster. "Well, I hardly had any choice in the matter. It was a matter of life or death for me," Reverie said. "I don't know if I could've lived with myself if I had let the… opportunity slip."

Ah, yes. Shoving her knife into that bitch Callista's mouth was vital for Reverie's well-being. Reverie couldn't tolerate the strike to her ego, that Kieran rebounded with somebody so dumb and shallow as if he were taunting her. Life or death.

"There is absolutely no doubt that you're worthy of being this year's Representative." The Headmaster pulled back his lips in an uncanny smile. "Well then, Miss Berlusconi, prepare yourself. After this week, you have quite a journey ahead of you."

Reverie bowed her head slightly and allowed a small grin to surface. Without another word, she left the room, the shadow of Violet trailing behind her heels.

"Are you ready to do what you need to?" Violet asked, her eyes unfeeling as she scanned Reverie's face.

How could she be anything less than? Finally, the most opportune time to enact vengeance was upon her. She was going to show Kieran Locke just how much she loathed him for choosing to be blindsided by his aspiring rapist of a brother. For accusing her of murdering Aurelius in cold-blood and refusing to hear her truth. For shutting her out of his life, fully knowing she had no one else to rely on. For traipsing around with that bimbo Callista on his arm after their unofficial breakup, as if Reverie wouldn't see— no, as if he had wanted her to see. Callista got what was coming to her, but Reverie knew that there was a far worse fate in store for Kieran himself.

To think that he had once been… her person. She used to smile every time he was near, and her heart would rise in her throat whenever she stood on her toes to kiss him, no matter how many times she had done it. She remembered how his long eyelashes concealed abnormally soft eyes, and how his calloused hands darted over the keys like deer running through a stream. His buttery voice had melded perfectly with hers, and he had cracked jokes that were so unfunny that there would be tears in her eyes from laughing at him. There had been a time she believed him when he said there was good in everyone, but now she knew the truth. Humanity was ugly, and Kieran Locke was the shining example.

Reverie wouldn't have any hesitation. The end of the Games was going to be the beginning of her life, in more ways than one.

"Readier than I'll ever be," she said. No further comment was needed.


DISTRICT ONE REAPINGS

July 4th, 11:01 PM

Female Slot: Adonis de Lozier / Reverie Berlusconi - 6 slips

Male Slot: Prestige Valdespino / Kieran Locke - 7 slips


a/n: bitches, bros, and non-binary hoes, i am pleased to introduce to you the clusterfuck that is district one, the disastrous collab created by none other than Mykindleisawesome and Mags2000! big girthy juicy thank yous to my irl for what's probably the last time, lindsay, and laney and maggie for beta-ing each others children LMAOOO. y'all we really went out with a fucking BANG. and with that, d&d intros are finally complete after almost a whole year! [audience boos] no jk i'm incredibly proud of myself for reaching that benchmark in my last year of high school, and there's no pov that i avidly dislike the writing of. yeah all 24 of these intros are solid if i do say so myself, and i hope u guys think so too.

couple things to announce before i let y'all leave, because the bell doesn't dismiss you i dismiss you:
what will be happening for the next couple months is that i will be taking A FAT ASS HIATUS. i will likely not be posting another chapter for a long while, so this is the opportune time for you guys to catch up while i do my best to stockpile as much as pre-games as i can. see, as of right now, university technically hasn't started yet but i already feel sore with how hard it's gonna wipe the ground with my ass. i implore you to read all of the kids if you haven't done so already. reviews aren't mandatory like lmao how am i gonna enforce that like it's homework but i would love love love to hear feedback and opinions, whether it's through reviews or in the d&d channel or in my dms. don't be shy let me know wtf is up kyle.

lastly i'll include a breakdown of the pregames right here. next chapter will be a reapings recap through the eyes of our resident nerd stress-ridden head gamemaker, miss jarstova! after that, most chapters will be 4 povs. if you want to know which characters will have a pov which chapter, i've pinned a little chart thingymajiggy in the d&d channel on verses. i'm aiming between 1k-1.5k words for each pov, so the optimal wc range for most pregames chapters will be 4k-6k. but if we're being real i'll probably do that thing where i talk my ass off and overshoot the limit i set myself greatly. i really hope not though for both our sakes LMAO.

15. reapings overview (lisung pov)
16. train rides pt. 1 (4 povs)
17. train rides pt. 2 (4 povs)
18. pre-parade stylist prep (4 povs)
19. chariot parades (4 povs)
20. gamemaker arena plans (lisung +kishor pov)
21. training day 1 (4 povs)
22. training day 2 (4 povs)
23. training day 3 (4 povs)
24. gamemaker's session (4 povs + lisung pov)
25. free day (4 povs)
26. interviews (4 povs + kishor pov)
27. last night/party (4 povs)
28. pre-launch commemoration (lisung pov)
29: launch (4 povs)
30. bloodbath (omniscient)

that's how pre-games will be unfolding. it may seem excessive but i've thought about it for quite a while and i know i need all of these chapters to adequately develop the arcs i have in mind. :) subject to change but fingers crossed it won't have to. i hope you guys are as excited for this as i am!

q: would you still love me if i was a worm

$wag im out this bitch,

bibbity bobbity bronk