Disclaimer: I don't own the Hunger Games. I'm only going to say this once and I trust you guys to remember it.
Hi! Thanks for deciding to read this story. It's a lot like the other '75 Victors' stories out there except I decided to name it after a Vampire Weekend lyric because... why not?
I'm just going to put a general warning up now. If you want to read my other story, The Bride and The Widow, I'd recommend reading that one first. This one contains some major spoilers and, since the timeline jumps around a lot, you might encounter them a lot earlier in the story than the Seventy-Second Hunger Games.
Also, I put song lyrics at the start of chapters. This doesn't mean that the story is entirely based on the song (so it's not a songfic) and, with a lot of the bands I like, it's kind of hard to base an entire Hunger Games on one song (looking at you, Belle and Sebastian). I just took a bit of inspiration here and there. In some cases, like with all the major victors from the Bride and The Widow, I had the entire games planned out before I picked the song and I just picked the one with the best title. I picked a band for each district as well, because I like organising things and, miraculously, I could find a band with lyrics that link to every single one of District 12's victors. If you have any issues with this, let me know and I'll get rid of the lyrics.
Anyway, that's the end of my super long opening speech. Enjoy!
Aeneas Gentileschi, District 2
"We're just trying
I'm only trying to get home." -
Car Seat Headrest, Drunk Drivers/Killer Whales
I'm in the Hunger Games.
In less than ten minutes, myself and twenty-three other children are going to be released into an arena and only one of us is going to leave alive. The only reason I can think of for why this is happening is that the Capitol think that not enough people have died in the rebellion.
I beg to differ. I lost my father to a rebel bombing and my mother to a gang of Capitol soldiers. At this point, I couldn't care less who won and who lost - both sides are awful. All I want is for people to stop killing each other.
But I know that people won't listen if I tell them to stop. People never listen. If there's one thing that I've learned from this rebellion it's that the only way you can get a soldier to stop fighting is to kill them yourself.
I know, I could be the one to end the fighting today. I could kill everyone in the arena.
I'd studied all the other tributes - what a strange name for people - on the train ride from the districts. I was the last to be picked up, since District 2 is the closest district to the Capitol, but it didn't take long to get a general sense of how strong my competition is. Most of the kids on that train seemed to be injured or damaged in some way. The last scraps of a broken rebellion. I'm not. I'm still fit and healthy. Whenever recruiters had come to my quarry, I'd sent them away with the same excuse. I'd told them that someone has to work, someone had to stay home and miss all the fighting or there'd be shortages after the war.
I bet the tributes who'd been recruited, the ones missing arms, legs and eyes, are really regretting it now.
I spend my last few minutes before the games begin wondering if I have what it takes to kill someone. I've never done it before but it doesn't look like it'd be that hard, not when I'm in the situation I'm in. It would be harder for me to stand still and wait for someone else to make the first move, wondering if their first move will be to kill me. Judging by my competition, one half scared, shivering little kids and the other half bitter, scarred rebels boasting about how they weren't going to bow to the Capitol's demands, I'd be waiting a while. I wonder what the Capitol would do if none of us did anything.
Part of me doesn't want to bow to the Capitol's demands either. But I know that, for these games to ever end, someone has to get blood on their hands. Someone has to do something.
That someone might as well be me.
I take a deep breath as they open my cage and I step out into the sunlight. I'm not scared at all. I'm too tired to be scared. I know that, if I die today, it'll mean nothing. I'll just get to rest at last.
I'm not the Capitol's plaything. I'm not a rebel puppet, either. I am Aeneas Gentileschi and I belong to nobody but myself. I'm ready to fight.
I hope, for my own sake, that the other tributes aren't.
That's the first Hunger Games done! The first few chapters are going to be really short because The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes confirms that the first nine Hunger Games just stuck a bunch of kids in an arena, let twenty-three of them die and sent the survivor back home. Usually, the toughest kid won and there wasn't much variety. I wrote my first draft of the first nine chapters in just one day so they're all pretty short.