Author's Note: Welcome to my newest fiction. I really shouldn't be writing this, because I have other stories I should be writing on, but, in telling myself I was not going to do this, I managed to work out almost the entire plot. So write it I will.
To Brutal fans: Yes, a sequel. It will be the Games introduced in the epilogue. Don't expect the same story; I have some very different ideas for this one. Also, I have reused some countries, but the tributes have different names and have inherited a very different set of traits from their respective nations. However this turns out, I hope you find it just as good as Brutal.
To HG fans: This is much more strongly based on The Hunger Games than what it is crossovered with. So don't shy away just because you're unfamiliar with the characters. You may miss a few jokes, but you'll still understand the storyline perfectly fine.
To APH fans: The countries are human here. This means they will be a bit different, and most of them won't have the same grudges and such. Also, this is the Hunger Games. Characters die. And, their names have been adjusted to sound Panemian. If you want to know who a certain person is, feel free to ask.
I hope you all enjoy.
Igris Kirkland, District 5
"I'm going to bloody kill you!" I run after my 10-year-old brother as he flees in panic. "Get back here!"
"I'm sorry! I didn't mean to!" he wails.
"Oh, yeah, right! You're always breaking my things!" My brother veers a corner, but doesn't notice he's about to run into the leather couch. He sees it just in time to stumble, but I've already got him by the collar. I can only get my arm hooked around his neck before he starts yelling.
"Mom! Igris is picking on me again! Mom! Help!"
"Igris!" comes the roar before Mom sets foot in the living room. "Leave your brother alone!"
"But he broke my Beatles CD!" I object as she comes storming into the room, her heels clopping on the wood floor. "My compact disc! Do you know how much antiques like that—"
"Igris, I don't want to hear it. Now let go of your brother," Mom continues sternly.
I begrudgingly release him, and he stumbles away coughing.
Mom sighs. "You have it all saved on sound file, don't you?"
"It's not the same when you change formats! I—"
"Oh, be quiet, Iggy," my brother interrupts, sitting on one of the swivelling barstools in the nearby kitchen. He spins around, adding, "Let's just all calm down and have breakfast so we can get dressed up for today."
"Says the one who doesn't cook," I grumble, stomping over to the kitchen.
"Um, Igris?" Mom says, hurrying to reach the cabinet before me. "I'll cook this morning. No need for you to do anything extra the day of the reaping."
"Right, right," I sigh, taking my own seat on a barstool. I glare at my brother, but he just smiles mockingly and keeps spinning around.
Honestly! Why do little brothers inevitably have to ruin everything of their siblings'?
I hear Mom click on the stove before she cranes her neck and requests, "Now will one of you go wake your father?"
"I'll do it." I let myself slide off the barstool.
"Thank you, dear."
I pad across the kitchen, living room, and down a hallway to my parents' room.
Our house is rather large. We've inherited quite a fortune from a particularly productive oil-drilling generation, so we don't live the same lives as a lot of others in our district. I'm 16, and I still haven't had to work more than once a week.
"Dad!" I knock on his door. "It's time to wake up!"
I hear a mattress creak, decide my job's been done, and march back to the kitchen.
I warily regard my brother. "What?"
He taps his fingers on the bar counter for a moment. "By the way, I kind of—" he clears his throat—"tried-on-your-tux-and-accidentally-ripped-the-pants-hem."
"Wai—what? H-Hey! You little—" I trail off into spluttering as Mom sets our breakfast dishes in front of us. I doubt I could get a word in edgewise if she decides to side with my brother. And she will. She always does.
I resignedly stab a piece of egg with a fork and shove it in my mouth.
The official checks my name off the reaping list, and Mom and Dad start to walk away with my brother. I bend over and whisper, "The second we get out of this, I am going to kill you." He rolls his eyes and walks over to the not-possible-tributes part of the crowd.
I make my own way to the sixteens' section, tugging on my cuff link uncomfortably. Since my idiotic brother decided to tear up my normal tuxedo, I have to show up in my old one, which is such a horrid shade of maroon I honestly don't know what could have come over me to pick it.
It's only a matter of minutes before the mayor comes onstage, and then just a while later before the escort struts on. He loudly announces that he'll be choosing the boys first—while it seems to differ by district and by year, I don't think anyone cares, anyway—before sticking his hand in the boys' bowl.
He plucks out a slip and, inhaling overly dramatically, calls out the name.
All right, whatever he called, it couldn't have been my name. I've never signed up for tessarae in my life, I'm only sixteen, and I... Well, I'm me. There's no way I could get reaped.
"Where is Igris Kirkland?"
The escort blinks for a moment before spotting me and the gap around me the crowd has constructed.
"Well, come on up, then!"
I walk uncertainly up to the stage.
"Any volunteers?" The escort searches the crowd for a moment. "Well, all right, then! Let's move on to the girls!"
I stare blankly out into the sea of faces.
What... just happened? I'm... going to the Hunger Games?
Well... I'm just having one bloody awful day, aren't I?
Perdita Adva, District 5
I shuffle my feet around, but there are so many other twelves in the area I can't move much.
I just want this to be over so I can go home. It's really uncomfortable here—it's too crowded, and being in the reapings for the first time isn't reassuring, either. I'm still just twelve, so I'll only be in there once. The odds are in my favour. But... Everyone else is so nervous it's hard not to be.
As I scuff my toe against the dirt, the escort calls the boy's name. To my surprise, it's a Kirkland. They're one of the richest families around, so there's no way their kid signed up for tessarae... He had good odds, too, but he...
I swallow. I-I don't need to be thinking like that. If someone else got picked against the odds, then it's even less likely for me to be picked, right? Maybe?
Hardly convinced, I stare with sweaty palms as the escort strides over to the girls' bowl. He sticks his hand in all but gracefully and seizes one of the slips from its resting place.
Please... Please don't say...
A squeaky scream issues from my lips, and I hurry to cover them with my shaky hands.
No! No! I-I can't go to the Games! There's no way I'd survive!
But... But the odds have been weird enough today, right? So I could just get lucky, right? Maybe?
I've scampered onstage by now, next to the Kirkland boy. The escort calls for volunteers, but no one comes.
I'm not surprised. People don't really volunteer here. We're not a Career district. No one here is prepared for the Hunger Games. I don't have any siblings. All of my girl friends are twelve, too, so they wouldn't stand much of a chance.
I'm suddenly snapped out of my thoughts by the escort grabbing my hand and clapping it against the other tribute's. Subconsciously, I shake, too focused on the Kirkland's green eyes to pay much attention.
He looks just as confused as me. Why wouldn't he? Neither of us is supposed to be up here.
For that matter, no one should ever be up here, about to go through what we are. The Capitol should just leave us all alone to be with our families and work a little and have fun little poking fights with our cool, older friends.
But it doesn't work that way. We shouldn't be here, but we are.
It's not fair. It's just not fair. No matter how much they say the odds are with us, the young and the rich, there are always some against us. And even if it's just a tiny, tiny chance...
Well, we've seen what can happen. And now I won't be able to go back home with my dad. I won't be able to play with my friends. I won't be able to have that sleepover birthday party with roasting marshmallows and apple cider.
Because the odds weren't in my favour today.
And now there's nothing I can do about it.