Hello, my dears! I need your help and advice. This is not a chapter, unfortunately.
Over the last few months I've been in the process of formulating a Harry Potter / Hunger Games crossover, because for the life of me I can never find a semi-decent one. Here's what I've been thinking.
It's set in DH, but it's slightly AU because the Golden Trio has a Time Turner in their possession and something goes wrong with it. They end up in Panem. If the future looks this bleak in America, they think, what on earth happened to their homeland? Does it even exist anymore? They soon meet Katniss, Peeta, Finnick, and a slew of other people who are in desperate need of help with the rebellion. In order to get back home, Coin wagers that she will have people work around the clock on fixing the Time Turner if they remain and assist with the rebel efforts. That's sort of all I have for the story so far, some things might change and some other things are changing. But I wanted some feedback. And now here's a small preview of what I've written of it so far.
After I've come to some sort of decision about this story, I'll remove this chapter from WFTRTB and either make it its own story or not publish it at all. It all depends on the feedback I get.
Thank you very much.
"You three," barked a man with a very official outfit, beckoning to them. "Come in here."
They followed him into an office and he pointed them all into chairs. They did not argue with him.
"So," she said, his eyes narrowed. "Who are you and where are you from?"
"I'm Harry Potter," said Harry, deciding it was best not to lie.
The lack of reaction to his name was slightly off-putting but almost a relief; from the looks of things in this part of the world, the last thing it seemed anyone needed was a celebrity in their midst.
"And this is Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger."
Ron and Hermione both gave signs of acknowledgment; Ron looked apprehensive and Hermione's lips were tightly pursed together.
The man blinked.
"Where are you from?" he repeated, and Harry started.
"Oh! I'm sorry. We're from..."
Harry had no idea what to say to him; a Time Turner gone wrong was an absurd enough answer to get them imprisoned or worse. And for all they knew, Hogwarts or the Wizarding World or even Muggle England had ceased to exist entirely.
Harry, Ron, and Hermione exchanged looks.
"We're...not from here," said Hermione in a rather high voice.
"Obviously," said the man, though Harry saw his expression soften a little.
"Where exactly are we, anyway?" asked Ron, his eyes wandering to the large map hanging on the adjacent wall.
"You don't know?"
"Well, no," said Hermione. "Like we said, we aren't exactly from here."
The man seemed to realize that they really didn't know where they were, and some of the tension seemed to leave him.
"My name is Boggs," he said. "And you are in District Thirteen, in the country of Panem."
Boggs seemed to accept that they truly meant no harm, so he seemed to take pity on their confusion and ordered some food in to them. They sat around a small table in a corner of the room, and it was here that Harry, Ron, and Hermione felt safe to begin asking questions about their current location.
"District Thirteen? Is that where you said we were?"
"How many districts are there?"
"This nation is run in districts now?"
"It has been run in districts for some time," said Boggs, eyeing them warily. "Since the Dark Days. But Thirteen was thought to have been wiped out by the Capitol (our government) for many years. Little did they know, we've been underground."
"But why?" asked Hermione. "Why would they try to destroy you?"
"Because we fought them," said Boggs, and a shadow of loss crossed his features. "We tried to bring them down, and it failed horribly. We were very nearly destroyed. Luckily our leaders back then had enough sense to move us elsewhere. But to the other twelve districts, we were as good as dead.
So now, while Panem is in a state of turmoil and the other districts are rebelling, District Thirteen remains the only safe place. Or the safest place, I should say. Not much of anywhere is very safe or secure these days."
They were all silent for a moment. Harry felt with foreboding that they were not the only ones whose world was in a state of chaos. And going from chaotic to more chaotic could not have been less helpful.
Ron said suddenly, "How can we help?"
Harry, Hermione, and even Boggs stared at him.
"Yes," said Ron, who looked completely serious. "We might not have any chance of getting home for a while, so it's just as well. Maybe we've been sent here on purpose."
Harry pondered this. It was strange to consider that a Time Turner would malfunction so suddenly...
Hermione was more skeptical.
"On purpose? But why? What are we going to do?"
"Are you a witch or not?" Ron said.
At this, all except Boggs seemed to come to an understanding.
Harry saw Boggs' confusion.
"Don't be alarmed," he said. "But we might be a bit more help than you realize."
Harry took out his wand and pointed it at a spoon laying discarded on the table.
Boggs looked bewildered as Harry frowned and tried again. He hadn't the faintest clue why it wasn't working for him now, but judging by the sudden panic on Ron and Hermione's faces as they also drew their wands and pointed them at random objects, muttering, he knew that their magic didn't work either. How far into the future had they traveled? What had happened?
Ron noticed Boggs' raised eyebrows and his apparent apprehension as he stared at their wands.
"Well, usually we can do magic with these," he said casually, and Boggs' eyebrows were so far up his forehead that they were in danger of disappearing into his chopped gray hair. Harry had a feeling he was getting ready to call some form of security.
"It's all right, sir," said Hermione. "We weren't going to attack you. But our wands don't seem to be working right now. And I haven't any idea why."
They each exchanged uneasy looks as they put their wands away. How they were going to be of any service to these people now, they hadn't the faintest idea.
Boggs spoke, his facial expression suggesting he had just watched them all sprout an extra head.
"Where did you say you were from?"
"We didn't," said Harry. "I don't think you'd believe us."
"We're from the past," said Ron. "The Time Turner - "
"Let's start from the beginning," said Hermione.
In the space of about thirty minutes, Harry, Ron, and Hermione had told Boggs just about everything in terms of where they were from and how they had arrived in Panem. They decided to leave out Voldemort and the Horcruxes because it would be too lengthy and too terrible to try to explain. And they couldn't explain that entire business yet anyway, for they did not yet know completely how it worked. But they covered mostly everything else. Boggs simply stared back and forth between all three of them, nodding. Harry wasn't altogether sure if Boggs believed them, but if he doubted them any further, he didn't express it.
"So now we're trying to figure out how to get back home, because the Time Turner was lost upon our arrival when we were grabbed by those...people. Are they human?"
"Capitol," said Boggs. "I strongly doubt their humanity myself."
They all peered at Boggs curiously, who sighed.
"Well, even though everything you have said sounds completely absurd, I cannot help but feel that it's the truth. None of you seem to be liars thus far."
"We're not," Ron assured him, seeming relieved.
"It almost makes sense, in a dire sort of way," said Boggs. "Perhaps something happened before this time and that is why your- er- magic doesn't work. You seemed so certain that it would. Or perhaps something else.
"Do you really want to help us?"
"Yes," said Hermione, who seemed to have come around to this way of thinking. "It's as Ron said, perhaps we've been sent here on purpose. To finish something. Or to come to certain realizations."
"Well, then it's best you are acquainted with our citizens, or our current ones, anyway. We can figure out from there what you can do for us."
Harry, Ron, and Hermione nodded.
"Now I must warn you," said Boggs, his expression growing grave. "At the moment, we not only host our own District Thirteen citizens, but District Twelve's as well. Their district has been completely destroyed. The Capitol firebombed it shortly after the Quarter Quell."
Hermione put a hand over her mouth; Ron looked sick. Harry felt a swoop of dread.
"Are they alive?"
"A few of them, yes. Many did not make it out. Keep in mind that District Twelve citizens are undergoing a great deal of suffering right now."
Boggs stood up.
"Come. I will show you. I will also see if we can't procure you rooms here for now, since you aren't going anywhere."
They followed Boggs out of his office and down a series of corridors. They passed rooms of families, of workers, of scientists that seemed to have been working on weapons. To all the stairs they received, Harry stared right back, but he did not say anything. He was not keen to have anyone misconstrue any words he uttered, especially not when Boggs was right there.
Boggs stopped at one of the rooms and knocked on the door.
The door opened and a thin, pale woman with blonde hair and fretful gray eyes peered at them.
"May we come in?" asked Boggs.
"We haven't much room," Mrs. Everdeen said, though she opened the door a little wider to let them in.
They filed in, Harry, Ron, and Hermione giving her small smiles in thanks.
Boggs dipped his head. "Ma'am."
The room was small, indeed, but roomy enough to where they weren't all squeezed in together.
A young girl who was the spitting image of the elder woman stood to greet them.
"Who are they, Mom?"
"I was about to find that out," said Mrs. Everdeen. "Who are you?"
"I'm Harry Potter," said Harry.
"Ron Weasley," said Ron, raising a hand.
"I'm Hermione Granger," said Hermione politely.
"Such odd names," said Mrs. Everdeen a little curiously.
Ron opened his mouth to express his opinion that their names too were a little odd, but he was swiftly silenced by Hermione's elbow in his gut.
"I beg your pardon," said Mrs. Everdeen. "They are nice names, really."
The young girl suddenly whispered, "Buttercup! Shh!" as a rather fat, yellow-orange cat began to meow at them. Hermione smiled and knelt down.
"Does he like being petted?"
"By people who actually like him."
"I have a cat too; his name is Crookshanks," said Hermione. "He looks a lot like this one, actually."
"Nutters, though," said Ron, earning him a scowl from Hermione.
Prim giggled. "My older sister would have cooked Buttercup in a stew if I didn't love him so much."
"I know the feeling," said Hermione, giving Ron another nasty look.
Hermione reached out a hand and began to pet Buttercup, who after sniffing her seemed to declare her trustworthy. The young girl seemed to be less wary of them.
"My name is Primrose," she said. "But everyone calls me Prim."
After explaining everything to Prim and Mrs. Everdeen, Boggs suggested that they show the newcomers around, with profound reassurance that they were good and they only meant to help. In the meantime, Boggs would send a woman named Jackson to look for empty rooms where the three could stay. They thanked him graciously, and with a respectful nod, Boggs withdrew.
"Well," said Mrs. Everdeen. "My other daughter will be along in a while, so we need to occupy as little of this space as possible for now. We will show you around. Prim, would you like - ?"
"Yes," said Prim immediately, standing.
They were about to leave when there was a knock on the door.
"Yes?" called Mrs. Everdeen.
"We need you in the hospital, ma'am."
"You'll have to go with Prim, then. I have to go. Prim, are you all right on your own?"
"Yes, Mom. I'm fine."
Mrs. Everdeen left in a hurry, leaving the door ajar.
"Come on," said Prim. Noting their apprehension, she smiled. "It's okay. No one is very hostile here."
Prim took Hermione's hand and led her down another endless string of corridors, Harry and Ron following behind. They stopped at a door that looked as if it was to a cafeteria.
"I don't know who will be in here, but they won't do anything to you. Come on."
She pushed open the door and it was indeed a cafeteria. It didn't have quite the magnitude of the Great Hall, but Harry knew it would not help anyone to complain about the conditions after these people had sustained such loss. This could seem a palace to some of them.
Prim sat them down at one of the tables, cheerfully ignoring some of the stares they were receiving from the woman and three children who sat there as well as from everyone else in the room. She did not let go of Hermione's hand.
"Prim," said the woman. "Who are they?"
"We can trust them," said Prim. She turned to Harry, Ron, and Hermione.
"They're okay, I promise. That's Hazelle, and those are three of her kids, Rory, Vick, and Posy."
Harry didn't have the slightest clue what Prim was talking about, but he held out his hand for Hazelle to shake. She shook his hand, seeming to trust him. Ron followed suit. Rory and Vick still seemed shy, but Posy gave them a bright smile.
"Hello!" she chirped.
"Hello," Hermione twinkled kindly back.
"Where's Gale?" Prim inquired of Hazelle.
"He's probably hovering near Katniss," said Hazelle, a smirk crossing her face. "Isn't that usually where he is?"
Prim's smile seemed oddly forced.
"Of course. I should have known. Well, we have to go, I have to - "
Harry turned, alarmed at the unknown someone's recognition of him before he saw that it was Boggs.
"Harry! Ron! Hermione!"
Boggs reached their table, his face full of purpose.
"We have figured out a temporary post for you three. Jackson has nearly finished preparations for your rooms, so we will go there next. Come. We haven't much time."
Hermione squeezed Prim's hand and smiled warmly at her.
"Thank you, Prim."
Prim looked a little worried. "Are you going to come back?"
"Oh yes," said Hermione. "We have a few things to sort out first."
Prim nodded and let go of Hermione's hand. Hermione followed Harry, Ron, and Boggs out of the cafeteria and down yet another set of corridors.
They reached a corridor that hosted windows full of beds, the people in them (thankfully few) either strapped to machines or being fed medicine or food. Boggs led them to a door at the end of the hall. He turned to them outside of the door, a very serious expression on his face.
"These two in this room – and one, a little further up the hall – were plucked from the Quarter Quell. We managed to rescue them, but they are in terrible shape."
"Plucked from the what?" asked Harry.
Boggs' face seemed to harden. "Hopefully someone in there will explain. Just stay in there for now, offer to help with whatever is needed. I must find President Coin and inform her that you are here."
Exchanging confused and wary glances, the trio made their way inside.
Two beds sat in the room, both occupied; in the first bed there lay a young woman hooked up to a machine or two, shackles on her wrists. A white bandage covered her temple. In the second bed lay a young man, who didn't seem to have much wrong with him but who was restlessly and quietly moaning in his sleep. Chairs were scattered here and there, both near and away from the beds. In one chair slept a middle-aged, ragged, positively filthy-looking man who twitched or grunted occasionally. On another chair sat a wider, cleaner looking man who looked up upon their arrival and smiled.
"Ah," he said quietly, so as not to wake either of the patients. He stood up and shook their hands. "You must be the newcomers Boggs mentioned. Welcome. My name is Plutarch."
"Heavensbee," grunted Boggs from the doorway. "You'll want to come too, I'm sure. Haymitch – ah, forget Haymitch. Come on, then."
"Quite, quite," muttered Plutarch distractedly.
He slipped through the slightly open doorway and the door clicked closed behind them, leaving the three to look upon.
"What happened to them?" whispered Hermione in horror, gazing at the two sickly looking people.
By way of an answer, a sudden yell sounded from one of the beds that made Harry start. Ron almost fell over a chair. Hermione let out a small scream.
The young man had sat up stock-still in bed, his eyes wide, his frame trembling. Once he seemed to realize he had woken up from a nightmare, he croaked "Water."
Harry almost conjured up a glass from his own wand before he was sorely reminded of their lack of magic. Hermione, who seemed to be the only one not struck into paralysis at the young man's yelling, ran to the small sink, grabbed a cup, and filled it with water. She brought it over to the young man, who drank it down in nearly one gulp.
"Thank you," he said. "Please hand me my rope. Off of the bedside table."
Hermione gave him the rope and he started to tie knots distractedly. It seemed to have an almost therapeutic affect on him, and he relaxed after a few moments.
"Thank you," he said again, then he frowned at them all. "Who are you?"
"I'm Hermione Granger," said Hermione, beckoning Harry and Ron over to the young man's bed. "That's Harry Potter, and that's Ron Weasley."
"Finnick. Finnick Odair."
Finnick Odair, Harry noticed, was reasonably good-looking. He had bronze skin and reddish hair (Ron shifted a bit in his seat, his eyes on Hermione), and his eyes were a pleasant sea-green.
"Well, what brings you here?" asked Finnick curiously.
"Before we tell any of that," said Ron impatiently. "What's the Quarter Quell? Boggs mentioned it."
"Ron," said Hermione a little reprovingly, but Finnick sighed.
"No, he should know. You should all know, since you're here."
Finnick stole a glance at the woman sleeping near him.
"I want to make sure she isn't awake for this. She won't want to talk about it."
"What do you - ?"
"I'll explain later."
Finnick started toying with his rope again.
"The Quarter Quell marks every twenty-fifth year the Hunger Games has been held. This year, it was the seventy-fifth, so it was, by technicality, the third Quarter Quell."
"What are the Hunger Games?" asked Ron, a little incredulously. "Is it some kind of eating contest?"
"Ron, keep your voice down!" snapped Hermione, as they suddenly heard the young woman stir a little. Harry could tell that Ron had said something very insensitive, because Finnick seemed to lose a bit of color in his face when Ron had asked the question.
"I wish it was an eating contest. You really...you really don't know?"
They shook their heads.
"I don't want to have to be the one to explain it to you...Plutarch? He still here?"
"He left," whispered Hermione.
Finnick peered around at the middle-aged man asleep in the chair.
"Sometimes I wonder if Haymitch doesn't just come in here to sleep. Good lord."
He faced them again, giving another heavy sigh.
"The Hunger Games was created by the Capitol as punishment for the districts trying to rebel. They told us for years that they'd crushed District Thirteen out of existence completely, and you can see how wrong they were about that. But I digress. The rules are simple; each of the twelve districts must supply one male and one female, between the ages of twelve and eighteen, chosen at a public Reaping. Then those chosen are dolled up, shown off to the Capitol, and then pitted against each other to fight to the death in an arena, on live television that everyone is required to view. Only one can be the victor. So the other twenty-three kids with homes and families and lives yet to be lived are slaughtered. And if you're the victor, they haunt you forever. The ones you killed. Mine never leave," he added, giving a mirthless chuckle, and a tear raced down his cheek. "And you're given food, a new home, money...as long as you remain the Capitol's slave in some way. The publicity never ceases. And in my case...well, let's just say I turned quite a profit."
They listened in silent horror. Harry knew Voldemort wasn't above killing children, he was living proof of that, but he had never heard of it being a scheduled, yearly occurrence to murder twenty-three children on live television. The ruthlessness of it shocked him even now. How many people watched the Hunger Games, he thought, and enjoyed it? He had a dark feeling that the hybrid humans that had grabbed them upon their arrival took a fair bit of pleasure in the sport.
"The Capitol considers it worthy entertainment," said Finnick, as if he had read Harry's mind. "You wouldn't believe how many of them show up for the parades, go to the interviews, glue themselves to their televisions, root for their favorites and cheer for the death of ones they hated. They eat it up."
Another tear or two slid down Finnick's face.
"You were a victor?" asked Hermione tentatively.
"Yep," said Finnick. "I'm the youngest to date, I was only fourteen. Imagine that. Fourteen, and a victor of the Hunger Games."
He fixed them with a desperate look. "I don't want to talk about it anymore."
"You don't have to," said Hermione quickly, her own eyes filling with tears.
Suddenly the young woman in the other bed let out a low moan. Haymitch, whom Harry had nearly forgotten about, grunted but remained asleep.
Finnick looked around. "Katniss?"
She did not stir. They stared at her as she moved restlessly around on the bed, slightly limited by the shackles around her wrists.
"Is she all right?" asked Hermione anxiously.
Finnick didn't answer her. The young woman's moaning continued; it did not really get much louder, just worse. More desperate.
"Go wake Katniss," said Finnick. "I think she's having a nightmare. With all the drugs they put her on I thought maybe the nightmares stopped, but apparently not. At least she isn't screaming."
Harry and Ron went to Katniss' bed. Unsure of how she would react, Harry put a hand on her shoulder and began to shake her. With a jolt of horror he noticed another bandage that covered nearly half the length of her arm. What had she been through?
"Katniss," he whispered. "Wake up, Katniss."
Ron soon followed suit, gently trying to wake Katniss.
After Ron and Harry's combined efforts, Katniss opened her eyes. They were wet and dull as she looked up at Ron in curiosity before her eyes locked with Harry's.
"I want Prim," she muttered. Her eyes seemed to stare right through him, as if in her delirium she did not acknowledge that Harry was there, let alone a total stranger.
He stared blankly back, unsure of what to do. Her eyes filled with more tears.
"I want Prim," she said again. "I want Prim. Bring me Prim."
"The phone," Finnick pointed it out on the wall. "Dial 1302, that's Boggs' office. Ask him to find Prim and send her in here."
Hermione sprinted to the phone and dialed, moments later speaking with Boggs to find Prim. Harry and Katniss just stared at each other for a moment before Katniss turned away, tears still rolling down her cheeks. She gave a thin wail. "Prim."
Primrose Everdeen was in the room in a few minutes flat and in Katniss' arms.
"It was him again," Katniss moaned weakly, her voice slurring as her eyes leaked slow tears. "He never leaves. There was fire, everything was burning, it was burning – children crying – smoke – he was there. I burned him, I killed him - "
"Shh, shh," said Prim, patting her back. "It's all right. You're here. You're safe."
After a few moments, Katniss looked at the trio, who seemed at a loss for words as her moaning, crying demeanor suddenly smouldered into hostility.
"Who are you?" she hissed quietly.
Any reply to her question seemed to have gotten stuck in Harry's windpipe. They all three gaped, trying to figure out what to say.
"They're good, Katniss," said Prim.
"Prim, who are they?"
"Katniss," said Finnick. "They're okay. They were about to tell me why they were here, actually."
Katniss' hostility was encouraging enough for the three of them, so they launched right into the story; Prim, Finnick, and Katniss listened beginning to end but Harry had the feeling that Katniss was still highly distrustful of them. Her stormy gray eyes, unlike Finnick's friendly sea-green ones, were cold and calculating. She had olive skin and dark hair that fell in waves down her back and shoulders.
After the entire story was through, Finnick looked interested but not doubtful. Prim was nodding wisely. Katniss, however, had doubt written unabashedly all across her face.
"It's too elaborate for you to be lying, that's for sure," said Finnick. "No one goes to that much effort."
Prim crossed the room to Hermione, who looked scared, and took her hand again. Hermione beamed down at Prim before letting her eyes rest back on Katniss. Katniss' eyes flitted to Hermione and Prim's clasped hands then back up to Hermione, her distrust temporarily quelled. Hermione gave Katniss a small, kind smile. Katniss' hard stare softened only slightly before she looked away.
"This is my sister," said Prim quietly. "Katniss Everdeen."
Katniss made a noncommittal noise and leaned back on her pillows.
Katniss Everdeen. She had so far been reproachful, unlikable even, but Harry could not help the feeling of awe he had towards her. He could not put his finger on why.
In any case, her personality was deeply reminiscent of Mad-Eye Moody. He felt a small twinge of pain.
"Were you in the Hunger Games too?" Ron blurted before he could stop himself.
Katniss' eyes burned into him, and Ron seemed to deflate.
"Why don't you mind your own business," she snarled, rolling over away from them.
There was a knock on the door. Ron went to open it, and through the door walked Boggs, accompanied by a strict, haughty-looking woman.
Right away, Harry felt a twinge of unease. The woman's eyes were a pale gray, like sleet. Her chopped gray hair was nearly perfect, not an inch out of place. Harry felt that if he stood very near to her, he would feel an icy chill emanating from her.
"You must be President Coin," said Hermione respectfully.
The woman nodded. "Boggs has told me everything, including how you managed to get here. But I regret to inform you that there is really nothing we can use you for."
Harry, Ron, and Hermione gaped at her.
"Unless you can be trained in combat, we have no use for you."
"They could be trained, couldn't they?" said Boggs.
"Well," Coin gave a small smirk. "If they've been brought up on magic, I doubt any kind of earthly combat will stick with them."
"I wasn't brought up on magic," said Harry. "Neither was Hermione."
"And just because I was doesn't mean I'm stupid," Ron said indignantly. "We can learn."
Finnick, Katniss, and even Prim were watching this conversation with adept interest; Finnick's hands had frozen around his rope and Katniss simply stared in their direction. Prim cast the occasional awed look in Hermione's direction.
Coin seemed unfazed. "We'll soon see. For now, stay near to either this room or to your own rooms. I would hate to have to impose any kind of disciplinary action for newcomers unfamiliar with instruction."
Hermione was staring hard into Coin's face, all respect gone. Ron looked furious. Harry felt a surge of dislike for President Coin and hoped savagely that it showed on his face.
Coin crossed the room to Finnick.
"Your training will begin soon, Finnick."
"I can hardly wait," said Finnick unenthusiastically.
Coin's eyes swiveled to Katniss, who lay on her side, staring up at Coin.
"Where is Dr. Aurelius? The Mockingjay cannot be presented in such a fashion. I want her out of this bed as soon as she can stand without fainting."
Ron mouthed Mockingjay? to Finnick, but he shook his head.
Coin and Katniss locked eyes and Harry suddenly realized why Katniss struck him in the way that she did. Behind Katniss' eyes was only what Harry could describe as pure strength. Fearlessness, stubbornness, and, unsurprisingly, anger.
The mood in the room felt akin to an icebox. Boggs seemed to sense this as well as Harry.
"We plan to move Katniss to her mother and sister's room once she is well."
Coin gave a curt nod and drew away.
"You three will remain here for now while I sort out details," she said, and swept out of the room without another word.
"Charming, isn't she?" said Ron. "She and Umbridge could have tea."