Author's Note: Well, everyone, this is it. Thanks so much for reading and reviewing; if it weren't for your avid support, I wouldn't have even written this story. So thanks for everything, and here I present the epilogue.
I have now published the last of this series, Unsurvivable. Also, those of you leaning a bit further on the Hetalia side than the Hunger Games side might enjoy a horror-ish fic I also started, The Rules. So feel free to check them out if you haven't already.
And here's the list of the deaths.
Paliss Crai, D8, 16 (Journs)
Seborga Costa, D11, 15 (Livna)
Owella Fehr, D12, 17 (Magya)
Snuff Eitchpy, D3, 12 (Ilber)
Korea Im, D12, 14 (Osso)
Wy Micra, D5, 13 (Magya)
Saki Beebul, D7, 13 (Antonio)
Bell Gique, D6, 17 (Osso)
Antonio Spey, D4, 17 (Fish)
Den Copen, D10, 18 (Tina)
Aurth Unikin, D6, 14 (Bird)
Sheen Sehre, D2, 17 (Norge)
Feli Vargas, D3, 17 (Magya)
Tina Sinki, D9, 15 (Magya)
Journs Sykop, D4, 18 (Ilber)
Livna Wickham, D1, 16 (Ilber)
Plutonia Agnelli, D10, 14 (Tidal Wave)
Ilber Schmidt, D7, 16 (Mr. Puffin)
Sui Holmes, D11, 16 (Magya)
Osso Torya, D1, 18 (Sui)
Magya Garrison, D2, 17 (Norge)
Ise Javik, D9, 16 (Norge)
Norge Oslo, D8, 17 (Shiran)
Amer Jones, District 10
This meeting wasn't as hard to arrange as I thought it would be. I knew I couldn't go see him at his house, since he's from another district and all, and I don't wanna wait months for a chance to see him on his Victory Tour. But then Matt realised he has a phone in his house, too, and there are so many huge parties at the Capitol it'd be easy for us to end up at the same one.
So, some phone calls, some other stuff, and here we are. Or, at least, here I am. I haven't found him yet—the party's too loud and crowded and erratically-lighted, and of course everyone wants to take their picture with me or have me sign stuff or sponsor stuff or whatever—but I know he has to be here. Actually, it may have been a better idea to try to meet him at the entrance...
I start weaving my way back towards the door, but it's almost a whole minute before I'm a metre closer to the entrance. And then some Capitol lady who's already had a little too much to drink decides to pull me over and hit on me while attempting to fondle one of my biceps. I drive her away as politely as possible—which means I shove her lightly and push myself a few people further into the crowd—and keep going.
That encounter should probably disturb me a little bit more, considering what I've heard the Capitol does with some of their Victors, but it doesn't. I figure if they were gonna do that to me, they'd already have done it, because of the little I can say of myself, I'm pretty good-looking. Ha. They're probably just afraid I'd snap and kill the girl.
As for Shiran... He's safe for now, since he's just thirteen—apparently the Capitol does have some sort of morals—but later... If he grows up to look more like his brother, he's not in too much danger. Not that... Igris... was ugly or anything, but, uh, you know.
I guess I just have to hope he doesn't get too popular. That, and the Capitol should know if they mess with him, they're messing with me...!
I physically stop.
Whoa, hang on. You're not thinking like that anymore, remember? It's too dangerous. Shiran really needs someone behind his back, but it just... can't be you, okay? You're not suited for that kind of thing anymore. He can make other friends. He's an outgoing enough guy. He probably has tons of friends back in District 5, anyway. He doesn't need you, and it doesn't really matter if you need him. It's just safer for everyone that way.
It takes forever, but I finally end up near the entrance. I hope I didn't miss him coming in. It'll be a headache sorting through everyone—
He's stepping out of a car right now. I start waving at him rather frantically as he hurries up the drive. He's still limping, but it's not as bad as it was when he first left hospital. I wonder if he'll ever walk normally again. The Capitol can heal just about anything, but I still can't lift my right arm all the way. But I deserve that. If there's any such thing as justice, he won't have to keep his scars forever.
"Sorry I'm late!" He steps in front of me panting. "Something on the train broke, and it took them a little while to fix it."
"No, it's fine," I reply, grinning despite myself. "Oh, and it's a little noisy in here, but I know a good spot where we'll be able to hear each other."
It takes him a second to register my words through the noise, but then he smiles and nods.
" 'Kay, let's go." I lead him through the crowd, and it still takes unnervingly long—especially when a lot of them recognise him as their newest Victor—but we eventually get into a hall, and I open a door for him. We enter the stairwell, which pretty much isn't used since the building's so tall and stuffed with elevators.
"So," Shiran starts, leaning against the rail, "what's up?"
"Eh, not much," I reply awkwardly. There's a patch of silence before I finally break down and hug him. "I-I... am just r-really glad you're alive," I choke out, getting teary.
"Me, too," he says after a second. "...But if you keep smothering me, I'm not gonna stay that way."
I pull back. "Ahaha, sorry. Kinda got carried away."
"That's okay." He straightens out his outfit, a maroon tuxedo that seems familiar for some reason I can't quite put my finger on. "So..." He puts his shoulder blades back against the railing. "Do you... have any advice?"
"Uh, advice?" I echo.
"Yeah. Like... how to... deal with it all."
Oh, boy. You're coming to the wrong place for that. Although I've made it a couple of long years without killing myself or getting hopelessly addicted to drugs or alcohol. That puts me in a sort of elite, I guess.
"Well... It's good to keep yourself around people, keep yourself busy. You have no reason not to go out and make a bunch more friends, so..."
"More?" he responds. "Amer... Igris told you how it is where I live. People with money don't have friends." He bites his lip. "You... You're the only one outside my family I know cares about me."
"W-well, I know you're the kind of guy that can make new friends like crazy, so, uh..." I try to calm myself down and believe what I'm saying. You know he's friendly enough. He can do this without you. "I mean, if the money's the problem, you could always give it away. I guess they probably wouldn't let you before, but now it's, like, directly from the Capitol, so you wouldn't be making them look bad or anything, right?"
"Yeah?" he starts hesitantly. "Have you got away with that?"
"So far." I realise I've stopped smiling and put my happy face back on. "Just use what it takes to feed your family and do your talent, and give the rest away. That's what I do, at least. Of course, I kinda spend an awful lot on food, but, uh... At least my talent's not that expensive."
"Oh, yeah, you do comics, don't you? I have a lot of them." He smiles, lowering his gaze a bit. "My favourite character's England."
I bite the inside of my cheek. "Yeah, I... like him, too." I lean against the rails next to him, making the metal squeak in protest, and exhale. "Man, this is getting a little depressing. Uh... Back to advice, then?"
"Sure," he says with a little laugh.
"Right. Uh... Forgot what I was gonna say." He snorts, and I end up laughing, too. "So, uh... You should be able to make friends after that, I think. And you always have your family, too." I close my eyes, thinking of my Victory Tour. "You have good parents."
He doesn't say anything for a while, so I look back at him. He's staring at the floor.
"You okay?" I start, leaning a little to see his face.
"Um, yeah, fine." He puts on a fragile smile and straightens back up. "Um, I guess I didn't tell you..." He gives up on the smile. "My mom had a heart attack."
And I have no idea what I'm supposed to say. But I guess that doesn't really matter since the announcement knocked the breath out of me, anyway. His mother... I swear, if the Capitol—!
"It really was a heart attack," he starts. I realise my fury must have shown on my face and wipe my expression clean, doing my best not to despair at my reaction.
"It was before I had won, so the Capitol wouldn't have done it," he goes on. His voice drops so much I can barely hear it. "It was the night I went and got myself shot at the feast." His voice breaks, and he bites his lip to stifle the tears. "I killed my own mother...! I never even thought about what would happen to her if I got killed at the feast, I just—I just—"
"Hold it!" I interrupt before he can get too hysterical. "You can't blame yourself for that! There's no way you can blame yourself for that. You can't be blamed for killing someone when they just reacted in a way you didn't predict, okay?" I'm such a freaking hypocrite I oughta shoot myself right now. "And... And that's probably not it, anyway, all right? Don't you think she was scared out of her mind when I-Igris was out there? When we were fighting the Careers? Or when... A-at the end of our Games? She didn't have a heart attack then. And she didn't have a heart attack when you were reaped, or attacked by that fish, or in that tidal wave. Don't you think any of that would have been enough already, if you were going to give her a heart attack?"
"I... guess," he mutters, not exactly convinced.
"It's not your fault. You know it can't be. Don't blame yourself for everything, okay?" Hypocrite, hypocrite, hypocrite. "You deserve to think better of yourself than that. And about Norge, too... You know it was wrong to kill him, but... They didn't show it in the recaps, but he was trying to protect his ally, and he just sort of l-lost it... I-if he had known the one he was t-trying to protect was dead, I promise you, I p-promise you he would have wanted you to k-kill him..."
"Okay," he says quietly, a little more accepting of this one.
We stand in silence for a minute, both wanting to ease the mood but not sure how.
"W-well," Shiran finally starts, leaning back on his feet, "I'm really glad I got to see you face-to-face, but I should probably get back now." He sort of smiles. "It's past my bedtime, and Dad isn't that happy with me being at a Capitol party, anyway..."
"Oh, that's okay," I reply, standing up myself. "It's been great to see you, too. I'll call you later?"
He leads the way to the stairwell door. "Yeah, definitely. He presses on the handle, but stops. "And Amer..."
"I'm not going to forgive myself completely if you can't do the same, even just a little bit. You don't give yourself enough credit. I'm counting on you, so don't hurt yourself. Or..." He smiles at me tearfully. "Or I'll bloody kill you."
Giving up on not crying, I hug him again, a little too hard. He hugs back for a second before I let go and escort him to the front door. We say goodbye again, and he hurries off to the waiting black car.
So I guess we're friends, then. I should know better, it's too dangerous, and everything else, but there's no getting out of it now. He needs me too much, and he's too much like his brother. I couldn't leave him be if I tried. But maybe it can be okay, anyway. Being a Victor and mentor is miserable, but he won't have to go it alone.