Disclaimer: I don't own KHR or the Hunger Games. DUR.
Note: Based on the Hunger Games, but doesn't follow the storyline exactly so it won't be predictable.
Genre: Adventure, action, drama, and romance.
The morning started out as usual. The rising sun peeked out of the horizon, its bright orange rays coloring the sky. The alarm clock that sat on the stand began ringing loudly, arousing Tsuna to drowsily sit up on her bed. She slammed her hand onto the button, cutting off the annoying sound, and shuffled across the icy floorboards to get dressed up.
Tsuna hated how freezing mornings can be, and she always made haste to slip on her jacket. After tying on the laces of her knee-high boots, she retrieved her bow and quiver that were propped against the wall. She flexed her fingers out of slumber's sluggishness and ventured outside, being careful not to be so loud as to awaken her mother.
If it was freezing in her house, then the outside was unforgiving. Biting zephyrs brushed against her cheeks, making her to shiver. Tsuna slung her legs over the fence and walked towards the forest.
Though she was slow-minded, she eventually took notice how little activity there was in the village, save for the marching folks that were headed to the mine caves that could be seen as silhouettes against the sun's light. The only noises that could be heard to her ears were the songs of Mockingjays and the crunching beneath her boots. This could mean only one thing: the Olympic was today. She cursed silently about how she could forget such an important day as she scurried deeper into the woods. Even yesterday night she inwardly chanted herself to sleep to not forget about the Olympics. Tsuna needed to prepare so much in twelve hours, in case if her name was drawn out as one of the representatives of District Twelve.
This nation, that once had a different name that was long lost gone, was Panem. Its most notifying historic mark started when the twelve divided boroughs began rebelling against the Capitol, the authority of Panem. When control was restored, the Capitol decided that as punishment an annual game was to be held, a very cruel game. Each district was to offer a boy and a girl of the age twelve to eighteen to participate in the Olympic, to be pitted against one another in the name of life or death. The Capitol, residing in District One, would sit back and watch the game from a camera that viewed every one of the competitors, either claiming stakes or being entertained of the bloody outcomes. In the end, the survivor would receive an enormous amount of money, some even moved to District One or Two to live a well-heeled life.
For the past four years, Tsuna's name hadn't been drawn as the female counterpart; however, this year can be expected. A person's name is written the multiple times equivalent to the age. Tsuna's name had been entered sixteen times, and she couldn't hope to press her luck any further than it had for all these years. She had been lucky, and she would use up that luck if she wasn't selected to be in the Olympic today.
Every year had been the same. If she were to be selected, then Tsuna would do what she could to collect profusion of fresh-kill and nuts; perhaps the baker would even give her a well trade for a quail or a squirrel. Her mother grew delicate—emotionally and physically—ever since the accident at the caves five years ago. The woman was stronger than before, but yet unable to provide for herself. Sawada Nana needed all the help she could get when living in the rough and difficult District Twelve, thus why Tsuna was going to work harder today than any other day. She was going to fill the usually empty cabinets with food.
After the last leap over a creek, Tsuna crouched low behind shrubbery and pulled the string of her bow. It didn't take long for a squirrel to run by, and Tsuna released the arrow. The arrowhead protruded the skull and into the bark of a tree, having the animal's body dangling—this was something that she had practiced for years in order to not rupture the edible parts. She picked up her kill and found nuts stored inside its cheeks—two in one, how lucky.
Out of the bushes appeared Sasagawa. "Mornin'!"
"Morning," she replied softly.
The boy offered her a beaming grin before handing her a heavy bag full of berries. "Got a bunch already. You know, it's the season and all."
She nodded. "Thank you, Sasagawa. You shouldn't be walking around without your cane."
"Feh, I'm not as clumsy as you, Sawada, with or without my cane." He gave a dismissive wave. Tsuna sighed, shaking her head. "Besides, the Olympic is today, so I have to be at my extreme shape!"
"You have a bad leg," she admonished lightly, "so don't strain yourself."
Of course, he ignored the warning as he waddled over to a flourished bush. His awkward walk was more evident without his cane. His leg had to be amputated ever since the cave accident. In place of flesh and bone was a wooden imitation.
Tsuna had wondered if Sasagawa ever worried about being one of the competitors. He often displayed a cheerful and loud disposition, but less so ever since the death of his sister. It was curious as to how the boy could never let his spirit be jaded by trials of life—food deficiency, over-working, loss of a limb, and loss of a family member. Tsuna could relate somehow—she had lost her father, and Sasagawa's sister, Kyoko, had been her friend. Also, they were given responsibilities at a young age. It was harder on Tsuna, though, since she was terribly clumsy and incompetent; her mastership on the bow and arrow, however, was emblazoned as near-professional due to her dedication. Before his death, her father had taught her all she needed to know about the bow and arrow.
The girl watched Sasagawa in case he would topple over and in need of assistance, but that was rarely required. Muscle padded his arms and leg from life's experience in fishing, wood-chopping, setting snares, and gutting animals. She mused whether Sasagawa had considered taking in a wife and establishing a family, especially since he was almost eighteen. He would make a good husband and father regardless of being handicap, albeit one shouldn't think he or she would live that long when not over the age of nineteen. After all, the chances of being a competitor in the Olympic were high as the numbers are added to your age. Sasagawa Ryohei was seventeen-years-old right now, and he could be a competitor despite his leg.
Tsuna shook her head. No, how could he? He managed not being chosen for this long, so maybe luck was on his side.
He won't receive the same fate as Kyoko.
They gathered their gain and headed back to the village. Tsuna listlessly nodded and made noncommittal sounds while Sasagawa chattered with gusto, as if no one was going to be elected as mindless game pieces for a horrendous game. That's what Tsuna liked about Sasagawa. No one needs to be reminded of such day, and being careless for this moment was heavenly enough.
She routinely headed towards the bakery, and was surprised when the baker gave her a loaf for a squirrel. The bread was still warm. She trotted back to Sasagawa who was equally surprised.
"You think he might've gotten up too early?"
Tsuna shrugged. "Maybe."
Or it could be the Olympic.
Next they went to the bargaining shop. It was ran by an elderly woman, and though she as resolute as a mule, she was mighty fair with prices. Tsuna could never haggle deals with the lady for she was always easily intimidated by her sharp eyes and sour grimace and voice that went agonizingly high with fiery. Yet somehow Sasagawa was able to handle her—it was either his incredible denseness or nonchalance. Nevertheless, Tsuna liked the trades they get from the woman—they often come to be useful equipment or trail mixes from other districts.
Finished with their bargaining, the two were about to exit the shop when they ran into Miura Haru. Miura was in Tsuna's class in school and often paired up when partnership was involved in assignments. Tsuna couldn't say that they were friends—they seldom talked to each other; one of the loners in the community that they were, but that was probably because Miura was the mayor's daughter. Tsuna just didn't associate with other people than Sasagawa and her mother. However, she had seen the girl animatedly discuss with her family members.
Miura was wearing a white dress with frills at the bottom, brushing against her knees, and complimenting it went with a black cardigan. Rather than in its usual high ponytail, Miura had her hair let down. A golden badge taking in form of a Mockingjay was pinned on her chest. She looked beautiful.
It was required to get gussied up for the drawing of names.
"Nice dress," Sasagawa commented.
It wasn't ridiculing, it wasn't sarcastic. It was told casually, like saying the sky was blue.
Miura's eyes narrowed, searching for any negativity that could've been directed at her, but when she found that he was being genuine, she smiled friendly-like. "Thank you," she said, curtsying.
The tension suddenly went below zero as Miura walked past them. Tsuna kept her mouth shut the entire time, not daring to break the silence. Sasagawa had been bitter ever since Kyoko had died in the Olympic; he abhorred it with a severe passion ever since then. Tsuna thought she would feel the same way since the game took away her only best friend, but found that she couldn't even conjure a cry. They weren't even that close, looks like.
They split their share and went back to their homes. Tsuna had difficulty lugging in a big sack full of food before, but after years of doing it she eventually got used to it. Her arms never obtained strength, unfortunately—they were still stick-like. Her hands, nonetheless, were scratchy and callused; there were even scars around her knuckles that implied snare mishaps.
There were girls, like Kyoko, like her mother, who would be slaved away in homes preparing meals or knitting blankets, and the men would go to the mine caves to dig up coal. That was how it worked in the poorest part of District Twelve, the Seam. The coalminers then would ship the load to the merchants, the "wealthy" of the district. Well, far wealthier than being a resident in the Seam. Tsuna didn't know what daughters of merchants did outside of their school lives, but she could only guess they did the same housework like any other girl in District Twelve, and her mother had told her once about her life in the merchant section. Her mother was a daughter of a merchant, and then moved to the Seam when she fell in love with her father.
Obviously, Tsuna differed from other girls. For one, girls normally didn't go out hunting; and two, they didn't have a scruffy appearance like her. Not that Tsuna had anything to worry about her looks; they were in District Twelve, the poorest district in the nation, which meant that hard work was the only endearing quality one can have here, and it wasn't as if she desired to have a husband. She definitely wasn't suited to be a wife, and she didn't want to have kids. Why have children when they would be admitted to be in the Olympic anyway?
It made Tsuna curious as to why future's generation continued to exist when the older knew that they were destined to be slaughtered in a game. Perhaps they were in high hopes that their children would resolve to the corruptness of the Capitol by a new revolution. Tsuna thought it would be better if the human race ceased to exist, that way the nation's authority would have nothing to govern.
She opened the door and set the sack against the table leg. "I'm home," Tsuna called.
"In here!" her mother said from the quarters.
Tsuna found the woman lying down a white blouse and a black skirt on the bed. Nana propped her hands on her waist and smiled with satisfaction before turning to her daughter. "I found the perfect outfit for you to wear."
"Mom, why do you go through the trouble of doing this?" Tsuna sighed. "It's the Olympic, nothing to put anyone in a celebratory mood."
"I know, but even so, I want to have the chance of dressing my baby in pretty clothes." Her mother walked towards Tsuna, wrapping her into a hug and kissing her forehead.
Tsuna couldn't deny the fact that she did feel pretty whenever her mother would take her time dressing her and doing her hair. She figured that when your child was sent to a death trap, then you'd want to spend all your time witnessing your child's best, right?
After putting on the clothes and tucking her blouse in, the young girl was ushered to sit on the chair that was situated before a small mirror hanging on the wall. Mirrors were rather rare in District Twelve, but somehow the woman managed to smuggle one from the merchant section. Nana began to hum as she gently brushed Tsuna's spiky locks until they were smoothed down, sticking onto the perspiration from her neck. Tsuna tried her best to wash up before changing, but the prior activity already worked her out.
"There." Hands held her shoulders. "Lovely as a Mockingjay's song."
"Will you be attending this year?" Tsuna asked.
"Of course! I must."
"Mom." She took her mother's frail hands. So cold. So thin. "You're not feeling well, so you should stay and get rest. I got herbs from the bargaining lady that'll make you feel better."
"Tsu-chan, I'm fine, really," Nana insisted, frowning.
Tsuna shook her head. "I'm not blind, Mom. You're as pale as snow. You've been getting another nightmare, right? You should stay here and get some sleep."
After some persuading, the mother reluctantly relented. Tsuna made sure the woman had settled in bed, and went to the fireplace and set the pot above it to make the herb tea. Before leaving to fetch a mug, her mother inquired, "You'll be back before the sun sets, right?"
"Of course," Tsuna promised.
"Good. I love you, Tsu-chan."
"I love you too, Mom."
Tsuna left the house to finish other chores before the drawing could begin.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: When I went onto the KHR stories, I just noticed how there were few new fans of 8027, so I decided that I might take a wing at this one pairing. I think it's cute, and it's a nice change from the many G27 and 1827 stories. I dedicate this story to 8027 fans, and I hope that they don't mind me genderblending Tsuna again.