Author note: Hello there! This won't follow the exact plot of either text- think the Sherlock characters in the Hunger Games universe, with a lot of references to both. There's a lot of AU, a lot of character death, a bunch of angst and eventual John/Sherlock slash.

Anyway, here you go: this is Stardust. I hope you enjoy it (if you do, review- it makes my day!)

J. x

When Sherlock woke up, the other side of the bed was cold. He wasn't really shocked; it had been a long time since Mycroft spent the night at home. But in a pathetic little way, Sherlock had hoped his brother would make the effort to be with him. It was, after all, the day of the Reaping.

Sherlock propped himself up on one elbow. The room was small and dark, but he could make out the outlines of what surrounded him in the gloom. A round wooden table holding a crumpled pile of clothes. A squat cupboard pushed right to the corner (holding half a stale bread roll, a can of green beans and a small burlap sack, a few scoops of rice left at the bottom). And on the other side of the room, two chairs with mismatched blankets lovingly hand-sewn and thrown over their ugly skeletons. A small stove. A bucket of water that could be filled with water and used to bathe.

He hated the place.

He swung his legs off the bed and slid into his work boots. His shift at the factory wasn't until five o'clock this evening and the Reaping wasn't till two. Night shifts and day shifts weren't mutually exclusive in District 8, so he really should have been catching up on sleep. But his nightmares were always worse on days like today, so he decided there was no point in trying. Sherlock sorted through the pile of clothes until his fingers brushed against the familiar roughness of his coat. Pulling it on, he walked outside, shutting the door behind him. Finding a quiet place by the house, he sat to watch the sun rise.

Once upon a time, Mrs Hudson would have sat with him. Sherlock's mother died before he was a year old, and his father was arrested four years later for stealing fabric. They hadn't needed it. Food, they had needed. Money, they had needed. A few scraps of expensive silk weren't necessary to them or to anybody else. Nobody knew why he took them, but in the end it hadn't mattered. They hanged him anyway.

Sherlock had been lucky to have a neighbour like Mrs Hudson. She took him in- the orphan child, the boy nobody wanted. The strange boy who sat in corners alone and wouldn't play or smile or even speak most days. She was the only person who could coax food down his throat or persuade him to get dressed. It took him two years to fully re-join the world with her help, and he was harsher than before. He didn't dress his words up or waste time on sentimental things. He went to school and he worked in the factory. In his free time, he investigated things or carried out experiments. His life was solitary, and that felt right to him.

When Mrs Hudson died, he told himself it meant nothing. She had been old and he, at fifteen, was already treated as the adult of the household. He told himself that it made no difference if she was there or not. He told himself a lot of things. Sometimes they even helped.

A man walked past, clearly surprised to see somebody else awake this early in the morning when it was unneeded. "Good morning," the man greeted him. Sherlock blinked. He looked the man over. Mid thirties, one- no, two- daughters, one of Reaping age, one too young. Anxious, frustrated, tired- but not because of this date in particular (breathing pattern and demeanour of an insomniac). Sherlock had never met the man before. District 8 was far too large for him to know everybody he worked with, even if he took an interest. The man passed by, and Sherlock didn't reply to his greeting. What was the point?

When it got light enough to see where he was going, Sherlock stood up and headed for the Vault. Checking a few times to make sure he wasn't being followed, he slipped into the old house unnoticed. He had nicknamed it the Vault after learning the word in a Speaking and Language lesson- it meant a space, a chamber, a place to keep valuables. Science and knowledge were more valuable than anything else to Sherlock, so it seemed a fitting name for the disused basement where he kept his experiments. His latest acquisition, a severed hand, was decaying quickly. He decided to use the few hours he had free to make detailed notes on its changing state.

Knowledge was the most important thing- even if actively seeking it was frowned upon. Most people he met believed what the Capitol fed them, swallowed it without a doubt. He wondered why he alone seemed to have this devilish voice in his head- telling him this was wrong, that things could be different. That things should be different. He was sensible enough to keep those thoughts buried deep and carry on working diligently. He went to school and ran machines and conducted experiments in any free-time he had. And he occasionally stole fabric. Just because.

At seventeen, he was close to being safe from the Reaping. He was sure he would never have children and Mycroft was older than him, so soon the Games' deadly effect wouldn't be able to touch him. For now, he was forced to watch the Games- the feeds were shown in all the schools with no pause.

He hated the Hunger Games. It was true that part of him loved the planning, plotting, guessing who would do what and why. That part was almost enjoyable. But the pain came in when he couldn't tell them what he knew. He could see in seconds what would kill the children and how, but nothing he did could save them. He just had to sit and watch them die, one by one.

Once he was old enough to leave school, he planned to detach and exit the real world. The machines in the factories were so loud that they drowned out the TV screens showing the torture and death. He didn't care if it was mandatory- he would not watch the Games. He would live alone inside his head and, if that got too bad, then he'd just stop living.

Mycroft would be fine. Mycroft was the mayor of District 8- at twenty four, the youngest on record. His name had never been called in a Reaping, and he was now well out of danger. Mycroft had started helping out with the political side of things very early on, and his job paid well. They had never had to take tesserae. Mycroft still sent him money every month, along with some food rations if he found out Sherlock hadn't been going to the market.

People were getting ready by the time Sherlock left the Vault. He could see families flocking around, expressions ranging from clearly faked positivity through to sheer and utter dread. He checked the time. Only an hour until the Reaping. People everywhere would be putting on dresses and suits, combing their hair, washing and preening. Sherlock had ought to be getting ready too. He watched two girls run by, bickering over who would get to wear the only nice dress they owned. He wondered if it occurred to them that they were dressing themselves for slaughter. He stood there for a few moments, before turning around and walking back into the Vault.

It took two buckets, brimming to the surface with icy water, to wake Harry up. That, John decided, was not a good sign.

She lifted her head as though it was too heavy for her neck and stared at him with bleary eyes. "What?" she slurred, touching her hand to her head. She had definitely drunk more than usual. That worried him even more. John wasn't sure how much more alcohol than Harry's 'usual' that a person could drink and still be okay.

"The Reaping," he answered quietly. "It starts in thirty minutes. We need to be in the square as soon as possible." Harry responded with the kind of language their father had hated, and lay her head back down on the table.

"You need to get ready, Harry," he told her firmly, shaking her. "I found your good dress, and I think you'll still fit into it." Touching her shoulder, he was painfully aware of how sharp her shoulder blades were. Despite the amount she drunk, Harry seemed to be wasting away by the day. Looking at the size of the dress he had draped neatly over a chair and the size of his sister, John felt a stab of pain. She had definitely been healthier this time last year.

"It doesn't matter to me," she murmured. "I can't be picked."

That was true. Harry had made it through her seven years of entry without being chosen. Their parents had died in the mines the first year she was eligible for entry, when John was only six. Harry was six years older than John- considered old enough to enter the Games, but not old enough to live alone. The orphanage could have been worse, he supposed. But he couldn't forget the missed meals and slaps and stinging flesh.

As soon as Harry hit eighteen, she moved out and took John with her. Between Harry taking laundry from a lot of families in District 12 and people seeming to like John in general, they had traded and earned enough to get by. The small house they moved into wasn't much, but it was infinitely better than their previous accommodation. Harry had looked after him, and John finally received the kind of care he had been starting to forget.

Things had been fine (well, as fine as things could be) until two years ago. Harry should have been continuing her laundry work or going down the mines. Instead she began to drink for days on end, crying and eventually collapsing in on herself- a catatonic mess of nothing. She had woke up nearly every night since, screeching 'Clara!' at the top of her lungs.

Clara Craftsman. District 12's female tribute for the 72nd Hunger Games. Eighteen years old. She had been taking tesserae since she was twelve. She was so close yet so far from ever escaping the Games. In a way, they all were.

Maybe losing a lover was something you never really recovered from. Maybe Harry had seen enough pain for a lifetime. Either way, she had shut down, and John took over the running of his household. He was seventeen now, and had taken tesserae twice each year since Clara's death- once for him, once for his sister. There were only two extra slips with 'John Watson' written on them in that ball, but it felt like so many more.

"Harry-" he began.

"I told you, I'm safe!" she snapped.

"Yeah, well I'm not. So come on."

Cajoling Harry into the dress took a long time. He begged, pleaded and shouted, and eventually she pulled the hated thing on, tears streaming silently down her face. He left her to compose herself and dressed himself in silence. His training session with one of the village Healers was cancelled today in honour of the Reaping. He wondered what he would do after the draw. He never really knew what to do with himself on his rare days off.

He found himself coming to the same question every time he had time to do nothing but think: who was he? He knew the hands that grabbed dandelion roots from the fields, the eyes that refused to cry, the feet that moved him on an endless treadmill of school, training, Harry, school. He undestood his body's movements and purpose- but what about his mind? His heart?

He shook the pointless thoughts aside, and went to check on Harry. She had managed to stop crying and was standing by the door.

"Are you nervous?" she asked.

"No," he lied. Harry took a long drink from the small flask she clutched in her hand.

"You should be," she said.

"Are you sure you'll be okay?" Mabel brushed a hand anxiously against Greg's cheek. He caught it, and held it there.

"Quit fussing. I'm fine, Grandma. Honestly," he reassured her.

"I don't like making you go there alone," she worried.

"I'm seventeen, Gran. I'm not a child."

"And a week ago, Greg, you were only sixteen. You're not an adult either."

"It'll be fine, I promise," he said. "There's no point in you coming." Squeezing her hand, he released it gently. The truth was that Mabel Lestrade was a very old woman now. She was half deaf, with poor eyesight and joints that shouted with pain when she moved. There was no way that Greg was making her walk all the way into the town centre just to watch a girl and boy get chosen for death.

"I'll be back within twenty minutes," he told her. She smiled fondly at him.

"Good boy. And you didn't take any tesserae?"

"No." This was a lie. Greg hated having to lie to his only family, but he didn't have a choice. He worked in an office, helping to organise the transport of various wares between districts. It was as good a job as any in District 6, but the hard truth was that it simply didn't pay enough. His grandmother was no longer fit enough to clean houses like she used to, so funds were even lower. He had sat down one day, done a lot of calculations, and come to the conclusion that they weren't going to make it through the winter. So he had entered his name once for tessera, for the first and hopefully the final time. He told himself that it was just a temporary fix. Afterwards, he'd take on more jobs, work longer hours. It would all work out.

"Good, good. I am so glad." Her smile faltered. "I am… so sorry." Her words were unexpected. He frowned.

"Sorry? What for, Grandma?"

"I'm sorry that you have to do this at all, Greg." Tears began to well in her eyes as she clutched at his hand. "You shouldn't have to- you're just- you're just a boy-"

Greg stared. He had never heard his grandmother speak like that. Nobody spoke like that. You didn't question the Games, or the Reaping, or the Capitol. He glanced around anxiously.

"Grandma, stop. You don't know what you're saying. I have to go now, but I won't be long."

Mabel sniffed, and composed herself. "You're right. You're right."

"Good. Then you stay inside and I'll be back as soon as I can. Okay?" Mabel nodded, and he smiled. He pulled his hand out of her grasp, careful not to jerk her wrists.

"It'll be okay!" he called as he shut the door. "I promise."

Children were gathered in every district in Panem. In some districts, they stood in mixed groups. They had been pre-sorted, pre-chosen- the official Reaping had already taken place, away in locked rooms with soundproofed walls. The thousand or so children that had been summoned were made up of nine hundred and ninety-nine randomly selected decoys, the single tribute stood somewhere among them.

In others, such as 12, every child and teenager in the district stood in neat, age-marked pens. Like animals, they waited, eyes fixed on the glass balls that held their fates.

The names rang out with clarity. Not a word was stumbled, not a letter was dropped. There was no mistaking the lucky victims that had been chosen for this year's events.

In District 8, Sherlock Holmes steadily walked to the front and took his position on the stage. Cameras pushed at each other to get in the best shot of his face, while people clutching betting slips leant forward eagerly to see if this year's kids would cry. Sherlock didn't. The girl who appeared next to him a few seconds later did. He stared blankly out at a crowd of people he did not know and probably never would.

In District 6, Greg stumbled a little on the steps. The announcer helped him to his feet, laughing good naturedly about his enthusiasm to get up there. He didn't hear her words. All he thought of was whether he would still be able to get back to his grandmother in twenty minutes like he had promised.

In District 12, John stood bolt upright, the way he saw the Peacekeepers dotted around the village stand. He stared straight ahead; head raised slightly, arms rigid at his sides. He stayed calm when he caught sight of Harry running towards the stage, screaming his name. He stayed calm when they restrained her and still she screamed, ripping at her own arms with her nails. He even stayed calm when the female Tribute was called, and he knew the girl who shakily ascended towards him. Molly Hooper. Sixteen years old. She was the daughter of the Healer he trained with, and they often worked together. She had a pet cat that she loved and a smile that made long days that little bit more bearable.

In twelve districts, twenty-four tributes stood and looked out at their friends, family, audience. Some wept. Some didn't. Some screamed, some pleaded and some laughed. It didn't make any difference. Every single pair of feet still trudged obediently to wherever they were sent.