A/N: quick before we begin, hello! Welcome to the journey! In case you were wondering, I'm not listing this as a crossover because it's simply set in The Hunger Games' setting, and doesn't involve any of the characters. Warnings for violence, gore, etc etc everything you would've encountered in THG. I don't own any of the characters or THG, either.
Kurt feels his stomach drop to his toes. Oxygen seems to refuse to enter his lungs at the sound of his name. Everything sounds hollow, and there's a quiet ringing in his ears. It seems like the whole world has stopped around him. How could his name have been picked? Of the thousands of slips of paper in the pristine glass bowl, how was it that one of his 14 solemn slips of paper was chosen?
And yet, here he stands, Peacekeepers surrounding him as they wait for him to begin his walk to the stage.
His brain isn't functioning properly; his feet aren't getting the command to move, walk, people are watching. Finally, his feet start to shuffle, across the gravel and towards the stage. He barely gets three feet, however, before he hears it:
Kurt freezes on the spot, eyes widening because he recognizes that voice. He knows that voice better than he knows his own; he's heard it singing, laughing, talking. He whips his head around to confirm his sinking suspicion, and his heart stops beating.
Blaine Anderson is struggling viciously against the Peacekeepers' grasp on his arms and torso, heavy tears streaming down his face and his mouth stretched wide open. Once the Peacekeepers hear his proclamation they release their hold, and Blaine sags forward, catching himself before he hits the ground. He straightens up, clears his throat, and repeats:
"I volunteer as tribute!"
Before Kurt knows what he is doing he's running, shoving people aside in his panic. "Blaine!" he shouts as loud as he can. "No, Blaine, No!" He makes it to where Blaine is standing, surrounded by Peacekeepers, but it's too late. Blaine already volunteered, and once you do, it can't be undone. It's final.
Blaine is going to the Hunger Games.
Three Peacekeepers begin ushering Blaine towards the stage instead, but that doesn't stop Kurt from trying to reach him. "Please, please!" He cries at them, fighting as hard as he can to get through to Blaine. Another comes up behind him and wraps an arm around his waist, restraining him as Blaine makes his way to the stage. Kurt continues to fight, although he's not even sure why anymore. There's nothing he can do. But he still keeps fighting.
Blaine is on stage now, and his face is serious, any trace of his previous tears gone.
"And what is your name, son?" The over-excited escort onstage asks, placing a hand gently on Blaine's shoulder.
"Blaine Anderson," Blaine answers solemnly. Kurt has given up the fight against the Peacekeeper and has slumped over his arm, the air burning his lungs with each heaving breath he takes and tears falling down his cheeks, but he makes no effort to stop them. Up on stage, the lady is smiling hugely, and congratulating Blaine for his noble act. Blaine just nods, and lifts his gaze from his scuffed shoes. He meets Kurt's eyes immediately, and the look in Blaine's eyes is so determined that another sob rips out of Kurt's throat. Blaine is still looking at Kurt, though, so Kurt composes himself enough to look back, blinking the tears away from his vision just in time to see Blaine mouth 'I love you'. Kurt lets out one more shaky breath, and mouths it back. That action alone seems to make Blaine crack and he drops his head as a single tear rolls down his cheek.
Kurt watches as Blaine is ushered offstage, walking dejectedly through the dark wooden doors into the Justice Building of District 8. Kurt can't believe this is happening. That Blaine would volunteer for him, so that Kurt wouldn't have to go to the Games himself. Suddenly, he himself is being lifted, hoisted over the Peacekeeper's shoulder, who is walking in the same direction of the door that Blaine walked through just seconds before. Kurt closes his eyes, trying to keep himself calm, although the attempt is futile. Blaine just volunteered for the Hunger Games. For him. Blaine is going to the Games. Finally, the Peacekeeper sets him on his feet a few feet from the door, and grabs his arm.
"You get three minutes. Then you're done. Got it?" The Peacekeeper grumbles sternly. "The kid's family is gonna go first, and then you. Three minutes, and then he's boarding the train." Kurt nods, face paling as the words the Peacekeeper says set in. Three minutes. That's all the time Kurt has left with Blaine- possibly forever. No. he won't allow himself to think like that. Blaine is smart. The ability to outsmart the other tributes can be the deciding factor in the games. Just 13 years ago that boy from District 12 had done it, outsmarting 47 other tributes in the second Quarter Quell. He can do this. After considering how short three minutes is, however, Kurt's breathing begins to pick up speed, and he feels lightheaded. Only three minutes. How does someone say everything in three minutes? From the corner of his eye he sees Mr. and Mrs. Anderson walk in through the door, Mr. Anderson pale and supporting his wife, who is weeping silently into his shoulder. They step through the doorway, and after what seems like mere seconds they are walking back out, pausing in front of Kurt. Mr. Anderson glares at him, cold and accusing, and Kurt closes his eyes, ashamed. Then Blaine's parents are walking away, leaving Kurt to be the last one to say goodbye. The thought nearly overwhelms him, but it doesn't have time to settle as the Peacekeeper shoves him roughly through the door.
Kurt barely has time to take in the room- The tall, wooden bookshelves, housing what appeared to be thousands of books; the maroon carpeting, designed intricately with swirls and shapes and indecipherable patterns; the tall window in the background, bathing the room in the golden glow of the sun- before a solid, warm body is hitting his own with incredible force, arms wrapping around his waist and squeezing him tight enough that he can't breathe. He doesn't care, though. He throws his own arms around Blaine's shoulders, holding him as close as he can. He buries his face in the crook of Blaine's neck, and a sob rips out of his throat, only causing Blaine to squeeze tighter.
"Why would you do that?" he sobbed, tears streaming down his cheeks and landing on Blaine's shoulder with a soft pit. "Why wouldn't you let me go? I should have gone. I should be going! It shouldn't be you!" He doesn't know when his cries turn into shouts but they do, and he feels Blaine's fingers crawl up his back, one hand tangling in Kurt's hair and holding him close, the other digging into his shoulder blade, sure to leave bruises. "Why," Kurt sobs into Blaine's shoulder.
"I couldn't let you go," Blaine replies simply, calmly, as if he didn't just put his own life on the line to spare Kurt. "I couldn't do it."
Kurt decides that it's not time to argue, not when they have a precious few minutes left, so instead he pulls his head back and crushes his lips to Blaine's, trying to pour out all the love and emotion he feels through the kiss. Blaine responds immediately, his lips moving across Kurt's desperately, and Kurt feels tears on his cheeks, but they're not his own. They kiss passionately, both of them realizing the enormity of what is about to happen. It's too short before they need to separate for air, but Kurt is pressing kisses to Blaine's lips, over and over until he is gasping for air, on his nose and chin and cheeks and forehead and anywhere he can reach.
"Kurt," Blaine says, grasping Kurt's face tightly in his hands. "Kurt, if I don't come back-"
"Don't say that!" Kurt shouts, hysterical, pressing another kiss to Blaine's lips to quiet him. "You are going to come home. For me." Kurt is whispering quickly and desperately, aware that three minutes is quite nearly done. He takes a deep breath to steady himself, and continues. "Once, you told me you would do anything for me. This is what I want you to do. Stay alive. Do you understand?" Kurt is no longer crying, his face is set in determination. Blaine nods and rests his forehead against Kurt's.
"Yes," Blaine whispers, his warm breath hitting Kurt's face and causing Kurt's eyes to flutter shut. "I love you, Kurt. So much. I promise I'll come home." Blaine kisses Kurt softly, and just as Kurt is about to respond, the wooden doors fly open, and a Peacekeeper walks through the doorway quickly, white suit seeming even more intimidating in the sunlight.
"I love you, too!" Kurt cries as the Peacekeeper takes hold of his arm, pulling him back. "Please, Blaine, stay alive." He catches one last glance of Blaine's face, honey eyes bright and tear stains glistening in the light, before the heavy door is slammed shut in front of his nose. Kurt begins whimpering softly, and the Peacekeeper leads him by the arm to the front door of the building. Kurt allows himself to be pulled, and when the Peacekeeper releases him from his hold he sags slightly, shoulders still shaking. He forces himself to walk out the front door and only finds the energy to be slightly surprised when he sees his father and Carole waiting there for him, both visibly shaken up. Burt pulls Kurt into his chest immediately, and Kurt raises his arms weakly to wrap them around his father. He feels hollow. Blaine is going. He's probably boarding the train right this moment, off to go fight to the death against 23 other teenagers, leaving Kurt to be home. Kurt rests his head on his father's shoulder, too exhausted to do anything else but. He can't fight back anymore. All he can do is wait.
"It's gonna be okay, Kurt," Burt whispers gruffly into his ear, his voice uneven as though he's unconvinced by his own words.
"Why would he do that?" Kurt whimpers softly, his voice empty. It sounds foreign, even to his own ears. "It should have been me. Not him. Why would he volunteer for me, dad? Why?" he doesn't have the energy to cry anymore, but his his breaths are shallow, and he feels nauseous. Burt just tightens his grip around his son, for once, not having the answer