Hi everyone,

I guess you could call this my debut! 3 My name is Sarah, and not only am I excited to be here, but I'm excited to share this with you! I've been working on this for a while and I'm just glad I was brave enough to post it here. c: This is my first story, so please don't go overboard on the criticism. I do love comments and critiques, though, so please don't be afraid to post them!

Without further ado, I give you my story. :3

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The last thing that she wanted to happen today seemingly caused itself to happen anyway. It was pouring outside, making District 12 even gloomier than it usually was.

Rain is soothing, of course. It's nice just to cleanse the newest layers of dust off of the filthy streets, or to lull families to sleep by hitting their homes' shabby tin roofs after a long day. And rain would have been fine any other time of the day, but not when Hinata was about to go hunting for food, illegally, in the woods with Kiba.

There are three words that perfectly describe Kiba: strong, tall, and handsome. Hinata would never, ever think of telling her true feelings—it just wouldn't be appropriate—but he'd always been there for her family. Since his father and her mother perished in a tragic mine explosion… he'd been the one to dry her tears. Her death had affected Hinata's father in more ways than one, becoming cold-hearted to his older daughter, which had been his wife's favorite child.

"Father, I'm going out!" Hinata said, which needn't be said very loudly since their home was so pitifully small. He ignored her as usual, and instead, Hanabi replied to the insistent statement.

"But Hinata, it's raining!" Her sister had a way of making things more obvious. But Hinata smiled anyway, and her shadow smiled right back, although puzzled. "You can't leave—"

Before she could say more, the sixteen-year-old Hyuuga smiled again and pulled on a thin, worn coat, yanking the hood up before stepping out the door into the thundering wall of God's very tears.

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As usual, Kiba was waiting for her, just outside the fence that conveniently said "Restricted Area" upon a red-lettered sign.

"Hinata," he said gruffly, wiping the rainwater off of his brow. He was just showing off, because he broke into a grin and allowed a more casual stance as she drew nearer.

"Seen any game today?" Hinata shivered—why did the rain here have to be so cold—and produced a bow and arrow from beneath her mother's old worn coat.

He managed to shake his head 'no' as she plucked the wire on my bow, checking for looseness and deciding it would need to be made tighter later. But time was wasting—and their families' stomachs were only getting hollower. He pulled a knife, and she held tight to her weapon and pulled back a broken segment of fence to enter their private hunting zone.

Kiba closed the segment of fence behind them and quickly slid behind the trees, just in the rare case that someone happened to spot them. The woods were a ways away from the Seam, but there were always wanderers. Merchants, usually, waiting to either find lost merchandise or interesting food.

With a deep breath, Hinata focused her eyes on the trees ahead of her. Twenty, no thirty yards ahead, beyond the thickening wood, was a rabbit near its den. In a series of nods and stares, the message was communicated, and both teenagers snuck soundlessly towards their impending meal.

Ten yards… five yards… there. She could see through the tree in front of her, and just at the base of the tree disappeared Mr. Rabbit into his safe, cozy den. Her thoughts drifted to Hanabi. The one time she'd taken her bratty younger sister hunting, she cried and wailed over a bird she'd killed. "But it has a family, Hinata-chan! You just murdered it!"

"But I'm not murdering my family," hissed the Hyuuga, sneaking around the base of the tree. Just another moment and—just on cue, Kiba snaps a branch beneath his shoes and sends the terrified lagomorph fleeing for safety across the expanding forest.

"That wasn't part of the plan," remarked the girl, readjusting her hood with her free hand.

Kiba rolled his eyes and gave chase after it. He could just smell it. "I'm on it," he shouted behind him, probably scaring off whatever prey that hadn't just run.

Hinata busied herself looking for birds hiding in the branches above when Kiba returned, panting, and holding a limp brown rabbit by the throat. It was good-sized; if they were lucky, they could split it and feed their families a good meal. Maybe two, if the teens would skip out and let their families eat the food they so richly deserved.

"Good job," Hinata said finally, still scanning the heavens. A crow leaped into the air from one of the highest branches, and within seconds it was struck in the chest with an arrow.

Kiba whistled, and smiled smugly. "Nice shot, Sunflower."

"Dog boy," replied the dark-haired girl, retrieving her catch in mid-air. "You want rabbit or crow?"

He thought for a moment, pulling out a rust-colored kerchief out of his pocket and cleaning his knife free of blood while he thought about it. "I'm thinking crow would be good. It's getting late, though… we need to leave."

He was right—either the storm clouds were darkening, or evening was advancing. They hadn't caught much, and there certainly wasn't enough tonight to trade for a better meal. "Alright. Let's leave."

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On the walk home, the clouds cleared up. Their foodstuffs were shoved into their jackets and they hunched over so their sudden weight gain wasn't as noticeable. Were it more noticeable, there was always the possibility that someone would walk up to Hinata and ask who the father is. It had happened-and was a good joke between the two-but they didn't need any trouble like that before tomorrow. Trouble before the Reaping could be bad luck.

"Kiba," Hinata piped up at last, stopping in the street despite the chilling drizzle she wanted to escape. "It's true, isn't it?"

Ah, the stories he'd shared with her. His family had known a lot about this country before the great wars, before it was ruled tyrannically. Stories of lands called Konohagakure and Sunagakure and Iwagakure, though those countries didn't exist anymore, either. All Hinata had known for sure was that they all had been defeated by neighboring countries and had been turned into Panem, the modern-day, district-filled country.

Kiba glanced at the jagged expanse of a mountain that lay stretched before them in the only beam of sunlight. "Yeah. That used to be a really fantastic mountain. It was called Hokage Mountain if I remember correctly. The leaders of the village of long ago had their faces carved in it. It was really something, I heard."

Of course, he hadn't seen it. Neither had anyone living for the past 70 years… or even years before that. It was torn down almost a hundred years ago to make way for the "booming" coal mining industry… which was good at taking away parents and livelihoods.

He looked at her and got a distant look in his eyes. "I told you that this used to be the 'Hidden Village', right? This was there the head of the country was."

Hinata's mind whirred as she recalled, remembering to keep an arm beneath the hidden rabbit in her apparel. "Right. And how ironic is it that the capital of such a great nation is now the lowliest of a cowardly country?"

Kiba's face hardened into bitterness. "Real ironic." He looked again at the sky, the slow trickle of miners making their way home. "I have to go."

"Right. Same time tomorrow?" She remembered the rabbit she had to begin cooking for her family and the big day they had tomorrow.

Kiba laughed, almost sarcastically, and shook his head. "You don't know what tomorrow is, do you?" It took a few moments to realize that she actually didn't remember. "It's The Hunger Games. Reaping Day. We won't be able to meet tomorrow until after that stupid ceremony."

"May the odds ever be in your favor," Hinata said in an overly cheery voice, imitating the television show host who spews the phrase each year, as she waved and smiled goodnight.

Little did she realize what tomorrow's sunrise would bring.