A/N: Here's another long over due installment. I could make excuses but they are pretty much the same as last time and I highly doubt anyone wants to waste time reading them so blah blah blah, I really suck and I am really really sorry about this. It kills me to know how many great fans I've probably lost since i started but unfortunately life seems to be plotting against me. That said ,to Angel and the many others who asked. No matter how long it takes me, I WILL finish this story.
Actual notes for the chapter. I am sorry if this seems like a no development chapter, but in fact this is kind of me setting up for the end of the games and having a little fun at the same time. Hopefully that comes out okay. Also this was going to come out last week and I made some comments to that affect to some people but my lovely and talented editor caught me sucking and wouldn't let that come out on her watch. So a slight rewrite later and here we are. I thank her for her diligence and you all should too. So without further ado...
I woke up earlier than normal, especially considering the night we had. I quickly told Prim I had some stuff to do and would be back soon. Before she could even argue, or gather her things to come with me, I was out and into the jungle. I really want to say it's just my nerves not letting me sleep, then I wouldn't have to admit how excited I am about the idea I had last night. It's nagging at me how easily it came to me, and how much I liked it. I really want to say that I'm not that kinda person, but right now, the evidence is staring me right in the eyes and it's kinda hard to argue.
I stare up into the newest of my traps, and I can't keep this scary sense of pride out of my head. Why am I so happy about this? This isn't so much a killing trap as one that maims. Definitely not my normal type of trap, but then again, almost every trap that I've made here is like that. I snort a bitter laugh to myself. That's because normally, you aren't making them for other people. Way to go Hawthorne, you're a natural sadist. I shake my head slightly, trying to clear the thought.
I made it so that the acid sacks will come swinging down from overhead and hit a small section of grated thorns, spraying the acid down over a few square feet. I only have the two packs and I didn't want to waste any, so I didn't get a chance to test it, but I'm positive it'll work... Mostly.
The only thing I didn't do is set the trigger for the trap; I need to wait another day for these stitches to do their job before I finish my plan for this little slice of hell. I made it just in from the base of the hill, and I'm going to try to lure someone here. The hardest part is doing that without telling everyone in the arena where we are. I think I'm going to do it with sound, probably by banging rocks and pretending I'm making something. With the arena the way it is, the sound should travel only to the nearby hills. And once I stop making the noise, the turning of the islands will throw off anyone trying to move in the direction it came from. So once I attract one person or a pair, they should be the only one I have to worry about. If a few groups arrive at the same time, or worse case, the ones who find me first are the Careers, it should still be alright. I have traps going all the way up the hill. Even if they figure that out and start watching for them, it will still slow them down enough for me to stay ahead of them. Between traps and arrows I should be able to keep us safe. If not, we'll have time to get away.
I start on my way back to the cave, choosing my steps carefully all the way up the hill. Back home, when I set traps and was walking back, my mind would fill with all the possibilities of what I could catch with them. Would it be a rabbit, or a squirrel? Or would today be lucky and I'll get a deer? That was one of the little pleasures of hunting. Here though, it's twisted into thoughts of how mangled will the people who get caught in this trap be. Will it kill them outright? Will they be disabled enough that it will be easy to finish them? Or will they be strong enough to fight and pissed as hell? None of these bring the pleasant thoughts of how well my family will eat, or how much I can make off of it. Yet much to my own surprise and disgust, I find a smile creeping its way onto my face. I haven't felt it happening, but every time I think about it, I can't help but notice how much this place is getting to me. Nothing I can do about it now. Even if I could, the darkness I feel seeping in might be the very thing I need to get Prim home safe.
I take my wonderfully pleasant thoughts into the mouth of the cave with me, but when I come out of the narrow opening... "Honey! I'm home!" I say it so loud Prim almost hits the ceiling.
"You jerk! Why do you do that? You know I hate it!" she snaps, readjusting whatever it is she's got in her lap after sending me the look of death. Being nosey, I take a peek and see her working on the rest of the sinew from the lizard. Smart girl, she knows we're probably going to need more.
"Maybe it's cause I know you hate it," I say as I put down the bag I was carrying, immediately afterwards feeling a tiny rock hit my back and a tiny sound of satisfaction from behind me. I just sigh a laugh and turn back around towards our food supply. We have a decent little stash going so I don't skimp out when I take some of our 'veggies' for myself and hand some over to Prim.
She digs in so fast that I yank my hand back to avoid losing it."Someone's hungry, huh?"
"Mmhmm," she manages through her food.
"Why didn't you eat, then? The food was right here." Despite the possibility of this being broadcast over all of Panem, I say it with a mouthful of food. The briefest thought of my mother's horror and embarrassment makes me smile.
"Don't laugh at me! I just didn't know how much you wanted to save," she gets out before stuffing her face again.
"Thinking ahead, good job, partner." She flashes me a smile full of food and we both crack up for a second. "I think we're doing okay on food right now, and I would rather have to ration a bit more later rather than see it spoil because we rationed too much too early." Prim just nods in understanding. Then I make sure she sees me look her up and down before saying, "Besides, worst case scenario, I could always just cook you. Wouldn't be much of a feast, but you might be a decent sna..."
I'm cut off by an angry little blonde bird flying at me. I catch her easily, but make a show of falling backwards anyway. I raise my hands in defeat and try not to laugh at the finger waving in front of my face. "You just try it, mister."
I'm just about to come up with something clever to say back when I start to feel a rumbling. Our playful mood quickly ends with me leaping up so fast that I literally lift Prim right onto her feet before getting there myself. I grab my bag and point Prim to hers as I go for the weapons and add a couple of things to my bags from around the cave. Less than ten seconds later, I'm pulling Prim behind me as we leave the cave.
We step into the light and I immediately break for the top of the hill. I let go of Prim's hand so I can climb some of the rocks to avoid having to go the long way. I'm almost to the top, just above the treeline, when a flash of light hits the rocks I'm climbing and the sound of an explosion so loud it rings my ears and echoes through the hills, a blast of wind coming with it. Ka-boom-boom-boom.
I spin around to see what just happened and when I do my whole body freezes and the only thought my mind can summon flows right through my lips. "What... The... Fuck?"
"Look! Look! Look! It's soooo prreettttty." My favorite colors fill my eyes, and the sweet smells and sounds that join it are also some of my favorites. I close my eyes to take them in, and when I open them, I turn back to find that I'm the only one who is enjoying this beautiful sight. But I can't help myself, I twirl back towards the view.
Well, not the best shade, but… "I love it when the world turns red."
And can you hear it? "I love the sound of it, it's like music."
Oh me too, and that smell. "And the sweet scent of things when they're burning."
All that fire... I wonder how... Oh I get it... "Mr. D, why did you blow up a mountain without me?" I whine a little because I know DeeDee hates it, but since he just had all that fun without me... "Wait a second... was it a surprise for me? Huh? Did ya, did ya?"
Everyone spins around to look at Mr. D. I guess they wanna know why he went and had all the fun without us too. But I look at him and know... he didn't do it. When my DeeDee does something like that he always smiles just a little while he watches. Like he did the night we met, I'll never forget that face. It's the one I fell in love with.
Instead he looks like he's trying to figure something out. "I had no part in this, Harley."
Knew it. Mr D. wouldn't leave us out of that kinda fun.
Oh really? Then why didn't you tell me before I asked?
Because I like it when you're a dumbyhead. Shows I'm the smart one.
Oh yeah? Okay then smartypants, how did a whole mountain go on fire?
Wooow... I wanna learn magic.
...You really are stupid.
No, I'm NOT!
"Harley, enough with that. Come here," DeeDee calls. I bounce over to him. He's being all serious, so I make a funny face at him. "I know how you get excited, but I need you to calm down and pay attention." I nod and straighten up, being all serious-like, and put on my best salute. "That's the way we wanted to go. So now we need a new path. Go look up top and tell me if any other hills are on fire. We'll keep heading in this direction, catch up with us when you're done."
I smile and bow, then flip around and start to skip my way up the hill.
He's not happy.
DeeDee is mad at us?
I don't think so.
Oh goodie, then all we have to do is go hurt whatever is making him sad.
I don't know what it is, though.
No problem, we'll just have to play some games until he's happy again.
We can't do that. Mr. D. told us not to play with the others.
I can see the edge of the treeline. I'm almost to the top now. I bet I can get an even better view of the fire from there.
Well... I got nuttin' then.
He already turned down my idea.
DeeDee is no fun sometimes. He needs to lighten up or he's gonna get wrinkles.
Yeah, but he's so cute when he's like that.
No, DeeDee is the cutest when he's watching us play. That little smile of his makes me want to just... mmhmm.
Yeah... I know what you mean. So yummy.
Bringing my Johnson along cause Mr. D. told me to keep it with me really slowed me down, but I finally reach the top of the hill. It's a small area with big rocks poking up all around. You could walk through some of the gaps, but it's more fun to jump from one to another.
I put my hammer down on one of the few flat spots. Then I jump across till I see the pretty lights, and I swoon. This is even more romantic than last night. DeeDee is lucky he isn't here now; he'd need a safeword to stop me. I stand staring into the fire for a long time. I spin all the way around and it's the most beautiful thing I ever saw. It's like...
The WHOLE world is on fire...
Just when I think things can't get any better, I hear a rustling from the bushes.
"Yay! DeeDee came to see it too!" I say as I twirl around once with my eyes closed. "You better watch it, mister, I am about to do some things to you..." I stop my twirl, facing the sound, but when I open my eyes it's not my Mr. D. I see. Instead I gasp in excitement as my eyes go wide and my smile stretches ear to ear. "Even better! Playmates!"
I wonder why they don't look as excited as we are...
Because they know what's gonna happen next.
I giggle to myself. Me too... Yummy...
There's two of them, a girl and a guy. I think they're a team, but I really don't care enough to remember which. It won't matter pretty soon anyway.
They look at each other quickly, and then they raise their weapons. The guy has a thing with a big spikey ball on the end of a chain, and his girlfriend a thin curved sword.
Well, they had their chance to run.
I lick my lips. This is going to be fun.
"Her weapon!" the girl shouts, and the boy and I start for it at the same instant. He gets there first, grabs the handle and pulls, trying to lift it with one hand.
Instead of lifting it, he winds up pulling himself towards it and just a bit off balance. That tiny second of delay is all I need. I leap at him, my hand grabbing the top of the handle just above his. Planting the hammer on the ground, I use the handle to swing my body around and knee him in the face before he can make a move to stop me or swing his own toy. He falls backwards, but one of the boulders stops him from hitting the ground. The girl rushes in to protect her partner.
My feet touch the floor for less than a second, and I flip back over the Johnson's handle to avoid the sword aimed where my neck would've been. I land on one of the rocks, then lift Johnson up to follow me. The guy slowly recovers while the girl stares at me in shock. My grin threatens to rip my face in two.
"You shouldn't have touched my Johnson! He gets mad when people touch him."
They look at me with silly little confused faces, but that goes away when I start swinging my Johnson at them.
They went with fear, a good choice for the occasion, I think.
I miss with my first big round swing, then come jumping off the rocks with a downward smash that sends them scurrying away between the rocks.
I could see why you'd say that, but I think this is more of a time for red rather than yellow.
The boy comes rushing back though, screaming with the rage of a warrior as he flails his little spikey ball around.
See, he agrees. Definitely red. It matches all the pretty fire. Simply sublime.
I dodge his wild attack easily and spin, tucking in my hammer as I do, and when I come around I press the top edge of my Johnson into his chest, pushing the boy back a bunch of feet. He's lucky he was too close for a proper swing. His partner comes in as he goes out, with a swing that I duck under as I bring the hammer around, hitting her in the side with neck of the handle and hooking her with the head, tossing her to the side like a rag doll. I keep the momentum of the hammer by swinging it in a big figure-eight around me.
I can smell the yellow on this one, though. It doesn't take animal senses to smell fear when it's trickling down someone's legs.
I sigh to myself, "Different strokes, I guess." Then I shake the thought and look back and forth between the two of them. We're all thinking the same thing. So I just say it. "Whose turn is it?"
They give me that confused look again. "My turn it is!" I move in time with my Johnson's swing and go for the girl. She is frozen like a little kitty that doesn't know where to run. She should've went splat against my Johnson, but she panics at the last moment and trips over the rock behind her, rolling off of it, just a split second before the hammer comes down and smashes it to pieces. I would've had more than enough time to finish her before she got up, but her partner is already coming up behind me. I let go of my Johnson for a second and jump backwards, getting inside his swing before it gets around, spinning to face him just in time to meet his chest with my own.
Our faces are inches apart. I can see how bad he wants to kill me in his eyes, and say, "Heya, handsome," all sultry, and before he can react, plant a kiss on his lips. Then I smack him and knee him in the balls to help him recover from the shock.
Yummy... Did you see that? I'm all hot now. I don't know how much longer I can last.
I can't help it, I know he'll make my Johnson feel oh so good.
Okay, fine. But you could at least let the fun last a few more minutes.
I promise nothing.
The girl is up now and while it would be fun to try the kiss tactic with her too, I have already decided what needs to happen.
Fine. But we play with her a bit first.
She comes after me without the fear this time, her sword flying all over the place, so fast and wild that all I can do is back up. "I'll kill you, you crazy bitch!"
Oh look, that kiss must've really made her mad, what a home wrecker I am.
I do twirls as I back away, bringing my Johnson up across my back, my one arm wrapping around the shaft, holding it right up against my back and the tip at my side.
"It's not my fault all the boys find me irresistible."
On the third twirl she lunges. I time it perfectly and the blade heading for my stomach gets deflected away by the head of my Johnson. In the same step of my twirl, I grab the hammer by the head, using my own spin and the swing of the shaft combined, slamming the handle into her ribs. I think I hear a crack, but it could just be wishful thinking on my part. Either way she collapses to the ground with the wind knocked out of her. Giving me a little one on one time with my new lover boy.
Look at him, trying so hard to stand straight. So cute. I put the hammer down head first and lean my chin on it, giving my boy a sympathetic look." Still hurts, huh? Well, that's why you shouldn't get fresh and take advantage of impressionable young ladies." I wag my finger at him, and now he's mad at me too.
"You're gonna die, psycho."
I can't take it anymore. My Johnson is starting to ache, I need it now.
He comes rushing in so fast that I have to duck under the first swing just about the time I start swinging my Johnson.
The second one comes, I jump back out of the way but use that to help sling shot the hammer around, and when his third swing is on the way, so is mine.
But he's still rushing at me and too close to get a full swing, so I change my plan at the last second and yank my hands to my body, bringing my Johnson's head right in front of mine. At the last possible moment I throw myself just off balance backwards. Just before I lose sight of him I blow him a kiss.
Oh god yes! Look at me, baby!
I'm so close to the metal on metal clang that my ears start ringing. That's okay, though, because the Johnson that filled my vision for a moment moves out of the way just in time for me to watch the big spikey ball swing back around and catch my lover in the side of the head. I gasp as time slows down for me to see every detail. The spikes ripping through his skin, the pain on his face for the briefest of moments before the ball crushes the side of his head like a rotten tomato...
Oh, fuck yeah... that's the good stuff right there.
I hear the cannon blast like it came from within me. My whole body is tingling and I feel like a flower dancing on the wind.
All his juices squeezing out, I almost expect to see seeds but there are none. Just one white bit that I'm almost sure was his eye. I stare down in awe of the beauty for a second.
"Gotcha, cutie pie. You were terrific, by the way. One of the best I've ever had." I blow him another kiss. And turn around just in time to see my other new friend finally picking herself off the ground. The anger she had before is all gone now, all I see in her eyes is pain and terror. A cloud of tears and snot and whimpering, her sword is up, but barely, and it's shaking all over the place. After such an amazing performance, this is so sad it breaks my heart.
"Really? I mean really? You're no fun at all. And here I was going to take my time and play with you. Not even gonna fight? BOOOORRRRIIIINNGG!" I drop my Johnson and take out my knife. I walk up to her and she panics, pathetically swinging her sword at me, I don't even think her eyes are open. I smack the sword away with my free hand and come in close enough to hug her as I slide the blade between her ribs. She would've died from that first one, but I give her a few extra sticks to make sure, or maybe just to make myself feel better. It helps a bit.
"Would it have killed you to play along just a little?" Her last sound is some kind of weak lumpy moan. I shake my head and sigh. "Some people..." I let her fall limply to the ground and kneel down to watch the blood pour out. The boom of the cannon isn't as sweet sounding this time around. But it's too hard to stay sad right now. I begin dancing around and posing my new friends in different positions to see how they will look best when everyone sees my work.
No one gets to see what I do back home except DeeDee, and he always just wants to get rid of them. It makes me happy knowing the whole wide world will get to see my art this time.
I sit the boy up against a rock and dip my finger into the hole in this head for a second
I start to hum and then I paint a little birdie on the rock by his shoulder. It makes me think of the new little friend I made earlier.
I wonder what she's up to, with her big sexy killer bear man.
I know what I'd do with him... I bet he'd look sexy with whip scars.
Or a few tiny burns.
See, and this is why I like you so much. It's like we share a brain.
Don't make fun of me!
I pick up my Johnson and look at the blood soaked tip. Must've been his first time. They say they bleed the first time.
Well, most people would bleed if we smacked them with our Johnson. That's better than those old men always talkin' bout it ever did. I bet our Johnson is bigger than all of theirs. Tell me I can't smack someone with my Johnson, will you? Well, we showed them.
Yes, we did!
I stand up proudly and look around, enjoying the beautiful view. The sea of fire burning all around fills me with sweet serenity. Bliss fills my heart as I bask in the afterglow.
You know something... This place is so much more fun than home. I hope they let us stay.
There it is again. Those pesky bushes. This time I'm not letting them fool me, though. I pick up my hammer, lift it high above my head, and then hold it there with hawk eyes on the bushes. Perfectly still except for the smile spreading on my face. It's like a game as I wait for something to pop its head out. Then I see the bushes shake, and in my excitement I start my swing.
"Harley, are you..." Mr. D.'s words stop short as he comes face to face with my Johnson. When he starts again, I can tell right away that I'm in trouble. "Harley... what are you doing?"
"Ummmmmmmmmmm... Nuttin'!" I say quickly, swinging my hammer behind me to hide it. I don't think that's working.
"Is there a reason you were about to kill me?" He tries to look around me. I turn a little to keep the hammer on the opposite side of me.
"Nopey dopey," I say, trying to be cute and make DeeDee smile.
"Then would you be so kind as to not do it again?" Mission failed. Abort! Abort!
My shoulders sink and I lower my head. "Okie dokie."
I hear Dakrin take a deep breath. "How very kind." He moves past me now and looks over the beautiful art I've made. He nods to himself and then turns to me. "Were you injured?"
"Aww Mr. D., you really do care," I say as I leap at him. But I'm stopped short by a raised hand.
"Not the time." He's standing right next to me, but I can tell he's not really here anymore. I look up and follow his eyes, and realize he's looking at all the pretty flames. I curl up to his arms and put my head on his shoulder.
"Isn't it romantic?" I say with a lover's sigh.
"Actually, yes. I do believe it is." We stand there together for a moment and then his voice comes from a spot just next to me, even though it's as far away as his mind. "They're making the arena smaller, that means it's almost time."
"Time for what, DeeDee?" I don't really care as long as he doesn't say to go.
"For this whole twisted game to end. Apparently, I wasn't the only one who decided it was time to make a move." His words make me jump a little in excitement.
"Do you mean I can..."
He cuts me off. "Not yet."
"But you didn't even let me finish, how do you know what I was going to say?"
"Simple, you want to kill them all."
"Well, yeah, but..."
"No," he says and starts walking down the hill.
"Come on... Pwetty pwease?" I immediately bounce after him, hanging onto his shirt.
"Don't worry. You'll get your chance, very soon now. Tomorrow we will be splitting up. I suspect that not all of them will be returning after it's over. Either by choice or chance, I doubt we'll have more than a couple come back, and whoever does, we should assume is just trying to get close enough to kill us. So after tomorrow, you have my permission to go wild. If you can be good till then."
DeeDee's such a softie sometimes.
He always gives in eventually.
"Well, okay, but I just want you to know that I'll blame you if none of them come back to play with me." He just waves a hand at me and keeps walking.
After a minute of silence, I can't help it anymore. "So what did you think of my picture?"
"Shows real talent, Harley," he says without a slightest hesitation. "Sometimes I wish you would use colors other than red though."
"Well, then tell people they should start using different colored blood. I can only work with what I'm given."
A/N: Well I hope that came out alright and didn't seem like me just indulging in some mindless action. Even if that is kinda what it was lol. No seriously though, I was trying to balance out Harley's crazy with actually being able to tell the story. And get a little more of a complex view into her head. The two insane arguing voices, and one intelligent and sharp inner center. I hope that came across okay. As always reviews are greatly appreciated even though i don't really deserve them with how long i've kept you all waiting.
Normally I do anon reviews after the chapter but it's been so long I feel like they'd be disconnected from the original thoughts that were had.. But I will repost if i find any that really need answering. Until next time. I hope you all enjoy.