Why hello there! (:
No, I haven't died. I've been working on this story. I got this idea in March when I was scrolling through tumblr and found an amazing post by fleurtings - /post/18038976475 . It was basically a crossover of Harry Potter and Hunger Games, and it completely mesmerised me, particularly the last gif - my Romione shipping heart couldn't stop thinking about it. I was so hooked that I decided I had to write a fanfiction on it. Originally, I was only going to write a oneshot focusing on the last gif, but then I decided, why not write an official novel on fanfiction? I ought to do it sometime. So, basically, I've been writing the first few chapters of this story, and I'm really excited with it.
I suppose this story is a bit of a crossover, but I've marked it as a normal because the characters don't cross over. It's basically the Harry Potter world being put into a Hunger Games-style situation, so I decided to leave it as a simple Harry Potter story. If too many people disagree with this, I can change it, but for now, I suppose I'll leave it like this.
I've gained a beta for this story, one of my friends, Sophie, who is actually one of the most wonderful betas ever. Thanks to her, my story will not be completely awful. I've been writing a few chapters ahead, making sure that I can put them up promptly, but she's the one who's been pushing me to start posting, or, according to her, all of you will think I have died or something.. So, if you don't like this story, you can blame her for making me post it.
And, also, Harry Potter is J.K. Rowling's and The Hunger Games was thought of by Suzanne Collins. I do not own anything.
Anyway, I'm pretty sure no one has bothered to read this note, it's that long. Ah, well. I've said everything I need to say. Here's the story 'The Cruel Irony.' Hope you like it. (:
The Cruel Irony
Chapter 1: A Name is Picked
Our story begins on a lovely, sunny day in District 3 of Panem. It was with happiness that Hermione made her way to Bogs' Books and Related Products. This was because Hermione loved her job there. She loved the ability to organise and sort out the books in stock, the ability to calculate and analyse sales, and the ability to read the books in her spare time. It was a delightful thing to immerse herself in.
She opened the door to the shop and smiled at the kindly old man at the teller. Mr. Bogs, who seemed to not have a first name as he insisted everyone call him Mr. Bogs, smiled at her through his spectacles. Hermione's smile widened as the door closed behind her and the light toll of a bell rang through the small store, reminding her of yet another reason why she loved it. This was the only place in all of District 3 to still have a door with a knob rather than a button, the only place that still had a bell to alert the owner of a prospective customer. It was remarkably old-fashioned, and Hermione adored it.
"Hello, Hermione," Mr. Bogs said, in his usual quiet rumble. "I trust school went well?"
"As usual." Hermione replied, and placed her schoolbag carefully on a chair in the sitting area. It landed with a thud.
"Dear Merlin," Mr. Bogs said. "I would've thought you'd be exhausted by books after seeing them all the time."
Hermione chuckled."Mr. Bogs, you know that's not possible." It was quite interesting working for Mr. Bogs. He was about 80 years old, and so had been alive during the rebellion. His parents having died during it, he had to step in and take care of his younger brother and sister. But he had been raised learning magic and magical expressions, and so knew a lot about spells and potions that were no longer allowed in Panem, and often muttered, "Dear Merlin." Hermione, having worked with Mr. Bogs for a long time, also began to use that phrase.
"Any customers today?" Hermione asked, already half-knowing what the answer would be.
"Only one, I'm afraid." He said, sounding a little disappointed. "But it could change now that you're here."
As if I can attract customers; I have no friends besides a bookstore owner and my parents, Hermione thought dubiously.
But she put on a smile and said, "Anything's possible."
Hermione had a feeling the problem with Mr. Bogs' recent lack of success was that District 3 was becoming too technology oriented. No longer did they use books, now that they had almost-magical computers that could do anything. No longer did they care for antique buildings with bells and doors with knobs. Hermione, however, was no ordinary District 3 citizen, and on the contrary loved this store because of its old-fashioned appearance. She'd never suggest that Mr. Bogs change it, and she was certain that Mr. Bogs would never agree to it. It was one of the reasons they got along so well – they were both very similar people.
To occupy herself, Hermione grabbed a book from the shelf and sat down to read.
"Oh, hold on a moment, Hermione." Mr. Bogs said, coming over to her in his usual, slow pace, clearly holding something behind his back. "I've got another book that I found in my attic which I think you may find interesting."
Hermione quickly sat up straight, the familiar sensation of curiosity taking over her. "Really?" she asked, brown eyes gleaming. "What is–?"
Mr. Bogs revealed what he'd been hiding behind his back, and Hermione gasped. "Standard Book of Spells, Grade 6!"
Mr. Bogs had first found Standard Book of Spells, Grade 2 in his possession several months ago, and had loaned it to Hermione. Magical books had been banned after the rebellion, but Mr. Bogs had somehow managed to keep his. Hermione had a feeling that he'd hid them somewhere, but she certainly wasn't going ask him. After finding Grade 2, he eventually found Grade 4 and Grade 7. Hermione privately read them in her room, sometimes going as far as using a mechanical pencil as a wand to practice the correct movement. She would discuss these spells with Mr. Bogs once she finished reading them. Hermione knew she'd never be able to use magic, but it was still fun learning about it.
"Mr. Bogs," Hermione began, regarding him thoughtfully. "Were you good at magic?"
Mr. Bogs smiled at her. "I was wonderful." He said softly, chuckling. "I'm glad that when the rebellion occurred, I was 18, and had already learnt most of what there is to know about magic."
He stared down at her through his small spectacles. "One cannot possibly know everything about magic."
Hermione loved the way Mr. Bogs spoke of everything as if it was an awe-inspiring thing. "Was it difficult, having to adjust to no magic?"
"Oh, of course." he replied, nodding vehemently. "But it was worse for the children, who had no control over their magic. It was horrible. Sometimes bursts of magic would appear in them, and Peacekeepers would whip them on the street. Poor children... no control whatsoever. It was why parents began taking children to school at 11, so that the children could be able to learn control at home, and be sufficient at it by that age."
Hermione hated the Capitol. She truly did.
By the end of her shift, only five more people had entered the store, and only two had bought a book. Bogs' Books and Related Products was very quickly going out of business, but for some reason, after reading Grade 6, Hermione felt a bit more optimistic.
Finally, after two hours, the silence in the small room was broken by a yawn, signifying that it was time for Hermione to go to sleep. She sat up a little straighter on her bed, her back no longer touching the wall behind her, and bent her neck back slightly. She sighed as it cracked and wearily placed her now-closed book on the table beside her.
There was a light tapping on her open door, and Hermione turned to look at her mother. She smiled as the tall, graceful woman entered her bedroom.
"You all set for bed, Hermione?" she asked.
Hermione nodded. "Yes, I'm about to go to sleep."
"Did you brush your teeth?" her mother asked.
"Of course, Mum." She replied, smiling at her mother and showing off pearl-white teeth. "You've taught me well."
Hermione's mother chuckled and lovingly stroked her daughter's bushy, brown, uncontrollable hair."Enough reading, love. It's time to sleep."
"I lost track of time, Mum. I'm sorry."
"I see it's a good book, then. I'm glad the extra money Mr. Bogs gave you wasn't wasted." Hermione nodded in agreement. The ability to afford any luxuries was rare in District 3 of Panem, but fortunately, Hermione's parents were one of the few people working in developing new technology in the medical field, which meant they were rewarded with a bit more money than the average District 3 citizen. It wasn't enough for them to be completely secure, but sometimes they could afford to buy something special. Hermione made sure that most of the money she earned from working for Mr. Bogs was given to her parents, but they insisted that she keep the extra money she earned.
"I don't see why people don't enjoy reading," Hermione commented. Her mother smiled, knowing her daughter's obsession with books was not a common one in this district.
"You know this district is more interested in technology," she said. "Not only that, but they aren't as lucky as us – they can't afford to waste any money." Before Hermione could get too sad and riled up about the Capitol's evil ways, her mother smoothed her hair down once more and kissed her forehead. "Sleep, Hermione. You've got a big day tomorrow."
Hermione nodded, and crept under the covers of her bed. Her mother switched the lights off and the room was suddenly filled with darkness, the only source of light being the streetlamps outside. Hermione heard her mother press another button and the door closed behind her. She closed her eyes and prepared to be taken away to the land of dreams, hoping that they wouldn't be ones to do with the reaping to be held the next day.
The sun was still shining over District 3 on the day of the reaping. Hermione obediently and silently slipped on her reaping outfit – a silky pale pink dress with white polished shoes. She pulled her hair back into a half ponytail and sighed at her reflection in the mirror. Because this day was a very important day, a day supposed to be considered a 'celebration', it was important to look nice for it. Though she seemed calm, Hermione's eyes could not hide the fear that she was holding.
"Hermione! It's time to go!"
Hermione took in a shuddering breath and exited her room, pressing the button to close the door behind her. She heard the door hit the wall softly and did not look back – did not think that that could be the last time she saw her room.
Her parents were waiting for her at the front door. They were smiling reassuringly at her. "Come on now," her father said. "We'll be back home soon."
Hermione nodded. She saw her parents exchange a look and her mother walked over to her.
"Hermione," she said softly, "you'll be fine. Your name's only been entered six times, they're not going to pick you. You're our only daughter. They can't take you away from us."
Hermione nodded once more. "I know." She replied, and chose not to add that the Capitol was so cruel it very well could take her away from them. It had already taken away children from so many different families, regardless of whether they were an only child or not. That was how brutal and sick they were. However, she had the least chance of being chosen than any other seventeen-year-old girl in this district.
The odds were against her being chosen as a tribute. Her name had only been entered six times– the minimum number of times a seventeen-year-old could be entered. Her parents refused to slip in her name more times for tessera – they had other means to survive without the additional supplies offered in exchange for entering more times. Unfortunately, Hermione knew of many who had to enter their names for tessera, simply because they couldn't stay alive without it.
Only two more years, Hermione thought to herself. Two more times I have to be entered in this, and I'll be safe after that. Two more years, and I won't have to worry about myself being in the Hunger Games anymore.
The Hunger Games was an annual event, created by the Capitol for entertainment and to remind the twelve districts of Panem of their place. 62 years ago, the twelve districts had rebelled against the Capitol, and were unfortunately beaten. After that, the Capitol had decided to punish them by coming up with The Hunger Games – a tournament of sorts where 24 'tributes', a boy and girl from each district from the ages of 12 to 18, competed in a large arena on live television in a game of survival. The last person standing was the winner, and would be bathed in glory from then on.
It was a cruel, horrible punishment, one Hermione wished she could stop in some way. Every year, she was forced to watch as friends from districts turned on each other, tributes mercilessly killed and young children starved. Every year, she was thankful she wasn't picked.
Hermione had no idea what was so entertaining about children killing each other to survive, but apparently the Capitol did. However, she had to admit there was a very interesting aspect of the games, and that was the use of wands.
Panem was a large nation. It was also magical, although no other land in the world had any magic in it whatsoever. The witches and wizards in Panem used to be able to use their wands and study spells and magic, but after the rebellion, the Capitol confiscated every citizen's wand to prevent a similar uprising from occurring again. The only witches and wizards able to use magic were the ones that lived in the Capitol.
The interesting aspect of the Hunger Games was the fact that during the week while they were mentored in the Capitol, the tributes got their own wand and used the spare time they had to study to learn as many spells as possible. Hermione, having been reading books all her life and working in a bookstore for a long time, had been able to read about many of those spells. Those who didn't learn many spells in time did not have as good a chance of victory, although they could certainly rely on non-magical means to win.
In Districts 1, 2 and 4, being chosen as a tribute was a wonderful honour, so much so that a lot of people who didn't get chosen opted to volunteer to take their place. It was such an honour that children were trained for the games from the moment they were born, and because of that, they were called 'Career Tributes' or 'Careers' for short. Because of that, they were the ones that won most of the time.
District 3, on the other hand, hated the Capitol, and ever since the rebellion they had been living in near-poverty. Other districts were living far worse than them, though, which Hermione couldn't even begin to imagine. Hermione was thankful she wasn't in a Career district. She'd hate to be forced to train for such a horrible event, as if she were expected to participate in it.
Once she was no longer within the age limit, she would live in peace, knowing she'd never have to face reaping day, the day tributes are chosen for the Hunger Games, with such fear again.
As she walked along sombrely with her parents down to the centre of District 3, Hermione watched the other young adults around her. Were they as nervous as she was? Probably more so – their names were most likely entered more times than hers were. She was lucky!
They all looked lost in thought, not smiling. Their faces were pale with fright, but they all obediently waited until it was their turn to sign in and give a sample of their blood. Hermione winced as her finger was pricked but continued the routine she'd become so familiar with. She walked over to the seventeen-year-olds and solemnly turned to face the stage, waiting for the mayor's familiar face to appear on the stage. She did not pay attention to any of the citizens around her; she just wished this would all be over soon.
The crowd was quiet and sad, murmuring softly amongst themselves. Hermione had no doubt that, at that moment, the Capitol was celebrating, taking bets on who would be selected. They were disgusting, those people, and Hermione wished she could give them a piece of her mind.
If only she could do so without being killed.
District 3's mayor appeared on the stage. His neat suit only barely fit his chubby form as he stumbled over to the microphone to begin the annual speech. Hermione listened as he retold the story everyone was all too familiar with – the story of how all the districts rebelled against the Capitol and as punishment, now must endure this event every year. It was a way to remind everyone that there was no way they'd ever overthrow the Capitol.
Finally, the story ended, and everyone seemed more alert as Raeden Mishfort, District 3's escort, appeared on the stage. Escorts were residents of the Capitol whose job was to, as assumed, escort tributes to the Capitol and teach them of its ways. They were different to mentors, whose job was to help train the tributes and advise them– mentors were past victors, so they knew what they were talking about. It was also their responsibility to help their tributes gain sponsors – wealthy people who, if convinced, would use their means to help a tribute in trouble. In the last parts of the game, where tributes are injured, or hungry, sponsors could very well be lifesavers, and this was why it was important for tributes to make a good impression on them during the opening ceremony and interviews.
So many things about Raeden Mishfort had stayed the same this past year. He still had his short, button nose. He still had a few natural freckles and one fake beauty mark on the left of his bottom lip. He was still quite short, and Hermione could see lifts in his shoes that didn't help much. However, there were a few things that had changed about him. His blue hair had grown in the past year – it was now up to his shoulders, curly and wavy. His right cheek glinted thanks to the gold gem sewn into it. Hermione winced as she imagined something being sewn into her skin. That's just the way the Capitol were – they loved style and would do anything to project it. For Hermione and District 3, though, it did appear quite odd and unusual. No one would ever dare say that aloud, though.
"Hello!" Raeden called out, as if announcing an act at a particularly loud concert. "Hello, District 3!" He ignored the lack of a response. Only several people applauded, or said anything. He did not falter, and continued on his merry, excited way."Welcome to the reaping for the 61st Hunger Games!" He raised his wand, which looked as if it'd been painted green, and let colourful fireworks stream out of it and into the crisp, fresh air. This time, District 3 did applaud – everyone was entranced by magic, and longed to be able to do it again.
"Now, as you know, I'm Raeden Mishfort, and it's a delight to be back here in District 3 again, for the third time!" He beamed expectantly at the crowd. Some laughed, others smirked, but the majority stayed quiet. "What a lovely little district this is, and no, I'm not disappointed that I haven't moved up to the second or first, because I happen to mentor lovely citizens from this district." He failed to mention that none of them had made it out alive.
After an awkward pause, he continued. "Now, let's get on with it, shall we?" He smiled cheerfully at the crowd and gestured towards the two glass bowls on either side of him. "How about we begin with the ladies?"
Hermione breathed in sharply; the girls around her did the same. From the corner of her eye she noticed two girls grip hands tightly. Hermione bit her lip and tried to control her breathing.
Raeden lowered his hand into the bowl on his right, ruffling through the slips of paper. Hermione didn't dare look away. Her heart was pounding erratically in her chest.
Ba-boom, ba-boom, ba-boom.
It was similar to the sound Hermione imagined horses make when they gallop, although she'd never actually seen a real life horse before... they were only in District 10.
Raeden's fingers grasped a name.
Ba-boom, ba-boom, ba-boom...
He raised it out of the bowl and grasped the other end of the paper with his other hand.
Ba-boom, ba-boom, ba-boom...
He opened his mouth to announce the name. Hermione took in a deep breath.
Ba-ba-boom, ba-ba boom, ba-ba boom...
Her heart stopped.
It didn't matter that he'd mispronounced her name and instead of saying Her-my-oh-nee had called out Her-mee-own. It was obvious what he meant. The girls around her turned their heads to look at her. Hermione wasn't sure where to look. She was stumped. For the first time in her life she didn't know what to do.
Firstly, she exhaled. That seemed like a good way to start. Her lip quivered. Though she had witnessed reapings every year of her life, had seen tributes react in so many different ways, she was unsure as to what she should do now.
"Her-mee-own?" Raeden called out, being aware that the girl was out there, judging from everyone's reaction.
Hermione stepped out of her section and shakily walked out into the aisle separating the boys and girls. She glanced around at the children of District 3, as if they'd help her somehow.
"Ah, Her-mee-own, there you go." When Hermione did nothing, he chuckled. "Come on, now, come on up, don't be shy." Hermione took a small step towards the stage, then another. She probably looked quite ridiculous, but that was the last thing on her mind. "That's the way, come on." Hermione continued walking, speeding up after every step. By the time she was a foot away from the stage she was walking in her usual pace."Ah, there we go." Raeden announced as she stepped over to him.
"Now, I must ask..."he paused dramatically. "Are there any volunteers?"
Hermione did not raise her hopes. She knew there wouldn't be. In all her seventeen years, she'd never had a single friend beside her parents. It'd been awfully lonely, but she had books to keep her company, books to occupy herself with... although sometimes she'd look over at children who'd walk past her and see them laughing and smiling, sharing food and secrets and interests, and sadness would overwhelm her. No, she'd never had a friend, much less one that'd volunteer to take her place in a game in which death is almost certain.
"No?" Raeden asked, giving the district one more chance to change their mind. No one answered, and so he took a deep breath. "District 3," he began, his voice low, deep, dramatic, "your female tribute," he grasped her hand, "Her-mee-own Granger!" He raised it triumphantly into the air. Only a few people clapped. Raeden didn't look perplexed.
Finally, Hermione was able to regain use of her voice. "It…it's Her-my-oh-nee, actually."
Raeden glanced over at her. "Pardon?"
"Hermione. You... it's Hermione, not Her-mee-own."
Raeden chuckled."Ah, sorry." He faced the audience once more. "HERMIONE GRANGER!" A few more people clapped, but everyone else remained sombre. "Alright, now, stand over here, Hermione, on my right, there you go." Raeden gently nudged her over."Let's select a male tribute!"
Hermione looked over at the male side, at the boys who suddenly looked more alert, more afraid. The atmosphere in the centre of District 3 was tense. Hermione watched as Raeden slipped his hand into the bowl on his left that contained the name of every boy from District 3 from the ages 12-18 at least once.
Even though it had nothing to do with her, and her name had already been selected, Hermione was still nervous. There was something frightning about the way escorts chose tributes. Perhaps it was the escort's cheerfulness. Perhaps it was the silence as they waited. Or perhaps it was just the simple knowledge that this person was almost certainly going to die.
Raeden's long, blue fingernails held onto the slip of paper tightly. He smoothed it out with his fingers and smiled as he prepared to announce the name on it. "Ernie Macmillan!"
Hermione's brown eyes immediately scanned around the crowd to find Ernie's face, along with the rest of District 3. His blond hair had been smoothed back with gel and his plump cheeks now lacked their usual pink. He had gone completely pale. He looked horrified.
Hermione gave him a sympathetic smile as he caught her eye. That did not seem to reassure him, and Hermione immediately knew why. One of them would die. One of them would certainly die. At least. Maybe both of them would. Knowing District 3's luck, or lack thereof, it would most likely be both of them. District 3 hadn't won a Hunger Games in 9 years.
Ernie seemed to regain his senses quicker than Hermione did, which was interesting, since Hermione was usually a lot more logical than the average person. Hermione didn't know Ernie very well though – maybe he was similar to her.
Ernie came up to the stage, as white as a ghost. He was watching Hermione and Raeden carefully.
Raeden did not seem to notice. "There you go. Now, any volunteers?"
No one answered.
"Alright then!" he called out. "Your male tribute, Ernie Macmillan!"
Once again, only a few people applauded. Though most District 3 citizens hated the Capitol, or at least didn't agree with them, there were still some who enjoyed the Hunger Games, that supported it, because they were able to bet on the outcomes of the game and reapings and possibly earn money as a result. Those were the people who put their hands together for the two children who would almost certainly die.
Ernie and Hermione stood side by side as the mayor came back onto the stage to read out the Treaty of Treason, the treaty that'd been signed once the Capitol had managed to contain the rebellion. Though every year Hermione listened diligently to it, this year, she could not. She was lost in her thoughts. They'd finally caught up to her and she was now starting to fully realise what was happening to her. She would be sent into an outdoor arena to fight against Ernie, fight against young children, fight against people who'd been training for this their whole lives.
She gulped, feeling really, truly afraid.
"Thank you, everyone." The mayor said in a low, grave voice, finally finishing his speech and turning to face the two tributes.
Hermione cast a sideways glance at Ernie and saw that his hand was now being extended to her. She took his hand and shook it, keeping her eyes on his. She was mentally wishing him good luck. She had a feeling he, though he barely knew her and had never spoken to her, had the decency to think it back at her. She could see it in his blue irises.
Raeden stepped up to the microphone and addressed the audience for the final time. "Happy Hunger Games, everyone, and may–"
"–may the odds be ever in your favour," Hermione mouthed with him, hoping that they would be. She would need all the luck she could get.
The national anthem of Panem began and from the corner of her eye she noticed Peacekeepers, officers required to keep order by the Capitol, approaching her and Ernie. They were there to escort them to the Justice Building, to make sure she and Ernie didn't try and run away. It had happened many times before.
Hermione dutifully began to make her way off the stage, casting a final look at the crowd and the centre of her home. She did not allow herself to cry. Crying was a weakness, and everyone in District 3 knew how crisp everyone's televisions were, how easily everyone would be able to see her tears, should she let them show. If she cried, everyone would know she was a weakling, someone to disregard, someone to not bother to help, because she'd die straight away.
Hermione took in a deep breath and looked away from the citizens of District 3. They would not help her with her struggle to contain her emotions. Only she could do that at the moment. She had to stay strong.
Ernie stumbled as they walked down the stairs and it was a sign of how scared Hermione was that she immediately jumped up at the sudden movement.
That's the least of your worries now, Hermione, she thought to herself.
They walked along a pathway down to the Justice Building, a bright white building with large clear windows. One of them was being cleaned by a machine. District 3, in charge of technology, had come up with a fascinating invention that was hidden between a wall and window and after the press of a button would creep out and wash the window. Hermione glanced over at Ernie; it was his father who'd helped create it. He seemed a little reassured by the sight of his father's machine and the ghost of a smile began to appear on his still-paleface.
The Peacekeepers opened the door and split up. One of them began to guide Ernie into a room; the other stayed with Hermione and gestured to a room opposite. He allowed Hermione to step into the room and then quickly pressed a button and the door closed behind her.
Hermione turned to face it, knowing that behind it, through a few walls, was the world she had known her entire life, the world she'd been born in, raised in, and now taken from... would she ever see it again? Would she ever see delivery boxes flying on cable carts above, programmed to reach a certain destination? Would she ever hear the children's laughter as they constructed new ways for marbles to ride down built courses? Would she ever be able to walk down the main street of District 3 and marvel over the way seventeen years worth of memories washed over her, engraved in the buildings, the people, the air...
Hermione suddenly turned away from the door, unable to look at it. She glanced around the room, taking in the precise details. It was extravagant, even for her, who'd lived fairly well off for most of her life. The carpet appeared soft, the couch smooth and the table a rich oak. She ran her fingers along the surface, admiring the perfectly polished texture and wondering what it'd be like to study at it. Oh, dear Merlin, would she ever study again?
Yes, yes she would. She would need to revise and learn about spells... she'd be able to use magic for the first time in her life... she'd get a wand, a real wand. In spite of herself, Hermione felt a shiver of excitement at that. Magic had always seemed thrilling to her. That was probably the only good thing to look forward to in this cruel, sick tournament.
She had one hour, only one hour to say her final goodbyes to her home, to her family. After that, she'd be whisked onto a train and taken to the Capitol, where she'd endure a week of training and mentoring by a past victor from District 3, and then... and then the games would officially begin.
A/N There you have it - the first chapter. I hope you enjoyed it. Let me know what you thought by clicking on the review button below (is it just me, or has it changed for you too? It was quite a surprise when I came across it.)