Hello again to any readers! First off, I need to thank you for even reading this. Secondly, thank you for story alerting, favoriting, and a special thanks to those of you who took time to write a review! I almost had a heart attack when I discovered this story had any. I hope you know how much I appreciate all of you. I'm not all that original, so you may notice that my replies to reviews are sometimes similar to each other.
My Response to Reviews (If you forgot what you wrote it should be easy enough to find your comment.):
readingisdabest: Thank you so much! It really means a lot to me. Here's your update.
nena101ism: I'm glad you're enjoying this. I hope this update was worth waiting for.
YJ and HG rocks: Thanks! You're right about the whole 'I've killed people' thing. I think I've figured out a way for everything to work out. By the way, your username is awesome!
Guest: Sorry the update took so long. I hope you like this chapter!
fanficfantasies: Wow, thanks! The Booming Light is a pretty big mystery, isn't it? Yeah, I'm going to be switching POV a lot. It'll probably be mainly in Katniss of Artemis's POV. This chapter's all Katniss, though.
dreamwritergoddess: Thanks! Although, does three months count as soon?
Bananalover13: Thanks so much!... I hope next time I'll be able to update sooner.
just like honey 16: I try my best to make it worth reading. Your review is much appreciated!
max artemis potter: I'm glad you like it. Artemis is one of my favorites, too.
Disclaimer: In the time that it took me to write this, I did not become the owner of Young Justice, Hunger Games, or anything else remotely famous. This is probably a good thing.
In case you were wondering, the story takes place between Coldhearted and Image. I started this story around that time, and I just decided to stick to it. Without further ado, here is the second chapter.
Lightning flashes across the sky. The light makes it past my eyelids even though they are shut tightly against the drops of rain cascading down. I put my hand over my eyes to act as a shield and immediately notice two things: one, I'm lying on the ground and, two, my shoulder really hurts. What happened? Where am I? The roll of thunder reminds me. The Booming Light! I sit up and realize that not just my shoulder is sore.
"Ughh," I moan aloud as I slowly lean back so I'm lying on the ground again. It feels like I just fell out of a tree onto my back. The shoulder that I noticed first seems to have taken the brunt of the force, seeing as it feels as if I also fell on a nail that drove itself under my shoulder-blade. Peering out of the corner of my eye, I discover the reason for this sensation. Where I estimate my shoulder was when I woke up, a rather pointy rock sits. The tiny rivulets of rain streaming off the rock have a scarlet tint. Oh, great. The rock actually did drive into my… This doesn't look like the forest floor. And since when was it raining? I ignore the complaints of my body as I yet again sit up, only taking the time to look at my surroundings this time. My eyes widen as I carefully scan the area around me. Dread creeps into me, chilling me more than the rain. This can't be good.
I am no longer in the forest. All around me are squat buildings with metal siding. They almost remind me of the Hob. Maybe they're warehouses? This idea is reenforced by the stacks of crates, sometimes as tall as the buildings themselves, that fill in the areas not occupied by the warehouses. This, however, isn't the view that catches my eye.
The thunderclouds coat the sky like a blanket, making it difficult to see far. I can see the lights, though. Shining brightly against the foreboding clouds, they rise taller than almost anything in District 12. They form a skyline of buildings the likes of which I have only ever seen in one place: the Capitol.
I feel myself start to panic again. This is not good, this is really not good. The Booming Light somehow transported me to the Capitol! Any second now armed Peacekeepers are going to show up. I doubt they'll gun me down. That would be too quick. No, instead they'll drag me off to a prison cell, or maybe a torture chamber... Not today. My own thought surprises me. Where did that come from? Suddenly a desperate will to survive kicks in. The Peacekeepers haven't shown up yet, though they are bound to know where I am at. I can't stay here. If I run, can I get away in time? It doesn't matter. I still have to try. Another flash of lightning gives me a chance to plot my escape. Past the warehouses, all I can see are miles of plains criss crossed with roads in one direction and the city in the other. The plains are a no-go. With their hovercrafts, the Peacekeepers would have no trouble finding me on such exposed, flat land. Besides, I can't see anything past the plains. I could keep traveling for days and never get anywhere. Finding food or, even more important, finding water could prove to be a challenge. The last thing I want to do while trying to get away from Peacekeepers is die of dehydration. Going deep into the city is my best bet. Blending in shouldn't be too difficult if I just keep a low profile. Unfortunately, this is usually easier said than done for me. Somehow, I tend to make an impression. At least there are places to hide if I need them. One last glance around proves futile as I find no better option. Alright, to the city I go.
The shadows that had previously been my enemies now became my friends as I dash from one to the other, stopping each time to warily make sure I had not been seen. It's slow going, but I steadily make progress. Soon larger buildings with more complex architecture replace the warehouses and crates. A cold stream of water coming off a roof runs down my back as I hide next to a building. I would be annoyed if I wasn't soaked already. Ignoring it, I peek around the building's corner to find the next shadow to hide in. I'm surprised by the lack of people. Even though I'm almost in the heart of the city, I've yet to even see another person. I shift myself to get out from under the stream of water. I guess nobody wants to be out in this weather. After all, this is the Capitol. I'm sure they get to choose if they even want to get out of bed on days like this. On that note, what time is it? Is it early enough that everybody is in bed? Or late enough? The clouds make it impossible to tell where the Sun is in the sky. In District 12 it is rare to have thunderstorms in the morning. The Sun hadn't even risen yet when I left, though. I couldn't have been out cold for a whole day! Could I? Surely the Peacekeepers would have gotten me if I had. Maybe the Booming Light transported me through time as well as space? No, that's just crazy. It's probably just a morning thunderstorm. Actually, I'm not sure about the Capitol's weather patterns. For all I know, they could have thunderstorms almost every morning. There weren't any when I stayed here for the Hunger Games, though... Without any warning, a flash of lightning causes all the shadows to disappear and suddenly, startlingly, I'm just standing in the open, completely exposed. It only lasts for a moment, but it's long enough to get me moving again. Finding out what time it is can wait. I can't get caught out in the open like that.
Skyscrapers loom over my head as I trudge down the side of a street. I'm grateful for the sidewalk I'm on. It's raised up a couple of inches from the road, which is nice because the road has almost become a river from all the rain. We don't have any of these paths in District 12. Not enough people have cars for us to need them. A lot of people in the Capitol own cars, though. Even so, an inkling of doubt has been sprouting in my mind. I'm not sure why. In front of me, a different street intersects the one that I'm walking beside. Instead of crossing it, I decide to continue following the sidewalk around to another side of the building. This is where I encounter a person for the first time in this city.
I had already taken a few steps forward before I realized the huddled shape was more than just a bag stuffed with items someone no longer wanted. He was leaning on his shoulder against the building with his legs tucked up to his chest. His jacket had been pulled over his matted, gray hair in an attempt to shield himself from the onslaught of rain. All his clothes were so ragged and torn, I doubt it did any good. Listless brown eyes stared straight at me, but he gave no indication that he noticed me. I've seen people like this before in District 12. Decrepit and defeated. Searching for nothing more than a meal and a dry shelter. Wasting away day by day when they receive neither. I now understand my doubt. I didn't get to see much of the Capitol when I stayed there for the Hunger Games, but I'm certain the streets I did see didn't have this sidewalk. The sidewalks I saw were more decrative than the plain, practical one I'm on now. Not only that, but the architecture and colors of the buildings are all wrong. I got to have a pretty good view of the Capitol's skyline as I approached in the train, and it looked nothing like this city's skyline. The buildings here are all normal colored, instead of bright greens, yellows, blues, or pinks. Now there's this man. I don't think anyone in the Capitol would ever become so desperate that they have to live out on the streets. If they did, I bet the Peacekeepers would take them away so they don't disturb the other citizens. All these facts can only mean one thing. I'm not actually in the Capitol.
This revelation both excites and worries me. If I'm not in the Capitol, where am I? In one of the other Districts? It would explain the homeless man. But the Capitol is the only place that would have so many cars that people can't walk down the middle of the street and would actually need a sidewalk. I shake my head slightly, trying to clear my thoughts. I don't know what to do anymore. At least when I thought I was in the Capitol I had some kind of plan, no matter how small and weak it was. Now I'm seriously considering just sitting down next to this man in the rain. He doesn't look like he would care. Besides, I'm tired of walking. It's done nothing but make me more lost. All the energy I gained from my fear has ebbed, leaving me drained and confused. The shoulder injury that I ignored earlier is starting to ache again as well. Stopping to rest doesn't seem like a bad idea at the moment. It will give me a chance to think at least.
It turns out the man actually did notice me. His gaze follows me as I stride past him. He even shifts his head slightly so that he can glance back at me after I plop down behind him. After a moment he shifts back to the position I had first encountered him in. I watch him for a couple more seconds to see if he will do anything more, but after nothing more happens I let my eyes and mind wander. Sheets of icy water continue to pour down, making sure the road in front of me remains a river. This storm... It doesn't seem natural. The rain is too heavy and driven, the flashes of lightning too bright, too colorful. The thunder is too loud. As if responding to my thoughts, a peal of thunder rolls across the sky. It brings my thoughts back to the Booming Light. I wonder what it is really. Was it sent by someone to take me here? If so, then who? Not Peacekeepers. They wouldn't send me here. I don't think anyway... Was it even meant for me? If it wasn't for me, who was it for? My head is starting to hurt. This whole thing is impossible. I don't even know what time it is!
"Whatchu doin' out in the rain this early, Miss?"
I'm so preoccupied by my thoughts that I almost miss the whisper, barely audible above the rain. It takes me a moment to realize the voice comes from the man next to me. He turns his head to look at me out of the corner of his eyes. "Eh, Miss?"
I simply shrug. His eyes stare intently into mine, as if searching for something in them. I glare back. After a moment he blinks and turns around again, leaving me staring at the back of his head. I'm even more confused than before. He just got a close up view of my face, yet didn't hug me, start crying, run for a Peacekeeper... or do anything at all. Any of those things would be unwanted, but plausible things for someone who had seen me to do. I did make a splash in the last Hunger Games, so much so that upon sight people always seem to have some reaction. Did he not watch the Games? No, that's impossible. Even the people with no home are required to watch at least the reaping on the public screens spread around each District. Peacekeepers come around to make sure they do. Then how come he doesn't know me?
He did answer one thing for me. Well, almost answered something for me, anyway. He said it was early, which I presume means morning, since he didn't expect me to be out and that's also the time I "left" the forest. Maybe I can get him to tell me where I am as well. Leaning forward slightly, I look at him through narrowed eyes. I've got to be clever about this. If I flat-out ask him, he'll probably think I'm crazy. I need a question that doesn't make it obvious I don't know where I am. My mind seems to have gone blank, though. Minutes pass by as I rack my brain, trying and failing to come up with a suitable question. Is it possible I'm making this more complicated than it has to be? Should I try being spontaneous? It seemed to work during the interview before the Games. Alright, let's try it. As a result, I blurt out the first thing that comes to mind. "Some weather, huh?"
Apparently, he didn't expect me to start talking to him. He jumps slightly and snaps his head around so quickly the water in his hair splashes me in the face. Brown eyes opened wide from shock meet mine for only a second before they slide down to look at the river rushing past us. "Yep. Some weather."
His mumble was less of a reply than I had hoped for. I pause for a moment to see if he's going to elaborate on his comment, then begin trying to come up with a different question when he does nothing more. So much for being spontaneous. I wonder how bad he would react to me asking where I am. How bad would it be if he thought I was crazy...
"I ain' never seen no rain like this before. 'Specially not in Central."
Once again I almost miss his comment. He didn't move at all this time, so he misses the chance to see my usual emotionless expression slide from my face as I try to process what I heard. Or what I thought I heard. I mean, did he really say we were in central? Central what? Or is central a place? I haven't heard of anywhere in Panem called that, but I also don't know much about any District other than 12. I'm working on coming up with another question when I hear soft snoring. He fell asleep? The sound does appear to be coming from him. I don't really want to wake him up. Besides, I think I've already gotten all the information from him that I can get. Finding someone else might let me learn more. Quietly I get up and walk away.
If possible, the rain begins to come down harder. The water that I'm sloshing through on the sidewalk comes halfway up my feet, even as it flows to the road. I reach another corner and decide to cross the road this time. Taking slow, careful steps so as not to be swept off my feet, I make it across and continue onward. I keep on like this for a while. Sometimes I take corners, other times I wade across the streets. Always I stick to the sidewalks and never have any idea where I'm going. I come across people randomly. I saw another person living on the streets as I passed an alley. This time it was a sleeping woman, her young child snuggled up to her in an attempt to stay warm. Right after that, a shirtless man in shorts and sunglasses jogs past me, completely ignoring me as he splashes along. It's completely possible he just didn't see me in the dark with the sunglasses on. Later on, I saw a another woman huddled in front of a door. I stopped, waiting to see if she would do anything, and almost got hit by a different woman on a bicycle. She was whistling a happy tune and seemed just as oblivious of me as the jogger was. When she saw the woman in front of the door, she gasped excitedly and called out, "Hey! Hey, Amber!"
'Amber' snapped her head up just in time to see the woman try to wave from her bike and, in the process, almost fall off. "Oh. Hello, Lily." She didn't seem near as happy as 'Lily' was.
The solid crash of a bike dropping to the ground was heard as 'Lily' jumped from her bike and stumbled to the door. "Wow! I can't believe you're on the same shift as me! Isn't it going to be awesome working together? But, what are you doing out here? Didn't you notice it was raining?" 'Lily' put her hands on her hips and leaned closer to 'Amber'. "Well?"
There was an audible sigh. "When I woke up this morning the electricity in my house was out, so my alarm clock didn't go off. Because of this, I woke up thirty minutes later than usual. Then my car wouldn't start. So I rushed out of the house and walked all the way here, only to find I'd left my key card at home. If I tried to walk back I'd have been late, so I decided to wait here until somebody came that could let me in."
"It's a good thing I'm here then, huh?" said 'Lily' as she began rooting around in a bag slung over her shoulder. "It doesn't even matter that your car didn't start. Most of the roads are closed due to the rain. I'm not sad, though. It gave me a chance to ride my new bike! Isn't that great?" All of a sudden she brought her hand to her forehead and smiled. "Silly me, I forgot my dog chewed up my key card last night!"
I decided to start walking then. 'Lily's' voice was beginning to give me a headache. Eventually I ended up on the outskirts of the city again. I was about to head back into the city to try find the area where people lived when there was a sudden, blinding flash of what I assume was lightning followed by an orange flash, a boom, and a shriek. Immediately I turned to run the opposite direction, then stopped. It went against everything I had learned in the Hunger Games, against all my survival instincts, but I want to find out what happened. The flash and the boom reminded me of, well, the Booming Light. Going toward the disturbance could finally give me answers. So, against my better judgment, I started toward the flash.
It took going down two alleys and around a building before I saw another flash. It seemed to come from behind the building to the left of me. The rain pelting down provided good cover for my footsteps and myself as I cautiously crept around the corner and along the side of the building. I stopped with my back to the wall when I reached the next corner and carefully poked my head around it. Immediately the wind picked up. Raindrops felt like knives cutting into me, forcing me to close my eyes and cover my face. Suddenly the wind changed direction, pushing me over onto my knees. Using the building to pull myself into a standing position, I happened to look up. I barely noticed my braid whipping against my face as I watched the scene in front of me.
A man was floating in the air. He was dressed in a green and yellow outfit that I don't think even the Capitol would accept and he was in the air. He wasn't dangling from ropes or even being dropped from somewhere. He was just there, standing in the air the same way he would stand on the ground. He had something in his hand that was pointed at a crouching person dressed entirely in grey. Suddenly that hand flew up and a bolt of lightning shot from the thing in his hand. It hit the building next to me, causing some debris to fall a couple of feet from me. Now that's a powerful weapon. Motion near them drew my attention to a much smaller person in red and black darting past them before disappearing around a corner. A different person dressed in green with long, blonde hair watched as the red and black one ran by. She turned with a flick of her hair to look at the floating man as soon as the other person was out of sight. Her right hand reached for something on her back as her left hand raises a... bow. She has a bow. Arrows, too, in the quiver slung over her shoulder. If I could get that bow... I would feel so much better. No matter how messed up this gets, I would feel more in control with my weapon of choice. I need that bow. Everything else becomes distant as I focus on the archer. She just needs to be distracted, and then I can- Yes! She has her string pulled back as far as she can get it, with the arrow pointed at the floating man. I can see she's as focused as me, just on a different target. Now's my chance. The wind pushes me to speeds I have never gone before as sprint from my cover. My eyes never leave the bow.
That. Took. Way. Too. Long. I'm sorry about that. I did warn everybody about it, though. The next chapter might take some time to come out as well. On that happy note, I hope any readers enjoyed! About halfway through this I had to start a different YJ/HG crossover because I wasn't getting anywhere fast on this. I might publish it, I might not. It's the same progression as The Hunger Games with a twist, so it isn't anything like this. I think it might be stupid for me to be writing two crossovers in the same category at the same time, though. I guess I'll see. Any grammar or spelling mistakes are my own. I don't mind if you point them out to me. Actually, it would help me make this better. Enough of my rambling. Thanks again and have a grand day! Until next time...