A/N: It's summer! You know what that means? Yup! I'm going to be writing like crazy to make up for all the missed chapters! I hope that this summer will be filled with many more chapters of "Be Careful What You Wish For" and "Song of the Phoenix"!
Without further ado, I present the opening chapter of my new multi-chapter Harry Potter fanfiction... "Survival of the Fittest".
Disclaimer: Harry Potter does not belong to me. If it did, I'd be both rich and famous, which I am not. Also, this plot bunny was inspired by "The Hunger Games" by Suzanne Collins.
Hermione Granger stared down at the cryptic letter that she held in her hands.
Dear Miss Granger,
Due to the serious events of the war last year, we will be hosting a special event designed for promoting house unity. A further explanation will be provided on the night of the welcome feast.
There will be no classes this year, so we ask that you only bring certain items. Casual dress is advised. Bring one item that represents you, such as a necklace, ring, amulet, etc. Any other items you feel are necessary, you may bring them as long as they are reasonable and not included within the list of banned objects.
~Minerva M. McGonagall
The compartment door opened and Hermione's eyes were greeted by a mane of fire-engine read hair. It was Hermione's best friend, Ginny Weasley.
"What do you think it means?" Hermione asked as she absentminded fingered her vintage owl necklace. The necklace had been her Grandma's and she was bringing it as the item that would represent her.
"The letter? I have no idea. I'm anxious to get to school so we can figure out what's going on," Ginny replied. Hermione let out a grunt of agreement.
"I know, it's driving me mental," Hermione said, resting her head against the seat and closing her eyes. Countryside zoomed by, changing into wild and sparse plains.
"We're almost there. We should-" Hermione began, but stopped herself, frowning. "I keep forgetting that we aren't going to wear our Hogwarts robes this year."
"Well, one thing's for sure," murmured Ginny, looking out of the window at the passing countryside. "This year is going to be one strange and interesting year."
But then again, it was Hogwarts. When wasn't it strange and interesting?
Hermione sat quietly at the Gryffindor table, picking at her meal. As delicious as the welcome feast always was, she was just too excited at the prospect of finding out what was going on that she really didn't have much of an appetite.
Harry sat next to Hermione on her right, picking at his food somewhat, though still eating more than her. Ginny, who sat on her left, hadn't even touched her meal. She was staring distractedly at the winged podium up front where McGonagall would stand to giver her first pre-school year speech as the new Head Mistress of Hogwarts. Ron sat across from her, shoveling food into his mouth and not seeming to care what was going on. Hermione rolled her eyes at his gluttony.
After everyone was done eating- or in Hermione and Ginny's case, pretending to eat- the sorting hat sorted the new first years and sang its song like usual. After the hat had finished, McGonagall approached the winged podium and called for silence.
"To the new students, welcome and to the old, welcome back. Now, you have been informed that we are hosting a special event at Hogwarts this year, and we are indeed. There are three reasons for this special event. The first one is to repair the damage made by the war. The second is to promote inter-house and house unity, and finally the third is to help you learn the vital importance of survival- without magic."
At this point the whole hall burst into complaints and whispering. It took a few magically created bangs to quiet everyone down. McGonagall fixed them all with a stern gaze.
"If you wish to proceed with this special event, you will remain silent until I am finished giving you instructions," she said. The hall grew dead silent and McGonagall continued.
"This special event will take the form of a game, the Game of Survival. As I mentioned before, you will enter the game without your wand. You will not, however, be defenseless. You will each be given a unique magical power for the duration of the game, which is to last all year." She paused, looking around to see if everyone was paying attention. Everyone, even the Slytherin table, was still and silent in anticipation.
"Our staff has created a virtual game arena that imitates nature and filled it with magically-enhanced obstacles. You will enter this arena through a portal that will be set up in the Great Hall tomorrow night. The object of this game is to be the last survivor in the arena. You will use the unique magical power that you will be given to survive as well as to target your classmates. Of course there will be no actual deaths, only a virtual imitation of it. Once you have died in the virtual game, you will appear in the Great Hall and enter the game once more through the portal. You are given three re-entries into the virtual arena. After that you will not be permitted to enter the game again," she declared. She paused a moment, gathering her thoughts and then continued once more.
"Tonight you will write your name, your house and your age on a slip of parchment and give it to Professor Flitwick. Tomorrow you will receive your slip of parchment back with an added detail: the magical power that will be issued to you on entry of the virtual arena. For now, however, you beds await you. Goodnight to all!" she finished and stepped down from the podium.
Hermione, Harry, Ron and Ginny each copied down the information on pieces of parchment and handed them to Professor Flitwick before proceeding up to the Gryffindor Common Room on the seventh floor.
"What do you think about the Game of Survival, Gin?" Hermione asked the red-head. Ginny frowned for a moment before speaking.
"I dunno... I think it's a good way to teach survival, you know, immersing yourself into the situation, but I also am a bit queasy on what the Slytherins will do...," she murmured. Hermione had to agree. When it came to any sort of fight with blood and gore, the Slytherins were sure to be involved. Now, when it came to the Game of Survival, Hermione knew they would do anything to win it.
"True, but that goes for all of the houses, Ginny. All of them are potential threats because of the different characteristics that lie in them. Gryffindor for their bravery, Hufflepuff for their fierce loyalty, Ravenclaw for their unmatchable wits, and Slytherin for their cunning," Hermione reasoned. Ginny nodded in agreement.
"Very true, 'Mione," she murmured as they reached the portrait of the Fat Lady. They gave the password and entered the Common Room. Ginny gave a huge yawn and declared she was going to hit the sack. They all agreed and headed up to their dormitories.
Hermione laid in bed, thinking about the game that the teachers had set up this year and wondering if it was a good idea after all. She wondered what sort of powers they would give her on entering the virtual arena, and she tossed and turned for quite awhile as she thought about this.
The next morning, the Great Hall was alive with activity. On entering the Great Hall, Hermione saw that a portal had been set up behind the staff table. Many students, by the looks of it, had already received their slips of parchment back because they were talking it over with their friends.
Hermione made her way up to the staff table, approaching Professor Flitwick, who was sorting through hundreds of slips of parchment. She cleared her throat to declare her presence.
"Ah, yes, Ms. Granger," came Flitwick's squeaky voice. He rummaged through the pieces of parchment, gave up, and summoned it with his wand. "Here you are, Ms. Granger. Good luck."
Hermione thanked him almost unconsciously, focused on unfolding the slip of parchment in front of her. When she finally did get it unfolded, she stared at the words in front of her.
She blinked. Fire. That was her magical power. She knew it would be useful for eliminating her fellow classmates, but for survival? She supposed the only way it would be useful was for making a fire to cook game...
There was no time to talk with Harry, Ron, or Ginny about what they had received, for McGonagall had stepped up to the winged podium and begun to speak.
"Students of Hogwarts, you have now all received your slip of parchment back. Now is the moment you have all been waiting for: the entrance into the game. You will enter the game in alphabetical order according to your last name. First years will enter first. Upon your entry of the virtual arena, you will be given an hour to find an encampment and settle in. After the allotted time has passed, you will be given the signal and the Game of Survival will begin. ," McGonagall instructed.
Hermione sat down at the Gryffindor table between Harry and Ron as McGonagall was still talking and had just enough time to snatch a piece of toast before all of the food disappeared. She turned back to McGonagall, who was still speaking.
"Now we will open the portal. Please step forward when I call you." McGonagall pointed her wand behind the staff table and the air shimmered, almost as it would when it came in contact with heat. Pulling out a long scroll, McGonagall called the first name.
"Abott, Hannah." Hannah walked forward uncertainly and then disappeared into the portal.
It was like first year all over again. Their last names were called out and they each stepped forward in turn, waiting to enter the game for the first time. Being that her name was near the beginning of the alphabet, Hermione was called before any of her other friends.
"Granger, Hermione." Hermione stepped forward, reassuring herself as she had done so many years ago at the Sorting Ceremony in their first year. McGonagall nodded at her kindly, encouraging her to go through the portal.
Nervously, Hermione held her breath and stepped forward towards the shimmering air. Instead of feeling a burning heat like she imagined she would, she felt a pleasant and warm feeling, like a summer breeze, ruffling her bushy brown hair. Everything went black suddenly and Hermione guessed that the portal was working its magic.
Suddenly a burst of light blinded her sensitive eyes. She held her hands in front of her face, shielding it from the burning light. Birdsong sounded around her and the smell of a recent rainfall surrounded her. The blinding light, it turned out, was the product of the brilliant summer sun. It was alien to her, as the sun in England was so much different, especially now in autumn...
Her eyes turned to her surroundings and she noticed that she was standing in a forest clearing with the other Hogwarts students that had entered the arena before her. The clearing was a blinding green, showing that it had recently rained, as her sense of smell had guessed.
As the clearing filled with more and more people and Hermione became more and more cramped, she couldn't help wondering when the signal would come so that they could hurry up and find their own camp. She found her friends and satisfied herself by talking to them until at last the signal, a shower of green sparks, showed itself above the trees.
Hermione's feet pounded against the wet ground, not caring when water and mud splashed up onto her legs. She delved again into the cover of trees, running deeper into the forest than she hoped the others would go.
She found a suitable place for a camp almost immediately. It was deep in the heart of the forest where the trees where knit together so close that the branches and leaves blocked out most of the suns rays. An ancient willow tree with its roots protruding out of the ground was situated near a small pond. She could easily fit under the roots and would have no problem camouflaging it. That would be her bed.
The pond rested nearby and was filled with small fish and scum-less water. A food and drink source all in one. She could easily build a fire with the powers she had been given and would be able to cook game easily. If she were injured, the forest would be her doctor, prescribing its many natural medications.
Hermione set about gathering moss and leaves with which she could camouflage her tree-root shelter. First she laid down the cool moss. This would act as insulation. On cold nights it would make the shelter warm and on hot nights it would absorb the heat. Next she laid down the leaves, which weren't so much for insulation as for camouflage.
Just as Hermione finished with her shelter and straightened up, she heard something that sounded like a conch horn mixed with the crackling of fire crackers. She looked up and saw a shower of green sparks. Finally, she realized what it meant.
The Game of Survival had begun.
A/N: Hope you enjoyed! Leave me comments and criticism! Do you guys like it? Should I continue? If you didn't already notice, this was inspired by "The Hunger Games" by Suzanne Collins. Go check it out! It's an amazing book! The whole series is pretty amazing!
Well, I must bid you ado for now,