Alright, so... the original story got taken down from this site 'cause it was 'interactive' or something. Gr. So I'm using the same characters and just reposting it. Hope this doesn't cause too much trouble for you.
Starting right out with the Reapings.
"You are still going through with this?"
She turned to look at him, frowning slightly. "Of course. Are you backing out?"
"Of course not," he replied, an obviously fake smile crossing his face as he bowed to her. He checked his pocketwatch and offered her his arm. "Are you ready to go, my lady?"
She smiled icily at him, taking his arm. "Yes. Shall we go?"
The two of them stepped out onto the stairs, black shoes clicking on the marble steps. The giant black oak doors creaked open, sunlight streaming through it, making the dust motes glow golden. Light surrounded the two of them, and she turned to look at him. The two of them seemed like a beautiful couple, the very incarnation of perfection.
If only one could see beneath that flawless exterior...
Leywyn Averroes hated this day.
Of course, most people in Panem did. But then again, most people were not citizens of the Capitol. Nor were most people the elected Escort of said district. And Leywyn had the great honor of being both.
She straightened her blue dress and took a deep breath as she stepped onto the stage. As expected, the moment she came into view she was hit with a wall of sound from the crowd. Wincing, she stepped up to the podium and adjusted the microphone. At the very front of the crowd was a large group of teenagers, waiting expectantly. The eagerness on their faces made her stomach twist- were they really so excited to kill and possibly be killed?
Again, she hated this day. Reaping Day. Because no matter what she did, two children were going to be leaving this place tonight, and at least one of them would never return.
"Hurry it up!" someone from the back of the crowd yelled.
She refused to respond, instead picking up the glass bowl to her right. "Ladies first," she called, sticking her hand in and feeling around for a slip of paper.
Before she could withdraw a name, a tall girl with long, blonde hair stepped forward. "I volunteer."
She was the daughter of one of the richest and most influential members of District One and the most pampered girl in all of Panem. If she was volunteering, that could only mean that...
"I volunteer as well."
Everyone turned to look at the boy who had spoken. He had short, messy, dark-grey hair and a smirk on his face. The other children that had formerly been crowding the stage drew back at the sight of him, falling silent, almost as if they were afraid of him. And they had every right to be afraid, too.
"Ferro Rete," Leywyn said, dropping the piece of paper back into the bowl. He looked up at her, smirk still firmly on his face.
"Yes? That's me."
My god, he's annoying. Everyone knew who Ferro was, just like they knew who Lily was. Ferro was the bodyguard and butler of the Trintia family, so if Lily was going to volunteer for the Games, it was almost inevitable that he would as well, to protect his mistress.
I wonder if they've figured out that one of them is going to have to kill the other... because Ferro would never let anyone else kill Lily.
Leywyn forced a smile onto her face and motioned for them to follow her. "Congratulations. You two are the Tributes for District One."
Ferro's smirk widened, and Lily simply raised her chin like the stuck-up heiress she was.
I don't think I can handle this... Leywyn shuddered inwardly as she realized that she would be spending much of her time with these two for quite awhile. Crap...
Saffron brushed back her trademark orange hair, grinning at her friend Lina. "Bet I can volunteer before you do."
"Bet you can't," the blonde girl countered, scowling. "I'd have a better chance of winning, anyways."
"I doubt that. But you'll have to beat me to the Tribute spot first. It is my last year, after all. Can't miss this chance, right?"
"Hmph." Lina followed her into the town center, still looking mad. "Well, I'll still beat you."
"Yeah, right." She smiled cheekily at her best friend and rival, then sauntered off, knowing that it would enrage the younger girl.
The orderly line of teenagers shifted ever so slightly as Alia Dialogous reached into the first glass bowl. As in District One, someone stepped out of line before the Escort could say anything further.
"I volunteer," a girl said confidently. Alia noticed that she had shoved another girl backwards before coming out- no doubt making sure whoever it was couldn't contest her claim to Tribute.
"Saffron Jelikson," Alia said, smiling at her approvingly. She has a chance, at least, unlike some of the weaker members of this District. "Boys next!"
Alia blinked in surprise. Never mind what I said before. There is no way Saffron can win now.
"Andrew Clanculum," she said, switching her wide smile to him. Andrew Clanculum, indeed. Now that is someone I can really see winning. All of her approval had been diverted to him, since he had a much greater chance at winning these Games. Having him win would mean that she would have a chance at a promotion to District One and finally get her out of this District. He seemed to know what she was thinking, and a shiver went down her back as his soft brown eyes met hers.
There was a sinister air about him, and she got the sense that he was someone who wouldn't hesitate to kill to get what he wants.
Perfect. He is going to win this one for me.
She left the stage, followed by the two Tributes.
Millienna Roberts yawned and rubbed her eyes, sitting up in bed. "Coming, Grant!" She pushed the blankets aside and yanked off her nightgown, brown hair spilling down her back. Her eyes fell on the yellow dress draped over her desk chair and she remembered what today was.
"Better hurry up, Millie!" her older brother shouted up the stairs impatiently.
"On my way!" She slid into the dress and zipped it up, glancing in the mirror just long enough to notice how messy her hair was. Ah well, there wasn't anything she could do about it right now.
Her brother glanced up as she hurtled down the stairs, skipping the last step for luck. "You ready?"
"Yeah," she replied, ignoring her growling stomach. She didn't have time for breakfast, so when she (hopefully) came back home she would make Grant cook her his amazing pancakes. "Do I look alright?"
"Yeah. Let's go!" He grabbed her hand and pulled her out the door, smiling at her.
"Good luck!" Mikael called from an upstairs window. Grant and Millie were the last two members of the Roberts family that were eligible for Reaping, and since Grant was eighteen, if he got through this year he would be safe. Neither of Millie's other three brothers were worried, but Millie was terrified that Grant would be Reaped.
The two of them joined a large group of other children who were making their way down to the town center.
Please, please, let him not be picked, Millie prayed. He's so close...
Pyce Ocutus glared at the rowdy crowd as he hobbled onstage, leaning heavily on his cane. The old man had been the Escort for District Three for twenty years and wasn't planning to leave any time soon, but that didn't stop him from being as bad-tempered as ever on Reaping Day.
Without preamble, he thrust his hand into the girl's bowl and withdrew a piece of paper. "Millienna Roberts!" he called.
A boy in the second row gasped and turned to look at the girl standing next to him, an expression of shock and dread on his face. The girl's only reaction was a slight tensing of her shoulders and a sudden clenching of her fists.
Pyce pocketed the slip of paper- he collected them, and pasted them into a book when he got back to his house- and proceeded to grab another piece from the boy's bowl. "Servic Gearwhir!"
A pale boy in the front row jumped in surprise. Sweat broke out across his face and he started twitching. Pyce stared at him, not feeling even the tiniest bit of pity for the little boy.
Despite their obvious fear, both Tributes managed to follow him out.
"Rydel, you idiot-"
The brown haired boy tilted his head at his little sister, a good-natured smile on his face. "What's the matter, Delilah?"
"We have to be at the Reaping in five minutes and you decided to go swimming?" The eleven-year-old put her hands on her hips and planted her feet, glaring up at her older brother.
He frowned at her. "So? I'm back now, aren't I?"
"Yes, with your feet all muddy and your shorts all wet. Ugh!" She gave an exasperated groan and threw him a collared shirt. "Here. Put this on and let's go, or we'll be late."
"You're coming?" he asked, surprised, as he pulled on the shirt. Delilah and her twin brother, Leighton, would be eligible for Reaping next year, but this year neither of them had to go.
"Of course I am. Leighton will meet us there. Now let's go!" She paused and straightened his collar. "There. Now you're at least halfway presentable. C'mon."
He followed her out the door, laughing.
"Hello everybody!" Ayla Nicea cheered into the microphone, dyed blue hair flopping forward into her face. "Y'all excited?"
If the energetic twenty-two year old was bothered by the unenthusiastic response, she didn't show it. "All right, y'all know the drill. Girls then boys!" She reached down, hot-pink nails flashing in the sunlight, and plucked out a slip of paper.
The cameramen turned to focus on a frozen, green-eyed girl. She was clearly terrified, face bloodless and hands shaking, but she was doing an admirable job of holding it together in front of the cameras.
"Congratulations, Averi. Now~," she shuffled the papers in the other bowl and pulled one out-, "Rydel Dewleaf!"
Everyone turned to look at the source of this outburst. A little girl was clinging to her brother, glaring at Ayla. The boy gently loosened her grip, muttering something softly in her ear. She let him go and watched him walk away, tears welling up in her eyes.
"Leo, do you think I'm going to get picked this year?" Julia looked up at her boyfriend as they walked down the gravel driveway of his home on the outskirts of town.
"Hey, hey, stop worrying about it," he said reassuringly. "I mean, your name's only in there three times. The chances of you getting picked are about one to-"
She cut him off before he could tell her the odds, since math always made her feel dumb. "That's okay, then. But just in case, I want a kiss."
He did so eagerly, wrapping his arms around her happily.
She broke off, smiling, after a few seconds. "We'd better go, or Mom will wonder where I am."
"And we wouldn't want that, would we?" he asked, laughing as they ran down the path together to the town center.
Huilan Tarses sighed as he limped onto the stage. A survivor of a past Hunger Games himself, being the Escort for District Five was nothing more than a yearly duty, a way to escape the responsibility of being a Tribute's mentor. At least as an Escort all he had to do was bring them to the Capitol and, on the off chance that they did win, lead their Victory Tour.
"Ladies first," he said. Funny how a lot of District Escorts said that, he reflected as her pulled out the first slip of paper that his hand landed on. "Julia Rikerson!"
Unlike a lot of other Escorts, he knew the majority of the kids personally. So when he read the name on that paper, he felt a pang of pity for the poor girl and her boyfriend.
And now for the boys... He did the same for the other bowl and realized, as he read the name, that it wasn't just Julia he should be feeling sorry for. "Leonard Cryonars!"
Whispers ran through the crowd. Everyone knew that Julia and Leo were dating, so having both of them picked for the same Games was... like the beginning of a soap opera, honestly. But it should make for good watching, at least.
Unless, of course, both of them died completely randomly. In which case it would only be their families that suffered.
They followed him off the stage, holding hands and talking urgently to each other.
Hmm... what should I wear today? Zana Listal thought, staring at her closet.
Anything that makes your boobs look big, she answered herself, smirking. The truth being that said body parts needed very little augmentation as it was. She selected the long green dress- the one that made her hazel eyes look brown- and slid into it.
"I'm so totally ready for this!" she muttered to herself as she glanced in the mirror. Below her, she could hear her brothers arguing in the kitchen, Max's voice coming through the floor loud and clear.
"I don't care what you want. You have to do as I say since I'm the older brother and-"
She sighed and went over to her window. The shutters creaked as she opened them, and she carefully swung one leg over, feeling around for the rough bark of the tree branch that stretched right under her bedroom window.
If they're going to be the idiots they usually are, I'm gonna go to the Reaping alone, she thought, annoyed, as she closed the window behind her. The ground was close enough to jump to without hurting herself, so that was what she did.
Satisfied at her escape, she set off down the path, humming to herself.
"Is everybody here? Raise your hand if you aren't here-" Lonnoc Kedair laughed weakly at her own joke before clearing her throat and rolling up her sleeve. "Welcome to the Reaping for the 98th Hunger Games. Ladies first~"
A hush fell over the crowd, which was a rather more sizable one than the other districts could boast. District Six was one of the largest in Panem, so the number of children eligible for Reaping was proportionally bigger.
Then, without pausing, she reached into the other bowl. "Cole Everain!"
"No, wait!" A pale boy with messy brown hair stepped forward, a determined expression on his face. "I volunteer!"
"Jack?" said a boy next to him, looking at his brother incredulously. "What the hell are you doing-"
"Just trust me, Cole. I promise I'll-"
"Never mind that," Lonnoc said, stepping off the stage and grabbing the younger boy's hand. "Come with me. You too, Zara."
"Zana. My name's Zana."
Fiore was already at the town center, watching the others come in. In her mind, it was bad form to be late to something like this, hence her presence an hour ago, long before the ceremony was supposed to begin.
She folded her arms as a group of chattering kids came in, violet eyes narrowing. They were late.
Then again, so was the Escort, which was just terrible. Of course, he was always late, so...
Finally, the Escort came onstage. Denki Havreii was a huge, wide-shouldered man with very dark skin and shoulder-length black hair. He nodded to the mayor, who was standing near the front of the crowd, then reached into the nearest bowl.
She froze, hoping against hope that she had heard him wrong. Evidently she hadn't, since the girl next to her gave a sickeningly false sympathetic smile to her before turning back to the stage.
Denki had drawn from the boy's bowl by this point. "Walter Redwoods!" he called, then motioned for them to follow him out.
Walter was a tall, burly boy with curly brown hair, and he looked as upset as Fiore felt.
Heck, at least I'm not the only one who's afraid, ne? she thought as they left, following Denki.
"Yes?" He rolled over to face the girl, rubbing his eyes. Sunlight was streaming through a gap in the curtains, falling across the bed and making the girl's red hair light up.
"Don't you remember what today is?"
"Yeah, yeah..." he muttered as he threw off the sheets and sat up. He stretched and yawned, the flicked on the lamp next to his bed. "Hey, I had a great time last night, sweetie. But I gotta go, and so do you. So we'd better get dressed."
"Well, I was the one who woke you up," she pointed out. "If it were up to you, you'd snore right through the Reaping. And then where would you be?"
"Mmph..." He shrugged on a rumpled shirt and turned to face her. "You have to go too. Hop out the window so my mom doesn't see."
"All right~" She smiled at his flirtatiously before opening the window and slipping out. He watched her go, running a hand through his hair and not smiling back at her.
Once again, a girl that wanted to sleep with me simply because I could convince her to. And I bet you anything she'll come back tomorrow night, begging to come back in. Why can't any of them understand that I just don't want to be tied down like that? Stupid, helpless girls...
He pulled on a pair of pants and opened his bedroom door. The smell of bacon hit his nose, but he had to be at the town center in ten minutes, so breakfast would have to wait.
"Be back soon, Mom!" he called over his shoulder as he left, pulling the door closed firmly. He took a deep breath of the cool morning air, still a bit disoriented. After squinting around for a few moments, he set off, waving to his the little old lady that lived next door.
"Don't get Reaped," she yelled from her front porch, where she was watering her plants.
"Don't worry, I won't!" he called back, smiling.
"H-hi everybody... I'm Tryssa Chen and I'm the new E-escort for District Eight. You know how this works, r-right?" The young lady looked at the crowd shyly, twisting a strand of her long blonde hair with her right hand. "Ladies first."
She reached down to the very bottom of the bowl and picked out a piece of paper. "Cristina Valentina!"
The girl that the cameras turned to look at was only twelve years old. The crowd muttered sympathetically as an older woman, presumably Cristina's mother, burst into tears.
"U-um... now for the b-boys," Tryssa stuttered, unnerved by this display of emotion. She hurriedly grabbed a slip of paper, dropping it in her haste. She blushed a brilliant red when the mayor bent to get it for her. "S-sorry, sir. Fleece Winower!"
The majority of the girls in the audience gasped or fainted (or, in some cases, both) as the cameras focused on a handsome seventeen year old. He followed Tryssa and Cristina out, dwarfing both of them.
"Where are you going, Kyla?"
The black-haired girl turned to face her two-year-old brother, smiling kindly. "I have to go somewhere, Bentley."
He looked up at her, frowning. "Can I come?"
"No, not today." She knelt down and hugged him, doing her best to keep her dress from getting crumpled. It had been her mother's, and it fit Kyla perfectly. She wanted to take good care of it, even though her mother was no longer alive to get mad if she messed it up.
"Where are you going?" he asked her, sucking his thumb.
"To the town hall."
"Okay," he said. "Will you come back soon?"
"Of course. I promise." She kissed him on the head. "Be good, Bentley."
Dina Elfiki glared at the crowd through her thick-lensed glasses until they were so quiet that any passing librarians would have been impressed. "Ladies first," she finally said, unceremoniously grabbing a piece of paper and unfolding it.
The cameras turned to face a short girl standing alone at the edge of the crowd. Her mouth had dropped open in shock and she was staring at Dina in absolute disbelief.
Dina ignored her and sternly pulled out another slip. Peering over the top of her glasses, she read, "Romulus Pace."
A smiling boy in the back looked up. "Ehh... really? That kinda sucks. Ha ha..."
Everyone stared at him a he scratched his head, still grinning.
"Follow me." Dina walked off, shoes clacking on the wooden stage, not even looking back to see if they obeyed her.
Lysander had to get up at four a.m. to milk the cows anyways, so he was one of the first to the Reaping. Anita, their prime milking cow had been ornery as usual, and had kicked him as he was milking her. He rubbed his aching shoulder and smiled wryly at the pain that throbbed under the surface- you'd think that by now he'd have learned to dodge her feet when she tried to kick him like that. There was definitely going to be a bruise.
"Lysander, Lysander, wherefore art thou, Lysander?"
"Wrong play," he replied, not even turning around. "That's Romeo and Juliet."
"Still fun to say," his brother replied, coming up behind him and putting his arm around him. "Could be worse, right? You could've been named for someone else from that play... say, Oberon. Then we could've called you a fairy."
Lysander slapped his hand away. "Stop it." He hated it when his brothers made fun of his name- it wasn't his fault that his mother had decided to name him after a character in some play by a some ancient dead guy called Shakespeare. And his two brothers had nice, normal names... Jonathan and Richard. And he got stuck with Lysander.
"Hey, hey, that cute chick is coming onstage!"
"Her name is Melora Pazler, not 'that cute chick'." But the Escort for District Ten was indeed coming onstage, which meant that the Reaping was about to begin.
The woman wobbled on with those ridiculously high heels that she always wore. Her blood-red lips stretched in a smile as she reached into the first bowl. "Ready for this, people? Want to know who's going to the Games this year?" She didn't even wait for an answer, unfolding the paper and calling out, "Eve Epstein!"
A girl in the middle of the crowd gasped, and a little girl next to her hugged her reassuringly. Melora smiled at her kindly before pulling out the boy's name.
Whoa. That's me.
He forced a calm expression onto his face, telling himself it was better that he go than someone younger. At least he had a shot, small though it may be, at winning.
Nikolaus ran around the field one more time, then slowed to a walk, drinking thirstly from his water bottle. Running before breakfast was kind of a ritual for him: he found that it helped him concentrate more on whatever he was doing that day, be it schoolwork or helping out at home.
He started walking back to his house, watching the sun rise over the treetops. His breath made a grey mist rise around his face- the morning air was still cool, even at this time of year.
Once he was home, he shrugged out of his sweaty shorts and into a nicer pair of pants. He could hear his father's drunken snores emanating from the next room, and shuddered at the thought of coming home to his cranky hangover.
Maybe I'll ask Dylan if I can hang out at his place, after the Reaping.
Satisfied with this solution, he shrugged on a jacket and left the house, pocketing the key.
Ranul Kerul was on crutches from a recent run-in with a neighbor's dog, but he still managed to hobble across the stage and up to the microphone. "For the twelth year, I stand here as your Escort. I have seen many children pass through on their way to the Capitol, ands some-"
Someone in the back yelled, "Oh, get over yourself and just pick the names!"
"Well, if you insist." Ranul pocketed his speech- it was only three pages long- and, with an elaborate flourish, pulled out a name form the first bowl. "Irulan Deelastani!"
A small girl in the back burst into tears, and the girl next to her stood up, shouting, "I volunteer!"
"And you are-?" Ranul inquired, pulling out a pen and crossing out the name on the paper he held.
"Driania Anastasia Deelastani. But you can call me Anya."
He nodded, made a note on the paper, and turned to the next bowl. He unfolded the second piece slowly and dramatically. everyone rolled their eyes. They were quite used to his staged, overly dramatic actions, since they had to deal with it every year.
"Nikolaus Hendricks!" He paused to give the cameras time to focus on Nikolaus, then turn back to him before continuing, "You two may only be children, but the honor of participating in the Hunger Games has been thrust upon your back. I want to-"
"SHUT UP!" at least three different people yelled. He wilted, and sighed heavily.
"If you two will follow me..."
Tinder checked, then double-checked his outfit. The shirt was rather threadbare, and the pants were an inch too short, but it was the best he had. And it was important that he look his best today, considering what he was planning.
He stood in front of the floor-length mirror in his room, admiring himself. He had muscular arms, strong legs, and a not-too-bad face. Overall, he was someone that girls might fall for- had he had the time to attract girls.
He adjusted his sleeves so that the scars on his arms were clearly visible. It was vital that he look intimidating on camera this year.
Finally satisfied, he ran his fingers over his shaved head, making sure it was smooth enough. Then he looked at the watch on his wrist for a few seconds before taking it off. He wouldn't be needing it.
He thumped down the stairs, whistling. His mother and father were in the dining room- he walked past them without saying goodbye. They didn't know what he had planned, though they had to have some kind of a suspicion, seeing as he had been preparing for this day for a long time.
Jean Vale smiled at the crowd, silently noticing how subdued they were. This has got to be the least enthusiastic District in all of Panem. Ah, well, I suppose they have every reason to be.
"Let's get this over with," he said, trying to show them that he hated this as much as they did. Their gazes grew no less cold, however, and he sighed and pulled out a slip of paper from the first bowl, then pulled out another from the boy's bowl.
"Rosemarie Mariosta and Adrian Aventine."
"Wait!" A tall boy stepped out, a confident smile on his face. "I volunteer."
Gasps and whispers raced through the crowd like fire through coal dust. Most of them were probably variations on, 'What's he doing, that's suicide!"
But Jean knew this boy, from past Reapings. Tinder Cole Sedenworth was something very rare: a District Twelve Career.
From what he had heard, the boy had started training at age seven and his goal had been to win the Games. Since he was now eighteen, he had evidently decided that this was the year to enter.
"All right, then. If you two could follow me..."
They did so, Rosemarie staring at the boy with obvious surprise. Jean was surprised as well, though he liked to think that he hid it a bit better.
This should be an interesting Game, he thought, shaking his head.
And... end chapter. Next one will be the Tributes' meeting thingy with family/friends...
Hope you enjoyed it. Please review.