Author's Note: So, I decided to just make this chapter pretty much dedicated to Bryonny's brief journey through the Hunger Games in Challah's eyes, soooo...not gonna be very long. Plus, I wanna get back in the groove. Hehehe...

Enjoy~ (OH! Important end of chapter note on the bottom, guys)

"Hold fast to dreams,
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird,
That cannot fly."

- Langston Hughes

Chapter VII:

The Games

The Hunger Games had finished.

Like a dream, albeit a horribly grotesque one, they had ripped away twenty-three lives. And no, Bryonny Gelsey did not make it. Not even to the Final Four. The boy tribute hadn't even gotten out of the 'Bloodbath.'

I was glued to the television, always silently rooting for Bryonny to come out on top. How cool would it be if there was one more victor? One less death from District Twelve?

And so I watched.

There weren't any clear winners—people who initially caught the sponsors' attention—during the recap of the Reapings of the other districts, and so my hopes rose. Only to be dashed over and over and over again. Both by the hidden talents of the other districts compared to the glaring weaknesses in Bryonny. She didn't have any weapons training. She was no Katniss. In fact, for all of the bravado she had shown on the day she was taken, she revealed a dire handicap.

She stuttered.

Not too much, just about every other word, but it was enough. There's no confidence in a stutter, stutters were not optimal. The sponsors were immediately repulsed by her inability to string up a proper sentence without tripping over her words.

The training scores didn't help. She got the third-lowest score, a five.

And her interview with the young and virile Caesar Flickerman made me cry. Flickerman tried his best, but even he could not salvage whatever sponsors she had had left. By the end of the interview, Caesar's charismatic smile had shifted into one of sympathy, and Bryonny Gelsey was red-eared and humiliated.

The interview was fair enough to begin with, before taking a rough turn down 'No-no Land.'

"So, how have you been enjoying your time here at the Capitol?" Caesar asked. The crowd stayed silent, awaiting her answer.

"I-it's been g-g-great!" she exclaimed. The crowd cheered, seeing her stutter as shyness, adoring her even more for it.

"Aw, no need to be shy, Bryonny! We're all friends here, yeah?" The crowd roared in agreement. Instead of relaxing, Bryonny tensed even more.

"Y-Yeah." She muttered quietly. Disgustedly. But I felt like I was the only one to completely understand her tone.

When the crowd settled down, he continued. "So, what have you been up to? Any plans for when the Games start?"

"Y-Yes. Um, I am r-r-really g-g-good, um, at r-r-running a-and, um, I am c-c-confident that, um, I c-can, um, out-r-r-run any t-thing, um, out there." The whole thing took her about four minutes to get out, and by the end of her response, her face was red at her failure.

The crowd remained silent. Whether they were shaking out of their awe by her less than stellar delivery or not was uncertain. Caesar attempted to salvage the remaining couple of minutes.

"Such confidence!" He aimed a stunning smile at the crowd, prompting them to cheer as they had before. A few scattered claps were heard. "Confidence is good! One last question. What do you think you're chances are in the Hunger Games?" He leaned forward conspiratorially, as if waiting for her to share a secret.

Bryonny Gelsey opened her mouth—

"None." Deadened, defeated. So very different from the girl I had seen on that stage in District Twelve, ready and fierce as she stared out into the audience of relieved faces. Faces that were glad that she was chosen. That it wasn't a loved one this year. The people of District Twelve counted themselves as lucky. There would be no one mourning Bryonny Gelsey.

And shattered any remaining chance she had to gain sponsors.

I liked to think of that moment, as I watched the screen go blank after Caesar's customary closing statements. My face was ashen, realizing exactly what she did. Not the how, not the why, but the action itself. She didn't want to win. She didn't want to go home to a place where everyone would view her as something different.

Something dangerous.

But she didn't want to give the Capitol the satisfaction, either. Bryonny chose not to march to the Capitol's fife.

And I admired her all the more for it.

And hated her at the same time.

But mostly admired.

As I thought of my thoughts before the Hunger Games had started, I realized exactly how naïve I had been about the whole thing. These were lives. Human lives being paraded about before being thrown into an arena like those medieval gladiators. I recalled all the things I thought before the games and scoffed at them. Scoffed at thoughts that only two weeks ago would have made perfect sense for me to think, and this left me frustrated. And appalled at my ignorance.

I wouldn't think about it.

I would tuck this information in the back of my mind, because really, who would want to know all of this depressing information? I'm positive that I would go crazy if I held onto all of my past moral opinions and philosophical-istic worldviews.

…and that was the first time I had thought of these things in such detail. I promised myself that I wouldn't do such a thing.

For the sake of my sanity. I told myself.

But promises were made to be broken, and when I met that little boy with whom I shared that glance at the reaping of Bryonny Gelsey, I decided that—

Promises were made to be broken.






Sooooo sorry! It's been too long, waayyy too long. Thanks for all of my lovely peeps for stickin' with it. I'm going to work super hard for y'all! I got writer's block, then I kind of lost my muse, but I was thinking about creating a Naruto/Harry Potter crossover the other day, with Luna as the main character. 'Cuz she's seriously under-appreciated. And needs to be written. Like, ASAP.

Please forgive me, guys.

Demented Kawaii Kitten: I am soooo sorry! Feel like I've let ya down, girl. Forgive me? And about your brothers….Ugh. Hahaha, I'd go crazy, don't know how you can stand it, lol.

Ducklover2: Yes, chapter six. And now, chapter 7! xD