Kegan Capiton, Victor of the 64th Hunger Games
Snap. Snap. Snap.
Kegan felt his stomach twist into a knot and he spun around in his chair, looking for the source of the noise. His eyes settled on the face of Alana Nolan, his boss. In her hands she was holding a broken stick, which she proceeded to snap in half several more times. Kegan gritted his teeth as he tried not to let it show how much that noise bothered him, but he found little success.
"Please stop that," he pleaded quietly.
"Why? Does it bother you Capiton?" Alana asked, a cruel smile stretching across her lips.
"Yes. Yes it does," Kegan replied unhappily.
"You know what it reminds me of?" Alana asked as she broke the stick again. "The sound your District partner's neck made when it snapped in half."
Kegan closed his eyes, as he tried to keep his breathing even. He had to put up with this god awful torture every day, but this time of the year seemed to be the worst. See, Kegan worked at the Nut as per the direct order of President Snow. Alana had been placed there under the specific instructions to make sure that he was doing his job to the best of his abilities. Usually she didn't have much to complain about. Kegan was the smartest citizen of District Two in decades. Alana couldn't comprehend his notebook even if she tried.
The problem was that tomorrow was reaping day. He would be a mentor of course; he won the Games two years ago, and they liked it when the mentors were younger. That meant that he wouldn't be able to work though for the following month. Even if he technically didn't do anything wrong, a month of vacation time was the perfect excuse for Alana to start making things worse for him. God, he hated her.
"May I ask you your point in telling me this," Kegan asked unhappily.
"No point, just an observation," Alana smiled.
"Then I am going to have to ask you to leave," Kegan said. "I'm in the middle of outlining that new laser we were discussing. I need to focus."
"How much progress have you made since my last check in," Alana asked, her tone switching back over to business mode.
"A moderate amount," Kegan answered.
"Will you finish before you leave?" she went on.
"Probably not," he replied.
"Then I will expect you to work on it while you're away. If your tribute dies as early as Brody did last year, than you should have plenty of free time over in the Capitol anyway," she said.
Kegan sighed, but nodded. Last year he had mentored a fit eighteen year old named Brody Rodgers. He had never liked Brody when he was in training, but he had worked rediculously hard trying to bring him home. Brody was supposed to volunteer the year Kegan won, but they had switched due to some extrenhuating circumstances. It had been the least Kegan could do for the guy. Alana thought it was hilarious that Brody had died on day three. Although even she wasn't all that happy that Finick Odair had won from Four.
Suddenly there was a knock at the door, and a burly guy stepped in. "Mam Ms. Carramay is here for Mr. Capiton," he said.
Kegan's eyebrows shot up. He wasn't expecting Zia for another half an hour. "I think I have to leave then," Kegan muttered as he rose to his feet. Just as Alana opened her mouth to protest he gathered up his work. "I will come back ready to begin construction."
He flew from his office before Alana had a chance to stop him. Jogging out of the building, Kegan quickly found Zia sitting underneath a tree waiting for him. "Hey," he called to her wearily.
"Hey," she smiled back. "How bad was she today?"
"Bad," Kegan answered.
Zia frowned as Kegan helped her to her feet. "Are you okay?" she asked tentatively. Kegan shrugged, and Zia slipped her hand through his.
After his Games, Kegan had been left a broken mess. His district partner had sacrificed herself so that he could win. The memory of it tormented Kegan constantly, but worse than the morbid nightmares he retained about his awful time in that arena, the thing that bothered him the most was the uncertainty regarding why she did it. He didn't remember a time when the two of them didn't hate each other. Her sacrifice still haunted him today.
Zia had been helping him cope with it though. She had been Chateaux's best friend once, before Kegan knew her. Zia offered him a kind of explanation that made some sort of sense of the broken pieces of his memories. But even after he had heard all of her stories and discussed the topic of Chateaux to death, he hadn't stopped visiting Zia. Then last year after he had come home from a month of unsuccessful mentoring, she had become more to him than just a friend. Along with his sister, Chastel, she was one of the few people that made him feel sane again.
"Have you visited the training center recently? To find out who you're going to be mentoring this year. The dean would already have the two tributes picked out," Zia said, as the two started the fifteen minute walk to Victor's Village.
"No, I don't want to know until the reaping. That way I won't have a face to have nightmares about yet," Kegan muttered in response. Zia sighed, resting her head on his shoulder.
"Just wait a few more years," she said quietly. "It will be better once you don't have to mentor anymore."
Kegan smiled a little. That was his Zia, always the optimist. According to her, things would always be getting better in the future. "If you say so," he replied doubtfully. Of course, if he was being honest about things, then he would tell her that he knew, things would never truly get better.
A/N: Hello one and all. So some of you already know this, but this is the, sequel to Fading to Darkness. If you feel like reading about Kegan's games, then go check it out on my profile. If not (cause its a pretty long story) then you won't have to read it in order to understand this story. Also in case you haven't noticed, this will be the 66th Hunger Games, not the 65th. I know that Fading to Darkness was the 64th, but if I wrote this as the 65th that would mean that Finnick would never have won his Games, and de-cannonizing Finnick would be a crime
Book cover for this story belongs to Zouavman le Zouave, I found it on wikimedia