The pain in his leg was slowing him down, Harry knew.
The cut that had been gifted to him by Cashmere had been forgotten, until he felt a numbness in his leg that made him stumble and limp, though walking behind the others, none of them realised. It was adrenaline, keeping it from hurting, and the pain had returned ten-fold. Briefly, he wondered if it was possible to bleed out from such a small wound, especially what with how sluggishly it was bleeding.
Then he remembered, it doesn't matter anyway.
Though he could help, there was no aim to keep him alive in this. It was all about katniss, katniss, keep the girl on fire burning brightly, and thus their lives were on line for hers. Briefly, the thought of casting a healing charm spread through his mind, but it would look strange to the others who knew about it. Healed so quickly, without the miraculous cream the Capitol kept on hand? It just didn't work like that. He doubted a quick episkey would work, anyway, and he didn't know any other healing spells.
So he endured, followed behind the others as Peeta cut vines, branches and leaves, Katniss following and Finnick carrying Mags on his back, breathing becoming laboured as they walked along. Though none of them knew how long the arena went for, or what was waiting for them in the lurking shadows, their main objective was water and shelter. Anything that could keep them alive.
That's how it worked, after all – as much as Harry hated it.
"Do you want me to—?" Harry gestured to Mags, who was still being carried on Finnick's back, her head resting on his shoulder – in tiredness or to give and receive comfort, Harry didn't know. The bright blond shook his head, but he smiled.
"I've got her. Wouldn't be much of a Victor if I couldn't carry her this far, would I?" It was a sad attempt at humour, but both appreciated the conversation nonetheless. It took their minds off of their possible impending doom, or what they would have to do to one another for one of them to get out of here alive, Harry figured.
"More of one than—" A shout from Katniss ('Peeta, no!') cut him off, and Peeta's body throwing the group back from his collision stopped him even further. The world was thrown sideways for only a minute, until Harry pushed himself back up, sword in hand and looking around for danger.
It wasn't until he saw the barrier, the one that sat around the arena, fixing itself that he realised what happened, and he swore. "Finnick," he said emphatically, gesturing towards the downed teen as he placed himself near Mags. The noise could have drawn anyone's attention, and he didn't know if the other Victors were anywhere near them.
The District 4 Victor was moving even before Harry could say anything, and as much as Harry wanted to turn around and see what was happening (Peeta had to live), he can't. Someone has to guard, and the other four in their group are in no position to do so.
Katniss's distraught words are overwhelming. They remind Harry of a war long since finished, of friends lost, of a family of redheads leaning over one of their own, some crying silently and others not so much.
Briefly, he wondered how the Weasleys were doing, before brushing it off. There was no way for him to return to them, not now that he was here in Panem, so there was no use lingering on a past he could never return to. Not when there were other, more important things that needed to be focused on.
Thankfully, there were no rustles in the bushes, no approaching footsteps. They were safe for now, despite the commotion that had been caused by Peeta's hitting the force field and Katniss's cries for him. Harry looked to Mags, smiled at her when she looked at the others worriedly. Always the mother, despite her lack of children – though, he supposed all of her Victors, all the children she mentored, would always be her children. Somehow, Harry had been adopted into that fold, despite the fact that he originated from 6.
"Harry," Finnick said, approaching with a breath of relief. He was looking at Katniss and Peeta as if he had discovered something amazing, a miracle he'd never thought he would witness again.
Harry knew what he was thinking.
"He's okay?" he asked, looking to the blond as well now. If something had happened to Peeta, Harry didn't think he would have been able to forgive himself. After all, he was here to get them all out – everyone he could – and having one of them die so early on…
Well, he always did have a hero complex.
"A little worse for wear," the other Victor replied, seeming as bad himself. Almost losing someone and having their life on your shoulders could do that. "But he'll be okay."
He was standing, at least – being held in Katniss's arms as she tried to pull herself together, but standing nonetheless. It was better than how he had been mere minutes ago.
"We should get moving." Peeta said, though he didn't loosen his grip on his fellow Victor.
So they moved, with Katniss occasionally throwing a rock in front of her to find where the force field was. It was a dome, hardly hard to figure out, but they could walk around at the edge like this. Whether or not the other tributes were near them was unsure, but it was a risk they had to take.
It was calm, almost tranquil, something Harry thought he could never experience in an arena like this.
Soon, Katniss told them to wait as she climbed a tree. Nothing seemed to happen for a while, before she was down and telling them about how it really was a dome, and that there was no sign of water as far as she could see. It was disheartening, but they agreed to set up camp. It was getting dark, and there was nothing else for them to do, unless they wanted to trip and stumble their way through the forest and possibly hurt themselves even more than they already were.
"Harry and I can take first watch," Finnick said, intending to leave no room for debate but being rebuffed by Katniss nonetheless.
"Not a chance," she said, seeming to be disgusted and amused by the idea of being vulnerable around two people she neither knew nor trusted. Finnick just seemed affronted by her distrust, though Harry understood where the girl was coming from. It was hard to trust anyone, in a place of inevitable murder. She probably thought they would off her and Peeta in their sleep.
"Honey," Finnick started, and Harry sighed. "That thing I did back there for Peeta? That's called saving his life. If I wanted to kill either of you—"
It was after this, that Harry stepped in, placing one hand on Finnick's back to prevent him from saying anything else, and staring the Girl on Fire down. Though he sympathised with her, and he did understand why she didn't trust them, now wasn't the time to start arguing with one another. The fact that she was acting stubborn enough to annoy Finnick wasn't helping anyone.
"We're not going to hurt you, Katniss," he murmured sincerely. "You're both our allies. That might not mean anything to some people, but to us it does. We're going to be on first lookout. You two get some rest."
With that, he pulled Finnick to the outskirts of their camp, making sure to keep an eye on the other two, Peeta who was going to rest and Katniss who looked as if she would be staying up with them. Mags was going to be with Finnick and Harry. Though Harry had already set up a weak ward around them, he didn't want to risk anything, so he made sure to keep his senses on alert as much as he could.
"She's a stubborn one," Harry sighed, rubbing the back of his wetsuit against his forehead to remove some of the sweat there. It stung the old scar that would never fully heal, but he ignored it. Always did, always had to. "A lot like me," He then commented.
There was a moment of silence, before Finnick replied, "A lot like every Victor. Stubbornness is what gets you out of here." And Harry couldn't disagree with that. If you weren't stubborn, didn't stick out for as long as you could, the chances of you actually getting out of the arena were slim. There was a reason why most of the current Victors were headstrong and brash. It was what kept them alive.
"She loves him."
Harry looked over to Finnick curiously, hands spinning his sword around carefully as he did so. "Yeah?" He said, as if he didn't know it already.
"You saw how she reacted when he hit that force field. If she didn't love him, she wouldn't have reacted so strongly. She's ready to die for him."
They all were, Harry supposed. Peeta was good. There was so much light in him that Harry was surprised he'd managed to keep it, after being in the Games. It was something they all wanted to preserve, for as long as they could. Finding good and light and kindness like that in someone, anyone, these days was a difficult task.
If Katniss was the fire, Peeta was the soothing oasis.
(And they do say that opposites attract.)
"Get some sleep, Harry. Fire girl over there isn't going to be sleeping any time soon, and you could use some rest. Your leg must be killing you."
Harry hadn't really realised it until it had been pointed out, but even though it had slowed to a dull throb, there was still a good amount of pain in his leg. Though he had been able to ignore it until now, more adrenaline pushing him along, there wasn't much he could do to ignore it now that they were sitting down. So he wasn't going to object to some rest, despite every bone in his body telling him to stay awake.
Finding a comfortable place on the moss and leaf covered floor, he fell asleep.
Briefly, he woke to see which Victors had died already, but his wakefulness didn't last long, and he fell asleep again soon after—
—only to wake to the sound of gongs echoing around the arena. He sat up, just as everyone else did. Though Mags tried to get back to sleep after silence fell again, a feeling of dread settled into Harry's stomach. Everything in the arena always held some sort of significance. This couldn't be any difference.
Just as he thought that, a tree was struck by lightning, numerous times.
"If you're not gonna sleep, I will," Finnick said.
Harry stayed awake and alert, unable to fall asleep again.
It was almost peaceful again, but those good things never last. And then the fog came. Katniss reached into it, but pulled her hand back as if it hurt her… with boils over her hand and pain etched onto her features.
They were both moving before they even realised what it was, Harry shoving Finnick awake with a hissed wake up, wake up now, Finn! and Katniss screaming about the fog.
Mags was lifted by Finnick, and Harry could barely move, the pain in his leg having tripled. But he moved on, wishing he knew some better healing spells than episkey, following the others as they ran through the forest and tried to escape from the killing fog.
Finnick slowed slightly, looking panicked as he peered back to Harry, who was limping in a quick run behind him. "Come on, Harry."
"Just go, hurry!" Harry shouted, almost tripping on vines and falling into the fog again. Finnick was just in front of him, couldn't move any further, and god, Mags was there as well. They were all falling, couldn't get any further, and Harry felt useless laying on the floor and feeling the fog get closer to them. He was behind the others, it was closer to them, crawling up his limbs…
Peeta couldn't move, Katniss couldn't carry him, Finnick was weak already, and Mags—
"Mags… Mags! Mags!" Finnick was screaming for her, Harry trying to push himself away from the fog as it closed in around him, and before he could do anything for the eldest Victor…
Mags had already walked into the fog, and moments later, a cannon sounded.
"No," he croaked, feeling the fog creeping up his legs and infecting his already painful wound. All he could do was claw his way away from it, towards the others where Katniss was telling Finnick, we have to go, now!
Finnick and Harry lifted Peeta with most of the latter's weight behind rested on Finnick, and they ran further away from the fog even as it tried to close around them, Katniss leading the way.
The fog caught up anyway, clawed violently at their backs, and all they could do was fall.
a/n: almost a year later and i finally updated... thank you all for your support! i really appreciate your faves/follows, and it's reviews and seeing that people still enjoy the story that kick my muse into being.
so hey, wink wink nudge nudge, you should totally review and tell me what you thought of this chapter! (and tell me what you thought of mockingjay as well!)
also, i think i explained why harry didn't use his magic enough in this chapter, but: he's disoriented. he can't heal his leg because he doesn't know enough healing spells, and it's a pretty bad wound - episkey is for smaller things, not what he's got. he couldn't help mags because the fog and the pain he was in distracting him so that he couldn't carry mags by himself or with his magic. i think that's a reasonable explanation.