So, against my better judgement, I have decided to start another multi-chapter story even though i have multiple others that are screaming for my attention. Plot bunnies, guys. They are killers. And the week before exams, too. Jeez. I don't know why I do this to myself.
For some reason, I no longer have the option of crossing stories over with the Hunger Games. It's not on the list, so that is why this is in the Supernatural archive and not the SPN/HG crossover archive.
Anyway, I know there are already stories like this out there, but none of them had what I really wanted. So I took matters into my own hands. No slash, other than mild, very mild, only if you're desperate for it, Destiel. But no more than the show regularly hints at. Hope you enjoy!
And don't expect fast updates. Just saying.
The Supernatural Games: Part 1- Before
Chapter 1: Reaping Day
It was a beautiful start to a horrible day. The sunrise streaked the clear blue sky with red, gold, and orange, and a cool spring breeze caused the trees to sway with a creaking, whispering sound. It was a perfect day, the part of May that was just beginning to ferment from spring into summer- not with the bite of lingering winter, nor with the sweltering heat of the endless summer days.
Dean Winchester wasn't usually the type to notice these sorts of things. But that was the thing about Reaping Day, he supposed. You appreciated the little things a heck of a lot more when imminent doom was hanging over your head like a guillotine.
From his place on one of the higher branches of the oak tree behind his tiny house, Dean could see most of District 7 spread out before him. To his right, he could see civilization: houses, factories, saw mills, and stores, as well as the main square and the small shape of the Justice Building. To his left, there was the forest, stretched out for all of eternity in a mass of green and brown. Most days, the forest was alive with the sound of saws and shouts and falling trees. But not today.
Dean took a deep breath. His anticipation and dread of this year's Reaping were in equal measure. He dreaded it because he had his name in more times this year than he felt comfortable with; because of the tesserae on top of the mandatory, there would be twenty-eight slips with his name in the glass ball today. But he also anticipated it, because this time next year he would be nineteen and would be able to breathe easy.
Well… easier. After all, Sam still had five Reapings to get through, including today's. And Dean wouldn't be happy until his brother was in the clear as well.
Giving the panoramic view one last look, Dean started to climb down the tree. Once with his feet firmly on the ground, he walked into his house from the back just in time to see his little brother sneak in from the front. Sam's back was turned to him as he tried to shut the door as quietly as possible, and he jumped when Dean spoke.
"Where've you been sneaking off to, Sammy?" he asked.
Sam turned around, guiltily hiding something behind his back. "It's Sam," he corrected automatically. "And I was just going for a walk."
Dean smiled knowingly. "I don't suppose this walk of yours was spent in the lovely company of a certain Jessica, was it?"
Sam's ears reddened. "What? No!"
Dean laughed. "Uh huh. Sure."
Sam glared at him. "For your information, Dean, I actually went out and bought us something for a decent breakfast." He brought out what he was hiding behind his back, and Dean's eyes widened.
"Is that pie?"
It was Sam's turn to laugh. "Yep. Apple. And it's still warm!"
Dean strode over to Sam and took the pie from his hands, breathing in the sweet smell. "You know me so well, Sammy."
"It's Sam," his brother said again. "Seriously, Dean. I just turned fourteen, like, two weeks ago. I'm way too old for that nickname."
"Well, it's Reaping Day," Dean countered. "I reserve the right to call you whatever I want."
Sam sighed but didn't argue. "I'll go wake up Dad."
"Already up." Both boys turned as John Winchester walked out of the bedroom, his hair mussed and sleep still in his eyes. "Is that pie?" he asked, echoing Dean.
"Sure is. Apple!"
Dad smiled. "Man, it's been forever since I had some of that…"
"Well, it's getting cold," Sam said. "Let's hurry up and eat it!"
And so they did, each having one piece. Dean longed to eat the whole thing, but he knew they should stretch it out to last as long as possible. He would have another piece tonight, after the Reaping- because he would still be here after the Reaping. When they were finished, Dad stood up and put the pie in the food cupboard.
"I'm going to go out and do some things," he said vaguely. "I'll see you at the Reaping. Don't be late."
"Yes, sir," his sons said in unison.
Dean watched as Dad walked out the door, not bothering to question him. He understood that he was just worried. Reaping Day was stressful for any parent, but especially for single parents. Dean wasn't sure how his father would cope if he or Sam were chosen; it was bad enough that he had never really gotten over Mom's death.
He could still remember that awful day, when Dad had shoved a six month old Sam into his arms as their small little home went up in flames. He had made it to safety outside in the cold, but that hadn't prevented him from hearing the screams.
Dean looked at Sam where he sat next to him and noticed his brother's worried, faraway gaze as he pushed a tiny crumb of pie crust around his plate. He gently nudged his shoulder against Sam's.
"You'll be fine," he said, reading his mind.
Sam turned his gaze up towards him, his eyebrows still furrowed. "You don't know that."
"Three times, Sam. Your name is in three times. That's nothing."
Sam looked down again. "It's enough."
Dean hesitated. Sam was right about that. "Hey, why don't we have some target practice? To get rid of the nerves?"
Sam offered him a little half smile. "Yeah, okay."
Within minutes the two of them were behind the house, each with an ax in hand. There was a target carved into the oak tree that loomed over them, and many deep marks where they had done this before. This sort of thing was technically illegal, but a lot of the kids around this part of the District did it anyway, as a way to show off to their peers or just blow off steam. Besides, the Peacekeepers didn't really care about it so long as it wasn't flaunted in their faces.
Dean pulled his arm back and hurled it at the tree, where it buried deep in the wood in the dead center of the target. He smirked at Sam as he went to retrieve it.
"Bet you can't beat that, little brother," he boasted.
Sam just rolled his eyes. "Please. I could do that in my sleep."
Dean stepped aside and waved his arm at the target invitingly. "Well, then, have at it."
Sam threw the ax full force, and it thudded solidly into the oak's bark. At first glance, it appeared to be exactly where Dean's had hit. Dean yanked the blade out of the trunk, and examined the marks.
"Sorry, Sam," he said in mock sympathy as he turned to face his brother's confident gaze. "You were just a little to the right. But I can't really blame you, I mean, you can't beat perfection."
Sam snorted. "You are so full of yourself."
"Nah," Dean retorted. "I'm just that awesome."
Sam laughed and Dean chuckled too, happy that he had got Sam's mind off the looming threat of the Reaping. They continued throwing axes at the target for hours, until their arms were limp and tired and hardly able to lift the heavy axes. The sun was high in the sky when they stopped, and Dean wiped sweat from his forehead as he put his axe away.
"We should get ready," he said to Sam.
Sam agreed, his face lining with worry once again. The two of them retreated inside, quickly washing up and putting on the nice but worn black pants and button-up white shirts they wore on this occasion every year. Dean, having turned eighteen, even got to wear Dad's black tie- the one he had worn to his wedding. Of course, he couldn't figure out how to get the stupid thing on right. Sam had to help him, being the genius boy he was.
"Just one more Reaping, Dean," Sam said, tightening the tie for him. "Then you'll be safe."
"I know. I'm not worried," Dean lied.
Sam gave him a disbelieving look but said nothing. Dean loosened the tie a little before reaching out a hand to ruffle Sam's shaggy brown hair.
"Hey!" he protested.
"You should cut your hair, shorty," Dean said.
Sam looked offended. "I like it like this. And I'm not that short!"
Dean looked down at him pointedly.
"I'm average," he protested. "And someday I'm going to be taller than you."
"Yeah, right. I'll believe that when I see it."
Sam glanced at the sun outside. "We should go. We don't want to be late."
Dean agreed with him there. They stepped out the front door and joined the steady, silent flow of people that headed toward the main square. He kept close to Sam, nodding to people he knew and liked but otherwise keeping his gaze fixed ahead of him. When they arrived, he gave Sam his best shot at a reassuring smile before joining the other eighteen year olds while Sam disappeared into the crowd of fourteens. At two o'clock on the dot, the mayor stepped up to microphone.
"Welcome all," he began, "To the Reaping of the sixty-seventh Hunger Games!"
As usual, the Reaping was dreadfully drawn out. The retelling of the history of Panem took awfully long, and Dean simply zoned out for the majority. He only tuned back in to the mayor's voice again once he began listing the past victors, who all stood beside him on the stage. There were more victors in District 7 than there were in most, but Dean only really knew two of them, and only because they had been friends of Dad's since he was a kid: Bobby Singer and Ellen Harvelle.
The mayor introduced the Capitol's representative, and Dean noticed that it was a new person this year. Her name, apparently, was Effie Trinket, and she was just as ridiculous as the last escort. Completely decked out in bright neon green, she walked to center stage, surprisingly sure-footed considering her heels were at least a fifth of her total height.
"Happy Hunger Games!" she bubbled into the microphone. "And may the odds be ever in your favor!"
Dean resisted the urge to roll his eyes. Capitol people always made him want to puke, what with their artificial faces and fashions and their over-the-top eagerness for bloodshed.
"Ladies first!" Effie declared, sickeningly cheery.
She went to the girls' reaping ball and dug her green-clawed hand among the thousands of slips, coming up with a single piece. Walking back to the microphone, she unfolded the paper.
"The District 7 female tribute is…"- she paused, drawing it out- "Joanna Harvelle."
Dean closed his eyes as his heart dropped into his stomach. Goddammit, not Jo. She was his age, and was one of the few girls at school that Dean respected and liked enough not to blatantly hit on. She had too much dignity for that, even as most girls practically drooled over Dean. Her family must be cursed, Dean thought, for both her and her mother to be chosen.
Effie seemed to have come to this same realization. "Why, you're the daughter of one of our victors!" she exclaimed to Jo, who was pale-faced and tight lipped as she ascended onto the stage. "Isn't that exciting!"
"Very," he could hear Jo say faintly through the microphone, and in spite of himself he couldn't help but smile a little. Even in the face of the Reaping and the worst case of luck anyone could possibly have, Jo was still being sarcastic in the Capitol's oblivious face.
"Well, let's move on to the gentlemen, shall we?" Effie said once Jo had taken her place, her blonde hair whipping around her face in the breeze as she stared straight ahead. Dean glanced at Ellen where she sat among the victors. Her hand was tightly clamped over her mouth, and she seemed to have gone stiff with shock.
Effie trotted over to the boys' reaping ball, reaching in and rummaging around for an agonizingly long time. Eventually she chose a single slip, and Dean fought hard to control his erratic heartbeat. He watched as Effie strolled back to the microphone and looked down at the paper.
"And the District 7 male tribute is…" the pause was long, so long Dean thought he would scream.
Just say it, he thought. Just say the goddamn name!
Effie looked up and plastered on a grin as she opened her mouth to deliver the fatal verdict.
That was how long it took for Dean to come back to his senses, to hear past the rushing sound in his ears, to catch his breath that had suddenly abandoned him. Ten seconds of watching Sam walk towards the stage and yet not really comprehending it. Ten seconds of seeing his face on the TV screens, pale but resolute. Ten seconds of SammySammySammyGodnonotSammypleaseanyonebutSammy running through his head. Ten seconds to realize that the most important person in his life had just been put on death row.
And after that… well, it was strange. Dean hardly remembered what happened after that. One moment he was standing among the eighteens that were giving him sympathetic looks that he couldn't stand to see, and the next he was grabbing Sam's thin wrist and pulling him back, and the fateful words were leaving his mouth.
"I volunteer as tribute!"
He heard Sam gasp. "Dean, no! Don't!"
Dean ignored him. Effie was just staring at him, not seeming to understand what was happening. He grew angry.
"Dammit, I said I volunteer!"
The venom in his tone seemed to snap Effie out of her surprise. "Oh- yes! Of course! Come on up, dear!"
He vaguely registered that Sam was trying to hold him back. "Dean, stop!"
"Go back to your place, Sam."
"I said go, Sammy," his voice shook a little on the last two syllables, but he resolutely headed up to the stage anyway.
Effie seemed slightly unsure of this new development. "Oh, um, what's your name, dear?"
Dean really wished she would stop calling him "dear". "Dean Winchester."
Effie's eyes widened. "Oh! Sibling rivalry, is it?"
Dean turned to her and gave her the brightest smile he could muster, and said, his voice dripping with sarcasm that was lost on her, "Absolutely."
"Wonderful!" Effie exclaimed, and the smile dropped off his face as soon as she turned away.
He determinedly avoided looking at Sam, instead fixing his gaze on the sky just like Jo had done. It was easier this way; he didn't have to see the pity that he hated on the faces of all the people watching. But then movement in the crowd of adults caught his eye, and he looked to see Dad pushing his way to the front, staring at him with his jaw set in silent agony and pure pain in his eyes. He looked away as his own eyes prickled and a lump grew in his throat.
The mayor began reading the Treaty of Treason, and Dean let his mind wander to the forest that he could see in the distance. He hated his job there, but not because he hated the trees; because he hated cutting them down. Part of him wished he could run away from this stage and hide deep in the forest and never come out again.
When the mayor was finished, Dean and Jo shook hands. Jo's eyes were wet, but she looked directly at him anyway and refused to let a single tear fall. The anthem of Panem began to play, and when it was over a group of Peacekeepers marched them towards the entrance of the Justice Building. Dean glanced back, just once, and caught a glimpse of Sam staring at him with wide, horrified eyes.
Then he looked forward again as the heavy wooden doors of the Justice Building slammed shut.
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