Chapter 1 : The Reaping
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All the characters that I use in this story are going to be canon. You can search them up if you don't believe me. The line/s Welcome, welcome are from the Hunger Games movie (Lionsgate) and is said by Effie Trinket. I do not own it!
Anyway, reviews are greatly appreciated with this story, critic, praise, anything! :)
I hope you like it!
The day of the reaping had to come around. It was inevitable. But everyone in every district was in denial until the day finally arrived. It was that one day of the year that everyone wanted to forget about that. It meant saying goodbye to your best friend; your child; your grandchild; your schoolmate. It didn’t matter who’s names were pulled out of the pristine glass jar, somebody lost someone. Somebody lost a friend; somebody lost a child. Sooner or later, everybody lost someone. The Capitol called it the day of reaping, we called it the day of loosing. I’ve lost more people then I could care to remember, when I was eleven, I lost my brother when we were both eleven; a boy from Two killed him with jagged knife. When I was fourteen, my best friend lost his brother to a girl in Five. At the age of sixteen, I lost a schoolmate of mine, I can’t remember his name exactly but I that knew we had Potions together once or twice. Even though I didn’t know his name I still attended his funeral. Now, I am seventeen. It’s the last year that my name is being put in the reaping bowl. I’m just praying that the odds are in my favor this year. Apparently they weren’t. The morning of the reaping went through as per normal. I got into my best clothes and made sure that my shirt didn’t have any holes in it. After I made sure that I was looking pristine I waited for the peacekeepers to take me to the town square. My palms were sweating, what if I got picked? I had a whole life ahead of me: a life of marriage and children. A life of living. If I got chosen then it would all be taken away from me. I hated the Capitol, President Grindelwald. All of them. I hated them. It was sick. What they were doing to us was awful. And all of it was because they needed entertainment. Screw for ‘the good of the people’ or to ‘conform us’. The Capitol wanted entertainment.
Those sick, moronic people.
“Welcome, welcome.” Those horrible words jolted me out of my thoughts. Welcome, Welcome it was only the start. Even after all these years those words made me shudder. Even though those two words, those two syllable words, were probably the most harmless words that have ever been, or ever will be, spoken on the Reaping Day. I suppose it was because those were the first words of the Reaping. Those words welcome, welcome started it all. It started the bloodbath and the screams; it started the tears and the words left unsaid; it started the last, ‘I love you’s.
The video began to play with DoloresbloodyUmbridge mouthing the words behind her microphone. She did that every time. It drove me mad It was showing why the games started, how the games started. How people found this entertainment I’ll never know. In an attempt to calm myself down, I looked around and saw a sea of familiar faces. They all looked as worried as I knew I did.
Marlene McKinnon was standing in the line, twisting her hair between her fingers. I didn’t want her to get picked.
Behind her, stood Hestia Jones. She had too much to live for, her family needed her and she knew it. I didn’t want her to get picked.
At the front of the line stood Remus Lupin. He didn’t have any family but his friends needed him. He couldn’t handle his ‘furry little problem’ in the arena anyway. I didn’t want him to get picked.
Mary McDonald was in the line. God, I didn’t want her to get picked, her and Remus were practically engaged. I didn’t want her to get picked.
Peter Pettigrew stood near me. I could hear his haggard breaths from here. He was the one that had his name in more times that I care to count. I didn't want him to get picked.
Sirus Black stood in front me. I could hear his hagged breaths and I could see him twisting his hands. Sirus still had to atone himself to his family. I didn’t want him to get picked.
In the line opposite mine she stood. God, if she got picked I don’t know what I would do. She just couldn’t get picked; I wouldn’t let them. She looked up and I could see the tears in her eyes. She was nervous, not only for about the games but also about her sister. Petunia Evans had been picked the year before and she was the first to die. If Lily Evans; if my Lily Evans got picked then things wouldn’t seem right. I gave her a firm nod and she gave one back. I didn’t want her to get picked.
“Ladies first!” Dolores said into the microphone. The entire District four was holding their breaths. None of the parents wanted their daughters to get picked and none of the men wanted their girlfriends or best-friends to get picked. I closed my eyes and clenched my fists. Not her, I pleaded, please not her. Sirus put his hand on my shoulder in an attempt to comfort me. He himself was tense. In that one moment, I prayed to every higher-being that she wouldn’t get picked. Anyone but here. Lily had to take care of her mother. She couldn’t. They’re not that cruel are they? Please, please, please. Anyone but
My entire body went rigid and my head snapped to her. This wasn’t happening! I was dreaming! I pinched myself but I didn’t wake up. Please let me wake up now. I need to wake up. This is a cruel nightmare. I’ll wake up with Lily by my side. Sirus’s hand tightened on my shoulder. It was the name no one was expecting. Out of everyone in the town centre, Lily was holding it all in the best. She wasn’t crying as she hugged her friends. She was teary yes, but no tears broke. She hugged Marlene, Alice and Mary. Mary was crying heavily on her best friend’s shoulder as they hugged. Lily rubbed her friends back, and looked straight at me. She was scared. More scared then I had ever seen her before. I love you I mouthed. She bit her bottom lip and nodded.
“Come along, come along,” Dolores said, wanting to rush things along. Lily took a deep breath and kissed Mary on the forehead. The crowds parted for Lily and the peacekeepers. Lily. Lily. Of all the people in the crowd why her? It could have been anyone else. I had already too many people for the Capitols’ pleasure. I couldn’t loose her as well.
“Now, what is your name?” Dolores asked when Lily was on the stage. She didn’t reply. Dolores gave a small cough and nudged Lily in the ribs. She stammered her name. Come on Lily, be strong. I clenched my fists together, I knew that if I made a scene the peacekeepers would surely kill me this time. “What a beautiful name!” Dolores clapped her hands together and let out a shrill laugh. The cats on her hideous pink jumper purred. “Now you go and stand over there deary,” Dolores ushered Lily to the corner of the stage. She could sense what a shock it had been for my Lily to be picked so, being the person she was, she put the centre of the attention in a corner and attempted to draw our attention to someone else. Yeah, good luck with that. Looking over to Mary and Alice, I saw that they had stopped crying (the peacekeepers approaching with their guns probably had something to do with it) but they’re faces were still red and they would occasionally let out a sniffle. But no more tears were shed. I was surprised at their will power. They never struck me as the exorbitantly strong type; Alice was the sort of girl that could beat you in a battle of wits and Mary usually had her head in a book.
Everyone in the audience held their breaths as Dolores’ hand slipped into the boy’s bowl. I had a next-to-none chance of being picked. I had never put my name in more times than I needed to; I hunted for my food with the rest of us. A small gang of hunters and troublemakers, we called ourselves the Marauders, it consisted of Remus, Sirus, Peter and I. We never caught much food but it was enough to keep us alive.
“The male tribute that will be joining the lovely Miss Lily Evans is—” from the crowd I could see Mayor Dumbledore shift in his seat. I had never seen him nervous before. Oh gosh, this couldn’t be good. Lily’s eyes found mine, she looked scared. Not just for herself but for me. She didn’t want me to be picked.
“—James Potter!” If someone on the crowd wasn’t shocked by Lily being picked I can safely say that they were shocked now. Everyone in our district knew that Lily and I were together. I had never hurt a hair on her head and now they expected to fight her...to kill her even? Already, the idea seemed impossible. I couldn’t do it.
No. No. No. No. No.
I turned to look at Sirus. The look on his face said enough. He opened his mouth but I shook my head. “No,” I mouthed. I wouldn’t let him volunteer. He had a future with Dorcas, I couldn’t take it away from him. “No,” I said, out loud this time. “You have to take care of them for me okay?” Sirus nodded, his jaw rigid. I hugged him quickly. “Be careful mate, Dorcas needs you,” I whispered as I let him go. Remus and Peter stood next to one another; they were too far away to hug. So with a firm nod of my head, I allowed the peacekeepers to walk me to the stage. My hand were numb and my legs were shaking. What the hell had Lily and I done to deserve this? Only one came out alive and I would be dammed if it was anyone but Lily.
I told the crowd my name. A cheer or a hoot usually followed when my name was mentioned but not this time. Just an eery silence greeted my words. “How lovely!” Dolores clapped her hands together. “Tributes, shake hands,” she ordered. When Lily and I shook hands there was no spark like there usually was. Instead, it was replaced by despair. It was in that moment that I knew Lily and I were thinking the same thing.
I love you.
I sat in the Mayor’s office. It overlooked the entire District, I would miss this place. I would miss the trees and the water; I would miss the people and the black market; I would miss school and the teachers; most importantly I would miss her.
From where I stood I saw the rest of the District standing in the town centre. The children waited for the peacekeepers to tell them that they could, once again, join their parents and the parents welcomed their children back in their arms. Some parents were crying and others were kissing their children. For a lot of parents there youngest child had just made it through their last reaping day. Another generation of children safe. Almost every family of District four would be going home tonight and having a feast. Their children were safe! Some indefinitely.
The door behind me opened. Sirus walked in and ran his fingers through his hair. “This can’t be happening mate,” Sirus said straight away. He was doing what I did: denial. “I mean, we must have drunk a bit too much Fire-whisky. That’s what happened didn’t it Prongs? Too much Fire-whisky?” He looked up at me and waited for me to agree with him. Part of me wanted to. Maybe if enough people believed it then it would become true.
I sat down next to my best friend and put a hand on his shoulder—just as he had done to me during the reaping. “No, this isn’t a dream, you didn’t drink too much Fire-whisky Sirus, this is real.” The tears fell. Not from my cheeks, they came from Sirus. He broke down and no matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t stop himself crying. I had never seen Sirus like this before.
“You can’t die mate, you just can’t.” Sirus said through his tears. “Your my best friend, I’m not going to let you die.”
“You have to—”
“NO!” Sirus yelled, standing to his feet.
“Yes Padfoot, you have to let me die. Lily has to live and I can’t let you die; you have Dorcas and I don’t think she’d be able to live without you. Come on, it took you years to even pluck up the courage to ask her on a date, you can’t let her go for me.” I pulled Sirus into a hug and let him cry on my shoulder. “Look after Lily when she comes back okay, Padfoot?” He pulled away and wiped the tears away rashly.
“Yeah,” he said weakly. Sirus plastered a fake smile on his face and it almost killed me. Fake smiles are, in my opinion, worse than tears. “Someone’s gotta clean up your mess don’t they?”
“Time’s up!” The peacekeepers entered the room and walked towards Sirus.
“Just make sure she gets out unharmed okay? I’ll take of her I promise. Mischief managed.” I smiled at Sirus and watched as he left the room. I would never see Sirus again.
The next to enter the room was Remus. The peacekeepers closed the doors and Remus looked blankly at me. A silence filled the room, that was the great thing about Remus. You didn’t feel the need to talk in his company; silence was almost as welcoming as noise. Surprisingly, he was the first to break the silence. “Well, this didn’t go as we planned it did it?” he said.
I laughed vainly. “No,” I agreed, “it didn’t go as we planned at all. But then again, when has any of our plans ever gone to plan? Both Remus and I sat down on the couch at the same time. I turned to him, “do you remember that time when I went outside of the fence for the first time,” Remus nodded, his hands clenched into tight fists.
“You promised you’d come back,” Remus said, recalling that day.
I nodded. “Well, this is like that, except—”
“—Except you’re not coming back,” Remus said flatly, refusing to look me in the eye.
“Look, Remus, this isn’t what I’d planned either but it happened. But I promise that Lily will leave that stadium alive. When she does, I want you and Sirus to take good care of her. She’s all I have left. Remus, there’s something else—”
“Time’s up!” The peacekeepers called, opening the doors.
Remus took one final look at me and pulled me into a farewell hug. “Mischief managed hey, Prongs?” he said, his voice wavering.
“Yeah,” I said, hitting his shoulders playfully. “Mischief managed.” At that, the peacekeepers took ahold of Remus’s shoulders and led him out of the room. That was going to be the last time that I ever see Remus, I reminded myself bitterly.
Next to enter the room was Peter. He had tears in his eyes and his entire body was shaking. He had never resembled a rat more in human form than now. "Hey Wormtail," I said, patting him on the shoulder.
Peter sniffed and wiped his eyes. "Hey Prongs," he wheezed. "You could win this you know, you could. You know how to hunt and how to kill things. Please try and win,"
I smiled weakly at my friend. Peter wanted closure not the bitter-truth that I had just given Sirus and Remus. So I gave him what he wanted. "Yeah, I'll try and win." Peter let out a sigh of relief, "but," I added, "If by some chance I don't come back and Lily does, I want you, Sirus and Remus to take good care of her. She'll need you if she gets back okay?" Peter nodded vigorously, tears springing to his eyes again.
The Peacekeepers entered the room. "Time's up!" I didn't get a chance to say goodbye to Peter; the Peacekeepers just grabbed his shoulders roughly and dragged him out.
“Final guest,” the peacekeeper grunted as he closed the door. I heard another door open but didn’t look up.
“Hey Prongs, rough day?” I looked up and saw Lily leaning against the doorframe. Her eyes were puffy and she was shaking badly.
“Just a bit yeah, how about you?” I asked. I wasn’t sure how long we could up this facade up.
Lily shrugged her shoulders. “I’ve had better,” she admitted. We glanced at one another and flung ourselves into each others’ arms. “James, we need to get out of here,” she whispered into my ear urgently. We broke apart and I could see a small flickering light in the corner of Lily’s eyes. “I talked to Mary, she knows a way out of here and into the forest. You and me James, together, we could do it,”
“We can’t,” I replied. I knew what she was meant, truthfully, I had even thought about running away while I was talking to Sirus and Remus. “They would kill everyone else Lils,” I sighed.
“They could come with us,” she replied in the same urgent matter.
I shook my head. “What about their families and their families families? Lily, for the first time, running away isn’t an option. Anyway, I can’t imagine Dorcas or Mary in the bushes.” I added the last bit on in an attempt to defuse the tension. Needless to say, that it failed miserably.
Lily hugged me again, tears silently rolling down her cheeks. “What do we do then?” she asked, helplessly.
I closed my eyes and kissed the top of her ginger hair. “We fight.”
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