Real original, I know. But the idea of the Total Drama contestants participating in the Hunger Games is an interesting concept, one I'm going to try to explore. For this story the main goal for me is to objectively determine how events will play out, no bias towards or against any particular character. Just because I like a character won't mean that they'll win, or even go far. And just because I hate a character doesn't mean they won't win. Personal preference and bias will undoubtedly leak in, but I will try my best to keep it even. This takes place during the twenty-third Hunger Games. Enjoy, review, whatever.
The Capitol truly is a beautiful place. Elegant architecture, fine dining, speedy transportation, it has it all. A far cry from the districts themselves, for the most part. Maybe not the Career districts. But for the most part the districts know their place. The Games ensure it. As for the people of the Capitol...just a bunch of self-centered, shallow, ridiculous fruitcakes. But I love them. They are so easily controlled, so one-dimensional that they've been desensitized to the horrors in the Games.
Horrors that I will help the audience enjoy for all it's worth. In all honesty, I care nothing for either the Capitol's citizens or the tributes. This is Reality TV. And it is more real than the sheep residing in the Capitol know. To them, these people they see fighting, killing, hurting on their TV screens are characters, not people. I don't get the whole hinky dinky message about keeping the Districts in line. I see the quote "tributes" as pigs to be slaughtered, to provide nourishment for the Capitol's entertainment, and to remind the Districts that no one is safe. And how true that is...
I hear a knock on the door. "Come in," I exclaim irritably, and Hatchet, one of my fellow Gamemakers enters the room. "What the hell is it? I've got enough on my plate as is."
The burly black man shrugs. "The President wants to see you. Don't know what about, but ya can't exactly ignore it."
I roll my eyes. "Fine, fine. I'm coming." I stand and walk through the halls of the building, and I see the President sitting down in a velvet chair, lounging placidly.
"MacLean," he acknowledges my presence. I sit down across from him.
"To what do I owe the honor?" I ask, taking great care to put a grin on my face. "Come all this way just to see me?"
He rolls his eyes. "Head Gamemaker MacLean, this is your first year as Head Gamemaker. I understand that your first Games must be a daunting task."
I nod. "It'll be worth it."
"Oh, I quite agree!" he adds quickly, "I'm just saying that your predecessor and I...disagreed slightly. Notice that he is no longer here and you have the job."
I snort. "What, did you kill him?" I inquire bluntly. He gives me a strange, indiscernible look.
"He went missing," he says simply, and I smile inwardly at the blatant lies. "That is the official story."
"What's the unofficial story?" I ask, kicking my legs back.
"Keep asking about that and you might end up missing too. It's not a hard job, MacLean. Just stay within the boundaries and you'll come out of this in one piece."
I shrug. "Okay. I can deal with that. Is that all? Just a warning?"
He gives me the same pointed look. "There are some strange dealings going on in the Capitol. I would advise you not to get involved. Thank you for this brief moment of your time, I understand you have a busy schedule." He stands and tugs at his coat before spinning on his heels and exiting the room. I smile. I have no intent on going outside the boundaries. I have Games to play, after all.
Soon these kiddos will be mine.
Then the fun will begin.
District 1 Reaping
I know I'm supposed to be scared right now. I mean, I'm not exactly experienced in combat, I've rarely trained as a Career. I much prefer keeping this perfect face intact. As it is, I'm not scared. Even if I do get picked, most likely one of those poor fellows who've fallen for me will volunteer for me, in order to spare me. Or maybe they just would want to go instead. Eh, doesn't matter. The point is that I have no fear about being chosen. Plus, even if I did, the Capitol would adore me. Me being absolutely gorgeous and all.
Everyone stands stock still as the escort, whose name I don't remember or care about, finishes her speech...thing. "Ladies first," she drips, voice sweet as honey, and reaches her hand out and digs it into the ball, and draws out a slip of paper. She holds it up, and unfolds it ceremoniously.
Oh joy. Lindsay, popular, beautiful, but not very bright. She stumbles up onto stage, looking confused and disoriented. Most likely the cold truth hasn't set in on her yet. The escort's voice rings out, asking if there are any volunteers. I look around, expecting to see someone, anyone, take her place, but in the end, no one does. While Lindsay just stands there looking like a fish out of water, realization dawning, that no one was going to help her. I glance at the crowd she usually hangs out with. They all look shocked, whispering to one another, but are scared and weak. They won't help her. It's not in their nature. Man, am I glad I have better friends than that...
"All right, next up, for the boys!" the escort announces, and dips her hand in the reaping ball. She stirs it around, and I look down at my hand to see that it's shaking ever-so-slightly. Not very appealing to the ladies. Can't have them think I'm nervous...I close my eyes. She's not going to pick me, she's not going to pick me, she's not going to pick me...
She pulls her hand out of the ball, and holds the slip of the paper up.
She's not going to pick me, she's not going to pick me...
She unfolds the slip, and clears her throat.
She's not going to pick me, she's not going to pick me...
My shaking hands cease, and my mouth drops open slightly. My legs feel like they're moving on their own as I walk through the crowd, awestruck. I lumber onto the stage, without saying a word. There's one chance I have left, only one chance...a volunteer. Those dudes in Career training! They'd volunteer for me! They want to be in the Games! They won't let this happen! I calm myself and flash my trademark grin, hoping it doesn't look too feeble and that it will actually work...of course it'll work! I'm Justin!
"Are there any volunteers?" she asks, and I grin expectantly at the people of District 1. I see people I know shifting around uncomfortably, and the grin plastered on my face flickers ever-so-slightly, no, no, I can't lose confidence. I need them to help me! But nothing happens...no one volunteers for me.
"All right, in that case..." the escort says, looking a bit offset from the lack of volunteers, "Ladies and gentlemen, the tributes of District 1!"
Lindsay looks around uncomfortably, and a ghost of my grin lingers on my face. We'll definitely be expected to join the Careers, being from District 1 and all...but what if we're not valuable enough? What if we're expendable? My face turns to worry, no, can't let my worried face show, no...I see guilty faces in the audience, but twice as many indifferent ones. Lindsay and I head backstage, and I turn to her.
"How...are you feeling?" I ask uncertainly. We don't usually talk.
"Umm..." she says in that high, sweet voice of hers, "I'm...just..I don't know, okay?" She looks on the verge of tears. "I've never thought that I'd be here!" she whimpers, and starts crying. I walk away.
I don't know what I'm doing.
Oh God, I might actually die!
"Hey, Al, how are you doing? Worrying about the reaping again? Yeah, thought so."
My brother José smirks at me, crossing his arms in that arrogant and mean-spirited manner of his. I pay no attention to him. Ever since he won the Games, he hasn't been able to let me forget it. I clean the dishes calmly, not looking at him.
"Well, if you are chosen, I guess that'd be 'bye bye,' Al, am I right? I mean, it's not like you could even win."
I finish cleaning the dishwasher and turn to head up to my room, but José blocks my path. "Are you paying attention to me, Al?" he hisses gleefully. "Are you ignoring your beloved older brother?"
"Yes," I reply simply, and push past him. José always gets his way. With our parents, it's always José this and José that, and "Why can't you be like your older brother José? He won the Games, after all. Can't you do that? When he's not around my parents appreciate my achievements, like being able to charm the pants off most everyone in the District, or my physical prowess, or my fantastically good looks. But when he's around? I'm always overshadowed, always second best...maybe the Games could change that.
"Hey, Al!" he calls as I'm climbing up the stairs. "How's it going with your crush on that unattractive witch? Now what was her name again...Heather, was it?" I grit my teeth and clench my fists, and I can feel his gaze boring into my soul. I continue climbing, and reach the top.
"A real bitch if you ask me. No clue what you see in her." That tears it. I growl and run back down the stairs and tackle my brother. We roll over so that he's on top of my chest, his arms pinning mine down. I struggle to break free, but he's simply too strong.
"Looks like I win again, Al," he smirks, and stands, dusting his hands off. I get up, ready to tackle him, but I restrain myself. The hours blur by. I leave the Victor's Village to place my name in the reaping and provide a blood sample, etc. The atmosphere is tense, but not as tense as it would be in, say, District 12, due to the fact that many of these potential tributes actually want to compete, to fight for quote "honor." There is no honor in the Games. Anyone who says otherwise is a fool.
Everyone is quieted as the escort takes the stage, spouting some bullshit about Panem. I've never been particularly fond of the Capitol, or Panem for that matter, but they've provided enough for me and my family. Eventually, finally, the escort stops talking and steps over to the reaping ball.
"Ladies first," he says professionally, and dips his hand into the bowl. Within a couple of seconds, he's drawn his hand out, a slip of paper clutched firmly in his hands.
Something sinks inside of me, my muscles relax, and my mouth opens slightly. I turn to see Heather, looking fantastic with her hair pulled back into a ponytail, but looking shocked, and bluntly pushes past me, scowling at me. The last time we spoke...hadn't turned out well. José knows this, and I look around to see him smirking at me, and at my shocked misery. No...Heather stands up on the stage, and the escort asks if there are any volunteers. Heather looks cool as ever, indifferent in the face of death. She's been prepared for this, has been training for this. She might have even volunteered if she hadn't been picked. She doesn't look scared.
There are no volunteers. I can't say I'm surprised. Heather is not exactly well-liked by her colleagues. She never cared. My thoughts are rudely interrupted by the escort, who dips his hand into the second ball and pulls out a slip of paper. He opens it.
Scott, a young, ginger kid who is in my row looks up in startled surprise at his name being called. His limbs tremble as he walks towards the stage, and the queasy feeling in my stomach continues. I can see my brother, who is observing the spectacle on the stage. I want to prove him wrong...I want to win the Games, but Heather is competing too...my heart races in my chest as I struggle between thoughts and desires. This could be it. I could prove José wrong. I'm eighteen now. This is my last games, and ever since I was twelve I've always dreamed of winning, to see my brother's shocked face when I did so. This is my last chance to play.
"Are there any volunteers?" the escort's voice rings out, and Scott glances around desperately, although knowing him he's trying to find a way to squirm out of playing, and I sigh. I step forward.
"I volunteer!" I shout, and I stride up to the stage. Scott breathes a visible sigh of relief as I walk onto the stage.
"Name?" the escort asks clinically.
"Alejandro Buerromuerto," I respond coolly.
"Well then," the escort says, and I make eye contact with Heather, who looks at me in confusion for what I did. I'm not even fully sure why I did it. I suppose it doesn't matter. I'm here.
"Ladies and gentlemen, the tributes of District 2!"
So the time has come again, then, for the reaping. I'd like to think that if I hypothetically got picked for the Games that I wouldn't honestly care too much. In fact, at one point I imagined what it would be like to be in the Games, only to realize that despite my whole "loving danger" shtick, that it would be a truly awful and terrible experience, but hey! Who really cares about that? Life here could definitely be better, Peacekeepers control everything, but it could be worse, right? That's what I sometimes tell myself.
It's generally around the reaping, where absence is a death sentence that I have my doubts. We all have to look our finest for a blood fest. It's like, the most twisted reality TV experience ever. And I absolutely hate it when someone I know gets picked, which only happened twice, when I was 12 and 14. It sucked. It seriously sucked, they were my buddies! I also once imagined that I snuck into the Capitol and hung the President. That was kinda weird. But perfectly understandable, if you ask me.
The escort is dressed in really garish, extravagant colors and with a pristine and obviously false smile on her face as she addresses us. Don't remember her name that well, but who cares? Blah blah blah Capitol, blah blah blah Hunger Games, blah blah blah peace and tranquility, blah blah blah. Total bullshit. I curl my hands into fists at it all, but there's nothing to do, nothing I can really do. Now, at least. Oh well...time for the moment of truth. The escort dramatically draws out a slip of paper for the ladies, and my knuckles turn white from the stress. Not gonna be it, not gonna be it...
Dammit. I'm it. Guess I jinxed myself, right? Ha ha, ha...I don't feel like laughing. The heavy weight sets in, the heavy truth that I won't be coming back. But hey! Maybe I can make sure those two-faced, high-tailing, garish, extravagant, desensitized, wasteful, shallow peeps in the Capitol know somethin' is up. And if I die? Well...I make eye contact with my mother, who stands there in total shock and sadness, eyes tearing up. I stand on the stage, shuddering and shaking, but my expression must remain neutral, mustn't break, mustn't break. No one volunteers.
The escort draws out the second tribute's name, and the tension continues to rise, as she slowly and melodramatically unfolds the slip of paper. She takes an unnecessarily long pause and a throat clearing, and she finally reads the name.
Aww...Harold's a good guy. He probably won't last very long in the game at all. I mean, he's really freaking skinny (then again, so am I) and he often talks about his skills and stuff, not really sure how or why that will help him. He initially appears shocked, but gets himself under control quickly, remaining stoic and accepting of the fact. Apparently. He walks up onto the stage and I note his skinny, awkward frame, the glasses, the long ginger hair, and to myself think that he won't last ten minutes in the Arena. I might last a bit longer. Not sure.
We head backstage, and he won't look at me. Don't break, don't break, don't break...I turn and walk away from him. Don't break, don't break, don't break...tears well up in my eyes and flow down my cheeks.
Dammit. I broke.
I've decided. I'm going to volunteer. My whole life I've been prepping for the Games. I've always been the fastest, the strongest, the fiercest. I wasn't ready to enter the Games during my previous years. Now, I am. I'm ready to take the risk of dying for fame and fortune. My family is gone. All gone now. There's nothing to lose, everything to gain. I'm ready to fight. And I'm ready to go down fighting. I feel no sympathy for the tributes I've watched die each year, just apathy, indifference. I've studied. I know what I'm doing.
The escort spouts the same dumb stuff he does every year. His name is Josh, I believe, don't remember much about him except that he's slave to the Capitol's bizarre fashions. Stupid. Flamboyant. Prissy. I hate all of it equally. No exceptions. Yet they're the reason we have stability. Hey, wiping a District off the map to prove your point works, but it's a little strange hearing all that bullshit about how there's peace and tranquility now. District 4 isn't bad. It's a Career district, of course. But it's not the best either, and I intend to volunteer. I've already let my family know of my choice. They've accepted it.
He finally finishes his speech on how much he loves the Capitol and how we should too and how we should be grateful for the Hunger Games or something equally stupid. "Ladies first," he announces, and dips his hand into the bowl. I inhale deeply, then exhale. I catch my mother's eye, and she nods imperceptibly to anyone but me. Josh pulls his hand out of the bowl, and unfolds the slip of paper in an unnecessarily long and melodramatic fashion.
The brat's eyes only have to widen for a moment, and I immediately step forward.
"I volunteer!" I bellow, and all attention turns to me. I stalk up towards the stage and turn firmly to stare out at everyone else, face a frown of apathy and indifference.
"You were supposed to wait until we asked for volunteers," Josh says indignantly, "but okay then, Dakota, lucky you, you're safe! Say your name please, so we all can here it."
"Eva Conall," I declare evenly. I catch a glimpse of Dakota, who wouldn't have lasted long in the Arena even with the Careers on their side, spoiled brat as she is. Josh looks me over, and nods to himself.
"I see why you're here," he mutters, and spins on his heel to the other bowl. "Okay, moving on! Gentlemen, prepare yourselves, as one of you is going to have a chance to become a star!"
Or most likely die. Either way. Josh elegantly draws a slip of paper out of the men's bowl. He clears his throat before speaking, most likely to heighten the drama. "Duncan Calliver."
Duncan's eyes become saucers in his skull, and his abnormally short legs seem to walk themselves up onto the stage wordlessly. I know Duncan. The biggest troublemaker this District has, and yet always manages to worm his way out of serious punishment. Generally he acts smug and superior, but it seems as though that has all been shattered now. His last hope is that someone will volunteer for him. Josh asks the unresponsive crowd if anyone would like to take his place. No one does, and Josh's practiced smile fades ever-so-slightly.
"Ladies and gentlemen, the tributes of District 4!"
Duncan walks away without a word, and I smile to myself. I've always been the fastest, the strongest, the most determined. I've got this game in the bag. And if not? I'll have made an impact. That is my goal here.
To leave behind something that shows I was here.
Objectively, when looking at the odds and statistics of my district, I should be in the clear. One teenager out of hundreds, and without the need to apply for tessarae due to having eight older siblings and all. You know, all the ones who managed to make it through six to seven years of applying for the Games without a single one of them being drawn, plus cumulative votes thanks to their generosity towards their siblings, i.e. me. This is my fourth year applying, and I've never applied for tessarae, meaning the odds are certainly in my favor today.
Of course, a part of me wonders what would happen if that garishly clothed abomination of fashion known as our district's escort did pull my name out. Would my family weep? I must say, I am rather notorious in District 5 for my lack of participation and aversion to work. Obviously, that would not be the best strategy to use during the Games. Wouldn't want to rot just because I'm too quote "lazy" to even get myself some water. I'm smarter than that. I know when things work and when they don't. And if, and I mean if as in the very, very minuscule chance that I'm selected, I don't plan to die.
The lady draws out some of my blood and I blink at her silently, eyebrow raised per the norm and a bored, indifferent expression on my face. The ceremony begins, and I can say with certainty that that nightmare for the eyes (and ears, her voice is only slightly less ridiculous and terrifying) up on the stage right now has not changed a bit. She looks like a cat dragged her into a sewer, applied copious amounts of makeup (poorly, I might add) to her, and dressed her up in as frilly a dress as the mind can imagine without exploding into a thousand tiny little pieces. Whatever the hell that looks like.
"All right, now that we've reflected and reminisced on our past mistakes and our present glory," the abomination speaks, voice lilted and lisping. I make a retching sound in the back of my throat, knowing that it'll cause a little stir. Fortunately, they can't figure out where it came from, and I allow a small smile to form across my face. The garish spectacle of horrifying stupidity clears her throat, annoyed, and continues. "As I was saying, now that we've reflected on our past mistakes, it's time to select our tributes! As usual, ladies first!"
God, how I tire of hearing that phrase, year after year after year after year after year after year. Pft. Ladies first. Why, exactly? The she-who-shall-not-be-named digs her pointy fingernails and the fingers attached to them into the bowl, and I tap my foot impatiently. Just get the show on the road already, no need for unnecessary theatrics! Finally, she opens the slip of paper.
I perk up slightly in recognition. Courtney Brenton, intelligent, perfectionist, wants to be successful in life. Moderately athletic, has quite the temper on her when things don't go her way. We'd pass in the halls but ultimately did not interact all that often, and I am perfectly fine with that. She walks up quietly, in shock, and stands on the stage, looking absolutely desperate for someone to volunteer for her. No one does, and she bites her lower lip, trembling.
"Okay, time for our second tribute to be chosen!~" the unspeakable horror nearly sings, and I'm starting to wonder if she's enjoying this in any way, shape, or form. She repeats the same ritual, and pulls out the name. I don't let any of my worry show, and she pulls out the name, once again drawing out the conclusion. I cross my fingers.
My stomach drops, as if an entire swarm of butterflies just flew downwards in it. My usual bored, smug composure breaks completely. No...this can't be happening. Me? Me? I was one name! One name in HUNDREDS! How could this have happened? A tear slides down my cheek, and I clench my fists as I walk up to the stage.
It's hard to believe, but it happened.
I guess jinxing yourself really does work.
Okay, I seriously hate this time of year. The Games are such a bad idea. I've lost friends there! It also, like, makes me really on edge, I can't do my work 'cause I'm too busy imagining and being horrified at the thought. I know that there's like only a tiny chance I'd get in but it just makes me nervous! It's also really inhumane, and I don't see how anyone in the Capitol could ever enjoy a bunch of teenagers killing each other. It's sick. It makes me throw up every time I've seen someone I knew, talked to, was friends with, chatted about boys with, is skewered on live TV.
The same video they play every year is on the screen. It's all lies, really. Totally false and fabricated. Peace? Uh, no. Maybe in the Career districts things are different, but here, in District 6? No way. It could be worse, but the Peacekeepers are still really strict and mean. A lot of us are starving. Luckily, I was born into a decent family, and I'm like living a sort of normal life now? The escort really creeps me out. Weirdo Capitol fashion and all. It's like they've never heard of "less is more." They probably think "more is more," when really it's sometimes not. Or for them, most of the time not.
The video ends, and the woman on the stage smiles, obviously fake. I mean, no one would be that happy doing her job, unless she's just mean. "Ladies first!" she chirps, and I sigh slightly. Always the same, never changing. Seriously, how does she do this job? I tremble, heart racing, and she pulls out one of the slips.
My jaw drops, mouth open in an "O" of surprise. No! No! I start sobbing, and I can hear my parents yelling, sobbing, and I tremble violently as I walk up onto the stage. This is...awful! "Mom! Dad!" I scream, and I'm "escorted" onto the stage. Murmurs spread throughout the crowd, and the escort tries to take control of the situation.
"Settle down, settle down! It's all right now. Okay, okay, moving on! Our lucky gentleman is..." I shoot what I hope is a death glare at the peacock, who does not look at me. Too busy, like, choosing who else is gonna die. I feel like I'm gonna barf. That wouldn't be good...
Aw, not Owen...he's too nice of a guy. I don't think he's had a negative thought about anyone, like, ever. He's also really funny! He literally lets out a scream when his name is called, and whimpers as he walks forward onto the stage. I can just, like, see the escort's mind thinking that Owen's not gonna make it. Owen starts crying, and it's contagious, I start crying too, and she's left with two crying contestants. Finally, she returns order.
"All right, that's enough! Our tributes are Katie Edwards and Owen Grant! May the odds be ever in your favor, whatever, just stop!"
It quiets, and the only thing I can hear is the sound of Owen's crying.
Well, hope that turned out okay...I thought it was pretty good. *nods* For the record, this takes place in Hunger Games canon, presumably. Also, there will be no romance unless it is of importance to the plot.
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