The Capitol ship had entered the airspace above their latest Propo district and they'd had mere seconds to run for cover before the bombs were dropped.

Castor had been following the rest of the team when a blast nearby threw him off his feet. His head hit the ground and the whole world seemed to go black for a second. He lifted his head slowly, feeling the blood dripping down his face.

He could see the others inside already, Gale and Messalla holding Pollux back to stop him rushing back out to his brother's aid. He scrambled back to his feet and took off again. He made it inside and they were led to a bunker to wait out the rest of the attack.

Pollux crouched in front of him, examining his head. Boggs dropped his bag next to them, digging through for a med kit.

"You okay?" he signed.

Castor stared at him for a moment and then looked around. He could feel the crashes of the bombs being dropped and he could see his team's mouths moving, but…

"I can't hear anything," he said aloud. At first he wasn't sure he'd actually spoken, but the look on Pollux's face and all the others turning towards him let him know he had.

"I can't hear anything," he repeated. He lifted a hand to his ear and when he pulled it away, his fingers were coated in blood.

Pollux patted his leg and Castor looked at him.

"it's okay," he signed, "It's going to be okay."

Castor nodded as Boggs pressed a compression bandage to his head. Maybe his concussion was the reason he felt so calm right now.

Pollux grabbed Castor's hand and held it tight, ground his brother in this new, silent world he suddenly found himself in.

"The bombs have stopped," Pollux signed to him, "Hold on to me, we're going back to the hovercraft. We'll get you back to Thirteen and they'll be able to help you."

Boggs tied some bandages around his head and nodded at them before taking point.

Castor stood, taking his brother's arm tightly. He felt strangely off balance.

They left the bunker and made it back to their ship without issue. Getting into their seats, Boggs took off and they headed back to Thirteen.

Castor gasped out as pain suddenly seared through both his ears as the altitude changed. His hands came up to cover them and he leaned forward with a groan. He hadn't felt anything in them initially, but now, along with silence, there was a blinding pain on both sides of his head.

"Just relax," Pollux signed, "Gale is giving you something for the pain."

He felt the injection as it entered his body and then a sort of heaviness came over him as the pain faded to a numb pressure. Castor closed his eyes.

"Lux," he murmured, reaching his hand out blindly.

Pollux grabbed it, running his other hand through Castor's short hair. They got back to Thirteen and the hovercraft was quickly flooded with medical personnel. They got Castor onto a gurney, Pollux hurrying to keep up.

When they arrived in the hospital, Pollux stood at the edge of the room while doctors moved around his brother, running tests and scans. They unwrapped his head, determining he would need stitches.

Castor kept his eyes on his brother the whole time, trying to stay calm even though internally he was completely panicked.

"You're okay," Pollux signed, "I'm right here with you."

Pollux turned to look at one of the medics and nodded his head, stepping closer.

"They want me to relay their questions to you," he signed to his brother, "Just answer out loud, okay?"

Castor nodded and Pollux smiled reassuringly at him.

"Can you hear anything?"


"Does it hurt?"

"My head does a bit, but they gave me something on the craft," Castor replied, "My ears hurt real bad when we took off."

"Do you remember what happened?"

"There was a blast, I got thrown, hit my head, realized I couldn't hear anything."

"How close were you to the blast?"

"Close enough it sent me flying."

The doctors examined him and found damage to both his eardrums.

"They say they don't think it's permanent," Pollux told him, "They said the blast damaged your eardrums and the knock to your head probably didn't help either."

"So… it might be permanent?" he asked.

"Don't worry," Pollux signed, "You've been my voice for a long time, let me be your ears."

Castor smiled at his brother and nodded.

"They want to keep you overnight," Pollux told him, "To monitor your head."

Castor nodded and leaned back against the pillows. Pollux helped him get settled but wasn't allowed to stay overnight with him. He was hesitant to leave; they hadn't been apart from each other since Pollux left the tunnels.

"I'll keep an eye on him."

Pollux turned and saw Katniss' mother standing there.

"I'm doing the overnight tonight," she explained, "I'll keep an eye on him and send for you if anything happens."

She didn't know them well, but Katniss had told her and Prim a bit about each member of the camera crew, and from what she'd heard these two were never far from each other. She could only imagine how nerve racking it must be for them to be separated after one of them was injured.

Pollux nodded and thanked her before turning back to Castor.

"Mrs. Everdeen is working here tonight," he signed, "She'll keep an eye on you and get me if she needs to."

"I'll be okay," Castor assured him, though he too felt uneasy about the separation. "Go get some sleep."

"I'll be back in the morning," Pollux assured him and then took his leave. As he walked back to their bunk alone, it felt like more was missing than just his voice.

"Try to get some sleep," Mrs. Everdeen wrote for Castor, "Morning will be here before you know it."

Pollux kept his promise and arrived at the hospital bright and early. Castor was sitting up already, waiting anxiously to leave.

"Sleep okay?" Pollux signed and Castor shrugged.

"Yeah, me neither," Pollux nodded understandingly.

Before either of them could say any more, a doctor entered.

Castor's hearing hadn't improved at all, but the doctors cleared him to return to his bunk so long as he checked in daily and told them right away about any changes.

No one could say for sure if his hearing would come back or not. The idea of being deaf scared Castor a little, but he had learned long ago there were many different ways to communicate. And he already knew how to sign. So long as he could still talk to his brother, he'd be fine.

He and Pollux walked down the hall towards the cafeteria. Castor had a hold of his brother's arm. The doctors had assured him that disorientation and difficulty balancing were normal after his kind of injury. Still, nothing could have prepared him for how disorienting it was to be walking down the halls of Thirteen in complete silence. To know that silence wasn't real; that the usual noises and rumblings of the district were still there, he just couldn't hear them.

They entered the cafeteria and grabbed their trays. Castor looked around, seeing everyone's mouths moving, but hearing nothing.

"You okay?" Pollux signed as they were handed their breakfast.

"Yeah, it's just strange," Castor signed back. He was glad they could communicate like this. Since he couldn't hear his own voice, he had no idea how loud he was when he spoke out loud. He didn't want to accidentally start shouting in here.

"It'll be okay," Pollux signed, leading Cas over to the table where Cressida and Messalla were already sitting.

"How are you feeling?" Cressida signed.

Castor shrugged, but smiled.

"Still can't hear anything?" Messalla asked.

"Nothing," Castor replied, "They're still not sure if it's permanent or not."

"We'll just have to teach everyone to sign in the meantime," Cressida smiled.

"You guys look at the footage we got yesterday?" he asked.

"Not yet, we were heading there once we're done," Cressida told him, "You feel up to joining us? You hit your head pretty hard."

He reached up and touched the bandages wrapped around his head. The doctor had given him strict instructions to rest.

"I'll just sit and watch you guys work," he told them, "Don't feel like laying in my bunk all day."

He couldn't stand the thought of lying in his bunk, alone, in total silence.

For two weeks Castor tried to keep his routine as normal as possible. His stitches were taken out, he helped with footage for propos, and Pollux, Cressida, and Messalla helped translate for him and everyone he spoke to.

Some of the other had even started to learn to sign. Katniss was a quick study, as was Boggs, but Prim pick it up like it was nothing. The girl was now Castor's primary point of communication when discussing anything medical, and he and Pollux were always happy to help her practice over meals.

Then, one day, Castor woke to a strange… sound? Yeah, a sound! A high pitched squealing sound! He sat up, eyes wide, and jumped down from his bunk, immediately shaking Pollux's shoulder.

His brother sat up quickly, looking around for a threat.

"I… I can hear something," he signed, and Pollux's eyes widened.

"What do you hear?"

"Like a high pitched noise," he signed back, "Squealing."

Pollux pointed over his shoulder and Castor turned.

"What's going on?" Cressida asked.

"I can hear something," Castor said again, explaining the noise he could hear to her and Messalla.

"Can you hear this?" Cressida signed and then said something aloud. Castor shook his head.

"We should tell the doctor, they wanted to know right away about any changes," Messalla said.

They dressed and the four of them headed down to the hospital together. The doctors examined him and confirmed his eardrums were healing and this new development was a good sign.

In the coming weeks, more and more changes happened. The squealing sound turn to buzzing to a rumble, and eventually to faint voice sounds. He couldn't hear actual words, but he was learning to tell who was speaking by the sound of the voice he heard.

Beetee fitted him with some hearing aids which helped immensely. He didn't wear them all the time; if it was just their film crew, they usually just fell back on signing now, they were well practiced. But he was grateful to have them.

He could hear the rumble of the machines around Thirteen as well as feeling them vibrate; he could hear his friend's words, not just the octaves of their voices; he could hear instructions Cressida gave when they were out filming. But, most important to him, he could hear the volume of his own voice again which meant he could translate for Pollux again.

He knew perfectly well that there were many ways to communicate, and hearing or no hearing, that didn't change anything for him. When he didn't have his aids in, Pollux acted as his ears; but when he had them in, he was happy to be Pollux's voice.

Thanks for reading!