No Other Options 2

One's P. O. V.

"If you're late for the Reaping, you will regret living when you get back to this house," Heidi tells me stiffly.

"Yeah, yeah. Take it easy," I snap, not caring what she thought about that as I yank her stupid ribbon out of my hair, "and I already told you that I'm not wearing that stupid thing."

"Yes you will!" she snaps right back at me, "everybody in this damned District is dressing up and you will too! We're going to blend in just like them as much as possible and that is final!"

"Because I'm sure being a little different one day is going to make them think of us any different," I retort sarcastically.

It's the same old drill every year. One day out of the year, we all have to gather for a Reaping for the Hunger Games. Heidi is always flipping out because she thinks I'll get picked and die; It's never going to happen. In the meantime, she has to go by simply 'Heidi' and I have to go by 'Dusty', and she works in the coal mines while I pretend to pass school. I'll have to start working with her because I'm eighteen now, but I'm honestly not interested. (Meaning I won't do it. Nobody gives a damn about anybody else around here, anyway.)

Now she's going to argue with me some more, so I just stalk out into the dust bucket that is District Twelve. This place is a complete waste of space compared to Lorien- or anywhere. My 'wonderful' Cepan just had to pick the worst District out of the whole shitty Panem, and now we're all stuck here.

But I can't deal with my 'mother' 24/7, even though I do still kind of love her. So when I go into the woods, I practice my Legacies alone. If anybody ever caught me, I could give them their own personal earthquake, or blow them sky high with my ground manipulation.

As I make my way through this forsaken District, I feel kinda bad for everybody else who lives here. They're starving and live in severe poverty in the Seam where Heidi and I stay, just like us. We're all miserable and hate it here. Everybody else, though, is somewhat content with the lives they live. They don't have potential like I do; they belong here.

When I slip through the wire barrier, I note the Loric symbol still carved into the ground. Heidi made that on the night we came here almost eleven years ago- it's pretty wild to think, but I remember it perfectly. Shaking my head slightly so I don't have to do that now, I jog out into the wildlife and trees. Compared to the dusty grounds of District Twelve, this place is the only beautiful thing I've ever known.

Once I'm deep toward the heart of the woods, I begin to shake the ground. My Legacies are very well developed according to Heidi's occasional observance, which means that if and when the Mogs finally find us, I'll definitely be ready to fight. Maybe by that time the dumb curse will be lifted and nobody- especially Heidi- will give a damn if I meet up with the other Loric and we take back of planet.

While I'm giving the ground-dwellers a wakeup call, I hardly notice footsteps in the distance. There are a couple of other Seam kids who hunt here- Katniss Everdeen and Gale Hawthorne- but I'm not that worried about them. It's not like they can hurt me at any rate, and we've never really talked. They simply hunt for their families and I work to save a 'hibernating' planet.


Needless to say, I'm a bit surprised when I discover a pair of hazel eyes staring back at me instead of gray.

My ground tremors falter, failing to create the illusion I wasn't causing them. Cursing under my breath, I avert my gaze from this new person's, having full intentions on hauling ass if they started accusing me of anything. They don't, however. They're too busy picking up a stone with an obviously sharp point, probably to kill me with.

"Take it easy," I snort, "I could easily beat you."

They're hazel eyes disappear into the shadows. Moments later, the owner emerges, looking bitterly unamused and confused. Her brown hair is in a stern braid, just like Heidi's always is, and her hazel eyes remain narrowed. She looks about my age, maybe slightly younger- she must be going to the Reaping as well. Since I'm already weird enough with my dirty blonde hair among all the other dark-haired of the Seam, I figure she's from the Seam side of District Twelve; I've never paid attention to her if she is.

Not that I really care. She's still holding that stone, which is still pointed at my chest.

"What's your sitch anyway?" I ask casually, not looking directly at her as I use telekinesis to yank the stone out of her grasp.

Dumbfounded, she stares at her fallen weapon. I have to smirk slightly as I heft myself up into a tree, fingers finding one of Everdeen's old bows easily between the falling-out bark. I plan on using it now if she doesn't beat it- Heidi would have my head if I risked showing any of my other Legacies or skills. The girl has seemingly recovered, however, and is now aimed to impact me with her precious stone.

"I don't have a sitch," she snarls, "you do."

And on that lovely note, she throws the rock. It's very surprisingly spot onto my ribcage, but I'm faster at this point. Easily, I flip backwards to the ground, bow still in grip. In an easy motion, I catch her little weapon as it falls and makeshift a notch into the bow. Seconds later, it's pointed directly under her ribcage with the string drawn back.

"Get lost before I take the same initiative," I growl, but she's faster than I thought she'd be.

The weight of her body impacts me just about the time the rock should've been impaling her. Crashing to the ground first, I begin tearing wildly at her back and head as we go rolling. Her hands are more interested in choking me or snapping my neck, but my constant kicking keeps her somewhat back just like her backward deflection keeps my hands from tearing up too much.

"What's going on here?"

We both freeze at the sound of another's voice. It's Katniss Everdeen, looking surprised but as solemn as always. Her bow is notched with a fresh arrow, aimed at the ground but prepared to shoot at any given second. Casually smirking, I shoulder the other girl off of my form and rise.

"Pleasure to meet you," I tell her cooly, "I was just putting this little girl in her place."

"If you go in that arena today, I swear I will kill you first," she snarls dangerously, flipping her hair behind her head and backing up like a rabid animal.

"Yeah, yeah. That's what they all say," I reply sarcastically as she bolts back into the forestry.

Katniss is staring after her, her gray eyes hardened. After a very long, very awkward pause, she speaks up again, "That girl is from District Two. She comes into the woods here because District Two is very nearby to hunt."

"District Two?" I snort, "they don't need food."

"I'm not sure why she does it," she simply gives a shake of her head and squats down, beginning to pick berries off of a cluster of vines and place them in a side pouch, "she's good. You should watch your back if you run into her again."

Snorting, I retort, "I'm not afraid of some pretty little hunter from the big bad District Two."

With that, I head back into District Twelve. I'm not worried about any of them- they couldn't ever do anything to kill me, not like a Mogodorian could according to Heidi. That District Two girl was pretty good- I'll give her that much. But she doesn't have anything on my Legacies.

Nobody does.

Six's P. O. V.

"Did anybody spot you?" Katarina's kind voice is my greeting as I jog back inside of our home, plopping the bag of fresh blackberries on the tabletop.

I pause, thinking back to the girl with blonde hair. There was something strange about her, something inhumane; it embeds hope inside me. Katarina has always told about the other Numbers, the other children from Lorien that came from our hibernating planet, and assured me that they were always out there in the other Districts. She talks about meeting up with them someday soon, when she feels we all should have mastered our Legacies. For now we've blended in and kept our heads low in the District; I've earned a reputation as one of the weakest in this District for a reason.

"No," I lie smoothly to my Cepan, turning so she can't see my guilty eyes. I don't like to hide anything from her, but why should I terrify her with someone knowing about my illegal actions?

"I laid something nice out for you," she says softly, the smile in her voice evident, "you'll look even more beautiful than you do now."

For her sake, I put on a smile. She's always been more girly and romantic than me- it's typical. She's already wearing a lavender skirt that reaches to her knees with a matching ponytail holder as well as a white blouse, which compliments her dark hair and dark shoes. She's gorgeous but, thanks to her disbelief, insists that I always am. We take after each other in the regard of disbelief in that area, at least.

"Thanks, Mom," I reply, my smile becoming more genuine as I plant a kiss on her cheek.

Once I've showered off and braided my hair to the side once again, I glance over Katarina's outfit for me. It's simple enough- a soft green knee-length dress isn't much to fuss over- so I slip it over my head and study my reflection in mirror. I'm nothing to gawk over and am reminded of that constantly by the others girl at the academy, but I honestly prefer to keep my face clean of makeup and tone down on the Capitol-proved luxuries.

Earth things don't matter to me- Lorien does.

None the less, I'm required to go the Reaping. It hasn't been so bad the last six years; I'm just another face in a crowd of thousands. Four out of those six years one of our tributes has come back victorious, so it's not so tragic as to when the children from the other Districts are reaped. I've never liked being forced to watch and to pretend to enjoy the whole idea is something to honor and idolize, but each year Katarina and I haven't had to pretend to be watching intently. Each year we've searched each new batch of tributes for someone who could possibly be from Lorien; last year we found one. He was from District Ten and fourteen at the time, making him the second youngest Victor and shockingly from an outer District.

He didn't die, so I can only assume that he was Number One. Go figure.

"Maren," Katarina's soft and kind voice speaks from the doorway, "it's time to go, honey."

Nodding solemnly, I bring my gaze forward. No matter how much the odds are in or out of favor, the Hunger Games are brutal and not suited for these human children. Someone like me could survive, but they barely have chance if they're not from the first four Districts.

Among other things, it's simply not fair.

"Hello, District Two!" the Reaper that came straight from the Capital announces loudly in the microphone in an announcer-type voice half an hour later, "and welcome to the Reaping for the 75th Annual Hunger Games!"

A loud roar of approval rises from the crowds in response. I simply quietly clap along, studying the prick on my finger from where they took my blood. Mogodorians could get the blood and track me- it's unnerving. My thoughts rest on that as the Capital man rattles on about Panem's history and the Games' origin; it's lengthy and pointless.

"Now, how about calling up the lovely ladies first?!"

This question inspires another scream of approval from the females around me, snapping me back to attention. He waddles over to the bowl full of names, his fingers eagerly grabbing up a slip of paper without a second to spare.

He gets points for enthusiasm… I think as he opens the paper, nearly tearing it in the process.

"Clover Jemany!" his voice echoes eagerly as everybody's heads snap back and forth in search of our newest potential Victor.

My heart plummets as a small thing from the crowd of twelve year olds steps up.

She's not small by any means- she's chubby- but it's still not a pleasant sight. By her pale face and sniffling nose, she's either been crying or sick….or both. She begins to take her place beside the escort, her eyes darting and somewhat hopeful, her face anticipating a volunteer to take her place. Nobody steps up, but there are several mumbled insults and demeaning words among the mass.

I twist around and see Katarina's tearful expression; she doesn't want that girl to die either.

"I volunteer…" my voice comes out in my weak, unconfident cover voice.

It's not five seconds later before several people snap to look at me, most of their expressions either alarmed or scornful. Even the Reaper looks surprised, but I force my slink into the aisle rather than rising to the challenge like I'd much rather do.

"You must think you're something…" a boy snickers in the crowd.

I turn to him blankly, "I didn't see you raise your hand."

Before I can regret anything further, I step on the stage and gently nudge the girl back to the crowd. Her thankful expression is almost enough to make what I just did justifiable….


One's P. O. V.

"Dusty Smith!"

A chorus of snickers arises around me. Out of the aliases, Heidi had to give the most ridiculous; I sound like a boy to say the least. Rolling my eyes and sighing in annoyance, I step onto the stage and scowl at the crowd. The Games are retarded- I'll murder the other idiots easily.

"Wade Copper!"

That's, of course, about the time a sexy beast steps up on the stage. He's shirtless, tan, and has the good looks that look nothing like a miner.

Well damn it.