A/N: Quick note~ have Dimity's and Mizuko's POVs at the same time in your mind as you read.
"I'm not quite human, and I'm not a machine
So I guess that leaves you staring at something in between."
Syrene Lovett, District Eight Female
The tearful boy from Three, who begged at her feet to spare the girl, died. Part of her rejoiced at that; one less opponent to bring her down.
But she knew. She knew all too well that as long as she drew breath that memory would never stop plaguing every waking moment and destroying every one where sleep claimed her.
Syrene would never escape this.
Hastily, Syrene rose from the puddle of mucky water from which she gathered and boiled enough water to last another day. Quinn was silent; as expected from a mentor with two remaining money-eaters. And as much as Syrene agreed with waiting until that bastard Angevin stopped breathing to start spending on her, life in the arena hadn't lightened up.
A quick survey of the barren streets surrounding her left Syrene to do what she'd done since the fight: wander. For what's felt like centuries, Syrene's walked the streets of the arena in the name of not giving herself the time of day to sit down and think. To think was to remember.
To remember was to remember how the boy from Three begged, how the girl from Nine cried, how the boy from Five's head split open, and how her allies died without her being able to do anything about it.
To remember was to be derailed.
Syrene paused from walking down the street she'd felt like she'd walked a thousand times before, gingerly sipping water from the now lukewarm cache. The water scalded her throat, even in its cooled state, but she couldn't bring herself to stop. At this point, feeling anything at all was relief in and of itself.
But as dulled as she felt, her wariness remained sharp. The crunch of a boot from behind her, amplified by the slosh of water that came along with it, caught her attention instantaneously. She was being tailed.
Her options were simple: face them face-to-face, flee, or let them charge her. Her mind ravaged the possibilities, the pros and cons of each, but she would never get the chance to decipher them to decide herself. From behind, the whistle of a knife pushed instinct to guide her to the floor, canteen laid astray. The knife stuck into the softening stone of the building behind her. Even before she met her attacker, her own knives were drawn. Her features displayed a variety of emotions, from hatred to remorse as she held eye contact with her attacker.
"Where's your posse, Gev?"
Angevin, obviously physically plagued by the arena what with the rag-tag uniform and the blood, scattered from the dried stains on his face to the still-flowing wound in his leg. "I told them I could handle this one alone," he responded nonchalantly, unsheathing another knife from his belt.
Once again, Syrene considered the options and the opportunities. He was battered, but they both knew he was superior, physically, at least. Odds were, if she fled, she'd make it. The bruising on his leg wasn't life-threatening, but it was obtrusive to any speed he might've boasted beforehand.
But what would she achieve, running every time an opportunity to further herself came alongside a risk? She scoffed. She'd done stupider things, after all. Angevin, alone, injured – it was child's play.
So she lunged.
Angevin was quick to maneuver considering his condition, sidestepping her and slamming his elbow on her midsection. Albeit the stars that came with the strike, Syrene managed to flail the knives around enough to scare off Angevin momentarily, long enough to back away.
As soon as she caught her breath, she was on the move again, charging Angevin from the side, and this time, she begged for luck and hurled one of her two knives at Angevin's already gaping wound. The blade was buried into the bloodstained wound, garnering an agonizing cry from Angevin. Syrene sprinted on, tackling him to the floor, both her remaining knife and his knife clattering beside them from the fierce strike and parry.
On the floor, Syrene ravenously pounded her knee against Angevin's seeping cut, digging the knife deeper and deeper through the arteries she prayed had been severed. Angevin's left hand locked around her throat, digging his nails into the fabric of her uniform and then into her skin. Both of them cried out as blood trickled out of their open wounds, painting a scarlet patchwork directly surrounding them.
Syrene grasped the knife lodged in Angevin's thigh, and as perilously as possible, removed it from the skin that held it. She watched the agony morph to horror in his eyes as Syrene raised the blade over him. She allowed naught an extra moment to pass before she sunk the blade into his skin.
Instead, it only grazed his skin.
She stared at her blade, loosely rolling out of her hands as she wobbled from side to side on top of Angevin. The metallic glint gave way to crimson puddles of Angevin's blood. And then she stared at his blade.
The blade he'd been fumbling for during their entire struggle. The blade he'd kept in his belt, waiting to be put to use.
The blade that was lodged all the way to the hilt into her chest.
The pain wasn't all there. A dull ache vibrated from the bowels of her chest to the tips of her fingers, but the burning pain she'd imagined wasn't there.
Syrene gasped as Angevin flipped her over, blood welling on her tongue with every painful inhale and exhale. Her district partner stood stoically above her, turned to go, but decided against it. Angevin Roi returned to a standing position directly above her as the life seeped out of her.
The last thing she saw before she faded away as his eyes, with something she'd naught seen in him since the first day she met him: Remorse.
Dimity Tallieur, District Three Female
Onyx, who'd just started to pull down her own walls and start breaking down Dimity's, died. Part of her rejoiced at that; one less opponent to bring down. A single cannon shattered the silence of the night sky earlier, and for some reason, Dimity hoped against hope that it wasn't Angevin who fell.
It was no secret that she had no true attachment to the alliance, being forced into it, but she overestimated her mental capacity. Dimity knew her own bomb had slain the girl from Four, and she'd watched Onyx kill herself behind her.
Both times, she'd felt relieved.
Relieved that it hadn't been her to drown in the tidal wave, relieved that her body hadn't been ravaged by the bomb she crafted and plotted.
But now that she'd achieved the solitude she'd planned on taking throughout the arena, the only thing she wanted was to be able to talk to someone.
The silence went beyond eerie; every sound of the city had her pouncing at it, furiously slicing her knife through thin air where only the wind answered her. Every blinking moment was fear-ridden of when the trident or spear would end her.
Dimity needed someone to take that away.
She shuffled in the breezy night, rubbing her arms hastily in a vain attempt to warm herself against the quickly dropping arena temperature. Dimity brushed her hair out of her eyes as she walked along the sidewalk of the road. Her footfalls ricocheted of the buildings, making her recoil each time the noise filled her ears.
Dimity gasped at the voices began spilling from the sky. It was a low pitched noise that caught her attention. Cautiously, she unsheathed her blade and watched the sky of any hint of what was to come. Dimity struggled to contain a scream – which she held to a whimper – as the trumpets blared, announcing the anthem's beginning.
The Capitol Seal faded into the night sky as the face, the single dead tribute of today illuminated the sky: the girl from Eight. Dimity quirked her lips, slightly disappointed. If luck had been on her side, the girl from Two or the boy from Four would be in the sky, but it would appear not. At least it wasn't Angevin.
Huffing firmly, Dimity rose, knife in hand. If he wasn't dead, then she'd find him, and hell itself would have to stop one of them from winning. Or more preferably, her from winning. Because even if it is her who wanted his presence now, she would be the one to escape the confiding arena walls.
Dimity was no Onyx. She needed no one to survive but herself.
The low noise Dimity'd written off as the mechanical preparation of the anthem wailed off again. Dimity stumbled as she flinched this time; the scuffle undoubtedly attracted the attention of the perpetrator, as the noise ceased.
She cursed under her breath as she tightened her grip on her knife. Dimity would not fall today, not after the hell she'd been through.
Vigilantly, Dimity navigated in the general direction of the groans until she could make out heavy breaths. Either ill or injured.
Pinning the point in her mind, Dimity launched herself through the barrier of the building, spinning in the air to evade a knife, flung far enough to the left that it wasn't even necessary to try to avoid the blade. Nevertheless, Dimity tumbled, landing on one knee with her knife jutted out. Her head remained bowed; she couldn't bear the sight of life seeping from someone's face. She'd killed the girl from Four, but she hadn't been in even relative proximity.
The blade nicked the skin of the person, but a firm hand locked around her wrist, halting her.
"Dimity," the voice breathed, pained and despairing. "Never thought you'd be the one to off me." A low chuckle followed.
She flinched, lowering her knife instantaneously and meeting the gaze of Angevin, whose pale face showed equal fear and cheerfulness. "So, how've you been?"
Despite her general lack of attachment to anyone in general, Dimity pulled Angevin into a light hug, which he winced at, at first. "Ow, ow, giant gaping hole in my leg. Ow." She laughed lightly as Angevin smiled halfheartedly, pain stricken in his bloodied expression. Slowly, his features darkened with sorrow and sincerity. "Onyx…"
"The tidal wave got her." She didn't quite know how else to word, 'Hey, your girlfriend may have commit suicide instead of continuing to search for you. Oops.' "I did all I could, but-"
"You had to get out, too," Angevin finished, nodding solemnly. "She'd want one of us to win."
"Please, she'd want you to win," Dimity muttered, releasing Angevin, who winced over to where his knife lay, lodged into the softening stone of the nearby building.
Angevin paused, then smirked. "I'm glad you see it that way." Dimity raised an eyebrow and opened her mouth to respond as the sound registered. Not a groan or a wince that she expected from the ailing boy.
The whizz and thud of a knife. In horror, Dimity gaped at the knife, driven through her throat with ease. Her accusing glare met Angevin's sympathetic one with ferocity.
Dimity dropped to her knees, landing on the knife, effectively spiking it through her throat, through and through. Angevin watched her from his position against the building, and she used the reserves of her strength to go over there and beat the living shit out of him, but too late did she feel the numbness of her heartbeat, the thoughts slowing in her mind…
"Why…?" Her own voice was so hoarse and foreign, but her mind hardly registered it. Fear seized what remained of her heart; she couldn't – she wouldn't – die without knowing why.
Angevin limped his way over to here as her vision faded to nothing, and soon, only the sound of his voice registered in her limp mind.
"Your purpose has been completed, my dear. Thank you for your service."
Mizuko Hali, District Four Male
Ira, who managed to bring out the best and the worst in him simultaneously, died. Part of him rejoiced at that; one less opponent to bring him down. Earlier, the sound of cannon was welcomed by Mizuko, ushering him into the Final Four.
But every other part of him wanted nothing more than to have someone that he could talk to as he trudged through the sludge of the street. He wanted to have someone to watch his back when he paused in the street. He wanted someone who he could trust.
But more than anything, Mizuko just wanted Ira back.
And for what reason, he couldn't say. Ira had been someone that he truly understood and someone who truly understood him. She hadn't treated him like a Victor's kid or even a Career after the first night. Ira treated him like a stranger, then a friend, then a brother. Mizuko'd like to think he treated her the same. The only other people in Panem that would ever mean that much to him were Mags and Rain.
Rain. It must've been centuries since the Peacekeeper ripped her out of his arms in the Justice Building all those days ago. He missed his de facto sister more than the world; no doubt she hadn't slept in ages, watching the Games even as her eyes were bloodshot.
Purposelessly stumbling down streets, as he'd been since he'd lost her, Mizuko strained to keep the memories of anything but the arena out of his head. As soon as his thoughts were muddled with yesterday, he'd be dead before the cannon blew.
Mizuko knew his capabilities fairly well. As soon as Rain was in his mind, every other tribute would be another Rain, begging him to let them live. His sole chance to remain a threat in this arena was to remain stoic or vengeful.
And although he speared the bastard who took Ira away, there was much, much more to be avenged.
District Three had yet to pay the price; one of its children remained living, whereas Ira was not. As ridiculous as he knew he sounded, that wasn't just. Ira, of all people, was the most willing and deserving to win.
And those guilty were not limited to the walls of the arena. Outside, hundreds of thousands of culprits walked freely along the roads of the Capitol without even a thought of punishment for their crimes.
But he couldn't very well spear them, could he?
Mizuko flinched, fumbling for his trident, which in turn, clattered haphazardly onto the ground. Being his only remaining weapon, Mizuko hastily whipped out Ira's knife, staring down his opponent with equal dread and readiness.
"I see your form's deteriorating," Minet commented offhandedly. "I could've killed you four different ways by now," Minet mused, keeping her rapier at her side in a lax, but defensive position. Leave it to Minet to be welcoming yet threatening. "The Games, not quite like the Academy painted it to be."
Mizuko studied Minet, admittedly shocked. Certainly, she'd release her fury any moment, sickening strike after strike…but why wait? "I suppose not," he responded carefully. Mizuko jutted out his chin toward the gleaming rapier. "Gonna put that down anytime soon?"
"A formality, but a necessary one." Mizuko remained poised to strike while Minet remained poised to parry, but neither made a move or a hint of lunging. Mizuko, however, couldn't meet her eyes. The eyes whose lively front housed pain to inexplicable degrees dug into his skin better than her rapier could dream of doing.
Mizuko had been there, when Graecus died. Hell, he was a large reason he was in the Morgue and not here.
Minet nodded at him, reading his remorse with ease. "Whatever's happened around us, we're still allies, Hali," Minet whispered, all hints of jollity nowhere to be found.
Mizuko hesitated, gripping his knife tighter in sight of perspiration wetting his hands. Minet took it as a green light to continue. "And you know the other two are allies; Dimity and Angevin practically flaunted their alliance all through training. Do you really think either of us will get out against both of them?"
"Anything can happen," Mizuko returned icily, unconsciously backing away from her.
"Don't be brash," Minet hissed, "Whether you like it or not, we are each other's only chance of getting the hell out of here." Mizuko flinched as Minet swung her rapier around with each venom-laced word.
Her voice leveled to a dangerous whisper: "And we both know which of us has the right to be pissed at the other, and it's switched at the moment if you hadn't noticed." Mizuko tried to avoid noticing the hints of tears pooling at the bottom of her eyes. Minet hastily blinked them away, but knowing her, she could convince the Gamemakers to send a squadron of Peacekeepers in here and blast him if she willed it so. Minet would need more than tears to win him over.
Sadly, she had reason on her side.
Mizuko wasn't naïve; he'd seen the girl – Dimity, as Minet'd said – and her ally from Training like every other tribute did, and like hell would they disperse without killing each other. No matter how well either of them were prepared and trained in their yesteryears, it was absurd to think he could manage them on his own.
He needed her, and she needed him.
The thought send shivers down his back. It'd been short of a day, and he'd already considered replacing her. Mizuko gulped hard, firmly gripping the knife in his right hand as Minet finally drew her rapier into a striking position.
"Promise me you won't give up."
Abruptly, Mizuko dropped his knife, allowing it to clatter on the floor beneath him. Minet let out a visible sigh of relief, releasing the tension in her shoulders. Minet tossed her rapier on the ground playfully.
"The Careers' last hurrah," Minet murmured with a small grin. Mizuko permitted himself to let the nostalgia of the Careers in, if only momentarily. "Three and Eight are screwed-"
Both Careers stopped in their tracks as a cannon boomed. Mizuko's gaze slowly met Minet's in horror. Both Careers eyed their weapons, in between them on the ground.
And they lunged.
Dimity Tallieur, District Three
Syrene Lovett, District Eight
Purple, Dimity was fierce and ferocious and determined; I just felt it was her time to go.
Heather, Syrene was the final word in complex, and there'll never be one to match her strengths and history. Which, I look forward to finishing up... ;D
My, my, that was a fun chapter! :) And, of course, our little Career debacle. Welcome to the Final Three :D Minet, Mizuko, and Angevin - here we go!
~LUTS will update...soon, I promise XD
Poll of who you want as Victor is on my profile.
Until next time!