Zuzu's back with more fanfics, ladies and gentlemen. and like all of my other fics, it is also viewable on fanfiction.net under the same name. I even drew a picture for this very occasion. This one is actually older--I started it before the 92nd Hunger Games, and finished it shortly before the 93rd was finished.
AUTHOR'S NOTES: Welcome to the 74th Annual Hunger Games! Those who have read my other fanfics will know that they are set in an alternate universe, where Katniss did not volunteer for Prim at the reapings. This story intends to relay a more detailed account of what went down that year. Thus, we will see several familiar faces throughout this story, some of which were given surnames at my own creative liberty, since I could not find a consensual/reliable source that gave me information on their actual surnames. Other than that, watch as Zulera301 tries to accurately imitate the characters we all know and love.
On a similar note, this is not the sequel (or a prequel, per se) to my existing fanfic series. This is more just an explanation of how and why there was no rebellion, why the 91st, 92nd, 93rd, and so on, Hunger Games happened at all, and what the victor of the games ended up doing before, during, and after the arena events. Just some thoughts.
PART I: THE TRIBUTES
CHAPTER 1: The 74th Hunger Games
For the 74th time in Panem's history, the Capitol and the twelve districts of Panem celebrated what was colloquially known as "Reaping Day". Perhaps 'celebrate' might have been too strong of a word in some cases. For 23 boys and girls between the ages of 12 and 18, this was essentially a condemnation to death. For districts like 1 and 2, where there were around a dozen victors, the levels of confidence exuded were much higher than in the likes of Districts like 12, 9, or 10, which only had 2 (District 12) or 3 ('9 and '10) victors in these last 73 years. Other districts that fared somewhat better, such as '5 or '11 (both of which had 6 victors thus far) did not share the same enthusiasm of sending their kids to their deaths the way District 1 and District 2 did. But, there was a reason that they were called 'Career Districts". They trained boys and girls for the Hunger Games, essentially making it their careers. While the ethics behind this practice were debatable, even the Capitol turned a blind eye to it; rather enjoying that there were enthusiastic tributes that would keep the games interesting. In almost any of the other districts, volunteering was considered suicide, and thus was very rare in some cases, and virtually nonexistent in others.
Thus it was, when 18-year-old Thresh Dakara and 12-year-old Rue Keniye were picked as District 11's tributes for the 74th Annual Hunger Games, there was a somber silence that hung over the crowd which was almost enough to create awkward tension. Instead of applauding the way the escorts all customarily requested (this was more protocol rather than anything though; for none in Districts 6-12 would ever cheer the death of their own), many people raised their hands in a 3-fingered salute. It had originated in District 12, but over the last few years, some closeness between tributes from '11 and '12 had allowed the sign to be shared between the two more freely. There was a moment of resounding silence once again as the two tributes were escorted inside the Justice Building. Thresh and Rue were acquainted with each other, both of them working different parts of the fields and orchards around the district, but neither one was very talkative: Rue mostly just sang or whistled, while Thresh was the type to state or answer things in as few word as possible.
Rue Keniye was not the only 12-year-old with unfortunate luck, however. A district away in the square of District 12, Primrose Everdeen was called to the stage. Her elder sister protested, having just had a reassuring conversation about how unlikely it was that she would get picked, but of course, Reaping Day was the one day out of the year where the District 12 Peacekeepers took their job seriously, and so the rogue Katniss Everdeen was swiftly silenced, where she fell back into line, subdued and upset.
The boy that year was a strapping young man by the name of Peeta Mellark. Similar to in District 11, there was silence after the names were recited, and most of the crowd raised their hands in a somber salute. Katniss was one of the few who didn't, as she was battling the racking pain in her head from the Peacekeeper's strike to her temple. She was having enough trouble standing up as it was, although the reality of what had happened was also hurting in more ways than one: Her sister was almost certainly going to die.
Across the country in District 1, virtually the opposite was the case. Instead of people fearing their name would get picked, there were dozens of boys and girls lined up raring to volunteer. There were so many of them that it was basically a scramble for the stage where the potential tributes brawled their way to the front. There were no real rules about this, but few ever spent much time trying to beat someone down, as that was precious time that they could be scrambling for the stage instead. This year's picks were a lanky boy named Marvel and a slender, attractive lady named Glimmer. While both of them almost seemed a bit airheaded like their escort (being an airhead was part of an escort's job description though), they clearly had some ability to back themselves up considering that they had outdone the other boys and girls of District 1.
District 2 was almost identical to District 1 except perhaps a bit more vicious. From the stage, their bubbly escort Athena was mustering the tributes together in preparation for the race to the stage. The boys and girls were beginning to split up into their respective groups, but that didn't stop a few from passing a few words to each other before the split.
"If you don't win this year, Cato, I'm going to have no choice but to mock you," a smaller girl teased. "It's your last year, so it's now or never."
"There'll be more than a few black eyes by the time I reach that stage," Cato insisted, "and what about you, Clove? Are you in it to win it?"
"If I wasn't," the girl named Clove retorted, "I wouldn't be here." Before she could say much more, the two of them parted ways, although exchanged glances as Clove and the other girls got into position.
The scramble to the stage was about as chaotic as one might assume, with brawls breaking out between some of Panem's strongest children as they raced and battled to become this year's tributes for the 74th Annual Hunger Games. After a few moments of zigzagging through other girls and striking a few others with alarming precision, Clove flipped up onto the stage and was named the female tribute. She got an approving nod from Elroy and Enobaria, the current pair of mentors for District 2 that year. Technically only one victor was required to mentor tributes, although many from District 2 took pride in having a 2nd victor there to bolster their egos.
Clove's eyes returned to the group of boys who were now preparing to fight to the stage. Many of them were fairly gigantic, and so singling out Cato was not very easy at first. However, it was clear which one was vicious enough to be Cato once they were in action. He was pushing and shoving and punching his way past the others, before clambering up to the stage, raising his arms triumphantly and giving a battle yell as if to proclaim his victory.
Athena did not seem to mind any of this, and so once Cato and Clove were perched atop the stage, she made the announcement.
"Ladies and Gentlemen! Our tributes for the 74th Annual Hunger Games: Cato Salazar and Clove Kazera!"
In this district there actually was some cheering and chanting. There was a lot of district pride here in '2, and Clove and Cato egged it on by shouting and throwing their hands into the air.
Even in these districts though, the tributes were allowed to say their final goodbyes, and so they had about 5 or 10 minutes inside the District 2 Justice Building where their parents and siblings would show up (if they wished to) to bid their son, daughter, brother, or sister goodbye. Only two individuals showed up—Cato's mother and father. Clove's parents were alive, but had not chosen to show up. Watching the reaping was mandatory by Capitol Law, but that was what television was for unless you were between the ages of 12 and 18.
Clove flipped a coin between her fingers as she idled her time while she overheard Cato say his goodbyes. It didn't bother her, per se, that her parents were not even interested in their own daughter to see her realize what was surely her finest achievement, but… okay, maybe it irked her just a little. Cato's parents seemed so affectionate and proud of their young man who was going to bring them and their district honor and glory, and perhaps even fame. Cato Salazar was certainly a valid threat, and would surely have very high odds. Clove sighed softly, making it sound like she was simply disinterested, and waited for the Peacekeepers to escort them to the trains.
Unlike in other districts, the Peacekeepers were fairly friendly about informing the tributes their time was up, knowing that volunteer tributes were not about to try and make a break for it or cause a scene or anything, and unsurprisingly, Cato and Clove both went with them without any incident.
They were joined by Athena when they boarded the train, her excited rambling going over their heads as they sat down, still looking a bit roughed up from the brawling they had done on the way to the District Stage. Despite their significant difference in height, both of them were smirking contentedly as they silently got comfortable and the train pulled out of the District 2 station. Cato Salazar and Clove Kazera knew full well what they were getting into, and had no regrets. They had been training their whole lives for this moment, and now it was time to prove their worth, as they entered the 74th Annual Hunger Games in a dangerously high-risk, high-return endeavor for honor and courage, where winning meant fame and fortune; while losing…
…losing meant certain death.