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Printed from https://shop.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2314976-A-Game-You-Can-Never-Really-Win
by Elliot
Rated: 13+ · Fiction · Fanfiction · #2314976
Chapter 1 of a Hunger Games fanfic featuring my oc.
Finnick and Fenier walked along the shallow waters on the surf, Fenier’s toes being splashed as the waves rolled in. She watched as the sun lifted beyond the waters, drizzling dazzling sunlight across the reflective sea. It was almost blinding as she gazed across the horizon, the light shining against the beautiful tide.
Finnick walked beside her at an easy pace, kicking up small piles of sand as they walked across the beach, the sand getting between their toes. It was still early morning, the sun only starting to rise, a time in the district when most people were still sleeping soundly in their beds.
Any other day, the two of them would be preparing for a long day of fishing. But today, all they wanted to do was enjoy the beach one more time before the Reaping began.
It was the year of the Quarter Quell. Fenier had only been alive for one of them, the year District Twelve’s Haymitch Abernathy won, which was exceptionally impressive considering there were twice as many tributes in the arena.
Fenier remembered how exhilarating that year was, how heroic she’d remembered Haymitch being, how cunning he’d been.
If only Haymitch still had that reputation.
This year, the Quarter Quell was different. It was a shock to everyone, considering the previous rules of the games. If you are victorious in the Hunger Games, it's a guarantee you never have to enter the arena ever again.
Well, President Snow flipped that completely on its head this year, and for the third Quarter Quell, he announced that instead of the standard Reaping, all the tributes would be previous victors of the Hunger Games.
Fenier and Finnick were, without a hint of exaggeration, terrified.
“You know, there’s plenty of victors in District Four.” Finnick offered. But both of them knew the truth- It was still a great possibility the two of them could be chosen.
“Of course there are. But you know that doesn’t mean it couldn’t be us.”
Finnick swallowed. “Of course not. But there’s always a chance, right?” He attempted, but Fenier just shook her head.
“Well, here’s the good news-” Finnick started, and Fenier turned to him, puzzled. “If you aren’t chosen in the Reaping, you’ll probably see Lover Boy-”
“Oh, enough!” She protested, shoving his shoulder. “And don’t call him that. You know there’s a chance Haymitch could be chosen, too, right?”
“Oh, but no doubt that Peeta boy will offer himself up. Katniss is the only female victor in District Twelve, so if she’s going, so is Peeta, right? So at the very least you’ll probably see Haymitch.”
She pondered it for a moment. It would be nice to see him again.
She’s always offered to mentor in the past, and she had a couple years. But every year she had gone to the Capitol to see him.
It had been somewhat of a joke among the Victors that Haymitch and Fenier had some sort of “Forbidden Romance”. It wasn’t exactly forbidden for separate districts to have relations, but the average person couldn’t reasonably have something like that. Transportation between districts was forbidden unless it was for shipments, and the only time Fenier had been to District Twelve was when she went on her Victory Tour. The two of them being victors helped quite a bit, what with the Capitol visits during the Hunger Games and the Capitol provided phones, but Haymitch had destroyed his phone years ago (Though people were saying that following Katniss and Peeta’s victory, Effie Trinket had given him a new one, supposedly against his will.) Their relationship, however, thrived during the games. When Fenier and Haymitch could see each other all the time in the Capitol as visitors. Rumors of Fenier sneaking off at night to Haymitch’s quarters, how they’d always sit right beside each other at dinner, the way they’d dance and dance and dance-
“Fenier, you in there?” Finnick teased, breaking her out of her thoughts.
She rolled her eyes, letting out a sigh she’d been holding in since she left her cottage.
“Don’t worry about the Reaping, Fenier. It will be fine.” He promised her, and she could only hope he was right.

~ ⭐ ~

Peeta had demanded the three of them “Study” for the Quarter Quell. He’d also made quite a scene of pouring all of Haymich’s liquor down the drain, something Haymitch would have a very hard time forgiving him for, if he ever did.
They were seated in Katniss’ house, tapes scattered around the floor. They’d gone through several of the games already, pouring over and making notes of each victor. Effie had sent over the tapes of everyone eligible for the Reaping, so they could properly prepare.
Peeta described it as “Training like Careers”.
So far, Haymitch was hating it.
Of course, his tape had been skipped. Haymitch assumed Peeta was just being practical- Haymitch had long assumed that he’d offer himself up for tribute if Haymitch was called.
He was glad he didn’t have to watch it, anyways.
“Alright, how about this one? Fenier Lovelake, District Four.”
Haymitch notably perked up at that name. “That one’s an interesting one.”
“Wasn’t too long after your victory.” Peeta noted, still looking down at the label. “Do you know her?”
“You could say that.” He said vaguely in response.
Peeta didn’t question him further. He simply entered the tape and sat down as it began.
They watched silently for a bit, Peeta busily writing down notes.
Haymitch remembered these games. Fenier was clever. Her arena was placed in her comfort zone, with lots of water. She was an exceptional swimmer, like most District Four tributes were. She won by outlasting the rest, avoiding battles when she could and stirring up conflicts between the other tributes, knocking them off the board without taking many kills herself.
But she got caught in a nasty battle towards the end, with a couple of careers that had made it to the final four.
“This battle is important.” Haymitch noted nonchalantly.
Katniss and Peeta watched attentively as the battle progressed, the two careers having cornered Fenier far away from her safe zone, the lake. If she was there, she could easily swim across and make an escape, but they’d pushed her far away from the water, blocking her on either side to rule out any chance of her escape. She seemed done for, and Haymitch remembered thinking she was going to die when he watched it for the first time.
One of the careers was from District Two, and he was very skilled with his spear. It hadn’t left his body since he had retrieved it.
The other Career, a District One tribute, had snagged a set of armor way back in the Cornucopia. It had been his lifeline the entire game.
It seemed like an easy battle, with the odds stacked way against Fenier.
Fenier dashed away, attempting to flee, but the District One career, Gordon, blocked her path. She swerved around and ran in another direction, but the other Career, Pike, caught her arm in a painful grip, swinging her around roughly onto her back.
She shuffled backward on the ground, shakily pulling out her weapons, of which she was short on. She had a dagger, a wooden skewer for killing fish, and a serrated knife.
Pike raised his silver spear above his head, and sent it flying down at the almost defenseless Fenier, who managed to dodge by rolling out of the way. She quickly rose to her feet, yet again attempting to flee as Pike was distracted picking up his weapon, making it only a few feet before the swish of the silver weapon caused her to swing around in fear.
If it hadn’t been for her reaction, the injury would have been deadly.
Instead, the spear caught her almost dead in the shoulder, right in the top of her upper arm. The silver rod was clean through the bone, severing all of the nerves.
Her scream bellowed through the treetops, blood beginning to pour from the wound, spraying where the spear entered her body. But she bit down another cry and, without hesitating, pulled the spear from her arm.
Being from District Four, Fenier had no lack in skills with this type of weapon. But with her dominant arm out of commision, hanging limp on her right, throbbing terribly, she was more sloppy.
She charged at the careers, the spear in her non-dominant hand. Her grip was shaky and her aim was worsened by the use of her left hand, but with all her might she kept fighting.
Even more now, the odds were against her, and she kept fighting.
Pike ran at her, no doubt trying to retrieve his spear back, and she held it firm against her body, horizontal on her side, and it was too late when he realized he’d be skewered, too fast to slow down.
Pike slumped to the ground, choking on his own blood.
Fenier quickly retrieved her knife from her belt, and soon spotted Gordon fleeing over the hill. She ran after him, throwing the knife into his back. He dropped to the ground with a grunt, and she reached him moments after, pulling the knife from his back before plunging it straight into his neck. As she walked away, two cannons fired, and she was in the final two.
“That injury was mostly fixed when she won. The Capitol is great with medicine, but even their treatment didn’t heal the injury completely.” Haymitch told them, and Peeta quickly noted it. “That spot on her arm, right below her shoulder, is a huge spot of weakness. Hitting her there will put her in agony, and guarantee you a way to take her down. She’s got chronic pain and occasional spurts of numbness or paralysis there, too, so make sure you keep that in mind if you go up against her.”
Peeta transferred all this information into his notes, and they all looked up as the final two, Wylie, a tribute from District Seven, and Fenier, battled for the victory.
Fenier’s arm still hung, completely paralyzed. But she had a fiery determination in her eyes, and when Wylie swung his axe, she dodged. She plunged her dagger straight into his stomach, his blood splattering all over her face, spitting from his mouth onto her back.
As he shook on the ground, his life fleeing from his eyes, she stood, blood soaking her body as the announcement of her victory rung out into the arena.

~ ⭐ ~

The wait for the Reaping was agonizing. Standing separated, males and females, the previous victors of District Four stood in peril waiting for the names to be called.
The announcer was the same as every year, this stubby little Capitol man with cropped green hair and a thin, scruffy mustache. He wore sparkly round spectacles resting against his pointed nose, his bright amber eyes gazing from behind the glass. Fenier doubted the short little man even needed the glasses, what with the technology in the Capitol and all.
He had in front of them two glass jars, one with all the former male victors, and the other with the females.
He cleared his throat before speaking into the microphone, his voice squeaky and shrill.
“Victors of District Four! I welcome you to the 75th annual Hunger Games!” He managed to get out, gripping the microphone in his stubby fingers.
He turned around to face a small screen the Capitol had provided.
“Before we begin with the Reaping, the President has asked that we show a video!” The man pressed, giving a toothy smile that was unnaturally shiny.
The video played, and it was about the same as every year before. President Snow explaining the history of the games, telling each district how gracious he was, and how the Hunger Games were a reminder of the rebellion’s failure.
But this year, he added a bit on. How the Quarter Quell was, just like the games, a reminder of how easily the Capitol could destroy them. That even the strongest of each district, the victors of the games, could never stand a chance against the Capitol’s power.
It was the same spiel he did every year. Making the districts feel weak under him. Fenier loathed the President and his games, but she felt somewhat of a hypocrite when she reminded herself that the Capitol was her only way to her lover.
The stubby little man cleared his throat once more and clapped his hands, almost impatiently. “Alright, let’s get to business!” He squeaked, plunging his small hand into the jar of the men’s names.
He pulled out a slip from the collection, unfolding it gently. He leaned into the microphone for a moment before pensively reading the name.
“Fennick Odair.”
A hush of surprise came over the crowd.
But for Fenier, it was so much worse. Knowing nobody would offer themselves up for him.
Finnick pranced up to the stand proudly, holding his head up like this was an honor he had to fulfill.
He stood, waiting, as the little man dove his hand into the other jar, each and every person in the crowd tensing up.
Even Finnick, who kept his eyes planted on the man, looked nervous.
The little man pulled a slip from the jar, unfolding the paper and taking a deep breath.
“Annie Cresta.”
Finnick was the first to respond. His face dropped in almost instantaneous sorrow. Not many people were abundantly aware of it, but Finnick had a serious soft spot for Annie. Fenier was tempted to say that he loved her, and she wouldn’t be far off.
The crowd seemed to split in two as a small voice called out. It was a familiar voice for everyone, the voice of Mags, one of the oldest victors in District Four.
“I volunteer for tribute.” She repeated softly, limping up to the stand as best she could. She was elderly, and weak, but her kindness was stunning.
But Fenier knew this barely helped Finnick. As one piece of his heart was saved, another was torn away. Mags may have saved Annie, but she was also Finnick’s mentor, and losing her would be a whole other kind of pain.

~ ⭐ ~

Feast. There was always a feast. Tributes and their mentors, a couple of representatives and staff from the Capitol. Of course Haymitch was mentoring Peeta and Katniss, because who else would?
Finnick laughed as they spotted Haymitch. Mags walked off to grab food, but Finnick knew exactly where Fenier was headed. “Where are you sitting? Wait, let me guess, wherever Haymitch is?” Finnick teased, but she brushed him off.
She approached him with a spring in her step, a smile upon her face. At least she knew Haymitch wouldn’t be in danger this year. Peeta did exactly as Finnick assumed he would- He offered himself up for Haymitch.
Haymitch was lost in conversation as she reached him, in some sort of petty argument with his friend, Chaff. Chaff noticed her first, instantly smiling upon her. “Hey, Mitch, District Four has arrived.”
Haymitch was already grinning. “Fennie.” He said simply, wrapping her in a hug for a few seconds. “It's been too long.”
“Far too long.” Fenier agreed, flushing at that old nickname he always used.
Chaff chuckled, shaking his head. “I’ll leave you two be. Let me know when you’re planning on getting hammered, Mitch.” He told Haymitch, who laughed as he trod off.
“So, how’s District Four?” He said when Chaff had reached the buffet.
She shrugged. “Same as it always is. We wake up, we fish, we eat, we fish, we sleep.”
“I’m certain it’s more nuanced than that.”
“You’d be surprised.”
Haymitch was right, though. It was much more complicated than that. But she didn’t want to bore him with all the details of her chores.
Really, being a victor, she didn’t need to do anything. She had plenty of money to provide for herself, but it didn’t really matter to her.
She’d been fishing since she was a little girl. Her father taught her to fish when she was very young, and she’d always found it enjoyable. She fished to help provide for the village, even if she didn’t need to.
“What about District Twelve?” She asked.
Haymitch shifted, biting his lip. “I guess you could say it’s been… uncomfortable.” He said. “We’ve had a couple of visitors.”
She knew immediately what he meant. She’d heard rumors of District Twelve’s increase in security, their new Peacekeeper, and how much harder it had been for everyone.
“I can’t imagine how stressful it is.”
“I hope you never have to.” He said softly.
She shook herself, letting out a breath she’d been holding in. “Why don’t we go get some food? I’m starved.”
Haymitch agreed, and they got their servings, sitting down exactly how Finnick guessed they would, right beside each other.
The dinner was lovely, and thoroughly delicious. But she couldn’t keep her eyes off of Haymitch.
He looked well put together, for his credit. His hair was partly combed back, a couple of wavy blond strands flaking out in the front. Part of his hair was braided in the back, resting on the top of the rest, which poured out over his shoulders. He also seemed to have shaved recently, blond bits of stubble growing in around his chin and over his lip.
He was dressed in an ash gray button down, a muted crimson vest over top of it with dark charcoal pants. In his braid was a matching scarlet ribbon, giving him the air of flames, no doubt an intentional choice from the stylists.
Mentors weren’t the priority with costumes, but the stylists always made an effort to keep in theme. So colors were usually used as a way to allude to the District’s specialty.
Fenier’s outfit was, of course, to allude to fishing. Her dress was long and silky, with pieces sewn in to look like scales. It was fluorescent and shimmering, fading from a light teal to a pastel pink and coral. It was beautiful, really, something she would have assumed would go straight to a tribute. But she was nonetheless grateful for it regardless.
“So, Mitch, what exactly is your strategy here? You gonna send Peeta and Katniss in to bore us to death with public affection?” Chaff gruffed from the other side of the table. By this time, both men had already downed a couple of drinks, and while Fenier had become a bit tipsy from her wine, it was no contest as to who was the drunkest. Haymitch sat among his kingdom of empty glasses, already working on another. Fenier had given up on counting them all.
“As if.” He said with a chuckle. “I guess you’ll just have to-” He hiccuped. “Wait and see.”
Chaff huffed in response, taking another hefty sip from his glass. “Always vague with you.”
“I’m not about to give up my strategy, pal.”
“Or maybe you’re too busy thinking about all the overnights you’re going to have with Miss Mermaid.” Chaff shot back, obviously meaning Fenier.
Haymitch threw a napkin at him.
“It's funny, you think the rest of us don’t know.”
“Of course I know you know.” Haymitch slurred out.
“Mhm. You really don’t do a good job of hiding it, you know.” Chaff said gruffly. “Are you ever going to knock her up, or are you just going to keep cumming on the sheets?”
That pushed a button.
“That’s none of your damn business.” Haymitch grunted, slumping back in his seat. Fenier shifted uncomfortably in her own.
Chaff simply rolled his eyes. “Don’t forget to lock the door when you sneak into his quarters tonight, Lovelake.” He stood up, setting his drink down on the table and hobbling towards the exit.
Haymitch was as drunk as a sailor. “I guess it’s about time we went to bed?” She offered.
He nodded in agreement, and Fenier helped him back to his room.
Fenier paused in the doorway as she went to leave. “You know, I could just skip the whole sneaking thing.”
He grunted in his bed, the covers pulled up to his chin. “Maybe another night, Fennie.”
She sighed in disappointment. “Goodnight, Haymitch.”

~ ⭐ ~

Haymitch and Fenier stood together in the viewing room. As mentors, they were responsible for getting aid for their tributes, which usually entailed sending a package for them. Since Finnick, Katniss, and Peeta were working together, Haymitch and Fenier were allies, too.
Haymitch spoke carefully, pity in his voice. “How are you handling it?” He asked, the question vague, but she knew what he meant.
“I’m conflicted. Of course, I’m devastated. Mags had been in our district for years. She was beloved by everyone. I know Finnick will be handling it harder. You can see it in his expression, he’s distraught. She was his mentor after all. Nobody really expected her to give herself up, not that anyone would have asked her to. But she seemed so… content in her decision. Like she knew it was her time to go. I just know there will be a piece missing from District Four when this is over.”
“There will be a bigger hole in the world if it doesn’t happen the way we want.” Haymitch said quietly. He couldn’t exactly go further, but she caught his meaning.
The rebellion. And this Quarter Quell was the very peak of the plan. As districts rebelled, the games still progressed, and the plan was more complicated than Fenier cared to explain.
“Do you think it will?” She asked.
Haymitch stayed silent for a moment. “I hope so.”
She wondered for a moment. “Do you think you’d ever have children, if everything goes right? Settle down, have a family and whatnot?” She asked honestly, hoping he’d consider her question.
He looked perturbed by the idea. “I couldn’t. You know as well as I do that this thing we have going would never work, not between districts.”
“But what if there weren’t any, or I asked to move- You know, being a victor might mean I have a better chance of winning Snow’s graces, it might just-” He interrupted me.
“What kind of father would I be, Fenier? You might find me flashy and put together here, but I’m nothing but a drunkard back home. It wouldn’t be fair- Not to you and not to our child.”
I sighed. It was a touchy subject for him, I know.
“Besides, what kid wants a father that took a swan dive during the Reaping.”
I knew he was trying to make me laugh, to lift the mood, but I couldn’t even bring myself to smile.
I felt his hand clasp in mine, warmth running through my fingers. My broken, faulty fingers from an injury gained in these very games.
“If all goes well, there may still be a chance.” I pressed, and we said nothing more for a long while.
© Copyright 2024 Elliot (quarrymen at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
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