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Hunger Games - Harry Potter style!

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Old October 20th, 2010, 3:28 pm
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Hunger Games - Harry Potter style!

Chapter 1
Hermione Granger

Summary: AU, OOC. After years of war in the wizarding world, the Ministry of Magic regained control. But the aftermath of war split the once unified lands into districts. Now, every year, to honor the war and as a painful reminder to what happened during the war, there is the Hunger Games, a cruel competition where only one tribute is left alive after everything is said and done. 2 tributes, a guy and girl from each of the 8 Districts are chosen. But this year, the stakes are even higher. The number of tributes usually seen in the Games rise. And Hermione Granger, resident of the Gryffindor District, soon finds herself in the middle of these dangerous Games.

“I-I think I got one!” I squealed, holding on tight to the long piece of slender wood that was my fishing rod.

The fish on the other end was a big one. I was sure of it. It was one of those that the townspeople in my district were jealous of when you caught it. Still, I could barely keep the rod in my hands . It was moving all over the place.

“Don't let it go, honey!” my father said, in his brave voice.

I grinned and nodded. It was only his voice that kept me holding on. I heard deep footsteps as he walked up behind me.

We were sitting at the northern point of one of the district's prized fishing boats. It was an honor just to be let on one of these, because they were almost priceless. They took many resources and manpower to build, and we were lucky to produce one every few months.

“Hermione caught one?” I heard my mother say, from somewhere on my right.

“She's still reeling it in!” my father said.

“Fishy, fishy!” a small squeal said near my mother.

I didn't take the time to look, but I knew my little sister was at my mother's feet, playing. I reeled and reeled, my hands straining, but I still continued.

“Should you help her, Richard?” my mother asked.

“No, Helen,” my father said, “She's got it!”

“I do, mummy!” I said.

And I felt it too. Just a little more fight. Finally, after a couple of minutes, I did a last tug and a large tuna landed on the deck near my feet.

“Fishy, fishy!” my sister said, pointing at it and laughing.

“Good job!” my mother said.

“That's a great one!” my father said, “We might just have that one for dinner --”

Suddenly, there was a shaking feeling. The whole boat seemed to be rumbling. I almost fell out of my chair, but it stopped just as soon as it had begun. My little sister was crying. I looked at my father. His eyes were huge as he looked out somewhere behind me.

“Helen,” he said, “Get the lifeboat. Get the girls into it.”

“What?” my mother asked.

“NOW!” my father ordered.

My mother nodded and scooped up my sister and rushed down the deck. My father pulled me up.

“Daddy?” I asked.

“I'll be right behind you, honey,” my father said, “Helen, get that motor started!”

I ran down the deck, following my mother.

“Honey, help Jane into the lifeboat,” my mother said, as she climbed over the deck into it.

It was a little bit of a struggle, but I was used to picking up my little sister, even though I was only 5 years older than her. I picked her up and helped her over the railing. My mother took her and then I climbed in. Just as I did, there was another rock. I screamed and closed my eyes as I felt us rush downwards. When I opened my eyes, I saw that we were in the water.

“Richard?!” my mother cried out.

“Go!” my father said, his head appearing over the railing, “I'll get the other lifeboat!”

“But --” my mother started.

“Just go!” my father screamed.

I heard my mother sob, but then the boat jolted into movement and we were heading back in the direction of our town.

“Dada?” Jane said.

“He's coming, baby,” my mother said.

I was searching frantically toward the fishing boat, looking for another lifeboat. Then I saw something that I wouldn't forget for a long time.

“Mum?” I said, “What is that?”

A large wall of water was racing right in our direction... in the fishing boat's direction.

“No!” my mother cried out, “No!”

I heard the motor roar, but our lifeboat wasn't heading back toward the fishing boat. We were going away from it. Toward land.

Then it happened. The large wave hit the fishing boat and right before my eyes, the boat capsized. My eyes went wide...

I stifle my screams, fearing that I would wake up my sister. But when I turn my focus to look for her, she is not there. Her half of the bed is cold. I sit up and look across the room. Jane is curled on her side, pressed against my mother. She must have had a nightmare in the middle of the night. It isn't uncommon for her. I wonder if she had the same nightmare I had. It wouldn't have surprised me. It was all too common of a memory for either of us to forget.

Because it wasn't just a nightmare I had. It was a memory, showing me the last time I ever saw my father. He was killed by the rogue wave, his last heroic act saving my sister, my mother, and myself.

I smile at my sister, hoping her dreams are peaceful now. Though I highly doubt it.

At the feet of my sister, lays the ball of fur also known as Crookshanks, the bane of my life. He is the ugliest creature I have ever laid my eyes on. He has a flattened face, half an ear missing, and part of his tail was missing. Unfortunately my sister loves him. She named him Crookshanks after a mythical pirate that had roamed the shores around the area we lived in. Jane found him almost a year ago, sickly, hungry, and dirty as they come. But my sister begged me to help her nurse the cat back to life. You'd think the cat would like me for saving his life. You're wrong. A day hasn't gone by he hasn't hissed at me.

I guess I should tell you a little about myself and the world I live in.

My name is Hermione Granger. I am sixteen years old, and I am a witch.

I'm sure when you think of the term “witch”, you think of cauldrons, black cats and dark voodoo. But I am far from that. The only part of our cat that is black is his soul, and I am lucky to know how much magic I do, given the current situation. But I will get to that a little later.

I live in what is now known as District 8, though it is referred to the people here as the Gryffindor District. The eight districts make up the land that used to be known as Western Europe. The Gryffindor District lies in what used to be known as the northern half of Scotland.

Many years ago, there were no districts. Wizards and witches lived in secrecy away from the Muggles, people who knew no magic at all. Everyone lived in peace and were allowed to venture where ever they pleased. But that peace did not last for long. There is much confusion as to how it all began, though it is rumored that the officials in the Ministry District (the capitol city) know all about it.

The old stories tell us that a renegade group of magic-folk, known as the Death Eaters, became empowered with greed. They believed that Muggles should not exist. That wizards and witches were the stronger breed in the world. The Death Eaters revealed themselves to the Muggles, and this sparked the greatest war the world had ever seen. The world took sides: The Death Eaters and all who supported their beliefs against the rebels, those who believed that Muggles should be left alone to their lives.

Many lives, both magic folk and non, were lost. In the end, the Ministry district officials stopped the war, making a treaty with the rebels. But the world was never the same. The districts were split up into eight parts around Western Europe, from what used to be known as Scotland, to far east as France and Bulgaria, though much of the land had been ravaged by the war. It is widely believed that the districts were split up, so that the two sides of the Old War would not clash.

Thus began the Age of Magic. It is unknown where the surviving Muggles escaped to, though the world was big enough. Where ever they were, they were safe.

Though the districts were split up, there was some unity. Each district had their own unique talents and businesses. The Gryffindor district was known for fishing and sea exploring. My father was a fisherman. In order for our survival, each district had to rely on every other one. Still, it wasn't enough to unite the districts back together. The Ministry district made sure of that.

I remembered the day my father died very clearly. Just as it happened yesterday. It was the first of two moments of my life so far I remembered very clearly, as if I was watching them over and over. The other happened two years after my father died.

I was on the docks one day, and I had an epiphany as I explored the ships and boats. Every single boat had only one lifeboat with them. The day my father died, he claimed that, as we headed for the first lifeboat, he would get on the second. There was no second lifeboat. I realized my mother let him stay on the boat. She let him die.

I loved my father dearly. He was my hero. I wanted to be like him. The day of his death was the worst day I ever had. It was also my ninth birthday.

My mother took my father's death really hard. She knew there was no second lifeboat, and the night I confronted her about it, two years after his death, was the night my mother cracked.

To this day, I thank the gods, that my sister, Jane, was asleep, and that she had never heard that terrible argument between my mother and I. After I accused my mother, she had yelled at me in a voice that I had never heard before that evening. She spout things no eleven year old (as I was at the time) should hear from their mother.

After the argument, I retreated into the only bedroom we had. My mother didn't make any noise the rest of the evening; at least none I could hear. When I think of it now, I know I should have taken that as suspicious, but I was too angry with my mother, and the anger had won over. I didn't care about her that night.

The next morning, I woke up early, ready to apologize to my mother. But I couldn't find her anywhere. My mother had run away. She ran away from her troubles. She ran away from my sister and I.

I tried to alert the authorities, but it was hopeless. The small group of men who were referred to as the Security Squad were all vile, evil men who only did their job just to earn a lot more money than they would doing any other job in our district. They never even put in any interest into finding my mother.

With my mother gone, I had taken over as head of the family. But for an eleven-year old girl from a very poor family, that wasn't the easiest of tasks.

Public education in our district was almost non-existent. Most children were home-schooled. Only the most fortunate of individual were high in knowledge. Most of the people in our district stopped their education at age eleven. By age eleven, it was decided you were old enough to find a job to support your family.

In my case, with my mother gone, I was the breadwinner of the family. My sister was only six years old at the time, and in her early stages of her education. I spent four hours a day teaching her various things: spelling, numbers, knowledge of the world, things a little girl of that age should know.

When I wasn't looking after my sister, she would play with some of the neighbors' kids. I, on the other hand, had to get some work in.

I became a fisher, like my father. I was ridiculed by the older fisherman, who all thought that a little girl, heck, any female of any age shouldn't be fishing. It was the man's job to fish. It was the woman's job to clean the fish. However, like my father, I soon found my niche in fishing. I could catch a baker's dozen on a good day, which meant that I could sell some in the district market, and take some home for dinner. It's easy to say we had fish just about every night of the week. I came up with dozens of recipes for fish that I wouldn't have thought of with my mother around.

Two years after her disappearance, my mother showed up on our doorstep. If it wasn't for my sister, who was so happy at my mother's return, I would have argued with my mother for a week, and she probably would have run away again. But Jane was the twinkle of my mother's eye, and I hated to see my sister upset. I couldn't let my mother run away.

My mother was hardly recognizable. She had changed so much in appearance that I still wonder what happened to her. She used to look beautiful, but her beauty had disappeared in those two years away from home. She never told us where she was or what happened to her.

I look out the single window of our small bedroom. It isn't even dawn yet. The perfect time for hunting.

After my mother returned, I gave up my job as a fisher. I knew, sooner or later, I'd end up on one of the ships. I knew my mother couldn't take it, so I quit right there.

When the most popular job in your district is fishing, and you up and leave it, there isn't much left to do. Fortunately, I found a new niche. It was a job that very few people dared to do. In fact there was only one other person who would do it with me.

I became a hunter.

I'm sure you're asking why being a hunter is so bad. It's simple. The only hunting that was available in District 8 was the forests around the edge of town. The forests were blocked off by very high fences with barbed wire tips. It was considered forbidden to hunt in the forest. If you were caught, you'd be punished for poaching. You didn't want to get caught.

Then there is the fact that if you get a good haul of game, you have to be careful where you sell it. Sell it to the wrong person, they'll turn you in. Fortunately, in the fishing district, the only kind of meat you usually come by is fish and seafood. So as you can guess, the market for animal meat is a good one, if you can find a trustworthy buyer. Nobody finds it suspicious that there is non-fish related meat in the market, due to one simple fact. The Ministry District brings in the same type of meat to sell to the butchers once a week, so as long as you hunt the same exact type of animal, you can pretty much get away with it.

The hunting business may be dangerous, but it is pretty profitable.

I dress in my homemade camouflage hunting outfit, grab my wand, and head out of the bedroom. I walk over to one of the cupboards and open the door. Inside is what I refer to as my hunter's stash. Jars full of jerky (my special recipe usually made out of any scraps of meat I bring home, be it deer, rabbit or squirrel), a loaf of bread my sister baked for me the previous evening, and my canteen. I take the canteen, the loaf of bread, and enough jerky to last me for a few hours of hunting. I fill the canteen with water.

Living near the sea, there is only two types of water available here: salty and really salty. So unless you have a filter or you boil ahead of time, you will be drinking salty water, which just happens to make you even more thirsty. Fortunately, I invented a filter long ago, and it hasn't failed us since.

I put everything in my knapsack and head out the door. The air is cold and misty, and it smells of salt from the sea, even though the body of water is a good half-of-a-mile north of our house. Though the sun has yet to rise, it is just light enough for me to see the road in front of me. I journey south, toward my secret entryway into the forest.

As I explained, a very high fence surrounds the district, blocking the outlying forest from the townspeople. It is impossible to climb over without impaling yourself in the barbed wire at the top. It is supposed to be also guarded with electricity or magic, but there is hardly a witch or wizard in District 8 who is skilled enough to keep it electrified at all times of the day. Usually the Security Squad wizards electrify the fence, but their schedules are so predictable, it is no danger to me. I have a schedule of my own. I leave before the sun rises, before the usual Security Squad wizard wakes up and charms the fence. Then I stay in the forest for at least five hours. By that time, the charm has worn off.

When I arrive at my secret entryway, there is a boy there. He is the only other person in District 8 who dares to hunt in the forest, and he is my very best friend.

Ron Weasley is sixteen, the same age as me. But that is not our only similarity. Ron's father, Arthur, was also a fisherman, and his job also took his life. Ron only tells me that his father went out to fish one day, and never came back. Reports had said that a witness saw him fall into the sea during a fight with a rather nasty catch. Whether it was true, Ron never found out.

Even though we are the same age, Ron and I didn't know each other all our lives. We met in the forest a couple weeks after I started hunting. It was rather tense at first, but we soon learned that we could do more damage if we stuck together. In other words, if we worked together, we wouldn't kill each other on accident. It is very strange to think that Ron and I lived in the same District and had never met before I started hunting. I tried to think of a time in my life I had ever seen Ron before the day I had met him. I couldn't think of one.

Ron sees me just as I arrive. He smiles that rather boyishly smile I have grown accustomed to. He is rather handsome, though I would never admit that out loud. He has short red hair, lots of freckles, and he is very tall. He always has to look down at me when we talk. I hate that. I don't like how short I am compared to him.

“You finally arrived,” he says.

“'Finally'?” I answer.

“I thought we agreed to hunt earlier today,” he says, “You know... considering what day it is.”

I look at him, trying to figure out what he was talking about. Then it hits me like a tidal wave. I feel my jaw drop. No. It can't already be that date.

“You didn't forget today was Reaping Day, did you?” he asks, frowning at me.

Reaping Day. How could I have forgotten?

Once a year, every year since the Old Wars ended, the Ministry hold what is called the Hunger Games. The Hunger Games are the most brutal experience anyone can go through.

The rules of the Hunger Games are simple. In memory of the Old Wars, each of the eight districts must provide one girl and one boy, called tributes, to participate. The sixteen tributes will be imprisoned in a vast outdoor arena that could hold anything from a burning desert to a frozen wasteland. Over a period of several weeks, the competitors must fight to the death. The last tribute standing wins.

Most people in every district feared going into the Hunger Games. If you were not a strong competitor, you would most likely die. The more popular districts (The Ministry District and the Slytherin District) are bred to go into the Hunger Games. They usually are the ones who win these Games. District 8 has only won once, many years ago.

Today, the Reaping Day, is the day two names are picked.

For a while, many of the tributes were of all ages, eleven and older. But recently, the Ministry District had decided to change that rule. Now, only people between the ages of 11 and 18 would be placed in the running as tributes.

Each year, you are ordered to put your name in the pool. But here's the catch. If you don't get picked as a tribute, your name stays in the running for the following year, as long as you are of the right age. The following year, you put your name in again. And so on and so forth. But there is also other ways your name could go in. Say you were poor, or you didn't get enough food. You could put in your name once again. If you do, you are promised a year's worth of rations. The rations were usually horrible, but when you could barely last otherwise, it was heaven.

My name was in the pool now ten times. One for every year I was in it, from when I was 11 years old, to now at 16. And four more for four years that I knew our family would need food. Ten entries were considered a lot. I was very lucky that my name hadn't gotten picked... yet.

This would be the first year my sister's name would enter the pool, but I wasn't concerned for her. You didn't worry when you had one entry in the pool. Not when others had eight, nine or ten entries.

I stare at Ron. He just looks at me, waiting for an answer.

“No, of course not!” I answer him, “Of course I remembered.”

That is a lie, of course. My nightmare had pushed the Reaping Day away from my mind.

“Well, in that case,” Ron says, “Happy Hunger Games! And may the odds --”

He looks at me expectantly.

“Be ever in your favor,” I finish lamely.

He looks at me like I've gone insane. It scares me, because it could possibly be true. I look away, and walk over to a large bush. The bush hides a very large hole in the fence that Ron and I use to get through. You couldn't really see it unless you walked up on it, so it was very secret.

“So what is on the menu today?” I ask Ron, after we make our way through the hole.

“We can't go too far,” he says, “We need to be back in time for the Reaping.”

“Do you think we'll be able to make it back through?” I ask, “If we return here too early, the fences will be electrified.”

“I don't think we have to worry about that today,” Ron says.

“Why?” I ask.

“The Security Squad will be too busy preparing the center of town for the Reaping,” Ron says, “This is their favorite time of the year. We both know they enjoy the Hunger Games.”

I nod. He's exactly right.

“So,” I say, “with that in mind, what is on the menu?”

“Antler Alley,” Ron says, grinning.

“Ah,” I say, as a wide smile forms across my lips.

Antler Alley. Nicknamed by Ron and I for a large clearing of forest where deer of all sizes and numbers like to roam. It is also the location where Ron and I first met, so it has a special meaning to us. It doesn't take very long for us to get to the clearing.

When you are hunting with magic, it is sometimes boring. If you know enough spells, it is almost too easy. Ron and I have to be creative to have any kind of fun. So we usually set up snares and traps, without using magic. It isn't long before we get our first catch. Most of the time, our catch is still alive in the snare and we have to kill them with magic. Neither of us like that. It seems almost cruel. But it is what you have to do for food.

We sit in our special tree. It really isn't that special, but it is the tree Ron and I both picked when we first decided to hunting together. The forest holds many of those spots that we deem special.

If Ron and I were seen together in town, as much time as we spend in the forest, people would think there was something romantic between the two of us. But it isn't true. There is a sort of barrier between us. We are the best of friends and better hunting buddies. But that is it. Did I want it to be more? I wasn't sure.

District 8, though it is prosperous in the fishing market, isn't the kind of place someone like me would want to raise a family. Especially if it means my kids would have to deal with the Hunger Games when they got older. I could hardly deal with the Games. The thought alone of my future children dealing with them would just about kill me.

To pass the time, as we wait for another deer to come, Ron and I talk like we always do. But the mood is changed today. Ron is holding something back. I confront him about it, and he remains silent for minutes, keeping an eye on a trap off in the distance.

““We could do it, you know,” Ron finally says, quietly.

“What?” I ask.

“Leave the district. Run off. Live in the woods. You and I, we could make it,” says Ron.

I stare at him. This is something we had discussed many times but it was only talk. Did the Reaping cause these thoughts?

“We couldn't leave our families though,” Ron says, “We'd have to make them come.”

I stare ahead at the trap, thinking. Jane, of course, would follow me where ever I went. But my mother isn't exactly a strong woman. The trip of this multitude would kill her. Then there is Ron's family. He has three siblings, two twin brothers and a sister, all are younger than him. His mother is not much stronger than mine.

“Where would we go?” I ask.

“District 9,” Ron says, looking at me.

I look at him, my mouth gaping. District 9. The Unforgivable District. There is a reason it is called Unforgivable. In the official sense, District 9 doesn't even exist. People are often tortured for speaking of it. District 9 is located somewhere in what used to be Spain. It is rumored to be the place where many of the Muggles escaped to after the Old Wars.

There are also rumors District 9 doesn't even literally exist anymore. Rumors that the Ministry destroyed the District, wiping out a number of the world's population of Muggles, which wasn't too high to begin with after the Old Wars. They show the ruins of it on television.

In our district, there is only one television. It is a very large screen in town center, used for special occasions like the Reaping or the Hunger Games, or when the Ministry wants to bring important news. Any news out of District 9 shows one thing. Charred black ruins of a civilization that once flourished.

“There's nothing there, Ron,” I say.

“I don't believe that,” Ron says, “I believe there is something. Something the Ministry doesn't want us to see.”

“It is such a long way to District 9,” I say, “Even if we did this, we'd have to --”

Suddenly, I couldn't breathe. I knew exactly what we would have to do if we ever wanted to go to District 9.

“We'd have to take a boat,” Ron says, looking at me seriously.

He knows exactly how I am feeling right now. A boat. There is no way. Even if I was brave enough, Jane and my mother would never agree to it. They took an oath never to go on a boat again.

“It's impossible, Ron,” I say, “No way.”

“I know,” Ron says, sighing heavily, “I shouldn't have brought it up.”

“No,” I say, “You shouldn't have.”

We hunt for the next couple of hours in silence, though it seems so fast because of the horror that awaits us back in town. Ron doesn't dare speak to me after his preposterous idea. Most of the time, I refuse to look at him.

At the end of our hunt, Ron and I gather up our kills: three deer and a couple of rabbits, and head back. We arrive in just enough time to sell our catch to one of the only men willing enough to buy it. The market closes very early on Reaping Day.

Rubeus Hagrid is a large man. He towers over Ron, making me feel even smaller. Though many of the townspeople are afraid of him, he is actually very friendly if you are brave enough to talk to him.

“I can only manage half of this today,” Hagrid says, “You'll have to take the rest home. I'm sorry.”.

“Why?” I ask.

“The Security Squad are very jumpy today,” Hagrid says, “Apparently there are Ministry folk in the area.”

“Because of the Reaping,” Ron says.

Hagrid nods. “So I can only take a couple deer and one rabbit,” he says.

“It's fine,” Ron says, assuring Hagrid and I, “We'll take the rest to our families.”

“I still don't know why you sell it to me,” Hagrid says, “Three deer will last both your families for much longer than the money I can give you for it.”

“We're not butchers,” I remind him, “We don't have the option of freezing like you do. Even if we split the deer up half and half, we'll be lucky to use a quarter of the meat before the rest rots.”

“Well, maybe you should look into becoming a butcher,” Hagrid says, “How much meat you bring in every day, you wouldn't have to worry about money.”

“We don't want to ruin your business, Hagrid,” I say, grinning.

Hagrid smiles and takes two of the deer and a rabbit from us. He pays us, and we split our earnings. Hagrid allows us to skin the deer and rabbit in the back of his shop, and when we leave, we just look like customers who bought quite a few packages of meat.

“See you soon,” I say to Ron, as we go our own separate way to our homes.

It is the first time I spoke to him since our argument.

“Town Center,” he grimly reminds me, “Don't forget.”

I nod silently, and as I walk back to my house, I have a funny feeling this trip to my home will be last I take for a while.

Well, I hope you like the first chapter. I really love the Hunger Games books, so I decided to write a Harry Potter version of it. Where, you ask then, is Harry? He'll be appearing very shortly!

You may have noticed I used Hermione's cat in the HP series as the cat she really hates in this story. Also I made Ron's siblings all younger than him. This story is an AU-type, very OOC. You'll find many strange surprises in connection to the HP series.

I'm just getting started!

Feedback would be great! You can put it here: http://www.cosforums.com/showthread.php?p=5632364


Last edited by Fury; October 20th, 2010 at 5:44 pm.
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Old October 20th, 2010, 5:37 pm
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Re: Hunger Games - Harry Potter style!

Chapter 2
The Reaping

When I arrive at my house, Jane and my mother are not there. They have already made their way to the center of town, both probably wondering where I am. I put the meat in the small fridge and the money in the usual spot. They will be safe for my mother and Jane if I... well, I didn't even want to think of that option.

I go to the bedroom to change into more appropriate clothing. The Reaping is always formal. You have to look your best for the camera if you are chosen. My mother has laid out my outfit. It is a dress she created just for this purpose. I would probably only wear it this time. When I change into it, I look at myself in the reflection of the window. It is a beautiful dress. I'll say this for my mother, she's good when it comes to making clothes. But that is about it.

I then race out the door and head for town center. When I arrive, it is easy to tell that I am one of the last to show. Every citizen in the district is there, as per usual. If you are absent to a Reaping, you are punished severely in front of the whole town.

I begin to look for my sister and mother, but I find Ron first. He is wearing something my father referred to as a poor man's tuxedo: jeans and a button-down shirt. Looks expensive. Buttons are a rare find in our district.

Ron is talking to a girl that I am very familiar with. Her name is Lavender, and she is the daughter of the district's Mayor. She's the most wealthiest girl in the district. And it shows. She is wearing an expensive white dress, and her dark-blonde hair is done up with a pink ribbon. Reaping clothes. The outfit will probably be worn just this once. If I owned something like that, I'd wear it every day.

When I get closer, I notice Lavender is also wearing a circular pin on her chest. Real gold. Probably worth close to what my father paid for our house. I don't recognize the creature that is depicted on the pin. It looks like a large bird with beautiful feathers.

“Hermione!” Ron says, “You look... wow.”

I blush slightly. Lavender rolls her eyes.

“Happy Hunger Games,” she greets me, “And may the odds --”

“Be ever in your favor,” Ron and I say.

I've always hated that motto.

“You look beautiful,” I compliment Lavender.

She hardly deserves it. She's such a snob, as is her father. Lavender lives better than every one else in the district. She's the same age as I, but she has never worked a day in her life. I sometimes think she only lifts a finger to make fun of those less fortunate.

“Have to look our best for the Reaping,” she says, “If I end up going to the Capitol, I want to look nice, don’t I?”

“Why?” Ron asks, “It isn't like you're going to be chosen.”

Ron's right. Since the Games begun, the children of the District mayors have never once been chosen.

“You probably have the minimal amount of entries needed,” Ron says, “You don't need no special rations.”

“That isn't her fault,” I say, though I surprise myself to find that I defend her.

“No,” Ron says, “It's no one's fault. Just the way it is.”

Lavender narrows her eyes at Ron.

“Good luck, Hermione,” she says, then stalks off.

“You too,” I mutter.

Ron stares at me.

“What?” I ask.

“You're too nice to her,” he says, “It isn't like she will ever volunteer for you.”

In the Reaping, if you get chosen for the Hunger Games, there is only one way you can be saved. If someone else volunteers for you. This is a very rare occasion. Nobody wants to be a part of the Hunger Games. Nobody wants to volunteer.

“I know that,” I say, “But her father is one of the sponsors for the Games.”

A sponsor is very valuable in the Hunger Games. If you are sponsored, you have a high chance of survival. Sponsors can choose to give you resources in the arena. When you have nothing, these resources will help you dearly. The problem is, nobody ever expects a lower District tribute to win the games, so the chances are rare for them to get any sponsors in the Games.

“You say that like your name has already been chosen,” Ron scoffs.

I shrug. You never know what you can expect.

“Well,” Ron says, “Good luck. And may the odds --”

“Be ever in your favor,” I say halfheartedly.

Ron just smiles. He walks away in search of his family and I do the same. I find them in the crowd easily.

“There you are!” my mother says, “I was worried!”

Jane hugs me and I can tell she is shivering. She's afraid. Of course she is. This is her first reaping. I try my best to calm her down.

I look around at others in the crowd, mainly looking for those in the age range who can be chosen as a tribute. It is easy to tell who they are. They are either scared out of their mind, or their families are. Off in the crowd, I find someone familiar to me. He is a boy about my age. His name is Harry Potter. He probably doesn't remember me anymore. I've changed so much since we last met. But I will always remember him for what he did....

Flashback – Five Years Ago:

“But, sissy,” Jane cries, “I don't want you to go.”

Her voice almost breaks my heart. Ever since my mother has left, I have rarely been apart from Jane. She seems to cling to me like a magnet. I know she fears that I will leave her just like our mother. Never in my life would I do that to her. Jane wouldn't survive a day without me.

“I'll only be away for a few hours every day,” I say to her, “I have to fish. Otherwise, we starve. You don't want to starve, do you?”

Jane shakes her head.

“But if you fish, you'll have to go on the boats,” she says, “You can't, sissy.”

I feel tears in my eyes. She's thinking of our father. Ever since he died, she's been afraid of boats. I can't take her to the docks or she'll break down in tears. Even seeing the boats brings back the memories. She was only four years old the day my father died, but the memories of that day are vivid even to her.

“I promise, Jane,” I say, “I won't go on a boat. I'll fish near the dock. I won't even go five feet near a boat.”

“Ten feet,” she says.

“Okay,” I say, “Ten feet. I promise.”

She extends her pinky on her left hand. I smile. It is a sign of our sisterly promise. I entwine my pinky with hers, then kiss her on the forehead.

Mrs. Creevey, my neighbor, is Jane's babysitter. She loves children. She has two small boys of her own. She's promised to look after Jane while I work. She doesn't require payment, but I give her a coin a week for her trouble. She wouldn't accept more.

“Come on Jane,” Mrs. Creevey says, “Colin, Dennis and I are baking biscuits today. Do you want to help?”

Jane nods, excited. Biscuits are a very rare treat in our district.

“Thank you, Mrs. Creevey,” I say, I'll be back in a few hours.”

“Don't worry about Jane, dear,” she says, “We'll have the best of fun.”

I smile. I kiss Jane on the forehead once again, and hug her, then leave for the docks. I feel her eyes on me as I walk down the road. I don't look back. It feels like saying goodbye forever.

When I arrive at the docks, I am directed to the small office there. The head official of the Docks is Remus Lupin, a handsome man, though it is easy to tell he's had it rough in life like most of us. I remember the stories my father told about him.

There is a short line in front of me, so I wait. I finally reach Remus.

“Name and age,” he says, not even bothering to look at me.

“Hermione Granger,” I say, “Eleven.”

“Granger,” he says, finally looking up at me, “Are you related to Richard Granger?”

“His oldest daughter, sir,” I say, frowning.

He looks at me as if he finally recognizes me. I believe I met him back when my father was alive.

“My word,” he says, “So it is.”

Suddenly, without warning I am pushed aside by somebody. I turn to see who it is, ready to tell them to wait their turn. It is a boy a little taller than I am. He looks to be my age, but it is easy to tell he is a well-built boy.

“Boss!” he says, “We have a huge load of fish just brought in!”

“Is that right?” Remus asks, “Well, get your crew busy, boy. Tell your father I put him in charge.”

That explains it. He's a fisherman's boy, probably a fisherman himself since the day he could hold a pole. Explains his body-type. You can always tell who the fisherman are in this district. They are much stronger and muscular than everyone else.

“Yes, sir!” he says, grinning.

He looks at me and raises an eyebrow. I'm not surprised. Girls are rarely seen on the docks.

The boy races away. Remus smiles and looks up at me.

“So,” he says, “Richard Granger's little girl.”

“Yes, sir,” I say.

“There's only one reason you'd be here, missy,” he says, “You want a job.”

“Yes, sir,” I say again.

“Little girls don't belong on the dock, you know,” he says.

He looks at me for a long while. I can tell he is sizing me up.

“Your father was a hell of a fisher, young lady,” he says.

“I know,” I said.

“Are you following in your father's footsteps?” he asks, “Is that your wish?”

“Yes, sir,” I said, bravely.

“I respected your father very much,” he says, “I'd name a number of boats after him, but... I'm sure you can understand why that wouldn't be appropriate.”

I nod.

“I'll give you one day,” he says, “If you can prove to me that you can be as good as your father, you'll have a job.”

“You—you mean it?” I ask.

“I'll even give you a spare fishing rod and supplies,” he says, nodding. “You can find them in the storage shed. Let's just say I owe it to your father.”

“Thank you!” I say.

“It's a rough one out there,” he says, “Like I said, it's not a place for little girls.”

“I'll manage,” I say.

“I'm sure you will,” he says, “Now go.”

As I walked away, I heard him mutter to himself. “Richard's little girl. Well, I'll say.”

I smile to myself and head for the storage shed. I find the fishing pole, a tackle box and a small fridge where live worms are kept. The fishing pole is rather big, but it'll have to do. The dock is filled with fishing boats of all sizes. If I am going to keep my promise to Jane, I'd have to do some searching. Luckily, I find a good spot of open sea behind a building. By the sound of the machinery inside, it is where the fish get stockpiled and cleaned before they go to market. Nobody hardly fishes there due to the noise.

I string the pole, bait it with a worm and cast. I sit on the edge of the dock, hoping that I get something. If I leave with nothing today, I'll have to find another job. That isn't a happy thought.

“Oi!” a voice says behind me.

I look over my shoulder. The boy from the office is looking at me.

“What are you doing here?” he asks me.

“Fishing?” I say.

“You're a girl!” he says, scoffing.

“Thanks for noticing,” I say, rolling my eyes,

“Girls don't catch fish,” he says, “They clean them.”

“Funny,” I say, “I saw a bunch of men cleaning the fish. I didn't see any women.”

He narrows his eyes.

“Did you get permission to fish here?” he asks me.

“Yep,” I say, “Remus even gave me his spare pole and stuff.”

“Loopy Lupin gave you a fishing pole?” he scoffs, “You? Why?”

“I guess he trusts me,” I say.

He scoffs some more. “Stay away from the rest of us real fishermen then,” he says, putting an emphasis on “real fishermen” I noticed.

“Sure,” I say.

He shakes his head and disappears around the corner. I spit. Sexist pig. Suddenly, my fishing pole jolts and I raise it, then start reeling it in. The fish fights pretty hard, but soon I land it. It was a nice large tuna. I smile to myself, string it up and soon the line is back in the water. I could get used to this.

As the hours pass, I catch a few more fish: tuna, sea-bass and other varieties of all shapes and sizes. I decide to cast one more time before I am through. Perhaps I'll land a really big one. I cast the line in the water and wait. Less than ten minutes later, I hook one. This one has some fight in him. The pole fights against my hands.

Then, without warning, I am jolted forward as the fish tries to swim out toward the sea. I try to control my seating, but another jolt comes, worse this time, and I slip off the dock. Before I know it, I am in the sea, inhaling salty water.

I am normally a good swimmer. Most people in District 8 are. But the water seemed to get rougher, and I was being dragged away from the dock every second.

“Help!” I scream.

Suddenly, I hear a rush of water behind me. I turn around. A large wave is headed right for me, and suddenly I am nine years old again. This time I am no longer on the lifeboat. I am on the deck of the actual boat with my father. I can see the large wave coming at me. The feeling paralyzes me, and I am back in the present. The wave pushes me under the water. I reach for the surface.

“HELP!” I scream before I am dragged back under.

When you are about to die, you see your life pass before your eyes. Every second of it. Every important memory. I see a flash of my father, hugging me tightly, safe at home. I see him screaming for me, my sister and my mother to run. I see myself arguing with my mother, her face scary and vicious. I see my sister, her eyes looking sad. Then I see her smiling at me.

Then, strangely enough, I see that bratty boy who yelled at me just minutes ago on the dock. Except he is right in front of my face. He is saying something. I can read his lips.

“Breathe, girl!” he is saying, “Breathe, God – you, get help! Get my father!”

I feel a pressure against my chest. Is this what it feels like to die?

Suddenly, my vision becomes clearer.

“You're alive!” the boy says, “I know you are! Breathe!”

I feel a whole bunch of water in my mouth. It tastes horrible salty. I spit it out, coughing and exhaling.

“Oh, thank the gods,” the boy says. “You crazy little girl!”

I'm alive. He helps me sit up.

“What were you doing?” he asks me.

“I f-fell in,” I sputter.

“This is why girls are not allowed at sea!” he says, “What is your name, anyway?”

“Hermione,” I say, “Granger.”

“I'm Harry Potter,” he says.

“You dove in after me?” I ask.

“You are lucky I was close by,” he said, “I barely heard you screaming. Don't you know how to swim?”

“Well... yeah,” I said.

He sighs, and I know he doesn't believe me.

“Th-thank you,” I say.

“Don't mention it,” he says.

“Harry, what are you doing?” a voice behind me asks, “You are supposed to be helping the guys!”

I turn around.

“She fell in, Dad,” he says, “I saved her.”

“Oh,” he says, “Well... good... good for you.”

By the look on his face, it seems he had to struggle to give the compliment he just gave Harry.

“Are you okay, missy?” Harry's father asks me.

“I am,” I say, “thanks to Harry.”

“You should go home,” he says.

“I have fish,” I said, “C-can't leave them.”

I nod to the stringer of fish. Harry and his father look at it.

“Probably stole 'em,” Harry's father says.

“Dad!” Harry says, “It is hers. I saw her fishing.”

His father scoffs. “You hurry up here and get back to work,” he says.

“Yes, sir,” Harry says.

His father walks away, mumbling.

“Sorry about him,” Harry says, “He's not too fond of women. My mother left him years ago.”

“It's okay,” I say, “I should get going. I'm fine now. Thank you.”

“Hermione, did you say?” he asks.

I nod.

“I'll have to remember that one,” he says, grinning.

I smile back at him.

Flashback ends.

I look at Harry, but he doesn't look back. Yes. He's probably forgotten all about me.

Soon, the eleven through eighteen year-olds are herded off to the side behind a roped area, and separated by ages. The oldest in the front, the youngest in back.

“I'll just be right over there,” I say to Jane, “You'll be fine.”

I am sure of this. Jane has nothing to worry about today, other than the possibility that I will be chosen.

“You promise?” she asks, extending her pinky.

I smile and take it, before I am ordered off toward my age group. Ron grins at me and I smile back. We are smiling so we don't cry. Lavender looks almost bored. Harry barely looks at me, then faces forward. I wonder if he recognizes me as who I am, or just another face in the crowd. I look away from the other tributes and look at my surroundings. I am just noticing the cameras perched on the roofs of buildings. There are more cameras nearby on the ground as well as on the large stage. This is a highly televised event. The Hunger Games always are, from beginning ceremonies to the very end.

The crowd roars with applause and I turn my attention away from the cameras. None of the tributes are cheering, but they are all staring at the stage in front of us.

It holds three chairs, a podium, and two large glass balls, one for the boys and one for the girls. I stare at the paper slips in the girls’ ball. Ten of them have Hermione Granger written on them in careful handwriting.

Two of the three chairs are occupied by Lavender's father, District 8 Mayor Brown, who is a tall sincere man, and Minerva McGonagall, District 8's escort from the Ministry. She looks elderly, but stern, and I bet many who meet her never forget her. The third seat is empty, but it is not surprising. It is reserved for the District 8 mentor, who is not very punctual with anything.

Just as the town clock strikes two, the mayor steps up to the podium and begins to read. It’s the same story every year. He tells of our history, the country that rose up out of the ashes of a place that was once called Europe. How Europe used to be divided, a continent, but that the simple word “country” now shows our unity. We may be split up over many miles and bodies of water, but we're still referred to as a country.

He tells of the Old Wars, of the battles that took place. Then he says something that surprises us all. He speaks of the Muggles. Everyone lets out a gasp. It is usually forbidden to speak of them. What brought this upon the Mayor?

But he doesn't continue on the subject. He speaks of the Dark Days after the Old War. He speaks of how these days should never be repeated but once a year: the Hunger Games.

Taking the kids from our districts, forcing them to kill one another while we watch — this is the Ministry's way of reminding us how we are at their mercy. How little chance we would stand of surviving another war.

To make it humiliating as well as torturous, the Ministry requires us to treat the Hunger Games as a festivity, a sporting event pitting every district against the others. The last tribute alive receives a life of ease back home, and their district will be showered with prizes, largely consisting of food. All year, the Ministry will show the winning district gifts of grain and oil and even delicacies like sugar while the rest of us battle starvation.

“It is both a time for repentance and a time for thanks,” says the mayor.

Then he reads the list of past District 8 victors. It's an easy list. There is only one, and he is still lucky to be alive to this very day.

Just as the mayor announces his name, Alastor Moody appears from the side of the stage. He's not making an entrance. He's just very late. Everyone in town calls him Mad-Eye due to the glass eye he has. He lost an eye in the Hunger Games, as well as severely damaged his leg, but he still survived. During surgery afterward, his left leg was amputated and replaced with a mechanical one. He limps around with it. There are rumors that his glass eye is more than just an object. It is said that he can see with it, and that it gives him the ability to see out of the back of his head. I don't know if this is true.

You would expect a man like Moody to be highly respected. But most of the people take him as a joke. He's a middle-aged man, though the years have not been good to him due to the drink. He is an alcoholic. He spends a great sum of his victory money on rum and usually sits at home and drinks. He's also very grouchy, so nobody really talks to him except this time of the year.

Moody looks around at the crowd, his good eye moving in a blur. He then turns to the mayor and the District 8 escort and says something unintelligible. The crowd responds with its token applause, but he’s confused and tries to give Minerva McGonagall a hug, which she barely manages to escape.

The mayor looks distressed, and I can easily imagine why. This is all being televised of course, and I can imagine everyone in the country laughing. We're the laughingstock of all the districts, all thanks to our mentor.

The mayor introduces Minerva McGonagall and she takes the podium.

“Happy Hunger Games!” she says, grinning, “And may the odds be ever in your favor!”

I try my best to not roll my eyes. Who ever would say those words with a happy enthusiasm is not someone I would like very well.

McGonagall walks over to the big glass orbs. The crowd hushes. Every one knows what time it is. It is time for the drawing. The tributes look anxious. Ron looks at me, and crosses his fingers. I do the same, before looking behind me. I raise my pinky to Jane, and she does the same. I nod and grin. Good girl.

“Ladies first!” McGonagall announces.

She reaches in to the glass ball with the girls’ names. She reaches in, digs her hand deep into the ball, and pulls out a slip of paper. The crowd draws in a collective breath and then you can hear a pin drop, and I’m feeling nauseous and so desperately hoping that it’s not me, that it’s not me, that it’s not me.

McGonagall crosses back to the podium, smooths the slip of paper, and reads out the name in a clear voice. And it’s not me.

It’s Jane Granger.

Well, if you read the actual Hunger Games book, you knew that was probably going to happen!

Well, I hope you like Harry's and Moody's roles. I'm sure you can probably guess who they are, compared to the actual book.

Feedback would be awesome!

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Old October 20th, 2010, 5:40 pm
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Re: Hunger Games - Harry Potter style!

Chapter 3

I'm back under the water. The wave has hit me, pushing me under and I am drowning. I try to reach for the surface, try to inhale, to breathe, but my mouth fills up with water.

That is how I feel right now.

How was it possible? There must have been some mistake. This can’t be happening. Jane was one slip of paper in over a thousand! Her chances of being chosen so remote that I’d not even bothered to worry about her. One slip. One slip in thousands. The odds had been entirely in her favor. But it hadn’t mattered.

Somewhere far away, I can hear the crowd murmuring unhappily as they always do when an eleven-year-old gets chosen because no one thinks this is fair. And then I see her, the blood drained from her face, hands clenched in fists at her sides, walking with stiff, small steps up toward the stage, passing me.

“Jane!” I cry!

I run as fast as I can, ignoring Ron and Harry and Lavender and the other possible tributes. The crowd is silent, except for a gasping sob, which I immediately recognize as my mother. But my focus was on Jane.

“Jane!” I cry again.

I reach her just as she is about to walk onto the stage. I grab her arm and pull her behind me.

“I volunteer!” I gasp, “I volunteer as tribute!

There is confusion between the mayor and escort. District 8 hasn't had a volunteer in a very long time, and the protocol has become rusty. Mayor Brown looks at me, excited. I can imagine the thoughts going through his head. A whole slew of things:

The excitement! The drama! A lower district has a volunteer! This kind of thing just doesn't happen. That will show those people who think they are more important than us!

It is not uncommon for the boys and girls in the higher-up Districts to volunteer. They trained their whole life for a moment like this. To win or die, that is their life.

In the lower districts such as eight, the word tribute is synonymous with corpse. No tribute since Mad-Eye Moody has made it back alive, and look what happened to him!

Minerva McGonagall looks flustered. She is a kind of woman who goes by the book. She expects a schedule. She expects events to run as they usually do. She is the kind of woman who loathes words like unusual, strange, messy and taboo.

“Lovely!” she says. “But I believe there’s a small matter of introducing the Reaping winner and then asking for volunteers, and if one does come forth then we, um...”

She trails off, unsure herself.

“What does it matter?” says the mayor.

He’s looking at me with a pained expression on his face. He doesn’t know me really, but there’s a faint recognition there. I am the girl his daughter might have spoken of on occasion. The girl who five years ago stood huddled with her mother and sister, as he led the burial at sea for my father. Does he remember that?

“What does it matter?” he repeats gruffly. “Let her come forward.”

“No!” Jane cries behind me, frightened, shaking, “Hermione, you can't do it! You can't go!”

“Jane, let go,” I say harshly, trying not to cry.

When they televise the replay of the Reapings tonight, everyone will make note of my tears, and I’ll be marked as an easy target. A weakling. I will give no one that satisfaction.

“Let go!” I say again.

“Let's go, sweetie,” a familiar voice says behind me.

I turn. It is Ron. He grabs Jane from behind. She is thrashing, trying to get out of his grip.

“You'll see her soon,” he says.

“You promise?” Jane asks.

But she is not asking Ron, she is asking me. I raise my pinky to her. She still has tears running down her face, but she has calmed down.

Oh, the power of a pinky.

“Up you go, Mione,” he says.

I gasp. It is the first time he has ever called me that. It sounds like “my own”. My heart jumps into my throat. I can't reply. I just walk up to the stage. When I turn around, Ron has taken Jane back to my mother and is now returning to the tributes.

I gasp. I had forgotten. There was still the boy tribute to be picked. I would probably die right on the stage if it was Ron.

“Well, bravo!” gushes McGonagall.. “That’s the spirit of the Games!”

It's easy to read her expression. She’s pleased to finally have a district with a little action going on in it. Yeah, that's right. District 8 is finally interesting. All because of a fluke.

“What’s your name?” she asks me.

I swallow hard. “Hermione Granger,” I say.

“I bet my buttons that was your sister,” exclaims McGonagall, “Don’t want her to steal all the glory, do we? Come on, everybody! Let’s give a big round of applause to our newest tribute!”

To the everlasting credit of the people of District 8, not one person claps.

Possibly because they've seen me around town, or in the market. Possibly they remember my father, or were at his funeral. Or they've met Jane, who no one can help loving. So instead of acknowledging applause, I stand there unmoving while they take part in the boldest form of dissent they can manage. Silence.

Which says we do not agree. We do not condone. All of this is wrong.

Then something unexpected happens. At least, I don’t expect it because I don’t think of District 8 as a place that cares about me. But a shift has occurred since I stepped up to take Jane’s place, and now it seems I have become someone precious.

At first one, then another, then almost every member of the crowd raises their wand in the air. If they do not own a wand, they raise their pinkie finger, and I know they saw my moment with Jane. Of course they did. It was all over the large television, a moment that wouldn't be forgotten soon.

There is bustle from the security squad, probably believing that the crowd is starting a rebellion of some sort. But the mayor orders them back. He knows what the crowd is doing when they raise their wand.

It is an old and rarely used gesture of our district, occasionally seen at funerals. It means thanks, it means admiration, it means good-bye to someone you love.

I am truly in danger of crying, but saved by a touch on my shoulder. I look up. Alastor Moody looks at me, a toothy grin across his face. He then looks toward the crowd.

“Well, see here!” he roars, “Look at this one! I like her!”

He throws his arm around my shoulder.

“She's a brave one!” he says.

He points a finger at the crowd. “Braver than you!”

He turns us both toward a camera. “Braver than you!” he says, pointing into the camera lens.

I wonder if he is addressing the audience or the Ministry itself. It seems the mayor is thinking the same thing, because he playfully shoves Moody out of the way.

“This is very exciting,” he says, laughing heartily, “But ahem, it is time to choose the boy tribute! Minerva?”

McGonagall crosses the stage to the glass bowl with the boys names in it. The crowd becomes one silent entity again.

I pray for Ron's safety, though I also pray for mine, hoping I don't fall off the stage in shock.

“The boy tribute is,” Minerva says, “Harry Potter.”

Harry Potter? Well, that's not much better.

A loud roar from a number of members of the crowd is heard. This is not the same shock that was received when Jane was chosen or when I volunteered. This is... almost cheerful. It is coming from a portion of the crowd and I instantly recognize most of them as fisherman and sailors. Of course. These men are a powerful force in our town. Harry Potter is one of them. They probably believe he actually stands a chance.

Harry, however, looks shocked, though he is trying to stay brave. The way his throat is moving as he walks up toward the stage tells me he is trying to hold back the bile. He tries to act proud as he walks up on stage.

There is a pause in the air. McGonagall is waiting for a possible volunteer. I'm sure there are loads of young sailors and fisherman ready to stand up to the Games.

But the crowd remains silent. So much for fisherman's unity now. Volunteering is a taboo in itself. I was the exception.

The mayor begins to read the long speech that is read every year at this time. I am hardly paying attention, and it is very apparent Harry isn't either. He's looking at me. I wonder if he sees that eleven-year old girl he rescued from the sea.

As the memory of the first time I laid my eyes on him comes back to me, I begin to wonder “why him?” Harry had a promising life ahead of him. He was sure to be a successful fisherman. He could change our district for the better with his talents. Now it is likely this is the last time he will ever see his district.

Maybe I was too selfless for my own good. Perhaps it was the shock that I was about to be a part of the most dangerous event anyone can imagine. Perhaps I already knew I had sealed my fate when I volunteered, saving my sister from the same terrible fate. But I wanted to save Harry's life. He saved mine when he pulled me out of the sea. Didn't I owe him that favor? I hated owing people things. Perhaps if I had seen him again. Perhaps if I had really, truthfully thanked him. Then perhaps I wouldn't feel this way. I thought about doing something sometimes, but never acted on it.

And now it was too late. We were being thrown into the arena to fight to the death. Did I owe him enough just to lay down my life like that? I wasn't sure. At least I was sure I couldn't just kill him if I met him in the arena, though I wasn't sure if he would think the same way.

The mayor finishes his long speech, and asks Harry and I to shake hands. He turns to me and extends his hand. As I take his hand, I stare into those eyes. His stare is warm, full of memory. It seems we are friends. That wasn't necessarily a good thing. In the games, allies last only so long.

We turn back to the crowd, and the Anthem of the United Districts play. It is a slow march. It reminds me of something played at a funeral.

I glance sideways at him.

There are sixteen tributes. Perhaps the odds will be in my favor. Perhaps someone else will kill him before I do.

Of course. The odds had not been too dependable as of late.


As soon as the anthem ends, the Security Squad swoops in on us and we are escorted into the large building behind us. It is the mayoral office, where Mayor Brown and the rest of the district officials work.

I feel like a prisoner. Two Security Squad members are on either side of me. They are not touching me, but if I fell, or moved the wrong way, or tried to escape, they could reach out and grab me. I try to think of past Reapings, if the tributes tried to escape, but nothing comes to mind.

Soon, I am split up from Harry and taken into a room and left there. It is the most beautiful place I have ever set foot in. I am almost afraid to step too far inside, in fear that I will smudge the carpet with my dirty shoes. I walk over to the couch and sit down, every motion slow so I do not ruin anything. Before I can get comfortable, there is a knock on the door.

“Er... come in?” I say.

I don't know whether to feel elegant or stupid. I never thought I would have enough privacy that someone had to knock on doors. Course I never thought I would end up in the position I was in either.

The door opens. Mayor Brown and Minerva McGonagall walk into the room.

“Oh my goodness!” McGonagall exclaims, “So much to do and so little time! A schedule to keep. Yes, we must be out of District 8 by night fall!”

“Minerva, you must calm down,” Brown says, “First things first.”

“Oh, yes,” McGonagall says, “I guess we should get that over with.”

I stare at them, wondering what they are talking about. Brown looks at me.

“Hermione,” he says, “Can I call you Hermione?”

I nod.

“As Minerva has said,” Brown says, “There is much to do. You will be happy to hear that first you have permission to spend time with your closest friends and family. They are allowed to see you here.”

“But only for an hour!” Minerva says, “Yes, that is all I can allow. So much to do.”

I nod once again, trying to hold back the tears. I must be strong. If not for myself, at least for my family. Don't break down now.

Brown and McGonagall leave the room just as quickly as they entered. They are replaced by my sister and mother. Jane takes no time to admire the room or care about dirtying it up. She only has eyes for me. She runs over to me, and I hold my arms open. She climbs into my lap, her arms wrapped around me in a hug. I am reminded of when she used to do this years ago. The memory almost jerks the tears from my eyes. My mother sits beside us and wraps her arms around us.

We sit silently for a few minutes. I stare at my mother, watching her terrified face. It is the first real emotion I have seen from her since she returned to our doorstep three years ago.

Then I start talking. I remind them of things they have to do while I am gone. Jane is old enough for a job now. I tell my mother she has to find something for her to do that is not dangerous.

“Keep her away from the docks,” I say, “Nothing to do with fish. Promise me.”

My mother nods. I am not finished with her. They do not have to worry about food. Ron would bring her game from the forest. A year ago, he and I made a pact. If something happened to either of us, we would provide for the other's family. We would watch after them when they couldn't do it themselves. Ron would not ask for anything in return, but I tell my mother to at least make some new clothes for him as payment. He really needed some.

I didn't even think of suggesting that Jane would hunt. I tried to teach her once, and she was terrible at it. I killed a deer in front of her, and she cried and cried until we returned home. She wouldn't even let me take the deer home.

Finally, there is one last thing I must say to my mother. I look her straight in the eyes.

“Listen to me,” I say. “Are you listening to me. You can't leave again. You can't leave Jane alone. Promise me right now.”

“I know,” she says, “I promise. I won't. I couldn't take that again.”

“You better hope so,” I say, “No matter what you hear or see about me. No matter what happens to me. If you leave, you are condemning her. You have to fight through it.”

“I was ill back then, Hermione,” she says, “So ill that no medicine could help me. I am better now.”

“You better be,” I growl.

“I'll be fine, sissy,” Jane says, “I can take care of myself. I'm worried about you. You need to be brave. Maybe you could really win this thing!”

I can't win. It's impossible. This competition will break me. Kids from the wealthier districts will win. They have trained their whole life for this. They know magic that I don't. Hell, they know how to kill a person without the use of a wand. You can't always trust that you'll have a wand in the Games.

But I can't tell Jane that. I can't let her see my doubt, my fear. So I try to give her false hope.

“Maybe,” I say, “Then we'll be as rich as Moody!”

“I don't care about being rich,” Jane says, “I just want to see you come back. You will try, right?”

“I'll really really try,” I say.

“You promise,” Jane says, raising her pinkie.

I sigh, but entwine our pinkies. That's it. The sisterly promise. It is unbreakable. Now I really have to try.

Then the Security Squad is at the door, though they don't knock. They tell my mother and sister their time is up. That I have other guests. So my sister and mother hugs me. I fight back tears when they can't. I am still saying goodbye, and exchanging “I love yous” when they leave the room.

I think I know who my next guest is. I recompose myself. But when the door opens, it is not Ron. It is Harry Potter's father. My last memory of him wasn't a good one, like the one of his son's.

He doesn't walk very far across the room. He just stares at me. He resembles his son, but with a few differences. He is a bulky man. His arms remind me of tree trunks. I wonder why he has come to visit me. Doesn't he know I'll be trying to kill his son soon? Then I realize. Is he going to try to convince me to lay my wand down when his son meets me in the arena?

He reaches under his coat and I'm almost sure he is going to try to curse me. To take me out of the running. I am about to scream when he pulls out a box.

He hands the box to me, and I open it up. It is full of biscuits. My eyes sparkle. It is a very rare occasion when I get a treat like this. I look up at him.

“Compliments of my wife,” he says, his voice deep.

“Er...” I say, “But I thought your son said your wife left you.”

“Yes,” he says, “His mother did. But I have found someone new, and she has rekindled my soul. I used to be a real... jerk, you could say. I wasn't kind to women. I believed they were here just to work for and please men like me. But that was the old me. I love my wife. She saw what you did for that little girl. Your sister, right?”

I nodded.

“She's cried non-stop ever since she witnessed what you did,” he says. “She told me that she has never witnessed such kindness in the world. She would have wanted to meet you, but she's with my son. They are very close. It is a... ahem... tough time for her.”

“And for you?” I ask.

His expression is hard. “Well,” he says, “I'll never know a braver man than he.” He clears his throat. “You said your name is Granger, right?”

“Yes,” I say, “Hermione.”

“I knew your father,” he says, “The seas haven't been the same since he left this world.”

I only stare at him. That is one of the kindest things I have ever heard about my father. Harry's father stands up and heads for the door, then looks back at me.

“I'll keep an eye on that little girl for you, Granger,” he says, “Think of it as my final gift to your father.”

He opens the door and leaves. Word have failed me. The next to enter is Ron. But he is not alone. Lavender is with him. Her expression is hard as stone. Ron's is solemn, but I can tell he is being brave for me.

He holds out his arms, and I don't have to ask his intentions. I stand and run over to him. He grasps me into a hug. It is just a friendly hug, nothing romantic. And yet, it seems like it is a better hug than I ever received from my mother. I feel tears at the rim of my eyelids. As I back away, I feel Ron wants to say something, but Lavender is the first to speak.

“I want to give you something,” she says. “They let you wear one thing from your district in the arena.”

She puts a hand close to her for a moment, then holds it out. The gold circular pin that I saw on her dress is now in her hand.

“Will you wear this for me?” she asks.

“Your pin?” I ask.

“Here, I’ll put it on your dress, all right?” Lavender doesn’t wait for an answer, she just leans in and fixes the bird to my dress. “Promise you’ll wear it into the arena, Hermione?” she asks. “Promise?”

“Yes,” I say.

Biscuits. A pin. I’m getting all kinds of gifts today. Lavender gives me one more. A kiss on the cheek. Then she’s
gone and I’m left thinking that maybe Lavender really has been my friend all along.

It is now just Ron and I in the room. He stares at me for a moment. I think he wants to hug me again, and I find myself wanting to be enclosed in his warm arms.

But he keeps his arms to his side.

“You have a good chance at winning this,” he says. “You are very good at hunting, especially with a wand.”

“But I don't start with a wand,” I say, “I'd have to find one.”

“Then do your best to do so,” Ron says. “You are also good with a knife. Remember that.”

“A knife is no good against a wand,” I say.

“You also have the knowledge of traps and snares,” he says. “Use it. If you have to, snare someone and perhaps they'll have a wand you can steal.”

“What if that doesn't work?” I ask.

“Then you better hope to the gods that those sponsors love you,” he says.

I roll my eyes. Great. Now I have to be social with stuck-up sponsors. I'm doomed.

“Just think of the Games as a hunting trip,” Ron says. “You are an excellent hunter.”

“This is not a normal hunting trip,” I say, “They are armored. They think.”

“But so do you,” Ron says.

I shake my head. This isn't the same.

The Security Squad knocks on the door and announces it is time.

“Remember the pact, Ron!” I say quickly, “Take care of my family!”

“I won't let you down,” he says as he walks to the door, “You don't let your district down. Don't let your family down.”

He opens the door and turns around.

“Don't let me down,” he says.

I want the run to him, and hug him one more time.

“Hermione,” he says, “Remember, I --”

But he is pulled out of the room before he can finish, and I am alone again, wondering what Ron wanted me to remember.

End of Chapter! Hope you liked this one!

A lot more to come! Just getting started!

Feedback would be awesome.

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Old October 21st, 2010, 11:49 pm
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Re: Hunger Games - Harry Potter style!

Chapter 4
Sending A Message

Author's Note: Thought I'd answer some feedback:

Sarah on Fanfiction.net said: “The only thing I would change is I would add an explanation about mockingjays or their magical equivalent.” I am not using a mockingjay. I will be using a magical bird, and I am revealing that little tidbit in this chapter! So enjoy!


As soon as Ron is pulled out the door, he is replaced by Mayor Brown and Minerva McGonagall.

“Get up, girl,” McGonagall says, “We must keep on schedule.”

“Oh, don't be in such a rush, Minerva,” Brown says, “You wanted to be out of District 8 by nightfall, correct? There's hours before nightfall.”

“I am never happy unless I am in a rush,” McGonagall says, “Now, come on, Granger.”

I'm almost surprised she remembers my last name. I stand up and head out toward the door.

“Ah, stop!” Minerva says, “You need to look presentable for the cameras!”

“What is wrong with what I am wearing?” I ask.

McGonagall purses her lips. I can already tell what she thinks about my outfit.

“What she means, Hermione,” Brown says, “Is it is obvious that you've been crying.”

He pulls out a large piece of fabric from one of his pockets. It is a handkerchief. Only the wealthiest of individuals carry these. Everyone else thinks that fabric is too expensive just to waste on one small square and that is it. He hands it to me, and I wipe my face with it.

“Now,” Brown says to McGonagall, “Is she 'presentable' to you?”

“She'll do,” McGonagall says, “I only wish Lockhart and his team came into town. They would beautify her in a snap. But, no, they had to stay on the boat. Now, you, come!”

I stare at my escort. Did she just say –? No. It couldn't be. I must have heard wrong. The nerves must be playing with my ears. I breathe in and out, recomposing myself. It's a good thing it is easy for me to calm myself down easily. Because otherwise the nerves would just about break me. McGonagall opens the door, and I am blinded by flashes and television cameras. Harry and Moody are waiting outside my room. A group of Security Squad is trying to push the cameras away.

In order to keep my eyes off the cameras, my attention turns to Harry. He has obviously been crying
and interestingly enough does not seem to be trying to cover it up. I immediately wonder if this will be his strategy in the Games. To appear weak and frightened, to reassure the other tributes that he is no competition at all, and then come out fighting.

But I find this kind of foolish. At least one camera must have caught his fellow fishermen cheering and roaring in delight. At least one reporter must have discovered that Harry is a fisher. Everyone in the United Districts, not just ours, know that sailors are tough. They rarely cry. I don't think Harry's tears will fool anyone.

It is very noisy as the Security Squad escorts us out the way we came. Clicks from the camera, the reporters asking Harry and I questions. I am ready to answer questions, thinking it is something I have to do, but Alastor catches my eye, and he shakes his head.

“Questions are for the official interviews,” he whispers to me as we make a beeline for the front door of the mayoral building, “These people are just trying to catch you at your weakest moment. Don't give them the satisfaction.”

I am surprised by Moody's formality, and how he seems to be in the middle of things now. Then I remember: he is a mentor for both Harry and I. He is supposed to be helping us prepare for the Games. This is what he is best at, besides drinking.

We walk through the doors of the mayoral office and head outside. The town center, which was bustling with a crowd of people just an hour or so ago, was completely empty. The large stage is also completely gone. I'm not the only one who notices this.

“Where is everyone?” asks Harry.

“They were ordered back to their homes or businesses after the ceremony,” Brown says, “Ministry's orders. They feared that the townspeople would riot.”

“Why?” I ask.

“That is none of your business,” McGonagall says, “You should not question the intentions of the Ministry.”

I bite back a retort and look ahead. I finally notice the large black limousine waiting a few yards in front of us. In District 8, vehicles are almost scarce. The mayor is wealthy enough to own one. The limo in front of us is his.

“I'm afraid this is as far as I go,” Mayor Brown says, “But I wish all of you the best of luck.”

I smile at him, though I am sure Harry and I are not the first tributes, nor will we be the last, to hear these kind words from the mayor.

Before I can say anything, I am forced into the back of the limo. Harry, Moody and McGonagall follow me inside. As soon as the door is closed, McGonagall taps her knuckles on the wall that separates us from the driver.

“The docks, my good man,” she says.

The driver must have heard, because the limo is jolted into movement. Suddenly, I feel bile rise up from my stomach, but it has nothing to do with carsickness.

The docks. My ears weren't deceiving me earlier.

“We-we're going on a boat?” I stutter.

Harry and Moody stare at me. It is easy to see the sorrow in their emotions. It is clear they know exactly how I am feeling. I'm sure both are very aware what happened to my father.

“A cruise ship, to be more precise,” McGonagall says, “How else would you expect us to get around, you silly girl?”

A cruise ship. Of course. The United Districts are split up so far, it would take days to get to the the Durmstrang and Beauxbatons Districts, the farthest eastern districts. The closest district is the Hufflepuff District, which used to be southern Scotland. To get to the other districts from here, you have to go by boat, then by other means of travel. How could I have forgotten about that little tidbit?

“What is wrong with her?” McGonagall asks Moody, “She looks a little green.”

“Her father died on a fishing ship,” Moody says, “Hermione, her sister and her mother barely escaped the rogue wave that overtook the ship. So I think you can understand what she is going through right now.”

I expect her to express some sadness and pity for me, just like everyone else has when they hear the story. But to my surprise and disgust, she grins, her mouth stretched as far as it can go.

“Bloody fantastic,” she says, “This is excellent!”

I stare at her. She just looks at me as if I am a pile of gold. How 'fantastic' can come from her lips, after hearing that story, I do not know.

“Don't you see, girl?” she asks, “This is exactly the type of thing that will help you in the Games. It is free publicity!”

“Publicity?” I ask.

“Oh, it is like explaining the feeling of freezing to the sun,” McGonagall mutters, rolling her eyes. “Okay, let me speak a little more clearly. You lost your father on a ship, right?”

I nod.

“Well, of course you must be terrified at the thought of getting on another ship,” she says. “But when the people of the United Districts learn of your story, they'll remember the moment you stepped on another ship. That exact moment will be recorded by the cameras. Will you be scared out of your wits, or will you step up to the challenge? This will tell them if they should bet on you. Because it will be a sneak peek into your mood in the arena. It is the same thing. Will you be scared out of your wits inside the arena, or will you step up to the challenge?”

“Bloody hell,” Moody says, “You're exactly right! Oh, Granger, I could fall in love with you.”

“You leave that to the public,” McGonagall scowls, “You just make sure she does her job.”

“My job?” I ask.

“I'm supposed to train you for the Games and help you get sponsors,” Moody says. “But if you flaunt this heartbreaking tale of your father, I'm sure you'll have no trouble there.”

“Flaunt?” I ask, seething, “I've been trying to forget the day my father died for seven years! I still have nightmares about it! You want me to flaunt it?”

Moody just grins.

“I love this girl already,” he says to McGonagall.

I scoff and turn my attention to the scenery outside the window. If they expect me to recount the story of story of my father's death just in the name of publicity, they have another thing coming. I'd rather die in the Games than gain a Sponsor just because my father is dead. I'd be happier if my father was alive to watch me in the Games, despite the fact that he would probably have to watch me die.

It is a short journey to the docks. I am thankful my sister and mother were able to say goodbye to me at the mayoral building. If they didn't get the chance until we arrived on the docks, they wouldn't have been able to go through with it.

More Security Squad guards are waiting for us. I start to wonder how many security guards this district has, when my eyes catch their outfits. They do not look like the outfits usually worn on security here. Then I catch the emblem on their right shoulder in a square patch of leather. A drawing of a building is set perfectly in the center. On the border of the emblem are eight circles. One of the circles shows a small fish that I recognize as a tuna. This emblem is the United Districts flag. The building in the center is the Capitol building.

These are guards from the Ministry. Of course, these are the real escorts. McGonagall's title of escort is just that, a title. The Ministry wanted a guarantee everyone of their prize tributes would make it to the Capitol. The Security Squad would do just that.

As we are escorted toward the docks, I finally catch my first glimpse of the cruise ship. To say it is a marvel does not even closely describe it. It is a grand prize of craftsmanship that I doubt any one in District 8 would ever be able to recreate. At least a hundred feet wide, white as the clouds in the sky above. I stare at it, wondering just how gorgeous it looks on the inside. There is a large ramp protruding from the side of the ship.

As we are escorted across the dock, there are cameramen and reporters on either side of us. Carefully trying not to stare at them, I take in the surroundings and soon realize where we are. We are on the very dock that I fished at and fell into the ocean 5 years ago. This doesn't help my nerves much.

A camera flashes into my eyes, and I am blinded temporarily. I run into something and I fall backward onto the dock.

“Get back!” a security guard bellows.

Before I know it, I am back on my feet. No harm done. I've had worse.

“Arrest her!” the same security guard bellows, pointing to the reporter who knocked into me.

“No!” I say.

Many of the reporters gasp.

“She defies the Ministry!” a reporter whispers.

But the whisper is loud enough for myself and the reporters close by to overhear it.

“Traitor!” a reporter yells out.

“Tyrant!” another yells out.

“No!” I scream, louder than the crowd..

Before I know what I am doing, I am standing in between the guard and the reporter.

“It was an accident!” I say, aware that cameras are watching my every movement, “I knocked into her! She did nothing!”

Moody walks up to me and laughs.

“That's the power of a fisherwoman!” he says with a grin, “That is the power of District 8!”

He puts his hands on my shoulder.

“Get moving, hero,” he mutters, so low that only I can hear it.

Moody nods to McGonagall.

“Excuse us, now!” she says, “We have to be getting to the Capitol!”

The reporters step back to either side, and we are given a clear passage through. Moody rushes me forward toward the ship. Soon, we are up on the deck.

“Time to say goodbye,” Moody says, “Turn around.”

I am clueless, but I see Harry turn around wave to the reporters at the bottom, so I do the same. I try not to think about it, but it is impossible not to. This will probably be the last time I lay my eyes on District 8. I am literally saying goodbye.

Finally, I am inside the cruise ship. I am guided down a long white hallway, adorned in bright lights, then through a doorway off to the right. I am in a room that is far more glorious than the one in the mayoral building. It is my private suite. There is a bedroom, a dressing room and a bathroom with hot and cold running water. We are lucky to have hot water at home. Usually we have to boil it.

There are dressers filled with fabulous clothes, but before I can explore very long, I am joined by Alastor Moody. He just looks at me as if there is something he expects to hear from me.

“Er...” I say, looking at him expectantly, “Could I perhaps get a little privacy here?”

He narrows his eyes at me.

“What?” I ask.

Again, I am clueless.

“Would you like to explain to me what happened out there?” he asks.

“What do you mean?” I ask.

“Don't play dumb with me,” he says, “You know exactly what I mean.”

“The security guard wanted to arrest that reporter for nothing!” I say, “I had to do something!”

“And as you can see,” he says, motioning behind me, ”you didn't help her one bit!”

I turn around. There is a television set against the far side of the wall. On the screen, it is showing the reporter curled up on the street. There is blood gushing from a large cut on her forehead, and her whole face is blood red.

“B-b-but,” I say.

This doesn't make sense. I helped her.

“You caused a commotion out there, girl,” Moody says. “An uproar. You heard exactly what those reporters were screaming. What do you think would happen if that was the people of our district?”

I am reminded of the crowd's show of gratitude when I volunteered as tribute. Their wands raised high in the air. The Security Squad standing up, ready to attack them.

”You are very lucky I stepped in,” Moody says. “If you are that lucky, they'll make something good out of this. In my opinion, I hope not.”

“What do you mean?” I ask.

“You do not show bravo unless you have something to back it up with!” Moody says, “Why do you think McGonagall and I were scheming in the limo?”

“Scheming?” I ask, “You're expecting me to flaunt the worst moment of my entire life like it was nothing!”

“It is everything!” Moody says, almost in a scream, “If you just sit back and cry about the troubles of your past, you make yourself a target. It just tells everyone that you are a weakling. But speak of it with a strong voice, and it tells everyone 'hey! If she can live through the death of her father, she can live through the Games!'”

“But I can't!” I scream, “You can't expect me to be able to win this thing!”

Moody just stares at me.

“Dinner is at seven,” he says, “Somebody will be here to escort you to the dining room. Until then, you are free to do what you want. Explore the ship if you wish.”

He stares at me for another moment, then turns around. As he walks out the door, I can hear him mutter to himself.

“No strategy at all,” he says, “She's walking into the arena expecting to die. What am I supposed to do with that?”

He speaks as if he wants me to hear everything he says. But before I can speak up, he is out the door, and it is shut. I am alone.

The only sound in the room is coming from the television behind me. They are currently replaying the District 8 Reaping. I see myself running through toward the stage toward my little sister. It is hard to take my eyes off of her. The television doesn't do justice to her memory. I scream out that I volunteer and the camera closes in toward me as I turn toward my sister, and extend my pinky.

“This is a moment many are not likely to forget,” a commentator says, “This is the meaning of the Games.”

I shake my head and walk over to the television. I find a button with the word “power” on it. I push it and the screen blacks out.|

“Good riddance,” I mutter.

I walk over to the dresser. Behind the dresser, nailed to the wall is a mirror. Like many things in the world, a mirror is hard to come by these days if you are a poor person. This is the first time I am seeing my reaction in such a clear view. Usually I have to look in the reflection of the glass on my windows or in the water. But they do not compare to this. I decide that this is the best time to try out the shower in the bathroom I noticed earlier. I've never bathed in a shower. Usually we have to bathe in our tub with lukewarm water. It is not the most relaxing experience.

I open the drawers and rummage through the clothes. There are clothes made of fabrics I have never even heard of. The colors and textures are so beautiful. Any article of clothing in there would even outshine Lavender Brown's expensive outfits.

I am about to undress when there is a knock on my door. I sigh. It is probably Moody or McGonagall checking up on me. So much for free time.

“Come in,” I say, politely.

The door opens and Harry Potter walks into the room.

“Oi!” he says, “What are you doing here?”

I stare at him, and am ready to ask what he means by that. But I then realize what he is doing. It is exactly the way he greeted me the day we met.

“Fishing,” I say, smiling as I remember.

“You do remember me,” he says, as he shut the door behind him.

“How can I forget the boy who saved my life?” I ask, grinning.

“I wasn't sure until now,” he says, “that it was you. You're – you look -- different.”

“It's been more than five years since that day,” I say, “Of course I look different.”

Harry laughs. “Yes, I guess you're right.”

“I wouldn't look that different if we ran into each other more,” I say.

“Perhaps you should have fallen into the ocean more,” he says, grinning.

“I stopped fishing when....” I begin, then pause, he doesn't need to hear about the drama with my mother, “Well, I decided it wasn't what I wanted to do.”

He nods and walks closer to me.

“What is that?” he asks, pointing at my dress.

I look down and realize he is actually pointing at the pin.

“Oh, the er... mayor's daughter gave it to me,” I say, “I almost forgot about it. I don't even know what is so special about it.”

“You're joking!” he says.

“No,” I say, shaking my head.

“You don't know what that bird is on your pin?” he asks.

I shake my head.

“It's a phoenix,” Harry says.

My mouth goes dry, making it hard to speak. A phoenix. I can hardly believe it.

A phoenix is a mythical bird with extraordinary powers. Stories say that a phoenix never dies. Instead it has what is referred to as a Burning Day. On this day, it burns to ashes and then raises from the ashes as a chick, reborn.

It is basically a slap to the face to the Ministry. It is the symbol of rebellion. It tells everyone “Hey, if a phoenix can raise from its ashes, why can't we?”

I reach up to the pin to tear it away, but Harry races over to me and grabs my hand.

“What are you doing?” I ask.

“I should ask you the same thing,” he says.

“I can't wear something like this in front of the Ministry!” I say.

“You already have,” he says.

My heart stops beating for a second. He is right. The cameras would surely have caught the phoenix pin. I feel dizzy and I struggle to walk over to the bed. I sit on the edge of it.

“What am I going to do?” I ask, “Why didn't Moody or McGonagall say something?”

“They probably didn't see it,” Harry says. “Or....”

“Or?” I ask.

“Or they did,” he says, “And it is another part of their strategy for you.”

“I don't want a bloody strategy!” I say, my voice raised.

Harry looks at me, and I recognize the expression. It is the same expression my best friend, Ron, has when he thinks I've gone temporarily insane.

“Why?” he asks.

“Because it won't help!” I say, “I'm going to die in the arena, Harry! No bloody strategy is going to help me.”

Harry walks over and sits beside me. He puts an arm around my shoulder. I want to flinch away, but his warmth feels rather good.

“You shouldn't think that way, Hermione,” he says.

“But it is true,” I say.

“Maybe,” he says, “But it is not written in stone. Nothing is.”

“Why do you care?” I ask, “I mean... you're going to try to win the Games, right?”

Harry nods.

“Well, then you shouldn't comfort me,” I say, “Because I'm one of the tributes standing in your way.”

Harry takes his arm from my shoulder and stands up. Great, I've upset him. Oh well. It's the truth.

“I should go,” he says.

“Why?” I ask.

“Technically I'm not even supposed to be in here,” he says. “Otherwise I might attack you before we get in the arena.”

I scoff. Yeah, he probably would. Then again, it takes everything I have to stop myself from requesting him to get it over with. He'd have a better chance in the arena and I wouldn't have to worry about how much longer I am going to live.

“I'll see you at dinner,” he says.

He then leaves the room and I am, once again, alone.

End of Chapter! Hope you like the idea of the phoenix. It has great symbolism so it is just as good as the mockingjay.

Trying my best to make this as original as I can but still get the mood of the Hunger Games book. I think I'm doing rather well.

Hope you like what you see so far. So much more to come!

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