Charles and Erik wake from their beds, looking out their windows and to the bright, sunny skies. They both pull themselves up, with very different mentalities about the day to come. For Charles, a seventeen-year old from District 3, it was a death sentence in itself. Charles’ district was technology, where they made so many advancements and wonderful things. Charles loved his home, he went to school and then home to his mother and father. He had avoided the games for five years... If he could only last two more he wouldn’t have to worry about ever looking at the bowl with fear again. Charles was not a violent boy, he was very much a pacifist with very little training. Not being a part of the career districts, he had no reason to ever want to train. In their homes, mutants made up the lot of their population, with very human families in existence. There was only one in his district and they were the McTaggerts, a very good family with a daughter, Moira, the same age as himself. Charles wasn’t so frightened for himself anymore as he was for Hank, a fourteen-year old who had so much potential. Hank could be the greatest asset to their district, he was probably the smartest in the world and yet... Even with so much intelligence he wasn’t safe from the Reaping, from the Mutant Games.
As Charles readies for the day, he pulls on dark pants, a white button up, which he leaves
untucked for a reason even he can’t name. Tying a ribbon under his collar, he brushes his soft, floppy brown hair, which rests about mid neck. His eyes shine so bright in the light, blue as the skies themselves. Charles knows if he is ever picked, he would never last, He didn’t exactly have a useful mutation. He was a telepath, which people might think is immensely helpful, controlling people, reading minds. However, never have the Game makers allowed a telepath to use that part of their ability, suppressing it with a gas that blinds them from that portion of their mutation. He isn’t sure even Hank’s beast like abilities would help him all that well in the games. Stepping out the door, Charles meets with Hank to walk to the Reaping, even though once there, they’re immediately split up by age.
The Reaping to those in the Capitol is exciting, riveting even. President Shaw always enjoys watching them as they’re picked and yet, it’s nothing if but horrifying to the districts. Parents watching their children chosen for death... It’s rare that anyone outside the career districts win. Standing in the seventeen-year old group, he looks across to where Hank is... Hank only has three this year... He can’t be chosen. Charles takes a deep breath as Colossus, a silver man from the Capitol, takes the stand. The mentor for the tributes, Alex Summers, is standing alongside their mayor.
“Happy Mutant Games! And may the odds be ever in your favor, may you be mutant and proud!” he bellows out, smiling brightly as he crossed the stage, right to the bowl of names. The entire district ceases breathing, everyone frightened of their child being picked, the child themselves of bring chosen. Colossus is going for boys first, reaching in and fishing out a name. Plucking the paper he opens it, smiling. “Our boy tribute from District 3 this year—Hank McCoy!”
Charles cries in shock, looking to Hank, whose face has fallen, color drained. He doesn’t fight as two guards come to escort him to stage... But Charles does. The brunette ducks under the rope that corrals them in, running toward Hank. He is going to be called stupid, a fool for this, but Hank was too bright for this, he wouldn’t even last a day. Charles stands more of a chance than Hank. Grabbing the boy’s arm he rips him behind him, holding his arms out.
“I volunteer! I volunteer as tribute!” Charles shouts out, Hank holding onto him. Hank has to have a chance, he needs to survive.
“Charles! Charles, you can’t!” the boy cries, pulling at him, tears welling in his eyes. Everyone in the district gasps, watching in mute wonderment that someone would volunteer. It hadn’t happened in years and certainly not for someone the volunteer wasn’t even related to. Colossus stars down at him, smiling.
“Ah, then come up here young man!” The guards quickly escort a screaming Hank away as Charles took the stage. “What’s your name?”
“Charles,” he starts. “My name is Charles Xavier,” he whispers, hands balled in fists, terrified but refusing to show it. They are being watched, if he wanted sponsors, if he wanted help, he couldn’t appear weak. Colossus claps him on the back.
“Give a round of applause to your new boy tribute from District 3, Charles Xavier!” While he sounds so energized, no one claps. Everyone stared, looking on with silent prayer. This isn’t a game to them, this is life or death. Instead of clapping, the district members press two fingers to their lips in unison, raising it toward the stage and directly at Charles. The teen is shocked, it was a sign of peace and survival. Charles returns the gesture before Colossus quickly takes the attention back. “Now then! For our female tribute!” Reaching into another bowl, he pulls the next paper out, the girl who would be his partner... At least until the games. “Moira McTaggert!”
Cries arise from the district and Moira’s family begins to scream, to cry for their daughter. Charles doesn’t know much about her, save for the fact she was the only remaining human family. Her siblings are too young to volunteer for her and even if they could, she wouldn’t let them; he doesn’t know her personally but he knows that she is strong, that she wouldn’t let her siblings take her place. Moira steps up beside him, looking at him, searching his eyes as he does hers. “Happy Mutant Games! May you be Mutant and Proud!” Colossus shouts out with a smile, both Charles and Moira staring at one another, knowing what kind of journey this will be for the both of them.
At the same hour Charles had readied himself, another boy did the same.
Erik Lehnsherr, an 18-year old in District 2 pulled on light brown pants and a long sleeved black shirt. He brushed back his short and thick ginger hair. Cold eyes glared out at the skies, knowing today was the day, it was his turn. Erik was going to volunteer as a tribute for his district, he was going to win and he was going to get his well deserved revenge. Erik was not meant to do this, his parents hadn’t wanted to train him, they wanted him to have as little contact with the games as he could and yet that was not the case. Erik had a very rare mutation, metal manipulation, where he could do what he wanted with any type of metal. It was extremely rare and President Shaw had found out about this when he was ten. Shaw urged his parents to train him, to teach him to be the strongest and have him volunteer. His parents refused, telling Shaw again and again that Erik would do what he wanted, not what they wanted. Shaw didn’t like to be refused. Erik came home from school to find his parents murdered, no witnesses.
He’d known who it was his entire life and he would give Shaw what he wanted. He would train, volunteer and then win. When he did, he’d meet Shaw and show the man just what happened to people like him. In District 2, mining and stone cutting, people volunteered all the time and Erik didn’t argue those years. He was waiting until the very last year, the year he turned eighteen, to be at his strongest and to be at his best. Erik wouldn’t lose, he refused the very thought. After his parent had died, Erik was on his own and worked hard to keep himself going, which wasn’t hard given the inheritance. Living in District 2 paid off more than he realized.
Stepping outside his house he met with the only friend he’d ever cared to meet in this hellhole of a place: Emma Frost, a first class telepath with a diamond form that protects from damage and makes her shine brighter than the sun. The two had met in school, they enjoyed little company but found it in each other. They regarded one another as siblings despite the attempts by Emma’s parents to make it anything but. They walked silently to the Reaping, standing in their groups as their announcer stepped onto stage. Her name is Storm and she’s not only the announcer, but the representative for whoever is chosen. To the left is the mayor, and Logan, the past winner from District 2, only three years as a mentor and already looking bored. Before Storm could even begin the “Happy Mutant Games!” crap, Erik stepped forward. “I volunteer,” he shouted, loud, so no one could mistake it was he who said it. Storm was shocked but smiled pleasantly. “I’m Erik Lehnsherr,” he stated, ducking under the rope to follow the guards to the stage.
“Erik, how lovely of you to volunteer.” She smiled and stepped aside as Erik took the stage. “Welcome your new boy tribute from District 2, Erik Lehnsherr!” Storm clapped, the people of the district clapping and hollering in cheer. Beyond the career districts, Erik was certain no one was cheering. Storm then began to give a speech about choosing a girl when she was interrupted yet again.
“I volunteer.” Emma stated, stepping forward, taking the stage and looking to Erik. They would make it work, Erik knew Emma was just as ready for this as him and in the end it would be them facing off; in the end, Erik was going to win. Storm was at a loss for words before regaining herself and smiling.
“Well! We have our two tributes from District 2. Happy Mutant Games everyone! May you be Mutant and proud!”
They were taken in after that, Erik and Emma separated for the time being, allowed to visit their loved ones, of which Erik had none. However, he did grab the pin his father had always held special, something his father believed brought on luck. It was a golden pin, with an X and an arrow placed in the middle. His father never said why he had thought this was so special but Erik didn’t want to disbelieve it now. After that, the two were herded onto a train that would take them to the capital. It would only be a few hours as they were so close already, but Erik wanted his own car, where he could begin to think of what might occur. He knew they wouldn’t be placed in a metal arena but he could hope, at least it wasn’t somewhere like the desert, where there was no chance for metal. The Game maker sometimes dropped things down if it would turn tables and cause suspense so perhaps he could play off of that. As Erik sat in his compartment he listened in on a pair of loud mouths outside.
“Did you hear about the boy from District 3? Volunteered for a kid he wasn’t related to.”
“He’s so pretty, too... I can’t imagine he has much to work with.”
Erik sat up and grabbed the remote from the television. The compartments were equipped with televisions, where the tributes could watch the other Reaping ceremonies if they so chose. Erik flipped past his to District 3, where a brown haired boy with the bluest eyes Erik has ever seen volunteered for a young kid who wouldn’t last two seconds. The boy had volunteered... Why? He wasn’t even trained, why would he do that? Erik would have to keep a close eye on the kid—Charles Xavier—he wanted to know more. The train pulled into the Capitol at precisely noon, where Erik and Emma were quickly moved into the training facility, where they would live for the next week. Upon reaching the second floor they were greeted by Logan, Storm and two other individuals. They found out the bubbly blond was Raven Darkholme, a twenty-something who was about one of the only normal looking people in the capitol. Her skin was not of any horrid color and her hair was a natural, golden blond. Her eyes were blue and bright, her skin a creamy peach. She had a look about her that shouted she was normal but when Erik looked away then back to her, he found a man, then a child and finally a blue-scaled woman with yellow eyes and red, slicked back hair. He found out she had the ability to change her form and that this was her true self. Taking Erik by the arm, she smiled. “Don’t worry, I won’t make you naked. Sean and I have a perfect idea.” She grinned.
“S’right.” Sean smiled. Sean was her assistant, with curly red hair and freckles covering his face. He also looked normal. He had the ability of sonic screams, which he could use to send himself into the air. It was a unique ability that Erik was certain was useful in an arena, but being from the Capitol, Sean was not forced to do that sort of thing. Raven quickly escorted them into different rooms, sending Sean with Emma. Once inside of the dressing room, which was literally a room full of clothing, Erik found himself surrounded by three women, all in their forties and all with various colors of skin. They were actually very pleasant but his concern wasn’t on how they doted on him, or how they liked the way he held himself but on his impression. One year the tributes were naked, one year they wore glorious ruby colored clothing but nothing had seemed so outstanding as District 12: one year, their tributes had been on fire. Raven stepped toward him with a smile. “Erik, we’ve devised an excellent plan of action and it will make you both shine. We’re going to but shining silver armor on you, then I’m going to give you metal balls, which you will float around the two of you and upon reaching the end, they will explode, raining down shavings of diamonds on you both.” She clapped her hands together as Erik wasn’t about to argue with her and allowed himself to be stripped of his clothes and put in the armor, which was light and clearly not the real kind. It was still magnificent though, and it was the type of armor that held his shape, showing everyone what he looked like. Stepping out of the room he met Emma, who was in her diamond form, shining and beautiful. He hadn’t actually spoken to her since that morning and approached.
“What do you make of it?” Erik asked, taking the balls he was handed and rolling them in the air, his fingers doing a little dance as he manipulated the metal. Emma shrugged.
“It’s good I suppose, I just want to get this over with.” They nodded before stepping up into their chariot, which was pulled by two beautiful, pure white stallions. Raven gave them both thumbs up.
“Remember, smile, the both of you!” Erik had also been given make up, just a little around the eyes to bring them out and as they rolled out after District One, the two of them smiled, though admittedly it was more difficult for Erik than Emma. The crowds gasped and screamed their names as they rode down the streets, his fingers moving the metal balls as they went around. Emma was shining brightly in the sun and the two of them looked gorgeous. However, Erik saw that they weren’t the only magnificent ones. District Three, the one with the boy, Charles... was riding out with his tribute, Moira, a human girl. The two were dressed in a flexible fabric suit that made them look like light boards; they glowed beautifully. They were both waving and smiling, smiles that looked far more real than Emma’s and Erik’s.
Their ride through the city was far too long in his opinion and as he stepped off with Emma, Raven embraced them. “You two were wonderful!” Erik couldn’t stop looking toward Charles though, who was being hugged, along with the human girl, by their own stylist, Janos, as he overheard Charles shout with a smile. It seemed Charles was accepting this fate despite having looked terrified on the video from his Reaping. Had he accepted death so readily? Why would he do that? He had a chance, he was a mutant, Erik knew. He just couldn’t place quite what it was about him. Soon enough they were being moved back to their own floor, where Erik collapsed in bed after a warm dinner, falling asleep early to get a head start in training tomorrow.
The next morning, it was dreadful to wake up. Erik rolled out of bed, securing the same clothes on his body, though washed, adding the pin and stepping into an awkward breakfast with Logan and Storm. Logan was hell bent on telling them the key to survival was to be as strong and smart as possible but they already knew that. The problem was who was smarter. Was there anyone? After breakfast they quickly headed to the training grounds, finding the other tributes there. Erik surveyed the group. He immediately found District One, some massive kid who could literally barrel through anything, alongside a girl with fairy wings. There was a teleporter, a dematerializing girl, a fast runner, a girl with witch-like abilities, a girl who could apparently weaken others, a fire kid, a dozen other random individuals, the human, and then Charles. Charles who clearly did something, but what? The rest of the day Erik practiced with short swords, his weapon of choice, along with his powers. His eyes remained on Charles though, who practiced with everything and Erik couldn’t explain why. It wasn’t until the day was nearly done that he felt strange, as if there were someone else inside of his head.
“Hello?” The voice was clear, very clear and he couldn’t have imagined it...But where did it come from? He looked around and spotted Charles, who was looking at him. “You’re Erik, right? I’m Charles...You’ve been staring at me a lot.” The boy was talking but his lips weren’t moving... He was a telepath. Erik knew this the instant he realized the other was in his mind; Emma had done nearly the same thing when they were kids.
“What are you doing? Why did you reveal your secret to me?” Erik hissed back, though no one could tell they were speaking. That was best, though.
“You have looked at me all day with curiosity and puzzlement, not contempt and hatred like everyone else. I wanted to believe that maybe I could talk to you.” Charles smiled at him and Erik felt something shift inside of him that had him walking straight up to Charles to talk. He hated the mind crap anyway. However, as he made his way he was blocked instantly by the big guy from District One, though the guy wasn’t facing him, he was facing Charles. Erik watched as Charles stood up straight, but even at his tallest, Juggernaut still had nearly a foot on him. Charles didn’t say anything but it didn’t appear he needed to as Juggernaut was quick to jump into an assault.
“What are you doing, tiny pretty boy? Messing with all the weapons, you can’t even wield half of the things you picked up! Go work on something less likely to kill you before I do.”
First of all, that insult was horrible. Secondly, this guy was already annoying as hell. He had no reason to be picking on Charles, who hadn’t been bothering him.
“Erik, don’t.” He heard Emma’s voice, her eyes narrowed. “You’re here to play and win, not befriend some kid from another district, leave it alone.”
“I can’t. Emma, there’s something different about Charles.” Erik didn’t know what drew him to the brunette but in these games he knew they’d need a team, that the other career district would want to team up with others and they would be on the list of allies. Erik would only tolerate them for so long. He wanted a group he could trust for longer than an hour. In the end it wouldn’t be about trust but until that point he wanted a team that could work together. Charles didn’t look frightened but Erik could feel it, the waves of fear that the teen sent out that only those who understood telepaths could feel. Erik made the move and with the flick of his wrist sent a metal bar slamming into Juggernaut, sending the teen back before he moved to stand next to Charles. “Why don’t you just train instead of bullying people? That’s probably a little better to prepare yourself with than petty, pathetic insults.”
Juggernaut was quickly back on his feet, glaringly so harshly that he’d be dead if looks could kill. “Why don’t you stay out of this? You have no reason to give a shit about him... Unless you’re interested in tiny pretty boy.” Juggernaut’s expression went from angry to smirking in the course of half a second. “You want tiny pretty boy? In that case, I’ll make you watch as I tear his limbs from his body, piece by piece, or would a Nazi like you enjoy that?”
Erik snapped. There was one thing to threaten another tribute when Juggernaut didn’t have a single reason to hate Charles, and then there was the fact that... well, Erik was interested in Charles. It was another thing to use an insult such as that, one that was so old yet meant the very same. Erik threw metal at the kid, knocking him down and lifting half the swords on the ground. Juggernaut was shouting for help, Erik ready to end it all for him there when he felt a tug on his arm. The ginger haired teen glanced down to find Charles pulling at him.
“Erik!” Where had he learned his name? Probably the screens. “Erik, save it for the games! He isn’t worth it now... Not when you’ll die because of it.” Erik glanced from Charles to Juggernaut before dropping the weapons and stalking off. He would get Juggernaut, he’d make him suffer. For now though he merely wanted to go to the courtyard outside to enjoy the time he had alone.
It was nighttime when he stepped outside, letting the moonlight bathe him in its light. The courtyard was just outside the building they were all staying in. No one was afraid of them leaving, as there was no way for it to happen, anyway. They would get killed before they could step onto the street, as was the life of a tribute. All he had wanted to do was get to know Charles, which was probably the most stupid thing to do. After all, he was going to have to fight him to the death and yet, he didn’t want to. It was incredibly lonely here, even with so many people. Erik was used to being lonely but seeing Charles volunteer for another made him want to know why. Had Juggernaut destroyed that chance?
“May I sit with you?”
Erik jumped, standing from the stone bench he had found himself at. Charles was looking at him, in the clothes he had worn at his Reaping. Erik mutely nodded and sat back down, letting Charles sit beside him. “Thank you. For earlier,” the brunette murmured. “I find that he will be my biggest challenge yet. I’m already very certain I’ve signed my death certificate, but it was worth it.” Erik’s head whipped to the side to stare at Charles.
“Why? Why did you do that? You didn’t have to volunteer, you aren’t a career district, you weren’t related to the kid. Why did you volunteer?” Even though he wouldn’t have known Charles had he not volunteered, he hated the thought of knowing he might die—no, would. Erik had to win. Charles smiled at him, a smile that was beginning to make Erik feel so different.
“Hank is smart Erik, he could do so much for our world. Being chosen would have been the end of him, he couldn’t handle the arena. I’m not much better but I’m also much less smart than him.” He smiled. “I just wanted to give him a fighting chance, so I took his place.” Erik hated Charles’ selflessness, he hated how the boy’s eyes were so bright and his smile so genuine. Erik knew there was something he had to do. Once the games began he had to make sure Charles survived. He wanted revenge, he wanted to kill President Shaw, but he wanted Charles to survive. Why couldn’t two tributes live?
“You’re a fool. I have to get to bed, we’ve got the Game makers tomorrow, then another day of training, the interviews, and then the games begin.” Erik sighed, looking to Charles. “Promise me something Charles.” The brunette stood alongside him, cocking his head. “Don’t die, don’t give up: fight.”
Charles smiled. “I’ll do my best Erik.” The cameras couldn’t see them now, they couldn’t see the way Erik’s face softened at Charles’ promise, or the way he was beating himself up over letting someone in so easily. Tomorrow marked another day closer to the games.
I was honestly stunned at how many hits there have been, I didn't expect it, honestly. I'm glad that people gave it a chance and here's chapter two. C:
A new day brought on new challenges, and as Erik woke from the plush bed he immediately set to work on readying himself for the day. Today was the day the tributes performed for the Game Makers, a panel of three Capitol mutants, who held each tribute’s fate in their hands. It usually went in an order, District One first and so on but this year they had made a decision to randomly select districts. Anyone could be chosen last or first, and Erik did not want to be last. The Game Makers seemingly found that watching a kid throw around maces, or using his or her ability was just so tiring after a while and near the end they always grew bored. Erik figured this out when Districts 8-12 continually received horribly low scores, year after year. They just got lazy, watching people; what hard lives they must live.
Erik pulled on the same clothes he’d worn the day before, he had no reason to change them...Except tonight when they would be interviewed. Raven and Sean would have their way with him and Emma, as he knew Raven wouldn’t think that pants and a shirt, rumpled and very out of place, would do well in an interview that was supposed to earn them sponsors. Erik didn’t like to rely on people, but in the games having sponsors was imperative to survival. He was strong but he knew he wasn’t invincible. If that fire hit him, he’d be burned and need medicine, which could only be given if sponsors paid for it. Erik knew he had to impress, even if he hated acting like someone he was not. Smiling came naturally, it couldn’t be forced and yet Erik knew if he wanted sponsors he’d have to present himself in a way that he knew would impress.
He sat down at breakfast, Emma to his right, Storm to his left and Logan in front of him. The animalistic man was eating his breakfast like it was the only meal he’d had in weeks and Erik noted that Storm was looking at him with a look of utter disgust. The teen only managed to get half his food down, unable to think about eating anymore when they were so close to performing for the Game Makers. “Listen you two, don’t do anything stupid.” Logan shot at them, stabbing his bacon before shoveling it and three other pieces into his mouth. Emma and Erik exchanged glances before looking toward Logan again. “I mean, don’t piss off the Game Makers. There’s two good guys and then a dick.” Logan went on to explain the three Game Makers, though since he held no personal relations to any of them he was little help on any other subject regarding the three. Forge, Gambit and Sabertooth, all aliases and the only one that they needed to worry about was Sabertooth. The other two were pretty laid back and attentive but Sabertooth was on an entirely different spectrum. Logan described him as quick tempered, violent, sadistic and basically the one person who probably never gives a good score to tributes. Logan’s little story about the Game Makers only made Erik that much more nervous.
It didn’t help that he was also worried for Charles. Emma continually told him he needed to pull away and forget about Charles, mark him as just another obstacle but Erik found this quite impossible to do. The more he tried to ignore Charles, the more the boy showed up in his mind and it didn’t help that he couldn’t physically see him. The brunette was on the floor above him and they weren’t allowed to really socialize with the other tributes, but Erik had found the courtyard outside would provide a good place to talk to Charles. Tomorrow was the day they started living and killing and there was no room for errors. Erik needed to talk to Charles about so much—his plan, Charles’ own ideas for the game, why he volunteered and then... There was something he wanted to give the younger boy, something he knew Charles needed much more than him. What scared Erik more than anything was the thought of it being just him and Charles in the end. He didn’t want Charles to die, but he didn’t want to be put against him. His hatred for Shaw was immense, he would kill the man, but Charles was beginning to make him question so much in his life. He’d not known the boy but a day or two and yet he was corrupting him in ways he wasn’t entirely against.
An hour later and they had begun to call the Districts, Eight being called first. It went on in the random order, with One being third. Erik got more and more sure that he and Emma would get the worst scores as each District seemed to be called before them. Charles’ District was called fifth, so at least Erik could be hopeful for the other. District Two was called tenth and Erik was up first, knowing that it was do or die.
When he stepped into the Game Maker’s room, the three men were sitting there, looking bored as hell, with Sabertooth gorging on a chicken. Erik took a wild guess it was the man, seeing as he looked much his name. “Erik Lehnsherr, District Two,” he stated, moving to the middle of the gymnasium area. As Erik began to demonstrate his skills; he started with short sword, which he picked up by flicking his wrist, bringing them to him. He’d found his calling in the weapons, as they were small and light, easy to carry and work with. Though as he threw them, demonstrating his abilities he could hear the Game Makers arguing rather than paying any attention.
“You two are stupid, that kid in District One was a good one, he’s going to win.” Sabertooth bellowed, taking a large bite out of the chicken itself. Forge and Gambit stared, shaking their heads.
“You’re one messed up fella, I tell you every year,” Gambit chuckled. Forge merely sighed, not wanting to deal with either man at the moment. They weren’t paying attention, they weren’t even trying to and the knowledge of being ignored only made Erik’s blood boil. The teen couldn’t stop himself from lifting three long swords into the air, throwing his hand forward and shooting the swords at the three men, each sword digging into the wall by their heads. Glaring at the shocked men Erik turned on his heels and stormed out, passing Emma, who found out the reason why Erik had exploded only a few minutes later.
Erik found himself in the courtyard that had become more a sanctuary than his room could be. He was so stupid for doing that! The Game Maker’s would give him a one, or even a negative number, he felt as if they’d make an exception when remembering who he was. He would get no sponsors and he would be the worst off out of all the tributes.
“It didn’t go so well?”
He had been lying on the grass, contemplating his options when the voice broke through the silence. Erik’s eyes shot open, staring into the incredibly blue eyes that could only belong to one person. He sat up, glaring and shaking his head.
“I’m going to get a one, Charles, I threw swords at them!” he said, pounding his fist into the soft, green Earth. “They just made me so angry! They didn’t pay any attention to me, too busy arguing over who would win, which was truly just about whether that brute from District One would or not.” He sighed and sat up, running a hand through his messy hair.
“You really think you did that poorly? I think that it shows character, perhaps they will see differently.” Charles smiled at him, and how was it possible that this boy could make him feel so incredibly calm when death was almost certain? Without warning they heard a bell, letting them know that the scores had been posted.
“Well then, let’s go and see.” Charles nodded, helping Erik off his feet before walking beside him as if it were the most normal of things. They might be judged, seen as weaklings, but they’d learn, Erik would show them the difference between him and everyone else, even if he lacked sponsors. When they took a look at the board Erik couldn’t believe his eyes. A ten! He had a ten! That was incredibly good, considering what he’d done. In that instant he felt half of his stress just wash off of him. While the games would present a challenge and would be the death of many young lives, having sponsors was the most important thing to have aside from a good weapon. Now surely he’d have a good number of them. After the initial shock, his eyes immediately shot to Charles’ score, a nine, which was excellent in Erik’s mind. He saw Moira, the girl tribute in District Three also received a nine, which would show everyone around her that she wasn’t to be easily messed with. Emma had received an eight, which in no means was poor and yet he thought should would have been given something higher.
“I told you, it adds character,” Charles stated, smiling at Erik who couldn’t help but return it.
“I didn’t say you were wrong,” he replied with a smirk.
It dawned on Erik that they were being watched, that no one could really understand why two different Districts destined to kill one another, could so easily fall into friendship and Erik couldn’t honestly understand it himself. “Meet me tonight, after the interviews,” he murmured to Charles before turning walking off with Emma, Moira approaching Charles for a well deserved hug for their scores.
Night approached far too quickly and soon enough they were having their last dinner, getting lessons on posture and speech from both Logan and Storm before finally they were handed off to Raven and Sean. Raven dawned her true form, looking more beautiful than the fake blond hair of the normal skin she wore. “I think you should look like that all the time,” he told her as she worked on what she wanted his interview suit to look like. Her glowing yellow eyes peered up at him and a smile spread across her face.
“You know, that’s the first time anyone has ever said that. Despite us all being mutants, they find not looking human to be surprisingly repulsive.” Raven moved over to a closet, having her assistants pull out a simple suit, something to make him appear as normal as he was unique. Erik stripped of his clothes and let them pull the suit on before Raven came over to add a touch of eye shadow and just the slightest bit of lipstick.
“My father always said you should be mutant and proud.” He offered, smiling at her. Raven was one of the only normal people of the capitol and it made him wonder how she managed to stay that way. She smiled and pulled away from him, admiring her work before she pulled him into a hug.
“Mutant and proud? I think I can do that.” Erik wasn’t quite used to hugging or really any type of intimate contact but he found himself easily hugging her back before pulling away.
“I’ve never had to do something like this before, to be honest I’m nervous,” he admitted, watching as she began to laugh, his eyes instantly narrowing. “What?”
“Nothing! It’s just... You didn’t seem the type to ever become nervous.” Erik folded his arms over his chest and huffed, Raven smiled. “If you need a familiar face to look at, look my way.” It was actually an excellent plan. If he had to share personal details, and he knew he would, he’d rather tell it to a familiar face than an array of strange, horrifyingly fake faces. Nodding at the idea he gave Raven one last smile before she retreated to where the stylists would sit. Emma was before him and dressed in an icy blue, floor length gown. He watched her, so flawless, acting as if this were a normal occurrence. The whole time though she was shooting him nervous thoughts, freaking out to him rather than to Mortimer, the man in charge of the interviews.
Mortimer, or Toad, as he sometimes called himself, was the interviewer for the past twenty years. He was unlike Caesar, the man before him. Caesar had been encouraging and witty, he had been nice in a way someone interviewing soon to be dead kids could be. Toad was just the opposite of that; he was vile, cynical and downright cruel, yet he held an air of professionalism and was able to get the questions across without too much trouble. The audiences always seemed to love the way he treated them, as if it were hilarious to watch some become enraged or others fly off the stage in tears. Not everyone could be so strong... Emma however, was, and stayed as friendly as possible throughout the interview. Although, he remembered hearing a thought of how much she wanted to strangle the man and throw him into the crowd. That had Erik laughing quietly and as she finished her interview he knew he was up.
Erik thought he’d prepared himself, but stepping up and onto the stage was something he couldn’t prepare enough for. To have himself displayed, all their eyes on him... It was a horrible feeling, surely not as bad as the arena, when they’ll stare with the same excitement while the tributes kill one another. He wanted to scream at them, but knew that this would gain him no sponsors and instead sat quietly on the couch, looking at Toad, who was dressed in a nice, sleek blue suit. He looked nothing but smug and it dawned on Erik that this bastard was probably in on the voting as well, placing his bets and they were clearly not on Erik.
“So, kid, tell us why you’re talking friendly with a tribute from District Three.”
Shit. Erik didn’t have a sufficient answer, not one he knew would get him sponsors. Erik took a deep breath and searched for the familiar yellow eyes, finding Raven amongst the stylists, smiling at him and he knew he could do this. “What’s wrong with getting friendly with people? It isn’t as if I have the intent of befriending them, of actually caring. It’s merely an alliance. Or is it? What do you think sir? Am I really trying to ally myself or do I have other plans?” He wanted to act aloof, mysterious. He had gained a solid ten and surely people would be interested enough.
Toad looked taken aback, clearly not used to being back-talked. The interview went on for another ten minutes before he was let down and he believed he couldn’t have done better. Most, no, all of his answers had been fabricated and yet when he met Logan behind the curtains the man clapped him on the back, assuring him that it had been a great interview for the type of person people assumed him to be. Before he forgot though, he turned to Charles, who was currently preoccupied watching Moira’s interview. Erik had to admit she was doing excellently, especially at dealing with the questions regarding her being human. The ginger haired teen had to give the other boy a message, if just to assure himself more than Charles. “I didn’t mean that. I wouldn’t abandon you.” He willed into the brunette’s mind and that was the truth of it. He didn’t know how it would work but maybe they’d change the rules, it had happened before, once. It had lasted only that one year but it had happened.
“I believe you Erik, you did excellent out there. I hope I can do the same.” Charles turned and smiled at him, waving him away, Erik following Logan out moments later.
“You know what will happen, don’t you?” Logan muttered, staring Erik down. “You can’t expect to make it out alive with that kid. It’s you or him.”
“It doesn’t have to be,” Erik shot back. In the end it might not even be another tribute that kills him but the Game Maker himself. The only thing Erik knew was that his name was Azazel, and he controlled what went on in terms of temperature and obstacles in the arena. He had never gone and killed more than a couple tributes before, mostly it was kids too stupid to pay attention. “I can win this, Logan. I can win and so can Charles.”
“You have some dream, Erik. I’ll keep my head up and keep your sponsors coming.”
“Thanks.” Erik nodded, letting out a light chuckle at the huff from Logan.
Erik had made his way to the courtyard after his talk with Logan, knowing that soon Charles’ interview would be done and he’d hopefully see him. There were some things he wanted to say, some answers he wanted to get and a gift he wished to give to Charles. He had sat silently, eyes closed until he heard footsteps and felt the familiar presence he had grown to know so well in the past few days.
“That guy is horrible.” Charles plopped down next to Erik and sighed. “I nearly wanted to strangle him,” the brunette admitted with a laugh.
“Completely understand. He doesn’t try to help the crowd pick tributes, he just cuts us down,” Erik replied, rolling his eyes. “They need to get someone else, someone who will actually contribute.” Charles gave a quick nod before the smile vanished from his face.
“We can pretend to laugh but... Tomorrow is the games. Tomorrow, I’m going to die.” Charles had very little hope that he would live through this, if only because he wasn’t excellent at anything. He was only good in many things and sometimes that just didn’t cut it. “I had fun though. These past few days, you welcomed me when no one else would.” Erik hated to hear this, it hurt to think that Charles really thought he was going to die. The older teen grasped the brunette’s hands, gripping them firmly.
“Listen to me Charles. You will not die. I am going to help you, never once think that I am not on your side. I will help you get to the cornucopia tomorrow, I will help you get your things, and then I want you to get as far away as possible. I will find you, and we will win this.” Erik’s plan was actually quite simple. He would ally with Juggernaut and his gang and keep them away from Charles. Then, he’d start to pick them off until Juggernaut remained. The plan may not go quite as perfectly as he wished but he’d make it work somehow. Charles looked at him and Erik saw the hope return to those bright eyes, and Charles smiled again. He smiled so wide that Erik thought his lips might fall off.
“Thank you, I’ll do just that. I won’t stop fighting. Even if I’m not the strongest, I’m far more agile than that brute in District One. I’ll hole up with Moira until you find us. I know we can’t all survive, but I want to be with her until the end.” Charles had found a great deal in common with Moira, and he hated to know that she would die and he would as well. He told Erik he’d fight, he never said he would survive. Erik practically beamed at the answer, reaching into his pocket shortly after to pull out the little pin that he had taken with him.
“I want you to have this, Charles,” he started, moving in to pin it to the boy’s shirt. “It’s a good luck charm. It was my father’s. He gave it to me right before President Shaw murdered him and my mother.” Erik shook his head, he’d have to tell Charles sooner or later, it was something he knew he could trust him with. “That’s why I volunteered. Not for the glory, or to say I murdered a bunch of people. No, I volunteered so that I could meet him and kill him. I don’t care what comes after, I just care that he dies.”
Charles watched him, eyes wide and lips dry. “Erik... I did not know, I’m so sorry,” he whispered, reaching forward to take Erik’s hand in his own. “Thank you, I will cherish this always. I’ll help you win Erik, we’ll get you to Shaw.” In the beginning, Erik wanted to know why Charles had volunteered, but he found himself telling his own tale instead. Charles listened as well, he had listened with all of his heart and now they had to stop. They had to go inside and sleep, for the days ahead would be dangerous and most likely fatal for one of them. Erik left Charles with a hug and a promise: he would protect him, he’d do what he had to in order to make sure they both made it.
Erik couldn’t sleep that night, all he could do was lie awake, knowing that just hours from now the games would begin.
I'm wondering what you guys think of it, if you have the time please drop a comment and let me know! c:
There was no friendly wake up, no greeting...There was only the harsh reality that an hour from now he and twenty-three other tributes would fight for their lives. Breakfast was eaten in silence, Erik dressed in the same clothes he'd arrived in, cleaned and fresh. In a last minute decision he grabbed a jacket to keep warm on the nights when a fire was not an option. Though Emma had been separated from him, they would meet up top, amidst the chaos that would soon rain down on them. Erik stood just outside the cylindrical tube that would take him and the others up to the arena. Logan had come by to wish him good luck and say that he and Storm would do their best to have sponsors screaming his and Emma's names. He thanked the man, hoping for the sake of their lives that Logan wouldn't fail. Raven visited him last and easily gave him a smile that he couldn't fathom making himself. “You'll do excellent Erik.” She patted him on the back. “Remember that you must always stay strong and fight, never stop fighting.” He nodded mutely, unable to speak for the nerves and the honest fear struck him. Just because he had volunteered didn't mean he liked the prospect of the games themselves. The only person he honestly felt like killing was Juggernaut but that was for another day. Stepping onto the platform he gave Raven a small wave, jolting upwards as it began to move, sending him up and into the arena.
They had to stand on their metal platforms for a minute. Sixty seconds that to anyone else may not seem so long but in that moment felt like an eternity. Erik's eyes sought out Charles, who was so far away, at least eight tributes to his left. “Run, get your things and run, I'll keep you safe until you get into the forest.” Charles looked up, staring at him and giving a small, barely visible nod. Erik knew he'd have to make the excuse that he was protecting Emma and he'd be helping Emma as well, however Juggernaut couldn't know he had helped Charles, it would only serve to ruin his plan. As they stood there, Erik noticed another tribute, Kitty he believed her name was...The female tribute from District 8. She looked horrified, nervous and antsy. Erik's eyes widened as she shifted, as if the cannon had fired to signal the start. They all watched, some horrified, some amused as she took a step off the platform. Stepping off the platform early was one of the worst ways to die, stepping off too early was punishable by explosion and they never lied about that. Her foot touched the ground and in a split second she was screaming, a small explosion blowing her lower half into nothingness, the girl's upper half falling to the ground. He saw a blue kid, the boy from her District look away, pained as if he knew she would do that and yet didn't want to admit it had just happened. There was a reason she had been given a 4, her nerves were the factor of her death.
The arena hadn’t changed in past years, a forest area with a large lake. It was a good place to have the games people found, as there were creatures such as tracker jackers and the occasional angry bear or wolf. While it wasn’t extremely exciting to watch the tributes get mauled by a bear it was fun to watch them run in fear, sometimes running straight into the arms of another tribute. Erik was standing on his platform, eyes moving swiftly from Charles to Emma, nodding to her. She had known his plan from the beginning. She thought he was a fool for caring so much about a boy he would probably never see again but she would support him. Emma didn’t care to win, she only cared about surviving as long as possible, she’d long since accepted her fate. It made Erik angry to think about it but she had a point, he thought.
One second they were standing there, the next the cannon fired and everyone was running at to the cornucopia where supplies and weapons were stashed. Erik stood back, standing on his platform and quickly raising his hand, grasping hold of two short swords and bringing them to him, using one to slit a kid’s throat who tried attacking Emma. with his own weapons secured he now had to work on protecting Emma and Charles, which was unfortunate as both were on opposite sides of the cornucopia. He had to act fast though, he needed to get them both out of there alive and as he searched for who needed his help most he found Juggernaut rushing toward Charles. Charles, who was grabbing a supply backpack and a bow and quiver full of twenty or so arrows. He didn’t think that was the greatest weapon but maybe Charles had a plan for them. In haste Erik bended the cornucopia, pulling it forward and between Charles and Juggernaut. The career smashed into it, shouting in anger. Erik watched Charles turn and dash off into the woods, Moira behind him with a good amount of knives. Good, he wouldn’t be alone and Erik could tell the girl wouldn’t do anything even if this were a battle for survival. Once Charles was out of sight Erik pulled the metal into a group of tributes to give Emma her chance. She grasped her own set of knives and two backpacks before running his way. Erik released the metal and waited for her, all the while watching a massacre.
At least half the tributes including Charles had gone off into the woods, prepared or not they ran. The other half including Kitty were dead and dying. Erik watched as the career tributes set to work on killing as many in the cornucopia as possible. He watched one girl touch a boy who then fell in a heap, the boy alive but weakened, which ended poorly for him. Pyro, who lived up to his name torched the kid. There was then another girl, she was from District One and had the power of flight. Wings spread from her back and she easily lifted another girl into the air, bringing her up high before dropping her to the ground. The falling girl hit the hard surface with a force he didn’t want to experience himself. Then came Juggernaut, who charged into more than five tributes, all half his size. Two found themselves flying into the air, dead upon impact, while three others were grabbed up and snapped, twisted and pulled. Erik hated this kid, he would be the one to kill Juggernaut, he would show him what suffering was.
In the end 8 cannons went off, signaling that within ten minutes of the games and seven the tributes were dead. There were still a few packs left along with weapons and Erik watched a boy run out after it, his feet picking up and before he could blink the boy was back in the forest, running off with a girl. That must have been the sibling tributes from District 5. Either way they had gotten what they wanted and left, waiting for the bloodbath to end before striking. Juggernaut shouted after them as if it would really do anything before coming together with the other three. It was then he turned, finally noticing Erik and Emma there, waiting. It was simple knowledge that the careers would work together. Even if they hadn’t gotten along in training, they worked together now. “What the hell was that? Blocking me from tiny pretty boy?” Juggernaut growled, approaching Erik, who greatly withheld the urge to smother them all with the cornucopia.
“I was keeping Emma safe, if I got in your way of killing another tribute suck it up. We’re here to collect the supplies first, then hunt them down.” Erik had kept the cornucopia in front of Juggernaut long enough for Charles to get away and hopefully it had also concealed just where he’d gone. If Erik could keep them away from Charles, he believed they would have the upper hand. Juggernaut seemed to stupidly believe him, nodding before turning to the others to check what they had. Well, they certainly faired the best out of everyone else. In total they had five backpacks, Erik had his swords, Emma her knives and the others had their own items of choice. Juggernaut apparently didn’t believe he needed weapons which would more likely than not be of harm to him later. Picking up his bag, Erik slung it around his shoulder before looking to their ‘leader’. Juggernaut pointed toward the forest, the direction the siblings had gone, the entirely opposite direction of Charles.
“Let’s go hunting.” He laughed, running toward the forest, the rest of them in tow. The games had begun, it was life or death for them all.
Charles wasn’t really thinking, he didn’t even really register the cannon had fired until he was halfway to the cornucopia. He went as fast and far as his legs could carry him and didn’t stop until he reached his destination. The cornucopia was already covered in blood, tributes falling left to right. After having watched that girl from District 8 blow up in the air he couldn’t remember much up until reaching this point. Charles frantically grasped a backpack, Moira at his side grabbing her own backpack and weapons. He didn’t really know what to grab and ended up with a bow and quiver full of arrow. These would come in use, he just needed to figure out how to bring them to their full potential. After a very close call with Juggernaut, Charles was bounding into the forest as Erik had instructed, Moira following closely behind him. “Charles! Charles wait!” She called after him, grabbing his arm and pulling him back. The brunette whipped around, staring at her.
“Moira, we can’t waste time.” He hissed, though as he tried to pull away her grip only tightened.
“Charles, we’ve been running for twenty minutes, you need to stop and we need to make a plan.” She was right, he knew that but it was hard to think that they weren’t right on their trail. Charles also knew that he needed to compose himself, that he had to calm down and show no weakness. They were being watched at all times by those stupid cameras. This was all some game to the capitol and to them it was hell, it was survival. Taking a deep breath he nodded before letting his shoulders slump in the slightest bit of relaxation.
“You’re right. Let’s start by emptying our packs to see what we have.” The backpacks contained the same things. Two sleeping bags, some rope, a few days worth of food that would have to be split to share. There were also snares and matches for starting fires. Yeah, like starting a fire was wise. “Moira, why don’t you start with setting some traps and we’ll see if we can’t catch some good dinner.” He suggested, turning to look for a good enough tree for them to make their beds in. Sleeping on the ground was a death wish and he wouldn’t let either of them get out of this too early. Moira set up several traps around the area before helping Charles lift their bags into the tree. It was going to be a long night, neither had ever slept in a tree before but they would adapt, they had to. As Charles worked their bags into secure branches he felt another mind, one that was not Moira’s. While he couldn’t take control of people, his powers allowed him to feel when other tributes were near, like an alarm system.
Climbing down as fast as possible he spoke to Moira, mind to mind. “Moira, company! Hide!” She nodded and slipped into some bushes and as they waited a tribute did come moving through, a boy no older than fourteen. Charles bit his lip but he knew this was no time to be playing games with himself. Pulling out an arrow he raised it, aiming for the boy.
“Charles, do it.” Moira encouraged and without a second thought he took the shot but in his haste the arrow pierced the boy’s leg and nothing more. There was a shriek of pain from the boy but he was alive. Moira growled and threw knives at the boy, piercing his throat and silencing him. Moving out of the bushes she sighed. “That wasn’t so good. Charles, you need to find something to make those arrows stronger...Got any poison?” She asked, grabbing the boy by the feet and dragging him into the bushes for the men to collect. Sure enough a cannon went off moments later and the two moved away to let them collect the body. Charles thought a moment before nodding. Moira was right, he needed to make these arrows more dangerous. If he were an archer he wouldn’t have a problem landing a fatal blow but he wasn’t an archer and he had to make due with what he hd.
“I’ve got an idea.” Charles may not be a master assassin but he did know a thing or two about plants and there happened to be a particular berry bush that could help him immensely. Charles gathered up a handful of the berries and laid them across a flat rock. He then grabbed another and began to mash them up into a liquid state. Moira watched curiously as Charles rolled the head of each arrow in the purple liquid before setting them up to dry. “These berries are deadly, if you eat them you’ll die instantly. If I so much as skim someone with an arrow and the berry gets into their cut they’ll be dead soon enough. I’m not the best at aiming so this will allow me to still do damage.” Moira gave a swift nod before going to check the traps.
They caught one rabbit but that was good enough for them. They risked a fire shortly after catching it and cooked the meat after skinning it. It helped that it was still light out, it concealed the fire much more than in the night. After enjoying a little meat and some crackers they kicked out the fire and climbed up into their tree. “I’ll keep watch for the first half of night, start on some sleep.” Moira insisted. “We need all the energy.” He nodded but as he laid himself down his mind was preoccupied by other things.
Charles had to believe in Erik, he had to believe he’d see the other again and when he did he wouldn’t be able to thank him enough. If not for Erik, Charles would have been dead long ago. He had to focus now on listening for Erik, feeling his mind and meeting up with him. He had explained to Moira during dinner about Erik’s plan and Moira believed it. In this game it was rare for trust to form but Moir had stated that the way Erik had treated Charles allowed her to come to the conclusion that she could trust him.
After an hour of restless thinking sleep came easily to him in the form of exhaustion.