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Supernatural Hunger Games AU- Part 2

Chapter Text

Dean nearly collapsed as Sam started to move forward. He wasn’t nearly as scared as he was last year but there was still fear in his eyes, and this time, there was nothing Dean could do about it.

Dean heard commotion from somewhere near the 18 year olds and he saw Cas trying to break away from the group. “I vol--” Cas was cut off by a Peacekeeper as they started to drag him away, but Dean had heard the first few words of Cas’ sentence; Cas had just tried to volunteer for Sam. Why hadn’t the Peacekeepers let him? Dean felt anger rise in him, this was a set-up, this was a ploy set by The Capitol to see what would happen if, after everything, Dean’s little brother was still put in the arena; and it was all for the sake of entertainment .

Dean watched as his brother mounted the stairs by the stage and joined Jessica and Chuck in front of the District. Every instinct Dean had was screaming at him to do something, to yell about the unfairness of it all, but Dean knew it wouldn’t do any good.

“Well, uh, shake hands,” Chuck said awkwardly.

Sam and Jess shook hands and were then led off to their own separate rooms. Dean was racing towards the rooms the second the door to the stage shut. He knew he’d have a whole train ride to talk to Sam but he needed to see him now, he needed to tell him that he would do everything, everything he could, and more, for him in the arena.

Dean pushed past the Peacekeepers that were standing outside of Sam’s door as he made his way into the room. Sam was pacing back and forth but he stopped when he saw Dean.

“Dean I-”

“Sammy don’t say it,” Dean interrupted, “It’ll be okay, it’s all going to be okay, I’m going to do everything I can to make sure you win.”

Sam nodded stiffly, “okay.”

Dean pulled Sam into a hug, letting his chin rest on top of his little brother’s head, “I can’t believe this is happening.”

“It’s because The Capitol wants it to happen,” Sam said as he untangled himself from Dean’s arms. “I heard Cas try to to volunteer for me, but they wouldn’t let him, because they want it to be me, they want to see what will happen.”

Dean scrubbed a hand down his face and sighed, “It’s all unfair Sammy, but I’m going to make sure you get out alive.”

Chapter Text

Sam sat down on the couch after Dean left, his head in his hands. He knew Dean was going to keep his word, he was going to try his hardest to make sure Sam had sponsors and was trained up enough to survive in the arena, to win; but Sam also knew that Dean’s efforts were mostly going to be futile. Sam was only thirteen, he hadn’t even seen the tributes from the other Districts yet, but he already knew he hardly stood a chance against them. Sure, Sam’s mother had been a victor at the age of thirteen, and Dean had just won last year, but Sam wasn’t like his mother and brother, he wasn’t going to keep his hopes up.

Sam also had other ideas about who should win.

After Jody came in to say goodbye to Sam he was led off towards the train that would take him to The Capitol. He met up with Jess just as they boarded the train and he felt his gut clench as it had when he’d heard her name called. Only one person was going to make it out alive and Sam would be damned if it wasn’t her.

Chuck led them into a room in the train and told them to sit down and make themselves comfortable before disappearing further down the train. Sam turned to look at Jess, she was biting her lip and her eyes were darting around the train car, a mix of terror and curiosity in her gaze.

“It’ll be okay,” Sam said, it was a blatant lie but he couldn’t stand to see Jess so worried.

Jess let out a short laugh, “you don’t have to lie to me, Sam. I know where we’re going and I know what’s going to happen.”

Sam took Jess’ hand in his own, making her look at him, “Jess, I promise you, I’m going to try and help you win.”

Jess scoffed at Sam and pulled her hand away, “don’t waste your effort.” Jess turned her head away and Sam looked down at his empty hands.

 

“I’m sorry,” Sam murmured.

“You have nothing to be sorry for,” Jess replied.

Jess was right, he didn’t have anything to be sorry for, yet somehow, he still felt like everything was his fault. But how could it be? The Reaping was a randomized drawing, his and Jess’ names were just the unlucky two that got picked this year. But Sam’s name had also been picked last year, what were the odds that he would be chosen again this year as well? Especially when Dean couldn’t volunteer for him.

And yet, someone had still tried to volunteer for him, Castiel. Sam had heard him begin to volunteer but the Peacekeepers had stopped him and dragged him off. If they weren’t respecting the right for another person to volunteer in the place of the chosen tribute, Sam’s name must have been purposely picked, and if that were true, then the Games were rigged.

Chapter Text

After Dean left Sam’s room he found himself back out in the square, searching for the blue eyes of his best friend. He knew he wouldn’t find Cas in the sea of people that were trudging off back home, washed in relief that they hadn’t been chosen to participate in the Hunger Games, but still, Dean looked.

He moved off in the direction he’d seen Cas dragged off in, and soon picked up a trail of blood. His steps quickened as worry took hold of him. Dean knew he didn’t have long to find Cas before he had to get on the train to The Capitol, but he wasn’t going to leave without knowing if Cas was okay.

The next corner Dean took brought him almost face to face with a Peacekeeper. Dean stumbled back in surprise and the Peacekeeper took a step forward. Dean saw a door behind him and heard the sound of someone grunting in pain.

“Don’t you have a train to catch, Mr. Winchester?” the Peacekeeper asked. Dean saw his hand tighten around the handle of his gun and Dean felt a smirk touch his lips.

“What’re you going to do? Shoot me? I don’t think The Capitol would be very pleased with you if you killed the most recent victor of the Games, not to mention the son of the most famous victor and the brother of a tribute.” The Peacekeepers stance faltered and Dean moved closer to him. “You have my friend, and I’d like him to be released.”

“He has committed a felony-”

“What felony!?” Dean growled, “he tried to volunteer for my brother! Last time I checked, it was a felony to deny a volunteer! Let him go, he’s done nothing wrong.”

“I’m not supposed-”

Dean’s hands moved of his own accord and soon he was backing the Peacekeeper up against the wall, a hand to his throat, “do you really want to test me? I’ve got six kills under my belt, do you want me to make it a seventh?” Dean felt the Peacekeeper gulp under his grip and Dean tightened his hold. “Let. Him. Go.”

“Okay, okay!” The Peacekeeper gasped.

Dean released him and the man fell to the ground with a cough before scrambling to his feet and rushing towards the door that sheltered Castiel from Dean’s eyes. Dean followed the Peacekeeper into the room to see Cas hanging by his wrists with another Peacekeeper in front of him, gloves bloody.

“Brutus,” the Peacekeeper, Dean had just been choking, said.

“What do you want Heath? And what’s he doing here?” Brutus asked.

“You’re going to let my friend go,” Dean said sharply.

“Dean,” Cas said weakly, “what are you doing?”

“Saving you,” Dean replied. “Now let him go.”

“Who gave you the authority to tell us what to do?” Brutus asked with a growl.

Dean squared his shoulders and took a step towards Brutus, “well you see, I’m a victor, and if you don’t let my friend go then you’re going to have to detain me, and that would raise a lot of questions, which I’m sure you don’t want to answer. I heard Cas here try and volunteer for my brother, which is perfectly legal, by the way, so he’s done nothing wrong, which makes what you’re doing to him, illegal .”

Brutus faltered under Dean’s gaze and he shot a quick glance towards Heath who didn’t even meet his fellow Peacekeeper’s eye.

“Are we going to have a problem?” Dean asked as he took another menacing step towards Brutus. “I’ve got places to be, but if I need to kick your sorry ass first then so be it.”

Brutus shook his head, “no, sir, we don’t have a problem.”

“Good. Now untie him.”

Brutus followed Dean’s order and then Cas was falling to the ground. Dean helped him up and shot the Peacekeepers a smile before leading his friend out of the secluded room and back out onto the streets.

“You didn’t need to do that,” Cas slurred.

“Don’t be an idiot, you’re my best friend and  you just tried to volunteer for Sam, of course I was going to help you.” Cas didn’t say anything else as Dean led him up the steps to his house in Victor's Village. “Stay here and clean yourself up, I’ve got a train to catch.”

“Thanks Dean,” Cas mumbled.

“No problem.” Dean started to head towards the door but he turned back, “you’re welcome to stay here while I’m gone, there’s more than enough food in the cabinets and there’s an extra bed upstairs.”

“I wouldn’t want to impose,” Cas said.

“I insist,” Dean replied with a smile. “I’ll see you when I get back.”

“Tell Sam I wish him luck!” Cas shouted after Dean.

“I will!”

Dean started to jog off towards the train tracks, he was already cutting it pretty fine as it was, and he didn’t want the train to leave without him. Bobby was waiting for Dean at the steps that lead up to the train, a frown on his face. “Took you long enough,” Bobby grunted.

“Sorry, I had some things I had to take care of,” Dean replied.

Dean entered the train and as he started to make his way towards the room that held his brother and Jess, the train began to move, bringing them towards The Capitol, and towards the Games that Sam was going to be forced to play in.

Chapter Text

Sam shifted in his seat as the train began to move. Jess turned to look out the window as they sped out of District 12 but Sam’s eyes were drawn to the two people who had just entered the room. Bobby took the seat opposite Jess and Dean plopped down in the chair facing Sam, a hardened look on his face. 

“Well alright then,” Bobby said, trying to diffuse the tension. “Shall we take a little look at who you’re all going to be up against?”

“Sure, Bobby,” Sam replied. 

Bobby turned on the projector and Sam brought his attention to the screen. The names of his fellow tributes played in Sam’s head. District 1: Samael and Toni, District 2: Eldon and Kaia, District 3: Mick and Anna, District 4: Kubrick and Dagon, District 5: Ansem and Ruby, District 6: Jack and Becky, District 7: Brady and Billie, District 8: Creedy and Alex, District 9: Jesse and Claire, District 10: Walt and Hannah, and District 11: Jake and Tamera. 

“It looks like you’re definitely going to have lots of competition,” Bobby said. 

Sam saw Dean scowl from his seat, “of course they’re going to have lots of competition, there’s always competition, they’re fighting for their lives .”

Bobby sighed, “I know that, Dean.” 

“Dean, just relax,” Sam said. 

“Relax!?” Dean spat. “How am I supposed to relax? In a little over a week you’re going to be in the arena!”

Sam leaned forward and put his hand on Dean’s knee, “Dean, it’s okay-”

“It’s not okay!” Dean shouted as he stood up. Sam rose to his feet as well and moved to comfort Dean again, but his brother backed away, tears in his eyes, and left the train car. 

“Should someone go after him?” Jess asked in concern as he eyes followed Dean’s retreating figure. 

Sam shook his head, “no, when he gets like this he needs some time alone.” Sam turned back to Bobby, “let’s go through the tributes again and you can tell us what to watch out for.” 

“Yeah alright,” Bobby replied as he tore his eyes away from the hallway Dean had disappeared down. 

Bobby went through each tribute, telling Sam and Jess obvious people to watch out for, like the tributes from 1, 2, and 4, but also other tributes that Bobby thought might have a trick or two up their sleeves like the tributes from 5, 7, and 11. 

When Dean finally returned to the room, dinner was being laid out and Sam and Jess were sitting at a long table. “Are you feeling better, Dean?” Bobby asked tersely as he piled some form of chicken and rice onto his plate. 

Dean shot Bobby a death glare as he plopped down next to Sam, “I’m fine.”

“Really? Because you look far from fine,” Bobby replied. 

“Just leave it, Bobby,” Dean growled. 

Sam gave Bobby warning look and Bobby just sighed and picked up his knife. “So, when we reach The Capitol you’ll meet your prep teams and your stylist,” Bobby said. 

“What will they do to us?” Jess asked. 

“They’ll make you look all nice and pretty for the Games,” Bobby replied. 

“Sounds... nice,” Jess said. 

“Yeah, if you like being poked, prodded, and scrubbed within an inch of your life,” Dean muttered, just low enough for Sam to hear. Sam just sighed and continued eating his dinner.

****

When they reached The Capitol Sam felt Dean’s hand on his upper arm. “Stay close to me,” he whispered. 

Sam didn’t argue as they stepped off the train into reporters and cameras. “Sam! Over here!” 

“Dean, how do you feel about your brother’s name still being called?”

“Sam, do you think you’re going to win?” 

Sam’s eyes moved from one camera to another, he didn’t know where to look or who to talk to, but Dean was guiding him towards a building and Sam let him drag him away. They were almost to the building when a reporter jumped in front of them. A microphone was pushed in front of Sam’s mouth, “tell me, Sam, how shocked were you that your name was called two years in a row?”

Sam wasn’t able to get a word in before Dean was pushing the camera away from him. “Leave him alone,” Dean growled. 

“Dean, it’s okay,” Sam said, throwing an apologetic look at the reporter. 

The reporter tried to upright his camera and point it back in Sam’s face but Dean was quick, his fist flew through the air and connected with the reporters face. “Dean!” Sam shouted in shock, but Dean wasn’t listening. 

“I said, leave. Him. Alone !” 

“Dean! Stop!” Sam yelled as he surged forward to pull his brother off of the reporter. Bobby came to help and together they managed to break Dean away from the man he was beating to a pulp. 

Sam and Bobby pulled Dean into the building and Bobby led them into a side room, where Bobby pushed Dean into a chair. “What were you thinking, boy!?”

Dean massaged his bloody knuckles and looked up at Sam’s quizzical gaze. “I don’t know,” Dean muttered. 

“You need to take a minute and cool down. I’m taking Sam to meet his prep team, you can wait here and work off, whatever it is you need to work off,” Bobby snapped. 

Sam paused before following Bobby, “Dean, it’s going to be okay.” Dean just slumped further in his chair and Sam sighed and left the room. 

Sam was brought into a room where four people waited for him, two women, and two men. They introduced themselves as his prep team and gave Sam their names, Donna, Pamela, Ash, and Balthazar. Sam let them have their way with him. They kept talking about how crazy it was that his name had been called twice in the past two years. 

Finally, once Sam was done being scrubbed down he was told to wait for his stylist to come and finish dressing him. 

A short woman with wavy red hair came into the room a few minutes later and she walked around Sam and then smiled. “Hello Sam, I’m Rowena, your stylist.” 

Sam smiled awkwardly back at her, “hi.”

Rowena dressed Sam in a red suit that had flames licking at the bottom of his pants and the cuffs of his sleeves. “You and Jessica are going to look dashing,” Rowena said as she led Sam out towards the chariots that were waiting to take them through the Capitol. 

Jess was already waiting by their chariot and Sam spotted Dean and Bobby waiting with her. Dean broke into a smile when he saw Sam and he moved forward to look him up and down. “You look great, Sammy,” Dean said as he straightened Sam’s collar. 

“Thanks, Dean,” Sam replied with a half-smile.

Dean clapped Sam on the back and then Sam moved over to Jess and they climbed onto the chariot. 

Sam listened to the commentary on the other tributes as their chariots rolled out into the Capitol and when it was finally Sam and Jess’ turn there was a loud uproar. 

“Jessica Moore and Samuel Winchester of District 12 look just ravishing , don’t they, Crowley?”

“Oh yes, Dick, they couldn’t be more stunning. It even looks as if they’re on fire.” 

“My God you’re right! District 12 has certainly got one hell of a stylist.”

Sam tried to ignore the comments flying towards him and the girls screaming at him, instead he let his hand find Jess’ and he held tight, not wanting to let go. 

After their chariot rolled into the circle at the end of the runway Sam and Jess jumped down from the chariot and joined Bobby, Dean, and their prep teams. 

“You looked great up there,” Dean said. 

“Thanks,” Sam replied. 

“You too, Jess,” Dean added with a sly smile. 

Jess just chuckled slightly and took Sam’s hand again, “thanks, Dean.” 

“Well, you two need to get changed and then we’ll lead you up to the penthouse,” Bobby said. 

Sam nodded and followed his prep team into a room. They stripped him, dressed him in Capitol clothing, and then led him back out into the chariot circle. 

Sam then let Bobby and Dean take him towards a tall building. When they reached the penthouse Sam’s mouth dropped open, the place was huge. Dean chuckled beside him, “pretty awesome, isn’t it?”

“Yeah,” Sam replied. 

“Why don’t you go get settled into your room, Dean and I have some things to discuss,” Bobby said. 

Sam nodded, “okay.” 

“Be back here for dinner in an hour or so,” Bobby said. 

“Okay.”

Chapter Text

Once Sam had left the main room Dean turned to Bobby, “so, what now?”

Now , Sam gets settled and we go meet up with the other mentors.” 

“This should be fun,” Dean muttered.

“Throughout the course of the week, this is where you’ll be able to help Sam the most, if you can get him good allies by talking to the other mentors, he might have a better chance of winning,” Bobby said. 

Dean supposed Bobby was right, he would do whatever he could to help Sam in the long run, and if he could secure him a couple of allies along the way Sam would be better off for it. 

Dean followed Bobby into the elevator, down to the lobby, and into a large conference room. There, the victors that had been chosen to accompany this years tributes, waited. Dean could pick out a few of the past victors just by looking at them, but some faces were not familiar, as those victors games weren’t as famous. 

Dean spotted Cain, the first victor of District 1 and of the Games, sitting in the corner of the room watching everyone, he saw Amara, the first victor of District 2, Victor Henrikson of District 4, and Gordon Walker of District 11; everyone else was a mystery to Dean.

Dean was still looking over the faces of the mentors when Amara tapped him on the shoulder. “Hi.”

Dean spun to meet her, his green gaze defensive but it softened when he saw that Amara was smiling at him. “Uh, hi,” Dean replied awkwardly. 

“Would you like the introductions?” Amara asked. 

“Yeah, that’d be great actually,” Dean replied. 

“I’d be happy to introduce you to everyone. I’m sure they’re all dying to meet you too, you’re quite famous.” 

“Famous isn’t really the word I’d use,” Dean said. 

“Oh, then what word would you use?” Amara asked as she began to lead Dean towards Cain. 

“Lucky,” Dean replied with a smirk. 

Amara laughed, “luck could have something to do with it.” 

They reached Cain and Amara cleared her throat, causing Cain to turn his attention to her. “Amara,” he said with a polite smile. He stood up to face Dean, “and Dean Winchester, well this is truly an honor.” Cain held out his hand to Dean and Dean forced himself to take it. 

Dean could feel his heart beating harshly against the inside of his chest, he knew how many people Cain had killed with his hands and even though it had been years ago, no one had ever beaten the bar Cain had set during those very first Games. 

Dean had seen Cain’s tape, he’d watched it when he first turned twelve and he’d watched it before his Games last year, and it was horrifying. Cain killed six people within the first six minutes, took a blade, backpack, and knife from the Cornucopia, formed no alliances, and ended the Games within seven days. Whenever he would kill someone he would leave a mark on their body, the same mark he had tattooed on his right arm, defacing their corpse so that their families would remember who had killed their child; they called it the Mark of Cain. At the end of the Games Cain had killed fifteen tributes and since then, there has never been a faster Game and no one person has ever racked up that many kills.

When Dean’s hand fell from Cain’s he resisted the urge to wipe his hand on his pants, to rid the feeling of Cain’s palm against his.

“So, Dean,” Cain said. “I’m sure you’re searching for tributes to ally with you brother. If your brother is half as good as you or your mother, I’d be happy to put in a good word with Samael and Toni, the career pack would be lucky to have him.” 

Dean felt his stomach flip. Sam, in the career pack? No tribute from District 12 had ever been part of the career pack before. 

“I’d be happy to do the same with Eldon and Kaia,” Amara said close to Dean’s ear. 

Dean’s eyes flickered from Cain to Amara. “That’s a very kind offer,” Dean began. 

“I feel a but coming,” Amara said. 

Dean nodded slowly. “But, I don’t think Sam would agree to being their allies.” 

“Fair enough,” Cain said. “Let me know if Sam thinks differently.”

“I will.” 

“Come on, we’ve got more people for you to meet.” Amara put her hand on Dean’s shoulder and guided him away from Cain. They stopped in front of an older man and Amara introduced him as Frank Devereaux, District 3’s victor of the Tenth Hunger Games. Frank didn’t seem to be in the mood for talking so Amara brought Dean over to meet Victor Henrkison. 

“Dean Winchester,” Henrikson said when Dean stopped in front of him. “Well, it is nice to finally make your acquaintance. You had quite a Games last year.”

“That I did,” Dean agreed. 

“With you as his mentor I’m sure Sam will head into the arena with a leg up, won’t he.” Henrikson’s gaze was hard, and Dean knew that for whatever reason, Henrikson was not a fan of him.

“Well I’m certainly going to be doing everything within my power to make sure he comes out of these Games alive, you can count on that,” Dean replied sharply. 

“I would expect nothing less.” 

Next on the list was the victor from District 5, Garth Fitzegerald. He was a skinny man but he seemed nice and Dean found himself actually liking the guy. 

Dean met Abraxis from District 6, he did not seem very friendly so Dean stayed clear. From District 7 there was Elieen Leahy, a victor that had lost most of her hearing to the Games and had refused the Capitol when they tried to fix it. Elieen was very friendly and he could see them becoming friends. 

Christain Campbell, who’s cousin had been in Dean’s Games, was the victor from District 8. He kept giving Dean sharp looks and he knew that there was not going to be any friendship forming between him and Christian any time soon, or at all. 

District 9’s victor was Linda Tran, she was a feisty woman, and Dean hated to admit she kind of scared him. A man named Ketch was the victor for District 10 and while he was polite towards Dean, he couldn’t help feeling like something was off with him. And finally, Gordon Walker of District 11. Dean had been dreading this meeting. Walker had been nearly as ferocious as Cain was during the Games. He was most famous for his murder tactic; killing by way of beheading. 

Gordon was polite enough to Dean, but he hated the way the other victor was looking at him and he soon found himself thanking Amara for all the introductions before sitting down next to Bobby, who had poured himself a glass of whiskey. 

“Making friends?” Bobby asked. 

“Not really,” Dean replied. 

“You’ll warm up to some of ‘em eventually,” Bobby said. 

“Cain and Amara both offered for Sam to join the career pack,” Dean said abruptly.  

Bobby nearly dropped his glass but caught himself at the last second. “They what ?”

“You heard me.”

“What did you say?”

“No of course,” Dean replied. “Sam would never go for that. And besides, for all I know, they were just trying to make Sam an easier target.” 

“That’s exactly what they were trying to do,” Bobby said. “Get him to join them, make him think he’s one of them, and then kill him on the first night.” 

“I’m not an idiot, Bobby, I know ulterior motives when I see them.”

“Of course, you do realize that rejection means that Sam will be a very primal target for the careers.”

“Sam’s my brother and the son of practically the most famous victor ever, aside from Cain, he was already a target.” 

Bobby took a swig of his drink. “Yeah well, a lot of tributes are either going to be itching to be his ally or itching to put a knife through his heart.” 

 

As they bade goodbye to the other mentors and made their way back up to the penthouse Dean pondered Bobby’s words. He was right, Sam was not going to be a nobody in the Games, Sam was going to either be graced with many allies or swarmed by enemies, there was no in between. Either way, Dean would make sure Sam was safe, he’d make sure his brother made it home. 

Chapter Text

Sam stepped out of the shower, letting the leftover beads of water slide down his body and letting the droplets from his hair pepper his back. Sam had gotten used to the shower in his and Dean’s house back in District 12 but he had never imagined that a better shower could even exist, and yet, the Capitol showers had even more options to choose from, even more varieties in soaps and shampoos, and even better water pressure. 

Sam toweled off his hair and then got dressed in an outfit that his prep team must have left him. After he was dressed he headed back into the main room to find Jess sprawled out on a chair, a magazine in her hands. “These Capitol people are so weird,” she said as she flipped a page over. “I don’t understand the obsession with hair dye, or the long eyelashes, I think they’re just creepy.” 

Sam shrugged and sat down in the chair next to hers. “It’s their style, I’m sure we look strange to them too.”

Jess lowered the magazine to scowl at Sam. “We’re their source of entertainment they don’t care how we look unless we’re dying or fighting for our lives.” 

Sam chortled slightly, “you do have a point.” 

Jess sighed and swung her legs to the front of her chair. “At least you have Dean looking out for you; making deals and guaranteeing your survival through at least the Bloodbath. I have no one.” 

Sam reached out and put his hand on Jess’ arm. “You have me.”

“I’m flattered Sam, I am, but what good is that to me? Dean’s going to make sure you win. Me on the other hand, I’m going into these Games already dead.”

“Dean wants me to live more than I want me to live,” Sam said, removing his hand from Jess’ arm. “But I’m going to do what I can to help you win. You deserve it, far more than I do.” 

Jess’ eyes flickered up to meet Sam’s. “I wouldn’t say that.” 

Sam sighed and let his eyes flutter to focus on the ground at his feet. “You know, I wish things had been different.” 

“Don’t we all.” 

“I just wish we could have had more of a chance to be together,” Sam said softly. 

“Me too,” Jess replied in a whisper. 

Sam felt Jess’ hand touch his and he let their fingers intertwine. “Come on, I found a cool place we can sit and talk.” 

Sam let Jess lead him down the hallway and up a flight of stairs that led to the top of the penthouse. “Wow,” Sam breathed. 

“Cool, huh?” 

“The view is incredible.” 

“I thought you’d like it.”

Jess was very close now and Sam was conscious of how their lips seemed to only be centimeters apart. Jess closed the gap and Sam’s lips greeted hers. His hand came up to her cheek and one to her waist and Jess’ fingers combed through Sam’s hair as the kiss grew deeper. 

When they pulled apart Sam was breathless and he felt a blush rising on his cheeks. “That was nice,” Sam said awkwardly.

Jess laughed and pulled Sam towards the edge of the building. “Yes, it was.” 

They sat down and their hands found each others. 

“I hate the Games,” Sam said after a moment. 

“Me too,” Jess mumbled as she rested her head on Sam’s shoulder. 

They stayed like that for a while, watching lights flicker on or off and people moving beneath them. Finally, Sam glanced at his watch and stood, offering Jess his hand to help her up. “Dean and Bobby will be back any minute for dinner.”

“Right,” Jess said.

Sure enough, when Sam and Jess entered the big sitting room, Dean and Bobby were lounging on the chairs, drinks in hand. “Where have you two been?” Dean asked as he righted himself in his chair. 

“Just talking,” Sam replied. 

Dean narrowed his eyes at Sam. “Talking, sure.”

“Shut up,” Sam growled. 

Dean smirked and stood up. “Well, dinner is served so let’s eat.” 

The penthouse elevator opened, before Sam could take a seat, and Rowena and his prep team entered the room. “Dean!” Pamela shrieked as she spotted Sam’s older brother. 

“Hi Pamela,” Dean replied with a smile as she pulled him into a hug.

“Oh my, it’s so good to see you!” Donna said. 

“You too.”

“I can’t believe your brother got picked for this years Games, it’s just so crazy!” Ash laughed as he clapped Dean on the back.

“Yeah, it really is,” Dean replied. Sam could see he was uncomfortable with their amusement in his reaping but Dean was handling it better than he had with the reporter earlier so Sam didn’t feel the need to intervene. 

“I think he’s going to do great in the Games; with you watching out for him, how could he not?” Baltthazar said. 

“Oh yes, I’m sure Dean is going to be taking every step to ensure that Samuel will come out alive.”

Dean’s smile grew, “Rowena.” 

“Hello, dear,” Rowena said as she pushed past the prep team to give Dean a hug.

“Well, now that we’ve had this nice reunion, can we eat?” Bobby asked. 

“Sure thing, I’m starving,” Dean replied as sat down in a chair next to Sam. 

They ate in silence for a few minutes but Rowena quickly started up a conversation. “So, Jessica, Samuel, I thought I’d tell you what I have picked out for your interview attire. Jessica, you’ll be in a red dress, and Samuel, you’ll be in a white suit. Don’t worry, it’ll look better than it sounds.” 

“I trust you,” Sam said as he took a sip of his drink.

“Interviews aside,” Dean said, “I think you two should know what to expect during your training tomorrow.” Sam didn’t say anything, so Dean continued. “I’m going to say it right out, it’s going to be rough. This is where you get to show off any skills you might have, just be careful about how much you decide to show; give away all your secrets and you’ll be an easy target in the arena, save your best skill for the Gamemakers during your private session. 

The other tributes will be watching you, sizing you up, deciding if you’re worth an alliance or if you’re going to be their first kill.” Dean’s eyes moved from Sam to Jess and back again. “But, this is also where you get to size everyone else up too. You can decide who you want as an ally, if you choose to have one. Just be careful. If you’re going to team up with another tribute, you have to be absolutely sure they can be trusted not to kill you in your sleep. If you want to have an alliance with someone, let me know and I will talk to their mentor, secure a deal with them, and make sure that the alliance will be mutually beneficial.” 

Sam took in everything Dean said. He already knew that he wanted to be allies with Jess but he wouldn’t know if he wanted anyone else until training. 

When dinner ended Sam’s prep team left and he headed off to his room to get ready for bed. He was just reaching for the light when there was a knock on his door and Dean stepped inside. 

“Hey, Sammy.” 

Sam sat down on his bed and Dean sat with him. 

“I didn’t say this at dinner, but I wanted to say it now. Play to your strengths in training Sam, okay? You’re a smart kid, use your knowledge over your physical strength. I know you can hold your own in a fight too, I’ve seen you at school with bullies, you pack a punch, but save that for the arena, you don’t want everyone knowing what you can do, it’ll just make you a greater target for the careers.” 

“I know, Dean,” Sam said. “But thanks.” 

“Sure thing,” Dean gave Sam’s shoulder a squeeze and then pulled him into a hug. “I promise I’m going to look out for you, Sammy. You’re going to win.” 

Before Sam could say anything else Dean was out the door. Sam shut off his light and climbed into bed, hoping that training wouldn’t be as bad as he was making it out to be in his mind. 

Chapter Text

Dean left Sam’s room and found himself heading towards the elevator. He wanted to explore the Capitol before he was forced to watch his brother fight for his life in the arena; he wanted to live a little, as they say. 

“Where are you off to at this hour?” Bobby asked as Dean pushed the button on the wall to summon the elevator. 

“Out,” Dean replied.

“On your own?” 

Dean shrugged. “What’s wrong with that?”

“The Capitol can be a very strange place when you’re by yourself,” Bobby replied. 

“I’ll be fine,” Dean said as the elevator dinged to announce its arrival.

“Just keep your head down, you are a bit of a celebrity here.”

Dean laughed and stepped through the elevator doors. “Don’t worry about me, Bobby. I can take care of myself.” 

As the doors were closing Bobby shouted, “don’t get into any more fights!”

Dean smirked and shouted back, “no promises!”

 

When Dean stepped out into the lobby he made his way through the doors and out into the blooming city that was The Capitol. Even though it was late, there were hundreds of people on the streets, which made it easy for Dean to slip into the crowd unnoticed. 

Dean found his way into a bar and sat down on a stool. A skinny green-haired woman came over to serve him but when she stopped in front of him her jaw dropped. “Oh my, you’re… you’re Dean Winchester.” 

Dean had to stop himself from rolling his eyes. “Yeah, I am, so what? I want a drink, are you going to serve me or not?” 

The green-haired woman looked taken-aback by Dean’s rudeness and Dean found himself sighing and leaning closer to her and forcing a small smile to his lips. “Look, I’m sorry, that came out a bit wrong. I just want a drink before I have to watch my brother in the arena.” 

She nodded slowly, “yes, of course, what would you like?”

“Whiskey, on the rocks, thanks,” Dean replied. 

“Coming right up.” 

As Dean waited for his drink he let his eyes drift around the bar; there were people with orange and blue skin, people with eyelashes so long they could almost reach the face of the person across from them, and people with different varieties of hair colors and shapes; but there was one girl who looked around Dean’s age that wasn’t wearing anything that screamed Capitol , she looked like she could have fit right in in District 12. Her hair was blond and fell just past her shoulders and she was wearing a purple dress. 

When Dean’s drink arrived he thanked the bartender and then stood up and made his way towards the girl. Dean cleared his throat and she turned her head to look at him. Her eyes widened as she took him in, recognition falling across her face. “You’re-”
“Dean Winchester, victor of the 60th Hunger Games, yeah,” Dean interrupted. He pulled the chair out across from her, “anyone sitting here?”

She shook her head, “um, no.” 

“Great,” Dean said as he plopped down into it and set his drink on the table. “So, you know who I am, do I get the pleasure of knowing your name?”

She smiled softly. “Lydia.” 

“Well, Lydia, what brings you to this bar?” 

Lydia shifted in her seat and reached for her own drink, which looked like a margarita. “It’s where I come every year after the tributes are introduced.” 

“And why is that?” Dean asked as he took a sip of his whiskey. 

“I don’t know,” Lydia admitted. “I think it just calms me.” 

Dean chuckled tersely, “and what does someone in the Capitol have to fear the week before the Games?” 

Lydia leaned forward, resting her elbows on the table. “I’m going to let you in on a little secret, I don’t enjoy watching the Games. I think their cruel.” 

Dean raised his eyebrows, “really?” 

“You sound genuinely surprised.” 

Dean shrugged, “yeah, well I thought everyone in this glamorous city loved seeing children kill each other for sport.” 

“I’m not like most Capitol-folk,” Lydia said. “I hate everything about the Capitol.” 

“Is that why you look like you could be from one of the Districts? No dyed hair, no flashy jewelry or foot-long eyelashes.” 

Lydia laughed shortly, “yes. I hate the fashion here, I think it’s stupid.” 

“You and me both.” 

“So, what brings you to this bar?” 

“I just wanted to take a closer look at the city that’s making children murder each other before I’m forced to watch my brother fight for his life,” Dean replied. 

“That’s a fair response,” Lydia said as she took a sip of her drink. 

Dean drained the last of his whiskey and put the empty glass on the table. “You said you don’t like the Games, so why do you sit around and let them happen?”

“Because there’s nothing I can do about it and even if I tried something I wouldn’t make it far. Everyone in the Capitol lives for the Games each year, they love them.” 

“I wonder how much they’d love them if their own children were being sent to the slaughter.” Dean scrubbed a hand down his face and leaned back in his chair. “It’s like they forget that we’re people too, that we have families, and yet each year twenty-three families are torn apart by the Games.” 

“It’s not fair, I know,” Lydia said. 

“It’s beyond not fair, it’s inhumane, it’s murder.” 

“You know, I think about it every year, how if I lived in the Districts my name would be in The Reaping and I’d have no choice but to fight. It terrifies me.” 

“Try living it,” Dean growled. 

Lydia was silent for a second, her fingers playing with the straw in her drink. “As much as I hate the Games, I watch them every year, just to remind myself how horrible this world is. Your Game was brutal, you suffered so much. I can’t even imagine what that must have been like, to kill your friend just to make it home to your brother.”

Dean felt the memories burn through his mind, killing the other tributes, killing Benny. “Yeah, thanks for bringing up the memories I try everyday to keep hidden,” Dean spat as he felt his eyes begin to water. 

Lydia’s hand was across the table and on top of Dean’s before Dean even realized what had happened. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to upset you.” 

Dean sniffed and blinked away the tears. “I know you didn’t.” 

“What do you say we get out of here, huh? Before anyone else realizes who you are.” 

“Sounds great,” Dean replied. 

He and Lydia stood up and once they were out in the city streets Lydia slipped her hand into his and led him away from the bar. “Where are we going?” Dean asked. 

“You’ll see,” Lydia replied. 

Dean allowed himself to be pulled along until they reached a small house. Lydia unlocked the door and brought Dean inside. “My parents are out for the night so it’s just me.” 

“Must be nice, my parents are dead,” Dean said bluntly. Lydia flinched slightly and Dean immediately regretted his words. “Sorry, that was uncalled for.” 

“No it wasn’t,” Lydia said quietly. “You have every right to be angry.”

Dean collapsed on the couch in Lydia’s sitting room with a sigh. “I don’t know what to do, Lydia. I have absolutely no idea how I’m going to ensure my brother’s survival through the Games.” 

Lydia sat down next to Dean and rubbed a hand over his shoulder. “I’m sure you’ll figure something out, you seem like a great big brother.” 

“All my life all I’ve been trying to do is protect him. I volunteered for him last year and his name was still picked again, tell me how something like that happens two years in a row, his name was only in there twice. The Games have been rigged from the start, The Reaping is just a formality, a way for the people in the Districts to feel like they have a chance of surviving, when really, it’s all planned out.” 

“I’ve thought that for a long time,” Lydia said. 

“Well, I’m going to do something about it, I’m not going to watch my brother die.” 

“What are you planning to do?” Lydia asked. 

“I’m not entirely sure yet,” Dean replied, “but when I’m done, the Games will cease to exist.” 

“That’s a very bold thing to try and do.” 

“I’m not the first family to be screwed over by the Games and I certainly won’t be the last if I don’t do something .” 

“Well, I think if anyone can end the Games, it’s you.” 

 

By the time Dean left Lydia’s it was way past midnight and Dean was drunk, they’d shared two bottles of wine. When he wandered into the penthouse about twenty minutes later Bobby was sitting in a chair writing in an old notebook. “Where have you been?” Bobby asked as Dean collapsed into a chair with a yawn. 

“I told you I was going out,” Dean slurred. 

Bobby closed his notebook and pulled Dean to his feet. “You should get to bed.” 

“I can walk by myself,” Dean grunted as he struggled to free himself from Bobby’s vice-like grip. Bobby didn’t budge an inch. He dragged Dean to his room and laid him down on his bed. Dean heard the door shut and then he was alone. 

Tomorrow Sam would start his training, bringing him one day closer to being in the arena, and Dean still had no idea how he was going to bring about the end of the Games.

Chapter Text

Sam woke early that morning, his stomach in knots. Today was the day it all began, the day that he would fully meet the other tributes and create allies, or create enemies. Sam already knew that he was a target, with his mother and brother both being victors of the Games Sam was expected to be just as good as them, if not better. 

Sam forced himself to get up from his bed and get dressed in the training clothes his prep team had left for him. Once he was dressed he made his way down the hallway and into the large sitting room. Dean was already up and shoving food into his mouth and Bobby was sipping coffee in a chair. 

Sam sat down beside Dean and put some eggs on his plate. “How’d you sleep?” Dean asked as he picked up his mug filled with black coffee. 

“Fine, I guess,” Sam replied. 

Dean put down his mug and turned to face Sam. “Sammy-”

“Dean, I know what you’re going to say,” Sam interrupted. “Keep my head low, don’t show off too much, but show off enough, and make allies if I can.” 

Dean nodded curtly, “that’s what I was going to say alright.” 

As Sam began to eat his eggs Jess walked into the room, she was dressed in the same jumpsuit-like attire as Sam with her hair tied up in a ponytail. She sat down next to Sam and started to peel a banana. “Are you ready for training?” she asked. 

“Not in the slightest,” Sam replied honestly. 

“You’ll both be fine,” Dean said, “just stay on your toes and don’t trust anyone.” 

Sam finished his breakfast and Dean stood up with him. “It’s time to go.” 

Sam nodded and exchanged a glance with Jess. “Okay, let’s go.” 

Sam followed Dean into the elevator that would take them to the lower level of the building where the training center was. When they reached that floor Dean wished Sam and Jess luck and Sam stepped out of the elevator and into the training center. Sam and Jess made their way further into the center to see that they were some of the last tributes to arrive. 

Eldon and Kaia were over by the knife throwing station, hitting the center of the target with every throw. Samael and Toni were sparring, and Kubrick and Dagon were at the archery range. 

Sam and Jess found their way over to the fire-making station. Sam knew enough about making fires, he’d done it plenty of times before when Dean had been out late trying to secure a meal for them. But he’d never made a fire without matches. He and Jess got to work, grinding sticks against each other until an ember was created. 

After the fire station Sam and Jess split up, Jess heading for the edible plants section of the training center and Sam heading for the knife-throwing station. Just like his brother, Sam had been taught to throw knives at an early age by their father. Sam wasn’t nearly as good as Dean was but he could get by. Eldon and Kaia were both still at the station when Sam arrived; they looked at him with curiosity as he picked up a knife. 

Sam ignored them, and pretended that he was back in District 12, throwing knives with Dean and his father behind their house. His first throw hit the dummy but it was just outside the circle for the heart, his second throw however, hit the circle directly in the center - maybe he wasn’t as bad at this knife thing as he’d thought-. 

“You’re alright at that Winchester,” Eldon said as he moved up to stand beside Sam. 

“You’re not so bad yourself,” Sam replied. 

“You know, with your family’s history you’ve probably got a few tricks up your sleeve, we could use you in the career pack, if you’re interested,” Eldon said.

“Me? In the career pack?” Sam echoed in confusion. 

“Why not,” Kaia siad. “You could be useful.” 

Sam nodded slowly. “Right. Until I’m not.” 

“Don’t be like that Sammy,” Eldon said with a sneer. “We actually want you on our side, we won’t kill you in your sleep, we’re loyal to each other, well, until the numbers really get down there and we’re forced to fight.” 

Sam drew himself up to his full height and fully turned to face the District 2 tributes. “First off, don’t call me Sammy. Second off, you just want me on your side because you’re counting on my brother and sponsors to send me parachutes. Third off, I’m from District 12, there has never been a tribute from 12 that was in the career pack, so why would we start now.” 

With that Sam left the tributes from 2 and headed back towards Jess. He could feel their eyes on him and he knew he’d made enemies instead of friends. Sam had declined their offer and because of that, he was probably number one on their hit list. 

“What were you talking about with Eldon and Kaia?” Jess asked when Sam plopped down next to her. 

“They asked me to join the careers,” Sam replied. 

“What?!” Jess exclaimed. 

“I said no.” 

“Are you sure that was the wisest thing to do?” Jess asked. 

You’re my ally,” Sam said, “I don’t need anyone else. Besides, they didn’t want me for anything but my connection to Dean and the hope that I’ll gain sponsors.” 

“You’re probably right,” Jess said. 

 

The week went on slowly. By the end of the training sessions Sam and Jess had made a small connection with Mick Davies, the male tribute from 3, and Jack Kline, the male tribute from 10. Mick knew his way around most plants and Jack knew how to build shelters and use camouflage. 

Sam was now waiting for his private training session and he and Jess were the only two left. “Do you know what you’re going to show them?” Jess asked. 

“No,” Sam replied. 

“Well you need to think of something.” 

“I will.” 

Sam’s name was called a few moments later and Jess wished him luck as he disappeared into the empty training center. Sam made his way towards the knives first. He sent a few of them into the target, hitting mostly all his marks, only a few were off, and he missed once. Then he tied a few knots, made a fire, and shot a few arrows. 

When he was dismissed Sam made his way back to the penthouse to find Dean sitting by the Tv. “How’d you do?” he asked. 

“Okay I guess,” Sam replied. 

“I’m sure you’ll get a great score,” Dean said. 

 

Jess returned ten minutes later and she sat down beside Sam on the couch. Another ten minutes passed and then Crowley and Dick Roman appeared on the screen. 

“Well folks, it’s that time of the year again,” Dick Roman said. 

“We’re all just dying to know how our tributes for this years Hunger Games are predicted to fair in the arena,” Crowley added. 

“We’ve got the scores right here ladies and gentlemen, and boy have we got an interesting set of scores.” 

“The scores from District 1’s tributes Samael and Toni are, 10 and 10,” Crowley said. 

“Eldon and Kaia of District 2 have scored a 9 and a 10.” 

Sam watched anxiously as the scores showed up under pictures of each tribute. Mick and Anna scored a 6 and an 8, Kubrick and Dagon scored a 9 and a 10, Ansem and Ruby scored a 6 and a 7, Jack and Becky scored a 5 and a 4, Brady and Billie scored a 6 and a 7, Creedy and Alex both scored 7’s, Jesse and Claire scored a 4 and an 8, Walt and Hannah scored an 8 and a 5,  and Jake and Tamera scored an 8 and a 7.

Finally, Sam’s face popped up on the screen and underneath it was the big black number 9. “Not bad Sammy,” Dean congratulated him as Crowley said something about how a nine wasn’t exactly his brother’s 11 but it was still good for a boy his age. 

“Thanks Dean,” Sam replied. 

Jess scored a 6, which wasn’t awful but she’d hoped for better, and once Crowley and Dick said their closing statements the Tv shut off and Bobby stood up. “Tomorrow is a big day, you should both get some sleep.” 

“Bobby’s right, you want to be well rested for your interviews,” Dean said. 

Sam nodded and he and Jess said goodnight before heading off to their rooms. As Sam slipped under his covers he tried not to think about how in two days time he’d be in the arena and there was no way to know if he’d be alive, or dead. 

Chapter Text

Dean woke up with a jolt, and glanced at the clock beside his bed, it read: 5:30; he groaned to himself and let his eyes drift up to the ceiling. Dean hadn’t been sleeping well since Sam’s name was reaped back in District 12 - not that he’d slept well before that, it was just worse now- Dean only got about an hour of sleep instead of his usual four. 

Dean made his way to the bathroom and splashed some water on his face to try and let himself know that his dreams weren’t real, no one was trying to kill him and no one was going to kill Sam. But, no matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t stop his thoughts from racing through his mind in panic. 

Today was the day, the last day that Dean would get to spend with his brother before he was placed in the arena. As hard as Dean would try to help Sam in the arena a lot of the Game was going to be up to Sam, and Dean couldn’t stand that fact. Dean also hated the recurring thought that Sam might be dead tomorrow and that he would never be able to see his little brother again.  

Once Dean had calmed himself down he made his way into the main room of the penthouse to find two avoxes preparing breakfast; Dean was conscious of their eyes on him as he sat down in a chair. The last time Dean had been in The Capitol as a tribute he hadn’t given the avoxes much mind, he’d been too focused on trying to figure out how he planned to survive the Games, but now, Dean noticed just how cruel The Capitol really was. It wasn’t enough that they forced children from the ages of 12-18 to fight for their lives in an arena, if people disobeyed the rules and laws that The Capitol had set in place, they would be forever silenced; not by death, but by the removal of their tongues so that rebellion by speech would never be an option again. Dean hated everything about The Capitol, and he knew he had to set his plan to overthrow The Games into motion soon. 

 

An hour passed and Sam entered the room, his hair sticking up in places and his steps slow and clumsy. “Morning Sammy,” Dean said. 

“Morning Dean,” Sam replied quietly. 

“Are you ready for the big day?” Dean asked. 

“Ready as I’ll ever be I suppose,” Sam responded with a sigh as he sat down beside Dean at the table. 

“Just remember what we talked about for your interview and you’ll be fine,” Dean said. 

Sam nodded as he picked up his fork and dug into his breakfast. Jess arrived five minutes later and Sam gave her a small smile which she returned. 

Dean ate silently beside Sam and once they were done Sam stood up and headed off in the direction of his room. Dean put his fork down and headed after him, there was something he’d been meaning to do and he didn’t want to forget before it was too late.

 “Sammy, wait up!” Dean called down the hallway. The figure of Dean’s brother halted suddenly and turned to look at Dean. 

“What?” Sam asked. 

Dean reached Sam and opened the door to his brother’s room. “This’ll only take a minute,” Dean said. 

Sam sat down on his bed and Dean sat beside him. “What is it?” Sam asked. 

Dean cleared his throat. “Well, as you know, this is your last day here before the arena.” 

Sam nodded, “I know.” 

“So I just wanted to say that I’m going to be helping you as much as I can.” 

“You’ve already told me this,” Sam said. 

“I know Sammy, but I just needed you to hear it again. I’m rooting for you, through it all, and whatever happens in the arena I want you to know that I’m here for you, that I love.” Dean reached his hand up to his neck and pulled his amulet over his head, he held it out to Sam. “I wanted you to have this, Sammy, for luck, and to remind you that I’m with you.” 

A tear dropped from Sam’s eye as he reached out for the amulet. “Thanks Dean.” Sam put it around his neck and Dean smiled at how well it looked hanging in front of his little brothers chest. 

“Don’t lose it,” Dean warned with a laugh. “I want it back after you win.” 

Sam laughed and smiled at Dean, pulling him into a hug. “I won’t.” 

****

Dean took his seat in the front row of the big auditorium that was the venue for the interviews. The room hadn’t changed a bit, it was still filled with noisy Capitol residents and bright blue and red lights; the only difference was that Dean wasn’t standing backstage preparing for his interview, Sam was. 

The stage suddenly exploded with light and Crowley’s voice echoed around the auditorium. “Ladies and gentlemen please welcome, your interviewer, Gabriel T. Rickster!”

Gabriel stepped out onto the stage, his hair was blue this year and it sparkled in the spotlights that were shining on him. He was also dressed in a blue suit that seemed to glow with each step he took. “It’s a pleasure to be back hosting yet another Hunger Games!” There was a large round of applause and Gabriel held up his hand, “thank you, thank you, you’re all too kind, but let’s not forget who the real stars are! It is my honor to introduce you to the female tribute from District 1, Toni Bevell!” 

Dean watched as Toni walked out onto the stage. She was dressed in a flowing white dress that fit tightly to her figure and her blond hair was pinned up in curls. “Have a seat, Ms. Bevell,” Gabriel said as he took one of her hands in his and led her to the red couch that seated the victors during their interviews; Dean remembered sitting there just last year, promising to come home to Sam. 

“You look just exquisite , doesn’t she!?” Gabriel commented. There was a cheer and Toni raised a hand to her lips to hide the blush that was taking root on her cheeks. 

“Thank you,” Toni said. 

Gabriel took his seat opposite her and put on another smile, “so, tell us about yourself.” 

 

Dean listened to interview after interview, making mental notes about some of the tributes stories and marking others as dangerous. Jess was called out and Gabriel gently talked to her about life in District 12 but didn’t press too far for details. Finally, Gabriel let Jess go and stood up with a huge grin. “And now, ladies and gentlemen, the one you’ve all been waiting for, the male tribute from District 12, Samuel Winchester!” 

Dean watched as Sam appeared from one of the stages wings. He was dressed in a white suit with hints of red. Sam shook Gabriel’s hand and then sat down, a fake smile on his face. The crowd was still going crazy, whistling and shouting at Sam, some were even screaming his name. Sam’s eyes found Dean’s and Dean nodded encouragingly and lightly touched his chest where his amulet used to be. Sam’s hand reached upwards and his fingers clasped over the metal carving. 

Once the cheering had subsided Gabriel turned to Sam. “Well, you’re quite the popular tribute aren’t you?” Sam didn’t say anything he just gave a short laugh and adjusted himself in his seat. “So, Sam, you’ve got big shoes to fill don’t you? With a mother and brother as victors, you’ve certainly got a legacy to uphold.” 

“That I do, Gabriel,” Sam said. 

He sounded different, not like the Sam that Dean knew, he sounded older, wiser, so unlike the child that Dean had been protecting for so long. 

“Now, last years victor, your brother, Dean Winchester, is in the audience tonight, and I’m sure he’s going to be doing everything he can to make sure you win. But my question to you, Sam, is this: what are you going to do to win?” 

Sam’s eyes flicked to Dean for a second before they returned to Gabriel. “Who says I want to win?” 

Dean’s breath felt like it had just been knocked from him, what did Sam mean he didn’t want to win? He had to win. 

“I’m afraid I don't understand,” Gabriel said in confusion. 

Sam leaned forward in his chair, his eyes unblinking. “I don’t want to win.” 

There was silence at Sam’s words, everyone was too shocked to even breathe. “Why not?” Gabriel asked in a whisper. 

Sam turned his gaze to where the other tributes were standing, and Dean saw his eyes land on Jess. “Because I’m going to do everything in my power to make sure Jess makes it home. If The Capitol wants me in these Games, fine, I’ll play, but I’m not going to play for myself, I’m not going to play to win.” 

“Sammy, what are you doing?” Dean whispered to himself, fear filling every ounce of his blood. 

“That’s a very brave thing to do,” Gabriel said, “and all for a girl.” 

“I love her,” Sam said simply. 

“Well that’s just beautiful, isn’t it?” Gabriel sniffed. “I think you’ve just won over everyone’s hearts. There’s nothing else I can even think to ask you.” Gabriel stood up and gestured towards Sam, “Samuel Winchester everybody!” 

The crowd applauded and screamed and shouted but Dean tuned it out as he pushed past people so he could get backstage to Sam. 

Dean found his brother sitting in a chair next to Jess. Sam looked up when Dean approached him and quickly stood up, his hands out in front of him protectively. “Dean,” Sam warned. 

Dean didn’t move closer, he kept his distance, but he couldn’t keep his emotions under control. “Why, Sammy?” Dean asked. “After everything I’ve done for you to prevent you from getting here, you’re just going to give up?” 

“I’m not giving up, Dean,” Sam retorted. 

“Well it sure as hell sounded like you were,” Dean snapped back. 

“I don’t deserve to win,” Sam said quietly. 

“What’s that supposed to mean? Of course you deserve to win!” Dean hissed. 

“I’m not going to argue about this with you, Dean, it’s my life, it’s my choice.” 

“Don’t do this Sam, please,” Dean begged, tears on his cheeks. 

Sam took a step towards Dean, their eyes meeting. “I love you Dean, I do, but, I don’t know how the Games are going to play out, but when I’m in that arena, you can do what you want to try and help me, but I’m going to help Jess.” 

With that Sam moved back over to Jess, took her hand in his, and walked away, leaving Dean behind, terror rooting him to the spot. Even if Sam didn’t want to be saved, Dean was going to bring his brother home. 

 

Dinner had just ended and Sam quickly left the table and headed to his room, leaving Dean alone with Jess. Jess looked up at Dean. “I don’t stand a chance in The Games,” she said suddenly. “I know it, you know it, and even if he doesn’t want to admit it, Sam knows it too. Nothing I can say will keep Sam from trying to get me back to District 12 alive, so he’s going to try. But you have to promise me that you won’t give up on him, that he’ll be the one to survive, to win.” 

Dean nodded stiffly, that had been his plan from the moment Sam’s name was called, no matter what it took, so the words slipped easily from his mouth even as he looked at the girl Sam loved, the girl he wanted to save.

 “I promise.”

Chapter Text

 

Sam woke the next morning covered in sweat, this was it, this was the day he was going into the arena, and this was the last day that he would ever see his brother, because Sam had meant what he’d said, he was going to get Jess out alive, he was going to die in the arena. 

Sam made himself get up from his bed, ignoring the feeling of dread and fear that seemed to be weighing him down. He entered the bathroom and turned on the shower and paused for a moment to look at his reflection in the mirror. His long hair was tangled and matted, his eyes were wide and his skin looked pale. Sam was scared, he wasn’t going to try and pretend he wasn’t, he was about to enter an arena designed for death. Even though Sam had accepted his fate, it didn’t mean his blood wasn’t boiling under his skin and his heart wasn’t pumping so rapidly that he felt like everyone in The Capitol could hear it. 

Sam composed himself enough to undress and step under the water that was flowing steadily from the shower head. Sam let the warm water wash over him and tried to think of anything but the arena. He scrubbed his body and shampooed his hair, knowing that this would be the last time he would ever, truly, be clean. 

Once Sam finished his shower he got dressed and placed Dean’s amulet over his head. Sam had made himself a promise, yes he would help Jess win, but he wouldn’t go down without a fight, and if Jess died before he did, Sam would win. 

Sam found his way to the table for breakfast to see Jess and Dean already awake and eating. Bobby was sipping on a cup of coffee in a chair. Sam sat down without a word and tried to force himself to eat the food that was on his plate, he knew he’d need the strength and that this was probably his last decent meal, ever, so he should eat as much as he could, but the pit in Sam’s stomach made it almost impossible to swallow. 

“It’s normal to be nervous,” Dean said softly beside Sam. 

“I know,” Sam replied in a whisper. “Dean, I’m scared.” 

“That’s okay,” Dean said. “I’ll be with you the whole time.”

 

Sam was standing with Jess outside of the hovercraft that would take them to the arena. Sam felt Dean’s hand wrap around his arm and pull him aside. Sam looked up at his big brother and saw tears in his eyes. “Sammy,” Dean began, his voice cracking. “I know you don’t plan to win, but please, at least try, for me.” 

“I’ll fight when I have to, that’s all I can promise,” Sam replied.

Dean pulled Sam into a hug before Sam could say anything else. Sam felt his own tears starting to slip down his cheeks, he never wanted to let Dean go. Letting go of Dean would mean the arena, it would mean death. Dean’s arms pulled Sam in tighter and Sam clung to his big brother, sobs racking his body. 

“I love you,” Sam cried. 

“I love you too,” Dean replied with a cry of his own. 

When they finally pulled apart, both their eyes were watery sheens. “Sam, it’s time to go,” Bobby said from behind him. 

Sam nodded stiffly. “Okay.” 

Sam turned to go when Dean called him back. “Sam,” 

Sam faced Dean again. “What?” 

“Bitch.”

Sam’s lips cracked a smile as more tears slid down his face, he gave a pained laugh and sniffed. “Jerk.” 

Sam walked away, forcing himself not to look behind him, not to look at the shaking figure of his big brother Dean, the one person in the entire world that would do anything for him, the person that had practically raised him, the person that he counted on when things got rough, and the person that he wished he’d be able to see again. 

Sam stepped onto the hovercraft and took his seat next to Jess. The doors sealed and then they were in the air, flying towards the place where all but one tribute would die. A woman came around and placed trackers into each of their arms and Sam found himself running his fingers over the lump that it had created in his forearm. 

For the entire ride, everyone was silent, no one made eye contact with each other, and the only sound was that of the hovercraft engines. 

When they landed, each tribute was escorted to an underground chamber, where they would wait for their stylist, who would dress them in their clothes for the arena, and send them off to either their death or their victory. 

Rowena entered the chamber and helped Sam get dressed into the attire he’d be wearing in the arena. Sam was put in long, tan, lightweight pants, a long sleeve tan shirt, of the same consistency as his pants, with a hood attached to his shoulders, tall laced brown boots, and finally, Rowena placed Dean’s amulet around Sam’s neck.

After Sam was dressed, Rowena stepped back to look at him. “Well, I’d say based on your clothing, it’s going to be a desert environment.” 

“Great,” Sam muttered. 

“You’ll do just fine Samuel,” Rowena said as she placed her hands on his shoulders. The capsule that waited to take Sam up to the arena gave a beep that was followed by a hiss. “It’s time.” 

Sam nodded. “Thank you.” 

Rowena smiled sadly, “it was my pleasure. You’re a fine boy Samuel, I hope you’ll make your brother proud up there.” 

“I’ll try.” 

Sam stepped into the capsule and the glass around him snapped shut. There was a moment of silence where nothing happened and then suddenly Sam was rising up through the ground. The first thing that Sam was hit with, when he broke through the surface, was a gust of hot wind and the blinding rays of the sun. Once Sam’s eyes adjusted to accommodate his surroundings he saw that Rowena had been right, they were in a desert. Off in the distance there was the silhouette of mountains, and there were a few trees bordering the circle that the tributes were standing in, but other than that it was miles and miles of sand and sand dunes. 

Sam’s attention turned to the Cornucopia which was piled high with supplies; weapons, water, and food, all things that Sam knew he’d desperately need if he wanted to survive at all in this arena. There were a few backpacks strewn around the ground as well, and Sam made a mental note to grab one. 

Sam’s eyes searched the tributes around him, but Jess wasn’t in his line of sight. Sam took a deep breath and focused his attention back on the Cornucopia as the countdown drew closer and closer to its end. 

“10…”

Sam reached a hand up to Dean’s amulet, already hot in the sun, and squeezed it. 

“8....”

Sam positioned himself so he could run. 

“6…” 

Sam’s eyes followed the path he’d take to get to the Cornucopia. 

“4…”

Sam took in another breath, sweat already beading on the back of his neck. 

“2… 1…” 

Sam pushed off from his pedestal and ran. The sand was slippery under his boots and he almost fell a few times before he reached the Cornucopia. Sam wasn’t the first to make it to the teeming pile of weapons and supplies, the female tribute from District 11, Tamera, had made it there before him and she was already grabbing a sword when Sam picked up a knife. Tamera’s eyes landed on Sam but just as she took a step towards him a sword pierced through her middle and she fell over to reveal her killer, Eldon Styne. 

“You’re sure you don’t want to join us, Sammy?” Eldon asked as he advanced on Sam. 

Sam moved backwards, conscious of other tributes fighting behind him, and shook his head. “I’m sure.” 

“Well in that case, it’s too bad you couldn’t last just a little bit longer, guess you’re not as good as your brother.” 

Sam swallowed hard and held his knife at the ready. Just as Eldon was about to strike a scream came from Sam’s right and a figure barreled into Eldon, knocking him to the ground. Sam caught a glimpse of dark skin and realized that it was Jake Talley, Tamera’s District mate, that had just taken on Eldon. 

Without wasting time, Sam grabbed a water bottle from the Cornucopia and then bolted, ducking under fists and swords, and moving around fights. As he ran towards the sand dunes, that would take him out of the other tributes line of sight, he snagged a backpack that was lying in his path. 

Sam struggled to climb the sand, often sliding back down to the bottom before regaining his footing. He could hear the fighting starting to subside and knew that soon the tributes would be turning their attention to those that had fled. Panic was starting to take root in his veins, he didn’t want to die this early on in the Games, he hadn’t even found Jess yet. 

With newfound strength Sam pushed on and managed to make it up the sand dune. He slid down the other side and found flat land ahead of him. Sam started to run. He knew in this heat running wasn’t the wisest thing to do, but he had to put distance between himself and the other tributes before it was too late. As Sam was running the first cannon shot, that announced the bloodbath was over, fired. Sam didn’t slow down, but two more shots fired before there was silence. Only three tributes had died during the bloodbath, that was rare, and it meant that there were more tributes out looking for blood than there usually would be. 

 

Sam jogged for as long as he could, but his throat was burning and his mouth was so dry he couldn’t swallow; he had to stop. Sam was still clutching the water bottle he’d taken from the Cornucopia and he unscrewed the top and let the liquid touch his lips. He allowed himself three generous mouthfuls before tightening the top and pausing to catch his breath. 

Sam looked behind him, afraid of what he might find, but the only thing he saw was an empty wasteland covered in sand. Sam chose now to finally look in the backpack he’d taken. Sam unzipped the ugly orange pack and peered inside. There was a pair of sunglasses, that Sam immediately put on, a head wrap - which would keep the sand out of his ears and nose-, another bottle of water, a few rations, a long rope, a compass, and a sleeping bag. Sam was pleased with the bags contents, everything in it would come in handy, and Sam also had the knife he’d taken as well. Sam pulled the compass from his bag before zipping it up and shouldering it. 

Sam once again checked behind him for tributes, saw none, and glanced at his compass, it showed he was traveling South West. Sam continued in that direction and kept walking. 

The sun was very strong and Sam easily found himself wanting more water. He took a few more sips from his water bottle before telling himself he needed to save it. Sam knew that his biggest issue in the arena was going to be water, if he didn’t find a water source soon he wasn’t even going to make it a week. 

 

Sam figured he’d been walking for at least an hour when he came across a rocky path that dipped away from the desert into some shade. Sam felt relief wash over him as he headed towards the path. Instantly, he felt cooler air drifting up from the rocks and Sam took a moment to sit in the shade and cool off before he continued. Sam found a cave not too far down the path and carefully checked it for any predators before settling down. This was where he was going to spend the night. From school, Sam knew that deserts were hot during the day and cold at night, so Sam knew he had to build a fire, the only problem was that Sam didn’t have any matches and there didn’t appear to be any fire-making materials around him. 

There were still a few hours left in the day, so Sam decided that he would travel about ten minutes down the path and look for anything he could use for a fire and if he hadn’t found anything in that allotted amount of time, he would sleep cold. Sam made a mark on the cave with his knife, so he could find his way back, and then began his ten minute walk in search of fire-making materials. 

The ten minutes expired far too quickly and Sam was still empty handed when he reached the cave again. Sam set up his sleeping bag in the corner of the cave and then pulled out his rations and took a few bites of nuts and dried berries. He finished off his first water bottle and then settled down for the night. Sam planned to get a few hours of sleep, rise when it was still dark, and travel for as long as he could in the dark before the sun came up; if Sam traveled while it was still dark he’d sweat less and wouldn’t get dehydrated as quickly.

As Sam pulled his sleeping bag around him he found his hand reaching up to touch Dean’s amulet. “I miss you, Dean,” Sam whispered to the air. 

Sam was about to fall asleep when he was jolted out of his half-sleep state by the Capitol’s anthem that played before the sky showed the tributes that had died during that day. Sam moved closer to the mouth of the cave so he could look at the sky. Worry was like a knot in his stomach as the first tribute appeared. The face of the  male tribute from District 5, Ansem, was the first to be seen, he was followed by the female tribute from 10, Hannah, and finally the female tribute from 11, Tamera. 

Sam sighed in relief, Jess was still alive. Sam settled back down on the ground and allowed himself to fall asleep. He’d made it through the first day of The Games, but there were so many more days to come.

Chapter Text

Sam had made it through the bloodbath, he was okay, he was alive. 

Dean was sitting in his room back in the penthouse, eyes glued to the screen in front of him. Sam had just settled down for the night and Dean knew he should do the same, but he couldn’t bring himself to sleep, anything could happen to Sam at any moment and Dean didn’t want to look away for a second. 

 

The camera shifted from Sam’s position to the Cornucopia where the careers were camping out. Kaia was pacing the length of the metal structure, a long spear that formed two blades at the top, in her hands. Kaia was the only career awake and in the dark she looked menacing, with her hood drawn over her eyes and her hands spinning her spear. She kept looking at her allies with distrust and something that resembled hatred; Dean began to wonder if Kaia had other plans for her partners and if this year the career pack wouldn’t last long.

 

Now the camera was pointing at Jess, who had found a small desert tree and was sleeping in the branches. She had managed to grab a backpack during the bloodbath and was now armed with rope, matches, a compass, three water bottles, a small knife, and some rations. 

Dean had mixed feelings about her survival. He knew she was the reason Sam didn’t want to make it home, and even though she was a sweet girl and he’d actually grown rather fond of her during the past week, he wanted to see his brother come home, and she was the obstacle that would prevent that.  

 

Leaving Jess behind, the camera moved from surviving tribute to surviving tribute until it came to rest briefly on the sleeping form of Sam. The arena then faded away and the Crowley and Dick Roman appeared on Dean’s screen. 

“It’s been quite a day, hasn’t it?” Dick said excitedly. 

“That it has, Dick. There were only three deaths and all the tributes seem to have found safe places to spend the night.” 

“Yes, and they’ve done well with distancing themselves too. They all appear to be at least a few miles from each other.” 

Crowley nodded in agreement and Dean watched as a picture of Sam appeared on the screen. “Now, let’s talk about the tributes this year. I, personally, am very curious to see how Sam Winchester fairs during these Games. So far, he’s done well with finding shelter, but he doesn’t have very much food or water with him and that could be an issue later on.” 

“Yes, I know a lot of you watching are hoping for a victor in Sam Winchester, but it would be a shame if Sam’s death was by something as simple as dehydration or starvation; however, I think Sam will figure it out, he’s smart. And you can’t forget that he’s got an older brother watching, who sure as hell won’t let something as simple as thirst kill his little brother.” 

“Ah yes, Dean Winchester, victor of the 60th Hunger Games. He will certainly be doing just about everything in his power to help Sam out of during these Games.” 

 

Dean tuned out the rest of what Crowley and Dick were saying, as they began to talk about the careers, and fell back on his bed. His mind drifted to Sam, trying to sleep on the hard floor of a cold cave, his stomach grumbling with each passing second, and his mouth dry from need of water. Dick and Crowley were right, Dean wasn’t going to sit back and let the Games play out without intervention. If Sam needed something, it was Dean’s job, not just as his brother, but as his mentor, to supply him with whatever he needed. 

No matter how hard he tried, Dean couldn’t stop the ball of worry that was rolling around in his stomach, Sam was in danger every second he was in the arena, and Dean couldn’t be in there with him, this time, Dean couldn’t take the hit for him. 

Dean felt something wet slid down his face and he realized it was a tear. All the events of the day were finally pushing their way to the surface as Dean thought about Sam. Dean let himself cry. He cried until he couldn’t cry anymore and he cried himself to sleep as his exhaustion took over and brought him into darkness.

 

The arena seemed to spin around Dean as he gripped a tree to keep himself from falling over. Benny’s body lay dead at the bottom of the tree and Dean kept having to wipe tears from his eyes so he could see. He knew it was only him and a few other tributes left, and one of them was his brother. 

Dean could never figure out how they’d managed to get Sam into the arena, but somehow he was. Sam was the 25th tribute that was being held at the Cornucopia by Lucifer. Dean had five minutes to get there before Sam was killed, but Dean knew he’d never make it, he knew Sam was going to die, because the second Dean took his first step the arena shifted. 

Suddenly, Dean was in a desert, he could see the cave that Sam was sleeping in, and outside of the cave there was a figure holding a two bladed spear.

Kaia was walking slowly, each step was with purpose. 

Dean’s feet moved underneath him and he started to run towards the cave, towards Sam, towards his brother. Just as Dean was reaching the rocky path that led down to the cave, Kaia emerged with Sam held out in front of her, spear to his neck. In one quick motion she split his neck open and Sam’s body dropped to the ground at the sound of a canon. 

 

Dean shot upright in his bed, his breath coming in gasps as he tried to tell himself it wasn’t real, that it was a nightmare, Sam was okay. But Dean didn’t know if Sam was alive, he didn’t know if the canon shot he’d heard had been in his dream of if it had come from the screen in front of him, the screen that was currently showing the male tribute from District 9, Jesse Turner, walking cautiously in the night, towards the mountains. 

The camera left Jesse and again showed the careers. This time Kaia was asleep and Kubrick was on guard duty. Dean quickly looked at the clock beside his bed, it was three in the morning, he’d been asleep for four hours, anything could have happened in those four hours and Dean wouldn’t know. 

Finally, the camera turned to Sam’s cave and Dean felt relief swamp him as he saw Sam emerge from the rocky alcove, backpack on his shoulders, his knife in one hand, and his compass in the other. Dean’s worry turned to pride as he noticed what Sam was doing; he was walking during the night so he’d have less of a chance at being spotted by other tributes, and he was using the rocks that were leading him to the mountains to keep himself hidden. 

Knowing that Sam was on the move meant that Dean wasn’t going to be sleeping again, not that he would have been able to anyway. Dean watched as Sam carefully made his way towards the mountains, occasionally stopping to take one small sip from his last water bottle, before stowing it away and pushing on. 

 

Dean watched Jess climb down from her tree and head off in the same direction as Sam. He watched the careers send out a hunting party, he watched tributes scrounging for food that wasn’t there, and he watched as the ones that didn’t get anything from the Cornucopia realized their mistake as they struggled to find water.  

****

It was Day 5 in the arena and Dean was running on about 9 hours of sleep, maybe less. Sam had yet to make it to the mountains, he’d gotten stuck at the bottom of the rocky ravine and he was out of water. He had made a small shelter out of rocks he’d found and was sheltering in the shade, trying not to use energy. 

Dean had been trying to send Sam water for three days, ever since he ran out of it on his second day in the arena; but they kept denying his parachute, even though Dean was paying for it with his own money. Bobby told him that the Gamemakers want to see how long Sam can last and if he’s really struggling on his sixth day they’d send the water. Dean didn’t want to wait another three days, Sam wouldn’t make it another three days, Sam needed water now.  

Sam kept looking up at the sky, his hand around Dean’s amulet, and mouthing Dean’s name. “I know Sammy,” Dean said to the screen. “I hear you, I’m trying.” 

 

Having grown tired of watching Sam struggle, the Gamemakers decided to switch cameras to the action that was taking place around the arena. The careers appeared to have found themselves a victim. Kubrick was cornering a boy around 15, Dean tried to remember what District he was from and landed on the number 8. 

Dagon was standing behind Kubrick, watching as her Districtmate advanced on the quaking boy. “Please!” The boy begged. 

“Seriously?” Kubrick laughed. “Creedy, you’ve got to know that begging won’t save you.” 

“Only one person wins the Games,” Dagon hissed as she came to stand beside Kubrick. “Finish him.” 

With a grin Kubrick raised his knife and slashed through Creedy’s neck, setting the canon off. Kubrick wiped the blood off of his knife on Creedy’s shirt and then turned to Dagon. “Let’s keep hunting, Samael and Toni will want us to find at least one more tribute before we return.” 

“Well they might have to suck it up and deal with one, I’m not sure how many more tributes will be around here, Creedy seemed like the only one dumb enough to be this close to the Cornucopia,” Dagon replied. 

“Doesn’t hurt to look,” Kubrick said. 

Dagon shrugged. “I guess.” 

While Dagon and Kubrick went off to continue their search there was more action happening elsewhere in the arena. The boy from District 7, Brady, had cornered the girl from 3, Anna, he had a knife to her throat and she was struggling to push him off, to no avail. 

“Don’t struggle,” Brady growled, “I’ll make it quick if you just give up.” 

“Never!” Anna growled back through her teeth. 

Anna gave one more heave and managed to loosen Brady’s grip on her enough that she was able to slip under his arms, only to be grabbed again by her hair. Anna screamed and Brady used the butt of his knife to knock her unconscious. He dragged her away to one of the desert trees that grew in the arena and used some rope to tie her to the tree. 

Dean watched as Brady ripped some of the cloth from Anna’s shirt, took a branch from the ground, and wrapped the cloth around it. Dean knew what the boy was doing moments before Brady took the matches from his bag. He struck one and set the torch ablaze. Humming to himself, he moved over to Anna and set the torch at her feet. In seconds, the flames caught on Anna’s clothing and she woke with an ear splitting scream. 

Dean scrambled for the volume control on his remote and muted the screen, turning his eyes away from the horror. He risked a glance about thirty seconds later and saw that Anna was no longer screaming, the flames had fully consumed her and Dean deemed it safe to turn the volume back on.  

Brady was standing off to the side, drinking some water as he watched his victim burn. Finally, the canon went off with a loud bang and Brady stood up and walked away, leaving the charred form of Anna to be collected by the hovercraft that would return her body, or what was left of it, to her family in her District. 

Dean made a mental note that Brady was a very dangerous tribute and that if he got anywhere near Sam, Dean would make sure he could send Sam a parachute with supplies and a warning; but of course, Sam had to live through his current situation first. 

As if on cue, the Gamemakers decided to switch back to the camera around Sam and Dean saw that Sam had fallen asleep, or he was unconscious, Dean had no way of knowing which. “Wake up, Sammy,” Dean muttered. “Don’t give up now.” 

Sam stirred slightly but didn’t wake up. 

“Alright, that’s it,” Dean growled. 

Forcing himself to tear his eyes from Sam, Dean stormed out of his room and into the main room to find Bobby watching the Games on the screen at the far end of the room. “They’re not going to let you,” Bobby said, without even turning around. 

“Look at him!” Dean shouted. “Just look at him, Bobby! He’s dying!” 

“He’s not dead yet,” Bobby pointed out. 

“It’s only a matter of time,” Dean said, his worry was already starting to push through his anger at the Gamemakers and their denial for his parachute. Tears were sprouting in his eyes as he sat down next to Bobby. “Let me try again, please,” Dean begged. 

“They won’t let you,” Bobby repeated. “It doesn’t make the Games interesting if Sam gets a parachute now.” 

“They can’t just let him die like this,” Dean argued. 

“And they won’t, if he really needs it they said they would send it,” Bobby replied stiffly. 

“What defines, ‘really needs’? When he’s too weak to even move, or when another tribute finds him under his rocks and decides to finish the job?” Dean turned to head towards the elevator. “I’m going to get Sam that parachute, I don’t care if I have to kill them to do it.” 

“You can’t fight them all, Dean,” Bobby said.

“I can certainly try,” Dean snapped. 

Dean was reaching for the elevator button when Bobby reached his side, his hand forcing Dean’s down. “Dean, it’s not worth it.” 

“Of course it’s worth it! It’s Sam ! He’s my brother!” 

“You won’t even get through the front doors, they know you’ll stop at nothing to help Sam, they’re watching for you, just let the Games play out. If you try again they might deny Sam’s parachute altogether just to spite you.” 

Dean knew in a way Bobby was right, so Dean forced himself to back away from the elevator and return to his room. In the time he’d been gone the camera’s had gone from Sam to the careers. Kubrick and Dagon had returned from their hunt and were explaining the outcome to the rest of their allies. Dean only half watched as Samael shook his head and walked away, muttering about how it wasn’t enough. 

Dean was too preoccupied with his thoughts. Ever since Sam’s name had been called Dean had been thinking about just how unfair the Games really were, and how maybe the tributes weren’t randomized, maybe the Games were rigged, and maybe Sam’s name had been called twice for a reason. 

The one thing that Dean did   know, was that the Games needed to end and Dean was going to be the one to do it. 

Chapter Text

Sam woke to a sharp pain in his right arm. Opening his eyes, he saw that a bird had landed beside him and was pecking at his skin. Sam’s first instinct was to swat the bird away but his thirst and hunger told him to do something else.

 Ignoring the pain, Sam reached out with his other hand and picked up the knife he kept by his side. Moving slowly, so as not to startle the bird, Sam brought his hand forward and slashed at the bird’s wings. His blade cut through the bird’s skin and it squawked in surprise and tried to fly away but Sam dug his blade in deeper and then snapped the birds neck. 

When Sam removed the knife from the carcass, he felt the bird’s blood drip down his fingers and Sam’s thirst got the better of him. He brought his fingers to his lips and licked at the blood, letting the liquid wet his mouth. He tried to go slow at first, knowing if he put too much of the foreign liquid into his body he might not be able to keep it down, but he was so thirsty he didn’t care about the consequences. After he cleaned off his fingers, he moved to the dead bird and sunk his teeth into its neck, filling his mouth with its blood. 

From the moment the blood touched his lips, Sam could feel himself starting to regain some energy. Slowly, his body was re-hydrating, and after he’d drank the bird dry he’d dig into the meat it offered as well. 

Sam sucked on the blood for as long as he could before his body told him he’d had his fill. With shaking, blood covered, hands, Sam began to use his knife to cut off bits of the meat that made up the bird. The meat was raw, tough and bitter, but it also held nutrients that Sam’s body had been craving for days, as well as just a little bit of moisture that Sam hadn’t been able to get from the blood. 

Once his stomach couldn’t hold anything more, Sam sat back, against the rock wall that surrounded him, and shut his eyes, breathing heavily. He already felt better; the sun was shining brightly and it felt good on his skin, it made him feel like he was wrapped in a warm blanket. 

Sam was enjoying the feeling of the blood rush through his veins, when the unmistakable sound of a cannon made him flinch. A tribute had just died. Sam didn’t dwell on that thought for too long, in a sick way, that death meant that there was one less tribute he had to worry about, unless it was Jess. Sam forced himself to expel that horrible thought from his mind, Jess wasn’t dead, somehow, Sam just knew that Jess was still alive.  

 

Sam fished his sunglasses out of his pocket and then tried to stand. Sam hadn’t been able to stand up in three days - his body had gone into total shut-down-mode after he’d run out of water - but now, with the help of the wall behind him, he was able to get his feet under him. Maybe now he could find a way out of the ravine he was stuck in and make it to the mountains. If he could climb the rock wall around him he would be about a mile from the base of the mountains, and if he could get to the mountains, he could find food and water. The bird he’d just killed had to have come from somewhere, and had to have had a water source. 

It was when Sam took his first step towards the wall that he knew something was terribly wrong. His vision swam and dipped before him and everything seemed to spin around him. Sam put a hand out to grasp the rocks in front of him but that only seemed to make everything worse. His knees gave out and then, suddenly, he was on the ground vomiting up everything he had just consumed. 

Lips slick with blood, Sam tried to push himself into a sitting position but that only made his stomach convulse again, causing more blood to flow out of his mouth. 

Sam spat out the remaining bits of blood, that had clung to his saliva, and then let himself fall completely to the ground.

The only thing Sam could move was his eyes. They traveled down the rocky path he’d come down days ago, they moved to the top of the ravine that would take him to the mountains, and they looked up and the sky, where the sun was blazing in all its glory. Sam felt his eyelids drooping as dehydration took full control of him. 

So this is how I die . Sam thought as he let himself begin to slip away. I’m sorry, Dean.

Sam was beginning to drift further into unconsciousness, when his eyes shot open as a searing pain pulsated through his body. Sam’s body jerked to the side, his back arched in pain as a scream tore its way out of his mouth. For minutes, Sam was tossed around the ravine, foam oozing from his mouth, eyes wide in pain, and screams echoing around him as they bounced off of the empty walls.

When the convulsions finally came to a sudden halt, Sam was left shaking and breathless on his side, pressed against a large boulder. His vision was so blurry that he couldn’t even make out his hand, which was only a few inches from his face. As he began to drift off again, a loud voice crashed through Sam’s head.

Sam .

Sam instantly recognized Dean’s voice and he found himself searching for the comforting figure of his older brother. His eyes came to rest on a blurry outline, sitting on the ground beside him. He felt fingers rake themselves through his hair and he shuddered at the touch, Dean’s touch. 

Oh Sammy, what have you gotten yourself into this time?   Dean asked softly. 

“I’m sorry,” Sam slurred. “I tried, Dean.” 

Dean’s fingers suddenly tightened in Sam’s hair and he felt his head being jerked backwards. Sam yelped in pain and surprise as his brother, who was only a shadow, loomed over him. 

Dean’s fingers were almost digging into Sam’s scalp as his brother leaned forward. You tried ? Huh? Bang up job you’ve been doing so far, Sammy. You’re barely even alive. 

“Dean,” Sam gulped. “You’re hurting me.” 

Good! You deserve it! You left me! You’re in the Games, Sammy. You’re in the Games, and you’re not even trying to win! 

“Dean, please!” Sam cried, tears in his eyes. 

You were never trying, Sam. You were just putting on a show, hell you still are. Why don’t you just end it!? Just kill yourself and let it be over! Stop making me watch you suffer! 

Sam knew this couldn’t actually be happening, there was no way Dean was in the arena, this was a hallucination. “You’re not real,” Sam whispered. 

Of course I’m real!   Dean shouted as his hands ripped through Sam’s hair as he pushed him backwards. You’re a disappointment, Sammy. You’re a disappointment to me, to the Games, to Mom, to Dad, to everyone you come into contact with. Kill yourself Sammy, you’ll make my life so much easier if I don’t have to carry you as a burden. 

“You don’t mean that,” Sam gasped as he tried to struggle against hallucination Dean.

Give into the fire, Sam. Let yourself burn. 

“No,” Sam grunted. “I’m not going to give up, I’m going to fight.”

With a burst of energy, Sam shoved hallucination Dean off of him, pushed himself into a sitting position, and blinked to clear his vision. The hallucination of Dean was gone, but there was another figure walking, no running, towards him. 

Sam tried to back away, but he was already against the farthest wall and his knife and backpack were a few yards away from him. He tried to stand up, but he’d used all his remaining energy to fight off his previous hallucination. Whatever this new hallucination had planned for him, Sam wasn’t sure he’d be able to survive it. He shut his eyes as the figure drew closer and prepared himself for the worst.

Hands grabbed him by the shoulders and shook him. “Sam! Sam, wake up! Wake up!” 

Sam’s eyes fluttered open at the sound of her voice. “Jessica?”

“Oh thank God, you’re alive!”

Jess was looking down at him, her blond hair was tangled and she covered in sand and dirt, but her eyes were still bright and alive with fight.

“Are you real?” Sam asked, shakily. 

“Of course I’m real,” Jess replied. 

Sam wasn’t sure if he believed her, but everything about her presence felt so right and he desperately hoped she was telling the truth. 

“Oh you look just awful,” Jess said as she began to assess his condition. Her fingers touched his lips and when they came back red her eyes widened. “Sam, is this… your blood?”

Sam barely managed to shake his head. “No. Bird.” 

“You drank a birds blood?” Jess asked in surprise. “Oh Sam,” she whispered. “I’d give you some water if I had any, but I just ran out a few hours ago.” 

Sam hardly heard her words, he was once again beginning to nod off when suddenly a loud rumble made him jump. “What was that?” he asked through a cough that caused more blood to dribble from his mouth. 

“I don’t know,” Jess replied. “It wasn’t a cannon shot.” 

Sam’s eyes traveled to the sky to see that clouds were starting to cover the sun. “I think a storm is coming,” Sam grunted. 

Jess followed Sam’s gaze just as another rumble shook the ground. It was followed by a loud crack as lightning struck the top of the ravine, sending rocks tumbling towards them. 

“We need to move,” Jess said. 

Sam felt her hands tugging at him but Sam waved her off. “Just go, save yourself.” 

“Don’t be ridiculous, I just found you, I’m not leaving you,” Jess protested. 

“Jess-” Sam tried to reason with her but she had managed to pull him to his feet. 

“Sam Winchester, so help me, you are not going to die, not if I can help it.” 

Sam didn’t say a word as Jess wrapped her arm around his shoulder and pulled him away from the wall and down the rocky path. 

Lighting struck around them and they nearly fell over from a particularly strong rumble of thunder that had caused the ground to shake violently. 

Jess managed to pull them into a small cave just as it started to pour, she laid Sam down and then disappeared, only to reappear a minute later with a water bottle, filled to the brim with fresh rainwater. She tilted Sam’s head back and let the water touch his bloodstained lips. Sam had only had two refreshing mouthfuls when Jess pulled the water away. Sam whined in annoyance but she just shook her head. 

“You can’t have too much at once, you’ll be sick.” Sam knew she was right, he’d already made that mistake with the bird. 

As the storm rumbled on outside, Jess allowed Sam a few sips of water every couple of minutes. She had gone outside to fill up their empty water bottles and Sam knew that once the storm passed they’d have enough water to get them to the mountains. 

Another streak of lightning flashed outside of their cave, but this time it was followed by the sound of a cannon shot. Sam saw Jess shudder at the sound and Sam briefly wondered who had just perished. 

As the storm began to wear itself out, Sam found himself falling asleep as the water Jess had given him began to work through his body. He felt Jess settle down beside him and he let his arm rest across her waist. Now that he had found her -  or should he say she had found him- Sam would protect her with his life. His mission of getting her out alive had officially begun; and even though the words of his hallucination rang in his ears - you were never trying, Sam. You were just putting on a show, hell you still are. Why don’t you just end it!? Just kill yourself and let it be over! Stop making me watch you suffer! - Sam forced himself to fall asleep, an apology meant for Dean never passing his lips.

Chapter Text

Dean had nearly rushed to the bathroom to be sick a few times as he watched Sam writhe in pain on the screen in front of him, but worry for his brother made him stay to see the outcome. It was obvious that Sam was having some sort of hallucination, but the words that came out of Sam’s mouth made Dean’s blood run cold: “Dean, you’re hurting me.” Sam had been seeing a hallucination of Dean that was hurting Sam, something that Dean would never do. 

When Jess had come to Sam’s aid Dean found himself falling into an abyss of relief; and when it started raining, Dean found himself actually thanking the Gamemakers. Now that Sam had gotten some water into his body and was resting in a cave Dean finally let himself relax. Sam was going to live another day. 

Sam and Jess were both asleep when the anthem that announced the dead tributes began to play. The faces of the two tributes that had died that day showed in the sky: Becky Rosen of District 6 had died from dehydration; it had been awful to watch, everyday she’d look for water and everyday she’d come up empty handed. The second tribute that had died was Billie from District 7. Her death was probably the second most brutal, after Anna’s. During the storm, while she’d been running to find shelter, she was struck by a bolt of lightning, and practically exploded, it was horrific. 

 

Dean knew that Sam was going to be okay for at least the next couple of hours, which gave Dean time to begin his first step of his plan to end the Games. It was only 5 o’clock, so Dean headed down to the lobby of the building and went into the Victors Room. The Victors Room was where the victors of the previous Games, that were mentors for this years tributes, spent time together watching the Games, betting on tributes, and drinking. 

Dean didn’t know exactly what he planned to say to a room full of dangerous killers, but he would figure something out. 

The first person Dean saw when he entered the room was Garth Fitzgerald, the mentor for District 5. The reason that Garth was the first of the victors Dean was graced with the presence of was because he had stumbled towards the door the second it had opened, wrapped his left arm around Dean’s shoulders, and pulled him towards a table that was topped with more alcoholic drinks than Dean had ever seen.

“Have a drink and join us, Dean,” Garth said through a burp. “We’ve been watching the Games. Sam had a rough going just now didn’t he? I’m glad he’s alright, I’m actually kind of fond of him.” 

Dean tuned out Garth’s babbling and tried to search for someone a little more sober to talk to. His eyes found Amara. She was sitting with a glass of bourbon in her hand and was half-watching the Games, which was currently just the careers arguing over something. 

“Hello, Dean,” she said as Dean sat down next to her. 

“Uh, hi,” Dean replied awkwardly. 

“Something on your mind?” 

“Y...yeah, a...actually.” 

Amara set her glass down and turned her full attention to Dean. “I’m all ears.” 

Dean cleared his throat and nodded. “Okay, well, this is going to sound crazy, but… I want to stop the Games.” 

“Stop the Games?” Amara echoed. “How do you mean?”

“I mean, I want these Games to be the last the Capitol ever gets to see.”

“Why?” 

The simple question caught Dean off guard for a moment but he quickly composed himself. “Because it’s wrong! Can’t you see that!? Children are killing children for entertainment . Families are being split up for no reason, innocent people are dying. I don’t want other children to have to go through what I have, what you have, what Sam is .” 

Amara nodded slowly. “I understand. I watched your Games, Dean. You were a warrior and you have much to show for it.” 

“I watched your Games before I went into the arena,” Dean said. 

Amara grunted softly. “My time in the arena was a dark part of my life, one I try hard to forget about. But everywhere I go, every time I return to The Capitol, it’s all “Amara” this and “The Darkness” that.” 

“I’ve heard of your nickname before but I never figured out how you got it.” 

Amara took a sip of her drink before sighing. “It’s a name that found its way to me well after the Games. It was something that people whose children I’d killed, started to call me.” Amara had another long sip of her bourbon before continuing. “If you’ve watched my Games you might recall that I only ever made kills at night.” 

Dean nodded. “I remember.” 

“I used the shadows to hide me from my victims before slicing their throats. I only attacked in darkness . And so, my nickname was born. The mothers of children whom I’d killed would tell their remaining children that The Darkness would get them if they were bad. That little tale began to spread from District to District until it became who I was. You don’t know how many tributes from other Districts I’ve seen look at me in terror whenever I took a step towards them.” 

“I’m sorry,” Dean said quietly. 

Amara poured herself another glass of bourbon from the bottle that was sitting on the table next to her. “I’d like to help you, Dean; in your quest to stop the Games.” 

“You would?”

“Yes, I’d like to see a world without arenas and reapings,” Amara said. 

Dean smiled. “Great.” 

“I assume you came in here to begin your plan by asking some of us who have been in the fire for help?” 

“You’d assume correctly.” 

“Well then, you take one half of these drunks and I’ll take the other.”

Dean laughed. “Sounds good.” 

Dean stood up and headed back towards the table strewn with various types of alcoholic beverages. Garth and Frank Devereaux were arguing over the best kind of beer when Dean joined them. 

“Why don’t we ask Dean?” Garth suggested. 

“Alrighty then,” Frank agreed. “Is The Capitol’s Pale Ale or Porter, better?” 

Dean shrugged. “I don’t know.” 

“Some help you are,” Frank sneered. 

Dean held up his hands in defense. “Sorry, I didn’t come over here to talk about beer, I came to ask you both a question.” 

“Which is?” Garth asked as he stumbled towards Dean. 

“I’m not sure either of you are sober enough to be answering this but, I’m trying to get rid of the Games all together, and I need some help.” 

“Get rid of the Games?” Frank asked. 

“No more reapings, no more arenas, no more death,” Dean explained. 

Garth frowned in thought. “It sounds impossible, but I’d love to see it happen. What do you need?”
“I just need you on my side when I go to confront the President.”

“President Zachariah?” Frank asked. 

“No the other President of Panem,” Dean replied with a roll of his eyes. 

Frank shook his head. “There’s no way he’s going to agree to what you’re proposing.” 

“If a good chunk of victors agree with me and I get the Districts to help, then I think we could have a full on revolution on our hands, one that I don’t think The Capitol could win. I just need help, I can’t do this alone.” 

Garth burped and then clapped Dean on the back. “Well, I’m in. Sounds fun.”

“Frank?” Dean asked. 

Frank put his beer on the table and fully faced Dean. “Alright, I’m in. But the second it starts going south I’m out.” 

“Fair enough.” 

Dean moved from victor to victor. He got some straight up no’s from Cain, and Henrikson, but he got a yes from Linda Tran and Eileen Leahy and a half-yes from Christian Campbell, although he made his distrust of Dean and his plan very clear. 

When Dean reunited with Amara on the couch she looked dejected. “That bad huh?” Dean asked. 

“All no’s, except for Ketch, he said he’d think about it.” 

“Well, Garth, Frank, Linda, Eileen, and Christain are on board.” 

“Cain and Henrikson?” Amara asked. 

Dean shook his head. “They both basically told me to go screw myself.” 

“Yeah, Gordon and Abraxis said pretty much the same to me,” Amara said. 

“Well, we have a good chunk of the Victors with us,” Dean said. 

“So, what now?” Amara asked. 

“Now, I’m going to plan a trip home,” Dean replied. “I’m going to try and convince my District to rise up and fight back.”

“I can do the same for my District,” Amara said. 

Dean nodded. “That would be great. I’ll talk to everyone that said yes and get them to return home. For the Districts of the few that have said no we can split those Districts between us.” 

“How are we going to get into those Districts without being noticed?” Amara asked.

“I don’t know, I’ll think of something. If we can’t get in then we’ll have to make do with what we have.” 

 

Dean was on a train back to District 12 before the next hour was up. He’d be in District 12 back before morning. 

Bobby had asked what Dean wanted to go home for, but Dean had decided not to tell Bobby about his plan just yet. Instead, he had lied and said he wanted to check on Cas and see how everyone back home was doing. 

As Dean rode home, he watched the Games in his room on the train. Sam and Jess were still sleeping so they weren’t featured as often. The Careers were out night hunting and the other tributes were either hiding, scared, or they were out looking for a fight of their own. 

The camera suddenly flipped from Claire, the female tribute from District 9, as she was hunting a lizard, to Alex Jones, the female tribute from District 8. Alex’s hands were deep in a pit of sand she had dug - Dean suspected she was probably digging for water - when she pulled her hands back with a yelp of pain. 

Clinging from her hand was a black scorpion, its pincers were digging into the meat of her hand while its tail repeatedly stung her. Alex tried to shake it off, but it stayed on, getting a few more stings in before she finally managed to free herself. 

Dean could tell that this wasn’t an ordinary scorpion, this was a mutation that had been devised by the Gamemakers to kill. Alex was already starting to feel the effects of the stings. From her skin, bubbles began to sprout. They would fill up with blood and then pop, sending scream after scream out of Alex’s mouth. The bubbles grew in size and when Alex started clutching her throat Dean knew they’d taken root inside her as well. 

After five agonizing minutes, Alex finally collapsed in the sand, blood draining from her mouth and her shredded skin. The cannon sounded and Dean shut his eyes. Crazy as his plan for revolution and reform was, if it succeeded, this would be the last time anyone would die from the brutality of the arena.

Chapter Text

Sam woke to the sharp echo of a cannon going off. Jess stirred under his arm but didn’t wake, so, as carefully as he could, Sam slipped out from beside her and headed to the entrance of the cave. 

It was still night, Sam guessed it was maybe nine o’clock, possibly earlier, possibly later. What he did know was that now would be a good time to start moving on up to the mountains. While the rocks offered great cover from predators and tributes, it held no water or food. 

Ducking back inside the cave, Sam gathered up his belongings and shook Jess awake. “What’s going on?” Jess asked groggily as she rubbed her eyes. 

“We need to move,” Sam replied. 

Jess sat up, concern on her face. “You’re in no state to travel Sam, you’re still recovering from yesterday.” 

“I can manage,” Sam said flatly. “We can’t stay here.” 

“Why not?” Jess asked. “It’s sheltered and secluded.” 

“That may be so, but it has no resources, the mountains will. That rainfall yesterday was the only source of water I’ve seen while being in the arena and I haven’t had anything to eat in days except for that bird.” 

“I still have a few rations and we filled our waters with the rain, we can last here for a few more days,” Jess said. 

Sam shook his head. “We’re going to need water if we want to journey to the mountains.” 

Jess sighed. “Alright, I suppose leaving in the dark is the best time to move, most tributes will be asleep.” 

“My thoughts exactly.” 

Sam and Jess both shouldered their packs and then headed out of the cave. They traveled a short distance to a small break in the ravine wall.

 “This should be a good spot to climb. I’ll go first, then you follow,” Sam said. He gripped a rock above his head and pulled himself up onto the wall. His vision swam for a second before Sam forced himself to swallow and keep going. Sam’s next step brought his foot through dust causing him to slip.

“Are you okay?!” Jess called up to Sam. 

“Yeah, I’m good!” Sam called back as he regained his footing and pushed onward. 

Sam made it to the top of the ravine without too many other incidents. When he looked back down at the path he’d come up, he saw Jess beginning her ascent. 

Jess made it up the rocky wall a lot faster than Sam had and was by his side within a minute. “That wasn’t so bad,” she said. 

Sam just smiled at her and slipped his hand into hers. “Come on, we’ve got a lot of ground to cover to get to the mountains before day.” 

“How far do you think they are?” Jess asked. 

“At least ten miles, maybe more,” Sam replied. 

“Do you think we’ll be able to get there before sunrise?” 

“I think we will, but we won’t know until we try.” 

 

Jess and Sam traveled on in silence. With each passing step the mountains grew closer and closer until finally, they were standing at the base of the giant masses. Sam could tell that it was just past midnight from the way the moon was hanging in the sky. He and Jess were both exhausted and it took all of their efforts to keep going until they found a decent spot to shelter a little way up the mountain. 

They crashed under a spruce tree and allowed themselves to have some refreshing sips of their precious water before eating a few of Jess’ rations. “We need to look for food when its light,” Sam said. 

Jess nodded in agreement. “Yes, but for now let's get some sleep, that was a long trek.” 

Sam grunted and rolled over on the ground. Using his arm as a pillow he drifted off, hoping that tomorrow they would find a source of water and some substantial food. 

 

When morning came, Sam woke to see Jess rummaging through her backpack until she pulled out a coil of rope. “What’s that for?” Sam asked through a yawn. “You weren’t planning to strangle me while I slept, were you?” he joked. 

Jess didn’t laugh, she just stared at Sam in horror. “Of course I wasn’t!” 

“Calm down, I was joking,” Sam said. He moved closer to her and planted a kiss on her cheek. “So, what is it for?”

“I figured we could set some traps for some animals while we go look for other food,” Jess replied. 

“That’s a great idea,” Sam replied, a smile on his face. “I have some rope too, between us we should be able to catch something.” 

Sam and Jess set their traps and then, much to Sam’s chagrin, decided to split up to go look for berries or other edible plants. 

“Don’t go too far,” Sam said. 

“I’m not completely helpless you know,” Jess replied. 

“I know. I just worry about you.” 

“You think I don’t worry about you?” Jess asked. She paused for a second and sighed. “Look Sam, I know you want me to win, but it’s not going to happen, you have to accept that. I have.” 

Sam shook his head. He didn’t want to argue with Jess, so, instead of addressing the subject she had decided to talk about, Sam went a different direction. “Let’s just go look for some food, okay? We can talk about this later.” 

Jess nodded curtly. “Okay.” 

Sam headed off in one direction and Jess headed off in another. Sam hadn’t walked far before he came across a blackberry bush. Sam picked as many berries as he could and put them in the container that had previously held his rations. Sam then headed off to another part of the mountains and found another berry bush. He tried to remember what kind of berries they were from when he’d studied edible plants during training, his brain landed on huckleberries. 

As Sam was removing his backpack from his shoulders a scream of pain came from behind him, which was followed by the sound of twigs snapping under feet. Sam turned in surprise as a large figure barreled into him, sending him crashing backwards into the huckleberry bushes. Sam tried to reach for his knife that he kept on his belt, but the other tribute was stronger than him and soon had Sam’s hands pinned above his head. Sam finally got a good look at the boy and realized it was Walt from District 10. 

One of Walt’s hands reached for Sam’s knife and Sam tried to scramble free. “You don’t have to do this,” Sam said as panic took root in his body. 

“Yes I do,” Walt grunted as he managed to free Sam’s knife. “There’s only one victor.” 

Sam again tried to wriggle away from the bigger boy but Walt had already raised the knife over his head.

 “I’m sorry, Dean,” Sam whispered in a gasp, hoping his brother would hear him, as Walt’s hands came downwards. 

White hot pain seared through Sam’s abdomen as the knife pierced his flesh. Sam knew in that moment that it was over, if Walt found him he’d find Jess. Walt’s hands were still gripping the knife, his cold eyes fixed on Sam’s dying figure, when suddenly a small shape barreled into Walt with a screech, knocking him to the ground. 

The knife was still in Sam’s stomach and it took all of his remaining energy to pull it free. The Games were over for Sam, he knew that, but they didn’t have to be for Jess. 

Sam got to his feet, after several tries, and then pinpointed the fight that was currently taking place between the mystery female tribute and Walt. Walt had the girl pinned, his hands wrapped around her throat. 

Sam stumbled towards Walt, the bloodied knife clutched in his right hand, while his left hand held in his organs that threatened to spill out of him onto the ground. Sam managed to get behind Walt and place a hand on his shoulder. Walt began to turn around in surprise but Sam brought his other hand up to Walt’s neck and drew his blade across the tributes throat. Walt let go of the girl to clutch his wound before he keeled over and a cannon shot blasted through the sky. 

Sam saw the girl scramble into a sitting position, coughing and drawing in breaths of air. Sam swayed on the spot and his knife slipped from his blood soaked hands as he fell to the ground with a thud. He could feel his thoughts becoming blurry and the only bit of vision he had was through the slits of half-closed eyelids. The girl was on her feet now and she was making her way towards Sam. 

She was going to finish what Walt started and then she was going to find Jess and kill her too. 

The girl bent to pick up the knife Sam had dropped and then she kneeled beside Sam. Her hand moved towards his wound and Sam braced himself for the pain that was undoubtedly going to come. Sam's fight was over.

Chapter Text

“NO!” Dean screamed at the screen he was watching the Games from. “Get away from him you Bitch!” 

Dean’s heart was pounding so heavily in his chest he was afraid it would pop out onto the floor. Sam was dying, he was really dying, Dean wasn’t going to see his little brother again. The girl that was advancing towards Sam was Ruby from District 5 and her eyes were glued to the knife that had fallen from Sam’s hands. 

Dean saw Sam’s eyes flutter shut as Ruby knelt beside him and extended her hand towards Sam’s wound. Dean braced himself for the cannon shot, but it didn’t come. Instead, Dean watched as Ruby pressed her hands against Sam’s wound and then used the knife to cut off a piece of Sam’s shirt. She covered the bleeding hole in Sam’s abdomen and then she used her free hand to reach into Sam’s bag and pull out his water bottle. 

Dean watched as she dribbled a little bit of water on the wound before using some more to splash Sam in the face. Sam coughed and spluttered, spitting water and blood out of his mouth. “Don’t move,” Ruby said. “You’ll make it worse.” 

Sam stared at Ruby in shock. “You didn’t kill me.” 

Sam tried to sit up but Ruby pushed him gently back down.

 “I said, don’t move. I have to find something to close up your wound.” 

“Why are you helping me?” Sam gasped. 

Ruby shrugged as she rummaged through Sam’s bag. “I guess I’ve just got a soft spot for guys that get themselves stabbed and then save my life.”

Sam tried to laugh but it came out as a gurgle of blood and saliva. 

It was at that moment that Dean realized he had the power to help Sam. There was no way the Gamemakers would refuse sending Sam a parachute when he was in this state. Dean fumbled for the communication device by his bed and pressed the button that called to the penthouse back in The Capitol. 

Bobby picked up. “Hello?”

“Bobby, it’s me,” Dean said through a gasp. “I need you to send Sam a parachute, with everything he needs, medicine, stitches, water, everything . Do it quickly!” 

“Sam doesn’t have enough sponsors for all of that, Dean,” Bobby said. “You can send him the water he never got but that’s about it.” 

“I don’t need sponsors, Bobby. I’m sending it to him, my money , okay? Do whatever you gotta do, but Sam needs that supplies now or he’s going to die.” Dean was panicking now, if Bobby didn’t pull through for Dean, he was going to have to watch his brother bleed out. Bobby didn’t say anything back and Dean looked back up at the screen that was currently displaying his dying brother. “Please,” Dean begged. “He’s all I’ve got left, Bobby, I can’t watch him die.” 

“I understand, I’ll do my best,” Bobby replied. 

Dean went to hang up but Bobby’s voice made him stop. 

“And, Dean, he’s not all you’ve got, you have me.” 

The line went dead and Dean focused back on the Games. Ruby was doing her best, pressing down on Sam’s wound, talking to him soothingly, but Dean could tell Sam was slowly slipping away. To make matters worse, Jess’ voice came shrieking into existence when Sam’s name wrenched itself out of her mouth in a horrified scream. 

Ruby looked up from Sam when Jess came rushing to his side, shoving Ruby aside. “Don’t touch him!” she screamed, her small knife drawn. 

Ruby held up her hands in surrender. “I’m trying to help him!” 

“Like hell you are,” Jess spat as her eyes landed on the knife by Sam’s side. 

“I didn’t stab him,” Ruby said. “He did.” Ruby gestured towards Walt’s body. “Sam killed him and saved my life, I’m only trying to repay the favor.” 

Jess didn’t appear to be listening, she had taken over Ruby’s job of trying to hold Sam’s insides together. “J...Jess…?” Sam tried to speak. 

“Shhh,” Jess said soothingly as she placed a kiss on his cheek. “You’re going to be alright.” 

“How did you…” Sam was again shushed by Jessica as she shook her head. 

“I heard the cannon and I thought…” she sniffed and then continued. “But finding you like this, it’s…” 

“Almost worse than finding him dead,” Ruby finished for her. 

Jess nodded stiffly. “Yeah.” 

Dean was beginning to really start to worry, when his room was bathed in the sound of a soft chime as a parachute floated down to land by Sam’s head. Ruby and Jess exchanged quick glances before Jess lunged for the parachute and tore it open. 

Inside was a needle and thread, bandages, four water bottles, ointment, and a piece of paper. Dean already knew what the paper said, he was sure that Bobby had just added onto the previous parachute he’d had set up for Sam. 

“It’s from Dean,” Jess said. “This should help, don’t go dying on me little brother- D,” Jess read. Sam smiled at the words and Dean felt his own smile crack on his lips. Sam was a fighter, he was going to get through this.

“Quite reading and start fixing him,” Ruby snapped. 

Jess cracked open a  water bottle and poured it over Sam’s wound. Sam grimanced in pain as she cleaned it off with a strip of gauze before she turned her attention to the needle and thread. Jess tried to thread the needle but her hands were shaking too badly. 

“Here, let me,” Ruby said. She took the needle from Jess and threaded it quickly. “Do you want to do it, or should I?” 

“I… I can,” Jess stammered. 

Ruby looked at her skeptically. “You sure?”

“Yes, we don’t have time to argue about this,” Jess snapped. She turned her gaze to Sam and he blinked at her through teary eyes. “This is going to hurt,” she warned. 

“Just get on with it,” Sam gasped. 

“I’ll hold him down,” Ruby said. 

With Ruby gripping Sam’s legs, Jess placed one hand on Sam’s chest and then moved her needle-clad hand to the knife wound. 

Dean had to force himself to keep watching as Jess worked the needle through Sam’s skin. Sam was doing his best to keep still but he couldn’t fully fight all of his reflexes. He almost kicked Ruby three times before Jess finished and Sam was left breathless and groaning on the ground. 

With the suspense over, the Gamemakers moved on to other more interesting things like the careers splitting up to go hunting. 

Dean finally let himself breath again and unclenched his fists from the blankets on his bed, which he hadn’t even known he’d been gripping. Sam wasn’t fully out of the woods yet, but he was closer to than he’d been five minutes ago, so that was something. Dean quickly reached for the communication device again and called the penthouse. 

“Dean,” Bobby answered. 

“Thank you,” Dean said through a tremor in his voice. 

“You’re welcome. I’m pretty fond of Sam and I wasn’t quite ready to lose him yet,” Bobby replied. 

“Thank you,” Dean said again. 

He hung up and scrubbed a hand down his face. He forced himself to push thoughts of Sam to the back of his mind and tried to focus on his plan for ending the Games. 

 

When the train finally pulled up into District 12 it was about 7 o’clock. Dean jumped down from the train car and then headed off to Victors Village, he had decided that the best place to start in his recruitment for his rebellion, was with his friends. 

Dean passed a few people on his walk and they all turned to look at him in surprise, Dean ignored them and pushed on towards Victors Village. Dean headed up his steps and entered the warmth of his house. 

 “Dean!?” Cas shouted as he looked up in surprise from where he was sitting watching the Games in Dean’s living room. 

“Hiya Cas,” Dean replied through a grin. 

Cas stood up and pulled Dean into a hug. “What are you doing back so early?”

“I need your help, Cas. I need the whole Districts help.” 

Cas cocked his head to one side in confusion. “With what?” 

“I’m planning a rebellion. I want to stop the Games,” Dean replied. 

“Dean, that’s… very ambitious of you,” Cas said. “How am I supposed to help?” 

“Tomorrow, you and me are going to split up and we’re going to recruit as many people as we can and we’re going to fight to stop these ridiculous Games,” Dean replied. 

“Dean, I’m all for ending the Games, but the Capitol have them for a reason, to scare all the Districts into submission, and it’s worked for 61 years. What makes you think it’s going to change now?” Cas asked. 

“I don’t know,” Dean answered honestly. “I just know that if I don’t try I’m going to have to mentor tribute after tribute after tribute until the day I die, and I don’t know how many of them are going to make it out of the arena alive. I just can’t do that Cas, I can’t watch children die in the Games. They need to be stopped, President Zachariah needs to be stopped.” 

Cas nodded slowly. “Okay. I’ll help.” 

“Thank you,” Dean replied. 

Dean moved to the fridge and pulled out a bottle of beer before sitting down next to Cas in the living room. Dean turned his attention to the screen where the Games were still playing out. 

Dagon was currently pinning a young boy, to the ground. “Don’t kill him,” Samael said. 

“Why not?” Dagon asked. 

“He could be useful,” Samael replied. 

“How?” Kubrick asked. “He’s a child.” 

“I don’t know yet, but I think he might come in handy.” Samael picked up a long knife from the ground and placed it into a sheath on his waistband. “We’ve been scavenging around here for days, I think this boy is the last of the tributes stupid enough to stay near the Cornucopia. It’s time we moved onto fresher hunting grounds.” Samael pointed at the boy, “tie him up and bring him back to the Cornucopia,” he ordered. “Let’s gather as many things as we can carry and then we’ll head towards the mountains,” 

The careers gave a cheer and with their prisoner bound, they headed out. 

“So, what’s your name, kid?” Eldon asked. 

“J...Jack.” 

As the camera followed the careers, Dean felt a pit grow in his stomach. If the careers were heading towards the mountains, Sam was going to be in even greater danger.

“He’ll be okay,” Cas said softly. 

“He better be,” Dean replied.

 

The next day, as promised, Cas and Dean split up to canvas District 12. Cas took the square and Dean took the outskirts, where he used to live. Dean’s first stop was the Hob, a place that Dean had been avoiding since he won the Games, because the owner of the Hob was none other than Ellen Harvelle, Jo’s mother. Cas had offered to take the Hob instead but Dean had waved him off, he’d have to face Ellen sooner or later and now was as good a time as any, she had connections around the District so she’d know who to trust and who not to. 

When Dean walked into the small bar he got a couple of stares but most people went back to their drinks or their meals. It was just past noon but Dean spotted Rufus slumped over a table already drunk and passed out. Shaking his head, Dean made his way up to the bar area and sat down on one of the stools next to an older man. 

The man looked at him for a moment before recognition dawned on him. “Dean Winchester?”

Dean forced himself to smile. “Uh, yeah, hi.” Dean offered his hand and the man took it. 

“Donatello,” he said. 

“Nice to meet you,” Dean replied. 

“What’re you doing here? Would’a thought you’d still be in The Capitol.” 

Dean shrugged. “I needed to come home for a few things.” 

Donatello looked up at the screen, that was mounted over the bar, it was currently displaying Brady, digging for something in the sand with a stick. “Your brother has been going through a lot lately, hasn’t he?” Donatello said absentmindedly. 

“Yeah, he has,” Dean replied curtly, trying to indicate that he didn’t want to talk about Sam. 

Dean was saved from Donatello’s questions when Ellen slipped back behind the bar. Her eyes landed on Dean and for a second she stopped where she was, her mouth forming a thin line and her eyes narrowing. 

“Hi,” Dean said awkwardly. 

Ellen crossed her arms as she walked towards him. “Dean Winchester,” she said sharply. “To what do I owe the pleasure?” 

Dean felt like squirming in his seat under her hot gaze, but instead he stood up. “I’d like to talk to you,” he said. “Somewhere private.” 

Ellen pursed her lips but then nodded. “Okay.” 

Dean followed her behind the bar and into a small little backroom that held a couch, a small table, and lots of extra liquor. Ellen shut the door and then motioned for Dean to have a seat on the couch, Dean did so. Ellen didn’t say anything, she just waited for Dean to speak. 

Dean cleared his throat and looked up at Ellen who, unlike Dean, had not sat down. “Well, first things first, I just wanted to say that I’m sorry.” 

Ellen held up her hand. “Save it, Dean.” 

“I-”

“Dean, it’s the Games, there’s only one winner, I understand,” Ellen interrupted. 

“Thank you,” Dean whispered. 

Ellen sat down next to Dean and put a hand on his shoulder. “You know, I hated you for a while after the Games, because you got to come home and my baby girl didn’t. But the thing is Dean, I can’t blame you, you didn’t kill her, The Capitol did.” 

“That’s, uh, that’s actually what I wanted to talk to you about,” Dean said. “I didn’t just come here to apologize for Jo, I came here to ask a favor.”

“What kind of favor?” Ellen asked. 

“I’m trying to stop the Games, but I need a revolution to do it. I’ve got people in other Districts recruiting as many citizens as they can to fight for the end of the Games. You know a lot of people and I figured you’d know who to trust. I don’t want this plan out there for the Peacekeepers to hear, so I need to find a discreet place to hold a meeting where I can explain how this is going to go down, but first, I need to have recruits.” 

“I’d love to stop the Games,” Ellen said, a smile forming on her lips. “I’ll see what I can do on the people front, but as for the venue for this meeting, why don’t you just hold it here? I can make sure no Peacekeepers get in.” 

Dean didn’t have a better idea so he nodded. “Alright, the Hob it is.” 

 

At around 8, Dean found himself back in the Hob with Cas by his side. Cas had managed to get a lot of their classmates to come to the meeting and Ellen had also scrounged up a good number of people as well. The Hob was packed with more people than Dean had seen there before. 

“I think this is it,” Ellen said as she shut the doors to the Hob and turned to Dean. “Let’s hear this plan of yours.” 

Dean stood on a chair at the front of the crowd and cleared his throat. “Thank you all for coming,” he began. “I know what I’m suggesting here seems impossible, but I assure you that it is possible, if we all work together. The Capitol can’t keep using fear as a tactic against us. The Games are cruel and inhumane and they need to be stopped. I’m not about to lie to you and tell you that this is going to be easy, that you’re all going to make it out with your lives, some of you probably won’t, but a lot of you will, they can’t fight all of us.” Dean paused and his eyes locked on Cas’, Cas nodded at him encouragingly. “Here’s how it’s going to go down. I’m going to be in the Capitol trying to subdue the President, while the Districts rise up and fight against the Peacekeepers.” 

“By ‘subdue’ do you mean kill?” a boy asked from the middle of the mass of people. 

Dean nodded. “The Games will never end if President Zachariah remains in charge, the only way to finish this is if he’s dead. The Games will live and die with him.” 

“It could work,” a pretty brunette said from the side of the room where she was standing near Cas. Dean recognized her as Lisa Braeden, the girl Cas had tried to set him up with when he’d come home from the Games. “But it’s risky.” 

“Nothing is entirely without risk,” Dean replied. “I know the plan has holes in it and those holes will be mended with time. I’m planning to strike this rebellion after these Games are over and a victor has been declared.” Dean paused to look at all the people who had gathered in the room. They all looked terrified, but defiant, ready to try and do anything to stop their names, or the names of their family members, from being in the reaping bowl. Dean raised his hand over his head. “Who’s with me?” 

Cas’ hand was the first to shoot upwards. “I’m with you until the end, Dean.” 

Lisa raised her hand as well. “I’m with you.” 

Slowly, hands around the room rose into the air and shouts of ‘I’m with you’ chorused around him. As Dean looked at the citizens of District 12 that stood in front of him, he felt a spark of hope ignite in his chest. 

Chapter Text

Sam was propped up under a tree, his wound had been redressed and Jess and Ruby were making a meal out of the berries Sam had picked the previous day and the daylilies and mushrooms Jess had found. 

Meanwhile, Sam was looking at the slip of paper that had come with the parachute. Dean’s words, etched in black, stared back at him:

This should help, don’t go dying on me little brother- D

The words brought comfort to Sam, Dean was watching out for Sam, just like he said he would. 

“You’re gonna wear that thing out just by looking at it,” Ruby joked as she came over to him with a container filled with cooked daylily petals and mushrooms. 

Sam just rolled his eyes at her and stuffed the piece of paper in his pocket before taking the container from Ruby. “Thanks.” 

“It was really your girlfriend that did all the gathering and cooking,” Ruby replied. 

Jess came to join Ruby and Sam with her own helping of food. “After we eat I figured Ruby and I could go check on the traps we set yesterday.” 

Sam nodded. “Yeah you should.” 

“Will you be okay on your own?” Jess asked. 

“I’ll be fine,” Sam reassured her. 

“You’re sure?” Jess asked. 

“Yes,” Sam replied. “The traps aren’t that far from here, so if anything happens I’ll shout.” 

 

Sam ate the mushrooms and daylilies and then washed it down with some water, then Jess and Ruby went off to go check the traps and Sam was left alone. 

The girls were only gone for about ten minutes and when they returned they were both empty handed. “Nothing?” Sam asked. 

“Nothing,” Ruby confirmed. 

Jess shook her head and Sam sighed. “Great.” 

“We can go out for more plants tomorrow,” Jess said. “At least we know we can eat those.” 

****

Three days passed, Sam’s wound was healing nicely, and they’d found some nuts and more berries, as well as a small stream that they used to replenish their diminishing water supply. Throughout the past couple of days the three of them had managed to steer clear of any trouble and of any other tributes. 

It wasn’t until nightfall, on the fourth day, that things started to happen. The first, was a cannon shot, announcing a tributes death, the second happened about two hours after the cannon shot, when their camp was stumbled upon by the boy from District 6, Jack Kline. 

Instantly, Jess and Ruby were on their feet, knives clutched in their hands as they faced Jack. Jack put his hands up in surrender and took a step backwards. “I’m not here to fight.” 

“Then what are you here for?” Ruby growled. 

Jack’s eyes found Sam. “I have a warning for Sam.” 

“Well spit it out then,” Ruby hissed through her teeth, everything about her body language screamed that she just wanted to tear Jack’s throat out and be done with him. 

“It’s the careers,” Jack said, not taking his eyes from Sam. “They’re coming for you.” 

“And you know this, how?” Jess asked, Ruby’s suspicion of Jack seemed to have rubbed off on her. 

“They’ve been holding me captive, to see if I knew anything about you or where you might be. I only just escaped when they were busy killing that boy from District 9. But I heard them planning to send out a special hunting party for you, and if I found you I’m sure they can. They’re not too far off, I only got about a five minute head start, you have to run.” 

Sam gestured to his still bandaged wound. “I’m not sure how far I’ll get with this slowing me down.” Sam pushed himself to his feet with a grunt and Jess ran to help him. 

“And how do we know you’re not working with the careers? How do we know you’re not going to lead us straight to them,” Ruby asked. 

“You don’t,” Jack replied. Jack reached up towards the collar of his shirt and when he pulled it down Sam saw the bloodied marks of a knife. “They did this to me, and if they find me again they’ll kill me, and all of you.” 

Ruby was still looking skeptical but Sam, for whatever reason, believed the boy. “Let’s just go,” Sam said. “We can worry about whether or not to trust Jack later.” 

Ruby’s scowl deeped. “Alright, but he’s leading the way.” 

“Fine by me,” Jack said. 

With Jess’ help Sam was able to walk at a quick pace. They traveled further up the mountain, only pausing for at most, five minutes so Sam could catch his breath. 

Sam’s only motivation to keep moving was the amulet that bumped against his chest with every step he took. If Dean was watching, Sam didn’t want his brother to see him give up. 

The sun was lowering in the sky by the time they all deemed it safe enough to stop and get some sleep. Jack went off to look for water and food with Jess, and Ruby was left with Sam. 

“I still don’t trust him,” Ruby grumbled as she sat down beside Sam against a boulder. 

“Well, we haven’t run into the careers, so I’d call that a plus,” Sam replied. He shifted against the boulder with a wince. 

“How are you doing?” Ruby asked more seriously. 

“Aces,” Sam grunted. 

“That bad huh?” Ruby chuckled. 

“Well, I’m not dead, so there’s that.” 

Their conversation was interrupted by Jack and Jess as they returned with some tree nuts and filled water bottles. “Well, it looks like you two did pretty well,” Ruby said. 

Jess handed Sam a water bottle and some nuts. “Here.” 

Sam smiled up at her. “Thanks.” 

“After we eat we should all get some rest,” Ruby said. “I’d be happy to take first watch.” 

“Uh, guys,” Jack’s panicked voice made them all turn to see Samael, holding a knife to Jack’s throat. 

Jess and Ruby were on their feet in an instant and Sam joined them after a moment. “Let him go,” Sam said. 

Samael laughed. “He’s nothing to you, he escaped from us and now he’s going to die, and then you’re going to die.” 

Ruby stepped forward, Sam’s knife in her hand. “I couldn’t care less about the kid, but you’re crazy if you think you can take on all of us.” 

“Where’s the rest of your hunting party?” Sam asked. 

Samael smirked. “Oh, they’ll be along shortly, I was just scouting ahead. Now, where were we?” Samael’s knife inched closer to Jack’s throat but before it could get there, Jack brought his heel down on the top of Samael’s foot and then elbowed him in the stomach, wrenching himself free from the older boy. 

Ruby saw her chance and took it, she raised Sam’s knife and threw. It spun through the air and then landed right between Samael’s eyes. Samael fell with a gasp and the cannon sounded. 

Sam stared at Ruby in shock and she met his gaze with a shrug. “What?” 

“I just… didn’t know you could do that,” Sam said. 

“There’s a lot you don’t know about me,” Ruby replied. 

She sauntered over to Samael’s body and plucked the knife from his head before sheathing it. “Looks like Jack was right,” Jess said, she too was still trying to work through her shock at how quickly Samael had been killed. 

Ruby nodded. “Yeah, looks like it.” 

“So I can stay with you?” Jack asked hopefully. 

“For now,” Ruby replied. 

“We need to keep moving,” Sam said. “If Samael was just the scouter then the rest of the careers can only be a few minutes behind him.” 

“Sam’s right, we’ve got to keep going,” Jess agreed. 

It took all of Sam’s strength to keep walking. His feet hurt and his wound burned but he forced himself onwards. 

After another twenty minutes they had to stop again, Sam felt his strength fading and he slipped to the ground. “He needs to rest,” Jess said. “We all need to rest.”

Ruby nodded. “You’re right. I’ll keep first watch.” 

“Okay,” Jess said. 

Sam used his backpack as a pillow and was asleep within two minutes. 

 

Sam woke to the feeling of all the air draining from his lungs. It was still dark but Sam could just make out the sleeping figure of Jess a little way away from him, and beside her Jack. If the careers had found them Jess and Jack would be dead, but they weren’t, which made the hands that were pressing down on his throat, Ruby’s. 

Sam choked and spluttered under Ruby’s grip, his eyes wide in panic. “Sorry Sam,” Ruby whispered. “But you’re dead weight. It’s nothing personal, but the careers are gunning for you and the last thing I need is for them to kill me as well.” 

Sam knew he was fighting a losing battle, but he wasn’t ready to give up yet. His hand rooted around on the ground for anything he could use to his defense and his fist closed around a rock. Mustering his remaining strength, Sam brought the rock up into Ruby’s head. She fell off of Sam with a muffled grunt and Sam let air fill his lungs again. 

Ruby got to her feet, her eyes looked almost black in the dark as she glared at Sam. “You don’t have to do this,” Sam gasped. 

“Yes I do,” Ruby replied as she took a step towards Sam. 

With a cry that made Jess and Jack wake up in confusion, Ruby charged at Sam. Despite his injury, Sam ducked under her attack and, in one fluid motion, he grabbed his knife from its sheath on her waist and brought it straight up into her chest. 

Ruby gasped and stumbled backwards in shock. She fell, a cannon shot echoing in her wake. Sam collapsed, gasping and Jess rushed to his side while Jack went to retrieve Sam’s knife from Ruby’s body. 

“What happened!?” Jess asked in horror. 

“I… I don’t know. Ruby… she just… attacked me,” Sam replied, his hand reaching up to his side where his wound had started bleeding again. Jess pressed her hand against the bloody bandage and Sam inhaled sharply at the pressure.

Jack came over to stand by Sam and Jess. “We should go, so the hovercraft can take her body.” 

“Sam can’t be moved,” Jess said. “His wound has opened again.” 

“I’ll be fine,” Sam grunted through a puff of air. “Let’s go.” 

Jess pushed Sam gently to the ground. “You’re not going anywhere. The Capitol will just have to wait until Sam is better to take Ruby.” 

“I suppose I could move her away from our camp,” Jack said. 

Jess nodded. “You do that, I’ll tend to Sam.” 

With Jack off taking care of Ruby, Sam allowed himself to relax and let Jess remove the bandage that was covering his wound. A hiss of pain escaped through his teeth as she smeared some more ointment over the gash and then re-covered it with a fresh bandage. 

“Thanks,” Sam said once Jess had sat back from him and rinsed off her hands with some water. 

“You’re welcome,” Jess replied. “You should get some rest.” 

“You’re probably right,” Sam sighed. 

Sam settled back onto the ground and tried to ignore the stinging in his side as he let his eyes flutter shut.

Chapter Text

Dean handed Cas a communication device he’d taken from the train. “When I call you, that’s your cue.” 

“Got it,” Cas replied. Cas pulled Dean into a hug. “Be careful out there, Dean.” 

Dean clapped Cas on the back and grinned as he pulled away. “I’m always careful.”

Cas smiled and shook his head and Dean’s grin grew wider as he turned to walk up the steps of the train.

He entered the room he’d be spending most of his time in, on his trip back to the Capitol, and clicked on the screen that showed the Games. It was night in the arena and the Gamemakers switched from sleeping tribute to sleeping tribute, until they stayed on Sam and his allies. 

Ruby was on watch and her eyes flicked up to the sky as the anthem started to play. The faces of Samael from District 1 and Jesse Turner from District 9 showed in the sky. Ruby then turned her attention to Sam. Dean watched her hands fiddle with Sam’s knife as she looked from Sam to the blade. 

Dean’s stomach twisted in a knot of worry. “Don’t do it Ruby, please don’t do it,” Dean muttered. 

Ruby stood up, sheathing the knife, and made her way to Sam, who was sleeping with his backpack under his head and his hand loosely hanging onto Dean’s amulet. Ruby looked at Sam with a sad smile before she straddled him and reached her hands towards his throat. 

Dean watched in horror as Sam woke with a silent gasp and fought for control. Sam hit Ruby with a rock and managed to get his feet under him before Ruby attacked again, waking Jess and Jack. Sam dodged her attack but Dean noticed something in his hand, his knife, he must have grabbed it when he hit her with the rock.  

Ruby gasped in surprise as the knife penetrated her stomach and she fell backwards to the sound of a cannon. 

Dean felt his breath leave him in relief. Sam had had too many brushes with death in the past couple of days for Dean’s liking, but still, Sam persevered. 

Once Jess had redressed his wound Sam fell back asleep and so did Jess and Jack. Dean tried to force himself to sleep as well, but it wasn’t working. He tossed and turned as he tried to get comfortable and he kicked at the blankets that were covering him in frustration. Finally, he ended up on his back, staring at the ceiling of the moving train. His hand reached for the amulet that usually hung around his neck but he only grasped air. Sam had the amulet, Dean remembered.

By the time they reached The Capitol, Dean had maybe gotten about thirty minutes of sleep, probably less, and he wasn’t in a very good mood. Bobby was waiting for him when he stepped off the train and Dean offered his former mentor a small smile. 

“Was your trip all you had hoped it would be?” Bobby asked. 

“That and more,” Dean replied. 

“Good,” Bobby said. 

No more words were passed between them as they headed back up to the penthouse. The sun was beginning to rise and the avoxes were preparing breakfast. Dean ate some biscuits filled with jam before he headed into his room and shut the door. He clicked on the screen that hung across from his bed and let himself fall back into watching the Games. 

The Gamemarkers started off the day by following the careers. Kaia and Toni were leading the rest of the careers up the mountains, towards Sam.

 “With Samael dead we’re down in numbers,” Kaia said. “We need to be cautious.” 

“From the anthem last night we also know that that Ruby chick is dead too, so they’re also down a member of their little possy,” Kubrick replied. 

Kaia nodded. “This is true. Just remember the plan, we’re only there for the boy.” 

Kaia’s words made Dean’s blood run cold, what boy did they mean? Sam, or Jack? 

 

The camera’s now focused on Sam, Jess, and Jack. They were all still asleep but Sam was beginning to stir. Dean knew the careers were drawing close and if Sam didn’t start moving now they would be on top of them in a few minutes. “Come on Sammy, get up,” Dean growled. 

Sam sat up with a wince, clutching his side with one hand while his other pushed himself up from the ground. Sam rummaged in his pack for a moment before producing his water bottle. He had a few sips before he popped some berries in his mouth and then moved to wake Jess and Jack. It was as Sam’s hand closed over Jess’ shoulder that Dean heard it, a twig snapping under weight. 

Sam froze, his eyes searching the area around him as he wrapped his fingers around the hilt of his knife. When there wasn’t another sound Sam shook Jess who grunted but opened her eyes. “We have to go,” Sam said. 

“Is something wrong?” Jess asked through a yawn. 

“I think there’s something near the camp,” Sam replied. 

Jess was on her feet in an instant, gathering her things. Sam woke Jack and as they began to leave the camp, there was a shout as the careers exploded from the bushes. Toni grabbed Sam around the neck. “Leave the others, we only need him,” Toni ordered. 

“Sam!” Jess screamed as Jack tried to pull her away. “Sam!” 

“They have him Jess, it’s no use,” Jack tried to reason. 

“Sam!” Jess cried. 

Dean watched as Jess and Jack ran and the careers surrounded Sam. “If you’re going to kill me, just do it,” Sam spat. 

“We’re not going to kill you,” Kaia said. “Well, not yet anyway.” 

Toni kicked Sam in the back of the legs and Sam crumpled to the ground with a grunt. “We’re going to break you,” Toni sneered. 

Dean watched as Eldon and Kubrick held Sam in place while Toni unsheathed a small blade. She advanced towards Sam and Sam stared at her with an unreadable expression. She brought the blade up to Sam’s face and then slowly dug the knife into his cheek. Sam winced but didn’t cry out. 

Toni tortured Sam in ways Dean didn’t know were possible. Sam was nearly unconscious from all the pain and all Dean could do was watch. If he sent Sam a parachute the careers would take it. Jess and Jack had fled; Sam was on his own. 

Eldon had stepped up to begin beating Sam when something whistled through the air, it was an arrow and it hit Eldon’s shoulder. Eldon cried out in pain and the rest of the careers spun to see who their attacker was. More arrows flew at them, each one finding a non-fatal mark in the careers.

A figure moved from behind a tree and Dean recognized Mick Davies of District 3. He rushed to Sam’s side and helped him to his feet. Sam looked at Mick in confusion but allowed the other tribute to help him. Mick half-dragged half-carried Sam through the mountains until they stopped quite a few miles away from where the careers had been.

“Here,” Mick handed Sam a water bottle and Sam drank from it gratefully. 

“Thank you.” 

“It was nothing,” Mick replied. 

Sam pushed himself up against a tree, a hand clutching his side. “You’re a terrible shot by the way.” 

Mick glanced at the bow in his hands and shrugged. “Yeah well at least I hit them.” 

Sam laughed. “True.” 

 

Now that Sam wasn’t interesting anymore, the Gamemakers decided to focus on Jess and Jack. 

Jess was biting her nails while pacing a small clearing and Jack was building a fire. “Jess,” Jack said. 

Jess jumped at Jack’s voice and turned to face him. “What?” 

“There’s some food if you want some,” Jack replied. 

“I’m not hungry.” 

“Jess, you have to eat, you need your strength.” 

Jess shook her head. “We didn’t hear a cannon shot, which means Sam is still alive. He’s out there Jack, we have to find him.” 

“If the careers have him I don’t think he’s going to live much longer,” Jack said quietly. 

“I’m not going to give up on him,” Jess spat, her eyes were wet with tears. 

Jack nodded slowly, knowing he was fighting a losing battle. “We can look for him tomorrow.” 

 

Dean had to get out of the penthouse. He felt like he couldn’t breathe. Dean rushed to the elevator, ignoring Bobby’s surprised look, and allowed it to take him to the bottom of the penthouse and out into the streets of the Capitol. Dean found himself heading to the bar he’d been in before Sam had been put in the arena, but as he was about to enter he bumped into someone coming out. 

“Sorry,” Dean murmured as his hands came to close over the shoulders of the blonde he’d nearly just plowed into the ground. 

The girl looked at Dean in shock. “Dean?” 

Dean stepped back to take a better look at the girl before recognition popped in his eyes. “Lydia?”

“Oh my goodness, how are you?” Lydia asked, pulling Dean into a hug. 

“Take a look at where we are and I’m pretty sure you’ll have the answer to that,” Dean replied gruffly. 

“Right,” Lydia replied through a small laugh. “The Games are pretty rough this year, I’m sorry about what Sam’s been going through.” 

“Yeah well, there’s nothing I can do about it, so I decided to come drown myself in alcohol. Excuse me,” Dean moved to go past her put Lydia brought her arm up and caught him by the shoulder. 

“You’re not going anywhere.” 

“Let go of me,” Dean growled. 

Lydia didn’t lower her hand but she softened her grip. “We need to talk.” 

“About what?” Dean asked through gritted teeth. 

“The Games, and what you’re planning to do about them,” Lydia replied. 

Dean was silent and his silence allowed Lydia to pull him away to a small ally. 

“This is your first warning,” Lydia said. “Give up in trying to stop the Games or you won’t like the consequences.” 

“I thought you hated the Games.” 

Lydia snorted. “Yeah right. I only said that to get inside that pretty little head of yours. I love the Games. They keep the peace, and the sooner you understand that, the better off you’ll be.” 

Dean’s anger was starting to build. “Fool me once, shame on you,” Dean muttered through gritted teeth. “Fool me twice… well you won’t want to see what happens next.”

“No, Dean, you won’t want to see what happens next.” With that, Lydia walked away, leaving Dean alone in the ally.

Dean understood now, Lydia had never been a friend to him, she had been a spy from the Capitol. As much as her threats slightly worried him, Dean wasn’t about to stop his plans, not when they were so close to coming to fruition. From now on Dean would keep his wits about him and make sure that his plans for ending the Games weren’t compromised by Capitol-folk; but for now, Dean needed a drink.

Chapter Text

Mick had patched Sam up as best he could, none of his wounds were deep, but they had bled a lot and Sam was weaker because of it.

 It had been two days since Mick had rescued him and Sam was regaining his strength slowly. 

“We need to find Jess and Jack,” Sam grunted as he sat up from a long night sleeping on the hard ground. 

“We can worry about them later,” Mick said. “Right now you need to rest.” 

“I’ve been resting for two days,” Sam retorted. 

“Jess and Jack are fine, they can make it another day or two without you. You don’t have to waste your energy just yet,” Mick reasoned.

“They might be fine right now, but that could change at any moment,” Sam replied. 

Mick sighed. “Fine, we can start looking for them in a couple of hours, but until then, rest and eat something, you’re getting thin.” 

Sam realized Mick was right, in all the days he’d spent in the arena he hadn’t noticed that his body weight had been dropping dramatically. His once fit clothes were slightly baggy around his waist and chest and his fingers looked bony and gaunt. 

Sam drank a little water and ate some mushrooms Mick had gathered. The two boys made idle chat but neither of them could really think of anything to talk about. Mick would avoid talking about his family and Sam didn’t really want to talk about his either, but Mick couldn’t help but bring up Sam’s famous mother and brother. 

“What’s Dean really like?” Mick asked. 

Sam shrugged, but didn’t answer. 

Mick pressed further. “He was ruthless last year in the Games, but that was all to get back to you, so he can’t really be like that in person.” 

Sam shrugged again. “He’s my big brother, he’s just like any other big brother, there for me when I need him and a pain in the ass otherwise.” Sam paused and smiled sadly, his hand resting on the amulet. “But I love him and I’ll never forget his sacrifice.” 

“I know you don’t want to make it home, that you want Jessica to win. But doesn’t that mean that everything your brother did for you, to keep you alive, was for nothing?” 

“I can’t think about it that way, Mick. Jess deserves to live just as much as I do, Dean knows that.” 

“I just don’t understand. If I were in your position, I’d want to make it home to my brother.” 

Sam sighed. “It’s not that I don’t want to make it home, I’d give anything to see Dean again, it’s that I love Jess and I can’t bear to watch her die. Living after the Games wouldn’t be living if she wasn’t there with me.”

“So you’d rather die? Sounds pretty selfish to me,” Mick grunted. 

“I wouldn’t expect you to understand,” Sam retorted.

Mick just shook his head and stood up. “Well, if you want to find Jess and Jack we should get a move on.” 

Sam nodded and pushed himself to his feet. As he bent to pick up his backpack a rustling sound came from the bushes. Sam rose cautiously, his knife in his hand; Mick was on edge too, his bow drawn. 

The rustling came again and then from the trees around them came the figure of a blond girl. It was Claire Novak from District 9. Her hair was matted and entangled with sticks and leaves, her clothes were dusted with sand, and her left hand was pressed into a wound on her side. 

Her eyes widened in fear at the sight of Sam and Mick but Sam saw that she was in no condition to fight. Sam lowered his knife but Mick didn’t put down his bow.

 “If you’re going to kill me, do it,” Claire spat. “I’m going to die either way.” 

“What happened?” Sam asked. 

Claire grunted as she leaned against a tree. “Snake bite. I didn’t see it until it was too late.” Claire’s gaze turned to Mick. “Are you going to shoot me or not?” 

Sam motioned for Mick to put down the bow. “Mick, it’s alright.” 

“How do we know this isn’t a ruse?” Mick asked, not lowering his bow. 

Claire laughed, and with her laugh came blood. She sunk to the ground as more coughs took ahold of her body. “You have nothing to worry about from me.” 

Sam glared at Mick. “She’s not going to kill us.” 

Reluctantly, Mick placed the arrow in his quiver and slung his bow across his back. “If she tries anything, don’t say I didn’t warn you.” 

Sam ignored Mick and made his way over to Claire. “Can I take a look at the bite?” 

“Be my guest,” Claire coughed weakly. 

Sam carefully lifted Claire’s shirt so that he could get a good look at the bite. He grimaced slightly when his eyes took in the size and scale of the teeth marks in her side. 

“How’s it look doc?” Claire asked. 

“Um,” Sam cleared his throat and let her shirt fall back in place. “It’s bad.” 

Claire nodded. “Yeah, I figured you’d say that.” Claire coughed more blood onto the ground and then smiled. “Out of all the ways I thought I’d go, a snake bite wasn’t one of them.” 

“I’m sorry,” Sam said. It was all he could think of to say. 

Claire laughed. “What have you got to be sorry for? I knew I wasn’t going to win, it’s not like this is a surprise to me.” She coughed again and tried to push herself into more of a sitting position. “You’ve got a brother back home waiting for you, you have a reason to win. There’s no one in 9 for me, no one.” 

“I don’t believe that,” Sam said softly. “There’s got to be someone who cares for you.” 

“Well there isn’t.” Claire reached a bloodied hand out towards Sam and Sam took it. Sam could tell that her breathing was starting to slow as her body lost the fight to the snake venom in her system. All that was left to do was watch her die and Sam couldn’t help but give her hand a small squeeze, trying to tell her everything would be alright, even though it was a lie. Claire blinked up at Sam and smiled with blood coated lips. “See you on the other side.” 

Claire’s body convulsed slightly and then the light left her eyes. The cannon fired as her hand went limp in his. Sam stared at her body for a moment before he stood up.

 “We should go.” 

Mick nodded slowly. “Yeah.” 

Sam picked up his backpack and then he and Mick left the clearing so that the hovercraft could come and pick up Claire’s body. 

“She just wanted someone to be with her when she died,” Sam said suddenly as they were walking. “She didn’t want to die alone.”

“Well would you?” Mick asked as he pushed a branch out of the way so the two boys could continue down the narrow path they were following. 

Sam shook his head. “No.” 

Sam and Mick continued on in silence, keeping their eyes peeled for Jack and Jess as well as the careers or any other hostile tributes. After a while Mick decided that they needed to rest for a minute. 

“Look, Sam, I don’t want to discourage you but it’s been hours and there’s still no sign of your friends.” 

“We’ll find them,” Sam said curtly. “They’re just doing a good job of keeping themselves hidden, even from us.” 

“Sam, if we haven’t found them by now I don’t think we’re going to.” 

“Well I didn’t ask you to save me, and I sure as hell didn’t as you to come along with me, so if you want out then by all means, go. I’ll find Jess and Jack by myself,” Sam snapped. 

Mick didn’t say anything for a moment, his eyes were fixed on something behind them, in the trees. “Sam.” 

Sam followed Mick’s gaze and caught sight of something moving slowly through the brush. “What is that?” 

“I don’t want to stick around and find out,” Mick replied. 

“Yeah, I’m with you on that one,” Sam agreed. 

The two boys turned to go, trying not to draw attention to themselves. They walked carefully, trying not to tread on sticks or leaves, but every glance behind him showed Sam that they were still being followed, and whatever it was was gaining on them. 

“I think now would be a good time to run,” Mick said.

“Yeah I think you’re right.”  

Together, Sam and Mick picked up their pace, and an angry growl from behind them made them run faster. 

“What the hell is it!?” Mick shouted as he ran. 

“You think I know?!” Sam shouted back, panic driving him onward. 

Sam was running as fast as he could, faster than he’d ever run in his life, but the feeling of hot breath on his heels made him realize it didn’t matter, there was no outrunning this creature. As the thought crossed Sam’s mind he felt paws push him to the ground and claws dig into his shoulders. 

Sam twisted underneath the creature, to see the fangs of a large hound. Drool fell from the beasts mouth and landed on his face. Sam had one hand on the creatures throat, keeping its snapping jaws from tearing him apart, while the other reached for his knife. 

Sam managed to free his knife from its sheath and bring it upwards into the hounds underbelly. With a massive heave Sam shoved the knife into the beasts flesh and drew his blade down the length of the creature. Warm blood washed over him as the hound split open and when it fell on top of him Sam didn’t have the strength to push the creature from him.

It was then that Mick came to Sam’s aid, shoving the hound off of Sam and helping him to his feet. Sam stared at Mick and Mick returned his gaze.

 “What?” 

“Why didn’t you help me?” Sam asked. 

“I don’t know what-.”

“Don’t try and play that card Mick,” Sam interrupted. “You just stood there and watched as that mutation tried to eat me alive.” 

“I was in shock,” Mick replied. “I didn’t know what to do.” 

Sam ran his hands over his blood soaked clothes, trying to get as much of the red substance off of him as he could, although he knew it was futile. 

“If that’s the story you want to have, that’s fine. There’s only one winner, right? You can either stay and help me find my friends, or you can go, either way, I don’t care.” 

Sam sheathed his knife and then continued to walk in the direction they had been heading. The sound of footsteps followed Sam but he didn’t turn to acknowledge them. Mick didn’t have Sam’s trust, but Sam knew that Mick wasn’t going to kill him in his sleep, if he’d wanted to do that he’d have done it days ago. But Sam knew that if something, like a big hound, or a snake bite, took care of Sam, Mick wouldn’t be bothered. 

All Sam cared about was finding Jess and making sure she was safe and he would scour the entire arena if he had to in order to find her.

Chapter Text

Dean hadn’t slept the previous night, he’d been too focused on Lydia’s betrayal and on Sam’s recovery in the Games. Sam’s narrow escape from the hound had jerked Dean’s mind from any thoughts of sleep, it had only motivated him to take action against the Games. Now that Sam was safe and continuing his quest for Jess and Jack, Dean decided to start living up to what he had promised in District 12. 

It was mid-afternoon when Dean slipped away from the penthouse, unawares to Bobby, who was passed out drunk on the couch. Dean took the elevator down to the lobby and headed out into the streets. He kept his head down as he walked through the crowds, trying not to be recognized as a previous victor. 

Dean was going to try and speak with the President of Panem, Zachariah. Zachariah was not known for his approachability, but Dean had to try and talk to him about the Games and the need for them to end. 

Dean reached the large white building, that housed the President, faster than he had thought he would as no one had stopped him on the streets. Dean ascended the marble stairs, and no one stopped him as he entered the sparkling building. 

The inside was as white as the outside. The floors were so polished Dean could see his reflection with each step he took, the ceiling was high and intricately decorated, and painted portraits of the President hung on the walls as well as, Dean noticed, portraits of each victor of the Games. 

He paused in front of the picture of himself, a crown on his head and a fake smile on his lips. Dean hated it, with every fiber of his being, he hated that portrait.

“You’re one of my favorites.” 

Dean jumped at Zachariah’s voice and turned to greet the President. “President Zachariah, I didn’t know you were there.” 

Zachariah smiled at Dean and put a hand on his shoulder. “I assume you didn’t just come here to look at my Wall of Victors. Let’s talk somewhere else, shall we?” 

Dean let himself be herded down the hallway towards an office that sat at the end of the hall. Zachariah sat down at his desk and gestured for Dean to sit in front of him. Dean did so. 

“So, what can I help you with Mr. Winchester?” 

Dean shifted in his chair to get comfortable. “You’re familiar with Lydia?” Dean asked. 

Zachariah smiled and clasped his hands in front of him. “Yes.” 

“You sent her after me to warn me about my plans for the Games,” Dean said. 

Zachariah nodded. “Yes.” 

“I just wanted to let you know that I have no intention of stopping my fight for the end of the Games.” 

Zachariah stood up and straightened his suit, his once happy demeanor gone and replaced by a hard shell. “Dean, Dean, Dean, you’re fighting a battle you can’t win. Even if I wanted to stop the Games, which I don’t, the people of Panem would never allow it to happen. The citizens love the Games, they live for them every year.” 

Dean stood up and took a step towards the President’s desk. “And what about the children that die every year in the Games! What about their families?!” 

Zachariah clicked his tongue and turned to look out the massive glass window that looked out over the city. “That, I’m afraid, is the price that the Districts must pay for their rebellious acts 61 years ago. The Games were created to be penance for the crimes against the Capitol, it is what the Districts deserve, there’s no changing that.” 

Fury gripped Dean. “Why not!?” 

Zachariah turned back to face Dean, his expression was calm. “Because that is the way it is Dean and I’m not going to change it.” 

“What kind of bullshit answer is that!?” Dean growled. 

“That’s the answer you’re getting,” Zachariah replied civilly. 

Dean’s fists balled in front of him on the desk. “President or not, I will stab you in your face.” 

Zachariah’s civil expression fell at Dean’s remark. “I’d watch your tongue Dean. Don’t forget, you’ve got a brother in the arena, threats like that won’t end up hurting you, just little Sammy.” Zachariah paused, an evil smile brewing on his lips. “I wonder how Sam would do if I had the Gamemakers send a whole pack of hounds after him.” 

Dean’s anger was reaching boiling point, it took all his strength not to lash out at Zachariah. “The hound was you ?” 

“Not exactly. I figured you’d come to see me, Dean. I told the Gamemakers to give Sam a little something to work with in the arena, something I could use to my advantage when you came for a visit.” Zachariah sat back down at his desk. “Stop your ploy to end the Games and I will instruct the Gamemakers to let the natural course of the Games take root. If you refuse, poor Sammy might not make it to tomorrow.” 

“You son of a bitch,” Dean hissed. 

Zachariah only smiled. “I believe our meeting is over. You can see yourself out.” 

Dean stood frozen in his anger for a few seconds before he turned and left Zachariah’s office. 

Dean didn’t head straight back up to the penthouse, instead, he found himself going to the lower level of the building, the level that held the training center. 

There was a guard standing outside the room and he held up his hand to stop Dean from going further. “Let me through,” Dean said sharply. 

“Sir, you’re not allowed in this room,” the guard replied. 

“Do you know who I am?” Dean asked as he took an angry step towards the peacekeeper. 

“Dean Winchester,” the peacekeeper replied. 

“That’s right,” Dean replied. “Did you watch last years Games? Do you know what I’m capable of?” 

At this, the peacekeeper drew his gun and pointed it at Dean. “I’d step back if I were you.” 

Dean scoffed at the gun. “If you kill me, you’re going to have an angry city on your hands.”

“I don’t need to kill you,” the peacekeeper sneered. 

Dean heard the stun charge load in the gun a fraction of a second before the bolt was fired at him. Dean acted fast, stepping to the side he brought his hand up towards the gun, and gripped the barrel hard, shoving it upwards towards the ceiling where the blue stun bolt harmlessly hit the bullet proof glass. 

Dean punched the peacekeeper hard in the face, causing him to fall, and taking his gun from him as he did so. Dean didn’t hesitate, he pulled the trigger, sending the peacekeeper into unconsciousness. He then bent, retrieved the key from the peacekeeper’s belt, and let himself into the training center. 

The room was no different than it had been last year, with dummies and weapons placed in various locations around the large room, ready for tributes to use them. Dean made his way to the knife throwing section and picked up a knife. He allowed the weight of it to sit in his hand for a second before he brought his arm back and threw. The knife landed in the dummies heart and Dean threw knife after knife until he ran out.

He moved on to the archery station, his anger slowly becoming manageable again as he shot. He was down to about three arrows when the sound of the training center doors being shoved open made Dean turn, arrow notched on his string. 

Five peacekeepers had entered the room, each with their guns drawn. Dean didn’t have time to release his arrow before three blue bolts of light hit him in the chest. Dean fell, hitting the ground hard. He felt the hands of two peacekeepers on him before he fully passed out, drifting off on a wave of darkness. 

 

Dean’s vision came back to him slowly. He was in his room in the penthouse, his right hand was cuffed to his bedpost, and Bobby was sitting in the corner by the door, his eyes glued on Dean in anger. 

“What the hell were you thinking , Dean!?” Bobby shouted as soon as he noticed Dean was awake. 

“I just needed to blow off some steam,” Dean replied with a grunt. 

“You attacked a peacekeeper, you’re lucky they didn’t have you turned into an avox!” Bobby spat. 

Dean laughed. “I’m a victor, Bobby, they wouldn’t.” 

“For you, they might make an acception,” Bobby grunted. “What were you doing down there anyway?” 

“I told you, I needed to blow off some steam.” 

“Mhm,” Bobby replied, disbelieving. 

Dean pulled his cuffed wrist away from his bedpost, allowing the chain of the cuffs to clink against the wood. “You gonna uncuff me?” 

“Only if you promise not to do anything stupid ever again,” Bobby replied. 

“I’m not sure I can promise that,” Dean said. 

Bobby sighed and moved towards Dean anyway, the key to the cuffs glistening in his hands. “I don’t know what’s gotten into you, Dean.” 

Bobby unlocked the cuffs and Dean pulled his wrist away, rubbing the spot where the metal had dug into his flesh. 

“You have a visitor, hopefully she’ll be able to knock some sense into you.” 

“Who is it?” Dean asked curiously as Bobby moved towards the door. 

Dean’s answer strolled through the doorway as soon as Bobby opened the door. It was Amara. Her black dress flowed out behind her as she moved across the room to come sit beside Dean on his bed. 

“Don’t worry about what Bobby said, all us victors have found a way to piss off the peacekeepers in the Capitol.” 

Dean chuckled. “To what do I owe the pleasure, Amara?” 

“Well, I just wanted to tell you that my trip to District 2 was a success. I’ve got people lined up to rebel at your word. Every other victor that returned home has also found success and I believe that Ketch is fully on our side now.” 

Dean nodded. “Good. Unfortunately, my plans are going to have to be pushed back.” 

Amara crooked her eyebrows. “Why?” 

“I went to see Zachariah today and he threatened Sam in the arena if I continue to try and end the Games.” 

“Zachariah knows about your plans?” Amara asked. 

“I think he’s known for a while, he had some Capitol girl spying on me, but it doesn’t matter right now. Until Sam is safe and out of the arena where I can protect him, my plans are on hold.” 

“And what are your plans exactly?” Amara asked. 

“Our followers distract the peacekeepers and I kill Zachariah,” Dean replied simply. 

“The Games won’t end with just Zachariah’s death,” Amara said. “You’re going to have to kill the head Gamemaker too.” 

“Metatron?” Dean asked. 

Amara nodded. “He loves the Games almost as much as Zachariah, he’d make sure they continued long after his death.”

“I’ll take out whoever I need to take out to put a stop to this,” Dean said. “If the Districts rise up and cause a large enough distraction I should be able to get to the President and Metatron.” 

“And what should us victors be doing during all of this?” 

“Fighting the Capitol’s resistance,” Dean replied. 

“Dean, you’re not going to be able to take on Zachariah and Metatron alone,” Amara reasoned. “I could help.” 

Dean shook his head. “No, you’re going to be needed in the city, I can handle them.” 

“I just don’t want to see you get killed after everything you’ve been through.” 

“Well then I’ll take great care not to die,” Dean replied with a smile. 

Amara sighed, stood up, and planted a kiss on Dean’s cheek. “Dean Winchester, you are impossible.” Before Dean could say anything, Amara had headed off towards the door. “I’ll fill the other victors in on your plans.” 

Dean’s bedroom door shut with a click and then he was alone. Dean sighed and turned on the screen that was mounted on the wall across from his bed. He hadn’t checked in on Sam in a while and he was growing worried that something might have happened to his little brother in the few hours that Dean had been out of commission. 

When the screen lit up with the Games, Sam was the first face Dean saw. His brother was leading Mick across a stream that was littered with large rocks that Sam used as stepping stones. Mick almost fell in once but Sam steadied him and they continued on. They climbed over boulders and pushed through low hanging tree branches until they came upon a small mossy clearing. 

As Sam and Mick set their things down the camera moved to show the careers. Knowing that this meant Sam wasn’t in any current danger, Dean allowed himself to relax. He couldn’t help but think of what Zachariah had said about extorting Dean’s weakness of his brother in the arena. His threat hadn’t shaken Dean as much as the President had hoped it would have, instead it ignited something in Dean’s chest. If this was how the President was going to play, then Dean would fight fire with fire. 

 

Chapter Text

Sam set his backpack down and collapsed on the soft moss that made up the small clearing he and Mick had found. “Do you think we’ll stay here tonight?” Mick asked. 

Sam nodded as he unscrewed the cap to his water bottle. “I think so.” 

“Then I’ll go look for some food.” 

Sam nodded his approval. “Don’t go too far.” 

“I won’t,” Mick promised. 

Sam sat back against a moss covered boulder with a sigh. Sam couldn’t help but applaud the Gamemakers, in a way, the arena was beautiful, it was a shame that it was built to be the gravesite of so many deaths. 

It had only been about five minutes since Mick left, that Sam heard approaching footsteps. Immediately Sam recognized the danger, it wasn’t one set of footsteps, it was two. Sam rose to his feet, clutching his small knife, ready to take on whoever was going to enter into the clearing. 

Jess and Jack emerged from the trees and Jess let out a gasp. “Sam!”

“Jess!” Sam exclaimed. He ran towards her and embraced her, kissing the top of her head. 

“I’m so glad you're alright,” Jess whispered into Sam’s chest. 

“Likewise,” Sam replied.

“Um, am I interrupting something?” 

Mick’s voice made Sam and Jess pull apart. “No,” Sam replied, an uncontrollable smile on his face. “No, you’re not interrupting.” 

“Good, because I brought food,” Mick said, hoisting a bird of some sort into the air. “Although, I didn’t realize we were going to be having guests.” 

“Oh, that’s okay, we have food of our own we can eat,” Jess said. 

Mick went to prepare the food and Sam moved over to Jack. “Hey, Jack, it’s good to see you.” 

Jack nodded. “You too, Sam. I’m glad to see you’ve stayed alive. How did you escape the careers? And who is your... ‘friend’?” 

“That’s Mick, he saved me from the careers,” Sam replied. 

“Do you trust him?” Jack asked in a low voice. 

Sam looked at Mick, who was letting Jess help him build the fire, and narrowed his eyes. “Not in the slightest.” 

“So, why don’t you just kill him now?” Jack asked. 

The suggestion made Sam’s stomach turn. He’d killed two people since he’d been in the arena, but both kills had been in self-defense, Sam didn’t think he’d ever be able to kill anyone purposefully. “He’s useful right now,” Sam said. “I think I’ll keep him around a bit longer.” 

Jack shrugged. “Suit yourself.” 

Jack went off to sit down and Sam moved over to Jess, who was now sitting back watching the flames. “What have you and Jack been doing these past few days?” Sam asked. 

“We’ve mostly just been looking for you,” Jess replied. 

“Well, you found me,” Sam laughed. 

Jess kissed Sam quickly on the lips. “Yes, we did, and you’re not leaving my sight again Sam Winchester.”

“Only if you don’t leave mine,” Sam replied softly. 

 

“Hey, lover-boy, dinner’s ready,” Mick called a few minutes later. 

“Great.” Sam got up and took half of the bird Mick had caught before returning to Jess. “Want some?” Sam asked. 

Jess shook her head. “No thanks, you need it more than I do.” 

“If you change your mind, let me know,” Sam said. 

Sam dug into the bird, letting the meat fill his taste buds. It was dry and lacked any sort of flavor, but Sam was too hungry to care. He finished the bird in five minutes and Jess looked at him in awe. “Wow.” 

“What?” Sam asked as he licked his fingers. “I was hungry.” 

“Apparently.” 

“I think we should all get some rest,” Jack said. “I’ll take first watch.” 

Sam nodded. “Sounds good.” 

“Tomorrow, I’m thinking we make our way back to the desert,” Mick said. 

“Why?” Jess asked. 

“Because, most of the tributes are here in the mountains, if we want to avoid them we should leave the mountains for a couple of days, stock up on some food and water, and hit the desert.” Mick replied. 

Sam nodded slowly. “I think Mick’s right, the mountains are getting too crowded, we need to let the careers have free range for a few days.” 

Jack stared from Mick to Sam and then at Jess, who nodded. “Alright then, tomorrow we go to the desert,” Jack said. 

Everyone settled down for the night, Sam and Jess curled up together on the soft moss, and with Jess’ body within arms reach, Sam felt himself relax and fall asleep. 

****

“We’re almost there!” Mick called from the front of the group where he and Jack were walking. 

Sam’s healing wounds had slowed him down a bit and he and Jess were farther back from Jack and Mick. “Good,” Sam muttered through clenched teeth.

“You’re going to make it,” Jess encouraged.

“You’re faith in me is incredible,” Sam grunted. 

“Jack, Sam’s going to need a break soon,” Jess said. 

Jack nodded. “The desert is in view, we can take a quick break right now before we get there.” 

Sam collapsed to the ground in relief and Jess handed him a water bottle. Sam drank from it greedily as Jess tended to some of his wounds, redressing and cleaning them. After she was done they took a few minutes to eat some nuts and berries and then Jack helped Sam to his feet and they continued on. 

They reached the desert within twenty minutes and began their trek through the sandy landscape. Jess was in the lead now, taking the group back towards the cave that she and Sam had spent some time in. The day was starting to wind down by the time they reached the ravine-like path that brought them to the cave. Sam gratefully slumped to the ground inside the cave and Jess sat next to him, a gentle hand rubbing circles across his back. 

“You made it,” Jess said. 

Sam smiled softly. “ We made it.” Without another word, Sam fell into the abyss of sleep, exhaustion taking root in his body.  

 

Sam woke to daylight streaming through the entrance to the cave. Jess was lying beside him, her soft breathing still showed that she was asleep, but when Sam turned his gaze to the rest of the cave he saw that Jack was awake. 

“Morning,” Sam said as he pushed himself into a sitting position. His back was sore from sleeping on the hard ground and his muscles were stiff from their long walk back to the desert. 

“Did you sleep well?” Jack asked. 

Sam snorted. “Like a baby. The Gamemakers really outdid themselves this year with the wonderfully uncomfortable rocks they put in the ground.” 

Jack laughed, but his laugh died in his throat and he extended a hand towards Sam in caution. “Sam, don’t move.” 

“What is it?” Sam asked. 

“Scorpion, on your left leg,” Jack replied. 

Sam’s eyes shifted down to his leg to see a white scorpion crawling up his pant leg. He froze, hardly daring to breathe. Jack slowly moved towards Sam, sliding quietly across the rocky ground. Jack reached out towards Sam’s leg but Sam held up a hand to stop him. “What are you doing?”

“We have to get it off you,” Jack replied. “If you move it might sting you.” 

“If you try to move it it might sting you ,” Sam retorted. 

“It’ll be fine,” Jack tried to reassure him. 

Sam was not convinced. The scorpion had now decided to halt its climb up Sam’s leg and instead began to raise its tail in a warning position. 

Jack acted fast, before the scorpion could sting Sam, Jack had flashed his hand forward and knocked it from Sam’s leg. As the scorpion fell, Sam turned to look at Jack, who was massaging his hand in pain. 

“Jack?” Sam asked. “Did it sting you?” 

“I’m fine,” Jack grunted. 

“You’re not fine,” Sam said as he moved to get a closer look at Jack. 

“Forget about me,” Jack hissed. “Find the scorpion and kill it.” 

Sam met Jack’s eyes for a few seconds before he nodded and began to search for the small creature. He found it burrowing in a sandy part of the cave. Using his knife, Sam brought the scorpion back to the surface where he managed to first, cut off its tail, and then sever its head from its body. 

With the scorpion dead, Sam turned his attention back to Jack, who was trying hard to keep himself together. “How does it feel?” Sam asked. 

“How do you think?” Jack spat back, pain clear on his face. 

“Just stay calm, maybe it wasn’t poisonous,” Sam said.

“Of course it was poisonous Sam, it’s the Hunger Games,” Jack growled. 

“Maybe it’s not a fatal poison,” Sam rephrased.

“What’s going on?” Jess’ voice broke into Sam and Jack’s argument. 

“Jack’s been stung by a scorpion,” Sam replied. 

“What!?” Jess asked in shock. 

“Better say your goodbyes now,” Jack grumbled. 

“Don’t talk like that,” Sam snapped. 

“Well there’s no use beating around the bush,” Jack replied. 

“Where is the scorpion now?” Jess asked. 

“I killed it,” Sam replied. “It’s over there.”

Jess moved to look at the scorpion as Mick began to stir from his sleep. “What’s all the commotion?” 

“Jack’s been stung by a scorpion,” Jess answered. 

Mick’s eyes rounded in surprise. “That’s quite unfortunate.” 

“I don’t think it’s poisonous,” Jess said suddenly from where she was crouching over the dead scorpion. 

“How do you know?” Sam asked. 

“I remember learning about some desert animals during training and scorpions were one of them, only certain ones are venomous. As far as I can remember, the white ones are harmless, it’s the black ones you have to watch out for.” 

“That might be true for the creatures out in the real world, but in the arena, the Gamemakers could have created mutations,” Mick said. 

“Yes, but there is also the chance that the Gamemakers aren’t using a mutation,” Jess argued. 

“I guess we’re just going to have to find out,” Jack grunted from where he was lying on the ground, with Sam crouching over him. Jack was trying his hardest to keep tears at bay, but the pain was clearly unbearable. Sweat was beading across his forehead and face and his eyes were slowly growing more bloodshot with each passing second. 

Sam reached out a hand and touched Jack’s forehead. “He’s burning up.” 

“That’d be the poison,” Mick said, with a pointed look at Jess.

Jess shook her head. “It’s not all poison.” 

“What is it then?” Sam asked.

“There is some poison in his system, yes, but it’s not going to kill him. I’m not saying that these next couple of days are going to be easy, Jack, but you’re not going to die.” 

Jack only let out a pained hiss but Sam saw a flicker of relief enter his eyes. Jack believed Jess, Sam did too, but there was always the possibility that she could be wrong.