Today was the day, Jaime thought happily. Today was the day the choosing ceremony would take place. He was ready. He had trained his whole life for this moment. He had put his name several times into the jar, just to be sure he would be the chosen one today. To be sure he would be the champion of the District 1.
He watched around him as people gathered on the place they were. Old people, children, men, women… Everyone had to come. Everyone had to be there, it was an order. The Capitol would be watching if everyone were truly here for the ceremony.
From the corner of his eye, the eldest of the Lannisters' siblings spotted his twin sister, Cersei, smiling at him. He returned the smile with a discreet wink before turning to his little brother Tyrion next to him.
"- How are you feeling, little brother ?", Jaime playfully asked.
"-You know I don't like this…", replied the half-man, looking around him, extremely serious.
"- Well, you know they won't pick you or Cersei, you both only put your names once. No need to worry"
"-I'm not worried about that…"
"- What, you think I won't win the games?", asked the eldest of the Lannisters with a fake pout, pretending to be offended.
Tyrion didn't reply, only shot a meaningful glance at his big brother. Jaime opened his mouth but got cut off when the voice of Podrick Payne echoed around them.
"- Welcome to the 34th edition of the Hunger games ! We are about to pick our champions who will fight for District 1 !"
Everyone suddenly went quiet around the two teenagers and watch almost with impatience as the young man put his hand into the jar. The whole crowd stopped breathing as the hand went out, holding a small piece of paper. Unfolding it, Podrick cleared his voice before announcing:
"- Our male champion for this edition will be...Jaime Lannister !"
The crowd started cheering as Jaime raised both of his hands in victory. Only two people weren't clapping as Jaime climbed the steps to go and stand near Podrick: Cersei and Tyrion.
"- And now for our female champion…"
Podrick went for another piece of paper, silencing the crowd.
"- It will be quite a show this year", announced the man, reading the piece of paper. "For we will have twins fighting each other ! Our female champion is Cersei Lannister !"
Nobody spoke for a few seconds, as everyone was too shocked to say or do anything. Cersei was standing completely still, her mouth slightly opened. By her side, her little brother seemed at loss.
It was impossible.
Perhaps the most shocked of them all was Jaime himself. He had wanted to be a part of one the Hunger games his whole life. And when his dream had finally come true, he would have to kill his own sister, his twin, the woman he loved the most in the world, if the rumours were true.
Once the population recovered from the shock of the announcement, it erupted in cheers and screams of encouragement. People started roughly pushing Cersei towards the stage, so that she could stand next to Jaime, who still looked horrified. Stumbling, Cersei climbed the stairs, more in an attempt to get away from the crowd than to stand on the stage.
The people were starting to get completely wild when a voice was heard, covering them all:
"- I volunteer !"
Everyone turned around to look at Tyrion. The half-man ? As the champion of the District 1 ? Against Jaime Lannister ? A few people started chucking quietly, quickly followed by more, and soon the whole crowd was laughing their heads off.
"- I volunteer", repeated Tyrion even louder, staring at his siblings.
Jaime was silently shaking his head, his eyes wide open, begging him to stop, while Cersei looked curiously at the dwarf. Almost with compassion, if his sister had ever been capable of such a feeling.
Slowly, and with some difficulties given the height of the steps, Tyrion climbed the stage and went to stand right next to his big brother, who glared at him.
"-What ?", asked the imp innocently. "You know I always had a big mouth…"
"-Looks like we have two male champions for our District !", announced Podrick enthusiastically. "What a twist, my friends, what a twist ! Miss Lannister, you can leave the stage, your brother will fight in your place !"
With a last look for her twin, Cersei left, without a single glance for Tyrion.
"- She had only put her name once…", whispered Jaime to himself, still not believing what was happening. "Only once…"
"- Well, apparently that was enough…", replied Tyrion matter-of-factly.
Those words seemed to bring Jaime back to the real world. Staring at his brother, he spat:
"- Why the hell did you do that ?"
"- I know you wouldn't be able to kill Cersei. And I didn't want you to die murdered by her, because she wouldn't hesitate putting a dagger into your heart if it meant her survival. I figured it would be easier for you to kill me rather than our dear sister…"
Jaime looked like he had just been punched in the guts. Even Podrick's voice didn't make him react.
"- Please everyone, give a last goodbye to our champions ! May the odds ever be in their favour !"
The crowd cheered one last time as the words echoed in Tyrion's head. When had the odds ever been in his favour ?