The escort of the district stepped out onto the stage, a smile plastered across his face as he stared into the cameras that surrounded it. It was time once again to choose two children to compete in the Hunger Games, and it was his job to do so.
"It is time," he said as he stood over the impatient people of the District, "To once again send two of our own children to the Capitol to compete in the Hunger Games. Let us begin the Reaping!"
He did not look to see the reaction of his district before reaching into the glass ball that held the names of the female children. "Ladies first," he announced, pulling out a slip of paper. He unfolded it and read out to the crowd, "Glacia Eon!" He then reached into the other ball. "Titus... um... can't read that... uh... Titus!"
OOC- RPing is allowed. If you wish to volunteer, let the tribute post first either accepting or stepping down from their place for volunteers, and then post. If the tribute doesn't reply by Tuesday, June 27th, a staff member will post saying that volunteering is open. Please do not post until you see this staff message. FIRST COME, FIRST SERVE.
Tributes, please do not make your acceptance or denial of your spot in character; instead, please leave an OOC note at the end of your post stating whether they accept or are stepping down for volunteers.
Not physically, I guess. It's more like with the blade he holds to his own skin that he cuts with.
Not physically of course.
It's a lighter.
Sometimes when I catch him at it, I take it and hide it. When he found it again, I took it with me and tossed it off the bridge, right into the river. Wouldn't you know, he found himself a new one.
I take the lighter but it seems like it's a nightmare, no matter how many I take, he finds himself a new one and his arms are all fucked up again, burned over and over. He doesn't do it one purpose, he's always reassuring me, but in the end it doesn't matter because it happens, see?
I don't know.
Teddy Seraphim is dying.
I say it like that because it's true, it's a fact. Poor kid's heart is finally giving out. Mine would too I think after dying once and going through what he did in the Detention Center. The problem is that if he just had access to a new heart, maybe he could survive. There'd be a chance at least.
My boy builds coffins but not just for himself, for his little brother too.
He's still building his mother's, haunted.
I adjust my tie carefully, staring at the wall in my bedroom. Faint morning light paints the wall where a mirror used to be years ago. I took it down when my father cut my face, unable to look at it anymore.
Tate tells me that I'm beautiful but I didn't believe him the first time and I sure as hell don't believe him now.
I think about last reaping, drunk and wearing the same clothing as the night before because Tate and I had had a huge fight. It isn't like that now. We still argue, me about his arms, him about my parents.We don't fight anymore though, not after last time when I almost lost him and he almost lost me.
My fingers shake and I bite my lip, wondering why the fuck I didn't sleep with him last night, wondering what the fuck is wrong with me. I feel like my insides are eating themselves, like I'm dying. I don't know why I'm dying. Maybe because it feels like the entire world is crumbling and maybe that's because it is. Tate is crumbling. He's burning himself alive, slowly but surely and there's nothing I can do. I can take as many lighters as I want but he's always going to find himself a new one.
There's nothing I can do and that's what bothers me.
I finish with my tie and hook a leg over the window, not wanting to run into my parents. Tate is meeting me at the bridge and I don't want to be late for him, he's fragile right now. He's been fragile for months, ever since he was almost reaped.
He was reaped.
I shudder, the sunlight on my head doing nothing to keep me from being cold. My fingers itch to touch his, to hold his hand.
I see him standing on the bridge from the streets of the slums and a lump forms in my throat; I love him.
I love him so god damned much it hurts.
I lace my hand with his when I reach him and kiss him, free hand finding the back of his neck. I let my grip leak into his hair, feather soft. He tastes like last night and I know he's scared by the way his hand tightens around mine. I take a moment, resting my head on his shoulder, watching the sun finish rising over the district. He's mine and I'm his and in this moment, it's just us.
It's just us.
We go together and meet his brothers outside the square. Merlin holds teddy up, small hands touching him so gently and teddy sweating in the cool morning air. He smiles when he sees us but the smile is just for Tate and it's just a lie. He turns and presses his face into Merlin's neck, shivering with fever.
I squeeze Tate's hand, uncertain if he's alright with me kissing him in public, knowing that if I really wanted to he'd let me.
Maybe after. Maybe after when we're both safe and we're okay again.
I stand a row or two ahead of the triplets and my hand feels bare so I clench it closed. I open it again and I wish that Tate could stand beside me, that K and S were closer in the alphabet. I hate being without him now, hate thinking about him alone. My skin feels hot and cold all at once and I can't focus on the escort, his words sound like soup.
For a solid moment, I stand still, breath collecting in my chest and failing to make it through my body, to my brain. My feet trip for a moment and a hand beside me pats my back, shoving me forwards. My mouth opens slightly and I lick my lips, fingers clenching at the air. Despite everything, my feet take me forward.
My brain doesn't grasp it yet as I walk through the crowd, disjointed.
I look back, searching for him.
Hey baby, where are you?
[ooc: permission to rp it as nemo being reaped, volunteer post coming soon!]
Post by that's rough buddy on Jun 24, 2017 19:48:26 GMT -5
It's all about control. Such a precious thing, fleeting when your mother stands up on a stage, bullet through her skull. When your little brother wheezes as he breathes, struggling to last another week. And your failure tastes like hours spent in a library, pouring over books about the human body and its secrets only to be told there is no answer. No saving him. Living hurts so much that death has become a fantasy. Guilty pleasures that plague my dreams when I haven't the consciousness to hide them.
Control is an illusion, prone to spiraling in and out of reality and there are only so many times I can watch the man I love walk out of my front door and into a death trap. Then he comes home with bruises and scrapes and perhaps another needle in his chest and dares to ask me why my skin is singed as though he does not know the answer.
I haven't been sleeping well. Not since they shouted my name across a silent crowd and he tried to save a life that was not his to save. Nemo would die for a man whose only reason to live is his smile. The smell of his clothes - like gunpowder and lavender - whose beauty is lost upon himself but floors me. I lose myself within his eyes and no matter how many times I tell him his eyes always fall upon the scar across his cheek.
An ugly reminder of a home he will not leave. I try so hard not to get angry, to hold onto resentment but it hurts to feel rejected every time he calls home a place that is not my own. He could have everything and yet he chooses pain. Perhaps he thinks I'm ignorant to it all but alas, I can only wish I was.
I'm not ready for the reaping. To watch Merlin support a boy who should be so much stronger than him. To forget about the half finished breakfast my brother left upon the dining room table, growing thinner and thinner no matter the vitamins I pour into his stupid fucking tea. I made a promise to my mother, before they dragged her away, she held my hands to her heart and promised that I still had it- no matter where she ended up.
(Upon a stage, glassy eyed and blood pooling around her shattered skull.)
In exchange, I would keep Teddy safe. I would keep him away from all the evil and care for my other brothers- even if that meant taking on the brunt of this burden myself.
I have nightmares about her too. Everything I love has turned to poison, another reason to scream and cry and claw at my skin the moment I wake in a fit of tears and sweat. I haven't enough skin left to burn all of my demons.
"I love you." I tell him this before they force us into lines, take our blood and herd us like lambs for slaughter. His skin is always soft beneath my lips, hands bracing either side of his temple and every part of him tastes sweet. Even his forehead for only the briefest of moments. I haven't the courage to kiss him for real, not where eyes can see how much better he deserves.
Nemo understands the rawest parts of me. Unpolished and unguarded, more than tears and blood and make believe. No matter how hard I've tried to become Robin Hood the night ends with clotted crimson upon my palms and hatred somewhere in the pit of my stomach. Fear and anger and everything that I never wanted to be. It kills me to become so broken, but only he knows that.
They have to pull us apart, when the time comes. My hands were laced too tightly within his and I whimper when our fingers separate. I'm scared. Really fucking scared.
But there's no reason to be. Only last games did they call me name- did a man come so far only to die for me and oh I cannot get Atlas' name out of my head. Branded into a stupid belt. It should have been me. It should have been my name. It should have-
It doesn't matter. The chances of someone I love being called to the stage are astronomical at the very least.
There's nothing to worry about.
I've heard wrong.
"No." The response is immediate, visceral and pained and my hand goes to the waist of my jeans when I know my weapon is stowed safely beneath the floorboards five blocks away. I don't know what I plan to do, pushing through sweaty bodies and angry groans. I'll kill them all. I'll do whatever I have to. "Bullshit! You can't have him!" I don't care what kind of a scene I make- I don't care who sees or what they think.
Because all I want is Nemo. "Not agaIN!" My throat is shattered, broken and raw as I reach for him. "YOU'RE NOT DOING THIS TO ME AGAIN!"
I think there's a fist that connects with my temple, eyes swimming with stars and stripes. But my feet won't stop- I can't stop until he is safe within my arms and-
"Someone please, stop them. Please. Please." I fall to my knees, pleading with the universe over and over and-
I wouldn't mind if his name was the last thing to leave my lips.
Post by steel campano | 8f | zoë on Jun 24, 2017 23:31:30 GMT -5
I wake up warm.
Flower petals in my dreams, the sun evaporates the ice underneath my bruised skin. Floristry hand-picked by my favourite person blooms on our bedside table and I drink in their light scent. West stirs underneath her blankets and I smile: today is a good day.
Today we don't have to fight.
I am her shield in the crowds, walking hand-in-hand like little kids to our fate. History repeats every year and we are still two orphans with nobody but each other here to look the universe in the eyes and ask what will come next. Nobody has to tell me where she will end up. I know she'll be okay, no matter what. Sacrifice dances on my tongue and waits for the call of her name.
All eyes on me. I recoil from their judgement, their sympathy, their sighs of relief. Squeeze West's hand, let her go, realise that she'll have no-one to protect her anymore, oh shit, West-
I've never been scared of dying. Lips locked like the line on the horizon, I march towards daybreak and what this will bring. A red sky, blood rain, the cool touch of a blade. I'm not afraid of this yet I still tremble, because I meet the kisses of fists every day and know how my bones shatter underneath their faux love. I can taste the blood in my mouth from when my teeth pierce their skin. I fight - not for myself. For her. For West.
I tremble because I am terrified of her fate now that I cannot control it.
I should have let West come with me last winter. Should have let her escape, found her a nice family on those hills of houses who'd take her in and keep her warm. Should have laid in the ice a little longer, watching the sky turn blue to grey to white. Should have stayed there, fallen asleep in the snow, let the gentle white fall bury my body. Should have let my heart beat slow down until I was an echo of it, then a memory, then the aching silence of it's passing. At least then I could decide for myself how I died.
I always came back for West.
When the doors close and the crowds disappear I panic:
Because I can't remember what the flowers by my bedside smell like.
"The future can't be real, I barely know how long a moment is"
I know what I am and what I'm worth and I have always known these things.
My mom and dad haven't given a single shit about me in 9 years and anyone else since except maybe Mason but half the time I can't tell if he loves me or if I piss him the fuck off. Maybe it's a bit of both.
Mason lets me use his shower for the reaping and I stand kind of awkwardly in front of the steam-kissed glass of his bathroom mirror, running my fingers through my hair over and over, trying to flatten it. Some piece of chicken shit version of me always half-hopes that one day I'll see my parents at the square with my little sisters and brother and they'll see me and maybe they'll open their arms up. They'd be crying, calling for me, "Titus," they'd say, "Titus honey, we're so sorry we ever let you go, please come back."
But that's never going to happen because my parents stopped pretending I existed at all the day they handed me a backpack with a granola bar and told me, "Good luck."
I run my fingers through a hair again in an attempt to flatten it down but it springs right up, ready to greet the fucking day I guess. Perfect. C'est la fucking bee.
"Titus, come on, we need to go."
Mason knocks on the door and I jump a bit, managing to knock the hairbrush I'd been using off of the sink and into the trash can. It lands with a clatter, loud knocking all round. Mason is silent from outside, I'm sure he expects me to fuck up at this point.
"Sorry," I whisper to the hairbrush before placing it on the shelf above.
"Don't apologize to an inanimate object, idiot," says Mason from outside the door and I wonder how the fuck he heard me.
I push out the door and he ruffles my hair and hands me a piece of toast spread with butter. It smells like real butter, something I don't think I've had in awhile. My usual meals come from forgotten plates and the cheapest vendors in the square. I don't mind, I think everything tastes good. I have a cast iron stomach. Doc says it's because I'm a growing teenage boy and I need whatever nutrients I can find.
Mason says it's because I've got killer survival instincts.
I stuff the toast in my mouth, too nervous not to eat. "Hey, think I'll be reaped? "
He doesn't say anything and I don't tell Mason that if he gets reaped then I'm already ready to volunteer for him. No matter what, I'm ready to volunteer. Last year I didn't need to, the quell meant that anyone who wanted could enter. The year before, when Tate was reaped, I was ready but someone beat me to it. This year, I wouldn't mind so much still if someone did but just in case someone important gets reaped, I'm ready to yell.
Mason leaves me in the line where I'm supposed to be and I crane my head, going up on my toes to try and catch a glimpse of the parents I haven't seen in nine years. There's too many people in the square; I don't see them. When I turn though, I can see Mason in line, even Nemo, Tate's boyfriend that doesn't know about the gang or what we do.
I spot Cal next and then Teva.
I stand in the front of the fifteens, with no last name and so I see Merlin, standing where he isn't meant to be, supporting Teddy Seraphim. He leans on Merlin heavily, eyes shut and pale. Everyone knows that he's dying.
Everyone knows that when Teddy dies, the only thing that Tate will have left is Nemo.
That's why it seems like some strange twist of fate when Nemo's name is pulled from the bowl. The district is silent in shock as the second half of the couple is reaped only two year after Tate's name was pulled. For a moment, so am I.
Then Tate starts flipping out, screaming like an insane kind of flower in a garden of statues.
They won't miss me.
Tate, they'd miss.
Without Nemo, there's no Tate.
Me? I'm nothing. I'm just some pick pocket Teva picked up because he felt bad for the scrawny kid with hungry eyes five years ago. I'm nothing but the gang pet, the cute little fuck up. I fuck everything up.
I raise my hand as Tate's cries of anguish ring out through the silent square.