Teleported away

The 74th Hunger Games are about to begin, but Valkyrie doesn't know that yet. Only that Fletcher has teleported her somewhere very odd.
(Mix of Hunger Games and childhood favorite Skulduggery Pleasant. Set while Valkyrie and Fletcher are still together.)

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7. Hiding out

The blonde boy adjusted his posture, but kept his spear aimed at their heads.

He nodded at Valkyrie."What can the girl do?"

"Fight."

"What about you?"

"I'm fast."

"What district are you?"

"Eight."

"You look different."

"Hair dye."

"What happened to her?"

"Fire."

"What have you got?"

"Matches, a knife and a staff."

"Will you share?"

"The matches."

"What were your scores?"

Fletcher's facade dropped for a moment, confused by the question, but he replied smoothly. "Seven."

"I'm Cato, this is Glimmer, Marvel, Clove and Peeta," Cato nodded at all of them. "You're in."

"We're Fletcher and Valkyrie."

He gestured to the blonde boy, the one who had run away at the beginning, who dropped the stick he was playing with and stood up. "Lover boy! Go fix the girl!" Peeta jogged over to Valkyrie, pulling her over to a log and beginning to clean her scalp. She moaned softly, reaching up to touch her hair, and feeling clumps of it disintegrate in her fingers.

Fletcher raised one eyebrow. "Can I ask a few questions?" Cato nodded.

"Have you got food?"

"Yes."

"Water?"

"Yes."

"Will you share?"

"Maybe."

"Have you got weapons?"

"Yes."

"Can you use them?"

"Yes."

"What are you doing?"

"Hunting fire girl."

Fletcher sat down, clearly out of questions, while Peeta gently cleaned Valkyrie's scalp. She waved at Fletcher, getting his attention. "Pass the knife," she croaked. He handed it over. She grabbed a handful of what was left of her hair, hacking it off. She proceeded to chop off the rest of her hair into a messy pixie-crop. Sitting on the rotten log, surrounded by piles of hair.

***

Cato jumped up, dropped the bread he was eating and sniffed the air like an animal. It had been a few hours since they arrived, where Fletcher and Valkyrie had eaten and drunk, quenching their parched throats. Her head had been cleaned, and although it was covered in scabs and blisters, it would heal. Her face was marred by the bloody scabs though, stretching over her forehead, pulling her face into a grimace.

"I can hear something. It's her." Valkyrie listened, hearing splashing. "Come on! Pack it up, let's go! Come on!" Cato shouted at them. The fire was doused, everything picked up within a few seconds, and they were up and running, following Cato. Valkyrie feel in next to Fletcher, who nodded at her. They were at the back, Fletcher being unfit and Valkyrie slowed down by her injured foot.

"Why would you do that? They're killers!" Valkyrie said, between heavy breaths.

"They're our best hope of surviving," Fletcher replied, before jogging ahead. They came out next to a pond, where a girl was submerged, a look of bliss on her face. With a shock, Valkyrie realised that it was the girl they had ran into into in the fire. The others laughed, running forwards towards her. 

This was utterly inhumane.

The girl woke up, splashing frantically as she noticed their presence. She quickly climbed out and began running ahead of them, nimble on her feet. though Valkyrie could see a bloody gash in her thigh.

"Come on guys, let's catch her!" Glimmer shouted, whooping as they ran. Valkyrie tried not to throw up at her eagerness to kill. They followed the girl, Valkyrie just managing to keep up, kept fit by Tanith's training. But they fell behind a little, then lost the girl. They stopped in a group of trees, the others angrily muttering.

"Where is she?"

Peeta pointed up into the trees. "Up there!" he shouted. Valkyrie looked up and saw a black figure pulling herself up the branches of a high tree, already 20 feet in the air. Hiding in the trees? Why hadn't she thought of that? Was this girl the shape she had seen the other night, when they were running from Avanna? Whoever she was, she seemed at home in the treetops.

Cato pulled off his rucksack, grabbing a knife and climbing after her. The others cheered, Valkyrie and Fletcher joining in, though their's were weak and unenthusiastic. Cato was far too bulky for it though, and feel quickly, while she kept nimbly ahead. Valkyrie wasn't sure who she was cheering for. She looked up, seeing the girl settle herself on a large branch, tying herself to it with some rope.

Clove slapped Cato, probably angry that he fell. But Marvel held her back, saying, "let's just wait her out. She can't stay up there forever."

***

"Katniss."

Valkyrie lifted her head from the ground, disturbed by the mumbling.

"Katniss."

It was Peeta. "Isn't that the girl up there?" She whispered to him. He blinked, dazed, then his expression twisted, as if he was trying to hide something.

"Um, yeah. I was dreaming about, er, killing her."

Psychopath.

"Okay," Valkyrie replied, before turning away and shuffling over to Fletcher, eager to get away from Peeta. Fletcher was slumped in a borrowed sleeping bag, knife in hand. "Fletcher?" Valkyrie whispered. "Are you awake?"

He blinked a few times, then turned to face her. Funnily enough, his hair had managed to flatten itself over our few days here, no longer springing up in the air. Valkyrie knew that he'd been using hair gel, though he constantly denied it. "Yeah, why?"

Valkyrie shuffled under her blanket, clutching her staff. "I don't know. I just wanted to talk, really."

Fletcher groaned, turning to look at Cato. He was slumped against the tree, though he was supposed to be taking first watch. He held his spear tight. The others were all asleep, Peeta still muttering the girl's name. "Y'know, it's funny how you have so much, but don't realise it."

Valkyrie was surprised at how deep the conversation had gotten, but her heart panged as she thought of her family. Of her pregnant mother. Of her warm, comforting home. Of Skulduggery, wondering why they had never turned up at Ghastly. At least the reflection was there, so her parents wouldn't be worried. "Yeah. It's weird. I just miss them all so much." She sighed, running a hand through her newly short hair. Her parents would barely recognize her. If she ever saw them again. "Do you think we'll ever make it back?"

Fletcher's face strained, probably trying to Teleport, but then relaxed. It hadn't worked. "I don't know," he sighed. He reached into his pocket, then let out an exclamation of surprise. He pulled out a crumpled packet, which he held up to the light of the moon. "Gum!"

Valkyrie's stomach rumbled at the sight of it. The brightly coloured wrapping reminded her of home, of Dublin. She snatched it, pulling a piece out and popping it into her mouth. Valkyrie sighed as the minty flavour filled her mouth, quenching her thirst and refreshing her. "It's only been a few days, but I'd forgotten how good normal food tastes." She grinned as Fletcher chewed his piece, smiling back at her.

"Yeah."

They chewed in silence, both overcome with memories.

"Fletcher, we need to get out of here." He looked up in surprise. "I can't stay here and watch them kill that girl. It's barbaric."

Fletcher's face fell and he lay back down, shuffling back into his sleeping bag. "No. I don't want to leave. We're safe here."

Valkyrie sighed at his stubbornness. "Fletcher, are you going to watch them kill her? Are you going to help?"

Fletcher pouted. "No," he muttered.

"Then let's get out of here! They're all asleep, they won't notice. We can even take some food!"

Fletcher sat up, resting his head on his hand. "But they helped us! They gave us food, we can't steal it and run out with it!"

"They're monsters!" Valkyrie saw movement above, something white. Probably that Katniss girl, making the most of her last hours. Her eyes filled with tears as she realised this girl would never see another sunrise, never see her family again. She might have a little sister, like Valkyrie soon would. "I'm leaving. You can come or not."

Fletcher held his hand sup, worming his way out of the sleeping bag and folding it up. "Fine, I'm not leaving you. But I'm not happy about this." Valkyrie stood up, picking up her staff and grabbing a few packets of food. 

A noise sounded overhead, some kind of rough sawing. "This place is falling apart. let's just hope the tree falls on them," she muttered. They stood next to each other, looking back at the sleeping bodies of the Careers. "I'd kill them if I could."

"Come on, let's not kill anyone," Fletcher said, grabbing her hand.

And so they walked off, into the darkness.

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