Mercy (A Hunger Games fanfic)

Avea Thatcher isn't like most careers from District 4, she has no interest in the games or the fame and glory that come with being Victor. But after her twin sister, Lyra, is executed, her older sister, Xanthe, decides to volunteer for the 56th Hunger Games as a form of suicide. Avea knows she has to be the one to fight in the games if she is to save her sister and keep her family together. Seen as a traitor by the careers, Avea struggles to stay alive in the arena while keeping a vow she made to Lyra and herself to not let anyone suffer before they die.

"Before I black out I make a vow to myself: 'I will never let anyone suffer like she did. I will never let anyone suffer like my sister did.' And then I'm pulled into the blackness."

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16. Chapter 15

I wake up to the sound of the anthem. My arm and back are wrapped in clean white gauze, they feel like they've been to hell and back. The Seal of Panem floats in the sky and I sit up creakly. I pull my jacket out of my pack and carefully put it on.

"She's up!" Eris says excitedly and tackles me to the ground.

"Easy on the stitches," I laugh.

Harrison looks relieved, "We weren't sure you were going to make."

"You can't get rid of me that easy," I say and pull Harrison into a hug, "alright now watch the sky before we miss something."

I barely look up in time to see Copper's image fade away. The other's look surprised and Harrison even asks, "A Career? How did that happen?"

I laugh, "Just because they are good fighters doesn't make them invincible. I bet the boy from 12 killed him," the boy from 12 appears and the others look like they don't believe me, "Think about it. The boy from 12 screams in the middle of the night, Copper's on guard and sees this as a chance to get a kill and show off his skill. He runs to the river and like us he's taken by surprise when the crazed tribute runs after him screaming. No one is there to save him, so he dies."

Harrison scratches his head, "I guess that makes sense."

"Who cares how he died? All that matters is that the creep is dead," Eris says smugly.

"He was a creep," I agree.

"Ladies, enough gossip. I want to sleep," Ronan says with an exaggerated yawn.

"Alright prince. You guys sleep, I'll take watch," I say.

Ronan's brow crinkles, "You sure? You were hurt pretty badly."

"I'll be fine. I was out cold all day anyways."

"Ok then. This prince needs his beauty sleep," Ronan says and slides into the sleeping bag. Eris and Harrison laugh and get in their own sleeping bag.

Within minutes their slow breathes fill my ears and I'm alone. I think back over the events of the day, most of it I wasn't awake for and some of it I was to disoriented to understand what was happening, the one thing I remember clearly is my fight with Zale. I remember how prepared I was to slit his throat, I remember how afraid I was when he told me the Careers were after my allies, and I remember the feel of the knife digging into my arm forming the word TRAITOR and the feeling of hot blood trickling down. That word, TRAITOR, is a part of me now, if I die I'll take it to the grave with me, if I live it will be branded on me for all to see where ever I go it will go. I know I'm not traitor, I owe Zale nothing and I never betrayed my district, if I win it's still for them. But I can still feel the word burning into me.

I run my fingers over the bandage on my arm and can just feel the stitches underneath. Zale did this to me. I had known that he was determined and even a little bipolar, but I didn't think he would become this cruel, though; I should have, the way he intently watched Kassius mutilate tributes in the 48th Hunger Games made it pretty obvious that he enjoyed other's pain. If I'm going to die I won't let Zale be the one to kill me.

I lean back against a tree and stare at the stars; I wonder if they're real or just another one of the Gamemakers' illusions. The night passes slowly, I have a tomahawk ready in case someone decides to attack, but no one does. The cuts in my back and arm still are incredibly painful and I have trouble moving my right arm and back, but my thoughts distract from the pain and lack of movement. It's probably around 3 in the morning when Ronan wakes up.

"Hey, it's my shift," he says quietly so he doesn't wake the others up.

"I'm not tired, I can keep watch," I answer quietly.

"Then I'll stay with you," he replies.

I scoot over so that he can against the tree too. We sit there for a moment in silence before he breaks it.

"You could have died today," he whispers.

I look at him, his blue eyes turn gray in the moonlight, and answer simply, "But I didn't."

"What if you had?" he asks.

I think about this for a moment. If I had died what would've happened? I feel sick when I think about it, "Xanthe would be alone, she... she'd probably kill herself."

Ronan holds my good hand, I'm still having trouble moving my right arm, "That's why you have to be careful. That's why we all have to be careful. Xanthe isn't the only one who needs you, we need you. Imagine what would happen if we were attacked by the Careers without you."

"You'd be fine. The Careers are sissies," I reply honestly. They don't need me, but I need them. I would have gone crazy by now without them.

"No, you are the strongest person here. You're probably the strongest person in the arena. And honestly if you had died I would have been crushed. I don't care about many people, but I care about you," he says and puts his arm around me like it will keep me safe.

I have no idea how to respond, my cheeks are probably bright red and I'm just thankful it's to dark to see clearly. After a minute I know what to say, "I'm not a people person. The only people I've ever been close to are my family and my one friend, Selene. I never thought I would be able to be close to anyone again after Lyra died, it was just to hard. But I've gotten close you. I've gotten close to all of you," I look over at Eris and Harrison who are still sleeping.

Ronan smiles and kisses my forehead, "I'm glad you're ok."

My face must be even more red right now. I never understood why people in the districts ever cared about relationships or marriage when it could lead to so much pain, but I do now. I smile to myself and after a while Ronan falls asleep. I can't help being happy even though I know this will never end well.

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