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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23. Chapter 22

Ronan falls asleep before I do and I sit there enjoying my last moments with him. If I want Ronan to live then I have to leave him now, if I don't he could follow me to my fight with Zale and I know Zale would not hesitate to kill him. Besides he needs to get used to being without me because when he becomes Victor he'll have to spend his whole life without me. I also don't want him to have to kill me and I know he won't let me kill myself or let Crant kill me. Yes, it's best to leave now.

My lips press against the once smooth but now furrowed skin of his forehead and I glance mournfully down at him once more. I only bring my weapons, a water bottle, and a sleeping bag with me; I leave all of the food for him, God knows he'll need it more than I ever will since my clock is almost up. As I walk away from our camp snow falls from the clouds and shimmers in the moon's silver light, a sign that I'm doing the right thing or at least what the Gamemakers want me to do. A light dusting of snow quickly falls onto the ground and I have to be careful to keep my tracks hidden so that Ronan can't follow them.

The light sprinkle of snow steadily picks up intensity until I'm walking in a full on blizzard, the Gamemakers are trying to make up for a bloodless day. In less than an hour I'm walking in a foot of snow and it shows no sign of stopping.

My thoughts wander back to Ronan and how he's probably already woken up to a blizzard and my absence. A tear spill over my eye lid and freezes to my cheek. I can't break down now not when I need to take out the toughest tribute in the arena, so I wipe away the frozen tears and refuse to let any more spill onto my red cheeks.

The world around me has become a winter wonderland, the air smells of pine, the snow glistens in the silvery moon light, and the stars shine brightly above as if they were trying to guide me to a safer place. This scene of beauty is fake, repulsive, and ironic. It's like the Gamemakers are trying to make our deaths beautiful, like they think they can make a place so filled with darkness and tragedy glisten.

The shadows of night seem to have been subdued by the blizzard, but I can still feel them lurking deeper in the forest, horrible creations of the Capital meant to rip apart children, make them go mad, bleed them lifeless, all for the entertainment of Capital heathens. This is no winter wonderland, its hell on earth.

My body is starting to go numb, my muscles are starting to tighten, and I can't stop shivering, I'm no doctor but I know this is bad, very bad. If I don't find some source soon I'll die of hyperthermia, especially since I didn't grab matches, at the time I was hoping without matches I'd die of natural causes and Ronan wouldn't have to kill me, but now I realize that I won't get the chance to kill Zale if I die now.

The temperature as dropped to at least 10 below 0 and the snow is at my knees now. My body starts shaking like crazy, my teeth chatter wildly, and suddenly it's impossible to walk in a straight line, each step requires an enormous effort and I'm disoriented, I keep forgetting what direction I'm heading. These are all symptoms of moderate hypothermia, something I learned about at the training center, and I know that if I don't raise my core body temperature soon my skin will turn blue, they could fall off, my thoughts will become incoherent, and eventually I'll die.

I drape my sleeping bag around me, but keep moving knowing that it will help keep me warm. My feet catch on the roots and rocks hidden beneath the deep snow since I'm to weak to lift my feet above the snow. My movements are sluggish and finally on the next root I stumble over I can't keep my balance and fall face first into the snow.

This is it, this is where I will die. It will be slow, it will be painful, and it is inevitable. There is no saving me now. My fingers are already started to turn blue and soon they will fall off as my body struggles to supply blood to my heart. I have so many regrets in this moment: making my sister watch me die after she already watched her other sister die, not saying I love you to Ronan one more time, never getting to know Vivien, leaving my drunken father and my suicidal sister alone, and most of all not guaranteeing Ronan his life.

I roll onto my back and stare at the stars, they are my guide to the after life. This will be one of my last moments on the earth, I know because I struggle to breath and my heart rate has dropped sigificantly. I wanted to spend my last moments with Ronan, but now I will never get the chance to, instead I will spend them alone with nothing but the darkness of the forest to keep me company.

I imagine that Ronan is next to me and we are watching the stars together, pointing out constellations and making wishes. We're not in the arena, we're on the beaches of District 4 laying on a towel and holding hands. The waves lap gently at our feet causing the sand to stick to them. The smell of salt drifts over us like a warm hug from home and I'm lost in bliss. The moon shines down on the waves tinting the tops of them to a silvery gray, this is the happiest I've been in a very long time and it's not even real.

My fantasy caries me further away from the arena as everyone I love joins Ronan and I on the beach. Lyra, Mave, Harrison, Eris, Xanthe, my father, Selene, I'm surprised yet happy to see Vivien, and then there's a beautiful woman who I've only seen in pictures, she's my mother. We are all so happy because we are free, free from Panem, free from the games, free from the burden of loss. The stars shine on us like they too are happy.

I'm so lost in this fantasy that I don't see it mixed in with the white of the snow. It thrashes wildly in the blizzard struggling to get to me. It is a beam of light in this white darkness. It lands a few feet away from me, but I consider ignoring whatever solstice the parachute has to offer me and just let myself die here in the cold. If I die now that will leave Ronan with just two tributes to kill and though Zale may be tough I want to believe that Ronan could still win. But then I remember my promise to Lyra and myself to not let anyone suffer before they die and though I don't care about my own personal pain I know that Lyra wouldn't want me to go this way and neither would Xanthe or my father.

I pull myself out of the snow that has been building around me and crawl to the silver parachute. The solstice of the parachute comes in the form of a parka, snow pants, and gloves. They're thick, fluffy, and storm gray. This is my sponsors telling me to be the storm I was nicknamed after, I guess they'll be disappointed when I die, but I don't really care what they think. I shrug on the jacket, pull on the pants, and yank the gloves over my hands. I pull the hood over my head and I have the sensation of being the abominable snowman, but I'm warm none the less.

Now that I'm warm I snuggle into my sleeping bag and find sleep in this land of snow known as hell. When I wake up I'm practically burried in the snow that is at least five feet high now and I have to dig my way out. The snow is still coming down and it hasn't slowed down in the slightest, which makes it hard for me to see the sun and tell what time it is. If I had to guess I'd say it's noon, I slept late because of all of the walking I did last night.

My entire day consists of moving though the snow in my thick winter gear and praying for Ronan's safety, I haven't heard a cannon so he must be still alive for now. When night falls again it is still snowing, though; it has lessened some so that we can see the faces in the sky, or the lack there of. Another bloodless day, this won't play well in the Capital.

Suddenly a voice disturbs the winter like landscape, it's the legendary Claudius Templesmith, "Tributes! Interesting weather we've had of late, isn't it? Well, I can promise that it will only get more interesting, but there will be a chance for salvation from the hardships to come! Tomorrow morning at dawn there will be a feast where one of you may receive salvation from these hardships. The feast will be at the cornucopia. May the odds be ever in your favor!"

My heart picks up speed. I have to go, not to get the gear for myself, but to protect Ronan and make sure that he gets that gear. This could ensure Ronan's victory.

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