Sungjong froze. The wind had been partially knocked out of him and before he knew it, he was up against the wall. His hold on the dagger tightened, determined not to lose it despite his position. Sungjong gasped for air, the arm beneath his chin making it hard to breathe. He didn’t want to go this way, in a small tunnel, fighting for his last breaths.
“Please…” Sungjong’s free hand went up to the arm, trying to pull it away, to no avail. He gasped again, choking out his words. And it was true. Sungjong was scared, thought he needed to protect himself. He didn’t know who he’d run into. And he couldn’t read the face of the boy who had him pinned down.
Sungjong couldn’t bring himself to say those words. This boy… he talked about his mother too. He remembered the other boy from the interviews, and Sungjong didn’t want to kill anyone, but he didn’t want to die either. It was all too soon.
“Please…” Myungsoo clenched his teeth when he heard boy’s pleading voice. “Don’t want to… hurt… you…” Myungsoo tensed, thinking hard. He wouldn’t kill the boy. Not yet. He tightened his grip on boy’s hand, which was holding the dagger. Myungsoo couldn’t help but think how fragile and little the wrist was complared to his own.
“You’re… nine…? L…? Your… mo…”
Myungsoo let him go that instant, but he was still holding the hand with the dagger. Looking into his eyes, reading boys’ aura … His name…What was his name? Sungjong. He breathed out, relaxing a bit himself, so that the boy from district 2 would feel, that he wouldn’t harm him. He allowed his heart to take a lead and he realised, that boy wouldn’t do anything to him. He somehow reminded him of his friend back home. He looked to his left and right. No voice. They were still in the ruins and he was trying to scan the surroundings for any sound. Nothing.
“Will you let go of that dagger… Just in case?” Myungsoo asked him, slowly removing his hand from his wrist but ready to strike him anytime.
Minhyuk nodded. As long as his presence kept Myungsoo happy he would stay with him. After all his presence was a birthday present according to Myungsoo. As the other’s hand slipped into his own he felt happy. “I don’t mind the walking.” he replied. He grinned as Myungsoo pulled him along. He gently squeezed the other’s hand as they walked along. Right now he was beginning to forget about all of his worries and he was just focusing on spending time with the other.
His attention was focused on the mill ahead of him. Something about it caught his eye. He didn’t realize that Myungsoo had stopped walking and he bumped into the other lightly. He tilted his head as Myungsoo stared at him. For a second he thought that he did something wrong. That wasn’t the case was it? Minhyuk began to worry on the inside. Without noticing he began to squeeze Myungsoo’s hand a little tighter.
He let a out a small sigh of relief when Myungsoo spoke about a present and released the pressure on his hand, but still didn’t let go. “And what would that be?” Minhyuk gave a small smile. “Oh! I can do that!” He wondered why Myungsoo would want to learn that in the first place. “Just out of curiosity… why?”
Myungsoo looked at his feet.
“I’ll tell you… After the birthday.” He said and smiled at the boy, leading him towards the old mill. When they entered the house, Myungsoo’s mother was already on her way to hug her son. Her eyes landed on the boy next to him and she stopped. Myungsoo’s eyes and hers met. It was like they were communicating silently with each other. After a silent battle his mother sighed and hugged him. Myungsoo was not letting Minhyuk’s hand in process.
“Mom. This is my friend. Minhyuk.”
“Hello, Minhyuk.” Myungsoo’s mother smiled slightly. “Dinner is ready, but first…” She looked at both Myungsoo and Minhyuk “You two better go and wash your…” Her eyes scanned their dirty clothes “Hands…” Myungsoo smiled widely and dragged Minhyuk to the room with an old wooden bathtub. “yeah right! Hands ahahhaahah!” He laughed.
The dinner was good. They were stuffed if it was even possible. After helping to clean the table Myungsoo signaled to Minhyuk to come with him outside.
Sungjong had grabbed a pack and was running from the Cornucopia. He had no doubt that he wouldn’t make it if he went near it, but he needed those weapons. There were knives there, things he knew how to use. He was having second thoughts, maybe he should go back, make another circle around. He was quick, maybe he could make it in and out of the Cornucopia as well. If the Careers were hanging about, maybe he could slip in unnoticed. Sungjong wasn’t sure about this idea.
As he was lost in thoughts about making another go for those knives, he thought better of things and decided to make a go of it later. Not too much later, but maybe when he had teamed up with someone. Sungjong knew he wouldn’t be able to do this alone. Before he knew it, he was running for the ruins. The ruins would give him a place to explore the pack he’d grabbed while he decided what to do about the Cornucopia. It was too out in the open to stay there long, but if he could get in and out quickly, it might be all right. Or if there was someone to provide a distraction.
And that’s when it happened, Sungjong running almost full force into someone. Not knowing if it was friend or foe, he reached into the pack and felt around for a few seconds, breathing an internal sigh of relief when his fingers closed around a dagger. Not exactly what he needed to survive, but it would do in a pinch. With the dagger still hidden in the pack, Sungjong popped it from it’s sheath and withdrew it slowly, waiting for the person in front of him to turn around. This wasn’t a good place to battle it out. It was too small, too cramped. Sungjong wasn’t ready to fight just yet, so9 maybe things wouldn’t turn out that way just yet. His eyes narrowed, body still tense from running out of the bloodbath as others fought, waiting to see how things would play out.
The air disappeared from Myungsoo’s lungs when he felt the impact. First thought in his head was that he was already dead. His ears registered the sound of breathing and of a slight movement. No doubt the person who ran into him was looking for a weapon in his pack. Myungsoo’s didn’t move and he slowly looked at his own back-pack. He didn’t get a chance to see it’s content yet. He scanned his surroundings. They were sandwiched between two walls and it was not a best place for a close-up battle…
The flashback of lessons with his friend in district 9 appeared right in front of his eyes. With a swift movement and with his head low he turned around, his eyes landing on a hand, that was gripping a dagger tightly. Without further thoughts he ducked and reached for the hand with a dagger, pinning the boy to the wall in process. His eyes widened when he saw who it was.
The boy from Ditrict 2. His elbow, which was now under boy’s jaw tensed. He remembered him from trainings and especially from the interview… “The only special lady in my life right now is my Mom”
Myungsoo’s eyes narrowed.
“I will not kill you. Not yet.”
Sunlight blinded Myungsoo as he was finally on the surface. His body froze and it was as if his legs were glued to the platform. His ears registered slight sound of the wind and when his eyes adjusted to the view of the arena his heart started to beat faster.
He could see the numbers appearing on the screen in front of him, where the gigantic cornucopia was resting with all the supplies, inviting him in. He knew there was no way he would go near it. It was screaming danger. His eyes scanned his surroundings and he saw other tributes. Yura was not far away from him. He sent good luck wish to her mentally. This was it.
His body was empty and only one thing he could rely on were his body instincts, eyes scanning every possible place where he could hide or run away from the mess, that would take place in a minute. Myungsoo sensed something cold near his feat. There were ruins, but no doubt something was underground. He slowly turned his head to his right, slowly so that no one would notice and saw it: The sand was darker and he could swear that it was slowly moving towards something that was gravitating it into a hole.
He looked at other tributes. No doubt they will run too…
I need supplies… At least something…
6, 5, 4,
Myungsoo shifted his weight on his right leg: he needs to get off the platform before it explodes
Everything was quiet and his mind went blank.
What was happening after that he didn’t entirely register. Sand, people clashing into each other, seeing Yura running away and blood. Lots of blood. He was about to run and blend in the walls, but something caught his eye. Someone was on the ground, no doubt badly injured or even dead, holding a backpack in her arms. It was a girl. Myungsoo’s legs turned away from the hole and without him knowing it he was already near the girl. He felt something cutting his cheek, but he didn’t pay any attention to it as he knelt and took the backpack from the girl. His eyes settled on her face. It was Tiffany and he bit his lower lip. He remembered her during the trainings… He snapped into reality as the backpack was safely in his arms. He turned around running towards the labyrinth of walls.
I need to find underground…
Minhyuk looked at Myungsoo and rapidly shook his head. “You don’t need to apologize!” He felt guilty and looked down at the ground. “It was my fault…” he whispered slowly. Minhyuk thought that he should probably start heading back to where he was currently living but, he honestly didn’t want to leave. Myungsoo probably had family who were worried about him. But it has been so long since he actually had a decent conversation with someone. He missed being around people who didn’t want to attack him all the time.
“It’s your birthday?” he asked, slightly startled. He then felt bad for beating on Myungsoo earlier. “Dinner at your place?” He was even more shocked. Nobody has ever asked him that before. He thought about how long it has been since he had an actual good meal. “Are you sure your parents would allow me in their house?” He was worried about the fact that Myungsoo’s family knew who he was because he stole from them once before.
Minhyuk’s expression saddened a little. It seemed that Myungsoo knew a bit about how Minhyuk felt. He truly did hate being alone. “Of course I would want to go with you~” he grinned happily. He wasn’t ready to day goodbye to Myungsoo yet. He took a liking to the other. “I’m sorry I have nothing to give to you for your birthday.”
Myungsoo shook his head. “Don’t be sorry. Having company is the best present” He smiled at him. For a while he was hesitating but then he reached for Minhyuk’s hand. ”I can tell we are a bit far from my home, but we will manage to get there soon.” Without further words he dragged boy along, feeling a bit happier than he was a while ago.
When they reached old mill, Myungsoo stopped. He turned to the boy with a serious look on his face. The idea formed in his mind. The fact that he wasn’t able to detect Minhyuk, when he stole food from their house meant, that he was strong. He even escapred Myungsoo’s eyes.
“There is something actually… That you could… Give me…” He told him waiting for boy’s reaction. “Will you teach me how to be invisible?”
She shouldn’t have asked, but she’d realized her fault too early. She’d meant no harm with the question but, honestly, what else were tributes who never knew each other supposed to discuss?
“My parents said goodbye, but I was denied my siblings.” Her fingers made imaginary quotes around the word ‘denied’ frowning and looking the other way. “I’m still unsure whether I should be mad or not.” Yura gave a small sigh, leaning her head in her hands.
“Apparently, I looked too weak. They thought I’d scare them. My brothers you know.”She sighed, pulling her hair back in a nervous manner as she bit into another mini cake. Recalling the event seemed to be more painful than Yura had first anticipated. Her brothers and she had never truly been close, the two never exactly being sentimental with their older sister, but they were still blood. Yura loved them and it had taken till now for her to realize.
Myungsoo’s eyes were scanning her face. He could read all the emotions that were battling inside of her. ”But blood is not a water. You know that right?” He asked, smiling a bit.
Like this they continued to speak till it was late night. Myungsoo opened up about his friend from district 9, Minhyuk. He was a bit surprised, that the girl seemed to know him too. Their conversation started to revolve around Minhyuk, because it was the only thing apart from being tributes from the same district, that was binding them together. Somehow it made him feel at ease. Maybe secured a little. They were then hurried towards their cabines and with awkward goodnights they both disappeared from each other’s sight.
When the morning came, Myungsoo entered the main part of the train and saw a woman sitting at the dining table looking at him with a smirk.
“Hey there. My name is Hwangbo and I am going to be your mentor. Sit down, pretty face.” She said in a rough voice, pointing at the chair opposite from her. Myungsoo’s eyes widened. She was a legendary winner of Hunger Games. She won around nine years ago… Since then there were no winners from his district. He sighed and decided to go with a flow, sitting in front of his mentor and staring deeply in her eyes.
“My name is L” He said slowly. He heard the doors opening and saw Yura coming inside as well.
“Well good morning to you too.” Hwangbo waved at the girl and smiled at her sweetly, her attitude changing completly.
Myungsoo’s eye twitched. Great. He looked at Yura and smirked in amusement. There goes his chance of a good advice. No doubt this woman was a hardcore feminist…