The Current (A Hunger Games Fanfiction)
Ren Watercress is just another girl in District 4, living through every year in her life worrying about the Hunger Games, and whether she will be picked..or her loved ones.
In a struggle with Panem and her own district, Ren tries to fight for what is worth. But when you don't know what your most treasured possesion is, how can you protect it?
Ren made her way over to the wobbly, broken down pier, enjoying the sun's warmth. As she arrived, making sure not to tread on the rotten pieces of wood, one head looked up at the sound of her gait.
"Ren!" Mano exclaimed, climbing out of the small boat he'd been preparing for fishing, "about time!"
The other two boys groaned. "Aw, come on, Mano! Not her again! Last time she scared the fish when she jumped into the water!" one complained.
"Shut up, Neik, she's my friend," he retorted, "besides, today is a special day."
"Special? How so?" Ren asked skeptically.
Mano's face fell in disappointment, but she burst out laughing. "Got you! Of course I know it's your birthday today!" she chirped, giving him a hug. The boy called Neik wiggled his eyebrows at him. "Liking it, Mano?"
The friends pulled away from the hug, and both threw Neik a disgusted look.
"What?" he said defensively, "everyone is thinking it, I'm just saying it!"
Ren rolled her eyes. "You're sixteen now," she mused.
"Exactly. A grown man. Do I have to remind you you're not turning fifteen, still a year younger than me, until the day after the Reaping?" he teased her.
She wrinkled her nose. "Ugh. The Reaping."
Mano softened up. "You're not going to get picked, Ren. And if you are, I'm sure there will be a volunteer."
"After the last failure?" replied Ren sharply, "they were slaughtered, Mano."
"Get in or we'll leave without you!" the other boy called.
Ren jumped nimbly into the boat, that barely even rocked as her feet hit the bottom. "Next time you do that, you might just sag through," Neik complained.
Mano climbed in calmly. "You know she's too light for that, Neik. Just shut it and row."
The boy did just that as they pushed away from the pier, and Mano's hands busied themselves with a piece of rope, tying knots into it. Ren watched, interested. "Why are we going this late anyway?"
There was some hesitation at her question, but Mano chuckled. "Vikia told us there would be a chance of a large catch at sundown."
Vikia was an old woman that sat at the market at all times, chewing on some kind of tabbaco. She claimed she knew things, and though people didn't like to admit it, they put a lot of trust in her words.
"And what makes you think she's right?" Ren asked sharply. Once it was dark, fishing was hard, and they might miss a good catch because of their foolishness.
"She's been right before," said another boy, who Ren thought was called Clam.
"Right," she muttered. She could see other boats appearing now, their ragged sails up. Apparently Clam, Mano and Neik hadn't been the only ones to trust Vikia.
The boat started rocking more heavily, and water lapsed over its sides. Ren licked her salty lips. "Happy birthday," she told Mano sarcastically.
"You'd better be nice. I'm having shrimp soup and tuna stew for dinner tonight. I might just save some for you."
Ren snorted. "Like-"
"Could you two just be quiet? I swear the fish have ears around here."
Clam, Mano and Ren snickered, but held their mouths patiently for an hour, until Mano's stomach rumbled loudly. "Dinner time," he joked.
"It's barely dark!" Neik protested.
"Exactly, Vikia said at sunset...and if there were any fish, we'll have caught a bunch by now."
"How would you know?" Neik retorted.
"Because...er...Ren is in the boat!"
"Well, a lady on board always attracts fish," Mano said with a grin.
"Yeah, I bet those fish jump into the nets the moment they see Ren's gorgeous face," Neik snorted.
"At least I make up for what I lack in looks with my wit, I can't say the same for you two," Ren retorted.
"Ouch," said Clam, chuckling and glancing at his big, hairy feet. Neik looked sour, and touched his large nose.
"That's what you get when you mess with her. And I still think she's not that bad," Mano defended his friend.
Ren pulled a face. She had District 4's bronzed skin, and sharp, sea-green eyes, but a nose that'd been broken once, a mouth that always seemed to smirk, and a round face with high cheekbones. A scar from when she'd fallen off of the pier -into a sharp rock- ran over her cheek, marring her face. Her legs were long and gangly, and her arms muscled from the daily work. Her hair was a light brown color, rather unlike most of the people she knew. Her hands and feet were wrinkled because of the water, and she had a habit of squinting her eyes against the sun, that made them seem even more narrow than usual.
All in all, pretty wasn't a word to describe Ren. Tough, cunning or athletic were better words. Ren was a survivor.
"You just say that because she's your friend," Neik said dryly, interrupting Ren's trail of thoughts.
"Okay, boys, you've had your fun. Now let's see if we caught something, shall we?" she interrupted impatiently.
They flinched at her tone, but proceded in silence. The nets had quite some fish in them, and they returned to the pier in satisfaction, arguing along the way. Ren didn't participate in the fights, and tied knots into a bit of rope quietly until they arrived.
"See you around, Ren," Mano said, giving her a wink, "I think you're getting an extra share of food tonight."
She smiled at him, and then walked home as the boys bargained over the price of the fish with a peacekeeper.
Ren was drowning in sudden thoughts, and Mano's smile flashed through her mind. She bit her lip to avoid the upwards curl of the corners of her mouth, but then shook her head and opened the door to the small house she lived in. The stench of alcohol mixed with dirt met her, and she pulled a face.
Welcome home, Ren.