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?

Chapter 3

Mano: Kill Or Be Killed

She didn't go inside, knowing what she would find there. Her father drunk, probably collapsed on a chair, shouting profanities as soon as she'd show herself.
Instead, she sat in front of the house, waiting until Mano would appear. Ren knew he'd be there soon enough. Mano always hurried with his dinner in order to see how she was holding up.
And indeed, fifteen minutes later, a figure appeared. Ren got up. "Hey, Mano."
The boy eyed the entrance, and then wrinkled his nose. "Is he drunk again?"
She gave him a nod, and he sighed. "I brought you something," he muttered, pushing a small, warm package into Ren's hands.
"Thanks, Mano."
"You're welcome," he told her, sitting down next to her. Ren opened the package, and threw Mano an accusing look as she saw the large amount. "Did you even eat properly?"
"Of course I did!" he said defensively, "there was a lot left!"
Ren eyed him carefully, and then handed the package back. "I'm not eating it, Mano. Not until you've eaten half of it, at least."
He groaned, but obeyed her command. Ren leant her head against his shoulder, and yanked small patches of moist grass out of the ground. "Mano, what would you do if you got Reaped this year?"
He was silent for a moment. "I'd survive. Or at least try my best to. Even if that meant being a murderer. Why do you ask?"
"We never really talk about it. I just thought we should have a plan in case one of us gets picked."
"Okay then. But you're not going to be in the Games, Ren. I swear I'll bribe someone to be a volunteer in case you get picked."
She laughed softly. "What if you can't bribe anyone?"
Mano glanced at her, and handed her the meal back. "You're my best friend, Ren. There is no way I'm going to let them kill you. On the off chance you get picked, and there will be no volunteers, you're going to have to make me a promise. You have to come back, okay?"
She scrambled up, and then sat down in front of him, boring her sharp eyes into his. "What if we both get picked?"
"It's not going to happen," he growled.
"But what if?" Ren insisted.
He didn't answer that, and though Ren knew Mano better than anyone, even she could barely think of what would happen.
Would he protect her until the end, and then get himself killed? Or would he, like he said, survive...even if that meant he'd be his best friend's murderer?
"We still have a couple of months, Ren. Let's just not talk about it, okay?"
"Okay," she muttered, burying her teeth into the piece of sea-weed bread he'd brought.
"Oh, I nearly forgot. Clam and Neik were wondering whether you were coming with us to the market tomorrow," he remarked.
"You've got to be kidding me," Ren replied, trying to cover up a snort with a sneeze.
"Yeah, I am. To be honest, I was the one wondering whether you could come. I would hate to spend my day strutting around with those two nutjobs."
Ren snickered, and Mano joined in, until they were both convulsing with nonsensical laughter. "Alright, I'll come, as long as you don't make me wear a pretty dress," she bargained.
"Aw, man! That was the part I was looking forward to! I haven't seen you in a dress since the Reaping last year!"
"There is a reason for that," she retorted, "dresses are just so...uncomfortable. Would you want to wear one?"
"Tell you what. If you wear a dress, I'll wear one as well," Mano chuckled.
Ren sniggered. "Not likely. Though it would be quite a sight. What do you want to do at the market, anyway? It's the same every year."
Mano grinned. "Well, another reason I wanted you is because I still remember how you stole a bunch of apples, and no one noticed. You have quick hands, Ren."
The girl blushed a fierce red. No one had been supposed to see that. It'd been a while since she'd eaten, and those apples had seemed very...appetizing.
"I guess. So what do you want me to do? Grab a couple of fishes and run?"
"Only if you could get away with it," said Mano, amused.
"Alright, sir. Anything else?" said Ren mockingly.
"Yeah, genius. Don't get in your father's way, I don't want you to end up as his dummy. Goodnight, Ren."
Mano got up, ruffled her hair, and went on his way. Ren couldn't resist throwing the empty package at him, which he caught deftly, with a large grin that was visible even in the dark. "The odds are always in my favor, Ren," he said teasingly, disappearing into the night before she could respond.
Ren leant against the wall, and folded her arms. Yes...Mano usually had the odds in his favor.
He was handsome. Tanned skin, a friendly smile, sea-green eyes, dark brown hair, muscled...a real eye-catcher. He was popular with the girls. Smart enough not to be a player. People liked him automatically. He seemed perfect to others, but Ren knew his every flaw.
His nose had been broken once, just like Ren's. It'd had happened when he'd tripped over his large, clumsy feet and landed on (suprise, suprise) his nose. He hated small spaces and spiders. He could stare into space for hours, not aware of what was happening around him. He disliked solitude, especially when it was dark. His fatal flaw, or maybe it wasn't a flaw...maybe it was a blessing: he was a fighter.
And if he was forced into a situation where he had to kill or die...
Mano would kill the person in cold blood.

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