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?
The girl was afraid of what would happen if she drifted off into a slumber. Perhaps nightmares would haunt her, or what would be even worse, dreams that would offer all sorts of hope, only to prove false in the morning. And what would she wake up to? Would she be an Avox, destined to serve the Capitol until they got rid of her? Or would they hide her away for the rest of her miserable life, so no one could recognize her? Probably the latter.
Despite her frightened thoughts, Ren couldn't fight the sleep anymore and she closed her eyes slowly, giving in at last.
A loud noise woke her, and she shot up, casting wild, frightened looks around her. She was in another room! They'd moved her!
The situation would've sent Ren into hysterics if she hadn't noticed several things. First off, the room was wide and richly decorated, with velvet and woollen carpets, and expensive, comfortable-looking furniture. The walls were made from some kind of wood that looked warm, and several paintings hung on them. No windows were present, but Ren saw several doors, indicating that she probably had a bathroom and maybe some other luxeries, such as a kitchen or bedroom, as the girl had noticed she was sleeping on a soft, white couch. And what was more--her second point--no one was present in the room. Presumably, they'd left and slammed the door, which'd caused her to wake up.
She sat up and stretched, suprised that she was actually able to. Her limbs seemed relaxed, strong. Clearly the Capitol had done a good job on restoring her. She touched her face gingerly, nearly jumping as she felt how smooth and soft it was, instead of rough and scarred. She tentatively raised her hand to her hair and stroked it, pleased as she noticed how light and soft as feathers it felt in her hands. She suddenly remembered the doctor's words, though part of her mind questioned whether it was a memory or just her imagination.
"We erased all of your scars, to make you look pretty. Another request from the Capitol. It's a little strange, don't you think? How they want us to treat you?"
Ren shuddered. It was strange. She'd have to get Mano to tell her, if she saw him anytime soon. He might not have the time, considering he was a Victor. The first few days the Capitol would want him to theirselves, though Ren had no idea how long she'd been unconcious.
The girl stood up, shaking her thoughts away and glancing around. There was a rather pressing feeling on her bladder and a sudden urge to clean herself overwhelmed her, which increased drastically when she realized someone must've done it for her not too long ago, judging by the sweet, soapy fragrance on her arm.
She nearly ran to the doors, trying them one by one. The first--a heavy metal one--was locked; obviously leading to the outside world. The second led to a small room with strange-looking, square machines in them. The third led to a medium-sized room with a decent-looking bed in it, and the last, to Ren's relief, led to a neat, clean bathroom with a large shower in it that resembled the one from the 4th Floor in the building that she'd stayed in during the Games.
She stepped in, shedding her clothes with rapid movements that suprised even herself, and throwing them over the top of the shower. She turned the heat up until it was nearly unbearable, and pressed every possible button until she was covered from tip to toe in fragrant foam, which was washed off just as quickly as it had appeared. It was only when her skin burned and she felt that her cheeks were flushed with heat that she stepped out, slightly suprised that the mat in front of the shower immedietly blow-dried her, exactly like the one in the apartment.
It's strange, Ren couldn't help thinking again, though she blocked her thoughts quickly this time. She might as well enjoy it while it lasted.
"Ren?" a voice called loudly.
The girl startled and dressed quickly, hurrying out of the bathroom, her heart beating rapidly. She had no trouble recognizing the pitch. "Mano?" she asked, her voice rather soft and hoarse.
He appeared to hear her anyway, because he was walking towards her with large paces, and before Ren could comprehend his intentions, he'd enveloped her in his arms. "Ren," he croaked.
The girl felt tempted to punch him now that she was strong, but instead found herself hugging him back tightly and burying her face in his strong chest, comforted by the feel of his warm arms around her. His lips pressed against her hair, and he held her even closer, taking deep breaths. He seemed to be memorizing her scent, the feel of her hair under his mouth--or exploring it rather, considering it hadn't felt like that before--and then his hands moved up to her face, touching it softly.
"Ren," he repeated, a wild look appearing in his sea-colored eyes. His lips moved over her forehead, and the girl felt her legs go as weak as jelly. His hands slid down again, until they rested at her bony hips, pushing them against his. His warm mouth travelled over her neck now, and she tipped her head back, her heart pounding loudly, so loud that she was sure Mano could hear it too. One of his hands released her her hips and took her hand, putting it against his chest. The familiar lips moved to her ear, his breath shaky as he spoke, "Do you feel it?"
Ren felt it. His rapid heartbeat was unmistakable. She folded her other arm around his neck and brought her face closer, touching his nose with her own. "Why am I still alive?" she breathed, brushing her lips against his.
Mano was confused for a moment and then he bowed his head, a shaky sigh leaving his mouth.
He led her to the couch and sat down, a tired look coming over his face as he massaged his temples, his forehead creasing. Ren wasn't sure whether to scoot closer to him or keep her distance. She decided on the latter, though she put her hand on his knee. He glanced up and pulled her close, and that's when she noticed he was shaking slightly.
"Mano? What's wrong, why am I alive? Tell me!" she said shrilly.
He cringed at her demanding tone, but then finally began, "I talked to Finnick once, while you weren't there. He was angry because he thought I'd taken advantage of you--which in a way, I'd had, of course--but then I told him that I really did like you...it rendered him thoughtful. Then..."
Here Mano had to pause and he took a deep breath, shutting his eyes firmly. "Then he asked me how I would respond if the Capitol wanted me to do certain things if I became the Victor. I told him that they couldn't make me do anything, not even if they hurt me, at which moment he asked me if I would still refuse if they threatened to kill my family. I replied in the positive. Then he asked me if I would refuse if they threatened to kill you..."
It finally dawned on Ren. She was a pawn. The Capitol's blackmail. If Mano disobeyed them, they would murder her. "You said no?" she asked quietly, her heart suddenly heavy.
"I told him no," Mano confirmed, his voice strained. "After all, how would I be able to refuse? My family...I just didn't love them enough for that. But you- you had sacrificed everything for me, loving me despite my...horrible attitude, to say the least. How could I say no? I loved you...I still do."
Ren had trouble breathing and her hands started to shake. Mano kissed her palms and buried his face in her neck, his nose skimming along her collarbones in a way that made Ren feel scared rather than loved. The girl was frightened--confused even--by the information he'd given her. The subject of his family reminded her of her own and she closed her eyes briefly.
"My family? Do they know?" she asked abruptly, lifting Mano's face.
He avoided her eyes. "Your family is dead. And so is mine. Both killed by a fire on a silent night, a couple of days ago...the day after the Games ended."
The message was clear. Dead. Dead, because I pretended to have Mano kill me. Dead, because I'm still alive.
"Jonah?" she gasped, sitting up straight, unaware that her hands were gripping Mano's hair tightly, horrified as she thought of her younger brother.
The boy shook his head, shame dawning on his youthful face. "I'm so sorry, Ren."
She released him abruptly, tears springing into her eyes. Then she screamed, hurling herself into the wall. Mano jumped up and held her still, pressing his hand against her mouth in an attempt to stop her screech of grief and terror. "Shh, Ren! They'll make you an Avox!" he whispered, and despite his soft tone, his voice skipped in panic.
The girl bucked under his grip, but gradually calmed down and eventually slumped against him, allowing him to hold her close. She wasn't sure how long they stood there, both crying, both caressing each other's faces in a vain attempt to comfort the other.