Chapter I: Nightmares
ARC I: Broken Wings
Chapter I: Nightmares
“You should live. There are more things you need to do. For me… For all of us.”
“But! No… no… NO!”
Blood splattered on her face as a weak pearly smile shined among the dark surroundings. Shaking intensely, she looked up and found sky-blue eyes staring back at her, full of warmth and care.
“I was lucky… to… at least…”
“No… Bloody bitch! Don’t-“
“Take care… of her… okay?”
Someone shot up from a lavish bed after letting out an ear-splitting scream within a dark-lit room. Heavy pants escaped the lips of the scared occupant of the bed, as arms wrapped around the sweat-coved body, hoping to still the shakiness and palpitating heart.
“It’s that bloody nightmare again…” The single occupant of the room whispered weakly.
Adjusting in the darkness, both arms unwrapped from the tight hug on the sweaty body and reached to the side of the bed to turn on the lights.
With a flick of the switch on the wall beside the bed, the room lit-up in a brightly, making the sole occupant shield away from the bright light that filled the room by using a hand to cover one’s sight. With the room well-lit and eyes slowly adjusting to the light, the lone inhabitant shakily stood up and strides towards the table by the left corner of the room that has a pitcher and a glass on top of it; Hope to still the fast beating heart in mind. Taking the pitcher and pouring water into the glass until it is full, the inhabitant of the room gently placed the pitcher down and drank the contents like a life would be loss if it was not consumed within the next few seconds.
With the cool liquid consumed, the occupant looked at the standing mirror beside the table and sighed heavily.
The person being reflected by the mirror is not what it used to imitate. Before, it would show someone ambitious, aiming to work diligently until achieving a high ranking title and happy despite being teased for being a brainiac. But now, the person being reflected by the mirror looked like the world has forsaken everything that can have meaning.
The usually bushy brown hair looked more tousled than usual, doe-like chocolate brown eyes bloodshot due to her continuous nightmare and lack of sleep, and pale skin covered in sweat and a few edges of dark and light brown scars visible and reflected by the mirror intricately.
The mirror showed the occupant’s feminine features perfectly. How the occupant, a young woman not more than seventeen years old, looked tired, weak, and as if she had survived a brutal battle.
The teen growled at what she was seeing. How troubled and weak she looked like.
It was her fault; having a very clear and clean mirror. Reflecting what she physically looked like with only her clothes covering more of her painful past very clearly to her.
Dressed in a white tank top and pajama pants, she reach out to the drawer near the tall mirror and grabbed a hair tie from it, tying her wild mane to a loose ponytail hairstyle. Her eyes looked at the wall clock hanging on the wall, atop of her flat-screen television, and sighed.
It was only 4:00am
“Better go out and run…” she whispered, walking towards to her armoire and changed her clothing to a pink sports bra, black sweatpants, and white rubber shoes. Her sports bra showed the remaining length of her light brown scars that was covered by her tanktop earlier, on her abdomen, and some on her arms. She did not mind the said marks.
Leaving her room, she stopped by the kitchen and took a bottle of water from the small cooler. Once she got the cooled bottled water, she then proceeds to the front door and head out of the house.
Stepping out, the cold air greeted her and made her skin crawl and involuntary shivered. It was almost Christmas, a few months after the dreaded event. “It would be a cold winter.” She mumbled. But the cold did not bother her, even if her skin reacted to the freezing temperature. Taking a deep breath, the young brunette started her jog.
She needs to clear her head. To stray the memories of her nightmare away. But her attempts have been futile ever since the start. Her emotions have been damaged by the mental torture she received after winning the last Hunger Games a few months back.
No blood, scars, brutality or even the government can compare to the nightmare she’s been having after the event. Nothing can compare to how her heart reacted to each of those dreams.
“Nothing is more heartbreaking than seeing you only in my dreams…” She whispered, furrowing her brows a she hasten her pace. Her eyes starrf blankly and feet jogging at a fast yet rhythmic phase.
“You look cute when you’re mad.”
“Hermonie… Hermione Jean Granger? A fitting name for an angel, no?”
“Here, I got some healing salve from a sponsor. Use it.”
“Hungry? Don’t go for the berries, they’re poisonous.”
“I love you Hermione.”
The brunette was pulled her out of her reminiscing of her past when she felt a strong pull from her right arm and her name being called. Instincts taking over, she grabbed the invading appendage on her limb and pulled it close while her right arm angled, elbow pointed at towards who or what it is that caught her arm. Her elbow connected to figure and a loud groan snapped her out of her primal instincts and checked her surroundings. She looked down to found a young man, not older than her, hunched down on the ground and cradling his chest as he moaned in pain.
“Oh! Sorry Ron!” The jogger crouched down and ran her hand over the boy’s back, hoping to lessen the pain he received after she elbowed him to the sternum. She watched how the boy’s red hair swayed and groaned loudly in pain.
The red-haired boy, Ron, looked up with tears in his eyes and arms wrapped around his chest. “Blimey ‘Mione! You don’t need to be all brutal on me.” He quipped, trying to catch his breath that was knocked out of his lungs.
Hermione rolled her eyes and swatted Ron’s head with her bottled water. “Don’t be a baby you git. You may look skinny but I know your body’s tight on muscles.” She stated. She was sure of what she said knowing the redhead is working along the coalers. Carrying heavy pickaxes and pushing the railcars in and out of the mines. She have been inside the mines and aside from the smell of sweat and dampness, she find the place fascinating for its rare minerals sticking out of the wall aside from the coal. Then she remembered that the redhead’s shift isn’t until four hours. Narrowing her brows, she looked at the redhead skeptically. “Ron… Why are you here?” she asked with an accusing tone in her voice.
Ron sat up, pounding his chest like he was realigning an imaginary dislocated rib as he huffed and avoided Hermione’s gaze. The question isn’t really a ‘why you are here?’ but more of ‘are you seriously asking me again?’ kind of inquiry.
“You know why… You barely go out of your house! Your mum and da are worried. Plus we all want you to join!”
Hermione’s mood darken. “Join? And what? Be this so-called ‘Mockingjay’? The Ministry already dubbed me as the ‘Brightest Tribute of all’ and I didn’t accept their offer to stay at that snake pit of a capital. Why do you think I would accept yours? Face it Ronald, Hermione Granger will no longer fight.”
“But we need you! Harry’s been fighting and I am too. The whole family is. We ALL need you.” Ron pleaded.
“You should live. There are more things you need to do. For me… For all of us.”
A memory flashed in Hermione’s mind and she sucked a lungful of air in between her clenched teeth. Her face contorted as she tried reigning her emotions in. It haunts her and yet, she was glad it did. The memories served as a nightmare but also a dream.
A dream to meet the person haunting her sleep.
Hermione sat down on the ground, not minding the dirt that would clung on her pants, and propped up her knees and buried her head on them as she hugged her legs close. She was trying to keep her emotions in check. She doesn’t want to lash out to the boy who she grew up with, one of them that is, or anyone at all. Yet again.
There had been enough anger that caused her to fall into a darkness she can’t get out of. Drowning in a deep lake, with a voice of one she can’t forget and acted as her source of oxygen.
A hand was placed over her slumped right shoulder, squeezed it a bit or reassurance, but she did not move or acknowledged it.
“Hermione… It’s time to move on. It’s not your fault. It was like kill or be killed.” Ron said sympathetically. They knew, those of in the district knew, what had really transpired during the last Hunger games. How Hermione Granger, Hogwarts region - Gryffindor District tribute, really won the 74th Hunger Games.
The brunette looked up, eyes blazing in anger, but remained on her spot. It was a cut to the thin thread holding her emotions in. She can see the redhead move back, a hand still over her shoulder, but fear was evident in his eyes.
She did not care.
He said something that he shouldn’t and now he will pay the price.
“Move on? How the bloody hell could I move on if every night I can see her!? How can someone just move on after seeing someone die just to survive!?” She spat. She then buried her head back to her knees and sobbed. “How can I move on if she died just because of me…”
Ron sighed and placed both hand on his friend’s quivering shoulders. “Listen… That’s how it works. That’s why the Order has been created to stop the whole Games.” He explained once again. He had explained it to his friend, all about the Order of the Phoenix; but the woman who stood before the three regions, twelve districts, became the pillar of rebellious hope and won the last Hunger Games, stopped. Stopped living and stayed completely away from everyone and anyone. Even her family and friends.
They all understood her in a way. Anyone would not be able to escape the trials without being scarred, mentally or physically. Unfortunately for Hermione, her mind and body suffered in the last games.
Hermione Jean Granger, daughter of the renowned dentists, Frantz and Dorothy Granger, was picked to be the Tribute for the seventy-fourth annual Hunger Games. Despite not being brought up in poverty like the other occupants of Gryffindor District, she was picked to be a Tribute at the age of seventeen.
A Tribute – One who will participate in the sadistic games of the capital that is Slytherin District, needs to survive or die with millions of people watching. It is a reminder of the capital, the Ministry, the ruling government of Midgar - the overall land mass they currently inhabiting; they are not to be defied like what District thirteen did, seventy-four years ago. That they control anyone and everyone by inducing fear in their hearts.
The Hunger Games, title that says it all, is like a pitting a dozen or more animals, depends on the game makers, in a place where each one of them are famished and the only way to get food is to kill the other competitors. It was how the Hrist District male Tribute, from Durmstrang region, explained it to her before. She forgot his name but his ways are brutal and chaotic than the other Tributes.
And yet Ministry is firm in stating that it was not a savage game. They said that it is merely a reminder to everyone the harshness of their lives before. That instead of a bloody battle, they will pick one from each district of the three regions and have them face each other in one of the locations outside the inhabited landmasses. Hogwarts’ Slytherin, Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, and Hufflepuff. Beaubaxtons’ Sylph, Efreet, Undine, and Gnome. And Durmstrang’s Hrist, Lenneth, Silmeria and Brynhildr.
Two Tributes per district; battling it all out for fame, glory and life.
No matter how the Ministry sugarcoat it, it is still a sadistic game.
A game where it starts with sacrifice picking, then throwing them to the Slytherin District for show and parade, then to the arena which the game master chooses and the killing of everyone until one remains standing.
Hermione did not want to be a Tribute; but as per rules, she has to participate. Her friends, sadly being boys, wanted to volunteer but she shook her head and faced her fate with a smile. Even her friend, Harry James Potter, winner of the seventy-second Hunger-games, wanted to volunteer as Tribute, but since they are boys, they can’t. She smiled at them, assured that she will win so that they would once again live away from the Ministry’s eyes.
And yet, the braveness that Gryffindor is known for, she was still inwardly shaking in fear.
But during her stay in Slytherin, everything changed. Her goal to survive the hellish event, fend for her own life and survive until the end; it crumbled down and was suddenly replaced with a new goal when she met the female tribute of the Beaubaxtons region, Sylph District. Her plans, perfectly lay out from start to finish, all ruined upon meeting the said Sylph Tribute with sky-blue eyes and short messy blonde hair.
She did not tell anything about it to anyone before and after the games. Not even her trainer, Minerva McGonagall, a former Gryffindor Tribute that acted as her mentor, knows of her secret during her stay in the Capital. Though she suspects the old champion knew of it. Mcgonagall does have a motherly instinct and she’s been treated as the trainer’s own daughter. That and the fact that whenever she is with the Sylph female Tribute, the old woman was gone with either Sybill Trelwney, her stylist, or Bathsheda Babbling, the stylist of Cormac McLaggen, the male Tribute of Gryffindor.
Sadly for Cormac, he did not make it and was killed as soon as the war in the Cornucopia started. Mcgonagall did say not to even try to reach for the weapons and grab anything near them as they can and RUN. Her mentor specifically wrote the word run in uppercase and bold. She followed what her mentor said, she avoided anything and everything. All even.
That is except for a certain Beaubaxtons Tribute.
But it was because of the said Sylph Tribute that her life as of now is crumbling. The nightmares made it worse. Replaying everything that had transpired in the capital like it was just yesterday. She relived the dreaded game, like watching it in a full high-definition television. Clear and crisp surround sounds. And with it, it’s slowly chipping her mind.
To rub salt into the wound, the offers to stay at the capital, train the possible Slytherin district Tributes, and live lavish life with her family came. The offers came to her as if she really did won the games on her own. Without any help. But all have been rejected.
Then it was not the end of it.
The Order of the Phoenix.
A rebel group that’s fighting the Ministry to stop the spiral of death that is the Hunger Games. People who disliked the ruling of the Ministry, from each Regions, Hogwarts, Durmstrang and Beaubaxtons, joined in the cause and did their best to sabotage the Ministry and show to everyone that the killing must stop. The group was once led by District thirteen, Ys – the center of the three regions – but the rebellion stopped when the Ys District was demolished by the Capital.
For Hermione, the Order’s goal may be noble but their ways are nothing more than what the Ministry is doing to enforce their laws.
And that’s where she comes along yet again.
The Order needed her for some reasons she doesn’t know. All her friends, everyone in the Gryffindor District, have been asking her to join, but when she asks why, all they said is that it was time to overthrow the Ministry. To stop the Hunger Games. But it was not enough. She kept wondering why they need her. Why they actually need a winner if they already have plenty already on their side.
Despite everyone not knowing about her secret during the games or why the Order wanted her to join them, the 74th Hunger Games proved that she is a threat to the Ministry. She knows they fear her, but she can’t say or even think it was the reason why the Order wanted her. The Ministry plotted to keep her in Slytherin District by offering her lavishing opportunities, to ensure she would always be watched, and gave her the title of ‘Brightest Tribute of all’ to boost her ego. Bribe her with fame and fortune. Ensuring the lives of her parents would be safe.
But this also caused the woman to be suspicious and hate them.
When Hermione won, she turned her back on the Ministry. She declined all offerings laid before her. The winning spoils, luxurious house in the Capital, fame, and even a seat of power in the Ministry itself. All of it means nothing to her. And it helped that her status as winning Tribute would mean they would not touch her even if she declines.
The old Hermione, before the Tributes’ parade, would’ve accepted the offer without blinking. It was assurance for hers and her family’s safety and she wanted to be part of the Ministry. But after being forced to open her eyes to the truth, the death of her heart, the so-called ‘Mockingjay’ as the rebels tagged her, was born. A slap to the capital. A mistake they cannot undo.
She can understand why a Mockingjay is a slap to the capital’s faces. It is a bird that they did not expect to even exist. A Mockingjay is a hybrid of Jabberjays, a type of mutated bird that was created to spy on rebels of the capital, and mocking birds. It was when they deemed Jabberjays as failures, due to delivering conversations both truths and lies and cannot distinguish it, they released it in the wild and mating with female mockingbirds. The offspring, a Mockingjay, represented rebellion and justice. That one failed experiment became something great.
“So?” Ron asked, his voice full of hope.
Hermione looked at her childhood friend and shook her head. She was through with everything that involves the Ministry. “No Ronald. I have said this before and I’ll say it again…” She stood up and took a deep breath before glaring at the redhaired coaler. “I will never join the Order of the Phoenix.” She said defiantly, turning around and began jogging back to her house. On her way back, she noticed a flying bird, a Mockingjay, flew past her and she felt in her gut that it is a bad sign.
Three days has passed and Ron never brought the topic again. Hermione, secretly hunting, roamed around the Forbidden forest to find her next prey. The Forbidden forest is a lush of greenery that divides Beaubaxton’s Sylph District and Hogwart’s Gryffindor District. It was a place abundant with wild fruits, vegetables and animals. Animals are the ones the brunette aimed to find. From a district of miners and blacksmiths, hunting for meat is a great occupation and she excelled in it. Of course, only a handful of people know that she hunts and even leave the fence.
With a tattered make-shift bow in one hand and an arrow in the other, she stalked the forest to find a big animal she could sell.
It took her hours, from the planned one hour, her search pulled up to four hours, eliciting the huntress to feel hungry and tired at the same time. Chocolate-brown orbs scanned around for any signs of wild beasts or worse a Ministry guard: Inquisitorial Squad or what they call them, the I.S, that would find her inside the Forbidden forest. It is called as Forbidden because no one without proper authorization are allowed inside it. Punishment ranges from a hundred lashes to death. Whichever comes first. When she did not find any I.S or wild beasts, she settled under a tall thick tree and took out her lunch from the pouch she carried. She brought an apple and a bottle of water.
Snacking peacefully, the famed ‘Brightest Tribute of all’ did not open her senses to her surroundings. She ate her apple in a fast pace, skinning it down to the core, and decided to rest for a few minutes before she continue her hunt. Though her small meal could satiate her hunger temporarily, she looked around and noticed how familiar the place is. Her lips cracked into a small smile upon remembering why the place is familiar to her.
Why it was special.
“I cannot zee ‘ze reason to w’y ‘zould I not tell ‘ze 'aye-eez’ about you, ma petite chou”
“The same reason why I’m not telling about you too. And did you just call me a cabbage?”
“Eet zoundz better in français zan anglais. But you ‘ave a point in not telling ‘ze ‘aye-eez’. ‘Zey are ra’zer annoying for my tazte.”
“‘Zo, w’at are you doing ‘ere, ma petite? Surely you are wize to know ‘ze dangers lurking in ‘zeze forest, oui?”
“I could ask you the same.”
“Will you be anzering any of my queztionz anytime zoon?”
“Will you stop asking me questions?”
“Very well. I guez I can atleazt ‘ave zome peace and quiet, no? I do need to make ‘ze cute birdiez to zing with me.”
Her memories. A young teen with dark blue eyes, like the ocean, smiled at her with a bit of cockiness in them. She remembered sitting on the same spot she is now, and listened to the teen singing like an angel. The way the woman with dark blue eyes sang beautifully that the birds stopped singing to listen to her and then sang along with her.
Her mind, lost in her happy memory, triggered for her to close her eyes and hum along the song that soothed her heart. She was drowning in her memory once again. One of a teen with platinum blonde hair and ocean blue eyes with a voice that lulls her.
Then her humming echoes within the small clearing that made a flock of Mockingjays mimic the tune perfectly. This made her blood run cold and her eyes shot wide open.
“Shite!” She curses, scrambling up and gathering her pouch, bow and her arrow. The humming of the Mockingjays can call the attention of anyone nearby and she did not want to be caught by anyone. She ran back to the edge of the forest, careful to not make any sound, she lodged her ratty weapon inside a big crack in a large tree and trekked back to her home.
Unknown to her, the Mockingjays continued to sing, next verse being continued flawlessly along with a whistling version of what Hermione was humming.