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Title: Nisus et Euryalus
Author: Capricies
Rating: PG-13 (and then R later)
Word Count: 2086
Warnings: None
Disclaimer: I do not own these characters and I don't make any money off them either :P
Summary: Hunger Games/ The Eagle crossover. Marcus, son of a victor-turned-traitor from District 2, and Esca, an orphaned outsider from District 7 are both chosen by vote to compete in the 1st Quarter Quell.
Author Notes: This was originally posted in the_eagle_kink as a fill and I abandoned it. I have recently gone back to it, after re-watching The Eagle and remembering it exists. I updated and changed a couple of things and decided to post the first chapter even if I don't have a beta reader. On a similar note, if you are interested in beta reading for me I would be completely in your debt just post a comment or message me!
(Cross-posted to: capricious_capricies on dw & ninth_eagle

Marcus is from District 2, he never gave a thought to life in the other districts or wondered where his meal came from- he did his work, ate his food, and helped his uncle. That was his life. It was peaceful and reasonably nice, although repetitive and rather naïve now that he thinks about it. Marcus’ father, long dead, was a victor in one of the Hunger Games of past, something neither he nor his uncle talk about, leaving Marcus with no knowledge of his father, his victory, or how they acquired his house, and he knows next to nothing about his mother, only that she died around the time he was born. What was left of them was a few vague memories and a blurred legacy.

He knows of the other districts by the Games each year, the quick glimpse every citizen in Panem gets at the Reaping ceremony, and when he watches it, the volunteer’s faces in the career districts lighting up with pride or the children in the outer districts, their faces in terror, his brain does not let him think of ‘ifs’ and ‘maybes’, it thinks of ‘this is how it is. How it must be’ because he cannot let himself think of the true suffering he is forced to watch when the killing starts, the pain those children, with ages so close to his own, felt or the fate they faced. It was selfish but it was how he managed. He hears the talks at school about honor and repentance and pride, he absorbs them, repeats them when asked, but when he watches those games, the children beheaded, or dehydrated, or skewered, or any other horrifying end the Capitol can manage and the nausea rises in his throat he finds he cannot find any honor in it at all.
He is not naïve enough to think The Capitol or his District doesn’t hold secrets. He recognizes the strange disappearances of the strongest of his classmates or the clandestine transport of something or other through town. He knows of this, everyone does. But as a citizen, it is not his job to ask questions; and to be truthful, Marcus doesn’t know that he has any to ask. He wouldn’t even know where to start.

This year, the year of the 25th Hunger Games, Marcus is eighteen - almost finished with school. He is filled with a nervous energy and he attributes it to the fact that by the end of the year he will be assigned work and his life at school, the only life he has known will be over. He doesn’t know anything about the work he will be assigned- whether to mine work or a job in the mountains, or maybe somewhere else and he is sure he won’t mind it- not the labor anyway but it is still the largest change he has ever faced.

But something happens, months before the actual games, it is announced during school that there will be a mandatory program tonight.
He watches it with his uncle, too old now for the work in the mines he used to do and now confined to their mostly-empty house, his only past time playing chess with Stephano, an old friend of his from the mines . They watch in silence as the Capitol seal appears, the anthem over it. His uncle sighs, a heavy weary sigh, but Marcus sits straight, his eyes trained on the television, just like he does at school or at the Reapings. President Snow appears, standing behind his elaborate podium in the Capitol, looking powerful and his eyes hard. His eyes looked as black as his regalia as he stared right at the camera, Marcus got the uneasy and unreasonable feeling that he was staring right at him. Behind him stood a young boy, maybe twelve or ten, in all white, holding a wooden box. The President just stares for a minute, into the camera with that same piercing look judging and dispassionate all at once. His uncle is silent, Marcus figures that, like himself, his uncle is attempting to understand what this is about. It is hard to listen to Snow going through the story of the rebellion, the story drilled into every child’s head from their first years, he is too busy wondering what is happening. Something brings Marcus out of his thoughts, though, when President Snow motions the boy forward.

“And this year, it is my pleasure to announce our first Quarter Quell,” He says after the action, smiling in a way Marcus thought was supposed to be disarming but instead felt cold, as if there was nothing at all behind his eyes.
The Quarter Quell. Of course, how had Marcus forgotten?
“The Quarter Quell, as you all know, was marked into law during the formation of the Hunger Games, every 25 years the Capitol stresses the destruction and chaos during those dark days of rebellion by varying certain aspects of the Game to bring forth the memory of those times afresh. To never forget past transgressions”

The boy steps closer and opens the box, inside of which Marcus sees small yellow envelopes placed neatly in a row. President Snow picks the first envelope, marked with a scriptive ‘25th’. He smiles once again as he opens it and read the words which chill Marcus down to his bones.

Marcus doesn’t have that many friends. That idiot Placidus, the mayor’s son, who thought that it would improve his position should he befriend the son of one of the victors of the Hunger Games, tried for about a week but he was such an asshole that Marcus could hardly stand him and when Placidus just started ignoring him altogether it was almost a relief. Though, he could do without the barbs Placidus sometimes throws at him now.
Mostly, Marcus keeps to himself, and others keep out of his way. Once, he tried asking his uncle about it but all he got were vague assurances that he would make friends eventually. He doesn’t mind so much; of course, he doesn’t really understand either, but he stopped trying to find out why when he realized no one would talk to him long enough for him to get a straight answer. Marcus figured it wasn’t worth the effort on his part. He sometimes talks to a guy named Cradock, who sits with him at lunch occasionally, and he’s asked him about it, but Cradock doesn’t have any answers for him, either.

So when President Snow announced that this year the tributes would be chosen by election, Marcus didn’t really understand why he was so moved by it. Since his friends are limited to maybe one person, who he knows little to nothing about, it can’t be fear for Cradock and he supposes the fear must be for himself, what would be worse than being picked to go to slaughter by those who were your neighbors? He accepted a time ago that death would come one day be it sooner or later, he supposes it was his way of dealing with the Reapings. It made the waiting more bearable- not that he really had anything to fear, especially not in the most recent years with all the volunteers- well until now, he should say.
Perhaps it was just the concept of it that scares him. He can’t place it and is still trying to when he hears his uncle call his name.

“Marcus” He calls again, his voice closer to shaken than Marcus has ever heard it before. “Listen to me Marcus; they are going to choose you”

This takes him off guard, but also curls something in his stomach as if he expected it all along. He almost tries to make light of the situation almost says ‘ I am not truly that unpopular am I?’ but he can tell this is serious, his Uncles face looks worse than serious, it looks grave and determined as if this had been a long time coming and he had tried to hold back the tides. So instead Marcus carefully asks “What do you mean”

“There are things you have to know. I’ve kept them from you.” His uncle replies, getting up from the couch slowly. “Follow me, my boy.”

Marcus gets up, following his uncle up the stairs, to the room neither of them uses, an office which Marcus can’t even remember entering in the last year. His uncle closes the door behind them and motions Marcus over to the desk.

“Take a seat, Marcus, it’s quite a tale” his uncle says, looking tired.

So Marcus sits in the chair across the table, while his uncle moves for the one behind it. And then he starts:
“I’ve tried to keep this from you as long as I could, but I need you to understand the danger you are now in.” He takes a breath, as if steeling himself for the rest of his speech “Your father was, as you know, was a tribute. He was seventeen and blinded by the promise of prizes and glory to throw on his sweetheart, your mother. He had been trained, somewhere away from here and came back only once every month. He volunteered when your mother was pregnant with you. He was idealistic and cocky and so, so sure of himself…”

his voice trails off for a moment before continuing “and he won, dammit he won” he gave a light chuckle, his eyes bright, but quickly they turned dark again.

“But after, what came after was…” He pauses looking for the right word “difficult. For everyone. Your father had seen things, done things, things he never wanted to do. Things that they said would be easy, would be just like a game to them. He had blood on his hands and he didn’t like it. He rebelled, left the district with ten or so others, swearing that they would avenge the tributes past and future. Your mother, however, showed no interest said he was a traitor, but he” He breathes out a heavy sigh “He still loved her, said he would come back for her and you even when she was cursing his name. Even though she was loyal they killed her to teach him a lesson, before he ever could. They left you, thinking you were too young at the time to remember anything and in my care, because I had rejected your father. A man I hardly knew, a man who had killed children as young as twelve, he felt like a hypocrite to me. And when Lyssa died...but I realised I misjudged him too late to make my amends”

He pauses for a minute before starting again, his voice stronger now
“Everyone in our district knows of this, and they hate your father for it and therefore they hate you. They think you are nothing more than a troublemaker, a traitor’s son. You must realize, I don’t say these things to hurt you but I must have you understand how deeply they resent you. But you’re a strong boy. Perhaps not trained, but you work hard, and they teach you some classes at school, if I remember. You will be chosen, Marcus, but perhaps if you remain strong you have a chance. A better chance than many I presume”

and so he finishes, looking stoic and sympathetic at the same time, and Marcus has trouble taking it all in, the story and the feelings and his history and the hatred aimed at him, kept secret.

It hits Marcus in waves, and it feels as if the story is slowly filling out the holes in his life, all the questions left unanswered, all the little bubbles of safety and happiness popped. This quiet life he had with his uncle was all a shield he had hid behind unknowingly and this filled him with anger, not at his uncle, not at his district, but at himself-for acting like such a child, too weak to be worthy of the truth. He takes a shuddering breath, opens his mouth to talk before realizing he can’t form words yet and pauses to calm his shuddering breathes. He curses himself for the weakness and closes his eyes for a second waiting until he has control again.
“Thank you for telling me this, Uncle.” he manages, hoping he doesn’t look as broken as he feels.

His uncle looks at him with an expression he can’t identify, somewhere between affection and pity and Marcus knows that this is the worse look that he has ever gotten, it boils something within him- shame laced with anger.

“Perhaps I should have told you sooner, but I wanted to protect you” his uncle says, which almost stings Marcus physically.

He is not a child, he is not weak, and above all he does not need to be coddled. Marcus thinks these things indignantly, but he finds no rage for his uncle. Marcus should have known this, should have been wise enough to figure it out, or curious enough to ask; such a sheep accepting everything given to him without questions.

He has never doubted the nature of Panem before, why did he in regards to his parents?

“I think, I have to be alone for a while” He says, working on keeping his tone measured. He gets up from the chair, leaves the room, closing the door without a slam, and forces himself to walk outside calmly, taking one step at a time.
The cool breeze hits him and lets him breathe again. He opens the gate to their house and starts walking.

He never gave much thought to his parents’ death, thought that perhaps they had died naturally. Whenever he asked his Uncle gave little answer, always vague or disarming. Marcus never questioned him, he had been taught not to. Even when he was angry about it, about all his questions with no answers his Uncle never budged. Marcus eventually put all the questions behind him and marked the entire venture as useless. He never imagined his dad much, didn’t like to think about what he had to do to get their shiny house on the side of the mountain. But his mom, he thought about what she was like constantly and this was the first time he had ever heard his name. He asked, of course he asked, but his uncle never answered. Lyssa. He wonders seriously about her for the first time since he was eight and his uncle whispered
“Don’t you worry about your mommy now, she’s in a better place, one day, I’ll tell you all about her” to him.

And he understands why his Uncle couldn’t say anything. He gets that- he could fall under suspicion; they could fall under suspicion. He gets why his district, no, why Panem had to kill her- can’t let the rebels have their way. Wouldn’t want that to happen.

He kicks a rock, stopping to watch it roll off the path down to the village and into the tall grass. He understands the issue from both sides. He knows why it had to happen. And he feels angry. At everyone; himself, his uncle, and even goddamn President Snow. He thinks, hard, about the government, why his dad rebelled, and why the Dark Days occurred and he knows why, has always known why. But this is the hand they’ve been dealt, and he’s not sure if there is another good card in the deck.

Marcus goes off the path, down the hill the rock had gone down, he walks for a while and then sits down, out of sight from anyone still out this time of night. He bites the inside of his cheek as he tries to sort out the mess of feelings he has. He thinks about all the times he was angry at the Capitol, all the times he’s watched a child murder or be murdered and he thinks of his dead father, the man who wanted to kill and came back wishing he hadn’t. Both were to blame for killing his mother, and he figures out soon enough that it is hopeless trying to figure out which one was more so.

Usually any anger he feels towards Panem and Snow and the Capitol he can write off as useless. It’s not like it could do any good.
So he is back where he started. Either he hates an entity which he cannot hope of touching or a dead man.
The night had settled over the late evening by the time he makes his way back, and he hasn’t solved anything. But, he figures, in a lot of ways it doesn’t matter, he is probably going to die within the next few months anyway.

And by the time he goes to bed, wearier than he has a right to be, all his anger has melted away into a type of unresolved restlessness that he knows he isn’t ever going to be able to do anything about.


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February 2014

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