au meme | amy, rory, eleven, river - the hunger games → asked by ed84
Amelia Pond and Rory Williams are chosen as District 8’s Tributes for the 100th Hunger Games. The Girl on Fire and The Boy with the Bread, revisioned. Amy/Rory, Eleven/River, Mels, Donna Noble, Jack Harkness, mentions of Rose and Martha. Warning: allusions to Character Death.
“May the Odds be ever in your favor.”
The first time Amelia Pond hears those words, she’s standing on the cobblestone sidewalk as the omen blares out over a megaphone. The Reaping of District 8 is held in the courtyard of the local church, and her aunt holds onto Amelia’s hands so tightly that it almost hurts. She is nearly seven years old – with fiery hair, sharp eyes, and her mother’s temper. Her tattered clothes have been upgraded for this special day, as if no one could look twice at her and see how close to destitute her family really is. She’s supposed to be too young to understand yet, too young to truly comprehend the horror of what’s transpiring – but she’s always been a clever one.
“Rose Tyler,” they call out, that year.
The crowd goes quiet, then slowly parts ways so some girl can make a long silent journey to the stage; Amelia can’t see much, so she stands on her tippy-toes and tries to look out. She only gets a glimpse of shiny blonde hair, a pretty girl no older than sixteen.
She isn’t allowed to watch the Games yet, so Amelia never sees that girl again.
When she turns twelve and her name is submitted for the first time to the Reaping, she decides to start calling herself Amy instead. Amelia is too immature, too childish, and if she’s old enough to be in the Games, then she’s too old for a name like Amelia Pond.
She stands amongst children as Martha Jones is picked as the female Tribute. She knows Martha; Martha used to baby-sit her, kind and sweet and wouldn’t hurt a fly. Now, she’s charged with the task of kill or be killed. Weeks later, Amy refuses to turn away when her Aunt order her to stop watching the television, because her name is in the reaping now, and she should know what the Games are like.
“Winning means fame and fortune. Losing means certain death. The Hunger Games are our greatest tradition…”
The crowd only cheers.
When she is sixteen years old, and her name is on four separate slips of paper, tumbling around in the lottery, Amy and Mels trade jabs with each other in whispered jest. “May the Odds be ever in your favor!” they mock, simultaneously, and are unceremoniously shushed by three girls around them. Not many find humor in the situation, and truthfully, Amy doesn’t either, but it’s either joke about it or throw up – and Amy has too strong of a stomach for that.
But when the Reaping starts, they both go as silent as the rest.
She stands shoulder-to-shoulder with all the other girls, some younger, a few older – and when the woman from the Capital calls out the male tribute first, Amy freezes. She looks across the courtyard to the boys, finding one in particular. Rory Williams. Oh, god no. Not him, not him. She finds Mels’ hand next to hers without even realizing it, because Mels is the only person in all the world that knows why Amy would react this way – Rory Williams was the boy with the bread, the boy who once – at the age of seven, so small in stature that he might have gotten lost in a crowd of three – had given her a loaf of bread and saved her life from the brink of starvation.
“And the female Tribute,” the voice calls out, while Amy is barely paying attention, “is Amelia Pond.”
“Hello,” a voice greets, awkwardly.
Rory Williams, the boy with the bread.
She doesn’t really know him well, but oh, how she aches at the thought of fighting him in the Games. But that’s the way it has to be, the only way it can be. 24 Tributes, from 12 Districts – and only one can survive.
She cannot afford to befriend this boy.
“Hello,” she returns, a tad stiffly.
From District Eight, there have only been two victors in the last fifty years. Both reside on the east side of town, in pretty houses gifted by the Capital, just the two in a row. River Song won the 84th Hunger Games, and then there was the mad man that the local schoolchildren nicknamed the Doctor, who won the 89th. Amelia doesn’t know much about them, beyond the fabled details of their victories. River Song was a crack-shot, and the Doctor’s cleverness was renowned. There were even rumors they were romantically linked once upon a time, or perhaps even still are, but Amy doesn’t really know what to think of them.
As the only surviving Tributes from District 8, Amy just knows River and the Doctor are going to be her mentors in the upcoming games. She just knows they are going to be the best shot she has at surviving.
“I won’t say don’t worry, Amelia Pond,” the Doctor tells her, bopping her on the nose like she’s a child, “But we’re going to get through this.”
“My name is Amy,” she corrects, stubbornly.
He makes a face. “But Amelia has flare!”
She figures out fairly quickly why the schoolchildren always call him a mad man. He pounces around like a nine-year-old without a care in the world, but she snatches a good look at him when he thinks no one is looking, and in those moments he seems more aged and raggedy than any other person Amy could ever imagine. Grief and guilt hang off of him like the rank smell of bad cologne, and she thinks if he weren’t always laughing, he’d just curl up on himself and never move.
“Don’t mind him,” River would say, in those moments, “He gets like that sometimes.”
They have four weeks to train.
River teaches her to shoot. River teaches her to take a punch and to come back up swinging. River teaches her some hand-to-hand combat moves and a bit of archery; she teaches Amy about weak spots on a body and how a quick jab to the throat will do more damage than a hit to most others. River works Amy to the bone, never relenting, never stopping, not even for one pause or a break.
“Amy,” River says to her. “They’re going to underestimate you from the beginning. You don’t have any known skills with a bow or a sword, and they’ll see just this girl – this young girl who is a threat to no one. Prove them wrong. Wait them out. You’re cleverer than them by a mile. Use that.”
The publicity soon begins.
“Well, well, well,” Donna Noble says, her stylist in the Games. Donna is blunt and loud, and could be very, very annoying – if not for the fact that Amy finds a confidant and kindred-spirit in her that she doesn’t seem to have in anybody else at the moment. “You’ve got striking features,” she tells Amy. “Let’s see if we can work with that.”
“So you’re going to make me pretty?” Amy asks, a little insulted at being dressed up like a doll for people hoping to see her die.
Donna shakes her head. “Oh, no, Amy. I’m going to help you make an impression. There’s a difference.”
It isn’t until later that Amy realizes that these games, these Hunger Games – they have as much to do with politics and public relations as they do with violence.
“Your hair,” Donna determines with a nod. “We’ll focus on that. By the time I’m done, they’ll be calling you The Girl on Fire, and no one will be forgetting you. No one.”
“Hello,” Rory greets again, amiably.
Amy freezes, trying to remain aloof but he’s always just so… bloody nice. She almost hates that. She makes a quick move to exit through the side, when he stops her. “I wouldn’t go in the training room, if I were you.”
“The Doctor and River,” he says, blushing bright red. “Um, they’re kinda… preoccupied with each other.”
Amy’s eyes widen as she catches on. “Oh, I knew it! I even told the Doctor that I saw something between them, and he’s all “Oh, Pond, you silly thing.” Pfft. Silly thing, my ass. When a woman calls you sweetie with a tone of affection that implies she’d like to rip your clothes off, that isn’t my imagination—”
“Shh!” Rory chides, coming closer. She tips an eyebrow up, walking towards him as he continues in a conspiratorial whisper, “I don’t think they want anyone to know.”
“Why on earth not?”
“Because,” he says. “I think they’ve had enough spotlight to last them a lifetime.”
“… oh.” She can understand that, once she’s stops to think about it. “So,” she continues, “how long have you known about them?”
“A while,” Rory admits, sheepishly. “People don’t really notice me when I’m around. I guess it makes it easier to be overlooked.”
Amy just stares, because she could see how he would think that – a man so slight and unassuming in his mannerisms, but she’s always noticed him. Every time he walked into a room, or they were even in the same vicinity, she always had a heightened awareness of him. They’d never talked much, even growing up in the same neighborhood, but she’d always felt a connection to him ever since that day he’d given her a loaf of bread and managed to save her life.
And there were times, too, when she’d look across the room and catch him in a stare.
“So,” he says, breaking the silence. “I hear you have to get corrective-eye surgery before the Games?”
She nods. “I do, otherwise I’d be stuck with glasses, and I’d look stupid in those.”
“Better than a fez,” Rory jokes, at the expense of the Doctor, and Amy laughs despite herself.
The national interviews are held the night before the Games, and hers goes well, but it’s nothing exceptional. Donna’s work is truly the star of the show, because her dress is rich and red and colorful, and she is truly The Girl on Fire.
Rory’s interview, on the other hand, is jaw-dropping for another reason.
“Handsome lad like you,” teases the interviewer, a man named Jack Harkness that has been the dream of every girl in America for at least the past decade, “there must be some special girl back home. Come on, what’s her name?”
‘Actually, there has been a girl. I’ve had a crush on her ever since I can remember, but I’m pretty sure she didn’t know I was alive until the reaping.”
“Well, she’ll be impressed when you win the Games and come back home! Definitely yours, for sure!”
“I don’t think so,” Rory admits. “Winning won’t help my case, really. Because… well, she came here with me.”
And realization dawns on Amy the same exact moment the cameras turn back to her.
“You stupid face!” she roars at him later, thinking (hoping) him a liar. “I know what games you’re playing at!”
“But I’m not—”
“Don’t!” she snarls.
The nicer he is, the more favor he will garner from the audience – the more dangerous he’ll be in the Games. She can’t afford to think he’s telling the truth – she can’t afford to appreciate his sweetness, his effortless guile – the boy with the bread – because if she does, it’ll make it that much more horrible to face him in the Games.
“It’s not going to work,” she warns, then walks away.
“Oh, Amelia Pond,” the Doctor soothes, as she cries into his shoulder later that same night. “I know it seems hopeless, but all is not lost.”
“How can you say that to me?” she sobs, weakly demanding – too weakly.
Tomorrow, she could die, or Rory might – probably both of them.
“Hush, now,” he replies, a mind-reader, “I am and always will be the forever optimist. The hoper of far-flung hopes and the dreamer of improbable dreams. And I am telling you, Amelia Pond, all is not lost. Even now.”
She wants to believe him so badly.
“And ladies and gentlemen,” Jack Harkness announces to the roaring crowd, “let the One-Hundredth Hunger Games begin!”
She rises up into the arena, and chaos breaks out.