Blaise might just kill Malfoy.
All of that confident crap I was pulling with Malfoy? Was exactly that, crap. My stomach is about to fall out of my arse, my breakfast is ready to leap up my throat, and my whole body just wants to drop. But I keep a stony face as the stylist from last night wishes me good luck, his voice nasally and irritating as he calls, "May the odds be ever in your favour!" I desperately want to chop him in his throat and make his balls finally drop. Instead I nod and stare forward as the platform lifts me into darkness for what feels like thirty minutes. It might have only been seconds. I try to breathe deeply and get my heart to beat at a more normal pace. It doesn't work.
My platform emerges, and across the field from of me, I can make out Draco's bright blonde hair. We have our plan, but it can all come falling apart within the next ten minutes. I cut my glance over to Desiree Wayne. She stands equal distance from both of us and is my first target. If I can get to her, that's one less threat, and better chances for myself and Malfoy. Two platforms over from me is Teras Morozov. He's another threat, but when we discussed it, Malfoy and I decided that we would be better off going for someone who scared us a lot less.
I survey my surroundings. Beyond the circle of "contestants," it is actually kind of beautiful. Somewhere off to my left and behind me is a stream, I hear it trickling in the background of the intense silence. The trees to my right are thin and I can see beyond into a field of tall grass. It looks as if it would cover halfway up of my stomach if I were to stand in it. I make a note of that and continue to look around. The entire clearing is surrounded by varying degrees of forest. I want to chance a look behind me, but if the gong sounds, I don't want to waste those seconds turning around, when I could be running to the Cornucopia.
The gong is a little anti-climatic, to be honest. Such a low, soothing, metallic sound to proceed a death race? I guess the Dark Lord has a really ironic sense of humour.
I almost trip over my own legs, jumping from my platform and running full-out for the Cornucopia. My heart is still pounding against my ribs, and I feel like my blood is flowing faster than it's supposed to. In the corner of my eye I see the Morozova girl sneak up behind a boy and snap his neck. I flinch reflexively, imagining the sensation of bone twisting like that... Focus. I have to remind myself to look forward and keep moving. It's a struggle though, to know that one person, several yards from me is actively killing, and at least three more are looking forward to killing me. The Dark Ones sure as hell know how to pick them. Between the Morozovs and the Wayne twins, I'm not even sure I'll make it through the night. But I have to. I refuse to die on the first night. No one knows who dies on the first day until the Anthem is played at night. Afterwards there's a gong for every death. If I'm going to die in this place, I don't want to be bunched with eight others. I want my own gong.
That annoying Gryffindor with the camera, Creevey, has gotten to the Cornucopia first. The bag on his shoulder is stuffed full of food, and it looks as if that's all Creevey is here for. I pick a knife from the ground in front of the giant chest of supplies between us, my eyes trained on Creevey. He is so focused on what he is doing that he has barely noticed that I am here. It would be really easy for me to just kill him now. In fact, I should kill him now. He's an easy target, just in the way of the rest of us. He will have to die eventually.
I am just not sure I want to be the one who does it.
I thought I would be able to just kill. It's my life or his, isn't it? But it doesn't feel that way right now. If I kill Creevey now... when he is not a threat.... It doesn't feel right. Malfoy will call me a hypocrite and dumb as fuck, but Creevey is not a threat. I can't kill him.
Clearly none of that bothered Desiree Wayne as she buried her own knife hilt deep into Creevey's back.
Instinctively I turn to look for her sister, Delilah. It would be just like the twins to pull a move like that, backstabbing me and Creevey at the same time. Instead, I find Teras Morozov barrelling towards us. When I made the plan with Malfoy, I did not anticipate being cornered by both the twins and the Russian monster at the same time. I also did not anticipate his partner to be as scary as she is.
Desiree grins at me. Somehow, I find it scarier than when the Carrow sister smiles. My fist tightens around my knife handle. Where the hell is Delilah? I start to think, screw the plan and screw Malfoy, I need to get out of this alive. Then I remember that the Morozova girl is out there, killing with her bare hands. If I leave the Cornucopia, I want to leave it with some sort of defence against her.
I take a chance. I throw the knife in my hand at Desiree. She is supposed to be my first target after all. I would be pissing her sister off, but there won't be two of them anymore. My knife misses, but I distract her long enough that I can disentangle and shoulder a quiver of arrows. It's when I stagger sideways, finally pulling the strap free from between two sword hilts that I feel a sharp burn in my side. I see Teras Muggle-duelling another bloke, and Desiree Wayne is still on the other side of the Cornucopia. I think the Morozova girl finally got to me... then I see that Desiree is still grinning.
Delilah Wayne just tried to kill me.
I turn around in just enough time to avoid being stabbed again and only manage to kick her in the leg. She staggers, having lost her balance, but doesn't stay down for too long. I reach behind me into the chest, for the first handle I can find; instead my hand finds the path of a sword as Teras pulls it from the Cornucopia. I swear at the deep slice in my flesh, and Delilah takes advantage of my distraction to strike at me again. I kick her in the stomach this time, and she actually kneels. I reach in again, careful not to be cut again. From the other side, Desiree stabs at my arm with her knife. I swear to Hecate, if I get out of this alive I might kill Malfoy just because.
I grab on the first handle I find and pull out a sword. The weapon is short and stubby, but it's just long enough to leave a deep cut across Desiree Wayne's forearm and wrist. She drops the knife she was attacking me with and I turn on a now-standing Delilah. I move my arm, intending to chop her in the side like she did me (and hopefully kill her), only she catches my blade in between two smaller knives. It's a clumsy move, and she drops one of her knives in the process. I'm thinking I can finally kill this girl, when a knife catches my shoulder. Desiree. Damn. The Waynes are too much for me to handle at one time; whenever I think I have one, her twin comes to the rescue. It will be better for me to run now, while I still have a life to run with. Without second-guessing myself, I take off towards the forest. I pick up a canvas knapsack in my way, but otherwise do not slow or turn around.
This was yet another part of the plan that Malfoy and I didn't think through. We were supposed to meet in the forest. There is always a forest in the games. Only... I don't know where Malfoy is. I sigh and sit down heavily on a tree root. The first wound Delilah Wayne inflicted stings. I check it, just to see what it looks like, but there isn't a thing I can do without a wand or medical potions. I guess I should stop the bleeding... Reluctantly, I remove both the jacket and sleeveless t-shirt they issued me this morning, and wad the shirt so that I can put pressure on the wound. I learned alright from the first aid lady during the training week, but I keep thinking of how much I really miss Madame Pomfrey.
I remain seated only until I convince myself that the bleeding's stopped. Even then, I don't think I am ready, but I force myself off the ground. I have no idea where I should go or even where I am, but I just pick a direction and start walking. It's sometime in between my first and fourth steps when I realise, I didn't grab a fucking bow. Fuck!
I definitely want to kill Malfoy now. This was his plan to begin with, I had wanted to just avoid him until the Final Six, and then keep avoiding him. He was the arsehole who wanted to make an alliance. Malfoy said that only one of us should go into the Cornucopia for supplies. Malfoy was probably why I am even in this bloody arena in the first place. I am killing him. Bottom line. At least I have the sword. I nearly died five times for it, and it is the shortest sword I have ever seen, but I do have a sword. I can guarantee that is more than Malfoy has right now.
Even while I internally rant, my eyes are searching for the blonde ferret. The memory of Professor Moody bouncing the transfigured Malfoy in the air brings a smile to my face. He made me promise never to think about it again but... I'm a Slytherin. I don't always keep my promises. The idea of turning Malfoy into another rodent calms me down for the moment. I'm still irritated, but I was the idiot who agreed to the plan and even volunteered for the Cornucopia. I didn't realise how different just watching the games at Hogwarts was from actually being in them. And I was the twat who forgot the fucking bow.
My feet make too much noise as I walk through the forest, and I nearly trip on large tree roots a few times. Belatedly, I realise that I'm not just listening to my clumsy footsteps, but to someone else's as well. For a short moment, I think it's Malfoy, then realise, he would have called out to me. This isn't Malfoy following me, but one of the others, stalking. This is someone who is going to kill me. I slow down deliberately. Those are definitely someone else's footsteps with mine, and they aren't trying too hard to hide.
This is not that Creevey kid. Whoever is behind me isn't harmless, it's either my life or theirs. My fingers tighten around the sword handle and my heart thuds even harder against my ribs. I hate adrenaline. The person behind me is faster than I am, is getting closer. Instead of pushing harder, I slow down as if I am exhausted. Fleetingly I wonder, maybe it really is Malfoy. If they're chasing me, they could have killed me already, couldn't they? He could just be playing a trick on me.
I can't take that chance though. When my stalker gets close enough, I stop and turn, thrusting my right arm forward until the blade I'm holding meets flesh.
A pair of grey eyes stare back at me in shock.