At first glance, Gideon looks like anything but a victor, but anyone who had watched the 170th Games knew otherwise. Even five years after his departure from the arena, his name is still known throughout the Capitol, as a man who made a boring Games thrilling - though he barely knows the reason himself.

Only son to a tailor and a seamstress, the Hales were well off, or as well off as someone could be in Five, which wasn’t very. He still had to volunteer for tesserae, but not too many, and the only physical practice he got was in school and working at the energy plants, which all citizens were forced to start at age fifteen. The chances of him being reaped were slim, and yet the odds were definitely not in his favour that day.

His life changed when he was fifteen years old, turning sixteen the very next day. Like every year, he trudged his way to the Reaping, aware that the next day, no one would bother to wish him a happy birthday, since everyone would be grieving about the two young citizens of Five to leave and enter the arena. As soon as his name was called, though, his mind went completely blank - not only was he doomed to die, but his best friend’s sister was already Reaped, and staring at him with wide eyes. With the simple gesture of shaking her hand, he was swept into the Hunger Games, into the chaos of preparation and training. Gideon managed to muster a score of 8 - impressive, considering his lack of previous training, but he had found that he was a natural when it came to fighting with a spear. It became an extension of his arm, a deadly weapon once put in his possession.

Sooner than he’d like, he found himself surrounded by twenty-three others in a field, with mountains in the distance - presumably a place to hide. He managed to leave the Cornucopia with no more than a scratch across his calf in terms of injuries, a memory left by the District Three female who had tried to grab a hold of him right before she received an arrow through her head. He desperately tried to find his partner, but she was long gone - ran away before the fight at the Cornucopia had begun, he’d figured. Gideon grabbed what he could - a medium-sized backpack and the last of the spears - and fled for the mountain range. His backpack had only a few energy bars, a sleeping bag, a bottle for water, and a pack of matches, which was already more than he was hoping for, and he spent the first two days wandering, keeping out of harm’s way, catching and cooking the occasional squirrel and watching the sky for his district partner’s face.

On the third day, however, he woke up in his newest alcove - a cave he had stumbled upon - to find a crowd of Careers grouped at the entrance. Apparently, most of the other tributes had died from dehydration in the field, if not at the Cornucopia - Gideon figured he had missed their faces in the sky, watching only for his partner. If there was anyone left, they were well hidden, and their intentions were clear. Before he could properly wake up, they attacked him, shooting arrows and throwing knives everywhere he ran. He had managed to shove his spear into one’s throat, but there were still four left, now even more angry after the cannon announced their teammate’s death. Gideon had open wounds on his back, his arms, his chest, everywhere, and every inch hurt - but then he heard a thud. He looked up and saw two people, who he recognised as the female from Eight and the male from Ten. The thud had turned out to be the sound of Ten slamming the boy from Four into the cave wall, and soon enough, Gid found himself surrounded by the dead or nearly dead bodies of his attackers. The pair introduced themselves - the girl was Audris, the boy was Thom - and the three became a team. Gideon never figured out what compelled them to save him, but he was glad for the sudden alliance.

It didn’t last long, though. Just the next day, Thom was attacked by a wolf while he was alone by the fire and Audris and Gideon were out hunting for food. They came back only to his mangled corpse, clearly left there by the Gamemakers to make sure they had seen him before they picked him up in the hovercraft. Gideon and Audris spent that night quietly, watching the sky for the rest of the deceased - and moments before Thom’s face graced the starry sky, the girl from Five showed up, her eyes still reminding Gideon of his friend back home.

The next morning, Gideon figured out that he and Audris were the last two, and he knew he’d have to hurry before the Gamemakers decided the pace was moving too slowly. He hated the idea of killing his last friend in the Games, and so he put it off as much as he could - up until an avalanche began rolling down the mountain. He grabbed Audris’ arm and rushed her down the hill, despite her yells otherwise, and managed to get them at the edge of a cliff, close enough to jump and be at the base of the mountain - when the wolves began gathering on the grass nearby. They were trapped - the options were death by avalanche, or death by the wolves. Audris looked around frantically, and clearly made her choice. Gideon couldn’t talk her out of it, and definitely didn’t have the time to do more than shake his head and yell at her, trying to get her to hear reason - but she was determined by then, and with an eerily calm “goodbye, Gid”, followed by a small smirk and a shrug, punctuated with “I’ll say hi to Thommy for you”, she threw herself off the cliff. With a final cannon, Gideon was announced victor of the 170th Hunger Games.

To this day, Gideon feels immensely guilty for everything, and blames himself. He can’t sleep well, he’s afraid of anything resembling a dog, and he’s turned into somewhat of an asshole - cynical and sarcastic, keeping the world at arm’s length. His best friend, whose sister had been in the Games with Gid, had never forgiven him for letting her die, and they haven’t spoken in years. The only thing Gideon puts his all into is being a mentor, and every year since he began his tributes have perished - but he’s determined that this year, they will win, even if it’s just to be spared the guilt he’s had.

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