A/N: I think this chapter took the longest time to be updated, and for that, I'm sorry. The reviews are as lovely as it's ever been. I always appreciate the longer ones. It always puts a smile on my face =) And I always think the shorter ones as cute. Like candy. There are a lot of Cato/Katniss fanfictions out, and I'm glad that you still chose to read this one. Despite it being...not the best. But anyway, the chapter is up, and you should start reading =D Sorry for wasting your time.
She got away. Again.
Katniss leans back on the tree that she found earlier. She tied her lap onto it's branches using the ropes she found in the orange bag she came across. Now she's just trying to put herself to sleep. Katniss looks up to the evening sky then sighs. Thoughts of her family, Gale, Madge...even Greasy Sae came into to mind. Katniss wanted to be back home more than anything right now. Back in the woods, hunting animals. Not people. Though most of the tributes alive could easily be compared to a predator, killing actual animals makes you feel a lot less guilty than killing any other human. Good, or evil. With this thought, she drifts to sleep and dreams.
"Unfortunately they got you first." She hears a voice, her view is fuzzy so she couldn't identify the owner. It seemed male. Familiar, but not too familiar. It's like she only heard it once or twice in her entire life. Her vision slowly starts to clear, "But I'll end it before it gets too painful." It's Marvel. He has a smug look on his face. He's kneeling and bending towards her. She was laying down on grass. Tall, green, beautiful grass. Wait, What was he talking about? She wasn't feeling any pain at all. And she didn't think that Marvel was actually serious about killing her nicely. This can't be real.
He brings out his knife as Katniss' heart starts to pump. She couldn't move. But not out of fear, she seriously can't move. It's like she's paralyzed. The second after that, she sees Marvel pushed to the ground by large arms. Glimmer gets him up then crosses her arms. Cato approaches Marvel and starts yelling at him. Cato was the one who pushed him off.
"What the hell are you doing?" Cato says, "We're trying to have fun here."
"What else do you want from her?" Marvel questions. "You've already gutted her alive!" He gestures towards me.
Katniss tenses. He gutted me alive? she wondered. Lies. If she had been gutted alive, she'd feel the pain, searing through her, burning through her skin. Surprisingly, she could move now. She could feel her body being released from whatever prevented her to move. She tilts her head down, down to her waist. Suddenly, she wished she never looked down. She could see Clove, playing with her insides. Katniss' insides.
That's when Katniss' body reacted.
Katniss yelps in pain. Her fists, clenched on the grass. Her nails dug in the soil. Every inch of her body was searing with pain.
"I guess you're not that special. We all look the same on the inside." Clove laughs.
They all laugh.
Slowly, Clove's face changes into Prim's. And the careers begin to disappear. Slowly the pain fades together with her open wound. Katniss sits up.
"Katniss." Prim cries, "You almost died!" Prim's hands were covered with blood and stains are formed on her reaping dress.
"Everything's gonna be okay Prim, I promise. Everything's alright now." Katniss tells her sister as she lifts her hand to tuck in her blonde hair. Prim's tears fall down her cheek. "Look. I'm all fixed up. Don't worry."
"You didn't try hard enough!" Prim yells as more tears fall. Behind her sister, Katniss sees her mother standing. Doing absolutely nothing. Only a second away from slipping into depression, just like she did when their dad had died.
Katniss brings her hands to Prim's face, "Prim, I need you to be brave okay? Everything will be alright." she says.
"No, it's not! You're not trying your best." Prim insists.
"I am! I want to return home, Prim. I want to see you." Katniss says.
"Well I'm here now, but don't stop-"
"Prim?" Katniss shakes her shoulders, "Prim!"
Blood drips down Prim's lip as she falls over Katniss, revealing Cato at her back, holding a knife.
"What did you do?" Katniss yells as she gets up. "You killed her, you heartless bastard, you killed her!" Her voice gets hoarse. She chokes on her words, she couldn't believe it. Now her mother was in the zone she was once in before. She just dropped to the ground and stared at Prim's body.
This will be a never ending nightmare.
"Hell Cato, Is it true?" Marvel questions.
That son of a- I'm gonna kill her. Cato thought.
"Hello? Earth to Cato, answer." Glimmer says, almost anxious to hear his answer, she can't deny the fact that she thought about Cato, in "that way" more the once.
Cato shrugs. He didn't want to give anything away. Throwing a rampage would mean he cares. And he didn't, so why bother? He'll deal with Clove later.
"So it's true?" Peeta asks which leads to everyone looking at him. "What? I'm just as curious as you guys."
"Well yeah but it's different." Glimmer says in an are-you-stupid-or-something? way, "You love her. We don't."
Cato smiles a bit inside. The spotlight is off his back for the minute. Giving him more time to think of a way out of Clove's mess. He shoots her a death glare before anything else happens.
"I'm helping you find her, which will lead to you killing her. I don't think that's what you call love." Peeta reasons.
"Oh? Then what do you call it?"
"Guys. Shut up for a minute please." Marvel says then looks at Cato, "Dear Cato the killing machine, who couldn't care less about a soul and soon plans to drain the life out of me, and my allies. Are you seriously thinking of Katniss that way?" He questions.
Cato was about to say something, mouth already open. Kind of upset that he is the center of attention again. But thanks to Glimmer, well guess not.
"Why? Are you jealous?" Glimmer teases.
"I said shut up. We're not getting an answer out of him if you won't." Marvel rolls his eyes, "Just go put on some lipstick or something."
Cato tries his best to suppress a snicker. He just needed to keep his cool. As if he didn't care at all about what Clove had just told them. Like it meant nothing to him. Not saying that it doesn't already.
"Why do people always think that? I'm not some barbie who can't help but play dress up all day. I'm just as skilled as every one of you." Glimmer states.
"Are you serious?" Clove laughs.
"Yeah I am, what makes you think I'm not?" Glimmer throws her hands in the air.
"Sshh!" Marvel hushes them then glares at Glimmer, "Clove could be lying, but we'll never know just because you, and your pretty little doll face won't admit to anything."
"I'm not lying." Clove says the same time Glimmer says, "There's nothing to admit!"
Then everyone's gaze is traced back to Cato.
Well shit. Cato thought.
Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah.
Everyone of the four careers before Peeta just wouldn't stop bickering. Except Cato though, he seemed to enjoy whatever's happening at the moment. He's probably glad their attention wasn't on him. But why would he be? Clove was lying right?
When everyone's done arguing, their eyes find Cato.
It took a long pause before anyone started to speak. "She's lying." Cato shrugs.
That was a smooth move. No wonder a lot of girls fawned over him. How Peeta knew this? When Cato volunteered nearly half of the girls cried and around two or three fainted.
"Knew it." Glimmer sings.
Marvel shrugs then gets up with Glimmer and follow Cato.
"Wow. Really?" Clove questions, "One word from Cato and all of you just drop the case?"
Marvel turns around, "Is there any reason not to?" He asks.
Clove stays silent and looks down, "I'd prefer not to say."
"Okay then." Marvel heads to his sleeping bag and starts to drift to sleep.
"Clove, first shift?" Cato asks cooly. As if he was proud of himself.
Clove nods after she shoots him a glare. Cato shrugs and heads to his side of the area. Glimmer does the same.
Peeta looks at Clove before he tucks himself in, hoping that she would go away from his side. When Clove doesn't move, Peeta shrugs it off and starts to get in the bag.
"Don't sleep yet loverboy." Clove says, "I've got some questions for you."
Peeta sits up, "Can't it wait?" He asks.
Clove shakes her head then smirks.
"This is all your fault." Still trapped in a nightmare, Katniss looks up at Cato who has spoken. She scrambles for a weapon. None in her reach. "You shouldn't have volunteered. Now both of you have to die." Cato continues.
"You're sick." Katniss spits out.
"By choice." Cato smirks, "I chose to be this way. I chose to volunteer. Just like you did."
"Don't you dare put me in the same level as you. We both know that we volunteered for completely different reasons." Katniss gets up. More confident. Defiant.
Cato steps forward, leaving a good 3-feet cap between them, "But it seems that you've gambled on both your lives." Cato looks down at Prim, and suddenly, Katniss just fell apart.
"This isn't real." She says.
Cato walks up to Katniss and tilts her chin up with one finger, "Then wake up before I kiss - kill you." His voice shakes, mixing up the words. Like her dream just went static.
Katniss' mind goes into turmoil. Did he say kiss or kill? She wondered. When she looks up at Cato's blue eyes, she wakes up. Her hands shaky and her throat scratchy. It couldn't have been kiss, Cato made it perfectly clear that he wanted her dead. She takes a deep breath and rubs her eyes. She can't let her feelings show, she wanted to just cry and tell Prim she misses her so much, but this was the Hunger Games. Katniss couldn't afford to lose anymore sponsors. She unties the rope that holds her against the tree then climbs down, her orange backpack still strapped on her shoulders. She has no destination, she just keeps walking and walking in one direction. Not looking back once. She wonders how Peeta is doing with the careers. If they're grilling him with questions about her skills, or if they're just letting him be. But that seemed unlikely. She just hopes that he's still alive so that she'll still have a chance of repaying him for all that he's done for her. She wouldn't want to be indebted to him any longer, anymore. If only Cato hadn't found her behind the Cornucopia, she could've sought out Peeta and convince him to stay away from the careers. The world is just unfair about every speck of dust.
Just when Katniss thought she should take a break. A cackling sound reaches her ears. She looks to her right, and there it was. A huge wave of fire, turning everything in it's way into ashes. She sprints back the path she took. Damn those game makers. She cursed. At first, she was doing alright, no trouble she couldn't handle. The fire raced toward her in its natural speed and there weren't too many twigs or rocks that had to be skipped over. She thought she could beat the fire easily but that was before a fireball shot out of nowhere. Luckily, she managed to jump out of the way, just in time. They want me to die as the girl on fire too, don't they? She thought. The people of the Capitol were having just too much fun.
Katniss continues to run for her life. A few balls of flame shoot at her every once in a while but she dodges all of them successfully. Except for one. When a tree, so large dropped right in front of her, she had no time to think. Especially after a fireball was just a few meters away from her skin. She jumped out of the way just as the flames cooked up some of her skin from the leg. Katniss yelps in pain. She knew she couldn't just stay on the ground, the wave of fire was coming and the game makers would probably throw another fireball at her. So she quickly limps away.
A minute later, Katniss finds herself a river. She hastily throws herself in it. A pang of relief washed through her veins the moment her wound hit the water. The river's current wasn't that strong, which made it all the more relaxing.
"Jackpot! I spotted District twelve's prodigy." Because the voice was still fresh from her dream, she instantly recognized it. Marvel. With the rest of the careers, cheering their heads off.
Katniss stumbles once she realizes that she had just stepped into an even more dangerous situation than the last one. She half swims and half walks her way off to the river's bank, with the careers well on her tail. "Come on guys, pick up the pace!" She hears someone yell, she could tell that it was female, but not much more than that. Katniss tries her best to sprint off somewhere, anywhere away from the career pack. Along the way, she pauses. Catching her breath, her limbs feel like it was about to fall off, and her back tickles with dripping sweat. She looks back, the careers are still a good 50-meters away from her. She looks at the tree before her, it looked just as stable as the last tree she had found, so she starts scaling it. She was a jump away from a secure branch when she heard Cato from below the tree.
"Clove, give me the bow and quiver, now!" Cato ordered.
Clove quickly shoved the weapon in his hand. She didn't look too fond of the idea of him commanding her.
"You," He addresses Glimmer, "You said you were good at this, right?" He questions as he shows her the weapon.
"Not exactly," She says nervously, "I said I knew how to use one."
Katniss reaches her designated branch, then she looks at the commotion going on down below. She almost wanted to jump at them and steal the bow and quiver in Cato's hands once she saw it. It could be the key of her victory. Her chances of winning could be multiplied a dozen when she has that weapon on her hands.
Cato grumbles, and drops the bow and quiver, then starts to scale the tree Katniss was on, sword in hand. He was only half way up the 1st branch before he fell to the ground. Katniss raises her brow as she sees Clove trying to suppress a laugh.
"Give it a try!" Cato orders Glimmer, pointing at the weapons on the ground.
Glimmer nods and picks it up. She takes one arrow then starts aiming. A second later, the arrow flies, missing Katniss by half a meter. Katniss almost smiles, she always took pride in her archery skills. Knowing that she's better than a career, might have lightened her up. Besides, even if the arrow was perfectly aimed at her, it couldn't have done any critical damages. The arrow was wobbly, almost flailing. It wasn't strong enough. Cato hisses at his comrade, and snatches away the bow and arrow in her hands. He makes a go at it, but the results are just the same. Didn't require any dodging.
Katniss sees a funny look on Clove again, but ignores it. She looks over at Peeta. Who is looking at her with eyes of pity. Katniss doesn't smile or signal anything. Fearing that the careers might notice that they're still on good terms. Katniss looks away, "So careers don't know how to use a bow and arrow, or even climb a tree?" Katniss looks at Cato defiantly. She's sick of acting so weak whenever they're around. She disgusts herself, "I guess I've overestimated you." She says.
Katniss watches as each of the careers' smug expressions turn into hate and rage. Except Marvel though, his face always has a smug look glued to it. Like every word Katniss had just said amused him. Which was odd.
"When I get you I swear I'm gonna-" Cato gets cut off by Peeta which made Katniss want to punch his face for being so reckless.
"Let's set camp." Peeta starts, "We'll wait her out. It's not like she's going to stay there forever, she'll come down sooner or later, right?" He suggests.
Every one of the careers look at Peeta, as the girl from four and boy from three nods, agreeing with him. Marvel shrugs, "Let's do it. There's no harm."
"Fine," Cato says then looks up at Katniss, "But I swear I'll see you dead, Katniss."
Katniss takes a deep breath, relieved that Peeta hadn't set off a bomb. "I'll be waiting." She smirks. You won't be getting anymore silence from me, Katniss thought. I'll save Peeta, at least from monsters like you.
Then there it is again, Marvel's little smirk. Usually it's just there for no reason, but Katniss could just smell the scent of reason off of it.
"Fuck you." Cato spits at Katniss, then he looks at the others, "Grab some wood and make a fire. No one will be stupid enough to come across us." He commands as he takes one more look at Katniss. Eyes so cold it could freeze you to death.
Oh yeah, he definitely meant kill. Katniss thought.
A/N: PLEASE TELL ME IF THERE ARE ANY ERRORS. I didn't reread it because it has been so long since I updated, I wanted it to be out already. You'll find out what Clove asked Peeta in the next chapter. Also, THE TRACKER JACKER SCENE will be on the following chapter. Plus, a tweak in the original Hunger Games story. =) Please review, I need suggestions on how the ending will play out. Don't worry, I'm not going to rip off the idea off of you. REVIEW. FAVORITE. SUBSCRIBE.