Authors Note: This is my very first story! I always loved reading other peoples so I figured I'd give it a go. Please review to tell me how I'm doing. I will read them all! Even if you don't feel like it, just type at least a period so I know people are actually reading. On to the characters, Jack is Gale's dad. He and Katniss' dad, Parker, are still alive. Enjoy! :)


Chapter: 1

Katniss POV:

I'm pulled out of my sleep by a soft shaking on my arm. I keep my eyes closed pretending to still be asleep knowing what day it is. "I know your awake Katniss!" I peek an eye open only to see bright blue eyes staring into mine with a huge grin on her face. I shrink down further into the covers in hopes of her leaving but of course, my attempts fail.

She pull the covers from my face "You can't hide forever! Come on! The Hawthorne's are here." Prim says while tugging my arm in an attempt to get me out of bed. I sigh but relent and get up. "You know, you'd think I'd get to sleep in on my birthday!" I say pretending to be exasperated. Prim just giggles and pulls me to the bathroom. "I already ran you a bath so hurry up. Everyone's waiting!" "Okay little duck. Someone's bossy today." I said jokingly, then she went back in the living room where everyone else was as I entered the bathroom.

I took off all of my clothes and sunk down into the small wooden tub full of hot water. I lean my head back and close my eyes letting my thoughts take over. My birthday today is to be celebrated like any other day. The only difference is the family dinner we have and a baked good from the bakery that my father insists we get every time. I never liked making a big deal out of my birthday. Attention isn't something I was ever really fond of. Same goes for at school. I have very little friends. Not that I'm shy or don't like people, but I don't like all the attention. I include Gale in my list of friends although we love each other like brother and sister.

The Hawthornes has always been family to us. We work together to provide for each other and we love each other like family. Me, Gale, Jack, and my father know how to hunt so we have food plus some coin from trading so we do pretty well for ourselves on top of the jobs at the mines they still work at. Not to mention my mothers healer job and Hazelles laundry business. My mother works from our house in a little secluded area that my father built so the patients have a place to get treated away from the rest of the house. Hazelle also works from her home cleaning, drying, and folding her clients clothes.

My mind drifts off to the reaping 2 weeks from today. As much I don't want to go into the arena, it's not me I'm worried about. It's Prim who turned 12 just a couple of months ago and is now eligible to be reaped, as is Rory. The odds are in their favor because they only have one slip but even when there is a chance of it, I still can't relax until I know they're safe. This will be Gale's last year and he'll only have 7 slips in the bowl. His chances are as good as any merchant from town as well as me with only 5 slips.

After I bathed and got dressed, I headed to the living room where I saw Hazel, Posy, Vick, Rory, Gale, Jack, Prim, Mother, and Father in their own conversations. When they all saw me, I was bombarded with hugs, greetings, and 'Happy Birthdays' to which I thanked everyone. Once everyone settled back down, my father turned to me. "I have gift for you" he said and he reached behind the small sofa and pulled out the most beautiful bow I had ever layed eyes on. It was obvious that he had made it himself. I could recognize the detailed carvings and patterns anywhere.

It was made with a polished cherry wood with a finely waxed string and on the inner side, my initials, 'KE' . I looked up at my father with a greatful and shocked expression and he laughed softly in return. "I take it you like it?" He said. I smiled then nodded and wrapped my arms around him tightly thanking him. When I pulled away, he told me to keep it in the house for now until its safe to take it into the woods without being noticed.

After I stored my bow in mine and Prim's room, we all gathered at the small table for breakfast cooked by Hazel and mother. I had just started to pick up a small piece of bread when Gale spoke up. "So Catnip, what does it feel like to be 16?" He asked with an interviewer type of tone. I rolled my eyes and replied. "I feel so different from just last night! I mean, it really made a difference! I think I even feel a little taller!" I said sarcastically. In my mind all I thought about was another chance to be reaped, but I kept that comment to myself in order to keep up the good moods. Everyone laughed and we continued our meal. Rory and Prim were in the middle of ranting about their history teacher (who I admit, was an unbearable teacher even back when I had him), when there was loud knocking on the door.

Everyone looked at each other puzzled as to who could be at the door and I stood up to go get it. I walked to the door and opened it only to see the person I really did not want to see today of all days.

"Hello sunshine! You look almost as good as I do today!" The tall dark haired boy with seam gray eyes, about the same age as me, stood in front of me with his usual smirk and confidence. I let out a puff of air in frustration and ignoring his comment, I reply. "Hello Damion" He has been flirting with me non-stop since I started high school and it gets increasingly worse as time goes on. "Well don't sound to chipper. It is your birthday after all! And what better way to spend your birthday than, I don't know, say kissing the hottest guy in panem?" He said as he puckered his lips and leaned in to kiss me.

I raised my hand to his lips and pushed his face away from mine forcefully. "Go away Damion. Unless you want me to get Gale again." At the mention of Gales name, he face visibly drained of color. I smiled as his confidence slowly faded away and turned into a grimace. He was probably thinking about a couple of months ago when he tried to touch my ass when I bent down to tie my shoelaces at school and Gale turned around and punched him in the gut so hard, he had to go home due to horrible stomach cramps.

He shook his head and put on another cocky smirk. "Hawthorne? You think I'm afraid of him? I could take him on any day at any time!" He said swinging his fists in the air as if he was actually fighting someone. "Oh really? OK. Hang on a second." I said as I stuck my head back in the house and called out, "Hey Gale! Damian's out here saying he could take you on anytime! You want to prove him wrong?"

I turned my head back to see Damian's face filled with fear. I smirked and heard footsteps coming up behind me as Gale approached us. "What was that you were saying Tucker?" Gale said while cracking his knuckles. Gale was a lot bigger in muscle than Damion. You could see Camion start to tremble. "I umm... I-I gotta go. My mom... Yeah." He said as he walked away fast.

I turned my head to meet gales eyes and we both burst out laughing as we walked back inside.

"What's so funny?" Hazelle asked us when we took our seats still fighting off rounds of laughter. "Nothing much. Just that your son can be very intimidating when he needs to be." I said smiling at Gale. "Well, I say we finish our meal and then you, Gale, Parker and I can go out hunting for dinner later" Jack said and we nodded in agreement.

Later in the woods, the four of us have collectively brought down 10 squirrels, 6 rabbits, and 2 wild dogs. Dad and Jack start setting more snares further out. I start skinning and gutting squirrels and Gale Sits next to me and starts on the rabbits. "Hey Catnip." "Hey." I reply. He looks up at me with a worried look but then quickly looks away again. I sigh. "What's wrong?" I ask and he looks back up at me. "Well I was just wondering, you know I've been working in the mines since I finished school. And I was just worried about what you planned on doing when you finished." I freeze for a moment in realization that I had never thought that far ahead. Everything has been so routine I guess I forgot about that. "I don't know. I guess I could work in the mi-" "No. You are not working in those mines. Its too dangerous." He says in a strict tone. I get slightly angry with him and he sees this and starts to backtrack. "I mean, I know you can take care of yourself. Your a tough girl. But you have options other than being stuck underground in dangerous conditions 6 days a week for 12 hours a day." Options? "Options like what? Knitting sweaters?" I say.

He laughs. "Not exactly but you could if you wanted to. I mean you could work as a healer like your mother or work with my mother in her laundry business. You could even take over greasy sae's." I try to picture myself doing any of those things and it just doesn't seem right. "I don't know. Maybe I'll just hunt for the rest of my life. At least I'll only have one mouth to feed." I say.

Gale stops his work and looks up at me. "You don't plan on getting married?" He asks with a shocked expression. "Nope." I reply. "Marriage leads to kids and I refuse to have them with even the slightest possibility of them being reaped." I say with finality. He let's out a long puff of air. "Marriage doesn't mean you have to have children Catnip. You don't have to rob yourself of a husband just because you don't want kids." I look up at him and sigh. "Accidents happen. I'm done talking about this. Let's just finish so we can go trade some of the meat and then take the rest back home for dinner later." I can tell that he wants to say more but the look on my face makes him think better of it. We fall into a comfortable silence as we finish with the meat.

We head out to greasy sae's first and she buys some rabbits and the wild dogs. "You have funded the supplies needed for my mystery meat soup." She says and chuckles. "Make sure you let me have the first bowl!" My father says and we all laugh knowing how bad Sae's mystery soup can taste. We make our way to the butchers and a couple of more places before ending up by the bakery.

We walk over to the back door and Jack knocks on it a couple of times before the door swings open, but it isn't the baker.

I hope that was a good first chapter! Please review and I thank everyone who reads this story! (Also I just wanted to say, that I would never ever ever ever do that annoying thing where you wait a week for a new chapter in a story, but I turns out to just be an authors note. I hate that so I'll never do it. Anything I need to say will be said before or after the chapter, never as a chapter itself)