In Between

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Chapter 2:

Peeta's POV

I just lay there, in the plants by the creek, for a while. Actually, for at least half an hour, but that time was not enough.

I was very, very, very, weak. I knew it too. Eventually, I told myself that if I stayed lying there, then it was pretty much guaranteed that some other tribute would come along and kill me off easily. I would not rest until I was well hidden. I knew there was zero chance of me walking anytime soon.

It took more effort than it should for me to sit half way up and take in my surroundings. I was lying in the muddy bank of the creek. There were weeds and some random foliage all around me. I might as well get started.

I scooted myself over a couple of feet, using my good leg and mostly my arms. Then, I propped myself up on my arms and started to sort of clear away the mud and plants from the spot where I had collapsed earlier.

I pretty much dragged myself back to my original spot, now clear of the plants. I tried my best to sit up, with hardly any success.

I guess it was better this way though. Now I started to cover myself up with all the weeds and other plants and mud that I had cleared off.

My stomach started grumbling. Come to think of it, I hadn't eaten in a while. So I scarfed down a few juicy berries that were by the creek.

Satisfied, I started to skillfully sculpt mud, weeds, and pebbles onto my arms. It took a while, but really that's only because it took me a good amount of time just to sit up. Once I was in a sitting position, but with my lower body still camouflaged, I had started to disguise my arms to look exactly like the bank of the creek.

Done with my arms, I got to work to camouflage my face. This was a bit harder. Not being able to see my face was definitely an obstacle.

But eventually I was done. I had camouflaged myself to blend right in with the muddy bank.

I guess frosting the cakes at the bakery all those years had really paid off. Now, I'm really glad that I'd had the frosting experience.

I lied down again. Now, I could relax.

And relax I did. Nothing happened for the rest of the day. I figured I should probably at least try to stay alert, but if I'm honest, that was never really likely to happen. I passed out around noon, probably from blood loss, and when I woke up, it was already getting dark. I thought it must be around 8 o'clock. I stayed awake for what I estimated to be about another hour, and then fell asleep again.

When I woke up, it was just starting to get light. Several hours passed. I'll admit; I was bored as hell. It started getting dark again, and I fell asleep.

The sound of heavy footsteps woke me. It was pitch black. I thought of the worst. I knew Cato and Clove liked to hunt at night . . . how could they have found me?

The footsteps were getting nearer. I could distinctly make out 2 pairs of feet.

"The trail of blood ends here. . ." Uh oh. I knew that voice. It was Clove. No doubt the other pair of footsteps was Cato.

"That's weird. He probably washed off in the stream and kept going. I don't know how. Where I cut him, and so deeply, I thought he'd be dead by now. Or at least he should have collapsed a while back. As much as I hate to say it, he made it further than he should have. I guess he does have some sense." Cato's voice said.

"Yeah. . . Maybe he had help. Do you think the 12 girl could have found her Lover Boy?"

"Don't you think at least one of them would have wiped some of the blood off the rocks?"

"Well if they both had tracker jacker stings. . . He would be her main priority, anyway." Clove suggested.

"Either way," Cato's gruff voice said, clearly disappointed. "Lover Boy isn't here. Let's move on."

By this time, I could tell Cato and Clove were only a few feet away. I didn't dare open my eyes now.

Sure enough, they kept walking along. I listened to their footsteps until they faded all the way out of earshot. Only now did I relax. I guess my camouflage was pretty good. Then again, it was night time. . . Still though, I was proud of myself.

Days passed. Nothing happened. Still too weak to move, I listened to the constant sound of the creek's current and the noises of all the insects and animals. There weren't many animals though, but every once in a while, I could hear small scurrying footsteps in the treetops. I wondered if it was a tribute. . . One that was very skilled in the art of climbing trees. But if it was, they either didn't see me or didn't let on that they did.

I realized that I hadn't eaten anything in a long while. Come to think of it, I wasn't very hungry. I tried to eat some berries, but they made reappearance soon later.

Oh well, I wasn't hungry anyway. Plus, the effort it required to move to get the berries was strenuous. It was so not worth it.

I wondered about Katniss; I hadn't been paying much attention to the sky at night. Really, I slept through the anthem at the end of the day sometimes. But I was pretty sure Katniss was still alive.

Claudius Templesmith just announced that there could be 2 victors if they were from the same district. I can win and so can Katniss!

When Claudius stopped talking, I thought I heard someone say "Peeta!" I could have imagined it though.

Apparently I didn't, because moments later, I heard Katniss approaching. Her footsteps were so light and quiet. I don't know how she does it. Just to be sure, I opened my eyes for a split second.

Yep, it was her alright. She was close. Only a few yards away,

Oh what the heck, I thought before I said, "Come to finish me off, sweetheart?"

There was short intake of breath. "Peeta?" I heard Katniss say doubtfully. Well I guess I can't blame her; I'm practically invisible.

She took a few steps closer to me.

"Well, don't step on me," I said. Then I opened my eyes. She gasped. This made me chuckle slightly. . . And this is saying something. I'm in constant pain and I haven't smiled in what seems like forever, let alone laugh.

Oh, the effect this girl has on me.

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