Disclaimer: The characters belong entirely to Suzanne Collins.

Hi everyone. I was tired of searching fruitlessly for good Cato/Katniss stories. I've found a few good ones but I want more! So I decided to write my own. :) I don't know if it's any good but let me know what you think.

This first chapter is in Cato's point of view but the rest of the story will all be first person in Katniss' POV. I have nothing more to say except, enjoy!

- maddz131

. . .


Chapter 1: Igniting the Fire

"I volunteer!"

Cato's eyes flash back to the screen to see a dark haired girl, about his age, step frantically forward.

"I volunteer as tribute!"

He is momentarily confused: District 12 never has volunteers. He watches as a little girl latches onto the volunteer and begins to plead hysterically, tears streaming down her face.

"No, Katniss! No! You can't go!"

Ah, he blinks in understanding. The girl volunteered in place of her little sister, who couldn't have been older than twelve. He has seen children thrown into the games every year, without fail, but not once had anyone ever volunteered to go in their place. He had only been twelve when his own brother, thirteen years old, had been reaped for the games. A bitter taste still coats his tongue when he thinks of that day. He quickly forces it from his mind.

"Prim let go. Let go!" The tribute commands, trying to pry off her sister. Finally, someone else intervenes. A dark haired boy, similar in complexion –perhaps a relative– comes forward and grabs hold of the child, pulling her off of the tribute. Free of her restraints, the girl makes her way slowly up to the podium. Her face is completely devoid of emotion, not a hint of fear or trepidation written anywhere in her expression, but Cato is almost certain that inside she is reeling. There is something in her grey eyes that tells him she is far from fine.

"Looks like you're not alone after all, Cato," Clove smirks, glancing up at him as she lazily cleans her fingernails with the tip of her always present blade. "And here I thought there would be no excitement this year."

Cato sends a steely glare her way. "She'll be no competition Clove," he snaps, before turning back to the screen. There were no others that could compete with him; in strength, size, and skill he had surpassed every tribute so far. But he finds himself questioning his own words as he takes in the hard grey eyes and determined look on the volunteer's face. It is obvious in the way she's standing. She is a fighter.

"Well, bravo! That's the spirit of the Games!" Cato doesn't hold back from rolling his eyes at the tittering of the ridiculously enthusiastic escort. All the escorts must be the same, he thinks, overly cheerful and polite. It's as if they didn't realize they were sending children to their deaths.

"What's your name?" the escort asks, as if she's talking to a five year old. Cato feels his fingers twitch in irritation.

The tribute hesitates for a second. When she responds her voice is quiet but strong. "Katniss Everdeen." Her name rings out in the silence of the district square and the camera pans around to take in the somber, rough faces of the people of District 12.

"I bet my buttons that was your sister! Don't want her to steal all the glory, do we? Come on, everybody! Let's give a big round of applause to our newest tribute!" Cato feels his fists tighten and he clenches his jaw in anger at the words of the idiotic escort. She's not doing it for glory. She's sacrificing herself.

"Cato." He looks over at Clove, who has stopped cleaning her nails and is now looking at him questioningly, her brow furrowed. He immediately loosens his tense muscles and dons an indifferent expression, shrugging his shoulders at her before moving his eyes back to the screen. To his satisfaction, not one person had clapped in response to the escort's speech. Not one. He wonders briefly why it matters to him at all. He doesn't generally care about others.

The dark haired girl's jaw is now clenched and Cato narrows his eyes as he focuses back on the screen. He is sure that she is holding back tears but, before he can completely decide, the camera has zoomed back in on the District 12 escort for the drawing of the male tribute. There is a pause as she pulls out the slip of paper, and then–

"Peeta Mellark."

A long moment goes by when no one moves, before a section of the crowd slowly parts to reveal an older boy with blonde hair, incredibly similar to Cato's own. His mouth is open in fear and disbelief as he reluctantly moves towards the stage. Cato smirks at this blatant display of weakness. This boy will obviously not be a threat. When the new tribute finally reaches the stage, the differences between the boy and girl are so large it's almost comical. It is obvious the male is of a higher social standing than the girl, but while she holds herself with a stoic determination that Cato finds himself unwillingly respecting, the boy stands stupidly, frozen in shock.

"He'll be easy to take out," Clove murmurs, voicing his thoughts. Cato dips his head in agreement. His eyes move back to the girl. Katniss. He has a feeling that she will pose more of a challenge. His pulse thuds in anticipation.

"Did I miss anything significant?" Enobaria and Brutus walk in right as the reaping ends. Being the mentors of District 2, they are used to having tributes that already know what needs to be done and looked out for, since most of the tributes from District 2 have been training for the Hunger Games their entire lives. Cato and Clove are no exception.

"District 1's tributes look decent this year," Clove informs them. "District 4 are pathetic though." It was traditional for the Career tributes -the tributes from Districts 1, 2, and 4, who had trained for the Games nearly since they were born- to form an alliance and pick off the weaker tributes, but it didn't always happen that way if two of the Districts didn't approve of the other.

"You will align with them anyway." Brutus informs them. Cato glances at Clove, whose eyes have narrowed. He doesn't like it either. He isn't used to taking orders.

"Why?" He asks sharply, challenging Brutus with a glare.

"Because," Brutus says, glaring back, "Finnick requested it, and I owe him one." Finnick Odair is the mentor of District 4 and Brutus' tone holds no room for argument.

Cato stares him down for a moment before shrugging, his face relaxing back into an emotionless mask. "Whatever, they may turn out to be useful anyway." Clove accepts Cato's conclusion and turns back to her knife, resuming her relay of information.

"District 3 are hardly worth mentioning but District 5 has a girl that we may have to watch. There wasn't much else after that except District 11's boy. He's larger even then Cato." Cato sits up, this being news to him, since he had practically been asleep at that point.

"What do you mean he's larger than me?"

"We'll have to watch out for him," Clove continues, ignoring Cato's reaction. He slumps back down in irritation but remains silent, fuming at being ignored.

"They also have a little girl who looks to be about twelve. If he's protective of her he'll be harder to take down. And lastly, District 12. They-"

"Their girl volunteered," Cato interrupts, earning a scowl from Clove.

"I wanted to tell them," she grumbles.

"Too bad."

Clove sticks her tongue out at him and he smirks. Sometimes it was so easy to forget how young Clove really was. It was unfortunate that, in the end, he would have to kill her. Well, no it really wasn't. He had no regrets about that. She was cold blooded like him but she had a sadistic turn and actually enjoyed watching her victims suffer. No, he wouldn't be too sad to see her go.

"A volunteer?" Clove and Cato look up at Brutus.

"Oh, yeah." Cato says, refocusing, "District 12 has a volunteer and from the looks of it, she is determined to win. Not that that changes anything," he adds. "I'll still take her down without a problem."

"What about the boy?"

Cato barks out a laugh, "Nothing to worry about." He flashes a grin, his eyes sparkling dangerously and Brutus nods.

"Right, well, we'll be arriving in the Capitol today," Enobaria informs them, before she and Brutus exit the compartment.

Clove turns to Cato, watching as he settles into a more comfortable position. "You ready?" she asks. Cato barely avoids snorting.

"What do you think?" he asks pointedly. "I've been ready for years."

She doesn't comment and instead goes back to picking at her nails.


. . .

Cato looks back at the District 12 tributes. He sneers in disgust as they stand proudly in their chariot, the fire they donned having just died down, and then turns back around to face President Snow, only half listening to the old man's speech. He is so furious he is physically shaking and he clenches his fists tightly to try to control the tremors. This was supposed to be his night. This was supposed to be his night to shine and he got upstaged by those little District 12 rats who didn't even have a clue what they were doing. It just figured that this was the year they actually got a decent stylist. Cato knew they had just won over numerous sponsors with their cute little "united front" act and literally on fire outfits; especially the girl. He hated to admit it, but she was undoubtedly attractive. That, coupled with her obvious fighting spirit, made her impossible to ignore. Not to mention she had volunteered in place of her little sister. There were never volunteers from District 12 and no one ever volunteered for their siblings, no matter how young they were. Never. Until now. It was almost laughable how quickly he had gone from feeling something closed to compassion for the girl to feeling nothing less than an all-encompassing hatred.

Cato grinds his jaw to keep from screaming out in frustration. President Snow's speech is taking far longer than it should and all Cato wants to do is get his hands on something he can break, preferably that little District 12 boy's neck. Some would say he had a temper problem. Those who knew him best called it passion. In any case, everything he did and felt was always with one-hundred percent of his energy.

There were very few people Cato let into his life. Most just knew him as the ruthless, handsome Career who was destined to win the Hunger Games. He wouldn't disagree with this description. Always being the best –and knowing it– had led him to an arrogance that no one had the courage to stand up to.

"Calm down, Cato," Clove whispered agitatedly. She wasn't one of the few that he let in but they respected each other and Clove could generally get away with saying things to him that others couldn't. Sometimes he listened and sometimes he didn't. Now, he just clenched his fists harder as the chariot pulled them around into a side room and they were allowed to dismount. All the districts started to break into a quiet chatter as they discussed what had probably been the most exciting moment of their short lives. Their idiotic enthusiasm just irritated Cato further, wearing his already thin grasp on composure down to precarious levels.

He snapped his head around as he heard the District 12 mentor, Haymitch Abernathy he believed, congratulating his tributes on their performance. Cato glared at the back of Haymitch's head with such intensity that the mentor turned. He met Cato's eyes for a moment before quickly turning back around and ushering his tributes into the elevator. The blonde boy went without question, not noticing anything was off, but the girl, who was apparently more aware, turned in Cato's direction and immediately caught his eye. She looked startled at the force of his glare and turned quickly into the elevator behind her team, the doors closing behind her.

Cato stood for a second, rather stupefied at the depth of feeling in the girls grey eyes. He'd had the most attractive women in all of District 2 throwing themselves at him nearly his life, but not once had he ever encountered someone with eyes like hers. They had seemed to penetrate him, see right through him.

"Done, Cato?" Clove snapped in annoyance. She was used to his temper by now but it didn't cease to get on her nerves. Cato blinked and was once again filled with a crippling rage. He shouldn't have been affected by this Katniss Everdeen, at all. He was just as bad as the idiot citizens of the Capitol.

"Let's go," he growled, striding powerfully towards elevator. The other tributes parted for him and his pride was flattered by their obvious fear. Clove, Enobaria, Brutus, their escort, and he stood silently in the elevator as they waited for it to reach their floor. He was holding back from punching a hole in the wall and they were trying to avoid aggravating him further.

As soon as the doors opened he strode out into the room before slamming his fist into the first thing he came across. The glass vase shattered sending shards flying everywhere, including into the unfortunate Avox who had come forward to assist them. She whimpered in pain, but was immediately silenced by the dark glare Cato shot her way. Next to go was the table the vase had been sitting on.

They are nothing compared to you, he told himself angrily as he continued to wreak havoc on the room and furniture. They know nothing, they can do nothing, they are nothing; nothing but Seam rats from District twelve. His thoughts traveled back to the girls cloudy gray eyes and startled expression, and he hated the feeling that twisted in his chest. She especially, he thought with vehemence as he took his anger out on the T.V. She is not attractive. She is less than nothing. Neither of them will last a day in the arena, he promised himself. I'll be sure of it. They will die in the bloodbath.

With that thought he paused and took in a couple deep breaths. His anger blew out quickly, like it usually did, like the flame of a candle. He looked around to survey the damage he had inflicted. Nearly all the furniture had been flipped over and there was glass everywhere. His eyes moved to the people occupying the room. Clove was looking bored as she twirled a knife between her fingers. Brutus and Enobaria's expressions were impossible to read and the escort looked absolutely horrified.

"Well… goodnight," He said casually, his voice rough, before exiting the room, entering his bedroom, and slamming the door behind him.


P.S.- I forgot to mention that this is my first fanfiction so any comments -good, bad, or constructive- are greatly appreciated. Thanks =)