Chapter 2

I'm a soldier - wounded so I must give up the fight

There's nothing more for me - lead me away

Or leave me lying here

Third Person POV

Katniss' eyelids fluttered open to be blinded by a bright, fluorescent light. Her hands shot up to her face to rub her eyes but they met bandages instead of skin. She found that one of her eyes was covered completely while the other was not. She moved the palm of her hand over the left side of her face to find that it was mostly covered in bandages. Katniss was a bit confused as to why her face was covered in bandages as she didn't remember what happened before she blacked out. She looked around the room when her eye adjusted to the light and saw that she was in some sort of hospital. She leaned forward to get up but felt a strange tugging on her arm along with a dull throbbing in her left hand.

She looked down to see an enormous amount of tubes and wires sticking out of her. Katniss set to work on ripping them out of and off of her skin. Some droplets of blood trickled down her arm from where she had ripped the I.V. out of her arm. Katniss' hand was wrapped in some type of soft cast but she ignored it.

The echoing sound of clicking heels caught Katniss' attention and her head snapped up to see a nurse walking into the room while holding a small, electronic computer. She lifted her head up to look at Katniss, her eyes widening before she ran over to the wall to push a button.

Katniss watched with confusion as the nurse ran over to her, pushing her back against the pillow and trying to strap her arms into some kind of restraints attached to the bed.

"What are you doing? Get off!" Katniss yelled, trying to pull her hands away. Katniss fought the nurse, pushing her away and getting off the bed in the process. The nurse fell to the ground, looking up at Katniss in fear as she steadied herself on her shaky legs. She felt like she hadn't walked in years.

"Katniss, calm down. You are out of the Games, remember?" she said nervously in her Capitol accent. She scooted away from Katniss with a fearful look in her eyes.

Katniss' eyebrows knit together as she thought about what she had said. Games? I couldn't remember any Games… There was just a pool of blackness when she tried to remember what had happened. Katniss grabbed a syringe that was sitting on one of the trays beside her, enclosing her fingers around it tightly which brought a painful ache to her broken hand. She looked down at her cast-ridden hand again and felt something tug at her memory. When she flexed her fingers, another spasm of pain shot through her arm and a wave of memories crashed through her.

Memories of Cato, blood, and pain. And Peeta. The memory of his body being torn apart angered Katniss but it made tears pool in her eyes at the same time. Suddenly, multiple Peacekeepers burst through the door, running at Katniss. She held the syringe at the Peacekeepers, pushing all thoughts of the Games out of her mind. Then, Haymitch walked through the door, holding a drink in his hand. Katniss watched him carefully as he strolled into the room.

"Are you awake this time, sweetheart?" he asked, plopping himself down into a chair, completely at ease. The Peacekeepers stood still, waiting for Katniss' next move. "She's awake, get out," Haymitch ordered. The Peacekeepers nodded and filed out the door. He took a sip of his drink as they left.

Katniss watched, still cautious. She remembered that there were two victors; her and Cato. But she was confused about what was going on. Confused as to why that had happened. When the Peacekeepers left, Katniss turned to Haymitch, the syringe still clenched in her hand.

"So, it's you and a syringe against the Capitol, huh, sweetheart," he said, leaning back against the chair. Katniss' eyes narrowed again but she stayed frozen in her spot. The ache in her hand kept bringing up memories, memories of Cato crushing it. Her anger was building up. She realized that she still needed to kill him.

"Where is he?" Katniss asked, her voice steady despite the storm going on inside her. Haymitch seemed prepared for this question; she got a feeling he had answered this question a lot.

"Who? Peeta or Cato? You have asked for both the other times you 'woke' up. You would either scream for Peeta or attack us thinking we were Cato," he explained, sipping his drink a little more. He was obviously drinking to forget about Peeta and Katniss guessed he had a few drinks before if he was talking about Peeta so easily.

To tell the truth, Katniss didn't really know who she was asking for. When Haymitch said Peeta's name, his death crashed on top of her; crushing her so she couldn't breathe. But when Haymitch said Cato's name, her rage flared up like a forest fire. Haymitch just watched, waiting for Katniss to do something.

"Well, don't you want to know what happened?" he asked, turning his palms upwards as if that was the question that would be on my mind first. Katniss met his gaze but said nothing. She stalked past him and twisted the door handle, shoving the door open so that it slammed into the wall.

"You're looking for him, aren't you?" Haymitch said, stopping her in her tracks. Katniss looked at him over her shoulder before continuing to the door across the hall. They both knew that he meant Cato and that's exactly who she was looking for.

Katniss threw open the door across the hall and found nothing but an empty room. She growled and stalked to the next door; the one next to her room. She threw open the door to find Effie, Cinna, Brutus, Enobaria, and Cato. Effie and Cinna were lost in their conversation, laughing about something. Brutus and Enobaria were having their own conversation and Cato was staring into space, silent.

Everyone went quiet when they saw Katniss, all heads turning. She didn't meet anyone's gaze but Cato's. She gripped the syringe even tighter, not caring about the pain in her hand as she glared at him. She felt Haymitch behind her.

"Katniss! You're awake!" Effie said, startled. She had broken the uncomfortable silence that still hung in the air after her words. Haymitch brushed past Katniss to sit down next to Effie, but not before he refilled his drink from a bottle sitting on the small coffee table.

"You should probably run, charming," Haymitch said with dark humor, downing half of his drink and reaching for the bottle on the table again. Cato licked his lips and gave Katniss a look she couldn't decipher. He looked almost apologetic or pitiful...but it couldn't be possible. Katniss couldn't imagine a career feeling those emotions. She noticed a bandage covering his bicep from where she had shot him. It made her feel somewhat gleeful.

"Now Katniss, let's just calm down―"

"Calm down?" Katniss interrupted Effie, clenching her fists. "You're telling me to calm down at a time like this? Peeta is dead and it's all because of him," she growled, her voice like venom. She had pointed the syringe at Cato and everyone watched her with a certain pity in their eyes. "He should be dead. I should be dead," she said, pointing the syringe at her chest. Her voice cracked on the last sentence.

"Katniss, let's put that down," said Cinna calmly and Katniss found his familiar face comforting. He stood up and walked towards her but she dug the needle into her chest, just enough to feel the prick of the needle.

"No, I should be dead. I don't deserve to win," she sniffled, tears now rolling down her face and soaking into her bandages.

Enobaria rolled her eyes and Brutus scoffed at her statement. Cato watched intently as did Effie, pity in both of their eyes. Haymitch now seemed to be on the verge of passing out, the bottle that was on the table was now in his hands and missing a noticeable amount of alcohol.

Katniss felt the blood rolling down her chest and her stomach, looking down to see it soaking into her hospital gown. She just stared at the blood, feeling like she had seen so much of it already.

"Katniss, stop. You can't hurt yourself over him," said Cinna firmly, resting his hand on the syringe. He knew better than to mention his name.

She looked up into his eyes, tears continuing to soak into her bandages and roll in big drops out of her eyes. His gaze was pleading with hers. Katniss dropped the syringe and it fell to the floor, cracking open. The clear liquid inside spilled onto the floor along with a few droplets of blood. She looked down at it, placing a hand on her bloody chest. It ached physically and emotionally.

"Come on, Katniss. Let's go back to your room," said Cinna, placing his hand on her back. She flinched slightly at his motion but Cinna ignored it which she was glad for. It embarrassed her that after only a couple weeks in the arena made her flinch at someone's touch.

As they walked towards the door, Katniss spotted one of Haymitch's knives that he slept with sitting on a table near the door. She grabbed it silently and made sure no one noticed. Everyone had already turned their gazes away so she wasn't caught. Katniss slipped the knife into the pocket of her gown. It was the best she could do for protection.

Cinna led her to her room, making sure she got into her bed. He sat on the edge, facing her and holding her hand.

"It's not your fault," he stated sincerely after a moment of silence.

"Yes, it is, Cinna. I should have done something. Instead, I just stood there like a coward and watched him die," Katniss said, tears forming in her eyes again. She went to wipe her eyes but her hands met bandages again. "When can I take these off?" she asked, changing the subject. She didn't really want to talk about Peeta.

"A couple of days. That mutt cut you pretty deep," he answered, watching her face intently.

"It was Rue," Katniss whispered, looking down at her lap and biting her lip to stop the tears.

"No, it wasn't. Rue wouldn't have hurt you like that. It was a mutt. They replicated her eyes to make it look like her," he responded, tilting Katniss' chin up so that she was forced to look into his golden-lined eyes. "I'm going to go get the doctor now. You should have that cut looked at and maybe we can find out just how long you have to keep the bandages on," he said, squeezing her hand before leaving the room.

Katniss watched him walk out, her hands finding each other and squeezing until it hurt. She had to get out of there. She had to kill Cato. She had to see Peeta again. That was a good plan, kill Cato and then kill herself. Get revenge and then see Peeta.

What was she thinking? She couldn't kill someone; not anymore. It was hard enough in the Games. She couldn't do it. But she might be able to kill herself. There wasn't a point anymore. Suddenly, thoughts of Prim flooded her mind. She couldn't leave her.

She was disrupted from her thoughts when Cinna and a doctor came into the room. She looked up at them and the doctor smiled at her.

"Hi, Katniss. How are you feeling?" he asked, his fingers fluttering over his small computer.

"Fine," she answered, making it clear that she wasn't going to talk. Cinna took the hint and continued for her.

"Katniss would like to know when she will get her bandages off. And she had a little problem with a syringe; she got a cut on her chest," explained Cinna, pointing to the blood stain on her gown.

"Alright, we'll take a look at that. And your bandages will come off in maybe two or three days. With the medicine we've been using, you're healing pretty quickly. In fact, it's time to change the bandages right now," said the doctor, putting the small computer into his coat pocket. He walked over to a tray on wheels with things such as gauze, needles, and thread on it. He rolled it closer to Katniss before picking up a pair of scissors. She shifted uneasily in her bed as he reached towards her face with the scissors. "Okay, Katniss. This will hurt a little bit as the bandages should be sort of stuck to your skin. But don't worry, you will be fine," reassured the doctor, steadying Katniss' face before snipping at the bandages.

She sat completely still as the doctor removed her bandages. He was trying to be careful but Katniss winced as the bandages had to be peeled from her face. Blood and tears were the glue. When Katniss felt cool air on her skin, she stopped the doctor from getting the disinfectant.

"I want to see," she said, in a serious tone. The doctor's hand froze and he looked at Katniss like she was crazy. But he nodded once and reached for a small mirror. She knew it was going to be bad as Cinna had grimaced when her bandages were removed. But she wanted to see. There was stinging pain from the air meeting her deep wounds but she ignored it. The doctor handed her the mirror and Katniss' eyes widened at what she saw.

There were three gashes that went from a bit above her eyebrow to under her cheekbone. Two of them were small but deep, running on either side of her eye but the big one was huge. It cut right down the center of her eye and was deeper than the other ones. Katniss turned her head, looking at her wounds from different angles.

Rue got me pretty good, Katniss thought. She had tried to smirk at her poor attempt at humor but grimaced instead. The motion made one of her gashes begin to reopen so she stopped. The eye that had endured the worse was red and swollen shut; it was a miracle that Katniss would still be able to see out of it. She reached her fingers up to touch the gashes; a bit mesmerized by them.

"I wouldn't do that, Katniss. It's still healing and might get infected," the doctor interjected, pulling her hand away. Katniss gave him an annoyed look before turning back to her reflection. "Of course, it will look better once it heals. And then we'll remove the scars, you'll be good as new," he said and Katniss froze. She turned to look at him with determination in her eyes.

"No, I want to keep them," she said, her voice firm. She must have looked intimidating because the doctor looked at her in fear before casting Cinna a look and quickly agreeing with her.

"Yes, of course. You can keep them. Though, I would suggest talking this over…" he said, taking the mirror from Katniss' hands. She looked forward again as the doctor cleaned her wounds, making eye contact with Cinna. He looked at her as well, unafraid of her scarred face. He could see through her anger and intimidation, he knew that she wanted to cry over those scars but he also knew exactly why she wanted to keep them.

"Okay, all done. Now, I just need to see your other cut," said the doctor, placing the dirty bandages and bloody cotton balls in a pile on the tray. Katniss was slightly annoyed that her left eye was blind but she guessed it was better than infection.

Katniss undid the first couple buttons on her hospital gown until it revealed her cut; it was right on her heart. It looked better than it was, it was small but it went quite deep. The doctor cleaned it up, making sure to get all the blood that had dripped onto her skin. He decided that the cut was deep enough to need sewing and sewed it shut, placing a small bandage over the stitches. When he was done, Katniss buttoned up her gown.

"Do you think that you are stable enough to sleep on your own, Katniss? We are able to take you off the drugs, if you would like," asked the doctor, picking up his small tablet. Katniss nodded and he scribbled something on the small computer with a pen-like stick. She knew she wasn't, she knew that she would have trouble sleeping at night but she just needed to be conscious of what she was doing. She didn't want to slip back into that dark world where she watched Peeta die over and over again and she couldn't wake up. "Best wishes, Katniss. You'll feel better soon. I'll be by tomorrow again for a check-up," he said, leaving the room.

"How much time do I have to recover," Katniss asked Cinna abruptly as soon as the door clicked shut. She knew Snow would expect her up and healthy soon.

"About a week. Snow wants you out of the hospital as soon as possible," he answered, his dark eyes hiding something. Katniss nodded, knowing that Snow would have something up his sleeve. That's what Cinna was hiding but she didn't want to know quite yet. They sat in silence, it wasn't uncomfortable but it wasn't quite comfortable.

"How many days have I been out?" Katniss asked, poking her tongue out of her mouth to lick her dry lips. She grimaced as her saliva made a gash in her lip burn. She must've gotten it sometime during the Games.

"Around three days, we had to keep putting you under because you kept waking from nightmares. You wouldn't calm down or listen to us, you were quite the fighter," he said, chuckling at a memory that she didn't have.

"There's a catch here, isn't there," Katniss said, not really want to talk about this at the moment but she just had to know what Snow was planning. Cinna gave her a confused look so she explained more. "I'm in trouble, aren't I?" she asked and Cinna had an expression of fear in his eyes for a split second before he resumed his calm façade.

"I'll let Haymitch explain that one," said Cinna uncomfortably, shifting in his seat and clearing his throat. "It's late, Katniss. You should get to bed. You need the rest," he said, clearly wanting to change the topic.

"I've been sleeping for three days, I think I'm okay," Katniss said, letting him change the subject. Her statement was declared false as she yawned. It was obvious that she was still recovering from the Games and after many nights of restless sleeping, she was tired.

"Alright, girl on fire. I'll leave you to sleep. Goodnight," he said, getting up from his seat to turn out the light. Cinna cast her one last look, one where Katniss couldn't decipher what he was thinking before he shut the door behind him, leaving her enclosed in darkness.

Katniss didn't lie down, she just sat in her bed and stared blankly at nothing. She felt a lone tear roll out of her eye before being soaked up by her bandages.

"Peeta," she whispered in remorse, closing her eyes as more tears escaped. As she cried silently, she slipped into a sleepy state in which she almost felt peace but was jerked from it as someone knocked on the door. "What?" she growled, grumpy from being rudely woken. The door cracked open slightly, letting in a bright stream of light and a head poked through it.

"Are you awake?" asked a voice that Katniss recognized as Cato.

"What the hell do you think?" she snapped, glaring at him fiercely even though he couldn't see her. The only light in the room was the city lights of the Capitol sneaking in from behind the curtains, casting a glow throughout the room. Cato opened the door, letting in more light from the hallway into the dim room. "What do you want?" she asked, crossing her arms as he stood there awkwardly.

"I just wanted say I'm sorry," he said, running a hand through his hair nervously. Katniss just sat in her bed, staring at him. Her eyes were narrowed at him and he stood there looking back at her, looking forlorn and lost. Katniss reached down into her pocket to grab the knife, the sharp blade giving her comfort.

"What you did was unforgivable," she spat angrily, pressing the pad of her thumb into the blade but not with enough strength to break the skin. "I loved him," Katniss admitted, her words seeming to shock Cato. He looked a bit shameful.

"I...I didn't know. I thought it wasn't real, that it was just an act," he stammered but Katniss cut him off by sending the knife through the air, directed at him. It narrowly missed his shoulder as Katniss wasn't too skilled, it had whizzed past him and into the wall next to him. Cato looked from the knife to Katniss with a wild expression.

"What the hell was that for?" he exclaimed, glaring at her with traces of shock still on his face.

"For killing him and not killing me," she growled, her face stinging in pain from her ever-changing facial expressions.

"It's not like I wasn't going to!" he exclaimed as Katniss got up from her bed and stalked past Cato to the knife in the wall. She ripped it out, a small hole in the wall was left where the knife had been, and turned to face him. She pointed the knife up at his face but he didn't show any emotion. He showed no fear or shock, just nothing. Just like a Career, no feelings. "Do it," Cato taunted, standing still before her. Katniss glared at him, slightly confused. "Do it, fire girl. Or are you too scared to even try?" he snarled, his dark blue eyes challenging her.

Katniss bared her teeth and moved the knife closer to him. His eyes stared back down into hers. They were cold and fierce, just like she expected. But before, he had seemed regretful. Why didn't he kill her? The thought brought on a new wave of thoughts. Cato obviously had the upper hand but he decided to hold her down instead. Then he said he was going to kill her, was he just waiting for the perfect moment? To torture her before ending her pain?

Then Katniss realized that Cato should be dead. That she should kill him. She should kill him because he killed Peeta and with that comes the punishment of death.

Katniss took this time to really look at the brutal Career from District Two. He had blond hair, like Peeta, except his was a little darker and shorter. He had dark blue eyes that were cold as ice. Peeta had light blue eyes, his could warm you up. Like the sun on a cold day.

Cato's features were very chiseled and defined. He was quite handsome, really. It was no wonder that they had to make both tributes win; Cato was obviously in high demand and somehow, so was Katniss. His muscles were very intimidating; Katniss had seen them in use. They seemed to ripple as he clenched and unclenched his fist, reminding Katniss of how easily he had snapped the neck of one of the other tributes.

"Well, twelve?" he said, making Katniss snap her eyes back to his face. She looked at his expression, still hard and emotionless.

She scowled at him and turned away, defeated. But this wasn't over yet, Katniss would play her cards and get her chance. Snow would surely have her head if she killed Cato so she knew she must wait. Katniss stalked back to her bed, itching at the bandages on her face. She growled before ripping them off in agitation. The cool, hospital air stung when it met the tender wounds.

"Why can't you do it?" he asked, his voice almost pleading and broken. It wasn't cocky or taunting which Katniss had expected.

Katniss didn't answer, her eyes were focused on the floor where her bandages had fallen. The knife was still in her hand and her grip was tight. She didn't quite know what to say to Cato. She wanted to kill him so badly but at the same time she didn't want to kill again. She knew how horrible it felt killing someone and she couldn't go through that once more. Not even if it was Cato.

She was faced with a dilemma. She would either kill Cato and go through the traumatic stress that followed along with Snow's wrath or she would let Cato live and remain a reasonable human being.

"Get out, Cato," she said coldly before getting back into her bed. She heard silence and then the sound of footsteps and the door shutting.

Once he was gone, Katniss broke down. She put her hand over her mouth to cover up the sobs and let the tears fall freely. She felt the weight of the situation crashing down on her; burying her alive.

She lay in her bed and rested her burning face against the cool pillow. Her hand remained on her mouth as she sobbed into her pillow. Katniss cried herself to sleep that night but she came to a very important decision. She was going to give up.

She didn't know when or how, but she would wait. Wait until she knew the time was right.