R&R. Enjoy! :)

Run, I tell myself. Run. My legs are bruised, tired, moaning for a rest. Many times already I've run into thorns and tripped over logs. My legs are never going to recover the bruises and bumps and blisters practically tattooed onto my skin. But I beg them to keep bolting forward, wishing for nothing more than to escape the bloodthirsty hounds nipping at our feet. Mutts, to be precise. A Capitol creation, so vicious, so real, so dangerous, that all you can do is run. I can only hear them in the black of night. Premonition sinks in as we I run with, for all I can see, the voice of my District 2 partner, Cato.

"The cornucopia! The cornucopia!" he yells.

And we sprint for a minute, then I am truly weak. I slow down, can no longer hear the sound of mutts, of Cato, of anything. But then, as promised, a mutt has popped out of the bushes, hungrily growling.

I am unprepared when the mutt squashes me on my back.

"Ahhhh!" I yell. Its teeth are scraping my forehead, teasing me slowly into death. But I won't allow it. "Cato! Cato! Help!"

"Clove!" I hear him respond frightfully.

The mutt still has me down, growling, inviting me to give up, but I have other plans. I allow my hand free from my side and sink it into my pocket. My fingers roll over the handle of my small dagger. I can feel the wolf's hot breath on my neck. Its paws scratch my legs, digging deep to the bone.

I let out a yelp of pain.

"Clove!"

He is far.

"Cato!" I scream.

I want to believe he will save me. But I have to accept that my life is in my own hands now. I look the mutt in its fiery eyes. You don't scare me, I think. It's growl is slower than before, trailing off the unmistakable threat hidden behind its hot breath: "You're dead."

But no, I'm not. Adrenaline is pumped through my whole body, spreading all the way down to my finger tips. I squish the rubber handle of my knife, I eye the mutt's chest and just one stab...The knife enters its beefy flesh allowing it to topple over on its side. Eyes vacant, mouth open. Dead.

"Clove!" Cato jumps from the bushes behind me, "Clove!" Out of no where, he hugs me. But then he wuickly releases.

He shoots an eye to my leg.

"Your leg," he tells me.

He is looking for an answer and in his tone I can sense him asking for forgiveness, but for what? The distant sound of howls and growls reach our ears and the unspoken alert to run is undergone. We run to the Cornucopia. I command my legs to go on a comfortable pace, but the sudden warmth of my blood trickling down my leg alarms me. It is not long before yet another distraction grasps my eyes.

I can see a light. My hands wipe away the branches and I burst through the trees, arms cut and face scratched- but I keep running. Breaking the wind's force as I push my now numb legs, I almost slam into the cornucopia.

"Get up!"

Cato has his hands out in front of him, signalling me to go first. I step on his palms, throwing my knife on the cornucopia roof. My arms are shaking, struggling to bring myself up to it.

I slip, and my fingers hang on the ledge. Panic sets in as the mutts claw at my feet. I kick them away, but they don't part. In fact, one jumps at my ankle, opening yet another wound. More blood slides down my leg. I'm stuck, but he comes to help me.

Cato screams, "Look! I don't mean to be rude, but..."

What? What is he talking about?

Just then he answers my question by bringing his hand under my ass throwing me over the roof.

"Whoa!" I let out. "Rude!" I nag.

But Cato's too busy fighting off mutts to hear me. "Help me up!" He demands. I drag him up the Cornucopia. He brushes himself off.

He smudges away sweat from his brow, "That was close. And thanks for th-"

I interrupt, "No time for that!"

I hurry to kill as many mutts as possible, careful to savor my knives for a later use. I hear the faint groan of the mutts pain, Cato is more vicious than ever.

But I'm faster than ever as well, swiftly thrusting one dagger through the bodies of four mutts at once. A personal best.

I stop dead in my tracks.

I look at the eyes in this dog running at me. They're not the eyes of an animal, but a human...

"Glimmer?" I whisper.

The green eyes. The blonde fur. The tag labelled, "1" clearly indentifies her. What have they done to her! When she pounces on me I'm taken aback. Why am I so shocked? Who am I kidding myself? I know! She sacrificed herself for the rest of us...or one of us...

4 hours ago
Everything is blurry. My ears are just transitioning from a vague dream to reality, so when I hear Glimmer whispering, I assume I am still in the dream.

"Marvel..." she sounds apologetic.

"You can't do this!" Marvel screams under his whisper.

"I love you so much!"

"I love you too! I love you way too much to let you go!" He takes her hands, leaning into kiss her... Their lips touch...

When I foolishly roll over a branch, their heads shoot towards to me. I quickly close my eyes and roll over as if I'm still sleeping. But I keep my ears open, not allowing myself to breathe.

"You aren't making this easier," Glimmer whines.

"I hope you'd say that." This time I expect to hear more arguing...But arguing about what? Ugh. I wish I knew.

I hear no arguing. I hear the silent kissing of the two District 1 tributes.

Whoa.

Glimmer continues, "I'm doing this for you Marvel. For Clove-"

Wait. This is what really strikes me as odd. So unusual I thought it would be a dream! But I pinch myself to make sure. Ouch. To my surprise, I'm awake.

"Clove?" Marvel asks.

Me! I want to scream! Why would you think I need any help? But as soon as I allow these thoughts to ring through my mind, I regret it.

"Because..." She swallows hard, "She's not just a Career, Marvel. She's not any vicious killer."

Marvel must have registered an unconvincing face because Glimmer says, "Okay...She doesn't miss...But she's got a heart."

What makes her say that!

"What do you say that for?" Marvel echoes my thoughts by additionally sounding irritated.

"Because she helped me..." She's been crying. Her voice cracks as she speaks. It causes me to acheā€¦

"With what!" He still manages to whisper, "she almost killed you in the bloodbath!"

He's right...I did.

"I know. But past that..." She stops again. Man! She's having a hard time. "She saved you."

"What?" Marvel asks intently.

"During the bloodbath, District 6 was a second too late to kill you... when Clove stabbed her first. And when Cato contemplated killing you last night, Clove convinced him to wait."

She finishes and I've completely forgot the Games. I did save him. But was only because of the pact? Or was it more than that? Our..."relationship"... is definitely not as mushy as theirs. But it is one I don't mind. During the time it took to ponder on this matter, a silence passed, and Marvel is still questioning.

"But why? Why would you give up your life? For me?" he asks earnestly.

"Because I love you too much. Because I care about you too much. And if I win and you're not alive..." She chokes, "I won't be able... I won't be able to live a happy life knowing I could have saved you!"

I can predict tears streaming down her cheeks, and Marvel as well. I hear a wet kiss, and it goes on for a long time. But a good time. Somehow, I realise, I've gotten attached to Glimmer, and Marvel too. Great. But as I fall asleep I realize that I never found out what Glimmer was going to do to sacrifice her life.

Until that morning.

After that, I was devastated, somehow feeling sorrow for the loss of Glimmer. I was cranky as hell, but if I were to be willing to kill with an irritation such as this, best to feel it in the Games.

"Glimmer!" I yelp. She digs her claws into my shoulders, pinning me down, somehow leaving my legs dangling on the side of the cornucopia. "Glimmer! Glimmer!" I plead. "Don't do this."

Her growl makes me shiver, breath hot on my face. I know I'm a goner. I look at my world one last time, looking bravely into the mouth of this beast. One swipe and I'm de-

Its teeth just skin my forhead. But out of nowhere, it freezes. It topples on its side, immobile. Definitely not breathing. It's dead!

"What...Who...?" I trail off.

Then I notice an thin silver stick pushed through its entire body. Not just a stick though. A bow.

"Katniss!"

I sound grateful rather than ferocious.

I whip over to look at her. Bow still in hand, eyes wide with alarm. I want to thank her. I need to thank her. But as usual, my actions are ahead of my brain and I automatically take a swipe with my dagger, aiming it at her leg. She's quick to dodge it, and instead of hitting her, the dagger whistles right past her to pierce Peeta's hand.

"Aaaah!" He lets out a long yelp of pain before sinking to his knees.

"Ohhhh." I walk over to them, but Katniss arms herself, guarding Peeta, flooding the metal roof with blood.

"Why, aren't you tricky?" I mock.

"You thought we were dead, huh?" She snaps.

"Well... I was sure Cato made certain of it." I cross my arms and point out Cato, "Guess I'll just have to take care of you myself."

I grin. Then I let the Career snake slither down my tongue and into my muscles, jumping on Katniss. My knees pin her shoulders and I hold her head by her hair, letting Peeta's blood stain her brown hair.

She struggles under my body, but she's too weak. The blood clearly catches her off guard.

"So..." I reach into my jacket for a dagger, but I don't have any left. I improvise, resorting to ringing my hands around her neck. Peeta's blood stains her hair.

I look at Peeta, he's in severe pain, bleeding over Katniss. His body is expiring. Katniss, struggling under the strength of a Career, just trying to escape me, alarmed, scared.

I've seen this look in the eyes of many tributes. But only now do I see the fear behind it. I feel the fear in her. Only now do I see the pain in Peeta's hand. I feel the cut on my hand as well. I caused this pain.

I think back to my previous kills. The same glint of pain hidden behind their tears. The same glint of fear being killed undera Career. The same pleading and begging to be spared. How could i only see this now? They weren't just tributes. They were people, they had feelings, they felt pain, they felt love, they felt sympathy. Something I never learned to do. Suddenly I've come to a realization, a realization like nothing I've felt before. It's much bigger than a bloodthirsty tribute. Larger than me; what I'm designed to be.

I am numb. I don't feel.

The Capitol has ruined me! They did this to me! I always thought I'd be alive with the Capitol's help in training, in killing off others. But seeing Peeta and Katniss, as lovers, eavesdropping on Glimmer and Marvel, makes me finally see...

If you let love shine through the shutters of brutality, you can see the bigger picture. But I didn't. I left my shutters closed tight, and I let the Capitol's darkness creep through my mind and morale...

So here I am.

About to kill Katniss. Watching the life literally drain out of Peeta.

My hands shiver.

"I can't do it..." Finding the one to kill Glimmer was the only thing that kept me going. I was running on hate, hoping to finally get my vengeance. But the anger that once hung heavy on my chest was gone. I jump to my feet. She jolts upright, gasping for air. Hand on chest, eyes baffled she turns to Peeta.

"Peeta..." She croaks. Her strength surprises me.

Peeta's worn eyes look down at her. Katniss struggles to keep breathing, she lets her head fall on his chest.

"Katniss..." He groans. His thumb reaches her cheek, stroking it gently. He then brings his hands to cup her face. I can't believe my eyes! Peeta, although at his death bed, and Katniss at the brink of her end... Are kissing!

"I love you." Is what escapes her lips.

Katniss's strength is draining with Peeta's wound. Her eyes flutter to a slight close. Her head falls onto his lap. But she's not dead. A tear falls from Peeta's eyes into hers.

"I love you too." He bends down and softly kisses her atop her forehead, resting his head upon hers.

"If we don't make it-"

"Don't say that!" Katniss interrupts.

"Just listen!" He swallows. "Even if we die...I will always love you. My heart will never die. Ever."

More tears stream from Peeta's eyes. Katniss buries her face in his sweaty shirt.

"No Peeta!" Katniss cradles his head between her hands. "We're going home. Together."

Clapping? From a distance behind me I hear Cato clapping.

He chuckles, as if someone just made a harmless joke.

"Well. I'm not sure if that's possible, Katniss."

He looks down at his feet briefly, hand on sword, face red. There's a moment of silence. An unstable air hung over our heads.

Then, Cato lashes at Katniss. She's quick to stand up, bow and arrow in hand aiming his head.

"Yes Cato. I'm positive."

There's a cockiness in her voice that makes me believe she's going to do something out of the ordinary. Something drastic...

She attacks me!

"Aaaah!" I scream. A bow has entered my left arm. I'm stunned with anger. Puzzled with a hot head.

"I'm a Career! I almost killed you! You're supposed to be scared of me!" I plead.

She lowers her bow for a moment, but she doesn't look convinced.

"You were wrong," she says. Her hand reaches her bow, stretching back the arrow..."I love Peeta more than I fear you."

And with this, she releases the bow, the arrow piercing my my upper leg. I let out a scream.

I am numb all over. The bows have tuned out my feeling physically. But my heart aches, it questions.

"But I helped you." I whisper loud enough for Katniss to hear and then shake her head.

"I'm sorry." She beams another bow at me.

"Wait." I plead. "Don't-"

She looks down, letting a tear falling from her eye. "But I have to do this." The bow stretches back. She takes a slow breath...But the arrow doesn't hit me.

It hits Cato.

"Cato!" I scream. The arrow has come in contact with his ear.

Blood dripping from his head, he flops onto his back.

"Cato!" I whip over to Katniss.

"You hurt him!" My ears are steaming, I can only see through red furious eyes.

"He did it to himself." She's calm. Firm on her feet, but that doesn't hide the alarm in her eyes.

I'm so fired up with disgust that I can't speak. I take Cato's sword in hand a thrust it right between her eyes, only cutting her.

She's taken aback, but she still stands. I have to change that.

I jump at her pinning her arms under my knees, trapping her knees under my feet. Agains she struggles under me, but she's too weak.

"You hurt Cato!"

"He hurt himself!"

I shake my head, "Say goodbye to Katniss, Peeta." But again I can't come to it. Peeta's eyes alone have convinced me. I will kill him by killing her. I see Peeta's eyes roll back and flutter shut. His head thumps against the roof and a canon is heard.

"Peeta!" I yell, but Katniss doesn't hear me over her wailing. "Peeta! Peeta!"

"Okay Clove." Her eyes sting red blurring with tears.

"You win! Just get to killing me! I never thought I could win anyway." She leans her head back and closes her eyes, knowing what's coming.

I don't know what to say...

"I'm sorry."

I don't want to admit. I look over at Cato. He's on all fours fighting the pain ringing in his ears. He makes me remember when I entered these Games, I never expected to fall in love with him. He makes remember that I want to get him out alive in these Games. Katniss, she's just another tribute...

I close my eyes. I don't want to see what I've done.

I slice her neck and another canon is heard.

I back up slowly...I watch Katniss and Peeta being carried away, I mentally say goodbye to them.

But Cato's groan interrupts my thoughts.

"Cato!" I rush to his side. "It's gonna be okay. Help is on the way." I assure him. His ear, well his whole sde is now stained with blood. I take my jacket offnd bunch it up to his wound t try and stop the blood. He winces.

"Clove," he smiles, but croaks weakly. "We won." A smile creeps up on my face. I guess we did.

He cups my face with his grimy hand, "But what about Katniss and Peeta?" I ask. It's a stupid question to ask, but to my surprise, he responds.

"What about them?" Not the response I wanted to hear.

"They loved each other." I look down at the verge of tears, remembering their deaths that happened only moments ago. Cato lifts my chin, bringing my face so close to his our noses brush.

"Hey," he looks sincere, "What's wrong?"

What's wrong? He's asking what's wrong!

"What's wrong is this!" I spread my flapping my arms to the arena. "They were just children, Cato!"

He looks into my eyes with anxiety.

"I know Clove. But I love you too much to let you die."

His eyes are teary and my head is spinning. I thump my head into his chest. He sweeps me into his arms, rocking me back and forth, soothing my uneasiness.

A tear falls from his eyes and onto my cheek.

"I love you too." I bring my hand to his cheek, slowly propping myself up. "I always have."

I inch my face closer to him. I lay my lips on his, but we are broken apart when a dart hits me causing me to grow dizzy. I begin to lose balance and eventually all feeling. I hear the hustle of Peacekeepers attempting to sweep Cato away from me. But I don't want him to go.

"Stay with me." I say. He squeezes my petite hands in his own beefy glove-like ones. And for a moment I catch sight of him mouthing something to me, screaming something to me. I wish I could hear it, but I can't resist the force of the drug induced dart. My limbs have gone numb. All my senses are defaulting. I can no longer feel the ground under me.

End of the Chapter 1? Will it end here? Am I going to write a next chapter? Only if you like it :) Review Please :)

-Rue-ster