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It was beyond pity I felt for her it was almost like I owed her. Somehow.

I know I didn’t owe her anything.

I feel the hot burn of the coals on my face, and hear the thud of the punch.

“Feed it to the pig you stupid creature, why not! No one decent will buy burnt bread!

My mother yelled

Now was my chance. I carried the big loaves outside. She looked weak.

I was about to walk to her and give them to her. But I realized that my mother was watching from the door frame, with her arms crossed.

She looked at me as if to get rid of the bread…

I started picking off bits of the bread, as small as I could to the pigs.

I took a quick glance at the door and she was gone.. now was my chance. I threw the bread in the mud, In her direction. It accidentally landing in the pile of mud close to where she was kneeling. Damn. Before I have time to apologize Oryan appears at the door desperately waving for me to come inside. I run back inside, and immediately regret my decision to throw the loaves in the rain.

I look at the window, in and catch my reflection, and nurse my soon to be black eye.

That’s what playback in my head, while she slowly walked to the stage. She was more brave then anyone I know. Not a tear in her eyes. I know what she’s trying to do. Look like a tribute, someone who is ready to play the games. And she’s good at it.

But I know her better than that. She volunteered for her sister Prim. She has a heart, despite what anyone says.

She so beautiful. Even the face of the games. Her hair braided, with a soft blue dress. She- Peeta Mellark. What did she say? P-e-e-t-a M-e-l-l-a-r-k that’s me.

I'm going into the games. Everyone has cleared a path for me, and is staring.

Its time for me to walk now. One foot in front of the other. My palms are sweaty, I feel the fear creeping down my back into my ankles. The sun is beating down on me. I walk slowly as I can to the stage. It’s silent. Before I know it I'm on stage with Katniss shaking hands. I suddenly become aware of of what is happening, I squeeze her hand as I awaken.

The anthem plays. “ May the odds be ever in your favor”.


The peace keepers escort Katniss and I to the justice building. Its very fancy, the most fancy in the whole of district 12. I’ve been here a few times. Sometimes the peacekeepers like their bread delivered, and when they call for us, it's my job to bring it here.</p>

I don’t like this building much, sure it's beautiful. It has gold painted door frame, red velvet couches, the floor is made of white marble, and its filled with expensive paintings from the capitol, But I don’t feel at home here. It feels…..sterile.

They place me in a room with a few wooden seats, a jug of water with a few glasses, plus one of those red velvet couches. In the back of the room there is a full length mirror. I stare at my reflection for a while, I wan to remember this. Me.

I Will stay this way, and they will not change me. They WILL NOT change me. Strange, it seems only yesterday that Delly and I were walking hand in hand to school. She used too tell everyone we were brother and sister so they wouldn't call us a couple.

“you have one hour”. Grunts the peacekeeper.

My father walks in the room and then my mother.

I’ve always been close to my dad. I remember the first day of school. I was walking down the hallway, holding my dads hand. He pointed out Katniss and said, “do you see that girl over there? I was in love with her mother”.

I remember looking so high to his face and whispering “why didn’t you marry her?”

“because she married a man who worked in the coal mines”.

I remember my confusion.

“why would she choose a coal miner over you?”

My father bent down and said. “ because when he sings the birds stop to listen”.

His eyes closed, like recalling a memory close to mind.

Later I heard Katniss sing a lullaby, and from that moment on I loved her. And now we will have to fight to the death. We’ve never spoken, the only contact we’ve had was, that one rainy day, when I threw the burnt bread to her…why didn’t I give it to her? Maybe that’s why she’s never spoken to me.

Dad sits down next to me I could tell he was choking back tears. So was I. he hugged me softly. This made me feel like a child again. His strong arms holding me, I always felt safe.

I considered this to be the last time I was under his protection.

His firm grip grew even tighter, and tears rolled down my cheek leaving a pathway on my skin. My mother scoffed.

She’s not one for attention, or affection. But I like to think she will miss me.

Dad seemed to ignore Mom. He pulled back from my arms. And through sobs he looked at me with his clear crystal blue eyes, And said “I love you son”.

I smile, I know he will miss me, as I will him. I look at my father and give him a reassuring nod, when his attention turns to the door.

I Turn around and my brothers are standing at the door. Both weeping.

I’ve always been close to my brothers. Oryan, is 17, and lance is 18.

Lance had is name in the reaping ball 23 times, so we thought out of us all he was going to be picked. I’m glad he wasn’t though.

Orayn took all the abuse he could from mum instead of me. Lance wasn’t around much. He was usually stealing liquor, or going out with girls. Its was mostly Orayn and I who got the abuse. Lance has always been he good son. He was treated well from mum. but dad seemed to favor us two. We were often a united force Oryan and I. I Remember one time he woke me up in the middle of the night. I was 13, and he took me to the hole in the fence. The same one katniss uses to hunt. He took me though the trees and to a pond. I remember feeling so bad like an outlaw. We sat down next to the creak and he said “ feel like a rebel?”.

“ yeah.”. he laughed at my reaction. We stayed there for an hour talking about our dreams. And at one point he said “look at this!”. He showed me a bunch of flowers.

“katnisses”.I said.

I recognized the flowers, they were katnisses. They taught us about them in school.

“ that’s a girl in our school isn’t it?”. He asked

“ yeah, her father named her after them”.

“ are you two friends?”. He asked again.

“no…she’s never spoken to me”. I say trying to hide my disappointment.. he’s always seen though me.

“ ohhh someone has a crush ok katniss huh?” he says in a teasing manor.

“no” I say getting angry.

“ yes you do you have a crush on her”. He says through giggles.

I roll on to him and pin his neck to the ground with my forearm. “its not just a crush”. I Say though gritted teeth.

I still remember his facial expression. He was shocked. After a moment of examining my expression. He grabs my fist and roles over and pins my arms to my side. i grabbed his knees with my fingers, I was just in reach and flip him over. I hold his shirt and raise my fist in direct line of his nose.

“you really do don’t you”? he said in a hushed voice

I lower my fist, and let go of his tee-shirt. And give him my arm, to help him get up.

When he rises to he rises to his feet, and shakes my hand.

He smirks. “ seems you have some fight in ya boy”. He says in a proud manor.

I Refrain myself from smiling, to keep up my tough guy act, I say “wed better go”. I turn away from him and walk to the woods, hiding a huge grin.

I stand up from the soft red velvet, and he looks at me, trying to choke back the tears, I old my arms out, and he excepts my embrace. We hold each other tightly. My big brother. I allowed him to cry. And I glance at he door, covered in gold. Lance is obviously drunk. We all notice his pattern. Or instance, when his best friend died in the mine explosion. He arrived home after drinking his cares away. He had throw up all over him, he’s hair was be covered in dirt or mud. He was a mess, it was my job to clean him up. This became a reoccurring pattern. In a way I feel happy, that he considers this a big enough event to drink himself away. He’s upset, I summon him to the hug. We all stand there holding on.

After sometime we sit down and begin to talk all 4 of us. But mum is still in the back round, looking out the window, or examining her nails, even twirling her hair.

“ 15 minutes left”. The peacekeeper speaks.

We all stand up, the three forms a bee line, with me in the in front.

Lance is first “don’t give up”. He says choking back tears. We hug goodbye and I watch him leave he gold door one last time.

Next is Oryan. “ you still have some fight in ya boy”. He says with a smirk. Hes referring to he night we ran away. He hugs me goodbye whispering in my ear “good luck lover boy”. It amazes me, even though all the tears on his face, and mine. He still manages to make me smile. He turns away leaving though the gold door.

And then there’s dad. He hugs me, tighter then he ever has. I feel his jaw, on my back, I whisper in his ear, “take care of prim for me?”.

He lets go and looks a me with a reassuring nod.

He leaves me with one word of wisdom “ survive”.

And then his gone.

I stare at the floor for a moment and turn to mum. “Goodbye mum”. I say awkwardly my with my head hanging low.

She stares at me coldly. To my surprise the opened her mouth, about to say something but walks past me nudging my shoulder instead. I don’t turn around but I do hear her utter the words “you know district 12 my finally have a victor.”

She’s not referring to me

“You have ten minuets” I hear the peacekeeper say.

Who has ten minutes?

I see Delly, although I hardly recognize her without her beaming smile. Her head is pointed to the floor. Her yellowish her glaring back at the sun. She looks up at me. And her red puffy eyes stand out on her pale skin. I hold my arms out and he doesn’t hesitate to embrace. I hold her while her whole body simulates crying.

“hey its okay yellow”. I say warmly. That’s what I call her, the first time we meet I looking at her hair. And that’s where yellow what born.

“ No. no its not okay” she says though sobs.

“Come on, your going to get my favorite dress shirt all wet”. I say

“Shut up” she says trying to hold back the smile.

“what will I do without you” she says.

“eat” I say sarcastically. I’ve known Delly for so long, we have always made fun of hey weight. And she always made fun of the crack in my voice. And of course my love for katniss.

“Try will you?” she asks.

“You know I cant do that dell, I cant kill katniss.” she says

“Okay but keep your dignity when you die okay? I’d hate for it to be a mess when they have to pick you up?” She says playing part in my game.

“Will do”. I reply.

We sand there holding each other for what seem like mere seconds. But I know it was longer then that.

“I love you Peeta.” She says softly not taking her eyes off me

“You too sis.” I reply. I try to hold back the tears but the dam that has kept them in is overflowing. I single tear snowballs down my cheek. Delly wipes her finger on my face pausing the tear.

She kneels down to my feet and lifts up pants and pulls down my sock, she then attaches a woven black thread with brown cross patterns, on my ankle.

I recognize this band. When we were kids we I made this in art class. I gave it to her and I still ember her words “I’m not a guy, I like bright colors, where would I use that.”

I replied “fine I’ll wear it myself.”

“no no no no, your too young, it wont suit you right.” She said smiling.

“fine, you give this to me when you think I’m ready then”.

“fine I will”.

She stands back up. And whispers in my ear. “Your ready”.

And with that she leaves.

Expecting to be taken away to the car I hear a knock at the door

I turn around and I see gale standing at the old door way.

He sees the shock on my face.

“ Can I sit?”. He asks.

“Yeah sure”. I reply. I show him to the velvet couch.

We both sit.

“You nervous”? he asks

This is the first time we’ve talked since we were children. His mother and mine, used to bake together. But when his dad died, he spent all his extra time hunting with katniss. So we haven talked in a long time.

“Yeah….is katniss?”. I reply

“yes, but she’s mostly worried about how her family will do while she’s gone”. He replies

“So she plans on coming back?”. I ask

“Yeah”. He reply’s

“Well don’t worry my father will make sure prim is fed while she’s gone”.

He look’s down with a nod.

“Take care of her best you can huh?” he says.

“Of course”. I reply

“Good luck out there.” He says. I reply with a nod we both stand up, he shakes my hand and turns to the door. But not before stopping and whipping he’s head around.

“do you still love her?”.

I look at him with surprise

“How do you know that”?

“Easy, you look at her the same way I do”. With that, he leaves.


The ride to the train station is very short. Effie sits in the front seat, rambling on something about the, privilege it is to be chosen as a tribute. And all the wonderful things you get to do. And how nice they make the conditions, on the train, and the training center. I don’t pay much attention. Katniss is sitting across from me, she sits there gazing out the window.

I can only imagine putting myself in her mind right now.

What about prim? Will I have to kill people? Of course I have to kill people it’s the hunger games. How will I play the game? What if know one sponsors me?

I wonder if I’m in her head right now.

Of course not. I’m just the boy who was picked in the reaping ball. Ill kill him later, and I will become one step closer to wining.

NO.I refuse to think of her that way. She has a heart, and even is she has to kill me. I don’t think she’s counting the ways she could, at the moment, at least. I’m still shocked by Gales earlier confession, but hardly surprised. He spends most days with her. It’s hard not to fall in love with her. I wonder if she knows. She might even feel the same. I don’t know why but I feel jealous of him. But I’ve never even spoken to her.

Her eyes are dry as district 13. I wonder if she’s holding back tears, or just naturally is okay with he situation. No, it has to be her strategies. She wants to appear strong, and collected. I however can see my reflection, in the window, its clear I’ve been crying. My cheeks are puffy, my nose is red, my eyes are teary, and I can see the trail the tears have left on my skin, there’s not point in erasing them. Let them see I’m sad. That I don’t want to play there games.

When the car stops, and Effie finally stops too. We step out and we stand for a minuet to let the press get there photos. The peacekeepers clear a path though the, press weasels (that’s what I call them now) we are directed to the train. The doors shut with the slightest whisper. Were finally free to be alone. Katniss doesn’t seem frayed, but only when the train starts to move does, she show emotion. She looks surprised and impressed.

But when she is escorted, to what I presume is her room, do I see why she is impressed.

I thought the justice building was fancy. But I’ve never been in a capitol train before.

The floor is made of black marble. The windows have, a gold pattern, of vines, and flowers. The roof is silver. And there is a painting of a woman sitting on her, side I’m not sure if she’s smiling or not. And down the bottom is the word Vinci.

Before I can examine the train lobby any further I’m escorted to my room.

This room is very different to the one back home.

Which I know I will never see again. It has cloths, picked out for me, all very new. The curtains are controlled by voice. Plus there are buttons everywhere that do all sorts of things. Order food, create scents, mood lighting ect. While its all very good and nice, but I cant help but be reminded of a baker, making bread. First you throw all the ingredients together, and then you spend hour’s kneading the bread, softening it into pleasant silk dough. I becomes this beautiful light dough. But after that, you throw it in a burning oven, and watch it cook form the outside in.

That’s us, there fating us up before slaughter.

I have to be ready for dinner in one hour. I go to the closet, ready to pick my outfit, I glace at the mirror next to me. I’m changing, I’m becoming a pawn in there games. Already. I look at the clock. I still have 30 minutes left. I think about playing with all my new gadgets. But I end up just sitting on the foot of my bed.

I’m going to die. I’ve accepted that. But I wish I would die honorably. That on my death bed I know I’ve changed someone’s life, everyone’s life. I wish I could do something to let the capitol know, I don’t belong to them.

At that moment, it hit me. Katniss. She’s the key to everything. Everyone, especially me who knows I cant win this, but katniss. Even my mum said, she has it in her. If I could help her win, somehow, I could provide for my parents, brothers and he whole of district 12. Most importantly, katniss will live. This is the way I will win. By loosing.

Next: how to do that…..

“Time for dinner!”. Effie says from the door. So bright and bubbly. How does she do that?

Just stay happy all the time. I’ll tell you, she’s like know one I’ve ever met.

I walk to the dinning room; Effie sits me down, and asks me to wait there.

She’s must be collecting katniss. I wonder how katniss feels about effies..Bubbly personality, to say the least. She’s not the most, tolerant person katniss.

Katniss enters the room. And gives me a nod\curtsy, to acknowledge me.

I remember reading somewhere. That out ancestors used to greet a woman by kissing the back of her hand. Women would reply with a curtsy. I’m not sure how katniss would react if I were to pursue this particular custom.

She takes he seat across from me. Effie takes a seat a the bottom of two ends of the table

“Where’s Hamich?”. Effie asks brightly

“Last time I saw him he said her was going to take a nap”. I reply.

I don’t really know where he is. But I figure, he’s either sleeping, or he’s passed out on the floor. Either way, he’s not here, and something tells me he won’t make dinner anyways.

“Well its been an exhausting day”. Effie says with a sigh of relief. She obviously doesn’t like him much. Strange, I don’t mind him. Sure, he’s a dead drunk. But he hasn’t rubbed me the wrong way…yet.

The dinner comes in too many courses then I can count.

But even though I’ve never been faced with this much food, with so much variety before. I’m not much interested in eating. I take a few bites here and there. Mainly because I need strength for the games. I think the third of fourth course; they bring out a cupcake with the number 12 on it. Obviously to represent our district. I estimate the value of such a cake at home. Its seems like a very simple, chocolate mixture, but the icing, is beautiful. It has a blood purple swirls leading on he side of the cupcake. On the top, has a very deep blue icing, with a thin layer of crystallized sugar, with specs of gold in it. On top is written 12, in a glittering gold. The whole cake sparkles in the light.

This would be priceless back home. It sickens me that the capitol, Is so rich to enjoy such foods, and we are left with nothing, especially those at the steam. Katniss seems to be so impressed with the food and can’t get enough. We still have spoken to each other since…well never. Effie, senses what I guess she thinks is and awkward silence, and fills it with a comment, about how its good we use knives and forks, because, no one ever does. Even though its slightly insulting. I let it slide, but katniss seems very offended. I guess her way of showing her anger was to eat the rest of the meal with her hands. Too much has happened today, and were both too suck in our own world, to be in anyone else’s at the moment.

After the meal, the waiters come to collect our plates. I start to collect my plates but Effie shoots me look of disapproval. After a few moments, I allow the waiter to take my left overs. Its strange having them take our food. They brought you the food; it seems only fair that after eating it, you should at least take out plate away. If I were to simply expect mum to pick up my plates after a meal at home. It would surely mean a beating. Mum believes children are brought up to take care of there parents. That’s its not fair or unfair, but simply the circle of life.

We leave the dining hall to go see he recap of the reaping, leaving he servants to clean up.

Effie turn’s on the television, and they show today’s reaping’s… I don’t pay much attention, but there is someone who catches my eye. A boy name Cato, he was reaped for district 2….a career. I notice his mannerisms after he volunteers. He’s very excited, but keeps a tough face. He’s very big, and will be a very difficult contender to keep away from katniss. A plan Is already forming in my head.

I don’t take much notice at the rest of them, although katniss is different. Ever since the reaping, katniss has been, strong, and aloof. But this was different. When a small girl from district 11, is reaped, she looks, sympathetic and concerned. She looks genuinely kind-hearted. But only for a moment, and when its gone she goes back to her hard expression.

Then we come on…last as always.

I notice that katniss, doesn’t look intimidating, or scary. But. numb.

Like nothing maters, but putting one step in front of the other. Much like my strategy.

Me however, looks petrified.

After we watch them all. We turn the TV off, and sit in silence, before Effie finally says. “Your mentor has a lot to learn about presentation and about televised behavior”.

I assume she talking about Haymich’s drunken display. He fumbled on stage, yelled, well just made a fool of himself.

I giggle at the memory. “He was drunk, he’s drunk every year”. I say.

“everyday”. Katniss adds.

We share a perky look.

“Yes”. Effie adds.

Katniss and I burst out laughing.

“How odd you find it amusing. Your mentor is the lifeline to the world during the games, the one who advises you, lines up sponsors and dictates the presentation of your gifts. Haymich can well be the difference between life and death”! Effie says with conviction.

I thought it would be good, to see the difference in Effie. A detour form he usual, chirpy Effie. But this is the first time she’s mentioned the possibility of either of us dieing.

Haymich interrupts my thoughts. By tumbling into the room. “I missed supper?” he slurs

He wrenches forward, and throws up, and proceeds to stumble into it.

Uck! Effie sighs in disgust and walks out the door avoiding, the pile of puke. “so laugh away!”. She stormed.

Katniss and I looked at each other, with nod of obedience.

We both grab one of Haymich’s arms.

“I tripped?” Haymich asks. “smells bad”. He mutters

He puts his hand up to his nose, and smears this puke on his nose.

“let’s get you back to your room, clean you up a bit”. I say, cringing my nose.

We, pretty much drag Haymich up to his room, and place\throw him in the expensive bathtub. I need katniss out of here. And I figure she wouldn’t want to undress an old guy and wash him.

“it’s okay, I’ll take it from here”. I say to katniss with a reassuring smile.

“Alright, I can send one of the capitol people to help you?” she asks.

“No I don’t want them”. I say in a dismissive manor

I don’t want them; here I need to talk to Haymich alone.

Well, after I sober him up. Luckily I’ve had a lot of experience with this.

Katniss leaves. I’m left to deal with him. After years of dealing with my brother, I’ve created my own cure, I call one of the peacekeeper, to get me, a few different types of leaves, and a few other medicines. Once there all here I dismiss the peacekeeper. I take all the ingredients, and put them together and add some water, and force it down his throat. While my little concoction works its magic, I get to work on washing him.

After about an hour, of washing, feeding and pumping coffee into his veins he’s finally sober enough to be coherent. That’s a start. I hand him a rob and he puts it on, and sits on he end of his bed, nursing a hangover. While I sit on a chair across from him carving my name into the wooden coffee table with a butter knife.

“arrgg what happened?” Haymich asks puzzled.

I look up. “Shut up”. I snap.

Haymich looks up for a second, with shock on his face, and open’s his mouth about to speak. “Shut up and listen” I repeat.

He eyes widen, and he puts his coffee down and sits formally, “alright”. He hisses.

Something tell’s me he appreciates this side of me. So I continue.

“I’m going to die. I know that. But katniss, she can win, and I need your help to make her the victor”.

“Okay well-” he begins

“I’m not finished”. I hiss. He’s shock continues.

“so for katniss to win, obviously she needs to be the last one left, so my plan is to be the second last one, and kill myself so she’s remaining. So all though the games I will protect her from the careers. So what I need from you is to tell me how, to play it, and to teach me skills to do so”. I spill

He sits there silent.

“You can talk now”. I give him permission

“What’s your angle”? He asks to my surprise.

“What do you mean?"

“What’s in it for you, she wins and you die." He asks suspiciously

He’s got me. I try to cover it up.

“Well….I…want my..Brothers..Tooo get food, and live well for a year”. I stammer. I’m blushing now.

“My, my, my. Someone has a crush on a fellow tribute”. He boasts.

“My feelings for her don’t matter." I say strongly, hoping that the redness on my cheeks has faded. by the look on his face, I know I hasn’t. so I approach him, and lock my eyes on his.

“You're wrong boy." He stands up and talk me into the wall.

“Your feelings for her mean everything. So what are you wiling to do to save her?”.

My back is too the wall. And he’s standing very close to be. I can smell the coffee on his breath. I’m determined to win. I hold his gaze, and clench my jaw, and take a step forward, forcing him back.

“I will die for her”. I confess

“ do you love her”. He says, trying to break me. I will not back down

“ yes”. I reply

“ are you pre-pared to do anything?” he asks.

“yes, I will die for her”. I repeat

He turns around and walks around the room. “ yes yes I know, you will die for her, yada yada yada, what I’m asking is, are you willing to do anything to help her win?”.

“yes”. I reply.

“Even if it means that you die with hatred in her heart for you”. He asks.

We wait there in silence, for an answer.



After Haymich and I come up with a plan. We agree that the conversation never happened. I walked to my room and fell asleep. I should be having trouble sleeping, seeing that I’m going to die in a few weeks. But, for some reason I felt a peace, I was able to sleep well knowing that I had a plan. When I wake in the morning, I sit up and say, “Open blinds”.

The sheet covering the windows start to pull across, I quickly learn that this is a mistake.

The light is beaming in my eyes. I squint waiting for my eyes to adjust. When they finally do, I put my boots on and get dressed in a pair of black “jeans” I think they call it, and a grey tee-shirt. I walk though corridors and I arrive at the breakfast room. Sitting at the table Haymich is drinking some sort of sprit, and I KNOW our conversation is truly forgotten.

“Morning loverboy”. He teases.

“That’s what my brother called me”. I give a weak smile and sit down. Maybe he hasn’t.

I notice the food on the table, and I realize I actually have an appetite this morning.

I pick up a bread role and put it on my plate. The waiter comes and pours some sort of, brown liquid into my cup. At first I think its coffee, but realize that the aroma is not the same.

“What is this?” I ask the waiter. She looks at Haymich desperately.

“Hot chocolate”. Haymich answers. The woman smiles and lifts the cup up, and gestures to taste it. I oblige. I bring the liquid to my lips, the hot liquid fills my mouth, and the sweet chocolate goes down my throat. She looks at me waiting for my reaction.

“It’s delicious”. I say, she smiles, and refills my cup. She a nice lady, about 40, and has blond hair. Oddly enough she has no make-up on. All he other people who come from the capitol have, strange colored hair, weird shaped eyelashes. There usually bursting with different colors, on there face and body’s. She’s normal. She could have come from district 12, if you didn’t know better. I take another bite of my bread, and then sip the chocolate. The combination is quite good. Katniss enters the hall, wearing the same outfit as last night, a green top with black pants, and of course that mockingjay pin. Se looks so beautiful..oh no I’m blushing, hope she doesn’t notice. She doesn’t seem to, she nods hello, and sits down. She is poured the hot chocolate and stares at it the same way I did.

“They call it hot chocolate, it’s good”. I say.

She looks unsure, and then takes a sip.

It’s the first time she’s ever trusted me. Its not much, but its something.

We sit there eating lots of the food. I’m becoming increasingly frustrated with Haymich. He sits there knocking back drink by drink, and growing drunk by the second.

By the look on katniss’s face, she agrees with me.

“So your supposed to give us advice?” Katniss says unimpressed. It’s clear it wasn’t a question, but a statement.

“Here’s some advice, stay alive”. He remarks.

He was being unnecessarily rude, and he pushed me into action.

“That’s very funny”. I say sarcastically. He’s taunting me and it works.

I grip the bottle out of his hand and smash it on the floor. I kick my chair back and slam my hands on the table. I move my face to his, and stare into his eyes.

“Only not to us”. I say strongly

He look’s at me, and I see the corners of his mouth inching up and his fist rise and punch me in the jaw. I jolt to the floor. My face is stinging, a feeling I’m very used to.

He reaches for a new glass, when katniss thrusts over and stabs the table with the butter knife. Just barely missing his fingers lodging it between his hand and the table.

He sits back, and squints. He returns to his normal self and says.

“Well what’s this? Did I actually get a pair of fighters this year?”

I get up from the floor and pick up some ice from the wine tin.

“No, let the bruise show. The audience will think you’ve mixed it up with another tribute, before you’ve even gotten to the arena”. He says

With the ice still in my hand I say

“But that’s against the rules”.

“Only if they catch you. That bruise will say you’ve fought, and you weren’t caught. Even better”. He says optimistically

I put the ice back, and he turns his attention to katniss.

“Can you hit anything with that knife other then the table.” he asks

Katniss yanks the knife out of the table and throws it at the wall, lodging it between two pieces of wood. It’s quite impressive.

He stares at both of us for a moment.

“Stand over here, both of you”. He requests. We are obedient.

He looks at us, poking and prodding, testing out muscles and skills.

When finally he says. “Well you’re not completely hopeless. Seem fit. Once the stylist’s get hold of you, you’ll be attractive enough”. “Alright, I’ll make a deal with you. You don’t interfere with my drinking, and I’ll stay sober enough to help you”. He pauses for a moment and goes on “but you have to do exactly as I say”?

Well, it’s not ideal, but it’s something. Katniss and I look at each other and nod.

“Fine”. I say answering for her.

“So help us”. Katniss blurts out. “When we get to the arena, what’s the best strategy at the cornucopia for someone-“.

“One thing a time”. Haymich interrupts. “In a few minutes we’ll be pulling into the station. You’ll be put in the hands of the stylists. Your not going to like what they do to you, but no mater what it is don’t resist”. He finishes

“But-” katniss say’s.

“No buts don’t resist”. He cuts in

He grabs his grog and leaves the room without another word.

Katniss looks slightly embarrassed by being humbled by Haymich.

We stand there for what seems like a lifetime in silence.

After her mother’s meltdown, katniss had to provide for her family. Her family had to rely fully on her, the only person she’s ever trusted since her dads death is gale. So I understand why trusting people, isn’t her strong point.

I remember when I was a kid, my brothers used to play a game with me. They would tie a blind fold over my eyes, and would lead me around out street. Lance always used to run me into things. Make me fall down stairs. Weave though thin air, which I though was trees.

But Oryan was always good. He would actually lead me. I remember once we played it for hours, and one time he lead me to the front of katniss’s house. When he took the blind fold off. I was almost blinded by the light a first. But once I realized we were at katniss’s house, I was quick to leave. I asked Oryan why he took me here. I remember his response.

“Because its time you stop blindly trusting that she will come to you”.

The game was originally designed by our ancestors, as a trust exercise.

It worked. I always trusted my brother. I’m going to miss him. I Already do.

The train begins to slow and come to a halt. Both katniss and I run to the window.

The capital is a beautiful sight. The sun gleaming through the skyscrapers. There are bright lights everywhere. There’s a mist covering the top of the buildings.

I’m not sure if it’s as beautiful as we think it is. Or it’s just that we have nothing close to this in out poor district 12.

There are strange people standing, waiting for us. Like I described before, there is an array of bright colors, bobbing up and down. There are 100’s possibly 100s of people here waiting for us. I begin to entertain the people. I wave, smile and do little skits.

The people are loving it, katniss however obviously feels different. She’s looking at me with a puzzled expression. “Who knows? One of them could be rich”. I say with a shrug.

Entertaining the people is pat of Haymich’s plan. I think katniss is quickly catching on. CHAPTER 5

I will not change! That's what goes though my head when my prep tem shave the back on my head. I know this is to help me win the games. Well rather help katniss wins the games. But I cant help but think its taking me one step farther then what I want. But if this is to help katniss. Then so be it! Looks like I have the prepping team working hard. There putting some strange glue on my teeth, they say to make them whiter but the gel is blue.

There poking me with needles. Cutting my hair. Putting some sort of liquid in my eye. Waxing and shaving so many areas. Ripping, pulling, poking, jabbing, slapping.

The prep team is nice enough, they look pretty weird. But there nice.

Theron is my medical prep. He does all the injections. He does al my medical cheak-ups and stuff. He very friendly. “Okay sir, I’m going to draw some blood now. Is that okay?”. He says in a very pleasant voice.

“Okay, and please call me Peeta” I smile back.

“Okay Peeta, this may sting a bit”. He says.

“That’s okay. If I cant deal with this, I have no chance of surviving the games then” I say sarcastically. They all stop to give a sympathetic look.

Sula even has a tear in her eyes. Sula and Cameron are my two other stylists.

They take of everything else. They very posh, a little clueless but nice none the less.

There strange bobbing around in there 6 inch heals, poofy dresses, and long fingernails.

They remind me of Effie.

“All done!” Cameron squeals. Hey look very excited

“Sand up. Stand up!” Sula says. Barely containing her excitement!

I sit up, and plant my feet on the ground. After hours of laying there. Its feels wired to stand on he ground again.

All three of them and standing in a row, beaming! “Well twirl for us silly!” Sula says.

I turn in a circle, and come to a halt facing them.

Sula and Cameron, can barely hold it in anymore “ You look wonderful!”. “There going to love you”. “Your so handsome”. There jumping up and down.

I just stand here smiling…not really sure what else to do. Theron takes me aside

“Come Peeta, now your going to meet you stylist”. “Her name is Portia and she is very new to styling, her and her partner Cinnia will be in charge of you dressing throughout the games”. He takes my robe off, and I’m left completely naked.

He gestures me into a room. once I’m in, the door opens. A woman with brown skin enters, she has bright blond curly hair, blue eye shadow, black heals, gold long fingernails, and deep blue feather eyelashes.

She looks just like everyone else in the capitol.

“Hello, I’m Portia, but you can call me P”. She has a low deep voice for a girl. That’s one difference, all the other women her have a high pitched squeaky voice.

“Hello I’m Peeta you can call me. Well Peeta”. She lets out a small giggle.

“Well Peeta is very nice to meet you, I’m sorry for the circumstances in which we had to meet”. He says to my surprise, and it comes off in my face.

“I though it was a “good thing”. I say sarcastically

“Lets not kid here, I think the hunger games is a terrible thing. I wish I wasn’t here, but I have to be. So I’m going to do my very best to help you win”. She says with a reassuring smile. I didn’t see that one coming. I appreciate her honesty though.

It refreshing to deal with the truth.

“Now turn around for me and give me a look at you”. She says

As I’m doing so I imagine if katniss was asked the same thing. She not exactly comfortable with nudity. I remember once in grade 2. It was a very long, and seaming summers day, after school our class went to the small lake just off from victors village, . We stripped off and all jumped in. when katniss came to pick up prim, she refused to come join us, or even look at any of us while we were undressed. The memory makes me smile. After a while she hands me he rob.

“Your surprisingly fit?”. She asks

“Thank you”. I say avoiding the question

“Uh ha, well, you will have a chance in the games at least”. She says.

“Yeah, about that-“. I start

“I know, you love her”. She buds in

“What? How do you know that?”. I stammer.

“Haymich. His filled me in on your plan and I will try my best to help you”. She says, with a helpful smile.

“So how much, do you love her”. She asks to my surprise. I’m immediately annoyed. I’ve already been though this with Haymich. What does she care. But after examining the look on her face, I realize this isn’t about katniss. Or about how much I care for her. She’s testing me. “I don’t see how answering that question will help katniss get sponsors”. I say with conviction but staying light. She smiles, Clearly happy with my answer. “Hamich was right about you”. She says

“How’s that?”.

“You’re a fighter”.


After being briefed on what our costumes will be. Portia dresses me, we all head to a room. When we enter Katniss and her stylist is waiting for us. She’s dressed identical to me. She’s so stunning. I shake Cinnia’s hand and we all go to the bottom level which is backstage of the stadium. Everyone’s ecstatic! The prep teams, Out stylists. Everyone. However Haymich is not here. He’s most likely passed out by now.

Katniss and I share a look of disbelief. How can everyone be so excited? District 12 is usually just a bit of side fun in the games. Just another tribute for the careers to enjoy mutating. We can’t make that big of an impact can we? Were escorted to the chariot. Our chariot is coal black, I suppose the represent our district. Portia is putting the final touches on me. Like putting me in the right position, and brushing some power on my face. Then they all jump of the chariot, to consult each other. Katniss and I are left alone.

“What do you think?.” She asks “About the fire?” She adds. She’s trying to keep a straight face; I can tell she’s nervous.

“I’ll rip your cape, if you’ll rip mine.” I say with a nervous smile.

“Deal” she agrees, and the came a half awkward, half nervous silence.

“I know we promised Haymich we’d do exactly as our stylists say, but I don’t think he considered this angle”. Katniss says

I nod in agreement. “Where is Haymich anyways? Isn’t he supposed to protect us from this sort of thing?” I say with my eyes scanning the room.

“Well with all that alcohol in him, it’s probably not advisable to be around open flame”. She blurs out. We both laugh out loud. Mainly because it’s true.

Suddenly out attention is off humor and on the opening music blearing in our ears.

The huge doors shifts open, and we can clearly see the crowd. We can hear the roar from the stadium. A sudden rush of adrenalin courses though my veins.

The turning in my stomach becomes a tornado, and the dryness in my mouth becomes a desert. They line all the districts up in a row, according to there number. Were last, as always. I can’t help but take note of the horses. There so controlled, yet so powerful, they don’t need a master. They know what there doing. There ready to pounce into action at any moment. I don’t really notice the districts. I know district 1 is very glittery. There always favorites. That also means they have the edge in the game. District by district follows into the stadium. Cinnia heads over to our chariot. He pulls out a plastic rectangle. It had some sort of fluid, and with the flick on his finger, it lights up with a flame. “Here we go then”. He say’s with a quiver in his voice. His obviously nervous too. We both tense with the expiation of pain. He puts the bright flame to katniss cape, and then mine. We burst into fire. Flames trickle up my legs though my arms to my neck. I feel nothing except a small tingle. Were unharmed, and the fire is still bursting away. Cinnia sighs “it works!”

Cinnia smiles at katniss, and pats her under the chin. This makes me angry, maybe a little jealous. “Remember heads high. Smile, and there going to love you”. With that word of advice, and a reassuring smile, he leaves the chariot. He quickly turns around gesturing that we hold hands. “What’s he saying?” katniss asks.

I’m not sure if she’s asking, because she doesn’t know. Or that she really doesn’t want to.

“I think he said for us to hold hands”. I say

I take katniss’s hand before she can object. We both watch Cinnia’s nod of approval. And that silences any doubts in katniss’s mind. Before we know it, the horse’s legs are moving and so are we. The crowd goes silent. But it’s quickly is replaced with cheers. The roar of the crowed I heard for district 1 is a kitten compared to the sound of the lion we have.

“Katniss!” “Peeta!” “District 12!” I hear them chanting.

We suddenly become crowed favorites. We grin and blow kisses. Katniss and I become

Very excited. The only other time I’ve ever seen her excited was when we were grade 3. We were learning about how the old world used to have a big games somewhere in the world every four years. I think it was called Olympia or something. Of course we weren’t allowed to know this information. But our teacher Miss Haul, told us about it because her mum told her about it, who heard it off her mum. After school a few the kids decided that next week we would re-create these games. Prim was one of younger ones who wanted to play, there were no objections, so we let her. The week , the games began. Katniss came with prim. I guess to support her. Prim played the first aid games. We pretend a boy had a cut on his leg she patched it up quickest. So she won, we gave her a stick with a vine on it. It meant first place…(we were in grade 3). Anyways, somehow prim forced katniss to participate in the singing game. Of course her beautiful voice won. She also received the stick. The two of them were so happy, and excited. They watched the rest of the games on there first place thrones. This was a big tree log. Her face is exactly the same as it was, those so many years ago. She looks at me with shock passing her face. She looks incredible, the flames engulfing her illumined face. I grasp her hand tighter and lift our arms above our heads. With out hands linked, they stand firm in the air. At this point the crowd goes ballistic. They start throwing flowers, earrings and necklaces. Pretty much anything they have. I catch our picture on the big screens. We are a united force. Champions. The winners of those games that our ancestors held, this is what they would have looked liked.

As the chariot begins to slow down, I lower our hands back to there usual position. Katniss grip begins to loosen. I hadn’t noticed how tight we held each others hand. This is the first time she has ever shown and sigh on affection since…ever. I don’t want to let go of her. Were one combined force, were connected, plus we need to be close for my plan to work. “No don’t let go of me, please I might fall out of this thing.” I lie.

“Okay”. She says. Tightening her grip again. All twelve of us are lined up in our chariots. I catch a quick glance at the other tributes. All the careers look furious. Epically that Cato boy. I smirk at him; he clenches his jaw and puffs out. Icing on the cake. President Snow begins to speak. The spotlight and the camera stays on us. Once snow finishes whatever it is he’s talking about, our horses begin to ride out back though the way we came. After about the same reaction we had the first time, we enter backstage and the doors close behind us. Before we’ve even have time to breathe, we are swarmed by prep teams, our stylists and pretty much anyone there. Except the tributes of course. We are given congratulations from pretty much every direction. Cinnia sprays us with something that puts the fire out. Katniss lets go of my hand, I suppose it had to end sometime. I figure I better sell my story. “Thanks for keeping hold of me, I was getting pretty shaky there.” I say. “It didn’t show, I’m sure no one noticed”. She reassures me.

“I’m sure they didn’t notice anything but you.” I blurt out. She blushes.

“You should wear flames more often. They suit you.” I flirt.

A little too flirty I think, because she stands on her toes and kisses me right on my bruise.


When we get to the training center I’m not surprised about how prestige it is. Like I said before. There fatting us up for slaughter. “Here’s some beautiful living conditions, brilliant foods, a lot of new toys you could have everything you’ve ever wanted. But you’ll die a horrible and brutal deaths at the hands of a fellow child…have fun”. I mumble while I take off my outfit. I go to my closet and pick out black “jeans” and a white tee-shirt. I catch a glimpse of the window, I look down and there are thousand of screaming fans.

Wow, I guess we really did make an impact. I flashback to the look on Cato’s face, when we were extinguished. It makes my laugh out loud. I’m surprised when I hear a knock at the door. I’m even more surprised when its cinnia.

“Hey, are you busy?” he asks.

“No I was just. Doing well. Nothing.” I stammer. I see the amusement on his face. And quickly change the subject. “What’s up?” I ask

“I was just wondering if you would like a tour of the place?” he asks.

I’m wondering why he’s here. He’s not my stylist, and I could show myself around. My curiosity wins over. “Sure.”

He leads me around a lot of corridors, up the elevator, and he takes me to the roof. Once I open the door my immediate reaction is to breath in fresh air. I sigh in relief, its good to get out of that building. The view is incredible; there are so many twinkling lights, like stars on the floor. When I’m in the arena it will still be here and nothing will have changed.

“Beautiful isn’t it?”

“Yes, it is.” I say “Are we allowed to be up here?”

“Yes, were good, as long as they don’t find out”. He says with a smirk. My face asks for more. “They don’t like you out of there sight, but it’s not that big of deal to be up here anyways”. He picks up a leaf and flicks it over the edge and it bounces back. “They put up a forcefeild. “Things can come in, but no one can come out”. He explains.

“Thanks for the fire costume, it was really genius .Were usually just covered in coal. It’s not very stunning.”

He lets out a small giggle. “Thank you, it wouldn’t have worked without you guys”.

I smile. “We did look good.” I say.

“Yes especially katniss.” he says looking at me. “Don’t you think so?” I look at him suspiciously. Does he know something? Before I can ask him about what he’s implying

he says, “Come on, I’ll show you the garden.” We walk though a few more corridors. With every step I hear the click of cinnia shoes on the marble floor. These people really like marble floors. Maybe that what they will have in the arena. White marble everywhere. Certainly wouldn’t surprise me, they have no new ideas for arenas….the same old designs with the same old killings. After we pass a few levels, we reach the ground floor, and on it we reach the garden. As soon as we step out. I immediately notice the air. Its different, it’s organic. I smell the dew on the leaves, the bitter scent of damp bark. The Deep smell of red roses and lavender bushes, (the smell of my shower back in the center). There Is so many shades of green, laced with shades of, blue, red, pink, yellow and purple flowers. I take a purple flower, a pick of the petals one by one. “So tell me, how much do you feel for katniss.” he asks.

This question surprises me. “Is it that obvious?” I ask in reply.

“Yes.” Oh crap.

“How is that even possible, what is it something I’m putting out there?” I say in frustration. And throwing down the flower.

“Don’t worry, she hasn’t the faintest clue”. He says with a reassuring smile.

“So how do you know?” I say curiously.

“I see the way you look at her, and the way she looks back”. He replies.

“How exactly does she look at me?”. I ask again.

“Like someone she has to kill in a few weeks”. He reply’s while putting his hand on my shoulder. I like him. He’s honest, but yet he’s still kind. Maybe some of the people of payham aren’t all bad.

“Well to answer your earlier question, it doesn’t mater what I feel for her, there’s noting going on between us. And like you said, she going to have to kill me soon, so nothing can.” I say.

“So you admit feelings for her.” He says with slight amusement in his voice. I guess because he knows I was evading the question.

“Yes”. I say with a slither of anger in my voice.

“Are you planning on telling her before you enter the arena.” He asks. I stay silent, and look at the floor when I feel a slide of gilt pass my face.

“Ahh I see you plan on telling her in front everyone, in the interview.” He says.

I look at him and the corners of my mouth begin to slide up. He smiles back.

“Well a little piece of advice. Make sure she’s not in a position to hurt you when you do”. He laughs.

And I also let out a small giggle.

“Thanks I’ll take that under advisement.” I play along.

He walks towards the door and stops just before passing me.

“With you protecting her in the arena, I know she will come back.” He says I smile while looking down at the floor. He pats my shoulder and utters “Good luck Peeta”. And I hear the clear sounds of his shoes on the marble before the door closes.

When I get back to my room I notice I have pollen sprinkled all over my cloths. I quickly switch my cloths to pretty much the same outfit.

I walk to the dinning hall. I notice Cinna on the balcony, so I grab a glass of wine and walk out to him.

“Hey Cinna”. I say awkwardly

“There’s no need to be uncomfortable around me. I wont say anything”. He says

I sarcastically sigh in relief. We both laugh.

“Hey loverboy”. Portia says from behind me. I’m wondering if loverboy has replaced my real name, from now on.

“Hello P.” I say in a monotone voice.

“However Portia I’m not sure about.” Cinna comments under a hushed voice, clearly referring to his earlier reassurance. We both let out a giggle.

“Wait-what?” Portia says.

“I was just saying how beautiful it is out here” cinnia says a bit louder.

“Oh yeah it is” P nods. Cinnia and I smile at each other hiding a giggle.

“It’s not like anything we have at home.” I comment. I can immediately tell by the sympathetic look on both there face’s that I shouldn’t have said it. I’m starting to sound like an attention hog.

“I didn’t mea-“.

“Don’t worry Peeta we know what you meant”. Portia smiles.

I sigh in relief again, only this time it was honest.

“Hey guys ready to eat?” I hear katniss yells from the room. I nod and all tree of us glance at each other in agreement.

We sit at the table, and Haymich walks in looking very well actually. His groomed, and dressed very nicely. And also appears to be sober. Were all served a glass of wine And I accept a refill, of my already existing glass. Haymich takes a small sip, but is more fixed on the food, and the chatting. He’s keeping good on is promise. The light small talk begins, and Effie and Haymich appear to be civil. I guess it’s our stylists. “I have to say, you have given then a good edge in the game.” Haymich says directing his comment at cinnia, and P. they share a quick look of accomplishment, and then nod at Haymich with gratitude. Katniss is sitting next to me. And is quite silent.

I turn my attention on the cake placed in front of us. He waiter takes a similar device that cinnia had (when he lit us on fire) out of his pocket.

I see the filmier flame, and the cake bursts into fire!

“What makes it burn? Is It alcohol?” Katniss asks he waiter. “That’s the last thing I nee- HEY I know you!” katniss trails. It’s quite clear she’s had a little too much. I inch the wine away, and P laughs. I don’t think she notices because her eyes are firmly fixed on the waiter. She (the waiter) looks absolutely terrified at the accusation, shakes her head and walks away. Everyone Is staring at katniss, including me. And katniss looks very confused, maybe a little offended. Katniss turns around and looks at us all innocently.

“Don’t be ridiculous, katniss how could you possibly know an Avox? The very thought! Effie says while whipping her head in disbelief.

“What’s an Avox?” katniss asks innocently.

“Someone who committed a crime. They cut her tong out so she cant speak. She’s probably a traitor of some sort. Its not likely you would know her”. Haymich says effortlessly

“Even if you did know her, you’re not to speak to any one of them unless it’s to give an order.” Effie says. “Of course you don’t really know her.” Effie demands.

Katniss has her thinking face on. I remember when we were in year 6. One of the students came late into class. And he made up some fake story about why he was late. The teacher and everyone else in the class could tell he was lying. Our teacher old us that none of us could lie properly. So she asked us all to do your best lying face. And they she asked us to do our best thinking face. She said it was better that we at least pretend were listing to what she says. I’m pretty sure she was drunk. But I still remember katniss’s best “thinking face” it hasn’t changed. “No I guess not I just-“.

She obviously needed help. “Delly Cartwright! That’s who it is. I kept thinking she looked filmier as well. Then I realized she’s a dead ringer for Delly.” I exclaim.

She looks at me suspiciously. I widen my eyes. And then she realizes and plays along. “Of course, that’s who I was thinking of, it must be the hair.” She nods.

Dellys hair looks nothing like hers. The Avox has red hair. And he has blond hair, almost yellow. I look at Haymich. He’s crinkling his nose at the memory.

“Something about the eyes too.” I say silencing any suspicion Haymich has. It’s too dead drunk back in district 12 to remember a girl he’s never spoken to.

“Oh well if that’s all it is”. Cinnia says clearly sussing out the conversation and quickly changing the subject. “And yes, the cake does have sprits but any alcohol has burned off. I ordered it specially in honor of your fiery debut.” He finishes. He’s aim was to change the subject, and it worked. The conversation quickly changes back to the outfits we are wearing for the interview. After the cake is devoured, we go to the sitting room. There are so many rooms in this place. At home we have 3 main rooms. Our bedroom, our bathroom, and the kitchen which is also used as a dining room, a sitting room and pretty much everything else. They show the recap of today’s events.

I don’t pay much attention to the others because really there not much use to me. But I do note the look on catos and cloves face. Thinking they have all the votes. Not until we come up. Is only until now I can truly capture what we have done. People will remember us. Maybe in my own way. I have made a difference. We will get sponsors. Lots of them to. Its now I decide what my game plan truly is.

Katniss the girl on fire! I cant get it out of my head. It’s quite catchy.

“Who’s idea was the hand holding?” Haymich asks.

“Cinna's.” Portia says. Haymich looks impressed.

“Just the perfect touch of rebellion…very nice.” Haymich adds.

And he’s right.

“Tomorrow morning is our first training session. Meet me for breakfast and I’ll tell you exactly how I want you to play it.” Haymich says to katniss and I.

“Now get some sleep while the grown-ups talk”. Haymich says in a dismissive manor. This angers me. He spends all his days, drinking his problems away so he doesn’t have to deal with them. And he calls us children. But I avoid the argument, because I’m too focused on what katniss has to say.


We walk down the corridor and katniss is silent. We reach her door and still not a word. I lean on the door blocking her path. “So Delly Cartwright, imagine finding her look alike here”. I say. Insisting an explanation. She wants to say something. I can tell by the look on her face. This is her considering face. I’m not going to tell you how I know that one.

She stands there, for what seems like forever, in hesitation. I realize that the reason she’s not talking is because someone could be hearing us.

“Have you been up on the roof yet?” I ask making it very clear that I’m offering her an option.

She shakes her head. “Cinnia showed me. You can practically see the whole city. The winds a bit loud though.” Making it painfully clear my intentions.

“Can we just go up?” She asks. I take this as a yes.

“Sure come on.” I say putting my hand in my pockets.

I decide to take the stairs. Mainly because I don’t like being so closed in. We go to the roof, and I have the same reaction as I did the first time. Beautiful air, how valuable it is.

I suddenly have an overwhelming desire to be back home cooking bread with Delly. I miss the smell of the bakery. But I ignore it and walk over to the railing with katniss.

“I asked cinnia why they let us up here. Weren’t they worried that tributes would jump over the side?”. I say

“What did he say?”

“You can’t” I respond. I put my hand out over the rail, waiting for the zap and sure enough I jolt my hand back with the sting of the barrier. Its doesn’t hurt to much.

“Some kind of electric field throws you back on the roof.” I say

“Always worried about our safety”. She jokes. It’s only another reminder that the capitol gives us everything we want, except freedom.

“Do you think there watching us now?” katniss asks.

“Maybe. Ill show you to the garden”. I insist.

I take her to the garden. The wind chimes hanging from the tree block out any conversation they can hear.

I look at her. It’s her turn to talk and she knows it. She walks to a flower and starts fiddling with it. “We were hunting in he woods one day, waiting for game”. She explains

“You and your dad?” I say.

“No my friend gale”. I feel a small flame of anger spark with-in me. But I restrain and let her continue.

“Suddenly all the birds went silent. Except one. As if it were giving a warning call. And then we saw her. I’m sure it was the same girl. A boy was with her. There cloths were tattered. They had dark circles under there eyes from no sleep. They were running as if there lives depended on it.” She says. I begin to become suspicious.

Something is so familiar about her story, but again I let her continue.

“The hovercraft appeared out of nowhere. I mean one moment the sky was empty and the next it was there. It didn’t make a sound, but they saw it. A net dropped down on the girl and carried her up fast, so fast like an elevator. They shot some sort of spear though the boy it was attached to a cable and it hauled him up as well. But I’m certain he was dead. We heard the girl scream once. The boys name I think. Then it was gone, the hovercraft. Vanished into thin air and the bird began to sing again, as if nothing happened.” She explains. I was right that familiar feeling, it’s real. I was there. I remember. Delly and I went outside the fence once. We decided to try our hand at fishing. I think it was a Sunday. Anyways I mentioned to Delly that we had to be careful of katniss and gale. Because they go hunting every Sunday. We must have got there before them. We headed to the lake. We started pulling out nets from my back pack and I brought a knife just incase. It was a beautiful day. The sun was gleaming on the water, so bright that it hurt to look at. We were chatting about school, home, and our parents. All the wile I kept an ear out for katniss. I heard footsteps approaching fast. I took Delly into the trees to hide. I didn’t see anyone, but I knew someone had come. At the time I assumed it was katniss. we went back to the bank and it became very cold. The sun wasn’t gleaming on the water anymore. “What’s that I said to Delly”. And when I faced her she was looking up at the sky. I followed her eye line to the huge hovercraft above us. I considered running away but if we were to move at this point we were as good as dead. The hovercraft stopped for a moment and went back the way it came. Until now it remained a mystery as to what it was. But now I realize what it was. It was the Avox girl. I decide not to tell katniss. I don’t really know why. I guess it would sound pretty sneaky. And I know how privet the woods are for her. I’m not sure how she would react if she knew that other people had been there.

“Did they see you?” I ask

“I don’t know. We were under a shelf of rock”. Katniss replies.

“You’re shivering”. I comment.

I take off my jacket and wrap it around her shoulders. She hesitates but complies.

I have the sudden urge to kiss her. Of course I don’t, it would ruin everything.

“They were from here?” I re-direct the subject. She nods in reply.

“Where do you suppose they were going?” I ask.

“I don’t know that”. She says.

“Id leave here” I blurt out. Almost as soon as I said it I realize how stupid it was.

“I’d go home now if they would let me. But you have to admit, the food’s prime”. I say laughing. I hope that covered it. They might have heard my first comment, but there sure to have heard the second. I start to feel the chill that katniss was talking about.

“It’s getting chilly. We’d better go in”. I say

I can’t help myself I have to ask.

“Your friend Gale. He’s the one who took your sister away at the reaping?” of course I know the answer to this but I figure is a good way to start the conversation.

“Yes. Do you know him?” katniss says. I consider telling the truth, but the way she talks about him. It’s like she would feel betrayed if I were to own up to a past with him.

“Not really, I hear the girls talk about him a lot. I thought he was your cousin or something. You favor each other”. I say smoothly.

“No, were not related.” She says.

I nod. “Did he come to say goodbye to you?” I ask

“Yes, so did your father, he bought me cookies”. She admits.

I put on a surprised face. “Really? Well he likes you and your sister. I think he wishes he had a daughter instead of a houseful of boys.” I admit also. It’s true.

“He knew your mother when they were kids”. I confess.

“Oh yes. She grew up in town”. She says.

We arrive at her door. She gives me back my jacket.

“See you in the morning then”. She says. With a polite smile.

I remember reading somewhere that it’s traditional to see your date off with a slight kiss. I decide to reject this custom and instead leave her with “See you”.

I walk down the hall to the kitchen. I decide to grab a glass of milk before I go to bed. It’s a childish tradition of mine, but it always sends me to sleep. I walk into the kitchen and find Haymich sitting at the table drinking a glass of wine. I look at him a raise my eyebrows. “What its night time”. He defends. “Why are you here”. He asks.

Admitting to him that I’m getting milk seems a bit uncomfortable. “I was just getting a drink.” I take a wine glass pour a little bit of wine in my glass, taste it. Pour out the wine and a grab another bottle, and pour it up half way of the glass. And I sit down across from Haymich. “Why are you still dressed? I thought I told you to go to sleep”.

“I wasn’t in bed”.

“ I know you were on the roof, and then In the garden with katniss”.

“Then why did you ask”. He stays silent and takes a swig from the bottle.

“Can I ask you a question”.

“Of course not, I’d have to kill you immediately”. He replies. Sarcastically.

“Have you ever loved someone”? I ask awkwardly.

His face immediately turns from anger to sorrow, and quickly changes back.

“Yes”. He skulls the glass and takes the bottle with him. I stop him before he reaches the door.

“Stop running” I say “I think you have had quiet enough of that over the years.”

I say

“Now sit down and talk to me”. I say forcefully.

He doesn’t sit. He just stands here. “She’s dead now, and she’s not coming back. It was my fault. No more to “talk about”. He says hiding he’s pain.

He shoves me aside and walks out of the room.


I walk back to my room (with my glass of milk) wondering what Haymich meant by “It was my fault”. He couldn’t have killed his girlfriend. No way. I walk into my room and say “light”. The lights blear into my eyes “too bright” the lights immediately dim.

“Turn temperature up 3 degrees”. I say to the machine.

“Unable to comply”. A polite voice says.

“Why not?” I ask the voice

“These controls have been restricted.”

“By who?”

“Main control.”

I sigh this is my warning from the capitol. Either because I said I want to leave, or because I took katniss out in the garden. Either way I know I’ve been warned. I nod at the roof as if someone were watching.

“Well what temperature is I now?”

“Seventeen degrees Celsius and dropping”. Great this is going to be a cold one.

I hear a knock at the door I put a jacket on and open it. It’s the Avox girl. She makes a gesture of regret and begins to leave.

“No no, don’t worry I was just getting ready for bed.” If you need to do something please come in”. She looks at me questionably.

I step aside leaving a archway to enter. She complies and walks in. I shut the door and take the bracelet off my ankle. The Avox girl is dusting some flowers.

“I don’t know your name?” I say to her.

She looks at me unsure. I take a pen and a piece of paper from my desk draw. And pass it to her. She looks terrified, and starts scanning for cameras.

“That’s an order”. I smile. This makes her relax, because if there is any blame, it’s on me.

She takes the pen and spells Lavinia.

“Livina?” she nods

“That’s a nice name, I’m Peeta”. I hold out my hand.

She hesitates, but complies.

She walks past me and turns down the bed. She curtsy to me and is about to walk out the door. “Who was he?” I ask awkwardly.

She looks confused and then walks over to the pen and paper, and writes down . My brother, victor.

“I’m sorry”. I say softly. she cups my jaw, gesturing forgiveness. I smile.

She lets go and moves to a small portion of the wall. She pulls out the wall and a mettle panel appears. She presses a few buttons flicks a few switches it cowers back in the wall. And it disappears again. She gives me a comforting look, and leaves. I suddenly feel a breath of warmth brush my face. She turned the heat up. She could be killed for that. She risked her life for me.

I crawl into bed and pull the covers up to my chin. I fall asleep instantly.

I dream about Delly. I miss her. I wish she was here, to just talk and smile. She has the ability to make anyone smile, and laugh.

I wake up to a piercing scream. I sit up and run down the hall to katniss’s room, but I hear the shower going so I figure she’s okay. I walk back to my room and decide to take a shower also. After trying my hand at picking a scent, I decide on mint. I shower my self in the foam and then wash it off. I walk to my bed and lying on it is an outfit, obviously for training. It’s black. A bit boring but it looks easy to move around in.

I suddenly have an urge to paint it with blue and purple swirls and patterns. Like I do with the cakes back home. Mum always knew I loved that job. So she always saved it for me. She not the best mum, but there’s a good side of her that comes out occasionally.

I order the computer to show me files about our other victors. I ask it to read out firstly Cato’s file. It begins. While I’m getting ready I’m flooded with information about this boy.

His from district 2. He volunteered. He’s 6’2. Weights 183 pounds. Is 18. When the computer stops at the name of his stylists I ask the computer. “Is that it?”

“End of file” the voice says. And I get an idea.

“Computer read rue’s file”.

I spend the next 15 minuets learning about little rue. I understand katniss concerned face while we were watching the reaping. Rue is very much like prim.

“Age 12. District 11. Female. Height 4’8……”. When the computer stops, I’m ready to go.

I hear a knock at the door, expecting to see Effie. But instead Haymich takes me to breakfast. When we walk into the dining hall, katniss is sitting at the table eating breakfast. Wearing exactly what I’m wearing. With single braid. When she was a kid, she used to wear two braids.

“Good morning”. Haymich and I say at the same time. Katniss laughs.

“Good morning”. She says back.

I serve my plate up not taking much notice of what I put on it, but I make it a point to get myself that hot chocolate. After countless bowls of stew Hamich takes a long swig of his booze and says. “So let’s get down to business. Training. First off, if you like, I’ll coach you separately. Decide now.”

“Why would we wan to coach separately?” katniss ask.

“Say you have a secret skill you don’t want the other to know about”. He replies

Katniss and I exchange looks and nod in agreement.

“I don’t have any secret skills, and I already know yours right. I mean I’ve had enough of your squirrels.” I say.

We were always supplied nice meat because of katniss’s hunting skills.

Katniss looks confused for a split second then says

“You can coach us together”. And I nod.

“Alright then give me some idea of what you can do”. He says looking at us both.

“I cant do anything, unless you count baking bread?”. I ask, sort of hoping he says yes.

But of course he doesn’t. “Sorry I don’t. Now katniss I already know you’re handy with a knife”. He asks

“Not really but I can hunt with a bow and arrow”. She says shyly.

“And your good?” Haymich ask. He’s clearly never eaten the things she kills.

“I’m alright”. She says clearly instating her skill.

“she’s excellent. My father buys her squirrels he always comments on how the arrow never pierces the body. She hits everyone in the eye. It’s the same with the rabbits she sells to the butcher. She can even brings down a deer”. I finish.

Katniss looks a me suspiciously. “What are you doing?” She finally asks.

Haymich look at he raises his eyebrows and purses his lips mocking me. I give him a weak smile and turn my attention to katniss. I become frustrated at the question.

“What are you doing!” I say a little too loudly, but I continue. “If he’s going to help you he has to know what you’re capable of. Don’t underestimate yourself.” I say.

“What about you!” she says to my surprise “I’ve seen you in the market. You can lift fifty kilo bags of flour! Tell him that! That’s not nothing”. She finishes. In a weird way, im flatters that she notice’s me back home. But yet still angry.

“Yes I’m sure the arena will be full of bags of flour for me to chuck at people.” I say sarcastically. “It’s not like being able to use a weapon. You know it isn’t.” I say with conviction.

“He can wrestle”. Katniss states to Haymich. “He came second in our school competition last year. And only after his brother”. She say’s quickly.

“What use is that? How many times have you seen someone wrestle someone to death?” I say strongly.

“There’s always hand-to-hand combat! All you need is a knife. And you will at least stand a chance. If I get jumped I’m dead!” she yells.

I become increasingly frustrated and my anger takes over.

“ But you wont be! You’ll be living up in some tree eating raw squirrels and picking off people with arrows. You know what my mother said to me when she came to say goodbye to me, as if to cheer me? She said maybe district 12 will finally have a winner. But then I realized she didn’t mean me she meant you!” I yell.

“Oh, she meant you”. Katniss dismisses

“She said “she’s a survivor that one’ she is”. I say with a cowardly voice. This is the first time I’ve admitted publicly my mother disappointment in me. And she did say that. Before the games before all of this happened. It was Sunday late afternoon. And my father was doing the usual trade. And I remember my mother watching from a while. Almost proud when she saw her walk to dad with the squirrels. And I remember her saying, “She’s a survivor that one. She is”. And then turning to me sighing. “And you well…” and with that leaving.

The memory makes my eyes well up slightly. But I force them back.

“But only because some one helped me”. She finally says. I look down to the roll of bread she’s holding. I realize that she remembers. She remembers that.

I finally say “People will help you in the arena. They’ll be tripping over each other to sponsor you”. I say softly.

“No more then you”. She says. I roll my eyes. She doesn’t know does she? Everyone in the hob gives her a low price. All the boys back home like her. All the girls want to be like her. And she is noticeable. She’s obvious. And although she’s and acquired taste. She has an affect on people. Good or bad. At least people remember her.

I turn to Haymich. “She has no idea the affect she can have”. I don’t look at her. It’s too hard at the moment I don’t know why but it is. Instead I focus on running my finger along the table. The room is silent. Everyone is there, only the faint sound of a clicking clock.

“Well then….well well well. Katniss there’s no grantee there will be bow and arrows I the arena. But during the private session show them what you can do. Until ten stay clear of archery. Are you any good at trapping?” he asks.

“I know a few basic snares.” She mumbles

“That may be signifint in terms of food. And Peeta, she’s right never underestimate strength in the arena. Very often physically power tilts the advantage to a player. In the training center, they will have weights. Don’t revel how much you can lift in front of the other tributes. The plans the same for both of you. You go to group training. Spend the time learning something you don’t know. Throw a spear swing a mace. Learnt to tie a decent knot, save the best till your privet session’s. Are we clear?”. He finishes.

I’m surprised of his knowledge of the games. Maybe between all his drunken hazes he’s had time to think. I nod. I raise my eyebrows expectably at Haymich.

“Oh and one other thing, in public, I want you to be by each others side every moment”. He says not asks. I play along, both katniss and I start to object.

He slams his hand down on the table. “Every minuet!” he yells. “Its not open for discussion! You agreed to say as I said! You will be together. You will appear amiable to each other! Now get out. Meet Effie at the elevator at ten for training.” He dismisses.

Katniss storms back to her room and slams he door very loudly. I turn to Haymich.

“Well that was intense.” I say raising my eyebrows and smiling slightly.

Haymich laughs.


I go back to my room and change into my training outfit. I still have Haymich lingering in my head. She’s dead. It was my fault. I push it back. I have bigger things to worry about. Like how to get katniss to stay with me every minute. Surely she can’t be happy about it. She not the type to cling. Maybe I’ll be lucky enough that she obeys Haymich. This isn’t her strong point. I meet Effie in the elevator and katniss arrives shortly after. It’s clear she’s been biting her nails. There jagged and she looks at them longingly and then stops herself. She cant possible be nervous? I mean I am but she’s so brave. So strong, if she’s nervous, I’ve got no chance. Effie takes us down to the training room.

It’s bigger then I thought. Its walls are tall and strong. Despite all the deadly kids in here. I feel safe here, it will stay here, it’s strong. And I need that. Were the last ones to arrive. Were dressed identically. But the rest of the tributes are dress differently, separate.

I catch Cato’s eye. He notices the matching outfits. And purses his fingers together simulating kissing. I mouth the word fire. And he immediately stops and huffs out what I swear to be steam. I smirk back at him and a lady named Alta begins to talk. She explains the training center. And it’s rules. I don’t listen to much, only that there’s no fighting with other tributes till the games. One thing I’m thankful for. I’m no match compared to Cato if he decides I’m being to cocky. I notice katniss stand up taller. This makes me smile.

I you cant help but see strong energy in the room. All the other careers especially clove district 2’s female tribute is clenching there jaw and trying to avoid eye contact with us. Maybe the fiery entrance at the stadium could have put us in more trouble then we think. They really hate us. When Altar finish’s talking and dismisses us. The careers all heard to the weapons area and show off there skill. Cato’s smile at me while throwing a spear at a dummy. He’s just been waiting to get his hands on those weapons. This cockiness could loose him the game. I finally nudge katniss as if to wake her up, she was lost in a Blank stare.

“Where should we start?” I ask her casually. She scans the room.

“Suppose we tie some knots?” she answers.

“Right you are”. We go to the knot tying station. The trainer looks happy to see us.

I ask his name and he says Crib.

“Peeta”. I say back. I turn to katniss and she preoccupied with tying a knot.

“This is katniss”. But again she doesn’t notice. I join her side and we learn how to make a trap. We spend around an hour on this then go to the camouflage station that I’ve been hanging out for. I enjoy this station. I take mud and any other paint I can I begin to wrap my arm in a enteric pattern. Fay the trainer is excited by my skill. I guess she doesn’t get a lot of tributes with a love for art. Katniss is Appling a layer of mud sloppily while watching a tribute throw a spear. I turn her attention back to what we are doing.

“I do the cakes”. I say finally.

“The cakes? What cakes?” she says still a little preoccupied with the tribute.

“At home. The iced ones for the bakery.” I say pointing to my arm she looks at it closely and finally says.

“It’s lovely. If only you could ice someone to death.” She says spitefully.

“Don’t be so superior. You never know what you find in the arena.” I say a bit coldly. And add “say the arenas actually a gigantic cake”. I say sarcastically. She doesn’t laugh. Instead she says.

“Say me move on?” I nod and wash the pattern off my arm and smile back to Fay. She beams back. I notice the game makers sitting high above us. Don’t they just look so superior? Watching us while they eat like kings and sit like lions? It sickens me. Haymich is there observing us. He gestures me to move back next to katniss as I’ve fallen behind. I comply. We spend the next few days in light conversation moving form station to station. I learn how to make fires. And discover I have quite a talent for hand to hand combat. And stay away from archery and weight lifting per Haymich’s instructions. When lunch comes I’m usually pretty grateful. I’m very hungry while doing all this exercise. Of course I’m active back home. But not to this extent. It makes me doubt my ability to protect katniss in the games. Once again I push back the thought. I find myself pushing back my thoughts a lot. I wonder if I will ever get time to work out all the lingering worries I have hidden in the back of my mind. I could very well be dead by next week. And once again. I push back the thought. And concentrate on lunch. Katniss and I head over to the table we always sit at. I notice the careers are sitting at one table. Jumping and laughing. Ripping the limbs of the lamb there eating.

“Very routy bunch they are” I say to katniss to break the silence.

“There just showing off.”

“Yeah, well they just look like idiots.” I say with a smirk. We both laugh louder then we should. Too keep up the act. This continues light talk, fake smiles and laughs. I’m quite enjoying it. Made a few friends in the arena. Like the Luline the girl from district four. We met while we were learning vegetation. Katniss wasn’t paying much attention. But Luline and I struck up a conversation. She’s agreed to help me in the arena. Weather that means and alliance or just help in general wasn’t discussed. But help none the less. She seems bloodthirsty and ruthless. But if you take the time, she’s just as scared as the rest of us. She has 4 brothers and a baby sister on the way. She doesn’t think she can win. And if my plan succeeds she won’t. I promised her if that I’m there for her death. I wont let her brothers she her in whatever condition she’s in. That’s the best I can do.

At lunch when we had sat down. I took the bead from the basket and explained it all. There were different colures and shapes for different districts. I know way too much about bread.

“So there you have it” I finish while putting the bread back in the basket.

“You sure know a lot”.

“Not really. Only about bread”. I say. “Ok now laugh as if I said something funny.” I say.

We both give a convincing laugh.

“OK, I’ll keep smiling pleasantly and you talk.” I whisper. And beam back a long grin

She looks down for a few moments then lifts her head up again.

“Did I ever tell you about the time I was chased by a bear?”

We spend the rest of lunch laughing about this bear, which I’m pretty sure was originally a beehive. I look over at rue who’s eating with thresh. Smiling and laughing. I met her just before lunch. I was at the fire making station and katniss was in the bathroom upstairs so I was alone. I noticed her climbing up a tree. She was very good at it. I walked over to her as she was climbing off.

“Your very good at that.”

“I know.” She giggles.

“I’m Peeta”

“I know.” She smiles again. I look confused for a moment the points to the fire making station referring to our fiery entrance. I nod in understanding.

“you know the only two word I’ve heard you say is “I know” rue.” I say

“How do you know my name?”

“Your very noticeable.” I compliment.

“You’re the first one who’s spoken to me besides thresh.”

“Well I feel honored.” I say. “Listen I need your help.”


“Yes, can you help?”

“Sure!” she says excited.

“I’m going to need your help in the arena. So how bout we meet after the bloodbath and form an alliance?”

“You want an alliance? With me?”

“Yeah of course I could use your skills.” I say pointing at the trees.

“Wow, okay how do we find each other?”

I notice that the peace keeper has just escorted katniss back into the center.

“We’ll know”. I smile and then leave to join katniss.

After lunch we go back to the training center to the spear throwing section. When I notice rue hiding behind a wall.

“I think we have a shadow”. I whisper to katniss

She throws a spear then turns her had it rue. And looks at her curiously.

“I think her names rue.” I Whisper again.

“What can we do about it?” she says coldly.

“Noting to do….just making conversation.” I say

Katniss grows increasingly frustrated over the next week. She’s been growing more fiery by the second I understand why. Hamich had pushed us so hard for answers to his questions

Katniss and I were so tired walking back home. I decided to lighten the very weary mood.

“Someone ought to get Haymich a drink.” I though it had the desired affect considering she …laughed but she quickly corrected me. “Don’t. Let’s not pretend when we don’t have to.” I sigh.

“Alright katniss.” since then she hasn’t said a word to me, other then in public.

And on the third day. It was time to impress our game makers.

I spend the entire lunch fidgeting. I’m great with words and I’m quite charming when I want to be. The problem is this isn’t about, charm. Or sponsors. It’s about pure skill. Weather your good or not. Its quite nerve racking. Once district 11 goes in…I’m really nervous. My legs refuse to stop pounding the floor with tension. Finally they call my name. I take a deep breath and rise.

“Remember what Haymich said about being sure to throw weights.” Katniss says, to my surprise I realize there’s no one one the room. No one to impress, she talking to me. For me.

“Thanks. I will. You… shoot straight.” I say awkwardly.

When I walk into the room the game makers are laughing and talking really paying no attention. I try to get there attention by standing there. But they don’t take much notice. So I grab a bolder and intentionally drop it on the floor as hard I can. There a massive boom and some of them sit down expertly. Its not much but its something I think.

I take the boulder about to throw when I notice a massive hook above. It must have been attached to some sort of rope for climbing it is empty now.

I grab a 60kg weight with a long handle. And throw it up as high as I can. Luckily it attaches to the hook. I feel the anxiety melt with-in me. Even I don’t get a good score I’ve tried my best. And a few of the game makers smile and write something down.

“you may go.” One of them says. I take a small bow and then leave.

Chapter 11Edit

I go back to my room and sit on my bed. Well. There’s not much to do now. I wonder how katniss left. The way they acted toward me when I entered. Paying absolutely no attention to anything they should be, I’m sure katniss got the same reaction. I’m not sure how she will take it. Oh well, I guess I will know at dinner. When Effie summons me to dinner I go feeling quite famished. I feel the small insects in my stomach start waking up. Maybe food will rock them to sleep. Hopefully. When I get to dinner katniss isn’t there but Effie go’s to get her. I sit down next to P. “hey sweetheart, how’d it go?” she whispers. I nod “it went.” I whisper back with a disappointing smile.

“That great huh?” she says with a clear ring of sarcasm in her tone. She just squeezes my hand and turns her attention back to the plate.

When katniss comes into the room she doesn’t look at any of us in the eye and just eats her soup. Were screwed.

When she finally looks at my direction our eyes meet. I raise my eyebrows asking the obvious question. She just shakes her head and turns back to her food. When the main course is served Haymich finally addresses the question on everyone’s mind.

“Okay. Enough small talk, how bad were you today?”

I wasn’t sure who this was directed to but I answered the question anyways.

“I don’t know that mattered. By the time I showed up, no one even bothered to look at me. They were singing some kind of drinking song I think. So I threw around some weights until they told be I could go.” I say with a slight spark of anger to my voice.

“And you sweetheart?” Haymich says. And without thinking I shoot Haymich a “death look”. At home (well what used to be home, and is now district 12) a lot of my friends used to marvel at katniss. Most boys did. And every time I would give them what delly called a “death look”. Haymich calling katniss sweet heart sparked emotions in me, even though really there’s no need.

“I shot an arrow at the game makers.” I drop my fork and hold my mouth open. Then begin to hold back a giggle. OF COURSE! I think to myself. Katniss wouldn’t put up with the games makers rudeness. It’s just like her to let her hot head get in the way of logic. That’s the katniss I know, that’s the katniss I love. Even though she is sure to get a low score I’m happy she did it. Or will she? If I fell in love katniss because of her quick flame, who’s to say the game makers wont? Sure, being targeted by a potential fatal weapon isn’t ideal in creating positive thoughts. But they might admire her determination. Her fire. You need that in the area. Somehow almost killing someone….is good?

“You what?” Effie’s voice interrupts my thoughts. She seems horrified/shocked.

“I shot an arrow at them.” She repeats. “Not exactly at them, more in there direction. It’s like Peeta said, I was shooting and they were ignoring me and I just…I just lost my head, so I shot an apple out of their stupid roast pig’s mouth” she says firmly. It takes everything I have to keep my mouth from grinning.

“And what did they say?” cinnia says curiously.

“Nothing. Or I don’t know I walked out after that.”

I restrain from laughing. And Effie looks more shocked then ever.

“Without being dismissed?” she says in disbelief.

“I dismissed myself.” She says with a pang of pain flash across her face before she takes a sip if water. “Well, that’s that.” Haymich says casually while shoveling more food into his mouth.

“Do you think they’ll arrest me?” she asks.

“Doubt it. It would be a pain to replace you at this stage.” He says as casual as always.

“What about my family. Will they punish them?” katniss asks.

“Don’t think so. Wouldn’t make much sense. See they’d have to reveal what happened in the training center for it to have any worthwhile effect on the populations. People would need to know what you did. But they can’t since its secret, so it’d be a waste of effort. More likely they’ll make your life hell in the arena.” Haymich says.

“Well. They’ve already promised to do that to us anyway,” I add.

“Very true.” Haymich comments.

If I’m not mistaken katniss looks…relived? It cheers me up a bit too, maybe just seeing her the slightest bit happy makes me feel happy.

“What were there faces like?” Haymich asks between laughs. And katniss smiles.

“Shocked. Terrified. Uh, ridiculous, some of them. One man tripped backwards into a bowl of punch.”

I almost knock over our punch bowl laughing. As does everyone else.

“Well, it serves them right. Its there job to pay attention to you. And just because you come from district twelve is no excuse to ignore you.” Effie blurts out. Then realizes what she just said. “I sorry but that’s what I think.” She says.

“Ill get a very bad score,” katniss says. I’m about to tell her my theory that she will get a very good score. But Portia steps in quickly.

“Scores only matter if there very good. No one pays much attention to the bad to the mediocre ones. For all they know, you could be hiding your talents to get a low score on purpose. People use that strategy.” She says.

She’s right too. When I get a bad score maybe people will believe that’s my strategy. When really, I’m just that bad.

“I hope that’s how people interrupt the 4 ill probably get.” I say. “If that. Really, is anything less impressive then watching a person pick up a heavy ball and throw it a few meters? I add. “One almost landed on my foot.” I lie for good measure. I figure if katniss by a small chance does gat a low score. She won’t feel as bad. Misery loves company.

Once again I find myself not paying attention to peoples scores. There really no need. But I do note that Cato got a 10, and his friend clove also got 10. That rue, she got a 7.

I pretend I’m watching for Effie, until district 12 comes up. My name with my tribute picture flashes up. And I see I got a 8. What? How did this happen? I think to myself. What I did was less then impressive, how could I get a careers score? This is not good. The careers may target me were as if I were to get a mediocre score I wouldn’t be worth it. And when katniss flashes up, I find I was right. She got 11 better then Cato. Ouch that must have hurt. Even though this is a great score, and she’s sure to get sponsors. This could go very wrong, as if us making such an impact in the opening ceremony was enough reason for Cato to target katniss. Katniss getting a higher score then him will make him furious. And soon enough he will show that fury. I now realize what I have to do. She must appear weak to the tributes and venerable to payham. The plan forms in my head. Everyone is cheering and patting katniss on the back and I join in.

“There must be a mistake how could that happen?” Katniss asks Haymich, in disbelief. “Guess they liked your temper. They’ve got a show to put on. They need players with some heat.”

“Katniss the girl on fire!” Cinnia says and gives her a hug. “Oh and wait until you see you interview dress!”

“More flames?” she asks.

“Of a sort.” He says mischievously. I walk over to katniss, “congratulations.” I say with a warm smile. “Thank you. You too.” She says sincerely. Then avoids eye contact with me. I suppose she feels awkward, which in turn makes me nervous. “Well I better get to bed.” She says oddly. She nods me goodbye and walks away.

“She will do well in the games.” Portia says.

“Yes, she has good skills. And is a smart girl. She will play the games well. But how she will do in her interview I’m not so sure.” Haymich says.

“Whys that?” cinna asks.

“She doesn’t have a likeable personality. The capitol will not respond well to her hostile and frankly rude personality.” Haymich replies.

“I don’t know.” I add “we all like her right?”

“Some more then others.” Portia mumbles.

“Right. But payham only have three minutes. I’m unsure as to how well she can impress the audience in that small amount of time.” He says. And he’s right. She right she can come off a little….rude. I guess I didn’t think about this part. I figured that payham they would like her like I do but Haymich is right, there’s not enough time to crack though that hard exterior. I’ve had years to observe her; they will merely have 3 minutes.

“I’m sure it will be fine.” Effie says. Always bubbly Effie. But his time I think she’s wrong. Haymich must notice the concern on my face so he steps in. “well why don’t I walk you to your room Peeta, you could use some sleep.” I nod everyone goodnight and walk with Haymich.

“Your right, she won’t do well. We need to do something.” I say.

“What do you have in mind?” he asks.

“I confess my love for her in my interview. People will be sure to sponsor the poor star crossed lovers.” I say in reply.

“Are you sure? You know what that will mean right?”

“Yes I do, I said I will everything I can to save her. Even if it means her hating me.”

“Okay. I will tell her tomorrow that you have decided to train separately.”

“What why?” I ask. Why do I need to be parted from her?

“You’re letting your feelings for her cloud your judgment. Think about it Peeta. If we have this plan, how are we supposed to discuss it in private when she is there with you 24 hours a day?” He’s right. Again.

“Okay, we’ll tell her at breakfast.” I say without emotion. I step in my room and close the door hastily. I need a tea. I walk over to wall with that weird food thingy…and say “tea”.

“Would you like sugar sir?” the wall asks.

“No sugar thanks.” I reply

“As you wish sir.”

I lie on my bed and close my eyes for a mere second.

“Up, up, up! Big day today!” I hear Effie calling.

Here we go. I get ready in our training outfit being particularly careful to double knot my shoelaces. When I was 14 I sustained a very painful blow to my head because I tripped on my shoelaces while running to the woods. Ever since then, I ALWAYS double knot my shoelaces.

When I arrive at the dining hall I load up my plate with a delicious stew. I walk to the dining table and put my stew down when I realize Effie and Haymich would rather talk then eat. I lean in.

“Peeta and I have decided that from now on, katniss and Peeta will be trained separately. Is that okay?” Haymich asks Effie with a particularly polite tone.

“Yes of course, but why?” she reply’s.

“That does not concern you.” Haymich says quite rude this time. Effie looks very offend so I keep the peace.

“Don’t worry Effie, its just better katniss and I continue separately.” I say with a warm smile. She nods and gives a weak smile in return. Katniss walks in and at the same time we all lean back out of the huddle. Katniss comes and sits down eating her generous serving of stew. “So what’s going on? You’re coaching us on our interview today right?” she asks.

“That’s right.” Haymich says. He looks at me as if to ask for permission.

“You don’t have to wait until I’m done, I can listen and eat at the same time.” I say in a discreet reply.

“Well, there’s been a change of plans. About our currant approach.” He says.

“What’s that?” she says quite effortlessly.

“Peeta has been asked to be coached separately.”

She looks at me for a moment as if restraining herself from punching me, but she hardens her face, and continues.

“Good. What’s the schedule?”

Chapter 12Edit

I knew it. She doesn’t even care. Oh well. At least it makes it all the easier for her to hate me when the time comes. If she doesn’t already.

“You’ll each have four hours with Effie for presentation and four with me for content,” Haymich says. “You start with Effie, Katniss.”

“Great.” She drops her spoon and fork and walks out of the room. Effie quickly follows.

“That went well.” I say to Haymich

“It did. Now your interview. Do you know how your going to play it?” Haymich says.

“Well I know that I’m going to confess my lo-

“Yes, yes I get the lover boy part, but how are you going to play it?”

“I don’t know I haven’t really thought about it.”

“Ok how bout I interview you, and you answer and we take it from there?”


“So Peeta how are you enjoying your stay here?”

I search though my brain looking for a possible way to reply. To be honest, I’m not enjoying it and I’m not hating it. I’m just here. “Its unlike any place I’ve been before.” I say

“borrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrinnnnnnnnnnnnnnnggggggggg.” Haymich moans “I don’t want the fake Peeta, people like you because you’re Peeta. Now be Peeta.”

We spend the next 5mins working out my interview, and we sped the next three hours eating and talking, lets face it I don’t need a lot of training when it comes to people. Somewhere in the conversation I renter the corner of my brain and retrieve the question gnawing on my skull.

“Haymich. What did you mean when you said it was your fault she died? Remember when we were in the kitchen?” I ask

“Yeah, yeah I remember.” He says straightening up. I raise my eye brows but he just stares at the floor. “Back in district 12. I had a girl her name was Remi. And when I was reaped, my actions of rebellion killed her.”

“She was reaped with you?” I ask

“No, she wasn’t. I deliberately rebelled against the capitol in the arena. And as a warning, or consequence I’m not really sure. Maybe both. But it doesn’t matter, either way I returned home and she and my family were murdered. Well according to the peacekeepers they “died.” But I knew who it was from. And I’ve kept well away from rebellion since.” He takes another swig from his bottle and lies back down on the couch.

“And that’s why you spend your time locked away in your castle drinking anything and everything you can find.” I say softy.

“Yeah pretty much.” He replies.

“I’m sorry.”

“It’s not your fault kid.”

“But I’m still sorry. The capitol shouldn’t have that control.”

“But they do. And they always will.” He says sorrowfully.

“That girl has no class!” Effie says rushing to the drink table and haste fully drinking from a glass. “It’s like she doesn’t even care.” She says whipping her curly blond hair out of her face. I feel a strange sensation come over me and for the first time I’m angry at Effie.

“Oh I’m sorry Effie. You see we don’t have a lot of time to learn “class” while were starving to death back in district 12.” I snap. Haymich snorts in his sprit and it comes out his nose. Effie just looks shocked.

“Come on lets get to training.” I say getting off the couch and walking to my bedroom. I hear Effie’s glass shoes quickly follow. It turns out I have more class then katniss because Effie seems fairly impressed with my talking and mannerisms. She lets me go early, and I go straight to dinner.

Haymich isn’t there only Effie, Cinnia, and Portia. For Haymich not to be here it must mean things were particularly difficult with katniss. As I imagined. And it seems my suspicions are confirmed when we hear loud shattering noises coming from katniss room. I consider going in there, but I figure most of that anger is directed at me. Instead I ask livina to go in, just to check she’s okay. It seems to work, because as soon as she goes in there, katniss has stopped smashing things. I excuse myself from the table and go to katniss’s door. I sit down next to the archway and trace my finger along the door frame.

After about an hour livina comes out from the room and I stand up.

“Is she okay?” I ask in a hushed tone. She nods and cups my jaw with her hand. Then puts her hand together and place them next to her cheek. Symbolizing sleep I guess. I sigh in relief and kiss her cheek she smiles and turns to walk away.

I bust into Haymich room hot with anger to talk to him about what he did to her. And I too find him in bed, looking very similar to the first night I met him. There is puke all over the bed sheets and the room bitterly smells of stale spew and alcohol. I spare him the lecture but refuse to clean him up like the first night. Instead I turn off the light and order a few peace keepers to fix him up.

For some reason I was woken up and hour later then usual. Maybe it was because Effie felt bad about what happened in the dining room yesterday. Or there’s not much to do in terms of my outfit. But never the less when Effie calls I stumble out of bed and notice the end of what must have been sun rise. My favorite color soft orange. It’s a beautiful time. I suddenly have a longing to be huddled under my fathers arm watching from the porch of our bakery like we did every Moring back home. I brush of the feeling knowing I’ll never have it again and head to the shower. Only to be greeted by my prep team. They choose the sent for the day, its rose. They said it matches the dress katniss will be wearing. As will my tie. I’m glad I’m wearing a suite. Up until now we have always been seen in public wearing matching cloths. So I’m happy she not wearing a suite and I’m not wearing a dress. Once Portia arrives my prep team have done there prep job. But they stay for the finial “reveal” as they say. I patiently stand there following Portia’s instructions’. “Leg in here.” “Arm over there.” When she’s finally done I look in the mirror.

“You look so handsome.” Cameron says. “Yes very strapping” theron adds. Sula just stands there grinning.

There right too, I look good. I’m wearing a simple black suite with a bright red tie. My hair it combed back and I have a small amount of make-up on to cover up any blemishes on my face. We all walk to the elevator and Haymich and Effie are silently waiting.

“My! My! Don’t you look so handsome!” Effie says. I offer her a sincere smile.

“Looking sharp.” Haymich says quite motionlessly.

“Not to bad yourself.” I say with a cheeky grin. He smiles weekly in return.

Effie makes light chat for a while before I hear cinnia shoes click on the marble floors.

“I heard she looks quite stun-“ Effie starts unable to finish. Katniss sweeps down the hall way in a stunning red dress. It flows down to the floor in a fall of lines perfectly fitted. Her make-up is minimal but her face beams even with out her smile. Her hair is up in some sort of a curly bun, but my mind doesn’t notice anything but her eyes. The hazel stands out as the only dark base on her assembled outfit. They gleam the red sparkles of the dress. Any anger or nervousness completely removes it self from my mind as I stare at her. The only thing I manage to keep under control is my jaw, I refrain from letting it drop. Effie offers a few sincere compliments and were being buzzed down to the floor of the interviews. Cinnia looks at me and raises his eye brows as if to ask to obvious question what do you think? I allow my jaw to fall and he turns back obviously pleased.

When we leave the elevator every tribute turn there head to katniss, she blushes for a small moment then turn back her attention on to others. But a few of the males continue to stare, including Cato. Which only makes me furious, I take a few steps closer to katniss and Haymich comes up behind us.

“Remember, you’re still a happy pair. So act like it.” He growls.

We walk onto the stage and my heart rate rises. Fast. Once we get to out seats I notice every single eye of panham is on katniss and I , mainly katniss of course. But she doesn’t seem to notice. As I said she has no idea the affect she can have on people. And she still doesn’t.

As the interviews continue my heart rate slows down. I’m getting to know ceaser. He’s smart, and I have an idea how to play it, and what he will ask now. Lulaine the girl from district 4 goes for the “strong and confident” approach. As I guessed. But rue is when Is called start to get nervous. Very nervous. They call katniss and my stomach knots, but I remind my self that it will be okay. When really I have no proof of that, Yesterday told me that.

“So, Katniss, the capitol must be quite a change from district 12. What has impressed you the most since you’ve got here?” he says thoughtfully. Katniss body freezes. She head knots and looks at cinnia and then blurts out

“The lamb stew.” To my surprise. I let out a small chuckle.

“The one with the dried plumbs?” he asks. She nods in reply.

“Oh, I eat it by the bucketful. Does it show?” he says questionable to the audience. He’s brilliant.

“Now katniss. When you came out in the opening ceremonies, my heart actually stopped. What did you think of that costume?” Ceaser asks again. He tilts her head to cinnia, its clear to me now that she must be answering the question like cinnia were asking it. Cinna said he would work on it.

“You mean after I got over my fear of being burned alive?” I let out an unattractive snort\laugh, luckily no one heard it, there too buys laughing them selves.

“Yes start then.” He says.

“I thought cinna was brilliant and it was the most gorgeous costume I’d ever seen and I couldn’t believe I was wearing it. I cant believe I’m wearing this!” she stands up and lifts the skirt up “ I mean look at it,” after quick confirmation from cinna she twirls around in a circle. I would have paid attention to catos arrogant scoff if I hadn’t been consumed with the view of katniss being engulfed with red and orange flames. Once again them illuminating her face. She continues after a quick comment from ceaser and twirls some more. It’s incredible. This will be the interview no one will forget I think to myself. I gain attention once again when there sitting down. Am I mistaken or is she…giggling?

“Its alright I’ve got her. She’s safe with me. So, how bout that training score. E-le-ven. Give us a hint what happened in there.” He asks

“umm…lets just say I think it was first.” She says with a safe smile.

“Your killing us. Details! Details!”

She looks up at the balcony, “ I’m not supposed to talk about it right?”

“she’s not!” one of them yells.

“Sorry my lips are sealed!” she says firmly.

“Lets go back then, to the moment when they called your sisters name at the reaping,” he says softly. Her face immediately turn from happy and cheery to a terrified look. Her eyes dart to the thousands of people in the crowd her jaw twitches. she cant seem to do anything. Her body is frozen. “And you volunteered. Can you tell us about her.” She cant release the words from her mouth. I want to run up there and answer the question for her. I have serious doubt she can say anything until she speaks

“Her names prim. She’s just 12, and I love her more then anything.” The entire country is silent. No one dares speaks a word.

“What did she say to you. After the reaping?” he asks. I feel an urge to go and punch him, but I know if she can get this out, she will win the games.

Her eyes dart to cinna. “She asked me to try really hard to win.” She almost whispers.

And no one dares to breathe. “And what did you say?” he asks softly.

Answer katniss. Answer the question. I hear my brain chanting.

“I swore I would.” She struggles.

“I bet you did.” The buzzer blares and my thoughts are interrupted. Only to create new ones…it’s my turn. They call my name I walk to the chair and I shake caser’s hand.

“Peeta merlark. Is your name right?”

“aww. close enough.” I say causally.

“How do you pronounce it.”

“How should I know?” I say sarcastically. The audience laughs.

“so Peeta what do you do back home?”

“I’m a baker.”

“hmm that’s interesting.. Teach me something I don’t know about bread,” he asks.

“Well. I’ve noticed. that every tribute…is bread.” He has a puzzled expression on his face.

“How’s that?” he giggles, panham following.

“Well see you’ve got your bread from district 1 which stands out from the rest of the bread. Cause its very sparkly. Like our friends for district 1 here today.” The panham lets out more laughs because of the faces I’m pulling. “and then you’ve got your bread from district 2 which is usually well cooked maybe got some burnt edges to it, like our friend here today.” I lift my arms up and kissing my biceps copying catos arrogance.. Everyone laughs harder. “And that lesson 101.” I say ceaser and I laugh.

“but seriously though… I need you to tell me the truth flika.” I say in a serious tone.

“of course.” He leans in.

“Do I smell like roses?” I ask with a straight face, but an obvious sarcasm to my voice.

He leans in further and sniffs me. “Yes I think so.” He says.

“I though so!” I say leaning back “my shower has some serious weird settings.” I say loudly. The audience roars with laughter.

“Yes mine does that too, what do I smell like?” I lean in and sniff him. We end up spending about a minute of out time just sniffing each other. And the audience just laps it up. Once they quiet down you can tell flicka wants to get into the serious stuff.

“So tell me this. Do you have a girl back home?” he asks

I shake my head with obvious uncertainty. This pushes the question further.

“Handsome lad like you. There must be some special girl. Come on, what’s her name?” He asks. I sigh and answer truthfully.

“Well, there is this one girl. I’ve had a crush on her ever since I can remember. But I’m pretty sure she didn’t even know I existed until the reaping.” I say with a sad ring to my voice.

“She have another fellow?”

“No but a lot of boys like her.” I reply.

“So here’s what you do. You win. You go home. She can’t turn you down then hey?

“I don’t think that’s going to work. Winning. Well it won’t help in my case.” I say

“Why ever not?” he asks genuinely.

My heart thumps and I feel my face burn. “Because…..well because she came here with me.”


“Oh that’s a piece of bad luck.” Caesar says looking down. Katniss’s is expression is perfect. She looks vulnerable. It exactly what everyone who knew my plans was hoping for.

“It’s not good.” I agree. As I watch myself on screen, I begin to realize how much I really do love her. My reaction to my own confession is perfect. And the thing is. I wasn’t acting.

“Well I don’t think anyone here can blame you. It’d be hard not to fall for that young lady.” Ceaser says with a honest tone. The audience as completely changed. A minute ago, they couldn’t stop laughing now there trying hard to fight back the tears. As am I. Ceaser makes out the expression on Katniss’s face. “She didn’t know?”

“No. Not until now.” I reply. The camera closes up on her face. Her cheeks are the color of her dress now.

“Wouldn’t you love to pull her back out here to get a response?” Ceaser addresses the audience. What? This could ruin everything. If she’s allowed back up here, she could ruin everything. She could say she hates me, and despises me for saying those things. It will ruin everything I’ve worked so hard to fight for and- “But sadly, rules are rules.” he says with clear disappointment . I make a small cheer in my head. Hoping that it doesn’t come across in my face. “Well best of luck to you Peeta Merlark. And I think I speak for all of Panham when I say our hearts go with yours.” He says. I feel tears whell with in me. Panham roars with there applause. Once they quite down I stand up. And say “Thank you” just barely. I return to my seat hoping that the apple in my throat clears soon. I try to look at katniss, but she keeps her eyes pointed towards the floor. I guess the cameras won’t get the touching moment there fishing for. We file out off the stage and katniss veers into another elevator. I walk toward one before I realize it contains Cato and clove. I make a last minute choice to take the one next to it. It turns it was a good one because I’m with four tributes one of them being rue she stand in front of me with a clear smirk on her face when she turns around.

“What?” I ask finally.

“Oh nothing..” She says turning back around scrunching up her chin and standing on her tippy toes. When we reach floor 11 (rues floor) she steps out of the box and murmurs, “See you lover boy.”

When I step out on to my floor things are not as cheery. Katniss practically fly’s up to me knocks me down, with a vase too. It shatters all over the floor and my hand lands on the broken glass. It’s a filmier pain, but it doesn’t hurt any less.

“What was that for?” I say looking up at her from the ground.

“You had no right, you had not right saying those things about me!” she practically yells.

Cinnia and Effie run to my side.

“What happened? Did you fall?” she asks.

“Yeah right after she shoved me.” I answer. Cinnia and Effie help me up. Portia takes my hand to look at them, but he touching them sends a shiver of burring pain down my spine. I push her attempts away, mouthing “I’m fine” to her.

Haymich directs himself to katniss. “Shoved him?” he asks with a constrained tone.

“This was you idea wasn’t it?” she screams, ignoring Haymich’s clear fury. “Turning me into some kind of fool in front of the entire country!”

“It was my idea.” I say while pulling shard of glass from my palms. “Haymich just helped me with it.”

“Yes Haymich is very helpful. T o you!” she yells with a sarcastic ring.

“You are a fool! Do you seriously think he hurt you? That boy just gave you something you could never achieve on your own.” He explains in disgust.

“He made me look weak!” she claims.

“He made you look desirable!” he counteracts. “And lets face it, you could use all the help you can get in that department. You were about as romantic

As dirt until he said he wanted you. Now they all do. You’re all there talking about. The star –crossed lovers from district twelve!” he reasons.

“But were not start crossed lovers!” she counteracts.

“Who cares? It’s all a big show. Its all how your perceived. The most I could say about after your interview was that you were nice enough, although in its self is a small miracle. Now I can say you’re a heart breaker. Oh. oh. oh how the boys back home fall longingly at your feet, Which do you think will get more sponsors?”

She shoves him away.

For the first time I realize his right. I though her interview would make a huge impact on panham. But when he puts it that way…she really won’t. And he’s not just right in one-way, but he was right about letting my feelings for katniss to cloud my judgment. If I were back home, watching another tribute I wouldn’t think much of it. And it looks like katniss is starting to understand why I did what I did.

“He’s right katniss.” Cinna says putting his arm around her.

“I should have been told so I didn’t look so stupid.” She grumbles.

“No. your reaction was perfect. If you’d known, it wouldn’t have read as real.” Portia says reassuring katniss.

“She just worried about her boyfriend.” I say in spite.

For a moment it looks like she might actually strangle me this time, but instead she says.

“I don’t have a boyfriend.” She states.

“Whatever.” I respond. “But I bet he’s smart enough to know a bluff when he sees it. Besides, you didn’t say you loved me back. So what does it matter?” I ask.

She states at the floor her anger fading.

“So. After he said he loved me, did you think I could be in love with him, too?” she asks to anyone.

“I did. The way you avoided looking a the cameras, the blush.” Portia starts with the others finishing.

“You’re golden, sweetheart. Your going to have sponsors lined up around the around the block.” Haymich says.

After a moment of consideration she addresses me.

“I’m sorry I shoved you.” Her eyes darting to avoid mine.

“It really doesn’t matter. Although it’s technically illegal.” I add.

“Are your hands okay?” she asks honestly. And really they sting, and I feel burring coming from the small deep cuts.

“They’ll be right.” I respond.

I stand there my hands in Portia while Lavinia sprinkles some water on my hands.

“Come on. Let’s eat.” I take a step forward but Lavinia stops me. She shakes her head and takes my hands in hers, and points towards the elevator.

“She’s right. Your hands are bleeding much too heavily. Come I’ll take you to the infirmary.” Portia escorts me to the elevator.

“Good job Peeta.” She says while pressing the button to take us to the infirmary.

Then it happens something totally unexpected that even I’m shocked.

I cry. I drop to the floor and throw my hand in my knees. Sobs coming out muffled.

“Oh sweetheart. Is it your hands?” Portia asks while putting her hands on my shoulders.

“No. nothing I just…what if I don’t succeed. Or better Yet what if I do?” I push out.

“I sorry. I’m so sorry.” Is all that Portia can say.

Once again I surprised. As soon as the door opens Portia stands up and burst into the infirmary.

“HEY! We need you help now!” she screams. I don’t now why she’s so annoyed. But she is. A man comes running from a room.

“What is it? What’s the problem.” He panics.

“Peeta one of the tributes, he has…. Fallen and he’s bleeding.” She says a lot calmer.

He looks at my hands for a moment and says

“Oh he can wait.” And begins to walk away.

“NO you ill fix him up now!” Portia shouts.

“Or what?” he challenges her by stepping far to close to her personal space. I stand up ad wipe my face with my shoulder.

“Or I summon Haymich.” She steps even closer. A look of panic registers on his face.

“NURSE! Come help him.” He yells desperately. “I’ve had enough of that idiot.” He says while looking at my hands.

“Thank you.” Portia walks back to me in the elevator and gives me huge smile. None the less, it certainly cheers me up.

Portia stays with me the entire time while they patch me up. It turns out the cuts were much deeper then expected. And the loss of blood has given me a wicked headache so they give me some sort of sweet tasting drink to have if it gets too much. By the time I’m ready for dinner the tears are dried and we go to dinner.

“Hey. How’d it go?” cinna asks.

“Okay.” I lie “Just got my hands in these things.” I say holding up the white bandages wrapping my hands. Katniss bolts her eyes down to her food. I guess in embarrassment.

Once dinner is finished we go to the sitting room. The recap is as I expected. I mean. I was there.

Once the video finished, and silence falls on the room. Now we must say our goodbyes.

Effie takes katniss and I’s hand and with a tear in her eyes says

“Good luck you two. You have been the best tributes I have ever had the privilege to escort. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if I finally get promoted t a decent district next year!” Her comments only make me laugh. I’ll miss her, as annoying as rude as she is. She’s a good person down at heart.

She kisses up both on the cheek and hurries down the hall.

Haymich crosses his arms looking thoroughly unimpressed at us.

“Any last words of advice?” I ask.

“When the gong sounds get the hell out of there. You’re neither of you are up to the bloodbath at the Cornucopia. Just clear out, put as much distance as you can between yourselves and the others and find a source of water got it?” he replys.

“And after that?” katniss asks.

“Stay alive” the same advice as he gave on our first…meeting.

We both nod and katniss walks to her room. While I rather talk to our stylists.

“Peeta.” Cinna walks to me and places his arm on my shoulder. “It has been an honor to work with you. Good luck .” He finishes.

“Cinna.” I interrupt he’s walking out of the room. He turns back his head as he stands at the doorway. “Thank you for being a friend to katniss. Ill keeps her safe. She will come back.” I say. He simply nods with a smile on his lips.

I turn back to Portia who is still on the couch. Frozen.

“I feel like I should say goodbye to you now.” I say.

“Ill be there tomorrow before you’re lifted.” She states.

“Yeah I know but. I don’t think I will be audible..” I whisper. She nods. “So I-”

“Don’t. I’m not the crying type.” She says with a smile.

“ I noticed” I reply. “Listen all I want you to know is. You’re the closest thing I have to family right now. And I will miss you.” I say while a single tear rolls down my face.

She walks over to me and takes me in her arms.

“You are my family Peeta. And do me one favor?” she asks. I nod in anticipation. “Find a way to stick it to them hey?”

“Will do.” I whisper wiping away the tear.

When I go back to my room I undress take what I assume will be my last shower. Once I’m out, I consider going to bed but find myself staring at the sheets like there needles. Like if I were to sit on them my body would dissolve. Instead I walk to the roof. I stay there for hours. Staring at the wild fans waiting for district 12 to be slaughtered.

May the odds be ever in your favor” What does that mean. Really? What Is in my favor. Is it to be picked? To not be picked? Not die? Maybe it would be better to die? I mean I’ve seen what happened to Haymich. Do I want that life? Maybe the favor is just that someone else get picked to be murdered. The sound of katniss bursting though the door interrupt my thoughts. I stay there like I can’t hear her. What will she do?

“You should be getting some sleep” she says from behind me. I simply reply.

“I didn’t want to miss the party. It’s for us after all.”

She leans over the edge. “Are they in costumes?”

“Who knows with all the crazy clothes they wear. Couldn’t sleep either?” I ask

“I couldn’t turn my mind off.”

“Thinking about your family?” I ask.

“No.” She admits. And I can’t really judge her. I haven’t thought about them much tonight either. “All I can do is wonder about tomorrow. This is pointless of course.”

I nod. She glances down to my hands. “Im really am sorry about your hands.”

“It doesn’t matter katniss. I was never really a contender in these games anyways.” I state.

“That’s no way to be thinking.” She says optimistically.

“Why not? It’s true. My best hope is not to disgrace myself and…” I trail off.

“And what?” she pushes.

“ I don’t know how to say it exactly. Only… I want to die as myself. Does that make any sense?” she shakes her head.“I don’t want them to change me in there. Turn me into some kind of monster I’m not.” I my hands meet each other trying to rub together nervously but he bandages stop me and I let them fall again.

“Do you mean that you won’t kill anyone?” she asks.

“No. when the time comes. I’m sure ill just like anyone else. I can’t go down without a fight. Only I keep wishing I could think of a way to show them that…that the capitol does’t own me. That I’m more then just a piece in there games.” I explain.

“But you’re not. None of us are. That’s how the games work.” She states clearly not understanding.

“Okay but. With-in the frame work there’s still you. And there’s still me. Don’t you see?”

I ask in frustration.

“Sort of. Okay. No offence but….who cares?” she asks. This makes me more angry. And I’m not in a very restraining mood at the moment.

“I DO! What else am I allowed to care about right now?”

I step forward and lock my eyes on hers. She immediately steps back.

“Care about what Haymich said. About staying alive.” She replies.

Petty really. She and I both know I won’t win. I won’t even let that happen. And yet she comes here telling me to hope for the impossible. Petty.

“Oh okay. Thanks for the tip ‘sweetheart’” I mock.

“Look if you want to spend your last hours of your life planning some noble death in the arena, that’s you’re choice. I want to spend mine in district 12.” She raises her voice. Yes I have her almost where I want her. I need to push her to hatred. I can’t have her sympathize with my situation, or my death.

“Wouldn’t surprise me if you do. Give my mother my best when you make it back will you?”

“Count on it!” she turns to leave the roof slamming the door. I turn back to panham.

I am sorry I had to do that but, it had to be done.

I spend the rest of the night there on the roof curled up on the ledge. Unable to sleep. Unable to think. Unable to move.

“Thought I would find you up here.” Portia says from the door. I have been still for so long moving my neck in her direction is painful. So I just keep staring down.

“You were right.”

I’m not comical. I’m not charming. I’m just numb.

“Have you been here all night?” she asks.

“Yeah. I think so. It doesn’t feel like I have. Although the sun set begs to differ.” The sun is gleaming on my face. The warm raise makes me feel a small bit relaxed.

“Well its time to get you ready.” She says while putting her hand on my arm.

“No its not. Because this isn’t happing.” I say. She kneels down and looks me I the eye.

“You’re right. All were going to is go down to your room and get dressed.”

“Yeah but afte-“

“No there is no after that. All we have to do is get dressed.” I see what she’s doing. One step at a time.

“Ok. I’m just getting dressed”

Chapter 14Edit

When I get back to my room. Portia practically has to dress me while I stand there like a zombie. When I’m dressed I sit on the bed.

“Ok now you have to go to the roof.”

“But then i-“

“Remember there is no ‘after’ only now. Okay?”

“Okay.” I drag myself to the roof, Portia offers to take my arm but I brush her off. Once on the roof a huge a hovercraft floats above. Portia gestures for me to climb on the ladder that floats down to me. I obediently comply. I take the ladder by both hands and climb. By the third of fourth step a pulse go’s though me and I’m frozen. Whatever pulse they sent though the medal ladder, doesn’t hurt but renders me unable of any movement.

They lift me higher before I’m completely in the hovercraft still latching on. A man comes to me and says. “Hello Peeta. I’m going to insert you with you tracker.” He holds a large syringe. “It allows the game markers to track you. It will hurt. But remain calm and still and it won’t be too bad.” He finishes. He inserts the cylinder into my forearm. It stings only for a moment. He leaves the room, and as soon as the door closes the currant in the ladder releases me, and Portia enters the room. “well done Peeta.” She smiles at me sweetly. Which is very unlike her. She leads me into a room with lunch set out for us. I can’t eat. Not that I don’t want to, but I simply can’t.

“Here Peeta.” Portia passes me a suit. I guess the ones everyone will be wearing. It’s black with simple red patterns on the shoulders and thighs. She then puts on my jacket.

“Now Peeta this is special material. It’s for keeping you warm. So there will most likely be cold nights. Keep it in mind anyways.” She says calmly.

“Ok. Thanks.” I reply.

“Are you sure you don’t want some food?” she asks.

“Yeah. I’m good.”

“Ok well Haymich instructed me to at least make you drink water.” She walks over to the table and pours water into a glass. “Here.” I take the glass. My hands are simply to shaky and it smashes on the ground. Portia lets it fall, fortunately not over reacting. Two peace keepers come rushing to the door.

“What’s going on here.” One of them asks. My mouth doesn’t respond, so Portia does it for me.

“Nothing, he can’t even hold a glass because of you’re Evil games! Now leave us!” she screams. He mumbles something. She raises her eyebrow steps towards them. “NOW!” she howls.

“uh..yes. Madam.” He shudders’. Then leaves the room. Portia looks back at me and smiles.

“ sorry I didn’t mean-“ she grabs a glass and smashes it on the floor.

“There now were even. Nothing to worry about.” She says pouring a new glass and making me sit down before I take it. Her confidence confuses me. And shocks me. And frankly impresses me. She doesn’t care what peacekeepers think, or what anyone else thinks. Which makes me worried. What has happened to her to make her so careless? Now is not the time to ask though. I take casual sips of the water on her demand.

“You don’t want to talk about it do you?” she asks.


“Oh good. Ehh” she wipes imaginary sweat off her head. Her attempts at making me calm don’t go unnoticed. And I make a small giggle. And decide to match her humor.

“actually. I have been meaning to ask you.” I say


“How are babies made?” I ask innocently. I keep a serious face before she snorts out the water she was drinking, and chokes on it between laughs. I join her. Were still laughing hard about 3 minutes later. She drops another glass accidently this time. And I drop mine for fun. In no time were smashing glasses, and plates jugs of water on the floor. The peacekeepers are watching from the door but are to scared to intervene. We spend the reminder of our time smashing plates though laughter. Singing songs, with all the wrong lyrics. And for the first time I forget what’s coming. I’m just here dancing look a fool with Portia. Were half way though tipping the table over before I female voice says its time for launch. I drop the table so does Portia. We walk to the launch pod, and my whole body is shaking. A happy smile is quickly replaced with beads of sweat.

“No, no, no, no, no, I cant do this I can-“

“Yes you can. I know you Peeta. You can do it.” She reassures me. I nod and she guides me into the pod. Once I’m in. The ladies voice say “10 seconds.”

“Remember Peeta. I’m with you the whole way.” I nod. And the glass encloses around me.

“Good luck brother.” She yells though the glass. I mouth “Thank you sister.” Soom I’m being lifted. There is blackness for a few moments and then the sun blinds my eyes. I quickly take in my surrounding and I realize it’s a forest! I do a silent cheer, I know this. At least I have a chance to get to my goal.

“Ladies and gentlemen, let the seventy fourth hunger games begin!” an excited Claudius temple smith says.

I look around me as the countdown begins. Cato licks his lips at gleaming knives at the center of the cornucopia. He’s eyes dart back and fourth from katniss and the deadly knives. I also see katniss eyeing down a sheath of arrows. He will kill you! I think. He’s probably already chosen the way he will kill and with what weapon. And I can see her mind racing, calculating the chance that she could get the weapon. I do my best to capture her attention. And finally a moment before the countdown ends she catches my eye. I shake my head disapprovingly. She looks puzzled before the gong goes off and races off the podium. Obviously upset. I have no time to observe her any further. I bolt off my podium and run to the piney woods behind me.

I was sprinting for about half an hour before I stop.

The deal I had with rue. I need to signal her. I consider lighting a fire. But that wont do any good with the careers hunting us. I look for something, anything to signal her. Before I realize there are Mockingjays in the trees. I sing a simple song I heard rue singing one time when were in the training centre. The Mockingjays mimic the song, in a much more pleasant way. I sit myself next a tree and every five minutes I sing the simple tune again. After about twenty minutes of this. I hear it back to me though the trees, from a single Mockingjay. I stand hastily and follow it. I must have been following it for another half an hour before I hear a pleasant voice sing the song.

“Rue!” I say “Rue its me Peeta. I need an ally.” I say trying to be as quiet as possible, but also lound enough to be herd.

“Up here!” she whispers. I look up to a tree above me. “Hey loverboy.” She climbs down in one swift move. Which startles me. “Wow, you’re better at this climbing thing then I thought.” I say with a smile.

“I full of surprises’. She hands me a few berries and kneels beside a tree.

“How do I know these aren’t poisoned?” I say jokingly.

“Don’t you trust me?” she asks look slightly hurt.

“I think your far to smart to be overlooked.” I say kneeling next to her. She beams back a smile and pops a berry into her mouth. I follow. The liquid fills my mouth and I realize how thirsty I am. I remember Haymich instruction. Find water. I know where there certain to be some.

“So. What should we do now?” She asks.

“Tell me rue. Do you know where the careers are?” I ask innocently.

“Yeah I kept track of them for an hour or so, until I heard your song and I came over here. There still at the cornucopia. But they wont be there for much longer. There sorting out there supplies right now. But they’ll be on the move when there finished fighting over the knives.” She giggles. “Why?”

“Because I’m thinking I’ll pay them a visit.”

HEY GUYS! thanks so much for being patient and waiting for this! ill try and be quicker next time!