Hey! I'm thirteen and this is my first ever fanfic and second ever story. Please R&R! Constructive criticism accepted. Tell me what I need to be to become a better author! Thank you
Disclaimer: I am not Suzanne Collins and I do not own The Hunger Games (though I wish I did).
I take hold of his hand, dreading the moment that I would have to let go.
I look at Peeta and he smiles. I can see right through him though. The smile is there on his face, but his eyes tell a totally different story. They are empty and hallow. Although he tries not to show it, I can tell how broken he feels.
And it's all because of me. It hurts me so much to know that I have caused him pain. It's worse than having no food or water in the Games. That was physical pain, this hurts me mentally. It makes me feel nauseous and makes my heart ache. I was still so confused. Did I love Peeta? What about Gale? Nothing seemed to make sense.
I stare at him for a moment, thinking, until he gives my hand a little reassuring squeeze. Or did I just imagine that he did?
"Let's go" Peeta says quietly.
The doors of the train open, ever so slowly, revealing a huge crowd and dozens of cameras. Here we go, I think.
The moment the train's doors open wide enough to reveal me and Peeta's faces, a billion flash bulbs go off. Everyone wants a picture of the Panem's most famous couple, and not to mention most recent Hunger Games Champions. I stumble, leaning into Peeta because all these flashes are making me dizzy.
We step up out onto the platform and give waves to the crowd. They erupt into ear-splitting cheers and screams.
"Welcome home Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark, District 12 tributes and Hunger Games Champions!" A booming voice announces through the speakers set up along the platform.
Haymitch comes out of the train to stand behind me and Peeta.
"Smile. And Peeta, put your arm around Katniss' waist." He barks.
Peeta lets go of my hand, and I feel a sharp pain as all the blood rushes back to the tips of my fingers. It is only now that I realize that I had been squeezing his hand with a death grip. Peeta obediently wraps his arm around me and places his hand at the small of my waist. It feels almost uncomfortable, having it there.
Katniss! Peeta! The crowd shouts. They're chanting our names, over and over again until it sounds like some odd sort of tribal ceremony chant.
I shoot a loving glance at Peeta which he returns. But we both know that these looks are just to keep up the act. My act. Peeta was never acting. This reminder makes my stomach feel heavy with guilt. Peeta is in love with me, but sadly I can't return the favor. I can't even begin to sort out my feelings right now. I have so many other things to deal with. I still have to tour the districts, do some more interviews and talk shows, and more. But keeping up the lovers act was one of the main things.
If the Capitol finds out it was all a stunt… I trail off. I don't even want to imagine what they could do to me and my family. This reminds me…Prim! Mother! Gale! I search the crowd, frantically looking for their faces. Finally, I spot them. Prim is crying, her eyes puffy and her nose running. Mother just stares at me, and Gale… Gale is looking strait at Peeta, his eyes are daggers. I am hyper aware of the rest of the crowd. All I see is my family and Gale pushing their way through the crowd towards the platform. In my peripheral vision, I can see Peeta's family- his mother, father and two older brothers- also making their way to him.
"Okay, you can go greet your families now" Haymitch tells us.
The tears are welling up and spilling over now. I give Peeta a swift peck on the cheek, which he returns with a smile before we both separate to meet our families. I see Gale look at Peeta and he hesitates a moment before looking towards me with the biggest smile I've ever seen on his face. I grin at him but then focus my sights on Prim; I see her and my heart swells with joy. She's almost to me now, so I reach out with my hand to further close the distance between us. Finally, she is in my arms and we are both hugging and laughing and crying.
"Oh Katniss! You're home! I knew you could do it, I knew it!" She cries with her head nestled into my hair. I pick her up and spin her around in the air.
I set her back on the ground and put my hands on her small shoulders. I gently push her back so that I can look at her. "I promised you Prim, I said I would come home. I will always come back to you." I say, smiling and wiping my eyes with the back of my hand.
My mother comes up to us both and pulls us into a tight hug. Then she puts both hands on my face and wipes my tears away with her thumbs. "Katniss, Katniss. My baby, you're home." She croons. "You don't know how scared I was. I was afraid… that… you, you wouldn't…" She trails of starting to cry.
"Shh, shhh," I hug her and stroke her hair. I hadn't seen my mother this emotional since my dad was blasted to bits in that mine explosion. "I'm here, I'm home now. Safe."
"I know, I know." She sobs. "Your father would have been so proud of you."
Wow, my mother never talked about my father. Ever.
"Hey, Catnip" a voice says says.
I feel a light tap on my shoulder and I turn my head around, but I already know who it's going to be.
"Hold on mom, I have to see Gale" I whisper to my mother.
"Of course, go. We must go home now anyways. We were told to pack our belongings for the new house." She says, smiling.
Right, I think to myself, we're moving out of the Seam. It was all so unbelievable.
I turn to face Gale and am surprised when he immediately pulls me into a humongous bear-hug.
Oh Gale, I think. I feel so happy, so safe in his arms. But then the guilt comes back again when I see Peeta from over his shoulder.
"Gale you have to put me down." I whisper to him.
"No." he says.
"Gale, please." I plead. "I'll explain everything later." I shoot another glance at the Mellarks. He sets me down on the ground and looks at me. His grey eyes are cold and hard.
"Is it because of him?" he asks, nodding towards Peeta. He says him with such hardness and I can't bear to look at him anymore. It makes me feel so guilty.
I look down, embarrassed. Gale puts his hand under my chin and forces me to look up at him.
"I said I'd explain. And why would you care anyways?" I snap.
Now it's his turn to look down. He takes my hand and squeezes it before saying "Later, Catnip." Then he turns around and starts making his way out of the crowd.
As he leaves, the Mellark family comes up to greet me. Peeta pulls me into his arms and kisses me on the cheek.
"Oh, isn't that just adorable!" his brother, Gavin I think, says mockingly. Peeta kicks him in the shins and Gavin tousles his brother's golden hair jokingly. "Awe, you know I'm just kidding Bro, I'm happy you made it home. Nice job man, getting the girl! She's cute, though I don't see how she'd ever fall for you! " Peeta gives him another blow to the shins for this comment.
"Ow!" he yells, rubbing his shin. "Thanks. Now I'm gonna have a bruise."
"Boys, stop it. Now." His mother says harshly. Her eyes are hard as she looks at me and nods curtly. It's the first time I've really looked at her. Her hair is the same as Peeta's, but that's as far as the resemblance goes. Her face is round and she has small features. Overall, she's pretty, but her scowl transforms her expression into something hard and cold.
Her husband takes my hands and stares at me. I can see how much Peeta resembles his dad. All of his features came from his father except for his hair. He's got light brown hair while Peeta's is a shade darker than gold. But other than that, he's got the same piercing blue eyes, same angular face, same nose, same lips…
I feel a warm sensation on my lips and I bring my hand up to touch them, remembering a kiss in a dark, cold cave.
"Thank you so much; for saving my son's life, for everything." He says, making my attention shift back to the present. The Baker starts tearing up and I glance away, uncomfortable from seeing this tall, strong man crying.
"Thank you too," I say "For watching out for Prim while I was gone."
He chuckles a deep, bellowing laugh, "The little lady would have been fine anyways, selling all those cheeses and plants at the Hob"
I talk some more to the Baker until Haymitch comes up behind me.
"Pardon me for interrupting your little talk, but Katniss will need to come with me now" he says politely to the baker.
Peeta's father nods as he agrees to let me leave. Many people had gone home by this time, so the crowd was pretty thin. Haymitch takes me by the arm and brings me behind a tree.
"Okay Katniss, you get two hours at home and then Effie will be joining us at the Mayor's for supper. The cameras will be on you starting from the moment you get to the Mayor's, so watch your mouth. Don't say anything about the Games if you don't have to. If anyone asks you about your little stunt with the berries, avoid answering directly. Most importantly, keep up the star-crossed lovers act. After dinner, you will be taken straight to the Victor's Village so you can get used to your new home. "
We walk towards the parking lot, where a black limousine is parked, waiting for me to arrive. Haymitch looks me over and nods. "The limo will pick you up at your house at 6:45 so don't be late. I'll see you at dinner."
"I won't" I say, rolling my eyes.
He turns to leave but then stops and looks back at me with a cocky grin.
"Oh, and Katniss?" he says, "Wear something nice."
"Thanks." I mutter sarcastically.