(Disclaimer: all characters, places, and the Hunger Games are property of Suzanne Collins and the Scholastic Corporation; I own nothing. )
Author's Notes: Well, I've had this one sitting in the archives for awhile and thought I might as well publish it. But not before having LoveTheBoyWithTheBread beta it. She did a fabulous job so lots of kudos to her! So, enjoy this piece of angsty-romance from yours truly.
I stare at my pallet. I can't figure out how to do this color. I cannot tell you how many tubes of paint I've wasted on this color alone. Not that it's an issue anymore. Before the Games, I would paint on the cakes. I would blend the food coloring with the frosting and paint for hours. I would do it to take my mind off more unpleasant things.
Like the fact that the Reaping was coming closer. And the fact that Katniss has her name in the Reaping more times than ever. Then, that was all I could think about. I was more worried for her than I was for myself. After all, my existence revolved around her. She was all I would ever think about. I always wondered if she had enough food, or if she was happy, or whether or not she even remembered that moment four years ago.
Everything is different now. The Games were the worst and best thing that ever happened to me. I dream about the awful things that happened every night. Then, during the day, I seem to live in all the good things that happened then.
But why does it even matter? It was all for the cameras. Katniss was never in love with me. She just did it to keep us alive. And I know I shouldn't blame her for this. If it wasn't for her I wouldn't even be here right now. I'd be buried in one of those black coffins, six feet under in the Tributes' Cemetery, across from the Victors' Village.
I throw down my paintbrush. What's the use? I just can't mix the color. I decide to grab my camera on the way out the back door. The camera was a gift from Portia. I'd seen photographs before and even had my picture taken once (before the Games, that is), but never touched a camera before.
I didn't really think I'd like it. After all, where's the art? You just point the long, heavy lens at something and hold the shutter down. That was before I tried it out.
Since I got it while in the Capitol, the first thing I did was go outside and take a few pictures of the skyline. My first few pictures ended up being blurry once I got them developed. I moved the camera too much. But I learn quickly.
Soon, I was taking pictures of everything. I took hundreds of pictures of Katniss. She didn't really seem to mind. I have pictures of her on the rooftop of the Training Center, from when we stayed there after the Games. I have even more from random moments throughout the days in the Capitol, before we came home.
Before I found out.
The last picture I took was of Katniss looking out the window on the train. She has a very far off look in her eyes. Her braid is sitting over her shoulder blowing slightly because of the breeze the slightly open windows yielded.
I keep that picture in my bedroom. It sits on my nightstand and it's the last thing I see at night and the first thing I look at in the morning. I miss her.
I know I really should not be mad at her. After all, she just was doing what she thought was best at the time. But it hurt. It still hurts to know that the person who you love most in the world, does not reciprocate those feelings.
I miss hearing her voice.
I haven't talked to her in months. I mean we've exchanged a few words when I bring bread over to her house. I usually talk to Prim, though. She loves looking at the cookies I bring over. I frost every cookie with a flower on it. She has so much fun telling me which flowers have useful properties and giving me ideas for my paintings.
I usually say hello when we meet at Haymitch's house. We usually go over to his house once a day to check on him. Most of the time, he has passed out or is too drunk to notice I'm there. I still leave bread for him though.
I take my camera outside. The snow is starting to fall. It's not even white. Like everything else in District 12, it is a certain shade of coal dust gray. I take a few shots of the dead trees covered in snow. I look across the street at Katniss's house and see the golden glow through the windows. Her mother is probably in the kitchen, preparing for the arrival of her prep team.
They will spend a few hours poking and prodding her, waxing and smearing make-up on her face. I do not see why it is necessary though. Katniss is gorgeous in anything and does not require all that make-up to look absolutely stunning.
I don't require much prep work. They'll just put me in some nicer clothes and comb my hair. Portia said she'd bring me a new part for my prosthetic. Something on the bottom broke and now it doesn't fit in my shoe quite right.
I turn around to head back into my house. Thinking about Katniss has just reminded me of the fact that I will now have to spend three weeks pretending to be madly in love with her. Not that any of it will be pretend, for me. I'll play my role as perfectly as ever.
When I get back to my room, I pick up the picture. I look at Katniss, analyzing her face and trying to figure out what must have been running through her mind then. I sigh and put it back on the nightstand, face down. I decide that it's time to let go of the past. She never owed me anything and I shouldn't hold what happened against her.
I stare at the quickly drying shade of orange on my wooden pallet and then back at the canvas. I see her body's silhouette and the flowers on the rooftop garden next to her. The rest of the painting is as perfect as I know I can get it. The problem is the sunset. I just can't find the proper shade of orange.
I give a sigh. I'll never be able to replicate this color, the color of the sky that evening. I resign myself to that fact and decide to call it quits. Time is running out before I will be on a train bound for District 11 and two weeks of stone-cold silence and misery.
I turn to walk back downstairs. I need to get out some food for the prep team. In a few short hours, we will pick up the charade that happened just a few short months ago. The one that played out so perfectly on-screen and that made the Capitol residents fall so madly in love with us. It will be different, though.
Because this time, I'll know it's all for the cameras.