A/n- Hey guys! Sorry for hiatus-ing on you, and I'm very sure that I'll only have a few readers for this chapter, but I just wanted to say thank you for those who have stayed in tune with this story until the end. Yes, this is the last chapter. :) My story is done. I realized that this has gone far too long, and I really don't want to keep you guys waiting. I actually achieved my goal. I wrote 25 chapters, not counting chapter 17 which is just an irritating author's note. This may sort of be a summary of the whole series of one-shots I've written, excluding the epilogue and the 'end.' Second Point of View. Inspired by Shadowed White Rosebud. Awesome author.
I hope this won't disappoint you. Fluff and Angst;) Enjoy.
And just a warning, this would be also posted as a one-shot, giving it a chance as its own, because apparently, I worked hard on this.
You don't know how much longer you can stand it, can you? Your family hurt, starving, while those in the Capitol feast on warm fresh food too much for them to finish. You watch the Peacekeepers hurt those who strive to survive with the only means they have.
You look up to your father who means almost everything to you. He inspires you to keep fighting. To keep moving forward. You listen to every word he says. He tells you that you'll end all of this one day. He tells you that you're a special, handsome boy and that one day you'll break the hearts of many, but you'll save millions of people's lives. You look up to him. And you love hearing him come home after work every day. Carrying you up in the air or ruffling your hair. You love it when he brings you to the forest and teaches you how to get food with the use of ropes and arrows.
He's your hero.
But one day you don't hear his footsteps come home. Instead you hear a loud, booming noise. And with that boom, you're heart shatters into a million pieces. You hear screams. You hear sirens. You immediately knew then he was gone.
You hurt inside; you want to run to the ruins. You want to beg for a chance to find him, retrieve him. But you know. You already know that there is no way for you to save him. Your mom is pregnant and you have now three siblings to feed. So you gather up ropes and head to the forest, claiming to set up snares for dinner. No one stops you. No one asks you why, believing you were out to gather food. Believing you were just following your fathers orders to become the little hero. But in all honesty, you just want to go somewhere where no one can see you cry.
It has been a few weeks now, and you're starting to finally believe that nothing can remove that heavy weight on your heart. They invite you to a ceremony in the justice building, and though you can refuse, you will not give up the opportunity to make your father proud. You walk with your head held high though the crying women make your knees go weak. But in the midst of all the wailing, you see a pretty, thin girl stand with her eyes determined not to tear up. And although you yourself are fighting to keep it together, you admire her for her courage and determination. You leave the building at once, running to the forest which now served as your refuge.
It has been so long now. And though you tried your best to set up a lot of snares, it's not enough. You try and try until your fingers bleed to make a bow, but it's no use. Instead you start believing your father abandoned you, in order to ignore that pain in your chest. And after months, you start losing faith. You lose hope. But your fear of your family starving still gets you going to that forest every day. So you become your own hero. You harden your heart and face the truth that only you could help yourself. You forget how to smile and you work only for the sake of it. For you, there isn't any tomorrow.
Until one day, you weren't the only soul in the forest. It was that strong girl you saw in the building. You saw her holding a bow. You felt invaded, finding someone in your forest and touching your snares. But you needed a bow, and admittedly, you found her character very interesting. You tell yourself that once she puts her trust into you and gives you a bow, you run off and hide from her. She then tells you her name and through her very soft voice, you hear a small 'Catnip.' You think it's a funny name and say it out loud. She corrects you and tells you her name is 'Katniss.'
You repeat to yourself that you mustn't get too friendly with this girl, for you will have to abandon her. She will slow you down. But then you find yourself teaching her how to make snares and she teaches you how to shoot with accuracy. You don't know why, but you enjoy her company. And usually through her face, you can tell she enjoys you too.
It wasn't long before you become best friends with Catnip. You then learn she has a sister named Prim. And that's when you truly start respecting her. She has become a hero too.
You become inseparable, and you start loving your daily meetings in the forest. Everything felt right then, but suddenly your world came crashing down when the Hunger Games was thrown into your face. You were fourteen and she was just twelve. It was her first.
Katniss didn't mind, she needed the tesserae, and you did too. So you didn't know why there was a burning anger in you when you lined up for it. After getting your sacks, you agreed to bring each home before meeting in the forest.
When you got to the forest, she was already there, perched up on a tree with her bow slung across her back. She asked you why you're fists were clenching and unclenching at your sides. You screamed at her then, asking her why she would need to care. She winced then, but returned to her passive expression. She jumped down and tiptoed to look at your eyes. And then she told you it was because you were her best friend. You got confused then, and you screamed at her again, and the realization of all the injustices smacked you in the face. You screamed your heart out, knowing all too well that no one else but Katniss would hear you. She remained quiet the whole time, even through your outrage of whores lining up at Darius door and your accusation of her being one of them if she wasn't a few years older. You screamed and screamed, releasing all the pressure you had in your heart. And when it was all done, when you had nothing left to say, the wetness burned your eyes. You don't know why that just happened, but you just know that you were scared of the future and of yourself. You were ashamed to show anyone the tears that slid down. But it was Katniss, and she would understand.
She took you in her arms then. As much as her stringy twelve year old arms could take in. She wiped the liquid from your cheeks and gave you a kiss on the cheek. You told her you were sorry. And you explained to her that you were scared. She smiled at that and told you that you possibly couldn't be afraid of anything. But then you were. You feared the future. You hated having to lose the chance of getting tesserae. And you rue the day when Vick would have to be the one hunting for you. She gave a sad smile and told you that it would be okay. That you and her will get through this. And you smiled, feeling warm despite the wrath you showed before.
She then took your hands and examined them. It didn't even occur to you that your knuckles were bloodied and splintered. She washed them with her jug and bandaged them with strips she cut off her shirt with the knife. And while she was doing this, you realized that she was your hero. And without knowing it, you softened your heart for her.
It went on for years didn't it? You loved her, and you knew that. You smiled for her, you laughed with her, and she did the same for you. It went on happily, those four years. And even though you weren't perfect, and neither was she, you couldn't stand one day not seeing each other. A day in the forest was now enjoyable with her around. Both of you would meet at the same meeting place. And you would tread silently into some unknown realm of trees. You would then set up snares and she would pick a tree you both would be sitting on for the next hour.
Both of you end up just looking at each other, but intently listening to the noises all around. And with one sound of the rustling of leaves, you arm yourself, ready to shoot. But then you come down the tree and hold up the animal which apparently was a squirrel. You laugh as you remove the arrow neatly shot in its eye. You hear another sound which makes you drop it and grab again another arrow. But when you grab it again by the neck, you see a perfectly clear shot. You look up at her expectantly, and she surprises you from behind. She gives you a small smile, tiny but radiant. You give her one back. Then you wonder why she only smiles in forests.
And when you're done with the game, you gather berries, laughing and talking as you do so. Once, after you both were to head home, she trampled you, laughing heartily. And you began a wrestling match. One which ended with you beneath her. And when she leaned down to whisper something in your ear, probably something to agitate you so that she could tackle you again, you don't know why your heart starts beating faster. And suddenly you fantasize kissing her, you dream of her looking at you like some other girls at school. You regret what you did with those others, and you just see her.
You see her beautiful grey eyes, her long black hair, and her soft lips. It was like you were truly seeing her for the first time.
You realize that she's looking at you strangely because you're staring at her like an idiot. So you shrug it off and use the moment of distraction to throw her off you. Then you start fighting physically again and you enjoy it more than you should. And throughout the whole game, you figured out that the pounding of your chest was telling you something. And when it was time to go home, as you put your arm around her shoulder, you told yourself that you've been wrong the whole time. You didn't just love her; you were in love with her. You told yourself that it was wrong. Wrong for you to be in love with a fourteen year old. But you tell yourself that it's okay, because when you both grow up, she'll realize that she was in love with you too. Your walk back home was one of the best walks you've ever had.
Your personal mission then started. You had to make her realize that she was in love with you. After, of course, being able to feed your family.
It was different from then on. You watched her carefully then, and she noticed it too. You won't admit it, but she was the only thing that ever took your breath told her how you loved the colour of her eyes and the way she smiled. You both had your moments of jealousy, but you overcame it. And what made you happy was seeing that look in her eyes. That look that made you hope that she loved you too.
It happened now and then, your outbursts. Whenever you see something that could be bettered by the government, the pressure and heat pushes you to scream everything out. And always after that happened, she would still be waiting patiently, with a look of understanding on her face, for you. Sometimes she bandaged you up, and sometimes she gave you hugs. She was still your hero.
You knew each other when it came to hunting, but you didn't know what she hated and what she liked. So you got to know each other better. Then everything came and went by so fast. You went to dances, slept under the clouds, and she brought you to a place she shared with her father. It was a lake. She was moved to tears when she showed you what she and her father used to do. It was the first time you've ever seen her cry, so you held her in your arms, and you buried your face into her hair. You felt heartbroken as each drop slid down her cheeks. You wanted to cheer her up.
After you wiped away her tears, you felt accomplished as she stared at you shirtless. You jumped in the water, not caring what was in there. You splashed her and saw her give a shaky laugh. And in return you watched as she jumped into the water in her underclothes. You were her hero too, though you never saw it.
You didn't know how cold the water was then, you just knew you had to make her happy. But you had nothing on but your trousers. When you got back to your home to dry up, you started shivering and your back felt hollow and pained. You almost collapsed in the doorway, but Katniss was there to hold you up. You were very sick and she was the one who took care of you with the help of your mother. When you were in that bed and everything swam before your eyes, the only thing that brought you relief was the sight of her grey eyes watching you. It was the first time you asked her to kiss you. But she didn't and that made you feel worse. But you kept up a brave face though you felt so much pain, and because of that, she gave you kisses everywhere but your lips. She was still your hero. And ever since that night, you were protective of her. And once when she didn't arrive in the forest, you would almost go crazy looking for her, fear in your heart that she was taken away by the Capitol. But in the end, you would always find her.
She never knew what kind of effect she had. She never thought she was beautiful or breath-taking. But you proved it to her, telling her how you couldn't count on your fingers how many men were staring at her during your lunch at school. It was the first time you opened to her about the baker's son who kept his eyes trailed on her like a hunter. It was the first time you openly showed your disgust.
You wanted to protect her then, from that animal, and so you made a show of what relationship you and Katniss had. You showed public displays of affection, keeping all those bastards away from her. But you knew that you wouldn't be able to hold on to her forever.
One of those painful memories was when she was mauled by a bear. Your heart beat so fast when she screamed your name; you didn't know where to run. But somehow, you knew where she was. Getting your thickest arrow, you shot that bear, adrenaline pumping in your veins. After you slit its throat, you looked frantically around for Katniss. And you saw her hiding in a berry bush, with her knee twisted at an odd angle. You didn't know why you wouldn't talk to her as you carried her back home, but it was only after weeks when you figured it was your fear. She buried her face in your neck and was biting her lip. You think she knew why you were angry. You were so scared of losing her forever. But when you set her down on the bed and gave her a lingering kiss on the forehead, she looked up at you and it finally dawned on you that you were her hero too.
Then the Reaping of the Seventy Third Hunger Games came by. Your name was in that bowl thirty-eight times. And hers was in there twenty-one times. You were scared. Again. But when Effie Trinket mentioned a name with a Kat at the beginning, you felt like your whole world shattered. You thought about what you were going to do. You wanted to run up there and volunteer if ever it was her name that was called. You stared at her as you thought about this… About wanting to protect her… Then she noticed that look in your eyes, and for a moment, true genuine fear showed in her eyes.
Your heart leapt out of your chest when you didn't hear a Katniss Everdeen through the speakers. You somehow felt thankful to Effie for not picking her. You didn't even bother thinking about yourself. After that, you and Katniss met up in the forest. And she got mad at you then. For having the sole thought of following her into that arena. In frustration, she almost burst into tears. She pointed out to you rational facts. How no one would feed your families. How no one would be there to guide all of them. Because of that, you had no reason not to promise. And you both swore that if ever one was to enter the arena, the other would stay behind and hunt. And after all that, you knew that it was a promise you both wished you never made.
The next year was faster. She finally turned sixteen and you were seventeen. Just one more year until the mines. You bought a goat for Prim, and you had all the other adventures you would normally have. But this was the year Katniss feared the most. It was the year Prim would finally be entered in the Hunger Games. Sure, she believed that her chances were very slim. But they were slim, not impossible.
And yet, through all her worries, the day finally came. You knew it was eating both of you up inside, but Vick didn't have another year until he was entered. Yet you still feared it. Because you loved both of them. Prim was already practically your sister, and you knew Katniss wouldn't let her go. She would volunteer for her if ever that happened because you saw how those two looked at each other. She loved her so much. And then you would be the one who wouldn't be able to stand it, you would do anything to help her, because you loved her too much. But you would have to keep your promise.
So you thought of something. It was insane and ridiculous. But it was something. And you shared this with her as you met up in the forest right before the reaping. She answered you with incredulous looks. But as you looked directly into her eyes for a brief second, you easily saw the longing and hope. You both knew it was crazy, but not unattainable. You told her that you could run away together, risking your friendship by asking her to come with you.
You knew you both dreamed of it. Just living peacefully in the woods. Both free of the Capitol's cruelties… but more importantly, no one would be there to take her away from you.
But she said no, and you apparently didn't argue with her.
But you wished you had. Because then, you were both suddenly at the reaping. And the last thing you were thinking about was how beautiful she looked in her dress. Then the world started spinning when you heard Effie say Primrose Everdeen. You were barely able to stop yourself from screaming. But someone else beat you to it. That was when your world truly shattered. She screamed and screamed, almost pleading. She said that she would volunteer for her sister. Prim started shrieking, telling Katniss to get out of the way and leave her alone. Prim raced towards Katniss, as if she would be able to beat some sense into her, and you almost wanted to do the same. But you knew you had to do it. You promised her.
You held her back. You gripped Prim's wrist as tightly as you could. She thrashed and screamed, but with your strength and height, you obviously were able to hold her down. You stared at your Catnip, and a small exchange happened between you. Her eyes showed thanks, but at the same time, they showed grief. You wanted to kiss her and hold her and never let her go. But you made a promise, and you didn't want to make the show more entertaining. You told her to get up the stage. When Prim finally went still and reduced her crying to sobs, you realized that Katniss wasn't only your hero. And that you weren't the only one who wanted her alive. She was also Prim's hero.
With each step she took, she was ripping your heart to pieces. It was like she was squeezing you so tight, you felt like everything would explode. But for her, you managed to stay sane and keep everything in check. Through it all, she kept a stoic, calm expression. Though the current situation, you couldn't help but smile at her determination. That's your Katniss... And you hesitated keeping your promise. But you saw the whole Seam show her a genuine sign of respect. And you did it with them. Getting up, you pressed your three fingers to your lips and gave her a salute. With that goodbye, you finally accepted it. You couldn't go up there. You wouldn't be deemed a hero.
But then the Baker's son was called. Peeta Mellark. You loathed him. He was the last person on Earth you would put Katniss in the arena with. Anyone but him. But you still kept your honour. You watched him walk up the stairs.
Then you were finally in the room, alone with her. And all the possibilities raced through your mind. You grabbed her and ensnared her in your arms. You wanted to whisper in her ear that you loved her, but the important always came first. Still in the locked embrace, you gave her advice on how to survive. You told her things she needed reminding of. You told her how special she was. How she had the most chances of becoming a victor among everyone else in the twelfth district. And finally, when there was nothing else to say but those three little words, the Peacekeepers drag you out of the room. But you screamed and thrashed, telling her to remember that you loved her and that she could do it, but the message died on your lips. It was one of the things you regretted not being able to do in your life. But through it all, she was still your hero.
You couldn't help but feel a little pride as you watched her on television. But as the same time, you felt the jealousy. Even Prim noticed the jealousy radiating off of you. When she was on the chariot, burning like a girl on fire, yes, you saw her beauty. How the light casted mysterious shadows across her face, or how she smiled. And suddenly you realized that this wasn't your Katniss. Your eyes trailed on their interlocked fingers. You kept telling yourself that it was impossible for them to do anything romantic since he would end up likely dead.
Yet, what you thought was highly impossible happened. He admitted his supposedly love for her in front of the whole Panem. You felt the anger burn through your put up defences. You crushed a glass in your hand, and you didn't look up at the screen. Instead, you watched your hand bleed on the table. You wanted to scream again, you wanted to release your anger. But you kept it in you, and you went home to wrap a scrap cloth around your hand. Because this time, there was no Katniss to help you cool down or bandage you up; this time, she was the one drilling holes into your heart from miles away.
Is she still your hero?
A/n- Okay guys. Sorry to cut it short. But it honestly took me a while to write until this part. It's going to be twice as long as this though… in the one-shot I shall post soon. I'm sorry if you're mad at me or something, but I seriously just can't finish this here. Thanks for understanding.
And as a last request, review?