Warning: If you don't like to read stories with a lot of violence, bloody gore, ruthless sadism, teen-pregnancies, mild (kind of) sexual content or (cough..very..) foul language you can just click yourself out right away.
But if you do however, just keep on reading.
This is my vision -at least one of them- of Clove and Cato and their doomed love. They were human even though they were raised as ruthless Careers which messed them up pretty badly. I want to show you how underneath those confident surfaces of emotionless killers they were just terrified children who actually loved. So here is my version of the lovers who were raised to murder and born to die.
This story is written from Clove's point of view and it will have an alternate ending but also one which follows the book. Rating may change to M, though I will try to keep it T.
Disclaimer: I own nothing you recognize, Suzanne Collins does.
And please don't be afraid to tell me what you think. Constructive criticism is much appreciated.
When Hearts Break
The shattering sound;
When hearts break
Will they ever mend?
Or is this the eternal end?
"I'm falling apart. I'm barely breathing. With a broken heart that's still beating. In the pain, there is healing. In your name, I find meaning." Broken, Lifehouse
Fear sparks in his muddy brown eyes, and flickers over his ugly features. His eyes can't seem to hold still as they roam the shadows behind for an escape. An escape he can't find, because there isn't one. He is trapped, and he knows I'm going to kill him.
I have to.
I want to.
Killing him will avenge my brother's death. This asshole killed him. Why, is beyond my comprehension. But the fact that he did triggers the blood lust I have tried to keep buried deep within for so long. And why I tried to strain my sadistic instincts? To please my brother. But he is dead. And you can't please the dead.
Why he was killed doesn't really matter either. Killing isn't unusual in District 2. Almost all of our district's inhabitants are raised to draw blood, me and my brother alike. But of us, I'm the only one practicing the dark, but oh so satisfying deed. It sickened my brother. So much, that he would rather be killed than kill someone. Even in self-defense.
By killing his murderer, I will give my brother the justice he deserves. But I know if he had been alive this would be the last thing he would want me doing. But I'm doing it to justify my brother, it is the only way I know how. But I'm also doing it for myself, it is what I need. What I need to keep insanity from invading my already impure mind.
Walking slowly toward him, I enjoy his terrified expression. With each step I take, the brave face he tries to put on fades into fear. I walk to stand right before him. A meter or so separating him from his certain death. I want to laugh at the thought as it fills me with uncontrollable bliss.
"Aren't you going to fight back?" I purr tauntingly while swirling my knife between my fingers. I make sure he sees it, I want the terror to paralyze him as much as possible. Not because I believe I can't fight him if it comes to that. But because inflicting fear, inflicting pain, makes me feel powerful. Makes me feel alive.
A low snickering escapes my lips, exposing my deranged joy to him. He flinches. And I can almost see the mental slap he must be giving himself afterward. Showing weakness in the claw of the enemy will not get you out alive. You will receive no mercy, get no compassion. It is rule one in District 2; show no weakness.
"You know," I say, touching the blade of my beloved knife lovingly. "you're going to get killed by a girl." I look up at him and smirk meanly. "A thirteen year old girl." I stroke the beautiful blade again, feeling the sharp tip against my flawless skin. But not puncturing. No, it is his skin that will be punctured by the sharp edge.
"Are you afraid?" He seems determined not to break his confident act, but I can see the fear in is muddy brown eyes. I can see the uncertainty in his firmly set jaw. He stands in silence, making no move to answer the question. "Answer me!" I shout, irritation slowly settling. I can see the internal battle he has with himself, it shows on his ugly face. If he admits his fear, he will openly show his weakness. But if he doesn't, he stands in line of angering me even more. Which he clearly understands. Smart boy, sacrificing his pride to not feel my wrath. Too bad smart choices won't save him now.
"Yes," he says solemnly. Like admitting that fact alone, can save him from his death. It can't. It never could. He meets my gaze boldly, like he has mustered that last fiber of courage in his body to fight. But it doesn't keep him from flinching as I laugh my vicious laugh.
Then, the fool tries to run. He is clinging to the last hope of mercy. But I don't do mercy. And with a flick of my wrist the knife whizzes through the air and finds its goal: his very back. He comes to a halt in mid-run, and falls to his knees. I can hear him coughing, but it ends in a gurgle, blood spluttering everywhere as the merciless knife hit a lung or another fatal organ. It pleases me.
Then the coughing and the movement stops. He is dead.
Laughter erupts from the shadows behind me. A laughter I know better than my own. A well-known form comes into sight. He eyes the dead foe approvingly, before turning to me, "You're a vicious little one, aren't you?" Cato ruffles my hair playfully -something he knows annoys me- and grins that mean shark grin of his, which is known to terrify the whole population of District 2. I scowl at him in that sharp way only I can. But that little annoyance does nothing to falter my joy. Finally, I have gotten my revenge. Finally, my thirst for blood has been quenched. For now, at least.
Grinning evilly up at him -dark and dangerous bliss spreading through my body- the truth escapes my lips, "I loved it."
With a start, I wake up from the trip down memory lane. From the dream that was the replay of my first kill. I sit up groggily in my dark bedroom, trying to rub the tiredness away. No such luck.
Sighing, I remember my brother; how he always understood me, yet being the opposite of me in every possible way. He was kind and likable and definitely not a murderer. As I'm cruel and vicious. The people I have killed are so many. And yet I can't bring myself to regret any of them. Because I am born a murderer. Literally. What killed my mother, was my birth. And ever since the day I was born, I always was destined to be a killer. A monster of the most terrifying sort. That kind of monster you have nightmares about, and that kind that haunts your mind. That kind who tortures you, kills you and then laughs because the uncontrollable feeling of joy is too much to tame.
I never asked to be like this, but when I think about it, I wouldn't want it any other way. Because nothing feels as good as cutting deep into someone's flesh with my deadly knife, tearing their veins open, and watching blood pour like a wide red river of pleasure. Nothing can even begin to compare to the surging emotion of consuming bliss when you know you have the complete control over a person's life, or rather a person's death. It is pleasing, it is comfort, it is the only thing I have ever known.
Suddenly the door flies open, tearing me out of my thoughts. In strides the boy who calls me his, who thinks he owns me. And we both know deep within -to my big frustration- that he is right. He knows every expression on my face, has felt every inch of my bare skin, and he sees everything I really am. He sees the darkness in my eyes, the evil in my mind, the hatred in my body. He sees me for the twisted, dark little thing I really am, and he still uses that tiny, incredibly small piece of the humanity left in his body to care about me. And him caring means endless taunting, irritating remarks, infuriating fights and body-wrecking sex. Those things are his deranged picture of care, and I don't mind as that picture is beautifully identical to mine.
He draws back the curtains, and the bright morning light shines through the window and blinds me with the fierce brightness of it all. Cato poises himself between me and the gleaming sun, his great body casting long shadows across my bedroom.
An excited, yet suggestive and intimate grin takes hold of his face. "Rise and shine, sunshine." he says in his deep voice. That spark of excitement can't seem to be erased. Today is the day of the Reaping. In other districts being drawn for the games is a tragedy. But not in District 2. Here it is an honor to get drawn, or to volunteer. And volunteering is exactly what my sadistic boyfriend plans on. The way he grins excitedly down at me, makes me think about how much he looks like a little boy in the candy shop. Even though his candy is cold-blooded murder.
A knot of fear tightens in the pit of my stomach, setting it in unease. I have never been truly worried about him, not before now. My trust in his skills has been too blind. Because I know, whether or not I allow myself to realize it, that something can go wrong. He can easily kill all the tributes. He knows how to fight, he can kill them before they even get to draw their weapon. But it isn't the other tributes that makes me worry; it is the Gamemakers. I know that if they decide to target him, he will be dead before he even knew.
My heart squeezes in fear as I think about living without him. He is my rock, my support, the only one who would ever care if I got killed. No matter how fucking pathetic it sounds, it is true; he's my everything. And if he ever gets taken from me, I won't know what to do.
"It's too early for that." I say coldly as I try to stifle a yawn, but don't quite manage.
"For what?" he asks, playfully, almost jumping up and down in excitement where he stands. But I know he knows what I mean. As I try to blink the tiredness out of my eyes while running a hand through my unruly hair, he sits down on the bed, silently watching me.
"For this excitement. This happy thing." And the next thing I know he has attacked my lips and lifted me from my bed. He holds me up and close to him by an arm around my waist, my feet dangling beneath me, while his other hand roughly cups the back of my head, forcing my mouth hard on his. My hands are in his dirty-blond hair, making tiny knots before brushing through his hair again with my fingers. A growling moan is to be heard deep down in his throat, urging me on.
Pulling away from the kiss he looks into my eyes, that playful spark telling me he is up to no good. But then again, he never is. "Oh, come on, angel! Soon you're going to be the girlfriend of a Hunger Games victor!" I can't help but smile inwardly at the boyish, but yet so dark grin he can't quite get rid of, no matter how old he gets. Before I can react he has thrown me back on the bed, the soft mattress cushioning the slight fall. He lands on top of me, making sure to take all his weight on his elbows so I don't get crushed by him.
The sigh that makes its way from my lips alarms him, and a frown appears on his forehead. He lets me turn us around so that I end up on top. Straddling his torso, I inch closer toward his lap and then I sit up. He follows suit. "What is it?" he grumbles, obviously annoyed with being interrupted.
I search his deep blue eyes. For what, I'm not sure. Maybe a slight doubt in his skills, or in coming home? Or maybe another reason to keep him in my bed and not let him go. Sadly, I know that when Cato has set his mind on something it will be pursued until he gets what he wants. The reason I know? I was also one of those things, not that he had to chase me much before I finally gave in. Somehow it is sad to see him want this so badly that he wants to leave me to fulfill his dreams, but I also understand him. As it is both our dreams; to win and bathe ourselves in the glory of sweet victory. Or simply to kill and indulge ourselves the joys of sadism, without the threat of death penalty hanging over us. The authorities have been on my neck for some time now, and I can't say it has been a happy time. They have extra Peacekeepers watching me. So much for privacy.
"Clove," he says and places his hands on my hips. "I've known you long enough to see when something's bothering you." And it surprises me that he chooses to voice his thought. Usually when I give one of those alarming sighs, he would just continue ravishing me. And that he asks so gently, really catches me off guard. Cato is usually just plain mean, arrogant, conceited, self-absorbed... Yes, the list continues forever.
I silently consider to tell him it is nothing. But then again, like he said, he has known me for a long time. He knows me, and he knows when I'm lying, "I-I'm worried." I confess, lowering my gaze, slightly embarrassed. He chuckles his usual mean chuckle as I utter those words. A confession of my feelings. But then the chuckle turns into a full-blown laugh rumbling through his broad chest, and I frown which in its turn changes into a dangerous scowl. "I'm being serious!" I hit his chest in angered annoyance.
His laughter falters and a look of seriousness replaces his taunting grin. "I know." he says simply. "But I also know there's no reason for you to worry. I'll win this," He grins in excitement. "you know I've been training all my life." With the lowest sigh I let my hands rest on his broad chest. Though it is barely audible, I know by the way his forehead creases that he had heard me. And he seems determined to set me at ease. "You know I'll win. I was born to do this. Hell, we were both born to do this. Only this year it's my turn. Next year will be yours. And then, of course I'll worry, but I know you can do it. Have faith in me, angel."
Again, his way of convincing me has set me at ease. It also surprises me. Cato looks like he has an intelligence way below average. With his massive muscles, shark-like grin and way of acting rude and scary he looks like a man who has lived his life out of civilization. But I know he has a brain, and has used it to out-smart both me and his victims on several occasions. He isn't just brawn. But although he has his moments, he often speaks without thinking, it causes him a lot of trouble.
I nod. He is right, but still I can't keep the unease from cutting its way through my body. What I need is to pound my fists into something, or preferably someone. To let out the frustration that is bottling up inside. Fighting, or rather killing, has always been the best medicine for me, it has done better than painkillers and other medications ever could.
Cato has found another way to excite himself as I'm lost in my wicked thoughts; staring at my chest. Boys will always be boys, and my devilish boyfriend is no exception. The white tank top I slept in is slightly see-through, and Cato has always held a certain fascination for my front parts. It is funny really, how they mesmerize him.
I cross my arms over my chest. He looks at me questioningly, pleading with his eyes. As I roll mine, he says, "Angel." He leans in closer until his mouth is right before mine. "We have time." His hands starts traveling north for my hips.
"Cato," I say softly, but determined. If I give into him now, I'm afraid I won't be able to let go. "I'm not in the mood." If I give into him I know it will be so hard to let go, and I'm not going to let him see that weakness.
He pouts. "But it's my last chance before the Games." I hit him on his chest to keep him from getting any closer.
"Cato." I whisper determined. "Not now." He seems to get the picture and draws back reluctantly. His hands that was on a journey to find my two external body parts unwillingly retreats and make their way back to my hips.
"Stop worrying." he says at last. "Now, go get dressed. The Reaping is waiting." With a mischievous grin he lets go off me. As I walk to the other side of the room to my dresser I feel his gaze on my back. And I roll my eyes as I realize the reason behind that grin of his; he's not planning to leave me alone to dress.
Though I'm standing with my back to him I'm still aware of his lingering gaze as I take my tank top off. My hair flows down my shoulders, covering most of my back. I look back at my handsome boyfriend to see him watching me, as expected. Smiling sweetly at him I turn back and finish dressing.
My eyes seeks his as I stop before him, fully clothed this time. He looks up at me, being that I'm standing and he is sitting on the edge of my bed. Sighing, I lay my hands on each side of his face. "You will come back to me. You'll not do anything reckless and stupid, okay? You'll think, and you'll win, and you'll come back to me. You got that?" I stare him down with a gaze so intense I hope it conveys how much I need him. "You have to, Cato. You have to come back to me."
"Angel," he says, removing my hands from his face and entwining them with his own. "I'll always come back to you. I always do, don't I?" I search his eyes, and I know he is speaking the truth.
Letting out a breath of relief I didn't know I held, I nod once. "Come on." I say and tug at his hand. He said he would come back to me, he promised. Cato never lies to me.
Cato insists on making me breakfast. Always telling me I eat too little. He his a good cook, without a doubt. But because of my nerves, the food won't go down easily.
The only reason he was able to make me breakfast today is because my father isn't home. My father who has hated me with a burning passion since the day I was born, as my mother died giving birth to me. He believes I killed the only woman he loved.
Yet, he trains me for the Games, telling me it would disgrace our family if I get drawn and fail to win. Because of my mother and father who both were victors I have a really good chance at being drawn. Who wouldn't like two victor's kid to follow in her parents footsteps? But everyone knows -to some extent- that I will eventually volunteer. By training me for the Games my father prevents humiliation of our 'family'.
Over the years, my skills have grown in high-speed, easily making me the best, and most feared, female in the district. I have gotten quite the reputation, as whenever it is a big brawl somewhere, you are likely to find me in the middle of it.
Cato also trains for the Games, obviously. We train at one of the several training centers, made to make victors. But officially they are training Peacekeepers, as training for the Games isn't allowed. It has never stopped us though. Even though I'm sure the Capitol knows, they see through their blind eye as they kind of favor us from the other districts.
Cato and I train at the main training center in District 2. You start when you turn eight with the other eight year olds. You get assigned a trainer, I -of course- got assigned my father who had begun training me already at the age of six. The Training Center works like some kind of school, though we almost never have any actual subjects, only sometimes we have to go to obligatory classes about Panem's history.
Due to the strict rules we are not allowed to show any affection for the other sex. We are expected to act like cold, professional murderers -not that I have a problem with that- and if they find anyone just goofing off you are really risking getting a violent punishment, like whipping or torture of another form.
They also keep monthly check-ups on our weight, height and body. I hate those check-ups, the feeling of some random stranger examining your body to look for the ever so slightest imperfection makes me feel sick.
Though we don't get to joke around the trainers are really fans of letting us spar. It is good entertainment, I suppose. And they can determine who will get to fight for the permission to volunteer. If you volunteer for the Games without permission from the Council, it can have severe consequences, both for you and your family.
This year Cato has won his permission. And the girl tribute will be Gia Ackworth, an annoying bitch who really hates me. She is mad at me for killing her 'boyfriend', and she has always been after Cato. When I snatched him before her eyes she made it her life goal to make my life a living hell. But I know she is scared of me, though with good reason.
Gia has always been convinced -especially after Mark's tragic death- that she and Cato belong together. She is so wrong. Cato belongs with me. We know each other better than we know ourselves. When Cato and I spar we can go on forever. We are equally skilled in what we know the most. Both of us knowing what the other's move is most likely to be. We have a special understanding for the other's mindset. He knows I have got a mean right-hook, and that I'm most likely to try and pin my prey to the ground. While he always catches his contender with brutal force, preferably with breaking some of their bones. And that is only one of the many reasons that makes him belong with me and not with her.
With the nervous tension of my anxiety hanging over us we make our way to the town square where the Reaping is held. Cato notices and nudges me slightly in the arm. It is as far as we can go in public. They all know that Cato and I are close, and our so-called relationship is common knowledge among the youth of District 2, but if the trainers found out, hell would break loose. But even though he is only walking beside me, his presence still soothes me and my fragile nerves. He grins down at me, his happiness not willing to fade.
People walking by sends us their usual stares. It is funny how the two most feared in the district have found each other, isn't it? I know they think it is weird how someone who is as small as me dares to be near someone as big as him. They think I should be afraid of him. But they don't know him like I do. They only see him as the eighteen year old boy over twice their size. But I know what is inside of him. And I know he will never hurt me. Okay, that is a lie. He has hurt me a lot of times, but at least I know he will never kill me.
We stop in an alley behind the bakery, sneaking off for some final kisses before he goes into the Games. He bends down to kiss me, enveloping me in his warmth. I kiss him back, not being able to let go of him. "I'll be back before you know it." A sly grin spreads on his lips. "Then we'll have a proper reunion." Our lips meet one more time and I'm not able to let go, and my fists curl around his t-shirt, as if that can make him stay. The kiss grows brutal, and I know by the way his hands roam my body hungrily that I soon can't stay true to the decision of making it easier for myself and not being with him.
Cato slams me against the alley wall, and lifts me so we are at the same level. And as he kisses my neck, nibbling the slightest, all my resolve falters with shameful ease. "Get a room!" someone yells, and I turn my head to peak out of the small alley entrance. Poor guy, doesn't know who he is messing with. I break away from the kiss to give the intruder one of my death glares. And even though Cato still has me up against the wall, he soon backtracks as he sees who he just offended. I love how my reputation is still all-known.
I laugh at the pathetic boy, causing Cato to grin at me. And I'm still laughing meanly as I kiss him once more, promising him I will come and say goodbye. Then I muster enough willpower to let go off him -because that boy noticing us got my resolve on its feet again- to let him pursue his dreams, no matter how much I dread it. As I walk to the area of the sixteen year olds, he walks to where the eighteen year olds are standing, and I can't do anything but to hope with my whole heart that him volunteering is an idea that won't backfire.
Oceana Silviri, District 2's escort appears on stage as the mayor finishes talking. And she eagerly makes her way toward the microphone. With her sick surgery-looking face that I'm sure scares our district's kids, her lime-green hair that bounces in too perfect ringlets around her head, and bright yellow dress that shows off way too much, she fits the Capitol stereotype perfectly. But she, as everyone else from the Capitol, looks like she has fallen into a bucket of paint. I almost flinch as she speaks loudly with her shrill voice. "Ladies and gentlemen, let me welcome you to the Reaping of the 74th Hunger Games! Among you today stands one boy and one girl who will compete for the honor of winning this years Games!"
Oceana flashes a white smile before she continues, "Let's start with the boys, shall we?" She makes her way toward the first glass bowl. I smirk as my sight automatically seeks my boyfriend, who makes himself ready to pounce onto the stage. "The boy tribute-" The hushed silence that follows is broken by a baby's cries and my heart unwillingly clenches at the sound. Oceana looks annoyed as the baby ruined her building suspense. "-of this years Hunger Games is.."
"I volunteer!" Cato hastily runs onto the stage with a shark smile of triumph lingering on his lips. Oceana, obviously annoyed with being interrupted, narrows her eyes at him and clucks her tongue.
"What's your name then?" she asks, eyeing him up and down. He smirks at her, which seems to annoy her even more. Cato can have his way with people, when he wants to. But that is rarely the case. And he lives for angering, scaring and annoying people. He thinks it is fun to watch them struggle with the emotions he causes. His sadism comes in more forms than one.
"Cato Merquen." he says. His arrogance shining in his handsome features, and his stance screaming proud in every possible way. Because if it is something Cato values here in life, it is his pride. And he takes pride in everything he does.
"An applause to Cato, everybody!" His blue eyes are gleaming as they find mine and the applause erupts. He throws me a charming smile and I smirk back. In spite of the feeling of anxiety etching itself into my body, I can't help but feel proud. I know my boy is going to crush them.
The applause slowly fades as Oceana takes small steps toward the other Reaping ball. She digs her small hand with her claws of fingernails into the bowl before retreating with a note in her hand. "And now, the girls." She reads the note and the silence of suspense fills the air. "The girl tribute of the 74th Hunger Games is.."
Cato's eyes bore into mine, and all I can do is try to not get too lost in his deep blue eyes. I wait for Gia's annoying voice to shriek that she volunteers, but instead find myself an unpleasant surprise. In which case is the biggest understatement ever. A chill of cold terror-filled confusion goes down my spine as the next words escape Oceana's lips,
I can't quite grasp the truth of the situation; it doesn't make sense. I'm sure I heard wrong. I mean, I'm not drawn. It's all a misunderstanding. Cato flinches slightly at the words, but soon gains his composure. Soothed by the same fact as I; Gia volunteering.
But no scream for willing participation is to be heard, not from Gia nor anyone else. My breath hitches in my throat and I can't seem to catch any breath. At all. I don't believe it is me. I mean, it can't be, can it? No, that is too much of a coincidence. I can't be drawn. Not this year. Not when Cato has already volunteered.
"Oh my god, she has to fight her boyfriend." As a girl behind me whispers those very words, the merciless truth sinks in. It hits me with such a force that my heart skips a couple of beats. Hands have come inside my mind and are ripping out my sanity and every single thing that makes sense. And I can't do anything but force myself to take a long calm breath and walk onto the stage. Shock has numbed me and I'm kind of glad, since I don't know what I would do if I had slammed into the usual wall of rage.
I want to scream. But I know it won't help me now. So I keep my usual cold glare in check, careful not to convey any other emotion than hatred. I find myself having trouble breathing, and every intake feels like I'm breathing glass that cuts an open gash into my heart. It has to be a mistake. This can't be.
Slowly, I let my cold glare glide over the crowd, stopping on my least favorite person in the world right now. Gia stands there smirking as I urge her with my eyes to step in or do anything for that matter. But she only smirks an infuriating smirk which eats on my already frail nerves. She loves how helpless I am, she loves to see me almost beg her to do something to save my sorry little ass. Both of us knowing she won't do it, the reason being that I killed Mark. Her on-and-off boyfriend who held this creepy fascination with me. Payback is a evil bitch.
My breath isn't nowhere near normal speed and I'm getting concerned I will start to hyperventilate. With forced calm, I make my breathing pace go back to normal. As it calms enough so that I'm sure I won't suddenly gag on oxygen, or the lack of it, I make myself look quickly at Cato. He looks as frozen as I, the anguish he is feeling not being evident on his face. No, to others it just looks like his normal hostile expression. But to me, who know him better than I know myself, I know it lays in his firmly set jaw and tense shoulders.
When our gazes finally connect, a barely audible gasp of pain erupts from my throat, describing the evident anguish in his eyes. The one I'm sure is reflecting in my very own. The pain sickens me. Deep into my heart, and it feels like I have inhaled even more glass. It feels like I'm choking on it. It is the pain of knowing I'm going to lose the only grip of humanity I have left. That I'm going to lose Cato – my everything.
The pain isn't unfamiliar in any way. In fact its sickening grip has had a hold on me on several occasions. Especially one.
I'm sitting on the bathroom floor, wondering how I screwed up so fucking bad as I stare at the little pink plus sign. I've just turned fifteen. I'm only fifteen! But I guess it is what they say: karma is a fucking bitch.
I feel numb, insecure and most of all I feel scared, and that heart sickening pain. Emotions I so rarely feel, all at once.
Numbness has built a tiny wall around me. I can hear truth knocking mercilessly, waiting for me to let it in, and I know I will go into hysterics whenever I answer. Right now, the wall has lulled me in its fake comfort. But the wall is still too thin, and truth's quiet whispering is to be heard through.
Insecurity is wrapped around me like a blanket of shock. Paralyzing me with its heavy weight. And I don't know what to do. I don't even know it is true, or if insanity is playing a trick on my mind. Insecurity feels so weak, like it has drained me from everything I know.
Fear has taken place in my body. The creature in my abdomen -not bigger than my palm- is the cause of the fear. Of all the things I have ever faced, the thing is the only thing that has made me tremble. Fear tastes bitter in the back of my throat, and no matter how much I try, I can't swallow it down.
The sickening pain has set its claws deep in my aching heart. Pulling, pushing, shattering. The claws sink deeper and deeper as the thoughts invade my mind. The pain is so thick, so tight around my heart that I'm afraid I will suffer a heartbreak I can't survive. I don't think Cato and I can survive this, not as lovers, not as a couple. He won't want me after this. He won't handle this. And that thought alone is enough to make me want to die. I don't have anyone else. And if he leaves, if I lose him I won't have anything else to live for. The pain is eating my insides slowly. Oh so excruciatingly slow. It is tearing me apart.
Fury washes over me, fierce hateful fury. I throw the test across the room. It flies full force into the mirror, but the mirror doesn't break like I want it to. Fighting the urge to smash the mirror with my bare hands, I pull at my hair instead. Why me? Why is this happening to me?
In a surge of pure anger I jump to my feet. The reflection of the mirror startling me. I look like a wild animal ready to pounce on its prey. My breathing goes faster and faster as I study myself. Quickly I undress. I have to see it for myself, if it is not a bump it has to be false alarm, right? But a voice in the back of my mind tells me otherwise. What about all the signs?
Standing naked I turn to look at myself sideways. My torso is perfectly flat, just like it always has been. I let my hand run over my smooth skin. Just because I can't see it, it doesn't mean I can't feel it. It feels like I have swallowed butterflies that won't stop fluttering within me.
I need them to go away. I can't have the fluttering as a constant reminder of what is growing inside of me. I drag myself into the shower, thinking some steaming hot water will get my thoughts on another track. The hot water that runs down my back doesn't do anything to calm my anger, rather aggravating it.
When I don't feel like punching something, I muster the courage to step out of the shower. It feels like the pain has eaten its way into my body and left a hole where my heart should be. What will I tell Cato?
Dread settles in me as I throw a towel around my body. And as I walk out of the bathroom I jump when I see him sitting on my bed. No, I'm not ready to face him. His face lights up as I come into sight. But it freezes in a grimace as he sees me. When I fail to sit down in his lap, as I usually would do, his forehead creases in confusion. Should I tell him? He would be so angry if I didn't. There are already rumors going around, and chances are that he will find out. He better hear it from me.
He wipes my wet hair out of my eyes and I draw a shaky breath. "Cato." I say, my voice breaking as I utter his name. My heart breaks as I look into his blue eyes and I can't help but think that this will ruin his life as well as it is ruining mine. "I have to tell you something."
"Angel?" he asks. I can see the panic behind his eyes, the one he struggles to keep in check. He isn't known to keep his emotions down, but I can see his effort on this one.
"You have to promise me not to freak out. Promise me you won't be mad." I know that he will be though. No matter if he promises or not, he stands at mercy for his temper, just like me. And I don't think tempers do mercy.
"Just tell me." he says, knowing that he probably will get mad thus the reason I tell him not to be. He clenches his teeth, as if it will keep him safe from the more than unpleasant truth he will soon hear.
Slowly I close my eyes, seeing nothing but the faint colors swirling behind my lids, before I open them with a breath of heartbreak. I try to take in as much as I can of his handsome features and his scent, as I'm sure he will soon leave. He will leave and take my broken heart with him.
"I-I.." I stutter, not being able to utter the words which will end my life. Saying it out loud will feel so final. Like saying it out alone will make it true.
"You what?" he asks, dragging the words out. The flash of genuine fear in his eyes urges me on. I have managed to scare him. I swear on my father's soon-to-be death that it never has happened before. And I'm not glad I finally managed.
He reaches out for me, and I jump back, "Don't." I whisper. Finally, determination hits me. And as he watches me, with an ever so concerned expression, I say the two dreaded words, "I'm pregnant." I almost gag as I utter them. And when I look at Cato, his expression is blank, like he didn't quite comprehend what I said. Praying he heard them, I hope I won't have to say them again. Once was enough.
"What?" he whispers. Understanding is slowly dawning on him. Too slowly. It is torture as I see his face slowly turn into a mask of shock. Soon enough it will become rage.
"I-It's yours." Like it is any doubt about that. He is the only one I have ever slept with. He was my first, but as the rage slowly grows in his deep blue eyes I'm almost certain I won't be his last.
"No." he says with calm rage that is just waiting to break free from its smooth surface. "It can't be. I mean, you can't be. Clove, please tell me this is just some sick joke you're playing on me." The way his voice pleads is unbearable.
Firmly I shake my head. "No, I wouldn't joke about this." And I know he can see the truth in my eyes as he suddenly rises from my bed. He punches the wall as hard as he can, leaving a dent as a souvenir. Because he soon disappears out the door, but not before glaring at me with a look of insane fury etched into his face. The hollow echo of the door slamming resounds long after he is gone.
All I can do is stare at the door where he disappeared with my shattered heart.
In that moment I was so certain I had lost him. I find this old heartbreak much less painful to deal with than this new one. Because this time one of us will have to die in order to save the other. The one who gets to live will serve a faith worse than the dead one's. The one who lives will have to live with a broken heart.
Deciding I will try shower my pain away I stalk into the bathroom again. When I stop to drop my towel I catch a glimpse of my pitiful self in the mirror. Suddenly my bubbling rage is too much for me to control, it boils beneath my skin and with that surge of blind anger I punch the mirror. A satisfying shattering sound erupts and bounces around inside the tiny bathroom. My fist is bleeding, and the shattered glass is scattered everywhere. But I don't care. I don't care about anything but the boy that just walked out the door, probably hoping to never see me again.
I'm shaking so badly when I finally waddle my way into the shower. The sobs trembling through my body like an earthquake. The burning anger isn't yet to be extinguished. And with a scream of sorrowful fury I slam the showerhead into the wall. It breaks and water splutters everywhere. I pound my fist into the cabinet, but it is of plastic and doesn't break as easily. When everything around me is more of a broken mess than I, I sit down and hug my knees to my chest. Then, I sob my heart out.
When my tears have stopped and my trembling has calmed I make my way out. Wrapping myself in the very same towel as last time, which hasn't quite dried. I look at the place where my mirror used to be, and I'm suddenly glad I'm not able to see myself, being that my face must be read from crying. To exit the room I have to step on the broken glass. Sharp pieces pierce my feet, but the pain is nowhere near to be compared to the one ache that has replaced my heart.
Busy with trying to fight the urge to burst into tears again, I don't notice him sitting on the bed as I make my way out of the broken room. But when I see him, I jump, startled out of my skin.
Slowly, hesitating I walk toward him, awaiting his sudden outburst of anger. But it doesn't come, and he lets me stop right in front of him. His eyes lingering on my red face and mine resting on his which holds barely restrained fury.
"I'm sorry." he says. And I can't even begin to understand what he is saying sorry for. He wipes the wet hair out of my puffy eyes.
"For what?" I ask, embarrassed to hear my voice breaking. He looks so helpless, like it is so much he wants to say, but he doesn't quite know how to say it. And it is scary to see that my rock, the only person I always thought was so sure of himself look so perplexed, so lost.
"For breaking the promise." And I remember I had made him promise to me not to get mad, which he of course got. But it doesn't matter. He came back! I don't know if he plans on staying. But for now I'm just satisfied with the fact that he came back.
"It's okay." I'm just relieved that he hasn't abandoned me just yet. And it makes this thing so much easier to deal with.
He nods, inhaling slowly with his mouth which ends in a sigh. And that sigh of hopelessness triggers the tears that are waiting to flow down my cheeks. "A-Are you sure?" Without another word I walk to retrieve the dreaded test. When I come back I show him the stick with the pink plus sign and his calm fury reaches new heights. I can practically see his eyes burning.
Again, he nods. Like any other response takes too much of an effort. Or maybe he is just fighting his anger. Knowing him, it is probably the latter. But as he reaches out for me I can't help but fall into his arms, the sobs already shaking my body before he encloses me in his warmth. He whispers words of assurance in my ear as I cling to him. Afraid that if I let go, he will just disappear, vanish before my eyes. I can't let that happen, I won't let that happen.
He is mine, and although the fact that he came back to me eases my ache a bit, there is no guarantee he will stay. And I fall asleep in his arms knowing that this pain roaming my chest may never subside.
As I wake I feel his body curling around mine, like protecting me from the terrifying place our world has become. And in that moment, it feels like he is handing my heart back, though still battered. But the thing is; I don't want it back. I want him to have it. Because without him, my heart isn't worth a damn thing.
In that moment I'm more sure than anything that he won't leave my side. I'm still, indeed, terrified, but knowing Cato will be there makes it bearable.
Oceana gestures for us to shake hands. As I slowly reach out to touch him the world around us disappears for the slightest second. My thumb traces one of his scars, the one he got when he was twelve and didn't handle his weapon properly. It has left a soft dent in his skin, the perfect size for my thumb to trace.
Cato looks into my eyes and squeezes my hand reassuringly. As if everything is going to be okay, and that this is just a little bump in the road to happiness. But I know that this bump will kill one of us, and that it isn't to be avoided. I have to use every fiber of self control I own to not let out the sob that is threatening to escape.
The Peacekeepers escort us to the room where we get to say goodbye, but I realize the only person that would have said their farewell is going with me. Or at least that was what I thought until Gia prances into the room, wallowing in self-satisfaction.
"What are you doing here?" I growl. There are seconds before I will lose my infamous temper. If I don't burst into tears first. But I know that either way, Gia will still be gloating.
"Now, now Clove. Not so hostile." She smirks and I have to summon every ounce of self control I own to not kill her on the spot. "I came to wish you luck. Knowing you, you probably will come back. Even though you would have to kill that precious boyfriend of yours, not that that will be a problem." But she is wrong. Oh, she is so wrong. I can't hurt him. "But even if you don't, Cato probably will, and then you'll be dead. But don't worry, I'll keep him warm at night." My anger burns and I slap her, which is the least violent thing I can think of that fills my need to inflict pain, but it doesn't do even nearly enough damage for me to be satisfied. I want her to suffer. She stumbles backward but to my irritation she doesn't fall. And that smirk can't seem to be slapped off her face.
"Listen, you evil whore." I take a threatening step forward. While Gia's aim is hurting me most with her evil words, my aim is more physical. Like aiming a perfect right-hook to her jaw. But the thought of hurting her doesn't bring me bliss, as it normally would have, instead my heart is only filled with sadness and hurt. And destroying anger. "No matter who dies. One of us will come back and kill you. You have my word. And Cato will never touch a slutty cumdumpster like you. Ever."
She has the courtesy to look amused, and my blood lust is again fueled. "How ironic of you to call me evil." She snorts, and her face goes blank. "You killed Mark. You killed the only person I cared about. The only person I loved. You're the evil one, Clove. You're the heartless bitch here, not me. I'm only getting my revenge. And I'm enjoying every minute of it."
Normally I take being called evil as a compliment. But normally my viciousness isn't the cause of my heartbreak.
"I hope you come back. Then you can feel how it is to get your love killed." Gia narrows her piercing golden eyes at me, and flings her blonde hair over her slim shoulders. "But killers like you don't have a heart, do they? You're just cold, heartless. But now your life will be falling apart, just as you tore apart mine. And I'll stand on the sideline laughing."
I muster a shadow of my usual sadistic grin. "It pleases me how much it hurt you that I killed your boy-toy, Gia. But you didn't love him. You were the one sleeping around, even when you two were 'together'. You're nothing but a whore."
"You keep saying that. But I'm not the one who got knocked up at fifteen. Who's the whore now?" That was the last straw. I lunge at her, my fist flying to hit her perfect nose, which is now smothered by the imperfection of crookedness. Blood is satisfyingly oozing from her nose and I can't help but give a throaty laugh.
I'm sitting on top of her, pinning her to the ground, my favorite way of catching people. "At least I know my child wouldn't hate me so much it would kill itself before it even came out of my womb." That last jab was another bruise to my heart that isn't working properly. I hit her unconscious, and I would have continued if it hadn't been for the Peacekeepers who came into the room to check the noise of my loud beating.
The only one I recognize is Aaron, a man in his early twenties who seems determined to keep me out of trouble, which is a harder job than he first had thought. Why he always tries to protect me is beyond my comprehension, but he has gotten me out of some pretty bad stuff.
"Clove." he growls softly and lifts me off Gia's unconscious form. "Go and sit on the couch over there." he commands, his voice suggesting relief as I only knocked her out cold, it could have been worse. He has cleaned up much worse messes after me.
I nod, not willing to do anything to come on the Peacekeepers bad sides. I might be completely reckless and impulsive, but I'm not stupid.
But what she said still lingers mercilessly in my mind, driving me slowly insane. At least I know my child wouldn't hate me so much it would kill itself before it even came out of my womb. Those words are enough to drive me mad, and call suppressed memories from the back of my mind.
I feel pain.
This time it is not the ache in my chest, it is physical. My body is throbbing with pain, my whole being feels like a big bruise. But soon blackness claims me as its toy, and I can't do anything but obey to its dark wishes.
The first person I see as I gain consciousness is Cato. His forehead is softly resting on my cheek, and all I can see of him is his dirty-blond hair. He wakes as I blow his hair out of my face.
"You're awake." he says, stating the obvious. I look around, and confusion settles as I see the beeping equipment standing at the side of the bed I'm laying in. My head hurts, and with every throb makes me wish I could go back to sleep and never wake up. My nose picks up an awful sterile scent. And I can't help but think that something is seriously wrong.
"Yeah." I whisper, annoyed my voice isn't working properly. Cato pierces me with his blue eyes as I try to sit up, but soon the dizziness taking over me is too much to bear and I slump back. With my eyes closed I breathe through my nose in slow inhales and exhales, trying to remember what happened.
Cato is just staring at me. Then he grabs my hand and carefully guides it to my torso. First, I don't know what he is getting at. Then, I get it; I'm feeling different. The fluttering sensation that has had a hold on my abdomen for months, isn't there. I feel normal, and utterly empty. My heart starts to ache even before I comprehend the situation. This can't be good.
"What happened?" I ask, but my boyfriend's mask stays the same. I decide to formulate the question differently, "Is everything okay?" The panic is building up inside of me and threatening to spill all over the sterile floor.
An unknown voice breaks the silence Cato created, "You fell down the stairs. Do you remember that? Don't worry if you don't, temporary memory loss is normal after bad concussions." He looks at me with a blank, professional expression. "I'm Dr. Franshot" Comprehension is dawning with every word the doctor utters, but I'm afraid I won't want to hear the rest. "As for the second question," He looks hesitantly at Cato.
Cato takes over where the doctor stopped, "A miscarriage, Clove." he says and watches me carefully for the reaction. A miscarriage? The word is foreign in my mind, even though I know the definition.
Understanding hits me with a slap in the face. The fluttering is gone. The child that had taken residence in my womb, is gone. It is just gone.
"No." I whisper, panic clawing at my insides. And ice filling the place where my baby should be. "No." I say a bit louder, denying the fact that simply can't be true.
My father chooses that moment to enter the room, barely hidden joy consuming his face. Oh, it is so badly hidden, I can practically see him wallowing in bliss. And in that moment I know he is the one who did it. My father has gotten his rightful revenge, after all these years: I killed his wife, he killed my child.
There are no words for the emotions washing through my body. Bitter anguish, burning hatred and maddening sadness takes hold of me. Pressing into me so tightly I can't breathe. In a second of blind rage I have jumped from the bed, pulling whatever attached to my arm out. The aim is my father and I get halfway to him before I collapse. If it hadn't been for Cato and his fast reflexes I would have hit the floor.
I struggle in his arms. I need to see my father's blood spluttered all over the white tiles. I need him to suffer worse than me, if that is even possible. Then I want to bury him while singing the happiest song. And when I'm done I will dance on his grave.
But even when I'm on my best, I can't get out of Cato's grip, that is tightening around me drastically as I fight back, now I have no chance at all. Though I know it is impossible, my instincts are screaming at me to fight back. And I continue until a needle is stuck into my arm. And I find myself struggling against the blackness instead. But blackness never loses, and I just lost my will to fight. I can feel myself go limp until I can't feel myself at all.
I find myself subconsciously stroking my abdomen; the place where my baby lived before it got killed. With a sigh I let my hands fall heavily in my lap. I feel a poke of something hard in my arm as I do so, and I remember the thing laying in my pocket: my gift for Cato. I was going to give him this necklace as a token, which is of plain wood and I have carved out perfectly myself. C + C, it says. And though it might seem incredibly cheesy it does actually have sort of a meaning to us. Our initials put together that way symbols our invincibility. Together we are invincible.
Slowly I run my finger over the perfectly carved surface. Accuracy has always been one of my specialties, and accuracy with knives most of all. The necklace is like a haunting reminder of what is happening. On how our invincibility is about to be slowly and brutally defeated.
Aaron stays behind as the others carry Gia's limp body out. "Look, Clove." Aaron says, and I look up at him, shoving the necklace down into my pocket again. "I know this must be hard for you. But you have to stay strong. You're the most stubborn being I know, you'll find a way." He sighs lowly. "And if you can't find one, you have to make one, okay?"
I can't do anything but stare at him, like he has gone entirely insane. But if anyone in this room should succumb to insanity, it should be me. Then Aaron catches me off guard with wrapping his arms around me. And to my surprise, I don't pull back. Instead I rest my head on his chest in defeat and let him hold me before I say through gritted teeth, "It's just so unfair." I say, sounding like a little child.
"Life isn't fair." Aaron says and lets me go. Then he walks me out of the room, telling me my time is up. Aaron and a couple other Peacekeepers is escorting us to the train. "You can do this, Clove." is the last thing he says to me. Cameras are flashing everywhere, and I use my last will-power to put on a somewhat confident expression. I let a vicious grin slide over my lips, the cameras go wild, then I make my way into the train.
Inside the closed train door, in the dim light my one and only love stands. The emotions swimming in his eyes rage so fast I can't keep up. Similar to my own mess of feelings, I don't know what I'm feeling. But as I see his eyes settling on pain, I can't help but letting the pain wash over me too.
Leaping into his arms I cling to him with every bit of strength I possess, promising myself that I will never leave.
But I know that promise is soon to be broken.