A/N: This is my first fanfic! Please give this a chance! BTW, totally team PEETA!
Part 1: The Capitol
I woke with a start. It was just a dream, I reminded myself. My pulse thudded loudly in my ears. In my dream, the two people that I loved most in the world, Prim and Peeta, were sent to the Games.
Prim is my little sister, who I've had to take care of since I was eleven. My father had recently died in a mining accident, and we were slowly starving to death. That's where Peeta came in.
I trudged through the alley behind the Merchants businesses and homes. The rain was coming down in icy gray sheets. In my soaked hands, I carried old baby clothes of Prim's. When I dropped them, I couldn't bring myself to bend down and get them, for fear I might collapse and be unable to get up.
The back door to the baker's was open, and the sweet scent of fresh bread wafted out. Without thinking, I sloshed over to open the trash can. Before I could even lay a finger on it, a plump women came out of the bakery and started shrieking at me. "Get away, you Seam scum! I will contact the Peacekeepers! Leave now!"
I noticed a little blond boy peering out from behind his mother's back. Was Pete his name? Peter?
I backed away, and the woman finally left. I walked over and leaned against the apple tree in their yard and collapsed. The weight that I wouldn't have anything to bring home hit me all at once. Prim, her cracked lips and hollow cheeks, her eyes full of hope. My mother, who was in a deep depression, and her dead eyes.
Suddenly, their was a screech and the sound of a blow. Who had been hit? I couldn't bring myself to care when I heard footsteps. "Feed it to the pigs, you worthless creature!"
I glanced up, and saw the boy walking in my direction. But that's not what caught my attention. In his hands, were two slightly burned loaves of bread. He marched right up to me and handed me the bread, and then he turned on his heel and marched back into the bakery.
That night, our stomachs were full for the first time in months. We ate a whole loaf, slice by slice. It was a whole, hearty bread with grains and raisins.
The next morning at school, I saw the boy. He was in my History class. I timidly walked over to him. He had a black eye and his cheek was swollen. A pang of guilt shot through me. Was that what the blow was? His mother striking him?
He glanced up at me and quickly looked away, murmuring a hello. A completely different hurt went through me. Was he embaressed to be seen talking to me? I risked it. "Thank you." He looked up to me slowly, his eyes bright and blue. "For the bread."
He opened his mouth to speak when the bell rang. I gave him a quick smile and hurried back to my seat. "Alright, children, today you will be given a project on coal production. Get with a partner and start discussing your papers." The teacher walked from the front of the classroom back to her desk. I bit my lip. Partners? I've never spoken to anyone in-
"Hello. Do you have a partner?"
I looked up. I was shocked, it was the boy. He had plenty of friends in this class. I glanced over to them, and they were glaring in my direction. With my attention back on him, I smiled and said "No, you're free to join me if you like." He grinned and pulled up a chair.
With careful handwriting, at the top of the page he printed "Katniss and Peeta." I smiled.
Katniss and Peeta.
We had been inseperable ever since. Two years ago, when we were fourteen, he asked me to the school dance. What had started out as a little crush turned into full-blown love that day. We had our first kiss a couple of months later.
I glanced at the cold spot on the bed beside me. Where was Prim? I looked over at my mother's bed. She was there, she probably had a nightmare in the middle of the night and crawled in with her. Of course she had a nightmare. Today was the reaping.
Every year, the capitol sends two children, a boy and a girl, from every district to take part in a brutal slaughtering called the Hunger Games. There are twelve districts. Every person from the ages of twelve through eighteen has their name entered at least once. Prim is twelve. Peeta and I are sixteen. Gale is eighteen.
I got out of bed and changed into my hunting clothes. I didnt want to think of the possibilities of the Games right now. I didn't want to worry.
I walked into the kitchen. Sitting under a bowl, wrapped in basil leaves, was goat cheese. A rush of appreciation coarsed through me. Prim, always thinking of others. Smiling to myself, I swung out the door and headed towards the woods.
I followed the worn trail to our rock. When I got there, Peeta and Gale were both already there, waiting for me. I grinned. "Good morning," I said to Gale.
"Hey," was his response.
Peeta was smiling at me as I walked towards him. I stretched up on toes to kiss him lightly on the lips. "Well, good morning to you too," he said, and leaned down for another kiss.
Gale cleared his throat. I blushed madly and stepped away from Peeta. Peeta laughed. "So," Gale started. "Look what I shot!" I followed his finger to a loaf of bread with an arrow through it.
"Almost got my hand," Peeta grumbled to himself.
I laughed and said, "Good shot!" I walked over to the rock and leaned against it. "So, where are we meeting up after the reaping?" I looked between Gale and Peeta, waiting for an answer.
"Your house, I guess," Peeta said, looking at me. I looked at Gale. He nodded in assent.
"Okay, then, it's settled. I brought cheese. Courtesy of Prim," I said, and we settled down to have breakfast.
"Well, I guess I'll see you guys later," Gale said, and disappeared under the fence.
I turned to Peeta. I gave him a weak smile, when my bottom lip started wobbling. I was immediately in his arms, crying my eyes out.
"But she's so young. She doesn't deserve to be in the reaping! She's just a child! Prim! Oh, Peeta, what do I do if she gets picked?" A new round of tears sprung up.
Peeta stroked my hair. "Katniss, she won't get picked. I promise. If she does get picked, she's smart. She would know to get away from the cornucopia and find water. Nothing is going to happen to her. I'll make sure of it." And somehow, I believed him.
We made our way out of the woods and to my house. I took a deep breath and looked up to him. He smiled down sadly at me. "Nothing's going to happen. Everything will be okay."
He kissed me, and when he pulled away, I murmured, "I love you."
He smiled. "I love you, too." With that he turned and walked back to his side of town.
Still a little dazed from his lips, I turned and walked up the stairs to our small house. When I walked in, my mother was braiding Prim's hair and humming to herself. They were both already dressed in nice clothes, the reaping started in an hour. Funny how we had to dress up to be sentenced to death.
Both my mother and Prim looked at me. "Oh, Katniss, I ran the water for your bath. I left you a dress in the washroom."
I smiled to my mother. "Thank you, I will be down in a few minutes," I replied. I walked down the hallway to the restroom. We didn't have warm water in Twelve, because our district was the poorest. I got into the icy water and scrubbed the grim off my skin.
When I was finished bathing, I saw the dress my mother laid out for me. "Oh," I sighed. It was a beautiful blue dress from my mother's Merchant days. I slipped it on and went outside. My mother smiled at me.
"You look beautiful," she said. She smiled and came to braid my hair.
"And completely unlike myself," I replied.
"I'm sure Peeta would disagree." She saw my blush and chuckled. "Come on. We best be going."
When we arrived n the square, it was packed. I kissed Prim's forehead, and told her that I loved her, and went to the marked off section for the sixteen year olds.
Peeta saw me and gave me a rueful smile. "You're beautiful," he said. I groaned and laughed quietly. He raised an eyebrow but was cut off by the mayor before he could question me.
"Citizens of District 12, today we are gathered to celebrate..." I droned out the rest of the speech. I clutched Peeta's hand when district Twelve's escort, Effie Trinket, paraded on stage.
"Happy Hunger Games and may the odds be ever in your favor!" She beamed and continued, "Ladies First!"
Don't be me, don't be me, don't be me, I prayed.
It wasn't me.