I peer through the bushes. No, it's Foxface, standing in the rubble of the pyramid and laughing. It crosses my mind to reveal myself and enlist her as a second ally against that pack. I step forward. "What's your name?"
Okay this is my new story, basically when Katniss is considering teaming up with Foxface after the explosion she does in fact team up with Foxface. Foxface is one of my fave character's so I really wanted to write something about her. I'm not revealing her name just yet, I do know what it is and will add it further on in the story if people want me to continue. There may be a few changes but nothing major, I'm sticking as close to canon as I can.
This starts the morning after the explosion of the Career's supplies. Katniss is still allied with Rue.
Disclaimer: I own nothing of course!
A Foxes Tale
When I open my eyes, the world looks slightly fractured, and it takes a minute to realize that the sun must be well up and the glasses fragmenting my vision. As I sit up and remove them, I hear a laugh somewhere near the lake and freeze. The laughs distorted, but the fact that registered at all means I must be regaining my hearing. Yes, my right ear can hear again, although it's still ringing. As for my left ear, well at least the bleeding has stopped.
I peer through the bushes, afraid the Careers have returned, trapping me here for an indefinite time.
No, it's Foxface, standing in the rubble of the pyramid and laughing. It crosses my mind to reveal myself and enlist her as a second ally against that pack.
I consider my options.
She's smart, smarter then everyone else in the arena I'm sure. She's fast and nimble as proved by her dodging the mines. She'd be a good addition to mine and Rue's alliance.
But on the other hand she's got that sly grin and she's good at slipping away from things unnoticed and staying away from danger. No doubt if I was in trouble she would run to save herself. Add to the fact I do not even know her real name, and do I really want to add herself to my alliance?
She'd be one less person I'd get to know and worry over, whether over her death or my death at the hands of her betrayal. I think she wouldn't hesitate to stick a knife in my back. With Rue who is small and 12, I know where I stand. This girl who looks small but her features so defined and sharp is older and wiser.
She'd help me fight the Careers and aren't they the main competition here? Born to severally maim, kill, slaughter.
I aim my arrow at Foxface's smirking body leant to dig something out of the blown up remains.
Before I can change my mind I step forward.
I'm laughing before I can stop. It's the first sound I've made in days and it sounds slightly manic even to my own half-deaf ears. But someone blew up the Career's food and although my food source is gone the Careers will also have nothing. And although the person who blew the supplies up survived they will surely have minor injuries at least, major if I'm lucky.
I clutch my stomach as I laugh, the crippling hunger pangs mixing with the joyful delight. For days I've been stealing food, not daring to risk nabbing weapons or anything the Careers would notice. I don't think Cato is mentally sane and I'm pretty useless with them anyway.
Still, I'm not about to let a good opportunity pass me by and I hop around the pieces of crates and netting scattered around the clearing. I know I have to be quick to get the things I want in case the Careers come back and when I catch the glint of a knife blade in the sun I snatch it without a second thought.
I forage around and discover a metal pot which will be useful, and even a half crushed packet of crackers. Crumbled but still edible.
I smile with delight and am too careless, not concentrating enough on my surroundings to notice the person behind me until they speak.
"What's your name?"
I freeze, body poised to run as I turn around, my eyes zoning in on the bow and arrow pointing at my chest.
Heart to be more accurate.
The girl from 12, Katniss I recall, is staring at me anticipating an answer.
"Why?" I finally answer, my voice thick from misuse. Despair floods my senses and I understand that in a few short seconds my life will be over. She got an eleven in training. She holds that bow with a look of natural ease and talent and she wants to know my name before she kills me.
My feet twitch with the automatic desire to run and I lick my dry lips. "You're just going to kill me" I slowly hop back a few steps, eyes never straying from the sharp pointy arrow. Would I be able to run fast enough to the trees without it piercing my back?
"No. I- I want to know if you'll be my ally. Help take down the Careers" Katniss says, eyes shining with determination. I laugh at the sheer ridiculousness of it before pausing to absorb the information.
She had a backpack that looked like it could contain food. I'm so desperately hungry. I presume from her ear she's gone deaf, a thin streak of blood she hasn't managed to wipe off from the explosion I'm sure she created.
She got an eleven in training and has food. Company for which I crave in this huge arena. Extra resources and weapons and more, a person to watch my back and defend me.
Or kill me when I'm defenceless, in sleep or merely walking with her. A split second decision would be all it take for the release and that arrow would fly into my skull and end my life.
Can I manage to trust the girl who has a hard look in her grey eyes? The girl who got a training score of eleven and vows to win for her little sister?
Her little sister wouldn't want to watch her kill someone would she? Perhaps she's murdered someone already.
Katniss is looking at me patiently, waiting for an answer and I feel vulnerable out on this plain when the Careers could return any second and I have nowhere to instantly hide. I have to decide quickly and I have to decide right.
"Okay" I say cautiously, stroking the knife blade across my fingers.
"Give me the knife blade" She says suspiciously.
"I'm not going to attack you" I say honestly as my eyes narrow. "And I would feel safer if you pointed the bow and arrow away from my heart"
She slowly points the arrow downwards. The wind catches the grasses, I hear them rustle and I look over my shoulder. Sure I see the black muscles of Thresh from 11 concealed in the lush shoulder-high wheat field.
"It's not safe here" I say and immediately sprint for the woods. I don't look to see if Katniss is following, out of habit purely focusing on my own reaction. And then almost stupidly I remember our alliance and turn around. I'm a fast runner from all my years dancing and it takes a minute for Katniss to jog up.
"You could have waited" She says then looks at me. "What's your name?" She repeats.
I just smile in return.
"I'm also allied with Rue" She clears her throat. "The little girl from 11"
"I know" I say calmly. "I saw you one night."
My finger traces the raised bump of a tracker-jacker sting and I barely keep myself from wincing at the dark pictures that drowned my mind that night.
Katniss nods. "I'm Katniss"
I smile. "I know". I think everyone knows the Girl on Fire at the Opening ceromonies, the girl who got an 11 in training.
"You know you have to tell me your name sometime. How else I am supposed to communicate with you?" She's starting to get annoyed.
"I'll tell you when I can fully trust you" I promise, dancing just out of reach of her if she decided to lunge.
She sighs and shrugs. "Fine" She gnaws at the meat in her hand and I try not to drool. She notices my expression and motions to her bag. "You want some?"
"I'm hungry" I admit and cautiously venture into her backpack, hastily grab a chunk and eat it. It's the most I've had in days and I can't stop the groan from between my teeth. A slight curl appears on the edges of Katniss's lips. Not quite a smile but not a frown or scowl either.
We meander down the river and she stops to wash, refill's her water canteen. She carefully cleans her ear as I try to stop my muscles from tensing in her closeness. It's good to have an ally, I remind myself. It will help much better in the short-term and long-term… well I don't have to think of that now. If anyone of us out of the two should survive it shall be her anyway. Even with my quickness of feet, I'm no match for her archery.
We continue in comfortable silence, and I notice the way her shoulder's pinch together and realize she feels the same as I. Both waiting for the other to call quits, announce it was a ploy and move in for the kill. But it's unwise for me as I'm weak and virtually weaponless with my knife blade, and she…well if she wants to attack me I'll be dead any time from my own stupidity. I always thought I was clever but I find myself rethinking this several times as we spot the boot prints and take off our boots and socks, travel barefoot up the stream. The cold water makes my toes curl in surprise, but it feels soothing, refreshing. As we keep going in a direction Katniss is fully confident on, my curiosity is piqued and I eventually break the silence.
"Are we meeting up with Rue?" I ask and she nods, frowning as she prods at her left ear.
We finally reach a stopping point as Katniss scales a tree after washing her jacket and hair, attending her wounds. She gives me some leaves to put on the tracker jacker sting and I nod in appreciation.
She nods in reply, eating the second fish she speared earlier on in the stream. Almost as an afterthought she pushes some over to me. Careful not to take over my portion I nibble at it slowly. It's nice and I revel in it's taste, so different from the bland apples I've been stealing from the Careers. I offer up the half-crumbled crackers from the explosion site and we eat them ravenously.
She braids her hair and laces her boots, checks her bow and arrow. Constantly checks her ear for hearing improvement.
If I was her friend I would tease her with a smile, that sly grin people can never decide to trust or not. I would talk a lot and smile a lot like I do at home when I'm not surrounded by all my brothers.
But we're not friends, and we're in a fight to the death so I sit in the branch opposite and keep my mouth shut.
I swing my legs back and forth and try to mimic the routine I'd created for the mines. Really the remembrance of steps are easy, it's the execution of them that counts. The endless hours practising… the sore feet, calloused and cracked and red raw. The dreamy feeling, high euphoria when you're spinning around and you're in perfect control.
These Games have changed me already I can tell. Forcing me to be more mature, second guess things. I have slipped into the persona I so carefully crafted in my interview, although it did not come from just plain thought. I have always been sneaky, able to do things without notice. Really I'm just being myself which perhaps is even worse. Maybe, if I survive long enough and have the courage to kill someone, perhaps I will still stay myself. Laugh in the face of death, laugh at those defeated by it.
That frightens me more then I can comprehend, and I shake my head. I don't want to kill.
Katniss slowly peels and eats a handful of nuts, offers me some. I accept and chew them, trying to make them last as long as possible. We share the last of the food.
"I'll need to hunt more"
"I could steal some"
She looks as me if as she's deciding if I'm serious, which I am, before scattering mint leaves on the ground. Some sort of sign perhaps?
"For Rue" She notices me looking. "To know we were here"
I nod and dutifully follow her, my knife blade still pressed in my palm. I feel a bit safer knowing I have a little weapon and a powerful ally to protect me. Still… I'm still wary. Maybe Rue can help us bond.
But then again, what good will bonding do us when it will have to be severed roughly? Because rough it will be when the time comes. Whether down to Katniss or someone else, we are not both guaranteed to live.
Was I right to become allies with Katniss? Or should I have continued on my own, stealing and slowly starving?
No, at least I have food in my stomach. And if I'm really desperate, if I had to I could stab her in the back while she slept, despite the nauseous rolling of my stomach at the thought.
I just want to go home.
I want my Mom which is impossible of course.
In less then an hour we're in a small clearing with a built up stack of wood. I presume this was supposed to be one of the fires, people- I now know Rue, had set off earlier. But she obviously hadn't made it to this one.
"Was there a cannon shot earlier?" Katniss turns to look at me worriedly.
Her face relaxes slightly but still her jaw is tight. She creeps silently through shadows and I smile. This is something I can do, disappearing. I melt into the darkness like I'm part of it. Part of the background, nothing to see here… eyes always flickering past me… A bird sings and Katniss cocks her head. A bird, the same one on her pin is singing. A Mockingjay.
Katniss grins and heads in that direction.
She's almost forgotten me I can tell, when I appear beside her noiselessly. She sings back the note and the bird repeats it.
That's when we hear the girl screaming.
And it has to be Rue because she's the only little girl left. The only 12 year old in the arena who shouldn't be in the arena. None of should be here.
And Katniss is running and I'm scampering after her, regretting that it's probably the Careers and I don't want to die, I really don't want to die-
We burst into a clearing, see the little girl Rue entangled in a net.
"Katniss!" She screams, little tears rolling down her cheeks before the spear enters her body.
So yeah that's the first chapter. If you like it send a review and I'll know to post more!