A/N I'm going to replace the first few chapters with something much better. I'm starting editing, and I think I'm going to have to edit the crap out of this. XD


Chapter 1: The Reaping

"No! Peeta!" The cries break my heart. I should go help her. Why don't I help her? But I keep turning away, walking away from the beautiful girl in danger. I turn, but there is just coldness in my face. I struggle to reason with myself, but I don't. I just watch as the girl with the ivory skin and her signature braid bleed to death in front of me. Her grey eyes are pleading, begging. But I am relentless.

And the shocking, horrible truth comes over me. She is dying because of me. I stabbed her. And as I realize this, I'm laughing, laughing...

I gasp, my hair plastered to my forehead with sweat. My hands are shaking, and I look down warily. I pull myself out of bed. It's early, and the pale sunlight is just barely streaming in from the window. The world is quiet, except for a couple of birds singing here and there. There are voices downstairs, and I think nothing of it. People come and go as they like, and if they rise early just to buy bread, then so be it. I glance at my sleeping brother, Padric. He's snoring quite loudly, and I stifle a laugh. I get dressed for the day, and lazily comb through my hair. I look at myself in the mirror.

My blonde hair is disheveled, even after the rushed combing. No matter. My mother can help me later. My blue eyes look wary, and I can see sleep lines starting to form. I didn't get enough sleep last night. I look into my eyes and then I'm back to that night when I was 11. I hear my mother screaming at someone to leave. She threatens to call the Peacekeepers. My mother walks back in, grumbling about filthy Seam brats. Curiously, I glance out from behind her, but what I see horrifies me.

It can't be. But it's her. It's Katniss Everdeeen, and she looks tired and hungry. Not to mention cold. And I feel a certain pull to protect. I need to help her. I quickly walk back in. Food. She needs food. I quickly grab two loaves, hastily, and purposefully drop it in the fire. I pull them out, but then my mother walks in and her eyes narrow. Before I can say anything, she hits me with a rolling pin.

"GO! FEED IT TO THE PIGS!" She starts to scream at me. I walk outside, feeling the welt starting to hurt. I toss one piece to the pigs, and check to make sure my mother was gone. Then, I throw it toward Katniss. I shudder from the memory of my crush, looking so thin, looking so delicate. But she manages to feed her family and live. And that is all I could ask for. I comb through my unruly hair again, and start downstairs. The voices float up the stairway, and I strain to listen.

"-know it's not the best trade you made, Mr. Mellark. Really appreciate it. Thank you." A voice says. But I've heard it before. Gale Hawthorne's voice. The boy who's lucky enough to know Katniss. Who is trusted by Katniss. I envy him. If I could talk to Katniss like that, believe me, I would've.

"No, no, it's alright Gale. We have to be a bit generous on days like this, eh?"

"Yes sir. I thank your generosity." Gale thanks my dad. I realize I've stopped moving and continue down the stairs.

"Good luck Gale." My father says.

"Thank you, sir." I step into view and both my father and Gale turn to look at me.

I nod my head towards Gale, politely. "Morning, Gale." I say formally. He nods at me slightly.

"Morning Peeta." He replies. "Good luck." He says before he leaves. Probably to see Katniss. I think. He wished me luck, but what for? For baking bread? Not falling in the oven? I amuse myself with thoughts of falling in the small oven when it hit me. Today is the Reaping. No wonder it's quiet. No wonder everyone is sleeping.

"You're up early, Peeta. Couldn't sleep in?" My father inquires. I just nod and help bake the bread. There are a few customers, but not as much as usual. They usually wait until after the Reaping to buy bread if they can afford it. People celebrate that their children are safe. Except for at least two families who are hoping for their daughter/son. I couldn't help but shudder at the thought of Katniss being pulled out, or me, or Padric. Erik is too old to be reaped. Finally, everyone in the bakery wakes up and we get ready for the Reaping.

I pay no attention to my outfit. I've never been concerned with fashion. Before two, my family and I go up to the square where the Reaping is held. We sign in and hurry to our designated areas. Padric is in the male 18s section, the rest of my family is in the outside area, and I'm in the 16s. I fidget with my cuff. I have a bad feeling about the Reaping, something that's difficult to ignore. Was the dream I had last night an omen? Maybe it is a sign that I, or Katniss, is going to get picked.

The Reaping begins, although Haymitch's still missing. Mayor Undersee starts his speech that I zone out on. It's the same one every year, and I've practically memorized it by now. I notice Effie, the perky Capitol escort, and feel irritated at her for being cheerful during the Games. Then Haymitch, who finally decides to grace us with his presence, tries to give Effie a big hug. I stifle a laugh. Haymitch is drunk. As always. Great. Thanks to Haymitch, District Twelve is the laughingstock of Panem. Effie grimaces and pushes him off. Haymitch is our only living victor. We've only had two in the 73 Hunger Games we've ever had. After the speech, Effie pounces up to the microphone, her wig slightly crooked.

"Happy Hunger Games! And may the odds ever be in your favor!" Effie grins. And when she says this, I realize the odds are not in Katniss' favor. She has her name in there about 20 times. I start to worry. Maybe she's going to get picked. Maybe the dream was a sign. Effie starts blabbing on about how happy she is to be here, what a lovely district we have, et cetera. What a lie.

"Ladies first!" She chirps in that annoying Capitol accent. She walks over the girls' cup and pulls out a slip of paper with a neatly printed name on it. All I can do is pray, Not Katniss, not Katniss Everdeen, not my crush, please no.

She opens the paper and clears her throat. "Primrose Everdeen." She reads. For a second, I feel relieved. It's not Katniss. Then, I realize it is Primrose Everdeen. Everdeen. Everdeen. Katniss' sister. Curse the god who had answered my prayer. He certainly has a twisted sense of humor.


Dear goodness. I need to go back and change it to present tense, because it'd be much easier for me to edit the entire story. So this would take a while. If you're following this story, I'll add an extra chapter at the end to notify you that the entire fanfiction is complete!