This is a One Shot, requested by gabisamore.
The story is in Cato's Point of View, from the feast to him killing Thresh.
"Please, Cato. I'll make it good, you know I will. Just let me have her. The crowd will love it." Clove begs again, I've lost count how many times she's asked me. I sigh and pinch the bridge of my nose as I try to decide on the matter. I've been dying for this moment to fall into my hands, ever since she waltzed in with her carriage of fire. Ever since the Gamemakers gave her a score of eleven. It had only been one more than I had gotten, but I don't understand how she could have gotten a better score. She's nothing special herself, the people around her had made her stand out.
I glance at Clove, which is a mistake because then I have no way of saying no. It's odd, I had never really paid much attention to this smaller girl with a wicked smile, up until I'd volunteered. I find her … intriguing. She had shocked me with her skills, especially those with knives. She's deadly, there's no doubting it. But back in District Two, nobody would have ever guessed as much. Whenever I had seen her in classes, she had just seemed to like a quiet, small girl who kept to herself.
"Fine," I sigh and that wicked grin flashes across her lips. "But only because I know you can give them a good show. And give her a few cuts from me." I mutter the last part. "You take Katniss when she goes for her backpack, and I'll scout around the area for her other tributes."
"You mean her lover boy," Clove sneers.
"I doubt he'll be here. I know where I cut him, and I know it was deep enough to cause harm. I'd be surprised if he can even walk more than a few metres." Except I'm not entirely sure about the blow I had caused him. By the time my sword had struck Peeta, the tracker jacker venom was already in my system. I had aimed for a killing blow, and scarred his leg instead. Of course, this is something I hadn't mentioned to anybody else. Not even my right hand woman, Clove.
"It's that District Eleven boy and the other girl I need to look out for. My guess, the boy will come from the fields." I say, thinking of how eerie they had looked, and how I definitely didn't want to follow him in there. "The girl, I have no idea. She's proven rather elusive." In fact, none of us had even seen her since the Games had started.
Clove and I are traipsing through the woods back to the Cornucopia, as we had been constantly on the move since losing everyone else in the Career Pack. Just the two of us left. Just four more people to kill, and we both get to go home. I sneak a glance at Clove from the corner of my eye, she's staring ahead of us, her eyes glinting with malice, most likely thinking of how she's going to stage Katniss' slow death. Yes, intriguing.
We arrive just as the table with the backpacks on them is rising up from the ground. We crouch down in the bushes, scanning the area to try and pick out where the others might be.
"I'm going to start scouting around. Make sure to keep an eye out for Katniss." I whisper to Clove, who nods at me. We both seem to hesitate, our eyes locked on one another. But neither of us say anything and I slope off to start my wide arc around the Cornucopia. A flash of movement by the table makes me stop and peer out, just in time to see the red haired girl snatch up her backpack and disappear in the opposite direction. For a moment I consider pursuing her, but know it will be far too late. She's faster than me, and there are bigging threats lurking around somewhere. I slowly make my way behind trees, through bushes, being as quiet as I can. Small animals still scatter from my direction. I'd never really gotten the whole 'being silent and stealthy' thing down. I don't have the patience to sit in the shadows and wait for someone to cross my path.
I also get angry too easily, I think of the young boy from District Three. He had set the mines around our supplies, there had been a lot of them in complicated places so that nobody could just walk in and grab something. He hadn't thought of keeping them far enough from the supplies to actually stop them from getting blown up. All that food, those essentials that would have come in handy gone in an instant. I had seen red, and snapped the boy's neck. A part of me regretted that decision, just like a part of me regretted every kill I had executed in this Arena. But it's what I've been training for since I was old enough to carry a weapon, it's what had been instilled into my brain since I could understand what the Games are.
It's kill or be killed, I remind myself before shaking the thoughts of my victims out of my head. No point dwelling on the past. I wonder how far into the long grass I dare go to search for Thresh, he can't be far now. I concentrate on listening to the Cornucopia for Clove or the District Twelve girl.
"Peeta!" She shouts out, and I tense. He can't be out here; he's too injured to be on his feet. I turn and backtrack, just to make sure. I move farther out, widening my arc around the Cornucopia, checking the trees and bushes, listening intently. After ten or more minutes, I hear something.
"Cato! Cato!" The shout stops me dead, because it is Clove. And she sounds distressed. Could it have gone wrong? Maybe that Katniss girl is more trouble than I had given her credit for.
"Clove!" I shout back, to let her know that I heard her. But I'm too far, I have travelled too far out in search of that stupid District Twelve boy. I turn and start running back, pushing myself as fast as I can go. I hope that she lives long enough for me to get there. I keep running, as fast as my legs will allow.
And then I see her, and I almost stumble and fall onto my face. She's lying on the floor, and it doesn't look like she's moving. I'm still too far to tell if she's breathing.
"Clove!" I cry out, hoping that she'll answer, or just turn her head. Or something! I notice the District Eleven boy towering over her, and Katniss a few paces from him. Katniss turns and runs, but I find that I don't care. All I can think of is Clove. Lying there. Unmoving. There are tears in my eyes, which I don't expect.
I break into the clearing and skid to my knees at Clove's side, dropping the spear to the ground. The District Eleven boy is disappearing into the fields, Katniss has gone, and Clove isn't moving.
"Oh, Clove. Don't go! Stay with me, Clove. Please, stay with me!" I beg, grabbing her by the shoulders and pulling her body to me. Her body is limp, and her head rolls back. I see the dent in her skull. This was not Katniss, a girl of that stature wouldn't be able to make that kind of impact. But a boy the size of the District Eleven probably could. I lower my head and whimper into the un-bloody side of Clove's face. I know I should pursue the boy, who had grabbed my backpack, but I want to stay here with Clove.
"I'm sorry, Clove. I was supposed to protect you. I let you go. Oh god, I'm so sorry." A fresh burst of tears spills down my cheeks, and I'm so shocked that I pause to press my fingers against the wet streaks.
The canon fires, and I know she is gone. She has left me. I allow myself a deep breath to calm my trembling body, to stop the flow of tears. I wipe furiously at them with my sleeve and grasp my spear tightly. Leaning down, I plant my lips gently and quickly upon Clove's forehead and mutter my goodbye. I head straight for the plain where the large boy had disappeared, trying to remember his name. I plough through the large grass that has grown to my shoulders, following the path that has already been made. I wonder how far this plain goes, and how many hours it will take me to catch up to him. I will not regret this kill.
Thresh, I remember his name. Mostly because of the small girl who had been the other Tribute. The one that Marvel had killed.
After a few hours, the trail I had been following parts into six more trails. It looks like Thresh had been going back and forth through the long grass. Possibly just to travel between places, but my guess is to create this kind of confusion if someone decided to follow him. Night is starting to fall across the sky, so I stop and make a space for me to sleep in. For once, I don't feel like hunting in the night. I don't have the energy to keep on following Thresh tonight, but plan to resume the hunt in the morning.
"Ill take fir-" I start but freeze, because there is nobody else here to take second watch. I am alone now. The anthem starts playing, and I don't want to look up. My eyes betray me and trail up to the sky, where her face is shining out to the Arena. I bite on my knuckles hard, holding back any emotions. For the first time, I feel angry that they don't even bother to show her name. It is just Clove's face and "District Two" beneath it. I can't tear my gaze away until the image fades out and the sky clears again. I pull my water bottle out and take a slow sip, not wanting to waste it all. I'll have to find a water source. If Thresh has managed to stay in here since the beginning then I'm sure there has to be one or more spots. There's also the possibility my sponsors will send some when I run out. With a sigh, I unroll my sleeping bag from my backpack and slither into it. I don't dare zip it up all the way, in case I have to get out quickly. I don't want to go to sleep, but I can't stay awake the entire time, either. Eventually I relax enough for unconsciousness to take over.
The rumbling of thunder wakes me with a start, my hand instantly flying to my spear and turning over to search for the threat.
"You can't fight a storm," I mutter to myself, turning over to go back to sleep. The rain comes out of nowhere, or at least it seems. One moment, the sky is cloudy and there's a flash of lightning. The next, rain is pouring from the sky. I rush to pull the plastic from my bag, covering as much of myself as I can before all of my clothes are drenched. There had been a few pieces of this plastic at the Cornucopia, but most of it had been destroyed in the supplies explosion. I manage to position the plastic so that it keeps me and my backpack dry, and collects water for me to fill my water bottle. I don't know how long I've slept because the sky is still dark, but sleep eludes me from then on.
I know I can't stay out in the open in this storm, the mud is starting to soak up the rain and it won't stay dry under me for long. Not to mention it would be just my luck to die of pneumonia, laid in a field of grass.
The sky starts to lighten, but the rain continues. I make sure my bottle is full, and roll my sleeping bag up to put back in my bag whilst trying to stay under the plastic. It doesn't work well and the bottom of my trousers are soaked through, whilst part of my sleeping bag also gets wet. The sun is beginning to rise and there's enough light for me to see my way. I manage to tie the plastic around my torso and cut it to fashion a hood around my head, enough to keep my dry. I can imagine my little sister laughing at me back in District Two, which causes a smile and half laugh. I pick one of the random trails that breaks off to the right and head in that direction.
My stomach is growling, but I decide food can wait until I have found some shelter. I'm running out of supplies anyway, and will have to make it last. At least there's plenty of water, I think to myself. After what seems hours I finally come across something I can use for shelter. Thresh's trail is a mash of twists and turns, so I have no idea where I am or how far from the Cornucopia I might be. The ground is entirely uneven and lopes into a hill. I find an odd collection of rocks and ground that have curved over into a ledge. There's enough space between the rocks and the ground for me to fit into, as long as I don't wish to stand up. I crawl into the rather tight space and pull off the plastic, shaking off some of the water. Leaning back against the rocks, I finally look for the food in my backpack. My stomach is twisting painfully. There's some meat wrapped up, and I rip into a few pieces until my stomach is somewhat settled. I think the meat is rabbit that Clove had cooked the day before. The rest should be good for another day, maybe two. I hope that I'm not stuck here for that long.
The rain doesn't let up all day, but after a few hours I'm itching the get on the move. In the afternoon, I decide to go to sleep for a few hours. Perhaps I should go back to hunting at night. I have a pair of the night vision goggles in my backpack, which I hadn't let out of my sight. Clove had had some too, but I'd left her backpack with her. Normally, I would have raided all of a dead Tribute's belonging, for something to contribute to my own survival. I don't know why it hadn't even crossed my mind to look through Clove's belongings, when I know there had been extra food and medical supplies in that backpack. The Capitol will have it now, along with her broken body. I squeeze my eyes shut and pray for sleep.
I wake the next morning, the sun already way into the sky. I curse silently, and wonder whether I should just risk it and go out in search of Thresh. Just as I'm trying to decide, there's a bright flash in the sky and the loud rumble of thunder, so loud that it makes the ground tremble beneath me. I decide to stay where I am.
I spend the day falling in and out of a doze, nibbling on some of the food in my backpack and drinking quite a lot of water. By the time night falls, I'm practically twitching from my lack of movement. I can almost hear Clove in my ear, asking why I haven't done it yet. Why I haven't killed her killer. The thought of Clove makes me clench my jaw and bunch my sleeping bag up to pack into my backpack, taking the night vision goggles out. I cannot sit here, afraid of the rain.
I make my way back to where Thresh's trail had separated into different paths and chose another one to follow. This leads me to a cliff, almost losing my balance at the edge. I balance myself and notice part of the edge had been knocked off. I wonder if Thresh had almost gone over the edge like myself. I turn back and pick another trail. This also leads me to a dead end, and now it is morning. I stop for a moment and eat the last of my food, a couple handfuls of berries and the last bit of meat. I don't follow the trail back to the crossroads.
I bowl straight through the tall grass in a random direction. I turn at different points, sometimes I turn all the way around and change the way I go. I can barely see anything through the rain, I'm entirely drenched and I'm starting to feel the cold right down to my bones. I ignore it and carry on, keeping Clove's face in my mind to surge me forward. I don't know how long I carry on, but I know if I don't get any heat soon then I'm definitely going to get ill.
I almost don't see it because of the rain, but to my left is some flickering light above the grass. It looks like flames so I slow down, edging closer to get a better look. There's an odd formation of rocks, but I can't tell if this shelter is the work of the Gamemakers or of Thresh himself. It's a lot larger than the one I had taken refuge in, and Thresh is sat inside it, cooking something over a fire. My grip tightens around the spear I've been carrying the entire time, I clench my jaw hard and I remember Clove with her head caved in. A clap of thunder shakes the ground again and I step into the clearing set about Thresh's shelter.
He looks up at me, startled. Obviously not expecting an attack in the storm. He doesn't stay sat down, instantly on his feet and tensing himself for a fight. I realise he's just a little taller than me, and he certainly looks stronger. The difference is I am angrier, I am more upset, and I want revenge.
"You was with the girl," he comments, and I don't answer. Only stare at him. He frowns at me, as if trying to figure something out. "You here for your backpack, for what's inside it." I pause for a moment, realise that I had almost entirely forgotten about the backpacks and what the Capitol had packed for us.
"Not quite," I say, and now he does look confused. "I'm here because you killed Clove." It takes a moment, but understanding falls across his face.
"The knife girl-"
"Her name, was Clove!" I shout, interrupting whatever he might have been going to say.
"You cared. For this Clove," I grit my teeth, can feel the anger building up. The same anger that had killed the boy from District Three, the same anger that had tried to kill the District Twelve boy, the same anger that always disappeared when Clove had been there.
I don't answer Thresh over the thunder. Instead, I close the distance between us with a sprint and swing my spear towards him. Thresh reacts a fraction too late, so that the blade at the end slices his chest, but not enough to seriously harm him. His fist comes up and punches me in the side of the head, causing me to stumble a few steps. He moves behind me, and I snap my elbow back and up, connecting with his face. The quick, bright flash across the sky. I turn quickly, whilst he's cradling his bloody nose. Thresh kicks out at me, and lands a blow to my stomach, winding me for a moment. Thunder causes the ground to tremble. I grasp the spear, trying to catch my breath as I lunge for him again. He dodges fully this time and punches me in my side. He has a lot of force in his fists. An arm begins to snake around my neck but I jab up with the spear, the end of the blade embedding into his arm. He bellows in pain and stumbles back. A flash of lightning. I pull the spear out and turn on him again. His face is covered in blood, and now it's beginning to seep down his arm. The rumble of thunder.
I lunge again, this time hitting him in the leg with my spear. He falls to his knees with another cry of pain, and I snap my fist into his face. Before he can recover from that, I bring my knee up hard into his chest.
"You killed her!" I cry, punching him again. There are tears in my eyes again, and I'm sobbing the words now. "You killed her, you killed her, you killed her." Each sentence is accompanied by a blow to his face, until he's lying on the floor. I grab his shirt and pull him up, so that I can look him in the eyes. "Why did you kill her, and not that stupid other girl?" I hiss.
"She wasn't very nice. The other girl helped little Rue, so I let her go. But your girl wasn't a nice girl, she liked to kill." My girl.
"She didn't deserve that!" I shout into his face, dropping him to the floor. I pull the spear from his leg and aim it over his heart, Clove's face flashing through my head. Another clap of thunder above our heads.
"I'm sorry," I stare at Thresh's face for a moment, not sure I had heard him correctly. Then I push down on the spear with all of my strength, closing my eyes to avoid watching the life disappear from Thresh's eyes. I keep my eyes closed until there are no more ragged breaths or sickening gurgles. When I open my eyes again, he is dead.
I drag him out into the rain and away from the warm shelter. I drag him until I can only just see the flickering flames, and I leave him for the hovercraft. Thunder continues to rumble, and I think I hear the canon somewhere in the noise. I return to the fire and strip down, hanging my clothes over the flames to dry out. I sit down in my sleeping bag and warm my hands. I don't stop flow of tears the streak my cheeks, but this will be the last time I cry for her.
Katniss is next.