Author's Note: AU In this story there is no Peeta in the 74th games. Katniss is the sole victor. I know other people have placed Katniss with similar multiple pairings.
Disclaimer: I do not own the Hunger Games or any of the characters.
Written by: kmac13
Original Post: 3/01/2012
Edited Post: 7/2/2012
My name is Katniss Everdeen, although, I haven't been her for a year now. I don't think I have truly been her since my father died when I was eleven. But now, I am definitely not her. I am the Capitol's newest plaything…This is my story.
It started soon after I won my games; the Seventy-Fourth Hunger Games.
"Miss Everdeen," President Snow had said, "I am so pleased that you are our newest victor." God his smell makes me sick, bloodied roses. He was standing in my room. I had just woken up from the games. When he saw I wasn't going to respond he continued; his voice sounded like poison to me, "Believe me when I say, I was betting on you my dear. I have great plans for you. I hope that you will cooperate with me as I would hate to have to make you cooperate." His eyes narrowed and I knew what he meant. He wanted me to play his game or he would take measures to make sure I played it.
I nodded. I had nothing to say as I didn't know what game he wanted me to play. I thought when you won the games you were at least free, but I was sorely mistaken. He noticed that I was thinking and took this time to continue.
"You see, I have big plans for you, you will be very…. profitable for me." His puffy lips forming an evil smirk. I looked at him with quizzical eyes trying to understand what he was saying. "I will sell you, to whoever I choose and whenever I choose. If you don't comply then your family; your sweet little sister, your mother, and even your 'cousins' will become… deathly clumsy. Do you understand now?" He asked. I was sick. But I nodded my head in agreement. With that he walked away confidently, smiling.
Haymitch was the next to come see me. He was angry and panicked. He had been told he needed to wait until the President left. So when Snow walked away Haymitch, in all of his unkempt fury, came bounding in. Noticing that my face was an ashen green, he stopped his maddened steps and gently came by me. He knew though, he could see it on my face.
"What did he say Sweetheart?" he asked a little harshly, but still showing gentleness by placing my hair behind my ear.
"T-to t-t-tell me con-congratulations." I stuttered, just barely above a whisper.
"Oh, Sweetheart." He said with pity and anger in his voice all at the same time. Looking at me knowingly. He sat next to my bed tense and defeated; I'm not sure how he seemed so contradictory in appearance.
Later, when I was released back to my floor in the training center, I was greeted by a barrage of people: Cinna my stylist, the other tribute's stylist Portia, as well as Effie, Haymitch and a few other victors who I recognized, but had never met. The most surprising was Finnick Odair. Why would he be there?
Cinna quickly took me to my room to dress me before dinner. He is so kind and gentle and even though he is from the Capitol I still feel like I can trust him, he is my friend. He dressed me in a simple white dress and let my dark, long hair fall down my back. He had to make a few quick alterations to the dress as I had lost weight since I went into the arena, which would almost seem impossible as I was already underweight when I went in. Seeing how thin I was made me think about the games.
My games were tough. I lost my only ally, a twelve year old girl named Rue who reminded me of my sister, when the boy from District One stabbed her through the stomach with his spear. Before he could even react to my presence I had shot him through the neck with an arrow. He was dead almost immediately. Rue was not dead yet. She asked me to sing to her and I did. It was one of the hardest things I had ever done. Then when her cannon sounded, I laid flowers all over her body.
After that I become almost hollow. I just wanted to hurry up and get the games over with. The boy tribute from my district died at the cornucopia. The Careers, the tributes from One, Two and Four, wanted me dead, because I out-shined them in the opening ceremonies, I had a better training score and people were lining up around the block to sponsor me after I had told them about why I volunteered to save my sister.
It came down to me verses Cato, the male tribute from Two. He slipped off the cornucopia when he lunged at me with his sword. He fell and was attacked for what felt like hours by the mutts. When the mutts finally left his dying, mangled body I killed him out of mercy.
Cinna brought me back to reality when he noticed I was stiff and shaking. "Katniss are you alright?" the beautiful man asked gently as he grasped my hands and looked into my eyes. His eyes are really beautiful. They are a mixture of greens and gold that is only accentuated by the slight gold eyeliner he wears. His eyes are kind and caring.
"Yes." I finally exhaled, "I just must be hungry." I gave a weak smile. I could tell he knew I was lying, but he was too kind to make me say what he knew I was thinking about.
When we walked into the dinning room everyone stopped talking and turned to look at me. I felt self conscious. I felt hideous and everyone there was judging me. I wanted so badly to hide. I have never thought my self to be a beauty, but at that moment I felt even uglier. I am a monster now. I have killed innocent children.
Physically speaking, I look like I am from the Seam. I have olive skin, gray eyes, and dark hair. I am short for my age and underweight, probably because I was always hungry. I had some curves but was mostly muscular, due to all of the time I had spent hunting in the woods.
Effie came bouncing up; her voice so cheerful and high pitched its grating. "Oh Katniss, you look so lovely. I am so happy to be able to finally bring home a victor! I will definitely get a better district next year!" How could she be so shallow and dense? I just gave her a polite smile and thanked her through gritted teeth, trying so hard not to make her cry… again, like on the train here. Haymitch could see my anger rising and told her to sit down and let everyone else get a look at the newest victor. I looked at him gratefully.
I knew at this point I should have been happy. I was alive and my family would never have to worry about starving again. But truthfully I was miserable. I was physically alive. I couldn't un-live what I had done, what I had seen. I made a deal with the devil himself to sell myself so my family would be safe. I wished I would have died in the arena. Haymitch could see it on my face just like I saw it on his, how he wished he hadn't made it out. We are so much alike it's scary.
At dinner everyone talked about how wonderful I was in the games and how they never knew what an amazing voice I had. I just nodded and smiled stiffly. I sipped the wine that was brought out to us. I was on my third glass when I finally broke. "What is so fucking great about winning? How was I wonderful? Who cares if my voice is amazing it's the reason why I was singing that was so horrific!" I blurted it out, anger and self loathing dripping off of me. I was shaking. Effie was mortified by my blatant lack of social graces. She left in a huff. Portia was a little taken aback, but seemed to give me an understanding nod before she got up to go. When Cinna got up, he placed his hand on my shoulder and squeezed it reassuringly. I was left with Haymitch and two other victors, Finnick Odair and Johanna Mason.
"Well did you get it out of your system now Sweetheart?" Haymitch asked sarcastically. But it's his eyes that kept me from leaping across the table and killing him. In his eyes he said, "I know the feeling."
"Yes." I retorted.
"Good then we," he motioned to Finnick and Johanna, "have some things we want to talk to you about." I gave him an annoyed quizzical look so he would continue. Johanna was smirking at my little outburst and my annoyed face. Haymitch continued "This had better be your last outburst in front of others. You can rant and rave all you want to me, but to others it can't happen." His voice was forceful.
"We know what it is like and we are here to help you if you want it. We are sort of like a twisted little family." Finnick jumped in. He was breathtaking and his voice purred.
"Yes definitely a twisted family." Johanna started with an eye roll, "You see we have drunkard here who was our victor mentor and we are all one big happy fucking family." Her body was tense.
"Haymitch… I am not sure I understand." I said quietly as though he was the only one in the room.
"When I won my games, I was given the same proposition as you and some other 'useful' victors. I turned it down, my family and love died two weeks later and I still had to give into his demands. It was a while until the next victor was propositioned, because most are not as sought-after and come out too scarred mentally or become quick morphling addicts before they even make it home." I looked at him, and then Finnick and then Johanna with shock and horror on my face.
"I am like you in more ways than one, Katniss, I was chosen and I agreed right away." Finnick said looking at me sincerely.
"I was like your drunken mentor." Johanna piped in, "I lost everything and was still forced to comply, I went a little crazy after my hundredth customer and I was not requested anymore. I wouldn't suggest this though, if I hadn't already lost everyone, I would have then."
I looked at all three of them for a minute trying to take it all in. I was going to go the way that Finnick did, my family will be safe, but they will despise me. They will think I became a whore by choice. The three older victors were looking back at me. I broke the silence. "What do you mean that Haymitch was your victor mentor?" I asked.
"He showed us the ropes, taught us some tricks for how to best please the Capitol." Finnick said looking over at Haymitch with a wink and smile.
"Who is going to help me?" I asked.
"Well, Sweetheart, seeing as how young you are I wasn't sure if I should, so I asked Finnick here to help you since he is closer in age." I looked at him a little madly. Why would he think I would want some stranger to help me? What does age matter? Won't most of my clients be old? It's as if he could read my mind when he continued, "But I would happily help you if you would prefer." He then gave me a seductive smile and wink. I had never seen this side of Haymitch before.
"But I've never done anything before. Not even kiss." I choked out realizing I was going to have to have sex and soon.
This realization bothered me. I had never thought about kissing or boys before the games. I had been too concerned with surviving to care. Now I don't even get a choice. The three of them were staring at me in disbelief.
"What? What about the boy you hunt with? I thought you and he, you know?" Haymitch said trying to hold back a laugh. What is his problem?
"No. We are just best friends. He would never look at me that way." I said, "I don't think any one has." I looked down at my fidgeting hands in my lap.
Johanna at this point was cracking up. "What do you mean? You are sixteen years old and you have never kissed anyone. Dear lord how pathetic are you?" She cackled, "I mean that cousin of yours alone would be enough to make me commit incest."
"What cousin?" I asked now confused. Snow had mentioned my 'cousins' too.
"The boy you hunt with, they told everyone he was your cousin so people wouldn't think you had a boyfriend back home." Haymitch said, glaring at Johanna.
"Oh." I went back to looking at my hands in my lap. I was very aware that this conversation is not something I felt comfortable with.
Finnick was looking at me with a slightly confused and amused look on his face. "What do you mean he or anyone else would never look at you that way? Don't you know why you were 'Chosen'?" he asked. All of a sudden I realized I don't know why. Surely Glimmer would have made Snow a lot more money than I would. He saw the look of questioning go across my face. "Katniss you were chosen because you are beautiful in a way that the Capitol hasn't seen beauty before. You're not the generic beauty like Glimmer or Cashmere. You are a true beauty, exotic and fresh. You light a fire in people." Finnick said.
Haymitch jumped in before I could even finish putting together what Finnick had said. "Sweetheart, that boy is in love with you. Everyone has been talking about when you two would get together since you met. And trust me he's not the only one. Darius is obsessed with you. Ever wonder why he lets you get away with everything? Even disrespecting him. Or how about the Baker's boy? He is constantly staring at you. Are you that blind or stupid?" I was shocked by this. I had never even noticed. Was I that oblivious?
After Finnick and Johanna left to go back to their floors and I had showered and changed into my night clothes; which were just a thin white tank top and short boxer shorts, I headed to Haymitch's room. I didn't want to be by myself anymore. It was too dangerous because, my mind wonders and the whole world is brought down on me. I knocked on his door gently and I heard him grunt. When he answered it he was a little shocked to see me standing there.
"What do you want Sweetheart?" he asked gruffly.
"I-I can't be alone." I stammered out. He gave me a sympathetic look and moved so I could come in. I crawled into his bed and he walked to get a chair. "Haymitch you can sleep in your own bed." I said. He got slightly tense and looked at me with a raised eyebrow. I laughed a little. "I am just used to sleeping next to someone. I always slept with my sister at home." I chuckled and patted the bed next to me. He groaned and came to lie next to me. He was on his back with his hands behind his head. I scooted over to him and laid my head on his chest and wrapped my arm around his stomach. He smelt like alcohol and District Twelve, coal dust and earth. He flinched a little but then put his arm around me. It felt right in Haymitch's arms. My body tingled when his hand ran up and down my arm.
The next morning, Effie came barging in to wake Haymitch up because she couldn't find me. She had a conniption fit at the sight of us. She screamed at Haymitch about propriety and how young I was. Her screams did nothing to him he just shook his head and laughed at her insanity. Why should he have to defend himself? He didn't do anything wrong. She once again left in a huff. Later that day I would be sitting for the crowning and watching of the games, three hours of watching what I had already lived through. What fun!
I went into my room where my prep team was already waiting. They went on and on about my full body polish and how great I did during the games. I sat there and took it for what it was; three people who didn't know any better talking about things they couldn't even begin to understand. When they finished Cinna came in to dress me.
"Cinna," I started, "You have seen me naked at least a dozen times now. Do you find me attractive?" I asked looking away, blush swept across my face.
"Darling the first time I saw you I was lit with fire. It takes every ounce of self control not to touch you." He said in an almost dreamy way.
I blushed harder. "Oh." was all I could say in return.
Cinna put me in a dress that made me look like I was a candle. It was white with glowing yellow flames. The top was tight but the bottom was flowing. Cinna's every touch sent electricity through my body. Am I finally noticing men as more than just people? I didn't know why though. He did my hair up in a braid and only put minimal make up on me. When I opened my eyes to see what he had done I was again completely in awe of what he had turned me into.
As to be expected, the watching of the games was brutal. I sat there only showing some emotion trying so hard not to show how I really felt about it. Then Snow came on stage and placed the crown on my head. I felt sick again. His smell, blood and roses, I think that's what did me in, but more than that it's the monster that he is.
That night was the victor's banquet. Cinna had me in a long black and red dress that looked like sparkling, burning coals. I had to say I did look gorgeous. Cinna was a miracle worker. There was no way I actually looked like that on my own. I acted pleasant and danced with everyone who asked. I smiled a big, fake smile and thanked everyone for their support. I played the part of the excited and gracious victor. I couldn't help but wonder if Cato would have had to play this game. He was attractive, but nothing like Finnick. And according to Finnick I am beyond words.
That night after the banquet, we go back to the training center. Again I go to my own room and shower and change for the night and head to Haymitch's room. When I approached the door I heard him talking to someone. I listened carefully. "I don't know what to do about the girl." I heard him sigh dejectedly, "This is going to be harder on her than she knows. Hell this is harder on me than I thought it would be. How can we train her if she hasn't even been experienced? I am just so happy Cato died before he could bring his own form of torture on her."
Another voice spoke up, "We will just have to figure it out. Snow won't expect anything from her until the Victory Tour. Maybe you can convince her to sleep with her cousin." Finnick, that's who was talking. I was angry. Why are they talking about me and my future? Not even trying to give me a say.
I knocked on the door. They fell silent. Haymitch came to the door and cracked it open. He saw the anger in my eyes and I wedged my foot in the door. "What is it Sweetheart, we are in the middle of something, but by the look on your face, you already knew that." He smirked. I pushed past him and into the room. The two men just stood there staring at me a little tense; because they knew I had heard some of what they were saying.
"How dare you two try and decide what is best for me! I am not just something that can be given to someone." I turned to glare at Finnick, "And you think he can just convince me to have sex with my best friend, not worrying about the effects it will have!" My body was tight and ready to pounce.
"Listen, I didn't mean anything by it. We just don't want your first experiences with this to be a job. We wanted you to at least once know pleasure as just pleasure." Finnick said. I was starting to calm. Finnick looked at Haymitch a little worriedly, "Is she always this feisty?" he asked.
Haymitch started to laugh, "You have no idea." He rolled his eyes some. I was again listening to these two men have a conversation about me.
"I kind of like it." Finnick said with a seductive purr.
"Oh not you too, Fish boy." Haymitch said sarcastically, but his eyes told a different story. I couldn't quite figure it out. Finally I snapped out of my daze.
"Haymitch I want to go to bed! Please ask Finnick to leave so we may go to sleep." I said authoritatively. Finnick gave us a surprised look.
"Yeah, Fish boy you better leave you don't want to piss her off anymore." Haymitch said. He had an evil grin on his face almost taunting Finnick's thoughts.
"But you just said she wasn't experienced!" Finnick exclaimed exasperatedly. His hands went up and he dropped them by his sides showing his obvious frustration over this.
"Good night Finnick. Will I see you before I leave?" I asked sweetly and innocently. I knew this was getting him.
"Yes and I hope tomorrow someone," he looked at Haymitch, "will give me some answers. But in the meantime, Lovely, if you would like to switch sleeping partners for the night you know where to find me." He gave me a seductive smile and a wink. I blushed slightly.
Once Finnick was out the door Haymitch started laughing and picked me up in a tight embrace. "You have no idea how much I adore you right now." He said while laughing. "I never thought I would see the day someone made Finnick Odair squirm or get jealous." When he sat me down I walked over to the bed and patted it for him to join me like the night before. He lay down and we took the same positions as last night. He kissed the top of my head and I fell asleep.
The next morning Cinna woke us up as Effie had directed him. When he came in, cool and calm, he said, "Well if it isn't the two victors of District Twelve."
Haymitch looked up over me and I could feel the smirk on his face. "Well you know how us victors can't sleep alone."
Cinna gave out a light chuckle, "Yes I know the rarity it is to find a victor in a bed of their own." I rolled over and faced Cinna; he was beautiful and serene. He looked at me and held his hand out my way, "Come on girl-on-fire we have to get you ready for you interview." I got up and grabbed his hand and let him lead me.
Before we exited, I turned to look over at Haymitch, "So tonight on the train then?" I said coolly with a wink.
Cinna took me back to my room and he dismissed the prep team. He set my shower for me and toweled me off when I stepped out of the shower. With every touch it was pure electricity and I was not sure what to do with those feelings building in me. Haymitch's touch had a similar effect except his was like a slow burn in the depths of me. I'd never experienced these feelings, but then again I had never experienced being so close to men before. And with the knowledge of my upcoming jobs, I had started taking notice to men in that way.
During the interview Caesar Flickerman complimented me and told me how badly the Capitol would miss me. He asked me about what I was most excited about and other frivolous questions. I answered them all pleasantly, somewhere in between the truth and a lie. Luckily for me there was no audience so it was much better on my nerves. Cinna stood off stage behind Caesar so I could pretend like I was talking to him, just like in my first interview.
After the interview Cinna led me to the train where Effie, Haymitch and to my surprise Finnick waited. I gave Cinna a soft peck on the lips when we said goodbye and I blushed a little, but he had a real smile on his face. Not the controlled one he normally wore. Well there goes my first kiss, even though I'm not too sure it counts as a real kiss. This sent Effie into another fit about my propriety. The three men and I laughed as Cinna left the train and Effie huffed off to somewhere else. It was again just myself, Haymitch and Finnick. I stood back a little, my arms crossed over my chest, head tilted and my eyebrow cocked.
"I just came to say goodbye, Lovely. You really are a piece of work; it is going to be almost fun working with you." Finnick said. He had a twinkle in his eye and his famous grin on his face.
"When will we meet again?" I asked Finnick innocently; batting my lashes, trying my best to meet his expressions.
"Before you know it. Just call me when you are ready for lessons." Finnick gave me a wink and turned to leave the train. He smiled at Haymitch and Haymitch returned the smile with an eye roll.
"So it's just me and you then?" I asked Haymitch.
"Yup. I need a drink. This is going to be a long ride home." He said a little teasingly.
"Care if I join you?" I asked confidently. I mean why not drink if I don't get a say in who I sleep with I may as well get a say in if I remember it. He just laughed and poured two glasses of white liquor. We sat and drank. We didn't say much because we could almost hear the other's thoughts without having to actually voice them. In that silence a lot was shared.
Effie came out for dinner and saw the two of us at the table waiting for her to eat. I did my best to apologize to her for my outlandish behavior and promised to follow better etiquette. She seemed pleased and we ate dinner in silence for the most part. Effie and I tried to make conversation, but it was just pointless.
After we ate and headed to our bedrooms, I showered and again got in my sleep wear before heading to Haymitch's room. I went to knock on his door but he opened it the second I lifted my hand.
"Took you long enough." He grunted playfully.
"Well I wasn't sure I should come. I mean I need to get used to sleeping on my own now. I don't think my mom will be happy with me traipsing over to your house each night." I said mockingly.
"Well you can figure out your sleeping arrangements when you get home, but for one more night you can stay with me." He said this harshly, but almost hopefully. I walked in and sat on his bed. He went to lie down in his normal position. I turned to him and quietly hovered over him. I leaned down and was almost touching his lips, when he grabbed the back of my head and pulled me down toward him. Our lips crashing into one another. There was so much hunger and passion in this kiss I felt flames growing in the depths of my body, everything clenching and fluttering. We pulled away from each other panting a little for air. I lay down in my normal position and he placed his arm around me.
"Thanks, Hay, for my first real kiss." I said while my face was buried in his chest.
He leaned in some and kissed the top of my head. "Any time Sweetheart. Anytime."
To keep from upsetting Effie anymore, I made sure I woke up early the next morning and went back to my room and got dressed for breakfast. I was already at the breakfast table when Effie, followed by an annoyed Haymitch came into the room. "Oh there you are Katniss, I went to your room to wake you and you weren't there so I checked with Haymitch and he didn't know where you were either. I was about to call a search. How bad would it look if I lost my victor on the train?" Effie squealed.
I smiled at her and apologized for the confusion. "Effie, I was just so excited that I was going to be home today that I just couldn't stay asleep any longer."
Haymitch grunted, "See the girl is fine. No need to get your panties in a twist." He told her.
"Haymitch Abernathy, you were just as worried as I was! You looked like you lost your bottle!" She shrieked back. I just looked at him with a smirk and cocked brow. He shook his head and sat down across from me.
We all ate breakfast and as soon as we finished we were pulling into District Twelve. I was ready. My hair was in a braid, I was wearing a white dress, and I guess President Snow wanted everyone to know of my purity, because most of the clothes Cinna made for me for public appearances were white now.
When the train stopped and I went to step off behind Effie, I looked back at Haymitch. "Keep your head up." He gave me a reassuring smile that quickly went back to his miserable scowl. I smiled and waved at the press as I got off the train.
It wasn't until I saw Prim did I let any real emotion show; she ran up to me and hugged me so tightly I almost fell over. I either lost more weight than I thought or she gained some. We hugged and cried and laughed. "I knew you would come home, I knew it. You said you would for me and you did!" Prim kept squealing in my ear.
Soon my mother came and put her arms around both of us. Crying, "I stayed just like you told me, I stayed for Prim. I am so proud of you my sweet girl."
When we finally broke free I saw the Hawthornes, who were now supposed to play the role of my cousins. I gave each one a hug and kiss on the cheek, but when Gale saw me, he picked me up and hugged me so tight I thought he was going to crush me. He had tears in his eyes and in my ear he whispered that he loved me. I just cried, real tears, because I knew I was going to hurt him, but only to save him.
After the greeting from the train station I was taken to my new house right next door to Haymitch's in the victor's village. It was huge. All of my family plus Gale's family could live there with room to spare. Each room was decorated expertly to my tastes, or what they thought my tastes were. Even with all of its conveniences and splendor this house didn't feel like a home. It felt hollow and empty. I immediately missed my small home in the Seam.
That night there was the welcome home feast in the middle of the square for the whole District. I had to give a small scripted speech and then everyone was fed. People from all over the District were talking to me and congratulating me. Peeta, the baker's son, came up and asked if I wanted to dance. Luckily Haymitch was near and heard. We knew it would look bad for me to be dancing with a boy my age, who wasn't family. Haymitch came over quickly, "Sorry boy, she needs to be heading back home. Long day. I'm sure you understand."
Peeta looked so disappointed, "Yes of course how selfish of me. Maybe some other time then." He then turned to walk away his head low. I felt bad, but I couldn't risk doing anything that would possibly upset Snow or make it look like I was going against his wishes, especially with all these cameras still here.
That night I slept alone, since I no longer had to sleep with my sister. She had her own room. I had horrible nightmares that I guess were only kept at bay because Haymitch had had his arms around me. I woke up screaming several times. Each time my mother, Prim and Haymitch who had ran over from next door where in my room. I was sweating and shaking. My mother looked at Haymitch with tense skeptical eyes. He looked back at her, "Nightmares come with the territory. They don't ever really go away." He said flatly. He looked at me with sympathy and Prim with pity, but he looked at my mother with anger.
The next few nights went the same, except my mother has stopped coming in at all and Haymitch slept in one of the extra rooms. He and Prim would come to check me. Only after I would assure Prim I was okay would she go back to her room. I would then cry in Haymitch's arms and tell him about my dreams. He would listen and he would tell me about his. I didn't feel alone and that was nice.
When the press finally left I decided to sleep in my old Seam house to see if that would help my nightmares or at least so I wouldn't be disturbing my family. I felt guilty for making them worry and I felt guilty that Haymitch had to assume even more responsibility for me, because my mother wouldn't. I would only have slightly fewer nightmares, but at least I wasn't being a burden on anyone, that made me feel somewhat better. I missed Haymitch's arms around me but I knew I was just being selfish.
Every night after dinner I would go to my Seam house to sleep. Every morning I would wake up early, hunt for Gale's family, since he was now in the mines and could only hunt on Sundays and then go to the bakery. At the bakery I would give, no longer worried with trading, the baker a squirrel and buy several loaves of bread and some treats; always making sure I left a generous tip.
I could feel Peeta's eyes on me whenever I was at the bakery. We would make small talk about the different breads or treats. We had struck up an acquaintanceship. He told me about how he loved to frost the cakes and I told him about Prim always making me go look at the beautiful cakes. He never took his eyes off of me though. It was unnerving and endearing at the same time. His eyes were always so filled with love and joy. I wondered if he will look at me in the same way after my tour.
I would also bring some game to Greasy Sae at the Hob and would buy whatever supplies Gale's family may have needed. Then I would head to Gale's house and drop off the meat and other foraged foods, supplies, bread and treats. I would also slip his mother two coins. Gale wouldn't like it, but it wasn't enough for him to notice so his mother, Hazelle, and I agreed it would be okay.
Every Sunday Gale and I would hunt together. We would meet at our spot and hunt until about noon when we would return and go trading in the Hob. Then we would drop whatever game and trade we had back at his house before heading back to my house in the Seam. After a few weeks of this routine and me pretending like he never said he told me he loved me, Gale brought it up.
"Catnip, you know when you came back and I said I loved you?" He started not looking at me. I could feel my cheeks start to burn.
"Yeah, you meant like a friend right?" I asked innocently. I knew it was wrong Haymitch spelled it out for me.
"Well, no not exactly. I mean I do love you as a friend, but also as more." He looks at me sideways trying to gage my reaction. The burning in my cheeks deepened.
"Oh." was all I can manage to get out before I kissed him. I didn't want to talk about this anymore. I just wanted him to shut-up. He was a little surprised but quickly and eagerly kissed me back. He was a good kisser. I felt butterflies start in my stomach and I wanted more. He pulled away and searched my face. I pulled him back to me and kissed him again. I'd hoped he got the hint, no talking just kissing. Kissing led to petting and groping. This led to clothes being removed. I wasn't thinking about the consequences, just that it felt good and I knew he loved me and that he wanted this too. I could feel through his pants how much he wanted this too.
I had known he had had girlfriends in the past; I just wasn't sure how experienced he was. I was surprised by the way he moved. His hands first finding my center and extracting arousal before he was in me himself. Just like in the woods our movements became one. We knew what the other needed and worked together like we always have to bring each other to climax, before falling back in a panting sweaty heap. Gale whispered in my ear how much he loved me. I just kissed him chastely along his cheek, neck and shoulder. We fell asleep for a while and when we woke up it was almost dark.
I grabbed his face to force him to look at me. "Listen Gale, I need you to know, that I do love you, but that this can never happen again. I need you to understand what I am about to tell you and to stay calm. There are things that are…" how should I put this, "things that are required of me. If I don't do exactly as I am told…people will get hurt." I narrowed my eyes willing him to understand.
"But what about us? What do you mean 'get hurt'?" his face shows confusion and pain at what I had just said.
"Look I am not permitted to go into details, but I need you to believe me and that anything you hear or see is not what I want… it's what is required of me. If I don't do it then Prim or you could be taken from me." My eyes were steady but I could feel the lump in my throat that told me I wanted to cry.
"So then why do this with me now?" I could see the pain turning into rage in his eyes.
"Because I wanted you to know how I felt." I said sadly. Both of our bodies were tense. I let go of his face and was looking at my hands. "Please don't hate me." I begged. He let out a sigh.
"I could never hate you Catnip. Thank you for sharing." With that he kissed me one last time, it was a desperate kiss, and left. I ran to Haymitch's house.
I burst through Haymitch's front door and into his kitchen. I knew he would be there drinking. "Well nice to see you Sweetheart." He said dryly. He looked me up and down then shook his head. "Finally tired of hiding out?"
"I have an experience. I am ready for training." I said flatly.
He looked at me sadly and shook his head. "How is he going to take seeing you, like everyone sees Finnick?" He asked.
"I tried to explain without explaining. He took it as well as can be expected; hopefully his heart won't break when the time comes." I said as I shuddered. I felt guilty, but at the same time, I knew he wouldn't take it back.
Haymitch nodded and patted the seat next to him. I sat down and he poured me a drink. "We'll call Finnick tomorrow." he stated.
"Does it have to be Finnick?" I asked shyly. "I mean if you don't want to I understand." I quickly added. He looked up at me astonished; I guess he never thought I would turn down Finnick.
"Why don't we call him and then we will see? Maybe we can both help you, if that's what you want. Cinna will also come to help with your styling." He said with a sliver of hope in his gray Seam eyes.
Effie called the next day to let me know that the Victory Tour was being moved up by a few months as this year's hunger games would also be a Quarter Quell and they needed the extra time to prepare for it. She said that she would be here to escort Haymitch, Cinna and I in a month and a half and that the tour would last two months. Haymitch quickly got on the phone with Finnick and Cinna and both would be arriving by the end of the week.