I know that I'm in the middle of my Gale/ Madge story (one of my favorite Hunger Games pairings) but I love love love love LOVE Clato (Clove/ Cato) as well. They're kind of tied for my favorite pairings and I hated how they took out all of the totally implied Clato in the movie! AURGH!
No amount of exclamation marks can express my ANGER! Or at least annoyance.
But Isabelle Fuhrman was AMAZING as Clove. AMAZING, I tell you! In all capital letters and with seven exclamation marks.
Anyways, enjoy the first part of this two-shot.
The name slips out before I can stop it and I mentally curse myself over crying out for help like a stupid little weakling would. I'm a career and we careers are anything but week. Despite this, though, I can't manage to suppress the wave of terror that washes over me as Thresh continues to shake me. Cato's name slips from my lips again as I see Thresh bend over for a rock that he has spotted.
"CATO!" I scream frantically.
The tears are threatening to spill from my eyes because I know what he's going to do to me. He's going to smash my head in, almost as if I was a bug in the summer time, and it's all because of that little girl that Marvel must have killed (unless, of course, Avaline had finally made a move).
"I didn't kill her!" I gasp, for some unfathomable reason. Next thing you know, I'll be begging for mercy, but, instead, it slips from my lips again: that one, weak word.
I can see the rock and then I hear it. It's desperate- almost pleading, really.
And for one moment- just one short little moment- Thresh hesitates as he raises the rock above my head. Whether it is because of me or because he has heard Cato's loud, uneven footsteps and shout of fear, I will never know, but it's just long enough for Cato's spear to pierce his shoulder.
Thresh's grip loosens and the stone must hit my head because all that I can see is a wave of black, then swirling patterns of purples, blues, and reds. I can hear Cato, Thresh, and District Twelve all screaming and yelling and the clash of weapons as the three of them fight. I hear the footstep of someone running and I try to move and go after them, but I'm still on the ground. A canon blasts and I involuntarily shut my eyes as I feel blood splatter around me.
"Clove? Clove? Can you hear me? It's Cato, your District Partner! We can both still win, Clove! Please, stay with me, please!" I hear Cato yell- no, wait, beg. Cato is begging me- not to kill him quickly as I had always expected- but for my life. He's begging me to stay alive.
Stranger things have probably happened, but my eyes are still shut and Cato's frantic voice is making it hard for me to think coherently.
"Which one?" I manage to articulate, my voice sounding hoarse and choked.
"Clove? Are you alright?" Cato asks.
"Just tell me who you killed already, Cato!" I snap.
"Oh, right, I killed Thresh. Twelve got away, into the woods. She left her back pack, though, so lover boy won't be getting his medicine…" Cato trails off, and I hear him unzip the back pack to examine what District Twelve was sent- Medicine.
Something clicks in my head and I think about how stupid Cato can be.
"Put it on my head, where he got me," I choke and I hear the tube being opened and then I feel Cato's strong hands rubbing my skull near my hairline.
I crack my eyes open and my vision is completely blurred, but I can see a look of concentration on Cato's handsome face.
"My vision… it's all blurred," I mumble.
Cato looks at me (I think), but I'm sure that I feel him squeeze my hand as a way to reassure me of something, but I don't know what.
"Maybe Lyme will send you glasses," he says and I think he's trying to joke, but he just sounds like he's trying to convince himself something.
I want to stab him.
He shouldn't be doing this for me, he should be following Twelve back to the lair of "love" or off in the woods hunting down sneaky little Avaline, from District Five. I am his enemy, not his friend (and in most Games, I wouldn't even be his ally at this point).
My vision is slowly improving, though everything past Cato's face seems to be a swirl of colors and I almost think that there are tears on his face, but we are careers, and careers don't cry. Careers don't care about the rest of the career pack unless there's a good reason, like a bear or another tribute. But we careers don't care like Cato seems to.
I feel him squeeze my hand and then I realize that I'm crying too.
I internally curse myself for showing weakness to an enemy and to the rest of Panem.
"Can you see anything yet, Clove?" Cato asks softly.
"Yes, let's go," I say roughly, not liking the tone of his voice because it doesn't sound hard and tough or even angry; it sounds concerned and caring, almost as if he were talking to a loved one, and it terrifies me because the only person that I can remember speaking to me like this is my grandmother and my oldest brother (dad had probably been like Julius before mom had died, but I couldn't remember that time very well).
"Are you sure?" Cato whispers in my ear as he helps me up.
"Yes," I hiss, not telling him that my world is still a blur of bright colors and buzzing in my ears.
I wrench my hands from his and bend to grab my knives, but the world still swirls around me when I bend over and I wind up strewn across Thresh's massive body. I close my eyes and try not to scream because he was so close to killing me. Cato kneels to help me up, but I wobble back to my feet on my own, rejecting his silent offer. There's only one thing that scares me more than Thresh, and it's Cato (but mostly just the way that he's acting at the moment).
"I'm fine. I just need to sit down a bit; maybe sleep it off. How about you go get food and water and anything left that we can scavenge and I'll take a nap," I suggest.
Cato doesn't look too happy, but ends up setting me down on a fallen tree outside of our tent. I close my eyes, but keep my ears open and alert for any signs of danger. It's mostly in case of District Five's tribute, Avaline, because Lover Boy is in no shape to walk, Thresh is dead, and Fire Girl is probably too busy sobbing over Lover Boy's soon to be dead body.
A canon fires off in the distance, and, though I wish dearly that it was Avaline, I know that it's probably for Lover Boy. I saw where Cato cut him and it was an absolute miracle that he had managed to make it this far into the Games after that wound.
I hear someone stumbling through the woods and I grab my knife and squint my eyes open, only to find a frantic looking Cato. Well, he actually still looks very composed (especially for the Hunger Games) but I can see the worry in his eye. He's really starting to creep me out.
"Clove, are you okay? I heard the canon…" Cato trails off as he reaches the clearing where our camp has been set up.
"I'm fine, Cato!" I spit from between my clenched teeth. I don't know what this boy's angle is, but it's driving me crazy.
Through my blurred vision, I can see an odd look cross his face, but it only stays for a brief moment so I can't be sure what I'm seeing. It looks almost like hurt or pain, though. Cato looks as if he feels rejected, but I immediately blame my vision, because he's Cato and these are the Hunger Games. Even with the "Rule Change" I don't trust the Game Makers at all. It's painfully obvious that only one Victor will ever be allowed and that they made the rule for more drama between the "Star Crossed Lovers" of District Twelve that had been unlucky enough to have been selected for the same Hunger Games. The rule change was never meant for us.
"Look, Clove, I just want to make sure that you're alright. I figured that you'd appreciate it, what with the rule change and all," Cato mutters sheepishly.
I'm unsure of what to say, but I mutter a quick "Thank you" and I can feel my cheeks involuntarily turn red. I hate myself.
"Yeah, you're welcome," He mutters and it has about as much sincerity as a dead fish. Perfect for me, though, because that means that everything is going back to normal even though these particular Games have been anything but. "Who do you think the canon was for?" Cato continues as if we don't both know.
"Lover Boy, I mean seriously, who else? Fire Girl's cut didn't look too deep and unless you or Thresh got her," I begin.
"Lower calf and left should," Cato interjects.
"Right," I agree, knowing that neither wound he inflicted will be immediately life threatening. "Like I was saying, though, unless she has some unknown wound or if Avaline met up with her on the way back to where ever it is that District Twelve has been hiding out for the few days, it's got to be Lover Boy who's finally kicked it. You cut him right along the artery," I say.
"So we're assuming that it's Lover Boy until nightfall when we'll know for sure?" Cato asks.
I nod, but I can't shake this feeling that something is not right. I just feel as if there's something up that Cato and I are missing out on.
The Rule change.
"I just don't understand why they haven't taken back the rule change yet," I mention. Cato's head snaps up through the slightly less blurry swirl of colors.
"I don't really mind it, Clove. I mean, with this rule change, both of us get to go home. Both of us get to be Victors with those huge mansions and all of the money that we could ever possibly want," Cato defends, and I agree with everything he's saying. However, I still can't fight the feeling that the Game makers have more tricks up their sleeves.
"I call dibs on the house next to Lyme's. You can have the house between Brutus and Enobaria's places," I smirk, knowing that Enobaria is the one person who really truly scares the shit out of Cato. She's not our mentor, but she had dinner with us one night because she was in town. That was the most silent I have ever seen Cato.
"If we win, every house will be filled. I wonder what they'll do then." Cato wonders.
"You mean when we win," I just said we and I can't help but feel better because it's not just me.
It's Cato and I.
We will win this thing.
We are a team, or at least we can be a team.
"Cato, thanks for being there," I mumble, and I feel my cheeks turn red again.
"We're a team, Clove. We'll make history as the first two tributes to ever win the Hunger Games together," Cato shrugs as if this is a normal, every day experience.
We sit there in an incredibly awkward silence (though I feel like Cato has a lot to say but is too nervous or embarrassed to say anything in front of the cameras) that continues for about ten minutes, when the anthem of Panem begins to play.
"I'll tell you who it is," Cato whispers to me.
I nod because I still can't see very well.
"It's Lover Boy, Clove. You were right," Cato says as the light from the sky dims and eventually disappears.
"That just means two healthy tributes left to kill, you know," I mention.
He looks like he's going to make some witty retort, when we hear it. It's a thumping of many feet and a scream of terror and pain.
We take off into the forest towards the cornucopia as fast as we can, knowing that whatever is chasing us must be what the Game makers decided to use as the way to finally draw the last four tributes together seeing as the Feast only resulted in one (or maybe two, if you count Lover Boy's indirect demise) death and not all that much excitement compared to previous years.
Cato's grip on my hand feels as if it's going to crush it, but, strangely, I don't really mind all that much. Maybe it's the adrenaline rushing through my body or maybe it's the fact that I know he's guiding me to (hopefully) safety or maybe it's something else, but I'm racing along side him as quickly as I can.
"Jump, Clove," Cato gasps and I can feel the presence of the cornucopia in front of me. I crouch and leap as high as I can as Cato shoves me up. I blindly stick my hand out and wrench him up as far as I can manage. Through the blurs in my vision, I can make out a flash of orangey red off in the distance, but it is soon consumed by a moving entity of darkness and a canon blasts for a fallen tribute that I assume must be Avaline.
"Oh my God," Cato murmurs as I hear the sounds of snarling and claws getting closer.
"What?" I hiss in his ear, cowering close to him.
It's not Cato, it's Fire Girl, I realize after my body stiffens out of reflex.
"Cato, tell me what it is," I hiss.
"You don't want to know, Clove," he says and I hear the faint trace of horror in his voice that makes me start to lose it. If this is scary for Cato, then I'm glad that I don't have to watch this.
The canon blasts and the mutts retreat because I can't hear them anymore and Cato is pulling me down from the cornucopia. But I don't really care about all of that, because I know for sure that something isn't right.
Claudius Templesmith should be announcing our victory.
There is only the sound of Cato's deep breathing.
"Attention to our remaining tributes! Congratulations on making it to the final two. Unfortunately after much research and consideration, the previous statement that two tributes could win the Hunger Games together has been revoked. Only one victor will be crowned. Thank you, and may the odds be ever in your favor."
I start to back away from Cato, but it's pretty hard to do when you can barely see. He grabs my hands and envelopes me into his chest.
"I'm not going to hurt you, Clove," he whispers.
"Get away from me, Cato!" I scream, pushing him away. "Killing is all that we know how to do. One of us has to win this! Only one of us can win it, Cato!" my voice is cracking, but I don't care. I feel like that girl, Annie Cresta, must have felt all those years ago: crazy.
"Shut up, Clove, and let me think, will you?" He snaps.
I'm crying hysterically by now, because it's all just so plain stupid. Why do we have these stupid games? Why do I have these stupid, crazy, messed up feelings for Cato that are preventing me from just killing him and being finished with this? Why is everything so damn stupid!
"Clove, I'm seriously trying to think here!" Cato snaps.
"You couldn't think your way out of a paper bag! I just want to die, so can't you just kill me already?" I sob hysterically. " Why won't you just kill me already and win? Isn't that the point, to win and be this huge, stupid victor? Isn't that what everyone wants?" I scream.
"I won't do it! I won't do it, Clove, I promise," Cato is yelling.
He hands me a knife and puts my hand to my chest right where my heart is.
"Together?" he whispers, and I can see through my tear stained and blurred vision that his sword is at the exact same place.
"Stop, stop! There will be two victors, after all! May I present Cato and Clove, of District Two, Panem!"
I'm still driving the knife into my heart when Cato wrenches it away and nearly breaks every single one of my ribs with his rough embrace.
That wasn't too terribly awful :)
Anyways, I hope that you enjoyed the lovely first part of this two-shot and that you take a minute to leave a reiview.
Stay tuned for part 2 (up in the next week or so).