Ah yes, another Clato one shot. I'm currently working on something bigger, but don't expect that to be out nearly as fast, seeing as spring break's drawing to a close (sigh) and colorguard tryouts are next week. But thanks so much for all the great reviews and encouragement from everyone, and I hope you enjoy!
Disclaimer: If I owned the Hunger Games, Cato and Clove would've won, and consequently I would've wrote stories about their epic romance.
A rock. Years of training, of long hours with callouses on my fingers and sweat dripping into my eyes have worked up to this. It was so so close I could taste the bittersweet flavor of victory. All for it to be wiped away by a stupid rock.
I was partially aware of an inhuman scream shuddering out of me, a scream so frightening that such a noise should only be uttered near to me by those who's beating heats I stabbed. Such a sound should not be coming out of me, sending jolts through my being, but it was, ripping my vocal cords to shreds as I screamed the name of the one person who I knew would come running. Cato.
11 dropped me to the ground the second my head was pounded with the rock, he and Fire Girl talking, their voices merely buzzes in my head. I reached out my hand, only partly noticing Fire Girl and 11 racing away as a new figure ran up, screaming something. My name? Clove? Was that my name? Who was this Clove? Surely not me. Their loud footsteps shook the ground, rattling the sludge in my skull that had previously been a brain and forcing me to grit my teeth. My fingers stroked a blade of grass, the dark blood that stubbornly remained under my nails such a contrast to the bright green grass.
"Clove, stay with me! Don't leave Clove! C'mon, you'll be fine! Just stay with me!" I looked up to where the sun had previously been to see someone blocking it. Why was he here? Why was he so sad? Such a handsome face should not look so distraught. It occurred to me that I had never told him how handsome I found him. For some reason, this seemed ever so important now as I opened my mouth to tell him. Wait, tell him what? Who was he? Who was this boy, pleading with this Clove to stay with him?
No, I was Clove. I was Clove and nothing, not even a stupid rock and that oaf from 11 could take that away from me. I was Clove and he was Cato and I could not forget that. I would not forget that, dammit, I was Clove! The fiery passion went out as quick as it had started as I let out a pitiful whimper. Cato's face twisted into what could only be described as sadness in it's purest form as he gently laid my head on his leg.
"Shh, Clove, it's okay. Shh, just stay with me okay? I'm here Clove, just stay here," but despite his pleadings as he stroked my hair with such a tenderness I thought had been completely demolished in Cato once he stepped into the Arena, I could not. His face was replaced with someone else's as I crushed my dry lips together. Where was he going? What was happening? I wanted to stay here, with Cato.
I blinked, taking in my surroundings. With a jolt I realized where I was. District 2's training center.
"I heard you have some pretty good aim," a tall ten year old boy was looking at a short girl, lazily leaning against a target as she sharpened one of her knifes. She shrugged, her lips twisting into a smirk.
"Heard you're not too bad yourself," she said in that all-too familiar pre-puberty squeak of a voice. I watched, open-mouthed, as he strode over to her.
"Cato," he said, sticking out his hand. She surveyed it for a second, then shook it, his hand swallowing her doll-sized one.
"Clove," she said as he grinned at her. The image swirled and was instantly replaced with another familiar one. Huh. So your life really does flash before your eyes. I just wish mine wasn't such a disappointment.
I watched as a girl-no, me, that girl was me- slammed the door open, a scowl etched on her (my?) features. Cato waltzed in behind me. I went and sat down stiffly at the table, a knife already in my fingers as I twirled it. He stood behind me, hands gripping the back of my chair.
"Clove," he sighed as I glared at him.
"What Cato?" I hissed.
"There's no use in being mad," he said, and that's all it took for me to snap. I whirled around, my fingers clenched so tightly around the knife my knuckles were turning white.
"No use in being mad? Cato, we've been partners for years! Years! We're the best there is! But all it takes is one trampy blonde to waltz in and suddenly I'm having to partner while Julius so you can stand behind her and pretend like you're helping her shoot a bow when really you're just feeling her up?" he stood there expressionless. A flick of the wrist and suddenly the knife was lodged in the wall behind his head.
"You just stabbed my kitchen wall," he said, sounding somewhat amused. I watched as younger me hissed and shoved the chair back, marching towards the door. Ha, now younger Cato wasn't so cool and relaxed as he rushed in front of me, blocking my exit.
"Clove," he murmured, and I looked up at him with pain-filled eyes as his arms wrapped around me. "I'm sorry, I'm sorry. I didn't mean it. I'm sorry," he whispered as I buried my face in his shirt. This time, I wasn't as surprised when the scene changed. Where was I now? Oh. Justice Building.
And there was me from what, two weeks ago? Sitting on the couch with a bored expression, absentmindedly tapping my fingers. The door opened and a girl rushed in. I stood up to meet her, and the results were truly eerie. Dark swish of hair, green glaring eyes, delicate features drawn into a scowl. If it wasn't for that half inch of height she held over me, it would be like looking into a mirror. An annoying, sarcastic little mirror.
I watched as her arms went around me, her head leaning towards my ear to whisper words under the safety of my hair. I could feel her hot breathe sending pricks on my skin, smell her trademark scent of linen and sugar. You have to win Clove.
I thought it was over when I heard the booming voice. God? No, Caesar Flickerman. Definitely not who I was expecting, but whatever.
"So Clove, tell me: how exactly do you plan on winning?" he grinned at me, wiggling those creepy blue eyebrows. I was on the couch, staring at the audience in my orange dress, my hair piled on top of my head. On the back of my legs I swear I could still feel the purple fuzz of the couch.
"By being the last one alive," I drawled lazily, smirking as the crowd cheered.
The scenes started going by faster now, only slight sensations staying with me:
the jacket scratching against my skin as I rose up on my plate, waiting to rush towards the Cornucopia,
the hilt of my favorite knife on my fingertips as I watched the trees overhead rustle as tiny bird-girl fluttered about (not even I wanted to claim her death),
a firm grasp on my arm as Cato dragged me away from the tracker jackers and a screaming Glimmer,
his lips that tasted like licorice and warmth pressed against mine as the announcement was made: we were both going home,
familiar fingers not mine drawing shapes on my arm as I leaned over and smirked at him,
the repulsing feel of slimy blood and spit on my face as I scowled down at Fire Girl,
a harsh sensation on my temple as that stupid rock made my skull crack,
and now the moment I was suddenly rushed back to, with Cato's hand grasping mine and rain falling on my face.
"Please, Clove, stay with me," he choked out. Not rain. Tears. Cato was crying. Cato was crying for me. I smiled weakly up at him.
"I can't," I rasped as he sobbed. "But win. Win for me, Cato," and he nodded furiously, his hand still clutching mine, my head on his thigh.
"I will," he promised. "I'll, I'll make them pay," at this his eyes narrowed slightly as he glanced at what I'm sure was quite a gruesome injury on my head as he leaned down closer. "I won't forget you Clove," and here his voice was a whisper, the wind carrying the words to my head. As I took what I knew to be my last ragged breathes and Cato still asked me to please please don't go, I smiled.
"I won't forget you either," distantly, a cannon boomed as I closed my eyes, sliding into darkness, only wanting to remember the sound of his voice and his touch on my skin.