Disclaimer: Sadly, I do not own the wonderful Hunger Games series.
I have had this idea of telling the story of the Careers. We do not know much about them, and this is what I think happened (or I wish had happened lol.) I only focus on my two favorite careers and is based both on the book and the movie. Enjoy, or not, and tell me what you think!
~ Clove ~
"Clove Soto!" My name rings loud and clear throughout District 2.
It is reaping day for the annual Hunger Games. This is the 74th year, and I had hopes that my name would be called. In the case my name was not the lucky one, I would volunteer and if need be I would fight the chosen girl to the death. However, none of that would be necessary, for my name had been called. I grin as the applause erupts, and I make my way to the stage with strong and confident steps. Once I reach the stage, District 2's escort, whose name I had never bothered to learn, extends his hand out to me to help me up the steps. Keeping my head up, I ignore him. This is being televised, and I do not want to appear weak. As I stand to the escort's left, he grabs my right hand and shouts.
"Clove Soto!" Applause and shouting from my close friends and family ring in my ears. "Our first tribute!"
I grin widely and look over the group of boys waiting to be chosen. I make eye contact with as many as possible and try to tell them with my own eyes that I will be the victor. Once the applause dies down and the escort lets go of my hand, he approaches the microphone again.
"And now for our boy tribute," he make his way to the urn that keeps the names of all the qualifying boys. Just as he reaches down for a name, a voice speaks from the crowd.
"I volunteer as Tribute!" I keep my face neutral as a blond, tall and muscular boy of sixteen years old steps forward. Applause erupts once again as the boy makes his way to the stage.
"Well, this is fantastic! We have a volunteer!" The escort pulls the boy close. "What's your name my boy?"
"Cato King," he replies smiling at the crowd. "And I am going to win!"
He glances at me and winks. I roll my eyes and turn to face the crowd once again. The escort begins to read the Treaty of Treason, but I am not paying attention. I think of this boy, Cato. I think of how I'm going to have to kill him. Suddenly, the escort pulls me to face the boy.
"Shake hands and show good sportsmanship," the escort smiles at me.
Cato immediately extends his hand out. I stare at his hand for a nanosecond and then I extend my own hand out. I barely touch him when I pull my hand back out and ignore him once again.
"Ladies and gentleman, I give you this year's District 2 Tributes!" The escort shouts and pulls our hands up. He then turns to us and says, "Happy Hunger Games! And may the odds be ever in your favor!"
After that, Cato and I are escorted inside the Justice Building. We are split off in different directions. Before he disappears Cato flashes me a grin and a wink much like out in the stage. I turn my head away from him. The Peacekeepers open the door to a big and opulent sitting room. I go inside and turn to the Peacekeepers.
"Wait here," one of them says as they close the door. "Family and friends will be allowed in for a couple of minutes."
I nod and sit on one of the rich and plush chairs. I grab one of the books sitting nearby trying to distract myself from the recent events. It all had gone well. I am a tribute, but my counterpart had been unexpected. I knew Cato. I trained with him all my life.
~ Cato ~
Her name being called pushed me to volunteer. I pace the room I am forced to stay and wait for familiars to come see me. I don't want to see any of them. I want to see her. I need to speak to her.
"No," I whisper staring out into the street. "She is my enemy now."
I run my hands through my hair. I shouldn't have volunteered. Now she is going to die, and I have to win. There's nothing I can do now. I volunteered because at the moment she was called to be the tribute all I could think was to protect her. I chuckle. She doesn't need protection; she has always been great at the training sessions. I am only going to end up killing her in the end. The only thing I can do is make sure she reaches the end only to die by my hand.
My thoughts and plans are interrupted by the door suddenly opening. My family is here to see me. I sigh. Clove is whom I want to see.
~ Clove ~
After I say goodbye to my family, my aunt Enobaria, who will act as my mentor for the games, comes to get me. Before we leave, she pulls me aside.
"Clove," she begins. "You need to keep your head in the game."
I nod. "I know Aunt Enobaria."
"Do you?" She raises one eyebrow to emphasize her skepticism. "I know you and that boy are involved."
"We were," I reassure her. "Once my name was called and he volunteered, we were done."
She looks at me trying to decode my emotions. I keep my face neutral. I know I am not lying. Cato will be literally dead to me soon. Enobaria hugs me and startles me. She has never been affectionate. I hug her back awkwardly. We stay in the embrace for a couple of seconds then she pulls back while still keeping her hands on my shoulders.
"I know Brutus will take a liking to the boy," she begins with a smile. "But because you are my niece I have to favorite you. You go out there, and you win!"
"I will Aunt Enobaria," I smile back at her with confidence.
She leads me to the back exit of the Justice Building. Out there we meet Cato, Brutus and our escort. We board a car that will take us to the train and from there to the Capitol.
~ Cato ~
On the train, we sit by the fire and watch the reaping of the other districts. I look sideways at Clove sitting to my right. She is sitting with a cup of chocolate in her hands. She watches intently at the reaping of District 12. The name of the girl is called. She is a young girl of twelve years old, but an older one steps forward and volunteers. I yawn loudly, and Clove turns to me with a frown. I wink at her, and she scowls turning back to the television. I frown slightly, but I recover quickly. I get up from the couch and walk away without a word.
I open up a compartment that leads to a room with a big window showing the scenery as we travel. I sit in one of the only two chairs in the room. I ponder what has happened since we boarded the train. Clove has ignored me and treated me with contempt since the beginning of the trip. I can only assume that all we shared before the reaping was a lie to her. I roll my eyes. How stupid can I be? From now on, Clove and I are nothing but tributes from District 2. We are to severe any ties we have with each other, and she was doing just that. All that matters from now on is to win.
The door to the compartment opens and in walks Brutus, my mentor. He sits next to me and hands me a glass of wine. I frown.
"I figure we ought to celebrate your 'bravery,'" he says without much excitement. "Did you volunteer to help the girl?"
I am taken aback. How did he figure it out? I knew a part of me had volunteered to help Clove and the other reason was to, well, win. I don't respond to his question. I simply down the wine. He looks at me and smiles.
"Ah young love," then he turns serious and grabs my face. I push him away and stand up. "You better keep your head in the game boy. Unless you want to die, and trust me, I know you don't. District 2 is not known for sacrifice. Leave that to the other weak districts like 12. They are disgusting. I'd like it very much if you'd win. Understood?"
"You are not the boss of me," I growl. "But I know what I need to do. I know what I want and that is to win."
"Good," Brutus drinks his wine and then leaves me.
I sit back on the chair and look at the passing scenery. Yes, I will do what I need to do to win. Even if it means ripping my heart out.
~ Clove ~
"Good job," Enobaria claps as I hit my target again. "Who was your trainer?"
"Deema," I say out of breath. "She trained me in knife throwing, and Grant taught me hand to hand combat and boxing."
"Perfect," she smiles as she retrieves the knives from the table that had been turned upright to practice.
After watching the reaping of the other districts, Enobaria suggested she see me use my abilities. She had cleared a table and turned it upright against a wall. Using kitchen knives, I had thrown them at the table. She had marked the places she wanted me to hit, and I had not missed a single one. She sets the knives down on a nearby table and pours me a glass of water. Once she hands it to me, I drink thirstily. She stares at me as I drink.
"Did you always train with the boy?" She asks finally.
"Cato," I say stopping mid drink. "And no. Not always. He trained with Kendall in sword fighting and archery. Since we both trained with Grant for hand to hand combat, we sometimes practiced together."
"Good," she nods. "At least he does not know all your strengths and weaknesses."
I drink more water avoiding any more conversation on the topic of Cato and me. It hurts to think that yesterday had been normal. We had met early in the morning to practice combat, gone to school, had lunch together, and after school we had gone to practice more. Hell, early this morning I had told him I would volunteer this year.
"You will win," he had said tucking a loose hair behind my ear. "You can beat all the other districts and return to me as a victor."
I smiled at him. "And next year you would be the victor."
He nodded and kissed my forehead. But everything had gone to hell. Our plans of me participating this year and winning. He would volunteer the next year and win. We both could have been victors, but now only one of us would survive.
"Clove!" Enobaria shouts bringing me back from the past. "You are bleeding."
I look at my left hand and notice I gripped the glass too tightly and had shattered it. I grab a napkin from a nearby table and cover my wound.
"I will go get a first aid kit," Enobaria rushes out of the room.
I nod and sit on a chair. I remove the napkin and look at my wound. I shrug; I am not badly injured. Just a couple of scrapes and cuts from the glass. I sigh and look around the room. The door opens.
"I'm fine Aunt Enobaria," I say turning around but suddenly stop when I realize it's Cato. "Oh, it's you." I turn away from him.
"Yeah, it's me." He sits in front of me. "What happened?"
"Nothing." I reply curtly.
He grunts and grabs my injured hand. It is the first time we touch since barely shaking our hands at the reaping. A warmth travels up my hand to the rest of my body. I shake it off and try to pull my hand back, but he grips it tightly.
"This doesn't look like nothing." He says as he grabs another napkin and cleans the blood. "How did you do this?"
"I broke the glass with my hand. It's nothing." I say trying to pull my hand back once again.
"Best be careful," he says finally letting of my hand. "I don't want you killing yourself before going into the arena. It wouldn't be fun without you." He winks.
"I wouldn't count on it if I were you." I reply growling and standing up, and he does too. Unfortunately he is a foot taller than me, so it is hard to look menacing.
I shove him away with my fists, but he doesn't sway. Instead, he grabs my fists and pulls me closer.
"Let go!" I shout breathless. "You are not supposed to touch me until the arena."
He ignores me and leans down. He crushes my lips with his and kisses me like he had done this morning before the reaping. However in this kiss, there's desperation and pain with the sweet and familiar feeling of love and caring. We kiss for what seems like forever, but it's really a couple of seconds. He pushes me back down on the chair and leans down to my eye level.
"From now on," his face shows no emotion. "We are only allies." He leaves the room abruptly.
My heart is still racing when Enobaria returns with a cream in her hands. I look away from her and check my face in a silver platter nearby. There are no emotions showing, but I know that inside, I am a wreck.
~ Cato ~
I don't know what possessed me to kiss her. I shouldn't even have talked to her. I am in my room pacing once again. I made the mistake of kissing her when I had decided to cut all feelings I had for her.
"A goodbye kiss," I say to myself. I laugh at my own stupidity and weakness. "I have to clean up my act. I am Cato King. I am strong, fearless, and feared. I am going to win no matter what."
A knock on my door interrupts my soliloquy. I open it and find Brutus on the hall. I scowl at him.
"What?" I grunt.
"We are here." He says and turns around. I follow after him. I find Clove looking at the window smiling and waving. Her smile has always been one of my favorite features about her, after her soft pink lips. I shake my head and stand next to her.
"The Capitol," I say taking in the sight of the greatness of The Capitol and its richness opulence. The train is slowing down for the crowd to see us slightly better.
"Smile, wave, scowl, do something boy," Brutus suggests.
I give the crowd by best cocky smile, and I wink at a couple of cute girls. The train stops and Clove, Enobaria, Brutus, our escort and I move to the exit.
"Ready?" Our escort asks Clove and me cheerfully. We nod. "Let the show begin."
He pushes us out as the door opens, and we are blinded by the flashes of the cameras and The Capitol.
~ Clove ~
We are taken through the crowd yelling our names and the reporters asking us questions. A couple of minutes later, we are led to the Remake Center where we are to be made beautiful. This is my least favorite part of the games. They try to make us beautiful when we should be practicing our abilities to further our chances. I sigh and allow my stylists to do away with me. Thankfully, my family is wealthy, so I had received beauty treatments from The Capitol before. None of this was new, and there was not much for the stylists to do.
My hair is completely stripped of any curls and is now completely straight and down to my waist. They give me golden streaks and pull my hair in a low, sideways pony tail. Constance, my make-up artist, puts gold eye shadow with glitter. My lips, luckily, are not covered with gold lipstick. Instead Constance puts on me red lipstick. She gives me a robe and leaves the room. She and her team had been quiet throughout their work. I shrug and wait for whatever is next. I am reading a magazine when the door opens and Cato walks in followed by a short man and a round woman.
I notice Cato has not changed much. I guess they want to keep him the same since he is already gorgeous. I blush slightly and cover it by hiding behind the magazine. I did see though that his hair was blonder and shorter. He leaned back on the wall and waited for the short man to speak.
"All right," the man begins with his Capitol accent. "We have to discuss the matter of your outfit for the opening ceremonies tonight. Since your district is well known for its masonry, we have to incorporate that into your outfit." The man stops and motions for the woman to continue.
"We thought this year we could back in time." She says giddily. "To the Roman Empire and its gods…"
"What does that have to do with masonry," Cato interrupts.
I roll my eyes. "The Romans are well known for their architecture using stone." I turn to the woman who is looking proudly at me for understanding her theme. "Forgive him; he has never been too bright. Continue."
I smile satisfied at Cato, who is red as a tomato. "Anyway," the man interrupts clearly bored with us. "We will dress you as Roman gods."
Fitting, I think to myself.
~ Cato ~
Our outfit consists of armor. A golden armor to be exact. On my head is a silly winged hat. I do like the way the armor shows off my muscles though. I wait by the horses for the round woman to come with Clove. When she finally arrives, I can't help but take in a deep breath. Clove looks beautiful in a golden long dress that brings out the slight tan tone of her skin. Her dark hair has streaks of gold and her green eyes are brought out by black eyeliner and golden eye shadow. She truly looks like a goddess.
She stands next to me and her stylist places the final touches. She places the armor on Clove's small frame and her own winged hat. Unsatisfied, the woman lets Clove's hair loose from the bun. It flows in slight curls down to her waist. I turn away from her for fear I'll run to her and crush her to me.
"All right," my stylist approaches. "Get on the carriage. I want you two to wave, but don't smile-"
"You must look solemn." The woman interrupts. "Look godlike."
"How are we supposed to know what godlike is?" I ask frowning.
"Just don't smile and wave like this," Clove says and grabs my hand and moves it like her own in a stiff wave.
I nod and pull my hand away. I turn to watch the other tributes. The girl from District 1 is in front of us wearing a feathery pink and purple outfit. She sees me watching her, and she winks. I give her a flirty grin and turn once again. In that moment my eyes are wandering, I see the girl from District 12 walk by dressed in a black outfit. I glare at her, and she looks hastily away. I smirk as I turn back to Clove.
"What are you smiling about?" She asks frowning.
"Nothing," I shrug. "Just terrorizing some tributes."
"Right," she turns to face the front. "And flirting with the others."
Before I can say something, music begins to play and the front carriage moves. Our stylists shout last minute advises. And the parade begins.
~ Clove ~
As the carriage begins to move, I do as my stylist told me. I wave solemnly and don't smile. I take on a regal air, and I almost believe I am truly a goddess. The crowd goes wild and for a second I feel it's because of us. However, Cato nudges me and with his head points toward the many screens. What I see is not to my liking at all. I see the tributes from District 12 on fire looking powerful and truly regal like fire gods. I narrow my eyes and memorize the face of the girl from that district. She will go down first. No, the girl from District 1 is going down first, then District 12. I turn to the crowd and wave until our chariots stop in the City Circle in front of President Snow's balcony.
His speech drags on a little longer than I like. I stare ahead and try to look as if I am truly engaged in his words. After a while our chariots begin moving again and we are taken into the training center. I step off the chariot angrily and remove my stupid hat and armor and throw it at my stylists. I glared at District 12 and stomp away.
Inside my quarters, I cry. I cry because I am angry at my incompetent team of stylists that allowed us to be outshined by the weak and disgusting District 12. I cry because I am crying. I should not be crying and knowing that I'm doing exactly that makes me cry harder. The door opens abruptly, and I stand up wiping my tears away. Cato stands by the door, and I turn my back to him. I wipe the moisture completely off of my face.
"What do you want?" I snap. "Don't you knock?" I turn and find myself face to chest with Cato.
He pulls me into his arms. I stand with my hands limply at my sides as he hugs me. I surprise myself and him too when I hug him back. I grip his shirt and allow more tears to flow. He leads me to one of the chairs and sits me on his lap. He pulls my hair to the side and with his hand he gently wipes my tears away.
"Aren't you going to ask me why I'm crying?" I ask after both of us looking into each other's eyes in silence.
"I know why," he gives me his lopsided grin that is usually reserved for me. "You are angry at being outshined by District 12."
I nod. "We are stronger than they are Cato," I begin whiningly. "We are better. The sponsors might like them better after tonight."
"Don't you worry about that," he kisses my forehead. "We don't need sponsors. We will get rid almost all tributes within minutes of the game. The rest will pick off one by one. I promise you Clove, we will kill them all. I will kill District 12 for you."
"Really?" I smile. "Promise?"
"I do." He pulls my face down, and just before our lips touch, he jumps up and away from me. "Hmm, good night." He leaves me standing in the middle of the room dumbfounded and aching for him.
~ Cato ~
Once again, I made the mistake of being too close to Clove. But I couldn't just go to my quarters after hearing her cry. I saw how angry she had been after the parade; she hates being second at anything and District 12 had definitely placed us in second. I was making my way to my room when I passed hers and heard her crying. It hurt my chest to think of anything or anyone hurting Clove. I burst inside without much thought and took her into my arms. I was close to kissing her when I realized I was not doing a good job at letting her go and cutting all ties.
In my own quarters, I am undressing when someone knocks on my door. I put on the silk pajamas and open the door. Enobaria stands in the hall way. Without a word she walks in and closes the door.
"You need to let go of her," she says.
"What are you talking about?" I am taken aback first that she is here.
"Clove," she shoves me against the wall. "Whatever plan you and Brutus have, you are not using my niece for it. You may think to use her feelings for you to lure her into a sense of security and then kill her. I will not allow it. I know Seneca Crane, the game maker, and I could convince him to get rid of you. Stay away from Clove. Understood?"
She makes her way to the door without waiting for an answer. As she opens the door, I lunge forward and close it again.
"I don't want to hurt her." I advance towards her. "I shouldn't be in this year's game. We had plans. She was going to volunteer this year, but her name was called. I was to wait until next year. We were both going to be victors, but I screwed up. I panicked when I saw her up in the stage. My Clove fighting for her life may very well not return. I had to do something. I volunteered because I love her."
I explained my reasons without taking a breath. Enobaria stares at me; she grabs my face in her hands and says, "Then don't let her die. Be the leader of the alliance. Be the ruthless tribute and make them all go after you. Protect her and take her to victory."
I chuckle. "You think she needs my help?" I pull away. "She is strong. She is the best at throwing knives, and she always kicked my ass in combat."
Enobaria nods. "Yes, but one never knows. In the games, something can happen. I'm not losing my only niece to the Capitol."
I look up at the ceiling. I don't want to die. It's like Brutus said, District 2 is not known for its sacrifice. We only think of ourselves. I sigh. I value her life more. She can win and return home though I won't be there, she will be. She can live a happy life for the rest of her life. As much as it pained me to never see her again, I nod at Enobaria.
"I'll do anything and everything I can." I sit on a chair. "But no one must know about this. Clove won't accept this, and the Capitol won't either."
"I know," Enobaria says as she moves to the door. "Like I told you, be the ruthless and merciless tribute of them all. Hide all your emotions and push her away. Your death will hurt her deeply, but if she thinks you no longer love her, she'll be able to move on."
I stand angrily. "I am not-" I don't finish my sentence because Enobaria is gone. How can I leave this world letting the love of my life think I didn't love her? But I see it is necessary. I know what I want, and that is for Clove to win. I will do whatever needs to be done for her to win.
I hoped you liked this so far! Next chapter is the training, interviews and games. I might make the games a separate chapter will see how long it is. This is a short story by the way. I am not doing like an entire novel. Anyway, I hope you like it! Review or PM me any comments.