The oneshot I promised to the contest winner of and still, you're magnificent. Essence of Lily, this is your oneshot, I hope you enjoy!
Disclaimer: Um, I didn't own The Hunger Games the last time I checked, but maybe something's changed in the past forty seven seconds. :)
They win. By no small miracle (not that she believes in miracles; and if you ever mention it again, she'll slit your throat so fast, you won't know what's happened) they win.
The morning before the feast, they fight, screaming with whispers, about who should go. He thinks they both should, safety in numbers and, god, Clove, we're so close, I'm not losing you now. She knows that they could take out more of the remaining Tributes if they split up, entered the clearing at different times.
But when he pins her to the tree, digs his fingers into her hips and growls, "I'm not letting you go alone," she knows that the argument is as good as lost.
"Fine," she hisses, before stretching up to meet his lips.
Five gets in and out before they get there, Clove only sees the flash of red disappearing into the woods. And then they wait.
Twelve appears, moving cautiously, and she smirks at her naivety. Finally, Twelve breaks into a run, so she, being faster, runs to cut her off on the other side. Cato watches from the bushes, scanning the perimeter for Eleven, and when he sees him, he goes for it, tackles the boy before he gets the chance to go at Clove, because she'd never notice him approaching, not when she's locked in such battle with Twelve.
He hears a gurgling scream, and grins because the Girl on Fire just burned out, didn't she? Eleven puts up a good fight, but in the end, Cato's had more rest, more to eat, more training, and he lets out one cry of pain, satisfying his opponent's need for it.
Two cannons go off. He gets up and goes to meet Clove in the center, where they grab the three packages, laughing at the fact that Loverboy won't last a day without his precious medicine.
They wait, and wait, and finally, after sixteen hours by her count, Loverboy dies.
They are the final team, and Five is no threat. She is fast, and smart, yes, but no faster or smarter than Cato, and definitely not smarter than Clove. The scour the forest, clutching each other's hands in anticipation as they search for her.
Then come the mutts. She can't say that she wasn't expecting something, but she wasn't expecting this. Cato shoves her in front of him, propels her forward out of sheer instinct, knowing full well that she'd yell at him about it later.
They reach the Cornucopia, but Five is already on top, surveying the forest. The growling of the mutts alerts her to their presence, and she spins to face them, her face showing her terror. If she wasn't so scared for herself, for Cato, Clove would laugh. She scrambles to the top, kicks Five's legs out from under her, sends her tumbling over the edge, and by the time she turns around, Cato's already beside her, with only a bite in his leg to show what they'd just escaped.
And then the mutts retreat, and the light returns to the arena (she hadn't really even noticed it had dimmed, actually), and god, they won. She jumps, wraps herself around him enthusiastically and kisses him with fervor as Claudius Templesmith announces, "Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the Victors of the Seventy-fourth Hunger Games!"
Going home is an exciting prospect, especially since she would not have to return to her old house, with the ghost of her mother haunting every room, and her drunken father just waiting to get his hands around her neck (though, at this point, she's sure she could protect herself).He finds it just as exciting. For once, his parents will be proud, for once he won't be the child they never wanted.
On the train ride back, they sit in his room, tangled up together under the sheets, and he traces patterns on her shoulders absentmindedly. She wonders if happy endings are possible for people like them (for monsters, she thinks briefly, Twelve and Four and One and Five's broken bodies flashing before her eyes (but she musn't let herself dwell on such things. She's a Victor, now, and Victors from her district move on).
It is an unspoken agreement, of sorts, that they move in together in Victor's Village. Neither are used to being apart now, after a solid month of being constantly together, and, while neither is willing to admit it, they aren't sure that they could handle sleeping alone again.
So, when she has to tell the Capitol men where to take her things, she gives them his address. No one blinks twice at the request.
The wedding is a big deal throughout Panem. Because, really, it's the famed Victors from the seventy-fourth Games, everyone wanted at least one happy ending, and if it can't be the star-crossed lovers from Twelve, it's going to have to be them.
It's televised, and the hours leading up to it leave her so nervous and giddy that she flubs her vows, and his hands are damn near shaking as he slips the ring over her impossibly small, delicate finger, but it doesn't matter, it really doesn't matter.
They have three children. None are Reaped.
She thinks that maybe even monsters win, sometimes.
A happy ending for Clato at last. Yay! I hope you all enjoyed it, and I would particularly appreciate reviews!