A/N Thank you all so much for the feedback on the previous chapter, I love you all! You guys are the reason i keep writing!3 Thanks to everyone who reviewed or added me to their story alerts, favourite stories, author alert or favourite author.3
I turn reproachfully and find myself staring stright into Glimmer's sparkling green eyes.
The urge to scream fills my throat and I choke.
The muttaions behind me bear the eyes of the twenty-one dead tributes.
"Clove." Cato mutters under his breath. "Run." I don't need to be told twice.
Instinct takes over and I sprint towards the cornucopia. The heavy footfalls behind me alert me to Cato's presence. Unfortunately, the menacing snarls also mean that the mutts are also far too close for comfort.
"The Cornucopia!" I gasp out, letting Cato know where I intend to go. His ragged breathing is the only reply.
I'm a naturally faster runner than Cato, due to my small stature,and I'm also in better shape, due to my lack of recent severe injuries, but he's coping.
I reach the colossal metal horn and scramble up onto it's sun-fried surface. "Cato!" I screech into the darkness. I can barely breathe and I have a crippling pain in my side.
I reach out and seize Cato's hand, hoisting him up beside me. He uses his feet to help climb up and gags over the edge of the Cornucopia. His face is purple and the sweat pours from his face. I daren't think what I must look like.
"Where's- Foxface?" I manage to choke out.
"There." Cato gasps, pointing at the pack of mutts. I stare at the unnatural wolves and see that Foxface is crouching among the creatures, snapping and growling,
I realise that her tactic is to pretend to be one of the mutts, so that they overlook her.
She is way too clever.
Cato is recovering enough to stand up now and he crosses the horn to join me. The mutts are trying to struggle up the side of the Cornucopia now, and Foxface scrabbles at the side and then pulls herself neatly up to join us. Bad move.
The mutts stare at her for a moment, shock and confusion etched in their cruel eyes, before they resume growling.
The only flaw in Foxface's plan was that she didn't see Cato and I waiting for her.
She leaps to her feet and sprints to the other end of the horn. She loses her footing and scrambles away from us on all fours. Once at the end, she jumps up again. Her eyes are wide with fear, full of the realisation that she will have to confront us.
I raise my knife, preparing to end her, and a small, animal-like whimper escapes her.
And in that moment, all I see is a helpless, terrified girl who just wants to go home. She's about my age, which I didn't notice before. Although, unlike me, she's done nothing to deserve this. She never killed any innocent people. All this time she's been evading us and she looks like she just doesn't have the energy to fight anymore. And there's two of us. She knows when she's beaten. I falter.
Behind me, Cato unsheaths his sword. "How are we going to end this one Clove?" There's a malicious tone in his voice.
"Just do it Cato." I say. "This has gone on long enough."
Foxface closes her eyes and takes a deep breath, preparing for the end.
Cato holds his sword out and lunges forwards, piercing Foxface's heart. All her breath leaves her in a rush and her haunting scream fills the air around us. She falls backwards, to the sea of vicious mutts.
At least she's already dead, I think.
The Capitol hovercraft flys in to collect the body almost at once, and I watch numbly. I follow it with my eyes as it leaves the arena.
I turn to Cato, choking back tears. He drops his sword and holds out his arms to me. I go to him without hesitation, burying my face in his chest.
His strong arms around my waist remind me of how close I was to losing him. It's terrifying. There are tears streaming down my face as I let my guard down for the first time in who knows how long.
"Ssh, Clove. It's OK. We've done it. We can go home. We can go home." Cato whispers into my hair. His voice sounds strange, halting. I can't be sure, but I think he's crying too.
Cato kisses me then. His lips taste of salt and tears. It's such a gentle kiss, but one with so much emotion behind it. Relief and shock dominating.
The sky has brightened again and the speakers crackle into life.
Claudius Templesmith's voice booms over the arena; "The-" He clears his throat. "The earlier-" He stops. Claudius sighs heavily, defeated and the speakers shut off again.
"What was all that about?" I wonder aloud, turning back, only to see that Cato is no longer holding me, but is knelt on one knee in front of me.
He looks so adorably awkward gazing up at me.
"Clove. There's hell of a lot I don't know. But the one thing I'm certain of is that I love you with all my heart. I never want to be without you and this way we'll never have to be apart as long as we live. I want to protect you from anyone or anything that tries to hurt you. I promise you're safe with me. Always. Clove Tenaa, will you marry me?"
He holds up a ring, exquistely woven from grass. On top sits a large four leafed clover, bright as an emerald, and to me, just as precious.
"I know it's not much. But I couldn't bring anything else in with me. You'll have a proper one when we get back to 2. The most beautiful one I can find. I promise."
I'm crying again, but these tears are the result of overwhelming happiness. I don't need the most beautiful ring in the world, not if i can be with Cato forever.
"Cato." I choke. "I can't believe you even had to ask."He takes my hand and slides the ring- as good as any jewel- onto my finger.
I stare down at it for a moment and then I leap into his arms and hold him as if I'm never going to let go.I doubt that I will. Both of us laughing and crying at once.
We remain like that until the hovercraft flies in and we cling to the ladder. Lifting us up into the air, away from this nightmarish place . Back to District 2, where maybe, one day, we'll forget all about the 74th Annual Hunger Games. Though I have a feeling that maybe, this is just the beginning.
A/N Well guys there you go! I've successfully completed my first fanfic! You are the reason i've had the inspiration to see this through to the end. I was thinking of doing a one shot of Cato and Clove's meeting next, what do you guys think? If you all like it, I might even write a whole story leading up the reaping. I would also like to do a fanfic on Wings by Aprilynne Pike. Thoughts? Please review, I love you all! Thank you so much!3xxxx