Fear flooded through her. She scraped around the insides of her forest green pack, confirming that she hadn't accidentally missed any food. The empty backpack fell limp in her hands and Foxface threw it over her shoulder in frustration, although her face remained expressionless. The bag hung from her back as she crouched in the burnt, crisp leaves of the forest. She left the backpack unzipped in case she found anything worth gathering, so she wouldn't have to make as much noise bothering with the zip, which would also slow her down, being an inconvenience.
Foxface stalked out from the forest and watched, interested as Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark emerged from the cave they had hidden in whilst Peeta's leg had recovered. Foxface knew this because Peeta was now walking, supported by Katniss and with a limp, but walking nonetheless. The way Katniss looked at Peeta now, it seemed so foreign to her. From all of this, Foxface deduced that District 12's bag must have contained medicine for Peeta's blood poisoning and Katniss had nursed him back to health the best she could.
Foxface's own bag had contained a measly amount of food. The Gamemakers weren't as 'generous' as Claudius Templesmith had implied when he had announced the feast, but this didn't surprise her. The Gamemakers had just wanted to get the tributes to the feast, a feat which they had accomplished. They needed to keep the public interested. This was a television show, after all. Clove's face flashed momentarily in her mind. Her life was the cost of this feast.
Foxface had decided to follow the 'star crossed lovers' in order to keep herself safe. She knew Cato would be planning his attack, but she doubted he would be her target. Cato would want to get rid of Thresh and the other two and face her in the final, because she was the easiest mark. Anticipating this, Foxface tailed Peeta and Katniss because the more tributes she was with, the more informed of the events she could be. She wished she could watch all the tributes at once, but of course, this was impossible.
Foxface had thought of many strategies for every possible outcome of the Games. As more tributes died, the more strategies she tossed aside and improved her remaining ones. There were very few possibilities left, she pondered to herself and she followed Katniss and Peeta behind the trees, staying as close as possible to them without being spotted. She was close enough to hear their muffled voices, but she couldn't make out what they were saying. This frustrated her. She needed to know as much as she could.
She had to admit, she enjoyed being in their presence. Even though they didn't know she was there, they were warm. More times than she cared to admit, Foxface found herself suppressing a smile at the two. In a way, they were wrapped up in their own drama. Although Foxface never really understood love herself, even she could tell that Peeta loved Katniss. Her feelings for Peeta, were hard to distinguish though, but Foxface didn't spend too many thoughts on it. She wasn't quite sure why she enjoyed there company so much, because she had always been a loner, but she placed her irrationality down to her surroundings. The Games changed everyone.
When she wasn't formulating her next move, her mind was miles away, back in District 5. There was nothing left back there for her anymore and she began to wonder if it was even worth winning these Games. She was inspired by Peeta's sturdy ability to remain true to himself. He would not let these Games change him and Foxface wished she herself could exhibit such emotional strength. If she was going to die here, without leaving a mark on this earth apart from a memory which would soon fade from the minds of the people of Panem, she wanted to leave as herself, on her terms.
But she could not be as strong as the blond haired boy and this killed her a little bit inside. Her spirit slowly dwindled as she realized she was fast approaching her death. Foxface's depression had created her realistic with pessimistic tendencies outlook on life. She calculated over and over again just how low her chances of winning were.
Foxface's depression stemmed from her parents dying when she was only an infant and she had no memory of them. Ever since then she had always felt isolated and alone. She had been placed in a home, but of course nobody wanted her. It wasn't that the citizens of District 5 were bad people, because children were adopted out of the home on a regular basis. It was that she was a bad person. From a very early age, Foxface had known there was different about her. She knew there was something wrong with her, almost as if her brain was wired oppositely to everybody else's.
Since she was young, Foxface had battled with anorexia. It was this illness which allowed her to survive on such little food, stealing tiny increments from other tributes' supplies so that they would not notice. In a way, she was almost thankful for this disease – and she knew how very wrong that was. But she couldn't help herself. Being in the arena was the closest to the spotlight she had ever been and she hated it.
This distaste for attention was one of Foxface's main reasons for avoiding any rash moves whilst in the arena. She had battled with herself countless times before allowing herself to do anything which might draw the cameras attention to her. She wanted to be as boring enough to avoid being televised without being so boring that the Gamemakers sent something horrific her way.
Many times Foxface thought about just stopping eating. Letting herself starve to death. She knew her chances of winning were incredibly slim. She was against a Career, a boy, almost a man who had trained his whole life for these moments. She thought about how sad it must be to live in the higher Districts, where the thirst to prove yourself led you to putting your life on the line just for some recognition. How sad.
Why anyone would long for recognition was beyond Foxface, as she spent most of her life avoiding it. She remained in the shadows as much as she could and she barely ever spoke to anyone. Being only 15 years old she still lived in the home back in District 5 where she would have continued to do so if she hadn't been Reaped for the Games. In a way, the Reaping was a blessing in disguise. She wasn't sure how much longer she could last in that hell-hole.
At least this way her death would be, interesting. She could be thankful for that, at least. She couldn't however, allow herself to starve to death. Whenever this thought occurred in her brilliant mind, she passionately fought it off. She didn't want her anorexia, a disease she had battled with all her life to conquer her, when there were so many different ways to go. She was in the Hunger Games arena, she might as well make best of her surroundings.
Thresh had managed to keep himself out of harm's way and Foxface knew this made him dangerous. He had incredible brute strength which could match that of Cato's and he could keep himself alive, something which Cato seemed to be struggling with. As for Peeta, he had strength as well and Katniss at his side made him twice as deadly. She was his drive. If Katniss was put in any danger, Peeta would summon his incredible strength to destroy whatever obstacle he would. It was this bond between the two of them which made them more powerful. They would fight for one another, until the very end and Foxface knew this. She knew this, but she did not understand this. She wondered why anyone would bother caring about anyone else.
Fascinated by the bond the two tributes from District 12 shared, Foxface followed them intently. Ominously, the skies started to turn dark and grey, even though previously the midday sun had been high in the sky, beating down, another reason Foxface was in the shade. She didn't want to get burned and her fair skin and red hair was easy way to do so. She remained in the shadows as much as possible anyway, but this was simply an added bonus.
Foxface studied the confusion on their faces and watched as they conversed with each other. The pair decided to split up and Foxface had to make an immediate decision on which one to follow. She saw Peeta walked towards her and she slunk behind a tree before he could see her. He walked into the forest, only a few metres away from her. Katniss had walked in the opposite direction, carrying the bow she was so talented with.
Hidden by the tree trunk, Foxface could hear Peeta's approach. He was not light on his feet, to say the least. She waited, her breath caught in her throat as he passed, merely inches from her. He was so close she could hear him breathing. He was not quiet – and this was an easy way to get him killed. For some odd reason, this seemed to bother Foxface, but she discarded the emotion.
Peeta took of his jacket and laid it out gently on the floor a few metres away from Foxface. He walked away into the darkness and Foxface decided to climb the tree which trunk she clung to. She silently slid through the branches until she deemed herself high enough to be out of sight but low enough for a quick escape. She knew her and Peeta's close proximity would be the highlight of the cameras right now and the thought made her cringe. But it was unavoidable.
Foxface watched as Peeta returned with a handful of deep black berries with a tint of blue to them, which she immediately identified as Nightlock. These berries were not native to District 5, but their instant death qualities were infamous and she had done her research before entering the arena. A few tributes had died from them in the past. Foxface watched with bated breath as Peeta collected more and more of the deadly berries.
If he decided to eat one, he could be dead in a minute. That would be one less tribute to worry about and would considerably weaken Katniss Everdeen. Foxface considered Katniss to be the only one worthy of being a true rival in the arena, as her tactics had impressed her. Cato simply relied on his brute strength and Thresh didn't do any of interest.
Suddenly, there was a roar and the sound of a scream in the distant, which rolled over the tops of the trees to reach Foxface and Peeta's ears. Peeta's eyes widened and he dropped the berries in a frantic hurry. He ran back the way he came as fast as his injured leg would take him and Foxface dropped from the tree to follow him. Over the sound of his heavy breathing from running and his loud footsteps, there was no way he would hear her.
Making sure to stay well out of sight, Foxface ran behind Peeta and watched as he stupidly shouted out. "Katniss? Katniss!" The longer he ran, the more frantic he became, his shouts increasing in both volume and intensity. "Katniss!" He shouted again before something brown collided with him. Foxface froze up and threw herself behind a nearby bush.
She peered through the twigs and leaves as she saw Katniss wrap her arms around Peeta's neck and the blond boy was knocked back, not expecting her. When he finally became accustomed to her presence, he wrapped his arms around her, taking in the fact she was safe. Foxface watched this exchange and again found herself suppressing a smile.
These two were helping her to understand. There were some things worth living for. That is why Foxface was so confident they would fight to the death for each other. She found herself wishing she had someone who would do that for herself, but she evaporated the thought from her mind. She could only rely on herself. That was the way it had always been. That is how would always be.
Katniss pulled herself out of Peeta's embrace far enough to slap him. "You scared me to death!" she yelled at him. "I'm sorry." Peeta whispered repeatedly and Katniss allowed herself to be pulled back in for another hug as they comforted one another. Foxface was sure the citizens of the Capitol would be lapping this up like dogs.
There was a sound of the cannon, which signified the death of another tribute. It shot around the whole arena, shocking the couple apart, but they still remained close. Foxface's amber eyes trained themselves up into the black sky as she saw Thresh's face staring back at her. One more down, she thought coldly, without a hint of regret. If he was stupid enough to get himself killed by whatever the Gamemakers had released into the arena along with this darkness, that was his fault.
Now there were only four of them left. Foxface knew she should feel slight relief right now, but she didn't. She just felt numb, because she knew that her chances of winning were near impossible. Tributes from District 5 next to never won. She didn't see herself as being the exception, because she wasn't particularly exceptional at anything.
Foxface didn't stay around. Instead she turned and ran back towards Peeta's jacket, anticipating the pair's return. Would Katniss be able to identify the berries Peeta had not? Would either of them eat them? Would that just leave her and Cato? A million questions buzzed through her brain as she tentatively approached the berries. Knowing that her chances of victory were so slim, Foxface momentarily weighed up her options.
Even if she did win – and that was an astounding 'if', was her life in District 5 really worth living? Sure, she would be rich, but she would have to lead children to their death year after year as a mentor and live a life she did not choose for herself. One thing she wanted for herself was her freedom. There was one freedom she had left, even in the arena.
How she would die.
Because she knew that she would almost certainly die. The odds were definitely not in her favour. She was the weakest tribute left in the arena now and that was clear. What death awaited her? Would Cato bludgeon her to death, like he had many others? An absolute possibility. Would Katniss pierce her heart with an arrow? She didn't disregard this, but she wasn't as certain about it, as she thought back to her encounter with the girl as they had both fled the Cornucopia.
As soon as she knew was free to move from her platform, Foxface had ran towards a bag on the outskirts of the laid out supplies for the tributes before running through the forefront of the battlefield and out the other side, to safety. No-one even noticed her. No change there. She kept running as long as her legs would allow her to, until she deemed herself safe enough to start conserving her energy. Just as she began to slow, she collided with someone and they both fell to the floor. Foxface flew to her feet and found herself face to face to the one they were calling 'The Girl on Fire'. The two girls stared at each other in fear, eyes wide, Foxface unable to hide her emotions, for once. This weakness is what motivated her to simply run, rather than pursue an attack. They were both weaponless anyway.
Snapping out of her memory, she acknowledged that unless she put Katniss in danger, the chances of Peeta killing her were slim. Cato was her main worry now. But she didn't want to spend her final moments of life in worry. Her life had not been the most desirable one, but life was beautiful, no matter what its form.
Bending down, Foxface picked up one of the berries, rather than a handful – old habits die hard. She thought of how ironic it was, that after a lifelong battle with an eating disorder, food would be the death of her. She liked how defiant that seemed. At least her anorexia had not beaten her. She had been strong enough to die with dignity.
She rotated the berry in her slender fingertips, her amber eyes observing it in the darkness it blended so well with. She could hear footsteps in the distance and she knew it wouldn't be too long until Peeta led Katniss back to his foraged goods. Foxface took comfort in the fact that her death would protect those two she had become so fond of. She certainly did not want Cato to win. If anyone, it had to be one of those two. District 12 was the poorest of all the districts and it deserved the recognition much more than District 2 did.
Foxface wasn't one to judge, but the way Cato had thoughtlessly and heartlessly killed so many and he had chosen to be here by volunteering – that was something she would never understand, even if she lived to be 100 years old. Her heart was thumping against her ribcage so hard it hurt. Her mind had told her body that this was the end. She had made the decision in her mind and no matter how much her body resisted her, this was it.
She forced her fingers up to her mouth as she heard footsteps approaching. She thought about some last words for the cameras, but decided against it. After all, it was better to fade away than explode with a bang. She didn't want the Capitol to know this was suicide. They had to believe it was her own stupidity. Foxface brough the berry to her lips and gently popped it into her mouth. All she had to do was chew and the juices would explode into her mouth, instantly killing her.
Summoning all the strength she had left, Foxface clamped her teeth down on the singular berry resting in her mouth. The last thing she felt was the bitter juices fill her tastebuds before she fell to the ground. Dead. A smile lingered at her lips as Panem lost one of the most brilliant minds to grace its presence.
A/N: I have a prequel in mind if you guys like this, which I can start working on if there is enough demand. Thank you for reading. :3