The blonde boy played with his dancing sister. I watched them run around, trying to tag one another and the girl twirling around. The boy had blonde hair and grey eyes, a perfect mixture of Peeta and me. The girl looked more like me, with dark hair but she had Peeta's eyes, a soft blue. Not a bold blue, just soft like the sky on a summer's day. Her eyes were not like someone else's eyes… their eyes were icy blue and impossible to forget.
I stood and walked into the house, throwing a smile back at Peeta. I walked inside and started over to a shelf, but was stopped by a small meow. There was Buttercup- still alive although I had no idea how- and was curled up on the couch. I stroked his boney forehead and then went to shelf to get my desired object. A book. It was not just any book though, this was a book Peeta and I made. Each page held a picture of someone who had died. It was a big book. I flipped through the delicate pages, tears starting to trickle down my cheek. I started remembering everyone. Rue, Cinna, Finnick… I came to Prim's page and the tears began freely rolling down my cheek. As if on cue, I felt something push against my leg and I heard a small meow. I smiled down at Buttercup and picked him up, letting him see her as well. He even put his paw on her picture. I began crying harder when I saw that. I sunk to the floor and cried into Buttercup's neck. He didn't swat at me, he even rubbed his head against mine. He had grown soft in his old age. It took me a while to recover, but I did and stood back up and continued flipping through the pages until I reached what I was looking for. The name on the page was Cato. It took me a while to convince Peeta to put his name in the book…
"Why? It's Cato! He tried to kill both of us!" he yelled. I shied away from his voice, hurt by his harsh tone.
"I just think… he was killed in the games. He was only a piece to them… please." I asked him, my voice unusually soft. This caused Peeta to sigh and smile in return. He agreed, and later that night he sketched a picture of Cato and I wrote down any details I could remember…
I read what I wrote; Cato: Tribute of the 74th Hunger Games. Volunteer. Brutal, bloody, vicious, killer. Dead.
I always was…
His words rang though my head. I remembered vividly; him choking Peeta, blood running down his face. I realized then how he never knew another way of life besides being trained for the games. He was always dead. I didn't want to kill him then… I never did. Making him fall into the mutts and putting an arrow in his head was something I regret doing every single day. His face barley leaves my mind…
I stared at his picture and then I straightened up and went to the shelf, where a small piece of paper was hidden in a crack in the wall. I pulled out the paper, brushing off the dust. I went back to the book and opened the paper and put it next to Cato's picture. The paper held the description of Cato that I wanted to put, but couldn't because of Peeta.
Cato: Tribute. Killer. Protector. Angel. The one I love.
I reread the words and I gently ran my thumb across the name, memories flooding through me…
I was on the roof. It was late but I could hear the stupid Capitol people partying below. My knees were drawn up to my chest and I was resting my head on my arms. It was the first day of training and all I could think about were the games. I hadn't even heard him walk up behind me.
"What are you doing up here?"
I turned around quickly, nearly losing my balance. The huge tribute from district 2 stood with his arms crossed over his chest. He was smirking at me.
"I asked what you were doing up here? Stop staring." he said again. He walked over and sat beside me.
"I couldn't sleep." I mumbled.
"Ah." he said and smirked again. Neither of us said anything for a while, so I decided to break the silence.
"Why are you up here?"
"Same reason." he told me, and turned to face me.
"Are you scared?"
"Scared? For the games? No of course not." he scoffed, making me feel stupid.
"It was just a question. You don't have to be rude."
"I was not being rude." he retorted defensively.
"Mhm." it was my turn to smirk now.
"So, twelve, I saw you volunteer for your sister, was it? Why did you do that?"
"What kind of question is that?" I asked him, shocked by his question. Wouldn't anyone try to protect their sister?
"Just a question." he laughed. I was getting tired of him so I stood and began back to the elevator. But he grabbed me by the wrist and spun me around.
"No, don't leave."
I found this odd. Why would he even want me to stay?
"Why do you want me to stay?" I asked him.
"Uh… we have never actually been properly introduced." he said quickly. But even though it was dark out, I swore I saw a blush creep into his cheeks.
"Ok. I'm Katniss."
I smiled at him and he smiled back. We ended up sitting together on the roof and talking for two hours after that. We didn't talk about our personal lives, just about little things. I found myself actually enjoying talking to him. We went to the elevator together and I was tired so I didn't think twice about leaning on his shoulder. He didn't push me away either. Before getting out, he caught my hand and brought it to his lips.
"I liked talking to you, fire girl." he said, smiling.
"Why does everyone always call me that?" I grumbled in response.
"Would you rather beauty in the flame?"
That made me blush.
"Where did you hear that?" I asked him.
"I made it up." he said and dropped my hand, giving me a final smile and then the doors closed.
No one knew what he meant to me. No one knew that we had even talked to each other. No one knew that he had saved me…
I was waiting on the pedestal, waiting for the countdown to end. My heart was beating fast and I was trembling. I looked at Peeta, who shook his head. It was sign not to go to the Cornucopia because of the bloodbath that was going to happen.
We all ran off our pedestals. My heart pounded as I debated what to do. I saw Peeta run to the trees and I knew I should do the same thing, but at the moment I was too mortified by the violence to move. And due to that, someone jumped on me and we fell to the ground. I groaned and tried to kick the person off, recognizing the district 7 boy. He grinded his teeth together and quickly put his hands around my neck, choking me. I struggled to get out of his grip, but it was hard due to lack of oxygen. Suddenly he gasped and fell off me. I scrambled to my feet and saw that he had an axe in his back. I ran away from the body and to an orange pack, grabbed it and looked back to see Cato hauling the axe out of the boys' back. He looked up at me and quickly pointed at the trees and said something I couldn't understand. I looked at him to see if he would repeat what he said but then I saw a knife hurl towards me and I quickly held up the pack. I saw Clove and ran to the woods.
Cato saved me. I didn't know why, but he did. And after the first day, we met more times.
I studied the soft ground, looking for any sort of food. I was hungry, very hungry. I was thrilled when I saw a bush of blackberries. I began to eat them greedily, and I let my guard down.
"Can I have some, kitten?"
I turned and saw Cato leaning against a tree, his arms crossed over his chest and a smirk on his face. I quickly swallowed the berries and reached for Clove's knife in my belt. He saw me and his smirk grew.
"I am not going to hurt you." he said, taking a step towards me. I pulled out the knife and held it in front of me defensively.
"Will you calm down? I said I wouldn't hurt you."
"Yes well, what you don't seem like the type to just let someone get away without putting a knife in their back."
"Maybe it was an act. Like your love for Lover Boy is an act. I can see right through you Katniss." he said and walked up to me, shoving the knife away. I felt my heart speed up and blush creep to my cheeks.
"It's… it's not an act." I stammered… I could even hear the dishonesty in my voice. Cato could too.
"You are lying to me, beauty." he said softly.
"How do you know?"
"Yes you are because if you did love him, you wouldn't let me do this," he said and then he leaned forward and his lips met mine. I was shocked… but Cato was right. I wouldn't push him away. After a minute though, he pulled away and pushed away a strand of hair from my eyes.
"I told you." he said quietly and then he walked away, leaving me speechless.
We met one other time before the horrible last day.
"Just this time, twelve, for Rue." Thresh said to me and then ran into away into the trees. I looked back at Clove, lying dead beside the Cornucopia. I felt the blood run down my forehead. And then I heard Cato crash through the trees and run to Clove's side, begging her to stay with him. I crawled back so I was half hidden by the Cornucopia. I was shaking as I heard Cato cry Clove's name… it was definitely not a sound I thought I would hear from him. I waited until I didn't hear any sounds, I assumed Cato was gone. I stood up and began tiptoeing back to the woods when someone slammed into me. Cato pinned me to the ground and held a sword to my throat. He looked vicious and angry.
"Did you kill her?" he asked me thorough gritted teeth, pressing the blade harder against my throat. I felt sharp pain as the blade cut my skin.
"No!" I said quickly.
"Then who did?"
He snarled and jumped off me, putting his sword in the hilt. He looked down and saw the cut on her neck. He grimaced and yanked me to my feet.
"Sorry about your neck." he mumbled.
"It's fine. I've had worse." I responded and reached up to wipe away the blood on my neck.
He nodded and turned away from me, but I could still clearly see the pain written across his face.
"She meant a lot to you, didn't she?" I asked him.
"She was like my sister."
I felt awful. I knew how much a sister could mean to you. I stepped forward and threw my arms around him. He seemed caught off guard, but quickly wrapped his arms around my waist and pulled me close. I nestled into his neck, and he did the same with me.
"I'm sorry." I whispered.
He pulled away and cupped my face in his hand. I felt fluttering in my stomach as he stroked my cheek. He leaned down and kissed me, and then in the next moment he was gone. I didn't see him again until we met on the Cornucopia. He had Peeta in a chokehold and I knew I would have to get Peeta away from him. I had grown to love Peeta… but I still couldn't kill Cato…I just couldn't. At the same time, I knew that Cato would never be able to live a normal life. Even if he won the games, he would maybe have been driven completely crazy or used as a prostitute. It is not a good life. So when Peeta drew an X on his hand, I shot the arrow and Cato toppled over the side and was attacked by the mutts. I went over to the side and watched the mutts. I felt a lump grow in my throat as Cato screamed. I raised my arrow and ended the terrible screams.
I stroked the picture of Cato that Peeta drew. He wasn't smirking because I asked Peeta not to draw him like that… I wanted to be the way I remembered him. I hated myself for killing him. I will always hate myself. Another tear fell slipped down my cheek and landed on the page.
"Mommy?" I heard someone ask from the doorway. I looked up to see my little girl standing there. Her long, dark hair was loose around her shoulders and a few stray strands falling down in front of her eyes. I smiled at her and she came over and hopped on my lap. She reached up and wiped away the tears on my cheeks.
"Who are you looking at?" she asked me and looked at the book. I sighed and rested my chin on her head. She knew a lot about the Hunger Games… but not everything. Maybe it was time she knew.
"Who is that?" she asked me again.
"He's someone who means a lot to me."