I don't own the Hunger Games, and for some reason I decided to write a Clato fic. I don't even really ship it, I just love the fact everyone does after the film. Plus, I do feel bad for Cato, and Clove...I wanted a sort of more realistic version, I don't know, thoughts?
She was so angry that his was the last name she shouted. No, screamed. Whatever happened to that powerful Clove, that Clove who needed nothing, much less him? Cato. She didn't need Cato.
Thresh's strong arms flipped her around and flung her to the ground, and for the first time, she felt cold panic grip her stomach, for the first time in the Arena – there weren't many of them left, and just looking at Thresh's far superior physique left little doubt in her mind about what was going to follow.
She knew she shouldn't have gloated, and that she should have just killed 12 on the spot. But her inexplicable anger with Cato made her stupid, and actually, why should it have been inexplicable? She knew exactly what it meant. It wasn't like she didn't know.
And the sad thing was, it wasn't even Arena related. The two knew exactly what to expect from the Arena – her older brother had won five years ago, after all, and they'd been training for so long for this that it felt just like another simulation.
But it was Cato, the Cato she knew, the one before all this Arena business. That was the one she was angry with. The people they were now were completely different, and it was old Clove who was angry with old Cato...these two new Tributes were just masks to get by, right? It wasn't them, once they entered the Arena, right? How else could they justify murdering others?
And it was old Clove and old Cato who had known each other for so long, sat next to each other in school every day. Cato, who'd had a mini-panic attack on stage, only noticeable by those closest to him, the moment she volunteered in traditional Career style, because they were friends. Everyone knew everyone in their district...why should that have been a big deal?
But this was the Cato, Cato who'd kissed her on the train because, in true Cato style, 'Who the fuck wanted to die without ever being with someone?'
And she'd blushed, and people had turned the other way while they'd slipped into Cato's bedroom together at the Capitol, and it had been Clove who had been so clear, her head resting next to Cato's, that this changed nothing, and he'd reluctantly agreed.
And there he'd been, shamelessly flirting with Glimmer in true and unsurprising Cato fashion that could have meant everything or nothing. But Clove had noticed because Glimmer had looked like more of a woman than she had, and he'd just forgotten about her. Why was she angry? They were different people now, in no way the kind of team Peeta and Katniss were, in no way 'star-crossed lovers', but they were friends, and they'd enjoyed an intimate relationship. Her feelings were not love, not even really a crush. But friendship was sometimes more powerful, and she felt so betrayed, and for the millionth time, Clove, you were not in love. Having sex with someone does not mean you are in love, especially when the odds are at least one of you will die; and even if by some miracle, they'd won as a pair and made it home, their relationship would be nothing, so why was she angry?
Oh, she knew why she was angry now. It was because Cato had sent her by herself. Because she was Cornucopia fodder. Because he'd known what would happen. This was his plan all along, right? Sabotage and win all the glory himself. Tell her a fake plan. Had they ever been friends? Had he even cared about her once, once in their entire lives? Had the times he'd dared to moan her name been faked, did he care at all?
No. No, no, he didn't. He'd just sent her to the slaughter, and that was why she was angry. Maybe that's why she'd gloated with Katniss, trying to prove to herself she deserved to win, not him. But here she was now. At Thresh's mercy, of which there would be none.
"You cut her up like you were going to cut up this girl here?
She needed to answer. But she knew she wasn't getting out of this one. Not alone. And she wanted to live, she really did.
"No!" Lie. "No, I -"
You what, Clove? Come on, get better at lying. You'll need it in the Arena. When you least expect it. You have to be ruthless, through and through.
Enobaria's voice. And no, no, she was never any good at lying. And then it registered, the large stone in Thresh's equally large hand. And she looked at the sky, so blue, and she bit back her pride, struggling under Thresh's firm grasp.
"Cato!" she screamed. So weak for the cameras. Where had brave Clove gone? Were her parents sad? Disappointed? Was her brother proud she'd come this far? Disgusted? "Cato!"
She could hear him, and her heart just stopped. He was too far away. She was going to die.
She closed her eyes, unable to judge when the rock was going to hit her skull. It was better that way. And she felt it, a sharp pain as a dull weight splintered something in her head. The pressure began to build, and she realised with horror that she was still alive. She tried to scream again, but all that came out was a pathetic moan. She knew she was dead. She knew it.
Kill me, she thought. Kill me, please. Wait three more minutes, and then let Cato kill you. Just do it, 11, please, she thought with all her might. But no one in this Arena was a mind reader. She just hoped he was kindhearted, underneath it all. Not like her. Not ruthless, and scared, and most of all, alone. Even though she hadn't realised, she was. Because where the fuck was Cato, when she needed him?
Something was happening, but she was too far gone to follow; the pain made her want to throw up, but she couldn't. And then there was Cato, appearing in her fuzzy vision, and she tried to smile. Did it work? He was there, but she was too weak to be angry, no matter how much she wanted to yell at him.
"Stay with me, Clove, please," he kept repeating, no, shouting, desperate, over and over. Maybe he did care. Just a bit. She moved her head, just a bit, to show she couldn't stay with him. Not at all. She was showing him the dent in her head. It shouldn't have been like that.
"Come on, Cato," she rasped, "We both know you aren't stupid. And 11's taken your bag. Win, alright?" she added, trying so hard to string together sentences, "Tell my family the usual, okay, and win. Please, Cato," she said, lip trembling, "Get it over with now. I'd rather you'd killed me, then some dumb rock because I got too cocky," she finished, tears leaking from her eyes as she recognised that the boy behind the grime that had appeared in front of her was just a boy, and her limp body was just a girl's, and in that split second the realisation hit her that this was sick. Not glorious, the way everyone thought it was. She wondered if that was what happened to all tributes. The ones who died, this sudden realisation. She'd probably never know.
"Come on, Cato, don't make me beg. I never beg, you know that," she added, smiling once more. He wiped his eyes on his hand, and she would have been shocked, if she was capable. Was he crying for her?
"Sure you have," he laughs. "You remember."
She thought. No, she can remember one of those nights in the Capitol, where she went to leave for her own bedroom. And he was scared, the only time she'd ever seen him scared.
"Please, Clove, please don't go," he'd murmured. Back to reality. And she was still dying.
"That was you, dumbass. Now kill me, please."
His smile fades, and he pushed a bloodied strand of hair from her face, an act she knew as tender, but the cameras will register as just an act of sadness for his dying tribute counterpart.
"Fine," he conceded. He paused, and she could have begged him to kill her. He was trying to figure out how to say goodbye. "Goodnight, Clove."
The last words she heard she'd heard so many times before, and she smiled at the memories they'd brought back. And he killed her expertly. She sunk into blackness, unaware of Cato's break in stability.
And his was the last name she shouted, in desperation and anger.