Author: Silver Symphony
Summary: Even the brightest diamond dulls in time.
Author's Notes: A short one-shot; note that I took elements from both the book and the movie to craft this particular one. Enjoy.
She struts towards them with the grace of a roaming giraffe; her dress gives her long legs insufficient shade. The diamonds embedded in her flawless skin snag the studio lights; they flirt with her curves so that she's glowing. She almost looks angelic—like a painted china doll, with her curtain of blonde curls cascading down her back in her pale gold dress that clings obscenely to the swells of her body. The glare of her smile stings Clove's eyes worse than the diamonds. Her dark eyes roam over the blonde; Clove is convinced that Glimmer looks stupider than she did at the opening ceremony. But she'd rather have the obnoxious pink feathers than be blind.
Cato is mesmerized. He'll soon learn, she thinks, that china dolls break easily.
She's annoyed by their constant laughter (hers is more of a piglet's squeal when stuck with a pin; his rings more like a crackle of thunder in the spacious training center). All the things Clove reminded him of last night, how they needed to maintain focus, how they needed to formulate a strategy, vanishing in Glimmer's seaweed eyes. Another giggle, another chuckle.
Clove tugs on Cato's arm (he dwarfs her by two feet and it's the only thing she can reach with ease) to lead him to the spears so he can show off to the other Tributes, but she already has his other arm and is dragging him away to laugh at another Tribute sprawled out on the floor.
Her knife sinks so deeply into the dummy that it hits the metal interior with a loud ping.
Cato smothers her protests with his fingertips. Anger is bubbling in his eyes—is it that she ridiculed Glimmer or that Katniss scored higher than him on the assessment, she isn't sure—but he subdues it enough so that his touch is like a feather's caress.
"Don't worry about that. She's yours. I promise."
His lips are fire against her cool forehead.
She instantly regrets this pact with District 1 as Katniss deflects her knife and sprints away. Clove hears the clock ticking along to the beat of Katniss' boots hitting the dirt. She'd have to endure Glimmer a little longer.
Cato's arms are drenched in blood and his face caught a splatter of it.
Glimmer has not a speck of dirt or blood on her in this humid forest.
Campfires invite trouble and bloodshed, but only fools would dare to bother the Careers.
Glimmer and Cato are huddled near the fire like freezing lovers, hands entangled and his face nuzzling against her bare neck. Does she smell nice, Clove wonders as she curls her hands into fists. Are her hands softer than Clove's—is that why he holds them all the time?
She studies her shirt in the firelight's glow; it hangs, uninterrupted, to her thighs. Glimmer's breasts strain against her sweatshirt.
No, she's losing focus. She's fighting for her life. Cato tangled up with another girl shouldn't bother her. She'll have to kill him, won't she? What does it matter?
Focus, she pleads with her raging mind. Focus.
But all Clove can think of is how he touches her, laughs with her, and stares at the mounds of flesh that she woefully lacks.
Her blood is boiling beneath her shivering skin.
Peeta's rambling about finding Katniss is swallowed up in the crackling of the fire.
Katniss, "the girl on fire," is blazing a trail through the trees to escape them. She won't; not if Clove slits her throat herself.
She scurries up a tree, massive as a stone pillar, and stands at the top of the tree. She's clutching it with trembling hands.
Clove could easily scale the tree and toss the girl to the ground. Or drag her knife across her throat and watch the blood shoot from her skin.
But she pauses.
It's not the right time. Not here. Not with Glimmer clinging to Cato like an abandoned puppy.
So she waits. Cato climbs after her; the branch breaks and he slams into the ground.
Glimmer plucks the bow and arrow from her back (she hasn't used it until now with Cato protecting her) and aims. Clove's knife twitches in her hand, ready to jam it in her pretty little neck, but Cato is glaring at her now and shaking his head. You promised me, she screams with her dark eyes.
She misses—and badly— to Clove's delight.
She can't sleep. Katniss is silent in the giant tree. Grasshoppers are humming to each other in the dark.
She glances over at Cato; Glimmer is wrapped in his arms, sleeping. But his eyes are fixed on Clove.
Her glare does not turn his gaze away. His mouth moves soundlessly, but her sharp eyes catch the words.
I promise you.
And her heart starts aching all over again.
She first hears the roar of the buzzing. Something brushes against her face and her eyes catch the blur of its wings as it zooms past her.
Her screams rouse Cato; she cries his name as she runs for sanctuary from the mutations. He follows a few paces behind her.
But Glimmer cries his name and he dives back in the swirl of insects.
No, she screams. Come back, she begs him. Glimmer's body is surrounded by the bugs; she's shrieking and thrashing in the dirt in pain as their needles drill into her skin. Cato falls back; he senses it's futile. He rushes back. To Clove. To where he should have been all along— by her side.
As they sprint through the clusters of trees, she glances over her shoulder; Glimmer's once flawless skin is swollen and plum from the stings; her wounds are oozing green. Like her eyes. Her seaweed eyes. The same seaweed eyes that once threatened to suck Cato into its shine stare at the cloudless sky, dull and unblinking.
Palm over her mouth, she hides her smirk from Cato as they run to safety. Together.