This fic is rated 'M' for language and sexual content. I do not own Hunger Games – this is written purely for fun.
Summary: When Katniss signs up to be a camp counselor at Camp Panem for her summer home from college, she doesn't know what to expect. What she gets is a summer of archery lessons gone awry, cheesy songs by the campfire, and a certain blonde haired, blue eyed counselor she wants to take behind the cabin and get to know better. Rated M for language and sexual content. KatnissXPeeta AU.
Chapter 1: Camp Panem
"Um…I'm not sure about this anymore Gale."
Gale looked over at her, rolling his eyes. The summer wind was whipping through his hair as he drove his beat up truck down the highway. The engine rumbled fiercely as it struggled to keep up with traffic and Katniss swore she felt him step on the gas a little harder at her words.
"Little late for that now, don't ya think Catnip?"
Katniss heaved a sigh and grumbled under her breath. She really hoped he didn't call her that in front of the other counselors or campers; it wasn't a nickname she adored.
"I just…I'm not that crazy about little kids and…what if I don't like who I share a cabin with?"
"Too late. We're only an hour out."
She rolled her eyes at his words, already regretting her decision to take a job at Camp Panem for the summer. It was a small, family owned summer camp that had been in business for decades. Gale had worked there every summer since he was a junior in high school and had finally convinced Katniss to apply there as well. Jumping at the chance to get out of her small, boring hometown for the summer, she had applied without another thought. She was home from college for three months anyway and she didn't want to spend it bored. Gale had negotiated with the camp director to get her younger sister, Prim, a discounted rate to be there as well. She had made the mistake of telling Prim she had gotten the job before thinking it through. Now here she was en route to backwoods Pennsylvania for three months after signing her life away to be a counselor. Her bags were packed and tossed into the back of Gale's pickup truck and they were on their way to Camp Panem.
"You'll love the cabins. And the other counselors too. Every year we have a few newbies, but most of the time we have a lot of good guys come back."
"It's not the guys I'm worried about – it's the girls I have to share a cabin with for three months that worry me."
"You'll be fine. I know you hated your roommate at school freshman year, but this is nothing like that. Just roll with it, Catnip. The days fly by! I mean…you spend over half the day outside, doing outdoorsy stuff and traipsing around in the woods, nights with the other counselors by the campfire, beer,-"
"Wait, they let you sneak beer?" she asked with a laugh.
Gale snorted. "Well yeah. They know we're not getting paid the big bucks like some private camp up in Maine. These aren't hoity toity kids; they don't expect us to be perfect. Haymitch looks the other way on the weekends and lets us have some fun if we've worked hard that week."
"Oh, he's the camp director. Been coming up to that camp since he was a kid. Kinda a drunk though. He has a flask in his cargo shorts and can only drive a golf cart. That answer your question?"
Katniss smirked as she pictured a drunk camp counselor driving a golf cart around the huge camp, plowing through flower beds and scaring the younger kids.
"He's a good guy. Crabby as hell and hung over half the time, but a riot overall. You'll meet him this week."
"First week is no kids, right?'
"Right. Prep for the summer, just mowing and cleaning and getting stuff ready. Then at night…we party." Gale turned his head slightly and winked, pulling off the highway. "This is our exit. Less than an hour now."
Katniss groaned and let her head fall back against the cracked seat of Gale's old truck. They had been driving for hours now, although Katniss really wanted to urge him to just drive past the exit for Camp Panem when they saw it.
"This is all Prim has been able to talk about for weeks. At least suck it up for her."
"You know I will," she said slowly. And she would – part of the money she earned that summer would go towards Prim's board for the entire three month stay. Her sister would be fifteen in the fall and had just completed her first year of high school. Prim had a rough first year in their small town school; the girls were cliquey and shallow, and she knew her sister had a hard time relating to them. With almost no money to buy trendy clothes and accessories, her little sister had been somewhat of an outcast. Her long, wavy, bright blonde hair, clear blue eyes, and flawless complexion didn't help her as Katniss had hoped; instead, the popular girls had made her little sister pay for their jealousy with merciless teasing and other outlandish behavior. Katniss had half a mind to pummel them. So, she had pushed her hesitations aside and accepted the job. Gale had done the same for his younger brother Rory who was the same age as Prim. The two were casual friends, but Katniss guessed that Rory had a bit of a crush on her sister. She hoped that the two of them would get to forget about school for the next three months and just have fun.
"Don't worry about them."
"I can tell by the look on your face that you are. Its fine, Katniss. Lots of the kids at Panem are here on grants and stuff. There are a few kids with some money, but they usually aren't jerks about it. Haymitch nips the attitude in the bud right off. They'll be fine."
"I hope you're right. Prim needs a good summer."
"So do you!" he laughed, turning off onto another road. "College had changed you. You used to smile more. Now you're always working or studying."
"Yeah well...I pay a lot of money and I will be paying a lot of money for the rest of my life to go to college, so….I have to work my ass off while I'm there. State school, Gale. You have to get out of there in four years or they start to charge ya more," she pointed out.
Gale simply laughed and kept going. The further they drove the more remote their scenery became. The green trees and pines seemed to be everywhere, coating the landscape in their rich colors, and soon the smell of pine and cedar flooded the cab. Katniss caught herself smiling more than once at the idea of spending an entire summer in woods like this. It reminded her of her father, who had taught her the value of appreciating nature. Soon they were winding along a single lane road that rose up into the tall hills.
"This is going to be an epic summer, Katniss. If you let it be."
"I could use an epic summer," she agreed, mocking his tone. Gale guffawed loudly, pounding his hand on the steering wheel as he drove. She caught herself laughing as she propped her bare feet up on the dashboard. He did have a point – spending the summer at Camp Panem had to be better than the crummy waitressing job she would have had to take back home. Her mother would be at work the whole time, and moping around a hot, empty house wasn't her idea of a good time anyway. She would make good money this summer and get to spend most of her time outside. On top of all that, she would give Prim a chance to escape their life for a little while. This way she could enjoy herself and spend time with her sister while she was home from school. The added money would be nice as well – something to help pay for books in the fall and maybe a few new things for her dorm room.
"Whatever. You'll get to spend your days swimming in the lake and teaching archery. What more could you want?"
"Fine Gale, you win. Yeah…it could be worse."
As she finished convincing herself that she really had made the right decision, Gale turned off the road and onto a dusty little gravel one. After a few minutes, they drove under a wooden sign that read 'Welcome to Camp Panem; where memories are made'. Cringing at the cheesiness, she pulled her feet down from the dashboard and slipped on her shoes. Somehow she sensed that wouldn't be the only cheesy thing she would be dealing with that summer.
"Here goes nothing," she said with a laugh as she slammed the door to the truck shut. Gale grinned at her and motioned for her to follow him.
Whether she was ready or not, her summer at Camp Panem had officially begun.
Well hello! Many of you know me as a Twilight writer, but I had to try dabbling in Hunger Games fanfic. Call me crazy, but this idea struck me at work today and I couldn't resist this fun summer idea.
I'll try my best to include all our favorite HG characters in this little AU fic, so be sure to let me know if there's anyone you want to see. This is of course at Katniss/Peeta fic – Katniss and Gale are just FRIENDS in this one, so if you're looking for a Katniss/Gale shipper…this is not one. We meet Peeta and everyone else in chapter two.
Please REVIEW and I'll get chapter 2 up asap! : )