I would just like to note in this chapter, on behalf of all the chapters in this fanfiction: Suzanne Collins owns The Hunger Games, ALL of it's characters, the storyline and the title. Hope you like this Clarvel fanfiction :') Please R&R ! And enjoy!
Clove's head snapped up when she realized that it was her name called out. Her dark eyes narrowed, and a menacing grin crept along her lips. She barged past the frail, weaker girls in her line, even catching quiet gasps of pain as she shoved them aside. The crunch of gravel underneath her feet was the only sound throughout the entire square as she strode full of pride towards the stage. No one dared volunteer for Clove, not if they know what's good for them anyway. Even at a tiny 5'3, Clove was one of the most feared trainees throughout District 2. And that was just how she liked it. Her dark hair rippled down her back with her every step. Reaping Day, the only day of the year she will ever have it down. Taking two steps at a time, Clove marched into the center of the stage to glare over the perfect square of girls in which she had just appeared from. Pathetic little rats. She thought. You're all careers for fuck sake! You're SUPPOSED to look eager to have a chance to enter the Games at least! She scowled especially at one girl on the front line, whose hands were shaking violently as they enveloped what looked to be a golden necklace. Clove thanked the skies above her; she prides herself on being one of the toughest, cruelest and skilled knife throwers in the whole of the District. On being fearless and ready for any opponent. She was one of the most well-known trainees in the entire District. No one could throw a knife like Clove could. Once, she through one with her back to the target and still hit the bulls-eye. Her escort sang out for any volunteers, but no one did. Good. She thought, another grin tugging at the corners of her mouth.
"Cato Goldswoth!" The woman called out, after what seemed to be years of fishing her perfectly manicured hand through the bowl of Boy's Names. Clove's eyes widened, then narrowed again soon after with interest. She knew Cato. He had the same training hours at the center as she did. They even spoke now and again, but only about how immense their own skills were. He materialized from the back row, a smug look on his face as he examined each line of boys as he strode by. No one would volunteer for Cato either. Probably because they knew he'd do a better job than any of them in the Hunger Games. Or they were truly petrified of what he would do to them if they did. As he drew closer to Clove, he gave her an acknowledging nod before they shook hands.
"Think she picked the perfect male tribute don't you?" He whispered, sending a joking wink behind the escort's back for Clove. She chuckled before shaking her head.
"Don't flatter yourself, big man." She teased. He smiled.
"I think the female tribute's a bit on the small side though." He gave her a playful nudge with his elbow, ironically, almost jabbing her neck. She scowled at him and marched forward.
"At least she's got the brains." She snapped, ignoring his chortles of laughter behind her as Peacekeepers ushered them both into different rooms so families and friends could say goodbye. Clove raised her eyebrows and peered around the place. She'd never been in the Justice Building before, it wasn't half bad either. Her brow creased with frustration, there was no point keeping her in here, nobody was going to come. Not even her parents, no, they had much better things to be doing. Friends? Clove didn't have time for them. She'd rather lick the mud off the bottom of her boots than prance around the city linked arm in arm with plaits and pink ribbons in her hair, and giggling and fussing over clothes and boys and- A peacekeeper swings the door open, gesturing for her to leave.
"Time's up." He mused as she strode past him, hoping she would 'accidently' tread on his foot in the kitten heels her mother had literally forced her feet into.
"Waste of time, more like." Clove seethed, catching sight of Cato waving goodbye to a crowd of girls pushed out the front of the building by many Peacekeepers. She didn't know he was that popular with women.
"Keep moving!" She violently shoved him forward after almost smashing right into him as he stood waving at his fan club. He swiftly spun his upper body round, grabbed Clove around the waist – tolerating her harsh heels kicking into his face and chest, and her screaming, swearing and cursing at him –, lifting her round so she was in front of him, giving her an encouraging shove in the small of her back when she was dropped on the floor again.
"Lead the way, Shorty." He mused. She glared into the back door that was looming towards her with every stride. Cato even had to grab her shoulder from time to time, preventing her from speeding up from her already powerful march towards the train.
"Some would think you wanted to die at the rate you're going." Cato stated matter of factly.
"I'm not going to die am I? I'm going to win." She countered, not turning to face him, instead she found a fruit bowl from the table and immediately grabbed an apple and started to carve tiny pieces off and taking them with her teeth off the point of a sharp kitchen knife she'd picked up along the way.
"HAHAHA" Cato acted to be doubled over in hysterical laughter, before standing up properly and wiping an invisible tear from his eye.
"What are you going to do to win, Shorty? You'd be a perfect ambush attack! No one would see you coming!" He exclaimed passing her and disappearing into his room. Even behind the door she could still hear him chuckling to himself, and reminding himself he's 'the funniest guy in District 2'. She rolled her eyes at him and spiked the knife in the table next to her, venturing off to find her own room. As she passed Cato's room, he barged out and almost took her with him.
"C-Cato!" She screamed, clawing at his shirt and kicking his shins as he continued down towards the buffet cart.
"Oh sorry, Shorty. Didn't see you there! Looking for your room?" He stands her upright and she brushed herself down, debating whether to kill him now or leave it until the games.
"I was until you came along." She seethed. Her arms folded across her chest and glaring out the window as the train set off on the long journey to the Capitol.
"Well, I'm sure the mice in that hole over there" He crouches to her level and almost presses his cheek to hers as he points in the direction of a mouse hole in the wall of the train. "Wouldn't mind sharing!" He howled, patting her back as he marched off.
"I'd rather be small than a giant lug-head like you." She calls after him. Still her arms folded over her chest and grinning as he looks back over his shoulder. Not looking where he's going, he forgets the 'Mind Your Head' sign above the door, and his temple clunks straight into it.
"My point proven." Clove mutters, turning and striding down the hallway to find her room. When she does, she immediately whips off her Reaping Dress and into a much more Clove attire; Black trousers and a combat green vest top. Leaving her shoes behind. When she returns to the buffet cart after some time in her room, Cato, Brutus their mentor, and the escort from the stage are delving into what looks like grilled salmon and salad. Clove realizes how hungry she was and throws herself into the empty seat beside Cato, grabbing her knife and fork and without a word, shoveling the plateful down her own throat.
"Hungry?" The escort giggles. Clove grunts and decides to ignore her for the rest of the trip. Even though it is her own district that completely dotes on the Capitol crowd – Clove herself, cannot stand them. She cringes as Clove greedily shoves food in her mouth. When she notices she's being watched by the gaudy yellow face with far too much make-up, Clove purposely churns the food up in her mouth and chews with her mouth wide open.
"Problem?" She scoffs, wiping her hands on the table cloth, she glares over the table at the woman, boring two holes into her face with her dark doe eyes.
"O-of course not." She trails off, politely giving her own plate a gentle shove into the center of the table.
"Good." Clove abruptly gets up from the table and vanishes back into her room.
"She grows on you." She can hear Cato say as she slams the door to contradict it. Hours later, Clove finds herself the only one awake. As the moonlight streams in and over her bed, she silently stares out of the window as District 2 disappears, and the Capitol begins.
Due to her late night, she is the last to wake the next day, and still in her night clothes and messy hair, she ponders into the living area, to find Cato in the same way.
"Bad night?" He doesn't look up from a magazine he's found, she nods anyway, dipping down to a cupboard filled with glasses and mugs. She fishes a mug out and shoves it into a waiter's chest.
"Hot chocolate. Now." And he vanishes through to the kitchen, where she never has to go. She throws herself boyishly across the sofa across from Cato, causing him to peer over the magazine at her, before saving his page and chucking it on the floor by his feet.
"You know, I've never quite met a girl like you." He states. Clove smiles, proud she's not a flimsy, faddy made-up girl who stresses if her hair falls out of place, or if there's a spider crawling along the wall.
"Proud of it and all." She replies, closing her eyes and folding her arms behind her head as a cushion.
"Which is why I think you would be useful to me in the arena." He continues, kicking his own legs up on the couch he's on against the window. Cloves eyes widen and flash towards him. Propping herself up on one elbow, she lets a genuine smile cross her lips.
"What? Like allies?" She asks, allowing her voice high at the end of the sentence. Cato looks over and nods, before snapping his head back to his nails, smugly checking each one over in front of his face.
"Only if you're up to it." He sighs, as if Clove wasn't up for anything! He said it himself; she's not like any other girl. She raises her eyebrows and slowly lets herself fall back onto her arms again, her eyes closed and a faint smile dancing on her lips.
"I guess I am, you'd probably need me anyway. With your lack of knowhow and huge temper, you wouldn't even manage the 60 seconds on the podium before the games have even begun, let alone survive in the arena." She trails off at the end, slowly opening her own eyes to see Cato glaring at her from across the room.
"At least I can get off my podium in time, you'd have to hike down the side, a leap off could possibly mean certain death for a tribute who is vertically challenged, like you." He counters. Clove abruptly sits up right and glares over at him.
"Quit with the small jokes!" She snaps, sending them both into gradual laughter, in no time at all, they are both howling and hooting with laughter, gripping the stitches in the pit of their belly, unable to stop. After minutes of constant laughter, Clove finally manages to calm herself down. She hasn't laughed like this in a long time, if ever. Maybe Cato wasn't that bad, and despite was she'd said moments ago, he could prove useful in the arena as an ally. As they both regain the steady breathing, Bonnie – Clove had picked up the escorts name from idle chatter she'd heard after she left the table last night – lets out an ungodly gasp like someone had sucked all the air from her lungs at the sight of the District 2 tributes wallowing in their night clothes and unwashed laid on their backs.
"WHAT ARE YOU DOING?" She hisses, "You're at the CAPITOL in a few hours! LOOK AT THE STATE OF YOU." She then ushers us into our different rooms as if we were naked. Where I met my stylist, Piper. She was fairly dolled up, with her fuchsia pink hair styled like a giant ribbon on her head and sky blue and summer yellow eye shadow over her forehead. But apart from her ghastly fashion sense, Clove somewhat liked her.
"Hello!" She piped, gesturing Clove to enter her own room.
"Hi." Clove was caught off guard by Piper's higher spirit. Piper spun Clove round so her back was facing her and the window and pushed her shoulders down to sit in the chair situated in the center of the room. Clove blocked out Piper's and Bonnie's conversation about pet pigs and snake venom perfume, and examined the once bleak and empty dressing table, now filled with make-up boxes – no, make-up crates and piled high with hair remedies and fake things. She even caught her own reflection in the mirror. Piper better get working, I can't see THAT getting any better before the Capitol.
"Make her B.E.A.U.T.I.F.U.L!" Bonnie squealed, before disappearing out of sight down the corridor.
"Well, Clove," Piper began running her fingers through my hair. "All I am going to do, is give you a fresh faced look today, and maybe stick a remedy on your hair to make it shiny, but natural. What do you think?" Her Capitol accent swallowed most of her words up, but Clove managed to understand 'fresh' and 'remedy'. She could only hope Piper wasn't planning on making her another Capitol freak show, but politely replied.
"Go ahead." As piper worked away on her hair, Clove wondered how Cato was doing, what they were planning on doing to him. Suddenly, a swarm of angry butterflies dived from one corner of her belly to this one. Cato. Cato. Every time she thought of him, they plunged more furiously around her stomach, almost to the point of making her feel sick. She felt her cheeks flush bright red, was this true? Could she like Cato? In that way? Clove shook the thought off, angry with her and refused to think about him any longer. Instead, bracing her for the long beauty regimes to come. This is going to be a lo-ong ride to the Capitol. She felt Piper tug at her head, turning it this way and that, slowly aggravating Clove to the point she was fantasizing about Piper being in the Hunger Games with her…