A/N: This is my third fanfic on this site. Check out my others "The Farmer's Daughter" and "Dreams Come True" and tell me what you think and if I should continue or not. I like the idea of AU's because of the imagination and creativity people come up with in these characters in The Hunger Games. Plus, it's just fun to tell stories.
This one is told from mainly Katniss' point of view and she will be more like the real Katniss from Collins' wonderful series. And Peeta is going to be even sexier and he's going to be trying very hard to get Katniss out of her shell. Hope you like it!
Chapter One: Ocean Blue
I've been living in Indianapolis for three years now… I left home when I was twenty. There was nothing left for me there. No mother, no father, no sister… and I wouldn't consider anyone I knew to be a friend, not even the crabby old lady who took me in at the orphanage after my parents and sister died in a car crash. She's was nice, yes. But I was never so glad to leave a place in my life.
So I moved here, to Indianapolis. I don't know why I chose this city, but I just ended up here. I love animals so I somehow landed a job at the zoo downtown. At first, I was hired to clean the ocean animal's buildings, but soon I was caught talking to one of the dolphins by Sae, the lead trainer. She was pissed at first that I wasn't doing the job I was hired for. But as soon as she saw which dolphin I was interacting with, she softened and asked me how I got him to come up to me. Apparently, this dolphin had issues with people, being new at the zoo. I guess that he connected with me because I was new too, but later I learned that he lost his family in a cruel dolphin hunt and he was the only survivor. Just Like Me.
So since then, Jet and I have been partners for every dolphin show at the zoo. Sae taught me how to train him and I spend most of my days with him, teaching him flips and other fun things that kids like to see. I get up every morning at four 'o'clock and walk to work from my apartment, which I share with 'my friends' Johanna and Madge. Every day, it's the same routine. Wake up… I don't shower in the mornings because I spend most of the day in the pool with Jet anyways. Walk along the canal that leads to the zoo; most mornings, there are tons of people running or biking along the path that leads me to my job. I spend about ten hours a day at the zoo before I leave and then walk some more to my other job, waitressing at The Colt's Club, where every drunken football fan spends most of their afternoons. I leave that job usually before midnight every night, thankful that there are others who can close down at bar time. That leaves me only a few hours for sleep; I'm okay with that. Sleep only brings nightmares.
Johanna Mason and Madge Undersee are my roommates. We actually are pretty close, considering we are three very different people.
Johanna is the confident, sexy, and a little crazy, with the go-getter attitude. She has that I-don't-give-a-shit attitude too. She is gorgeous, curvy and with tan skin, short light brown hair and light honey colored eyes. Everywhere we go, she gets the men's attention by climbing up onto the bar to show off her killer dance moves and her loud voice. Plus, everyone loves a sense of humor and she's got one. She is currently working at a bank as a loan processor.
Madge is the tall, blond Barbie doll. She's thin and she's very health conscious; her mother was a model and her father is the governor of Indiana. She's rich. Every guy notices her too, but in a much more subtle way. She's soft spoken and very kind and polite all the time. She writes for the Indianapolis Star… the health column, of course. And it's because of her that Jo and I are vegetarians. If one of us even mentions a brat or a steak, she breaks down into tears.
Me, on the other hand… I'm just plain. Katniss Everdeen. Small town girl moved to big city to start fresh. Madge and Johanna insist that if I cared, I could have any guy out there willing to put up with me. I'm average height, a little thin- actually, I'm pretty sure I'm the same size from the waist down. The only curves I have are my breasts; the only things I got from my mother. Otherwise I look like my father… long scrawny legs and arms, long dark brown hair, olive skin and big grey eyes. My cheeks are always rosy and my lips are full with a light shade of pink. When I do smile, which is rare… I am proud of my straight white teeth that had to go through years of wearing braces during my ugly duckling faze. I always braid my hair to the side in order to hide a nasty scar on my neck that leads down my shoulder and onto my back. I have a few more to match it, which is why people don't really see me naked. I dress in mostly jeans and solid colored t-shirts, never bright colors. I have a lot of wetsuits that I wear for work and the occasional black bikini if I know I'm in the training center alone where no one can see. Madge and Johanna have a much better understanding of fashion than I do and once in a while they will get me into a sexy little dress when we go dancing.
This morning as I walk to work, I make my daily trip to Starbucks for a caramel macchiato and head down the sidewalk along the canal. I see the same people every morning, but we never speak. It's too early to be friendly… and I'm not friendly any time of day.
I observe my surroundings like I do every morning. The big football stadium is to my left and just beyond that is a brand new shiny hotel called the WB Marriot. Johanna and I went in to see if we could use the bathroom once, but really we just wanted to say we were in it. The concierge asked us politely to leave before he called the cops. I'm surprised he didn't call them anyways because of all the angry obscenities Johanna was yelling as we were ushered out.
I like this part of downtown because of the canal and the trees. It gives it a little country feel to the city.
The dolphin facility is empty when I get to work… I'm always the first one here. I go to my locker and change before going to say good morning to Jet. I tie on a bikini top, but pull on a wet suit over my lower body so when people start coming to see the dolphins, I can just slip my arms through it and zip it up to my neck. My morning goes by pretty quickly while I teach Jet a new hand gesture that will tell him to jump up high enough to touch the big ball hanging from the ceiling. By the time the zoo opens, there aren't many people waiting to come in to see Jet and the nine other dolphins we have here. As I work with Jet, I don't even notice the large group of men that sneak in without me knowing.
"Kat, we got a group for ya!" Sae yells from behind me, making me jump. Shit, I hate when she does that!
I turn around to see about fifteen to twenty grown men staring at me and some at the dolphins swimming around in the water. I slip my arms into the sleeves of my wetsuit and zip it up quickly, praying to God that none of these men saw my scars. Because even I have to admit, some of them were pretty attractive. They are all wearing blue and white clothing… looks like some kind of sports team, but I don't let my eyes linger long enough to see any symbols or words that are on the clothing.
I hop off my platform and turn to the group, "Good morning," I say to them and I hear several responses.
"Katniss is going to introduce herself and our dolphins," Sae explains to them before turning to me, "Katniss, the football team has the day off from training today so they came to check out the zoo, isn't that wonderful?"
I nod slightly, eyeing the group of men, "yes, yes, how nice," I say, completely unenthused.
"Great!" Sae says, clapping her hands together. "I'll leave you to it."
Shit… Shit shit shit! I'm supposed to show a bunch of dumb football players how we interact with the dolphins.
I take a deep sigh and motion the group towards the stands, "if you don't want to get wet, then sit up higher," I explain, "but if you want to get wet then sit up close."
They all sit close. Of course.
"Well I'm Katniss… I mainly work with Jet here," I tell them, indicating my dolphin. "we have a total of ten dolphins here at the zoo, but Jet is the only one who has lived anywhere else other than here and also is the only one we have who is not related to any of our other dolphins. He is a young male and he has the temperament of a teenage boy, don't you baby?" I say while I make a motion for Jet and he bobs his head up and down like he's agreeing with me. I get a few laughs from the group of football players.
"Jet was orphaned after a group of dolphin hunters killed his family and his friends… as far as we know, he was the only survivor," I go on to tell them, "Does anyone have any questions at all so far?"
I see a copper haired man raise his hand, "yeah… cuteness, right?"
I blush, "It's Katniss."
"Right, cuteness," he says again, chuckling to himself as I roll my eyes. "How long have you been training Jet?"
"Almost three years…"
"And what made you want to do that?" someone else asks, but I didn't see who with my eyes downcast. I don't like talking about myself.
"I don't know…" I shrug, "it just kind of happened… I got a job here to clean and then I met Jet and we connected," I pause, "we have a lot in common."
I busy myself by picking up my bucket of fish for Jet and my whistle.
"Okay, so Jet has a lot of energy and he likes to get people wet so just be prepared," I warn them as I throw Jet a tiny fish for reinforcement, "Ready, baby? Say hello to your guests…" I say as I wave my hand. Immediately he copies me with his fin and waves at the group. "Good boy," I throw him another fish.
I lift my whistle to my mouth and raise my hand while Jet watched me for his next command. I push my hand in a forward motion and he skims the surface of the water on his tailfin before leaping backwards into the water.
"Good boy, Jet," I say as the group of men clap, "Okay, let's get them wet!"
For the next several minutes, I give Jet the signal to dive and splash around and I turn around to see all the men dripping in water. I can't help but smirk as I see the man who called me 'cuteness' completely soaked in water. I give Jet an extra fish for that one.
I see my co-worker, Annie, and motion for her to come over to keep all these football players entertained on their day off. She walks over slowly and I can tell she is nervous. She is a lot like me where she doesn't like too many people looking at her… and she hates talking about herself too.
Annie is tall and thin with fair skin and curly brown hair and big dark brown eyes. As soon as she joins us, I notice that the obnoxious guy with copper hair has become noticeably quiet… hmm? Maybe he thinks Annie is cute?
"Gentlemen, this is Annie Cresta," I introduce her, "Annie, these are the Indianapolis Colts… apparently they have the day off."
Annie nods and smiles and I see her make eye contact with the copper haired man, "well, welcome to the zoo! My dolphins are Chemo and Carter; they are the biggest dolphins here at the zoo, both weighing in at about 500 pounds."
I am immediately thankful for Annie; she is better at working the crowd than I am and she knows a lot more about dolphins anyways. I get into the water with Jet as Annie continues to explain a dolphin's diet and exercise schedule here at the zoo. I play around in the water with Jet; opening my arms and he swims into me as though he's giving me a hug and he presses his mouth to my cheek like he's kissing me. Every now and then I give a gesture and he does a cool trick. I suddenly feel a pair of eyes on me and it makes me feel uneasy so I look up to the group of men, but they are all looking at Annie, listening intently… except for one pair of bright blue, ocean colored eyes.