DISCLAIMER: I do NOT own the Hunger Games. Here's a little one-shot in a sort of AU where Peeta went and decided to be all self-sacrificing and stuff and he dies at the end after the rule change rule change. PEETA MY BUDDY I SORRY.
~ Cue Katniss Everdeen's point of view ~
I gulp as I tug on my dress. It's a dark orange and yellow dress. The material is soft, but I can barely feel the softness. Looking up from my dress, I look around and suddenly my plate goes up. I stiffen as I stumble, my heart pounding in my head. This reminds me of the plate lifting up into the arena. The arena that changed my life. The arena where twenty three kids were killed.
I feel nervous and then I gulp when I think of how Peeta would be able to easily do this. Do this interview in front of the entire nation and do the same thing tomorrow morning when everyone's behind a camera.
I'm hit with lights that blind me. Shouts and cries fill my ears and I look around at the crowd. Most are cheering, but several are crying. There's only one of the star-crossed lovers from District 12 out of the arena, and it's me. They're actually feeling bad for a contestant's death. Strange. I look at them all with a look that says that I'm annoyed with them. They didn't know Peeta. Why are they crying for him? It's only the romance they like. Without, they wouldn't pay him more than a second glance and only that because of his speaking skills.
"Katniss Everdeen, the victor of the Seventy-fourth Hunger Games, the Girl on Fire!" I hear, and I turn to see Caesar Flickerman pointing to me, a microphone in his hand.
I smile for the cameras and I walk over to him, my eyes flickering over to where my team is. Haymitch is with Effie and my prep team and I can see Cinna clapping. He looks solemn. He was with me, helping me into my outfit, and he was the one I ranted to on how unfair the rule change was. How they didn't have to have Peeta die.
Caesar catches my hand and kisses it and I smile briefly before I take my seat. It's a one person chair. It's the normal chair they have for the victor, but for some reason, I wish for a bigger chair, one for two people.
"Katniss, Katniss, Katniss, what . . . I can't even right now," Caesar says as he sits down. "That was, without a doubt, the most exciting Hunger Games ever!"
I nod and my smile fades as I readjust. My mind is still hard and cold against the Capitol for taking Peeta.
"Katniss, there is a LOT of things that happened in the Games, but there is one thing that the viewers and I want to know about. Now, we're going to be talking a lot more about your personal experience in the Games in your interview tomorrow," he turns to the audience, "tune in." They all shout and he turns back and says in a kinder voice, "But we all want to know what you were thinking, right at the end of the Games, when the rule change got revoked. What were you thinking then?"
I know what I was thinking about, for I'm thinking the same things now. I look away from Caesar as I remember everything. Every sound, every second.
Peeta had taken off his bandage, leaving his wound to the air as he stumbled down. I had gotten down, trying to put it back on, trying to tell him to hang on.
"Katniss, they can only have one victor," he had said, and he leaned close to me. We were both on the ground, his leg stretched out, me leaning over it. I looked up to him and one of his hands came to the back of my head and brought me close to him, and he kissed me.
He had leaned back and looked into my eyes with his soft blue ones, and I knew he knew that this was going to be the last time he'd see them.
"Listen to me, Katniss," he said quietly, and for once, I didn't interrupt. My eyes began to water as he continued, "Katniss, there can only be one victor. And I want that to be you. I want you to go back with a win for District Twelve. I want you to win so, so much, Katniss, and so don't refuse my last request. I want you to go back to District Twelve and live your life out and have a good life. Please, Katniss?"
I gulped and he nodded and said, "I love you, Katniss," and then he tipped his head back and my eyes widened when I saw him let some of the nightlock berries from my pocket slip into his mouth.
"Peeta!" I said, but he went pale and fell back. I screamed his name as I leaned over his dead body before I was picked up.
I shiver as I remember and I look up to Caesar and I say in my coldest voice, "It was the most crushing moment of my life."
"It was very crushing for all of us, yes, but none, none of us can imagine what pain you must be in," says Caesar sympathetically.
I nod in response and Caesar takes this to tell the cameras that we're all going to watch a three hour edited version of my Hunger Games where I killed, made allies, and had Peeta die. Right in front of my eyes.
I sit back in my seat as we watch it. I grip the armrests and my eyes tear up on occasion when a particular scene comes on. The camera flashes to me when a scene like that comes up, and everyone can see my tears. And I don't care.
I watch the cave scenes, and I really look at him for once. Not as a person who I have to keep alive and get home, but as a person. How he has lovely blue eyes and how he looks so concerned and annoyed when I gave him the sugar berries. How gentle he was and how thoughtful and intelligent with the teaming up the Careers and how strategic he was.
I didn't look anything more than unhappy at all during the whole thing, and a tear runs down my face when I see Peeta kill himself. For me.
At the end, everyone looks to me as the lights come back and Caesar turns to me and says, "Was that hard, Katniss? Watching everything over again?"
"Yeah," I rasp, and he nods and after a few minutes we're done, and Haymitch is by my side, leading me away from this horrible stage with its disgusting people, and I feel like sobbing, but the sobbing doesn't come. Tears stream down my face as I lean against Haymitch, who just a couple of days ago I thought hated me. I hate him now still, for wanting to save me and not Peeta.
We're walking but I can't see where we're going. I don't care. I don't - I simply don't care anymore. Peeta is gone, dead, because of the Capitol. I got to know him over those few days we were together, and while I didn't like him romantically, I could see that he was a nice guy. I mean, he had the entire nation sold. He's gone, now. Took his life to save mine. And for what? For me to be in a sniveling mess? Apparently.
Had he really loved me that much that he wanted me to live more than he did? Why? He . . . he could have . . . .
Gulping, I enter one of the elevators. I'm here now, as the lone victor of the 74th Hunger Games. The Girl on Fire. One half of the star-crossed lovers from District 12. The one that Peeta chose to live.
I stand up straighter as the elevator moves. He wants me to be a good victor, and to live my life. I'll do that, for Peeta. For the Boy on Fire.
AHH DEPRESSING STUFF IS DEPRESSING. Dang. It's late. Thankies for reading, and PLEASE let me know what you think!