So I have apologized for every chapter I have posted for awhile haven't I?

Excuse: I'm stupid.

I lost interest but now I'm back, and I have created a chapter plan. Hopefully I can actually do this.

I don't blame you for being angry, so go ahead, I deserve it.

I hope you can forgive me, and that maybe, just maybe, you'll continue to read this.

Disclaimer: oh Collins, I am not worthy! I definitely do not own the hunger games

XXXX

Peeta's POV

It's been at least a couple hours since the gong went and somehow, we've both remained unscathed. I can only hope the same for Katniss.

We try to tread carefully, but I know Rue is starting to get annoyed. She basically glides across the uneven terrain without a sound. I, on the other hand, can only seem to stumble.

We both decide we should settle in for the night and search for shelter.

I grip her hand every time I hear a noise, just to make sure she's still there.

"Peeta," she says quietly.

I look down at her, watching her warm brown eyes.

"Yes?"

"Katniss is ok, I know it," she squeezes my hand once, trying to reassure me. "You must really love her,"

I find the strength to smile at that. "Yes, I really do."

She wants to climb up a tree for shelter, and I can feel the nervousness shaking me. She sends me up first, pointing out which branches to grab and which ones to step on and after what seems like an eternity, I've finally made it up.

It takes only seconds for Rue to join me; she practically floats up the branches.

The cold is what gets to us really. It seeps in through my thin coat, making its way into my skin. It's not unbearable, but enough to numb your limbs.

I look over at Rue's sleeping figure, wishing I could stop her from shivering so violently. It is my fault after all that we have no supplies, I was the one that suggested we run from the bloodbath as quickly as possible.

She tosses and turns, trying to curl herself closer. I really wish I had grabbed at least a backpack. We won't last long, not at this rate. We have no food, water, or a weapon. We have nothing...

But at least we're alive... That's what I keep telling myself. We're still alive, and according to the Capitol, Katniss is too. As long as we have life, we can still have hope.

But only one can win...

xxxx

Somehow we survive the night, but the temperature continues to be unpredictable. As soon as the sun rises, the weather goes with it. Our nighttime cold quickly turns into blistering heat. We are unprepared for either.

I manage a sunburn across my face, while my toes freeze at night. The fluctuating weather is hard on Rue too, but I soon find out that she is much more tolerant.

Good to know that a tiny twelve year old girl has a better chance of survival than me.

We take turns keeping watch, moving as far away from the careers as we can; we can't afford an attack right now.

Rue teaches me a few more things, after all, Katniss and Gale did most of the hunting back home. I learn what berries to pick, which leaves provide sustenance, we even manage to make an amateur snare. It's not much, but we manage to get some food.

Eventually, I find a large bush of dark purple berries. I begin picking frantically, amazed at how many there are. Rue freaks out when she finds me, yelling at me not to eat them.

"It's nightlock!" she yells. "You'd be dead before it would reach your stomach."

I look down at my hand in horror. How close had I come to popping one in my mouth? They really didn't look threatening

"I-I didn't know." I tell her, dropping them to the ground.

"Wait," she says, her eyes glistening with guilt. "Maybe... Maybe we should keep them. If we could slip them to that boy from two..."

She looks so embarrassed, it makes my heart wrench. She's just a kid; too damn young to be thinking about how to kill another.

However, I take a handful and place them in my pocket; for now, the small, threatening berries are our only weapon.

Soon enough, night falls once again and with it comes the cold. I hold Rue close to my side, praying that Katniss is still ok. Her face hasn't been up in the sky yet but I find my heart racing every time the Capitol emblem shines in front of me.

I keep telling myself that if I'm still alive, then she must be as well.

In the middle of the night, I spot a fire. Just a small, flickering flame; hardly enough to keep your hands warm.

The careers spot it too.

They come crashing through the foliage as if they own the place, ready to kill anything that moves. Rue begins to stir at the commotion, and I cover her mouth as I point towards the bumbling figures.

I hear laughter, quickly followed by a scream. They walk back off just as quickly as they came, Cato mocking the poor tribute.

"Please don't kill me!" he said in a high pitched voice, his chuckle joined by others.

Yet still, the cannon never sounds.

The careers don't seem to bother with it, they just continue on, convinced that the girl will die on her own.

I'm not so sure

I motion to Rue to stay put, and start down the tree. I only begin walking when I am sure the Careers are gone, and I follow the flickering flame.

The poor girl from District 8 is on the ground sputtering, a gash in her chest. She can hardly muster the strength to look up at me with pleading eyes.

I'm no healer, but just from what I see, I know that I can't save this girl. Her big brown eyes stare right through me and I can almost feel her pain.

"Please," she whispers weakly. "Make it stop."

I wish I could save her.

I reach into my pocket, pulling the nightlock from it. I roll the berry in my fingers, watching it stain the flesh purple. I can make it all go away.

I kneel down beside her, popping it into her mouth. "You won't even feel it," I tell her, watching her swallow. "You can let go now."

She barely musters a smile, but I catch it. Why is she happy? I just killed her.

Her cannon goes off and tears begin to run down my cheeks.

I just killed her.

I make it back to the tree, and Rue just looks at me, then takes my hand. She seems to know how I feel without me telling her.

An emptiness has filled my chest, a deep, burrowing ache.

I have done what I told myself I would never do.