Disclaimer: I do not own All Quiet On The Western Front (which is where I got the timeline from) and I do not own the Hunger Games.
Katniss Everdeen walked along the pathway in the market that had been called 'The Hob' since she could remember. All over the Hob were posters put up by the enlistment bureau in the small town, announcing the war in the European countries that was raging. Beneath the sign was a sheet of paper filled with names of the enlisted soldiers who wanted to go off to war. She remembered instantly about her father, Jonathan Everdeen, who enlisted three years prior when the war had first started and how he died at the hands of a ruthless enemy soldier.
As she passed by another sign, it quickly drew her attention:
'SIGN UP FOR WAR! BE A HERO! SAVE YOUR COUNTRY! SAVE YOUR FAMILY! A SOLDIER'S FAMILY IS GIVEN EXTRA RATIONS AND CARE!'
When Katniss saw this, she knew this was the best way to help her mother and younger sister, Prim. She knew well of this bargain, for her best Gale had enlisted and his family of four had reaped the many benefits.
Katniss walked up to the makeshift booth and waited until the man at the table turned to acknowledge her.
"What can I do for you ma'am?" the man addressed her. He wore many war decorations on his woolen uniform coat, definitely showing his authority.
"I would like to sign up for the war, Corporal—Corporal Cray," Katniss spoke.
"As a nurse? Lovely, we always need more nurses back at them hospitals," Cray said.
"N-no, for actual fighting. That sign—o-over there, is it true that the families are taken care of?" Katniss corrected.
Cray guffawed extremely loud at Katniss' proposition and doubled over on the wooden crate he sat on.
Katniss seemed frightened by the Corporal's reaction. "I'm sorry, but what's so funny?"
"Women are not soldiers! They're not fit for the position, ma'am. They can go as a nurse, but their families don't receive the same benefits. Send your male of the family instead. Sorry about that ma'am. Take care of yourself now," Cray said, and sent Katniss off unaccomplished.
Katniss felt that the war was very sexist. Women were not just good for taking care of wounded men from the war. That wasn't very fair.
She quickly fled the Hob, not looking at where she went. This caused for her to smack into someone hard as warm and who was a young man. But she continued to flee, not stopping..
Almost another month had passed since Katniss fled the Hob from trying to enlist, and the rules had not budged—only men were allowed to enlist as a soldier.
But Katniss had come up with a plan. She was fit as any boy from spending all her time in the woods, hunting for food, that if she tried real hard, she could pretend to be a boy, so she did.
She had uncovered her late-father's trunk of leftover clothes from when he went to war, and took them in a little to fit her stickly, boyish-looking frame due to starvation. She had thought about chopping all her long brown locks, but decided against it. It would seem too suspicious if one had seen her with short hair before she had been enlisted. She had braided her brown tresses tightly and spun it up around her head, hiding all hair from view when she wore a cap on her head like all the rest of the soldiers and men in her town.
Her mother and Prim knew about her plan to get their family in a better place. So that morning when Katniss dressed in her disguise, they wished her well before she went to enlist and go for her physical training.
At the remembrance of the physical examination, she feared that she'd get caught and she would fail her family once more. But then she remembered that she could bribe the man in charge with money.
She set off.
The line was small at the enlisting booth. There were hardly any men in the Hob which was opposite to a time before the war started.
Cray was nowhere to be now, just a younger man who manned the booth.
"Excuse me," Katniss said in her deepest voice that she could fake. "I'd like to enlist for the war as a soldier."
The man nodded and handed Katniss forms to be filled out.
The first question at the top of the form was the hardest of them all. What was her name?
She could no longer be Katniss Everdeen while on the front—it was too much of a girls' name.
She bit down on her pen anxiously and then wrote down the first name that popped into her mind: Thom Brown. It was easy, not that questionable, and from what she knew, wasn't a name used in town.
A few moments later, she was finished her forms and handed them back to the man at the booth.
"Go on ahead through that set of doors and you'll do your physical, alright?" the man said, and pointed to the exact location to his left.
She nodded, and felt all her nervousness bloom even more at the possibility of her cover being blown. She walked with purpose to that door and knocked once, then waited to be answered.
When the door opened, she was surprised. She thought that the man in charge of deeming her fit was from the soldiers and war committee. If wasn't. In fact, it was a good friend of her father's. It wasn't just any friend, it was his old best friend, Mister Cinna.
"Hello, let's get you all ready to go to the front. Why don't you have a seat on the examining table," Mister Cinna said.
Katniss didn't move, but she pulled out a bag of coins and pushed them towards Mister Cinna with shaky hands.
"What's this for?" Mister Cinna asked, surprised.
"I'm not going to pass my physical, but I really need to be out on the front to support my family," she said.
"M-mister Cinna…it's me, Katniss―" she confessed, and let her voice appear since she knew that she could trust him.
"Jon's eldest—ohh...I see why...I'm sorry you had to do this, you could've gone to ask me for help if you needed it—you shouldn't go out there, Katniss—Jon wouldn't want this—" Mister Cinna said, after he understood what was going on.
"But father's not here anymore and you need to take care of your family as well. It's perfectly fine. Just please let me go to the front," she pleaded.
After a moment of thought, Mister Cinna spoke. "Alright— you can go—I'll fake your records. Promise one thing—don't let them know the real you—not at all. They'll ruin you out there. And if they find out you're a girl—I'm sure you can handle yourself. Keep the money—it'll be our little secret—give it to your mother and Prim."
"Can you give it to them please? I'm heading out now," Katniss said. "Thank you very much, Mister Cinna. You're a life saver."
"Oh how I wish," Mister Cinna said. "Go through those doors and they'll take you to the train so you can board to go to boot camp."
Katniss quickly gave Mister Cinna a hug then walked calmly like a man through the doors and was met by the same man from out front, except there were more soldier-to-bes' waiting in line too.
The same man acknowledged her and pointed her to a group of other young men who were in her new company. She joined them and silently prayed that she would survive and her gig would not be discovered.
After they arrived at boot camp, they were all forced to learn obedience and skill, and how to march and move on a dime without thinking twice about the commands. She was lucky not to be singled out like some of the company members had, and she had to thank those many trips out to the woods back home with Gale and their fathers.
She was able to run fast through the mud pits, shoot a rifle which she found a lot like shooting her old bow and arrow, and how to fight in hand to hand combat.
It was only a month into training when the company was sent off to Europe to fight.
Grenades went off at all times in the city's main streets and tried to kill as many enemy soldiers the other side could which was them.
At the sound of the blast, Katniss jumped and bumped into another soldier from the existing company. She looked up at him and notice that he looked very familiar, like someone that had lived in the town before.
He was somewhat cute looking, but Katniss couldn't focus on that—she was pretending to be a boy and that would be just plain weird otherwise.
Her company was to join this other soldier's company and fight alongside one another in the trenches at the front.
Out of all the members of his company, he seemed the kindest―like someone who didn't belong fighting in the terrible war―yet he was.
Spending many months with a crowd of miserable men was hard effort for Katniss. Having to change at odd times, or shower when others were out shooting. But she kept up her façade. She fooled everyone, even that cute young man from home; Peeta Mellark was his name. They had actually become good pals. That is―Thom Brown and Peeta Mellark. Just two young soldiers from the same small town, just trying to survive the war.
One cold blistering evening, the company decided to hide away from the fighting deep underground in their secret bunks beneath the trenches. Most of the company sat at the small tables drinking away the cheap alcohol that they had and shared stories about their loved ones.
One the company members turned to Katniss. "Got a sweetheart back home, Thom?" is name was Finnick, a soldier from the richer towns who liked to flirt with all the nurses.
Katniss took a small timid sip of her drink like she always did to warm herself up and answered using Thom's mindset.
"Nah, never had time to think about that. Had to take care of my family first," she said.
Finnick nodded and tipped his glass towards Peeta. "What about you?"
Peeta hesitated a moment and then shook his head. "Nah," he said.
"Come on, a guy like you; what girl wouldn't want you?" Katniss urged, surprised at herself as well for pressuring Peeta.
"Yeah, tell us about that girl back home that you're like, in love with, lover boy," Finnick said, his words slightly slurred.
Peeta finally agreed and went to a pocket inside his jacket and pulled out a single photo. He didn't show anyone the photograph, but instead spoke. "She's beautiful, has a wonderful voice that is beyond what I can explain. I doubt she knows I'm alive though…she is perfect," he said with such awe that it made Katniss' heart ache for an unknown reason.
"Well, let's see her!" Finnick shouted and ripped the photo out of Peeta's vice-like hands.
When Katniss looked, instead of meeting some girl of Peeta's dreams, she came face to face with a photo of herself.
Should I continue? Yes or No!