by savemesalzburg

Author's Note: Hello, my little tributes! I have returned! I am so sorry for the agonizing wait. I misplaced, I mean my bed swallowed my notebook. After gutting the underside of it in preparation for my upcoming move into college, I found it! So here we are, Chapter Five! =D I've also been poking around in writing in some other fandoms, and will be posting stories for them shortly. I have a oneshot coming for Repo! The Genetic Opera that's been marinating in my head for years actually, two World of Warcraft stories, a Harry Potter fic that needs a lot of careful and thorough planning, and two more Hunger Games fics, crossed over with...well, you'll see. I really want to thank you all for being patient and supportive during this time that I've been away. I love you all so very much. You are the reason for every word. =) *free kisses*

DISCLAIMER: I do not own The Hunger Games, they belong to Suzanne Collins. Nor do I own Contre Qui, Rose. It belongs to some dead French guy.

Chapter Five:

A Minor Upset in the Patriarchal Paradigm

By the few people that knew her well, each of them knew that Katniss Everdeen was known to act solely on impulse during moments of extreme emotion. That is why, when she stormed down the hallway and slammed the door of Peeta Mellark's locker shut, that the poor blond boy had no idea what he was in for. He had never seen the impulsive side of Katniss. He had only seen the quiet, intelligent, strong girl that tried her utmost best to overcome her unfortunate situation. Everyone and their mother knew that the Everdeens were dirt poor. It wasn't a secret anymore, like it was when they were all little. It took until middle school for the signs of her poverty to become apparent. Young kids didn't notice the rotation of clothing that became obvious during those awkward transition years. It was also found a bit fishy that while most of the girls were rocking modern styles, Katniss still dressed like she was stuck in the 1990s. It was very much unlike the typical junior high girl, always striving to wear the latest and hottest design in the Capitol. Peeta liked Katniss because she never changed. She had the same hairstyle for as long as he could remember, and she didn't give a shit about her make up. Her face was much too beautiful to be messed with anyway.

"Would you like to tell me exactly what the hell you think you're doing?" she asked, keeping her voice low and quick. Her calloused hand stayed on the door of his locker, using it to support herself so that she could get in his face. The closer she was, the more threatening she was. And, the softer she could speak. The last thing that she wanted to do was draw attention tot he already publicized situation.

"What do you mean?" Peeta asked. The poor boy was already having a miserable day. His day had commenced in a fit of anxiety, then he confessed his love for the girl he had liked since Kindergarten, and now she was at his locker about ready to skin him out of sheer hatred. What had he done in his life to deserve all of this bad luck?

"Why do you insist on increasing my miserable existence? What have I ever done to you?"

"Katniss..." he said sadly, "I meant every word I said this morning!"

"Well how come I don't believe you?"

"That's your choice! But I never meant to directly harm you. I just figured you would want to know. I just couldn't keep that to myself anymore..." Peeta was desperate, and he knew that it was evident in his voice.

Katniss was silent for a moment, recoiling from her intimidating position. She felt the heat splash onto her cheeks in uncomfortable blotches. She suddenly felt self conscious and uneasy being this close to Peeta. His affection was almost like a subtle threat. A threat that was drawing not only his positive and adoring attention to her, but also the negative jeers of people like Glimmer and her District 1 goons. Her eyes, now curious and afraid, resembled those of a small child. They found his blue ones. They were determined, hurt, and desperate. Her angry impulse turned into something different, one that she was afraid of acting on. Something was telling her to embrace Peeta, to hold him and comfort him. But Katniss had never held a boy in her arms before, so she just stood there and stared at him. By now they had caught the attention of several curious onlookers who were seated in the hallway quietly enjoying their lunches. Out of the corner of her eye, Katniss saw that they were trying to pull off the "I'm not looking at you, but I'm actually looking at you" deal. She honestly didn't care. She was aware that she would be the talk of the school for the next week anyway, and freaking out about it would just do her in. They wanted her to crack, and she would not give them that luxury.

Peeta's body was shaking, although not visibly as of yet. She wasn't saying a word. All she was doing was staring at him. Her fists were still clenched, and her lips were still set in a straight menacing line. Poor Peeta, he couldn't help himself. All he could think about was kissing them, and what they would taste like against his. When his eyes found hers again, he noticed they had changed. They weren't so jaded looking. They seemed curious. And just below her eyes, her high cheekbones were dusted in a lovely blush. She was so unpredictable. It seemed as if she might change her mind and go after him at any second. Even Madge was keeping her distance. The pretty blonde seemed just as surprised as he did. Apparently this wasn't the way that Katniss normally handled situations like this. Then again, when was the last time that she had been put into a situation where she had to deal with male attention? Make that positive male attention. How about never?

"We will just have to see about that," was all she said after the long, uncomfortable pause. With that, she turned on her heel and slipped her arm through Madge's. "I need to get out of here."

"Katniss, what just happened back there?" whispered a bewildered Madge, after Katniss had dropped her arm to her side. As undeserving as it would have been, Madge had expected that Katniss would make it so that Peeta never even breathed in her direction again. But instead she had just left him there staring after her like she was some kind of ghostly anomaly.

"I don't really know," she replied cryptically. She stared straight ahead without looking at Madge. Honestly, Katniss was as confused as they were. She knew why she hadn't yelled at Peeta, or pinned him up against the locker and threatened him. That and the overwhelming feeling to kiss him had become too great. If she hadn't fled the scene when she did, she would have done it, and probably embarrassed herself. Katniss wanted so badly to believe that he did like her, that his heart had been burning for her as long as he said it was, but she just couldn't trust him. It would be just like people of his stature to lure girls like her, girls that no one else wanted, in and make them comfortable. He would lead her on, and then break her heart and make fun of her until June when she could graduate and do her best to forget about this entire experience. Or, he would take her somewhere in an attempt to fornicate her, and force her into something that she didn't want. Anything to shame the Everdeen family more. Of course it didn't seem that those were Peeta's intentions. It seemed like he couldn't hurt a fly. But, it was always the nice boys you had to look out for. They were always the ones with the worst intentions, or so Katniss had herself convinced.

"Come on, Katniss, let's sit. Relax a little bit," Madge cooed, patting the spot beside her. Katniss threw her body against the wall and slid down next to her. The only sound that she made for that entire forty minutes was an exasperated sigh once she was seated on the cool tile. Madge knew not to attempt to start a conversation. Instead, she ate her lunch quietly. The only time that she spoke was to ask Katniss if she wanted half of her sandwich. The brunette shook her head no, and returned her forehead to her kneecaps. Before the scene in the hallway happened, she was so crippled with hunger today that she may have accepted Madge's generous offer. Well, half of it anyway. The other half, she would have slipped into her locker and kept as a treat for Prim after school. Now, she just felt nauseous. She even considered going down to the nurse to be sent home, but that wouldn't do her any good, either. She would have to go about the remainder of her day with her head held high. She remembered very well when Prim was young, and came home in tears after a day of being bullied for being an Everdeen, and therefore "below" everyone else. She always pulled the little blonde girl onto her lap, dried her tears gently with her shirtsleeve, and cooed to her, "Now, now, little duck, don't you cry. Don't you ever let anyone tell you that they're better than you. If we were all meant to be the same, everyone would be poor." Then, she would kiss her on the forehead, tell her to tuck in her duck tail, and send her outside to play. It was time for her to follow her own advice, and set a good example for her sister. What would that be teaching Primrose, who would be braving the halls of this high school next year, about being confident and letting the insults roll right off of her? Katniss had to remember that she was just the same as everyone else, despite how much wealth she didn't have.

A buzzing on the floor next to her caused her to lift her head with a start. Madge's phone was ringing like crazy, and a picture of Gale posing majestically on a rock popped up on the screen. She saw the giddy smile that slicked across her friend's lips as she swallowed a mouthful of food and then picked up the phone.

"Hello...? Oh yeah, that message. Can we actually talk about that later? I'm in the middle of eating, and lunch is almost over...yes, Katniss is here! Okay, I'll tell her. Katniss, he says hi, and he's going to call you later on..."

"I say hi back," she said with a weary smile. Gale had always been able to make her smile.

"...she says hi back. Okay, I'll talk to you after school. I love you too! Bye!" Madge hung up the phone and glanced over at Katniss, who was eying her suspiciously.

"What was that about?" she asked. "He never calls you during the day."

"He had a break between classes is all," Madge replied.

"Oh, okay, what message were you talking about?"


"I'm not convinced..." Katniss wasn't able to finish her thought, though, because as the bell rang, Madge darted off in the opposite direction. She and Gale were up to something, and Katniss had every intention of figuring out what.