a/n: another outtake! a lot of people have been wanting a Katniss POV and so here we are. this lines up with an event in lovefool, all the way back in the second chapter. Some people have been asking for some Delly and Madge POVs, so I'll see if I can get any inspiration with some. I have three other Katniss POVs and another Johanna POV planned out so far, but I'll try and see if I can get other character inspired.
thank you for all of the reviews, favorites, and follows! it means a whole lot to me and all. Please bear with me with my updating, it's not an easy time for me right now.
My locker is a bit jammed and I have to jimmy it a bit to open it. Again. It happens a good amount of times, and once Gale told me that he could try and fix it for me if I wanted him to. I don't want him to. I'm fine, it's fine.
I get it open and switch out some books for my bagged lunch composed of the usual peanut butter sandwich and apple from our neighbor's yard. They caught me long ago taking some, I'm pretty sure. Actually, I'm one–hundred percent sure. When I was twelve and collecting some apples once, I looked up and saw the husband watching me, Mister Harens. He nodded and walked away, and I left with a handful of his apples. I was so afraid of what he was going to say the next day, or if he was going to come to my parents asking about it, but he never did.
It's how it is in the Seam, really. Everyone, in some way, has struggles. We don't talk about them but most people know at least some of everyone's hardships. The Everdeen's are no exception, and the adults of the Seam would always pass a blind eye to me or Prim sneaking for tomatoes in their garden or apples in their trees. We never took more than we needed, and they knew who it was who brought them herbs from deep in the woods if it ended up on their front porch. After the accident everyone became even more understanding. I don't have the best memory, but I make sure that I remember whose yard I was in for what, and I make sure that the unspoken debts are paid for. I'm not looking for guilt.
It's just something I don't ever want to take for granted in the Seam. Everyone is struggling, and everyone helps out one another. I can't say the same exists throughout the rest of the town but I know, amongst the trees, as long as I'm fair in my apple stealing or tomato snatching, I'll be okay.
I make my way to our lunch table, where Gale and Madge are already sitting on opposing sides. Madge is talking about light things that have happened in her day while Gale nods and pays attention, every now and then joining in. As I sit down, facing the door, I step into a similar role that Gale has where I don't speak much and listen. It's how we work, the three of us. We're probably an odd bunch; me and Gale with features that would have most people considering us brother and sister and our inverted opposite made up of everything fair and light, Madge. Madge is from town, not only that but she has status even above most of the people from Town. Long story short, she's "too good" to hang out with the "riff–raff" that she hangs out with, like us. She has told me that she doesn't care about those kinds of things, and she never tried to shove the fact of her money or having to go to balls that her father attends in our face. She's a good person with a great upbringing, and I don't think I could ever be that good of a person.
Our bunch only gets weirder once the forth of our wheels comes barreling in.
"Greetings ladies!" Johanna's voice is loud as always as she sits down with us, in her usual spot across from me and our round table is complete.
"Ladies?" Gale questions.
She rolls her eyes. "There's enough estrogen in this pack that your depleted testosterone gets ruled out, Hawthorne."
"You do realize you're insinuating that you're fucking a girl?" Gale challenges.
She raises her eyebrows at him. "Wouldn't be the first time."
Gale shakes his head and Madge lets out a quiet snicker. Johanna has never been hidden about any part of her sexuality. She does what she does, who she does, and is very free about it. Sometimes I think I'm a bit jealous with how easy it all seems to her. If I am going to be completely truthful, it's almost as if we're opposites in the same way. Me and Johanna are a lot alike. We're unable to find a person or people in general that we can give ourself to fully, even in that teenager "I've–dated–you–for–a–week–and–I'm–going–to–change–my–college–plans–to–stay–with–you" kind of way. The closest we've gotten to in some ways is each other, but I know that still there are walls between us. Some I have made, some I have reinforced, and it's the same with doesn't have many people in her life, and I know enough about her past to know that she's not looking to hook herself into someone just to have them leave or die. I get that, way too easily. And yet, she let me into her life, let me and Gale and Madge, and although there is only four of us we find solace in each other, able to endure our own sets of loneliness with one another.
She takes the walls that she's built up around her heart and releases it through hormonal urges. Working at a restaurant in the bordering town is where she'd usually pick up her date for the evening, but her arrangement with Gale has made it easier for her. Gale can't get attached to her either because he, as she's told me and he may has well have, is harping upon our very own Madge. And while the three of them have this soap opera full of sexual exploration and longing, I don't have any of it. And I don't want or need it. I've never felt those kind of... needs... for another person, and I'm perfectly fine going my entire high school career without having such a ...thing.
A week before my fourteenth birthday Johanna just scoffed. "Yeah well, at least you have a vibrator." I didn't, and she picked up on that when I didn't answer her. It ended up with her buying me one for my birthday and giving me a wink as she told me that she could show me how to use it if I needed help.
God, I don't think I ever have been that red.
It sits unopened and hidden far far underneath my bed and behind piles of old notebooks and magazines I used to take from the school library. I wanted to return it but Johanna let me know that no, you won't be doing that, I threw out the receipt and I'm not returning it so if you really want it gone that badly, you'll have to walk around in public with it and let the people at the sex shop know that you don't want pleasure.
So it sits undisturbed underneath my bed.
"Anyway, we're not talking about that, what we're going to discuss is the party that we were invited to this weekend. We're going."
I manage to not groan aloud. I'm not usually one that's too keen on party scenes. I'll drink and all, but usually not anything higher than a just beyond buzzed kind of drunk. Plus the whole overloaded house scene is not for me. I much rather the times when it's just us, maybe a couple of others. Some of my best drinking times are amongst the deep woods in the Seams that only us from there can find and will go to. We're the only ones that can navigate through the dark in the woods, although sometimes still people end up with sprained ankles or other injuries. Sometimes there's bonfires (which I've come to stay away from) and once or twice we've gone to the lakes and gone swimming. Usually we go undisturbed but the police of the town are familiar with the woods being an underage drinking watering hole and every now and then you have to leg it, or in my case find a good tree to climb high and not move until the coast is clear.
"Do we know who's holding the party this time, Johanna? Or was it a non–commital invitation that a customer gave you that you're seriously taking?"
"Neither!" She tells us with a smile. "Well sort of. I don't know the kid whose house it's at, but we all know the person who invited us. Peeta Mellark did, and we're all expected to go."
Peeta? Peeta Mellark? What was he doing even talking to Johanna, let alone inviting her –– all of us –– to parties?
We're silent and looking at her for the moment and not responding. And she looks at me. Why was she looking at me? Why didn't she look at the others? I look down and go back to my sandwich that I almost was finished with anyway. Her eyes are trying to burn a hole in my skull and I don't know why and I don't want to know why and she needs to stop.
"When did you talk to Peeta?" Madge finally got to asking. Last I heard Johanna even think about Peeta was over a month ago when she first learned of his existence. And now she's getting invites from him to a party?
"I drove him home yesterday. We had a nice little chit chat, and then when we pulled up to his house he told me about the party and invited us. We're going." I refuse to look up even though I'm tempted. The story seems watered down, and I know that there has to be more to it. I try to think of what I know about Peeta Mellark (not a lot; I barely know the kid, really) and the idea of him just springing the party invite without being prompted like hell by Johanna is unthinkable. And knowing Johanna as well as I actually do know her, I know that this simple idea isn't far off.
"You're pretty adamant on the idea of none of us actually having a choice in this matter," Gale says as he looks at Johanna. I don't know how Madge deals with the three of us. We're hotheaded, angry people that don't take to backing down.
"Because you don't. We're going. It'll be a great time. Right, Kitty?"
I hate when she calls me Kitty. Or when anyone calls me anything other than Katniss. I'll still let Gale slide with him calling me Catnip, but that's because that was from when we were so young and the ability of speaking the English Language was not yet fully acquired. He lost his front tooth so "s" sounds were pretty funny, sometimes a whistle or sometimes he lisped, and he hated it. I'd always laugh even though I tried not to because I knew how much it hurt him, so he would try to use the least amount of words with "s" as possible. My name being Katniss, he tried to just take out the "s" sound, and the pronunciation sounded like "Catnip" to our parents. Instead of just me laughing and being told by my dad that poking fun isn't a nice thing to do, all of the Everdeens and Hawthornes around laughed., causing him to go more red. But soon enough he joined in, and even after his tooth grew back in he'd call me "Catnip" to tease me sometimes, when it soon became the only thing he called me. Other than that though, my name is Katniss and only now and then am I okay with a "Kat" from some people.
Of course, Johanna knows all of this. It's part of the reason she insists on calling me Kitty every now and then.
I try and concentrate back to what Johanna asked me. To confirm that we were going to go and have a great time? Yeah, I'm a great person to ask about that. "Sure, Johanna," I answer non–commitally. The three of them talk amongst themselves about the party and whether we should gather up our own drinks or just attack their shitty keg beer they'll be sure to have for us. I'm not truly paying attention, but rather looking across the lunchroom in an area I never sat in and never will.
Blue eyes are staring right back at me and both me and Peeta Mellark look away at the same time as we realize we both were looking at one another by accident. I guess. I mean, I meant to look over there at his table, near him, but to actually look right at him? When he was looking too?
I will myself to not blush, Johanna would attack me for a why. Thankfully they're not paying attention and I just bite hard into my apple and try to clear my mind. But I can't.
Peeta Mellark intrigues me. A lot of things intrigue me about him, and always have.
I hate that about him.
I hate a lot about him.
But I don't hate him. I've tried, more than I will ever admit. I fooled myself into believing it even for a while. But the only thing I hate more than these pieces of him, I hate most how I can't truly, fully hate him. It's an annoying trait of his, something I pick up on even though we've barely ever even talked, and even that part of him I hate as well I guess.
But not him, not fully.
Even if he wasn't such a decent human being and selfless bastard, I'm not able to hate him. The pain from guilt and my father's death comes to me as I think of that loaf of bread and will myself to shake it from my mind.
I haven't spoken to him since then, if you can even call that encounter us speaking. It was more of him trying to be a nice human being and me dismissing him. Him saving me and Prim and me not saying a goddamn thing about it. Not a thank you, nothing. It's embarrassing, really, because I try and make sure I don't stack up guilts with people in the Seam and yet there's this one boy that gave me something when I didn't even ask or try and take and I haven't been able to pay him back. I haven't even tried. To say that this bugs me is an understatement. His existence is just a constant reminder of that, of how I wasn't able to fully support my sister, even though I still can't. My mother is, well, better than she was, and my Uncle moved in since then to help out around the house (meaning paying the bills and making sure food and clothes are taken care of with us) as well. We're better off now than before, not floundering, and Uncle tries to make sure that every now and then we have a fresh loaf of bread or cheesebuns amongst our usual groceries.
Every bag from Mellark's Bakery he brings though just adds another pound of guilt it feels like. And trust me, there's been a good deal of cheesebuns, something my whole family knows I'll never get enough of. I wish they weren't so damn good because every time I swallow one it's like a reminder that I have to swallow my pride, that I should have already quite some time ago. I still enjoy them of course, there's no way I think I could not enjoy them, especially when they're still warm, the cheese threatening to fall out the edge and the flaky bread a perfect gold. It's not an every day occurrence that we get them (sadly), but every couple of weeks we'll get them. Usually they're perfectly timed, my sour moods picked up easily by Uncle since he is a sour ass himself. Sometimes we'll get them if things are hard; he's helped us with bills and overall our well being, but our troubles are far from over. And sometimes, I'll see the Mellark bag on the counter holding my wonderful cheesebuns just because.
Those ones may be my favorite. Somehow, they taste even better.
But cheesebuns make me think of the bakery and the bakery makes me think of Peeta Mellark, the kid in my grade that I barely have any connection to but at the same time this deep undercurrent of an unspeakable something exists between us. When he was still on his cane from the accident in the bakery we had an almost interaction. We came across each other's path in the hallway. It was a couple days before the memorial of my father and I was struggling to deal with both the grief over him and the responsibility of my mom, Prim, and me since my mom was checked out. At that moment the grief was trying to fight a tide of anger, anger for the fire starting in my house, anger for my father being right there as it happened, for leaving us, for dying. Anger that I couldn't save us all, anger that I had to listen to Prim's choked struggle for a scream.
Going through all of those emotions it took me a bit to realize I was still in public. I tried to reel it in, tears, a snarl, or whatever the hell was playing across my face because I didn't know how to deal with everything. When I looked up I saw Peeta Mellark there, sporting his cane. It's weird, because there's a sick sort of camaraderie I felt with him like, hey, look, we both went through a fire and survived, but there was also a distaste for him because of well, everything.
And to prove the latter, just as he looked as if he was going to come and talk to me, some random kid stopped him in the hallway to inquire about the tragedy and how he was coping.
I didn't try to hide the disgust on my face at that moment. I only felt anger burning through me and by the embarrassed pink staining Peeta Mellark's cheeks, I could tell he understood that he was the root of it. Him and his stupid leg. The person wouldn't get the hint that Peeta wanted him gone and he went on raving about how happy he was that Peeta was okay and wondering if there was a reopening date for the bakery.
I walked away, not needing to hear anymore. I felt sick. Peeta Mellark was a goddamn hero to everyone and my father was dead.
That was the time when I tried to convince myself that I hated him. But then at my father's memorial he had to go and give me that damn bread. Things started locking into place slowly after that; the bread seemed to give me the determination to go deeper into the woods and find herbs and such for us to eat and trade. Uncle soon moved in with us, an improvement on his lonely house at the outskirts of the Seam, away from all the other houses. That bread that he gave us became a symbol to me, like all those years ago when I was young and finding dandelions in a February frost. The bread was warm still when he gave it to me, and was the freshest (and one of the only, truth be told) bakery item I ever ate at that point. And I couldn't hate Peeta Mellark, I knew at that point, and I also knew that no matter how hard I tried to before I didn't ever.
That being said, I don't know what's happening with this party business. I try to focus back into the last couple of minutes of lunchroom discussion but don't actively participate. When the bell rings and we all get up and throw out our trash. I'm about to ask Madge about a hard concept I'm not understanding in math when Johanna gets in between the two of us.
"Nu–uh, Brainless. Madge and I have some things to discuss, and sadly they do not involve you nor your involvement."
I blink a couple of times looking at Madge. "What the hell was that?" I ask. I don't think I ever heard Johanna speak so traditionally.
Johanna groans. "Sorry. I had a bunch of important essays in English to write and rewrite and work on just before. God forbid I don't write in Standard English. Ugh it sticks on my tongue after I have to write in it," She tells me, and then proceeds to stick her tongue out and make gagging sounds.
I wave her off. "Alright, fine, whatever. Have fun with your secrets, bye." I try to act indifferent to it but I'm curious as to why they can't talk around me about whatever they have to discuss. Madge's eyes are pretty wide and she looks over to Johanna when she sees me turning back to look at them again.
Gale's at my side like I knew he would be. "Five dollars they're talking about me."
I smirk and look sideways towards him. "I'd definitely be invited to that conversation. I'm sure I have some intriguing details to tell Madge of how good of a kisser you are."
He groans and trails his hand down his face. "Don't even start with me, Everdeen. I've gotten much better since I had that grand idea of kissing you. Besides, it's better when I'm not kissing someone that's basically my sister." He throws his arm around me and squeezes before letting go.
I laugh it off. "Yeah, something about seeing someone in their diaper and literally shitting themself isn't the most seductive things."
"And what do you know of seduction, Katniss Everdeen? Unless you're keeping some lip–locking secret from me, I'm quite sure I was your first and only kiss." Gale's eyebrow is arched at me and I want to smack him. But I don't. Gale is one of the only people that can get out a more carefree side of me, a part of me that acts more like a teenager should. We grew up side by side and although we depended on each other during hard times, it was different than growing up with Prim. Prim always counted on me, sometimes seeming to count on me even more as we grew older. It wasn't her fault, but it's a demanding role and one that I fill without complaint. I love Prim, and I'll always be there for her, to be looking out for her. Gale and I both look out for each other, and it's a completely different ballgame with that. Prim can make me smile the biggest and I'll even play games with her, but Gale is the person that'll make me every now and then be, just, well, my age.
That being said, the two of us are known for our scowls and "serious" mood. In high school talk, "serious" means that people think we're assholes. I'm fine with the assumption, seeing as how it stops people from trying to interact with me.
I shake my head. "I've been talking to Johanna too much. That's all." His eyebrow arches higher. I grin. "Oh, yes, Gale, sometimes you are the topic of conversation."
"Suddenly I'm not so sure I like this anymore."
We both chuckle and resume walking to our lockers and then class in silence. Near the area we usually part, he says one last thing. "Mark my words, Katniss Everdeen. One of these days all of this talk is going to be about you." I frown as he turns around and walks away.
I can only hope he's lying.