Chapter 16 mwahaha! More training. And another look on Mali and Caleb's complicated, relationship. Yea no relationship would make them friends, they're not even that. So uh btw long Chapter. Just a fair warning :D
I'm in quite the hurry today so not much babbling from me
Disclaimer: I dont own THG Trilogy, just my characters, and the plot, and to an extent this Hunger Games. The rest is strictly Suzanne Collins's.
I casually walk to this type of monkey bars they've got where Tributes try to pass to the other side. So far none of the ones that have tried have been able to pass it, and it compels me to try it for that reason exactly. I haven't done anything active and it's making me impatient. I know I have to lay low, but I've just been dying to stretch my muscles and do something that involves me and adrenaline and the risk of me dying. Yea I know I won't die here but still, it seems fun. It's my turn now, my eyes carefully dart to the bars in front of me, eyeing them carefully as to measure how far away they're from each other. There isn't much distance between them which makes me disappointed. I was expecting a challenge. The trainer eyes me warily, "What difficulty?!"
I raise an eyebrow confused, "Excuse me?!"
"What difficulty?!", he repeats motioning to a remote he has in his hand. It has 3 buttons, easy, medium, and hard. Simple enough.
"Um.", I start to think quietly, I could take it easy, try it, and it wouldn't make a difference. Not as attention grabbing. Or I can risk it and take the hardest. Hmm. Let's see, risking it wins. I look at the trainer trying to fight back smirk, "Hard?!"
He blinks in surprise and I can hear few snickers behind me, idiots, "Are you sure?!"
"Yes, please.", I say as sweetly as I can, making sure to smile at this.
"Look at her! She's so small."
"She'll never make that."
I roll my eyes at the whispers and mutters behind me, how hard can it be?!
A second after the button is pressed, the monkey bars change right in front of me into their own personal obstacle course. The bars separate until they're a good 6 or 7 feet away, each space of the first few bars with a different obstacle. The first two have spikes popping out every ten seconds, then when you jump to 3 there's a swinging axe just waiting to cut you in half. From 3 to 4 there's a giant, also swinging metal ball I've dubbed "Death Ball". After that, I notice the most logical thing is to pass on the bars, but there's a machine that seems like a flame thrower that'll just burn you if you do that. Okay, it's a little more complicated than I thought, but, no matter. Don't screw up Hartley. You'll be the subject of ridicule. This is a challenge, and with the perfect timing, you'll be able to pass it and live through it. I take a few steps back waiting for the spikes to disappear on the 1st bar, mentally counting to ten as I run for it, quickly jumping and gripping it when they immediately disappear. I count to ten to ready myself again, jumping at 9, grabbing a hold of the bar at 10. Think fast think fast think fast. Oh damn here comes the axe in 3, 2.. Swing! It swings past me and I jump to the 3rd bar, almost cutting my ponytail right there. Ok so far so good. Ah crap Death Ball! My heart is pumping as Death Ball swings right in front of me, and I jump to grip the 4th bar with one hand as I notice the "flame thrower"(fog maker) right next to me, so I pull myself up and stand on top of the bar. Balance, Hartley. I take another step the 5th-6th bars, and lie on my back supporting myself with them, reacting a second before some spikes fly past my head almost scratching my face. God. I lie there and close my eyes gripping onto the bar, forcing myself to do a somersault and stand up, back towards the finish line. I carefully turn around on my tippy toes, and jump ever so carefully onto the next bar, dodging a knife, and another, and another, until I jump through the two bars and hang around aimlessly again. I wait for the next trap, nothing. Hmm.. There's a rope in front of me, waiting. I swing against the bar, and lean forward to reach the rope, almost missing it by a second as it flies up, but I jump on time and do another somersault and stand, finally at the finish line. I wipe the beads of sweat off my forehead and neck, I'm alive. That's a relief, no broken bones, no cuts, nothing. Oh thank God. The trainer in front of me smiles interested, and suddenly I realized I had an audience. I turn around to see a long, long line of tributes, almost all of them looking at me in shock. So much for laying low.
I decide to go to the weaponry station and look at the swords, knives, tridents, spears, axes, clubs, what don't they have. I honestly don't know where to start. I stop at the knives section and take my jacket off, leaving me in my black shirt, looking at the different types of knives they have. I've used a knife before, I mostly use the guns, but that doesn't mean they're foreign to me. I decide to take three and walk to a target, suddenly feeling watched by various pairs of eyes, most of them unfamiliar. I bite my lip playing it like I'm nervous, that'll fill the Careers's ego. Shutting them out, I lock eyes on the target that's shaped like a human, taking one knife in my hand, pointing at it to take good measure that I won't miss. Ok, I did that to seem novice to everyone else. Pulling my hand back, I swing my hand and let go of the blade, listening intently at the wheeze sound it makes as it flies into the target, on the neck. I smile, not bad, let's try again. I take another blade and loosen up a bit more as I try again, this time landing on what would be the left lung, but it's exactly parallel to the location of the heart. I twist my neck and move my arms to make it look like I'm just warming up, then let it go again, watching intently as the blade flies into the target, straight at the heart. I raise an eyebrow to seem surprised, but smile triumphantly as I move on, accidentally bumping into Lumina. She glares at me and I stagger back a bit, "S-sorry..."
"You should be.", she huffs angrily trying to sound intimidating. Unfortunately for her, she doesn't. I have to make an effort not to let the urge of kicking her cloud my mind, and just nod quickly, "Good. Now out of my way Twelve."
I step aside walking past her, and just as my back is to her I roll my eyes. "You should be.", I mock under my breath, "More like I'm not.", I pick up a sword but decide against it because it's too heavy for me. How the hell am I supposed to use this?! Well swords are out. Axes, there's no way I'll be able to use that. Tridents, maybe, though I have a feeling I'm not good. Spears are out unless I want to lose an eye. Knives, well I can try again with them. I feel my eyes dart to the bow and arrows, archery, will I be good?! Probably not, but it's worth a shot. Ha no pun intended. I walk over to the bow studying it carefully. It's silver, not that flashy or complicated, just a simple silver colored bow. My thinking's interrupted by the feeling of someone watching me, so I look up to meet a pair of unmistakable gray eyes that look even more gray and threatening thanks to the stone gray shirt he's using. We're all wearing the same training outfit, except they're all black with a different color. One is black and emerald green with the number in white. Two is stone gray, and so on. Twelve is ashy gray with black, the number 12 on the back in white. One of the few exceptions to the white number, most of them are black. Beck told me that my eyes looked darker because of the ash color, not that stormy and startling. I blink snapping back to reality, looking at grey eyes in front of me confusedly. Why is he here?! More importantly, why wasn't he out of my way?! He's studying me carefully and finally says, "Hartley."
"Blackstone.", I say mildly surprised he said my last name instead of district number but ok. And his tone is also surprising, there's no hatred or anger behind it, like there always would be. His words, when they were towards me, would ooze in menace, malice, anything else negative that you can think of. This time he's calm, or at least because I haven't pissed him off, and there's a tint of awkwardness, but I can tell he's holding back a hateful remark, just like I am. I just want to send him away and tell him to go fuck off and not bother me, but I don't because we'll end killing each other before we even get to the arena.
He clenches his jaw somewhat, obviously forcing out, "I want to ask you something."
I raise an eyebrow and avert my eyes to the bow again, my hand slowly reaching for it, grasping the handle tightly. "What?!", I ask a bit impatient, I just can't wrap around the idea of him trying to be cool around me.
"Why?!", he questions, making my eyebrows burrow together in confusion, why what?! Caleb lets out a sigh, I bet he's trying really hard not to pick a fight, "Why did you agree with me?!"
I snort, that's it?! That's what he wanted to ask?! God Caleb Blackstone how thickheaded can you be! My hand feels the bow, it's level, not that heavy yet not too light either, as I look up. "Why?!", I repeat quizzically, pulling the cord a bit to get a good feel on the bow. Now this, this seems unusual to me, yet familiar, "Your plan was the least flawed Caleb. That's why. And, here we are."
"But, you and I always butt heads.", he says crossing his arms, a serious yet calm stare on his face.
I sigh, whispering low enough for only both of us to hear, "Wattson told me to try and be a bit, calmer, around you."
"So, you agreed with me on that...", he looks at me surprised and slightly shocked, when do you think is time for you to leave me alone, Blackstone?!
I roll my eyes. "Yea, pretty much.", my words are now slipping into sarcasm mode. He catches on at this and retaliates with a glare, that's the Caleb I know and love to hate/annoy the crap out of!
He huffs a bit, "Well, I guess I should," he gags shaking his head, "I won't.", I don't answer and just wait for the insult that's just dying to come out of him, "But I will.. T-thanks.. I guess.."
I'm taken aback at this, did I hear right?! Are my ears okay?! Probably not, maybe I'm just imagining things as always. Crazy little me. I stare at him in shock trying to find an answer, what do I say?! Oh, never mind, "You're, welcome?!"
"Yea uh huh..", he says rather awkwardly as he runs his hand through his ashy blonde hair.
We stand there in silence for a few minutes until I finally look up again, a big smirk on my face as I say, "Don't get used to it, Blackstone. I still hate your guts and everything about you like there's no tomorrow."
He scoffs glaring again, "You make me sick.", his words are dripping in hatred this time.
"Perfect.", I smirk even more and wave my hand at him, "Now shoo blondie. Get out of my sight."
"Whatever Hartley.", he seethes, now we're back on track. He takes a few steps back as I grab an arrow from the quiver, looking away from it for a just a second to notice one of the other blasted Careers is coming over here as well. It's the other tribute boy from Two, who, oddly, looks so much like Caleb it's not even funny. He studies me like I'm some pest, looking just like Blackstone when he does that sometimes, "Caleb, why on earth are you wasting tour time with this, this, Seam rat?!"
I bite my lip and look away so I don't say anything to the Caleb clone. They're so much alike, the only differences are that he's a few inches shorter than Caleb and not as muscular, but still can be intimidating to people. His hair's slightly curlier and darker, almost reaching the point that it looks golden brown instead of blond, unlike Caleb's ashy blonde straight locks that always seem to get in his face even though it's cut short. And his eyes aren't cold, unmistakably gray, they're a strange shade of blue. I've never seen those blue eyes before. Other than that, they're very much a like both physically and apparently mentally. Even this boy called me a despicable type of rat. Caleb glares slightly at the boy but doesn't he doesn't notice because he immediately turns his glare over to me, "Don't worry. I'm just, letting her know that she should be a bit more attentive."
"Why?!", he asks incredulously, and frankly I want to know what he comes up with as well.
Caleb sighs, "She bumped into me earlier, and Lumina afterwards. I'm just telling her to be a bit more, careful."
"Oh, well, fine then.", the boy smirks at me and studies me from head to toe then back up again, "You know, if we weren't in this, and you weren't such a Seam rat," don't test my patience boy, "I'd actually ask you out, but I don't date rats."
I make a sarcastic act of flattery, then roll my eyes, anger starting to pump in my veins, "Thanks. But I'm taken. And you're not my type. I don't date cynical, filthy bastards who think they're macho just by beating the crap out of someone."
"What did you just call me you little-", he gets cut off by Caleb, who's holding him back, "Leave her Aster. Save it for the arena."
"Oh I will.", Aster growls at me, I just made a new enemy. Why am I not upset or worried at this?! Oh right, because I'm not scared of this prick. I scoff arming my bow finally, and pull the cord back with careful ease, I've never used one of these before yet it feels kind of easy. Maybe it's the anger pumping through my veins right now, or the fact that I'm being watched. I take a moment to look at where I want to shoot, and decide I'll just plainly shoot the heart. Taking a deep breath, I let go of the cord, the arrow wheezing through the air and landing right where I wanted. I smile triumphantly for a second then turn my gaze over to the boys, both looking at me in a mixture of shock, anger, and like I'm a piece of meat. I shrug casually taking another arrow, "Enjoying the show?!"
"Whatever.", Aster says leaving Caleb's side. I wait until he's out of earshot, "Well he seems charming."
He snorts, "He's worse than you think. Total jackass.", I nod, kind of like the person right in front of me maybe?! I don't say that out loud because if I do he might just try and beat the crap out of me. He gives me a quizzical look, "Where'd you learn how to-", he blinks one more time then kooks at me carefully, "Of course. Never mind."
I know exactly what he's thinking so I decide to play along, "What?!"
"You're the Mockingjay's great great granddaughter.", he whispers so only I can hear. I make a slightly shocked face and he smirks proudly, "Don't make it so obvious that I'm right."
You're wrong actually, "How'd you?!"
"There's a rumor going around. Heard my stylist talk about it with my escort.", he answers, "I figured it had to be you because that person would have to be really careless as to bring a token like that."
I glare at him, "You calling me careless?!"
He smirks, "Need I remind you of what happened on our last mission together?!"
"I said I was sorry."
"Yea well sorry isn't going to bring back those soldiers lost now is it?!", he tells me in a matter of fact tone. I look away in anger, tears stinging in my eyes because of the guilt, how dare he bring that up again. How dare he try and make me cry the good for nothing son of a bitch. I should beat him with the bow and shoot an arrow at his eyes, "You sicken me Caleb Blackstone."
"Good. Because when this is all over I'm going back to hating you with all the guts and glory I have."
"How lovely.", the sarcasm comes out on it's own now as I shoot another arrow, this time at the head, "While that happens, amuse me. Is he your brother?!"
His glare softens, "Who?!"
I scoff, "Don't who me. That Aster boy.", even if he doesn't tell me I can figure it out on my own. I'll just ask Galena.
His expression darkens, "That's none of your business."
"I'll ask Lena then.", I shrug proudly, I'll still figure it out. I can't remember the Reaping from Two enough to know what his last name was, "Now fuck off and go play with your Career friends. You should get ready for tomorrow."
He rolls his eyes returning the glare, "I'm ready for tomorrow. I'm going to get the highest score in the private sessions."
"You do that.", I say, and he finally leaves me alone. When I know he's far enough I mutter, "Jackass.", then let go of another arrow. Caleb Blackstone, was, is, and will always be one of my biggest threats and enemies in everything, whether it's this or on missions or at training. And if it comes down to us killing each other, if I have to die, I'm taking him down with me.
OOOOPP... Oh Mal. Caleb's just a, yea I got nothing yet. My friend still thinks they're perfect for each other xD
So uh anyways, thanks for reading, reviewing, favoriting, following, all and all just thanks:) it means a lot.
Now I hope you enjoyed this chapter and please leave a review:) or pm me the review, either way please let me know what you think:) I really want know, and yes I'm being serious.
Tchauzinho meus amigos! Ate a proxima:P