The "explorers" club was born under the worst circumstances.
After their bitter fights, people began to take sides, Peeta, Delly and Johanna remained in the "adventurers" club, the rest of them sided with Katniss and thus, the "explorers" club was born.
As the last week of primary school rolled in, Katniss and Peeta had still not made up. The last week itself was hot, humid and similar to a day on an African landscape. Hay fever was worse than ever.
Katniss had been accepted into a "test" school as they called it. More than 1500 kids applied for the school. Only sixty got in. Katniss was one of those sixty.
Peeta was going to the local secondary school, where more than three quarters of the kids at school were going. He had tried out for the school Katniss had been accepted into, but frankly, he was not a genius.
Katniss' mum had told her to stay away from Peeta, but not for the reasons you might expect. She stopped liking him because he wasn't clever enough. She insisted that staying his best friend would only drag her down.
When the last day of school came, they watched movies all day and signed each other's school uniform with cliché wishes for the future and many, many smiley faces.
Katniss' shirt had not been signed by Peeta. So as she left school for the last time to walk home, she tried her best to avoid him, but he had different plans.
"Katniss!" he shouted
She whipped around; the end of her braid slapped her in the face. He caught up to her in less than five seconds, barely breaking a sweat, and living up to his nickname "speedy legs"
"What?" she said, spying his mother hanging around awkwardly behind them.
"I just… I don't want it to end like this. We were meant to be best friends always, and I wouldn't be able to bear it if I never saw you again." Said Peeta
Katniss face softened.
"We are best friend's Peeta. It's carved on the willow tree remember? BFF's always."
"BFF's." he grinned "always."
"So, I guess this is goodbye." He said "I'm really gonna miss you."
"I'll miss you too, but we'll meet again, I promise."
"And we'll have that toasting you always wanted."
"Sure. Bye…speedy legs." She said, turning to leave, but apparently second guessing herself because she rushed into him for a hug.
He smelt familiar, of cinnamon and dill and the salt and vinegar crisps that he was so obsessed with, and as he held her tight, she wondered how she'd lived for almost a term in an argument with him. She wondered how she will live when he won't be there with her.
Somewhere in the middle of the hug, his lips descended on hers, they tasted like salt, either from the Crips he was always eating, or from his tears, and they felt soft and warm against her own, slightly chapped ones. It was her first kiss, and quite strange sensations, it made her feel all tingly inside. Somewhere in the background, Mrs Mellark awed.
They leapt apart.
"It's okay Katniss." He said, wiping a tear from her cheek, she hadn't realised she'd been crying "We'll meet again."
"Don't know where, don't know when."
"But I know we'll meet again some sunny day." Peeta finished, almost singing the words to the latest wartime song they had learnt.
"Bye." Katniss said.
Katniss didn't wait for his reply as she trudged up the hill to her house. She didn't look back.
Katniss didn't speak to Peeta again after that. She had made some friends in her new school. They were weird, but perfect for her.
One day, three years after she last saw Peeta. She sat on her bed thinking. She had been reminded of him after reading the words to "swing low" in a book. She tried to recall everything about him. His middle name, his birthday, his, smell, the exact colour of his eyes, the way his hair flicked slightly at the end.
He surprised herself by remembering every single thing about him, except the colour of his eyes.
He had taught her a little thing when they were children; you write a wish on a piece of paper, rip it up and sprinkle the bits of paper out your window.
Grabbing a bright green gel pen and some crumpled paper, she wrote her wish down
"I wish I could see Peeta's eyes again, just once."
Carefully, she ripped the paper up and pushed open her window, watching the pieces of paper get torn away from her by the cold winter wind and carried off somewhere, far, far away.
She imagined a piece landing in his garden, and somehow, he would know it was from her and come rushing back to her, with a wide smile, singing "swing low"
She followed her father around in the hospital.
She was six years old the day she decided she wanted to be a doctor.
Her father had taken her to the hospital, letting her go into a "top secret area" that only the staff were allowed in. they called it "the lab"
Her father had let her put on a long white lab coat and look down an actual microscope
"See that?" he had said "that's bacteria, it makes your tummy hurt."
"It looks like grapes!" she said
"Yes they do look like grapes don't they, and those green things next to the bacteria? Those are viruses, they give you the flu."
"But they're tiny daddy! "
"Yes Katniss, but sometimes very small thing can make a very big impact."
Her six year old self didn't understand it at all, but that day, she vowed never to let those tiny things that looked like grapes hurt anyone ever again.
Sixteen was a bit young to start worrying about work experience, but she always liked to be prepared.
She watched silently as he walked around, making important phone calls and telling people the correct what to treat a patient with a high fever who was allergic to paracetamol or ibuprofen.
She met two of her friends at the high street next to the hospital; they were walking to the local sweet shop when Rye walked past with some friends.
She topped in her tracks
"Kitty Kat!" he shouted, causing her friends to look at her weirdly
"Hey yourself, kitty, Peeta wouldn't t stop talking about you since the day you left year six. He keeps looking for a way to track you down, so, I hear you moved house, eh?"
"Um yeah, we live slightly east of here now."
"Cool, anyway kitty, I got to go. I've got me a hot date." He winked "I'll tell Peets I ran into you!"
"Okay. Bye." she said, watching him waltz away like he famous. Sometimes that boy acted like he was one of those movie stars that the girls at school were all mad about.
As she turned back to her friends, she wondered how Rye knew she'd moved house.
She walked to the bus stop with her friend Bonnie. Bonnie was something of a textiles genius and a full time grammar Nazi, she was the strangest of their bunch of friends.
"I wonder if Daniel's here today." She said
Daniel was the temporary name she gave to the guy she stalks until she learnt his real one. She said that he walks down her road every day and that she was completely in love with him.
"Bonnie, no one cares about Daniel right now." Katniss said to her, somewhat harshly, she wasn't in the mood for her stalker-ish tendencies.
Bonnie rolled her eyes and looked longingly back to the sweet shop, exaggeratedly licking her lips, she had a giant sweet tooth , just at that moment a group of boys came out, each with a bottle of coke and a bag of pick n' mix.
Bonnie rushed up to Katniss, a little close for her taste and shook her vigorously
"That's him! That's Daniel look, he's the blonde one!"
Katniss gave a perhaps, slightly exaggerated sigh and made a big show of being reluctant to look at the boys, who were crossing onto their side of the street.
The blonde one stopped suddenly in his tracks. And. looked. Straight. At. Her.
"Yo, Peeta whatca' doin' over dere man?"
Katniss almost choked on her own spit.
"Peeta?" she barely whispered
"Katniss?" he said, in an equally pathetic voice
"Who?" said Bonnie
Katniss wanted to slap her for ruining the moment.
They both ignored her. Peeta (or Daniel, whatever Bonnie wanted to call him) had definitely grown, the boy, who, at eleven, was barely as tall as her, now had a good head over her. He was broad shouldered and strong looking; he had grown his light hair out, which fell over his perfectly azure blue eyes in a blonde wave, it shone in the dull grey light.
Peeta, who looked like he had snapped out of a trance, rushed over to her and engulfed her in a bone crushing hug. He still smelt like cinnamon, dill and home.
"Katniss." He breathed
"Peeta." She answered, just as a raindrop landed on her nose. He laughed.
"Peeta! You lied to me, you said we'd meet again on a sunny day." She said
"Well, you and I both know that the chances of that were slim." He chalked
He turned away from her
"Hey Marvel! Go on to the station! Me and Katniss are gonna catch up!" he shouted, to a brown haired boy who was apparently called Marvel. The boy nodded and him then he and three others walked down the hill to the train station.
"Hey Katniss, I'm gonna go to the shop." Bonnie said, winking at her, before getting ready to cross the road. That girl changed the love of her life like she changed her socks.
"Let's go catch up. Then, I discovered a little park a bit further off." Peeta said, running a hand through his perfectly waved hair. "It has a forest." He said; Katniss could hear the smile in his voice
"Okay," Katniss said
They went on their way, it was awkward and uncomfortable at first, and none of them knew what to say to each other. So they just walked along, breathing in the gritty smell of wet pavement until they were comfortable talking again.
"so, how's school." Peeta said, scratching the back of his neck, something he did when he was nervous. He hadn't changed a bit.
"Uh, good, finished my GCSE's" Katniss replied
"We're old now… we've missed so much of each other's lives." Peeta said, with a hint of nostalgia
"Well, it has been, like, five years." Katniss replied
"Yeah." Katniss said "do they still call you "speedy legs"?"
"You know it." Peeta laughed
"I bet I could beat you in a race." Katniss smiled
"Is that a challenge, Katniss Everdeen?" he asked
"You know it." she replied, mocking his previous tone
They got ready to race, Katniss copying Peeta's starting position, a low one, with her fingertips on the pavement, resting near an A shaped crack, and her heels of the ground, like she was ready to pounce.
katniss looked at Peeta out of the corner of her eye, he was looking ahead with scary determination, it was the look he got whenever he ran. it was his life, running. he aspired to be in the Olympics representing great Britain, and by the way he ran he wasn't far off. Peeta had always voiced how much he wanted to be known, to go on living even after he passed, in a way, when he ran, he was chasing immortality.
"three." She said
"One!" Peeta shouted, and before Katniss could even breathe, he burst off like a firework down the road at a speed that would put a cheetah to shame; she could hear his heavy footsteps echoing on the ground as she rushed off after him, the wind fighting against her, tugging her braid back and screaming in her ears.
Peeta slowed down, just enough for her to go in front of him, not enough that she would know that he had let her win.
He held his breath so that his face would turn red, and as she passed him, he began to pant.
"I'm…so…tired." He said, giving a pretty convincing performance if he did say so himself.
Katniss wasn't paying attention to anything around her; she was so elated, so pumped with adrenaline, pride that she had "beaten" the great speedy legs, that she didn't notice the red and yellow truck rushing towards her.
Peeta did though; he rushed towards her, shouting
"Katniss! There's a truck ahead! Katniss please! Slow down!"
"yeah right Peeta, you're just a sore loser!" she screamed back.
Peeta's speedy legs failed him, it was quite sad really, he was just fast enough to be in front of the truck, but not fast enough to push her out of the way.
The truck driver tried to swerve at the last minute, he wasn't quick enough.
They were both crushed under the hard wheel, their dark red blood splattered on the road.
And as Katniss died in his arms, she watched her life flash before her eyes, a red hoop, the "adventurers club", the "explorers club", a lab coat, watery blue eyes, a leathery banana tree, "Swing low" ringing in her ears.
It's a good life.