I don't own The Hunger Games.
One Year Later:
Clove hugged her clipboard tightly to her chest as she rushed through the hospital ward behind doctor Seeder.
"This would be the ward where you would work if you complete your degree, gain a license and decide to work here." She explained as she led Clove past the hospital beds. She sipped her coffee and pointed at the nurses' station.
"The nurses on this ward are the most important in the hospital, in my opinion. They keep the kids happy and feeling good despite the pain they feel." Seeder nodded towards the nurses.
"How many doctors work this ward?" Clove asked.
"Eighteen at day time and six at night, but we also have a minimum of three on emergency call. For example, I work emergency hours every day except for Saturdays." Seeder replied, throwing her empty coffee cup in a trash can. Clove scribbled the answer down on the paper that rested on her clipboard. She was two years in to getting her medical degree and she had decided to go into paediatric oncology- care for children and teenagers that had cancer. Her Sundays were spent shadowing doctor Seeder through the Lenox Hill hospital for extra credit and workplace experience.
"The last patient we're going to be talking to today is called Sophie. She's six years old, and we discovered she had a cancerous brain tumour six months ago. She's currently undergoing her second round of chemo and we want to check in with her because her parents, understandably, are worried sick." Seeder's legs were longer than Clove's, so she had to take twice as many steps just to keep up.
"How are things looking for her?" Clove asked, writing down the new information.
"Well you never really know. Anything could happen, but at the moment things are looking good for her." Seeder pulled back a green curtain, revealing a small girl lying in the bed. The covers looked like they were drowning her.
"Good morning Sophie." Seeder smiled warmly at the blue-eyed little girl before turning to her parents. "Mr and Mrs Robinson, in any other circumstances it would be nice to see you."
"Her hair fell out again. It had only just grown back." Her mother was crying, her husband's arm tucked around her comfortingly.
"If you'd like to come with me, we can talk about the chemo and I can check over her reports with you. Clove can stay with her- I promise you we won't be too long." Seeder said, pulling the curtain back again.
"Take good care of her." The girl's father said to Clove, before helping his wife up and following Seeder as the curtain closed behind them.
"Hello." Sophie whispered as Clove slid into the seat the girl's father had been sat in.
"Hello, Sophie. My name's Clove." She smiled at her in what she hoped was a warm manor.
"Hi Clove." She was quiet for a moment before adding, "Am I going to die?"
"What makes you think that?" Clove asked, squeezing her hand.
"I'm sick. Mommy and daddy won't tell me if I'll die. They cry when I ask. I don't like it." Sophie said. She was weak, the chemo had all but knocked her out. A scar ran along the side of her smooth head.
"Well, I'm not going to cry." Clove assured her, despite the fact that a lump had formed in her throat. "You're not going to die."
"How do you know?" A tear slid down the girl's cheek, so Clove squeezed her hand again.
"I know because princesses don't die. They stay strong, stronger than anyone else, and they keep living because too many people love them for them to die." Clove promised.
"I'm not a princess." Sophie smiled faintly. "I wish I was."
"What are you talking about? I recognized you as soon as I saw you, Princess Sophie!" Sophie flashed Clove a toothy grin.
"So I really am a princess?" She asked, finding the strength to sit up with Clove's help.
"Of course you are." Clove tapped the girl's heart. "If you believe it in here."
"I do believe it!" Sophie laughed. They sat in silence for a few more minutes until Clove sighed.
"You know Sophie, you're one tough little princess. You don't need a prince to fight off your monsters- you do it yourself every day."
"Mommy." Sophie said as her parents stepping back through the curtain with doctor Seeder. "I'm princess, Clove told me so. She said that I'm strong and people love me and that I know how to fight!"
"Of course you are sweetheart." She leaned down and kissed her daughter on the head before walking over to Clove, who stood up from her seat.
"Thank you." She whispered in her ear.
"Well Mr and Mrs Robinson, we're pleased with Sophie's progress. She's a fighter, that's for sure. If you talk to the nurses they can book you in for a check-up after the chemo's over, and if you have any worries before then please feel free to call me."
"Thank you, Seeder." Sophie's father shook her hand. "Sophie, what do you say?"
"Thank you doctor Seeder." Sophie grinned and reached for Clove's hand. She gave it a light squeeze. "Thank you Clove."
"Remember to keep believing, and you'll fight the dragon in no time." Clove smiled back at the little girl before stepping through the curtain and back onto the ward.
"Congratulations, Clove." Seeder praised. "You officially have a way with children."
How the hell she had ended up with that trait, Clove would never know.
"Buzz me up." Cato demanded. "It's my apartment."
"Well you shouldn't have forgotten your key then, should you Brainless?" Johanna cackled into the speaker.
"Let him up, Jo." Clove laughed. She was sat in the armchair, bouncing a twin on each knee. She had only gotten back from the hospital an hour ago, and the twins had all but dived on her. Damn family reunions.
"I went out to get Pringles for your pregnant cravings!" Cato protested.
"He shouldn't have forgotten his key." Cato's fourteen year old cousin, Emma, shrugged.
"For God's sake Johanna, do you want your Pringles or not?"
"Jo." Blight raised an eyebrow at her.
"Fine." She snapped, and buzzed him up. Johanna was pregnant again, this time with a girl that they were going to call Josie Clove Jordan. Clove had grinned so much that she thought her face might explode when Johanna told her. If Josie turned out as great as Jake and Amanda already had, then sharing a name with her would be an honour.
"Thanks." Cato snapped as he slammed the door shut behind him and threw the Pringles at Johanna, who caught them in one hand.
"You're welcome." She grinned back. Cato sat on the arm of Clove's chair and planted a kiss on the top of her head before taking Amanda off of her knee. Clove's family from Oregon and Cato's family- his three cousins Emma, Matt and Drew, his sister , his aunt and his uncle- were spread around their apartment talking, laughing, and eating food that Cato had made Clove pay for. Glimmer and Marvel awkwardly skittered around each other. Marvel had not quite forgiven her, and Glimmer was dating somebody new. Clove had no idea what was going on with that girl. They were friends again, not quite where they were before, but friends. After spending months hearing Glimmer talk about seeing Marvel again the blonde had gotten a new guy, another dance major at Julliard.
"Here." Clove handed Jake to Annie, who rested him on her four month baby bump. Finnick and Annie were getting married in one month, in June.
"Hey." She slid into the seat next to Nick. "How are you holding up?"
"It's hard." Nick admitted. "But seeing you kids here like this, happy…I know she would have loved it."
"She would." Clove agreed. "Is it time?"
"I think so."
"Nick, I just wanted to say…Well, I know I've been a little terror ever since I moved to the farm. You put up with me because you loved my mom and in time, you loved me as well because she did. I never thanked you for raising me properly. I know I acted like I hated you, but you were more of a father to me than my actual father ever was. So thank you, for never giving up on me." Clove gripped Nick's hand in her own.
"Oh, Clove. Mandy was always so proud of you, but right now she would be over the moon with who you've become." Nick smiled back, squeezing her hand as they stood to herd everyone onto the terrace.
Once they were on the terrace Clove and Katniss stepped to the front of the crowd carrying a Chinese lantern.
"Thanks for coming everyone." Clove said once she realized that Katniss wasn't going to say a word. "Mandy would have loved the fact that everyone turned out and stayed together. She wouldn't want me to rant on, so…Happy birthday mom."
Together, they released the lantern and watched as it floated lazily through the sky. Nick released a second lantern. Annie, Jackie and Finnick released the third lantern, Paylor and Haymitch released one and then Cato and Peeta helped Prim to release hers. Each person made a wish that maybe one day they could be even a smidge of the person that she had been.
Clove hung back, looking down from the balcony as everyone else made their ways back inside.
"You okay?" Cato asked. He placed his hands on the stone either side of hers, and Clove leaned back into his chest.
"Yeah, I guess. I miss her but I know that she wouldn't want any of us to be sad. Plus, the work I'll be doing will help prevent events like this from having to be organized in the first place."
"It was really beautiful." The lanterns were still visible on the skyline.
"Yeah, but they'll hit trees or birds and kill turtles in the ocean."
"That's…A weirdly depressing thing to say." Cato frowned. Clove turned around and looped her hands around his neck.
"I'm sorry. I know you loved her too."
"She gave birth to you, didn't she?" Cato laughed, and kissed Clove softly on the lips. She pulled back and was content to stand there staring at him. He was no longer the arrogant teenage boy that had showed up at her farm one day and driven her insane. He was different now. So was she. When she looked at him, she smiled in a way that nobody else had ever made him. He was responsible and mature now, but he was fun and being with him was as easy as taking breaths. She loved him and nothing would ever change that.
"I like it when you smile like that." Cato said, brushing his thumb across her cheek.
"Yeah. Me too." Clove grinned and when she kissed him, it was eternal.
So this was the last chapter! Thank you for everyone who has read, reviewed, or favourited over the past year. It's weird to think that this story is a little over a year old! I never imagined it would be so successful! I won't be doing a sequel, but if you're interested in any other Clato AU's that include Finnick and Annie being cute, Katniss and Peeta being awkward and Johanna's sarcastic comments then I have a few that I'm writing, including The Inter-State Games in which Clove is a miserable sports nut and Cato is a forever wounded football player, and A Diamond Among Rocks in which Clove is a princess betrothed to Marvel and Cato is a lowly peasant fighting for her. I've also got up 'Hummingbird Heartbeat', my new Finnick X Annie fic (It's my new baby) and The Mad House which I really need to get round to updating. Also if you like Divergent, I', writing a fic that is basically drabble letters from Tobias to Tris post-Allegiant. I'm also writing another Finnick and Annie fic but it won't be posted for a while.
Again, thank you to all you beautiful readers that have stuck with my horrible updating schedule and crappy filler chapters. I love you all, really.
PS. I was secretly begging you to read my AU's so do it or I'll send angry pregnant Johanna after you. *wink*