Hey, this is my new AU. :) I also love Annie/Finnick, which is why the country is called Odesta. I hope you enjoy it, I don't own The Hunger Games.
Princess Clove Fuhrman had never been a particularly girly kind of Clove. Being the Princess of Panem meant that she had an endless supply of dresses, riches, servants and jewels. However, she had no freedom. No friends. No fun. Clove was constantly being watched, with her door being guarded by four of her father's knights all day every day. You see, when she was nine she went to the marketplace and traded her diamond studded tiara for the biggest gobstopper she had ever seen. (As a result, she now wasn't allowed in the market place without special permission.) When she was twelve, she had climbed out of her window on the third floor and into a tree. She had climbed a good ten feet down the tree when she fell and broke her collarbone. Now, her window remained latched. When she was fourteen she had gone to Panem's sister country, Odesta, with her parents. She had ditched them to go and explore the forests. Her parents had persuaded the rulers of Odesta into sending half of their army to go and hunt her down. She had been escorted back to the palace and locked in her room for the rest of the day.
Clove never had any fun. She spent her days reciting laws, learning manners from her instructor Effie, looking for ways to escape or helping her parents deal with the villagers. She had an older brother, Augustus (though of course, she called him Gus to irritate him), but he was always training with the army as he was two years older than Clove at eighteen. There was only so much of life in the guarded palace that Clove could take, so whenever she saw the opportunity to escape for the day…She did.
Today was one of those days.
Sundays were the only days Clove didn't have classes with Effie. She told the guards guarding the drawbridge leading out of the palace that was collecting a surprise delivery from the local jeweller and that she would be back by sundown. They let her through without hesitation. She pulled the hood of her cloak low over her eyes as she would be in a massive amount of trouble with the king and queen, her parents, if she was to be caught. Princess Clove walked straight into the marketplace, immediately blending in with the villagers that were swarming the different stalls. Some called out for their turnips to be brought, others called out for cheap potatoes. Clove was surprised to discover that not every villager owned a farm. She didn't often visit the marketplace, tending to spend her occasional escape days in the nearby woods. The woods were like a sanctuary to her. She had met one her two friends, Katniss Everdeen, in the woods. There was nobody to tell her what to do, what to say or what to wear. She could just be.
"Shells! Get your shells! Straight from the beaches of Odesta Cove!" A merchant yelled.
"Eggs! Get your eggs, laid fresh this morning!" Another shouted. Clove used the gold coins stored in her cloak to purchase a long brown feather from a merchant and a white conch shell. She tucked the feather behind her ear and slipped the shell into her cloak pocket. Clove wandered further and further into the thriving marketplace, eventually reaching the animal sales. She walked around aimlessly, petting sheep and the odd donkey. There were no animals at the palace, except for the knights' horses and the hunting dogs. A scream sounded from somewhere in the marketplace, followed by words.
"He's loose!" Somebody yelled. "The bull's loose!"
Clove stared at the people around her in confusion as they fled the marketplace. Sure, she had heard of bulls. But they couldn't be that bad, right? Wrong. The bull barrelled towards her. Clove closed her eyes and lifted her hands to shield her head, waiting for the bull to hit her head on. Instead, she felt herself being tackled to the side.
"Wow." Said the lump on top of her. "That was a close one."
She slowly opened her eyes. A muscular boy with blonde hair and blue eyes lay on top of her, crushing her slightly.
"You okay there, princess?" He asked, grinning slightly. Clove immediately pulled her hood back over her head.
"Um, I'm fine thank you." She responded.
"Well, I'm glad to hear it." The boy got to his feet and pulled Clove up after him.
"Most people don't react well when they find out I'm the princess." Clove admitted.
"Well I don't see why. You seem the most…human out of all your other members." They boy said. His grey shirt had several tears in it, and his shorts had been patched up.
"Watch your tongue. I'm still royalty and they're still my family." Clove snapped. The boy held his hands up in mock surrender.
"Easy there. Don't get your princess panties in a bunch. The name's Cato." He offered Clove his hand. She shook it.
"I gathered." By now, they were the only two remaining amongst the animal pens. The bull had gone raging off into the fields, and the villagers, except for Cato, had cleared out at the first sign of trouble.
"So, I guess I owe you." Clove said awkwardly.
"I only ask for one thing." Cato grinned. Clove raised an eyebrow suspiciously, and he tapped his cheek. Rolling her eyes, Clove stepped forwards and pecked him on the cheek.
"You must want more than that." Clove said, stepping away from the boy again.
"Hmm. I do need a new sword." The boy said, tapping his chin.
"You kill for a living?" Clove asked.
"No! I'm training for the tournament into two months." He said.
"The one my parents are hosting?" Clove asked, slightly impressed.
"That's the one." He said, plucking an apple from a tree shading a pig and biting into it.
"It'll be dominated by knights. You'll need a good blade." Clove said logically.
"That's why I asked you for a new sword." Cato grinned.
"Consider it done. You can have it tomorrow. Where shall I meet you?" Clove asked. Cato started walking away from her.
"Just come to the market. I'll find you." He said, not turning to face Clove. He threw his apple core over his shoulder. It landed at Clove's feet and she watched as he jumped over a rickety wooden fence that separated the market from the hot dusty road. Clove watched him go until he disappeared around a sharp bend.
"Right." Clove muttered to herself. "I have a sword to have forged." She turned around to go back to the palace, only to find three armed guards stood less than fifteen feet away from her.
"My lady, the good king and queen wish you to come home." The guard in the middle said. Suck up. Clove thought to herself.
"I can walk you know." She grumbled as two of the guards came forwards and took her by the arms. She sighed and prepared herself to be dragged back to the glorified dungeon she called home.