Heya, okay this is it guys, last chapter. Sorry it a late upload (again...) especially after I promised it wouldn't be, but my fanfiction wouldn't work last night I got some error page, it worked during the day but at night when I went to upload it 'error... please copy this message to support fanficti... blahblah, so yes, apologies! plus my laptop overheated early yesturday so i had to let it cool before I could write the last sections of the chapter (wasn't ready until 8pm :P but then the site wouldn't work for me, I gave up after midnight, sorry)
It's working now though, so here's the last chapter. Thanks so much to all who read, I hope you like this one too!
Chapter 10 – The final performance, and home
"Oh Clove you look… you look…. Gorgeous!" Bubble squeals and smiles at Ginger whilst Meira nods approvingly.
My prep team finished with me a little while ago and left me in the hands of my stylist, where she was the whole time the prep team were fretting over me I have absolutely no idea. She barely changed anything, the prep team had done everything perfectly (apparently). I had no clue what I looked like facial wise, they took the dresser away to give me, (Miranda more like), more room.
She came in as happy as ever, holding a long black bag which had a zip running down the middle. I raised my eyebrows at it warily when she started to undo it, dreading what might be hidden beneath. Yet I was pleasantly surprised.
Within it was a sleek golden dress that went in slightly at the hips. The sleeves are short, yet flow slightly down my arm. They didn't even try to dress me in heels, last time they tried I just looked at them like they were crazy and told them that if they even tried to fix a heel to anything I wore on my feet, I'd snap it off and throw it at their heads.
There's padding on the inside as, even though we were well fed for the most part of the games, in the days before it ended, Cato and I barely had anything at all, the small feast we had which the gamemakers kindly provided had barely helped, even if it had tasted so good and when I looked in the mirror before, I could still see how gaunt I was, and if I had tried, I know I could count my ribs, though no doubt the medical ward put a lot back on me. In the arena I must have been a skeleton, I'm dreading the re-runs.
The dress only goes to just above the knees and flows out slightly so that if I spin it spins with me in a rather elegant fashion. Yet like the interviews before, I feel vulnerable and weak in such a dress, though it reminds me subtly of what we wore at the parade, golden warrior clothing. A thick leather belt is wrapped around my chest, it was probably too wide to fit around my waist, and it adds the same, gladiator like effect.
Yet the dress isn't what startles me, it's my face. The small, menacing 16 year old girl is gone entirely. My hair isn't drawn back as I like it, but instead it flows down elegantly, down to my elbows, I never realised it was that long. It's straight, so the odd device obviously worked, and hands loose behind me, so perfect is seems like flowing silk, yet two strands stand apart. Two singular curls frame my face, one on each side, I don't even remember them curling my hair yet I can't help but admit that it's just… amazing, though the feeling of hair against my back still discomforts me.
For once, I have to agree with my prep team, I'm beautiful. I'm almost innocent, almost as gorgeous as Glimmer, yet the look in my eyes are the way the leather belt sticks out, as well as matching, knee-high leather boots, still make me appear as a district 2 tribute, a killer, and a victor.
"I… I love it." Miranda smiles at me happily, almost bouncing up and down on her toes from excitement.
"I knew you would!"
"Come on Clove! We need to take you downstairs; oh the audience is going to love you!" I smile weakly at Ginger and Goosebumps cover my arms, just a few more minutes, and then I'll see Cato, I'll be in his arms again, So close.
I turn to face the door, and look to my stylist determinedly.
"Cato Evans if you tug that sleeve one more time I swear I will glue your fingers together!" I sigh and open out my fingers to show I'm not going to. I've been anxious ever since we left the room and have been tugging and tugging at my golden sleeve the whole time, it drives Titritus insane, which I suppose is actually a bonus.
"Alright alright… how much longer?"
"Not long, you'll be up on the stage in less than half an hour." Half an hour?!
The elevator ride is tedious; Titritus keeps looking over me carefully, as if making sure the outfit isn't going to fall apart. It's nothing spectacular, yet he says Miranda and he thought it all out. It's a plain brown suit where the trousers flow down and over the sturdy brown boots, of those at least, I'm content, it reminds me so much of what we wear in the training centre at home that its natural, though I still don't understand why they picked brown. As well as this, a thick belt is tight around my hips, yet it matches my suit perfectly.
The golden shirt makes more sense, though he's made sure it's unbuttoned so low half the capitol will be able to see my chest, so I'll only have girls, worse, capitolite girls and women, screaming at me. Great… It stands out brightly and glitters in the light when I move, reflecting it back, I feel like a light bulb, yet it reminds me of winning, and no doubt that's what the crowd will think to, because that's what I am, what we are, victors.
When we step out the elevator I'm taken to a poorly lit area under the stage and both Titritus and my prep team disperse to go get ready themselves. It's customary for the victor and his or he support team to rise up on a metal plate from beneath the stage. First the prep team, Clove's favourite people I'm sure, then the escort, the stylist, mentor, and then the victor, me. Yet of course with two victors, they've had to rethink that.
A makeshift wall stands about 10 metres away, no doubt hiding Clove, if she's even there yet. I resume to tugging my shirt sleeve again in an agitated manner, I want nothing more to see her, haven't I waited long enough by now? It's torture.
The noise from the crowd above is loud and only annoys me further, I barely feel the presence behind me, and when I turn I see Brutus stood behind me smirking.
"You've gotten better at hearing people, that's for sure."
"Well, I am a victor." I smirk at him, before he wraps me into a tight bear hug. He mutters harshly and quickly in my ear and what he says discomforts me, before he lets me go.
"You'll see her soon alright?"
"I know, why the hell did they pick brown though?" He laughs lightly and rolls his eyes, jabbing me once in the elbow painfully.
"You really are an idiot Cato, it co-ordinates with Clove, exactly, it's like your two parts of a whole, yes I've already seen her, I went in with Enobaria, unlike usual, the girl beat the boy this time."
"But girls take forever to get ready." What? It's a fact.
"You forget that this is Clove, she seemed so agitated it wouldn't surprise me if she ran to the elevator just to see you," or to get as far away as possible from her stylist.
"Right, time to take our places, you alright?"
"Yeah, thanks Brutus." He nods at me, and leads me partway to the metal plate readily made for me.
"Break a leg."
"Only if it's the leg of a capitolite." He laughs and waves at me, before walking off to take his own place, no doubt next to Enobaria, whilst I wait anxiously on mine. Almost Clove, almost, and once this is done, we can go home.
The horrid smell from beneath the stage threatens to choke me and a cold sweat breaks out from my skin but I brush it away. For the first time in however long, maybe even years, I'm scared. I have no idea what will happen when I get up there, and my legs feel so weak I have this horrid feeling that as soon as I get up there, I'll collapse straight away, and I don't even know if Cato will catch me, how different will he look? Will he be okay? Will he have changed? He can't have… can he?
The anthem almost deafens me and I have to cover my ears in shock, for one small moment I fear that it's a cannon, that this is a dream and that Cato just died and I'm a victor, all by myself. Yet then I hear Caesar Flickerman's voice and I calm down, yet the fear still haunts me.
He starts greeting the audience and applause and laughs echo throughout the area. He talks for a few moments, before he announces those who "worked so hard to help us look our best" as he says, and the crowd erupt in applause as both mine and Cato's prep team must walk on stage and take their bows, Bubble and Ginger no doubt giggling happily whilst Meira stands between them with her cool, curt smile.
Our escorts introduced next, it's almost sad that I still don't know their name, but it doesn't matter, not really. I know she'll be taking her bows, happy (and as clueless) as ever, with thoughts of only herself and how excellent she'll be at this moment, the 'talk of the city' or something stupid like that which she always says.
The crowd erupts in applause once more, and I know that the stylists, Miranda and Titritus, must have both just walked on. Caesar appraises them for a moment, thanking them for all their hard work on making us look so perfect and how it's more than any of them could ever have asked. The whoops and the cheers from the crowd obviously indicate their approval.
"It was just a pleasure to work with them! I'm so, so glad they won!" I roll my eyes at my stylist's voice before I hear Enobaria and Brutus's announcement, and the usual accompaniment of cheers. Everyone knows Enobaria due to how she killed the final tribute with just her teeth, and Brutus is also quite well known, the cheers that greet them are almost as loud as those that met the stylists, but not quite.
And now it's my turn. My arms and legs shake nervously as I clench and unclench my hands to try and calm myself down, but it doesn't work.
Then the new metal plate beneath me slowly starts to rise. They had to install a second one because of how there are two victors, and the smell of wet paint still lingers in the air, yet it's the growing noise that frightens me, and the thought of Cato that excites me.
The crowd erupt in cheers as we emerge on stage, and I instantly turn, my eyes raking the area for Clove, and there she is. The sight of her takes my breath away entirely.
Her dress, her hair, her face, everything about her renders me speechless and I find myself unable to move. Yet then her eyes and find mine and light up with a happiness I know only could bring to them, and the sight of them pulls me back to reality.
She's sprinted the short distance and leapt towards me in an instant, and before I know it she's in my arms, her legs around my waist, and her tender lips on mine, exactly where they belong.
When Caesar comes towards us to try to nudge us apart I simply turn us determinedly away, driving the crowd even wilder (if that is at all possible), and he's forced to give up. It takes another 10 minutes before Brutus finally pulls us apart and pushes onto the sofa, there's usually a singular throne, though I doubt that'd fit two people.
As soon as we're on the sofa, I shrug off my jacket and she's back in my arms again, snuggled carefully in my lap, smiling that same lovely smile, her golden pumps lying forgotten on the floor, her small gentle head resting against my chest. For a moment it's as though we're back in the arena, leant against that tree before we face our final foe, but it's not, because this time there's no risk of death, this time we can go home.
It has to last 3 hours, for 3 hours we'll be sat there watching as all the other tributes die before our eyes.
It goes in a blur, before I know it I'm watching the parade, barely even glimpsing the other tributes, only the two on fire gain more than there few seconds share and then it's just Clove and me. The interviews they don't even bother to show all the tributes, it's just me Clove and lover boy, though considering what he said, I'm not surprised.
The bloodbath seems even more gory than it was whilst I was doing it. Clove tenses annoyedly as they show her dagger miss Katniss' head and hit the rucksack instead. Lucky bitch.
Nothing else stands out; the first few days are gone in moments before they're showing Clove and me when we're on our own. There's a sweet clip of 12 singing to the little girl from 11, its odd, but the audience seem saddened whilst she dies. It's rather pathetic really; especially when one of them cries so loud that she has to leave the area, it wasn't that sad.
When the feast arrives, it's my turn to tense, at the sight of Thresh running towards Clove, ready to attack, my jaw stiffens annoyedly and Clove gives my hand a comforting squeeze, sure enough I scream her name in a few moments and she's turned and thresh has seen me, and she's safe.
The only other scene that truly catches my attention is our final battle with Thresh. Clove and I both look determinedly at the screen, determined not to miss a thing, and I know we're thinking the same thing 'when did he hurt Clove?'
Thresh's sword slashes across her chest whilst he holds her suspended in the air, and then my voice is heard yet again and she goes flying from him, a sickening crack as her face is most likely broken.
Clove smiles softly when my hand goes down to her stomach and chest protectively, hates the sight of the wound, and then I have to relive it as they show my reaction when we realise how injured she is, the horror and shock on both of our faces, I can't stop thinking about it. We're frozen on the ladder; they didn't end with our victory, instead they end with my desperate struggle to try to reach her, grab her, stop anyone else from hurting her, and then it's over.
It feels like a dream as we're taken back to district 2's apartment. It feels slightly odd to see her with her hair down, though I like it, though as soon as the elevator doors close she's grabbed some kind of ribbon from the table, the first thing she could find, and she's tied it all up again, save for the two strands framing her face. Typical Clove.
Enobaria grabs Clove and whisks her away from me, we both open our mouths to protest yet only get "you need to be at an interview at 2 you need sleep. Bed, now, both of you, separately", she scowls at me, and with a longing look I watch Clove go.
Half an hour later we're both clutching each other beneath Clove's sheets. One more interview, one more obstacle, and then we can go home.
"Give it up for our newest victors, Cato Evans, and Clove Treylie!" Caesar stands with us and bows at the camera, the interview went so quickly I can barely remember any of it. Before I know it, we're being whisked through the capitol towards the station and as soon as we're out the limo cheers, shouts, screams, and camera flashes surround us. We smile at some, yet answer no questions, and go as quick as we can to the train, before collapsing on the sofa inside, out of breath, and tired.
For five minutes, we sit, in absolute silence, before our eyes finally meet, and we burst into laughter.
We've done it, we've won. For so many days and weeks we were stuck in that arena, to think that if someone had told me just 2 months ago, that I'd be going into the arena with my best friend, and come out not only with her, but with her as my girlfriend, I'd have thought them mad.
We lie on the floor beside each other laughing and laughing, the room empty of all but us, and the train slowly heading home. Home. For a whole 6 months we can stay there, a house each, not that we'll use two, before our victory tour, but we don't need to worry about that yet, we're going home.
"We did it Clove. We did it."
"I know, we won Cato, and not only won, but won together the first ever joint winners!" She sits up giggling happily and I just look up at her and smile. "They'll never forget us, never! And now we're victors, they can never hurt us again."
"I know Clove, they'll always remember us." She smiles and laughs at me, twisting herself so she can lean against me again, her soft lips curved into a gleeful smile, yet as happy as I am, I still can't get Brutus' words out of my head, I just hope that we'll be fine because we've done it, surely she's right, surely no-one can hurt us now. We've won, the first double victors, a victory to remember.
That's it guys! End of A Victory to Remember. I'll put up a sequel in a few months, but before that I'm doing a Galeniss that will be put up when I have time, hopefully in a few weeks, thank you so much to all who reviewed and read, and I hope you read any future stories that I upload.