Okay here's chapter 5 guys! Thanks to the amount of followers I got last week, and I was really surprised by the sudden surge in views, usually I only get 30 people checking it the day after I update my chapter, but last time I had 81, so thank you very much for reading!
Chapter 5 – Almost there
My eyes flutter open slowly as my mind tries to unravel itself from the vines of confusion. WH…what happened? I groan in slight pain, my head stinging as I lift it upwards.
Everything comes back to me in a flash, the cave, the trail of blood, stalking in the woods, and district 12. District 12! I dart upwards only to find someone's arms around me and no knives beside me. I let out a shout of shock and the arms around me tighten. I'm at too odd an angle to turn to see who it is but all I know is that I was hit aside and hit unconscious, having been fighting one of the only 2 people left until I could go home with Cato.
"Let me go! Let me go!" I struggle feverishly but the grip tightens and brings me towards him, and I'm taken aback by the lack of violence in the move.
"Clove…" That small whisper of my name stops my actions immediately, and I look up now to see Cato's head beside me. My muscles relax slowly but then I'm on edge again as I look around and open my mouth to ask where he is.
"He's dead. You didn't hear the cannon because you were unconscious." I close my mouth and blink, and now allow myself to relax fully, my head resting on his strong arms. He relaxes with me and for a time we lean together against the hard bark of the tree, my head still throbbing painfully.
"Knocking you out..." Knocking me out…? He knocked me out?! He looks away sheepishly, though his arms don't retract from around me.
"I… well, you weren't able to dodge it and I just meant to… to you know… move you but…" he trails off and I raise an eyebrow at him curiously. Is Cato being… shy? Or just ashamed?
"It… didn't work…"
"No, really?" I look to him in fake shock, my voice full of sarcasm at his words. "Work that out on your own Cato?"
"I'm just… I'm sorry." He pulls his arms off of me and rests them in his lap looking crestfallen.
"Cato." He doesn't look at me. "Cato… you killed him right?"
"So it's fine! One more down right? I mean yeah my head kills and if this was back in district two I'd have kneed you in the balls by now, but still!" I look to him, hoping that my 'pep talk' or rather whatever I could come up with, for if him taking someone's life and me encouraging it is a pep talk… well, I'm not very good at pep talks, I'll leave it at that.
He sighs and looks up, smiling slightly at me, and I pull one of his large arms around me again. "Sorry your head hurts." He puts a hand gently on where my head made impact with the tree and I flinch slightly, already able to feel the bump that's formed there.
"It's fine… don't worry about it." Now it's my turn to look slightly annoyed, we're not meant to show pain, Enobaria will kill me.
"Though…" I look up curiously as his usual tone creeps its way back into his voice. "I'm surprised that such a big head didn't dent the tree. What's it made of, cement?"
"You know I think I preferred the shy and weak Cato." I go to push myself from his grip but he holds me tighter, refusing to let me leave.
"Oh I'm weak am I?" he looks directly down into my eyes and raised an eyebrow at me, his large muscled arms keeping my arms firmly pinned to my side.
"You heard me." I smirk up at him, my tone being as teasingly taunt-like as ever.
"Try to escape." Fuck. He knows I won't be able to, and I can tell as he starts to smirk and his grip on me tightens that he knows it too. I'm quicker than him, quicker by miles, I beat him when we raced back to camp the other day, even if he had gotten slightly faster. Slightly. But in strength, he's always won.
When I was 14 Enobaria decided she wanted me to train my strength. "Speed is useful but it won't always help you escape death. You must combine it with strength." For the entire day she faced me against different boys and girls, both younger than older than me (even if only by a year or so) and had me fight them. No weapons, only boxing, and we weren't even given gloves.
She penalised me and shouted at me whenever I ducked a punch and span around, telling me to stop focusing on mere speed alone. She told me I either had to learn to block, or take a hit.
By the time Cato stepped into the ring I was furious.
"Listen Clove, what was the point of this exercise? Hmm? Tell me that!"
"Focus on my strength…"
"And what are you doing exactly?" She folds her arms and glares at me expectantly.
"Relying on my speed…" It takes almost all of my determination to keep looking her in the eyes without snarling at her in fury. My fists clenched furiously by my side, even if the knuckles aren't bleeding slightly.
Slowly forming bruises cover me from head to foot from when I've tried to block and missed, or else simply taken a hit, Enobaria telling me I'm not allowed to move out of the way. My muscles ache with pain as the door to the room opens and both of us look around.
Brutus comes in with a tall boy with ash blonde hair and startling, if rather cold, eyes at his side. I glower at him as he smirks at me. We were best friends even then but he looks so smugly at me when he sees how much I've been hit me can't help but glower in annoyance, even if I do hold my tongue.
"Brutus. I'm glad that you were able to spare the time to bring Cato, teach this girl some strength." Wait… what?!
"I'm fighting Cato?!"
Cato sniggers at me. "N'aww Clo's scared." I snarl at him before spinning back to the two mentors.
"But he's two years older than me and like twice my size?!" Brutus smirks slightly at my obviously outraged response, yet Enobaria just scowls at me furiously.
"Yes you're fighting Cato; why else would he be here?"
"No buts. Get in there, both of you." She pushes me gruffly into the ring and I almost trip, yet stabilise myself before glowing at Cato, the two mentors going to opposite sides of the ring to watch each of their 'mentee's' as it were, from both angles.
"You know… I never lose." Cato lowers into a slightly defensive position and I scowl at him furiously. This is so unfair, if he beats me he'll hold it over me for weeks, and he's one of the strongest people in this place, much stronger than all the kids I've fought so far with ease. Plus, he's 2 years older than me, the oldest I've fought so far has been 15 year olds, and even they are barely that, there birthdays having been like 3 months ago at the latest.
He's stronger, and he's uninjured, save for the small cut on his knee he must have gotten training swords with Brutus earlier today. I hate when we have 1 to 1 mentor days, Enobaria is such a-
Cato swings at me and I bring my arm up to block it but I'm knocked back easily. Cato laughs slightly, though I know he doesn't mean it really, though I know he refuses to lose to a girl.
I swing around and kick at his legs but he jumps and I just swing right through, yet manage to use the momentum to get back up, but quickly duck when he sends his next fist at me in an uppercut movement.
I end up collapsing backwards, yet manage to push myself into the 'bridge' position. When Enobaria's familiar shouts meet my ears. "Clove!" of course… I dodged.
I grab the edge of the ring and yank myself up and turn to shout at her angrily. "Well what do you expect?! If you won't let me dodge then I'm just going to get hi-" Something makes contact with the back of my head and I crumple to the floor as darkness takes over.
The next thing I know I'm awake in the training centre's infirmary, Enobaria beside my bed looking agitated.
He'd felt bad about hitting me saying he didn't realise my back was turned, which I believe… but I lost without even landing a hit, and that's just embarrassing, if I even try to get out of his grip now, I know I'll just look stupid trying to struggle and he'll laugh as he keeps me put with ease.
"Maybe I'm comfy?" I go to relax in his grip and he just chuckles lightly, and butterflies rise in my stomach slightly, I've always loved his laugh.
"Yeah, sure, and I'm Enobaria." I let out a small bark of laughter before falling into a small fit of giggles at his words, his grip relaxing slightly as he joins in my laughter, though still enough to hold me in his lap.
After a few moments we cough ourselves back to normal and I lift my head up gently to kiss him on the cheek, though he turns his head quickly so that his soft lips meet mine.
"We've not won yet Clove…" Sighing, I turn my head to lean against his chest, and he rests his chin on my head, his tone ever so slightly sad.
"I know…" For a moment, it was as if we'd already won, we'd killed a slightly difficult opponent, and I woke up his arms. I only wish I'd woke up in his arms back in district 2, or in the remake centre or one the ride back at least. "Cato… I just want to go home."
"I know Clove… just one more to go, okay?"
"Just one more." I smile slightly. Just Thresh, just the boy who came into the arena with us from district 11, amongst the other 21 tributes that are now buried back in their corresponding districts., 12 might even still be on the way back to the capitol, or more likely on the train back to district 12 to be buried amongst all the other failed district 12 tributes. Maybe they'll even bury him next to his little crush Katniss, or maybe they burned her. I would've done.
"Just one more, and then we can go home." He agrees, and pulls me up so my whole body is now in his lap and he's cradling me almost like a child, though I suppose I am one, kind of, I'm as small as one, that's for sure.
"Cato…?" I look up tentatively, biting my lip slightly."
"We're going to have to go into the grain fields to get him aren't we?" Ever since he took refuge in those fields we've been afraid to follow. The grains taller than even Cato once you're a few metres in, and with 11 being the district of agriculture, Thresh will have been able to identify every piece of grain with ease, it's as though he's home probably, and none of us dared go after him. Out of all our competitors, he was always the one we feared most, to an extent, district 1 and 12 were to be feared, especially when Katniss got her 11.
I'm just glad I can be thankful that Cato shouted me when Thresh appeared or else… Well… there might have only been one victor from district 2 after all.
"Unless you want the gamemakers to drive us together… yes, but… that would be –"
"Yeah…" He looks at me sadly as I let out another sigh of despair. If the gamemakers were what drove us together, one of us could end up dead as we were being chased to the centre, we still might be, for all we know they'll drive us together as we go to look for him. The grain field is a big area; they might end up just driving us out anyway, though I hope not. If I die, I want it to be from someone else's hand, let them, they who care truly about the murder they've done, and have my death on their conscience. I refuse to let it be by the hand of some Gamemaker who just came up with an 'idea', to get themselves promoted or however the hell it works.
"Can we at least… not do it today? Take a day off?" Cato laughs lightly as he brushes a strand of my hair from my face and behind my ear.
"Alright Clo. We'll have the rest of the day off." The use of his nickname for me makes me smile sweetly at him as I snuggle closer into his body.
"Tomorrow though, Okay?" I close my eyes gently as his words meet my ears, and I nod into his chest.
"Yeah… okay, tomorrow."
"And then we can go home."
"And then we can go home." I smile, before slowly drifting off to sleep, only just realising how tired I really am, and with the amount of safety I feel in Cato's arms, maybe I'll finally be able to get a good night's sleep is this damn arena.
He shifts slightly and puts his jacket behind him as a cushion, keeping me propped up gently, before he settles back down and hugs me closer to him, before he too closes his eyes, and drifts to sleep.
Just one more kill, and then we can go home.
Thanks for reading guys! Maybe tell me what you think in a review? ;)
By the way, this is the penultimate chapter of their time in the games, and then there'll just be a few chapters afterwards, should I do a sequel?