She knows it's stupid.
Girls like her do not talk to boys like Peeta Mellark. They do not look at them, and they most definitely do not fall in love with them.
Except Glimmer can't quite make herself follow a set of rules she knows all too well.
It isn't her fault, not really. It's just that he's so damn nice. He's innocent and sweet and Glimmer knows that Katniss doesn't love him back, that it's a show, except not for him, and despite her apathy, despite the fact that Katniss doesn't care, he keeps fighting for her. Glimmer can see in his eyes that he joins the Careers for her, to lead them away from the girl he loves, to risk his life for someone who probably doesn't know what romance means.
It isn't like anything she's ever seen before, and it amazes and fascinates her at the same time.
Then again, Glimmer supposes her fascination with Peeta started long before he joined the Careers.
If Glimmer was being honest with herself, it began when she first saw footage of the Reaping. Peeta was strong; he had a decent chance, she figured, especially for a guy from District Twelve. Except he didn't act like it. He allowed the cameras to see his tears, didn't make any effort not to cry, and he looked so utterly miserable getting onto that train the Glimmer knew he didn't think he would ever see District Twelve again.
That was wrong.
No one with a build like that, no one who looked like that- in other words, good enough to get a handful of sponsors no matter how talented or untalented he might've been- could possibly have the right to go into the Games acting like they had no shot at winning.
She almost hated him for it, found him weak because of it. Except he didn't seem weak, didn't feel weak. Just human, and that was something she wasn't used to seeing in boys. Not the ones from District One.
Her eyes- along with the rest of Panem's- found him again on the night of the tribute parade. The Girl on Fire… and Peeta. Peeta, who no one talked about and no one noticed next to the fire goddess that was Katniss Everdeen. No one except Glimmer, who curled a lip at the way his innocent blue eyes ruined the badass costume his stylist gave him, who noticed the way his legs shook and how his hand was plastered to Everdeen's, and wondered at the contrast between the two tributes from District Twelve. Thin and dark and cold Katniss Everdeen, right next to the stocky, fair boy with warm eyes and a warm face and emotion written all over him.
Glimmer shivered as she watched, then paled when she realized the chill she was feeling ran so much deeper than just her body temperature.
She wondered if Peeta would be able to warm her up. Not physically, but emotionally.
The thought was dismissed immediately. It was ridiculous, foolish… dangerous. Because they'd be out to kill each other within days, and it wouldn't do to develop any interest at all in a boy she was going to kill. Especially not a weak one who didn't think he stood a chance.
Except then the interviews rolled around, and Glimmer got more insight, realized why he didn't think he stood a chance.
Peeta hadn't just been crying for himself on the day of the Reaping; he'd been crying for the Girl on Fire. He didn't look prematurely defeated because he had no self-confidence, but because he wanted her to win. Because he planned on Katniss getting out in lieu of him.
It was like something out of one of the fairytales she used to read when she was younger. Beautiful, blonde, and rich, Glimmer had always imagined herself to be the princess, but instead the Prince Charmings she thought she found used her until she started using them first, and then some combination of District One's culture and the Academy turned her into a bitter, venomous bitch who could hardly stand to look in the mirror because, somewhere along the line, she'd become the evil witch instead of the princess.
She snuck to Seneca Crane's rooms that night, to try to give herself a shot at winning, an advantage that she knew she needed. When they were finished, he spoke of not getting caught and all but kicked her out, and she couldn't help but think that Peeta wouldn't have done that. That he'd be the type to hold her all night and make her breakfast in the morning.
It was a habit she wasn't familiar with, that she couldn't remember happening to her ever, but suddenly she wanted that normalcy, that tenderness, and with that thought came the realization that she'd imagined herself and Peeta together in a romantic light. Not sleeping with him, not the act of it anyway, but what came after. The romance. The way he would look at her like she wasn't dirt, because it was clear that he wasn't able to look like anyone like that. And suddenly Glimmer was struck by the strangest urge to go up to District Twelve's rooms and see if Peeta would… she didn't know. Talk to her. Lie next to her. She didn't even want sex because Peeta was too innocent for what circumstances would require to be a one night stand.
She just wanted him, and in the least suggestive way she'd wanted anybody in her entire life. She wanted him to joke with her like he had Caesar during the interviews that night, to look at her like he looked at Katniss, and to treat her kindly, like she imagined he did to every soul he'd ever met.
Glimmer despised herself for thinking like this, hated herself for feeling anything for him at all, but it wasn't something she could control. While she was strong enough to stay away from Peeta physically, she couldn't help but spend her night thinking about him. She was too used to seeing guys who were pigs, was too used to being used and mistreated, that Peeta's complete inability to be cruel drew her inexorably.
She should have been thinking about strategy, should have been resting, but instead, she spent her last night outside the arena contemplating this boy who she was drawn to so strongly.
It wasn't until the Games started and Peeta approached Cato, until he asked to join the Careers, that Glimmer realized she wasn't just drawn to him. She was in love with the idea of him, and after spending several days watching him, hearing him tell odd jokes and make himself at home with people he knew wanted to kill him, she came to realize that she'd somehow managed to find herself in love with the person as much as the idea of the person.
Except the feeling came on too quickly, too strongly, and the entire situation was doomed to end in disaster, so Glimmer stayed away, continued to chase Cato because he was the type of guy she was expected to be with. He was safe. Especially when any advances made on the guy she really wanted would leave her with nothing. Peeta was in love with Katniss Everdeen, the girl who had everything. So it was no use embarrassing herself. Not when she knew there was no reason to do so.
So instead of approaching him, she contents herself with watching the boy from District Twelve as he effortlessly starts up a fire that Glimmer knows would've taken twice as long had any of the Careers made an attempt at it. Once the flames are high enough, he begins warming something in a small silver pot, although Glimmer can't quite see what it is.
Then he sees her watching and offers up a genuine, if somewhat cautious, smile.
It makes butterflies erupt in her stomach, in a way they haven't since she was little.
"I'm whipping up some hot chocolate," he says friendlily. "Want a cup?"
She wants to snap something about chocolate being bad for her figure, or not wanting to share anything with District Twelve trash, but instead a shy- shy?- smile stretches across her face, and she hesitantly says, "If you don't mind."
So Peeta pours two cups and heads over to where she's sitting, taking a place right next to her. Close enough that she can feel his heat, but not so they're touching. Glimmer is intently aware that Clove and Cato are way off in the Cornucopia, discussing something or another among themselves, and Marvel and District Four are sleeping. For all intents and purposes, she and Peeta are alone.
Their hands brush when he hands her the mug, and both of them blush and look away. Peeta, because that's the type of guy he is, and Glimmer because she's worried that he knows what she's feeling, that she's being sickeningly transparent, and he hasn't pointed it out because he's too nice to do so.
"It's a nice evening, isn't it?" asks Peeta. He takes a sip of his drink, and Glimmer's eyes follow the movement, all too aware of the way his lips move on the cup, of how he licks off the excess chocolate afterwards.
She wonders for the millionth time if he'd cringe away if she tried to kiss him.
"I-it is," stammers Glimmer. She's supposed to be smooth. Guys are usually the ones at a loss for words in her presence. It shouldn't be the other way around, but it is, and her stomach is in knots because of it. "A very nice evening."
"I wish we didn't have to hunt at night. You can see the stars from here so much better than you can in between all the trees," Peeta goes on. Then he fidgets slightly and adds, "Not that I mind hunting, but-"
"I know you don't like it," Glimmer interrupts softly. She sees the panicked look on his face and adds, "It's no big deal. Just an observation."
He relaxes somewhat, and she takes a sip of the cocoa, surprised to find that it's actually decent. Then again, she can't help but wonder if she doesn't feel that way just because Peeta made it. It's a very likely possibility.
"Oh. Alright then."
"You don't belong here," she adds before she can stop herself. Seeing his eyes flash with panic and realizing that he thinks she means here, with the Careers, she hastily adds, "In the arena. You're too good for it."
It's a dangerous conversation, and Snow and her district no doubt want her to shut up.
No biggie. She doesn't plan on saying anything else on the matter anyway.
"That's… erm… nice of you," says Peeta uncomfortably.
So he's modest, too. Another trait Peeta possesses that remains virtually unheard of in most of the male species.
"I'm not trying to be nice," says Glimmer. "Just honest."
They sit there for a while longer, nursing cups of hot chocolate and not saying anything at all. It's just getting to be completely dark when Glimmer gets an odd feeling in the pit of her stomach, like something bad is going to happen soon, and she won't be able to stop it. Maybe it's the quiet, or just the long stretch of time to really think about what's going on, about where she's at, but all of the sudden an icy feeling settles in the pit of her stomach and she can't quite manage to get rid of it.
I'm going to die soon, she thinks. We'll go hunting tonight, and I'm not going to make it back to the Cornucopia. It'll be the last time I ever see the stars.
It's with a painful certainty that the thought runs through her head, and when Cato calls them to begin getting ready to head out, Glimmer finds herself reaching out and grabbing Peeta's arm.
"We have to go," he says.
"I…" Glimmer swallows, then hurriedly blurts, "I want you to know that I think Katniss is lucky you're here. Doing this for her. I hope… I hope something, somehow, works out between the two of you. Not because I like her, but because I... like you, and I think you deserve to be happy." Glimmer smiles sadly. "And... any sane girl would kill to have you. Katniss, if it turns out she doesn't like you, she's an idiot. I... I don't think she knows how lucky she is."
Peeta stares at her, speechless for a moment. Glimmer stands there uncomfortably, wondering if she broke him, but then he offers her a tentative smile, and, after a brief moment of hesitation, places a gentle kiss on her forehead.
"Thank you," Peeta says softly, his cheeks flush and a look on his face like he actually thinks she means something. Unable to help herself, Glimmer leans in and kisses him on the lips for a short moment, savoring the brief contact before she backs up and sashays away, a feeling of pure elation bubbling in her stomach.
I'm going to die, she thinks, but it'll be knowing that someone thinks I matter.
Later that night, they come across a wall of fire that leads them directly to Katniss Everdeen.
Things happen quickly after that. Katniss climbs the tree. Peeta, ironically enough, suggests they spend the night underneath it.
They listen to his idea, don't argue at all really, and settle in underneath the towering tree. Glimmer cuddles with Cato because she's supposed to, and she even finds it bearable because Peeta shoots her a smile before she drifts off to sleep.
That smile's what she holds onto when she wakes up in a cloud of buzzing and pain and the agonizing knowledge that she's moments from death.
As she dies, it's Peeta's name that falls from her lips in a desperate prayer she knows will never be answered—it's his friendly grin that sticks in her mind, and in the last few seconds of her life, she finds that she can almost accept her fate. Because it's in that moment that she realizes she never had all that much to live for in the first place.
She did, however, have someone to die for, and in the end, knowing that her death was going to bring Peeta one step closer to surviving almost made everything okay.
So I was sitting around doing homework, when all of the sudden I got the oddest urge to write a story about Glimmer, of all people. I kind of contemplated who I should pair her with for a while, and eventually Peeta kind of just popped into my head. I know it's probably the most awkward pairing possible, but it also makes sense in a way. At least I think so.
Either way, I whipped this up in like, a half hour, so please feel free to correct any noticeable grammar mistakes or point out glaring flaws, that kind of thing. Other than that, please offer up a review and tell me what you think.