This oneshot fic I made as a birthday present for my friend Kitty (A Polite Psychotic Stranger). I let her pick the topic, and she chose this.
Though I never meant to, I think I have fallen for the girl from Seven.
My name is Titus Andronicus. I am fifteen years old. My twelve year old sister Skylar and I have been Reaped for the sixty-second Hunger Games.
And I am in love.
Her name is Kitty Ashleaf, and she is fourteen. Young, small, but skilled. I've watched her in training. She is good with camouflage, climbing, and plant identification. She also is good with knives, I've noticed. Perhaps I noticed more than I should have. She caught me staring at her.
I was too embarrassed to ally her, but I won't kill her. That is a problem.
Because now I have two people I can never kill.
Kitty Ashleaf, and Skylar, who is blind. My sister and someone I am inexplicably drawn to.
Now I am standing on my pedestal, shivering in a freezing breeze, waiting for the countdown to end. Waiting to run through the snow and ice, to fight, to do anything to save Skylar.
Skylar is trembling in fear, not knowing where I am. Where her big brother is. Her big brother who has always protected her.
Kitty is whipping her head around, not looking at me, but looking at the Cornucopia. Straight into it. Running into the middle of the battle is madness. Of course, it could end up paying off. She could grab weapons, backpacks, medical kits, anything.
Or she could die.
I can't let that happen.
Kitty's feet are positioned to run into the thick of the fray, just as mine are positioned to run to Skylar. But then I see another tribute, the girl from Two. I think her name was Brooke Cardamon. She is watching Kitty. Watching her with a malicious, sadistic grin on her face. Murder in her frosty blue eyes.
I have to save Skylar, stop Brooke, and save Kitty as well. I could end up dying. But I will anyway; there's no way I'm letting Skylar die instead.
I jet off my pedestal into the snow, towards Skylar first, because I can't put a beautiful stranger in front of my sister.
I grab Skylar's hand and push her down into the snow, a second before a spear whizzes toward where her head was. Seeing that it missed, Brooke pouts and runs after Kitty.
I pick Skylar up and run towards the pine forest, setting her down in a clearing hidden by trees. I pile snow around her as a temporary fort, then set pine branches over it. Peering down into it, I see her blank, frightened gaze.
"I'll be right back," I tell her. "Wait for me here, and don't move."
"Titus?" she says shakily.
I've already run back toward the bloodbath.
It's a massacre. Bodies are lying everywhere, and Brooke is in the middle of it, wielding a bloody spear in each hand and laughing hysterically.
Her next target is Kitty.
Kitty is unaware of the looming threat, and continues to gather supplies into her arms. Brooke has almost reached her, and is gaining by the second.
In the bravest, most ridiculous move of my life, I leap into Brooke and push her into the snow. She shrieks and tries to kick me, her arms and weapons pinned under me. I could kill her now. But her eyes meet mine, eyes the same frosty blue as Skylar's, and just as frightened.
I can't kill her.
I push her away, burying her in a snowbank, which buys me and Kitty valuable time. She is staring at me. No doubt wondering why I just risked my life for hers, a virtual stranger. She's holding a knife, and could kill me now.
"Come on," I say, reaching out my hand. "You have no allies. It's better to have an alliance than go alone. Truce?"
She hesitates another second, but since that isn't a good thing to do in a raging bloodbath, she finally grabs my hand and runs away from the bloodbath with me.
I lead her back toward where I hid Skylar. Suddenly she twists away from me.
"How do I know you won't just kill me?" she says, narrowing her eyes. Like a cat. A kitty. Cats narrow their eyes when they like you. I should know, I have a cat at home named Ivy.
I find myself smiling, and Kitty is even more suspicious.
"Why are you smiling?" she asks, edging away. "You might be a mad murderer who smiles when he's about to kill people."
"Did I kill Brooke, that Career girl?" I say, raising an eyebrow, and still wearing a goofy grin. She reluctantly shakes her head.
"I guess not."
"Then let's go!"
We race back to Skylar, icy wind whipping in our faces. I am exhilarated, from adrenaline and the piercing cold. I glance over at Kitty, and see she also is smiling. When she notices me watching, the smile is gone, as if the wind blew it from her face. That's too bad, because I like her smile. It makes her whole face light up. I would like to see it again.
We reach the clearing, and I check the little shelter I had made. It's empty. Skylar isn't there, and the top has been broken apart. If there were any footprints, the wind and snow erased them.
I start to panic, but Kitty taps me on the arm.
"Isn't that your sister?" she asks, pointing up into a tree with many branches. And I see Skylar perched up there, clinging to the trunk, shivering with cold and fear.
"Titus?" she calls down fearfully. "I climbed up here but I can't get down. Please help me."
I'm too big to climb up there myself. I'd break every branch, leaving no way for her to get down.
"Okay, Skylar," I call, not letting my fear show in my voice, leaving it calm. "I can't come up there myself, so I want you to listen to me and do exactly what I say. First, stretch your feet down. There's another branch right below you."
"I can't," she wails, clinging more tightly to the tree trunk. Kitty lets out an exclamation of impatience and starts climbing the tree herself.
I run up to the bottom of the trunk.
"Wait! Kitty, are you sure you're not too big?" I say worriedly. She rolls her eyes.
"I'm good at climbing. You should know, seeing how much you watched me in training."
Then she's shimmying up the trunk, leaving me blushing crimson red and trying to hide it.
She soon reaches Skylar.
"Hey, kid. Put your arms around my neck, and hold on tightly. I'm giving you a ride down the tree. Hurry up or you'll get frostbite."
Skylar does as she's told, so relieved is she that someone is up there with her. I don't even have time to yell that their combined weight will be too heavy, when the branch snaps.
Down they plunge.
And I perform the second bravest, most ridiculous move in my life as I leap into the path of their fall.
I catch them both.
Skylar lands on my shoulders, and Kitty lands in my arms. We stare for a moment, then start to giggle.
"Hey. Put me down," she says through giggles. I finally do, setting both Skylar and Kitty down into the snow.
"That was the freakiest, most awesome moment of my life," Kitty says, giggling, then hiccupping.
"Oh, great. Now I've (hic) got the (hic) hiccups."
I collapse in a heap on the ground, laughing until my sides ache, Skylar as well. Kitty glares.
"Stop (hic) laughing," she says, which only makes us laugh more. She starts to laugh as well, and soon we're all buried in snow, laughing our heads off. I know this is the start of a genuine friendship, maybe even more than that.
A few days pass. We become fast friends, more than just an alliance. Kitty and Skylar are like any two girls could be at home, talking and giggling with each other and playing small pranks. Like when I saw an apple from our supplies hanging from a rope, pulled it down, and was met with a branchload of snow and laughter from the girls.
Slowly, Kitty starts to smile at me. Her lovely smile that lights up her whole face. Days pass, tributes die, but none of us have killed anyone. We let ourselves pretend this is just a camping trip in the woods. It lets us forget what is really happening.
Kitty smiles at me every time she sees me, and I smile back. We sleep with our sleeping bags next to each other, our hands clasped together. One night, she gives me a quick kiss on the cheek before bed, and I return it. Everything feels safe and right.
This can't last.
A week into the Games, I wake up, and Kitty isn't there. Her sleeping bag is empty. So is Skylar's. I jerk up in a panic, turn around, and see the cause.
She is holding a knife in each hand, pointing them at Skylar and Kitty. They are too frightened to move or speak, Skylar especially.
"Well? What are you going to do, District Six? Going to try to kill me?" says Brooke, sneering at my shocked expression. I find my voice.
"You- You leave them alone!" I yell, hating my stutter that reveals my terror.
"Why?" she says simply. I can't think of anything to convince her not to. Then I remember.
"I spared you," I say. "At the bloodbath. I pinned you down and I could have killed you, but I didn't. You owe me, Brooke."
It's her turn to look shocked. "How do you know my name? And why did you spare me?" she asks, her knives never leaving the throats of Skylar and Kitty.
"Because you look like my sister. Because you were afraid, and I hate making people afraid. Because you're just a girl like Kitty or Skylar. Because there has to be something that made you like this. Because, deep down inside you, you have a heart, and you're only trying to hide it."
She looks stunned. Then she starts to cry, her hands dropping the knives and going limp at her sides. Skylar and Kitty run to me, but I run to Brooke. Because I made her cry, and I hate making people cry.
"I'm sorry. I'm so sorry," I tell her. She sniffs and wipes her eyes. She looks around for her knives, but Kitty has put them into her pockets. Brooke doesn't really seem to care.
"It's true," she says hollowly. "It's all true. I'm sorry I tried to kill them."
Then she tells me everything, a story that makes even Kitty cry while she rests her head on my shoulder.
Brooke's parents died in a fire back in District Two, when she was just seven. She was then brought up by the Training Center. They were the ones who made her like this, twisted her into a shadow of the happy, cheerful girl she used to be. They made her deadly, made her volunteer, made her hide her tears away and become a monster. They wilted her from a colorful flower into a withered, thorny nettle.
"I'm sorry for what I've done," she says again when she finishes. "I know I don't deserve it, but can I be your ally? There's only one tribute left, the boy from my district. His name is Ares Thane."
Even though the finale is soon, and we will be forced to fight each other, I accept. Because I hate disappointing people.
We spend one more peaceful night, Kitty kissing me before bed, and we sleep holding hands under the stars. She's tentatively started to fall in love with me, and if we had time, we could really stay together. If we both lived in my district, we could grow up together. When we were old enough, I could marry this beautiful, talented girl, and we would always live together. Skylar and Brooke could live with us too. All this could happen, in another place. Another time.
We wake up to an eerie, haunting call coming through the woods.
"Come ouuuut, come ouuuut, tributes," the voice says. It must be Ares Thane.
"I want to plaaaay with yoooouuu," he calls. Brooke's face goes stark white.
"He means it," she whispers. "He cut small pieces off all the tributes he caught before he let them die."
"Then let's run!" I yell, and the chase is on.
We break from our cover in the clearing into wide open snowy ground. Ares sees us, and speeds up, carrying a huge, bloodstained greatsword in one hand as he runs effortlessly across the ground.
But that's not the only weapon he has. As we run, all three of us helping Skylar along, and he gains on us, he unstraps a spear from his belt without breaking his stride. Then he hurls it across an impossibly long distance, and it sinks into Skylar's leg.
She gasps and stumbles to her knees. The old Skylar, back in our district, would sob and scream and be too scared to try to take it out. This Skylar, however, is tougher. Hardened. A grim little soldier. She grits her teeth and yanks it out. She doesn't even cry.
Brooke rips the bottom of her shirt off and ties it around the wound, stopping the immediate blood flow. But now Ares has gained drastically on us, and there won't be time for Kitty, Skylar and Brooke to escape unless I do something.
I would have to do the bravest, most ridiculous move of my life to save them.
I help Kitty and Brooke pick Skylar up. Kitty knows what I'm about to do. She is crying and trying to hold onto me, but I make her let go. And I hate doing that. Because I hate making people cry.
"Kitty," I say, "Run."
She has no other choice, but just before she has to run, she leans over and kisses me on the mouth. I return it, feeling the happiest moment of my life. And the saddest.
"Come back," she whispers.
"I promise I will," I swear to her, and a second later she's running away.
No, that was the saddest moment of my life. Because my last words to her were a lie. And I hate lying to people.
I turn to face Ares.
He bowls me over at once with his immense bulk, and reaches to cut my throat. But, while I'm nowhere near his size, I'm big, and I thrust him off me long enough to stagger to my feet.
He grins, circling me and making mock jabs with his sword. It doesn't scare me. Nothing scares me anymore except seeing the people I care about threatened.
I turn to see if they got away safely, and that's when Ares makes his strike. He stabs the sword into my arm, twists, and my arm is severed.
I refuse to scream.
Ares growls and raises his sword high above his head to make the final stab and finish me off.
That's where I make my strike.
Whipping out the small knife in my pocket, I plunge it into his stomach, feeling only rage. Rage that he hurt my little sister. Because nobody hurts my little sister.
I twist, and he coughs, blood coming out, spraying my face.
"You- I- but I thought-" he chokes.
"You thought wrong," I say grimly, and stab him again. Then I, the boy who never hurt a fly, become a murderer. And it hurts. It twists my mind, like Brooke's was twisted, and I go crazy.
I howl at the sky, and dig my knife into his chest. I carve out his heart and eat it, tasting the blood and flesh, feeling it twist me further.
I scream, and feel my rage overpower me. Then I'm running toward the distant figures of Kitty, Skylar and Brooke. I love Kitty. I love her, love her, love her, and I want to taste her flesh. I want to eat her heart, and drink her sweet blood. Because I hate-
I fall to my knees, realizing what I've done. There's blood everywhere, blood on my hands and my mouth and everywhere.
It was a lie.
I lied to Kitty.
The Capitol won't let me survive for this.
Almost in a dream, I look up, and see an avalanche rushing towards me. It was expected. After all, the Capitol doesn't like it when tributes do things that disgust them.
And finally, I realize what the truly saddest moment in my life is, as the avalanche bears down on me. It's now. Because I'll die without telling Kitty I loved her.
But I see, in the moment of clarity before death, boulders from the avalanche tumbling towards the arena edge. A small hole actually forms in the previously impassable wall.
Kitty, Skylar and Brooke run to it. To the way out of the arena. They'll be safe.
I die in the happiest and saddest moment of my life. They'll be free. Because in my death, I brought life.
Kitty Ashleaf and Skylar Andronicus escaped the arena. Brooke Cardamon stayed behind, and was lifted away by a helicopter before the avalanche could kill her.
She was declared the victor, and the Capitol cameramen covered up the escape. They faked video of the avalanche killing Kitty and Skylar.
Because the Capitol hates telling the truth.