Disclaimer: I do not own the Hunger Games.
Beyond the Fence
Eiffe Trinket slips her hand into the glass bowl, skimming over the slips. Not Prim. Don't pick Prim. With the flick of her wrist, Eiffe's pale hand dives in and retrieves a name. Ms Trinket walks back to the microphone, the sound of her heels clicking on the cement floor echoes through the square. Suddenly the realisation that Prim could be reaped becomes too surreal. Please, not Prim.
"Theresa Henley" Ms Trinket broadcasts the name.
She made it. I finally will my eyes away from the stage. Looking down at my hands I can clearly see my knuckles have turned white from wringing them. I look back up in enough time to see Prim searching the crowd for my face. She knows it too. She made it.
"And now, the gentlemen" Eiffe announces once Theresa has reached her rightful place on the stage. I can see the fear in her eyes and I almost pity her until I remember that if it wasn't her, it may have been Prim. Eiffe repeats the same actions she did only moments before with the same forced smile.
My head snaps up the moment the name is announced. All the relief I had felt before is suddenly diminished. Peeta, the boy with bread, the boy who saved my life, has been reaped in the 74th Hunger Games.
I wake up in a sweat, instantly looking down to look for my sister. She lies close to my side in a blissful slumber, her blonde hair sprayed out in every direction. I haven't been able to shake last year's reaping day. Last year's Hunger Games evidently was the same year that District 12 had it's most recent Victor, Mr Peeta Mellark.
Peeta won the Hunger Games mostly because of his charm which lead to frequent support of Capitol sponsors during the Games. With Peeta's handsome features and stocky, muscular build, the Capitol instantly fell in love with him. Once Peeta arrived home it seemed like nothing had changed. He continued his work at the bakery and if he wasn't there he was locked away in his house in Victor's Village. I haven't seen him since he returned.
Prim mumbles in her sleep and I look down at her. The two of us couldn't be more different. I inherited my father's Seam genes of olive skin with dark brown hair and grey eyes. While Prim has our mother's blonde hair, blue eyes and creamy skin, she looks like a typical town girl of District 12.
I almost forget it's a Sunday and Gale will be expecting me soon, and I can tell by the early morning sunlight creeping through the nearby window that I have over slept. I quietly slip out of bed, careful not to wake up Prim but my precautions prove to be ineffective when my sister stirs awake. I have one leg off the bed and barely touching the floor when she whispers while rubbing her eyes "Where you going?"
"It's Sunday Prim. I'm going to the woods to meet with Gale. I'II see you tonight for dinner at the Hawthorne's" I reply pushing back the hair on her forehead.
"Ok, be safe Katniss. I love you."
"Love you too, go back to bed and get some more rest." I say pulling the sheet up on Prim and before long I'm stepping out the door pulling on my father's old hunting jacket, making my way beyond the fence.
I crawl under the fence with ease and follow my usual route to the meeting place Gale and I share. Gale's visits to the woods have lowered the past year with him becoming increasingly tired from work in the mines. Hunting on my own has become harder with each passing day as the animals seem to be disappearing daily. I have pushed aside my pride and faced the fact that I am going to need find an alternative source of income soon.
As I approached the opening to the meeting place, I can see Gale's form. He's facing the woods and is unconsciously pulling at the grass beneath from where he sits. He has a look on his face which tells me something's on his mind.
"Enjoying the view?" I question him.
Gale slightly turns his head to acknowledge my presence, I notice the smirk formed on his lips. "After you spend a week underground just the fresh air is enough to enjoy."
I smile as I make my way over to him. I fall down to the ground next to my oldest friend and look up at him. Although Gale is 19, he looks much older, I guess that's what happens when you're forced to be the man of the house as a teenager. Gale is a least six foot tall and covered with muscle from years spent in woods and working in the mines. He has the same olive skin as myself, with light blue eyes and brown hair. It only occurred to me a couple of months ago just how good looking he actually is. When we were both in high school I heard the rumours about Gale and taking numerous girls to the slag heap, but it never bothered me. It still doesn't. Gale notices me watching him and chuckles.
"Are you enjoying the view, Catnip?"
I quickly advert my eyes down to my lap as a blush finds its way on my cheeks. This only makes Gale laugh more.
"I was only joking. Come on, let's go hunt." Gales says and stands, holding out a hand to help me up. I take it and he easily pulls me to my feet.
Gale's snares are empty and between the two of us we kill three squirrels and two rabbits. Gale and I arrive at the Hob in the afternoon and make our way straight to Greasy Sae to trade our kills. As we walk in, I spot Gale's friend from the mines Thom, Gale follows my gaze, raising his hand to wave at Thom.
"I'm just going to say hi to Thom, can you trade with Sae?" he asks.
"Sure" I reply and walk over to Sae who crosses her arms and smirks when she sees me.
"Well, well, well, what do you have for me today?"
"Always a pleasure Sae" I say as I lift my hunting bag to the bench Sae is standing behind. "Three squirrels and two rabbits."
Sae inspects the animals, "I'II take the rabbits for two silver coins"
"Make it three and you have yourself a deal"
"I see Gale has rubbed off on you" Sae smirks and looks over to where Gale is and I glance in his direction too. He is chatting with Thom and a few other people. A girl sitting with Thom is looking at Gale with flirtatious eyes. "He is quite gorgeous that boy" I don't even have to ask to know who it is she's talking about "You better keep a tight hold on him or you'll loose him."
This statement makes me turn back around to Sae "What do you mean? There's nothing going on between the two of us. We're just good friends, Sae" I fire back.
"Whatever you say. Listen I know you wanted me to tell you if there was any work that came up." I nod my head. "Well, there's an opening for a housekeeper, you know the usual, cleaning, cooking, washing. Nothing you can't handle, you interested?"
"We need the money, just let me ask mother before anything"
Just as I say this I hear Gale's booming laugh and turn to him, a smile playing on my lips.
"I don't know how many years I've known you two and can I just say I've seen the way you two look at each other. You don't find that anymore."
Before I can tell Sae that she's mad to even think that, Gale's at my side. "How much she give you, Catnip?" he asks.
"Three silver coins, that's more than enough, now you two be on your way before you leave me a broke woman" Sae replies for me, giving Gale the coins.
"Bye Sae" I say while Gale winks at Sae. As we walk out, Gale nods his head in Thom's direction and the girl sitting next to him smiles at Gale.
"What do we do with the squirrels?" Gale questions.
"We can go to Mr Mellark? I know it's been a while since we last saw him with squirrels. They're a good size and I know he'll pay well for them."
"We don't need charity Katniss -"
I cut him off "I know Gale, you know what I meant, you of all people should know that."
Gale looks down at me, with a sincere look on his face "I know, I'm sorry. Let's go."
We walk in a comfortable silence, until I have to ask the question, "Who was that girl in there Gale?"
"Who?" He looks at me unfazed by the question.
"The girl, you know the one you were talking to with Thom?"
"Oh, yeah that's Emliee"
"How'd you know her?"
"I have met her a few times at Seam parties and when I'm drinking with Thom. What's with all the questions?"
"No reason, just curious" I admit right as we arrive at the Mellark bakery's back door. Gale knocks on the wooden door and steps back while we wait to be answered. I readjust the hunting bag on my shoulder as the door squeaks open. I look up I see a familiar looking pair of blue eyes.
"Hi Katniss." It's non other than Peeta Mellark.
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