How Cato and Clove Won The Games

PG-13 for slight cussing, violence, gore, and some intimacy

Copyright © 2012 All rights reserved. All my stories, including chapters, prologues, epilogues and all associated content is copyrighted under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. All rights are reserved by the owner and creator of these works. Any unauthorised copying, broadcasting, manipulation, distribution or selling of these works constitutes as an infringement of copyright and is punishable by law.

Chapter 14

Our New Life

It was all a blur when I got up to the hovercraft. Or at least, most of it was. I could sense my surroundings, but my vision was dimming. From what I could see, the Gamemakers were glaring at us, and grabbed us with unnecessary force to put us on metal tables that hurt my back and head to the extent of me whimpering like a pained dog. The thought of a dog suddenly made me weary.

Cato was put somewhere else, on another metal table, I presume, and I started to call out for him a bit tiredly, cussing the Gamemakers out the best I could when they put a gag in my mouth. Before I knew it, I was knocked out by their fancy drugs.

My heart thudded against my ribcage. They would be so angry. Not understanding in the slightest. They would hate us, exile us, and then Victor's Village would feel like an excluded prison instead of somewhere the victorious live.

I glanced at Cato, and he squeezed my hand ever so slightly, though he kept his eyes staring straight ahead as we waited for the train to come to a stop.

The District. They would think we were weak. We fell in love and tried to kill ourselves for the other person to win! We tried to kill ourselves for another person. It went against everything we've ever been taught. Self preservation, pride, that comes first.

I shudder slightly, looking at the window in front of us anxiously. The District was coming into focus, and I rest my free hand on my forehead, trying to calm a new headache.

"They're going to hate us." I breathe, not to anyone in particular, trying to not go into hysterics. I felt a bubble of fear rising in my throat and it threatened tears with the pain.

Damn this stupid Capitol makeup they put on me. If I cried it would be blatantly obvious. I tried to calm myself down, but Cato took control, doing a better job than I ever could.

His warm, big hands rested firmly but comfortingly on my shoulders, forcing me to look at him. His eyes were supposed to be cold and steel, I know, but they were soft and tender right now. I almost melted, because that look was only for me.

"It will be okay," it sounded like a well rehearsed line from an actor's mouth. He looked at me, as if contemplating telling me something. He was debating keeping something from me. That was one lesson of psych that I was glad my father taught me.

"What is it?" I asked him, coming off sharper than I'd intended. I tried to soften my voice, "What aren't you telling me?"

"I was talking to my stylist last night...I told him how the District would see," he still had a hard time saying a word as tender as 'love', still sounding foreign with the word, "and he suggested that we act like it was all an act. But we're only telling our District, no one else.." He looked at me with obvious apprehension and uncertainty.

The idea was so tempting. I made excuses and lied a lot, so how was this any different? It calmed me down significantly, "Okay. Let's do that."

"I love you, okay?" Cato kissed my lips quickly, though it was too much of a rushed kiss, lips hardly touching. I didn't like it. I liked having my rough Cato to myself. Having to act like I had no attraction to him...

He turned to face the doors again and his face turned neutral. His muscular face, his jawline, his sharp blue eyes and his blond hair.../damn/ I'm so glad he's mine.

The doors open then, and my head snaps back to the crowd. Paparazzi, strangers, Capitol people, victors, and...where is my family?

And then I see them. My father, with the hard set jaw and jet black hair with no traces of graying anytime soon. My older brother, who looks bored with the world, and they even had our bulldog, Ry, with them on a chain leash.

Is it bad I'm only happy to see my dog?

Cato doesn't even look at me as he runs to his family, pushing past people roughly and embracing his parents tightly, and then his little sister, Ornery, and then I saw tears running down his face. That was a big deal. Seeing one of the warriors's disrespectful to watch them. I look away, and I know most of the District tears their eyes from him too. It's a family moment.

I tilted my head up and set my jaw, looking at my father and trying to ignore the crowd. I crossed the way slowly and stood beside him formally, refusing to show him any more weakness, though my knees were threatening to give out. I should be stronger than this. I faced a whole arena of competitors, and I'm here.

"Nice job in there." My brother tells me, smiling a little, and I turn my head to look at him. He was always a doofus, really. Strong, but stupid. He trained real well, but never really used his head.

"Thanks." I reply shortly, glancing at my Dad. He looked at me with a clear expression, and then says, "You like that Hadley boy?"

"No, I don't. It was just for the cameras." I reply quickly, and I can't tell if he believes me or not. He just inclines his head and turns around, "Your things are already in Victor's Village. You're sharing the house with that boy." He looks over at Cato and his family with a little anger in his eyes. Fatherly protection, I realize. I'd never seen him wear such an emotion.

"Oh." I said, a little hurt but a little excited. He seemed anxious to kick me out, but on the bright side, I would be living with Cato. Which I guess I should have assumed.

"We decided to give Ry to you and Cato." My brother told me then, grinning again and petting Ry's head affectionately, not picking up on my Dad's attitude.

"Oh my God, really?" I asked, my voice picking up immediately. By that, I mean it went from monotone to slightly less dead.

------2 Days Later-------

"How did it feel? When you saw Clove kill Finch and knew you were going home?" Caesar Flickerman asks Cato, leaning in slightly as if to get the full effect. I see Cato's expression try to pick up from looking half dead, just for the camera.

Cato shook his head, half scowling, "She didn't look happy. Something was up. She knew the Capitol wouldn't let us survive. I was only thinking about what she was thinking." His voice was a little dead, too. At least it didn't sound broken like it did just the other day..his eyes looked better too. Any signs of punishment were perfected by makeup.

I nod a bit, my eyes locked on Caesar, trying to look anywhere but at Cato or the crowd, just so I could ignore the beating heart in my chest. My palms were sweaty, and I hated this feeling of being completely nervous and powerless. For once, I was the loser, and the Capitol was winning. But I should have known they would.

"And you, Clove, how did you know?" Caesar presses me gently, and I resist the urge to flinch at his voice. I hated it. Everything. Him. Myself. This. The Capitol. But not Cato. Never Cato.

"The Capitol hasn't changed the rules yet. Why start now?" I repeat my lines, focusing my eyes on nothing in particular. I wanted to scream in frustration. I wanted to say my own words.

I started getting a bit too angry to hear, so when Caesar said something else I turned to him and said, "What?" a bit too sharply. Damn. That line was unscripted, and I'd probably pay for it later.

He laughed after a split second's hesitation, and repeated himself, "How are you two going to celebrate this huge win?" He flashed a blinding smile at the crowd.

I shrug, my lips slightly pursed. I wait for Cato to say what Snow made him say, for the huge announcement I know is a lie. I force a surprised expression, or as surprised as I can muster, as Cato interrupts.

"We're getting married." I choke back tears.
He kneels in front of me.
I grin for the camera, letting my tears of sorrow fall.
The crowd cheers loudly, and I look at Cato as he puts the ring on my finger.
His eyes are just as sad as mine, for we both know what's really going to happen the rest of tonight, and tomorrow, and for the rest of our lives.

"You see, lovely Clove, when a victor is as attractive as you..the people will pay us lots of money for your company." If only I'd attacked then. Run away.

"Company?" I'd questioned Snow's words immediately, my voice a snarl. I'd wanted to get back to the house, to Cato, to Ry, to unpacking.

And as Snow explained what he meant by 'company', I felt the tears come. Hot, streaming, as I argued, shaking my head, frozen in my seat.

I was about to scream at him when he showed me what would happen if I refused him.

My doofus brother, my stupid, stupid brother, only 19, was brought into the room then. I watched in confusion as his wave to me turned into confusion as he registered my expression. He turned to the men who brought him into the room, opened his mouth, only to be greeted with a gun in his throat.

I come back to the present, and grip Cato's hand as hard as I could manage, nodding at him in agreement with whatever his somber thoughts must contain.

"I love you." I heard him mutter brokenly, true despair on his face for just a fraction of a second.

"I know."

If only I'd known that the Capitol was as wicked as they said.

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