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I gulp as I walk up to the stage. I turn my head, and see Katniss, standing there, speechless. Out of all those papers, my one was called. I'm only 12 years old, and I don't know how it's really even possible. Effie helps me up, and I stand there, not wanting to say anything at all. I watch Effie as she digs her hand into the other ball filled with the boys' names. She pulls one out, and calls the name, "Peeta Mellark." She says. I scan the crowd, looking for the one boy who will join me in the arena. A boy with blond hair walks up to the stage to join me. I keep staring at him, he is about my sister's age, I think. We shake hands, and are put into two seperate rooms. Katniss and my mother walk in. No one says anything, Katniss just hugs me. My mother stands there, ignoring the world around her. Katniss probably used a lot of force to get her in here. The Peacekeepers come, and they have to leave. I wait for more people to come, but no one does. I walk out of the room, and we are sat down in a room. Effie leaves us alone to go get Haymitch.
"This is really bad." I say to myself. Peeta looks over at me with a confused look in his eye. I look down at the ground, and wait for him to say something mean, but he doesn't. I know he's from my district, but we are going to have to kill each other in the arena. I'm such an easy target.
"I'm sure you'll do okay." He tells me, and I look up at him. Haymitch comes in, and the room grows silent. Haymitch sits there, and drinks what looks like white liquor. "Any advice?" Peeta asks him.
"Run away from the Cornucopia, and find a good source of water." Haymitch tells us. I hope that'll be good enough for me. I know I won't win, but I hope Peeta does. He seems strong, and he's been nice to me so far. Effie comes in and says we need to go to the dining hall to watch the other reapings. I watch all of the reapings, but the one that really stands out is the District 2 tributes. A boy named Cato looks brutally strong. Then there is the District 12 reaping. All they show is Peeta and I being drawn. It's about four'o'clock when we arrive in the Capitol. Peeta walks over to the window. Smiling and waving. I walk over to join him. We look at each other, and then back out in the crowd.
In the Remake Center, they wax my legs, and pluck my eyebrows. The cut a little bit of my hair off, too. Then they bring me into another room to meet my main stylist. A man with dark hair walks in, and looks over me. He smiles, and shows me a design in a book. It looks like a black outfit with flaming capes. "Hello, Primrose, I'm Cinna." He says to me.
"You can call me Prim." I suggest, and he grins.
"I want people to remember you, as something. Something good." He tells me, and I smile back at him. A few hours later, I find myself in a black outfit, with a cape with fake flames on it. My hair is down, and parts of it Cinna died dark brown. Peeta looks amazing in his flaming cape, it's lighting up his face as he smiles. I feel so small. As we get on the chariot, Cinna motions for me take Peeta's hand. I look up at him, and smile. I really like Peeta, he's so nice. I wonder if he'd ever be my ally in the arena? Shyly, I take Peeta's hand, and he looks down at me. I nearly drop it, but he's holding on to mine. I smile, and see the first chariot go out. In just a few minutes I'll be out there.
After the tributes from District 11, we are sent out onto the Avenue of the Tributes. I wave and smile at all the people, trying to follow Peeta's lead. It's hard to do because he's so likeable. After we pursue our permanent positions on the edge of the avenue, Peeta drops my hand. President Snow gives a long speech about the Games, the district, and most of all hope.
When Peeta and I get off the chariot, we're taken to the Training Center. We are taken onto an elevator, and Effie pushes the button with a 12 on it. That must be our floor. We all sit down at the table, and have dinner. Haymitch gives us advice about the training. "Never show them what you're best at until the private training sessions." He tells us. I just nod acceptingly. I probably won't even make it in these things, I'm not good at killing anything. I'm not even good with weapons.
It's the day to start the training. Cinna has pulled my hair back into a ponytail, and strands of hair hang down near the front. Peeta and I are put into an elevator to travel to the large gym. We walk in, and are immediatly put in line to do the obstacle course. I watch all the other tributes carefully. They are all bigger than me, except for one girl. I look around at all the stations. There are a lot of them. There are ropes you can practice climbing with. I'm so distracted, I don't even realize I'm up next to do the obstacle course.
After I'm done with the obstacle course, I run over to try the ropes. I hold on as tight as I can, and then try to climb, after I'm halfway up, I fall. Peeta runs over to help me up. "Are you okay?" He asks me, and I nod in reply. He looks over at where the bow and arrows are sitting.
"My sister's good with a bow and arrow. I'm not, though." I tell him, but he doesn't look convinced.
"Have you ever tried?" He asks me, and I shake my head no. "Then how about you do." He says, and hands me a bow and arrow. He points to a close target, and I load the bow. I point straight at the middle of the target, and gulp. I release it, and close me eyes. I turn around, and look at Peeta. He's smiling, he points to the arrow. I look over. It hit straight in the middle. I stand there in amazement, looking at the arrow.
"That's what my sister does." I tell him shyly, and he nods. He takes me back over to the ropes, and squats down to meet my eyes.
"Now, try it again, and try as hard as you can to get to the top." He commands me. I nod, and grab hold of the rope. I hold on as tight as I can, and manage to make it halfway up, I look down at Peeta, and he gives me a thumbs up. I let go with one hand, and move it up the rope some more. Inching my way up the rope, I make it to the top. They have nets you can climb on, so I get in one of those. I look at Peeta through one of the holes. He smiles, and gestures for me to come down. I make it down the rope. I have a little more confidence, but I still don't stand a chance against the other tributes.
"Look, I still don't stand a chance against the others in the arena." I tell him truthfully.
"Look, Primrose, I believe in you. You can do it. Besides, do you think we could be allies in the arena?" He asks me. I laugh and nod.
"Oh, and by the way, you can call me Prim. That's what my family calls me." I tell him. He nods, and teaches me how to build a fire. Then he takes me over to the camouflauge station. I watch him as he makes my arm turn into a tree. "Do you do the frosting on the cakes down at your family's bakery?" I ask him, he looks up at me, and nods. "I love to go down there, and look them. They're always so beautiful." I tell him.
"Thanks, Prim." Says Peeta. Then I notice something, his blue eyes, and blond hair, we could easily pass for brother and sister. After he's done with my arm, I go over, and press it against a fake tree.
"Wow, you're really good at that." I tell him. I go over and wash it off. Peeta's being so nice, but I wonder why? Doesn't he know we're going to be forced to kill each other?
It's the day for individual training, and everyone's gone except for Peeta and I. We sit side by side on a bench. I lean my head on his shoulder, and feel a tear come out of my eye. Peeta takes my face in his hands, and wipes it away. "Don't cry Prim. Don't cry." He commands me. I see the boy from District 11 come out. I stand up, and Peeta puts his hand on my shoulder. "Shoot. It's what you do best." He tells me, and I nod. He wraps me in a hug, and releases me. He flips my ponytail before I go in.
When I'm in there, I grab the bow and arrow sitting there. I aim for a target that's far away, and aim for the middle. It hits straight in the middle. I turn around, and look at the Gamemakers. They all smile, and Seneca Crane, the head Gamemaker, excuses me. I'm escorted to the elevator by Peacekeepers. When I reach my floor, I just sit down on the plush couch, and wait for Peeta. When he comes, he sits down next to me. I lean my head against his shoulder, and he strokes my blond hair. After a while Portia, Cinna, Haymitch, and Effie join us on the couch. I watch all the higher districts' tributes get an 8-10 score as they always do. I smile at Peeta when he gets an 8, but then wonder when I get one, too. Peeta gives me a hug before I go to bed. He taps my nose, and I smile.
For some reason I can't sleep, so I go up to the roof, looking for Peeta. I see him sitting on the ledge. I walk over, and put my hand on his shoulder. He smiles up at me. I sit down on the floor, and lean my head on Peeta's knee. He strokes my hair, and I fall asleep.
When I wake up, it's morning, and I'm in my room. Peeta must have carried me in here. I turn the settings on the fancy Capitol shower to warm, and rose. When I get out of the shower, I find myself smelling like a rose, but not too much of it. I put on what looks to be black pants, and a white shirt. I pull my hair back in a loose ponytail, and walk down to the dining hall. I find Peeta, Effie, and Haymitch just sitting there. I sit down next to Peeta, while an avox serves us bowls of oatmeal, and hot chocolate. I eat the food slowly, and only manage to eat a fourth of the oatmeal. Effie gestures for me to follow her. I spend 4 hours hearing Effie get on to me about posture.
Then it's my turn with Haymitch. He's supposed to help me with my personality skills. He gives me an 'interview', and judging by how I answer the questions, he decides I'm the nice type. I figured I would be that. Then I grow curious. "What's Peeta's strategy?" I ask him.
"Likeable. He's got a lot of charm." Haymitch tells me, and I know it's true. My ally is wonderful.
Cinna put me in a knee-length purple dress, and black flats. My hair is done in a simple fishbone braid. I don't look very fancy, but I think that's the point. Portia put Peeta in simple blue jeans, a black shirt, and a velvet colored jacket over top of that.
In the elevator, Peeta kisses the top of my head, and sqauts down to meet my eyes. I straighten up his jacket, and he laughs. "Thanks, I needed that." He tells me, and I giggle. "Prim, now listen. If there's anything the other tributes say, tell me. You and I can handle them in the arena." Peeta says to me. He stands back up, and regains his normal height.
When we get out of the elevator, and get in line, I see the others snickering at me. When I feel like I'm about to cry, Peeta places his hand on my shoulder, and raises his eyebrows. I smile up at him, and he laughs. He kisses my forehead, and we watch the first tribute go out on stage.
Ceaser Flickerman has his hair back in a midnight blue ponytail, along with a sparkling midnight blue suit. This seems very odd to people outside of the Capitol, but it's normal here. The District 1 girl is wearing a golden see through cocktail dress. Her hair is blond, and done is bouncy curls. Peeta sighs longingly as she walks onto the stage, and I look up at him, and smile.
"Don't tell me you're in love with that girl." I say to him, and he laughs. He pulls me into a hug, and shakes his head, no.
"No way, Prim, she's not likely." He tells me. I look up at the boy who almost is my brother.
In three minutes I'll be on stage. I start to breathe heavy. Peeta squats down, and takes my face in his hands. "Prim, it'll be okay. You're okay." He tells me, but I can't stop the tears. He kisses my forehead, and wipes away the tears.
"No I'm not, Peeta." I correct him, but he won't stop. He keeps telling me calming words. After I stop crying, he stands back up, and pats my hair. Ceaser calls my name, and I walk out on stage. I smile, and wave. I look back at Peeta, and he smiles. His blue eyes glowing. I sit down on the chair next to Ceaser's, and we remain silent for a little while.
"So, Primrose, please tell us, how did you get that 8 in training?" He asks me.
"I used a bow and arrow." I admit, and smile at the audience.
"Well, I'll let you know we find that very impressive for a girl as young as you." He tells me.
"Thank-you." I say quickly.
"So, Primrose, may I ask you what you think of Peeta Mellark?" He asks me. I look over at Peeta, who looks frantic.
"So far he's been like my older brother. He's very sweet, and he is so encouraging." I admit, and the audience starts to cry with tears of joy. I look over at Peeta, and he's smiling.
"I'm sure he has." Ceaser tells me. He gets up, and twirls me around. Then I walk off the stage, smiling, and waving to the crowd.
"That was darling!" Effie exclaims as I join her backstage. Haymitch just gives me a thumbs up. I turn around, and look at the screen. I watch as Peeta joins Ceaser on the stage.
"So, Peeta, when you joined Primrose, what were your first thoughts on her?" He asks Peeta. I know exactly what they were, wow, she's scrawny, or, she'll be an easy kill.
"My first thoughts. I mean, just look at her, she's beautiful." He tells Ceaser. I nearly fall backwards. Peeta, this boy I like, thinks I'm beautiful.
"If I remember correctly, she thinks of you as someone she can look up to, you're like her older brother." Ceaser reminds him.
"She is like my little sister. She's amazing, everything I could hope for in a sister." He says, and I feel myself blush. We are put into two seperate elevators to go to the twelfth floor. The minute I see him come off the elevator, I run over, and catch him in a hug. He pats my hair.
"Did you really mean all those things?" I ask him, my left ear pressed against his chest. My eyes filled with tears. He lets me go, and squats down to meet my eyes. He takes my face in his hands, and wipes my tears away with his thumbs. He picks me up, and carries me into my room. He entwines his fingers in mine, and brushes the hair off my forehead.
"Yes." He answers me, and plants a kiss on my cheek as I fall asleep.
In the morning Cinna decides to dye my hair a dark brown, like tree bark. He says it will help camouflauge. He leaves it down and wavy. I don't look like I could be Peeta's sister anymore. I look like a girl from the Seam. I look like my sister. The outfits this year are simple black jackets and t-shirts, and tan pants with lots of pockets.
I'm sent into a hovercraft, and they insert my tracker, wouldn't want to lose a tribute. It hurts badly, but I try not to cry. Peeta isn't with me. We are sent into two different rooms with our stylists. Cinna tries to calm me, and then I hear the countdown from ten begin. I have to run into the tube. I'm lifted up, and I look around. I see Peeta only a few platforms away from me. Five, four, three, two, one.
My eyes lock on a bow and a quiver of arrows. I run towards the Cornucopia, and reach for the bow and arrows. "Prim, no, stop!" Peeta calls to me in a panic. Then I'm knocked to the ground by the boy from 2, Cato. He's about to stab me in the heart, when someone picks him up off me, and picks me up. They have a bow and a quiver of arrows with them. Peeta. He wraps me in a hug. When he releases me, he takes a lock of my hair, and runs it through his fingers. I walk over to the nearest tree, and show him why it's darker. He laughs. We run until we find some shelter.
"Thanks for saving me." I tell Peeta. He smiles, and hugs me. I would be a goner if not for him. I don't know how to repay him. I like him so much, but I can't say anything to him. He just saved my life. He releases me. I reach up, and kiss him on the cheek. I'm so small, I can barely reach. He looks down at me, and smiles. He's so nice, and I like him so much. Maybe I can save him, and we'll be even. Then all of a sudden, Peeta's pulled out of my reach. "Peeta!" I yell. I hear some voices. It sounds like Cato and Peeta.
"You can only join the Careers if you dump the little weakling." Cato tells him, and I know he means me.
"Never." He says with anger in his voice.
"Then we'll be forced to kill you and, what's her name, Prim, is that what you call her? Right now." He assures Peeta.
"Kill me, but leave Prim alone. If you kill her before me, I'll kill every one of you." He assures them, and runs back through the trees. He picks me up, and carries me through the woods. He finds a tree, and orders me to climb it. I grab on to the branches, and even I can fit on just the smallest ones. I see Peeta try to climb, but he's not as good. I help pull him up, and he finally makes it to the largest branch on the tree. I look down and see all the Careers. I guess thats what they call themselves. Cato looks up at us, and I climb higher up the tree with Peeta. He sits there, and holds me, my head on his shoulder. He arm on my shoulders. The girl from 1 gets a bow out, and aims for me, and Peeta.
"Climb." I command him, and he grabs on to different branches. He pulls me up, until we can't go any higher. He gives me the bow, and an arrow. I aim for the girl's heart, and release the arrow on her. She falls to the ground. I smile at Peeta, and hear a cannon boom. I drop a couple of branches at a time until I can reach her arrows. I take them, and throw the quiver up to Peeta. Cato tries to climb the tree, but I'm so much smaller than him that he can't. I join Peeta on the top branch, and we smile. I laugh as Cato fails another attempt to climb the tree, but Peeta clamps his hand over my mouth.
"That's it little girl, you're getting it now." He threatens me. Peeta gives me a concerned look. Cato's district partner from 2, throws a knife up at me, and it barely misses my leg. I give a gasp. I shakily take the bow and an arrow, and aim for her heart. I let go of the string, and she throws a knife at my arrow, and it breaks in half. I look at Peeta, he nods. I jump down the back of the tree and start running. Peeta's right at my heels. I run into the girl from 11, and run around her quickly. I stop when we come to a burrow of trees, I look inside to see if it's hollow. I motion for Peeta to come in. It's warm inside all the trees, and it's a clever place to hide.
I look at Peeta, and he has a bad cut on the back of his right arm. I find a stick, and I take my jacket, and use it as a torniquet. Peeta puts his hand on my cheek, and I smile shyly. I keep looking at his wounded arm, after a while I touch it gently. He winces, and I jerk my arm back. He catches my hand, and holds it tightly. I take him in a hug. He strokes my dark hair, and his lips press against my neck. When he releases me I lean against a tree. Peeta pulls my head down on his shoulder. He tucks a strand of hair behind my ear. He lies down, and I lay my head down on his chest. He pulls me in closer to him, and unzips his jacket to share with me, after I sacrificed mine for his arm.
"Prim, come on, it's okay." Peeta says to me as I cry in his arms. He nearly died. Nightlock berries. I recongnized them the second he put them in his mouth. Katniss tought me, and my mother. He kisses my forehead. I nearly let him die. I don't know how he can even show me any affection. Then I hear a branch break. I stand up, my bow loaded, ready to shoot whatever or whoever might come. Peeta's hands are on my shoulders. I pull the arrow back to my lip, and release the arrow in the direction of the noise. I walk over, and peek through the window. I look back at Peeta. I hear the cannon sound. Now fourteen tributes are dead.
"We need to get some water." I tell him, just realizing how dry my mouth is. Peeta picks me up, and carries me through the woods till we get to some water. It's a pond only a few hundred yards away. I haven't been injured yet, so I just let Peeta drink the water. After about ten minutes. he cups up some water his hands, and brings it to my lips. I take my jacket off his wound, and put some cool water on it. He smiles, and I see that it stopped bleeding, It's even started to heal a little. He puts my jacket back on me, and picks me up again.
"I don't need that torniquet anymore, but thank-you." He assures me, zipping up my jacket. It has a little bit of dry blood on it, but I don't mind. I smile, and kiss his cheek. We make our way back to our little house, and I realize how hungry I am. Peeta and I look around for some blueberries, but neither one of us find any. Then I hear something. Not feet, but flames. Real ones. I turn around, and see a wildfire starting. Peeta picks me up, and runs through the woods. He doesn't even stop to catch his breath. I see a fire chasing us, and the Gamemakers must have made it, or the Careers found us, and made a fire start.
"Peeta, stop. Stop!" I command him, and he puts me down. I pull him into a hug, and drag him out of the way of the fire. I see it roar past us. Peeta helps me climb a tree. He kisses me on the cheek, and feels my forehead for a fever. I feel myself start to cry. Peeta puts me on his lap, and I bury my head into his shoulder. When I finally come back out of his shirt, he looks me in the eyes.
"Prim, listen to me, one of us has to die in order for these Games to work. I want you to remember-" He begins, but something's wrong. I look in the back of his jacket, a knife. I take it out, and take my jacket off again. I patch his back up with it. I kiss him on the cheek, very gently. I'm watching this boy die, when out of nowhere a metal can drops into my hands. I open it. Stitching materials. I turn Peeta on his stomach, and work as fast as I can on stitching his back. In about ten minutes I'm done. I hold his hands tight.
Just when I think he's gone, he sits up, and hugs me tightly. "I love you." I whisper into his ear. He smiles, and kisses me on the forhead. I hear a cannon boom, and look at the sky. The girl from 11 is gone. I look at Peeta. "That could've been you." I tell him. We get down, and walk back to our burrow of trees. I make him lay down, and offer to take the first watch, but he won't let me. So I cuddle up next to him, and fall asleep with Peeta stroking my dark hair.
In the morning, Peeta wakes me, and I make him go to sleep. I brush the hair out of his eyes, and watch him as he goes to sleep. He looks adorable, and so innocent. I'm so glad he's still here with me. I love him, no matter what.
"Peeta, hurry, get up." I tell him quietly. I don't want to leave him here alone.
"What? Why?" He asks me.
"We need to go hunting. You can pick berries or something." I tell him. Then I hear Claudius Templesmith.
"Two tributes can win if they are from the same district." He says. I look at Peeta. We can both live. Then I hear five cannons boom. I look up at the sky. Cato, Clove, the district 1 boy, the girl from 5, and the boy from 4. That means the boy from 11, I think his name is Thresh.
"How did they all die so fast?" Peeta asks me, and I shrug.
"Well, let's end this thing." I tell him. He picks me up, and carries me through the forest. When he puts me down, we're near the Cornucopia. I run over to it, and try to climb. It's harder than climbing a tree. Peeta throws me the bow and arrows. I load the bow, and look around for Thresh. "Any sign of him?" I ask Peeta.
"Not so-" He starts, but then I see Thresh running this way. I aim straight for his heart, and release the arrow. It hits him, and he falls to the ground. Peeta helps down off the Cornucopia, and we run to the dying tribute. I take the arrow out of his chest, and watch him die slowly. In the cold of the night, I hear the cannon boom. Thresh's body is decaying, and I hear the trumpets sound. Peeta and I won! He picks me up, and spins me around. My hair flies in my face, making my eyes water a little. He puts me down, and brushes my hair out of my face with his fingers.
"We won, Peeta." I tell him, and he hugs me. The hovercraft comes to pick us up, and two ladders go down. Peeta lifts me up on mine, and then jumps on his. The electric current freezes my muscles in place. I wasn't smiling, I was staring Peeta in the eyes. He has a vacant look which made me wonder. I have a few cuts and scars, but not many. As for Peeta, he has wounds and cuts and scars everywhere.
A few hours later, I find myself in a room with nothing but a thin hospital gown on. I have a metal bar to keep me restrained. I see an avox come in, and she gives me a bowl of soup, and a spoon. I eat the soup slowly, only getting down about half, and then I fall asleep again.
When I wake up again, I find the metal bar has been removed. I get up, and change into the outfit on the edge of the bed. I walk out of the room, and call Peeta's name, but no one answers. I look down the hall, and see Haymitch and Effie standing there. Cinna is standing next to them. I walk over with only one thought at mind. "Where's Peeta?" I ask them.
"He's still behind one of these doors." Haymitch answers. Cinna takes me back to my own room. I see they dyed my hair back into it's original color, and it's as smooth as silk. It's straight as a stick, not wavy like it was in the arena, and it goes past my shoulders a little bit. There isn't a flaw on my skin. My eyes look as bright blue as Peeta's always do, and when I smile, my teeth are perfectly straight. Cinna gives me some jeans, and a plain black simple long-sleeved shirt that's made out of silk.
I walk out and am escorted to the place underneath the stage. I see a brick wall that Peeta is probably behind. They first show Ceaser Flickerman, who enlightens the crowd with his jokes. Then they introduce Effie, then Haymitch, then Cinna and Portia. Then they raise us up, and the crowd does wild. I run to Peeta, who keeps me locked in a hug. We go to sit down on the couch they brought in. I feel Peeta's arm around my shoulders, he does this in a sign of friendship. As we watch the screen, Peeta and I do act as though he's my older brother, and I'm his younger sister. He keeps treating me like he's got nothing better to do but protect me.
Afterwards we go to a special dinner, and Peeta's wonderful, making jokes, laughing in the appropriate places. I'm just sitting there shyly, and nodding, or laughing along with Peeta. I feel him hug me, and he plants a kiss on my cheek.
The next interview is a little different, I have my hair curled, and I'm wearing a girly red dress. Peeta and I sit like we did yesterday, with his arm around my shoulder, like he might tell me I did a good job. I keep smiling, and whenever Ceaser asks me a question, I answer shyly. Peeta helps me a lot, like an older brother would. At the end of the interview, Peeta kisses my forehead. When Ceaser finally says goodbye to the audience, I feel so relieved. Peeta pats me on the back, and tells me what a great job I did, but he should be congratulating himself, he did the better job.
We are sent back onto the Capitol train to be transported home. I wash my hair, and braid it down my back like my sister does to her's. I change into my jeans and shirt I wore when we watched the recap of the Games. I walk out to the dining car, and join Peeta and Haymitch at the table. I eat a little bit of the meal, then decide I'm not that hungry. I walk over and sit on the couch. Peeta comes over to join me, and kisses the top of my head. I tuck my knees in close to my stomach, and lean my head on Peeta's shoulder. He puts one arm around my shoulders, and whispers peaceful words in my ear. I must fall asleep, because next thing I know it's time to go home. We walk to the window of the train, and see our district. We walk out into the train station, and Katniss takes me in a huge hug.
"Thank-you." She says to Peeta, and he nods. Did she visit him before we got on the train, and tell him to protect me? Or was that Peeta just himself? I pull away, and give her a look of sorrow. She bites her lip, and I frown. Next thing I know, my mother has me in her arms, and she's crying tears of joy. She releases me, and I run back to Peeta, and he gives me a look of pleasure. I smile, and look back at my real family. Katniss walks over to Peeta, and wraps her arms around his neck. He seems surprised. He takes me in his one free arm, and pats my back. Next thing I know I'm taken off the ground, and I'm laughing with Gale. He smiles, and I kiss his forehead. He does the same to me, and flips my braid. He puts me back down.
"Come here, Prim." Peeta says to me, and I run to him, and whisper about a million thank-yous in his ear. He picks me up, and puts me down on a bench. He slides in next to me, and I place my head on his shoulder. I feel Katniss kiss my forehead, and she sits down next to us. She pats my hair, and Peeta strokes my braid. I feel so safe, but then something comes over me, I'll be a mentor next year. Peeta and I. A thirteen year-old mentor. That'll be a first.
"Won't we be mentors next year?" I ask him.
"Yes. For the Quarter Quell." He reminds me. I get up, and go home to pack our stuff, and I swear, through the window I saw Katniss kiss Peeta.
Eleven (One month later)
Peeta and Katniss sit down at the table. We live in our new house now, the one in Victor's Village. Peeta lives right across the street from us, and usually joins us for dinner. I usually braid my hair back now, and wear a little bit nicer clothes than I used to. Mainly jeans and the silk shirts I get from the market in town. Katniss takes me hunting with her now that she knows I can shoot.
But only one thought really reins on my mind, did Katniss really kiss Peeta, or was that my imagination. I try to picture the moment again, but I can't seem to. I look at Peeta, he exchanges a loving look with my sister. I gulp, and eat the rest of my soup. After a while, Peeta takes me upstairs to tuck me in bed. Before he can go, I grab his hand. He lies down next to me, and strokes my hair. I smile, and look into his eyes. The same vacant look I saw on the ladder. "What did Katniss say to you, before we got on the train?" I ask him.
"She told me to protect you." He confesses, and stops stroking my hair. I feel myself start to cry.
"You lied to me." I tell him shakily. He brushes the hair out of my eyes, and leans in to kiss my cheek, but I turn around.
"Prim, look at me." He commands me, and turn around, and look him in the eye. He leans in and kisses my cheek once, briefly.
"Oh, so now you're using the same move on me as you did my sister. Too bad I won't fall for it." I tell him. He looks at me with a concerned look in his eye. "I know Peeta, about the kiss." I confess.
"How?" He asks me.
"I saw it through the window." I tell him. He nods.
"I didn't lie, I really wanted to protect you, Prim. Not just because of what Katniss said." He assures me, and I hug him. He gets up, and leaves my room. I spend the whole night awake because of what Peeta said.
In the morning I take a shower, and braid my hair down my back. I use some clips to clip the loose strands of hair out of my face. I put on a blue silk shirt that matches my eyes exactly, and put on some jeans and tan sandals. I walk downstairs, and sit down next to Katniss. My mother put raisins in my oatmeal, and a little cinnamon on top. I see the cinnamon is sprinkled in a delicate heart, and know immediatley who did it. Peeta. I eat only half of it, and grab my bow and quiver of arrows. I run to the Meadow, and climb under the fence. I see a deer, and equip my bow. I aim for its heart, and shoot. It falls to the ground, and I run over to it.
I bring it home, carefully, hoping not to get caught by a Peacekeeper. I give it to my mother, and she cooks it. I saved half of the deer for Peeta, and walk over to his door. I knock on his door slowly, and he answers it. I motion for him to squat down, and whisper in his ear, "I brought you half a deer." He laughs as I hold it out. I hand it to him, and he pats the top of my head.
"Stay right here, I'll be back in a minute." He tells me. I count to sixty, and see him walking to the front door with a fresh loaf of bread. I nod him a thanks, and run back to my house, I look over my shoulder, and see Peeta smile as he closes the door. I walk up the steps to my house, and hand my sister the bread. She tilts her head to the side, and I laugh.
"Peeta, I traded him half the deer for a fresh loaf of bread. Not exactly fair, but it's what he gave me." I tell her, and she laughs to show her understanding. I use a knife to cut off three pieces, and use some of the butter in the coupboards to butter the bread. I hand my mother and Katniss a piece each. I walk upstairs, and eat my bread by myself. I hear a knock at the door, and rush downstairs. I see Peeta standing in our living room, and run over to give him a hug. He kisses the top of my head, and releases me. I point at the bread, and he shakes his head no.
"Hey Katniss, can I talk to you for a minute." Peeta asks my sister, and she nods. They walk upstairs, and as soon as they do, Peacekeepers walk in.
"Primrose Everdeen?" They ask me, and I nod my head. One picks me up, and carries me upstairs. They throw me down on my bed, and I hear myself call Katniss's name.
"Katniss! Peeta! Help!" I scream. One Peacekeeper guards the door while the other looks around my room. I hear a bang at the door. It must be Katniss or Peeta.
"Let us in!" Katniss commands them. The guard at the door ignores her. I jump off the bed, and try to open the door, but the guard stops me.
"Prim? Are you okay?" Peeta asks me.
"Yeah, but I don't know what they want." I answer. Katniss hits the door again.
"Let us in!" She commands them again. They look in my closet, and throw my clothes out on the floor. Oh no, the bow. I think to myself.
"Here's one, the sister must have the other." One of the Peacekeepers says. They take my arm, and I try to pull away, but their grip is too tight.
"Young lady, why do you have a bow in here?" The guard asks me.
"I've never seen it before." I lie, and they both laugh.
"Primrose, we know you can shoot. Now tell us the truth." The other commands me.
"I'm not lying." I tell them. Then they release my arm, and let me out. Peeta and Katniss take me in a hug. Katniss squats down, and looks me in the eyes.
"What did they want?" She asks me quietly. I lean down to whisper in her ear.
"My bow." I look over at Peeta, and he's staring at me just like Katniss is, confused.
"Why?" He asks me.
"I don't know." I confess. Katniss stands up, and Peeta kisses the top of my head.
"They'll be wanting me in there I'm sure." Katniss tells Peeta and I. We nod, and Peeta picks me, and carries me downstairs. He sits me down on the couch, and strokes my hair.
"Go to sleep, Prim." He tells me, and kisses my forehead. I fall asleep almost instantly.
"Katniss, no!" I scream as I see a Peacekeeper about to whip my sister again. Did she confess about hunting in the woods? Peeta grabs my arm, and pulls me back. I look at Peeta, but even I can see the sorrow in his eyes. He wraps me in a hug, and we stay there until the whipping's over. I look up at Peeta, and feel a tear on my cheek. He won't cry, and I know he's trying to be strong for me. I cry even harder, and he picks me up, and carries me home.
"Prim, she'll be alright. You and your mother can help her. Don't worry." Peeta tells me, trying to calm me down. I hold onto one of his hands while the other strokes my hair. He sits me down on the couch in our living room, and I watch the door, waiting for Katniss to come. Peeta goes out to the square to help her, and I sit huddled in a ball on the couch. My mother comes over, and sits next to me. She gives me a hug, and we both sit there until Peeta and Katniss come back.
In about a half an hour I see them walk through the front door. I can't even look at either of them. Katniss is too bloody, and Peeta must have gotten whipped some, too, because he looks like he's swelling. My mother attends to Katniss, and I take Peeta up to my room, and lay him down on the bed. He smiles, and kisses my forehead. I run downstairs to get some painkillers, a few bandages, and some water for Peeta.
I come back up, and give him the water to drink. I brush the hair out of his eyes, and make him smile. He tries to make me laugh, and only manages to get a smile out of me. I lay down next to him, and fall asleep. In the morning he's not there. He must have gone home. I get up, and go downstairs. Katniss still asleep, and my mother is at her side. I see my mother shed a tear that lands on my sister's bloody arm. I come over and put my hand on her shoulder. She looks down at me and smiles.
"Did Peeta go back home?" I ask her curiously, and she shakes her head no. "Then where is he?" I ask her again, growing worried.
"I don't know Prim. We haven't heard from him since yesterday." She tells me, and I stare at the floor. Katniss opens her eyes, and when she sees me she smiles.
"How do you feel?" I ask her, and she shrugs her shoulders.
"I feel numb from all the painkillers." She tells me. I nod, and walk over to the couch. I know she's dying, and she knows it, too, no matter what. I look over at my mother and my sister. I smile even though I know Katniss is dying, and Peeta is missing. I wonder if Gale would talk to me? I tell my mother where I'm going, and walk out the door.
I keep walking until I arrive at the Seam. When I find Gale's house, I go over and knock on the door. "I'll get it!" I hear a high voice call. "Hi, Prim!" She exclaims, and runs to get Gale. Then I realize something. I haven't seen Gale since I got back from the Games. He sees me, and smiles.He picks me up, and spins me around playfully. I hear myself laugh, and then stop immediatley. Gale puts me down. I remember why I came.
"Gale, it's Katniss. She got whipped. You have to come and see her, she's dying." I tell him. He pushes me aside, and runs out the door. I run after him, and it's almost as if we are racing back to my house. I see Peeta look out his window, and when he sees Gale, he must know something's wrong. He rushes out the door, and grabs my shoulder.
"How's she doing?" He asks me.
"She's dying, Peeta. She'll be dead by tomorrow." I assure him, he wraps me in a hug, and squats down to meet my eyes.
"We can help her. We can save her." He tells me, and kisses my forehead. I feel a tear run down my cheek. My sister is dying, and there isn't anything we can do.
"No we can't. She's almost gone, no matter how much she tries to hide it." I assure him, he carries me to my house, and lays me down on the couch. He takes my hands, and keeps trying to calm me. But nothing can stop the tears coming down my cheeks. I look over at Katniss, and see her holding Gale's hands. Her gray eyes are almost closed, and under all the blood, she looks really pale. I bury my head into Peeta's shoulder, and start to cry even harder.
"Shh, Prim. You're okay, it's okay." Peeta tells me, even though we both know it isn't. I get up off the couch, and run up to my room. Peeta doesn't follow me. I sit in my room, on my bed, weeping. My sister is nearly dead, and then all I'll really have is Peeta and Gale. My mother will surely go back into grief. I hear a knock on my door.
"Come in." I say. Peeta opens my door with Gale right behind him. I look back and forth between them. I feel myself start to cry harder than I ever have before. Peeta strokes my hair, and looks me in the eyes. I bury my head into his shirt. I know why their both here. They just don't want me to believe it.
"Prim, she's gone." Peeta tells me.