Clove and Cato: A love story

I just wrote this to try to make people see them as... A bit more human.  I know most people think of them as really cruel monsters, so maybe this will fix it.

Clove looked at Brutus across the table, with the entire Comittee of Victors behind him, and Cato sitting next to her.  She knew they were probably in trouble.  Of course, there's still a chance it was just a pre-Reaping pep talk.  Since District Two was such a warrior district, the victors had worked out a way to ensure plenty of future victors.  Every year, a day after the Reaping,nevery ten year old who wanted to volunteer for the Games went to the Victors Villiage.  The Victors would, together, choose one boy and girl.  The boy and girl would be trained, and on the Reaping Day, when theyre 18, they'll volunteer.  Anyone who volunteered and wasn't trained, would not have a mentor who liked them very much. Which meant no sponsor gifts.  Which meant death.  Clove and Cato had been training for years, and we're now 18.  The Reaping was in two days.  Instantly, she realized what they needed to talk about, and looked at Cato next to her.  She loved Cato, and he loved her, but they couldn't tell anyone.  No one would sponsor a Career Tribute who loved anyone, especially someone in the arena with them.  They had tried to keep it secret, but, since they see the Comittee of Victors every day in training, it's hard to keep anything secret from them.  Brutus was obviously here to tell them that they hae to hate eachother, since one of them would have to die, and, way more importantly, tough people don't love.  Tough people don't love.  It was practically his motto.  Like Cato and Clove didn't have enough to worry about already, with the Reaping in two days.  One glance at Cato told her he had come to the same conclusion.  Brutus spoke, "it has come to our attention that you two have, how should we put it, unwanted, feelings towards eachother.  Tough people don't love." Clove covers a giggle as Cato mimmicks Brutus, mouthing the words "Tough people don't love" after giving him a dirty look, Brutus continues, "As I'm sure you both know, one of you will have to die.  We ALL advice you two begin hating eachother, or at least act like it, or you can say goodbye to sponsors.  And mentors." by glancing at Cato, Clove can tell he's just as scared.  Even though they've both been training for years, and are very deadly, and scared of almost nothing, Brutus is theyre lifeline in the arena.  Without him, they both face certain death.  His voice startles Clove back to reality.  "of course, I'm sure you two can creat a burning hatred for eachother in two days,  I mean, you both want to kill everyone else.  Including me.  And I've been training you for years, and will be your mentor, nin sure you can manage a little hatred for someone you not only will be allowed to, but encouraged to, kill.  That's all.  Be back here tomorrow for your last day of training, and be sure to hate eachother!". As soon as Clove and Cato were out of hearing distance, Clove asked, "so do you think he wants us to not be in love, or pretend to not be in love." Cato thought for a moment, and replied,"I don't ow, but just to be safe, when we walk into training tomorrow, act like we hate eachother." "it'll be hard, but I think we can do it."   After that, they have to turn opposite directions to reach their houses.  As she walked away, Clove thought about what Brutus had said.  He was right that if they still loved eachother during the Games, that would create problems.  But not loving eachother, or it least acting like it, would be nearly impossible,  when she got home, her parents and 7 year old brother noticed nothing, because she always acts upset, and hates everyone.  "so, you nervous about the Reaping in a couple days?" joked her mother.  Everyone knew she had looked forward to the Reaping when she was 18 fo rears, and waasnt the least bit apprehensive about fighting to the death against 23 other people.  Not that you could blame her, since she was a baby, her father had been teaching her to fight.  It had been his dream for years to have two Victors for children.  In a few years, her younger brother would go, and audition for the Committe of Victors.  Clove was surprised, even though she lived with her family, none of them had the slightest idea she had any feelings for Cago.  When she was finished with dinner, Clove went straight to bed.  She had a feeling this would be the last night she would sleep soundly.  Ever.  Despite the fact that they act happy about winning, all Victors seem to have nightmares.  Of course, instead of spending her last happy nights sleeping soundly, she was haunted with dreams of what would happen if she and Cato couldn't pull it off, and all possible sponsors found out.  The next morning, Clove went to her last day of training immediately, skipping breakfast.  At training, she greeted Cato, the love of her life, with only a nod.  Anything more would cause Brutus to figure out they don't hate eachother.  At training, they both worked very hard, taking almost no breaks, and not talking at all.  At 11, when they we about to leave for the night, Clove stopped at the sound of Brutus's voice, "Wait". She wasn't worried, she figured he probably just wanted them to run another couple miles,  or do a few more hundred pushups.  No big deal.  She froze at his next words, "to prove you don't love eachother, I want you two to fight.  Not to the death.  Just a few minor wounds."  Her eyes automatically go to Catos.  He is clearly as upset by the news as she is.  But, of course, they can't show anything.  Clove walks towards her knives, which she always uses for fights.  Cato grabs his favorite sword from its position by the wall.  Taking slow, robotic steps, they get away from Brutus to avoid hurting him... As fun as it would be, any pain caused to him would result in no sponsors, a mentor that hates them, and he would obviously fight back.  And just cuz he's already won, doesn't mean he doesnt still work out.  Clove takes the first shot, throwing a knife, being careful to barely scratch his cheek.  Next he takes a slice at her stomach, opening a small cut in her clothing, and causing her to bleed.  "stop" Brutus commands.  When he sees the relieved looks on their faces, he laughs.  "I'm gonna let you go now, but if you ever fight in the arena, it's gotta be a lot more believable than that.  If thats actually the best you can do, your dead." After that, he walks into a different room, so the terrified eighteen year olds have no choice but to walk out.  They don't talk too much on the way back to their houses, because there's not really anything to say.  Really, what are you supposed to say to someone you've loved since you were little, just fought, and know that within a month at least one of you will be dead?  That night, she slept even less than the previous night.  This is her last night in District Two for a long time, possibly ever.  The next morning, she barely managed to eat anything.  Just a little bit of meat.  As strange as it is, all Clove eats for breakfast is meat.  Extra protein, helps her build more muscles.  After that, she went and lay in her room until the time the Reaping would start.  A moment later, she woke up, and glanced at the clock.   Ten o clock!!  The Reaping was in just an hour.  Immediately she hopped up.  Clove walked over to her Reaping dress, which she had left on the table.  It was a pretty blood red, reached the floor, and had no straps.  She hated it, except the color.  But Cato said she looks beautiful in it.  That was almost enough to make her able to stand the complete corniness of the dress.  Overall, she hated all dresses.  She had saved up for months to buy this one, so that she would look gorgeous for the Reaping.  After brushing her hair and putting it in a bun, so it would be out of her face and not affect her aim, she started walking to Catos house, to talk with him before the Reaping.  When she got there, he was completely ready, also.  Cato looked awesome in a skintight shirt,  showing off his muscles, and shorts, because it was so hot outside.  They walked halfway to the town square making small talk, when halfway through he grabbed her by the shoulders and stopped her.  "Look, were completely ignoring the major issue here.  Maybe neither of us should volunteer.   See what happens." "Ok.  Let's just keep living, not hide our love, and it doesn't matter if District Two doesnt win this year,  there are other years." "Okay, so were not going to the games".   Then, without warning, Cato leaned over and kissed her for the first time.  It was long and wonderful, and she was amazed they'd never kissed before.   After that, there wasn't much time left, so they had to sprint to the town square, and couldn't talk.  While they stood  next to eachother at the Reaping, it was too quiet, and showing they were in love right now would cause confusion.  Besides, they both were too nervous about how people would react when they didn't volunteer.  Everyone in the district knew they were planning on it.  Then, as the escort for District Two read off the name, they stared at eachother "Clove" Everyone seemed surprised, but not shocked, since it was already planned for her to enter the arena.  Only she and Cato knew that she wasn't going to.  Originally.  People seem confused by her shock, but she immediately pulled herself together.  She had to act on top of things, if she still planned on winning.  She walked up to the stage, acting happy about it.  Then she looked over at Cato.  Oh, no.   He was gonna volunteer to try and keep her safe, it was obvious by his expression.  She slightly shook her head, but she knew it was hopeless.  No matter what, he would try to protect her, even if it meant his life.  When the escort called out the boys name, she didn't bother listening.  She knew that boy wouldn't go near the arena.  Needless to say, Cato jumped forward to volunteer.  Cove tried to contain her emotions as she shook Cato's hand.  Neither of them listened to the extremely long history of Panem.  They pretended to be happy about the Reaping finally coming, but it was hard.  The Committee of Elders never taught them anything about acting, which, if you think about it, is a useful skill in the arena, when it comes to sponsors.  On the train, Clove pulled Cato into a different room.  "I think it's best for everyone if we disregard our previous plans" "Agreed" he responded.  Then they both went back to the main room, where every victor District Gwo has ever had, who's still alive, were waiting.  Even though they went all going to be mentors, all victors for every district go to the Capitol for the Games.  Then, it was time to watch the Reapings on TV.   In District One, there was a somewhat pretty girl, kind of small for a Career, and a boy, who gives Clove the creeps.  He didn't say or do anything weird, just his expression... Then they showed District Two, and, luckily, Clove couldn't see anything that showed that she was scared or in love.  Then the was Three.  Nothing interesting about Three.  Or Four.  Five had a sly-looking, redhead girl.  Six had nothing interesting.  Or Seven.  Or Eight.  Or Nine.  Or Ten.  Eleven had a little girl who even Clove almost felt bad for.  Almost.   They also had a huge boy, that she took note to discuss inviting into the Career pack.  Twelve was the worst.  They and an older girl who volunteered for her twelve year old sister.  It was obvious by the desperation in her voice to volunteer that this wasn't a girl who would give up.  One glance at Cato told her that he hated the girl from Twelve just as much. After watching the Reapings was time for dinner.  They didn't talk about anything major.  The easy feeling at dinner told Clove that no one had figured out anything, and they were wholly convinced that she and Cato no longer loved eachother, and were very happy to be heading to the Games.  Even Brutus, who still seemed slightly skeptical, seemed mostly convinced.  But they still had to be careful, because he was still paying attention.  After dinner, it was time to go to bed.  They had separate bedrooms, so nothing interesting transpired that nightl. That night, she slept soundly, not having any nightmares, or waking up at all.  Soon after they had eaten breakfast the next morning, the train arrived in the Capitol.  They both rushed to the front window, and flexed muscles, made faces, and gestured killing an imaginary enemy.  Of course, they both pictured that imaginary person being the girl from Twelve.  As she and Cato did that, a few of the victors who tended to be crowd favorite went to the other windows to flex their muscles.  Enobaria also showed off her fangs.  After they got off the train, it was time for the Remake Center.  The she would meet her stylist, and get in her costume for the chariot ride that nightl. Of course, before her stylist came the dreaded prep team.  From what she had heard from the Committee of Victors, she wasn't looking forward to it.  Before long, she was surrounded by the three most ridiculous people shed ever met.  Immediately, the three of them set to work squealing about how hairy she was, and scrubbing her down.  "Umm," Clove interrupted.  "What hurry up say what you want and don't waste time we don't have all day we only have the majority of the day!" one of them squealed in her ridiculous Capitol accent.  "Is it all right if I clove my eyes?" she couldn't stand looking at these ridiculous subhumans any longer.  "Sure, we don't need you to see what were doing" one of them said with an evil laugh.  She closed her eyes, then rolled them under her eyelids.  These people re ridiculous.  About an hour later, something woke her up.  She looked around, and discovered she had fallen spa sleep.  The prep team had now gone, and what she assumed what was her stylist was poking her, as I wondering if she were alive or not.  Looking down at her naked body, she discovered that all her hair was gone.  The gash on her stomach from the fight with Cato was sealed up, and they did something to make it heal faster,  her nails were in neat shapes, but not painted.  Her hair, which she usually paid no attention to, except to keep it our of her face, so it wouldn't affect her aim, was down her back, sleek and shiny.  After examining herself, she looked up at her stylist.  It was a man.  Clove instinctively grabbed a blanket on a nearby chair.  She hated anyone seeing her naked, even her family and Cato.  After grabbing a blanket, she studied the man standing before her.  His whole body was died powered blue, and he wore entirely black clothes, which werecut in odd shapes.  "I die my skin every year to match Caesar's hair," he said.  His voice was evn higher than most Capitol citizens.  "Hello," she said warily.  She wasn't normally a very trusting person, and this man was near the end of the list of people she wanted to trust.  Almost next to the girl from Twelve.  "So, let's go eat lunch while we discuss your costume," he said in a way that made her think he knew that she didn't like or trust him very much.  "I'm Paris." Parks led r into a different room, where they both sat down on chairs, and a lunch for both of them appears when he pressed a button.    She didn't pay attention to what it was, and began eating without looking.  One of her hobbies was staring at people without saying a word, and seeing how long it took for them to go insane.  "I've beendealing with the female tribute from District Two for ten years.  You really think I haven't been stared at solely for the purpose of freakin gme out before?" "Well, it was worth a try.  I don trike people acting like theyve figured me out, I can tell you right now you haven't and you won't." Paris laughed at the last thing Clove said.  "You can think what you want, but after ten female tributes from District Atwood, they get to be the same." she considered telling him that she's in love with Cato to prove him wrong.  But then he truly would have her figured out. She decided to change the subject and said, "So, enough about that, what am I gonna be wearing?" please not too crazy, please not too crazy, she wished.  "We'll, as you ow, you have to wear something that represents your district's industry.  Most stylists have decided, in the past, to go with masonry.  I decided to go with your lesser known secondary industry of weapons.  You and whatever the name of that boy you came with are going to be wearing traditional warrior outfits." She smiled at that.  She hadn't bee looking forward to wearing whatever the newest type of "liquid stone"  Liquid stone is what the stylists loved calling the supposedly high-tech fabric that District Two's tributes usually ended up wearing.  Enobaria had said its so heavy it fell off her shoulders, and she was naked for the rest of the Chariot ride.  The warrior costume would be good for intimidating the other tributes.  Soon she was wearing traditional-style garb, like ancient Greek gods.  She had a golden helmet, and looked positively divine.  When she climbed onto the chariot with Cato, she saw he was wearing something similar.  His had no sleeves, and showed off his muscular arms.  Another good thing for intimidation.  The chariot rides went great.  The audience loved her and Cato. They were obviously the biggest hit, until, when pretty much all the chariots were out, they started screaming, and pointing about ten chariots behind them.  Curious, she looked at the screens that were everywhere.  The shocked reactions did nothing to prepare her for what she saw.  The tributes from Twelve were on fire! They weren't burning or scared, they were holding hands, and waving at the audience.  If she hated the girl before, that was nothing compared to now.  Immediately she decided on a new death for the girl.  She would burn her.  Maybe even make her smile and act happy about it, act almost like she was on the chariot.  Except the difference would be in the arena, it would hurt.  A lot.  If she hated the girl before, that was nothing compared to now,  they had stolen the spotlight the costume that Paris (whom she still hated) so geniusly created.  During the rest of the ride, she did her best to contain her rage.  When the chariots finally stopped at the Training Center, where they would live until the Games, she immediately went up to the main room on floor two.  Everyone stayed on the floor of their district number, so it would be easy to remember.  Everyone else was already there.  All the victors, both stylists, the escort, and, of course, she and Cato, would be spending the majority of their time there.  That is, until the Games come.  "Want some dinner?" squealed the escort.  "well, I better gain some weight before the Games, and even if I wasn't trying to gain weight, dinner wouldnt really be optional.  By the way, I never got you rename.  I think your going  to be important, being my escort and all." even Clove was amazed at the amount that had just come out of her mouth.  Usually she didn't talk too much, and when she did, it was mainly threats.  "I'm Augusta," the escort said.  Of course, her names Augusta, she thought, they've all got Roman or Greek or Latin or whatever names.  AFter that, everyone went to the dinner table.  Good that it's so big, they need lots of room for all the victors.  They sat down for dinner, and she sat not to Cato.  While they ate, everyone complimented Parks for his genius costume idea.  "You were one of the best there." someone said.  One of the best.  Probably second.  Next to those idiots form Twelve.  Just thinking about them made her slam her fist on the table.  "Sorry," she apologized," I just hate those tributes from Twelve so much." "So," Bruts said, clearly about to change the subject.  "As your mentor, I'm required to ask you this, even though I already know the answer.  Would you like to be coached separately, or together? Of course, you've been training together for years." she thought about what he said and realized that, with all the excitement of the Capitol, and hatred for Twelve, she hadn't thought about Cato much.  Because of her thinking, Cato answered first, "Of course, well be coached together. If I wanted to get away from Clove I'd have told you years ago." Brutus looked at her, and she nodded.  "Awesome.  Then this is what you do,  at training tomorrow, don't try to keep your skills secret.  Clove, go straight to the knives and throw them like crazy.  Cato, fight with the swords a while, then go over to weights to show how strong you are.  Time to get your sleep for tomorrow, see you in the morning."

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