Catching Fire Competition

Katniss and Peeta are in the arena yet again for the Quarter Quell and Katniss isn't as hateful towards Peeta as he once thought she was. Will she prove her love or will everything fall apart?

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1. Quarter Quell

    It was so hot that sweat was beading down my skin as if it were raining out. Leave it to the Capital to try to kill everyone by making us sweat to death. I thought to myself. I hated the Capital. Against all odds I had won the Hunger Games last year and so had Katniss. The one and only person I love. I was alive only because of her. At least she was here with me.
    "Is there any water around here?" I asked breathlessly. We all stopped and Finnick placed Madge on the ground gently beside him. The poor old woman had volunteered in place of the young lady who had been chosen instead. Annie, I think her name may have been. The poor old lady didn't stand a chance.
    "Let's take a look. Stay here." Katniss said as she worked her way up a nearby tree. I watched her as she wet up. Her long hair cascaded down her back in a braid. Images flashed in the back of my mind of when I first saw her. It was a long time ago and she had been very young. Her hair had been put into two braids instead of one and I had been in love with her ever since then. I guess both of us being chosen for the Hunger Games last year wasn't such a bad thing. But this? The Quarter Quell just made me sick. Haymitch promised me we'd keep her alive. I told myself and looked over at Finnick.
    He was talking to Madge about something I couldn't hear but, it must have been something awfully funny because she broke out laughing. I still wasn't sure if I entirely trusted him yet, but he did help me in the beginning when that guy was trying to drown me...
    "The only fresh water I see is where we started. Nothing else." Katniss said as she hopped off the tree. I held back the urge to run up and kiss her. I don't think she loves me and that hurts because I am head over heels for her. I always have been and I always will be. She handed me a sword she had gotten at the Cornucopia. She readied an arrow in her bow and looked at me.
    "Right." I nodded. "Let's keep going to higher ground. Form a plan maybe..." I trailed off, hearing a cannon boom from somewhere above. Well, that's someone else I'm not going to have to kill. Everyone nodded and Finnick picked Madge back up and I took the lead. I used the sword to knock all the heavily overgrown plants out of our way.
    "Peeta wait!" I heard Katniss scream behind me. I saw a spark and heard an explosion. I was thrown off my feet and darkness enveloped me.
    
    Taking a deep breath I opened my eyes and saw Katniss kneeling over me with tears streaming down her face. I reached my arm up and touched her cheek wanting nothing more than to comfort her. I was breathless and felt very weak. I was aware of a slight ringing in my ears.
    "Oh my God, Peeta!" she cried and touched my hand. "Oh my God!Your alive! But you were dead! Your heart stopped! You were dead!"
    I smiled at her. "It's beating now, isn't it?" She smiled at me and I sat up stiffly. I took that chance to wrap my arms around her and hold her tight. Heat spread through my body, like it always did whenever I touched her or she touched me. I have now been friends with her for a little over a year now andI still got nervous around her. I hated how we were forced to kiss on screen and pretend that we were happy and had a perfect relationship. Plus now everyone though she was pregnant even though she wasn't. I had thrown the baby bomb out there in my last interview with Caesar Flickerman in a last ditch effort to have them drop the Quarter Quell. Of course it hadn't worked and here I was.    
    "You think you can walk?" Katniss asked, pulling away from me. I nodded my head and she helped me to my feet. Katniss kept throwing rocks at what I now knew was a forcefield. The one I had hit with the sword that cause the explosion that had apparently killed me. How I was alive now I still have no idea. "I'd be willing to bet that it goes all the way around this damned thing." Katniss said looking at Finnick.
    "Would you expect anything other from the Capital?" he asked harshly.
    Katniss and I both shook our heads. The Capital had odd ways of getting what it wants. it always had ways to prove that it was in control. This Quarter Quell was one of them. It was getting dark out and I heard a familiar dinging sound that really was music to my ears. A silver parachute fell from the sky and landed lightly in front of us. I let go of Katniss and walked up to the little box, opening it. Some weird object I had never seen before was resting in it. Katniss came up beside me and I looked at her, raising my eyebrows.
    "I think it's a way for us to get water." she said and took it from me. I watched her as she grabbed a rock and pounded it into a tree. "Come on, Come on..." she mumbled. I looked on and opened my mouth in surprise when a steady stream of water came out of the tree. "Yes!" she yelled and put her mouth to the water taking big gulps.
    I walked over and bent down, letting the water stream into my mouth and full my stomach. Water had never tasted so good in my entire life. I felt energized and ready to take on anything. Finnick took a couple gulps after me and then cupped a big leaf in his hands, filling it with water. He walked it over to Madge, whom I hadn't even noticed him put down. She drank from the leaf gratefully when we were all well and filled with water we went and sat down in a sloppy circle. “I’ll take the first watch.” Finnick said.
    Katniss crossed her arms over her chest. “No way. Not happening. I take the first watch.” She really did have trust issues.
    “You know what happened back there with the force field? Yeah. That was me saving Peeta’s life. If I wanted to kill either one of you, you’d already be dead.” I had no doubt that what Finnick said was true.
    Surprisingly Katniss let it drop and said, “Well I’m staying up with you then.”
    I walked over and laid down in a bunch of leaves. I crossed my arms over my chest and looked over at Katniss’s slim figure cast in shadows by the dark. I guess after a while Finnick gave up and left her to watch because he came over and lay down next to Madge. I drifted off to sleep shortly after that.

    The sound of a bloodcurdling scream rang through my ears and woke me with a start. I sat up quickly and looked around. “Run! The fog is poison! Run!” I saw Katniss start to get up off the ground and I got to my feet. “Run!” she screamed. Finnick grabbed Madge and threw her onto his back. We all took off running at full speed. It seemed like no matter which way we tried to run the fog quickly caught up. Eventually Finnick and Madge were separated from us, not by much though. I heard Katniss scream behind me and I turned on my heals and ran over to her as fast as I could. All fear of my own safety was quickly forgotten.
    Katniss was on the ground with the fog on her legs. I ran behind her and helped her to her feet. The fog surrounded my body and I cried out in agony. Blisters started welling up everywhere the fog touched me. I pushed in front of me and ran after her as fast as I could. After a little while of running we were a good distance from the fog, but I couldn't go on. The pain was too much and my joints started to lock up on me. I tumbled to the ground and cried out as my aching body slammed down. Katniss stopped and tried to help me up but couldn't do much. Finnick came to our sides and I saw the fog quickly reaching us. 
    "Finnick, I can't carry him. Please help. Please!" Katniss cried to him. 
    Finnick looked back and forth between us and looked at Madge as she removed herself from his back. I watched as she leaned down and gave him a kiss. Then she wandered towards the oncoming fog. "Madge! Madge!" Finnick screamed her name but she continued walking. She vanished into the fog and the familiar sound of a cannon in the distance signaled her death. Finnick stared at the place where she had entered.
    "Finnick. I'm sorry about Madge, but we still have a chance. Please help me. Please!" Katniss begged. Finnick looked back to her and nodded sadly. He lifted me up and started running alongside Katniss, the fog almost upon us. There was a huge hill in front of us that we didn't see until it was too late. We all tumbled down and landed at the bottom. I looked up at the fog as it rolled down the hill after us and defeat flickered through my body. I had failed to save Katniss. We were all going to die.
    Just then the fog hit an invisible wall and swirled upward until it eventually vanished. I released a big breath and sighed. I guess it was just luck. But it was good luck at that and as long as Katniss was alive I was happy. I heard Katniss yell and then sigh just behind me. "The water." she said. "It helps." I crawled my way to the pool of water next to her and dunked my hands it. At first there was a light stinging and then I watched as the blisters vanished and my hand returned to normal, taking all the pain away. Katniss and I jumped in and sighed in relief as all the pain pealed away from us. Noticing Finnick hadn't gotten up yet we both grabbed him and drug him over to the small pool. We threw him into it gently but quickly. He screamed in agony before sighing. Recovering quickly he said, "We should head down to where we started. Down to the water."
    We all agreed and headed down. The sky was a light black with the sun just starting to show itself. About halfway down we all needed some more water. Katniss handed me the thing we used to get water before. I still don't what it is. I walked over to a tree and started pounding it in with a rock. "Umm...Peeta?" Katniss said. Her voice was quiet and there was a warning in its tone. I looked up from what I was doing and nearly fell on my butt when a huge monkey with large canines and a colourful face screeched at me. I yanked my sword from my side and got ready to fight. I looked back at Katniss and Finnick and realized that we were surrounded by at least a dozen of the monkeys. They were large and I had no doubt in my mind that they were Capital mutts. Just like the horrifying dog mutts back in the other arena a year ago. "Walk over here." she said slowly.
    I got to her side and the monkey's screeched loudly and advanced on us. One jumped at me and I sunk my sword into its heart. He screamed and fell silent as I yanked my sword out of his flesh and his lifeless body feel to the ground. Then we had several monkeys on us. I swung my sword about and Finnick used his trident, taking down and holding back as many monkeys as possible. Finnick looked at me as we came back to back with weapons ready. "There's a clearing straight to the beach right over there. If we can just hold them off and reach there we should be able to make a run for it!" He yelled over the loud howling of the monkeys. I nodded and we fought a path to the clearing with Katniss behind us, shooting at various monkeys that were high above in the trees. I could by their screams that every arrow hit its mark. I smiled at myself. That's my Katniss.
    Eventually we made a clear path and Finnick and I nodded at each other, looking back at Katniss. We separated and let Katniss run in between us and we followed. I ran as fast as my legs could take me. The monkeys were hot on our heels and for a sickening moment I didn't think we were going to make it. We reached the beach and fell onto the sand. The monkeys stopped just short of the sand for some reason. None of us really cared though. I only cared that we were safe. For the moment anyway.
    A loud scream pierced through the air right across the beach from us. We all turned and stared in awe as a huge tidal came crashing through the trees right at us. But just as the fog it hit some kind of invisible wall and shot upward before calming and vanishing, as if it never existed. We watched as a Capital aircraft came swooping down and picked up a body just as a cannon boomed. "Hello?" Katniss snapped in front of my face.
    "Oh. What?" I asked, slightly startled.
    "I was just wondering what you were thinking about." she said.
    I shook my head and told her, "Nothing." Which was a lie. I was thinking about the Capital and how I so wish all of this slaughtering would stop but, I could hardly say that aloud. Katniss caught me by surprise when she grabbed my hand and lead me to the edge of the beach where the sand turned to water. She sat down and a sat right next to her.
    I cleared my throat. "Listen. I don't know what kind of promises you made with Haymitch but, I made some too. I have no one that cares about me. No one that needs me."
    "I do. I care about you and I need you." she said.
    I ignored her and continued. "You have people who would miss you if you were gone. Friends and family who need you to return home." I handed her the little gold pendant I had Effie get for me. She opened it and gasped slightly. Inside I put three pictures. One of Prim and one of her mother. The last one was of Gale.
    "Oh Peeta!" she nearly cried. She wrapped her arms around my neck and then did something I hadn't expected her to do. Not in a million years. She brought her lips to mine and kissed me. I felt my eyes widen in shock but quickly lost myself in the feeling of her lips on mine and my eyes fluttered shut. I grabbed her and pulled her gently to me. She slipped her tongue into my mouth and we explored one another thoroughly. The taste of her mouth only made my love for her stronger. This time it was her leading the kiss. Shock waves rippled through me as I sensed something different about this kiss. All the other ones had been fake. Only for on screen. But this one had emotion and passion behind it and I found that the passion wasn't only coming from me, it was coming from Katniss too this time. Reluctantly she pulled her lips from mine and I opened my eyes. We were breathing heavily and her breath drifted softly over my lips. Though she had stopped kissing me and pulled away her lips were still centimeters from mine and I fought back the urge to kiss her again. Then she whispered three words I had been waiting to hear escape her lips since the second I saw her. The three words gave me strength beyond what anything else had ever given me.
    "I love you, Peeta Mellark."
    

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