Blood and Ashes

A pregnant Katniss is forced to fight in the Quater Quell with Haymitch. Who will survive in the war to overthrow the Capitol? Disclaimer: I, unfortunately, do not own the Hunger Games, or any of the characters in this fanfiction. All rights go to Suzanne Collins.
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6. Safe Haven

The next day is for training. Peeta wakes me up and we get ready to join Effie and Haymitch for breakfast. After eating, we make our way to the bottom floor – the training centre. Despite Effie worrying about us being late, almost no one is here. Only Wiress and Beetee, Finick, Johanna and the morphling addicts from district six have turned up.

Haymitch and I split up. He goes over to the edible bugs section, while I go to tie some knots. The instructor remembers me from last year and enthusiastically shows me a new type of snare. After a few minutes of struggling with a complicated knot, a pair of hands take over mine and finish it with ease. Annoyed, I turn around to see Finick looking down at me, smugly. I ignore him and go to the archery section.

I pick up an elegant bow, made from wood the colour of honey and swing a matching quiver over my shoulder. I take out the targets quickly and the instructor, despite his previous knowledge of my talent, stares at me in awe. I turn to find that nearly all of the tributes have stopped whatever they were doing and are making no effort to hide the fact that they are clearly staring at me. Feeling self-conscious, I place my bow and quiver back in their places and wrap my arms around my stomach. I walk over to join Haymitch at the lunch tables. He grins at me and whispers in my ear "I think we're going to have a lot of choice with allies. They're practically fighting over you, sweetheart." For some reason, this comment irritates me and I jerk away from him.

"They wouldn't be if they knew I'm pregnant," I retort.

"Well they don't, so make the most of it, Sweetheart," Haymitch says. I quickly decide I would rather spend the next two hours with Peeta, and excuse myself.

For the next two days, I avoid archery as I don't want to draw any attention to myself. I see Beetee and Wiress in the corner, working on the fire starting station. I can see they're struggling, despite the fact that they have dry wood. I walk over to them and show Beetee how to do it properly and soon, after rubbing the stick between my hands for a while, there is a flame. Blowing on my sore hands, I notice Wiress staring at the Gamemakers observing us. I follow her gaze and see a tiny, barely noticeable flickering by the ceiling.
"What's that?" I ask.
"A forcefield," Beetee replies.
"Ah," I say, amused "that may be my fault." They both look at me quizzically. "Last year in my private session, the gamemakers were more interested in a roast pig than me, so I fired an arrow at the apple in the pig's mouth," I explain.
Beetee laughs and Wiress smiles at me.
"That must have been how you got such a high score," Beetee says.
"Maybe," I say thoughtfully.

Our last day of training includes our private sessions. After attempting to eat breakfast, I spend a few hours with Peeta on the roof of the training centre and we take a picnic, which I can't stomach. We lie there in the sun, occasionally talking, while his hands trace patterns on my stomach. It feels so peaceful and… safe, here, for lack of a better word. I don't want to leave. I want to live in this moment forever. Peeta bends down to kiss my bump and I move his hands to a spot that the baby has been kicking repeatedly today. As soon as he touches me, we both feel a little nudge. He laughs, grinning and continues to rub my bump. I sit up and kiss him on the mouth. My fingers tangle in his hair as he kisses me back and this time, I don't pull away.

About two hours later, we make our way down to the gym and Peeta holds my hand while we wait. Because we're district twelve, we get called last, Haymitch before me.
"What are you going to do?" I ask Haymitch.
"I dunno," he says gruffly, "Maybe throw some knives."
"What about you, Katniss?" asks Peeta.
"I'm not sure," I reply. I could just shoot some arrows but that won't exactly surprise them.

Haymitch goes in and roughly twenty minutes later, I am called. I stand and pull the fabric of my shirt down over my stomach again so that it looks baggier. I walk in the Gamemakers are talking quietly, but as soon as they see me, the go silent. I see Plutarch Heavensbee gazing at me intently. I take a deep breath and look around me. That's when I realise what I should do.

Moving quickly, I drag over the dummy used for knife practice, a rope from the knot-tying section and some red dye from the camouflage station. I tie the rope into an adequate noose and paint the words 'Seneca Crane' on it's middle. I wrap the noose around the dummy's neck and hang it from a beam on the ceiling.

A chorus of gasps echo around the room and I hear the sound of someone dropping a glass on the floor when I step backwards.
"Don't think I don't know about that," I say and walk out. I feel satisfied, but I also wonder how they'll make me pay for it.

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