Clato Victory: Unconquered
Hunger Games AU : They changed the rules but it was never their intention to let two live. We should've known that and so should District 12. It didn't matter. In the end their choice wasn't one or two but two or none at all. We wouldn't let them have it any other way.
Claudius Templesmith's voice booms out across the arena less than a minute after the hovercraft which came to bear Katniss's body away vanished from sight. It was just a ruse all along, just another part of the game, a meaningless promise that the Gamemakers never meant to keep. I bet that they took one look at both of the love stories that developed on screen before their eyes as the Games progressed and decided that to implement and then revoke such a rule change would be the most exciting twist to happen since the last Quarter Quell. I should have seen it coming but I didn't. Or should I more accurately say that I didn't want to.
I look down from my position on top of the Cornucopia to see Cato standing by the golden horn's entrance, surrounded by the dead, wolf-like muttations that had been the last ordeal the Gamemakers had subjected us to, or so we thought at the time. He isn't even looking at me, he's just staring at the floor, his features fixed in a blank expression of disbelief.
I shuffle towards the back of the Cornucopia, as hampered by my poorly splinted broken leg as I have been since the day of the feast, and slowly and painfully edge myself down the sloped side to land in an undignified heap at the base a couple of minutes later. Cato has walked around to meet me and if he wasn't looking at me before then he is making up for it now, his eyes never leaving mine.
So this is what it comes down to. The Capitol expect us to fight, they expect us to fight until one of us dies. Well one of us will die and it won't be Cato. I reach for the knife that is tucked into what is left of my jacket pocket, the last one I have left after our fight with the muttations, but my reflexes are nowhere near as quick as they were before I endured my time in the arena and he sees what I am doing immediately, in plenty of time to reach for a knife of his own. Does he really think that I would kill him? Is he really going to kill me? If one of us has to die then do I really care?
My hand closes over the handle of the knife and I yank it free of my jacket, not throwing it at Cato but bringing it up so that the blade pushes against my own throat.
His shout echoes across the arena and I look up to see that the knife he drew is not aimed at me but also held to his throat by his own hand.
"I told you four years ago that I would die for you and I meant it!"
"And I told you that I would never let you die for me!"
I push on the blade a bit harder, hard enough to draw blood, which trails down the side of my neck for the whole of Panem to see. I am just an orphaned district girl. I have no power here and am as subject to the whims of the Gamemakers and the rest of the Capitol as anyone else who was born away from the bright lights of the big city, but they cannot make me kill Cato. They can have both of us or neither, there is no other way.
I take a deep breath which I fully intend to be my last, but as I start to draw the knife across my skin the trumpets blare once again and I hear Claudius Templesmith's frantic shout "Stop! Stop! Ladies and Gentlemen, I am pleased to present the victors of the Seventy-fourth Hunger Games, Clove Prescott and Cato Marcelli! I give you - the tributes of District Two!"
Cato closes the distance between us immediately, pulling my knife from my hand and flinging it away like it burns him before scooping me up in his arms and crushing me against him.
"You're so stupid, Clove," he whispers, "did you really think I would let you die for me?"
I don't get chance to respond because a hovercraft appears above us and a ladder is quickly dropped down. Cato steps forwards, supporting me with one arm while the other reaches for the ladder. As soon as his foot touches the lowest rung, we are frozen into place and raised up as we are taken from the place that I know will forever haunt my nightmares.
For a brief second I see the unnaturally bright lights which illuminate the interior of the hovercraft, but then I feel a sharp stabbing pain in my arm despite there being nobody close to us. The last thing I hear is Cato shouting my name as we both collapse to the floor.