The Boy With the Bread (A Peeta Mellark Love Story)

Why are there no Peeta love stories?! O_o I wanted to do a Foxface/Peeta one, but I already have five or six chapters of this written . . . Oh, well. Maybe when I finish another series. Comment!!!! Criticism accepted!!!

Chapter 1

The Story of My Life

I spit as a puddle of mud splashes into my face. I don't bother looking around for the person who did it; it won't help holding a grudge when one day they might bring me the ultimate gift of food. I was only thirteen, but I had to do this. Not for my family, or my siblings, but for myself.
"Food to spare, ma'am?" I asked one woman politely. She completely ignored me, continuing on her way. I sighed. I did do this for myself, only because I had no family left. At least, that I knew of.
My dad got my mom pregnant, unintentionally, but when I came along and she saw what a disappointment I was, she left, leaving me and my father alone. My crippled foot, the reason my mother fled, made walking very painful, but I dealt with it.
As District 12's industry was coal-mining, my father worked in the mines. One day, while the other eight-year old's were safely in school and I was out begging, there was an explosion. I reached the mine before any of the other children, despite my foot, waiting desperately for them to pull my father up.
Screams of joy arose as each man was safely pulled from the rubble, but there was no sign of my father. Tears filled my eyes as the elevator slowed, and eventually, they pronounced anyone not up to be dead. I hobbled off on my foot, pain shooting up my leg with every step. Without any parents, they would take our small home away. And that they did.
I winced at the painful memory, so absorbed that I didn't notice a woman coming by with a big goose in her arms. My mouth watered at the sight. I hadn't eaten a thing in days. My body was much weaker than it should be, and I knew if I went to sleep, the possibility of never waking up was imminent.
"Any to spare, sir?" I asked one boy, probably about eighteen with dark hair and eyes. He had three fat rabbits and a squirrel slung over his shoulder, which made me nearly drool. He looked at me for a minute, before dropping an entire rabbit in front of me.
"Is this all for me?!" I asked, not even daring to believe it.
"Yes. I've got plenty for my family. Didn't your dad die in the mining accident five years back?" he asked. I swallowed.
"Yes. I don't have any family now."
He frowned. "My dad was killed, too. So was Katniss's," he said, pointing to a girl who looked remarkably like him I had seen around. She was three years older than me. I nodded. I do remember them vaguely being there. "I'm Gale, by the way."
"Faith Greene," I said.
"What's wrong with your foot?" he asked. I ground my teeth together. He sure was asking some personal questions. Sensing I was uncomfortable with this topic, he changed the subject. "Signed up for the tesserae?"
"I had to, or starve. I lost track of how many I signed up for." He frowned.
"You're only thirteen, right?" I nodded. He left, grumbling under his breath some highly illegal things about the Capitol, which you could get arrested for. If our Peacemakers actually cared.
I stared down at the plump rabbit I had just received, courtesy of Gale. If I savored it, who knows how long it could last? Of course, I couldn't start a fire to cook it, but I could eat it raw. I tried to remember how long it had been since I'd had meat, but I couldn't remember that far back. I hobbled as fast as I could to my small grass shelter, on the edge of town. I passed the bakery, which never failed to make my mouth water. I stopped by to look at the cakes no one in town could afford.
They had very pretty icing. Pity no one could buy them. The bread though, was very tempting. It was still warm, and I could smell it even through closed doors. I had to hurry along, or I might actually go in. I limped along, my rabbit in tow behind me, until I got to my little hut, made of entirely grass.
I had to make it myself, of course, so it wasn't very sturdy. It often collapsed during storms, but it was fine for sleeping under. I sat on the cold grass, putting my rabbit in front of me. I barely knew where to start. It was already skinned and cleaned, as any hunter does whenever he kills something. I pulled a hunk of meat off, and taste it. It was much better than I remembered.
I had to use all of my self-control not to eat all of it. It could last a week, if I was careful. Of course, I couldn't keep it from not spoiling, so maybe it was better if I ate it faster. I couldn't decide which to do, so I just ate about a quarter of it tonight. Then it would last me four days.
Of course, when school went back in, I couldn't count on children hunters to give me food out of pure charity. The adults were much less gracious for some reason, often ignoring my despite pleas for food. I nestled down to sleep, trying to keep warm in my dad's old threadbare jacket.
I shivered my way through the night, getting very little sleep. I carefully hid my rabbit among the grass, and headed for the town. My foot seemed to be hurting more than usual, so instead of standing while I begged, I sat.
"Any food to spare?" was my cry for the entire day. Finally, deciding no one would give me food, I returned to my hut, not even bothering to looked into the bakery. I was eager to get home to that rabbit.
I screamed when I saw a wild dog thrashing around in what used to be my hut, carrying away a rabbit carcass. "That was mine!" I yelled after him. I sighed, gathered up the grass, and began rebuilding my hut, fighting tears. There went my only food source.
I fought back tears as I realized this meant more begging. My stomach growled loudly. Apparently I hadn't eaten enough rabbit last night. I didn't know how much longer I could last without food. The reaping was coming up in a week. I could volunteer.
If I won, endless food. If I lost, I died. I was going to die if I didn't volunteer. It seemed fair, at least to me. Of course, my foot would be a huge disadvantage, but couldn't they use some fancy Capitol stuff and fix it? Suddenly, the Hunger Games seemed like a wondrous opportunity.
I was forced to take to the streets again. Maybe I could go to Cray. Sell my body. Many desperate young women did that these days. It was disgusting and perverted, but it would keep me alive. I looked to Cray's house in the distance, a line of women already there. Maybe I could try tomorrow. There was no way I was getting through that line today. I'd heard Cray didn't like it quick.
No one gave me food of course, but a little bit of the rabbit was still coursing through me, giving me strength. If no one gave me food tomorrow, I would go to Cray the next day. I certainly didn't like the idea, but it was a miracle I'd made it this far without having to go to him. You have to do what you have to do, right?
I woke up with an awful headache. Maybe I could go to Ms. Everdeen and get some herbal remedy. I'm pretty sure Katniss's mother could help. Thing was, I couldn't afford it. I limped through the streets to my usual begging place, completely devoid of any energy.
I could barely get my lips to say, "Food to spare?" Of course, no one gave me food, so I guess tomorrow, if I was alive, I was going to Cray. The thought repulsed me, but what else could I do to stay alive? I probably wouldn't be alive by the next reaping.
"You there!" I heard someone call. When someone calls me, no matter who it is, I run. I bolted, running as fast as my malnourished and crippled legs could carry me. Pain shot through them with every step, as it always did when I ran, but I hid behind the bakery. I had no clue how I had outrun the man, all I know is, I'm too exhausted to continue to my hut. I hope the bakery owners don't mind if I take a nap against their broad tree.
I crawl along the ground, positioning myself out of view from the house, just in case, and fell asleep, unsure if I would wake up.

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