Beneath the Curtains ~ A Clato Love Story

Woooo! Team Clato forever! :D Another fanfiction about the two lovers. <3.

Chapter 1

The Reapings

Today is the Reapings, the day that I can finally prove that I'm not a weak, stupid boy but a strong, relentless man who's unafraid of an arena full of plotted death scenes meant for you to fall for. I button up my shirt made of the finest silk in all of District Two, throw on black slacks, and step in front of my mirror for a review. I then realise then that I can't tell my mother, whom I tell everything, my plan to volunteer for the male tribute. She'd never allow me after my brother, Kepor, was reported dead from an unknown cause. Trying not to think of how betrayed and alone my mother will feel, I slip on my leather shoes and head out of my bedroom.

"Cato, dear, you look stunning," my mother whispers softly, helping me with my tie. I try to pretend that I can't smell the hair dye she uses to hide her greying hair. It's not from old age, though. My mother is still kind of young. She'd still be beautiful and full of youth if it wasn't for Kepor's death. Worry, sleepless nights, and enough tears to fill the oceans we learned about in school have caused frown lines on her forehead, bags under her eyes, her appearence to dull. I wish my mother still had her good looks, because I think a nice husband will help her while she watches me willingly murder people on live TV.

"Thanks, Mom," I reply, trying my best to sound like I'm actually nervous and worried, like I'd never even think of volunteering. I've never been a great actor, though, so she'll hopefully buy it.

"Are you nervous, dear? My poor baby. Mom will keep you safe, okay?" she says in a tone that one uses on a puppy or small child. Another thing about Kepor's death is that my mother treated me like I was a baby. I know that she's only acting like this because she fears my death, fears losing someone else, but it gets really annoying sometimes. At least she bought the act.

"A little bit. Can we just go? I want to get this over with," I whisper, using my best acting skills. I wish my school would've offered acting classes, but I wouldn't have taken them anyways. I'd much rather focus on building strength and weaponry skills.

Mom nods slowly and we step out of my house. I give my friends silent nods in greeting. It never occurred to me how I'd keep this dumb worried act up in public. I don't want to look like a nervous reck in front of my peers, but showing how brave I actually feel would ruin the trick I'm trying to pull. Thankfully, though, I can drop the fake fear and head to my designated section. I give my mom a brief hug, peck her cheek, and walk off to where I'm supposed to go.

I half-listen as the long line of mentors give their speeches and pipe in when Liban Alred walks up to the podium to reap this annual Hunger Games's tributes.

"Welcome, boys and girls, to the 74th annual Hunger Games reapings! To be polite as all should be, ladies first!" she squealed cheerfully in her thick Capitol accent. Her hot pink skin scares me slightly, but I show no sign on it as her gloved hand slowly dips into the bucket. I beg time to go faster and get to the male tribute already.

"Penelope Greenwall," she says with a high-pitched giggle. I wait for a girl to volunteer, tapping my foot impatiently.

"I VOLUNTEER!" The powerful voice seems familiar to me, and I don't decipher who it belongs to until I see her face. Clove Mardon, my partner in Knife-Throwing Club. She was assigned to me, because I'm not exactly the best at it, and she's the most skilled in the club. I don't think that'll affect her death too much when it happens, but it certainly isn't a good thing for me.

"Goody, goody!" Liban pipes as Clove is escorted onto the stage. I sigh in relief when it's finally time for the males. "Our male tribute is... Viktor Ferok!"

As soon as Viktor takes his first step, I say, "I volunteer," as coolly and care-free as I can. I ignore my mother's yelp and soft sound of crying as I'm escorted next to Clove. We briefly shake hands and exchange a nod. Lida makes an ending speech and Clove and I are guided to the Justice Buildings to say our Final Goodbyes. I think it's an unsuitable name for me, but I'll let it slide for now. How to explain to Mom..

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