All's Fair in Love and War - A Clato Love Story

Inspired by the best Clato fanfic I have ever read, by FreedomFighters (LennonWeasley), you have rekindled my love of fanfiction and Clato! :)

Chapter 1

The Reaping

I lace up my boots, acknowledging that the fingers of my right hand are shaking slightly. I grab my fingers in my left and take a slow, deep breath. When I open my hand, my fingers are still. Good. How can I throw a knife properly with shaking hands? I must prove to them that despite my size I am to be feared. I can kill them.
I step outside and take my position with the other 16-year olds. Everything I know is about to change. As Sysima Gold dips her hand into the bowl of female tributes, her perfectly manicured nails snatching at the delicate pieces of paper, I wish myself luck for the oncoming weeks.
"Sara Farley!" Her high-pitched, accented voice rings out through the square, echoing up the train tunnels leading to the heart of our stone quarries, bouncing off the polished walls of the Justice Building. The chosen girl is only 13, stunned, fearful, but she acts brave as she walks up to the stage. I don't let her get there.
"I volunteer as tribute!" I am louder than I expected and the whole audience falls silent. Each footstep I take seems confident and powerful. I push Sara behind me and mount the stage just as Sysima finds her voice.
"Well, it seems that District 2 is a brave bunch this year! What's your name child?" she squeaks at me.
"Clove Bellona." My voice seems deep and mature, almost dangerous, next to Sysima's frilly accent. Good. I hope the other tributes think so too.
"Couldn't wait until 18 to get a taste of fame, am I right?" she says, beaming at me. "Can we have a hand for our female volunteer, Clove!" The applause is loud and I feel a sense of pride inside of me.
"Now, for the boy!" Sysima darts over to the second glass bowl. She flicks open the seal on her chosen piece of paper and reads out-
"Aaron Xander!" A tiny little kid stands up. He can't be more than 12. I feel relieved that he'll be easy to kill before another voice fills the space.
My heart can't help but give a little lurch as he begins to stand. The volunteer is 18, with short blond hair and a well-built body. My feeling of relief at seeing the young tribute vanishes, replaced by determination, cunning and… fear. Yes, fear. I manage not to show it as he mounts the stage.
"I'm Cato Jackson." Cato shows no sign of fear and as he shakes my hand, I follow his lead. I look right in his blue eyes and shake his hand firmly. His eyes betray a flicker of surprise at my strength but he soon recovers, smiling slightly. We separate and, accompanied by applause, we depart the stage.

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