Note: This was inspired by Liar, Liar, by . If you want to read this ficlet as a sequel to that, that’s okay; if you want to read them as independent, that’s also good.
Spoilers: The Movie.
Summary: What if Peeta and Clove were the last ones alive in the 74th Hunger Games? Both perspectives.
All out of arrows. Katniss ran at the Career as soon as he began getting up from where I had thrown him - she was right, my ability to throw heavy things paid off - and he never let her go when he went over the side. I tell myself Katniss tried to break free, that it was just a shove, not a…
Two cannons sound.
It’s not until I’ve set both my feet to the ground once the muttations are gone, that I realize nobody announced a winner.
And by that point, I’m looking right into Clove’s eyes.
“Your move, Lover Boy,” she says to me, tossing a knife to land beside my feet. “Give ‘em one more show.”
“We could,” I say, crouching down to pick it up, never taking my eyes off her - don’t really have to, though, because we’re the last two. She wants this to be a kill worthy of becoming a Victor in the Games, not some sneak-attack when I’m doubled over.
I empty my hands, letting it all drop. The poison berries. Clove’s knife. That’s probably an insult in her District, letting a knife hit the ground…and worse, being poisoned.
But she hasn’t jumped me, hasn’t littered the grounds with my insides. That’s a good thing. I can use that.
And she’s smiling. Even better.
Haymitch told me I have to keep being adaptable. To never stop looking for a means. The announcer said two could leave the Games if they were from the same District. “We could move,” I say. “Together to another District,” because wouldn’t that solve at least a few arguments before they arise? “Or I could go to 2,” and count on you to protect me. Not that your District takes action against Hunger Game Victors. Whereas in 12, I suppose apathy towards you might be best, at least to start things off. “Or…”
Looking in his eyes again. People will talk, Lover Boy. Not that that’s a bad thing.
Was my job to get him to join our team. God Above, he was easy to convince. Doubtless figured he was buying ol Girl On Fire more time. So much for all that.
I suppose I could have done her in after I knifed Thresh, interrupting his trying to use me as a cudgel against the Cornocopia. But I’m not greedy. And as one of my mentors told me, leave them a little mystery. So I departed with a ‘Rue was a darling’ and a nod.
“Your move, Lover Boy. Give ‘em one more show,“ I tell him.
And I may not be Rue, but I can still wait almost as long. Boy looks like he’s steeling himself for something big. An epic gesture, that never goes unremarked, even in reruns.
Peeta turns his hands, emptying them. Berries and my knife fall together onto the grass. I know what he’s going to say before he says it, and I mouth his words with him: “We don’t have to do this.” The audience was groomed for a Twu Luv between Lover Boy and Girl On Fire - how are they handling this? I can’t help but smile at that.
That must’ve helped. “We could move,” Peeta says to me. “Together to another District, or I could go to 2 or…” I like your way of legally sidestepping the bire of that announcement, Peeta.
My extended family broke apart a few months before the Reaping brought me here, relatives spreading every which way. With a win under my belt, I could head my own house, answerable to nobody. Or I could go to 12 without a worry about fracturing loyalties more than they were already.
“We’re together,” I tell the everpresent cameras. I look at Peeta and he knows what to expect: we embrace for the sake of the viewing audience.
I always land on my feet.