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CHAPTER 9



I walk back to my room (with my glass of milk) wondering what Haymich meant by “It was my fault”. He couldn’t have killed his girlfriend. No way. I walk into my room and say “light”. The lights blear into my eyes “too bright” the lights immediately dim.

“Turn temperature up 3 degrees”. I say to the machine.

“Unable to comply”. A polite voice says.

“Why not?” I ask the voice

“These controls have been restricted.”

“By who?”

“Main control.”

I sigh this is my warning from the capitol. Either because I said I want to leave, or because I took katniss out in the garden. Either way I know I’ve been warned. I nod at the roof as if someone were watching.

“Well what temperature is I now?”

“Seventeen degrees Celsius and dropping”. Great this is going to be a cold one.

I hear a knock at the door I put a jacket on and open it. It’s the Avox girl. She makes a gesture of regret and begins to leave.

“No no, don’t worry I was just getting ready for bed.” If you need to do something please come in”. She looks at me questionably.

I step aside leaving a archway to enter. She complies and walks in. I shut the door and take the bracelet off my ankle. The Avox girl is dusting some flowers.

“I don’t know your name?” I say to her.

She looks at me unsure. I take a pen and a piece of paper from my desk draw. And pass it to her. She looks terrified, and starts scanning for cameras.

“That’s an order”. I smile. This makes her relax, because if there is any blame, it’s on me.

She takes the pen and spells Lavinia.

“Livina?” she nods

“That’s a nice name, I’m Peeta”. I hold out my hand.

She hesitates, but complies.

She walks past me and turns down the bed. She curtsy to me and is about to walk out the door. “Who was he?” I ask awkwardly.

She looks confused and then walks over to the pen and paper, and writes down . My brother, victor.

“I’m sorry”. I say softly. she cups my jaw, gesturing forgiveness. I smile.

She lets go and moves to a small portion of the wall. She pulls out the wall and a mettle panel appears. She presses a few buttons flicks a few switches it cowers back in the wall. And it disappears again. She gives me a comforting look, and leaves. I suddenly feel a breath of warmth brush my face. She turned the heat up. She could be killed for that. She risked her life for me.

I crawl into bed and pull the covers up to my chin. I fall asleep instantly.

I dream about Delly. I miss her. I wish she was here, to just talk and smile. She has the ability to make anyone smile, and laugh.

I wake up to a piercing scream. I sit up and run down the hall to katniss’s room, but I hear the shower going so I figure she’s okay. I walk back to my room and decide to take a shower also. After trying my hand at picking a scent, I decide on mint. I shower my self in the foam and then wash it off. I walk to my bed and lying on it is an outfit, obviously for training. It’s black. A bit boring but it looks easy to move around in.

I suddenly have an urge to paint it with blue and purple swirls and patterns. Like I do with the cakes back home. Mum always knew I loved that job. So she always saved it for me. She not the best mum, but there’s a good side of her that comes out occasionally.

I order the computer to show me files about our other victors. I ask it to read out firstly Cato’s file. It begins. While I’m getting ready I’m flooded with information about this boy.

His from district 2. He volunteered. He’s 6’2. Weights 183 pounds. Is 18. When the computer stops at the name of his stylists I ask the computer. “Is that it?”

“End of file” the voice says. And I get an idea.

“Computer read rue’s file”.

I spend the next 15 minuets learning about little rue. I understand katniss concerned face while we were watching the reaping. Rue is very much like prim.

“Age 12. District 11. Female. Height 4’8……”. When the computer stops, I’m ready to go.

I hear a knock at the door, expecting to see Effie. But instead Haymich takes me to breakfast. When we walk into the dining hall, katniss is sitting at the table eating breakfast. Wearing exactly what I’m wearing. With single braid. When she was a kid, she used to wear two braids.

“Good morning”. Haymich and I say at the same time. Katniss laughs.

“Good morning”. She says back.

I serve my plate up not taking much notice of what I put on it, but I make it a point to get myself that hot chocolate. After countless bowls of stew Hamich takes a long swig of his booze and says. “So let’s get down to business. Training. First off, if you like, I’ll coach you separately. Decide now.”

“Why would we wan to coach separately?” katniss ask.

“Say you have a secret skill you don’t want the other to know about”. He replies

Katniss and I exchange looks and nod in agreement.

“I don’t have any secret skills, and I already know yours right. I mean I’ve had enough of your squirrels.” I say.

We were always supplied nice meat because of katniss’s hunting skills.

Katniss looks confused for a split second then says

“You can coach us together”. And I nod.

“Alright then give me some idea of what you can do”. He says looking at us both.

“I cant do anything, unless you count baking bread?”. I ask, sort of hoping he says yes.

But of course he doesn’t. “Sorry I don’t. Now katniss I already know you’re handy with a knife”. He asks

“Not really but I can hunt with a bow and arrow”. She says shyly.

“And your good?” Haymich ask. He’s clearly never eaten the things she kills.

“I’m alright”. She says clearly instating her skill.

“she’s excellent. My father buys her squirrels he always comments on how the arrow never pierces the body. She hits everyone in the eye. It’s the same with the rabbits she sells to the butcher. She can even brings down a deer”. I finish.

Katniss looks a me suspiciously. “What are you doing?” She finally asks.

Haymich look at he raises his eyebrows and purses his lips mocking me. I give him a weak smile and turn my attention to katniss. I become frustrated at the question.

“What are you doing!” I say a little too loudly, but I continue. “If he’s going to help you he has to know what you’re capable of. Don’t underestimate yourself.” I say.

“What about you!” she says to my surprise “I’ve seen you in the market. You can lift fifty kilo bags of flour! Tell him that! That’s not nothing”. She finishes. In a weird way, im flatters that she notice’s me back home. But yet still angry.

“Yes I’m sure the arena will be full of bags of flour for me to chuck at people.” I say sarcastically. “It’s not like being able to use a weapon. You know it isn’t.” I say with conviction.

“He can wrestle”. Katniss states to Haymich. “He came second in our school competition last year. And only after his brother”. She say’s quickly.

“What use is that? How many times have you seen someone wrestle someone to death?” I say strongly.

“There’s always hand-to-hand combat! All you need is a knife. And you will at least stand a chance. If I get jumped I’m dead!” she yells.

I become increasingly frustrated and my anger takes over.

“ But you wont be! You’ll be living up in some tree eating raw squirrels and picking off people with arrows. You know what my mother said to me when she came to say goodbye to me, as if to cheer me? She said maybe district 12 will finally have a winner. But then I realized she didn’t mean me she meant you!” I yell.

“Oh, she meant you”. Katniss dismisses

“She said “she’s a survivor that one’ she is”. I say with a cowardly voice. This is the first time I’ve admitted publicly my mother disappointment in me. And she did say that. Before the games before all of this happened. It was Sunday late afternoon. And my father was doing the usual trade. And I remember my mother watching from a while. Almost proud when she saw her walk to dad with the squirrels. And I remember her saying, “She’s a survivor that one. She is”. And then turning to me sighing. “And you well…” and with that leaving.

The memory makes my eyes well up slightly. But I force them back.

“But only because some one helped me”. She finally says. I look down to the roll of bread she’s holding. I realize that she remembers. She remembers that.

I finally say “People will help you in the arena. They’ll be tripping over each other to sponsor you”. I say softly.

“No more then you”. She says. I roll my eyes. She doesn’t know does she? Everyone in the hob gives her a low price. All the boys back home like her. All the girls want to be like her. And she is noticeable. She’s obvious. And although she’s and acquired taste. She has an affect on people. Good or bad. At least people remember her.

I turn to Haymich. “She has no idea the affect she can have”. I don’t look at her. It’s too hard at the moment I don’t know why but it is. Instead I focus on running my finger along the table. The room is silent. Everyone is there, only the faint sound of a clicking clock.

“Well then….well well well. Katniss there’s no grantee there will be bow and arrows I the arena. But during the private session show them what you can do. Until ten stay clear of archery. Are you any good at trapping?” he asks.

“I know a few basic snares.” She mumbles

“That may be signifint in terms of food. And Peeta, she’s right never underestimate strength in the arena. Very often physically power tilts the advantage to a player. In the training center, they will have weights. Don’t revel how much you can lift in front of the other tributes. The plans the same for both of you. You go to group training. Spend the time learning something you don’t know. Throw a spear swing a mace. Learnt to tie a decent knot, save the best till your privet session’s. Are we clear?”. He finishes.

I’m surprised of his knowledge of the games. Maybe between all his drunken hazes he’s had time to think. I nod. I raise my eyebrows expectably at Haymich.

“Oh and one other thing, in public, I want you to be by each others side every moment”. He says not asks. I play along, both katniss and I start to object.

He slams his hand down on the table. “Every minuet!” he yells. “Its not open for discussion! You agreed to say as I said! You will be together. You will appear amiable to each other! Now get out. Meet Effie at the elevator at ten for training.” He dismisses.

Katniss storms back to her room and slams he door very loudly. I turn to Haymich.

“Well that was intense.” I say raising my eyebrows and smiling slightly.

Haymich laughs.

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