The Fighter of the Second Quarter Quell

Chapter 12: The Games, Day 6

A loud screech woke him up.

He was in a sitting position in a second, gripping the knife he had slept with in his hand tightly.

He crept to the mouth of the cave, low on his stomach as he looked around.

He saw an owl, on the ground, currently having a meal of a golden squirrel. He smiled, and sat up. The bird ignored the movement and kept eating.

He wondered when the animals entered the arena. Was it hours or days before the Games?

Were they real or just creations?

He went back inside and snacked on his last apple for breakfast. He stretched, packed his things, and left the cave, needing to stay on the move.

He knew there had to be a border to the Arena. If he reached it… he wasn't sure about what it would entail, but he had an inkling to find out.

He was walking for only a couple of minutes before he heard voices.

He stopped short, looking at the trees around him, but found no easy route out. If he started running, he would make noise and it would turn into a chase…

He sighed and pulled his larger knife from his waist, gripping the spear in his other hand tightly. He ignored that it was shaking.

He took a deep breath, feeling ready to fight whoever came towards him.

The laughing voices of the three Tributes soon faded, and Haymitch watched them enter the small clearing in the woods, bodies as tense as his as they stared at him.

One of them was armed with a small wooden club covered in dry blood. The other two had bruised knuckles and blood splatters on their gray shirts, but held no weapons in sight.

No words were exchanged.

Haymitch slowly readjusted the grip on his spear, and threw it. The one he aimed at ducked in time, and another one grabbed it and bent the handle, his muscles bulging as he worked to bend the metal. He let out a laugh as he tossed the now useless spear away. The one Haymich threw the spear at attacked, yelling out and coming right at him, holding the club in a good grip. He took a long time to set up his swing, giving Haymitch time to duck and reach up to give a good cut with his knife onto the boys' throat. He fell over quickly, blood splurting from the wound.

As the sound of the canon reverberated around them, Haymitch landed a good kick in the middle of the other boy's chest, sending him to the ground.

He blocked a hit from the third, the one who bent his spear, the one at least a foot taller and with a good hundred pounds on him, and landed a good punch to send him tumbling backwards.

Haymitch managed to grab the club from the dead hands of the first guy, and hit the large one square on the head, knocking him either dead or unconscious. The remaining one let out a yell, and Haymitch threw his arm forward to stab him with his big knife but he swerved out of the way, grabbed his arm tight, and twisted.

Haymitch let go of the knife as the other tribute yelled out in pain.

They struggled, throwing punches and trying to grab each other. He managed to strike the other kid in the jaw, his mouth splitting out blood, but he provided a counter attack and Haymitch's ears rang at the hit to his temple.

The boy was now trying to get a grip of his neck, and his fingers were close to his mouth… Haymitch reached forward and bit hard on two fingers he managed to grab.

He ignored the scream as he spit out what he could and reached forward to quickly snap his neck.

Maysilee was right.

He would have no trouble doing it.

But then again, he had been flirting, however in his twisted way of talking about snapping necks. In the situation where it was literately life or death, he figured anything was possible.

Haymitch let out a heavy sigh at the next canon. He shoved the dead wight off of him and scrambled away from the three bodies, catching his breath as he crawled away.

He sighed, and stood up.

He then heard a yell and turned in time to the large one come at him, with one of Haymitch's knives in hand. He sighed, frustrated he didn't check each of their pulses... Haymitch ducked the blow in time, but the Tribute moved his arm and hit him with the handle on his cheek. He yelled out as he felt strong arms grab him and then move him to a death grip, an arm around his throat tightly, the serrated blade cutting into his skin on his chest.

Haymitch yelled and thrashed out behind him, but didn't do good enough damage, the boy was big and strong. He winced and closed his eyes at the dizziness, his breath catching.

So this was his time.

He thought he would make it farther, but he wasn't good enough as these guys.

His vision started blurring, his breaths shortening, and he welcomed the end. The boy tightened his grip around his throat, and Haymtich gasped.

He shouted out "Cowards!" as his last words. To the Gamemakers and the Tribute himself…

And then he heard the distinct sound something flying through the air and the silent plunking sound of something hitting skin.

The grip around him loosened and Haymitch broke loose, falling to the ground, breathing in the grass and fresh air with much gratitude. While he gasped for breath he reached to his boot to get his next knife out of its sheath, getting ready for the tribute who wanted him next.

He heard a few steps nearby and he turned over onto his back, not strong enough to get to his feet, but gathering the power to do so.

"You're better at hand to hand than I thought you would be," he heard an all too familiar voice.

And after second or two, just like the night of the interviews, Maysille's face appeared right above him.

This time instead of a frown, it was a grin. And instead of her hair falling down around him, she had a simple braid falling over her shoulder.

"And you are a lot smarter… as well as quiet, but not quite enough. I could hear you from a mile away yesterday," he replied, grinning back, reaching down to put the knife back in his boot.

Her smile faltered before she pulled back. He sat up gingerly.

"I knew somebody was watching me! Damn you, where were you hiding?"

"I'm not great at it, but sometimes having a bird's eye view is worth the trouble," he said, motioning up at the trees around them.

Haymitch moved to stand up and Maysilee took a step back, her body stiff but not in a threatening way.

They both stood there silently, Haymitch still catching his breath, Maysilee looking down at the three bodies around them before she turned back to him. He noticed a small spark in her eyes, and then she spoke.

"We'd live longer with the two of us…" she said, still guarded.

Haymitch only grinned.

"I guess you just proved that," he said, and Maysilee nodded before she let down her guard, her body noticeably relaxing.

"May…" he wasn't sure how to thank her.

At the nick-name, her eyebrows furrowed and she shook her head.

He sighed, and motioned to the dead bodies.

In silence, they searched the bodies, finding nothing but stuffed leaves and dirt in their packs. Haymitch ditched the club, but picked up his spear, shaking his head at the bent handle. It would be useless unless he found a way to break the metal...

"It won't break. It's ruined, leave it," she said, standing near the edge of the clearing, waiting impatiently.

He sighed, and nodded.

"Should've grabbed more," he muttered, walking towards her.

She tilted her head.

"Shall we bury it? Hold a eulogy? It might be better than-" a large horn interrupted her, and the familiar sound of the Capitol hovercraft approaching was heard.

She sighed, and shook her head.

"C'mon, they make it louder if you don't leave quickly enough," she yelled over the sound, turning and walking away.

He followed.

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