Chapter 1--The Day Before the Reaping
(Y/N): Your name
(F/P): Favourite Pastry
(H/C): Hair Colour
It couldn't have come any quicker.
So you thought, dressing up for what may be the final time in typical casual everyday clothes--a simple button-up shirt and a pair of dark brown capris and dark brown boots, with your (H/C) hair tied in a simple ponytail. You actually liked it that way, being able to do anything without your hair getting in the way of your eyes. It had its perks.
After that, you headed downstairs and quickly got yourself a glass of water. "Morning, mom," you greeted her.
She turned to you as she dried up a dish, smiling at you. "Hello, (Y/N)," she greeted you warmly.
You drained the glass in one go and then got yourself some breakfast she cooked herself--some eggs and flat bread and milk were all you had every day. Not that you minded, though. It was filling, and it was always made out of care and love.
"You know mom, if I do get reaped, at least I get to die somewhat in comfort," you shrugged.
This made your mom drop her towel. "Wh-what?"
"Mom, have you already forgotten? The reaping is tomorrow," you reminded her blandly, taking a bite out of my toast.
"I know, I know," your mom said. She heaved a big sigh. "I just want you to be okay, to be safe."
You laughed hollowly. "Mom. What with the Capitol at our backs all the time, I'm pretty sure we're not always going to be safe."
"If only we can just...get rid of this rebellion thing completely," your mom sighed.
You only shook your head, though. Wishing isn't exactly going to get us anywhere. "What's past is past," you shrugged. "But as long as the odds aren't in my favour, I'll be here with you by your side, all the time."
Your mom chuckled and gave you a spontaneous hug. "I'll remember that, (Y/N)."
You laughed as you ate your breakfast. Your mom is literally the best person and your best friend in the world, and you couldn't have been happier in her company. Your dad died when you was younger, due to a mining accident, so naturally, you've grown close to your mom and cared for her very deeply.
Just then, you heard a knock on the door. Eggs still in mouth, you were about to stand and get the door, but my mom beat you to it with her brisk fast pace.
"Crap," you muttered, you mouth stuffed with food as you tried to chew and swallow.
The door opened, and you heard your mom have a chat with the person at the door.
"Yes, do come in," she finally said, and in walked...Peeta Mellark.
The sight of him made your stomach do flips. There he was, your best friend since your very first day of school and your friend throughout the years. Ashy blond hair fell in wisps onto his forehead, and he walked with a steady and slow tread towards you, just as you were swallowing the last of your milk.
"Hello, (Y/N)," Peeta greeted you, a wide smile plastered on his face at the sight of you.
You waved and wiped your mouth with a napkin. "Hello, Peeta," you greeted him back, trying to keep a neutral tone. "How're you faring?"
"Oh, I'm alright," Peeta shrugged. "Just...nervous about tomorrow."
You nodded. "Yeah. Me too."
"At least we'll get a full day and a bit together tomorrow," Peeta reminded you. "The reaping isn't till 2 o'clock tomorrow, anyway."
"When we have to meet in front of the Justice Building, all dressed up as well as we can," you joked. "Though if we do get reaped, the stylists would probably do a better job amplifying us to please the crowds."
"Oh no, don't remind me," Peeta almost groaned, and you laughed.
Neither of you noticed your mom smiling to herself as she witnessed you and Peeta make small talk over the Hunger Games. Since she made that assumption that you liked Peeta Mellark for the longest time after your very first day of school, at 5 years of age, you constantly denied her, saying that you and he were friends. But now you came and thought about it, maybe your mom was right. Every time Peeta reached his hand out, you never hesitated to hold on to it. Every time he smiled, you couldn't help but feel a slight melting sensation in your chest, as if you'd die just to see that smile light up the room, light up your day. You confessed those feelings to your mom over time, and eventually you did come to that conclusion.
But did Peeta feel the same way?
"I brought you these, by the way," Peeta told you, holding up a bag of (F/P) from the bakery.
You smiled and opened the bag to reveal your favourite bakery treats. "How did you know?"
"I guess my dad's feeling a bit sentimental towards everyone," Peeta joked. "I mean, what with the reaping coming up and everything anyway. You never expect a lot from District 12 tributes anyway."
"You're right," you shrugged. "Expect the tide to go for the worse once we're in the arena or something," you added, taking out a piece of (F/P). "You want one?" you asked Peeta.
Peeta nodded. "Sure. Thanks," he smiled, gingerly taking the pastry from your hand. As he did so, your fingers brushed against his, and you couldn't help but feel a slight adrenaline drive.
"You alright?" Peeta asked you.
You nodded. "Yeah. Sorry. Just zoned out."
"I know. The stress of going out there tomorrow," Peeta agreed.
"It's the Capitol's way of saying 'be grateful for everything we did for you,'" you shrugged. "I mean, we did start that revolution."
Peeta let out a long sigh as he raised a hand to his hair, running it through once. "I guess so."
"Alrighty you two," your mom chuckled, grinning to see you two in conversation. "Why don't you guys head outside? It's a nice day out."
You immediately translated that to I won't try to interrupt you talking with Peeta since I know how much you are crushing on him.
"Sure, mom," you nodded, holding out a hand to Peeta. "Come on."
"Thought you wouldn't ask," Peeta smiled, grasping your hand as you lead him outside.
The sun was beckoning to you now as it shone in the azure sky. Several birds flew overhead. The ground was uneven, but you didn't mind that as you and Peeta walked around town, hand in hand in comfortable silence. There was the occasional Hunger Games greeting being exchanged among townsfolk and people of the Seam too, and it made you feel significantly lighter. Though you had to face the prospect of losing two people to the Capitol.
"Hey (Y/N)! Hey Peeta!"
You turned around to see your other childhood friend, Delly Cartwright, join you with a grin and a wave.
"Hey Delly," you greeted her with an open arm. Being Delly, she's one of these happy-go-lucky, bubbly people who always seemed to see the good side of you even if you least expect it. It was her sunny quality that made you feel fortunate to be with her.
"So...what you guys up to?" Delly asked.
Peeta shrugged. "Nothing much. Just strolling around."
"Ooh. I see," Delly nodded. "Um, do you want me to join you? It's okay if you don't."
"Of course you can!" you laughed. "The more the merrier."
"Oh thank goodness," Delly sighed dramatically as she fell in step with you and Peeta. "I was only worrying about the reaping you know. I mean, what with so many people out there...gone every single year...you think we'd stand a chance this year?"
You laughed hollowly. "It depends, I guess. Though I haven't failed to take a lookout for...what was her name...Katniss? Katniss Everdeen?"
"Oh, I heard she's a great contender," Delly nodded in agreement. "I mean, Peeta, you said--"
"Yeah," Peeta nodded, his eyes glazing over at the mention of Katniss's name. "I mean, it's mostly my dad making the comment of how skilled she can shoot."
"And what about the other guy? Gale, or was it something like that?" Delly asked you.
You nodded. "Gale's also not to be underestimated. Or overestimated, for that matter, I guess. I mean, he's older than most of us, in his final year of reaping. So I guess you can say the odds could be in his favour."
At the mention of Gale's name this time, Peeta's face hardened.
"Peeta? Everything okay?" you asked, squeezing his hand gently.
Peeta nodded. "Yeah, I...whoa. Sorry. I just zoned out."
You nodded and chuckled. "Not that different from me, eh?"
"AWWW, you two are adorable!" Delly cried, which made you blush and Peeta laugh nervously.
"Thanks," you simply said, shrugging it off.
The three of you then got to the bakery, otherwise known as Peeta's home, where the baker and his two older sons were busy working by the ovens.
"Ahh, the amazing smell of bread," Delly sighed, inhaling the scent deeply.
You just grinned. "You can say that again."
"Hey dad," Peeta waved.
The baker finally turned around to see you, Peeta, and Delly together, you and Peeta still holding hands.
"Hi," one of Peeta's older brothers waved. "Oh my GOD, Peeta! If mom catches you holding hands with a girl..."
"Relax," Peeta assured him, tightening his grip around your hand, making you feel your heart flutter. "She's just a friend, remember?"
Immediately, your heart plummeted, but you nodded. "Yeah," you smiled. "We're friends. We're all good."
"Alright then," Peeta's brother nodded.
"What can I get for you?" the baker asked Delly.
"I would like...a box of 6 strawberry tarts," Delly eventually decided.
The baker obliged as he got Delly's request prepared, though he couldn't help but steal a glance at you and Peeta, still holding hands. Unknowingly, he was also rooting for you and Peeta since the very first day of school, and he, like your mom, thought you were the perfect person for Peeta.
"Thank you, sir," Delly smiled as she received her tarts and paid.
"Have a good day, sir," you waved after a bit.
The baker smiled and waved back as you all made your way out of the bakery.
"I gotta go, actually," Delly apologized. "My mom needs me back for lunch." She gave you both a hug. "See you guys!"
"Bye!" You and Peeta waved as Delly ran back to her place, and then Peeta turned to you.
"Well...do you want to hang out in our backyard?" Peeta asked you, a slight blush forming on his cheeks.
You nodded. "Sure."
An hour later, you were stuffed on deliciously baked cheese buns and drinking lots of milk and apple juice, sighing in satisfaction as you leaned back on the tree.
"Wonderful day, isn't it," Peeta murmured.
You nodded. "Peeta...I...I wish...I wish we don't have to go to that reaping," you finally whispered. "I am tired of seeing everyone go up there rooting for the tributes from our districts, feeling disappointed when we get killed--"
"It's a part of the history," Peeta shrugged. "But now you mention it...I hope they don't change me, if I get reaped. Like, if I want to die...I have to remember who I still am. I'm a citizen of 12, not a monster."
You nodded. "I know. I know what you mean," you said, reaching your hand out for him, which he took. "But just remember, if one of us gets reaped, we'll still be there for each other, even if we don't feel that."
Peeta smiled and chuckled. "Yeah. I...I was hoping that. I'm so fortunate to have you as a friend, (Y/N)."
The two of you then kept holding hands, you making a silent debate on whether or not you should tell him that you had a serious crush on him. It was true. You can't deny your mom by this point, but the timing probably wasn't right. If you were reaped, or he was reaped, or if you were both reaped and certain you were going to your deaths, then it'd sound wrong. But if you two were saved from the Capitol for another year...that would just bring another round of torturous feelings in your chest. And if Peeta didn't accept you, then you'd be hurt and you'd probably injure a friendship. So you decided to keep your thoughts to yourself as you let your hand relax in Peeta's, feeling the warmth from his hand run through your veins.
Finally, after a long day of chatting and reliving your childhoods, you and Peeta walked back to your place together. Just as he was going to drop you off, you unexpectedly wrapped your arms around him, and it took a few seconds for Peeta to respond, wrapping his arms around you in return.
"Thanks for everything today," you whispered.
"Hey. At least we can give each other moral support before tomorrow," Peeta chuckled. "It's the least I can do."
"Mm." You hummed as you let go. "So, see you tomorrow?"
"Wear something pretty," Peeta joked, and you laughed as you gave each other a final wave, you heading inside, and Peeta going back to the bakery.
"Where have you been?" your mom called from the kitchen.
You shrugged. "Just at his place. Talking. Comforting each other."
Your mom only chuckled as you made your way to the kitchen, busily preparing your dinner, and you tried to make the best of the situation since you figured it could be the last time you would be eating with her. As you laid in bed later that evening, you wondered how you would be able to cope with tomorrow. What if you were reaped? What if Peeta was reaped? What if both of you were reaped? What if you both died in the arena? What if...what if you went to your grave never getting that secret out of your mouth?
The questions eventually died in your brain as you closed your eyes, surrendering yourself to the endless world of dreams.
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