Knees dig into my shoulders, pinning me down. This is familiar, I think as Clove sits hard on my chest, grinning down at me. “Where’s the fire, District Twelve?”
I don't say a word.
We’re the last three left since Thresh took out Cato at the Feast. Later, when the cannon fired and we found out Thresh had died, I was sure Clove did it. Out of madness or revenge. She might have even cared for Cato, whether out of district loyalty or actual friendship, I don’t know. I’m trapped, but this time I won’t scream out for Peeta. He won’t make it here before she’s slit my throat, and he’s in no condition to fight off Clove.
“Loverboy not here to save you this time either?” She bends down close to my face, the pressure of her legs tightens on my arms and it’s all I can do to turn away when she breathes hotly against my cheek, “Let’s see if I can make you scream for him.”
Clove opens her jacket and I see light glint off that curved, silver blade she seems to favour. She pulls back my collar and nicks my throat with the tip, the edge is so sharp I barely feel it. I'm barely breathing at all when she starts cutting at the buttons of my shirt, tracing the knife lightly down my chest. I won’t scream, I chant in my head. I won’t scream.
All of Panem are watching, probably at the edge of their seats. “I promised Cato if he let me have you, I’d give the audience a good show.” Is that why she’s dragging this out? A good show for the Capitol? The cut on my chest is stinging faintly, I feel it from my collarbone straight down to the middle of my breasts. It’s nothing, this is nothing, she’s just getting started. But how bad will it be before I’m finally allowed to die?
That’s when I feel Clove’s mouth close on my throat, where she first nicked the skin. I can’t move, can’t breathe. Cold shocks up my spine but I remain still. Everything is centered on that heat at my neck where her lips and tongue lap at my blood, my skin. I won’t scream.
When Clove’s lips start down my throat I finally let out the breath of air I've been holding. She cuts away my clothes so that they fall open at my sides. My breasts are exposed, and all that’s left covering me is my underwear. She stares up at me, and for the first time I realise her knees are no longer holding me down, but her knife is at my throat.
I tell myself I couldn't disarm her if I tried. If I wanted to.
“Where’s the fire District Twelve?” She repeats against the skin of my inner thigh, still looking up at me as she moves back to slice that same spot, deep enough that I let out a gasp of pain before I can stop myself. I won’t scream.
Her head ducks between my legs and I feel her tongue through the rough cotton of my underwear, pushing against something I’ve only heard whispers about at the Hob. My mouth gapes silently as I stare up at the sky. Everyone is seeing this, my sister, my mother, Gale. Clove uses her teeth and my hips arch against her mouth before I can think to stop them.
“Good girl,” she growls once she’s pulled back enough to cut away my underwear, flinging them off in a shredded heap somewhere. She rakes her nails through my pubic hair, then slowly parts the lips with her fingers. “Once more with feeling, Girl on Fire.”
This time there’s no barrier, her tongue presses on that place, my clit, full on. Clove’s dark hair feathers out against my thighs as I watch her head move in that awful back and forth that makes me clench my teeth and dig my feet into the ground, makes me want to... but I won’t. I won’t scream.
“Do it Twelve,” she demands hoarsely, mouth wet. “Do it.” She licks the blood from the wound at my thigh, smearing it on her lips.” Closed mouth kisses to my stomach, to my nipples. “Do it.” Her mouth presses open against mine and I taste it, I taste blood and me on her tongue. And I can’t. I won’t. But when she cups me I grind against her hand for more.
She bites my lip and pushes a finger up to the knuckle inside of me. I cry out, I writhe, but I don’t scream. Two fingers and I bite her tongue against the pain. My legs shake. I want it and I can't stop myself. It’s the rough way she pushes them into me, how hard it is for her to pull them out, like my body’s sucking them back in. And I know, I know, all of Panem can see this, can see me.
“Look at you Twelve, you're so tight around my fingers, so wet for me.” Clove heaves my cut-up thigh into the crook of her free arm and changes the angle of her fingers, thrusting them harder and deeper inside of me until something breaks, until my whole body shivers around her. I can’t scream.
She sucks on my nipple, teeth just on the edge of biting. “You’re on fire like this, getting fucked on my fingers, pushing on them for more, like it’ll never be enough.” She releases my leg to hold up the handle of her knife. “What if I fucked you with this Twelve, would you want it? Want this inside you? Fucking you?” I nod and then shake at the thought, at my need. Oh, I hate her. I hate myself.
Clove laughs and rushes to pull out her fingers, smirking at the noise I choke back, the way my hips lift for more. She bends down to kiss my hole in that same deep way she kissed my mouth. I squeeze my eyes shut against the sensation, against everything. All of Panem is watching. She wraps the shreds of my underwear around the blade until she can hold it without cutting herself and positions the handle at my hole. “You’ll like this, Katniss,” she whispers, rubbing at my clit softly with her thumb while she slowly pushes it in. “You’ll burn up over it.”
I scream and know there’s no going back.
Later, Clove’s lips will press against my ear with her blade resting at my throat, saying, “Let’s give the Games one more day.” She’ll pull my clothes back around me and then leave me with soft kisses to the cuts she inflicted, a last lick between my legs, and leave me in the grass until I’m ready to find Peeta.
Now, my body is convulsing under her hand, around the handle of her knife, and Clove kisses me and smiles, “There’s my Girl on Fire.”