Summary: Chapter 22
Katniss wakes after a long sleep to find Peeta recuperated. It’s raining hard outside so Peeta has arranged everything to keep them dry. Katniss feels weak from the wound on her head. She tells Peeta what happened at the feast and about Rue. She says Thresh was paying back a debt in letting her live, but Peeta wouldn’t understand because he’s not poor. Katniss says it’s like the bread he gave her and how she can never pay him back. She asks why he did that, and Peeta responds that she knows why. They talk about Cato and Thresh. Katniss feels upset, thinking she’s tired of the Games. She doesn’t want anyone else to die. She begins to cry and says she wants to go home.
Later, while they eat the last of the food, Katniss asks if Peeta knows what’s on the far side of the circle where the Cornucopia is, where Thresh stays. Peeta says it’s a field of shoulder-high grass. It makes him uneasy thinking about what can hide in there. Peeta’s description reminds Katniss of what they’re taught about the woods outside District 12, and she compares Peeta to Gale. While Peeta is not a coward, there are things he’s never questioned, like what the woods are really like. Gale questions everything. Katniss makes a joke about knocking Peeta out, and when Peeta becomes genuinely upset that she risked her life, she decides to use the romantic tension between them in the hopes of getting more gifts from Haymitch. But as she does this, she realizes she truly cares for Peeta. When they kiss, Katniss describes it as the first that both are fully aware of. Neither is sick or dazed by injury, and it’s the first kiss that makes her want another. Because of the cold, they share the sleeping bag again, and Peeta puts his arms around her. It’s the closest she’s ever felt to him, and nobody has made her feel so safe since her father died.
The weather is so bad the next day that they can’t go outside. Katniss knows they need food, but Haymitch isn’t sending any, so she wonders how she can ramp up the romance with Peeta. She asks him how long he’s had a crush on her, and he says since their first day of school. His father pointed her out and told Peeta he had wanted to marry Katniss’s mother, but she ran off with a coal miner who sang so well even the birds would stop and listen. When their teacher asked if anyone knew the valley song, Katniss raised her hand and sang it for the class. Peeta fell in love and had been unsuccessfully trying to talk to her ever since. The story makes Katniss feel suddenly confused. Their romance was supposed to be a fiction, but Katniss is beginning to feel like it’s real. Peeta jokes that she pays attention to him now because he has no competition there, and Katniss, thinking of what Haymitch would want her to say, says he has no competition anywhere. As they go to kiss, there’s a noise outside. It’s a basket of food from Haymitch.
Summary: Chapter 23
Unable to leave, Katniss and Peeta lie together and talk. Peeta points out that, if they make it back, Katniss won’t be a girl from the Seam anymore. People who win the Hunger Games are set up with houses in a separate section of the district called the Victor’s Village. Haymitch would be their only neighbor. They make a few jokes about him, and Katniss notices that he ignores Peeta and only communicates with her because she understands what he wants to see. They wonder how Haymitch won the Hunger Games, and Peeta guesses he must have outsmarted the other tributes. That night, Thresh’s picture is projected in the sky. Thresh is dead, and the news upsets Katniss. If they didn’t win, she wanted Thresh to, because he let her live and because of Rue. Only Foxface and Cato remain. Katniss and Peeta sleep in shifts, and when Peeta wakes Katniss he offers her some bread with goat cheese and apples. They make tarts like that at his family’s bakery, but they can’t afford to eat them. They mostly eat the stale leftovers. Katniss is surprised. She always thought the shopkeepers had everything.
While Katniss keeps watch, she thinks of what it would be like to win the Games. Her family would have all they need, and she wonders how not having to provide for them would change her identity. By morning, the rain has stopped, and they decide to hunt. They walk back to Katniss’s old hunting grounds, but Peeta with his wounded leg is so loud he chases off any game nearby. They walk for hours without catching anything, so Peeta suggests they split up. Katniss shows Peeta edible roots to gather and goes to hunt. After catching some rabbits and a squirrel, she heads back toward Peeta. They’ve been whistling back and forth to communicate. But she hasn’t heard him for some time, and she begins to panic when he doesn’t respond to her whistling now. Where they split up she finds she finds a pile of roots and some berries laid out on a tarp. He returns, explaining he was down by the stream collecting berries. While Katniss reprimands him, she notices some of their food has been eaten, and looking more closely at the berries she recognizes them as nightlock. The cannon sounds just before a hovercraft appears to take Foxface’s body. Peeta thinks Cato is near, but Katniss tells Peeta he’s the one who killed her and holds out the berries he collected.
Summary: Chapter 24
Katniss explains that the berries, some of which Foxface stole, are poisonous. In a way, Peeta outsmarted Foxface. They decide to hold on to the rest of the berries in case the same opportunity arises with Cato. Cato must know where they are now, so they cook their food and then head back to the cave they’ve been staying in. The night passes without any trouble, and when they leave the cave in the morning Katniss suspects it will be her last night in the arena. The Gamemakers will find a way to push Katniss, Peeta, and Cato together, and when they reach the stream, it’s totally dry. The Gamemakers have drained it. Every water source they check is the same, and they realize if they want water they’ll have to go to the lake by the Cornucopia.