The tracker jacker venom causes Katniss to have nightmares about Prim and her father getting hurt, as well as having her own body torn apart. Once the venom fades, however, and Katniss finally comes to, she doesn’t know how many days have passed. She tastes a honeysuckle, which reminds her of her hunting days with Gale—but suddenly, she’s reminded that Peeta may have saved her life by telling her to run. She can’t understand why he would do that, and instead focuses her thoughts on the fact that she now has a bow and arrows.
When Katniss wakes, she’s still confused as to why Peeta would risk his own life to save her. The thought doesn’t compute with her knowledge of the Games and survival.
Katniss sips her water and puts more ointment on her burns, realizing that she needs to search for water again. As she looks, she shoots a rabbit that crosses her path. Katniss comes across a stream that’s warm enough for her to bathe in, so she washes her clothing and hair after refilling her water bottle. Then she follows the water upstream, looking for game. She kills a type of bird she doesn’t recognize, but it looks edible. Katniss makes a fire around late afternoon and puts it out before dusk, warming the plucked bird over the hot coals. Katniss hears a twig snap behind her and whirls around, finding Rue hiding behind a tree trunk.
Rue has followed Katniss to this spot, and their earlier friendly exchange seems to hint that they can trust each other.
Katniss smiles and offers to make an alliance with Rue. She also offers Rue some meat, and in exchange, Rue helps Katniss treat her tracker jacker stings with a type of leaf. Katniss also shares her ointment with Rue, and as they eat, Rue reveals more about District 11. Although they’re the district that produces most of the food, they’re never allowed to eat the crops themselves, and the officials are much stricter there than they are in District 12. Public whippings are a common occurrence.
Katniss decides that she wants Rue for an ally, even though Rue appears to be one of the weaker tributes due to her size. Katniss can see strength where others cannot, and she also can't stop herself from wanting to protect the weak. Katniss also learns more about Rue’s district. She didn’t know anything about it before, since the Capitol makes sure that the districts don’t know very much about each other. She learns that Rue’s district is very poor as well and that they also struggle to get enough to eat, even though they’re the district that provides most of the food.
Rue and Katniss lay out their food and materials to share, and Rue recognizes the strange sunglasses from Katniss’s pack that Katniss dismissed for being useless in the sun. Rue says that the glasses are used to see at night. Katniss offers to share her sleeping bag at night, and Rue gratefully accepts the offer. That night, as the anthem plays, Katniss asks Rue how many other tributes have died and reveals that Peeta saved her life the other night. Rue responds that two tributes died from the tracker jacker stings, and the other Careers are recovering by the lake, but Peeta isn’t among them. He may have had to flee after helping Katniss.
Rue and Katniss share both supplies and information. Katniss, for example, didn’t know what the night vision glasses were for until Rue told her. By compiling their skills and knowledge, they become more powerful—which is exactly why the Capitol usually keeps the districts apart. Katniss is also still focused on the fact that Peeta saved her the other night.
Rue believes that the Careers are too strong to defeat—they have all the supplies and can’t go hungry. This helps Katniss formulate a plan. She tells Rue that they’ll have to change the Careers’ food situation.
In this situation, the fact that the Careers have always been well fed may be to Katniss and Rue’s advantage. If they’re able to destroy the Careers’ food stash, they can put the Career's into an unfamiliar situation of hunger. They can turn the Career's strength into a weakness.