|Of Birds and Music
Author: Ely-Baby PM
For the first time in their life, they don't have to follow anybody's rules, they don't have to fight or pretend to be something that they aren't or to have something that they don't have. They are themselves and have each other and that is all that matters to them. Post Mockingjay. KatnissxPeeta.Rated: Fiction M - English - Romance/Hurt/Comfort - Katniss E. & Peeta M. - Chapters: 12 - Words: 44,857 - Reviews: 41 - Favs: 34 - Follows: 50 - Updated: 10-27-12 - Published: 09-11-12 - id: 8516622
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Author's Note: Do I have to be honest like a kiss on the lips or like a barefoot run (sorry, was looking what honest is like on Google and that it what came out)? It is a bit distressing not to have reviews (almost) at all.. I understand that the Hunger Games fandom is much smaller than the Harry Potter one, but still.. I am not so used to this! Come on, unleash your imagination and review this already... Sure, that is stupid coming from me, since I am not writing for the glory, but rather out of necessity, but I like to have reviews. They make me feel good. And reviews are love..
The woods are silent today. I thought the temperature was too cold for hunting, but just a few yards after the fence I spotted two rabbits and a wild turkey. I didn't shoot them though. Considering the amount of game I saw I decide that this would have been the perfect day for me to have Peeta as a hunting partner, I would have managed to get something in the bag even with his noisy steps behind me. I didn't invite him though. I didn't even tell him that I was coming here this morning. I know will worry the moment he notices I am gone. Not because he thinks that wherever I am or whatever I'm doing, I don't know how to take care of myself. I think we made that clear enough in the past three years. No. He knows that I am upset and that he is the cause. What he doesn't know is that I am upset and he is not the cause. I am the cause.
I reach the lake and strip of everything I am wearing. It is chilly, every day it is getting chillier and chillier, but I really don't care today. I dive into the lake, I am proud of myself because I am sure that I am no worse than someone from District Four. I dive and open my eyes underwater. For a moment everything seems clear, everything is quiet and makes sense. It was in these same woods that I said out loud what I think. Surely, it was not the first time that I thought it, but it was here that I voiced my thoughts out loud to Gale.
I don't want to have children.
At first I thought it was because of the Games, but now that there are no Games anymore, I just think that this world is too flawed to even consider bringing a life into it. Maybe if I were born centuries into the future, in a world where I have never been hungry, alone, desperate or on the verge of dying for someone's pure entertainment, I could think about give someone heirs. But this is not the case now. The very thought of it scares me to death.
I have to come up for air, but after I have taken some long breaths and relaxed, I dive again. The water is muddy and every time I open my eyes they hurt. But I want to see things around me, I don't like to be where I have no idea of what awaits me.
I think of Peeta and of this morning. Granted, it is getting colder and colder, especially in the mornings, and it is exactly for that that I snuggle closer to him, but that doesn't mean that I am not happy with the sleeping arrangements that we have been having so far. He hugs me in the evening and I manage to fall asleep and sleep through the night with a really small amount of nightmares. We kiss. We spoon and do all the things that couples usually do. Everything, except that thing.
I am not afraid, and even though they say that the first time it usually hurts rather than it being pleasant – for a girl at least – I am sure it will never be worse than whatever happened to me in the past. Burnt, cut, strangled. I am sure I can take a bit of pain that every other girl has taken. It is not even a question of love. I love Peeta and there is nothing I wouldn't do for him. But I just can't.
I come up once again and this time I stay on the surface, with my nose and my eyes out and my mouth under water. I don't want to scream for the frustration, not in the woods at least.
I replay my conversation with Peeta. Our kisses, our hearts beating furiously, his hands on me going south, following the curves of my body. I can feel him on my back. Hard, raw, almost embarrassing. He nuzzles at my neck and I can feel his hands trying to hook down my pants. I have a weird feeling at the bottom of my stomach, like when I miss a step. Only, it is kind of pleasant as it keeps going on, even now that I am thinking about it.
"Peeta, no!" I whisper urgently, and he stops immediately. I think he is taken aback, maybe hurt by my refusal, but he doesn't understand.
"I love you, Katniss," he breaths against my ear. "Trust me."
Why should I trust him with this I don't know. Has he had a girl before me? Probably he had. The very thought of it makes me mad with jealousy, so I push it at the back of my head. "I trust you, but…just not yet…"
He is silent, absolutely petrified. He is not forcing me into anything, but I am sure that in his head he is thinking what a horrible person he is. I roll in his direction and away from him, giving me some space to look at him in the eyes.
"What's wrong?" he whispers, looking right back at me.
What's wrong I know too well. With famines, diseases and executions, the population of Panem has always been of great concern for our dear President Snow. Teach the masses how to procreate and continue the species, that was the mission of the compulsory hour of sexual education we had everything week. My least favorite subject ever. I hated how they portrayed something so private in such a cynical way. Naturally, they didn't teach us how to prevent a pregnancy, but only how to conceive in the best way possible.
"I don't want to have children," I say, looking at him straight in the eyes. I try to keep my voice even and not to let out any emotions.
He seems a bit taken aback, as if he doesn't recollect me saying anything like this before, or even if he had, he looks like he hasn't thought I was serious enough, or that once the war was over, I would have changed my mind. The question leaves my lips before I can stop myself, "Do you?"
He is trying hard not to let any emotion appear on his face, but his eyes, which are as clear as the sea, say that deep inside, he can see himself with a child at some point of his life. "I guess," he replies softly. As if he knows that his eyes are betraying his emotions he closes them and shakes his head slightly to clear his ideas. "But I am not thinking about children now, Katniss. I am thinking about you and me." He opens his eyes again and stretches his hand to touch my hair, he pulls a lock behind my ear and says, "I love you." Then he adds, "Real."
I grab his wrist and keep his hand over my face as I turn slowly and kiss his palm. Then I move it away and lean in to kiss him. "I love you too." A huge improvement since the moment when Gale told me that he loved me and I said that I knew. Learning from my mistakes. I'm proud of myself.
We don't say anything else. We barely breath, but none of us gets back to sleep. Peeta is hugging me, and I have my face hidden in his chest, I like to follow his body going up and down with its breathing. Then the morning comes, he has to go and bake some bread for the people who are coming to live in District 12 and I just disappear as soon as he is in the kitchen.
I get out of the water and notice that, if possible, it is even colder than before. Weirdly enough, the water is almost warm, or probably it's my body that got used to that temperature. The trees are losing their leaves already and the wind starts blowing viciously. I grab my clothes, that I had the great idea of placing under a rock, and get to the hut. All I need is fire to dry my skin and my hair before I get back home. I admit that I know very little about healing and curing people, but one thing that I have learned at my own expenses is that you should not go around in cold like I have just done – naked and wet. Better to get dry really soon and go back.
And naturally, yes. I do catch the worst flu ever. I can't smell, food loses its flavor, I shiver all the time and I can't keep anything in my stomach. My body reaches temperatures that I couldn't think possible and I can't make out dreams from reality. I am aware of Peeta sitting next to me for most of the time. He speaks to me and his voice is incredibly deep or incredibly high, slow and fast, distorted. I look at him but don't understand a word he says. Greasy Sae comes too and helps me drinking plenty of fluids. I have a clear imagine of Haymitch towering over me at some point, but I don't know if he is actually there. There are trees all around him and mockingjays are singing every time he speaks so I don't know what he is saying.
I wake up and then fall asleep and then wake up again and feel like I haven't slept at all. I feel nauseated every time I try to lift my head, Peeta's hands had never felt stronger than now. He lifts me, he makes me take an ice cold bath, he keeps my hair from my face when I vomit in the bathroom. He makes me feel like I am made of thin paper.
I feel like the fever has gone on for years, but as soon as my mother comes into the room and empties the whole inside of a syringe into my veins and I regain a sense of normality, I am informed that I have been like this for three days.
"Just three days?" I ask weakly. "Are you sure? I feel like I have been on this bed forever."
My mother smiles and I finally get a glimpse of her after all the time we have been apart. She looks much more beautiful than I have ever seen her. Her blonde hair gathered in a tidy braid, her face and hands scrubbed and her green dress is just beautiful.
"Peeta called me two days ago," she says, taking a seat next to my bed. "Beside himself, the poor boy. He found you passed out near the fence."
I try to think and remember, but after I have left the hut in the forest everything is blurred and confused. I don't remember reaching home.
"He tended to you non-stop for three days."
I look around to see if he is there, but we are alone.
"I sent him off to bed," my mother replies as if reading my thoughts. "He was absolutely crushed by the fact that your fever was so high for so long. He didn't know what to do, didn't eat nor sleep. Just stayed at your side all the time."
I feel a headache kicking in. "I know he's a caring and kind person," I say.
"He loves you," my mother say gently.
"And I love him," I reply so softly I hope she doesn't get it. It doesn't make me comfortable to talk to my mother about this.
"Peeta told me what happened before you ran away," she goes on shamelessly. Today is probably my least favorite day ever. I wake up delirious and have a conversation with my mother about boys and sex. Nothing could make this day more special.
I groan. "Really?"
She nods, opens her bag that I just now notice – real doctor's bag, like the ones they had at the Capitol – and take out a medium size glass jar, like the ones Peeta uses to keep his sugar flowers for the cakes he frosts. Inside there are thousands of dried, little leaves, black in color and round in shape, all crumpled together and half broken.
"This are Silphium leaves," she says, opening the tap and letting some of them falling on her palm. They are odorless. "You put one of these in a glass of water and let it melt, once the water turns greenish you drink it." She puts the leaves back into the jar and closes it. "Every day at the same time. Drink this for the rest of your life and the Mellark-Everdeen family will be extinct after you and Peeta." She looks at me with something in her eyes. Hope? "If you change your mind, just stop drinking it. Effect is immediate."
I don't really know what to say. My mother is talking to me like a doctor would talk to a patient, but still, the whole conversation about contraceptives methods make me feel more than uncomfortable. I can hear Peeta's voice echoing in my mind. "You are so pure, Katniss." Sorry, if I don't go around talking about these things to everybody.
I feel my headache getting more acute. "I think I need another syringe of that thing you gave me," I tell my mother.
"You do," she replies, matter-of-factly, "but you have to wait twelve hours for the next shot. Same thing for the other three shots."
I feel even worse than before. "You mean that I am not miraculously cured?"
My mother organizes the upcoming two days with a tight schedule. Effie would be so proud of her. She and Peeta alternate at my bed with four-hour-shifts, but somehow my mother always disappears right after my injections, leaving me alone with Peeta in the half hour of lucidity that whatever my mother is giving me – I trust her enough not to ask – grants me. I am still a bit irritated with him because of his absolute candor with my mother. I suppose and hope that he asked her for her medical opinion.
The first time I am awake and lucid is slightly awkward for both of us, not knowing where to start. I am not the talker anyway, but the silence on Peeta's part is more distressing than mine for me. Finally, he raises his eyes from our hands and smiles weakly. "You scared me, Katniss," he says, "you left and never came back. It was the middle of the night when I finally found you." He squeezes my hand. "Passed out in the rain. Hot with fever. I didn't know how long you've been there."
His words hurt. I feel like I am the cause of someone's misery all over again.
"I'm sorry if I did something that you didn't like," he adds.
And his words are killing me now.
"Peeta," I call his name feebly. I want to explain, but first of all I want him to do is stop talking. "You didn't do anything," I say reassuringly, "and I didn't want to do anything drastic, I just went to the lake to swim and… I guess it was too cold and got sick too suddenly and just couldn't make it home." I take a deep breath, thinking that this wouldn't have happened back in the days. I must still be weak from the war which only ended months ago.
"Why would you go swimming with this cold?" he asks as if he would like to add how silly I am.
That is a good question. "I just needed to think things through."
"You were upset."
"Maybe," I say vaguely.
"With me," he replies and it's not a question.
I jump at the occasion. "Not real," I say quickly. "With me." I take a deep breath and find out that my ribcage hurts a little. "I love you and I want to be with you, but I was scared." I stretch my hand towards the jar and tap my fingers on it. "My mother brought me contraceptive leaves." I shoot him a dirty look. "Because apparently someone had told her everything about what happens in our bedroom."
"She is a doctor. Doctors know best," he says defensively.
"Anyway," I continue, "as soon as I get better I can't see why we should not try them out." I start fidgeting a little, talking about it only makes it worse for me, but I have to ask. "Have you ever…" I raise my eyebrows and look straight at him.
"Oh, yes. Let me see." He is counting on his fingers. "Exactly, never."
I feel a bit reassured. "Not even Delly?" I tease him.
"Right! I forgot about Delly, it was a hot summer evening…"
"Peeta!" I say with all my forces. For the first time, I feel something that I only felt with Gale. I am jealous. I have never thought Peeta could think that way of anybody else in the world but me. I wish he is joking.
"What? Oh, sorry, are you the only one who can tease here?" he says, laughing.
"Yes," I pout. I have never pouted in my whole life and it feels strange, it must be the fever coming back, "because I am sick." Then something dawns in my mind. "Don't you want to know if I have ever been with anybody at all?" I ask offended, he thinks I am a total inexperienced person when it's up to love stuff. The fact that he is right is irrelevant.
He shakes his head. "I don't want to know," he says. Obviously he thinks he knows everything already and I know that the name he is thinking about is Gale. I am too tired and too dizzy now to tell him that I have never done anything but kissing him. I sink into the bed and pat a spot next to me. My eyes are already heavy with the raising fever, but I see Peeta lying next to me. I snuggle closer to him and he hugs me. I start babbling something, I feel drunk and he laughs softly at me. But I don't know why and soon it doesn't matter as I slid back to oblivion.
My mother says that she had injected me with an experimental drug that should cure flu, cough and other basic but annoying illnesses in half the time normal drugs do. In fact, if she had come straight away I would have been cured three days earlier.
I walk her to the station and she says that she will come and visit me soon or that I can go to District Four to see her and meet Newell. Who this Newell is remains a mystery, but I am sure she means a fellow doctor. I hug her and she waves from the train until she doesn't disappear. Once she is gone, I hurry back home, Peeta is waiting for me and he makes me eat something solid while I sit on the couch with Buttercup on my lap. We fall asleep watching Plutarch's new singing program with Peeta commenting that none there has a voice that makes the birds stop singing.