If I could read your mind
Peeta/ Katniss: One shot. Peeta's thoughts as they return to District 12.
I look at her for a moment. I can tell she's apprehensive, scared of me even. It's not her fault. I understand. It was all just a lie.
I hold out my hand and she takes it, so tightly that it's as if we're back in the chariot-before the games even started. I'm not sure if she's doing it to show me she's there for me or to hold herself up this time. If only I knew what to say, but the words won't come. There's nothing I can say really.
Gale. That's his name. Is she looking forward to seeing him? Or is she too busy preparing what to say? How to act. Haymitch always knew how I felt...but it's too much to believe that in those three long weeks we spent together in the games, after all we survived and all that we face now, that she felt nothing at all. If only I could believe that.
As the train draws up at the station we see them. District twelve are all waiting. Smiling, waving, shouting. Thankful to have us back. Partly, I suppose I understand. If we had killed each other when we returned the other would have been hated. District 12 weren't going to let something like that go. The only bright side to this was that my mother would see I was stronger than she thought-but she had been right about Katniss, she was a fighter.
I'm not sure what to say, if I should, how to ask her. I can tell that she's trying to push me out, that she can't accept what she's feeling. Even if it's what I want her to feel.
"Peeta..." she speaks first, I'm surprised, maybe I can't read people as well as I thought. I turn to her, squeezing her hand in return.
"Yes?" she just stares at me helplessly, the pain in her eyes is worse than knowing she could have died tenfold in the games.
The act is coming into play, or maybe she's just used to our closeness now after so long, because she leans her head against my shoulder silently. Just standing there, saying nothing, and staring ahead of herself. There isn't anything more that needs to be said really. She knows how I feel, I thought she believed me, I thought she returned that but perhaps I was foolish for considering it.
Haymitch enters the carriage where we are, followed by Effie Trinket, who as usual is beaming at us. She talks about how it's a "Big , big day today". It's her usual catchphrase, I pay no attention, and neither does Katniss, she's still staring out the window at the faces. Effie eventually leaves the compartment and gets off the train, explaining to the people of district 12 they have to move back for us. Haymitch just looks at us. I know he can tell something has happened between us. He sighs a little unhappily, for once I think he might actually be completely sober...but I suppose this is a momentum day for district 12. This is the first time in the history of the hunger games that someone had won aside from Haymitch. Not only that two people won. The capitol are not pleased though, Haymitch and Katniss knew that. Why, I didn't realise I don't know.
He walked towards me and puts a comforting hand on my shoulder, and quietly so that Katniss cannot hear says
"It wasn't all a lie, boy," I make to look at him but his hand is firm on my shoulder, not to alert Katniss to this exchange. I nod stiffly. He moves away, following Effie out to the crowd and do a much better job of moving them than she does.
It's time for us to see our friends and family again, the people who've watched us survive and kill, those who apparently love each other. A sad, hopeless dream. An act. We walk to the doorway together and stand there. There are cheers and smiles for the children who came home. In the other 11 districts twenty two families are mourning the loss of their children. I swallow hard, I don't want to think about it. Especially not Cato...and the Mutts, what they did.
On cue Katniss smiles , as do I, wrapping my arm around her waist and holding her to me. We watch the faces without a trace of fear but I can feel Katniss shaking next to me. I myself find it hard to look at them. I don't want Gale to be there.
There are chorus' for a kiss for the camera and she looks at me, smiling. It's fake but not like before. Before, it didn't seem fake. Maybe, Haymitch is right. Maybe, it wasn't fake at all. Easily she kisses me, it's not as if she hasn't before, but I know that she's not happy, that she feels like she's lying. I can't help but wish I knew what she's thinking. If it wasn't for shaming her I would cry, I'm not afraid to admit my weakness. Not afraid to say that she had been mine for a long time before the games.
As we descend from the train I see my reflection in the meticulously shined brass. I look drained, my blonde hair fairer, my blue eyes more noticeable, my skin noticeably darker from my time in the arena. More than anything I can see why Katniss is afraid to stare at me and speak. I look haunted, my eyes are lifeless, the energy gone. Is this what it looks like to have your heart crushed?
I suppose it is.
As I stand on the platform I turn to Katniss who is still on the metal steps. She smiles at me and I lift her to the ground. As I place her feet next to mine she whispers in my ear.
"I miss you, Peeta," is all that she says, her eyes full of pain and remorse. Then she returns to the Capitol girl, the one she needs to be to protect us all from death.
Peeta Mellark, I may be weak, I may no have seen the things that I needed to, but I will always love Katniss Everdeen. Even if she never loves me.
Such a foolish boy.
If I could read your mind I'd never want for anything, Katniss.