Chapter notes:

This one-shot is a little add-on to p.298 of The Hunger Games. I take Peeta and Katniss out to play for a little lemon-zesty good time.

The Hunger Games and The Hunger Games characters are solely the property of Suzanne Collins. She owns them. I just make them do things they're really too shy to do.

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The Cave

In stark contrast to the two nights ago, when I felt Peeta was a million miles away I'm struck by his immediacy now. As we settle in, he pulls my head down to use his arm as a pillow, the other rests protectively over me even when he goes to sleep.

- The Hunger Games p. 298

As Peeta drifts off to sleep I can feel his warmth filling our sleeping bag, making me feel both relaxed and strangely on edge. My head rests on his shoulder, my arm lays across his stomach. Both his arms encircle me like a protective cage. We are both fully dressed, but it feels very intimate to me. This makes me curious. Gale and I have slept like this in the forest, but it never felt quite like… this. I can feel a tightening in my stomach, a rush of excitement at the idea of being so close to Peeta. I haven't experienced this before. It's disconcerting, but definitely not unpleasant.

I'm surprised to find I have a strong desire to touch Peeta. My arm is lays across him, palm down on his stomach. I contract my hand a little, trying to feel what lays underneath. I know he is strong. I have seen him fight, and have felt the iron beneath his soft skin before, while I was nursing him back to health. But this is different. Exploratory. I have the feeling I'm breaking a rule of some kind, and I hope Peeta doesn't wake up. It makes me nervous, but not enough to stop. I move my hand slowly, making a careful, gentle exploration of his soft, warm chest through his shirt. I feel the textured cotton, grubby from our survival efforts. The flesh under it feels like the promise of strength.

Peeta sighs and shifts slightly, turning his body just a fraction closer to mine. I freeze for a moment, but he is still asleep. His face, so peaceful, is resting above my head. If I look up, we will be face to face. My breath catches slightly at the thought.

I don't look up.

Relaxing a little, I sigh – partly in contentment, partly because of the tightening in my stomach. I don't understand where it's coming from exactly, but I know it's about my desire to feel Peeta. My hand begins its exploration again, softly making small circles on the cloth over Peeta's broad chest. My hand moves slowly across his chest, and begins to move down, slowly covering the expanse of his stomach, moving down his side. Peeta's arms stay firmly around me while he sleeps.

I don't know why, other than wanting to be closer to Peeta, but I squirm over so my body is pressed firmly against his side – the side that is angled slightly towards me. I pull one knee up and lay my leg slightly across his. It is now that I hear something change. It's subtle. A slight movement, a slight sound. Because of my head's vantage point I can hear Peeta's heart speed up just a touch – thump just a little harder, a little bit faster – and I can feel his breath speed up. His arm that lays across me tenses slightly and I feel his hand contract on my waist. I realize that he has woken up, at least some. And if he's awake, he has felt me.

I look up to see how awake he is, to find him looking down at me, a small, but definite smirk on his full lips. I look away, flushing with embarrassment at being caught. I try to pull away a little – as much as the snug sleeping bag will allow – but find I can't move an inch. Peeta has me in a tight hold, and doesn't seem to be letting go. But then, slowly, Peeta's arm (the one I'm not laying on) moves from around me, losing its grip on my waist, and his hand travels up to his chest. As it encircles mine, I'm not at all prepared for the sensation that rips through me. It's as if a hot spark, so tantalizing it's almost painful, travels from our joined hands straight to my core, warming my body.

My sharp intake of breath is loud to both of us. I don't know if I should be embarrassed or laugh. I look up to see if I can read Peeta's face, and what I see there stops me in my tracks. His eyes hold a look of intensity I've never seen before, but cannot mistake. His look tells of love, awe, and desire. My body reacts to the desire before my heart or mind can react to the rest. I lean in to him, tightening my grip on his body. I can feel the warmth of his breath as my lips close in on his. Suddenly Peeta's mouth comes crashing down on mine with a demanding force.

This kiss is nothing like the others. It is neither the chaste kisses exchanged while healing, nor the curiously pleasant kiss we exchanged earlier. This kiss is fire. It is life. It awakens my heart, and my body, and I want to fall into its depths and never come out again. As our lips meet, and part, I can feel that my breathing is matched by his – both of us taking in quick sharp breaths. I feel his tongue slowly, tentatively, touch my lower lip. It is simultaneously demanding entrance and asking permission. I will deny him nothing.

As our kiss deepens further, I want more of him – as much as I can get. I reach my free hand up and grasp the back of his head, pulling him further into me. His arm returns to its earlier home encircling my body, and pulls me flush against him, turning his body so we now lay side by side. I am awestruck at the reaction my body has to this young man, this warrior boy with the bread, who has been both enemy target and savior in the weeks past. But then I remember. He has been my savior for longer than that. He protected me long before the reaping. My heart leaps at that knowledge, as my body leaps at his touch. All I can think is "I want more". I press myself to him completely, almost painfully, aware now of every part of him pressing into me.

Peeta breaks our kiss first, and I let out a gasp – whether it's from lack of air, relief, or desolation at the loss of his touch, I'm not sure. When he speaks, his voice is husky and full of awe. The sound is like a low growl.

"Katniss…"

I want to tell him. I want to tell him… what? What I'm feeling? What I'm thinking? What this is doing to me? But I have no words. I don't have language for this yet. I don't know what this is. So I whisper the only thing I can articulate.

"Peeta, please… Don't stop."

The horror of the games, the killing, the hunger, the pain, the possibility of having to kill Rue or even Peeta should it have come down to it, the sheer hell I've been living for the past weeks threatens to crash down on me. But I don't want that. I don't want to feel any of that. I want to feel alive. I want to feel on fire. I want to feel the love this boy has for me. I want it to own me, at least for a little while.

Peeta speaks in a low whisper, directly into my ear, sending a shiver down my spine.

"Katniss… the cameras…"

I put my mouth to his ear and whisper back.

"I don't care, Peeta. We might die tomorrow. We might die right now. This is the time we have. You wanted me to pay attention, well I am. Right now."

I then brazenly run my tongue around the outer edge of his ear before giving his lobe a gentle bite. His sharp intake of breath, and the way he suddenly clutches me closer to him let me know this is a good thing. I slide my hand under his cotton shirt, exploring the amazingly smooth surface, reveling in the feel and warmth of his flesh. It seems impossible to me that I, Katniss Everdeen, sister, daughter, hunter, survivor, is now Katniss Everdeen, seductress. But at this moment, this is what I need to survive. I need this to remind me I'm alive.

Peeta seems to understand – seems to feel it too – because in an instant he owns me. Putting a hand on either side of my face, he comes in for a kiss that possesses me, and sets my body on alight. He draws my lower lip into his mouth, sucking gently. Letting it go, he opens my lips with his tongue, exploring me; allowing me to explore him. Without breaking away he rolls us so he is on top of me, his larger frame hovering over mine, his weight supported on his elbows. He then breaks our kiss to run a series of smaller, slower kisses down my neck and collarbone. The sensation this causes is beyond measure for me. I have never been touched like this, and my body is alive with it. I let a low moan escape as Peeta reaches the top of my breasts with his mouth. My body, acting of its own accord, arches my back, asking Peeta for what it so desperately needs.

Whether it is my action, or the sound I make, I can't say, but I hear Peeta let out a faint moan of his own, and I feel him press himself to me, his aching need finding mine, creating a friction I never knew I needed, but now couldn't live without.

Peeta lifts my shirt, but does not take it off. We are somewhat hidden in the confines of the sleeping bag, but completely removing clothing would risk too much exposure. So, for now, he simply lifts my shirt and slides his hands up my rib cage, gazing at my exposed flesh with a mixture of wonder and lust that sends bolts of heat straight to my core, causing me to thrust my hips up into his as he had done to me.

He lifts his head and looks at me, his lustful gaze making my stomach flutter. Then, for a moment, a rakish grin splits his face.

"It's actually really annoying, you know." He says smiling at me, slightly breathless. "Is there anything you're not good at?"

And with that, he lowers his mouth to the aching tip of my left breast and gently sucks it into his mouth, using his hand to cup the rest of my tender flesh. The sensation that brings is unbelievable. I did not understand, before this event, that my body had even a fraction of the capacity for this type of pleasure. My life had been, and still was, so caught up in survival and hunger there had been no room for this. But it is here in this horrific place, when I least have room for… this… that I must make the room. Now that I know of its existence, I will not die tomorrow without experiencing it as much as I can.

My hands find their way to the back of Peeta's head, urging him closer, begging for him to be less gentle. As his mouth works its magic on my left breast, his other hand massages my right, gently squeezing and rolling the malleable flesh. He then sends a shockwave down my entire body, reaching deep into my aching center, when he begins to gently roll my right nipple between his thumb and forefinger, massaging the hardened nub. A louder moan escapes my throat. I hardly recognize my own voice – it is husky and full of something I've never heard before. After a moment I recognize it for what it is – lust.

Peeta's attention drives me to a near frenzy, and I am shamelessly pressing myself against his hardness, trying to achieve some relief from the building pressure. After a moment, I pull Peeta back up to me, engaging him in another deep kiss. During this kiss, I realize that I desperately want to touch him. I want him to feel even a fraction of what he just made me feel. I roll us so he is on his back, and I am half on him, half beside him. I continue the kiss for a few seconds, but soon break away to trail hot kisses on his cheeks, ear, jaw, and trail down his neck. I lift his shirt as he had done mine, and survey the expanse of smooth skin. He is so beautiful, it's almost heartbreaking. I touch him, circling his chest with my hands, gently grazing his nipples with my fingertips. He sucks in a deep breath, and seems to tense at this. I can't tell if it's a good thing or a bad thing, but I decide to assume good unless he tells me otherwise.

My hands continue their journey south, while my mouth meets his for another kiss. I don't know where the limits are – I don't know what the rules of… this… are. So I decide to tell him.

"Peeta" I whisper in his ear. "Peeta, I want to touch you. Can I do that?" With the direction my hands are traveling there can be no confusion about what I mean.

"Oh god Katniss… "His reply comes as a guttural sound. "Are you sure?"

I look up at him and respond with an attempt at a grin.

"Hey, just think, maybe this will be what I'm no good at!"

Peeta chuckles quietly, and I think I hear him mumble something like "Doubt it."

So, with permission granted (sort of) I reach down and place my palm on the bulge straining against his pants. I think I hear a moan coming from Peeta, but honestly it could have been from me. Within seconds I have him released, and can see him fully. God he's beautiful! But this kind of beauty is completely unfamiliar to me. I look up at Peeta a little helplessly and whisper in his ear

"Help me. Show me what to do."

Peeta hesitates for a second. I can actually see the different thoughts flickering past his eyes. Then he briefly nods and takes my hand in his. He wraps my hand around his length, and places his hand around mine. Squeezing a good deal more firmly than I would have thought to do, he begins moving our hands in a rhythmic pattern. I am fascinated with this. How he feels in my hand; The firmness of his flesh, which seemed to get even harder once we began stroking; The softness surrounding it; It seems all at once frighteningly large, and absolutely perfect. His hand leaves mine, reaching up to caress my breast as I stroke him.

I hear his breathing change. It becomes shallower and less even. I'm not sure if that means I should keep going, or stop. He answers my question by placing a firm, stilling hand on mine, stopping my movement.

"Katniss… give me a minute. I don't… I'm not… I want it to last a little longer."

He seems sheepish when he says this, embarrassment spreading over his face. I'm surprised at this. Peeta is always so self-assured. I give him what I hope is a reassuring grin, and raise my hands in the air as if in surrender. I lay back down beside him and move upwards to initiate another kiss. A minute or two into this kiss, Peeta rolls me onto my back, half laying, half hovering on his side next to me.

"Katniss" he whispers in my ear. I can feel he is smiling. "Katniss, I want to touch you. Can I do that?"

I smile back at the irony of him using my own words, but suddenly I'm very nervous. I have always been an exceedingly private person. I have never let anyone… down there… since I can remember. Not even my mother. And especially not a boy. I've never even had to say no before – it simply wasn't something that had ever come up.

But with all my nervousness, and all my doubt, I desperately ache to be touched. No, I desperately ache to be touched by him. With a mischievous grin I reply:

"Are you sure?"

Peeta laughs at this, and proceeds to kiss me thoroughly while his hand trails from my cheek, to my throat, down my collarbone to my breast. It stops its tour to play with right my breast, kneading the soft mound and grazing his thumb over my hard nipple. At once my breathing becomes erratic, and I'm almost clawing at him to move closer. He moves his hand further down, drifting past my navel, circling the soft area of my stomach, feathering touches up and down both thighs, before finally lowering my pants and beginning a gentle exploration of my very private, and very aroused, center.

My breath catches as he begins to touch me – tentatively at first. He is very careful, grazing his fingers gently up and down the slit, watching my face for signs of… panic?… tears? He gets none of that. I love his touch, love how it feels, and want, simply, more.

"Peeta…" I say in a pleading tone.

"Yes, love?" His tone is cooing, as if trying to calm an over-excited child or animal.

I find that as much as I want to reply, I simply don't have the words. So I take my hand, place it over his, and push, simultaneously pushing two of his fingers into my center, and crushing his palm against my mound. Peeta lets out a groan, but it is quickly drowned out by mine. The feel of his fingers breaching my entrance, exploring, slowly moving in and out as I rock against his hand is almost too much. I can feel the pressure building, and I'm both anxious for release, and dreading it being over.

"Oh god Katniss, you're so damn beautiful!"

And suddenly I know what I want. I guess I had known since… this… started, but hadn't really thought it through. Now I'm ready. I don't know if Peeta is, but I'm going to find out. Without warning I yank his hand away from me and tug at his arm to get him to raise himself up to me. He looks confused, and I can tell he's trying to assess if he's gone too far – to see if he's upset me.

I give him reassuring look, with a smile thrown in for good measure. It's not hard to smile right now, I'm feeling very… alive. I pull him down to me so we were kissing – his body hovering over mine. I slowly wrap my legs around his hips, and pull him down on top of me, molding myself to him.

Peeta lets out a gasp as I press into him. I can feel he is more than ready, as am I. I release myself from him a little, making some room between us. I reach down and position his tip directly at my hot, wet, aching entrance. A part of me notices, absently, that at some point we both started shaking a little. I would have to think that through later. Right now, my mind is on one thing and one thing alone.

"Katniss" Peeta whispers urgently in my ear. "Katniss are you sure about this?"

I simply nod.

"Katniss, my love, have you ever done this before?"

I shake my head, and follow it with a kiss. Slowly, I begin rubbing his tip up and down my slit, relishing the sensation, particularly when it reaches the top and strokes the swollen, needy bundle of nerves that lie there.

"Oh god Katn… You need to stop that if you want… "

I want. Whatever it is, I want. If that means stopping what I'm doing, then so be it. I release him.

"Sweetheart, it's going to hurt. Did you know that?"

I'm not sure whether to be insulted at what he clearly thought was my less-than-thorough education on the matter, or insulted that he thought the pain would matter with me. Either way I just give a short laugh and say:

"Peeta Mellark, I'm not an idiot. Now can we please shut up already?"

He has the decency to look abashed for a moment. But quickly replaces the look with a smoldering slow kiss, executed at exactly the same time as some wonderfully enticing nipple play. I'm a quivering, helpless mess after a minute and a half.

Now Peeta lowers himself over me again, but this time it is him who reaches down, placing himself at my entrance, beginning to push his way in. He begins very, very slowly, only breaching the very opening. He then pushes in a little further. He pauses for a moment, then pulls out almost all the way and slowly re-enters. The sensation is nothing like I had expected. It is more than just sexual pleasure. More than stoking the fire growing in my belly and sexual center, it is a feeling of completeness. As Peeta enters me further I can feel the pressure and slight tear as my virginal state is disrupted once and for all. I'm not sure Peeta noticed that exact moment, but a few seconds later he pauses and asks

"Are you OK? Has it hurt yet?"

I smile in return and tell him that the worst is over. He is visibly relieved, but seems unsure, and doesn't move immediately. I urge him on, pulling him to me as I raise myself to him. Soon we are fully joined, and the sensation of this is beyond anything I can comprehend. I feel whole. I feel alive. I feel driven towards an unknown end, but one I know will be wonderful. Peeta slowly pulls back, gently caressing me as he does so. Having felt him all the way in me, I want no less now, and quickly. I no longer want 'careful'. I need him. Now. I want every bit I can get. I buck my hips so they slam into his, thrusting him into me in absolute completion. I hear myself give a startled cry of joy, mingled with a lustful moan. Peeta, looks shocked for a moment, but understands, finally what my body is saying. He leans in to kiss me, deeply, and begins thrusting into me deeply, at a steadily increasing pace. I raise myself to him with each thrust, each one pulling me deeper into the depths of the abyss. I hear him begin to whisper to me, as his free hand caresses my breast.

"That's it… god you feel good… so… oh god…"

His words, and knowing his pleasure, pushed me over the edge, and I feel myself clutching him desperately to me as my climax begins to crash over me, sending wave after wave of pleasure through my body. I cry out, desperate to hold on to, and yet escape the unbelievable sensations. At the sound of my cry, Peeta tenses and gives a final, almost violent thrust into me. I can feel him pulse inside me, as his body shudders through his release. His body is strong and graceful over me, but his face is beautifully vulnerable. Suddenly his mouth finds mine, and we kiss as the sensation fades, leaving us both breathless.

We hold each other as we regain our strength. But inevitably the cold begins to seep in, and we slowly dress ourselves. After a few minutes we find we are in the same position we started in – him on his back, me laying on his shoulder. Only this time it's Peeta's watch. I sleep more deeply than I have in a very long time.

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Author's Note:

Please be kind and review – it's truly the only thing we get back from writing. Constructive criticism is always welcome. Unconstructive criticism will be printed and burned in a ritualistic fashion as I dance in a circle around the flames chanting your username in an unkind tone. *grin*