Hey guys! I know what you're thinking, "Why is she writing oneshots when she hasn't updated Katniss in forever?" I AM trying to write the next chapter of Katniss, but I was seized by the plot bunnies for this. Anyway, I rewrote the berry scene from Peeta's perspective. I've changed most of the dialogue, but there are a few lines from the original novel. I hope you enjoy it!
Disclaimer: I do not own the Hunger Games, or any characters affiliated with it. They belong to Suzanne Collins.
Bleeding to death is a horrible way to die. Until the very end, you are painfully aware of the fact that you are dying, and the effect that it's having on those you are leaving behind. Seeing the pain on her face as he fades is almost as bad as the act itself. Blood is pouring out of his leg, staining his clothes and the forest floor and Katniss' hands red.
Katniss. She's here with him, even now, at his bloody end. Plastering the useless bandage back onto his leg, trying so hard to keep his blood in his failing body, like it's the most precious thing in the world. Even though he knows it's a pointless effort, it still makes him happy. Because she loves him now. She must. That's all he ever really needed, and he can die quite peacefully with that thought in mind.
He does regret leaving her, all alone like this. They could have had a future together, a future that he will now miss. But she'll be alright. She's stronger, stronger than him, or anyone else he's ever known. And besides, Gale will take care of her, as best he can. He did before she had Peeta, and he will again afterwards.
"Peeta, no! You can't die, not now. You can't leave me here alone. Please. Stay alive with me." Her plaintive words hurt him a little. This is selfish, what he's doing here, letting himself die. But if he survives...even if he survives, he'll be a cripple, a broken, decrepit old man. At the age of sixteen. He will not be healthy ever again, or whole, he knows that for certain. She deserves someone who can be young with her, now that he can't.
Assured of this, he's totally calm when he speaks. "You don't need me, Katniss, not the way I need you. You're strong, you can-no, you will survive when I'm gone. They have to have a winner, and it can only be one of us. If you died, so would I, so it has to be you."
Suddenly, she pauses in her frantic ministrations, and stares him in the eye. There's something wild in them that scares him. "They have to have a winner."
This confuses him. Why is she telling him what they both already know? "Yes, they do, and it's going to be you."
Katniss doesn't respond right away, instead frantically grasping for something on her belt. She finds it, and holds out to him the leather pouch. "There doesn't have to be."
What? His head is already getting fuzzy, and this is only confusing him further. Right now, all he wants to do is lie down in her arms and die.
Her fingers fumble on the zipper, but she gets it open, and suddenly the dark berries are there, gleaming in the sun. Suddenly he understands everything. "No, you can't! I won't let you!" Trying to grab the pouch from her, he falls over, lying pathetically on the ground. In an instant she's on the grass beside him, kneeling and pulling him up onto his knees. She takes his hands-which have started shaking, he realized-into her smaller ones, which feel hot around his.
Carefully, she pours half of the contents of the bag into his trembling hands, and a few to spill out, falling in the grass. Scooping up the rest into her palms, she abandons the pouch, rising to her feet shakily. Trying to stand with her, he nearly loses his balance and falls, but she helps him. He stands unsteadily before her, staring at her, completely at her whim. That's the way it's always been, after all.
Katniss watches him for what feels like a very long time, but he knows is only a few seconds. Peeta knows that somehow, finally, she understands, understands why he's done what he's done, and why he is about to die with her. She understands his love. Before he even has time to register it, she's stepped close to him and she's kissing him. Using every last bit of strength he has, he reciprocates it, because that's all he can do now. Holding her close, feeling consumed by it all...Oh, he could die of this.
He's both sad and happy when she breaks away. Sad, because he knew it was the last time she'd kiss him in this world, but happy, because it was almost over. In a few short moments, they would be delivered.
Pressing his lips to hers in a simple, chaste kiss, Peeta then turns away, so his back is up against hers. He wants the last thing he sees and feels and hears to be her, but for now, the cameras must catch every moment of it.
Extending his trembling hand, he takes hers in the other. "Hold them out. I want everyone to see what they've made us do."
She does, and when she finally speaks, it's in a loud, clear voice. "On the count of three. One."
Peeta supposes that he will miss some things about life. He'll miss his brothers, his friends, and his father. He'll miss the sunrise, and the way people smile when they see his cakes. Those things are all important, and he wishes he didn't have to leave them behind. But the most important thing to him is here, beside him, and he won't be losing her.
Who will die first, he wonders? They'll eat the same amount of berries, but he's larger than her, heavier, so maybe it'll take longer to kill him. Of course, he's already dying, which has to count for something. It doesn't really matter, since they'll be together in the end, but he doesn't want to live without her, even if it's only for a few seconds.
This is it. This is the end. Throwing back his head, he tips the berries into his mouth as he prepares himself to die.
"Stop! Stop! Ladies and gentlemen, I am pleased to present the victors of the Seventy-Fourth Hunger Games, Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark! I give you-the tributes of District Twelve!" Claudius Templesmith's voice booms through the arena, and without thinking he spits out the berries into the grass. He is overjoyed. They're going to let her live.
Turning around, he gasps, "Katniss, Katniss!"
What he sees horrifies him.
Katniss's face is frozen with shock, her mouth hanging half-open. Her tongue is stained purple with juice, and her lips are turning blue as she whispers, "Peeta, it's so cold…" Her eyelids flutter shut as she lets out a single ragged breath, then slumps forward against him.
And he's still here.
He pulls her up, shakes her, and he knows he's crying and yelling and begging her, begging her not to be dead. She can't leave him here! She can't!
The hovercraft materializes above them, and a ladder drops right beside him. He ignores it, clutching her-not her body, because she's not dead, she can't be-to him, crying hysterically now.
The beam descends, and suddenly he's frozen, her limp form suddenly stiff against him. He's still bleeding, but he doesn't even feel pain from it any more. There's no more room left in him for pain, now.
Lying on the floor of the hovercraft, not knowing how he got there, Peeta still clutches Katniss to him, as if she will miraculously sit up and be holding him back. The doctors have to drag him away from her as they attempt to strap them down to silver tables, separated by a glass wall. He can't let them take her away, he can't lose her! Every time they try to force him onto his back, he's sitting up, yanking the tubes out of his arms and trying desperately to get to her. He can see them, pouring something down her throat, cutting off her shirt and slamming pedals onto her chest, but it's obvious that she's gone.
And he absolutely refuses to live without her.
Finally, he's weak enough that they're able to force him down onto the table, and before he blacks out, he chokes out her name. His last conscious thought is that they'll be together again soon.
They know they can't save the leg, but they must save him, and they do their best. During the surgery, his heart stops, but they manage to bring him back.
When finally they have him stabilized, when they think he's safe and a victor is guaranteed, his heart stops a second time, and this time, they can't undo it. They almost do, but no one ever tried so hard to die as Peeta. Usually their patients are fighting to live, but he's doing the exact opposite.
All the surgery in the world can't save someone who has lost the will to live.
Okay, you're probably wondering why I had it end like I did, and why Katniss actually killed herself. In this oneshot, she either was actually in love with Peeta, or-and this is the more canon explanation for it-she kind of snapped and decided that she couldn't live without him, knowing that he died for her to live. Interpret it either way, they both work. Anyway, if anyone has any ideas/suggestions for what they want me to do after I finish Katniss, just mention it in your review! Also, I'd like to dedicate this oneshot to one of my best Internet friends, Kim. I'd never get anything done if I didn't have her to help me out. Anyway, I hope the fic was good, and you all enjoyed it!