I read The Hunger Games about a month ago and finished Catching Fire the next day. I am absolutely in LOVE with Peeta so my imagination has run wild this past month about what would happen in the 3rd book with my favorite couple. Finally, I decided to put it all down and I wrote this off and on all day. It's definitely not polished or anything and I might take it down or edit it in a few days.
I close the door as quietly as possible. Peeta stirs in his bed and I go over to him, biting my lip. I just watch him for a minute, struggling not to cry, and then I touch his arm very gently. I don't want to hurt him. I can see that he has a bandage on his leg and another on his shoulder.
I sit down on the bed. He stirs a little more and rolls over so he's facing me. I find his hand and take in mine, slowly rubbing the back of his hand. He smiles in his sleep and pulls my hand to his body, cradling it.
This tiny movement almost sends tears flooding down my cheeks, but I hold them back. I get closer still and push the blonde hair out of his eyes. But I know I've done too much when his eyes flicker open.
They're the same brilliant blue, just like I remember. But instead of being hurt like they used to be, they now fill of hope and wonder. He studies me for a second, confused. "Katniss?" He asks.
"Yeah, I'm here" I whisper.
He sits up, too quickly it seems because he looks dazed for a moment. "How long have I been…here?" His voice is hoarse.
"Not long" I grab the glass of water from the table and hold it to his lips. He doesn't really need my help, but I'm so used to babying him when he's sick or hurt that it's like an instinct. He drinks thirstily and then pushes it away gently.
Then we're silent for a moment and I tell myself that I have to tell him. "Peeta," I start "I really missed you"
And I don't get to finish because his lower lip starts to wobble and I can't help myself from consoling him. I scoot even closer to him and pull him into my arms. I rub his back and stroke his hair and kiss his temple. He buries his face in my shoulder and refuses to come out. "I missed you too" He sobs. I let all the emotions from the past, lonely months go and let them flow down my face in the form of hot tears.
"It's ok…its ok, Peeta, I'm here" I coo, leaning my head tenderly on his.
It takes a few minutes for him, and me, to calm down. When he backs away, I trace a scar above his left eyebrow with my finger. "The Capitol" He says quietly, answering my unasked question.
"What did they…?" My voice trails off.
He shakes his. "Can we not talk about this right now?" His eyes look hurt…tortured.
I realize I don't want to talk about this right now either and quickly remember something I had promised myself I would tell him as soon as I could. "Peeta, I have to tell you something"
He looks up at me, waiting. So, I start trying to tell him. "Well, you know I'm no good at speaking my feelings but when you were gone, I really missed you. And I know you were worried about Gale, but I realized that he's just a friend to me and that…I love you, Peeta."
I wait for his reaction and it doesn't come instantly. He looks completely shocked, he wasn't expecting this. "Y-you love…me?" He stammers.
I smile at him and nod. "You don't know how long I've waited to hear that" He says this so quietly I can barely hear him.
The shock is now over and he's elated. Before I know what's happening, his lips are on mine and he's kissing me. I'd forgotten how good his lips felt and I try to soak up as much as the sensation as I can before he pulls away for oxygen. I give him a second kiss, much shorter than the first but still amazing.
Then I wind my arms around his waist and pull him close again, relishing in his touch. I never realized that I'd been so starved for him until he was back. "I love you so much, Peeta," I sigh. It sounds so alien to hear my own voice saying that. I hope I'll get used to it.
"I love you too, Katniss, more than you'll ever know" He replies. Peeta pulls me into his lap, balancing my weight so I'm not putting pressure on his bandaged leg. Then he starts kissing me, my cheek, my temple, my neck, everywhere. I place a finger under his chin and pull his face up to mine. I lean in and kiss his soft lips again.
Lust pumps through my veins as I let my hands roam down his back and through his hair. I'm in the process of pushing him towards the bed when a knock at the door sends us flying apart.
I quickly catch my breath and straighten my hair, but Peeta does nothing but tell the person to come in. I'm instantly glad I fixed myself up because my mother enters Peeta's hospital room, Prim bouncing behind her. She runs over to Peeta. "I'm so glad you're back, Peeta!"
"I'm glad to be back" He ruffles her hair and they chatter for a while.
My innocent little sister doesn't seem to notice that Peeta's hair is sticking up, that we both seem a little out of breath, but my mother certainly does. She gives me a suspicious look and that's when I notice that I'm still sitting on Peeta's lap. I wiggle out of his embrace but he keeps his arm around my shoulders so I sit next to him with my arm wound around his waist. When I don't think she's looking, I quickly reach over and fix his messy hair.
She seems to approve of our new position. We all talk for a while until she says, "Prim, we should probably get going. Peeta needs his rest." Prim pouts but returns to our mother's side.
"I should probably go too," I force myself to say, though I don't mean it.
Peeta opens his mouth to protest but he won't say anything in front of my mom. "It's ok, Katniss can stay" Then she kisses his cheek and leaves with Prim.
Once they're gone, I snuggle back into his arms. We just talk for a while, but a nurse comes in and I realize I've been with him over an hour. His eyes widen in horror when he sees that she's holding a water basin of some sort, and I don't understand why.
Then she tells me that they have to clean his arm and him to please not be difficult. "No, can't you do it later?" Peeta begs.
"I'm sorry, Mr. Mellark, we have you on a schedule and we have to stick to it." She ignores his pleas to postpone it and continues her job.
"You'll be fine, Peeta" I assure him, but he scowls and holds me tighter as the nurse gets closer to his arm. When she takes off the bandage, I get a full look at his wound. It hasn't even scabbed yet, it's fresh and bright pink and it runs from his shoulder for about 2 inches.
I free myself of his arms and switch our positions so that his head is on my shoulder. Then she touches his arm, and I can sense the change immediately. He draws in a sharp breath and his body stiffens. I slip my hand into his and he squeezes it so hard it hurts.
But I ignore the pain, knowing that it must be minuscule to what he is feeling. He bites down so hard on his lip that it starts bleeding. I don't care about staining my clothes; I let him bury his face in my shoulder, watching the nurse over his head. She rubs the wound so hard with the cloth that I'm surprised he hasn't cried out yet, but the more she does this, the better his cut is looking.
"Shh, shh…I'm sorry it hurts…almost done" I coo.
Then she stops and dabs all the extra blood away. This doesn't seem to hurt as much because he relaxes a little, releasing his vice-like grip on my hand but holding it gently and pulling away from me a little.
"There, all done" The nurse announces and starts to pack up her things.
"That wasn't so bad, was it?" I say to him, though I know what his reply will be.
"It was" He pouts. I thank the nurse, she informs me that his arm won't need to be cleaned for a few days, but they'll be doing his leg and back tomorrow. When the door closes behind her, he relaxes even more in my arms and puts an arm back around my shoulders.
Then I notice his lip is bleeding again. "Look what you've done to your lip" I scold playfully.
Peeta rolls his eyes. "Maybe you should fix me up, Dr. Everdeen." He teases.
I pull away from him only for a second, to grab a tissue and wipe away the blood. "Better?" I ask, throwing the stained tissue aside and letting my fingertips trace his jaw.
He pretends to think about this. "I don't know, it still hurts"
By the look on his face, I know exactly what he wants. I lean in and press my lips to his lightly. He smiles "Much better"
Another knock comes from the door and I just want to scream at the person to go away. Can't I spend more than 2 minutes with him without being interrupted? Apparently not.
This nurse brings a tray of food. Macaroni and cheese, a piece of bread with butter and a glass of water. None of it looks that appetizing but Peeta accepts it gratefully and waits for her to leave to frown at it. He picks up the spoon and tries to get a bite of the pasta, but it's so runny almost all of the cheese falls off into an orange soup.
He pushes it to me. "Eat it"
"No, she gave it to you" I push it back. He takes the bread and nibbles on it and drinks a little water. He hates wasting food as much as I do, but he can't bring himself to choke down the macaroni and cheese. I take the bowl and go outside to the balcony.
Just as I'd thought, there are a few dogs hanging around the restaurant next door. I'd seen the owner chasing them away with a broom the other day, so I figure they must be homeless. I whistle and they quickly locate me and trot over. When I'm sure I have their attention, I dump the slop onto the pavement below. The dogs hungrily lap it up, cleaning the sidewalk and ridding Peeta and I of our guilt.
When I go back to Peeta with the empty bowl, he looks surprised. "Did you just throw my macaroni and cheese out the window?" He asks.
This shock makes me giggle and I kiss his nose, setting the bowl back down. "It's not like you had a better idea" I challenge, and he is quiet. "I'm going to get something to eat" I kiss him on the lips. He waits for me to say something else, and it doesn't take me long to realize what it is. "Fine, I'll get some for you too" I sigh, getting up to leave.
"Wait, Katniss!" He calls.
He blushes, adorably shy. "I love you"
I smile. "Love you too" Then I turn and walk out the door. I can't keep the smile off my face. He loves me.
I head next door and order two servings of pizza, something I'd never had before District 13 but is delicious and not at all luxurious. I wrap the other piece up and take it with me back to the hospital.
Peeta looks thrilled when I return, as if he didn't think I would ever come back. He thanks me for the edible food. "This is delicious!" He exclaims, and I realize that this is his first time in District 13.
"Yeah, I think it's just a District 13 thing. It's called pizza" I explain. Peeta listens intently as I tell him more things about District 13 and the rebellion. He's only been gone for 3 months but it felt like a lifetime, and he's missed a lot.
He finishes his dinner and settles his head on my shoulder. He takes my hand in both of his and plays with my fingers as I let my free hand stroke his back. I'm careful to avoid his injury, but I find my curiosities growing on how he got it and his stay at the Capitol in general.
"Peeta," I whisper, "What did they do to you?"
He knows exactly what I mean because he freezes for a split second, and then resumes tangling his fingers with mine. "Well, first it was physical stuff. This" He touches the scar above his left eyebrow. "And my chest, just straight forward things. They started it up again right before you guys broke in. It hurt, but I could handle it"
His eyes are now filled with pain as he concentrates on my hand, not making eye contact. "But in the middle, most of the time, was when they were getting smart. They told me that you had run away to the rebellion, that you weren't coming for me and that you were in love with Gale." He says. He's biting his lip now, something I've recognized as a sign that he's in a lot of pain, emotional or physical.
"I thought about trying to kill myself, but I didn't have anything in my cell. I never thought I'd see you again." His voice trails off and I know that though he's still here physically, but mentally, he's far away, back in that Capitol cell just trying to survive.
He's stopped playing with my fingers and he's still for a minute. Then he's biting his lip again and trying to force back tears that have gathered in his eyes.
I stroke his hair and pull my hand away from his, wrapping it around his body. Peeta buries his face in my shoulder. This is another thing I've noticed that he does when he wants, or needs, to be consoled.
I stroke his back and his hair as he cries. "It's ok…shh, I'm here…you're safe" I whisper. It takes a few minutes for him to calm down.
He keeps his head on my shoulder, but I wipe away the rest of his tears and kiss the top of his head. "Sorry I'm such a baby" He mumbles.
I pull him up to my full sitting position. "Peeta" I force him to look at me. "Don't say that. I want you to be comfortable around me. I want to know everything, good or bad and I want to comfort you when you need it, ok?"
He nods and kisses me again. "But it has to be the same for you. You have to tell me if something's wrong and you have to let me wipe away your tears too, ok? Promise?" His bright blue eyes bore into mine, searching for honesty.
"I promise" I say, and I mean it.
"Ok good because I-" His body cuts him off when a yawn.
I smile to myself. He looks younger when he's sleepy. "Get some sleep" I order. Not sure what I'm supposed to do next, I get up hesitantly.
But Peeta stops me by grabbing my hand. "Wait!"
"Can you stay?" His eyes tell me that he's not mentally recovered yet from the Capitol's torture.
"Of course" I reply. He relaxes as I slide back into the bed and lays down with me when I pull up the covers. He motions for me to put my head on his chest and I obey without even a pause. I find that I quite like listening to his heart beat through his thin shirt. He reaches over and turns out the light, leaving us holding each other in the darkness just like on the Tribute Train.
I cuddle into his side and make sure we're both comfortable. Then he starts stroking my hair and I realize how exhausted I really am. "Sweet dreams, my Angel"
I smile to myself. I find that I love the way this sounds. His angel.
"You too, Cutie" I reply sleepily. I shut my eyes but stay awake for a few minutes. I know he has a habit of staying up all night to avoid the nightmares. Once his breathing slows, I figure he's sleeping and I let myself drift off too, peaceful and blissfully happy in Peeta's warm embrace.
One more thing...please review! I know everyone begs for these but they really do make my day!