Author Notes: Here we are again loves. Surprisingly someone's voice would just NOT shut up in my head. You'll figure out who it is below. Some angst, be warned. But you know me; I can't resist rewarding our star-crossed lovers from District Twelve. Suzanne Collins owns all.
I'll see you at the bottom!
"I love you Peeta. Real or not real?" His quiet snores answered for him. Real.
"Skyfall is where we start
A thousand miles and poles apart
Where worlds collide and days are dark
You may have my number, you can take my name
But you'll never have my heart…" – Adele, Skyfall
Chapter 6: Skyfall
Today is the day.
We are having visitors from different Districts, or "States?" as they're now calling them, coming to our quaint little District Twelve. They call it the Festival of Lights; it lasts for a weekend and reminds us all that there truly is a light at the end of the tunnel. Artisans come from far and wide to display their work along with different culinary artists who display the grossest and most delicious concoctions their minds can come up with. This is the second year of the festival and in my pregnant state those weird concoctions don't sound too bad. Peeta agrees. He's all about expanding his horizons and trying new recipes. Me? Not so much but pregnancy has a way of changing your food habits.
Another exciting prospect is that my mother will actually visit. It's been about three years since I've seen her and we are both surprisingly excited to see one another. In the back of my mind is the gnawing feeling that we've never really discussed what happened with Prim or any of the events thereafter. It bothers me yes, but at the same time I have my own life with Peeta and we are truly happy now especially as the birth of our child nears. I want to amend my relationship with my mother and hopefully regain some semblance of normalcy between us. I know I'm not the easiest person to get along with (Haymitch reminds me daily of this fact) but I am ready to move forward.
I feel Peeta's leg entwining with mine beneath the covers.
"Hmmmmmm" he breathes out sleepily.
I laugh softly. "I have many things to do today you know. And though the offer to stay with you in bed all day is tempting I have to get up", I enunciate the last few words so he knows I'm serious.
He frees my lower limbs with a pout. Oh how I love that pout.
I slowly shift to get up and there he is supporting my back and arms. I have had to forcefully accept all the help he, Haymitch and Sae have given me with my own pout in tow. But honestly it doesn't even bother me anymore.
I look over my right shoulder to find sleepy blue eyes contemplating me. "I love you" I say to him and our baby. He closes his eyes in assent and kisses my shoulder.
Later in the day as I walk around the house inspecting everything to make sure it looks perfect I hear a knock on the door.
That's odd I muse to myself. Haymitch and Sae walk right in because at this point we're family. And it can't be my mother because the trains aren't due to arrive for another three hours I idly ponder as I walk to the front door and open it.
No forewarning could ever prepare me for the pair of eyes staring back at me.
His eyes. Grey eyes.
"Hi Catni – eh Katniss?" he says quizzically, his eyes going wide as he takes in all of me.
But my thoughts are elsewhere and they become hurried and frantic. He's here? Why? Is something wrong? But what could be wrong?
Everything starts to blur and my breathing becomes disjointed and difficult. You're having a panic attack! BREATHE My mind screams at me. Yells at me to get it together for the sake of the baby. But I cannot and I feel my eyes closing of their own accord and my knees give out.
Gale catches me and screams out for help.
"PEETA! HAYMITCH! SOMEBODY HELP!"
In an instant there's a flurry of commotion – voices getting louder, footsteps pounding, profanities heard.
I can hear everything going on around me but my conscious mind seems to be taking a break. I want to open my mouth and tell Peeta I'm alright. Even in my state I can feel his fear and tension seeping through my bones. Oh Peeta I love you, I'm okay.
He's angry now, seething. "GET OFF HER! KATNISS CAN YOU HEAR ME?"
He's moving me gently but I can feel him holding his strength back. I feel his head dip to my heart to listen to my heartbeat. He must feel how strong it is thumping furiously to let him know I'm okay.
"Katniss please" he says quieter this time as my face is peppered with kisses, his breaths becoming labored as he struggles to gain composure.
A calm yet authoritative voice breaks through the haze.
"Peeta she just had a fright that's all. Seeing this one" Haymitch cannot hide his displeasure "obviously caused it. Dr. Kay is on her way but I promise you she'll be fine"
I feel my body being moved and I'm fully surrounded by darkness.
After what feels like an eternity, my mind slowly drifts to the surface and I can finally open my eyes.
Five pairs of eyes stare back at me in shock and relief.
"Katniss!" Peeta all but nearly screams and envelops me in his arms.
"I was so scared" he chokes out not caring who is around.
"Peeta what's wrong? I'm so…confused and my head hurts" I whisper my eyes searching his frantic ones while my throat screams in pain.
As if he had a one-way connection to my mind Haymitch gives Peeta a glass of cold water which I gulp down like a madwoman. Much better.
"You went to open the door and when you saw Gale" he spits out his name like a curse "you started hyperventilating and fainted". His eyes are like an open book and I see fear etched in his irises.
I listen intently to everything else in between trying to piece it all together. Yes, I remember opening the door and – Gale. His eyes. I remember now.
I sit up with Peeta's help and try to piece things together. "Gale, what are you doing here? Is everything all right – oh my God is it my mother?" My voice increases an octave as the countless possibilities run through my mind. No, no, no.
"Katniss please try to relax and control your breathing" Dr. Kay says kindly as she moves into my line of sight. "I believe you suffered from a PTSD induced panic attack. As you know sometimes there are certain triggers that can set things off. Apparently seeing your friend here triggered something in your memory which caused the collapse. If you work to steady your breathing and rationalize through the emotions you will have a better chance at stopping these incidents".
My mind was whirling. But she was right I was letting my fears and doubts creep in when this thing happened to me. I nod my head silently and close my eyes to center myself and with it my breathing.
"Okay I've definitely had enough commotion for one day. Thank you everyone for your help." I pause to choose my next words. "Can I – can I please have a moment with Peeta and…Gale?" I linger on his name almost like an afterthought.
I see worry marked between Peeta's eyes but he doesn't say a word. This is why I love him. Even when he doesn't agree with me he's not quick to put me on the spot. There's solidarity to us that nothing or no one can break. He trusts me implicitly even if he doesn't understand the whys.
After the well wishes and everyone leaves I see Gale shuffling his feet awkwardly. He's nervous it seems. Well I guess I would be too.
"What do I owe the pleasure of your company Gale? We haven't spoken in more than a decade and you suddenly show up at my door?" I try to remain impassive, in control of my emotions but I don't think either of them are buying it.
He walks towards me and then stops mid step. "Katniss I'm so sorry. I thought. Well I don't know what I thought. One minute I was back in District 12 and it was like I felt like the old me again and before I knew it there I was at your door knocking. If I would have known for a second things were going to spiral the way they did I never would have bothered you. I'm sorry" he gripes quietly and looks me in the eye to show his sincerity.
I look at Peeta and his face is unreadable. He's angry sure, but there's more to that look. He gives me a kiss on the forehead all the while his eyes never leaving Gales.
"I'll give you two some privacy but I won't be far" he says pointedly towards Gale.
I file that look away for further contemplation and direct my attention to him. I don't even know what to say. So I start with the basics.
"I understand that Gale and believe me I had no idea I was going to react that way either. Seeing you there was just too much and I…" I let the words trail.
Silence falls between us. And it isn't the comfortable silence we once used to fall into instinctively. This is a silence filled with tension and words unspoken. To think that I could've had a future with Gale… I stop myself there. We are two very different people even then and especially now.
He breaks the silence first and walks over to me kneeling by my face. "You look so beautiful Katniss. So carefree and alive I almost have to pinch myself to believe it's true."
That definitely was not what I was expecting. What the…? I turn my head to the side disapprovingly and get up slowly leaving him on the floor.
I take a deep breath to steel my nerves. And the words just come rushing out. "You don't get to talk to me like that Gale. After everything with Pr-"I stop myself and try again. "After everything happened at the Capitol you never called me once. Never wrote a letter or even asked about me. I know things could never go back to what they were but, you were my friend, my very best friend. And I was left there to fester away in my own mind and in my fucked up reality while you were out being Super Gale and enamoring the women of Panem." My voice quakes with years of pent up anger and disgust.
"So please excuse my language when I say 'fuck you' Gale. You knew exactly what you we're doing – you left me to rot on purpose because you were and are too much of a coward to face me. And though I know there's no way of ever knowing if your contraption was the one that killed Prim" my mind screams in agony at the thought of my sweet beautiful girl "I was willing to give you the benefit of the doubt. We both know it would've never worked out between us romantically but at that point I just needed something or really someone to lean on. And that obviously wasn't you." My glare is murderous no doubt.
He looks at me from the floor and rises slowly not wanting to startle me as if I was a wounded animal. The irony is not lost upon me.
"You have every right to feel the way you do and I know that Katniss. I just wanted to see you, see how you were. My intention was to observe you from a distance not get directly involved in your life. But I saw you through the window and you looked so happy. I just." He huffs in exasperation. "I needed to know that you weren't broken because I knew I probably would've had something to do with it and I knew it was time to confront things like a man, like I should've done so long ago. I do blame myself for Prim and nothing you or anyone else can say to me will change that fact." He walks over to me slowly and catches a tear as it rolls down my cheek.
He holds my hand as he looks into my eyes. Grey to Grey. "Please know I am so so sorry, I will never be able to atone for my sins. You were always the better person, the better half of our whole. I wanted to love and be with you so badly it hurt but I understand now it was always going to be him. He would always win your heart even when you couldn't see it yourself. I never really had a chance in hell. And that's okay because if anyone deserves to be happy it's you Catnip, it's you. And he deserves you and everything beautiful that comes with it." With that he releases my hand and holds my face and kisses my cheeks tenderly.
I idly wonder if he's going to kiss me now after all this time. If Peeta were to walk in I'm sure it would look like an embrace of a lover, but I know better. There is no tug in my heart or stirring of emotions within me as Gale says his true and final good-byes. I wish him well but I will not miss him. He is not the one I can't live without. He was exactly right when he said there was only one for me, my Peeta.
I look him straight in the eye. "Gale, thank you" I say – not because that's what he would like to hear but because I mean it.
"No need to apologize and I promise I won't bother you again. Wouldn't want lover boy coming after me." He raises his brow in jest, but then his look softens – "He loves you and the baby so much he was just beside himself. And I don't blame him. He has very precious cargo to look after." He walks away towards the front door and I know I'll never see him again. And I'm okay with that.
It takes a lot of courage to do what he just did. He may have waited a decade and some to tell me but it's better late than never. There's that dominant part of me that is angry that I'm letting him off the hook so easily. But we all know that sometimes we are our own worst enemies.
Gale will be haunted by his past the same way I cannot forget mine. You have to make a conscious decision to push forward and just live. It would be so easy to stay mad at him forever…but the selfless thing to do is forgive. Thinking about every act of selflessness someone has ever done for me helps me accomplish this. And now we can both begin to heal in our own ways.
"You can come out now" I say loudly in what I hope is Peeta's general vicinity.
A few seconds later I hear his steady albeit loud footsteps heading my way. After the Capitol gave him a prosthetic his injured leg always drags a bit. Maybe it's not something an ordinary person would pay attention to but this is my Peeta. And I am more attuned to him now than I ever was to my own body.
His face lingers in the doorway as he contemplates me. "Is it over?"
Those three words hold so much meaning. Is it over between Gale and I? Do I not love him anymore?
"It's been over for a very long time" I say with all the love and sincerity I can.
He takes a few strides and has me in his arms in an instant. "I was so worried. I didn't want him to upset you anymore but I knew there was unfinished business between you two. I can tell her still cares for you deeply and – "
I shush him with my fingers on his lips. "I understand trust me. Yes, it's evident that he cares for me and I wish him well but Peeta…I don't love him. Gale was a childhood friend and once a long time ago I thought perhaps we could be more but –" I pause knowing I need to choose my words carefully "He is not my air, nor my sustenance – surely not the way you are. Above anyone I need you, you are my constant and I cannot and will not ever live without you. I outgrew my relationship with Gale eons ago and today was just a formality. That chapter is forever closed in my life and we're writing our life together now and no one can ever take that away from us."
He kisses me slowly yet with such passion I can feel all the air being sucked out of the room. No more words are necessary as he picks me up and bring me to our room. He takes his time today, slowly trailing kissed up and down by body, lingering on my breasts and lapping the sweet liquid that accumulates there. My mind briefly wonders about my mother's train schedule but soon Peeta is reaching down lower to where I need him most and kisses me there so tenderly I weep with joy.
A few more swipes of his tongue and I feel that delicious sensation deep within me starting to surface. "So close – so good Peeta" I pant writhing beneath him. He never changes the rhythm and keeps a languorous pace as his assault on me continues.
And then, almost so low I think I imagined it, I hear him whisper "Real" across my skin.
That's the final push I need to go over the edge and quickly I feel every nerve ending heightened and the release I've been waiting for finally finds me as I come gloriously all around his lips. I cannot control my body as it writhes trying to absorb and elongate the delicious torture.
My eyes are soon heavy and drooping as my orgasm high slowly winds down and I smile contentedly.
I hear his beautiful voice low in my ear. "Sleep love and don't worry about your mom I'll make sure she's all set. I'll tell her you had a very trying day and your body just needed to rest".
"You are incorrigible" I whisper smiling.
"Sleep now. I love you"
And with that I drift off into the most peaceful slumber…
End Notes: And there we have it 3k words! Gale was the character whose voice was very insistent in my head as I furiously worked to get his feelings out. He is a flawed character and I wanted to flesh him out a bit just to understand his motivations. He still loves Katniss romantically but knows that she will NEVER give him the time of day. She is the "one who got away" for him and he's bowed out of the running for her heart, as he should.
Not sure how many more chapters I want to do. I'm just letting things flow, working up to the birth scene and have some names swirling around.
Reviews get you more REAL Peeta & Katniss orgasms lol!