This is post-epilogue, just a small one-shot that takes place at some point in Peeta and Katniss's life. Mockingjay spoilers, but if you haven't read the last book you probably shouldn't be browsing this section of fanfiction anyway ;)
I decided not to name their children because 1) They don't mention them in the epilogue 2) I have trouble coming up with names
Katniss's POV, Katniss x Peeta of course! Reviews are appreciated!
Disclaimer: I don't own The Hunger Games or anything else, all I own is my own copy of all three books that absolutely everyone I have ever met has borrowed.
I stood at the sink under the window that overlooked the meadow, rinsing a dish. I had been scrubbing the same dish for at least five minutes, I knew it was already as clean as it was going to get but at least it gave my hands something to work with. I scrubbed one spot so hard my fingers were beginning to ache and I submerged the plate in the sudsy water, soaking my hands. I would never get terribly used to domestic life, it seemed too foreign. I always believed that their would be a catch, a wake up call.
I suppose the nightmares are enough of a wake up call.
I heard a break and I looked down to see that I had been scrubbing the next plate so hard it cracked. A piece of ceramic had sliced across my hand and a stream of blood began to slide down my hand. I swore under my breath and snatched a nearby towel pressing it to my hand firmly to staunch the flow. The towel immediately turned scarlet and I made a mental note to wash it before anyone worried. Especially Peeta.
I stood at the sink and stared out the window, contemplating how I could hide the evidence of the shattered china. I heard cries of delight come from outside as my children played in the meadow.
My children. On the days that I felt I just couldn't bring myself to climb out of bed, they were what gave me the strength to do so. Both of them were living reminders of the fact that goodness in this world still existed.
I looked down at my injured hand and peeled the towel off of my sensitive skin. The bleeding had stopped and now there was only a thin red line. It would heal soon, I was sure.
I began to carefully collect the larger shards of china off of the counter when I heard a loud scream come from the meadow. My head shot up to look out the window and my heart stopped as I saw my son lying on his back on the ground with his eyes closed with his sister standing before him.
I was out of the house in the blink of an eye, not remembering leaving the kitchen or opening the door. I called out his name as I sprinted to where he was.
"What happened?" I asked my daughter frantically as I knelt beside his limp figure.
"I killed him mama," she giggled. "He was being irritating."
My head shot up, my eyes angry.
"What?" was all I could say. A huge grin broke out on my son's previously still face and he laughed loudly, opening one eye.
"See mama?" his head dropped back down to the ground and he closed his eyes again, his tongue rolling out of his mouth.
"I died!" he joked as his sister snickered behind my back.
"We're only kidding, mama," she said with a grin. "We were only playing, it's a game."
I gasped for breath and stood up off the ground in one swift movement.
"Don't you ever-" I gasped, a hand flying to my chest. "Do you have any idea how much you scared me!" I bellowed angrily in her face. My son lifted his head off the ground, propped up on his elbows, his eyes wide.
My daughter's mouth hung open.
"A game? You call that a game!" I said my voice rising in volume, pointing down to my son. "It's not a game! It's not funny!" I scolded them both, feeling my anger, terror, and relief growing.
My son scrambled up to his feet and went to stand by his sister, his eyes fearful.
The very idea of my children, pretending to kill and die on a battle field, as a joke? As a game?
"I'm fine mama, see?" he said quietly. Strands of dark hair fell in my face and tears stung my eyes.
"You don't understand anything! You never play that game ever again, you hear me? Ever! I don't want you two to ever-" I stopped screaming when I felt a hand lightly rest on my shoulder.
I whipped around and saw Peeta's calm face staring back at me. I opened my mouth, tears still stinging my eyes and turned back to look at the faces of my children. They clung to each other's hands, their faces terror stricken. My daughter looked on the verge of tears.
Without a word Peeta wrapped an arm around my waist and turned me around, leading me into the house, leaving my children confused in the field. I kept a hand over my mouth, letting his strong hold keep my upright.
When we were both in our home, he turned to close the door and I rushed over to grip the edge of the counter, leaning over it and gritting my teeth. My husband turned and I could tell he was watching me with my back turned.
"Katniss…" he started, his voice soft and comforting.
"They called it a game! What a barbaric…" I said angrily, I closed my eyes as I felt a tear slide down my cheek.
"Katniss…they didn't know any better," he said to me. I felt his hands on both of my shoulders and he gently turned me around to face him. I looked away, ashamed to meet his eyes. He wiped a tear from my cheek with his thumb.
"They didn't know any better," he whispered. "They were just playing, they didn't know they were doing anything wrong," he reasoned.
I cleared my throat and clenched my jaw before nodding.
"I know," I said hoarsely, holding back more tears. "But if you'd seen them…he was lying on the ground. They're so young," I said. "On her next birthday…she'll be old enough for the reaping."
"No Katniss, she would be old enough for the reaping," Peeta corrected.
He pulled me close and wrapped his arms around me comfortingly and I closed my eyes instantly, feeling at home once more.
"It doesn't matter, because the games are over. You have to remember that Katniss. Come back…come back," he whispered.
I knew what he meant, of course. There were times that I honestly needed reminding that the games were over, the war was over, and that I wasn't in the arena anymore. Even in the best of times I was still skeptical that our peaceful lifestyle would last forever. Something would go wrong. Something always did. My children were always in some danger in my mind, no matter how much I wanted to protect them.
"Are they-" I began to ask after a long silence.
"They're fine, Katniss, they'll be fine. They're just a little shaken. They know not to worry too much when this type of thing happens," he said reassuringly, rubbing my back. I hated that they've been trained to ignore our terror, but it was better that way. It happened with Peeta as well, the children had grown accustomed to him playing his 'real or not real game' and had eventually begin answering his questions when they could.
"I was too harsh," I said guiltily.
"You were upset," he told me gently, pulling me at arms length. I could still tell he was worried about me.
"They were just playing," I breathed, reminding myself of reality as I had to do so frequently.
He kissed my forehead lightly and I closed my eyes, welcoming it. I didn't have to be as strong around him.
"They were just playing," he whispered.
We lapsed into a comfortable silence, both of us returning to our peaceful reality. It was then that he eyed my hand, the blood running down my hand slowly again because my anger had caused my blood to race. He took my hand in his carefully, examining it.
I tried not to look at it long. I had never liked the sight of blood.
"It's nothing," I said quickly.
"You always say that," he scolded me with a small smile, leading me to the sink to wash the wound.
I didn't protest and a small smile crept to my face. One thing would never change; Peeta would always be there to take care of me.