Well, here's another one. I tried to fill some plot holes that a wonderful reviewer pointed out. I hope it works.

If I didn't reply to your review, I am so, so sorry. If you feel like reviewing this time, I will definitely try to get back to you this time. Big thanks goes out to sw777, Sanya, kitkatkrunch, Danny'sGirlSG1, Amara Kingley, Clare, alli-mart, Howlynn, sparksfly16 and Howl3 for reviewing. If I had the time, I would add the name of all of the wonderful people who added this to their alerts and favorites. But this is kind of a rushed posting, so maybe next time.

Enjoy!


Katniss goes hunting for Greasy Sae's birthday. She's never cared about anybody's birthday before except for Prim's and sometimes maybe even their mother. But only because Prim made Katniss care.

Now Katniss is making herself care. It's hard going, but her mother is all too willing to help out. They talk more, Katniss and her mother. Mrs. Everdeen is doing fantastic being a healer and has way more things to talk about than defunct Katniss. Sometimes though, the former awkwardness creeps in. A lot of the time there is silence where there used to be a comment by Prim.

Sometimes talking to her mother makes Katniss miss Prim more. But she knows it's the same for her mother. Truth is; they both need each other now. More than ever. They're also trying to make it work… in memory of both of their losses.

Katniss even begins to understand what her mother must have gone through when her dad died. If their roles had been reversed and it was Peeta in that mine… It hurts to think about it. So Katniss only thinks on it when she's trying to forgive her mother. It's taking a long time, but its working. No one ever said forgiveness was a cake-walk and if someone ever did, Katniss wouldn't hesitate to punch their teeth out.

Hunting is an excellent way to get rid of tension, Katniss remembers. By the time she gets home, she's sweaty and is tracking mud in the house. It doesn't matter, though. It's her house and cleaning only gives her something to do when the boredom becomes too gripping.

Greasy Sae is in the kitchen cutting up some apples.

"What have you got there?" The older woman asks and Katniss cannot hide her smile.

A burlap bag acts like wrapping paper for the gift. Katniss thrusts it to Greasy Sae happily along with a bag of soft candies and a little bouquet of wildflowers for good measure. The teen has never really tried to give out presents before, so it might have been a little lacking. But Katniss seems very proud of her gift and Greasy Sae chooses to hold back an acerbic-but good natured-comment.

"Happy birthday."

The older woman gingerly takes the bag and peers in the hole suspiciously. What she sees makes her through back her head and laugh heartily.

"You don't know how hard it was to find one now that I was actually looking for it." Katniss tries to wipe some mud off her face to hide a grin.

It's wild dog. They're not in need of meat anymore, certainly not that. Gone are the days of starvation and gnawing on bones.

But it's a blast from the past and Greasy Sae's enjoying every minute of it.

It was Katniss that pursued her relationship with Haymitch. She was angry for a while that he never came to visit. Really angry.

She's realized so many things about herself and her relationships, it almost hurts. Her relationship with Haymitch is not exempt from this.

She came to realize how much she needed him too.

He's her friend, no matter how much they fight or how snarky they are to each other. He's probably one of the only people left who understand her. Better yet, he's one of the only people who will tolerate her.

He offers support in his weird, disjointed way. His anger is really a kindness. For if he wasn't around to be gruff, there would be no one around Katniss at all.

Two days after Peeta planted those blasted but sacred primroses, Katniss sneaks into Haymitch's house. Maybe it's a sign of how strange both of their sensibilities are, but Katniss thinks knocking would be weird. And awkward.

He's not in the kitchen which is strange to think about. She's only ever seen him in the kitchen. He seems to be attached to that table. He slept in his bed, not on the table?

The house reeks. It's disgusting so Katniss covers her mouth and nose with a sleeve. Luckily, she is prepared for him to be passed out or gone. She leaves her note with a gift of some food covered with a cloth.

Food seems to be her bargaining tool these days. It's her way of apologizing and it seems to work.

Haymitch shows up at her house three hours later; the note in his hand and stone cold drunk. He leans so heavily on the doorframe that it creaks with his weight.

"Didn't think you the note-leaving kind."

Katniss is starting to regret ever believing that she needed Haymitch. She sighs. "Go home, Haymitch. I don't want to deal with you drunk."

"Nah." Even the one syllable is slurred beyond comprehension. "I'ma-I'ma… stay."

"Go home." Her voice is cutting and it seems to wake him from his stupor.

"Fine!" He spits. He shuffles around, too inebriated to move any faster. He stops. "Thanks for… for…"

"For the food?" Katniss offers.

"Yeah." He waits until his mind returns then leaves.

With those few words, their dysfunctional relationship grows stronger. They start by exchanging greetings when they happen to run into each other. Eventually -with Greasy Sae's permission, of course- Katniss invites Haymitch over for dinner. He comes once or twice a month. Then, he starts coming more because he's so starved and the calories in the alcohol are just not cutting it for him.

Dinners are quiet. Peeta and Greasy Sae talk sometimes. Haymitch and Katniss growl at each other once in a while when the silence drives them mad. Haymitch even manages to snarl his thanks to Greasy Sae after a particularly satisfying meal.

Katniss still gets mad at Haymitch. She resents how he is her "mentor" again. She resents that the people now in charge saw fit to even give her a mentor. It's like a slap in the face. She resents that they treat her like she's damaged.

She is damaged. That's what stops her from being too bitter. She's damaged and she craves human contact so much she's willing to put up with Haymitch.

One thing she will not stand is Peeta eating at her dinner table. He's very cordial to everyone. Free and delicious bread is always somewhere in his vicinity. He's the best of table guests and his manners are impeccable.

But he refuses to talk to Katniss. He doesn't even look her in the eye. If Katniss had to guess, she would say that he's as starved for humans as much as she is. He wants the company of live humans to relieve the oppressive presence of the dead ones. Or, Greasy Sae is forcing him to come.

Either way, it drives Katniss insane. He's so close, but no matter how much Katniss stares or tries to include him in her halting conversation, he never budges. He never gives in. He will ignore her to the end of time. Peeta is determined not to give into Katniss anymore.

Maybe he comes because he likes to rub Katniss' impatience in her face. This could be his revenge. Or it could all be a test. He could be seeing if she's really changed before he pursues anything with her again.

The hope burns her heart almost as badly as the despair does. So she stops trying to push him and instead returns to trading barbs with Haymitch and thanking Greasy Sae. Most of the time, there's just silence.


Review Reply to Anonymous Reviews:

Sanya: Thank you for the review. :)

Clare: It made perfect sense, and it was very nice of you to say so. I am aiming to get that "happy medium" with them if you will. I too, have read some fanfiction (not saying it was bad or anything of the sort, some of it was very good) that does consist of the characters acting very extreme. In some situations it does work. But I think that in this situation Katniss and Peeta would never get together, and if they did, it would be a very flawed relationship. So I am very grateful for your wonderful comment and I hope my writing continues to satisfy you in the future.