A/N: So, this is one of this if Peeta and Katniss hadn't been reaped stories.
It had stuck in my head for a while, and I finally decided to write it, because I couldn't stand it being in my head the whole time.
This won't be perfect, since I'm German and English is not my mother tongue, so there will be spelling and grammar errors, please tell me if you find them. I also might mix British and American English, so please don't be angry with me.
Please read and review and I will read and review your stories.
Edit: To all those who have already read this story: It was brought to my attention that I can't use the text from the book, so I re-wrote this part. That is all that has changed, otherwise there is nothing new.
Disclaimer: I do NOT own the Hunger Games, and obviously, I don't own the story with the bread either.
I look up when I feel two eyes boring holes into my back. I don't know why I do, I just feel it. Hunter instincts, I guess. I turn around to find a pair of blue eyes staring right into my gray ones. The cheeks of their owner turn pink when he notices I'm looking back and he looks away.
That's not new. I caught this boy staring at me a few times now. If only I knew why. I don't even know him. Only a few things about him. The boy's name is Peeta Mellark and he's the baker's son. He is in my year, too.
But most importantly, the thing that makes me remember him, this boy is the boy with the bread.
It was early spring, usually my favorite time of year, when I first met him. April. Usually that may have not been early anymore, but the winter had been cold, long and merciless.
It wasn't what had token everything; the life I knew, my happiness and above all, my father, away. It was a mining accident. He had been...kind of everything to me. Now, all I had left were my little, seven year old sister, Primrose, who wouldn't be any help, who was sweet, young and fragile, who would cry when I did, and my mother.
One should think a mother would be there for her children after what happened, but mine wasn't. We had gotten money from the state for a month, a month in which she had been supposed to mourn and find a job, so she would have been able to feed us. But she didn't. She would sit there, on the sofa, and stare. Where to, I didn't know. She had been in some dark world, where neither Prim nor I had been able to reach her. I had given up on trying after a week or so, but Prim was still begging her to help us, to come back. In vain.
I hadn't been able to stand this image of misery presented by my home, so I had gone to the market, and until a few minutes ago, I had been trying to sell some of Prim's old baby clothes, without success. Clutching my stomach, trying to dimish the pain the hunger inflicted upon me, I dropped them. It was raining and they landed in a puddle, but I didn't care. I didn't want to bend down and get them, because I feared once own, I wouldn't be able to get to my feet again.
Death was waiting for me, with its long fingers, just above me, waiting for the right moment to grab me. It was close, and I knew it. I would eat anything I could find now. Rotten. Mildewed. Desiccated. I didn't matter to me. Everything was better than this piercing hunger.
I would steal. Stealing is forbidden in District twelve, punishable by death, but I was as good as dead either way, and if they didn't catch me...we would survive a little longer, maybe until March 8th, until I was finally old enough to take out tesserae.
That was when a trash bin crossed my view. They were fair game. I was allowed to take whatever humiliating food it may give, and I was fine with that. We were desperate enough; better eating food that wasn't good anymore than starving. So I lifted the lid, only to find my hope shattered. It was empty. Had just been emptied.
While I was staring at the clean bin, asking myself how merciless life was, after all, I smelled fresh bread, the scent of it coming from the window of the bakery. It was like a drug to me. Automatically my hand stopped moving, my nose started taking the rich smell of something I needed so desperately in. Only thinking of the golden loaves, the feeling of the filled stomach I could get with them, leaves my mouth watering.
Right in that moment the door cracked open and the baker's wife stormed out and started screaming at me. Ugly, scathing words. She asked me if she should get the peacekeepers to take care of me, or if she should do that herself; screamed how much she hated 'seam brats'. I had no defence, felt smaller and worse than ever before.
I was placing the lid back on the bin when I saw him; a blond haired, blue eyed boy. He stood right behind his mother and was looking at me. I didn't know his name, although I recognized him as a boy in my year at school. His friends were all merchants, so why should I?
His mother must have decided I was not worth her attention, so she went back in, still huffing. Of course I don't know, but now I believe he must have been watching me while I was making my way to the apple tree behind their pig pen.
That's where I broke down, where I knew I would not go home. I couldn't face my family with their hollow cheeks and chapped lips, not without food. We were doomed, and all I could do now was waiting for death to finally come and release me from the cruel grips life had on me.
The voice, the baker's wife, was screaming again, and it was followed by a blow, although I didn't knew whom it was directed at. When I heard footsteps, I thought she was just practicing, so she wouldn't miss me when she would come to drive me away. But I was wrong.
It wasn't her, but her son, who was being yelled at. Obviously, he had done something, because his mother was shouting at him, cursing him. I soon saw why, too. He had two loaves of burned bread in his arms. The blow had been directed at his cheek, a big, red welt showing it.
The door closed, and the boy procceeded to the pen. He turned around, making sure his mother wasn't watching, and then he tossed them in my direction. The two loaves, I mean. Then I went back into the house, without looking at me.
I clutched them to my chest and run home. It was the first day in month we'd had enough to eat, the first day in month I could see at least some life in my mother's eyes and some happiness in Prim's.
The next day, at school, I wanted to thank him. I waited the whole day for an opportunity. But when, at the end of the day, our eyes met, I dropped my gaze, embarrassed, and I didn't. Because my gaze fell on a dandelion. The first dandelion in the spring. And that was when I remembered all the things my father had told me about survival.
To this day, I can never shake the connection between this boy, Peeta Mellark, and the bread that gave me hope, and the dandelion that reminded me that I was not doomed.
(~The Hunger Games, pg 32,Suzanne Collins)
That's the first thing that comes to my mind when I look at him. And it fills me with guilt. Because, every time I think of him, I think of that day, too:
No, I can't shake the connection. But I haven't even thanked him yet. I always like to think that yet, because it sounds like I was going to do it someday. Say thank you for his kindness. We'd have starved without it. Without the bread. Sometimes I think I could just go over to him and say thank you. But then I think, that maybe he's forgotten it and move on to more important things. Like hunting for my family.
Until now, it has never occurred me that maybe this might be the reason he's staring at me. He does this quite often. But he never did it before that very day. Maybe he's still waiting for the thank you.
But then again, why should he? Why should he care for the thank you after so many years? Why should he even remember? Why would it matter to him? He just helped one girl among hundreds. He saved her. Me. But we don't know each other! He doesn't care for me. Right?
Though, I feel like I'm owing him. For saving my, and most importantly, Prim's life. And I can never pay him back. I hate owning people.
I shake my head to clear my thoughts. They drift off to Peeta Mellark quite often the last days. I don't know the reason. It must be that still owing him. And he…maybe he's just eyeing the rude, strange, district known huntress. Yes, that has to be it! Nothing else!
I shake my head again and make my way to Prim and I's meeting place under the willow in the school yard. The willow. I stare at it the whole day while sitting in the lessons and don't paying attention to the teacher telling us how wonderful the Capitol is. Or how important and interesting coal is. In my opinion, the willow is the most beautiful thing in this school. The only kind of beauty, really. Everything else is just like everything in District 12 is. Grey. The school building is old, friable and covered in dust. I hate it. Because of coal, my father died. Coal and the Capitol. The two things I hate the most. No wonder I'm not paying attention in my school periods.
Prim comes up, chattering aimlessly with her best friend Rory Hawthrone. That makes me smile. A rare thing for me to do, but it's just to fitting. My best friend is Gale Hawthrone. My younger sister's best friend is Gale's brother, Rory.
Prim smiles when she sees me and gives me a hug. "Hey, Katniss, how was school?" "Like always, little duck." I say, referring at her blouse that slip out of her pants. "How was yours?" Her eyes light up. "Oh, it was great! I drew a picture of you! Do you want to see it?" She smiles at me and I can't help but smile back. Prim's just too cute. "Of course!"
She shows me a picture of a girl with dark hair and grey eyes. Her hair is braided, her eyes are the ones of a fighter. She's wearing dark pants and hunting boots made of leather. And a hunting jacket, a bit to big for her. In one hand a bow, in the other an arrow, ready to load the bow and shoot.
She looks strong. Strong and, dare I say beautiful? And this is supposed to be me?
Before I can say anything I hear a "Wow" from the side and turn around. As soon as I do I see a none other than Peeta Mellark, but he isn't looking at me. His eyes are fixed on Prim's beautiful picture. Prim has turned around, too, and is beaming at him. "Do you really think so?" He smiles at her. "Yes, it's really good. Only…may I?" He asks and pulls out a pencil.
I don't know what he wants to do, but Prim seems to. "Ok…" she says and hands him the picture. Before I can even react, he's already taken it and is now perfecting the drawing. A shadow here, a crease in the clothes there and after half a minute it's perfect.
He hands it back to Prim, who's staring at it with an open mouth. I can't blame her. The picture, even before very beautiful, it now seems to be living. You can almost feel the wind blowing through the hair, almost feel it's cold and you wouldn't be surprised if the girl, me, started moving and shooting an arrow at you, that's how real it looks.
"Where did you learn that?", she asks, bringing me back to reality.
"I frost the cakes in the bakery. I gu…". His isn't able to finish his sentences, because Prim interrupts him. "You do? I love them! They look so amazing? How do you do that?"
He smiles at her. "I can show you, if you want. I'm supposed to do one on Saturday, you know. For the wedding of the older Cartwright girl, Lydia. You could help me. If you're allowed, of course…", he says, looking at me. Prim tugs my sleeve and looks at me with her puppy dog eyes. She knows I can't resist now.
I grunt. "Fine."
Both their eyes lighten up and Peeta says: "You can come too, you know?" Before I can answer Prim has that pleading look on her face. "Yeah Katniss, please. You never do something just for fun. Please come!"
Oh, I hate that look. Prim can convince me to do anything by just looking at me with that eyes. But I can't. I have to go hunting on Saturday. I mustn't do anything "just for fun". We have to survive! "Katniss, I know what you are thinking right now. Listen! We won't starve because you take one day off. Gale does that, too, you know, and neither he nor his family have starved!"
I'm still not convinced. "What about your mother?" I'm now talking to Peeta.
Prim looks like a merchant, with her blonde hair and blue eyes, but I am undeniably a girl from the Seam. And I know just how much this witch hates "Seam brats". Those words just remind me of owing Peeta. I could say thank you now, but somehow it just doesn't seem fitting. Maybe I should go on Saturday…but the witch.
"She won't be there. She's going to help to prepare the wedding.", Peeta interrupts my thoughts.
Oh great, now I'm out of arguments. "Oh well, fine, I'll come.", I say. Prim cheers and hugs me and then, to his surprise, Peeta. Peeta hesitates at first, but then he returns Prim's hug.
"Soooo, till Saturday, I suppose?", he says.
"Yeah, till Saturday!", Prim smiles. Peeta smiles back. He then smiles at me and I nod at him.
Yeah, till Saturday…
So, what do you think?
I know, the bakery thing has been used before, but it's so tempting because Prim loves the cakes Peeta frosts. And i wanted it to seem real. I know Katniss agreed very fast, but first, she does trust Peeta, at least a bit, and second Prim trusts everyone and wants Katniss to do it so, yeah, it's just the only way Peeta'd be able to talk to her.
Without Prim as matchmaker they wouldn't talk to each other. But i promise the bakery scene will be different from others. The whole story will be.
Oh, i'm talking to much again. Please review and tell me if you like it!