A/N: This time the thanks will be at the end of the chapter...The reason? Look above and then you will see this...this word! It says 'complete'. No, that isn't a mistake. This...this is indeed the last chapter:( It was the best and seriously, the only time to make the cut...

BUT of course I hold my promise and you will get a sequel! The sequel to this story:DD So no, of course it's not over:D More information at the end of the chapter:D

A SHOUT OUT TO Emmy, WHO WAS MY 400th REVIEWER! OMG, I NEVER THOUGHT THIS STORY WOULD GET SO MANY REVIEWS!

Btw, I'm sorry! I wanted to update yesterday. but I couldn't sign in:(

Disclaimer: No, I don't own the Hunger Games


Chapter 21:

Without further thinking I lean forward and press my lips to Peeta's. One second they're still moving, since he was talking, in the next they freeze.

The kiss isn't like the one we shared on the meadow. It's different, although not in a bad way. Because this time, I know what I'm doing. At least I think so.

That is until he starts kissing me back and my head starts spinning. And I can't form a clear thought anymore.

I'm vaguely aware of myself gripping his shoulders so I don't fall over, which is bringing me even closer to him. I feel that curious thing again, this warmth in my chest. A feeling that makes me want more kisses.

So, when he attempts talking again, I don't let him. I don't know what that is, I don't know what this means, I only know that I don't want to stop.

But then Peeta won't let me win. He pulls away. His face looks…hurt? Why would it look hurt? I…

In this very moment it hits me. Of course. He thinks I'm going to run away again.

"Why are you doing this Katniss?"

I bite my lip. "I don't know."

He gives me a sad smile and moves a bit away from me. "Are you going to run away now?"

I freeze. So I was right. My thoughts were just confirmed by his words. But the answer to this question, I do know. "No."

His gaze is still doubtful. "Why not? You did last time."

I sigh. Why has he be so hard to convince? Then again, I really shouldn't be the one complaining. He wasn't the one avoiding me for six month.

It was me that hurt him and caused him to ask those questions. And I know why he wouldn't want to go through that again. And I don't want that either. Neither for him nor for me.

"Because…because I kissed you." I don't know why, but I find it hard to say the word 'kiss'. I realize I've never said it loud before. And…the meaning of it in this sentence isn't helpful either. It's as though I'm crossing some line. Or more like…maybe breaking said line. Not only with the words, but also with the action it describes.

"Does it make a difference?" For some reason his words now upset me. I mean, what did I just tell him?

"Yes it does!" My indignation is obvious in my voice. "I'm still here, aren't I? Or…do you want me to run away?"

I know he doesn't, probably more than anyone else, but that's what my anger asks.

And it seems to work. He looks stunned and shocked. He swallows before rushing to answer: "No Katniss, of course I don't. It's just…do you know how I'm feeling right now?"

Now it's my turn to swallow. Do I know? He's still in shock and confused, this much I can see from his expression. But…for some reason I don't know I think there is more.

"A bit." I tell him. It's obvious that he is a bit disappointed by me failing to understand, but not really surprised. He just nods.

"I thought so." He says that in a hard voice, but then he sighs. "It's just I feel…I don't know how to call it. Betrayed. No, more like…kidded. It's so…I thought…" He takes a deep breath to calm himself down. And maybe to find the right words. Which is strange. He usually never fails to find them.

"You…you told me you couldn't…give me more than friendship. Well, not exactly, but that was what you were getting at. And then…then you just…out of nowhere…kiss me. I mean, what am I supposed to think now?"

His eyes are demanding an answer, although I know I don't have one. He has every right to be confused right now. How could he not be when even I don't understand? When I don't know how I feel about him. All I know is that there is…something. Something I don't have a name for.

"I don't know." I whisper. "I…I'm as confused as you are but…" I trail off, not knowing what to say.

He gives me a sad, defeated smile. "Maybe…maybe it would best if I left now. I mean, so you can figure it out."

In the few seconds my mind needs to comprehend the meaning of his words he has already risen and is about to take the first step. And when I grab his wrist to stop him and he turns around, surprised, this all seems like a déjà vu. Well, a déjà vu with reserved roles. I am Peeta. Peeta is me. Running away. And this time I'm not sure he'll come back.

"Don't!" No matter what exactly it is I'm feeling, I do know that I don't want him to leave. This may be a selfish act again, but I can't not.

He hesitantly sits down on the edge of my bed, but I don't let go of his wrist. I know he isn't convinced yet and I'm...almost…afraid that if I do, he will change his mind and go. "Why not?"

This time I can't tell he won't be content with an 'I don't know'. And this time, I actually do have an answer. "Because I don't leave. Because you told me you don't want me to leave. Because I don't want you to leave."

He looks at me with a…surprised expression, to say the least. "Isn't that enough reason?"

Now it's him avoiding my eyes. "Yes, but Katniss I…" But before he can say anymore, I cut him off.

"I know you don't want to…to get hurt." I have to swallow so I can say it. I don't want to think about what I did to him. What I'm doing to him.

"But…I'm not running, so why should you be?"

He sighs. "You're right. I'm just…what does that mean?" Now his eyes do meet mine. And now I wish they wouldn't. I bite my lip again.

"I'm not sure. But…that doesn't mean I couldn't find out." Those words seem to be the best ones. They don't promise anything, but they don't say never, either.

He gives me a small smile. "Katniss?" He asks hesitantly.

"Yes?"

"Could I…you now…would it be okay if I kissed you? Just once?" I'm startled by his answer, but I don't shy away. Actually, I think it would only be fair. After I kissed him and confused him so much…he deserves it. And…okay, maybe because I want it a bit, too.

"Ok." It's not like earlier.

This time, there aren't any rushed movements. It isn't unplanned. It's his face slowly coming nearer, giving me time to change my mind, to back away. But when he's completely sure, when he knows I won't, he captures my lips with his.

This time it's a gentle, a soft kiss. And like he promised, only one. Though his lips linger a moment before he pulls back. And now there's a smile playing them.

I feel the corners of my mouth turn up, too.

"Thank you." He says.

Now I really smile. Why, I don't know. But I take his hand and say: "You're welcome."

Just then, in this very moment, the door bursts open. We both immediately turn our heads in the direction and I'm very glad whoever that is didn't come in a few seconds ago.

Only then I make out the small figure and the blond hair. Prim. Actually, a very out of breath Prim. With a very desperate look on her face. And not only desperate. Full of horror, too. She immediately runs over to us and throws her arms around me.

And before I'm even able to return her embrace she starts sobbing.

I'm shocked. Prim hasn't cried in a while and I'm completely unprepared for her sudden outburst, and taken aback by it. Especially since I don't know what happened. But I'm determined to find out what's made my little sister cry like this.

"Sshhh. Prim, Prim, what happened?" She tries to reply, but a new wave of sobs shakes her body.

I don't know how to react. I just rock her back and forth, patting her back and hair gently. Peeta is doing the same, and he's making shushing noises, telling her to calm down, that it'll be okay.

At those words she shakes her head violently. But since she still can't speak, it only makes me worry more. Not only about Prim now, but also about what might have happened. I mean, she isn't distraught like that for no reason.

What would upset her so much? Has anything happened to her? To mother? Those thoughts make me clutch her tighter to my body.

Suddenly she starts mumbling incoherent words, or more like chocking them out between sobs. I look up at Peeta, silently asking if he understands, or knows, anything. A shake of his head tells me he doesn't. And the helpless expression shows me that he doesn't know how to comfort Prim anymore. That he has no idea what to do.

And honestly, neither do I.

After a few minutes her she manages to make at least some of her words understandable.

"I…it…coal…fire…" And then new tears start streaming down her face and she can't continue.

The first thing I can concentrate on is coal. Has there been a mining accident again? I instantly see my father again, the one from the nightmares, being blown to bits. This time, together with Gale, who is working there. I feel myself paling, until I remember the next words.

If there had been an explosion, we would have heard the alarm. It's loud enough to startle the whole district and I can't have been that distracted. This is the one sound that pierces marrow and bone, the sound I heard on the worst day of my life. The day my father died.

But there was no alarm, and the fire wouldn't fit with a mining accident anyway. I'm almost relieved, but that only means something else, something horrible has happened. So…what could it be?

"Something's burning." Peeta's voice rips me out of my own thoughts. He has paled and is now looking me in the eyes. "Katniss, where are the largest amounts of coal in District twelve?"

Of course. Why didn't I think of it? That's what coal does. It burns. I search my mind. Where is much coal? Since the mines are ruled out it can be…

"Everywhere in the Seam." Suddenly my heart beats faster. What if it's someone I know? What if it is the Hawthorne's house?

Prim, who's snuffling now, nods.

"The house of someone?" I ask with urgency in my voice. "Anyone we know?"

At this, Prim shakes her head. "No…no, it's…Oh Katniss...it's...the Hob."

For a few seconds I'm speechless, my mind a jumble of thoughts, trying to get a grip on what she's just said. The Hob. Where I've traded for years. Where I've been sitting, talking and eating for hours.

"What?" I manage to choke the word out, although there's a lump in my throat. Suddenly I start coming up with one question after the other.

"Why? I mean, why now? Is anyone still inside? Are they injured people? Is it only the Hob or is it diffusing?"

"I…I'm not su…sure. Mother se…sent me home because…I…it was so dangerous a…and when I wan…wanted to stay she…she told me I…I'd help her mo..more if I just went and…told some people a…about it. So…she could…get some…help, you know? And I…I did a…and then I…I came here…and just…couldn't bear it anymore." She tells us, interrupted by hiccups. With that a fresh wave of sobs racks her body.

First I'm left staring at her in shock, then at Peeta. His eyes reflects the horror I'm feeling.

"I have to go." He tells me. "I have to go see if I can help. The flames…they have to be tamed. They need every help they can get. You stay here with Prim."

I know he's just worried about me, but he should know I can take care of myself. "No. I want to go, too. I want to help. Prim, you stay here. Or you can go over to the Hawthorns, I'm sure Hazelle won't send you away."

This makes her stop crying, although her nose is still running. "No. If the two of you go, I'll come, too."

"NO!" This time Peeta and I are of the same opinion. "Prim, you just cried your eyes out because of what you saw there. Plus it's dangerous. You're not going." I say. And I'm not going to accept anything else.

"Yes I am going! I'm old enough to make that decision myself. I…" She's cut off by Peeta.

"Prim, listen to your sister. She's right, it is too dangerous. She doesn't want anything to happen to you. And neither do I. Please, don't make us worry about more than necessary."

"But they're injured. They need me." She's got a point there. Sure, they've got our mother, but she can't treat everyone at the same time.

"You stay here. We'll send them to you." It's safer, even if it isn't the best solution. Prim seems to consider it for a second, then she nods.

"Fine. I have more cure here anyway." Now that she's thought of the injured, she seems to have gotten a grip on herself. Back is the strong young woman she's become. Always caring for others.

"And you." She points at the two of us. "Be careful, ok? I don't want to have to treat you." Her smile is only half-hearted, because I know she really doesn't want to. It isn't a joke.

"We will." I tell her and give her a kiss on the forehead. Peeta gives me a sad smile.

"I doesn't make any sense to tell you to stay, does it?" If the situation wasn't so serious I would have rolled my eyes.

"No, it doesn't. I'm going." And with that I grab his hand and drag him with me. Although he has a hard time keeping up with me, since I'm running full speed, he somehow does. Maybe he is, like me, driven by adrenaline.

I can see the flames after a few seconds. Well, not the flames, but the smoke. I can smell it, too and it makes the air thicker, makes it harder to breath. The closer we get the more my eyes start tearing. I can barely keep them open, but I do.

Until we reach the Hob. Or should I say, what once was the Hob. Because now there's only a gigantic fire, growing because of the coal that covered the floor of the building. This had to happen eventually. It's a miracle it hasn't burned down before.

And then I have to close my eyes for a second, because it's so bright. And the heat is too much for them. What started out as tearing isn't enough anymore. I need to close them, it's a reflex. But I also do because of everything I see happening around me.

There are people just running, running as fast as possible away from the building, the flames, their death. They are screaming, drowning the shouts of the people that are trying to help. They've built long lines where they transport buckets full of water, by taking it from the man on the left and giving it to the one on the right. That goes until the last one has gotten it, who throws the water into the flames. It does not extinguish it yet, but it checks the fire so it won't get greater.

I try to focus on them, not on the men with burns and blood coming from their wounds, those that are moaning in pain, some of them bending their bodies on the ground, some of them vomiting. Everywhere I look I see desperation. I don't recognize any face, but at the moment I don't care who is who.

"There!" I point at one shorter line, signalizing Peeta I want to go there, help them. Then I cough and choke, because I got too much of the smoke in my lungs.

Peeta just nods, pulls his shirt up to cover his mouth and goes over to fill one particular big space. I do the same, not knowing why I didn't get that idea myself and line up next to a man from the Seam.

He's sweating and only now do I notice the sweat that has started forming on my whole body. The heat is almost unbearable and I almost forget why I'm doing this, almost forget why I don't run away like others. But when I'm given the first bucket of water and see how the first man in the line throws it into the flames I know why I'm doing this. Why I have to endure this. I have to do this for everyone here, for the District and for Prim, who counts on me to come home relatively healthy, whom I want to be proud of me. Whom I want to live. And I know, if this fire gets out of check, the whole District will burn down.

I'm working like a machine, my mind focused on the bucket, and only the bucket, trying to block out the screams, screams of the fleeing and dying. I can't afford to think about them right now. Time to grief is later. Now all that counts is making sure the fire doesn't get out of control.

It seems like an eternity until there are finally enough people helping to actually extinguish the fire. Because only when the men from the mines arrive and start helping, there's finally enough fire gone to choke it with cloths.

With the fire not being so big anymore I can get the first glance at the scale of devastation. Everywhere are black remains of the old building, of the ground it was built on. Then I can see the first corpses and badly injured being carried away, those who have no chance of surviving. The slowly coming wind blows the scent for everyone to smell. And smell, I do.

The smell of ashes, death and destruction is in the air, but the smoke is slowly vanishing, so I get more air. My lungs are happy to be filled with fresh air again as I finally drop the bucket, because I can't bear it any longer, and move away from the place.

I'm inhaling and exhaling faster than I should, trying to get the venomous smoke out of my lungs. I look at my aching hands for the first time. There are red marks where my hands gripped the bucket and I'm sure this will leave some scars. I'm glad I left Prim behind. She could have died, like some auxiliaries actually did. They gave their life for others. And even if not, they pay the prize.

Suddenly there's a something else again. A new horror coming to my mind. I haven't seen Peeta since we went to different points in the line. He's been more in the front, though he wasn't the one to throw the water. At first. But…could it be…?

I start pushing my way through the crowd that is now standing here, watching. Now that the danger is over people that were running before are coming back to gawk and make it harder to bring the injured to my mother and Prim. I've seen my mother while I was passing the water, but I was too busy to think more than 'She's alive' and be relieved.

I'm about to shout Peeta's name when I feel a hand on my shoulder and turn around, startled. But then I let out something between a scream and a sigh of relief, because it is Peeta. Coughing, sweating and with the same marks at his hands as I, but alive. I throw my arms around him and hold him close to my body. His arms wrap around me and we stay there for a few minutes, just relieved to see each other living and more or less healthy. He also smells like me, has the same look of horror still printed on his face. I know it, even though it is buried in my hair.

When I look over his shoulder I see how the place slowly clears out until there are just a few left, those that choke the last little flame. Everything is black and hot and unnatural. Burned. The ashes are now evident on the ground and the last smoke is rising into the air. But it is only the Hob and I feel like I should be glad there weren't any other buildings catching fire, because that would have made everything harder.

But watching it, I feel the grief coming. Grief for the people that died ,for families that loved them. Grief for the place I knew so well, the place I liked so much, the place I spent countless hours. All that is left of it is the memory now, and a bad memory at the ending, because I'm sure I will never be able to forget the image of today. Never in my life.

No, the odds are never really in my favor. Knowing this, I can literally feel that there's a storm about to begin.


Now first: My THANK YOUs to: Embracing-Immensity (Hope you weren't disappointed:D), Takeiteasycharlie, SilentMockingjay, LanieBanie (Did you dance;D), InLoveWithPeeta (It is weird, but I do, too, so...:D), AngelsandTributes123, SWPeetaxKatnissAvatarTLA (Ha,ha, you're so right:D Punching him would've been an idea though:D), kandykanes5150, DandelionOnFire (hmm...you know, I might actually hold you to that...thinking of a plot for me, I mean:D But in VERY distant future:)), Gamnut7 (OI MY GOSH! {yes, oi}! THANK YOU!), InLoveWithAFictionalCharacter 7(Sorry for always spelling your name wrong, but it cuts it out if I leave the 7 where it really is...:D And you're not the only one who's lost it...me too:D), Aria-dancingdolphins15 (He,he, ok. Thanks:D), jvmassey (thanks:D What would you have done if she hadn't kissed him?), SilverLuna1997, ilovethehungergames, jessica, TwinkleLights123 (yeah, that's what I thought of, too:D And I know it was obvious;)), Aloha-Pinkly (he,he,now you have your kiss:)), StayingAlive223 (You were right:D), Meg123, ohmygawdpeeta (Wow, that were quite a few good ideas:D Personally, I would have slapped him:D Good thing I'm not Katniss;)), BBree23 (okay...I kind of bent over backwards to get this out yesterday...and then I couldn't sign in:( I''m SOOO sorry! HAPPY BIRTHDAY! though. Even if it's a late one...:D), Funkypurplerhino (Good thing she didn't. I need my ears:D And thank you:DD That means a lot to me:D), Tree Hugger 11 (he,he, yeah, but it would've been funnyxD), rosiekatira24 (I would punch him:) But I'm not Katniss:)), mspacman1 (Hope you're happy with this:)), kari (Yeah well, that's true;)), boyywiththebread, KMloveya (Aww, THANK YOU! I mean, I'm sure it's far from perfect but if you think so, I'm happyXD), mau4hits (Ha,ha, nice. That would've been an idea;) And yes, the songs are beautiful:D I always listen to songs while writing:D), CharmChaser (YAY! You're back:D), Ellfoy-Malana (I know;D That's kinda what gave me the ideaxD), Anonymous, Lexyngton (THANK YOU! Wow! I'm sooo happy:D), peetamellarkbuns, RowebotRowe (yeah, I think twenty were enough, huh?), llamasareaboss (Wow, THANK YOU!), Emmy (Thank you for 3 reviews:DD I didn't think oneof them sounded mean though...don't worry:D), nodaybut2day7 (THANK YOU!), Hunger Games FanaticD (Aww, THANKS A BUNCH! I'm soooo happy:DD), lovell9927 (He,he, I'm SOOO glad you think so! Scratch that...I'm...there's no word! THANK YOU!)

Ok...that's it. Everyone who wants to can leave me a final review now and don't care about the rest I write (that's supposed to mean: Come on, you know you want to read more;) Don't you dare doing that! Ok, no, don't worry, just joking xD).

I think I should start with the name: So, the sequel is going to be called 'The Storm'. The reason...if I was you, I'd just read the last phrase again:D

It's going to be rated T again, this time a serious T. I think I gave you a taste of the reason for that in this chapter...I know it was sad and not as romantic as you probably wanted it to be. But it had to happen:( Yeah...'The Storm' will be about the rebellion, because Katniss can't truly be happy with the Capitol still existing (And because I can't live without writing this). I've come to the realization that she, even though she kissed him and DIDN'T run away, needs the rebellion for a...realistic ending:) Full summary when it comes out:D I really hope to see all of you again! It'd make me so happy!

NOW REVIEW!