Peeta's warm body protected me from the harsh winds that the Gamemakers just couldn't stop torturing us with. They obviously didn't want us outside at the moment, and if they did, they would surely be trying to kill us themselves. I wondered vaguely why they would do this, to torture Cato, or to just keep Peeta and I in the cave long enough to arouse the viewers. I hated this. I hated being watched every hour of the day. I am having a hard enough time figuring out my feelings for him, and when they're constantly watching us…it's even harder. Surely Cato doesn't have his own cave, and though I am not particularly fond of him, I feel awful for him, being out there in those harsh winds. No living being deserves that sort of torture, and I can barely imagine the temperature.

Peeta moves and I cling to his shirt, the moisture in my eyes no longer able to stop gushing out. He gives me an apologetic look before moving to the edge of the cave, shoving more rocks towards the small crack we use to get in.

"How will we get out?" I stutter, wiping my eyes and trying to act tough for the cameras.

"I found the camera they placed in here. I purposely put the rock in front of it, and they can't see us now. You can cry, sweetheart," he murmurs, pulling me into a warm embrace. I fall into his arms and cry my eyes out, the trauma of my being in the games finally catches up to me, and I completely lose it.

"I wanna go home," I sob, his arms tighten. I feel guilty, not only for using Peeta just to entertain the crowd, but continuing to do it. My debt will never be repaid, and I will always owe him something. As of now it's a shoulder to cry on.

"I know Katniss, we'll be home soon," he murmurs soothingly. I hold on to him tighter, wishing he were Gale but taking it back as the thought hits me. I realize I only want it to be Gale because I'm afraid to admit my feelings for Peeta. I love him, I honestly do, and it's scary feeling this close to another boy in my life that isn't Gale. His arms hold tenderness that Gale never had, a passion. Whereas Gale showed me affection, but now, as Peeta softly strokes my hair and whispers words of optimism in my ear like a lover should, the memory of Gale feels oddly hollow. Of course it was real, but when I think back, it seems mandatory, like he had been forced to comfort me in times of need. But now, Peeta does this as if it were his only job, his only assignment that he was absolutely determined to succeed in doing. And he was…he really was.


"Why don't you get some rest, I'll make a fire and we can have the rest of the stew," he says, letting go and turning to our little stash of food. Most of it was rabbits and squirrels but there was one wild bird I couldn't seem to name, almost like a turkey, and a wonderful meal Haymitch has awarded us with. Lamb stew and peaches, plus a loaf of bread and goat cheese. The best food either of us has had since the games started. I thought briefly of Cato out there, starving to death with nothing to eat but the falling sheets of hail and rain. Maybe even snow. But I hated thinking like that, so I told myself he was in a cave too, he was sheltered somewhere waiting for the storm to subside while he planned his final moves.

"Okay," I agree, reluctantly sliding into the sleeping bag and watching his every move. With one grunt of frustration and a flick of his wrist, he had sparked a fire. Katniss, the girl who was on fire, I thought to myself. Ugh, it seemed all ages ago. I am not the girl I was then. I was ignorant. I did not love Peeta Mellark, and now, the thought of losing him terrifies me.

"Here," he hands me a plate of food and we eat together in silence. And as I set it down, we jump at the sound of the cannon over the harsh winds. It must be Thresh. It has to be. Cato would never give up, and I just know that it was somehow only supposed to be just us in the end. Peeta stands and takes our cups with him, sticking his hand out a crack in the wall to fill them with water, and hands one to me before going back. I wonder what he's doing but then I hear the loud roar of the anthem. He closes his eyes and looks down, hurt. It's Thresh.

"Come here, Peeta, we need to talk," I say, holding my arms out.

"About what?" He sits next to me but I pull him into my arms, needing him and never wanting to let go. He climbs into the sleeping bag with me and the warmth of his body keeps me heated until the glow of the fire radiates throughout the cave, lighting it up and created a heated space.

"I don't know," I honestly say. He chuckles despite the dark atmosphere. "Do you love me?" I say. I look up at his face and he is caught by surprise.

"Of course," he answers after a moment, "I thought you knew that," he added. I nodded, pondering that. I was right; he was never faking like I was.

"I love you too," I tell him, the truth heavily coating my statement. He senses my sincerity. Suddenly, he lets his head fall back and groans with discomfort.

"What's wrong?" I ask, propping myself up on my elbow and looked him in the eyes.

"I…I'm just…," he trails off and gave me the same look. "I'm erect." To my surprise I actually burst out laughing. We're in a dreadful place, in a deathly situation, and yet we're unable to fight off our normal teenage…urges. It's comforting, a reminder that we ourselves won't be altered by the games. They can't break us.

"Peeta," I say again. He looks at me and waits. "Can they hear us…?" I wonder, getting the idea in my head that all I want to do is make love with Peeta. At least once before I die. He shook his head, clearly confused. I bury my head in his neck and start kissing the pale flesh. He moans and squeezes me tighter, but I can feel how he trembles when I touch him. It's so thrilling to do this, so against my nature in every way, it was so unlike me to want a boy I'd rebelled against for so long. How were we supposed to survive this together? I couldn't think about it, it was too painful. It was too painful to think about Gale as well. I just sighed and laid a few more kisses on his neck tenderly, following nothing but my heart.

He was new at this, and its obvious Peeta has never had a girl touch him like this before. I've never touched a boy like this, either; I was relying completely on instinct and raw feeling

"No, they can't," he tells me. "Why?" he asks, a tint of fear in his eyes.

"I…I just don't want them hearing us," I say, not sure exactly what we'll do. He waits, his eyes trailing down every now and then. He wanted it, too.

"I love you, Katniss," he murmurs before pressing his lips passionately to mine. This is our first real kiss, our first kiss that means something, our first kiss that we can experience alone. His lips part and I can feel his hot breath, his tongue sliding in my mouth, gently sliding against mine. I pull away to breathe.

"I love you too Peeta," I say, rubbing his stomach near his bellybutton. His head falls back again onto the clump of clothes that we use as a pillow.

"Please…touch me," he moans. And it startles me; it sends violent electric waves of shocking pleasure throughout my body. I nod and kiss him again, letting my hand slide down, pausing at the waistline of his pants.

"Are you sure?" I ask. He nods and gives me a weak but sure smile.

"Only if you're okay with it…and Katniss…I've never done this before… so please be careful..," he begs. I close my eyes and can't fight back the smile that twitches at my lips. The first time I've smiled out of happiness in months. I feel the intense pride that Peeta would trust me with this- his innocence, and also his first experience with pleasure. It gives me a feeling I'll never be able to describe. Then again, this is my first time having an experience like this, too. Peeta was my first kiss, and he will also be my first…how should I say this…partner? Love maker…yes. That will do. I move my hand further, going past the elastic band and adrenaline pumping through my veins at the thought of what he might feel like.

We both gasp as I touch his manhood; it's warm and hard, protruding proudly between his legs. He looks eager, but nervous, like me. Of course I'm scared, but I'm also excited to do this, the Games almost completely forgotten and the sound of the storm becoming soothing. The delicate drip of the raindrops and they slipped through the crack in the wall mingled with the sounds that Peeta made. The Gamemakers would be furious that we'd blocked their view, seeing as they're smart enough to figure out what we're doing. But I don't care, I've endured a lot, and I'm strong enough to fight off whatever they throw at me. But is he?

"Tell me what to do," I whisper, nibbling slightly on his earlobe. He shivers and his puts his hand down his pants to touch mine, gently gliding my fingers up to the tip and whimpering slightly before coming back down and then up again.

"Just like that… Ohh…" he bites his lip and takes his hand out, twining his fingers with mine.

"That feels good?" I wonder. He nods.

"Yes, it does. Please, go faster," he asks, his voice still heavily coated with innocence. I obey and wrap my fingers tightly around him, moving it up and down with ease, going all the way up and all the way down faster and faster with each movement.

He moans with urgency, "Oh, Katniss!" The butterflies gnaw at the inside of my stomach, ranging around my body with every movement. The sound of his pleasure catches me off guard, making me feel good in a way I can't understand.

"Open your eyes Peeta," I instruct. He does and looks at me with them; and the shining blue orbs I have come to get lost in are completely coated in lust and love. He moans again, and in turn I move faster, finally getting the hang of this.

His voice comes out in a jagged whisper, "Oh Katniss, this feels so amazing." He squeezes his eyes shut for a moment, an adorable crinkle appearing on his nose, and a small whimper escaping his lips.

We do this for a few minutes, and soon I can feel him start to sweat, my hand becomes slippery and I can hear the soft tapping noises my hand makes on his crotch. His chest moves up and down and I let him close his eyes, his face permanently scrunched up and soft cries of euphoria escaping him

"Katniss! Oh please! Kiss me!" he begs after about another minute of rubbing. So I kiss his lips tenderly before he cries out, delicate whimpers fighting their way through his throat and giving me chills. I look down and he ejaculates onto his bare chest, cries of pleasure sending me over the edge and I squeeze him as hard as I can; only increasing it. He cries out again, this time it's my name.

I gasp and my eyes flutter open and my head his resting on Peeta's arm, my face buried in his neck. His arms are wound tightly around me and we're in my room, on the train on our way to the capital for our tour. We aren't in the games anymore…

"Katniss? It's okay, sweetheart, it was only a dream…," he trails off as he soothes me, but gasps wildly when my leg curiously rubs against his inner thigh as I sit up in a haste. Sure, I'm not the smoothest person in the world, but I had to know if I could make him aroused, really. Not because of our urges…because I know Peeta, and if he truly loves me, only I could have that effect on him. "Katniss!" he yelps again, this time more alert. He's erect.

"I'm sorry!" I tell him in response, wondering why on earth I did that.

"Why…?" he murmurs, slightly calming.

"My dream…I wanted to make sure it wasn't…I…," I trialed off. "I don't know."

"I thought…I thought you didn't-," I quiet him with a kiss, in which he eagerly returns.

"I love you, Peeta, I love you so much," I tangle my fingers in his soft blond hair and his lips feel amazing on mine, and these kisses are a thousand times better because I know we're safe now. He moves on top of me and he fits his body into my legs, the warmth of him overwhelming me. We fit so perfectly together, just kissing forever, hands gliding, memorizing. I know no one is watching us, and we can make love in peace. And because I know, the boy with the bread loves me too.