Hello! This is my first Hunger Games fanfiction, and I'm terrified to publish it! I know this has been done over and over and over but I can't help it. This has been on my mind for a while now and it just won't leave my brain! I hope my characters aren't too OOC.
Thank you so much for reading!
District 12 has changed, like we all knew it would. After the rebellion, I moved back to the only place I knew as home, no matter if I was alone or not. I knew I could make it. A few weeks later when Peeta showed up and planted those Primroses along the edge of my house, I knew I had made the right decision. As I watched him out the window, he looked older than he was. Much older. But so did I. Didn't we all? I continued to watch him and though he looked older, he still had a sense of innocence about him that the Capitol and Snow couldn't take away from him. His blonde hair was still unruly and bright, his eyes still the same shade as the sky. His jaw was harder, more defined and his skin was marred by burn scars and battle wounds. To me, it just made him more beautiful. He was now much more than the boy with the bread.
It took a few more weeks before he spoke to me. I would wake up with bread on my kitchen table, but never a note, never him. Greasy Sae came over twice a day, trying to encourage me to speak with Peeta, but I couldn't. I knew I loved him so much, but the fact he wasn't speaking to me or seeking me out made it unthinkable to speak to him first. The first day he spoke to me, he didn't speak at all. I was on my way into town just to walk somewhere because I was tired of the emptiness of my house. He must have been on his way home from the bakery because he was carrying a canvas bag full of what looked like loaves of bread. I stopped in the middle of the road and stared at him. I just couldn't help it. He nodded his head in acknowledgement and the only thing I could think to do was a matching gesture. I wish I knew what to say to him. He continued on his way and I decided I didn't want to see the town anymore. I wanted familiarity and headed to the woods.
Early Summer had begun and it began to get hot. I could tell this Summer was going to be one of the hottest Summers we had ever had. The flowers began to die, the grass wilted. After a small lunch, I began to work on the Memory Book I had started when I got home from District 13. Today I decide to write about Prim; her childhood, what she wanted to do with her life, what she loved most. It was the first time I had cried in a long time. I felt better afterward and I decided to open the back door to let some air in.
An hour or two later, there was an awful racket outside. I began to shake, thinking the worst. After a few minutes, I realize I'm overreacting. I'm safe, I'm fine, I'm at home in District 12. I hear yelling from the yard and stumble to the window. It's all I can do not to laugh at Haymitch, chasing his geese through his, mine and Peeta's yards.
"You damned geese! Get back in your pen!" Haymitch is running, trying to coral the geese back to their homes and they're honking right back at him. I feel bad not going out to help Haymitch, but it's just too much fun to watch him.
Peeta must have heard the racket because the next thing I know, Peeta is running around with Haymitch, trying to catch every goose that is outsmarting them. It looks as if Haymitch has given up and let Peeta take the reins because most of the geese have returned to their designated home. There is always one goose, though, that causes the most trouble. Haymitch has named him; Jerry, Jeffery, Johnny, something like that, but this goose isn't cooperating whatsoever. It runs through the backyard and through my door before I can do anything about it. Peeta runs after it without realizing where he is going. As soon as he is through the door, he freezes. His blue eyes catch mine and he stops, the goose momentarily forgotten.
We both begin to speak at the same time. "Hi," we both say, until we hear a horrible ripping and squawking from the living room. My heart sinks. The book. Peeta and I take off for the room, where the goose has most definitely ripped the book up, but Peeta finally has caught the damned bird. Haymitch's heavy footsteps bound through the kitchen and into the living room. He's mostly sober, but he hasn't changed clothes in a few days, and he smells.
"Good job, kid. You caught Jefferson." So I was wrong about the name. Who's ever heard of a goose called Jefferson? Haymitch takes the unfortunate bird away and stumbles out without saying goodbye. It is when he is finally out the door that I begin to cry. Peeta looks stricken, like he doesn't know whether to run or stay. I sink down in front of my table and hold up the ripped pages. Most of the book is fine, it's just the first pages that are ruined. I sniff and Peeta clears his throat.
"Are you alright?" he asks, hesitantly. I want to say yes, but that's a lie, and Peeta and I have lied to each other enough.
"No," I reply. "I'm not." I stay on the floor.
"Do you want me to leave?"
"No. Please stay." I'm desperate for human comfort, but mostly just for Peeta.
He sits on the couch, a few feet away from me. "May I ask you what that is?" I explain the book, what is means to me, how I feel now that's it's partially ruined. He looks at me for a few seconds before I realize I must look a mess, but I can't find myself to care.
"What?" I hiccup, wiping my nose on the back of my arm, not even caring that it's disgusting. At least I'm no Haymitch.
"Nothing," he murmurs. "Do you mind if I look through it?" I shake my head no, and that's when an idea strikes.
"Help me with it."
"What?" He looks up from the pages of the book.
"You can help me with the book. Draw, write, whatever. Just help me with it."
"I don't know." I don't want to be reduced to begging, but I realize at this moment just how much I miss Peeta in my life.
"Please, Peeta?" It takes a few seconds for him to reply.
We settle into a comfortable routine. He still leaves bread most mornings, and after dinner, he comes over to work on the book. One day, on a particularly rough day, everything sets me off. It's no one's fault, no one does anything wrong. It's just one of those days where everything is wrong and I can't stand it and it makes me angry. So when Peeta is sitting beside me on the floor drawing a sketch of Finnick, I realize my handwriting is too messy to read. I snap. I rip up the page I had been working on and Peeta is still trying not to look at me. This makes me more angry, so I turn on Peeta.
"Why did it take you so long to talk to me?"
"When?" he asks, still not looking at me.
"When we got home. You didn't talk to me for weeks. You didn't even look at me. That day when you were walking home from the bakery, all you did was nod at me."
He doesn't answer and I'm only slightly worried about setting him off. He takes a deep breath.
"You didn't talk to me either."
"You didn't want me to."
"Would you have even spoken to me if Haymitch's goose hadn't come running through my door?" Again, he doesn't respond. I feel guilt nagging me about jumping all over him for something that isn't his fault, but I can't get myself to care.
"Katniss, please, I don't want to argue with you."
"Why. Didn't. You. Speak. To. Me?" I ask through gritted teeth. I stay seated but Peeta stands, making me fully aware of his height and how much bigger he is than me. I wait for him to blow up, but he doesn't. He just pinches the bridge of his nose and I stand. "I waited every day for you to speak to me. I woke up every morning hoping you would be downstairs, or even just leave a note next to the bread, but it never happened." I take a deep breath, trying to calm down, but it's not helping. "I would have sought you out, but I couldn't. You made it seem like you didn't want me. You didn't. You don't. Tell me, would you be here right now if I hadn't of almost begged to you stay?"
"Don't say I didn't want you. Don't say things like that. You don't know."
"Then let me know," I counter. "I want to know." Peeta takes a deep breath and I think maybe he's going to explain.
"I think I should go," he says instead. "I'll see you around." He walks past me, and I try to follow, but I realize it won't go any good. I can't stop him. The back door slams shut after him.
I don't see him for the next few days, and it eats me up. I don't sleep, I don't eat. I go through the motions of life. I try to work on the book, but it's no use. While I'm lying in bed, watching out the window at Peeta's house, I hear a crash. And then a bang. And another crash. I'm up and in my shoes before I can even think about what I'm doing.
I don't knock on the door; I think we're past that. I call up the stairs. "Peeta?" There is no answer. As I get further up the stairs, the bangs get louder. "Peeta?" I call again. The bangs and crashes stop, and the house becomes eerily silent. I stand outside what I assume is his door and softly say his name.
"What are you doing here?" he asks, and I hear the lock click into place.
"I heard banging around. I was afraid you were in trouble. Will you let me in?" I feel his weight press against the door, but it doesn't open, nor does it unlock.
"No. That's not a good idea."
"I just want to see if you're okay. Please let me in." It's so quiet I can hear him breathing. "Peeta…" I begin, but I don't know what to say so I stop. I sit for a few minutes before I begin again.
"Peeta, I'm so sorry for the other night. I don't know what came over me. I know you would have talked to me eventually. We all need time. You know I have no patience. You've always been the one with patience. I didn't mean to accuse you of not wanting to see me. I didn't mean it." His breathing has evened out on the other side of the door and I almost think he's fallen asleep.
"You talk to me when you're ready, but I really wish you would open the door. I just want to help you. I'm trying so hard to put myself back together and I, well; I just can't do that without you." He hasn't made any noise since I've began speaking so I can only hope he's still alright and listening to me. "I hope you're alright and I just really want to help us move back to what we were. But this, tonight, this past few days, they've helped me realize what I've known all along, I think." I take a deep breath and I finally hear the door being unlocked, but I don't move to open the door. "I need you. I need you like I've never needed anything in my life and that's completely terrifying." Usually I'm not good with words, but they just keep tumbling out. "I love you. I do. I really do. And when you came back to 13 and you weren't you, and Snow tried to use you against me, I broke. And I'm still broken. We both are, and I think we need each other to get back to normal." I take a deep breath. "I love you, Peeta." The door doesn't open and I don't move to open it. I've pushed him enough, I feel like. He'll come around when he's ready. I stay seated in front of his bedroom door.
A few hours later, I wake up in a bed that isn't mine. The sheets feel different and the blanket is lighter. I turn over into a chest that is definitely Peeta. I've slept in a bed with him enough to know. I look up and he is looking down at me. It may be the middle of the night, but with us, that doesn't mean anything.
"You're not sleeping." I feel like it's the only thing I can say that's neutral.
"I can't. I've tried for the last few hours."
"Do you want to talk about it?" I ask.
"I'm sorry I left your house the other day. As soon as I walked out, I wanted to run back in, but I just couldn't. I was embarrassed." His jaw tenses and I feel awful again.
"I'm sorry I started it." He smiles sadly.
"No, don't be, please. I'm almost glad you did. Would you have said those things to me before if you hadn't?" I feel my cheeks burn and I shake my head.
"I'm just really afraid of losing control and hurting you again."
"Peeta, I don't think you could hurt me. You've come a long way."
"You don't know that, though. I hurt you once, and it's all I think about when I see you. It hurts so much to know what I've done, what I've thought about doing to you."
"I may not know it for sure, but neither do you. We don't know anything for sure, except that we're here and we have each other. We have to move forward eventually, don't we?" I hesitantly reach up to brush the blonde curls out of his face, as I have done so many times before. Peeta leans into my touch and I smile as his eyes close.
"Did you mean all that you said earlier?" I have to hold back from laughing because that's such a ridiculous question.
"Of course I did. I just wanted you to know." He smiles, but this time, there are no traces of sadness.
"I love you, too." He moves closer to me, stopping just centimeters from my lips. I desperately want to kiss him so I close the last little bit of space between us. My world stops because he feels just as he did so many times before. He pulls back, but I chase his lips again. He kisses me a few times before he chuckles and pulls back. "Wait." I scowl before I can think about it. He rolls us so I am under him, but his arms bear his weight. He kisses my forehead, my cheeks, my chin and finally my nose. "I love you," he says again, "Always," he murmurs before he kisses my lips again. I thread my hands through his hair and try and stifle a moan when he finds the perfect spot on my neck. There is a fire in my stomach that I have only felt one other time in my life, and that was on a beach during the Quarter Quell. But now, now that we are alone and in Peeta's house, it seems multiplied and I can't help but to push my hips into his.
I'm not really sure what I'm doing, but Peeta responds and grinds back down into me. My hands seek the hem of the t-shirt he is wearing, and as I run my hands around the expanse of his chest, he groans into my neck. His fingers brush my breasts over my shirt and I bite down on the inside of my cheek to keep from yelling out. This is like nothing I've done before.
"Katniss…" I can only manage a hum in response to my name. "We need to stop." I feel let down and disappointed, but Peeta doesn't take his hands off of me, just moves them to my waist instead. "I'm not saying I don't want you, because that isn't true. I do, and you know that. But we're not ready." He kisses my cheek and my lips again and I let my hands slip from his shirt because I know he is right.
Thank you so much for reading and I hope that you all enjoyed it. The second part will be up sometime this week. I love reviews, but please don't be too harsh!