"They play in the Meadow. The dancing girl with the dark hair and blue eyes. The boy with blonde curls and gray eyes, struggling to keep up with her on his chubby toddler legs. It took five, ten, fifteen years for me to agree. But Peeta wanted them so badly." - pg. 389, Mockingjay


Two Years Later

He's been on edge for days. The slightest of noises startle him – more so than usual; he's still trying to get a grip on those goddamn tracker jacker flashbacks. He has a bruise on his backside from falling off a chair when Haymitch drunkenly barged into the house unannounced, marks on his palms from where he gripped the edge of the counter too hard after knocking down a metal loaf pan, and a very bitter cat stalking his steps, still miffed over getting kicked after being mistaken for some other animal sniffing around the house.

Katniss doesn't comment on Peeta's unusual edge, too wrapped up in her own troubles. Peeta doesn't begrudge her lack of sympathy; they're both holding their breaths.

They are twenty, newly married, and not quite yet ready to be parents.

Peeta wants children eventually; even after everything he's been through, everything he's seen and done and lost, he wants a son or a daughter, a perfect blend of he and Katniss, to raise and love. Isn't this what they fought the Capitol for? The end of living in fear for your children's lives, no Hunger Games looming in their wonderfully open futures?

Katniss doesn't see it like he does. She sees dead tributes, dead victors, dead friends, dead sisters, dead dead dead, can't look past her hungry upbringing and old ideals of no marriage, no kids. It only took Peeta a year or so to bring her around to signing the paper and toasting the bread. If she relented to that, the kid issue couldn't be too far behind.

"I'm not pregnant," she tells him, after days of stress and worry and, though Peeta won't admit it to his wife, a tiny bit of excitement.

Peeta isn't sure how to feel, so he looks at Katniss. Her body posture has changed; she is relieved, relaxed, and has obviously regained her appetite, because she grabs greedily for some bread Peeta has been slicing.

He decides to go for neutral. "Oh." At her quirked eyebrow he forces out, "Good. That's… good."

"You seem disappointed." She crosses her arms over her chest, already defensive; like she knows they're about to have a disagreement.

"I'm not," Peeta says firmly as he finishes his slicing. Then he puts the knife down and shrugs. "I am a little bit," he allows, looking at her. "I know we're young and we just got married and we're both still pretty scarred" – she snorts at his understatement – "but… would a baby be the worst thing?"

Katniss looks visibly shocked, her body tightening. "Yes," she says. "You know how I feel about this issue. You've known it since day one, and it hasn't changed."

"Even though we're married now," Peeta pushes.

"Even though we're married," she repeats. Her arms uncross, and she holds them out, palms up. "I have never wanted children, and I still don't." Then she softens, letting down her guard, something she only does with him. She takes a step closer and touches his cheek. "I like how it is, just you and me."

Peeta, utterly defenseless to Katniss Everdeen's spell for fifteen years and counting, puts his larger hand over hers. "I like it too," he says. "And I am glad we aren't having a baby right now, because I'm selfish and I want you all to myself." That makes her smile and blush; she's getting better with the gooey, mushy stuff.

She kisses him, soft and familiar, and Peeta knows that for now, the topic is done. One day he does want children, her children, and as stubborn as she is on her stance, he is equally committed to his. But right now they are young and haunted and happy, and just the two of them sounds as close to perfect as possible.