This is set during Mockingjay, after a conversation between Katniss and Finnick in chapter 11. The first line of this is a direct quote from Finnick and as such, this contains spoilers for all three books.
Disclaimer: I don't own the Hunger Games trilogy. They belong to Suzanne Collins
"...I knew I'd misjudged you. That you do love him. I'm not saying in what way. Maybe you don't know yourself. But anyone paying attention could see how much you care about him."
Finnick's words regarding my feelings towards Peeta constantly prey on my mind. Ever since I had found him in our first Hunger Games I knew that I cared about him. At first I had thought that it was my way of protecting him, wanting him to survive. I didn't want him to die – I didn't want to die either. But, by putting on a facade, pretending that I really did love him like he loved him, I was able to secure what I needed in order to keep him alive. To ensure he survived. I had then continued to play this ruse, playing the game, never realising the effect that I was having, but seeing it as a necessity to keep both of us alive.
It wasn't until after, when I finally realised that Peeta's feelings for me had been real and sincere did I begin to regret my actions. I had hurt him more than anything that had transpired in the Games could have ever done. I had tried to distance myself so I didn't have to see the reminder of what I had done to him, but the Victory tour and living in a small district where we had been neighbours prevented me from doing so to the extent that I had wished and then we ended up back where we had started. Back in the Hunger Games where I had once again made it my mission to keep him alive. Once again never realising the effect that I was having on everyone.
Finnick was right though. For me, that's when I think I truly did begin to care about Peeta, though I didn't know it at the time. I remember the event with the force field clearly. How Peeta had been thrown back by its power. How I had screamed his name and cried when he had stopped breathing, convinced that he had died, the fear that coursed through me, especially when I thought that Finnick wasn't trying to bring him back when really he was trying to help and my relief and happiness when Peeta did regain consciousness. While it wasn't the first time that I had genuinely cared about his well-being, it was proof to everyone else that I truly did, that I didn't want him to die.
I also remember when we were separated by the invisible wall, when I was trapped with the jabberjays, hearing the pained screams and cries for help of everyone I loved and cared about. I remember how Peeta helped me through it, holding his hand against the invisible wall, letting me know he was there and after, when he just held me as I struggled with my emotions. He just held me and I eventually felt safe because of him and his calming powers. It serves as a reminder of how much I needed, need, his support.
But, thinking back to the Quarter Quell, I knew exactly when I realised that there was more to our relationship, that I cared about him more than just a friend. The kiss on the beach. That's when I showed him how much I really cared for him. It was also then that I realised the effect that he had on me. When he had said that no one would need him, I realised that I needed him, that I would miss him if he was gone. I had even told him so and the kiss that followed… I knew then how much he meant to me. That without him I wouldn't be able to go on. He was a part of my life, someone that I couldn't let go of.
But I had never realised how much until it was too late.
And now he's gone.
And I wish he was here with me.
I miss him more than I would have thought possible. I miss his voice, his eyes and his touch, how he always knew what the right thing to say was, how he always spoke from the heart, how his presence always had a calming effect on me, keeping me sane. There are times when he is all I can think about and I had slowly begun to realise how much he meant to me. How much I need him. The Games had brought us together and now they had torn us apart.
I long to see him again, for him to be with me and every time I see that bulletins from the Capitol, I'm reminded of what I have done to him. What my real feelings for him have done.
Snow had realised that I actually do have genuine, caring feelings for Peeta. My antics in the arena had been proof of that and now he was doing everything he could to make him suffer and I now know that he was suffering because of me, of what I had done in order to ensure that we stayed alive.
I shiver at the thought of Snow and his army of Peacekeepers torturing Peeta. I see it every night when I close my eyes. I don't want to see. I don't want to see Peeta in pain, but there are times when he is all I can think of and I can't shut it out. No matter how hard I try.
But now I know the reason behind my visions. They aren't just because I'm worried about Peeta, but because I care, a lot, more than any one apart from my mother and Prim and maybe Gale. And Finnick is right, I do love him, but not in the way he loves his Annie. Yet.
Yet. I don't know what that means. Maybe if we hadn't been separated, forced apart in the Quell then maybe we would be nearing that sort of love, realising my feelings sooner. The kiss on the beach had stirred something inside of me, making me want more. If he was here with me now, would those feelings have progressed into something more?
But then there's Gale to consider. I still don't know how I feel about him. Is it the same as I feel for Peeta? Or more? Or less? I don't know. I can't make that decision. I don't know if I could make that decision. But I push that out of my mind. I'll cross that road if I ever come to it.
But I don't know if I ever will. Peeta is far away in the Capitol, under Snow's power, away from me and I hate it.
I close my eyes, trying to block the images of Peeta in the Capitol. The pain that Snow must be inflicting on him. I picture numerous instruments of torture being used on him, blood pouring from injuries, flowing endlessly, scars maiming his features. I clamp my eyes shut even tighter and clutch my hands to my ears as his voice, screaming in pain fills my ears. I try to block it all out. I then remember Cinna, how he had been brutally attacked in front of me, moments before I re-entered the Games. He was now dead. Dead because of me and now Peeta is being tortured because of me, because of what I have done. I shake my head, trying to rid myself of the thoughts. How many more were going to be tortured, punished, killed because of me and what I had done to stay alive.
I hate what Snow is doing just to punish me. Because he can't have me he's taken it all out on Peeta who is innocent in all of this. My eyes brim with tears. I can't cry. I'm the Mockingjay. Mockingjay's don't cry.
But I can't stop.
The tears fall and all I can think about is Peeta.
I wish he was here, away from the Capitol. Here he would be safe.
I want him back. I don't understand how Finnick can stand it, being away from Annie, it must tear him apart, but I don't, won't, ask him. If I feel this much pain when I think about Peeta, what Finnick goes though each day must be so much worse.
But I know that I want Peeta back and determination fills me at the thought and I lower my hands, opening my eyes as the tears stop. I'm not going to just be the Mockingjay, the face of the rebellion, for Coin. I'm going to be the Mockingjay that reunites the districts, reuniting Finnick and Annie.
And me and Peeta.
A/N: I apologise for any mistakes regarding tense, but first person point of view isn't my area of expertise, but I hope you enjoyed it.