A/N: Okay, so this is new. This is Peeta's version of Paradise. I've been working on it for awhile now, and finally perfected, what I believe, to be Peeta's mentality. It's challenging because he's so much more descriptive than Katniss. You do not need to have read Paradise to understand this story. This is just to explore writing styles, and introduce another perspective. If you guys would like me to continue this, updates would be every other week for this story and Paradise. I hope you all enjoy, and please review, I love hearing feedback, good and negative, it all helps me improve my writing for you guys ;)
This story draws inspiration from "The Fragile" by Nine Inch Nails.
This chapter was inspired by Radical Faces' "Welcome Home, Son"
The ovens were hot, scorching the air around me, and making it almost impossible to breathe. It was something I got used to, early as a child. If there was one thing Mother instilled in me, it was a work ethic and harsh tolerance. I put the bread in the oven, and took the warm-bodied ones out to cool on the rack.
The bakery was small, a little hole in the wall inviting costumers off the streets. I set up chairs outside to appeal but in this cold — nobody wants to come out of their house unless necessary. I wiped my hands on my apron to get off the flour and raw dough.
I should invest in new attire, but my Father's worn old one was so at home on me, I was sometimes reluctant to take it off. I put it down on the counter behind me though, and started to clean up the shop.
I had a few costumers today, some with children, and sold some bread and cookies. It's exciting to own my own my own shop, though sad I am the only Mellark who does.
I wish I could have moments of my life back, but I'm not that lucky.
The oven dinged behind me, and I placed the pan on the rack with all the others. I swept the floor, and wiped down the glass displays. Grabbing a small bag of flour from the supply cabinet, I put it under my jacket to keep it from getting wet in this rain.
I hate it when it rains. I'm on edge and nervous, and it gets hard to maintain control but I do it. I'm surprised at this control I have over myself and my episodes, a pleasing feeling that makes me feel confident. I turn off all the lights and lock the door under the small tin roof. It is pouring now from the slight drizzle of the morning. I turn and as fast as my half-legs can, I make my way home.
I wonder if Katniss will be there. Some days she doesn't show up and some days I find her lying in my bed; naked. When I find her like that I walk away and go to Haymitch's. Because then I am aware of how broken she really is, and the damaged goods that we are. I usually have an episode and Haymitch doesn't know my trigger-stoppers so he just puts me on a bender.
I reach my house quickly enough, it's gray concrete blending in with the clouds rolling in. I push my way into the house quickly to escape the downpour. Katniss is standing behind a made up table with a chicken she places over top of it. She looks up then, surprised to see me home earlier than usual.
She has an apron on. I'm sure my mouth is gaping. She looked so perfect there, cooking, almost as if it was natural to her. This primitive thing gnawed at my brain. My Katniss, cooking in my house, making me dinner. She was so beyond perfect in this role that I couldn't help it. This idea of what I wanted in life was right before me, and I didn't know what I wanted to do with it just yet.
A part of me was scared she may want something from me like usual: plain or rough sex. She usually asked for one or the other. She always knew it was painful for me to give these to her. I want to give her the world, and all she wants is a quick lay. So I savored this moment of a warm dinner and my girl behind it. She was beautiful, and heartbreakingly soft. So I moved out from under the alcove and stepped inside.
I didn't have to beg her to come over tonight and eat or talk with me. She was right here, in the willingness that I admired. I want to make love to her like she deserves. I want to make her feel like the sun because that's what she is. I wish I could make her better- heal her like she needs - not these medicines that mimic emotions and sleep. She needs care and love, yet she won't let me give it to her. I tell her all the time - or at least try - to say that I love her.
Sometimes I'll let it slip and she'll yell or other times interrupt me before I get to finish. She needs more than my simple "I love you" but she won't let me get that far. I love her so much more than baking, sunsets, and snowflakes. I love her like the moon loves the stars, and the dance the trees share with the wind. I want to tell her so many things, though she prevents me.
I could care less about sex with her- I just want to tell her I love her.
Haymitch wonders why I stick around - I can feel his gaze on me when I crawl back into her house to apologize. He wonders why I stick around if I don't get the one thing I truly want. It's just that, I know she feels something. I feel it when we're together. This thing threatening to spill out of her like rays of the sun.
The way her skin smells like the earth after it rains, and her mouth that tastes like cool cherries - I need her like a pulse, this aching, caring thing inside me that unravels when she is away from my side. I want to show her what it's like when the earth collides with the space in between the sun. She deserves so much more than what she believes she's worth.
Everything about her is intoxicatingly beautiful. The hair that falls out of her braid that she tucks behind her ear, and the smell that brushes off her skin when she rubs her neck. I want to take all of her inside me and make her feel as amazing as she is. It's hard though, when every time I try I either end up with punches to the jaw or a comment that bruises my heart. I hate everything that has made her like this. I want torture this thing that binds her to this pain. I want to skin it and find it's muscle.
A small smile is on her face, and my heart painfully contracts in my chest.
"You cooked," I say, and this foreign grin spreads over my face, making my cheeks hurt.
"Yeah," She says, looking down at her feet and up again. "It may taste bad but you know, I wanted to do something for you—" Something for me? Baby, you don't need to do anything.
"I love it," I say, interrupting her. "I haven't even tasted it yet, and I love it," It smells like a warm meal and I step forward.
"Peeta," She says my name, and turns a beautiful shade of pink. I walk forward to where she stands and tug on her chin to see her eyes. Those gray eyes I'd live a thousand lifetimes to see over again. Her heart-shaped mouth is begging to be kissed, but I don't kiss them. I want to save this moment.
"Thank you, Katniss," I whisper against her skin. "I know it's—" I clench myself in pain at the raw truth. "I know it's hard for you to — to be around me—"
"Peeta," She interrupts me now. I open my eyes and hers are smoldering, more alive than I've seen in days. "It's not hard. You help me, I help you. Take this as repaying you for all you've done."
It astounds me that Katniss thinks she needs to repay me, I could happily sit and watch her twirl her hands if it meant to be near her. She's worth so much more than repayment. She's my soul.
"You don't have to repay me," I whisper against her cheek, and feel her blood heat up beneath the thin stretch of skin. "Being around me, it's enough, this is just like a super-bonus," I say, reluctantly pulling away and smiling my stupid smile. Her eyes get heavy than, and she wraps her arms around me, and I am glad to be close to her again. Her small hands splay themselves across my shoulders and I feel the tips of her fingertips pressing into my sinking flesh. If I hold her any longer, we'll forget dinner.
"Katniss," I sigh, pulling away from her arms. "Let's eat," She groans, and as I turn away I smile. She wanted to hold me. Katniss has put so much effort into this meal, the table that looks lovely, all draped in red and shiny silver, and warm candles that accent her golden skin. I sit down, and her across from me.
I grab the knife and slice the chicken open, it's juices seeping and place slices onto my plate. I pick up the cold metal fork, and the thunder booms around us, causing Katniss to shiver. I want to kill the thunder.
It tastes smoky, and seasoned, the cheese melted in the middle, giving a sour bite to the sweet chicken. I groan outwardly, not able to keep it in.
"This is really good, Katniss," I say, and shovel more in to my mouth. I want to slow down but that's near impossible.
"No need to lie Peeta, if it's bad, you can just tell me," She snaps. My body aches almost as if taking an imaginary blow to the kidney. I quickly smother it, and swallow the hurt in my throat.
"It's good, Katniss," I say. "Where'd you get the recipe from?"
"My Mother. I called her yesterday," She's talking more than usual. I wonder if they've put her on another medication.
"How is she?" I ask. Speak more, please.
"Fine," She says, and I think she is done until she opens and closes her mouth again before speaking. "District 4 got some remodeling so she opened up that new hospital she wanted."
"That's great," I say with sincerity. He Mother calls me often to see how Katniss is doing, and this news is new. I always tell her the same things, she's fine, no she's not dead, yes she's distant.
We eat in silence and Katniss picks at her plate of food she hasn't touched. When Katniss is silent like this, she is thinking. I am afraid she will leave so words bubble on my tongue and spill out before I can stop them.
"Are we going to bed again?" I ask, and watch her. Waiting, hoping for the response I want, but don't usually get.
"Yes," She mummers and I swell with joy. I stand up eagerly, and try not to come across as to excited and stupid. Katniss stands too, wiping her mouth with her napkin and throwing it on top of the table. She reaches my shoulder in height, and I grab her hand as we walk through the kitchen towards the stairs and climb. I don't want to take her hungrily against the wall as usual, or have her attempt to grab at me. I want this to be slow, so I pray silently that it goes that way.
When we reach my plain room with it's white comforter and tan walls, I grab her hips. I feel the bones beneath them press into my palls making me aware of how malnourished she's been lately. I watch her eat at nights, but I never know if she eats during the days. Haymitch certainly doesn't watch her.
I press my lips against hers, and she tumbles to the bed beneath me. I look down for a moment before quickly crawling over her. I want to make love to her like she deserves. She doesn't need some quick fuck. She needs colors and divine light to encase her. Which is why when she gives me the chance to mold her body with my hands, I grasp at the opportunity. She's impossibly soft, and musky. Smelling of vanilla and deep green forests.
Her hair, silky and brown that shines in the moonlight caresses my chest. I push it behind her ear and lean forward to claim my lips as her own. She gives me power here. I don't want it, but she gives it to me: take control, her body says. Take me under your body, and make me yours. I want to believe her body and her mind speak the same language, but they don't. As much as I lie to myself, I can't lie about that. I moan outwardly when she licks the pulse point on my neck. I lean down and kiss my way over her neck, taking my time.
She's breathing heavy, and it's causing a release of neurotransmitters in my brain that make my vision hazy and my body rigid. She bites my lip, and my knees start bucking, though there is nothing to fall on top of.
"You can touch me, Peeta," She moans, and my head sags forward. She's just so fucking perfect. I lean my head forward and take her collarbone against my lips, and let my hands explore her chest. I feel her heartbeat beneath the thin stretch of skin, encased in her beautiful rib cage.
"I need to — I need to — get out of my clothes," She says as I kiss her neck. I am about to reach for the hem of her shirt before she flips us over, and takes an alpha position over me. I love her life this, not because I'm inferior or weak, but because she wanted me, and would do anything to get me.
Katniss' nails scratch my stomach, and I wither in anticipation. It's a gut reaction, her touching me there, one I can't control. She repeats the action over again before finally reaching the hem of my shirt and pulling it over my head. She stares at my body for a few moments, while my hips buck into hers, and I feel slightly embarrassed, though can't help the reaction. Her eyes flicker up towards mine.
"Your turn," She says, I nod and reach to take my pants off, Katniss eyes turn cold and hot at the same time. "I want to do it," She brought her small hands to the top of my pants and undid the snap, then hissed the zipper down. I want to go back and say, no, stop, but I can't.
I want to give her everything, even if it causes me pain.
The memories of what the Capitol did to me are fresh in my mind like oozing sores. I don't want to acknowledge them, but every time Katniss goes to grab me or kiss me there, I remember them and their tools and panic.
I brace myself against the mattress and calm myself when her wrists brush me. I breathed calmly, trying to steady myself with the episode that was threatening to come forth. Katniss knows about my problems down there, though I want to give her this small façade of a victory so she can feel triumphant. She deserves it.
"Lift Up, Peeta," She says and I can barely make out her words with the screaming that's going on in my head. I lift my hips and I brush against her stomach. It's not her hands, so I am fine. It's hands that I can't handle, not bodies.
The pain quickly subsided bringing up it's pleasure fast.
"Katniss —" I say thrusting my hips obnoxiously against her. "I don't — I don't want to be rude —" Again, another thrust, pressing myself against her. "But can I please get you out of these pants?" Katniss nods and reaches down to strip them from her body. She's wearing black underwear, that hugs her in the most perfect of ways and I decide that this is my favorite color on her. The way her sunset skin contrasts with the black beautifully, is enough to keep me entertained for hours.
Katniss takes no time in grabbing the waist band of my underwear and yanking them off my body. I blush at this, because I always do. Katniss makes me nervous all the time.
So I focus instead on how I want her under me, to see her hair all splayed around her face like a halo of dark ink and beauty. I grab her hips from up above and flip us over. And just like that, the waves of brown under head, and the glow of her skin in the moonlight.
I pushed my hips into hers, and the tip of me was inside her and I wanted to continue, slowly, because I don't want to rush through something like this. This deserves slow movements and heavy breaths filled with words we cannot use to describe.
"You okay, Katniss?" I ask, to make sure I'm not causing her pain. That first night was horrible just because I had to watch her struggle in pain.
"No, no, Peeta, it's okay," She pants, trying to get air to her lungs. I pressed forward and Katniss opened her legs wider. My head rolled back, with her sudden movements.
"Tell me —" I lick my lips to calm myself. "Tell me if you want to stop," I said as I pulled out again. I watched as panic came across Katniss' face and how she started breathing rapidly. Her ankles locked themselves around my back, so I didn't come out completely.
"Don't Peeta," She says desperately. "Don't leave."
"Don't worry, Katniss. I'm coming back," I swear to you. "I'll never leave you," Not even when you tell me to. Katniss oh'd in my ear and I felt her small hands search down my back for something that wasn't there. I slid back into her.
"You feel so amazing, Katniss," I say into her ear. "I — ah," I couldn't hold in the moan that escaped me. I slid back out of her again. She didn't panic this time. I pushed myself further into her.
"Go faster," She groaned, pulling my hair. I didn't notice her hands, how they traveled from one part of my anatomy to the next. It was all a blur.
My body was shaking, wanting release, but I submerged it, and let myself hold it in until Katniss was ready. Her brows were pulled together and I leaned forward and kissed the middle of her brows, not stopping my rhythm.
"Are you —" She says before breathing deep into my ear. "Are you close?"
"I — yeah —" I was unable to form sentences. Katniss yanked on my hair, pulling it quickly, and I felt intense pleasure that she liked it so much. Her face was delicate, beautiful like lace in my hands, and I removed them with shaky hands to grip the sheets that lie beside are pressed bodies. I clutched the fabric there, and if I wanted to I'd probably rip it.
My rhythms became broken suddenly, this biological need for release taking over me, unable to contain it anymore. I thrust into her with the minute amount of gentleness I could manage, and then suddenly fell flat, and my body released itself.
"Katniss . . ." I moaned and unclenched my hands from the sheets to cradle her face. The smooth, dewy skin that glowed like liquid sunshine in the moonlight. I kissed her deeply, forgetting that she usually doesn't like kissing after making love, but she let me this time, and I was shocked. So I rolled our bodies over and wrapped my arms around her. She doesn't usually let me do this either, but she's allowing it.
"Are you happy?" I ask her, wondering if maybe she forgot her medication. She's different today, in a way I like, which makes me believe something must be wrong.
"Yes. Was it good for you?" She asks looking up at me, and I scoff.
"Of course," I roll my eyes. "What kind of question is that Katniss? Of course it was good for me. Just sitting and knitting scarves would be enough for me," She laughs, and I feel it through her ribs and I want to take it and keep in in my mind so I can replay it.
She stretches her body and her small toes brush themselves against my calves and I sigh internally. Her stretches before hunting, in bed, or on the grass, all make me feel lightheaded and weak at the knees. I wrap my arms tighter around her, pushing my limits, but apparently not so far because she allows it.
"Are you spending the night?" I ask into her hair. I clench my eyes shut and expect her to pull away or say no. I feel her head move against my chest. "Wait, what was that? I can't tell if your nodding or shaking your head," and I pray that it's a yes.
"I said, yes," She says pushing her self closer to my coddling body. She was staying, and wanted to be closer to me. I wonder if I'm dead.
"I love —" I start than sigh. It would be perfect if it didn't ruin such a moment.
"You can say it Peeta," She whispers into my skin.
"What?" I ask, incredulous.
"You can say it if you want. I promise —" I feel her swallow and take a breath. "I promise I won't get mad."
"I just —" I choke, out of words. "I love you."
"Me —" She starts and then looks up me, expecting to find an answer in my face.
"It's okay," I smile and realize all that she did today was for me, and me only. "I know."