Growing Together

*All characters belong to Suzanne Collins*

"Peeta and I grow back together."


The first time he kisses me after it all, we are standing in my kitchen.

I've grown my hair a little bit, and it reaches my shoulders now. You can't even see the scars unless you lift it up. My hygiene is also a far cry from what it was when we first got back to 12. I've gained back a little weight as well, what with actually eating every day and also going out into the woods.

Peeta's put weight back on as well, and his tousled blond hair is the same as it's always been, with a lock falling into his face like he can't control it. His hands are scarred and some of his arms are burned as well, but he's got his smile back and that's all I can see. There are times when his hands still shake, when he cries out in his sleep and when he sits on the floor, hugging his knees, waiting for it to pass. These moments, I try to give him space even though all I want to do is hug him until he smiles again. I figure if it weren't for me, he wouldn't be having these flashbacks at all, so the least I can do now is try not to make them worse by being around.

On this afternoon, he's standing at the counter cutting up some vegetables for dinner. For the most part, we eat together because neither of us really likes being alone in our respective houses. Plus, I'm a shit cook so any meal I make for myself is doomed from the start. It also doesn't hurt that having him around makes me happy. Maybe not always happy exactly, but comfortable and sane at least.

He's just said something funny and charming, just the way Peeta always can. I'm leaning backwards on the counter next to him, letting the sun from the window warm my back, and laughing with him. I look into his eyes and notice that his knife's stopped moving. He's looking at me with a strange look in his blue eyes.

"What?" I ask with a smile still on my face, and slightly pinker cheeks owed to the intensity in his eyes.

"I wanna try something." He says quietly. And before I can react, he's leaning in and I can feel his breath and my own becomes faster and the kitchen melts away and it's just his face, so close to mine, and so beautiful. His lips find mine in a familiar way, and he moves so that I'm between the counter and him. His hands are cupping my face, so gently, and I put my hands on his waist and kiss him back.

The heat radiating from him fills me up and wakes up that part of me, that hunger, that I had forgotten was there. Having him that close to me, strong, warm, safe, Peeta, makes me feel a thrill of happiness that makes me a little bit dizzy. There is only us for a while, just the two of us, exploring old territory like it's new, because we are new, but we both need this.

He pulls away and puts his forehead against mine, eyes still closed. I study his face, and he looks so peaceful and happy that I feel a tug in my chest. Something in me that needs to see him like this.

"I'm glad I can still do that. Without, you know, trying to kill you." He says with a laugh in his voice and a small smile on his face. I laugh with him.

"I'm pretty glad too." I put a hand on his cheek and he leans into it, opening his eyes to look into mine.

He takes a deep breath. "I think I've sorted out my feelings about you, Katniss Everdeen."

"Uh-oh." He laughs and takes both my hands into his, twining our fingers together. I hadn't realized how much I'd missed human contact, his contact.

"I've decided that I still love you. Sometimes you scare me, and it isn't always because of the Capitol, but I think I love you even more because of it. And I've decided that we need each other, whether you know it or not." His eyes search mine.

"I know it, Peeta." I say quietly. As I say it I realize I've probably known it for a long time. Someone as unstable as I am needs someone as strong and steady as Peeta, but it goes deeper than that. We understand each other in a way that no one else ever can.

He runs a hand through my hair and rubs his thumb gently across one of the burn marks on my neck. "I don't need you to tell me you love me, not right now. I know it's weird for you. But maybe… I mean hopefully someday…" He's frowning at his hand now, not looking at my face anymore, and looking worried. I know that I need to see him smile again, because he's been hurt too much. He shouldn't ever hurt again, not someone as good as Peeta. But I can't tell him I love him, not yet. Everyone I've loved has been taken from me at one time or another, and I can't even imagine having Peeta taken from me. Again. I need him as much as he says he needs me, and I need to make him understand this.

So I do the only thing I can think of. Really it's the only thing I want to do right now anyway, and it feels right. I put a hand on the back of his neck and bring his lips back down to mine.


first fic! hopefully it was alright! if you review please be nice, thanks.