Disclaimer: Characters and situations aren't mine, they are property of Suzanne Collins.

Extension of My Usefulness

I start awake when she twitches in her sleep. We had been huddled in the cave again, safe for the time being. Warm, naked and alone together, but without the pain of the true memories of that time. It takes me a moment to adjust to the dark and the gentle rocking movement of our train compartment. Katniss' train compartment.

I expect her to be crying out in her sleep again, but she's fairly still. A soft sigh escapes her lips, her foot twitching in sleep. I'd seen animals do that but hadn't realised, until sharing a sleeping bag with Katniss in the Games, that dreaming people twitch as well.

In her sleep she twists a little closer, the next puffing sigh of air skittering across my neck. Without my consent, my body gives an answering twitch, and I groan softly. This is becoming a worryingly frequent occurrence.

Katniss needs me to sleep. And in my own way, I need her for a restful night as well. This is my understanding of our arrangement. Her embraces are needy, not affectionate. She burrows into me for safety. I'm the nearest warm body. My mind understands this and, while it's not nice, I have come to accept it. Why, then, does my body insist on betraying me? I can almost see my brother's smirk. Testosterone. It doesn't matter that Katniss is my friend, she's beautiful and I ... want her. My body wants her. Hormones are not noble.

As though hearing my thoughts and cruelly teasing out the reaction of my body, her hand slips in her sleep. It shifts lower, small fingers tickling the bare skin between my T-shirt and underwear. My unwanted erection throbs steadily in response.

I will not sleep like this. I look into her face, so peaceful and unaware. If she woke and found out, my wretched life would probably not be worth living. There would be no more time spent in her compartment. She would cease to sleep this easily. With slow, smooth movements, my hand moves to the front of my shorts. That first touch, gentle pressure against the hard, jutting flesh, is a relief and a jolt all at once. I clamp my jaw shut, knowing I must breathe steadily if I'm to make sure she stays asleep. My fingers reach in through the slit in the cotton, gently tugging my erection free before beginning a slow rhythm.

As the pace builds and I struggle harder to keep my breathing even, a treacherous voice whispers through my mind: This is better with her so close.

Images of her flicker through my mind. Memories of kissing her. The dreams I have of doing more. A groan catches at the back of my throat, but I think I manage to swallow it back down as my body begins to tense.

Another twitch from the slumbering body beside me. Her hand is on my wrist now. I still, like an animal sensing prey. Slowly, so slowly, I ease my head to the side, and see that her eyes are still closed, mouth still relaxed as she sighs in her sleep. Her face burrows into my chest, and her hand ... her hand slips down my wrist, looking to join with mine. I have less than seconds to panic, before her hand is covering mine, her thumb resting gently on the head of my cock. Her eyes remain closed. Her breathing is still soft. The tension in my body, the arousal flowing through me, is almost unbearable. I have no time to call myself a sick bastard for liking this so much, this unconscious intimate innocent contact with my body.

Too afraid of waking her, I keep our hands still, but push slowly up into their warm, tight grasp. Her thumb rubs over the slit of my cock, and bright colours burst behind my eyelids. It will not take much. Another thrust, two, and a third, and I'm gritting my teeth to stay silent once more as thick semen splatters over my stomach.

I release a long breath I hadn't realised I was holding, trying to wipe my hand without disturbing her. The warm rush of endorphins slip through my blood, making me warm and sleepy once more. I turn and smile down at the sleeping Katniss.

But the sleeping Katniss is no longer sleeping. Sleeping Katniss has one eye open. She's looking at me, her head still heavy on my chest. I take a deep intake of breath to explain myself, though there is no decent explanation I can give.

Her hand moves against mine, her palm to my palm, her fingers wrapping around my hand, and she squeezes. I feel the cooling slide of semen coating her thumb and try to remember that this is despicably embarrassing, not arousing. I watch her face carefully. She is not throwing me from her bed. She is not demanding an explanation. She doesn't even seem to be fully awake, though I sense she must understand what I've done.

Slowly, she pulls my hand to her. I think, for a moment, that she wants me to hold her until she goes back to sleep. Perhaps she's willing to pretend nothing happened, for the sake of keeping her night guard. But her hand pulls mine lower. It's not until she presses my palm firmly to the cotton front of her panties that I even begin to understand. Her hand retreats, stroking over my wrist, and I am left touching her, the heat of her body scalding through the thin cotton, the heel of my hand pressed snugly against her pubic bone, my fingers curled under and between her legs, moulded to the shape of her body. She still watches me. Her eyes are sleepy, but she is certainly awake. I know because her face is serious in a way it only is when awake. She frowns slightly. She shifts her hips. Her hand pulls gently at my wrist. I know what she wants, but I'm not entirely sure how to give it to her.

Thinking of my own preferences, I slide my hand upwards. Her frown deepens for a moment, and there's a flicker of a strange, new expression – uncertainty, perhaps even rejection – before my fingertips slide inside her underwear and my hand reassumes its position. Her hair is soft and sleek, straight unlike my curl. I had thought perhaps her stylists' obsession with waxing every inch of her might have left her completely hairless, but here they have let her remain natural. My thumb strokes idly over the soft fuzz, and Katniss sighs as though sleeping once more. Only the slow undulation of her hips tells me that she is utterly awake and aware of what I'm doing.

But from here, I am flying blind. She sighs again, shifting her body, but it is not like mine. I don't know what to stroke. I don't understand where to rub.

Once more, her hand covers mine, her fingers laid over my fingers. She looks up at me. All I can see in the dim light is the whites and pupils of her eyes, trained carefully on me. She presses my middle finger, urging it upwards. The heat and softness yields into a slit, and hot, slick juice coats my finger. She hums softly, and I begin to understand. Slowly, I shift this finger through the slippery folds she has helped me discover. I run my finger back and fore, unable to see what I touch but mentally mapping the landscape of this most intimate part of her. As I draw my finger back towards my palm, it bumps over a hard little nub of skin. Katniss jumps in reaction, her body stiffening. I worry I have hurt her, but she's clutching my wrist suddenly, trying to guide my touch back to that spot. I do my best to comply, circling the round little nub, rubbing it, slicking my finger down first one side then the other. Her body is taut as one of her bows, just before she releases the string.

Her fingers grip my wrist now – no longer guiding my hand, but hanging on. I am pleased for a sign of her desperation. It indicates feelings I know myself. I look at her frowning face. Her eyes are shut again, but she's not sleeping. Her body's twitching, but not from dreams. I know that colours are bursting behind her eyes. I know that she is close to that point.

Though my wrist is aching from her grip, and from the small, fast, constricted movement of my fingers, I try my best to do to her what I would want right now. I rub faster, I press more firmly. Each time I seem to hit the 'right' spot, I do my best to replicate the action.

Then all at once, her back is arched and her eyes are wide. I'm still rubbing, but she's pulling on my wrist now. Slow down, I think. I slow, stroking circles more gently, and wonder if I'm imagining the slight twitch of the slippery skin beneath my fingers.

After I have pulled my hand free, wiping my fingers on my shorts, she looks at me a moment. Her frown is deeper. I wait for her to tell me this was a mistake, with a block of ice lodged in the pit of my stomach. I wait for her to ruin this.

Slowly, she slides her arm back across my chest. She's still watching me. One of her legs slides between mine. It's close, the way we slept when cold in the cave. Slowly, as though not trusting what I'll do when she's not watching, she closes her eyes. And they stay closed.

I wrap my arms tightly around her and pull her close. It is not a move forward, I know that. It is an extension of my usefulness to her. But I am still here, still wrapped around her sleeping body. And that's enough.