Chapter Title: Morning and Night
Pairings/Characters: Cinna/Katniss. Very brief mention of past Katniss/Others.
Warnings: AU. A hint of a spoiler for Mockingjay in terms of Finnick's real job. Suggestive adult themes, but nothing explicit or detailed enough to warrant a rating of M. Shameless fluff.
Notes: Sorry it's taken me so long to update. I've got no excuse other than that school is very important and keeps me very busy.
Disclaimer: Suzanne Collins owns the Hunger Games trilogy. I am not Suzanne Collins.
Also, thanks to anyone still reading these one-shots, and to the people who favourited this story and/or put it on alert, and special thanks to Bloodredfirefly, amyleann, letthesongtakeflight, Daemen9, HJP-HJG-July31-1980, Kira Kyuu, 666Neme666, XellinaInverse, snowspell, JKProductions, Cat of Flames, yo, Tigers Like Red Blood, lambtastic, ella-spella, MaxRide05, FrostbittenRose, RigbyJudeLennon, JKJessie, Blue Dot77, Lauren, MyrninsBitch, torpidxXRENXxbreaker, imadinosauristicharrypotterf an, Daianta, and The Phantom Of The Labyrinth for reviewing!
If You Burn
Seven – Morning and Night
She comes to him, Cinna knows, because he's not like her former patrons. Because he reminds her that sex does not always have to be violent. Because he tempers her brutal kisses and turns her warfare into love-making.
He should be satisfied with their arrangement. It should be enough for him to provide her with comfort most nights. It shouldn't matter to him that passion and tenderness disappear in the light of day.
But he isn't, and it isn't, and it does, because he's in love with her and they both know it, and she's not in love with him and they both know that, too. There was a time when he wondered who was using who, before finally realizing that it really didn't matter either way.
Because he can't stop. Every night he goes to bed swearing to himself that this is the last night, and then she crawls under the covers and curls up against him and kisses him and kisses him until any resistance he's built up while they were apart crumbles to dust. Until he gives in and helps her shed all their clothing, presses her back against the cool linen sheets, settles between her thighs, lets his hands and lips roam her body while she runs her fingers through his hair and moans softly.
Every morning he gets up, gets ready to meet with a client who wants a ridiculous dress or suit that they'll only wear once for a ridiculous party or someone's ridiculous wedding or just for afternoon tea with their ridiculous mother-in-law. He knows Katniss is always awake as he goes about his morning routine, and he's sure she knows he's aware that she's awake, but she never says or does anything. She never responds when, just before leaving the bed to go shower, he kisses her on the tip of her nose or the side of her neck or the inside of her wrist where her Mockingjay tattoo is.
When he sees her next during the day, they're friends and nothing more. She lets him put an arm around her shoulders, but if he tugs her too close she stiffens and extracts herself from his hold. He's allowed to lift a hand and brush her hair out of her face, but if he lingers too long she recoils.
More often than not he thinks that even labelling them as friends is being too optimistic. Her smiles, when directed at him, never reach her eyes anymore. He used to be able to make her laugh so hard tears streamed down her face. Now he has trouble getting a weak chuckle out of her.
He knows they can't keep going like this, but he just can't bring himself to end it.
Until one morning, Katniss does it for him.
On this particular morning, his alarm clock doesn't go off because he accidentally set it for 7 P.M. instead of A.M. He finds himself in a rush for once because he woke up an hour late and he's supposed to be meeting a client in half an hour. He goes straight to the bathroom, brushes his teeth and washes his face. He forgoes his usual shower and doesn't bother putting on his gold eyeliner, instead returning to his bedroom to dig through his dresser for clothes to wear.
He's just pulled his pants on when a hand closes around his forearm and yanks until his legs hit the side of the bed. "Where are you going?" Katniss demands, sounding halfway between sleepy and indignant. She's propped up on one elbow and glaring at him through bleary eyes like he's broken every unwritten rule that's ever existed.
"To work?" he manages to reply through his stunned confusion. This isn't how things go. She doesn't acknowledge him in the morning. Ever.
"You didn't kiss me," she says. "Where's my kiss?"
He stares down at her dumbly (and that's enough to convince him this is probably a dream, because he's never stared at anyone or anything dumbly in his life). "Your…kiss?"
She gives a long-suffering sigh and sits up properly, her legs settling on either side of his. He feels her fingertips, gentle on his hips, just above the waistline of his pants. She leans in carefully and presses her lips to the bare skin right over his rapidly beating heart. Her kiss is slow and sweet, and she lingers when it's done, nose and warm breath lightly skimming his chest.
She pulls back to look up at him with solemn, quietly sincere eyes. For a minute he seriously considers skipping his meeting and falling back into bed with her.
It's a choice he doesn't get to make, because Katniss pushes him away. "Get going," she says, voice rough with some guarded emotion he desperately wants to decipher. "You'll be late."
He goes. He's ten minutes late and he honestly might as well have not gone at all for all the work he gets done, too busy staring blankly into space, thinking of nothing but the drowsy, beautiful girl he left at home in his bed.
He doesn't see her again until nighttime, when she crawls under the covers and curls up against him and kisses him and kisses him, but this time his resistance doesn't crumble. This time they're going to talk.
"Stop, stop," he protests as she's sucking a bruise into the skin just above his collarbone.
She stills when she hears the words, pulls away from him. And he doesn't want that, but if he tugs her back in he's never going to get his answers. Though he might never get them anyway, because he has no idea what questions he wants to ask.
There's a long, drawn-out silence, before it's broken by Katniss, who says abruptly, "It feels like a weakness."
"Letting someone see," she clarifies a moment later, "how much you care about them."
Another long pause. "And it's better, is it, to push them away?" he asks, as evenly as he can manage.
"No. Yes." She lets out a shaky sigh. "I don't know."
"It's not," he tells her firmly.
"Not better? Or not a weakness?" There's something desperate in the way she looks at him, like she's balancing on the tip of a blade and his answer could send her tumbling to ground and she wouldn't ever get back up again.
He thinks it over carefully—not what he wants to say, but how he wants to say it. "Both," he says finally. "It's not better, to build up a wall around yourself and never let anyone in. If you've got nothing to lose that only means you have nothing."
He reaches out a hand, curves his palm around her cheek, presses his thumb to her temple and tangles his other four fingers in her hair.
"And it's only a weakness to show someone you care," he says in a low voice, "if that someone would use it against you. And I wouldn't. Okay?"
He leans in, touches his mouth to her brow. "There's your kiss. Okay?"
Her lips curve upward and maybe her smile is reluctant, maybe it's involuntary, but it reaches her eyes and she says, "Okay."
Author's Notes: Don't know why Katniss is no longer being sold. Maybe someone a zillion times more popular than her came along and Snow let her off the hook. And where is Peeta in all this? Well, either he's dead or he was never chosen for the Games. Take your pick.
Not sure when I'll update this next. Once I'm done with The Flames Rose Higher I'm going to write a Modern AU with Cinna/Katniss and Gale/Peeta as the main pairings, and it's probably going to be even longer than Sixteen Days. So that'll keep me busy.
Reviews are appreciated, and I hope you all are having a wonderful day!