"Stand still, will you darling?"
Katniss struggled to remain motionless, but the itch on her shoulder was getting the best of her, and try as she might, she couldn't help but scratch it.
"I never should have agreed to this," she said with a small huff. "You know it's hard for me to stay in one place for more than a few minutes."
Her husband smiled at her, shaking his head in amusement and he continued to gently stroke the canvas in front of him with the weathered brush.
"You know I still love you anyway, right?" Said Peeta, grinning as he teased his wife.
Katniss threw him a playful smile, tossing her still long braid over her shoulder.
Life and time had aged the pair; graying the hair of the baker and sending flecks of silver running through the mockingjay's long tresses. Where their skin had once been smooth and soft there were now wrinkles, marking both the sorrows and the joys of their years together.
To some, Katniss had never been remarkably beautiful, but to Peeta, she grew more beautiful every year. Every time he looked at her he was inspired, and finally, after years of declining Peeta's requests to paint her, Katniss had finally agreed.
Sitting on the bank of the Crystal Lake in District 12, framed by the setting sun, Peeta set out to capture the love of his life across the milky white canvas.
It was not going to be perfect, Peeta knew that from the beginning – Katniss moved too much for perfect – but he wanted to remember her here, surrounded by peace and beauty.
Their life together had been a good one, and although the memories of tragic yesterday's always hung in the air, Peeta and Katniss had fought every day to make sure those yesterday's did not eat up tomorrow's happiness'.
Together, they had watched as Panam crawled out of the ashes, and shook of its chains. Together they watched as the world they lived in began to become the place they'd dreamed it would be. Free of the Games, free of cruelty, free of conformity and free of fear. They watched as children around them grew up, and rejoiced as those same children finally learned to celebrate their twelfth birthdays instead of fear them.
The world they'd given up everything for was indeed a world worth living in.
Together, after years of struggle and triumph, they'd built a family – and they made sure their children knew what it really meant to be free.
Together, they had watched as their daughter grew up, strong and beautiful – full of confidence and dreams. They celebrated her every breath; rejoicing in her happiness's, and grieving with her in her sorrow's. Katniss taught her to hunt, and her father taught her how to love.
They'd watched as she took her first steps out into the world, as she left District 12 and went out to explore what was beyond it – a privilege those before her had never been freely given. Together they'd worried for her, and yearned for her, but together they'd known that they needed to let her go. And later, when she'd seen all she wanted to see, they watched as their baby daughter fell in love.
Together, they'd walked her down the aisle, Katniss on one side, Peeta on the other. Together they'd given her away, and together they'd cried tears of both joy and sorrow as they realized their little girl wasn't their little girl anymore.
Together they'd celebrated when they became grandparents, remembering all those years before when it had been them with the new baby daughter.
Together they'd brought forth a son, just years after his sister, and together they'd watched as he grew up believing that his daddy was a hero and his mother was a warrior – as they were in some ways.
Together they'd paced when he broke his first bone and together they sighed in relief. Together they'd marveled as they listened to him sing, with a voice that was just like the one that had one over Katniss' mother all those years ago. Peeta taught him to bake, and Katniss taught him to persevere, no matter how hard life gets, even when the road ahead looks hopeless.
They'd watched as their boy became a man, as he grew tall and strong, just like his father – with eyes like his mother, and together they'd grieved when their son's heart was broken. But together, they'd known that this was a hurt they couldn't repair.
Together, they'd taken a step back as he healed; watching later as he too left the home he'd always known to find himself. Together they'd smiled as he found his true love and together they'd cried tears of joy as he too married and left them forever.
They had come through so much, that Katniss almost couldn't recall a time when it hadn't been the two of them, and although some days brought her peace, some nights still brought her sorrow.
She'd dream of every tragedy and every lost loved one. She'd hear their screams, and relive their dying moments. And some nights, even on the best of nights, she'd see Peeta – her husband – the boy with the bread. She'd see him dead.
She'd wake up screaming, and Peeta would always be there. Always steady, and soothing, always there with her. She knew that she was safe when she was wrapped in his arms – she knew that the days of the Games were over, and that days of life had begun.
As Katniss sat there, trying her best to be still, she thought over every moment – good and bad – and marveled at how far they'd come.
Looking out across the lake, she remembered the times she'd come here with her father, and as wonderful as those times had been, these times with Peeta were even better.
Behind her, Katniss heard as Peeta stood up, and she turned towards him.
"You're done?" She questioned.
Peeta nodded, a wide grin stretched his face, and Katniss could see even form a distance that his eyes were sparkling with happiness. He beckoned her towards him with his hands, Katniss could tell he was excited to show her.
She brushed off her pants as she headed over to him, taking his hand as he extended it to her.
"Take a look." He said, he sounded pleased.
Turning, Katniss took her first look at the painting and felt her breath catch in her throat.
It was more than just beautiful, it was breathtaking and the way the colors danced across the page and came to life – it was mesmerizing.
"Peeta," said Katniss, struggling to find words to voice her amazement.
She felt as he wrapped his arms around her, resting his chin on her shoulder and she leaned her head into his.
"Do you like it?" He said.
"I love it – I think it may be one of your best."
Pleased, Peeta planted a firm kiss into her temple, pulling her tighter into his arms.
They stayed that way for a moment, eyes closed, just enjoying the closeness of each other before breaking apart hesitantly, packing up their things and heading for home.
The home they now lived in was not the victor home they'd returned to many years before. Peeta has hated the idea of living together, and raising their family in a home the Capitol had made, and several years after they returned to District 12 the two of them had begun construction of their very own home.
It was a small, modest home. They'd painted it yellow and bright, like the sun on a summer day, and even during the coldest of winters the house was never cold. Along the foundation sprung hundreds of primrose flowers that had grown and multiplied over the years and, located far from spying eyes, their home was a private place of solitude.
As they walked across the covered porch and into the small front room Katniss breathed deep, kicking off her shoes and setting the picnic basket on the small kitchen table.
Peeta climbed the stairs to put away his art supplies as Katniss poured herself a cup of mint tea, letting it cool for a moment before heading back outside to the porch.
As she sat, swaying back and forth in an old rocking chair, Katniss noticed the first of the night's stars were just becoming visible. The day's warmth was quickly disappearing, and night's chill was taking hold.
Just as Katniss was about to go back inside to grab a throw blanket, Peeta appeared beside her, holding a cup of tea in one hand and a blanket in the other.
"I thought you'd be cold." He said, taking a seat on the cushioned wicker couch and patting the seat beside him.
Katniss didn't hesitate, and quickly snuggled up beside him, tucking her feet up underneath her as she settled into her husband's warm embrace.
"It's nights like these that I love the most." Said Peeta, breaking the stillness around them.
Katniss nodded, humming her agreement as she tugged the blanket tighter around them.
"It's been a long time since we watched the stars together."
Once again Katniss nodded, but she couldn't help remembering the first time they'd lay beneath the stars, a long time ago, under much bleaker circumstances.
"Peeta?" Asked Katniss hesitantly.
"What?" He said, his fingers running up and down her arm as he spoke.
"Do you ever think of what life might be like for us if there'd never been a rebellion?"
Peeta thought about it for a minute.
"I guess I have, maybe a few times before – it's hard not to sometimes."
He paused before continuing.
"But I don't think about it too much, I mean, because of everything that happened, of all the hardships and all the death – because of all that we were able to help create the world we live in today. This is the world out children grew up in, the only world they know – and everything, even the hardest parts were all worth it I think, because they will never know the world the way we did."
Katniss knew he was right; she thought of Cinna, and Finnick, and Rue… and even Prim. She was still hurting, she still missed them, but looking at where they were now, she knew it's what they all would've wanted.
This was the world they'd died for.
The moon rose slowly into the night sky, and Katniss could hear as Peeta's breathing slowed into slumber, as he slipped into sleep.
Just before he dozed off, Katniss heard him whisper one last thing.
"You love me? Real or not real?"
An Katniss smiled and whispered, just like she always did.
Just a little one-shot I had in my mind. To me, there's nothing more romantic than two people who've loved each other for years and love more with every day - that's real romance, growing old together. Anyway, enough of that - let me know what you all think!