Five Times Peeta Almost Proposed

One.

The first time was on accident.

In the beginning of their new (but old) relationship, when Katniss and him had moved onto that level of sharing a bed, she would bring him to the woods to try and teach him how to hunt. These lessons numbered only four before Katniss threw her arms up in exasperation and declared that they would never be able to practice hunting with the way he stomped around. Peeta had put up a token protest because, in all honesty, he'd only agreed to learning just so he could share interests with Katniss.

It had been during one of those brief lessons when he'd spotted an early spring violet. Struck by a whimsical fancy, Peeta had picked it and come up next to Katniss who'd been making a trap with some rope. She'd looked up at his approach and he'd slipped the stem through her dark hair, right above her ear. Her eyes had widened and her mouth had opened in surprise.

Peeta had been confused for a second, looking from her gray eyes to the flower and back again until he realized what he'd done. Just as their District had an informal marriage tradition with the toasting, so did they have such a tradition with engagements. Because District 12 had been primarily a poor district, men had used flowers in place of the symbolic ring.

Katniss' hand had come up to touch the flower, her eyes still bewildered.

"I—uh—" Peeta's usually gifted tongue had tied itself in knots.

She'd given him a brief grin and told him that it was okay. She'd known it wasn't a proposal and thanked him for the flower.

But the funny thing was, in that time that he'd been struggling to speak, he'd realized that he did want to marry her.

Two.

The second time around ended up with Peeta being rushed to the hospital.

He'd been up on a very old and weak stool (one that his assistant had been trying to get rid of for several years now) grabbing some heavy bags of flour when he'd heard the bell above the door tinkle as it'd opened. He'd twisted around to greet the customer who'd walked into the bakeshop and had been struck dumb.

Katniss stood framed in the doorway, the strong summer sunlight shining in behind her and creating a glow around her lithe body. It was one of those very rare days when she'd donned a simple dress and left her black hair flowing down her back. She'd gone to visit her mother and it seemed that she'd just returned.

That's about as far as Peeta got in the thought department because other than that, all he could really focus upon was the fact that her inner beauty, that core of strength and goodness she had on her, was leaking out so much that he was nearly blinded.

He moved forward, the first words he thought of tumbling from his lips, "Kat, will you m—" and realized as the rickety old stool snapped beneath him and the 50lb bag of flour fell heavily on top of him, that he might possibly be the dumbest man on earth. He couldn't recall much after that as his head hit the tile floor and the world became a bit fuzzy.

Three.

It was many months before Peeta got the courage to try again. This time he took care to plan it out ahead of time and do it in the safety of their home (where no rickety stools or heavy flour bags were in evidence).

Katniss was in town, giving wilderness survival lessons to anyone interested. She'd started this up a few years after the Rebellion, feeling it necessary that no one should ever be unprepared for any disaster. She'd come to find satisfaction in teaching and Peeta enjoyed this fact.

He only had an hour from finishing up in the bakery to when Katniss came home and he made good use of it. He picked some of the primroses in front yard and placed them in a vase, setting the table up with their best dishes while he started dinner.

By the time an hour had passed, Peeta had finished dinner and had it waiting on the specially set table and had had time to shower and change. He stood nervously by the kitchen table, trying to decide if he should light the candle or not right now when he heard the front door open.

Hastily, he lit the candle, fumbled over to the kitchen doorway and got down on one knee, almost dropping the small velvet box he pulled out of his pocket. He'd spent a good amount of time finding the perfect ring for a woman as simple and active as his Katniss was and he felt he had found it—a gold band with a single blue diamond, closely set to the band, not likely to get caught in anything.

The movement of the swinging door stilled his thoughts and though he knew he should slow down, be suave, let her have a chance to breathe, he felt the words come out.

"My love, will you marry me?"

The last trailed off as Peeta's eyes met Haymitch's raised eyebrows. He could feel an embarrassed flush creep up his face.

The older man cleared his throat. "I'm sure Katniss would have a problem if I said 'Yes' so I'm afraid I'll have to refuse. Though you are a nice boy—"

"Oh, shut up," Peeta interrupted the far too amused man. He got up from the floor, disappointedly pocketing the ring. "Did Katniss send you?"

Haymitch's eyes were looking at the dinner table with interest. "Yeah. One of the boys somehow shot himself in the foot during archery and she's gone with him to the emergency room and probably won't be home until late tonight."

Peeta sighed and watched as Haymitch grabbed a plate and started digging into the food. Maybe getting married wasn't in his future.

Four.

It was one of those nights when nightmares had plagued them both and now they refused to go back to sleep, feeling that watching the sunrise was better than seeing it set on the many faces that flashed through their minds.

She was in his arms, her head pillowed on his shoulder as they both stared up at the ceiling, alternately silent or talking about anything and everything. At some point in their wandering conversation, she brought up the subject of the future and what they were going to be doing when they were older.

Peeta was a little surprised. Katniss normally didn't like to think far ahead, wanting to stay in the present, wanting to know that she would live that day. Getting old was still a concept new to the Districts, now that resources were being shared from the Capitol and from amongst the Districts.

"I don't know. I guess I'll still be in the bakery and you'll go on with your teaching and hunting," he answered in response to the topic she brought up.

She hummed contentedly. "I think I'll always have people to teach as long as I have the forest there."

He nodded against her hair. They were silent for long moments, his hand absently caressing her bare arm.

It seemed like the perfect moment. He voiced the thoughts that had been dogging his mind the past year. "I'd like to marry you, Katniss. I'd like to have you as my wife when we grow old. Is that something—would you marry me?" he asked hesitantly, having sensed no movement from her in his small monologue.

There was still no response. Angling his head so he could look down at her, he saw that her eyes had closed and she was breathing the deep breaths of someone fast asleep. Smiling ruefully to himself, he kissed her hair and closed his own eyes.

Five.

They were fighting, which was rare, as they had become pillars of strength and stability for each other. Even to this day, Peeta couldn't remember how it started, other than the fact that it was around the time he had decided to expand his bakery business to include the other Districts. He needed to tour the Districts for the next few weeks to make contacts and set up bakeries. It would be the first time that they would be separated for an extended period of time since the Rebellion. He'd thought that she would be upset about it but not to the extent she had been.

"Why are you telling me now? Why didn't you tell me weeks ago? I can't believe you're leaving me without even thinking to tell me first! You care more for your business than you do about anything else!" she yelled at him, her hands in fists by her side.

Peeta stood across from her in their living room, his hands in his hair, eyes staring at her incredulously. Was she serious? His own temper was sparked. "What do you mean I care more for my business? I'm here, aren't I? I've been here for the last six years for you, for us! The one time, one time, I want to do something that is remotely for myself, you don't like it! I can't believe how selfish you're being!"

Her eyes were bright with anger, the gray color like steel. It was a look he hadn't seen for many years. She was furious.

"You know what? Fine! Go, if you need to! Just go!" Her hands made sweeping motions, as if to sweep him out of the room. "You obviously don't care,"

He fisted his hands. In a small corner of his mind, he was glad that there wasn't that poisonous feeling of venom clouding his thoughts, that this anger wasn't a brainwashing leftover.

"Me? Not care?" His hand reached into his pocket, where he'd kept the ring box every day since he'd bought it months ago. He tossed it onto the table in front of her with a jerky motion. It clattered between them. Her mouth opened in shock. "This is how much I don't care!"

He stalked out of the room and into the front yard, his breath harsh and adrenaline pumping, walking without any sort of direction. Why was she so upset? He couldn't think of a good reason why and blamed it on the fact that females were generally not understandable.

He'd almost made it out of the Victor's Village before he heard her voice behind him. "Peeta!"

He stopped, took a deep calming breath and turned. Only to go stumbling back as she launched herself at him, her arms around his shoulders, her head buried in his neck. He caught himself and her, his own arms wrapping around her. Her shoulders were heaving with sobs and for a moment Peeta was very concerned until she lifted her face and he saw that she was crying but smiling widely at the same time.

He was a little slow today it seemed because he couldn't understand what was happening at all as she pulled fully away from him and got down on one knee in the slightly muddy ground, opening the velvet box he had tossed at her just moments ago.

"Peeta, even though I can be a completely horrendous person sometimes, even though I'm scared shitless about doing this right now, I love you and will love you for the rest of my sorry life. Will you marry me?" She still had tears in her eyes, which bravely met his though he could see uncertainty in her gaze, and he answered the only way he could ever answer.

He knelt down next to her in the mud, taking her hands with one of his, the other going up to wipe at the tears on her face. "That's supposed to be my line," he joked.

She laughed breathily. "Just answer me, you jerk." Her tone was affectionate.

He pulled her closer to him, his lips brushing against hers softly.

"Nothing would make me happier than to have you as my wife."

Author's Note:

I did it! I wrote Hunger Games FLUFF! Yeah, so they might be a little OOC but you know what? I think they had some good times mixed in there. Their lives weren't completely angst from the end of the Games to the end of time.

I'm interested to see how this fluffiness is received though…*cough, cough*