Note: Welll sorry this took so long! This is a reviewer reward for Cruelest Sea.. I'm pretty sure. If I've got the wrong username please let me know! So they asked for the "bread and dandelion" moment from Peeta's POV. This is going to be a 4 part fic I think. This first part is the bread moment :) Hope you enjoy!
Subtitle: ..of the Body
My mother screaming is nothing new. That she's not yelling at me is. Things have been tense around both the bakery and the house lately, ever since the death of one particular Miner. Her Father. I often hear my Mother yelling, screaming, questioning my Dad about where he's been, whether he's been with her. I think she feels threatened and it leads to frustration and her frustration leads to both mental and physical abuse upon all of those in the family. She is an unhappy woman, and she'll make everyone around her feel just as bad.
"Get out of here you filthy little brat. I'm tired of you Seam lot hanging about. I'll call the Peacekeepers, I swear it!" She continued on, all her inward frustration pouring out at the poor person outside. It's not the first time we've caught people looking in the bins for some remnant of food. Usually I don't bother to look, but she sounds angrier than such a situation usually warrants.
I lean the broom up against the wall and walk up behind her to peer around her figure. All the movement in my body stills. Muscles freeze, my breath catching, and my heart coming to a complete halt. It's Katniss. The name pulls up all sorts of images. Of a little girl in a red plaid skirt with braided pig tails, of her walking with her little sister, or singing a tune to her Father's whistling in town. Those memories feature a happy girl, and are stark against the reality of this moment.
She's backing away and her gaze flickers in my direction and then away. There's no gleam of life in those grey eyes, just a wariness and defeat. I've seen that look before, and my hands clench into fists as Mom turns and stalks back into the warmth of the bakery, grumbling about what a shame it is that there isn't a way to keep those children away. I'm not sure if she's talking about the children from the seam, or Katniss and her sister in particular.
I watch as Katniss trudges through the rain, her shoulders usually held back and straight are slumped forward as if there is a weight upon them. She looks so frail, and she looks like she's given up. I can't let that happen. Couldn't let it happen to anyone, but least of all her. Through the rain I can see her stop at the apple tree and as she slides down it, I know what I have to do. I know it may not work, but even more I know I couldn't live with myself if I did nothing.
I take a deep breath and turn as my mother says, "Pull the bread." It's a demand, not a request. And I know what I'll do even as the two loaves of bread, soft, warm and now soon to be ruined fall into the flames. I act quickly as I normally would to retrieve them, it wouldn't due for her to be suspicious. I have them back on to the tray just as I catch the motion of her hand and there's a sharp sting of pain across my cheek almost drowned out by her screams. I know that my ruining them is losing money for us, and that we'll go hungry a night, but at least it won't be a series of nights, nothing like Katniss has had to endure.
"Little idiot!" she yells, pushing me away from her. I stumble and set the tray on the cooling rack and pick up the two large loaves of bread. She's still screaming at me as I step outside into the cool afternoon air, the bread almost unbearably hot against the bare skin of my arms. It's nothing compared to the pain in my cheek though.
"Feed it to the pig, you stupid creature! Why not? No one decent will buy burned bread!" I want to yell back at her, but of course I don't, I never have and don't think I ever will. For all of her faults, she is my mother, and she's stayed even when she's so unhappy. I like to think that something between she and my dad resembles if not love, than at least affection. I tear off chunks and toss them into the trough and breathe a sigh of relief as I hear the bell ring and she stops shouting and goes back into the bakery to help the customer.
I do not look at Katniss. There's too many emotions welling up within me and I'm not sure that I want to share them. I can feel her eyes on me and wonder what she's thinking. I've never talked to her before today, and I don't know that I will talk to her after, but I'll never get the chance if I let her starve. I glance back toward the bakery. She's still not in the doorway. I take my chance and throw one, and then the other, loaf of bread in her direction and make my way back to the bakery. I do not look back, even though I want to. I shut the door behind me.
My mother looks up at me from where she's counting the money in the register. Her expression is one I find hard to describe, her lips in a grim line, eyes hard, but she gives a shake of her head and goes back to counting the profit for the day, meager as it is. Her next words are not yelled, but they strike me all the same and they sting as much as they make me feel warm.
"Just like your father, Peeta."
In love with the daughter of the woman my Dad wanted to marry. Yeah, maybe I am.
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As always please review and tell me how I'm doing ;) Next up will be the dandelion moment.