A/N: I really didn't plan on continuing this but here's a companion piece from Peeta's perspective. I don't think it's as good.
Disclaimer: Don't own.
He wishes he could dream about a happy future with her. He dreams about her but in his dreams she's bleeding or dead or being tortured. He misses his old dreams.
He doesn't hate the dark, however. Night means he gets to hold her in his arms. Not the perfectly painted and perfectly smiling and in love Katniss he has on his arm during the day but the scrubbed clean, hair braided, real Katniss that curls up with him and actually talks to him.
After he wakes from his nightmares and in the precious time before she does he wonders they could have been an "us" without the Games. He likes to fool himself into thinking they could have.
He had a plan. After their final reaping he was going to have baked her something (he wasn't sure what, possibly the bread with the raisins and nuts) and bring it to her house. He was going to ask her out on a date. He was going tell her he noticed her and how sweetly she sang.
His plans became ashes in her fire.
District 4's families are harder to look at than he thought. He knew the girl, Brigid, even if he knew she would gleefully stab him in the chest when the time came. He paints her talking with Glimmer and Clove. He paints her full of tracker jacker stingers. The Capitol has seen both, he assumes.
This is how Katniss felt in 11 he thinks as he looks into the eyes of the families.
He sits by the window on the train and watches the sun set over the ocean. He wants to paint this scene but all he can think of is the Careers he knew.
He's not looking forward to 2 and 1.
Everyone (the Stylists) complain about how boring 3 is. They chatter about how they can't wait to get back to the Capitol while enjoying their fresh oysters for breakfast.
Effie clears her throat. "Peeta," she begins looking at him with her too big smile. "Katniss, I think it's time the three of us had a little chat."
He watches Katniss glace at Haymitch. She's always looking to Haymitch for guidance.
"This is probably about you two being in the closet for twenty minutes last night," Haymitch grumbles. "It's your own fault for not being more alert."
"I was going to phrase it better than that," Effie snaps. He assumes she penciled 'give Katniss and Peeta a talk about proper etiquette and why they should not sneak off' into the daily schedule. The Stylists, Portia, and Cinna take this as their cue to leave. Haymitch sips his doctored coffee and waves his hand for her to continue. Effie huffs, obviously wanting this conversation to be private. He's happy Haymitch is here.
"I understand you two are currently over come with certain emotions. Young love will do that." He swears her cheeks are turning red under her white make-up. "There is, however, a time and a place for them. I can make excuses for you two while you dally for a few minutes but I will not let you hide. We've," she's including Haymitch now, "have stopped you two enough times for you to know not to sneak off." He thinks she looks pleased with herself when she finishes.
Katniss sits motionless and expressionless. He misses the emotions that changed her features. He takes her hand and smiles. "We're sorry and we'll never let it happen again," he promises like a contrite child.
Effie smiles again and he knows they'll be sneaking off tonight. After all, it's part of their act to stay alive.
They return to the train after dinner and getting caught kissing in the hallway. He knows she's acting but he could drink her kisses. He almost follows their new nightly routine of making a show of going to their separate rooms before he sneaks into hers. Instead after changing into his pajamas he goes to the car full of his paintings.
He wants to paint something. He needs to. All he can see when he closes his eyes are Cato sharpening his sword, Glimmer and Clove sorting out the food, Marvel untangling a net, all images he desperately wants to forget.
He decides to paint the girls.
Hours later his pants have dried paint on them and his back feels stiff but he has the larger parts of the painting done. He's working on the details and fixing the light. He wants to get it just right but his eyelids are getting heavy and his brush strokes are getting messy.
He wonders if Katniss has been able to fall asleep without him. He almost hopes she needs him there as much as he needs her.
Silently he makes his way to her room. Her door is unlocked as it has been since their first night together.
She's tossing and turning, tangled in the sheets. Her face is contorted in pain and part of him breaks a little bit more. He should have been there for her.
Sometimes he feels like their whole relationship is based on the word should.
"Peeta," she whimpers desperately. He can't help but warm at the thought of her dreaming about him.
He climbs awkwardly into her bed, still not used to maneuvering his artificial leg. He turns her over and wraps his arms around her, pulling her to his chest. He strokes her hair as she wakes.
"You didn't come earlier." He hates the accusation in her voice.
"I had to paint," he tells her softly.
She's quiet long enough for him to assume she's fallen back asleep. He kisses the crown of her head.
"Warn me if you do that again," she mumbles into his shirt.
She doesn't tell him not to kiss her when they're alone. Maybe not all of their kisses are for show.
2 is hell. Not arena hell but a different special kind that he now knows all Victors must suffer through.
Cato was the middle child. He has an older sister and a younger brother, both of whom look like they trained as well. There's a chance his first mentee will be facing that boy.
Clove was the youngest with three older brothers. Her mother is actually crying and looks like she hasn't stopped since her death. 2 is known for training but nothing trains the parents. He doesn't think his mother would have cried that much if he had died; she told him enough that he was an accident.
He clutches Katniss' hand as he reads the speech Effie gave him this morning. He wants to say more and thinks this must have been how she felt in 11.
That night he tangles himself in her. He desperately wants to kiss her, really kiss her, to remind himself that there is something worth living for.
"I want the Tour to be over," he confesses instead.
"We're almost done. Just 1 and the Capitol before we head back home."
Home to his empty house. Home to ignoring her because she still can't see that Hawthorne loves her and she won't let him, Peeta, really love her.
"Will you come over sometime?" He asks into her hair. He's going to miss being this close to her every night.
"I'll bring you some squirrels," she tells him.
He wants to tell her she doesn't need to do that. He wants to tell her she can just come over, that she's always welcome at his house, that if she can't ever sleep at night she can come curl up in his bed. He wants to but he loses the words. She's the only person that makes him speechless.
He pulls her closer, thinks I love you but says "or strawberries."
"Or strawberries in the spring," she agrees before burrowing into his neck.
No matter how horrible he feels during the day or what terrors await when he sleeps he knows he has these moments with the girl he loves. He'll have them even when the Tour is over and they sleep alone. And that, he thinks, is what he needs.
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