A/N: I'M SO SORRY! I'm terrible I know and I definitely haven't given up on this story! I've had exams and I've just been really busy!
Thank-you for all those incredible reviews guys, sixty-eight in just two chapters! I'm sorry I didn't get to respond to a lot of them but I promise I read each and everyone one and they always make me smile and want to get back to writing the next chapter.
Just a side note: check out my baby Julia's (thehuntedhunter) story for some cute Peeniss fluff, it's awesome
Disclaimer: Don't own nuttin'.
Also please excuse my mistakes: still un-beta'd.
Anyway, I won't make you wait any longer…
I watched him from across the yard at school: it was lunch and he was being horded by a group of people, both girls and boys who I assumed were his friends. They all were hovering around a small wrought iron table, which only seated four people, the rest of the gang either standing or sitting around the four in the middle, all their backs to each other so as to properly face the people in front of them. Peeta sat on one of those seats; his back against the rim of the table while one of his legs was pulled up to his chest, arm resting lightly on top of it whilst the other sat limply on the ground. He was speaking animatedly to a girl in front of him, I had no idea what her name was or even what year level she was in, his hands gesticulating wildly as he tried to get his point across to her.
The boyish grin that always seemed to be on his face instantly faltered when the girl, with a wrinkled brow, reached her hand out and softly touched the nasty purple bruise that took up basically his whole right cheek. The next words out of her mouth must have been something along the lines of 'what happened?' because I saw him hesitate a little before he ran a hand through his messy blonde locks and answered her lightly. Well, that's what it looked like he did because soon she was giggling, a hand over her mouth to try and lessen the sound. I scoffed at that, she sounded ridiculous, honestly.
The girl, after finally bringing her fabricated giggling fit to an end, opened her mouth as if to say something but before she could the bell trilled loudly throughout the yard. The girl with the raven locks pursed her lips in what looked to be disappointment before swiftly bending down to Peeta's level to place a kiss on his cheek. My eyebrows furrowed at that and I didn't know why. For all I knew she could be his girlfriend and she had every right to do that, so I shook my head and stood up from my spot on the dying grass.
He smiled warmly at her before she walked away with a dumb smile on her face towards the locker corridor. I rolled my eyes, scoffing slightly, I don't think I'd ever be able to understand these girls; they were just so different to me. I also began to walk towards the corridor, taking the long route across they yard so as to avoid Peeta. I didn't want him to even glance at me, I felt uncomfortable with the idea of him seeing me after what he did for me yesterday. And said to me. Yet there was this feeling in my gut that was nagging at me, I wasn't sure what to do about it. I didn't like owing people, as a result I usually stayed out of everyone's debt, only doing things myself and seldom seeking anyone else's help, except maybe Gale. But now I felt I owed this boy something, I don't know what, a 'thank-you' maybe?
Problem was, I had no idea how to formulate that into a sentence let alone snag him when he is alone so that his reputation wouldn't be damaged. I never really was good with words, I was always more of an 'action' person, my father told me that it was okay though, because 'sometimes actions speak louder than words'. Still, sometimes I wish I were better at those sorts of things like my father was and Prim is.
I groaned mentally as I had an internal debate with myself: get it over with and never have to speak to him again or let this stupid, nagging feeling weigh me down until I buckled under my own cowardice. I sighed as I crossed the corridor's threshold, deciding that I would just get it over and done with today so that the feeling would disappear. Now I just had to try and find the right opportunity to get him alone, a difficult feat seeing as though he always seemed to be with at least one of his merchant class friends.
The corridor was flooded with teenagers, all knocking into each other in their haste to get home, I hung back at my locker waiting for most of them to file out before I started searching for the location of Peeta's locker, hoping that he'd still be there. I caught sight of the back of his blonde head and cleared my throat nervously; I still had no idea what I was going to say to him. Thankfully the corridor was practically empty by now, apart from Peeta, myself and one of the guys I recognized from his lunch table. I heard the boy chuckle at something Peeta said before clapping him on the arm and telling him he'd see him tomorrow. I heard the door shut with a loud click that echoed through the now deserted hall and started rubbing my hands together in a nervous gesture.
I was warring with myself, who was I kidding I don't know what to say to him and the idea of simply walking out the door was suddenly looking like a great option. I groaned internally, I couldn't chicken out; I had to do this, now or never. I shuffled over to were he was shoving books into his bag, seemingly lost in thought as he didn't even notice me approach him, not that anyone usually did. From up close I could truly see just how awful the bruise on his cheek was, a rush of guilt swarmed through my insides making me feel a little sick.
Once I was about two feet from him I cleared my throat and his head snapped towards me, his eyebrows nearly touching his forehead and his mouth agape in shock. In all the commotion he must have let go of the books that were teetering on the edge of the locker and they crashed to the floor with a loud thud.
I stared wide-eyed at them momentarily before my eyes flittered up to his face, noticing the small blush that had arisen on his cheeks. He bent down to the floor quickly and gathered to the various books together before lifting them back into his locker and turning to face me again.
He cleared his throat, "Hey."
I showed the barest hint of a smile at his embarrassment, "Hi." We stood there for a few seconds, both of us not knowing what to say, when I remembered what I came here to do. I glanced down at the floor, twisting my hands around each other nervously and spoke in a voice just barely above a whisper,
"Look, um Peeta, I just…I just wanted to say-" but I was cut off by the sound of his voice.
"Don't worry about it, you don't have to say anything; it was nothing," he said with a shrug of his broad shoulders.
My eyes nearly bulged out of my head at that.
"Nothing?" I choked out. He just nodded his head, eyebrows furrowed in confusion as to why I reacted so harshly to his statement.
"Peeta, your left cheek is dark purple, you got yourself beaten to give some girl from the Seam bread. For the first time in months my family has had something decent to eat, my sister smiled this morning! That is not nothing, that's…" I tried to search for the right word, "everything."
His eyes were wide, his mouth opening and closing, like he didn't know what to say, so I took the opportunity to continue,
"Look, what you did…I just wanted to say, thank-you." I released a breath I didn't know I had been holding at finally doing what I had been meaning to.
He shot me a smile so full of warmth and kindness that it made me avert my eyes so that I looked past his shoulder. My eyes are brought back to his when he whispers my name softly and says quietly, "You're welcome."
And for the first time, in as long as I can remember, I smile. Really smile.
"Peeta, Katniss, meet Haymitch Abernathy, your…" Effie's eyes roamed over the man disapprovingly, "mentor," she finished flatly.
Haymitch waltzed drunkenly over to the small table holding crystalline bottles of alcohol; grabbed one and foregoing a glass took a long swig from the bottle. He then swaggered drunkenly to a blue couch opposite us before continuing to drink out of the godforsaken bottle.
Peeta eyed me curiously, one of his eyebrows raised slightly higher than the other and I just shrugged slightly, going back to staring at the man. It's then when Peeta clears his throat and leans forward with his elbows on his knees and chin placed on top of his hands.
"So, what's the plan?" he asks expectantly.
Haymitch's eyebrows shot up in astonishment before he started to double over in laughter.
I frowned, "HEY!" That seemed to have caught his attention because now he was staring intently at me.
"You're supposed to be our mentor, you're supposed to keep us alive," I snapped haughtily, feeling my frustration escalating with each passing second. Out of the corner of my eye I see Peeta's hand twitch and I know he's resisting the urge to comfort me, the fact that he can't only infuriates me more.
"Listen, sweetheart," he started, my eyes hardened at the pet name but he continued, "you want to know what the plan is? Stay alive. There, no more advice, there isn't anything else to tell you, that's it."
I glared at him before I stood abruptly from the sofa and stalked off into another carriage, ignoring Effie who tried to call me back because dinner had been served. I entered the bathroom from earlier and slammed the door shut, clicking the lock and sliding down on to the floor with my legs pulled tightly to my chest.
I had never felt this kind of anger before, not even when my father died and my mother could do nothing but sit in a chair all day as she let the darkness consume her; leaving me to become the mother to my twelve-year-old sister. How was I supposed to keep my promise of getting back to Prim if this drunken man could do nothing but tell me to stay alive? The blinding rage overtook me and I slammed my elbow backwards into the door, sending a crack through the entire thing. I didn't even do so much as whimper at the pain.
I must've sat in that bathroom for hours because by the time I finally opened the door everything was dark, nobody was around, so I assumed everyone had gone to bed. I felt guilty as hell for ignoring Peeta's pleading voice through the door but it had to be done, I didn't want anyone to suspect anything.
I tiptoed out of the bathroom and tried to walk towards the area of the bedrooms as quietly as possible when my stomach growled hungrily. I clutched a hand to it and continued down to the door Effie had shown me before, placing a hand on the doorknob. I stopped turning the handle when I caught a glimpse of the door next to mine, the one that lead into Peeta's bedroom, I contemplated whether or not I should go to him for a Nano-second before my brain dismissed the idea completely. I leaned my forehead against my door and took in deep breaths slowly, I then pushed open the door and collapsed onto the ridiculously sized bed in the middle of the room.
Exiting my room the next morning, I already hear the voices coming from the dining room, I walk slowly, curiously, towards the entrance of the room. Seeing Peeta and Haymitch conversing in a civilized fashion about the games and the need of sponsors dumbfounds me a little. Just last night the only advice he had to offer was to "stay alive" and now here they were discussing matters such as sponsors? I walk into the room, making my presence known and Peeta smiles up at me while Haymitch continues to wolf down his food. I roll my eyes in annoyance at his pigheadedness. I pull out a chair and sit quietly, waiting for someone to say something or for them to just continue with their conversation but no one does.
"So…what were you guys talking about?" I asked cautiously.
"Haymitch was just telling me how to get sponsors," Peeta replies lightly.
I pick off a grape on the platter in front of me, "Oh. How do you get sponsors?"
Haymitch drops his cutlery to his plate with a clatter before turning to me, "Well to get sponsors you have to get people to like you, which in your case couldn't hurt now, sweetheart," he patronized.
I glared at him for a second before I noticed Peeta stand and race to the window, bringing my attention to the ginormous structures I could see in the distance.
"Look, there it is," Peeta spoke in awe. His eyes were wide and child like, I would have smiled if the circumstances were different.
As we pulled into the station, he started waving to the jostling crowd of people that were clearly waiting my arrival. The fact that they were excited about the prospect of the games sent a wave of nausea coursing through me. I'm snapped out of my reverie by Haymitch's brusque voice,
"See? He knows what he's doing."
Effie's shrill and excited voice made all three of us turn our heads to where she was standing by the carriage door. She spoke as if she could barely contain her excitement, swallowing heavily with her grin nearly splitting her face in two,
"Welcome, to the Capitol."
And after this is where things start to get CRAZY. I think I shall have some nice fluff in the next chapter :)
I'm going to do shorter chapters of about this length but with more regular updates, if that's okay.
I hope you guys are still interested in this story, I'm so sorry it's taken me so long to update :( Please leave me a review guys and let me know what you think, they help motivate me so much :) Also if any of you guys have tumblr and are interested in maybe following me let me know!