Disclaimer: I don't own The Hunger Games or the song "Holding On and Letting Go" by Ross Copperman.
it's everything you wanted; it's everything you don't
it's one door swinging open and one door swinging closed
some prayers find an answer; some prayers never know
we're holding on and letting go
#02 – Hero
They proclaim him a hero when he returns home, and on some level, he knows they're right—the food from Parcel Day will save hundreds of lives—but when he looks in the mirror, all he sees is a murderer.
#13 – View
As the sole Victor of the Seventy-Fourth Hunger Games, he is forced to watch over and over as Cato, atop the Cornucopia, throws him backwards (Peeta reels but just barely manages to stay on the golden horn) and slashes at a surprised Katniss, whose hunter's reflexes have failed her for the first and last time.
#24 – Strength
Adrenaline floods his body and he tackles Cato from behind with a force he didn't know he had; all he can think is Save Katniss, so he doesn't hesitate to shove Cato over the edge of the Cornucopia, where twenty-one mutts and sure death await him.
#40 – Whisper
He would have shaken her if it wouldn't have caused her more pain, screaming her name and choking on tears and telling her to stay with him, damn it; she keeps trying to talk but he won't let her, telling her to save her energy, until she manages, "Take care of her," and then Katniss Everdeen ceases to exist.
#23 – Fire
He almost laughs at the irony of her cremation: ashes to ashes, he can't help but think miserably as the girl of his dreams goes up in flames for the last time.
#10 – Drink
He accepts Haymitch's proffered flask after the ceremony, and the way his head feels after the white liquor has burned its way down his throat makes him think that maybe his mentor is on to something after all.
#03 – Memory
Had he been conscious at the time, Peeta would have asked that the Capitol's surgeons left the scar on his upper thigh intact—but they fixed him, made his skin beautiful and baby-smooth, and left him with only the hazy memory of protecting Katniss Everdeen.
#17 – Promise
A few weeks later, Peeta invites Prim and her mother move into his house in the Victors' Village; this is the best way he can take care of them, he thinks, and anyway, the house is too large for just one person.
#04 – Box
They keep all of her things locked away with her father's, and Peeta wonders if it is always so easy to box up and hide away the lives of people you love.
#19 – Candle
He frosts Prim's birthday cake with huge pink flowers, and she blows out the candles before she remembers that not even birthday wishes can bring back the dead.
#39 – Overwhelmed
There are days when it becomes too much—fear, guilt, panic, her hair, her eyes, her lips—and he wonders if he might end up like the mad girl from District 4 after all.
#42 – Talk
When Prim comes to his room one night, saying, We could talk about her—y'know, keep her memory alive, he agrees until it becomes clear that they both are incapable of speech when it comes to the girl who was on fire, and then they never mention her again.
#36 – Laugh
She is the first one to make him smile after the Games; her quip about bakers isn't even funny, but she looks so earnest that he can't help but chuckle, which makes her start giggling and eventually sends them into hysterics, laughter wracking their bodies until they're gasping for air.
#14 – Music
She, too, has her father's talent, but Primrose Everdeen will never sing again.
#01 – Ring
When he proposes to Prim just after her thirteenth birthday, it's because he needs to know that she'll be taken care of if anything happens to him (he thinks of death more and more lately), not, he tells himself, because she's the closest he will ever get to her.
#41 – Wait
At first she says no, horrified at the thought of marrying her dead sister's almost-boyfriend—but when a girl from town gives Peeta an appreciative once-over the next day, she clutches his arm protectively and the deal is sealed.
#15 – Silk
You look beautiful, he tells her sincerely, and she knows that she's a vision in white—just not the vision of his dreams.
#45 – Eclipse
Prim knows it's wrong, but sometimes, she really hates Katniss, who overshadows her even in death.
#34 – Formal
When they come back from the Justice Building, Peeta goes straight upstairs and she never asks him about the toasting ceremony; it's best if their marriage is only real on paper.
#31 – Sacred
She marries Peeta not because he is rich but because she knows that he belongs with her sister, not with any other girl in town—and, since Katniss is gone, it is now Prim's responsibility to take care of what she has left behind.
#35 – Fever
He's sick one day, so she makes chicken soup, drapes a cool cloth across his forehead, and allows him to believe that he's back in the cave once again.
#06 – Hurricane
He tears through the house like a storm, delusional from the fever, and she doesn't have to ask to know that he's back in the arena, frantically trying to find her until the sobering thought of Katniss is dead hits him like a slap in the face.
#09 – Red
They are partners in crime, he thinks miserably, both responsible for her death—and no matter how hard he tries, he cannot wash Katniss's blood from his hands.
#11 – Midnight
After hours of searching, she finds him smashed in the Meadow, drenched in moonlight and white liquor and speaking as if he really believes that Katniss is there, and she's so scared that she makes him promise never to drink again.
#16 – Cover
She can't explain to her friends how Peeta needs her to take care of him, how it isn't weird despite the age difference because losing her sister has aged her a lifetime, how she owes it to Katniss and maybe even wants to a little—so she simply says, It's love and they dubiously let it go.
#20 – Talent
"I'll paint you," he offers one day, making her beam for the first time in months, but she looks wrong (nose slightly too long, hair too dark, eyes more grey than blue) in every picture.
#26 – Ice
On bad days, she looks into his eyes, turned icy and wild and terrifying by the Capitol, and doesn't recognize the person staring back at her.
#18 – Dream
He wakes up shaking after a particularly bad nightmare and as Prim scoots over to encircle her thin arms around him, he feels a surge of warmth for the beautiful, real, whole girl right next to him.
#07 – Wings
Even Rue visits him in his dreams (standing on the tips of her toes, arms outstretched, about to take flight), the look in her eyes asking, Why didn't you protect us?
#30 – Body
Even though they're married, he doesn't touch her until she kisses him one night, and then he doesn't want to but he can't stop, and she pretends not to hear the sheets whisper her dead sister's name.
#47 – Highway
He needs this, he thinks, and he pushes the guilt aside because it's Katniss's fault for leaving him on this road to hell.
#12 – Temptation
She is Katniss's sister, but her fingers aren't rough and calloused and her kisses are sweet and sure and he is not strong, not anymore.
#05 – Run
Prim tastes of desperation and despair, and his first instinct is to get far, far away from her until he remembers that he must taste the same way.
#28 – Forgotten
Some days, they can almost pretend Katniss Everdeen never existed at all.
#29 – Dance
She loves the trips to the Capitol, the fancy Victors' balls, the jealous glances they receive as they twirl around the dance floor, undeniably the most stunning (and tragic) couple in attendance.
#38 – Forever
Truth: Primrose Everdeen has had a crush on Peeta Mellark for as long as she can remember, but then they got married and everything was ruined.
#37 – Lies
She knows it's sick to hold hands with him and whisper in his ear and giggle just like her sister did, but she can still trick herself into thinking that Katniss would have wanted her to protect what had been hers.
#33 – World
He's traveled all over Panem on the Victory Tour, but he feels like a traitor when he admits to himself that being in her arms is the closest he's ever felt to home.
#48 – Unknown
"I almost married the baker, you know," Mrs. Everdeen says dreamily one day, "but I really loved your father," and all Prim can think is, At least one of us got it right.
#46 – Gravity
Sometimes she thinks about leaving him, because this relationship is nothing but pain and destruction and unwanted memories—but then she realizes she couldn't stay away if she tried.
#22 – Journey
He travels to the Capitol to mentor a girl from the Seam during the Quell; with her chin-length hair and wide, ever-present smile, she seems rather unremarkable until she threatens Haymitch with a steak knife, telling him to sober up and help Peeta mentor, and his eyes twinkle in response as if to say, She's got spunk.
#44 – Hope
He thinks, for a brief second, that she might really, really have a chance—but then a Career from District 2 slits her throat at the Cornucopia and he feels Katniss die all over again.
#08 – Cold
When he returns home after the Games, Prim gives him a kiss and murmurs that he did his best, it was his first time, he'll get the hang of it soon enough—and he responds flatly, "I better get the hang of it soon."
#32 – Farewells
He's already been responsible for enough deaths to last a lifetime.
#49 – Lock
"Do you want to talk about it?"she asks once again, and he shakes his head no; his monsters remain caged up inside his head, spilling out only onto the canvas.
#21 – Silence
He looks at her and wants to scream and break and hurt, because it's her fault, all her fault, and he wonders what life would be like if Prim had gone to the Games instead.
#25 – Mask
There are days when she can't remember if she's still playing this game for Katniss or because, deep down, she's always wanted everything her sister had.
#50 – Breathe
He can't decide if he loves or hates her, so he presses her against the wall and kisses her roughly, lips finding the curve of her collarbone only to bite down, making her gasp in surprise; and he leaves only more breathless and confused than ever.
#43 – Search
"You don't love me, do you?"she asks, her voice sad but matter-of-fact, blue eyes searching his, but his silence says everything.
#27 – Fall
It's not real, but she doesn't mind pretending; after all, she's got a lifetime to win him over.
A/N: So...hi. I've wanted to write an AU Peeta/Prim for ages, and then I came across the 1sentence challenge on LJ and decided that was how I was going to do it. And this happened. Also, I've been sort of sporadically writing fic so there miiiiight be a Cato/Clove or Gale/Madge thing in the future. Maybe. Reviews are nice, since I've never written THG before. (: