A/N: I'm seriously on a Hunger Games roll - the movie reinvested me in the series once more! Expect more stories, and thanks to everyone who has read my other ventures.
The day began like most days did: Katniss felt Peeta stir as the sun crept out, and then his warm breath was on her neck as he turned and trailed a hand down her side, a kiss into her messy hair before his weight shifted and he was up out of bed. Katniss rolled over slowly until she was on Peeta's pillow instead of her own, watching her husband (her husband, even months after the toasting she couldn't wrap her mind around that) begin his morning routine.
He must have felt her eyes on him, because he glanced back to the bed as he rifled through his dresser. "Good morning," he greeted, offering a lazy half-smile.
"Morning," Katniss returned, propping up on an elbow, head in hand, and continued to follow his movements as he stood and walked towards her.
Peeta stopped at the edge of the bed and planted his hands on the mattress, leaning forward so his face was close to hers. Katniss took in his still-sleepy expression, his blinking blue eyes, his pale eyelashes. "You have that look," he told her.
"What look?" she indulged.
"Your 'hunter' look," he said, invading her space even further. "Like I'm a helpless animal you're already seeing as a piece of meat on the table."
"You don't sound too upset about it."
"Oh, I'm not," Peeta agreed, grinning. "I'll gladly be your prey."
Katniss laughed. She couldn't think of a single time she had laughed so soon after waking before Peeta was around, but then again, a lot of things had changed with his introduction into her life, years ago now. "Take your shower," she teased.
He went in for a kiss, his lips warm against hers. "You should join me," he mumbled.
"Maybe if you brush your teeth," she responded quietly, mouth quirking in a smirk.
Peeta stood straight again, shaking his head and chuckling. "Morning breath may be man's greatest downfall," he declared as he disappeared into the bathroom.
Katniss continued to smile as she let her arm drop and rested her head back on the bed. The rising sun was warm on her face, and she could hear Haymitch's geese starting on their honking through the open window. The shower turned on; Peeta's humming drifted through the closed door. She waited another minute and then stretched out of bed, tip-toeing across the wooden floor to the bathroom. She pulled off her nightgown before opening the door, the steam hitting her face, figuring Peeta wouldn't mind being a little late to the bakery. After all, she had to make sure he'd brushed his teeth.
The late August sun was hot on her neck, but Katniss stayed poised, tracking the rabbit's movements with the tip of her arrow. She finally released, nailing her target square in the eye. As she went to collect her spoils she thought of Peeta's earlier comment about being prey – without meaning to she let out a snort.
Satisfied with the day's small haul, Katniss made her way out of the woods. She ran over a list of the regulars she liked to trade with, debating whom to go to first. As she neared the town square she spotted someone leaving the Victor's Village.
"Haymitch," she greeted, nodding to her old mentor. They quickly fell into step together.
"Katniss," he returned, eyes almost shut in the bright afternoon sunlight.
"What has you out and about before dusk?" she asked, wiping some sweat from her brow.
He rolled his eyes. "Goose feed."
"You do care about them," Katniss teased, hitching her game bag higher on her shoulder.
"I don't want to deal with dead geese all over my lawn," he said gruffly, but Katniss knew that underneath his constant complaints, he found some enjoyment from his new pets. "Get anything good today, sweetheart?"
"Nothing you'd like, at least until Sae does something with it."
"Can't believe you went out today," Haymitch said as they strolled through town. A group of children ran by hollering at each other, and he glared as they passed. "Quite the scorcher."
Katniss shrugged. She hardly ever skipped hunting on a sunny day; though people didn't rely on her game as much as before the war, she still liked the personal transactions and the feeling of sharing with the community. "Want to grab a drink, Haymitch?" she asked impulsively, seeing the way his matted hair stuck to his forehead in the heat and feeling a surprising surge of affection.
Haymitch stopped walking and stared at her, scrutinizing. "When did you get to be so cheerful, sweetheart?"
He shook his head and continued forward. "Never mind, let's get that drink."
"No liquor," she said as they came upon the new little restaurant Greasy Sae herself had opened with her children, outside tables populated with warm bodies and cold drinks. It was odd, how normal District 12 was starting to look.
Haymitch huffed. "What am I supposed to have then?"
Spoils traded and sold, Katniss put her mind towards a nice, cool shower as she wandered home. She resisted popping into Mellark Bakery, Peeta's pride and joy. He had been working on it almost every day for nearly two years – though he'd opened and was providing the District with delicious baked goods, the building was a constant work in progress.
Katniss glanced through the glass as she passed by, and felt her stomach flutter as she caught sight of her husband speaking jovially over the counter with customers. He was so good with people – it still amazed her, even after all that time watching him charm everyone in sight during the Hunger Games. Peeta just had a way about him that put people at ease, and Katniss felt a possessive thrill run through her: she was the one he came home to each night.
(Maybe he was right about that hunter-and-her-prey thing.)
She went straight for the shower upon returning to the house, and spent longer under the chilly spray than she usually did, but the day had been so hot. She considered braiding her hair, but decided she'd let it loose tonight, and – feeling spontaneous – threw on a simple yellow summer dress.
Katniss surveyed herself in the floor-length mirror, from her bare toes to her tan legs past the yellow dress to her drying hair; she didn't know why she had put the dress on, usually she opted for shorts and a t-shirt, but something had drawn her to it. Her mother had sent it from District 4 in May – Katniss made a mental note to call her tomorrow to check in as she trailed a hand along the scoop neck.
The door opening and closing startled her, and instinctively her knees bent in defense, until she remembered a moment later that it would just be Peeta. The war was getting farther away with each day, but her body sometimes still reacted before her brain could process.
Katniss took a steadying breath and then headed downstairs. She got to the kitchen doorway and watched as Peeta took a long loaf of bread out of a brown bag, inspecting it before putting it on the counter. She smiled despite herself and crossed the room, and by the time she'd wrapped her arms around Peeta's middle from behind, his head was craned towards her and he was grinning.
"Hi there," he said.
"Hi," Katniss answered, her lips brushing the side of his neck. "How was your day?"
"The usual," Peeta said, turning so they were face to face. His eyes grew wide and he placed his hands on each of her arms, guiding her back from him. He scanned her body; he didn't even try to hide his observations.
Katniss felt a blush creep over her exposed skin and raised a hand to rub her shoulder. Trying to recover her silly embarrassment, this was Peeta of all people, she said, "Should I change?"
"You're staring and not saying anything."
Peeta laughed and pulled her closer to him again. "I was just taking it all in," he said as their chests bumped, and she caught his appreciate glance down the dress's scooped neckline. "And I was wondering how it was that you could get even more beautiful since I left this morning."
Katniss gave him an exaggerated roll of her eyes. "What a line," she said sarcastically, but she was grinning all the same. He kissed her then, chuckling into her mouth. He made her forget about the fading scars marring both of their bodies.
"I'm hungry," she told him as their lips parted.
"I am too," Peeta agreed, but his wolfish expression made clear he didn't necessarily mean for supper.
Katniss mercifully slipped from his grasp and headed to the refrigerator. "Let's eat outside," she suggested, grabbing cheese and a few apples to slice up.
"A picnic?" Peeta asked, already grabbing a cutting board and a knife. "That's a great idea."
They set up on the lawn, not even bothering with a blanket. Peeta had snagged a bottle of wine on their way out, and they skipped glasses and passed the bottle between them. Katniss was certainly not a big drinker, but the red wine tasted deliciously dark in the summer evening.
Peeta told her about his day: he'd spent the morning working on his second massive brick oven (one was simply not enough) while he baked loaves and cookies in the first, and then he'd sketched some cake designs before opening. A nice couple from District 6 had come in, and he'd frosted their children's names onto some treats for them to bring home.
Katniss shared her day as Peeta sliced up another apple: she'd made herself a fortifying breakfast (Peeta was proud to hear nothing was burnt, this time) and then had gone to the lake for a quick swim before spending hours in the woods, though the heat had stopped many animals from wandering into her path. She told him about her last-minute drink with Haymitch and how Greasy Sae's youngest grandchild had asked their old mentor why he smelled so horribly.
"So all in all, a typical day," Peeta concluded, still chuckling from Katniss's story. He was laying flat on the grass now with his head on his arm, face to the starry sky, the bottle of wine an afterthought in his other hand.
Katniss considered his statement, playing with the hem of her dress. A typical day, she thought over, going through the events, from she and Peeta's morning shower rendezvous to right now, as they relaxed in their yard with the crickets. It had been an average day, nothing very special to it at all; some may even call it mundane.
It wasn't that the normalcy surprised her – she and Peeta had been married for months now, and living together before that, and since they'd started returning to themselves after the war was over they'd found the routines that they enjoyed, that kept them sane. What struck Katniss about Peeta's words was how much she liked how typical the day had been, and all that "typical" entailed. If anyone had told her four years ago that she would be spending her days hunting for the simple catharsis of it, making trades with neighbors for the joy of it, having an afternoon iced tea with Haymitch for the hell of it, and making love to Peeta because she could, because he was her husbandand she loved him, well – to say she would have had trouble believing it all would be an understatement.
"Katniss?" Peeta asked, leaning up on his elbows.
Katniss looked at him. The things this boy – man, had done for her, so that they could sit on their lawn and eat bread and cheese and apples and drink wine and not worry…
She leaned over him, resting her hands in the grass on either side of his broad shoulders. He seemed bemused as she pressed her lips to his, but he responded no less passionately. Katniss heard the wine bottle softly plop sideways onto the ground, and then both of his hands were around her, pulling her down so she was lying almost on top of him. His tongue skirted her bottom lip as his hands moved down her back, coming to rest on her bottom.
When he squeezed, Katniss pulled away from his mouth. "Peeta!" she chastised, because she'd just remembered they were outside.
"What?" he asked innocently, his hands still in the same spot.
"What if Haymitch sees us?"
"He's seen worse," he reminded her, smirking. Katniss blanched at that particular memory, but then Peeta started trailing his lips over her jaw and down her neck and she promptly forgot about Haymitch.
"Let's go inside," she mumbled into his ear.
"Gladly." Peeta jumped up with ease, bringing Katniss with him. Before she could do anything, he lifted her into his arms and threw her over his shoulder, his strong hands clutching her legs. She shrieked his name and repeatedly hit his back, but he just laughed and rushed the two of them inside the house.
He finally released her onto the living room couch, where she mock-pouted. "I thought I was the hunter here," she said.
Peeta crawled over her and scattered kisses on her cheeks, forehead and nose. Katniss saw the amusement in his eyes. "Tonight, you're my prey," he told her.
She couldn't help it – she laughed in his face. "Okay," she agreed. "Just this once."
All in all, a typical day.