Illusion, Confusion

"It was all for the Games," Peeta says. "How you acted."

"Not all of it," I say.

"Then how much?"

"I don't know. The closer we get to District Twelve, the more confused I get."

-The Hunger Games, pg. 372

He knows that she thinks it's all an act. But Peeta knows how he feels- hell, he's known since has five and saw her for the first time.

He's watched her slowly come to trust and accept him, and has to force himself to take it slowly, because all he wants to do is draw her into his arms and bury his face in that silken hair of hers.

The last few days, when she kissed him so tenderly, when she took care of him and fed him and bathed him, let him believe that she might actually love him back.

He was a fool.

It was all for the Games.

She's not quite sure how much of Peeta's confessions of love was an act, but she knows the pain in his eyes now is real. She hurt him, more than she ever wanted to.

At night, when the dark embrace of night lulls her to sleep, she tries to picture Gale's face and the easiness between them, the camaraderie. It works for a little while, but eventually the nightmare takes over. It's always the same one. She's holding Peeta in her arms, and he's bleeding and bleeding and bleeding and it won't stop. Her tears fall on his face, and into his trembling mouth as he whispers, "I love you."

Katniss isn't quite sure why the dream terrifies her so much, but she always wakes up screaming.

All she wanted to do was survive and come back in one piece to her family. If that meant "loving" Peeta, so be it. But somewhere along the way, the moments of sincerity had melded into the staged ones. At times, she couldn't separate reality from illusion, couldn't tell whether she was feeling the pangs of loneliness or if she really truly needed Peeta by her side.

Nothing's clear anymore.