Hello, readers. By stumbling across this story, you've submitted to embarking on what I hope will be a deep, delicious adventure. Be warned, this is not your typical Peeta/Katniss lemonfluff fest, a fact I hope many of you will find refreshing. Characters don't deviate from canon, and this is not an alternate universe. It's just a supposition of things that may have happened after the end of Mockingjay and before the Epilogue. Reviews are encouraged and always appreciated. Enjoy the ride.
~ Katniss ~
Time is a peculiar thing. It heals the skin, though marks are left behind. It heals the mind, though that's pretty marked too. It's not to be rushed, and if time wants to, it can bring you right back to the beginning again.
That pretty much sums up how I'm dealing with my sister. Yeah, I'm thinking about her again. It took a long time, but the triggers and sparks that brought her death screaming to the forefront of my mind were sharp and brutally unendurable. The only way to dull them was to bring them forth myself, to take them all in and sit on them awhile.
So day after nightmare she came with me. Was always with me. I sang to her when the sun rose. I made Sae put down an extra plate at the kitchen table for breakfast, and I ate from both. I fed and fussed over Buttercup. She would have liked that. I sat in her room, arranged her dolls and thumbed through her books. Her hairbrush loosened my braid before bed.
I even talked to her sometimes, in private. It didn't stop the tears, no those were always waiting for their moment. But after a while, though I didn't miss her any less, she didn't overwhelm me so much. Time does that.
Haymitch thought I was crazy. No disagreement there. Sae thought I was a miser for punishment. None there either. I don't know what Peeta thought. He was taking it all in, too.
I'd only seen a few of his remnant tremors firsthand. They came on without warning, at least none the rest of us could see. They usually involved him getting really quiet, holding onto something, and violently shaking or sitting down to rock himself. He'd told me once that if he concentrated long and hard enough, he could actually change something he was seeing, something small and insignificant, but something that would stay the way he'd changed it, and then he'd know that it wasn't real. It took a lot of concentration and shaking to make it happen, and so we called them tremors.
I could tell he hated when I was there to watch, and even more if I tried to help. He'd curl up and ride it out, and more than half the time he'd brush it off like it was nothing, even smiling shyly at me. But I'd see him later, when he thought no one was looking. I know they took a toll on him.
Our bedroom windows faced each other, and so he always knew when I was having a nightmare, and I knew when he was too afraid to sleep. After we each got over our lingering stubbornness (mine lasted longer than his, of course) one of us would venture next door to help the other to sleep. Just like on the train before the Quarter Quell. That's all it was.
After about a year, I had an epiphany while counting the scars on my left arm. I marched into Prim's room, packed up everything that had been hers, save a few little trinkets, and carted them down to the Hob, not selling off her belongings so much as giving them new homes, and to the people who had known her best. Then I did something completely out of character, but it actually felt really... well, not good, but right. It felt right. I moved Peeta and his paintings into his new art studio, down the hall from my bedroom.
And he's lived in my home ever since. Our home. Our routines. Our... life.