Sorry about the wait, I was reading Fifty Shades. Expect something sort of inspired by it very loosely within a day or two… Unless I scrap it.
I stand at the door to the gymnasium, "How much do they know?" I whisper, what have they found out about my situation? "Only one way to find out," I conclude opening the door, they're on the lowest rise, Ryan and Madge locked in a sweet lip lock.
I cringe but to be fair I have kept the couple apart. First while I was in Memphis comatose now both he and his twin watch over me like a hawk, my chest pangs with guilt, "Hi," I offer a small wave.
"Look who's back among the living," Gale smirks, getting up and hugging me, I flinch when the rest of them join the 'death hug Katrina' movement.
"Guys, guys, easy," Andrew cautions as my eyes begin to water, "She's kind of… fragile," I take a seat as fast as I can, my wound getting the best of me.
"So how did it feel?" Annie asks cautiously.
I look up horrified, who told? How do I describe being force fed heroin?
Finnick clears up the issue in my head, "Annie, you can't just ask people how it feels to be shot…" he scolds she blushes and apologizes.
"To be honest, I didn't feel it at all. I was…" already in agonizing pain from not having the one thing I want more than anything? "Crazy high on adrenaline…" there we go.
Finnick gets to the rise above us and rubs my shoulders. I want to shy away from his touch, physical contact never being one of my favorite things, but his hands numb the aching in my shoulders. They make me forget about the troubled ghost of little Rue who 'wants my help' but is keen on trying to freeze me to death.
As if my thoughts have summoned her she appears in the corner of the gym, looking normal again, not dark and misty… I can barely pay attention to the match, I only catch the moment Peeta is pinned but hooks his leg on the other boy's waist and wins his match. I smile when the reff declares his victory and when he gets up he blows me a kiss, but I nod to the corner after I blush six different shades of red.
He frowns knowingly, Can I just be normal?
Of course not. I'm on borrowed time, asking to be normal would be like spitting on this gift.
Peeta comes into the gym about fifteen minutes later hair still wet from his shower, "Don't you have another match?" Andrew asks, giving a slight wave to Mister Abernathy.
"Not today, Kat and I need to talk to Coach Trinket. You two can walk home, give me my keys."
"What? I don't want to walk back home, and we were going to..."
But Peeta interrupts Andrew's pleas for the Jeep, "I don't know how long we'll be and I'm not letting Katrina walk home in her condition," I look down, condition, I get more methadone at 8 pm and I tend to bite someone's head off if I don't get it. I don't mean to, I just can't think of anything else until I get it once the pain comes back in full swing. It's definitely getting better, or I'm just getting used to it. The first few days I bargained favors from Peeta to go steal it for me.
"We shouldn't be long, I hope, I'll have Peeta call you guys? Come over later, I kind of bum around and sleep a lot… But I miss you guys," and I really do. Crazy addiction and all, these are my friends.
"We'll be on standby," Johanna tells me as Peeta guides me out of the gym.
I bite my lip limping a little as my legs grow sore and achy, "You shouldn't be dealing with this stress…" he sighs looking at the mess in the hall, "Is she following us?" I look around and shake my head no.
"Why are you still here? You should run away, you could get me sent away if you want…" I whisper.
I've upset him, I can feel it. Not only by the way his hand bunches my shirt at my hip but by the change of his demeaur, "Katniss Everdeen," I love when he says my name, he says it like he's confiding his deepest darkest secret to me… Which this may just be, "I can't exist without you. It's stupid I know… But when you were gone, it's like you took a piece of my soul with you."
I smile a little, "If anything you have a piece of my soul," I think about the day we met, was that it? When I told "Katrina" I 'breathed life into him' did I breathe a bit of me in with it?
Effie is pale when we enter her office, "I've spoken to the 'bosses'" she starts, "Take a seat, both of you, though I'd rather Peeta was not here?"
I hold tightly onto his hand, "I need him here," and I do, he's my rock, without him I'd blow away.
"Fine," she huffs, "This is… Unusual, not the haunting, sometimes mischievous spirits pick people at random. But this is nothing like that. Mister Crane thinks that since your spirit was so close to well becoming like that little girl when you took control your mind is still in tune with our world."
"Your world, I'm alive, I'm not a spirit."
"Our world, this body is like a room, you can leave whenever you wish and go to the spirit world as long as you return before it starves."
"So… your world," she rolls her eyes.
"And yet you can see other ghosts while in a host body. I've been dead for eight hundred years and I cannot. Mister Crane two thousand and when he chooses to visit he cannot."
"I don't want this, after everything…I just can't handle everything right now," I paw at my battle wound.
She rests her hand on my thigh and I flinch away, the only human contact I can stand without warning is Peeta's, "Oh dear, someday you'll see this is a gift, you can do much good. Now, from what I've seen little things like your friend will bug a person until they go mad or the ghost gets… bored."
I look down at my hand, spinning the thick band of silver I wear around my thumb that looks like a wing folding around the digit around, "She wants me to help her…" I murmur, "You said I had a purpose, maybe this is it?"
"No, dear," she's speaking to me as if I had just told her two plus two equals fish, "Don't be foolish, no one could have predicted something like this. It was your inability to be patient and stay in your body while you were getting sorted out that put you in this situation."
"I'm leaving, I don't want to hear any more of this…"
"Katniss… This, whatever it is could hurt you," Peeta tries to reason with me but I'm already dusting off my pants ready to leave.
"It's a hallucination," I think of the biting cold, the slamming doors, the lockers, the speakers, "My heroin riddled brain playing tricks on me. Peeta, please I need to get home," my eyes well with tears some forced, some real, "Please," he pulls his car keys out of his pocket and jingles them.
"Thank you, Miss Trinket. Kat will be in touch when she's better."
"I understand… Listen, Peeta, I'm not supposed to reveal much about well, any of this… But you should rethink International Relations and Debate next year."
I head out the door, needing to get away from this situation when I nearly trip over Dina Glimmer.
"So… Decided to take after mommy after all," she smirks but it washes away as my hands grip her shirt slamming her into the lockers several steps behind her.
"What did you fucking say to me?" I channel my inner Katrina, though she's gone, part of her will always stay, and now I need it. The strength, the anger, the ability to throw a good punch.
"Decided… To take after… Your whore of a mother…" she spits.
"Get out of my sight now," I hiss, "Go tell all your little friends, I don't give a damn."
"Kat!" Peeta pulls me away from the grinning girl who scurries off excitedly.
Effie looks from her door, disapproving, "Let's just go… I'm done for the day… Can you call everyone and ask them to come over? I need… A distraction."
He nods and picks up his phone as we exit the school, "Hey, yeah, we're heading home now," he starts, my eyes find the very plastic like blonde walking just off campus.
Perfect. Peeta's distracted on his phone, whoever discussing something having to do with valves and gears with him. I slip by unnoticed, suddenly invigorated and giddy. It's as if the pain is gone, as if there isn't a hole in my chest. I walk with a purpose reaching her quickly, my open palm swinging and smacking her from behind.
"What the…" she hisses spinning around, her hair like a mad fan, eyes ablaze.
I blade myself off, guarding my wound, "You talk a lot of shit, and I'm done taking it. You and me, right here, right now!"
"Please, I'm not dealing with a junkie, and I don't want everyone to look down on me when I beat the shit out of a bitch who got shot."
"Scared?" I taunt, the spark is fading and fast. Oh no… Peeta, this is the ONE time I'll be your damsel in distress, please… help.
Dina senses my weakening state, "This will be easier than I thought," she takes me by the shirt, forcing me against the fence, "Well Katrina, want to get what you asked for or will you apologize? Maybe then I won't go to the police…" she hisses, "Get you sent straight to juvie… Or I'll cry and they'll send you up the river with your momma, you can shoot up together," she spits.
How is someone this evil!
I have to play her at her own game… Something hits me, not physically, a memory of winter track… The locker room.
"You tell the cops, you hit me, you so much as look at me the wrong way I'm telling the whole school about your little bout with the clap, and your other issue." She freezes
"how did you…?" shock is written all over her face. I overheard her telling Clove about picking it up whilst cheating on Marvel. She saw me and threatened to tell Delly about my sleeping at Peeta's almost every night. I was in no position to ruin his relationship so I kept my mouth shut… But Katniss is dead.
"I have my ways, now let me go, and learn your place little girl. Run home." I hiss and she lets go, my shirt still very bunched from her grip.
She looks back once as she rushes away, "Kat!" Peeta hisses pulling me from the fence, he's angry… No, that's an understatement, "What were you doing!" he never raises his voice to me… Never.
"I'm tired of her shit Peeta, now let me go and take me home," I tell him through my teeth.
He looks me over, jaw tight, hands flexing, "Last time I looked away for ten seconds and you were gone…"
"Peeta, I was…" he's not talking about the kidnapping, "I'm sorry, I…" the spark fades and I stumble forward, the burst of adrenaline wearing off giving way to constant aches.
"Are you sure you still want everyone over? You could just sleep," he guides me to the Jeep helping me up and buckling me in, "You should just sleep…"
"I'll nap before they get here… I miss everyone. Plus the sooner they think everything's ok with me the easier everything will be…" he buckles his own seatbelt as I slump down.
"Think everything is ok? Kat, what do you mean?"
I just shrug, "I don't want to talk about it…" I bite at my lip, "I threw up my Methadone today."
He just nods, Peeta has aged since before my death, "Katniss?" I blink my eyes, not noticing the tears streaming down my cheeks.
"I'm so much stress to you, and now…" I let my head fall to the window, Just run for the hills Peeta. I'm bad news, "I'm sorry…" at a red light Peeta takes out his phone and begins typing before setting it back in a cup holder, "Home is that way…" I start as he takes a left.
"I'm cheering you up and getting you out of the house. It's a nice day, let's go to the park."
I yawn loudly, but don't argue, I miss Peace Valley.
"I don't think I can walk…" I grumble as he parks, but he doesn't seem to mind coming around and carrying me to the high grass, "Peeta, I'm… However old I am, I can walk."
"Seventeen," he reminds me a couple running with their dog give us a strange look, the strong man carrying the sickly woman along the running path, "And you lost more weight…"
"I can't help it!" I snap as he stops in a clearing of the trees, a narrow path, "I can walk from here…" I know where he's going, "Just… Go slow."
The usual five minute walk takes us about fifteen, and he never lets go of my waist, helping me over fallen branches and large rocks, what did I do to earn this? Someone who cared so much about me? How did I not take advantage of this during my first life?
"Bench is still here…" the lake water laps at the rocky shore which soon gives way to a sharp edge covered in grass. I sit down, tangling my fingers in the soft blades of grass.
"But you ignore it, rather play in the mud."
I lay down and close my eyes, feeling the sun beat down on my face, "Can you hear me?" it's far away, nothing more than a whisper.
"I couldn't help it… I had to do it… They have to forgive me, someday…"
Peeta begins humming at one point, "What did you say?" I ask, cracking my eye open.
"Nothing babe, you doze off?" I scratch my head closing my eyes again as he pulls me into his chest, the sound of his slow even breathing and strong heartbeat drowning out the sound.
"I guess… I thought I heard someone whispering in my ear…" I remember the little girl, the cold, but instead of frigid air the beautiful May heat beats down on me, warming me to my core and even pushing aside the cravings and the need. I feel Peeta's phone buzzing in his pocket, I was once again without one but perfectly fine with it.
"Yeah?" Peeta yawns, "She's with me… We're at the park… Wait, what?" he pauses, "Mom, slow down, please…" another pause and I try and open my eyes, but the sweet warmth and my nap call me back.
"Babe…" Peeta shakes me, kissing at my cheek and my neck, "Babe wake up, we have to get home. Your social worker is at home waiting to speak to you… My mom says it's urgent."
My eyes shoot open, all fatigue and aches gone. He doesn't wait for me to scramble up instead scoops me up in his arms, "Are they going to send me away?" I ask him, tears coming to my eyes.
His jaw tightens, Peeta knows just as much about the system as I do, "Don't even consider that Katniss…" he cautions.
I give one last look at the lake and my core goes cold, standing in the middle staring at us is an older woman dressed in a gauzy white dress, her skin has a slippery green twinge to it and her hair is soaked.
"Peeta..." he says nothing, "Peeta?"
"Has anyone died in Lake Galena?" as the words come out of my mouth the woman reaches her hand out for me as if she heard me.
Katniss is quiet on the ride home unwilling to tell me what she saw at the lake, and definitely unable to contemplate what she's been seeing. Or what we've been feeling.
I shiver remembering how icy cold Coach Trinket's office got and that strange noise coming out of her speakers. I had a million questions to ask her, but between her withdraw, being injured and the stress from being kidnapped I couldn't consider asking her now.
"Let me out here, you go park…" she finally whispers throwing the door open to the Jeep and hopping out without looking back, she's so broken not spiritually, Katniss couldn't be broken if anyone tried, but physically she can barely stand for more than a half hour and emotionally she's all over the place, happy one minute sobbing the next.
Would they take her somewhere else? Was this about her mock fight against Glimmer?
When I get upstairs my parents sit on either side of Katniss, on the other side of the table sit her social worker, "How is this possible?" Katniss asks weakly. I'm not sure how she's able to pretend to be Katrina so flawlessly, maybe she really was never there?
"We did the test in the hospital-" my mother waves her hand a little, halting the woman, "Peeta, please go to your room, or to the twins room."
Test? What test? Is she ok? I panic, pacing around my room.
My phone begins to buzz, an easy distraction, "Yeah?"
Finnick is on the other end, "Hey, everything ok on your end?"
"Yeah, well…" I look at my door, Katniss leans against it having snuck in at some point. She's completely ashen, "Maybe…"
"Tell them to head over…" she says quietly, biting at her lip to hold back tears.
"Come over whenever. I have to go."
"Remember to use a condom!" he teases.
"Screw you man…" I grumble hanging up, "Everything ok Kat?"
She bites her lip and nods, her body language says everything, confusion, hurt…
Finally she speaks, "Liam DeAuguste isn't my father… Or Katrina's," she shakes her head, trying to get everything straight, "He was just an…" she winces, grabbing at her bullet wound. I go for her but she moves to my bed on her own, "She said something about fiancé visa… Katrina's mother."
"How do they know?" I held her close her eyes vacant as she attempted to reason with this.
"Paternity test while I was in the hospital, it was court ordered…" she shrugs again, "Katrina's father is out there somewhere…" she whispers, "I just…" she sighs looking up to me, "I'm not her, but I am, and I'm scared, and I'm confused… And I have to testify at court in three weeks! How can I do that? I have her memories and I watched her last day, but…" she shivers, "How can I tell a room full of strangers about everything…"
"Shhh…" I kiss the top of her head, "Don't worry about that now…" she looks up, smiling faintly before catching my lips in a chaste kiss. Everything is innocent with this girl even now. Katniss is outspoken and bold, but physically she's withdrawn, cautious, shy.
I decide to liven things up for her and break the kiss moving to her neck biting lightly, she jerks back, "Oww! Peeta!"
"I like biting," I joke, "It's a lot like kissing, but there's a winner…" she smiles and nods.
"I'm your Idris," she tells me, fingers in my hair, "Your one love in the wrong body…"
"Just don't burn this one out!" I caution.
By the time our friends get here Katniss is curled up on the couch sleeping with my father whose arms are wrapped tightly around her, they tried to watch the evening news but as it tends to do with dad, it bored him to tears… Katniss on the other hand passed out from fatigue.
"Yo man, where's the birthday girl?" Finnick grabs my one hand with his and pulls me in for what he calls a 'man hug' which is basically a pat on the back.
"Mmm?" she yawns from the couch, "Finnick… You're an ass…" she eases herself off the couch, "And my birthday was…" but she stops, "Thank you," Katniss forces a smile that doesn't reach her eyes, everyone else will overlook the confusion, but I know… Katniss's birthday, her real birthday was early May, now it's almost June.
She climbs right back into bed, not caring as the girls join her under the covers as if refusing to let her slip away.
"What should we do?" she winces and moves Madge's arm from her torso.
"We brought, all of Firefly… Dreadfully short, series four and five of Doctor Who, Rocky Horror Picture Show, Mean Girls, because… I mean come on."
Gale groans, "Because it's the greatest movie ever made," he teases in a high pitched voice.
Annie, Madge and Katniss watched that movie so many times they could recite it word for word, Annie gives Gale a thumbs up, "You go Glen Coco!"
Katniss's eyes find mine and she tucks her hands under the blanket, "Are you cold?" Madge asks as my mother opens the door, Katniss ignores Madge and finds the glass in my mother's hands. This is what she's been waiting for all day. The one thing that makes the pain go away.
"I don't care what we watch, I just missed you guys so much," she smiles taking the glass and putting it to her lips.
"She's going to get overwhelmed," my mother cautions after pulling me aside.
You have no idea…
"Geeze Trina, what's in there, crack?"
My mother's and my glance both snaps to Katniss, she's stiffened and finishes the drink unwilling to answer until the drug is safe in her stomach, "Mom…" I whisper, "Just go, you might make her panic, I have this," she nods and leaves, closing the door quietly.
"No…" she sets the now empty glass down, "It's methadone."
Johanna is the first to speak, everyone's eyes on the frail girl who's finally stopped shaking, "That's some serious pain killer they have you on, don't they give that to heroin addicts?"
Katniss just nods and looks away before holding her arms out. She never liked secrets especially between her friends.
She pulls her sleeves up revealing the small burn marks from where heated heroin entered her, "It was to keep me under control… To make me not leave him…"
She looks up as if expecting someone to say something, "But she's being detoxed right now, she hasn't been able to seen any of you because her withdraw has been terrible. Which is why she won't be back at school until September."
'Thank you' she mouths.
"Holy… wait, Katrina, seriously?" Madge's eyes well up with tears, "I'm so sorry! We should have… is there anything we can do!"
She stiffens again, all along Katniss was afraid this one little fact, this huge wrong someone has committed against her, would drive our friends away from her, instead she gets her least favorite thing. Sympathy.
"I don't want sympathy, I just want to get this crap out of my system and watch that man rot behind bars for the rest of his life," she snaps, "But for now…" she yawns, "I'd like to see what this Doctor Who is all about," she looks to me again and smiles faintly.
She could do this, she could get better… Then maybe once the withdraw is over we could deal with the elephant in the room… the whole 'ghost' thing.
Could this girl catch a break?