I look up from the painting to see that Haymitch is standing in the doorway to my compartment.
"What?" I ask glumly. I've been trying to distract myself all day. I spent most of the morning gazing at a painting I had done of Katniss, willing her to come back to me.
"Come with me," he says. "There's something I think you'll want to see."
"What is it?" I ask, standing.
He says nothing, just leads me to District 13's hospital.
"Haymitch, what's going on?" I demand as I see that it's buzzing with activity.
"The rescue team got back. They rescued all of the hostages. I figured you'd probably want to be the first one Katniss sees."
I rush into the room he points at, my heart pounding loudly.
A team of doctors moves out of my way, and there she is.
"Katniss!" I cry out, running forward.
"Peeta!" She stands up, and she is in my arms at last.
"Shhhh, it's all right, I'm here," I murmur soothingly, stroking her hair. She begins to cry, burying her face in my chest. "You're safe now. It's going to be okay."
She continues sobbing, and is now practically in hysterics.
"Shhhh, Katniss, I promise, they won't hurt you anymore," I assure her, now feeling extremely worried. Well, more worried than I had been, which, believe me, is saying something.
"I was so scared!" she wailed, and I can feel her shaking hard. Now, pure panic is spreading through me, as well as utter fury. Katniss is the bravest person I know. What could they possibly have done to make her this scared?
She's now hyperventilating, so I maneuver her back to her bed, where a doctor gives her a sedative. She begins to grow lethargic, and I begin to grow utterly terrified. As soon as she is out, I round on Plutarch. "What the hell did they do to her?" I roar.
"They… They did a lot of things, Peeta," he says softly.
"Like… They soaked her with water and electrocuted her... They drowned her… They suffocated her… But what was most effective… According to Annie Cresta, they had a jabberjay hidden in her cell. It was playing a recording of your voice, screaming."
"Yeah, but how do you know Annie wasn't out of it during then?"
"Because Johanna heard it too. She was lucid enough to speak to Boggs on the hovercraft," says Haymitch. "Peeta… The Capitol broke her. She's going to need you for the next several months. She can't get through this on her own."
"I know that, Haymitch!" I snap. "You think I'd leave her to deal with this by herself? Of course I wouldn't! I don't want her to have to deal with this at all, let alone by herself!"
"All right, Peeta, that's enough," says Plutarch. "Don't take it out on him, it wasn't his fault."
"Yes it was!" I scream. "He should have rescued her instead of me! It's his fault that she had to go through this! Get out! Get out, all of you! Get out!"
Without another word, they all exit the room, leaving me standing next to a sleeping Katniss.
"I'm sorry," I whisper, sitting down next to her. I take her hand, feeling like my entire being has been shattered. "I'm so sorry, Katniss."