Author's Note: I can't beleive that this is the last time I get to write one of these (for this story anyway)
First off, allow me to apologize for the delay. Given that this is the final chapter, it was pretty lame of me. I should have had this up 10 days ago but this chapter was not easy to write. I had to find a way to finish my story that was respectful to the character's I wrote about (I'm very aware that I did not create them lol) and the arcs they were involved in. This was my fifth draft. It's never taken me so long to complete one chapter before with this many re-writes. I really hope you do like it. You'll find it break into two sections (I also had some trouble getting the tense right)
I felt this ending was ultimately right to go with and fair to the characters too. I should also mention this chapter contains a lot of smut and teeth rotting fluff... a LOT of it.
Finnick nervously drummed his fingers along the cover of the book he held in his hands. For the third time in an interval of what had only been a few minutes, he lowered the book from his eye line and peered at the clock.
He sighed heavily as he obstructed his vision of the object he could not keep his attention from diverting from. Despite his best attempts, Finnick could not distract himself with the book he was currently reading. He read the words in his head but they refused to sink in.
He peered at the clock again.
Peeta should have arrived home half an hour ago.
The feeling in the pit of Finnick's stomach was something worse than worry. As the minutes continued to pass and time continued to lapse, Finnick's worry began turning to fear. Fear for Peeta's safety.
It wasn't a new fear, but it certainly had manifested in the past few weeks, beginning the night Finnick held his gun to another man's face and contemplated pulling the trigger, taking another man's life in a spray of red blood, all for the sake of protecting and proving his love for the only person he ever truly cared for.
Was he laying in the streets with blood gushing from his head like the last time? Had he picked a fight with someone that didn't work in his favor? Endless scenarios circled through Finnick's head. He knew they were irrational and that the younger man was fine, no, better than fine, which was why he resisted the urge to call and check up on him, even though it was killing him.
"Danmit," he mumbled as he rose to his feet and dropped his book on the coffee table.
He had already started scrolling for Peeta's name in his contacts list when he heard the key turn in the lock. He placed his phone back down on the table as the door opened and a chipper looking Peeta strolled through the door with a smile on his face.
"Hey," he said as he walked in, kicking the door closed behind him, "How was work?"
Finnick couldn't believe how relieved he was to see Peeta's smile. No matter how irrational his fear was, or how exaggerated his actions seemed, Finnick pulled the shirt from around his neck as he stormed over to where the younger man stood at the door. He grabbed Peeta by the shirt roughly as he pulled him in for a kiss.
He felt the smaller man's body tremble at his touch, finding Peeta's hands immediately feeling every spot of his chest, caressing his skin with his smooth hands. Finnick's tongue sparred with Peeta's as he gently bit the man's lower lip possessively.
Peeta broke the kiss and quickly began removing his shirt as Finnick's hands expertly removed his belt, and unbuttoned his jeans as they both pushed eachother through the living room and down the hallway to their bedroom.
Finnick pushed him onto the bed as he stood above the smaller man and properly removed him from the confines of his pants. He hovered over the man for a moment before gripping the elastic waistband of his underwear and pulling them down to his knees. He listened as Peeta sighed in ecstasy before he gripped the man's dick tightly in his right hand. His red lips wrapped around the head of the engorged cock while his tongue licked around the head of his dick, his teeth nipped at the underside of the cock and the foreskin found at the top of the shaft.
There was only one thing Finnick enjoyed more than Peeta's groans of pleasure, and that was the way he tasted, still so sweet. He gripped the man's dick tightly in his hand and began stroking him furiously while keeping him in his mouth, still craving the bittersweet taste of Peeta's pre-come in his mouth. As he looked up at the writhing naked man who mumbled his name, he felt so in love with him.
"I'm gonna come, Finnick," Peeta moaned as Finnick's hands still worked him.
Finnick realized how achingly hard he was, he quickly used his free hand to delve into his own pants and free his heavy dick that sprung to life the moment he slid his pants down.
He continued sucking Peeta into his mouth as his own hands pleasured both of them. He took Peeta as deeply into his throat as he could when the man began to climax. He could feel Peeta shiver as he came, releasing himself into his mouth, eagerly taken by him.
Finnick smiled, letting Peeta slip from his mouth after a minute. He kissed a trail up from the blonde patch of hair that surrounded his groin to his navel before finding his lips and kissing him deeply.
Peeta rolled on top of him, arching his back and straddling his waist as he held the man down and began grinding his ass against the hard dick that pressed against him. He reached behind and pressed the head of Finnick's dick against his entrance as he slowly sank down and sheathed himself on the hardened flesh.
Finnick flashed a toothy grin as Peeta impaled himself on his dick. He watched him brace himself and fuck himself on his dick. There was no bigger turn on than that, Finnick thought as he caught a glimpse of Peeta's semi-hard dick bouncing up and down as the man buried himself. He grit his teeth together.
"Enjoying yourself?" he panted with a grin.
"Yeah," Peeta grunted in reply as he continued bobbing up and down with pleasured and pained expressions on his face. "Harder…"
His hands forcefully took Peeta by the shoulders and pulled him onto the bed, pushing him onto his back and kissing him fervidly, his tongue delving down Peeta's throat for good measure in a show of passion and possession.
"What are you gonna do, Finnick?" Peeta asked in a taunting voice as his hand travelled down and wrapped around himself.
Finnick bit his own lip and watched for a moment as the man he loved lay spread before him, masturbating slowly while looking deep into his eyes before he began surveying his naked body appreciatively. He leaned in and kissed Peeta's ear, "Tell me what I want to hear," he whispered as he took Peeta's ankle in his left hand and settled his weight in on the smaller body.
"Fuck me," Peeta said softly before arching his neck and releasing a loud moan as Finnick spread his legs apart before letting them rest on his shoulders. He breathed deeply as Finnick entered him, slamming hard and rough without hesitation. "I love you."
"Say that again," he ordered as he continued fucking him, keeping at the same rhythm.
"I love you, Finnick," Peeta panted desperately.
It soon became too much for him. The pleasure building up inside of him peaked as Peeta continued to clench around him, his pleads for more and pants of ecstasy only added to the overall pleasure he was receiving, causing him to hold Peeta tightly as he came inside of him.
"I love you too," Finnick mumbled as he collapsed on top of the younger man and kissed his sweaty stomach.
They remained pressed together that way for a few minutes more before Finnick rolled onto his back and Peeta wrapped his leg over Finnick's hip, moving in to lay on his stomach the way he normally did after sex.
"Guess what happened to me today?" Peeta said in a slightly cheerful tone, recalling a particularly funny incident that happened at work.
"What happened?" Finnick asked with fear in his voice, "Is everything okay?"
Peeta sat up and looked at him questioningly, "Why wouldn't it be?"
The older man didn't respond, instead he simply shrugged and rolled onto his side. "You had me worried tonight when you didn't come home straight away."
"Are you mad at me?" Peeta asked, "Are you still upset about what happened?"
"No," he replied, "I just don't know if I trust you to keep out of danger-"
"Promise me that you won't ever pull that shit again," he said turned over and sat up, "Promise me that you won't let your anger take over like that, that you won't make me go through that again. I can't stand feeling that way-"
"That I might lose you" Finnick muttered, "I felt that way last week and I felt that way tonight. I hate the way it feels."
"You won't lose me," he mumbled as he kissed Finnick, wrapping his arms around his neck and pulling him to lay on top of his smaller frame as he felt the taller man tremble in his hands.
"Okay," Finnick mumbled into the crook of his neck.
It was at that moment when Peeta looked into Finnick's green eyes that he saw real fear in the man's eyes. He had never seen that look before. Finnick had always been the one that he had relied on to assure him that things between them would be okay, that nothing would ever happen to them. He had never been required to reassure Finnick before.
His actions had caused real damage while provoking genuine fear and uncertainty. He bumped Finnick's chin up with his hand as he leaned in and placed a hand on his cheek.
"Remember when I couldn't even get you to let me stay over?" Peeta asked as he rested his forehead against Finnick's, "Who knew you'd turn into such a damn sap."
Finnick smiled against his skin, "I never turned you down when you showed up at my door… or climbed through my window in the middle of the night."
"Because I'm so irresistible, right?"
"Because you were a persistent fucker."
"I had to make you work for it," Peeta chuckled, "If you weren't so perfect it wouldn't have been so easy for me to fall in love with you. You should've made it harder."
"I've still got a long road to go before I get anywhere near perfect, Peeta," Finnick sighed with a small smile, his thoughts already shifted from the conversation they were just having.
"You are perfect," he said as he placed his hand on Finnick's bare chest and traced his fingers down his stomach, "I'm the luckiest man in the world to have you."
Finnick smiled, "Anyone ever tell you that you've got a way with words?"
Peeta smiled, "You won't ever lose me, okay?"
"Okay," he replied.
They both knew that things wouldn't always be perfect. Nothing ever was, to expect some sort of perfect existence in which nothing would ever go wrong was illogical and unrealistic. But just because things wouldn't necessarily always stay perfect, it didn't mean that things would never be perfect again. Peeta knew that as long as he had Finnick in his life, providing him with all the love he would ever need, they could work out the rest later.
It didn't matter when things would eventually take a turn for the worst. Finnick had Peeta to give him love and the perfect thing to whisper in his ear when in doubt. In return Finnick gave Peeta the care and protection he deserved above all else. With that they both fell confident that no matter what direction their relationship would go, they would find a way to steer it back on course. What they had was too real, too special to poorly maintain.
Peeta knew he'd always stay happy, always be centered and balanced with Finnick, no matter how much time would move them on.
Peeta still smells good after he walks in the door after a long day at work. No amount of physical labour could make him smell bad after working in a bakery all day. His culinary skills never cease to amaze Finnick when he cooks for them almost every night.
Finnick still can't cook. He likes the notion that he will never have to. He smiles into Peeta's blonde locks and inhales deeply into the warm head of hair that rests on his chest as they both read from the same page of the same book. Peeta usually falls asleep in Finnick's arms first.
It's been a quite a while since Finnick began his therapy. He still makes the occasional visit once a month or so. The nightmares stopped, but occasionally one will come along. When they come, Finnick will wonder aloud if they will ever stop. That's when Peeta will smile and wrap an arm around the taller man's neck, "Of course they will," he whispers as he presses his lips into the shell of his ear. As Peeta falls back asleep, Finnick simply closes his eyes and clings to the smaller man as his anxiety subsides. He will then wonder how he would get through nights like these without Peeta? Fortunately, he will fall asleep before ever having to answer the question.
Peeta can still make him laugh to the point where the milk from his cereal is dribbling down his chin. Finnick can still make Peeta swoon over him even after all this time. It doesn't take much to have the younger man in a state of ecstasy, not for Finnick anyway. A simple hand on his lower back when they're out in a crowd that still makes Peeta feel special, because in a room full of people, he knows Finnick only sees him.
Despite the rocky start, Finnick and Noah have become good friends. They laugh, drink beer and go to every Eagles game. It makes Peeta happy, not only because his brother and the man he loves are now a part of each other's lives in their own way and not purely because of himself as a proxy, but because he will spend those nights cooking with Annie who he supposes will be his sister-in-law soon if Noah can finally summon up the courage to pop the question. It makes him happy to see how she will gush about his brother. He has to bite his tongue when she talks about her dream wedding and wonders aloud when it will happen. Peeta is happy they're happy.
"Noah bought a ring," Finnick mentions over coffee one morning.
Peeta isn't surprised. He'd known this had been in the pipeline for a while. His eyebrows still raise though.
"How do you know?" Peeta asks from the other side of the table.
Finnick's eyes look up from the newspaper that rests next to his coffee and half eaten bagel. "He needed help picking out the ring, he called me yesterday."
Puzzled, Peeta's eyebrows remain raised. "Why didn't he ask me?"
The older man smiles as his eyes return to the newspaper, "Did you really want to shop for an engagement ring with your brother?" he asks.
Peeta smirks, "Good point."
"Besides, I have taste," Finnick says with a grin. "When are we going to get you a ring?"
"Since when do you have taste?" the younger man asks, still smiling and deliberately avoiding what he interprets as a joke.
Finnick shrugs as he closes his newspaper and takes a sip of coffee. For a few moments he simply takes a long, hard look at the blonde haired man whose sarcastic smile begins to fade only to be replaced by the same, familiar questioning gaze.
"I think I have pretty good taste," Finnick says nonchalantly as he eyes the younger man up and down, "I've got really good taste."
He can feel his cheeks turn red in what can only be described as a feeling of excitement and anxiety. He smiles at Finnick from across the table who in turn smiles back at him. Suddenly it doesn't feel like Finnick is joking anymore.
"You're not serious, are you?" Peeta asks. He can hear his own heart beat and he's not sure if he's excited or terrified of what his answer will be.
The older man smirks and rises from the table. "I'm serious about you," he replies as he makes his way over to where Peeta sits on the opposite side, "Are you serious about me?"
Peeta grins widely, his green eyes remain fixed on the older man's lips as he accepts the kiss that's offered to him. "So are you going to ask me?" he questions as their lips part.
"Nope," the older man reiterates as he reaches down and cups Peeta's cheek with his hand before turning and walking back to the kitchen.
Peeta stares after him, slightly dumbfounded.
"W-Well, why not?" he stammers in utter confusion.
The older man continues to smirk at him, unable to wipe the grin from his face. "Of course I'm going to marry you one day," he says to clarify, "But it's not going to be anytime soon."
Peeta rolls his eyes and chuckles, "I can't believe I've got you on the verge of getting on one knee."
"Oh? And why's that?"
Peeta rests his lower back against the kitchen counter. "You still surprise me."
"I'm full of surprises, baby," he jokes before leaning forward and kissing Peeta on the top of his head.
There's a secluded cabin up in the mountains that Finnick likes to rent out for a week a couple of times a year. The fresh air and ice cold breezes are exactly what Peeta needs, he thinks to himself over the course of the long drive.
Finnick turns off his phone and lays back in his seat while Peeta drives. Peeta knows he has his eyes shut beneath his sunglasses, so he makes little effort making conversation during the first hour of the drive, he doesn't want Finnick to feel bad for falling asleep, god knows he deserves to relax. Instead he listens to the radio at a low volume, drumming his fingers along the steering wheel, anxious to arrive.
The older man wakes after a short nap. Finnick smiles and gazes out the car window and tells Peeta a story from his childhood when his father would take him up to the cabin for the summer. It makes the younger man's heart feel fuller when he listens to Finnick talk about the happy moments of his childhood. Peeta knows if his parents were still alive they'd approve of Finnick, the man who helped him find himself and grow into a man they would have been proud of. He takes solace knowing that they are now each other's family, that he will fill the void for both of them, that's he's enough for him.
Finnick feeds him Oreo's as they drive. The closer they get to their destination, the more ecstatic Finnick gets. His energy becomes much more upbeat in a manner of hours while his attitude grows more jubilant.
As soon as their car pulls in, Finnick steps out and waits for Peeta to get out as well. He smiles and takes Peeta by the hand. The shorter man smiles as he gets dragged along to the river, discarding their clothes along the way.
The cold water feels amazing on his skin, as do Finnick's expert hands that know exactly what they're doing. He stares deep into Finnick's green eyes as they move deeper into the water. Peeta can't believe how long it's been since they had a chance to be here last, since they made love here.
"I missed being here," he says to Finnick before capturing his mouth in a possessive kiss before breaking it to release the guttural groan inside of him as Finnick enters him.
The older man holds him firmly by the hips as they rock together in the water. He smiles and keeps his forehead pressed against Peeta's. "So did I, Peeta."
It's a little after two in the morning when Finnick's eyes open. He immediately notices Peeta's absence from the bed. He sits up and squints at the dim light of the bedroom. The fireplace is still glowing, illuminating the room as the shadows of the flames dance on the walls. At the end of the room sits Peeta who sits in the armchair with his legs crossed, wearing only his underwear but still contrasting Finnick's naked form. Still delirious from sleep, the older man can't seem to figure out what Peeta is up to.
"What are you doing?" he asks with a yawn.
"Just a drawing," Peeta replies as he begins to scratch the black charcoal across the large page in the book that sits in his lap. "I forgot you bought these for me last time."
Finnick smiles and recalls Peeta's 23rd birthday the year before. "What are you drawing?" he asks.
Peeta turns his attention away from the work in progress and looks up at Finnick. "The most beautiful person in the world."
They both chuckle as Peeta begins drawing the bronze hair that fell into his face as he slept.
"I'm happy to see you drawing again," he says as he rises from the bed and makes his way over to the other side of the room.
Peeta immediately turns the portrait upside down, shielding it from Finnick's prying eyes.
"It's not ready yet."
"Please?" Finnick asks meekly as he feels his eyes grow heavier and pushes away the urge to return to sleep.
The younger man moves to the edge of the seat to allow Finnick to sit down. Once he has, he allows himself to melt into the strong man's warm embrace, smiling as one strong arm wraps around his neck, pulling him in even closer. He turns his drawing over and reveals the sleeping figure to the man he loves. Almost complete, only missing the finer details of the man's hair as well as several details of the wall and the bed.
"You're so fucking talented," Finnick whispers in his ear, "It's beautiful."
Peeta smiles and cranes his neck so they're eye level, "You're so full of yourself," he replies with a grin.
"And you're a little perv," Finnick replies with a repressed laugh, "Have you nothing better to do than draw naked men?"
Peeta chuckles before leaning in a kissing Finnick deeply, both his hands cupping Finnick's face, his fingertips grazing against the stubble while he gently bites on the man's quivering lower lip.
"Will you marry me?" Peeta asks when their lips finally part. He smiles widely as he waits for an answer.
"Of course I will." He returns Peeta's kiss with one of his own.
He watches Peeta draw for a little while longer. He can't wait to see Peeta wearing a silver band around his finger, indicating to him and the rest of the world that Peeta truly is his. Even if they don't need a ring to prove it, it's still nice to know. Finnick knows he's a lucky man.
They both fall asleep, Peeta in Finnick's arms.
The bell that hangs over the door rings. The sound replaces the silence in the bakery for a brief moment before it stops and the only sound to be heard is the low whirl of the ovens cleaning themselves. Peeta watches from his place behind the counter as his last customers, a young couple, probably around 16 or 17 walk past the large pane glass window of the street. He makes his way over to the door and turns the sign that reads CLOSED before locking the door.
Peeta looks around the bakery and removes his apron as he pulls up a chair and lets his dusty apron hang over his dusty jeans. He's worked here at Abernathy Bakery since he was 16. Two weeks before he gave Mitch notice he was planning to leave.
He doesn't need to ask himself why he's scared to go. Of course he's scared to go. At least here he had job security, worked the same hours, got the same pay check, and tips were always plentiful. That old familiar feeling of security wasn't there to protect him anymore. Now, after a year of making excuses, he's finally out of them.
What did he know about running his own business? Finnick simply shrugged when that excuse first came out of Peeta's mouth and told him not to over think it.
What about money? It wasn't exactly a home run, Finnick did pretty well and would easily be able to support them both in the meantime.
He could go on with if's and but's, but at the end of the day, Peeta knew it was for the best. He'd have to take that terrifying plunge and hope he wouldn't sink. He thinks he's too young to do this, that he doesn't have enough life experience or enough of an education to not only open up his own bakery, but to keep it running and make it successful. He knows he's screwed.
That's when he'll remember the smile on Finnick's face when he told him what his dream was, and Finnick told him how to accomplish it. That's what Peeta needs to get past the fear and doubt that lurk behind every positive thought he has about this next venture in his life. If it doesn't work and he fails, he will have the people that love him, and he knows he can rely on them.
Suddenly, things don't seem that uncertain and frightening anymore.
It's moments of clarity like that which force Peeta to evaluate the past. It may seem unhealthy to scrutinize every wrong decision, every mistake, every regret. The past is the past and it can't be changed. Despite the things he regrets and the bad decisions he may have made, they help form the man he is now, and he's happy with his life and where he is. He has potential to accomplish what he wants to and he knows he won't give up until he has. He has a skill and many talents, his culinary skills are beyond proficient. He has family that loves him, and he has Finnick who always appreciates him, who is always happy to see him arrive home and hold him tight as they fall asleep as if he's afraid that after all this time, Peeta will somehow escape his grasp.
He smiles to himself and drums his fingers across the wooden table before rising from his seat and switching off the lights. He can't wait to get home and see Finnick and tell him about his day, but more importantly, how excited he is to start the new chapter of his life and how content he is knowing that time would move them both on.
To those of you kind enough to leave me reviews, let me just say that I never took your feedback for granted. I really appreciated every kind word, especially from those of you kind enough to review each chapter as you read. This ending was for you guys. I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing and completing this story. Thanks for reading.