Author's Note: Hey =) I know this idea has been written before, and honestly I don't like to write something that has the same concept of something that has already been written. In this case, that would be how Katniss and Peeta fell for each other without the Reaping. I never gave much thought to this until the other day when I bought The World Of the Hunger Games. There was a line in the book that stated, "That just how the Capitol robs children of their lives, they will also rob Katniss of the sweetness of first love. Her feelings aren't simple, and they are not entirely her own."

That quote is so true, and they also say how what she is feeling is mixed in with her own survival, and how it will appear to the audience. She never exactly got the chance to fall in love the right way, the Games took away even that for her. I felt so bad because of that, and also because I never thought of it in that way. I'm writing this because I wanted to give her a chance at real love without it being affected by the Games. I'm still deciding on whether I should continue it though. Note that this is different from the regular bread scene.

~Bree


Prologue: The Beginning

Eleven year old Katniss Everdeen sat under a small apple tree, the rain pouring down on the cracked sidewalk, on the starving people of District 12. Still a child, but yet, she was already bruised, beaten, but most of all, alone. Her father had recently died, his death changing the Everdeen family forever. Her mother sat in a rocking chair in a room by the fireplace, her face expressionless, her arms, unreachable. Days went by, just in a matter of days, and Katniss' world was already crumbling down on her. Her mother would not return, she would never be the same. None of them would, this was a scar they would carry for the rest of their lives.

But did her father's death give her mother the right to abandon her own children? She couldn't imagine what Prim was like when she was not around. No matter how much pleading, how much begging either of the girls did, their mother would not do anything. If in fact it weren't for them, she would not be eating either. At first, Katniss did not know what to think. Her father abandoned her, and with her first Reaping coming up, it made her feel all the more alone. She no longer had her parents with her. At age eleven, Katniss Everdeen was the new head of the family.

She tried to keep her and Prim looking presentable, she tried making a little extra money by selling things they did not need, but nobody was buying. Too afraid to enter the Hob, a black market in which her she accompanied her father only a matter of times, and too young to enter her name more times for a supply of food, Katniss was losing hope fast. It was slipping away quickly, as if she were holding grains of sand, slipping from her fingers. She tried to catch it, tried to grasp tighter, but it did no good.

But today, the end was coming; she just could not take it anymore. She had tried selling Prim's old baby clothes, but there were no takers. She could not deal with her younger sister's reaction if she returned home empty-handed. Prim, so delicate, so fragile, would be devastated if they had nothing to eat tonight.

Either I go home with food, she told herself, or I don't go home at all.

But as the minutes flew by, as the rain poured harder, her stomach growled, and finally, Katniss Everdeen gave out. So this is it, she thought, this is the end. She closed her eyes, not knowing that she was standing several yards away from the bakery.

Not knowing that there was someone watching from the window.


There by the window, Peeta Mellark stood watching her. Why? He wondered, she was already going through so much just because of her father's death. Nobody had noticed, nobody had taken interest. That is, nobody except for him. He saw the circles under their eyes, the hollowness of their cheekbones, even the way it took so much out of them just to walk. He wanted to help, but he just did not know how. This was the girl he loved, and yet, she was nearly dying, right before his eyes.

Out of nowhere Katniss Everdeen stopped walking, and for a moment, Peeta didn't know what to think. Suddenly, he saw her give out, right under the apple tree that he so loved to paint. He shook his head, stepping away from the window. His mother was busy helping a customer, not noticing the starving girl in their own backyard. He was grateful for that, because if she had seen her, Katniss would be in huge trouble. His mother hated those from the Seam, how they were always pawning through their trash, how they never seemed to be clean. It was one of the reasons the bakery was a family business. She would not let his father hire any employees.

"Peeta!" His mother yelled, drowning out his thoughts. He rushed over to where she was at, and just like any other day, she gave him orders with no sympathy, no affection in her tone. He took the tray out when an idea struck.

The clatter noise the tray produced made his mother whip around. He saw that the customer had already walked out the door, there was no escaping her wrath now. She grabbed a pair of tongs and swung at him, hitting him right under his left eye. It stung, but it did not matter anymore. He heard her yell, ranting on about how useless he was, how he couldn't work to save his own life.

He checked the bread, it was burnt around the edges, but was still good enough to consume. Peeta turned to face his mother, whose expression was furious, "Feed it to the pigs you stupid creature! No one decent will buy burnt bread!"

With that in mind, Peeta Mellark ran outside, checking to see if Katniss was still there. Sure enough, she was. He began to tear off chunks of the first loaf, throwing them to the pigs. He double-checked when he heard the bell ring, and his mother hurried to help out a customer. When he was sure she was not looking, he tossed what remained of the first loaf, the second one following quickly behind. Before he even gave her the chance to reach for them, he was already back inside, the door shut tightly behind.

Her father always told her she may not always get what she wanted, but she would always get what she needed. What Katniss Everdeen had wanted was for her father to return, for her mother to be alright, and for the Hunger Games to be over. But on that day, something changed. Katniss may not have known what to think on that day. She may not have known whether to thank him, to pay him back, or just ignore him and pretend the incident had never happened. But it did not matter, for Peeta Mellark had done so much more than just toss some loaves of bread her way. He saved her life, her family's, but most of all, he gave her the thing she had needed the most.

Hope.


Authors Note: For those lf you who are wondering, I will be updating Just A Dream later on this week, Broken probably in two weeks. Sorry for the wait, but its the end of the year and things are a little chaotic right now. Should I continue with this? Review please!

~Bree