AN: I have recently been bashed over the head with all the feelings for Haymitch/Katniss, and, unsatisfied with the smallness of the community, have decided to right that by writing. I've been working on other things but this just kind of came out last night. Just a one-shot, no spoilers or anything, though it's probably set post-Mockingjay, pre-epilogue. As this is my first fanfic, I'd love to know what you think!
Disclaimer: I own nothing you recognize. Suzanne Collins is the brilliant mastermind.
Every night that she went to his house, she put on the same sweater. Her sleeves were too long for her arms, but it was okay because they made a better pillow when she curled up on the end of his couch to fall into sleep, aided by the low hum of the television and the constancy of another body only two paces away.
Tonight, she'd put on a different sweater. She had shorter sleeves. Still long enough to cover her palms, but not so long as to create a good pillow. But this night is different in other ways, too. Like how Haymitch is on the other end of the couch, an arm's length away instead of a few steps. The TV is still on, but when Katniss closes her eyes, the flashing lights aren't as visible beneath her lids. Some other sense is taking priority. She sniffs the air, as if to confirm her suspicions, and catches a spiciness that she usually only smells when Haymitch drinks his dark Hob liquor, how Haymitch smells when he grabs her shoulders and tells her to stay alive, how Haymitch smells when he hugs her and tells her all this, it wasn't her fault.
Tonight, she lifts her head from the couch and looks over at him. He's watching the TV without really seeing it, as usual, with a dilapidated ceramic mug in his hand. Soon enough he must sense her staring at him, because he turns his head and catches her gaze.
Lifting herself up, she pats her way to him and he opens up an arm, letting her curl into his chest, closing her eyes as his sturdy Haymitch arm wraps her into him and holds her tight.
They stay like this a while, peaceful. Comfortable. But Katniss has felt this before, and tonight, it's not enough to fill the gaping hole her past has left behind.
She feels Haymitch sigh beneath her, rubbing his thumb softly over her arm. Her eyes pry open. Putting a hand on his chest, she turns to look at him. He regards her with an indecipherable expression, his gray Seam eyes turbulent with something Katniss can't describe. Doesn't want to. So slowly, she closes her eyes and leans in, not knowing what she is doing or what she is looking for until his lips meet hers, cautiously, softly. Much softer than she'd've ever thought to expect. But he was a broken man, just like she was a burnt up girl. She'd been painfully aware of that ever since she'd started spending her nights here on his couch, with him, trying to forget.
So she opens her mouth to let him in, raises an arm to wrap around his neck. But Haymitch pulls away, stopping her mid-move.
"Katniss," he says. His voice is intoned with warning, but mostly sad. Tired.
"Sweetheart?" she tries, leaning towards him once more.
She notes a small smile on his lips as he lets her kiss him again, and he brings a hand up to her face, fingers grazing her hairline. He kisses her back, slowly, strongly, steadily, before pulling back again, this time with finality. A small smile tickles his lips as he looks down at his Girl on Fire.
"That's enough for tonight, sweetheart."
And yes, Katniss thought as she settled back into his arms once more, for tonight, it was enough.