Authors Note: The Always scene in Peeta's POV. PublishEd it before then deleted it, but by request decided to post it again.
Disclaimer: Do not own the Hunger Games, no matter how much I wish I did.
The way she took the whip for him was all I needed to know. I never stood a chance. I still don't. But that doesn't mean I can't stop myself from wanting her. Gale stopped by once we arrived home. He was mad, I could tell, but I didn't understand why until he popped the question.
"Is there anything going on between you and Katniss?" he asked, his face emotionless.
It took everything in my power that day to keep me from breaking down. I shook my head, and with that, Gale Hawthorne left my front porch.
She's in my arms now, injured, she's hurting. I hate seeing her like this, but it was a relief when I saw her walk through the front door. I don't know what I would have done if Katniss had left the District, ran off in the woods. It would have stung, with Gale or not.
I lay her down on the bed, tucking her in gently. I say goodnight, already heading out the door when I feel her hand grab my arm. Her touch is cold, too cold. Katniss will be out soon due to the medicine.
"Don't go yet," she whispers, not until I fall asleep."
I cannot tell whether it is the medicine or her talking, but either way, I gladly sit down next to her, taking her hand and warming it in mine.
"Almost thought you'd change your mind today. When you were late for dinner," I say, but I see the guilt in her eyes, and know she understands.
"No, I would have told you," she says, shaking her head.
Katniss grabs my hand, resting it against her cheek. I want to ask her things, involving me, the district, even Gale. But right now just doesn't seem like the time and place, even if we are alone. I can feel her already slipping away. Somehow, she gets out three more words that make my whole day worthwhile.
"Stay with me," she whispers, her eyes closing.
I lean down, kissing her forehead, brushing her hair back from her eyes. I wish she would be like this all the time, medicine or not. I love this girl resting before me. I always have, I always will. And nothing will ever change that.
"Always," I whisper.