This chapter is dedicated to KaelynnD. The best beta I could ask for. I hope you all enjoy it.
The Moments Like This
We finally are given a couple of days break in the craziness called the Victory Tour. We had just finished District 6 and were on our way to District 5 when Effie had had enough. She could see how broken Peeta and I had become and demanded that we extend our travel by a day to give us time to recuperate. This tour had been hell both physically and emotionally. Meeting the families of the deceased was almost more than I could bear. Even though I was not responsible for some of their children's deaths, seeing the families' grieved faces was planted in my memory. I couldn't imagine what it would be like for my mother or sister, or Peeta's family, to be in these parents' positions.
On top of all the stress that came along with the Tour, I could not remember a night where I wasn't jolted awake from violent nightmares. It had become routine for Peeta to make his way into my room when the screaming began and do his best to comfort me until I fell asleep. On some nights, sleep would honor me with its presence, giving me at least a few hours of terror-free sleep. However, most nights I would just give up and either lay there awake, listening to Peeta's breathing and making sure his nightmares were calmed, or we would talk until the sun arose.
I remember going to bed with a weight lifted off my shoulder. I was not sure if it was the fact that I would be able to "relax," whatever that was, for the next few days or if was that I would actually be able to get all my emotions back in order. This tour was wearing me down more than I thought possible. Ever since my dad's death I have been able to keep my emotions pretty much at bay, unless you count the weeks during the Hunger Games. But that made me harden even more, so all these emotions during this tour had really worn me down, and I bet my wonderful sleep patterns hadn't helped much either.
"You okay?" I hear someone say.
I immediately snap out of my thoughts and look around. It is still completely dark outside and I lay in the bed with Peeta behind me, his arm wrapped around my waist.
"Huh?" I ask, looking in his direction.
"Are you okay?" he asks again, stressing the word okay.
I turn over to stare at crystal his blue eyes. "Yeah, why?" I ask, kind of confused.
"You're still shaking."
I look at him with what must be a confused expression when I notice it myself. It is almost like fever chills ran through my body. This previous nightmare had been a doosy. I remember waking up screaming and shaking like a leaf, but that was over an hour ago and the shakes usually reside much faster than this.
I really didn't know what to tell him. I feel okay, unless you count a slight headache that builds behind my eyes, but my guess is that the cause is lack of sleep and the exhaustion that always clings to me like an unwanted friend.
"Oh…" is all I can really say. He is telling the truth. "I guess I am a little cold," I add.
I really can't tell him why I am still shaking. I don't feel cold but maybe my body does. Next thing I know, I feel the comforter being wrapped around my body.
I nod my head and turn back over, even though I really can't tell a difference.
"Try to get some sleep. It's still early in the morning," Peeta insists as he wraps his arms tighter around me. Feeling his warmth allows this calmness to overtake me and within a few minutes I fall back asleep.
I turn around and immediately recognize where I am. I stand in my kitchen, watching the snow gently fall from the sky. That is when I hear his voice. I quickly turn to see my father standing in the doorway with a smile on his face.
"Hi Katniss," was all he says before I knock over three chairs in order to fall into his open arms. He is still alive and well.
Hearing the commotion, my mom and sister walk into the room with confused looks on their faces.
Prim sees the tears in my eyes and asks, "What's wrong with you? Dad's only been gone for a few hours."
Now it is my turn to be confused. Then it all clicks - the accident never happened. My mother and sister never knew the horrific pain of losing my father. Everything is the way that it is supposed to be.
All I can do is stand there, wrapped in my father's arms, never wanting to let go.
Suddenly everything starts to spin. Before I recognize what is happening, I am standing in the middle of the arena. The 74th Hunger Games is happening right in front of me. I turn to my left and se my father, mother, Prim, Rue, Peeta, and Gale, pretty much everyone I love and care about, standing approximately a hundred yards away from me. That is when I see it, a large hovercraft. Before I can even find my voice to scream out "Run!" it is already over. Through all the shock I run over to see everyone I care about in the world dead, blood running like an ocean from their bodies. I scoop Prim's body into my arms as the anger boils inside me and the tears run down my face. Then I see something in the corner of my eye.
"Katniss! Wake up!"
A scream pulls me out of my current nightmare. I frantically look around to see Peeta trying his best to hold me close. I notice that I had kicked off all the covers from the bed, had sweat pouring from my skin, and had tears streaming down my face. That is when I realize how much worse my simple headache had gotten. It feels like my eyes are about to burst out of my head. Peeta isn't lying next to me anymore, but kneels on the side of the bed, holding me close. He only does that when I thrash around in the bed like a wild animal.
"You got me good this time," he says softly as he combs my hair back with his fingers.
I know I had either kicked or hit him hard enough to bruise him. That is one of the consequences of sleeping with someone who has night terrors. I had been in his shoes as well. One time we thought he had broken my rib with the force with which he hit me, but it turned out just to be bruised. He demanded that we stop sleeping together after he realized he could hurt me, but after time we both came to the agreement that possibly getting hit was just a part of the sleeping arrangement.
"I am sorry," I croak as I slowly sit up. My head pounds now with my heartbeat and all I want to do is lay back down and go back to sleep nightmare-free.
"Better?" he asks with a concerned look on his face. We had gotten way past the point of asking each other if we were okay after a nightmare, knowing the answer every time. So now Peeta always asks if the after effects are over.
I nod my head and look outside. The sun had begun to rise, meaning it is still early morning, but there would likely already be breakfast on the table in the dining car. Eating is absolutely the last thing I want to think about, and truth be told I am a little nauseous. I can hear Peeta's stomach begin to rumble as he continues to hold me close.
"Just go get breakfast. I'll be here when you get back."
I expect him to argue with me but he doesn't. He just nods his head and walks out of my room. As soon as the door closes, I shut my eyes again, not caring if I have another nightmare. My body is screaming for more sleep.