(A/N: Hey guys! I'm back with another Hunger Games fic. I can't help it. I just love those books. This story is set during Catching Fire. I apologize in advance if Katniss seems a little OOC. Anyway, I really hope you like it. Please review. Love, Ellivia22)
Disclaimer: If I owned The Hunger Games, the movie would be on DVD by now. But alas, I don't :(
I stared unblinkingly into the hateful eyes of Clove as she stood tall over me. She had me pinned so well to the ground that I couldn't move a muscle. All I knew was that I was in big trouble. How was I going to get out of this one? The odds were not in my favor.
"Where's lover boy," she said mockingly. "Oh I see, you were going to help him. That's sweet. You know it's too bad you couldn't help your little friend. That little girl. What was her name again? Rue? Well we killed her." My fist clenched in fury. She had no right to utter Rue's name. I desperately tried to strike her, but she had my fists perfectly pinned. Clove pulled out a blade and put it close to my throat. "And now we're going to kill you."
Before she could perform her next kill, I felt Clove pulled off me. Thresh had her against the Cornucopia. "You kill her?" he demanded.
"Cato!" she screamed. "Cato!"
"You said her name! You said her name!"
After three hard shoves against the Cornucopia, Clove fell dead at my feet. I looked at Thresh, my heart beating fast. Was he going to kill me next? His eyes locked on mine. "Just this once, 12. For Rue." Then he ran back into the woods.
Suddenly I remembered my mission: getting the medicine for Peeta. Without it, he could die. I couldn't let that happen. I would never forgive myself. Quickly I grabbed the medicine and went back to the woods.
I ignored the blood running down my forehead from the cut Clove made. As I ran all I could think about was Peeta. He was so wounded I couldn't stand it. Over the course of the Hunger Games, I've come to really understand the boy with the bread; really started to care about him. But did I love him like I was pretending to? I've spent my whole life trying to not fall in love with anyone. Falling in love can lead to marriage and children-something I wanted to avoid. Yet I felt something when it came to Peeta. Something special.
At last I reached our cave. "Peeta. Peeta, I got it. I got the medicine."
I dropped my pack and fell to my knees beside him. Something wasn't right. Peeta wasn't moving. His eyes were closed, his skin as pale as a sheet. "You can't be dead,' I told him and myself, shaking him. No movement. "You can't be!" I placed my head on his chest, desperate for a heartbeat. None. I clutched onto his shirt tight. "Please, Peeta. Don't go."
Tears started falling down my face rapidly. I hardly ever cried, but I couldn't hold back my emotions any longer. This was all my fault. The fact that his body was still there meant that I arrived only seconds too late. I couldn't save him.
I continued to lie on his still body, the tears still falling. I felt as though my heart has been literally torn in two. Losing him had opened my eyes and recognize the feelings I've been denying from the beginning. Now it was too late. Too late to tell him how I felt.
The cannon was about to fire. I kissed him deeply, giving him all the love I now knew I felt for him. "I-I love you."
Then the cannon fired with a BOOM!
I wake up suddenly when Katniss' painful screams echo around the room. Another nightmare. I gently hold her close to me in hopes to calm her down. My heart thumps in my chest. She feels so perfect in my arms.
The journey of the Victory tour is almost over, but that hasn't ceased her nightmares. Mine either, but as long as I'm close to her, the calmer I feel. I also feel better knowing that my presence is a comfort to her-even if she doesn't love me in return.
The minutes pass by and Katniss' screams continue to get worse. "Shh," I say gently, stroking her dark hair. "It's okay, Katniss. It's okay."
"Please Peeta. Don't go," she pleads in her sleep. She clutches onto my nightshirt tight. I watch in astonishment as tears start falling down her face. This must be a really bad one. I don't remember ever seeing her cry. "I-I love you."
My world completely stops for a split second. Did she say what I thought she said? Did she tell me the words I've longed to hear from her for so long? My hopes aren't high. It's just a dream. Doesn't mean she really meant it. After all, the whole town thinks she and Gale will end up together. My heart aches at the thought.
Instead of pulling away, I pull her even closer. I'm not going to leave her just because she doesn't love me. She's too important to me.
Without warning Katniss pulls out of my embrace and into a sitting position. Her body trembles hard while she's gasping hard for breath. I sit up too, rubbing her sweaty back gently. "It's okay, Katniss. It was just a nightmare."
Katniss turns to look at me. The nightlight in the room gives just enough light for me to see her face. Her cheeks are pale and tear stained. As her grey eyes meet my blue ones, they start to fill with tears again. "Peeta," she whispers. Her arms wrap around me so tight I feel like my ribs are cracking. I hug her back, waiting for her to calm down-just like all the other nights. I don't ask her what she dreamed about. I don't need to. I know she dreamed about the games.
"I dreamed that I came too late with the medicine," she whispers into my shoulder. "I-I found you dead."
"It's okay. I'm alive and well. I promise."
Slowly Katniss starts to calm down, but has no intention of letting go of me. I continue to hold her, the words from her nightmare repeating in my head. I love you. Was it just a dream? Or did she really mean it?
"Feeling better?" Peeta asks softly a half hour later.
I can't seem to find my voice so I nod instead. I still refuse to let go of him, but I loosen my grip slightly. Being in his strong arms makes me feel safe, relaxed, and utter joy: joy that he's alive and well; joy that despite everything I put him through, he's still willing to be there for me.
I so badly want to tell Peeta about the realization I had in my nightmare. I want to tell him how deep my feelings are for him-and probably have always been since he tossed me the bread. I never realized it until now. But is it too late? Does he not feel the same anymore?
I lift my head to look into his blue eyes. For the first time ever, I notice how deep his eyes really are-and full of emotion. His eyes are full of care, reassurance, and a small ounce of hope.
I touch his face gently. So smooth. My hand continues from his face and through his blonde hair, and then rests back on his cheek. Shivers run up and down my spine. This must be what love feels like. I can't stop what I'm feeling. I'm not sure I even want to.
"Peeta," I whisper.
I pull him towards me, my lips pressing against his. I've kissed Peeta a few times in the past few weeks, but it has never felt like this before. His lips are warm and soft. My heart pounds hard in my chest as I feel him kiss me back, his passion matching mine.
Reluctantly I pull away to catch my breath. I have to tell him the truth. Somehow. My eyes lower, focusing on his black nightshirt. This is going to be the hardest thing I've ever done. Even harder than all the lives I had to take during the games. I'm about to bear my soul. "I know you probably won't believe me, but things have changed for me in the past couple of weeks. I've been fighting my feelings for a while for fear of the future. But I've come to realize that since we've returned from the Capitol, I've been missing you, miss being with you." I swallow hard. "I've fallen for you hard." His eyes grow wide. "I-I love you, Peeta."
He continues to stare at me. I swallow hard, feeling foolish. I guess he doesn't feel the same anymore. "Well, say something."
A grin spreads across his face. "And you said you weren't good with words." His hand runs through my hair. "I love you too, Katniss. Nothing will ever change that."
I grin back at him. A silly, lovesick grin. Peeta pulls me towards him, capturing my lips with his. I feel all my troubles disappear. I forget about the troubles in the other districts, and the danger we are in. All that matters right now is that I'm with Peeta. I wrap my arms around him as I kiss him back. I now know that I have him and will never let go.