So this was inspired by the song Kiss me Slowly by Parachute. Check it out, it is so adorable. I hope you like this, please, if you do, leave me a review. I just want to hear what you think.
Thanks so much for reading (:
I don't own the Hunger Games.
A Matching Set.
She watched him, puffing her cheeks in and out with her breathes. He was sprinkling extra flour on the counter, so that the dough he was kneading wouldn't stick. Katniss was bored. She pulled at pieces of her brown hair, grey eyes noting and memorizing every move the blond was making. The way his thick knuckles worked into the soft substance, how delicately he molded it and placed it into the metal tray.
"What are you thinking about Katniss?" Peeta looked up from his work, a slight smile nestled on his face.
She felt herself blush, unsure why his question made her heart beat oddly, as if she were caught doing something wrong. "O-oh, I…" she didn't know. She wasn't really thinking about anything… Not really. "Nothing."
Well there had been that thought of how softly he held her, how big and warm his hands were, but there was no way she was telling him that.
He grinned, almost as if he could read her mind. "I don't believe that Kat," he dropped it though, walking away from her with the tray of bread dough ready for the oven. The girl heard the oven door creak open and closed. It had been the only thing left after the bombings. Somehow Peeta had fixed it, and still used it in the bakery. Katniss didn't know how or exactly why, but she suspected it was similar to her reason for keeping Buttercup around.
It reminded him of his family.
He came back in, wiping his hands on his apron, before leaning on the counter and watching her.
"What?" she felt her face heat again. He was always doing that. Observing her with that grin on his lips. She hated how it made her feel breathless.
He shrugged. "I dunno," he looked at the counter then, contemplating what to prepare while the other bread heated. "Do you want me to teach you how to bake?" he asked suddenly. She quirked an eyebrow at him. "That or painting, I mean, Greasy Sae said that you're not allowed to hunt for a week." Peeta's grin widened, capturing his whole face. "You know she has too much meat, and your walks don't take long when you're just wandering."
Katniss tried to scowl at him, not like being reminded how she had over killed the other day. She had lucked upon two deer, and without remembering she had more than enough food at her house, she killed them both.
Sae had looked at her and rolled her old grey Seam eyes. Said the meat would have a mouth to feed, but that Katniss was banned from hunting for at least a week. Katniss agreed, feeling bad about killing without adequate reason.
Peeta had changed that in her too.
The blond male watched her with an expectant and knowing look on his face. She scowled at him. "I suppose." She snapped gently. He waited, still smiling, as she got up from her seat and walked around the counter beside him. He was grinning like an idiot, with her so close. Rolling her eyes at him, she motioned for him to start.
And he did, showing her how to dust the flour over the work surface, how to mix the ingredients correctly, and how to knead.
Katniss glared at her dough, even with Peeta's expertise, the dough didn't have the correct substance. It was sticking to the table, and to her fingers.
She lifted her hands to him, "Help," she mumbled. He laughed at her, which earned him another scowl from her.
"You just need more flour," the girl didn't know what happened after that. In one second he was reaching for the white powder, innocently spreading it on the counter for her. But a heartbeat later it was all over her face and hair.
She could hear him laughing, and she realized that he had thrown it at her.
Katniss' jaw dropped, surprised at the childishness of the action. Was that really how a Hunger Games Victor was supposed to act? How the Mockingjay and her not-really fiancé were supposed to act?
She could do that.
She grabbed a handful of the ivory powder while he was still laughing at her reaction. "No, Kat," he tried to back away from her, but she followed him, throwing it on him, causing white to cloud the air.
It stuck to his skin, and his eyelashes, making him even paler than before, and she couldn't help but giggle at him. The way it coated his eyebrows and the pieces of hair that rested over his forehead.
He made a sorry attempt to glare at her, but he cracked a smile almost as soon as she started to laugh. He loved when she laughed. The noise just made his heart do odd flip-flops, and his blood burned a little quicker through his veins.
After another few moments, every surface was covered in the flour. The counters, the register. Her hair and her clothes were dusted with the stuff. And soon Peeta was in front of her, kissing her, with his hands on her waist, pressing against her as the smell of baking bread filled the store's small spaces.
He was about to lick at her bottom lip when there was a bell tinkle from the front door, and Katniss fled from his arms. Blushing through the powder coating her face.
The man who entered cleared his throat, eyebrows shooting high onto his forehead. He noticed the two twenty year olds covered in flour, and the way Katniss look guilty. He couldn't help but smile, and make his request for two croissants trying to hide the grin behind his beard.
Peeta took his money as the girl wrapped up the man's order.
He left within moments, but she was embarrassed. She wasn't supposed to be acting like that. She had been the reluctant face of the rebellion, the poor Mockingjay. She lost Prim, she lost Gale and everything that could have been. She lost her mother to the lure of a happier district.
She was Katniss Everdeen, and she wasn't supposed to be happy.
Not with all the deaths on her hands.
"I'm going home Peeta."
"Kat-" he tried saying her name softly and reached for her arm. But she dodged him and escaped out the door.
x. o. x. o.
When he got home she was wrapped up on the couch, blanket draped around her legs and over her stomach. The memory book was propped up on her knees, as she wrote as delicately as she could on the pages. He set down a bag with warm cheesy buns on the kitchen table.
"Hey," he said softly. The page was open and Prim's face was staring out of it. He had painted her for Katniss. Her blue eyes wide, pale hair in two braids hanging over her shoulders.
She made a soft noise in the back of her throat, acknowledging his presence. He stepped up behind her, reading the delicate words, of a time when they were both young, when their father had held Prim up and danced around with them both in the meadow.
He kissed the top of her head, and headed back out to the kitchen, making stew for the two of them, deciding that he would shower afterwards. He really didn't' mind the state he was in, it reminded him of once when he was little, when he, his brothers, and his father had a short flour fight. Painting it on each other's cheeks and across exposed forearms. But too soon his mother had arrived home and yelled at them to stop, sending the boys to the bathroom individually to get cleaned up.
He called Katniss to eat, and she walked in quietly. Thanking him for the meal as they sat down at the table together. She had brought the book with her, but she wasn't adding to it anymore. Now she was just looking at the pictures with a broken look underlacing her grey eyes.
Peeta got out his sketch book after he finished, fingers holding his pencil at an angle, deftly catching the pain that was swimming just beneath her eyes. The forlorn tilt of her brow and the curve of her lips.
They sat like that in silence for a while. The only noises were of their hearts beating and their easy breathing. And finally, the male couldn't stand it anymore, and let his feet sneak along the floor, quietly searching for the girl's.
When they found each other, she jumped, surprise and apology painted clearly in her face. "I'm sorry," she mumbled, eyes falling back down to the page in front of her, toes curling away from his. "I'm just…" her voice trailed off.
"Katniss, come on," he shut his sketchbook. "Please," his voice was soft and low. He didn't like when she got like this, when she couldn't remember they both lost loved ones. That neither of them had any family left except the other. When she fell into that mindset, she withdrew from him, and then at some point afterward, he would have an episode. Where he felt like he had to rip her throat out, when he tried to.
He needed her here, interacting with him, because that made him remember what was real. What was true, and what was his life.
She didn't respond so he stood and stepped closer to her, kneeling down on the floor beside her chair. He let his fingers reach up and run through her hair before he tenderly took her face in his palm and made her look at him.
"You love me," he said softly, blue orbs darting between her eyes. "Real or not real?"
She swallowed but nodded. "Real."
He closed the memory book as gently as he could before taking the legs of her chair and pivoting it so that he was at her knees. "Then stay with me, please Katniss. I need you."
He rested his head against her knees, heart thudding uncomfortably in his chest. It made him nervous when this happened. He didn't like relapsing, he didn't like when she relapsed. She was his reason for living and when she shut him out he felt like breaking.
It took her a moment to respond, to knot her own fingers in his hair, but she did. And she breathed "Always."
x. o. x. o.
He came out of the bathroom, hair damp but clean of any flour residue. She grinned softly at him as he fell onto the bed beside her, grabbing her waist and pulling her close against his chest.
"Are you coming to the bakery again tomorrow?" he asked softly against the back of her neck. His breathe was warm, and it made something odd well up in the girl's core, her breath coming in odd spurts with the sensation. But she tried to hide it, and breath as normal as possible. "I like having you there as company."
She smiled to herself, "Maybe I will, if you don't attack me with ingredients again."
He chuckled at that, arms wrapping tighter around her waist. "I'll pinky promise you."
Katniss pretended to think about it for a moment, she was still trying to breathe normally but he was making it so hard. She felt heat run up her neck again, blushing at her own thoughts. She rolled over to face him anyways, attempting to fight off the blush in her cheeks. He lifted a hand from her waist, where he continued to keep her in an incredibly close proximity.
She brought her own hand up, entwining her pinky finger with his. "There," he said softly, smiling a little before leaning closer to her and kissing her. "I'm bound by unwritten laws that-"
But he couldn't finish. Her mouth was pressed against his, struggling to ward off the odd emptiness she felt in her tummy. It was a bizarre feeling of anxiety; she had felt a handful of times before. Like starvation setting in, but a starving desperation for his touch, and for him to be closer.
This had been the difference between Peeta's kiss and Gale's kiss.
He was surprised at first, but he warmed into it, rough fingers feathering against her face, through her hair. His tongue was hot and wet when it ran over her bottom lip, but she allowed it, opened her mouth for him to discover.
The emptiness in her stomach kept opening, and she hated the feeling. She didn't understand how more kissing couldn't stop it. That it just made it worse. But she never remembered that from the handful of times they had really kissed.
And after their tongues touched, and his fingers ghosted at the hem of her shirt, there was a gaping chasm in her center. And it was begging her to fill it.
She was thinking about indulging the chasm, filling it with whatever it was asking for, just to get it to stop. But then the male's hands really did clasp on the edge of her shirt, and went to pull it up over her head. And whatever not-so-pure ideas that were running through her mind hit a brick wall and crumbled away.
"No," she said it against his mouth, her hands abandoning their position in his hair. They latched onto his and pulled the fabric from his fingertips. Peeta's pale brows furrowed, with his dewy marine eyes questioning.
"Katniss," he murmured, edging closer to her, letting his head rest against hers. He tried to speak but nothing came out. She licked her drying lips, and he desperately wanted to kiss them again. But the hard edge in her eyes stopped him. "What're you thinking?" he asked, quieter than a breath.
She shook her head, she didn't want him to know.
Katniss couldn't tell him that she didn't want him to look at her skin, to see all the ugly red lines run together and mesh with the cream colors and few patches of pink. She didn't want him to see the series of streets that marked her flesh, because she knew he deserved someone who wasn't scarred like that.
"Kat, please." He looked like a kicked puppy, the way he was watching her so faithfully and loyally. "I'm not going to force you into anything," that was her prince charming. "I just need you to talk to me." She took a breath in, and then exhaled it, eyes glancing at almost anything except him.
"Trust me," he mumbled.
She was thinking hard, lips pressed into a line, a crease appearing between her brows. He felt her toes press against his, the way she did when she was trying to rationally think something through, but failing miserably at it.
Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, she spoke.
"I'm ugly Peeta."
He sat silently for a second, mind hit overdrive to try and process the trivial information she just passed on. Then, after it sunk in, he chuckled a little but when her face turned to dread he laughed. It was deep in his throat, and tears threatened to pull at his eyes, but he tried to hold it back, eventually sounding like a choking animal as he said: "No, Katniss, you're not."
And then he tried to kiss her again.
The girl pushed him away, escaping from his hands and sitting up. Her face was on fire, 'The Girl on Fire.' She thought angrily. "Why are you laughing?" Her voice cracked, and she tried to swallow but there was a huge lump in the way.
Peeta bit his tongue, using the pain to kill of the last of his chuckles. "I'm not," he said, sitting up beside her. He wanted to brush the hair over her shoulder, but he remained still.
"Yes you were."
"Kat, you said you were ugly." He stated it as if that explained everything. As if it was perfectly normal to laugh after such a thought. Her brows rose higher, and breathe caught in her throat. "You're not ugly at all Katniss, you're beautiful."
The word felt like a slap, leaving a stinging sensation tingling down her spine. He didn't know. He wasn't the one who saw them. The ugly marks all across her skin. The ones who made her look like the mutt he was so afraid of, the one he wanted to kill.
Her grey eyes turned to stone, and she pulled farther away from him, into a space that was cold and chilly. It caused an entirely different breed of gooseflesh to trickle up her arms. He looked wounded, as if she had left him in the cave to die in the first games.
"You haven't seen them," she hissed, fingers pressing against her stomach and scratching the fabric covering the intersecting pathways across her skin. "You don't know how ugly they are."
He was silent, watching her with knowing blue eyes. "Kat, we're a matching set." He pulled his own shirt over his head, ruffling the pale blond strands and making them fluff. He looked down at his chest, eyes tracing the lines that ran over his stomach and chest, branching off onto his arms and almost up to his neck.
She visibly softened, shoulders falling and eyes clouding over. She reached out and tenderly let the pads of her fingertips ghost against the welts.
"Do you think I'm ugly?" he asked, watching her face for any trace of fear or anger. But she shook her head, hand falling away from him, back to her own lap. Her brows knitted again, working through the new information and the new image of his scarred torso.
"No," it was barely above a whisper. "But I'm different." He opened his mouth to disagree, but she was trembling then jumped away from him when he tried to reach for her. "You said yourself that I'm not that pretty."
"That was the hijackin-"
"No, that was true. Real, Peeta... Real." Her voice cracked and broke by the final word, he swore there were tears leaking from her eyes, but she turned and fled from the room. Like a bird taking flight.
Peeta's hands fisted in the blankets, pulling the fabric up against his palms as he let a growl emanate from deep in his throat. She was Katniss, and she was beautiful and loyal. But she was frustrating too, when her mind was set on something it was almost impossible to change it.
x. o. x. o.
It was dark out as she stumbled through the woods. Her breaths were coming out in panicked gasps, tears choking her and tracking her skin. Feet got caught up on exposed tree roots, hands brushing past leaves and stinging thorns. But she couldn't let herself stop. He called her beautiful, and laughed at her for thinking herself ugly.
But he didn't know. A matching pair or not, she wasn't beautiful.
Katniss was the chipped china cup. The one that used to have a vaguely pretty varnish. But she had been dropped too many times, and after a few she started to crack. She was scarred, and different. He deserved a girl with milk white skin, who wasn't emotionally or physically mutilated. Who could kiss him and know what that starving feeling meant. She wasn't worth Peeta's time, and the more she took it, the worse she felt.
She felt herself tumble to the concrete flooring of the small house her father had shown her. The air rushing in her lungs stung and burnt, causing searing pain to lace its way down her throat and into her heart.
She laid there for an unknown time, transferring between intervals of trembling heartbeats with blank, glassy eyes; and shaking hands combined with coursing tears. After hours of the differing periods, she saw sunlight start to slant into the open doorway. It painted the concrete beneath her into an ashy orange, reminding her of the boy she left in her bed.
This renewed Katniss' tears, and she continued to lie on the hard ground. Once the sun had raised high above the horizon, she finally drug herself from wallowing on the ground. Sighing, the air still causing pain to course through her chest, she shuffled until she made it back to the white house.
Peeta wasn't there, most likely baking and possibly whistling his time away at the bakery. Using the old oven he barely saved.
She felt guilt grip her heart again, for all the lives she had failed to save, and headed towards the bathroom. The few windows opened throughout the building let a sweet smelling breeze float through the rooms. Sun was glinting and glistening off of the window panes, causing orange and gold to swirl in odd patterns against the hardwood floors. She watched them dance for a while, the clouds in the sky made the light tiptoe through the curtains.
She felt grimy, and sweaty. Dirt was caked under her nails, and for some reason that upset her more than it should have. Within seconds she was pulling her shirt above her head, unbuttoning her jeans and walking upstairs with renewed determination, towards the bathroom.
The water was screaming hot, and it ran through her hair, plastering it against her cheeks and neck. Katniss let it wash over her for a few moments, enjoying the burning sensation it brought on. But then started to scrub her skin with the tonics sent by her mother.
Kat got out of the shower, turning off the water and wiping away the steam that gathered on the mirror glass. She looked at herself, noticing the way her hair lay limp and dripping from her skull, the pink marks on her skin.
She felt her face twist with anger, and she couldn't see why he called her beautiful. The word didn't fit her, it didn't match her. She was a lot of things, but as she looked longer in the glass, she knew she would never be beautiful.
Before she really realized what she was doing, she had scissors gripped tightly in her fingers, grabbing handfuls of hair and chopping away at it. Leaving the tresses hacked close to her skull, sticking up in odd patches of down fluff as it dried in the air.
The girl looked at the piles of dark strands lying mixed around her feet, unfeeling and neutral to the fact that she was now practically bald, and suddenly feeling tired, she tugged on one of Peeta's old shirts and fell into the bed. It was soft, and still vaguely smelled like him, lulling her into a sense of comfort.
x. o. x. o.
There was mewing and meows coming from the bushes beside the entrance when Peeta made his way home. Crouching down, he motioned to the grey cat hiding under the primrose. The blond man smiled, mumbling soft names to coax the old, tattered cat out from under the greenery.
Buttercup seemed to glare at the other male for a moment, deciding whether or not they were friends, before sniffing at Peeta's large hands and nudging his nose against the skin.
"What are you doing out here, furball?" he said in a soft voice. He let his fingers rub behind the animal's ears. "Why don't you come inside and I'll get you a nice bowl of milk, and maybe find a strip of venison for you, I think you'd like that." The blond picked up the raggedy cat, holding him against his chest and continuing to scratch at his ears. The creature started to purr, large eyes closing as Peeta walked them to the door and into the home.
He set about feeding the cat. Setting it down on the floor and grabbing a bowl to fill with the creamy milk Katniss liked to drink with her morning breakfast. The animal mewed and begged, weaving in between Peeta's legs until the food was safely on the floor within his reach. Then Buttercup ignored the human and settled down for a nice meal.
Wiping his hands on a dish towel, he finally noticed Katniss' boots sitting forlornly on the floor. They were separated by a few feet, as if she had kicked them off in a hurry. Peeta walked over them, placing the mates back together, so they wouldn't have to spend the night alone.
His blue eyes discovered the random piles of clothes that littered the stairs. Confused, and somewhat curious, he followed them. Feet carrying him up to the second floor, into the bathroom where piles of brown tresses plagued the tiles.
A crease appeared between his pale brows, and he bit his lip a minute before his ears picked up soft sounds of snoring coming from their bedroom. When he investigated farther, he found Katniss wrapped in the blankets, fast asleep.
He moved closer on delicate toes, careful not to make a noise. She slept like an animal, peacefully unaware until the slightest noise came into being. At that point, she would jump awake, reaching for a knife or her bow whatever is closer, just like her mentor did.
Peeta sat on the side of the bed, the movement in the mattress caused her to stir. Her grey eyes opened and glanced up at him. He noticed the way she brought her fingers up to her face and picked at them, the way her lips pursed he knew she was dismayed.
"I'm sorry," he mumbled gently, leaning close to her and placing a kiss at her temple. "I didn't mean to upset you last night."
She nodded gently, the small tufts of hair on her head stuck to the pillow and tangled in short knots, but she didn't speak. He brushed his fingers along the dark patches of down. "What happened?" he whispered.
"I'm proving you wrong." She said it evenly, but he noticed the gleam in her dove eyes.
Katniss pulled away from him again. "Yes, proving you wrong. I'm showing you that I'm not beautiful. That I'm selfish, and ugly, and I'm not worth your time." The words were strained and pulled taunt, tight against the roof of her mouth. "I'm not beautiful, and I'm showing you."
The male didn't know what to say, his voice was gone. He reached out to her and reluctantly she allowed him to let his finger run over the contours of her cheek, he let it move up to her lips and he traced them too.
"But you're the one whose wrong Kat." He breathed at her, and the smile on his mouth was sincere. "You're beautiful always."
Dark brows angled down, lips contorting into a grimace, and her pupils grew to slits. "You're an idiot Mellark," she pulled sharply away from him, "You're stupid." Tears started to pull at her eyes, stinging and burning. "You don't know anything. You're blind, and you're taking less than what you deserve."
"No!" she hissed at him, voice raising a few octaves. "You don't know that you could have any girl, and you deserve one who will take care of you, who will let you look at her and kiss her without worrying about the scars she has all across her skin. You deserve a girl who will love you in a way that I can't."
He said her name again, reaching out to her and cradling her against his chest as the liquid started to escape the dam-like corners of her eyes. He hushed her and mumbled promises of everything being alright as she sobbed into him.
"Katniss, I know what I deserve." He said it evenly, and she felt her stupid heart break. The only end to this conversation was for him to leave her, and even though it would be better for him, the selfish part of her wanted to keep him.
"I deserve a beautiful girl. One I think about all the time, who would risk her life for me and take care of me in my darkest hours." He tightened his arms around her, crushing her into his torso. "I need a girl who is loyal and honest… but I already have her."
He pulled away so that he could look at her face, his thumb coming up and wiping away a stray tear that ran down her olive skin. "I have a girl I think about all day, one whose loyal, who has already risked her life for me multiple times. Who sits and waits with me when I have moments of weakness. That's the girl I deserve, and that is the girl I love."
Katniss opened her mouth, to try and persuade him again, but he silenced her with a glance of his blue eyes.
"Kat, every time I close my eyes, you're all I see. I can see the Capitol lights shining on your face before you'd get a nightmare and wake up. I can feel you kissing me in the cave with blood pouring out of your cut, your lips pressed against mine when we were sitting on that godforsaken beach in the Quarter Quell… I see you reaching for me with such relief on your face, and I can still see the confusion when I tried to choke you."
He breathed evenly, forehead coming to rest against hers. "You're all I see Kat," a ghost of a grin flittered across his mouth. Spreading delicately and fleetingly across his cheeks. "You're all I want to see."
And before she could retort his statements, twist his words and doubt herself, he kissed her. Let his lips press to hers, the smell of clean, sweet air on her skin. Her brows furrowed a moment, fighting internally with herself, but after a few seconds, she felt his warmth and realized that the hunger in her chest was screaming the fact that he was alive. And she moved her mouth with his, and tasted the comforting flavor of cheese bread on his lips.
"I swear," he breathed, folding her to him once more. "You're amazing, and loyal. Katniss you're the most beautiful girl I've ever seen, no matter what you do. So please, Kat, stay with me."
She nodded, tears leaking down her cheeks. "Always."
He grinned at that, the smile capturing the entirety of his features. It beamed from his eyes and twisted his lips cutely. "After all," he placed kisses over the chopped remains of her hair. "We're a matching set."