One Command

The cold air hurt her lungs as she breathed it in. it was as if frost was forming inside her, constricting her chest and making her throat raw. The snow kept falling as it piled up. One, two, three, four feet of snow. But Katniss plowed through it with determination and driven by fear. Not for herself, but for the one she loved. She walked as fast as the snow and wind would allow her until she reached his door, and banged on it mercilessly with her frozen fists. She didn't stop until he appeared, scruffy and with a bottle in hand.

Haymitch was her last choice for a source of help, but she couldn't get to anyone else fast enough in this storm. He frowned at her as she shivered in his doorway, knowing something must be wrong. It was 2:00 in the morning after all. He pushed his anger back after he saw the fear in her eyes and forced himself to try and sober up as much as possible for her.

"Trouble sleeping, sweetheart?" He asked, his voice gruff and thick from the alcohol.

"Haymitch, I need your help," she said, shoving him aside and letting herself in out of the cold. The stench of his house was almost repulsing enough to send her back out. Almost.

"Do you have any cough syrup or anything for someone sick?"

He held up his bottle in answer.

"That's non-alcoholic?"

Haymitch shook his head. "Of course not." He said and carelessly took another swig.

Haymitch noticed her eyes turn from fear to desperation as she wrung her hands.

"What's wrong?" he finally asked seriously.

"It's Peeta . . . he's really sick." She confessed.

Haymitch eyed her for a moment thinking over the various definitions of "sick". Head cold, the flu, a cough, sore throat, mentally sick . . . no that wouldn't be it, he's already that . . . a fever, love-sick.

"How sick?" He asked, grabbing his jacket and another bottle before heading for the door.

"He's shivering but he has a 104 degrees fever, he has a terrible cough and his flashbacks seem to be triggered more easily."

They don't say another word until they reach the room where Peeta lays under a mound of blankets.

Haymitch wasn't sure of what to do, but he does the basics first. He lays his hand over Peeta's forehead and frowns at how hot and dry it is. Peeta's eyes flash open and they are wild and clouded with fever. Just the sight of Katniss sends Peeta clinching the bed sheets and his breathing becomes heavy.

"Katniss, get out of here." Haymitch says as he holds down Peeta's wrists with his strong hands.

When Katniss clears the room, Haymitch tries to get Peeta to calm down. He only has one idea but uses it seeing he has nothing to lose. He holds Peeta down with one arm while the other brings up the bottle to Peeta's heated lips, forcing him to take rather large gulps as he tips the bottle. The alcohol seems to drag Peeta out of his flashback as it burns down his sore throat. His eyes are no longer wild but in pain as he shivers against Haymitch's touch.

Haymitch sets the bottle aside and places his palm over Peeta's eyes, closing them, giving him a minute to recollect himself. But it's hard for Peeta to do so because the cool skin of Haymitch's hand is so relieving and yet painful as he shivers and as heat radiates off him.

"Hay-Haymitch?" He asks hoarsely, the alcohol sticking to his dry throat.

"Settle down Peeta." Haymitch orders. He doesn't like how much heat is radiating off the younger victor.

"I'm sick . . . re-"

"Real." Haymitch cuts him off because he's tired and a bit hung-over and just wants to get out of there.

"Go to sleep Peeta," He instructs as he removes his palm from Peeta's eyes. Peeta is pale and his blue eyes have faded and his eyes are dark and heavy from nightmares. The sudden thought of Peeta dying comes over Haymitch's mind, and it makes him worry. Because if Peeta dies, then Katniss dies. Maybe not right away but it will eat at her until there's nothing left.

Before he leaves he feels the urge to give one last command that should have ingrained itself into Peeta's head by now.

"Stay alive."