Title: You Are Home
Written for: Rose Melissa Ivashkov
Written By: TLCullen132 aka Indie Mellark
Summary/Prompt used: Prompt 1: Gunslinger by Avenged Sevenfold
Katniss is finally headed back to District 12 after being detained in the Capital for much longer than anyone thought she would be. Post MJ AU.
If you would like to see all the stories that are a part of this exchange visit the facebook group: Fanficaholics Anon: Where Obsession Never Sleeps or add the C2 to get all the stories direct to your inbox.
community / Fagetastic_Four /98339/
Disclaimer: Suzanne Collins owns Hunger Games while I own PSE Archery Mustang Recurve Bow to hunt with…
A/N at bottom
I gasp for breath, covered in sweat, frantically searching the sheets. With the little light coming through the blinds I can see there is nothing. Nothing but the pearl grasped in my hand. I slowly practice the deep breathing Dr. Aurelius told me about and try to lay back down. Still counting my breaths, I attempt to let the gentle rocking of the train lull me back into sleep for just a few more hours until it is a more acceptable waking hour.
Sweet memories of arms so tight, wrapped in an all encompassing embrace, I never have felt so safe. I must be imagining that the pillow I am holding so tight to my chest right now still holds his smell. These are but a few things along with the pearl to help me back into what I hope to be a dark, dreamless sleep.
I am woken by none other than Buttercup, wailing to be fed right beside my head. I should have let Mom take him to District 4 with her. I must have been crazy when I decided to take him with me back to District 12. We seemed to come to some sort of truce, though he was always trying to push my buttons, too. I guess I just didn't have the heart to get either leave him behind or let him go, since he's all that I have left of her. She loved him so much, probably as much as I loved her; she had a heart so big while it seemed mine was so small.
I stumble to my bathroom, follow through with my morning routine, and put on the only thing I have available to wear: District 13's gray uniform. When I make my way to the food car, Buttercup follows right at my feet making a noise similar to the wailing, like he's telling me to hurry up with getting his breakfast.
I think to myself I may just lock him out of the house indefinitely when we get back...
But as I put his food in his dish and place it on the ground, he actually nuzzles my hand and gives me a small lick as if he's telling me thanks.
I guess she was right all along; I do secretly have a soft spot for Buttercup.
I dip the last bite of my bread to collect every remaining dreg of hot chocolate in my cup. With this action, he comes to mind. It's been several months now since I've even heard his voice, but I hear it nightly in my nightmares screaming out my name.
They kept me under strict observation long after the trial lasted, then one day I could no longer hold my mask in front of the good doctor, and he said I finally had a breakthrough. From there I was placed in a program to reintroduce me back into adapting into everyday life. I was given lovely opportunity to be staying with Johanna and Annie, and while it was an interesting experience it's one I don't want to repeat anytime soon. I still had to report daily to Aurlieus, but after awhile it became weekly and finally monthly at which point they gave me the option to go back to District 12. This is what I had been waiting for, my chance.
This is a room that we shared, when I knew, absolutely, how he felt about me and I used it and abused his love. I see him everywhere but I know he's not really here. And he may never be there again. The Capital may have taken my bread boy and turned him into something that we may never be able to get past. That's what my nightmares are about.
As I lay back down in the bed at one point I shared with him, the regrets flood over me the moment I close my eyes.
His eyes so blue they put the ocean that we saw together for the first time in District 4 to shame. I shouldn't have kept myself so closed. I was such a stupid girl.
I miss him sometimes so much it's hard to breathe.
His sweet breath in my hair.
The feel of his lips pressing against my forehead.
The way his eyes would penetrate deep into mine.
Sometimes he would hold me so tight; I couldn't help but burrow in closer so I could be held even tighter.
I shouldn't have pushed him away.
I roll over and hold the pillow that just barely still holds his smell and bury my nose in its softness. It's still no substitute for the man I wish it could be.
But I swear on my love for my sister, Prim, I will do everything to make it right.
Katniss, why… why'd you leave me…
How could you…
After everything we've been through…
I am jolted awake, I don't even remember falling asleep. I feel the wetness on my cheeks and I wipe it away as I hear Effie banging on the door telling me it's not proper to sleep the day away. Well Effie if I could only truly sleep…
I can't imagine much has been changed since I went to 12 right after I woke back up from being rescued from the arena and being taken to District 13. Much was rubble and ash. Seeing it broke my heart, but I had to keep the mask of it not truly showing any weakness in front of anyone. I had to keep trudging on, be brave when all I wanted to do was curl up and weep for days. I am just a girl after all, one who has had to grow up faster than some would deem acceptable.
It killed me inside.
To grow up so fast.
First my father, his voice lit up my world. My innocence was wrapped in his voice. When it stopped, I thought my world ended. In a way I was right, in a way I was wrong, so wrong. I had to pick up the pieces, because the world did end for the one person I had left to count on. I think it was my father's resilience that allowed for me to try being the person for Prim to rely on. I couldn't let her have no one, to have her innocence stripped away along with mine. She deserved the world.
With that determination I met what would become my blinding hope.
My boy who sacrificed more than he should have ever had to.
My boy who took a chance in saving me with a couple loaves of bread.
Things changed, time moved on. Until the one thing I didn't even remotely imagine would happen. Prim's name was drawn from that glass ball and I couldn't let her go. She still deserved the world and more. In that moment I felt my father beside me and with his strength I raised my voice louder and louder. Prim would stay, I would try to do the unthinkable and make it back so I could give her the world.
Then my heart shattered. And everything else came tumbling down when what was suppose to be my blinding hope was announced to be my district partner.
Everything I did in the games was for Prim; everything Peeta did in the games was for inadvertently for Prim, too. There wasn't a choice for either one of us.
After trying to choke down some food from lunch, I sit in the window seat staring out at the open fields of District 10. It's only a few more hours until we reach District 12. My nerves are starting to fray and I can't help fiddling with the pearl in my pocket.
I wonder how Peeta is faring being stuck with only Haymitch in District 12. Given that the doctors felt since they extracted most of the tracker jacker venom from Peeta's system that it might help progress his healing faster to be in a familiar place. Where there were memories of things before the games, a place and time in his memories that the Capital couldn't breach. To let him realize himself what was real and what wasn't. And they hoped the remaining venom left would eventually burn out of his system. Basically they wanted him out of sight, out of mind, I think considering that these so called doctors were loyalist to Coin. And Coin would've preferred to let them rot away in the Capital's cell to begin with then to actually help them.
Are they taking care of each other?
Do they know I will be arriving around sunset today?
Will they be at the station when the train gets there?
Will he even want to see me, be near me at all?
What if he never is able to look at me like he once did, with so much love, if I wasn't so cold I could have swam in his gaze?
Buttercup jumps up on the seat next to me and I almost jump out of my skin.
He uncharacteristically nudges my hand with his head, and alas I can't help but scratch behind his ears.
"Buttercup, what will I do if no one is there to greet me?"
He looks up at me and I think I might just see pity in his eyes.
I stand up and I start to pace hugging my arms around myself.
When I last saw Peeta, things weren't so clear.
Deep down I am the one to blame. If I hadn't played those childish games with Peeta's heart; the Capital would've never been ever infiltrate his thoughts. I put the knife in his heart so, so many times.
I walked away from him.
I left him in the standing in the rain.
I pushed him further and further away.
My selfishness knows no bounds.
I took more than I should have.
I couldn't be there when he woke from his nightmares.
I couldn't keep him safe.
How could I ever expect it to go back to the way it was before?
It's a crazy notion.
Even crazier to think he would ever want me again.
Did he ever catch on how scared I was?
Scared to feel things for real?
Scared to be close to anyone?
Scared that I would lose myself in him?
Scared I would no longer be the same?
I didn't mean it to hurt him.
I just wanted to give Prim the world.
I just wanted to keep them safe.
I just wanted them to live.
There was no world without their blue eyes shining.
Did he know he was my blinding hope?
He represented everything good and pure in my world.
His daydreams, his ideals were mine too.
Did the day on the roof or the night on the beach mean nothing?
Could he see what I really felt deep down inside when he looked at me?
When we were face to face, nose to nose, breathing each other's air and when we stared into each other's eyes.
How I hoped he could understand what it felt to be me in those moments; that I had to hide it from the evil that surrounded us every moment.
"Katniss, Katniss! We have arrived. And right on schedule too!"
I look around me and somehow I have ended up in the corner a blubbering shaking mess. I glancing up, I see the sun is going down over District 12. I fear they may have to drag me off this train at this point. Now that I am here all I want to do is turn around and go back to the Capital and stay with Jo and Annie. Things were alright with them, I could help take care of baby Finnick, and it wasn't so terrible there.
"Katniss, come on. It's time to disembark."
I don't think I can even stand and my voice comes out shaky when I tell Effie, "Just a moment."
I crawl over to the bench where Buttercup has fallen asleep and I try to hold on to him for dear life. I have a brief notion of making them drag me off this train.
Seriously what am I going to do if he's not there?
"Katniss! Your tardiness is beyond rude, it's impolite to make people wait for you."
People are waiting…
Just maybe he's there…
"Alright, damn Effie." I mutter to myself and pray she didn't hear it.
Somehow, my feet make it to the door and with my spare hand I open the door. Effie is standing there looking like she just sucked on something really sour. Like a lemon. "Seriously Effie, get a grip," as I roll my eyes at her.
"Your attitude is neither needed nor appreciated."
"Oh, if you only knew Effie, if only"
I don't exactly know how I made it to the front to get off this train, but it feels like something is just pulling me along and I am forced to move with it.
I close my eyes and take a deep breath. I am brought back to reality by Buttercup, of course, who is trying to crawl up the rest of my torso to get to who knows where. Stupid, pain in the ass cat.
When I get to the bottom of the step and look away from Buttercup, I see my future there.
He is there.
His blonde hair shines so brightly it lights up my darkness.
His blue eyes glisten more than the ocean in District 4.
In his hands is a loaf of bread. Bread showing that it's filled with raisins and nuts. It's the same bread that gave me hope all those years ago.
My mouth becomes so dry all of a sudden that I have to make myself produce some saliva just to get his name past my lips and even then it comes out as a slight stutter.
"Puh, Puh, Peeta? You, you, you actually came."
My legs feel like they've suddenly have turned to rubber, causing Peeta to take a step forward and he leans down to my ear and breathes, "I thought you knew, when you asked me to stay with you, I told you always. And I meant it then and I mean it now. Always, Katniss, always."
With that he takes his free hand and wipes away the river that has started to stream down my cheek.
After he's wiped my face clear of any tears, he reaches for my free hand and says, "Together."
E/N- First I want to say Rose, I really hope you enjoy this. Your song screamed their pairing and situation to me the moment I heard it for the first time. Thank you also for introducing me to a "new" music group :D!
Secondly, Thank You to QuantumFizzX for being an all star beta! Much Love for all your hard work.
Lastly, I would be nothing without my pre-readers, proofreading, hand holders, cheer squad that consists of Ro Nordmann, Zen One and DustWriter.
All these are amazing women and amazing authors. Go and run and check them out.
All inspiration, music, pics and more can be found on my new tumblr account…
tlcullen132. tumblr (just remove the spaces)