A/N: Okay, so this is super random, but this little drabble popped into my head the other day so I sat down and wrote it in like 3 hours. That being said this probably sucks, so whatever lol. I just kinda decided I don't write enough from Peeta's POV and I want to get into that more. Also, apparently there's some rumor about fics being taken down? WTF? Anyways, if worse comes to worse you can find all my work on my livejournal account (the link is on my profile page!) I don't really understand why they would do that though because you would lose like half your business and what's the harm as long as it's rated M? haha. And finally PLEASE PLEASE review ;) I'm struggling to hold on to that muse haha.

I hear her before I see her.

She is laughing and carrying on with him. She sounds so much more warm and carefree than she ever lets herself be at school.

I only catch pieces of the conversation as they walk up to the backdoor together. I stay hidden around the corner near the pig pen.

I let myself study her carefully. It's spring so the woods must be alive with squirrels and deer and other animals to feed herself and her family. I can tell. Her face isn't hallow, she doesn't look like she is drowning in her clothes, and there's a light in her eyes that only means she isn't worrying about her next meal.

I watch with a mix of fascination and envy at the way the pair of them interact. How she nudges him in the ribs with her elbow, how he tugs on her braid affectionately. They make each other laugh. There is a kind of familiarity between them from all the hours they spend out hunting in the woods together. For someone who has never spoken to her it seems like a fantasy to ever have that.

I keep hidden around the corner, pretending to busy myself with the task of feeding the pigs al the unsold, stale bread as they exchange a few squirrels for some rolls with my father.

When they are finished and I can hear their figures retreating I let myself emerge, heading towards the backdoor as I wipe my hands on the apron. I'm just approaching the door when I hear footsteps behind me.

I look back to be met with the sight of Katniss stopping in her tracks, eyes widening at the sight of me.

"Oh...um...uh," she mumbles and diverts her gaze to the ground, avoiding my eyes. I swallow hard feeling the knot in my chest tighten. For loving her as much as I do the cold hard reality of having her standing right in front of me is much more terrifying than thrilling.

I'm just about to open my mouth to say something when the door opens and my father emerges. I can feel his gaze on me as he looks between us and realization sinks in. I know he's always known. He's never said anything to me, but he's caught me watching her walk by the shop on more than one occasion.

My father clears his throat and steps past me towards Katniss. She keeps her eyes down and speaks quietly. "I just remembered...I wanted to trade two squirrels for one of those cookies with the frosting decorations instead of a roll. It's for my sister."

My father looks back at me and gestures with his head inside. I take the cue and slip inside, my heart pounding hard and fast and my hands trembling as I grab the freshest cookie I can find. I take the one with the most intricate pattern, wanting her to see my handiwork. I return outside and hand my father the cookie.

I think I see her eyes on me, but when I spare a look she is gazing at the ground again. My father hands it to her and tells her there is no charge. I beam internally, proud and grateful that my dad is kind and compassionate and all the things my mother is not.

She pulls two rolls out of her bag and tries to hand them back to my father, insisting she would like to pay for it.

"My girl, what would I do with rolls that have already been sold? They would have to go in the trash if you make me take them back," My father replies and I can see the conflict in her eyes. I see that she would like to be gracious, but would like not to take handouts most of all.

"Thank you," she murmurs and for the briefest moment before she turns to leave her eyes dart up and she looks directly at me. It feels like I can't breathe with those grey eyes staring straight through me. I watch her go, lightly jogging to catch up with him waiting a little ways down the road, towards the Seam.

That night I find myself consumed with thoughts of her. Sometimes she just lingers in the back of my mind, like a memory you always carry around with you, impossible to forget. Other times, like right now, she is all I can think about. I recall her easy laugh as she joked around with him and let myself pretend I could make her sound like that.

I think about her long, dark hair and what it would be like to run my hands through it. I think about the feel of her skin under my hands, what it would be like to hold her, to feel her lips pressed against my own.

It's not long before I know there is going to be only one way to alleviate my growing arousal tonight. I let a hand drift down and slip into my boxers, grasping myself firmly. I say a silent thanks that my older brothers share a room and allow me some privacy, even if my space is about the size of a broom closet.

I pump myself up and down, letting my imagination run wild. I imagine that she could actually want me as much as I want her. I imagine her letting me see her naked, her perk and perfectly sized breasts exposed for me. Her slender, lean body, with her narrow waist and curved hips all for my greedy eyes to take in. The thought of tasting her, of my lips against her skin, of her mouth on me has me bucking into my hand.

I pump faster using the moisture that has leaked from my tip to ease my movements. The idea of ever actually being with or seeing Katniss like this is so far-fetched and unrealistic I let my imagination get carried away.

I imagine how wet and tight she would be and the thought of being inside her makes me lose all control. I come in short spurts over my stomach and hand and I'm breathing hard and trembling slightly as I slowly recover.

It's not the first time I've let myself think about her this way to find release and it probably won't be the last. I've always loved her from afar and that will probably never change. This is all I'll ever have.

I've come to accept that.

She presses her lips to mine but pulls away much too quickly.

I know I'm practically on death's door, but I don't think I've ever felt more alive. Even if it was too short and she was just doing it to get me to shut up. The feel of her lips against mine is ingrained in my memory.

It's comical really, that we would have to be thrown into these dire circumstances for me to finally get a chance to talk to her, to be with her. All I can think is that if I don't make it out of here alive, that if these are my last few hours left, which is looking more and more like a reality, that at least I was granted the proverbial dying man's wish.

I finally talked to Katniss Everdeen. I know what it's like to feel her hands against me, to feel her lips against mine. It's not a bad way to go out.

In the cave, through the trembling and my worsening condition I am grateful to have her warm body pressed against my own. At least I don't have to be alone I think. At least she will be at my side when I go.

When I wake up what seems like days later and my leg is practically healed and she is bleeding from a head wound beside me I am paralyzed with terror. For a moment all I can think is the absolute worst, that she gave her life to save me. I would rather end it all right now than go home without her. Now that I know what it feels like to talk to her, to kiss her, to have her actually know I exist, I can't imagine going back to how it used to be.

And now, when she's better, and I'm better, and we're holed up in this cave while the rain comes down relentlessly outside, I realize that she is who I thought she was. Never having actually talked to her all my life, watching her from afar, loving this girl because of something that happened when we were 6 years old, it wouldn't have been all that surprising if I was just in love with a fantasy rather than reality.

But she is the girl I pined after. She loves her sister more than anything in the world. She is compassionate and tender and she can be stubborn. She has a spark in her eye that makes my stomach clench and everything she does fascinates me. When she kisses me for real, lips slightly parted, soft and then passionate, I know I'll never feel this way about someone else, that I'm in love with this girl for good.

I crawl into her bed after hearing cries and shouts coming from her room on the train. She lets me comfort her. I calm her down from the nightmares that were just torturing her, that have left her breathless and slightly sweaty. I smooth a hand over her hair telling her it's okay.

Slowly she starts to relax and clings to me desperately, like I'm the only thing holding her together. I rub my hands up and down her back, trying to soothe her worries, trying to silently tell her how much I care.

It's strange being stuck in this situation where we're friends, but more than just that too. I know this tour is nothing but awful memories for her, seeing the families of those who had to die so we could live. It is killing her slowly every day, a constant reminder of the horrors of the games.

All I want to do is help her, make it as easy as possible to keep up this star-crossed lovers facade to ease tension in the districts and keep Snow happy. I can tell that this is difficult for her, maybe not so much having to fake feelings for me, but being a pond in the Capitol's games.

I don't know what she feels about me. When we got back from the games I was so angry and hurt and mad that I had let myself actually believe she cared about me at all. As time started to pass I realized that I was being unfair, that she did care in her own way, that Katniss was not completely heartless and cruel. I think I know her well enough now to know she wasn't manipulating me, she was doing what it took to get us home and maybe not all of it, but some of what she did was genuine.

I know I can't pressure her about her feelings, not now, not in the situation we're in. It isn't fear to ask what's going on between her and Gale or how much she really cares about me. I have to push away all those selfish thoughts and realize the kind of emotional distress she is going through.

I can hold her in my arms and help her calm down from her nightmares, but nothing more. Holding her in my arms though, feeling every inch of her pressed up against me is so tempting. Her hair is so soft and her skin is so warm that as I feel my body start to relax and the pull of sleep gets stronger I am less conscious about my hands on her, my body against hers.

I press my chest into her back and trail my hands down to her hips and pull her so she is flush against me. I moan softly, it feels so good to hold her like this. Her slow, deep breathing lulls me into a heavy sleep that is filled with nothing but thoughts of her.

I wake the next morning feeling so content and at ease all I want to do is stay in this same position forever. My face is buried into something heavenly and soft. There is just warm skin and muscle pressed against every inch of me. I reach out and pull it more firmly against me, the weight and pressure feels amazing against my erection. I push my hips against the solid mass and then freeze, my eyes shooting open.

That solid mass of warm skin and muscle is not some heavenly imagined thing in my dreams, it's Katniss and I'm practically grinding my erection into her.

I jerk my hips away immediately. I clear my throat and realize that the way her hand is placed over mine, rubbing small circles on the back of my hand means she is awake and she has been for a while.

"Um sorry..." I mumble pulling myself away from her grip. Her hand holds onto mine for a moment longer, until she absolutely has to let go and I practically run to the bathroom.

My face is red from embarrassment, but I console myself with the fact she didn't pull away in disgust or scream at me. It is all too easy to let myself get carried away with how I feel when I'm around her, but I push those thoughts aside and remind myself my only concern is her well-being.

Slowly, we start to heal together.

We help each other recover from the lasting effects of the war. She helps bring me back to reality when a flashback hits. I hold her in my arms when a nightmare leaves her terrified and distraught.

As every week passes we feel more at ease, more comfortable with each other. We talk a lot more. We work on the book almost every day. Sometimes the memories make us laugh and give us a sense of purpose, a reminder that we should not live our lives in vain when so much was lost. Other times it feels like it sets us back even further, when a flashback hits me with such force I don't trust myself to be around her for a while, or a certain memory makes her shut down completely for a few days.

As time passes it gets harder and harder to ignore what's between us. We can no longer hide behind the facade of helping each other heal. It becomes glaringly obvious there is more between us than just being partners in the grieving process. Little touches that linger too long, looks than convey more than just friendship, they all start to add up.

Sometimes I think I'm ready to explore that part of our relationship again, remind myself why I've always loved her, why I've always been attracted to her. Other times I'm not sure if I can handle it, if I trust myself to be that close to her again. I think she feels the same way.

Once, when we were working on the book, I was certain she was going to kiss me. She held my gaze for a long moment and let her eyes drift down to my lips. We both held our breath and seemed frozen in time. I waited, and prayed, for her to lean in and let our lips meet, but I could see the fear in her eyes and she hesitated.

It was enough to make me realize that maybe I'd have to be the one to initiate it. That maybe she is too unsure and scared and still hurting to realize that it's okay to have this again, that it's okay to want to feel good.

So when she tells me she wants to take me somewhere out in the woods I decide I'll be the one to take the first step. She leads me on a long trek and my bad leg starts to hurt and I'm just about to ask for a breather when we arrive at a lake.

It's beautiful. I've never seen a body of water like this before. I caught a glimpse of the ocean once in District 4 on the victory tour, but this is much smaller and more peaceful and serene. We take a seat on the ground near the water's edge and I marvel at how nice the weather is and how she can still look gorgeous after a hike like that.

She starts telling me about how her dad used to take her here and how he taught her how to swim. I smile and watch her speak, the joy and pain of talking about her father both playing out on her lovely features.

When she finishes speaking we both sit in silence for a while, the sound of the water and the birds in the trees the only noises around us.

"Thanks for bringing me here," I say reaching out to grasp her hand.

She looks at me shyly and bites down on her bottom lip. "I wanted to share it with you," she whispers and I can't wait anymore.

I pull her towards me and cup the side of her face in my hand. Our lips meet in a gentle kiss and I feel alive again for the first time in months. Everything inside me responds, the feel of her, the taste of her, it's all as good as I remember it being.

The kiss is soft and sweet and innocent. She pulls away and smiles at me, a tear running down her cheek that I brush away.

I lay her down on her back and hover over her, most of my weight resting to the side. We don't say anything, I just gaze down into her eyes as she looks up at me. Her hands trail along my arms and up and down my back as I caress her cheek and smooth her hair out of her face.

"I still love you," the words leave me without my consent but once they've been said I don't regret them.

She gives me a small smile and pulls me down for a kiss again.

"Say it again," she requests when we pull apart.

"Katniss," I say letting my hand find the curve of her waist and then rest on her hip, "I love you."

She doesn't return the sentiment, but kisses me again instead.

But that night, when she wakes from a nightmare I comfort her. Holding her in my arms and whispering soothing words soon turns into heated kisses and exploring hands. We make love and she tells me in her own way what I've wanted my whole life.

And when she says 'real' I know it has been that way all along.

When I see her with our children I am filled with a thousand different emotions.

Mostly, I'm so grateful she finally agreed. I'm so glad she decided that she could overcome her fear, that she wanted to do this for me, that she could handle it. Like I always knew she would be, she is an amazing mother. The same way she loved and protected Prim with everything she had, she is equally as nurturing with our son and daughter.

I never lose that same feeling I had when I was a teenager and I loved her from afar. I watch her getting dress in the morning and I feel a stiffening in my pants. I see her making dinner and I can't help coming over and taking her in my arms.

She gets home from a long day out in the woods right at dinner time. She is dirty and sweaty and her hair is greasy and her clothes smell. I feed the kids dinner and she helps me get them ready for bed before she even takes off her hunting jacket.

Later, when the kids are finally dozing off I drag her into our room. I pull her into our bathroom and take my time removing every article of clothing, leaving them carelessly tossed on the floor.

I want to make love to her over and over again until we both collapse in exhaustion. Sometimes the need to take her, to claim her as mine, courses through me so strongly I just can't ignore it. The feel of her naked body against mine as we stand under the steaming hot water of the shower is intoxicating. I pull her against me and grind my hardness against her. She gives me a sly smile and reaches down, taking me in her hand.

I start to breathe heavily, knowing I need her now. I turn her around in my arms and use one hand to push her so she is leaning forward a little and the other to grasp her hips. I enter her from behind and we moan in unison.

She pants my name and starts pushing back against me as my thrusts grow in more urgency. She cries out in ecstasy when I push her over the edge and we take a moment to recover, clinging to one other.

We wash one other, and let the soap and water cleanse the day's work from our skin. We finally emerge from the bathroom what feels like hours later and crawl into bed. I can tell it is one of those nights. We don't need to say anything, we both know what the other wants.

Being together for as long as we have makes us so in tune with the other's needs. She takes me in her mouth and she works her usual magic so I come moments later. My wife knows my body better than I do.

Every time we do this feels as good as that first time. I love knowing we've only ever shared this with each other, that every time we do this we celebrate the life we've built post-war.

When I recover I sit up so my back rests against the headboard. I pull her into my lap and lower her over my length. She groans and tosses her head back, clinging to my shoulders.

"You feel so big this way," she purrs.

"Aren't I always big?" I pant, working my hips in a circular motion like I know she likes.

"You're huge," she grins leaning in to kiss me. "Fuck...Peeta...," she breathes as we climb that mountain together.

"What do you want?" I ask, leaning her towards the bed so she lays on her back while I hover above her, still inside her.

"Faster..." she breathes and I build up my speed until she is practically screaming my name.

"Come for me," I demand and she falls apart in my hands. I follow soon after, letting myself go and then collapsing down on top of her.

We cling to each other, basking in the glow of our love making. I remember briefly when I was young and the thought of doing this with her was something I could only imagine in my wildest dreams.

Everyday I think how lucky I am. I may have had to endure the worst life has to offer, but I've also been rewarded with the best. If that was what I had to go through in order to get this, it was completely worth it. I would do it all over again.

Now I call this woman my wife and mother of my children.

Everything, all the pain and loss, was worth it, I decide. This was worth it.