A/N: It's been too long… I hope I haven't lost any of you. Please take caution when reading this chapter. I'm afraid it gets a wee bit sad.

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Chapter 10


Katniss gasps for like the fifth time since I've had her on her back here on the dock.

It's dark and everyone should be sleeping... we should even be sleeping. At least, I'm praying everyone else is asleep.

I rake my hand over her quivering bare legs one more time. We've been at this for more than an hour. Actually, we've been at this for six weeks now. Her lips haven't left mine since we came out here after cleaning up after supper. We sat on the porch until one by one everyone else disappeared, leaving the two of us alone. That's when we raced to the pond where her lips collided roughly with mine and we fell to the ground together.

Her body is so incredibly warm, having been sunburned under the hot sun today while she worked tirelessly in the garden, gathering all the green beans for canning. She picked through tomatoes, onions and lettuce before picking berries that dyed her fingers pink.

She looks beautiful… no make-up, hair down and messy and dressed in her tiny jean shorts and a plain grey tank top.

"You better take me home with you tonight," she tells me, smiling widely and biting my Adam's apple.

The soft bite makes me grab onto her hip, "You'll have to try harder than that, babe."

Her smile turns almost wicked, distracting me momentarily from where her hand is heading. But she's got my full attention when she purposefully rubs her hand along the front of my jeans, where she's sure to feel I'm hard as a rock for her.

She's got me. I can't stop the groan from my throat as I hoist her and myself off the dock. I'm so in awe of her beauty that it takes me a moment to even register that we're leaving… that in less than ten minutes, she'll be naked in my bed. She gets into my truck and I slide in on the other side before starting it up. She immediately starts singing along with the song playing on the radio, her red toenails up on the dashboard, and we don't get too far down the road before I pull over and kill the engine. She doesn't even have time to give me a confused look before I grab her around the waist and pull her to me, kissing her hard.I can't wait any longer," I tell her, pushing her shirt up along with her bra, exposing her dark rosy tipped breasts.

She takes her shirt off the rest of the way and quickly unbuttons her shorts and slides them down her long legs, along with her blue thong.

Somehow in the confined space of my truck, she manages to flip us so she's straddling my legs, her hot center rubbing against the fabric of my jeans.

"Fuck, Katniss," I growl as she moves her body over mine while latching her lips onto my neck.

I slide my hand between us and I'm sure she's expecting me to undo my jeans and let myself free, but instead I slip two fingers through her wet folds. When my fingers graze her clit, she cries out and presses her forehead against mine, breathing heavily. Her hips start to rise and fall with the motions of my hand and I grow harder in my jeans than I ever thought possible.

In the last six weeks, since our first time together, we don't waste any time. We want to be together and when we're intimate… we're really intimate. I try to show her how badly I want her just by looking at her and touching her, but she shows me by the way her body responds to my own.

"You're already so wet…"

She makes a soft whimpering sound in the back of her throat and her breathing picks up even more. That's when I can really tell when she's about to come… her breath comes fast and hard. I take my fingers out of her and she's about to protest, but she sees me reaching for my jeans. Her eyes widen and never leave mine as she helps release my throbbing cock.

It's dark enough outside on this deserted road that there's no way anyone could find us right now. And even if someone does drive by, I can quickly lay us both down on the seat to hide from prying eyes.

Soon I'm lifting her hips, just a little bit and when I slowly set her back down, I'm inside her. My head falls back against the headrest as the heat and tightness I've grown so familiar with envelopes my cock.

"Yeah, baby," I say with a harsh breath of air.

She slides down onto me some more until I'm buried to the hilt… right where I'm meant to be. She sucks in a breath and looks into my eyes and that's how we make love tonight… rough, quick and never taking our eyes off each other.

The next morning, after saying good morning in our favorite way, Katniss rides with us to the farm to start our day. She has to work today, although thankfully not late because I took the evening off so we could go to the drive-in to see some movie that neither of us has ever heard of. She sits in the middle between Gale and myself and she's yawning, tired from being kept awake all night by all the energy she causes in me. I can't get enough of her… and not just her body, but we talked for hours too.

Also in the last six weeks, the weather has let up a little bit, but it's still hot. We're working overtime in the fields to get ready for harvesting the crops. Rory and Prim are doing well in their new home and she's just started her training at the technical college. She's already trying to get Katniss to let her do something else with her hair. I'm thankful Katniss always says no… I wouldn't change a thing about her. Gale still hasn't asked Madge Undersee to marry him, but I watch him take the ring out of his top drawer to look at it almost every night. I don't remember how many times I've told him to get it over with, but he always shrugs.

The rest of the Hawthorne's and Kate are waiting for us when we get to the house. I have noticed in the last few weeks that Kate's been looking thinner and paler, but I never remember to ask Katniss about it when we're alone together. When we get to the house, I kiss Katniss one last time before she goes off to get ready for work. I eat a quick breakfast and we're out in the fields for a long day.

Early in the afternoon, I'm changing the oil in Rory's truck when Katniss arrives home from work. I look up when I hear her truck, but when she looks at me, the smile doesn't quite meet her eyes. She looks pale and shaky and for a moment, I'm worried that her blood sugar is too low again. That's something I really don't want to experience again. She manages to give me a small wave when she walks up the steps to the house.

I watch the door for a while after she disappears behind it, but then I decide that she's probably just tired and maybe not feeling well. But after about twenty minutes, I hear the sirens…

I look up from under the hood of the truck and see an ambulance turning onto Everdeen Road, coming right towards the farm. I feel like I'm watching the scene before me in slow motion. The ambulance pulls into the driveway. Gale, Rory and Vick all come running towards the house. Gale is shouting, but I can't understand what he's saying. Three EMT's get out of the ambulance and I watch them roll out the stretcher.

And that's when I snap out of it. I run as fast as I can to the house, not caring that my hands are filthy with oil or that I'm tracking on the kitchen floor and through the living room. There I see Hazel, leaning against the wall and crying into her hands. I think my heart really stops.

"Mrs. Hawthorne, where's Katniss?"

She looks at me and then at Gale, Rory and Vick behind me. Then the EMT's come into the house. Hazel quickly dries her eyes and motions for them to go up the stairs. I take off ahead of them at top speed.

"Katniss! Katniss!"

I hear nothing but someone crying behind one of the bedroom doors. I go over to it as quick as I can, but again it feels like slow motion and everything is hazy. But when I open the door, relief floods through my body when I see Katniss on her knees by the bed, her head buried between her knees and her body wracking with sobs. I've never been so happy to see someone awake… alive… breathing, even if she's crying hysterically.

And then I see Kate Everdeen… or at least what was Kate Everdeen. Her thin pale body is lying motionless in her bed. I notice the handwritten note resting on the pillow and the shocking red of blood smeared all over the white cotton sheets. A small pistol lies on the floor behind Katniss.

And there's a bullet hole through her mother's head.