Hey guys, this plot bunny just attacked my mind the other day. I know it's been forever since I posted anything D: its been a hectic summer I tell ya. I'm gonna try my best to update everything again once the summer settles down a bit (which is soon, I promise).
Peeta's awake already, sitting on the side of the bed, looking bewildered as the trio of doctors reassure him, flash lights in his eyes, checks his pulse. I'm disappointed that mine was not the first face he saw when he woke up, but he sees it now. His features register disbelief and something more intense that I can't quite place. Desire? Desperation? Surely both, for he sweeps the doctors aside, leaps to his feets and moves towards me. I run to meet him, my arms extended to embrace him. His hands are reaching for mine too, to caress my face, I think.
My lips are forming his name when his fingers lock around my throat.
XXX XXX XXX
"Katniss. Katniss." I hear him the first time but cannot find the strength within me raise my head.
"Katniss, they need you in there. It's about Peeta. Actually...it is Peeta." My eyes meet Finnick's urgent ones and I finally uncross my legs and stand to meet him at eye level. He looks just as tired as I am, his hair disheveled, and with dark shadows under his eyes.
"Is he...Is he better?" My throat still aches from the assault but I don't allow myself to show any pain. I don't even allow myself to acknowledge the pain.
"I don't know. I honestly don't. They asked me to try to convince you to come see him. Apparently he's asked for you. Or, or they've asked for you, or something. Maybe you could give it a try?"
"I don't need convincing." I shake my head like a child, my eyes begging him to take me where I am needed.
"Okay." Finnick simply nods and turns around. I follow him through a labyrinth of hallways. There are no windows and I get lost the moment we step outside of my room. Grabbing on to Finnick's arm, he notices my confusion and slows down. "It's not far, Katniss."
Again all I can manage is a nod. I need to see him so urgently, I can't stand the pain anymore. My jealousy of Finnick is intense but I try not to show it. It isn't his fault that Annie is okay and not Peeta.
"Ms. Everdeen." Plutarch Heavensbee greets me formally. "Thank you for coming, the doctor informed me that this would be crucial for Peeta's psychological development."
"What happened to him?" I cut straight to the point. Something has happened to Peeta and I need to know what. Especially if I was going to be their god damn Mockingjay, I would get what I want.
"While he was in the Capitol, we are aware that Peeta was being treated with several forms of torture. His psychological state certainly tells us that much. However, the Capitol did something that we had considered to be impossible before seeing it for ourselves."
"Well, what is it?" Finnick demands one second before I could.
"The term we use to refer to it is 'hijacking'. Essentially, the Capitol has taken over a part of his brain. Hijacked it. Hijack literally means 'to seize'. At this point, the Capitol can control anything and everything that Peeta does. Actions, thoughts, words. Everything. However, fortunately for us, being this far away, and underground as well, the actual hijacking capabilities that they have are very limited. That's why Peeta's... episode... only lasted five... ten minutes. Tops."
"Is that it now? They have control of him? Forever? We can't, we can't change it? He'll never be himself again?" Tears are streaming down my face as I imagine a world without the sweet, selfless person that Peeta is. Just as when his heart stopped in the quell, I can feel my entire body begin to shrivel up. Only the Capitol could be so cruel as to take someone as sweet as Peeta away from the world.
"Not exactly. We're working on the technology for it right now, trying to determine the safest way to extract the Capitol part of his brain. It's essentially a chip, you see. There is a capsule in his brain the size of a human thumb, according to the x-ray. If we can extract that, then everything is back to normal. But for now...Peeta needs to learn to overcome it. He needs to have control over his episodes."
"Do you think he can do it?"
"So what do you need me for?"
Plutarch sighs. "It's...an angle. Peeta needs motivation. He doesn't want to see you, he's afraid he'll hurt you again. But we need him to be so afraid of hurting you that he overcomes this. Does that make sense?"
I nod urgently. I want to see Peeta so bad, I need to. I absolutely need him.
"Because if he doesn't overcome this... He becomes a threat. We can't afford a threat, we're barely winning this war, Katniss. If he can't overcome this, we have to eliminate him."
There is a beat of silence before the meaning behind his words hit me. "No." I grab Plutarch by his collar, and before Finnick can even consider stopping me, I have him pinned against the wall. "No! You eliminate Peeta, and you have no Mockingjay. No rebellion, no nothing!"
"Katniss, you don't understand. Peeta won't be able to participate in the war effor-"
"Peeta. Is not. Expendable." My anger for him is so strong, I could kill him, right here, right now. If I had a knife right now, I'd be in business.
"Katniss." Finnick pulls me back effortlessly. "Just go see him. It'll calm you down."
Plutarch, although still shook up, unlocks the door behind him and lets me in. The moment my feet cross the threshold of the door, it clicks shut behind me. I reach back to grab the handle, but it doesn't move. I've been locked in.
"Katniss!" Peeta's strained voice makes my heart ache. "Katniss! Stay back!" He demands. My eyes scan him before I can fully understand.
He is held back by three restraints, a harsh metal band holding his midsection to the wall and two smaller, metal constraints that pinned his arms to his sides.
"Oh, Peeta." I rush to his side to find some way to remove them. "Why did they do this to you?"
"Why do you think? I can see the bruises, I know that was me." Peeta's chin tilts towards the red marks left on my neck from when he tried to strangle me. "They told me at first and I thought it was more lies, but they showed me. They showed it, they had it on video, it was so awful, I'm so sorry, Katniss." It comes out all in one sad breath. My hand finds its way to Peeta's cheek.
"It wasn't your fault, it wasn't you. Didn't they explain it?" I hope to God they have explained it. How could anybody be so cruel as to tell Peeta that he had done this himself?
"I'm a monster, Katniss. They told me I had...I had a piece of them...in my mind? That I would always be trying to kill you? Why are you here? I'm a monster, I could hurt you!" Peeta screamed in desperation. "I could HURT YOU!"
"Peeta! Stop." The authority in my voice must shock him because he settles for a moment. "You won't hurt me. They're working on it, the treatment for you. Didn't they tell you? The Capitol can't reach you as well down here. They're working on it. You'll be fine. I'll be fine. We'll protect each other, like we always do. Okay?" My hand, still resting on the side of Peeta's face, pulls me closer to him.
"How can you be sure? I can't be with you unless you're sure." Peeta shakes his head, fear evident on his face.
"I don't need to be sure. I can't be without you...period. So I don't have a choice." The truth of it shocks me. I can't live without him, this boy who had always loved me unconditionally. The pain that plagued me every night he was gone proved that.
"Why?" Peeta's face is identical to the expression he gave me in our first games when he asked me this about why I was helping him.
I give him the same answer.
When our lips meet, Peeta stiffens and I can almost feel the frown creeping up on his face.
"What are you doing, Katniss? Why...th-there aren't any cameras around. We don't even need to anymore." I know what he means. At this point, no matter what we do we are defying the Capitol, so keeping up appearances is the last priority of ours.
"Maybe because I want to."
"But you don't...you don't ever want me."
The words sting a little, and the guilt that has rooted itself in me since our first games takes over again.
"I'm sorry. I'm so sorry, Peeta." I rest my forehead against his. "But that's not true. I have wanted it, I have wanted you. I want you now."
"I can never tell...I can never tell what's real. They told me so many things...in the Capitol. I can't even tell anymore. I don't remember what was real... Tell me what's real, Katniss." He pleads.
"You saved my life. When we were eleven. That was real. Our kiss in the cave. That was real too. When we share a bed, the nightmares don't come as often. We protect each other. That's always been real. When you almost died in the Quell. That scared me so bad. I knew then that I couldn't live without you. So real. The kiss on the beach, in our second games. That was definitely real. And the pain I felt while you were gone... The guilt that I hadn't saved you. The love... That was real too. And...That kiss I just gave you. Real."
I wrapped my hand around his neck to pull our lips closer again. This time, Peeta responded tentatively, soft lips nudging my own.
"Katniss..." Peeta mumbles against my mouth.
Before he can even ask again, I pull him back and lock our lips once more. "Real." I whisper quickly before we kiss again.
"You can do this." I reassure him. "Can you feel it? When it's them and not you?"
Peeta nods slowly. "You know how when you're dreaming, it all makes sense? But when you wake up, everything in your dream is so confusing?"
"Yeah, I know that feeling..."
"Well... when I did... what I did... It was like that. I could tell something was off. And they changed some things. Like you were in the tribute uniform for the first Games." He looks away from me, avoiding my eyes. "And I know that wasn't possible, but for some reason it made so much sense... In kind of a shiny dream way, you know? And the blood on them was mine."
"I didn't have any blood on my clothes when..."
"No, of course you didn't. I just...it's what I saw."
"Well they can fix that. They're going to fix you, you'll be fine. And if they don't then I'll hunt down Snow myself."
"Don't!" Peeta snapped all of a sudden. "Don't. You don't know what they can do to you...if they catch you. Just... Promise me you won't. Please."
"O-okay... I promise." It was a lie, and we both knew it.
Behind us, a click of the door unlocking was followed by Finnick's head popping in from the side of the door.
"Katniss. Time to go." He says sternly.
"G-go where?" Peeta says in a frantic tone.
"Just to my room. They're probably just going to run some tests on you." I said, nodding at him.
"I'm sure." I said walking backwards to Finnick. Once the door shut behind us, I let out a breath I hadn't known I was holding.
"I have to be don't I?"
Okay I haven't really decided whether this is going to be a vague one-shot or a full on story. Let me know what you think, and if you have any ideas to what could happen from here on out then let me know in a review or a message and I'll give you a shout-out :D