A/N: So… this is my first Hunger Games fic. I'm in love with the series; I've read all three books all in a matter of less than 24 hours. They're amazing. And yes, I am a Katniss/Peeta fan. They are also amazing. lol.

Smut ahead. Enjoy!

You feel out of breath

Used up and broken down

Just like a shattered glass in pieces on the ground

Some days you want to scream

But you can't make a sound

But you're not alone

(Peeta's POV)

A high-pitched scream fills my ears as I am violently jarred from my sound sleep, my eyes springing open and immediately turning over to the source of the ear-shattering shrieks. Though my limbs are still weary from recent sleep, I am still able to take her shoulders in my hands and shake them, coaxing her to come back to me.

"Katniss!" I yell hoarsely. "Katniss, please, it's okay! I'm here. It's not real! Katniss, it's not real!"

I murmur more reassurances to her, coaxing her back to reality.

It's been a rough time with these nightmares; we both know that they'll never leave us. Although time has given us the opportunity to make them less frequent, we know that the memories of all that we've been through—the Games, the Quarter Quell, the rebellion, my hijacking, the war, everything—will never wholly escape our minds.

And as Katniss begins to calm down, her breathing starting to even out, and her screams diminishing to silent sobs, I can say that we've begun to patch each other up, and at least find comfort in one another until we finally heal to the best of our ability.

"Katniss…" I whisper huskily.

She finally opens her eyes, tears continuing to pour out of them, and seems immeasurably relieved at the sight of me.

"Oh, Peeta," she reaches out to me, wraps her arms around my neck and pulls me to her.

I can feel her hot breath on my neck, tears making their way down her face and I move even closer, rolling over to hover above her. Her body is trembling when I take her face in my hands and thumb away the salty liquid streaking down her face.

"Katniss, sweetheart… I'm right here. Not real. Not real. Relax," I murmur.

She doesn't respond, just holds onto me for a long time until she's found enough of her voice and her breath to speak.

"I was…" she intakes a trembling breath, "at the Capitol again… during the war… One of those damn mutts took you and… God, I thought I lost you again."

I hate this.

Every time this happens, I just want to make those memories in her mind vanish, make them stop plaguing us in our dreams. But as much as I do hate how this happens to Katniss, I have to admit that it took us a long time to get to where we are now. With just waking up from terrifying nightmares every other week instead of nearly every day a couple of years ago when we'd first started to grow back together.

"Katniss…" I whisper, breathing carefully above her, as if scared that any harsh intake of breath would shatter her in my arms.

She opens her eyes and watches me from below, studying my face carefully, and she lifts a slightly quivering hand to run through the side of my hair. I place my own hand over hers and curl my fingers around the back of her palm, a concerned look welling up in my eyes.

I whisper her name again, coiling my fingers even tighter around her hand, afraid that sleep will overtake her again and carry her away to those goddamn nightmares.

"Shh," she murmurs. "Please. Don't talk. Just…" she trails off, and suddenly her lips are on mine, her hand skimming its way to the nape of my neck.

My eyebrows raise of their own accord when she continues to kiss me, growing deeper and deeper with every second. I'm not sure what her intentions are by doing this; it's never happened before, and I'm suddenly confused at the change of atmosphere. Is she trying to find comfort through intimacy? Is this some form of her relief that I wasn't dead? Is she somehow trying to find closure that I wasn't just a figment of her imagination by kissing me? Or did she just want to do this without any ulterior motive at all?

Without any answers to these questions, I go with it anyway, kiss her back and wait to discover where exactly she wants all this to go.

I decide to take the first tentative step, test the waters. But then again, I wouldn't have been able to stop my hands from roaming down from her face to the sides of her breasts, past the delicate curves of her torso and to the soft swell of her hips no matter what the circumstances anyway. She has me in the palm of her hand every time her lips even so much as touch mine.

Like I've said before, and probably always will say, she has no idea. The effect she can have.

I've told her before that I love her body, how curvy she is, but she refuses to admit that she has an ounce of sexiness on her. But even if she won't admit it, I know it's there. So I let my fingers crawl slowly up and under her shirt, her skin warm and soft beneath my subtle grasp.

I wait for her to tense up, to yell at me, any indication that I might be reading this wrong and that she only wants me to kiss her. But my one worry never comes, and I almost breathe a sigh of relief, because moments like this with Katniss have always been rare – and therefore hesitant – for me. It took a lot for me to build her back up again; I can't afford to have her fall apart once more.

I trail my fingers across the hem of her shirt, toying with the idea of taking it off, and when she finally pulls the garment off herself, I'm finally completely reassured; once the shirt is off, everything else can come off. I've come to learn that pattern with Katniss.

I finally pull away for fresh breaths of air, and I pant warm breath on her face, trying to psychoanalyze her expression. Try to pull some sense into myself and be rational, stop and ask why she's doing this. But the temptation tugging at me when I see the tanned skin of her neck is too much, and my mind wanders somewhere else as I bring my lips down to kiss and lick across her flesh.

There's a spot on her neck that I can somehow find every time that's especially sensitive, and I do just that and gently suck the skin between my teeth once I've gotten there. A moan escapes her lips, and suddenly I feel the rush of blood flowing in my veins moving farther down south, escaping the northern regions of my brain and making me delirious with desire for the myriad of curves and soft skin beneath me.

All hesitation and doubt escapes my brain in a rush, and I can almost feel my eyes dilate as I take in what's about to happen before me. I kiss even lower, reach a hand behind her to unclasp her bra and toss the negligent piece of fabric into the abyss behind me. My lips travel between the valley of her breasts – one of the areas of her body that I've come to favor – and I spend some time there before finally gripping one of them in my hand.

The moan that escapes her lips makes me lengthen beneath my pants, and I moan against her flesh in response, my hips grinding into hers. That contact alone has me already throbbing, and my arousal strains against the cotton of my pajama pants, the waistband of my boxer briefs almost pulling off my body with how hard I already am.

My lips close around the tip of the breast I've been massaging, and I give attention to the left with my remaining hand. Another moan drips from her mouth, and all I can do is growl – ripping her pants off and taking her forcefully against the wall probably wouldn't be psychologically healthy, although my body protested every word.

Suddenly in a rush, I reach down and hook my fingers around the waistband of her pajama pants and pull them down along with her panties, time seeming to move impossibly too slow for me at the moment. I'm thankful that I hadn't worn a shirt when I'd gone to bed, and now there's only two pieces of clothing left separating me from what I want, and – if I'm not mistaken – what she wants.

I look at her and kiss her tenderly, positioning myself between her legs. I pull away to look her intensely in the eyes, gray Seam eyes meeting blue, and am reassured once again at the look on her face: eyelids droopy, mouth open and panting, and her fingers curl desperately on my biceps, silently begging me for what's to come.

Reaching down to position the head of my erection at her entrance, I push inside of her, burying myself as deep as I can, and the loud groan that escapes her as she throws her head back and arches off the bed slightly already has me ready to explode. The pleasure is immeasurable, so inviting that it nearly blinds me, and I don't move until I've taken a few deep breaths to correct my vision and clear my mind.

She's panting hard below me, and when I grind my hips against hers, moving myself inside of her in slow, shallow circles, she whimpers my name sexily.

"Peeta…"

I reiterate the sentiment back to her with her name in its place, and I move out of her slowly, pushing back in only when my entire length, save for the tip, has left her core.

I make love to her slowly, watching her face become inflicted with concentration and listening in awe at the sounds that escape her throat, as if the pleasure overtaking her body is too much and not enough at the same time. I change the angle of my hips and push back in harder, faster, begging her body to release.

"Oh! Peeta!" she yells out, and her legs wrap around my waist of their own accord.

She feels so good, so tight and warm and wet, and I know it's only a matter of minutes until I'm done. She's panting, moaning in time with my slow but deep thrusts, and when I find the special spot deep inside her, she lets out a moan so loud I'm afraid it will alert someone with our windows wide open – I like to sleep with them like that. Her muscles have a slick, snug grasp around me, and I can't help but emit a deep groan and bury my head into the crook of her neck.

I look down at where our bodies are joined and watch myself disappear into her and slide back out. God, feels so good. Once I feel my release right around the corner, I flip us over, making her gasp in surprise, and she looks down at me, biting her lip. She's told me before that she feels self-conscious in this position, but I don't give her a chance to protest before I'm grasping her hips, positioning her above me and sliding her down onto me.

"Uhh, fuck," she moans out, and I can see the way her throat muscles contract around a guttural moan that escapes her when she tosses back her head.

Oh, God… Katniss rarely curses like that in moments like these, and I pitch my own head back and let out a moan so loud it almost echoes against our bedroom walls. I feel myself stiffen even more inside of her, and she groans at the feel of me lengthening within her.

"Peeta… Oh, God. Ahh," she purrs. "This feels so good."

"Oh, Katniss…" I hum, lift my hips to push even deeper into her.

"Ah!" she moans. "Fuck!"

The tension in my lower stomach coils even tighter at her latest sentiment, and I know it's only moments before I'm there. Katniss's eyes are closed, moving faster and harder above me, and I help her, moving her hips up and down in my hands. It's when she unexpectedly closes her walls around me on her downstroke, and I push her body deeper down onto me that we both come.

Her muscles are spastic, frantic around me as she moans louder than ever, and my own arousal pulses deep inside her, releasing my hot seed into her.

I'm feeling slightly faint by the time I come back down from my high, and I notice I've come so hard I can feel it sliding down my shaft, stopping where Katniss still has a tight grasp around me.

Suddenly feeling exhausted, I release her hips and fall down in a weary heap on the bed, attempting to catch my breath.

Katniss leans down and presses our bodies together, and the feel of her sweat-slick skin against my own is maddening, but I'm far too tired for round two, so I just bring a hand up to rub lazily up and down her back. I feel her lips on my neck, and I'm about to tell her that I can't start again without at least some sleep, but she soon covers my lips with her own, kissing me for a good two minutes before pulling away.

"I love you," she says, breathing heavily. "I don't ever want to lose you."

"Katniss," I breathe, unsure of why I'm whispering, "you won't. Please don't think like that. You won't lose me. They're gone, remember? The Capitol. Snow. The Games. The mutts. Everything's gone. No one can take me away from you. I'm here, and I'm not going anywhere. You have to know that."

"I'm sorry," she says shakily, and her eyes go misty. "I'm sorry, Peeta. I can't help it. It's just… these nightmares. They refuse to go away, and I hate it. I hate that you always have to calm me down in the middle of the night. I hate that I can't do anything to prevent them from coming," she tries to be angry. I can hear it rising up in her voice, but it fails and gives way to apprehension, and she's crying freely now. "It drives me crazy, but I have no idea what to do, and…" her words get stuck in her throat and she hugs her lips together, lays her head down on my chest and sniffles.

She's only like this in front of me. Vulnerable. She refuses to let it show in front of everyone else. She was the war's Mockingjay; she couldn't let her image be weakened, let people know that she had weaknesses. It's like she's still trying to prove something to President Snow, and I hate it.

"Just stay here with me," I whisper. "I'll help you. I'll help you through it. That's what we do, remember? Like you said, that's what we do. Protect each other. And as long as you stay here with me, that's exactly what I'm going to do, and always will do, Katniss."

She doesn't respond this time, and I sigh, take her chin in my fingertips, and press my lips against hers softly, to repeat my sentiment through a simple action, because clearly my words weren't working very well. I feel her relax under the touch of my lips, and I'm relieved.

"I love you, too, Katniss," I whisper. "If you can't accept that I won't be taken from you, then please accept that."

She looks up at me, about to say something, but I cut her off.

"I know you're strong, sweetheart. Trust me. I do. But you don't always have to be," I say truthfully. "Let me be here for you. Be weak. Be vulnerable. Because sometimes that's okay; everyone needs someone to know their weaknesses, so that they can be protected."

I take her chin in my hand again, force her to look at me, "Do you understand what I'm saying?"

She nods, and I kiss her again, finally pulling out of her and rolling us over so my chest is pressed against her back. I wrap my arms around her and take one of her hands in my own, intertwining them and squeezing. I know this is when she feels safest, here in my arms. She said so one night when I'd comforted her from another nightmare, and I only smiled and held tighter around her.

Right before I slip into a deep slumber with her, I press a soft kiss to her neck and breathe her in, reveling in her scent, and the last thought before I black out is that I love her, and I will do everything I can – everything in my power – to build her back up again and have her reassured that she will always be safe here with me.

Right now it feels like the end of the world

Like your battles are lost

You've been cheated, mistreated

And just when you think that you can't hold on any longer

Hold on a little bit longer

Trust me; you'll see

You'll be so much stronger

A/N: So… how was it? Hope I didn't appall you too much with my terrible writing. lol. The lyrics are from the song "Stronger" by Jennette McCurdy, if you want to check it out.

Thanks for reading! To review or not review? That is the question. Want the answer? It's the last word of the question. ;)