I lift my head and lower my bow. The birds have fallen silent. Trouble is on its way. I look to Gale, who is looking straight back at me with his Seam grey eyes, and, wordlessly, we turn and run. Our hands are grasped together tightly as we flee back towards District 13. We both know that if President Coin finds out about this unscheduled mishap, we will never be allowed out of the boundaries again anytime soon. We need to prove that we can cope in these situations, or face being forever restrained in an underground cell.
Even though neither of us wants to admit it, we already know it's too late. The hovercraft has appeared above us and this time we're its target. I don't need to look up at the wing to know that this silent vehicle is a Capitol hovercraft. District 13 had promised this morning that they would leave us be while we hunted, and they know how crazy I get when I am inconvenienced. Even though I would insist on the same rules given the chance to restart the day (since they would be out above our heads within seconds of us leaving the District perimeter), I wish for the first time ever that we had our radios on us.
A shot sounds from above and Gale gasps in shock, his left shoulder – the one farthest from me – twitches as it invades his body. I go to cry out, but the terror coursing through my veins leaves me no air to spare. It only takes a few steps before his eyes are drooping and his feet begin to drag. A tranquiliser dart. Shit.
My heart is thudding in my chest. I can't leave Gale here, but I can't hand myself over to the Capitol when Peeta has only just got back to safety. I haven't even seen him yet! Snow will be only too aware that the soldiers stole him back for me. They will know that I am the Mockingbird and that if they get rid of me, the rebels could lose the support in the districts we haven't quite won over yet. What's left of each District will suffer if I don't run right now. But I can't leave my hunting partner in the dewy grass to face the same torture Peeta has been through. I should at least shoot him; fulfil our hunting vow we made to each other years beforehand. My fingers hesitate as I reach for my bow. Now that the moment is here, can I kill my best friend?
A second dart is shot, and this time it's my shoulder that it strikes, making the decision for me. I gasp as my energy drains from my body like water through a sieve. No good can come from trying to run now – I'm already in the abattoir.
I force my legs to return to Gale and I drape myself over his unconscious body, using my body as a shield, so that if anybody from the craft tries to shoot at him again, they will have to shoot me first. It also crosses my mind that they can't show the Capitol abducting Gale and I without showing this. My last act as Mockingjay: not running but facing up to the Capitol.
As the light beams down and lifts our entwined bodies into the craft, I finally pass out.
When I come to, my head is pounding and my neck's aching. I try to cover my face with my hands, but something has pinned my wrists against what I can only guess to be a cold, slimy wall. I take a deep breath, trying to remain calm, but the air is cold, damp and overall unpleasant. I shiver involuntarily and force myself to open my eyes.
I'm in a white cell. Everything is white. White paint flakes off white walls onto the white floor tiles. I only manage to discern what must be a white panel from the rest of the room by the thin pale grey outline. Although my blinded eyes can't see a window, I quickly realise there must be a one way mirror in the door that, for all I can see, reflects the same even white above my head.
I look down to see that I am completely naked. Was taking us unprepared not enough? Why would I have a secret weapon hidden in my body? I grimace as I remember the unused nightlock that is sewn onto the shoulder of my battle armour. The only bright side I can find in this bland room is that I have been scrubbed up and waxed whilst unconscious. As strange as it is that they have cleaned me up, (probably for propaganda: the team at 13 dirtied me up to look like a fighter. The Capitol wants me cleaned up to show they are following a teenager with no life experience, that if the rebels surrender, the Capitol will look after us.) I can't help but be glad that my body hair doesn't have to suffer at the hands of make-up artists whilst I'm conscious.
I lean my head against the wall behind me in defeat. I have failed Gale. I have failed the rebellion. I failed my mother and Prim and Haymitch, but most of all, I have failed Peeta. He was only taken by the Capitol because District 13 took me. He was tortured to bring me here, and now that he is finally free, I've handed myself over to the Capitol on a platter. Everything he has been through has been for nothing.
My suspicions about the panel being a door is proven correct when it swings open and two Peacekeepers march through towards me. My body freezes in panic as they each grasp and unchain a wrist and an ankle. Before I can even attempt to scream, one hoists me roughly onto his shoulder, winding me as he marches me out of my cell.
My face burns. The fact that a man has me slung completely naked over his shoulder - my bare breasts pressed into his back, his arm clasped tightly just under my buttocks - is embarrassing enough, but the thought that anybody coming towards us will get a clear view of my ass crack is mortifying.
I am almost grateful when I'm thrown into another room where a female peacekeeper forces a slutty coal black dress over my head. I know I should struggle - refuse to go down without a fight - but they have Gale. What if they treat him worse because of my behaviour? Gale would want you to try. I do my best in my winded state, but as soon as I try to move, I'm hit with another tranquilizer. Unfortunately for me, this one doesn't arrest my consciousness, but leaves me limp and incapable of movement. Anybody could do anything to me right now and I would be completely powerless to stop them.
The woman finishes dressing me and dampens my hair, curling it carefully. Although she looks young – mid-twenties at the oldest – her blonde hair is scraggly, her whole face weathered with the same expression that used to haunt so many in District 12. She has seen too much too young.
I push the woman from my thoughts. Why are they putting in so much effort for my execution? To make me look stronger? To imply I purposely challenged authority rather than did everything to keep my friend alive before being swept up in some secret rebel organisation against my will?
"President Snow is ready for her."
The two peacekeepers that unchained my naked body now grasp an arm each, twisting it behind my back as they drag me away from the tired artist and down a pale blue corridor. It's too late to fight. I have been overpowered. I am going to die.
The Peacekeeper on my right reaches out to type in a code on the wall. His fingers move too fast for me to discern what he is typing, but another panel slides aside allowing us access to a huge room.
I gasp. The room is huge; almost the same size as the ballroom Peeta and I had danced in together months ago. I feel sick. Twelve districts are slowly starving to death in cramped conditions and here, even in the prisons, the Capitol thrives on space. Hollow, wasted space. And now because of me, it will never change.
"Drop her and go." I lower my gaze from the high ceilings in horror as a waft of warm, bloody breath caresses my face. Where is my executioner? Where is the crowd? The windows? A weapon, for Christ's sake!
Snow glares at me as the Peacekeepers leave obediently, having quietly confirmed that all orifices had been checked for weapons. I am horrified that my body has been exploited without my knowing, but the horror quickly subsides to nausea as his creepy, malevolent eyes slide over my body, from head to toe. His stare lingers on the low cut neck where my small breasts have been pushed up as high as they will go, and the short hemline that I have a terrible feeling would reveal my tiny thin panties if I were to move too suddenly. I'm trying not to retch as the pungent stench of mutt roses threatens to smother me.
We stand there in silence for what feels like an age. He's smirking, smug with his catch. I'm glaring, waiting for him to just slaughter me already. I used to be scared of dying - in the arena, back home, in the woods, when I was trying to keep Peeta alive – but to die now would be a dream come true. The true horror was hidden in the prospects of the remainder of my life. Why was I here? What was he going to do to me?
Eventually Snow nods slowly. "Bring in the cousin," he demands to nobody in particular. A second later, Gale is frogmarched through a door on the other side of the room by another pair of white suited Peacekeepers.
"Gale!" I cry involuntarily and his grey eyes seek me out. He's dressed in a well fitted black suit, thin black tie and crisp white shirt. The shaped clothing emphasizing his broad shoulders and narrow hips making him look astounding. He seems to relax ever so slightly at seeing me alive and well, before he spots Snow next to me. He tenses, his expression turning sour as he remembers where we are and why we are here.
"What are you trying to achieve?" demands Gale, his eyes glaring at Snow as he is brought to a halt beside me. He too has been cleaned up – the cleanest I have ever seen him! – and shaven. I can't help but notice he smells divine, probably as a result of some exclusive Capitol aftershave. "Why have you bothered to dress us up like dolls?"
Snow shrugs, pretending to be indifferent despite his sadistic smirk promising something more. "I just brought you in here so you can say goodbye to each other," he shrugs, picking up a remote and pressing a button, again in no particular direction. Gale and I scowl at him as Snow moves to the doors, dabbing his mouth with his stupid white napkin. "You can have all the time you need."
The remote must have started a film, because as soon as the door slides shut behind him, a long sensual moan breaks the silence. We both turn in shock to see a wall plastered with the images of a couple making out.
"What the fuck?" I breathe as Gale stiffens. He simply stares; distaste creasing his freshly scrubbed face as the giant screen shoots to a close up of a man's long, able fingers quickly unbuttoning a brunette's sheer shirt. I feel the heat flood to my face for the second time in an hour as I realise she isn't wearing a bra. "What on earth is this supposed to be?"
Gales turns his head slightly to look at me, but skilfully avoids meet my gaze. "He's trying to undermine all your publicity with Peeta," he murmurs under his breath. His gaze is burning before it flashes away from my face, his own cheeks flooded with more colour than I could have believed possible.
"What?" Gale remains silent, training his eyes on the high ceiling as the smack of wet kisses reverberate around us. I shake my head, trying to clear it. "How is this undermining me and Peeta? We don't even have to watch it if we don't want to - we can just look away!" I turn my back on the images, and with a sigh, Gale follows suit, but something in his expression tells me he's already aware of what is going to come next.
Within seconds, the video is projected onto the wall in front of us. It is the man moaning now as the woman slowly undoes the button on his trousers above the growing bulge, running her tongue up his bare, smooth, toned chest.
I gasp and desperately spin on my heel, but the images are still being projected on the original wall. Before I can twist around again, I realise that all four walls are playing the same video. There is no escape. We are trapped here together. Alone.
I try to look at Gale, clutching at the hope that maybe he will know what to do, but his body is turned away from me, his breathing growing more laboured. I can hear that he is trying to keep calm, but as I reach out for his shoulder, the woman pulls off the man's trousers and the screen is filled with her dainty hand running up his hardened penis. Gale turns, his eyes dark and smouldering as my own eyes widen in shock, blinded by the overt porn show over his shoulder. Bright red and not knowing where to look, I drop my head to look down at my feet before I realise that something is growing under Gale's own pressed suit trousers. I look up, abashed, my mouth wide open – unfortunately timed as the woman behind him opens her own mouth and takes in the man's member, both of them groaning loudly as he flexes his hips underneath her.
"They're trying to force us into running on instinct," Gale growls as he takes my hands into his, squeezing it tightly. At long last he meets my gaze, but rather than calm, composed Gale staring at me through the Seam grey irises, the animal in him is burning, trying to scratch its way out whilst the shell of Gale struggles to keep it under control. "Snow is trying to make it look like we have something going on so that the whole of Panem will believe you and Peeta were a lie from the very start."
I can only gape, but there is an uncomfortable heat growing down there. As the next groan from the couple echoes through the room, I have to bite my lip to remain silent. Gale too clenches my hands tighter briefly before loosening his hold. "After all…" Gale clears his throat, his face twisting as he tries to remain in control. "Why would we get together after you became so visibly cosy with Peeta? Of course we would have been an item first – I was one who came to pull Prim back at the reaping, we went out alone in the woods every day. Is it so crazy to think that the star-crossed lovers' fiasco was a plot to get you back to me alive?"
Gale steps away, breathing heavily. He turning to face one of the videos with his stature held tall despite the obvious effect it is having on his body. "Maybe it will only play once," he reasons, his hands fists clenched at his side. "Maybe when it's finished and we're not any closer, maybe they will drag us elsewhere. Maybe they will end it quick."
I doubt it, but I can't help but hope for the same, as my lower body clenches. This shouldn't be happening here, not like this. I follow suit, but a small detail catches in my brain.
"Does the room look smaller to you?" I ask, looking around. Initially stupidly spacious, the room is now only comfortable. Gale's eyes are shut and his fists clenched at his side. The concentration on his face is so extreme that I wonder if he has even heard what I've just said. I try the same tactics and close my eyes against the man pulling down the girl's thin knickers as he runs his fingers slowly, sensually, underneath her. My mother, being the closest thing to a doctor District 12 has, taught me the whole biological dictionary. I don't need to know that the man is pressing his, now moist, palm against the woman's clitoris as she moans so loudly that the whole room vibrate around us. My abdomen twinges as the vibrations run up my legs and reach there. I want to widen my stance to ease the effect the vibrations are having on me, but I'm paranoid about the length of my dress: I'm struggling, but I can hear Gale grinding his teeth over the sudden gasps and panting of the soundtrack. I don't want to make it any harder for him; especially if the extra show of flesh has anywhere near the effect that the heady scent rolling off him is having on me. Imagine being close enough to sniff his neck. I try to swipe the unbidden image from my head, forcing myself to keep both of my feet on the ground as I resist the urge to wrap my legs around his waist.
I sneak a peek at Gale who is clutching his head, with his hands, the bulge in his trousers threatening to bust the zipper. His small taut backside clenches, but despite his efforts his hips are still swaying back and forth ever so slightly.
My eyes catch a glimpse of the wall behind him. The woman's area is glistening and the camera zooms in as white goo eases from her vagina without much encouragement from the man's fingers. He expertly moves them around in a circle over her clit, his two fingers deftly exploring her inner thigh and bushy pubic hair while his elbows set her legs further apart. I close my eyes, but a groan escapes my lips just as he plunges two fingers into her.
"Catnip?" Gale's voice is husky in my ear as his warm body supports me, holding me up. My jaw is clenched. I can't take much more. "Catnip, are you alright?"
Alright? I am in Hell. I can feel the throbbing. It needs to be eased. I don't have the energy or concentration to stand. I need to be touched. I cannot speak a word until the pressure is burst.
"Katniss?" Gale's voice is urgent, but I can hear that the pressure is bordering unbearable for him too. He hugs me tightly and his hardened verge brushes my own throbbing sex through my dress. I can feel how wet my knickers are and I groan involuntarily right by his ear. I need more contact. I need to breathe in more of this stimulating scent. I hear Gale breathe in deeply before I realise my hips have begun to grind against his pelvis without permission.
Before I can get a rhythm going, I am on the floor, his lips mashed up against mine. There is no time to savour the moment - we are both animals starved of contact. Gale massages my breasts through my surprisingly thin dress and we both groan into each other's mouths. This is so good – did we never explore this pastime before? As Gale said, we have had plenty of time alone in the woods over the years: no wonder couples were so eager to get married.
We are quickly making up for lost time as Gale's hand slides down my torso towards the building pressure. He thrusts his hips once and I scream. I need more, more, more, now, now, now!
I grope down at Gale's crotch, my numb fingers fumbling for the smooth black button that will free everything. Gale's hot breath saturates the hair behind my left ear as my fingers brush his sex. Before either of us can free the other, Gale is blown off me like a force field has suddenly appeared between us. There is enough of a lapse in the fog for me to realise in frustration that it may be design rather than accident.
Our breathing is loud and ragged, when I realise suddenly that the video has finished. The walls are bare, but still much closer than they had been initially. If anybody were to have walked in five seconds ago, it would have looked like we were about to act out our own porno without prompts. It suddenly dawned on me that Snow was probably recording it all, ready to edit and broadcast all over Panem. What story would he spin on it? He invited us for dinner and we stole away into his small living room and started banging each other without provocation?
Snow enters the room with a sly grin on his face as the panel slides shut behind him once more.
"Gale. Katniss. I hope I haven't interrupted your goodbyes." He grins knowingly and I don't dare glance at Gale. My face is burning and my hips are twitching. If I look at either in the face, I know I will scream again.
"Gale, you look mighty uncomfortable sprawled across the floor there." Snow dabs his mouth with his handkerchief. "Come; sit by me while you get your breath back." It's now that I risk shooting a glance in Gale's direction. I find that he's staring at me, his longing unconcealed in both his eyes and pants.
"It's ok, I'm sure Katniss is willing to entertain us unless she wants to be fidgeting all night long." Snow looks knowingly at me. "Come here, Katniss… Mockingjay."
Gale starts to move when I move. He sits obediently next to Snow, who puts an arm around him leisurely, but as I go to sit next to him, Snow laughs. "No, Katniss. Be a doll and kneel on the floor in front of us." We both turn to glare at him but he's not laughing anymore.
"Do it," he orders and Gale looks to me and gives a subtle nod. His face is still flushed and I look on as Snow reaches over with his free hand and cups the growing bulge, causing Gale to groan loudly.
"How about we address the elephant in the room?" Snow murmurs into Gale's ear as he rubs him slowly, easing down the zip of his trousers. I gasp as Gale's enlarged penis flings free from its restraints. It is huge – would it have even fit into me if we hadn't have been interrupted? Snow slowly, tantalizingly, lets his long white fingers trace down Gales member. Gale groans and tries to buck into Snow's hand. Snow's own trousers are beginning to tighten, but he releases him immediately to pin Gale's arms to his side, leaving my best friend and almost lover defenceless against sexual attack.
"Come on, Katniss," he hisses, his eyes bright with malicious excitement as he licks his lips. "Come help your cousin out." I don't move. "Now."
Reluctantly, I edge nearer, my clitoris twanging oh, so pleasantly as I shuffle my legs forward.
"Good girl," he murmurs, sliding his cold, clammy hand behind my neck and tilting my head down towards Gail's huge load. Despite the number of naked men my mother has tended to on the kitchen table in District 12, I know none of them could ever come close to the sheer size of Gale's trembling cock. "Come on, Katniss, he needs a little favour…"
He pushes my head forward until my lips touch the head of Gale's quivering member. Gale cries out. Slowly I allow my mouth to open and envelope him. He bucks into me and I have to grab his hips to keep them still before he makes me choke. My mouth is so full that I briefly wonder if he's going to dislocate my jaw as I slowly stroke my tongue up him, tasting the sweet, salty sweat. My mouth is so full that my hips begin to grind again, this time against his leg.
"Katniss!" Gale rasps and I grind his leg harder, sheathing my teeth as I pull back and let my head plunge again, Gale's sex against my lips.
"Oh, no you don't, Katniss." Snow has moved behind me s hands grasp the inside of each of my thighs, lifting my pussy away from Gale's leg. "One at a time," he whispers in my ear, and I gag as a waft of blood stains my already too steamy oxygen intake. Gale groans, grasping my head, his fingers twisting into my hair.
"Katniss," he gasps, bucking again. "Oh, Katniss!" I swallow and Gale comes loudly, thrusting forward once more so that his head touches my tonsils, emptying everything into the back of my throat.
I am so horny. I need the favour to be returned without delay, but Snow has other ideas.
"Sit back, Katniss," he orders. "And spread your legs wide." I abandon my pride and do so quickly, hoping it is my turn. "Take off your panties, Katniss, and throw them to me."
My hands are shaking as I quickly strip off my damp panties and ping them over to him, an eager gesture I hope will help me to reap my rewards sooner rather than later.
Snow takes a long sniff and groans before pressing the wet patch to Gale's sobering expression. "Do you smell that?" he asks gruffly. "We did that. Together." His dull, dead eyes turn back to me.
"Katniss, slowly run your hand over the wet part of you." I reach down, embarrassed, but too horny to care. Gale's expression has become guilty, dismayed and disgusted in a matter of moments. His eyes are staring me out, telling me to resist, but I can't. He's had his fill and now I need mine.
I groan as everything clenches. My god, I am so wet. I feel something trickled down the inside of my left leg, but whether it is sweat or cum, I can't tell. I grind into my hand, but Snow's fingers snap around my wrist, pulling my hand away.
"Allow me, Ms. Mockingjay." His dead eyes glitter as he pulls me forward. Gale is glaring at him, his teeth grinding for a different reason now.
Snow notices quickly and stares him down. "If you try to stop me, I will take you in the ass," he breathes and I groan at the thought. Snow's eyes flicker to me. "Sounds like your girlfriend would like that."
Snow hoists the hem of the dress over my hips in one jolt and grasps each of my bare buttocks in his hands. He massages them firmly and I buck against the air, my head thrown back as I groan. He guides me down over him so that my legs are either side of his. Suddenly he turns to Gale.
"Put your head face up in my lap," he growls. Gale shoots him a dirty look that unmistakably reads fuck off.
"Gale, please," I rasp, trying not to rub myself on Snow's chest. My dignity is gone and I do not give a shit. I will implode if I do not get some form of release fast.
Gale takes one look at me and, scowling, obeys. Snow has him move so that he is sitting on the floor between his legs, his head tilted back. Gale's wide shoulders that I had been admiring earlier, makes Snow widen his legs slightly to accommodate him. As a result I am forced to spread my legs further again. Such delectable torture
"Lick her like she licked you," Snow orders as he lowers my hips down with his clammy palms. Gale ignores him and instead blows gently over my wet pussy. My groans are high pitched and as Gale kisses my clit softly, I hear myself squeak, my face scrunching up. My whole body is a coiled spring. I need I need I need.
Slowly, tantalizingly, I feel Gale's tongue touch the entrance to my vagina. He swirls it carefully as I moan, before moving back towards my clitoris again. Without warning, his teeth nip at the most sensitive part of my body.
"GAHH!" I scream. There's a grunt as Gale's head is knocked away from me, but I find myself grinding against a growing, firm lump that has replaced Gale's mouth. "OH, MY GOD. OH GALE, OH GALE, GALE-!" I'm screaming as my orgasm echoes firmly through my whole body. I don't notice my dress being pulled over my head until two large rough hands are groping me, massaging them, exploring. I lean back, exhausted, into Gale's torso as he massages me firmly, urgently.
Without warning, a sharp pain rips through my ecstasy. My eyes fly open and I sit up to see Snow smirking maliciously at me. I look down to see that he has silently freed himself and ripped through my virginity. The glint in his eye tells me that this is what he wanted all along. This was why he had trapped us in this room with an obscene video playing on all four walls. He wanted to get us excited and desperate, get us down to our instincts so he could get his own pleasure out of us before we had to be killed. Did he make Peeta suffer this way too? How many times has he preyed on Peeta this past month?
I can feel the tears prick my eyes as he bucks into me. Gale is grinding himself behind me; seemingly unaware that pleasure has become pain. I am being hurt, but Gale is doing nothing to stop him.
"Funny," Snow hisses, pulling himself out and forcing his way back in. I am full – too full. I don't like it. I want to stop, but then I remember we are here as prisoners. Snow's prisoners. We were never supposed to enjoy ourselves: Snow was – is! – our enemy. Why are we following orders so easily? "I thought being pregnant meant you had had some form of legitimate sex, but you're so tight that it suggests that maybe that baby wasn't real after all. How disappointed the Capitol will be."
I choke back a sob, trying to retrieve my mask of indifference or hatred or pleasure or something that isn't a reflection of the pain I'm in. Snow's finding too much enjoyment. I'm overheating, feeling dirtier by the second as I feel Gale's impressive erection pressing into my back, sliding down my spine towards my crack.
"Gale," I croak uselessly, but he groans and thrusts, knocking Snow, causing me even more pain.
The panel suddenly bangs open and seven people roll into the room brandishing various weapons. Both men slow their fervour, but after a moment, Snow resumes with increased haste.
"Here for the show?" he asks the guests huskily, surveying them through heavy lids. "I've got your Mockingjay fucked over here. I think you've found that one sidekick is now mentally deranged and the other has also been broken in. Which of you is next?"
I turn my head and somewhere in the recess of my mind, I recognise the array of shocked faces. Finnick looks disgusted but unsurprised by the scene before him, his trident poised at his side, ready to throw. Beetee's thick glasses have steamed up behind his specialised crossbow and Plutarch's stencilled eyebrows are disappearing under his hair, the pistol pointing directly at Snow. Haymitch has several knives in his hand, but his expression is saddened for some inexplicable reason. Is he the one being bouncing against their will on the President of Panem's lap? No. So why is nobody helping me? Behind my friends are some residents I recognised from District 13 in various states of shock. Before anyone can move, Snow freezes beneath me, emptying himself into me. I close my eyes against the nightmare. I am humiliated and hurt and hating on everybody in the room that is just standing back and watching the show.
Suddenly something warm splatters my face and chest. Given Snow has just emptied himself and Gale is behind me… I sneak a peek and gasp. A 13 inch knife has been driven clean through Snow's temples, and the warm stuff is…
I swallow, trying to suppress the urge to heave, quickly squeezing my eyes shut. A cold draft against my back tells me that Gale has stepped back. I can't move for fear of being sick everywhere. A pair of hands grips under my shoulders and lift me carefully off Snow's fresh cadaver. His crotch is soaked with blood. My blood. I stagger back, uncaring that I am naked in a room full of men. A Mockingwhore. A Prostijay. I am a mess.
I shiver as someone drapes a warm jacket around my shoulders and zips it from by my sex to my collarbone.
"Peeta-!" I hear a thud and suddenly I'm left to stand alone. I look around slowly to see an indifferent Finnick on the floor, a hand to his nose beneath a bleached Peeta who is standing over him, his fist raised and jaw set. Haymitch is pushing me towards Plutarch and Beetee as he tries to double back and separate the uncharacteristically violent Peeta from Finnick. Flushing hard, Plutarch quickly excuses himself to help the others, leaving Beetee and his steamed glasses to take care of me.
Beetee tries to grin but his cheeks spasm and his eyes are darting everywhere. He clears his throat and hesitantly lifts an arm, holding it a foot away from my actual body as he tries to guide me out of the room.
"Didn't – erm – I – Well." He blinked wildly. "I spent forever in bed and as a – erm – first outing it's – well, it's-!"
I try to hold back my sob, knowing I must be walking strangely. My vagina smarts every time I move. This wasn't the way it was supposed to be at all.
"Peeta!" cries Haymitch angrily, but before I can turn to see what trouble he's in now, a body hits me with good speed. I stumble, hoping it's an accident and that they will move way quickly. I am feeling much too vulnerable without any underwear on.
I wait a second, hoping they will let go now, but the arms holding me are turning me around on the spot to face him. I flinch and try to pull away and, unwillingly, the grip loosens. I look up to see Peeta, his face painted Capitol white. If he closed his eyes he would melt away into the walls. Am I hallucinating?
"Katniss?" he murmurs, his eyes pained. It can't be Peeta: his face is too slim, his body barely a whisper of a baker's son. I reach up to touch his face, expecting my hand to slip through an image, but it comes away white and where I have touched his face is a concealed blush glowing through.
"Peeta?" I croak fearfully – is he a mutt who has been introduced to torture me further?
"Katniss?" A deeper voice sounds behind him, but Peeta swings around and punches Gale clean across the jaw, sending him staggering away. I want to stick up for him – after everything we had been through over the past couple of hours – but he had allowed himself to be distracted when I needed him most. I know, deep down, that had Peeta been with me instead, he would have forced us both to wait, he would have read every expression on my face and known when everything was getting too much, but I can still feel Gale's erection in my back. So full. Too full.
Peeta takes my face between his hands, his bright blue eyes searching my face, his expression heartbroken. "Katniss?" he whispers, his own eyes shining. "Are you alright?"
I stare at him, trying to stay strong, but I'm so tired, pained and humiliated. "Only because of you," I breathe as my eyes sting with my anger at myself. Stupid Katniss! Peeta's expression softens, and rather than stooping down to kiss me, he accepts that this is not the moment, and quietly leads me from the room, giving me instead a light peck on my head. As he takes me into the corridor I hear Haymitch growl, "I think we can all agree we're grateful for the jacket, but maybe next time you should wait until he has his back turned." I hear Finnick laugh before he's interrupted by an urgent growl.
"You shouldn't have had your hands on her in the first place, lad," Haymitch retorts. I can see Gale's torn expression in my mind's eye but I block it out. I never want to see him again. "We were in the room two seconds and I can tell you that any pleasure she had from that had been and gone. Let Peeta take care of her now."