AN This is another entry for Everlark Week (promptsinpanem on tumblr) for a prompt about the Victory Tour. This story is cannon and based on an interesting passage, in chapter 6, after the Capitol Banquet when Katniss mentions falling asleep and not even noticing Peeta enter her room, leading to the "No nightmares" scene. Since there were so many drugs being passed around in the open (like the one that makes you vomit) I thought it'd be interesting if Peeta and Katniss wound up accidentally consuming some thing that they normally wouldn't, leading to the lost night.
There's Got to Be a Morning After Pill
After tea, I feel absolutely exhausted. Cinna walks me to my train car, which proves to be a challenge, when I continually trip over the hem of my gown.
"I feel dizzy," I tell him, and then let out a laugh that makes me sound mad.
I'm reminded of the time I was stung by tracker jackers, when my mind became disconnected, and the world around me began to move impossibly fast. The train rocks ever so slightly and I'm thrown off balance and into Cinna's arms.
"How many of those dessert cakes did you eat?" he asks.
"Only a few," dozen, I neglect to add. "Why?"
He shakes his head with fain amusement. "They're soaked in flavored liqueurs," he says. "Nobody wants to leave a Capitol party sober."
"You think I'm drunk?" I gasp. I've sipped on a few glasses of wine and champagne in the past, but I've always stopped before my head felt too light. Besides, drunks are cranky and surly, like Haymitch, I on the other hand feel relaxed, and a bit liberated for once.
"That's not it," I say. "Effie probably slipped some sleep syrup in my tea."
I've refused all the pills she's offered to aide my sleep, I wouldn't be surprised if she had taken more drastic measures. Knowing Effie, she'd be quite pleased with herself for being so clever, and using a trick she had learned from one of the tributes in the Games. That tribute being me.
When we reach my room, Cinna offers to help me prepare for bed, but this gown isn't nearly as elaborate as some of the others I've worn on the tour, and I've grown tired of being dressed and sculpted by others, as if maintaining myself is beyond my abilities.
Once I'm left alone, I'm too exhausted to do much of anything, and I let my gown slip to the floor in a messy pool of silk before I stumble into bed wearing only my under clothes. I feel immobile against the mattress, yet can't seem to get comfortable. My face is still caked with makeup and it paints a streak of colors across my pillow case. The pins in my hair scratch and stab into my scalp. I consider calling back Cinna or my prep team, but instead I run my fingers furiously through my hair, sending the pins plunking wildly throughout the room like raindrops.
Usually I'm unaware of the train's movements, especially after spending two weeks living aboard it, but tonight the ceiling spins, and the entire room rocks back and forth, coaxing me awake whenever I'm close to slumber.
Perhaps Effie didn't spike my tea with sleep syrup after all.
I let out a resigned sigh and try to sit up on the bed, but everything feels too heavy. I feel like I'm trapped in my thoughts the same way the pills used to, only it's different, I can't seem to form any rational thoughts. I can't dwell on Snow's threats, or conjure up any nightmares, or worry of the impeding uprising. I can only lie here, staring at the ceiling, and wonder why there's a slight buzzing in my lips.
The door to my room slides open - then shut, but I don't lift my head to see who it is. The mattress shifts abruptly beneath Peeta's weight and he lays, face down on the pillow beside me. He's still dressed in his suit from the banquet, only now his tie hangs loosely around his neck.
"Train's broken, I think," he says, his voice muffled by the pillow. "I'm sure we'll be stopping soon."
"What makes you say that?" I say, even though I agree.
He rolls onto his side. His cheeks are flush, like they've been painted with a few too many layers of blush, even though his makeup seemed perfectly natural before. "Can't you feel it?" he asks. "The train is spinning. It must have blown a tire or something. "
"Did you eat many of the cakes?" I ask.
"Of course," he says. "I tried them all."
"Cinna says they make you drunk, that they're soaked in alcohol. Not as potent as Haymitch's, but enough."
He falls onto his back, and the bed undulates, causing me to brace myself from the rocking. "I figured it was an extract, all the intense flavoring," he says. He covers his face with his hands. He had spent half the night discussing recipes with the pastry chefs, but wouldn't allow them to reveal any of their ingredients, because he wanted to guess them all himself. "I fail as a baker, I suppose."
"You do," I say, poking at his side. "I ate nearly the entire dessert cart!"
"I know," he says with a chuckle. "Because I ate everything that was left!" He sits up on his elbows, and takes a moment to steady himself. "We can't be drunk," he decides. "I felt fine after the party."
"I know, me too," I say.
"Maybe Effie drugged us," he says. "Besides, wouldn't we be acting more like Haymitch."
Light from the window catches on something shiny tucked in his belt. I grasp it by the handle to reveal a steak knife that he's slipped into his pants. "What is this for?"
He stares at it for a moment, as if stringing together an extremely long train of thoughts. "It seemed like a good idea at the time," is all he can say. "So we've had a bit much to drink," he relents as I set the knife aside on the bedside table. "We've survived much worse."
We lay on our backs, side by side, staring up at the ceiling that won't keep still.
"What do we do now?" I ask through the silence.
"Sleep it off, I guess," he says.
I try and close my eyes again, but the train jerks enough to wake me. "I'm not tired," I say. "I ate too much sugar."
"There was espresso in the chocolate ones," Peeta says.
I sigh. "Those were my favorite."
"We could talk," he suggests.
"I don't know. Maybe start planning our wedding." Alcohol makes people less inhibited, and although Peeta's comment sounds harmless, there's an biting edge to his voice that sounds unmistakable.
I want to tell him that there's no point. That I've failed in convincing Snow, and if my plan to run fails, we'll all die painful, miserable deaths. The words nearly tumble from my mouth before I can control them. Frantic and unfiltered, filled with desperate cries.
The train is bugged though, and I manage to stop myself before I do anything stupid. Besides, if I can protect Peeta, even for only one more night, from the danger we're in, I'll do it.
"Not tonight," I say. I turn my head to rest my cheek on my pillow, and he follows suit so that we're looking at one another. "Do you think we'll feel awful in the morning?"
"Probably not," he says, and reaches out to brush his thumb under my eye. I probably look like a raccoon from all the ridiculous makeup smudged across my face. "A Capitol citizen suffering a moment of discomfort? It's unthinkable," he says, and we both feel free to laugh, even though we probably shouldn't with the Capitol listening.
"You're right," I say. "There was probably a drink for it."
"A drink for drinking," he adds, and again we laugh at the absurdity. "If anything, we won't remember most of the night. That's the only way those people can walk about with no shame."
"Forget everything?" I ask. "I'd much like that."
Hurt flashes across his face, and he turns to look back at the ceiling before he speaks again. "If you had the chance to do it all again, would you?"
I study his profile and the way the moonlight catches on his eyelashes as they flutter against his cheek, like he's mobilizing himself for the worst.
"What do you mean? Volunteer?" I ask.
"Of course not that," he says. He frowns. "I mean, knowing all the trouble it's caused, would you still have pulled that stunt with the berries? Or would you have put me out of my misery back in the arena when you had the chance?"
"Peeta," I plead.
"I'll be a burden on you for the rest of our lives," he says. "However long that happens to be."
I roll to lay on my side, and cover his hand with mine. After weeks of being prepped on a daily basis, his skin is as smooth as silk, and any scars he's gained since the Games have been erased, just like mine. It's a shame that they try to hide us, as if the effects are only skin deep.
"I'd have been a prisoner no matter what," I tell him. "It's better for us, I think. We're trapped in the arena, but we'll never be alone. Not like Haymitch, or the other victors."
His eyelids grow heavy and I can tell that he's falling asleep. I urge him to remove his suit jacket and slacks, and he mumbles some jokes about seeing him naked when I help undress him. As we lay in bed, wrapped in each other's arms he says, what's been hanging in the air all night. "I know you don't really want to marry me."
"I don't really want to marry anyone," I say, as if it will sting less. I know he's thinking I'd rather be with Gale right now. That his presence spoils my one true shot at happiness. "You make me happy," I say, curling into him to steal his warmth. "Everything in this world is so awful. But not you." I feel sleep creeping up on me, but before it swallows me whole I say, "I need that."
I'm not sure if he hears me, in fact I'm not sure if I actually say the words, but they comfort me through my dreams, and for once I'm at peace in the darkness.