A/N: Because, quite simply, I could. -Taryn.. who regrets nothing(:
She swayed like dusk-lined silk. Her hands and arms twisted above her head, weaving into the night sky a mysterious, enthralling design. Something that even she could not compute, so lost in the complex, throbbing beat of the drums. The music pulsed through her veins, better than any instructor. Each beat of her heart, told her when to turn, when to dip, which hip to tilt.
Shadows leaped and shifted as the firelight flickered orange and red against her. Barefooted she spun, black hair stained by starlight, strands sticking to her parted lips as she drew in shuddering, exhilarated breaths.
Her limbs were perfectly formed, her hips and belly, rounded through girlhood. Her breasts were small globes, like firm apples, and her nipples were likewise girlishly small and pale pink. Each feature seemed to waver a little with each movement she made. The more she moved, the more lento she became, sliding into a hauntingly slow, beautiful dance. Her movements looked first like a sapling bending in a breeze, then like a field of grain, waving in the wind. Her movement quickened, and although she never danced wildly or frantically, her dance nevertheless seemed far more powerful, and far more secret.
Her feet blurred, their movements intricate, tapping out the rhythm of the drums, and she swayed this way and that, a pattern found in the arch of her torso and the twist of her limbs.
She looked like one possessed, and yet at the same time everything she did, every movement, every tap of her foot and arc of an arm, was clearly part of a deliberate pattern of movement. Her dance about the fire and between the circles of others was labyrinth-like, beautiful, demanding, complex.
And she waited, painstakingly. There was yearning deep in her face, though she seemed so concentrated on the dance. She waited. She tapped, and spun, and waited. Would no one accept her? Was she doing it wrong? Had she not spent the day learning the dance so that she could get over this ridiculous tribe tradition?
Just when she was about to stop, someone stepped out of the line of men. Katniss breathed a sigh of relief, though she could not decipher his face in the night, the moon hanging behind his back, her steps neared him. Then, just before her hip brushed his, as a welcome, as permission for him to join her in the dance of union, someone blitzed out of the line of men and grasped her by the hand and spun her away from the other man.
Bewildered, Katniss spun, and momentarily struggled to keep the rhythm. She brushed a hip against an infinitely warmer one. The unknown man, still holding her hand, kept twirling her away from him, and when her back was not to his, his was to her. Together, they went into a dizzying whirl of silver stained skin, arms bare in the cold night, their chest rising rapidly in pace to their racing hearts.
Effortlessly their dances joined into one. They danced in counterpoint, each one mirroring the other's movements through different quadrants around the fire. When the man let go her hand to drift around the edge of the great fire, she caught a glimpse of his face. Pale cheeks flushed red with frenzy wine. Blue eyes misted in the moonlight. Her chest tightened, her breath harshened, and she forced herself to meet every sway of his. Soon her feet blistered with the agony of the dance, her breasts and belly burned with the liquid tempo of their bodies. Thoughts of the man across her filled her mind, and she recalled all that Madge had warned her about. That the union dance was not just a tradition. Only your true match could step out and join his dance to yours.
Across the fire she could see him smiling at her, as his body matched every move of hers, as if he knew exactly what she would do without being told so. And just to test that, because she had always made fun of the tribe's ridiculous traditions and claims, she added a movement to the dance that was not supposed to be. Except, when she threw her face to the left, his went with it, and then to the right, Peeta knew that added step, too.
She felt a slight warmth gathering in the pit of her stomach.
She had not noticed this boy before. He was not the best hunter like Gale was. She knew that Delly had aspired to be his union partner, but even Katniss could not deny that he seemed to be playing his part well with her. For one moment, she thought he missed a step, but he hadn't.
The fire between them seemed to pulse with heat, drawing her toward it, toward him, but warding her off as well. She knew what had to happen for him to be able to have her, though. She knew, and for a fleeting moment she felt worried. Gale had already told her if no one stepped out, he would. Had that been him before? Was he angered that Peeta cut into their way? Or was that just what the great spirits wanted?
Katniss had never known what the greats spirits wanted, but she knew that she liked the way their dancing felt.
The enthusiastic, noisy figures of the tribes about them blurred, the stars in the sky became one blinding searing light, and she thought he must be near exhaustion by the warm ache in her muscles, that soon he would give up on her, that it was too hard, …and then everything stopped.
She closed her eyes. She stood, breathing deeply but not heavily, just before the fire, its warm breath ghosting against her bare thighs. Her hand was extended before her, fingertips dwindling above the flames of the fire, that were reaching up into the darkness of night, as if it would pull her hand down all on its own.
The two dancers had stopped at the exact moment the drums ceased their meanderings, and with that hush, the tribe members also stopped their stirrings. They waited. She waited. The fire crackled softly in the silence of the savannah, and slowly, Peeta stepped up to the flames.
When Katniss opened her eyes, in shock, it was to feel both of Peeta's hands enfolding hers. Straight across her, he stood, naked, beautiful. The fire sat just beneath their faces, drawing at their strength, painting red and orange designs across his face, outlining his jaw, his prominent cheekbones. The blue of his eyes glinted into her grey ones, yellow at the pupils, and slowly, hauntingly, as her dance had begun, Peeta pulled her through the flames.
She feared, at first, her heart flying, but before she could worry herself too much, he laughed in pure triumph. Katniss passed through the flames, untouched, her bare-feet unscorched, skin unburned. Then, the two young adults got tangled up in their footing, spun to keep balance, and only fell because of it. Rolling in the dirt, she felt Peeta wrap an arm around her waist, and then he ended up on top, the weight of him pushing the breath out of her like the softest of sighs.
For a moment, it hit her; she just got married.
Then Peeta was kissing her. And around them the tribe raised their voices in equal parts celebration and prayer.
In all honestly this is a part of a real story, but I'll probably never post it. Hope you enjoyed this bit. Reviews are love.