BIG DAMN HEROES

Hunger Games/Firefly crossover

Peeta Mellark loved watching his wife sleep. In waking, she was all action all the time, but asleep in his arms, Katniss was at peace, still – for probably the first time in her life. He ran his fingers through the long dark hair splayed against his chest and surreptitiously lifted a tendril to his nose. He loved the smell of her hair. It somehow always smelled vaguely of freshly cut grass and some other exotic plant that they certainly would never have the luxury of ever seeing up here.

"I saw that." Katniss muttered sleepily as she slowly forced her eyes open. Her blurry grey eyes sought out his bright blue ones and stared contently up at him. "What were you thinking about?"

Peeta had in fact been composing poetic nothings in his head about his wife and how irresistibly beautiful she was, but he knew what would happen if he told her that. She would blush, turn away in embarrassment, see the timepiece on the wall and rush up to the cockpit; this perfect moment would be over. So instead he told her, "I was just thinking about making you a cake."

"A cake?"

"Yes, a cake. You know those things made with sugar and flour and butter and eggs? The only problem is we don't have any sugar or flour or butter or eggs."

"That's probably because we live on a spaceship, dear."

"I know. But one day... One of these days when we hit the motherlode, you are I going to buy a planet."

"A planet? A whole planet, you say. That is quite a motherlode."

"Yep. We'll terraform and then you will spend your days hunting and looking sexy."

"I'll what?!"

"Hunt. Animals. With one of those really old bows and arrows. And maybe you can pick some plants too, I guess."

"I see you've thought about this quite a bit then. And just what exactly will you be doing while I'm out playing cavewoman?"

"Baking. I'm going to open a bakery and make you all the cakes and buns and breads you could ever want. You'll eat until you explode and then I'll write a lovely eulogy for your funeral. Here lies my beloved Katniss, my autumn flower...somewhat less attractive now that she's all corpsified and gr-"

Katniss silenced him with an energetic kiss. They lay in companionable silence for a few moments before she smiled.

"I wonder how the Captain will feel about our planet purchase?"

"Screw the Captain! If I want to buy my sexy huntress wife a planet, I will gorramit! Besides, the Captain and the Ambassador will eventually have to settle down and make some little kě'ài de bǎobǎo, right?"

They shared a smirk, and then another kiss.

"Speaking of which-"

Peeta was interrupted by a loud, insistent shrieking. Katniss cocked her head and listened intently, deciphering the particular alarm.

"Proximity alert. Must be coming up on something."

Peeta's face contorted into a look of horror as he exclaimed animatedly "Oh my god. What can it be? We're all doomed! Who's flying this thing?!"

Katniss raised an eyebrow as his face dropped.

"Oh right, that would be me. Back to work."

Peeta sighed but made no attempt to extricate himself from his wife's arms. Katniss smiled and gently nudged him.

"Duty calls."

Katniss missed his presence the second he left their bed. She watched as her husband threw on a bright Hawaiian shirt, ran a hand through his unruly blonde curls and hoisted himself up the ladder from their compartment with a practiced ease. If she didn't know, she wouldn't believe he was missing one of his natural legs – a result of a previous run-in with the gorram Alliance.

She took her time getting dressed – Peeta was the best pilot she'd met in the whole 'verse and she knew Serenity was in safe hands – and made her way to the cockpit. A smile quickly crossed her face as she saw her boys chatting leisurely, whatever temporary crisis obviously averted.

Captain Gale Hawthorne was her oldest friend, and Katniss was happy to serve under him any day – whether on the battlefield in the so-called good old days, or here and now on Serenity. The early days had seen some tension between Gale and Peeta, revolving mostly around the extent of the former's relationship with Katniss.

"I mean, I'm the one she swore to love, honour and obey."

"Listen...She swore to obey?"

"Well, no, not... But that's just my point! You she obeys! She obeys you! There's obeying going on right under my nose!"

However, years of travelling together had long since erased any of Peeta's concerns. The crew of Serenity were a well-oiled machine by now. They were well and truly jiātíng. A family. Katniss shook her head as the pair exploded in peals of laughter.

"I take it we have nothing to be concerned about then?"

Peeta grinned and winked at his wife. "Not with me behind the wheel, we don't. Captain was just telling me about our next job. Sounds mighty yao ming to me."

"Is that so? You would never put in any kind of danger, now would you, sir? Tzuh muh luh?"

Gale nodded, failing miserably to keep the smile from his face. "Got a call on the holo. You know, the usual. Got us some crime to be done. I was just sayin-"

"Is it time for some thrilling heroics?"

The interruption came from the man leaning casually on the doorframe. His long brown hair was covered by a brightly-coloured knitted hat and his general demeanour was of inimitable brashness.

"Not just yet, Haymitch. I'll let you know when the time comes," Gale replied easily.

"Shiny." He leaned down to grab a bottle of cloudy brown liquor that rested by his foot and raised it in a half-hearted toast before turning away. "I'll be in my bunk."

Katniss returned her attention to Gale. "So what's the score?" She took notice of the furtive glance shared between her captain and her husband. Something was up. Katniss hated to be out of the loop, but knew her husband couldn't keep a secret if his life depended on it. She'd have it out of him in an hour.

Gale cleared his throat loudly and ignored the question. "You two better head on back to breakfast. Sae's got some waiting for you. I don't know what they teach in Shepherd school, but that woman sure can cook."

A lively voice chimed up from the corridor, "Sometimes it doesn't even taste like protein!" A bubbly young woman barrelled into the cockpit in her trademark attire: grease on her clothes and a smile on her lips.

Peeta frowned in mock confusion and shook his head. "Gwai-gwai long duh dong. Delly, how are you so cheerful this early in the morning?!"

"I don't believe there's a power in the 'verse than can stop Delly from being cheerful. Sometimes you just wanna duct tape her mouth and dump her in the hold for a month." Gale smirked as he reached out to pat the girl affectionately on her blonde head. "How's she doing?"

"Serenity's doing just fine, Captain! I'm gonna need a new compression coil pretty soon though. We heading planet-side today?"

"Not just yet, little Delly. Soon." Gale coughed and looked at Peeta expectantly. The pilot's eyes widened as he jumped out of his seat. "Right! Katniss, let's eat. You come too, Delly."

Katniss looked between the two men, eyes narrowing in suspicion. Finally, she sighed, "Alright. Let's go. But you and I are going to have words, dear husband." Peeta gulped. "Will you be joining us, sir?"

"Uh... N-not yet," Gale stammered "I'm gonna go check in with Madge, see how busy her schedule is coming up."

"Didn't she have some pretty specific words to say about you barging into her shuttle, sir?"

"Yup. She called it manly and impulsive!" Gale beamed.

"Hmm. Only I'm pretty sure the exact phrase she used was 'don't'." Katniss scowled and left the cockpit flanked by a pair of chattering blondes.

"Have you seen Bristel today, Delly? How's she doing?"Peeta inquired with concern.

Delly shrugged. "Well, she's screaming less, so that's a start. Thom's down there trying some new doctory thing out on her brain."

Peeta and Katniss shared a secretive smile. "Thom, eh? So Delly, how are you finding the good doctor?"

The girl's cheeks flushed red and she bit her lip. "Thom is taking care of his sister real well. He's...he's a very nice man."

The trio chatted amiably until they reached the dining room and Katniss grabbed the collar of Peeta's shirt, pulling him roughly to the corner of the room. He had the decency to try to look terrified, but the unremitting smile that played upon his lips shattered the facade. He gazed at his wife lovingly as her features formed into a familiar scowl.

"Gou huang tang. What's going on?"

"What ever do you mean, dear Katniss?" Peeta's easy tone wavered as his wife crossed her arms and deepened her scowl. He sighed. She was going to get it out of him eventually anyway. "Ok, fine. It was meant to be a surprise…."

"I hate surprises."

"Which is exactly why Gale loved the idea. I proposed…a little heist."

"Cai bu shi. For what? Not another train, I hope," she groaned.

"Nope. Better. It's jing cai. Let's just say you might be getting that cake after all. But that's all you're getting out of me!"

Katniss' jaw dropped. "You want to rob a bakery? Wo de ma he ta de feng kuang de wai sheng dou. Why?"

"For you, of course. You're my wife and you like cake, so I'm going to get you one gorramit."

For the first time since he had met her, Katniss Mellark was speechless. Words were never her strongest suit, but she could usually muster up something coherent. After all the back-water moons and dazzling Core cities and thefts and chases and gunshots and bandages, it was the thought of her husband commandeering their vessel to satisfy her sweet tooth that stripped her of her faculties. A slow smile began to spread across her lips and Peeta suppressed a sigh of relief.

"So you'll allow it?"

She nodded. "I'll allow it."

Peeta grabbed her hands and twirled his wife with a flourish. "My love, you have no idea the effect you can have. I'm a damn good pilot, but with you by my side… I am leaf on the wind, watch me soar."