Girl with the Braids in her Hair

Freshman Year: Autumn

Peeta leaned against the wall, raking his hand through his blonde hair before he reached down for the beer bottle that was resting on the table.

The frat house was packed, the music nothing more than a dull roar in his ears.

She was bent over the makeshift snack table. Her long dark hair was pulled back in two braids. He watched as one fell forward, grazing the strap of her green tank top.

Peeta sighed, taking one last swig before placing it back down on the table. He picked up the black tipped cane that was perched next to him, and slowly hobbled over.

His heart raced. He inadvertently licked his lips, running his tongue lightly over the quickly forming cracks. Peeta stopped, and gave a small smile to two girls who passed by.

She didn't move. Peeta swallowed, his eyes taking in her tanned skin; the small curves of her breasts, hips, and backside. He shook his head. Down boy, he cautioned, giving a glance towards his crotch.

He maneuvered around, and paused. She was humming. Peeta couldn't tell what it was, but it sounded sweet. Sweet, and sadly haunting. He swallowed again.

"Hey, Catnip."

Peeta jerked his head up. The boy who approached her was tall, dark haired, and almost as lanky as she was lean.

She smiled. "Damn you, Gale," she muttered. "I think you can probably leave that nickname behind."

Gale shook his head. "Why are you over here? I brought you to this party because you said that you wanted to have some fun this weekend."

"I…" Peeta watched as her cheeks flushed red. "I am having fun."

"Standing by the horrible snack table doesn't really look like fun to me." Gale took her arm. "Now, c'mon-"

"I don't know anybody here but you," she replied, cutting him off. "I don't go to this school." She looked around uncomfortably. "I feel like I'm underdressed too. The girls here…"

Gale sighed. "Everything is different. Look, this party is getting kind of old anyways. I talked to Thresh and he wanted to move it back to our apartment, a small thing."

Peeta saw her eyes light up. "Oh, really?" she asked, her voice catching in her throat.

"I mean…" Gale cocked his head, "unless you want me to drive you back to Charlottesville tonight."

"No." She gave him a small smile. "You're right. I needed to get out of my dorm room."

"Yes. Yes, you did. And…we can go in the woods tomorrow."

"You promise?" she asked hopefully.

"I promise. We'll have to sneak under some gates-"

She gently punched his arm. "You just don't want to climb the trees with me."

"Is that a dare…Catnip?" Gale teased. He faced her, walking backwards. "I can handle-"

Her eyes widened. "Gale, wait-"

Peeta startled, crashing to the floor. He dropped his cane, wincing as Gale collapsed down on top of him.

"Oh, shit." Gale scrambled to get up. "I'm sorry, man. I wasn't looking."

"Oh, no I…" Peeta pulled the edges of his plain white t-shirt down over his exposed stomach.

She knelt down next to him, and Peeta found himself looking into her eyes. They were gray, and soft, unblinking as she held her hand out. "Are you okay?" she asked.

"Oh." Peeta nodded, shaking himself out of his revelry. "Yeah, yeah." He reddened as she grabbed his hand, pulling him up. His heartbeat quickened. Her fingers were small in his, slender but calloused. "I'm fine," he breathed out.

"Man, I'm so sorry," Gale said.

She smiled, her face pinked as she handed him his cane. Their fingers met again, and Peeta forced himself to exhale. "Sorry," she added.

"It's all right," Peeta murmured, his mind racing trying to think of something else to say.

She moved closer, one of her braids lightly grazing his arm. "Gale can sometimes…" She bit her lip. "He should watch where he's going."

"Ah-" Peeta was at a loss for words.

"Katniss? Katniss, are you coming?"

She looked up. "Yeah. Yeah, of course." She broke out in a full grin as she walked over to Gale. "Let's get outta here."


"Kat-" Peeta croaked, and watched them head out the door. He groaned, nearly falling again as he felt someone slap him on the back.

"Why aren't you drinking?"

He turned. His roommate was there, grinning at him wildly. Finnick snickered, his dimples showing. "I was drinking. I just took a break."

"Okay, well that was stupid, and I think you need to start again because…" Finnick paused. "Well, I just can't be alone in having a hangover tomorrow morning. That…and getting laid."

Peeta moaned. "Oh…yeah."

Finnick gasped, mockingly covering his open mouth with his hand. "What do you mean, 'oh…yeah?' As I recall, you said that you wanted to come to this party because you wanted to fuck someone. Your words, man."


Finnick grabbed his shoulders, swerving him around to where a group of four girls were gathered in the corner of the room. "Don't worry, I have done my duty. I have found some for you." He chuckled. "They go to an all girls college. They're freshmen, and…believe me, it's October and they're missing the dick already."

Peeta cried out in exasperation. "That is so-"

"Awesome. They're hot, and play up your prosthetic leg." Finnick pushed him over. "I think they'll do blow jobs too!"

Author's Note: I'm jumping into the Hunger Games pond with this slightly short story as I take a break from editing. Hope you enjoy it!