Prompt: Christmas Movies
Word Count: 660
In Another World I'd Still Have You
Katniss crumples to the floor because today snuck up on her. Prim's birthday. Her heart is racing and she wishes for a different life. Time might be passing, but she definitely can't feel it. She's crying and she doesn't know when she started.
When she thinks about losing Prim, it leads her mind to the other people she lost—Gale and her mother, her father and Finnick. Rue. Boggs. Mags.
Hours must pass, because she becomes aware of her surroundings again as the room darkens. She pushes herself up and goes to her bedroom, where she falls onto the bed.
I wish I'd never been born.
She falls asleep.
A gentle hand wakes her up. "Katniss," a soft voice says. "You need to eat, sweetheart."
Her eyes blink open slowly, and she sees Peeta, sitting next to her on the bed, looking worried.
"Try this," Peeta says, and he hands her a cheese bun.
She takes it to appease him.
Peeta watches her eat, twitching nervously. "You talk in your sleep when you're really stressed," he whispers.
Katniss looks up at him. She thinks about how nice it would be for the earth to swallow her whole right now. Or…I wish I'd never been born. The words rocket back into her brain with sudden clarity. "What did I say?" she croaks.
"You kept repeating that you didn't want to be alive," Peeta mumbles, taking her hand in his and rubbing her knuckles with his thumb. "Is it because today is Prim's birthday?"
Katniss nods, because that's the catalyst, but everything would be better if she hadn't been around; she's sure of it. "All I ever wanted was to keep her safe," she whispers, and tries not to start crying again.
Peeta pulls her into his chest, rubbing her back and running his fingers through her hair. "You did, Katniss. You did so well."
"She died," Katniss cried.
"It wasn't your fault," Peeta reminded her.
"My rebellion, my fault."
"No," Peeta says, shaking his head. "Prim chose to sneak out of 13 to help. It's not your fault."
Katniss tenses. "It's not her fault, either."
"That's not what I meant," says Peeta.
Katniss slumps into him. "I know…I just think…if I hadn't been born, or maybe if I'd just let you win the Games, maybe…"
"Maybe what, Katniss?" Peeta says, his fingers digging into her arms. "Maybe she would have starved when your dad died? Maybe she would have been reaped into the Games herself? And I never would have let you die for me."
"All I did was keep death away for a few years," Katniss says, miserable. "I should have saved her."
"How?" Peeta huffs. "By diffusing all of the bombs? You can't blame yourself, Katniss, and I loathe to admit it—" his voice became teasing—"but you can't blame Gale, either." He took a deep breath, and continued, more seriously. "You can blame Coin. And you took care of her. She won't be hurting any one any more."
Katniss shakes her head. "I was the rebellion—"
"The face of the rebellion," Peeta interrupts. "The rebellion had been brewing for 75 years, Katniss. You just showed everyone that Panem was ready."
"Maybe I wasn't ready," Katniss mumbles.
"They expected too much of you, Katniss," Peeta chides her gently. "They forgot you were just 17. You might have been 35 in your soul, but you were still…we were still just kids."
Katniss thinks about that for a minute. She wonders who she even is any more. Without Prim to protect, she's nothing.
"And if you'd never been born," Peeta whispers. "I would be dead. Prim would be dead. The districts would still be slaves to the Capitol. Haymitch wouldn't have geese to look after."
Katniss huffs out a laugh about the geese despite herself.
"I love you, Katniss," Peeta murmurs, and presses a kiss to her hair. "Don't leave."
And so she says, "Okay."
Disclaimer: I don't own The Hunger Games or It's A Wonderful Life.
A/N: So I went a little far from my original plan for this, but I decided to base this on It's A Wonderful Life, sans the angel (unless you think Peeta is an angel.) Written for 25 Days of Ficmas (link on profile).