So, we've reached chapter 23, which is my favorite number.

Disclaimer: I've said it over and over again. I think you get it by now. I obviously don't own the hunger games.


Sitting there with my head between my knees and my eyes fixed upon a crack in the drying mud, I realize two things. One: I'm a heavy burden that endangers Katniss the longer she persists to help me. Two: I'm starting to feel a sharp pain where Katniss is awkwardly patting my back.

Why couldn't she have left me back upstream? I was peacefully dying before she found me. I'm not taking what she did for granted, but she didn't have to put herself at risk to try to fix me up. I'm going to die. I can feel it deep inside me. I'm a lost cause and I'm sure she knows that as well. So why team up with me anyways?

I shift my head so I could get a look at her. Her grey eyes scan all around us. They look upstream and downstream, but they always return to the woods. Everytime her eyes linger over a tree, she chews her bottom lip and you can see the longing in them. Katniss wants to get me up in a tree.

Up in a tree is for sure not an option. I barely made it fifty yards downstream, propped up on her shoulder, before my vision blurred and the world around me started to spin. She reluctantly sat me down and pushed my head between my knees to get some blood flow back to my brain.

"Do you think you're able to stand," she asks after a while of staring at the rocks behind us. I nod and slowly make myself stand. I have to shift my weight to the right to ease some of the pain on the left.

Katniss slips her arm under mine and grips my shirt securely. She leads me a littles way above the stream toward the rocky terrain. We stop at the opening of a fair size cave. Katniss lets me sit infront of the opening. I sit there panting, shivering, and my skin white.

Katniss has me watch the woods while she sets up inside the cave. Occasionally, she steps outside to gather pine needles.

Once, she judges it suitable for our situation, she helps me inside. The first thing I register is the layer of pine needles blanketing the stone floor and a sleeping bag laying off to the side. The cave is larger than I expected. Sure, the mouth of the cave isn't very wide, but it runs longer on the inside.

When Katniss tucks me into the sleeping bag, I get a faint memory of home. I'm just a little boy, no more than four years old. I'm in the bakery with my dad. I start to doze off against the counter. My dad picks me up and carries me to my bedroom. He lays me under the covers and tucks me in. It's an odd parrell to Katniss tucking me in now.

I'm so into my thoughts, I don't even notice that Katniss gave me pills until after I had already washed it down with water. Again, she tries to force fruit on me. My stomach ache barely went away, I don't really want to bring it back. She leaves them next to me incase I change my mind.

Laying here alone with just me and my thoughts, I start to wonder. What's going on back home? My brothers will be watching and supporting, just as my dad. Seth will without a doubt try to use the my-little-brother's-in-the-games-right-now card with the girls. Mother would be watching, but she won't be cheering with everyone else. She probably hopes I die in here, so that way she doesn't have to face me if I make it back. If I make it back.

Katniss re-enters the cave with a bundle of vines. My eyes immediately lock on her face. She sits with her legs crossed while she makes a sort of blanket with the vines. Determination shines on her face. She's really concentrating on those vines. Her grey eyes become hard and a crease forms between her eyebrows. Whenever she messes up, her jaw clenches. After some time, she tries to cover up the opening of the cave. Right away she tears it down with frustration.

Fire. A red, hot fire burning within her. That fire keeps her alive. I think she has enough fire to keep both of us alive. She went through all that trouble to find me and then fix me up even if it disgusts her. She won't let me die.

"Katniss," I say getting her attention. She sits down next to me. Her small fingers gently brush back the hair from my eyes. It feels so relaxing. A sympathetic smile forms on her lips. "Thanks for finding me."

"You would have found me if you could," she says with her hand still resting on my forehead. Concern flashes across her face. But as quickly as it came, it's gone Something's wrong, but she won't tell me. Maybe she's starting to realize that I most likely won't make it out of here. I need to tell her the truth. I know Haymitch told her that I told everyone to help get her sponsors, but she deserves to know that what I said was more than just about sponsors. I may never get another chance like this.

"Yes. Look if I don't make it back-" I begin.

"Don't talk like that. I didn't drain all that pus for nothing," she says. No, she really needs to hear this.

"I know. But just in case I don't-" I say propping myself upon my elbows.

"No, Peeta, I don't even want to discuss it," she says placing her finger to my lips as if that will silence me.

"But, I-"

The thing that happens next is something I would have never thought I would happen. A kiss from Katniss Everdeen. The girl I've been in love with since I was five. I may never get another one, so I try my best to savour it. The movement of her lips against mine. Heat radiating from her lips, or maybe from mine. I can't tell. I mostly just feel heat. Too quickly she pulls away. The sleeping bag gets pulled up around me.

"You're not going to die. I forbid it. All right?" she says raising her eyebrow. When she said that, it sounded as if she was scolding a child, but not as mean. Just serious. There's no other option here besides agreeing with her. So, I agreed. "I'm going to be right back, so don't move."

"Don't worry. I don't think I could even if I wanted to," I joke. She looks at me dead serious. Then walks out.

My first kiss. It wasn't how I imagined it would be. At least it was a little better than my actual first kiss. The one that we decided never happened. My first actual kiss was with Delly, but it wasn't romantic or anything.

We were young, I think it was 12 or 13, and we were hangin out behind the bakery playing a game. Our friends were there playing the game as well. I don't remember what game it was, but I do know that Namen was the one who created it. So, in the end it was me and Delly. We were forced to kiss. So, Delly gripped my shirt and pulled me to her. It was a short kiss. Once, everone left and it was just me and her, we talked about it. We both decided it didn't feel right and moved past it. We never spoke about it again.

My friends. I miss them. I close my eyes and try to conjure up an image of them. Slowly, as if emerging from the darkness, they appear. They all have warm smiles on their faces and they just look like ... home. One by one they disappear. The darkness soon consumes me.

The next thing I know, something is kissing me. An image of girl with a brown braid comes into view. Katniss. She kissed me again. I never pegged her as an affectionate person.

"Peeta, look what Haymitch sent you," she says lifting a pot in front of me.


So sorry it was short. I'll try to make the next one longer. Thank you everyone who reviewed, followed, or favorited. It means so much to me that you take the time to do that Anyway, please tell me what you guys think in a review. It's greatly appreciated.

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