Yes! I finally finished it. This chapter is a real treat guys, it's extra extra long. That's why it took at lead a week to write. Thank you for being patient though.

This is guys...MOMENT OF TRUTH!

Yes! I've really tried to plan this out, how she's going to say it and all.

Please forgive me for any grammar mistakes. I don't edit, :p

Enjoy!

DISCLAIMER: I DO NOT OWN THE HUNGER GAMES


CHAPTER TWENTY: IT BEATS AS ONE

The sunlight from the window burns my eyes. When I open them I close straight away, a groan of complaint coming out of my mouth. Peeta likes to sleep with the window open, but because it's so cold we keep it closed but we keep the curtains open. And when I wake up I just so happen to be facing the window.

My pillow is Peeta's chest and I'm not surprising. I thought about slapping him awake last night just so that I could scream those words at him.

Damn you Peeta!

Damn you for falling asleep like that!

I get off Peeta's chest and turn around. I just really hate him at the moment; I don't even want to think that he's lying down next to me. And it's all because he wasn't awake when I said those words last night.

See. I can't even say it now, even in my head.

As I turn my body around my tailbone jolts with pain. I quickly bite my lip to stop myself from yelling. I face away from Peeta and I stare at the door of our bedroom.

I realize just how tired I am. I didn't think that it was possible for someone to feel weak after hours of sleep and rest.

Then I remember last night.

That's crazy. Did it really happen?

It felt like it didn't. To be honest, I don't even remember. It would just be too awkward if I did anyway.

But I still remember how it felt.

I feel a shy smile forming and I feel the need to hide. Peeta shifts besides me and he starts mumbling.

"Katniss…" I hear him mumble and I turn my head to look at whatever he is doing.

His eyes are closed, most likely he is still sleeping, and his hand is patting the gap between us. He's probably reaching for me; I roll my eyes and sigh.

I reach for his hand and put it around my waist. He mumbles in satisfaction and turns his body to hold me properly. I'm still facing away from him, his chest to my back while I busily think and stare at the door.

I can't think anymore, not with Peeta being so close and…naked. All I can feel is skin to skin, his chest moving as he breathes and his breath tickling my neck.

I look around the room and look at the clock on the wall, it's just around 8 am and my eyes are still sore. I close my eyes and in a few minutes I fall asleep and I wake up two hours later.

Peeta's still in his deep slumber, snoring his head off.

He must be exhausted and it's pretty obvious why.

I find myself lying on my back and staring at the ceiling. Peeta's nose pressed against my cheek and his breath still tickling my neck. I'm fighting the urge to slap him awake and order for some cinnamon buns. I let him sleep and my fingers fiddle with his hair.

Everytime I turn, I do it nice and easily. When I turn to face Peeta I bite my lips so hard I think that it has started bleeding. I watch him sleep, pushing his hair back every so often. The sunlight rays that are going through the windows make his hair look a lighter blonde. The sunlight even reflects on his jaw and his stubbles appear. I guess it's so blonde that I can barely make it out. My fingers touch his jaw and I can feel the rough facial hair.

I sigh. To me, Peeta's is still a boy. The boy with the bread.

He's seventeen years old and in a few more months he'll be eighteen. When you're eighteen, you're considered as an adult. You're not called a teenager anymore and I don't want people saying that Peeta's a man.

He'll always be that boy to me, the boy with the blue eyes and blonde hair. The playful Peeta who can make anybody feel special with his words and my own personal painter. As you grow older you seem to be less playful and more serious. I just can't imagine Peeta not painting flowers, roses and me in dresses.

It would be really disappointing if he grows up and never finds the time to make me my favourite cinnamon buns. I should learn to make them just in case.

My finger lands on his bottom lip, I've kissed his lips so many times it has a maximum number in itself. I swipe my thumb across his lip; I feel my finger feeling my own lips. Peeta has kissed it so many times he might as well mark it as his territory.

I tap his nose and his eyelids start moving.

"Katniss?" His voice is hoarse and questioning.

His eyelids flutter open and his blue yes is covered with tiredness.

"Morning," I whisper.

He smiles. His eyes open completely now and he turns his body around so his back is to the mattress. He stretches and yawns at the same time.

As he does though, as he stretches, the blanket kind of pulls away from me and I grab it quickly to makes sure I don't expose myself. Peeta doesn't seem to notice, his letting out a big yawn with his eyes tightly shut and his arms and legs stretching out.

He rubs his eyes and then turns his body to look at me. We stare at each other for a minute or two until his eyes widen and a sharp but silent gasp escapes his lips.

"Did we really-," he starts saying, "last night I mea-"

I nod a few times, even keeping my eyes close and my lips pursed just to look serious.

"Yep," I pop the 'p' and suddenly we're having an awkward silence.

I start yawning and my eyes shut as my mouth widens. When I open them though my mouth opens in shock and my eyes widen. Peeta's peeking under the covers with a cheeky grin.

"Peeta!"

His head snaps up and he looks at me in embarrassment.

"I was- I- I just-…I wanted to…see if…it was real." He explains.

"Really!" I ask in a serious tone.

"Well what if it was a dream!" His voice becomes high pitched and squeaky, I would laugh out loud if I wasn't so loud.

"Oh and you thought fine to look under the covers at out naked bodies!" The words come out so fast; it's so embarrassing how he did that.

"I'm sorry Katniss…" He says softly. I feel his warm hand on my waist, "that was really rude of me. I should've known better."

I can't stay mad at him, especially not when he's looking at me like that. Now while his eyes twinkle that and especially not with that look of shyness, embarrassment and forgiveness that add up to the word 'handsome'.

I shake my head. Why can't I stop myself from thinking about Peeta like this? What is wrong with me?

Of all the pressure and tragedy were went and are going through, I manage to find the time to think about him like this and feel my heart light up with joy.

But I guess it is reasonable with all the things we've gone through, I'll let it pass.

Instead I take his hear and I pinch it back, and I do it hard. Hard enough for him to yell in pain and say the word sorry again and again after one another.

When I let go of his ear he gives me an apologetic look.

"You should know better." I only managed to stay mad at Peeta for a few seconds and I used those seconds by pinching his ear. It was the only anger I had left of him after he gave me that look.

"Okay," I say after with a huge grin, "I forgive you."

He smiles back and kisses my nose. "I love you," I hear him whisper softly and more to himself than to me.

I sigh. Well I might as well say it. Here goes what I hope will be something.

"Peeta I-" I stop.

What now Katniss?

I clear my throat.

"I uh…"

He looks at me and waits for me to continue.

"I um…I…I really think that we should get out of bed. I mean, we have to go to the bakery today right and I'm supposed to walk?" I close my eyes in disappointment after I say that.

Coward. You're such a coward Katniss.

"Really? You wouldn't want to stay in bed a little longer while we're wrapped around each other like this?" That cheeky grin is back on his lips.

And I wonder, I wonder if what Peeta and I did last night was enough to express my feelings like that.

"Peeta we're so young, so young to have done what we did." The words escape my mouth before I could even think about what I would say. He looks at me with the same worried expression.

He offers an encouraging smile, "I know. But some people just get carried away, it's fine. Just as long as it doesn't upset us too much while thinking about it."

Carried away. Is that his excuse for last night's actions?

No. Of course he wouldn't get it. He wouldn't understand that I was just expressing my love for him. I started it didn't I?

I made the move to kiss him. I positioned myself and he did the rest.

"But being carried away is a foolish thing. It can lead to lots of stupid things and consequences." I say my voice shaking a little bit.

I never thought of this happening before, never thought of being in bed with a boy and exploring (let's just call it exploring) new stuff.

A frown forms in Peeta's lips, his trying not to make me worry about it. He really is, I can tell but I can't help but worry.

Having rumours about me and Peeta sleeping in the train was fine, it targeted the Peeta we wanted to convince and it didn't bother me except for the embarrassment. Even if it was a rumour it still made me blush thinking about it. Haymitch joking about it with Prim and my Mum was easier to deal with than being interviewed about it with Caesar.

Having it happen in real life is completely different feeling. Sex is serious, it's something you do when you're committed to someone completely. But what's done is done.

And Peeta and I can't point fingers at each other because, if we knew better and didn't let ourselves her 'carried away', we could've stopped it. I could've stopped it…but I didn't.

Peeta was probably fine with it. Enjoyed it even, especially seeing how exhausted he looked while sleeping a few hours ago.

"We have every right to be serious about this but we shouldn't get scared." He says and a smile forms on his lips. When I see him smile my nervousness goes away and I start giggling. A wider grin forming on my lips.

"You probably had a good time didn't you?" I say jokingly.

Ever the good, respectful and appropriate teenage boy he is, Peeta blushes as red as a tomato. This, of course, makes me laugh even harder.

"You don't have to answer that," I continue and he lets out a breath he was most likely holding.

"I think we should get ready for the day now Peeta."

"Wait!" He grabs my waist under the covers and moves closer. "Let's just lie down a little longer. Please?"

I sigh, "You want something don't you? What is it? What do you want from me? You want a kiss, what?" I say flatly and almost demanding.

"Nothing, I just want you to lie with me because I don't want to leave the bed just yet."

"You want to kiss me don't you?" I ask in an obvious manner.

He blushes, "Well it would be really nice if…"

I roll my eyes and kiss him anyway. I just give him a soft peck, nothing special.

"Now can I get out of bed, I feel like I need a shower?"

"Can't we just lie down a little longer?"

"I really want to clean myself Peeta?" I turn my body over and them I yelp because of my tailbone. Peeta's hands are on me before I can even finish the sound, "your tailbone?"

I bite my lip and nod. "I'll be fine; I'll practice walking while I go to the shower."

"But what if it hurts and you injure yourself."

"I'm pretty sure I'll be fine, I've been resting for days!"

"You be careful then." He slurs.

"The shower's right there, I'll be fine." I'm about to sit up and take the blanket off me when I realize that I am actually naked. Peeta's seems to have seen my discomfort and says, "oh I don't care. I've seen it all anyway."

I glare at him and he looks taken aback, "yeah and that was different."

He looks at me then clicks his tongue, "fine! I'll cover my eyes while you walk to the bathroom." He says then takes a pillow and then puts it over his face. I smile at his silliness and throw the covers away from me.

I move slowly, I move my legs over the edge of the bed and slowly I try to get up. The moment I put weight on my foot my tailbone says no. I grip on the mattress cover and try again.

"Or better yet!" I hear Peeta's voice, loud and clear. I only managed to get up a few centimeters then feel back down because of Peeta. Luckily my back is to him and I turn my head to and his eyes are closed while he faces the ceiling.

"I need to take a shower as well…"

I know what he means and that's not happening, "no Peeta. No."

"I knew you were going to say that," he says sounding really disappointed. He sighs then turns around with his back to me.

I sigh at him in pity and try to stand back up. Before I do though I see my shirt on the floor and I grab it and put it on me so at least I won't feel at all uncomfortable. I try to stand but I can't, I bite my lip so that I don't scream out and worry Peeta. It's not working for me, I manage to stand up a little but I can't hold myself for so long.

"Um Peeta?"

"Hmm…"

"Could you please help me?"

I hear the blanket being thrown away, I hear him stand and shuffle around a bit then I feel his arms around me and soon he's carrying me over his shoulder to the bathroom. I feel like a pig being carried like this.

"You have a nice butt Katniss," he says in his usual joking manner.

"Don't start." I say.

Peeta slowly and gently places me down on the cold tile floors and he holds onto me while I try to stand up straight. Ever since I hurt my tailbone Peeta's done some renovations in the bathroom for me. He went down to Town one day and bought support bars that I can hold onto while I walk, he stuck one in the shower as well so that I'm holding onto something while I'm washing myself. Sometimes I get hurt standing up like that if I don't put enough weight on my arm and lean on the bars properly.

I remember how I sat in the living stuffing cheese buns in my mouth while Peeta works with a hammer and screws upstairs. He supports me until I'm leaning on the bar, after that, Peeta stands there staring at me, scratching his head in confusion. I smile when I see him half naked whit his blue boxers on, he probably put that on when he got out of bed a while ago.

"What are you thinking about?" I ask him.

"You in the shower," he says absent-mindedly then shakes his head, "what? Come again?" He asks me.

I shake my head, "never mind, close the door when you leave."

"Do you want to take a bath today? It's much easier than taking a shower and standing for so many minutes."

I have thought about taking a bath instead but the hard tile covers of the bathtub can hurt my tailbone once I am sitting on it but if I take a shower and I'm standing it's harder for me to reach things and I'm always balancing myself and finding the right position to make sure I don't hurt myself.

It's a big bathtub, I have to admit. It's white and shiny, it's a big rectangle shape but it's width is a larger for a normal rectangle. If I were to lie down there, I would have enough space for my arms and legs to stretch out in.

"Sure, let's try that today." I might as well try and get use to the pain.

"I'll get the water running," he says somewhat excited and turns the tap on on the bathtub. I stand there and watch him work.

He grabs the bottle with that special soap from the Capitol that makes bubbles. "We'll just pour this in," his voice is getting much more excited by the second. He squeezes the bottle and loads of liquid comes out.

"Well don't waste it." I tell him.

"No worries, we'll order some more."

Soon the bathroom is filled with steam and the water in the bathtub looks very, very warm. Peeta's mixing the bubble shampoo in the water, making the tub gets filled with all the foamy soap and bubbles. I stand in my usual spot, watching Peeta in adoration. He feels my stare and looks at me a wide smile in his face. Then his smile turns cheeky and I know he's going to be up to something in just a few seconds.

He stands up and I can't really see him with all these steamy smoke. It's filled with so much mist that I didn't think it was possible for a room to get this steamy. The water must be quite hot, it doesn't bother me and it will really help with the cold temperature.

"What is it Peeta? Are you done?" I ask through the fog.

I see him shake his head then he drops his boxers. Thank God there's enough mist to hide what I really don't want to see. "What are you doing?"

"I'm going to take a bath," he says as if it's the most casual thing in the world. He turns around and dips his leg in and then soon, the next one. "Ahh..." he expresses.

In no time at all he was lying down in the bathtub playing around with the foam while I stand there with an idiotic look on my face. What about me?

"I thought I was taking a bath, not you." I exclaim.

He looks at me as if he has just realized I was there. "Oh right, come on then." He gestures his hand to come to him. And I til my head a little, trying to figure out where he is going with this.

"No thanks," I answer.

"No come on. You can sit on my lap in this very warm and comforting see of water. Did I mention it was warm and it's like 3 degrees outside?"

I roll my eyes at him. "Have fun taking a bath, I'll just wait for you to finish outside and then I can have my turn." Nice and steadily I start walking with the bar to support me.

"Katniss no! Please no! Come on, please, just this once!"

"You know how I feel about all...that...naked stuff."

"Katniss please," he says that much softer this time and filled with desperation.

I sigh. No don't Katniss...

Keep walking.

I feel my feet start to move. Keep going, don't stop now.

"Katniss come on...I'm sorry I took your spot." He keeps talking that way he does and I'm so tempted to stop. I slow down though and Peeta can see that somehow, I can just feel that smile of his because he thinks it's working.

Well...I'm not giving in this time.

Nope.

Absolutely not.

The water is so warm and feels so nice. I can't believe I denied just because Peeta was in the bathtub.

He's still here though and we're in the bathtub together. I'm on his lap, it doesn't seem to hurt my tailbone majorly but I tend to wince here and there,

So much for not giving in Katniss.

"Ah, this is nice. Just you and me. In the bathtub. Together. Naked." Peeta says slowly.

"Don't, otherwise I might think that's it's too disgusting and I might leave."

"Disgusting? You didn't think that anything last night was disgusting."

"Well, that was...different," I use this as a stupid excuse.

"It's not different now, we're still naked."

"Thanks for the fact Captain Obvious."

"Captain Obvious? That's not something Katniss would say."

"People in the Capitol say that. Don't need to get serious; I was just mocking their humour."

"You do that almost all the time, "he says then kisses the top of my head. I smile and continue playing the bubbles. "These things always smell like roses," Peeta continues.

"That's a bad thing?"

"No…its- it's just, it reminds me too much of Snow…" Saying his name was enough of an explanation to my question.

"W-well suck it up, we'll be smelling like roses all day," I try to sound brave. After all these weeks of not worrying about Snow and this bounty on our heads, it was all calm and normal. Peeta was happy, I could even manage a few hours of sleep and I could look at Prim and my mother without having to freak out about losing them all the time. Now that we've thought of Snow, it will take a while to take him off our heads again and it's only a matter of time until they call about the wedding.

The Hunger Games is in 3 or 4 months time and I'm not going to be ready for it. Sometimes I think about how Peeta and I will go as mentors, I would prefer Haymitch more than me even though he's a drunk and I'm not. Even of Haymitch will be there to support us, I can only imagine the guilt that will build inside of you if those children you were mentoring died in the Arena.

The words 'Quarter Quell' pops in my head a few times when I think of the Games because this is the year for it. There's no doubt that this year will be another painful and heart-wrenching year filled with more blood, 'action' and what the Capitol citizens call 'entertainment.'

Peeta pulls me out of my thoughts when he pours water over my head and he chuckles. It's amazing how childish Peeta can be at times. At first he was all broken and we can't even look each other in the eye for a long time, we would only kiss in front of the camera and we couldn't find the right words for each other.

Now, we're having a bath together. And the most important thing is that we're happy…for now at least. Who knows what Snow's plans are for us?

Peeta continues playing with the water. The water level goes up until it's just covering my collar bone, for Peeta, however, because of how much broader and taller he is, the water covers him just around his chest. It's not really close to his shoulders, he might feel a chill every now and then but the misty bathroom makes everything much warmer.

Peeta and I spend the rest of our time in the bathroom playing with the bubbles and the water. Before I got uncomfortable about being naked Peeta put a towel around me then around himself. He had to carry and set me down again then chose my clothes. It's quite weird watching a boy act like someone's maid; I've never seen a boy so eager to do chores like that. They were made for hard work, especially with their muscles in all but Peeta's only worked in the Bakery. Unless his mum has always made him do chores and make him work non-stop.

My dad's always working, so I don't see him do a lot of house work chores because of how exhausted he is and it's our child to take care of him after being able to put food in the table.

If only my father was here now to see how Peeta has grown up. He did mess with Peeta's hair when he would trade at the Bakery.

I wonder if he ever knew about Peeta liking me, he brought him up once or twice in the woods. I can't believe that I've only remembered it now but I don't remember exactly what he had said. Only that he's a really nice boy for a Town merchant, seeing as he was probably 8 or 7. At that age, their selfish parents were already talking about how dirty Seam people are and I remember my dad saying that for a boy with a witch of a mother, he didn't choose to disrespect anyone below him.

My dad is right. People in District 12 are kind towards each other and we understand the pain we're all going through and how hard our lives are but there are still people who seem to pick on people who are a little bit different. We've been called them all, us Seam people I mean, we've been called trash, dirty and worthless. People still find the time to insult no matter how much we are already struggling.

"Let's not go to the Bakery today," I tell Peeta.

"Why not?"

"I mean, you can go but I would rather stay spend the day with Prim."

"But Katnis-"

"No Peeta, if you want to go to the Bakery today then go. Don't worry about me, I'll be fine."

"Like I said, who's going to carry you around?"

"We'll find a way."

Peeta seems to think about that for a second. Staring back at me with an empty look, "alright, we won't go to the Bakery today."

Now I'm confused, "What? Isn't that what you want to do? Go to the Bakery?"

"Well, not really, if you don't want to go then I'm completely fine with that."

"But we're covered in thick jackets, pants, boots and everything."

"I know, we might as well just practice your walking or something."

Why can't Peeta stop worrying about me and do what he wants?

I know that I can't change his mind until I change mine but I really, really don't want to see his mother again. Who knows? She might start insulting me because I come from the Seam even though I'm a victor of the 74th Hunger Games.

"Okay then. We should go outside after being dressed all like this."

When Peeta get ready to carry me I stop him and tell him that this where I start practicing my walking with a sore tailbone. He supports me while I stand and, together, we take tiny baby steps towards the front door so that we can get out of the house. We make it to the porch and it wasn't actually that hard. It didn't hurt too much; it felt like it was just sore. Before we reached the front of the house I told Peeta to let go of me and let me try myself. I do wince here and there but I think that my walking will improve over time and soon I'll be running around the woods.

The woods. I would do anything to go there just for a few seconds. I actually miss it after being locked inside the house and eating cheese buns.

"Are you sure you'll manage?"

"I did didn't I? I managed to make it out the front porch without tripping or falling or anything."

"I don't know Katniss…we have to walk down those tiny stairs to get down from the porch you know."

I shrug at him, "so? If I hurt myself then I hurt myself. Why do have to be so against it? I mean look, the sun is out and it's not snowing or hailing today, the ground is covered in nothing but snow."

"I just don't want you to hurt yourself."

"I'm fine," I say.

Peeta and I walk around Victor's Village just so that I can get the hang of it. I haven't hurt myself yet and I haven't tripped or fall and Peeta's is getting really paranoid. If there's a rock on our way he'd kick it and he watches my steps just to be makes sure I'm not walking funny or anything.

It's sweet of him really but it's annoying to have his eyes on me all the time. As we reach what looks like that end of Victor's Village because we're very close to the surrounding fence that covers District 12, I end up with another idea.

"Can we go in the woods?" I ask Peeta.

He gives me and incredulous look, "you want to go there? What if you hurt yourself? You can't go under the fence with your tailbone acting like that."

I feel disappointed; I really do want to go out there. I don't even care if any of Snow's men are watching us right now and seeing if we're going out the fence or not. He already knows anyway, Snow shouldn't be surprised if he somehow found out that I was out in the woods, he should just expect that kind of behaviour.

I stare at the fence again and the tress beyond it. This area isn't the area that I usually exit out of when I would go hunting. It's in another side, closer to the Seam and the Town.

"Please?" I beg Peeta.

He looks at me as if he didn't expect me to say that. After, he sighs then nods slightly. "If you can't get under the fence then we're going somewhere else okay?"

"Okay." I answer and we start walking to the fence. I'm so excited that I feel like I could just run to the fence and out the woods so fast and I wouldn't even think that I have an injury. I wish I wasn't walking this slow, I just really want to reach that fence and go out into the woods.

"Peeta carry me, carry me quick."

In no time at all we're only a few meters away from the fence. With Peeta's long strides and strong arms, I feel like I'm flying. I feel really light when I'm being carried by Peeta and when he carries me it looks like I don't weigh anything at all.

We reach the fence and Peeta puts me down.

"Okay then, how are we going to do this?" He asks me.

"We go through the fence and into the woods," I tell him. It wasn't really an answer to his question, he was probably wondering how I was supposed to go under the fence.

Oh screw it; I'll just go under even if it hurts me.

Before Peeta can object, I lie stomach down on the ground and go under the fence. It hurt, I have to admit but at least I got under it.

"Your turn," I say once I'm standing up and looking at Peeta through the fence lines.

"If we get caught-"

"We won't. You're a bug boy Peeta, stop being such a chicken."

"Alright." Peeta gets down on the ground and slides under the fence, it wasn't as swiftly as I've done it but he managed.

As Peeta smacks the dirt of his pants I roll my eyes, some things just never change about Towns people. They're always worrying about dirt and grime. I turn around and start walking off into the trees. I just want to run out of here, get my bow and arrows and collect game to take home where Prim will be waiting for me. Probably even check if any of Gale's snares caught anything.

Gale. These past few weeks I haven't even been able to go out on Sundays and see him. He must be so mad at me right now. I just don't want him thinking that I've thrown our friendship away; if I saw him I would gladly run and apologize. Even give him food and money if he'd accept, I haven't even gone and visited Hazel yet.

What kind of a friend am I?

Gale must feel so betrayed.

"Be careful Katniss!" Peeta yells behind me. I haven't realized how far I've gone. I smile back at him, he's walking to me, his heavy footsteps echoing through the trees and squashing the snow as he walks.

"Come on then! Hurry up!" I yell back at him. He jogs to me and he's a bit unsteady when he slows down and maybe that's because of his artificial leg.

"Where are we going?" He asks me.

I shrug and take his hand, "anywhere, I say. I start walking and the direction where facing and I take a note to not go too far so that we don't lost and then get caught by any peacekeepers.

It's really cold even though the sun is out and the sky is a clear blue color with just a few clouds looming around it. "I've never been out here, it's really nice." Peeta mumbles beside me. "If this is what you get to see everytime you go hunting then, I'm actually really jealous of you."

I smile, "it is isn't it?"

"Yeah, it's beautiful." I say softly.

I make us walk a little deeper into the woods just so that we're hidden completely. The area we're in is darker because the trees are covering the sun, it's reasonable because of the trees' size.

"Can we rest for a bit?" I say. I don't want to tell him that my tailbone is hurting because I'm pretty sure he's going to make us go back.

"It's hurting isn't it?" He says and then sighs, "Let me help you sit down."

As soon as my bum is leaning on the hard and snowy ground I cry out in pain. Peeta helps me up quickly.

"I'll sit down and you can just sit on my lap." He suggests.

Sitting on his lap still hurts me but it doesn't hurt as much as sitting on the ground. I lean on his chest and I breathe in the fresh air. I could just fall back asleep lying like this, so I close my eyes and just smell the environment around me. It's not when I smell the scent of cinnamon dill that I remember Peeta was with me.

I move my head around a bit so that I can look up at him in a comfortable position. He looks at me with a happy smile on his face but a look of confusion and hurt in his eyes.

"What is it Peeta? What's wrong?"

"What? No, nothing's wrong."

"I can see that something's wrong. There's no point lying."

He rubs the back of his neck.

"I just...I feel...I feel like I'm out of place."

"What do you mean?" I ask him.

"Um...it's just...I've never been here and everytime you have...uh...Gale was always here with you."

Right now...right now I feel nothing but regret and guilt. All Peeta knows is that everything we've done was just for the Games.

But it is isn't it? I shouldn't feel that bad but I still do.

Instead of saying anything, I just turn my head and look at the tree right in front of me and start playing with the snow beside our laps.

"I'm right aren't I?" He asks and all I can do is sigh. "That I don't belong here...especially with you."

I didn't realize that even with my injured tailbone I moved as fast as I did. I get off Peeta's lap and I'm standing over him, glaring at him.

"Peeta that's enough. We talked about this, about me and Gale; I don't have to go through it again." I say, my voice sharp and almost threatening - almost.

Peeta looks down at his lap, feeling guilty I presume.

"If you're going to keep complaining about that we might as well leave." I say and in a stride I start walking back to the fence.

I don't even make 5 meters until Peeta stops me.

"Katniss wait! Katniss I'm sorry!" He's right behind me and I feel him touch my arm. I shake it away.

I turn around, "No! No you're not! Because if you were you wouldn't keep bringing Gale up! I don't care if you can't help it because I don't like talking about Gale like that!" I shout at Peeta, and I mean every word and every sentence.

"If you don't feel comfortable being with me then maybe I should just leave." My voice is calmer this time and softer but I'm serious.

"No...no please Katniss don't leave," Peeta begs. "I'm really sorry. Katniss, I'm sorry."

"Whatever." I push him back "Next time you decide to start a conversation make sure you think about what you're going to say first!"

It's not until his blue eyes lose its shine and it's covered instead in guilt and sorrow that I realize how angry I got again just because he mentioned Gale. I don't like comparing Gale to Peeta especially when Gale is just a friend and Peeta...well right now, at this moment; I'm trying to find a name that will describe what he means to me. Last night it was so clear but right now, with my temper at this rate, my feelings are kind of blurry.

I manage to breathe softer this time and relax my hands so that they're not in a tight ball of fist.

Slowly, I turn around. But before I can walk Peeta catches my hand. "I'm sorry..." he chokes out.

"Why do things have to be so complicated when it comes to you and Gale Peeta? How many times have we fought about this?" I say.

"Please don't leave me." He sounds lost. His voice isn't manly or strong, it's weak and tired. I can even tell that he's scared.

My eyes close. They close and a memory comes into my mind, I can remember how his lips felt on mine, how when his lips were on my skin a wave of energy and a new sensation overcame me. Last night's memory reminds me of how much I wanted him, needed him even and how I wanted him closer even though he was close enough.

It's clear to me that I, Katniss Everdeen, have utterly and absolutely fallen in love with someone.

My biggest fear has become a reality and no matter how good it is to feel love, I'm afraid.

I turn around to look back at Peeta. The word 'Sorry' is written all over his face.

"Katniss please don't leave me...please." His voice is soft and lonely.

I only said what I said about leaving because I was angry. I'm pretty sure I didn't mean it.

Because I have calmed down, I can feel the guilt of my words rushing through me.

I shake my head, "D-don't worry. I won't, I can't just leave now anyway."

Peeta envelopes me in a tight hug. His face buried in my hair and mine in chest. "I'm sorry," he whispers.

"I'm sorry Katniss. I love you."

I pull my head back from his chest and I stare at his blue deep eyes. Any girl could fall in love with Peeta in a second if they look into his eyes.

I kiss Peeta because I want to, because I feel the need to.

When my lips leave his I don't pull my head back too far. "I-I love you Peeta. I love you and it scares the hell out of me," I say my voice barely audible.

There, I said it. I said it and there's no going back now. I said it and it wasn't in a dream, Peeta isn't sleeping and I said in the most beautiful day in winter and out in the woods where I feel at home.

The woods have given me so many things these last few years; it has given me food to put in the table, this is where I met Gale and from there on I didn't have to feel so lonely and alone because for the first time I had a friend to share jokes with, the woods have given me an escape when I feel like I can't breathe and now; one of the most notably scary and amazing moment of my life happened out here in the woods.

Peeta looks at me wide eyed, his expression unreadable but his eyes; they shine with such wonder and happiness that I can feel my legs turn to jelly.

"I'm sorry what?" I think that Peeta is finding it hard to breathe because his voice shaky and somewhat exhausted.

"I said; I love you." I say it louder this time and with more pride.

Just like my dream, his forgotten how to breathe evenly and his breathing is fast and shallow. "Peeta? Peeta are you okay?"

He nods then let's go of me. His hand clutching his chest where his heart is and his other one on his hips. I step forward, towards him, and put my hands on both cheeks and forcing him to look at me.

He still has trouble breathing and his eyes are downcast looking at me. His hands are holding my hips now in a tight grip.

"Peeta breathe with me." I take long and deep breaths, in through my nose and out through my mouth. His following my directions and a few seconds we're breathing together in unison.

Our deep breaths become quiet and shallow. When Peeta speaks, it's shaky...really shaky and I can see his eyes tearing up.

"D-D-D-D-Do you r-r-r-re-really me-mean it?"

I stand straight, puff my chest out and put my head nice and high and, proudly, I answer with the words; "Yes. Yes I do."

Peeta takes a sharp breathe in and he blinks his eyes a few times, presumable stopping his tears from flowing. "You can't be serious, that's not possible."

I feel disappointment rush through me and I frown. "Is it wrong to say I love you?" I ask him.

He looks taken aback, "I don't me-mean it like th-that. It's just- I never- I never dreamed that- that you would- you would you know, sa-say it."

"You know what? Why don't we make that a secret between you and me? Don't go telling anyway that I said I love you okay, we don't want them thinking that I only love you now. Let's just tell them that I always loved you." I say to Peeta.

"So it-it's like we're still pretending b-but we're not?" Peeta asks, his voice a bit calmer but sounding a lot more childish.

"Yeah, something like that. What we feel for each other is real..." I take Peeta's hand and start walking towards the fence and he follow absent mindedly, "everything we do feels and looks real but the crowd can judge for themselves whether it is real or not. Something has to be real right Peeta? It's not just our friendship that's real anymore; we don't need to pretend any longer because our feelings are also real." I sound like Peeta. I've never been one with words like Peeta and that doesn't mean I am now but because I feel like I'm in my wisest moments; what I'm saying sounds like something Peeta would say.

Peeta looks lost even with me holding his hand an guiding him. He's looking at me happily and looking at the trees as if he's never seen one before. I smile and I feel the need to laugh because his acting so childish.

"My mum always said that you'd never fall in love with me."

"Well your mother's wrong." I say.

He smile just about reaches his eyes, "she's wrong." He says sounding like he's confirming it.

That night our clothes end up being thrown around the room, our tongues battle with each other, our hands wildly messing up each other's hair and we move against each other with such energy. I even did my fair share of thrusting.

The words 'I love you' is at least said hundreds of times.

It's almost a miracle, how I managed to fall in love with Peeta. Maybe I loved him before I knew myself.

Peeta says my name in a way that can just about make me go crazy and want him more.

We're so breathless and tired once we've decided to call it quits. Peeta and I lie beside each other while we wait for sleep to get the better of us.

"If I can't walk tomorrow..." I say to Peeta the darkness, "It's all on you."

Peeta laughs and my heart jolts with joy. He turns his body and puts his arms around me.

"Oh I love you Katniss."

"Want me to say it?" I say.

"Please."

"Promise you won't freak out."

"I promise."

"I love you too."

And with that, Peeta's lips ravenously move against mine.

I wake up that morning with a wide grin plastered on my face. I look to my side and Peeta's not there. I try to sit up but it hurts, I get up eventually though and the throbbing pain down my legs is hard to ignore. I find myself limping around the room. My tailbone feels a little bit better now, the pain is actually manageable. I limp to the bathroom and take a shower, I find myself doing this almost every morning, I usually just take a shower to wake myself up because I'm so tired and exhausted from my nightmares.

My nightmares, for the past 3 days I don't think I've had a nightmare. But I don't think that means that they've stopped.

I change my clothes and I realize that our clothing that was all over the floor last night is all fixed, they're nowhere to be seen. They are most likely in the laundry waiting to be washed. Honestly, for a boy, Peeta is way too clean.

I'm pretty sure it took me fifteen minutes to get down the stairs because of how much my legs hurt. They feel like jelly, they don't have the energy to drag me around the house.

Peeta's in the kitchen baking some cheese buns for me I presume. I complain about my leg and how it's his entire fault and how his ruined my morning just because of it. He tries his best to 'flirt' his way out of my bad mood but I don't seem to be buying it. Prim comes over that morning too because she says that almost every day she can smell the scent of cheese buns all the way to our house and she can't ignore it. And so we eat breakfast together. Peeta and I act normal around Prim because I'm not one for showing affection in public. Even though that's what Peeta and I have been doing for the past year, faking our love for each other in front of the cameras. I can do it in front of cameras but not in front of Prim. I don't tell Prim any exact details about the past few days, I just tell her that Peeta was really taking good care of me and my fever and cold went away quicker than I thought.

Prim asks if she can take the rest of the buns home and before I can tell her that these buns are mine and start being greedy and selfish about it, Peeta tells her yes and hands the bowl to Prim who takes it thankfully and quickly skips back home.

Peeta spends the day in his art room and when I check on him I catch a full glimpse of what he has painted. He painted the woods yesterday, he didn't paint us, and instead he painted the trees, the snow on the ground and the sunlight that beams through the leaves.

He sits on his stool facing the easel and he's adding some more color to the trees. I slowly walk to him and I stand behind him. Because he's so concentrated when painting that I don't think he can feel my presence.

I can't keep my eyes off his painting, I love the woods and we've painted it together a few times but I have never seen it like this before. It's so beautiful and so real.

I bend down and put my my arms around his neck and lean my cheek on his shoulder. He jumps a little at my touch but soon I can see his smile forming on his cheek.

"Hey," he greets.

"It's amazing Peeta. Just like every single one of your paintings." I give his cheek a kiss and he turns his head to kiss my lips.

He puts his hand on my cheek and drops his brush. "I'm done." He says straight after his lips leave mine.

"No you just want to kiss me." I say and he stands up, he takes both my hands in both of his and starts walking us out of the room. "I think you should continue your painting."

"I can do it another time." He says and we're outside of his art room, he closes the door and that same cheeky grin is on his face. He pushes me against the wall and kisses me fully on the mouth.

I giggle in between our kisses because his fingers tickle my waist. I feel the stubble on his jaw and I can't help somehow savour the feeling. "You need to shave Peeta," I say softly.

He shrugs, "It doesn't bother me, I think it's time that I should try to grow a beard anyway."

I kiss his nose. "Come on. Let's go try and find something better to do." I say.

He kisses my neck before he lets go and I walk away from him and he dawdles behind me.

The following couple of months leading up to the Quarter Quell announcement is usually just talk about our wedding. Effie and our prep teams visit with wedding dresses.

Not a lot of them are actually my type, well, I don't think any of them are but they do look nice. Peeta, Prim and my mother sit patiently and watch my photo shoot. Peeta and Prim, especially, looked like they enjoyed watching because of the way their eyes shone. Peeta couldn't keep his eyes off and he at least annoyed us because he keeps complimenting and we get tired of it.

The first time I decided to hunt after my injury, I met two ladies from District 8. They about a possible District 13 and I couldn't get my mind to settle down about that.

The Quell announcement almost broke me to pieces. Peeta and I watched the announcement down at my house with Prim and my mother. As soon as I processed what Snow announced I ran out of the house, broke the window in one of the houses in the Victor's Village, and curled myself into a ball in a corner and I that's when I let my tears fall.

And that's where I am right now. Crying because this is just as much as I can take.

I don't want to go back to the arena. I don't want Haymitch to and I really don't want Peeta to go back as well.

I love him.

And I can't stand the thought of him not being next to me, my hand will be freezing without his around me, my lips will be dry if his isn't moving against mine and my heart will be empty without him.

And in that second Peeta kicks the door open and I hold my ground. I press my knees tighter to my chest and bite my lip so that I don't make a horrible choking sound. I don't want Peeta to find me because I don't want to show him how weak I am right now. He have a couple of weeks leading up to the reaping and the Games and I want to be strong and show Peeta that no matter how hard things are going to get, we can face it with our heads held high.

I, for sure, am going back to the arena. But Peeta, it's either him or Haymitch.

"Katniss! Katniss I know you're in here!" His voice echoes through the empty house.

His heavy footsteps get louder as he gets closer to me. I keep my head down to my chest as Peeta gets closer.

"Oh Katniss..." His voice is soft and sweet like it is all the time.

I look up and Peeta is crouching in front of me, his eyes shining with tears even though it's dark.

Straight away, my arms go around his neck and Peeta pulls me up on his lap. We sit on the floor wrapped around each toher. "Hey...it's going to be fine. It will. You'll win this year's Game. I just know it, and you know what, I'm going to be there to protect you-"

"Peeta n-no!" I choke out. I lean my head back and shake my head. He wipes my tears as I continue to shake my head. "Peeta no! No!"

"Shh…" Peeta holds me tight and I sob into his jacket. "It's going to be fine. You're going to be fine," his voice is breaking but he sounds fine, he kisses my temple and starts rubbing my back.

This is what I was afraid of about falling in love. It either makes of breaks a person, it broke my mother when she lost dad and now…

I'm scared to lose the people I love. It's better off if Peeta lives rather than me.

"Peeta, you're going to be f-fine. I-if you do g-get reaped, you're g-going to wi-win."

"You have your mother and Prim who doesn't want you to die, you little Posy who looks at you as her older sister and Gale. They're going to be devastated if you ever leave them. Katniss they need you."

I shake my head, "Please don't-"

He pulls me closer to him, "No I'm right and you know it. If I live and you die, my life is absolutely nothing. As for you, after a few months you'll forget about me. I'll be nothing but a boy with blonde hair that likes to paint and bake, to you. I will mean nothing more than that." He voice is shaky but he's keeping his ground. As for me, tears fall as his words form. "And then, and then you- you'll go off and fall in love all over in love again. Who knows, you might end up marrying Gale. Maybe it was him all along you know Katniss, maybe I was just a road block to stop you and Gale from being together." He continues and I shake my head vigorously; repeating the word 'no' over and over again.

"Then if it happens, you'll have little babies with him. Just imagine the look on Prim's face when she realizes she's going to be an auntie." He says and he chokes right after, he might be crying already but he's trying to keep his voice nice and smooth. "You have a bright future without me Katniss, its better off I die than you."

My grip around his neck loosens and I pull my head back, he continues to wipe my tears away but they keep on coming.

How can Peeta say something like that?

"Y-yo-yo-you d-don't love me-me do you?"

"No no no no no, Katniss it's not like that."

I slap him across the face, "Liar! You-you're lying! Because if you loved me then you wouldn't say something like that!" I try to loosen his grip around me so that I can get off his lap but he holds me tightly.

"Katniss I love you, I love you more than I do so myself. I cherish you more than my own life." He says softly.

"No! Why would you make up something like that?"

"That's just it Katniss, because I love you. You have to live Katniss, if not for yourself then for me. After I die after a while I'll be nothing but a memory to you, nothing but a boy you used to know."

No. Peeta can't be serious. I keep shaking my head, "No! No! No I can't! I can't and I won't!"

He presses his forehead against mine and continues to wipe my tears away with his thumb, "You will win this year's Game Katniss. I'll do everything I can to make sure you will, I'll- " That's when Peeta chokes and lets his tears fall but he doesn't stop talking, "I'll pr-protect you fr-from anyone and I will d-die trying."

"W-well two can p-play at that Game." I say, sounding a bit childish. I want Peeta to live even though he wants me to. If he's going to protect me then I should do the same for him, I'm going to make he gets out of that arena alive.

I know that right now, even if Haymitch gets reaped that Peeta will volunteer to take his place. One of us will die in the arena or maybe even both of us.

"I don't have a reason to live if I don't have you Katniss. At least I got to feel your lips against mine and I was able to hold you, which was one of my biggest wish to fulfil before I die. I made that wish years ago and it's come true now, there's nothing else for me to do but to love you Katniss. And nothing, I mean nothing, will ever ever change that. Without you my life is pointless."

I start getting the hiccups, I can still convince Peeta for him to live instead of me, there's still time. "I love you Peeta…" Out of heartbreak, those words come out.

Peeta kisses my forehead and my head goes back to lie on his chest, "You're going to live Peeta. You will. You're going to have the future you've always wanted; where you're going to be happy, where you're going to be back working at the Bakery and you might own it one day, and you can have children you know. As many as you want and they're going to look just like you."

"You know I…I finally though that we were going to have a future together, where there's no Hunger Games and…and we could- we could have children of our own. Running around the house calling you 'Mummy.' I thought that maybe you know…that could happen. Looks like life has other plans."

Peeta and I stay like that, wrapped around each other. Wiping each other's tears and holding each other tight enough to let them know that right now, we shouldn't try to worry. That right now we can still imagine a future that we could have together that we know isn't going to happen.

But right now, in the darkness, our hearts are finally beating as one. Our love for each other visible in our eyes. I fall asleep protected in Peeta arms, tired from crying and my eyes sore from crying.

"I love you," Peeta whispers before his lips touch my forehead and I see complete darkness and fall into a deep slumber. A sleep away from the Game, away from Snow, away from all that battles we fight. A sleep we're I can only dream about Peeta and I, where we're walking down a green meadow hands together. Prim holding onto out children's hands as they follow us behind and there are no Games to scare me from losing them.

But I can only dream.

I can only dream.


And we know what happens next...they go to the Game, Katniss makes the arena explode, she become the Mockingjay, Peeta gets hijacked, they defeat that Capitol, they grow together and they live happily ever after. But...there are worse games to play.

Sadly, this was the last chapter of the story and I am happy to say that this story is COMPLETE. It has been a privilege writing for you people these last few months.

I missed some things out that happened in between the return from the Victory Tour and the Quarter Quell reaping because I didn't want to add them in. This is a fanfiction any ways. Let's just assume some things happened but not the Gale being whipped bit.

I tried to add Haymitch in but it didn't fit. I wanted him there just for a bit of humour but it didn't work out. I'm happy about how it turned out though, hopefully this chapter didn't leave you disappointed. if so, review below.

Some things that you recognize from the books are not mine and not my words. Please leave what you think in the review box below.

Thank you so much for taking some time to read. Keep me in your author's list because I might write other stories, after a few months maybe. I don't know. I'll find the time.

Thanks again! Lots of love!

RestlessIdeas