Thank you, God, for everything.
DISCLAIMER: I do NOT own The Hunger Games. YAY we got snow IT'S A LATE CHRISTMAS MIRACLE. And Everlark fluff ensues . . . as usual. God bless you!
~ La Peeta Mellark's point of view ~
The oven in the kitchen goes DING! and I immediately head to it, my hands in mitts as I open it and take out a board. The board has two loaves of bread on it, fresh and hot, and non-burnt. Just that thought almost sends me into a slight memory, an undistorted one of a grey brick building and the feeling of rain against my skin.
The idea of it makes my skin crawl.
I quickly shake my head and put the board on the counter. I take my mitts off slowly and set them by the sink, and look up, and a slow smile spreads across my face. In front of me is the slow but steady fall of white snow behind the glass panes. I lean forward, my breath turning into steam against the window.
Snow around District 12, I think I remember, was not liked. It was cold stuff that melted into sludge, made mud and walking harder. It made everyone have to wear warmer clothing, and everyone that walked into the bakery were filled with coughs and red-nosed. My mother, I remember, never liked that. She'd always scowl as she used a rag on the floor where people dripped in their snow.
The kids at school liked it more, though. The Town kids, specifically, were always excited, making snowmen and angels with the snow that got mixed with grey dust when it landed on the cold ground. The Seam kids, though, always scantily dressed, stayed indoors as much as they could, staying away from it.
I straighten. Katniss used to immediately find Prim after school and head her home, straight home, to get her inside their house as soon as possible. I'd always wear the awful scratchy mittens my mother tried knitting, and watched from a corner of the schoolyard as she hurried away, her dark braid bouncing on her shoulder behind her.
I always wished I could give her my mittens, but Mom would have gotten furious. I remember her as always having a rough temper; that's how I remember my mother.
I head to the hall closet and get on a jacket and boots and gloves. I find a red hat and put that on, and get back to the kitchen to see that the snow is falling faster. I've got the fire in the fireplace roaring like I always do, but I'll be glad that the house is heated up when I get back from Katniss's.
The loaves under my arm, wrapped in a towel, I open the door and head out into the wind and snow, which pelts against me at an angle. It feels refreshing, almost, after being in such a warm house. I can't help but smile as I walk the short distance across Victor's Village to Katniss's house. It's exactly the same as mine, just as clean, because I barely spend any time in my house and Greasy Sae keeps Katniss's house clean. There's one thing differentiating her property from my own; along the walk are several primrose bushes. While just branches and roots now, I still remember them as blooming bushes from months and months ago when I planted them there.
I head to the front door and knock. "Katniss?"
She opens after a moment, her braid fraying and hair sticking out of it at her shoulder, though the rest of her looks composed. She probably just taken a shower changed into her black turtleneck and khakis from going hunting this morning; she looks at me, and then past me, and says softly, almost blankly, "Snow."
"Yeah," I say, and there's this look in her eye, and she looks to me, and to my lips and backs away a step. I look over my shoulder too, just in case I missed something, and I remember. It's somewhat distorted, shivering and shaded, fainting in and out, but I remember warm and falling and lips and her weight on me and a feeling of bliss before the memory caves in on me. I shiver, from the cold or not, I don't know, and turn back to Katniss, and say, "Can I come in?"
She immediately nods and backs away and I enter and she closes the door. I offer her the bread, and she takes them with a slight nod, and walks to the kitchen as I wipe my boots on the rug Greasy Sae knitted in front of the door.
I look to Katniss, and walk to the kitchen, saying, "Haven't seen snow in a long while."
She doesn't say a word as she takes the bread out of the towel and places them on the cutting board.
"Not since . . . when?" I say, trying to make conversation.
"The Capitol," she says, and she uses the knife harder and more furiously than before against the bread, crushing it.
And I see it. I was in the square, on the very edge, getting caught by rebel soldiers, who thought me dead and wanted an explanation, and there was bombs. And children. And blood. And snow.
"Yeah. I-I remember it, from my childhood," I say, and she looks up at that, startled, with a concerned look to her eye. I shift and let out a light chuckle. She says, "You remember? They didn't . . . kill that?"
"Guess not," I say.
"What else do you remember?" she asks, setting down the knife as she walks to me.
I struggle to remember what I had just been thinking about in my kitchen. She stands in front of me, watching me, and I say, "I remember, at school, kids used to make angels and snowmen and throw snowballs. You never did, though. It was just Town kids. I didn't either. I-I watched you and Prim leave everyday."
She nods, and looks at the ground, and I take this as a cue to continue, "Sometimes, my brothers and I, when we had time, we'd make snowmen. And-and we all loved the fall festival."
"Yeah," she says, and she sounds almost dismal, far away from me. I wonder if that's the way I look all the time to her.
I reach out and gently grasp her hands, and she doesn't say anything as I back up a few feet, saying, "Come outside."
Her head snaps up, and she says, her eyes squinting, "What?"
"Come outside with me. It's - there's snow enough to make snowballs, and angels, and - please, Katniss," I say, almost begging. I want to head out there - I want to go and feel young again. I want to wash away the grey memories of depression during the reign of the Hunger Games and have clean, clear memories of snow that I don't want to associate with the President either. But I don't want to go alone. Her small hands feel warm in mine, and I look at her pleadingly.
"Peeta-" she says.
"There's no blood," I say, leaning a little bit closer to her. She looks frightened. I continue. "There won't be any more blood, Katniss. Please."
She doesn't say anything, and I gently pull her hands a little. She doesn't do anything but lets me gently take her, me walking backward, toward the front door. I gently take down her father's hunting jacket from the hook, and hand it to her to put on. I rush to the hall closet and find the gloves and hat for her. The gloves look like mine; frilly and Capitol made. They're warm, though.
She looks at the gloves for a moment when I offer them to her, but she puts them on. I gently set the hat on her head, and we step out slowly onto the porch, which is covered in snow. I look around for a moment, see that the snow is not falling so hard now. It's lighter, and the world's covered in white light, and it's like there's no time. It could be afternoon or morning or the middle of the night. It's amazing.
"Wow," I say, my breath clouding. I turn back to Katniss with a smile, and say, "Katniss?"
She gives me the slightest bit of a smile, and I guide us off of the porch and onto the walk, which is gone, covered in snowflakes.
"Tip your head back," I say, and I open my mouth and catch a snowflake on my tongue. I turn back to Katniss, who's watching me. "What?" I say playfully.
"Snow is fun to you?" she says.
"Of course it is," I say. I clear my throat and say, "Well, when it first falls. I know it can be ice or sludge later, but . . . it's kind of magical, isn't it?"
"Magical?" she says.
"Yeah," I say.
She watches me for a moment, and then tips her head back and catches a snowflake on her tongue, making me grin. She looks back to my delighted face and says, "Does this mean we can throw snowballs at Haymitch?"
"I highly doubt he'll come outside," I say. It was hard enough getting her to come out here, but she nods, and snowflakes dot her dark hair, standing out. Our hands are stilled encased together, and I hold hers a little tighter, not enough to hurt her, but enough to feel her there, and that after all that's happened, she's still there, and a small smile appears on her face, and she leans in and kisses me, right on the lips, catching me off guard.
I instantly feel an urge to pull back, my mind reeling, this-this is Katniss kissing me, the mutt, the girl with the bloody bow and arrows, who killed and murdered and without a bit of guilt on her damn ugly, evil face-
And then I remember, closing my eyes, feeling her lean into me, that this is Katniss, the girl I grew up with and loved ever since I was young. The girl who saved me in the Hunger Games, saved me at the Capitol and is saving me now, and I lean in against her warm lips, and she lets go of my hands and wraps her arms around my neck, and I've got better balance on the snowy ground than last time and stand upright as I hold her as close to me as I can, never wanting to let go.
She leans back after a moment, searches my face, and I lean my forehead against hers, and say quietly, my heart pounding, "That was real. Real or not real?"
She whispers after a moment, snowflakes sprinkling her face and hair more, sending relief and the urge to kiss her again into my head, "Real."
And they spent the rest of their lives together the end. He he he he. Thank you for reading! God bless you!