a/n: So this might sound like a bizarre concept, but bear with me. This was originally a drabble I wrote prompted by frakit on tumblr (specifically, stranger!Everlark sex), and this is where my mind took it. There seemed to be a demand for more of the story, so the lovely absnow brainstormed an awesome plot continuation with me. She refused to write the rest of the story herself, however, and basically forced my hand, so. But thank you to these two ladies for the inspiration and help with this story!

And it's early, but Happy Valentine's Day! This story will be mutli-chaptered, so I hope to update quickly. My original goal was to have this completed by Valentine's Day, but we'll see how that goes; the plot continues to thicken on me...


"Are, uh, are these your keys?"

Katniss blinked through the haze of alcohol to examine the set of keys being dangled in front of her face. They were, in fact, hers, but she briefly wondered if she could pawn them off on someone else. "Umm..." Her tongue felt too heavy, though, and she couldn't move it fast enough to form the lie.

"They're the last set in the bowl, and, well...you're the last one out here, so..."

Damn it. Clutching the stem of her wine glass possessively, she swallowed her sigh and glanced up at the face of the man holding her car keys. And she blinked again. He was...pretty. And blonde. And his blue eyes reflected just how nervous she felt. She didn't recall seeing him earlier, during the mingling portion of the night, but then again, she'd largely kept to herself, hesitant to engage in small talk with a stranger she might later have to fuck.

Stifling a sigh, Katniss tentatively took her keys from him. "Um, yeah, that's me," she mumbled, knocking back the rest of her wine. It was tart and bitter, but she needed the liquid courage for what was about to happen.

Why had she agreed to this? We need to spice up our sex life, Gale had said. Haven't you ever fantasized about sleeping with someone else? he'd said. No, of course I still love you, he'd said. I just want to try something new, he'd said. At first, she had been horrified, then angry, then upset. And then...vaguely intrigued. A swingers party?

She'd finally agreed to attend one after months of Gale's needling. She even thought she could handle it. Until she saw Gale select the keys of some busty blonde and lead her off into another room in this large house.

And then she wasn't so much angry at him for fucking someone else as she was terrified of what kind of brute she'd end up with. You can always say no, she'd chanted to herself repeatedly as she drained her wine, watching the keys disappear from the bowl.

Katniss stood up on wobbly legs, but whether it was from alcohol or nerves, she wasn't sure. The blonde man grabbed her arm to steady her—but gently, like he was afraid to touch her. "You okay?" he asked uneasily, and she nodded as she stuffed her keys into her clutch purse.

"I'm, um, I'm fine. Let's go," she said, forcing herself toward the many bedrooms designated for tonight's activities. After much online research and back-and-forth correspondence, she and Gale had driven separately to some swanky house in an exclusive, isolated neighborhood for a key party. The mansion was owned by an older gentleman named Coriolanus Snow. He and his plastic-looking wife seemed to be the self-appointed leaders of the underground swingers population in the small county of Panem where they lived; they often hosted meet-ups at their place to afford participants a certain level of discretion. Snow's hair was white, his red lips puffy, his skin stretched tight across his face, and while he seemed nice enough, something about his eyes gave her the distinct impression of a snake. Katniss had been immensely relieved when he hadn't drawn her keys from the bowl earlier that night. She didn't think she was capable of getting wet for someone she wasn't attracted to. And the number of attractive men at this gathering was dishearteningly low.

She supposed she got lucky this time.

The hallway she found herself in was long, lined with rooms. She could hear moans and screams as they passed every closed door, and she cringed to herself. She hoped this guy didn't expect a screamer or a talker. She wasn't really capable of either, unless she was very, very drunk. Which she wasn't, not nearly enough for this. Her "lucky" consort for the evening followed her closely as she led the way, his fingers grazing her waist every time she stumbled or wobbled.

"Are you—"

"I'm not drunk," she snapped defensively, though she wasn't entirely sure how sober she was. "I just—I'm not used to heels. I don't know why I wore them. It seemed necessary for some reason."

The man chuckled nervously. "Uh, yeah, I understand. I even put a tie on. It seems silly now..." Considering some of the more interesting outfit choices for the night—there was a lot of latex and lace—she and this man were two of the more conservatively dressed attendees.

And to think, she had spent half an hour fretting over the amount of cleavage her dress revealed before Gale finally convinced her she looked fine, rushing her out the door.

At the last empty room, she turned to look at her date. She hadn't really looked that closely at him earlier. He smoothed his gray tie down self-consciously under her piercing stare, trying to smile at her. His white dress shirt stretched tight across his broad shoulders, and his black slacks were taut over his groin.

Oh.

"Um...it's a nice tie," she offered and slipped into the room, fighting her blush. He followed her inside, quietly shutting the door behind him. She didn't like how anxious she felt, how vulnerable and impotent she felt in this moment. She'd thought she'd be able to do this, but now all her fears and insecurities were pushing their way to the surface.

All she had to do was think of her husband fucking some random woman somewhere down the hall—hell, they could be next door for all she knew—and she felt her resolve solidify. Somewhat. She just needed to take charge, assert her will.

Schooling her face into a mask of indifference, Katniss spun around and fixed her date with a hard stare. "So, how do you want to start?" she asked, her voice faltering only slightly. Damn. So close.

He frowned, running a hand through his curly hair. "Um, well, how 'bout I first tell you my name? I'm Peeta." He moved closer, and she couldn't help the instinctual tensing of every muscle in her body. But he just held out his hand.

She took it after a moment and shook it, eyeing him suspiciously. "...Katniss."

He smiled, a genuine quirk of his lips. "Katniss? I like that. You look very lovely tonight, Katniss."

She scowled, believing she actually looked the exact opposite. By this point in the night, her long braid had been frayed from her hands worrying it all night, her chest was splotchy from anxiety, and her eyes were red from drinking. "You don't have to butter me up. I don't appreciate liars." The words were out before she could think about them, and she wanted to slap herself immediately. She was doing this all wrong!

Peeta looked taken aback, his smile slipping. "I'm not...well, I wasn't lying, and I'm not trying to butter you up. I just thought...I think we're both very uncomfortable, so I was just—trying to put you at ease, I guess," he replied, rubbing the back of his neck. His cheeks were pink.

"I'm sorry," she murmured, mildly horrified, then she blurted, "This is my first time at one of these. I don't know what I'm doing."

He laughed weakly, shrugging. "Me either. I'm a first-timer. My, uh...my girlfriend wanted to...try something new."

Girlfriend? Katniss quirked an eyebrow at the modifier, mildly curious as to why anyone in such a nonbinding relationship would even bother with swinging—but she guessed it took all kinds. What did she know about this subculture, really? She just nodded in agreement, adding, "So did my husband." She fidgeted with her braid again, and he grinned shyly.

"Well...it looks like we already have a few things in common." Hesitantly, he set down on the edge of the bed, and after a moment of loitering, Katniss joined him. He gave her a sidelong glance. "So, do you really want to do this?" he asked.

She licked her dry lips. "I'm, um, I was planning to try, at least." He nodded absently, but neither of them moved. Suddenly, she remembered something. "Oh," she started, digging through her clutch to pull out a single sheet of paper. She unfolded it and smoothed out the creases, handing it over to him. She couldn't quite meet his eyes when he took it. "My, you know, my STD results. I'm clean, but, well, you can see for yourself," she finished lamely.

"Right," he nodded, reaching into his back pocket to produce his own paper. She took the sheet from him gingerly and poured over the results. If she was going to do this, she had to be fastidious in her safety.

His name was printed at the top: Peeta Mellark. She repeated it in her head a few times. It was melodic, in an odd way. The letters and sounds rolled together nicely. It fit him, somehow, at least based on what little she knew of him from their limited interaction so far.

Satisfied he was clean, she handed the results back to him and folded her own back up when he handed it to her, smiling slightly. Shoving the paper into her purse, she fidgeted with the clasp on her purse, unsure what to do next. It'd been a long time since she'd had to seduce anybody, to actively plot out each of her moves.

"This is weird, huh?" Peeta offered with a sheepish grin. She nodded, hoping her grimace read more like a smile. "I haven't—I mean, I've been with my girlfriend for years now. I feel kind of rusty at this whole thing, I guess," he said, gesturing vaguely with his hands.

Her lips curled into a more genuine smile this time. "Yeah, I was just...thinking the same thing, actually. I don't even know how to seduce my own husband," she joked but winced at the pathetic truth in her words. She was so inept at flirting.

He smiled widely at her, his brow creasing in disbelief. "I sincerely doubt that."

"No, I'm serious. My go-to line is 'Hey, wanna do it?'" Her awkward laugh sounded strange to her ears, but he laughed, too, and she thrilled slightly at the sound.

"And you don't think that's sexy? That's insanely sexy," he insisted, a small dimple burgeoning in his left cheek as his grin widened. Katniss scoffed and rolled her eyes, but he was already shaking his head. "I mean it! Seriously, ask me right now."

She decided to humor him; with another roll of her eyes, she huffed and deepened her voice to make her words sound as unsexy as possible: "Hey, wanna do it?"

"Yes," he answered readily, and she started to laugh until she noticed how intensely he was staring at her.

"Oh." Right. They were actually supposed to have sex. "Okay." All her nerves rushed back to her, and she felt her pulse flutter in her neck. She glanced around the room, mostly as a way to avoid looking at him. Her eyes landed on the large glass bowl of prophylactics, conveniently displayed on a dresser. "Well, there's—there's some condoms," she stammered, waving to the bowl. Her throat felt dry, and she swallowed past the lump, watching as Peeta crossed to the dresser. But he scooped the bowl up and brought it back to her, setting it between them as he sat back down on the edge of the bed.

"What do you like?" he asked, his gaze encouraging. She stared wide-eyed at the many options, shrugging slightly. She and Gale hadn't used condoms for a while now. Her fingers sifted through the foil and plastic packages indiscriminately until she settled on a ribbed, lubricated variety. It seemed harmless enough. Then she remembered the differing sizes and dug around until she found another ribbed one. She held the two sizes up to him, trying to smile through her anxiety.

"So, how big are you exactly? What am I in for here?" she joked, ready to toss the extra-large back into the pile. But Peeta flushed a dark red, cringing as he took it from her hand.

"Uh, pretty big, actually," he said quietly, and she blinked in disbelief. She knew most guys were a little generous in their sizing estimates, but his embarrassment rang true.

"Oh," she repeated dumbly, unable to stop her eyes from dropping to his lap. His slacks were still pulled tight across his groin, and now she could make out a distinct bulge against his thigh. She didn't know whether it excited or terrified her.

He looked remorseful. "We don't have to do this. I'm cool with whatever you decide, really."

Suddenly, she felt insulted. She scowled at him. "What do you take me for, some kind of amateur? You don't think I can wrangle that trouser snake you think you've got hidden in your pants?" she snapped. Gale was an impressive size, too. She could handle it.

Peeta was smiling at her, quite obviously fighting back laughter. She blushed, realizing how ridiculous she must sound to this man, this stranger, really, but he shrugged. "Okay, I believe you." She huffed in exasperation, blowing some hair out of her face, and he touched her arm lightly. "Hey, sorry. I'm not trying to get you worked up—I mean, not like that, anyway," he said, and then he backtracked, his eyes widening slightly, "Uh, that was—I'm sorry. I mean, I just want to make you comfortable."

Him being flustered put her at ease somewhat, and she couldn't stop the amused smile that spread across her face. Her hand drifted up to play with her braid out of habit. "We're going to end up talking ourselves out of this, you know," she said wryly, and he arched an eyebrow, his lips pursed.

"You're right," he mused, running the hand through his hair again. "I don't want to do that, though." His honesty was admirable, at least. He wet his lips with his tongue, and she found her gaze riveted to that point on his face, admiring the shape of his mouth. "Maybe I could...what if we kiss and see how that goes?"

Her breath felt scarce all of a sudden, but she tried to reign in her facial expression. A kiss wasn't so daunting—a kiss was simple enough. "Okay, yeah," she breathed. Relief smoothed out the tension in his face, and he shifted closer to her, setting the bowl down on the floor. She closed her eyes automatically, steeling herself for the touch of a stranger's mouth on hers. She wasn't prepared for the feel of his callused fingertips tracing her lips, however. Her eyes fluttered open, and he smiled at her before he replaced his fingers with his lips.

They were soft. Patient but thrillingly insistent, moving against hers until she parted them eagerly, touching her tongue to his. He tasted like Cabernet Sauvignon. He was gentle, attentive and hungry, at once so similar to and yet so different from Gale.

She trembled with the sudden rush of want that pooled low in her gut.

When they pulled apart, they stared at each other, their breaths shallow and fast. Peeta broke the trance with a simple question. "More?"

She didn't even need to think; she just nodded, and his lips quirked in the barest hint of a smile before they pressed to hers again. The kiss was more urgent this time, his tongue pushing into her mouth. His hands came up to cup her cheeks as their mouths twisted together, and she gripped his wrists just to have something to hold onto.

His tongue was hot in her mouth, licking every crevice, every groove; she couldn't remember how long it had been since she had been discovered for the first time so thoroughly. Her hands slid down his forearms to his elbows, then she dragged them up the hard lines of his chest, his body heat deliciously warm against her palms even through his shirt. When she curled her fingers around his shoulders, she pulled herself closer, her thigh flush against his. He retracted his tongue, his mouth opening wider—to say something, maybe—but she pulled the Cupid's bow of his lip into her mouth, sucking on the skin as she traced the dip with her tongue. Peeta moaned softly, and when she released him, he captured her bottom lip between his teeth to tug on it teasingly.

Something inside her quivered; she wasn't even aware she was maneuvering her body onto his lap until her thighs were splayed across his hips, her crotch nestled against the bulge in his slacks. They broke the kiss simultaneously to stare at each other, trepidation heavy in their eyes but desire hot on their breaths. His erection was snug against her groin, and her body was tense with her efforts to refrain from rubbing against him. Peeta's hands fluttered on her waist, her hips, as his eyes searched her face.

Shakily, she licked her lips and wrapped her hand around his tie, smoothing it between her fingers. He watched as she tugged at the knot, loosening it hesitantly. "More?" she asked quietly, meeting his gaze. His nostrils flared slightly and then he nodded as she worked the tie away from his neck. His large hands carded out over her bare thighs, pushing her dress up farther so the crotch of her panties was exposed. She was suddenly very aware of how damp she was and wondered if it was visibly apparent, but she kept her eyes on her hands, sliding the silk material of the tie over his head. He was breathing heavily, and his eyes kept flitting between her face and her groin; she could feel him growing harder against her.

She couldn't fight the urge anymore; she shifted her hips, and they both groaned in relief as his hardness ground between her thighs.

His mouth was on hers again, all teeth and tongue and pants as she continued to rock against him. She whimpered, her fingers blindly fumbling with the buttons on his shirt. She only got as far as the top button at his collar when she was distracted by his hands slipping under her dress to palm her ass and push her more forcefully against his cock. The fold of his fly caught on the hood of her clit underneath her underwear with each thrust, and it felt impossibly good.

When was the last time she had actually dry-humped somebody? She couldn't remember, but it was oddly arousing now; she felt like a teenager all over again.

Her head jerked back when she felt his fingers pressing against her clit then, rubbing her through her panties. "Oh!" she gasped; she hadn't been prepared for that. Peeta latched onto her neck, tonguing the hollow of her throat as his hand rippled between her legs. Katniss fisted his collar in her hands, her hips bucking wildly in his lap as she swiveled desperately against his hand. She was so close, so, so close; the pleasure was tightening between her thighs, spreading out right beneath his fingertips, and then it uncoiled quickly, snapping up her spine. She grunted, her eyes screwing shut as her orgasm surged through her, every muscle in her body going rigid until she slumped against him limply, panting and trembling from the lingering tremors.

She rested her forehead on his shoulder as she gathered her bearings. His breathing seemed to get heavier even as hers slowed, but he didn't speak. As the haze cleared from her mind, she began to worry—what was he thinking? Was he freaked out? Should she be freaked out? Another man other than her husband just got her off. The thought made her chest tighten, but she couldn't think clearly enough to figure out how she felt about that.

Finally, Peeta exhaled shakily as he withdrew his hand to rest it on her hip again. "Jesus fuck, that was hot," he sighed. His chin was pressed against the side of her head, his jaw flexing with his words. "I didn't think that would be so hot. Shit, that sounds weird. I just mean...I thought I'd feel weird. Doing that. But I really don't. Fuck, I'm so hard right now. Does that bother you?"

He was rambling. She wanted to laugh, but her hands were already moving, unlooping the buttons on his shirt; she felt emboldened by the bliss and desire still coursing through her veins. "Let's have sex, okay?" she suggested instead, her voice thick and languid like honey, and she heard his breath hitch.

"Yes. Let's do that," he agreed after a moment, and she smiled to herself. Good. She was feeling more confident and comfortable with every minute that passed.

Maybe this wouldn't be so weird, after all.


Before the swinger hordes come after me: I know I took some liberties with the key party tradition. Typically, the women select the men's keys from a bowl and that pair go home together. But I wanted to keep the sex in a controlled environment. And the extent of my swinging knowledge before I started researching for this story extended to an episode of "The OC" and that's it. No joke.

And, yes, Katniss is married to Gale in this story. Just go with me on this, I swear I know what I'm doing. (Maybenotreally) As always you can find me on tumblr at fuckingplebe if you want to yell at me for the Everthorne in this story or whatever.