"I'm waking up to ash and dust
I wipe my brow and I sweat my rust
I'm breathing in the chemicals
I'm breaking in, shaping up,
then checking out on the prison bus."
- Radioactive - Imagine Dragons
I nearly choke on the eggs Katniss had made me when she says she wants to visit her father. She can't be serious. I stare at her in disbelief. She's told me in every way possible how much she can't stand her father now here she was, stuck in a situation that makes her desperate enough to go see her father.
"No!" My voice comes out harshly, but I'm beyond caring. If she were to go visit she may not come back. I wouldn't be able to deal if she didn't come back, especially if I had let her go.
"Peeta, please. Maybe I can talk him out of it. I mean, I know it's a long shot but it's all I have. I'm desperate." Her fork clatters to her plate as she looks to me pleadingly. I shake my head vigorously.
"There is no way in hell I'm letting you go." She narrows her eyes at me stubbornly.
"Who says you can stop me?" She snaps clearly getting frustrated.
"Katniss, I swear to God I will tie you to that chair if - " I'm cut off.
"Kinky." Katniss and I both turn around quickly as Haymitch speaks. Katniss grabs her butter knife sending it flying just past Haymitch's head. "Hello, to you to sweetheart."
"So, not funny." I could hear the glare in Katniss's voice while Haymitch continues to smirk at her. "Who invited you over anyways?" she snaps turning back to the table. I look at her face and find nothing but frustration, anger, and a bit of embarrassment.
"Well, we have to train don't we?" Haymitch arches an eyebrow looking in my direction.
"Katniss wants to go to her father and try to get him to change the Quarter Quell." Katniss shoots me a look that brings the phrase if looks could kill to mind.
"Are you on a suicide mission? That's about as dumb of a plan as your one to volunteer for the games," he says. Katniss's mouth drops open as he says this. She clearly didn't think he knew about her plan. "Sweetheart if you're on some suicide mission, I mean you could make it quick and - "
"Haymitch!" I half yell. He stops looking at me surprised all traces of joking wiped from his face. "This isn't a time to be funny," I snap. Katniss turns to me in surprise.
"I know it's not, but she's not going so why worry about it." Haymitch gives a shrug. Katniss closes her eyes in frustration, speaking with clenched teeth.
"Yes, I am." I watch as she stands up, standing up myself. I grab her by the waist quickly holding her to me. "Peeta, let go of me!"
"No. If I do you're going to go upstairs and start packing, and I'm not going to let you. If you go there, do you really believe your father will let you out? Do you? That he won't lock you up and turn you into an avox, or prostitute you?" She doesn't seem to hear me as she keeps trying to squirm out of my grip.
"Peeta, I have to try. Please." She slowly stops struggling as she slumps against my arm and chest the fight going out of her as she tries to plead with me.
"Katniss, you know why I can't let you," I say softly. She sighs managing to turn to face me.
"Peeta, please. I can't let you go back into the games." I take her face in my hands looking her in the eyes.
"I can't let you go to the Capitol anymore than you can let me go into the arena," I try reasoning with her.
I keep my eyes locked with Peeta's. I couldn't argue with what he just said, but what am I suppose to do? I can't sit around knowing Peeta is going into the arena, and I did nothing to try to stop it.
"Sweetheart, can I talk to you for a moment?" I pull away from Peeta tearing my eyes away from his when Haymitch speaks, his tone softer and less sarcastic than before. I turn giving him a nod as I follow him into the other room.
"What?" He puts a finger to his lips pointing to his ear then to the other room. I nod in understanding.
"Look," he speaks in a whisper I can barely hear. "If his name is picked I'll volunteer for him." My eyes widen in surprise. "I don't want to see you fall apart like I know you will without him, and vice versa. I know he'll be if you die in the arena."
"No!" I say in a whisper. "You're not dying for us."
"It's my life, sweetheart you don't get to say what I can and can't do with it. Everyone I love is dead, except you two. Your father is the cause of it. If one of you two die I'm not sure I can handle it." Haymitch saying this takes me back. I hadn't realized he'd come to love Peeta, but then again it was hard not to love Peeta.
"What if your name is called?" I could tell by the look in his eye that nothing I say was going to change his mind.
"We just have to hope that doesn't happen," he says and walks back to the kitchen. I stay where I am listening to the sound of me breaking. What am I suppose to do if one of them dies? Just the thought of Peeta dying sends a dagger into my heart, and the thought of Haymitch dying breaks it completely.
"Kat?" Peeta's voice calls as he enters the room. I wipe my face in case a few tears had fallen.
"I'm uh, I'm not going to go," I say my voice coming out as a whisper. "But, I am going to go to the woods with Coal." Peeta's arms encircle my waist as he pulls me close to him. I buryy my face against his chest tightly wrapping my arms around his torso. His lips touch the top of my head.
"Are you okay?"
"Not completely," I admit.
"Kat, we'll get through this. We've gotten through everything, already haven't we?" I nod his words somehow making me feel a bit better. "I love you," he says capturing my lips. My arms wrap around his neck molding my lips to his. I pour everything into the kiss, my need, my love, my desperation, everything.
"I love you too," I breathe out when we pull away. I peck his lips once more before I walk out of the house leaving Peeta standing alone.
Coal had agreed readily to go to the woods today. He had barely gotten home from the mines but apparently something in my voice or face seemed desperate. I slide under the fence silently following Coal into the trees.
"Is there a specific reason you wanted to come here?" he asks as he bends down to pull out our bows and arrows.
"I don't know. I guess - I just, I think I needed someone to talk to about everything," I admit taking the bow and arrows from Coal.
"The Quarter Quell you mean?" I nod. "You're afraid Peeta will go in and not come out, right?" I nod again.
"I uh - I'm going to volunteer to go in with either him or Haymitch. I don't know what else to do. They won't let me go try to talk to my father. I mean I know it's a long shot, but it's all I have." Coal surprises me as he pulls me into a hug.
"Does that mean you won't be coming out alive?" I can hear the hurt in his voice and am taken by surprise. We hadn't known each other long, but maybe he already looked at me like his daughter.
"Haymitch won't let me do that if it's him going in. If it's Peeta no. Peeta can't talk me out of it. I won't let him. I'd fall to pieces if he were to die. Just the thought breaks me."
"That's love, Katniss. Here, follow me." I follow him as he starts walking. "Love hurts, but it's the most amazing feeling in the world." I follow him in silence. "I would do exactly what you're doing for Prim or my wife. Love is a powerful thing."
"I'd always told myself I'd never fall in love, I'd never let myself fall in love because who could love the president's daughter, right?" I snort slightly rolling my eyes. "Peeta proved me wrong, I guess and now look at where we're at. I need him Coal, no one has ever loved me like him. My own father had never even loved me." I hear Coal give a sigh.
"Katniss, he's your father. Fathers love their children. Even a bit."
"Oh, trust me mine never did. Growing up I'd be forced to watch people be killed, and turned into avox's for the things I'd say about the games. My father was raised to believe that keeping the games going gives him power, and my father is power-hungry. So, my distaste of the games obviously is points against me. He's just as evil and my grandfather was. He killed my mom after she had me." I look down biting my lip. I may have never known my mom but I wish I had. I'd give anything to have a mom.
"Katniss, wow. I'm so sorry. I never would've thought you'd have to watch that." Coal shakes his head sighing again.
"Haymitch has always been like a father though, and I guess Seneca has been too. I actually tried to shop it once, and I got his down the back with a whip. I still have the scar." I bite my lip looking to Coal waiting for his reaction. Coal's eyes widen slightly at this.
"He didn't stop you?" I shake my head letting a sigh leave me lips.
"No. He had me convinced for many years as well that no one could ever love the president's daughter, so I gave up on love. I didn't want it...until I met Peeta, and look how it's turned out for me. I've got him being sent back into the games and my father hates him. He'd probably be better off had I not interfered in his life."
"Katniss, I see how he looks at you. That boy would take all of this and more if it meant having you in his life. You don't understand love, do you?" Coal pushes a few branches aside as he steps into a clearing. I follow him into a clearing gasping slightly when I look around at the beautiful lake in front of me. It takes me a moment to answer his question when I find myself distracted by the beauty of this lake.
"I grew up in a house with no love. No one ever taught it to me. Hell I'm still new to this feeling." Coal takes a seat by the lake waving for me to follow suit. With a sigh I sit down beside him pulling my knees to myself.
"I suppose you had to teach yourself a lot, huh?" He looks to me as I nod.
"Haymitch never spoke of love, because of how brutally his girlfriend was taken from him. I know he loved her. If he hadn't he wouldn't have turned to alcohol. Which is probably what would happen to me without Peeta. Maybe not alcohol but I'd turn cold and sarcastic and just shut down without him, and it scares the hell out of me." I find myself terrified of what I'd become if Peeta were taken from me.
"Love is scary, and everything you're saying is love. You know love better than you think you do. I have a feeling things will work out for you."
"How? One of us is going to die, and it's not going to be him. I forbid it. Please, Coal just make sure that when he comes back he doesn't do anything stupid. Please watch him." I find myself begging him to help.
"Katniss, do you honestly think he'd be any better without you, than you'd be without him?" I shake my head letting out a defeated sigh.
"No. I don't. I just wish..." I trail off unsure of how to explain my feelings. I need Peeta, and he needs me. This situation couldn't be any worse.
"Then what are you doing out here with me? Go be with him while you can Katniss, but something tells me things will work out." He gives me a look that confuses me completly. What was he talking about? How would Peeta and I survive this again?
"You're right." I stand up brushing my pants off. "Thanks Coal." He gives me a smile waving off my thanks as I take off to go spend every minute of the rest of my life with Peeta. Which if things go as planned won't be too much longer.
A/N: I apologize for taking so long to update, but here you guys go. :) Hope you like it. If you have any ideas for what you'd like to see happen feel free to PM or leave a review with your idea. Thanks for all the reviews!