Hey guys, so this is a story that I entered in a contest on another site. (tried to enter, but I think I missed the deadline). It was not supposed to be fanfiction for that contest, so I just put in different names, but I meant for it to be Katniss and Peeta. Usually my short stories are based off personal, or close to personal events, but this was mostly an idea I got, inspired by real events. Well enough of my talk and on with it.
Disclaimer: Don't own it, never will (sadly)
The first time Peeta saw her she was ready to fall to her death.
Her toes were dangling precariously over the edge of the yellow line, her body swaying back and forth. Unruly hair flying in the wind, eyes closed.
At that moment, he knew what she was trying to do. The train was nearing the corner, and she was ready to drop down in front of it.
His heart stopped, he knew he couldn't let this happen.
He flew to her side, grabbing her wrist and pulling her back. He wrapped his arms around her shoulders, holding her steady.
"Don't jump" he whispered, and he felt her tense. Her body was braced to run away, but he wasn't going to let her go.
"Why not?" she asked, voice broken.
Peeta turned her around to face him. "You don't need to die today"
The girl had brown hair, and stormy grey eyes. She was small, and thin… Too thin. Her face was distraught, like she hadn't planned anything and was now panicked. At that moment, he knew he couldn't let her out of his sight.
"How do you know?" she asked quietly.
"Because no one should die if they don't have to"
"No" he whispered.
Her eyes darted back and forth nervously, searching for something.
"Let me go" she pleaded. "I won't jump, just let me go"
Peeta knew he couldn't do that. He had saved her, and he couldn't risk that going to waste. He didn't know her, but he couldn't have let her die.
"I'm helping you"
"You don't know me, you shouldn't be helping me" she half snarled.
"I don't care if I didn't know you before; I wasn't going to let you die"
She looked angry, eyes glaring through his. Her hands clenched at her side, nails digging into her palms.
Suddenly she tensed, her eyes wide. He followed her gaze, which fell on a group of police officers. Her body shook with anticipation; she looked like prey.
"Are you running from the cops?" she didn't reply. Her breath was quick, palms sweating.
He didn't know why he cared; he should really just let them take her. If she was a criminal, he supposed it would be best…
"Come on" he said. He grabbed her wrist, pulling her away from the train station.
He wasn't going to let her get taken today.
Katniss woke up to her own screams. She was in his room; the stranger who'd saved her life and taken her in. She hated him so much, while feeling like she owed him her life. Why had he helped her? She was a lost cause.
Nightmares haunted her sleep, she just wanted to escape. But it seemed that he didn't want to let her die.
It had been like this every night since she'd done it. And this week it had been especially bad.
She could never forget the night it all started.
Her father left them when she was four, when he found out her mother was pregnant again. He had a hard enough time with one, he couldn't handle another. He was too busy, and didn't want to be tied down by children, so he left. And that's when it all started. Her mother fell into a deep depression, hardly able to raise the baby on her own. She was so heartbroken and angry at him for leaving, and she started to hate her children for causing it. She would drown her sorrows in liquor, becoming harsh and cold. She would hit them when they did something wrong, and lock them in the closet when she couldn't stand to look at them. She loathed their very existence
When she was thirteen there was a particularly bad night. Her mother had beaten her, and then locked her in the closet alone. She could hear the soft whimpering of her nine year old sister on the other side of the door; her poor baby sister Prim that had no one to help her. The whimpers soon turned into wails as their mother hit her. She couldn't stand it anymore and something inside her snapped. She reached into the top of the closet, feeling for the black pistol. She knew what to do.
She kicked at the door as hard as she could, desperate to help her sister. And finally it worked, the wood splintering slightly. She pointed the gun at her mother and pulled the trigger.
The sound never left her, the sound of the bullet flying into her own mother's skull. The sound of her body falling onto the hardwood with a thud; that night would haunt her forever.
Suddenly, there was a knock at the door, and she sat up swiftly. He opened it just a crack, to make sure she was ok.
"Can I come in?" Peeta asked, and she nodded.
"It is your room"
He entered quietly, sitting beside her.
"Are you alright?" he asked. "I heard you screaming"
Katniss shrugged, not knowing what to say.
"You never told me your name" he pointed out. "I'm Peeta Mellark"
"Katniss" she said softly. "Everdeen"
"That's a nice name" Peeta remarked. Katniss didn't say anything, letting the conversation die in awkward silence.
"Why are you running?' he finally asked.
She was surprised, but she should have known he would be curious.
"I'm not going to turn you in" he encouraged.
And she decided she was tired of running after all.
"I shot my mother in the head." She said calmly.
Peeta looked shocked, his blue eyes wide.
"Why?" he asked after a moment.
"She used to beat me" she said.
Peeta could understand that.
"And she almost killed my sister" she turned away from him. "Will you leave please?"
He stood up, not moving towards the door. "My mom used to hit me too"
Katniss didn't utter a word, staying firmly towards the back. She shouldn't get attached.
"Good night" Peeta whispered, closing the door behind him.
She really didn't think she'd be able to sleep. She felt empty and cold, her head throbbing painfully. She wanted to die, no matter how nice Peeta was. Nothing really mattered anymore, life was meaningless really. She was done with it all.
She laid her head down onto the pillow, staring at the glow in the dark stars on the ceiling. They were a harsh light, taunting her. So she squeezed her eyes shut, wishing for the ground to open up and swallow her whole.
When Peeta awoke she was already gone.
His heart filled with dread the second he noticed her absence. It was a gaping hole in his chest.
He pulled himself up off the musky old green sofa, glancing around his apartment. He was worried.
Walking towards his room he noticed something; a slip of paper lying on the coffee table. Peeta backed up, snatching up the paper. It was a newspaper clipping, he realized, yesterday's paper.
And on the headline it read: "Twelve year old girl killed in hit and run" He glanced down at the article, searching for why Katniss had left it for him.
And he found it.
Peeta's breath sped up. He knew where Katniss had gone.
His heart raced as he sped along the busy streets, searching for her frantically. When he finally reached the train station he saw her, hair blowing in the wind just like before.
Except this time he wasn't able to catch her. This time he was too late.
He had come just in time to see her tumble down, a sea of grey and brown… And red.
He kept wishing that it wasn't real, that it was just a dream; that he would wake up and she would be safe. The girl who he'd barely known would become his friend, and he would help her through all of it.
But he was only dreaming; Katniss was dead, he'd seen her mangled body.
The next day's headline read: "Teenage girl killed on tracks"
And now it was that scene that replayed in his head every night, her face that haunted his dreams.
Now it was him that wished for escape.