CHAPTER 1

"That party was ridiculous." I think to myself as we travel back to the train. Actually, this entire Victory Tour has been ridiculous. What's the point? To look at those families in the eye? The families of the people we killed? The people who loved them? And say, "sorry they're dead and we won." It's completely ludicrous. And awful. And I am counting down the days where we can be done with this and I can get back to the place where I know I belong: home. With Prim. And my mother. In the woods. With… Gale?

I can't let myself think about that right now. Especially with Peeta standing right next to me. Oh, Peeta. I don't know what I'm going to do with that boy.

He has completely surprised during this tour. With giving money to Rue and Thresh's families, giving the most incredible speeches I've ever heard, agreeing to the public proposal, helping me sleep at night… Well, maybe surprised is the wrong word. I've always known he's incredibly gentle, and caring, and giving, and just… just… ugh.

Why does he have to be this way? It would be so much easier to ignore him if he wasn't so… so… I can't even think of the word.

All I know is he should just stop. Stop wasting his time on me. I'm never going to be able to give him what he wants. What he needs: love. I don't think I know, or will ever know, how to love. At least not romantically. And he deserves that. He deserves someone who can give him that. Who can give them everything they have. Everything they are. Love him unconditionally.

The thing is… I do love him. At least, I think I do. I'm just not sure in which way. There's no reason why I shouldn't love him. Except for maybe one…

"Katniss?" says Peeta, interrupting my thoughts as we move onto the coach to have our annual nightly meeting.

"Sorry," I say, "just a lot on my mind." He gives me a concerned look but I give a tiny smile to show him that I really am all right. He worries way too much. Maybe it's because of the screaming…

"Well, we did it! We made it through the Victory Tour without so much as a hair being out of place!" an overly enthusiastic Effie exclaims.

"Congratulations." Haymitch replies quite sneer. I'm sure he can't wait to get home as well. To be able to get drunk in peace, alone in his home is definitely his idea of heaven.

"Indeed!" Effie says with a massive smile.

"Now, I'm sure you all know that your job doesn't end here."

I look at Peeta with confusion and see his bright, beautiful blue eyes looking at me the same way.

Effie can see our bewilderment and explains, "The Quarter Quell of course!"

A light bulb goes off. Of course. And now I have even more on my mind. I get to train two more kids to go into the hell that I see every night. I can't wait.

Effie goes on to talk more about what our responsibilities will be, what we'll need to wear and worthless information that I could honestly not care less about. As Effie babbles on, Peeta and I decide to play a game. Every time Effie says, "Isn't that wonderful?", we scratch our nose. Every time she has to wake Haymitch up, we kick each other. And every time Effie asks us a question, we must reply "Hmmmmmm. Of course. Of course." with a completely serious face.

This went on for about twenty minutes until Effie, once again, yells, "Haymitch! We are having a serious meeting here! Could you try to stay awake for at least five minutes?!" I look at Peeta with a mischievous face. We both know what that means. I kick Peeta's leg so hard that he falls to the ground in agony. I cover my mouth to try to hide my giggles, but I couldn't do it. I start to laugh out loud and saw that Peeta did the same. It felt so good to laugh. I can't remember the last time that I did.

"All right, I think that means it's time for you two to go to bed." Haymitch tells us. But I think he said it more for himself. He could hardly stand up without almost falling over.

"Fine. But we will finish this in the morning!" Effie tells us as Peeta and I run as fast as we can to avoid another speech about what color our eyebrows should be.