Sometimes Katniss still couldn't believe that she got to go home with Peeta Mellark. The man put out a damn "slut-signal" anytime they went out. He even got hit on when they accidentally went to a gay club. It wasn't surprising; he could charm the habit off a nun and though he wasn't conventionally beautiful like their friend Finnick, or particularly rugged like Gale or Thom, he was easily the most attractive man she had ever seen. And he was genuinely nice to boot. Madge wasn't kidding about him being "perfect Peeta" when she initially set the pair up.

Their first date was actually a complete disaster. She spilled wine on her brand new dress, he fell asleep during the movie, and when they were saying goodnight, they were cock-blocked by her alcoholic neighbor who decided it was the perfect night to vomit, loudly, in the bushes. Nearly three months later, they reunited with some mutual friends and agreed to give it another shot. Alcoholic neighbor and all.

Katniss didn't particularly like the attention he got from other women, until it was time to pull him away and take him home. She relished in the slack-jawed faces of the girls when she'd whisper in his ear and lead him toward the door, his arm securely around her waist. It was childish and silly but she didn't care. And when they got back to whichever place they were staying at, and he was buried deep inside her, panting her name, it was like a victory cry.

She turned her attention away from the bar where some busty brunette laughed too loudly at something Peeta just said, and back to the group of girls at her table. They were a nice enough group, even if they didn't really have that much in common.

"So Thom and I installed our sex swing last weekend," Delly commented, sipping her martini. The rest of the group stopped mid-sip and stared at her in disbelief. "What?" She asked with a smirk.

"Well holy hell, Cartwright, you can't just lay that shit on us like you just bought another pair of shoes or some shitlike that."

"I think what Johanna is trying to say," Madge piped up, shooting Johanna a scowl, "is that... we wouldn't expect you to drop that into an everyday conversation."

It was true. Delly Cartwright was a southern belle through and through - always polite and sweet and soft-spoken. She really did a number on her parents when she brought the very non-debutante appropriate Thom home to meet them. We joke that his crassness rubbed off on her, but he assures us that there was a lot more to that girl than met the eye, which is painfully obvious now that we're all sitting in a booth talking about a sex swing.

"I thought we were sharing," Delly explained innocently. "It's so much fun, you guys."

Madge quietly cleared her throat. "Gale and I bought a new vibrator."

Katniss almost choked on her vodka cranberry and Johanna had to slap her back, hard, a few times to get her to stop coughing. "Excuse me?"

"Well, it's just," Madge let out a nervous laugh, "it's one of those bullets with a remote control? It's amazing and perfect because sometimes Gale is so tired when he comes home and feels bad that he can't know...perform at his best."

Delly gave her a conspiratorial smile. "Toys are really the best, aren't they?"

"Oh my God, you don't even understand. At first we only used it on me and I swear, it was like the most intense orgasm I've ever had. But then, one time when we were fooling around," Madge stopped to giggle and check over her shoulder to where Gale was standing with the rest of the guys, completely oblivious to our conversation. "I turned it on and set it against his taint, and I don't think he's ever come that hard. We had to buy another one just so both of us could have one."

"I slept with a guy once who wanted his prostate massaged during sex," Johanna offered.

"How, exactly, does one do that?" Madge asked. "Isn't the prostate-"

"I stuck my finger up his ass."

This time Katniss really did spit out her drink. "Jesus, Johanna!"

"What?" Johanna shrugged. "It's what he was into. I didn't really care - as long as he took a really good shit and a shower beforehand. What did it bother me if he wanted a little extra?"

"Your turn, Katniss," Delly said, once they got over their fascination with Johanna sticking her finger up guy's asses during sex.

"Yea, Katniss, tell us something about Peeta. He's probably into some weird shit, right?" Johanna added.

Katniss bit her bottom lip. The truth was, Peeta wasn't into anything weird. Sex with Peeta was fantastic - even when he did finish before she did, he made sure to make it up to her. His fingers were magical and that tongue...well the tongue was like a gift from the Gods. So the sex with Peeta was a little vanilla. It wasn't like they only had sex in bed or with him on top, but he just wasn't into other things. At least, not that she knew of. They didn't really talk about what they wanted from sex all that often. She knew he loved going down on her, and he knew she preferred it when he was behind her. They had a system that worked for them - they didn't need to add anything exotic or weird to the bedroom. And she sure as hell wasn't going to freak him out with any of the things the other girls were sharing. Peeta was a gentle soul and that was something she absolutely loved about him.

"Um, Peeta's not really into any of that stuff. We do just fine on our own."

"Bull shit!" Johanna cackled. "Everyone is into something a little different. You're telling me there's nothing he likes to do to you or wants you to do to him sometimes?"

Katniss shrugged. "Sometimes we'll 69. But that's about as 'different' as we get."

"You poor thing," Delly chided.

"Fuck off," Katniss retorted. "We have fantastic sex. Mind-blowing sex, alright? He doesn't need extra shit to get me off beyond what God graced him with, ok? And I'm enough for him!" She didn't appreciate the fact that these girls were mocking her for not having crazy off-the-wall fuckery like they were. She didn't make fun of any of them for being into sex swings or anal probing or whatever else they liked to experiment with.

"All we're saying, Katniss, is that unless you've tried doing something extra, how do you know it can't get better?" Madge asked in a comforting voice. She was trying her best to soothe Katniss and calm her down, but it was doing just the opposite.

"Why would I want it to get better? I'm sorry that my boyfriend gets me off every time we fuck, ok? And that I'm enough to get him off. What in the world would be better than that?" She glared at her friends who were all taking awkward sips of their drinks and eyed each other. "Fuck this noise!" she spat, chugging the rest of her drink and grabbing her purse. "I'm going to go get fucked by my 'perfect boyfriend.'"

She slid out of the booth and marched over to Peeta. "Can we go?"

He set his drink on the bar. "You ok, hon?"

She sighed. "I'm fine. I just don't want to be here anymore." She leaned in so only he could hear her. "I really want you to fuck me, Peeta. Right now."

Katniss smiled as his pupils dilated. He smiled stiffly at the stranger he had been talking to and excused himself. Katniss shot a look at the table she had just been at and was glad to see them all staring at her pulling Peeta out of the bar. 'That'll shut them up,' she thought. As soon as they were outside, her lips were on his and they stumbled toward where he had parked. He trapped her between his body and the car door, his hands roaming over her. She could feel his hardness grinding against her, and she let out a soft moan. Seriously - what would be better than this?

A loud 'whoop' from a group of passersby broke them of their hot and heavy make-out session and he smiled shyly. "So, your place or mine?"

"Whichever is closer," she answered, pulling him in for one more kiss. He groaned when her lips left his, and she shot him a knowing wink.

As soon as she closed her apartment door behind her, he was kissing her again, backing her up onto the couch. "Not that I'm complaining," he mumbled between the kisses he planted along her neck, "but what was with the rush today? I've never seen you so eager to leave."

"What can I - ah! - say?" His lips attached to the particularly sensitive spot under her ear that he knew she loved. "I just wanted you so badly."

With one hand, he pulled the button open on her jeans and pushed them down to her feet. He kneeled in front of her and hooked one of her legs over his shoulder. She could feel his warm breath on her center and inadvertently thrust her hips closer to his face. He pushed her panties to the side and licked her dripping folds from top to bottom, taking time to suck hungrily on her clit. She cried out with every swipe of his tongue and held tightly onto his golden curls, wanting his face closer and deeper. He began swirling his tongue in a pattern and she grinned. His new game - spelling out words as he ate her out to change up the sensation. Sometimes she'd try to figure out what he was saying, but she was too far gone by the time he started to care. She just continued to thrust her center against him, riding his face as hard as she could to relieve the tension building in her lower abdomen.

She thought her legs were going to give out when she finally came, but he held tightly onto her and continued his actions, lightening the pressure as her shuddering lessened. "Fuck, Peeta," she sighed.

He grinned up at her. "As you wish." She grinned and turned so she was on all fours on the couch. She heard him unbuckle his belt and his jeans hit the floor. The unmistakable sound of him ripping open the condom he must have grabbed from his pocket made her shiver in anticipation. She let out a guttural moan when she felt the tip of his cock press against her folds. She pressed back at the same time that he slid forward and they both let out loud groans at the contact.

He held onto her hips as he thrust into her, hitting her in all the right places, making her scream out his name with each pass. She purposely tightened her walls around his cock, giving him the extra sensation of how tight she still was, even after all this time with him. He leaned over her and sucked on her neck as he continued to pump into her. She curved her back slightly, lifting her ass a little further into the air. It was enough of a change that it sent him over the edge. He bit down on her shoulder as he came - she came almost immediately after.

"Oh, fuck, Katniss," he said after they had cleaned up and were lying in bed. He ran his fingers over the deep bite wound on her shoulder. "I'm sorry, babe. I don't know what came over me."

She didn't say anything in return; her mind was still hazy. She hadn't been lying to the girls about coming every time - Peeta always made sure of it. But this time was different. When she felt his teeth digging into her soft skin, a totally new sensation took over and sent her flying so high she didn't know if she'd ever come down.

She thought back over all the conversations the group had had about sex, and never once did anything about biting or pain come up. But the shock that went through her body, the pang from his teeth, had made it better. It made her orgasm stronger than it had ever been. 'Well, this can't be good.'

Peeta felt so bad for the bruise he left that he made it up to her by eating her out every night for the next two weeks. She wasn't one to complain - the man could do ridiculous things with his tongue - but she couldn't get the image of that night out of her head. So she didn't. She found herself imagining it over and over whenever she felt his teeth gently brush against her. She wanted ti feel it again; the sharp sting that sent her pulse racing and heart pounding. The imagery was enough to cause her to spasm under his capable tongue but did nothing for the rising guilt she felt when she realized just what had helped push her over the edge. But whenever she tried to banish those thoughts from her mind, she was so preoccupied that she completely failed to climax, upsetting both her and Peeta. He had never failed her like this before and then that made her feel guilty. It was a double edged sword in her mind; fantasize about pain and feel bad that it's the only way she seemed to be able to get off, or don't fantasize about pain and not be able to get off.

Peeta felt so bad about the accidental bite that she knew he was trying his best to be the complete opposite. He never wanted to leave marks on her body. His own childhood was full of beatings and abuse that she knew even asking him to purposely inflict pain on anyone else, her especially, would not sit well with him. There was really only one thing she could do. She had to permanently push away any of those thoughts. Sex before that had been amazing. And sex after will be just as amazing.

"Katniss, are you sure you're ok?" It was the fourth time he had asked her that night, and she was starting to get annoyed. She knew why he was asking; it wasn't the first time lately that she had been less enthusiastic during sex. And apparently her inability to lie effectively carried into the bedroom.

"I'm ok, Peeta. Just a little tired, I guess," she tried to reassure him. It seemed to placate him. She had been busy at work recently so it was as good of an excuse as any. What was she going to say? 'Oh, yea, Peeta, I'm great but I'm getting a little bored of your cock the way it is. How about you bite me again so I can feel some sexual excitement, because there's obviously something wrong with me.'

She had considered telling her friends about it - asking them for advice. But after being so adamant about how good her sex life had been, there was no way they'd let her live it down. She could just imagine their response.

"I thought your sex life was so wonderful just with what God graced Peeta with."

"Oh, so it turns out Katniss Everdeen does need something more to get off."

"What's so wrong with Peeta that he's not enough for you anymore?"

No. There was absolutely no way she could go to her friends about this. She supposed the boys had probably been with girls who were into "rough sex", but how would she go about even beginning those conversations? She was closest with Gale, but that inevitably meant she couldn't ask him. He'd tease her worse than the girls. And he'd tell Madge. Finnick was notorious for his playboy history but he was Peeta's best friend - was she really comfortable talking to Peeta's best friend about Peeta's bedroom habits? She shuddered at the thought of Peeta going to any of her friends to talk about her. No, Finnick was definitely out. There was always Thom, she supposed. He was nice enough but they had never had an actual conversation, just the two of them, and this didn't seem like the type of thing one springs upon someone else during their first chat.

She would deal with this like she dealt with so much from her past. On her own. She could do it. All she had to do was remember what it was about sex with Peeta that she loved and get her head back there. Easy enough.

"I just don't understand what the big fucking deal is, Katniss!" Peeta yelled, grabbing the shoes that he left by the door.

"The 'big fucking deal' is that this isn't your home, Peeta, it's mine! And I have a certain order around here, and you can't just come in here and mess it up!"

"Well forgive me for leaving my shoes by the door and not on your precious shoe mat! I'm sorry that I'm just so fucking rude about everything!"

"It's not just about your stupid shoes! You come in here without knocking anymore-"

"You gave me a key!"

"And you help yourself to my food-"

"That I cook for you and you always tell me I can have!"

"You're just always in my space!"

Peeta stared at her after her last outburst. "Of course that's what this is about, isn't it? Katniss can't handle having someone around her all the time can she? You're so fucking afraid of commitment that you push me away when I act like any guy would in any normal relationship! It's been over a year, Katniss, and you still act like I'm going to fucking bolt!"

"You always throw this back on me because 'perfect Peeta' can't do anything wrong, can he? Oh no! It always has to be Katniss' fault! Peeta isn't overstepping his bounds, Katniss just can't handle commitment! Just fucking leave!"

"And you prove my point."

"Fuck you, asshole!"

"Fuck you!"

He threw his shoes across the room, neither one of them breaking eye contact when they thudded against the wall. His jaw was clenched in that particular way that meant one of two things: that he was horny as hell or pissed off. And right now, Katniss hoped it was both.

Johanna had no idea just how helpful she had been when she talked about how great hate-fucking could be. As she and Peeta laid together on the floor, catching their breath, Katniss realized that she finally felt completely satisfied. She had a definite bruise on her shoulder blade from where he pinned her hard to the wall. She'd have marks on her wrists from his hands gripping them tightly. She figured out that the harder she struggled against his restraint, the firmer his hold had become. And the harder he fucked her. Twice he made her scream his name before he pulled out and came all over her stomach. He didn't release her or let her sit until she apologized and by that point, she was so satiated she would have agreed to anything. As soon as she was free of him, she slid to the floor, unable to move.

Peeta cleaned her up and laid next her, running his fingers through her now disheveled hair. "I'm sorry, Katniss. I know you like your space and your order. I don't mean to push you like that."

"Peeta," she whispered. "That was..."

"Completely uncalled for. I can't believe how rough I got with you, baby. I'm so sorry. I'm some kind of monster or something." His voice was shaking, and she could see the tears beginning to form in his sky-blue eyes.

"No, Peeta," she cooed, wiping a tear away with her thumb. She wanted to tell him how much she liked it. How alive and connected she felt to him when his hands were on her like that. That there was nothing wrong with him because she provoked him and because she wanted it. But if he thought he was a monster for doing it, what would he think if he knew she liked it? He'd leave her, no doubt; he'd be unable to be with someone like her. "You're not a monster. We both got carried away. You're good." She gave him a light kiss. "And you're kind." Another gentle kiss. "And you're perfect, OK?" A third.

This he responded to, bringing his hands up around her face and deepening their kiss. She could feel the tears that were still streaming down his face and her heart broke. She needed to do something, she knew she couldn't keep picking fights with him for this - he grew up in a feuding home and there was no way she would do that to him, too.

So when he rolled her onto her back, and she felt his hardness against her thigh, she opened her legs for him. "I love you so much, Katniss Everdeen," he whispered in her ear. "I'll never hurt you, you know that?"

"I know," she answered.

Nothing made Katniss feel more guilty than when Peeta tried to make up for his behavior. He spent the entire next day in the kitchen making all of her favorite foods. He gave her foot rubs and brought home special treats from the bakery near his workplace. He even bought her favorite wine, a hard to find brand that they usually saved for special occasions. He also acknowledged that she needed her space and spent more nights alone at his apartment than either of them were used to. He even knocked now, when he did come over.

'Peeta Mellark ruins everything,' she huffed, biting into one of the cheese buns he left for her. This was what they fought about so of course he would change those behaviors. Perfect Peeta was the Perfect Boyfriend and right now, she hated it.

Delly and Thom were hosting a Halloween party at their new place and Peeta was none too thrilled.

"I've never really been a 'Halloween' person," he grumbled as he and Katniss perused the adult costume section at the local vendor.

"How is that even possible?" She asked, scowling at some of the ridiculous costumes that were apparently popular this year. Most were nothing more than scraps of fabric held together by tape and a prayer. "What about when you were a kid?"

"My parents worked on Halloween so we couldn't go trick or treating until Will was old enough to watch Ryan and me. And by that time, he wanted to go out with his friends instead."

"So you've never dressed up for Halloween? Ever?" When he shook his head she set her lips in a hard line. "We're going to change that. We'll be a tandem couple - dress up together, yeah?" She pulled out a police officer uniform and the sight made her instantly wet. Along with the uniform and hat was a nightstick and set of handcuffs. She inhaled sharply. They weren't cheap plastic toys, but cool, hard metal; real. He could handcuff her to the headboard of his bed and she wouldn't be able to move. She could already feel the metal digging into her wrists as she fought against them.

"A cop, Katniss?"

She jumped about a mile when Peeta's voice broke into her fantasy. "Um, well, it was just the first thing I grabbed. But look," she reached back into the rack of costumes and pulled out a 'Sexy Jailbird' costume, "it has a partner."

"It's sexy," he commented, looking over her potential costume. It was a black and white striped dress that was cut lower than anything she had ever seen and looked like it would barely cover her ass. She thought it was the epitome of slutty but if it got him in the mood, and meant he'd use those handcuffs on her, she wasn't going to argue.

"What do you say, Officer?" She purred.

He laughed and kissed her temple. "I say you better be careful or I'll lock you up, Miss." He took both costumes and started up toward the front counter. The handcuffs caught a glint of light and she shuddered.

'I hope.'

"Oh my God! Look at your matching costumes!" Delly squealed when she opened her door. Peeta had rounded up a pair of dark aviators and a horrible blonde stick-on mustache to complete his police officer look. The nightstick sat in the holster on one hip and the handcuffs dangled from the other. She couldn't even stand next to him without the cold metal bumping her thigh, sending excited shivers through her body. Only a few hours, then she could convince him she was ready to leave and those handcuffs could be put to good use.

The party was everything Katniss expected it to be - booze, music, provocative costumes, and embarrassing stories of parties past. Thom reassured them the neighbors wouldn't care, since they were all present at the party themselves, so the music got louder and the party-goers got drunker as the night went on.

At some point Peeta sauntered over to where Katniss and a quiet brunette, Annie, were talking. "Evening, ladies," he said in a deep drawl, tipping his hat to them. He still had his aviators on, even though they were indoors, and his mustache had thankfully fallen off earlier in the night.

Annie giggled. "Officer," she answered back. "What can we do for you today?"

Peeta was drunk enough to completely play into the act. "I got a complaint that there was too much sexiness in one corner and I've been ordered to break that up."

Annie leaned over and whispered in Katniss' ear, "You should flirt with him - see how he reacts to being propositioned." She winked as she pulled away, leaving Katniss with a shocked expression. She had been talking to Annie most of the night and never expected the quiet, ethereal girl to to be so forward.

"Is that so, Officer?" Katniss asked, standing up from her spot on the couch. She ran her hand over Peeta's muscular arm.

"I'm afraid so, ma'am. I'll have to give you fine ladies a citation."

"Oh no. Katniss, we can't possibly get one more citation," Annie answered in a playful voice.

Katniss shook her head and dropped her hands to Peeta's waist. "That's right, Officer. There must be something one of us can do instead?" She looped her fingers through his belt and pulled him closer to her. "Can you think of anything that might work?" She bit her bottom lip and looked up at him through her eyelashes.

"I'm afraid I'm going to have to cuff you, Ma'am." He pulled the handcuffs out of their spot and spun Katniss around so her back was to him. She gave a sharp inhale when she felt the increased pressure around her wrists.

"You two have fun," Annie winked as Peeta led Katniss away out of the living room and into the empty hallway.

"I've been waiting to do that all night," he said, whipping his sunglasses off and smiling drunkenly at her. "You've been so preoccupied with your new friend."

"She's nice. You'd like her."

"Finnick already does. Expect him to hound you tomorrow about her."

Katniss looked over his shoulder to where Annie was still sitting on the couch, watching in amusement as Finnick did whatever he could to impress her. "I think he'll find her to be completely unlike anyone he's been with before."

Peeta kissed her and reached into his pocket for the small key to unlock the cuffs. "You ready to have these taken off?"

"Oh, I don't know, Officer. I might be a flight risk. Maybe it's best if you keep them on. Maybe keep in me in an isolated area?" She wasn't quite ready to give up the act yet; she hadn't fully experienced being completely unable to move her hands and she suspected he wouldn't let her whip this costume out at random.

He cocked an eyebrow at her. "Are you suggesting what I think you're suggesting, Katniss?"

She leaned in close, pressing her chest to his. "That's exactly what I'm suggesting." She closed the gap and kissed him fiercely. She could taste the bitter beer he had been drinking when their tongues met, and she let out a muffled moan into his mouth.

"I'm taking you downtown, young lady," he murmured against her mouth.

"I've been a very bad girl, Officer."

No one was paying the couple much attention when they left, a good thing since he couldn't seem to keep his hands to himself. One stayed attached to her conjoined wrists and the other slipped under her v-neck to cup her breast. She could barely walk, full of anticipation of how far he'd be willing to push this game of theirs, and arched back against him. His lips attached to her neck, sucking and nipping at the skin, making her pant his name.

Delly and Thom had plenty of spare bedrooms in their new place, so Katniss and Peeta knew they could claim one all to themselves, and chose the one furthest from the party. "You've been a very bad girl, Katniss Everdeen."

"Very naughty," she agreed. "I expect you'll want to punish me for it?" For once, she was glad he was semi-drunk and susceptible to her suggestions for role play; because he seemed to be completely in character.

"What should your punishment be, I wonder? Better yet, what do you think your punishment should be?"

She dropped to her knees in front of him and quickly unbuckled his belt. "I think you should let me suck your cock."

"We'll start there," he agreed, pushing his uniform pants down and freeing his already hard penis. She eagerly took him in her mouth, using her hands together to pump him as she swirled her tongue around his head. "Fuck yes, Katniss," he groaned when she took him as deep into her mouth as she could without choking. His hands tangled themselves in her hair and gave a sharp tug. She whimpered excitedly, heat pooling between her legs. Each time he pulled on her hair, she'd find a way to take a bit more of him, and the wetter she became. He had never really been that aggressive before, so she thanked the mixture of alcohol and role playing.

He pulled away suddenly and walked her to the bed. "Get on your hands and knees at the head of the bed," he instructed. She crawled to the headboard on her knees and looked back at him.

"Like this?"

"Perfect." He grabbed ahold of her wrists and looped them around the frame on the headboard, effectively chaining her to the bed. In that moment, it was is if he were inside her head, reading her every desire and fantasy, and she could honestly say she had never wanted him more. He raised the skirt of her dress onto her back and ran his hand over the curve of her ass. He chuckled as her body mirrored the movement of his hand. "You like this, Katniss?"

"Yes," she moaned, watching him over her shoulder.

He gave her ass a hard slap and she made a high pitched whine, unlike anything she had ever heard before. "You really like that, don't you, you bad girl?" He slapped her ass again and she felt her knees buckle. Where this Peeta came from, she had no idea, but she hoped he'd stick around for a long time.

Without warning, he slammed his cock into her and she let out a long moan. He pulled completely out and slammed into her again. Over and over, pulling out, slamming in, slapping her ass. Her nerves were firing faster than ever and she was in sensory overload. If anyone came near this section of the house, they'd be able to hear her screams over everything else. Her throat burned and her ass was raw from the imprint of his hand, but she didn't want him to stop. She begged him to continue, begged him to pull her hair harder as he fucked her. Tears were streaming down her face, but she couldn't tell where the painful tears ended and the excited tears began, so she let them. She felt like she was on fire and never wanted to be extinguished. She came over and over, pulsing around his cock until finally he came with a loud grunt and collapsed on top of her.

He freed her hands from the handcuffs and she rubbed the near-bleeding skin. She didn't realize she had been pulling them that hard, but it was just one more element of the pain that added to the experience. "Holy shit, Katniss," he panted, pulling her onto his chest. "We'll make sure to get you something for your ass. It's going to be sore as fuck tomorrow."

"I'll just have to think of it as a battle scar," she teased, secretly loving the throbbing sensation that filled her body.

"Do you think you learned your lesson?"

She sighed contently against him. She most certainly had.

It took a few weeks for the bruising on her wrists to completely disappear. She luckily always wore clunky bracelets, so no one ever suspected her secret fantasies, but every time Peeta would place gentle kisses on her wrists, it would reignite the fire and she wondered how long until she could get him to role-play again. She would drop hints when they were together, but whenever she'd remind him, he'd look at the purple tint on her arms and she knew her answer. There was no telling what got into him that night, but apparently it was a one-time show.

They fell back into their usual routine after a while. He seemed to forget all about that night, or any other night that had any roughness, presumably hoping she would forget about it, too. And while he still made sure she got off whenever they were together, she found her fantasies growing more and more detailed whenever she'd shut her eyes. Tied to a bed. His leather belt. Candle wax. At one point, the image of him pulling a necklace against her throat made her come so hard, she saw stars. Eventually, even pretending wasn't enough.

She tried to encourage him by doing it herself, first. She'd nip the skin on his neck, but he'd pull away and wouldn't put his neck near her mouth again. Or she'd tug lightly on his hair, but he'd swat her hands away. The final straw was when she slapped his ass lightly and he completely pulled out of her.

"What are you doing?" she asked, sitting up on her elbows.

"What are you doing, Katniss? I mean, what is all of this? You just slapped my butt."

She furrowed her eyebrows. "Yeah? And your point?"

"You've never done that before. Then there's all the other stuff before, like you're trying to hurt me or something."

"I'm trying to show you that it's alright if you do that to me," she said.

"I don't want to do that to you. You think I've enjoyed those times I've left marks on your body?"

Sometimes her mouth worked quicker than her brain, and before she could stop herself, she heard the words she knew she shouldn't have said. "Maybe I enjoy those times, did you ever think of that?"

"Are you serious?" he asked in disbelief. "You liked it when I hurt you? Oh my God, you did! That night of Halloween, that wasn't just role playing with you, was it? You were completely and utterly loving everything I did to you!"

"Well excuse me for wanting to have a little more fun during sex!" she yelled, feeling incredibly defensive around the one person who never made her feel so defensive.

"I'm sorry that I'm not enough for you!" he screamed back, fishing his boxers off the floor and yanking them on. "Jesus, Katniss, do you even understand what I've done to you? The one thing I swore I would never do and of course the girl I love needs it to get off. You never used to complain about sex. So when the fuck did this start?" He ran his hand through his unruly hair as he searched for his clothes.

"Shut the hell up, Peeta! I still don't complain about sex with you. But sometimes, I don't want nice sex. Sometimes I want to be fucked. Hard. I want you to pull my hair and slap my ass and do all kinds of crazy shit that could leave me bruised and scarred because GOD DAMNIT it feels good, ok!"

He stared at her, his jaw clenched, and she hated herself for being so ridiculously turned on right now, but she refused to back down. "You know what, Katniss? I don't know that that's something I'm willing to do for you."

His voice was low and quiet; eerily calm. It was the worst thing he could have said in the absolute worst tone. But she was stubborn. And she wouldn't let him win. "Then maybe you should leave."

She didn't actually expect him to walk out. She thought maybe he'd yell some more and go sulk on the couch or something. But when she heard the unmistakable sound of the front door slamming and his car engine turn over, she realized just how big of a mistake she had made. She pushed him. He was just as stubborn as she was, even if he didn't show it the same way, and there was no way that pushing him into something he was so adamantly and fundamentally against would make him stay. She knew exactly why he didn't like doing those things to her, she just didn't know it would be enough to make him leave.

"Are you sure you don't want to come out with us? Finnick's invited that Annie girl from the party. We're all pretty stoked to watch them interact." Katniss rolled her eyes. Finnick had been trying to get together with Annie since Halloween, but she was having nothing to do with his flirtatious personality and over-the-top ego. She wondered what he did to finally wear the brunette down.

"No thanks, Madge. I think it's going to be a couch night."

"Again?" Katniss could imagine her friend rolling her eyes. True, she had spent most nights alone on her couch since Peeta left. She hadn't told anyone about him, and she figured since no one was questioning her or insisting that she shouldn't be left alone, that he hadn't told anyone either. It was odd, but maybe it was the easiest way to save some embarrassment.

"Hey, Peeta, what happened between you and Katniss?"

"Oh, you know how it goes. Things were going great until she decided she wanted me to beat the shit out of her for her sexual gratification."

That would go over real well. So here she was, another Friday night alone, with just basic cable to keep her entertained. She heard a knock at her door, and she was surprised to see Peeta standing on her doorstep, one hand in his pocket and the other holding a thick binder.

"Peeta! What are you doing here?"

He shuffled his feet for a few minutes and then thrust the binder into her hands.

"What is this?"

"I've, um, I've been doing some research. Can I come in?"

She opened the binder and let out a gasp as she saw that he had, indeed, been doing research. Beginner's Guide to S&M, S&M for Beginners, How to Start with BDSM, websites and articles explaining what S&M was and wasn't, potential rules for partners, secure safe words, suggested candles for wax dripping, proper care for afterward. She flipped through each page, awed at his dedication to learning about this.

"I get that you're into this, Katniss. I can't say that I'm all that comfortable with it, personally. But it's what you want and I'm willing to give it a try."

She finally looked up at him. "Really?"

He nodded. "Really. But this won't be an everyday thing, Katniss. I love you, and I don't like the idea that I'm hurting you, even if you like it."

She dropped the binder to the floor and threw herself into his arms. "I love you so much, Peeta Mellark. And I promise, anything you think you might be into or want to test, I will do it in a heartbeat!"

He chewed his inner cheek and smiled shyly at her. "I'm glad you brought that up, because, um, there is this one thing that I've always been curious about."