PIP Day 1 Submission: Canon Items
Worked inspired by the prompt "Peeta's Pearl."
Dialogue borrowed from Mockingjay, chapter 16.
. . .
"I must have loved you a lot."
"You did." My voice catches and I pretend to cough.
"And did you love me?" he asks. He doesn't look away, doesn't flinch, just keeps his blue eyes focused on me. And suddenly, the room seems smaller; I'm aware of every set of eyes behind the observation window, Haymitch's voice in my ear. The air filtration system hums softly.
I dart my gaze to the floor, heat rising to my face. I don't know. I don't know.Probably not the answer he's looking for.
"What do you remember about the Quell?" I blurt out, looking back up at him suddenly. Peeta frowns at the subject change.
"That's not an answer," he says coolly, and I scowl.
"Just answer me. What do you remember?"
He looks away for the first time, embarrassed. "Not much," he admits. "And everything I do remember is—" he shrugs, "Shiny. Complicated. "
I step closer, ignoring Haymitch's warning in my ear to back off. "Do you remember the force field?"
Peeta looks thoughtful. "I hit it. Didn't I?"
I swallow, the memory of Peeta being blasted backwards hurting even still. "Yes. And you — you stopped breathing, we thought you were dead. And I just…lost it. Cried and cried and cried. Finnick resuscitated you, brought you back. And he told me later—" I stop short, not sure what the point of the story is.
Peeta looks at me, unwillingly curious. "Told you what?"
I look anywhere, everywhere but him. "That he thought it was all an act. The way I felt about you. Until — until that. When I thought you were dead. That's when he knew that I—"
His expression is unreadable. "That you what?"
I reach into my pocket, pulling out something that is always with me. "Do you remember this?"
Peeta stares at the tiny object in my hand hard and then suddenly his expression softens, a Peeta I knew from a lifetime ago. "If you put enough pressure on coal, it turns to pearls," he says. And when he looks back up at me, his eyes are bright with something I want to recognize.
"You gave this to me the night you tried to convince me to win," I remind him, squeezing my hand around the pearl tightly, as if I am holding him. "You told me that no one needed you, and I said — I said I do. I need you."
He reaches for it, and I ignore the alarm in Haymitch's voice as he gets closer. And then he touches me for the first time since he tried to kill me, his fingers brushing against my palm, and it is like coming home. I try not to flinch. He holds it close to his face, marveling. When he speaks, his tone is one of disbelief.
"You kept it?"
I feel myself flush. "While you were — while they had you, I would just…pull it out. And hold it. It was—it was all I had left of you. Of course I kept it."
He swallows hard, looking unsure. He holds the pearl tightly. "You're a real piece of work, aren't you?" But the coldness is gone from his voice.
I try to smile, a sad stretch of my lips; we stare at each other for what seems like ages, and I am not afraid.
Later that night, tucked away behind a pipe in a laundry room, I relive the moment over and over. Missing Peeta, the weight of the pearl in my pocket. Wondering if this changes anything.
There are no answers.
My first ever submission to PiP; make sure you check it out on tumblr for some awesome submissions! And look for me, swishywillow.