Thank you to everyone who has spared a few moments of their time to review this story. I have been over whelmed by how well received this story has been, you guys are great!

I also want to thanks the wonderful and dedicated ladies without whom this story would be unintelligible, Court81981 and kismet 4891. They also both happen to be very talented writers too so just in case you've read them go do so…after reading this of course.

The Baker's Noble Son

Chapter 6

Preparations for the wedding were hastily made, and soon Peeta was standing before the priest with Lord Finnick at his side to stand in as his second. Princess Primrose led the bride's procession. King Haymitch escorted his niece down the aisle. Peeta could not clearly see her face because a thick, white veil was placed over her head and was held in place with a diamond and pearl encrusted crown.

The priest started the ceremony and her shaking hands were placed in his, her vows repeated in a sad, forced voice. They exchanged rings, and they were proclaimed man and wife. Peeta lifted her veil and understood why it was so thick. Katniss's face was tear-stained—she had been crying. Peeta placed a kiss on her cheek and whispered, "I promise that I will make you smile before the close of this day."

She grimaced in response before forcing a smile for the onlookers, who were overjoyed.

The kingdom's beloved, brave princess was wed and would someday rule with her husband, who the people adored. Barrels of ale and wine flowed, and all in the kingdom were celebrating, except for the bride. There was dancing and singing on both sides of the castle walls. The feast began; Katniss feigned delight for the people, but Peeta understood that she was upset. It pained him to see her so defeated and took notice that she did not eat one bite nor did she take a single drink from their cup.

The minstrels played and the couple was encouraged to dance. Katniss did so only because it was expected of her. Peeta tried to catch her eye and smile, but she would not return it; she would scowl for she was angry with him.

As the sun faded, it was proclaimed that it was time for the bride and bridegroom to retire for the night. Katniss was sent ahead with Lady Trinket and her other ladies-in-waiting to get ready. Peeta found Greasy Sae and made a request for a platter of food to be brought up to his wife's chambers because he knew that she had not eaten. Lord Finnick and King Haymitch pulled Peeta aside for one more tankard of ale. Then Lady Trinket came to Peeta and whispered that his bride waited for him in her chambers. As he left the great hall, he got many cheeky and crude comments and cheers of approval.

Peeta collected the platter. He took a deep breath before he opened the door, both to calm and steel himself, fore he knew he had one more challenge yet to face: to tell Katniss who he truly was. Although he thought himself ready, he was not expecting the sight that awaited him. The room was bathed in fire and candlelight, and Katniss stood before the fireplace, looking away from him. Her hair was loose and hung in ebony waves down to her waist, and she wore a sheer lace nightgown that allowed him to see the outline of her body. He was granted visual access to what all her layers of clothing had kept hidden from him before. His mouth went dry; he could not speak, for there were no words to describe her beauty. The platter nearly slipped from his hands, but he managed to save it. The commotion caused Katniss to turn and look at him.

Her face was like stone, and he could not tell what she felt; she was silent. Peeta set the platter on the table, wetted his lips and finally found his words. "Please, Katniss, come sit and have something to eat, I know that you have not eaten since breakfast."

Katniss did as he asked and ate some fruit from the plate and then looked to him. "Are you not eager to collect your prize?" she asked, her voice monotone. "According to the church and the law of the land, I am yours do with whatever you please, and I will not stop you."

He sat heavily at the little table. It wounded him to know that she thought that all that he wanted was her body. Honestly, yes, he wanted that, but more than anything he wanted her heart and soul, he wanted this love to be real for her too. He replied, "I told you that I would not come to your bed until you asked me to. Also I refuse to consummate this union until you tell me that you love me."

"Then we have reached an impasse, Sir Mellark," she sighed.

"You are my wife now. I wish that you would call me by another name," he said kindly.

"Oh, yes, you are now Prince Petrus," she said bitterly. "I shall call you that from now on."

"I was actually thinking of another name, a more intimate one…one that those who have loved me called me by," he urged her. He now had a game for her to play to lure her out of her sour mood. "I have a challenge for you, my love. If you can guess my familiar name, then you can decide if we join as man and wife or have this union annulled."

Katniss's eyes lit up, he had given her an escape. "You would let me go so easily?"

"Your promise was to wed," Peeta put in plain words, "which we have done. Nothing was said about anything more. This game should not be hard. Do you accept?"

"Yes," she exclaimed happily. "How does this challenge begin?"

Peeta felt a pang at Katniss's eagerness to be rid of him and hoped that his plan would not backfire on him like a faulty catapult. He smiled and explained, "I give you clues. Every time you want another hint, you must give me a kiss. Does that seem fair?" She nodded in agreement, so he continued, "The first clue is that I have given my name to you once before."

Katniss looked dumbfounded as she thought, and she said in a frustrated tone, "You have given me no name since you arrived."

"Yes, that is true," he admitted, "But I still have given you my name before."

Katniss looked annoyed. Peeta thought it an improvement over her defeated mood from earlier. He grinned and asked, "Would you like another hint? But remember you will have to kiss me to get it."

"Yes," she snapped, "Only because your hint is faulty and untrue."

"It is not, Katniss," he affirmed, "As I have told you before, I have never lied to you. Now if you want another hint, you will have to give me my due."

She huffed and stood and then walked the small distance to where he sat. She bent and set her hand on his shoulders to steady herself and pressed her lips to his. Peeta could feel her raw emotions as her mouth moved against his. He traced her lips with his tongue, and she opened her mouth briefly to him and made a little moan of pleasure before she abruptly pulled away and stood with her face flushed. After she recovered, she posed with much less venom, "What is the next hint?"

Peeta smiled at the thought that he was having aneffect on her. He said, "The next clue is that I fell in love with you when I first heard you sing, I was completely taken in. Your voice is so lovely that the birds stop to listen to you, just as they did your father."

Her face again conveyed confusion, "I have not sung in many years. How could you have ever heard me sing, let alone my father?"

"I promise you that indeed I have heard you sing, in fact, I have heard you twice." Peeta examined her face, she was still miffed. "Would you like another hint?"

"Yes," she said softly.

"Well, then come sit on my lap and let us both at least be comfortable," he offered.

She looked at him wearily before she eased into his lap. This time Peeta leaned in to collect his kiss. She was warmer and freer this time. It felt different—it felt…real. Her body pressed against his and her hands moved to his head and fingers grasped at his hair. His hands wrapped around her slender waist, and he could feel the heat of her skin through the thin lace that covered her body. They kissed deeply until they were breathless. It was Peeta who pulled away this time, afraid his body would betray him if he did not stop. He looked at her swollen lips and heaving chest before he whispered, "I will give you your final hint." He reached into the neckline of her nightgown, making her shudder. Peeta then pulled out her necklace and looked at the pendant. "I was the one who gave this to you. It was why I knew the answer to the final riddle."

Katniss stared at him, her eyes wide. "Peeta?!" she gasped in disbelief and then rose from his lap and wrung her hands. "You are dead!"

Peeta beamed. "I assure you that I am not."

"No, you must have somehow found out about the boy with the bread and now you seek to manipulate me," she accused.

"Katniss, I promise you that it is I, the baker's son," he insisted. "The king himself forbade me to tell you of my identity, but I have been trying to give to clues to who I am ever since I came to the castle. This very morning, I made you the cheese buns that you liked so much as a child. I wanted to tell you since I first saw you again. "

"It cannot be," she shook her head. "My uncle sent men to ask of you after I met you that second time in the woods. Your family said that you had died at the hands of Snowbeard."

"It was my stepfamily who said that. They hated me and would have done anything to thwart any good fortune to come my way. Look into my eyes and tell me who I am, for the blue eyes that you once told me were so lovely are the only part of my visage that has not changed these six years."

Her grey eyes met his blue orbs, and she smiled wide and then wrapped her arms around him. He knew then that she finally believed him. "I did not believe that you were dead for a long time," she said in a trembling voice, "I waited for you...why did you never come to me?"

"My father was very ill, and I could not leave him because there was no others that would care for him," he said solemnly and stroked her hair. "You were never far from my thoughts. I dreamt of you and prayed that someday we would meet again. When I started on this journey, all I wanted was to find a place in the castle's employ simply so I could be near you. Even when the gypsies and the fairy told me I was going to marry the princess all I wanted was to find the huntress that captured my heart as a boy. You see, I loved you long before I knew your proper name and title. So the vow that you made as a girl has not been broken; in fact, we fulfilled it today."

Katniss buried her head in the crook of his neck and her whole body shook. Peeta gently pulled her from his body so that he could judge her reaction. He found that she was not sobbing as he had feared but laughing. He grinned at her, "I promised that I would put a smile on your face before the close of the day."

"Yes, you did," she laughed merrily.

"So my wife," he wondered, "am I welcome to stay and share my life with you or must I go?"

Katniss did not say a word instead she closed the space between them, threw her arms around his neck and pressed her lips to his. Her tongue invaded his mouth, and they both sighed. Peeta's hands roved her body, memorizing her curves. She broke the kiss and whispered, "Please, take me to the bed."

"There is one thing more that I must hear before we go any further, my love," he reminded her.

She looked into his eyes. "Peeta, I love you."

He scooped her up and carried her into the bed, and together they disrobed him. He told her, "I ordered my wedding clothes knowing that your favorite color was green."

"I liked it very much," she admitted bashfully as she unbuttoned his shirt. "I nearly suspended the challenges when I saw you this morning." She smiled widely. "I commissioned my wedding gown when I made up the grounds guidelines for my marriage. That way if I were forced to get married, then I could pretend that it was you."

He kissed her passionately after hearing her confession. Finally all of his clothes were shed; he could tell that she was curious and wanted to look at him but was as of yet too embarrassed to do so, so he pulled down the blankets so that they could crawl in. Peeta played with the hem of her nightgown and silently asked for permission to pull it over her head; she nodded in reply. Peeta was not prepared for the sight of his naked wife as he studied her in awe. Her full breasts rose and fell as she breathed, her belly was flat and her hips flared, and he found himself admiring her shapely legs and the dark thatch of hair where they met. He wanted to touch her, yet he felt too shy to make direct contact with her soft skin. So instead he reached out with one hand to play with her necklace.

She met his gaze, pressed her lips to his hand and shared, "I've always worn your token near to my heart."

"I envy it," he sighed, "to be so close to you every day."

In a moment of boldness, Katniss moved his hand to cup one of her breasts, and he watched the wonderstruck look on her face as he lightly squeezed it. Her caught her eye and begged, "May I?"

"You may," she breathed.

Peeta enclosed her hardened rosy peak in his mouth and suckled it. He was intoxicated with the taste of her soft skin. She squeaked his name as he alternated between her breasts and his beard tickled her ribcage. She whispered a plea for him to come kiss her. He inched up her body and left a trail of open-mouthed kisses as he went. When he reached her mouth, he rested his weight on his elbows and allowed his hardened manhood to grind into her thigh. She kissed him voraciously and he felt her legs widen bit by bit until she was fully open to him and he settled there. Peeta rested his length upon the apex of her thighs and found it to be dripping with her arousal; he bucked his hips and she moaned, "Peeta, I am ready."

He thought he might burst simply from the sound of her impassioned voice. She helped him to find her entrance and gritted his teeth as he sunk into her. Halfway in he hit a barrier, and she encouraged him, "Keep going."

With a heavy heart, he broke her maidenhead as she gasped in pain—she was now and forever his wife. He paused for a moment and kissed away her tears and began to move when she gave him permission. His feelings of empathy for her pain quickly gave way to the feeling of euphoria as he felt himself being sheathed fully in her tight, wet heat. The sensation grew as his body instinctively took over and he moved his hips. They worked clumsily together, the way that unpracticed virgins do. Far too soon he felt his body tense with a familiar sensation that warned him that he was soon to release his seed, which he did with a few last shallow thrusts.

Making use of the towels and basin of water left for them at the side of the bed, Peeta gently wiped the virgin-blood from his wife's body. "I am sorry," he gave her a heartfelt apology. "I am told it gets better with practice." He offered regretfully, "I wanted to give you pleasure too."

"You did, and I promise that we will practice often," She gave him an understanding smile. "But if you would like to do more for me…I'll show you."

Peeta shook his head enthusiastically, eager to learn her body. Katniss helped him to find her 'pearl' and showed him how to rub tight circles over it. Soon she was thrashing her head on the pillow, begging him to keep going then suddenly her body stiffened. He watched in fascination as her face contorted and she called out unintelligible words along with his name before she relaxed and a sated smile covered her face.

"How did you know such things?" he asked her when she recovered.

"I do it sometimes when I can't sleep," she confessed with a blush, "although, it felt better when you did it."

They held each other tight and were quiet for a long while. Peeta was surprised when Katniss broke the silence. "This morning, I thought that I had gone insane when the cheese buns were delivered to my room, I instantly thought of my boy with the bread, but then I dismissed it as nothing but coincidence... You have caused me much distress over the last three days. I wanted to hate you, yet I could not. I was so upset at myself for feeling kindly towards you. I wanted to be your friend, but after a while I found that I desired you in a way that I have never thought possible. Your presence confused me so much…I was both saddened and overjoyed each time you won a challenge. I nearly exploded with jealousy when Lady Cashmere sought your attention."

"Ah, so you were just staking your claim?" Peeta teased and then asked more seriously, "Why did you resist me if you felt attraction to me?"

She ran her hand over his bare chest and explained. "I felt as if my attachment to the dashing young knight was a betrayal to my boy with the bread… After we met for the second time as children, I vowed that I would never marry unless it was him. I knew that such a match between a peasant and a princess would be all but impossible. If I could not have him, I wanted no man." She sat up in their bed to get a better vantage of his face and confessed to her husband, "When I was told you were dead, I put forth the challenges knowing that no man of the noble class could such things. I thought that I was very clever indeed and that I would never have to marry. I couldn't imagine that a man such as you could ever exist."

"Well, it is lucky for you," Peeta pronounced confidently.

His wife gave him a questioning expression. "Lucky for me?"

In response he wrapped his arms around his bride and brought her body flush with his and before she knew his intentions, he had rolled her under him and then told her, "That I am like no other man." Katniss giggled loudly when Peeta started to place kisses on her neck. She was very happy indeed that he was the baker's noble son.

Upon hearing the whole of Peeta's story and of how his step family lied to the king's men years before, King Haymitch and Katniss were ready to have them all executed. But Peeta could not condone their deaths, so requested to spare their lives, and they were allowed to live albeit in exile.

The royal union brought much happiness and stability to the land. The pair was often teased about the amount of time that they spent in their joint chambers and the love-struck smiles that always graced their faces. Princess Katarine Teresa and Prince Petrus's marriage was a happy one that soon produced a blue-eyed, raven-haired daughter, shortly followed by a tow-headed son with silver eyes.

Overjoyed by the to see his heir's contentment in matrimony, King Haymitch amended his drunken ways and lived a long, full life, with much time spent with his grand-niece and nephew. Upon his death of old age, Katniss and Peeta ruled the kingdom and were much loved by their people. And they all lived happily ever after.

Thanks you so much for reading!

This story has turned out to be one of my favorite works so far. I just loved doing Everlark as fairytale characters, this story seriously all but wrote itself. Katniss as the obstinate Princess, Peeta as pure-hearted hero, Snow as an ugly gnome (the thought of Donald Sutherland dressed as the roam gnome still makes me giggle) Johanna as a naked fairy, along with all the rest, it was by far the most fun I've had writing a fic!

I would like to thank everlarkrecs for coming up with this challenge it has been a ton of fun.