Author's Note:

This is my first fanfiction and I have been working on it for a while. So please, please, please review!

If you want an amazing AU story that is well-written and full of intrigue and passion, check out Mockings Hall by TomiStaccato. It will rock your world.

Disclaimer: I don't own anything about the Hunger Games – this is all the property of Suzanne Collins. I simply play in her playground.

Chapter 1 - Waiting

The first time I was aware of my surroundings in a sequential way was about two months after my return to District 12. Until that day, I was just barely conscious of sitting on the patterned sofa in the soft yellow formal sitting room of my house in Victory Village. Only the demands of nature could move me and that was only to use the bathroom, forcing me to uncurl the stiff muscles of my legs and back, a ragged shawl hanging limply over my scrawny shoulders. But my lethargy led me to root myself on the soft couch again and again, the throw blanket and my mother's unopened letter crumpled into a pile at my feet. I had not even ventured to any other room in the house. I noted the opening of my front door twice each day as Greasy Sae entered with her granddaughter and fed my meals to me. She forced me to sip water. She dusted and cleaned the house, skirting around me as if I were one of the brocade lamps that the Capitol had furnished together with the ornate curtains and elaborate rugs of the room. I'm surprised she didn't dust me with the rest of the furniture.

I merely existed in that period. My days were lost in dark places, so bleak that the hours ran together, interrupted by the horrible nightmares that fell upon me each night. Prim's little body burning up over and over before me as I was rooted to the ground, powerless to intervene. Sometimes it was Rue being gutted by a Career, Finnick shredded by muttations, Peeta hurling himself at me with red eyes, his fingers sinking through to the bones of my neck – the parade of horrors endless in its variety. The lack of sleep turned my listlessness into a state of waking death.

The only thing my subconscious mind made a point of noting was the delicate yellow that made up the main color of the living room walls, the muted shade reminding me of something else, the edges of my memory struggling to allow a warm orange into my mind. But the thought entered as quickly as it left. I desired nothing – not memories, nor the other rooms of the house, not food or water. Life had forced me to be a survivor so I passively refused to accommodate its wishes. Greasy Sae kept me alive those first two months, for looking back, I am sure I would have simply expired from doing nothing. If I could have made myself stop desiring to breathe, I would have. However, even desiring death took effort and so I simply did not do anything at all.

I sensed the more random and infrequent visits from Haymitch. He sat in the soft, plush chair caddy-corner to my sofa, a flask in his hand and would keep me company, some afternoons for hours. He didn't speak, at least never more than "Hey, sweetheart." Sometimes he drank himself to sleep on that chair, the alcohol laden snores poisoning the air, choking it with toxic fumes. But I did not protest. He was there like the plants that grew outside my window. When he left, it would be up to Greasy Sae to open the windows to make the air healthy again.

On the day when the world began to intrude on my depression, it was less the feeling of being shaken awake then a slow admission of light under still-sleeping eye lids. I managed to shuffle to the kitchen to have breakfast with Greasy Sae and her daughter. Greasy Sae looked at me, taking in my unkempt state and turned her gaze out the window as if I had always sat at breakfast with her in the morning.

"Spring's in the air today. You ought to get out." She says. "Go hunting."

I flirted with the idea for a moment and even considered fetching my bow and arrow, which Greasy Sae assured me, was down the hallway. However, I was not able to will myself to walk that way for several hours, the very act of considering a decision enough to overwhelm the synapsis of my brain. When I finally did shuffle quietly to the study in the late afternoon, the only thing I took amongst the few items on the table is my father's hunting jacket, leaving my family's plant book, my parents' wedding photo the bows and sheath of arrows Gale managed to rescue on that dreadful night of District 12's firebombing. There was also the box containing the spile Haymitch sent during the Quarter Quell, the locket Peeta gave me in the clock arena and the grey pearl I could not bring myself to think further about. Wrapping myself in the worn leather, its weight penetrating my concentration, I lay down on the indentation that my months of inactivity had created in the plush sofa and sink into a fitful sleep.

My sleep was ripped apart by a terrible nightmare that lasted an eternity in my sleeping world but carried me to the morning, the grave in which I was buried alive surrounding my mind until I was awakened by a scraping sound that entered through a window I had forgotten to close. Unfurling my frame, weak from unconscious thrashing, I stepped outside of my door and around the house to see him with a wheelbarrow full of flowers and dirt.

Something lurched in my chest and immediately the feeling overwhelms me. Having felt next to nothing for so many months, the shock to seeing Peeta standing before me made my mind weak to the point of incomprehension. He starts at the sight of me but proceeds to tell me something about Dr. Aurelius not being able to treat me if I do not respond to the phone while I fixate on the wheelbarrow full of dug up flowers. They almost provoke a murderous animosity in me, until I realize that they are not the hateful white roses I had first imagined, but evening primroses. Sweetly fragrant in yellow and white, Peeta tells me "I thought we could plant them along the side of the house." The exchange ends with my nodding my assent and I immediately step back inside the house.

I had been waiting, immobile and unchanged, for something on that baroque sofa. I hadn't known that I was waiting, nor for whom or what I waited.

The day he arrived with his wheelbarrow, my addled mind registered in a moment what I had known in the hollow of my bones, if not in my conscious waking mind.

The day he arrived with his wheelbarrow, I hurled the evil flowers that Snow made sure I would find. I took my first bath in two months. I had my first conversation with Greasy Sae. I went hunting, though it physically annihilated me. Buttercup returned with my grief made manifest. I opened the letter mother gave me and called her, further releasing the blackness that had held me immobile in my filthy clothes and lumpy sofa..

Spring had returned.

I had been waiting for him.