I fell asleep comfortably that night with Katniss nestled in my arms. The air had finally been cleared, she finally told me her entire life. I knew I'd have to tell her my life story as well sometime. But that could wait. Right then I had her safe in my arms.
I woke up to screaming at two in the morning. Katniss squirmed in my arms as she let tears seep through her closed eyes.
I brought her closer to me, I kissed her hairline, and whispered in her ear that she was safe. I'd never let anyone hurt her. I quieted her screams and she settled down for a moment before silencing completely.
I wondered when her nightmares started, if she'd always had them. Life sure hadn't been kind to her, she could be dreaming about anything. One thing was for sure, I wanted to be there every time she was afraid.
Before I fell back to sleep I pondered her answer to my final question. I think I took it as a challenge. I suddenly wanted to let her know that love did exist. That it was something to believe in.
That next morning we were packing up to leave. Our flight was late in the afternoon so Prim could see us off after her school hours.
I had piled our small luggage cases into the car we'd rented to drive us to the airport.
Gale had come to say goodbye, Madge had already flown back to her abroad program. I didn't even want to look at him after what Katniss had told me. But I said a polite goodbye and hugged Prim before climbing into the drivers side of the car.
The whole way to the airport we talked about finally getting home. How it felt like years had passed when we were only two weeks into the new year.
Once we'd returned the rental and checked in we decided we had enough time to not rush through to our terminal.
When we went through security Katniss had to show certain paper work showing she'd had surgery. Though I was nervous that they wouldn't let her through she was perfectly calm.
"So now that you've met my family what do you think?" She laughed.
"Prim has a cruel sense of humor."
"Oh you have no idea. When she's with her boyfriend I literally feel the need to tell her to have safe sex. I swear she'll have sex before I do... Wait she already has." I laughed and kissed her forehead, "Anyway I haven't called up the office to see when I start up work again."
"Don't start too soon. You're still recovering."
"Yeah I know." She sighed clearly fed up with being taken care of. I kissed her temple, "If that is bad imagine Annie and Finnick when I get back." She muttered to herself.
I laughed as we reached our terminal. Our plane was just starting to let passengers off from the previous flight.
I kept her hand locked in mine even as we boarded. Our flight was pretty full, and with us being in the middle of the plane I was sure to keep her close.
The plane took off for out hour and a half long flight. I didn't realize how tense I was until Katniss leaned into my ear and whispered to me, "You're alright. Everything's okay."
I felt my body relax, "I know it is." I told her, "I'm taking care of you remember."
She nodded slightly and rested her head on my shoulder.
Half an hour into our flight we hit a pocket of air that caused quite a bit of turbulence. Katniss squeezed my hand comfortingly. She kept assuring me that everything was alright.
For the rest of the trip, I won't lie, I was actually freaking out. I was nervous and shaking. Even with Katniss anchoring me to the seat.
When we landed I felt like I'd let out a heavy pent up batch of breath. I was afraid, and shaking so badly I wasn't sure I'd ever be steady again.
"Peeta, sweet." Katniss said to me after I don't know how long, "Stand up for me please." She said. I looked at her, she must have climbed over me and gotten our luggage down from the overhead bins.
She took my hand and helped me to my feet. She led me off the plane and sat me down in baggage claim.
"You're okay." She promised me. "You're okay, I'll go ahead and get your bag. Then I'll get you something to eat alright?" I wasn't sure I really possessed what she'd said. Because if I had I wouldn't have let her take care of me. I was supposed to take care of her, not the other way around.
She went to the luggage carousel and left me a lone for no longer than five minutes. I managed to get a hold of myself before she came back.
I got back my composure and stood up to grab out two carry-ons. When she came back I noticed she seemed a bit off. Not like I had been though, like she were sick.
"I got your bag." She said, "Are you okay?"
"Yeah, I'm fine." I assured her, "Don't worry about me. Are you okay?"
"I'm fine." She said, "did you drive here or-"
"Yeah come on." I said but after a few steps I turned back, "Let me take that." I said taking my bag.
"I've got it,"
"Katniss, your doctor said-"
"I know, but it's on wheels." She protested, "Let's just go." She said so we kept walking. Both of us keeping a close eye on one another.
We loaded our bags into the trunk of my car before we clamored into my car. The rhythmic tapping of rain hitting the windshield was harmonized with Katniss sighing.
I looked over to see her sinking into her chair.
Her hair stuck to flushed pink cheeks, her eye-lids were dark and tired. Her lips were parted and parched. I knew something wasn't right. I leaned over and moved a few strands of hair from her face. She was burning with fever.
"Katniss." I whispered.
"Huh?" She opened her eyes and looked at me.
"I'm taking you to my house okay?"
"I'm fine." She said.
"I don't trust you by yourself yet, alright." She didn't answer me so I drove her to my house. I helped her out of the car even thought she tried to do it on her own.
I got her up the stairs and into my bedroom.
"Katniss." She looked at me slightly confused, "Take your medicine when I get back I'll help you change."
I ran out to the car and pulled out our things. I tried to be quick but the moment I got back up to my room she seemed worse. She was more pale, seemed to be slowly fading away.
"Katniss, I'm going to help you get changed now." I told her. But she didn't move. The moment I pulled her shirt over her head, I saw that her incision was inflamed. I'd call the doctor once I got her changed, I'd decided.
Once I'd laid her out on the bed and pulled blankets over her my phone rang. I picked it up quickly, "Hello?"
"Peeta? It's Annie."
"Hi... Hold on a minute." I put the phone to my chest, "Katniss?" She looked at me with glazed eyes, travel had really gotten to her. "You call down to me if you need anything." She only closed her eyes.
I sighed as I left the dark room and closed the door behind me. "Yeah Annie?"
"Finn and I are almost there."
"Yeah, we wanted to catch up with you."
"We'll be there in a few minutes." Annie hung up then.
I was not ready for a little visit. Not with Katniss so sick upstairs. I ran up and put a bowl beside her and closed the door again just before Annie and Finnick waltzed in the front door.
"Hiya friendship!" Finnick shouted, "Get down here!"
"Um hey guys-"
"We've missed you so much Peeta." Annie said hugging me.
"It was only a week." I said.
"Work's been so dull without Katniss there, has she called management to see when she'll start up again?"
"It's a bit soon for that Finn, give her some time." Annie said.
"We've given her a month. I'm ready for-" Just then we heard a crash come from upstairs. I can't remember the last time I ran that fast.
She was on the floor curled up in a ball writhing in pain.
"Katniss." I tried not to shout at her as I lifted her, "What hurts?" She didn't answer exactly, just murmured a bunch of nonsense. "Finnick start the car." I told him cradling Katniss in my arms. I was careful when I sat her up in the back of Finnick's car. Annie sat in the passenger seat while I held Katniss firmly in my arms.
The ride was rough, at sharp turns Katniss groaned in my arms, but I wouldn't even think of letting her go.
The hospital ER was calm enough that she was taken right away. I was already beyond afraid, having Finnick and Annie around didn't help much either.
The doctors finished quickly, they told us that there was a mistake in the first surgery she had, apparently they left something inside of her that was cutting her up from the inside.
Needless to say I was beyond angry at the hospital in Montana.
The doctors said she'd be fine. She was even awake when we were allowed to see her. I got to take her home with me the next day with very strict orders to keep her off her feet and as relaxed as possible. What a challenge that would be.