Hello everyone. Sorry it took so long for inspiration for this story to strike again.
Q: Why are you moving them off Korovin?
A: The Aleuts, especially those on smaller islands, are nomadic. I could've had them follow the migration pattern of fish- which is what actually happened (boring!), or banished them to Siberia. But I figured continuing along with the Russian storyline would be more fun to write and more interesting to read than 30k words of roaming, camping and fluff. The Aleutian islands are also located in the ring of fire, so with frequent earthquakes, an overpopulated island like Korovin wouldn't be safe for nearly an entire generation, like Unalaska was.
Q:Why did Katniss go down on Annie? It was OOC. You just wanted to add in another lemon!
A: Damn straight. I write this for fun after all. Usually at the end of a long ass day with a glass of wine. It's a historical fic, and we may learn a little about a new culture but lets be real, this is junkfood for the brain. And OOC? Aren't all fic portrayals OOC? Without two hunger games and a war under her belt, I don't see how Katniss could be "in" character. I think that particular criticism should be reserved for post-mockingjay fics - I haven't written any at this time. In short, Anniss happened cus I thought it'd be sexy. I find it hard to believe that a little carpet munching would piss anyone off at this point. C'mon! I had Gale finger Katniss and scratch her hymen before she ditched him in the woods to go fuck Peeta. I had Peeta lick pussy juice off Finn's fingers! Tell the truth, you're just mad cus Rye saw. ... and if anyone is opposed to double penetration, you should probably stop reading now before I have another glass and get fancy with my writing ;)
Q:Is Katniss going to fuck Rye?
A: I didn't intend to make that happen. And thus far no one has suggested/requested it. So...no...
Q:Are Peeta and Finn going to divorce Katniss now? She cheated on them!
Definitely not. Those of us who have experienced marriage may have come to the conclusion that nothing is black and white. When you've built a life, raised children, and shared love, the decision to walk away can be soul-crushing. It becomes less about the fact THAT a person cheats, and more about why. And by the time the line blurs, it's typically more complicated than physical attraction to another person. If you've interpreted Katniss's decision to end things with Gale as simple, then you've missed the war she waged with herself. Gale didn't just physically cheat, he publicly shamed her, and ultimately he wasnt happy with their lifestyle. She had to consider not just how she felt, but how that shame would affect her other husbands, her future children, her mother, her sister, and everyone's livelihood. Really, what damage did Katniss do by dining at the Y a little? And it was with Annie! So chill the fuck out. Peeta and Finn would probably just be disappointed that they didn't get to watch.
Thank you to my beta lauralulubee and thank you again to the readers who have been communicative about what they would like to see out of this story from the beginning. I try to incorporate your feedback because, well, I know you're there and I know you're reading. You motivate me!
One last time I'll advise you to read Makushin before you go all wtf on me.
Hope you enjoy this chapter. Apologies in advance for the lack of smut. After this chapter, they're not leaving bed for weeks, promise. Oh and you can reach me on tumblr HazlenutMacchiato... I think I know how to respond to your asks now.
The day Gale realized that Katniss loves Peeta, was the day he decided to protect Peeta too.
Gale watched her, her hair in two braids, her cheeks streaked with tears, as she laid down next to Peeta's sleeping body. Peeta's chest was bare, save for the cloth wrapped around his ribs and he grimaced with every breath, even in his sleep.
"The boy with the trident says his mother did it," Gale said as he kneeled down next to Katniss. "Is that true?"
Katniss wiped the tears from her face, but she didn't answer him.
"Did you save him?" Gale asked quietly.
Katniss nodded. "I had to."
"You love him, don't you?"
Again Katniss nodded, and she rolled away from Gale, tucking her face against Peeta's shoulder.
Gale stood up and watched Katniss as she stifled her cries against Peeta's skin. Her muffled sounds of a broken heart ignited something in him. An urge to keep her together, keep her grounded. And in that instant, though he was only a boy himself, he knew the Peeta's survival was essential to Katniss's survival.
"I'll do anything to keep you together," he whispered to her back. "Anything."
Madge tries to smile as she hurries the group towards the Sv. Iermiia. Poky is still wrapped around Peeta as he slowly makes his way through the cold knee-deep water to the ship, which isn't quite on the island.
"I'm cold, Adaq," Poky complains.
"I know, baby. We'll be warm soon," he promises. Though he can't be certain. He shares a look with Finn. And though there is much to say, they abstain, in the presence of the child.
"There!" Madge points to an opening in the middle of the ship. Peeta nods at her as he presses forward, the cold reaching his bones.
"Give me your hand," a voice says when he reaches the opening. Peeta freezes. He's heard that voice before. He looks up and he e locks eyes with Gale.
"What's going on?" Peeta says holding Poky closer to him.
"What's wrong, Peeta?" Finn asks. Then he follows Peeta's gaze and sees Gale kneeling at the entrance of the ship with his hand extended.
"There's no time to explain," Gale says. His eyes dart from Haymitch to Madge, thenand then finally back to Peeta.
"You're supposed to be dead!" Peeta says.
"We will be soon if we don't get out of here. Now, give me your hand."
Perhaps it's because his daughter has started to shiver uncontrollably in his arms. Perhaps it's because Finn has rested a hand on his shoulder. Whatever the reason, Peeta extends his hand. He registers the scene as real when he feels Gale's warm fingers tighten around his and tug him onto the ship.
"There," Gale points to a soft looking square. It's a blanket, but its unlike any material Peeta has ever seen. "Get her warm." Gale kneels back down and helps the rest of the party aboard. Each person he helps aboard gives him the same how-are-you-back-from-the-dead? look.
"There's plenty of time for questions later," Gale promises and he and Madge work to shut the ship's opening. He offers a speechless Rory a hug.
"I don't understand," Rory says as he hugs Gale back.
"You will," Haymitch promises. "Which one of you is captain of this thing?"
"That'd be me," Madge says. "See you all later." She disappears up a narrow staircase.
"Where's Hazelle?" Gale asks Haymitch. Haymitch shrugs. Gale nods in understanding. "If we don't find her, that means a space will open up. But only one."
"I understand," Haymitch answers.
"Well, we sure as hell don't!" Finn shouts as he rubs Peeta's shoulders over the blanket, trying to keep him and Poky warm. Peeta stands and walks over to Gale. He brings his fisted hand back and punches Gale hard across the jaw.
"WHERE WERE YOU?" Peeta yells as Rory and Haymitch move to hold him back.
"Peeta, calm down," Finn says quietly. Peeta looks towards Finn, whose focus is clearly Poky, next to Prim, whose focus is clearly baby Hazelle. And he forces himself to relax.
"Let me take you to your rooms," Gale says rubbing his jaw. "We can talk once you've all rested. Okay?"
"Okay," Peeta says. Finn reluctantly nods.
Gale leads the group up the stairs. He puts Rory, Prim and Hazelle into one of the small crew rooms next to Haymitch. The rooms are small, with a single bed and table, but comfortable enough. Gale himself lived in one for months when he first left Unalaska. "Johanna and Chaff are in this one," Gale says gesturing towards one of the rooms. "They're resting."
Soon, he's alone with Peeta, Finn, and Poky, who's asleep in Peeta's arms, exhausted from the escape. Gale leads them to an upper deck and opens the door to their room, which is easily 5 times bigger than the crew rooms. There are two large beds and even a private lavatory.
"It's where an officer would stay. You'll need the space. Especially once we get Katniss back. And I wasn't sure if Annie would be in here with you too."
"Probably," Finn says. "If Katniss allows it."
There's no judgment in Gale's voice, which surprises Peeta. "Thank you," he says as he puts Poky down on one of the beds.
Gale watches. His eyes linger on Poky's face as Peeta releases her onto the mattress.
"What?" Peeta says, uncomfortable with the way Gale is looking at Poky. He moves to stand next to Finn at the doorway.
"I just... Part of me wanted her to be mine," Gale admits. "But she's clearly yours."
Peeta interlaces his fingers with Finn's. "She's ours," he corrects.
"Right, of course," Gale nods. He clears his throat. "I hope you'll be comfortable. It's a three-day journey back to Unalaska. Then several weeks to Bering Island."
"Bering Island?" Finn asks. "What's that?"
"Home," Gale answers. He walks over to a trunk at the foot of one of the beds and opens it. "It's cold there, like winter on Unalaska. So, you'll need these to keep warm," Gale pulls out strange looking garments. His cheeks flush as he pulls out a smaller garment. "These should fit her, though they're meant for a boy."
"Gale-" Peeta begins.
"One thing at a time." Gale stands and shuts the trunk. "We have to get Katniss first. And you should really get some rest too." Gale makes his way towards the door.
"Where will you be? In case we need you," Peeta asks.
"I'm staying in the Captain's quarters." Peeta and Finn share a look. "But, I spend a lot of time in the crow's nest."
"Where's that?" Finn asks.
"If you come to the top deck, someone can point it out for you."
"Are the crew members Russian?" Peeta asks, trying to get an idea of what's going on aboard this ship.
"Some. You'll see some Japanese too. Madge brought friends from her time on the Balaena."
Gale takes note of Peeta and Finn's confused faces.
"It's a long story. We'll talk after you rest." He steps over the threshold. "Sleep well," he says as he pulls the door closed behind him.
Peeta's nightmare startles him awake. But he doesn't thrash. He doesn't scream. He's still, petrified with fear. His eyes fly open and he takes in the sight of the two bodies sleeping beside him, Finn & Poky. He wills his breathing to even out as he remembers that it wasn't a nightmare. He's lost her.
He swings his legs over the side of the bed, and looks down. The bed is so high, they're used to sleeping much lower to the ground, and his feet barely touch the floor. He runs his fingers through his hair as he tries to make sense of their situation.
"Peeta?" Finn whispers. "What are you doing?"
"I can't sleep," Peeta whispers back. Peeta leans over and kisses Poky on the forehead before standing up. His balance falters as the ship sways, but he catches himself.
Finn pushes the blanket back and sits up.
"No, stay," Peeta says.
"You're going to talk to him, aren't you?"
Peeta nods as he makes his way to the door and slips his feet into his boots. "I won't be long," he says as he shuts the door behind him.
Peeta makes his way out of the room and explores the ship. Its still dark outside, a cold calm night as he climbs the stairs to the deck and wraps his arms around himself to keep warm. He didn't bother to put on a parka or any of the strange looking clothes Gale provided them with.
"Peeta?" a female voice calls him.
"How did you know my name?" he furrows his brow at her.
"Gale told me a lot about you. I'm Lavinia. Come back inside." She gestures towards the stairs. "It's cold out here."
"I need to speak to Gale."
"He's in the crow's nest." Lavinia points up. Peeta follows her finger to a small bucket like area high above the ship. Gale's head appears over the side and Lavinia makes a few hand gestures towards him. Gale makes a few hand gestures in return and Lavinia turns back to Peeta.
"He'll be down shortly. Please, come back inside. You're freezing."
Peeta steals one more glance towards Gale and relents. He follows Lavinia down the steps. She leads him to the ship's galley. The room is unlike anything Peeta has ever seen. Almost every structure, surface, and object is metal, ranging in color from shiny silver to deep black.
Lavinia approaches a large black pot on top of a heavy-looking structure. Peeta can see and feel the heat coming off of it.
Lavinia pours him a bowl of broth.
"Thank you," Peeta says as he accepts her offering. "What is this place?"
"The galley. Where we keep and prepare food."
He takes a small sip of the broth and then nods his approval. "This is whale?" Peeta asks and Lavinia nods. "May I take some for my daughter?"
"Of course you can," Gale answers. He removes his parka and sets it down in the corner. He scoops some broth into a bowl for himself and sits down across from Peeta. "Is she sleeping?"
"Yes. Finn's asleep too." Peeta takes another sip of his broth.
"You still have trouble sleeping?"
"Only when things are as terrible as they are now."
"I know what you mean."
"You know a lot more than that. Don't you?"
Gale nods. "Should I start at the beginning?"
"I don't know if I can process the whole story. How about a few questions?"
Peeta purses his lips as he chooses he words carefully. "Where have you been? We thought you were dead."
"I know. I'm sorry. I've been...traveling. Spent a lot of time at sea. Time in Russia, Siberia, and China...a few months in Japan even. But, the past year I've been on Bering Island. Setting things up."
"Setting what up?"
"A new allituth. Not dissimilar from what you were doing on Korovin. Just, in safer territory. A permanent home."
"No Russians there?"
"It's in Russia," Gale corrects. "Though the land belongs to us."
"How is that possible?" Peeta asks, shaking his head.
"We're going to become Russian citizens."
"We?" Gale nods. "Why would we do that?"
"Because it's the only way to keep our family safe." Peeta narrows his eyes at Gale. "I know, I know. But, that's what you want, isn't it? For Katniss and Poky to be safe?"
"Yes, and Finn too."
"And Finn too," Gale repeats. "Bering Island is safe. Stable." Gale smiles. "Cold."
"How do you know it's safe?"
"We've taken steps both legally and illegally to ensure its safety." Peeta furrows his brow. "You'll see. I'll keep nothing from you. But we're getting ahead of ourselves here. First we have to retrieve Katniss. And Annie." Gale looks away. "And Rye."
"He's being held on the same ship."
"He is, or was two days ago anyway...I have to be honest, Peeta. Even if we save him, I don't know if we can take him with us. Hazelle is my priority."
"I don't understand."
"I only have so many spots available on Bering Island. I would have made room for Rye had I known he was alive... And if I'd known that's what you wanted. Look, I don't like it any more than you do. But this safe haven has a very small window. I needed to ensure spots for the people most important to us."
Peeta nods. "What do we do now?"
"Anna Snow is using our old meeting spot on Makushin. They'll probably take Katniss there."
"I'm not sure. All we know from the messages Madge decoded is that Snow would like an audience with her."
"Do we have a plan then?"
"The beginnings of one," Gale finishes his broth and sets it down on the table. "We've got two days to fine tune it."
"Let's do it."
"We'll meet first thing in the morning then," Gale pushes away from the table and stands.
"She's beautiful, by the way. Just like her mother." Gale doesn't search for Peeta's eyes. He turns and makes his way towards the doorway of the galley.
"She's named for you," Peeta says as Gale pushes the door open. Gale nods, but he doesn't turn back.
Peeta slips his poison-tipped knives into the free slots of his make-shift bandolier. He's not nervous. There's no time to be nervous, as they approach Unalaska, his home, a land he lived on for far too long. They are nomadic people after all, and it wasn't natural for them to settle in one place for so long. But the currents were predictable and brought a steady stream of fish, seal, and otter. And a permanent village grew, despite itself. And Peeta was a part of it. He looks down at his hands, rough and calloused from years of craft making, and he frowns when he realizes he's shaking.
Finn's hands cover his and Peeta looks up into Finn's green eyes. "Soon," Finn says. "By nightfall, we'll all be together again."
It's a hope, not a promise. But Peeta nods anyway, as if it were.
Finn presses his forehead to Peeta's. What they're about to do is dangerous, and it's only natural to feel anxious. Peeta looks into Finn's eyes, the want and desire and love overwhelming his heart. But it's incomplete. Somehow, without Katniss, they can't freely express their love for each other.
"Let's go get her," Peeta smiles.
They wander through the ships interior together, passing their quarters without a second glance. They've already said their goodbyes to Poky, and left her in Prim's care. They force themselves forwards. They exit the Sv. Iermiia, and climb into a bidara unmistakably carved by Peeta. They don't ask Gale how he came by it. They don't ask him much beyond what they need to know. There will be time to deal with Gale's return, if they live long enough for it to be an issue.
Their party is small. Peeta and Gale share the large bidara with Gale, Lavinia, and two Russian crewmen. It's early morning, but still dark outside, as they allow the bidara to drift away from the Sv. Iermiia. They don't paddle, to avoid making any noise. Finn and Peeta are more than a little familiar with these waters, and they know exactly where they will wash ashore. On the same beach they left all those years ago. They're silent as they lower themselves into the knee-high water and pull their bidara ashore, securing it on the same post as they had last time. It's still there years later. From there it's easy enough to crawl to the tree line, and disappear into the Unalaska forest.
These are not their woods, Gale recognizes immediately. They don't sound or smell the same as they used to. A different civilization has taken hold here, and it's painfully obvious that they can't go back again.
So they go forward.
Gale barely recognizes the path. He walked it so long ago, leading wounded Unangan to be helped, following Haymitch to his destiny. It all seems so long ago. Approaching what was once the Aleut's camp, where they once planned their unsuccessful assault on their Russian invaders, a large wooden structure now sits in its place. It's better, they decide, to break into teams of two to find a weakness in the structure's integrity. Naturally, Peeta and Finn stay together while Gale and Lavinia each pair up with a Russian crewman.
Keeping low to the ground, Peeta and Gale scout the perimeter of the building. Glancing upward when they hear a strange noise, they find Gale scaling the side of the structure, using a strange-looking rope to pull himself up. Heavy footsteps approach and they flatten themselves, hiding in the grass that's grown on the side of the building. Several Russian soldiers appear, two carrying a woman's body with a brown cover over her head. Her hands are bound, but she fights against the men carrying her. Peeta and Finn share a look. She's alive.
A woman's scream is heard, and a man's soon after followed by the distinct sound of a gunshot. Lavinia and the Russian crewman have been discovered.
They wait for some sign that the Russians are scouting the perimeter, but minutes pass and no movement is heard…until a woman screams from inside the structure. A few minutes later, several guards exit the structure carrying an unmoving Katniss. They wait until their footsteps fade into the forest.
Gale appears beside them, moving so quietly they didn't even notice his approach. "They're taking her back to the ship. You go after them. I'm going to get Lavinia."
Peeta takes a deep breath. "Is she-"
"She's alive," Gale hisses as he moves away.
Peeta and Finn follow the tree line, careful to stay low to then ground and out of sight. Finally reaching the water, they climb back into the bidara and slowly paddle their way close to the Russian ship, the Sv. Petr i Pavel.
From observing Gale in the crow's nest, Peeta has a fairly good idea of what the "crow" can see. Night falls and they approach from the back and their boat floats alongside the massive ship. A row of portholes can be seen and so they wordlessly fasten the boat to one. Peeta's heart leaps into his chest when he looks through the porthole and sees Katniss. She's laying next to someone, Annie he assumes.
"There she is," Peeta whispers. He lightly taps the window, but the glass is thick and she doesn't even seem to hear it.
"She's at the bottom of the ship. How do we get her out of there?" Finn asks.
"I'm not sure...but we have to get on the ship first."
Peeta turns his head back towards the porthole and gasps aloud when his eyes meet Katniss's. Quickly he points his finger up.
"Let's go," he says. "She knows we're here."
"Really?" Finn asks as he tries to see her. But she's already turned away from the window. "We should go then."
Peeta and Finn work slowly, using their knives to help scale the side of the boat, leaving them embedded in the side of the ship so they can take the same way back. They avoid passing over windows, making their paths to the top jagged at best. They have to stop twice to catch their breaths, afraid the loud panting would give away their location.
Finally they pull themselves over the top deck of the ship and hide behind a large cannon. Peeta looks up. The crow's nest is empty.
"We need their clothes," Peeta whispers as he points to the officers dressed in their uniforms. He and Finn are already wearing Russian clothing. But after an afternoon in the mud, it's so unrecognizable, they may as well be dressed like bears.
"We'll have to draw their attention," Finn suggests. Without another second, he bangs loudly against the metal cannon. Peeta is startled and immediately arms himself, certain someone will come to investigate the noise. But when a minute passes and no search party comes, he's almost offended. He clears his throat loudly. Surely a male voice will alert someone. But again, the Russians seem oblivious to their presence. For a minute he wonders whether he could simply waltz down into the ships hold, toss his woman over his shoulder and walk out, unnoticed.
There's a group of three soldiers laughing together on the other side of the deck. It's not ideal, but they'll have to attack from a distance. Hopefully the sounds of their bodies thudding to the floor won't attract any attention either. Peeta expertly throws a knife, taking down the first two soliderssoldiers with ease. A scream begins in the throat of the last solider but is cut off by Finn's awl. They drag the bodies back to their position concealed beside the cannons. Peeta stops, and for the first time, observes the large metal object.
"What are these things?" he taps the canon. "They look sort of like the guns the Russians use. But they're so much bigger."
Finn passes him a 'clean' pair of pants. "Smells like the black powder they use too. They're definitely weapons."
Peeta looks at the large wheels they're sitting on. "Can we move them?"
"Maybe," Peeta says, pulling the ensign's jacket over his shoulders. He looks down at himself. "Maybe we should've killed someone higher ranking?"
"No, chiefs attract too much attention."
"They have more rankings than we do."
Peeta shakes his head. "The principles the same." He looks around. "Help me move these."
Peeta and Finn work together, lining up the three canons in front of their exit. They push them forward, allowing enough space to climb down the side of the ship.
Finn locates a crate of large metal balls, and begins to lift them into the bores of the cannons.
"I think there was black powder already in there, but I put one of those metal balls in each. Is that enough?"
"I have no idea... We need fire. A torch of some kind," Peeta says as he weaves the wicks of the canons together.
"These assholes still have so much rope," Finn comments as he tosses over four long lengths of rope, and secures them.
"We need five," Peeta tells him.
"There's only four here. But I bet there's more."
"If we come across some, maybe well grab it then. Light that torch. Let's go." Peeta pulls the collar of the jacket up high to cover his face. Finn follows a step behind him as he descends the stairs of the Russian ship. They layout isn't much different from the Sv. Iermiia, though the ship is smaller. They navigate through the corridors, headed for the cargo hold.
"This is it," Peeta says quietly. There's a large metal partition that isn't on the Sv Iermiia. Probably because this ship has a prison where it's cargo hold should be. "We have to open this door."
Peeta and Finn push the heavy door open and breathe a sigh of relief. Katniss is outside of her cell and she appears to be attempting to unlock a door.
"Kat!" Peeta says. Finn shuts the heavy door.
"Peeta!" Katniss replies.
"Peeta?" Rye asks from his cell.
Peeta steps closer and looks through the small window with bars to Rye, who stands on the other side. His gaze drifts down to the keys in Katniss's hand.
"Let me try."
Katniss hands him the keys and looks over her shoulder. Finn and Annie are standing guard at the heavy door. She turns back to Peeta.
"You don't look surprised to see me," Rye comments.
"I'm not," Peeta says as he fits the right key into the door. He opens it and Rye steps out. "Time to go."
"This place is under heavy guard," Katniss warns.
"We actually didn't see many soldiers aboard," Finn comments.
"Really? The place is crawling with them," Annie agrees.
"Are you sure?" Peeta asks, growing less confident in their escape plan.
"Yes. Whatever stuff they give me didn't knock me out completely last time. It just sort of paralyzed me. When they didn't have that bag on my head, I could see everything. There were soldiers everywhere."
"Oh, Kat," Finn begins.
"It's fine," Katniss says. "What's the plan?"
"Go back the way we came?" Peeta says. His brow knits in confusion. "There really weren't any soldiers in our way."
"Except the first three," Finn clarifies.
"Did they see you?" Rue Annie asks.
"They're dead." Peeta says flatly. "Here," he hands Rye a couple of poison tipped knives from his bandolier. "The tips are coated with Monkshood."
Rye smells the blade of the knife. "Monkshood? Is that what you two used after-"
"Yes," Katniss and Annie say in unison. Katniss glares at Rye, giving him a "shut-the-fuck-up" look.
Peeta looks back and forth between Rye and Katniss. "Right," he says slowly. "Let's go."
Peeta and Finn open the heavy door and confirm that the corridor is empty before leading the group back the way they cgame. They pass the galley , and the officer living quarters, and makemaking their way up the narrow staircase. It's easy, too easy. They hurry across the deck.
"Nice of you to join us, Everdeen men." The sound of Alma Coin's voice stops them in their tracks.
Peeta immediately looks toward the torch. The fire has been put out, though its still red. Embers remain.
"We're leaving," Peeta says sternly.
"Now." Finn adds.
"Don't be so quick to refuse our hospitality," she purrs.
"You kidnapped us." Katniss says.
"Have you given so little consideration to our offer?"
"If you want me to consider anything, you'll let us all go," Katniss says.
"I don't think so."
Coin nods her head and her guard attacks. The sound of gunfire echoes through the air as Katniss drops to the ground.
Rye takes a bullet in the arm as he approaches a guard, easily overpowering him then using his body as a shield. Peeta makes his way over to the torch, gasping as the zipping sounds of bullet pass his ears. Finn's hands are suddenly on Katniss as he urges her to follow him. They crawl behind the canons and rest against the side of the ship.
"We have to go over," Finn says, pointing a rope out for Annie.
"Go over?" Katniss asks.
"I trust you, Finn," Annie says.
Finn helps Annie over first. She uses a rope to climb down the side of the ship before losing her footing and falling into the cold water below.
"Shit!" Finn grumbles as he ducks back down. He's not eager to catch a bullet in the head for being careless.
"Katniss," Finn shouts. "You have to go. Follow the knives. Be careful."
Katniss spares Peeta one more glance as he encourages the flame to return to the torch. She nods and lets Finn help her over the side.
She hears gunfire and yelling from above as she climbs and as she looks down, she can see Annie swimming towards the bidara.
"Rye! Now!" She hears Peeta shout.
She looks up and sees Finn climb over the side. She quickens her pace to make room for them to climb down after her.
"Peeta!" Finn yells.
Katniss feels it before she hears it. The loud thundering boom of canon fire. She and Finn cling to the side of the ship and two bodies are flung over the side. There's ash and fire and her heart stops.
"Peeta!" Katniss shouts as Peeta hits the water. She doesn't hesitate to dive in after him.
The water is cold and it stings her skin. But she ignores it. She swims with purpose, searching through the growing debris field for her husband. Her lungs feel like they're about to explode when she finally sees him. She grabs him by his ankle and makes her way back up to the surface. She pulls Peeta's head above the water.
"Katniss!" Finn calls from the bidara. An unconscious Rye and a shivering Annie are behind him.
She swims, tugging Peeta behind her. Finn pulls him up first, as she uses all of her strength to get him aboard. She can see his blackened clothing and the singe marks where fire has burned the garment. There's an open wound on his right forearm, and the water washes his blood away. Annie comes to her senses, and helps pull Katniss out of the water. Annie pushes Rye and Peeta together and helps them huddle for warmth. Finn kisses Katniss once on the lips before handing her a paddle. She nods, and Katniss and Finn paddle the bidara away with all their might.
"They're not shooting at us." Katniss observes.
"There's no one left to shoot," Finn says. "Paddle!"
By the time the Sv. Iermiia comes into view, Peeta thankfully stirs.
Peeta,!" Katniss drags the paddle into the boat then flings herself against him. She plants kisses all over his face and he smiles.
"You blew the canons and got thrown overboard," Finn explains. Peeta sits up. He's shivering violently.
"Lay back down with Rye." Annie suggests.
Peeta looks to Rye. "Do you think he'll make room for him?"
"Who?" Katniss asks.
"Aw, shit," Finn complains. "Katniss...there's something you need to know before we get on this ship."
Peeta tugs his jacket closed. "Gale's here."
WHEW! I'm glad that's over. Its pretty much gonna be smut from here on out, okay y'all? Remember, positive reviews encourage the process.