Disclaimer: I do not own THG. I'm just borrowing the characters.
AN: I want to dedicate this fic to my sister, aquarpisc for helping me bring this fic into fruition, for brainstorming with me and for acting like an idiot with me with dumb we sounded while coming up with the outline. I would also like to thank everyone who pre-read this for me, especially madefrommemories for being the world's biggest cheerleader. Special shout out to SalanderJade for getting me out of my funk. And last but not least, the amazing husband/wife duo, yourpeetaisshowing and alonglineofbread for all your amazing beta work and everything else you helped me with which was a lot. Also, alonglineofbread made the banner. She kicks ass. Thank you guys. Now without further ado...
When I first see the house, I'm surprised at how much bigger it looks in person than it did online. A heavy feeling settles in my chest as I realize maybe this house is far bigger than a twenty-five year old living alone could handle. Too late now, I think. Fortunately, I won't be alone. A greasy haired middle aged man by the name of Haymitch Abernathy will be living on the grounds with me in a guest house not far from the main house. He's been the caretaker of the place for about 30 years now. Rude ass son of a bitch, but I think it's because he's a lot like me. We even look the same. Same dark hair, same gray eyes. It's unnerving to say the least.
The moment I step into the house, a heaviness fills my chest, which is overcome with another feeling before I can even question it. A welcoming feeling comes over me. I don't know how to explain it but I feel like I'm home. When I arrive it's only me with a suitcase. The house comes furnished so I don't need to worry about arriving with the rest of my possessions. They'll come later.
The first time I feel a presence is a week or so after arriving. I finally finish taking the drapes off all the furniture downstairs and start rifling through the upstairs bedrooms. I come across the door to the attic and feel an instant pull towards it. At the same time, there's also a hesitance. As if someone is telling me to stop. The door seems to narrow as I walk closer to it. My hand is on the knob when the doorbell rings, breaking the trance I was in.
It's the moving truck with my possessions. I don't know why it took so long, but finally it's here. Since the house came furnished, most of my belongings will be stored in the property's old barn.
I'm actually very thankful for this. The arrival of my things makes me have even more tasks to occupy my mind and keep it off of the reason why I moved here. My parents and little sister were killed in a head on collision 5 months ago. Living without them had become unbearable so I decided to use the insurance money to get away, hence where I am today. Haymitch actually helps me get all my things unloaded, grumbling along the way, but we are able to get it done by nightfall. I'll worry about bringing what I need in the house later. That leaves me to go back to my original task in the house.
As I start the work upstairs, I feel that pull again. The pull I felt towards the attic door. This time when I reach the lock, nothing interrupts me. I turn the handle, only to find the door locked, so I go down to the office and retrieve the keys Haymitch gave me the first day I came here. None of them work and upon inspection, I realize the keyhole is rather old.
I immediately find Haymitch and ask him if he knows where I might find the key to the attic. He seems hesitant when I ask.
"What do you need to go up there for Sweetheart? There's nothing up there but more furniture and belongings of the old owners."
His answer angers me for unknown reasons, so I remind him that I am the new owner and whatever is up there belongs to me. He grumbles something under his breath, but eventually concedes in handing me an old skeleton key and a flashlight. "You'll need it."
The key does its job and the door to the attic opens up to a narrow staircase. Finding no light switch, I use the flash light I got from Haymitch and slowly climb up the stairs, the air getting thicker each step I take. The heavy feeling I got when I first arrived at the house comes back full force once I reach the landing. I notice a pull string coming down from the ceiling and as I pull, a yellow glow fills the grand attic. The pull from earlier overcomes me once again and leads me past old boxes and drape-covered furniture to what looks like a covered portrait. My hand pulls the drape down on its own accord to reveal the portrait of man. His attire in the portrait is from at least 100 years ago, but that's not what pulls me to him. Aside from the soft blonde waves covering his head and a chiseled angular jawline… were his eyes, bright blue, piercing, beckoning… calling to me.
I am captivated. He is brilliant. My hand finds its way to the canvas, delicately tracing his jawline, his cheek, his lips. It is exquisite. He is exquisite. Everything about him. I feel like I know him. The blue from his eyes, bluer than the calm from the ocean before a storm follow my every move.
Haymitch says I'm crazy when I hang his portrait in the parlour. I ask if he knows who he was.
"The last of the Mellark family left 20 years ago," he says. The Mellarks were from old money, but the last living Mellark made his fortune in an unusual manner, baking. He had married a bitter woman, who wasn't used to the countryside and hated living there. After threatening to take their three sons away from him, he finally agreed and moved them to the city. Not wanting to get rid of his family's legacy, he kept his caretaker on to watch over the estate. That is until his death when it was passed down to his eldest son who, like his mother, didn't care for the place and put it on the market where it had stayed for almost 3 years.
"That is until you finally bought it. Luckily for you, I agreed to stay on as caretaker." I roll my eyes at this.
"That tells me nothing about him," I say, pointing to the portrait. Haymitch looks away, almost like he's trying to hide something.
"Well hell Sweetheart! I wasn't alive 100 years ago. How the hell am I supposed to know? I told you what I know and that's that," he exclaims, storming off. I don't stop to question how he knows the portrait is a hundred years old. I don't remember seeing a date on the canvas.
The next couple of days are uneventful. I finish the rooms upstairs, which is exhausting. Cleaning and dusting was never my forte. That was my mother and Prim's job. I shake my head to clear my thoughts. I don't want to think about that right now. The exhaustion from all the work I've been doing is taking its toll, so I decide to call it a night. Once I'm up in my room I shower then head to bed.
Our limbs are tangled together, his body pressing tightly against mine. He peppers kissing along my torso, moving with a desperation I've never felt before.
I can't take it anymore so I untangle our legs, wrapping them around his waist and pulling him flush against me. He buries his face into the side of my neck, licking the sensitive skin. I moan loudly when his cock brushes against my hot, dripping center.
Suddenly, he's there, buried deep inside me. He throws his head back and that's when I see his face. It's him. The man from the portrait.
He grunts as he begins to move inside me. My hips rise to meet him, but it's not enough for me. He notices this when his gaze meets mine, his blue eyes so much more clearer than in the portrait. His hand moves between us to where we are joined, rubbing the little bundle of nerves he knows will set me off. My back arches and I cry out as I come apart.
My eyes fly open and my heart is beating so fast I can barely breath. I sit up in bed trying to catch my breath. The movement causes me to notice the wetness between my legs. I reach beneath the covers and feel myself, soaking wet.
Christ. What am I? Sixteen again. I haven't had a dream like that in…. shit I can't even remember. I need to get laid, I think as I get out of bed to take yet another shower.
Once I've finished my shower, my thoughts automatically come to the portrait. The portrait of the unknown Mellark in my parlor. My cheeks burn as I remember my dream.
This is stupid Katniss, I tell myself. Still, it makes me wonder who this man was. Ever since I found the portrait of him, I can't seem to get him off my mind. Haymitch is no help with the details. I know he knows something, but he's choosing to hide it from me. I wonder what that is and why he feels the need to hide it from me.
Instead of trying to coax it out of him, I find myself at the county hall of records a few hours later. I learn that the land was first acquired by a man named Peter Mellark in 1905. So my guess was right. The portrait of the man was at least a hundred years old.
I smile. Peter. A name to the face I've become enchanted with. But that is all there is really. The census shows he had a wife, two sons and one daughter. The only other thing I am able to dig up was that he had passed on the property, relatively young. He was only 52. Something is off though. The file I am looking at looks like there had been something else in it. Nothing was amiss really. I just have a rather strange feeling about it.
Arriving home, I find myself staring at the portrait again in the parlour. Peter, Peter, I chant in my head as I stare at it. The name fits him perfectly. My face heats up as I remember the dream from this morning. I've had erotic dreams before, but never like that and certainly never one that made me so wet.
A shiver runs through me as I feel a tickling sensation traveling up my arms. Almost as if someone is rubbing up and down the length of them. My eyes close on their own accord and my head falls back. A contented sigh leaves my lips as my hands come to rest on the table in front of me.
A door slamming brings me out of my reverie. The tingling sensation is gone and I push myself away from the table. I glance once more to Peter's portrait before leaving the room in search of the source of the noise.
As I walk into the foyer, I can hear voices coming from the kitchen. They're hushed, almost like a murmur or a whisper that sends a chill up my spine. It has to be Haymitch, but who could be with him? As I get closer, the voices get louder, yet I still can't make out what is being said.
As soon as I step into the kitchen the voices stop. What the hell? I think. I look around the kitchen and there's no one there. I walk around the island to the swinging door on the other side that leads to the dining room and slowly open it. Still, no one.
"Hello?" I call out. "Is someone here?" The sun is setting, causing eerie shadows to cast along the walls of the dining room.
Slowly, I step back into the kitchen. Confusion is written all over my face as I head back the way I came. As I turn, I gasp loudly as I run into something or rather someone.
"Jesus, Haymitch! You scared the shit out of me," I all but scream.
Haymitch chuckles, "Easy there, Sweetheart. What's got your panties in a bunch?"
I pinch the bridge of my nose feeling a headache coming on. "Please don't use panties and me in the same sentence ever again," I say with annoyance lacing my voice. "Who were you talking to just now?"
Haymitch's expression turns to puzzlement. "What are you on about? I just walked in to let you know I was done for the day." Confusion crosses my face once again.
"No," I say shaking my head. "I heard the door slam when you first walked in and I heard voices coming from in here. You and your guest are the only other people on this property. Who else could it be?" I asked exasperated.
"What guest are you talking about? No one else is he- unless-." The color seems to drain from his face. A feeling of dread fills me as he steps back, surveying the room carefully.
"What? What's wrong?" I ask, beginning to panic from the look on his face.
He turns away. I can see his hands start to shake as he brings them up rub his face. Then I hear it.
"Are you- are you telling me you're hearing ghosts?" He turns back to me, doubling over in laughter. I cross my arms and my mouth moves into a thin line. My actions seem to amuse him as he continues, "Do you think they're wearing white sheets with holes cut out for their eyes?"
"Fuck you Haymitch!" I say walking out of the kitchen, away from another howl of laughter.
The next couple of days I try to avoid Haymitch, but everywhere I turn he seems to be there; a knowing laughter in his eyes. I keep myself locked in my office to avoid any further run ins. The cable company comes and goes, leaving behind the internet connection I need to stay in touch with my old life. Whatever is left of it anyway. I've been trying to avoid it since I made the move.
I have quite a few emails to go through. Some from the lawyer, probably having to do with more legal shit. He wants me to invest some of the money from the life insurance policies. I don't want to deal with it right now. I just want some time to reflect or forget really. Some from the only close friend I left behind. I don't want to deal with that either. The rest are Facebook notifications that I just delete without looking at. Probably more condolences anyway. I hate those.
Before I know it it's been two hours, the sun is still bright in the sky. My head starts to ache again from the brightness. I've been getting a lot of these headaches lately. I close my eyes and lean back in my chair, trying to ease some of the tension.
I jump in my chair and swivel around, searching the room for where the voice came from. My heart races when I see that there's no one there, but I can feel eyes on me. The hairs on the back of my neck stand on end. The sun in setting quickly and soon the room is filled with only the light coming from the moon. The temperature has dropped dramatically as well and when I breath, I can see my breathe coming out in small puffs. My hands shake from the coldness and I bring them up to rub my arms. I'm freezing.
"Katniss," I hear again in a harsh whisper and suddenly, it's all around me. It's coming from all directions now. What the hell is going on?
Everywhere I turn, I hear my name.
"Katniss!" I joult awake. Haymitch is standing over me. "Jesus, girl. Do you know how hard it is to wake you up?" he growls out, obviously annoyed.
I was dreaming. My hands come up to cover my eyes. It's still light out and I try to rub the sleep out of my eyes. "Sorry. I must've fallen asleep."
I glare at him, "Was there something you needed?"
"Phone call," he says and walks out of the room.
I huff, irritated he didn't tell me as soon as he woke me. I walk out to the hallway where the closest landline is, wondering who could be calling me. No one knows this number. It's not even in my name. The old owner kept it for Haymitch to get a hold of him if he needed to. They never disconnected it for some reason.
"Hello," I say, bringing the phone to my ear. There's cackling on the other end of the line and then nothing. "Hello?" I try again. The cackling continues, but no words are audible. It's a bad connection so I hang up and wait to see if whoever called calls back. After a few minutes I give up and walk away.
I walk out of the house in search of Haymitch to ask him who was on the phone. The sun is setting and I see no sign of him as I round the porch. I can't find him and I really don't feel like looking everywhere, so I head back inside.
My impromptu nap exhausted me, so I decide to have a light dinner and call it a night. After dinner I take a bath to calm my nerves from the dream earlier. It had felt so real. Now that I can think straight without the haze of sleep clouding my mind, I can't help but wonder why the dream felt so real. I don't even remember falling asleep. I've never in my life had dreams like that before. The stress of everything that has happened to me this year is getting to me. It's the only explanation.
Climbing out of the bath, I dry myself off. Once I dress I give myself a once over in the mirror. There's really not much to me. My skin is clear at least, probably from not ever wearing make-up. I'm not ugly but I am nowhere near beautiful. I'm a plain Jane and I'm alright with that. Turning the light off, I leave the bathroom, shut the door and climb into bed.
I couldn't have been asleep for more than a couple of hours when I'm awoken. I'm not sure what woke me up, but when I open my eyes I am understandably confused. The light to my connected bathroom is on and the door is open. I could've sworn I turned the light off and closed the door when I was finished with my shower.
I move to sit up and realization hits me quickly. I can't move. My arms, legs, my whole body will not move an inch no matter how hard I try. I panic and it's getting hard to breath. The only body part that seems to be functioning are my eyes. They dart back and forth, moving very quickly in my panic. What the hell? My head is resting on my right hand from the position I fell asleep in and it starts to shake from how hard I'm trying to move it. Out of nowhere, I feel a presence to my left.
Suddenly, I stop trying to move. My body relaxes completely. I have gone from completely panicking, to completely comfortable. I feel a hand against my cheek, caressing my face gently. My eyes drift closed as I feel the presence from before move closer. A strand of my hair is tucked back behind my ear. My body feels more relaxed than it's ever been in my life.
All of a sudden, I feel a pressure against my lips. Like a soft kiss coming from a new lover. It feels wonderful and I exhale out of my nose. The phantom lips keep their place against mine as the ghost of the hand continues to stroke my cheek. The hand starts to slide down my neck and moves down to my collarbone and is about to move lower when a loud female voice cries.
"LEAVE HER ALONE!"
I'm suddenly sitting up in bed, breathing hard. My hands automatically cup my cheek and stroke my lips where I felt this… being. I turn to look to my left where I first felt the presence. It's gone.
The rest of the night is uneventful. Despite having woken so suddenly, I was surprisingly able to fall into a restful sleep without incident. Between my struggle to cope with the accident and the dreams I've been having, my nights had been restless.
It was a dream. It had to be a dream. There is no other explanation. But the light of the bathroom is still on and the door wide open. Just as it was in my dream. The question of if it was a dream or not is still haunting me. It felt so real. The kiss felt like a real kiss.
For some reason this notion doesn't frighten me. It freaks me out a little bit, but the event itself didn't scare me. It was… nice.
AN: Thank you for reading. Feedback is muchly appreciated
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