Rated Adult for Sexual Situations, and Language.

Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.

Thank you to my Beta, Scoutchick104 for her help with this chapter and work all together.

Stubborn Love

Notice: There are Sexual Situations in this chapter. Please Be a Responsible Reader.

i. when we were young ,oh, oh, we did enough


The sumptuous coloring of dusk had flooded into the dark undertones of night long ago, even before I had made my exit from the Hob. The recent influx of the Peacekeeper force had caused the Hobs crowd to thin, which in part made it that much more difficult to make a profit. I had been thankful when business had picked up earlier on in the week, but it also meant that I wouldn't be able to return home until long after the sun had set. So now I find myself pushing my sore body every step as I trudge through the coal lined paths of the Seam. My legs are heavy with exhaustion and I miss the days when a mile trek through the woods was easily done. I want to curse my aging body, the physical pain feels far beyond the actual number, and the years of struggle begin to weigh on me, especially when my mind is so tired. The source of light is minimal, my body moving more from muscle memory and routine than actual sight. Most of the lamps, positioned at the door frames of the Seam homes, have been extinguished, the price of kerosene reaching new heights each year, an expense that most families in the district see as a luxury next to food and heat used inside the home. I have to find my way by memory and hope that the path is clear, not wanting to injure my sore body further. I breathe a sigh of relief when my eyes fall on the weathered façade of my home; a few shutters are hanging by the nails, something I'll have to repair when I find the time. I have to hold in an aggravated groan when I see that the lamp is still lit above our door. I add it to my list of offenses he's made this week, and I have to remind myself that he's still only a child, but the exhaustion only kindles my temper.

The porch whines underneath my weight as I turn the knob, pushing the door open. I have to hold back a sigh of relief when I'm met with the darkness of the first floor, indicating that he at least remembered to blow out the flames of the kerosene lamps, we tend to use when the electricity goes out in the Seam. I'm careful not to step onto the squeaky board that's directly in front of the door as I step over the threshold bringing the door closed behind me. My eyes land on the sparsely furnished room we use as a living area and dining space alike, I don't entertain much which suites me, as I'm in favor of keeping to myself as much as possible. The lone day that I venture more than between the Hob and my home is on Sunday, our appointed time to have weekly dinners with the Hawthorne's, one of the only traditions I had been willing to carry on after my mother had passed away and Prim began her own life.

My feet lead me to the door adjacent from the kitchen, which mainly consists of a deep, oval sink, an ice box, and a few counters where the wood is beginning to rot from years of use, another project which I'm not looking forward to tending to with my minimal amount of spare time. I assume this action is more out of routine than anything, but I've found on the few times that I decided not to check up on him after I arrived home, I would wake from disturbing nightmares and rush to his room, shaking him like mad to make sure he awoke. When he was younger it would startle him and we would both weep from the intensity of my actions, but as he got older he would hug me tight and pat my back soothingly, tending to me as a parent would. The guilt of those situations never seemed to ebb, when I knew that it was clearly my position to reassure him and not the other way around, his selflessness was just another trait he held that reminded me of his father, which in return caused the guilt to eat away at me once again. It was all a never ending cycle of self hatred and fear that I had lived with since I was eighteen, and as he grew the suffocating terror that he would be taken from me or chose to leave on his own volition seemed to become more of a reality than a fleeting nightmare. The distance to his room is slight as I push the door open to reveal the cramped space that is wide enough to hold only the weathered wardrobe that had been mine as a child and the twin bed that had seen better years. I remember our argument when I had insisted that if the bed was pushed up against the far wall it would enable him to walk more freely through the space but he had of course wanted to place it beneath the window where it would be in the way of the door opening, only because the light shining through into the room was favorable for sketching. I had to stop myself from having an anxiety attack when he had expressed his wishes, because it was yet again another reminder of how similar is to his father, and I dreaded the moment that it would become obvious to everyone else in the district. So when I take in the sight of his right side hanging off of the bed, while his left arm clutches onto the sketch pad pressed against his chest, the quilt having been kicked off to lay at the foot of the mattress I can't deny how much he resembles the man that helped create him.

The moon light creeping into the room lands on his face, accentuating the sharp Seam bone structure he inherited from me before the light shifts to his dark blonde curly hair that is in stark contrast to my straight raven hair, another attribute his father contributed. To my dismay as he ages he resembles the Merchant class more than he does those of the Seam who surround us which only sets him apart even more among all the olive skin when his fair skin tone is evidentially different.

My James

His breathing is steady, and I can't stop my sigh of relief that he's still here with me. I've found myself in a routine of watching him sleep ever since he was born; a habit my mother and sister found alarming after the first two months of his life, when I would go without sleep to just sit beside his cradle to make sure his chest was rising efficiently. But then my thoughts always reminisce back to the night that set my life and everyone else's involved with mine on a path that I still find myself traveling down.

I try to ignore the pain at the small of my back from where I had caught the barbed wire fence when I had crossed back into the district; my mind had been elsewhere as I physically went through the motions. However when I felt the tug and initial tear of my shirt and then the sharp puncture at my skin did I give my full attention to the present. I went on to my usual trade route- first to the Hob followed by my regular Merchant stops. I had been grateful when he hadn't been the one to answer the back door of the bakery and if I was honest with myself there was a part of me that wouldn't have for once cringed if it had been his mother. Thankfully though the baker, his father, answered the door with his normal zeal and bright smile that always seemed to set everyone at ease, even me, who was on a good day awkward and weary in social situations, with few exceptions I didn't venture very far from my family and Gale. Although the nagging reminder of the feel of soft, wet lips against mine adamantly corrected my former thought, that recently there was one individual that had facilitated a place in my heart where I held those I was fond of or even loved. I mentally rolled my eyes at myself as the baker kept his place at the door frame waiting for me to initiate the conversation, something he did I think to not cause me to become overwhelmed. The man had a kindness that he willingly exercised with everyone in the district, Merchant and Seam alike. However there was always something that seemed sad in his eyes when his wife was near, I assumed it was due to the woman's hateful demeanor. It was an open secret in the district that she was normally on some sort of tirade, often yelling out her disappointments, and it wasn't farfetched to assume the origin of the welts and bruises that her sons were seen sporting throughout the years. I clear my throat, as the image of a warm mouth pressed onto mine floods my mind once again.

"Good afternoon, Mr. Mellark." I hope he can't see the grimace on my face when I hear my voice crack and sounding uneven.

"Katniss, I've told you many times to call me Luka."

I shift the game bag as I nod. "Alright, Mr. Mellark." Commotion behind him catches my attention, it isn't unusual for the back of the bakery to be busy, but for some reason this doesn't seem to be normal bustle that I'm used to witnessing. Mr. Mellark's broad shoulders hide most of the scene from me but I can still see glimpses of blond hair rushing around, and Mrs. Mellark's booming voice echoing orders off the steel ovens. "Is everything alright?"

Mr. Mellark brushes my concern off. "Oh, you shouldn't worry about any of that." He motions behind him before stepping closer to the threshold bringing the door to close slightly. "Should we get on with business? You no doubt have plenty more to do after fooling with an old man like me."

I try to smile, even though I can't help but be curious about the events going on inside. "Yes, of course. I'm sorry." I pull my bag from my shoulder, opening it to reveal to him the haul that I have left from trading a few rabbits to Sae, I peer down into the bag scanning the contents. "I still have some pretty fat squirrels and a rabbit left after trading at the Hob."

He slaps his hands together, pleased. "You never do disappoint, Katniss."

I curse the blush that floods my cheeks, my embarrassment clear. "I appreciate it, sir."

He nods as he reaches out for the few squirrels I hold out for him after rummaging through my game bag. His fingers grasp the tails to hold the animals up inspecting them, until signaling for me to wait for his return as he walks into the kitchen, the commotion from inside floats out onto the back porch where I wait. I think for a brief second I catch the sight of his curly blonde hair and broad back as he stands in front of his mother, while his father closes the door to gather my trade. I don't have to wait long until the door opens once again, the agreed upon loaf of bread in one hand while the other clutches a brown sack.

I raise my brow, questioning the parcel before he answers my inquiry. "I wanted to give you something for aging out of the reaping. The spirits know how relieved I was when all my boys were free of that hell, and Peeta was the last one I had to worry about…and you of course." A faint smile crosses his lips as he hands me the loaf and bag. "I still remember you running around with two braids, and James carrying you on his shoulders as he came to trade."

The mention of my father nearly makes my grip falter on the baked goods, as I open up the small paper bag the scent of sugar cookies causing my mouth to water. I look back to him a wide smile gracing my lips. "Thank you. Prim will be so excited when I show her, and I appreciate your concern. I am relieved to be free of the reaping but I still have Primrose to worry about and since I'm too old to volunteer for her now, it only makes me worry more."

He reaches out to place a hand at my shoulder, reassuringly. "You're a survivor, Katniss. Not many around here can say that about themselves even in the times we live." He withdraws his hand giving me a tight smile as he walks back into the bakery bringing the door closed, leaving me to stand alone.

His behavior was odd, but I brush it off as I turn to make my way back to the Seam, my hands full of game and baked goods. The cut at my back has stopped bleeding but I can feel where the material has stuck to my skin and I grimace at the appending pain I'll feel when my mother has to inspect it and patch it up.

I settle back into the sofa, the quilt that we keep draped over the edge has fallen over my shoulders from my movements, and I throw it to the side to land at the arm, as I tuck my legs underneath me. I look out the window seeing that the sun has already set and I hope that my mother and Prim were able to make it to the Olsen's home, before it became too dark. My sister had been excited to tag along since mother had decided that at sixteen, Prim was old enough to take point on a delivery. I had been and still am as proud of her, as though she was my own child. I sigh loudly, as I reach back to trail my fingers over the shallow cut, thankfully mother had deemed it not as dire as I had assumed but it was still painful as she prodded at and brushed over it. My discomfort was apparent and I wasn't afraid to snap at her when a sharp pain had occurred, she only reminded me that I had endured worse and there was always the pain from child birth I would experience someday. I again snapped at her, reminding her I was never bringing a defenseless child into this desperate world, and that having to live through two more years of the reaping while Prim was eligible was enough pain and hell for a lifetime. She only gave me that indiscernible look she always seemed to have ready when the topic of marriage or children was discussed in correlation with my future. I was now eighteen and free of having to be sent to an arena to die, an age where most young women settled down with a beau, who soon along with paperwork from the Justice Building and a toasting, would acquire a husband and within the year give birth to the first of many helpless mouths. I found it ridiculous and beneath anyone with sense to entertain such a thing, a notion that few in the district seemed to agree with.

A knock at the door brings me out of my thoughts, with an annoyed sigh I bring my legs out from underneath me, I had been more than comfortable and now I was forced to move. Standing up I stretched slowly trying not to aggravate my back, before I turned towards the door walking bare footed. I hoped it wasn't someone too dearly injured because I wouldn't be any help at all since for the most part I was closer to vomiting than helping when my mother was forced to tend to someone at home. I jerk the door open ready to inform the poor soul that they're damned to suffer a painful death but if they were willing to wait for my mother, on the porch of course, they were welcomed to. It takes my vision time to fall onto his blonde head of hair, the crown shining like a halo from the light cast down by the lit lamp above the door frame. I shift my eyes to his own; a short gasp escaping my lips as I take in the sight of him. The left side of his face is bruised and swollen with one eye nearly shut, while a dozen shallow cuts cover his cheek bones, I can feel my stomach bottom out when I realize that the light is only minimum where he stands and when his face is fully visible the extent of his injuries could be worse. He stands there stationary, his shoulders slumped so that he barely clears my height, which is usually not difficult since the top of my head normally only reaches his chest.

I try to keep the alarm out of my voice but I can feel it waver before I even utter a word. "Peeta? What are you doing here? What happened to you?"

He brings his hand up to work it through his unruly curls, a nervous habit I've learned to recognize in him, but by the way he winces as he moves his arm up I can decipher even from my limited knowledge of healing that his ribs are injured. "I left my house and I just kept walking." He looks around twisting his upper body which only incites another grimace to wash over his battered features. "I didn't realize I ended up here until I was standing on your porch."

I stand to the side opening the door wider, hoping he understands my silent invitation. It takes him a few seconds to act and I don't know if the apprehension is from his injuries or the fact that he doesn't want me to know the severity of his condition. I resist the urge to reach out and help him over the threshold; I want to allow him to at least retain a semblance of dignity. That is; until he's halfway into the house, the light from inside bathing his face that, I see the injuries to his face extensively. Out of instinct, I suppose, my hands go to his wrapping my fingers around his to ease him pass the door, so I can push it shut. I notice that his gait isn't as steady as it normally is and that he's favoring his left side, as I lead him to the back of the couch. He hasn't looked me in the eye since we entered the house, our hands are still clasped, I turn his hands over to inspect his knuckles. There aren't any defense wounds, which only gives a limited supply of options as to how he became hurt. I know for a fact that Peeta can easily defend himself unless he chooses not to, and that only makes me feel as though I want to vomit.

He hasn't uttered a word and I try to prepare myself for what I'll see when I finally look up to his face to closely inspect the damage. His head is caste down when I finally lift my face towards his, a few scratches are littered at the crown, the flesh there red and irritated, an injury you would expect caused by someone being grabbed by the hair forcibly. I have to stop, the tears already threatening to spill as I remove one of my hands from his to place it on his strong jaw, the skin there inflamed. My fingers brush against a bruise which causes him to wince as I lift his face up. I can't fight the stray tear that falls down my cheek to run over my lips when his eyes meet mine. The lighting from outside had done nothing to prepare me for what I'm now seeing, the extent so much more severe than I could have expected. The swelling of his left eye is alarming, and I can see what appears to be the beginning of a deep bruise at the corner that spans over the bridge of his nose. His good eye is glistening from his unshed tears, as he glances everywhere but at my eyes. I move the hand resting at his jaw over to the side, sliding over the bottom of his lip where a cut is located, the blood has already dried, I watch as his tongue darts out to lick the metallic tasting fluid. I have to stop the shiver from running down my body, it affects me when the tip of his tongue makes contact with the pads of my fingers. I withdraw my hand while pulling my other one from his, where he had gripped onto it tightly. I turn away from him to gather my myself before turning back towards him, working my sweaty hands down the sides of my shirt. He's still looking at me when I resume eye contact with him and I can't stop the rapid pace of my own heart beat.

I brush back the few strands that have escaped my braid, his eyes are locked on my action and I again feel the urge to shiver. "My mother and sister are out right now, they had to assist in a delivery but you can wait if you've like. I'm sure it's discouraging to come to the healer's home and find she isn't here."

Peeta clears his throat, his voice coming out smaller than I'm used to hearing it. "I didn't come here for a healer, Katniss." He gives off an attempt at a laugh but it only comes out as a choked sob. "I came here for you, because at the time it was the only place I wanted to be. Being near you felt right, it's the only time everything feels natural."

I push my hair behind my ear, because apparently I have the same nervous habit. "Because we're friends."

His eyes shift back to mine and I suddenly feel far too warm. "We aren't just friends, Katniss. You and I both know that, and just because we've haven't been that physical with each other doesn't change anything."

My hands all of a sudden feel idle and I flex my fingers at my sides to stop them from reaching out to him. "Peeta it was only a simple kiss."

He shakes his head slowly, causing his bangs to wisp across his forehead. "There was nothing simple about it. Maybe I didn't kiss you like they do at the slag heap where it's all tongue and roaming hands. But I know that I've never felt more alive than when my lips were chastely pressed to yours. You gave me a feeling of contentment that I've never experienced before, Katniss."

I can feel my anxiety rise and all I can hear is my heart beat thrumming on my ear drums. "Peeta this is all too much for me." I turn from him to walk over to where my mother left the water basin and spare cloths when she had inspected my cut from before. "I can only deal with simple in my life and you don't fall into that category, at all."

I attempt to busy myself with the items when I feel the weight of his hand at my shoulder; the contact does nothing to quell my rapid pulse. I can feel my balance going slightly off kilter when his hand travels from my shoulder down to the small of my back sending a warm tingle on the way. The pads of his fingers press into my cut and I wince, Peeta pulls his hand back before he lifts up the hem of my shirt to inspect the source of pain. To his credit, he seems more concerned with my scratch than he does with his own injuries.

"What happened to you, Katniss?"

I turn into his side, as I reach down to push his hand away but not before he has the opportunity to trace over the cut causing a wave of shivers to trail down below my stomach. I keep my hand at his wrist, as I look up into his face. "I don't think I'm the one that we should worry about right now." I pull him down onto the sofa, I'm mindful of his injuries, as he winces when he finally settles into the worn cushions. "We need to clean this all up for you."

I slip one of the clean cloths into the cool water, soaking the tip of the material before bringing it up to the bottom of his lip where I had smoothed over earlier. He watches me intently while I try to avoid his eyes, the warmth that had been at my stomach has already traveled down between my thighs. I shift my position slightly, but he only takes this as an invitation to scoot into my space further. I use my free hand to trail my fingers over the bruising, and I intentionally look away from the swelled flesh of his eye.

He clears his throat, until he speaks. "Aren't you going to ask me again about what happened to me? I know you were inspecting my knuckles to see if I had fought back which I naturally would have if another man had attacked me."

I begin to respond until he continues. "I know you better than you think, Katniss. And I'm sure it probably irritates you beyond reason too."

I pull the cloth from his mouth, setting my hands in my lap. "Was it a man?"

He tilts his head to the side attempting to gain eye contact again. "I don't think I need to tell you no? Do I?" I can feel his hand at my cheek, pulling my face towards his. "See you know me too."

"Why would she do this to you?"

Peeta began to stroke my cheek and I couldn't help myself from leaning into his touch. "I wouldn't go along with her plans. She had gotten it into her deranged mind that I would willingly go along with an arranged marriage she had set up with the blacksmith's daughter."

I can't help the scoff from escaping from my lips. "You mean that big, burly, girl that looks more like an exact replica of her father?"

He laughed low, but it only caused his ribs to throb once more." That would be the one."

My hands move to his ribs, trailing the material of his shirt lightly. "I think your ribs are injured. Does it hurt to breathe?"

"Every time I'm around you."

I can't stop my eye roll. "I'm being serious, Peeta."

I keep my hands at his sides as I look up into his eyes. He has a serious expression, the mirth from before is gone. "So was I."

I try to ignore his retort. "I know that's she's not a tolerant woman, but why would she go to such extremes?"

"She was desperate for the small dowry that the blacksmith had saved up over the years."

I nod my head as his father's behavior and the commotion in the bakery from before suddenly makes sense. "So, that was why everyone was more than crazed this afternoon?"

Peeta raises an eyebrow. "You were there earlier?"

"Yeah. To trade. Your father would barely leave the door open enough for me to see into the kitchen."

He continues to trace my cheek, the movement there lulling me into a relaxed state. "My mother had earlier gone into a fit of hers over how much time I had been spending with you after the reaping had passed. I think my father was in part trying to keep her calm and also attempting to protect you in his own feeble way. I love him but he never did have enough strength, emotionally or mentally to stand up to her."

I motion to his injuries with a nod of my head. "Is that how this got so carried away?"

Peeta nodded. "Among many reasons. But I think it's clear to her how I feel about you, and when I up and refused to marry Beatrice Burns, in front of her family and mine it was the last straw for her in a long string of disappointments. I think it just opened the flood gates. My brothers had to eventually pull her off, thankfully she only got a few shots in with the rolling pin." I think he can see the concern in my face because he continues. "It's looks worse than it really is, I promise."

I snort sharply. "Really? Because it looks like hell, Peeta."

He shifts his body to face mine as he places his other hand at my cheek so that he's now framing my face. "I don't want you to worry about any of that."

Before I can argue, his lips crash against mine and I can already faintly taste the blood that hadn't been wiped clean from his lip. I try to be gentle knowing that any physical contact could injure him worse but the light touches to my face only seem to spurn me on. It becomes apparent that this kiss is different than the one we shared before, that had been measured and controlled, a contrast to the one we now shared with its passion and desperation. I'm so lost in the sensations that his lips on mine cause to occur between my thighs that I almost missed the moment that Peeta bucked his hips into mine, which only caused the warmth on my skin to increase. I return the action which seems to encourage him as he runs his tongue over my lips asking for permission, I moan in return while opening my mouth to him. He presses his tongue against mine and I can't stop the tremors rising up through my body. I've never felt more out of control and in a normal situation this would trouble me, but having Peeta's hands work their way into the strands forming my braid I can't help but feel content. His touches are soft but I can feel him increasing the pressure and I haven't missed the fact that he shifts his hips more than once as the seam of his pants become tighter with each stroke of my fingers and tongue.

He's the first one to pull back, the only sound in the room is our heavy breathing, the blue of his uninjured eye is darker than I've ever seen it and I can't quite read the emotion pooled there. "Katniss, I think we should stop." His fingers have now freed my thick hair from its plait and I can feel him tug and curl the strands around his fingers. "It's the rational and responsible thing to do."

I trail my fingers down his jaw line and past his neck where I can feel his pulse point pounding to rest my fingers at the top buttons of his shirt. "You're right. Continuing would only lead to something we wouldn't be able to undo."

I glance up to see Peeta close his eyes as the edge of my nail lightly scratches at the expanse of skin that isn't covered by his clothing. He clears his throat before opening his eye. "I want nothing more than to be with you in that way. Hell, I've thinking about it for years now, but I don't want you to make such a serious decision because of how I look now."

I stop my movement and I can hear him whimper in protest. "Do you really think I would have sex with you out of pity?"

He removes his hands from my hair to grasp mine that rest at his chest. "No. I just wouldn't want you to regret something that would mean everything to me."

I nod before shifting my body until I've risen off of the sofa to straddle his lap, I'm careful to be gentle around his ribs as I settle into him. I can feel his erection press into the center of my pants as a deep moan escapes both of our lips. His hold on my hands wavers a bit as I shift my hips towards him reveling in the sensation of his need against my center, even with the barrier of clothing, the pressure sends an overwhelming warmth to my core. I close my eyes to gain my composure, until I begin working the buttons of his shirt while I look up into his face, his uninjured eye watching me closely. With every inch of skin revealed I can feel my pulse increase as I trail my fingertips down to his waist where the last button lies. Peeta hasn't uttered a word, instead he's continued to keep his eyes on mine, and I can only imagine the expression on my face as I marvel at the taunt, muscular expanse of his chest and waist. When the shirt is completely open, I begin to push the material to the sides allowing myself a better view of his upper body. I make it halfway to his shoulders before he takes over, pressing into my chest to sit forward as he slips the shirt free of his body, discarding it to the floor. My roaming vision falls on the area at his ribs where a deep bruise has already formed as I ghost my fingers over the coloring that mares his fair skin. He takes a sharp breath which causes me to pull my hand back quickly, fearing that I had injured him further, but he only reaches for my hand to place it back.

"I didn't do that because you hurt me." I tear my eyes away from his broad chest to look up into his face; a smirk now graces his full lips. "It was quite the opposite. I liked how you were touching me. I like when you touch me, Katniss." I can already feel the deep blush forming at my cheeks and I fight the urge to duck my head. I'm too involved in my own head so I almost miss the moment when he speaks to me again. "Can I touch you?"

I swallow hard before nodding, and I can feel the muscles at his torso tighten at my answer. His hands are hesitant at first when he reaches the hem of my shirt but after a few seconds he slips his fingers underneath the material to circle the skin around my belly button. I flinch, from both the sensation of being tickled and the eroticism of something so simple, but the tremors only increase when his hands reach the bottom of my cotton bra. I can feel his hands still and I know he's debating whether to continue, it's all very overwhelming and neither of us are clearly that experienced. I curl my fingers into his sides, lightly scratching the skin there, an action I've noticed he enjoys, my hunch is proved correct when he moans softly as his hands move over my breasts, the pads of his thumbs brushing over my already pebbled nipples. I now release my own string of moans and this only seems to spurn him on as he palms both of my breasts, and I push him back against the couch, my hands still at his sides. Before he can react, I press my mouth to his forcibly, ignoring my previous decision to take it slow. My own want and drive are now controlling me and all I can concentrate on is how he takes my bottom lip between his teeth before sliding his tongue against it asking for entry. I'm more than willing to allow his access, and for a few minutes were joined in a flurry of roaming hands and deep moans that vibrate off of the walls. I can already feel how wet I am, my arousal has never been this out of control, even on the occasions that I tended to my own carnal pleasure. Peeta's fingers tuck into the cups of my bra to gain better access to my breasts and it's then that I have to make the decision of how far this entire situation will go.

When I push off of him, I can sense the tension in his fingers as he reaches for me until I am standing directly in front of him. I watch his face intently as a wave if emotions wash over his battered but handsome face; lust, confusion, anger, and surprisingly enough love. Here he is sitting in front of me, his arousal clear as he expects to be denied, and still he cares for me. I wanted to assure him that I only stood up so that I could remove the offending clothing, but as always I preferred to act than use words. Peeta shifts his eyes from me as he searches for his shirt preparing to bend down to retrieve it but I move my hands to the button of my pants, and the sound of my zipper lowering catches his attention causing his movements to cease. Everything seems to slow down, and it's as though I can feel every fiber of my being heating up as his vision lands on the lower half of my body as I push my pants along with my panties down the rest of the way, kicking them off and to the side. It isn't until I remember that the hem of my shirt stops exactly at my waist line, that a deep blush sets in over my entire body. I shift my footing as Peeta's attention is on my most private place, and I can only imagine that he can see the evidence of my own arousal. My thighs are already slick and the friction of my movements are only making me more turned on.

I watch him sit back up his hands going to the button of his slacks with his zipper following until the waist line has been pushed past his bottom; now only his thin boxer shorts are between my eyes and gazing upon his length. The material is tented and it only makes me more bold, I'm surprised by my behavior so far, and I find myself enjoying the freedom of it all, the decision to give in to my wants.

I step forward gaining some of the confidence I had before pulling away from him, my hand reaches into the slit of his boxers, the pads of my fingers finding his erection and pulling it free. He feels full in my hand and the girth makes me moan, with only a bit of apprehension settling down into my stomach. Peeta places his hands at my hips as I prepare to straddle him and ultimately sheath him within my walls. Our movements are awkward at first as I bump my knees against his as I straddle him; Peeta still has his hands at my hips as he helps me hover over his erection. I can feel the heat from him, and I'm ready to sink onto him, to feel our bodies joined.

Peeta keeps us apart as he searches my face until speaking. "Katniss, are you sure?"

I lean forward to kiss him softly on the lips as I lower myself onto him, everything is a barrage of sensations until an over powering sense of pain hits me. I cry out sharply, and I can hear Peeta gasp, his hips pulling back, but I move my hands to his shoulders to still his movements.

"It's normal for it to be painful the first time, Peeta."

He shakes his head while he's filling me to the hilt. "I should have thought about that."

My lips are still against his and I swipe my tongue over the cut on his lip eliciting a deep moan. "I want us to be like this. Please just stop worrying about everything else and just feel it all with me."

Peeta answers by pressing his mouth to mine fully, his hips bucking into mine until he begins to rise me up and then to follow by pressing our hips flush against the others. It isn't long until the pain has ebbed barely, my full attention on the feel of him inside of me. It suddenly registers that my shirt is still on and I move my hands to the hem but Peeta stops his movements as he shakes his head.

"Katniss, I don't think I'm going to last as it is and if I see your breasts I may go off right here."

I let out a laugh which morphs into a deep moan as he presses me down onto him again. Our ministrations turn frenzied and rough, and I find myself desperate to be closer to him, wanting to give him all of me. I can sense that he's close by the way he throws his head back onto the back of the couch, strangled breathing escapes his lips and I too am breathing erractically. It isn't long though until I can feel him seize inside of me, and a deep moan that is twice the volume as any of the one we've expressed so far, vibrates the space around us. When he's finally recovered he raises his face back towards mine, searching my face until his eye widens.

"You didn't… you weren't able to-" I place my fingers at his lips to stop him from speaking.

"You'll just have to make it up to me next time."

He raises his brow. "Next time?"

I smile softly before leaning forward to kiss his swollen eye, and then the bruises and cuts that litter his handsome face. I utter a sorry to each injury, as his arms circle me in a tight embrace while he's still inside of me and I've never felt more content in my life.

I'm forced out of my thoughts when out of the corner of my eye I see him begin to stir. He kicks the remainder of the quilt further down the bed, freeing his legs; however the act causes his sketch pad to fall down onto the ground. His eyes shoot open as he heard the thump of the book of paper hit the floor boards. I continue to lean against the door frame waiting for my son to be alerted to my presence, as he slowly rolls onto his side to reach down for the pad. His free hand works through his hair, a nervous habit he's inherited from both Peeta and I, when he finally sees me watching him he jumps up, his eyes startled.

James tosses the sketch pad onto the bed; it hits the wall with a soft thud. He swings his legs over the edge to sit up; his back hunched as he narrows his eyes in my direction."Mom, you know it really freaks me out when you watch me sleep."

I fold my arms over my chest, opting to ignore his previous comment. "Rabbit, we still need to discuss what happened."

James rolls his eyes at me. "Can you not call me that?" his voice comes out as a whine, a tone I only hear from him when he's attempting to get out of an obligation or annoyed with my nick name for him. "Hawthorne gives me shit about it every time he finds one in the snare line."

I sigh before walking into his room to sit on his bed alongside him. "I don't care, James." I try to prepare myself for the appending argument, or should I say the continuation of the one we were having earlier in the day when he had mentioned what he had done. "Taking out tesserae and then giving it to someone else to use is stealing in the eyes of the Capitol. It's an act punishable by death. Do you think I want to see my only son shot to death?"

James lets out a low laugh that only seems to annoy me. "What do you describe what I do when I go hunting beyond the fence? Isn't that seen as stealing?"

I place my hands over my face attempting to calm myself down but I can't stop my temper from controlling me. "That's in order to survive!"

"So was me taking out the tesserae."

I shake my head willing the tears not to fall in his presence. "I don't know how to get through to you that throwing yourself in danger for someone else isn't the way to live your life."

James keeps his tone steady as he turns towards me. "And what is mom?"

I push myself off of his bed walking towards the door and bringing it closed behind me. "Go back to sleep, Rabbit."

His response is quiet and I can hardly hear it over my own pulse."Night, mom."

A/N: This is one of the numerous new works I'm currently working on. Please let me know what you all think. And as always...PLEASE REVIEW.