Okay, so here's the third and final chapter! Enjoy! :) Thanks to everyone who's reviewed, favorited and liked my little fic! I haven't gotten around to answering everyone who's written reviews, but I've read every single one and I really appreciate that you're taking the time to tell me what you think. Thank you so much!

After a while, he starts to get heavy. My body feels sore, and the insides of my thighs are quivering, his weight too much for me to handle for very long now that he's just lying there, heavily, on top of me. I squirm slightly underneath him, and he understands what I mean. He slips out of me, something sticky and warm follows him, and lies down next to me. One hand is stretched out across my belly, the other curled around my head. His breath is hot on my neck, approaching a more normal frequency. "I'm sorry," he repeats. "I wanted to last longer, but you were just… Too much. When you… Squeezed around me like that, I… I've just wanted you for so long."

I kiss him to tell him everything is okay, better than okay, lovingly and tenderly now that the fire has died down somewhat.

He seems to fall asleep after a while, but my body and mind are in too much turmoil to even think about sleeping. The area between my thighs feels uncomfortably messy, so I get out of bed, carefully so as not to wake him. When I stand up, something is running out of me, down the inside of my thighs. I look down, shocked at first, but then I feel stupid for not expecting it.


I don't know if it's from him or me, though. In the privacy of the bathroom, there is some blood on the washcloth, but not much, most of it is his semen. It's unfamiliar and smells weird, and I'm suddenly grateful that Haymitch insisted that I took a contraceptive shot when I started sleeping over with Peeta after our return to District 12. I guess he knew that this would happen, sooner or later, even if we didn't know it ourselves. As our mentor he's still looking out for us, in his own way.

When I return to the bed, cleaned up, I expect Peeta to be asleep, but instead I find him wide awake. I blush as he looks at me, completely naked. I slip under the sheets, and he puts his arms around me, giving me a kiss on the forehead. "Are you okay?" he asks.

"Yeah," I answer, smiling.

He looks a bit insecure now. "Did you…" he asks, and his voice trails off.

"Did I what?" I don't understand what he means.

"Did you… come?"

I'm still a bit confused. "You mean if I… climaxed?" I blush.

He nods. "Yes." He pauses. "I guess if I have to ask that question, it means you didn't, right? I'm sorry, I was so selfish, I really wanted to make it good for you, but I… got too carried away."

I shrug. "Don't worry about it. It's okay. I think it's quite common for girls not to… come… the first time they have, you know…" I can't even bring myself to say the word "sex".

"Will you show me?"

"Show you what?" I feel as if he's talking another language.

"Show me how to make you come." I blush deeply, biting my lower lip, looking down. He must've misunderstood why I'm embarrassed. "I just want to learn how to please you, Katniss. You were so amazing earlier tonight - the way you came apart in my arms, your skin was on fire… I want to learn how to give you as much pleasure as you give me. Please teach me."

I clear my throat. "Actually, I… don't know."

"You mean you've never…?"

I shake my head. "No, I've never… come."

"But surely you must have… touched yourself?" Being a man, I guess not doing that is impossible for him to understand.

I've never felt smaller. "No. I shared a bed with Prim, and… Besides, I was always caught up in a battle for survival. One way or another. Before the Games it was the hunger, and then… After… There was too much on my mind. I never… Considered that… This would ever happen to me. With anyone."

He seems to consider this for a while, lifting my chin with a finger, making me meet his eyes. They seem so dark. "Will you trust me with your body, Katniss?"

"Haven't I already?" My breath catches.

"Yes, but there is nothing more intimate than having an orgasm together with another person. It rips away all the layers around your heart, leaving you bare." He kisses me lightly. "I should know, I just did." He smiles. "Will you trust me to… find out together with you? If you're not too tired and sore."

I consider his question. Do I jump off that cliff? Remembering the fire inside me that died down as he entered me, I suddenly find myself nodding. He looks relieved, and hugs me, holds me tight. One hand goes up to my head, caressing my hair, the other holding my waist, pressing my small and soft body against his larger and harder body. "Earlier tonight, you seemed to really like it when I… touched you like this," he whispers, as his hand leaves my waist, goes across my belly, lower still, slipping between my legs. Without thinking, I part my thighs to allow him access. He finds that secret spot again, almost immediately now that he knows where it is, and I bite down on his shoulder as he does to keep myself from screaming. If it hurts, he doesn't show it. The fire is there again, it's all-consuming. It hadn't been extinguished, it was only hidden in the ashes.

"I love seeing your passion, Katniss," he whispers in my ear, and his voice is husky. He is hard again against my thigh. But this time, there is no rush to get inside me. He seems intent on giving me pleasure now, because when I try to reach for his cock, he gently removes my trembling hands. "Please, I want this time to be for you," he whispers, and I somehow find it in me to nod, even though his index finger has slipped inside me, finding a spot in there on the front wall that literally makes me see stars for a second. I have long since given up any pretense of control. The sounds that are torn from my throat are alien to me, a distant part of my brain finds it incredible that they even come from my mouth. Once again, I'm chasing that something I don't really know what is. My body is twisting, moving on its own accord as his fingers explore, tease, rub. Then he surprises me by sitting up, removing his hands from my body completely. I open my eyes, they have until now been closed tightly shut.

"Please don't stop," I find myself begging, but as I gave up control, I also gave up any illusion of pride, and I'm not ashamed to be begging, not this time.

"I'd like to try something," he says. "Trust me?" I just nod, breathlessly. Then he moves down in the bed, crouching between my thighs, and my breath catches as I realize what he's going to do. His tongue touches me, and suddenly I can't help but wonder what he must be tasting down there, what I taste like.

He seems to be reading my mind. "You taste wonderful, Katniss," he says, his voice is so dark and husky it almost doesn't sound like him. "You taste of fire and passion." He cocks an eyebrow. "And of myself and iron." I know he must be talking about the remains of our previous lovemaking, and the thought is oddly arousing. Then I stop thinking as his mouth descends on me again, and I'm reduced to being totally controlled by his tongue and his fingertips. The fire is roaring now. Perhaps it would've scared me if I hadn't experienced it earlier tonight, and seen it as well, reflected in Peeta's eyes. I know this fire is nothing to be scared of or ashamed of. This hunger is of a completely different kind.

Again, my body is overwhelmed by stimuli, my nervous system is in turmoil, it is all I can do to hang on. His every touch or flicker with his tongue seems to propel me further on towards something I just can't reach. But whatever I do, however hard I try to concentrate on reaching that mysterious something that I know I must reach, it seems to slip between my fingers. I cry out in frustration.

Peeta moves up from between my legs, his lips and chin are moist, and I know it's from me. I catch his lips with mine, kissing him furiously as I lead one of his hands down between my legs again. I know now what he means – I taste myself on his lips, as well as him and that faint taste of iron.

The intensity of my feelings are somewhat lower now that only his hand is working on my sex, and it might be just what I need, the intensity of the assault on my body somewhat lower - because instantly, the fire soars even higher. "Let yourself go, Katniss. Come for me," he groans in my ear, and that's enough to send me spinning out over the edge, finally reaching that something I was chasing, but was perhaps scared of finding.

As I come down from the wave of fire I distantly feel that Peeta is entering me again, and this time, there is no pain, only a slight soreness, and my body knows what is happening. It is no longer a shock or a completely alien feeling, but something I have experienced before. This time, his moving inside me stirs something new in me - I can't quite grasp what it is, but I love feeling him moving inside me, he feels so huge, but still my body can accomodate him. And his passion is taking my breath away, I'm getting turned on again just by hearing his moans, when he's panting while he's telling me how much he loves me. I can tell that he's trying to prolong it, and he does last longer this time, but he's so close. His eyes are tightly shut, his nails digging into my shoulders, and I watch in awe as he comes. I know that there is more there, I can feel the potential for something amazing in the way he moves in me. Given time and practice, perhaps we'll come together. But for now, I'm perfectly happy with the way we are right now.

He gently slips out of me and lies down next to me. He showers my face with tiny kisses, like butterflies. I want to thank him, but instinctively know that no thank you's are necessary. His eyes are heavy-lidded, and I'm sure mine are as well. I feel desperately tired, yet so alive. My head is spinning from the raging cocktail of hormones that has been in control of my body. "Wow," he whispers.

"I know." I can't help but grin. "That was… really something. I didn't know my body could… Do that."

"You had it in you, all along," he answers, looking me deeply in the eyes. "Girl on fire."

And on this night that I felt that thing again, the hunger that overtook me on the beach, as I'm about to fall asleep in his arms, I know this would have happened anyway. That what I need to survive is not Gale's fire, kindled with rage and hatred. I have plenty of fire myself. What I need is the dandelion in the spring. The bright yellow that means rebirth instead of destruction. The promise that life can go on, no matter how bad our losses. That it can be good again. And only Peeta can give me that.

So after, when he whispers, "You love me. Real or not real?"

I tell him, "Real."

We fall asleep, and tonight, there is no reason to try to fight off the darkness together. The darkness is already gone.