This one-shot was actually borne from a discussion mellarksloaves was having on her tumbr blog, in which she discusses what might have happened if Peeta and Katniss had been able to go further on the beach. What could have been the possible consequences? As a result, I decided to write a one-shot exploring this possibility. This is something she was planning on doing and, no doubt, because of the caliber of her writing, it will be a far better product than mine but this is the result of that "eavesdropping."

I'm taking a vote – would you like to see where this story could end? It could cover the end of Catching Fire and all of Mockingjay including the post-epilogue period. It would look very different from my current fanfic, Good Again. I look forward to your feedback on this!

Disclaimer: Italics are direct quotes from the novel Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins. I do not own any of the characters of this or any other book from her wonderful trilogy.

Chapter 1 - Persuasion

He'd put together that locket, at what expense both personal and material, I could only imagine, for the sole purpose of persuading me to let him die. His intention had been to entrap me with the faces I loved and had devoted my life to protect. And it did move me but not in the way he intended. My sudden irrational desire was indeed to live, but not at his expense. I suddenly wanted to know how many shades of gold his lashes could reflect, the color of his mussed hair at 30 or 40. How different would the meadow look to me if I walked through it with him? What would the cheese buns taste like if we made them together?

But this was not mine to ask. Snow would see to it that if one of us had to leave the arena, it would not be me. Even if by some miracle I did survive and he did not - if I did not follow him to the grave from desperation soon after - I would live my entire life trying to solve the puzzle of how to get him out. I would be more drunk on grief than Haymitch, more ice than Johanna.

"No one really needs me," he says, and there's no self pity in his voice. It's true that his family doesn't need him. They will mourn him, as will a handful of friends. But they will get on. Even Haymitch, with the help of a lot of white liquor, will get on. I realize only one person will be damaged beyond repair if Peeta dies. Me.

"I do," I say. "I need you." He looks upset, takes a deep breath as if to begin a long argument, and that's no good, no good at all, because he'll start going on about Prim and my mother and everything and I'll just get confused. So before he can talk, I stop his lips with a kiss.

I feel that thing again. The thing I only felt once before. In the cave last year, when I was trying to get Haymitch to send us food. I kissed Peeta about a thousand times during those Games and after. But there was only one kiss that made me feel something stir deep inside. Only one that made me want more. But my head wound started bleeding and he made me lie down.

This time, there is nothing but us to interrupt us. And after a few attempts, Peeta gives up on talking. The sensation inside me grows warmer and warmer and spreads out from my chest, down through my body, out along my arms and legs, to the tips of my being. Instead of satisfying me, the kisses have the opposite effect, of making my need greater. I thought I was something of an expert on hunger, but this is an entirely new kind.

What is left of my suit is not enough to contain the heat that comes off of my skin. I wrap myself around him, straddling his waist, tugging his head back to deepen the kiss in that incontrovertible way that left no doubt what I wanted from him. I could almost feel the collective shudder of all of Panem as they watch me unravel, having lost all concern for the existence of anyone outside of the both of us. My participation in this race of beings had ended the moment I entered the tube that shunt me into this watery arena. So had also ended my obligation to decorum or consideration for the masses that bet and took pleasure from my suffering, or who wept and raged against it. There had been couplings in the games before – furious fumblings under blankets, between bushes or simply up against a tree. Many were voluntary but some had been acts of force, an effort to dominate at least one thing in a world where no one had true control. But this was not the coupling of desperation in an attempt to squeeze some last cheap thrill out of life before it was ripped away. This was surely much more painful than pleasurable to watch. In our arms was a tunnel that began to close, at the end of which was a full epic life that was being mourned before it was lived. This was a farewell to things unseen, the snuffing out of a light that I could imagine only the most hardened of hearts would be able to sit through without an aching remorse.

I grip him tighter to me as he runs his hands up my sides, gently pushing me back. His eyes are bright as he speaks.

"Katniss, what are you doing?" He says this which such tenderness, running his hand over my cheek as if I am an errant child. I shake my head – I did not want him to talk me out of anything – not the locket, not this. I was never any good with words so I grind my hips into him instead, giving him another deep kiss.

"Katniss, the cameras…" he gasped.

"Damn the world, Peeta. Why should I care about them?" I said resolutely.

He pulls back and considers me, nodding to himself as if making a decision and pulls my neck towards him, sliding his lips over my jaw and down my neck, greedily laving my skin until goose bumps spread to the ends of my fingers and toes. I hold his head close as his tongue runs between my breasts, oblivious to the salty taste of the layer of sweat and sea that covers both of our bodies. I feel his nose nudge the material of my tank top until his mouth encircles my small breasts, covering the nipples, partly to draw them out, partly from a remaining desire to hide that small intimacy from the ever present drone of the cameras in the trees and bushes. He sucks long and hard until he has made the tips throb, the sensation flaring down to the deepest place in my abdomen. My head falls back as I arch against his mouth, wordlessly begging him to continue. Carefully replacing the material, he does the same with the other one, smothering them in his hot lips, covering them at the same time with his hands. I moan quietly into his hair, my fingers tangled in the blond sweaty curls that are matted to his neck.

I instinctively grind my hips into his hardened desire, the pressure through the flimsy material causing me to throb painfully, my gyrations not enough to relieve the incredible heat that has built up there. I slide my hands down his back and pull back to kiss his neck and shoulders, showering them with wet, hot kisses. He leans back on his hands as I run my mouth over his chest and bend awkwardly to pull up his shirt and to do to his nipples what he has done to mine. He draws in his breath sharply, the muscles in his abdomen contracting as I let my teeth graze him gently. He lifts one hand to my head to pull my lips closer, acknowledging the pleasure I am giving him. I am devouring him, fleetingly hoping that our families have shut their eyes to this and will forgive us this last wonton display of abandon.

He straightens up suddenly, looking at me with blue eyes gone slate with desire, a question hovering in them. Always so considerate, even now giving me my exit if I want to take it. But I am too far gone, the world having fallen away from me until there is nothing left but the hot sand beneath my knees and Peeta, rising up from it. I simply nod as I slide my hand between us, reaching under the waist band to grasp his hardened cock in my fingers. He pulls up to crush his mouth against mine in response, my lips protesting helplessly against the onslaught of his tongue ripping its way into my mouth. He slides the material of my underwear to the side, using his arms as best he can to cover my hips as I free him from the confines of the suffocating material, lifting myself just enough to feel the tip against my wet, sodden center. I take a deep breath, bracing myself for his penetration as I sink down onto him, his thick tip pushing through my folds until he is partially engulfed, my gasp muffled into his shoulder. I want to moan open mouthed into the night, releasing a sound between pleasure and rage but I simply bring my lips to his ears and hiss his name "Peeta…" as I sheath myself over the entire length of him, the prickle of pain causing every muscle in my body to clench in spasms. His response is a guttural moan that threatens to bring the jungle down on our backs.

We sit there for a moment, panting, getting used to the feeling of him buried inside of me. Here is when I begin to move, slowly at first as I stroke the pain and discomfort away, replacing it with the feeling of a coil that is tightening in my belly with each plunge and pull. There is no way to hide this part so we simply stop trying. Peeta takes my hips in both of his hands and begins to lift and lower me until we find a rhythm and I begin to ride him in earnest. His face is turned upwards towards me and I bring my head down to kiss him roughly, my hands using his shoulders as leverage, my nails digging painfully into his skin. The muscles of my legs ache from the effort to sustain the increasing urgency of our movements. He soon wraps his arms around me, burying his face into my chest as I feel the edge of the world hurtle towards me. Soon I will be in space, stepping off of a cliff into a place I've never been. When everything I know dissolves around me and my entire body begins shudder, I throw my head back, biting my lip hard until I almost taste blood to keep myself from shouting his name into the night. The waves that crash over me threaten to drown me and I whimper with the pain of restraint. His name tumbles out in hisses over and over as the most extraordinary sensation of realease carries me away, forcing tears out of my eyes.

As the those delicious spasms squeeze around him, I feel the burst of air from his lungs against my chest. He begins to mount his own summit, the sound of a wounded animal escaping his lips. "Katniss, I can't hold on anymore." he snarls as his own release crashes over him, his cock spasming inside of me. I begin to sob as I feel the heat spread inside of me, his fingers buried painfully into my back. He tries to restrain an open-mouthed groan by putting his lips firmly onto my breast, sucking hard on it through the thin material. His entire body shudders and then stills as he continues to hold me in place for several minutes. I pull back to look at him, seeing that he too is crying. I put my forehead to his and rest it there, trying to reconcile what has just happened with the reality of the world we live in – the games, the audiences, the shattered barriers between us. We are crying openly now, no effort being made to quiet our sobs.

"I love you Katniss, I've always loved you. I'm sorry it had to be like this," his voice shakes and I know he is apologizing that our first time had to be here, on this beach, though the audience believes I am already with child. I could not have known that this last desperate act had set off a full blown revolt in Districts 4, 6 and 9, sending explosions and citizen strikes throughout the ranks of peacekeepers, decimating further the Capitol's hold on them. District 12 would soon burn so little did I know my concern for my family's dignity was a futile one, for they would soon be running for their lives. I could not have known how many Capitol citizens had indeed turned away, the rumblings of rage roiling the full bellies of pampered, powdered discontent. We had done it again, without realizing it. We had created a wind that further toppled the house of cards upon which Snow's power had been built, a gale for which we would pay dearly. But for now, it was only Peeta and I, lost in the utter solitude of our grief.

I'm choking on the words, finding them strange on my lips. "I love you, Peeta," I said though my tears. "Not just for the cameras." I whisper before taking his mouth again and kissing him, an intense, burning kiss of longing and sadness, as if this too were a bird I was preparing to release.

When the lightning struck, waking Finnick, we were still locked deeply together, oblivious to the cracking electricity in the air. His sharp cry pierces the air and I look over to see his fingers digging deep into the sand, no doubt waking from one of his own panoply of nightmares.

He offers to relieve one of us from the watch when he sees our faces, the tears, the way we are wrapped around each other, the disheveled flush of our skin. "Or both of you. I can watch alone."

Peeta won't hear of it and, unwrapping ourselves painfully from one another, brings me to where the others sleep, placing the locket around my neck and resting his hand over my belly. "You're going to make a great mother, you know," he says this as he places one last lingering kiss on my lips and goes back to Finnick. My body is achingly empty where he had once been. I struggle to find sleep, finally losing myself in an exquisite dream that involves Peeta and a small blond boy running through the high grass of our meadow, leaving me breathless with joy. However, there was no way either of us could know that more than just a revolt was created that night – the seed was growing in me, the seed that would make our last great lie the most powerful truth of all.


I look forward to your reviews! Should I go on?