A special holiday continuation! Written for promptsinpanem's Holidays in Panem challenge on tumblr.
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All I Want for Christmas is You
Their limbs are tangled together as they stretch out on her couch, hips pressed close together as they feverishly kiss. Peeta's lips trace the column of her neck, making her shiver, and she feels his responding grin against her skin. "Are you cold?" he asks innocently, pulling away long enough to make her whimper.
"Shut up," she mutters, rocking her hips against his until he groans. The house is blissfully empty; her parents are out at the Undersee's annual Christmas party and Prim is spending the night at Rue's, so it's just the two of them, spread out on the couch under an afghan Hazel Hawthorne made her mom for Christmas last year, A Muppet's Christmas Carol playing softly in the background.
They've been out of school for a week now, but it's their first evening alone together — with Peeta's long hours at the bakery and Katniss's family always around at night it's been impossible to steal time for each other like they could in her apartment. It worries her a little how much she missed him and what exactly that means, but tonight she's too grateful to have him pressed against her to get too deep inside her head. She buries her head in the crook of his neck, pressing her cold nose against the skin there. (Oh god, he smells like sugar and frosting and it's a little embarrassing for him to smell so much better than her.)
"You smell good," she says softly, pressing soft kisses against the slope of his shoulder, just above the collar of his tee shirt. "Like cookies."
"I do work at a bakery," he teases, tilting his head down to rest his forehead against hers. His eyes are bright blue even in the dim of the living room, and his pale blond lashes blink slowly (really, she has no idea how they don't tangle together ever). Her stomach twists in the same thrilling kind of way it did the first time she saw him again in August.
"Of course I know that, why do you think I'm dating you?"
Peeta pretends to pout for a moment before it quickly melts into the smile that he can never quite seem to contain around her.
"Mm, one taste of my buns and you were a goner." Katniss snorts, using the hand resting on his hip to push him away lightly. His face becomes more serious and bends down again to shower sweet kisses on her cheeks.
She fidgets nervously in his hold. "Something wrong?"
He hums thoughtfully. "Nothing, just," he sighs, skimming his fingers down her side, sliding them under them hem of her sweater and resting against the skin of her waist. "If someone had told me last year that I would be with you this Christmas…" He smiles again, blissful. "I didn't even know I could be this happy."
(And that feeling is back in the pit of her stomach, the one that's been appearing more and more over the last few weeks, words wanting to explode out of her like a carbonated drink that's been shaken too much.) She opens her mouth, thinking she might just say them already, but it's too scary. "So sentimental," she teases lightly instead. His face softens and she wonders if he knows it anyway. They don't say much after that, trading words for long, deep kisses. She falls asleep against him later during some lame made for TV Christmas movie, the kind she always avoids but Peeta seems to love so much.
She didn't know she could be this happy, either.
Peeta [DEC 21 11:46 AM] Omg my dad turned on the tv in the bakery today and that coffee commercial you hate so much came on.
Peeta [DEC 21 11:46 AM] He doesn't really think it's weird either…
Katniss [DEC 21 11:54 AM] IT IS CREEPY THOUGH.
Katniss [DEC 21 11:54 AM] BROTHERS AND SISTERS DON'T TALK LIKE THAT.
Peeta [DEC 21 11:55 AM] Okay. Sure.
Peeta [DEC 21 11:56 AM] Are you still free for dinner tonight? :)
Katniss [DEC 21 12:05 PM] I think I can squeeze you in.
When he picks her up he acts weird, shaking her father's hand nervously and not being nearly as effusive as normal. She slides into his car, looking at him expectantly; it's freezing outside but he doesn't turn the car on.
"Um," she starts slowly, a little worried, "everything okay?"
Peeta frowns, gripping the steering wheel tightly. "Not really." He looks over at her, and she can see the frustration written all over his face.
(And, okay, in the back of her mind she thinks, this is it, this is the moment when he realizes he's way too perfect for her and he dumps her and she binge drinks eggnog for the next twelve days.) She waits though, and after a long moment he lets out a huge sigh.
"Myfamilywantstogoskiing," he says in one long breath. He looks down, mouth tipped down in an uncharacteristic frown, and she's too relieved that he's not breaking up with her to understand what he said.
Peeta groans, turning in his seat to face her. He reaches over and grabs her hand, swearing when he feels how cold her fingers are. He turns the car on, and she relaxes at the warm blast of air. "My mom and dad want take us skiing," he says, slower this time.
Katniss laughs. "Those bastards!" she exclaims. "How dare they want to take you on a free ski trip during the perfect season for it?"
He scowls. "We're leaving tomorrow," he says plainly. "Until Friday. That's why they hired all those new people at the bakery, to cover us while we're gone. It was supposed to be this awesome Christmas gift, but—" He looks at her uneasily, waiting for her response.
Oh. Oh. That's why he's upset — leaving for a week means he'll be gone on Christmas. Their first Christmas together. They'd planned for her to go to lunch at his house and then to spend that evening with her family, and although she'd been dreading being so openly cute and coupley she was also really, reallylooking forward to it.
She thinks about saying something reassuring like there's always next Christmas, but that seems like a big statement, something that means more than just that. She thinks about saying I'll miss you, but it sticks in her throat.
"I guess that means no Christmas cookies," is what she says instead and he finally laughs, leaning over and kissing her soundly.
"Are you mad?" he asks, squeezing her hand
And no, she's not mad. Just disappointed. Really disappointed. She knows that's not the right thing to say, though, so she just shakes her head, letting him kiss her again.
He taps against her window softly that night and she startles, opening it quickly and letting him crawl in. His body is as icy cold as the wind outside and he presses against her, following as she leads him to slip under the sheets with her.
"I told them I couldn't go," he confesses, his hands gliding over the smooth fabric of her leggings, pressing his quick fingers urgently between her thighs. She moans quietly, careful of her sister in the next room, biting her lip as his fingers slip under the waistband and beneath her underwear.
"I don't want you to go," she tells him, and he smiles; his blue eyes darken in the way that drives her crazy and he kisses her deeply as his fingers draw circles against her slick skin.
"I promise I won't." And then he is everywhere, tugging her shirt over her head and kissing a hot path down her chest, and she is so close—
When she wakes up it is still dark outside, and her phone is lit up with a message from Peeta. Hitting the road now. Miss you already :(
It is impossible to go back to sleep.
Peeta [DEC 23 1:15 PM] All I want for Christmas is youuuuu!
Katniss [DEC 23 1:18 PM] Please don't make me break up with you.
Peeta [DEC 23 1:20 PM] That hurts! Do I have to remind you I could easily hurtle down the side of a mountain to my death today?
Katniss [DEC 23 1:33 PM] I think that's a pretty fair payment for getting that stupid song stuck in my head :p
Peeta [DEC 23 1:34 PM] So cruel :(
Katniss [DEC 23 1:40 PM] It's part of my charm 3
It's several stages past embarrassing how mopey she is with Peeta gone. Her family notices, teasing her endlessly. Prim sings Baby It's Cold Outside every time her phone vibrates, which is so frequent Katniss isn't sure how Peeta's actually getting any skiing done, and her father jokes that it might be time to sit down and have a serious talk with him when Peeta gets back.
Her mother just gives her knowing looks each time she catches her sighing while they watch sappy Hallmark movies with Prim.
"I was the same way," she says sagely, scooting closer to her on the couch and wrapping an arm around her oldest daughter's narrow shoulders. "With your father." Her face takes on a dreamy, faraway look, and Katniss flushes.
"It's not like that," she assures her. "We haven't even been dating that long, Mom, it's just casual." Her phone vibrates a moment later and she clutches it eagerly, groaning in frustration at the notification from Redbox. Her mom laughs.
She has more dreams, each steamier than the last. They haven't been like this since they before they got together and he always seemed so far out of her reach. It's embarrassing and frustrating (in more ways than one, ugh why does the shower at home not have the detachable head?) but whenever Peeta calls she forces a smile on her face, listening as he rambles about slopes and powder and blah blah blah.
It's silly, but she doesn't want him to know how much she misses him. He lets her know how much he misses her, though, and the knowledge sits warm in her chest.
Peeta [DEC 24 9:04 PM] Two words for you:
Peeta [DEC 24 9:04 PM] Skype. Sex.
Peeta [DEC 24 9:05 PM] This might be my only chance to get the room to myself.
Katniss [DEC 24 9:17 PM] Um.
Katniss [DEC 24 9:17 PM] You must have the wrong number.
Katniss [DEC 24 9:18 PM] Also, ugh no.
Peeta [DEC 24 9:21 PM] Nope, this is definitely the right number ;)
Katniss [DEC 24 9:22 PM] The ugh no still stands.
Peeta [DEC 24 9:21 PM] Kaaaaaatniiiiiiiiiiss :(
Peeta [DEC 24 9:21 PM] I just miss you is all.
Katniss [DEC 24 9:22 PM] I miss you too :(
Katniss [DEC 24 9:22 PM] But still no.
Peeta [DEC 25 12:01 AM] Merry Christmas!
Peeta [DEC 25 12:02 AM] I'm so happy I have you in my life.
Katniss [DEC 25 1:28 AM] Aw that's so sappy.
Katniss [DEC 25 1:28 AM] Me too.
It's easier to forget Peeta's absence on Christmas day; the morning is spent in a flurry of activities. Prim wakes her up at the crack of dawn and they open their presents, hunkering down in front of the TV and watching the parade.
After lunch, halfway through their annual rewatch of Miracle on 34th Street, though, she notices the last present still under the tree. She and Peeta had agreed to exchange presents when he came back home, and it seems a little lonely by itself. She checks her phone, but there are no new texts from him.
Prim notices her sudden quiet and smiles sympathetically. "Only two more days, right?"
She nods. "Right."
Only two more days. It's really not that far away.
Peeta [DEC 25 6:07 PM] Hey, I'm going to call you in about an hour, I really want to talk to you!
Katniss [DEC 25 6:15 PM] Sounds good! Hopefully my new boyfriend will be gone and I'll have a minute to talk to you.
Peeta [DEC 25 6:17 PM] You've replaced me already?
Katniss [DEC 25 6:18 PM] Well
Katniss [DEC 25 6:19 PM] The Starbucks guy had cookies too. And he was in town so…
Peeta [DEC 25 6:22 PM] Vixen.
Katniss picks up on the first ring, too eager to hear his voice again to pretend to be busy. "Hey!" she says brightly, ignoring the kissy faces Prim sends her way and slipping up the stairs to her room.
Even over the phone she can almost hear his smile. "You sound happy. Guess you haven't been missing me too much?"
She snorts. "Wait, you've been gone?" He's silent for a moment and she laughs, sitting cross legged on her bed and playing with the end of her braid. "I might have missed you. A little bit."
"A little bit?" The sound of him is such a relief that she decides to let him have this.
"Maybe a lot," she admits.
He lets out a sound of satisfaction. "I maybe missed you a lot too."
"Oh please," she teases. "We both know you've been pining for me."
"Obviously. I'm not afraid to admit that I've been missing you like crazy."
"Like crazy, hm?"
"Oh, yeah," he assures her. "I've been picturing you all day, in your cute little jammies that Prim bought you, drinking eggnog with your mom and having snowball fights with your dad…"
She laughs. "It's not snowing here, Peeta. Not all of are at ski resorts, remember?"
"It's not snowing there?"
Katniss rolls her eyes. "When's the last time it snowed in Panem, Peeta?"
He sounds surprised. "Huh, I heard on the forecast it was supposed to snow today. Have you checked outside?" She scoffs, and he laughs. "Humor me."
"Ugh." She slips off her bed, padding over to the window. "It's definitely not — oh my god."
He's standing in her driveway in her favorite soft gray hoodie of his, phone pressed to his ear and beaming in the direction of her window. She drops her phone on her bed and races down stairs, slipping on Prim's fuzzy slippers and darting out of the front door. She flies into his arms, knocking into him so hard that it steals his breath.
"Good thing your other boyfriend left or this would've been awkward," he says softly in her ear. She lets out a strangled laugh, squeezing him tightly and tipping up on her toes to kiss him.
"What are you doing here?" she asks after she pulls away, voice incredulous. "Is this even real?"
Peeta grins mischievously. "Why, been having dreams about me again?" She blushes and he groans, pulling her tighter against him and kissing her, deeper this time. "Mom sprained her ankle yesterday afternoon," he mumbles against her lips in between kisses. "We decided to head home early and I thought I would surprise you."
She feels like she might be floating. "Consider me surprised." She hugs him tight again and then pulls away, grabbing his hand and dragging him towards the front door. "It's freezing out here, let's go inside. You can finally open your present!"
Peeta freezes. "Shit, Katniss, I forgot yours at home."
She turns around, gripping his collar and tugging him back down to her, kissing him again. "It's okay," she says softly, "You're my present this year."
"Aw, Katniss." He tucks a loose strand of hair behind her ear and smiles. "I don't know if you're being really sweet or making fun of the Folgers commercial again."
She laughs, pulling him the rest of the way inside. "Can't I do both?"
And really, he's the best gift she's gotten all day.
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As always, feedback is appreciated! You can find me on tumblr: swishywillow.