Written for Prompts in Panem Day 5 (sin: lust). There is underage sex in this story, and slight dubious consent, maybe, if you squint.

Thanks to misshoneywell who requested an older Katniss story from me that inspired this piece.

Katniss isn't familiar with the boy who greets her on her front step when she opens the door of her house in Victor's Village. He has the same blonde hair as the previous kid who brought her bread, same strikingly blue eyes, but his cheeks are ruddier, his build broader. His face is kinder, sickeningly so. He looks 16, 17 at most.

"Who are you?" she asks bluntly, her figure in the doorway an imposing threat despite her petite frame. The kid pales at her tone, shifting nervously.

"Um, Peeta. I—Rye's my brother. I work at the bakery. I'm—I'll be delivering your bread from now on," he mumbles, offering the basket of fresh loaves and rolls to her. With a scowl, she snatches it from him and thrusts the empty basket from the previous delivery into his arms. Then she slaps a few coins into his hand; he physically jumps, as if burned by the contact. When she goes to slam the door shut, he fumbles for his words.

"Um, have—have a good day, Miss Everdeen," he gasps out.

She freezes and cracks the door a fraction to glare at him. "Your brother didn't bother with meaningless pleasantries and frivolous small-talk when he made his deliveries," she snaps. "Let's keep it that way."

The slamming of the door echoes through her empty house. Katniss doesn't need insincere niceties and fake friends in her life; she had her fair share of that after she'd won her games seven years ago at the age of 16. Everyone wanted a piece of one of the only two surviving District 12 victors; she scared them off eventually, though. Much like Haymitch Abernathy had, except all she needed was a scowl, not a stench cloud of booze. Now she has no friends.

No family, either. President Snow made sure of that, when he killed them all not long after her return from the Capitol. She made a fool of him and his games, shaming the Capitol citizens for their heartlessness and bloodthirst by performing a funeral ritual for another fallen tribute, her ally, with flowers and song. He didn't appreciate that, her bending the rules of the game to play on her own terms. So she paid the price with her mother's and sister's blood.

Katniss would have killed herself by now if she didn't feel obligated to mentor every year. Haymitch is no use as a perpetual drunk. Not that her efforts amounted to much either. Since she became a mentor, they've lost exactly 12 other tributes, all needlessly, all brutally.

There's no point to any of it anymore, but for some reason, Katniss can't bring herself to give up, to give herself over to the drink—or, preferably, death. So she keeps her routine: trek to the woods before the sun rises and shoot down her dinner for the day, accept her daily bread delivery late in the morning, do her trading and bartering in the Hob in the afternoon, then sit on the couch staring listlessly at the fire until she eventually falls asleep. Wake up, repeat.

Survive another day.

Like clockwork, Peeta arrives with her bread every day after that. She must have terrified him because, as she insisted, he doesn't say a word to her; he can't even look her in the eye as he passes the bread to her and accepts her money.

Good, she thinks, shutting the door quietly.

But, after a while, she starts to feel bad for him. Pity worms its way up from the hollowed-out grave of her heart. It's a terrible feeling; she hates pity or charity of any kind. Still, she finds her mouth opening of its own accord one morning as she takes the basket from his hands.

"Thanks," she mutters, and he looks at her in surprise. A boyish grin breaks the glum of his face, lighting up his eyes.

"Um, you're-you're welcome," he stutters, nearly dropping the coins she deposits in his hands. Without another word, she shuts the door.

Peeta greets her with more enthusiasm the next day, offering a shy hello and a cheerful goodbye. Soon, he begins making passing comments on the weather or some news in town. She neither encourages or dissuades his attempts at conversation, remaining silent other than to bid him farewell after their exchange is complete each time.

She eventually realizes she doesn't mind the mindless chatter as she once had. It's kind of nice to hear the voice of another human being to break up the monotony of her day, speaking to her with familiarity and kindness. She forgot what that was like, after her sister was killed.

What would it be like to hear another's voice echoing through her house as her sister's once had? Another human being's warmth lessening the oppressive chill that permeates every room?

As she listens to Peeta describe the new cheese buns he's brought her today, the words leave her mouth before she can stop them. "Would you like to come in?"

His mouth parts wordlessly as he stares at her wide-eyed, and she feels compelled to elaborate, though her embarrassment makes her angry. "You can join me for lunch," she adds, opening the door wider and stepping back, turning on her heel to stalk into the kitchen.

"Okay," she hears him breathe behind her, the door quietly shutting behind him. He sits at the table in her kitchen while she scoops them each a bowl of rabbit stew from the pot simmering on the stove; he is obviously absorbing the opulence of her house while trying to project indifference. They eat quietly at first, Peeta too nervous to meet her eyes as he dips his spoon into his bowl, and she's irritated at his sudden muteness. Her house sounds as silent as ever.

But the first bite of stew loosens his tongue immediately, and he moans his pleasure, scooping more stew into his mouth greedily. "Wow," he finally says. "This is amazing. I've never..."

He trails off, his unease evident, and she finishes for him, rather bluntly, "Never had rabbit because you couldn't afford it?"

He nods. "We raise pigs at the bakery, so we get pork once in awhile, and...we get meat from the butcher sometimes, but...this is..."

"Fresh," she supplies for him, knowing just how good a recent kill tastes, straight from the wild. He nods again, a shy smile gracing his lips, but then his face falls as he sits back in his chair.

"I shouldn't...it's not right to eat your food without—I should pay you for it somehow," he says contritely, and his consideration infuriates her.

"I have more food and money than I need, more than I know what to do with. Don't insult me by refusing my food," she huffs, and he clamps his mouth shut, red coloring his cheeks. She sighs. "It's fine. I asked you to have lunch with me. Okay?"

When he finally nods, she divides two of the cheese rolls among them, and they continue to eat, Peeta offering conversation in between tense, pregnant pauses. He encourages her to dip the roll in the stew after he tries it himself, and it tastes exquisite on her tongue.

After lunch, he heads for the door and bids her goodbye but not before she pays him for the bread. She can tell he wants to refuse on principle, but he knows he can't return to his home empty-handed.

They develop a new routine where he joins her for lunch every delivery day. She still doesn't speak much, but he seems content to fill the silences himself. She doesn't even mind when he begins telling her stories about his life, his school work and his friends, his fights with his brothers and his success on the wrestling team; he even reveals his passion for drawing, though he admits so bashfully.

"Are you any good?" she asks drily, quirking an eyebrow, and he smiles.

"I think so, yeah. I can show you sometime," he offers, and she just shrugs. The next day he brings some charcoal and pencil illustrations he's sketched on worn paper. They're incredible, she has to admit, amazed by the realism of his drawings; he's captured the dancing dandelions of the meadow perfectly, the hard, lined face of Old Cray, the sad laughing smile of the baker—his father. Katniss is confused when she comes across sketches of herself. There's one of her ladling soup into a bowl, of her stoking the embers in her fireplace, of her smiling, just barely, as they eat at the table.

When she looks up at him, he can't meet her gaze, dipping his head forward so his hair falls across his forehead to shield his eyes.

She's not stupid. At 23, she's more adept at reading how others feel about her than she was as a teenager. As a victor, she's seen enough lustful leers directed her way, had enough men moon over her to prepare her for this. Peeta likes her. That's obvious, though she supposes she was oblivious to that fact until just now. He wants her, but there seems to be something more to his lust, based on the way he draws her—with a certain sort of reverence she's not used to. Certainly doesn't deserve.

Katniss stares at him, observing him, taking him in quietly. He's an attractive kid. His blonde hair shines in the sunlight filtering through the windows of her house, falling in waves and unruly curls around his head and ears; she resists the urge to run her hand through it, to push it off his forehead. His smile is sweet, boyish, but there's a playfulness to his grins that hint at a budding maturity, something more adult that lurks in the depths of his mind. His body is still growing; he doesn't look like he's reached his full height yet, though he still stands half a foot taller than her. His frame dwarfs her own, his shoulders and chest broad and sturdy, likely a result of hauling bags of flour his whole life.

She can't help but wonder if his cock is as big as the rest of him. She would be ashamed of her thoughts if she had any shame left; the Capitol robbed her of it years ago.

She's attracted to him, she realizes. There's been a lust building quietly, earnestly, a yearning so subtle she's been able to ignore it over the weeks as it took root; she's ignored it until now, when it's practically swallowing her whole as she watches him, imagining all the things she wants to do to him.

It's not a new feeling for her, but she hasn't felt it since Gale. Her friend, Gale, who comforted her in the aftermath of her games and then her family's murders, first with his words and his presence, and then gradually with his mouth and his body. And she allowed it, allowed herself to get lost in it, consumed by it, until he ruined it all with his declarations of love.

She hasn't spoken to him since, after she broke his heart. She has no room for love in her life.

But lust, lust she could make a little room for.

Licking her lips, Katniss sets his drawings down. "You're something special, aren't you?" she says softly, and he finally looks up at her. A blush consumes his face, and he rubs the back of his neck.

"Not really," he mutters with an uncomfortable shrug, but she shakes her head.

"You are," she insists, locking eyes with him. And he is special. There's just something so pure about him. She wants that, she wants to steal a piece of that from him and wrap herself in it. It might be nice to feel something other than the nothing she feels gaping inside her. Peeta doesn't respond, clearly not believing her, so she leans forward. "I want to show you how special you are. Let me show you," she murmurs, dropping her hand on his knee. He startles at the contact, freezing when she begins to rub small, deliberate circles on his thigh.

She can hear how fast he's breathing, can see the reaction she's having on him by the growing bulge in his pants. His pupils have dilated so wide, she can barely see the blue of his irises anymore. Standing up from her chair, she leans over him and carefully presses her mouth to his. His body is rigid in his chair, and she can feel the tension radiating from him; his eyes are wide open, but they flutter closed with the first tentative flick of her tongue against his lips. He parts his mouth slightly, inhaling sharply, and she takes the opportunity to taste him, brushing her tongue along his.

He's sweet, just like she thought.

She pulls away from him then, straightening up, and his eyes fly open in panic. "Come upstairs with me," she tells him, already walking away. She hears the scraping of the chair legs as he jumps up. He follows her obediently, nearly stepping on her heels, as she leads him to her bedroom. Once she shuts the door, she watches him for a moment as he stands in the middle of her room, shifting nervously from foot to foot. He turns to face her then, apprehension stretching his face tight, and she wants to put him at ease.

As she approaches him, he takes a shaky breath. "Um, I—"

Katniss shakes her head, carefully resting her hands on his shoulders. "Shh," she hushes him before pushing up on her toes to kiss him again. His hands drop to her hips to hold her, and she can feel him trembling. Slanting her mouth over his, she dips her tongue between his already parted lips; she explores him, his mouth slack under hers as she strokes his tongue, the roof of his mouth, his teeth. He grows more confident then and attempts to mimic the movements with his own tongue, but his actions are clumsy.

She puts her hand on his jaw to caress his face, applying some pressure to his chin to open his mouth wider; he obeys, and then she's kissing him more fiercely, pulling back occasionally to nip at his lips and pull them between her teeth.

Peeta's panting by then, and she can feel his full erection as he involuntarily thrusts against her stomach. With a small moan, she pushes him back to her bed, forcing him to sit down so she can step back. He watches her, his eyes heavily lidded with desire, licking his red, swollen lips as she undresses. Katniss deliberately unbuttons her shirt, letting it fall from her shoulders to reveal her bare breasts, her nipples hard; she can feel the wetness in her panties, too. His breath hitches in his throat as he stares at her chest, but she continues with her disrobing, methodically unfastening her pants to shimmy out of them.

"Take your clothes off," she commands, and he blinks furiously, tearing his eyes away from her breasts to look at her face.

"Are you—are we going to...?"

She nods, stepping out of her pants when they're on the floor. "I'm going to fuck you, Peeta."

He swallows hard, his fists balling in the comforter under his hands until he forces them up to tug off his shirt. She watches him, idly running her hands up and down her torso, dragging her callused palms over her stiff nipples. "Have you ever been fucked, Peeta?" she asks gently as he lifts his hips from the bed to slide his pants down. A rosy flush has inflamed his freckled chest and neck, creating a splotchy pattern. She smiles when he shakes his head, and finally she approaches him again, her hands joining his to pull his undershorts down.

His cock springs upward, released from the elastic waistband; he seems uncomfortable with his nakedness before her, but her mouth waters as she drinks him in. She was right about his size, too. It's all she can do to not suck his cock into her mouth right then. Instead she pushes him down onto his back. "You're so special," she tells him again, reaching down to slip off her panties. He watches her movements, his eyes widening once he can see the dark curls between her thighs, and he looks like he's about to choke on his tongue when she crawls on top of him. "You want me, don't you?"

She see his throat bob with another hard swallow, and he drags his gaze away from her groin to look up at her, forcing a nod. Straddling his waist, she stares down at him. "You've wanted me for a while, haven't you?" she asks, almost accusatory, and he hesitates before licking his lips.

"I—yes. Since I was 9," he whispers. Pleased, she lifts his hands to her breasts for him, molding them to the shape of her small mounds. She moans to encourage him, and he makes some a sound in the back of his throat as he kneads her breasts. He palms them enthusiastically, and she sighs, letting herself enjoy the sensation before reaching between her legs to grab his cock.

"What did you think about me doing to you?" she asks, taunting him as she wraps a hand firmly around his shaft, and he lets out a surprised yelp, bucking against her palm. "This?" She begins to stroke him, squeezing even tighter, and he groans loudly, letting his head fall back to the bed as his eyes close.

"Y-yes—a lot...a lot of that," he whimpers, straining against her hand, but she releases him; she knows he won't last long.

"What about fucking me? Did you think about that a lot?"

He nods frantically, his thumbs pressing on her nipples. "All the, all the time. Um...in the bakery, at the—the slag heap, on your...on your kitchen table," he mumbles, roughly squeezing her breasts. The barest hint of a smile tugs at the corners of her mouth. His confession makes her clit throb painfully, and she can feel the arousal leaking out of her. She's surprised by her body's strong response to him; not even Gale made her body thrum with need so badly. But she feels strong, powerful, predatory.

Covering his hand with her own, she redirects it between her thighs; she presses his fingers through her slick folds, and they both gasp. "Do you feel how wet I am?" she asks breathlessly, sliding his hand back and forth.

"Yeah," he groans, his voice shaky.

"Have you ever touched a girl before, Peeta?"

He swallows audibly and shakes his head; she's pleased by this, for some reason, thrilled that she can be his first in so many ways. Biting down on her lip, she pushes his two middle fingers inside her; she exhales a satisfied moan, and he gasps again as she pumps his fingers in and out.

"Oh—fuck," he chokes out. She pulls his fingers out and drags them to her clitoris where she forces his fingers into a rhythm of firm, tight circles. He watches in amazement as she begins rocking against his hand, finding an acceptable tempo in the movement of his fingers. Her eyes fall shut, and she moans softly.

"Keep doing that," she pleads. Peeta presses on her clit harder, letting out a groan when the head of his cock slides through her wet folds as she sways on top of him. The pressure is surging fast, concentrated just beneath his fingertips, and she finds her back arching, her limbs tightening with the anticipation of her impending orgasm as it coils between her thighs. When it snaps, she releases a throaty cry, reveling in the sensation that ripples through her, making her clit pulse and her walls flutter. Before the contractions can fade completely, she grips his cock and positions him at her entrance, sinking down on him in one swift motion.

He moans in surprise, and she winces slightly as his girth stretches her, her walls encompassing him completely. "Oh god," he gasps out, his eyes clenched shut, his jaw slack, and she splays her hands on his chest to balance herself as she begins to move on top of him.

"Do you feel good?" she asks, switching her rocking motion to a plunging one as she slides his cock in and out of her. He cries something in the affirmative, and she squeezes her walls around him. "Tell me how good this feels."

"I—I—I c-can't," he grunts, his head stretched back. His fingers dig into her hips, the muscles in his forearms straining as he tries to hold back; she knows he's too far gone, the way his hips whip up into hers, and she thrusts down on him faster, harder.

"You're gonna come for me," she growls, and it's not a question. She demands it. He practically sobs in answer.

"Yes, yes, I—fuck, Katniss!" he shouts, his back bowing slightly off the bed as he comes, his cock pulsing against her walls. She continues to ride him, feeling the spurts of his semen as he empties himself inside her. She lets him fill her up, unconcerned with the possibility of getting pregnant. She still gets her shot every year she's in the Capitol to prevent ovulation, given to her in secret by the District 12 stylist Cinna.

Once he is finished, panting and gasping to control his racing heart, she pulls him out and crawls backward off the mattress. She can feel his semen slipping down her thighs as she bends over to pull her panties back up. Peeta is trembling on her bed still, his legs draped over the side. She continues to get dressed, her mood deteriorating rapidly, and she's not sure why. The high of the moment is gone, and she just wants him to be, too.

He finally sits up, his face flushed as he looks at her. "You should get dressed," she tells him evenly, throwing his clothes to him. He looks bewildered and doesn't move, so she turns away from him, crossing to the window to stare out across her back yard. Eventually, she hears rustling as he gets dressed, then the creak of the bed as he stands up.

"Katniss..." he says uncertainly, and she turns back to him, her mouth twisted into a frown. He looks so confused, and it just makes her more agitated. She moves around him, striding over to her nightstand where she grabs some money, then she faces him and gives it to him; he doesn't resist, too shocked. "You already paid me for the bread," he says, his voice weak, and she keeps her face hard.

"It's not for the bread," she replies simply, already moving back toward the window but not before she sees his entire face blanch at the implication of her words. Neither speaks, and she keeps her back to him until, finally, she hears him shuffle out of her room. She listens to his tread on the stairs and then, a moment later, the quiet latching of her front door shutting behind him.

She's glad her bedroom is in the back of the house so she doesn't have to watch him leave.

Peeta doesn't come to deliver her bread the next day, or the day after that. She doesn't blame him.

She's not sure what she feels when he returns a week later, standing on her doorstep with a basket of bread, like it's any other day. But he can't hold eye contact with her when he hands her the basket. She takes it and studies him for a moment, his blue eyes darting all over the place, his cheeks pink.

"Do you want to come in?" she asks rather boldly, softened by his nervousness. If he's surprised by her question, he doesn't show it. He just runs a hand through his hair and nods.

"Yeah," he agrees, following her inside.

They have lunch just like they always did before, though he's more reticent this time. He eats his stew quietly, and she tears off chunks of her cheese roll to place on her tongue, letting the cheese and the buttery flakes melt on her tongue before chewing. She briefly wonders if he would taste as decadent on her tongue as she pumps his cock in and out of her mouth.

He catches her staring and flushes, looking away. Finally, he clears his throat, distractedly swirling his spoon in his bowl. "Th-the, um, the money you gave me last time...didn't stretch as long as I thought it would," he starts haltingly, and she frowns slightly. "I thought...I thought I could pretend like I was delivering bread to you still and my parents wouldn't notice. I took the deliveries to the community home. But...the money's gone now, so I...well, I had to come back."

She stares at him, the chagrined look heavy in his eyes. He's slumped slightly in defeat, and his lips are moist from licking the stew off them. She's aching for him suddenly, and she sighs inaudibly, quickly making up her mind.

"I can give you more money," she says, and he winces, dropping his spoon against the side of the bowl.

"Just for the bread," he mutters, and she begins to unbutton her shirt.

"Do you still want me?" she asks, spreading her shirt open to bare her breasts. His eyes widen slightly, locked on her chest, and his nostrils flare. He doesn't answer, so she cups her breasts and rolls her pebbled nipples between her thumbs and forefingers.

Peeta inhales raggedly, his mouth open slightly as he breathes heavily. "I do," he finally chokes out, his head bowed in shame, and she moans softly.

"Then you should have me," she breathes, leaning back in her chair. "Touch me, Peeta."

Hesitantly, he reaches toward her, ghosting a hand down the valley of her breasts before covering one with his palm once she moves her own hand out of the way. She arches into him. There's something so tentative but eager about his touches, it makes her so wet and desperate for him. He pulls his chair closer to her, close enough she can feel his hot breath. She gasps in delight when his other hand wedges between her thighs, and she spreads her legs wider for him. He fumbles experimentally, rubbing her through her clothes, and she eventually has to guide his fingers for him until he picks up the rhythm himself. Frustrated, she pushes the crotch of her shorts and panties aside so his fingers can move through her wet folds directly, and she moans so loud she can feel Peeta shudder himself.

"I'm gonna come," she mewls when he strokes her clit insistently. He stares mutely at her pussy, watching the movement of his fingers through her slick folds. He stops occasionally to tentatively finger her, sliding his digits in and out of her slowly, and finally she has to direct him back to her clit because she can't take it anymore. "Don't stop," she grits out, writhing in her chair as he conducts a current of pleasure through her so powerfully, she nearly lurches off the chair. Her loud moan echoes around the kitchen, and she doesn't stop trembling and gasping until the aftershocks of her orgasm fade.

Then she's pushing his hands away to stand up and strip her shorts and panties off. Peeta watches her, staring dumbly from his seat. Katniss hoists herself onto the table and hikes her knees up so her heels are planted on the edge and she's spread open before him. "Take your cock out and fuck me on this table, Peeta, like you've fantasized about," she orders, and he stands up jerkily, wavering in front of her before he unzips his pants and pushes them down enough to pull his cock out of his shorts. He stares at her like he's not sure what to do, and she reaches her arms up over her head to grip the opposite edge of the table. "Just like you've thought about, Peeta, just like this," she coos, persuading him to step between her legs, flush against the table.

When she feels the head of his cock parting her folds, she closes her eyes and moans, feeling him slide inside her until he's buried up to the hilt. He fills her so perfectly. Peeta's making soft pleading sounds, his hands maneuvering around her thighs to hold onto her hips, and she opens her eyes to lock with his.

"Fuck me hard," she demands, and his nostrils flare once again as he starts to move. His hips move arrhythmically for a moment as he finds his pace, but it's not hard enough for her. She squeezes his cock inside her, and he grunts, his eyes nearly rolling into the back of his head. "Harder, Peeta," she hisses through clenched teeth. "That's what you want, isn't it? That's what you've thought about, fucking me hard on this table until I scream?"

"Yes," he moans, finally moving faster, making the table creak under them as his hips collide with hers, and she arches off the surface of the table, letting out a pleased moan.

"Oh, fuck, just like that," she keens. Peeta gasps, opening his mouth wide to suck in air as he sets a brutalizing pace; she's sure the tops of his thighs are going to be bruised from the table once he's done. One of his hand flattens over her pelvis as he pumps into her, and he grunts painfully.

"I—fuck, sorry, I'm coming," he groans, his hips jerking to a stop, and his head lolls forward while he pants, emptying himself inside her. She eventually feels his cock soften, and she begins to caress her breasts and nipples again. Peeta lifts his head to watch her in amazement.

"Keep watching me," she tells him, dipping her hand between her thighs to rub her clit. Her breath hitches in her throat. "I'm gonna make myself come, and then when you're hard again, you're gonna fuck me again, just like you did, okay?"

He nods, spreading her thighs some to watch the movement of her hand between her legs, and soon she's spasming around him again with her release; he's hard almost instantly, and he resumes thrusting, yanking her hips across the table to meet his each time; he lasts longer this time, and the force of his thrusts have her moaning enthusiastically until he comes once more.

When he leaves later, she slips him some extra coins. He doesn't object this time, but he doesn't look at her when he walks out the door.

But he doesn't stay away, either, returning to her house every day. And every day they eat lunch, and then she fucks him, or lets him fuck her—on every surface and in every room of her house (but not Prim's, never Prim's; that room stays shut, always). She pays him each time, to compensate him for his company; his expression is always sour when she does, a sadness clouding his eyes.

He must hate her for doing this to him. But he's young, and he wants her more than he hates her, and she knows now no matter how disgusted he is with her, with himself, he'll keep coming back.

He's fucking her from behind one afternoon, his hand wrapped around the front of her thighs to rub her clit; he's done this enough times now, knows exactly how to get her off, and he's always eager to do so, determined to make her come before he finishes. She arches back against him with a moan.

"Fuck, keep doing that, Peeta," she begs, and he grunts, stroking her harder. A second later, and her walls tighten around him, fluttering with her orgasm, and she cries out; he doesn't let up, slowing his thrusts so he can concentrate on making her come again. She's soon pleading with him, delirious with pleasure, and when she finally comes a second time, he resumes pumping into her faster. She slumps forward to catch her breath, but the force of his thrusts make her grunt with each impact of his hips against her ass.

"I bet you fantasized about this, too," she gasps. "Getting the district victor on her hands and knees, making her beg for your cock."

His thrusts falter for a second, and his fingers dig into her hips harder. "No—not the victor," he grits out, moving faster behind her. "Just-just you."

She yelps loudly as he fucks her harder then, but she's stunned by his words. She just assumed he was interested in her because of the prestige of fucking a victor; she's speechless for a moment until Peeta grunts in warning.

"I'm gonna come, Katniss."

Katniss pulls away from him and turns to face him, aligning her face with his cock. "Finish in my mouth," she tells him, and wordlessly, he slides his cock into her mouth, hissing through his teeth as she sucks him off; her hand strokes the base of his shaft while he comes in her mouth, encouraging every last drop of semen as she swallows it. She can taste herself on him, and when he's finished, she licks him clean then releases him from her mouth. Peeta stares at her in awe, panting as he sits back on his haunches.

She's still confused by his confession, and she forces herself to her feet, suddenly unable to look at him. "Money's on the table," she says over her shoulder as she pulls her shirt back on, heading upstairs for a shower. He doesn't say anything, and when she comes back downstairs, much later, he's long gone.

Peeta doesn't stay away for long at all, though. He's back again the next day, and despite her reservations, she's glad he returned. She enjoys spending time with him, enjoys the ease and vigor with which he brings her to a quaking orgasm. But he's also nice to talk to, she admits begrudgingly.

He's entirely too good for her, too good to her. But she's selfish, and she can't make him stay away. She knows she's taking advantage of him, and she can't make herself stop.

There's a reason why she won her games, after all.

That afternoon, they're lying in her bed, sweaty from the sex they had just moments before. She feels herself drifting off, cozy in her post-coital bliss, and she doesn't immediately indicate for him to leave. After a moment, he moves closer to her and wraps his arms around her. Her eyes fly open, but when he feels her resist, he tightens his embrace. "Katniss—" he starts, and she's already shaking her head.

"Peeta," she warns, but he pulls her closer.

"Katniss, please...just let me make you feel good. I just want to make you feel good," he breathes in her ear, and she stops struggling. "Please? Tell me what you want me to do. I don't want to leave yet."

She thinks about it, debating herself, but then she twists around in his arms. His expression is open and hopeful, and she licks her lips. "I want you to go down on me." He blinks, and she rolls onto her back; he lets her move away from him this time, watching as she hikes her knees up to plant her feet on the bed, opening her legs for him. He understands what she wants and obediently settles between her thighs, glancing up at her for encouragement before the first tentative flick of his tongue between her folds. When she moans, he grows more bold, stroking and kissing her outer lips before spreading them with his fingers to lap at the moisture gathering between her folds. She knows he must taste himself, too, but he doesn't complain, eagerly dipping his tongue inside her before retreating to lick at her clit. She preens loudly, pawing at her own breasts.

"Yes, that's—oh god, keep going," she groans, undulating her hips against his face as he greedily strokes her clit with the flat of his tongue. She gasps when she feels his thick fingers stretch her open, and her hands entangle themselves in his hair to tug his face impossibly closer. "Suck on it," she pleads, and he complies, suctioning his lips around her clit and sucking it between his lips. It only takes her a matter of seconds to explode, and she cries out. "Fuck!"

But Peeta doesn't stop, lowering his mouth to her lips to swallow the wetness seeping out of her. His fingers begin stroking her clit while he drinks her down, and she tries to twist away from him, the pain sharp as he applies pressure to the overly sensitive bud. "Don't, Peeta," she whines, but he holds her down fast, his fingers rubbing lighter, lazy circles over her clit, and he continues to lick and suck on her folds almost reverently, humming and moaning against her. Eventually, she feels the pleasure building again, and she whimpers for him to continue, grinding her pussy against his face. Happily, he continues, moving his mouth back up to her clit to flick it between his teeth and tongue. She growls at the teasing gesture, so he flattens his tongue over it again before sucking it into his mouth, teasing the hooded cleft with the tip of his tongue as he suckles her clit greedily.

She comes again, much too quickly, wailing into the silence of the room. Her body melts bonelessly into the mattress, and Peeta finally lets up, lifting his head. His cheeks are flushed, his eyes shining, and his mouth and chin are wet from her arousal. "I can keep going if you want," he murmurs, and she shakes her head.

"I can't," she says weakly, and he settles down beside her again, taking her into his arms. She's too exhausted to resist him this time. He seems relieved.

"Did you like that?" he asks, almost shyly, and she nods. He exhales happily. "I can do that whenever you want. I wanna make you feel good, Katniss. I wanna make you happy. You don't...you don't have to pay me anymore to—to be with you."

She stiffens at his declaration, caught off guard. It's like Gale all over again. She turns her head away from him. "I can't...I can't give you what you want, Peeta," she tells the pillow warily, but he squeezes her tighter against him.

"I just...I only want to spend some time with you," he urges, his voice shaky. "Just...just a mutual enjoyment of each other's company. I don't—I don't expect any more than that from you, I promise. I just...I don't wanna be your-your whore or, or whatever this is."

She takes a deep breath and closes her eyes, her heart pounding in her chest. She doesn't know if she can do that. It feels safer treating their relationship as a transaction, just an exchange of money for services. It is safer. She can't have friends or people she cares about in her life. They are liabilities, and she knows she'll only bring them pain and misery.

But he's so earnest, and he's so good and pure...and she's selfish. So very selfish.

In that moment, she feels her resolve weaken. In that moment, she feels her walls come down, and she presses her back against his chest, feeling sleep pressing on her consciousness. In that moment, she makes the biggest mistake of her life.


The sun is hot, sweltering as it beats down on her from above. Katniss can feel the sunburn prickling her skin already, and she swipes at the beads of sweat forming on her forehead. Haymitch is drunk and asleep in the seat next to her, and she rolls her eyes when he snorts, watching the crowd of potential tributes in the square before her sway anxiously on their feet; she's watching but not really seeing. It's better that she detaches herself from the scene.

The mayor is at the podium, reading his speech as he welcomes the crowd to the annual reaping, and then Effie sweeps in behind him to greet the district enthusiastically. Katniss tunes her out, blankly staring at the Panem seal that decorates the clock tower.

"Ladies first!"

Katniss watches Effie draw the name for the girl tribute; she isn't surprised to see a Seam girl, with her dark hair and gray eyes, called to the stage, the crowd rippling with relief as it parts to allow her to her slaughter. It's always a Seam girl, always a Seam boy, ever since she became mentor. They are the most unlucky in their poverty and circumstance, and the Capitol makes them pay for their misfortune.

Effie welcomes the terrified girl before crossing to the bowl full of boys' names, daintily dipping her hand inside to fish out a strip of paper. "Now for the boys!" she chirps, and the crowd holds its breath once again. She unfolds the paper delicately, and Katniss just barely catches the name over the sound of her heart sinking to her stomach.

"Peeta Mellark!"

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