Author's Note: This is a new story I've had in mind for quite while, and I just couldn't resist writing it. It's much darker subject matter than anything I've written before, and this story will dive into some uncomfortable situations. Hopefully the payoff will be worth it!


"Effie said we have to be on the train at one. I wonder what time it is," Peeta says, glancing around.

"Almost midnight," I reply. I pluck a chocolate flower from a cake with my fingers and nibble on it, so beyond worrying about manners.

Peeta gives me a concerned look. "We should probably be leaving soon, then, right? It's unlike Effie to be late for a schedule."

Peeta is right. Effie is perpetually fretting about schedules and making deadlines. It's a good thing, since without her we would probably never make it anywhere on time. But tonight I can't say I really care. "I'm sure she'll be here soon," I tell him.

Right on cue, a familiar voice trills at my elbow. "Come along, you two. It's time to move along, or we won't make it to our next destination on time," she says with a serious face. Peeta and I give each other a glance. Effie is usually so... perky. This more subdued behavior seems unlike her.

"All right, Effie," Peeta tells he. "We're ready to go. I just want to get the cakes the bakers here said they'd give me before we go."

"We can arrange to have it sent before us. There's another appointment you need to make before you reach the train."

This gets our attention. What else do we have to do? The last we had been told, the party was the only event on our agenda for the night. Then we were supposed to be on our way home to 12 at one. "I don't remember you mentioning that, Effie," Peeta says, curious.

"There's been a change of plans, dear," she huffs, and I can just tell she doesn't approve. Which is interesting in and of itself. Effie is so big on following schedules and being punctual that if she didn't know about a change of plans, it probably means she didn't know about it either. "It shouldn't take long. Just follow me, please."

Effie sets off immediately without checking to see if we're following her. At a loss, the only thing Peeta and I can do is follow her. We weave through the crowd at the party, in the exact opposite direction of the exit through the big doors. Peeta and I keep shooting each other questioning looks, but it's no good. Neither of us can guess what's going on.

At last we come to a stop, just as we reach a tall, thin man in an official looking uniform. He can't be much older than Darius back home, but the uniform he's wearing isn't a Peacekeeper uniform. It's one I don't recognize. One much more dignified.

"This is about as far as I can take you!" Effie informs us. Her voice is as upbeat as ever, but there's something about the look on her face that seems off. Maybe it's because she won't look either of us in the eyes. But she seems to disapprove of something about this whole situation. And for some reason, I don't think it's just because it's throwing off her entire schedule.

"Where are we going, Effie?" I ask.

"I'm afraid that's highly classified information," she informs us. "You'll just have to follow your attendant from here. He'll take you where you need to go."

Peeta and I exchange another glance. "Where is this order coming from, Effie?" Peeta asks.

She looks like it's the most obvious thing in the world. "From President Snow, of course," she says. "He has the final say on everything about your itinerary."

That's true. And unfortunately, Peeta and I both know this all too well. Snow has final say on most of our lives, much more than I care for, especially since we won the Games and were crowned victors. Peeta looks about as impressed as I do, but he also knows not to question this too much.

"Go on," Effie encourages us. "I'll be down here when you're finished. Come find me as soon as you can. We must be on the train as soon as possible, or we'll be late to the welcoming ceremony in 12 for sure."

"All right, Effie," Peeta assures her. As she nods her acknowledgement to us, we walk on, joining the Capitol attendant, who remains wordless beyond a nod of the head in our direction. We follow the attendant out the hall, down long hallways and through corridors of the colossal mansion. Peeta and I don't dare speak a word to each other for some unspoken reason. We're lead to a door somewhere above the raucous of the party below. Its silence is in stark contrast to it. The attendant raps gently on one of the doors. It swings open, and a portly man with auburn hair and a pointed beard greets us.

"Sir," is the only word the attendant offers, and with a bow to the man, ushers us inside. We exchange another glance, unsure, before Peeta cautiously steps forward, placing himself between the man and me. I hear the man thank the attendant for something, then give him something. Then the door shuts.

The room we're in is ornately decorated in red and gold furnishings. A four-post bed that's bigger than any I've ever seen before fills out one side of it. An elegant couch sits opposite. There's a desk, and a whole personal bar, complete with bottles of different kinds of spirits and glasses to drink them with. A large screen that's showing highlights from tonight's ceremony and the following festivities is on display on one wall. It snaps off silently as the man crosses the room to the bar and pours himself another glass from a half-finished bottle of wine. He turns towards us, raising the bottle in the air. "Would you care for some?"

"No, thank you," Peeta says in a stilted voice. I just shake my head. I've only had wine once before, and it made my head feel fuzzy. Something tells me that I'm going to need to be in full control of my mental resources tonight.

The man only shrugs, and turns back to the bar to cork the bottle again. He half-halfheartedly shoves it aside and moves over to the couch, sitting with both feet firmly on the ground, his legs spread apart slightly. He fixes Peeta and me with the kind of stare I've seen Cray, our Head Peacekeeper back in 12 with something of a reputation for preying on desperate girls, use when he knows he has another victim he can take advantage of. It's a look that makes me shiver, and automatically take a step closer to Peeta. He seems to sense it, too, because he moves again to once more place himself between the man and me.

"May as well get down to business, then," he says with a smirk. "Just start how you always start. I want to see how you usually do it."

Peeta looks back at me, his face as confused as mine, before answering the man. "Um... do what?" he asks cautiously.

The man raises his eyebrows and lets out a laugh. "How you usually make love, of course!"

My eyes widen; I can tell, even standing behind him, that Peeta is shocked as well. "Here?" he asks, his voice sounding incredulous.

"Of course here!" the man booms, and there's an edge of anger creeping into his voice. "I didn't pay Snow top dollar for nothing."

Instantly, I've turned on my heel and have made a beeline for the door. I try desperately to get it to open, but it won't budge. Peeta is still behind me, attempting to reason with the man. "If you think we're going to do anything in front of you..." he's saying, but the man is on his feet, that anger having shown up in full force. Even though the door won't move, I keep trying, however in vain.

"See here!" the man is shouting back at Peeta. "I paid a lot of money for you two. Do you have any idea how much money the Star-crossed Lovers of District 12 were running for? I intend to get what I paid for! Should I tell Snow how uncooperative you're being?"

This has the desired effect on us. Peeta says nothing more. I refuse to turn around, but I stop my futile attempts to open the door. "Don't bother trying," the lecherous man tells me. "It's locked, and only I know the code to get out." Of course. In our silence, the man knows he has us. "Now... let's get started, shall we?" he asks in a calmer voice.

For a minute, the ticking of a clock in the room is the only sound. Then Peeta speaks in a hollow voice. "Come on Katniss."

It takes me another minute to work up the courage to turn around. Even then, it's only because the threat of my insubordination making its way back to Snow frightens me. There is no telling how he might take his anger out over the news. He's already threatened to kill Gale. This is the kind of thing that might make him act on his words. Possibly even more than that. Prim and my mother aren't safe from his retaliation, either. Reluctantly, I turn and slowly make my way to Peeta's side, refusing to make eye contact with the man. Refusing to look anywhere except down at the carpet. The man, mollified that he's going to get his way, sits back down on the couch.

"How would you like us to start?" Peeta asks the man, despite his earlier instructions to start however we "always start." The only problem with that is that there is no usual way. We've never done this with each other. I don't know about Peeta, but I've never done this at all.

"Oh, I don't care," the man says, sitting back as he takes another sip of the wine. "Just kiss each other or something. All I care about is getting the authentic experience."

I find that a little ironic, considering he's forcing us to do this against our will, in a way neither of us would ever choose to do on our own. But it is the Capitol, I guess. Peeta gives a little nod of his head, then grabs me by the hand and leads me over to one side of the bed. Then he turns me around to face him. He pulls me to him, taking me in his arms. Just as he always does when he's about to kiss me for the audience. Only now his eyes have an even more apologetic look to them than ever. Begging my forgiveness for a transgression he has no control over. Then he kisses me. It's long and deep, so as to put up a good show. I do my part too, wrapping my arms around his neck, running my hand through his hair. It's our usual act for the audience. Peeta runs his own hands up and down my body, but I can tell by the way he's touching me that it's making him uncomfortable. We make the kissing last as long as possible; just as we sense the man is becoming bored with the lips only stuff, Peeta begins to kiss his way down to my neck, his lips sucking on different spots of my skin. I'll admit it sends a shiver through me, but I can't say I really enjoy it. Not under these circumstances.

Even with all this heavy kissing, though, we can sense the man becoming impatient for us to take it to the next level. I'm dreading it. Peeta pulls me closer to him, and leans down so his lips are next to my ear, pretending to whisper loving words. Instead he gives me instructions. "Take off my shirt and coat. Don't question me, just do it. Don't look at him."

I nod, and reach up to pull on the shoulders of his dress jacket. I pause for a minute, wondering what to do with it, if I'm supposed to hang it down somewhere or lay it on the bed. Peeta saves me by grabbing it and tossing it on the floor, trying his best to appear playful. I unbutton his shirt next, and follow Peeta's example, tossing it on top of the jacket. He pulls me back to him for more instructions under the guise of loving words. "I'm going to take off your dress now," he warns me. "Run your hands over my chest or something." I do as I'm told, grateful, as ironic as it is, that Peeta is here to guide me through this. We seem to have an unspoken agreement not to let this man know the truth about the situation. That this is the first time for me. That if it were up to me, I wouldn't do this at all. With anyone.

Peeta is fumbling with the zipper on my dress. I'm about to ask if he needs help or for me to turn around, when he gets it. I feel the cooler air of the room hit my skin that had been protected by the dress, giving me goosebumps. Peeta doesn't pull the dress off right away, though. First he hugs me tightly against his chest. I'm not sure why. There's nothing sexual about it. I think he may be giving me a chance to prepare myself before he does take it off. He knows I'm squeamish about this kind of thing from when I washed his clothes in the arena. And this situation isn't exactly the easiest way to get used to it.

"Take it off!" the man snaps from behind Peeta, who nods and reluctantly moves to follow instruction. I brace myself the best I can. Outside my mother, Cinna, and my prep team, no one has seen me undressed before. Not even Peeta, even though I've basically seen him naked, if covered. At the rate things have been going, I didn't really doubt that he'd see me one day, but not like this. It'd be one thing if he were seeing me alone. Having one of the Capitol's most affluent citizens witness the moment makes it a whole new kind of awful.

The dress comes off easily enough. It settles for a split second around my elbows, and even though it's tempting to leave it that way, I shrug it the rest of the way off so that it falls to the floor, pooling around my feet. I try not to look at anyone-not Peeta, and definitely not the man watching this all unfold before his very eyes. Peeta directs me toward the bed, and I move to climb on. He follows. There's more kissing. Tentatively, he puts his hands on me and begins to touch me. It might feel nice under different circumstances, but it's only awkward knowing our onlooker is scrutinizing each touch and reaction. I try my best to look like I'm enjoying it. I suspect I'm failing.

Peeta pulls me to him again, and I know more instructions are coming. More warnings about things that have to happen. He lays me down on the bed first, gives me a kiss, then kisses his way up to my ear. "Smile. Make it look like I'm telling you something wonderful," he instructs. I throw my head back and give a laugh, hoping it sounds remotely genuine. "Good," he says. "We're going to have to take this to the next level soon, before he gets mad. I'm going to touch you... you know. Down there. It'll make it easier later on. It won't stop it from hurting completely, but it will help." I want to ask him how he knows all this, if he's done this before, but I know better than to do that. It does make me curious, though. Has he been with someone before? Did he learn this from his brothers? Either way, right now I'm glad that one of us knows what they're doing. I can sort out any other feelings I have about it later.

He procrastinates as long as he can, kissing me everywhere he can above the waistline. For a minute I think he'll even avoid my breasts, but eventually he plants a couple of cautious ones on them for show. Finally he slips his hand slowly below the elastic of my underwear. I have to resist the urge to instinctively shove him away for his transgression. Instead I screw my eyes shut and try to think about something else. I cringe when they make contact, but a minute later I relax a little. It isn't so bad. Peeta touches me the way I imagine he touches his paintings; the same attentive way I remember him working at the camouflage station during training last year. He pokes and rubs at things, even sticking a finger up inside me. I have to shove away that same urge to push him away, but I think he senses how uncomfortable it makes me because he doesn't keep it in me for very long.

A loud moan rings out in the room. Peeta and I look at each other, confused because it came from neither of us. Then the same thought seems to occur to us both at the same time. Since it's easier for me to look than for him, I crane my head to see around Peeta's body, dreading what I'm going to find. Even so, the sight that greets me takes me aback. Our friend has unzipped his pants and taken himself out, rubbing his pink member as he watches us. He gives me an especially creepy grin when he sees me watching him. I avert my gaze immediately back to Peeta, who confirms the truth about what's going on from my expression.

"Ignore it," he mouths down at me with a tired expression. He sets back to work, while I stare up at a fixed spot on the ceiling, wondering how on earth any of this is supposed to be appealing under any circumstances.

"Aren't you going to finish undressing each other?" the man asks. It may sound like an innocent enough question, but it's clear he's giving us another order. Peeta and I look at each other with a frown. Then Peeta sits back on his haunches and maneuvers himself off the bed. It goes against every instinct I have to watch him take off his underwear. I couldn't watch him in the arena when he was on the brink of death and there was nothing that was going to happen there. Now Peeta is healthy and robust, and we're expected to... well, it's clear this man thinks I got over being uncomfortable well before tonight, and wants to see a girl who's used to this by now. But try as I might, I can't watch him as he pulls them off. My eyes stay glued to that same fixed spot on the ceiling, wondering if I could somehow make it through this whole experience without actually getting a good look at him. If he's on top of me, I shouldn't see too much.

The man barks out a laugh that's something between disbelief and amusement. "You're not even hard yet!" he says, and I can only assume he means Peeta. "Have her suck you. That should get you up in no time."

Well, there goes that hope. I don't move. Neither does Peeta, for a moment. Then he speaks in a low voice. "Come on, Katniss." He takes hold of my hand and pulls me up gently. And that is when I get my first view of him. Strong and filled out compared to the last time I saw him in the arena, but I knew that already. I try not to look at his penis. He's giving me such a sorrowful expression, watching me avoid making eye contact with this part of him. He knows how lost, how uncomfortable I am. Instead I try to focus on the part of his left leg where the stump meets the prosthetic. This is something that's completely new to me, since he still had his leg the last time he stripped down in front of me in that river. And I've only seen flashes of his prosthetic leg, when I pulled his pant leg up during the interview with Caesar after we won the Games, or when he's seated himself in such a way that the fabric of his pant leg naturally pulls up.

He sits himself on the bed beside me. "I'll lie down. Then you can just put your lips on it and suck," he explains quietly. But it isn't quietly enough.

"She hasn't done this before?" the man asks. He's dropped hold of himself and is leaning towards us in interest. He has an expression I can't quite read, but I know I don't like it. Peeta doesn't like either, judging from the way he responds.

"She's never done oral before," he answers in a defensive voice. "She wasn't comfortable with it yet."

"She'll get comfortable with it soon enough, won't she!?" The man gives a creepy kind of laugh and leans back again, taking himself in hand once more. "Well that makes this even hotter. First times are one of my favorite fetishes."

I try to hide my horror at this revelation, and betray the truth to him. I don't think any good will come of it if he knows this is my first time for the whole thing. What would he do, if he found out? Would he want to join in? Force Peeta to watch while the man took me for the first time? It's a terrible thought, and if I think about it too much I'm only going to start panicking. I can't afford to do that. I'm just more relieved than ever that Peeta is here to help guide me through this. All I have to do is pretend I know what I'm doing. Which won't be easy. This acting stuff is hard enough for me as it is.

But as I gingerly crawl on my hands and knees and move over Peeta, I feel him take hold of my hand. He gives me a reassuring squeeze. It's not too different from the one he gave me on reaping day, what now feels like a whole lifetime ago. We seemed so innocent back then compared to now. But Peeta is sending me the same message now that he did then-I'm not alone. He's here in this beside me. And he'll do whatever he can to protect me. I glance up at him, hoping he can see in my eyes how grateful I am. Then, with a deep breath, I touch him for the first time.

It doesn't feel how I expect it to feel. I don't really know how I expected it to feel, but it doesn't seem like what one might expect. It's warm, and squishy. And it twitches when I touch it. Peeta lets out a little noise at the contact, and for a moment I glance back at him, afraid I've somehow hurt him. He looks embarrassed, but not in pain. "Keep going," he mouths, his eyes glancing at the man for a split second, then back to me. It takes me a second to work up the courage again, but then I set back to my task at hand.

I decide to just get it over with. Closing my eyes, I pull him up straight so I have a good shot with my mouth. And before I can think twice about it, I put my lips around him. It tastes nothing like I would expect it to, but that seems to be the pattern here. Maybe a little salty, the way it would if you licked your own finger. But not much of anything else. Peeta lets out a groan at the contact, and moves underneath me. His hand flexes in my grip, then falls still again. I don't move, because now I'm at a loss over what to do. Is this all there is to it? Am I supposed to do something else?

"Katniss," Peeta says, and his voice sounds more throaty than it did a minute ago. "Move it in and out of your mouth. Like regular sex." I'm sure he adds the last part to make it sound like I know what that's like, but the instructions do help. I try to nod, but quickly stop when I realize how awkward it is to do so with him in my mouth. Then I move my face down so I can get more of him in.

And I immediately gag, sitting back immediately and coughing. I can hear the man laughing at my inexperience. Peeta is sitting up and taking me in his arms. "Slowly," he whispers. "Go slowly." I nod, and try to regain my composure. Peeta sits with his arms around me until I'm ready. Then he's back on his back, and I try taking him in my mouth again, going slower.

"Wait a minute," the man stops us. I try not to glare at him. "I want her naked while she sucks you."

A chill runs through me. Neither of us move. I wonder if he'll make Peeta take off the last remaining pieces of cloth covering me, or if I'll be allowed the pleasure. "Take it off," the man orders me. Well, I guess that answers that question.

My eyes fall to the floor as I slowly move my hands behind me, taking as long as possible to unclasp the fastenings of my bra. I silently whisper a word of thanks to Cinna for making this one a bit more complicated than usual, because it makes my act of drawing this out seem a lot more authentic. Eventually I get it, and the straps dangle loosely behind me. My heart is pounding in my chest as I try to find some sort of way to make this experience more livable. Looking at the man when I take it off is out of the question. Looking at Peeta is a bit better, but still awkward in its own right. And I can't hide in the bathroom or face against the wall, because then the patron would just get angry. I decide to angle myself partly towards Peeta, but still enough away from him that I don't feel like he's getting a direct shot. Even though I know he's going to see it eventually. There's no hiding anything at this point. Resisting the urge to cover myself, I make similar work with my underwear. Then I stand there, taking deep breaths to calm myself, feeling more vulnerable than I have ever felt in my entire life.

"Turn around," the man breathes. "I want to get a good look at you."

I screw my eyes shut and nod, then spin slowly in my spot. I can hear him take a sharp breath of air in, then give out a piercing whistle. "Not bad," he says. "Not the tits Mason has on her, but you're a pretty enough thing." He gives a slimy sort of laugh, as though pleased with himself. Or me. Or the privilege of getting to see me. "Now get back to sucking your boy off," he commands with a note of glee.

I nod, biting back tears, and turn back to join Peeta on the bed. Peeta is just sitting there, with a look on his face unlike any I've ever seen before. It's a mixture of hardness and shock. He tears his eyes back to me as I approach him, and I can tell he's making an effort to only look at my face, and not anywhere else on my body. "You might as well look," I want to tell him. There's no point in acting like there's any reverence in it now. Climbing onto the bed beside him, I feel him wrap his arms around me protectively, conveniently covering the most private areas of my body. He holds me as long as he dares without angering the man forcing us into this. "I think we'd better get back to it, if you're ready," he tells me in a quiet voice. I nod, not looking up.

But when Peeta begins to lie down, we're interrupted again. "Not like that," the man says. "Sit on the edge of the bed. Make her get on her knees, if you know what I mean." I don't even bother looking to Peeta for further instruction, and he doesn't seem to be in a hurry to give it. He just scoots to the edge of the bed, as told, and spreads his legs to make room for me. And I get down on all fours, just like this disgusting excuse for a human being wanted, and take Peeta into my mouth again.

The whole situation has become unbearable, which seems like an odd thing to say considering. But he seems intent on making this as humiliating for me as possible. It's as though he doesn't see either of us as human beings, but playthings to fulfill his fantasy. Which, I realize, considering how they send us into an arena every year to watching us kill ourselves for their entertainment, I guess that's exactly how he does see us. Play things for his own personal whims. He grunts and groans the whole time I move my mouth on Peeta. Especially when it becomes clear that Peeta is enjoying this more than he wants. When I first got down on the ground, he slipped his hand back into mine. But with each bob of my head, I feel him grow harder on my tongue. Eventually moans begin escaping him as well, though he cuts them off in a gargled way that makes me suspect he's embarrassed by it. Still, he slips his hand out of mine. Feeling alone, I settle it on his thigh and try not to dig my nails into it.

At last the man stops us. But relief is not his intent. His hand sticky with his fluid, his member bright pink and swollen in his hand, he informs us that it's now time for the act itself. So, both of us unable to look each other in the eyes, I climb back onto the bed with Peeta. I decide to leave the rest of this up to him, since he's such an expert, and lie down on my back.

Peeta climbs over and sits beside me, taking a few deep breaths as he collects himself. He seems to be watching something. His blue eyes are focused on the far end of the bed, at least, and not at all on me or our situation. In fact, they seem to be watching the patron who is enforcing this little episode of hell. Peeta looks thoughtful, though. He gets a strange look in his eye, like he does when he's mulling something over, one of his plans. Then he turns his attention to me, poking his finger inside me without giving me any sort of warning or anything. It's so abrupt, so forceful, that I actually give a yelp before I can stop myself. "That hurt!" I hiss at him.

"Sorry," he mutters. Then he turns and faces the man again. "She isn't wet enough for this. She needs some of that stuff."

What stuff is he talking about? I lift my head up to see. The man has a bottle of something in his hand, but what is it? I don't recognize it.

"Don't be silly," the man answers. "This is mine. Make her wet yourself. She's your girl, isn't she?"

"She's nervous," Peeta says. "Giving her oral sex isn't going to work for her like it did me. She has a hard time getting wet when we're alone. It'll hurt her if she can't use some of that."

Wet? What on earth is Peeta talking about? And what will hurt me?

"Fine!" the man snarls. "But don't let her use too much of it. Do you know how expensive that stuff is?"

I feel the bed shift underneath me as Peeta moves over to take the bottle from the man. "We won't," he says, and even I can hear the annoyance in his voice. Peeta crawls back over to me, holding the bottle out with one hand. "Here," he tells me. In a quieter voice he adds, "put some of this on down there."

"Okay," I mutter, and sit up to do this. I pour the contents of the bottle on my hand -it's some sort of clear liquid, though it's not water or anything else I've ever seen before. Probably some concoction you can only get here in the Capitol. I rub it around down there. Peeta, who has been mostly averting his eyes, glances down. "Not just outside," he tells me. "Put it inside as well." I stop applying the stuff and give him a disgusted look. "Trust me," he tells me. "It'll hurt even more if you don't put it there." I roll my eyes and sigh, but I follow his instructions anyway. When I'm finished, I give the bottle back to Peeta, and he even squeezes out a little and spreads it on his penis. "Just to be sure," he tells me. He hands it back over to the man, who snatches it away from him.

"I guess we may as well do this, then," he says. I shrug, and lay back down on the bed, finding that same spot on the ceiling and trying not to think about how nervous I really am right now. Peeta dips his hands between my thighs, and spreads my legs apart. Then he crawls over me. "You okay?" he asks. What a dumb question. Of course I'm not okay. But just to make this as painless as it can possibly be, I nod my head, hoping he sees the truth in my eyes.

He doesn't do anything right away. First he spends some time finding the right balance-with his prosthetic leg, I guess it's a little difficult for him. After he decides on one that seems to work for him, he goes back to poking around down there. This time he sticks his fingers inside of me even more than he did before. It doesn't matter now how uncomfortable it makes me, because there's no avoiding it any longer. When he sticks his fingers inside me, he spreads them out a little, as though stretching. It makes me yelp because it hurts, but as soon as I do I can sense it was the wrong move to make.

Peeta covers beautifully, though. "Does that feel good?" He gives a laugh. "You always like it when I do that to you."

Obviously I don't do any such thing, but I can tell this is what the man needs to hear if he's to believe I've done this before. Only now I have to come up with something convincing to say to confirm it. Which is never an easy task for me. "I love it," I say, stumbling over the words and the man doesn't notice.

"Get on with it already!" the man protests. "Get to the good stuff!"

Peeta lets out a long, languished breath, and drops his gaze as he nods. "Okay," he agrees. He looks down at me with sad eyes. "You ready?" I don't respond. He reaches down between us and adjusts himself so that he's right at my entrance. I can even feel the tip of his penis on my skin. It's a weird, agitating kind of feeling. Even though I don't want to do this at all, it makes me wish he would push himself inside me just to make the teasing feeling to go away.

My wish is granted after a short respite where Peeta seems to steady himself with deep breaths. After he catches his rhythm, a determined look crosses his face. Then, slowly, slowly, he begins to push, edging his way inside of me in a very careful, measured pace. And at first it's not so bad. It's not something I'm used to, and definitely a strange feeling to have something down there, but it's more awkward and unfamiliar than what I'm used to. Which is nothing at all.

Then the pain hits. As the full girth of him stretches inside me, it quickly becomes too much for my body. There's an awful feeling of something pinching... and then something breaking. And on top of that, he's too big for me. I want to scream at him, shove him away from me so that this horrible pain will go away.

Peeta is looking down at me with a horrified expression. His mouth is hanging open, and his brow is knit tightly together. I can tell he's wondering if he should keep going or pull out of me.

I want to yell at him. This is horrible! And the longer he just sits there, the worse it feels.

Unfortunately, I soon realize that isn't the only reason Peeta looks so disturbed. I must have let out that scream or at least a loud yelp of pain or something to give my situation away. Because whatever I did, one thing is obvious: the man knows I'm a virgin. Or was, before this awful moment. There's a sickening laugh coming from his direction.

"So it is her first time!" He says in his high, piggish voice. "Ooooh ho ho, you thought you could hide it from me, but it turns out it's my lucky day, isn't it? I figured there was no way you two would be inexperienced at this point." He gives a self-satisfied little chuckle. "I guess I was wrong. That pretty little price tag Snow fixed on you two was worth it. No, don't stop!" He yells when he sees Peeta starting to pull out of me. "Things just got even hotter here. Keep going. Show her how she's going to like being deflowered!"

I feel sick to my stomach. Peeta, looking thoroughly defeated, just nods and begins edging himself inside me again. "Oh, don't bother going so slow," the man snaps at him. "She's going to have to learn to get used to it somehow. And I enjoy tough love."

By this point I can't even try holding the tears back. I feel them spill over and roll slowly down my cheeks as Peeta does what he's told. I let out a little screech when he picks up the pace-I can't help it. But as the man grunts in pleasure, I'm determined to hold my ground. So no matter how much it hurts, I do my best to remain quiet. To keep everything locked inside of me. It doesn't always work, because sometimes I can't help whimpering. But I won't let him get much more satisfaction than that.

It's a long time before the pain begins to gradually ebb away. Not completely, because it's still painful and awkward to the point where I have a hard time understanding why anybody would willingly subject themselves to this. But it isn't the horrible assault it was at first. I don't know how it is for Peeta, because he won't look at me. Whatever it may be for him physically, it's clear he isn't enjoying himself. In fact, I realize he may even be crying himself. It's hard to tell in such poor lighting though.

From his corner, the man's grunting and moaning would be almost comical if it weren't so horrific. I privately hope for every horrible thing I can imagine happening to him. I wonder if he has ever felt a moment of pain or humiliation in his entire life. When Peeta's movements become jagged and even more unbearable, followed by him pulling out of me at last, the man echoes the actions, the way he madly rubs his hand on his penis until he spills over on his hand. While Peeta does it with minimal noise, though, the man lets out a throaty groan loud enough for anyone on the floor to hear. He lets his head fall back on the pillow cushion, grinning, and breathing heavily. His hand and lap is a mess.

I don't dare move. It's too uncomfortable anyways. It's a huge relief to have Peeta out of me finally, but a sharp ache remains in his place. Peeta just sits hunched over, the same milky white substance over his hand and lap as on the man's. Only he doesn't seem anywhere near as pleased about it as the patron does.

Eventually the man moves, reaching for a cloth and wiping himself off. He doesn't even bother to look at us while he does this. When he seems satisfied that he's gotten everything, he zips his pants back up. Then he finally bothers addressing us.

"Not bad," he tells us. "You two need some work to be as good as the others, but not bad for a first time." His eyes flit down to the spot between my legs, and I have to fight the urge to cover myself. But what would be the point? "Move over, girl," he tells me. "You too, boy."

Peeta and I just glance at each other before I sit up at last, wincing as I do so. I can feel the pain even more acutely when I move. And what's more, as I sit up, I notice the blood that's dribbled from out of me, staining the sheets we were on. I feel embarrassed, and stupidly enough, I feel bad for staining a perfectly clean sheet. I doubt that will ever come out. The man is grabbing the sheet now, and at first I think he's angry over the blemish. But he just wants Peeta and me off so he can grab it off the bed.

"This will earn a pretty penny out there," he mutters, not really caring if we're even listening. "Proof that I got to see Katniss Everdeen lose her virginity." He lets out a whistle. "This will make me an envied man." I think I'm going to throw up. He tucks the sheet onto the desk, then smooths out his clothes. "I'll be getting back to the party now. Make sure you lock up when you leave." And with that, he leaves us alone in the room.

We sit in stunned silence for a good couple of minutes. Peeta is the first one to move. "Come on," he mumbles. "We'd better get dressed." He climbs off the bed and digs around on the floor for our clothes, handing mine to me when he finds them. I take them from him, but make no move to get dressed myself for another few minutes. I can only stare blankly ahead of me, trying to register some sort of emotion. Anger, sadness, rage. Anything. But I can only find numbness.

Eventually, I move too, except I can only do so slowly and stiffly. I pull the underwear and dress on. It takes me a few tries, but then I get the shoes strapped on too.

"Let's go," Peeta says. "Effie will be waiting for us." His voice is flat. He can't bring himself to look at me. I nod, but say nothing in response, only following him as he moves for the door. First he stops, though, and gives the sheet a dirty look. Then he seizes it, balling it up in his hands and then flinging it as hard as he can into the fireplace. I watch as the flames catch on it, crackling and sizzling as they destroy the piece of fabric.

"Come on," Peeta says, and heads for the door.