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The Night (Hunger Games Fan Fiction) - Poem by auau weeee

It's been a little over a year since the war. I've tried to return to as normal of a life as I can without Prim and my mother. My house in Victors Village just seems too empty. I spend most of my time in the woods…hunting…gathering…thinking and sometimes even spending the night under the stars. Anything I can do escape reality…to try and capture a fraction of what I felt before the games.

Today has been a good day. I ventured out early in the morning, heading to the lake to do a little fishing. After the bite died down…
I headed deep into the woods to practice my snares. It's been a long time since I attempted to make one. I often avoided doing so…as it reminded me so much of Gale. I wonder what he was doing this very second. I wonder if he missed being out here with me. What would it be like if he were here right now?

It doesn't matter...because he isn't I tell myself and quickly busy myself with the task at hand. After capturing a few nice rabbits…I notice the sun is beginning to set. Along with my hunting gear I'd brought along a sleeping back just in case I couldn't bare going to back home…to be alone…again tonight. But winter is quickly approaching and a stiff breeze knocks me to my senses. Any other person would be crazy to even consider sleeping out in these woods alone…but after you've been through what I've been through I find myself giggling at the notion these woods might be dangerous.

I pack up my game and head back under the fence to district 12, strolling slowly toward my place.

As I approach I see a dark figure standing near my doorstep. Instinctively I draw my bow, then I quickly lower it as I realize it's just Peeta.

'Hey Katniss', he says seeming a bit nervous. 'I was just stopping by to see if you'd eaten.'

Things have been awkward between the two of us to say the least for the last few months, but I was happy that slowly but surely the old Peeta was coming back. We didn't spend a lot of time together, but the brief moments we shared gave me hope that one day he would be his old self. It hasn't been until very recently that he's even attempted to give me a pat on the shoulder or a hug. Although he often showers me with kind words as he used too, we have been keeping a careful distance between one another. We are both afraid. Of what exactly I'm not sure.

'Hey Peeta. No I haven't eaten I'm just getting back from a long day out hunting'.

'Oh well then you're probably much too tired for company', he says with a slight tinge of disappointment and a hint of relief.

This has been the first time he's offered to spend any time with me alone in months. The curiosity of it gets the better of me. I also wonder if this is another small step in the process of him opening up and fully trusting me once more, so I don't want to let the moment slip through my fingers.

'No', I say. 'Can you give me a few minutes to clean up? You're more than welcome to wait here or at your own place…I mean if you're ok with waiting', I stammer.

'Sure. I'll head back over to my place…meet me there when you're ready'. He turns on his heel and heads toward his house.

I quickly shower, removing all the dirt, sweat and grime that had accumulated on my body after a long hard day hunting. I didn't give much thought to what I'd wear. I mean I was just going to visit with Peeta for a while…no need to be fancy. So I threw on a pair of khaki slacks, a white button up top and my father's hunting jacket.

As I headed for the front door…I'm overcome with a nervous feeling. I can't quite place it. Then it hits me. I'm going to have dinner with Peeta…alone.

Most of our encounters since we returned to District 12 were in the middle of the day and out in the open. Though we'd had a lot of quality time together to reconnect, we were rarely alone. How would being alone change things? Was I ready for this? Was he ready for this? Is there a chance he might have a relapse and attack me? Would I break down from the guilt I've been carrying about letting him get captured in the first place?

I begin to panic. Sweat forms on my forehead as I consider not going. But something pushes me forward. Maybe it's the realization that I miss being with him, alone. Maybe it's the realization that if we are both on the right track as far as healing from the past, spending an hour or two alone, no matter how difficult would be worth it. So I move forward, go through the door and head for Peeta's house.

'I was beginning to think you weren't going to come', Peeta says with a broad grin. I love seeing him smile. It reminds me so much that the old Peeta is still here. He gestures for me to come in.

'Something smells really good. What did you make? ', I ask.

'I got a special delivery from the Capitol today. It's one of your favorites so that's why I thought I would invite you over to share it with me.'

As I move deeper into the house I can make out the smell…

'Lamb stew…'

'With plumbs', Peeta finishes. 'I also baked fresh bread today, though I made too much. Once you're used to making food for more than one it's hard to stop'. As he speaks I notice he becomes a little flushed. I know he misses his family. When his father was alive they would bake from morning until deep into the night…for the bakery and for their home. I've been so caught up in my own depression of missing Prim that I hadn't even thought about how much Peeta must miss his entire family. As I hold back tears I try and change the subject.

'Have you heard from Haymitch lately? '

'No I haven't seen him in about 2 days. I actually planned to go and check on him tomorrow if I didn't see him around town', he says seeming grateful I didn't press him to talk about the comment he's made about the food.

'That sounds like a good idea.' Peeta and I had decided to look out for Haymitch. Though he was our mentor, we were now his caretakers. Peeta and I had an unspoken agreement about it. It seemed I was in charge of watching him one week and Peeta was in charge another.

'Here sit', he says as he pulls out a chair at the table.

I watch him effortlessly move around the kitchen, slightly envious of his talent and patience. He fills a bowl with rice and then spoons large portions of stew on top. I watch him slice a warm loaf of bread and cover it with butter before placing the food in front of me.

'Peeta, this smells really good. Thank you for inviting me, ' I say before spooning heaps of stew into my mouth. It's even more delicious than I remember. I don't know if it's because I hadn't eaten all day, but I devour the entire meal in just a few minutes. I realize that Peeta hasn't even sat down before my bowl is empty and the bread is gone. I feel hot with embarrassment.

Peeta just smiles…and gets me another bowl and another thick slice of bread. This time he joins me at the table.

'Katniss, thank you for coming.'

I'm slightly startled by the comment. Do I dare press?

'What do you mean? ', I ask. 'Why wouldn't I come? We're friends right? '

'Katniss, you don't have to pretend. I know things have been strange between us and it's mostly my faulty…I…'

Before he can continue I cut him off…'what happened to you was not your fault, ' I say bluntly.

'Katniss, I attacked you. And I know that when I was…under their influence I hurt you in more ways than one. I wish I could take it back. I wish it had never happened. I just want to be friends like we were again.'

Despite my best efforts I feel tears begin to sting my eyes. 'Peeta. Stop apologizing. You've said you're sorry for this before. I mean it when I say it was not your fault. I don't blame you for anything. If anything it was my fault. I vowed to protect you and I failed. I can't even imagine what you went through. It's time to just put it behind us ok? I don't want to talk about it anymore', I suddenly realize I'm yelling. 'I'm sorry', I whisper.

'Don't be. I'm just glad you're here, again thank you…it means a lot to me.'

As I stare into his clear blue eyes I don't see a trace of the violent weapon he used to be. I see friendship, adoration and appreciation. I want to reach out and touch his hand but I don't. I don't know what he is thinking and I don't want to upset him or set him off in any way so I don't. But at that moment for the first time in a long time I long for his touch and I'm glad to have my friend.

After polishing off a third bowl of stew I begin to clean up while Peeta begins the task of putting the food away. Without even asking he begins setting aside stew and bread for me to take home. We work in silence. As I put away the last dish I begin gathering my things to leave.

'Leaving so soon? ', he asks.

'Yeah. I don't want to wear out my welcome', I say teasing.

'You could never do that', he replies very seriously. 'Do you have enough fire wood for the night? '

Fire wood? I hadn't had a fire lit in my place in weeks. I'd simply been wearing extra clothes to bed and piling on extra blankets.

'No. I haven't been lighting a fire', I say flatly.

'It's going to be really cold tonight. I'll walk you home, bring some of my wood and light up a fire for you so you'll be warm tonight', he says.

I think about protesting but I know it will be useless. 'Ok'.

Peeta gathers my things and helps me slip into my jacket. In one arm he carries a load of fire wood and in the other he carries my leftover stew and bread. We walk in silence watching the steam come out of our mouths as out hot breath meets the cold damp air.

Once we arrive at my house it strikes me that my place is in shambles. Since I literally leave the house every day all day…the whole house was looking more like a big closet than a home. There is no one here with me, I don't feel like it is a home so I don't treat it as such. Clothes lie all over and the place is devoid of any food. At best it looked like a slightly lived in haunted house. Coming from the cleanliness and homely smells of Peeta's home…the state of my house made me slightly embarrassed and lonely.

Peeta walked in, put away my food and began quickly lighting the fire. After he got a good blaze glowing he sat there staring into the flames for a moment. I watched the orange light flicker across his face. I wonder what he is thinking. For a moment I think of Cinna, how he turned Peeta and I into living flames.

Peeta turns to face me and his eyes meet mine. 'I miss Cinna', he says.

So he was thinking the same thing.

'I do too'.

We looked into one another's eyes for another moment before Peeta starts making his way to the door.

'Peeta? '

'Yes? '

'Would you mind staying for a little while longer? I don't want to be alone right now.'

'I'll stay as long as you like', he says warmly.

We sit in front of the fire. He is laying back on his elbows and I'm sitting with my knees clutched to my chest. I don't know how long we sat there. Could have been hours. No words exchanged. I was afraid to go to sleep, as my nightmares have been getting progressively worse since the war. I wonder if Peeta still has them.

'Are you tired? ', he asked.

'A little.'

He sits up. 'You can put your head on my shoulder if you want.'

I hesitate before moving closer to him and gingerly laying my head on his shoulder. I feel his arm go around my waist. I feel a bolt of electricity shoot through my body. I've truly missed being in his arms. I've missed him. I close my eyes and in no time I drift off to sleep.

Suddenly the room feels cold. I open my eyes and Peeta is gone. I'm lying flat on my back. I try to move but I realize my hands and feet are tied together. I immediately begin to panic.

'Peeta! ', I whisper loudly…frantically. But there is no answer.

I hear a deep growl and I feel hot breath near my face. I turn to my left…onlyto be looking into the eyes of my baby sister Prim…only it is her eyes but not her body. She's been made into a mutt. She has the face of a wolf and the massive body of a bear. She snarles at me…

'Katnisssssssss'…you're going to die, just like me.

My eyes fill with tears as I become fully gripped in panic, fear, and desperation. I know this thing is not my sister…but her eyes and her voice…

'You killed me Katnisssssss. Gale murdered me and you let him. Do you still see me be burning? Can you smell my flesh as it melts away. As I die! ', the beast yells.

'You're not real', I cry. 'You're not my sister! '

The beast then hovers above me. Drool from its fangs dripping on my face. Then my nose is filled with that awful smell of blood and roses. I know he must be nearby.

'Katniss my dear oh what a mess you're in once again.' It's the voice of Snow…but I can't see him. 'Up here my dear', the voice calls.

I look above me and there is a jabberjay circling my living room but it has the face of snow. The jabberjay slowly begins to descend down and lands on my chest.

'I hate you! ', the Snow faced bird snaps at me. 'I hate you. Prim hates you. Everyone you ever loved hates you! '

The bird begins to tear chunks of flesh out of my cheek with its beak. I scream out in pain…I continue to scream hoping that someone will hear me…

'Katniss! ', I hear Peeta say.

'Katniss', he says again and I am startled by how calm he sounds. Where the hell is he…why isn't he helping me.

'Katniss! ', this time his voice is loud and firm and jerks me back to reality. It was a dream. It was just another terrible dream.

The fire he started earlier in the evening is now just a pile of glowing embers and it seems we'd both dozed off.

'I'm sorry Peeta…I.'

'No need to explain', he says. 'Do you want to talk about it? '

'No', I say and tears begin to uncontrollably run down my cheek.

Without warning he rises to his feet then scoops me up like an injured school girl. The fire has warmed the entire house so he takes me to my nice warm room. In the darkness he pulls off my shoes and encourages me to lie down. He sits in the edge of the bed…caressing my back.

'Try to go back to sleep, I'll stay with you a while', he says reassuringly.

'Peeta. Come lie down with me', I say.

'Are you sure? ', he asks.

'Yes', I reply. I am more than sure. I don't know if it's a bad idea…I don't care. I miss the comfort of him lying next to me. The nightmare scared me, as they all do. But I was briefly reminded that my life can still be taken at a moment's notice. I don't want to waste any more time being unhappy or unsure about anything. I wanted to be in his arms. I wanted to feel safe and secure like I used to…and even if he was not ready it couldn't hurt to ask.

I notice him thinking for a minute before he takes off his shoes and climbs into bed with me. Instinctively he wraps his arms around me and brings me close to his chest.

I melt into his strength and warmth. I let out a sigh of relief. It has been more than a year since I've been in his arms and probably even more than that since I've had any physical contact with another human being. His presence feels good…it feels right.

After settling into a comfortable position he closes his eyes and whispers 'goodnight'.

'Goodnight', I say but I don't feel very much like sleeping. My mind is racing. I try to close my eyes and calm down but the very touch I thought would simply be comforting has awakened new feelings. Feelings that I can't explain. After a few failed attempts at falling asleep I open my eyes to study his face. The way his golden hair falls messily over his face. The way he breathes. The curves of his biceps. He's so handsome. Even in his sleep.

I think of all the kind words he's said to me since the games up until now and my heart begins to swell. Words that used to make me feel awkward I now wish he would say. I remember all the times he laid down his life for me. Why did he love me so much? Does he still love me the same?

I didn't deserve him.

I reach up and gently move a few strands of hair from his forehead. I then softly kiss his cheek.

He opens his eyes. He reaches up and places a warm hand on my cheek…gently rubbing my skin with his thumb. It's such a simple act but it feels so good and so sweet.

'Are you back Peeta? ', I ask.

'Yes Katniss. You must know that no matter what I will never leave you. I don't care if I'm beaten, torched and brain washed, I will always come back to you.' He then leans forward and gives me a gentle kiss on my forehead.

It is the first time his lips have touched me in months. The contact instantly covers my body with goosebumps.

My mind briefly goes back to the cave. We were both near death…struggling to stay alive. Hoping just that one of us made it home. That first kiss…where I felt something deep inside for him coming back to my mind. The realization that I never thought we would ever be safe again. We would never be together again. The thought that I was constantly pushing him away because I was afraid to get attached to someone who was going to die or that I would die soon.

It hit me that the days of struggling to live were behind us. No more bleeding to death or pretending to be someone we are not just to stay alive. Here we are together…safe..warm…and in my bed. What am I afraid of? We more than earned this…

I move forward and gently place my lips on his.

I feel a fluttering in my stomach, as I realize he is kissing me back. We exchange soft gentle kisses before I notice his arms tightening around my body. I wrap my arms around his neck and pull myself closer to him, squeezing him tight. I feel a hollowness in my chest that can only be remedied by being as close to him as humanly possible.

The small gentle kisses evolve. They become longer and deeper. No longer simply bringing us together, but quenching a deep desire that we've both been hiding for a long time.

Peeta rolls me on top of him, and I continue to kiss him. I'm engulfed in full and complete hunger for him. I feel the warmth and the fire within that I felt the night we kissed during the quarter quell. This time the intensity has grown. I think to myself that I just might devour him tonight like I sis those bowls of lamb stew.

His hand slowly makes its way under my shirt. The sensation of his hands on my bare back pushes me to arch against him…eliciting a moan.

I lean down to kiss him again and this time I feel his tongue lightly brushing against my lips. I part my lips to let him enter…and the sensation is maddening.

Peeta sits up as I straddle his lap. I reach down and lift his shirt over his head revealing his perfectly chiseled chest. He slowly unbuttons my top to reveal by black bra. He gently kisses the skin just above the bra cup slowly making his way up to my neck. Ever so often grazing his teeth against my skin or lightly sucking the most delicate spots, sending shivers down my spine.

I feel parts of my body awaken that I never knew existed. It is at that moment I know that I'm where I'm supposed to be. That no man would ever make me feel as safe, comforted, loved and desired as Peeta does.

I've always known that I didn't ever want to live without him. But it is at this very moment I realize that I love him. He's not just a friend…I desire him.

He pulls away from my neck, and we stare into each other's eyes. Just as we are about to kiss again we hear a loud crash outside the window.

Startled out of our trance of passion…Peeta hops up to see what the commotion is. I'm immediately relived when I see that Peeta is smiling.

'It's Haymith', he says. 'He fell out of his window again. I better go get him'

I laugh a little, 'don't be long', I say.

'Well Katniss I'm not sure if I should come back tonight', he says.

'Why? '

'Well. I want you. In ways that you probably can't even imagine. If this continues we might end up doing something tonight that we both regret.'

I hated to admit it, but he was right. I got caught up in a moment. With our past and the tension that's built up over the months…we may have just gotten a bit carried away. Regardless of why what just happened occurred I knew for sure my feelings were real. We may be moving too fast, but I know that I love him…and I wanted him too…but we needed to be a bit more rational. Still I didn't want him to go.

'Peeta, please stay the night. You don't have to sleep in the same bed with me…but I don't want you to go.'

'Ok Katniss. After I get Haymitch in bed I will be back. But I'll keep my distance', he says smiling. Before leaving he gives me a soft kiss on my forehead.

'I have loved you all my life Katiniss. I hope to one day make you my wife. Then I will have all of you…the honorable way. As much as I love you and want you, this isn't right. I'll be back soon.'

'I know', I whisper as I watch him walk out the bedroom door. But from that moment on I knew…there is no other man I want. I want to be Peeta Mellark's wife.

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