You. Don’t. Say.
Huh, you make an ugly woman. It was to be expected though. You’re a butt fuck ugly guy.
Something weird is going on.
So… do we kill each other on the field and see who has the most people left, or do we force them to give up before the fighting’s even started with propaganda?
We shouldn’t be fighting at all. How do you think it’s going to end? The last time they had a war, they blew the country apart. It’s going to happen again.
Katniss flinched at Peeta’s words again. Without a second thought. That had always been the worst part - death had become a part of life in the Capitol, and thousands of peoples’ blood was shed without a second thought. They were accustomed to it, muted to it, seeing it all as ‘an unfortunate thing’. None in the Capitol seemed to view it as a loss. They didn’t understand the loss of a loved one, and they never would. To them, the destruction of District Twelve was simply a tragedy.
When Peeta touched her hand, she felt like she was meant to pull away, but she didn’t. She’d gotten through to him. She’d finally gotten through to him. How far, she didn’t know, but in that moment, she felt safe.
And all she really wanted to do was hug him. To know that he was really there, and he was Peeta - but she didn’t. She resisted, for now, and settled for wrapping her fingers around his gently. Even though it’s not what they used to have, it was something. It was enough to make Katniss thing that they might be able to defeat the Capitol after all. As Beetee had once said, there’s always a flaw in the system.
"You’ll always have me," Katniss repeated, hoping it was reassuring, and hoping he could see she was telling the truth. She wasn’t going to let him go that easy. She wouldn’t leave him. He needed her as much as she needed him, because no one on God’s green earth could possibly understand what they’d gone through except for each other.
After a moments thought, she added, “And I’m glad I haven’t lost you.”
When Katniss returned the soft touch and squeezed his fingers gently, Peeta felt comforted. It had been a long time since he had felt any comfort. He was constantly stuck inside his own head, thinking that he was going crazy and mourning the things he’d lost. Right now though, he felt like things could be okay. Maybe not today, or tomorrow or maybe not even in a year but they could be. That little bit of hope was more important than anything else and he wanted to cling to it like he did Katniss’s hand.
He let her words wash over him and comfort him. Their hands stayed together as Peeta tried to regain his composure. He hadn’t really cried about his family’s death and it had boiled over when he’d seen an apron. He should have been stronger than that, he was meant to be the strong one and this time, he wasn’t. It took him a long time to form the words he wanted to say. It was difficult for him but finally, he mumbled a very quiet; “I think I lost myself.”
Their little bubble of comfort was broken when one of Peeta’s guards came storming through the house and into the kitchen. It only took one look before the soldier lunged for Peeta. He yelped, frightened, and held his hands up in front of his face. His thoughts caught up to what was happening and he realised, the marks on Katniss’s neck. They were marks from his hands. He had tried to kill her, they were right to lock her up.
He didn’t fight it when the guard pulled him to his feet and roughly pushed him over the bench. It wasn’t until the apron fell from his fingers that Peeta reacted at all. He began struggling. “No, no! Let me… I need the apron! Please, please let me hold it.”
It was the final thread on his sanity, it was the thing keeping him stable but now that it was gone Peeta felt like a caged animal again. Kicking out, Peeta’s boot hit the knee of the soldier and he spun around to get the apron. The commotion had alerted more guards and three of them were in the house now and converging on him.
"Please." He pleaded but it was too late. All four men were on him now, pulling his arms behind his back until he cried out in pain. His next plea was quieter, more broken. He didn’t want to fight it anymore. "Please. Katniss, help me."
No, but do you want this war to continue with more deaths?
I don’t want this at all. The rate we’re going, we’re going to decimate both sides. No one will survive.
We need shots, but I wont film you doing your true morning if you don’t want me to.
Do you know what we aim to do with these films?
No. I don’t want you to. Film what you have to but I don’t agree to it.
I know what they’re for. I don’t care. I’m not the mockingjay.
Katniss couldn’t accept it. The thought of death wasn’t what disturbed her, not after everything, but it was the thought of Peeta being the one behind it. Of dying and leaving Peeta with the belief that she was a monster who had been responsible for all of this. And maybe she was responsible for the terrible, horrible things that had happened to her home, to Panem, to all of them, but she was doing everything she could to fix it. If she was goign to die right now, she’d do anything for Peeta to know at least that much.
She thought about Prim. Katniss never believed in an afterlife, no matter how much easier that would have made facing the world, and she wished she believed in one now. She wished she believed that she could go to a place where she would be with Prim again. Where they could sing, cook, where she could teach Prim how to swim and maybe even shoot.
But at least Katniss could look forward to oblivion. She wouldn’t even know she was dead. She could let go of everything, she could be at peace and die knowing that the Rebellion could turn her into a martyr and Peeta into a victim. This is what the Capitol is capable of, look what they can do to people, this is why you need to fight! Just as long as they could remind Peeta of the truth. Just as long as someone watched over her mother and made sure she was okay. Just as long as Gale knew that, despite everything, they always had each other. No loose ends.
And the moment Katniss accepted this as her end, the moment she decided that this was okay, something clicked inside of Peeta, and he dropped her. She fell to the ground, not realizing her knees had grown unbearably weak, coughing and gasping for air. When she could finally breath again, she didn’t get a chance to pick herself up before Peeta was on his knees next to her. Almost ready to defend herself again, Katniss was surprised when she saw the look of distress on Peeta’s face.
Katniss wanted to do something. Put a comforting hand on his shoulder, or hug him, the way he’d done for her for longer than she deserved, but she was afraid of setting him off again. But then he let out a horrible cry, followed by words that made Katniss flinch.
Then he said her name, the way he used to.
"Peeta," she whispered, almost like it was a question. "I know. I…" She wanted to sit down and cry with him, because that’s all she’d wanted to do since the moment their hovercraft touched down in Twelve. She wanted to let it all out, because once they stepped outside, she had to put on a brave face again. But that wasn’t going to help. That’s not what Peeta needed to hear. At least, she hoped not.
"I know. But… You have…" she took a breath, wondering if this was even what he wanted to hear. But now was the time to try. "You have me, Peeta. And Haymitch. You even have Effie."
The tears continued to flow, they blinded Peeta but he knew she was there by his side. The rage he had felt had completely dissipated. Why would Katniss destroy their home? Why would she put her mother and Gale’s family at risk? It didn’t make sense. His father’s words came to him then, "If it doesn’t make sense, it’s probably bull shit". Now more than ever, those words seemed to resonate with him.
He remembers that once upon a time, Johanna told him the Capitol would do everything they could do break him. They had succeeded. When they took his family, his home and his memories, they succeeded in breaking him. What did he have left? Kota was alive and well and he loved her but she didn’t understand this. She couldn’t understand this sort of pain.
The memories kept flooding through his mind, crashing over him and dragging more tears and wracked sobs from his body. The apron was still in his hands and he tightened his fist around it, holding it against his chest. “They killed everyone. Everyone. W - without a second thought.”
He pressed his face into the apron, breathing in the smell and hating the smoke scent that tainted the sweetness. “I …”
He stopped, not knowing what to say. If anyone could understand everything that was going on inside his brain, it was Katniss. She’d experienced everything he had, including the loss of the person you love the most. Katniss had lost Prim and he had lost his father.
Without letting himself second guess it, he slid over to Katniss and touched her hand. If they were the old Katniss and Peeta, they would have cuddled. They would have curled themselves around each other and protected themselves. But they weren’t the same people they were. Peeta had just tried to kill her, he didn’t deserve to hug her. “I - I’m glad I have you.”
Do… do you wanna do something, in their memory. While we’re do something for them all?
I want to mourn them without cameras on me. I want to say goodbye to my family and for it not to be used to promote this stupid war.
You’re a hell of a lot stronger than me, that’s for damn sure.
..Okay, Peeta. But if you do, you know…. just.. uh. Let me know.
That’s because I’m crazy.
I will. I’ll let you know.