Hi. I have gotten into HG obsession-mode, so here it is. yeah, yeah, I know I have other fics to go back to, and I do have plans of going back to them, but for right now... this is all I've got. Kay.
Peeta/Katniss is cute... but I wrote this 'cause I think love triangles are sooo unrealistic in the scope of this story. I mean, she's gotta kill other people, lead a rebellion, assasinate a president, how does she have the time to care who she loves better, Gale or Peeta? They were only sixteen/seventeen for God's sake.
Disclaimer: Hunger Games belongs to Suzanne Collins, pas moi!
"Marry me, Katniss?"
She stared at him without saying anything. Time passed in slow-motion for her these days, and Peeta knew to wait. "I need to think about it." He nodded.
Haymitch pointed to the glass. "Another one?"
Katniss nodded. She was not being classy. But who cared. She tipped head back and began gulping it down like she was half-dead of thirst in a desert.
"Hmm, that Mellark boy, gotta give him credit. I thought he'd never ask," Haymitch was saying, scratching his chin.
"I'm not going to get married," said Katniss. She pushed her hair back from her face. The room wasn't spinning yet but her head was starting to feel heavy.
"Thatta girl! Cheers to being single."
The new maid, Halcena, poked her head into the room. "What are you doing, Haymitch, put that wine bottle away. I don't want to clean up your puke again."
"Shut up, old hag," growled Haymitch (Halcena was ten years younger than him). "Don't you have the carpet to vacumn?" In answer, Halcena stomped over angrily and grabbed his ears. Haymitch batted at her with his arms pathetically. Katniss fought the crazy urge to laugh.
"Katniss, you should know to come to Hallie for help! Not this old jerk!" ("What, Hallie? How old do you think you are?" muttered Haymitch, which earned him another yank on the ear.)
Katniss blinked slowly, watching them. "I think he loves me more than I love him."
Haymitch and his maid stopped bickering to look at her. ("Go back to the kitchen, woman. Aagh - and stop with the ear, would you?" Halcena walked away, singing about how Haymitch is an old fart.)
Haymitch leaned back lazily in his chair and asked, "Is it Gale?"
This was why she had gone to Haymitch, of all people, for help. He could say what she usually avoided thinking about, no sidestepping, teetering, no softening the blows. Dragged elephants in the room by the trunks and made them kneel before her.
"I don't know," said Katniss. She hated those three words. They didn't sound like her. The old Katniss was someone who said Yes and No.
"He probably hates you now, anyway," said Haymitch. Halcena shot him a glare.
Katniss flinched. "Why? What did I do? I'm not the one who - "
"Ah, the old Katniss is back." Haymitch smirked, and Katniss sat back down, a mixture of defiance and amazement at herself. Damn that Haymitch. "I know, I know. You're not the one who left and never came back. You're not the who blew up your sister to bits."
Katniss stared at him, waiting for the pain to stab her in the heart, the anger to seep through like poison as the word "sister" lingered in the air. But instead, she laughed. Laughed.
"Exactly," said Katniss, inbetween her chortles. She was probably more than a bit drunk, but somehow, she felt great. She really did. She took a deep breath, turning to Haymitch solemnly. "Exactly, Haymitch. I'm not the one who blew up Prim to bits. Gale did. I should be the one hating his guts!"
"Good for you, girl on fire."
"Right, right... it's all his fault!" Katniss drank another mouthful, savoring the bitter taste. "So what were we talking about again?"
"You hating Gale."
"No, no before that..."
"Gale hating you."
"B-but why? I didn't do anything - " Katniss felt a strong sense of deja vu. She tried to focus on Haymitch's goatee. "He called me last week."
"He did?" asked Haymitch, interested.
"Yeah. Don't know how he got my number. Unless you - ?"
"Oh, oh, never. I only gave it to your mother, of course. Did you talk to him?"
"No, I hung up."
"Did he call back?"
"I disconnected the phone."
"Maybe that's why he hates you."
"We used to be best friends."
"So you've said."
Silence. There was a loud bang in the next room, a yelp, followed by Halcena cursing the living daylights out of her vacumn.
"I... I'll call him back," said Katniss softly. "One of these days."
"Hmm." Haymitch folded his arms over his chest. "So you love him more than Peeta, then?"
"Love?" Katniss repeated. "Why would you say that?"
"Don't pretend like you forgot the steamy love triangle. That was the best part of the Rebellion, I remember."
Katniss traced a finger on the rim of her glass. "Haymitch, what does it mean to truly love someone?"
"Now that's a hard one," said Haymitch. Halcena, however, stuck her head in and offered, "It's when you're willing to die for that person!" She shrugged when Haymitch raised an eyebrow. "That's what all those romance movies and books seem to say."
"Fine, sure, what the old hag said," Haymitch told Katniss. (Halcena went back to her vacumning, mumbling "Oh, how much I would like to strangle him in his sleep...")
"Then there's only one person I've ever really loved."
"That's too bad. You can't marry your own sister."
"I'm serious, Haymitch. With Gale - I mean, he was my friend. Like a brother, almost. And then - and then I guess I liked him. But who knows. It could have just been the rampaging hormones." She smiled inspite of herself.
"God... I don't know. In the beginning, I admit it, I didn't care about him. I just wanted to win the game, you know? If I died, who would bring home food for Prim, certainly not my mother. And they can't live on pity food."
"I was a bitch. I tricked him," Katniss said miserably. "I led him on. Gale, too, probably."
"But then when Peeta came back from the Capitol and he wanted to kill me - I... I wanted to die. Or something."
"I'm sure you did."
"But I was with Gale at that time and - Did I ever tell you? Peeta once said that I would choose the person I can't live without."
"No, you didn't tell me."
"That's stupid, though. I can't live without one of them? Who ever said that? It's not like I'm so weak I'd kill myself if one guy in my life dies. What kind of woman does that anyway?"
"A foolish one."
"Gale has already been gone from my life for, what, four, five years? And I'm still here. I'm living. I'm fine."
"I can see that."
"And if Peeta goes? I'll still get along fine. You just deal with it, you move on. Big deal."
The room was spinning by now. Katniss laid her head down on her arms. "I don't need a man in my life..."
She was snoring gently by the time Peeta arrived. He draped her limp arm over his shoulder and hoisted her up, trying not to wake her. He needn't have worried: it could have been raining bombs again and she wouldn't do more than snort.
"How was it, Haymitch?" he asked.
Haymitch smirked. "It went well. She said she didn't need a man in her life."
"Aw man, you got my hopes up..."
It was warm and soft. She hugged it closely, the cloud was fluffly like cotton candy. She reached for the next one, loving how with each step she sprung high up in the air...
Katniss blinked. The room was bright, the ceiling a cheerful shade of lemon yellow from the sun that streamed in from the window. She rubbed the back of her head, which hurt like hell. Not just because she had fallen the two feet distance from the bed to the floor, either. God, it felt like her brain exploded.
She untangled herself from the bed cover and stumbled to her feet. Just then the door opened, and all of a sudden Katniss registered that she did not remember going to bed.
Or taking off her pants.
"Who are you!" she cried at the intruder, who turned out to be a very sheepish-looking Peeta, holding a tray of breakfast. Very delicious breakfast. Katniss's stomach growled.
"I heard a thud from downstairs, so..." He set the plate on the night table. "Easy there," he said, as Katniss nearly walked into the wall. "People with extremely intense hangovers should not be standing up this early."
"Hangover?" grumbled Katniss. She let Peeta lead her back to bed. "Why am I in my underwear? And why does this room smell like puke?"
"You really don't remember anything, do you," sighed Peeta.
Katniss noticed that the chair next to the door had a pillow and a blanket loosely folded on it . "You didn't have to do that," she said quietly. "This bed could fit three."
"I didn't want to risk getting thrown up on in my sleep," Peeta joked. "Now, do you want to eat right now or get washed up first? I figured you'd be starving, since you already emptied your stomach last night - "
"Peeta," she said, and hesitated.
"Why do you want to marry me?"
He looked up, tapping his chin. "I don't know, why do I? It doesn't sound very fun."
He met her gaze, shrugged. "Because you're my hold on reality."
The way he said it was so simple, so easy. Katniss suddenly wanted to cry.
"Listen. I'm... I'm not going to be a good wife."
"Actually, that makes a lot of sense."
She couldn't help but grin. "Shut up, I'm trying to make a speech here."
"I'm not going to be a good wife, and I'm messed up. I'm very messed up." Katniss closed her eyes. She hated being emotional, but this was something she had to do. "I'm not the same Katniss from before. The war's over, but it still changed me. Prim, gone, changed me. I just can't fucking forget."
He squeezed her hand.
"And, Gale. I thought I cut him out of my life, but that's not true. I still think of him, sometimes. I still miss him. And I have wondered, many times, if things would have turned out different if the war never happened."
"As for you, Peeta, I like you. I like you a lot. You're important to me, and I appreciate everything you've done for me. I'm just not sure if I love you. I'm not sure if I loved anyone except for Prim."
"Gee, my competition isn't even a guy."
Katniss shook her head, smiling. "Peeta, the thing is, I could live without you..."
"You really don't know how to let down a guy nicely," said Peeta with a chuckle.
"... but I don't want to."
Peeta stared. "What?"
She rolled her eyes, exasperated. "You heard me. I don't need a man in my life, but if there's going to be one, I want it to be you."
"That wasn't the response I expected," said Katniss, peering at him. "Peeta? Hello?"
He was in a daze. "My bad, I'm - wait. You're - you're saying you'll marry me, right?"
For a reply, she leaned forward and pressed her lips lightly against his cheek.