Summary: Katniss and Peeta, one morning after the war. No games, no cameras or propos. Just a boy and girl in love.
Oneshot. Post-Mockingjay. Part of the Dandelions and Fire Mutts series.
AO3 - FFN
It’s freezing cold in the room when I open my eyes early in the morning. I should get up, change into my clothes and boots, the outfit finished with my father’s worn leather hunting jacket. I should do this, but I don’t. No matter how much I tell myself I should. It’s too cold outside the sheets, and it’s warm here with the layers of blankets piled on the bed and my flannel nightgown.
And because Peeta is next to me.
I don’t know how he can do it, sleeping without his shirt even in the dead of winter. But he’s always had a natural warmth to him, outside as well as in. At least he doesn’t make us keep the window open when it’s this cold. He keeps the bed warm. He keeps me warm. His arms are still wrapped around me in the same way they were when we fell asleep last night. It was a calm night--I didn’t wake from my usual nightmares of mutts and lost children. I don’t feel like I normally do on the mornings after those nightmares. Panicked and hopeless, like nothing could possibly make it worthwhile to leave the safety of my room. But I still make no effort to move. So I lie in bed instead and watch Peeta, listening to him breathe, study his facial expression to determine if he’s having a nightmare himself. It’s neutral; I hope that’s a good sign.
My mind begins to wander. Sometimes, when I let myself think about it too much, it seems strange that we got here at all. The odds were certainly not in our favor. But even without the reaping, the war, the hijacking to stand in our way, this is never a place I imagined myself to be. Sharing a bed with the boy who holds my heart. The man who holds it, really, because after all Peeta and I have been through, we both feel about a thousand years old. And yet… since we’ve grown back together, since I finally admitted to Peeta my feelings for him and we at last became lovers for real, there have been moments where I feel my age again. Like the way an eighteen-year-old girl in love is supposed to feel.
It amazes me, that I can feel that way again.
I listen to the steady sound of Peeta’s heart thumping in his chest until he begins to stir, and those long lashes of his flutter open. He smiles down at me.
“Morning,” he murmurs. “How’d you sleep?”
“Okay,” I tell him, and shift so my head nestles in the crook of his neck. He brings a hand up, and begins to gently stroke the bob my hair has been in since Greasy Sae cut it for me some time ago to even out the jagged lengths from the explosion.
“No,” I say. “I didn’t dream anything. That I can remember, anyway.”
Peeta just looks at me for a long minute. “You’re not going hunting.” It’s an observation, not a question.
I don’t answer.
“Katniss.” He guides my chin up so I’m forced to look at him. Forced to acknowledge what I don’t want to admit, but we both know I should.
“I didn’t want to get out of bed,” I say quietly.
“Don’t you remember Dr. Aurelius’s advice?”he asks.
I do. I’m supposed to force myself to follow a schedule, stick to a strict routine to rebuild a sense of normalcy in my life. But some days it’s harder than others. “It’s too cold, Peeta.” I wiggle closer to him to emphasize my point.
There’s a long moment of silence while Peeta stares up at the ceiling like he’s thinking about something. “So you don’t want to get out of bed,” he says thoughtfully. “You say it’s too cold.”
“It is,” I insist.
Suddenly he’s twisting his arm and whole body out from underneath me, and sits up. “Sit up,” he instructs me.
I give him a dirty look, feeling annoyed. “I told you, I- “
“Come on, Katniss. Just do it.”
I glare at him half a minute longer before I do as he says. Peeta gathers the sheet up and wraps it around us, tying it closed with a knot.
“There,” he says. “Now neither of us can leave.”
My eyes look from him to the knotted bedsheet, and back to him again. Then I’m laughing, and he’s laughing too. He takes my face in his hands and gives me a kiss. Then another. And another. Soon my nightgown comes off, and then it’s just patchwork skin on patchwork skin as we detangled ourselves from the sheet and lower back down to the mattress and become lost in each other.
There is no Mockingjay, no Girl on Fire; there are no Star-crossed Lovers from District 12. Underneath these sheets, we’re not victors or tributes or figureheads to a revolution. There is just a boy and a girl, who each host a world full of problems but have miraculously found solace in each other.