The war is over, and all I feel is drained. Too empty and hollowed out from the inside. The price of victory is too much to take. I won't. It seems unbearable. I survived many tasks, manipulations, and games thrown my way and yet it's because of these experiences that I don't want to deal with them anymore. Looking out my home window, I fall into an uneasy sleep.
Unbidden, my mind flashes back to the day Prim…my sweet Prim met her end in a fiery explosion of flame. Everything was happening so quickly that I barely registered my horrified screams tearing from my throat without reserve.
I shout, "Prim! Prim!"
I wake up to my own rapid, uneven breaths, limbs tangled in a sweaty blanket of my couch. There are frantic knocks coming from my door. Without too much effort, I get up to answer it, feet feeling heavy.
I'm met by a medium, average built, wavy blonde hair, and honest eyes.
"Peeta," I whisper, voice melting into relief before I choke, "I couldn't save her," never feeling as helpless as I had then. Tears stream down my face while I try to wipe them away.
His face is overshadowed by concern. "Katniss," he calls, immediately pressing his arms around my shoulder, steadying me.
It's like our past eases between us because he's taken care of me and I've protected him. We didn't forget what was important.
Minutes slip by until we walk into the living room and sit on the couch I had just wakened from.
Peeta continues to hold me close, refusing to leave me. I shuffle closer, inhaling the smell of cinnamon and some unique scent I can only name as Peeta's. He understands that he's not supposed to say anything to comfort me, though, normally he would. There isn't anything he can do. Prim's gone for good and she's not coming back.
Instead, he quietly says, "I'm here, always."
And it takes me a moment, but I finally realize the real reason why I don't want him to disappear again. I've been heading towards him all this time. He's been in front of me: in the form of his strong body, with left over battle scars and old baking injuries marking his skin, who are now looking at me with those expressive blue eyes asking me, "Katniss, are you okay? Let help you."
I can't live without him. I need him in so many different ways I can't begin to describe them all.
I shake my head to clear it. My vocal cords threaten to close, but I keep pushing through to utter the words that usually never come out right, but I can't mess them up this time.
"I love you, Peeta."
My gray eyes look down towards his shoulder, burying my face under it, uncertain of his reaction. It's scary. My heart is no longer in my hands.
He gently cups my face beneath his finger tips and tilts my head into an elated kiss. I'm lost into the sensation of his inviting lips. That familiar hunger for something more surges through me again. When he pulls away, his eyes are warm. They shine with an intensity that has my chest tighten without my permission. I know his reply before he says it, "I love you too, so much."
A smile breaks out of my face, and he returns the grin.
Then Peeta takes both my hands and kisses them. Like so many times before, he says what I need to hear most. "We'll be alright."
I didn't know if he was right, but having him beside me helps calm me down. His presence makes me more hopeful than I had thought possible.
I guess I was right too. Peeta Mellark is my dandelion coming up from the earth. He alone reminds me that there are still good things worth living for in this world after all the destruction we've witnessed. Though I don't deserve him, he shows me every day why he believes I'm special. I know I'm lucky.
For happiness is a lot like sorrow. It springs unexpectedly from its unknown source. When it grabs a hold of you, you have to hold on, so we do, together.