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After the 74th Hunger Games

Chapter Text

“What’s wrong?” Peeta asks.

“Nothing,” I answer. We continue walking, past the end of the train, out where I’m fairly sure there are no cameras hidden in the scrubby bushes along the track. Still no words come.

Haymitch startles me when he lays a hand on my back. Even now, in the middle of nowhere, he keeps his voice down. “Great job, you two. Just keep it up in the district until the cameras are gone. We should be okay.” I watch him head back to the train, avoiding Peeta’s eyes.

“What’s he mean?” Peeta asks me.

“It’s the Capitol. They didn’t like our stunt with the berries,” I blurt out.

“What? What are you talking about?” he says.

“It seemed too rebellious. So, Haymitch has been coaching me through the last few days. So I didn’t make it worse,” I say.

“Coaching you? But not me,” says Peeta.

“He knew you were smart enough to get it right,” I say.

“I didn’t know there was anything to get right,” says Peeta. “So, what you’re saying is, these last few days and then I guess… back in the arena… that was just some strategy you two worked out.”

“No. I mean I couldn’t even talk to him in the arena, could I?” I stammer.

“But you knew what he wanted you to do, didn’t you?” says Peeta. I bite my lip. “Katniss?” He drops my hand and I take a step, as if to catch my balance.

“It was all for the Games,” Peeta says. “How you acted.”

“Not all of it,” I say, tightly holding on to my flowers.

“Then how much? No forget that. I guess the real question is what’s going to be left when we get home?” he says.

“I don’t know. The closer we get to District Twelve, the more confused I get,” I say. He waits, for further explanation, but none’s forthcoming.

“Well, let me know when you work it out,” he says, and the pain in his voice is palpable.

He starts to walk off back to the train, but I grab his hand and turn him back around.

“What, Katniss?” he asks, painfully, not looking into my eyes.

“Peeta, I know that I am confused about my feelings, but I know that there are feelings there,” I say and he lifts up his head to look at me. “I haven’t exactly had much time with this. I’ve had less than a week to get the idea of this whereas you have had 10 years. I haven’t had any experience with this at all, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t want to try.”

All I see on Peeta’s face is surprise. This is probably the most he has ever heard me speak at once. I see his face soften and I grab his other hand.

“I’m sorry that this all had to come out now and that I should have told you sooner, I just didn’t know how. But then leave it to Haymitch to get me to do it,” I say.

“So, you really do have feelings for me?” he asks, in a soft, quiet tone. Almost as to be cautious of being hurt again.

“Yes, I do and at first I thought that they were kind of like what I feel with Prim, but as I got closer to you, I realized that that wasn’t the case,” I say as I squeeze his hands and he gives me a small smile.

“I’m sorry, Katniss. I didn’t realize how fast this was moving for you. I should have known that it was unrealistic for you to have the same feelings for me overnight,” says Peeta.

“Peeta, don’t apologize. That was my fault. I played it up that way and I didn’t even think about how it would affect you,” I say.

Peeta gives me a little laugh. “How about instead of apologizing to each other, we both agree that it was both of our faults,” he says and I give him a smile. I finally have him happy again, so I won’t ruin it by bringing up that it was mostly my fault. That would just make him upset and we would be here apologizing to each other for who knows how long.

“Okay,” I say and I hold out my arms for a hug and he pulls me to him. I rest my head on his chest and rests his on my head. He gives me a tight squeeze, almost as if he was scared that I was going to leave.

Haymitch walks out and sticks his head out of the train. “Come on you two, you can have all the time in the world to cuddle and kiss when we get back home,” he says and walks back in.

Peeta and I let go of each other. Peeta grabs my hand and with a kiss on the top of my head, we walk back onto the train.

Chapter Text

When Peeta and I get on the train, I realize how late it is and how tired I am. The events of this last week have really taken a toll on my body. Peeta and I walk hand in hand to our rooms and I don’t really want to let go.

He kisses me on my forehead, but that wasn’t what I was looking for. So, I lean up on my tip toes and kiss him full on the mouth. I could tell that he wasn’t expecting that, but he slowly wraps his arms around me and holds me to him.

When we finally part, we give each other a smile with our arms still wrapped around each other.

Neither of us want to leave, but we know that we have to get some sleep for our homecoming tomorrow.

“Goodnight,” Peeta says first.

“Goodnight,” I reply and we reluctantly remove our arms from each other and head into our separate rooms. When I close the door, I lean up against it and think about what had just transpired in the last hour or so. I have a boyfriend now? Part of me wants to run away and never look back because that’s the mindset that I have had for so long. I never, ever wanted to be with anyone, but then Peeta came around and suddenly, I’m not so scared anymore.

With a smile, I change into my pajamas, a purple, satin nightgown, and rebraid my hair before I hop into bed being the happiest that I have been in a long time and I slowly fall asleep.


 

Unfortunately, my happiness didn’t last very long before I woke up from a nightmare screaming. I sit up in my bed and wipe a few tears from my eyes. I hear some footsteps running down the hall and my door opened a couple seconds later to reveal Peeta with a frantic look upon his face.

“It was a nightmare. I’m sorry,” I say to him.

“It’s okay. I get them too,” he says. “Are you okay?”

“Yeah, I’m fine, I guess,” I say, not very convincingly. Peeta gives me a sad smile and then turns to leave.

“Wait! Peeta!” I say and he turns back around.

“Yeah?” he asks.

“Will you stay with me?” I ask in a small voice. He walks over to my bed and I lift the covers so that he can get in beside me. He holds me to him and I curl into his chest and right before I fall asleep I hear him say, “Always.”


 

The next morning, I woke up from the best night sleep that I have had since before the Games. I look up to see that he is awake as well and we smile at each other.

“Hey,” I say and he gives me a chuckle.

“Hey,” he replies. “How are you feeling?”

“Better. A lot better.”

“Good,” he says and he leans down to kiss me. I eagerly return the kiss and I am still shocked to find myself being so comfortable with this, but Peeta has that effect on me.

We break away from each other and I look over him to see the time. We both get out of bed and Peeta goes back to his room to get ready and even though he is only a room over, I don’t like to be away from him.

I quickly get dressed and I open my door to see Peeta waiting outside for me. I grab his hand and we walk together to breakfast.

Haymitch and Effie are already there waiting on us. Haymitch looks really surprised to see us together. I give him a smile and I can tell that he wants to talk later.

Peeta and I sit down at the table and we eat quickly. We are both pretty eager to get home.

Speaking of home, “How much longer until we get back to Twelve?” I ask.

“About 2 hours,” Effie answers me. “I’m sure you two are very excited to get back home to see your families.” We both nod.

Once Peeta and I finish, we stand up, but before we can go, Haymitch calls my name.

“Katniss?” he says.

“Yeah,” I say turning to face him.

“Could I speak to you for a second?” he says.

“Yeah, sure.” I look up at Peeta and he has a confused look on his face. I give him a kiss on the cheek to reassure him. I’m not sure if it worked or not but I could tell that Haymitch was getting impatient, so I didn’t have time to say anything.

I followed Haymitch to the next room and he turns to face me.

“What is going on between you and Peeta?” he says, showing no emotion.

“We talked last night and we got everything all sorted out,” I reply.

“So, are you two actually together now?”

“Yeah, I guess,” I say, looking at my feet.

“And how does that make you feel?” He asks me and I slowly look at him.

I take a deep breath and say, “I’m not going to lie. I’m absolutely terrified. This is all new terrain for me and I am scared, but after Peeta and I talked last night, I am feeling better. It’s going to take a while before I am completely comfortable with this, but I do think that I will get there eventually.”

Haymitch nods his head and says, “Just make him happy.”

“I will. I promise,” I say and I do hope that I will be able to fulfill that promise. I will do everything in my power to.

He gives me a smile and a pat on my shoulder. “Go on. He’s probably waiting on you,” he says. I nod and I walk back to the other room where Peeta is waiting.

He comes over to me and asks, “Is everything okay?”

I give him a smile and say, “Everything is perfect.”

I grab his hand and we walk to the benches on the side of the room and sit together, watching the trees go by as we wait to see the first glimpses of District Twelve.I lean up against him and he wraps his arm around my waist.

We sat there for a little over an hour before we heard over the intercom of the train, “We will be arriving in District Twelve in 20 minutes. I look at Peeta and we both smile at each other. We are almost home.

Effie runs into the room and says to us, “I have outfits laid out for you two in your rooms. Now, hurry up and get dressed.” She turns on her heel and leaves the room.

I sigh and we both get up from the bench and walk to our rooms.

There is a pink dress in my room with a matching pair of flats. I quickly put it on and I meet Peeta back outside. He is wearing black shoes, slacks, and a blazer with a blue shirt underneath.

“You look beautiful,” he says.

“Well, you look quite handsome,” I reply and we give each other a smile. We walk together back into the dining car where Haymitch and Effie are waiting for us.

Effie sees me and says, “Take your hair down, Katniss.”

“Why?” I ask.

“Because that’s how Cinna wants it,” she says and I comply. I won’t doubt Cinna.

Peeta is standing by a window and quickly turns to me, “Katniss! Come here!”

I rush over and he points out the window. I can see people walking to the train station to greet us. I smile and him and Effie comes over to herd us to the doors.

We feel the train stop and Peeta holds out his hand for me. A couple seconds later, the doors open and when we step out, everyone starts clapping.

Peeta and I smile at everyone, but there is only one people that I want to see. I start looking around the sea of people and I see a girl with two blonde braids sitting on someone’s shoulders. Prim.

I smile at her and she starts blowing kisses to me, but then I see who’s shoulders she is sitting on… Gale’s.

He is smiling at me and I give him a small smile back. I was nervous about seeing him again. I was nervous about any feelings that would arise by seeing him, but I don’t feel any of that and in that moment I realize that Peeta is the only one for me.

I turn and smile at Peeta and he says, “Welcome home.”

I squeeze his hand and I turn to look at everyone. We are home.

Chapter Text

After a couple minutes of us waving at the crowd, some peacekeepers escort us to the car that will take us to the Justice Building. There are two cars waiting there for us, one for Peeta and me and the other for Haymitch and Effie. We walk down the stairs and Peeta steps in front of me to open the door for me.

"Why, thank you, Mr. Mellark," I say to him.

"You are most certainly welcome, Miss Everdeen," Peeta says. We giggle and I still find it strange how comfortable I am with flirting.

I hop into the car and scoot over so Peeta can get in. He wraps his arm around my shoulders and I rest my head on his shoulder.

As we ride to the Justice Building, I think about how it was when Peeta and I were being driven to the train station to go to the Capitol. I was sitting on one side of the car and he was on the other side with Effie in between us. He was crying and I was trying my best not to and now here we are a couple weeks later with our arms around each other. It was pretty surreal to think about how much these last few weeks had completely changed my life.

We reached the Justice Building a couple minutes later and we were escorted in where the Mayor was waiting for us.

"Hello, Miss Everdeen, Mr. Mellark. I'm sure you two are very eager to get home, but we have a couple things to take care of before you can go. So, if you two could just follow me to my office, I will try to have you out in a few minutes," Mayor Undersee says and turns around to his office. Peeta and I follow him in and take a seat in the two brown leather chairs in front of his desk.

Mayor Undersee pulls out a couple pieces of paper and lays them in front of Peeta and I. He takes the two sheets with a pen and hands them to us.

"These are your house deeds to put your houses under your names. Just sign your names at the bottom and the houses will be yours," he says and Peeta and I both sign the papers.

"Katniss, your house is 3 Victory Lane, Victor's' Village and Peeta, yours is 4 Victory Lane, Victor's Village," he says and hands us the keys to our houses.

"Alright, that's all I have for you," he says and we all stand up. He opens the door for us and escorts us to the front doors of the Justice Building.

He opens a door for us and says, "Congratulations you two and welcome home."

"Thank you," Peeta and I both say and we walk hand in hand out of the Justice Building to greet our families.

When Peeta and I reach the end of the stairs, I see Prim running at me. I quickly let go of Peeta's hand to embrace her and I hold her tight. Just holding her and seeing her again makes me want to cry. I never thought that I would ever see her again.

Prim though, does start crying and I hear her say quietly, "You're home.. You're actually home."

"I'm home, Prim," I say and I push her away from me to wipe her eyes. I give her a smile and she giggles. Then I see my mom making her way to me. I rush over to her and hug her. Something that I would normally wouldn't do and I could tell that it surprised her. We both held each other and I could feel her stroking my hair.

I don't think that my mother and I will ever fully regain the relationship that we once had, but this is a start.

When we pull away from each other, I look over to Peeta where he is with his family and he turns to me and gives me a smile. Then I feel someone tap me on my shoulder and I turn to see Gale.

"Hey, Catnip," he says and I give him a hug.

"Hey," I say back to him. I could tell things are a little awkward between us, but then Gale jumps straight to the source of our awkwardness and asks, "Is it true?"

"Is what true?" I reply.

"Are you two actually together?" he asks.

"Yeah… we are," I say with a smile and apparently that was the wrong thing to say because he turns around and walks off. I frown to myself, but then I feel Prim come up beside me and she says, "Don't worry. He'll get over it."

I give her a sad smile. I really hope that is true because I don't want to lose my best friend.

I quickly shake all that sadness off because today was supposed to be a happy day, but when I turn to look at Peeta, I see a sad look in his eyes and his family walking away.

I walk over to him and ask, "What's wrong?"

"I asked my family if they were going to move into my house with me, but they said no," he says and looks at his feet.

"Why did they say no?"

"My father said that it was because they wanted to be close to the bakery, but I know it was probably my mother who didn't want to live there," he says and I give him a hug. I already don't like him mom. I've seen what has done to him and I don't know if I would ever be able to tolerate her, but it's obvious that Peeta wants his family there and she is part of his family.

I give him a hug and say, "I'm sorry, Peeta."

He returns my hug and says, "It's okay. I'll get over it."

Once we let go of each other, I take his hand and we walk over to Prim and my mom.

"Peeta, I don't believe that you have been introduced to my family. This is my little sister, Prim, and my mother, Lillian," I say and Prim instantly runs into his arms for a hug. He stumbles back a little because he wasn't expecting that but he returns the hug and I can't help but feel happiness by looking at the two of them. They are the two most important people in my life and it makes me happy to see them get along although I had no doubt they wouldn't. Prim lets go of Peeta and he gives my mom a small hug.

"It's nice to meet you two. I've heard a lot about you," he says and you can tell that both of them are instantly under his charm. I just smile to myself and shake my head.

"It's nice to meet you, too," they reply.

I break in and say, "Shall we head to our new homes?"

They all nod their heads and Peeta grabs one of my hands and Prim grabs the other with my mother beside her and we all walk to the village together.

It's not that far of a walk and when we get there we are startled to see how big the houses are. The people in District Twelve never really walk down here unless absolutely necessary because their is no reason to. The only person that has lived here is Haymitch, although there was a victor a couple decades before him that has long since passed.

There are 12 houses in the village, two rows of six. We walk passed Haymitch's house which is the the first house on the left side of the walkway. Peeta's house and my house are right across from each other.

Prim and my mother go ahead and walk to the steps of the house and I stay with Peeta for a couple minutes.

"Do you want to come over later?" I ask. "I would hate for you to be alone."

"I'll be fine, Katniss," he says. "Plus, I'll be seeing you later for our homecoming dinner."

Oh, thats right. I forgot about that. It's a customary tradition to celebrate a victor's homecoming in their district with a feast. This is only the third time in District Twelve's history that we have had one and the last one was 24 years ago, so people are very excited.

"Oh, okay," I say. "So, I guess I will see you later."

"I'll come over to pick you up before so we can walk together there," he says and I smile at him.

"Okay," I say to him and he gives me a small peck on the lips before we turn around and walk to our houses. I put the key in the door and open it. Prim and my mother walk inside and before I walk in, I give Peeta a wave. He smiles at me and I close the door behind me.

When I turn around, the shock really sets in. I'm home from the Hunger Games. It's still hard to believe that I'm actually alive.

I start looking around the house and I see that my mother and sister have already made themselves comfortable on the couch. I look around the dining room, the living room, the kitchen, which are all made with the finest of materials. Then I head upstairs. I open the first door on my right when I get up the stairs and I claim it as my room. I kick off my shoes and lay on the bed. I didn't realize how tired I was and as soon as my head hits the pillow, I'm out like a light. I guess I have time to take a nap. We'll see. 

Chapter Text

I woke up to the sound of loud knocking on my door and Effie yelling my name on the other side, "Katniss!"

I rolled out of bed and opened the door to Effie and… my prep team? I didn't know they came along.

They all hurried into my room and started setting stuff up. They brought in three huge suitcases worth of stuff and just started pulling it out.

"What's going on?" I ask. I didn't know why they were all here.

"We are going to get you ready for your homecoming celebration tonight," Effie replies.

"Is Cinna here?" I ask.

"No, he and Portia had to stay in the Capitol," she says and started to help set things up. I wondered why Cinna wasn't here and it was probably because President Snow didn't want him to come. I shook my head to shake the thoughts out of my head and sat down in the chair in front of the mirror that they set up for me.

Octavia came over and started doing my face while Venia waxed my legs again and Flavius started brushing my hair. So much was happening all at once and I didn't know what to focus on. I wondered if Peeta was going through the same thing?

When they finished with me, I saw that my makeup was done pretty light with a light smokey eye, my hair was in loose ringlets going down my back with a couple pulled up into a clip. Effie grabbed my hand and then pulled me to my bed where a deep blue sequined dress was waiting for me.

I stripped down and put on the beautiful dress that I'm pretty sure Cinna designed for me. It went down to just above my knees and it was a sweetheart neckline with two straps draping over my arms. It was beautiful and the really girlish part of me thought that it reminded me of Peeta's eyes. I blushed at that thought, it wasn't used to thinking about things like that.

I slipped on some silver flats, not heels because I wasn't about to walk in heels on rocky ground all night, that was just asking for disaster. Once they thought that I was fine for the District to see, I walked down stairs and saw my mother, sister, Haymitch and Peeta waiting down there for me.

I instantly went into Peeta's arms and he hugged me and whispered in my ear, "You look so beautiful."

I pulled back away from him and gave him a kiss on the cheek. He grabbed my hand and I turned around to see Prim in a lovely pink dress that really brought out the rosiness of her cheeks. I let go of Peeta's hand and walked over to her and pulled her in for a hug. She curled into me and when I got her to let me go, I bent down and gave her a kiss on top of her head.

"We have to leave now, everybody," Effie says and I went back over to Peeta and grabbed his hand. We all walked out of the house together and there were two cars waiting outside for us. One for Peeta, Prim, my mother, Haymitch and I, and one for Effie and the prep team.

We all got in the cars and we started heading to the center of town where the homecoming would be held. Prim and my mother were sitting in the seats in front of Peeta and I.

I scooted closer to Peeta and laid my head on his shoulder and he put his arm around me and pulled me even closer.

"Are you excited about tonight?" he asks.

"Not really, I mean I'm glad to be home, but I don't really want to be the center of attention," I say.

He nods his head and says back to me, "I'll be with you the entire time, okay?"

"Okay," I say back and a couple minutes later we were there. Almost the entire district was there already and they clapped when we exited the car. I smiled at everyone, but moved closer to Peeta to protect myself from the limelight.

All of us walked into the center and people started coming up to Peeta and I to congratulate us for winning the Games. We smiled and socialized a little with people, but we mostly just talked to each other.

A band from the District was playing music and people were dancing on the dancefloor on the far side of the many tables lined up in front of the stage in front of the Justice Building. Effie and the prep team looked startled by how they were dancing. I guess people don't dance that way in the Capitol.

Peeta leaned over and whispered in my ear, "Would you care to dance?"

"I'm not that good," I reply. The only real experience I have with dancing is when my dad was still alive and we would dance around our house with me standing on his feet.

He kissed me on top of my head and started pulling me to the dancefloor. "It will be fun," Peeta says.

"Alright," I say and I start walking with him. We hop right in and we start dancing with everyone else. We danced with each other with Peeta spinning me around in circles. I was having the most fun that I have had in a long while.

"I'm getting dizzy," I giggled and he stopped spinning me and pulled me into his arms with everyone still dancing around us. I leaned up and kissed him on the lips and his arms moved to hold me around my waist and mine snaked around his neck.

Eventually we heard everything stop around us and we pulled away to see everyone's eyes on us. We backed away from each other blushing and people chuckled around us. We danced for a few minutes more before Mayor Undersee came over to us and asked us to stand on the stage with him then he called everyone's attention to where he was standing on top of the stage in front of the Justice Building.

Everyone turned around and once Mayor Undersee got everyone's attention, he started speaking.

"Welcome everyone and thank you for coming to celebrate the homecoming of the Victors of the 74th Hunger Games, Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark," he said and everyone clapped.

He then turned to us, wanting us to say something and Peeta and I walked forward to the microphone.

Peeta started first, "Thank you, everyone for being here tonight. You have no idea how much it means to Katniss and I to see everyone here. I, and I believe I can speak for Katniss as well when I say that we never expected to see this place again. It is so surreal to be home and with this beautiful girl standing beside me," he said, turning to look at me. I smile at him and he turns away again, "The only reason that I am here today is because of her and I couldn't be more thankful to her. She is my everything and I want to thank you Katniss for everything that you have done for me."

I have tears in my eyes by the time he finishes and I squeeze his hand and I walk up to the microphone. "Thank you, Peeta. But to everyone, thank you for being so kind to us. Your kindness truly has meant the world to us and.. uh… thank you," I said and I backed away from the mic. I'm not really used to talking that much, especially in front of a crowd, but I felt like it needed to be said. Everyone clapped for us as Peeta and I stepped back.

The Mayor stepped back up to the microphone and said, "Now, let us feast." Everyone hooted and hollered. Most of the people in our district's last good meal was at the Harvest Festival in January during the Victory Tour. That thought made the smile drop of my face. The Victory Tour. Our Victory Tour. The thought of it worried me, but I shouldn't think about that now. I put a smile back on my face and Peeta and I walked down the stairs and took a seat at the front of the middle table.

Our families and Haymitch came and sat with us and as I looked around at everyone happy and dining with their families. I couldn't be happier.