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Best Laid Plans

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What did she want?

That question had been plaguing Katniss for days, weeks, nearly, and she was no closer to knowing. She thought she knew. At one time in her life, she did, anyway. She wanted a normal, happy life where her dad was still alive and her parents were blissfully in love and she had a close circle of friends who made her laugh, with Peeta as her best friend by her side. But she couldn't have that, not entirely, and she had finally accepted her father's death. Then she thought she wanted some semblance of that life still with her mother and Peeta's father uniting their families; she and Peeta would be even closer—more than just best friends.

She thought she had wanted that, but now that she was actually getting it, she wasn't sure she wanted it at all.

She had never questioned her relationship with Peeta. Ever. It just was. It was the one constant in her life, and even when she was unwittingly pushing him away, she knew he was the most important person to her, and she knew she cared for him; she knew who he was in her life, and she knew who she was in his.

But that had all been thrown into question now, and she'd never been so confused in her life. Before, when she had a problem, she always turned to Peeta. What was she supposed to do when he was the problem?

Fuck. How did things get this complicated? Clearly matchmaking was a career field she should forego altogether. She had succeeded with her initial mission, she supposed, but she'd somehow made a mess of everything else.

Katniss didn't do well with complicated; she liked things simple and manageable.

So in true Everdeen fashion, she just didn't deal with it at all.

She acted as normal as possible around Peeta and the others, even when he was less than receptive to her attempts. She didn't know if he was still bothered by Gale or if it was something else now; she kept replaying their conversation from Thanksgiving in her head, but she was at a loss as to what he'd been trying to tell her that moment in the kitchen. He'd never had trouble explaining things to her in the past—so why now?

Whatever it was, he must not have thought it was that important because he hadn't brought it up again. Which was probably for the best because she didn't want to think about that moment in his bedroom more than she already did; it was already an obscene amount, and she knew it was wrong, but she couldn't stop recalling the feel of his hardness pressing between her thighs, the ridge of his fly catching on the cleft of her clitoris through her pants just right

Nope. She wasn't going to think about it, especially not right then, not when Peeta was sitting right next to her on her couch. He'd come over to her house with their other friends to hang out. Everyone else was acting fine, but he still seemed more subdued than usual, really only speaking when someone directed something at him. And he would barely look at her, even though she was a foot away from him. It was driving her crazy. She just wanted things to be how they were; she wanted to reach across the space and grab his hand or ruffle his hair and not think twice about it.

"You going to Hawthorne's party, brainless?"

Johanna's question snapped Katniss out of her daze, and she blinked, staring wide-eyed at her. Johanna was grinning at her. She wanted to punch her for bringing Gale up, but it wasn't like her friend had any idea what was going on between her and Peeta. Right? She scratched her nose and discreetly glanced at Peeta; his face revealed nothing, but she could have sworn she felt him tense up.

"Um, yeah, I suppose so. If you guys are going," she answered noncommittally. Gale had invited her to his and his roommate Thom's end-of-semester party; they were celebrating the end of exams. She hadn't given him a direct answer yet. They still talked and had even hung out a couple times in the past couple weeks, but she was beginning to think she was just using him as a distraction. He was cool, but she didn't think she was interested in dating him; still, she couldn't bring herself to just tell him that, as if she was just waiting for the other shoe to drop or something. At least, he hadn't pushed for anything more.

"Yeah, I'm game," Johanna said with a shrug, chomping into a Twizzler.

"I'm in," Madge chimed in, and Finnick and Annie agreed. Peeta cleared his throat.

"I'm gonna sit this one out," he said. Katniss' head snapped around to look at him. If he sensed her stare, he ignored it.

"What?" she asked, dumbfounded. His eyes finally darted to her before flitting away. He shrugged.

"I've just got a lot of work to do before finals," he replied, his fingers tracing the seam of the couch cushion.

"So does everybody else," she accused; Finnick, Madge and Annie had pretty much all the same classes as him. But Peeta just shrugged again, offering no other response. Why was he doing this? He never skipped out on a party; he always worked hard and got his assignments done early, anyway. "But...who's gonna DD?" she tried; at his sharp look, she realized that was the wrong thing to say, but the hardness in his eyes was gone almost as quickly as it came.

"I can," Annie offered. "I mean, I was going to, anyway."

But Katniss ignored her, her gaze boring into the side of Peeta's head. He finally looked at her, raising his eyebrows. "I'm sure you can just crash at Hawthorne's place," he suggested flippantly. His tone was indifferent, but the words stung. That felt like some sort of jab.

Was that it then? Was he punishing her for this whole Gale thing?

She wasn't even angry now. She was just sad. It was exhausting being at odds with her best friend. "Peeta," she implored; he must have heard something in her voice because he glanced at her warily before looking away again, running a hand through his hair.

"I do have a lot of school shit I have to do," he repeated, though he sounded remorseful this time, less certain. She kept her eyes on him.

"I want you to come," she said stubbornly, swallowing the lump in her throat. Her heart was throbbing in her neck, and she was well aware that everyone was watching their exchange intently. No doubt they'd picked up on the strain between the two of them by now. She wanted to hide, to draw the shades closed on this private moment, or, more accurately, tell them to fuck off, but she couldn't back down about this.

He sighed after a moment. "Okay, I'll go," he relented wearily, and she released the breath she was holding.

"That's the spirit, Mellark," Finnick cracked, relieving the tension that had settled over the room, and the others laughed airily, resuming their chattering about aimless matters. Katniss and Peeta were still rather quiet after that, and her mind churned with questions and doubts.

He had agreed to go, she reminded herself. That was a step, at least.

Despite his reluctance to attend the party, Peeta willingly agreed to chauffeur the girls to the party; Finnick and Annie drove separately, as usual. When they arrived, Johanna and Madge practically darted into Gale's apartment. Katniss walked in step with Peeta; she itched to grab his arm, to loop hers through his, much like she would have before, but she worried it would upset him.

If she wanted things to go back to normal, however, she needed to act like they were the same as usual. No more of this walking on eggshells around him bullshit. Summoning her resolve, she hooked her elbow around his and marched toward the door. She kept her chin tipped high, her eyes forward, but she noticed Peeta glance at her from the corner of his eye.

He cleared his throat. "If you end up staying the night here, just let me know so I don't hang around waiting—"

She nearly stumbled on the sidewalk, craning her neck to gawk at him. Then she frowned, pulling him to a halt. "Gale and I aren't dating. I'm not going to spend the night with him. Stop," she said adamantly, but Peeta shrugged.

"Well, you said—"

"Just forget what I said," she huffed, regretting her lie about Gale. "There's nothing going on between us. He and I never—I mean, I never—ugh, never mind. Let's just go inside and try to have fun, okay?" She was almost pleading by that point, and he nodded, something flashing in his eyes.

"Okay. After you," he said, waving her into the apartment. She took a deep breath to steel herself and then entered the apartment. She found Johanna and Madge talking to Gale near the kitchen; when he spotted her, he nodded his head in greeting and smiled. She froze when he crossed to her and pulled her in for a hug.

"Hey, good to see you," he said; if he noticed how stiff she was in his embrace, he didn't mention it. He released her and then extended his hand to shake Peeta's hand. "Good to see you, too, Mellark."

Katniss looked back at Peeta to see him smile politely in response. "Thanks for the invite, man," he said. Despite her nerves, she was glad to see him slip into the friendliness he always greeted others with, without fail.

"Let me get you all something to drink," Gale offered, waving them into the kitchen.

Good. Katniss was going to need a lot of drinks tonight, she felt.

She watched Peeta from across the room, chewing anxiously on the rim of her cup. He was talking to some guy she didn't recognize, smiling and laughing. She was glad he was in better spirits, but she wished she was the cause of his good mood; instead, she just seemed to be the reason for his agitation lately. She was debating approaching him and just hugging him like nothing was wrong. If she just acted like things were fine, he couldn't deny her, right? Because then he would be the one acting strange, not her.

She was going to do it. She was just going to do it.

Inhaling deeply, she marched toward him. He didn't notice her approach, so she slipped behind him and wrapped her arms around his waist, pressing against his back. He jumped slightly, trying to peer at her over his shoulder. "Katniss—" he said, surprised.

"Hey, what are you up to?" she forced out, feigning cheeriness.

"Uhh, I'm just—talking..." he faltered, confused. The guy in front of him smirked at them and tipped his cup in her direction.

"I'm gonna get another drink. It was nice talking to you, man," he said, already heading in the direction of the kitchen. Peeta threw a muttered "Later" in his direction, and then he pried her arms from his waist and twisted around to face her.

"What are you doing?" he asked suspiciously, and she lifted her eyebrows, ignoring the way her heart raced.

"Just wanted to see what you were up to," she said with a shrug, sipping her beer. She stepped closer to hug him again, but he halted her by grabbing her cup to look into it.

"How much have you had?"

She sighed in frustration, snatching her cup away. "I'm not drunk. This is only my second beer. Why the third-degree, Peeta? Sheesh." This time when she moved to hug him again, he didn't stop her, but his hands settled awkwardly on her shoulders.

"I'm not giving you the third-degree, but you're acting strange right now—"

Katniss frowned. "How is this strange?" she asked into his chest. "We hug all the time. We hold hands. You play with my hair." I climb into your bed and lie on top of you, she added mentally. "You're more affectionate than I am." She hadn't meant to sound so accusatory or defensive, but now she was embarrassed.

She felt him take a deep breath and release it, but he didn't respond right away. "I know," he finally said, tightening his arms around her shoulders, and she wanted to cry in relief. She kept her face buried against his chest.

"I miss you," she murmured after a moment when she felt it was safe.

"I'm right here," he replied softly, and she shook her head.

"You know what I mean."

She felt his heart speed up beneath her ear, and her stomach clenched in response. "I'm sorry," he offered regretfully. "I'm not really sure what's going on with me..."

She choked back a snort. Join the club, she thought. She forced a smile and lifted her head to look up at him. "Well, knock it off. I want my best friend back."

He smiled in response, but it didn't reach his eyes. "Okay."

Untangling her arms from his waist, she took a step back. "Good, now that that's settled—" she stopped to drain the rest of her beer. "I need another drink. I'll be right back."

He nodded, and she squeezed his hand before she slipped away toward the kitchen. She was taken aback, however, when she saw Gale and Madge talking. Not just talking—flirting. Madge was laughing loudly at something he'd said, her hand resting on his arm, and he was grinning widely at her.

What the hell?

She walked toward them, a skeptical look on her face, but when Gale noticed her, he smiled in greeting like nothing was out of the ordinary. "Hey," he said, directing Madge's attention to Katniss. Her friend's eyes widened at the sight of her, and she smiled nervously.

"Oh, hey, Katniss." She glanced down at her empty cup. "I gotta use the bathroom. This beer is running right through me," she said with a sheepish laugh, and then she slipped around her, disappearing into the living room. Once she'd left, Katniss arched an eyebrow at Gale.

"What are you doing?" she demanded. He blinked.

"What do you mean?"

She scowled slightly. "You were hitting on Madge."

He made a face. "No, I wasn't—okay, I guess I was," he mused, chuckling. She cocked a hip.

"So is this what you do? Pick up high school chicks?"

His expression sobered immediately. "No, Katniss," he said evenly. "I didn't have some nefarious plot concocted to prey on high school girls. I didn't expect to like Madge, but she's cooler than I gave her credit for." He shrugged. She was still confused.

"So...what about me?"

He laughed at that, and she bristled. He held his hands up in a placating gesture. "Katniss, you're cool, too, don't get me wrong. I did like you—do—but it's clear you're not into it. You're hung up on someone else."

Her eyes widened. "What? Who?"

He shot her an exasperated look. "Peeta. Come on."

Her jaw dropped, and her heart jumped into her throat. "What? No...I'm not...I'm not hung up on Peeta," she said weakly, glancing around them, afraid somebody else had walked in and overheard. Gale just chuckled again.

"You are. Look, far be it from me to judge your situation, but...I just don't really want to waste my time on a girl who's pining for somebody else," he explained. As her face paled, he smiled sympathetically. "Hey, if it helps, I'm pretty sure he feels the same way. Jesus, I don't know if I've ever seen two people who want to fuck more badly than you two do."

Dread settled in her stomach like cement. "Oh, my god," she whispered, and he looked concerned.

"What?" Then it seemed to dawn on him. "This isn't the first time you're realizing it, is it?" he asked.

It was; oh, fuck, it was.

She wanted to fuck Peeta. So badly.

She didn't even know how to respond, so Gale gave a low whistle, running a hand through his hair. "Wow. I thought girls were supposed to be more intuitive about this sort of thing. Well...shit. You know what you need?" He reached into his pocket and pulled out a plastic bag full of what she recognized to be weed and rolling papers. "A little herbal relief."

She hadn't smoked pot since she was 14. The thought hadn't appealed to her in a while, but now...Yeah, she needed some herbal relief. "Okay," she agreed numbly, and he led her back out into the living room, waving her over to the couch. As she moved around the furniture, she locked eyes with Peeta. He was watching her curiously, and her entire body flushed with warmth. Could he read it all over her face now? Fuck, if everyone else could pick up on her desire for him, how easily could he read it? He understood her better than anyone.

Shit, she was such an idiot. She'd just managed to smooth things over with him not even five minutes ago, and now she was about to ruin it all by acting weird and distant yet again.

She had to suck it up. She couldn't do this to him, not again.

Forcing as natural a smile as she could manage, she gestured for him to come sit with her. She could do this; she could act normal.

"Who wants a hit?" Gale called out, and the surrounding partygoers converged around them eagerly. Johanna appeared suddenly, plopping down on the floor on the other side of the coffee table. Peeta pushed through the crowd and leaned over the back of the couch to speak into Katniss' ear.

"You're not going to smoke that, are you?" he asked warily, and she jumped when his warm breath caressed the shell of her ear, goosebumps prickling her skin deliciously. Fuck. She swallowed thickly before glancing back at him.

"Just a couple hits, that's all," she replied, and he sighed in disapproval. She knew what he was thinking; this was two years ago, all over again. But it wasn't. Not even close. She reached for his hand to tug on it, trying to ignore how nice his skin felt against hers. "Sit with me. Make sure I don't do anything stupid. Please?" she implored, her eyes round. He stared at her for a moment and then nodded, climbing over the back of the couch to squeeze in between her and the arm of the couch. Their shoulders bumped together as he settled in, their thighs pressed tightly together. Katniss nearly let her hand come to rest on his knee but thought better of it and clenched her fist in her lap.

She tried to watch Gale roll the joint, but she was distracted. She had never been this aware of Peeta's proximity before, every inch of him; her body responded, a dull throbbing settling between her thighs, and she clenched her fist tighter. Could Gale hurry the fuck up?

When he finally had the joint rolled, he pulled a lighter out of his pocket and pinched the filter end of the joint between his fingers, pursing his lips around it. He flicked the lighter, and once the flame caught, he held it to the other end of the joint and inhaled deeply. Then he released the smoke, blowing it into the air, and he handed the joint to the next person. It made its way around the circle, and by the time it reached her, her legs were shaking with anxiety.

She snatched it from some girl's hand and took a hit, greedily sucking the smoke into her lungs before releasing it slowly. She coughed a couple times, and she felt Peeta's hand ghost over her thigh. She closed her eyes at the sensation; the effect of the pot was almost immediate, a wave of lightheadedness washing over her.

"Hand it over, brainless," Johanna quipped, and Katniss blinked her eyes open, passing the joint to her. As Johanna took a puff, Katniss leaned back on the couch. Peeta nudged her arm.

"You okay?" he asked softly so only she could hear, and she made herself look at him. He was so close, his features creased slightly in concern. She smiled at him and nodded, but she couldn't stop staring at him. As familiar as she was with his face, it was like she was looking at it for the first time. His eyes were like peering down into two bottomless wells, framed perfectly by the ridge of his brow. Some of his blonde curls fell across his forehead and grazed the curved edges of his ears; she fought the urge to tug on his hair. How often had she done that in the past and thought nothing of it? She inhaled shakily, her gaze dipping to his mouth. His mouth—Jesus Christ, how badly did she want to taste his lips, his tongue, to guide that mouth over every plane of her body?

She ached acutely now; she could feel herself getting wetter as her face filled with color. Peeta's eyes searched her face. "You sure?" he pressed, and she nodded, dazed, forcing her eyes away. But she grabbed his hand this time and squeezed, bringing it into her lap. Which she realized immediately was a bad idea because now he was that much closer to where she ached to be touched; it was torture.

Somehow, the joint had made its way back around to her. She grasped it lightly and took another greedy drag. The buzz was starting to hit her now, and she turned to Peeta, offering the joint. "Do you want a hit?" she asked boldly. His eyes darted between her face and her hand, and after a moment's deliberation, he took the proffered joint, regarding it uneasily. He'd attempted this before a couple of times, when she used to smoke, but he had never taken a liking to it. He'd only ever smoked from a bong, though. He licked his lips like he wasn't entirely sure what to do, and, watching his tongue, Katniss made an impulsive split decision, unlacing her hand from his.

Plucking the joint from his fingers, she took another deep hit and held it in her lungs. Confused, Peeta made to protest, but his jaw went slack when she grabbed the back of his neck and pulled his face to hers, sealing her parted lips to his. Then she released the smoke she'd been holding, blowing it into his mouth; Peeta inhaled reflexively, his wide eyes glued to hers.

Vaguely, she was aware of catcalls and laughter, but all she could focus on in that moment was the feel of his lips against her. They were slightly chapped but soft. If she just moved her tongue, just slightly, she could taste him...

Too soon, she pulled away, breaking the spell. Peeta said nothing as he gaped at her wordlessly, coughing slightly on the smoke. Her face flushed with shame, and she looked away. What an idiot she was! What had she been thinking? Her gaze locked with Johanna's; her friend was grinning wolfishly at her, but Katniss ignored her, passing her the last of the joint. She avoided eye contact with anyone else after that, keeping her head down. That was when she realized Peeta's hand was still in her lap, his fingers digging into her thigh firmly.

Oh, god, what was he thinking? Did he hate her? He didn't speak, but she could hear his ragged breathing even over the music and the chatter. Eventually, with the joint finished, the crowd began to disperse, the guests devolving into their own conversations and activities. Neither she nor Peeta moved from their spots, however, still pressed together even when more space had been cleared on the couch. She still couldn't bring herself to look at him. Her head was swimming, and she had a feeling it was from more than just the weed.

Katniss went rigid when she felt his hand move, his palm dragging farther up her thigh. She nearly swallowed her tongue when his hand slid between her thighs, and when the outside of his pinky brushed the crotch of her pants, her breath hitched in her throat, her eyes fluttering closed. But Peeta jerked his hand away almost immediately, standing up abruptly, and she gawked at him as he ran his hand through his hair.

"Sorry, I just—I need—air," he choked out, briefly glancing at her before he forced his eyes away, and then he started to walk away, weaving through people.

She jumped to her feet and was instantly on his heels, compelled by panic or something else, she wasn't sure. "Peeta!" she called after him, pulling him to a stop in the hallway. He turned around to face her; his features were fraught with worry and confusion, and her stomach sank. Fuck. She had freaked him out. She had ruined everything.

They stared at each other, neither knowing what to do or say. Unbidden, her eyes dropped to his mouth again, her mind replaying the brief moment their lips touched. She might have ruined everything with that one idiotic move, but, god, did she want to do it again.

"Katniss," he said shakily, tearing her attention from his mouth. How long had she been staring? When she met his gaze again, she pulled up short. His eyes were dark and hooded, his pupils fat.

Did he want her? A thrill ran up her spine, and she exhaled tremulously.

She was jostled suddenly by somebody squeezing past them, once again breaking the trance. She wanted to scream in frustration. There were too many fucking people at this party. She searched their surroundings frantically, noting the coat closet to her left. Before Peeta could run off again, she threw the door open and grabbed his arm, hurriedly pulling him into the closet with her before anyone could see them. Immediately, she collided with the coats that draped from the hangers, and she shoved them out of the way.

"What are you..." Peeta breathed, and she reached around him to slam the door shut, plunging them into darkness. They stood there, face to face but not touching, their breaths heavy between them. The sounds from the party were muffled, creating a delicate near-silence in the small closet. Hesitantly, she placed her trembling hands on his waist and stepped flush against him. She heard his breath stick in his throat. Did he understand yet?

She lifted her head up toward where she sensed his face to be. His quick breaths were hot against her mouth. She was paralyzed, her own lips parted, sucking in the air he exhaled—could she do it? She swallowed, hard, and stepped to the precipice.

"Tag, you're it," she whispered, wondering if he could hear her over the sound of her heart beating, wondering if he would catch her.

He groaned loudly, almost painfully, and then his mouth was crashing down on hers so fast she didn't even have time to blink. He pushed her backward against the wall, angrily parting the coats, and then his tongue was in her mouth, stroking hers. She whimpered, cupping his face, trying to pull him as close as possible. Yes, yes, yes, yes—he tasted better than she could have imagined, and she couldn't get enough. She sucked on his tongue, drawing a low moan from the back of his throat, and then he took control of the kiss again, nipping at her lip, sucking it between his own before dipping his tongue back into her mouth.

Slowly, she became aware of their hips bumping together, her pelvis gyrating in a circle against his erection. She broke the kiss with a gasp when the friction stimulated her clit, her head thumping against the wall. Peeta removed one of his hands from her hip and fumbled in the dark for something. She understood when she heard a soft click, light flooding the small closet. They both blinked at each other, their movements stilling. Their chests heaved, and she took in the sight of his face—his lips red and swollen, his cheeks flushed, his eyes dark.

Whimpering again, Katniss bucked against his hips, and he gripped them, pressing harder between her thighs. They both groaned in relief as he thrust slowly, the bulge in his pants straining against her center. "Shit," he hissed, and she squeezed her eyes shut.

"Peeta, please," she pleaded, not even sure what she was asking for, but she knew she needed it.

Suddenly, he stopped again, his hands moving between them to unbutton her pants. Unzipping them, he clumsily pushed her pants down her hips so her panties were exposed. They locked eyes, his questioning; she slipped the cotton panties down for him in answer, baring herself for him. His stare was fixated on the juncture of her thighs, and he inhaled sharply, but then his fingers were moving through her dark curls. She cried out when his fingers made contact with her folds, easily sliding through her wetness.

"Holy fuck, Katniss," he groaned, his voice awed, and then he was slipping his fingers back and forth, teasing her lips. Her hips rocked against his hand, and she moaned pathetically, gripping his shoulders hard. Her eyes were closed, but she felt one finger push inside her; she choked on a gasp, but when he pushed a second finger in, she groaned fully. Peeta did, too. "Oh, my god, you feel so hot," he whispered, pumping her with his digits. After a moment, he pulled his slippery fingers out and found her clitoris next, rubbing it quickly.

She jerked against him with a pleased gasp, moving her hips faster. But there wasn't enough friction, she realized quickly, and she whined. "Peeta, I'm too wet," she pleaded, and something like a laugh of disbelief caught in his throat.

"Yeah," he breathed, pulling his hand away briefly. She peered up at him; her heart stopped as she watched him suck his two fingers into his mouth, cleaning them of her arousal, and then he wiped his saliva off on his shirt before he returned his hand to the apex of her thighs, his fingers resuming their assault on her clit. Katniss moaned in relief as he rubbed quick, sharp circles. "Better?"

She nodded desperately, her breaths coming hard and fast now. She was going to come soon, and hard—she was so wet. She could feel the wetness seeping down the inside of her thighs; she felt like she was dripping all over the place. She couldn't remember ever being this turned on before. Was it the weed? Or was it just Peeta? Had she wanted him this bad all along?

She didn't have time to think about it because suddenly her orgasm was ripping through her, and she cried out. "Ngh, fuck, I'm coming," she moaned, too late, and Peeta swallowed the sound with his mouth, his tongue working hers as she fell apart in his arms, shuddering and tensing as the pleasure spread out into every limb of her body. Then she went limp, trembling when his fingers kept tracing idle circles on her clit. He held her to his chest, kissing her languidly until her heart rate evened out. When he pulled away, however, it felt final—and she didn't want to stop yet.

Her hands moved between them, unfastening his pants and pushing them down. When she stretched his boxer-briefs down over his cock, they both inhaled sharply. "Katniss," he warned, but she was too mesmerized by the sight of him. She always thought he might be big, but her hand looked so small wrapped around his cock when she gripped him. He jerked against her hand, gasping softly. Slowly, she stroked him, experimenting with the weight of him in her palm, with the speed of her movements. Peeta was breathing heavily, and she finally glanced up at him.

"Is this okay?" she asked, and his eyelids fluttered open; it took a moment for his eyes to focus on her face. He started to nod his head, but then he stopped, lightly touching her wrist to halt her hand.

"I—wait," he murmured, and she stared at him with wide eyes as he unhinged her hand from his cock—did he not want this?—but then he pushed her hand between her own legs. He slid her palm and fingers over her folds, coating her hand in her own wetness, and her mouth parted in surprise. Then he placed her hand back on his cock, pumping it a few times to get her started. Her hand was slick now, gliding more easily over his hot flesh, and he moaned quietly, leaning his forehead against her shoulder. "Fuck."

Katniss curled her fingers in the hair at the back of his neck, stroking him quickly with her other hand. He was so hard, his skin silky; she nuzzled the side of his head, pressing kisses to his jaw as she continued to pump him. She tightened her fist some, and he groaned his approval, his hips bucking against her. Her wrist was getting tired, but she was determined to finish.

"I—shit, Katniss," he grunted, his hand suddenly covering hers and cupping it over the head of his cock, then he bit down on her shoulder to stifle his moan as he came.

"Oh," she breathed out, feeling the warm fluid fill her hand. She wasn't gripping him tightly enough, so she felt some of it leak between her fingers and down her palm, dripping down his cock. She just listened to his ragged breathing, his cock pulsing in her hand, and after a moment he seemed to deflate, sagging against her slightly. She could feel him softening in her hand, so she released his cock gingerly, her hand still full of his cum. She didn't know what to do with it.

Finally, Peeta pushed off the wall and stood up straight. He was still panting some, and his face was flushed when she looked him in the eye—her face felt warm, too. He seemed at a loss for words, so she held her hand out to him in question. "Um...what should I do with this?" she asked, her voice hushed. He cringed slightly but took her hand; deliberating, he finally had her wipe his semen off on his boxer-briefs, and then he tucked himself back in, fastening his pants. Katniss followed suit, uncomfortably pulling her underwear and jeans back up.

And now the nerves were setting in as the full weight of what had just happened hit her. Oh god, now what? She searched his face, trying to determine what he was thinking, but she was taken aback by the fear she found in his eyes.

Why was he afraid?

"Fuck," he sighed, stepping back and scrubbing his hands over his face. "Fuck."

She reached out to him, her fingers grazing his arm. "Peeta..." she started, but he jerked away from her, shaking his head.

"I...fuck. Katniss—I'm so sorry—oh, god, I can't. I gotta go. I'm sorry," he blurted, spinning around to throw the door open. She was too stunned to call out to him, and the door slamming shut jarred her out of her stupor, causing her to jump. She just stared at the closed door, not moving and utterly dumbfounded.