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“Have I mentioned how much I hate weddings?”

 

“Only about five times.” Peeta cuts an exasperated look in her direction, but his eyes are amused and twinkling and kind in that Disney prince sort of way that he always seems to embody. “In the past ten minutes.”

 

Katniss makes a face at him before turning away. Twenty-five-year-old bakers should not look like fairy tale characters she thinks absently, drumming her fingers on the table cagily as she surveys the ballroom of Panem Country Club.

 

“They’re just so awful. No— downright selfish! Not even you can deny that. They’re-”

 

“A waste of time.” He starts ticking off all of the reasons she’s been lamenting for the past hour. “A waste of money. You’ll never wear that dress again. She’ll never wear that dress again. The food is stupid.” He widens his eyes at her mockingly, coaxing a reluctant laugh from her. “The horrors.”

 

“Okay, okay,” she grumbles, leaning heavily into her high back chair. She scowls and twists uncomfortably against the unforgiving wood. “This chair sucks, too, by the way. Just because you cover a piece of mahogany with exquisite fabric doesn’t make it any more comfortable. Such a—”

 

“Sham,” he finishes, his lips upturned as he deftly plucks two glasses of champagne from the proffered tray of an approaching waiter. He hands one of the long-stemmed glasses to her with a flourish, raising an eyebrow as she wordlessly throws it back. "Hey, that was a great pun," he adds, watching her with unbridled amusement. “And you didn’t even smile. Why am I friends with you again?”

 

She throws him an unimpressed look before snatching the second glass from his hand, downing it effortlessly.

 

“Slow down, killer. You’re going to be so trashed,” he says with a chuckle, signaling a waiter to bring another drink. “They haven’t even cut the cake yet.”

 

She opens her mouth, sputtering when a large, calloused finger is thrust against her lips. “No,” he warns her, his voice firm. “Do not diss the cake, Katniss. You go too far.”

 

He yelps when she bites his finger sharply. Katniss smirks when he snatches his hand back and furrows his eyebrows at her with a frown.

 

"You're cute when you try to be mad at me—oh, will you just stop with the face? I’m sure it looks great.” She rolls her eyes, reaching for his glass and scowling when he pulls it out of her reach. “Like I’d really diss your cake, Mr. Sensitive.”

 

“You haven’t even looked at it yet? This is so insulting.”

 

“I know how hard you've been slaving away on it. How many whiny texts did you send me after you dropped that spun-sugar sailboat?" She gives him a pointed look. “I think you cried a little. I could feel the teardrops through the phone.”

 

“It was a stressful moment, okay? It was to be my pièce de résistance,” he laments, staring off into the distance wistfully before looking back at her again. "I worked my ass off on that masterpiece."

 

"Yeah. yeah. Speaking of masterpieces," she says, watching as Cato Baxter strides across the room.

 

"What the hell?" Peeta laughs in disbelief, following her line of sight. "That tool? Please tell me you’re joking."

 

"That tool is attractive, and more importantly, single."

 

"No, he's not."

 

"Really?" She looks at him skeptically. "I think half the women in this room will beg to differ with you. Also, I didn't know you had such an informed opinion of Cato's looks," she deadpans. Inwardly, she’s a little surprised. She’s never heard Peeta be so critical of another person before, even someone who has an admittedly questionable personality like Cato.

 

"I'm very comfortable in my manhood. But no, it's not his looks—well, yes, that too. His head is too damn small for his body, but that's an entirely different conversation." He shakes his head a moment, as if getting back on track. "He's not single, though."

 

"What?" she asks, shocked.

 

"I know. How is that even possible, right? He's such an asshole to women, but somehow he's engaged."

 

"No! I mean, how? When? I thought Cato Baxter would never settle down."

 

Peeta shrugs. “I heard awhile back that he and Clove started dating. The engagement thing happened just this week though, according to Finnick." His face darkens. “Why he's friends with that guy, I'll never understand."

 

"They're cousins, actually," Katniss says, distracted. Well, damn. She can cross one available body off her very short list of possible "slutty wedding sex" candidates. It's been so long since she's had sex, she's honestly embarrassed to even think about it.

 

Two years, three months and four days.

 

Not that she's counting.

 

“Katniss.”

 

She glances up at her name. “Hmmm?”

 

“Are you looking for a wedding hook-up?”

 

She scowls at his incredulous tone. “What’s with the judging face, Mellark?”

 

Peeta holds up his hands in a defensive motion. “Hey, I’m not judging. This just isn’t like you,” he hedges with a slight smile, looking around the room. “Also, I know you can do so much better than what this crowd has to offer.”

 

“These are our friends and acquaintances.”

 

“Exactly.” He raises an eyebrow and gestures towards David Marvel. “We know where they’ve been.”

 

She looks over at the guy Peeta’s pointing out, frowning when Annie’s cousin Glimmer totters over on high heels and kisses him. “Damn,” Katniss mutters. “There goes another one.”

 

“Oh, wow. Don’t even tell me that he was on your list of possibilities, too.” Peeta stares at her, his blue eyes wide and disgruntled.

 

Katniss bites off the end of a canape, chewing violently. “Look, not all of us are in perfect relationships with equally perfect partners-”

 

“We broke up.”

 

She stops, her mouth dropping open slightly. “When? Why didn’t you tell me?”

 

“Last night.” Peeta runs a hand through his hair, giving it an effortlessly tousled look. The twinkly lights strung in the exposed overhead beams reflect off of the blond strands, causing a dreamy halo effect.

 

Madge Undersee is so stupid for letting him get away, she thinks, taking a sip of her drink. Not that he’s my type. She grimaces into her glass, shaking her head a little.

 

Peeta continues, “It was kind of late, and then I didn’t want to ruin the mood for anyone today.”

 

“I’m sorry,” Katniss says honestly, contrition written on her face. “I’m a jerk.”

 

“S’okay,” says Peeta, giving her a crooked half-smile. He shrugs, reaching over to steal a mini-quiche from her plate. “It was honestly a long time coming. We just weren’t what each other really wanted, you know?” He chews for a moment, his eyes distant before coming back into focus.

 

Katniss nods slowly and pats him on the hand. “I understand.” He looks down at the motion and then back up at her. “We’ll find you some wedding sex, too. Okay?”

 

His smile drops. “Katniss-”

 

A shadow falls onto the stark white table cloth. “Everdeen, as I live and breathe!”

 

“Darius Scott.” She turns away from Peeta to greet the red-haired man. “It’s been awhile since I’ve seen you last.”

 

“What are you and Mellark doing over here all alone in the corner? A beautiful girl like you shouldn’t be a wallflower tonight.”

 

Peeta snorts quietly, valiant in his efforts to suppress a laugh when Katniss shoots a side-angled stare at him.

 

“What did you have in mind?” she flirts back, cringing inwardly at her lame attempts to play coy. She’s already so bad at this type of thing, and the process is ten times worse with Peeta observing the exchange with faint amusement.

 

“How about if I waltz you around the dance floor a time or two?” Darius suggests with a wink, holding out a large freckled hand to her.

 

“Katniss doesn’t really dance,” Peeta says, picking up his glass and swirling the liquid inside. "Remember that time at Dr. Abernathy‘s wedding? I thought Effie was going to kill you."

 

“Sure,” she says, ignoring Peeta and accepting Darius’ proffered hand.

 

The problem is, Peeta is right. She doesn’t dance. At least, not this formal, awkward wedding type of dancing that people do in movies but never really pull off in real life. She’s totally uncomfortable through the whole song, Darius’ hands wandering down to her ass, his breath reeking of shrimp puffs and whiskey. He’s nice enough—easy on the eyes, and she knows he’s not a bad guy, but the more she’s in his presence, the more repelled she becomes.

 

Mercifully, the announcement comes for the cutting of the cake, and she breaks away, shooting Darius a passably apologetic smile. She turns and swiftly walks toward the confection, a huge, whimsical thing with multiple tiers, fanciful imagery of Annie and Finnick’s life together covering the surface in stunningly accurate sugar creations.

 

Peeta made that, she thinks in fascination, momentarily distracted from her disastrous dance. With his own hands. He really is so talented.

 

She jumps slightly when a warm touch presses against her lower back. “Was it everything you dreamed of and more?” Peeta asks, so close to her ear that she shivers when he speaks.

 

She swats at his chest, pushing against him lightly. He just smiles and throws an arm around her shoulder, and they both laugh when Annie smashes a piece of cake into Finnick’s chin. “I’m just saying, you two looked like a match made in heaven on the dance floor,” he said a moment later, looking straight ahead with a too-innocent glint in his eye.

 

"Ha, ha." Katniss frowns, craning her head up to look at him. "Peeta, are you rooting for me to fail?” she asks.

 

“Maybe,” he says with an unreadable expression. "So what if I am?" She opens her mouth to respond.

 

“Katniss! Peeta!” Annie calls, waving them over in excitement. Peeta shrugs, moving his arm from her shoulder and wrapping his fingers around hers, pulling her with him to join the rest of the wedding party. She tries to ignore the sparks that shoot through her fingertips, chalking it up to her increasing levels of horniness and definitely not the fact that she feels a sudden wave of attraction to one of her closest platonic friends.

 

And, as Peeta forks into her mouth a piece of the wedding cake that had been crafted by his talented, nimble fingers, she swears then and there that she will kick up her search for a wedding sex partner.

 


 

 

It is a failure.

 

Utter. Failure.

 

Thresh is dating Delly.

 

Poll is gay and living in a happy domestic partnership with James Flavius.

 

Thom is engaged to Lavinia.

 

Katniss knows she is edging along the seam of desperation when she finds herself actually considering following up on the hook-up that Bristel’s eye sex from across the room implies. Not that Bristel isn’t hot—she is. Katniss just isn’t into women.

 

Then again, she really isn’t into her vibrator anymore, either. She’s downright sick of it, actually.

 

She’s trying not to roll her eyes as she suffers through a slow dance with Brutus Tyner, someone she had previously marked as a “sure thing but last resort” on her list of candidates, listening half-heartedly as he discusses his two-month-old daughter in great detail, a surprise that resulted in a hasty marriage to the baby’s mother, Cashmere.

 

Her eyes glaze over when he enthusiastically starts to describe the baby’s 2am feeding schedule, silently cheering when rescue appears in the solid form of a blond baker.

 

“May I cut in?” Peeta asks easily, tapping Brutus on the shoulder. The other man nods with a smile, reminding Katniss to come see the baby sometime before walking away to join Cato and Marvel at the wet bar.

 

“Don’t even start,” Katniss warns him, dropping her head onto Peeta’s shoulder as they move together in a slow dance. She ignores the voice in the back of her head that is telling her how natural this feels in comparison to the other dances she has engaged in that night.

 

Peeta laughs, and she feels his chest rumble beneath her hand. “So. Hot date with an infant?” he teases.

 

“Ha,” she says sourly. "Well, you got your wish. This night sucked. I totally struck out."

 

"C’mon. It wasn't all bad, was it? We got to play at least ten rounds of tic-tac-toe earlier. Also, the food is supreme."

 

"The food is pretty good," she admits begrudgingly. She pauses the mindless running of her thumb against the fine material of his dress shirt, feeling more than hearing an intake of breath against her hair. Did he just sniff her?

 

"High praise coming from you."

 

She decides to ignore the sniff. "I might smuggle some of it home tonight and put my overpriced handbag to use. You know, stuff my face with finger foods and watch Crime TV."

 

Peeta clears his throat, his fingers toying with the neckline of her dress. "Do you want some company?"

 

"Sure," she says in surprise, sighing in contentment when his hand slides up to massage her neck. He gives the best massages ever. "Just prepare to get really comfortable."

 

His thumb presses firmly into the rigid muscle below her neck where she carries most of her tension. She tries not to moan.

 

"What if I want to make you feel, ah, more than comfortable?"

 

She pulls back and looks up at him. "What do you mean?" she asks suspiciously, her heart starting to pound at the expression on his face.

 

He looks down at her with a steady, serious gaze.

 

"I mean that you've been considering every man in this room except for the obvious one."

 

Her eyes widen with awareness. "Peeta!" Katniss sputters, stunned.

 

“Yes?”

 

"We can't."

 

"Why not?" he asks evenly. She is acutely aware that they have stopped dancing and are just standing in the middle of the dance floor, staring at each other.

 

"Because you're not my type," she replies dumbly, shifting on her foot in a parody of dancing. "You're too..."

 

"Too what, exactly?" he asks, sounding slightly offended.

 

"Too nice. Too you. Too much my friend," she rattles off, dropping her head back to his shoulder and wrapping her arms around his back, deciding that it will be much easier to not look at him while having this conversation.

 

And really, she thinks wildly. If I can’t face him while talking about having sex, how can we actually do it? Her mind can barely process this line of thinking, so shocked is she by this turn of events.

 

"I think you have some misconceptions about me," he finally says, sighing into her hair.

 

"That you're my really nice, super close friend?"

 

"That I'm not capable of fucking you until you can't see straight."

 

"Oh my god." Her arms tightened around his waist. “You did not just say that."

 

“I did,” says Peeta, his mouth set stubbornly. “And it’s true. I can and will make you come, and you are going to retract this ‘not your type’ nonsense.”

 

“I can’t believe this,” she mumbles, pulling out of his embrace and slinking off the dance floor, pushing through the other couples crowding the space.

 

“Can’t believe what?” He follows closely on her heels, laughing under his breath. “I can’t believe you’re treating me like some unfortunate little boy who doesn’t know what to do with his dick.”

 

She throws an incredulous look over her shoulder. “You said dick!” Katniss hisses, scandalized. Disney princes do not say dick. Just how much do I really know about Peeta Mellark, anyway? she thinks, looking around to see if anyone heard him.

 

They’ve known each other since they were kids, but hadn’t actually become friends until college, both attending the same state school and sharing a common group of friends. She’d be lying if she said that she hadn’t found him attractive—of course she had, and still does. But he was always just so nice, so earnest, and she normally went for the more “rough around the edges” type who are capable of handling the sullen bite that colors her personality.

 

And, if she was being really honest, she had always thought that Peeta was entirely out of her league. So, she had settled for being his friend, soaking up the sunshine of his personality that seemed to offset her sometimes -often- cloudy disposition.

 

She’s happy with this arrangement, comfortable even. It’s what she knows. He’s reliable, and good, and knows her favorite breakfast foods and is a prompt Words With Friends partner. She hadn’t allowed herself to imagine how he would feel between her legs, to even think about what his dick looked like. She had never even heard him say that word before, until apparently right this moment.

 

“Yes, I did!” he calls back, cheerful with confirmation.

 

Katniss stops at their table and picks up her purse, shooting him a look as he steps to her side. “Where is this even coming from?”

 

"Maybe I have something to prove to you."

 

She stares at him.

 

He leans against the edge of the table, crossing his arms and blinking down at her. “Why do I need an epic reason to want to sleep with you? You’re beautiful, you know.”

 

Katniss gives him a disbelieving look, her eyes narrowed with skepticism. “Right,” she snorts, digging through her purse blindly.  

 

He tries again. “I swear—you are incapable of receiving compliments. But alright. How’s this? You were willing to sleep withcreepy Cato, no questions asked. I think I should be really offended right now,” he says, his tone both playful and serious.

 

She sighs and tilts her head back, dropping her purse onto the table. "Peeta..."

 

He looks away. "I'll shut up now, if that's what you want," he says. "The last thing I want is to make you uncomfortable. I just thought..."

 

“Can we just drop this until after the reception?” Katniss asks, her mind racing. She feels like she’s in another dimension, some bizarre twilight zone where Peeta Mellark wants to fuck her.  

 

He straightens. “So you’re not saying no, then?” he asks softly, stepping closer. Katniss can smell his cologne, something warm and soothing with a hint of spice, similar to the wearer. An image of herself and Peeta entwined together on her bed flashes in her mind, briefly, guiltily and deliciously. She shivers.

 

“It’s not a no.”

 

He smiles. 

 


 

 

“So, if we did do this, what are your expectations?” Katniss asks, looking up at him as they walk down the sidewalk. They both live relatively close by, and neither had driven to the reception, knowing that they would be drinking in celebration and that they could just bum rides with other wedding party members if necessary.

 

“What do you mean?” he asks slowly, his eyebrows furrowing together. He steadies her by the elbow when she almost trips on her heels, and slips his arm through the crook of hers afterwards. She doesn’t complain.

 

She’s quiet for a moment. “You literally just got out of a serious relationship-”

 

“-Not that serious,” he tries to interject.

 

She ignores him. “-and you broke up less than twenty four hours ago. And now you want to have sex with me?”

 

“It’s not that cut and dry,” he hedges, his cheeks darkening. “Besides, I told you. This was a long time coming. My relationship with Madge has been over for awhile now. We’ve just been existing on a technicality. We haven’t even had sex in months.”

 

Katniss' eyebrows shoot up at this. What?

 

“You wouldn’t be my rebound,” he continues, rushing to reassure her. “That’s what I mean.”

 

Katniss sighs, reaching up to tug on her elaborate braid, momentarily appreciative that Annie had allowed her to keep her customary -albeit, fancier- hairstyle. “That’s what I'm worriedabout. I’d honestly feel better about this if I am a rebound. I have my doubts that you are capable of having a one-night stand and just walking away.”

 

“Wow. You think awfully highly of yourself, Katniss.”

 

“Wait- that’s not what I meant-” She shakes her head and stutters in embarrassment.

 

He laughs, and she scowls as she realizes that he is teasing her. “I hear you.” They stop as they reach the steps of her townhouse, and Peeta lays both his hands on her shoulders, the eye contact so intense that she wants to look away but can’t.

 

“I want to do this with you,” he stresses. “I’m not celibate, and I’m not your gay best friend. I have, well, had a sex life,” he amends with a slight smile. “Even though you like to pretend I’m some fantasy guy that is pure of heart, I think.”

 

She flushes. “Okay, maybe I’ve put you on a pedestal,” Katniss mumbles. “You just look like a guy who is still allowed to touch unicorns.”

 

He laughs, looking at her as if she’s a rare thing. “I’m flattered,” he says, one hand moving to massage her shoulder. “I really am, but I’d be lying if I said that you haven’t featured heavily in my fantasies, and believe me when I say that they are anything but pure and absolutely do not involve unicorns.”

 

She laughs in surprise, discomforted. “Fantasies about me? No way.”

 

“You have no idea, Katniss,” he sighs, shaking his head. “You don’t see yourself clearly-” He stops at her skeptical face. “Look,” he changes gears. “You need a release. Right?”

 

Two years, three months and four days. Damn right, she does.

 

She nods, shifting on her feet.

 

“I can give you that. I want to give you that. You know me. You trust me. I’ll still be there in the morning with blueberry pancakes, and it will not be awkward,” he says firmly. “But you know the one thing this won’t be?” He maintains eye contact with her. “A one-night stand. Do you know why?”

 

She shakes her head.

 

“Because you’re one of my favorite people in the world, and I’m not just walking out after we have an amazing -and I do mean amazing- night together as if it’s something we should be ashamed about.”

 

"But-" Her mouth clicks shut at his facial expression. She looks away towards the skyline, the city lights highlighting her inky hair, and knows right then and there that relenting is inevitable. She wants this. If he wants this, too, who is she to stop him?

 

Also. Blueberry pancakes.

 

She continues, concern coating her words. “Okay. If you’re sure...” She tilts her head, searching his face.

 

“Katniss,” he interrupts her gently, pulling her by the shoulders into a tight hug.“I'm going to make you come harder than you have in your entire life," he says quietly, his voice heavy with promise.

 

She swallows her argument, her throat dry at his words.

 

“Say you’ll allow it?” he asks, his voice a hushed whisper in her ear. She shivers.

 

She hesitates only a moment. “I’ll allow it.” Katniss nods against his cheek, dazed. He pulls back, his lips curved into a smile as he follows her up the steps and onto the doorstep of her townhouse. She feels a current of nerves and energy thrum through her veins, thumping and swirling with every press of his large warm hand against the small of her back.

 

Oh my god, I’m going to fuck Peeta. She unlocks the door.

 

Oh my god, I’m going to fuck Peeta. She walks into the kitchen and drops her purse onto the granite countertop.

 

Oh my god, I’m going to fuc-

 

“Katniss.”

 

She turns around slowly, leaning against the counter. “Hmm?” She blinks up at him, startled by his proximity.

 

Peeta places his hands on either side of the counter, almost but not quite touching her hips with his own. She sucks in a breath at the intimacy of the moment.

 

“You think too much.”

 

He lifts a hand to touch her cheek, licking his lips, full and tempting. She watches his tongue in fascination, lifting her gaze only to find his own eyes searching her face intently. He must find what he is looking for, because he leans down and catches her lips with his own, gently but firmly coaxing her mouth into a dance with his. It is a careful kiss, almost a question, and she answers it by sliding her hands into his thick, blond strands and pulling slightly.

 

He groans and deepens the kiss, his tongue licking at the seam of her lips, seeking entrance there. Their tongues flick and lick and search, thorough in their exploration of one another’s mouths. Peeta’s hands move from the counter to her hips, gripping tightly as he thrusts against her in a light but controlled motion. She gasps into his mouth as his hardness hits just right, the thin material of her dress offering little resistance against what strains against his dress slacks. She feels the tension build in her lower abdomen as one hand glides from her hip to her rib cage, stopping to cup her breast lightly.

 

“Peeta,” she breathes against his lips shakily, her hands sliding from his hair to his shoulders. “Let’s take this to my room.”

 

He touches his forehead to hers and laughs a little, sounding as dazed as she feels. "You sure I can’t just take you right here?"

 

She inhales sharply as his lips trail down the bridge of her nose, placing a little kiss to the pert tip of it before speaking again. "Up against this counter?” he continues, his voice a deep murmur as he drops his lips to her cheek, her jawline, her chin.

 

“Don’t be half-assed, Mellark,” she jokes weakly, sighing out an embarrassing moan as he places a light peck to the hollow of her throat, his nimble fingers tugging insistently at the strap of her dress. “I’ve been standing all day and—!”

 

She squeaks as he picks her up effortlessly, her legs reflexively wrapping around his waist in response. “This isn’t a cheap romance novel, Peeta," she bitches breathlessly, her arms knotting around his neck despite her words.

 

The hand that isn’t supporting her back slides up her spine and into her hair, and he leans forward to nip her plump bottom lip between his perfect teeth. It’s an aggressive, devastatingly sexy move that leaves Katniss reeling, effectively silencing her into compliance.

 

He knows what he is doing.

 

“Don’t be difficult,” he says in admonishment, kissing the side of her mouth softly. Her eyelashes flutter in response.

 

He reaches the bedroom in record time, both of them losing their shoes along the way. He kicks the bedroom door shut behind him, and she laughs breathlessly as he tosses her onto the bed as if she’s a sack of flour rather than a grown woman.

 

“Take off your dress,” he commands, shrugging out of his jacket and draping it on her dresser. She nods furiously, sitting up on her knees and shimmying out of the insubstantial thing easily. She blinks at him as she kneels in her bra and panties, and he stares at her unabashedly while unbuttoning his dress shirt.

 

“Your bra, next,” he says roughly, his voice thick with desire as he moves closer to the bed, standing over her as they undress themselves. Her fingers tremble as she stares up at him, unbelievably turned on as they watch each other peel off the unwanted layers from their body. She slowly unhooks the clasp that is located in the front of her strapless bra, and his adam’s apple works reflexively as the lace material falls away to reveal her bare chest to him.

 

“Oh, shit,” Peeta utters, his guileless blue eyes raking over her form. His own shirt drops to the ground, forgotten as he drinks her in. She swallows at the sight of his bare torso—his stomach, taut from his daily run around the city, not an inch of fat in sight as proof of his profession; his broad chest, golden hair peppered across the defined muscle there. She finally lifts her eyes from his body, and tries not to flush at his intense stare.

 

“I know they’re not awesome,” she says with blunt honesty, trying not to sound insecure. She touches a hand to left breast, and can’t help but think briefly of Madge’s ample endowments. “Sorry if you’re disappointed-”

 

She breaks off in a gasp as she finds herself flat on her back, Peeta’s mouth wrapped around one dusky nipple. “You.” He suckles, and she keens. “Are.” A flick of his tongue. “Magnificent.” A nip of his teeth against the taut, puckered skin.

 

“Fuck,” she groans, sliding a hand against the back of his head and holding him against her chest. “That feels amazing.”

 

He looks up at her from beneath thick eyelashes, and releases her nipples with a soft pop of his perfect lips. “Well, don’t stop,” she breathes, her voice high and petulant even to her own ears.

 

“Oh, Katniss,” he chuckles huskily, sounding pleased. He nuzzles the soft valley between her breasts, placing a feather-light kiss there. “We’re just getting started.”

 

She sighs in relief. “Thank you,” Katniss says, her eyes fluttering closed as he runs a hand up her side, his fingers trailing in unformed shapes. He raises an eyebrow at her words.

 

“For what?”

 

“I don’t know,” she groans, clenching her thighs together. “I just feel really thankful right now.”

 

His laugh reverberates against her sternum. “You’re so easy,” he teases her, the reverent tone of his voice softening his words.

 

“And you’re overdressed,” she says, opening her eyes and staring down at him. “Take off your pants, Mellark.”

 

He nods thoughtfully, pushing himself up and off the bed. Katniss whines in complaint, and he shakes his head. “I’m just doing what you said,” he reminds her calmly, taking his time with the button and zipper of his slacks, slowly pushing them down his narrow hips to reveal the black boxer briefs underneath.

 

She licks her lips as he steps free of the pants. “Like what you see?” he asks, his hand splayed out on his tight abdomen. His stance was confident, but there was a question behind his words that belied his bravado.

 

Is he actually worried that I’ll reject him? she thinks, completely stunned. Idiot. She burns for him. She thinks she may have always burned for him.

 

“C’mere,” she says softly, crooking her finger at him. He smiles at her then, the dimples in his cheeks deepening as he complies, wasting no time before crawling up her body to hover over her. He stares down at her, balancing on his forearms before he pressing his lips to her own, his hips cradling the juncture of her thighs at just the right angle as he grinds his erection against her lace covered centered. She’s overwhelmed with the sensation of Peeta, but still she wants more, and huffily tells him so when he pulls away from her lips.

 

“Greedy,” he murmurs, sliding his body down her form. He presses a kiss to her lower abdomen before resting his chin there, looking up at her with a mischievous smile.

 

“What? No,” she says hastily, realizing his intent. He toys with the edge of her panties, his finger running along the scalloped lace.

 

“Yes,” he says, his eyes intense. “Please. I want to. So much.”

 

She looks at him with a mix of skepticism, longing and desire. She can’t remember if she’s ever had someone so eager to go down on her. “Remember when I said that you’ve been a part of my fantasies?” he asks, his words causing his chin to press into her lower stomach. She finds herself getting wetter with his every enunciation.

 

“Yes,” she replies cautiously.

 

“I’ve wanted to lick you out since high school.”

 

“What?” she exclaims, sitting up and leaning on her elbows. Her new angle causes him to slide down to rest his cheek against her thigh. The image is strangely erotic.

 

“It’s true,” he confesses, pink coloring his lightly golden cheeks. “I had such a hard-on for you back then.”

 

“No way,” utters Katniss, wide-eyed.

 

“Way,” he says solemnly. “If you had ever given me any indication that you were interested, I would have been all over you. High school. College...um. After.” He turns his face, embarrassed. “Do I sound like a creep?” he mumbles into her thigh.

 

“No,” she says, shaking her head. “I just-” She stops, laughing in disbelief. He lifts his head to look at her.

 

“What?” he encourages her, crawling back up Katniss’ body to place his arms on either side of her head.

 

“I just never thought you’d be interested in me like that. Also, I kind of thought this was a pity fuck,” she says bluntly, nervously licking her lips he stares down at her incredulously.

 

“You are ridiculous,” Peeta says, cupping her face with one hand and kissing her roughly, groaning against her lips. “And so completely and utterly out of my league, Everdeen.”

 

She laughs against his mouth. “This should be weird,” she utters between kisses. “Or awkward.” Kiss. “Shouldn’t it?” Kiss.

 

“Shut up,” Peeta says, pulling back with a happy smile. “I’m going to eat you out now,” he adds conversationally. “If that’s okay with you, troublemaker.”

 

Katniss nods furiously.

 

“Good girl,” he says, sitting up and placing two large hands on either side of her hips. “May I...?” he asks, tugging lightly on her panties. She lifts her hips to help him, and he slides them off and drops them to the floor beside the bed before turning his attention back to her nude form.

 

“God almighty,” he breathes, taking her in with rapturous eyes. She resists the urge to snap her thighs together.

 

“It’s nothing special,” she says dryly. He lifts his eyes reluctantly to level her with his stare, and her olive-skinned cheeks flush a dull red under his scrutiny.

 

“You have the prettiest pussy I’ve ever seen,” Peeta corrects her, soft and stern and wondrous all at once.

 

“Oh my god,” Katniss groans with an embarrassed laugh, tensing as he hooks his arm underneath one thigh, her other leg finding a home over his shoulder. “What is wrong with you?”

 

“Sit back,” he says soothingly, placing a kiss to her knee. She complies, her head hitting the pillow. There’s a tense moment as he nuzzles the crease of her thigh, the anticipation level high as he breathes over her increasingly wet center.

 

“Peeta...” Katniss starts nervously, peering down at him. She feels her lower lips being spread gently by two calloused fingers.

 

“Shhh,” he murmurs, lowering his head. “Don’t argue.”

 

She almost comes off the bed with the first long lick of his tongue against her folds, the pleasure so immediate with its intensity that she can’t help the high pitched gasp that squeaks its way from her throat. Her fingers clench the downy comforter beneath her palms as he dives into her pussy earnestly, lapping at her center like a man starved.

 

“Oh, oh,” she moans, bucking her hips as his tongue flicks her clit. He makes a noise of approval when she moves a hand from the bedspread to thread itself into his riotous blond waves, anchoring him against her center. His tongue flutters against her sensitive flesh, and when he starts to hum a moment later, she is sure that the vibrations will be her downfall.

 

“Play with your nipples,” he mumbles into her heated flesh, looking up at her just as hotly, “I want to watch you.”

 

And he does, licking and sucking and nibbling her pussy as she squeezes and pinches her painfully erect nipples, and she shatters beneath his tongue when he uses the lightest pressure of his teeth against her overly sensitive clit while working two thick fingers inside of her at a furious pace.

 

Peeta, I-” Katniss breaks off into a high pitched scream as he aggressively sucks on her clit, his cheeks hollowing, his tongue laving the hardened kernel in tandem, determined to wring out her release.  

 

She throws an arm over her face as she rides the shockwave of the most intense orgasm that she’s ever experienced, her hips bucking lightly against Peeta’s face as he starts to tongue her gently as she comes. She plucks at a nipple in absent rapture, pleasure still forming in waves all over body.

 

She’s still throbbing when he places a final kiss to her clit, crawling back up her body and moving her arm away to look at her face.

 

“Katniss,” he sing-songs down at her, sounding inordinately pleased. “Look at me.”

 

She blinks her eyes open languidly. “You have something on your chin,” she laughs weakly, her juices coating his lips and the space beneath.

 

He kisses her then, a soundless and thorough claiming, his tongue plundering these lips as earnestly as it had her lower ones only moments before. She tastes herself there, and it’s oddly pleasurable. He drops down to his forearms and presses himself against the length of her body, her breasts flattening beneath his chest. She undulates her hips and feels his erection, hard and thick against her center. Despite her recent orgasm, she wants more, the space between her legs aching for the length of him.

 

“You’re gonna be the death of me,” he swears, his back bowing as he raises and drops his hips to thrust against her fully. “Shit,” he groans, grinding against her. “Katniss, can I...?”

 

“Yes,” she gasps, sliding a hand down between them and palming his hardness through his briefs. “Peeta. Please, just...” Another hard thrust. “Jesus, just lose the briefs and fuck me.”

 

He chuckles a little at her impatience, the noise shaky with anticipation. He sits up, and she widens her legs so he can fall back between them and remove the material from his hips. She watches as the briefs are flung to the floor, fully revealing his dick to her for the first time.

 

Oh. My. God.

 

“Holy hell,” she blurts out, her eyes darting to his nervously.

 

“Don’t be scared,” he chuckles a little. “Wait. You’re not, are you?” he adds a moment later when she doesn’t respond, his eyes widening slightly in concern.

 

“No, I just- wow. I don’t know what I was expecting. You’re just way bigger than I could have imagined.”

 

“You’ve thought about me?” he asks in surprise, his eyes lidded with pleasure. Her gaze drops back down to his impressive erection, jutting out towards her proudly.

 

“Well, not really,” she admits. “At least, not actively.” His face drops a little.

 

“I see.” He sounds resigned, as if he expected nothing less.

 

“You really don’t,” she rushes to reassure him, sitting up on her knees and inching forward to the space left between his sprawled legs.

 

He watches her cautiously as she reaches out a hand and brushes it against the velvet surface of his cock, his abdomen twitching as she runs a thumb over the weeping head. “This just always seemed so far out of the realm of possibility.” He groans as she licks her palm and wraps her small fingers around the thick length. “You see—the truth is...you’re the one way out of my league, Peeta.”

 

“Katniss-” He stares at her in wonder, his voice strangled with something like dissension and desire.

 

“You always have been,” she murmurs, lowering her head and flicking the tip of his dick with her tongue. He makes an indefinable noise when she runs her tongue along the ridge, her hand working his shaft in tandem.

 

“Oh, fuck,” Peeta swears, boneless as he drops backward onto his elbows, his chin tucked into his chest as he watches her intently.

 

She takes him into her mouth then, suckling the head of his cock before sliding him deeper into her throat. She bobs and licks and swirls, enjoying the way he tangles his fingers into her braid. All too soon, he’s tugging on her hair, and she releases him then, sitting up plaintively to stare at him.

 

“Don’t look at me like that,” he warns with a groan, running a hand through his hair.  “I just can’t handle  your mouth on my dick anymore. Not unless you want me to blow my load right now.”

 

“Only if you’re inside me,” she says, surprising even herself. His eyes flash at her words, shock and desire written on his face.

 

“What? You just-” He stares at her a long moment. “Are you on birth control?”

 

“Yes.”

 

“You trust me? I mean, I’ve been tested recently, but-”

 

“I trust you,” Katniss murmurs, and is stunned to realize it’s true. Peeta is the closest friend and longest (technical) successful relationship she’s ever had to date. She lies back against her pillows and draws her knees upward before spreading them apart, an ancient offering.

 

Peeta regards her with a troubled, longing expression before sliding off the bed, and she’s both confused and aroused as she watches his fully nude form dig through his pants pocket and retrieve his wallet, sliding a condom out and tearing open the packet with his perfect teeth.

 

She’s not sure how she feels as she watches him pinch the tip of the prophylactic before rolling it onto his length, maybe a little relieved and disappointed all at once.

 

He returns to the bed quickly, hovering over her within seconds. “Katniss,” he says, a strange look on his face. “This is not a reflection on you. It means everything that you trust me with that, and please believe me when I say that I would love nothing more than to feel you wrapped around me, no barriers.” He stops and places a kiss to her neck.

 

She nods, incredibly embarrassed. “That was so stupid of me to say, I don’t even know what I was thinking. I promise I’m not reckless like that, I mean it’s been over two years since I’ve even...” she trails off, averting her eyes.

 

“Stop,” he says firmly, nuzzling her cheek. “It means everything,” he repeats. “I just don’t want to give you any reasons to have regrets in the morning.”

 

“I’m not going to have regrets,” she says, staring up at him. It’s ironic how they’ve changed places now, her reassuring him about their night together. “Unless you don’t stop talking and- oh.”

 

Katniss’ back arches as he reaches down and slides his dick against her lower lips, coating himself with her natural lubricant and stimulating her all at once. She groans as he rubs his head against her clit, leaning down to kiss her quieted mouth.

 

“Enough talking,” he says into her lips, and then he’s inside her, pushing forward one tantalizing inch at a time.

 

“Ooo,” she breathes softly, sliding her arms around up Peeta’s back and gripping his broad shoulders.

 

He stares down at her intently, watching her face as he’s almost flush against her pelvis. “You’re so tight,” he whispers reverently, brushing a loose strand of hair from her forehead.

 

“I feel full,” she says, her eye clenched shut, her legs wrapping around his waist. “You fill me up.”

 

He grunts at her words, pulling back and thrusting back into her. “Oh my god,” she shrieks, bucking against him.

 

“Was that okay?”

 

Yes,” she almost sobs, her eyes rolling backward as he moves again, sliding into her with a steady, punishing rhythm, her breasts bouncing with the timing of his thrusts.

 

“You are so— fuck, you feel incredible. So perfect,” he exhales, supporting himself with one arm and cupping her face with the other. He kisses her then, sloppy and wet and deep, and she whimpers against his lips as he suddenly slows down, tempering the snap of his hips to an agonizing tempo.

 

“I’ve thought about this so many times, Katniss,” he says softly, biting her bottom lip. Her fingers scramble against his shoulder blades, her hips thrusting upwards against his in desperation. “What you would feel like-”

 

A shallow thrust. She whimpers.

 

“How wet you would be,” his voice lowers an octave as he pulls out, reaching down to slip the head of his cock teasingly through her folds, tapping her clit lightly before dragging the tip back down the slick flesh, “and how hot and tight your pussy would feel around my dick.”

 

“You’re...cruel,” she pants, her eyes clenched tightly as she undulates her hips toward him. She almost cries when he arches backward tauntingly.  

 

“Do you still have me on that pedestal?” he asks, a glint in his eye as he presses a thumb into her hipbone, making languid circles.  

 

“Peeta, please.”

 

He smiles down at her, brushing away a strand of loose hair from her damp face. “Just- hold on, Katniss. This is gonna be a slow burn,” he murmurs, brushing his lips against hers.

 

Peeta keeps his promise.

 

She writhes and begs as he teases her to the brink of release, ribbons of heat and pleasure shocking her system as he alternates between rough, shallow thrusts and long, sure strokes. She bucks against him frantically when he withholds what she craves most— the rough, steady rhythm that will make her come. Her pleasure is coiled, poised for release, and she needs it. She needs it so much but he just won’t-

 

“You’re being a bad girl,” he finally chide her, pulling away to sit on his knees.

 

“You’re pissing me off,” she says, her pupils so dilated with desire that the winter grey of her irises are barely visible. She scoots forward a little and  kicks out her legs and wraps them around his waist, staring up at him petulantly.

 

His eyes darken. “I’m pissing you off?” he asks softly, gripping her hips and squeezing. She nods once, a challenging look on her face.

 

He swiftly wrenches her legs apart and hooks an arm under her thigh, his free hand played on her abdomen. “Then tell me what I want to hear, Katniss.”

 

“I want you to fuck me. Hard,” she says breathlessly, fascinated with the look on his face. “Please, make me come.”

 

“Do better,” he says firmly.

 

She looks hesitant, confused. “I don’t-”

 

“Say that I’m your type.”

 

She groans, sliding her arms above her head and stretching in frustration. “So this is why you’ve been torturing me?”

 

He turns his head to bite the sensitive underside of her knee. “Admit it.”

 

"Peeta," she says plaintively, frowning as he just quirks his lips at her. "You said you'd make me come," she reminds him, her voice dropping into a low whine as his hand skims over planes of her leg.

 

"Yes," he agrees patiently, "but I also told you that you'd eat your words."

 

"Why?" she tries to scowl and fails when he swipes the tip of his pink tongue to the soft flesh of the back of her leg. "What's the, ah, point of this?"

 

"I just want a fair chance."

 

"For?"

 

"More," he says, resting his chin on her knee.

 

"You were just balls deep inside of me," she deadpans, arching her back as his fingers walk up her inner thigh. "And now you want more?" she tries to joke, biting a lip at the feel of his fingers teasing her outer lips.

 

“That’s not what I mean.” His fingers stop. “And you know it.”

 

Katniss looks at him then, really studies the serious expression on his open, handsome face. She thinks it would be so easy to blow him off right now, to remind him that this was supposed to be a one-night thing, that she warned him that he wasn’t the type to do this no-strings-attached activity with a friend. Because this is what she does--she rejects people, casts them off before they get too close for relationships, but this is Peeta. They had both already admitted to having less than pure thoughts about one another, hedging around hopes for some indeterminate, abstract wish for something beyond a friendship that they had so carefully forged throughout the years.

 

He waits, thumbing the soft skin of her hip bone. She breathes.

 

"I’m scared," she admits faintly, eyes closed and body shuddering when he drags a finger down her shaved mound and makes lazy circles around her clit.

 

“Of me?” he asks doubtfully, looking at her with a soft frown.

 

"Of ruining things between us. You’re basically my closest friend. And I'm kind of an idiot."

 

He laughs, the look of pure affection on his face almost painful. "You won't ruin things," he says in reassurance, a hand sliding up to tweak her nipple. She arches her back.

 

"Just be honest," he encourages her softly. "I think we're on the same page."

 

"You're not my type," she stumbles through her explanation, partially from his ministrations but mostly because she feels intensely vulnerable. She forges on despite his disappointed look.

 

"You're, um. Better," she continues, something cracking open and releasing inside of her when his eyes brighten at her words. She closes her eyes. “Better than my type, or anyone I’ve ever dated. You’re something more, Peeta.”

 

She opens her eyes to greet his intense stare. “I’m not good at saying something,” she finishes weakly, the words barely leaving her lips before her breath is taken from her, Peeta’s mouth on hers silencing anything else she could have struggled to say.

 

“Good enough for me,” he exhales, pulling away from her lips.

 

And then he slides into her, and there’s nothing else to say, no more interruptions, no more games, only Peeta all around her, inside of her, insistent and hard and thick as fucks her steadily, the bed springs of her second hand mattress squeaking in protest, the headboard thump, thump, thumping as he increases his speed to the sound of her throaty, gasping moans.

 

“Gonna come, oh god, oh fuck, Peeta,” Katniss sobs, clutching at his back, her nails raking down the skin desperately. His eyes are heavy with pleasure and something else, and he kisses her then, a hand sliding down between them to work at her clit, his thumb furiously rubbing the kernel back and forth in a way that was too rough, too much, too intense, too oh oh oh-

 

“Yes,” he groans, dropping on his forearm and cupping her chin tightly in his hand, forcing her eyes to meet his. “I want you to look at me when you come,” he whispers, biting her lip and worrying it between his perfect teeth.

 

She shatters then, her head lifting off the pillow as she cries out his name and a long string of words that don’t make sense but somehow are the only thing that her mouth can sound out in the moment, her body tensing and walls fluttering tightly as she comes around his cock.

 

She slumps back, exhausted and spent in the best sort of way, her eyes lidded as she stares up at him as he continues to move above her, inside of her, still not wavering from a rhythm that is only building in its intensity again.

 

“Ohhhhh,” she whimpers, throwing a hand over her face. “Peeta, I can’t-”

 

“You can,” he says roughly, pushing upward and onto his knees, his hands holding her high on her thighs. “You will,” he promises, swiveling his hips then, and her mouth goes slack as he taps into something vital and secret, a warmth building and pooling into a storm inside of her. She’s limp and panting as he pulls her body to meet his thrusts, doing the work for them, giving her this pleasure that she can’t believe is coming in waves again, can’t believe that she’s coming again. Oh my god.

 

“Peeta-”

 

“Me too,” he chokes out, his thrusts growing erratic, his hands so tight on her skin that she knows that there will be bruises later but she’s so beyond caring, so beyond anything but the bolts of electricity shooting through her core as she orgasms.

 

“Fuck, I’m gonna-” his voice cuts off into a long, stuttering groan, the sexiest thing Katniss thinks she’s ever heard. She watches as his face screws into a look of intense joy, painful in its relief. His hands squeeze her hips reflexively as he empties into the condom, and she deliberately tightens her muscles to clench around him, milking him of his orgasm as he gives a few more lazy, shallows passes inside of her.  

 

Peeta drops down on top of her, and his weight feels like a good kind of smothering as he nuzzles her neck tiredly.

 

“I’m dead,” she announces, her hand idly coming to rest on his broad, slick back. He makes a move like he’s going to roll off of her, but her legs come up to wrap around his hips, effectively keeping him in place. She makes a noise of annoyance when he gently extracts himself from her grip, sitting up to remove and tie off the spent condom before tossing it into the bin beside her bed.

 

He hovers over her again, laughing when she quickly wraps her smooth olive legs back around him.

 

“Separation anxiety?” he teases her softly, kissing the side of her neck before rolling them so that they lay on their sides to face each other.

 

“Jerk,” she smiles back at him, their heads so close that they are sharing the same pillow.

 

“I didn’t want to crush you,” he explains, tucking a stray piece of hair behind her ear.

 

“My hero,” she yawns.

 

“Do you want to clean up?” he asks, looking exhausted himself.

 

“Not really,” she says honestly, peeking at him beneath tired eyelids. “Is that gross?”

 

“Maybe. I don’t care, though,” he shrugs, pulling her to his chest. “We can shower in the morning.”

 

“K,” she says sleepily, her hand resting on his stomach and making lazy circles. She's barely conscious as she feels his fingers gently undo her braid.

 

“I kinda love your hair down,” he says with quiet reverence, and she sighs softly at how good it feels when he threads his hands through the long dark strands, lulling her completely.

 

“I kinda love you," she mumbles into his chest. "Night, Peeta.”

 

She's asleep in seconds, and doesn’t hear his whispered response.

 


 

 

Katniss is having the best dream of her life, something sexual about a certain blond baker who is definitely not a Disney prince. She wakes up with a flicker of her eyelashes, the warm, inviting aroma of something absolutely delicious wafting into her nostrils.

 

So much better than cereal.

 

She slides her hand toward the still-warm spot next to her, and is disappointed to find it empty, though logically she knows that Peeta is still here; only a few steps away in the kitchen, at that, and following through with his promise of her favorite breakfast.

 

She slides out of bed, wincing slightly at her sore muscles, which burn with a good sort of pain that only comes from being thoroughly fucked. She throws on a robe and stumbles into the bathroom and quickly goes through her morning routine, pausing before reaching for her toothpaste.

 

Morning breath or weird minty aftertaste before pancakes?

Katniss exits the bathroom a few moments later, running a tongue over her clean teeth. She’d rather have toothpaste flavored pancakes than greet Peeta with stale breath.

 

She checks her reflection in her dresser mirror, moving to braid her hair back. She stops, impulsively deciding to leave it down for once, the feel of Peeta’s warm fingers carding through the stands still memorable. The way he so exquisitely displayed his preference.

 

She pads out of the room and down the short hall, emerging into the kitchen. She smiles at the sight in front of her, Peeta singing tunelessly to a Pandora channel on his iPhone, cheerfully mixing a bowl of pancake batter.

 

“I hope that’s from scratch,” she says, walking up behind him and peering over his shoulder at the mixture.

 

“I did the best I can do with your supplies, Mother Hubbard. Frozen blueberries? I need to show you how to grocery shop.” He smiles down at her, craning his neck to drop a kiss to her lips that makes her thankful that she chose dental hygiene over the purity of blueberry pancakes.

 

“I’m sorry,” he says a moment later, pulling away. “Was that...was that okay? I didn’t even ask.”

 

“Peeta. Yes,” she says firmly, sliding a hand up his back. He shivers, and she likes the feeling that it gives her, like maybe she’s holding the cards for once.

 

“But hey, once the pancakes are finished, your job here is done,” she says, dipping a finger into the batter.

 

He’s so quiet that she chances a glance at his face, the devastated expression there making her pause. “You are so easy,” she chuckles, swatting him on the ass.   

 

“You little brat,” he says with a shake of his head, exhaling.

 

“I can’t believe you fell for that,” she says in surprise, jumping up onto the counter and tapping his thigh lightly with her bare foot. “It wasn’t even a good joke. Or a believable one. You’re off your game, Mellark.”

 

He makes a funny face at her as he pours three circles of batter onto the large skillet. “Maybe I didn’t know what to expect this morning,” he admits, sounding nothing like the confident Peeta Mellark that she knows.

 

“What, you actually thought I’d kick you out?”  

 

“Not right away,” he says ruefully, gesturing towards the skillet. “Pancakes.”

 

“Man, you really must have thought I was a cheap date,” she jokes, quieting when she realizes how serious he is. “Alright, enough of the bad jokes,” she says.”

 

“Thank you,” he says in relief, tugging on a stand of her hair. Then he stops.

 

“Hey,” he says in wonder, a look of sudden recognition on his face as he rubs her hair between his fingers thoughtfully, “you kept your hair down.”

 

She flushes guiltily, looking away. “Yeah, so?”

 

A slow smile forms on his lips as he scoops the finished pancakes onto a waiting plate. “You love me,” he teases, shooting a look at her underneath his golden eyelashes.

 

“What?” she objects with a glare. “A minute ago you were afraid I’d kick you out after sex and pancakes.”

 

“Yeah, but that was before,” he says smugly, picking up a knife and slathering butter onto the golden cakes studded with berries. “Now I'm certain how much you really want me.”

 

“You don’t know shit.”

 

“I know you kinda love me,” he says meaningfully, his eyes trained on the task at hand.

 

She sucks in a breath, her sleepy words from last night hitting her in full force. She thinks about it a moment, stresses it intensely, and then...she relaxes. Because it’s true, isn’t it? Hasn’t a part of her always felt this way?

 

“It’s okay,” he says nonchalantly. “I mean, I kinda love you, too. In fact,” he slides his eyes toward her before looking away again, “it kinda might be why I ended things with Madge.”

 

Her heart stutters. She wants to say so many things. She wants to shout to the rooftops.

 

“You’re annoying,” she says instead. “Also, I need more butter- okay, that’s enough. Syrup now. In a swirling pattern.”

 

“You’re so demanding,” Peeta counters, but dutifully does as she asks. His hands are shaking. She pretends not to notice.

 

“Hey. You need to know these things,” she replies with a shrug, accepting the plate and a fork from him. “Since, you know, you’ll probably be doing this a lot now,” she adds, super casually of course, blinking down at the food.

 

She hears a quick inhale, and a cough.

 

“I guess so,” is all he says. Super casually.

 

Katniss smiles.

 

Two years, three months and four days.

 

Worth it.