I tucked a loose piece of hair out of my face as I walked back inside the house. So much happened since I had told Peeta I loved him. Haymitch had become completely sober, to the point that he made sure everything he drank was non-alcohol. I hadn’t heard from Gale in years. I’ve heard multiple things; such as he’s dead, he’s alive and married, or he’s isolated from all of us. The Districts didn’t change, but the Hunger Games were dropped.
It had been about fifteen years since the last Hunger Games, and I had still had a scar from where the tracker used to be.
I opened up the front door to find Peeta running around chasing Ivy, and picking her up once he got her. I heard her giggle and shriek when he swung her upside down. "Be careful" I said. He turned around and let her down. I knew I had looked like a mess since I had just got back from hunting. I had been chasing a group of deer for about two miles and got two of them.
"What’s for dinner?" Of course he only seemed to care about dinner most of the time, which had been bothering me for a while.
"Deer." I said throwing the skins and meat at his feet and then walking up to the bedroom. He had usually been the one to cook but lately I’d been the one cooking. As I walked up the stairs I heard Ivy ask Peeta, "Daddy, are you and Mommy fighting?"
"I don’t know." He mumbled. I didn’t know either. I went under the covers and buried my face into the pillow. Finally, there was silence. It had become a rare thing ever since I had Chasen. I looked at the wall which was painted orange with the sunset. I had never really had time to be alone, since I was either hunting or taking care of Ivy and Chasen. Peeta had spent a lot of time away from the kitchen, in the lounge room. It was unusual, since he hadn’t even discussed the more new, different types of bread with me, like he used to.
I heard a conversation going on outside and sneaked out of my bed. I was curious and peeked under the blinds to see Haymitch, at our front door. His blonde hair was cut as short as Peeta’s and he still looked sober. I could hear him telling Peeta "No" after multiple times of asking him to buy him beer.
Peeta had been a heavy drinker, before we had children. It had gotten so bad; I had, because whenever I hid them, he found them. When he found them, he’d give me drunk speeches about how drinking had saved him from himself. When he had no money left, he stopped buying beer. The drinking had made him forget why he loved me in the first place. He considered me as a roommate, or someone he could "mess around" with while he was drinking. The kids never knew when he was drunk, because his acting skills were still good. He was never abusive; it had never gotten that bad.
"Think of Katniss, Peeta!" I heard Haymitch yell. "Think of the kids!" The front door slammed and I watched Haymitch walk away. I felt a part of me sink; hoping Peeta wouldn’t lose his mind. I wanted to go downstairs to talk to Peeta but it’d only lead to a fight, which I wanted to avoid. I slipped back under the covers and waited Peeta to say dinner was ready.
But I didn’t hear anything. It’s like the whole world had stopped. By the time I came to realize I had fallen asleep, the sunset had left and had been replaced with the moon, and I felt a warm body next to mine. It was Peeta’s. Without trying to wake him up, I sneak downstairs into the kitchen, looking for food. I shuffled through the cabinets, fridge, and freezer without finding anything.
"Leftovers are in the bottom cabinets."
"What are you doing up?" I asked Peeta shutting the cabinet. The leftovers were the least of my problems right now. "Couldn’t sleep?" I said taking a seat on the couch in the lounge room. He nodded his head, walked over, and sat down in the seat next to me. There was this feeling in the room, of comfort but awkwardness. I wanted to say something but I know it wouldn’t come out right.
"How are the kids?"
"They’re good," he said simply. "How are you?" I raised my eyebrow, this was something new.
"I’m pretty good. Y-"
"Look I’m sorry for what happened." He said gently touching my arms. "I’m sorry for the way that I’ve been lately. It’s been hard trying to be sober for me. I’m trying to manage all of this and someone always gets hurt in the end." Before he could continue, I put my head on his shoulder and squeezed his hand.
"It’s okay." I whispered. "I’m sorry for throwing the deer at you." I felt his arms wrap around me and hold me closer to him. We both wanted this moment to last. We wanted to feel each other’s warmth when we needed it. "You love me. Real or not real?" I asked looking into his eyes.
He rolled his eyes. "You know the answer."
"Well," I said moving away from him, kind of annoyed. "I haven’t heard those three words in months, possi-"
Before I could finish my sentence he had kissed me. This kiss wasn’t just a kiss. It was one that made everything fall into place again. It made me feel safe, for the first time in years. He let go, slowly, and smiled a little.
"I love you." He whispered.
"I can’t hear you." I said jokingly, smiling.
"I love you Katniss Mellark!" He yelled kissing my forehead and holding close. I shushed him hoping he didn’t wake the kids up. I wanted them to actually stay in their beds, asleep, for once. I felt his heavy breath down my neck before he let me go. "Let me go." He said. "Let me go!"
It was one of his nightmares, again. He had begun getting them randomly when he was awake, and it had brought back the worst memories of his past. "Peeta!" I yelled. I didn’t care about waking the children at this point. The last time he had a nightmare, he was very close to killing himself. "Peeta! It’s just a dream, wake up!"
"Katniss, help me!" He screamed running away. Here we go again. I mumbled. The last time I also had to chase after him and make sure he didn’t end up dead. I pinned him down to the ground as he tried to kick himself free but then soon, gave up. His eyes slowly opened. "How long was-" I hushed him again; I heard footsteps coming from a different stairwell. "Who is that?" I ran to the closet, grabbing my bow and arrow. I went down the hall to go look.
I heard what sounded like a faint word. I turned around and aimed my bow. I had almost fired when I had realized that I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t kill him, because it’d become a part of another one of my nightmares. Now that I knew he was alive, I could go to sleep a little bit better tonight. He was an avox, which made my jaw drop. How could President Snow do this to him? I tried to say his name, but I couldn’t manage to get it out. Peeta grabbed onto my hand and whispered. "Cinna!"