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[personal profile] countlessuntruths in [community profile] fictionaluntruths
Title: Keep Breathing.
Fandom: The Hunger Games.
Warnings: Spoilers for the third book.
Contents: Broken characters trying to fix themselves up.
Characters/couples: Katniss/Peeta.
Summary: Touch can't be an easy, just-do-it-thing. Not with them.
Rating: PG13.
Notes: This was supposed to be porn, and then it decided it didn't want to be. Oh well.

Keep Breathing.

The first time, they have sex in the meadow. Not her meadow: that one's long gone with fires and bombs. But it's sunny and calm and warm. Katniss is soaking after swimming, shaking water from her as if she was a wild animal and Peeta is smiling as he breaks, methodically, a small branch, throwing small pieces to the ground.

"You're red all over," Katniss tells him as she moves towards him, reaches, without thinking, to his face, to where his nose is peeling off. He tenses for a moment - stupid, stupid Katniss, touching can't be just like that, not with them, never with them - but then he smiles, crookedly.

"And you're dark all over," he says. He drops the bits of branch he was making, reaches for her arm, runs his fingers down her forearm.

Except the scars, she thinks, when Peeta's fingers find one near her wrist. Those never darken, will never go away, will always stay with her like this. Her chest hurts suddenly, fiercely, burning. She starts pulling away, thinking of an excuse, anything to go to the water, somewhere else, somewhere with no pain.

But Peeta moves, too. He leans against her, against her chest, where her heart feels like a trapped bird. He doesn't hold her down, doesn't touch her more than his forehead against her collarbone. He mouths at the start of her breast through the wet cotton of her vest and Katniss feels herself shiver not from the cold.

"Stay with me?" He asks, softly, and Katniss shivers again, the furious bird inside her chest calming. A breath, another. She unfolds herself from within her own body, moves a hand to touch Peeta's blond hair where it curls against his neck, leans against him. Her arms wrap around his neck and Peeta doesn't tense, keeps his forehead pressed against her breast.

Does he wonder, this is how she'll kill me. Does he want that. Does he fears that.

But Peeta looks up at her, ned rose and his eyes kind. There is a storm there, she knows, a storm that will come over and over, a storm that, she thinks (she'll always think) she put in there. But now, his eye are spring-warm and soft and kind and they ask nothing of her but give her everything. Her fingers curl around his hair, over the dry skin of his neck. He'll hurt, soon, from the sun. From her.

"Always," she answers, the only answer, and he smiles at her, for her, with her.

She smiles back, a smaller smile, but she stays and it stays with her.
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