Because Days Have Wings
Because days have wings
After that, Peeta's arms are always around me when I sleep.
Every morning he wakes me up with a kiss on the forehead, and we walk hand in hand down to breakfast. Then we spend the days working on our book. Some day's Peeta helps with his bakery building, and it's on those days that I hunt.
After our day is done, we walk up the stairs gripping hands again, and once more gives me a goodnight kiss on the cheek.
When either one of us wakes up from nightmares, the other is there to comfort them.
When my nightmares reaches their most terrifying points, Peeta always shakes me awake and whispers soothing words and holds me tighter.
He tells me to listen to Bird's singing, and that helps too.
I begin to learn Bird's tune by heart. It's choppy and imaginative. I begin to hum it when I'm working on a page in our book.
Peeta whistles it sometimes. He's a really good whistler.
I have more dreams with Peeta in it. Mostly he dies in them, and I always wake up crying.
Peeta kisses the tears away on my cheeks when that happens, and then I can't stop thinking about it, his kisses, I mean.
Sometimes, in the middle of the night, he will get up and sit with Bird and feed him sunflower seeds. That only happens once a week or so. I think it might be because he wakes up and is confused about why he's holding me.
I have suspicions that a tiny part of him feels frightened of me laying next to him the dark.
More weeks fly by, and summer begins to ripen into heat filled months. Corn, carrots, cabbages, and spinach have started to make their appearance among the fields of green.
One day he makes bread with nuts and raisins in it and brings it over.
"It's for you." He says, giving it to me. "The whole loaf."
"I just remembered the recipe. I had tried to make it before, but it never turned out just the same."
I nod. It's the same bread he burned when we were eleven. I thought he hadn't remembered.
Something inside me stirs inside me when I hold it in my hands, and I am transported back to a time when I'm running in the pouring rain holding the warm loaf in my jacket, it's warmth spreading through my chest as I hold it against my skin.
I eat it slowly at the kitchen table, saliva pooling in my mouth.
I close my eyes, remembering the time I first slipped it between my lips.
I finish the whole loaf with my eyes closed, feeling the heat fill my belly.
Even after it's finished I keep them closed, not caring what Peeta would think, and listen to Bird chirp.
I can feel Peeta moving around the kitchen, probably baking something.
But then the air around me stills, and Peeta remains silent. But then I feel his fingers on my face, and all I can think about is how warm his hands are.
I open my eyes slowly, and he's right there. His face less than an inch from mine.
My breath stops. He caresses my face and stares deep into my eyes, looking at me questioningly, like he's asking me for permission.
I'm the one who closes the distance though.
His lips are so soft, and to have them press against mine is soothing.
I can feel his arms wrap around my waist as mine wrap around his neck. He lifts me up from my chair till I'm standing.
Our kisses are slow and non urgent.
Until I can feel him tighten his arms around me, and his back stiffen and his heart thump faster, he has to pull away while I feel him panic.
He rests his head on my shoulder as I rub his back and whisper assurances in his ear.
"I can't, Katniss. I'm sorry, I can't. I felt myself...I shouldn't have."
"Hush. It's fine. We don't have to. Just stay in reality, Peeta."
He nods, catching his breathe. I can feel his finger nails dig into his own palms.
I try to distract him.
"That bread was the same as when we were eleven." I say, stroking his hair, squeezing him a hug.
He nods, and I can feel his warm breathe on my neck.
"I didn't know you remembered."
He lifts his head up. "Of course I do. I told you I did in Thirteen, remember?"
"Oh yes," I say nonchalantly. "That's right, you did."
"Yeah." He says. "You were wasting away. I wouldn't stand for that."
His arms loosen around me and he takes a deep breathe and kisses me on the forehead.
"Sorry about that. I thought I could...handle it. I guess not."
I smile at him. "Is your bakery finished?"
"Almost. Want to see it?"
I nod and holding his hand we walk into the town.
People look at us as we pass them. Their stares make my stomach churn. What are they thinking?
But then I tell myself not to care.
Peeta shows me his now bricked bakery. I have to shade my eyes because the sun is high and strong.
"I can't help with this part." Peeta says reluctantly, as we look up at the men hammering up high. "My leg. They won't let me."
"When do you think it'll be open for business?"
"Before winter, I hope. Cheap prices for everything...that way everybody can have something warm and sweet."
That makes me think of something. "When I first saw the town, a man offered me a free candy. The district as a whole seems richer. Where did that money come from?"
Peeta shrugs. "Not sure. I think President Paylor might have issued some sort of grant to each District. The idea might have had something to do with equalizing each section...that's what I heard at least."
I like the idea. Are we as rich as District One and Two then? What is the Capitol like now? Did they have to decrease budgets? A tiny part of me feels sorry for them. It must be hard to have everything, and then one day have nothing. But then I feel disgusted for sympathizing with them. One man has, and another has not.
"Remember that night? A few weeks ago when I first lost control?"
I hope he doesn't bring up what I think he's bringing up.
"And I told you that you had said something in your sleep?"
We're coming back to the house now. I can see Haymitch outside of his messy home, feeding his geese. He stops and turns towards us as he sees us passing by.
He yells something at us but neither of us can hear him. So we just keep walking. He's probably drunk anyway.
Yep, there he goes, he just fell over.
"Haymitch is drunk again." I say trying to distract Peeta from what he was saying.
Peeta grips my hand tighter. "Katniss?"
"What do you think you said?"
He wants me to say it. And he deserves it. Peeta deserves to hear me say I love him.
I take a deep breathe.
A hope and a sparkle fills his eyes as he sees me open my mouth.
"I saw my little sister again." I force my lips to say it, no matter how much it will hurt to utter the word. And no matter how much it will hurt Peeta.
"I saw P-prim. I told her I loved her."
Peeta's face softens. "Oh, I see."
He believes me. But I do think he's disappointed.
I turn and start walking home.
Peeta has to trot to keep up with me. He opens my front door and lets me go inside first.
We go back to working on our book, and neither of us speaks of it again.