The frail, but hard to kill yellow bird

The Solstice


The Solstice

I come to on my back, my limbs and hair splaying behind me. The first thing I see is a tiny field mouse hiding behind a fallen corn stalk near my head. It shivers and runs away as it sees my giant eye open.

An aggressive pain shoots from my head to my spine. The silver rain arrows and hail sting my face as the storm rages around me. The next thing I see is the twister, huge and oh so close.

Someone has shoved the scarecrow's post off me. The bleeding boy that used to be under me is gone. The scruffy figure is missing as well.

I try to sit up but the world spins around me and I vomit onto the trembling mud beneath me.

I can no longer hear any screams.

I am alone.

"They've left me here." I think to myself in horror and fright.

This time, I try getting up on my hands and knees.

I struggle to keep the rest of my lunch down, but eventually I can stand on shaky legs, freshly flowing adrenaline allowing me to run away from where I was laying.

A thought occurs to me as I sprint as fast as I can back to my house. What about the Tracker Jackers?

I guess I wasn't stung. Was Peeta stung? Maybe, but he was stabbed.

A streak of anger at Thom shoots through me as I round a corner of a town building.

Peeta could be laying dead somewhere. All because of an idiot of a man. Thom was probably the one to encourage all those people in the fields in the first place.

I hate him.

Did that dark man that stood over me take Peeta away because he was injured, and in the chaos forgot about me?

Finally I see my house a hundred feet away.

I sprint harder until I burst through my front door, covered in slick mud.

I open my mouth ready to scream an accusation at someone but my lungs suddenly give out, and I collapse onto the floor, sobs racking my body.

Someone's painful moans travel to my ears from an upstairs bedroom. The man in agony screams curses at someone about not retrieving a certain girl. A booming voice that sounds like Haymitch screams back at him, defending himself.

"Where is she? Where is she? I have to go to her! I have to go get her-" Peeta can't finish his sentence, pain has completely taken over.

"Peeta!" I scream hysterically as thunder almost drowns me out.

I'm answered by an agonized voice screaming my name.

"I'm here!"I yell back comfortingly, flying up the staircase.

I start sobbing when I see him on the bed with a recently bloodied knife on the bedside table.

Haymitch and Greasy Sae are hovering over him as Haymitch pours straight alcohol on his wound and Peeta yells out in anguish again.

I put my arms around his head and cry over him, stroking his head and face with kisses as he grips my hand and clenches his teeth as they stitch up his wound.

I realize that Haymitch must have been the dark figure that pulled the post off me. Haymitch must have been the only one who stayed to bring Peeta back to this place.

I don't even care that he forgot about me.

He got the one person that mattered anyway, and that was Peeta.

Greasy Sae is as pale as a sheet. A certain look of guilt masks her face, and I almost think to comfort her with a hand on her shoulder. She must feel guilty for deserting Peeta and I in the storm.

"That's it. That's the best I can do." She says sighing.

The stitches in Peeta's side are large and sloppy, nothing at all like my mother could do. But it'll have to be good enough for now.

"Ssh, It's over now Peeta." He takes a deep breathe.

"Lucky that knife was a dull one." Haymitch says while he takes a sip of his bottle. "Thom also has no idea how to kill people. Missed all the important organs."

Greasy Sae nods in agreement. "Didn't go too far past the skin. Hurts like hell though. We'll have to watch for infection." She says roughly.

She primly sets the thread and needle down besides the knife on the lamp table.

"He'll want to sleep. Let him."

I press my lips to Peeta's again. His pupils are small and controlled, but a metallic look of pain still echoes in them.

Greasy Sae quietly leaves and Haymitch follows behind her. Just before he disappears behind the door he stops and turns around.

"I didn't forget about you, you know."

"Oh?" I ask, venom and sarcasm dripping in my word, even though I really don't care, I'm just emotional strained and need a reason to be angry.

Haymitch glares at me. "I was going to get you. I just had to make sure the boy would survive first. I couldn't carry you both."

I turn away and pretend not to be listening.

"I figured you would have the better chance of surviving. He was bleeding too much."

"Feel free to leave."

Haymitch growls and turns away again.

I think of something. "Wait!"

He hesitates and throws dark glances at me. "What?"

"The Tracker Jacker Nest." I say, hoping a sleepy Peeta won't hear me. "They didn't sting anyone."

"That's because it was empty." He says nonchalantly.

"What?"

"They were all sprayed before Peeta came back to District Twelve. I made sure of that."

Then he turns and leaves, making sure to slam the door behind him.

I sit with Peeta until he falls asleep. He whispers my name while he's in the in-between, sweat gleaming on his face.

This is what I get.

Everything good is taken away from me.

I let myself even get a pinch of happiness, and something terrible happens, and this time it was almost Peeta's life.

I look intently at him. His expression is soft, the kind of face he often wore when he was young. Purely kind and warm.

I lean over and kiss him again. It's the first kiss we've shared that wasn't surrounded by disaster, it's the first kiss that we've shared that had nothing to do with the Hunger Games or their cameras.

It's purely us.

And he isn't even awake for it.

I can hear Peeta mumble in his sleep. Mostly his words are centered around me.

I should just admit it to myself, I love him. I truly love him. I do.

Now the question is, can I say it out loud?

It can't be that hard can it?

I curl up beside him and whisper it into his ear. "I love you."

I don't see any change in his face though, his breathe still shallow.

I stay beside him until I hear the storm die. It goes down with a fight, making loud noises and pulling apart more buildings, but in the end, the rolling hills and mountains of my region are too much for it.

And when it sputters out, and the rain stops and the sun starts to warm the earth again, I feel Peeta shudder beside me.

"Katniss?"

"Yes?"

"You're alive."

"Yes." I say, with a strange fit of hysteria.

Peeta licks his lips. "Thirsty."

"Oh, let me get you something." I say getting up, but he pulls on my arm.

"No. Stay. I'm thirsty...for some of those kisses."

What?

"Peeta?"

"Yeah. Those were nice."

He's hysterical.

"Let me get you that water..."

"That one, just now, that was a good one. Best medicine a guy like me could ask for."

I try to see if he's serious. I feel his forehead for a fever. He's got to be be delirious. He opens one of his eyes, they're startling blue as they stare into me.

"Kiss me." He whispers softly.

I don't move, so he sits up in spite of my protests and puts my face in his hands. He gently swipes a piece of my hair from my eyes, and presses a kiss to my mouth.

"Hold me." I beg then.

He pulls me into his arms and I crawl under his blankets.

He kisses me more, and I kiss him right back.

Starting slow, I allow myself to be taken over by this beautiful boy.

At first, his kisses are soft, when we both grow more feverish for each other, and he ends up on top of me.

I'm actually surprised he's able to, despite his condition.

He runs his hands through my hair, then my neck down to my stomach, then down to my thighs.

He kisses my eyes, my nose, my neck and my hands.

"You're all covered in mud." He says with a laugh before he kisses my belly button. For some reason I find this hysterical and I end up giggling uncontrollably while Peeta grips me, his shoulders shaking from his laughter.

I push him gently onto his back again and snuggle into his chest.

"What did you dream about?" I ask, trying to see if he heard my confession earlier.

Peeta takes a deep breathe and stares at the ceiling.

"I was thinking about Haymitch."

"Haymitch?" I ask, knowing he's lying.

"Yes. I was so angry with him. I dreamed I was punching him in the face. He left you behind! I could have killed him! I truly hated him in that moment."

Oh. That makes more sense. That's all he says, and his expression holds only slight irritation, so I don't think he heard my proclamation.

"Be glad you didn't. He just saved his life." I say lazily.

"Yeah, but did nothing to save yours."

"You were more important."

He gives me a squeeze and through his teeth.

"You are worth more than everything."

I look at him for a while, he locks his eyes with mine to prove his point. After a short silence, I say, "Looks like we've cured your kissing disability."

His grin is dazzling. "Yeah. Looks like it. Ha!"

He reaches over and give me a long kiss for maximum effect.

"Today is the Summer Solstice." He says looking out the window then.

I begin to trace his facial features while he talks.

"It's the longest day of the year. It definitely should feel long, compared to yesterday."

I chuckle. "How should we spend this day?" I say placing a kiss on his nose.

"Let's vote."

"Vote?" I ask.

"Sure. In spirit of the new republic. What do you want to do today?"

I think on it. "Never leave this bed!" I say.

"Well, my vote counts as two. Since I'm the one who got stabbed. I think I deserve some handicap points."

I laugh. "Okay. What do you vote for?"

"Staying in bed."

"Huh. That's three to zero."

"Yep. Majority wins."

"Too bad, Minority!"

We laugh, partly because we're happy, and partly because we're relieved.


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