Always and Forever

Too Much Seawater

When I regain consciousness the feeling of someone’s lips pressed against mine then hands pressing up and down on my chest cause me to open my eyes. The first thing I see are those bright blue eyes that I love so much.

“You’re back.” Peeta breathes. I give him a small smile then start coughing up sand and salt water. My husband pats my back as I get rid of all the seawater in my system.

“Where are we?” I ask, looking around.

“Right when you were submerged under the water Finnick spotted a small island so I brought you here.” He replies.

“How long was I unconscious?”

“About 14 hours, it is now late morning. I've never known for someone to be out that long, I thought for sure you were gone.”

“Wow. And where are the others? Did they make it here alright?” I ask, beginning to panic.

“Don’t worry honey.” He soothes, putting his arm around me and pulling me close. “They all made it safely and are just down the beach looking for something to make a shelter out of for tonight.”

“Oh good.” Looking around me there is a small beach covered in golden sand and the odd seashell and bits of seaweed. The waves lazily lap up the beach then go back out to sea again, each time bringing in more sand, shells, or seaweed. Behind me is a jungle forest, with palm trees scattered all around and dark green bushes. The sound of seagulls is heard overhead and just for a moment I can imagine that we are back in District 4 not stranded on an island in the middle of the Caribbean Sea.

“Think you can walk?” Peeta asks, bringing me out of my survey of the island.

“I think so.” Peeta helps me stand up then keeps his arm around my waist as we walk slowly over to the rest of our pathetic looking group.

“Do we still have the backpack?” I ask a few minutes later. Peeta nods, “We sure do, and thankfully the others have theirs as well so it should help with our survival, at least a little.”

“Thank goodness.” I say and he chuckles quietly. We arrive a minute later at our supposed ‘campsite’ and Finnick and Annie each give me a hug expressing how glad they are that I’m okay.

“What about Madge, how is she?” I ask.

“She’s still sleeping, Gale hasn’t left her side since we got here.” Annie tells me. “They’re over there.” I follow where her finger is pointing to find Madge and Gale lying side by side on a bed of leaves with a small canopy of a number of sticks, branches and leaves above them.

“We made their temporary room first so that Madge would have a place to sleep in the shade.” Finnick says. "Annie and I are almost finished with ours so then we can help you two make one.”

“Great, thanks guys.” I say smiling. Peeta and I walk around for a few minutes until we find the perfect spot for our ‘bedroom’, far enough away from the other two for privacy but not too far if there is an emergency. It is between three trees about 2 meters apart, it’s small but big enough for sleeping.

“I’m going to get our backpack then we can begin building.” Peeta says then heads over to Finnick and Annie. I climb one of our three trees, the one with the most branches making it easier to climb, and scout out the area. As far as the eye can see is the water of the sea. Our island looks tiny compared to how large the sea is. Because the trees aren’t too close together I can just make out the Hawthorne canopy and Finnick and Annie’s camp as well.

I then spot Peeta’s form making it’s way back towards me so I scramble down quickly before he thinks something bad happened to me.

“Got it.” He says, holding up the large pack for me to see.”

“Perfect!” We sit down together at the center of our ‘bedroom’ and go through the wet backpack.

We drape what little clothing I brought over branches to dry and set out the other things along the ground to dry out as well. I also find a small blanket that must have been at the bottom of the backpack.

“This will definitely come in handy at night.” I say, showing Peeta what I found.

“It sure will, what else did you bring?” I take each thing out one by one and hand them to him. Sunglasses, sun tan lotion, a pack of waterproof matches, my one piece of jewelry from Annie, a small first-aid kit and a pair of sandals for each of us and then our clothes.

“Well at least we have a few things to make living here a little easier.” Peeta says.

“Yeah, I guess so.” I agree.

“Ready to begin building our room?” Peeta asks. “Finn and Annie told me they’d be over in just a few minutes to give us some pointers because honestly I have no idea how to build a shelter with no real supplies.” I chuckle and pat his arm, “Don’t worry, before my Dad died, and then after, I learned a few helpful things during all my visits to the woods. Gale taught me a lot.”

“Oh good, all is not lost.” He says smiling. I smile back and lean in and give him a quick kiss. “Now,” I say hopping up, “Let’s get started.” Giving him my hand I help him to his feet.

“What do we need to do first?” He asks.

“Well, we’ll need some sturdy branches to tie to the tree as the roof then while you collect those I’ll head over to Finn and Annie’s to see if they brought any rope that will make this a little easier.”

“Okay then, I’ll be on my way then.”

“Be careful.” I peck his cheek.

“You too.” Then we part ways, me going to collect the rope that hopefully they have and Peeta searching for sturdy branches and logs for our room/home. As I walk I brush away the leaves and brush from the path to make it easier to get to each other’s places; it only takes about 3 minutes of slow walking to get there.

“Hey Kat, what can we do for ya?” Finnick asks with a smile when I arrive at their now finished room. It is a little larger than mine and Peeta’s because they added a small cooking area as well where we can all congregate when we eat, if we can find food that is and don’t die of starvation or dehydration first.

“Nice place you too got here.” I say, complimenting them on their quick work.

“Thanks, it’ll do for now, now did you need something?”

“Well I was going to ask if you happened to bring any rope with you and if you had any extra that we could use.” Finnick smiles and nods, “As a matter of fact we do, thankfully for me I rarely go anywhere without rope so here you are.” He produces a large bit of rope and hands it to me.

“Thanks so much Finn.” I say.

“No problem, we’ll be over soon to help!” He calls, waving as I leave.

“Okay!” I call back.

It has been less than ten minutes since I left but when I get back Peeta already has a pretty big pile of branches for the roof.

“Are we making walls too?” He asks when I am close enough to hear him. “We’ll stick with the roof for now and make sure rain can’t get through then we’ll make the walls if we have enough rope. The nice thing is that we won’t have a cold winter here if we end up still being here when the time comes.”

“Yeah, that’s one good thing. Well let’s start shall we?”

“Let’s.” I reply and begin sorting through the branches and finding the longest ones that will reach from one tree to the other for the roof.

“How tall should we make the roof?” I ask.

“Well I’d like to be able to stand up without knocking my head so how about here.” He makes a mark on one of the trees with a small knife that I didn’t notice he had, right above his head.

“Good, but I’m going to need your help getting these up because I can’t reach that high.”

“Whatever you need.” He grins and I just roll my eyes and get back to my sorting. Once I have a neat pile of the longest branches Peeta helps me tie three around the trees so we have a distinct triangle, then once they are tied securely we begin laying the other branches down across then tying them at each end. It takes about an hour to do this and once we’re done I feel pretty proud of myself.

“Wow, it’s really coming along.” We both turn around to see Finnick and Annie standing right outside of our triangle room, smiles on both of their faces.

“Thanks.” I say and Peeta just stand quietly beside me.

“We figured you might need some help on the walls, they can be a bit tricky and you will need a lot of hands to do it.” Annie says.

“Thank you so much.” I tell them, “It would be greatly appreciated.” Finnick tips his head and begins looking the place over. We spend most of the afternoon making the roof so tight that water hopefully won’t be able to get through, building the two walls with an opening in one of them to let the fresh air in and then for now we just let the third wall open until we have time to make some sort of a door or something.

“Anybody hungry?” Annie asks as we are admiring our hard work.

“I’m starved.” Peeta says and Finnick seconds it. I hadn’t realized how hungry I am until now; I haven’t eaten since yesterday at some point.

“Me too.” I say, rubbing stomach. “But do we have anything to eat?” Annie nods, Gale set a few traps last night and this morning once I convinced him to let me stay with Madge for a while and when I took that break a little while ago he gave me two squirrels and a rabbit, already skinned so we’re having stew tonight!”

“Yum, I can already taste it.” I say licking my lips. “It’s been so long since I’ve eaten game straight from the woods.”

“Can we help with anything?” Peeta asks.

“No, you two just stay here for a while and come over to our place in about an hour.” Annie says.

“Are you sure?”

“Yes.” She insists. Peeta relents and the two of us watch them walk off to their own home.

“Well it looks as though our clothes have dried now, how about we make a little spot to put them.” Peeta says, breaking the silence.

“Good idea.” Grabbing the smaller logs that weren’t needed for the building we make a small cubby in one corner to put our meager belongings. We each fold up our clothes into two neat piles and place the other things beside. The only clothes I brought were underwear, two simple tank tops, a pair of shorts and a pair of pants, Peeta has even less since I’m the one that packed his clothes: an extra pair of shorts, two shirts and an extra pair of underwear plus the sandals. There wasn’t any more room for anything else.

“Now what?” I ask Peeta.

“How about we just rest in here for a while.” He suggests, spreading out our one blanket over the large leaves and soft branches that we laid out for our bed.

“Sounds nice.” I say quietly and lay back beside him, resting my head on his chest and just stare up at the roof.

“I can’t imagine what will be going through Prim and my Mother’s heads when they hear the news.” I whisper my thoughts.

“I know.” Is all Peeta’s says in reply. I snuggle closer into him, “I hope we don’t have to live here forever.”

“Me too, but don’t worry.” He assures me and places a soft kiss on my head, “I’m sure we’ll be rescued.”

“I hope so.”

“I’m so glad you made it, that we are going through this together.” Peeta says.

“You have no idea Peeta, I’d go crazy if I was here alone.”

“I do know, because I’d go crazy too, I almost did when you were unconscious for so long.” Lifting my head up a little I look down into his eyes, “I’m sorry Peeta, I love you.”

“I love you to Kat, oh so very much.” Then he reaches his hand up back behind my head and brings me down to him, letting our lips touch, ever so gently. I decide I’ve had enough of these teaser kisses and press my lips to his, wrapping my arms around his neck, holding him in place. When we part a few moments later then lies back down beside me and pulls me as close as he can so that I am almost on top of him.

I sigh in contentment and let my eyes flutter shut while letting my fingers draw random designs on his chest absentmindedly.

All to soon Peeta is gently shaking me awake, telling me that it is time to eat.

“Already?” I groan, sitting up and rubbing the sleep out of my eyes. “I just fell asleep!”

“Well I’m sure you are as hungry as I am so let’s get over to the Odairs before Finn and Gale eat up all the stew!”

“You’re right, let’s go.” The sun is beginning to set when we step foot outside but thankfully the temperature still feels about the same.

We stroll hand in hand down the path to the light of a fire with Annie bent over it stirring something in an iron pot.

“Where in the world did you find that?” I ask in surprise, pointing at the pot. “You couldn’t have brought it! Could you?”

Annie laughs and shakes her head, “No we didn’t bring it! It’s the strangest thing though; Finnick found it half buried in sand with wooden bowls and spoons inside earlier this morning. Must have been from other people who had been here before us.” Peeta muses.

“That’s what I thought, I’m just so grateful we have something in which to cook our food!” Annie raves, then begins stirring the stew once more.

About five minutes later Gale shows up with Madge on his arm, looking a little pale but much better than she did before. We all greet them warmly and invite them to sit down on the logs that serve as benches.

“How are you feeling Madge?” I ask smiling and sit down beside her.

“Much better, thanks Katniss.”

“I’m so glad.”

“I heard that you were unconscious for a while as well.”

I shrug, “Too much seawater in me and I was really tired, I’m perfectly fine now.”

“That’s good.” She smiles, “Did you and Peeta make a shelter for yourselves yet?”

I nod, “That’s what we’ve been working on most of the day since Peeta woke me up.”

“Great! I can’t wait to see it!” I promise to show her later and just then Annie announces dinner and begins dishing out bowls of the delicious smelling stew.

“I’m sorry it’s only meat and water but hopefully it’ll fill you all and maybe tomorrow we can go exploring and find some herbs and maybe even vegetables or something to add.”

“It’s wonderful Annie.” Peeta says, digging right in.

“Thank you.” Annie thanks him, smiling.

“Oh you saved the necklace I gave you!” She cries a few minutes later, looking at my neck. I finger the necklace and nod, “I’m so glad I put it in at the last minute.”

“Me too.” She replies happily.

“Soon after we are finished eating I help Annie wash the dishes in the sea then put them away for tomorrow.

“Thanks for dinner Annie, but we should get going.” Gale says, helping Madge up from her seat.

“No problem, sleep well you two.” They say goodbye, then just the four of us are left.

“We should get back too.” I say. “We need to be well rested if we want to go exploring tomorrow!”

“Okay, see you tomorrow!” I give Annie and Finn a friendly hug then lacing Peeta’s fingers through mine we begin the short trek back to our temporary home. When we get inside Peeta pulls some of the branches in front of the open door way and we are left with only the light of the moon coming from the make-shift window.

I change into one of Peeta’s t-shirts as my nightgown and he just sleeps without one. Draping the blanket over both of us he kisses my cheek, “Good Night Kat, sweet dreams.” And with that I fall into a peaceful slumber.

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