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Dandelion – Chapter Fourteen: In Dreams


Title: Dandelion – Chapter Fourteen: In Dreams
Warnings / Spoilers: none / THG, CF, and MJ
Pairing(s): Katniss/Peeta, future Haymitch/Hazelle
Word Count: 619

I’m walking through the woods, my woods, and there’s rain pouring down all around me. It’s falling on me, but I can’t feel it. I’m drenched, and my clothes cling to me, but still there’s no sensation of cold or wet or weight.

The rain stops suddenly, but the clouds remain blocking the sun from sight. The trees stretch up and up toward the heavens as they once did – as so few of them should now.

I’m dreaming.

Even knowing this, I’m too curious to take control of the dream, to change the course of it, so I simply continue walking as if pulled by an unseen force. As I continue walking, I realize the forest is changing somewhat – something isn’t right about this place, beyond the fact that most of it was destroyed by the Capitol’s bombs.

Something is familiar about it – something that doesn’t come from home.

The trees of my first arena.

I try to force the dream to change, try to think of something good and beautiful and free, try to overwrite the Capitol’s hold on my nightmares. But even with all of my will concentrated on altering the dream, there came nothing but the tiniest change. Before me on the path, precisely where I know the fire will begin as it did that day, blossoms a single yellow dandelion, strong and bright and tall.

And I stand transfixed as I watch it burn.

I bolt upright on the bed, muffling the scream with my hand as quickly as I can manage it. Peeta rolls over beside me, opening his eyes slowly and blinking up at me. “Another?” he asks simply.

I nod slowly, shaking. He sits up beside me, enfolding me in his arms. “Our first arena,” I explain quietly, resting my head on his shoulder and wrapping my fingers around his arms tightly. “The trees. The fire.”

“It’s all right,” he interrupts softly, stroking my hair. “It’s over now. You’re safe.”

“A dandelion,” I breathe, clinging to him and forcing the tears from escaping the corners of my eyes.

“Wha –” he begins. Thinking better of it, he shakes his head a little and pulls me a little closer. “It’s over now,” he repeats soothingly. “It’s all over now.” We sit in silence for a long time – me, terrified and trembling, holding onto Peeta as if letting go would kill him (or me); and Peeta, calm and compassionate as ever, running his fingers through my hair and planting a gentle kiss on my forehead every so often.

“I’m sorry I woke you,” I whisper into his shoulder.

“It’s all right, Katniss,” he replies. “That’s why I’m here.”

“It is?” I murmur.

“Until I remember what the Capitol stole from me, I won’t understand very much of what I feel when I’m around you,” he explains quietly. “I’ll probably have moments when I hate you occasionally for the rest of my life. But when I don’t think that, when the Capitol’s poison doesn’t affect me,” he lifts my face to look at his, “when it’s just me and all I can think about it you, I know that deep down I love you and I would do anything for you. So long as I’m me, I’m here to help you.”

He leans down and as his lips meet mine I feel, for what must be the first time in my entire life, truly safe and utterly happy.

It’s probably the longest I’ve ever kissed a man before, and even when it ends I don’t want it to.

“Are you ready to go back to sleep?” he asks tenderly.

I look up at him, fear creeping back into my mind. “You won’t let go?”