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Monster in My Head

Title: Monster in My Head
POV: Peeta
Type: MJ AU
Pairing: Katniss/Peeta
Prompt: After the parachutes go off, Katniss gets up and goes to finish off Snow, Peeta tags along and has an attack and has to choose between killing her or saving her while Katniss is torn between killing Snow, trying to help Peeta and her grief over Prim.
Dedicated to: pickgems
Rating: PG-13
Warnings: triggering instances (fire, discussion of torture, canon character death, black out), spoilers for MJ
Word Count: 1,318

There have been many moments when I am extremely grateful that I remember very little of what happened to me just after the Quarter Quell. This is not one of those moments.

Due to my lack of memories for those few months, I don’t recall ever feeling this much pain in my entire life – not during either battle in the arena, not when I awoke screaming in District 13 after my rescue, not when my mother beat me for feeding Katniss that day in the rain. I’m sure my stay in the Capitol hurt like this; but because I can’t remember it, this is the most pain I’ve ever really felt.

Just trying to remember pain like this is dangerous – there’s no telling which memory could cause me to lose myself – but I can’t help it. My body is on fire, and all I can think about is the pain – past and present.

I need to stop thinking about this. I need to help Katniss. . . .

Or do I need to kill her?

I force the thought from my mind, struggling to avoid blacking out.

Someone smothers the flames with a jacket or two, and I can hear them speaking to me, but I can’t understand what they’re saying. I can also hear myself screaming, feel myself screaming, but I can’t make out what I’m screaming.

The first word I understand after the flames are quenched is “Katniss!” And I recognize the voice as my own.

I push the pain to the back of my mind and sit up as quickly as I can. Katniss is all ready hurtling toward the president’s mansion, fire still clinging to her back and arms.

Before I can force myself to my feet, Katniss collapses in front of the mansion. One or two heroic citizens have been working their way through the children and EMTs, but there’s been no luck in finding any survivors. I can see Katniss cradling the charred remains of her sister, and I’d guess she’s crying – the pain wouldn’t have caused that, like it did with me, because she would’ve been crying before the fire even hit her. Prim was her heart and soul, her whole life, her whole world, and she’d just seen that world burnt to a crisp right before her eyes, a casualty of the war she’d chosen to fight.

I rise and make my way over to her, gritting my teeth and trying desperately to think of anything but the pain.

“Katniss,” I gasp. “I’m –”

“Don’t,” she snaps, glaring up at me and pulling Prim’s body closer to her. “Just don’t.”

I choke back the word “sorry,” along with the darkness building within me. She’s hurt. She isn’t hurting me. She wouldn’t hurt me. She’s never hurt me. Doing my best to stay present for her, I offer her my hand to help her up. Typically she’d just ignore me, but she’s in too much pain – physical and emotional – to be as stubborn as usual. Lying Prim down gently, she takes my hand and allows me to pull her up.

“We should get to a hospital,” I groan, realizing that touching her was probably a mistake when my skin starts to feel like it’s going to fall off.

“Not until he’s dead,” Katniss retorts; her anger is boiling even more than her body, if that’s even possible, and she looks about ready to rip someone (President Snow in particular) apart.

“Katniss. . . .”

“No,” she interrupts. “Don’t try it. Don’t try to change my mind, Peeta.” After a brief pause, she continues quietly, “Just leave.”

“No,” I argue. “No way. If you’re going after Snow, I’m coming with you.”

“Peeta. . . .”

It’s my turn to interrupt her now. “It’s not negotiable, Katniss. You need me to get you around in there, and there’s not a chance in hell that I’m gonna let you go after him by yourself – especially not while you’re hurt.”

“Fine, fine, fine,” she agrees begrudgingly. “Let’s get moving, then.” Looking around her at the tragic scene before the mansion, she shudders. “I can’t stand here anymore,” she adds quietly.

I motion for her to follow and lead the way through the debris and into the mansion.

We wander the soulless halls of the house for a long time – I remember very little of my time here, so making my way around is difficult – before stumbling into the greenhouse. The thick aroma of roses, with just a hint of blood, hits me like a brick wall and causes me to choke; Katniss remains composed, breathing it in as if she’d expected it.

“Why?” Katniss shouts into the greenhouse, knowing somehow that Snow was in there.

Appearing from behind a rosebush, he feigns ignorance, “Excuse me?”

Clenching her fists tightly at her sides, she tenses up, forcing herself to stay rigidly still. “What did she ever do to you?”

“Who are we discussing?” he asks innocently.

Katniss moves toward him quickly, but I manage to catch her arms from behind and hold her back. “Let me go,” she orders.

I grit my teeth against the pain her struggling in causing. “No, Katniss,” I groan. “He’s not worth it.”

She is,” Katniss hisses, wriggling free and turning to glare at me. “She is,” she repeats, more quietly this time.

“Don’t do this, Katniss,” I beg, reaching for her hand.

“You don’t get to tell me what to do,” she snaps, pulling away from me. Whirling on Snow, she continues, “Why would you drop bombs on your citizens – on the children of your Capitol?”

“I wouldn’t,” he answers simply, leering right back at her.

“But you did. And then you dropped more, on the medical response team . . . which included my sister.”

“If I wanted to kill Capitol children, I would have sent them into arenas as well,” he explains coldly. “I didn’t drop those bombs.”

“Then who did?” she asks incredulously.

He answers with leading questions: “Who wants me dead? Who wants this revolution?”

“. . . Coin,” I breathe.

“Coin,” he confirms.

Katniss is so angry and so confused now that she’s shaking. She’s searching for any excuse to kill him now, because Prim’s death needs to be avenged somehow, and because her anger needs a target. Her rage is overflowing, and something in the back of my mind is telling me to run, for her sake and for mine, but my feet are rooted to the floor in the doorway and I’m trapped watching Katniss circle Snow like a hawk circles its prey.

“Katniss, let’s get out of here,” I suggest cautiously.

“No,” she snaps. “He isn’t dead yet.”

I continue despite the nagging feeling that I should shut up, “Let’s be honest, Katniss: you aren’t going to kill him.”

“Oh really?” she shouts, rounding on me.

And before I know it, my hands are wrapped tightly around her throat, and she’s gasping for air but not fighting back. Some sick part of me is enjoying it, treating the fading of light in her eyes like some form of entertainment.

The part of me that is me struggles against this foreign, yet somehow familiar, side of me, and eventually I manage to get control of myself again. I release her, and she drops to her knees, coughing violently. Still struggling to breathe, she rasps out, “Wh- why’d you stop?”

Without a moment’s thought, I reply, “Because I love you.”

She just stares up at me, fighting for air and trying to figure me out. After a couple of minutes, she reaches for my hand and I give it, pulling her to her feet slowly and gently. She’s still coughing a lot, and bruises are beginning to form on her neck and throat, but she still turns right to Snow. “I’m not . . . like you,” she whispers before heading for the door.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 12th, 2011 04:10 pm (UTC)
WOW. I have no idea how long it took me to remember this fic, and then I went looking for it and it was posted over a month ago!

Apr. 12th, 2011 04:13 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you got a chance to read it, and I'm glad you enjoyed it!
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )