Once he takes out her book and draws. First Rue. And then Snow. And then Coin. And then Finnick. And then his mother. And then his father. And then. And then Prim. Sweet little Primrose with the ends of her hair curling and flaring as if she were on fire. And Katniss might have cried, might have cried then, expect it splotches in a fat corona where Peeta’s tear lands. His fingertips leave thick black smudges on the heavy paper.
He’s trembling, shaking. And Katniss Everdeen might have run before, before when she was Girl on Fire and when she was the Mockingjay. She might have run then, from him, the way she had when his eyes had turned to her for the first time biting and cruel, so antithesis to the boy she had thought of as ally, lover, friend, husband—all crystallized facets of him shattered and swept aside to make room for this new one, with the lopsided smile like a whetted razor and arms like steel bands crossed over his chest, the only thing holding him in.
Once, she had worshipped no power higher than her own, once she had come to every and all as a conquering general to a besieged city.
Now, she comes to him artlessly, steps into his dissonant world because she recognizes it as one she occupies, a space she can understand. There are roots that connect them, wood-veins that push the same blood back and forth between them.
Katniss lays a hand upon his wrist.
“Peeta,” she says. “Peeta. That’s enough.” And it is.