Was it like this then? Seventy-five years or so ago? Did a group of people sit around and cast their votes on initiating the Hunger Games? Was there dissent? Did someone make a case for mercy that was beaten down by the calls for the deaths of the districts’ children? The scent of Snow’s rose curls up into my nose, down into my throat, squeezing it tight with despair. All those people I loved, dead, and we are discussing the next Hunger Games in an attempt to avoid wasting life. Nothing has changed. Nothing will ever change now.
“Well, he probably used up a lot of resources helping me knock you out,” I say mischievously.
“Yeah, about that,” says Peeta, entwining his fingers in mine. “Don’t try something like that again.”
“Or what?” I ask.
“Or…or…” He can’t think of anything good. “Just give me a minute.”
“What’s the problem?” I say with a grin.
“The problem is we’re both still alive. Which only reinforces the idea in your mind that you did the right thing,” says Peeta.
“I did do the right thing,” I say.
“No! Just don’t, Katniss!” His grip tightens, hurting my hand, and there’s real anger in his voice. “Don’t die for me. You won’t be doing me any favors. All right?
I’m startled by his intensity but recognize an excellent opportunity for getting food, so I try to keep up. "Maybe I did it for myself, Peeta, did you ever think of that? Maybe you aren’t the only one who…who worries about…what it would be like if…”
I fumble. I’m not as smooth with words as Peeta. And while I was talking, the idea of actually losing Peeta hit me again and I realized how much I don’t want him to die. And it’s not about the sponsors. And it’s not about what will happen back home. And it’s not just that I don’t want to be alone. It’s him. I do not want to lose the boy with the bread.
“If what, Katniss?” he says softly.
I wish I could pull the shutters closed, blocking out this moment from the prying eyes of Panem. Even if it means losing food. Whatever I’m feeling, it’s no one’s business but mine.
“That’s exactly the kind of topic Haymitch told me to steer clear of,” I say evasively, although Haymitch never said anything of the kind. In fact, he’s probably cursing me out right now for dropping the ball during such an emotionally charged moment. But Peeta somehow catches it.
“Then I’ll just have to fill in the blanks myself,” he says and moves into me.
This is the first kiss that we’re both fully aware of. Neither of us hobbled by sickness or pain or simply unconscious. Our lips neither burning with fever or icy cold. This is the first kiss where I actually feel stirring inside my chest. Warm and curious. This is the first kiss that makes me want another.
The Hunger Games
I couldn’t stop quoting this section because it’s just that good. This whole thing is swoon-worthy and such an important moment for Katniss and Peeta.
“He looks upset, takes a deep breath as if to begin a long argument, and that’s no good, no good at all… So before he can talk, I stop his lips with a kiss.” (CF)
“ ‘Leave me,’ he whispers. ‘I can’t hang on.’
‘Yes. You can!’ I tell him.
Peeta shakes his head. ‘I’m losing it. I’ll go mad. Like them.’
Like the mutts. Like a rabid beast bent on ripping my throat out. And here, finally here in this place, in these circumstances, I will really have to kill him…It’s a long shot, it’s suicide maybe, but I do the only thing I can think of. I lean in and kiss Peeta full on the mouth.” (MJ)