There are still moments when he clutches the back of a chair and hangs on until the flashbacks are over. I wake screaming from nightmares of mutts and lost children. But his arms are there to comfort me. And eventually his lips. On the night I feel that thing again, the hunger that overtook me on the beach, I know this would have happened anyway. That what I need to survive is not Gale’s fire, kindled with rage and hatred. I have plenty of fire myself. What I need is the dandelion in the spring. The bright yellow that means rebirth instead of destruction. The promise that life can go on, no matter how bad our losses. That it can be good again. And only Peeta can give me that. So after, when he whispers,
“You love me. Real or not real?” I tell him, “Real.”
“I don’t want you forgetting how different our circumstaces are. If you die, and I live, there’s no life for me at all back in District Twelve. You’re my whole life.“ Peeta says. "I would never be happy again. It’s different for you. I’m not saying it wouldn’t be hard. But there are other people who’d make your life worth living.”
“No one really needs me,” he says, and there’s no selfpity in his voice. It’s true his family doesn’t need him. They will mourn him, as will a handfull of friends. But they will get on…. I realise only one person will be damaged beyond repair if Peeta dies. Me.