Categories > Original > Drama

don't know how long it's going to take to feel okay (but i know i had the best day with you today)

by peitho_x 0 reviews

Katniss cuts her hair and begins to heal. The Hunger Games oneshot.

Category: Drama - Rating: PG - Genres: Drama - Published: 2022-10-26 - 1109 words - Complete

Katniss looks in the mirror. Her eyes are tired as they always are – as they have been for years really. It is just that now she has time to really look at herself with no disaster on the horizon. Her hair is in its usual braid; it’s the way she has worn her hair since she had grown too old for two braids. It has been as much a part of her as her stubby fingernails and her chapped lips.

But not so much anymore. Like so many other parts of herself, it became part of the symbol, the image.

The more time passes, the more she feels that she was never truly the Mockingjay. She had portrayed the Mockingjay for a time, and in turn it had taken parts of herself as its own.

In the mirror, she can see the bits that are hers and the bits that are now the Mockingjay.

She holds the scissors to the base of the braid before she fully knows what she is doing. She runs her fingers down it one last time, takes one last look in the mirror and –


The braid lands with a soft thump on the floor. Katniss stares at it for a long moment before looking back to the mirror. Her hair curls outward slightly around her ears and when she moves her head, it feels much lighter. It makes her face look a little rounder, a little softer, but she can’t tell if she looks older or younger.

Her mother gives a little gasp when she passes by the bathroom and sees her. “Katniss, what–?”

“I thought it was time for a change,” Katniss says, uncertainly.

She sighs and almost smiles and reaches out a hand for the scissors. “It’s uneven, here, let me.”

Katniss obediently sits on a stool, keeping still as her mother snips around her ears and at the nape of her neck. She pulls the foremost strands down to check that they’re even and then lets them spring up again, tickling her cheeks.

“There you are,” she says softly and almost smiles again – closer to a real smile this time. “I don’t think you’ve had your hair this short since before you started school.”

“Thanks, mom,” Katniss says and lets herself be enfolded in a hug.

When her mother pulls away, she brushes a curl behind her ear. “You should show the others.”

“Mom, I don’t think Haymitch will care that I’ve cut my hair.”

She just gives her a look and Katniss sighs.

Katniss finds Peeta in the garden behind his house. He is kneeling on the ground, hands in the dirt, entirely preoccupied. She just watches him a moment, leaning awkwardly against the fence.

When he does notice her, he smiles. “Did you do that yourself?” he asks, standing up, wiping his hands off on his pants and coming towards her.

“My mom helped even it out,” she says.

He nods. “It looks nice.”

“Thanks.” She looks at the garden and then back at him. “What, um, what’re you doing?”

“Planting potatoes,” he says gesturing at the pile of small potatoes on the grass.

“Oh,” she says.

Katniss wonders if this is what it’s going to be like with him forever. Awkward small talk with the person who probably knows her better than anyone else.

“My mom was wondering if you’d like to come over for dinner tonight,” she lies. Her mom would be happy to host of course, and she didn’t have to tell her that she passed it off as her idea.

“Oh, sure,” he says. “That sounds nice.”


“Is Haymitch coming too?”

If it had been her mother’s idea, she would have extended the invitation to Haymitch as well. “Yeah,” she says. “I need to ask him yet.”

Peeta nods. “I’ll see you tonight then.”

“Yeah, see you.”

He steps closer to her and for a moment she thinks he’s going in for a hug, but he just tugs lightly on the foremost curl, like her mother did, and lets it spring up again. He smiles softly and then goes back to his work.

It’s not until she is halfway to Haymitch’s that she remembers how, in the first Games, right before they started to eat the berries, he had stroked the end of her braid like he wanted to remember what it felt like.

The memory gives her hope for them.

Haymitch is lounging on a chair on his front porch.

“Did you burn your hair off again?” he asks as she walks up the steps.

Katniss rolls her eyes. “My mom wanted to invite you to dinner tonight. Peeta’s also gonna be there.”

“Will he also be bringing baked goods?”

“I didn’t ask.”

“He probably will, he’s such a polite young man,” he says. “Sure, I’ll go.”

She gives him a sarcastic smile. “Great.”

As she walks away, he calls after her, “Hey sweetheart! The haircut looks good!”

She waves. “Thanks, Haymitch.”

Her mother is, of course, totally fine with the unexpected dinner party and makes sure to invite Hazelle Hawthorne and the kids as well.

Dinner ends up being chaotic and disorganized and wonderful. Everyone brings something along: Peeta brings soft rolls and something in a box she isn’t allowed to look in that probably holds dessert; Haymitch brings homemade moonshine that she refuses to drink; and Hazelle brings fresh greens that Rory and Vick collected.

Katniss is content to sit back and have the conversations happen around her. Peeta is speaking to Posy, who is positively preening under his attention. Rory and Vick are arguing over a competition they had had in the woods earlier that day. And her mother is actually smiling as she bustles around, playing hostess.

Haymitch, who is seated beside her, leans over and says, “I don’t wanna scare ya, but… you look like you’re having fun.” He checks her forehead. “Are you feeling okay?”

She pushes his hand away and rolls her eyes. But then she looks out at the table, the warm light, and the happy faces all around her. When she looks back at Haymitch, she knows he can feel it too. He just nods and raises his glass.

“To the always-lovely Dorothy Everdeen,” he says. “For hosting us all!”

Everyone follows suit, shouting out their agreement, and her mother blushes and tells them to stop, that it was no trouble at all. Peeta catches Katniss’s eye across the table and nods at her. And Katniss smiles back.
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