Hunger Games Fic: His Was a Dying Breed
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Jun. 7th, 2012 | 11:40 am
music: Paradise Circus - Massive Attack
Title: His Was a Dying Breed
Fandom: The Hunger Games
Characters: Madge Undersee, Peeta Mellark
Summary: Madge takes his hands in hers—trying to hold on, trying to calm him, trying to absorb as much of him into her memory before he's gone. When Peeta is reaped, Madge is forced to say goodbye to her oldest friend.
Madge stood in front of the Justice Building steps, staring up at the ashen structure that towered over the district around it. When she was younger, she had been in awe of it. Like with most things, though, time had taught her to feel differently.
It had always been a place where her father disappeared into for hours and marriages were granted by parchment. It was only once she was older she realized the gravity of its other uses—starving children signing up for tesserae and grieving families receiving medals that wouldn't, couldn't, replace the dead. Grey and desolate, it was a structure of burden, a beacon of rules and power...
And it currently caged two friends she may never see again.
She took a moment to simply look at Peeta from the doorway before fully entering the room. He sat slumped forward on the plush sofa, his elbows on his knees, his hands barely holding up his face he had cradled against his palms.
Upon leaving Katniss' room, she had run into the anguished face of his father in the hallway. They had paused in front of each other and something wordless and akin to shared grief had reflected in each other's eyes. It lasted only for a moment, and then they had let each other pass.
And now she was here in front of Peeta. Kind and steady Peeta.
He looks up at her then, his eyes already reddened from saying goodbye.
Madge never thought herself to be terribly great with words—at least not like he was. She could recite poetry and carry on small talk if need be...but this was different. This was the unimaginable and no amount of words could really ease the chasm of despair clearly building inside him. He was about to be ripped from this world of theirs in the most unthinkable way, and there was nothing she could do about it.
So instead of attempting to speak, she simply sits beside him and tangles her fingers with his. After a minute of silence, her arms reach out, pulling him to her and her body molds around his as if she can shield him from the impossible life he has to lead now. She presses a kiss to his forehead before letting him bury his face against her neck.
As she listens to his shallow breathing, she doesn't realize she had started speaking anyway until she hears her own voice. There's a fever, an urgency to what she's saying that makes her voice feels like it belongs to someone else.
"Everyone will love you, Peeta. You'll charm the whole Capitol. And you're strong. Stronger than you think you are. Haymitch Abernathy can get you both sponsors and…"
A hand on her shoulder quiets her.
"You know I'm not coming home, Madge. Even my family knows that." He pulls away and the way he stares at her then, this unwavering, sincere sadness… she can't handle the strength of it and finds herself averting her gaze. He lets out a light laugh, ragged and humorless and stained with self-deprecation. "The whole district knows that."
She doesn't like pondering that possibility. A possibility that is half a step away from being certainty, whether she'd admit it to herself or not.
Her mouth shuts as her eyes wander back up to take in his appearance—his disheveled hair he's most likely been nervously running his fingers through, the tinge of pink spreading beneath his eyes where tears have fallen, and most hauntingly of all, the resolve already building in his face.
"She has a real shot at getting through this," he's saying now. "She will," he amends. "And you know I can't…that I won't…" He trails off, but he doesn't have to say more to know he's referring to the possibility of killing a girl he's adored since the day he first laid eyes on her.
"I know," she says quietly. "But that doesn't mean you can't fight, that you shouldn't..."
And she knew he knew she wasn't necessarily talking about killing or encouraging him to surge forward with some sort bloodlust like the Careers they've seen on television. She was talking about wanting to survive, having the willpower to try to. To not just give up.
She sighs and takes his hands in hers again, trying to hold on, trying to calm him, trying to give him strength, trying to absorb as much of him into her memory before he's gone. This morning these hands were probably icing a masterpiece and now they're expected to take a life.
There are so many things she wants to tell him.
Be brave. Thank you for being my friend. This is unfair. This should've never happened to you, to anyone. I can't watch you die, watch you give up so soon.
Please live. I need you to live.
Of all the words she could've said, all that manages to rise to the surface is: "Just try, okay?"
The door flies opens behind her; their time is over. She stands then clings to him for one last embrace, her hands in his hair and her lips on his cheek.
"Okay," he whispers, holding her just tightly as she holds him.
The single word hangs in the air around them before the Peacekeepers pull her out and the wooden door snaps shut in front of her, sealing the impenetrable distance between them.
He already feels so far away.
Madge's pace quickens as she leaves without a glance back—down the hall, down the steps, down the street. Her eyes stay focused on her shoes—dainty sandals she wouldn't normally wear—one foot stepping in front of the other, unearthing pebbles from the patches of dirt beneath her as she walks.
It's not until she reaches the now deserted square and heads to where the bakery stands that she lets herself pause for air.
Standing in front of the empty bakery in her white dress as the humid wind casts her blonde waves across her face, she takes in the worn brick of the second story. Her eyes travel down to the faded words announcing the existence of cakes and pastries beyond the wide glass windows etched along the bottom of the weathered white building. A place she sometimes considered a second home—mostly when Mrs. Mellark wasn't around to prove it otherwise.
She steps a bit closer to the window, the display catching her eye. There on a raised platter is a lightly frosted white cake adorned with yellow roses. It towers above the others, intricate and beautiful and… familiar.
It takes her a moment to pinpoint their familiarity. With the orange swirl inside the golden petals…she realizes they're replicas of flowers that had adorned a dress she once wore. It had been at a dinner party held at her home a while back. He had been unloading pastry in her kitchen as she snuck away to kick off her murderous heels and allow her face to fall from its automatic, polite disposition. He must've remembered the way the light hit the sequined petals resting on her shoulder as he had taken her hand and twirled her into a dance to get her to smile. It had worked.
The warmth of the memory threatening to overtake her, Madge draws in a shaky breath. She stares at the shop that houses even more memories, memories of a boy and his warm smile and…
It's then that it really sinks in: the hands that made these petals she just grasped for what really could be the last time.
And it's then that she lets herself fall apart.
Author's Note: So this happened and I'm not exactly sure how lol. I ended up cutting this from a massive word document of random Madge/Peeta friendship drabbles (or 'Underlark' as the kids are calling this ship. However few of us kids there are xD) I churned out this week. I'm currently trying to somehow shape it into either a coherent multi-chapter or break it down into more oneshots that delve into their childhood friendship of sorts if anyone is interested in reading those. We shall see how it goes. Also, I'm kind of terrified of writing Peeta just because I was afraid he'd end up OOC. I realized I'm better at writing snarky jerks than I am nice people and I wonder what that says about me haha.
Reviews are love.