“And what would you like, Miss Undersee?”
Madge giggles at her friend across the baker’s counter, staring down into the many pastries that fill its shelves.
“I’ll take two of those,” she says, pointing to the chocolate chip muffins. Peeta rolls his eyes with a smile, reaching down and scooping the treats out for her.
She declines one of the muffins however, and narrows her eyes at him with a sneaky smile. “Madge, you can’t keep buying me sweets,” Peeta says. But he takes the muffin anyway, holding it in his hands like it’s a precious treasure.
“Oh hush it, Mellark,” says Madge, tearing off a piece of the muffin as she takes a seat near the counter. “You make all these treats and never get to have any of them.” Peeta’s mother makes sure of it. But he deserves something tasty every now and again. Something other than stale bread.
He laughs in response, shaking his head at the mayor’s daughter. As he does so the door swings open, and the bell overhead tingles and alerts both of them to the people who stride in.
Hunters. Gale and Katniss enter decked out in their gear, their game bags slung over their shoulders.
And when the two spot Peeta and Madge they probably think the opposite.
Townies. Blondes in their clean white clothes, munching on sweets that aren’t necessary. At least Gale does. Peeta’s sure that Katniss is better than that.
Madge turns her head back to face Peeta and offers a soft sort of smile. She knows how he feels for Katniss. How it pains him to see her gallivanting around the District with Gale. Only coming in for trades.
Speaking of which. “I’ll get my dad,” Peeta says quickly before his cheeks can turn pink. The two nod and then he hurries off to retrieve his father. Through the drafty rooms he hears Madge say hello to Katniss and Gale, but can only hear Katniss respond.
A few moments later Peeta and his father return to the main room in the bakery where Gale stands stiff and Katniss looks less than pleased to be here. Mr. Mellark excuses himself from the two blondes and makes his way over to the others.
Peeta rejoins Madge’s side and sighs quietly, trying to keep his eyes off of Gale and Katniss. To busy himself he reaches for Madge’s muffin and snatches a bit from the top. She laughs and scolds him, lightly swatting him away with a certain pink to her cheeks. Madge hates to be teased.
But the distraction doesn’t work for long, and Peeta is once again gazing toward Katniss. The intricate loops that make up her braid, the marvelous grey that shines in her eyes. Again Peeta sighs, stuffing the chocolaty treat into his mouth. Katniss has Gale.
The baker glances up toward the hulking boy from the Seam. Not much taller than Peeta, really. Only a few inches. Sure, Gale has well defined cheekbones, but he always looks so angry. Peeta’s never seen him smile. Not once.
As Peeta studies him he realizes Gale’s eyes are not focused on Katniss, nor are they focused on the trade that he should be making with Peeta’s father. They’re on Madge.
Peeta quickly glances toward his friend who stares down at her feet, completely oblivious to the boy watching her. She nibbles on tiny pieces of the muffin she holds, clearly ashamed that she’s eating it in the presence of two people who have such a hard time finding food. Clearly too focused on something else, Madge drops her muffin. It hits the floor and rolls to Peeta’s feet.
Her cheeks run an even deeper shade of red and she looks up toward him. “Don’t worry,” Peeta says, grabbing her muffin off the floor and blowing on it, as if that would remove the germs. “You can have mine.”
“Oh, Peeta,” Madge frowns as he swaps their two treats, but still accepts it. “Thank you.”
“Don’t worry about it,” he shrugs. Peeta swept this morning, the floor isn’t that dirty.
As Madge smiles she brushes a strand of her hair behind her ear. Peeta looks up again and finds Gale’s on him, a disapproving stare. Gale’s jaw is locked, and his eyes are narrowed. Peeta’s eyebrows shoot upward but he drops his gaze, looking toward the floor much like Madge had been.
“Gale,” Katniss grabs Gale’s arm after thanking the baker she’s traded with. “Let’s go.” The boy only nods, tearing his eyes from the two from town and following his friend out the door.
Peeta smiles to himself as they leave, thinking that maybe he doesn’t have all that much to worry about after all. Madge, however, might.
everlark in the zombie apocalypse
“And I need everyone to form a tight circle, alright? Medic station at the center, that means my mom and…” Katniss was shouting orders at the top of her lungs, her throat was starting to turn raw. “I need a team on watch at all times. We’re not letting anything happen to these people!”
“Katniss,” Peeta tugged on her arm but the brunette continued making a list of things to do. Gather weapons, collect food. “Katniss,” Peeta said again, his voice desperate. “You need to take a moment to breathe.” Once she looked over at him everyone went off to do what had been instructed, anything to keep the undead from reaching their camp in the woods.
“I don’t have time for that,” Katniss shook her head and prepared to march forward. “I need to help with defense, my aim is the best we’ve got…”
“Breathe,” Peeta said again. “You’re scaring people. You’re their leader, you need to remain calm.” Katniss swallowed tightly, she was remaining calm. In fact, she was remaining calm while making sure everyone was safe. “Sit down,” he instructed. After seeing the look of annoyance in her eyes he sighed, “Gale’s got this covered for now, alright?” Katniss looked up to see her best friend continuing orders where she left off. “Now sit.”
Eventually, Katniss sat down. People scurried around her treating wounds, trying to heal bites, making piles of food or a makeshift fence. “I can’t do this, Peeta,” she said quietly. “I can’t. I can’t do this.”
He sat down next to her and grabbed her hand gently, “Yes you can.” Katniss began to shake her head, this was too big a responsibility. Protecting half the District, feeding them, she can’t lead a group this large. “You’re Katniss Everdeen. We made it through the Hunger Games, we can surely make it through this.”
“This is different,” she stressed. Of course it was different. Instead of 22 other people she had to worry about killing her it was now the entire population of Panem. The undead. The mutts the Capitol made for sport gone wrong. “I can’t just protect us, I have to protect everyone.”
“No you don’t,” Peeta said quietly. “You’re their leader, not their lifeline. Things will settle, everyone’s just panicked right now. Once things get into a routine then it will be easier to manage.” Still, Katniss shook her head. She had to protect her sister and her friends, everyone in the District that had made it out of the chaos. “Katniss,” Peeta pleaded. “We can get through this. We can.”
Katniss lifted her head from her hands and looked toward him. “Together?”
Peeta nodded, a small smile spreading across his face. “Together.”
If I were to write an AU where Madge and Peeta go into the arena but she confesses her love for Gale while she’s there and Peeta for Katniss and they fight to get home and other things happen would anymore read it or am I just weird?