AU: Delly says goodbye to Peeta before he leaves for the 74th Hunger Games:
I speed my pace as I walk down the hallways of the justice building. This is probably the most sophisticate place I’ve ever got the chance to visit but there’s no time to admire the refined furniture and the delicate wood adorning the different rooms. Soon, he’ll be gone. I take left, then right, and find myself facing two doors. What did the Peacekeeper say? I think to myself as I focus to remember the indications I was given. I had spent the last hour trying to convince the entrance guy to let me in. Apparently, only the tributes’ families were allowed. I argued, I cried, and I even tried to bribe my way in (unfortunately, I had nothing of value to offer). Eventually, I told them Peeta was my brother and they agreed to give me five minutes with him. I doubt they believed me, though, they probably just pitied me.
After five minutes of inner deliberation, I decide to open the door on my left and somehow that must have been the right choice because the next thing I know I’m in his arms and I’m crying without restraint. This is wrong, I think as he breathes soothing words in my ear, I should be the one comforting him.
There are so many things I want to tell him. I want him to know how much I love and will miss him. And most of all, I want to tell him that everything’s gonna be fine, as long as he remains true to himself. His kindness, his innocence, his genuine faith in humankind, that’s his weapon. But words escape me now, like sand through my hand, and the only thing I manage to say is:
“You take care, alright? For me.”
He pulls away, and gives me a reassuring smile.
“I’ll be fine, Delly,” he whispers.
I realize my hands are gripping his shirt, but he doesn’t seem to care. I raise my eyes to meet his and, despite my best efforts, tears roll freely down my cheeks.
“I won’t try to play the hero or anything.”
I open my clenched fist and place my right hand flat on his chest. Right over his heart. I can feel it beating a frantic pace. With words, he can make anyone believe anything, but his heart… His heart cannot lie. He is scared.
“Of course you will.”
Before he can add anything, I’m back in his arms, and I have given up on any pretense of being strong. He has no intention of winning, we both know that. He would die a hundred times over if it meant Katniss could survive. And so I hold him, I soak in his warmth and breathe his smell, as if he’ll be dead tomorrow. Because I know, in this moment, I know I’ll never see him again. Peeta. My best friend.
Soon, the Peacekeepers are here to take him away and I have to let go. He lays a kiss on my forehead and says:
“I’ll see you soon, then.”
And I tell him: “I’ll see you soon.”
Because he’s not the only one who can lie.