**This is a fanfiction work created for entertainment purposes only. Please enjoy and remember that this story is based on the work of Suzanne Collins but is not written by her. Characters are the property of the author and any copyright infringement is unintentional.**

Summary: 5 years after the ending of Mockingjay, Peeta and Katniss are finally in a place where they are happy together and they decide it's time to get married. This is a tale of that day. Please feel free to start a topic if you enjoyed this story... just hit that button up there that says "Talk" :)

A Dandelion Wedding

On the morning of our wedding, I awoke early. I slept through the night just fine, with Peeta’s arms around me tightly, fending off the nightmares. The morning sun is shining through the open window and I can feel the spring air on my face. Flowers should be in perfect bloom this time of year. The world outside is quiet except for the faint sound of a mockingjay singing a happy song.

Now wide awake, I keep thinking of everything that has happened to us, everything we’ve been through together. It’s a dangerous game to play, so I repeat to myself all the good that I’ve seen as well, all the people that I wish could be here with me on this day. Rue. Finnick. Cinna. Prim. How I wish my little duck was here. I’d be worried about her, reminding her to tuck in the back of her shirt and she’d be there to remind me that she’s grown up and could mind her own clothing; she’d remind me that this was my day and she’d me tending to mine instead. She would’ve really loved to see me in my wedding dress, my actual wedding dress, and not the one that was the poll winner, not the one that Cinna designed to burn into a mockingjay. My real dress.

I sat at the edge of the bed and looked over my shoulder at Peeta, still sound asleep. I don’t want to wake him just yet, so I tiptoe to the closet quietly and open it very slowly. Inside I have kept the remaining dresses that Cinna designed for me, minus the one that I gave to Annie. They’re all so beautiful, and for the first time I can really admire them for what they are. I’ll be able to wear one of them for a real reason today. Cinna would be happy that I wore any of them, but I cannot yet decide which one. It’s very unlike me to be excited about wearing a dress, and this reminds me of Madge. If she were beside me at this moment, she’d know which dress to pick.

I hear Peeta stirring behind me, and then, in his best Effie voice, he says, “Oh Katniss, it’s a big, big, big, big day!” This makes me giggle and I turn to see he’s laughing as well. I’m glad that there are still things we can laugh about when it comes to the Games, because those things are very few and far between. I walk over to the bed and Peeta pulls me back in. I find myself staring into his cool blue eyes and any remnants of bad memories are washed away.

“I need to go check on Haymitch, and then put the final touches on the cake,” he says. “But I’d much rather spend the day in bed with you.”

“Well we do have the rest of our lives for that,” I retort with a smile.

“Sometimes I need a reminder that I won’t lose you ever again. Thank you, Katniss.”

He kisses me softly on the lips and gets out of bed.

I watch him exit the room and I look around. I still need to decide on my dress, so I walk back over to the closet. I thumb through the dresses once more and I still cannot make up my mind. Just then, I hear a knock at the door below me, some muffled chatter, then a fast paced clicking sound coming up the stairs. Like a flash, Octavia is standing in my doorway with three bags and a look of pure excitement on her now pale apple green face. Her pink eyeshadow glistens in the sunlight as she crosses the room to give me a hug.

“Katniss! Oh dear, look at the state of you! We can’t have you looking like this on your wedding day, can we?” she exclaimed. “I’m here now, don’t you worry about a thing!”

“You’re green again?” I ask as she lets me loose of her grip.

“Well of course dear, are you surprised? It’s a special shade for the spring! Isn’t it gorgeous?”

“Absolutely stunning,” I reply with a smirk. Octavia spends the rest of the morning returning me to beauty base zero and promises to leave me as natural as possible. When we emerge from the bathroom, I see that Peeta has brought us up a snack; tea, cheese buns, and some frosted cookies. On the tray there is also a vase filled with dandelions and primrose branches. I am instantly taken back in time, my mind is flooded with so many memories. While enjoying Peeta’s delicious treats, Octavia tells me that she finds the bouquet to be quite a sweet gesture and having an idea, she takes away the vase before I can object. I had wanted to enjoy them just a little longer.

A short while later, I am re-visiting the closet, knowing that it’s about time that I choose a dress, when Octavia returns. Out of the dandelions, primrose branches, and some white ribbon, she has fastened me a wreath for my hair.

“I thought this would go perfect with your dress. Plus, it’ll be like she’s with you today.”

I look at her and my eyes well up with tears. Octavia has given me a great gift without truly knowing its full extent. Not only do I get to carry a piece of Prim with me, but I will also don my symbol of hope, bright yellow dandelions, something that will not escape Peeta’s attention. What else could I ask for as I enter into this new period of life with him?

“It’s perfect,” I tell her.

I remember the day that I finally told Peeta everything that dandelion meant to me. He already knew how thankful I was to him for the bread that he’d given be the day before, that was something I told him in the cave of the arena. But he’d not known the true extent of the story, the real amount of hope his actions had given me, the day our eyes met across the schoolyard, and the dandelion that signified to me that hope was not lost. We’d taken a walk one spring day out to the meadow, hand in hand we walked through the freshly blooming wildflowers, swaying in the breeze, offering up sweet scents of the season. The whites, purples, and yellows reminded me of one of Peeta’s paintings. Every spring, after that, he’s left me dandelions in random places for me to find, little reminders of the hope that we still have as long as we’re together. For my birthday one year, he even gave me a dandelion painting that now hangs above our fireplace. With Peeta by my side, I’m constantly reminded that, after all we’ve been through, I still am not doomed. This comforts me in a way that only he understands.

Octavia and I finally decide on a dress, a plain creamy frock covered in lace flowers, a perfect compliment to my new hair band. It isn’t as embellished as Cinna’s other designs, not quite as showy or fancy. Deep down, I think he must’ve made this simple one just for me, not for the Capitol, a dress he knew that I’d end up wearing for real one day. Octavia dusts yellow eyeshadow lightly around my gray Seam eyes and paints a faint gold polish on my nails. She braids my hair the way my mother used to do, the way she taught Cinna and Octavia to do many years before. Part of me wishes that my mother was here today, but another part knows it’s better that she’s not. I step into the dress and she buttons me up. For the final touch she places the primrose and dandelion wreath on my head and pins it to my braids. She stands back to look at me and as I turn around I catch her wiping a tear from her eye.

“Oh, Katniss. This is the most beautiful that I’ve ever seen you.” She sighs softly and stares at me for a moment then suddenly perks up as if an idea has just popped into her head.

“Do you have earrings or a necklace? Something shiny and pretty? I completely forgot to bring anything with me!”

Immediately, my eyes shift to the dresser, where I know in the top drawer lies the locket Peeta gave me during the Quarter Quell. I still keep it locked away inside the silver parachute along with the pearl he’d also given me that day. Without hesitation, I open the drawer and pull out the locket. I run my fingers across its front, adorned with a smooth gold mockingjay, and open it up. Inside is the picture of Prim, the very same one that Peeta originally put inside it. On the other side, the pictures of my mother and Gale have long since been replaced with one of Peeta. I switched them out years ago, when I returned to District 12. At that time, I had not known if Peeta would be returning as well or if I’d ever see him again, so I intended on keeping him as near to me as possible, just in case. I turn to Octavia and show her the locket when I suddenly change my mind. I don’t want to wear the locket today, or perhaps even ever again. I haven’t worn it since the Quarter Quell, just like I haven’t worn my pin since the rebellion. I am no longer the Mockingjay, and this isn’t a symbol that I associate myself with anymore. It’s just another reminder that I’d honestly rather do without today.

“This is all I have, but I’d rather not wear it today. You know I’m not much of a jewelry person anyways,” I reply to her. She nods in agreement. As I return the locket back to its home inside the parachute, I notice that my pearl is missing. My heart skips a beat for a moment. Where could it be? I search through the rest of the drawer a bit and find nothing. I know that it could not have gone very far, so I let it be for now and tell myself that I’ll return to look for it later on.

“Well then, my dear, are you ready? I’m sure everyone is dying to see you!”

It’s probably late into the afternoon by now. I look out the open window and the position of the sun in the sky tells me that it’s almost 5 o’clock. I’ve forgotten how long it takes for an Octavian makeover. She reaches out for my hands and holds them tight. Looking straight into my eyes, she says, “Well ready or not, here comes the bride!”

As we descend the staircase, I realize that I’ve missed quite a lot and I hadn’t even heard everyone arrive. Flavius and Venia look as if they’ve been scurrying about the house all day in preparation for the wedding. I see Haymitch standing by the fireplace, bottle in hand, and Effie, looking completely annoyed, attempting to adjust his wardrobe. He looks a bit unkempt, per usual, but at least he put on a tie. I can hear dishes clanking in the sink in the kitchen and know that Greasy Sae has been preparing something delicious all day. The stairs creak under my feet and everyone stops in their tracks. Suddenly all eyes are on me and a collective “oh” resounds through the room. Even Haymitch has his eyes glued on me. Greasy Sae pops her head around the corner to see what all the fuss is about.

To break the silence, I look around the room at each of them and coyly say, “What? Like you’ve never seen me in a dress before?” Everyone chuckles lightly and I find myself surrounded by them all as I reach the bottom of the stairs.

“Oh Katniss, so beautiful!” Effie exclaims. “What a lovely dress!” Venia blurts out as she circles around me, inspecting every inch of fabric.

“Just wait ‘til Peeta sees you!” Flavius chimes in.

After all this time, I have forgotten what it feels like to be paid such attention by so many people at once. I just smile and nod and say things like, “thank you” and “you’re too kind.” I make my way to Haymitch and give him a small hug. It’s late enough in the afternoon that he’s certainly drunk by now. The bottle in his hand is half empty, verifying my suspicions. He slurs out a greeting after another sip of his drink, “Well look at you sweetheart. Stealing the show all over again, I see. And I can tell that you’re not completely hating it either. Here, have a drink, on me!”

I sneer back and him and snicker a little. Even after all the alcohol, I can see it in his eyes when he looks at me, I can hear it in his voice, that fatherly feeling he gets from time to time. Haymitch is proud of me today. For years after the rebellion, Haymitch has made no attempt to keep quiet about his wishes for Peeta and I, reminding me occasionally that I still could not do any better.

“Where is Peeta?” I ask, to no one specifically.

“Right here, Katniss.”

I turn around to see Peeta standing in the doorway that leads to the backyard. He looks so handsome in his suit and tie, a small bouquet of dandelions pinned to his lapel. He moves towards me slowly with a look of complete awe on his face. And for the first time in a very long while, he is at a loss for words. He brings his hand towards my face and brushes a strand of hair away from my eyes, and we hold each other’s gaze. At this moment I am not aware of anyone else in the room, there is only Peeta and I. We are interrupted by Greasy Sae, asking everyone to head to the backyard so we can start supper. Our guests shuffle out of the room excitedly, leaving Peeta and I alone once again.

“Katniss, before we go outside, I have something I want to give you,” Peeta says softly. He hands me a small brown box wrapped in a single white ribbon. I untie it slowly and remove the top, Peeta watching my every move. Inside the box is my pearl, now mounted on a polished gold band. He turned my pearl into a ring, my wedding ring.

“I wanted to give you something special, but I couldn’t decide on what. Then I remembered that you always kept this pearl. It’s survived over the years, through a war, and the Games. I thought, what a shame it is that it lies in that drawer or sometimes inside your pocket. But what better place for it to be now than this? Do you like it?”

“Peeta,” I whisper, trying to find the words, “I love it... and I love you. Thank you for this, for everything. Thank you for coming back to me.”

He slips the ring onto my finger and replies, “always.” He leans in to kiss me and, even though this is something that we’ve done so many times before, it takes my breath away. I can feel my heart pounding in my chest, it’s that feeling again; the way I felt in the cave in the Games, on the beach in the Quarter Quell, the stirring inside of me that only Peeta can create. After all these years, he can still make me feel this way. As he pulls away, he puts his hand in mine and asks, “Ready?”

We walk out of the house and into the backyard, hand in hand, pausing just outside the doorway so I can take everything in. My eyes are drawn to several places at once: the smooth white tablecloths on the simply set picnic tables, the glowing paper lanterns strung from tree to tree, the dim light of the candles burning, the dusk sky turning shades of orange and purple. Venia and Flavius have transformed the yard into something like I’ve never seen, something almost magical. I hear another collective “oh” and realize that, again, everyone’s eyes are on me. I look around the yard as if to greet them all. Standing around the first table is Effie, Octavia, Venia, and Flavius; even Plutarch has flown in. He nods at me with an especially large smile. At the end of the table, Haymitch is swallowing another glass of clear liquor. I shift my attention to the other table where Greasy Sae is setting out food. To her left is Delly Cartwright, hands clasped together over her chest with a look of adoration on her face. Across from her is Johanna, who gives me a smirk that quickly turns into a smile. And finally, there is Annie. She is a bit straight-faced but lovingly stroking the blonde hair of the little boy standing next to her with one hand and holding his in the other. It is Finnick’s son. He must be five years old by now, he looks so handsome, just like his father. I give him a little wave and he giggles as he shyly buries his face in Annie’s side. How good it is to see them all here today.

Greasy Sae approaches us and hands Peeta half a loaf of bread, signifying that it’s time for the Toasting. At the edge of the yard, just before the treeline, a small fire pit has been set up for us. We walk down the path between both tables towards the pit, still hand in hand. Together we build the fire with the logs provided, symbolizing the building of our relationship.Then we light the fire and wait for it to grow just large enough. Peeta hands me a small piece of the bread from our loaf and we each eat our share. Again, he puts his hand in mine, and with our other hands we toss the rest of the loaf into the fire. We stand there for a moment and watch it char. Behind us I hear the sounds of clapping and a sharp whistle that could only have come from Haymitch.

“Well, kiss her already!” he shouts. Peeta and I lock lips again then turn to face the small gathering of people. In the trees behind us, mockingjays have begun to mimic Haymitch’s short whistle. While it’s not as beautiful as Rue’s four notes, they create a whimsical melody all their own. We walk over and join Annie, Delly, Johanna, and Greasy Sae at the table. From the looks of things, Annie’s son has gotten bored because he’s circling the yard, attempting to catch fireflies.

“Finley,” Annie calls, “come over here and eat your stew sweetheart.” He ignores her for a moment, his eyes locked on his prey. After one last failed attempt, he skips over to the table and plops down beside her.

Greasy Sae has very thoughtfully prepared my favorite stew, lamb with dried plums. On the table there are also baskets of breads and jars of strawberry jam. We all eat our meals and happily banter back and forth, catching up on each other’s lives, remembering those who we all wished were there. After a short while, when everyone’s plates are empty, Peeta excuses himself from the table and returns to the house. A few moments later, he emerges with our cake in hand. He sets it down on a small table that I had not noticed before and calls me over. Almost all of our guests accept his invitation to me and gather around the cake admiring Pe

eta’s handiwork. It’s quite beautiful, featuring three tiers, the colors fading from a soft orange around the bottom tier to a bright white at the top. Around the base, Peeta has adorned the cake with white katniss blossoms that seem to shimmer in the lantern light. Sitting atop the highest tier, are more dandelions, as radiant as the ones on my wreath; the ones on Peeta’s lapel. Of all the things that I’ve seen Peeta create, this is one of my favorites, I almost don’t want to eat it. Together we slice the cake and serve all our friends.

The night finishes out well and we say goodbye to our guests one by one as they make their exit. Annie and Johanna promise to visit more often. Octavia, Venia, and Flavius are upset that this was actually the last time they’d ever get to come prep me. Effie and Plutarch remind us that we can come visit them anytime, as I think they prefer life in the Capitol. Delly offers to drop by tomorrow to help us clean up. Haymitch mutters something inappropriate, having moved onto a third bottle of clear liquor, as Greasy Sae grabs his hand and tells us she’ll make sure he at least makes it into the front door of his own house.

I’m exhausted and it’s been a long day, but easily one of the best days of my life. Peeta and I climb into bed together and he wraps his arms around me. I glance at the pearl ring on my finger and marvel at how it shines in the moonlight coming through the open window.

“Was everything to your liking today?” Peeta asks. “I couldn’t imagine a better day, Peeta, thank you,” I reply, “everything was perfect.” I lean in to kiss him goodnight and I linger longer than usual. I haven’t felt this kind of happiness in a long time, if ever before, and I have Peeta to thank for that. Every now and again, my mind has wandered back to Gale, imagining what he was doing and who he was kissing, but I realize now that it’s been a very long time since I’ve even thought of him. And tonight I know that I’ll never have to wonder about Gale again. Why would I when I have had exactly what I’ve needed, right here, with me for years? And now he’ll be here with me for the rest of my life.

A sudden noise outside the window draws me out of my thoughts and I look over to see a small shadow on the windowsill. The figure gives a low growl directed towards me.

“Buttercup, get in here you silly cat,” I call to him. He hops down and saunters over to the bed, jumps up and settles down next to me. I stroke his fur softly and the three of us really feel like a family. He lets out another faint growl before relaxing into a purr. Just before I fall asleep, I hear Peeta clear his throat.

“Katniss?” he asks.

“Yes Peeta?”

“Now that we’re officially married, maybe we can start talking about that daughter I’ve always wanted...” he whispers hesitantly.

I sit in silence for a moment, and for the first time in my life, I’m actually contemplating it. I had never wanted children before, I’ve always said I would never have them. But now that there is no danger of the Games returning or another uprising in the foreseeable future, now that I’ve made Peeta my life, I am actually considering it. Peeta deserves a family of his own, and so do I... when the time is right.

“Sure, Peeta, we can start talking about it.”

He pulls me in close as the words escape my lips and kisses me with a passion that I’ve never felt from him before. I let myself melt into his arms. After everything he’s done for me, for all the things I owe him for, I know that this is how I can pay him back. He has me, and I know I make him happy, but this, a daughter... would be the icing on his cake.