Really, the combination of the scabs and the ointment looks hideous. I can't help enjoying his distress.
"Poor Finnick. Is this the first time in your life you haven't looked pretty?" I say.
"It must be. The sensation's completely new. How have you managed it all these years?" he asks.
"Just avoid mirrors. You'll forget about it," I say.
"Not if I keep looking at you," he says.
I don't want you forgetting how different our circumstaces are. If you die, and I live, there's no life for me at all back in District Twelve. You're my whole life." Peeta says. "I would never be happy again. It's different for you. I'm not saying it wouldn't be hard. But there are other people who'd make your life worth living."
"No one really needs me," he says, and there's no selfpity in his voice. It's true his family doesn't need him. They will mourn him, as will a handfull of friends. But they will get on.... I realise only one person will be damaged beyond repair if Peeta dies. Me.
"I do," I say. "I need you.
I'm going to wake Peeta," I say.
"No, wait," says Finnick. "Let's do it together. Put our faces right in front of his."
Well, there's so little opportunity for fun left in my life, I agree. We position ourselves on either side of Peeta, lean over until our faces are inches frim his nose, and give him a shake. "Peeta. Peeta, wake up," I say in a soft, singsong voice.
His eyelids flutter open and then he jumps like we've stabbed him. "Aa!"
Finnick and I fall back in the sand, laughing our heads off. Every time we try to stop, we look at Peeta's attempt to maintain a disdainful expression and it sets us off again.
That what I need to survive is not Gale's fire, kindled with rage and hatred. I have plenty of fire myself. What I need is the dandelion in the spring. The bright yellow that means rebirth instead of destruction. The promise that life can go on, no matter how bad our losses. That it can be good again. And only Peeta can give me that.