sparsenicjade
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***

Delly comes back in the fall, and Katniss doesn't ask her where she's been. Delly, being Delly, volunteers, "I went to Four, to see the water. So much water, everywhere!"

Katniss remembers four behind the screen of emotion everything from their Victor's Tour lies under, made up of her fear and frustration and grief. But Delly seems to have liked this change in scenery. Katniss asks, "Why didn't you stay?"

Delly laughs. "Well, it wasn't home, was it?"

*

Delly comes around quite a bit. Greasy Sae seems reluctantly fond of her, and she's the only one who can get Haymitch to help out with cleaning his house. Katniss wonders if Delly likes feeling needed, or if she's just naturally full of too much kindness to keep inside. The thought reminds her of Prim, though, so she never lets it linger.

In the mornings, sometimes, Katniss will come down to find her kitchen filled with Peeta and Delly, Peeta showing her how to make rolls or muffins or cookies. Delly's a pretty good cook, but she knows next to nothing about baking. She is, unsurprisingly, a patient student. On the days where Katniss doesn't feel the need to escape from her own skin, fly out into the woods where she's nothing but another creature, on those days she likes to listen to the sounds of Peeta's voice explaining, watch his hands shaping the dough.

He always lets Katniss have the first taste, even though she protests, "I didn't do any of the work."

He usually just smiles, although there was once where he said, "You were here," like that was performing some kind of a job. She hadn't been sure whether to kiss him or knee him. Instead, she'd taken a bite.

Delly had jumped up and down when Katniss asked for more.

*

In the spring, it is Delly who teaches them something, all of them, since she waits until Katniss comes home from the forest, waits for Greasy Sae to come back for the evening. She says, "This is the one thing my mom taught me to bake. She said there used to be a name for them, but it was forgotten somewhere around her grandmother's time. We just call them triangle cookies."

The dough is easy enough, not so very different from the dough for sugar cookies, if less sweet and with a touch more lemon. Greasy Sae has three cans of preserves left from the endless dozens she made before winter: peach and apple and cranberry.

Delly uses a drinking glass to cut the dough into circles and teaches them how to put the right amount of their chosen type of jam in the middle, how to pinch everything together so that a triangle is formed. It's the first time Katniss has made something with her hands in quite a while. She thinks the last time might have been a snare.

When the first batch comes out of the oven, Delly doesn't even wait until they're cool, just snatches one up and tosses it to Katniss, who steals it out of the air. Delly says, "So, how did we do?"

Katniss blows on the cookie a bit, since it is burning the tips of her fingers. When she thinks she'll actually be able to taste it, she bites into one of the corners, careful to take a big enough bite to get the filling. The cookie is buttery and not too sweet and the jam is a perfect contrast. Katniss hands it over to Peeta. She tells Delly, "We did good. Really good."

Beside her, Peeta is nodding, crumbs at the corner of his mouth along with a smear of jelly. Katniss looks over, but Delly has gone back to tending the cookies, and Greasy Sae is handling some clean up. She leans in, and kisses him clean.

*

The cookies taste even better for breakfast.


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