Catching Fire - Chapter 20 "The Enemy"
“Peeta!” I scream. I shake him harder, even resort to slapping his face, but it’s no use. His heart has failed. I am slapping emptiness. “Peeta!” Finnick props Mags against a tree and pushes me out of the way. “Let me.” His fingers touch points at Peeta’s neck, run over the bones in his ribs and spine. Then he pinches Peeta’s nostrils shut.
“No!” I yell, hurling myself at Finnick, for surely he intends to make certain that Peeta’s dead, to keep any hope of life from returning to him. Finnick’s hand comes up and hits me so hard, so squarely in the chest that I go flying back into a nearby tree trunk. I’m stunned for a moment, by the pain, by trying to regain my wind, as I see Finnick close off Peeta’s nose again. From where I sit, I pull an arrow, whip the notch into place, and am about to let it fly when I’m stopped by the sight of Finnick kissing Peeta. And it’s so bizarre, even for Finnick, that I stay my hand. No, he’s not kissing him. He’s got Peeta’s nose blocked off but his mouth tilted open, and he’s blowing air into his lungs. I can see this, I can actually see Peeta’s chest rising and falling. Then Finnick unzips the top of Peeta’s jumpsuit and begins to pump the spot over his heart with the heels of his hands. Now that I’ve gotten through my shock, I understand what he’s trying to do.
Once in a blue moon, I’ve seen my mother try something similar, but not often. If your heart fails in District 12, it’s unlikely your family could get you to my mother in time, anyway. So her usual patients are burned or wounded or ill. Or starving, of course.
But Finnick’s world is different. Whatever he’s doing, he’s done it before. There’s a very set rhythm and method. And I find the arrow tip sinking to the ground as I lean in to watch, desperately, for some sign of success. Agonizing minutes drag past as my hopes diminish. Around the time that I’m deciding it’s too late, that Peeta’s dead, moved on, unreachable forever, he gives a small cough and Finnick sits back.
I leave my weapons in the dirt as I fling myself at him. “Peeta?” I say softly. I brush the damp blond strands of hair back from his forehead, find the pulse drumming against my fingers at his neck. His lashes flutter open and his eyes meet mine. “Careful,” he says weakly. “There’s a force field up ahead.” I laugh, but there are tears running down my cheeks. “Must be a lot stronger than the one on the Training Center roof,” he says. “I’m all right, though. Just a little shaken.”
“You were dead! Your heart stopped!” I burst out, before really considering if this is a good idea. I clap my hand over my mouth because I’m starting to make those awful choking sounds that happen when I sob. “Well, it seems to be working now,” he says. “It’s all right, Katniss.” I nod my head but the sounds aren’t stopping.