In the fluorescent light, the circles under his eyes
look like bruises. “There’s still time. You should
sleep.” Unresisting, he lies back down, but just stares
at the needle on one of the dials as it twitches from
side to side. Slowly, as I would with a wounded
animal, my hand stretches out and brushes a wave of
hair from his forehead. He freezes at my touch, but
doesn’t recoil. So I continue to gently smooth back his
hair. It’s the first time I have voluntarily touched him
since the last arena.
“You’re still trying to protect me. Real or not real,” he
whispers.
“Real,” I answer. It seems to require more
explanation. “Because that’s what you and I do.
Protect each other.” After a minute or so, he drifts off
to sleep.

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (via vivirparaamar)

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