Chapter 1: Under the Stars
We are sprawled on the cool grass near the Lake, staring up into the sky.
It is a warm summer night and the sun has long since faded into the horizon, and something stirs inside me. Not desire--though, there's plenty of that to go around--but more of hope. I roll onto my stomach.
He turns his head, eyes reflecting the millions of stars overhead.
"I'm ready to start trying."
The next thing I know, I'm trapped under his strong arms and being peppered all over with kisses.
Instead of being annoyed, I'm incredibly happy. We still have our share of bad days, where I hide sobbing in my closet, and where Peeta stares into silence while clenching his jaw, but those are gradually becoming less frequent.
Even the idea of saying 'yes' to concieving a child is terrifying, but I trust Peeta enough to accept it. It took us five years to have a toasting, it took us ten years to consider having children. The image of a chubby-cheeked, gray-eyed blonde baby forms in my mind's eye. I immediately love that baby, even though it doesn't exist yet. Of course, I need Peeta's help for that.
We walk back to the house, holding hands. Peeta has an almost stupidly wide grin on his face; I have my usual scowl that threatens to be overtaken by a smile.
Chapter 2: Never Thought It Would Happen Like This
Katniss muses on how she came to accept the role of love in her life.
Peeta and I don't make love that night. Our lips meet again and again, and I feel something wet on my cheek. Peeta is crying.
“I n-never thought this day would come,” he whispers. I smile, wrapping my arms around his broad shoulders. We stay like this for a few minutes, until his breathing slows, and he has fallen asleep.
Though disappointed that we didn't go further, I am also relieved. I still need time to accept that I've come to this point of wanting a child.
My sixteen-year-old self, the Katniss that I used to be, would scoff at the Katniss that I am now. Love? Ha. Marriage? Never. Children? Not gonna happen.
My feelings for Gale were just that—feelings. I did love him, but what happened with her blew all those possibilities out of the water. Besides, my fear of love (that's what Dr. Aurelius called it, anyway) was impenetrable by then. Until Peeta came along and sneaked his way into my heart.
Those kisses in the cave, the fear of losing him near the end of my first Games, that was all real. It scared me to no end. So I pushed Peeta away—an action I regret now—and told myself that it had been all for the Games.
Then President Snow told me I had to convince Panem (him, really—the country was already there) of Peeta's and my love.
Once again, love. I felt like an imposter. I felt guilty. Peeta truly loved (loves) me and I was trying so hard not to love him but appear that I loved him...and somewhere along the way, my defenses shattered and I loved him.
Maybe it was when his heart stopped. Maybe it was losing him at the end of the Quell. Maybe it was that day with the burned bread.
I don't know.
What I do know, is that I loved and love him so, so much and so, so fiercely. It is still hard for me to say, “I love you”, to Peeta, and to anyone, for that matter. He knows I love him, which makes it somewhat easier.
I want to be able to tell our future child that I love him or her without any difficulty.
Inhaling Peeta's orange-and-spice scent, I muse that love is not so difficult after all.
Chapter 3: Nightmares
I am running. In my nightmares I’m always running.
Some nights I am back down under the Capitol, running away from the white muttations that killed Finnick. Others I am running toward Peeta, to embrace him, and then he turns into Cato or Brutus or Snow, wildly, and tries to choke me.
Rarely, I find myself in the Capitol, trying to rescue her from the fiery silver daggers raining down from the sky. I never get there in time. Her reproachful eyes stare at me, rebuking me for killing her.
Those are the worst. I always wake up screaming.
But he’s there.
He’s always there to hold me, to kiss away my tears.
It was much harder before Peeta and I grew back together.
Before we started sharing a bed, I would suffer through these horrible nightmares alone. I am sure that Peeta also had to navigate his way through terrible dreams, when I was not with him during those months. I wonder if his nightmares were still about losing me, or if they had morphed into something else. Like me being a mutt.
Tonight's nightmare is a new one. I dreamt that I was in the Quell, but I was actually pregnant. I lost the baby.--and then right before my eyes the baby turned into her.
I wake up screaming. Warm, strong arms envelop me and I roll over so I can bury my face in Peeta's chest.
“What did you dream about?” he asks.
“A-about her,” I whisper. It has been ten years since she died and I still have not said her name aloud. I can think about her without completely melting down, but I still have not been able to talk about her.
Peeta understands who I mean immediately. He brushes my scraggly bangs out of my eyes and tips my face up, so that grey meets blue.
Peeta and I have discovered that talking about our nightmares—well, some, not all—is a good way to overcome them. “We were back in the Quell,” I whisper. “I was, I was pregnant for real that time and I lost the baby and--”
I sob into his chest.
Peeta's lips move to my neck slowly, sweetly. Sometimes we end up making love after our nightmares, but tonight is not one of those nights. The terror of the dream is too fresh in my mind and I am almost reconsidering my decision to start a family with Peeta.
But that's what they would want, Katniss.
They would want you to be so crippled by your past events that you can't even move on, I tell myself.
There are no more Games. No more starvation, no more Peacekeepers, no more violence.
And still, in the past ten years, I have resisted moving on in every way possible. Why? Why do I resist positive change? Perhaps because then life becomes too easy.
I am not used to easiness. Life was a long, hard slog up until Prim was reaped and it only got worse from there. Peeta's helped me get over this gradually, though.
Haymitch and Effie have helped, too. So has their daughter Daphne.
oh my god there's iMPLIED SECKS IN THSI CHAPTER!!!!
lol I lied in last chapter, this one isn't about how they grow back together. I decided I wanted to do a little more ~exploration~ before I get into the backstory. DOES THAT MAKE SENSE LAWL
I wake up to soft kisses and a whispered "I love you" (and an uncomfortably full bladder). "Peeta?" I murmur.
"What?" He stops kissing me.
"I need to—I need to go to the bathroom." He sighs and rolls off me. When I come back from the bathroom, he's put his shirt on.
"I'm going to head over to the bakery," he says ," but later we can have shower se-" I cover his mouth. "Shh!"
"What? No one can hear us!"
I turn red. "That will change soon," but before I can get the rest of the sentence out he's already tackled me back to the bed. The next five minutes consist of feverish, sloppy kisses, groping, and whimpering sighs. When we are finally connected, he whispers in my ear, "How soon?"
"I don't—oh! I don't know.. However long—it takes?"
After we've reached completion, we lay in each other's arms for a few minutes. But there is bread to be baked, meat to be hunted, geese to be fed. So Peeta and I shower together—quickly, without any funny business—and go our separate ways.
As I slip under the fence to the woods, I think about the possible results of our sex this morning. We didn't use protection. The last time we'd gone without any sort of protection (if a morning-after pill didn't count) was about five years ago, on our wedding night which was actually our first time. A warmth rises in my cheeks. No, no, no! I can't have this! I can't be blushing while hunting deer in the woods.
Now that I've decided I want a child with Peeta, I really want it. A baby.
A warm, round, drooly baby who poops and cries and has colic. I want it all.
There are no more Games. The government has settled into place, the newly minted democracy running smoothly for eight years now. Well, I wouldn't say it's new—really, it's a thousand-or-so-years-old idea.
The last time there was such a thing was about a hundred years ago, when Sae's grandmother was alive.
She's told me that her grandma used to whisper stories about an old time when there were no Games, no rebellions, no Snow, no nothing except North America.
There even used to be other countries, other land masses, and people would travel between them in big hovercrafts. I wonder if there are still other landmasses out there.
While I'm crouched behind a tree, waiting for potential meat to appear, I start thinking about what role Haymitch would play in Peeta's and my kid's life. What would he be? Grandfather? Uncle? He's been a father to Peeta and me, sort of, if you don't count the time he ate my lunch in the hospital or the time he snuck into Peeta's room and scared the crap out of him.
Effie came along a few years back, and now they're raising geese and a daughter together, and ocasionally come over for dinner.
I couldn't think of a better place for a baby to be born, now that peace has prevailed and the districts are far more equal. I couldn't think of a better family for my baby to be born into, despite Peeta's and my ongoing nightmares.
Effie will teach her manners, Haymitch will give (albeit bad) advice, Daphne will play in the Meadow with her, Peeta will bake her bread, Sae will slip her candy under the table just like she used to with me when I was little, Posy will coo over her, Hazelle will babysit, Vick will try and fail to teach her football, and I will teach her to hunt. I rub my stomach where the baby would be if I were pregnant. Although I may already be pregnant, who knows?
Next Chapter coming soon lol ugh I hAD TO DO THE SPACING MANUALLY UGH I WISH THE DOUBLESPACING WOULD STAY gdi
Review or Meelo will gnaw on your head
Chapter 5: Not That Long
Katniss pukes a lot. Peeta freaks out. Haymitch raises geese.
Okay guys, here you go. Sorry it took so long! I literally sat in front of my laptop and stared at the screen and then went "lol fuq dat I'm gonna go Tumblr" plus I mean OTP FEELS ALL OVER THE PLACE SIGH
ahem anyway go ahead and read!
Three weeks after the night under the stars, my back starts hurting a lot. I put it down to carrying a heavy deer home two days ago. It made some delicious venision; Peeta was practically beside himself with glee when he saw what I'd hauled home because it's one of his favorite dishes.
Today I am sprawled over the couch in the "den" (that's what Effie calls it) and watching the latest news on the rebuilding of Two. I smile wryly to myself since I did quite a lot in the efforts that destroyed that district. I feel the couch sink down next to me and it's Peeta.
"Your back any better?"
"No, not really," I sigh.
"Do you want me to massage it?"
A thrill goes through me at Peeta's tone. I decline, though, because I know that a massage usually leads to a passionate kissing session which then escalates to actual sex, which would mean having to make the effort to get the condoms out of the drawer—and oh, wait. That's right. We don't need those right now.
Just as I am thinking this, and Peeta is disregarding my reply and rubbing slow circles down my spine, something lurches in my throat.
It bubbles up in me and I know that I'm going to throw up. Shoving Peeta's hands off me—I'll apologize for that after I finish puking—I run to the bathroom across the hall.
While I empty my stomach into the porcelain bowl, Peeta holds my hair back even though it's in its usual braid.
After I'm finished, Peeta flushes the toilet. I lay my head against the cool marble of the tub next to the toilet and moan.
"Katniss, do you think you're-"
"Shh," I mumble. "Don't say it."
He rolls his eyes. "Seriously, I'm going to go get Sae and she's going to check up on you."
I only nod.
My stomach lurches again but I only dry heave.
If this is what being pregnant is going to be like, I don't want it. A fuzzy memory slides to the front of my brain. It's from when my mother was pregant with Primrose.
I remember walking into the bathroom and finding Mom hunched over the toilet, and patting her back. I thought she had the flu—it made sense at the time; there had been a flu going around at the time. My father came in the bathroom. The next few months that went by, I remember trying to figure out why my mother's stomach kept growing. Finally, around the fifth month or so, I gave up and asked Daddy.
"Daddy, why is Mommy getting fat?"
The two of them looked at each other and laughed uproariously.
"Your mother isn't fat, Katniss—she has a baby growing inside of her."
Mother nodded, radiant with happiness. "That's right. You're going to have a little brother or sister in a few months."
Shaking the memory out of my head, I get up from my fetal position and stagger up the stairs to our bedroom. I wallow in the pillows for about half an hour until I hear the doorbell ringing. God, no.
Then I hear Peeta's voice and Sae's voice and Effie's voice, including a younger, little-kid one. Daphne must have tagged along.
"Oh, my goodness, Katniss darling, are you all right?" Effie's shrill voice rings out. She's lost some of her Capitol accent, but she'll always have that ridiculous trill to her voice. Never mind that I find it endearing.
"I remember being terribly sick with Daph," she continues.
"Katnish, are you okay?" Daphne pats my forehead with her small, fat hand.
Sae ignores Effie's histronics and hobbles over, feeling my forehead.
"Nope, no fever. I'd wait before making the call though—see if this happens again, then I'd say that you're definitely pregnant-"
Effie cuts in. "PREGNANT?"
I moan. I just want everyone to go away so that I can feel sorry for myself. Selfishly, I hope it's the flu and that I don't have a baby growing inside of me.
The next few mornings consist of the same ritual—getting up, going to the bathroom, then eating breakfast, then throwing up said breakfast, then eating again and not throwing up.
Finally, Peeta practically drags me to the doctor's house. We have a new doctor in town—it's never been like this before.
Dr. Sangaran looks at me, asks me what my symptoms have been, and then promptly gives me a stick.
I look dumbly at it. What the hell am I supposed to do with a stick?
"You have to pee on it," Peeta whispers. I turn red. "I knew that," I snap at him. The smirk on his face tells me that he knows I'm lying. I scowl. Not that I was going to make love with him tonight, but he's definitely not getting any now!
Perching on the toilet, I pee a little on the stick and then do the rest in the toilet. After washing my hands, I figure that the result should show up by now, and sure enough, there it is: the stick has turned green.
I take the test to Dr. Sangaran and she cheers. "We have a new addition to District Twelve," she exclaims. "I'm assuming you want me to keep this quiet, right?" Peeta and I look at her, jaws agape. We've never had someone assume confidentiality with us.
"Uh, yeah. That would be good for a few months," Peeta mumbles.
That night we dine with Effie and Haymitch and Daphne.
Haymitch makes to pour me some wine, but I immediately shake my head. "N-no, I can't."
Scrutinizing me up and down, he raises his eyebrow but says nothing.
Daphne stares between the two of us, her eyebrows furrowing. She inherited her father's quick deduction skills, and Effie's flair for the dramatic. Her blonde corkscrew ringlets tumble down her shoulders and are held back by a big pink bow. Effie-in-training. Hahaha, I think to myself.
I start wondering what our kid would be like. Gentle like Peeta, but independent like me?
It's not until I've asked for second helpings of Effie's pound cake that Haymitch speaks up.
"So tell me, sweetheart, are you knocked up for real this time?"
lol I thought that was a good ending spot because otherwise I would've continued for AAAAGEEEES. Okay, now click the pretty review button!
EDIT: I MEAN THAT IS A GOOD ENDING SPOT FOR THIS CHAPTER SERIOULSY DID YOU THINK I WAS GONNA END THE ENTIRE STORY THERE LOL
Chapter 6: Learning to Love Again I
Haymitch stops drinking and starts raising geese. Effie comes and never really leaves. This is the part of the story where Haymitch describes the ten-year-gap between the rebellion and when Katniss decides she wants a baby with Peeta.
Guise help idk what to do anymore
fanfiction is hard to Write man
AHEM ANYWAY SO THIS CHAPTER IS FROM HAYMITCH'S POV AND KIND OF SPANS OVER THE PAST ~TEN YEARS~ :3 so yeah
don't forget to click the pretty blue button down there because #yolo
Just After The Rebellion
The first thing I did when I got on the hovercraft to District 12 was to find myself a drink. God, I'd missed it. When I find a bottle of alcohol, I take a few sips and then realize that I don't need the whole thing.
I never thought that would happen. I thought I'd be more inclined to be drunk as a skunk all the time, especially after watching my boy be turned into a shadow of himself, watching my girl fall apart because of her love for that damn boy, and being separated from Effie.
Yeah, I admit it. That was another one of my 'nevers'. Effie got-and still gets- on every last one of my nerves. I get on her nerves too. It's just how we work.
She's in recovery right now, seeing as how she'd sustained "poor nutrition and mental trauma" during the past year of the rebellion.
I look across the hovercraft to my girl—she's as good as my own, the daughter I never had—and my heart sinks again.
She's no longer the Katniss I knew. Love does funny things to people. Maybe funny's not the right word for this situation. I take a small swig of my drink, but no more than that.
If I want to help Katniss get better I can't be like this. I refuse to become that old drunken mentor ever again.
The First Year
Greasy Sae is a huge help to me that year. She makes sure Katniss eats—of course Katniss doesn't eat a lot, but if Sae weren't there, I doubt she'd eat anything.
In the meantime, while Katniss sits in her living room and stares into space, I order some geese from the Capitol.
The idea came to me in a wild dream one night after I'd talked to Effie on the phone.
Well, I'd talked Effie out of coming to the district, because privately I wasn't sure if I was ready for her yet, but I'd told her that I didn't know if Katniss could handle the memories that Effie brought up.
She conceded, but told me that she "simply couldn't go much longer without seeing you" and "God knows what disrepair you've fallen into without my help".
Maybe I'll have a kid or two with her, but I don't even know how old Effie is. Probably younger than me, but not by much. Maybe thirty or so. I'm not even fifty years old yet, but I've lived through enough horrors to be a thousand years old.
That would be nice. To be a daddy someday. I'd always wanted kids, before I was reaped, anyway.
The next week, my geese come on a train from the Capitol in a flurry of honking and feathers, and for the first time in about thirty years I'm truly happy.
I'm able to take care of something that's my own.
Katniss and Peeta aren't my own, Effie's not my own—not yet anyway, of course—and everything that used to be my own was stripped away when I won the Games.
The next six months pass by pretty predictably—I feed my geese, I only drink two days a week, I call Effie, Effie calls me, one of the geese lays eggs and I have honking babies everywhere in my yard—until the boy comes back.
He visits me first.
"Hey there, Haymitch."
I jump about a foot in the air. "Dammit, boy! You coulda called first!"
Matilda, my favorite goose, squawks in agreement.
Peeta stares in consternation at the feathery white creature nipping at his pant leg.
"Geese. Twelve of 'em. Started out with six, but one of the males got busy with Matilda here, so..."
His brow wrinkles, and I shut up. "Your girl, she's not doin' too well. She misses you."
Shit, what if I just triggered a flashback? I step back slowly, reaching behind me for the phone. I'd fallen asleep last night while Effie prattled on about doilies (I don't even know what the hell doilies are) and had left it on the table.
"Should I visit her or not?"
"Boy, that's not my call to make. If you still love her, then go after her. Go get her. She's waiting for you, but I don't know how much longer she's got," I say, stretching the situation a bit, because dammit, I hate seeing the kids like this.
He needs no further encouragement. I promptly pick up the phone and call Effie to tel her the latest development in our star-crossed lovers' saga.
This news meets her ears with a high-pitched squeal. "Does this mean I can visit you now?"
"Maybe in a few weeks. I miss you too, sweetheart," I say. "You still wearing that pink wig?"
"No," she says softly. This is the side of Effie that I'm falling in love with. The kind, strong side that got her through the past two years. "Wigs aren't really my thing anymore."
Effie Comes to Visit and Never Really Leaves
She comes on the ten o'clock train, on a sunny day in June. The birds are singing and the air is fresh as I wait at the train station.
Next thing I know, I'm being squeezed in half by someone who's blonde and has very, very weird fingernails. Must be Effie, then. "Haymitch, you're looking far better than expected," she coos.
I smirk. "Clean up pretty well, don't I?"
She swats my shoulder with her gold-tipped fingernails, as I pick up her bright pink suitcase.
Then I get a good look at her.
Well, dontcha know...once you get all that Capitol glamour off, she's beautiful. And so, so young looking. Suddenly, I'm worried I'm not good enough for her. Too old, too damaged, too drunken.
We walk to my house in silence as she takes in the surroundings.
Peeta comes to my door just as we do.
He's dirty and smells like earth and sweat and flowers.
"I just saw her," a grin breaks out, "she didn't say anything, just ran inside, but she looked at me."
Effie's eyes brim over with tears, but I roll my eyes.
This poor boy's got a while to wait before Katniss can even carry on a normal conversation without zoning out or hiding in a closet.
Not that I blame her, though, not after what she's been through. Not after what we've all seen and done.
Okay, so I'm thinking the next few chapters are going to be Haymitch's POV and sort of a story-within-a-story. You like? Hope I didn't make anyone too OOC! :3
Chapter 7: Learning to Love Again II
Effie and Haymitch start a family. Peeta and Katniss grow slowly back together.
Years Two through Five
The boy and girl grow back together, but slowly.
After four months of Peeta being back, Katniss starts hunting again. I see her slinking out of the house early in the morning—Effie's a goddamn early riser—and something stirs in my soul that morning. Hope. That she's gotten herself on the way to being better.
Effie and I are sleeping in the same bed. It's nice. However we haven't actually done the deed yet—she tells me that she wants to get married before she does that.
That same morning that Katniss is out hunting for the first time, Effie sits me down at the table.
"Haymitch, dear, I'm not getting any younger, you know."
"You look the same as you did ten years ago, sweetheart."
Two pink spots appear high on her cheekbones and she purses her lips.
"You know what I mean! When are we getting married?"
Oho, so she does want it after all. I grin boyishly at her. "We could do it tomorrow. Invite the boy, maybe the girl."
"Will you ever call them by their names?"
"No, not until she comes to see me."
Effie harrumphs at that, but leaves the subject be. She tells me she's going into town to rent a white dress, and I nearly spill my coffee, because Effie Trinket does not rent anything, ever.
"I love you," she whispers, when I go into the living room where she is gathering her coat and purse.
I just stand there.
She loves me? Drunk (well, formerly), old, scarred, me?
"I love you, Effie," I say, making my way over to her. She buries her head in my chest. "I just-I never thought anyone could love me again, not after everything I've done."
"That's in the past. We have the future together," she says, disentangling herself from me and stepping out the door.
I think back to our times in the Capitol. The first time she was an escort was about five years after I won my Games. Snow had killed Sanne—my girl— three years after my victory when I refused to become a prostitute, I caved, and became a golden boy until I was twenty-five. Effie saw my descent into a drunken washup, but she never said a word. Never, ever said a word about it. I appreciated that.
A knock on the door startles me.
I go open it.
Katniss walks in, then her jaw drops because my house is clean, smells like lavender, and there are doily things on the chairs.
"Hey there, sweetheart," I say.
"What are you doing?" Ha. Not even a 'hello', a 'how are you,' or a 'sorry I've been so absent'.
"Waiting for Effie to come back."
"Yup. In town renting a white dress," I smirk, as I sip my coffee.
The poor girl's eyes widen to the size of saucers. "I-well, congratulations?"
"Thanks. Peeta really misses you, y'know."
Katniss's face closes. She frowns and turns around, hauling her game back.
Typical. Always running away from emotional situations—but I don't blame her. I did the same thing. Instead of running, I'd just get drunk.
After we get married at the Justice Center with Peeta, Katniss, Sae, and Buttercup present, Effie asks me if we can toast some bread.
She looks beautiful in the simple white dress, her blonde hair elegantly curled by Sae. I rush next door and holler at Peeta to get me some bread.
"Stop calling me 'boy'!" Peeta grouses as he hands me a fresh loaf of bread. "Also, uh, Katniss, um, she uh, asked if she could sleep in my bed tonight." His voice cracks on the 'bed' part.
"Well, good for you. I don't know if either one of is is going to be getting any sleep tonight," and he just throws another loaf of bread at me; not before I notice he is blushing scarlet.
Cackling on my way out the door, I see Katniss watching me with a small smile on her face.
I get a fire going in our chimney, and stick the bread over the fire. Effie has her own loaf, a result of Peeta's annoyance at my innuendo.
And then we kiss. It's a sweet kiss, full of love and endurance and promise.
I carry her upstairs and lay her down on the bed. Her curls splay out behind her head and she smiles at me.
Soon the smile turns into a wondering look, then discomfort, and finally, pleasure.
As we join each other in the most intimate way possible, she whispers, "I hope we can have children," and I grin.
Peeta tells me that he kissed Katniss last night.
I cringe. "Say no more," I growl.
The tips of his ears turn red. "Nothing like that even happened last night, you asshole!"
Ooh, he's swearing—so that means something DID happen last night.
"We, uh, made out, I guess," he mumbles.
I nod, prodding the boy on.
"Then I asked her if she loved me, real or not real, and she said 'r-real," he continues.
A smirk spreads across my face. I hear a squeal from the kitchen. Ha. Effie's always trying to listen in on our conversations. I don't really mind, though. Peeta is just as much her son as he is mine.
"Popped the question yet?"
"NO! That's why I came to you actually. She wasn't in bed when I got up."
"She's confused, Peeta. She really does love you. I think she needs to sort out how this is going to change her life. Remember, we're talking about the girl who swore never to have children or even love anyone," I say.
Peeta nods slowly. Then he drops his voice so that Effie can't hear, and whispers to me about his, ahem, morning issue.
Apparently Katniss noticed a few weeks ago and it freaked the both of them out. They spent the week sleeping apart, him on the floor and her on the bed. It was only this past night they shared a bed again.
While he's talking, I fight to keep the smile off my face. This is such a normal problem, nothing like forced marriage or pretend pregnancies or murdering other children.
"Well, give it some time. She'll get used to it. Effie still gets shocked when she feels me in the morning," I admit. Peeta turns slightly green and I smirk.
"Go bake or whatever you have to do." He rolls his eyes and leaves.
I go out back and feed my geese.
Effie comes out of the bathroom with tears staining her cheeks.
"We'll try again," I whisper as I hold her to my chest. "We will try again, I promise."
And we do.
The next month, she misses her cycle. I keep quiet about it, of course.
And the next month, too. We go to the doctor, and confirm that there indeed is a little Abernathy cooking in her belly.
Peeta comes over that day, because Effie simply can't keep the news to herself and Peeta is a pretty good secret-keeper. "Peeta," she bursts out, when he sits down at our kitchen table.
"Wait, you can still—congratulations! Th-that's amazing," he exclaims. I see a lingering sadness in his eyes. Katniss will probably never give him children. But he stays with her, anyway, which I really admire.
Effie grows bigger, and when she feels the baby kick for the first time, she comes to me, weeping softly.
"This is real," she whispers, "this is real, right?"
I feel her protuding stomach, and a kick, and tell her that it's entirely real.
That we're going to be parents.
Katniss finds out about our baby when Effie waddles through town, her seven-months-along belly leading the way.
She's with Peeta, and I see the sadness in Peeta's eyes, though.
I clamp my hand on his shoulder discreetly, whispering, "She'll come around, boy."
Two months later, Daphne Mae Abernathy comes screaming into the world. I stare at our blonde baby girl with wonder. I can't believe that we made a baby. That I'm a father, after all I've been through.
Effie kisses Daphne on her soft pinkish forehead.
Peeta and Katniss come to visit, and they tell us that they're going to get married soon, but haven't decided when.
I smile broadly at them.
"Do you want to hold her?" I ask Katniss.
Our gray eyes meet, and I can see fear in them.
But she takes Daphne, supporting her head like I show her to, and a small grin makes its way onto her face.
Peeta's face shows unbridled longing, and Effie and I exchange glances.
It'll happen someday. For now, they have each other.
Effie and I have each other and Daphne.
Hope y'all liked that! :3
Chapter 8: Daphne Wants A Sister
Chapter 8: Daphne Wants A Sister
"I want a sister," Daphne declares to us the next morning at breakfast. It is the night after we went to dinner at the Mellark's house.
"How do I get one?"
Effie delicately clears her throat, a remnant of her old Capitol persona. "Well, Daph, ahem, it's something Daddy and I have to do,"
I hide my guffaw in my oatmeal. Truth is, I don't know if we're able to have more. We've been trying for a while, to be honest.
"Well, Katniss is preg-uh-nant," Daphne presses on valiantly, "how did that happen? And a brother is okay, too. I don't have to have a sister."
"Sweetie, uh…" Effie smiles at me encouragingly. I take the plunge.
"You know how Mummy and I sleep in the same bed?"
Daphne nods enthusiastically, curls bobbing up and down. I grin despite myself—I don't know how Effie and I managed to produce something so goddamned adorable.
"And then Mommy and Daddy cuddle very closely and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't," I continue.
Effie makes a noise of relief, glad to have been spared once more from the "how did babies get here" topic.
"Oh." Daphne widens her eyes. "So Peetuh and Katniss cuddled really close and now they're gonna have a baby."
"Yup, you got it, kiddo."
"Can I go next door, Mummy?" Daphne asks.
"As soon as you're done eating and put on proper clothes, Dee," Effie smiles.
I shift around under the table. Peeta is unaware of how good he looks to me right now. We made pancakes for breakfast this morning and now he's twirling his fork in the syrup, creating patterns.
Then he licks some syrup off his forkful of pancake.
Nodding, I rub my thighs together under the table and sigh.
Peeta leans across the table.
My breath hitches.
His lips ever closer, he spears a slice of my pancakes and feeds it to me.
I swallow and make sure to lick my lips as provocatively as I can.
Peeta makes a weird sort of growling noise.
That does it. I drop my fork with a clatter and before I know it Peeta has pushed me against a wall and we are kissing sloppily and he tastes sweet, like the maple syrup. "Upstairs," he pants out between kisses.
The doorbell rings. "Damn," I growl.
"DAPHNE IS HERE," a little-girl voice trills.
I smooth my hair down and Peeta adjusts his pants.
"Hihihi," Daphne bounces into the kitchen. She takes in my hair and Peeta's rumpled shirt.
"Were you just cuddlin'?" she asks.
Peeta chokes. I bite my lip. Buttercup meows rustily.
"Nuh-n-no, we were just eating breakfast," I rush.
Daphne follows us to the living room where we keep some of her toys. She likes to come here sometimes, and I think it's nice for Haymitch and Effie to have alone time.
My face screws up when I realize what their alone time might mean. Eugh.
"How do I get a sister?" Daphne asks after about ten minutes of silent play with Peeta.
He turns bright red. "I-uh, that's probably a question for your parents, Daphne."
She rolls her eyes. "They said they cuddle and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesnt and I want it to work NOW so I can have a baby brother or sister," she huffs, folding her chubby arms across her chest.
Wow. She didn't even take a breath. I try to ignore the stirring in my chest as I imagine what our little girl might look like.
Black curls? Blue eyes?
Peeta clears his throat. "Uh. Yeah, it doesn't work sometimes, but I'm sure your parents can handle it just fine."
"If it doesn't work this time, can I pretend your baby is my sister?" Daphne asks very seriously and I am struck with an image of Prim around the same age.
Suddenly I want to cry, but not just because of Prim. Obviously I can't do that in front of her, so I just nod. "Um, yeah, of course you can."
"We don't know if we're having a baby boy or girl," Peeta says gently."
Thought that was a good stopping point for this chapter! Also I had writers block there l0l ;n;
Chapter 9: Fear
That night, Daphne stays over because Effie and Haymitch 'need a break'. I don't really want to think about what they're doing. Ugh. We make Daphne her own little bed, using loads of blankets and pillows and stuffed animals. She's situated in the bedroom next to ours. Naturally, Daphne asks Peeta to tell her a “nighty-night story”. Peeta nearly explodes with fatherly joy; he crouches down next to her bed and immediately crafts a story about a princess and a dragon.
“What's a dragon?” Daphne interrupts about halfway through.
“It's a creature that breathes fire,” I say, rubbing my belly slightly. I'm only two-and-a-half months pregnant, and I'm already looking forward to holding the baby in my arms. Peeta finishes telling the story, and tucks her in.
We tiptoe back to our room and finish preparing for bed, but we don't get far. Soon I'm pressed up against the wall trying not to moan while Peeta presses his face into my neck. “Peeta, we can't!” I whisper. “Not with her next door--”
Peeta groans. That's the second time in a day we've been, for lack of a better word, cockblocked. I learned the word from Haymitch one day early on in Peeta's and my relationship. He kept walking in on us when we were kissing, once when we were in the later stages of undress; and since then, he's learned to knock. Effie, being better attuned to coupely sorts of things, never came in early in the morning or late at night.
Peeta sighs against my neck. Our breathing slows. “I'm too tired for this anyway,” he grudgingly admits. “Practicing to be a dad is a lot more tiring than I thought.”
Terror suddenly grips my stomach. Peeta's going to be a father. I'm going to be a mother. I wrench myself out of Peeta's arms and hide in the bathroom.
“Katniss?” I don't answer. “I-I'm sorry, I didn't mean to...”
I cover my face. This is the first time that it's set in, the reality that we're going to be parents, that we've brought a child into the world, and I don't think I'm ready at all.
I'm never going to be ready. Prim would have been ready right from the start, if she'd lived and been able to be with Rory.
But she wouldn't want me to cower, crouched in the dark bathroom and hiding from my own husband.
I stand up, open the door, and slink into bed, where Peeta's already laid down. He doesn't turn over to embrace me, and I immediately feel guilty—sort of. I know he's frustrated, and also annoyed that I didn't tell him why I just had an episode.
“Peeta?” I whisper.
He ignores me, but I can tell by the rise and fall of his shoulders that he's still awake. “I'm sorry. I just got—I don't know. I got scared.”
“There's going to be a lot of that, Katniss,” Peeta says, still not turning over.
I press myself against his back, nestling my face in the joint between his neck and shoulders.
“I tell you when and why I have episodes,” he says. “You should too, I've been doing it for the past ten years, and you still never tell me why unless it's about her. Does that mean this time it wasn't about her?”
“Yes. And no. Prim actually bought me out of the episode,” I admit. “I was--” I search for the right word, never having been good at this heart-to-heart thing, “terrified about what we're doing. And then I thought that Prim wouldn't have been scared, and that she wouldn't want me to spend all my time being afraid of the future.”
Peeta turns over, drawing me into his embrace. “I think I get it now.”
We fall asleep in each other's arms.
The morning comes too quickly, and loudly. Daphne is bouncing on our bed. “Daphne,” Peeta moans. “It's not even seven o' clock yet.”
“I'm hungry,” she announces. “When's breakfast?”
I roll out of bed, realize I really need to pee, and rush to the bathroom.
I come downstairs and start making some eggs. Eggs are about the only thing I've been able to master over the past ten years.
Daphne appears, and attatches herself to my leg. “You're gonna make a good mommy, Miss Katniss,” she murmurs.
Peeta is hovering in the door, not wanting to spoil our moment. I know tears are probably welling up in his big blue eyes, though.
We sit down to our eggs and toast. Daphne chatters away about a bunny she saw in the forest yesterday with me and how if she adopted it she would name it Mr Nibbles. Peeta smiles indulgently at me. I smile back.
Someone knocks on the door, presumably Effie.
“I'll get it,” I say, and walk through the kitchen and living room to the door. As predicted, it's Effie.
“Thank you so much for this,” she whispers, “we really needed some time to ourselves.” A perfunctory blush accompanies her statement. I wince in return. Effie sits with us while Daphne finishes eating, and makes small talk.
Peeta has always been far better at this small talk business than I have been, so I zone out, hands folded across my stomach, and think about maybe going down to the lake for a swim. Maybe I could take a picnic basket, eat lunch down there.
Daphne and Effie go back next door, and Peeta and I finish our meal in silence.
Then I feel it.
Something warm and wet between my legs.
I hope I didn't wet my pants. I've been having to go to the bathroom all the time, but usually I make it before I have an accident.
I discreetly get up, run to the bathroom, and check my panties. To my horror, there is a bright red spot of blood on my underwear. I must get Peeta.
“Peeta,” I yell, panicking.
He runs in the bathroom, looks at me on the toilet. Furrowing his eyebrows, he asks, “You okay?”
“N-no.” I get up, pulling his arm so he's next to me. I show him the blood and his face pales. He's never been very good with blood—he never was, even before the Games. I remember early on in school, whenever anyone got a cut, he would cry. I used to think he was a bit of a wimp, honestly.
“We need to go see Dr Sangaran,” Peeta says forcefully. I pull up my pants.
Peeta insists on carrying me because he's afraid walking will make the bleeding worse. Privately, I agree—I don't want to lose the little life inside of me.
Okay, comment and tell me what you think!