Chapter Five: Pride
Just look at them, so tiny and, well, PINK. I mean, were miniature brats even supposed to be pink? Don't they have skin disease or something? I did not realize I had spoken out loud until Katniss turned to me with a very sour expression on her face as she cradled one of those little critters. Judging from the color of the blanket, it must be the boy one. I'm sure he is going to be so much trouble with the girls.
Already as I sauntered closer, I could see tufts of that dark auburn hair that Katniss has curling on his small head. His little fists were closed around Katniss fingers and his eyes opened sleepily up at me, and I sucked a breath in as I saw blue, so brilliantly blue, just like his father's, and he made a sort of half smile, half scowl that so much reminded me more of its father and probably realized I was not worth his efforts of staying awake and fell back asleep.
His mouth stretched into a long yawn and finally he settled back again against its mother. I stupidly felt my own lips begin to curve upward. Peeta caught sight of this from his perch beside Katniss and smiled hugely up at me. I shrugged at him. Who could help it? Their damn brats were cute. Whaddya know?
"You know Haymitch, the babies don't really have skin disease, you could take one up. Everyone who comes here to bother my father daughter time" damn idiot paused with a coo and touched his nose lightly to the pink bundle in the pink blanket in his arms, their hair touching and you couldn't seriously tell them apart because their hair was so ridiculously blonde, and looked up to me again "wanted to take a peek and pick up one of my angels."
"Well, are they supposed to be this tiny?" I said making motions with my hands. Katniss rolled her eyes. "Well, Haymitch if they were any bigger than this I would probably kill Peeta slowly with a tooth pick the next time he tries to touch me just so he would know how painful it is." She shot an amused glare at her husband who blanched at the memory of her labor.
I smiled those big creepy grins I saved for these moments. Peeta's hands were bruising, from the tight grip Katniss held onto it when her contractions were in full force and she had to push two babies out. But he wasn't minding his hand so much, he was far too amused at his wife.
"Well, every moment of pain is worth it." And because Katniss was as soft as jello and damn kid was far too handsome and poetic for any good, she melted right then and there and leaned against her husband. And for a moment I saw them as a family for the first time. Their heads, one dark and one light happily nestled against each other, the two small and ridiculously pink bundles cuddled up in their arms.
And I felt wetness slide down my cheeks. I blinked because suddenly my vision was getting blurry. Peeta looked at me and smiled like he knew I was going to cry and all that crap. "Are you crying Haymitch?" I narrowed my eyes at him and sniffed. "I got something in my eye Mr. Senator, its quite dusty in your room."
Peeta laughed, more like guffawed, and the brats, sensing their father's amusement, opened up their eyes, Peeta was much nearer to me now and I smiled at the pretty thing in his arms. As I noticed, it was going to have its father's blonde head, but her eyes were stormy like its mother. Well, three cheers to Peeta, he not only managed to produce one perfect critter, he got two, in one try. Lucky bastard.
But then something else was burning in my throat, and I promised myself I was going to get a bottle of something alcoholic after this, but I needed to say it. "I'm proud of you kid." Peeta looked up to me in a kind of shock but he nodded his head. It was becoming to much emotional for my liking that I began to fidget. Katniss snorted.
"Sure, you get to be proud of him cause he created two perfect babies and blah, blah. BAH! He might have put these in me but he certainly did not push them out!" Peeta laughed at his wife. "I'm sure Haymitch will also be very proud of you Katniss, if he had not fled the room the moment you threatened to castrate me." Then the two just freaking laughed at me.
I rolled my eyes at the both of them. "Well, if you two are done laughing at me, I'd best be going. Senator you have an early day tomorrow, try getting some sleep before changing diapers, you are exhausted." Peeta frowned at me calling him Senator and I told me so righteously and I told him to go suck it up because he is a Senator of Panem and the Speaker of the freaking house.
As I turned my back to leave Peeta halted me. "Wait, you are seriously not thinking of leaving without carrying the babies are you Haymitch?" I blanched and looked at the small, fragile, breakable bundles. I wonder what the both of them will do if I crushed one of their babies. Peeta scoffed at me. "You are not going to harm them Haymitch. He stood up and brought the pink bundled one to me. He extended his arms and it began to fuss.
"Come on Haymitch, just take her." I grumbled as I extended my arms and Peeta placed the small bundle into my arm. It began to fuss around more, and soon it was sniffling. I was panicking. "Peeta its scrunching up its face! I don't think it likes me!" Peeta had a dark look in his eyes. "Because you are supposed to cuddle her Haymitch." I looked up to him, I know panic was in my eyes.
"Bend your arms and the elbows, use you're the crook of your left elbow to support her head and use your other hand to stabilize it." I did as he said and soon the sniffling stopped and vibrant gray eyes peeked up at me. It wrinkled its nose and closed her eyes and just snuggled in. I felt my lips spilt into a smile. "Well, its darn cute. You are going to have to beat boys over this one Peeta."
Peeta almost growled. "No male is allowed to come near her until she's 45." Katniss chuckled. "Yeah and she'll ask you, 'dad how old were you when you knocked mommy up?' and you would say eighteen Peeta, and your daughter will call you a hypocrite." Peeta growled then. "No, she'll call me daddy and she has to follow what I say because I say so." Katniss doubled in laughter and the blue bundle began to fuss.
Peeta scooped up his son in his arms, grumbling at his wife. And cooing to the pink boy. "We'll protect your baby sister wouldn't we my boy? Never mind your mother. And I'm sure we'll have more help with the next one." Katniss stopped laughing. "The next one?" Peeta looked up. "You don't want another one?" Katniss shook her head. "No, I do, its just, this soon?" Peeta smiked. "Are you scared?" Katniss met his smirk. "Are you?"
And before I even barf my lunch out I cleared my throat. Enough of these innuendos. "You know I think I should really get going." Peeta shook his head. "You need to be here for the naming of the babies." On cue, a nurse came in followed by Lily, Prim, Artemis, Holly, Cinna, Portia and to my shock Gale.
Lily made a beeline to me and plucked up the girl. "Oh, you are so adorable aren't you little girl. Hey Haymitch." I smiled at Lily as she began to rock the little girl. Holly eventually joined her. That was going to be one spoiled baby. Artemis got his grandson from his son and began the silent conversation wit him through coos and smiles.
As the general greetings were for the bundles, I took a chance to sight Katniss and Peeta, and once more I felt that nasty little feeling well up in my chest. It was pride. I was so proud of these two kids, my kids, and the fact that they are now here, raising a family. I was proud of Peeta, proud of the boy he was, and proud of the man that he is becoming.
Senator Peeta Mellark, the man whose words surged forth change in this country. His never wanting to be a piece in the Games. His honest heart survived all the torture he was exposed to and his strength, is ability to see right and wrong, gave him the chance to kill President Snow, knowing if he let him live, more will die.
I was proud of Katniss. Proud that she is the Mockingjay. Proud of her strength and her rebellion. Proud that she ignited the spark that blazed into this fire. Proud that though darkness surrounded her, it has never corrupted her.
But most of all I was proud of my kids ending up as husband and wife. I was proud of them most for making these wonderful babies, proud that they had held on to the hope that one day they would have their family. Proud that they have it now. I am proud of the love for each other.
As I watch Peeta wrap his arms lovingly around his wife and as Katniss shifted and fit her frame to Peeta's shoulder, as I watch them keep their eyes on their children, I had never been more proud of my children. They had made a New Panem, and they had given hope. And now they have babies bound to be either smart mouthed and quick witted irritating brats coming from their father and highly agile, rebellious kids from their mother.
But I was sure that despite those they will inherit their father and their mother's hearts. And that was what made me proud most of all. As Holly gave the pink bundle to Peeta and Artemis hand the blue bundle to Katniss, I saw them again as the unit, as the family, and I was just smiling so big that I felt Lily move next to me and take my hand. "I am proud of them too."
I patted her hand and looked over as Peeta and Katniss prepare to name their kids. "This pretty baby girl, well Katniss and I decided that we will name her Portia Rue." When Portia heard this she gasped so loudly and tears ran down her face as she rushed to Peeta and kissed him full on the lips. Katniss swatted her. "I know you are happy and all Portia, but all mine, no touching. Don't make me take back the name." Portia laughed and to compensate showered Katniss with kisses on her cheeks and plucked it, I mean, Portia Rue up.
"Oh, Aunt Portia is going to have so much fun dressing you up, yes I will." And she snuggled up to the baby. Katniss held her baby boy closer. "And for our son, Peeta and I will name him Cinna Abernathy." Cinna grinned that Cheshire Cat grin of his and saw him turn towards me. Almost everyone was looking at me. I was about to grumble when it hit me. Cinna Abernathy. They were naming the boy after me.
My face must have looked like I fell down thirty stories and landed splat on concrete because everyone laughed at me. "You are naming him after me?" Peeta rolled his eyes. "How else could we get you to stop calling our children "it"?" Peeta asked and I flushed. Katniss held out Cinna Abernathy to me. "Come on grandpa, move your self to your grandkid."
My eyes filled as I took the little baby boy, Abernathy, and his fingers wrapped around my index. I saw Katniss and Peeta through a haze of tears. Content, happy, glowing and I realize, I was most proud of my kids because they loved each other unconditionally and fully and unselfishly, that they were able to push through everyday together.
And as I looked at young Abernathy, I was sure, the one good thing the Hunger Games ever caused was putting together Peeta Mellark and Katniss Everdeen. And I was hell of prideful knowing I had something to do with it.