AN/ Spoilers, spoilers, spoilers. A few enormous ones, and a few small ones. Read on at your own risk. Possibly a multichapter.

Dedicated to Finnick, because I've always loved him, even when I didn't know he existed. Trufax.

Rated: K

Spoiler Ranking: 8/10

Her name is Rose Mellark Everdeen. But she doesn't like how long and formal it sounds. Sometimes, she wishes she could be someone else. But she loves her parents, and her little brother, and she knows that she ought to stay as she is, because they love her, too.

Sometimes, her mother cries. She wishes she could help, that her mother would stop, that she could make her happy. Once, her mother only yelled, sometimes at her father, rarely at her. She thinks that it was better, back when her mother didn't cry so much. When she was done with the yelling, she would smile again, when Rose would climb into her lap, and try to fix it.

The yelling, she could always fix. Only her father made her mother smile after she was done crying. Rose could never help with that.

She doesn't remember what it was like before her brother was born, but she has heard that it was even worse for her parents. She doesn't talk about it, though. Just thinks.

A few of her friends have other relatives, and sometimes she wonders where all of hers are. She has met her grandmother, but only twice. She can't remember her very well, and wishes that she would visit again. Her mother never cries when her grandmother is in the house, but she always does when she leaves.

Her parents do have friends, some in District Twelve, some not. There is Thom, who she has heard represents her district. Thom is not good friends with her father, but her mother sometimes asks for news of a far-away place called District Two. Thom has friends there, friends who her mother sometimes misses.

There is also Delly, who hugs her so much that it hurts, but is always happy. Rose loves it when Delly comes to see her family, because she makes the house feel warmer. Her mother makes it safe, and her father makes it kind, and both of them love her, but they are often lost in worlds of their own. Delly can sometimes make them come out, and when she does, the sun shines brighter.

Rose doesn't know what to think about Annie. Seeing Annie makes her mother cry, but not in the same way. Sometimes happy, sometimes sad. She is a little afraid of Annie, who is so much like her mother, but so different, and who has a son she sometimes brings to see them.

Shoal is three years older than she is, and Rose is scared of him, as well, but in a different way. He is too nice to her, too funny, too beautiful for her to stand it. She will make an effort, but when he smiles at her, she runs for her father, wondering why her cheeks feel so hot.

So many people have been to their house, like the graying Plutarch and Haymitch, who always laughs at things that are not funny, and makes her parents laugh with him. He looks much older than Plutarch, though her parents tell her that he is far younger. That he is too stubborn to die, no matter what his liver tells him.

Rose nods, and she knows what a liver is, but does not understand why Haymitch's wants to kill him. It worries her, and when she is especially nervous, she hugs herself tightly in the place where she is sure that her liver is.

Maybe her's is nicer, but she is too scared of her parents' laughter to ask them. She wants them to love her, to think that she is old, like them, maybe even old enough to learn why her mother is so sad, and her father is so scarred.

She is not sure she wants to know, but there are times that she feels like she has too.

Her favorite thing in the world is the sound of her mother's voice, not just when she is singing, though that is a noise that makes her want to cry and laugh at the same time. She likes it when her mother tells her stories, of a little girl like her, who was so kind that even the ancestor of those patchy, hissing kittens in their basement had to love her.

The stories make her mother cry, but hearing them is almost worth it.

She knows that her parents love her, and that her little brother does, as well, but she also knows that she has to try harder when her mother is in the room. She has to stand up straighter, and act smarter, and try to be more beautiful, because while her father loves her unconditionally, it sometimes feels like she has to earn those hugs and words of praise from her mother.

Every day, she tries to sing like her mother, tries to make the birds outside be quiet when she sings her favorite song. It has never worked, but her father loves to listen to her try. Her mother sometimes has to leave the room, and her heart hurts, because though she knows it isn't her, that it was some terrible tragedy long in the past that made her mother like this, she can't help but take a little bit of blame.

Her mother cries the most when she tries the meadow song, so she has tried to forget it, but she can't. It was too beautiful, the first time she heard it, and it has always played in her mother's voice, if only in her imagination.

Though her mother sounds like an angel, her father smells the best. She told him so, once, and he laughed, ruffling her hair with his floury fingers and telling her that it was the bread, not him. She still loves to hug him, though, and is always careful to breathe extra deep when she presses her nose into his powdery white shirt.

As far as she knows, neither of her parents have ever been afraid of anything. That is why she feels so safe, even when she isn't with them, even when the only thing threatening her is some petty obstacle, like an inability to tie her hair up.

Her father says it is her mother's spirit that makes her brave, but she knows that it is the knowledge that they will always be there that steadies her hands and allows her to knot the bow.

She want to save their energy for the important things, like her mother's tears and her father's fits. But she knows that if there was really a need, they would be there. They would be the first ones to save her.

Though she cannot remember her years as an only child, she wishes she could. It makes her mad, having to share her parents with another child, even if she loves him. Because their love is so valuable. She hoards every moment with either of them.

Then she feels guilty, because her brother is as kind and perfect as her father, and as beautiful and strong as her mother, and yet, he does love her. He loves everyone. He is her own special Delly, always happy. He has not yet noticed that her parents are not perfect, like she has. She ignores their flaws, but she knows that when he learns of them, he will also learn to love those same imperfections that she denies.

She doesn't hate him for it, but she is terribly jealous. She wishes that she was him, that she was happy. And she is, but only sometimes. She can play with him in the meadow, and she can feel like she is bourn aloft in the same wind in which the mockingjays spiral above her. She can also be buried beneath the same soil she plays on, wishing for something better, wishing she was normal, like she knows she isn't.

Her brother will be like that story girl, the one who lived so long ago, the one who no one could help but love. She cannot fathom what it must be like for him, to be so certain of the sun's rising in the morning.

Sometimes, she doubts that it will. But that is only on the long nights, when she can hear her mother screaming, and knows that there is nothing she can do.

Rose has not yet been allowed in the woods. Both times that the trip was offered, her mother deteriorated the night before. She knows that it is not her fault. But her mother has hunted alone, since a thing that her teachers call the rebellion.

It is difficult for her, to learn these things about her mother in a classroom. But she does not know where else to learn them, since she cannot ask her parents. She tries not to make them sad, and she has the sense that knowing that she already knows would hurt them even more.

They will tell her, eventually.

Someday, Rose Mellark Everdeen will be truly happy. But considering the odds stacked against her at birth, that day will not come until she stops trying to make her parents love her, and finally loves herself.