**Mockingjay Spoiler Alert**
There are A LOT of Mockingjay spoilers in this chapter, so if you haven't read it already then I suggest you don't proceed. If you have, then commence reading!
Epilogue - A Birthday Party
I sit on the beach, watching my two-year-old son wobble along the shore. He keeps to the shallowest of the waves, merely letting them lick his tiny, plump feet before squealing and backing away. His back side is damp with saltwater and sand, for he falls backwards on his unsteady legs often.
I sigh and chuckle to myself. He looks more and more like Finnick every day. The only thing he inherited from me was his shock of curly brown hair. But he has Finnick's bronze skin and his magnificent green eyes.
His name is Finnick Jonathan Quincy Odair, but everyone calls him Finn. Finnick and I were going to name him Jonathan Quincy, after my father and my brother, but he looks so much like Finnick that I had to give him his father's name.
Finn is the light of my life. At the tender age of two, he already knows so much. He knows how to paddle along the ocean fairly well, as long as someone is holding him afloat. He asks about his father often, because he knows that I like him to. Even though Finnick's death still sends a sharp knife of sorrow through me, I want Finn to remember him. Which is hard to accomplish, considering that he's never even met Finnick.
I can already tell that Finn will have a difficult life, and it saddens me. It's been almost three years since the rebellion ended. People are rebuilding and healing, but there are still bitter and curious feelings throughout all of Panem. It's the first time since Panem was established that people can travel freely among the districts. People are still getting used to other people. Me, I prefer to stay in good old District Four - oh, sorry. We call it Aequoris now. Anyway, I think President Paylor's doing a pretty good job with reconstruction.
Even if reconstruction wasn't going on, Finn would still need to be careful. But already, at two, he knows to go get Grandma if Mommy locks herself up in her room. He knows to never go in the water when Grandma is with him at the beach. Already, at two, he's so careful and so smart and so kind. He honestly doesn't behave like a two-year-old should.
Sometimes I wonder if this is a bad thing. Should I let him enjoy his childhood, give him less responsibility? I know it's selfish of me, but I can't seem to let Finn go. I won't ever let him go.
I stand. "Come on, Finn! It's time to eat dinner!"
Finn pretends to ignore me.
"Finn!" I call. "If you don't get over here, the Sea Monster's going to get you!"
He turns to me and giggles before running in the opposite direction. This will probably irritate me in the near future, but it's so cute now that I can't be mad at him. I chase after him and make roaring noises like my father used to do when I was little. It doesn't take long for me to catch up to him and scoop him up. I spin him around in the air, listening to his delighted squeals and screams.
"Again!" he cooes as I stop spinning him and head towards home.
"After dinner," I say.
He huffs. "Again!"
"Like this?" I say, throwing him over my shoulder like a sack of potatoes and walking towards the house. My mother and I both decided to move back to our old home when we came back to Distr - ah, I mean Aequoris. There is no more Victor's Village. The houses are still there, but no one is required to live in them anymore. A lot of our elderly victors died in the war, anyway. I feel a sharp jab of pain as I remember Mags, who gave up her life to replace me at the Quarter Quell. Dear, kind Mags. She knew exactly how much it would hurt me, not only to go back in the Hunger Games, but to fight Finnick. Even now, it makes my breath panicky.
"Mommy?" Finn says softly. I start, realizing that he's been saying something and I've been too wrapped up in my own thoughts to pay attention. Shame floods through me. It's times like this when I feel like I'm a horrible mother.
"I'm sorry, Finn. I was just thinking about something. You want down?" I say, using my nicest voice possible.
"Yes!" he cries.
I put him down and he takes my hand and walks with me. Normally he tries to escape, but he must not want me to zone out again. The shame becomes stronger.
I really do wish I could be a better mother to Finn. He's such a good child. If it wasn't for him, I probably wouldn't even be alive. Without Finnick, I wouldn't have had the will to keep living. But he left me Finn. I had to take care of Finn. And I haven't loved anyone so dearly since Finnick.
Finnick's promise suddenly runs across my mind. I'll always come back. Even though he didn't come back from the Capitol three long years ago, I still feel like he hasn't broken his promise. Finnick, even in death, never breaks his promises.
"Grandma!" Finn shouts, slipping his small hand out of mine and toddling to my mother. She's nearly sixty. I'm twenty-four. Time has changed us drastically, since that day. The day of the reaping. The day that changed everything.
I smile softly at Finn as he rambles on about his day with my mother. Finn will never have to worry about reapings or the Hunger Games. He won't ever have to worry about hunger, for that matter. The new Panem is setting it's past aside and preparing for future generations. It was Finnick's dream and, to some degree, it is my dream. I'm glad that we finally got that dream fulfilled.
I love you, Finnick, I think to myself. And I miss you, more than you can know. Happy birthday.
I follow my mother and the babbling Finn inside, closing the door behind us.
A huge thank you all of those who reviewed and/or put me on their favorites list.
I would also like to thank Suzanne Collins for writing such a magnificent story. It gives me great pleasure to both read it and write about it.
I hope you enjoyed this story and, just for the record, I'm not doing a sequel. Sorry, but I think I've dedicated quite enough time and effort into this story and I think it came to a satisfying close.
Once again, I thank you all.