Sometimes, the world is too much for me. I know this. In fact, I'll be the first one to admit it. Considering my history and very public mental breakdown, I'm fairly certain that all of Panem knows that the world is too much for me. Certainly everyone in District Fo—everyone in my district knows it. And the Capitol, too. And Finnick.
Finnick Odair knows that sometimes the world is too much for me. He knows that every time I see one of the many children of our district swimming in the sparkling blue-green water, I'm reminded of the thirty-one hours I spent swimming, waiting for my opponents to die. He knows that every time I see somebody bleed, it takes me back to the arena, and I'm watching district partner—Ellis Marsda—take an axe to the side of the neck. Finnick knows that I hate the number f-four—ironic, I know—because that's how many strokes it took the tribute from District 2 to take Ellis's head off.
But Finnick also knows that I'm not crazy all the time. Or even most of the time. He likes to joke with me and tell me that I'm never crazy, that the rest of the world is. He's probably at least partially right; I'm just crazier than the rest. Most of the time, though, I can get up and go about my day and do what needs to be done. It's hard, and it hurts, and there are some mornings when it feels like I can't face the world, but I do. I pull myself out of the bed, go to market, do my laundry, make bad attempts at conversation. Those attempts usually don't go so well, but mostly it's because everyone keeps waiting for me to go nuts again. And admittedly, sometimes I do.
Because one minute I find myself in the market buying fish, and the next I'm back there, watching blood flow onto the ground and into the water. I'm alone and hunted and without a weapon, paralyzed with fear.
And then Finnick is bringing me back. He's fighting through the bloody haze of my waking nightmares, and I can move again.
The madness doesn't come as often anymore, not now that I'm in District 13. Maybe it's because there aren't as many reminders here—no swimming children, so dead fish, no bloody water. But it still comes more than I would like. The stark white walls are too much like the cell where I was held and hurt in the Capitol while they tried to lure Finnick out. Sometimes, when I wake up, I think I'm back there again, and I'm paralyzed with fear.
But then I hear his voice, that bright, happy voice, on the other side of the door, and I know that I'm in 13. I'm in 13 and Finnick is here. Finnick, who knows that sometimes the world is too much for me. Finnick, who knows that sometimes, the world is not enough for me.
Finnick understands that no amount of beauty that this world has to offer will ever be enough to make us forget the atrocities we've seen. All the strength in the world is not enough to keep me sane all the time. No amount of metal fencing and bomb proof bunkers are going to make me feel safe again. There are some things where the world will never be enough.
But that doesn't mean that we don't try. It just makes us try harder, which is why Plutarch is pouring his all into my wedding. My wedding. I still can't believe it. I remember the day when I realized that Finnick and I would never be able to marry because of the way that Snow sold him to the highest bidder. It made life too dangerous for us both. But now, we can have that. We stole that power from Snow, and Finnick is going to be my husband. I'm going to be his wife. And the world will never be enough to contain my happiness at that.
He wears one of Peeta's suits, and I have on one of Katniss's dresses. What a pair we make. The dress is blue green, and for a minute, as I'm getting dressed, the madness threatens to come. I can feel it pulling at the edges of my brain, inviting me back into the chaos and fear. When I try to say no, it pulls harder against me.
"Not today," I whisper. "You can't have me today. Today is our day."
I can't push it all away, but I don't let it overtake me, either. Instead, I make my way to the back of the room that was set up for our wedding. Finnick is waiting for me at the end of the aisle, looking happier than I've seen him in years. Seeing him this way leaves me paralyzed and breathless, and not in bad way. He's holding his hand out to me, inviting me to come join him, and I don't resist.
You can't have me today, I tell the madness. Today, I'm his.
When I see the net of woven grass over our heads, I smile. It's very nearly like a ceremony at home would be, even if some cow guy from District 10 is saying the ceremony. And I see the glass of salt water that we're to put on each other's lips. I go first, just barely dipping my fingers into the glass. I'm afraid that if I go any farther, my entire body will be swallowed up. The glass will become the arena again, and I'll be paddling for my life. But then Finnick's hand is on my wrist, guiding my fingers to his lips, and I remind myself that today I'm his.
I close my eyes as he returns the gesture. He's careful when he puts the water on my lips, knowing that the taste of it will bring back memories. It does. I feel the heat of the sun on my head, the taste of the salty water on my lips, and I just know that if I open my eyes there will be water, water everywhere but not a drop to drink.
No. Today is ours.
And when I open my eyes, I see him staring at me with nothing but love in his eyes. Somehow, he loves crazy, broken little me. Of course, birds of a feather flock together, so he's not really entirely all there either. But today, it doesn't matter. Today is ours. When he kisses me, his takes my face in both his hands, covering my ears to block out the madness that he knows is threatening me. But then he kisses me, and we chase it away together.
There are tears in my eyes. I don't want to cry; crying is what I do when I'm crazy. And today is my wedding day. I'm not going to be crazy on my wedding day. But then I look at Finnick and see the tears streaming down his cheeks—tears of joy—and I know that it's okay to cry.
"I now present you Mr. and Mrs. Finnick Odair."
And then we're walking down the aisle, hand in hand, and everyone knows that we're bound to one another. Our lives are forever intertwined. But then, they have been for a while. They get that way when he's the only one that can pull you out of the madness.
Everyone is so happy for us. Katniss is watching almost wistfully; Gale's scowl has lessened into a small frown; Peeta looks deep in thought, like he's missing something. I wonder how often I have that expression. Of course, I stop caring when my husband pulls me close to dance with him.
"You look beautiful," Finnick whispers in my ear. I giggle.
"You look pretty, too."
"Pretty? I'm manly. Men are handsome." At his words, my giggles become laughs. That's the thing about Finnick; he's always been able to make me laugh. And sometimes, I even make him laugh, too.
"Okay, you're my handsome, silly, manly man."
He's laughing quietly with me, our own private joke. And that's how the evening passes—it's the two of us in our own little world. It's a puzzle piece world, carved out of the little sanity that we both have left, but it works for us. When I'm with him, I don't feel the madness creeping up on me. I don't have to fight it.
But I can tell that Finnick's madness is threatening to loom over him. He's okay until we get to our bedroom and he knows what's going to happen next. I know what Snow made him do, the way he sold him to the highest bidder, and when I think about it I get that battle rage in my blood. But today is ours, and I'm not going to let that taint it. So I slide his jacket off his shoulders and kiss him gently.
"I was worried, during the ceremony…I thought it was going to take you," he whispers when we finally pull away. He runs his hands over my body as he speaks, sending shivers down my spine.
"It tried. But we didn't let it. Not today." I step out of my shoes and suddenly our height difference is even more drastic. He kicks off his shoes and fidgets with his tie, trying to get it off. Finally, I push his hands away and do it for him.
"I love you," he tells me, sliding down the zipper of my dress. It slips down my body and I step out of it while I try to work the buttons on his shirt front. Eventually, between the two of us, we manage to strip down completely. It isn't the easiest of processes—we're both shaking—but we get there.
"I love you, too." He leads me to the bed and slips under the covers. I follow quickly and snuggle against him, taking comfort in his warmth. Finnick is warm, not like the dead bodies that—
"Kiss me," I whisper, and he does. It's long and soft and everything that some of our other kisses haven't been. It isn't one of the rough, hard kisses that jolts me from one of my crazy spells. It isn't a goodbye kiss like the one that we briefly shared before he was torn away from me. We take our time, and it's good.
And then somehow, we're moving together and he's showing me what how love feels: hot, and bright, and completely exquisite. Nerve shatteringly wonderful, and gentle, and building. It's unbearably good, and when it peaks it comes over me in waves. Not the harsh, threatening stormy waves that want to hurt me. No, it's the gentle waves of a low tide that completely cover you from head to toe. They aren't waves that I fight against, but waves that I embrace and like and want more of.
He sees me staring at him, and I see a glint of worry in his eyes. "Are you…?"
I pull myself closer and feel the heat come over me again. "I'm still here. Nothing's going to take me away. Not today. Today is ours."
He grins and kisses my nose, which tickles a little bit. "Yeah. Today is ours."
Sometimes, the world is not enough for me. There are debts that this world can never repay for what it's done not only to me, but to him. We suffered and labored and every day is fight against the madness that wants to lure me back into the arena. But when I'm holding my husband in my arms, I realize that there is nothing in this world that to express this moment. Words cheapen it, because they can't capture it in all of its splendor.
Right now, the world is not enough. But when it's like this, I'm okay with it.
Author's Note: So, this is my first foray into Hunger Games fanfic, so any and all comments would be appreciated. I'm a little anxious about this because I know that my Annie isn't exactly screaming, hysterical Annie that we might be used to, but I remember that she's described more as being unstable than insane, so hopefully I got that. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed and please, please review! =)