Disclaimer: I own nothing.

So this is kind of — I don't know — crazy but I was just trying to get into the way Annie's mind works. Also I haven't had more than five hours of sleep for the past week because The Miracle Worker has had performances and it's a really awesome show about Helen Keller and her teacher Annie Sullivan and the quote is my favourite line and yeah I think I'm a bit jittery so I'm going to go to sleep.

x

for those who fell in love alone

"Like the lost lamb in the parable, I love her all the more."
—The Miracle Worker

x

The first and last time he kisses you is on the very tip of your nose, with his breath on your lips and a curl of blond brushing your forehead.

"I love you," he murmurs so soft that it's lost in the tangles of your hair, the twine of your fingers, the feel of blood rushing in both of your veins, life pumping so close to teach other. Life that ends as quick as you begin to appreciate it.

/

(you tied his noose yourself, annie, baby.)

/

When they first tell you, it's slow and steady, like his heartbeat or his long stride. It's the same day the world ends and renews — suddenly the one thing that's been your rock is dead and there's a baby boy on the way who's never going to meet him.

You cry out on the cliff for hours, swaying on the edge until somebody — the girl who kisses boys who are mad and boys who blow things up and laughs with your — no no no he can't be dead this can't be no no no — and she's gone crazy, too. The wind makes your hair tousled and you think that maybe he liked it, then you realise just how close you are to the — to the —

/

(spell it out, annie, baby, don't let the monsters find out what you're afraid of.)

/

to the e – d – g – e.

/

(good girl.)

/

You could jump, you know. You could jump and it'll all be over. That empty feeling at the bottom of your stomach, that lump lodged into the middle of your chest. Just one step and the bottom is near. And at the bottom, Fi — Finn — he's waiting.

"Annie," the girl with the brown hair and the burnt bread and the dead sister whispers and you jump so high that she grabs your arm. You tug yourself away, just because you hate the feeling of skin on skin unless it's freckled and sunburnt and — you just want to feel him next to you — but this loneliness is so drearily intense and irrevocable that you regret it all the more.

She's touching you — her fingernails are long and her voice is sharp. You think you've known pain so well that you can smell it in her sweat, hear it in the tinge of her tongue.

"Annie, are you okay?"

And why wouldn't you be okay — really? Everything, everything, EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE FINE. There's nothing wrong, nothing wrong, nothing w – r – o – n – g. No one's gone or missing or never going to meet their unborn son and the boy is going to be kicking in a few months and hey — remember how he used to call you baby? He'd touch you with those strong hands and whisper against your neck and — ha ha ha ha HA HA HA HA — isn't it funny that God picks the most tortured people to wreak havoc upon?

Katniss — that was her name. You smile at her. It's pretty and as fake as the flowers on your bedroom windowsill.

"Of course," you say, even and perfectly calm. "I'll be inside in just a moment."

/

(there's nothing, nothing left for you here anymore.)

/

Gale catches you breaking a mirror in the empty white hallway the next day, his bags all packed and his eyes as sharp and cold as the shards of reflecting glass; you see yourself in the mirror and your eyes are too blue and not green enough and oh your belly's starting to show look at that annie soon it'll be obvious that there's a baby in there and the daddy's six feet under —

"Seven years of bad luck," he tells you, and when you stare ahead at him with those empty empty empty empty empty eyes he just shakes his head and walks away.

When the sight of his back is small enough you tuck a piece of the mirror into your back pocket and leave the rest in sight, because the glinting spectrum is pretty.

You hum the same tune he used to sing for years.

/

(you've known enough of bad luck that seven years won't even compare.)

/

The baby's coming, the baby's coming.

Your stomach gets heavier and your heart gets emptier and your head gets fuller with every passing month — protein and vitamin C and dessert on your plate 'cause THERE'S A BABY ON THE WAY! and you're never really all the hungry anymore but you eat nevertheless because there's nothing else to do but comply to the schedule you've been given.

The baby's got fingernails now, and you trace the little black-and-white photo of him every night. You find yourself sketching the outline of his body on every blank space — scratch him into your walls, draw him on a napkins, trace him onto the sand, imagine him on the white stretches of your long-cluttered mind.

He's all you've got now,

all you've got,

all you'll ever have,

don't you realise?

He's a boy, and you know — you just know — because everything's unfair so why should you be given justice starting now —

You'll only be disappointed, you've learned that now.

The one time — the single time you'd gotten what you wanted, what you needed, what you deserved — he dies and the last time he kisses you on the nose and you didn't even say his name, didn't tell him you love him, didn't tell him not to die because HEY there's a baby on the way! and you're in this alone — you're not meant to be alone —

He's going to look like HIM and it's always going to hurt to look at, raise, L-O-V-E your very own son, Annie Odair.

/

(annie, baby, you're getting more and more toxic every day.)

/

Once, the weight of the baby is so much that you wake up gasping for breath, clutching your ballooning stomach — and the world is sp-spi-spin

s

p

i

n

n

i

n

g

all around, colours and swirls and the dizziness of fatigue and the presence of death always at your bedside, waiting to catch you off-guard.

The doctor tells you you've got two bruised ribs, and you're scared to death.

Not of your baby — no, no, you love him, talk to him and coo to him and stroke him as you fall into your dreamless (nightmare-filled) sleep each night because he's the only thing you've got left anymore. He makes you feel less alone, and — maybe it's sick — but it's like you've got a piece of him in you, something so that you'll never forget the curve of his jaw or the curl of his hair, because it's getting so hard for you to hold onto things in your black hole of a mind.

/

(you see, annie, baby, you're scared because death's so close and you don't even cry — you smile.)

/

Water — water — water

The curl and curve of each and every wave nearing you, waiting to take you under its hold and never let you surface again and — oh, the memory of his voice calling out your name, crying tears onto your shoulder, weaving his hands into your always-tangled, slightly-damp hair and —

it all smoothes out eventually like the swoop of a letter or the brush of an eyelash until there is nothing but you and the water, the ocean, the SWEETLY BEAUTIFUL sea.

As you wake up, sobbing, clutching the air and your stomach for support, longing to feel him next to you, his hands quick to hold you, kiss you, whisper words that make the monsters stay at bay because

they're close annie oh my god they're so close you can smell their breath and the way they're longing to touch you and scratch you and eat you and you can hear their voices muttering horrible things into your ears and it's even worse when you close your eyes because in your mind pictures are more vibrant than any sick sort of reality.

Your tears taste like seaweed and smell like the salt of the ocean where you and Finnick used to swim when you were young and unafraid.

/

(you were doomed from the start to drown in your own self-made dreams.)

/

The baby boy is born on a Thursday morning in a hospital by the sea. You name him Finn Nickolas Odair and the way his name blends together is such a pleasant ache.

Already he looks just like his father. You don't know the difference between a blessing and a curse anymore.

/

(you disgust me.)

/

"Postpartum depression," you hear them say a million times, but you know what it really is.

Because you can't stand to get out of the warm cocoon of that pure-white bed, and your mind makes shapes of the empty ceiling.

Your baby's crying.

This isn't postpartum depression, you know. You've known this from the start — not that solitary windy morning the baby boy whom it hurts to look at was born — but from that very moment you told that blond-haired hero your name and he taught you to kill. From that moment, death has followed you like predator and prey and you're cornered and ready to die.

/

(annie, baby, you're crazy.)

/

And your mother said you'd never be good for anything.

You've been good for knots for as long as you can remember. (Some days you can't remember anything.

The Hangman's Noose has always been your specialty.

/

(you tied your noose yourself, annie, baby.)

/

"It's better this way," you whisper. His taste lingers in your mouth, surrounded by a surreal sort of spiritual haze. "I would've made him go crazy, too."

Finnick kisses you on the very tip of your nose as your body fades away. The boy — not quite a baby anymore, and closer to a man every day — cries silently behind you as you leave with Finnick's hand holding yours.

The curl of his hair brushes against your forehead. Neither of you are breathing this time.