It seemed like hours before I was allowed out of the dark room, only after Haymitch had arrived with more officials. He burst through the door and regarded me with solemn eyes. I had tried to push past the guard with me one too many times. He resorted to handcuffing my wrists around a pillar in the room, giving me no choice but to sit on the ground and cry. Haymitch kneeled next to me, watching the silent tears roll down my face. "Sweetheart, we will get him back."
He pulled out a key for the handcuffs and gently removed them from my bruised and cut wrists. I spent a good portion of my time trying to pull my wrists out of them. Once I was freed from the cuffs Haymitch pulled me into his arms and kissed the top of my head. I'd never been so thankful for my mentor, for all the times he's tested and comforted me. "C'mon sweetheart, were going to get you back to Paylor's Mansion." I felt numb, completely numb as Haymitch steered me down the hallway and out to a waiting car. Around the front of the building was blood, and I couldn't help but wonder if it was Peeta's. Was he hurt, had they already killed him?
The escort who managed to remove me from danger, his last words chilled me to the core "There is nothing we can do about Peeta right now". And he was right, so completely right. I could do nothing to help him. No one knew where he was or if he was alive. I didn't feel alive either, the world around me seemed to slow down. I could see Haymitch's lips moving, but I heard nothing. As we pulled up to the mansion I didn't want to move. Paylor would ask questions, and I wouldn't have answers. No one would have answers. I knew how this would play out. I'd get angry or cry, maybe even both. I had that right.
Haymitch maneuvered me through the halls of the mansion to the room where we'd meet with Paylor. I sat down and waited for the deliberations to start. I couldn't even sit still, and thought about standing up but Paylor burst into the room, holding a folder.
"Is she okay?" Paylor asked as she looked at me softly, before turning to Haymitch.
I felt Haymitch stare at me, "I think she's in shock. She hasn't said much of anything. I don't blame her. He… Mellark… he is… we need to get him back." Haymitch glanced at me. He knew what Peeta was to me. The thing that kept the nightmares away, the love of my life. The boy I wanted by my side for the rest of my life. Haymitch had to help me get him back, because deep down Haymitch knew that Peeta was the glue that held me together. Even as a Victor, I was broken, so was Peeta, and even Haymitch.
I barely listened to the conversation around me because the answers they had to give broke my heart. "Do we know where he is?" I heard Haymitch ask.
Paylor's silence answered that question, my heart throbbed painfully. Not even a clue?
"Are we certain he's alive?" Haymitch continued on, why was he even asking? Even I could answer that. My grief had turned into rage now.
"Haymitch…" I heard her say, she was trying to be considerate of my feelings. I knew that she knew the answer she should say, but she didn't want to say it infront of me.
"Just say it." I barked, "He's probably d…" I couldn't even finish the word. Dead. Peeta was probably dead, more likely that he was already the longer it took for us to find him. "He's… he's…" I choked, and began to try and hold back my sobs. Paylor's eyes softened and I saw her motion to a guard to remove me.
Haymitch waved off the guard, "I've got her." Haymitch ushered me out of the room, just in time for more tears to fall. He led me to his room, where he gently pointed me toward the couch. "Sit, sweetheart."
I sunk down into the cushions and pulled my knees to my chest, losing Peeta before wasn't so bad. Back then I didn't know how much I needed him, how much I loved him. Now I knew what Peeta was to me, the love of my life, the solid foundation. He was gone and I had nothing left to hold me up. I was crumbling with each minute he was gone.
Haymitch was tinkering with something at the table before he walked over and sat next to me. I didn't give him a chance to try and trick me I knew what he was doing, "You don't have to trick me…" I gasped a tearful sigh, "I'll… I'll take it willingly.." The tears poured out faster, I knew he drugged the glass of orange juice in his hand. I could smell the sleep syrup in it. I took the glass into my shaking hands and downed it.
Haymitch pulled me into his arms, "Go on and let it out, sweetheart." He breathed, gently rubbing circles into my back.
I continued to cry, feeling groggy already. "Why did they do it!" I whimpered. "Why Peeta… Why…" my body wracked with crushing sobs.
"Katniss, I promise we will find out why." Haymitch breathed, "You get tonight to cry, but tomorrow you need to start fighting. Fight for him."
I nodded, my lips feeling numb like the rest of my body. The sleep syrup grabbing hold of me now. Fight for him, I had to, if he couldn't fight for himself where ever he was. I would do it, I'd do anything to get him back. Sleep finally claimed me.