As you will surely notice, this is written in Peeta's POV and I'm sure it won't be the last one even though I have no current plans to write more in his POV. It's fun though. As you will also notice, this chapter is kind of short. But basically, this is the third part of a plot. I hope you will enjoy this, and that you'll review. I'd be happy if you'd send me some requests, because right now I'm not really insipired.
On a normal day I'd wake up right after the sun would rise, some days from a nightmare and some days because I knew that it was time to get up and move around. I'd open the bakery as people started to move around the streets, and I'd spend the hours up until lunch alone. Rory would be around then to help, and I could look out the window more frequently to see who would walk around the corner and into the shop. I could look out the window more frequently to catch a glimpse of Katniss as she'd come home, very often food for dinner in her hands. And then when she'd see me, the hint of a tired smile would appear on her face.
Lately there had been a lot of tired complains from her side, but I knew I had nothing to say about it. We were in this together, but I was not in her position. I did have fears, and we shared some of them, but hers went deeper than mine for good reasons.
Normally, I'd wake up around the time a beautiful bright color would light up over District 12.
This was not a normal day, and I had been awake for far too long. 27 hours to be precise. But again, I could not complain. I wasn't the one in pain at the moment.
At the moment I couldn't even remember half of the fights Katniss and I had had over the years, and how many of them had been about this. She knew I had always wanted this. I grew up being as happy as I could. I had two older brothers, and even though we fought about most things, they were my brothers. My family. My Father was the best of men. And even though my Mother seemed cold and heartless to some people, she wasn't. Yes, maybe she hit both me and my brothers from time to time, but that's just the way she handled things. We were used to it.
Katniss grew up different and her fears had deep roots. She grew up in the Seam, and even though her mother was the best of Healers and her father worked in the mines, they struggled. I didn't even want to think about what would have happened if her father hadn't been a hunter. If he hadn't taught his oldest daughter what he knew.
I knew that if I had grown up like her – poorer than most, starved, fatherless – I probably would have the exact same fears as she did. Which is why I couldn't fight with her about this. It's why I accepted it, why I doubted her when she told me she wanted this. I needed her to be sure.
But when she told me about the pregnancy, I was just as scared as she was. For the same reasons as she was. It was inevitable. But as the months passed, we learned to tackle our fears just as we always tackled everything. Together.
And now here we were, and it was taking too damn long. How could it take 27 hours to push a little baby out? It couldn't take this long. The amount of time that had passed, it couldn't be normal.
It would be easier if I was actually in there with her, I knew that. But I wasn't. She kicked me out hours ago. And out here I was alone. Haymitch left after sunset, and Cinna wasn't even in the district at the moment. Effie didn't even know about this yet.
It was just me, and it was killing me. It was in my nature to make sure that she was okay, that she was fine, and right now she wasn't. I could hear that clearly from the sounds that came from the other room. And all I wanted was to be in there, hold her hand, whisper soothing words to her. But I couldn't. She didn't want me in there, and I knew why. It's just who she was. It's what I admired about her. But sometimes I hated it too. Right now I really did hate it. But the least I could do was to accept it.
Haymitch showed up after some time, about an hour before the sun started to rise, and he claimed that he couldn't sleep because of the screams. I knew that wasn't the case, because he lived far too long from the bakery, but I decided not to note it. He had his reasons of lying – he didn't want us to know how much he really did care about us.
"They're different now, the screams," I muttered to a reply instead, and he sat down next to me. It was the truth. They sounded more painful now. It must have started for real now. "How stupidly long can this take anyway?"
"She kick you out?" he understood from my frustration, and I leaned my head back against the wall and closed my eyes. He started to laugh then and I tried to ignore him. "Why?"
"Blamed me for putting her in this position," I started and Haymitch started to laugh even more. "Oh, and apparently I'm 'a man, and can't understand what she's going through'."
And he did, at least for a while. It couldn't even be ten minutes later that he spoke up, frustration deep in his voice.
"I need a drink," he claimed and I looked at him. "Hey, I said I needed one, not that I'd take one."
I have to admit that it surprised me when Katniss told me that he had decided to stop drinking. It came from nowhere. I couldn't understand why. At least not until I came over there, and saw the looks he gave her. It when I realized that she had talked to him before she talked to me. I also remembered the shame, worry and fear in her eyes the night she told me, and I understood that maybe she needed to tell someone before she told me. She was scared of my reaction. She needed someone to practice on. It wasn't the first time, and I shouldn't be surprised. When she wasn't sure about my reaction, she tended to turn to Haymitch for advice first. She always had, and maybe she always would. It was a part of her fears, and I had learned to accept it.
Haymitch had been sober for months now, and improvements to his physique was noticeable almost every time I saw him. It was still strange to see him like this, since I grew up with him being the town's drunk. I was shocked at how well he had adjusted to his new life, and I was sure that the feeling would never quite grow away. Just like I would always go to bed in awe over how good life turned out, despite everything that had happened and despite how hard it could be on some days.
"I bet that when all of that," Haymitch started, motioning his hands toward the door in front of us, clearly indicating on whatever was going on in there, "is over, you'll forget all about not having two legs."
I knew that he was probably right, as I did not even think about it now. I took it off a few hours ago, after Katniss threw me out of the room, since the area right below my knee was sore. It didn't matter that Beetee had designed me a new and improved leg years ago – when I wore it for too long, or when my leg got wet or cold while wearing the prosthetic, it would hurt. Not bad, more like a soft throbbing in my leg that wouldn't stop until I did something about it. So I always made sure to take it off when I didn't need it. And right now, sitting on a chair waiting for the news that my wife was done giving birth to our child, I didn't need it.
"What's the price?" I asked, crossing my arms over my chest as I looked at him. It was good that Haymitch was here. It kept me from thinking about the things I didn't want to think about. Like how wrong things could get. We both knew that the safest was to be in a Capitol hospital, surrounded by doctors, but none of us wanted that. It didn't matter how much we liked Paylor, and it didn't matter that she was a really good President. The Capitol had broken us far too much, and parts of us would always hate it. Always distrust it.
And this is how both of us was born. This is how children all over Panem was born every day. And Mrs. Everdeen was the best. She's the only one I really trusted with this.
"A dinner," Haymitch suggested and I let out a laugh. He really trusted his opinion, that I'd stand up and fall down again, because he knew that he had no idea how to cook. He also knew that he was more than welcome every day for dinner. He also showed up almost every day, even though we only really invited him on Sundays along with Effie and Cinna.
So I shook my head in amusement as I took his hand to shake, and we uttered the word in unison. "Deal."
I was just ready to let go of his hand when I heard it. Katniss let out another scream, this one so tired and exhausted, and as she grew silent, another sound filled the house. Another scream, this one new and louder. Unmistakeably, it belonged to a baby. And not just a baby. My baby. I had a baby. I had a child now, I was a father. And Katniss, she was a mother and this was unbelievable. I had a baby – that's my baby in there. Screaming. Existing and screaming and I needed to see my baby.
So I got up, and half a second later my face touched the ground and Haymitch's laughter filled the room. But I didn't care that he was right, that he won this bet. All I cared about was what was in that room just a few meters away from me.
Just about ready to lift myself up, the door opened and Mrs. Everdeen looked down on me. It was clear that she was wondering what I was doing on the floor, but the emotion in my eyes must be even more obvious because she gave me a smile and told me exactly what I wanted to hear.
"You have a daughter."
Pushing myself up, I easily jumped to my feet and to the door frame.
"I'll give you some privacy."
"Thank you," I smiled back but I didn't watch my mother-in-law walk away. Instead I pulled myself closer to the door and looked inside the room only to see my very exhausted wife in our bed. Even in her small frame did the bundle look tiny, and I felt my smile grew wider as I watched Katniss try to soothe the baby in her arms with a tired smile on her lips. My daughter. Our daughter.
I was sure that she knew that I stood where I stood, but she paid no attention to me, her eyes never leaving the tiny body in her embrace. Moving toward her, I pulled a chair close to the bed and sat down, my body immediately reaching toward my wife and child. One of my hands rested on Katniss' shoulder as my other wrapped around Katniss' arms and the baby in them.
There was barely any hair on her tiny head, and her eyes were closed as she yawned, showing tiny dimples in the corner of her mouth. Just as I tried to figure out who her nose and chin belonged to, she showed me her two beautiful blue eyes and my head leaned down to rest against Katniss.
"She's beautiful," I murmured, the words leaving my mouth without me even planning them. But they were the truth, and everyone knew it.
"She reminds me of Prim," Katniss answered in a low whisper and my eyes turned from our daughter to her. Even though our baby looked nothing like her sister, I could understand why she felt like that. Prim had always held an innocence, her eyes radiating it clearly. I saw that in our daughter too. And I knew for a fact that Prim was the only one Katniss had never been scared of loving, because it came naturally for her. She never had a choice when it came to her. It was the same with her baby, her daughter. Of course she reminded her of her sister. It would be strange if she didn't.
"I'm sorry," she uttered then, her eyes meeting mine for the first time since I entered the room.
"Don't be ridiculous," I told her, waving it off. She didn't have to be sorry for kicking me out of the room. Or for yelling certain things at me. Things I had already forgotten what they were. They weren't pleasant, but that's all I could remember. She had been in pain, of course she said what she said. I could understand that more than enough. It actually kind of amused me.
"Thank you," she whispered then, a tear rolling down her chin. I reached to wipe it away with my thumb, and I felt my smile grow softer.
"For believing in me, for always being there, for loving me."
"You say that like I actually have a choice," I told her honestly and I could taste her salt tears as she pressed her lips against mine in a deep kiss.
"Is it wrong of me to feel that maybe, just maybe, this moment was worth everything?" she said in a tired voice as she let go of the kiss, her voice filled with shame and worry.
"No, it's not," I promised her and she nodded slowly, the worry and shame disappearing from her eyes as well. All I could see in them was wonder and joy and amazement. The exact same things I felt.
"We'll be alright, won't we?"
"Yeah," I murmured. "I think we will."