My whole body feels numb, and nothing is comprehensible to me. Even though I'm only wearing a thin shirt and slippers, I stumble down the stairs and shove open the front door into the falling snow. Trudging across the courtyard to Haymitch's house, I am about to knock on the door when it opens before me.

"Katniss? What's wrong, sweetheart?" Haymitch asks, concern wrinkling his forehead. When I don't answer, he grips me by the elbow and steers me into the house. My slippers are soaked through, leaving puddles of slush on the newly waxed floors. Hazelle must have been here earlier, for everything is shiny and clean. Haymitch sits me down at the table and crouches down until his face is level with mine. "What is the matter, Katniss?"

"Haymitch, I… I'm… well, Peeta was right."

"What?" I can tell by the look on his face that this hasn't sunk in. Then it hits him. "Oh, God, Katniss. You absolutely can not be pregnant."

"No, Haymitch. I am," I say, and I break down. He rubs me awkwardly between the shoulder blades while I cry myself out, and helps me sit up when I'm done.

"Katniss, it's all right. How long have you known?"

"Th—three months," I choke out.

"Okay, so that's nine weeks. Not too bad. Does Peeta know?"


"I want you to go home and tell him now. He really does need this—he's been so depressed lately," Haymitch says, and takes a swig from a bottle on the counter behind him.

"Why?" I want to know.

"Because of you, Katniss. You're withdrawn from everyone, barely talking to him, and scaring him to death. He needs some good news."

"How is this remotely good news?" I demand, trying to spring up from my chair; Haymitch has other ideas and shoves me back down into the chair with a not-so-gentle touch.

"Katniss, you're going to have a baby," Haymitch says, clearly enunciating the word baby. "You should be incredibly happy that you and Peeta can start this new chapter in your life together. There are no more Games. He or she will be safe, whatever the situation is when it's born. I promise you that."

"Thank you, Haymitch," I say, the tears starting to fall again. He gets up and hugs me warmly, patting my back as he does so.

"Good luck, Katniss," he whispers.

I'm going to need it.