It was a sight I never thought I'd behold.
In one rocking chair was a passed out Haymitch, cradling little Orion, and in another was Peeta, snuggling Dawn close to him as he snored softly. They had played a little too long, I guess.
Smiling, I stepped quietly from the room so I wouldn't disturb them, and decided it was a good opportunity to go outside and get some fresh air. That day was full of surprises, I guess, and I found myself with two visitors as I stepped out the front door.
"Annie," I breathed, embracing the much-missed woman before me. Next to her stood Finnick Jr., almost twenty and just as painfully handsome as his father. Apparently he had inherited great amounts of charm, too; he leaned forward to kiss my cheek.
"Nice to see you again, Mrs. Mellark," he said, flashing a blinding smile.
"Twenty years of marriage and you still go pink when someone calls you that," Annie said lightly as she gave my hand a squeeze. "I hope you don't mind that we just dropped by…"
"Not at all!" I exclaimed. "It's great to see some familiar faces. Come on inside."
"Mama?" Dawn had appeared in the doorway, rubbing her sleepy eyes. "Who's there?"
"Dawn, do you remember Annie and Finnick? The last time you saw them you were a baby."
She stepped tentatively forward, but quickly hid behind me when she made eye contact with a grinning Finnick.
"That's a boy," she whispered, peeking out from behind my legs.
"You don't need to be shy," said Finnick jovially, squatting down and putting out his hand for Dawn to shake. "I don't bite too often."
"Daddy said to stay away from boys," said Dawn cautiously, and I swallowed a laugh. Of course Peeta would've told her that. Finnick feigned offense.
"A shot right through the heart!" He stumbled around, clutching his chest and making gagging sounds, and soon Dawn was giggling.
It was pretty surreal, seeing all of us in one room again. It was almost like old times, only there was no need for fear or sadness today. Yet, a strange sort of tension hung in the air; a tension that acknowledged the absence of Finnick Sr., Prim, Gale, our old friends and family. There were Dawn and Orion, blissfully unaware of what we had all gone through in order to be where we were. Their happy laughter, their genuine smiles, their interaction with our new guests was such a relief to me.
They'd never have to go through what we did.
Annie and Finnick left that evening - we practically had to pry Dawn from Finn's leg - and a sort of satisfied happiness stayed in the house.
"It was nice seeing them again," said Peeta, cradling a sleepy Orion in his arms. "I'm glad Annie's doing well. I don't know how I'd keep going after a spouse died." He smiled sadly at me, blue eyes peering at me under long eyelashes.
"I'm leaving." Haymitch appeared in the hallway, holding a giggling Dawn upside down. "It's that time of night when you guys start getting all sentimental and stuff." He shook his head. "Besides, I already won a tickle fight. My work here is done."
He tossed a still giggling Dawn onto the couch – Peeta looked reproving – and left with a wave of his hand.
It was the first truly peaceful night we'd had in a while. Both Dawn and Orion had gone to bed without complaint, the night air was warm, and a few moonbeams were shining perfectly onto our pillows. We were quiet for a while as I lay snuggled close to Peeta's bare chest, listening to his heart. It was the greatest sound in the world. Thoughts swirled around my head, and after a bit I decided to ask the question that had been hanging in the air ever since our son was born. I swallowed.
"Are you sad that we can't have more kids?"
"We already have two perfect children," he murmured sleepily. "Why would we need any more?"
"I…don't know. I just thought –"
Peeta had rolled over and silenced me with a kiss. "Don't think about it, Katniss. I'm a dad, you're a mom, Haymitch is a grandpa – those are miracles in themselves. And since the doctor says it's a question of your health, we won't even consider having more kids. Okay?"
"Okay," I said softly. I yawned before reaching up a hand to run through his thick blond hair. "I'm glad Orion got your hair."
He grinned. "The Mellark trademark lives on."
There were times when I felt the pressure of not letting two families, the Mellarks and the Everdeens, die out. Peeta and I were the only ones left, and the whole idea was very lonely in itself. But we had done it – we were a family, with two perfect children that were going to have two perfect futures. Well, as perfect as we could make them. After all, they were the Rebels' children.
Just as my eyes were starting to droop, Peeta's voice came from the dark.
"Will we ever tell them about the Games?"
It was an issue I had thought about for a long time, especially back when I was pregnant with Dawn. And I still didn't know a good answer.
"They should be…aware," I finally said with a sigh. "Not about what it entailed, but just…the mentality of our past lives."
Peeta didn't respond. I thought maybe he had fallen asleep, but one more question arose.
"Will you do something for me?"
"Anything," I replied.
"When I'm…well, when I have those hallucinations, don't let me near our kids. I don't want to hurt them."
I exhaled slowly, feeling endlessly sorry for my husband. How horrid it would be to not know/remember if you were going to hurt your family. I found his hand under the covers and took it.
"Alright, Peeta. But you're so strong. I don't think you realize how far you've become…That one night, you asked me about the Games, and it all went away, remember?"
He nodded. "I guess I have so much hope and love that I can't just give into the hallucinations anymore, even if I wanted to."
I leaned over to kiss him. "I'm proud of you."
"Our family's safe. Real or not real?"
It was a game we hadn't played in a long time. Presidents Snow and Coin were dead, the rebellion was successful, the Games were gone forever, and Peeta was here, with me, with our family. So it was with complete and utter surety that I replied, "Real."
And he smiled.
That's a wrap! Thanks so much for reading! I love writing about Katniss and Peeta and their family so keep an eye out for future stories and oneshots on them. I'd love it if you'd take a second to review; all of your reviews have been so lovely! Thank you!