People always assumed that Annie Cresta wouldn't be able to do anything on her own after what had happened to her. She was left in district four without her Finnick, the only person besides perhaps her mother who could break her from her fuzzy spells. The Capitol stealing her from her home and using her as a hostage, and torturing her, even if they knew she had no idea what the plans the rebels had were. Finally being reunited with her love, and being romanced, marrying, and spending time with him until he had to leave, to fight for the cause. What people didn't think would happen, was that while he was away, things would change drastically, before the news of his death even reached public ears.
Within a week of Finnick leaving her back in district thirteen, Annie had started to become a little sick. She'd been having some spells lately, and so had been given a nurse to take care of her while her husband was away. "Finnick's coming back," she'd whisper to herself whenever she was getting a little lonely, playing with her wedding ring the way she knew he liked to play with it when he was around. When she had unbearable stomach pains, or began to see unpleasant images in her mind, she curled up and reminded herself of the words that Finnick had always reminded her of, that there was always the calm after the storm. It was her only comfort, being able to imagine it in his voice while he was away. Little did she know, she was going to be missing him even more in the next few weeks.
After a couple weeks of being in pain, Annie began to notice her stomach rising up, like the cakes and treats she and Finnick had shared in their younger years back home. Knowing the girl was out of it, the nurses didn't tell her much at all, other than small words of encouragement for when she was getting a dose of medication, or something of the sort, and Annie didn't pay much attention to them at all either way, only catching a few words here and there. Once she had heard those magic words, though, her whole life had been changed for the better.
Annie had always loved kids. Children were young. They didn't know what was right or wrong in the world. They didn't have to worry about the reaping day, or working to provide for their family. She remembered, when she was barely two years old, she had learned to swim all on her own, toddling on over to the ocean with her mother and simply going for it. The feel of the cool water on her small feet, the sand in between her toes, everything about it just made her happy to think about it. Perhaps, since she couldn't remember her childhood past eleven years old, she could remember back as far as two. Or maybe that was how she wished her childhood was like. No matter what the situation was, as soon as Annie heard those magic words, her mind cleared of the fog and could suddenly pay more than attention to what was happening.
"Annie? Annie, you're going to have a baby…" one of the district nurses told her, gently nudging the girl's shoulder with a gloved hand. In a way, she had sympathy for the girl, who had seemed to be lost in her own mind and space until she said those words.
The girl's eyes widened, looking around the room she had been led to. The same plain, white walls, which actually really scared her surrounded the area, since all rooms looked the same to her when she walked into them. She was in a separate room, probably since they didn't want her to scare the other patients in the event she had a breakdown, and it was quite spacious. Almost the size of hers and Finnick's room. All the nurses were dressed in the white outfits everyone else wore in the hospital ward, and her bed on wheels was rather sturdy, and surprisingly soft as she laid in it, completely still.
"What?" she quickly asked the nurses, trying to let the news sink in as they worked around her. Was what they said really true, or were they just trying to make her happy again? She had to make sure what was true, and so immediately wrapped her arms around her stomach, as if to protect the little life inside.
"You're… having a baby," the nurses repeated, seeming a little confused by it. She and Finnick had been married a few months before he left in his squad to fight in the Capitol, and it had been a while since they had heard anything from the front lines. No one else was ever with Annie, and he had been training for the mission quite vigorously. This was truly a surprise that she had managed to conceive a baby in such a short amount of time.
A smile spread quickly across Annie's face, looking down at her stomach and starting to rub her palm in circles on it, even overtop of her clothes. "A baby…" she whispered, her cheeks going a rosy red with sheer pride. She knew that her Finnick would be just as happy as her, or more. As soon as she was assigned a nurse to follow her around and take care of her, the district being so short on population, Annie rushed for the phone Finnick had got her in their room, and frantically called the base camp, so much so that her nurse had to take it away, telling her that it was time for her to rest, and Annie began to protest much like a smile child would, bursting into tears and rocking back and forth on her side, leaving the space on Finnick's side of the bed, in case he came back to her and this was all just a terrible nightmare.
After days of calling and calling, Annie finally got a hold of her husband, ecstatic to have finally gotten somewhere with her calls. "Finnick?" she asked eagerly, trying to be cautious, like he had told her to be of other people. He didn't want her to be harmed when he wasn't there to help take care of her.
Finnick himself seemed to be a little short of breath, but happy all the same. "Hey Annie…" he breathed, some rustling coming from the other end of the phone as he got himself sitting for what he could assume would be a long phone conversation. It wasn't like he really minded much; after all, she was his wife, and they hadn't spoken for a while. "Are you doing alright without me?"
At first, Annie nodded, forgetting that Finnick couldn't see her, and caught herself. "Yes, I am… I have something that I have to tell you," she told him, quite calmly for the subject of conversation she was about to bring up.
Finnick smiled to himself, leaning against the table that the single camp phone was set on, something that he himself requested. "What is it?" he asked, not expecting anything big at all, like she had planned.
"I'm having a baby." Those words sounded so odd to her, now that she spoke them aloud to Finnick. So soon, so fast… It was good for them, though. She knew that he would be as good of a father as any other person could be. In fact, she bet that if they were at home, things would be even better. Their real home, in district four, where they had both grown up.
Finnick himself was in a state of shock. Never did he think that she would be expecting this soon, this quickly. But, of course, he wasn't going to complain. "You are?" he asked softly, getting a little choked up. He could be emotional when he wanted to be, and when he pictured Annie's sea green eyes staring longingly at him, a sweet smile on her face as she rocked a little baby- their baby- in her arms, it made him almost start to cry a little. Never did he think life would be so good, or would he be able to make life so good for his Annie.
Annie nodded quickly to herself, a smile growing on her face quicker than it ever had. "Mhmm… and now it's getting bigger, and my belly's getting all rounded…" she told him, her palm going over her stomach as they spoke, as if comforting herself and their unborn child.
He chuckled happily, leaning back and simply letting out a breath. "I'm so happy, Annie… You take good care of that baby until I get back and I can help you around, okay?" he asked, feeling a little lightheaded. Wow, he was really going to be a father.
"When are you getting back?" she blurted out. She had been calling him nonstop, and he was never there, but she never saw him on the news or tv stations. She missed her husband, it had been weeks already. All she wanted was to spend some time with him, maybe go on a little walk, and sleep with someone's arm around her.
Finnick bit his lip. How could he tell this to her without making her upset? "I… I don't know right now, Annie. But I'll come home soon, I promise," he told her, his sweet voice becoming music for her ears. She now had something to hope for, something to wait by the door by to perhaps occupy herself over the long days of waiting.
"Okay," she responded, neither upset, nor pleased. Sure, he was going to come back, but for Annie, everything ran on time. She wanted to know when now, so that she knew. She didn't really like to play guessing games.
After that, the call lasted for a good hour, at least, until Finnick was needed again at camp and it was time for Annie's bath. They talked about what life was like without one another, what they thought about at night, how well the rebellion was fighting back, all those things. Annie had tried to talk about baby things, but without Finnick actually there, it wasn't the same for either of them, really.
When it came time to say goodbye, Finnick told her that he would be back soon, and not to worry about him. He could take care of himself, and she needed to worry about their baby, and not him. He wasn't even sure that she wasn't hallucinating anything, which she sometimes did, but knew that she would be up to the job of doing what was best for the baby. When she hung up the phone, those were the words that rang through her mind, even long after the phone call had ended.
Don't worry about him.
That was what called through her mind for the next few weeks following, after hearing nothing from Finnick in all that time. He told her not to worry, and so decided to not call him anymore. In all honesty, she was quite confident that he would be okay on his own, but she was his wife; of course she would want to know about him.
One night, as she laid in bed the usual way that she did, leaving space for Finnick on the other side, something strange happened. Although she heard nothing, she distinctly felt someone play with her hair from behind her, the spot where he used to sleep. She quickly turned over, hoping that she would find her husband there, and was pleasantly surprised.
There he was, smiling at her, his golden complexion almost making him glow in the dim light of the room, since Annie had always been too scared to sleep with it off. He reached out, tucking her hair behind her ear and gently pressing his lips to her forehead. He didn't say a word, not that he had to to get Annie excited. As soon as she registered who it was, her arms went around him quickly, crying silently to herself. "Finnick, Finn, you came back…" she sobbed, as he pressed a finger to her lips and shushed her.
"Finn, I missed you so much…" she whispered to him, curling up on him and laying her head on his chest. Even though he was glowing, he didn't seem to be very warm. He let one arm go around her middle, the other resting on her protruding belly, rubbing tenderly at the skin.
Annie's stomach churned as he did so, breathing in deeply. "I don't ever want you to leave me…" she whispered again, Finnick's shushing getting increasingly louder.
"I won't, I promise," he told her, seeming to have tears in his eyes as he continuously rubbed at her stomach. "You have to promise me you'll be strong for our little baby, okay?" he stated comfortingly, gently petting her hair as he usually did to calm her from one of her spells. He gently pressed her lips to his, holding the back of her neck in his palm. She had begun to cry, but he reached over, using his thumb to wipe away her tears once he'd pulled away. "You need to promise me."
Breaking out into a sweat from her anxiety, making her hair stick to her forehead, Annie nodded quickly. Drops of tears were stuck in her eyelashes, and when she opened her eyes, they were also filled with tears, making the sea green seem to actually be little spheres of water.
"I promise," she whispered, her bottom lip shaking slightly as she said so, staring into his eyes longingly.
And then, it was all gone. Finnick was no longer there. Annie's nurse had heard her crying, and so came into the room, peeking into the doorway. "Annie…? Are you alright in there?" she asked, the girl now spread across her double bed, tears rolling down her face, and looking absolutely desperate. There was no sign that Finnick was ever there.
"Finnick, he came back, he was in bed with me…" she whispered again, looking back at the nurse and glancing around the room. Everything else was in its place, as if there were no signs of anyone, let alone Finnick, coming into the room. "Where did he go?" she asked, her voice having barely any life in it anymore.
Her nurse sighed, walking over to her in the dim lighting. "Annie, you were just having a dream… A very real dream," she told her, reaching out and stroking her head, the girl pulling away quickly. She didn't want to be anywhere near that sensation if it wasn't her husband finally back to hold and love her.
"He was here, he kissed me, he made me promise to take care of the baby…" she cried, her heart heavy as her bottom lip shook from her tears. How could she have imagined that? She felt him, touching her stomach, her neck, her lips, and had actually talked to him. And he had spoken back. Why was that so hard to believe?
But then, she remembered why she had the nurse in the first place. They didn't think she could take care of herself. She was only a poor mad girl; Why would anyone choose to believe her, of all people?
"It was just a dream, only a dream…" her nurse reassured her, tucking her into the blankets and taking a seat on the bag, as Annie simply cried. It wasn't until then did she really see how much she missed and craved his presence.
Weeks had passed by, and there was no news of anyone. Katniss had her fame on television, showing her executing President Coin, President Snow dying in his own sickly manner, and the others being put in their rightful place, recognized for their efforts. Never once did Annie see Finnick. Where was he? He had to be okay. He just had to be. He was so fit, and had a wife and baby to look after… Why wasn't he with them?
At this point, nurses who had been told what had happened to certain members of the group knew that they had to tell Annie about her husband. How could they lie anymore? Make her have false hope? Her heart would be broken, possibly shattered, but at least she would be able to build herself back up before her child was born.
They had tried to tell her gently, in a way that wouldn't hurt her, but as soon as the words came from their mouths, Annie's face showed her sorrow. "No… no, you're lying," she started, her breathing picking up and her chest heaving. "You're lying to me, tell me where he is!" she screamed, tears streaming down her face as she did so, her face draining of color. This was her absolute worst nightmare. They had been together their whole life, and now everything was supposed to just change?
Her fighting got so bad, the nurses had to pin her down, giving her sedatives to calm her nerves. They claimed it was for the baby, but really, they couldn't stand to see Annie in such heartbreak. How could they go on with this girl so scared, and have it be all their fault? They had known for weeks already, and as her child grew bigger, the more anxious they were to keep it a secret.
"I want to go home," Annie whispered once she had come out of her slumber, forced by the drugs, her eyelids still half closed. "I want to go home." This time, she said it firmer, more as a command. If her Finnick was anywhere, he was at home, in district four, and at that point, she just had to get away. Visiting her home, or even permanently living there wouldn't be a horrible thing. She trusted her mother much more than any of these nurses.
As she packed her things quickly, permission being granted for her to leave almost immediately, everything that she could relate to Finnick, she packed. His clothes, his rope, their wedding pictures, the flowers he always liked to put in her hair. She knew that he would need them after he got back home, and then they could resume life like normal. She didn't trust any nurse, she knew that Finnick was alive, and that he couldn't possibly be hurt.
The ride to district four was like a lifetime to Annie. She spent the time staring out the window, watching the rain fall onto the glass windows. She was anxiously awaiting the arrival of the train at the station, her hand resting on her now decently sized belly. What would lie ahead in district four? In her mind, she saw Finnick waiting for her at the station, arms outstretched, ready to help his wife off of the train. But then she remembered what she had promised him. She had to stay strong for their baby. She knew that she had to keep herself from getting into the hospital, sick with grief- Finnick wouldn't have wanted that. He would want her to live, especially for their child.
Maybe that was it. Once she took control, Annie didn't seem as mad as she did before. Sometimes, she spaced out, or heard things, making her curl up and cry, but she remembered what Finnick would tell her, and that got her to calm down. She missed him, and some nights were horrible now that she knew he was gone, but she knew that they always came to an end. Those ends were what kept her running.
When she arrived, instead of her lost husband waiting for her, Annie found her mother on the platform, who took her bags for her and brought her back to the Victor's Village of district four, located on the nicest part of the shoreline. Annie's room, which her mother hadn't changed since she last left, had a beautiful view of the water, showing the sun as it set across the horizon. It set a beautiful color on her walls, as the girl put all her things away, both in the closet and drawers, as well as dressing up the bed.
On her first night arriving, her mother knew that Annie, even though she didn't express it right away, she was missing Finnick like nothing else. The two had grown up with each other, so she thought that she had something that would at least comfort her a little bit. She made her way up the stairs, tray in hand, with a nice, calming tea and cookies for her, along with a little surprised.
As she approached her daughter's door, her mother gave a cautious knock on the doorframe, not having known how she acted after all the time that had passed. They looked rather similar, the same hair that flowed down to about their shoulders, the same eyes, although her mother had more blue in them than Annie, and they both had the same face shape. Other than that, though, the two were quite different, and so were always working on trying to connect more.
"Annie?" she asked softly, peeking into the room and seeing her daughter on her bed, staring out the open window, letting in the slight breeze.
"Finnick always loved sunsets…" she explained to her mother, never once breaking her gaze with the sunset. Sometimes, in district thirteen, she and Finnick would go out to see them, and he'd assure her that they'd be able to get safely back home, to where they grew up. This was their moment for her.
Her mother smiled, sitting down beside her daughter and pulling her hair over one shoulder and stroking it softly. "He was a great boy, wasn't he?" she asked softly, putting the cup of tea on her side table, along with the cookies. She didn't want to set her off, but the only way to talk about it was in a way that would get her to be happy.
Annie nodded, looking down at her hands as her mother handed her a stack of photos, leaning over and pecking her daughter's cheek. "Think these might help you a little bit?" she asked, the girl starting to flip through them and see that they were pictures, old and new, of her and Finnick. In one, they couldn't have been any older than six, playing in the surf on the coastline of the sea. In another, it was a picture of their wedding, Annie looking beautiful in her green gown that she had borrowed from Katniss. You could almost see the love in their eyes as they stared at each other in the photo. Another as their salt water kiss. One from them shortly before she was reaped for the Games. The good times in her life, as she recalled.
As she looked at the pictures, a few tears rolled down her cheeks, falling onto them and running down onto her stomach. "I miss him so much."
Her mother nodded, wrapping an arm around her. "I know, sweetheart, I know…" she whispered, comforting her daughter the most that she could in the situation that she was in. She hadn't dealt with heartbreak like this, and didn't think her daughter would have to either.
"Honey… How about we make sure that you never forget him?" her mother asked, taking the photos from her and holding them lightly. "You'll never let him go. He wouldn't want you upset for your whole life, right?" she asked, reaching over and trying to wipe her eyes dry.
"I promised him," Annie hiccupped, closing her eyes tightly before looking over at her again, her eyes red. "I promised I'd take care of our baby…" she told her, whining and leaning her head onto her mother's shoulder.
The woman smiled, pecking her daughter on the forehead. "You will. Your little one will grow up knowing who it's father was. A hero," she told her, getting her to look up by holding her by the chin with her index finger. She wanted to make things the best that it could be for her poor daughter.
Annie nodded hesitantly. She knew that she had to open herself up somewhat, and if this was how she did it, so be it. Anything was worth a try at this point. She was having nightmares, making herself sick to her stomach with it. She had the baby to take care of right then.
So, over the next little while, her mother helped her with making a wall dedicated to Finnick in her room, in the spot that the sun hit every morning and every night. All different sorts of pictures, shells that they had collected, his rope on a shelf that had everything he loved; all of these things made Annie feel safe, like she had him looking over her all the time. When she had her attacks, she felt his warmth around her, and every time she felt lonely, she would look at the pictures mounted on the wall and it would make her feel like he was really there to comfort her.
Time came and went by quicker than anyone could take notice of, and Annie gave birth to a beautiful little boy, with his father's hair and his mother's eyes. She had an overwhelming desire to call him Finnick, in honor of his father, and when no other suggestions came through, she more than happily gave her son the name. When she was able to take him home, she set him down in his crib, making sure to be extra careful with him, smiling at him over the top of the crib. "Your daddy's so happy right now…" she whispered to her son, kissing his forehead as Finnick did to her when she was upset.
One thing was for sure. She was not going to let the love Finnick showed her go to waste. And she was not going to let her son grow up not knowing what a brave, kind, and honorable man his father was. She would never forget the man that changed her life from the day that they met.