(A/N – I do not own The Hunger Games or the characters in any way; all rights are reserved to Suzanne Collins.)
The news seemed to have frozen her on the spot. That one word continued to rebound off the insides off her skull. But she had proof. The stick she held shakily in her hands, was all the proof she needed to see.
There was a time before this that she had fallen pregnant. It was stupid of her to do so, but she loved the man so much, it was an unstoppable event. But what had happened during the few first tender weeks had ruined her and she swore she wouldn't love again – let alone fall pregnant; there was too much at stake, like losing Haymitch as she did Seneca, like losing this baby like she did the last one.
A sharp knock thrust her back into reality and she dropped the pregnancy test on the floor, the impact with the tiles continuing to make her jump again.
"Effie," a voice called through the door, "Are you okay?" Effie hadn't realised it, but she had tears running down her cheeks.
She was happy, yes, but the doubt that had always sufficed in the back of her mind now taunted her. What happened if she miscarried, what happened if her other half didn't want children, what happened if she, herself, wasn't ready for a child?
"I'm fine," she called back, although she was afraid to stand up as her body couldn't stop shaking. "Really, I'll be out now," she finished in finality, more so to herself than in response to Haymitch's question.
Usually, Effie would hear the soft clicking of her lover's shoes as they made contact with the wooden paned floors as he walked away, comforted by her words, but today he it was different. There was an air of importance that surrounded the two figures, separated only by a wall.
"I know when you're okay, Effie," Haymitch retorted, finally.
Effie looked up from her clasped hands to the door which she knew Haymitch stood behind. Her breathing was disorganised, which, considering her orderly personality, was out of character for her. But this was called for. How often is something this precious granted to someone so undeserving as herself?
Reaching forwards, Effie picked up the pregnancy test, replacing it back on the side, next to the sink. She pushed herself up, determined to let go of her worries and be happy. She got as far as the door before she stopped again and placed two palms on the door in front of her, resting her forehead against the wooden door between her two palms. She couldn't do this. She couldn't go out to Haymitch how she needed to, and it annoyed her. Tears continued to slide out from behind her closed lids – happy tears, yes, but the apprehension of telling Haymitch tensed her body and gave her fear away far too obviously.
"Effie," a voice whispered, again.
Breathing in, she took the short pause to build her courage up again. Removing a palm from against the bathroom door, Effie replaced her hand on the door handle and applied slight pressure until the door opened, just a crack, to reveal a figure standing and waiting, its arms crossed in front of his chest. The man's eyes snapped from the floor to Effie's face as she emerged from her protective shelter.
"What's wrong, Sweetheart?" Came the concerned question.
Effie couldn't quite respond in a coherent fashion; she wanted to cry, she wanted to laugh, she wanted to kiss him, she wanted to never let him go, but it all bubbled down into a weak cry between a laugh and a sob as Haymitch took her into his arms.
"Nothing's wrong," she managed to gasp, finally.
"Then why are you crying?" Effie wrapped her arms around Haymitch's shoulders and held more tightly on, resting her head on his chest, listening to his heart beat through her left ear pressed against his jumper, suddenly realising that there were now three people in the room. The joy of that realisation choked her for a second before she regained her composure and pulled away to level her gaze with Haymitch.
Effie could tell he didn't believe her replies. She wasn't okay, in fact she was over the moon, however, translating her joy into words was far harder than she had anticipated.
"Haymitch," Effie began, her voice just barely a whisper, "Give me your hands." Haymitch looked hesitant and rather concerned with the his partner's behaviour, but after a while, Effie wrapped her slender fingers around Haymitch's wrists and pulled him close to her, eventually placing his two palms on her abdomen.
At first, Haymitch didn't understand what Effie was trying to say, but as more tears slid down her cheeks, and her small smile became a beaming grin, he realised just exactly why she was making no sense.
"No," he breathed as a smile broke across his own face. "No!" Effie gave an amused and relieved laugh as Haymitch pulled her in to his chest, picking her off the floor and spinning her around once before the two figures fell back against the opposite wall, Effie landing on top of Haymitch.
"Our baby," Effie whispered, so quietly that Haymitch had to pinch himself to make himself believe that it was real.
Haymitch stroked his lover's cheek and smiled peacefully. "Our dandelion," he agreed.
And it was true, because their baby offered hope after such terrible circumstances. Their baby could grow up without fear. And their baby was the start of a new and brighter future which Effie and Haymitch could've only before dreamed of.
A/N – This idea suddenly hit me. I had to write it! And no, I never have pictured Effie as too old to bear a child, or Haymitch too old to become a father. I believe the two of them are the perfect age, in my mind at least, to begin a family.
Anyways, I really hope you enjoyed this! I adored writing it!
If so, Please Review!
Thanks, Katie1995. :)