Sometimes, she falls apart.
Her world unravels before her, her emotions and memories all flooding back.
She's devastated that her loved one has passed.
But most of all, she's tormented. She's tormented by their son, a young boy with bronze hair and deep, endless ocean eyes.
She sees Finnick every day in that little boy— the way he acts, the way he swims in the ocean as if he belonged to the sea. He kills her when she sees him, a ghost of his father, and yet, his own person, too. But she finds happiness in the child, in his laugh, in his innocent words and the soft voice that speaks them. She loves his playfulness, his kindness, his compassion for the ones he loves.
He is not Finnick, yet most of the time, the haunting memory of the boy's father the only thing she can see.
Every night, she dreams of him. She had never been given the details of how he died, spared of the gruesome description of his death. But that leaves so much more to her imagination. Terrifying nightmares make their way into her brain and slowly, she loses her sanity all over again.
She sees the mutts, tearing him apart limb by limb, dragging his bloody body parts into the sewer. His shouts of anguish resonate in her dreams and pound on the inside of her head. Sometimes, the scene is different— he's alive, but barely, being dragged away like a useless puppet into some Capitol cell, being forced to admit his wrongdoings. But he never does.
She a knife plunging into his body, blood falling and dripping out like drops of rain, falling onto the hard concrete floor. He drops to the ground, almost dying. But they keep him alive, and start the torture again.
At other times, she sees lighting coursing through his veins and reaching his brain, lighting him up then calming down again. He shudders, his body moving around in spasms until the pulse of electricity runs up again, through his body like blood. She hears the pain in his cries, haunting screams and bloodshot eyes that were once such a beautiful green. She sees the tortured tears rolling down his face, finally stopping when his heart has had too much and he's given up.
The dreams have been worse, though. She'll see water everywhere, breaking violently against the sides of a deep, tall glass tank— too much to handle, fast rapids spinning around and sucking him in. He tries to swim away, but the grasp of the water is too strong. It tosses him around and throws him up and down, until it finally wraps around him and pulls him under. Minutes pass before the water finally spits the dead body out, a bloody, blue figure on the ground of a Captiol cell. Her last image is of a man, dead on the ground, suffocated by water, a friend turned into a foe.
That's usually when the screams start.
She jumps up in her bed, shrill, unhuman screams coming from the back of her mouth, a warm scream filling up the back of her throat.
"Come back!" she wails, as if it could help raise Finnick from the dead. But he is gone, so she sobs alone in her bed, always left waiting for a man who will never return, a dead man.
Quietly, without her knowing, the young boy comes into the room, used to the familiar sounds of her screams. He looks tired, but he climbs in anyways and stays awake, letting his mother wrap her arms around him.
Together, they let her sobs lull both of them to sleep, until all the nightmares are forgotten again.
Usually, life goes on normally, as if he is still well and alive, happy and with the ones he loves. She wakes up in the morning with the rising summer sun and watches the sea outside their little house. The waves break and crash over the shore, the morning sun rising over and illuminating their little world in a spectrum of warm reds and pinks and oranges. She sits on the shore, alone, her little boy sleeping soundly through the peaceful morning.
"It's beautiful, isn't it, Finnick?" she whispers, as if someone was sitting next to her. Her hand is outreached, as if her petite little fingers were intertwined with another's.
There's never any response, but she still smiles absently and continues to watch the lapping waves, drifting around in the memories of her short-lasting infinity.
Peeta and I check up on her sometimes. We have dinner at her house with her son, and everything seems fun and happy. Sometimes, we'll stay over, bringing our children. They'll be telling Annie's son about their lives, what they are learning in school, a new song they learned. They are innocent. Young. Content.
Peeta stays in and watches them as I go outside on the beach to sit with Annie. We don't talk; we just listen to the ocean as it breaks onto the shore and falls back again, receeding into the vast sea which it came from. We sit in silence with our sorrows and losses, but don't talk about it. The company of another survivor, another friend who understands, is enough.
She is by herself, still. She's lost Finnick, her husband, her love, her anchor. She is alone, besides her son. She's like a lifeless dolphin who has been dragged away from the sea, away from its home, away from its heart. She could have been so alive, but instead, she is so hollow.
But I swear, I capture a glance of a young woman and man, standing in the ocean together, their fingers threaded together, indivisible. No one seeing them can doubt their love. Their love is young, their love is perfect, and it will always be that way.
They are forever.