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"The Old Training Center?" I say in disgust. "We're staying the in the Training Center?"
"Isn't it wonderful?" Effie says in joy. Haymitch rolls her eyes. Sometimes I wonder how the hell they've made it as a couple. "Isn't it wonderful, Haymitch?"
"It's wonderful," Haymitch says in a mocking tone.
"We'll be staying in District 12's old quarters, as well!" Effie says. "This is absolutely wonderful!"
"Find another word, dear," Haymitch says, guiding us to the elevator.
"Mommy, what's the Training Center?" Xander asks.
I think for a moment to formulate my response. "The Training Center is where me and your dad used to stay when we came here."
"Why did you come here?" he asks.
"Work," I say.
"Oh!" Xander says. "I guess that makes sense." When the elevator begins to move, Xander, Runyon, and Audree jump.
"What is going on?" asks Audree, clinging to the side of the elevator.
"It's taking us up to our quarters!" Effie squeals. "Have you never ridden an elevator?"
"Audree has, many times," Peeta says. "The boys haven't."
"I've ridden these?" Audree asks.
"When you were a baby," I say. "You've probably ridden in this very one a hundred times."
"How come I don't remember?" she asks.
"You were about three months old," Peeta says.
"How old was I?" asks Xander.
"Negative six," grunts Haymitch.
"Negative six?" Xander asks. "I'm not even six though!"
"You weren't born yet," I tell him, smacking Haymitch's arm.
"How come?" asks Xander.
"Because your mom and I were seventeen years old," Peeta says.
"You had me at seventeen?" Audree asks, dumbfounded.
"Actually, your mom was sixteen," Peeta says.
"Oh my God," Audree says. "You were just kids!"
"You're telling me," I mutter.
"How old were you when you had me?" asks Xander.
"Twenty-three," Peeta says.
"They were just kids then, too," Haymitch points out. "Still are, to be quite honest."
"Uncle Haymitch, how come you and Aunt Effie don't have kids?" Xander asks.
My mouth drops in surprise. "Xander, you're not supposed to ask those kinds of questions," I say. "I'm sorry, guys, he didn't know–"
"We don't have kids because I'm fifty years old, kiddo," Haymitch says. "And your Aunt Effie isn't much younger than me."
"But I am younger," Effie clarifies. "I am not fifty."
"Don't make it sound so awful," Haymitch says.
Effie sighs. "I wish you'd let me get plastic surgery done. I wouldn't look as . . . saggy."
"You're not getting plastic surgery done, your boobs are fine," Haymitch snaps. I clap my hands over Audree's ears. The boys are young enough that they don't know what 'boobs' are.
"Haymitch!" Peeta says. "Can you save that for later, please?"
"Daddy, what are boobs?" asks Xander.
"Thank you, Haymitch," Peeta says. "They're nothing, Xander."
"You won't think that ten years from now," Haymitch laughs. "You'll love them, Xander."
"Haymitch, for crying out loud!" I say. "He's five years old!"
"Never too young to learn about boobs," Haymitch says.
"Haymitch, please," Effie says. "You're embarrassing me."
Finally, we reach the top floor. I'm flooded with some unpleasant and very pleasant memories as the doors open. Audree, Xander, and Runyon run into the room. They've never seen anything like it. But Haymitch, Effie, Peeta, and I stand for a moment, taking in something we haven't seen for eleven years. Nothing's been moved. It's completely unchanged.
"There's nothing . . . different," Effie says, taking a tentative step in. "The only thing missing is the tributes."
"This is unreal," I say. "There's even the same amount of food as there was eleven years ago."
"It's like nothing's different," Haymitch says, contempt in his voice. "You'd think they'd at least . . . memorialize all that were lost."
"There's a museum for all the lost tributes, Haymitch, you know that," Effie says.
"There is?" Peeta and I ask at the same time.
"Well, yes," Effie says. "You two should go at some point. You have an exhibit yourself."
"Excuse me?" Peeta asks.
"There's an exhibit for each Games," explains Haymitch. "And there's a picture of all the tributes with a little biography and the victor has a little gold frame around their picture. So you guys are in for the 74th. But you guys brought down the Games, so you have a special exhibit at the very end of the museum."
"You should go," Effie says. "I think you'll enjoy it."
"We could go tomorrow," Peeta says. "That's when we have free-time."
"With the kids?" I ask incredulously.
"Leave the boys with us," Haymitch says. "But the girl deserves to know. She was alive and played a pivotal part in it, after all."
I sigh. "She does deserve to know."
Peeta nods. "Tomorrow, then."
We eat dinner and put the kids to bed. Runyon and Xander are in Peeta's old room. Audree's in Effie's old room. Haymitch and Effie are in Haymitch's old room and then Peeta and I are back in my old room. I go to the bathroom and remember the first time Peeta and I got physical, right there on the wall. The memory makes me laugh. Once we're sure everyone's asleep, we sneak up to the roof, where we first made love and conceived Audree.
"Crazy to think how much different things are," he points out as we sit, overlooking the new Capitol. "It's only been twelve years."
"Only?" I say.
"She's eleven," he says softly. "Eleven. Remember when we thought she wasn't even going to make it to one?"
"I think about that every time she snaps at one of us," I say.
He laughs. "That attitude is from your side of the family."
"Oh, please," I say. "She's got a little bit of your mother in her."
"Well, we're all screwed," he laughs. "But I think she's got some Prim, too."
"Prim's a freaking angel!" I say.
"She's done her fair amount of snapping at us," Peeta laughs. "And so has your mother."
"She hasn't in a long time," I say. "Eleven years, in fact."
"No, she's snapped at me since then," Peeta says. "Every time I get you pregnant."
I laugh. "She doesn't like to have people fucking with her daughter," I tease.
"No, I'm not fucking with her daughter, I'm just fucking her daughter," he says, kissing my cheek. "That's probably even worse, huh."
"I would imagine so," I laugh.
"When was the last time we did that?" Peeta asks.
"What?" I ask. "Sex?"
"Yeah," he says. "It's been awhile."
"A few weeks, a month," I shrug. "That's what happens when you have three kids."
"Do you want another?" he asks. "I kind of want another."
"Another kid?" I ask. "Peeta, I thought we said Runyon was it."
"We said that about Xander, too," Peeta says. "I want another baby girl. Two and two, doesn't that sound right?"
"I'm perfectly fine with two and one, honestly," I say.
"You know I can convince you to do anything," he says seductively. "I know all your weak spots."
"You really want four?" I say, turning to look at him.
"I've always wanted four," he shrugs. "You're a great mom, Katniss. I don't know why it scares you so much."
"There's going to be four of them and two of us," I warn.
"Yeah, because we don't have Haymitch, Effie, your mother, Prim, Rory, Vick, Blye, Gale, and Madge within spitting distance to help us," Peeta laughs.
"You're serious, aren't you?"
He nods. "What do you say?"
I think for a moment. Four can't be much different than three, right? And we have such a large support system at home. "I say let's go for it."