CHAPTER 31

STAY

Clove POV

I was in labor probably for 9 or 10 hours after we heard about the attack to the squad, everyone rushed to my side immediately and in a matter of seconds I was on my way to the maternity area of the civil hospital of district 13, Annie and Enobaria were right next to me the whole time, the contractions started every 10 minutes and then after the hours went by they became closer and closer and just as them as another hour passed by I hoped to get news from Cato.

-"How are you holding it up Clo?"- Alec gently stroked my hair as another contraction went by.

-"It is fine nothing that I can't handle"- I answered as I let go of Johanna's hand.

-"Honey after you gave birth to twins there is nothing that you can't handle"- she said gently, I could feel the concerned looks on me, waiting for me to break down and burst into tears.

When the communication was lost I tought the worst, what if Cato was hurt? Or prisoner at the Capitol? Or, I forced myself not to think in the last option.

But soon enough someone reminded me that I needed to stay strong, after 9 hours the contractions are only spaced by a few seconds and Dr. Aurelius walks tough the door.

-"I think is time now Clove, we are going to take you to the delivery room, I assure you that you are going to have the best medical attention to make sure that you and the baby are okay".

I let a few tears slip down my cheeks, hoping that everyone thinks that is because of the pain of the contractions. The rest of the medical team is already waiting for us at the delivery room.

Annie lets me squeeze her hand as the contractions become harder and harder, I try to remember the breathing techniques that I learned when I was pregnant with the twins but every time I try to do it everything that comes out is a low whimper.

-"It is time to push now dear, I can see the head coming out"- I push with all my strength but the more I try the more I feel weak, like I'm out of breath but then I realize that it is not what I am missing.

-"Clove you need to try harder please, don't you want to see your baby?"- I push once again with all my strength and just when I am about to give up I feel a strong and warn hand replacing Annie's small one.

Cato POV

"We'll be returning to district 13 right away"- Plutarch informs with a triumphant smile as we all celebrate.

About 10 minutes after we take off a suspicious silence overcomes, the lights go out and we lose communication

The left wing of the hovercraft was knocked by a Capitol missile; I only have enough time to glance at Finnick before the whole part blows into pieces, I throw myself to the ground covering my head with my arms hoping that the rest of the squad was able to do the same. I feel a sudden pain in the back of my head and as I try to get on my feet darkness surrounds me.

-"Soldier Ludwig can you hear me? We have to move now!"- Boggs is shaking my shoulder as I manage to open my eyes once again- "Come on soldier we have to get moving now".

I take a look around and decide that the situation is not that bad until my eyes lay on Finnick and Plutarch, Finn is leaned against Plutarch who is lying down near what is left of the back part I start to walk towards them quickly and then I realize that Plutarch is giving the instructions to evacuate the hovercraft to Finn as he transfers the Holo, his lower body is trapped under big, crushed parts of the hovercraft.

-"Cato, Finn is your responsibility to take the rest of the squad out of here, the gate of the small emergency ship is at your right you just have to introduce the code that appears on the screen of the Holo, do not waste any time okay? The ship is not going to hold much longer".

"But wait we can try to get you out, we are not leaving you here"- I tell him is I try to get up to call the rest of the squad but he stops me right away.

"No soldier I am aware of the fact that I am not going to hold it much longer either that is why I want you to get everyone of here you have to do it, Is your duty as a rebel soldier"- he paused to inhale, barely- "Besides you two have a lot to live for, you have a family back home with those beautiful woman that loves you and I am sure that all of this will be worth it, the Capitol will fall"

As he hardly says those last words he slowly starts closing his eyes and his pulse descends, immediately we start leading our men to the ship, some of them have minor injuries, Finnick is the one that worries me the most, he has a cut in his head and forehead about 4 inches long and it is bleeding a lot.

As soon as we are settled on the ship we lay Finn down and with the help of the soldiers we start to cure the injuries with a first aid kit that we are able to find in the survival kit.

"Sir this ship is not nearly as fast as a hovercraft and the estimated time to arrive to 13 is two days, I have tried to reach communication but it keeps failing"- Pollux informs me a few hours later.

"It might be a problem later, but right now I believe that we have to concentrate on returning safely to the district"- Finnick adds from the makeshift stretcher.

"No sir but the problem is…- Pollux looks worriedly at both of us.

"What is it soldier"- I impatiently ask.

"They believe we are dead, when our hovercraft was hit Plutarch had established communication with the base but as the whole system collapsed we lost it but they continued hearing the attack until the communication was completely lost"

He stares simultaneously at Finnick and me waiting for our reactions or instructions but as we remain quiet he keeps talking.

"I managed to recover a recording of what was going on back in the base after the attack"- he pushed a yellow button and the recording started.

-"The mission was completed successfully, Soldier Odair and Soldier Ludwig were not requested as backups so you can tell Clove and Annie that…"- His voice distorts and the alarms start-

The next thing we hear is the voice of the commander back at the central base.

-"We have lost contact with Squad 53, try to reconnect immediately"- We hear how the team mobilizes quickly but then a soft whimper catches my attention. It's Clove.

-"Clove?"- Annie's voice sound concerned, it is followed by a pain gasp.

-"I think my water just broke"-

We are about 800 miles away from home.

There is no communication.

My wife probably believes that I am dead.

Possibly she is in labor right now.

The anxiety and despair that I feel next are impossible to explain, I try not to imagine how Clove must be feeling right now, she must think that she is all by herself and about to give birth.

"Soldiers you heard it, we have to do the impossible to take Soldier Ludwig back home to the birth of his daughter, if that is not enough motivation imagine the fury of Mr. Ludwig if we don't make it on time".

The motivation seems to work because everyone starts working immediately checking our fuel, trying to fix the communication and arranging supplies and I am able to feel the optimism of the whole squad.

I am about to go and join Finnick at the control panel to check the most recent information when I feel a strong pain in the back of my head, it feels as it a million of little daggers were embedded all around and everything turns black once again.

As darkness surrounds me all I try to do is going back, Clove needs me, my twins needs me, our new baby needs me, I try and I try but dark waters keep dragging me back. I keep fighting for what it seems an eternity until I feel a pinch in my left arm.

Next thing I feel a cool breeze in my whole body and slowly I start getting the sound of voices, I am a bit scared of opening my eyes but when I do it I see Brutus and Finnick staring closely at me.

-"Cato everything is okay, you are all safe, during the attack you hurted your head pretty bad, you have a concussion but you are doing it all right"- Brutus voice becomes clearer and clearer until it sounds perfectly clear.

When I look at my surrounds I notice that we are not longer in the shift, instead we are surrounded by white walls and silver ceilings. I look for an answer and Finnick's wide smile gives it to me.

-"Right after you fell unconscious Pollux was able to establish communication, Brutus send a rescue shift immediately, It only took us about two hours to get back to 13".

As soon as I hear that I get on my feet and look for the door to get out as soon as I can.

-"She is at the maternity area, probably at the delivery room you better hurry up!"

-"Don't you ever dare to do that to me again!"- was the first thing that my wife told me when she saw me.

Cali Rose Ludwig was born on September 9th at 7:04 p.m just 2 minutes after her father went into the delivery room. 6.61 pounds, 52 cm, soft chestnut hair and her beautiful eyes the same color as the stone that I gave Clove on our wedding day.

That day September 9th in late afternoon, all covered in sweat and tears streaming down her face was when I tought that I couldn't love her more, but a minute after I heard the most beautiful sound of the world and a few hours later while I watched the love of my life holding our little Cali in her arms surrounded by Cade and Claire I realized that my love for them is infinite.

I can't apologize enough for all the time that took me to update, these past months I felt like I needed my whole concentration in some other things such as school, my health and my family but I never forgot about this story or you guys. Of course that I can't thank you enough for your support with reviews and PM's asking me to please update.

That is why I have decided to write an epilogue just for you guys who have been amazing readers this whole time, I want you to write on your reviews or PM me something that you want me to include as well as how many years from now do you want the epilogue to be.

I pretty pretty love you all.

I'll be reading every review and PM

marianeclover.