I woke up in District 12's only clinic, disoriented and upset. I couldn't shake that constant feeling of abandonment that my mother had brought out in me since the first time I saw that blank stare after my father's death. It was nothing new. I had made the decision to let her in, let her be a mother, and she couldn't handle it. Was I that much of a monster, my own mother couldn't stand to see me? I glanced above my head from where I was laying and noticed Peeta absentmindedly stroking my hair. He looked off into the distance, watching the door for any signs of movement.
"Peet." I croaked out. I didn't know how long I'd been out, but it was long enough for my voice to go hoarse apparently. "Peeta, what happened?"
Peeta came to immediately, kissing my forehead and smiling gently. "Katniss, I'm so glad you're okay. I-I never saw you like that before."
"Peeta, what happened?" I emphasized again.
"Katniss… Like I said, I had never seen you like that before, you know? The doctor said you won't remember a lot of what happened because the area of your brain that records new memories was temporarily impaired. It happens when there is an influx of endorphins apparently. You, um, after your mother called, you started shattering things and shouting expletives. Behavior which, on the whole, wouldn't have been that bad had you not gotten this terrible look in your eyes. It was like you were having a flashback of your own or something." I struggled to sit up and realized how dry my throat was.
"I'll get you something to drink, okay?" He pressed a button and a nurse rushed in with a glass of water. This was one of the bigger benefits of the war. The new government had made it a point to provide adequate medical care to all citizens. Doctors and nurses still disarmed me. The only medical personnel I ever knew were my mother and Prim. "I didn't know what to make of it. I wrapped my arms around you, pinning yours to your side. Then your body went limp."
I looked at Peeta and thought what I knew he wouldn't- I was scary. The monster that my mother had tried so hard to avoid was out and in full form. Destroying the only home Peeta and I had ever shared.
"Peeta, I'm so sorry." I choked out, tears streaming down my cheeks. He reached out and wiped them away, tilting my chin to his face.
"You don't ever have to apologize to me, Katniss."
"I do, though. I do. I put you through something awful. And the worst part is, I don't even remember any of it. I'm so sorry." My tear fest was interrupted by a doctor rapping at the door. I felt myself slipping away. I wished I could just melt underneath the table. The times I'd hunted or scavenged for my family to eat had never made me ashamed; those actions were committed out of necessity. Yet today, I had acted out of rage, none of which was necessary.
"Katniss, good to see you're with us again. Now, I assume that Peeta has filled you in on the basics of what occurred today?" Peeta nodded and I straightened up. If we were going to be talking about me, I wanted to appear as strong as possible. And this weepy, snotty-nosed Katniss was simply not going to cut it. "Well, more explicitly, your hippocampus, the area of your brain that records new memories temporarily shut down due to an influx of hormones and endorphins. Which is very similar to what your friend Haymitch may experience after binge drinking."
"Oh great, I'm on Haymitch's level." I rolled my eyes and Peeta laughed lightly.
"Well not quite. You went on to faint afterwards, due to exertion- not a drunken stupor." The doctor (whose name I still hadn't learned) made a joke of his own. "And you've been feeling that quite a bit lately haven't you, Katniss?" It wasn't a question, really, it was an accusation. Somehow this man knew that I hadn't been feeling well lately. I nodded my head solemnly. Peeta's fingers were laced with mine, and he ran his thumb over mine. I hadn't told him about that. Boy was I turning out to be a crappy wife.
"There's a reason for that, one that transcends all earthly reason. You my dear are five weeks pregnant."
I might as well have fainted again, because I didn't hear anything else after that.
I recall Peeta's bubbling excitement, the doctor droning on about rules of pregnancy, and the nurse placing some prenatal vitamins in my hand. It shouldn't have come as a surprise to me. I was in between birth control treatments, and Peeta had foregone using protection months ago. It was part of this new freewheeling spontaneity thing I had been trying, and well, this is what happens to freewheeling-spontaneous people.
We left the clinic not too long afterwards, headed back towards Victor's Village. Peeta, who hadn't been able to contain his smile since we heard the news, spoke first. "If you're five weeks along, then this is from that night at that cabin."
I couldn't help but smile from the memory. We had gone up to my cabin in the woods on a Saturday morning and stayed there all day. I attempted to teach Peeta how to swim, he sketched the scenery (mainly me), we fished (I fished, he started the fire), and we ate until we were stuffed. Then, when the sun had completely set, we went skinny dipping in the moonlight. Skinny dipping subsequently led to other things, and ultimately, led to this baby. "Yeah, it had to be."
"I'm not going to act like this isn't the best news I've ever gotten, you know?"
Now that was a real question. "I know, Peeta. And I'd never want you to." The truth was, while I'd never wanted children, I wanted to give Peeta this. He had done so much for me; I wanted to start a family with him. He'd be a great father. I still had to question my own motherly abilities.
Peeta swept me up into his arms as we reached the threshold of our home. "We're home, Mrs. Mellark," and to my stomach, "baby Mellark." I turned and kissed him, long and hard. This was what I wanted, and I wanted it with him.
"I know, Mr. Mellark."