Our little Mockingjay has been sent back to District 12 cracked and broken after losing Gale and Peeta as well as her sister. It's up to Cinna and Haymitch to pick up the pieces and bring her out of her shell.
Disclaimer: The Hunger Games belongs to Suzanne Collins.
Author's note: Okay, a couple of firsts for me here. 1) This is the first Hunger Games fanfic I've written and I'm still tasting the characters. 2) This is the first time I've written in first person.
Oh and it's Haymitch's POV for those of you who might not pick that up.
Every night is the same. Katniss writhes about in bed and I wait for her screams to start. It has been months since we came back to District 12 and I had honestly expected her to make some sort of improvement but no, She has remained blank and silent. The only time she responds to anything is when she needs comfort after she wakes from her haunted sleep.
I've given up drinking for the girl, she can't look me in the eye, her flame has gone and her spirit is broken but still I can't tear myself away from her. Dr Aurelius has offered to take her and treat her personally but I know the Capitol will never be a good place for Katniss, even though she did get an official pardon for shooting President Coin due to mental instability. And damnit I'm selfish enough to want to be the one to make her better. She crept into my heart before I even knew she was there and try as I might I can't dislodge the feelings I have for her. She's of age and legally an adult now but I know the age difference will always bother me.
Right on time the screams come and I spring to her side. We sleep separately of course; I now have my own bed set up across her room to be closer when she needs me.
"Hush now Sweetheart. You're safe, I'm here and everything is ok." I have to repeat it over and over until finally she hears me past her terror. Tonight, like every other night, she huddles into my side and grips my shirt until her shaking and sobbing subsides. But when I rise and leave she grips me even tighter.
"Stay?" I only just hear her hoarse plea and, too stunned to do anything else, sit back down. She instantly settles and after a while I hear the steady breathing of sleep. This is certainly progress; she hasn't spoken for so long I have to wonder if the roughness in her voice is from sleep or simply from disuse.
The following morning Katniss doesn't seem in the least bit bothered finding me in her bed. In fact she's simply staring down at me when I wake up; it's a little unnerving. She doesn't flinch when I rise or put up an argument when I help her dress. In the early days I found out the hard way that if I leave her to dress herself she'll forget what she's doing halfway through and sit down in the middle of the floor crying. Sometimes I wonder if being back in her old house with the memories of Prim is detrimental to her recovery but when I tried to move her to a different house she had a complete breakdown.
"Cinna's visiting later Katniss. He said he has a present for you." As expected she stays silent and unresponsive.
Once dressed, she walks meekly behind me in her green dress until we reached the kitchen where I set about cooking breakfast and she sits down at the table to look around vaguely. I'm startled though, to find her watching me, actively watching me and taking an interest in what I'm doing so I test the waters a bit to see just how good she might get today.
"Would you like to help mix these eggs sweetheart?" I ask, opting for a casual tone.
I grin openly when I let Cinna in and put a finger to my lips before beckoning him to follow me. We enter the kitchen and quietly watch Katniss wandering around the kitchen putting things in the bowl of eggs she's whipping.
"What's she putting in there?" He asks in a hushed voice
"I don't know and I honestly don't care. This is the most active she's been since we got back months ago. She actually spoke last night. She wanted me to stay with her and asked. I don't know what happened to suddenly make her snap out of her silence." I reply quietly. At that moment her head whips up and she looks at Cinna, saying nothing and fidgeting slightly.
"Hello Katniss. I brought you a present, would you like to see it?"
She bobs her head once in agreement and tips the contents of her bowl into the frying pan before walking over to him. I can't hep but roll my eyes and go tend to the questionable eggs. She obviously wants them cooked, though I'm not sure if she remembers things that are cooking need to be watched to prevent fires. I wouldn't be surprised if she's forgotten.
"You bought her a bird. Why in seven hells did you buy her a bird?" I ask with evident frustration. Cinna does realize I'll likely be the one looking after the damnable thing doesn't he?
"Dr Aurelius thought it might be good for her. Give her something nice to think about, and look…she does seem to like it." He retorted calmly
"She's bloody well tweeting at it Cinna. How is that good for her?" And true enough, our little mockingjay was sat smiling inanely and making chirping noises at the blue and red feathery ball.
"She's making noises and communicating."
It really is annoying when he's right.
"Yes well it'd help if she'd communicate in an actual language." I grumble, however can't help but smile when I see how evidently pleased she is.
"Tweet-tweet." She announces happily looking up at us expectantly.
"Yes, tweet-tweet." I agree resignedly, caving in and giving Cinna the conditions for the bird's re-homing. "Fine, she can keep it. But it stays in the cage and if it craps anywhere else I'll be calling you up to clean up the mess and I don't care if you do have to come over from the Capitol to do it." The git just grins at me; of course he knew it would be staying, we can both see how happy it makes Katniss.
The bird is now affectionately known as 'Tweet' and it doesn't take a genius to work out where that name came from. However Katniss is defiantly improving. She'll talk more now and I can trust her to dress herself, though the cooker is off-limits until I'm in the same room to control whatever it is she's burning.
The night is still the worst time for both of us; she'll wake screaming from nightmares, and although mine are better without the alcohol fuelling them I still wake us both with my own shouts some nights. I've noticed the best nights are when she demands I stay with her. It was awkward at first, but having dreamless nights easily makes up for it. It feels normal now to have her curled up against my side. I can wrap my arms around her and we both feel safe; we both sleep through the night peacefully.
This morning Katniss is the first one awake; I find her studying my face and tentatively tracing circles on my chest.
"See something you like?" I ask her teasingly. She looks thoughtful before giving her reply.
"You're very pretty."
That wasn't an answer I was expecting.
"Ahhm, 'pretty' is usually used to describe something feminine. Men are called handsome if you like the way they look." It's the best I can come up with but she seems to accept my answer and goes one step further.
"You're very handsome." She amends before pressing a soft kiss to my temple.
"And you're very pretty." I pick up her hand and kiss it gently, before getting out of bed and dressing. She wraps her arms around me for a hug, which I gladly return.
"You've come on in leaps and bounds these last few days Sweetheart." I murmur into her hair. Pulling away she takes my hand and takes the lead down the stairs. Cinna is staying over and I'll give him some credit; he doesn't ask too many questions. He doesn't ask why I sleep in her bed some nights and he doesn't say anything that would set me off so he's not too bad as far as house guests go.
Cinna's extended stay is the work of Katniss' pitiful pleas. She's devoted to him and I can't help but feel a little jealous when I see her curled up on his lap while he doodles dresses. He agreed to stay for a few weeks and work from here, occasionally travelling to the Capitol to meet with some client. Katniss is aware enough to know that we're both wrapped around her little finger; neither of us can deny her anything unless it's dangerous. If she wants rabbit for dinner, she gets rabbit for dinner. If she wants Tweet to have some bread instead of seed, Tweet gets given bread. If she wants to jump off the roof to try 'flying like a real mockingjay', we lock all the doors and windows and distract her until she accepts 'No' is the answer.
But I love that girl and if I have to share her attention with Cinna for her to be happy then so be it, because at the end of the day she needs looking after. She's a little bit broken and a little bit cracked, but to me she's perfect.