Around the time of Halloween I took a bunch of drabble requests, and many were for continuations of previous fics. I thought I'd share some of them here as well, since it's easier to archive. You can find more of if over on tumblr (absnow)
"Do you want to hold her?" Prim says, her round blue eyes sparkling with a glimmer of hope as she peers up at Katniss. She's sitting on the opposite side of the couch, bouncing the small swaddled bundle that shouldn't exist.
Katniss coils back until her limbs are wrapped around themselves, and she's put as much distance she can between her and her sister. She hasn't even touched the baby, and she doesn't plan on doing that any time soon.
"Come on, Katniss," Prim says as gently as her patience will allow. She slides a bit closer towards her despondent sister. "You have to at least try."
Katniss turns her head away, lifting her chin like a petulant child refusing to be feed. Briefly, she glances at the small infant from the corner of her eye.
They'll be filming a propos next week, it's already been decided. Morale is low and the rebellion can use a little cheering up. So, she and Peeta will sit side by side, baby in arm and smile deliriously over their reunited family. She's starting to feel sick again.
"She needs you," Prim continues to prod.
Katniss is the last thing anyone needs. It's bad enough she brought a child into this awful world, any role she plays will be more damaging than good. There are so many people that hate her now, the target on this poor child's back is catastrophic. Anyone who doubts that needs only to glance inside Peeta Mellark's cell.
"I'm going to lie down," Katniss says vacantly.
She can't go far. Can't escape like she wants to. The apartment is one room and the sofa in the makeshift living room is only a few yards from where her narrow bed is. She'd go hunting if she could, but that provision has been lifted since Coin bent the rules to get her Peeta back. Instead her schedule has been replaced with "Bonding with baby time."
Katniss would laugh if the tears clogging her throat weren't so constricting. She didn't even get Peeta back. Just some angry, vile mutt.
She stares at the blank wall for the rest of the day, not even flinching when Buttercup curls up at her feet to join her in her sloth.
"I'm worried about her," she hears Prim say in a hushed whisper.
"It'll pass," her mother replies.
Katniss can feel her chest tighten as she recalls that feeling of despair as she watched her mother wither away day after day. She hated her then, almost as much as she hates herself now.
Her stylists put her in a yellow dress. It's a special occasion not made for the drab, District 13 assigned uniforms, rather the beautiful creations, crafted by Cinna's hand, which have been airlifted from her home in District 12.
The fabric is soft and warm, like an embrace from her beloved friend, and she bunches the chiffon with a vice like grip between her fingers to greedily absorb what comfort it has.
When she looks down into the crib, the baby is wearing the same color. A wide tulle skirt and a tiny bow fastened to her soft wisp of black hair.
"A spitting image!" Plutarch exclaims ecstatically as he helps set the scene. Cressida will be directing as usual, but due to its importance, Plutarch has been overseeing the smallest of detail.
Already, Katniss can feel the fragile seams that are holding her together begin to snap. She holds her breath and hopes it will keep her from breaking.
The door slides open and two armed guards flank Peeta, who is shackled at the wrists. He's barely lucid, probably shot up with a couple of cases of morphling to keep him even tempered through the shoot.
Katniss steps in front of the crib, separating Peeta from the infant he could snap in half with little effort.
His eye narrow instantly when he sees her. His black suit is perfectly pressed and there's a yellow flower tucked into his lapel that she wishes was a dandelion. His hair may be combed and cleanly styled, but nobody can erase the crazed, wild look to his eyes.
"I don't want her near her," he says coldly.
"Pardon?" Plutarch says, his wide smile only faltering slightly before it bounces back.
"I'm not sure that I agree with everything you're doing, and I know well enough that I don't have a choice," Peeta says. "But I don't want that mutt to hurt my daughter."
She doesn't disagree, but his words sting.
His dark eyes turn on her again, the pupils so wide they look black. "You tricked me," he says. "You don't even care about her. You just wanted to use me, so you could save yourself!"
She wants to scream. He was the one who thought up the baby lie, even if it wasn't a lie after all. It was his idea. It was his fault. He was selfishly trying to saver her life, just as selfishly as she was trying to save his.
The argument upsets the baby, and she begins to wail from her crib, tearing at her itchy yellow dress with chubby fists through her anguished cries.
Chaos seems to erupt then.
Peeta fights against his shackles to reach her, and the guards rush to sedate him, stopping short when Plutarch, ever the diplomat, tries to negotiate his anger. All the while the baby's cries become deafening, rattling Katniss's eardrums and clenching her heart.
Katniss hovers over the crib, watching the helpless, unanswered pleas. She hesitates, fighting away the fears that make her fingertips tremble, then gently lifts Aeternum form her crib, holding her gingerly against her chest. She inhales her powder scent with a shuddering breath. The baby hiccups, calming slightly, but her chest still heaves erratically in search of comfort.
That's something Katniss doesn't know how to give. She found it in Peeta's arms, but the baby isn't safe there. Not now. The only time she was able to be of any help was when she sang lullabies to Prim.
"Deep in the meadow under the willow," she impulsively begins to sing against her forehead. "A bed of grass a soft green pillow."
Aeternum's eyelids grow heavy, her soft breaths even as she nestles into the crook of Katniss's neck.
"Lay down your head and close your eyes," she sang softly, holding her tiny body tightly against her.
Somewhere in the distance she can hear voices again. Emphatic mumbling and rustling of equipment. "Are you getting this? Do you have the shot?" she hears Plutarch say.
Katniss continues to sing, determined to sing forever if it makes this baby feel safe. There are footsteps approaching, the gait heavy and familiar. She lifts her eyes to find that Peeta is moving closer, but she's not afraid.
"Here it's safe, here it's warm."
His shoulders are slack, and the deep frown that had been creasing the line between his eyebrows has softened. What takes her breath away for an instant is the way his blue irises flicker in the studio lights.
"Here your dreams are sweet and tomorrow brings them true," she struggles to keep her voice from cracking. Tears burn from her eyes and leave hot trails down her cheeks.
For the first time in months, he's finally here. Peeta, her Peeta.
"Here is the place where I love you."