They cry together, huddled up on their thin mattress. Even though he tries to comfort her, he knows his words are weak. It was inevitable that their daughter would die, anyway. She had no chance, even as quick and clever as she was. They knew that she had sacrificed herself for them, taking on extra tesserae as the first child so that they might be sustained.
Across the room, their children are already asleep. They had long since exhausted themselves from crying, but they both know that soon one or more will wake up from a nightmare. The youngest ones always do after a tribute dies, and the two grieving parents are worried for them, worried what horrors the death of their oldest daughter will bring to the younger ones.
The mere thought of her, the image of the spear piercing Rue's stomach, unveils a sorrow that they had tried to hide from their children. He holds her close as the tears flow, not wanting to speak. What would they do now, that Rue was gone? She had always been the role model, the symbol, the ray of hope for her siblings. And now that ray of hope had been doused like a candle under a waterfall, and they felt nothing but numbing devastation.
At first they had disbelieved it. Hoping that it was just another nightmare, that they would wake up to find that Rue was helping the little ones get dressed for school, or making breakfast, or tugging on their blankets and reminding them that it was time to get up for work. But they were jolted out of their state of disbelief when their youngest son whispered her name, and started to cry. And they cried with him.
Now they are crying again, their fingers and toes numb from the shock and the pain and the sorrow. The images replay in their minds incessantly –– the spear, the song, the flowers. Marvel. Katniss. Rue.
They know that they will receive the body, so they can bury her. But after the Games, they know that the Capitol will expect them to get over it, and to get back to work as if nothing had happened. They are now familiar with the pain they had seen but never personally experienced. They know now.
But no amount of knowledge can replace what they just lost.
I'm not really sure about this chapter; I wrote it with only a vague idea of what it was going to be about. Please tell me if it's good!
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