Blood and Ashes

A pregnant Katniss is forced to fight in the Quater Quell with Haymitch. Who will survive in the war to overthrow the Capitol? Disclaimer: I, unfortunately, do not own the Hunger Games, or any of the characters in this fanfiction. All rights go to Suzanne Collins.
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22. Rebound

Johanna turns around to face me and I finally see her face. Her cheeks are hollow and her skin is pale and almost grey with exhaustion. Her eyes are bloodshot and bulging from her sunken skin. Her head has been shaven and there are scars all over it, like a patchwork quilt. About twenty different tubes and IV lines are plugged into her skinny arms which rest on her lap. Her hands don't stop moving. Despite the morphling, her thin lips are twisted into a grimace of pain.

In the split second I stare at her, taking in her deteriorated condition, her expression turns to shock. She gestures to the other chair by the hospital bed, which I sit down in. "Brainless," she greets me quietly, her eyes filled with confusion. "How?" she nods to Rye, who is still asleep against my chest.

"I was going to have twins. One of them survived. I didn't know until… after." My voice breaks.
"I'm sorry. I wish I could have done something… if we were anywhere else…" her voice trails off.

"No. There was nothing you could've done. Johanna… I'm sorry they… I tried to make them go back. Thank you." My words can't begin to describe the gratitude I feel towards her and how much I blame myself for everything, her being tortured and the miscarriage too. If Peeta had any idea about that, I don't know what I'd do. "What did they do to you?" I ask. I have to know what I caused.

"I was in a cell for most of it. They put Jabberjays in there. It was you." She clears her throat and winces. "They shaved my head so the shocks would be stronger. Guess it worked."

There's a lump in my throat and I look down at Rye and stroke his little head so she doesn't see the tears in my eyes. "What about you then? What happened after the arena? When was the baby born?"

Glad for the change of subject, I look back up at her.
"They brought us straight here. On the hovercraft they did a scan and I found out that I was still pregnant. They've decided that I'm the Mockingjay now." She nods, already knowing this from the promos. "I've been doing speeches and stuff. Effie and Haymitch are… friendly." She raises her eyebrows. "Yesterday morning, I started having contractions and Rye was born that afternoon. I think I scared Peeta again because as soon as he was born I had a haemorrhage and I had to have a transfusion. That was about six hours ago. I'm really not meant to be out of bed, but I had to come and see you."
"You'd better get back to bed. I don't want you collapsing on me. I don't know how to look after babies." She grins at me. I stand up and push the chair back to its original place. "Brainless," Johanna says "Rye's cute, for a baby." I smile at her and close the door behind me.

When I get back to the hospital room, I look at the digital clock on the wall: 7:52 am. There's no point in going to sleep now. Maybe I should have thought about that before I spent an hour with Johanna. At least Rye was asleep for most of it. Peeta comes in and sees me sitting on the side of the bed, fiddling with my hospital wristband.
"Are you alright?" he asks.
"Yeah," I mutter, but everything's starting to catch up with me. There's a knock on the door.
"Come in," says Peeta. He sits on the bed next to me and rubs my back. The doctor from earlier walks in.

"How are you feeling, Katniss?"
"That's usually the case. You did just give birth and have a blood transfusion. I'm going to give you a prescription for the next week and I've got some Maternity Pads for you too."
"Thanks," I say, taking the pills and swallowing them. She puts the packages on the edge of the bed and leaves after signing my discharge papers. Rye starts crying, so I quickly unbutton my top and feed him.

Peeta goes to the cupboards by the bed and pulls something out. "I got you something," he says. "Effie gave me some fabric." He holds up a length of black fabric with two straps. "You put these two straps over your arms," he says, helping me to do so, "and Rye goes here." Peeta picks up Rye and puts him in the space between my chest and the fabric. He is supported by the fabric so I don't have to hold him. "Thank you, Peeta."
"I knew you'd feel a bit better, having him on you all the time."

"I do," I say gratefully. "Let's go. I've spent more than enough time in this place."
Smiling at me, Peeta picks up our things and the regulation wheelchair for me.
"No." I protest, "I am not sitting in that."
"Yes, you are. You are not going to walk from here to-". I cut him off before he can finish.
"The elevator?"
"Katniss," he says sternly.
"Fine," I give up, irritated. "Fine."

I sit in the chair with Rye and Peeta wheels us out of the hospital wing.

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