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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7. 'If it weren't for the baby'

That evening, we all sit in front of the television to watch the announcement of the training scores. I sit next to Peeta and pray that I don't get below a six. Numbers flash on the screen and Effie makes noises of approval at the higher ones, but no one gets over a ten… until district twelve. Haymitch's score flashes on the screen: a ten. He claps his hands together and grins at me, but I don't return his smile. Then, my score appears on the screen, a twelve! I am so surprised that they didn't give a four or something, considering my behaviour. I guess I'm the girl on fire in more than a literal sense.

Haymitch gives me a hug and congratulates me, as do Cinna, Peeta and Effie. Cinna orders a cake, but I don't feel like celebrating, knowing that we'll be going into the arena the day after tomorrow. That night, I lie in bed with Peeta and he just stares at the ceiling, his expression unreadable.

"What are you thinking about?" I ask him.
"The baby," he answers carefully "do you think it will be a boy or a girl?" I had barely had time to think about that. "I'm not sure. What do you want it to be?" I ask him, smiling.
"A girl," he grins.
"So that she'll look just like you," he says. I blush and avoid his eyes.
"Oh," I say "We'd better get some sleep."

That morning, we laze around until noon, when we go and get ready for our interviews. As well as Haymitch and me being interviewed, Effie informs us that Peeta will be interviewed too. I wait in my room for my prep team to arrive and soon enough, they do. Cinna must have spoken to them about the waterworks as none of them are actually crying, however, Octavia sniffs regularly throughout the time it takes to do my hair and makeup.

Before long, Cinna arrives and my prep team say their final goodbyes. Venia looks me in the eye for the first time then speaks:
"Katniss... we would like you to know what a pleasure it has been to make you look your best.'

I am touched by her compassion and so I hug each of them goodbye while Cinna waits next to me.

When they leave, Cinna opens the bag he brought in with him to reveal my outfit for the interviews. It's my wedding dress, or what would have been if the quell hadn't happened.
"President Snow put in the order himself, our protests were ignored," Cinna explains. I sigh.

He helps me to slip it on and I almost fall at the weight of it. Cinna grabs my arms and helps me to hold on to the bedpost. "Sorry about that," he apologises "I had to make a few adjustments of my own." Thinking he meant the size of it due to my pregnancy, I just nod and give him a hug. "Take care," he says, kissing my forehead.
"I will."

Effie comes into usher Haymitch, Peeta and me to the train that will take us to our interviews, and thirty minutes later, we arrive. We wait backstage as the interviews go by. Almost everyone thanks the people of the capitol for their love and support, which makes me feel sick. Johanna, on the other hand, is very angry and starts swearing and yelling about how unfair it is. I couldn't agree more and begin to respect her more than I've ever done before. Haymitch is called and I watch his interview with Peeta.

"Hello, Haymitch!" Caesar says brightly "How are you?"
"Great," Haymitch says sarcastically "just great."
"Right," Caesar replies awkwardly. He proceeds to ask Haymitch about his training score and why he volunteered for Peeta, to which he either gives a one-word answer or ignores the question.

Peeta is up next and he starts off by joking with Caesar, just like he did last year. I am in awe of how naturally it comes to him. After this, Peeta is asked about our alleged wedding. Peeta glances backstage to me and I nod, knowing exactly what he means to say. "Do you think our friends in the audience can keep a secret?" he asks

"Of course!" Caesar says brightly "What is it?" The crowd whisper amongst themselves.
"We're already married," he begins "well, not legally, but to us we are, just as much as a slip of paper could make us." He then explains the toasting ceremony of district twelve.

"Well," says Caesar, trying to put a positive spin on things, as always, "at least you got some time together." Peeta looks at me again and I smile encouragingly.

"Maybe I'd think that too, Caesar," he says bitterly "if weren't for the baby." The crowd is silent as a look of confusion, then shock appears on Caesar's face, then all hell breaks loose. They scream and shout, moaning and some even start crying. I rub my stomach and look at the floor; I know there's a camera on me.

The audience only goes silent again when I walk onto the stage. Caesar greets me and Haymitch glares at him from beside the stage.
"So, Katniss, you're pregnant?" he asks.
"Yes, Caesar."
"And you're still going into the arena?"
"Do I have a choice?" I snap.
"I suppose not," he says glumly. I know my time is almost up when I see Cinna make a twirling motion with his finger and instantly, I know what he means.
"Actually, I have something to show you."
"Oh?" he asks, surprised. I stand up and raise my arms above my head. As I spin, I see a blur of flames and smoke until it stops. I look down at myself and gasp. I am wearing a black, skin-tight suit which emphasises the curve of my bump. Feathers line my sleeves- or wings, I should say.
"A bird…" Caesar says in awe.
"A Mockingjay, I think, it's on the pin I wear as a token."
From the look on Caesar's pale face, I know he is aware that it is more than that. The buzzer sounds and I take my place next to Peeta.

He extends his hand to me and I see he is linked to Haymitch, too. I hold out my hand to Johanna and soon we are standing in one unbroken line. This is the first display of unity between the districts since the dark days. The lights go off suddenly and Peeta leads me out. We leave.

I barely sleep that night and I can't think of anything but how scared I am for myself, but also for my baby, Peeta's child. I finally drift off into a nightmare-filled sleep next to Peeta, dread coursing through my veins.

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