epic chair

Home for the Holidays

The bakery was quiet, the sign was moved to closed and the front lights were all off. The lone baker in the back quietly kneaded his dough. It had been a ridiculously busy day, as Christmas Eve always was. Peeta was exhausted but kept going in order to keep up with the demand and to keep him busy. The holidays didn’t hold any appeal this year for him. There was no Christmas spirit in his heart. He really wanted to lock himself away until the New Year came. The shrill ring of the phone broke through his thoughts. After a brief 2-minute call, Peeta quickly locked up the bakery and left. He needed to be at Panem Memorial Hospital as fast as he could.

“Mr.Mellark?” Peeta looked up at the doctor who approached him as he stood outside her hospital room. He had yet to get the courage to go in. “I’m Dr. Cinna, and I am the lead doctor on your wife’s case.” Peeta twitched a little at the word wife. While technically Katniss was still his wife, she hadn’t considered herself his wife for more than 8 months. “She sustained some serious injuries in the accident this afternoon. Currently she is in a coma as she has some swelling in her brain. At this time all brain function is normal however.” Peeta could feel the blood leaving his head.

“C-c-coma? She’s in a coma? Is she going to be ok?” Peeta whispered softly. Dr. Cinna looked at Peeta with his kind eyes.

“We can’t say for certain, however I am betting on her.” Dr. Cinna reached out and put his hand on his arm. “Your wife is a fighter. As of this moment, she is alive and that’s what we can bet on. The baby is also doing well and is stable. There was no trauma to her uterus, although given her advanced gestation I believe it would be best to deliver the baby.” Baby was the last word Peeta heard before slowly slipping to the floor.

He awoke moments later to Dr. Cinna and a kind nurse holding smelling salts under his nose.  “Mr. Mellark, are you alright?” Peeta adjusted his focus and looked back at the healthcare providers.

“Did you say baby? Katniss is pregnant?” The shock evident in Peeta’s voice threw Dr. Cinna for a loop.

“Yes, she is about 38 weeks pregnant. Did you not know this?”

“We’ve been separated for 8 months. I haven’t seen or spoken to her since she left me.” The tears leaked from Peeta’s eyes even though he tried desperately to keep them back. “We couldn’t get pregnant. The stress was killing her. She thought I deserved better. Deserved someone who would give me a child.” The tears came fast and steady now. “Why didn’t she tell me? Why didn’t she say something?” Dr. Cinna reached out to hold the man to his chest. The sobs that ripped from Peeta’s throat were raw and real. The pain he was feeling was palpable.

“Everyone has their reasons for what they do. We don’t always have to understand everything.” Dr. Cinna tried to console the man. Once Peeta had calmed down, he looked up at the kind doctor.

“Thank you. You need to deliver the baby? Would it be best for them if the baby was delivered?” Peeta pulled himself together and went into business mode. He needed to make the best decision for Katniss and for their baby.

“At this point, I think it would be best for everyone if we delivered the baby by c-section. This would give Katniss’s body time to heal and not have to work to sustain the child as well. I know this is a lot to throw at you at once, so please take some time to decide. Why don’t you see her?” Peeta nodded. “I’ll give you a few moments and we will be back with the OB on call to help answer any questions you may have.” Dr. Cinna grasped Peeta’s shoulder. “We’ll be back in an hour or so.”

Peeta calmly nodded to Dr. Cinna and turned to face the door. He steadied himself for a moment before walking in through the door. In the bed was his beautiful wife. The woman he loved more than life itself. She was battered and bruised. Her leg in a cast as well as numerous bruises and cuts. She looked like she was peacefully sleeping. The most noticeable change was the large bump protruding from her middle. Peeta walked over to her bedside and reached out to hold her hand.

“Oh Katniss. My love.” He whispered gently to her. He began to stroke her hand and let the tears fall. “Please wake up. I need you. The baby will need you. I forgive you for not telling me. I forgive you for walking away. I’m sorry, I’m just so sorry. Please come back to me.” He then reached out to place his hand on her bump. “Oh my baby. We will make the best of this I promise.” He was startled to feel the movement in response to his words. “Oh hello there. I’m your Dad. I’m sorry we haven’t met yet, but hopefully soon I’ll hold you.” The response to his words was even more movement. Peeta sat there for what seemed like an eternity alternating talking to his wife and to their baby. He didn’t even hear the footsteps come up behind him.

“Hey there baker.” He turned around to see the face of Katniss’s best friend and obstetrician, Dr. Johanna Mason. Her tearstained face showed the emotion she was feeling. “Dr. Cinna just approached me. I’m the OB on call tonight.” Peeta’s feelings ran the gamut from anger to relief that it was Jo who was on call tonight.

“How could she not tell me Jo? I didn’t want any of this.” Jo looked down at Peeta’s pale face and sighed.

“She had her reasons. I didn’t agree with any of them and told her as much. But you know her. She’s as stubborn as a damn mule when she wants to be.”

“I would have been there for her. I tried to fight for us. I love her so damn much Jo.”

“I know Peet, truly I do. She loves you too. Honestly.” Peeta looked down at Katniss and reached out to brush back a piece of hair off her face.

“So what do we do now Jo? What is the best decision?”

“We deliver your baby. Then we hope like hell that she wakes up.” Peeta stood up to hug Jo. As he wrapped her in his arms she whispered. “I’m so sorry Peet. I’m so sorry I couldn’t tell you.”

“I understand Jo.” Peeta did understand. He knew his wife and her level of stubbornness. It was her pride and stubbornness that led her to walk out of their door all those months ago. “Let’s meet my baby Auntie Jo.”

Jo stood up straight and morphed seamlessly into doctor mode. “I’m going to have Dr. Cinna come in and describe the procedure. I’m sorry you won’t be able to be in the delivery room this time, but due to the circumstances I believe it would be best if you waited outside. I’m going to go scrub up. I’ll see you in a bit.” Jo grasped Peeta’s shoulder. “Dad.” She shot him a weak smile and went out the door.

Dr. Cinna came in moments after and walked Peeta through the procedure. Peeta would be waiting right outside the door of the operating room while Jo delivered his baby. They would give Peeta a few moments alone with Katniss before they wheeled her back for the operation. He took those few moments to speak to her.

“Kat. My love. You will always be my love. Forever and always. Jo is going to deliver our baby and you will wake up and we will put this back together. Our love will win out and our family will be perfect. “ His voice cracked for a moment. “You just need to come back to me. Please come back to me. I love you. So much.” Just then the nurse came in to take Katniss back to the OR.  He looked at her for one more moment and leaned down to gently kiss her lips. He then leaned over and gently kissed her belly. “I’ll see you very soon my baby.”

She was floating on her back in a pond of lily pads. She felt calm and peaceful as she looked up at the perfectly blue sky. Her dark hair was a halo around her head. All she could feel was peace and love surrounding her. A small voice interrupted her floating. 

“Well hey there, sis. Fancy meeting you here.” Katniss looked up and saw the smiling face of her sister Prim. She was like a blonde angel in the sky. She was made of clouds and sunshine. She was whole and healthy and just beautiful.

“Oh Prim, I miss you so much.” Katniss was brought back to the moment 3 years prior when the cancer had won and had taken Prim at the tender age of 20. It had changed everything for her. 

“I never leave you Katniss. I’m all around you all the time. My love follows you everywhere. It’s in the air you breathe, in the sun on your skin and in that baby you carry.” Prim reached her arm out to place her hand on Katniss’s belly. 

“Oh Prim. I’ve made such a mess of things. I miss him so much. He deserves to know about the baby. He deserves to know I love him so much.” 

“Then tell him. Go back to him. Make the decision Katniss. Don’t give up. Love is worth it.” Prim smiled at her. “Make your family and be happy. Allow yourself to be happy.” The sunshine started to fade and Prim was getting fainter. “Love Katniss. Just love without question. Go back and meet your Christmas present. They need you.”

Katniss was very aware all of a sudden that her entire body hurt. She could feel the dull ache all over her body, from her toes to her head. She could see the darkness behind her eyelids and tried with all her might to open them and let the light in. She blinked rapidly and tried to focus her steel gray eyes. The first thing she saw brought tears to her eyes. There in the corner, asleep in the chair was her husband. He looked tired and pale but on his chest was a small bundle wrapped in a pink blanket also asleep. Her family. The tears ran down her face as she remembered the pain she had put him through. To see them asleep in the chair was more than she could ask for.  She tried to shift her body so she could see them better and let out a squeak. The small noise alerted Peeta to her pain. His bright blue eyes slowly opened and the smile that spread across his face as he realized that his blue was connecting with her gray was epic. He scooted the chair over closer so he could grab her hand with his free one.

“My Peeta. I’m so sorry.” She was able to just very quietly whisper to him. It took all her energy to utter those few words.

“No Katniss. Please don’t apologize, lets put it in the past. I love you.” He leaned down to kiss her forehead and to give her a peek of the tuft of deep brown hair on the top of her daughter’s head. “Meet our daughter. Hope Primrose Mellark. I had to name her. She is our hope for something new. Our new home. Our Christmas miracle.” He then placed the baby in her arms. As she looked down upon her, the tears leaked from her eyes.

“Oh Peeta, she’s perfect. The name is perfect. I love you so much.” Peeta gently sat on the bed next to her and gazed down at his girls.

“Merry Christmas Katniss and Hope. Welcome home.”

“Merry Christmas Peeta. Home is where I belong.” 

This was written by the amazing