Too Good: A Finnick and Annie short story
TOO GOOD A Finnick and Annie short story
Disclaimer: Finnick Odair and Annie Cresta are characters established from The Hunger Games trilogy and are property of Suzanne Collins, the author and creator.
This is an A/U story, as you'll notice that this story takes place after the events of Mockingjay.
Finnick smiled down at the little baby in his arms. His eyes were so full of joy, something she didn't think she'd ever seen before, not even at their wedding, but considering their wedding took place in the middle of a war, it made sense that there was just a bit of darkness hidden behind his eyes then.
She was exhausted, but happy as well. Finnick never left Annie's side. He stayed with her, nervous as he was, holding her hand, and whispering his encouragement to her. And just as she did in the years after they'd met, she listened to his voice. Even through the pain, she listened to him, and as it had done so many times before, he soothed her.
There in his arms was the result of their union together. They had been through so much. Never would she have hoped that they would be able to celebrate something like this together. It was much easier to imagine death and despair before. Things had certainly changed after the war ended.
"He's so beautiful," Finnick softly spoke as his eyes glistened, then looked to her. Annie knew that look and hoped that she expressed that same look on her face.
"Yes, he is." She nodded.
And he was beautiful, their baby boy. They named him Turlach, after Finnick's brother, who'd died saving Annie's life. She suggested the name, and even though she saw Finnick's lips tighten, unsure of the idea at first, knowing that it would remind him of the heartache of losing his brother, the darkness in his face lifted and he nodded his head.
"Turlach. He would've liked that," he said.
The first year was amazing watching little Turlach grow. It was also terrifying for the parents, especially Annie. Finnick was around most of the time, but when he wasn't, when he was out fishing, or when people sought him for advice (for although he wasn't any political figure for District 4, his opinions and his thoughts on any governmental matter were highly requested,) Annie was always frightened that something would go wrong while she cared for their baby.
Finnick trusted her more than she trusted herself. But because of that, it made her more wary of their surroundings, and more careful around Turlach. Older people had tried to explain that because he was her first child, she was bound to be a little nervous caring for him, but even she suspected she was overdoing it.
She had nightmares before she was pregnant; those nightmares had been about other things, about her or Finnick, or about the Games, of course. Then her nightmares had taken on a terrifying turn during her pregnancy. It had been about their baby, how he or she would be sent to the Games or executed like many others who dared oppose the Capitol. Or about their baby having to fight a war that would resume years later.
Annie would wake up, more crying than screaming, and Finnick, the light sleeper that he had become after the Games, would speak softly to her.
"I'm here, my sweet," he'd whisper. Holding her, caressing her back, her arms, enveloping her like a shield. "I'm with you."
Sometimes she'd have her back against his chest and he'd have his arm over her, and he'd even put his hand against her belly, caressing her there. It was as if to soothe both her and the baby growing inside of her. She fell asleep faster that way.
Other times, when the nightmares were harder to get over, she'd need to put her face against his chest and nuzzle herself under his chin, even hear Finnick's strong heart beating. She needed to feel the thumping against her face. And she wanted to see the scar to remind her of how he almost died during the war.
She didn't want to forget, she didn't want to lose herself in a haze like she did so many times before. She had Finnick, and they were together, and starting a family. The scar, an ugly jagged line of hard skin that started from near the temple of his head down across the front of his shoulder and ended under his armpit, helped give her a strength she couldn't get anywhere else. During those times, Finnick didn't speak. He just let her listen to his heart and feel his scar. It was as if he knew that's what she needed.
And it was. Less people in the Capitol found him handsome, but it was likely he didn't really care about what the people in the Capitol thought of his scar. Annie certainly didn't care.
"I love that you're alive," she had one time while he was recovering from his injuries. Finnick laughed and said, "I think I got you beat there, my sweet." He pulled her close, and even though it was evident he was in pain by the look on his face, his lips were on hers.
The first night of them being at home with baby Turlach, she woke up from a nightmare and was frantic, thinking that her baby boy was stolen from them. She jumped out of her bed and ran to the crib, which was mere feet away from her and Finnick's bed. Of course, Turlach was startled awake and began crying almost immediately after she did. She picked him up and held him close to her. She wouldn't have slept the rest of that night if it hadn't been for Finnick pulling the crib closer to their bed and assuring her with his calming voice that nothing was going to happen. It helped that he said he was going to stay awake with her if she wasn't going to sleep.
And he did, all the while holding her close to him, her fingertips rested against his scar.
The nightmares didn't stop, but they were less frequent as the months passed. Annie was able to recover from them quicker, to the point where they could let Turlach sleep in his own room… with both their door and his door open.
Realizing they didn't have much in the way of pictures of themselves when they were younger and of their own parents, Finnick had decided to get a camera to take photos of them together and of little Turlach growing up.
Neither of them had ever really used a camera before. Sure, they had many photos and video taken of them after their victories, but it wasn't as if they held one themselves.
It was no surprise to either of them when some of the first pictures were blurry or of their faces looking confused as they eyed the lens while accidentally pushing the button. Finnick, wanted to keep a few of them, especially a couple of close ups of Annie's eyes and nose, which Annie found odd. But she let him keep them, because it put a smile on his face.
Finnick did most of the photographing, which he did profusely since getting the camera. There were pictures of Turlach sleeping, pictures of Turlach eating, pictures of Turlach lying down, sitting up, crawling.
As many photographs that were taken of Finnick when he was an idol at the Capitol, he never kept any of them. There was no point in keeping them, because they never showed the true Finnick.
In the few pictures that he was in with his son, she looked at his face, especially his eyes, and saw the true Finnick in them. She loved looking at those pictures, those that she took, and found they were her favorite, not because she took them, but because of the two faces that were in them.
It wasn't so much in the newborn photos of Turlach, but as the months went by, she could tell that Turlach had many of his father's features. Both she and Finnick had green eyes, yes, but the shape of Turlach's eyes were much like Finnick's. She knew that Turlach's smile reminded her very much of her husband. It would probably be a challenge to keep everyone from falling for their beautiful son.
He learned to swim about the same time he learned to walk, and although Annie was terrified of the thought of him going into the water, there was no better teacher than Finnick. In hindsight, she remembered it was the first time she was actually angry at Finnick for even suggesting something at such an early age, but Finnick assured her every single time that the floatation bands around his waist and arms, as well as the fact that he was going to hold onto him the whole time, were not going to let anything happen to him.
She eventually relented, agreeing to it as long as she was there as well.
"As if I would have it any other way," he said with almost annoying confidence, which for some reason did not make her feel any better.
Turlach had just turned 10 months and was learning to stand, grasping onto anything he could to hold him up.
As they got to the shoreline, Annie was no longer nervous for herself, but only for her little boy. She held his right hand and Finnick held his left hand. There was a small piece of the shorline that was set up for children to swim in, blocked by a jetty that prevented the stronger waves from crashing in. They headed there.
Luckily, it was a calm late afternoon with low tides.
"Are you sure about this?" she asked Finnick. Too soon, she thought. Way too soon. She wanted to wait until Turlach was older, until he was walking, until he was in school, maybe when he was 5… or 15 years old.
Of course, that wasn't the only reason she wanted to wait. There was the lingering thought that maybe they'd be attacked, like in her nightmares. Or in her most horrifying imagination, little Turlach would be taken away from them right at that moment to compete in the Hunger Games. She didn't think she was being entirely ridiculous.
Finnick sensed her panic as he always did. He picked up Turlach and pulled Annie to him. Annie accepted his embrace and held him tight, her eyes closed, her face pressed against his chest. All she could do was breathe. In and out. She could smell the ocean, the sand, Finnick, and even Turlach, his scent refreshingly different from Finnick's, but familiar all the same.
"Okay. We don't have to do this if you don't want to," Finnick suggested. "We could wait."
Annie took a deep breath. Maybe she was overreacting, maybe she wasn't. She did remember some parents waiting for the school to teach their offspring how to swim, and yet there were others who took them out this young, to the beach, to the crashing waves, and they were just fine.
Still, there were a few who lost a little one to the ocean. A rogue wave, high tide, boating accident, whatever else the sea could throw at them, these citizens of District 4. Those were the other reasons she feared for her son. They weren't unreasonable fears. They were justified.
So, she surprised even herself when she shook her head against Finnick's chest.
"No, go ahead. Do this with him. I want you to spend as much time with him as possible. I want him to learn everything from you," she told him. Annie pushed herself back to look up at him and the boy he was holding. Turlach patted her head and then put his little fingers in her mouth. She smiled at her baby, pretending to munch on his digits before she spoke again. "He's your son. I know you'll take care of him."
"No, he's our son. I'll hold on to him the whole time," Finnick reassured her.
Annie was no longer petrified of the water. They had left District 13 soon after Katniss was released and exiled back to her own district. Almost every day since then, Annie and Finnick made an unspoken decision to spend time on their beach, to remind each other that they no longer had anything to fear from peacekeepers or hovercrafts threatening to separate us. It helped a lot too, and she believed it helped Finnick more than he realized.
So, it wasn't that she didn't want to be with her baby in his first swim in the water. It was that she wanted it to be something between father and son. The ocean was Finnick's refuge, his place of safety. She wanted Finnick to transfer that to Turlach. If there was going to be one distinctive connection between him and his son, she wanted it to be this.
Annie sat on the dry sand and watched them. Finnick held Turlach against his hip as he walked into the water, talking to him as if Turlach understood what was going to happen. He stopped when the tide was at ankle level and proceeded to crouch, placing Turlach down on his own little feet.
Unsurprisingly, Turlach stood there, surrounded by water, without fuss, whine, or whimper. Ten minutes later and a little further out, Turlach was giggling as each mini wave crashed against him. Finnick pretended to be scared and that made Turlach giggle even more. She didn't realize how long they'd been out there, but before she knew it, the air around her had started to cool and she knew it was time to leave.
She was welcomed with beaming smiles from both her husband and baby boy as they walked toward her. Finnick's face had such a unique look at that moment, or she thought maybe it was the light of the sun, but Annie could swear he looked like a man who had never seen war or death or tragedy. The long, ugly scar that he bore on the side of his face from when he was in battle at the Capitol looked like a mere scratch. He looked as innocent as the baby he was holding onto.
That night, Turlach feel asleep earlier than usual. Finnick and Annie spent their awake time loving each other like they did that first night of their marriage, back in District 13. And they went to sleep holding onto each other with emotions that stemmed from that same love.
"Thank you," Finnick whispered in her ear, as they finally fell into slumber.
A year and a half later, Annie thought she should've seen it coming. After all, she'd been abused, she'd survived the Hunger Games only to be traumatized by the event, and had seen many people, including her father, die.
So, when the doctor told her and Finnick the news that their baby had become stillborn 5 months into Annie's second pregnancy, she thought how it shouldn't have been a surprise. Tragedy followed her like a shadow.
But it was.
"Annie," he spoke softly. He had said her name three times before she responded. She heard him the other times, but she just couldn't respond. "It's time."
Finnick's voice sounded tired and rough and he looked just as bad as she imagined she did. Of course, he had been crying as well. It made her hurt more to see him like that.
She looked to the left and saw Gwyn, Katniss's mother who transferred from District 12 shortly after the death of her youngest daughter, Prim. She had been working as a nurse in the newly built hospital. To everyone else, she might've looked unsympathetic at that moment, with no sign of compassion or empathy in her face. But to Annie, there was something in the way she held herself, and in the darkness in her eyes.
"Annie, you're going to be mildly sedated, but you'll be awake during the procedure. It won't take long, and we'll talk you through it if you want. Afterwards, we'll need to observe you for a few hours, but you should be okay to leave once we're done."
That's what it was now. Five months in, and Annie's pregnancy had turned into one word that she never thought she would hear. "Stillbirth."
Now it was "procedure." Everything they were saying, the words they were using, seemed an attempt to distance Annie from what would've been her and Finnick's second child. She suppose they were trying to help by talking about the "fetus." They used that word even before they found out her baby had died in her womb. They used that word when she was pregnant with Turlach. It was an organism to them.
But they'd also shown Annie and Finnick images. They'd shown them the baby's hands, his feet, his little heart beating. They'd even shown them that he was a boy. And he was their son. He was a part of Annie, and a part of Finnick. Just like Turlach. And now their baby was gone.
Annie felt Finnick squeeze her hand in his. She felt the effects of the sedation medicine they'd given her and she tried to squeeze back, but she couldn't, or wouldn't. She didn't know anymore.
Finnick stayed with her during the procedure, but the nurses kept the lower half of her body from their view with a wall of cloth. If they'd said something to her, she didn't know what it was. Everything was muffled and all she could do was look at Finnick.
He wiped her tears with his one free hand, letting his own tears shed. He mouthed something to her, but she couldn't hear or make out what he was saying either. She didn't know how long it lasted, but they were back in Annie's hospital room when she finally started realizing the fact that she was officially no longer pregnant. She had nothing to show for it but the pain in her heart.
Their baby was gone.
Their doctor had explained that there wasn't anything they could've done to prevent it from happening. The infection was a rare thing to happen, but it does happen, and nothing that she did, nothing that she ate or drank, was to blame.
And even though the doctor assured both her and Finnick that she was still capable of having another child in a few more months, she wasn't ready to plan for their next time. She didn't know when… or if, she would ever be ready again.
Time did move on, but things had not been the same since their loss. Annie was able to smile again, especially when it came to Turlach, but her eyes always had a darkness to them that hadn't been there before. It was a different kind of darkness than when she was younger, having to deal with a different kind of brutality in her life. But back then, her eyes were more lost and hazy.
She thought she was functioning well enough, but she knew that her husband noticed her distance from him. She knew that she was hurting him, but at the same time, she wasn't sure if she really wanted to move on just yet.
She was also too scared. Too scared that he'd want to talk about their loss, which she didn't think she could handle. And even though it was ridiculous to think, she was too scared that he would blame her for what happened.
The thing was, if he did blame her, she would probably agree with him. After all, she's the messed up one, both in mind and in body. But what scared her most was that, what was to prevent their next pregnancy from becoming another stillbirth? If it was possible for her to be pregnant again, it was possible for them to lose another baby. And her thought was, why on earth would Finnick want to stay with her if it happens again?
So, yes, she was scared. And every time Finnick spoke to her, she would feel herself become tense and her answers would be short, with no attempt on her part to continue the conversation.
She didn't know how long she would be able to continue avoiding him. He would every so often try to put his arms around her and kiss the back of her neck or head, but she never responded.
One morning, she had woken up from a nightmare, screaming. Finnick had run to the room to find Annie in tears, but she was rushing out the door.
"My baby! He took my baby!" she said, frantic.
Finnick looked shocked, and after a split second, he called out to her as she was running towards the living room. "Annie-"
"Where's my baby?! Where's Turlach?" she asked. But as she turned the corner, she didn't need to ask anymore as Turlach turned his head from what he was playing with on the floor and looked up at his mother.
"Mommy!" he said with big, wondering, 2-year-old eyes. Annie fell on her knees in front of her son and held him tight, so tight that Turlach was trying to get her to release her grip.
"Annie darling, you're squeezing him too tight," said Finnick. She could feel his presence right next to her, on the floor with her, one of his hands on her back and one on Turlach's.
Annie released Turlach immediately, as if she just now realized what she was doing. Then she said to her son, with tear-stained cheeks, "I love you, Turlach. You know mommy loves you, yes?"
For a moment, Turlach looked at her as if he were studying her, then he nodded. "Mommy, lookit!" he said, pointing to several of his toys on the floor. She just watched her son and smiled, quickly wiping the tears from her face.
Annie knew it was time to speak to her husband. She had avoided this far too long and it was threatening the stability of their relationship. And Annie couldn't risk losing the intimacy they had. Despite being scared of not ever being able to give Finnick another child, she had to fix this.
That night, after Turlach went to bed, she knew she had to be the one to start the conversation with Finnick, and apologize for being so distant. She had to tell him why and she hoped that he would forgive her. Her heart was beating hard and fast and she could feel the tears coming, but she wasn't going to let it stop her. Not this time.
When Annie went into the bedroom to face her husband, Finnick stood there, as if waiting for her to enter at any moment. She saw the expression on his face, the way his mouth trembled, the sadness in his eyes. He opened his arms out to her, and said only one word. "Please," he choked.
Annie couldn't have moved any faster. She held him as tight as he held her, weeping together, for their lost baby, for their lost time. She was never able to apologize the way she wanted to. Finnick wouldn't allow it. They cried for however long they needed to.
"It wasn't your fault. It was never your fault, Annie," Finnick said after they had shed their tears. He pulled back a bit to look at her face, and he cupped her face in his hands. "But you have to let me help you, love. I want to help you. I need to help you, because you're my wife, and I can't stand to see you hurting."
Annie didn't know it until then, that she did feel at fault for the loss of their baby. Even though the doctor had said otherwise, she still couldn't get over the idea that there was something wrong with her, physically as well as mentally, and the baby couldn't survive in her belly. She never said it, though, but that's what she thought, and Finnick finally said the words to release her from her guilt.
She looked at the scar along his face. She grazed it with her fingertips. There were times she wondered what he must've been going through at that very moment in his life, being attacked by mutts, thinking that he could die any second. It must've been terrifying, she thought.
She felt stupid for thinking that distancing herself from him was going to help. Thinking about it more, she couldn't find much of a reason why she did it. Maybe she thought she was protecting him from feeling the loss if she took it all on her own. But seeing her husband now, she wasn't protecting him, she was making him suffer alone. Stupid girl, she said to herself.
She laid her head against his chest, and listened for his heartbeat. It was beating fast and hard, just like hers. They were both scared.
"I'm sorry," she said. "I was being stupid and selfish-"
"Shhh," said Finnick.
"-and I'm scared."
Finnick took a deep breath. "I know. I am, too. But we have to help each other. That's what we're supposed to do, right? Help each other?"
Annie nodded. She was still scared of their future, of more sadness, but she felt a relief she hadn't felt in a long time. They still had Turlach, their son. He was still with them and thinking of the day, she was reminded of what a wonderful gift he was to them.
She didn't think he would say the wrong thing, but she wanted to hear his reassurance anyway (as she so often wanted.)
"And if Turlach is the only child we'll ever have?" she asked. His response was quick.
"He'll be our greatest treasure, and I'll be thankful everyday that we made him, just like I am thankful everyday that you're my wife. I wouldn't change that for anything." He pulled back again so he could look at her face, smirked a little, then said, "Not even you could make me regret that."
They spent that night lying in each other's arms, reawakening the memory of their skin, their scent, their taste, with words of love being spoken between them.
"Mommy!" Turlach shouted as he entered the recovery room with his dad and saw his mother lying in the bed. When Annie went into labor, they had immediately called one of their neighbors keep watch over Turlach. A plan they had prepared for and had spoken to several friends about. After the war, they had made many more friends in their district, especially since Finnick had become somewhat of a representative for their zone of District 4. He wasn't exactly a political figure, but many people looked to him anyway, especially their fellow victors, the few that were still alive.
"Hold on, big guy," Finnick said, preventing Turlach from jumping onto the bed. "Mommy's still recovering, okay?" He picked up their son and brought him closer to Annie. "Be careful with mommy and the baby. Give your mom a kiss." Finnick held him close enough for Turlach kiss his mother.
"Hi my handsome boy," she said and ran her hand through his hair. She wanted to squeeze him tight like she always did, but that would have to wait. "Are you being a good boy?"
Turlach pulls back to look at me in the eyes and nods in a way that looks like his head weighs more than it really does. "Yes, mommy."
He then flooded her with question after question.
"Are you sick, mommy? Where's your stomach, mommy? What's that, mommy?"
"This is your baby sister, Turlach. She was in my stomach. That's why my stomach is not big anymore."
"Oh, okay. That's a baby?" Turlach pointed to the baby in Annie's arms.
"Yes. That's your little sister, Turlach?" Annie moved the blanket covering the baby so Turlach could see her face.
"Of course she is," said Finnick, and laughed a bit. "She was just born. She'll grow to be big, like you."
"But not bigger than me. I'm the biggest!"
"Yes, Tur. You're the biggest little boy," joked Finnick.
"No, I'm not a little boy anymore. I'm a big boy!" said Turlach, sounding resolute.
"Of course you are," said Annie, trying to appease her son. Finnick rubbed the top of Turlach's head as Turlach bent closer to see his baby sister as she squirmed in her mother's arms.
"Do you want to see closer?"
"Yes, mommy. Can I see her?"
Annie sat up a bit more while holding the baby and Finnick sat on the edge of the bed with Turlach on his lap. Luckily they had Turlach wash his hands before they entered the room as he touched the baby's face, with a precaution from both parents to be gentle, which he made sure to obey.
Turlach's little fingers stroked the baby and then he grabbed his sister's little hand as it peeked out from out of the blanket she had been wrapped in.
"Hello baby sister," said Turlach. He then looked up at Annie. "She sleeps a long time, mommy."
"Well, yes. She needs lots of rest."
"When are you coming home, mommy?"
Turlach looked at the little baby before asking his next question. "Is baby sister coming, too?"
"Yes, son," answered Finnick with a chuckle. "Yes, mommy will bring baby sister, too. She will need mommy to feed her and take care of her. And you can help mommy, too. Okay?"
"Yes, daddy. I'll help mommy!"
"And you'll help baby sister, too, okay?"
"Yes, daddy," Turlach nodded as he answered. Finnick hugged him and gave him another kiss.
Annie watched their little interaction attentively. She loved seeing her husband and her son interact, no matter what it was about or how short it was; she just loved seeing the two people she loved the most spend time together.
It was a little over three years ago when Turlach was born and it never ceased to amaze what a wonderful gift they had in him. Turlach kept them attentive in good and not-so-good ways. It was tiring, but Finnick had unbelievable energy and she loved it when they would go out to the beach to play or build castles. They'd go on the boat at least twice a week, and Finnick would show Turlach how to tie knots. He gave Turlach his own rope to practice with. Of course, Turlach's knots weren't actually knots just yet, but Turlach was always showing Annie his knots as if he had just made the finest piece of art.
She loved spending time with her son, but what she loved even more was seeing her husband and son spend time together. They were always laughing and playing with each other. Finnick would play-wrestle with Turlach in the soft sand, or throw him high in the air (sometimes too high for Annie's tastes) just to catching him and swing him around. And eventually, they would go to the children's beach to swim. Turlach still would wear floaties at the behest of both Annie and Finnick.
"But I could swim now! I'm a good swimmer!" their son argued. One would think he's already a teenager with the attitude he projected, but he learned how to speak fast, as he learned other things.
"I know you are, son, but you have to get better," said Finnick. "And mommy would be really sad if you didn't wear your floaties," he added, whispering to him, even though Annie had heard. She didn't mind, though.
She knew Turlach would obey. Turlach loved it when Annie would listen to him and tell him how proud she was of him whenever he did something she asked him to do. She would always tell him she loved him before he went to sleep, and even though she wasn't much of a singer, she would sing him a lullaby if he asked, which was often.
Now she had another to add to that list of those she loved the most. In that moment, as she saw the glint of joy and pride in her husband's eyes and the biggest of smiles on her son's face as they both looked on the baby, she knew that Finnick would be just as good a father to their daughter as he was to their son.
Annie wasn't sure if they'd ever be able to have another child after the stillbirth on her second pregnancy, but when she found out she was pregnant again six months later, she was surprised to find herself more excited of having another baby than scared of the thought of another possible stillbirth.
It certainly helped to have the husband that was perfect for her and a son who made raising a child memorable in the best possible way.
"I love you," she said to both of them.
Finnick's smile widened and his green eyes shone brighter on his face.
"I love you, too," said Finnick. Turlach said it, too, and then added, "I love baby sister!"
Annie and Finnick laughed.
"Well, her name is Taisce," said Finnick.
"Taws-saw?" asked Turlach.
"No, no, big boy," said Annie. "Say it like 'tash-ka'."
"Taws-ka," said Turlach more definitively.
It was probably the best Turlach would be able to do for now, but Annie and Finnick liked the unique name. He didn't remember where he had heard the name from, but he did remember the meaning of it, which was why Annie had wanted it, too.
"Treasure," said Finnick. "She's our treasure. That's what the name means."
Annie couldn't agree more when Finnick had suggested it. "Then that's what we'll name her."
Now Turlach was looking at his baby sister and he bent down to give her another kiss on the side of her face.
"Hi Taws-ka. I'm Tur-lah," said Turlach, carefully pronouncing his name in the introduction. "I'm your big brother. I love you."
A year later and a half later, Turlach was still wearing floaties in the children's pool. He and Finnick were playing a game of who could out-splash the other.
Annie was standing along the sand watching her daughter walk around on the uneven floor.
Since Taisce was born, life had been a lot more hectic. Turlach was helpful at times and very much unhelpful at other times. They had moments of frustration and they had moments of elation, from Turlach's nasty cut on the side of his head from a bad fall, which he later on carried with pride, saying it was just like his father's, to when Turlach was crouched, hugging his little sister after she took her first steps.
As Annie took her daughter into her arms and rested her on her hip, she kissed her and stared into her eyes. Taisce was really starting to fit into her name, especially with her eyes. Taisce did take on the green of her father's eyes, as Annie had presumed, but that was only on one eye. Taisce's right eye was very much a light shade of blue. The doctor said it wasn't anything to be concerned about, and that Taisce could see perfectly fine in both eyes. It was just something that happened.
She had to admit that she was slightly worried that it was going to be a problem, and even Finnick wasn't sure about it, but they weren't about to give their daughter some unnecessary surgery just to make her eyes look the same. A year and a half later, nothing had happened to give them any cause for concern.
Now, Annie and Finnick interpreted Taisce's eyes as two beautiful gems. Treasure.
As she continued to hold Taisce, she looked over to where Finnick and Turlach were playing and laughing in the water. The day was finally getting dark but it was still warm out.
She looked on her husband, on his wavy bronze hair and the big open-mouthed smile on his face. With the exception of the scar, he looked practically the same as when they had first met. She had just a brief moment of a memory when she thought that maybe he'd be better off without her. She laughed within herself, thinking of how silly she'd been then. She was no longer that insecure and mangled shell of a person anymore.
Her husband. Her husband was right. They needed each other, and they were perfect for each other. They had gone through the hardest trials of their lives and conquered their nightmares with each other in mind. And their children were the proof of that. Even the one that they lost. They were the proof of their love.
Their children may not be as popular as Finnick or Annie were, being that Finnick and Annie were survivors of the Hunger Games and Finnick was directly involved in the Panem Revolutionary War (that's what they called it in the history books now), but their kids didn't have to be. To Annie and Finnick, they were theirs, and they were loved, and no one was going to hurt them. That's all that mattered.
That day was all about them. They had many days like that. And they were wonderful.
Later that night, as Finnick and Annie were lying in bed together, and the kids fully asleep, Annie bent over Finnick and kissed the side of his face, where his scar was. Then she kissed his forehead. Then each eyelid. Then both cheeks. And finally his lips, where they lingered.
When she finally broke the kiss and looked at him, she saw his smile and his sea foam eyes glistened with desire and love.
"Thank you, Finnick. You've helped make this day so amazing," said Annie.
"Really? But we didn't do anything special," he said, with a hint of a smirk on his face. She knew that face.
"What are you smirking about?" said Annie. Finnick laughed. Before she could ask again, he nudged her aside so he could get up off the bed.
"Stay there," he said, and then disappeared from the room. When he came back, he was carrying something flat and rectangular, about three feet in length and two feet in width.
It was a frame. But it wasn't just a frame. When Finnick turned it over, she was speechless. She felt that pang in her chest and the lump in her throat. The tears were probably expected as Finnick just smiled, seeing the expression Annie's face.
"I didn't even have to ask Peeta. After I sent them the picture of the kids, a few weeks later, he sent this to me."
Annie walked up to it, looking at the painting of their kids. Turlach and Taisce were in an embrace, with their faces cheek to cheek so you could see both of them. Finnick held her from behind and he rested his chin on her shoulder.
"He painted this for us?" Annie asked, dumbfounded.
"I thought the same thing. He's pretty good, huh?"
"Hopefully one of these days, we can do something for Katniss's birthday when it comes."
Finnick chuckled. "Yeah."
Annie turned around to face him. "Thank you, Finnick," she said. "This has been a wonderful day. I love you so much."
Finnick smiled, his eyes filled still filled with desire and love. "I love you, too, my sweet Annie. Happy Birthday."
They didn't sleep much that night.
It was just too good a day to end.
A/N: I usually prefer not to write A/U because that often changes the original author's interpretation of the character, but I did try to keep the characters canon as much as I could in this situation, and with the idea that people change over time with the influence of those in their lives. I believe Annie would've most definitely benefitted in the psychological healing if Finnick had been alive to help her.
I also wanted to write this as a Christmas gift for my friend, Mayra, who's a big Finnick lover and had requested this from me quite a while ago. Unfortunately, I had finished up the story while sick with a bad cold and had only managed to get it out by Christmas Day, without having it beta-read, for which I apologize for. With that said, I'm still happy with the outcome of the story and I hope you enjoyed it as well.