The frail, but hard to kill yellow bird

Birdie's Song


Birdie's Song

"How much?" Ambrose asks me.

"What do you got?" I return, pretending to mull over my minx pelt.

Ambrose pulls out six thick iron coins and slides them across the wood table towards me.

I shake my head. "That's too much." I slide the currency back to the trader. "She had a thin coat. I'll give it to you for two." I say it curtly, like I'm unaware my minx is really three times that.

"You know, you're right, girly. That was a little too high, wasn't it?"

"I'm always a fair trade." I say, a fake smile on my face.

I catch his lips twitching greedily as he takes the pelt and most of his money back. Ambrose isn't very bright. He doesn't catch that I'm giving him a charity. He thinks I'm just stupid.

He's new.

"See ya later, Ambrose." I call roughly as I exit the post.

"Hurry back now." He answers distantly while he quickly pockets his iron.

I give most people my game for free these days.

The tornado robbed District Twelve of most of it's crops, collapsed two more mine shafts and knocked down multiple town shops while they were still being built. Including Peeta's.

After our day in bed, Peeta and I had spent the next few weeks inspecting the damages around our home and his business. Builders couldn't start rebuilding until the rubble was cleared. They had to build a second bonfire to begin burning it all away.

The point is, money was lost. President Paylor pushed for more grants to compensate but it didn't go through. Congress claimed she was expressing favoritism for Twelve.

Resulting in light pockets all around.

Except for the three residents of Victor's Village. They will never run out.

But hey, the District is still in better shape than it was three years ago in that department.

Peeta gets a book from Dr. Aurelius that explains the whole new republic and how it works.

People say I should read it too, but I don't.

Peeta explains it as best as he can, but some of it I still don't catch up on.

I just don't care.

Besides, the tornado takes up most of my attention for months afterwards anyway.

The tornado left the corn fields scavenged, most of the corn stalks were broken and the corn already had worms and insects, not to mention all the birds.

All of the carrots and potatoes survived, a few paths were blown up from the actual funnel itself, but needless to say, families will be living off potatoes and carrots for a while.

There were fourteen casualties.

A Seam family was crushed by their newly built candy shop while they slept.

The father was the man who gave me the free peppermint.

One woman actually blew away. No one has found her body yet.

I hope they don't.

Like my mother, people began transfer from District to District.

Late in the summer, people came by train to start a new life in Twelve.

They were gone by the end of the month.

I'm not sure how, but some people have got it into their minds that District Twelve has become a place of ease and home to the rich and famous.

Like Ambrose.

He's from Five and he was a little disappointed when he first arrived.

Apparently he only had enough for a one way ticket.

I pass Thom on my way home.

I spit at his feet as he walks by. He grits his teeth and keeps looking forward.

He still hasn't apologized to me, let alone to Peeta.

Peeta thinks I shouldn't be so harsh on him, that he was just doing what he thought was right.

I don't care. My insides still squirm with frustration every time I see him. That woman that blew away, she was picking cabbage heads when it happened. Because Thom told her to.

But I do recognize the small twinge of sympathy that pokes at my heart as I finish my walk home.

Thom got in a lot of trouble with the Peacekeepers for encouraging so many people into the fields that night.

For punishment he's to work in the one remaining coal mine.

I've heard that guilt has been eating at him, and as I think about it, he did look thinner as I passed him.

My grudge loosens a tiny bit as I greet Peeta in my kitchen.

"Is it looking any better?" He inquires.

"Some." I sigh. "The uprooted trees are good for new wood beams. Some men are going over there tomorrow."

"Good. Cookie?"

"Sure."

We sit in my living room and talk like we usually do.

Peeta's stab wound is getting better. He can do sit ups now without any severe pain.

His memory is getting better as well.

He remembers just about everything about the Quell now.

I had showed him the spile for fetching water from the trees, as he stared at it I could practically see the memories reorganize themselves in his mind again.

He doesn't remember giving me the pearl though.

I had showed that to him as well. He had thought Finnick had given it to me. Even after his hours worth of gazing intently at it.

I should have told him the story, but I didn't.

I keep the pearl at the bottom of a drawer in my sisters bedroom. It nearly killed me to simply open her door to deposit it there. But I did it.

I tell myself I keep it hidden as a way to remind me of the Peeta that used to be.

When I have nightmares, Peeta comforts me with kisses.

Every once in a while, Peeta has nightmares too.

He mutters and screams my name, kicking and thrashing, and I have to sit on top of him and kiss him again like I did in the tornado to wake him up.

He holds me and cries that he saw me die in his arms. So I tangle my body with his and tell him stories about my childhood.

One day, I start to sing again.

My voice is scratchy and wobbly at first, but eventually it warms up and I'm able to sing the most complicated tunes.

I sing Bird's song.

So naturally he sings along.

Peeta comes in smiling from the kitchen when I finish.

He wraps me in his arms and places kisses all over.

"So beautiful." He sighs.

He picks me up and brings me upstairs when he can hold me and kiss me all he likes.

After finishing a page of our book one night, Peeta escorts me upstairs to sleep.

He helps me undo my braid and brushes his fingers through it. He changes into his pair of sleep clothing that he keeps here while I change into mine.

We both crawl in and let Bird to sing us.

"You sing, too." Peeta says, poking my stomach.

"Bird's much better."

"False!" He insists. "Sing the one your father used to sing."

"Bird isn't done with his yet. It would be rude."

Peeta rolls his eyes and pulls me into his chest and points a kiss onto my nose.

"Fine then, goodnight," he says while closing his eyes.

After a few minutes of Bird's constant chirp, I open my mouth.

Are you, are you, coming to the tree?

Where they strung up a man, they say murdered three

Strange things did happen here, no stranger would it be

If we met up at midnight, in the hanging tree

Are you, are you, coming to the tree

Where the dead man called out, for his love to flee

Strange things did happen here, no stranger would it be,

If we met up at midnight, in the hanging tree

Are you, are you, coming to the tree,

Where i told you to run, so we'd both be free

Strange things did happen here, no stranger would it be

If we met up at midnight in the hanging tree

Are you, are you, coming to the tree

Wear a necklace of rope side by side with me

Strange things did happen here no stranger would it be

If we met up at midnight, in the hanging tree

Then Peeta is there, hovering right above me, his lips crashing down on mine.

Before I know what's happening we're completely aligned with each other. My chest to his chest, my stomach to his stomach, my hips to his hips.

Even our toes are lined up.

I wrap my arms around his neck while his hands stroke my stomach. Something warms ignites inside of me.

His tongue slowly dips inside my lips and he gives a satisfied sigh. Next those warm lips go to my ear.

"I love you."

He rests his head into the crook of my neck and tangles his fingers into my hair.

I open my mouth to tell him the same when he says, "It's okay, you don't have to say anything."

I try hard to speak but the words just don't come out, they remain lodged in my throat.

He kisses from my ear to my jawline to my mouth.

"I love you." He sighs again. "It feels good to say that."

"You should say it more often." It's the only thing I can manage to whisper.

"I think I will." He grins at me as he suddenly grips me tighter and flips us around, so he's on his back and I'm over him.

"Goodnight, my love."

"Goodnight," I murmur, trying as hard as I can not to cry at my failure to say what I want to.


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