I put this on tumblr years ago as a quick holiday fic-fix (if reworking an existing poem can be called a fic). Months ago, it was brought to my attention that I never put it anywhere else, so I made grand plans to post it here at the beginning of December (then I promptly forgot all about it again until tonight). So I'm sneaking it on here while it's technically still Christmas Eve!
Summary: Post-epilogue. A moment from Katniss and Peeta's Christmas Eve, in the style of "Twas the Night Before Christmas" by Clement Clarke Moore.
'Twas the Night
'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the room,
The sound of shrieks and sobbing pierced through the gloom.
A baker jolted awake, given a good scare,
But with bearing established, just stroked his wife's hair.
Cradling her to him, an anchor in their bed,
He kept the past from trapping her in her head.
The scent of cinnamon and the breadth of his arms
Were her fortress, her refuge, from every harm.
Her tired lids lifted, pained gray meeting blue.
She sighed a sob, trembling, her loss known to few.
The sharp air of winter crept through the window
And with it brought the cruel reminder of snow.
Gath'ring her closer, her shivers subsided
as he dropped a kiss to her nose and each eyelid.
Voice soothing and soft, he whispered in her ear:
"Not real, love of mine. There's nothing more to fear."
The moonlight averred the truth that he stated
Glinting on scars of war, long since abated.
"It's not in nightmare worlds where my anguish lies,
But with the fallen I've failed, behind my eyes.
Oh Prim! Oh Finnick! Cinna, Boggs…little Rue."
"-But you saved Jo, Annie, and many in Two."
His words brought not the comfort she was seeking,
So he did what he did best, and kept speaking.
"Children in Panem know safety because of you.
And with Coin gone, the youth of the Capitol too.
You united the Districts, inspired discourse.
Panem now knows not to cede freedom to force.
You're the reason I sought the remnants of Twelve,
My support and hope, as I reclaim myself.
A beacon in darkness, a flame in my soul,
Our regrowth entwined, from the Capitol's toll.
When hope has vanished, and despair has you caught,
Steel your mind from the horror, and forget not:
Despite the cold of winter, and dark of night,
Those you named are now safe, and suffer no fright.
they can never know hunger, not want, nor pain,
And we must only wait, to see them again.
They pluck flowers from meadows, and climb in trees.
They've time to dream, and rest, and relearn the seas.
Behind them they hear their echoes resounding
in love they left behind, ever compounding.
They want you to stop, and look all around you
At those things they gave up, which still surround you.
Think of your forest, all its secrets you know,
the lake your father loved, where the katniss grows.
Think of the families that bravely returned.
The meadow that grew green, despite all that burned.
Think of your children, our precious girl and boy,
Who fill life with laughter, healing, and such joy.
Both asleep nearby, bundled snugly in bed
Secure and dreaming of the morning ahead.
A day of surprises, gifts and treats galore
But most of all, time spent with those we adore.
For their entire life, safety is all they've known.
Their world is different from the one we were shown.
Now lay your head back, and try to get some sleep.
Into your slumber, no more torments shall creep."
His arms circled tightly around her small form
And speaking these words, he awaited the morn:
"I'll stay with you always, and a day beyond,
Through feast and famine, ever forging our bond."
With a contented smile, her eyes slowly closed,
And no further visions disturbed her repose.
Together they hurt, and together they heal
The boy with the bread and his girl cherish what's Real.
Thank you for reading, I hope you enjoyed it!
For anyone wondering, I do not have a timeframe estimate at this point for the next chapter of On The Threshold, I'm sorry.
Wishes to everyone for a safe, healthy, and happy holiday (and winter). Be well!