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HG Challenge call--first ten - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
HG Challenge call--first ten
All right, if this is going to be what I'm doing -- challenge between long pieces -- let's do it. First ten. But please no Peeta torture fics, because, ouch, that hurts. Also, the next long one is Haymitch on Mockingjay, so those will hopefully get done anyway!

  1. Katniss and Peeta (or anyone else, doesn't really matter) find an ancient copy of a Harry Potter book under Haymitch's floorboards for beceh
  2. Continuing the theme of "things that aren't terrible," maybe some more of Annie growing on Finnick? for Anon
  3. since we've seen a bit of the other mentors, maybe Effie and the other escorts? for dragonzair
  4. Johanna gets adopted by a stray dog while visiting Katniss and Peeta for allie_meril
  5. Maybe Cinna and Haymitch meeting for the first time through the rebellion network for Leah.
  6. Prisca Snow, when she finds out what her grand-daddy did for vesta_aurelia
  7. I don't really get Plutarch. Why's he a rebel anyway? Something with Plutarch during one of the Games. for aylat
  8. Wiress and Beetee, bonding, anytime before the CF Quarter Quell for maidenjedi
  9. How about a [first]-person introspective from that one Peacekeeper who gave naked Annie something to cover up with (from Chapter Nine)? for KobeG
  10. I'd love to see District Five watching Charlie Flynn during the first Quarter Quell for sonetka


ETA: Got the ten! I'll get back to them after work.

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beceh From: beceh Date: March 19th, 2013 03:05 am (UTC) (Link)
Alright! Something happy and fluffy after what we've just been through!

Hmmmm.

Totally random, but fluffy made me think of Fluffy, Hagrid's dog...

Katniss and Peeta (or anyone else, doesn't really matter) find an ancient copy of a Harry Potter book under Haymitch's floorboards (or wherever it was he keeps his books)

OR

Gale & Johanna's kid and one or both of Peeta and Katniss' kids getting up to mischief.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 19th, 2013 03:39 am (UTC) (Link)
Well, you know he's got them there. Right next to Huck Finn and totally banned for the crime of freethinking. ;p


"Damn, Katniss," Haymitch says, looking up over the top of the reddish book cover. "This kid wakes up in the hospital more than you do."

"True," I say. "But I never woke up without bones in my arm."

"Haven't you read these before?" Peeta asks.

"Not sober. I remember a lot of depressing parts."

"Why am I not surprised?" I say.

"Do you kids want the rest of your bedtime story or not?"

I nod and settle into the crook of Peeta's arm on Haymitch's couch. We have been coming here every night since the liquor ran out, mostly to keep him from driving himself crazy. The geese are out in the front yard at the moment, though he's been known to let them in when it's cold. We found Haymitch's second stash of books under a floorboard in his study. The ones under the living room floor apparently were confiscated and taken to the Capitol, but he hid his books better than his liquor, and Snow didn't find these. We have so far read through the first story of a boy who discovered he was a wizard, and are halfway through a second. Peeta loves them, and Haymitch is looking through the antique dealers to get him copies for a birthday present.

"'Hermione waited outside the curtain drawn around Harry's bed while Ron helped him into his pajamas,'" Haymitch reads.

Peeta grins. "That sounds like Katniss, too."

"I'm never going to live that down, am I?"

"Nope. I will tell it to your grandchildren."

"Who will hopefully also be yours," I say.

Haymitch makes an exaggerated gagging sound and continues the story, in which Harry Potter has just had his arm rendered boneless by an inept teacher who his friend Hermione has a crush on. She actually tries to write it off as an accident. He's fed something to make his bones re-grow, which is apparently very painful.

"At least he won the game, though," Peeta says.

"Are you kidding me, really?" I ask.

"Hey, his whole team was counting on him!"

I roll my eyes. "You have the priorities of Oliver Wood. And games?"

"Not all games are bad. Quidditch sounds fun. I'd play it. Wouldn't even have to worry about the leg."

Haymitch shakes his head. "I always forget you were with the sports people."

"He was really good," I say.

"We know." Haymitch shakes his head and continues reading to us, up through the end of the chapter, where Harry's mentor, a funny old wizard named Dumbledore, announces that the Chamber of Secrets was opened again, and implies that he knows who did it... but not how.

Peeta jokingly begs for just one more chapter, and Haymitch makes a great show of locking the book up with the others in his safe.

I walk Peeta back to his house, enjoying the cooling air and the smell of the coming fall and the feel of his hand in mine.

"I've been thinking," he says seriously.

My heart skips a beat. There are things we haven't discussed lately, things that we need to talk about. "What?"

He looks out at the green. "We could turn this into a Quidditch pitch, I think..."
beceh From: beceh Date: March 19th, 2013 03:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hahaha. Especially love that last line.
valerie_valerah From: valerie_valerah Date: March 20th, 2013 01:01 am (UTC) (Link)
Awww! I'm grinning like a lunatic over here.
maidenjedi From: maidenjedi Date: March 20th, 2013 05:51 am (UTC) (Link)
By coincidence, I'm reading CoS to my daughter right now, so this was especially fun to read. And oh yes, love that last line!!
From: (Anonymous) Date: March 19th, 2013 03:22 am (UTC) (Link)
I don't know if "thanks" is the right word for House of Cards, but thanks anyway-- it was incredibly gripping. Continuing the theme of "things that aren't terrible," maybe some more of Annie growing on Finnick?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 19th, 2013 04:16 am (UTC) (Link)
"I like being rich."

She confides this with a sly little smile, and pays the clerk at the dress shop. It is her third new dress this week.

"Yeah," I say. "That part's not so bad, is it?"

She shakes her head. "I might learn to play the piano."

"The what?"

"It's an instrument. I saw one in the Capitol. Do you think I could learn to play it? It could be my talent!" She bites her lip. "Will they really make me have a talent? Do I need to talk?"

"Yes. But I'll be right there."

This comforts her. She is the only person in my life who is satisfied with the idea that I will just be standing a few feet away from her, not doing a thing. There's a part of me that wants to do more than stand there, but Annie is still compromised from the Games, and she is not mine to do with as I choose. Maybe someday, when she's herself again...

I shake my head. It's a crazy thing to think about. I have more people in my life that way than I can handle. Annie doesn't need to be exposed to that.

"Finnick," she says, "can we go sailing?"

"Sailing?" I repeat. "Out on the water?"

"Where else would we sail?"

I raise an eyebrow at her. Since the arena flooded, she hasn't even wanted to swim. "Are you sure?"

She thinks about it. "Yes. I'm sure."

"Really?"

She frowns at me and starts to walk away, going down the street toward the beach.

I go to catch her. "Sorry, Annie. It's just that you've..."

"I loved the water!" she says. "I love swimming. I love my daddy's boat. I want to love the water again."

"Okay," I say. She has a cute little stubborn crease between her eyebrows, and I have a crazy desire to kiss it. I shake my head and take her hand. "I can rent us a boat," I say. "Is there anyone you want to come with us?"
From: (Anonymous) Date: March 19th, 2013 07:45 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, sweeties. It's nice to know, at least in your version of this world, that she does indeed get that love back. I hope they have a great time sailing. Thanks, Fern!

(Also, I love how the HG version of fluff is people fighting PTSD/ongoing sexual exploitation.)
dragonzair From: dragonzair Date: March 19th, 2013 03:41 am (UTC) (Link)
Damn I'm in the mood for something slightly more cheerful. Well, since we've seen a bit of the other mentors, maybe Effie and the other escorts?

Of that isn't a fluff bunny enough, something silly with Chaff and Haymitch. Or add them to the mix, if it helps.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 19th, 2013 04:51 am (UTC) (Link)
Games Gab Seventy-Four
with Latona Lake


Your rule book for this Games season is here! Wigs are still in, with no signs of slowing down. Effie Trinket, the always fashionable District Twelve escort, has been seen downtown, purchasing wigs in yellow, white, and... are you ready for it?... pink! Yes, the stylish trendsetter (though she has yet to see a District Twelve victory) is sporting pink this season, so get ready to girl things up, ladies! She has purchased dresses from Lucillius Vane, Calpurnia Grave, and of course, she had to purchase something from her own district's stylist, Cinna (darlings, we are still looking for that last name... he's quite secretive about it!). The last will certainly be for more understated occasions.

The lovely Miss Trinket has also been spotted in the company of her fellow escort, Strato Calmenson, who assists District One. Has she finally found love? The two were seen shopping together in the fashion district. Strato was wearing a suit from Trebonius McNair's spring collection, inspired by his own client district's luxurious ways, shown in the bright diamond buttons and the fur-lined trousers. (Ladies, you only get a peek around the pockets, but we here at Games Gab assure you that the fur is all over on the inside!)

The escorts, in fact, have all been getting ready for the Games together. Trinket and McNair were among the group that spent half of last weekend dancing in the entertainment district, though Trinket is not known for partying (is she loosening up finally?).

Cleo Saldan of District Five is the real party girl, and was seen dancing with no fewer than three different men! She was wearing Virgilia Demask shoes... until she took them off and threw them into the crowd! Her dress, a Cinna creation, was apparently less constricting, and she managed to keep it on all night.

Valeria James, the District Seven escort (wearing a positively hideous Aufidius Argon, but then Valeria has never been known for her taste) pulled District Two escort Velutus Norman onto the dance floor, and they made spectacle of themselves. (Velutus, you may remember, was last seen making a spectacle of himself with singer Dido Delicious. Has she dumped him? We will attempt to find out from Velutus's longtime companion, Cominius Spring, an old friend of the Gab. Next time, Gabbers!)

The rules of style this season were challenged by none other than District Eight escort, Orbona Flake, Effie Trinket's longtime nemesis on the style pages. Orbi has declared war on wigs, replacing them with stylish hats designed by Janus Morland. Word is that the hat she plans to wear to the opening ceremonies is nearly three feet high, and features living birds!

That's all for now, my stylish little lapdogs. We'll see you at the Games!
dragonzair From: dragonzair Date: March 19th, 2013 02:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, this was such a delightful read! I love that you wrote it as an article. Fitting for the escorts. I really enjoyed reading the names as well. Thank you!
allie_meril From: allie_meril Date: March 19th, 2013 03:42 am (UTC) (Link)
Futurefic: Johanna gets adopted by a stray dog while visiting Katniss and Peeta.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 19th, 2013 06:00 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm staying in Haymitch's house. He's up in the Capitol anyway, and no power on earth could make me stay in the same house with a pair of newlyweds.

Well, year-old-ly-weds, anyway. Not that I can tell the difference. The pair of them grin and gloat like no one before them in the history of the world has discovered that it's fun to share a bed with someone you're fond of. Personally, I'm glad it's late autumn and getting cold. I don't want to know how far sound carries when the windows are open.

So I'm alone in Haymitch's house. Gale's got himself buried up to the neck in clean-up work in District Two. Either that, or he pretended to be busy so I wouldn't drag him out to Twelve. I guess that's possible, though, even if he's exaggerating, he's definitely busy. There have been many nights lately when we haven't been doing any grinning and gloating because he comes home -- well, to my place, anyway -- collapses onto the bed, and sleeps until morning. Weirdly enough, I don't mind. I kind of like our arrangement, and it's nice to just have him there, muttering in his sleep while I sit on the other side of my bed and read terrible adventure novels. I've been thinking about trying to write one myself. This is hampered somewhat by my inability to write three sentences without noticing that they're worse than anything I'm reading.

I check my watch. It's seven-thirty here, which means Gale should just be getting up in Two. I call from the porch on a mobile unit. He picks up. We talk about what he's going to have for breakfast, and he tells me to get Katniss to show me some grove or other that he remembers. I tell him not to forget that he promised Annie he'd find jobs for three of the pros she's been trying to rehabilitate. We don't say the "L" word, because it's not something we do, but he does say he's looking forward to me coming home.

"Yeah, well, you better remember that cologne that I--" I stop.

"What is it?"

"There's a dog."

"Is it wild?"

"I don't know."

"Be careful if it's wild. They can be dangerous."

But the dog doesn't seem dangerous. It's wagging its tail and panting, its tongue lolling out cheerfully. Gale says this doesn't mean it's not wild. A mountain lion apparently followed Katniss around when they were kids. He says to keep my distance, then he has to get ready for work.

I hang up and stare at the dog.

It grins at me.

"What do you want?" I ask.

It whines and holds up its foot.

I look at it from a distance. "There's nothing wrong with your foot."

More whining.

"Haymitch shakes his hand," someone says. I look up to see Delly Cartwright.

"What?"

"Shake his paw. He comes here for scraps. He's been wandering around."

"How do you have a stray anything around here? Where did it stray from?"

"I don't know. It looks kind of like the Murphys' dog. Maybe it got out of the fire. It's definitely a people dog, though."

"Well, I'm not a dog people."

"You may have to change your position." She grins, as the dog rushes up the stairs and puts its nose on my knee. "He likes you."

"Great," I say. "Just what I wanted."

Delly laughs and moves on, walking her own dog.

I get up to go inside. The dog scratches at the door.

"Fine," I say. "Scraps. But it's just this once..."
allie_meril From: allie_meril Date: March 19th, 2013 10:53 am (UTC) (Link)
Ha ha ha, you've got Johanna's voice down perfectly! Thanks, Fern. :)
From: (Anonymous) Date: March 19th, 2013 03:47 am (UTC) (Link)
Maybe Cinna and Haymitch meeting for the first time through the rebellion network (possibly involving Finnick? Or however you see that happening)? Or really any of the older conspirators pre-HG...

--Leah
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 20th, 2013 02:20 am (UTC) (Link)
I'll pick up on this one, a bit later.


Haymitch Abernathy isn't what I expect. I've seen his Games, and heard about his involvement with the Rebellion. Finnick Odair talks about him like he's a genius, a movie star, and a gunslinger all at once. From my own remote interactions with him, I've managed to convince myself that the drunken buffoon I see on television is a carefully cultivated act.

The man who comes into my studio has let himself go, to put it mildly. He's hunched at the shoulder, developing a bit of a gut (nothing too bad), and stinking of so much booze that it's ceased to matter whether or not it's cheap. Buffoonery may not be his norm, but drunkenness clearly is.

I'm not sure what to say, so I say, "Thank you for the cake."

"Least I could do for our new volunteer," he says. "You haven't lived 'til you've had Mellark's goat cheese tarts. Better than anything Capitol-side."

"The decoration was amazing."

"That's one of his boys. Don't know which." His eyes narrow on this. He clearly does know which boy decorated the cake. At first, I can't think why he wouldn't give credit, then it occurs to me: the child may be of Reaping age, and Snow finds out the father is passing messages, it would be like waving filet mignon in front of a lion and expecting it not to bite.

All right, then. Drunk and unkempt, but nowhere close to stupid.

I gesture to my drafting table. "Well, I'll show you what I've been working on."

"Tell me you're not dressing them as miners."

"Definitely not."

"Or covering them with coal dust and sending them down naked? That idiot Meroë Chambers did that to my tributes a couple of years ago. I told her she ought to try that look herself."

I smile. "I'll bet she didn't take that well."

"Well, it's probably a good thing she didn't do it. She's so skinny she'd have scared the horses. My kids were starving and they had more weight on them."

Meroë has surgery every year to remove any speck of extra fat, and has had two ribs removed to make herself look even thinner. I have seen other designers and models end up looking like that. It's not an attractive look, and it doesn't seem to be a disease (I have seen that as well). It's just one more Capitol fashion. I shake my head. "No one's going to be naked," I say. "Promise."

"Okay." He sits down in the consulting chair and says, "What do you have in mind?"

"I think it's time to make a statement," I say. "No one ever remembers Twelve. I say we make them unforgettable."

"I'm with you so far." He reaches for my sketchbook, but I put my hand on it to keep the cover closed.

"It can't just be a novelty, either." I raise my eyebrows, hoping he understands that I mean to start rallying the districts as well as getting his tributes sponsors. That I want to scare the living hell out of Coriolanus Snow.

"What are you going to do?" he asks.

I open the cover of the sketchbook. "I'm going to set them on fire."
beceh From: beceh Date: March 20th, 2013 02:56 am (UTC) (Link)
Wonderful
vesta_aurelia From: vesta_aurelia Date: March 19th, 2013 04:20 am (UTC) (Link)
I have a couple of ideas:
a) Prisca Snow, when she finds out what her grand-daddy did.
b) Annie Cresta-Odair, finding joy after the epilogue.
c) Effie and Haymitch after the epilogue.

Pick which one tickles your fancy!

Edited at 2013-03-19 04:21 am (UTC)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 20th, 2013 03:14 am (UTC) (Link)
Whenever my teachers start in about the crimes of President Snow, I pretend that he is some other person. It's not hard. I can't really reconcile the idea that the man who deliberately bombed a hospital full of unarmed children is the same man I called "Gampy," who played checkers with me and gave me wonderful gifts.

I guess I knew, even then, that there were things going on around me that I didn't know about. People who would come into the mansion, then not leave, at least not where I could see them. I know Grandpa Caesar hated Gampy (and it was quite mutual). But I was ten years old when the Capitol fell, and as far as I was concerned, I had the best grandfathers in Panem.

Not that I say any of this. For all of Gampy's amazing gifts, the best gift I got was from Grandpa Caesar: A new name.

When the rebels started pushing toward the City Center, they knew there was no way to get me out of town. Gampy wanted to keep me under guard in the mansion, but Grandpa Caesar said that I'd never have a life if I was just his last human shield. So Grandpa Caesar snuck me out of the mansion, hid me in his studio, and told me that my name was now Prisca Flynn, and I was from District Five. When some beauticians found me hiding in a case of pretty dresses, that's what I told them, and that's all anyone knows.

I was put on a train with other orphans, and I ended up in the District Five Community Home, where Grandpa Caesar grew up, though he was Charlie Flynn then. None of the family is left, but some people remembered that there were once Flynns, and forgot that they didn't fit in very well. I'm doing fine. There were enough Capitol orphans after the war that no one even really checked on my story, and I haven't given them any reason to in the five years since.

So I keep my mouth shut about Gampy. I think he'd approve.

"The Capitol's genetic experiments were a particularly strange power play," my teacher says. "Can anyone name some of the experiments?"

"Mutts!" half the class shouts.

"Yes, of course -- plant and animal mutts. What else? Miss Flynn? Did you do the reading?"

I nod. "There were immunity experiments." I flip through the assigned chapter. "Trying to make it impossible to get sick. And longevity experiments. Fertility extension." I pause at a paragraph I missed. "Cloning..." I read the paragraph more carefully, thinking it can't possibly say what it says.

"Miss Flynn? Was the cloning a success?"

I look at the paragraph again. Blink. "I guess... it depends on what you mean by a success."

"Did it provide a younger body for and older person to 'transfer' to?"

"No. Why would it? Why would anyone think it would? A clone is like... a twin that's younger than you. No more likely to be like you than your brother. Or sister."

"And yet, President Snow appears to have believed -- "

"Why would you think that?" I ask.

"He did have a clone made. He raised it as his son."

"Raised him."

The teacher raises her eyebrows. "And why would he do that?"

"I don't know. Why does anyone have kids?"

"And yet, when the clone failed to assimilate to Snow's life, he was killed under mysterious circumstances."

I shrug and go back to my habitual silence.

Nothing good can come of looking at this subject too closely.
dragonzair From: dragonzair Date: March 20th, 2013 03:32 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh God, this breaks my heart. I've re read your past fics, and reading how Caesar was killed... I feel for her. She lost both her grandparents in the war. I do hope when Coin's plans were revealed, people find out about Caesar. I couldn't tell if Peeta was still the only one who really knew.

This whole cloning thing is making my head spin.

Again, I am continuously impressed with all your fics (including these prompts) backing each other up. I just love how you clearly have everything laid out.
From: (Anonymous) Date: March 19th, 2013 04:30 am (UTC) (Link)
I don't really get Plutarch. Why's he a rebel anyway? Something with Plutarch during one of the Games. What's his attitude towards all the people he's helping to kill?


aylat

Ps I'm another long time lurker from your HP stories who only read HG because you started writing in it. I've read, re-read and re-re-read all your stuff, and I'm wowed by how your characters and world are all so real. Thanks for all the gifts you've given your readership!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 20th, 2013 04:43 am (UTC) (Link)
Okay, so it's not during one of the Games he worked on. Hope that's okay!


We've carefully laced the lake shore cave with morphling paraphernalia, in case anyone follows us from campus. If we're tanked for morphling, it's two years, max. If they figure out what we're really doing, it's re-education until the Capitol is finished with us.

Once we've established that no one has been followed, Fulvia Cardew sweeps the place for bugs. She's a sound engineer, and I trust her. She declares us free to start our meeting.

Psyche Barrow lights a candle and brings out the old metal trunk. No one knows who found the trunk. It's been passed down from one college year to the next. It doesn't have original documents, but the books it has are old, most pre-dating the catastrophes. She opens one and reads, "'We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness—-That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed...'"

I smile in the shadowy gloom. I know more than I once did about these words. I don't know who wrote them, and I don't understand most of the charges that come after them (we're still working on a translation; it's a very old form of Panem's language, and it's not easy to follow), but I know they created a Republic -- a word that seems, in my mind, talismanic, almost magical. I feel that, with the right education and guidance, the people from the districts could right the government here. They would have their assemblies for their own governance, and they would send representatives -- elected representatives -- to the Capitol, to bring the needs of the people to the table.

I sigh. Sometimes it seems a long way off.

Barabus Pine calls the meeting to order. "Old business: Maintenance of headquarters. Plutarch, you have to keep your garbage out of here! If someone spots garbage, they'll come in and check."

"And they'll find the morphling stuff," I say. We leave that there. Morphling addicts aren't exactly known for being neat."

"Yeah, but they usually don't have ancient history notes on them," Prosperine Landry says. "Not to mention the translation notes. Do you really want someone to wonder who's being accused of gathering foreign merchants?"

"I think word that means 'soldiers,' not 'merchants,'" I say. "Who'd care about merchants?"

"One way or the other, we don't want someone to wonder who you're accusing of it. Not up for debate." Barabus raises his eyebrows. "New business?"

"I say we talk about protesting the Games," Myrrha Simons says.

"That's old business," Barabus tells her. "Since you bring it up every meeting."

"And you table it every meeting! We can't talk about recruiting the districts to our cause if we can't even stand up to the murders of their children!"

"We have to be realistic," Fulvia says. "If we're arrested for sedition, everything is over."

"We could send a message to the districts that they're not alone! That they'd find allies in the Capitol!" Myrrha purses her lips. "We'd be in jail of course, but someone would take it up. Someone out there. They'd know the ideas are out there."

Fulvia shakes her head. "No, they wouldn't. The news wouldn't make it out there. And even if it did, and even if they acted on it -- even if they lived through acting on it -- these people have had almost no education. They don't know how to govern themselves yet. We have to take the Capitol first, so we can teach them."

Something about this seems wrong to me, but I can't put my finger on it. She's certainly right that the districts are mis-educated for any kind of self-governance. But it seems... off-putting... to ask them to fight a war so that we can step in and take over the districts until they're ready. On the other hand, I can't think how else it would work. If it fails, they'll go for the first dictator that comes along. At least so history says.

I shrug. "We're not ready to go public yet. I think we need to talk about starting to subtly insert our thoughts into the public conversation..."

Edited at 2013-03-20 04:45 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous) Date: March 20th, 2013 04:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
So this is the fleshing out of Plutarch the historian who's not good at thinking about the little people. It's so interesting - you think all the rebels are fighting for the same cause, but the range of motivations and perspectives makes it almost like they're on different teams. Contrast with Cinna who was solely motivated by an individual.

I want to know why he went for the Gamemaker job if he was already anti-Sn and how he felt while he was doing it.(I envisaged him joining the rebels after he'd already been part of the Games for years.)
Next challenge call...

Thank you so much for all the thought out stories that round out and build on the HG world!
maidenjedi From: maidenjedi Date: March 19th, 2013 04:55 am (UTC) (Link)
I think I'm getting in under the wire.

And that leads me to my prompt - Wiress and Beetee, bonding, anytime before the CF Quarter Quell.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 20th, 2013 05:46 am (UTC) (Link)
I guess a lot of people think Wiress is the way she is because of the Games. I was her mentor. I know better. She came to the Games tongue-tied and lost in her own world, and she left the arena the same way. In between, she used her mechanical engineering skills to build five deadly traps, using branches, rocks, and a length of rope I got for her with sponsor money. She still wouldn't have won if the Careers hadn't blown their tops and gone at each other early (the boy from Four stole food from the girl from Two, setting off a six way melee that left five dead and one severely wounded long before the field started to whittle down). But she did win. And I have some company in the Victors' Village.

She does have Games damage, of course. When she went in, she was odd. When she came out, she was paranoid -- the arena was booby-trapped at every step, and she saw more than one of her fellow tributes caught in them. She now approaches everything she sees with great caution, and examines it thoroughly before touching it. This isn't a bad habit, so I don't discourage it.

They give her a choice of any house other than mine, and she picks the one next door. In District Three, it's all pretty close. The Victors' Village is a technical wonderland, full of games, and with a lab the size of a city block that only she and I have keys to. (Well, she and I and the Peacekeepers and Snow's agents, of course.) The houses are tall confections that look like Capitol houses. Mine is covered in blue glass. Wiress chose a yellow one.

She stands in front of the hearth on the first floor parlor and stares at the wall above the mantel. "I think I need a -- "

"Oh, wait, let me show you," I say, and pick up the remote sitting on the end table. It goes to a projector that has several great works of art stored in it. She can choose whatever she's in the mood for at a given moment.

She smiles and takes the remote, examining it carefully, then going through Renaissance masters and finally settling on a Rothko color field that matches the house. This seems to please her. She smiles at it for a long time.

"What else...?"

I show her around the house. It has a few different features from mine, but not many. She has a considerably newer sound system, but she's not much for music, and ignores it. The furniture is fresh and bright. The whole second floor is a greenhouse, and I bought her a jungle of plants as a housewarming gift. The third floor has her bedroom and a private work area to do whatever pleases her.

"What's your talent going to be?" I ask.

"I invent," she says.

"Me, too." I waggle my eyebrows. "Want to check out the lab?"

This is the quickest I've seen her move since her name was drawn at the Reaping and she wandered up to the stage dreamily. Now, she positively dances as we cross the short distance from her house to the victors' lab. They've provided a second set of safety gear for her, and this, she puts on without checking it for danger.

"What are you working...?"

I go to my workbench. "I'm trying to see how thin I can get a wire without it disintegrating when it gets a charge. Look, they've given you a spot, too!"

I point at a brand new table that's been moved in here since she won. Behind it is a peg board covered with power tools ranging from a heavy duty circular saw to a tiny laser cutter, jewel grade. She looks like it's her best birthday ever.

"What are you going to make first?" I ask.

"A mouse."

"A what?"

She skitters her hand over the table. "A robot mouse. To clean up slivers." She bites her lip. "I made one in school out of scraps. I don't like getting metal splinters. I'm going to make a much better one."

I laugh. "A robot mouse it is, then."

"Could I try some of your wire in it?"

I go back to my table and toss her a spool of my latest attempt. It holds a charge, but it's still as thick as fishing line.

She starts unrolling it, and we get to work.
maidenjedi From: maidenjedi Date: March 20th, 2013 05:54 am (UTC) (Link)
Exactly what I was hoping for! The two of them fascinate me - they don't appear to be romantically linked, but they have this bond that goes beyond mere kinship. I love what you did here with Beetee anticipating her, and I love Wiress' delight in the things she finds in the Victors' Village. Awesome.
From: (Anonymous) Date: March 19th, 2013 05:37 am (UTC) (Link)

Did I make it?

How about a third-person introspective from that one Peacekeeper who gave naked Annie something to cover up with (from Chapter Nine)? Bonus points if that Peacekeeper is related to a former Victor or Tribute.

- KobeG
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 21st, 2013 06:12 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Did I make it?

Hey! Would you guys cover her at least?

Even eight hours later, at the barracks, I can still hear his voice in my head.

Maybe it's just that I can't sleep because every time I do, I see his face during the interview, imagine him being beaten to death while I lie here. But eight hours ago, being shoved into a car, cuffed, after having been obviously tortured, the only thing he said was, Hey! Would you guys cover her at least?

So I took off my coat and threw it over Annie Cresta. I have been taking some ribbing for this in the barracks. Cacus Lemon called me "Everdeen" and asked if I wanted to be issued a few extra backpacks for our next field training, just in case I was confronted with a naked person "with foreign parts." Nixi Norris took off her uniform to "desensitize" me to such horrific sights as female bodies, to the delight of half the squad. Picus Gray offered to demonstrate the use of her strange deformities, though Nixi's response was, "I wouldn't try it, Pike -- my gun's still loaded, and even Janus knows what that's for."

I tried to make myself laugh because it was obviously expected, but I couldn't quite do it, so I pleaded weariness and retired to my bunk. There was laughter right up until the interview, after which the silence became uncomfortable. No one is on the side of the boy giving away military secrets, but we know what's being done to him. All of us have been trained in basic "control methods," both as perpetrators and test subjects. Those of us in standard barracks are the ones who didn't have enough stomach for it.

I think about Peeta Mellark -- an affable kid, and, as it turns out, an honorable one, no matter what his connections. Would you guys cover her at least?

It keeps reverberating inside my skull. Faced with almost certain torture, he took time to worry about her dignity.

As far as I know, they don't even know each other, except in the way all the victors have that weird connection, even the ones who can't stand each other.

It takes a while before I understand the hot, shaky feeling that's spreading over my body, in a layer just under the skin. Shame.

Yeah, I helped her, but I had to be told to do it by Peeta Mellark.

When I was a kid, my sister and I used to pretend to be heroes. We rescued the family cat from every dastardly villain known to feline kind. We solved crimes that baffled the world's greatest detectives. We recovered artifacts of great power from the secret caves beneath the quarry (really, the abandoned train depot) and kept them from the hands of evildoers.

Now, she is best known for ripping out a boy's throat with her teeth, and I have be be reminded by a teenage torture victim that it's wrong to drag a troubled young woman naked from her jail cell to a television studio.

Worse, that troubled woman could as easily have been my sister. Eno was pulled out of that arena only a few minutes after Peeta Mellark and Johanna Mason. She immediately declared her loyalty to Snow, who she hates like poison, to avoid exactly what happened to the others. I was allowed to have lunch with her, and she refused to discuss the subject at all. She's mostly holed up in a Capitol apartment now -- they won't give her leave to go back to Two, but that's the worst she's gotten.

I try to call her. I want to stop thinking how she could have been naked in the back of the car. But when she picks up, she just tells me that it's the middle of the night and she wants to sleep.

I put my head down on the table beside the barracks phone.

This is not what I wanted my life to be.
dragonzair From: dragonzair Date: March 21st, 2013 04:51 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Did I make it?

Oh my God. You're really good at reveals, aren't you?
sonetka From: sonetka Date: March 21st, 2013 10:47 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Did I make it?

Damn. I mean really, just damn. There really isn't any escaping yourself, is there? And I love that his name is Janus -- I wonder what he (and Eno) will be getting up to in a year or so from now.
From: (Anonymous) Date: March 22nd, 2013 05:21 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Did I make it?

A deep name. Janus, usually used to imply two faced. But, the god of new beginnings (but also endings). The god of doorways--of ways out and (even more ominous in HG) ways in. The god who watches both the past and the future.

Ellen
From: (Anonymous) Date: March 22nd, 2013 05:38 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Did I make it?

Spectacular. Here I was, thinking you'd go with Lyme or something -- but to choose Enobaria is bloody brilliant. And you've worked cats into it! My mind is blown.

Cheers and thanks,
Kobe
From: (Anonymous) Date: March 19th, 2013 06:39 am (UTC) (Link)

KobeG again

My bad: Regarding my challenge from ^above^, FIRST-person is what I meant, not third-person. Hope u catch this...

(Damn, I really need to reactivate my LJ account...)

Thanks, Fern!

Cheers, KobeG
sonetka From: sonetka Date: March 19th, 2013 06:48 am (UTC) (Link)
I hope I'm in time! I'd love to see District Five watching Charlie Flynn during the first Quarter Quell.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 23rd, 2013 01:33 am (UTC) (Link)
Despite being the power generating district, the only time we can be sure there's power in District Five itself is during the Games. Then, it's on all the time and everywhere, even here in the Community Home. The big television in the Common Room -- a gift from the government of Panem for just this purpose -- is always on.

We walk carefully around it, looking up at it in frightened glances as we pass. We walk carefully around each other, too, with our eyes cast down. Every now and then, someone will mutter, Is Charlie dead yet?

He isn't.

I don't know about anyone else, but I'm not scared of Charlie Flynn dying. I'm scared of Charlie Flynn winning. I saw the way he looked out the window of the train at us. He hates us. And if he comes back, trained to kill and hating us as much as he does, what's to stop him from getting a little payback for sending him?

I shudder. Charlie is -- was -- my roommate. We all teased him about his parents, who sat out the war. Some people say they collaborated with the Capitol. Charlie always tried to make up for it, but we knew he wasn't one of us. Our grandparents and aunts and uncles died in the war, which was why losing our parents meant that there was no one to take us in. Charlie's parents were just loners from the start, wanderers and outsiders and...

And the truth was, when the district started voting, we knew that the tributes would be coming from the Community Home -- kids who had no one looking out for us except people hired to do it. The girl, Edison Lee, was one of us, too, but she kind of knew she was going to be the female tribute, and didn't fight it. She was blind. People seemed to think she was deaf, too, and were saying that she wouldn't have much of a life later, anyway.

But for the boy, I think all of us were afraid. So we all pushed at Charlie, pushed at him for being an outsider, for his parents being traitors. And when the results were announced, pretty much all any of us could think about was that it wasn't us. We'd been running the campaign so hard that we forgot that it was Charlie who usually gets us through the Games, Charlie who comes up with nicknames for each of the tributes, and Charlie who comforts the little ones when they cry over losing their favorites.

And now, he's in the arena.

We watch wide-eyed. He's in no danger, except from the mutt they've walled off, and now, starvation. He's got his allies telling stories, the way he sometimes gets us to tell them on long winter nights.

I look at Percy Widlar, who made a fake coffin from scrap wood and marched it around at the train station. He is green-looking. Fermi Smith was Charlie's girlfriend once, and told people that he still talked like his parents in private (not true; as his roommate, I spent more time with him than she did). She has her fist up near her mouth and his absently gnawing on a knuckle.

The Games cut over to other tributes. We look at each other uncertainly.

"Charlie's doing all right," Fermi says. "He, um..." Whatever she meant to say, she loses track of.

Percy nods. "We could have a..."

We all look away from each other.

A little kid, who's been eating his supper, comes in, smelling of the mushmeal they serve downstairs. "Is Charlie dead?" he asks.

I shake my head.

After mandatory viewing ends, I go back to my room, where Charlie's cot has already been stripped and is waiting for its next occupant. His school books are still sitting on the floor, and the stupid string tie he wears, the one with the tin bison head clasp, is sitting at the base of his lamp. The bison head stares at me.

I stare back.

I don't sleep.
sonetka From: sonetka Date: March 23rd, 2013 04:16 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you! That's fantastic, and disturbing. (Love the names -- of course Edison and Fermi would be in District Five). I'm sure they were all kinds of relieved when he made it clear he had no intention of coming back. This Quarter Quell must have been very strange -- probably the only Games in which the people of the Capitol were more engaged with the tributes, so to speak, than their home districts.
From: (Anonymous) Date: March 19th, 2013 10:43 am (UTC) (Link)

Can I Have...

Peeta telling Haymitch about Ceasar wanting to nominate Haymitch for president? Can be set anytime.

Sara Libby
From: (Anonymous) Date: March 19th, 2013 07:14 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Can I Have...

Oh rats, it looks like I'm number eleven. Oh well. Looking forward to seeing all the other drabbles.

Sara Libby
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 21st, 2013 06:22 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Can I Have...

I'll see if I can find a way to work that in toward the end of the long fic.
From: (Anonymous) Date: March 21st, 2013 10:35 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Can I Have...

Thanks so much! I was kind of hoping that might be doable, since it'll be Haymitch's POV.

Great Stuff,

Sara Libby
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