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HG: The Narrow Path, Chapter Twenty-One - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
HG: The Narrow Path, Chapter Twenty-One
Haymitch, who has stumbled onto the idea that there is something wrong about the double-bombs, finds himself out of commission after discovering a stash of liquor has been delivered to his rooms. He doesn't exactly fight it -- the last thing he wants is to actually think about what he's starting to realize. Unfortunately, it puts him completely out of it when Katniss finds him, and he says exactly the wrong thing to her.


Chapter Twenty-One
I stumble down the hall, thumping against walls and doors, calling for her. She hasn't been particularly careful. A bit of burned hair is caught on a door hinge here, a vase left askew there. Even I could handle tracking this simple.

It doesn't take long to find her. She has buried herself in silk sheets in a closet, and she doesn't even seem to see me standing in the door, though her eyes are open. I watch until she falls asleep. She seems happy here. Who am I to argue?

I stay there a long time, looking at the singed hair on her head, the burn scars on her arms where they poke out of her cocoon. I have spoken to her. I'm sure of it. I'm not sure when. The closet sways along like a boat in my mind, tossing us on a furious, wine-dark sea. Islands of memory try to come up. Something is wrong here. There are too many islands, and they are too far apart. I need to talk to someone, but I can't leave Katniss alone. She needs to be watched, and I don't know where Peeta is, so somewhere in the small hours of the morning, I go to Paylor, up by the greenhouse. She promises that her people will keep a guard, then says, "Are you ready to sober up, Abernathy? Or can we look forward to a few more weeks of this?"

"Weeks?"

She sighs. "Weeks. After the first week, no one even bothered to try and rouse you. You've been up and about a little bit -- do you remember about Snow's trial?"

I try to form a memory. Sitting in command while words floated around me. Going to sit by Katniss, either in her room or at the hospital, and trying to express that Snow was going to die. It's there. Somewhere in the mist, I know those things happened. But if asked to pinpoint just when, I'd be lost. There has been no time.

I sit down, put my head in my hands. The room seems to swim around me. "I've never been out for weeks before. I didn't know. I thought it was only a day or two. It's never more than a couple of days."

Paylor sits down on a foot stool and makes me look up. She runs her finger back and forth in front of my eyes, then gets one of her soldiers. "Find one of the District Six medics, and his friend, if you can find her -- the one who's been trying to get in. We might have a bigger problem than booze here."

"Katniss wanted to talk to me," I say, after the guards leave. "She needed me, and I was drunk."

"She had a chat with our friend," Paylor says, nodding toward the greenhouse. "She said she found what she was looking for."

"What was she looking for?"

"The same thing you were when you got sidetracked by the contents of Snow's cellars," she says bitterly. "The same thing I was when I got kicked out of Command. That hover craft."

I close my eyes. I don't want to think about that.

The image of the bear walking among the stars comes into my mind again.

And an unscrewed panel leaning up against the wall of the train station.

And Delly saying that somewhere in fabrication, where they painted things, there was a room with a Capitol flag.

And Beetee's notes.

Beetee's damned notes. The traps, the tricks. Gale's hunting strategies, the ones Beetee thought were so sadistic no one would use them. Beetee fuming to himself. Gale being sent away to District Two.

I get up, wanting to go back to my room, wanting to start drinking again. I can't think this. I can't think it or I will go crazy. I'll have no choice. I've managed to absorb a lot without cracking, but this is beyond me.

Paylor catches me and sits me back down easily.

"You need to wait for the medic," she says.

The medic arrives five minutes later, and in his wake, Effie.

I've left her alone for weeks.

Paylor stands up and lets Effie take the stool. She grabs my hands. "Haymitch, I've been so worried! I told them you needed detox pills, but they said that you couldn't have them. That it was against the law. They wouldn't let me in to see you. I thought you were trying to hurt yourself again!"

"I'm sorry," I say, though I'm not sure which of those things I'm apologizing for. Effie stands up, leans over, kisses me. She is crying. Her eyes have a kind of glassy look to them, and I guess I'm not the only one who's been in chemical therapy.

"Miss Trinket," Paylor says, "I need you to go to Haymitch's room. Get me as many of the full bottles as you can. And at least one empty. I'm sure there's one around."

Effie nods and scurries off.

"What's she taking?" I ask.

"You're not one to comment," Paylor says, then relents. "She's been having panic attacks, as I understand it. A lot of native Capitol citizens have. They've been given various tranquilizers."

The medic picks up a light and shines it in my eyes, and I think about Prim Everdeen saying, "You're in shock, Haymitch. I told you to stay warm." Prim is dead. She burned up a day after telling me that we needed to put the fires out.

She burned up in a bombing that was a trap -- a small explosion to draw the rescuers, then a big one to kill everyone.

I try to force my mind off the path. It won't leave.

There is a lot of poking and prodding and blood-drawing, but the medic seems to know what to expect. He has brought exactly what he needs for testing. It takes him less than ten minutes to discover enough morphling in my bloodstream to keep Berenice Morrow happy for a month.

"I don't take morphling," I protest.

"It just spontaneously appeared in your blood, then," the medic says dryly. "It's a medical miracle."

Of course, it isn't. Effie arrives a few minutes later with one full bottle. "The rest of it is gone," she says. "Someone must have been in to clean."

"I'm surprised they left anything," Paylor says.

Effie rolls her eyes. "I know where Haymitch stashes things in the Capitol. There's always one more in case I try to cut him off. This one was in the toilet tank. They must have found the one behind the heating grate."

"Give it here," the medic says. He takes the bottle and pours a little bit onto a white cloth. Then he takes out a bottle of clear liquid and puts two drops of it onto the cloth. The drops turn a deep plum color. He grimaces, hands the bottle to Paylor, and says, "Dump it. Not into anything that will go into the water supply." She takes it and goes to a side room.

"What does that mean?" I ask.

"Paulin Gibbs used to do this deliberately," he says. "But I have a feeling it was done to you. You're either lucky or so used to poisoning yourself that it doesn't faze you." He shakes his head when I don't talk. "They laced it with liquid morphling."

"Who did?" Effie asks.

That's a question I don't need to ask. "Why would they, though? I don't know anything. I didn't ask anything. I didn't do anything. I haven't said anything to anyone."

"Would you excuse us?" Paylor says, coming back. "I need to talk to Mr. Abernathy."

The medic leads Effie out. She keeps looking over her shoulder, so I give her a signal -- a kind of nondescript wave -- that I hope she interprets as, "I'll be right along."

Paylor sighs and leans against a desk. She is dressed in ragged, ill-used clothes, her limbs bruised and scarred. Her sidearm holster is worn to nearly nothing from constant use. "There are a lot of people asking questions. Beetee is keeping his head down. Rumor has it that Gale Hawthorne demanded to know about the bombs. He said it was like an idea he'd had. Coin told him that he was being insubordinate. He made the mistake of telling her she owed him answers. Coin does not like being told what she owes. The next thing anyone knew, Hawthorne was off in District Two. He was still changing the dressings on his bullet wounds twice a day when they sent him. He's back now, but he's behaving himself. You'd gotten quiet. You were keeping an eye on Beetee. Someone took pre-emptive action."

"The bombs were ours," I manage to say.

"Officially, I don't know. Officially, there's no word. Snow swears he didn't have any reason to drop bombs on his own citizens and break his own base, but who knows? He may have made a huge blunder and is playing one last game with it. I wouldn't put it past him. Maybe Coin is just shutting up people who question her by habit."

"Has she denied it?"

"When I went to see her, she said she shouldn't have to deny it to someone who is supposed to be in her upper command structure. Take that however you want to."

"I don't want to take it at all."

"Me, either," Paylor admits. "I think -- "

But what she thinks, I don't find out that night, because I am summoned abruptly to Command, practically frog marched by one of Coin's assistants. I pass Effie on the way. She is being led off as well, and the people doing it better hope that they're not taking her anywhere I don't approve of.

The Command staff is around the table, in varying states of wakefulness. Beetee seems most normal. I'd wager he was up working on something and didn't even realize what time it had become. Gale looks like he's fighting to keep his eyes open. Others are asking for coffee. Plutarch has brewed a pot of it, but he's keeping it for himself and constantly refilling his cup.

Coin herself looks quite perky, happier than I've seen her. Apparently, executing beauticians puts quite a spring in her step.

"Well," she says, "I understand our mockingjay is talking again."

"She's still pretty shaken up," I say.

"And her mentor has managed to crawl out of a bottle, how delightful." She gives me a disgusted look, then continues. "As you know, I've been waiting for Soldier Everdeen to recover enough to perform the execution of Coriolanus Snow. Once that's done, everything left is clean-up. That will be the final Games-based execution. The trials of Capitol liaisons in the districts have been completed. We will allow the districts to choose their own modes of punishment. I want to have the Mockingjay prepared for the execution by noon. Heavensbee, you see to it that the filming and broadcast are impeccable. There are people all over Panem waiting for this. I get word every day that people are looking forward to seeing the Mockingjay kill Snow." This must gall her, but she limits herself to a patronizing little smile. "Soldier Abenathy, you and Miss Trinket, as always, will get her ready. Miss Trinket is being taken to prep as we speak, and we are retrieving Soldier Everdeen's team from their homes as well."

"Don't you think it's a little soon?" Gale asks. "If she just started talking today..."

"I believe this has been delayed quite long enough. If she has broken through her self-imposed muteness, then the rest can certainly be handled medically." She looks at Dr. Aurelius, who glares, but nods. "Very well, then. Beetee, Hawthorne, prepare the Mockingjay's weapons. Everyone else, you are assigned to making sure that every citizen of the Capitol is there in the square to watch the execution. They will cheer." She gets up and straightens her papers, then says she has "further district business and dismisses us. I go to Katniss's rooms and sit there, smelling the high stink of the burn ointment that has permeated the whole place.

Coin does not want to give her time to recover any further. Paylor's guards find me and tell me that Katniss has woken up and they are bringing her here. I draw her a bath. I don't know which of the many things in here she likes, so I just toss in some honeysuckle scented bubbles. I assume she'll want a bath, and even if she doesn't, her prep team will insist on it. There is a white rose in her bathroom, opening in the steam. It's one of Snow's, I'm sure. I don't know why she has it. Aurelius comes by with pills for both of us -- detoxers that he slips me quietly, then a handful of stimulants and mood stabilizers for Katniss. There's also a tray of food.

When the guards bring her, they leave her with me. "Katniss," I say. "I'm sorry. About yesterday. I--"

She sees me now. She knows I'm here, which is a step up from last night in her closet. But she looks away quite deliberately. I don't blame her.

"Talk to me, Katniss. Call me names. Do whatever you need to."

She doesn't do anything.

"You need to take your pills," I say. She obediently takes them, still not looking at me. "Katniss..." No response. I shake my head. I deserve it. "Go take a bath."

She pads off without argument, and a minute later, I hear the splash of the water as she steps in.

I wait for any other sound. I'm not sure what. I feel like she should have supervision in a tub deep enough to drown in, but I'm not going to go in.

Effie solves the problem. She arrives a few minutes later with Venia, Octavia, and Flavius, and we send them into the bathroom. Effie herself has been done up almost a parody of a Games escort. She is wearing a heavy gold wig, shiny shoes, and a smart black dress with golden buttons. She's even managed to get her makeup on properly. Either that or Katniss's preps did it.

"It feels good to be in nice things again," she says vaguely, and I guess they've fed her a lot of whatever they've been feeding her.

I reach out and touch her face and she looks at me fondly, but without any of last night's concern, let alone anything of the days we spent in her apartment after I pulled her out of jail. "I'm sorry I disappeared, Effie," I say.

"It's all right," she says, and wanders over to Katniss's window. "Everything's very strange, isn't it? I don't really understand it all. But they told me Katniss needs me to be normal. Am I normal, Haymitch?"

"Yeah," I say. "Yeah, sure you are."

She nods and watches the snow melt, then says, "Oh, dear, I almost forgot. You're to report to the ground floor. There's a staging area near the balcony. You need to be prepped."

"What do I need prep for?"

She turns and smiles. "Well, you can't very well show up on camera in clothes you've slept in, and they'll need to make you up a little bit, at least, you're practically yellow."

She doesn't offer further conversation, and I leave to go down to the staging area. Some of the production workers are there. They give me a military uniform, but tell me to wait to put it on until I've been prepped. At least it's not as extensive as a Games prep -- they just give me a shave, comb my hair, and dust me with something that presumably makes me look less sallow. I am just finishing getting dressed when Peeta comes in, already in a uniform, looking confused. He still has an angry burn mark on his forehead, and they haven't tried to cover it up. His eyebrows are singed off, but I can see a few brave hairs trying to re-grow already.

"Haymitch, what is this?" he asks as we're herded into a conference room, where a small, shiny table sits in a bar of pale winter sunlight.

I don't know. Technically, we do both hold a rank in the army, as does Johanna, who appears after us, and Beetee, who is wheeled in. But Annie Odair was certainly never military, and as far as I know, she can't inherit Finnick's rank. And when Enobaria saunters in, my confusion is complete. She might not even have been on our side of the war.

"Looks like a little reunion," she says. "Who's missing?"

"Who isn't?" Johanna asks, and puts herself protectively in front of Annie. Annie actually seems relatively serene.

"Katniss isn't here," Peeta says.

Beetee pulls himself up to the table. "She's coming. She's in prep."

"Well, then, that's everyone," Enobaria says. She looks around at the rest of us. "Didn't you know? We're the last seven victors. Makes me feel lucky just thinking about it."

Annie shudders, and I see Johanna bracing to defend her, but she stands up. "Enobaria, you're going to show some respect. This is not an arena. And you're not going to treat the deaths of fifty-two victors as a joke."

"This is really it?" Peeta asks.

"Yeah," Enobaria tells him. "Between the arena and the fight at the Viewing Center, we lost thirty before the war started. Of course, Finnick" -- Peeta winces -- "and Lyme, in District Two. I liked her. After that, there were a few executions on both sides. Some plain old murders. Vengeance." She says this dispassionately, then looks out the window. "So, yeah. It's down to us."

"They killed Caesar, too," Peeta says. No one quite knows what to make of that non-sequitur. "Why aren't we dead?"

Johanna shrugs and sits down. "You're not dead because Haymitch dragged you through a war to a sponsor's house. Haymitch isn't dead because he's too ornery to die. Katniss isn't dead because there was no way in hell they were going to let her die. The rest of us? Who knows?"

"I know," Annie says. "I'm alive because I need to be." She doesn't elaborate.

The door opens and Katniss comes in, dressed as the Mockingjay. In the past, this has looked rather fearsome. Today, she looks like a small child playing dress-up as the Mockingjay. Her preps have done some kind of magic on her hair and covered most of her scars. She's carrying a glass of water with the white rose in it.

We have the same conversation again -- about being the last of the victors -- and Beetee elaborates on the targeting. I guess he's been working on this. When he points out that the rebels have been targeting Capitol sympathizers, Johanna wrinkles her nose at Enobaria and says, "So what's she doing here?"

Alma Coin chooses this point to come in. "She is protected under what we call the Mockingjay Deal. Wherein Katniss Everdeen agreed to support the rebels in exchange for captured victors' immunity. Katniss has upheld her side of the bargain, and so shall we." She gives Katniss a rather smug look at this, but Katniss is distracted by Johanna's subsequent promise that she will personally kill Enobaria. This is old news. They aren't exactly friends, but I seriously doubt any of their mutual death threats will come to anything, either.

Coin loftily calls the meeting to order. We're apparently meant to settle a debate. Who she's been debating with, I don't know, but even with the morphling and alcohol addled memories of the last few weeks, I'm pretty sure she hasn't been debating it with me. Judging by the look on Beetee's face, this is the first he's heard of it as well.

It must be her cabal from Thirteen.

The essence of her dilemma is that, at least in her mind (and possibly in reality), the districts want her to execute every man, woman, and child who has ever held Capitol citizenship. Nearly a third of the population of Panem. This doesn’t seem to concern her morally, but she's very worried about the gene pool losing so many contributors.

"So," she says, "an alternative has been placed on the table. Since my colleagues and I can come to no consensus, it has been agreed that we will let the victors decide. A majority of four will approve the plan. No one may abstain from the vote."

I sit up straighter, on alert. Katniss is staring at her rose. Peeta is staring at Katniss. Johanna doesn't seem to care what's going on, and neither does Enobaria. But Annie and Beetee are alert as well. Whatever Coin has in mind, I doubt she's worried about a consensus. She never has been before. Whatever she is planning to do, she means to blame the remaining victors for it.

"What has been proposed is that in lieu of eliminating the entire Capitol population, we have a final, symbolic Hunger Games, using the children directly related to those who held the most power."

This gets everyone's attention. Johanna says, "What?"

Coin repeats herself, as if Jo was just asking for clarification. "We hold another Hunger Games using Capitol children."

Peeta looks lost. "Are you joking?"

"No. I should also tell you that if we do hold the Games, it will be known it was done with your approval, although the individual breakdown of your votes will be kept secret for your own security."

This has a horribly familiar ring. A Gamemaker's ring. I close my eyes. "Was this Plutarch's idea?"

I am grateful when she tells me that it wasn't. "It seemed to balance the need for vengeance with the least loss of life. You may cast your votes."

I don't really listen to the votes. Peeta is furious. That's not a surprise. I wonder if he realizes that voting against the Games is voting for genocide. She hasn't given an option in which she does nothing. She has turned the whole thing into a debate on whether or not to hold the Games, and if we vote no, she will say, "What a shame. The victors decided to kill a million and a half people instead of just twenty-three." If we vote yes, she will declare that we -- the people who risked everything to stop the Games -- have decided to hold them again in retaliation. Coin obviously wants the Games. She is practically salivating at the thought of holding her very own version of them.

I wish I believed that was why Johanna and Enobaria vote yes, but they're both pretty clear. They want a little payback. Jo even recommends Snow's granddaughter. I doubt that, if she saw the pretty little nine-year-old girl with her long black ringlets, she'd stick to it... at least I hope she wouldn't. Enobaria just plain doesn't care.

Beetee and Annie and Peeta are adamant that we not start the Games again.

The vote comes to Katniss.

I look at her.

She is staring at Coin, and I know she's seeing a bigger picture than any of the others. She's heard the whole question. She knows that we are being thrown into the fire again, sacrificial offerings to keep the flames raging. She knows that Coin will not stop at one Hunger Games. How can she, when the Games have always been as addictive as morphling, dangling hope in front of people like a shiny apple, even if they know, somewhere in their minds, that the apple is poisoned? But here is Coin, the wicked witch of every fairy tale, ready to hold it out again.

For a long time, Katniss just stares. She doesn't look at me, but I feel everything in what she says is aimed at me: "I vote yes. For Prim."

This is met with utter silence. The vote is tied. I don't know what the others are thinking, but I look at Katniss. I look at her face, unreadable to most people. Her eyes are cast down at the table. She has shut everyone out.

"Haymitch," Coin says, "it's up to you."

I know it is. And I know what it will mean.

Because I know what Katniss means to do.

Prim's last wish -- at least the last wish that anyone knew about -- was to put out this fire, not spread it. Katniss might not have been there to hear it, but she knew her sister. Her vote is for Prim.

But not in the way that Coin will hear it.

Coin has just heard the one thing she has wanted from the start: an obedient Mockingjay. She will now assume Katniss is on her side permanently.

I can feel her waiting for my vote.

If I vote no, I doubt it will change what Katniss means to do. She'll just feel completely alone when she does it. Worse, it will put Coin back in a temper, maybe make her more careful than she would be otherwise. Peeta is haranguing me, begging me to vote no, to keep my soul.

It's too late for that.

"I'm with the Mockingjay," I say.

Katniss and I don't look at each other as Coin cheerfully jumps to her feet and declares that it's time to take our places for the execution. Wouldn't want to miss our cues, after all. Katniss is pulled away by producers. I even catch a glimpse of Effie, though I want to make sure I'm not near her right now.

"How could you?" Peeta asks. "Haymitch, after everything, how could you -- "

I turn on him, wait until the bustle of the room covers everything I say. "Listen, Peeta. There was never a choice. Do you understand me? There wasn't a choice."

"There's always a choice!"

"There is now. Katniss is going to create a choice." I look around. "Get toward the front. She's going to need you there."

"She just voted for -- "

"Peeta. Think. Use your brain, and think."

He goes still. Suddenly, he grabs the wrists of his uniform and pulls them harshly down against his skin, some of it still burned. He gasps at the pain. I try to touch him, but he pulls away.

Finally, he stops. He looks up, his eyes looking even wider than usual without his eyebrows to frame them. "Haymitch," he whispers. "Oh, Haymitch, they'll kill her..."

"I think that's her plan. She's not going get her way. I'm going to take care of them," I say. "You take care of her."

He nods, and weaves his way up toward the balcony doors. Crazily, someone asks for his autograph. He smiles and gives it before I turn away.

I head for the back of a cleared area, where an honor guard has assembled in an arc. They aren't just decorative. They're present to make sure no one tries to defend Snow. Their guns are at the ready. Each has a shiny knife in his belt.

Coin appears on the terrace in front of the mansion, and the crowd, apparently well-trained after a few weeks of re-education, cheers wildly. Katniss comes next, showing herself in profile with the bow raised. Her image is all over the screens that surround us in the shattered ruins of City Center. Finally, they bring out Snow and secure him to a post, just in front of Coin. He is a little bit slumped, and she stands on a podium so that she is above him.

Katniss raises her arrow. It looks like she really does mean to shoot Snow. She stares at him. On the screens, I can see that he smiles back wickedly, blood dripping from his mouth.

Katniss straightens her shoulders.

Raises the arrow only the smallest bit higher.

She fires.

Coin falls.

Snow laughs.

Everything falls into chaos.
24 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
dragonzair From: dragonzair Date: May 15th, 2013 07:31 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh GOD. Morphling. YOU ARE HORRIIIIDDDDD. COIN is horriiiddd D: For weekkkkssss. I can't even think straight right now. It's all horrifying to me.

I like Paylor. It gives a bit more insight as to why she was chosen in the end. I do hope Peeta manages to tell Haymitch that Caesar believed in him.

Also, I always believed that Haymitch knew what Katniss was up to, which was why he readily agreed with her. There seems to be a fair amount of people who think otherwise, and it kind of bothers me that they think lowly of him that way?

I'm gonna go re-read Songs of Victory now.
dragonzair From: dragonzair Date: May 15th, 2013 07:33 am (UTC) (Link)
Also, I do hope this re-education thing isn't a permanent thing, and that it wears off somehow...
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 15th, 2013 02:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
Most stuff like that does eventually, I think.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 15th, 2013 02:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think SoV may not end up part of this; I may go with another working theory in my head.

Wow... there are really a lot of people who didn't think Haymitch knew? Huh.

I thought Paylor needed a little stage time to explain why she, of all people, ended up taking over.
redrikki From: redrikki Date: May 15th, 2013 01:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
I liked the way you explored Haymitch's headspace for the vote. I always got Johanna and Enobaria voting the way they did, but his never quite made sense.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 15th, 2013 02:48 pm (UTC) (Link)
I definitely figured, from Katniss's narration, that Haymitch knew exactly what she was up to.
barbara_the_w From: barbara_the_w Date: May 15th, 2013 04:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
*nods* Yeah, I figured Katniss knew that Haymitch was backing her play--but I wasn't sure Haymitch knew just *what* that play was.
From: (Anonymous) Date: May 15th, 2013 03:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
Fern, Fern, Fern... if you ever decide one day to stop writing, I simply won't know what to do with myself.

Kobe G
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 15th, 2013 03:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
Me, either. :D
nevrafire From: nevrafire Date: May 15th, 2013 03:43 pm (UTC) (Link)
YAY! COIN IS DEAD! :D
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 15th, 2013 03:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
Kind of makes you want to go into a chorus of "Ding Dong, the Witch Is Dead," doesn't it?
beceh From: beceh Date: May 15th, 2013 04:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
Very much so.
beceh From: beceh Date: May 15th, 2013 04:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
Once again, an awesome chapter.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 15th, 2013 06:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks!
marycontraria From: marycontraria Date: May 15th, 2013 04:43 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh. My. God. I've been waiting until this is done before I give any of your HG fic to my partner to read, because I know she's going to want to eat through it the same way she did the books, and I know that my experience reading this chapter-by-chapter is not as all-encompassing as it will be to be able to read it straight through. But! I can't get over how riveting this is, even spread out as it is. And even though I know what's going to happen. Amazing.
beceh From: beceh Date: May 15th, 2013 06:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
Me too. Totally agree. I'm going to upload it onto my kindle and just re-read it all through at once :D
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 15th, 2013 06:15 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thank you! Down to six more chapters and an epilogue now.
From: (Anonymous) Date: May 15th, 2013 06:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
I never really got that Katniss understood the choice as Hunger Games or Genocide, though it makes sense that she did as well. For her, it seemed the choice was either "going along with Coin" or "incurring Coin's wrath."
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 15th, 2013 06:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, I think Haymitch is wrong in thinking that Katniss has gotten quite that far in her reasoning. She doesn't even seem to really process the inherent threat of, "These people are only alive because you are obeying me," at least not on a conscious level. The genocide thing doesn't seem to occur to her, though for myself, that was the only thing that came out of the meeting. I think he's wrong about why she's about to assassinate Coin, but I'm sure he knows she's going to do it.
barbara_the_w From: barbara_the_w Date: May 15th, 2013 07:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
Your story *did* answer a question/plot hole for me, though: How did Peeta know she was going to use the nightlock pill? And you made it plausible.
shortysc22 From: shortysc22 Date: May 16th, 2013 01:49 am (UTC) (Link)
I loved the understanding of why Haymitch voted along with Katniss and can't wait to see how you'll wrap this up. I also liked the idea of Haymitch being poisoned without him realizing it and how Paylor is trying to sort everything out.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 16th, 2013 04:39 am (UTC) (Link)
Haymitch really needs to do something about his alcoholism. It makes poisoning him really, really easy. Though possibly not as effective as it would be against someone who wasn't building up a pretty good resistance to toxins.
redlily From: redlily Date: May 17th, 2013 01:51 am (UTC) (Link)
I still can't really decide what on earth was going through Katniss' head during the vote. I believe Haymitch was playing 20-dimensional chess, but Katniss . . . ? I don't know. I have a feeling I'll never know (unless Word of God comes in to explain).
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 17th, 2013 01:58 am (UTC) (Link)
I imagine it's no deeper a play than she actually says -- she realizes nothing is ever going to change. So she goes and changes it. Obviously, it's to placate Coin... when she's staring at Snow, she's looking for a reason to shoot him instead, and doesn't find it.
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