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HG: The Hanging Tree, Chapter Five - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
HG: The Hanging Tree, Chapter Five
So, Haymitch overheard Blight telling Gia that she had to skedaddle before she ended up re-educated. He covers for this by pretending to be drunk, which she does not find amusing in the least.


Chapter Five
Gia doesn't talk to me as they bundle us onto the train, and she pretends not to hear me when I call to her. She doesn't come into the prep room in the morning. My preps are full of hangover remedies, and they offer me a few "pick-me-up" pills to get through the day. I decide that I'm in enough trouble with Gia, so I decline.

"Oh, don't be silly," Fabiola says. "I couldn't get through the day after a party without a little boost. It's like taking aspirin when you have a headache."

"Aspirin?"

"What do you take for headaches?"

"Cold packs. Maybe feverfew, if Ruth's dad has some."

They laugh merrily at this bit of rustic wisdom, and start another round of bleaching on my teeth. They claim my teeth have become more reasonable with every district, though I still need to have them straightened. They tell me that they don't mind me drinking, but ask me to stay away from red wines and dark-colored liqueurs, as it will undo all their work.

While Medusa is doing my hair, she has to go digging for something that's rolled away. She plops something heavy down on top, which I recognize with disgust as one of the arena knives she talked about for doing that chopped hairstyle. Worse, I see that it has a little golden tag affixed to it, which says "Crispus Bidwell."

I killed Crispus Bidwell with a knife, and I have a sinking suspicion that they pulled it out of his neck, and now my hair stylist uses it to copy Maysilee's emergency haircut. I don't say anything.

Gia fetches me brusquely as soon as I'm done and forces the speech card into my hand. "All four of the District Six tributes died at the Cornucopia," she says. "I don't think you said anything to any of them in training, either, so it's the standard bit about how every tribute in the games is a hero. Got it?"

"Got it."

"There will be a stop right outside the train, so you can see the Rotation. We've been through it several times now, but you'll pretend you haven't seen it."

"I haven't looked."

"Right."

"Really, I haven't."

"Well, express interest. That's the only thing they have to claim for themselves, except for some of them putting in time on the fueling stations in the out-districts, which they won't be talking to you about."

"Maybe I'll even be interested. Can we talk, Gia?"

She looks directly at me for the first time since last night. Her eyes are sunken, and ringed with dark circles under her makeup. "I don't want to hear it, Haymitch. No excuses. Do you have any idea how disappointed in you I am?"

She walks away from me. I feel about two inches tall.

Our train attendants take part in the approach to District Six, lowering the window coverings and explaining the tracks that we can now see beginning to converge from the distance. I notice that we are not shown a map, which I'd think would be a natural thing to show here. Maps are often in short supply. Apparently they don't like people in any district to have a really solid idea about how to reach any other district. I try to construct it in my mind -- I know we went south to Eleven, then west over the river, and that District Seven is at the western ocean, but the constant re-route through the Rotation throws me off. It's always at night. I don't really know which directions we've turned.

We finally come in sight of what looks from a distance like a delicate moving sculpture, rising up from the plains. A high, arched structure seems to go on for miles, and under it, platforms and loading machinery gleam in the sun. One of the engineers makes a great flourish about flipping a switch, and I feel the train move just the slightest bit, then we are rising up into the air. I see another train coming from somewhere else, moving in below us.

"Welcome to District Six," the engineer says.

There's not much more talk as the train speeds up to the top of the dome-shaped structure -- the grade feels much gentler than I would have expected -- and comes to a rest in the flat area at the top. We are unloaded carefully onto a platform high in the sky, at the top of the world. I can see the tracks stretching out in all directions. Most of them are steel gray, but one track is made to look like gold. Below us, many trains seem to be waiting their turn to get onto it, and I guess that track goes to the Capitol.

I can also see into the walled city just beyond the Rotation. I can't see much, but I can see the burned out shells of at least two buildings, and the snow on the ground is dirty and dispirited. I'm somewhere in the flatlands, but I don't know where.

The mayor of District Six, Arsace Bump, tries to look more knowledgeable than the engineers (I see them biting their tongues) while he explains the Rotation. "The platform we're on, see… it turns. There are two more levels below. But, you see, sometimes the turn for trains is very severe between districts, and er…" He looks to the original engineer, who's been driving the whole time, I guess. "I'll let Captain Green tell it. Vitellia?"

She steps forward and explains that, while most turns can use a simple track switch, the more extreme turns need a little more tweaking. To that purpose, an entire section of the track -- the one we're standing by -- can actually be rotated and relocked to a new track. Here on the high track, only used for official visits, tourism to the arenas, and the victory tour, there is never a wait. It is common for shipping trains to be delayed for a few hours below while they wait for a clear track, so there is a thriving market on the ground. (From here, it looks like a few hapless shacks with counters to vend simple food and drink, but I don't argue.)

Once we've finished with the explanation, which I actually do find interesting and wish I had more time to ask questions about, we take a glass elevator to the surface, where we're picked up by long cars. I sit beside Gia and try to talk to her, but she answers curtly and just glares out the windows.

The city we enter reminds me a lot of District Eight, except that District Eight seemed to have more life to it. Here, the only business is actually outside the town. I see children sleeping in the doorways of burned out tenements. Adults sit out in the snow with their hands upraised, begging for scraps. I see Peacekeepers head in, but the car turns away before I see what they do.

The Justice Building is nearly solid concrete on the outside, and inside, there is no daylight, and no view of the city. There's a small transportation museum, which we breeze by on the way to the speech, and many paintings of hard-working people on assembly lines.

I give the speech from a tiny niche on the wall that serves as a balcony. Below me, I can see a bedraggled group of people. In front, there's a little boy with no shoes standing in the snow, looking up at me. He actually gives me a "thumbs up" gesture. I don't know why.

I give Gia's speech. I get another plaque, and wonder if it could somehow be cobbled into shoes. For some reason, the crowd cheers me enthusiastically.

"There was a waiting list to get into the audience," Mayor Bump explains as we go in. "You were a favorite here once we lost our tributes."

"I was?"

"You wouldn't have seen it on the highlight reel, but in a lot of the filler material… well, they talked to your mom, and showed your house. Your mom talked about how you kept it together with spit and good luck. A lot of them understand what that's like. They thought you were one of them." He pauses. "I'm sorry. I shouldn't have talked about that…"

"No, it's okay. I'm glad they liked what Mom said. It's good she's remembered."

"They were real sorry to hear about her passing. I was, too."

"Thank you."

Gia comes up behind him, an odd look on her face. "Haymitch, you need to go to prep," she says. "For the banquet."

I go to her, and she walks beside me to the stairs. "Second door on the right at the top of the stairs. Haymitch…"

"What?"

I watch her struggling with whatever she means to say, then she just shakes her head and says, "I'm sorry I snapped. I was out of place."

I shake my head. "No. You weren't." I hear an engine roar, and look over at the door to the transportation museum. It gives me an idea. "Do you think we'll have time to have a look around in there?"

"It'll be open all evening, as I understand it."

I nod. I don't think I need to make any special arrangements. I hope I don't. I go up to prep. I have no idea what's gone wrong with me in the two hours since they finished my last session, but Medusa actually re-washes my hair and re-arranges it. Of course, new clothes are required. Lepidus has me in gray here.

District Six has no victors yet, so the mayor brings me the bread recipe himself. It has no birds or feathers on it. "It's not much," he says. "I think the only difference between ours and District Eight's is that they bake it flat, and we fry it until it's puffy." He smiles nervously when he sees my confusion. "I used to work the rails," he says. "And I was stationed for a while at the fueling station near Eight. We sometimes got their bread."

I put the card into the pouch Gia has procured for me, just for the purpose of collecting these. I promise I will get Danny all of the ingredients, so we can try them all.

The banquet in Six is as makeshift as things usually are in Twelve -- the District government has to throw something, but there's only so much blood they can get out of the stone of the local economy. For all of that, it's actually quite good. The greasy, puffy bread is laid out on the plates, and spiced meat and vegetables are piled onto it. After the meal, there is dancing again. A couple of the girls have gone out of their way to look very nice, but when I dance with them, their hearts aren't in it.

"Is it me?" I ask the second one. Her name is Lucilla, I think.

She smiles. "No. You're nice. My feet hurt."

I look down and see that she's tottering in high heels. "You should kick those off. Maysilee hated them in the Capitol, too."

This gets a more real smile. "Yeah?" She shrugs. "I bet they got her a size that fits, though. My sister and I are sharing these, and they're her size."

I nod. "I used to have to wear my dad's work boots. I don't think my feet are as big as his now, let alone then. I had blisters so big I named them."

Lucilla laughs. "Any advice?"

"Just pad them with whatever you can. Though I guess that would be harder when they're open like that. And tipped. How do girls walk in those things?"

"It's like tiptoeing everywhere, except that you never get to put your heel down." She comes closer. "Do you want to go somewhere with me?"

I look for any rebel signs, hoping to find one so I'll have an excuse, but I don't. "No," I say. "I want you to go back to the kitchen and eat as much leftover food as you can. And see if you can sneak some out for your sister, too."

"I could get whipped for that, but luckily, my sister's here. We'll take your advice." She nods and smiles as the song ends, looking more natural than when we started, then weaves away into the crowd as the next dance begins.

"She seems nice."

I turn to find Gia, and offer her my hand. "Dance?"

"Why don't we go see that museum?"

I nod, and follow her out of the banquet hall. The entrance area isn't empty. Groups of people are milling around, drinking and talking. Gia and I go through them, though I have to talk to a few of them here and there. Finally, we reach the door to the little museum. A handful of people are going through it. At the entrance, there's a video playing, of different kinds of vehicles. There's even footage of something flying high above the earth, much higher than our hover crafts go.

Gia pulls me past it. I guess we're not here to take in the history of transportation in Panem.

We go by life-sized displays of men in wide-brimmed hats riding horses, and black steam engines chugging across the plains. A wagon with curtained windows is pulled by six still horses, while a mannequin peeks out from behind the curtain. We have to pass through a kind of silly exhibit with fake windows that look out on what Gia identifies, in a distracted way, as jets, then through a dark corridor that represents the Catastrophes. After it, we enter the chaotic time before the Capitol formed Panem. I find myself standing with Gia in the middle of a ring of motorcycles and ragtag cars, and trucks laden with wares to sell. One of the wagons has an activity station, where we can climb up and pretend to drive. To my surprise, Gia heads straight to it and goes up to the driver's seat.

I climb up beside her

She presses the button to begin the simulation and the whole room seems full of clanking and hissing sounds.

Loud sounds. She sits there at the wheel for a long time, then says, mostly to herself, "They already talk."

"What?"

She leans over and puts her arms around me, putting her lips near my ear. "I think this will cover the sound, if we talk quietly like this."

I turn my head so I can speak into her ear. "It'll end up on the news. Blight will see it."

"Ollie knows the difference between real and fake." She pulls me closer. "I need to tell you something. Something he told me --"

"I know."

"No, you couldn't. Haymitch --"

"I wasn't drunk last night."

"Haymitch --"

"I was going to be. That's why I was hiding under the docks."

She pulls away and looks at me, the implications sinking in. "You should've…"

"There didn't seem to be a good time." I pull her back to me. "I overheard."

"How much?"

"Everything that happened on the dock. I left so they wouldn't think you were hiding me."

"Oh. And you doused yourself. I should've realized you weren't drunk." She presses closer, and I feel her hand on my neck. It's warm and soft. "I'm sorry. I should've trusted you."

I move so that I'm speaking in her other ear. I tell myself this is about making it look real. "You didn't have a reason to. How can I help?"

She doesn't say anything for a few minutes, but stays close. I'm very aware of her perfume, and how the lights are softened when they reflect in her hair. Finally, she sighs and says, "You can't. But I didn't want to just leave you. Wondering."

I stroke her hair. I feel oddly dizzy, and there are quite a few parts of me that are not remotely interested in this little chat. "I would do anything to help you." I kiss her. I can't help it.

She pulls away. Her eyes are wide, and her face is a little flushed. "I know. I think we need to… find a different way to talk. I'm sorry, Haymitch. There are other ways. I shouldn't have tried this one. I wasn't thinking." She lets go of me and scoots out the far side of the exhibit. She looks up once, apologetically, then disappears deeper into the museum.

I stay there for a few minutes, behind the wheel with the simulated road rolling out ahead of me. There are animated bandits that I'm supposed to be evading, and one of them hits the truck, causing the simulation to end. I stay a little longer.

After a while, I go back to the dark corridor, walk back and forth for a long time, and pretend that I have a deep interest in the erosion of the road system that once crisscrossed the continent. When I decide it's reasonable, I move into the better lit parts of the museum, and numb my brain with facts about monorails and hover crafts and the attempt to lessen the impact of human travel on the atmosphere. There's a panel with weather data suggesting that the wild climate of the Catastrophe era has stabilized, thanks to our judicious use of resources. (It does not mention that it might also be due to the not-so-judicious near-extinction of the human species, but I think it's an obvious subtext.)

I finally join a group of dignitaries from Six and spend half an hour asking them what I hope are innocuous questions about the Rotation. When I go back to the banquet, Gia has already left for the train. I spend the rest of the evening with Plutarch, who promises that it's a short trip to District Five. "Pretty much just sleep and prep, and then you're there."

"Right. Good."

"Is something wrong?"

I shake my head. Plutarch may be a rebel, but I don't discuss Gia with him. Instead, I ask him about school in the Capitol, and let him launch into a lecture that takes us all the way back to the train. I go to my car and get ready for bed. I don't sleep for a long time, and when I do, at least it's not nightmares that my imagination produces.

True to Plutarch's word, I have barely finished prep when the train pulls into District Five. Like Twelve, Five is a single walled city with a train depot up against the fence. Gia tells me -- across a large table -- that the people do sometimes go out to various sites where panels soak up solar and geothermal energy, but mostly, they work in the plants, where that energy is sent out to the rest of Panem.

"It's a little spotty in Twelve," I say.

"I think you can avoid mentioning that."

She hands me the kill list. Two at the Cornucopia, one at the volcano. The last, a girl named Cora Finley, was the last to die before Maysilee. I remember sitting there with Maysilee, trying to remember anything about her, both of us failing. I decide I should avoid mentioning that as well.

"Are there victors?" I ask.

"There've been five. One is dead. One disappeared --"

"Disappeared?"

"Yeah. The winner of the first Quarter Quell was from Five. He stayed in the Capitol for a while, then got on a train to come back, and never arrived." She looks at me. "It happens more than people think."

"Right."

"Anyway, that leaves Faraday Sykes -- she only won a few years ago -- and Thalis Dorgan. I will warn you right now -- during the Games, don't go drinking with Thalis. But do take a really good look at him tonight, if you want a quite literally sobering experience. There's also old Tesla Corvin, but he most likely will stay home."

I give my speech from the Justice Building in the pouring rain. People stand huddled under blankets. It's not a very large district. I think about adding something about the first Quell victor then decide not to -- the twisted cruelty for that one was that districts had to choose their own tributes. Whoever he was, this district offered him up for slaughter. Maybe I'd have disappeared from the train, too.

At the banquet, I'm seated with Faraday and Thalis, along with my team. Faraday gives me the bread recipe (no feathers), though she snipes that there's nothing special about it. Plain white bread, end of story. She continues a rather bitter monologue throughout the meal. She's actually very beautiful, but the nasty undertone to everything she says distorts it. She reminds me of Danny's off-time girlfriend. Thalis doesn't talk much, mostly because he's drinking everything in sight. Faraday smokes one cigarette after another, which doesn’t leave me with much of an appetite, though I eat as much as I need to for manners.

There's no dancing afterward. This is one of the districts where the entertainment is supposed to be sparkling conversation. Thalis is clearly in no shape to sparkle. Faraday looks at him distastefully and says, "I'm going to have to pour him into bed back in the village. You have anyone to pour you into bed?"

I shake my head.

"Then don't get like him. Half the time, I find him face down on the floor in his underwear. Not attractive." She shrugs. "Not that it's a bad idea to have something to calm the nerves. Don't let anyone tell you to try and deal with the Games stone sober."

"Miss Sykes," Gia starts, "I think -- "

"Get real, Pelagia. Do you really think he'll be better off sober once the… sponsors… start coming around?" She sniffs. "There's a good crowd of practice marks here if you want to get in a workout before you hit the Capitol. See the brunette over by the buffet? I've had a few rounds with her, and she's fun."

"That's quite enough," Gia says, standing up.

"Haven't you learned by now that you can't keep him for yourself? He's a good looking kid. I can think of half a dozen people who'd like to slip him a nice, big, hot sponsorship."

Gia's face goes cold. "You forget yourself."

"I wish," Faraday says fervently. "But unfortunately, I can't." She lights up another cigarette, then gets up and wanders over to the brunette.

"Sorry about her," Gia says. "She hasn't been happy."

"Yeah… Chaff told me that… that…" I can't quite say what Chaff told me during the night he spent in the Mellarks' shed. He says no one thought he was appealing, only having one hand, and Seeder was too old by the time this particular trick occurred to Snow, but that a handful of the victors were expected to entertain the sponsors back in the Capitol. He had a feeling Snow might decide I should be in that handful. Apparently, Faraday Sykes thinks so, too. He suggested making myself disgusting. No one wants the disgusting ones. I look at Thalis, now passed out on the table, and wonder if it's a grand strategy he's using.

The party finally ends, and we go back to the train. I don't go to bed right away. I remember what Blight told Gia -- the fueling station outside of District Four. If she's going that's where she'll break away.

I find her in the last car, watching the night-world slip away around us. I sit down across from her. She doesn't send me away. I finally fall asleep as we're approaching the Rotation, and I wake up in my car. I don't know who got me there, or how, but I rush to find Gia, afraid that I've missed her.

I haven't.

I find her sitting where I left her, watching the world go by outside the train. We're beside the Mississippi again, going south along its west bank, headed for River Bay.

I don't let her out of my sight all day. We eat together, and read together, and don't talk at all.

The sun sets. The stars shine have a misty haze around them, and the weather is warm enough now to open the windows, even at night.

It's just after eight o'clock when the train pulls up to the fueling station. Like the others I've seen, it's a prefabricated steel box, looking out of place in the wilderness. I think it would make more sense to have the fueling stations inside the districts, but I guess that would mean giving the districts control over fuel, which of course, the Capitol won't have.

Gia looks at me and stands up. "Well," she says. "I need to get some work done before tomorrow. Your cards, and so on. You'll stick to the cards, right?"

I grab her hand. If she leaves the car, she'll be gone, and I know it. "I'll forget."

"No, you won't. You'll be fine. I know you'll be fine."

Everything about this is saying goodbye. Somehow, she's going to get off the train here. She's going to disappear.

I am trying to work out a way to really tell her goodbye when the train's lights go extremely bright, and a high-pitched whistle breaks the air.

In a thunder of boots and guns, Peacekeepers board the train.
11 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
From: queen_bellatrix Date: January 17th, 2014 10:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
I...have no idea how I'm going to do anything but refresh my flist until the next update. That entire ending sequence left me breathless and physically shaking when I realized the chapter ended there. As a writer, I know it takes time to craft stories like this, but my inner impatient reader is clammoring for you to please post the next one asap.:)

Ah, for the blithe assurance of my last comment that the uppermost emotion I'd have by the end of this arc was melancholy tinged with relief. The way you're crafting the Haymitch and Gia relationship is just incredible. If I'm interpreting the kiss right, it was more of a desperation/clinging together thing than any romantic feelings, especially with his comment just before about Blight; she's beautiful, and the only one he's got on his side and he's sixteen and everything was just too much? Oh God, if the raid is actually about Gia, and she's taken away...shit. This is going to break him completely on a personal level, and then his tributes dying after he refuses to "entertain"...oh God. No matter how slim it is, I find myself hoping this has nothing to do with Gia, and instead has to do with Plutarch and the poems. I know from the chronology he gives in NP he's not reeducated until college, but, if they caught him "hiding" Haymitch's actual talent, or caught wind of the book and wanted to question Haymitch about it, he might lose his apprenticeship, which would explain his having to tell Haymitch about college, especially if he slipped beneath the rebellion's radar until after his reeducation.

I loved so many moments in this:
Gia snapping out of her anger when she heard Haymitch talk about his mother.
There entire conversation in the wagon, up to and including the kiss. "I should have trusted you." and his rebuttal were probably my favorites.
The entire interaction with Farriday (damn, I like her even less than Darla); I love the way you're illustrating here all the varied ways it's possible to survive being a victor.
Haymitch's protectiveness of Gia. "Plutarch may be a rebel, but I don't discuss Gia with him." being the prime example.
his entire conversation with Lucilla, and just generally, how you're portraying District life. But that entire conversation, and just generally the way he interacts with women took the cake. (Yeah, I think chivalry is insanely sexy, as is backing off the flirting and just treating a woman as a fellow human whose going through an awful time. You have no idea how much his instruction about the food for her and her sister made me clap, along with the shoe commiseration.)
The way Haymitch and Gia cling together, and the way Haymitch's cool rationality gives way at the thought of her departure, and we see how young he is still, and how much he's leaning on her. There final exchange made me weepy, and I'm not usually with fic.

I'm sorry this is so scattered; there was just so much here, and your stuff always leaves me on an emotional rollercoaster. In closing, some typos.

We are unloaded carefully onto a the platform

and let him launch lecture
that takes us all the way back to the train.

Also, something felt a bit off about this sentence, though I can't put my finger on it: I tell myself this about making it look real. Should there maybe have been an is between this and about? I'm sorry if I didn't catch them all; usually, there's a corner of my mind cataloguing them with anything I read (an odd and frustrating OCD thing) but when I'm utterly captivated, it turns completely off, which was the case for both this and the last chapter.

Edited at 2014-01-17 11:08 pm (UTC)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 18th, 2014 04:26 am (UTC) (Link)
I think that was part of the kiss, which was probably more complicated than either of them was thinking. Gia was telling herself that she needed to talk to him and that was a good cover that he's used before... but she also needed some kind of human contact, because she's lonely and terrified and about to lose everything she's ever known. She knows perfectly well that it would be EXTREMELY inappropriate if it were real, and she doesn't have designs on him. On the other hand, I don't think she realizes how much he idealizes her, and how little the idea of it bothers him. And, on a simpler note, I don't think she's taken into account that he's a sixteen year old boy, and therefore, no matter how brainy, essentially a hormone with feet. She realized it, and broke it off as soon as she did, but she did make a mistake there.

I think I'll take your lead and change "Drusilla" to "Lucilla." I was working from totally different lists, and I didn't realize until you mentioned Darla that I'm a broody Irish vampire away from Buffy-fic. ;p

Thanks!
From: queen_bellatrix Date: January 19th, 2014 04:51 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm glad the name typo helped!:) It'd been a while since I finished the chapter, and somehow, her name stuck like that; was rather sheepish when I realized I'd gotten it completely wrong.

With what you've said about the kiss, I like the way they're clinging together later in the chapter even more; finding appropriate ways to have the contact they need, without leaving any more scars.

The kiss also made me think that one of the biggest wtf factors of the entire situation is that Snow wouldn't actually care if there were something going on. If Haymitch weren't a minor, and they were both smitten, without Gia being a rebel, Snow would probably have been rolling around like a gleeful toddler (probably still would, even if Haymitch were a minor), because he'd finally have the leverage Beckett destroyed with Digger. It just struck me suddenly just how focused it all was, not so much on Haymitch having a support network, but on the fact that she blocked Snow's shot, or was perceived as doing so.
sonetka From: sonetka Date: January 18th, 2014 07:35 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh Christ, of course. Of course.

I know you've heard this a million times, but I love your world-building so much -- the different reactions of the different victors, the engineers trying to look solemn while the mayor botches explanations -- the way light moments and horror mingle is so real. I thought the kiss worked perfectly -- they're both under such huge strain that the temptation to give in just a little to someone they can trust has to be enormous. (I'll bet a LOT of it happened, too. The way the escort is set up as a lifeline, and the intense relationship that's cultivated between them and the tributes -- it's practically set up for crossing boundaries).
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 18th, 2014 03:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm willing to bet it would, too. The only thing that would mitigate against it is how much the Capitol is able to keep down the empathy level among its own citizens. (It has to be extremely stressful to live in the Capitol. I'm guessing the surveillance is worse than it is in the Districts, and there would be a constant bombardment of things meant to break up attention, like enforced ADHD symptoms.)
redrikki From: redrikki Date: January 18th, 2014 10:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
See, this is why you're so good at world building. You think about all the details like how life is in the Capitol and the ticks the government uses to distract, instill fear and break empathy.

Incidentally, I loved the giant round house. That's just so cool.

So, does Haymitch take Faraday and Chaff's advice to make himself disgusting or is his raging alcoholism simply a byproduct of how much his life sucks? A little from column A and a little from column B?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 19th, 2014 03:03 am (UTC) (Link)
It probably starts in Column A, but moves into Column B pretty quickly, because he's an addict. An addict can't just say, "I'll use it for this defined purpose and that's it"... but I can see Haymitch convincing himself that he can handle it for a while and drop it again. It's one of the things I'm going to be examining in the rest of the story, though.
redlily From: redlily Date: January 19th, 2014 05:19 am (UTC) (Link)
Hence Finnick and Annie, I suppose!!
From: (Anonymous) Date: January 20th, 2014 06:30 pm (UTC) (Link)

Sorry...

I didn't get around to commenting on Chapter Four. Blight seemed really nice and remarkably even-keeled for a Victor, and it was nice to see that he had some not completely miserable times -- especially given that we know how he ends up. You gave him a really nice name; good to know that his parents didn't actually name him Blight. What a terrible nickname for people to give someone. And a sweet guy who cooks really well? No wonder Gia fell for him.

I had this panicky moment when Haymitch was toying with the idea of having some fun with the District 7 girls. I suddenly thought to myself -- "Gah! Haymitch is Johanna's father!" Glad neither you nor he went there.

District Six was depressing as anything, but very interesting. And I like that you've populated the transportation district with the descendents of what I'm guessing are Nomadic Arabs? (Going by the description of the food.) And Faraday Sykes, bitter chain smoker. Poor Haymitch is sadly going to end up just like Thalis.

And poor Gia. Of course her escape wouldn't go well. Sigh.

Thanks for everything.

Sara Libby
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 20th, 2014 06:46 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Sorry...

There are two known victors who could have reasonably been conceived in this timeframe (Johanna and Finnick), but I think the Gamemakers never, in a million years, could have resisted making an absolutely huge deal of it if any tribute was closely related to a former victor from another district (that's why Gia points it out). Think of the drama -- will he save his tribute or his child? That's entertainment, by Capitol standards. So by the time of canon, it would certainly be a known thing if either of them was a close blood relative to Haymitch. (Whether we have met or will meet anyone else they're related to is more open to question.)

I didn't have a particular ethnicity in mind for Six (I doubt that every district had a known ethnicity), though the bread was frybread.
From: (Anonymous) Date: January 20th, 2014 11:13 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Sorry...

Oh... I got the impression that the bread was pita.
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