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HG: The Hanging Tree, Chapter Sixteen - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
HG: The Hanging Tree, Chapter Sixteen
Ginger and Elmer have just had their evaluations, and Ginger is completely wrecked. The only thing she was sure she knew how to do was start a fire, but she couldn't get one going for the Gamemakers.

Chapter Sixteen
Elmer scrapes out a seven somehow, right around the average. He says he ended up not trying to do the redundant support system he'd talked about because there was no really reliable way to remove the original supports. Instead, he built a little shelter, like a fort he and a friend once made on the Seam. He was talking about it with Beetee's tribute, Ikris.

Ginger gets a one. Caesar Flickerman, mercifully, doesn't give anyone time to dwell on it, going swiftly to filler coverage with the stylists. Ginger herself has been sitting listlessly on the couch, her face puffy from crying. When the score comes, she just leans over, buries her face against a red pillow, and feigns sleep.

"Well," Glass says, "I doubt we could have expected anything else. She was always the sacrifice, anyway."

I stand up. "You should get home and get some sleep, Glass."

"I don't -- "

"Now."

"We need to begin preparations for the interviews."

"That's what tomorrow is for. Go home."

"You don't want them to realize the truth, do you? They're both fodder for stronger tributes, just there to bump up someone's kill count."

"My kill count is three," I say. "So far."

He straightens up. "What are you suggesting?"

"That if you don't get home now of your own accord, you're going to have a tragic accident."

"You are not permitted to threaten me."

"It was a warning. You just never know what might happen. Get out of here."

For a second, I think he's going to stay out of stubbornness, but he turns slowly and goes to the elevator. I don't turn my back on him.

"They're both dead, Abernathy," he says when the door opens. "You know they are. They know they are. There's little point to pretending." He goes into the elevator, and the door shuts him out.

I look back at my tributes.

Elmer sits down beside Ginger and puts his hand on her shoulder. She shudders, and he starts to get up to leave her alone, but she suddenly sits up and throws her arms around him, clinging to him miserably.

He looks more terrified by this than by the Games, but he comforts her as well as he can.

I leave them alone. When it comes to this kind of thing, I don't even know where to start.

In my room, I lie awake, staring at the ceiling. I try to guess at the arena. There was no climbing equipment that I could see in the basement, so there may not be trees. That's all I can really guess. So much for my brilliant insights. I can't think of a good way to hide them if there aren't trees.

There've been a few arenas that aren't in forested areas. Beetee's was a mock-up of a bombed out city, with scorched metal girders reaching to the sky. That's how his electrocution trick worked. He used the scrap metal and the battery from a piece of abandoned machinery that he'd been sleeping in. (He'd also used it to drive over an attacker earlier on, which might have been the first time the Gamemakers were ever surprised -- I was little, but I remember Daddy shouting, "Woo-hoo, they didn't expect that!" They'd been using it remotely, sort of like a mechanical version of a mutt.) There was a wide, sandy desert once, I think. I caught a glimpse of it last year in the school library, when I was the only one in my year not obsessing over the idea that I was likely to be reaped.

The only one except Elmer. Elmer tried to explain to everyone that the odds weren't changing that much. Say there are ten thousand reaping cards. Each one has a one in ten thousand chance of being picked in the first drawing. In the second drawing, there are nine thousand, nine hundred and ninety-nine. So instead of having a chance of one in ten thousand, you have a chance of two in nineteen thousand nine hundred and ninety-nine. See how probability shows that no one individually is in much more danger?

But it's always someone. I'll never have to work the odds again. I know the odds from my end.

Elmer will never work the odds again, either, unless there are some probability problems in Miss Buttery's puzzle book, or it turns out that there's some kind of afterlife after all, and he spends it happily at his numbers, while Gilla tries on clothes and Maysilee plays her guitar and Beech tries, in his earnest, clueless way to make friends with everyone. I try to believe it, but I can't.

I get my mind off this track. It's true, but it's not useful. So, there's been a city. A hot desert. I imagine there are cold deserts, too. Icy places (though neither of the tributes mentioned stations teaching them to keep warm, so it's probably not one of those). There are prairies and swamps. I remember seeing a picture once of a kind of land far up north, where there are a lot of moss-covered rocks, almost frozen dirt, and not much else. I don't remember what it's called.

And what's the point? The Gamemakers can make whatever they imagine. My arena didn't look like anything in the real world, though I could imagine a great adventure novel taking place on some deserted island that looked like it, except that the characters probably wouldn't be killing each other there. For all I know, the Gamemakers are going through some kind of literary phase. The Cornucopia will be set on a round table, and they'll all be fighting dragons in a medieval castle. They'll make something that looks like a space colony, and occasionally, the air will go toxic. Maybe they'll all be on rafts, floating along on Gia's Mississippi.

That would be the best for Ginger, if she can swim. Her knee won't have to support her. I don't know if she can swim, though.

I close my eyes finally and go to sleep. I dream that I'm sitting in the cemetery, begging the stones for help. They don't talk. I have a pile of playing cards, a lot more than a single deck. All of them show different kinds of arenas I've imagined, from desert to glacier to fantastical fairy tale land. When I look up, all of the other mentors also have fans of cards in their hands. They're laughing.

"What's the matter, genius?" Drake asked. "A hundred percent as dumb as the rest of us now?"

I look down at my cards. The suits start to appear in the corners -- an ice cube for freezing, a skeleton for starving, a dripping sword for fighting, and a scythe for crazy things like volcanoes and floods. I stare at them. The values don't make sense. Nothing makes sense. I don't know how to play this game. I toss them aside. The cards are backed in black, with a picture of Maysilee's mockingjay pin.

I open my eyes in the darkness. I don't know how long I've been drifting and dreaming.

What are you trying to tell yourself? Mom asks in my head.

I press the heels of my hands against my eyes and try to think. Images of the Games keep trying to break in.

Why did Drake ask me if I was as dumb as everyone else? What am I not doing that the others aren't doing, either?

What wasn't I doing? , I realize. I'm doing it now. I haven't heard any of the others even speculate about the arena. They all think they can just use a blanket strategy.

And the cards, the suits. All of the different things fall into a few categories. Cold. Lack of food or water. Disasters. Violence. All of them are in every arena, of course, but some kinds of arenas lend themselves more to one than the others. There are different types of conditions. A limited number.

They'll never start right off with a disaster. That would bore the audience. So I'll have time to study whatever the arena is to figure out what kinds of disaster might be waiting. But if I see that it's cold, I can prioritize to get my tributes warm. If water's a problem, I'll shift that to finding and leading them to water. I'm not sure how, since you can't talk to them, but maybe I can work the gifts, if I can figure out how to make them understand. Small arenas tend to be quick and constantly violent. Hiding places and weapons to try and defend themselves.

I take a few deep breaths. This is something like a workable plan, or at least I convince myself that it is. I feel my heart slow down a little. If I break things down into workable bits, I can handle it when they get into the arena.

The problem is getting them past the Cornucopia. I can't think my way through it, and Chaff's right -- I can advise them all I want, but I can't control them.

I close my eyes and see the backs of the cards, the gold mockingjay repeating over and over. What game am I really playing?

There's no chance of going back to sleep, so I go back out to the sitting area. Ginger and Elmer are both still out here, asleep on the couch. I try to put a blanket over them, but it wakes Elmer up. He wakes Ginger, and they both head blearily to their rooms.

I feel like I should have something comforting to say to them, but I don't.

I turn on the television. Glass is expounding on Ginger's poor score and my bad mentoring skills (after all, he says, I hardly won the Games on skill myself, so I can hardly be expected to confer it on others). He seems to be chummy with the District Nine escort. The reporters head for local clubs, where they find several victors who aren't mentoring this year. They are extremely drunk. I wonder, if I had half a dozen other victors in the Village at home, if I'd bother coming at all.

I guess I would. Whatever else is true about my life now, there's one thing I can't deny: It's all about the Games. The images of the arena and the Capitol are never much further away from my mind than images of tall, glimmering bottles of warm-colored liquor. Winning the Games seems to mean that I belong to them, and the worst part is that no one needs to enforce this. It just is.

After the late night Games coverage and before the early morning news (which will undoubtedly have a lot of Games coverage), they run television shows and movies. I sit through two short comedy shows. The first is about a maintenance worker who constantly manages to cause mishaps in the lives of the rich residents of his building (but they love him anyway, and the problems are fixed at the end). The second is about a Capitol high school, and the shenanigans of a girl who's brainy by day and wild and crazy at night. Or maybe she has a twin. I'm not really clear on the concept. When these are over, I guess the publicity over the kiss has made Emiliana interesting, because they run a movie she made when she was a kid, before Seagull Point came up. She's a skinny little girl, all big hazel eyes and wavy brown hair. The movie is exquisitely awful. She plays the daughter of a traitorous Avox who is given a chance to attend a proper Capitol school, and learns to behave like a true citizen. She finds her mother's rebellious plans and turns them in -- along with her father -- and is ultimately "adopted," in a manner of speaking, by the school, now free of the bad influence of her parents' ideas. There's a strong implication that, so freed, she will now be able to achieve greatness. According to the announcer, it won several awards.

I think again about the cartoon I saw in District Twelve, where no child was ever told to tell his or her parents anything, or seek their help. Then I think about the lonely old women who want to take care of Ginger, Elmer, and me, but never had children of their own. I wonder what the families here are really like. I've met people here, but I've never met a Capitol family, or if I have, I haven't recognized it.

I don't know why this keeps occurring to me. I'm not out to save the Capitol.

I finally fall asleep again before the morning news starts. I'm woken up a couple of hours later by Glass returning.

He tries to claim that he's responsible for all of the prep, and I ought to find it in my interest to go to the nearest bar. I call his bluff and threaten to call in the Gamemakers.

He wrinkles his nose. The little gemstones embedded in his facial tattoo gleam in the light. "Very well," he says. "But I do wonder how well your good friends downstairs would take it if they knew how heavily you rely on the Gamemakers for protection."

I don't bother answering. If they could figure out on their own that my action in making a deal with Snow to keep my tributes safe somehow ended up with them losing control of the pre-Games, I think they've probably realized by now that, for the moment, the Gamemakers think I'm their funny little pet. I don't see any of them being likely to turn down an advantage like that.

"You stick to the etiquette," I tell him. "Don't make Ginger cry; she's nervous enough. And please ask Lepidus not to put her in heels."

"Her dress will not fall properly if she's not in heels."

"That's a tragedy, I'm sure."

Ginger and Elmer come down, and we all have breakfast together. I decide to put Ginger with Glass first, so that I can pick up any pieces that need picking up after it.

I take Elmer into the interview practice room. I remember Drake pacing around me last year, glaring at me. I think I understand that now. I like Elmer all right, but he's been around my whole life, and I probably only learned his name after five years of school. He's going to have three minutes to get the rest of the country to really learn it. His personality was never going to be the life of anyone's party. He's very earnest and he means well about everything, but he's stodgy, and lacks any real sense of humor. I have no idea how to package him, and I hate myself for turning him into a product. I'm guessing that hate is coming out in my face, judging by Elmer's sudden and valiant -- but doomed -- attempt to sit up straight and look confident.

I wave it off. "Don't look scared," I say. "But don't try to look like you're posing for a statue in City Center, either."

"So… what do I do?" he asks. "I figured the time. The boy from Twelve is always last, so I'll be sitting up there for an hour and nine minutes before it's even my turn. They pan the camera around sometimes."

"It'll probably be closer to an hour and a half by the time Caesar does his patter and introductions," I say. "The camera might spot you, but unless you're doing something really bad, it won't linger."

"What's really bad?"

"Well… if Lepidus sticks you in tight pants again and you sit there trying to pick the cloth out of you, they'd probably focus on that."

"Yeah, I wasn't planning on doing that."

"Don't do it without thinking about it, either." I sigh. According to my schedule, I'll be meeting with Caesar tomorrow morning during their prep time. I'll have to give him something to talk to them about. "What do you want to say?"

"What should I say?" He leans forward, elbows on his knees. "I think I'm stronger than a few people. And you talked about being smart. Should I?"

"No. Definitely not. I was being a smart-ass. I don't think people would buy it from you."

"I could talk about knowing how to blow things up. We won't have anything that explodes, but maybe it would sound intimidating."

"Don't try intimidating."

"What, then?"

"Who are you?"

"What?"

I shrug and sit down. "You've got three minutes. Tell me who you are."

"Um…"

"Actually, let's make that ten seconds. You'll have three minutes to talk to Caesar, but I want you to tell me five things in ten seconds about who you are."

In a movie, this would work. In reality, Elmer just blinks at me slowly and opens and closes his mouth a few times. Finally, he says, "Um… I'm Elmer Parton. I'm seventeen. From, uh, District Twelve. I like math. My father's name is Dorsel." He looks at me hopefully.

I shake my head. "Do you have a pet or something?"

He doesn't have a pet. His mother died when he was very little, and he doesn't remember her. His father wouldn't like to be talked about. "Family stays in the family," he says, horrified, when I ask. I guess I deserve this. I wouldn't talk about my family business, either. That's not the way things are done in District Twelve.

He doesn't have a girlfriend, and completely refuses to discuss anyone he might have a crush on, even with me. His best friend is a girl, Callamae Stubbs. They do their homework together. But she has a boyfriend, so he can't talk about her, because then her boyfriend would have the wrong idea.

"Elmer, come on, you have to give me something. Everyone had the wrong idea about me and Maysilee last year -- hell, most of them still do -- but Digger never held that against me."

"I don't want to talk about personal stuff. Who'd care about my personal stuff anyway? I'm nobody."

"You're not nobody."

"Then how come you have to ask who I am? You tell me who I am. You've known me since we played soldiers together out on the Seam."

"We played soldiers?"

"Yeah, when we were about six. Your dad told us a big war story, and we played at it."

"I don't remember that."

"I do," he says. "I had fun. Maybe I could talk about that. You're last year's victor -- maybe they'd think it was interesting."

I don't like it especially, but it's not against the rules. One of Beetee's boys talked about him at the interviews last year. And since Elmer refuses to talk about anything else in his life, I guess I have to go with it. He either remembers or makes up several times we played together when we were kids. I tell him to run with it. I'll see if Caesar buys it if I play it straight in the pre-interview meeting. We zero in on playing soldiers, and decide that he won the war against me -- beating a victor might be of note -- and maybe a time when we were twelve that he helped me in math class.

It's not going to be a memorable close to Caesar's show, but he's right. Maybe people will like it. And maybe they'll think for two seconds that the kids in the arena are real people with real lives, and that this might actually hurt.

Not that they'll care.

I send him out and call for Ginger. Glass hasn't made her cry, but I think it's a close thing. Against my order, he has her limping around in heels with no knee brace. I tell her to get the shoes off and I lob them out into the parlor, where Glass is starting to teach Elmer how to sit in a way that won't embarrass him.

Ginger collapses into the chair.

"Let's hear those commercials," I say.

She shakes her head. "Why?"

"Because it's cute, and people will remember it."

"So what? I'm dead, Haymitch. Who cares if a haunt can sing?"

"You're going to have three minutes to fill. What are you going to do with them…?"

It's a fight with Ginger, right to the end. She doesn't want to sing. She doesn't want to be cute. She doesn't want to be defiant about her score. She doesn't want to talk about what happened to her knee. She doesn't see the point in talking about anything and having people look at her, when she's just going to die anyway.

I finally get her to consider singing her jingles by telling her that Caesar's a good guy, and she wouldn't want to leave him twisting in the wind for three minutes. I know this will work, because that's life on the Seam. You might ignore a lot of things or do a lot wrong no matter how many people tell you it would be good for you to shape up, and you might be a flat out lowdown skunk … but you don't leave people who are counting on you twisting in the wind, at least not when their needs have been stated and made completely clear. Ginger will have lived with this cheek and jowl since she learned to talk, same as I did, and I use it as an unbeatable weapon against her.

Great. She's not even in the arena, and I already broke her.

After a somber dinner, Glass goes out with other escorts, and I go back to my room and take a long, scalding shower at the harshest setting I can find.

I see the team at breakfast, then Ginger and Elmer are swept off for interview prep. Glass, much to my disgust, insists on staying and overseeing it personally. I am met by a car downstairs and driven to a steel and glass tower just a few blocks away. It's the headquarters of Panem National Television, and Caesar's office is on the top floor.

His secretary doesn't look much older than I am. She's a pretty girl with a toothy grin not altogether unlike Caesar's own. Her nameplate identifies her as Ampere Flynn, and when I come in, she breaks herself away from a chummy-looking conversation with the youngest of the Gamemakers, the one I thought looked familiar in our earlier meeting.

He smiles. "Hi, Haymitch," he says. "I'm Martius Snow. We met at headquarters, but I don't think we were introduced."

I shake his proffered hand, but I let go as quickly as I can. Now I recognize why he looks familiar. He's the president's son. He's never on television and I can see why. It would be too strange. People say I look like my Daddy, but I've got nothing on Martius Snow. He doesn't just look related to the president. He looks like the president used a time machine and brought a younger version of himself forward.

Martius laughs softly. "Sorry about that," he says. "I don't take offense at it anymore. I'll be sitting in on the pre-interviews today."

The girl presses a button and says, "Are you ready for Twelve?"

Caesar Flickerman's voice comes back, as jovial as ever. "Send Mr. Abernathy straight in, Peri. That is, if young Mr. Snow is ready to be pried away from your desk."

Martius makes a great show of tearing himself physically away from the secretary's desk. "Parting is such sweet sorrow!" he croons. The resemblance to his father doesn't go away, which only makes seeing him flirt outrageously with Peri Flynn more disturbing.

She flicks him on the nose and waves him toward the office. "Don't mind Martius," she tells me. "He's only a little bit crazy, and if you can get past his obvious flaws, he's almost tolerable."

I go into Caesar's office. He looks up with a friendly smile -- nothing like his showman's smile -- and indicates a big, comfortable-looking chair for me, then upends a wastebasket for Martius to sit on. This is met with a little good-natured hamming. I have no idea what to make of it.

No one explains.

"It's always good to see you, Haymitch," Caesar says. "I suspect we have a lot to talk about."
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Comments
sonetka From: sonetka Date: February 22nd, 2014 05:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
This is going to be very, very interesting. And hello, Caesar's daughter! (With that very district 5 name, is she being passed off as someone he's sponsoring from the districts, so as not to attract attention? I'm curious about that).

Poor Ginger -- you can't really blame her for not wanting to play along, and the long-term gain of having the tributes come across as really human isn't going to mean much to her unless the Games are canceled *this* year. It probably seems like the only defiant thing she can do at this point; refuse to be part of the dog-and-pony show. All the same, I hope she can manage it -- both for the long-term effect and so her family can have one last "good" glimpse of her.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: February 22nd, 2014 08:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'd guess one advantage of being Caesar Flickerman is being able to control what hot things the public is talking about. If he kept a tight lid on chatter about his daughter, he might be able to forestall questions. Then again, it could be that after he gave her a district name, Snow passed the law about no district names for Capitol citizens.

I'd be on Ginger's side about refusing to participate, but knowing Panem, that might well have consequences beyond her own life.
sonetka From: sonetka Date: February 22nd, 2014 09:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh yes -- I'm not saying Ginger's wrong, just that at this point it won't help, and could also hurt her family.
From: queen_bellatrix Date: February 22nd, 2014 09:53 pm (UTC) (Link)

Catches and Squee/Questions

against red pillow Missed an a before red, there.

now free the I think you missed an of between free and the?

wrinkles is nos I think the is was supposed to be his?

The camera might I think you need a quotation mark before the, there. You have the closing, but not the opening, from what I saw.

you tell me Think there was supposed to be a to before tell, there.

One of Beetee's boys last year talked about him at the interviews last year. I think you put in an extra last year there, maybe in editing?

looks like president used Think you missed a the before president.

Martius! and Peri! And Haymitch finally getting so thoroughly sick of Glass that he snapped; Gods, that needed to happen chapters ago!

I choose to focus on these three things, along with Caesar being an adorably awesome Daddy, because the rest of that chapter is hard. I thought meeting with the parents would be the most difficult part of mentoring, but I'm beginning to think that taking completely normal kids and trying to make them memorable would be teeth-grindingly frustrating; Either they can't pull it off, or they look like they're acting.

Poor Ginger; the person above me summarized that entire situation perfectly.

I love how you're showing Haymitch's unique skill set as a mentor; that dream sequence and his subsequent conclusions were wonderful. One of the things I enjoy about your dream sequences is that the ones that are immediately understandable to Haymitch are also understandable to us, but the ones he doesn't get are almost impenetrable until the fog lifts for him.

I like that we're now learning that both Maysilee and Kay played the guitar, and feel even worse for Kay getting her guitar smashed, as it was probably a shared instrument.

Also, absolutely amazing games backstory for Beetee. I love the similarities between how he and Haymitch played the games. And Haymitch's dad liking the way Beetee played.:d

Also, the way you flipped the perspective of Haymitch's life on the seam around through Elmer was brilliantly done. I like that, while all the things Haymitch observed about being teased and shunned were certainly true, he also isolated himself from other smart people like Elmer who could have been friends, or at least allies, by his lack of sociability, and just odd quirks when he did socialize. The line that will always get a smile from me in the beginning of EOTW is the bit where he tells Maysilee
that he already considered them friends.

Martius and Peri. I'm sure you'll explain more of this as the stories progress, obliquely, but their story/chronology fascinates me.

For Prisca to be nine when they take over the Capitol, we know she had to be born sometime between the 66th and 67th games. Right now, I'm seeing two possibilities of how there relationship went, particularly seeing as they're both flirtatious and comfortable with one another during the 51st, like friends on the cusp of a romance.

Possibility 1: They had a long-term affair, she got pregnant, they ran and got married, Snow welcomed them in to the Capitol, realized from Martius's interactions with other people that his "treason" went further than marrying a girl with dubious origins, and offed them.

Possibility 2: They fell in love/were in a long-term affair and Martius decided screw this, they were getting married. They ran, Snow pretended to accept it long enough for the baby to be born once he realized he could have a new heir to replace the defective clone, and then killed them. Which seems really similar to possibility one, but I'm just wondering: was it the treason of getting married, or treasons he comitted later combined with that first one that was Snow's tipping point, as it were.

I know it could be that they didn't fall in love until right around when they were married; the only reason I'm thinking long-term affair is that they feel like they're so close to that edge, I don't know if those feelings would stay dormant for that long. And...was their budding relationship why Caesar's wife died in the 53rd?

I'm sure there are more, but those are the ones I'm coming up with off the top of my head; I'll be really interested to see where you take it, and am rediculously excited for the next chapter because I want to know more about Martius.

Edited at 2014-02-23 01:25 am (UTC)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: February 23rd, 2014 04:10 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Catches and Squee/Questions

When I opened it up, it looked like that quote mark got replaced by about twenty spaces. Hmm. Weird.

Anyway, got them.

My thought on Martius and Peri is that they date awhile before they get married, then are married a while before they have children. Snow's more worried about the fact that his son might stage a coup, though once he's gone, he wouldn't want people to think his heir apparent is half District Five (hence Caesar having that to hold over him). I don't think he objected to the marriage as such, and as long as Peri's true origins didn't come up, he'd have let it be. Caesar threatened to go public if Prisca was in any manner harmed, I think. I doubt I'll be going into it all terribly deeply.

The final breakout in CF just seemed to be such a combination of Haymitch's and Beetee's brains that I have a feeling they'd have had a lot in common, though I doubt Beetee would have approved of the constant inebriation.

Haymitch has always just assumed that he's an unlikeable cuss (one of the side effects of bullying, unfortunately), and I doubt he'd have ever considered that -- bullies aside -- other kids in school actually admired him.
From: queen_bellatrix Date: February 23rd, 2014 04:23 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Catches and Squee/Questions

I think where I kept getting myself confused with Martius/Peri was Caesar's comment in House Of Cards that "Our children ran off together. They didn't make it far, but we still have Prisca." I kept thinking they had to run off to get married, and skipped over the very logical assumption that they ran away when Snow's intent to kill them became obvious, which I should've gleaned from the Martius/Finn challenge where he says he has a wife and that Snow's grooming him to take over. *headdesk* And of course, Caesar would remember that, rather than the time they spent married/dating because it's such a watershed event.

You really see the victors closeness when in NP Beetee lets him move into his spare room when Effy kicks him out for drunkenness even though Beetee probably wants to smack him for the same reason. And really interesting observation about the breakout in CF; I hadn't consciously put it together like that, though once you say it, it makes a lot of sense.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: February 23rd, 2014 05:02 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Catches and Squee/Questions

Yeah, it's kind of evolved in my head since then, but I can still square it that maybe they eloped to avoid the press that would be involved, but the real running away happened when they found out that they were being targeted. They were going to slip away quietly when he got assigned out of the Capitol, but Snow held Prisca back at home. My guess is that they got caught when they tried to go back for her.
mirandabeth From: mirandabeth Date: February 23rd, 2014 05:37 am (UTC) (Link)
This chapter makes me realise how lucky Haymitch got in the 74th games, to have not only a survivor like Katniss, but someone who got the narrative thing like Peeta. Peeta really is remarkable like that, because not only does he get it probably even better than Haymitch, he employs it self-sacrificially (which is to say rebelliously). And how awful to choose between two kids who both have a chance, unlike so many years that must have been like this one.

Yay for more Caesar, and the fascinating family you've created for him!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: February 23rd, 2014 07:54 am (UTC) (Link)
Peeta was a real godsend for what Haymitch wanted to do, but yes... understanding that he was choosing to make the sacrifice play, that had to be just terrible!
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