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HG: The Hanging Tree, Chapter Seventeen - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
HG: The Hanging Tree, Chapter Seventeen
The Games are getting closer. Haymitch has been called in to see Caesar before the interviews. Snow's son Martius, a Gamemaker, is sitting in.

Chapter Seventeen
I'm not sure where to start, and Caesar doesn't prompt me, so I just look at Martius Snow. "I haven't heard yet about a knee brace."

"There are a few Gamemakers still on the fence," he says. "I'm not one of them, so you don't need to convince me. The issue is whether or not she can use it as a weapon."

"I could use it as a weapon," I admit. "But Ginger won't think of it. And even if she did, the second it came off, she wouldn't be able to move very well to use it."

"I'll pass it along. Again." Martius sighs. "You know she's most likely not going to get far."

"Yeah, well, that's thanks to your father's Head Peacekeeper in Twelve shooting her in the knee for no good reason."

He grimaces. "Unfortunately, I can't do anything about what my father decides to do. Which includes Glass, if you're planning to ask."

"I was."

"Well, they're old cronies, back to their school days."

"Yeah, I know," I say. "Glass told me all about how they were in the Green Tower together."

"It was a binding moment for everyone who was there," Caesar says, looking out his window with a grim expression. "And I'm afraid Coriolanus has used it heavily over the years to keep a core group bound to him."

I look around, uncomfortably wondering if the office is bugged or if I'm being tested somehow. I choose to say nothing.

Caesar abruptly smiles, the grimness fading away, the talk show friendliness emerging. "So, we know that Ginger has a bad leg, but I don't imagine that she'll want to talk about that."

"No. Not really. She's…" I sigh. "She's really pretty broken about the score. You made Gilla feel better last year. Could you…?"

"Done," he says.

"Thanks. She…" I bite my lip. "This sounds stupid now that I'm saying it, but she knows how to sing a lot of commercial jingles."

"Ha!" Caesar sits back. "I love it. That'll get people laughing. People who are laughing remember who made them happy. What about the boy?"

I decide to try playing it straight, saying that Elmer and I have been friends for years, but before I'm through three sentences, Caesar's eyebrow is raised. I stop. "Not a good angle?"

"Good enough angle for the show, but you can tell me when it's an angle. I won't call him on it, but it helps me to know how far to push for details if I know there aren't any details."

"Oh, right."

"Are you sure he won't talk about his family?"

"Yeah. He wanted to keep them private."

"Anything else?"

I think about it. "Well… if he tries to steer toward anything about mine safety classes, please steer him away. He wants to talk about explosives, which I'm pretty sure there won't be any for him to worry about knowing how to use."

"I think it would be within parameters to confirm that," Martius says. "It's not exactly radical news."

Caesar nods. "I can work with that. We can get three minutes about how his mentor is an old school friend, and three for Ginger just talking about commercials. You may even get her a corporate sponsor out of it."

"Thanks." I think about it. "Oh -- could you let Ginger kick off the high heels that Glass will put her in? I'll make sure she's got her knee brace."

"He was going to put the child in heels?" Caesar grinds his teeth. "Don't worry. I have enough power to take care of that, at least. As for things outside of the interviews -- has anyone taught you to work the sponsors in the Viewing Center?"

"Well, Chaff taught me to use the phones. I've made contact with most of last year's sponsors… did you get my filing?" I ask, looking to Martius.

"All in order, and nice work keeping new sponsors. A lot don't stay on from year to year."

"Miss Hoops actually sent me a message to tell me how sweet you were to her," Caesar adds.

I blush. "They're nice ladies."

"It's an interesting demographic. You'll be getting more calls during the Games. Glass will be there to record and --"

"No."

"What?"

"I don't want Glass talking to my sponsors. He'll say something rude."

Caesar looks down at his folded hands, then glances at Martius. "Why don't you take Peri to lunch?" he suggests. "We're done with the interview prep. Everything I want to talk to Haymitch about is more… production related than Games related."

Martius nods deferentially and leaves without questions.

"How bad is it?" Caesar asks me.

"Well, he's been forbidden to touch me or my tributes. So, there's that."

"I know about that. Good move. I'm sure the other victors were annoyed, but honestly, I'm glad someone put a leash on that psychopath. Unfortunately, he and the others in Snow's circle are quite influential. I am trying to get rid of him, but it's not easy. He'd have to do something to actually infuriate Snow, at this point. The best I can do is try to contain him. What's he doing?"

I tell him about the threatened beating on the train (and that I think it might not have just been a beating he was threatening), and about the bullying of the tributes, and about what I've heard he said to bereaved parents before I became a victor. "I was lucky to get Gia last year. She was nice to the Donners and the Berryhills. Gilla didn't have a family to be nice to. But she would have been. Now Glass is back, and I don't want him being the one to talk to the families."

Caesar looks at me sharply. "Haymitch, you are turning out to be a very good mentor."

"Let's see if they live first. I mean, if one of them can…"

He comes around the desk and puts a hand on my shoulder. "You know it’s not likely. Only one mentor every year has a victor, and that doesn't mean the others aren't good mentors. All you can do is your best, and from what I'm seeing, I think that, with time, your best will be extraordinary."

"It's not going to matter to Ginger and Elmer."

"Maybe not in terms of saving them. And I know -- for you there's nothing but pain. But for them… they have someone from home with them at the end, someone who will actually care. You missed having that last year, because of Duronda's passing, but your tributes will have you."

"Gia cared about us."

"So did Drake, I think, though you'd be hard-pressed to get him to admit it. He's certainly one of your biggest fans now. But neither of them was going to be going back to Twelve to remember you to your families, to know the things you knew. It makes a difference, even when you don't feel like it does. And you, especially, make a difference, because you put yourself between them and Glass. They know it."

"What can I do about Glass?"

"Not a lot. But keep doing what you're doing, and I'll keep looking for a way to get rid of him. If any of your other team members leave, I'll make sure to hire people who are more your type to replace them. Eventually, we'll wear Glass down, I hope."

This seems to be the best he can give. He gives me a few last pointers for Ginger and Elmer, then dismisses me.

It's ten-thirty in the morning, and their prep is pretty much just starting. I don't have anything on the schedule, so I sign out at the Training Center main desk, put on a tracking bracelet so they know where I am, and head out into the Capitol.

It's a beautiful day, with bright sunlight and a slight breeze to keep things cool. The candy-colored towers of the Capitol sparkle, throwing flashes of light onto the ground. People are going about their business, whatever it is. I'm not sure where I'm going, so I just let my feet carry me where they will. I stop for a little while in a tiny art gallery, where a strange woman wearing clothes supposedly "inspired by traditional district patterns" (she doesn't say which district) is proudly displaying decorative nets, with embedded glass fish that she's made herself. She is very interested in what traditional arts there are in Twelve, and I'm a little sorry to tell her that I can't think of any. Undeterred, she asks about music. I don't sing, but promise I'll get her the lyrics to some of our ballads. She is thrilled with this, and says she will draw illustrations of them in real coal dust.

She agrees to sponsor Elmer if he needs something, as long as I buy "natural" materials for him.

After the gallery, I go to the long parkway between City Circle and the national library. There are children out playing, and I even see a few parents chatting amiably on park benches. I guess there are families, then. I go sit with a young couple, Trajan and Tullia, who are watching their little girl, heavily wrapped up in protective gear, trying to climb a set of monkey bars. They seem like normal parents, if really rich ones. They say they can't be sponsors because they're still on their five year "Family Leave," which means their income from the government is pretty strictly controlled. They're both looking forward to going back to work when their daughter, Livilla, goes to school. Tullia is an architect. She tries to point out one of her buildings, but I can't spot it in the skyline. Trajan is a music teacher at one of the schools, though he'll have to transfer, since Livilla will be attending the school he used to teach at, and apparently, that's against the rules. I mention that plenty of the teachers in Twelve have kids who go to the school. They smile fondly at this strange, rustic custom.

"Here in the Capitol," Trajan says, "we like to make sure that our children aren't trapped into a hereditary point of view."

I nod sagely, though I can't think of a more brain-locked bunch than the Capitol, and tell them that I want to get on to the library. We part on friendly terms.

I keep walking up the parkway, a part of me wondering if I'll see the little boy whose sister was secretly named after Maysilee (her real name is Marcelina). I don't, and I don't remember which house they came from. They've probably moved on to some other fad by now anyway, and are no longer calling the baby by an almost-forgotten tribute's name.

Instead of going all the way to the library -- I'm enjoying being outside -- I turn down another street, where a decorative fence runs along the length of a full-sized park. I go in when I find a gate, and find myself on a flagstone plaza, surrounded by people pushing carts laden with all varieties of food. I buy something that smells good and comes wrapped in absorbent paper (I imagine people at home would be shocked at the waste, but I don't care), and I sit down on an ornate little bench made to look like branches with giant leaves coming out of the back. Nearby, old men are playing chess on permanently set-up boards. I'm trying to figure out the best approach to them when I hear someone call, "Haymitch!"

I look over. Chaff and Beetee are sitting at one of the boards, playing with chessmen they've obviously made for themselves or had specially made. Chaff's are made from corn husks, like the leaf dollies little girls sometimes play with on the Seam. Beetee's are made from electronic circuits, and light up when he moves them.

I take a chair from one of the little tables strewn around, and settle at the middle of the board. "You always come here?"

"Try to," Chaff says. "Usually, prep day is the best day of the Games. Nothing's gone wrong yet, and there's nothing we have to do."

"So we make a habit of coming out here," Beetee says. "I paged your apartment to see if you'd like to come, but your escort told us that you were already out. Your meeting with Caesar?"

"Yeah. Did you already have yours?"

"Oh, yeah," Chaff says. "You're Twelve. You're last in line for everything."

"I'm a little worried," I admit.

"Don't. Caesar will make them all seem like stars."

"I'm not so sure," Beetee says. "Ikris may do well. He's a personable boy. But Wiress -- my girl -- isn't really good at conversation."

Since I don't remember anything about Beetee's female tribute at the reapings or the parade, I guess she must be something of a shrinking violet. "Shy?"

He frowns. "Not shy, per se. I volunteer to advise an invention club at the school. She's one of my brightest students, but she's a little odd. She tends to focus in on the technical, and forget that she's having a conversation. I told Caesar to watch for her going glassy. It can be off-putting to people who don't know her." He looks at the board and moves his knight. Lights leap around on the base. "By the way, Ikris wants to take care of her in the arena, so I'd like to add her to the alliance with Elmer. Do you mind? Her oddness isn't going to slow them down."

"Fine with me. If Ginger…if she makes it past the Cornucopia…"

"Of course, yes, certainly," Beetee says absently, but doesn't offer to help her get away.

"You might want to ask him about his sponsor situation," Chaff says. "That's one of the major points of formal alliances."

I look at Beetee. "Um… how's your sponsor situation?"

"I've spent a lot of time streamlining electronics and communications systems here in the Capitol," he says. "I know a lot of well-heeled businessmen, and they're loyal sponsors. Which Chaff knows."

"The point isn't what I know," Chaff says. "The point is making sure Haymitch knows what he ought to be doing. I never said you wouldn't check out." He moves a bishop quickly, then says, "Check in three. You think of anything about the arena, Haymitch?"

I lean in. "No trees. There was no training for climbing."

Chaff wrinkles his nose. "Have you thought of a way around that?"

"Not yet."

"Well, get thinking!" He smiles.

"He's my ally, not yours," Beetee says. "Go hire your own brains."

"But they won't come with those big spending old biddies of Haymitch's."

"Hey -- you leave those ladies out of it. They're nice."

"Oh, what's this? Sir Haymitch in the shining armor?"

"Shut up."

"Maybe you and he can work something out to set them up with your funny old chess buddies," Beetee suggests, nodding toward the other tables.

"Don't you start on my funny old chess buddies, Volts."

"He's just jealous," Beetee tells me. "He thought he had a lock on the sponsors-no-one-else-thinks-to-ask demographic."

We all laugh.

"You're surprised, aren't you?" Chaff asks. "I know I was."

"Surprised at what?"

"How many of them are nice."

"I'm surprised when anyone's nice," I say.

"But it's not what you expect, in the Capitol. The way things are out in Eleven, the last thing I expected was to like people here."

I think about this. "I don't know. I guess I didn't really know anything. So… you know, I didn't expect anything."

Beetee looks up. "Really?"

"Well… yeah." I look between them. "Don't you guys think it's weird when they ask about your arena strategy before you see the arena?" They don't answer. "It's the same thing. If you go in expecting something and it doesn't turn out to be that, it takes too long to re-think it. So I try not to expect things."

"I thought you'd be predicting it all year, the way you like to control things."

"Yeah -- even I'm not crazy enough to think I can control the Gamemakers." I watch a set of moves. "Anyway, what's the point?"

"It's something to do," Beetee says. "You'll get very bored during the year."

"That's why I drink."

Chaff laughs. "You know, I think you think you're kidding." He waits for Beetee to make a move then quickly moves a pawn in his way. "I'm about to wipe the floor with His Brilliance. You up for the next game?"

"I didn't bring my chessmen."

"You can use mine," Beetee says. "You should make some out of coal or something. It passes the time."

"That would get pretty messy," I say. "And I’m not artistic."

"Me, either," Chaff says. "My momma made this for me. She said she never could think of anything to give me after I got rich, so she bought fresh corn and made me a set. She was pretty bored, too… at least until I turned nineteen and they made her go back to the fields." He grimaces at one of Beetee's moves, slides a knight over, and says, "Checkmate."

Beetee groans.

I move into his seat, reset the board, and start the game. Chaff wins in the end, but not until we've mostly wiped each other out. He apologizes to his little faceless pawns when he puts them back in their box. By this time, a lot of his "little old chess buddies" have gathered around to watch. Their thin skin, surgically stretched back to free it of wrinkles, makes their heavily decorated eyes look huge. Most of them wear dark colored wigs, but I doubt they're fooling anyone except maybe themselves. If one of them is a day under seventy, I'm a saint.

"Eighty, more like," Chaff says, laughing, as we head back toward the Training Center. "Can you believe that? I never saw so many eighty year olds in my life."

I haven't, either. Eighty is almost unheard of in District Twelve, though I think Danny's great-grandfather might have still been kicking around when we were kids. I seem to remember an ancient man, anyway, who all the kids called "Grandy-Peet." He used to sit out on the bakery porch in a rocking chair, a blanket over his legs even in summer, and sometimes he'd tell stories about "olden days," when he was a boy, or even more olden days that his grandfather had talked about (and probably they were second-hand stories heard from even before then) about when the Irish escaped the rising sea and the plague, and took root in the tough out-districts of the land that would become Panem. My father used to swing me by sometimes, always with a bottle of something for Grandy-Peet, to listen to the stories. He got a kick out of them, though he didn't believe most of them really happened. This didn't bother him. ("No story ever suffered from a good sprinkling of horseshit," he told me. "It adds flavor.")

When we get back to the Training Center, there's no time for more talking. The kids are done with prep, and it's time for the final push before the interviews. Glass is furious with me, because Caesar has overridden both him and his stylist, forcing them to put Ginger in her brace and sending over a pair of prettily embroidered flat slippers for her to wear with the glittering black dress Atilia has her in. Apparently, while I was playing chess in the park, Caesar flatly ordered that the comfort of the tributes at the interviews was to be respected. Along with Ginger's brace and flats, I guess this also provided glasses for the boy from Nine, and -- judging by the fit a stylist is throwing when we go down -- lining under a sheer dress for the girl from Seven. Other tributes don't seem to be as uncomfortable with it (or have decided it's not worth fighting about), since I see plenty of skin in the crowd.

Glass is with my group, but I turn the kids around so they don't see him. "Now, I want you to both relax," I say. "You've got a long wait before Caesar gets to you, but don't get nervous. Listen to what the other kids say --"

"Haymitch, I'm a month older than you," Elmer says.

"Fine. Listen to the great wisdom of all of my elders." I make a rude gesture at him. "It'll make it look like you're interested. And you may as well be interested. There's nothing else to do up there."

"And it's the last thing we get to be interested in, too," Ginger says morosely.

"And don't you get like that!" I say. "You act like you have as much chance as anyone else."

"But I don't."

I try not to get frustrated with her. She's not wrong, and I know she's scared. But if she is going to beat the odds, she can't go with this attitude. "Just… just try, okay? Your parents will want to see you trying."

"Fine."

I shake my head. "Caesar will help you. If you get stuck, he'll get you unstuck. Let him help. Let him get things where they need to be."

This is the best I can do for them, because they're already being herded out onto the stage. I go with Glass to the section of the audience that's been roped off for the Teams. I end up sitting by Seeder.

Last year, the interviews were excruciating on stage. By the time it got to me, I just wanted to get it over with. I keep a wary eye on Elmer and Ginger, hoping they won't start picking at things they shouldn't pick at, but they're pretty good.

The Career kids go through their usual boasts, of course. Beetee's girl Wiress is hopeless. She gets stuck on the angles of the lighting on the stage, and Caesar's best efforts can't get her back on track, and everyone is relieved when he moves on to the boy Ikris, who manages to get a little laugh out of the crowd when he tells them about building a tower out of silverware in the District Three apartment, which was going great until their escort wanted a dessert fork. The girl from Four takes over after that, bragging that she can turn anything into a rope, and she knows exactly how she means to use one.

Unsurprisingly, Drake has the kids from Six tarted up. The girl Cleo's dress is barely more than a bunch of wide ribbons made to look like train tracks, which can only generously be said to cover her up. Of the headlight on the boy's costume, the less said, the better. Neither of them has a lot to say, though Caesar does manage to tease a story out of Cleo about how she made clothes at home out of scraps of old packing material she found near the tracks. I'm willing to bet those clothes looked better than the ones she's in. The boy, whose name is Simon, just mutters something about people underestimating him, which sounds about as convincing as it can, coming from a skinny fourteen-year-old with a stutter and a bad case of pimples.

When Ginger's turn finally comes, she is limping a little bit from sitting still so long. Caesar leads her out by the hand, and compliments her outrageously on her pretty dress and her pretty hair… and he hears she knows a lot about some hair products. Though he does most of the talking at first, he does get her to sing the beginning of her jingle, and the audience approval seems to give her a little bit of strength. She sings another, louder, and it gets a round of applause. She tries a curtsy, but it doesn't quite work. No one seems to mind. Caesar leads her back to her chair, and I sigh with relief. It could have been a lot worse.

Elmer, on the other hand, fumbles. He forgets what he's talking about, mixes me up with someone else he played soldiers with (and actually stops to correct himself rather than going with it), then manages to ignore Caesar's nudging and talk about explosives anyway.

There's nothing I can do about it.

After the national anthem, I get them back inside. We watch the re-caps and the responses from people on the street. Someone from the shampoo company says she's going to call in and sponsor Ginger. No one has much to say about Elmer. The big winner of the night is the boy from One, who promised to "piss on" the rest of the field and dance under the flag with his picture on it.

I turn off the television when it's over.

"You did okay," I lie. "Don't worry about it."

"They were terrible," Glass says. "A silly girl and an incompetent boy."

"Ginger got a sponsor out of it."

"A corporate one," Elmer pipes in. "And maybe they can sponsor next year, too… whoever you bring."

"Yeah," Ginger says, her voice shaking. "Maybe I helped for next year." She bites her lip. "If it does help, will you tell her that I helped? Please?" Her face crumples and she starts to cry. "Will you tell her my name, Haymitch? Please tell her my name." She grabs at my shirt and clings to me.

I don't know what I'm supposed to do, or what's right to do. I do know that I probably shouldn't go with my first instinct, which is to pull myself away and run as far as I can go. I try to think about what Gia would do.

I put my arms around Ginger and hold her as tightly as I can. "I'll tell her your name," I say.

She continues to cry. Elmer sits down at her side and takes her hand.

I look at him. "I'll keep both of your names. I won't forget."

He nods.

We sit this way for a long time, ignoring Glass's repeated sneers, until he finally leaves, and I have to send them to bed.

The Gamemakers will come for them early in the morning.
17 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
From: (Anonymous) Date: February 25th, 2014 02:17 am (UTC) (Link)
</3 - emkay
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: February 25th, 2014 03:27 am (UTC) (Link)
Yeah. Kinda.

Edited at 2014-02-25 03:28 am (UTC)
beceh From: beceh Date: February 25th, 2014 02:18 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh man, I have tears in my eyes right now. Damn it, I'm at school!

Very good chapter. Wiress!!! I did a mini-squee.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: February 25th, 2014 03:28 am (UTC) (Link)
I really don't think I could do the mentor gig. That's a working definition of hell.
mirandabeth From: mirandabeth Date: February 25th, 2014 03:10 am (UTC) (Link)
All right, well done, you made me cry. For Ginger and Elmer, but mainly for Haymitch and his safe full of photos.

At least it's Wiress? Some part of this story may end up happy. Well, in a HG sense, anyway.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: February 25th, 2014 03:29 am (UTC) (Link)
I figured I could at least do that.

But yeah... how bad would it be to be the one tasked with remembering all the kids you couldn't save?
mirandabeth From: mirandabeth Date: February 25th, 2014 03:34 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm only surprised he's not more insane by the end. I don't even want to imagine it. Ugh.
maidenjedi From: maidenjedi Date: February 25th, 2014 03:37 am (UTC) (Link)
Well. This made me cry.

Incredible as always. Haymitch's story is fascinating, and you do a great job handling even the most sensitive parts.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: February 25th, 2014 03:48 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks. Poor guy. Still should knock off the sauce, but poor guy nonetheless.
sonetka From: sonetka Date: February 25th, 2014 04:55 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh God, that was painful. I just hope it isn't too bad for either of them. And also very interested in seeing how Wiress pulls it out.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: February 25th, 2014 05:38 am (UTC) (Link)
Me, too. I figured I might as well use the opportunity to do another victor story.
From: queen_bellatrix Date: February 25th, 2014 10:00 am (UTC) (Link)

Thoughts and Typos

back to school days. I'm not sure if you're missing a their before school here, or if it's a gramatical choice, but thought I'd point it out just in case.

about his family? The same thing happened here as in last chapter with no closing quotes, although I can't tell if it's been replaced by spaces again.

her corporate sponsor I can't tell here if you meant to say sponsors or a corporate sponsor?

did you get my filing? I can't tell here if Haymitch is talking to Martius or Caesar? I know in GM the Gamemakers had to check the validity of Haymitch's sponsors, and were angry at the smaller donations because they couldn't skim, which makes me think Martius? But, if so, you might want to clarify that he directed the question in Martius's direction. And of course, who he was talking to there'll influence who he has the later back and forth with before Martius goes to lunch.

surrounded people pushing Think you missed a by before people, here.

Lepidus has her in.
Wouldn't this be Atillia? I remember Drake specifically telling Atilia how to dress Gilla.

a wary on Elmer Think you missed an eye before on, here.

takes over after that, Think the comma there should be a period, since it seems to be the end of a sentence?

It's late where I am, so appologies if this is shorter than usual; once I started reading, I couldn't stop, no matter the time.

That ending; absolutely wonderful, gutting writing. Poor, poor kids, the both of them. And poor Haymitch, so out of his depth. I loved his line about not running as far away as he could. The perfect bit of levity for that situation. And his promise not to forget them; he does many things wrong, but he keeps every promise he makes that he can, which I love.

I like Martius a lot, especially since we're seeinghow different he is from his father. What a genuinely great guy, which essentially makes him doomed in the Capitol. And damn, Haymitch, you like living on the edge sometimes, don't you? Saying what he did about Beckett and by implication Snow in front of Martius; if Martius were a different person, he would be attending the "university" in a few days.

Loved all the behind the scenes work that goes in to the interviews, and Caesar and Haymitch's alliance about Glass. Just love Caesar generally so much; I never cared about Caesar before your fics, and now your incarnation of him's on my top five list of characters in this verse. The fact that, as evidenced by his hypothetical Presidential nomination to Peeda, his respect for Haymitch never wanes is fantastic, and further proof of what a good mentor Haymitch had to be; he wouldn't respect someone just for the things he'd done at seventeen.

Thanks so much for giving us a fun day in the Capitol before all hell broke loose. I love how the Capitol gives parents "family leave" and makes them so sick of being tied down that when they go to work, they just sort of...let their kids slip in to the chaperonage of the government. And the way Snow's made it acceptable not to get them in to hereditary thought patterns is creepy. And then you have something as unsubtle as having his son "sit in" on Haymitch's interviews; not worried at all there, are you Snow?

Love the budding friendship between Haymitch, Chaff, and Beetee, but especially Haymitch and Chaff. I'm really interested by the thing about Chaff's Mom having to go back to the fields. Do you think even if the Capitol'd gotten Mrs. Abernathy new lungs, they would've made her go back to the mines? And Peeda, living alone in GM; is it a tribute choice thing; one can have one's parents until one turns nineteen, or one can be under the guardianship of one's mentor?

Also, love that we're going to get to see Wiress win, especially since Miss Buttery told Haymitch to give the money to Twelve's allies, which means Beetee and Haymitch working together. I'm going to love seeing what we know from GM play out as the story progresses (from what I can remember, we know she hid and foraged for herself and her ally?)

And oh, I hope Haymitch can keep Glass from talking to the families! The next chapter's going to be awful, and my skin's already crawling about the cronie mentioned in NP.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: February 25th, 2014 03:11 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Thoughts and Typos

Oh, yeah, completely missed the Lepidus/Atilia one. (I keep forgetting Portia in canon, too!)

Glad you caught that ending comma. I kept futzing with the paragraph and forgot to add what the girl from Four actually talked about.

I'm glad you liked the scene with Beetee and Chaff. I wanted to get into that friendship, and also to spend some time with the confusing beauty in the Capitol.

With Caesar, I was just struck my first time through canon that the frequently judgmental, black-and-white worldview Katniss actually seems to immediately ken that Caesar is on her side. Like her friendship with Madge, it shows that, despite her often quick judgments, she doesn't make category judgments (unlike certain hunting partners she may have). It also suggested that Caesar really is, in his way, a good guy.

ETA: With the parents in Victors' Village, I assume the kids just have a choice until they reach the age where the Capitol decides they can live without their parents. They probably couldn't have stopped Haymitch from buying his mother and brother decent things, enough that she wouldn't need to work, but they could kick them out of the place reserved for victors. Probably the same would have happened to Mrs. Everdeen and Prim. Just one more reminder that their things aren't actually theirs. (As for Peeta, his parents had a business to run and besides... would you invite Mrs. Mellark out to live with you? ;p)

Edited at 2014-02-25 03:19 pm (UTC)
redrikki From: redrikki Date: February 25th, 2014 02:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
I like how you've shown the inner workings of the games and how you contrast the work-a-day aspects of it with the utter horror and tragedy of what is happening to the kids (and Haymitch) involved.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: February 25th, 2014 03:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks. That's one of the things I like in the canon -- that weird juxtaposition between the take-it-to-the-logical-conclusion parody of reality tv and the grossness of what it really means for the people involved. It was some nice thinking on Collins' part.
From: (Anonymous) Date: February 26th, 2014 12:25 am (UTC) (Link)

I'm So Glad...

That Ceasar got the opportunity to tell Haymitch what an awesome mentor he is being, because he really is. He's putting everything into it, doing his best to offer them comfort and good advice, and making a lot of good calls in a really BAD situation. Because being a good mentor is not defined by how many victors you rack up, but how you do your best for the Tributes you have. Not that Haymitch is going to really believe / understand that for a while (though I hope he will eventually). After all, I think Haymitch would agree that Chaff, Seeder, Beetee, etc. are good mentors, and it's not incompetence or neglect on their part that keeps their victor count low.

Speaking of: Wiress! Awesome! Someone we can root for and look forward to not dying! (This universe is SO messed up that that is my excited happy sentence.)

Sara Libby
redlily From: redlily Date: February 28th, 2014 03:06 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh holy crap, it's Wiress' year!! I can't wait to see this go down.
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