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HG: The Hanging Tree, Chapter Twenty-Two - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
HG: The Hanging Tree, Chapter Twenty-Two
Simon betrayed the alliance, killing Ikris, then wounding himself before starting to scream.

Chapter Twenty-Two
Wiress and Elmer rush out. Simon tells a confused story about a mutt with huge claws that came up from the moat. In his story, they both fought with it.

"Ikris pulled it off me!" he weeps. "But I was weak from" -- he points to the wound on his chest -- "and I couldn't… it's my fault!"

While the other two try to comfort him (to the amusement of a few Career victors) and get him back to the tent, Beetee stands up and hands the phone to Vitranio. He looks at Drake coldly. "I have to call Ikris's family."

Drake nods and says nothing. His face is a deep, brick-like shade of red.

"Did you know he was going to do it?" I ask. "You -- "

"I realized it when he started talking." Drake looks down at the floor. He turns to Rufina. "Watch the sponsor line. It's about to start ringing. I have to make a call."

He goes to the booths and shuts himself in. On screen, Simon is all but tucked into bed by the other two. Elmer takes guard duty against the non-existent mutt, and Wiress tries to get Simon to eat some grass. If he has more planned, it doesn't seem to be for tonight. The Gamemakers change the coverage over to Dibber, who's trying to catch a fish in the river. He has not been right since the Cornucopia, and when he does catch the fish, he doesn't seem to know what to do with it.

"Well, well," Glass says, coming in from the lounge. "This is exciting, isn't it?" He sighs and sits down in Drake's chair. "I suppose it was inevitable. Albinus Drake has had two victors in six years out of the arena. There must be immense pressure on him, if he could turn even you into a victor. I wonder what they'll give him if he gets three in a row."

I watch Drake on the phone. His head is leaned against the side of the booth, his fist planted beside it. I look back at Glass. "Do you think you could watch the sponsor phone without losing us half our sponsors?"

"Oh, I'm to be trusted. How touching."

"Not until I get your word that the only thing they'll think after talking to you is, 'What a nice person that was.'"

"I always treat Capitol citizens with the respect they deserve," he sniffs.

I suppose this is the best I'm going to get. I wave him off, picking up a little handheld screen to take with me in case Simon does try something else. Drake leaves the booths just as I get to them, and heads for the bar. He must notice me following, but he doesn't acknowledge me. He takes a table in the far back corner, presses a few buttons, then takes a tall glass of something ice choked and amber-colored. I can smell it even as I sit across the table from him. A big part of me wants to order one as well, and just dive to the bottom of it.

He stares at the drink and doesn't comment on my presence.

"Did you tell him to do it?" I ask.

Finally, he looks up. "Tell me what you think, genius. Do you think I'd do that?"

I look at him for a long time. Last year, I'd have assumed in a second that he'd do it… even though he never once told any of us to do anything remotely like it. Now, the furious red has drained out of his face, leaving a weird, corpse-like shade of beige. His eyes are sunken, and his fingers are digging against the table beside his drink, like he's trying to find purchase on a wet rock. I think of him dropping his arm over my shoulders and joking with me, arguing amiably with Chaff. I think of Beetee saying that this is Drake on his best behavior… Drake not with the Career pack. Laughing. Mostly sober, or at least no worse than Chaff. Trying to fit in.

I shake my head. "I don't think you told him to."

He picks up the drink and tips it at me, then takes a gulp of it. "Very good," he says. "You can be taught. The jury was still out on that." He puts the drink down and looks across at me, his eyes deep and intense. "I would not do that." He takes another gulp. "Not to you. Not to Brutus. Those two for sure. You'll find out. When you have victors, they matter. You don't want them to hate you. I'm not sure I'd do it at all. I never did. I never went traitor." He punches buttons again, and another drink comes up. He passes it over to me.

I push it away. "Not now," I say. "I can't start."

"I knew it. You're one of those who can't stop."

"I'm you six years ago, remember?"

He finishes his drink and takes back the one he gave me. "Yeah. Yeah, I guess you are at that." He doesn't start the second drink. "I don't know anything about District Six. Didn't even get the assignment until the morning of the reaping. I watched it. I saw the boy looking like he had some fight in him. You'll learn real fast to like that in a tribute."

I don't say anything.

"I barely met them before the parade. You remember. I had files. School records. The things the district wanted me to know to get on television. After the parade, I told them to show me what they could do. Cleo said she had great balance. Then Simon said he was 'tricky.' She was up on a pile of blocks. He knocked it out from under her."

"Great."

"I thought he was just high-spirited. I thought she was thin-skinned when she ran off and locked herself in her room. That's what he said, anyway. Before breakfast, I saw him leaning over her. I figured they were just getting a few last kicks. And that's what she told me. But I think she was doing what she was told. What he told her."

"Why?"

"I don't know Six," he says again. "I could study for a month and not pick things like this up. I called the mayor after Simon killed Ikris. Turns out, he's a bully. The other kids are all terrified of him. That would have been useful to know, wouldn't it? But I didn't ask. I figured he was just another skinny kid with a big attitude. I know what to do with those." He puts his hand over his face. "You know that thing you were talking about? Shame? I think I get it."

"Not really. It's generally about things you did. You got a few you should try it on. But if you didn't know --"

"First of all, I should've. I should've talked to them back home. Second… Haymitch, he's my tribute. Do you understand what that means? I have to back his play."

It takes a minute for this to sink in. I feel like I should be outraged… but then, last year, his tribute was me. I have no idea how he backed my play (since I doubt even now that he has any idea what I was doing), but he did get me the cold pack that kept my concussion at bay long enough to get past Filigree. And I suddenly wonder how much he did with the media and the sponsors to get that. I've always assumed the bulk came from Chaff and Beetee and Gia. Maybe I'm wrong.

I sigh. "Well, I guess you'll have to wheel your table back where it came from. Beetee and I'll figure out which of the money -- "

"I guarantee that the sponsors who gave to him in the alliance are already on the phone transferring it to you and Beetee. I surrender it. I'm pretty sure I'll have plenty more."

I nod. "Then… well, come on back. I'll help you move your table."

"You sure you don't want a drink?"

"Oh, I want a drink. Bad. So, let's have one after."

He nods. We go back out. Beetee has returned to his table, and just shakes his head at Drake. I help Drake and Rufina push the table back into its original spot between Five and Seven. Since there's no one at the District Five table, he's effectively beside the Career alliance. Mags smiles at me in a distracted sort of way. There's an argument going on between Titania, from two, and Prodigy, from One. Apparently, Titania's refusal to entertain a sponsor ended up with the food they sent into the arena being spoiled.

"They didn't need it anyway!" Titania fumes. "They're fine. They're doing great. There's enough to eat in the arena."

"You shouldn't have done it."

"And you need to grow a pair." Titania looks over. "Hey, Albinus -- you run into any problems yet?"

"Aside from what just happened out there?"

"I mean with sponsors."

"Not yet."

Prodigy makes an exasperated gesture. "Mags told that hair salon that she wouldn't leave to do a commercial, and they dried up our water hole."

"We'll find more water," Mags says. "We can't let them hold the tributes hostage. That's not the proper way to play the Games."

"There's a proper way?" I ask.

She smiles. "Well… there's a not-proper one, anyway."

Brutus notices us and stomps over. "You're putting your own mentor out?"

"My tribute put me out," Drake says. "And Haymitch, you should get back to Beetee."

I head back. By the time I sit down, Brutus is hovering over Drake like a really ugly mother hen, and Titania is swapping stories with him. I guess they're all neighbors. I wonder what it's like to live in a Victors' Village so crowded that they had to build new houses. Maybe it's nice. Or maybe they all have to double-lock their doors.

"Is Simon asleep?" Beetee asks.

"What?"

"Did you see the vitals on Drake's screen?"

I feel the blood come into my cheeks. "I didn't look."

Beetee shakes his head. "Vitranio, you feel like stretching your legs, right?"

Vitranio nods and heads over.

"You don't imagine he'll allow you to cheat, do you?" Glass asks.

"I have a great imagination," I say. "Did we get any calls?"

"Another handful of pocket change," he says, and hands me a new list. He's right -- pocket change. The longer we're in the arena, the less it will buy. "Oh," he says, "I also took a call from District Twelve -- "

"I told you --"

"And told them I was forbidden to discuss matters with locals. If you imagine it to be worth it, you should call back to the mayor's phone. There's some sort of group collection. I doubt it will be worth much." He pushes a screen around, showing the number.

I've mostly been leaving the camera off on sponsor calls -- we're all looking a little worse for wear -- but Twelve's seen me worse. I turn it on, and punch in the number.

A minute later, I find myself looking out into an office in the mayors' place that I've never seen before. It's pretty bland, probably only used for video calls and made to lack any specificity. The crowd gathered there looks like a hodgepodge of merchants and a few people who I know trade on the black market. And, of course, the McCulloughs and Mr. Parton.

"Haymitch!" the mayor says. "Glad to hear from you."

"What's going on?" Mr. Parton asks, coming forward. Danny is beside him. "Is my boy in trouble?"

"Yeah," I answer. No point beating around the bush. "I have to figure a way out for him."

"We want to help," Danny says. "We've been taking up a collection. What do you need? Do you need anything from home? I was looking at the sponsor list, and it looks like we could make the shipping, and any of us are willing to donate merchandise… well, except the butcher."

I try to think of something to send that would have a message in it. If I could make Elmer think about Beech Berryhill, and how he was betrayed last year, maybe that would do it, but I can't think of anything that would be surefire. If I asked Danny to make something sweet with beechnuts, he'd get it right away -- for one thing, beechnuts are pretty bitter -- but it's not Danny I need to get a message to.

"You want us to go ahead and send you the money then?" he asks. "My parents are handling it. If you think of something, you tell us."

"Danny, it looks like you're already doing the most important thing."

He shrugs. "There are worse things than hanging around with Mr. Parton. He's got the best stories. I've been listening to them for days."

"He's a patient boy," Mr. Parton says. "And I appreciate your kindness in thinking of me before you went. I'd appreciate it more if you get my boy home, but I know…" He takes a deep, shaky breath, and Danny puts a hand on his shoulder.

Mr. Mellark comes into view, and we do the sponsorship deal. It really isn't much, though if they're willing to include merchandise, it's pretty generous. I just can't think of anything to ask for.

I disconnect. Beetee is on his own phone call. I suggest that Vitranio and Glass might enjoy some fresh air.

"Are you planning some kind of unethical play?" Glass asks.

"Nothing non-proper about it," I say, hoping he didn't hear Mags say it.

With deep misgivings, he leaves with Vitranio.

"What are we going to do?" I ask Beetee quietly when his call ends. "We have to get them a message."

"There's no way. We'd be caught in a second."

"Elmer took the hint to keep moving south -- "

"Is that what you were doing?"

"You didn't know?"

"You're on a fine line, Haymitch."

"What would make Wiress think of a traitor? Did anyone ever cheat her out of something in Three?"

"Maybe, but there's nothing I can think of that would --"

My phone rings, so I hold up one hand. When I answer it, I forget that the camera and viewscreen are still on. There's an old woman on the far side.

With a yellow wig. I've seen her. I search my brain, then remember

(so very lovely)

where I met her, and how she touched me outside the elevator in the Gamemakers headquarters, how Martius Snow led her away.

"Avita Redmond," she reminds me. "We met yesterday."

It seems more like a decade ago. "Yes, I… "

"I've been thinking about little else," she says. "I'd very much like to spend some time with you. I've heard that you're good company."

"Oh, someone fed you a whopper on that. I'm awful company." I look at the other screen, where Elmer is on guard, using a stick to dig absently in the loamy earth.

"I don't believe that. You're so young and vital."

"Ma'am, I don't mean to be rude, but I have a tribute in trouble, and this phone isn't for socializing."

"Of course it isn't. I'm proposing a business deal. I will sponsor your tribute. I just want your company."

Chaff looks at me, his eyebrow raised. I can see the conversation at the Career table, still focused on Titania's refusal. I certainly have no illusions about what kind of business Avita Redmond wants to do with me. The image of it in my head makes me want to throw up what little I've eaten today. This is not helped by the way her eyes seem to be scanning every bit of me that she can see. I have a feeling that, business or not, she's planning on mentally putting my face on whoever does come to her. I can't do anything about that, I guess, but I may never actually eat again.

"Ma'am," I say, "I'm not going to make that deal."

Chaff nods firmly. Across the room, I can see Drake watching me, and he tips an invisible hat.

"You want to reconsider that," she says. "I know more people in the Capitol than you imagine, and I am more than happy to place calls to all of them, recommending against giving you material support. You don't want a reputation for being uncooperative do you?"

I think of Elmer's dad, sitting in the mayor's office, trying to send me tiny bits of money to grab at the flimsiest of straws. I think of the coffins I saw them carrying off the train last year, and the endless parade of the dead in the cemetery. I think of Maysilee, turning Drake away last year when he offered to make sure she didn't starve in the arena.

Mostly, I think of my mother, holding Digger's shirt in her hand and saying that I wasn't old enough for this kind of relationship, I didn't understand it yet. I think of the way she and Daddy looked at each other.

I haven't exactly been waiting for true love, I guess -- not since Digger died -- but I realize, with no great fanfare, that I’m not going to sell myself, either.

"I'm waiting," Redmond says.

"I already gave you an answer," I tell her. "Do what you have to. I wish you wouldn't, but I guess you will. Either way, you can find someone else to keep you warm tonight."

I hit the disconnect button.

"That took guts," Beetee says. "But you did the right thing."

I look back down at Elmer. "I didn't know what to buy, anyway. What's going to help?"

"I don't know."

"And I guess they might spoil whatever we do send."

"Maybe. She's a powerful woman. That doesn't change the fact that you were right."

Beetee and I go back to the supply list. Nothing seems to be right, even the things that are way over our budget.

We've been doing this for fifteen minutes when a shot of Elmer abruptly takes over the main screen. He stands up, knife in hand, and listens to the wind in the grass.

In the corner of the screen, Claudius Templesmith appears. Beside him…

"I'm here with Professor Avita Redmond," Claudius says, "head of the genetic modification team for the Gamemakers. What do you have for us?"

The world suddenly becomes cold. I can hear people moving around me, but they seem to be on the other side of the wall.

Redmond clicks a button. A large hologram of a cat appears beside her. It has broad shoulders and a thick mane.

"The African lion," Redmond says. "Modified to be a more effective night hunter. And of course, in the real animal, it's the smaller female who does the majority of the hunting, but you must admit, the male of the species is much more exciting on television."

"Oh, he certainly is." Claudius turns on another screen, which shows a lion crouching low, making his way through the grass. Another inset shows him approaching Elmer, still unseen.

"The Serengeti environment of the arena has given us a lot of opportunities to play with these magnificent creatures. I created this one for a special occasion, which was given to us by one dishonest little boy. But we wouldn't want to make a liar of him, now would we?" She smiles and looks directly into the camera, directly at me. "I think that poor little boy from Twelve looks cold. Shall we warm him up?"

The beast leaps out of the tall grass, wiping away all of the extra input on the main screen.

Elmer screams and brandishes his knife. He manages to crawl a few feet, then the lion is on him.

He's no match. The screen is full of blood and teeth and claws and flesh. The boy who once happily spent his last evenings in the Capitol doing math puzzles from Tryphaena Buttery's books is reduced in seconds to a torn mass of meat. The cannon goes off, and it echoes in my skull.

My ears are buzzing. My hands are numb. I feel Chaff grab hold of me and keep me still, and I hear him whisper, "It's not your fault," which is crazy.

Somewhere in the rest of the world, Wiress and Simon run out of the tent and chase the lion off. Its job is done. However they control the mutts, they're leading it away now. It's carrying a piece of a boy who sat in class with me from the time school started. I think it's part of his face. I can't seem to shake the impression that I can see his nose. Wiress has her hands over her ears, and she's screaming numbers at the sky. I don't know what they mean.

Elmer's screen goes blank.

I stand and stare at the blackness. The room is silent. Even the Games are silent. Nothing exists.

I go to the booths and call Elmer's father. He saw everything. He keeps asking why. Why did that evil woman target Elmer? Why would they just kill him without giving him a chance to fight? I try to tell him that it's my fault, but the phone is yanked from my hand, and Seeder slides in beside me.

"The Games are brutal," she says. "And Haymitch gave everything to keep your son alive as long as he could."

"But --" I say.

"Mr. Parton, I grieve for your loss. Haymitch is grieving now, for his friend. There was nothing he could have done."

"I'm sorry, Mr. Parton," I say.

He can't speak. Danny comes up and tells Seeder to take care of me, then puts his arm around Mr. Parton and closes the connection.

I take a lot of sharp, short breaths. "Seeder, I could've done something. That woman, she did it because I wouldn't…"

"She did it because she's an evil bitch. What she chose to do was an attack on you as much as on Elmer, because she wants you to think that you got him killed. You didn't. She did it. Do you understand that, Haymitch? You did the right thing, not letting her feed on you. She chose what she did afterward. It's on her."

"But she did it because --"

"I spoke against the Games, and they killed my husband and reaped my brother-in-law. Do you think that was my fault?"

"No!"

"You're damned right, it's not. And this isn't yours."

She puts her arms around me. I close my eyes and pretend she's mom. It's stupid and childish, but I don't care.

A few minutes later, strong arms pick me up and carry me away from the booths. I feel myself set down on something soft, and I open my eyes. I'm in the mentor's lounge, in one of the big beds. Chaff has set me down, and he puts the throw blanket over me.

"Seeder's watching Dibber's screen," he said. "You need to get rest."

"They killed Elmer. They just killed him. The Gamemakers killed him."

"Yeah. They do that. You've seen it other years. It's not going to be the last time. But maybe whoever the victor is this year won't have to deal next year with old liver-lips Redmond." He fumbles in his pocket and pulls out a pill. "My preps use these," he says. "It'll help you sleep."

I take it and dry swallow it. Chaff stays with me for the few minutes it takes for the pill to send me under.

I dream of my arena, but now Ginger and Elmer are there with me at the edge of the cliff. Elmer's face is gone. Ginger's head is at a strange, sharp angle. I throw them over the edge into the force field. Elmer's father just keeps asking me why.

I jump off of the cliff myself, but I don't land on the force field. I land in the little creek, on a raft, where things aren't so cramped and smothery, and you feel mighty free and easy and comfortable. "Why aren't I dead?" I ask.

Gia, who is poling the raft along toward River Bay, says, "Because you promised."

"But I can't do this. I can't."

"You stay off the hanging tree," she says. "You stay off it, you promised."

"Just let me go, Gia. Let me off the raft."

"You promised," she says again, and her red hair turns blond, though soaked with blood.

"Maysilee…"

She holds up her hand, where the mockingjay pin has been stuck through the flesh. "You promised, Haymitch. Don't break your promise."

"I'm so tired."

"Then rest," she says. "Rest. I'll get us home."

She pushes the raft upriver, and I see we're at the place where the Mississippi joins the Shipping River. She turns against the current, and heads for home.

I sit quietly and feel the motion of the water. It smells like white liquor. I roll off the raft into a tide of it, and struggle to stay under. Somewhere above me, I hear Maysilee screaming for me, but I don't care.

I wake up sometime late at night. I can hear other mentors around me, snoring in the dark. Someone has taken my shoes off and loosened my belt so I could sleep better. I don't bother fixing either.

I pad down the corridor between the beds, barefoot. I pass Chaff, who's sleeping alone, and Brutus, who isn't. Beetee is sleeping near the front. Out in the Viewing Center, most of the tables are being staffed by escorts. Glass is gone, though Vitranio says he left a note. The note says that our duties are discharged, and he will see me at next year's reaping, where we will hopefully procure better tributes.

I go to the bar. It never closes. I sit on a high stool, order the closest thing I can find to white liquor (straight gin), and tell the bartender to keep my glass topped off.
16 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
mirandabeth From: mirandabeth Date: March 12th, 2014 07:30 am (UTC) (Link)
!!!

Oh gosh, that's brutal. Do they really make it that obvious when they kill the tributes directly? I know they don't always. Here of course, it makes it so much worse for Haymitch because Elmer's dad knows it was deliberate, so I guess that was the point.

Wonder how this is going to affect the rest of the victors. Going to be a bit harder to keep them all on board with their pact now, I imagine.

That dream made me teary. I really, honestly don't know how Haymitch makes it through the next 23 years. Also, I don't actually begrudge him the drinking right now, but HAYMITCH! You could still help Beetee, you know. (Wait, is he allowed to? I just assumed he would, but are they allowed to stick around?)

Anyway, did not disappoint, as always. I was NOT expecting that to happen right then.


Some catches:
You know that think you were talking about? - should be thing

I think of the way she and Daddy looked each other - looked at each other

I created this one for special occasion, which was given to us by one dishonest little boy. But we wouldn't want to make a liar of him, now would we? I actually didn't follow this. I think there's a word missing? But I still don't quite get it.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 12th, 2014 07:38 am (UTC) (Link)
She's pretending that she's doing it to fulfill Simon's story about a "beast" that attacked Ikris.

By the time we get to canon, things seem to work a little differently (Finnick's tributes aren't threatened; the people he loves are). So I'm thinking that this is the point where they overstep and almost break Snow's public narrative... causing at least some changes. (Gotta let them win some battle along the line, right?)

I don't know if he's allowed or not. Seeder's still helping Chaff, but she's also his district partner.
From: (Anonymous) Date: March 12th, 2014 08:02 am (UTC) (Link)
I wouldn't be surprised if this incident (or something similar) becomes public. The Capitol citizens would be most distressed (and Snow shocked, shocked I tell you! provided the outcry was sufficient) to discover that personal biases among the Gamemakers had blighted the noble honesty of the Hunger Games.
mirandabeth From: mirandabeth Date: March 12th, 2014 11:07 am (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, that's how Haymitch justified burning the Peacekeepers' records. This is definitely corruption of the Games.
From: (Anonymous) Date: March 12th, 2014 12:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, because beetee and chaff stuck around and helped Haymitch , right? Because they were "allies".

That was so horrific. I had to go away and come back to comment. Holy smokes, I think I'll be disturbed all day. ~Karen
sonetka From: sonetka Date: March 12th, 2014 09:00 am (UTC) (Link)
The Capitol citizens are going to absolutely hate this -- sure, some of them might enjoy the brutality, but it's both (1) terrible television and (2) extremely unappealing to the ordinary types who have to at least pretend to themselves that there's something noble about the Games. Siccing a lion on someone whose storyline in no way seems to call for it ... yeah, that's not going to go over well. It would be such a shame if Redmond had an "accident" while working with her mutts, wouldn't it? (Just thinking like Snow here a bit).

I hope Haymitch is allowed to help somehow -- since Wiress is still alive, couldn't he be there to oversee the remains of his alliance, at least? Really, I just want to see him stay sober a few minutes longer, and also find out how Wiress wins. Loved the characterization of Drake as well.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 12th, 2014 04:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think that's the one silver lining -- there's no way ordinary Capitol citizens won't pick up that there's something wrong. And I can't see Snow being thrilled by that, and unthrilled Snow can be scary to the people who failed to thrill him.

I want to at least get a view of Wiress's victory, but it will most likely be sort of a sidelong glance.
From: (Anonymous) Date: March 12th, 2014 11:23 am (UTC) (Link)

Dang It...

Of course Redmond would be a professor of "zoo-ology" (mutt-ology?) rather than say, Literature.

Was Wiress screaming PI numbers to keep herself together?

Poor Drake. What the mayor told him about Simon and what Drake understood from hindsight made my skin crawl. But I didn't completely understand what Drake was saying about Simon's interactions with the District 6 girl -- did he rape her at some point before the games (leaning over her)?

And poor Dibber. At least he won't suffer too much longer.

Wiress getting the best of Simon is going to be awesome. His surprise at being bested by her will be the last thing he knows in this life.

Sara Libby
sonetka From: sonetka Date: March 12th, 2014 04:32 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Dang It...

Wiress is so observant -- it wouldn't surprise me if she notices that the marks on Simon look an awful lot more like knife marks than claw marks, now that she's had an opportunity to see the latter up close.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 12th, 2014 04:38 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Dang It...

I'm not sure what Wiress is yelling. Earlier, she and Elmer were talking about something apparently so boring that Claudius talked over it -- it may well have been a game of seeing how many digits of pi they could do in their heads.

Simon was just threatening to hurt Cleo if she complained anymore. She probably knows more about his behavior in school than the mayor does, and knows he means it.
From: (Anonymous) Date: March 12th, 2014 06:27 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Dang It...

Thanks for the clarification.

Sara Libby
From: queen_bellatrix Date: March 13th, 2014 12:44 am (UTC) (Link)

Catches/Feedback

looked each other Think you missed an at before each.

for special occasion Think you missed an a before special.

like really ugly Think you missed an a before really.

'You know that think youy Think think should be thing, here? And there was a mix-up with an ' instead of an open quotation.

up the handhold Should the handhold maybe be handheld? And I'm a bit confused; is it a handheld phone, or an actual small screen that can be carried around; I can't find any mention of iether in other chapters, but I may not be looking for the right search string.

Those two for sure. I'm not sure I quite understand this bit. He tells Haymitch he wouldn't do it to him or Brutus, and then later says he's not sure he'd do it at all. Is this bit just supposed to be him reitterating that he definitely wouldn't do it to Haymitch or Brutus? I think what threw me off was that he said those two when Haymitch's one of the people being talked about and is sitting right there.

I'm confused about who asks Vitrainio if he feels like stretching his legs. Beetee shakes his head, and I just assumed he asked, but then it's Haymitch who answers Glass about having a good imagination, which makes me think Haymitch asked?

o very lovely

where I met I'm not sure if you were going to choose one of these and it got mangled in editing, or if it's a stream of consciousness thing; I'm thinking the second,but thought I'd point it out just in case.

The thing with Chaff raising his eyebrow while Haymitch was talking to Redmond; was he just telling Haymitch to remember no deals, or trying to pass some sort of message? Or was he worried which path Haymitch'd take, because she's so powerful?

And this is probably blindingly obvious, but I don't understand why Beetee told Haymitch he was on a thin line, or why trying to get his tribute out of a treasonous alliance would be unethical enough the escorts had to be gone.

Elmer's death was as senseless as I knew it would be. I loved that the emotional impact came more from Haymitch's emotional fallout than the death itself; really wonderful way to handle character death.

As awful as Elmer's death was, I'm proud of the resolution Haymitch made about Redmond, and how he made it. There are just some lines you can't cross, and considering that Haymitch's best estimates were that the Gamemakers would milk the story for about a day, Elmer's death was coming, anyway. To have him die and then feel so filthy afterword would have sent him completely off the cliff. And I'm afraid that backing out on that pact might have had awful consequences for his friendships, though there's a large part of me that would like to think they'd understand, especially Chaff and Cedar and Beetee.

That dream was awful, mostly for how it rooted the seeds of blame deeper for him. And his subconcious (and you can guess how much I've loved the addition of a mental Gia to the cast in there, right?) nearly lost the battle to keep him breathing, which is terrifying. If only it hadn't then conjured the image of the damn liquor when he was that vulnerable; or if he'd just had someone at home in a closer support role than Danny, I think he might have been all right, and avoided the spiral that's leading inexorably to how we see him in HG. Why couldn't he have just stayed sober and helped Beetee? I know it had to happen, but I want to scream in frustration.

And Drake, damn, I feel sorry for Drake. At least Simon dies. That entire conversation between he and Haymitch, the way that Haymitch is learning to see beneath the surface and past his own perceptions was absolutely wonderful. Haymitch doesn't need to drink more, but I do hope they meet after the Games; I want to ask if you'll get in to what happened to Drake, but there's a large part of me that's cringing at finding out because it's HG. Btw, is Cleo still alive? I'm assuming so, since he's still in the mentor's lounge.

The dream didn't make me cry, but the way Chaff/Cedar tried so hard to take care of him in the aftermath did.

And Danny.:d Both for staying with Mr. Parton, and having the presence of mind to worry about Haymitch. Seeing the Twelve contingent come together was fantastic foreshadowing for so many of the scenes you wrote In Final Eight.


fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 13th, 2014 02:26 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Catches/Feedback

I meant to put that "so very lovely" in parentheses to set it off Stephen King style, but I got all caught up in HTML tagging and forgot!

I think Chaff was just waiting to see what Haymitch would do... and maybe offering help and strength if needed.

They sent the escorts away because they were going to more or less openly discuss trying to send a message into the arena, which they're not supposed to do. (I assume that's why, in the book, there's no such convenience as the notes the movie uses... why need Katniss to understand subtle hints if you can just tell her what to do?)

Haymitch really is hanging on by a thread here, and I guess drunk is better than dead, but he really needed a regular support system at this point. By the time we see him in canon, he's addicted and habituated, and a support system might not have been all that helpful for a good long while, but here, when it's just started, having someone he believed was on his side 12 months a year instead of just during the Games would have been very helpful!
From: queen_bellatrix Date: March 13th, 2014 02:43 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Catches/Feedback

First off, a fellow King fan.:d

And ah, I have no idea why that didn't click before, because Livingston said they couldn't send messages with the gifts! Somehow, my brain interpreted that as them not being able to send notes, rather than them not being able to use the gifts as messages; my brainfail is made even weirder because I picked up on the same thing you did in the books and thought that not being able to officially send messages would just be one more thing making mentoring hellish.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 13th, 2014 02:56 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Catches/Feedback

I was also just puzzling over your puzzlement on the handheld, so I'm really glad you mentioned it -- the interview with Claudius used to be a longer segment (it didn't fit) and I introduced the handheld screen in the text I cut! That doesn't help.
From: queen_bellatrix Date: March 13th, 2014 03:20 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Catches/Feedback

Well, just took a gander at the AO3 chapter, and I think you introduced it really well here as just one of many mentoring gadgets; there was no way Haymitch could immediately report on it all (It's clear the Capitol equips the mentors with so much stuff, you'd nearly get whiplash just looking around the viewing center.), and after a while, he'd just become accustomed, which is very much what it felt like here.

It also helps to explain a lot of things in hindsight, like how he knew what happened to Sparrow; originally, I thought Chaff told him, but knowing about the handhelds, it's pretty clear he saw it.

Also speaking of puzzlement, I'm beginning to realize that Glass's question about imagining Drake wouldn't let them cheat wasn't necessarily directed at anyone; more just Glass being himself and making snide rhetorical comments about how no one would fall for the stupid ploy, and Haymitch just couldn't resist responding; Lord knows I don't blame him--resolutions to not escalate just wouldn't last, where that man was concerned.
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