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HG: The Hanging Tree, Chapter Twenty-Six - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
HG: The Hanging Tree, Chapter Twenty-Six
Ready to pass some time?


Chapter Twenty-Six
This is the shape of my years:

In the spring, Ausonius Glass arrives like a demon rising up. He calls the names of two children. I take them to the Capitol, and they die there, usually quickly. I spend time with my friends among the victors, and we play chess and talk, in discreet corners, about rebellion. In the afternoons, I meet with my sponsors. I take my medicine so that I won't drink too much in front of them. I visit the library and the museums. At night, I go prowling through the city, sometimes staying in the safe zones, sometimes not. I begin to know the Capitol, to feel its byways in the twitching of my feet, to know what I will see or smell as I go around each corner. I am aware that, on some level, I am a creature of the Capitol, and more depressingly aware that I don't mind it -- that sometimes, I even love the Capitol, if I don't think about why I'm here. There is something about the way the sun sets over the lake, about the way the candy-colored buildings catch the light, that sometimes takes my breath away.

I do not mention this to the other victors. I'm not sure I have to.

Glass makes a hobby of trying to compromise me in front of cameras, to get the comedians to start in on me again. About half the time, he succeeds.

On occasion, the president pays me a visit and ritually asks me where Gia is, or threatens me or my tributes, or asks about the coup he's sure his son is planning (Plutarch says that this is probably the case, but it doesn’t happen to be related to our rebellion, which is an ideological revolution meant to create a good government, not an attempt to replace a cruel despot with a reasonably decent one).

After the Games, I go home with the coffins. Caesar learns that I do this, and from the fifty-second Games on, he sees to it that I have a decent place to sit, and a blanket. I go to the burials, and tell the families how brave their children were. I bring them food. I go home and put the pictures from the Games into a file, and I lock it into a safe in my closet. My duties are discharged. I drink. Some years, I try to sober up for a little while, others, I don't. I try not to get too involved with people in town, so they aren't targeted, and am usually successful. It becomes easier as the years go by. Spring comes. I start wondering about who will be dying for the Capitol next. I weave crazy strategies based on training I know they don't have. Then Glass returns, and the whole thing starts all over.

For the most part -- for me, anyway -- the only things that differentiate one year from the next are which children I bring to die, and the number of the Games.

The Fifty-Second Hunger Games -- the last time most of my friends are eligible -- are the year of Stuie Chalfant and Bessie Park, a pair of cousins. He's fifteen, and she's twelve. Stuie is the son of my old history teacher, who once silently condemned the Games by setting up a line of empty chairs in his classroom. Stuie and Bessie take care of each other in the Capitol (I note morosely that I will at least have something good to tell their parents). They manage to find each other and slip away from the Cornucopia, but they leave a trail of blood from Stuie's injured leg. They try valiantly to fight off the Career pack the next morning, but their only weapon is a branch Stuie manages to get off a tree. They last for two minutes and thirty-eight seconds, which is about two minutes longer than I'd have expected.

I see Mimi in person that year for the last time, though she will continue to grace my television screen for many years. She is bubbly and sweet, and very happy to see me again. She wants to see a lot more of me, even though the reporters were "such sillies" last year, and the ones who think ditching me was her best move ever are crazy. It wasn't my fault that she'd been tired and ill, or that someone caught a picture of her looking "pudgy," which she considers a much higher crime than any I've committed. I hold her tightly, kiss her forehead, and leave. I don't call her again, and she doesn't call me.

After my tributes die, I help Mags, who is that year's "volunteer" mentor for District Six. She has a plain girl named Berenice Morrow. I tell her I want a full complement of mentors and victors. I tell the other rebels that we need a contact in District Six. I don't tell anyone that I just can't stand the idea of being alone and not doing anything. Berenice rips the fangs from a giant mutt spider (the theme seems to come out of horror novels, possibly their most fitting theme ever) and uses the fangs to poison another opponent. We're able to buy her the medicine she needs to get past the poison herself. They also send a painkiller. District Six gains a victor, and will no longer need volunteers.

Mags jokes that I am a good luck token when I help out. I wish some of that luck would come to my own tributes. I spend the rest of the week on my usual run of sponsors, and go clubbing with Drake, who is in town with no responsibilities. We get extremely drunk on very good stuff. Glass alerts friends of his, who take pictures of us looking like idiots on the dance floor. I get special mention for managing to lose a shoe, which is actually tied around my ankle all night. Glass scores when the comics turn this into a running gag that keeps making appearances all year in all sorts of venues.

At the banquet before Berenice leaves the Capitol, I hear her begging for more painkillers.

I go home. I talk to my old teacher, and to his sister. I tell them what good I can think of. They thank me for trying. I bring them food and go home.

This is one of the years I try to stay sober, and I make it for a few solid months during the winter. The tailors' daughter, Violet Breen, now seventeen years old and feeling rebellious, asks me out. It's been a long time since I've been in anything resembling a District Twelve relationship, and it's sort of nice to take her out and not go any further than hand-holding for the first date, and a little heavy kissing on the second. Then I start drinking again, and she tells me to sober up, or there won't be a third date. There isn't one.

She's reaped in the spring. I decide that it's safer for the women in my life if I don't date them.

The Fifty-Third Games are the year of Violet and a boy named Mickey McKinley. Violet does her best to remain cheerful. Mickey decides to try and win. I warn him that fighting career kids in the arena isn't like getting into brawls on the Seam, and he swears he knows this. He thinks I don't see him roll his eyes when my back is turned, but there's a mirror. I use it to turn on him and pin him to the floor of the train before his grin even fades. He doesn't give up thinking that he's ready.

The night before the Games, a button comes off my shirt. I'd normally throw it out, but Violet is nervous, so I ask her to fix it, and doing her old job calms her down. She gives me a kiss before she goes to bed, and the next time I see her, she's on the platform in the arena. She's tackled by the District Nine boy, who crushes her skull with a rock. She's still alive when someone stomps on her sewing hand, breaking all of her fingers, but she probably doesn't feel it. She's dead minutes later. I'm still wearing the shirt with her hand-sewn button on it.

Mickey lasts a little bit longer. He actually makes it all the way to the second day before he jumps the District Two girl, meaning to take her weapon. He doesn't succeed.

The winner that year is Kate Markez, from Ten, their first female winner. I don't have anything to do with it.

No one does much carousing that year. Caesar Flickerman, our most steadfast friend in the Capitol, loses his wife while the Games are going on, and is not permitted off stage to sit at her deathbed. All of us gather around him to help him out, and we all attend her funeral for his sake.

I go back with the coffins. There are burials. There is food. I start drinking.

In November of that year, the flu hits District Twelve. It starts killing the very old and the very young, but it doesn't stop with them. The Keytons are overwhelmed, and the sick are taken to the Justice Building to be treated in the big banquet rooms.

I stop drinking and start using the mayor's phone to call the Capitol for any help they can send, but they don't send anything. Healthy people in the prime of their lives begin to sicken, and most of the ones with miners' cough die.

Danny's father dies, and then, three days later -- like she just gave up -- his mother does. I try to take care of him the way he took care of me. I move into the bakery and make sure he eats and drinks. He's not quite as bad off as I was after Digger, because he's able to take showers by himself, but he wanders around like a ghost, barely talking.

They threaten to take the bakery if he doesn't pay the inheritance tax. I'm not allowed to help him, technically, but by a major stroke of luck, I "discover" that his father had been holing away money for years in a flour sack in the shed. I doubt any of the Peacekeepers believes it, but they're too sick to do much about it, and by the time the Capitol would notice anything, the money is spread so far around that they can't prove that Mr. Mellark could never afford to save anything.

Danny manages to keep the bakery functional, but it's a close thing. He starts drinking. There are days he doesn't get up. I man the counter and mostly buy the burned things that he forgets about. Mir comes over, and, credit where it's due, gets the books in order and balanced. She also turns out to know a thing or two about baking, and, while she's nowhere near as good at it as Danny is, she keeps the merchandise shelves stocked. She has very little patience with me, and not all that much with Danny, but she apparently feels that this somehow makes up for him being whipped on her account the winter after my Games.

I finally get the Capitol to do something when I remind them that the Victory Tour is coming through. A town full of corpses and sick people won't look good. They come through with the proper medicine. By the time the epidemic has passed, we've lost five hundred people. We've also missed our quota on coal, so the people who are left have to work double and triple shifts. I offer to help, but, as I'm reminded, I don't have the actual required training. Besides, drunks in the mines are a liability.

I never had a sniffle. Ruth Keyton thinks they gave me something in the Capitol to keep me healthy.

After that, I start drinking with Danny until Mir flatly kicks me out of the bakery, saying that we both need to sober up and we're of no use to each other in that. She doesn't check to see that I stay sober, but apparently, she keeps a leash on Danny. In April, he comes to me, pale and panicked. She's pregnant. She finally got the scholarship she always wanted, but she can't take it, and it's his fault, and he has to do right by her, since he's wrecked her whole life now.

I sympathize. I pour him a drink. His brand new fiancée storms out to the Village and tells me to leave him alone or answer to her.

Ruth Keyton and Glen Everdeen actually beat them to the toasting. Danny attends, and so do I. We leave them traditional presents in their new, grimy little house on the Seam -- bread from Danny, salt from me. They seem transported with joy. Danny has gone quiet and taciturn.

We turn twenty. There's something about that that gets to me. The two at the start of my age, my friends getting married. I should be doing something, but I'm still in the Games. I still wake up at night, dreaming that I'm sixteen and standing on a platform, knowing I'll never really make the woods in time.

The reaping comes. The Games run long that year, and I miss Danny's wedding because of them.

The Fifty-Fourth Games are Ettis Carroll and Patsy Darby. Both are dead at the Cornucopia, even though I told them to get away. It's a giant swamp that year, and their bodies sink into the mud.

It's the first year I really lose myself in Capitol clubs. I go a few times with Drake, then take to going on my own. There are women. As the years pass, there will always be women in the clubs, and on two occasions (more out of drunken curiosity than passion), men. I grope at them in dirty hallways and alleys. It doesn't usually get any further than groping, mostly because I'm too drunk to do much more… but sometimes it does. After a while, the drinking will become more interesting than the groping, and by the time I'm in my mid-twenties, my only affairs will be with different brands of gin. That year, Glass manages to get me on the news with my pants around my ankles, wearing a puke-stained shirt while a girl who is clearly all business is all over me.

The winner of the Fifty-Fourth Games is another District One woman with a ridiculous name: Satin. Satin is beautiful and athletic, and she vows a return of the "inner district" dominance. These are the last Games Drake attends. He says he feels useless not having anyone to mentor. I ask if he means to stay in touch. He says, "What do you think, genius?" and rolls his eyes at me. What I think is that I will never hear from him again, and I'm right, though Brutus will occasionally tell me that Drake's fine and enjoying District Two. He has taken up hiking in the mountains.

At home, Danny's first child is born, a boy that Mir names Jonadab. It's an old family name of hers, I guess. Danny likes it. He brings the baby to my house one day and seems to want me to hold it. It is warm and it squirms a lot, and that's about all I really can say. Danny seems let down by this reaction. He may or may not love his wife -- I can't even venture a guess, based on what I've seen -- but he is obviously head over heels for the pink, screaming baby in his arms. I buy the baby a book of adventure stories, and decide not to be seen too much around him. I do not need Jonadab Mellark on the reaping platform in twelve years.

I tell Danny he can stop passing messages. He considers it, but shakes his head. "I can't do that, Haymitch," he says. "Not now."

"But -- "

"I used to hate the Games because they could take me. But I'm nothing compared to him." He kisses the baby's head. "I don't just want to hope he doesn't get picked. I want to do everything that I can do to make sure no one's baby gets picked again."

"Danny, it could take a really long time. It could take long enough that you'll put him at more risk."

"Get real, Haymitch. I've been on television as your friend. They know they'll always be able to hit you through me. So he's got a bigger risk. I'm not going to sit around on my thumbs and not even try. I want to do it for Jonadab."

There's nothing to say to that.

The Fifty-Fifth Games give me Cora Gallentine, who thinks she will win and then become District Twelve's first national singing star. She wants to sing our old ballads. She sings "The Hanging Tree" on the train. She is speared as she runs from the Cornucopia. The boy is Nemiah Blythe, an eighteen-year-old for once, and he's smart. He manages to get a single knife from the ground far from the Cornucopia, and he runs for the woods. He fights mutts, and manages to fend off an attack from District Four.

Three days into the Games, Plutarch Heavensbee, who is a junior Gamemaker now, is called out on an errand. I wait for him to come back -- we have no pressing rebellion business, but we were thinking about getting an idea of the district war chests -- but he doesn't. I go upstairs and ask Martius Snow about it. Martius grimaces and says that Plutarch has come down with a case of exhaustion.

I find Fulvia weeping outside the Viewing Center. She can't even form sentences. I ask if she needs help clearing things out of places Plutarch knows about, but she says her "team" here is already taking care of it, and I will only make things conspicuous.

Nemiah makes it to fifth place. He might have made it further -- he might have made it all the way -- but the arena is seismically unstable, and the slope he's camping on is shaken loose in an earthquake. He and about a ton of rock and soil are swept into the simulated ocean border.

District Six gets its second victor, a boy named Paulin Gibbs. He and Berenice disappear from the banquets, and are found wandering the streets of the Capitol, shot up with morphling. This manages to knock off Glass's accomplishment in shaming me, which only involved booze and accidentally urinating on the president's prize rosebush, out on display for the duration of the Games.

At home, we have our biggest wedding in years when Merle Undersee marries Kay Donner. Kay is trying to stay off the morphling she's been taking ever since Paulin and Berenice were shamed in the Capitol, and Merle has let her turn the whole wedding into a complex distraction to keep her mind off of things. She comes to see me the night before it, and weeps about Maysilee not being there to stand up with her, the way it would be in a sane world. I suggest Ruth Everdeen, but the girls haven't really spoken for a while. I'm not sure if it's because of Kay's addiction or Ruth's marriage (for all their talk, most of Ruth's merchant friends, Danny excluded, have entirely abandoned her, but I'm not sure if that's Kay's reason). In the end, she asks me to stand with her to represent Maysilee. I wear the pin. It's the last time I'll think of that pin for many years.

For some reason, this seems to mark the end of the Capitol thinking District Twelve is a threat. The wedding is covered respectfully, and a month later, Lucretia Beckett is transferred to some other district that presumably needs to be taught a lesson. Her lackey, Cray, is moved into the top spot, but he doesn’t seem inclined to re-escalate things.

The Fifty-Sixth Games are Desman Connell -- the first merchant I've had since Violet -- and Clover Rosybel. Cornucopia, both of them. Another District One winner, Velvet, is crowned.

Paulin and Berenice, both a little bit out of it, join us for our chess games in the park. It becomes clear that they know how to hop the trains. Berenice promises to visit us in secret and teach us how.

I visit my sponsors (this year, very excited about Nemiah), and I go to the library. I see Plutarch. He is happily watching archival Games footage. He tells me that he knows I still must feel angry, but he's sure that if I just understood what the Capitol really was, and how it had rebuilt the entire world, I'd understand why it has to be protected. He says he's seen Mimi, and she's going to marry a singer.

Glass's friends in the press don't catch me at anything this year.

At home, Danny and Mir have a second son not long after I return from the Games, this one named after her grandfather, Edder. Danny brings both boys up to see me. Edder gets a book as well. Jonadab is starting to look like a whole person now, and can carry on a conversation, though it's gibberish. He looks more like Mir than Danny.

Berenice appears at my door one night. She's high as a kite, but I'm in no shape to complain. Somehow, we don't end up captured (most likely because Cray is an idiot and doesn't keep up regular patrols). She introduces me to a young man on the train. He will tie a handkerchief around a cargo door if he's on board, and he can hide us for journeys. Berenice goes with me to Eleven, where we surprise Chaff and Seeder. Chaff advises me to send word next time, via a cake or something, because Eleven is not a place to go lightly, and from now on, we'll meet in the attic room at the Justice Building. Berenice covers the rules with Chaff, but he doesn't want to go anywhere just now. She hops the next train back to District Six, this time masquerading as a worker (she was trained in school), and I look for the handkerchief that says I'll have a place to hide. I get back to Twelve a week after I left. As far as I can tell, no one noticed that I was even gone.

The reaping for the Fifty-Seventh games takes place during an electrical storm. Glass is annoyed and makes local people hold umbrellas over the reaping balls. He tries to make me hold an umbrella for him, but I tell him where it will end up if he puts it in my hand, and he gives it up. He draws a fourteen-year-old boy named Shale Hurst, and a beautiful sixteen-year-old girl named Bluet Graham. The night after the parade, I have to pull him off of Bluet. She clings to me after I do it, and I make the mistake of holding her until she calms down. Glass gets a visual of this, leaks it to the media, and accuses me of abusing the mentor-tribute relationship. I tell Bluet to ignore it, but instead, she spends her interview with Caesar defending me. Because she also mentions what Glass did, she loses part of her three minutes. It's not permitted to complain about Capitol Games staff. Caesar is more furious than I've ever seen him, and actually takes to the air on his own to defend my reputation. He says I'm "one of the most caring and conscientious mentors" in the field. I lose six sponsors, but three of the others double their pledges in outrage at the slander, and say, essentially, that if Caesar is speaking for me, then I am worth speaking for.

It amounts to nothing. Bluet and Shale are both killed at the Cornucopia. Her family believes me, but I wish that wasn't the whole of our conversation at the burial. District Ten gets a victor in Mindwell Larue.

In November, Danny and Mir find out that they're expecting again. They're sure this one will be a girl. I wonder crazily if the plan is to just keep having them until a girl turns up. Mir is doing up a room. Jonadab is old enough to talk now, and says he will be in charge of his sister.

This time, they aren't alone. It seems to be the year for my friends to be producing babies. Kay is hugely pregnant (and on full time bed rest, since she's refusing medication and in terrible pain). Ruth and Glen Everdeen are expecting their first child. Danny's neighbors at the shoe store are expecting. The sowing has been going well, apparently. I hope the reaping won't be as overwhelming.

Kay gives birth first, deep in the winter, to a girl she names Madge, which she says is from the same root name as Maysilee's name, without being quite as hard to bear. I deliberately go to visit this one, and I tell her about her brave aunt.

Ruth has her baby at the beginning of May. I don't visit; I haven't really talked to Ruth in years, and I only see Glen on rebellion business. Glen carries the baby around the square one day, though, singing a song. The baby is a girl. They name her after some plant.

Mir is about to pop open by the middle of the month, but I am not there when the baby comes.

It turns out that victors are allowed to travel on one sort of occasion other than Games business: When another victor dies. The press wants to lap up the images of the funeral.

Albinus Drake, who never got more than a few hours away from a fresh drink, had indeed taken up hiking alone in the high, rocky peaks around District Two. He drunkenly stumbled off the path and over a sheer cliff overhanging a river. They didn't find him for three days.
12 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
From: (Anonymous) Date: March 21st, 2014 07:16 am (UTC) (Link)

I'm guessing that..

Drake was part of the proto-rebellion, like Lyme. And his death wasn't an accident. Useful for the Capitol that he's known as a drunk.

???
From: (Anonymous) Date: March 21st, 2014 11:20 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: I'm guessing that..

Agreed.

Sara Libby
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 22nd, 2014 04:37 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: I'm guessing that..

I don't know if he was a rebel. It would surprise me, even though he liked hanging around with them. I think he's kind of apolitical.

And if someone has taken to hiking alone in the Rockies drunk... it's just as efficient to let him go about his business until he takes care of dying all on his own.
From: (Anonymous) Date: March 21st, 2014 11:31 am (UTC) (Link)

I Liked...

The sweep of history and time passing, even if it was all just dead depressing.

And you still manage to fit in all kinds of fascinating little details. Like Mags volunteering to mentor. She might come to the rebellion late, but she's made of the right stuff. (I'm almost surprised that the Games had such a streak on non-Career wins.) Plutarch's re-education. Riding the rails. That awful bit with Bluet. Haymitch holding her for that long afterwards has to be the only reason he didn't manage to actually kill Glass that time. Kay trying not to take the morphling (especially when she was pregnant). The fact that Katniss' birth is just brushed aside as "some plant name." That was moment was actual comedy.

Sara Libby
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 22nd, 2014 04:38 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: I Liked...

Agreed that holding on to Bluet was about the only thing that prevented him from being a murderer outside the arena. Glass is either very stupid, or has -- in an evil way -- a serious pair of brass ones.
redrikki From: redrikki Date: March 21st, 2014 01:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
Life, and death, goes on. Even Haymitch can't escape it, no matter how much he tries to distance himself from the world. As a side note, was Drake murdered or did he just find his hanging tree?

I go upstairs and as Martius Snow about. You are missing a word in this sentence and have left off the 'k' in ask.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 22nd, 2014 04:39 am (UTC) (Link)
Got the "ask" and the "it." My goodness, two in the same sentence!

I don't think Drake was murdered.
From: queen_bellatrix Date: March 22nd, 2014 02:47 am (UTC) (Link)

Feedback/Catches

visit library Missed a the before library.

happen to related to I think there should be a word between to and related, but I'm not sure what; be, maybe?

I was confused at first, because in GM, Haymitch says that Beckett was head for three years after his games, but then I realized that you're counting the first year as the 51st, not the actual year of the quell, which made everything make sense for my poor math-challenged brain; Jo and I have something in common there.How you managed to transform my complete disdain at the end of EOTW for Drake to genuine affection, I will never know. But, this is the second chapter in which I was sniffling by the end; I'm not weepy, and I haven't cried this much over fiction, pro or fanfic, since DH.

My inclination is to think that Drake found his hanging tree, since nothing Haymitch saw screamed rebel to me, unless of course he became one once he was back in Two. If he didn't suicide and wasn't a rebel, the implications are terrifying, and I can see them delaying the rebellion as long as, if not longer than, Plutarch's defection. If Snow is slowly killing off associates of the rebels after they finally feel safe, it'll paralyze them.

I'm hoping very much that the next chapter's Drake's funeral; the fact I want closure for him is still bizarre, but I really do. And it'll be interesting to see what Haymitch does to honor him; Snow will probably be pissed, but after what he may have had done to Drake, I'm not thinking that's such a bad thing.

And Glass; please tell me the bastard finally overstepped? Because, much as I hate Snow, I don't think he's going to like that Glass broke their deal, and when Snow doesn't like something...

Caesar's wife; I'm thinking it was natural, because I can't think of anything Caesar did to infuriate Snow that much. I loved how all the victors rallied round him, just as he had for them. But, I'm confused; what was he doing that he couldn't leave the stage? Did it happen during the interviews, because I thought Claudius was the commentator during the Games?

I love how much this felt like an interlude chapter without ever feeling like filler; the sheer monotany of his life was conveyed really well here. And after this, I'm rather pissed at Danny for the way I know he'll blame Haymitch in HG about Peeda; he gavve you an out, buddy, and you didn't take it! Danny and Meer is just creepy; I wish I could say something more nuanced, but I can't.

And oh, Snow, the fact that you had a probable victor sent morfling is so sick I can't even. Though it shouldn't surprise me, with the way he failed to give Drake the six assignment until the morning of the reaping, even though Gia knew he'd been reassigned, and then when Simon came too close to winning, took Drake off the team and put Mags there instead.

The way the Capitol let so many people in Twelve die from something as treatable as the flu is disgusting! I was so glad to see Haymitch helping where he could.

I'm proud of Kay; I know her morfling resolve doesn't entirely last, but I'm proud of her anyway. Also loved how dismissively Kattniss's birth was handled, and am very curious to see what book little Peeda gets!

And Mimi; I'm glad you gave her dialogue about the press in an earlier chapter, because it's so clear how they've made her almost a stereotype of a flighty actress ("Sillies" compared to her obviously irked statement that "The press were idiots."). It's appalling, and I'd take death any day over reeducation. Despite my dislike for Plutarch, I'm so glad Fulvia beat the reeducation, because seeing Plutarch in the library was creepy. And nice use of exhaustion by Martius to give Haymitch a clue, speaking of Plutarch.

And because this just keeps niggling; if Snow knows/suspects Martius of a coup, why hasn't he killed him already? I feel like Drake, talking about Wiress and Simon, because I really like Martius, despite that what Plutarch says here is very true, and don't want him to die, but I don't understand why Snow hasn't indulged his paranoia.


fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 22nd, 2014 04:47 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Feedback/Catches

I forgot I'd mentioned a specific timeline for Beckett. Glad I got in the neighborhood, at least, and yes, Haymitch keeps time by the number of the Games, at this point.

Giving the matter thought, I think Drake was somewhere between an accident and a suicide. Going hiking alone, drunk, in the mountains is reckless and stupid to the point of suicidal, but he might have done it without directly thinking of it as a plan.

The next chapter opens on Drake's funeral.

Snow may also feel in some sense that Haymitch is spreading sedition, even though he's not doing it overtly, so he might consider the deal broken anyway.

I admit, movie-verse has invaded my brain enough to assume Caesar has duties throughout the Games, and Snow's just enough of a bastard to put the Games ahead. She was sick all the way through, though, and he was certainly expected to be his usual cheerful host-self for the interviews and closing events.

Danny actually blames it on both of them, though Haymitch, being Haymitch (also being Katniss in drag) hears it as, "It's your fault!".

Berenice probably did need morphling in the arena. But it sure doesn't look like anyone helped her get off o fit, and, considering the economy in D6, both of the victors had to be getting some help from the Capitol in getting hold of the stuff.

I think Snow still hopes that eventually, his son will straighten up and fly right. He had the kid made in order to ensure his own immortality, after all... only it didn't quite work.

On the flu section, it's easy to forget how lethal that particular illness can be since it is treatable, but given how hard it is to get any medicine out in the districts, I'm guessing that the Capitol would give it a big shrug and then finally, when its own interests were threatened, treat it like a great act of charity when they finally let a shipment through.

Edited at 2014-03-22 04:53 am (UTC)
sonetka From: sonetka Date: March 22nd, 2014 04:26 am (UTC) (Link)
"Some plant name" -- I love it. And I see that Peeta was set up to be the unfavourite, as he was supposed to be a girl (sadly believable, I've seen that a couple of times).

Drake -- he's infuriating, and while I can't say I like him I can see why he is the way he is, and how much of an effort he had to make at what he did. I hope it was an accident; drinking and hiking don't combine on the best of days. Besides, even in Panem, real accidents happen, don't they? Even if someone was gunning for Drake, they didn't have to do anything directly since he was clearly on the road to finishing himself off, or at least removing himself from the victors' scene enough that they didn't have to worry about him.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 22nd, 2014 04:49 am (UTC) (Link)
even in Panem, real accidents happen, don't they?

I think that's an important point. Sometimes, accidents do happen in crazy dictatorships, without it being the fault of the crazy dictator. The flu epidemic wasn't Capitol generated, either, though they sure took their damned time getting medicine out there.

Drinking and hiking don't combine, but lots of people seem to do it, and I think that's what happened here, though how much of the reckless behavior was driven by a death wish is open to question.
mirandabeth From: mirandabeth Date: March 24th, 2014 12:41 am (UTC) (Link)
Ahhh, Drake being "Haymitch in the future" is going to come back to haunt Haymitch now. That's exactly where Haymitch has been half-expecting to end up all this story.

Also, I can't believe how sad I am about Drake. Your OCs are amazing, and especially him, given how much I hated him to begin with.

There's so much awesome in this chapter that I'm sad it's not all full-length stories. (You could just keep writing Haymitch's entire life in detail, right?) Adore the comment about the sowing and the reaping. I'm really looking forward to your Haymitch-view HG fic now.

On that note, this is a completely self-indulgent thing to say, but I've got such mixed feelings about your next project! I can't wait for more, and I'm excited by all the hints you've dropped (and trying to guess who your POV character's going to be), but I'm right in the middle of my own Capitol-centric project and once you've written something I find it really hard not to see it as canon, so I know it's going to be so much harder to come up with my own stuff depending on what you include. :p Seriously, sometimes I forget whether something you've written is canon or just you, because it makes so much sense.
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