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These Are The Names, Chapter 17 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
These Are The Names, Chapter 17
Effie is disturbed after a trip to the cemetery in Twelve, where she not only encounters the tribute memorial, but talks to Dannel Mellark about his own dead parents, and sees the graves of Haymitch's family and his girl. She starts thinking about her own family, and tries calling her parents, who have both moved on to other things. Her father tells her about her half-brother, who's recently left the house to study music. She is out of sorts.

Chapter Seventeen
About a week after I talk to my father, I go to see my half-brother Ninian in concert. He plays many instruments, according to the program, but I go to see him play the piano. He's a nice looking boy, and his biography says that he is seeing the young woman who turns pages for him. The biography notes that he is the half-brother of District Twelve Games escort and fashion leader Euphemia Trinket. We meet after the show. It's awkward. We promise to have lunch sometime.

I go out to dinner alone, and suddenly start crying into my soup. I can't seem to stop. No one makes a fuss, but the waiters do lead me to a quiet room. I pick up the phone, thinking vaguely of calling Haymitch. I've picked up after him when he's weepy. Maybe he could help me. But his phone is still out of the wall.

Instead, I call Miss Meadowbrook at Capitol Dreams. She drives over at roughly the speed of light and brings me back to her big house. She gives me water and wraps me up in a fluffy quilt, and doesn't make me talk.

"You'll tell me what's going on when you're ready to," she says. "I'll look after you in the meantime."

She finally gives me hot chocolate. I think it has something in it, because a sense of calm starts to go through me.

I tell her what I've been doing.

She sighs heavily. "Oh, Euphemia. I was afraid of this. You've gotten drawn into all of this business, haven't you?"

I nod.

"Is it Haymitch?"

"Yes. And no. Other things, too. The tributes die. Every year. They die."

She hugs me and doesn't try to talk me out of this feeling. She lets me stay the night. In the morning, she invites her personal doctor to examine me. He tells me it's perfectly natural to feel down sometimes. Chemicals in the brain sometimes get imbalanced. He prescribes some little yellow pills called Pherolen, like the ones Miss Meadowbrook gave me during Trill and Babra's Games -- the ones Haymitch told me not to take on duty.

"You're not on duty for another six months," Miss Meadowbrook says. "And honestly, dear as Haymitch is, he has no right to tell you not to feel better. No legal right, and, given his own behavior, no moral right. You know that, don't you?"

"Yes."

She sighs and gives me a hug. "You stay here with me as long as you need to, Euphemia. I'll be glad of the company."

I end up staying for two months. Miss Meadowbrook insists that I call her Emiliana ("or even Mimi, if you like!") Her current boyfriend -- a handsome young sculptor named Tarquinius -- takes me back to my place for an hour to pack my things, but other than that, I don't go back. I give Caesar Flickerman Mimi's number.

There are parties every few days. Some are loud and full of young people dancing. Some are sophisticated and full of older people sipping wine. Mimi seems to be equally at home in either. I'm used to both from sponsor meet-and-greets, and I use them to line up new friends to sponsor Twelve. Mimi tells me to take a night off sometime.

When the Victory Tour reaches the Capitol, I don't get an invitation to the party. Mimi does, and she invites me as her plus-one. Finnick sees me and comes across the room to talk -- he says it's good to see a familiar face -- but he seems confused, and says that I'm "different" in the Capitol. He's been enjoying the tour, though, and wants to see Panem again as soon as he can. He loves the trees in Seven and Twelve, and tried ice skating in the Victors' Village in Eight. ("My ankles still hurt!" he tells me excitedly. "I can't wait to try it again!")

The pills really start to take effect after a couple of weeks. I'm not giddy or excited about things, but the strange, low mood is gone. Colors seem brighter. I feel vaguely foolish for worrying about ridiculous things. I meet my brother Ninian for lunch, but I can't remember why it seemed so important. We joke a little bit about our father, and the way he would carry us around and tuck us in at night.

"He always used to sing," Ninian says. "Did he sing to you?"

"Lullabies."

"Yeah. Those. He always seemed to be having so much fun."

We agree that he should have another child. He's good at the job. Ninian asks me if I have children. I tell him that I want to, eventually, but I don't think I can while I'm working for the Games. He doesn't understand, and I find that I can't explain myself.

We don't make plans for another lunch, but I'm glad to know him. He promises to offer what he can for District Twelve next year. I promise to go to more concerts. I don't think either one of us believes the other, but that's all right. It's just manners.

Four-vor finally starts to fade as the snow on the mountains begins to recede. Finnick is still wildly popular, but there's a new band that's been catching the eyes of the same girls, and his face isn't nearly as ubiquitous. One of the comedy shows actually gets away with doing a mild lampoon of the whole episode, in which a young woman playing Finnick tries desperately to revive the fad.

Tarquinius introduces me to a friend of his, a club owner named Gallus. He's bright and dryly droll, and he reminds me of Haymitch, except without the hang-ups. We date for a few weeks, and he helps me move back home, now that I'm feeling better. He stays for a few days, but it doesn’t really click. He no longer reminds me of Haymitch. He says I'm not comfortable with my own body, let alone his. He knows a man who gives lessons, if I want to take them. I tell him that I'll think about it. He tells me to give him a call if I do.

Mimi rolls her eyes hugely at this. "Any man who doesn't want what you feel comfortable offering him isn't worth your time."

She invites me to more upscale parties, and I meet a lot of nice older men, but nothing ever seems to come together for me. The Games and the sponsor circuit are all I really know, and I'm lost when they start talking about political maneuvering and interest rates and land ownership in the out-districts. The only one who interests me -- and it's not in a romantic way -- is one who is trying to get permission to settle an island south of the main continent, where he can grow sugar cane. "A new District Thirteen, if you like," he says. "Or maybe they'd want to avoid the bad luck, and call it District Fourteen."

"Would people there be in the Games?" I ask. "They wouldn't have participated in the rebellion."

He frowns. "It's an interesting question, though I assume the majority of the population would come from the existing districts, so they would have the same history to atone for." He considers this. "I'd probably have to pay for extra Peacekeepers, that far away. It would be hard to keep track of them down there."

"The settlers wouldn't be from the Capitol, then?"

He laughs. "Do you want to cut sugar cane in the tropical heat?"

I lose interest, but keep talking to him for a few minutes anyway. I dream that night that I am in District Fourteen, with no wig on my head, wearing blue jeans and a light cotton shirt, breaking my back in the sun cutting some kind of plant. I am tired and I hurt and I'm hot. But Haymitch is working in the same row with me, and I feel like we have a life here. He says, "No one can see us so far away." Then children run out into the field, and a little girl like the one I saw in Twelve rushes up to Haymitch, and he picks her up and swings her around, and they laugh like happiness is an unlimited thing. Then we are old -- wrinkled and white-haired and tired and sick, but the sun is warm above us on the beach, and people are crowded around us, and it seems all right.

I wake up feeling confused and elated and oddly frightened, and I take a double-dose of my pills. They even out my mood. I make an appointment with Mimi's doctor, and I tell him about my dream.

"I wouldn't worry about it," he says. "It's perfectly normal. A lot of people sometimes fantasize about a simpler life than we have here. You know it's just a fantasy, though."

"Yes. People starve in the districts. And it's awful work. Mining killed both of Haymitch's parents. Well, his mom died in an accident, but she was already dying from the mines. People are old at sixty there. And no one does anything about it. I talked to an executive once, and he said it was too expensive to fix the problems."

"You're projecting, Euphemia. You're here to talk about your problems, not about politics."

"Oh. Right."

"So tell me what it was in this dream that frightened you enough to come in this morning."

"I don't know." I look out the window. "It was… well, it was that I was happy. And that doesn't make sense. It didn't look like we had anything at all. I don't really think I'd be happier being poor, or that everyone in Twelve is happy because of hard work --"

"Well, there are people who are fulfilled by manual labor. That's why the districts were built, after all."

I don't think this is right, but it doesn't seem like an argument worth having with a doctor. "I'm not like that," I say. "I like having my things."

"Of course." He doodles on a notepad for a minute, then says, "I think you just want things to be simpler."

"I don't think life with Haymitch would ever be simple, no matter where we were. He doesn't like simple. Mimi says he was too much drama for her, and she's an actress!"

"Exactly." He grimaces, obviously preparing to say something I won't like. "Maybe you should simplify your life a bit. This boss of yours seems to complicate things. You clearly have inappropriate feelings for him, and you know they can't lead anywhere. Have you thought about transferring, so you could break away a bit? Surely, you have enough experience now. I don't even follow the Games, and I've heard of you! Perhaps a district where there's more than one victor, where they won't be leaning on you quite as hard as Haymitch Abernathy seems to."

Everyone I talk to seems to think this is a good idea. I can't argue with the fact that I've gotten much more drawn into Haymitch's life than most of the other escorts are drawn into their victors'. We're supposed to be a support system for the Games and a help to the tributes, not an emotional crutch for the mentors. Justina Lennard, who was one of Blight's throw-away escorts before she was transferred to Ten, tells me that everyone has been saying I should transfer. ("But not to my district," she says, grinning. "I like the wide-open spaces.") At the very least, I should spend more time with the other escorts and Games workers, if I'm not comfortable outside the community.

I put in for a transfer. Caesar Flickerman grills me about Haymitch's behavior, which I assure him has been blameless. "I've just gotten too involved," I say.

"Involved?"

"Not like that. I was just getting confused."

Nothing is open this year. He will keep an eye out, and keep me in mind. I've certainly earned my stripes. If I hear of an opening that I want, I'm to ask about it.

The rest of the spring, I spend making an effort to spend time with the rest of the Games staff, as well as Mimi's friends. At first, I gravitate to our old stylist, Philippa, but she's busy with her pre-fall line. I spend some time with the other escorts, going to clubs, though it's never really been my scene. The doctor increases my dosage of Pherolen, and I start actually feeling good, for the first time in years. I only sleep five hours or so a night, but I have a lot of energy, anyway. I still find my mind wandering to Haymitch, but I force it away, and concentrate on my real life, my life away from the Games. I have a few boyfriends, and I try a lot of the new fashions. I get photographed quite a lot. The news shows speculate that I'm trying to get a transfer, and one even gets a shot of my application.

When I get to Twelve for the Reaping, I find Haymitch sober at the platform again. He is also cleaned up and looking contrite. If he had a hat, it would be in his hands.

"I called Caesar from Merle's place," he says. "I… is there anything I can do better? Look, I cleaned up. I'm going crazy for a drink, but I'm not having one. See? Does that help?"

I squeeze his hand. "Haymitch, you can drink on your own if you want to. I just… I was feeling down. It's not anything you did. It's time for a change. That's all."

He frowns at me. "Are you okay, Effie?"

"Fine."

"What are you taking?"

"Something prescribed by a doctor, in the recommended dose, to even out my mood. And I already told my doctor that I won't be taking it during the Games, because I promised."

"What is it?"

"Pherolen. And go ahead, look it up if it makes you feel better. You'll find it's very common, and totally harmless."

He looks at me strangely, then moves his head in, pressing his lips against mine.

I pull away. "Haymitch, you said no. You said it's time to move on. And I'm already made up for the cameras!" I roll my eyes at him and smile.

He closes his eyes, then opens them again very slowly. He nods. "All right, Effie."

The production crew brings us into town, where they have everything set up and ready. It's a beautiful day, and the square is lush with greenery. Haymitch is the only dark note here. He is moving along like he's in mourning already. "Really," I tell him, "you have to put on a good face here. It's national mandatory viewing."

"I'll put on a good face when they turn the cameras on."

I get off the camera cart and put my hands on my hips. "What is it, Haymitch?"

"I'm sober and you're high as a kite. What's wrong with this picture?"

"I'm… what?" I shake my head. "Really, Haymitch. I just didn't start mourning ahead of time this year."

"Are you going to mourn at all, or does your medicine make it go away?"

"No one's dead yet."

"What about Trill? And Babra? How about Ronka -- the one who liked all of your silly wigs? Or Nasseh? Chicory? Mercy?"

I frown. There's something fluttery and uncomfortable in my stomach. "Stop it, Haymitch. I cared about them. I'll care about the new ones. But I can't spend my life like you do. You shouldn't spend your life like you do. Maybe you should try some medication, too."

"I generally self-medicate," he says.

Before we can get any further into this conversation, the site producer pulls us up onto the stage. He sits Haymitch down by the mayor and sets me up out front. We have sound tests to do.

I call Rabbie Armstrong and Dandelion Bruce up to the stage -- both Seam children, both fifteen. Neither looks strong, but looks can be deceiving. Maybe one of them will come home this year. Dandy, at least, is angry and willing to fight. Rabbie looks like he's been beaten up in school a lot and is resigned to one last beating.

Still, things change on a dime in the arena. Of my first two tributes, I never would have guessed that weepy Babra would be the one who'd really make a go of it.

On the train, we watch the other reapings. There's a pair of young kids from Eleven, and a skinny, pimply boy from Ten who stick out. In Four, it looks like they've called Finnick in to mentor, and he and Mags have two eighteen year old tributes, Rowlin Mucky and Fee Guzman. Beetee and Wiress have the usual pair of frightened District Three kids. District Two produces an unattractive girl who scowls at the camera, and a boy who would seem quite lovely in any year other than the one after Finnick's. The Gamemakers make an effort to start "Philo-mania" around him (some going so far as "Philophilia"), but it doesn’t look from the coverage like anyone's biting.

Rabbie and Dandy have no interest in learning the kind of etiquette they'll need in the Capitol if they're going to get sponsors. My medication is starting to wear off, and when Dandy tells me to put the proper fork in an uncomfortable sounding place, I have to fight not to cry. But I promised Haymitch not to take the pills during the Games, so I'll have to deal with it.

He tries to make her apologize to me. She is not interested.

The train has a malfunction at the Rotation (or rather, the track does). District Six workers are running around in a panic, and I see Peacekeepers knock a man down to the track and hit him with the butt of a gun, which doesn’t seem like a productive approach. The shades on the train windows go down abruptly. Outside, something crashes, and I hear several sharp impact sounds, like rocks thrown against a metal wall. Haymitch shoos the children back to their cars. He looks spooked.

We barely make the Capitol in time for the parade. I take care of their hair on the train, though there's no equipment to do anything special with it. Therinus sends a message to get them into blue jeans and tee shirts, and as soon as we rush into the Re-make Center, he throws coal dust all over them. They look grimy and tired, and more like real District Twelve miners than anyone we've sent down before, but Therinus is utterly distraught. He'd planned an entire milieu, where they were to be dressed as mining machines. He's still holding the drill hat meant for Rabbie, looking at it despondently, when the chariot pulls out onto the street.

We're apparently not the only train held up -- there were malfunctions for at least three other districts, judging by the haphazard prep work. One of the delayed groups was District Six itself, which usually gets here first. The Gamemakers must be up in arms. While the children are getting cleaned up, Plutarch Heavensbee calls Haymitch in for a meeting, and when he gets back (halfway through supper), he looks grim and serious.

I wait for Dandy and Rabbie to go to bed, then say, "What was that about? Was it the trains? They must know you couldn't control it."

He shakes his head tensely.

"What, then?"

"It was… you know Gamemakers. They get nervous when anything doesn't go according to plan. Has there been anything on the news about what made the trains stop?"

"Just a quick item about why the costumes weren't very good. Something about a malfunction in the track switch."

"Was there footage?"

"No."

"Of course not." He takes a deep breath. "I don't want you to go, Effie."

"There's nothing open. I can't transfer any time soon, so you don't have to worry about it."

"But if you need a recommendation, I'll always --"

"I'll ask if something comes up."

"If it was something I said --"

"It wasn't."

We don't have anything else to say. We watch the parade recaps again, then he goes to bed, and I go home.

While the children are in training the next morning, I work on getting the station set up. Haymitch is helping Finnick learn to use the phones, since Mags is in sponsor meetings. Finnick looks exceptionally nervous, and Haymitch is trying to get him calmed down. Plutarch Heavensbee passes by and says something to them. Haymitch looks my way, then narrows his eyes at Mr. Heavensbee and says something I can't hear. Finnick looks at him curiously.

I can't think of anything else at our table that needs arranging, so I go over to join them. Haymitch is flipping through Finnick's long list of sponsors with a stunned expression on his face. "Allies?" he suggests.

Finnick laughs. He's a little taller than he was last year, and his shoulders have spread a bit, but he's still the boy that made the Capitol crazy. "I'm for it, but talking Rowlin into it might be hard. He seems to have a problem with fifteen-year-olds."

"Giving you a little grief?"

"Were your tributes ever older than you?"

"No," Haymitch says. "Sheer luck, but no. Well, Elmer by a couple of months, I guess, but he was really exactly my age. Some of the early ones knew me in school. I wasn't much of an authority figure."

"As opposed to now?"

"I'm a paragon of authority now. Right, Effie?" He smiles at me tentatively.

"Your tributes respect you."

"Well, Rowlin doesn't respect me," Finnick says. "He doesn't listen to a word I say. Mags scolded him on the train. Fee said he should be glad, but when he offered to swap mentors, she laughed." He takes the sponsor list. "Should I just start at the top and make my way down?"

"You'll be here until you're seventy if you do that." Haymitch takes the list back and lays it out on the table. "Besides, I can already see a few that you'd do pretty well to steer clear of. Not all of them are nice. Effie, take a look. Do you know any of these that would be good to start with?"

Technically, we're not supposed to help anyone who doesn't have an official alliance with us, but I've been around long enough to know that there's not a single victor who doesn't help anyone who asks. Even Brutus from Two has been known to grudgingly lend a hand from time to time.

Once we get Finnick settled on a safe enough looking list of sponsors to start calling, Haymitch asks me if I'd like to get lunch. We go to a decent restaurant not far from Games Headquarters, and he treats me to whatever I want.

I expect him to start talking about my transfer application again, maybe ask me to withdraw it, but he doesn't. Instead, he tells me that Dannel Mellark made a pointed visit to him, and seems to be under the crazy impression that he needs a local friend. He asks how things have been in the Capitol. He even says that he noticed I was staying with Mimi for a while, and asks after her.

By the time they bring out dessert, he looks like he's in excruciating pain. I laugh. "Haymitch, I understand. Okay? We're still friends. You don't have to try any more small talk."

"Oh, good." He rubs his head. "Plutarch says you've been back at Capitol Dreams. He's worried that… well, that you'll end up wanting to work for them instead of us. He just left them, and he says the parties can take up a lot of time."

"Can I tell you a secret?"

"Of course."

"I'm bored out of my socks at those parties. I can't imagine making a whole life out of them. I only go to find new sponsors." I smile. "I even met one who wants to sponsor District Fourteen."

"Oh, I've met him. Is he still on about gold in South America?"

"Sugar cane on an island."

"What's next? An ice farming district in Antarctica?"

"In case you really want to get away from it all."

"Where would you start a new district?"

"How about one by the bridge over the Mississippi?"

"What would they build?"

"No idea. More bridges, maybe? What about you?"

"Hmm." He thinks about it. "Scotland. My family came from there about a thousand years ago. Kind of the old home place."

"And what would you build there?"

"Bagpipes. We don't have any districts devoted to bagpipes."

"What are they?"

"Some kind of instrument. I've read about them." He laughs and bites his lip, and I don't want a transfer. I never want a transfer. He reaches across and takes my hand. "Effie, I -- "

We're interrupted by a crash across the dining room. I spot the overturned table and shattered soup tureen before I see Finnick Odair standing over it, holding his steak knife over an older man who is cowering on the floor.

Haymitch stands up.

"Are you crazy?" Finnick yells. "Don't you ever touch me again! You get it? I can think of twelve people who could tell you why, if they could still talk."

The man on the floor gets to his feet. "You insolent, spoiled child. The Gamemakers will hear about this."

"I hope so. I know what the rules are about trades for sponsorships."

The man smiles unpleasantly. "I wasn't proposing a trade, boy." He turns and leaves.

Haymitch and I go over to help Finnick clean up.
17 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
redlily From: redlily Date: June 24th, 2014 01:38 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, all of a sudden Effie's demeanor during the period of Katniss' Games is becoming a lot clearer . . . .
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 24th, 2014 02:53 am (UTC) (Link)
Yup. She and Haymitch are both devotees of better living through chemistry by this point.
akilika From: akilika Date: June 24th, 2014 02:58 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, man... I wonder if she's going to have a similarly difficult time with withdrawal... :(
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 24th, 2014 03:00 am (UTC) (Link)
It depends on the drug, probably. Alcohol's one of the worst for withdrawal.
persephone_kore From: persephone_kore Date: June 24th, 2014 02:08 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, Effie. So easy to listen to everybody telling you what's normal.

He's worried that… well, that you'll end up wanting to work for them instead of us. He just left them, and he says the parties can take up a lot of time.

That line really impressed me as a... feeling-out question.

He laughs and bites his lip, and I don't want a transfer. I never want a transfer.

That is... painfully adorable.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 24th, 2014 02:57 am (UTC) (Link)
That line really impressed me as a... feeling-out question.

To some extent. It's also a cover that's not quite a lie. What Plutarch keeps yelling at Haymitch about is that he can't trust Effie, that if he doesn't dismiss her for going back to CD, she'll end up spying on the rebellion. Haymitch tells him to shove it in a very uncomfortable place. :D

Haymitch being flirty is weird to write. It almost doesn't quite fit... but he's really actually nervous that he's going to lose Effie.
persephone_kore From: persephone_kore Date: June 24th, 2014 05:44 am (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, I suspected that was also a... delicate rephrasing of the concerns. Although I hadn't caught the extent of Plutarch's reaction. Hypocrite much?
redrikki From: redrikki Date: June 24th, 2014 01:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
So many great things about this chapter. I wonder what is going on in 6 and I question Effie's life choices. Poor, poor Finnick, but really, how dumb do you have to be to assault an armed killer?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 24th, 2014 11:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
Seriously, these people are nuts to put their hands on Finnick. If his control had cracked at any point, he could take them apart.
From: (Anonymous) Date: June 25th, 2014 05:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
For my part I can totally understand how the Capitolites can overlook the Victors' killing abilities. They only experience the Games through a TV screen. Although they feel like they take part of the Games (via the sponsoring system, the Games-related parties, etc.), they stay remote from the violent aspects of it. I think when they watch the Games, it's as if they were watching actors playing in a movie. They must know on some level that the Tributes are real people when they see the interviews of their families and friends, but it all fades away when they watch the Tributes in action in the arena - then it becomes an action movie, and the killings seem much less real and much more remote through the TV screen than they would if the spectators were in the arena with the Tributes.

And so when the Capitolites meet the Victors in real life, they don't expect the Victors to have violent responses because they don't empathize with the level of violence the Victors have been exposed to in the arena. They expect the Victors to respond like actors who've merely played the part of a killer, not like killers themselves.

(Sorry for the rambling ;p)

-Papillon82
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 25th, 2014 08:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
I like rambling in comments. I've missed rambling since I finished up my HP stories, where comments tended to wander off in VERY odd directions. :D

I think you make a good point about what seems real and what doesn't. While screaming teenage fen might expect, say, Jennifer Lawrence to be Katniss, the Capitol crowd watching the Games might will expect that, once the cameras are off, Katniss is really just J-Law with some archery lessons.
From: (Anonymous) Date: June 24th, 2014 03:44 pm (UTC) (Link)

OK...

Am I happy to see Effie back on anti-depressants/mood adjustors? Of course not. But I'm quite relieved to see that it was Mimi she went to, who was super non-judgemental about her whole breakdown and, again, gave Effie alot of (very Capitol skewed obviously) but very good general advice, etc. I was afraid that Effie was going to get the full on "re-education", so this is rather a relief.

And Philo! Hi there! I remember you quite fondly from "Golden Mean."

Sara Libby
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 24th, 2014 11:15 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: OK...

There are still nine chapters left. I'm not sure if this is as far as it's going to go.

Mimi may be brainwashed, but she's still the girl who was able to understand Haymitch at a glance.
From: queen_bellatrix Date: June 25th, 2014 03:04 am (UTC) (Link)

Typos/Review

leaning on your Think the your should be you?

I call for Rabbie Think you can delete the for there, unless it was supposed to be that she called them to come up to the stage?

Thernus sends a Just wanted to let you know about the name mispell there.

My predominant thought while reading this was: Wow, they're essentially prescribing Speed! (At least, that's the closest real-world analog I could get, with the manic energy/enhanced mood, and her obviously being so out of it that Haymitch called her high as a kite.)

The moments with Mimi and Effie left me wanting to pound my head on a desk, because the Capitol is so skewed, and makes its citizens so skewed! Fluffy quilts and hugs and hot chocolate, and I'm starting, provisionally, to relax, and then the chocolate is drugged without Effie's consent, and my desire to bang my head started. And then, there were great moments like Mimi giving that great speech about men that weren't worth her time jugstaposed with her willingly participating in the dispensing of pills to Effie; which is of course made about a million times worse by the fact that she once was beginning to learn the things she's now trying so desperately to shield Effie from and CD's had such a pervasive effect she entirely believes it's for Effie's good. (I really, really loath that organization; I'm sure they do really good things, like Effie's recollections about them helping her make her things pretty, and I hope some form of it, not necessarily associated with the Capitol, that does exclusively that sort of thing can be the foundation for the concept of charity post-rebellion. But there purpose under Snow makes me want to be ill.)

I think it's worse because there're brief moments where you think she'll not go completely under: most notably the moment where she would have called Haymitch if his phone had worked, and the moment where she tries, the best way she knows how, to explain the Districts to the doctor, before he entirely steamrollers her.

And gaaah, Haymitch at the platform, telling her he's going crazy for a drink but not having one because he's afraid of losing her. You have this knack for going along, with everything relatively on an even keel, and then writing these Haymitch scenes that're absolutely gutpunches, and that was one of them. And again, not a damn thing he can do; he's too far away, for too much of the year. And now that she's had a breakdown, trying to get closer to her would get her taken away even faster.

I love the way you explained the transferr rumors, btw; once something like that got started, it'd never stop; she's too much of a topic of interest.

Those pills make me think; just where is the line between those and reeducation? Because you pump enough of those into anyone's system, and rebellious thoughts/actions are going to get entirely swamped. Or are they the precursor to it; something like: We'll try these, and if you don't take them/it doesn't entirely work, then we'll move on to worse things?

And Plutarch; not only is he treading dangerously close to hipocrite territory, but what in the world does he think Haymitch can do? Because he can't just fire his own escort; or was Plutarch thinking Caesar was just refusing to transferr her because Haymitch asked? Or offering to pull rank and get her transferred?

The scene in the diner was by turns so sweet and so awkward on Haymitch's end as to be deeply amusing in the best way. And yeah, I'm with everyone else; Finn had amazing control, and the Capitolites are out of their minds!






fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 25th, 2014 03:28 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Typos/Review

Thanks for the catches... spelling my own character's name wrong. Sheesh. (That's what happens when you have an eye allergy that's making vision bizarre.)

I feel bad for Mimi, because she's genuinely a good person, but she's had her head danced on in a big way.

(And yes, the "mood adjustor" is not based on a standard antidepressant. I'm thinking it's a low dose of MDMA -- methylenedioxy methamphetamine, aka ecstasy.)

Edited at 2014-06-25 03:34 am (UTC)
torturedbabycow From: torturedbabycow Date: June 26th, 2014 04:02 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Typos/Review

I'm glad to see confirmation of what the "mood adjustor" really is/is not. The thing the doctor said about brains getting chemically imbalanced *is true*, so there's the potential to read this sort of chapter as kind of problematic, in portraying medication for actual depression as a bad thing. That would be unfortunate given the stigma that actually exists. But.. that's *if* we were meant to believe the doctor that Effie had actual depression, and not just a normal reaction to seriously messed-up stuff, and that the meds were "legitimate", not basically ecstasy.

But of course the Capitol is the Capitol, so they would have no qualms swinging wayyyy the other way - "oh, it's just a chemical imbalance, perfectly natural but no reason for you to suffer when we know how to fix it, HERE TAKE THESE" and just pumping everyone full of E when their brains are, in point of fact, perfectly balanced - so they are about to realize how unbalanced the Capitol itself is.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 26th, 2014 04:12 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Typos/Review

Exactly. But they would word it in exactly the same way as a real prescription, and Effie would hear it the same, so I have to count on other people's reactions (like "high as a kite") to show that we're not dealing with something harmless.
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