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These Are The Names, Chapter 19 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
These Are The Names, Chapter 19
The 69th Games are about to begin. Effie has drawn Butterfly Skaggs and River Boldwood. No one has taken much notice of a sickly district Seven girl named Johanna Mason.


Part Three: Innocence


Chapter Nineteen
"Stuff it," Butterfly Skaggs says, glaring at me across the table.

"I beg your pardon?"

"All them extra forks, and six different glasses, and cutting up a cooked pigeon with a knife and fork instead of just eating it? I'm not doing it."

"I know it seems strange --"

"I don't want to be like you or your Capitol friends. They're going to kill me anyway. I'm not bothering to put on airs before they do."

"The sponsors --"

"Haven't seen anything from District Twelve in years. They're betting on Haymitch, and he ain't --" She sneers. "The odds ain't in his favor, if you like that better."

"Butterfly, you're about to spend a great deal of time being seen by the entire country --"

"The country can stuff it, too." She stands up and glares at me. "I don't give a rip what the Capitol thinks, and I wouldn't want anyone in the district to see me looking like… you. You're pathetic. What are you wearing, anyway, some kind of glass?"

"It's a specially treated plastic that moves --"

"Trying to show off your panties?"

In my head, I hear the boys at school taunting me, wanting to know what was under my wig. It seems like it should feel further away than it does. "They're shorts."

"They're real short, all right. I got panties longer than that. And did something get exposed to radiation and die on your head? Do you have any idea how dumb you look? Everyone thinks so. I'm not planning to look that way."

I take a deep breath. Somewhere in the next car, Haymitch is helping River Boldwood muddle through the closet of clothes that the Gamemakers sent so he'll arrive in the Capitol in something other than the oversized long coat and jeans he was reaped in. ("I'm real sorry, I just grew too fast this spring, and nothing fits," he said when the cameras went off. I told him I'd try to play it off as a fashion trend in Twelve, and I asked Mayor Undersee to get a handful of other boys dressed that way to wander around the broadcast screen where the cameras can see them before they head back.)

Butterfly is a better bet. She's ignorant, but not stupid, and both Haymitch and I thought it would be a simple matter to teach her a few skills and get her dressed in something nice and comfortable for the arrival.

She is still wearing her blue jeans and a shirt that seems to be the cut off top of a set of miners' overalls. She was barefoot when I reaped her, and I saw her parents led away from the farewell room to be punished for allowing her at the reaping like that, but all three of them just glared out with ridiculous defiance.

I straighten my skirt (and wonder obsessively if everyone does, in fact, think I look stupid), then say, "You don't need to look like me. This is simply a popular skirt this season. We want you to look like you, but in decent clothes. Don't you want to wear something decent, and made of comfortable material? It'll feel good."

"I'm a District Twelve girl," Butterfly says, and looks out the window. In the background, the District Four reaping is playing. I see Finnick reflected as a ghostly image in the window beside her, floating serenely along through the trees as his tributes for the year are called. "If I die, I'll die as a District Twelve girl."

"I've known a good number of District Twelve girls now," I tell her. "I haven't had one yet who's been sorry to put on a silk blouse, light as air."

"If I want something light as air, I'll take my top off. I do it at home, all the time."

"You do not," Haymitch says dully from the doorway, where he's standing rubbing his head. "I've been District Twelve my whole life. You'd be more likely to go topless in the Capitol than on the Seam, and you know it. The whole town would be gossiping, and your mama would be embarrassed."

"My mama told me not to let them turn me into one of them."

"That's the most ridiculous rebellion I ever heard of. Why are you giving Effie a hard time?"

"I don't have to kiss her ass just because you like to. And word is, you're not averse to giving her a hard… time… now and again, either."

Haymitch clenches his jaw. "Effie, you go help River. His hair's pretty matted up. Butterfly and I are going to have a long talk. Right now."

"What are you going to do?" Butterfly asks. "Kill me?"

"I'm examining my options," Haymitch says. "Effie, go. Butterfly will give you a long and detailed apology later."

"Hell I will."

"Effie."

I nod and go.

River is in his cabin, finally dressed in a pair of decent slacks and a bright blue shirt. He looks a good deal like Haymitch did at his reaping -- Haymitch's shirt was several years out of fashion then, but this year, the style has come back out of absolutely nowhere.

River is staring plaintively at a pair of shiny dress shoes, and carrying a pair of socks in his hands. "Haymitch told me to put my shoes on," he says. "Only I don't usually wear proper shoes like that, or fancy socks. Do the socks go on the inside, just like regular shoes? Or am I supposed to wear them outside, so everyone can see they're… Haymitch said 'silk.'"

I smile. "The silk is just a special treat for your feet. No one needs to see it."

"Oh. Right." He sits down and starts putting the socks on. On the television, Claudius finishes an impossible analysis of the two completely unknown kids from District Six. It moves on to District Seven, and the wet, crying girl in pigtails comes on again. "Think she's sick?" River asks. "Will they give her medicine for the arena, so she's got a chance?" He blanches. "Am I supposed to not want her to have a chance?"

"You want what you want," I say. "Be yourself." I look at her, shivering in the rain. "I hope they give her medicine, though. They have some treatments that can clear up anything. I think they usually give them to tributes. It's…" I'm not sure how to explain it, though I know what Haymitch would say: No fun to watch them all die of the sniffles when they could be murdering each other. It doesn't seem like a good thing to say to River. "I'm sure they'll want her to have the same chance as anyone."

"She doesn't look like she's got a chance. She looks like she knows it."

He's right. She's skinny anyway, and as the camera lingers on her bony face, I can see sores by her nose and mouth. She keeps trying to gather herself, but then breaks down in tears again. If it weren't for the sickness, she'd be pretty, if not beautiful. She has big brown eyes, and long, light brown hair that curls into large ringlets at the bottom of her pigtails. It's not a prettiness that would turn heads among the sponsors, though, even if they get her clear of her fever. I'm sure Finnick would tell her that it's just as well. Claudius takes only a moment to discount her -- "District Seven seems to have had some bad luck in its female tribute" -- before moving on to her district partner, a big lumberjack boy in a knit cap and a carefully tucked in plaid shirt.

I shake my head and get to River's hair, which is, indeed, a matted mess. It didn't look too bad at the reaping, because his idea of "getting fancy" was slicking it down with coal oil from a lamp. The heavily matted underside worked like back combing, at least from a distance -- it just looked like a thick head of hair on television. Close up, it's a rat's nest.

I tell him that we have two choices -- spend the rest of the trip trying to unknot it, or give him a short haircut, maybe even shave his head. This would be a shame. Like so many in District Twelve, the head of hair hidden in the tangles is wonderfully, almost decadently thick. But I don't want him to spend hours of one of his last days in pain while I try to yank through it.

He opts for the cut. It ends up being a full shave. I give his scalp a polish, and I'll spray tan it before the Games so he isn't two-toned until it grows (if he makes it past the Cornucopia), but it looks all right.

"So, that's what my head looks like," he says. "I never knew. Lots of bumps there." He looks up shyly. "Do you think I might be able to have something to eat? I didn't get anything this morning. We were saving the food for tonight."

He is very pleased with the food on the train. I have to slow him down before he eats himself sick.

Hours later, with the sun already down, Butterfly comes to the dining car. She's still in blue jeans, but Haymitch apparently talked her into one of the silk tank tops, and she's brushed her hair. She sits down sullenly.

I raise my eyebrow at her.

"I ain't apologizing, if that's what you're waiting for," she says.

"You need to learn to speak more politely before Caesar's show," I tell her.

"Not doing it."

"You don't have a choice."

"You can stick me in a chair, and they can even make me stand up, but I'm not going to talk to that old ghoul, either. I'll just sit it out, and see what he does for three minutes if I don't talk to him."

"You'll only hurt yourself. Caesar is an important ally."

"He's a Capitol tool, just like you."

"If I'm counted among the likes of Caesar Flickerman, than I'm doing something right."

She snorts, and digs into her food with her fingers.

Once I get both of them bundled off to sleep, I find Haymitch in the lounge car, grimly reading their files. "She apologize?" he asks.

"No."

He grinds his teeth. "I don't know what that's about," he says. "I'm sorry, anyway. They must be having another… whatever it is they have just before they break a few windows and write slogans on the wall and call each other rebels. You okay?"

"I'm fine. Haymitch, she has to get that under control before anyone hears her talk. She'll lose sponsors. She'll lose them for River, too. And… well, they'll look at you more."

"Can't have that," he mutters.

"It's fairly clear that she's not going to listen to me. It's going to have to be you. She's threatening not to talk to Caesar."

Haymitch jabs irritably at a plate of pasta. "You know, sometimes, I sit in my big house and think I was happier on the Seam. Then I remember. They used to call me names because I read a lot and had friends in town. I guess they figure I've gotten too snooty for even the merchants now. Making friends in the Capitol. I'm not 'real' District Twelve. Wonder what they'd do if they found out about my library pass."

"I imagine something roughly similar to what my practical school classmates would say if they knew I used it sometimes."

"Yeah. What's the matter with us? We better learn our place pretty soon." He starts to smile, then gives it up as a bad job. "She's got fight in her, I'll give her that. But if she offends the Gamemakers, they won't even give her a chance to fight."

We have a late snack together. He's in a terrible mood from not drinking ("They shut down my supplier," he gripes), and I'm not feeling particularly cheerful, so we don't talk very much, but we've been doing this for a decade now, and we don't really need to talk anymore.

As I expected, the next day is a nightmare. River is understandably popular with the cameras (he's a handsome boy, even with his head shaved -- I sell this to the production team as his wanting to try something daring), but he has trouble following even the simplest instructions. Haymitch finally settles for "Do whatever your prep team says." There's no time for extended explanations, because Butterfly is putting up a howling fight at every step. She makes rude gestures at the crowd near the train. She spits at a Peacekeeper. She screams obscenities at the prep team when they try to lead her away. Haymitch sends me off with River and actually throws her over his shoulder and carries her, kicking and screaming, to prep.

"It's not that I don't know how she feels," he says when he gets back. "She probably thinks she's striking a blow. But I want to keep her alive. If I can get her to fight the right way, I maybe can do it, though they better give her a house way down the green from mine if she wins."

"You think she could win?"

"If she manages to get through training without them taking that huge chip on her shoulder as a neon-lit target? She might actually be able to pull it off. I doubt it, though. Most of these fire-breathers are all show."

It takes a long time for her to get through prep. Therinus's new partner, a whip-thin boy named Ulysses, says that she's been biting at the prep team. Haymitch goes back up to get her under control, joking that maybe he should trade tributes with Enobaria this year.

River is in his coveralls, which really don't cover all that much, as the front is ripped open and the sleeves torn off. I get an earful from Therinus about the shaved head, but the make-up team actually managed something interesting with the coal dust this year, letting it settle and flow in the natural sweat patterns on his scalp. River himself is unimpressed with this. "If my daddy went out in public with all that grime from the mines on him, my mother'd about bust a vein screaming at him about it."

I don't point out that she let her son out on national television with his hair so matted that it had to be shaved off.

He's afraid of the horses, so I introduce him to them and let him pet them a little bit. The Games horses are incredibly tame, and he decides he likes them. He sees Finnick across the room, feeding them sugar cubes, and asks first if that is really the famous Mr. Odair, then if it could be possible to get some of what he's feeding the horses. I call Finnick, who is very patient with River and teaches him to feed the horses properly.

The tributes are starting to come back now. District Ten seems to have gone for a cowboy look this year. District Eight, always a good one for fabric (of course) is in a complicated patchwork design. The girl from Seven comes out, looking wobbly on her feet. She's dressed in a heavy brown corduroy dress, and has a vine covered with chiffon leaves wrapped around her, coming to a canopy over her head. She sways as she passes us.

Finnick reaches out and steadies her. "Are you going to be okay?"

She looks at him and blinks, her large, sunken eyes somewhat dazed. "They gave me a pill so I don't sneeze. I'm dizzy." Her chest hitches a few times. "I… I can't be dizzy in the arena. I'll fall off the platform and blow up!"

Behind her, I see the District Two tributes pointing at her and snickering behind their hands. I don't mention it, but I doubt I have to for her to know.

"That's just a stopgap for the parade," Finnick says. "You'll see. My tribute had a stomach bug a couple of years ago. They gave him pills to keep him from throwing up in the chariot, but after, they gave him something that cleared him up overnight. It's not all that pleasant, but you won't be dizzy in training."

"Okay." She looks at me, her eyes scanning over my skirt (another of the glass-look ones). I wait for her to make a comment like Butterfly's, but instead, she says, "Isn't that Maxentius Maxim?"

I blink, surprised. "Well, yes."

She nods vaguely. "I thought so. I don't sleep much. I sometimes watch fashion shows on television. Is that uncomfortable? I was wondering when I saw the models walking."

"Not really."

"It's not hot or anything?"

I shake my head and smile. "I'll tell you what. You're Jack's tribute, right? Jack's a friend of Haymitch's, so I'll most likely see him tomorrow. I'll get the skirt cleaned tonight and send it up with him. You can try it for yourself."

She actually manages a smile. "Really? Thanks!" She bats disdainfully at her lightweight leaves. "I hope I get to wear something better for interviews," she says. "I look like a really sick tree."

"Jo-jo!" Jack calls from the District Seven carriage.

"I better go," she says. "I wish he wouldn't call me Jo-jo. Only my parents called me that."

"So make him stop," Finnick says. There's not even a trace of humor in his voice. "You put your foot down and make him stop. He's waiting for you to do it, I bet."

"Yeah. Right." She trudges over to her mentor.

Finnick pets the horse a little, then says, "That girl's going to surprise people."

"What?"

"Did you see her get exactly what she wanted out of you? Sick and dizzy as she is, that's something. And she's in the middle of all of this, thinking about fashion shows."

"So?"

"So, you don't sit around District Seven -- let alone the Hunger Games -- watching Capitol fashion shows if you don't imagine some other world. She probably wants to know what's coming out next season." He shrugs. "I better get back. My tribute should be out soon." He smiles. "He's my age. Eighteen. They've all been eighteen, but starting next year, they'll all have to be younger than me. Finally. Think they'll listen?"

He saunters away without waiting for an answer.

"I think she's kind of pretty," River says. "And she seems nice." He goes back to petting the horse.

A few minutes later, Haymitch escorts Butterfly down to the chariots. She's sullen, but she's been put into her costume, and is behaving herself. For some reason, she's attached a mockingjay feather to her coveralls. Her prep team looks exhausted.

"Are we going to have trouble?" Haymitch asks her. "Or are you a team player?"

"Team player," she grumbles. "But I better get to see the end of the game."

"I'll do my part for that," Haymitch says. "But I can't do it if you offend everyone in sight."

"Fine."

"And you still owe Effie an apology. She's been nothing but nice to you."

"It's all right," I say.

"No. It's not."

Butterfly grimaces and stares at her feet, then manages to say, "Sorry if I hurt your feelings, Miss Trinket."

"I accept your apology," I say. "Now, you'd best get into the chariot. District One is ready to go."

She climbs up. River steadies her a little bit when the horses start to move.

They go out into the evening light.

I stand back beside Haymitch. "What did you talk about?"

"Strategy and tactics," he says. "She needed a little crash course."

"What's the feather about?"

"It's a district token. Lots of mockingjays in District Twelve." He doesn't address the issue further, and doesn't respond to any more questions about it, and apparently thinks that I'm somehow missing that it obviously has some further significance.

I let him think so.

As I expected, between his good looks and his romance novel name, River is a favorite after the parade, though one among several. I doubt we'll ever see the single-minded level of adulation that Finnick got again. Finnick's tribute is again found wanting in comparison to his mentor, but Mags's tribute -- a plucky looking girl with freckles and curly hair -- is popular. The boy from District Seven gets good remarks (and a hope that he doesn't catch whatever the girl has). Both tributes from District Two are well-represented in the throngs of Games fans, and a long-shot -- the boy from Six -- seems to be a favorite of a lot of people in the down-market part of town.

Butterfly is barely mentioned, and the camera does not linger on her.

During dinner, she lets me teach her the proper way to use basic silverware, but draws the line at using two separate forks for dinner and dessert. I relent, and she clearly feels that she's won a major battle. River isn't putting up a battle, but he keeps forgetting which fork he's used and which he hasn't, and can't seem to grasp that he's supposed to use one for the whole meal, including the carrots, even though they're big enough pieces to pick up with his fingers.

After we get them bundled off to bed, Haymitch and I watch a little bit of coverage. It's the same as ever. The announcer says that they will run a movie after mandatory viewing. It's going to be one of Mimi's. Haymitch turns it off without commentary.

"I do owe you an apology," he says.

"For what?"

"Apparently, half the Seam thinks that you and I -- " He shrugs. "The other half probably thinks it, but doesn't care enough to talk about it to Butterfly. Sorry. I didn't tell them anything. I mean, except joking with the press about how I'm saving myself for you, and I'm pretty sure everyone can tell I'm joking. Maybe I said something when I was drunk. I don't always remember. If I did…sorry."

"They'd be talking, anyway. People talk. I'm sure they talk in the Capitol, too."

"Doubt it. If they did, Claudius would have a panel of experts talking about it for filler." He thinks about it. "Maybe I should watch Capitol filler and find out what I've been up to."

I smile. "Anyway, there are worse rumors. I'm not worried."

"I am. You're better off if people don't think you're getting pillow talk about… things."

"You think they're saying we have time to talk about politics? How disappointing."

He laughs. "Yeah. Clearly, we need to put the passion back in our imaginary love life."

"Before you have a pretend affair with someone more interesting?"

"Me? You'd accuse me of pretend cheating? You're the one here with hundreds of possible make believe lovers."

"I just get tired of your imaginary jealousy."

He laughs. "Still. I'm sorry. I know you and I… but I'm no one you want to be saddled with in public."

"The thing is, Haymitch, in public, I'm already saddled. And I don't mind. Really, I don't. If I did, I'd have told you to stop joking about it." I look at the blank video screens. "Do you really think Butterfly has a chance?"

"I don't know. I was hoping she'd go over better at the parade. She's tough, and she's not dumb. Maybe."

"Finnick thinks the girl from Seven is going to surprise people."

"The sick one?"

"Yes. We talked to her for a few minutes. I told her I'd have my skirt cleaned and let her try it on. Is that all right?"

"It's your skirt, you can lend it to anyone you want." He frowns. "Finnick likes her, huh?"

"He thinks she's got something, anyway."

"Hmm. Maybe I'll take a better look. What do you think?"

"I don't know. I never think of them as… players. I only know that she seemed nice."

"Kind of refreshing after Butterfly?"

"Maybe."

He nods.

I start to leave for the night -- there's no reason for me to be here before breakfast -- but I hear him say, "Effie?"

I turn. "What?"

"Give her space. Butterfly, I mean. The Seam's not an easy place to live, and she lives in one of the hardest parts of it. It's hard to look up through a broken roof and not hate people who don't have to worry about it."

"Did you?"

"Hate Capitolites?"

"Yes."

"Probably. I mean, in the abstract, anyway. I never hate anyone in particular until I've had a good chance to find out why I should. Seems like a waste of energy to me. It's not like I ever run out of the hate-able ones, anyway."

I nod. "Good night, then."

I get my things and go back to my apartment, where I sit on the couch for a long time. I send my skirt out to be cleaned and tell them to deliver it to the training center. I watch Mimi's movie. It's a romantic comedy about a young mother who falls in love with the man who runs the childcare center. I get a nasty shock when I realize the sculpture she died under was an artist's rendering of a scene where she plays in the park with the child.

REAPED.

I shudder it away and go to sleep. Training begins tomorrow, and for once, we may have a real contender.
17 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
From: (Anonymous) Date: July 3rd, 2014 10:51 am (UTC) (Link)
Wow. As bad as Butterfly's attitude is, I can totally respect it. Not a good Games strategy, of course. Kudos to Haymitch for getting through to her with the tactics/team player talk.

"You think they're saying we have time to talk about politics? How disappointing."
I love this side of Effie! And all the easy banter with Haymitch. Wish their easy relationship could continue but I have a feeling it will get disrupted at some point.

Looking forward to Johanna's Games! (in terms of story, of course, not really looking forward to the blood and deaths…)

-Papillon82 (no relation to Butterfly... that I know of)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 4th, 2014 02:36 am (UTC) (Link)
Effie is getting comfortable with Haymitch. I don't think she even realizes that this side is coming out!

Butterfly's attitude is totally understandable. I think the issue is that her anger is coming out like a scatter-gun shot, hitting everything in the vicinity but nothing worth hitting.
From: (Anonymous) Date: July 3rd, 2014 12:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
Aahh I like that Jo's interest in fashion wasn't something that happened after her games! I've always been wanting to request something with Jo and Effie but I could never think of one. I remember you wrote Jo as being interested in borrowing her clothes so its nice to see her doing it here too. I might have to remember that fr the next round of requests.

I hope they try getting an alliance with Seven. And I like River already. It's a shame to know he's not going to make it :((
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 4th, 2014 02:38 am (UTC) (Link)
Johanna's first introduction is bitching about bad design as she strips -- I just associate her with clothes!

I like River, too. He's not the brightest bulb, but he's nice.
From: (Anonymous) Date: July 3rd, 2014 02:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
Maybe I'm reading into everything because I know what's coming, but your glimpses of Haymitch's Master Plan are amazing. "Team player" and "strategy and tactics," my foot. I've been paying attention to how Haymitch is trying to manipulate his tributes into pairing themselves off. I wonder if he's not just waiting for the right pair, but also honing his strategy.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 4th, 2014 02:40 am (UTC) (Link)
He's at least trying to manipulate them into doing something useful. I don't know that I'll ever get to it, but what he did was find a way to tell her that there is a rebellion, and she's not helping it with her attitude. He gives her the feather to mark her as part of it to other rebels, even though she's not going to get a chance to do anything... basically, he's convinced her that by playing things cool, she's doing a great service to the real rebellion.
From: (Anonymous) Date: July 3rd, 2014 02:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
I love both of the 12 tributes this time around! River is breaking my heart already…and I feel like he's someone you'd find in 12. As always, I love this!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 4th, 2014 02:40 am (UTC) (Link)
River is just a nice kid without a lot of deep thoughts about anything.
redrikki From: redrikki Date: July 3rd, 2014 02:43 pm (UTC) (Link)
On the one hand, Butterfly's attitude makes perfect sense and is entirely justified. On the other hand, Haymitch is right about how it's going to get her killed.

I liked Jo and her interactions with Finnick. The start of a great, one-sided romance.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 4th, 2014 02:41 am (UTC) (Link)
It'll get her killed, and it will make people stare at Twelve and look for rebels -- the general Capitolite may be bored of the rebel rumors, but the government isn't.

Jo and Finnick are almost an epic bromance!
From: (Anonymous) Date: July 3rd, 2014 08:43 pm (UTC) (Link)

Good chapter

really enjoyed this chapter, but I am so excited to read Jo's games. Hope to see an update soon! If only Butterfly could curb some of her resentment and play the game better, she might have made it.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 4th, 2014 02:44 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Good chapter

Maybe. Though there are other factors in these Games that Katniss doesn't find out about.
From: (Anonymous) Date: July 3rd, 2014 09:25 pm (UTC) (Link)

The Sum of all Things...

Lots of things go into making this chapter awesome.

Proto-Katniss and Proto-Peeta, with their respective anger issues and just plain nice and friendliness.

Seeing Finnick interacting with both River and Joanna.

Effie and Joanna talking about fashion.

Effie and Haymitch... I am really not looking forward to whatever "drastic" thing is in the offing. But I remind myself how they end up in the end too.

I am really looking forward to seeing these Games play out, but also really dreading it. Claudius Templesmith may enjoy a good plague. I do not.

Sara Libby
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 4th, 2014 02:46 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: The Sum of all Things...

River is sort of Peeta-like, but without anything like Peeta's intelligence, and Butterfly lacks Katniss's self-control... but yes, to some extent, I think Haymitch is starting to see how these personality types work. River is loved by the audience, but has no fire. Butterfly has fire, but isn't trying for love. When he realizes that Peeta could make people love Katniss...
From: (Anonymous) Date: July 4th, 2014 01:07 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: The Sum of all Things...

That's funny, when I read the chapter, Butterfly reminded me more of Peeta than Katniss. Butterfly refuses to let anyone or anything change who she is, the same way Peeta wished nothing would change him during his first Games. Only in Butterfly's case this comes out explosively.
-Papillon82
From: queen_bellatrix Date: July 4th, 2014 04:51 am (UTC) (Link)

Catches/Questions

the Capitol, thinks, Don't think you need the comma after Capitol, unless there was supposed to be more in the sentence that got lost in editing?

on silk blouse Think you may need an a before silk?

carrying pair of Missed an a before pair.

he likes them Just a missing period.

The easy relationship between Effie and Haymitch is like this island of brightness in all the angst; it's lovely, and much as I know it has to change by GM, I really, really don't want it too! I especially loved the quip about politics and how much it implies about Effie's knowledge of Haymitch's affiliations without them ever having to say a word. (Haymitch thinking his rebellious tendencies are subtle always makes me smile.) And the entire exchange about libraries; just so warm and funny, and in later years, there're going to be so many moments like it Haymitch is going to wish he could've bottled to relive.

Regarding Haymitch and Effie, I'm wondering how much of what happens to Finnick and Annie informs Haymitch's strategy of starting to push Effie away as hard as he clearly does by GM. When Snow realized he had someone other than Gia to use against Finn, what Finn thought was hell would go to a whole new level. And seeing Annie and Finn played off one another (especially because Finn's reference in GM to Annie having a really awful time in the Capitol tells me Haymitch had met/spent time with Annie before NP) could make him run as far from Effie as possible.

I love how Haymitch is always trying to reach his tributes (I may have to remember to ask for that tactics/strategy talk if I catch any future challenge calls), and how much he is District Twelve, no matter how loudly they or anyone else scream he isn't. That entire exchange about going topless was just vintage Haymitch, and what he tells Effie later about giving Butterfly space; he's being empathetic, even as she's being horrible, which, honestly, I'm not sure I could do. I'll be interested to see her strategy in the Games!

And I couldn't quite tell; does River have some mental challenges, or is he just...a lot like Beach, in certain ways?

I loved the chat between Jo and Effie about fashion. And what an entirely Effie thing to do; letting who she thinks is a doomed tribute try on her fashions. *wants to hug her*

Damn, Finn's a good mentor; he has that same knack as Haymitch for spotting the unique/interesting tributes, which is almost more impressive, considering that he's a Career and would never have to think outside the box if he didn't want too. And what an astute observation about why Jack is using the nickname!

The friendship between Haymitch and Finn makes me wonder: just how reluctant was Haymitch to bring him into the rebellion; e.g., how afraid was he that Finn would feel pressured because he knew Haymitch's tendencies and idolized him so much, especially after Doolin's death?

And a Mimi question, because this chapter made me really curious about the chronology.

She calls Haymitch and asks if he loves her at all; I'm presuming she was pregnant at that moment and considering an abortion? And then she goes into the hospital, and in this one, she talks about how Capitol citizenship has to come from both parents. So, did Snow force her to have the abortion, or was she told something along the lines of: Either you get rid of the baby, or you get on a train to Twelve, because if your kid is a District citizen, then you would have to become one, too? Or was it something else entirely? The fact that she died under the sculpture of her playing with a child just made me wonder how much choice there was and what consequences she avoided by doing it. And gaaah, that sculpture just became about a hundred times more awful as a death scene once more detail was added.













fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 4th, 2014 05:58 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Catches/Questions

I have absolutely no idea where the random comma came from. I don't even think it's an edit survivor!

Haymitch has an odd relationship with Effie during canon time (and in my other stories). He's obviously changed as well, though some of it could be brain-pickling over the years. He seems in the books to be quite comfortable with her, even though they drive each other berserk, but obviously, not to the level I've got them at here. In my stories, he starts out GM entirely and completely frustrated with her and unable to deal with the thought of her, but I'm thinking at this point that he's just weary of dealing with something. He warms up to her quickly enough.

Haymitch can be off the Seam as long as he wants to, but in his head, he's always going to be that kid who's so poor that the other poor kids look down on him... and worse, the one they won't accept because he escapes to places inside his head.

Haymitch may realize that people know he's rebellious in a personality sense, but I think he thinks it's covered in the sense of actually doing anything politically. Snow suspects a lot more than he thinks. And Effie knows him well enough to know he's not just off having chess tournaments when he disappears during the Games.

River... is borderline. He's like Beech, but slower. He will eventually get concepts, but only if they come at him one at a time and he has time to master one thing before moving on to the next. He's probably able to slog along in school on the simple subjects, but he was never in line to be a crew chief in the mines.

I doubt I'll ever get an in-story chance to go over what happened with Mimi, because Haymitch is never going to let himself figure it out, so:

After their affair, Mimi was quite giddy. She and Haymitch had their phone dates, and she had definitely fallen for him in big way. Then she found out she was pregnant. She couldn't say it on the phone, which was bugged (and she was not dumb enough to doubt that), so she was left dealing with a decision on her own. Meanwhile, Haymitch was drinking really heavily. She had people pressuring her really hard to end the pregnancy -- not even Snow, though I'm sure he would have stepped in and done something horrible if it had proven necessary. Her boss at the television show. Her friends. Her doctor. She still didn't want to, and if Haymitch had given her the thing she wanted -- if he'd told her that he loved her, too -- she'd have thrown all of them out the window, gone out to Twelve, and taken her chances. (At which point, Snow would have intervened, but she doesn't know that.) She's getting increasingly despondent, and when Haymitch doesn't say that he loves her, she finally gives in to the pressure. By this point, she had a whole fantasy life built up about the family they'd have, even though she knows the child would more than likely be reaped. She's done her research on every possible way there is to avoid that eventuality, and realized that it's almost impossible. She's also in despair, because she knows it's a fantasy. And she finally goes through with it. At the rock bottom of her depression, Capitol Dreams swoops in with pills and "therapy" to make her all better.

Now, in point of fact, had she and Haymitch sat down and discussed the subject like two rational human beings with a problem, it's probably the conclusion they would come to. He was a seventeen year old drunk with PTSD. She was maybe nineteen and not ready for dealing with the trauma of life in the districts. But the screwed up communication, her sense that she gave up what her life was "supposed" to be... it all caught up with her. She doesn't feel like she made a rational decision there, and she never does let go of it.

Edited at 2014-07-04 06:01 am (UTC)
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