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Repost: The Narrow Path, Chapter 3 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
Repost: The Narrow Path, Chapter 3
A lot of re-writing toward the beginning, changing the focus of the chapter from the meeting (which is a canon re-hash and therefore awkwardly written) to Haymitch figuring out what they need to do. Now with bonus Beetee!

Chapter Three
Katniss storms out of the studio as soon as she hears my voice, which doesn't endear me to anyone else. Fulvia is already furious at me for discounting her writing skills. Plutarch and the crew are annoyed at me for throwing off the schedule. Finnick, at least, doesn't much care, but that's because he's been sleeping all day anyway.

I am excused from my heavy schedule here in the production booth and sent down about a million staircases to talk to Beetee, who is clearly supposed to make me feel guilty for disrupting the proceedings, as he has been working on her special weaponry from his wheelchair. Beetee doesn't cooperate, if this is, in fact, the plan. He just gives me a hearty greeting.

Gale Hawthorne is with him. They're working with several bow designs, and seem to be pretty well at ease with each other. I've always had a vague notion that Gale was smart -- Hazelle said so, and he does have that look about him -- but I haven't spent enough time with him to have a real sense of it. The fact that Beetee is working with him easily and respectfully is the first proof I've seen… and the only proof I really need.

"They wanted her to say what?" Gale asks when I tell him the line.

I repeat it.

He grins. "Did she manage to resist saying it in a Capitol accent?"

"Barely," I say.

"Then she's a step ahead of me. I definitely couldn't have kept from cracking up."

"So, anyway, I managed to annoy Command on my first day out of the hospital."

"Oh, you annoyed them long before that," Beetee assures me. "I've had an earful about not arming you."

"What, I don't get a magical knife?"

This leads into some desultory joking about what kind of properties a magical knife might have, then Gale steers things back to Katniss. "She's about as scared as I've seen her," he says. "She has no idea what they want from her."

"They have no idea what they want from her," I point out. "I don't think there's one of them in that room that understands why people believed in Katniss in the first place. Katniss least of all. She --" I stop talking, as my head is suddenly buzzing, my mind grasping at the various pieces I've left lying around in my skull.

"You okay?" Gale asks nervously.

"Let him be," Beetee says. "The brain is kicking in, isn't it?"

I nod and close my eyes.

The problem isn't just that Fulvia's line is awkward and Plutarch's concept is ridiculous. It's not even that Katniss can't act to save her life, and can barely act to save anyone else's. She only got away with her occasional moments of performance in the Games because people were predisposed to like her after she volunteered for Prim. Between that act and Peeta's devotion to her, they were willing to believe her stilted girl-in-love act, which often looked stilted even after it stopped being an act. The Capitol fell in love with the girl who volunteered for her sister; the districts fell in love with the one who held up the berries.

Both of those things were just Katniss being Katniss. The people watching understood that. They don't want to see her making a commercial to sell the rebellion like a fancy new car.

They want to see her being a rebel. Like she was when she volunteered. Like she was with the berries. They were inspired by her courage and her sacrifice. It made them feel like they wanted to live up to that image. No one's going to want to live up to a slogan-spouting snake-oil salesgirl. Even if she performed a great line perfectly, it wouldn't be what the Mockingjay represents… or what Katniss Everdeen wants to be.

She needs to go out into the field. It's the only way. I know without needing to ask her that she'll go along with it, that she'll even be enthusiastic about it. That's who she is.

"The problem's everyone else," I say.

Beetee raises his eyebrows. "Anything you want to share with the class?"

I take a deep breath and explain my thoughts as well as I can, not looking at them until I finish. I'm not sure how they'll react. It's all solid, but I am talking about throwing a traumatized seventeen-year-old girl into a war zone in order to make videos of her.

When I look up, Beetee is a little green. He just got out of the arena; he knows perfectly well that this is a Gamemaker's move.

Gale looks resigned. "Yeah," he says. "Yeah, that's the right way. But she's not going without me. You get me in there. I'll watch her back."

"So, will you convince Command?" I ask him.

Beetee shakes his head. "You will," he says to me.

"Me? Why would they listen to me? Even Plutarch won't."

"Yes he will." Beetee puts down a screwdriver and carefully sets down the black bow he's working on. "Gale, will you excuse us for a moment?"

"I -- "

"Haymitch will be in touch with you shortly. But I need to speak to him privately."

Gale nods and leaves, though he looks frustrated.

"What's that about?" I ask.

"He'll argue." Beetee wheels around the table and points to a chair, indicating that I should sit down. When I do, he leans forward. "Command doesn't like you or trust you," he says. "But they believe that you have an almost magical understanding of Katniss. Compared to anyone else in this compound they are, in a manner of speaking, right. That's why they were eager to get you through your rehabilitation. They'll never admit it in so many words, but they believe -- just as Plutarch does -- that if she's a puppet, you're the one who knows how to move her strings."

"That's nuts. For one thing, Katniss isn't a puppet. For another, Gale's known her longer -- "

" -- but he hasn't known her better. Which is why I assume he would start arguing this point, since he thinks himself in love with her." He considers this. "Well, maybe he is. I'm not well versed in the area. But at any rate, he considers himself an expert on her, but you need to take the lead. He's a smart young man, but he's inexperienced with politicians, and will be too deferential, even if he agrees with your position."

"And what do you think I can do?"

He smiles. "As always, anything you decide needs to be done." He picks up his screwdriver again. "Go somewhere and let your brain work. I have an office over there." He nods toward the opposite wall. "You'll come up with something."

He starts tinkering ostentatiously with a bow, and I take the hint to retreat to his office. I always thought his workspace would be meticulously neat, but it isn't. Sloppy sketches of ideas are strewn over a gray metal desk, and three different computers are running different programs while he works outside. The door to a supply cabinet is open, and I can see boxes of pencils and clips shoved around at skewed angles, probably because he was in there fishing for something he didn't find right away.

I sit down at the desk and put my hand over my eyes, so I can concentrate. Normally, I let things like this come to me on their own, but I don't have time any more than Plutarch does. If Katniss doesn't succeed in getting the rebellion rallied, we'll lose our momentum.

And Coin will decide she's useless, and negate her bargain, even though none of this is Katniss's fault, and she's trying as hard as it's possible for anyone to try.

It's just that the approach is going nowhere.

Ideally, I should convince Plutarch and Fulvia, since the propos are their baby, but they think they have all the answers, and will be hardest to convince. I think my real target is Alma Coin, which isn't a cheerful thought. I don't think it will take more than a single viewing of this morning's horrible shoot to convince her that Plutarch's idea isn't going to work, so it's really just a question of convincing her that it's worth the risk to try mine.

This is how you take care of your kids? a voice in my head pipes up. I've made it Danny's voice, but I think that's because I miss him, and because I feel guilty about Peeta. And Ed and Jonadab. And Danny himself. But it's just me. You trick them and lie to them, and put them in mortal danger for the sake of some high-blown cause?

I dig my short fingernails in the skin of my face to force that away, not because it's not true, but because it is. I know I'm a bastard, and if I ever had a soul, it's long-since sold in my war on Snow. All I can do right now is make the sale worth it for everyone, including the kids. The only way I can do that is to get this war won.

They have to remember who she is, and why people wanted to follow her. She has to remember. I have to make sure that she keeps her soul, because it's her soul that matters, both to her, and to the rebellion.

The idea I finally come up with is only half-baked, but experience tells me not to tinker with it. I'll need to make adjustments as I go anyway.

I spend the rest of the afternoon going around District Thirteen, talking to the people I know who've spoken to me about Katniss, getting more names from them. I find Katniss's preps first, and apologize to them for their captivity, then ask them if they still love Katniss. They do. They'll help. Dalton will help. Delly Cartwright is tied up with her hospital work during the days when she's not at school, but she suggests that I speak to her foster sister, Leevy Cooley, who was Katniss's neighbor. Leevy is amenable to the project. Greasy Sae is eager to talk about her, and Finnick can't seem to stop himself from giving me a soliloquy on the spot about how she defended Peeta, and understands about Annie, and kept shooting the jabberjays long after he gave up. With some trepidation, I bring the subject up with Boggs at dinner and find him quite willing to help out. Once I get my string of performers ready, I go for the audience: Plutarch and Fulvia, Coin, a group of lackeys from the government.

Great. We manage to break the arena, commit high treason, and start a war, and I still have to convince the head Gamemaker to give my tribute a break.

And of course, the most important audience member of all: Katniss.

Unfortunately, Wall-Effie can't get everyone's schedules to mesh until lunchtime, so we spend the next morning going through the same useless motions. Plutarch and Fulvia won't let me on the floor, for fear of "upsetting" Katniss, and she's so determined to follow their every direction -- mostly to spite me today, I think -- that she looks like a life-sized posable doll being handled by a pair of overexcited little girls.

I go to the conference room a few minutes early. No one is there. People in Thirteen don't have the luxury of wandering into places on their own time. I set up chairs and set up the video they've been shooting down the hall. I don't think that will leave much of an argument.

Ruth Everdeen will most likely try to kill me over the idea I plan to sell today, but I don't think Katniss will run it by her. She hasn't run anything by Ruth for years.

Gale arrives first, coming in from some kind of physical training. He's sweaty and still a little overactive. He glances at the screen where I'm watching the videos and starts to say, "Who is--" Then his eyes widen and he wrinkles his nose. "We need to fix that."

"Yeah."

"Tell me what you need me to say."

"Just tell the truth."

He nods and sits down, then gets up and goes to another chair. He doesn't settle.

Alma Coin and her little security entourage appear next, then Katniss's preps. After that, I lose track of who's coming in when. Dalton gives me a nod and asks how I'm doing, but gets swept away with the crowd before I answer. Katniss arrives last, and doesn't look at me.

I take a deep breath and imagine Effie getting me prettified for a sponsor meeting, then say, "Thanks for coming, everyone. A lot of you have heard that Katniss will be serving as the Mockingjay, to rally the districts. But I think we might need to re-think how we're approaching it. I'd like to show all of you what we shot this morning."

I start the video. Before Katniss has even reached her line, I see people squirming, and when she actually says it, Boggs winces. Even Plutarch and Fulvia aren't deluded enough to look pleased, though I am close enough to them to hear Fulvia whisper, "It's not fair. We haven't had a chance to rehearse."

I let it run its course, then turn it off and say, "All right. Would anyone like to argue that this is of use to us in winning the war?" I don't really wait for answers. Katniss looks mortified. Everyone else just seems uncomfortable. When this has sunk in, I challenge each person to tell me one moment when Katniss moved them -- by herself, not with Peeta's help, not with Cinna's, not with Rue's. Not because of her skill with a bow, or because she's beautiful. None of those things matter in the end.

The first person to speak is Leevy Cooley. She brings up the first thing that everyone in Panem knew about Katniss: that she volunteered in her sister's place, assuming it was a death sentence.

That's it. It's everything, in a nutshell. The first real rebellion. She didn't put her own safety above all, and that, in Snow's Panem, is the most seditious act possible. If people aren't acting in their immediate self-interest, making decisions based on fear, then everything else falls apart. Everything that happened later grew from this act, and she hasn't been reminded of it enough. Somewhere, she's forgotten who she is, and that, of all of her actions, is the one she needs to remember.

"Good," I say. "Excellent example." I take out a bright marker and write it down, large enough for Katniss to see across the table, though this kind of wastefulness gets me bitter looks from a few citizens of Thirteen. I leave it at an angle where she can see it.

Other people come forward, their confessions in varying degrees of scriptedness. Octavia the manicurist is terrified of the company she's in -- and I can't blame her, given that I can still see the sores on her arms -- but she manages to pipe up and mention Katniss drugging Peeta to save him before shrinking back into the shadows. That took some guts, and I respect her for it.

As each person comes forward, I glance at Coin now and then, but her face is blank. Mostly, I watch Katniss trying to process all of it. I don't care about the stories myself. I know them all. I prodded most of the participants into sharing them. Katniss doesn't know them. As Peeta said, she has no idea the effect she has on people. But as she listens, I watch her face change. The wax-figure compliance she had this morning starts to disappear, replaced by signs of the real girl underneath. By the time Venia gathers her courage and says that she was most moved "when she stood up for us, against people who wanted to hurt us" -- glaring defiantly at the guards from Thirteen, though they aren't looking at her -- Katniss seems fully awake for the first time since she said goodbye to Peeta in the arena.

After about half an hour, I hold up my hand and say, "So the question is, what do all of these have in common?"

"They were Katniss's," Gale says, looking coldly at Fulvia and Plutarch. "No one told her what to do or say."

"Unscripted, yes!" Beetee agrees, maybe a little quickly, too on point, but it gets us down to brass tacks. He pats her hand. "So we should just leave you alone, right?"

Most of the room laughs. I don't. I look at Plutarch, who seems to be piecing together what I'm saying. He should. He's done it in the Games for years.

Fulvia, on the other hand, is not getting it at all. Willfully not getting it, I'd guess -- an unscripted Mockingjay is a Mockingjay she doesn't control. "Well, that's all very nice, but not very helpful. Unfortunately, her opportunities for being wonderful are rather limited here in Thirteen. So unless you're suggesting we toss her into the middle of combat -- "

"That's exactly what I'm suggesting," I say. "Put her out in the field and just keep the cameras rolling."

There is stunned silence, into which Gale speaks. "But people think she's pregnant."

It's a calculated statement, and not one we discussed. He has a vested interest in breaking down Peeta's narrative. It's also a good point. Peeta's gambit was a good one in the service of the Capitol rebellion (a part of me really wants to know what's been going on in the streets of the Capitol as they process all of this), but now that she's going to the front lines, it's a little inconvenient. A girl who voluntarily goes into combat while carrying a baby becomes less sympathetic to the general audience, especially with Peeta captured and speaking for the other side.

Plutarch chimes in, suggesting that we spread it around that she miscarried. Snow won't be fooled, and if people outside this room ever hear it, she'll be in trouble. But it's the best we can do.

People protest vehemently, but Katniss isn't one of them. In fact, when Boggs points out that they can't guarantee her safety, she makes her position clear. "I want to go," she says. "I'm no help to the rebels here."

"And if you die?" Coin asks, unconcerned.

"Make sure you get some footage," Katniss tells her. "You can use that, anyway."

It's a perfectly Katniss thing to say, and I am glad to hear it. I'm ready to start going over possibilities, start talking about where we can best place her strategically, when Coin co-opts my meeting and announces that, as long as we're doing this, she can head out to Eight this afternoon. They were bombed this morning. It should be safe by now.

I had meant to wait until she had a little bit of training, maybe one dry run, but the whole thing is decided before I catch my balance from the sudden usurpation of any kind of authority I had. I don't even get a chance to tell them to include Gale, though he behaves as though there is no question on the matter. Coin asks for further ideas.

Dalton says to wash the makeup off of Katniss's face.

I decide that he's my friend.

I ask to speak to Katniss alone. It will be the first time since before the Quell that I've had a chance to do so. Gale almost doesn't let me, but I remind him that Katniss can take care of herself.

I look at her. She is glaring at me. Somewhere between us, there's a cold, empty space where Peeta belongs. I made her a promise. I broke it. I let Peeta be taken, and we both know that something is being done to him if he's spouting Capitol propaganda on television. "We're going to have to work together again," I say. "So, go ahead. Just say it."

She says it: "I can't believe you didn't rescue Peeta."

"I know," I say. I wait to see what she needs me to do. An apology hardly seems sufficient, and if I tell her that I tried, that I actually went into the arena -- that I was, in fact, the last one out of the arena -- then it will sound like a justification.

We stand silently. She looks at me expectantly for a long time, then finally says, "Now you say it."

It takes a minute, but it finally hits me: She assumes I blame her. I said something like that while she was clawing me. I haven't thought of it since. She has. She wants me to say it again. She needs to be blamed. She needs to feel like she had some kind of control. I understand this absolutely, and I say, "I can't believe you let him out of your sight that night."

She nods solemnly. We each know the other couldn't have done anything differently. We both know that we ourselves couldn't have done anything differently. The space between us remains, but it isn't as chillingly cold. I remind her that we are still in the Game -- all of us, Peeta included -- and I am still her mentor. She needs to do as I say in combat.

I don't have much hope of this as she heads away to get ready.

I'm instructed to go back to my quarters for a change of clothes. Now, along with the normal casual outfit for Thirteen, I have a high-necked military uniform. Dalton comes in just as I finish putting it on and gives me a sarcastic salute.

"That didn't take long," he says.

I tug at the neck. "I never knew why military people wanted to strangle their soldiers."

"Discourages talking back." He flops down onto his bunk. "Is that what you wanted to do? Put her in battle?"

"Eventually," I say. "I wasn't thinking it would be this afternoon."

"Yeah, well. Alma Coin doesn't believe in procrastination."

"I noticed."

"How are you doing?"

"Booze-wise? Are you going to ask me that every time we come in?"

"Yeah. It's a condition for you being out of the hospital. So you may as well have your answer ready."

"Haven't thought about it all morning. Until you brought it up."

"So you're a downtime drinker."

"Huh?"

"You get bored, you pick up the bottle. You're busy with anything, no worries, even if it's crazed."

"Well, there's no time to get drunk when I'm busy."

"Stay busy."

I snort. "Now you sound like Effie. She's always telling me I need a hobby. She suggested wood-carving once."

He raises an eyebrow. "She's got a lot of functions in your life, doesn't she?"

"None of the ones you're thinking of."

"I wasn't thinking of any of them. But if she says you need a hobby, and I say you need a hobby, and you know you need a hobby, maybe you ought to have one."

"My hobby is overthrowing the Capitol."

"Maybe something a little less ambitious and more spare time consuming."

"I read," I say. "Fiction and poetry, mostly. Not that I have much worth reading here. Anyone have a good stash of old books?"

"Who do you like?"

"I'm not picky. Just no one who's been published by the government of Panem since the Dark Days. They don't have to actually be banned, but it's a plus."

He nods. "I'll see what I can find while you're gone. I'm afraid they'll have recycled most of the paper ones, and they have pretty tight control over the digital versions. Will you share, if I dig some up?"

"Sure." I pull uselessly at my collar again, give it up as a bad job, and leave.

I meet Plutarch and Fulvia in the lifts, and Plutarch guides us around a maze of pathways.

"I suppose this is a reasonable idea," Fulvia says bitterly. "But with Peeta saying the things he's saying, maybe we really ought to consider how we're portraying Gale. We could say she was forced into the charade with Peeta, and -- "

"Don't try it," I tell her. "I mean that. The whole situation is complicated enough."

"Oh, I wouldn't force it," she says. "But if she were more associated in the public mind with a fellow rebel..."

"And if Snow decides to show that to Peeta?" I ask.

She looks confused by such minor worries, but Plutarch reminds her, again, that the audience is invested in Katniss's love for Peeta, and it would be a much bigger problem for her to seem fickle.

Fulvia apparently doesn't take this as a directive, because when we settle into the hovercraft, I can see her trying to force Gale and Katniss together. I can't hear them, but Boggs, who came down with them, manages to break the tension. Katniss smiles.

We strap in and head for Eight. On the way, Plutarch fills Katniss in on the state of the war, and brings up his crazy idea of re-instating a republic. I've read the same books he has, and the rhetoric is always soaring and uplifting. I've also read other books, books he deems useless because they are about things that never happened to people who never existed. But these books were written by people who were there, and I know that there was never the utopia he imagines. The People -- Plutarch's fetish -- are no more reliable than any tyrant that's ever lived.

Then, just as we're landing, Plutarch pulls out a vial of purple pills, and tells Katniss to kill herself before she gets captured. There's even a little pocket on the suit for one.

After she disembarks with her camera crew and bodyguards, I pull him aside. "Suicide pills?"

"We can't afford for anyone to be captured, least of all the Mockingjay."

"If she's captured, we can rescue her. Or is the no-rescue rule for everyone?"

"Haymitch, what do you think the Capitol will do to that girl if they get their hands on her? Rescue or no rescue, they'll make her wish she was dead."

"She can wish all she wants. As long as she's alive, she can heal."

Plutarch sighs. "Somehow, that's less than convincing from a man who's been trying to poison himself for twenty-five years. And don't tell me it's all been accidental."

"That's different."

He looks at me for a long time, then says, "She'll be okay, Haymitch. We have no reason to believe that the Capitol will get anywhere near her. She has a lot of people protecting her."

"So did Peeta."

"And do you imagine he's glad to be alive right now?"

"No. But I imagine that a day might come when he will be."

There's nothing else to say. Katniss goes to a makeshift hospital where the morning's wounded are gathered. I can tell by her voice in my ear that she's panicking, and the young woman who's commanding the troops here doesn't help when she looks down her nose at Katniss.

"That's Baize Paylor," Plutarch says. "She's been on the front lines since the uprisings started last year. Cecelia got me in to see her before the Quell. Smart girl. I wish she'd be a little more impressed with Katniss, though. It doesn't make for good footage if the local commander isn't enthusiastic."

"It doesn't help Katniss much, either," I say.

Plutarch nods. We watch nervously for the first few minutes, as Katniss takes tentative steps into the hospital. She seems stiff and nervous, and I wonder for a moment if I've done the right thing.

Then patients begin to recognize her, come to her, beg her to talk to them and touch them and prove that she's alive. She responds to it. It's nothing I've seen from her before. I expect righteous anger from her. I expect extreme grief. But this kind of reaching out to people in pain...

It's Peeta, I realize. I've seen him do exactly this in District Twelve, going among the starving. Katniss has taken this part of him into herself, made it part of her soul, and the result is remarkable. I don't coach her at all. I don't need to. Shy, defensive Katniss Everdeen is allowing complete strangers to touch her, to love her. Whatever the cameras are catching will be more subversive to Snow's reign of terror than anything they could have done in a studio.

When she leaves, Boggs and Gale both assure her she did well.

The light in the hovercraft suddenly goes red.

"Incoming bombers!" a soldier calls over the intercom. "Incoming bombers, recall surface troops!"

As he speaks, I see Boggs responding to the order, pulling Katniss and Gale along with him.

I grab my speaker and press for Command. "Do they know she's here?"

"Negative," someone in Thirteen tells me. "No chatter. It seems to be unrelated. The Capitol must have been planning a second bombing all along."

The Capitol bombers appear in formation and begin to batter the street below.

"Katniss!" I yell, then realize that my microphone is still tuned to the Command desk. I switch it.

Katniss runs, but the pressure from a nearby blast throws her into a building. Something is sticking out of her leg, but I can't see it before Boggs dives over her, shielding her from flying debris.

"We have to get her," I say.

"We can't land during the bombing," Plutarch says. "There's no safe place. I'll find a place for her to hide. You tell her to make sure no one sees her."

I gulp in air as the first wave of bombers passes, and I see Katniss get out from under Boggs.

"Katniss!" I say.

She staggers to her feet. "Yes? What? Yes, I'm here."

I try to force my voice under control. I need her to not panic. "Listen to me. We can't land during the bombing, but it's imperative that you're not spotted."

"So they don't know I'm here?" she asks, and I can hear in her voice that she's already worked out how many of the dead she will blame herself for.

"Intelligence thinks no," I tell her. "That this raid was already scheduled." Something catches in my brain. Something I can't afford to think about.

Plutarch finds a warehouse for them to hide in and orders all of them to it. Here, for the first time in a long while, I respect him. This isn't one of his woolly-headed propos. This is a leader who knows damned well what he's doing.

The second wave of bombers comes in, and our craft has to engage in evasive maneuvers to avoid being detected. I can't see for a minute, and when I do, all I can glimpse is Gale Hawthorne's back as he shelters Katniss from another series of explosions.

When it dies down, Gale asks if she's alright, and she answers that no one has seen her and no one is following, which doesn't answer the question.

"They've targeted something else," Gale says.

"I know," Katniss says. "But there's nothing back there but -- "

They look at each other. I look at Plutarch.

The only thing to bomb is the hospital.

Plutarch doesn't need any explanation of human behavior this time. He just needs to short-circuit it. "Not your problem," he says. "Get to the bunker."

"But there's nothing there but the wounded!" Katniss cries.

I know what she means to do. I know it because there's nothing else she can do, not as long as she really is Katniss Everdeen. "Katniss," I say. "Don't you even think about--"

And that's when she rips out her earpiece, leaving me alone with a screeching whistle in my ear.
9 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
From: liam Fitzpatrick Date: September 27th, 2015 11:33 am (UTC) (Link)

.

Excellent Chapter
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 28th, 2015 04:57 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: .

Thanks!
From: liam Fitzpatrick Date: September 28th, 2015 03:44 pm (UTC) (Link)

House of cards

where would i find the tweaked house of cards ? Do you have a link or something?


Thanks Liam
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 29th, 2015 12:08 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: House of cards

It's just over at FFN and AO3. It didn't need as much fixing for continuity, so I just did little edits.
redrikki From: redrikki Date: September 28th, 2015 05:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
I like the changes to the beginning about how he goes about recruiting people for the meeting and the ironic twist of him scripting a meeting about being improvisational.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 29th, 2015 12:08 am (UTC) (Link)
Yeah -- that was a bit of an irony, wasn't it? But he does know how to work an audience!
vesta_aurelia From: vesta_aurelia Date: September 29th, 2015 12:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
I wasn't sure if you saw this, but I thought of you first thing:
https://www.wattpad.com/story/49376365-the-heart-goes-last-fiction-contest-with-margaret
From: queen_bellatrix Date: September 29th, 2015 11:52 pm (UTC) (Link)

A Few Possible Catches/Feedback

in getting rebellion rallied Think you may be missing a the before rebellion?

but because is Just missing an it before is.

that this of use Just missing an is before the of.

first time a long while Just missing an in before the a.

One continuity thing: In the meeting, you have Haymitch think that even if Katniss doesn't like the idea, she'll go along with it, because she's not made to follow the stultifying rules of D13. But earlier in the chapter, before he tells Beetee and Gale that the problem is everyone else, you have him say she'll go along with it and even be enthusiastic about it; these two instances seem like a bit of a contradiction in terms. Maybe just move the stultifying rules bit up to the first one, and delete the second? That...seems like the way that would make for the least deletions and smoothest transitions, though of course deleting the first reference and keeping the second could also work.

On the same tack, Gale agrees with Haymitch and Beetee that sending her in the field is the right way and places his caveat about getting in to watch Kattniss's back; then, he reiterates his agreement with his: "I'm in." at the meeting; is that just a reaffirmation because he got so abruptly dismissed by Beetee?

Ooo, I love these edits! I love the way you're able to make Haymitch so much more of an active character with just a few minor changes; this feels like some of my favorite Remus Shifts moments, where we knew how the events had to play out, but you gave it such an interesting spin by making the protag be an important cog.

And I love that you're being able to go back and really highlight Beetee and Haymitch's friendship; with Beetee being one of the few living victors by the end, that feels like an important thing to highlight.

Also really appreciated the added Danny mention, and Haymitch's thoughts about his grief and guilt surrounding that whole family. Though, God, Haymitch's self-image really has just been bashed to smithereens in the last quarter century, highlighted even more starkly because we see so many instances of him being so different than the man he believes he is.

The focus on Gale's intelligence, and the larger Gale presence generally, were also really well-done, considering the ending; it's really intriguing to see what things you focus on with the luxury of some distance and the prequel stories under your belt, and they're all stellar choices, imho.

Speaking of which: was going back through old comment threads, and I noticed you wanted to draw a sharper comparison between Beckett and Coin once upon a time toward the middle of this fic; thought I'd remind you as a general thing to keep in mind just in case that's still something you want to pursue.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 30th, 2015 01:02 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: A Few Possible Catches/Feedback

Agh, dang. I thought I'd taken the second one out! :facepalm:

That Haymitch thinks he forfeited the right to mourn his friend somehow seems right to me, but awful.

Good reminder about drawing those parallels, so that by the time she asks for a "private apology," he'll be thoroughly squicked.

Beetee is the only victor left close to Haymitch's generation. Everyone else is the next generation down, so of the original "band of brothers" type of group, that's all Haymitch will have (and Haymitch is all Beetee has).
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