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Repost: The Narrow Path, Chapter 9 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
Repost: The Narrow Path, Chapter 9
Sorry for the tardiness. A lot going in IRL this week.

A little bit of added stuff, some ruminations on Danny and Effie, just trying to get it more in line with the emotional state of the other stories.


Chapter Nine
I look at Johanna, her legs unsteady, her arms occasionally jerking spasmodically. I don't have any authorization to give orders, and I've already been slapped on the wrist for it, but no one else seems to be in a hurry to jump in here. No one else knows Johanna Mason.

I speak into my microphone. "Gale, disarm her before she accidentally shoots herself. She's not physically stable" -- she's probably not mentally stable, either, but how many of us are? -- "and she will start shooting."

Johanna points the gun at a squirming guard and pulls the trigger, but only gets a dry click.

"It's out of ammo, anyway," Gale says. "Not wasting time arguing about it."

Johanna starts kicking at the door next to hers. "Peeta! Peeta!"

"He's not here," Gale says. "They took him to the Training Center. Where's Annie Cresta?"

"You have to get Peeta," Johanna says. "I don't know what the hell they've been doing to him. Screaming. All the time, screaming. Nonsense. Just screaming…"

"We have a team on it," Gale says, looking a little spooked as Johanna keeps muttering under her breath about Peeta's screams. "They're recovering him right now. Where's Annie?"

Johanna points catty-corner to the last cell in the hall. Before the cameraman follows them to it, he raises the view to the small window on Peeta's cell. The floor is covered with blood and smeared with things I don't want to think about. There is a coffin on the cot, but I can't tell who's in it. Something is on the wall, but I can't see it. Darkened video screens line the walls, and all of them are plastered with bloody handprints. One has been cracked in a starpoint, like Peeta punched it.

"Keep moving," Plutarch orders quietly.

"Do you think we should show the Capitol how he's been kept?" Fulvia asks, eyes wide. "That's… it's horrible. No one would believe he was speaking of his own free will."

I look at Plutarch. I know it's horrible. I know that Fulvia is right that it would undermine all of Peeta's public appearances. But I know, even at a glance, that whatever happened in there is something that is private, something that only Peeta has the right to decide whether or not to share.

Plutarch seems to be going through the same calculations. He looks at the screen again, then repeats, "Keep moving."

The view swings. Gale and Johanna have reached Annie's cell. This one has a thick plexiglass wall. Through it, I can see Annie, who is, for some reason, wearing a Peacekeeper's long white coat. She comes to the cell door and looks out. Her arms are crossed and she is picking at the fabric of the coat. Gale swipes the security key and she comes out.

"Why are you dressed in that?" Johanna asks.

"Peeta," Annie says vaguely.

"We're on it," Gale says. "Come on. We need to get out of here."

The shot gets jittery as they run for a door Plutarch points them toward, one that doesn't lead back up through the same halls they came through.

I look at the other screen. The junior Gamemaker, Orman, has stayed behind in the apartment to blow out the ubiquitous spy cameras. The others are on the way to the roof. Messalla is carrying one end of Peeta's improvised stretcher, which gives a strange, skewed perspective. There's a horrible close up of a line of puncture wounds along his shoulder, disappearing around and behind his neck. Several of them are swollen. His ribs are showing, and there are dark bruises down his torso, along with burns. The skin above his prosthetic is singed in a crown shape, like a small fire was burning at the end of his stump. He doesn't respond to the motion of being carried. His head lolls indifferently, and it takes a lot of faith in the team to believe that he's not actually dead.

I think of Danny in the basement of the apothecary, his back crisscrossed with whip marks, bleeding into the white cloth Ruth put on his back. I sat with him for two hours until he woke up, and I was sure he was going to die there, like Maysilee, like Mom. I'd be watching him, and then he wouldn't be breathing anymore.

But he came through. Peeta will come through. I make myself believe it.

"I don't like this," one of the Leegs says when they get to the roof. "It was too easy."

"You wanted more of a challenge?" Messalla asks.

"I expected more of a challenge," she says. "That's a different thing."

"What are you thinking?" the other Leeg says. "Are they coming for us?"

"I don't know. I'm not sure. Obviously, he's not wired. Nothing to cover it up with." She speaks into her microphone. "Plutarch, did your doctor examine him? Could they have booby-trapped him?"

My guts turn cold and slick at this thought, but Plutarch contacts the doctor, listens, then says, "Peeta was unconscious for the most part, so he couldn't talk, but that didn't prevent a physical exam. He's got a lot of injuries, but there are no foreign items in his body. Galerius particularly checked the leg. It's not working properly, but there's nothing there that shouldn't be."

The first Leeg bites her lip. "I just don't like it."

"It's a blessing," Plutarch says. "Take it. Sometimes, things just work."

I cut off my connection and lean in, so the others in Command don't hear. "Do you really think that?"

"I don't know," Plutarch says quietly. "But do you want to risk them deciding not to bring him after all?"

When the hovercraft gets there and the medical technicians on board run test after test as they fly to the rendezvous point, nothing turns up. Peeta is battered and sick, but he doesn't seem to be booby-trapped in any way they can see.

When the jittery motion finally clears on the screens around Gale's team, they've emerged from the prison and are standing still at last. They only had one extra gas mask, since the plan was technically only to rescue Annie, and all of them are a little woozy, obviously from taking turns going without. Johanna's spasmodic movements have gotten worse, and Annie is carrying her gun. (The soldier she originally relieved of it has drawn his back-up.) Somehow, in the fog, she's convinced Gale to give her his hunting knife. She could still damage herself with it, but at least knives don't accidentally go off.

"Where's our ride?" one of the soldiers asks.

Gale looks around, then curses. The van they came in is on fire. Plutarch's junior Gamemaker is lying dead on the ground.

Plutarch draws in a sharp breath. "Gale, get to cover. Obviously, someone didn't get knocked out." He pulls up the security screen, where a team of masked guards is creeping stealthily down the hall toward the cell block.

"They're headed for the cell block," Plutarch says calmly. "It won't take them long to figure out where you got out."

Gale pauses. "I'm um… I'm sorry about your guy there."

"Thank you." Plutarch thinks about it. "There's an arroyo on the far side of the prison wall. Climb in."

"An…" Gale bites his lip.

Johanna, who has been listening in on one of the other soldiers' earpieces, says, "Plutarch, what the hell is an arroyo?"

"A really big drainage ditch. This one's lined with concrete. Get into it. It leads to the lake."

"Great," she mutters. "Ditches. My favorite. So easy to defend." She starts to move, but is suddenly gripped by another spasm in her arms and legs. She falls to the ground.

Gale tries to take his coat off, either to cover her or to carry her, but he can't get to it under his equipment. Something white flashes, and the camera turns to Annie, who's taken off the Peacekeeper's coat, leaving her otherwise uncovered. Gale wraps the coat around Johanna, but she doesn't stop shuddering. "It's a seizure," he says. "I don't think we're climbing down anywhere."

"Climb," Johanna says through clenched teeth. "Leave me here. I'll take some out."

"The only things you're going to take out are your own fingers," Gale says. He pushes off his heavy backpack and hands it to Annie. "Can you take that?" he asks.

She looks at it like it might explode (in Annie's head, many things explode), then nods solemnly. She grunts as she puts it on, and it bends her over slightly, but she's in reasonably good shape. They haven't done anything to her physically, as far as I can see.

Gale quickly arranges the long coat around Johanna. He squats in front of her. "Get on my back," he says.

"You don't have to carry me."

"Stop wasting time. I'll keep you steady with the coat, but I don't have time for your pride."

"If I were you," I say, "I'd take the knife away from her after that."

He ignores me and gets her arranged on his back, tying the sleeves and tails of the coat around himself for extra support. She manages to get her arms around his neck for balance. The knife is near Gale's face.

Burdened this way, they make their way across the prison grounds. A sluggish guard sees them, but he's too slow. One of Gale's soldiers puts him down with a shot to the head.

They reach the arroyo and find a rail ladder going down to the bottom. There's a thin trickle of water.

Johanna makes a high-pitched noise, then bites down, hard, on the collar of Gale's coat.

"What the…" I start, but I can't even come up with a theory.

Plutarch switches his voice over to the hovercraft. "Is Peeta Mellark stable?" he asks.

Boggs comes on. "We sedated him with the knockout gas, and we're getting his leg functional again while he's out, but he's physically stable. We've given him medication for the allergic reaction he seems to be having to whatever he was given."

"Good," Plutarch says. "I need you to sweep down over the arroyo. We have an injured prisoner and no transport."

"It's risky," Boggs says.

"It's also an order."

"Done."

Gale moves his group as quickly as he can move them toward a low bridge over the arroyo. The sky is darkening, and I can see that the little trickle of water at the bottom is starting to flow faster. When they reach the bridge, Gale lets Johanna down. She is no longer seizing. She yells and scrambles halfway up the side. She tries to get further, but he pulls her down. "Nothing's hurting you," he says. "Calm down."

She wrenches her arm away from him and tries to climb again.

Something booms. Gale grabs Johanna and forces her down the slope (he easily evades a wild swing of the knife), but there is another bang, and he grasps at his shoulder. Blood flows out between his fingers.

The hovercraft shimmers into view, and Boggs fires down at the Peacekeepers, spraying the ground so they can't get close. Someone lowers the claw. Annie screams, "No! Not dead!" Johanna refuses to stand in the water. Both of them fight their rescuers.

Plutarch grinds his teeth. "Sedate them," he orders Boggs.

Someone whose aim rivals Katniss's manages to get a tranquilizer into Johanna as she thrashes. Annie gives up and huddles, and someone is able to pick her up and carry her.

They are all drawn up into the hovercraft.

It turns for home.

In Command, a cheer goes up. It may be premature. They have a lot of ground to cover. But we got them out.

Except for Portia and the preps. Except for Caesar Flickerman, and the junior Gamemaker Orman, and Peeta's doctor.

Except for Effie.

Beetee ends the diversion broadcast. I wonder what the Capitol made of it. I doubt I'll ever find out.

Katniss and Finnick try to come into Command, but Plutarch shakes his head, and Coin nods. She orders them out.

"What's going on?" I ask.

Plutarch signals to a young tech who's been quite taken with Finnick. She comes over. Plutarch tells her, "Block all signals coming from the Capitol. Nothing on television outside this room. Even if we have to cut our own programming. And see if you can lead Everdeen and Odair someplace moderately comforting."

The tech leaves.

"And why," Coin asks, "are we blocking the signal? Do you expect a retaliation propo?"

"I expect actual retaliation," Plutarch says grimly.

We keep one screen on here for the Capitol broadcast, which is full of confused reports about the disruption in service and the collapse of the Viewing Center. They seem to already suspect that it was a diversion, and as we watch, they start to find the dead guards at the prison.

On the other screens, we get our daily reports from the districts. I listen, but I don't know how well I hear over a phantom buzzing in my head, a rising panic about what we're going to see when Snow takes to the air.

Winnow has made contact with her grandmother in Eleven, which people from Thirteen seem less than impressed with. She's also contacted Rue's family, the McKissacks, who've taken over the farm production. So much of the crop has been lost that everyone will need some belt tightening, but they've tightened their belts before and lived through it.

We are in the middle of a discussion with Baize Paylor in District Eight -- another argument about why Thirteen hasn't sent back-up troops -- when someone in the back of the room shouts, "They're on!"

Coin cuts off the conversation with Paylor and brings up the sound on the Capitol broadcast.

They are in City Center. Snow is standing at the podium where he gives his speech for each year's games. In front of him, barely recognizable in prison clothes, with no make-up or hair treatment, are Peeta's preps and Portia. They are being made to kneel in front of Peacekeepers. Effie isn't with them. I'm ashamed of the relief that goes through me. The four people there are going to die. I'm sure of it. I have no business being relieved about anything.

"We will not tolerate treason," Snow says, with no preliminaries. "These allies of the rebellion have aided and abetted the treason of Districts Twelve and Thirteen, through their association with Haymitch Abernathy and Katniss Everdeen, who have just abducted Peeta Mellark, Johanna Mason, and Annie Cresta from their secure locations in the Capitol."

The person holding Peeta's hair stylist, Claudia, pulls her forward and yanks her head back so the camera gets a good shot of her face. She is dirty and crying.

"Claudia Covington," Snow intones. "You are guilty of crimes against Panem. You gave comfort and succor to enemies of the state. You are sentenced to death."

With a flat, unimpressive bang, Claudia slumps forward, her blood pooling around her, her face vanished.

"Sergius Reed," Snow calls out, and Peeta's skin prep is called forward, accused, and shot. His team medic, Valentine Torbert, gets the same accusation, with the added charge of having prevented justice against me by feeding me detox pills that counteracted the poison Snow fed me. She is shot, and her body is thrown unceremoniously down with the others.

Portia is dragged forward. She isn't crying. She glares at Snow. "The end is coming," she says. "It's over here. Everyone knows it."

Snow looks back dully. "Are you quite finished?"

"We're just starting."

"This woman, known as Portia Tate in the Capitol," Snow says, "is hereby stripped of all Capitol privileges. Under her true name, Pingala Tyler, she will be marked forever as a traitor to Panem."

"Not to Panem!" Portia cries out. "I renounce you, Snow. I believe in Panem."

"She is an accessory to the traitor, Cinna Barrett -- "

"Cinna is a hero!"

" -- and an agitator in her own right. She passed messages for the rebellion -- "

"I'm passing one now! Keep fighting!"

" -- and gave material aid to them. She spread disinformation -- "

"You're the only one with disinformation!"

" -- and her actions resulted in the deaths of many of our fine officers today."

"Fine torturers!"

Snow sighs and looks at her guard. "Do still Miss Tyler's flapping tongue."

There is a blast that seems deafening -- or maybe it's just in my head -- and Portia falls silent.

The camera closes in on Snow. "This is the price to be paid for today's actions, a small price. I remind our friends in Thirteen that anyone who has given them aid or comfort is a traitor, and will be dealt with."

Faces float up in my mind -- mostly Katniss and Peeta's sponsors, who are a matter of public record. Aurelian Benz and his friends. Julian Day. The Daughters of the Founding. The nice couple who gave the kids all of their wedding presents. A long list of lonely old women, who just wanted to feel like they were helping out those sweet young kids who loved each other so much. I got as much as I could out of them, and now, I've put them in Snow's line of fire.

But really, there's only one name that comes to me. I'm ashamed of that. I should be thinking of all of them, but all I can see is Effie, Effie at the lake shore, trying to convince me that it wasn't all bad, that there were good things. Effie putting her arms around me and kissing me. Effie looking after my tributes, holding my hand in the cold car where their bodies made the trip back to Twelve.

Snow doesn't know any of that, I tell myself. I kept a safe distance. She's my escort. That's all Snow knows. He thinks she's still brainwashed.

I imagine Plutarch and Fulvia are thinking of their families. I don't know if Cressida has a family in the Capitol, though she looks pale and drawn. All of us who have spent time in the Capitol have people there who mean something to us. Finnick may hate his clients, but he's known to be friends with other people engaged in his business, and regularly brings them food and clothes. Beetee has worked with several of the scientists, and has long-standing ties to the business community, where he sells his inventions. Annie, during her more lucid times, is a great shopper, and is on a first name basis with any number of shopkeepers in the fashion district. I don't know who else has connections left there.

All I know for sure is that, whoever they are, they've all been lined up for Snow now, and there's nothing else we can do for them.

Except win the war. Quickly.

We establish contact with Boggs's team on the hovercraft, which is taking a roundabout northerly route home. Gale gives the report. His shirt is off and he's wearing a sling. There's a large bruise and bloody patch under his shoulder.

"Just a little shrapnel," he says. "Probably concrete from the arroyo. It's not very deep. They can get it when we get back."

"Very well, Soldier Hawthorne," Coin says. I notice her eyes scanning him with detached interest, and remember the cold feel of Beckett's hand on my back. I decide to keep a close eye on this. "Well done."

"Thank you, ma'am."

"What's the condition of the prisoners?" I ask.

"Annie Cresta is fine. They'll want to do a more detailed work-up on her back in District Thirteen, but she has no visible injuries. She's obviously been terrorized, but she's holding up. She's helping the medics sort out bandages now." He gives a sheepish shrug. "It's make-work, but she's doing it."

"Good," Plutarch says. "And Peeta?"

Gale shakes his head. "It's bad. He hasn't regained consciousness. They have his leg functional again, but they had to replace several circuits that were fried out. Luckily, they're standard equipment, and we had them on hand. He's had a few seizures. He's burned. There's at least one broken rib, and they've been injecting him with some kind of toxin. We don't know what. The medics guess that he was in the hospital for respiratory arrest. They don't understand everything that's going on, but he's obviously been beaten and shocked repeatedly."

"Do you have any idea what they'd be injecting him with?" I ask Plutarch.

He shakes his head and glances at Fulvia, who gives him a blank look in return.

Gale wipes his hand over his brow. "Whatever it is, they're going to need to have a medical team on hand. He's in really bad shape, Haymitch. We should have gotten him earlier."

Coin purses her lips. "And what of Johanna Mason?" she asks. "Your extra passenger."

"The medics aren't sure how she moved as long as she did," Gale says. "They've been soaking her and shocking her, and they had her hung by her arms a lot. There might be permanent nerve damage. She's got an upper respiratory infection from being naked and wet for days. Three cracked ribs -- she says that's their favorite bone to break -- and a lot of lacerations from being shaved. Her head and… other things. Supposedly so they wouldn't smell hair burning when they shocked her."

"She's been speaking?" Coin asks. "I was under the impression that she was sedated."

"She's fighting it," Gale says, not without admiration. "She keeps coming up from under it and asking for a gun or an axe."

"That's Jo," I say.

He nods. "We're en route," he says. "No obstacles expected. I'd like to go sit with them, if I could."

"You're dismissed," Coin says. The screen goes out.

Coin looks inclined to give one of her non-inspirational speeches, but most of Command has found other things to do. Plutarch is on the wire with Orman and Galerius, instructing them to get as far underground as they can, out of the Capitol if possible. Beetee is scanning the airwaves. I occupy myself with trying to find one of Plutarch's uncompromised spies (to my shock, the president of the Muttation Appreciation Society, Soranus Wallingford) and getting him to see what he can do for the sponsors, especially Aurelian Benz and the kids from the street fair. He tells me that Aurelian is already in the underground, and was able to speak to Peeta twice. "And his grandfather," Soranus adds, "has been wiping out the bank accounts of half of Snow's biggest backers. Adamaris Brinn is bankrupt." He smiles wickedly, and I try to care about this development.

The meeting lets out around eight. I think about finding Katniss and Finnick, but they're reported to be keeping each other sane in the hummingbird room. I'm not sure I would be helpful in that endeavor right now.

I can't think where else to go, so I go back to the apartment. Dalton is there, painting a picture of a dog. Or maybe a cat. Something with four legs, at least, which isn't a cow. It has pointed ears. I entertain the possibility that it's a rabbit.

"Dry?" he asks.

"Wishing I weren't. But, yeah. It's been a busy day."

"They get 'em?"

"What?"

"I talked to Boggs's wife. She said they were going to the Capitol to recover the prisoners."

"Oh." I am not sure how much of this is allowed out of Command, so I just say, "Yes. They're on the way back."

He nods and gestures at a picture of Effie. "Your lady friend coming?"

I open my mouth to tell him that Effie's a friend, that her lady-ness is not a part of it, but the whole thing sticks in my throat. I see Portia falling to the ground. And the preps. I think of Effie, there in prison, where Snow can get to her any time he wants to. Stripped of all of her creature comforts. Possibly stripped entirely, judging by Johanna and Annie. I don't think about Maris Brinn, or any of the others Finnick talked about. I don't think about what Snow would consider a particularly nasty revenge.

I swallow hard and say, "They couldn't get to Effie."

"Well, like your girl noticed, they probably won't kill her."

"What do you mean?"

"They have her to hold against you, don't they? Knowing it'll drive you crazy. Make you want to sink into a pretty deep bottle."

I shake my head. "I don't treat Effie very well. I doubt anyone in the Capitol is under the impression that I'm in love with her, except for a few diehard gossip reporters. Even most of them have moved on to more interesting scenarios."

"Interesting ain't all it's cracked up to be. Snow's old enough to know that. I'd think you're old enough to know it, too."

"No one thinks I love her. I… we're not together. I'm just… used to her."

"You really believe you're not together, don't you?"

"I think I'd notice if we were." I look at her picture. "It was only a few kisses. We never…"

"You're not a kid, and neither is she. Sex is the least important line there is to cross, and you ought to know that by now. I have a feeling you crossed the other ones a long time ago. I'm not sure you would notice a difference if you slept with her at this point. What, exactly, do you think would change?"

"Do we need to talk about this right now?"

He frowns, then looks at me with a little more pity than I want. "I'm sorry, Haymitch. You're right."

I'm quiet for a few minutes, then I say, "Do you think everyone knows? Do you think Snow does?"

"I don't know the man," he says. "He could be looking for obvious signs. He might not know."

He's lying, and he's not good at it. "He's going to hurt her," I say. "Because of me."

"Anything I can do?"

I shake my head. "If I could think of something to do, I'd be doing it." Before he can push this any further, I point to his painting. "That's your… dog?"

He winces. "My horse."

"Oh. Sorry." I try to make small talk. I don't do very well. All I can think of is the transport coming back. I want a drink, and Dalton knows it, but he doesn't acknowledge it.

It's midnight when the speaker beside wall-Effie beeps. I press the button to answer it.

"They're back," Beetee says. "Get Katniss and Finnick from the hummingbird room, and meet everyone in the hospital."

"Is everyone awake? Is Peeta lucid?"

"They're in radio silence," Beetee says. "We've been picking up Capitol scans. No reason to turn them into a target."

I am suddenly wide awake. I run to the elevator and take it down to Special Weaponry. Katniss and Finnick are sitting there among the birds. Katniss is making nooses. Finnick is crouched with his hands over his ears. I pass on Beetee's message.

Katniss is on her feet immediately, but Finnick seems to be in shock. He lets Katniss lead him to the elevator.

When we get out into the hospital, we're nearly hit by a gurney on which Johanna has finally given in to the sedative. She's raced off to a treatment room. Katniss spots Gale being treated for his shoulder wound and calls to him, but a nurse slams the door.

"Finnick!"

I look up. Annie, wrapped in a sheet, is running toward us, calling for Finnick. He meets her halfway, and they slam into a wall, clinging to each other. I don't think I've ever seen either of them look so happy.

Boggs looks exhausted when he comes over, but happy. "We got them all out," he says. "Except Enobaria…"

I raise my eyebrows, wondering when Enobaria even ended up on the list of victors he was supposed to retrieve. Maybe that was the deal Plutarch cut with Janus. He tells Katniss and me that Peeta is waking up now, and is at the end of the hall.

Katniss smiles widely, her hand going up to her mouth, her fingers dancing over the smile as if she can't quite believe it's there.

I grin at her. "Come on, then," I say. Boggs follows us.

The door is still open on the treatment room, and we can see him most of the way down the hall. Doctors are checking his responses and taking his pulse. He seems stunned. They've given him a pair of pants, but I can still see his bruised and sunken chest. Katniss doesn't seem to register it. She picks up speed, opens her arms to him.

He jumps down off the table, and for a minute, I am seeing Annie and Finnick rushing toward each other, clinging together.

I raise my hand to wave, figuring he won't want anything to interfere with this particular hello.

My hand is still hanging uselessly in the air when he starts to strangle her.
11 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
redrikki From: redrikki Date: October 28th, 2015 05:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
I caught you sneaking details about Aurelian Benz and his grandpa. Nice. On the other hand, I thought the two junior gamemakers who helped out got killed when their van was attacked. I guess I misread that since Plutarch is giving them instructions to go into hiding after the rescue mission.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 29th, 2015 06:22 am (UTC) (Link)
The ones on Gale's team died. Orman and a couple of others were still alive.

I figured I'd let Justinian do some damage.
sonetka From: sonetka Date: October 28th, 2015 06:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
Nice! But while I agree with Haymitch on most things, I think practicality might need to rule the day when it comes to things like broadcasting pictures of Peeta's cell. Yes, ideally, nobody should see it unless he's OK with it, however, since it would cut down on the chance of his being shanked as a "traitor" considerably, it might be better to say to hell with it and broadcast the images anyway, just to make sure everyone's clear on the subject.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 29th, 2015 06:24 am (UTC) (Link)
While I agree that it would be the practical thing, I probably wouldn't do it, at least not without asking Peeta (which, to be fair, Haymitch thought he'd be doing shortly). It just seems like part of the D12 "Keep your private torments to yourself" sort of attitude.
sonetka From: sonetka Date: October 31st, 2015 12:39 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, it's definitely very D12. I can see why Haymitch is thinking it, it's just as an outsider I'm thinking "No! Take pictures! Broadcast them! People are idiots and they need to see this pronto!"
From: (Anonymous) Date: October 29th, 2015 02:21 am (UTC) (Link)
Of course I can't find it now, but there was a quite in there when I think it was supposed to be quiet
From: (Anonymous) Date: October 29th, 2015 02:22 am (UTC) (Link)
And that posted before I finished, just wanted to say thank you for posting, still enjoying reading a second time around!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 29th, 2015 06:26 am (UTC) (Link)
I'll see if I can find the "quite." "Quite/quiet" may not make my tombstone the way dropped indefinite articles will ("Here Lies Fern, Who Never Missed the Opportunity to Skip an Article"), but it will definitely hit my lists of typo sins to account for before the Heavenly Editorial Board.
From: queen_bellatrix Date: October 31st, 2015 05:20 am (UTC) (Link)

Some Catches/Feedback

they reach the bridge. Think that period just needs to be a comma.

and as an agitator Think the as there should be is?

them, if I could." Should the period there be a question?

and get him to see what he can do Should the get there be getting, since he found him? (Tenses are way too confusing, and I'm not even entirely sure on that one.)

I go to back to Just that first extra to.


quite for a few minutes Just the odd quite in place of quiet, if you haven't already grabbed it!

Gaaah, I continue to love all your edits. You're getting in so many little details about minor characters--Aurelian's badass grandfather!--and it just makes the tapestry of the story seem so much richer. And Dalton. I absolutely adore all the dimensions you're adding to Dalton and Haymitch's friendship on rewrite; though Haymitch probably wouldn't see it as friendship, he desperately needs a friend. And that man speaks sheer, level-headed sense; it's so refreshing, and he needs to be in easy contact for Haymitch so he can do it on a regular basis post-war. (This is the beauty of edits; I mean, I liked Dalton, but he wasn't one of those characters I had especially strong feelings about the first time through.)

That last scene between them, talking about Effie; again, Dalton's entirely right about sex being the least important line to cross. That Haymitch thinks it is, or at least that not crossing it won't make someone a target is such a great way of showing without telling in just how many ways parts of Haymitch's brain are still sixteen.

And Haymitch: normally, I'd think that being frustrated that he was thinking of Effie while there was so much tragedy was the sign of an empathetic person, and in a way, it is. But it's also the sign of someone who thinks he has absolutely no real worth; he's not worthy to have personal concerns in this mess. I look at your traumatized Haymitch, and I'm not normally a violent person, but if I could enter a story, I would throttle Snow without a moment's hesitation.

Also: you have a real gift for ending chapters at the perfect moment. And those executions; they were such a throw-away line in the book, but they had so much power and significance here because we'd seen what good, and for most of them innocent, people they all were. And the callous finality of their deaths, how almost routine they were: entirely gruesome and perfectly Snow.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: November 1st, 2015 07:34 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Some Catches/Feedback

I think the "I'd like to... if I could" is one of those weird questions that's actually phrased and punctuated as a declarative sentence.

Poor Haymitch really is stuck at sixteen in a lot of ways. He never committed to growing up, and his longest relationships are with other people who were deeply scarred around the same age.

I'm not sure it's just the Games that make him feel worthless, though. Even before that, he was bullied and treated like dirt, and, outside of his family, he was treated as worthless. Treat someone as worthless long enough, and starts to think of demanding even the smallest personal consideration as an act of great defiance.
From: (Anonymous) Date: November 5th, 2015 07:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm going to echo the others and say that I like your scene much better than the movie one as well. There are multiple reasons for this but of course adding Jo's rescue, and her fierce determination despite her fear and pain, are frosting on the cake. The execution scene is heartbreaking. Portia especially because it's through your stories that we have been able to get to know her so much better. Like Cinna, she is a fierce protector in addition to being a very brave woman. I will also second those who mentioned their love of the Haymitch/Dalton conversation. You are right. Effie and Haymitch's relationship is extremely intimate, despite not having sex. Even with Effie's "highjacking" back Capitol Dreams, she still retains her love for Haymitch. This also just ups Snow's creepy factor too. He's so cruel and ruthless but he understands love very well. Wonder how he figured it out.
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