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Repost: The Narrow Path, Chapter 13 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
Repost: The Narrow Path, Chapter 13
I decided to take some time to explain D9's behavior, and tweaked a little bit of the rest.

Chapter Thirteen
It takes a few seconds for it to register in Command. I notice her go down first. The wounded man she was talking to lowers his gun, looking at it like it might have caused the shot, though it didn't. He sets it down and proceeds to crawl toward her, muttering, "Medic, medic."

No one seems to know where the shot came from, and gunfire breaks out in the closely packed square. I see some of our soldiers go down, and some of the wounded from the Nut. People on both sides are calling for a cease-fire. It takes a minute or two for me to realize that a lot of the wounded have turned on the Capitol soldiers. Our rebels are just standing on the sidelines. This last gunfight is District Two against itself.

Someone pushes through the smoke and grabs the mike off of Katniss's uniform. I almost don't recognize Lyme until Katniss's cameraman gets an angle on her.

"Cease fire!" she calls. "All sides. District Two! Cease fire immediately!" She somehow manages, by the force of her voice and her personality, to get the gunfire to stop. "We need a medic," she says. "Katniss Everdeen is injured. She was injured trying to make peace among us." A medic scurries in and starts examining her. Lyme goes on. "That's what this should be about. Do you think I don't understand loyalty to the Capitol? I have friends. Relatives among the Peacekeepers, and I don't hate them. But breaking Snow's regime is not turning our backs on our friends. It's saving Panem from a disease that's eating it from the inside out, and has been since the Dark Days. It's time to cure it, and take down the empire. It's time to take the districts back into the hands of their own citizens.

"How many of our children have we given up to the arena? How many have we trained to be killers? I know I was trained, from childhood up. When I became a victor, I realized that my life was over. My training had led to one place, and after it, there was nothing. I wasn't allowed to work. I didn't know how to do anything other than survive. That's no way to live. I know I’m not the only victor to feel that way. But in Two, we've raised all of our children to build their lives around the possibility of being reaped, and so many of them come out of it, having missed the arena, not even knowing what life is about.

"This is District Two -- the victors' district. And all of us know that doesn’t mean anything good. It's time to stop being victors, and be human beings again."

"Maybe we should have had her in the propos," Plutarch mutters.

Coin gives him an unreadable look, and a cold thought crosses my mind: Lyme wants to give the districts into their own control. Coin does not like that idea at all.

I try to force the thought away, but it won't quite leave. I don't like Coin, and I don't like her government, and -- as Peeta adjured us -- I have given a great deal of thought to whether or not I trust them. I hadn't considered the idea that Coin might just move into the Capitol, pick up Snow's toys, and start playing.

Until now.

Unfortunately, I don't have time to think about it, and there's no way we can win the war without her arsenal, so I can't do anything about it.

The medic examining Katniss calls for a stretcher and pulls her earpiece. I speak loudly enough for him to hear me through it. "How is she?"

He takes her smaller mike, the one connected to my ear, and says, "The bullet didn't penetrate the armor, but there is significant impact damage. I need to examine her in the medical craft. Prepare an operating room. I suspect internal bleeding."

I give the orders, barely waiting for a nod from Coin, then brace myself and go to Ruth. We have not been running the battle live in Thirteen, though it was run in the other districts, so she has no idea that Katniss has been in a battle until I tell her that she needs to get a team to prep for emergency surgery.

She is in her element here, and doesn't do any of the panicked things I expect. She takes my side of the earpiece and establishes contact with the medic on the hovercraft, then orders me to find Prim and tell her.

Prim is in Peeta's observation room doing nothing -- it's simply become the place she comes when she's lonely and bored, I think -- and she jumps to her feet and rushes off to join her mother as soon as I tell her what's going on.

By the time the hovercraft has arrived, I've explained the situation to everyone except Peeta. I have more information, filtered through Ruth and the doctors who are preparing to receive her. Her spleen may be ruptured. They have been draining abdominal blood. Spleens are useful, but not necessary for life. She may be more prone to pneumonia in later life (presuming there is such a thing for her). There are no broken bones. She is under anesthesia. I am confused and tired by the time she's brought in for surgery.

I go back to the observation room and sleep out the rest of the day. Prim wakes me up briefly to tell me the surgery is over, and Katniss will be all right, then pulls a blanket over me and lets me sleep again. Sometime around bedtime, Dalton manages to lug me out of the observation room and, with Gale's help, gets me back to the apartment to sleep out the night. I hear them talking about me, but their words are vague and muddled. I feel drunk.

I don't really wake up until the next morning. I go back to the hospital and visit Katniss. She's still unconscious. Johanna has asked if she can share the room. "I figured I'd ask before I got assigned to be her keeper, anyway," she says dismissively, pushing her IV pole up to the edge of Katniss's bed and looking at her clinically. "Other people take bullets and actually get hurt. She'll have a little stomach ache. Lyme died."

I look up. "What?"

"It was confusing in the firefight at first. Gale didn't notice her going down. But she got shot. No nicely ruptured spleen that she can live without. It tore a hole through her guts." She presses at her morphling drip. "One more victor down. That's eighteen in the arena. And how many in the Viewing Center?"

"Plutarch said there were sixteen. Only six got out."

"Well, two of them are down now. Did you know that they executed Norton and Grimes in Nine?"

"I... Snow just outright killed them?"

"Not Snow," Johanna says.

This takes a minute to sink in. "I didn't hear anything about that," I say.

"That's because you're not at all the Command meetings."

I frown. "You're not at any Command meetings."

"Gale is." She shrugs. "I told him I wanted to go back to Seven as soon as I could, and suddenly I'm hearing about victors being executed in the districts. Maybe it's supposed to be a secret. I don't really like secrets. I didn't really like Norton and Grimes, either. But they were ours." She sits down on the edge of her bed. "Anyway, with all that going on, I figured Brainless here could probably use a bodyguard who doesn't have to leave at lights-out. Also, they're giving her more morphling than she needs."

"Tell me you're not siphoning her painkillers, Jo."

Another shrug. "Sorry. I'm not your official Team Liar. Try again."

I consider telling her that she needs to seriously think about what she's doing, that morphling is no joke. Imagining the mad peals of laughter at my hypocrisy stops that idea cold. I tell her to take care of herself.

Back at observation, Delly has managed to convey to Peeta that Katniss was injured, and he's asking to see the injury. The other doctors, especially the psychiatrists, are horrified at the request, but I actually understand this one. I find him a photograph taken during surgery for the doctors to examine and show it to him. He puzzles over it, and asks for an anatomy book. I get him one of those as well, and leave him to sort out that the bloody girl in the picture is, in fact, perfectly human. I have a feeling we'll have to go through this a few more times, or a dozen, or a hundred. Snow's people did their work well.

I go down to Command and find Plutarch and Fulvia in the production booth with Finnick and Annie. They're going through Katniss's speech in District Two.

"That's definitely not going to work to rally our Capitol rebels," Plutarch says. "They like to have a pretty clear distinction drawn between the Capitol and Snow. Lyme's speech will work better."

"Are you going to show her getting shot right after?" I ask.

Everyone looks up. "You heard about that?" Plutarch asks.

"Yeah. And a few other things you've been skipping. Something about executing victors."

He sighs. "I don't know where you heard that."

"Is it true?"

"Yes, it's true. Don't ask me what was going on in anyone's head out there, though. We haven't got it all sorted out yet."

"What have you sorted out?"

"This isn't approved," Fulvia says, looking around nervously. "Plutarch, they may be listening."

"They may be," Finnick says. "We definitely are. What's going on, Heavensbee?"

"I…" Plutarch looks at Annie. "This could be upsetting."

"I'm all right," Annie says, holding onto Finnick. "I'm not alone."

"Damn straight you're not," I say.

She smiles at me.

I look at Plutarch. "So what happened?"

He looks to Fulvia.

"Not bugged," she says. "But I seriously question the wisdom of this conversation. This was a closed session. Someone's going to want to know who talked."

"Not if we don't let on that we know," Annie says.

"It was Darla Grimes and Will Norton," Plutarch tells her, giving in. "They both got out of the fight at the Viewing Center, but the idiots didn't stay in the Capitol. They went home."

"Why would they have stayed in the Capitol?" Finnick asks. "They didn't have friends there. Nine kept to itself."

"I'm going to have to give a history lesson," Plutarch says. "Will you be patient? I can't answer the question without it." We all make assenting noises, and he nods. "During the Dark Days, some of the worst fighting happened out in Nine. They weren't the most radical district at the time, but they did control a lot of the supply of food staples, and all that flat, empty land made it easy for troops to cross from both directions. They sided with the districts, of course -- the districts were fairly united then -- so the Capitol troops treated them like dirt. They quartered themselves in district housing, scavenged houses and barns and fields… and fed other appetites as well. War can be ugly. By the time the war was over, District Nine was burned and pillaged several times over, and the population… well, obviously the destruction wasn't as severe as what happened in Twelve, but… it was severe. They probably lost seventy percent of their people. The ones that were left were angry. And they've passed that down with their blood."

I think about Gale again. About the Nut going down.

"So… Grimes and Norton were fighting for the Capitol?" Finnick asks.

"I don't know," Plutarch says. "I hadn't heard if they were. They weren't doing propos, or anything particularly noticeable if they were."

Annie frowns. "But executing them… their own people… if it wasn't during a fight, then why?"

"Will Norton won the Twenty-Third Games. He was… well, something like Haymitch."

"What's that supposed to mean?"

"He was brilliant," Plutarch says, pulling up pictures of the victors as he speaks. "Never satisfied with anything. He made a pest of himself before he was reaped, telling everyone better ways to do things."

"I never did that."

"No. But, then, you were too young to be in the mines, telling them what to do. Kids as young as eight work the fields in Nine, and Will was full of ideas. Small towns and bright ideas don't always have the best relationship."

I look down. I suppose this is true.

Plutarch goes on. "Anyway, when Will became a victor, he stopped being like Haymitch. He didn't just seclude himself out in their town -- which would have meant never seeing anyone at all, given how isolated it is. He used his money and influence to force his ideas down people's throats. Sometimes they worked, sometimes they didn't. You can imagine which times the people remembered. But if they didn't fall in line, he would berate them and call them stupid and backwards. If that didn't work, he'd tell the Capitol liaison that the farmers were deliberately balking at doing work that would increase the output. After Heck Whiting won the Thirtieth Games, the two of them were out there alone, and all Heck had for an influence was his mentor. The culture wasn't really conducive to good relations with the rest of the district. Neither of them ever married. The ladies -- Darla Grimes and Thelma Cotton -- won in back to back years, Thirty-Sixth and Thirty-Seventh, and they were the last victors Nine ever had. They credited their wins to Heck and Will's attitude. Thelma was decent on her own, and Darla was at least tolerable, but the four of them out there together, with no one else to challenge them?" He shakes his head. "It was a bad brew. There was always bad blood with the farmers. They imagined the Capitol actually chose to reward 'toadies' with the wins."

"Did they?" Finnick asks. "I mean, the Gamemakers. Did they give away the wins?"

"No. The wins were fair and square, or as fair and square as it ever was in the arena. They sometimes chose losers -- "

"In other words, they sometimes murdered kids because they felt like it," I translate.

" -- but they didn't choose the victors among the survivors. Victors' Village in Nine just had a poisoned atmosphere."

"So they were executed. For collaboration." Finnick looks at the pictures, which show four innocuous looking tributes in old-fashioned hairstyles.

"No," Fulvia says. "They were executed for being victors. All the rest is just scene-setting."

"How do you know?"

"They were shackled to their houses in the Village and the houses were blown up."

The image that comes into my head is both terrifying and strangely familiar from old movies from the Capitol: A gang of farmers with pitchforks storming the castle to kill the monsters.

And this is our side.

"And what are we going to do about that?" I ask.

"At the moment, there's nothing we can do. We win the war, then get a platform to deal with these kinds of things."

"These kinds of things," I repeat, dazed.

Plutarch turns back to his instruments. "Right now, we need to focus on taking the Capitol down. We're at something of a disadvantage, because these days average Capitol citizens associate the rebellion with Thirteen, which has suddenly become quite the topic of Capitol conversation."

"How so?"

"You really want to know?"

I nod, and he cues up a video. It's Caesar Flickerman on television again, but looking thin and haunted under his jet black hair. I wonder who is being held behind the cameras. He manages to ignore his appearance and put on his jovial host's smile to welcome a young couple that "escaped" District Thirteen. ("They're real enough," Plutarch says. "I checked.") Having taken refuge in the Capitol, they are grateful to the kind and generous citizens of Panem. They report on the regimented schedules, the highly restricted food supply, the constant militarization.

"And we weren't allowed to be together there," the young woman says. "We had a sickness go through the district when I was a child, and I can't have children. My husband can father them, and it was decided that it would be a waste for him to marry me. He was supposed to marry someone 'functional.' We loved each other since we were little. We ran away instead." She smiles. "We adopted a little boy here in the Capitol, and we love him, and we have a good home."

Caesar's audience cheers.

"People in the Capitol didn't even know Thirteen existed," Finnick says. "How can they have immigrants?"

"They probably just lied to their new neighbors about their origin until now," Plutarch says. "The point is, they are there, and they, along with several of Snow's spies who've made it in and out over the years, have created a narrative about how people will be rounded up and forced to live in tunnels, where their children, should they have them, will be taken away, and they will be forced to mate with whoever the district decides they should bear children to."

Finnick snorts. "As opposed to being forced to mate with whoever is lining Snow's pockets? Yeah, that's a tragedy."

"It's ridiculous," Fulvia spits.

"Well, seeing it from the outside..."

She rolls her eyes. "Please, Haymitch. They've got the Capitol half-convinced that Panem women are kept in pens here for the pleasure of men from Thirteen. It's not going to help the rebellion if we go into the Capitol and people think we're going to drag them off to do service in a militarized harem."

"Maybe we should try and separate the rebellion from Thirteen," I suggest.

"And just which weapons do you think we'd fight that war with?" Plutarch goes back to his original project. He flips through a few more screens of Katniss's speech. "If only we could get her talking with Peeta again, get them in love here. We could sell that. If they were together -- "

"He's programmed to kill her," I point out.

"I know. I’m not discounting that, though I would certainly love to show Snow something to make him think he failed. But I suppose even if we magically cured him today, it would be too much to ask for them to go back to their old show."

"Do you think so?" I mutter.

Finnick clears his throat. "I have a proposal," he says.

"What is it?" Plutarch asks.

"Not for you," he says. "For Annie." He turns to her and drops to his knee. "I've missed you. Every day you were gone was hell. And now that I have you back, I need to stay with you forever. Will you marry me, Annie?"

Annie puts her hands over her mouth, not quite covering her brilliant smile. "Yes! I will. You know I will."

He winks. "Well, I figured it was still good form to ask."

She laughs.

"Congratulations," I say. "I have no idea how they go about that in Thirteen."

"I checked. You sign papers and get assigned housing," Finnick says. "Which is very boring, which is why I brought it up here. You want to show the Capitol that people in Thirteen love each other perfectly well? We may not be up to the standards of your star-crossed lovers from District Twelve, but personally, I think we'll do. We'll make a show of it, and rub Snow's face in it." He squeezes Annie's hands. "No more rich old men. No more grabby old women. Just my wife. Forever. And Snow can't do a damned thing about it."

Plutarch nods, pleased. "Yes... and after your little soliloquy on the airtime assaults, they'll know exactly what it means."

I raise my eyebrows. "Finnick, do you really want to turn your wedding into a propo?"

"Yes." He looks at Annie. "But Annie gets the final call."

She bites her lip. "Well... yes. I think so. I could be wearing a beautiful dress. And maybe it should be outside. And I'll be smiling. And I'll marry the person he told me I couldn't have." She smiles. "I like it. Can we have a net?"

"A what?" Plutarch asks, and Annie starts to explain the wedding practices of District Four.

By morning, it's all over the district, and after that, life in Thirteen becomes about the wedding.

Dalton was an officiant in District Ten ("at least until I showed up drunk at Kate Markez's wedding"), and like so many other little things, the wedding ceremony has survived largely intact from Four, though all of them bemoan the absence of a man who apparently went around and offered some kind of traditional blessing. I offer to do it, but they laugh uncomfortably and I realize that this might be an underground religious practice, which I couldn't do… and Thirteen probably wouldn't be much fonder of than the Capitol was.

"You obviously don't use fishing nets for the binding," Finnick says to Dalton at dinner. "What do you use?"

"A poncho. The ladies spend weeks sewing scraps into patterns for it." He rolls his eyes. "Kind of old fashioned, only women doing it, but that's how it works. The men used to build a house, but then the Capitol got a bit snooty about who was allowed to build houses, so we didn't have anything left to do."

"It was the same in Four," Annie says, excited. "The women wove the net. The government stopped the men building houses, too, so they started building anchored rafts for people to fish from." She blushes. "And usually do a few other things on. Couples went to the raft after the wedding. They had fancy tents built on them."

Finnick kisses her cheek. "I don't think they'll let us have a raft. I mean, we're pretty close to a lot of lakes, but they're outside the compound."

"It's all right. It wouldn’t be the same to wake up without all the flower petals people would have been throwing onto the water all night anyway."

"We're going to go back to Four just as soon as we can," Finnick promises. "We'll have to live in your house. Mine's gone, I guess. We can see about getting a dog from Old Tonio..."

And they are gone, back into their world. The rest of us shake our heads at the damned silliness of it all, but I doubt I'm the only one who's a little bit jealous. I look at all of my hall mates, all of those lonely people in their middle years, and I wonder how many of them, like the woman who escaped to the Capitol, aren't alone by choice, but because it's been deemed useless to waste resources on non-productive unions.

If so, they don't let jealousy or bitterness prevent them from throwing themselves into the wedding. While Plutarch and I thrash things out with District Thirteen's power structure, which considers the lavish affair Plutarch wants to throw extremely offensive, the average citizens become increasingly engaged.

Apparently, the starkness of Thirteen isn't just necessity. Even when resources are available, they believe that showy uses of said resources are decadent, the road to living like flighty and brainless Capitol flit-abouts. "And look at the difference between the Capitol and the districts," someone says in one of the interminable meetings. "People who have resources can do so much more, and consume so much uselessly -- it's not fair. That's why we prohibited all displays of... of..."

"Decadence," Coin says. "We don't try to soften the minds of our people with constant bread and circuses." She raises an eyebrow at Plutarch, who has looked up, surprised. "I do read, Heavensbee," she says. "I am aware of the philosophy. And I am quite shocked that you would want to return to it."

And it's back to arguing in circles.

Coin is particularly annoyed that her people are becoming more and more invested in this particular circus, and she is forced to acquiesce to at least some of Plutarch's demands for fear of being seen as intransigent. She stresses repeatedly that this display is a propo, meant to show the Capitol that love exists in Thirteen, in a way that's simple enough for even them to understand.

Absolutely no one seems to care what the reasoning is. The dining hall and Promenade are taken over by people making decorations. When a call goes out for children to sing the wedding song, the whole school shows up. Plutarch wants to have auditions for the best singers, but Annie is so delighted that she declares they may all sing, and she will love all of them forever for doing it. Since they have been drilled in learning the songs of Thirteen, it doesn't take them all that long to learn a new one, though they seem prone to marching while they sing.

Even Katniss, who has been put into some hard physical recovery, is in the spirit of it. She has become very close to Finnick, having gone through hell with him, and she seems genuinely elated. She loans Annie her prep team (they are in ecstasy at the opportunity to prep a bride), and even gets an escort to District Twelve, so she can find Annie a dress among the creations Cinna left behind for her. These were, miraculously, untouched. Octavia is quite the seamstress, and takes over the necessary alterations. They also find a suit of Peeta's for Finnick. Plutarch is keen to name the origin of these items in the propo, but we talk him down from it. Annie and Finnick should be the stars of their own day.

Peeta hears about it, probably from Delly, and seems happy enough to help make little decorations out of leaves and wire. He asks, oddly, if I was at his parents' toasting. I tell him that I wasn't; it was during that year's Games. I don't tell him that almost no one was, because it was hastily arranged before her pregnancy started to show, and his friends didn't like her, and she didn't have many friends of her own. I think her sister went. I'm not sure I need to tell him this. He knows what they were like. He pauses in the middle of a reddish wreath and says, "I really don't understand them."

"Your mom and dad?"

He nods and gets back to work. "They just don't make sense. Can I have some leaves?"

And that's the end of it.

Because it will be a propo, Finnick and Annie do separate interviews to be cut into the footage, and they do one together. These are filmed in the faux luxury of the jugs instead of their sparse quarters. I take the opportunity to have a look around. I still think it looks like a parody of luxury. Then again, there are plenty of places in the Capitol that I think look like parodies, too.

I get bored watching the shoot (not to mention the never ending cuts to fix their hair and makeup) and go to visit Hazelle, who is currently trying to re-arrange appointments around the shooting schedule. She looks at one of the names -- Imogen Rollins -- and shakes her head. "I know her. She works the other shift. She's a year younger than Gale. What am I going to do when Gale starts applying for these things?" She sighs. "On the other hand, I do wish he'd meet someone. I love Katniss and I think she's missing out on the best man she could possibly know -- I may be a little biased there -- but I'm pretty sure that ship has sailed. I think he'd be happier if he turned his attention somewhere else."

"I think so, too," I say. "And I think Johanna Mason is planning to pounce as soon as he figures that out."

"Oh, I hope so. He likes her an awful lot. Her name is every third word out of his mouth at home, though I don't think it's dawned on him that he could just... move on with his life. Not yet."

Plutarch comes scurrying down from the rooms where they're shooting before this conversation can get much further.

"What is it?" I ask when he gets to the desk. "Don't tell me you're back on that kick of getting me on camera to talk about them."

"No," he says. "Though you should. I think people would love to see you. Think how happy it would make your little old ladies!" I grimace, not wanting to think about what Snow's doing to the Daughters of the Founding. Plutarch apparently realizes that this isn't comforting, so he just says, "It's Peeta."

"What?"

"I don't know what's going on, but I got a message from his doctors that he insists on seeing you."

"Go on," Hazelle says. "I'll worry about my kids. You go worry about yours. That's the way the world works."

I go. When I get to the hospital, I expect to find Peeta agitated, maybe off on one of his crazy rants. Instead, he's in a very good mood, and Delly, sitting off to one side, looks pleased as well.

"What is it?" I ask.

"When is the wedding?" Peeta asks.

"Saturday," I say. "Why?"

He looks at Delly and smiles. It is the old Peeta, the real Peeta. "I remembered Dad's wedding cake recipe. We didn't use it all that much, but it's not that different from the recipe for the other white cakes. It's the decorating that makes it special."

"And?"

"I want to make a cake. For the wedding." He holds his hand out to Delly, and she hands him the notebook. The pages have been covered with drawings of fish and waves and boats. Finally, there is a picture of a four-tier cake, with leaping dolphins and blue waves. "I can do it," he says, holding his hands out. They are perfectly still. "The tremors don't happen very often now, and I can always pull my hands away when I feel one coming on. I drew all of that with only a few shake-breaks. I can do it. But the doctors won't let me. They say I can't leave the hospital, and I can't very well bake a cake or frost it in here."

I look through the sketches, and a feeling completely foreign to me rises up. I can't name it. It's just a sense that this is the right thing, the best thing that could happen.

Delly gives me a list of ingredients. Peeta will only give vague estimates of how much of each thing he needs (I can hear Danny jealously guarding his secrets here), and I have to spend the afternoon having heated arguments with the nutrition police to get them. I call in Fulvia, who explains the concept to them, and finally flat out order them to obtain the ingredients. (This leads to them calling Coin, and she backs me up, but calls me to her private offices to remind me of the values of my new home.)

There is no question of letting Peeta simply have the run of the kitchen. Even I know that his delusions are prone to making appearances at the worst possible time. Armed guards stand at attention near the doors. He pays them no attention, except for once asking one of them if she wants to lick the spoon. Judging by her enthusiastic response, I think she'd lick anything he handed her, but he's completely oblivious.

Greasy Sae helps him with the preparation of the frosting. It will take a few days to properly decorate the cake, and of course it will have to cool before he can frost it. He gets some fruit preserves he'd asked for and melts them into the cake to begin with. The next day, he begins frosting, and the slow process of creating the vision from the notebook. By Friday night, it is nearly done, and he is just putting the last touches of color on the leaping dolphins. Sae is off at another assignment, and the guards seem to realize that a boy completely absorbed in his work is not about to go berserking around the compound.

As he finishes up a beautiful, almost transparent netting pattern with spun sugar, he says, quietly, "Will Katniss be at the wedding?"

I look up. It's the first time he's said her name in a normal, even-handed tone of voice. "Yes," I say carefully. "Why?"

"She'll see the cake? Will you tell her I made it?"

I look at the cake. "I don't think she'll need to be told. No one else could do this."

He picks up the little bride figure that he made, wearing the green dress that Katniss has loaned Annie. In this small a scale, it's hard to tell that she's not actually meant to be Katniss. He looks at it for a long time. "Haymitch..."

"What?"

He carefully places the figure on top of the cake. "I think I'm ready to see her." He takes a deep, shaky breath and squares his shoulders. "I want to see her, Haymitch. I want to see Katniss."
10 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
From: (Anonymous) Date: November 24th, 2015 08:47 am (UTC) (Link)
I like the extra insight into Nine. Nicely done!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: November 27th, 2015 07:03 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks!
From: (Anonymous) Date: November 24th, 2015 02:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, this was great; I liked the 9 psychology and the bit about Peeta asking to see the pictures of Katniss's insides, I didn't remember that from last time
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: November 27th, 2015 07:03 am (UTC) (Link)
I can just imagine him asking for odd things like that -- things that break the narrative Snow put in his head.
redrikki From: redrikki Date: November 24th, 2015 02:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
Man, you are just so good at this world-building stuff. Your scenario on Nine makes perfect sense, the analysis of the culture in Thirteen with regards to "decadence" makes sense, and it all just works. Forced scarcity as a way of maintaining edge having something for the government to control is perfect. I like how you don't spell out that Coin had Lyme killed, but man is it heavily implied.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: November 27th, 2015 07:05 am (UTC) (Link)
Even if she didn't actually do it, she would certainly not shed any tears over it.

The kind of stringent scarcity we see, really everywhere in Panem, has to be carefully maintained with a population that small in a resource rich area. There's no reason for anyone in that milieu to starve, except at the will of the governments.
From: (Anonymous) Date: November 25th, 2015 07:13 am (UTC) (Link)
Re-reading along with these posts, and still really enjoying! Thanks so much, as always, for sharing these rich stories.

- emkay
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: November 27th, 2015 07:06 am (UTC) (Link)
You're welcome. Thanks for reading along!
From: (Anonymous) Date: November 26th, 2015 09:41 am (UTC) (Link)

Narrative

(A little bit off topic for this chapter.) The aspect of THG that really fascinates me, and that you elaborate on richly, is the idea of narrative and its manipulation by both sides. Anyway, I read this article just now and it made me go - Plutarch and propos! And reminded me of the line in one of your ficlets where Paylor tells him that the news has to be news not propaganda (which, looking at journalism today, is not an easy distinction to make). In case you're interested
http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-34909636

Aylat
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: November 27th, 2015 07:02 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Narrative

That was a fascinating read! Thanks. I'm reading the follow-up article, too. (I'm glad I checked the "suspicious" comments... apparently any anon post with a link is considered suspicious by LJ!) So much of THG is about psychological warfare, on both sides of the war. Not a lot of books deal with it in such a head-on way, and I find it really interesting.
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