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HG: The Final Eight, Chapter Seven - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
HG: The Final Eight, Chapter Seven
Whoa. Eleven thousand words in two days. I'm a little punch drunk, I think. ;p

Anyway, we just passed Foxface's death. Delly's having repeated dreams about Peeta being stuck in a mine, and now he's being guarded by the two girls he killed. She's not exactly feeling great as the evening approaches.

Part Three: Recovering

Chapter Seven
I go outside for mandatory viewing. It's a very nice night out, objectively speaking, though everyone in the square looks tired. We may win. It's even likely. Or, as Effie Trinket might put it, the odds are in our favor.

But this has gone on too long, and too much has happened. Usually at this point in the games, we are helping families deal with their losses, which means we aren't paying attention to the stresses of the Games themselves.

I look for the Mellarks, but they are surrounded by reporters, along with the Everdeens. Prim is on screen again, biting her lip during the recaps. The viewers must really love seeing her. Mr. and Mrs. Mellark are holding hands and smiling, but I haven't forgotten the sound of the door slamming last night. If Ed's anything like Peeta, though, I won't find out from him what's going on. When there is not actual screaming happening, the Mellarks tend to be a little insular.

Other than Finch's death, nothing of importance happened this morning, and even Finch's death was not cinematically gripping, so most of the mandatory coverage is with the analysts and the reporters in the Districts. District Five is in mourning, its lights at half-lume. Finch's teachers are interviewed, and one of them is weeping outright. She shows sheaf of papers with incomprehensible diagrams on them and says, "Look what we lost today! Look what Panem lost!" They say they are going to interview her friends, but none show up.

Clove's family in District Two is interviewed, as Cato killed her killer. They are satisfied about Thresh, but still want Katniss's blood. Cato's family accuses the Games of showing favoritism to Katniss and Peeta, as though giving one contestant bread is somehow superior, in a violent competition, to giving another one body armor. In the Capitol Katniss and Peeta's fans express this, pointing out that any advantages they have now are results of their choices and actions earlier. Cato's fans point out that Katniss and Peeta are not being attacked by mutts.

On cue, Claudius returns and says, "Ah, yes, mutts. Genetically engineered plants and animals--commonly called muttations or mutts--have been with us since the days before the Catastrophes, when they were bred for work or amusement. Among the early muttations were glow-in-the-dark rabbits..."

He goes on in this vein, then finally breaks to a documentary about the history of genetic engineering. The early days were quite tragic, as agricultural territory wars broke out and peoples died out in a matter of generations when certain alterations meant to create better immunity proved to cause sterility. In the land that became Panem, these particular alterations had never been attempted. They were more interested in useful pest control animals and toy pets than in engineering better humans, a trait that has remained with the scientists of Panem, who of course are not in the least interested in changing the very nature of human beings. Instead, they have continued to make helpful waste-cleaners, assistant animals for the disabled (in the Capitol), and, of course, the war-mutts, like jabberjays and tracker-jackers, which proved instrumental in ending the Dark Days. They were designed not only to fill a functional duty, but to cause fear in the rebels. Because of this, they have traditionally been a part of the Hunger Games, with new muttations created nearly every year. "Unlike our jabberjays and tracker-jackers, though, these muttations are sterile, and only introduced in the arena."

The mutts have their own groups of fans, and the president of the Muttation Appreciation Society lovingly introduces all of the mutts which have appeared in the arena this year. They are still especially fond of "the classics," particularly the tracker-jackers Katniss dropped on the Careers early on, but an up and coming favorite is the guardian bird that kept Finch away from several edible shrubs she found. "This one has potential!" he enthuses. "I hope they keep developing it."

"We'll see, we'll see," Claudius cuts in. "But I am told that there is one more muttation in the works... and we may get a reminder of why they are feared."

I don't like the sound of this. The reporters are still surrounding the Mellarks and Everdeens, but they aren't live.

I move toward a bigger group of people and spot Leevy, who waves to me. "Doesn't sound good, does it?" she asks. "Do you think it's the end of the Games?"

I nod.

"Katniss can handle mutts," Gale says. He's sitting in a shadow, and I didn't see him at first. "If she can shoot it, she can handle it."

"What do you think he means about reminding people why mutts are scary?" I ask.

He shrugs. "Could be anything, with the Capitol. Shouldn't you be over there?" He nods toward the cameras.

"I'm not really loved by the camera," I say, sitting down beside him, so the bitterness in his voice won't carry. "Shouldn't you?"

"They already got me. I'll probably be on later. Usual stuff about how tough my cousin is."

"You're in love with her, aren't you?"

"Yeah. Not that it matters." He waves his hand at the screen, where she and Peeta are keeping each other warm in their cave.

"When they get back, I think they're both going to need all the love they can get," I say.

He doesn't argue. For a few minutes, we watch the report on fever pitch betting in the Capitol. Katniss and Peeta as a team are leaders, but among the people who think there will be an individual winner, Katniss is the clear leader. Cato has his District Two fans, and Peeta has a handful of real fanatics--to my surprise, they are mostly boys our age. Actually, despite the stupid Capitol fashions they're wearing, they don't look very different from anyone I sit in class with. Maybe that's why they're rooting for Peeta.

"Did you watch this morning?" Gale asks. "With the berries?"


"He had no idea. He's never even been in the woods, has he?"


"She practically lives in the woods. She has to have been really tired to not recognize nightlock right away. What do they have in common?"

"Saving each other's lives a lot," I say. "And the Games."

"Right. That." He watches them for a little while. "She sure seems comfortable there."

I don't say anything.

Gale sighs. "I guess she'll still need a hunting partner."

"Yeah," I say and put a hand on his shoulder. "That's not really something Peeta's good at."

He pats my hand, then gets up and walks away slowly, looking old and beaten.

"I'm impressed," Leevy says, sitting down in the spot Gale vacated. "I think that's the longest conversation I've seen Gale have with someone from town. What did you talk about?"

"Hunting," I say.

"I want to stay friends after the Games," she announces. "I'm so sick of the town and Seam thing, I may grab some nightlock myself if it starts up again."

I smile. The only classes we have in common are math and science, and I have no idea what else she likes, so I say, "I'll be your lab partner next year."

She makes a face. "Aaagh! Physics! I hope you're good at it, 'cause it just confuses me."

"I guess we'll find out," I say. We chat away the rest of mandatory viewing, not saying anything important. She has a brother who's the same age as Sam, and I call Sam out to meet him--they know each other in school, but like most of us, nowhere else. After about five minutes, Sam is off with Leevy's brother and his friends, playing a game of soldiers.

Ed finally joins us toward the end of the broadcast (his image is on screen, saying if Peeta can handle a jerk of an older brother like him, he can handle whatever the Gamemakers are planning) and sits down behind me, resting his chin on my shoulder. He and Leevy turn out to like the same music, and they talk about it for a while as Finch's death is re-broadcast and the station switches to a musical about a petty thief who falls in love with an honorable Peacekeeper.

Everyone is about to disperse (no one has been in a rush) when Mayor Undersee appears personally on the platform, flanked by Mrs. Undersee and Madge. He turns on the microphone.

"Friends in District Twelve," he says, "I think we can all see that Games are nearing their close. I've just received word that mandatory viewing will begin two hours early tomorrow. Please come together here in the square, one more time, to support our dear children, Katniss and Peeta, and to support each other. Thank you."

"We're baking tonight," Edder says. "Have bread for everyone tomorrow. To thank them."

"Your mom's okay with that?"

"It was her idea."

"I have an idea, too," Leevy says. She gives me a quick hug, then runs off toward the Seam, her brother in tow. Sam comes over to me and says he had the best time ever, then promptly falls asleep. Edder carries him back to my house, and we put him down to bed just as Mom and Dad get back. Mom has some flour for our own baking, and gives it to Edder to help with tonight's project. I ask if they can use an extra pair of hands.

"There's always a need to knead," Ed says seriously, then smiles and offers his hand. I take it and we head over to their place. We spend the night making long loaves of simple bread, spelling each other to sleep. Katniss stays up all night to let Peeta sleep in the arena, and as dawn comes, he takes over to let her sleep.

I fall asleep on the couch, but wake up in the early afternoon in Peeta's room. I can see my own window from here. We used to send each other signals with flashlights at night. The new paint box is sitting on the desk. Peeta's things are carefully put away (they've been filming in here), but his jacket is draped artfully over a chair. His school books are stacked on the desk, with the page marked in the play where we left off before he was Reaped. I open the book. He's got notes on the slip of paper he's using as a bookmark, and has drawn a picture on the other side of it. (Ironically, it's not a picture of Katniss. He's drawn Larkspur Wallace, playing the elderly scientist who first predicts that London will drown.) He's shoved his math homework into the textbook. He'd apparently gotten stuck on a proof and put it aside the night before the Reaping. He only had a couple of steps left.

I close the books. No matter what happens today, Peeta's days as a schoolboy are over.

"You're awake," Ed says from the door.

"No, just sleepwalking," I answer.

He comes in and sits down at the desk. "I figured Peeta wouldn't mind if you slept in here. It's more comfortable than the couch. And Dad pretty much blew a blood vessel when I said you could sleep in my bed."

"No kidding."

"I think he's not ready for any more surprise impending grandchildren." Ed looks at Peeta's school books. "Though I may not be the son he needs to warn about that."

"Let's get him home. Then your dad can lecture him to his heart's content."

"Wouldn't it be great if we could actually do something?"

But of course, we can't, which is why they make us watch. When you can see someone you love walking straight into death and can't even yell to warn them, you know exactly how powerless you are.

We bring out the bread, and a large placard that Ed has made to thank District Twelve for their support. Mayor Undersee has set out tables. To my surprise, Leevy is there with the old woman they call Greasy Sae, along with Gale and his brothers and a phalanx of other Seam kids, all carrying odds and ends of vegetables. Gale has several cleaned and dressed animals, and Greasy Sae is putting them into a huge kettle.

Leevy runs over. "I read a story a long time ago. About everyone bringing a little bit of something to make a great soup. They called it stone soup, because they pretended it was made from a stone. I thought about it when Katniss used those rocks to heat up her soup, but when you said you were bringing bread, I figured, why not? We can all find something. And Gale went--" She looks around, her eyes darting for Peacekeepers and cameras, but not finding them. Her voice drops. "He went hunting for everyone this morning."

Ed goes over to Gale and holds out his hand. After a very, very long time, Gale shakes it.

The Everdeens arrive with arms full of herbs, which go into the pot. Rooba the butcher--who is Peeta's aunt, though she and her sister don't get along at all, so the boys don't spend much time with her--brings in fresh butter from her cows.

I know in the end that this will turn into a tiny cup of soup and a thin slice of bread for everyone who comes, but it's not really the amount that counts. It's that thing in District Twelve, that thing that sleeps so often, that came awake when Katniss stood forward and volunteered for Prim. Everyone, in some way, wants to honor that today.

Prim comes over to the table where we've set out the bread, and hugs Mr. Mellark. "Thank you," she says.

"Why don't you take the first slice, Prim?" he suggests.

I happen to glance up at the screen for the first time, and notice that we're live. Cressida and her team are filming from the platform, right under the screen. She catches Prim biting into the bread, then Prim looks around, embarrassed, and wipes butter off of her chin. Everyone laughs fondly.

Mandatory viewing begins, and everyone settles in, the mask of easiness dropping away to reveal chewed nails and pale, haggard faces.

The Gamemakers obviously plan for this to be the last day of the Games, as they show an increasingly fast montage of everything that's happened, from the building of the arena through the Reapings (Katniss gets the only full shot, screaming "I volunteer!") through the death of Finch yesterday. The music behind it is solemn and powerful, and as Finch is lifted up from the arena, the screen wipes up under her to reveal the studio. Caesar Flickerman is Claudius's guest, and he recalls each of the fallen tributes, and what he noted most about them. He always seems genuinely sad at this point, and in the past, he's generally been the only person each year to remember anything about District Twelve's tributes so late in the Games.

This year, of course, everyone knows them. Unlike most of the Capitol, Caesar seems to be most concerned about Peeta, who he says is a striking and kind man with a quick mind and a gentle sense of humor, for whom he would grieve. About Katniss, he only says that she is as powerful a presence in person as she seems on the screen. Cato, he describes as driven and intense.

The stylists come next. Cinna and Peeta's stylist, Portia, describe their notion of burning and how they got the idea. They laugh when asked for the secret of the fake fire and Portia says that they're not going to share trade secrets. "But what I want you to remember," Cinna says, "is that a stylist can only bring out what's true about a client. Those tributes you saw on the first night, burning in the darkness--that's Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark. All Portia and I did was show them to you."

Cato's stylist certainly looks shallower when she talks about making him look like stone, because stone is, well, durable. A brief shot of him in the chariot with Clove, both of them looking like granite statues, comes up. I had forgotten these costumes entirely.

Haymitch and Brutus have been dragged into the studio, and we can all see that they'd both rather be nearly anywhere else, possibly beating each other to a pulp. Clearly, Haymitch has had the services of the stylists, as he is shaved, clean, and in impeccable clothes. He even seems at least moderately sober.

Brutus laughs when Claudius suggests that Cato might be at a disadvantage with two against one. "Maybe the girl could take him on her own," he says. "I don't underestimate that bow arm of hers. But if she doesn't drop the giant rock she's got tied to her apron strings, my boy will take both of them out in one swing. Your boy's useless," he tells Haymitch. "All he's going to do is get your girl killed. Almost did once already."

"I always said," Haymitch says coldly, "that someday you were going to underestimate the wrong person in the wrong place. That'd be today."

This gets a vicious cheer from District Twelve, which is, of course, aired live. Haymitch sees it and gives the district a thumbs up, but his murderous glare at Brutus doesn't waver. Frankly, if I were Claudius Templesmith, I'd be trying to find a good escape route right now.

Instead, he listens to his earpiece, then announces, with great aplomb, "Our tributes have spent the morning resting, and they're about to wake up to some big surprises."

They go first to Katniss and Peeta. She's woken up and they've eaten. They're leaving the cave. She stops for a moment and rests her hand on the entrance, almost nostalgic, then moves on toward the stream.

Which is gone. The cameras pan out. Every source of water in the woods has been cut off, even ones that Katniss never saw. The river in the ravine where Thresh died is gone, leaving only dry grass. Ponds, pools, creeks, even mud puddles are gone. They show a process of draining and drying that happened while Katniss and Peeta slept. The corner of the woods that they called home is dying quickly. If they want water, they will have to go to the lake--Cato's old killing grounds.

But next to what awaits Cato, the dry streambed is a pleasant dream on a summer afternoon.

Cato has slept on the far shore of the lake, surrounded by bushes. He sits up, drowsy, and blinks at the greenery.

Then he scrambles back toward the lake. "Clove!"

The camera focuses on the branches. Within them, a pair of human eyes looks out--brown, ringed with dark lashes. I saw them close up while Clove tortured Katniss.

Before Thresh killed her.

Cato turns to another bush and lets out a yell. From it, another pair of eyes gleams out. A picture inset in the corner of the screen shows the girl from District Eight. Cato stumbles back and runs into another shrub. In this one, the eyes of the boy from Three shine.

"What...?" Prim asks. "What are...?"

Then the bushes come alive, and things leap from them.

I scream.

The things are wolves, but they walk on their hind legs, and their eyes are the eyes we saw in the bushes. More are crawling up from the lake, dripping with water.

The screen splits. Cato and the mutts remain in the middle. On the right side, a holographic image of one of the things comes up. On the left, Claudius explains. "Our Gamemakers are inveterate readers, and these genetically engineered wolves are made to resemble a legendary creature called a werewolf--a man who becomes a murderous wolf at certain times. These werewolf mutts are aggressive and hungry. They have tearing teeth"--the holograph closes in to show them--"four inch claws"--again, these are shown, extended--"and, to add to the terror, eyes that resemble those of our fallen tributes." He chuckles at something in his earpiece. "I've been told to assure our audience that the bodies have not been desecrated, and the effect is cosmetic only."

Somehow, I don't believe him. Maybe they didn't dig the eyes out of the corpses, but they did something, because those eyes don't just resemble the tributes' eyes. They're identical.

"That's sick," Prim whispers as they close in on a small, curly-haired wolf with Rue's eyes.

They're close enough to leap on Cato and kill him, though it could take a while with his body armor, but they don't. They just push him backward along the lake shore.

Toward Katniss and Peeta.

Prim realizes this at the same second I do, and grabs my hand convulsively. Her mother has been standing with the Hawthornes, and she suddenly pales and comes over to be with Prim.

Cato manages to strike down one of the mutts with his sword (the one who resembles the boy from District Three), but the Clove-mutt knocks his sword from his hand with one swipe of her paw. The Marvel-mutt, who appeared from the lake, takes it in his teeth and drops it in the water. A small, reddish wolf nips at Cato's heels forcing him to run harder. It's Finch.

Cato runs.

The pack follows.

Coverage cuts to Katniss and Peeta, who have arrived at the lake and filled their water skins, unaware that on the far side of a stand of trees, Cato is running hellbent toward them, a pack of unspeakable horrors hot on his heels.

Katniss spots a mockingjay in the trees and whistles Rue's song to it. A chorus of mockingjays takes it up. It is quite beautiful, but no one here is paying attention to it. The camera focuses on Katniss's pin. Madge Undersee gasps.

The song of the mockingjays breaks, and Cato bursts through the trees. Katniss fires an arrow, but it bounces off his armor. He doesn't even notice. He just barrels between them.

Katniss sees the mutts. She runs. Peeta runs after her. He's slowed by his bad leg, but not as much as he might be if not pursued by a vicious, killing pack.

The mutts won't kill Katniss or Cato--of course not, it's meant to be a battle between them, it's always been meant to be, the two strongest players with such different strategies, what could be more dramatic? But Peeta...

I sit down on the ground, my legs suddenly without strength. I think of the unfinished geometry proof on Peeta's desk.

Katniss reaches the Cornucopia and calls for Peeta, sending an arrow back into the pack and felling one of the wolves (the one with the eyes of Charlotte, from District Four, according to the picture that comes up), but he tells her to keep running and climb. She does. Cato has already made it to the top, but after a run around the entire lake, he is in no shape to challenge Katniss. She looks like she's about to shoot him, but then Peeta calls for her. He's climbing the Cornucopia awkwardly, his knife swinging in defensive arcs, his bad leg almost useless and hanging down dangerously far. Katniss runs to the edge and pulls him along.

Cato gasps something, which Peeta is somehow able to translate as, "Can they climb it?"

Then Katniss shrieks, a sound that we have never heard from her--not just fear, but complete revulsion. She's recognized what's attacking them. Somehow, she manages to get Peeta further up, and for a second I think all will be well.

Then one of them grabs the back of Peeta's calf, nearly pulling both of them down. Peeta cries out and Katniss screams "Kill it!" Blood is pouring from Peeta's leg. He swings at the wolf, but doesn't kill it. Instead, it falls when its teeth tear all the way through his muscle, ripping a piece of it off as it falls to the ground.

Katniss doesn't notice. She just pulls him up and fires into the pack of mutts again, taking out the Thresh-mutt. It hardly matters. More are coming. She might fire her last arrow, but suddenly, Cato grabs Peeta and drags him to the edge of the Cornucopia, cutting off his air supply. Peeta, bleeding badly and in shock, isn't able to throw him. Katniss aims an arrow at Cato's face.

"Shoot me and he goes down with me," Cato says.

In the corner of the screen, Brutus smirks. In the opposite corner, Mrs. Everdeen and Mrs. Mellark are staring, horrified, up at their children.

The camera closes in on Peeta. His hands are covered with blood from his own wound. His face is red from the lock Cato is holding him in. But his eyes are steady. He moves his hand, and makes an "X" on the back of Cato's hand. Katniss moves her bow just a fraction, then the arrow flies. Cato falls backward, letting go of Peeta by reflex. Katniss grabs Peeta and pulls him back, realizing for the first time, I think, how bad the wound on his leg is.

Down on the ground, Cato is fighting the mutts, but they are surrounding him. He dives into the Cornucopia and grabs a sword that had been left behind there. It doesn't help him much, though he's able to take out two of them (Rue's and Glimmer's pictures come up).

On top of the Cornucopia, Katniss is holding Peeta, looking terrified. He is weakly holding his hand against the hole in his leg. Blood is pouring out around his fingers.

Cato tries to climb back onto the Cornucopia, but the mutts are in the way, blocking him, dragging him down. They can't get through his body armor, but they've broken one of his arms. He finally falls to the ground. There's another crunching sound as his ankle is crushed between their powerful jaws.

A reporter asks Mrs. Everdeen how long a person can go on while being gnawed on like a chew toy (though it isn't asked in precisely this way). She turns on him and draws her fist back. Gale catches it before she takes a swing. This, somehow, is not on the screen anywhere. I look up at the platform, where Cressida has her cameramen filming what must be a fascinating conversation around the soup kettle.

Finally, Katniss looks down at Peeta's leg and realizes how severe the wound is. She takes off her jacket then her shirt (it is a measure of how scared we all are that not a single boy from school catcalls at this), then puts her jacket back on and starts using her shirt to stop the blood. It isn't working.

"Tourniquet," Prim says beside me.

Mrs. Everdeen nods. She looks at the Mellarks. "She's going to have to make a tourniquet. But he could lose his leg."

Even as they've been talking, Katniss cuts the sleeve off her shirt, twists it around his leg under the knee, and tightens it with her last arrow. She winces at it.

Below, Cato continues fighting.

And continues.

All night. Nothing is sent in to hurry it up. They must be punishing him for spoiling their dramatic showdown.

They play the anthem, but don't break from the coverage. A message flashes across that viewing is considered mandatory until the Capitol says otherwise. Katniss and Peeta shiver against the night as it passes. She won't let him sleep (Mrs. Everdeen says this is probably a good idea to keep better track of his condition, but not strictly necessary). Cato is dragged inside the Cornucopia. At home, we are permitted to sleep in shifts, as long as one member of a family remains to watch.

I don't sleep.

In the arena, the sun begins to rise. Mr. Mellark lets out a strangled sound when we see Peeta, who is white as a sheet. But he doesn't seem to care that he's nearly dead. He and Katniss are both covering their ears, and finally, he begs her to shoot Cato, to stop this agony, even if it means taking the arrow out of his tourniquet. Katniss agrees. She ties the cloth as tightly as she can, takes her last arrow, the leans over the edge of the Cornucopia and shoots Cato in the head.

The cannon sounds.

The trumpets announcing a victor do not.

In District Twelve, we are holding our breath. Katniss and Peeta look confused, but manage to climb down the Cornucopia as soon as the mutts are gone. She steadies him, and they go back to the lake.

Nothing happens.

Claudius Templesmith fills the left half of the screen. He is smiling brightly. "Greetings to the final contestants of the seventy-fourth Hunger Games," he says. "The earlier revision has been revoked. Closer examination of the rule book has disclosed that only one winner may be allowed. Good luck, and may the odds be ever in your favor."

Mr. Mellark is the first person to make a sound. He collapses to the ground, screaming. Prim starts crying, tearing at her hair. Mrs. Everdeen has her hands on her head, which she is shaking in negation. Mrs. Mellark is making a horrible choking sound.

The square erupts in fury. A shot of us is pulled from the screen. A gang of Seam kids charges the platform and attacks the speakers. Ed grabs the nearest reporter and hurls him away. The images on the screen flicker and waver as power comes and goes.

My throat is sore, and I realize I am screaming at everyone to stop, please stop. Leevy is running around grabbing people as well, and I join her, trying to get everyone I can and settle them before... before...

A speaker beside me stutters out Katniss's voice, "You shoot me and go home and live with it!", and then there is the whine of feedback as power surges through the speakers. Leevy finds Gale and screams at him to stop the bigger kids before Prim and Posy get hurt, which seems to get through to him. I yell at Edder and Jonadab to stop Madge before she rushes on a pair of Peacekeepers. It actually takes both of them to haul her back, and she does manage to scratch the face of the redheaded Peacekeeper, though he's one of the good ones and pretends it was an accident.

The rest of the Peacekeepers finally manage to push the crowd back from the platform. The live feed is restored as Peeta says, "We both know they have to have a victor. It can only be one of us. Please take it. For me. I love you, and it's not worth it for me to go back without you. There's no sense in it. I--"

But Katniss is not listening. Instead, she grabs the leather pouch that she last had out when Finch died--the one she's packed with nightlock berries. Peeta grabs her wrist to stop her, but instead, she hands him half them.

The angry mob stops. District Twelve trembles.

Katniss and Peeta hold up the berries.

Count to three.

But before they can swallow the berries, Claudius Templesmith is back, looking flustered and terrified. He declares them winners.

There is no cheer.

The hovercraft appears and pulls them up, Peeta's leg gushing blood into the golden morning. On board, he is whisked off for medical care while Katniss pounds on a window, screaming for him. I think of my dream, where she is trapped. But here, I'm even further away than she is.

None of us can help him now. He's in the hands of the Capitol.

And we are at the mercy of fate.
13 comments or Leave a comment
vytresna From: vytresna Date: December 10th, 2012 06:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
This has been just an incredible alt-POV story, Fern. You've really got Collins' style down pat. The romance between Delly and Edder is weak, but that's just because their priorities are where they should be. You're still one of the best 'fic writers I know, and you outpace most of the competition simply by focusing on things like the plot.

(Good lord, I've been following you for nigh-on ten years. Doesn't feel like it, somehow.)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 10th, 2012 07:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, Edder/Delly is definitely not a romance for the ages, though given how it ends, she may give it more weight in later years. I was going to focus more on it, but neither of them was in the right place to obsess over things like that.

I'm glad you've been enjoying it. One of the things I like about fanfic is trying on different authors' styles for size.
marycontraria From: marycontraria Date: December 10th, 2012 06:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
*flail* (I agree with the above comment wholeheartedly. I didn't even want to read HG fic; reading HG was kind of a galvanizing experience the first time. But. This. Yours. It's perfect.)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 10th, 2012 07:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks! I was nonplussed on my first read of HG, but, like Annie for Finnick, it grew on me.
izhilzha From: izhilzha Date: December 10th, 2012 07:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
I agree; I never went looking for fic. But wow, Fern, I'm so glad you've written this. It's wonderful.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 10th, 2012 08:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks. And I'm having more fun with it than I've had writing for a while. I don't know how long it will last, but for now, I'm going to keep on truckin'.
bluejayfic From: bluejayfic Date: December 10th, 2012 08:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
Lovely, tense, terrifying story. You really get across the helpless feeling that the people at home have, watching.

I would have thought there would be more relief that they survived the Games. Or does everyone think they might still kill them? I mean, they are obviously still in danger, but it's still less imminent than it is in the arena.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 10th, 2012 08:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think they're really tired, and they know how much Peeta's been bleeding. Plus that little switcheroo in the rules must have really thrown everyone back home. (How stupid was that of the Capitol? If they'd let it be, then Snow's nose might be out of joint, but there wouldn't have needed to be an act of rebellion at all!)
lollapulizer From: lollapulizer Date: December 10th, 2012 10:33 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ahh! That was so good. I knew what was going to happen and I still got worked up!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 11th, 2012 02:35 am (UTC) (Link)
Ha! Success! ;p
shortysc22 From: shortysc22 Date: December 10th, 2012 11:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm loving Delly's view on this. Also how the gap between Seam and Town is slowly falling down. I'm having fun reading your story! It's just hard because I know parts of how it will end and then we also know there is so much more you can do within Katniss's unreliable point of view.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 11th, 2012 02:35 am (UTC) (Link)
Unreliable and limited--there's a lot she just isn't there for, so it's fun to fill in gaps.
shortysc22 From: shortysc22 Date: December 11th, 2012 02:38 am (UTC) (Link)
I loved the movie for showing us a little more of the behind-the-scenes, both of the Games and of the people watching back home.
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