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Fluffy Challenges 2 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Fluffy Challenges 2
Not sure if this is the kind of fluff you mean - but with your last challenge I meant to request a little Finnick and Annie in District 4 before Catching Fire. Like from their courtship or the like, for gabrielladusult
I can tell right away that Annie is having one of her good days.

She has bad ones, and they're waking nightmares. Mags think I like those days because I get to take care of her, but I'd rather not take care of her. I'd rather just spend time with her on days like this.

I find her sitting beside her piano (which she hasn't the first idea how to play) and tying brightly colored cords into decorative knots.

"Another talent?" I ask.

"I am supposed to have one." She holds up a little square of knotted cord. "Macramé. I figured if I can make a fishing net, I can make a pot holder."

I take it. "Okay. You know, they're not going to worry too much about it after the first few years."

She ties a few more knots. "What's your talent? I mean, besides being pretty."

"What other talent could I possibly need?" I smile, though of course, "being pretty" really is my primary value these days.

"But you had to have something you could show them on the victory tour, didn't you?"

"I swim."

She wrinkles her nose. "Well, I'm not doing that. I've done enough swimming for the Gamemakers."

"That's the spirit."

"Doesn't everybody swim around here, though?"

"Outside of Four, no one knows what everyone does." I shrug. "Besides, I swim fancy. You should see me sometime."

"Sure. We'll go out on Daddy's boat again, and I'll push you off."

"I knew you had a victor's sense of humor in there somewhere."

She looks at her potholder, which has developed a lopsided little wave shape as we've talked. She unties a few knots. "I asked Johanna to teach me how to make those little dancing dolls she showed last year."

"Johanna would need to actually make a few for that to work."

Annie doesn't look surprised. "What does Mags do?"

"She did interpretive dance when she was younger. She says it hurts her hips now."

"What about Haymitch?"

"I hear he wrote poetry so bad that the Capitol wouldn't let him show it." I don't mention that "bad," in the Capitol's definition, wasn't about quality. Haymitch wrote a book of poetry that advocated overthrowing the government. They took it away from him, but Plutarch has seen it. He can't get it out to us, but he says it's actually pretty good.

"What about Brutus?"

"He does that Brutus dance that his fans made up. That's pretty much it." I sit down beside her. "You really don't have to do it, you know. Not for very long."

"I want to. I want something to do." She looks at the macramé. "I could just make my nets. I actually already do that."

I shudder. "Just… don't show them to me. I have nightmares about nets."

"So, you take my nightmare, and I'll take yours."

"That seems like a good system. Deal."

She smiles and starts picking at her project. "What about when you get married? No net then?"

"By the time they let me get married, I'll have forgotten why they bother me."

"Let you?"

I don't really want to elaborate on this. I didn't mean to say it in the first place. "You know… the people. They love to see me playing the field."

"Do you like playing the field?" She tilts her head slightly, a mild interest. "I mean… you never date anyone here."

"Sure I do. I took you to the store a week ago."

"That's a mentor thing."

I waggle my eyebrows. "Well, that's what I tell you, so you'll let me take you out."

She turns her nose up primly. "Cad."

"In the interest of something to do… do you want to go out and have a walk on the beach? We could dig for some clams. We're allowed to keep them if we find them in Victors' Village. And Mags has a lobster trap out there. We could see if she's got a good one. If we bring it over, Mersedy will cook it and we can have a picnic."

She makes a face. "How can you eat lobster? Do you know what lobsters eat?"

"Before I won, I ate lizards Dad and I caught along the road."

"Lizards are cleaner."

"Which is probably why they aren't nearly as tasty." I stand up and hold out my hand. "Come on. Let's find something nasty to eat."

She takes my hand and tugs at it. "Can't we just stay here?"

"No. You, my dear, need to get outside. And I want to see that hair of yours in the sunset."

"It's noon."

"It's going to be a really long walk."

I'd love to see more of the easygoing platonic relationship between Beetee and Wiress (of course), for Maraudercat
It took a while for us to get the permit to take down the fence between our gardens, but it did finally come through, landing us a space big enough to really work with. Wiress did the initial framework last winter; she has a better sense of space than I do.

We call it our fountain, but of course, it's nothing of the sort. Anyone can have a fountain. It's just a water pump and some spouts. Very dull. Wiress wrinkled her nose at the very idea.

A plain laser is also fairly easy, though no one makes decorative lasers. It would be the same principle as a security system, though. It's been done for a long time.

We talked for weeks after the last Games, trying to decide what we were going to do -- something that hadn't been seen anywhere, even in the fanciest Capitol neighborhoods. What we decided on was something that would look like perpetual fireworks (though without the noise; Wiress hates the noise). Either that, or lights that flow like water, but not contained in light tubes. Something that would throw off sparks like a sparkler, but not burn.

It was a tall order, but we were both bored, and we do have a huge lab to work with. It's the biggest perk of being a victor, at least as far as I'm concerned. Some of the other victors seem to disagree.

"Is it…?" Wiress asks, walking around toward our power supply.

I check. "I want to run a few more tests. I'm not sure about the wire."

She nods and starts tracing the patterns with her eyes. She shouldn't be able to do this. I wanted to make the wires as close to invisible as possible, but there is a certain point at which the power surge actually burns them out, so, with the right light and the right angle, you can see them. Wiress went to the trouble of making them into intricate, detailed designs, so they'd be pleasing even with the fountain isn't on. She wanted them in different colors, but the extra weight of the dye would have spoiled the effect from a distance.

I disconnect two contact points, so I don't burn the whole thing out, and put a clip on one wire and one on my power source. The wires come alive with what looks like dripping fire. It's not quite what I wanted, but it's not bad, either.

Wiress claps and says, "Do it."

"Here we go," I say.

I re-connect the wires to the whole and I plug the whole thing into its main power source.

It starts up slowly, a few strands of light in the dusk. These form a looping pattern that seems utterly random at first. Lines and swirls of light begin connecting them in an intricate design. The fire changes color when it changes direction.

Wiress reaches out. "Will it -- "

"It should be okay. It looks like fire, but it isn't. A student of mine came up with it last year. She won a trip to the Capitol."

Wiress makes a face.

"Not that kind of trip. A scholarship. To study design."

"To study."


She nods and sits down on the beautiful, sculptural chair that came with the house. It looks like pair of wings made from small chips of smooth plastic, and when the light hits her from behind, she seems to be ready to take flight.

I smile at her and sit down beside her to enjoy our fountain. "Just about right, isn't it?"

"Just about."

"No one else has anything like it."

She rolls her eyes, and for a moment, looks like the normal, cynical young woman that she never would have been, even without the Games. "Not yet."

This is a good point. If the cameras make it out here before the next Games, they'll film it, and we'll be flooded with orders. I'll give the patent to the factory; they need the money more than I do, and I don't intend to produce everything by hand.

Night falls around us softly. It's cold beyond our bubble, but in here, I have little heaters set up so that it's always summer in the garden. The air is still open and circulating. This is a somewhat better technology than the Capitol thinks we have -- Wiress made a few modifications -- but it's still not as good as their climate controls, so I don't have to worry about mass production there. I sip a glass of cashew fenny (an old recipe that I could never make until I was rich, but which I thoroughly enjoy now), and watch the stars come out. I offer the fenny to Wiress, but she doesn't care for the intoxicating effects of it. We watch our fountain of fire in silence.

Sometime between the arrival of the stars and the deepest part of the night, I fall asleep. When I wake up in the morning, I've been wrapped in a light blanket. A matching one is crumpled up in Wiress's chair, and I can see her through her kitchen window, getting us breakfast.
7 comments or Leave a comment
persephone_kore From: persephone_kore Date: October 13th, 2013 11:17 am (UTC) (Link)
Aww. (And again: aww.) I especially like "It's noon." "It's going to be a really long walk." And the plan to give the patent to the factory, with a practical justification that might be just enough.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 14th, 2013 06:21 am (UTC) (Link)
I like Finnick and Annie. They're relatively low-key, but so obviously love each other.
From: (Anonymous) Date: October 13th, 2013 05:48 pm (UTC) (Link)


Stories. Both of them, although I, like Maraudercat, am particularly fond of Beetee and Wiress. Extra cool points for referencing Portia and the fake fire.

Sara Libby
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 14th, 2013 06:21 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Lovely...

I figured it was a good place for it.
sonetka From: sonetka Date: October 13th, 2013 07:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
Interpretive dance, eh? That does sound very Mags. I really like your take on her. And I'm not surprised Johanna wasn't earnestly developing a "talent" for some reason :).
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 14th, 2013 06:22 am (UTC) (Link)
I'd guess the victors would be pretty well split between "The talent thing is stupid" (Katniss) and "Well, I do have time to develop my talent and, hey, a lot of time to fill" (Peeta, sort of). Johanna strikes me as being firmly in the first camp.
gabrielladusult From: gabrielladusult Date: October 21st, 2013 02:33 am (UTC) (Link)
First, Thank you. A lovely look at Finnick and Annie in District 4. I love how he would rather spend time with her on good days and Annie's desire to actually have a real talent (and something to do).

I really enjoyed how both snippets gave a picture of victors' lives in other districts.
7 comments or Leave a comment