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HG: The Hanging Tree, Chapter Ten - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
HG: The Hanging Tree, Chapter Ten
At the celebration of his return from the tour, Haymitch gets his first taste of withdrawal, suffering from derealization and paranoia. Danny deliberately spills coffee on him in order to get him inside, and they send for Lepidus to get a new shirt. While they're waiting, Haymitch breaks down and wonders if he's really home.

Part Two: Arena

Chapter Ten
Lepidus returns, Fabiola in tow. She pours a glass of water, into which she puts some fizzing powder.

"What's that?" Danny asks.

"He's gone a few days without drinking," Fabiola explains. "This regulates the chemicals in his brain while he re-adjusts."

"I went longer without drinking while Gia was in charge," I mutter.

"She had us add it to every meal."

"Without telling me?"

Fabiola nods. "She was worried. You'd been drinking too much. And we have ways of handling it."

"Why wouldn't she tell me?"

"She… well… She didn't think you'd take it well. Or maybe you'd take it too well." She bites her lip. "Some people, when they drink, it turns off little nerves in their brains. Or something like that; I'm a medic, not a doctor. It doesn't happen to everyone, and it's because of genetics. Gia was afraid you'd take it as an excuse and say that meant you couldn't stop. We have ways to treat it. You were almost through the whole course when she left. Glass told us to stop. He said Gia was… overdramatizing. That a sixteen year old boy who likes to party isn't sick. If you don't do the whole course, it doesn't take." She looks down. "I'm sorry. But this will help now."

"Can you leave some with him?" Danny asks. He sounds about six miles away.

"No," Fabiola says. "It's… it's something you can only get in the Capitol." She pushes the glass against my mouth, and I drink despite myself. I can't taste a thing, but my head starts to clear.

"You were doping me and not telling me?" I ask. "Gia was?"

"She was trying to help."

"She had no right. She could have told me."

"Haymitch, you needed medicine," Danny says.

"What I need at the moment is a drink," I say. I lie down on the bed and turn away from all of them.

No one brings me a drink. Whatever medicine Fabiola gave me works through the banquet, which is attended by not one soul I actually care to see. Even the Donners, who have a pretty big stake in the Games, are not invited, let alone the Mellarks (they aren't even staffing the pastry table) or Sae.

I have to sit with Lucretia Beckett through the whole evening. She tells me about how she stopped a lot of vandalism during the tour, since we wouldn't want such things on television. I'm not to worry. She's kept files on everyone involved, and they'll "get theirs."

I think about the reaping balls, about Glass sneering as he pulls out names. Will they even bother with the regular slips if Beckett is keeping such good track of troublemakers? There's a huge fuss made over keeping the boxes of cards uncorrupted, but who knows what's in them when they first arrive? Maybe I should talk to Maysilee's uncle. He handles the cards more than anyone else in town.

I don't end up going to see him, or anyone else.

After the banquet, I'm driven back to Victors' Village with great aplomb. The cameras and everyone from the Capitol is on a train as quickly as they can possibly board it. It's long past the Victors' Village curfew, and I am left alone in the ghost town.

I pour myself a drink.

Stare at it. The medicine is still working, and my body is not screaming out for it. It does control that part.

Controls me.

I bring the glass to my lips and drink it down in one gulp. They have no business controlling me, drugging me. When Gia Pepper starts having nightmares about the arena, maybe she can have a say in what I drink.

I pour another.

A kind of haze drops over my life for the next few weeks. I'm not completely drunk most of the time, but on the other hand, I'm never completely sober, either. I'm aware of things going on around me. I find the hidden book shelves in my bedroom, and several little cubbies under the floor. Plutarch's pamphlet goes into one of these.

Danny comes over and bakes District Four bread before the seaweed goes bad. We both like it. We both wash it down with white liquor, and sit around my living room watching television. There's some wrap-up coverage on the tour, most of it poking fun at my wild ways. They catch Gia in District Ten, about the time it became apparent that I wasn't fluent in Ancient Greek, giggling nervously (an expression I just can't really associate with her, even when I see it) and saying that I hadn't found a "lifelong passion" just yet. This segues into my various temporary passions, starting with kissing Gia in District Six. I see myself on the dance floor in Four, my tongue halfway down the girl's throat. District Two is a free-for-all, with boys and girls both all over me. District One is all about the girl whose head I puked on. She's interviewed. She seems nice, and says I was very nice to her, even after "the incident," which I'm grateful for. She seems to have washed her hair since then. Her name turns out to be Sable, which, for District One, is kind of sane.

Danny pretends to be very impressed by these "conquests," clapping sarcastically at each one. We drink a little more. By the time I send him home (with most of the loaf of bread to share with his family), he's pretty smashed, and after that, visits are limited to me visiting the bakery while his mother gives me exasperated looks. I decide that it's better to even cut back on this. Aside from needing Danny to send out messages -- and therefore needing the government to not watch him very carefully -- I need his name to not come out of the reaping balls. Until he's nineteen, I tell him that it's better for him to do his drinking with someone else, anyway.

I do errands in town. I pick up money and pay Merle for the gardening. I visit the Donners, only to find Kay too furious at me to talk. Apparently, I've ruined the best platform "we've" had for years to get out the message. I wonder what she'd say if I told her that I've promised the president that I won't be doing any messaging anyway. I decide not to find out. Things have been awkward enough with Kay. At least she doesn't look so much like Maysilee anymore. Her hair is cut and dyed brown with a tea wash. I don't feel like it's Maysilee I'm letting down.

The stocks, which had apparently been put away for the big conclusion of my tour, have been put back, and are almost always full. The ground under the whipping post gets bloody again. Glen Everdeen is beaten nearly senseless by Peacekeepers when he tries to keep them from hitting Ginger McCullough, a fourteen-year-old who was already lamed by a gunshot. Ginger's father was fired at the mines, and she was apparently caught stealing food. Technically, this is a death penalty offense, but, Beckett assures us, Panem is merciful, and will allow the first offense to slide with only a whipping, which everyone is supposed to watch. Glen doesn't succeed in stopping it. I'm pretty sure Beckett wants him hanged for interfering, but she settles for the beating instead.

I'm sure this will go into her files. I'm not sure if Glen will be nineteen yet at reaping. He's two years ahead in school, but birthdays can be a little vague.

I spend a day in my house measuring myself and ordering clothes from the Capitol. I feel like this would be more amusing with Digger to run a commentary and Mom to tut about it, and when I try to imagine what they'd have to say, I feel worse and worse. And I start drinking. I wish I had pictures of them. I could talk to pictures. But I don't, and talking to nothing feels too much like talking to ghosts.

For a while, the booze makes me feel more like crying, but once I'm deep enough under, it makes everything seem far away and unimportant. I go back to ordering clothes. When they come in a week later on the train, I barely remember what I'm getting, so it's a little surprise. I'm glad I measured myself sober. They all fit. Most of them are even pretty decent, though I did accidentally order a shirt covered with gold sequins. I thought it was just yellow when I was shopping.

I'm putting it away when I notice that one cuff is stiffer than the other. I examine it. There's a part of the seam that looks like it's been worked over. I cut it open, and pull out a piece of paper. It's not in code. I realize I never passed the code to anyone.

Can't write much in small space. Got count from mutual friend. Items lost in out-districts are safe and in good hands.

Beneath this is the symbol Chaff picked for himself -- a hand. Beside it is a needle. I decide it's probably Woof. So Chaff sent this to Woof, who secreted it away in a clothing order. I'll have to check anything I send for. The rebel census is safe. Gia's in good hands. Great. I hope whoever's hands they are is checking whether or not he's being drugged.

I wonder if there's a way to get around Danny by shipping messages with the coal, and reluctantly decide there isn't. Coal doesn't go to individual recipients. I don't have anything to say, anyway. I haven't exactly been collecting intelligence.

I can't think of anything I have to say to anyone, actually. I don't bother hanging most of the new clothes up. I just leave them in a pile on the bed and sleep on top of them.

I lose track of the days for a while. I sleep with my knife. I get up and wander the house. Drink. Watch television. They've finally moved on from the excitement of their latest drunk victor and gone to standard Capitol fare. I don't care much what's on. I watch fashion shows and interview shows and soap operas and comedies. Once, I wake up early in the morning on a weekend and watch a show about a cartoon wolf named Howler. Howler solves mysteries and takes breaks to teach little children how to stay safe. The most important tip seems to be telling Peacekeepers if they ever hear someone say something dangerous. (In the mystery in question, Howler must depend on a local child who heard a scary man in an alley say that he was doing something Peacekeepers shouldn't know about.) After it, there's another cartoon, this one about a little Capitol girl who can fly. Her name is Aquila. People are always trying to kidnap her. There's something strange about it, but I don't put my finger on it until I'm fumbling around with lunch: She has no parents. Anywhere. It's not even talked about, and no one says she should tell whoever looks after her. She's meant to go straight to the Peacekeepers, every time.

I think about the kids at the Capitol banquet. Something tries to come together in my head, but I grab a drink before it can. I have enough to do without worrying about what a bunch of rich Capitol kids are being told in cartoons. They're the ones we're supposed to be overthrowing.

Except that, having visited the districts and the Capitol, on the whole, I didn't find regular Capitol people to be any worse than regular district people. I drink some more.

When I finally pass out, I dream of the arena, the first time I've really dreamed about it -- at least that I remember on waking -- since I got home. I am under the blanket with Maysilee. She's wearing the stupid parade costume.

"Tell me a story," she says.

"What one? Not the one with the pigs. Snow killed my mother with that one."

"I know," she says. "I'm sorry. Tell me whatever story is in your head."

"I don't have any stories in my head. Just this one. The one where they killed you."

"That's a lie, Haymitch Abernathy. What are you trying to tell yourself?"

It starts raining, and the rain is white liquor. The clearing starts to fill up, and the blanket turns into a raft. I'm on it now with Gia. It's patched up with the powder I saw Fabiola put in my water. "Other places do seem so cramped up and smothery, but a raft don't," she says. "You feel mighty free and easy and comfortable on a raft."

"You drugged me."

"It's about escaping," she says, not acknowledging my accusation. She looks at me and smiles, and her eyes are shining against the overcast sky, the way bright things do when everything around them is gray. "Why can't we escape?"

"I'm trying to."

She just laughs at this, like it's the funniest joke she ever heard, then lies down on the raft and drags her hand along in the white liquor river below us. "Why didn't the little flying girl tell her parents?"

"Who cares?"

She sits up, looking cross, and suddenly, she's Mom, and we're in her filthy little room in our old house. I can smell Dad's liquor in the blankets, even though I know he's been gone for years. "You know better than to throw things away," she says. "Haymitch, whatever comes into your mind comes into it for a reason. Don't throw it away. You're trying to tell yourself something you can use. Pay attention. Use whatever your mind gives you."

"It's not giving me anything I can use!"

"Well, that all depends on what you're trying to do, doesn't it?" Digger asks me, and we are in the woods, in the ruined world by the lake where we were together. "What are you telling yourself?"

The problem is that I'm not telling myself anything useful. So Capitol kids are being fed lies like the rest of us. So what? I don't care -- I can't take down the Capitol if I'm wasting my time worrying about the cartoons their kids watch.

The burned out world fades away, and I'm in the president's banquet hall. The little kids are pressing around me, asking for autographs. The little girl with the trays is called away, and I chase her down to give her an autograph. She smiles at me and I feel good for a minute, like maybe I'm Rhona Abernathy's good boy again, and then I'm with Maysilee again, under the blanket.

"Tell me a story," she says. "I'll start. Once upon a time, on the edge of the forest, there lived a boy."

I shake my head. "I don't know where he is."

"The boy was poor, but very smart."

"Well, now he's rich and dumb."

Maysilee frowns, then turns her nose up. "Fine. Have it your way. But you better find that boy, Haymitch. There's wolves out there, and they're going to eat him alive."

The dream breaks up after that, and I'm wandering around the arena. Filigree is chasing me, but I'm aware that she's a wolf. Then I'm in a labyrinth, and she's the Minotaur, and I'm holding…

I wake up in the middle of the night, dropping my knife, and put my hand on my wrist. It isn't there. I didn't even have it with me on the tour.

I run to my study, sure that it will be gone, but when I unlock the top drawer of my desk, it's still there: My district token. The string tie from Digger's dress, knotted into a bracelet. It was my thread, to get through the labyrinth, like Theseus in the story we told each other on the morning of the reaping. Gia wound through a thread of bright red that came from the dress Digger was buried in. It glows against the grayish blue.

I put it on. "The thread," I whisper. "Ariadne's thread."

Suddenly, all of them are close, closer than they were in my dream. I see Digger kneeling by the fire in the Justice Building, holding out a piece of bread to toast. I see Mom in her chair as we carry her, marveling over the excesses of the Capitol. I see Lacklen building his endless traps, and Maysilee with her mockingjay pin.

I don't cry, but it's a close thing.

What are you trying to tell yourself? my father asks me in my mind. What do you need?

I don't know. At least not everything. But I decide there is one thing I need, and maybe the rest can come from there.

I didn't participate in cleaning up the wreckage of my home. No one told me, but I have gathered from the osmosis of the small town rumor chain that there was a lot of blood and gore where it collapsed and crushed my family and a Capitol camera crew. I'm glad I didn't go. But someone did. Danny, of course, and the miners who knew Mom. A few other people who always help out. There wasn't much to salvage, but what they found, they wrapped up in an old drop cloth and brought here. The bundle is in the basement, according to Kay Donner. I haven't gone through it. I actually haven't been in the basement.

It takes me a few tries to find the door. The basement is surprisingly unfinished out here. There's just a big furnace in the middle and some storage rooms along the side. There's a workshop area with tools that I might look at later, but it's not what I'm after now.

I find the bundle in a large empty room, lined with empty shelves. The drop cloth, spattered with gray paint and coal dust, is about knee high and a few feet wide. It's tied up with rope, which I cut with Saffron Abatty's arena knife.

The cloth falls away.

On top of everything is my parents' old quilt, pieced together from bits of everyone's outgrown or worn out clothes. I pick it up and smell it. It still smells like her sickness, but I don't care. I remember her working on it, sitting by the fire with her needle and thread. She was still healthy then, but Daddy was already sick. He had spent the day cutting things up, because he was so bored at not being able to work, decorating the squares that she'd use, writing with one of my school pens. I never really read them. Most are faded, but I can see that they're the definitions he loved so much. I can see "beloved" and "beauty" and "dear." I remember him talking about "dear," in that way he had when he'd just started drinking for the day, when he was relaxed, but not drunk.

It started out in Old English meaning hard or grievous, you know, he said. Then it became expensive, and then it was beloved. He pinched my nose. So take your pick when I call you 'Dear boy.'

I trace that square of the quilt, running my fingers along Mom's little stitches. They slept together under this quilt until he died, and when she was sick, I often saw her holding onto it like a drowning woman grasping a rope.

I put it over my shoulders and look further.

They dug up Lacklen's winter coat, and the loops of rope I remember him hanging from when he wanted to see if he could escape a trap. There's the battered old soup pot that we cooked everything in. Digger's shirt, which was still in my bedroom when I went to the Capitol. Mom's hairbrush, still wound through with her curly black hair. I am afraid for a minute that the thing I'm looking for isn't here, but I finally find it under Mom's best dress (a threadbare blue one with handmade wooden buttons).

The box is still wrapped in plastic to protect it from the elements. The plastic was valuable, but nowhere near as valuable as what was in it. Two storybooks -- one for Lacklen and one for me -- bought on an installment plan from Herk Donner. The story of Theseus is in my book. I open it quickly and look at it, at a beautiful drawing of the princess holding out her saving thread. And beneath them, looking older than time, is Dad's dictionary. I pull it out carefully. The pages are fragile. It's been passed down longer than we can remember. The cover might have once been blue, but it's worn thin now, the patina rubbed off against the cardboard. There's an inscription: "To Angus, with love from Daddy." My father thought Angus might have been his great-grandfather, but it might have been even further back. He sometimes made up stories about Angus. Under this, I watched Daddy write, his hand shaking in the late part of his illness, "To Haymitch, love Daddy (and Angus, of course)."

I spend the hours until dawn looking up words. Some are words that were in the dictionary to begin with -- tribute, quell, sacrifice -- and some are on handwritten sheets that people have tucked in. Someone felt the need to add "red up," which seems to have meant "clean up" at some point. Daddy wrote our names. Lacklen used to be spelled Lachlan, which came from Lochlann, or land of the lakes, which was what people from Scotland called Norway. My name came from "Hamish," which came from "James," which somehow came from the name Yaakov. Daddy didn't understand how that had come to be, and wrote a big question mark on the path between James and Yaakov. It means "supplanter." Mom's means "rough island." Daddy's name was a regular District Twelve name -- Basil, after the herb.

I must drink about three hundred words, letting them wash over me, absorbing them completely, before the sun comes up, and they're swimming in my head like white liquor when I carefully bring the books upstairs. I put them in the lower desk drawer. The quilt is still over my shoulders, and I leave it there while I make myself breakfast.

There is a strange hush over the world, and things seem to be very clear. I think of Lacklen getting his glasses from Caesar. I think this must be something like that. Everything was fuzzy for so long that it seemed normal. Now, I can see. I don't know how long it will last, and I don't want to risk it by drinking right now, even though my brain is already at me to grab a bottle and sink back. I am Haymitch Abernathy. My parents and my brother and my girl -- who may have been my wife -- are dead. My friend Maysilee is dead. I am alive (from the old English, on life, see lif, from the old Norse, body, life… it's one of those words that's its own definition). My district is under the control of the Capitol. So are all of the other districts, and frankly, a lot of perfectly decent people in the Capitol. My friends are in the line of fire, and I will have to take two of them to the Capitol to die in only four more months, if the calendar is right.

I remember sitting on the hill at the end of the arena, promising myself that I would take it all down. I guess it's more complicated than that, but it's simpler, too. It's the machinery of the Games that I need to take down. Start with something doable. I can't stop the Games -- not now, not without something to hang it on -- but I can jam up the way they're used.

I finish breakfast, carefully fold up Mom and Daddy's quilt and put it on the top of my couch, then get dressed and head into town.

I nod to a few miners walking to work, and they nod back politely enough. I stop at the bakery and say hello to the Mellarks. I pass Kay Donner, who's been in the pillory all night, and is quietly crying. Merle Undersee is sitting in front of her, talking to her quietly.

I reach the Peacekeepers' headquarters just before seven. At this hour, only one guard is on duty, the one named Cray. I shove him into a wall and slam his head against it to knock him out, pretty much before he recognizes that anyone is in the room.

There are computers and file cabinets at the back. The computers are already signed in. It looks like Cray has been using his night shift to watch videos of Capitol women having fairly acrobatic sex. On a second screen, I see lists of names. These are the digital files, then. I have no idea if they're backed up in another place, but this is the best I can do. I open up the computer and pour a bottle of white liquor over its innards. It fizzles and sparks, and finally sends up a lick of flame from the curls of dust gathered around the electronics.

I take a file folder from the drawers behind me, roll it up, and light it.

It doesn't take long for the whole office to go up.

I wait outside for them to come and collect me.
14 comments or Leave a comment
From: (Anonymous) Date: February 4th, 2014 12:48 pm (UTC) (Link)

Now That's...

The boy who found the holes in the ground where they released the squirrels.

But the consequences are going to be terrible...

Sara Libby
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: February 5th, 2014 01:15 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Now That's...

I think he has some concept the consequences could be terrible, and is doing it anyway, which is a good thing, even if it doesn't work out quite like he thought.
redrikki From: redrikki Date: February 4th, 2014 02:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
Wow, Haymitch. I get why he starts drinking again at the beginning when he finds out Gia was drugging him without his knowledge or consent. It's about control, it's something he thinks he can control (even though he can't) when everything else is past his control. Torching the office probably seemed like a swell idea, but, like the drinking, that's going to turn out badly me thinks.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: February 5th, 2014 01:16 am (UTC) (Link)
It's definitely about control, and maybe a little disillusionment in someone he saw in nearly saintly terms. (She did try to tell him that she was no saint.)

Torching the office may be bad for Haymitch, but it might well achieve what he was after: Taking the local rebels off the reaping shortlist.
mirandabeth From: mirandabeth Date: February 4th, 2014 07:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
So good! I know there'll be consequences, but hopefully (? Can't believe I'm choosing that word) this is rebellious enough that the consequences will come straight down on Haymitch and not other people. Um, maybe.

Besides, he's finally being smart again, and reconnecting with who he is, and proactive rather than just having to react to everything thrown at him, and that's amazing.

Adore the motif of lighting fires, it's beautifully fitting.

And: Oh Haymitch. His feeling of betrayal by Gia rings so true.

Okay, I'm already doing nothing but refresh the page, I'm not sure how I can make the waiting go any faster ;)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: February 5th, 2014 01:19 am (UTC) (Link)
If you can't use a fire motif in HG fanfic, where can you use it? ;p

I think Haymitch had completely lost hold of himself. That oddball thought about why the kids weren't supposed to be telling their parents about danger took him to his own parents, his own life, and his own reality pretty well. He isn't someone who can ignore the reality of people, at least not for long periods of time. So the encounter with the reality of the people in the Capitol, the sense that they also were victims... I think to him, that took him out of the playtime of making up codes and passing messages, and into the human cost of a world like Panem.
From: queen_bellatrix Date: February 5th, 2014 03:21 am (UTC) (Link)
You have a wonderful way of ending chapters; like one of the people above, I'm already refreshing the page.:) I would venture to guess that this is about the time Beckett's wishing she hadn't been so hasty in killing Digger; people without leverage against them have a lot less to lose. No matter what she does, it can't be worse than what he's already been through. (There are, of course, things I can think of that could be just as bad; I'm getting worried about the personal effects in Haymitch's house)

I really like how you dealt here with the grey area of consent. Even if Haymitch were eighteen, and not a minor under Gia's care, his drinking makes it almost impossible to get his informed consent, for precisely the reasons Fabiola outlined here. Which is all complicated by the fact that even though he's technically a minor, he's done and experienced so much he sure as hell doesn't see himself as one, meaning that even if the in loco parentis argument were used, it wouldn't fly. And I see exactly why you were saying that Gia was right to avoid the physical in their relationship at that particular time, now. Even without the ethical issues, it would've created a minefield if he'd ever learned about this while in her presence and lent even less credibility to the guardian argument. She'd have had to wait until he was legal, get his informed consent about the drinking (if she could) and then go from there.

And Snow's chief information Minister, or whoever created the highlights, subtlety is not your forte. But, really effective, if hamfisted, messages are. I love the way they used the talent reference to segway in to his exploits, and how they started it with Gia. Now, anyone who sees the highlights and sees Glass will think she was dismissed because of inappropriate advances, just the Capitol looking out for its victor. *grinds teeth*

I'm really liking Haymitch's dad, despite myself (his drinking rather predisposed me to the opposite reaction.) It must've been hell, working the mines and being poor, with all this brilliance that he can't put to any use, particularly where his family is concerned. And the inscription on the dictionary made me sniffle. It's pretty clear from that he was the best parent he knew how to be.

I love how you rewove the thread motif from EOTW, and how you showed Haymitch's empathy, both for other districts and for the Capitol. It's great to see it taking root here, since we know the sort of government he'll eventually help found in NP because of it.

Everything with the dictionary (all the glorious definitions and etymology!) and the personal effects was the highlight for me in this chapter, along with the dream sequences. Your dream sequences are wonderful, just disjointed enough to have that quality that's so essential to dreams, but always clear and focused enough you can tell what the character's subconscious is getting at.

And I really do feel sorry for Kay; losing her sister, and now feeling like anything she can do to avenge or remember her is slipping through her fingers, with no way to control it because so much of it centers on Haymitch.

Btw, no typos that I could see in this one.:)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: February 5th, 2014 05:37 am (UTC) (Link)
I caught a couple last night, but yay, mostly clean chapter! :D

I thought it was time to get back to the beginning, to start "threading" things together, so to speak. I'm a firm believer in the idea that the end of a story ought to be contained in the beginning, and, while I'm not close to the end -- yes, there's another one coming, and another nine-chapter interlude -- it seemed like there ought to be a callback here. (Also, the bracelet's on the cover for FFN, so I had to use it. ;p)

I have a mixed up relationship with drunks. Mostly, I want to take them and shake them. But at the same time, the really mean ones are really mean sober, too, and the ones who aren't like that are often trying to do their best to muddle through. That ambivalence is my response to Haymitch. I wanted to dismiss him, but I couldn't -- he's such a smart guy, and he loves Katniss so much, that I could only see the booze as an incredibly huge handicap that he's put on himself. It makes me angry that he'd waste all his potential, but it doesn't make me think he's an awful person.

It's a good point about Haymitch not taking Gia seriously as an adult if she'd let anything more happen between them. She was already finding it difficult. On the other hand, lying to a teenager is almost always a bad idea.
mirandabeth From: mirandabeth Date: February 5th, 2014 07:38 am (UTC) (Link)
On the other hand, lying to a teenager is almost always a bad idea.

Hah, you'd think Haymitch might have remembered that some twenty-five years later... oh, dear.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: February 5th, 2014 07:59 am (UTC) (Link)
A lot of adults seem to forget this vital fact!
From: queen_bellatrix Date: February 8th, 2014 04:28 am (UTC) (Link)
Meant to reply to this earlier to say: yay for more stories in this series! Of all your HG fic, I adore this prequel bit most.:) I would ask who the interlude's from, but I have a feeling you wouldn't say, on the grounds that it'd probably give quite large hints for the end of this one; the interludes, in both this and the alternant povs of the books, are always so fantastic. It's refreshing to see the inner landscapes of other characters, particularly the ways in which they differ so drastically from how Haymitch sees them, as well as seeing the events Haymitch simply can't be privy too.

And yeah; total agreement about the lying to teens thing, particularly because, being only a decade older, you'd think she'd remember how resistant they are to anything that smacks of control.:) I think it's really interesting and plausible though how you laid the groundwork for Gia to honestly believe she was doing the right thing. Haymitch whipsaws so much in her presence, particularly in the end of EOTW, from completely disfunctional to brilliant and on top of his game that what to tell him and when becomes an absolute minefield.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: February 8th, 2014 06:03 am (UTC) (Link)
I'll say, I'm looking forward to the next interlude, because it should be totally different from everything else. Still focused around Haymitch's tribulations, but with, I hope, a really different feel.

Haymitch is pretty high-maintenance, really, if you're actually trying to help him. He's so close to breaking that jarring him wrong can shake him apart at the seams... but which thing is going to jar him wrong?
From: (Anonymous) Date: February 8th, 2014 12:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
I love your writing, and am now addicted to these stories even though I haven't actually read HG. Did Haymitch leave Cray unconscious in the burning office? Thanks ~Karen
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: February 9th, 2014 09:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
That's a good point -- I should probably address it!
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