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HG: The Hanging Tree, Chapter Fifteen - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
HG: The Hanging Tree, Chapter Fifteen
They manage to get through the parade, and Haymitch asks Chaff to help him sort through his duties in regard to sponsors and alliances. Chaff also tells him the harsh truth that no one is going to risk his or her life to save Ginger.

Chapter Fifteen
Back in the apartment, we have dinner together -- Glass ostentatiously supplies liquor, but the medicine is still working, and I ignore it -- then watch the parade and the reactions on the street. Elmer is relieved that the cameras didn't spend much time on us, barely enough time for Claudius to patter that "District Twelve's long drought ended last year. Will this year be a repeat?" There's a little time while the camera watches the chariots line up, during which Claudius mentions that Elmer likes math and Ginger has many friends, but after that, we're forgotten. On the street, members of my fan club are reasonably upbeat. An old woman declares Ginger to be "precious" and a few scrawny boys have decided they believe in Elmer.

"Math guys, I bet," he says, looking at least a little pleased. "No one else said they like math."

"Yes, I'm sure that will be a skill of infinite value," Glass snaps.

I glare, but he ignores me. I look back at Elmer. "Use it to calculate maximum distance from the Cornucopia in the minimum time, okay?"

He nods, but I don't think he's listening. Ginger has been at the wine. I decide they aren't going to take any coaching tonight, and send them up to bed. In the morning, I guess I can get them ready for training. I want Ginger to try a few things without the brace, just in case, and to try and make friends with Chaff's tribute. Chaff may not tell him to save her, but nothing can stop me from trying to make him want to save her. If Elmer doesn't find something that he really excels at, I want him to hide whatever he can do, since he'd never survive a strong alliance, and might have an outside chance if he can surprise them all.

"The odds are starting to come in," Glass says. "Would you like to see them?"


He smiles unpleasantly. "No… you probably don't."

With that, he saunters off to his quarters. I start to head for the mentor's room, but decide to sleep on the couch instead, knife in hand. Deals are one thing. Insurance is another.

I don't end up getting to coach them in the morning. While they're still in the shower, the Gamemakers summon me to a meeting about Ginger's leg brace, which, as Glass predicted, they've determined can be used as a weapon. I try to play dumb and suggest just a sturdy cloth wrapped around her leg. I figure they'll never in a million years buy it, since it would be easier for her to use it as a garrote than to pull the boning out of a good one and somehow use it to attack other tributes. To my surprise, they actually do agree to entertain this notion. I try not to look like I pulled anything over on them… I doubt Ginger will be using it to strangle anyone, anyway.

Livingston is watching me with a kind of interested suspicion. They all seem to have picked it up, and I remember that they've actually been studying my Games all year. They have the look of people who want to sit me down and have a long conversation about something really interesting. Plutarch is hovering around, refilling coffee cups, but he doesn't ask any questions. One of the younger Gamemakers, who has jet black hair and weirdly full lips, is watching me carefully. He looks very familiar.

"This would be a large concession," Livingston says.

"I realize that," I say. "But it's in the interest of the Games. No one in the audience wants to see a little girl with a bad knee just mowed down at the Cornucopia because she can't get off the platform without falling. How would that look?"

This gets one of her funny little smiles. "How, indeed?" She writes something down on a notepad she's carrying. "Well, we'll discuss it further, and let you know our decision."

"Thank you."

"And Haymitch? I look forward to seeing what you'll do with this year's arena."

I nod as politely as I can and say, "Thank you, ma'am." Then I head for the elevator as fast as I can, before anyone can ask any real questions.

It's too late to catch Elmer and Ginger, of course. They are downstairs in the gym by the time I get back. I pick up the handbook from the table where I left it.

"I don't think you need to bother," Glass says. "With the girl's leg brace and the boy's… scrawniness… I think the sponsors will be less than enthusiastic. They're not going to send you money for kids who aren't going to make it past the Cornucopia."

I don't answer him. I take the book into the mentor's quarters. I didn't really peek in here last night, and I'm glad to find that it's equipped with a phone (the written instructions say that it is only for official Games business). Other than that, it looks like the tributes' rooms, only with a few shelves for personal things, since, presumably, I'll be going home and they won't have to clean it out. I scan the biographies of last year's newcomers again, then take a deep breath and punch in the number for Laurentia Hoops. ("Laurentia is fifty-seven years old, single, and the proud 'mom' of three specially bred kittens named Sugar, Honey, and Salt. She loves the nobility of the Games, and was especially proud to sponsor District Twelve last year!")

A wave of bright color flashes in front of me a few times, then there's a click, and it resolves into the face of a surgically altered middle-aged woman. Her skin has been pulled back tightly, and she's wearing a bizarre lime-green wig that goes up to form a circle on top of her head. In the middle of the circle, there's a fake bird on a swing. No wonder Capitol people think the parade costumes are reasonable.

She recognizes me and puts her hand over her heart. "Oh, my! Mr. Abernathy! I'm so honored."

"Well," I say, "I wanted to call and thank you for helping me out last year."

"Yes, of course!" She leans forward. "Oh, you poor thing, I was so sorry to hear what happened after the Games."

"Thank you."

"I never sponsored anyone before last year, but you and Maysilee were so wonderful with each other. I wish I could have saved both of you."

Something tries to connect in my head, but doesn't quite make it. Still, I feel it buzzing around my skull as we talk: I wish I could have saved both of you. "I wish you could've, too, ma'am. Maysilee was a real nice girl."

"Your accent is so adorable," she says. "I suppose it's not the polite thing to say, but I just love it."

I've never thought much about my accent one way or another, except when Daddy would get frustrated and say (in unknowing, drunken self-parody) that Lacklen and I needed to stop using the local patois, since it made all of us sound like "ignernt rubes." There are certainly a lot of people in Twelve who sound a lot more, well, Twelve than I do, because it mattered to my father that I sound educated. I never tried to cover it up, though. I can't think how it could possibly sound any dumber than a Capitol accent.

Now, though, since it seems to delight Laurentia Hoops, I lay it on as thick as I can, letting the sounds get richer, and using as many localisms as I can possibly squeeze into the conversation. The Games are "pert near" here, and it's a "whole nother" business being a mentor, and Ginger is "down in the knee," and -- may Daddy forgive me -- I'm "trine t'git the both of 'em red up fer it" now. By the time I'm done, Miss Hoops has vowed the same amount of money she gave last year, to go toward a knee brace if the Gamemakers don't allow Ginger to start with one, or for a dose of painkillers if they do.

"I've had problems with my own knee since I fell on the ice," she confides. "It bothers me terribly when it rains." She sighs. "If the little girl doesn't make it at the Cornucopia, please give the money to the boy, and if he doesn't… if they have allies, pass it along. I want to help anyone I can, rather than just having it go into the till for next year."

"It would be my pleasure, ma'am."

Our business is done, but I feel guilty hanging up. Miss Hoops is obviously lonely and pleased beyond measure to talk to someone, even if it is me. Still, I have to do it. There are more people to talk to.

Not all of them are as happy to hear from me. Hortensia Vane tells me in no uncertain terms that she does not give money to drunkards, and will be sponsoring the sweet little children from District Eight this year, who have a mentor who's always been a beacon of proper behavior. Severina Bottler informs me coolly that she would have been happy to donate to Maysilee as a mentor, but she never had much interest in me, and has had even less since I started acting like a common lout. Innupta Carter starts out interested, but when I tell her that I can't visit her this afternoon, she becomes hostile and vows to donate to District Five, with that nice woman Faraday Sykes, who took her out for tea two years ago.

Most of them are nice, though -- middle-aged and old women, for the most part, who seem to see both me and my tributes as the children they never had. One, with the odd name of Tryphaena Buttery, tells me that she wants to donate in my brother's memory. I tell her that I sure wish she could, and Lacklen would appreciate the thought, but that's not allowed. She always wanted a son and loved math before she moved on to what she calls "the ladies' track," and still collects books of math puzzles. She asks me what I think might help Elmer the most.

"Well, ma'am," I say, "I won't know what he'll definitely need in the arena until I see it, but right here and now, if you could message over one of those math puzzle books, I think you'd make Elmer happy for a couple of evenings."

She's delighted to do something so simple that might make a tribute smile. Again, an idea tries to snag in my head. There's something about these women that's not what I expected. Something they're responding to. I don't know how to use it, though, or why I feel like it matters more than most of the things I've done so far. I can't think of any logical way this is going to help me take down the Games machinery.

I get as much money pledged as I can. I'm getting tired, and I'm not cut out for being anyone's confidante. I'm pretty sure that I'll start getting nasty with them soon. I wish I knew someone in the Capitol like Danny, who I could send to talk to these ladies.

On the other hand, if they stop being lonely, they might not sponsor my tributes.

I shake it off. I've hit the end of the list in the book, and I barely have enough for a single gift. If either of them makes it past the Cornucopia, I'm going to need more. I can't really go out and meet anyone -- among other things, after spending all morning being nice to people, I feel like hitting the first person I meet -- so I'm at loose ends for a little while. I unlock my door and go out. Glass is no longer in the apartment. He's left a note saying that he's gone home. This is a relief, though it does effectively remove any target for potential punching.

I take the elevator downstairs. A few other mentors are in the lobby, where there's a live feed from the gym. No one is really paying attention to it. Earl Bates is having a long conversation with one of the District Nine mentors. Brutus is chatting up one of the boys waiting tables. Seeder is teaching some kind of dance step to Miracle Brea from District One, and while I watch, they switch roles, and Miracle teaches Seeder a step. I guess they have the same talent. Since I can't think of anything else to do -- watching the tributes from the worst possible angle while they fumble around the gym the first day is pretty fruitless -- I go over and join them. Seeder formally introduces me to Miracle, who couldn't make the Victory Tour banquet.

"Do you like ballet?" Miracle asks.

"Is that what you two are doing? It's pretty."

Seeder smiles. "Did you ever see a ballet?"

I shake my head.

"Well, we'll just have to fix that sometime soon. Do you want to learn the steps we're doing?"

"I don't think it's for me."

Miracle laughs. "No, you really don't seem very balletic. What is your talent, anyway?"

"Are we back on that?"

"It was the talk of the Victory Tour."

"I don't have a talent."

"Sure you don't." Miracle bends to one side, her arm forming a graceful arc above her, then she stands up, wrinkling her nose. She nudges Seeder. "Maris Brinn, two o'clock."

Seeder pretends to gag. "Haymitch, you get behind us. She'll pay no attention to us, but I'll bet she's dying to get her hands on you."

I get behind them, and peek out around Miracle's arm. The woman coming in is not homely by any stretch of the imagination. She's well put-together, and carries herself with easy confidence. Her blond hair is shellacked up into a fan of playing card aces, but otherwise, there's nothing especially bizarre about her. She looks like she's shopping.

Brutus catches sight of her and breaks off his conversation with the waiter.

"Miss Brinn!" he says. "How good to see you!"

"Is the new boy here?" she asks.

Brutus looks a little miffed. "Oh, no, he's a stick in the mud. You wouldn't like him. Can I buy you a drink and tell you about my tributes?"

She sighs and evaluates him with a cool glance. "Well," she says, "you've always been entertaining. I suppose you'll do."

He puts his hand on the small of her back and leads her into the bar, making a few jokes and laughing at all of hers.

"Guess I'm glad Brutus didn't notice me come in," I say.

"Oh, he noticed," Miracle says. "But he's not going to give up Maris Brinn's money until someone else physically rips him out of her… pocketbook."

Seeder nods. "I made the assumption that you're planning other means of getting sponsors."

"Good assumption."

Miracle shrugs and goes back to her dance exercises. "It is a lot of money that he gets. Adamaris Brinn is connected to everyone who's anyone in the Capitol. She might even have more money than Snow, and she just loves finding handsome young men to spend it on."

"Which is why we need to protect our dashing boy hero," Seeder says, and musses my hair. I roll my eyes at her. She reminds me of Mom, except that Mom wouldn't take this in such good humor.

I guess I can't judge Brutus too harshly. I spent the morning giving older ladies exactly what they wanted, too.

On the other hand, my ladies are better quality.

I spend the next forty minutes with Seeder and Miracle. Beetee comes downstairs and joins us after a while, making a nervous joke that he wasn't about to let me monopolize the pretty ladies. The conversation is low-key and adult, and I feel like I'm sitting in at one of my mother's sewing circles. It's not an unpleasant feeling, really, but I know it's not really my conversation.

After a good hour of this, someone calls out "Finally! What's been taking so long?" A big screen lowers against the far wall, and a much better view of the gym comes up. I can see Elmer trying, without much success, to throw a spear. Ginger is showing Chaff's tribute, Dibber, how to light a fire. I'm glad that she thought to do this without any coaching.

"They still haven't got the individual station cameras working," Beetee tells me. "Usually, you can get a much better view of your tributes. I designed it for them, but they tried to reconfigure it without me."

"Serves them right," Seeder says.

Now, mentors start to appear from the bar and wherever else they've been holed up. Drake plants himself on a couch and stares at the screen with growing despair. I don't recognize his District Six tributes outside of their train-track inspired costumes, but I guess they're not among the confident and competent crew that's swaggering around the room.

I spend most of the rest of the afternoon going from mentor to mentor, whoever Elmer is working with at the moment (Ginger, frustratingly, does not leave the fire station, and just gives lessons to whoever comes along). He's trying to make allies, but if he was clumsy at spear throwing, he's abysmal at archery, and catastrophic with a sword. He seems to hit it off with Beetee's tribute, and they spend a lot of time being very bad at everything together. I think of Filigree, sneering last year at the "fodder brigade."

Thinking of Filigree is a mistake. It immediately turns to thinking about our final fight, about the axe sinking into my side, about holding my guts against my body while I forced myself to keep running.

This isn't a pleasant conversation about ballet with my friends. This is the Hunger Games.

But it's also a pleasant conversation about ballet with my friends.

My head starts aching, trying to hold both ideas at once. I want a drink. The medicine is keeping my body from demanding a drink, but it can't stop me if I decide I'm going to drink anyway. It won't stop me from getting drunk if I damned well choose to do it.

On screen, Ginger finally gets up from the fire station at the prodding of the actual attendant, and limps her way over to shelters. I think about the women this morning who refused to sponsor District Twelve because I have shown up drunk in so many places.

I choose, provisionally, to put it off for now.

At night, Caesar runs a recap of last year's Games. We don't see it in the apartment, of course, because it will have clips from home, and tributes aren't supposed to think about home. I find out about it because in the morning, I have a pile of new sponsor calls to return, and Glass manages to actually focus on his real job long enough to set up a handful of meetings. There are two gamblers who want to know if I've figured out the secrets of the arena -- they go away disappointed, but make small donations in the hopes that they'll pan out on their bets. There's an old man who makes a quite frank offer of a trade. I take Chaff's advice and am nice to him, but don't take his money. I take a break to shower after he leaves, since he spent the whole meeting with his hand on my thigh. Finally, Emiliana Meadowbrook, the pretty young actress I met on the victory tour, comes in and gives me a sizable donation. "No strings attached," she says, then smiles. "Though if you were freely inclined, I wouldn't mind having dinner with you."

"It's a nice offer," I tell her, "but I better have dinner with my team. They need some mentoring."

"Maybe coffee?"

I take her for coffee, and I actually enjoy her company. I think about asking her on an actual date sometime. She kisses me goodbye when she heads out into a warm rain, and it's definitely the nicest kiss I've had in a while.

On the evening broadcast, Claudius Templesmith shows hidden camera footage of this and wonders if I've "finally" found love again after the tragic losses of both the beautiful Maysilee Donner and "a girl back home" almost a whole year ago. I spend the next hour with the image of Digger roasting on the fence in my head, and when Emiliana calls to apologize profusely, I'm short-tempered and impatient with her. She doesn't revoke her sponsorship, but there are no further offers of coffee, dinner, or kisses in the rain.

Glass takes a great deal of pleasure in telling Elmer and Ginger that I'm going on dates with television stars while they're trying to learn not to die, but, to my surprise, they both shrug it off. Elmer even guesses that it grew out of a sponsorship meeting, and says he sure wouldn't miss a chance to kiss a pretty girl if one came up. I promise no more distractions.

We spend that evening trying to come up with a strategy for their evaluations. Unlike last year, they'll still have regular practice in the morning; meetings with the Gamemakers will come after lunch.

"A good score is good for sponsors," I remind them (probably unnecessarily), "but it's not everything. And it'll make other tributes want to go after you."

"You got a ten," Ginger says. "What did you do?"

"I stole a knife from the Gamemakers' plate and put all the attendants out of commission with it."

"What did Maysilee do?"

"We didn't talk about it after, but she said she was going to do something with sneaking up on them. I guess whatever she did worked. What are you good at, Elmer?"

"Nothing. Did you see me at all? I'm useless at all the weapons stations."

"What can you do at home? Other than math, I mean."

"I'm pretty good at mine safety, but they're not going to give us any charges to blow."

I nod. "I'll think on it. Ginger?"

"I light fires," she said. "It's really all I could do. I used to be able to run fast. But… I can't anymore."

I frown. "You know what? Light them a fire and don't worry about the score. You're not going to be playing by the regular rules, anyway. We just have to get you away from the platform."


I think about mine safety for a little while. It is a lot of explosives handling, which would be extremely helpful if there were ever explosives to handle. There's testing for dangerous gases, and making support structures for the tunnels. "Hey, Elmer, you think you could use stress points to make a good shelter out of anything in there?"

"A shelter? Why would they care about that?"

"You have to do something. Since they're not very likely to have anything really much like a mine, just extrapolate what you know into something different. Make it look complicated. It doesn't even need to be a shelter. Just something that looks complicated and you're good at."

He thinks about it. "They sit up there on a platform. I could shore up under -- you know, build a redundant support -- then take out the regular supports. It's not really hard, but it would look good."

"Good. Just don't drop them on the floor, much as you'd like to."

This gets a little laugh, at least.

"You also need to start thinking about the interviews."

Ginger shifts uncomfortably. "Mr. Glass said that you weren't allowed to talk to us about that."

"Glass is wrong. I have it directly from the Head Gamemaker that it's strategy, and therefore the mentor's job. So, what do you want to talk about?"

"Shouldn't we try and make people scared of us?" Elmer tries.

"Yeah, they'll be trembling in their boots," I say. "Everyone's scared of the math guy. Come on. Get real. Caesar will help you if you get stuck, but he needs to know what to ask."

I can't budge Elmer from his belief that he needs to answer like a Career to be taken "seriously," but Ginger at least offers up her fondness for commercial jingles. It's not much, but I'm pretty sure no one else up there can sing the entire run of Glam-Hair product commercials. It will be familiar to the Capitol, and kind of funny. Maybe it will help. Elmer is appalled at first, but when I explain it, he becomes panicked, because he doesn't know how to do anything funny, either.

Miss Buttery's math puzzle book comes up in delivery (it's obviously been searched for hidden messages, and some pages have been torn out), and I give it to Elmer to calm him down. He dives into it and starts doing problems. Ginger starts humming her repertoire.

I sit at the table, look at them, and contemplate the plain fact that they are both going to die, probably very badly, in a very short time.

I knock back three drinks and get enough of a buzz to be numb, but without the constant prodding to drink more, that seems to be enough. I go to bed, and wish I could dream of kissing Emiliana, but of course, I don't. I dream of Digger, her flesh melting onto me, her finger falling off like an over-done chicken leg when I move her hand. Maysilee is beside me, covered in blood, and Lacklen is lounging on his bed in my house in Victors' Village, a huge beam impaling him. None of them seem bothered by their situation, no matter how many times I tell them that they're dead, and I can't do anything about it. Digger starts humming commercial tunes.

Sitting through the evaluations the next afternoon is the most stressful thing I've had to do (so far), mostly because I'm not allowed to go down and give them any last minute advice, and I can't even see what they do. I sit with the other mentors in the lounge, all of us snapping irritably at each other and the Games staff. As District Twelve, my team is the last to go. Glass spends the half hour of the tests taunting me about how unprepared the kids are.

I see Elmer go up in the elevator, then, finally, Ginger. I head up to join them.

Ginger is sitting on the floor, weeping uncontrollably.

I look at Elmer.

"She couldn't get the fire to start," he says quietly.

Ginger doesn't acknowledge or nod or say anything. She just continues weeping in huge, braying sobs until she finally cries herself to sleep on the floor.
10 comments or Leave a comment
From: (Anonymous) Date: February 19th, 2014 03:37 pm (UTC) (Link)


Seeing Haymitch working his network of sweet little old ladies. And all the little things he did like playing up the Andy Griffith (excuse me, District 12) accent, etc. I really loved the line about his ladies having more class than Adamaris Brinn. And the bit with the soap star. Damn paparazzi. And seeing Brutus in action, I now believe completely that no one is forcing him to do anything (or anyone). It really helps when you're a willing participant in your own pimping.

Poor Ginger. I'm glad that Elmer's made a friend, though.

Sara Libby
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: February 20th, 2014 03:30 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Loved...

Socializing may be against Haymitch's nature... but at the same time, I think he gets a kick out of the old biddy contingent and their fondness for him. After the previous year, it must be nice to be around people who are quite happy to see him and just want to help.

Brutus... yes, he was definitely telling the truth about his life as a victor. Heck, he probably considers constant access to whatever sex he happens across to be a perk.
sonetka From: sonetka Date: February 19th, 2014 05:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, Haymitch. I like how we're seeing the seeds of the story right now -- trying to figure out the perfect story to tell the audience, the one that will make them see the Games for what they are. Unfortunately he needs both the perfect set of tributes and NOT to spend 95% of the year destroying his own brain cells. I did like the brief peek at the young Seneca Crane, and Miracle being a reasonable human and giving the high sign about Maris Brinn being despite being District One :). It really is the victors against the world, isn't it?

I hate to say this, but in terms of mentor choices, blowing the money he has on a leg brace for Ginger would be horrendous use of the money. And even though I know how this ends I still can't help hoping that Elmer at least somehow manages to pull it out.

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: February 20th, 2014 03:33 am (UTC) (Link)
The latter is sad, but true. She's not going to make it far even if the brace keeps her limp from being as bad as it normally is. Then again, in THG, the boy from Ten made it more than halfway with a bum leg, but I think he'd have to have been much more determined than Ginger seems to be.

I think Snow probably figured the Quarter Quell would make the battle victor against victor, instead of victors against the world. Miscalculation alert!
sonetka From: sonetka Date: February 20th, 2014 04:51 am (UTC) (Link)
I always wondered about the boy from Ten and had hoped Collins would go into that a bit when Katniss and Peeta are watching the highlight reel afterwards -- I figured he must have either been a world-class hider (and the woods offered plenty of places to do it) or made an alliance based on a skill like being able to forage for food or use a slingshot well. I think poor Ginger has just been overwhelmed by the inevitable. (I can't say I'd do any better than her. I'd probably break down crying in the training room, actually, and spend my evenings ordering every item on the menu and writing poetry in which my teenage angst would be more than justified).
mirandabeth From: mirandabeth Date: February 19th, 2014 10:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, Ginger. Nothing's really going to make this any better for her, since any extra time she survives really just means extra time she suffers, but that's a pretty hard thing to take anyway. And on that point, I'll say again how horrific this situation is for Haymitch. He has to give them as much of a chance as he can, and he wants to, but in the long run it's only going to make things worse either for them or for someone else who might be held back by them.

And he's so awesome for pushing through those sponsor calls despite how against his nature it is. I love the glimpse into these people, and the first appearance of Tryphaena Buttery!

And also how normal it all gets after a while. I mean, the horror is never that far away, but he's got friends, and it's just a job at the moment, really. This is the kind of thing Snow should stick with, not messing with the victors, just letting them get used to it all and therefore complacent.
I guess there's a big difference between Brutus (and all of them in different ways) whoring himself out for sponsor deals, and Snow's "deals". The whole dynamic there, with the other victors insisting Haymitch not give Snow an inch, makes me wonder how they would later let Finnick be so badly used by Snow. I mean, I suppose there wasn't much they could have done, given what we know of Finnick's personality (I don't think he's very strong when it comes to the suffering of people he cares about), but I wonder about Haymitch's comment in Golden Mean that they didn't even know what was going on with him. Is that your idea about Finnick's parents, by the way? That they made a run for it, knowing it was actually leaving Finnick in a better position if they weren't around to be used against him? That makes a lot of sense if so.

Okay, back on topic. I'm surprised Haymitch doesn't think about the landmines as something which could be potentially used, especially with all that talk of explosives.

I spent the morning given... - giving

There's an old man who makes a quite frank offer a trade. I'm not sure if you're missing an "of" here?

Since they're not very likely to have anything really much like mine... - a mine
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: February 20th, 2014 03:39 am (UTC) (Link)
I'll grab those typos, thanks.

Haymitch was a victor in a way no one had been before, and I think he's becoming a mentor unlike the others, too -- grabbing those lowball donors up, and making it a kind of social thing for them.

I guess there's a big difference between Brutus (and all of them in different ways) whoring himself out for sponsor deals, and Snow's "deals".

For one thing, Snow doesn't get a kickback from it. Brutus is freelancing.

On Finnick, I think by then, there may be a real change in the dynamic. Here, Snow's threatening the tributes and using the Games as a weapon. With Finnick, it seems to be people back home (maybe he got an idea from Beckett). I don't necessarily think Finnick's parents are very far out of reach (though I think in Narrow Path, I imply that his father is dead). It's very possible that, at first, the victors didn't realize what was going on, because, like you said, Finnick isn't strong when people he loves are threatened. If they were threatened should he tell other victors, it could take a while.

It just seemed to be such a surprise when the D3 boy used the landmines in THG, I figured I'd better just steer clear of Haymitch considering the subject at all.
mirandabeth From: mirandabeth Date: February 20th, 2014 03:54 am (UTC) (Link)
Actually maybe Haymitch figures that using the landmines would be similar to using the forcefield in his Games, and therefore likely to result in the deaths of people back home.

On Finnick, yeah, I was thinking about that - a shift in the dynamic after this time period - after I wrote that comment. Snow doesn't really hold Haymitch's family's lives against him at any point in your story, does he, he just goes ahead and kills them after Haymitch doesn't do what he says. Although then again, Haymitch's line in MJ about Snow having no one to use against him implies that Snow would have if he could, so I don't know. Maybe it's just kind of a slow process of Snow realising just how valuable it is to have those people to hold over the victors. He certainly follows through on his threats.
From: queen_bellatrix Date: February 20th, 2014 05:10 am (UTC) (Link)

Feedback and Catches

Just a couple more catches:

who want sit me You missed a to before sit, there.

downstairs joins I think you missed an and before joins, there.

I know Haymitch's tributes are just about sunk, but I can't help hoping he and Beetee can at least make a preliminary alliance on Elmer and Beetee's tributes' behalf before Elmer goes, mostly because: A.: I adore seeing Haymitch work their arenas, and hope he can help Beetee get his tribute relatively far, even if I've a feeling he'll be doing it through at least a partial inebriation haze. And B.: I really like Miss Buttery, and hope her money can be put to good use. (What an awesome lady, offering her math puzzles to make a tribute happy, and how fantastic on Haymitch's part to think of it!)

And I loved seeing what I think is a cameo of Snow's son; Martius, right? Ginger's so much more respectful than I would be; I'd certainly call him Mr. Glass to his face, because that's just proper, but not when it was just Haymitch and my fellow tribute; it's not like Haymitch would reprimand you for it.

One of the things you're doing really well throughout this entire story is giving us these moments where Haymitch's path could have branched, and he could have been very happy; I definitely get the sense that the date with Emiliana was one of those moments. I liked her quite a lot, from the moment she danced with Haymitch on the tour. I knew it couldn't go anywhere, really, because of how alone he was by cannon, but damn, I still found myself hoping for at least a brief and interesting try between them. Though from a psych perspective, I love how traumatizing the idea of a new relationship is, both because of what could happen to them, and because of the guilt he must feel at the idea of attraction/love towards anyone so soon after her love got Digger killed in such an awful way, almost as though it devalued her death. I just really love the fact that while Snow does make things awful, Haymitch is also culpible because he keeps missing opportunities/signposts to reclaim some semblance of normality. And it wasn't her fault there were hidden cameras; if I could have smacked two characters through the screen, I would've started with Claudius and then given Haymitch a lighter one for taking that out on her when he knows perfectly well the entity/people responsible for the culture.

Reading your stories is always such a pleasure, because you make me emotionally invested enough about both cannon characters and your fabulous ocs (You have some of the most three-dimmensional and engaging ocs in fandom) to be happy at their triumphs and furious enough to vent verbosely about their mistakes.:d

And ugh, I know Finnick gets patronized by Brinn and she's vile, and I feel so sorry for him fourteen years down the road, because she's vile! For the record, you do imply that Finn's dad's dead in NP; a reference to his old fishing net hanging on Finn's wall, like a memorial relic.

I love that Haymitch used his district accent on the sponsors, and that the seeds of what you used in his chat with Peeda in one of the challenges about making the Capitol see both tributes and mourn for the loss of one are starting to emerge. (His entire reason for dressing them in similar costumes etc. etc. before knowing Peeda's plan always illuded me, and your reason fit so well it's become my head cannon.)

I find myself hoping Haymitch can get a copy of the games recap from Caesar; I think it might do him good to see how much District support he and Maysilee actually had, as well as his family in happier times.

I liked how he's mentoring them both not to play by the rules of the game. Loved the instructions he gave Elmer about doing something that "looked complicated" andElmer's response/plan. I'm liking that kid more and more.:( It was far too cool to see him bargaining with the Gamemakers, and I like Livingston more and more. Is this the sort of thing you were talking about above in terms of Haymitch being a mentor unlike the others?

And poor Ginger; as much as she knows she's sunk...to blow your evaluation with the Gamemakers would make anyone a puddle of goo.

Btw, do you think Haymitchtried to do a similar thing to what he's doing here, drinking enough to get numb without being drunk in later years?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: February 20th, 2014 05:35 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Feedback and Catches

I liked Miss Buttery when she unexpectedly showed up in Narrow Path (my favorite OCs are always the ones that just kind of wander in and surprise me), so I wanted her to have a nice introduction. I don't tend to write a lot of OC-centered stuff, but I want the ones who do show up to make sense in context and grow naturally out of the milieu.

Yup, that's Martius. I hope to get a chance to 'meet' him better later, but a forced scene I tried to do here didn't work.

There may still be a little more with Emiliana, but yeah, Haymitch is throwing this possibility away with horror, and he could have been at least a little bit happy sometimes. Instead, he's going to end up writing her off later on as nothing more than one more drunken Capitol grope (even though he wasn't drunk, and it was hardly a grope).

Something is definitely going on in Haymitch's head long before Peeta makes his little confession. He has to have been thinking of it for a while and working with Cinna. There's certainly no time between the reaping and the parade to evaluate the tributes and come up with an individual story for them.

I think Haymitch probably used the anti-addiction medicine in the Capitol. (Sorry, I'm sure we were meant to think that the lifelong alcoholic just exerted self-control for Katniss, but a little too much time around the species has made that too hard for me to swallow.) There's too much at stake to risk getting falling down drunk while he still has responsibilities. But later on, he does endeavor to at least find, well, the golden mean with drinking. Unfortunately, with alcohol, that line will tend to move suddenly and without warning as tolerance gets higher.
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