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The Last Tribute: Chapter Twenty-Four - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
The Last Tribute: Chapter Twenty-Four
Katniss has just pulled the berry stunt.

Chapter Twenty-Four
"Stop!" Claudius calls out, pressing against his earpiece, his eyes wide with disbelief. In the arena, Katniss looks up at the sound of his voice. "Stop! Ladies and gentlemen, I am pleased to present the victors of the Seventy-Fourth Hunger Games, Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark! I give you… the tributes of District Twelve!"

There's a brief shot of the square in Twelve, but they aren't cheering. They're watching the whole thing, stunned. Ruth Everdeen gets a close shot. She seems to be trying to figure it out. Danny's hands are buried in his hair, which is sticking up every which way. Mir collects herself to give a beatific smile for the nearest camera.

Katniss and Peeta drop the berries and scrape them out of their mouths. Peeta gags as the ladder comes down from the hovercraft, and as they're lifted up, I can see the blood running freely from his leg. His tracker is showing the signs of shock again.

Everyone in the Viewing Center is silent until Jo lets out a savage cheer. Finnick picks it up, and so do several of the young kids who work the Games. Chaff and Seeder smile. Seeder hugs me.

I want to celebrate. I should celebrate.

But even as I watch, Peeta loses consciousness.

All of it is live on screen. Medics rush him into a treatment area on the hovercraft. It's a pretty sophisticated surgical area. They can't afford to lose a victor to the injuries he sustained in the last fight.

I guess this year, they can, but, to my relief, they don't. They're committed now. They start to work on him.

Then Katniss launches herself at the glass wall, screaming his name, ordering the medics to leave him alone. She is utterly senseless, caught in some kind of arena nightmare. A production assistant is ordered out of the room, and I see him head for the communications array. He doesn't look much older than Katniss.

The telephone rings. I pick it up. "Abernathy."

The boy's voice is high and reedy. He might even be younger than the kids. I don't know how old they have to be to apprentice on the hovercrafts. "Mr. Abernathy, this is Olybrius Byrd. On the hovercraft?"

"I see you."

"Oh. Right." On screen, he looks nervously over his shoulder. "Peeta Mellark is in trouble."

"How much trouble?"

"His heart stopped on the table."


"We got it started again, but he's lost so much blood. We're going to do everything we can. We all like him here." In the background, I hear Katniss stop screaming, and see her slump down against the door. Someone goes over to her. Olybrius looks over his shoulder, spooked. "We're not hurting him! We're helping!"

"Yeah, I know. I've been there."

"She's… is she crazy?"

"Probably." I look at her, sitting on the floor, staring at a glass of orange juice she's been handed. "But she'll get over it. Tell me what's happening with Peeta."

He fills me in as well as he can, and none of it sounds good. I'm getting his tracker data, after all, and I know his heart stops a second time. They get it going again. I don't want to hang up. Olybrius doesn't know any more than I do, but cutting the lifeline to the hovercraft isn't easy.

At least I have that. Back in Twelve, on the screen, I can see Danny and Ruth both straining toward the screen, trying to understand what they're seeing.

I write everything down, call Merle in Twelve to pass it on to the families, and have him gather them at his house to get news as soon as I know anything for sure.

I've barely gotten off the phone when a runner tells me to get to the landing pad on the roof. The hovercraft is coming in fast.

"Effie, come on," I say. "I'll stick with Peeta. I want you to get Katniss."

She nods.

The elevator to the roof seems to take a long time. Mandatory viewing is playing on a screen in the wall. They've left the hovercraft, and they're showing people in the Capitol celebrating. Most of the celebrating isn't going on in the tonier neighborhoods, except around the Daughters offices, where my friends have gathered, and are having a subdued party. Aquila raises a glass of wine and tells a reporter, "You asked why we believe in District Twelve? I believe you have an answer."

The reporter doesn't seem to know what to do with it. There's no analysis. Claudius doesn't appear. Seneca Crane doesn't appear, either, though the Head Gamemaker often makes an on-air comment at the close of the Games. They haven't decided how to spin it yet.

We reach the roof just as the hovercraft comes into view. A runner gets Effie to help her gather up Katniss. I follow another into the craft.

Peeta is in the midst of several medics, all of them working furiously at tubes that are going into him. I'm shoved to one side as they carry him out to a waiting vehicle that takes him over the enclosed bridge to the training center hospital. They pass Katniss, who's been knocked out. They're carrying her at a walking pace.

"Mr. Abernathy?"

I recognize Olybrius Byrd's voice and turn to him. He's in another small hovertech vehicle. I've seen these in museums, carrying elderly patrons around.

"Come on," he says. "We'll get you there faster."

We pass Katniss and Effie. I call to her to stay with Katniss, but we're gone before she can answer. Olybrius is driving much faster than anything I've seen in a museum. He drives us straight into the emergency area and stashes the vehicle in an open area. "You're going to need to sign papers," he says. "For taking care of Peeta. Just find Dr. Bridges's administrative assistant. She'll be waiting for you."

"Thank you."

He looks down the hall toward the room where Peeta is, then says, more to himself than to me, "You got them this far. You can do it."

I nod and head down the hall. There's a woman with a clipboard standing by the operating room. Her name is Arcadia. She leads me into an office and reminds me that, as a mentor, I am Peeta's legal guardian until such time as he dies or returns to District Twelve. She shows me a small screen where I can see them operating on him. I've never watched an operation. There's a great deal of blood, and many wires, and doctors with knives and lasers. Assistants scramble around frantically.

Arcadia raps her knuckles sharply on the desk, making me jump. "Mr. Abernathy! I know it looks terrible, but it is the best medical care we can offer. I need your attention here."

"Yes. Of course. I'm sorry. It looks very bad."

She nods. "It is. He's fortunate that he began the Games strong and healthy. The hits he's taken would have killed a weaker tribute. The medicine they sent him for his previous leg wound healed it well, and one of its effects is replenishing blood. It was still active, or he'd have died overnight, even with the tourniquet. Speaking of which, the girl certainly saved his life with it. Make sure she knows that. It'll help if…"

"If what?"

"If we have to take the leg." She sighs and leans forward. "I need you to sign papers authorizing Dr. Bridges to amputate Peeta's leg if it's necessary."

"Cut it off?"

She nods. "Dr. Bridges will do everything in her power to save the leg, but he's lost a large chunk of the muscle, and after spending all night with a tourniquet there to stop the bleeding, there's gas gangrene, and there's already some myonecrosis as well. In effect, his lower leg is all but dead."

"He… he walked to the lake…"

"He hobbled to the lake. He landed on one leg when he came down from the Cornucopia, and he dragged the dead leg along with him."

"Oh." I look at the papers. I think about Chaff's hand. "I should call his father."

"I need the decision now, Mr. Abernathy. We can't wait for calls to bounce around the districts. You are the legal guardian."

I nod. "Give me the papers. Do whatever's right to keep him alive. Will there be anyone to help him adjust? What about prosthetics?" I sign on the line she indicates, hoping that the Capitol hasn't hidden anything deadly in the paper. My experience with medical treatment here has been uniformly good -- the only thing about the Capitol I can say that about -- so I don't think they'd use it to trick me. At any rate, I don't have time for paranoia about it.

Arcadia scans the document, then presses a key on her desk, presumably telling her boss that I've approved the treatment.

"There are prosthetics available, and they will of course be offered to Peeta, but he's too weak for the surgery right now. We need to get him stronger first."

"Of course, right."

She nods. "Katniss Everdeen has been sedated, but her vitals are reasonably strong. She's a bit dehydrated and hypothermic. Both of those will be rectified before the sedative wears off."

"Good. Then she's fine."

"Yes." Arcadia looks around shiftily, then holds out her hand. Something in it is glinting. "Mr. Heavensbee told me to give this directly to you for safekeeping. He says that with all the interest in your victors, people will try to steal it from the hospital."

I have no idea if she's on our side and trying to pass information, or on Snow's side and trying to get me to give Plutarch away. It doesn't matter. I'm not on rebellion business today. Katniss has rebelled enough for all of us. I take the pin and thank her for it.

There's nothing at all I can do for Peeta while they're operating on him, now that I have the information. I stare through the window on the door for a while, but I don't know what they're doing. When they pull out a bone saw, an attendant comes over and pulls the curtain. I'm just as glad.

I go to the room that's been assigned to Katniss. It's not particularly medically advanced. It's meant for getting rest. It's the room Finnick recovered in. Effie is sitting at her bedside, combing out the tangles in her hair. By Games standards, Katniss is in quite good shape. By her own standards, I'm pretty sure she'd be scandalized.

"How is she?" I ask.

"She's all right. The doctors say so. Cinna's team is going to come and get her straightened out later," Effie says. "But I thought I could start. It's all tangled. It took a while to get the braid undone."

I nod and sit across the bed from her. "Thanks for meeting her, Effie."

"I wish they hadn't sedated her quite so quickly. People have been asking questions about the rehabilitation. They want to enhance her. I told them I didn't have any authority about that."

"You do, but it was a good answer." I take Katniss's hand. "I think we can wait for the sedation to wear off so she can give us an idea."

I'm reasonably sure that Katniss isn't going to want her breasts enlarged, but that will give everyone time to gear up for an argument about it.

She nods. "How is Peeta? Is he alive?"

"Yeah. He's alive. They're operating on him. He may lose his leg."

She covers her face and cries quietly into Katniss's bedspread. My district token is still around her wrist, and when her sleeve pulls up, it's revealed. I reach across and put my hand on her neck, rubbing it in little circles. After a while, she moves her hand up to hold onto my wrist. From above, it would look like some kind of strange ceremony that Katniss is officiating with her eyes closed and her hair half-combed.

It's about forty-five minutes before anyone comes for us. It's not one of the doctors, but a surgical assistant. He has on a smock that's crooked and only partly tied, and I'm guessing that he's hiding a lot of Peeta's blood under it.

"Is he done?" I ask.

"We took the leg," he says. "From the knee down. We had no choice."

Effie begins crying again.

"Is he out of surgery?"

"For the moment. There's more to do, but we'll need to decide about a prosthetic before it can be done. It will make a difference in how we close the amputation. They also want to monitor for further infection before they close."

"Has he woken up?"

"No. But we're bringing him up slowly. You may want to be there."

"Of course I do!"

"If he doesn't ask about the leg, let it be. He's had a lot of shocks. This one can wait until he's stronger."

"How could he not notice?"

"He'll be pretty out of it. His brain will take some time to adjust to the nerve signals, even when he's not. And we're going to cover it up."

"How long?"

"A few days, probably a week. We can speed up physical healing considerably, as you know from your own experience, but we haven't reached instant healing."

I nod and look at Effie. "I'm going to go wait with Peeta. Would you call the families? They're at Merle's place in Twelve."

"What about Katniss?"

"She'll be out for a while. And Cinna and his people should be here soon."

She nods and heads back to the apartment to make the call. I follow the surgical assistant to the surgical recovery room. This one, I remember very well. I woke up hallucinating all of the other forty-seven tributes trying to kill me here. They'd made my friends go home earlier, and I was alone in the dark.

I don't want Peeta to wake up alone if I can possibly help it. I pull the visitors' chair close to the bed. Peeta is shrunken and bruised. They've put some kind of a machine over his legs. It probably has some real function, but it will also hide them from him. His one healthy foot pokes out under the sheet. Beside the bed, a machine whirrs, creating new blood from his cells as fast as it can, feeding it into his body through clear tubes.

Arcadia comes in with a clipboard and asks me a few questions about his health, which I don't know the answers to. She should know that I don't know the answers.

She tells me it's all right, and hands me the clipboard, so I can familiarize myself with the case.

I flip open the metal cover, expecting to see gruesome pictures of the surgery and maybe a diagram of his abbreviated body. Instead, there's a mockingjay feather.

I pocket it as quickly as I can. They don't even bother to pretend that the hospital isn't bugged and monitored. But it's enough.

The next several pages are, in fact, diagrams of Peeta's body and post-operative instructions, but every few pages are marked with a bit of torn paper, ostensibly to point out passages in the instructions. Each one points to a bolded line, but the lines are nonsensical, so I pretend to go to the window to look, and lay them down end to end, blocked by the clipboard itself from any prying cameras.

It's been cut up creatively to look like nothing more than bored doodles, but it's my old code -- the clunky, symbol-based thing I made up in high school. We've found better codes since, but I guess this was the easiest for Plutarch to hide in plain sight. The code does not lend itself to eloquence; it's just pictograms strung together with no given grammar.

Snow angry. Girl rebel to districts. Play love only. No rebel or die. Fight lose early. Destroy.

I sigh and shove the "page markers" into my pocket, pretending to absorb the medical information, but the real information is this. Beneath the clumsy grammar, Plutarch is telling me that since Snow couldn't defang Katniss in the arena, he's going to do it now, by treating her as nothing more than a besotted schoolgirl who wouldn't give up her boyfriend. Anything else will be counted as treason.

I'm going to need to warn her.

I suspect she still thinks it's an angle.

I think of her throwing herself against the window of the operating room on the hovercraft. Maybe she doesn't. I'm not sure that's any better for either of them. I think that if she maintains the level of madness she showed on the ship, they'll tear each other apart before the Victory Tour. And if they do grow apart, maybe, by the time of the Tour, they'll be allowed to break up if they want to, or stay together because they want to. The Capitol will have moved on to something else by then, if they're allowed to.

Medical workers drift in and out through the morning and into the afternoon, checking readings on the equipment, adding medicines to the machines that are pumping things through Peeta's veins. Effie comes in briefly to let me know that she talked to the families. Her eyes are brightening, and I think she's taken a pill. Great. She goes back to sit with Katniss.

Outside, the crowds are gathering. They're not as wild as they were in Finnick's year, but they're a solid wall around Games Headquarters. Many are holding up pictures of Katniss and Peeta. Some are throwing coins toward the central fountain -- most are missing, since it's quite a long throw -- in what I take for a superstitious wish for a full recovery of "their" star-crossed lovers. The journalists are having a field day with them.

Arcadia comes back with more papers to sign, this time for surgery to repair Katniss's ruptured eardrum. It's minor surgery, very common in the Capitol. Apparently, people get their eardrums blown out by loud sounds at concerts and in the amusement parks. All routine. She'll be fine, and she'll hear as well as ever. I sign it. They take her to surgery. Effie asks if she can go back to the apartment for a little while, and I tell her it's fine.

I can see Peeta slowly coming to life, the dead whiteness of his skin growing somewhat rosy, his eyes twitching a little, caught in a dream.

At first, I don't notice when his eyes open. I'm checking the news on my handheld -- feeling guilty about being bored, but also needing the information -- and glancing up every minute or so to see if he's awake. I'm not sure how many glances it's been before my mind really registers that he's looking back at me.

"Alive," he says.



"Also alive. Hell of a stunt."

He nods. None of the tubes, miraculously, are going down his throat, and he seems able to talk, if he can think. He stares at the window numbly. If he has any idea that he's missing his leg, he doesn't mention it. "Hurts," he says.

"You gave us a scare. Lost a lot of blood. The doctors got you back. Your parents are very concerned, of course."

"Dad, anyway." He turns to me, a vague curiosity in his eyes. "Is Mom angry?"


He looks around, and I realize he's slipped into a dream. "Is Mom mad at me, Jona? I was only trying to help."


"She hit me. Is she still mad? I can take tesserae in May, then I can help whoever I want."

I have nothing to say to this. Mirrem Mellark is very lucky that she's several districts away from me right now. "Peeta, it's me, Haymitch."

He blinks, and some sense comes back. "Haymitch. Oh. Victor."

"Yeah, that's right. You're a victor. We're going to be neighbors. You and me and Katniss. Oughtta be fun, right?"

His mouth twitches. "Barrels."

"You want to get some sleep? Help everything knit back up?"

"Yeah. You going away?"

"Long enough to talk to your dad. I'll send someone to sit with you."

I doubt he'll know who it is. He's asleep again before I'm out of the room. My friends have gathered in the waiting area near the elevators. I ask Chaff to go in, in case Peeta wakes up again and discovers the amputation this time. I tell him I also want to talk to him later about that. Cecelia and Seeder want to sit with Katniss for a while when her surgery is finished. Finnick wants something useful to do. I ask him to see if he can divert the attention of the media for a little while. He recruits Jo and they head out onto the streets.

I go to the apartment. Effie is cleaning up and putting out dinner. She is definitely under the influence. I can't deal with it right now.

I go into my room and I call Merle's place. The families are still waiting there, along with the Undersees, Gale Hawthorne, and a plain girl I don't recognize at all. I don't want to spend a lot of time here and risk Peeta waking up with strangers, so I say, "Katniss first, because it's quicker. They're operating on her ear right now. They do it a hundred times a week, and they could do it in their sleep. She's not in any medical trouble."

I doubt any of them miss for a moment that I didn't say she wasn't in any trouble.

I tell them as much as I know about Peeta's condition. I guess Effie told them about the leg already.

"Primrose says there are good prosthetics," Mir says, nodding over her shoulder at Prim, and I can't even imagine that conversation. "You see that he gets the best sort."

"That'll have to wait a couple of days," I tell her, and explain as much as I understood about the procedure. I try to sound confident in it. Of course, getting into their mental states is more delicate. Peeta's more lucid than Katniss seemed to be before they sedated her, but neither of them is exactly stable right now. I also have to explain about the tourniquet -- they'll figure out pretty quickly that it killed the leg, but I need to make sure they know it saved Peeta's life, and they can't blame Katniss for the side effect.

Danny still looks concerned -- and he has every right to -- but having facts always helps. They're something to hold onto. "What do we need to do?" he asks.

I guess there are some people who'd tell me to just let them off the hook from doing anything -- go home and be a family, or something like that. But I know these people. They're looking for something to keep them occupied. "Keep doing what you're doing with the reporters," I say. "They're eating it up, and it'll take some pressure off of Katniss and Peeta while they're recovering."

As I expected, this seems to galvanize them. They all sit up a little straighter. The other part will be more difficult, especially if, as Plutarch suggested, Snow is planning on playing the romance angle hard. Maybe it's even because of that -- I have to give them some time off. Otherwise, they'll make each other crazy. That won't help the narrative.

"What do you mean?"

"Just…" I sigh, and look at Kay Undersee. After birds killed her twin sister, I went a little crazy, and tried to kill every bird in her vicinity, including Maysilee's pet canary. The bird got away, since its cage was deeper than my knife was long, but it disappeared from the sweet shop after that. "I want to avoid bird incidents when they get back, okay?"

Kay nods. She needs no clarification on that subject. We made each other very, very uncomfortable.

Mir apparently tires of not being the center of attention. She steps forward. "When Peeta wakes up, you tell him his family loves him, and we can't wait to see him."

Is Mom mad at me, Jona? I was only trying to help… She hit me. Is she still mad? I can take tesserae in May, then I can help whoever I want.

You know what my mother said to me when she came to say goodbye, as if to cheer me up, she says maybe District Twelve will finally have a winner. Then I realized, she didn't mean me.

I clench my jaw. "I'll tell him, but given that you left him thinking that you didn't care much if he died, I don't know if he'll believe me."

To her credit, Mir doesn't try to deny this. It's not a lot of credit, but it's some. "I'll convince him when he gets home."

"You better," I tell her. "'Cause, lady, if you ever hurt that boy again, you're going to answer to me, and I'm not a confused eleven year old kid."

I cut off the call. I probably shouldn't have spoken back to Mir. But

(Is Mom mad at me, Jona?)

she needed to be told that things are going to change. No one is hurting Peeta again, least of all her.

Of course, I'm going to hurt him if I separate him from Katniss, but that's for his own good.

I wonder if that's what Mir tells herself.

I rub my head and go out to the living room. The plan is to get a drink. I'm done for the day, and my hands are starting to shake. The plan is not to get drunk if I can help it, because I have to go back to the hospital. The plan isn't even to camp out here for a little while and recuperate.

The plan is certainly not a private chat with President Snow, but then, he hasn't exactly asked permission. He hasn't actually knocked.

He looks up from a long paper he's reading and says, "Ah. Abernathy. Just the man I wanted to see."
17 comments or Leave a comment
willowlistener From: willowlistener Date: November 21st, 2014 10:14 am (UTC) (Link)
Hi fern. I don't know what this means: 'Most of the celebrating isn't going on in the tonier neighborhoods'
willowlistener From: willowlistener Date: November 21st, 2014 10:25 am (UTC) (Link)
Didn't mags go home?
Cecelia and Mags want to sit with Katniss
willowlistener From: willowlistener Date: November 21st, 2014 10:30 am (UTC) (Link)
great chapter as always Fern. And just when he's shaking with exhaustion, there's Snow. Which is, of course, a demonstration that Snow is a very skilled player of 'the game'.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: November 21st, 2014 03:33 pm (UTC) (Link)
whoops! Good catch. That will be Cecelia and Seeder.
From: (Anonymous) Date: November 21st, 2014 10:18 am (UTC) (Link)

Dr. Arcadia

I like her in this chapter. Does she appear elsewhere, in SC-canon or Fern-canon?

-- Tom
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: November 21st, 2014 03:34 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Dr. Arcadia

Nope, she just showed up with her clipboard. :D
From: (Anonymous) Date: November 21st, 2014 05:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm Realllllly nervous for the Daughters. That little nod to Haymitch is definitely going to get punished by Snow.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: November 22nd, 2014 01:57 am (UTC) (Link)
Yes... though at least these women are bright and have some resources at their disposal.
redrikki From: redrikki Date: November 21st, 2014 08:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
Another great chapter. I like all the little moments with the Capitol people and their fannish compassion. It was weird reading scenes from your earlier story from the other side. I had to keep reminding myself that it wasn't actually canon even if it felt like it.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: November 22nd, 2014 02:01 am (UTC) (Link)
Fandom can be weird and occasionally off-putting, but I think there's a lot of compassion in a lot of it.
From: (Anonymous) Date: November 21st, 2014 08:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
This is soooo great. As always.

I think they hand Katniss a glass of orange juice initially rather than water, but it's such a fiddly little detail.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: November 22nd, 2014 02:02 am (UTC) (Link)
You might be right; I was going from memory, and all I could see was the frilly straw.
From: queen_bellatrix Date: November 22nd, 2014 07:01 am (UTC) (Link)

Some Catches

Feedback to come in the next comment.

medicine you sent him Think this was a bit of a continuity error, unless Haymitch sent other medicine than what Peeta got at the feast, which was, as far as I can remember, entirely Gamemaker controlled?

that she's hiding You refered to the surgical assistant this is about as a he just a bit before this; I'm guessing this one is the continuity error?

window of operating room Just missing a the before operating room.

and plain girl Just missing an a before plain; there was also an extra space between and and plain, but I figure that'll get rectified once the a gets put back in.

something keep them occupied Just missing a to before keep.

office, reminds me Think this may be an odd edit survivor; from what I can tell, you need an and and to maybe delete the comma.

and spending all night Think you may need an after before spending?

they will of course Think you may need commas after will and course, unless this is one of those moments where you deliberately decided not to insert?

And a few more where I'm not sure if something was deliberate or not, but thought I'd mention.

You have Haymitch thinking that he woke up hallucinating all the tributes, which he did. But, the first time he woke up, it was with Chaff/Seder, and the only reason he woke up alone was because they cut off visiting hours. I can't quite tell if they've since extended visiting hours to be at any time for recovering victors, as long as it's a fellow victor/escort, and so he wants to make sure that what happened to him never happens to Peeta because he has the power to now, or if he's just remembering that particular incident and doesn't wish anything like that on Peeta during visiting hours, or if he's just misremembering how he originally woke up because that memory is so vivid.

go home and be a family Can't quite tell if this is a Haymitch syntax thing, or if you meant to put a tell them to go home there.

But I need the two of them to get a little space from each other.

"What do you mean?" This bit felt a bit jarring; just a thought, but maybe say something like: But I try and explain that I need them etc. and then have someone ask what he means? Maybe it's just because I haven't read Eight in a while, but it took me a minute to realize that he'd been explaining while thinking when you suddenly had the dialogue; of course, that could just be me!:)
From: queen_bellatrix Date: November 22nd, 2014 07:02 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Some Catches

As a word geek, I have to start by saying I love Haymitch's vocabulary especially in this chapter, mostly because I learned a new word! I'd never heard of tonier before, and scrambled to look it up when I didn't recognize it.

Gaaah, you can't leave a chapter like that! Part of it is that I love the dynamic you've created between Haymitch and Snow; the tension between them has always kept me riveted to the screen; they're both such forceful intelligent men, and everything from their methods to their ideology are such polar opposites that they just crackle. And part of it is that I love (though that's not really the right word) your Snow. As much as Woody Harrelson is Haymitch for both of us, Donald Sutherland is also Snow for me. And you're the only fic writer that writes him in such a way that I "hear" his voice correctly.

Loved all your subtle digs at celebrity culture here, especially the "their" star-crossed lovers thing; so true to life, and so damn creepy!

Do you have any idea how imminently crushable your Haymitch is when he's clean and sober and being all protective as hell about the people he cares about? I may not normally swing that way, but I'd make an exception if your Haymitch were real. And speaking of, I loved, and don't think I mentioned, a few chapters back what a nonissue Jack's homosexuality was for Haymitch. That is so rare in fiction; either it's a tremendous issue for a character, or they have to "prove" how tolerant they are, by going on ad nauseam about it. But yeah, your Haymitch is fabulous; I've run out of adjectives to say it any other way from saying it so often.:d Though his comment about medical treatment being the only good thing he received from the Capitol *eye rolls* Abernathism reasserts itself, mental promise or no.

And I don't know why, but Peeta's home life hit me even harder here than in the books; that dream was a complete punch to the solar plexus. Especially when contrasted with Haymitch's musings on hurting Peeta by keeping him away from Katniss; just a really great show that yeah, parenting is tough, but that doesn't give Meer an excuse for what she did.

I love the mention of the old code, and just generally, what you're doing with the codes. Yeah, they may've found better ones, but I really liked that you've made a point throughout the stories of Haymitch's being the only one where the only prerequisite was knowledge of the code. Plutarch's, you need a fixative; Finn's in GM, you need a candle/flame of some sort.

And speaking of Plutarch, I'm still royally infuriated with him over that conversation with Haymitch last chapter; especially because this warning is just more spin heads-up!

Have to mention Aquila, because she had the most badass line in the whole chapter. I'm getting attached again, the same way I completed my attachment when Gia interfered in the whipping. Which now of course means I'm worrying about her. (why, oh why, do I attach to minor characters under Snow's control in this fandom? Though it is a testament to your immense skill as a writer.:)

This really was a brilliant chapter; it felt sort of like a riptide; so much is happening, and Haymitch's being dragged along by it all, brain constantly scrambling to catch up, which's how it should feel.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: November 22nd, 2014 07:43 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Some Catches

I'm a word geek, too. My learned word for the chapter was myonecrosis. ;p

I also adore Sutherland's Snow. Just the right level of amiability while he tightens the thumbscrews.

I did want, with both Jack and Brutus, to deal with being gay just as something that was true about them, among many other things that are also true. Since in neither case does it impact Haymitch's life, it's a non-issue for him. I'm glad to hear that it doesn't come off as diminishing that aspect of their lives. (Well, in Brutus's case, he's not exactly a good spokeman for any of his traits, but I think he comes off in a worse light as a coach.)

Abernathism is a difficult credo to let go of, particularly in Panem.

I have to figure out what to do about the Daughters. I like Aquila, too.
willowlistener From: willowlistener Date: November 22nd, 2014 12:11 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Some Catches

You know Brutus... You see him every time a kids coach or parent (usually father) goes completely off the rails at a match and starts yelling and throwing things and punches. THERE is Brutus.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: November 22nd, 2014 07:29 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Some Catches

That last did seem jarring and forced. I hadn't set it up properly. Grr. But I tweaked it a little to explain that he's worried about them driving each other crazy.

Got the rest.
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