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Challenges: AU 1 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Challenges: AU 1
I just have to ask for some Haymitch/Gia if she hadn't had to leave--naturally when he's older-- , maybe framed by/including a snipet/reading from one of those fantastic detective novels about the detective struggling with drinking while showing up the Peacekeepers you mentioned in one of your Haymitch AUs since we know from HT and TLT that they both love mysteries. for queen_bellatrix

By the time I get Treeza Murphy calmed down, Haymitch has buried his nose in my book. This is par for the course. He always ends up reading whatever I'm reading during the Games. I'll probably get him his own copy at some point.

"Got it figured out yet?" I ask.

He looks up over the top. "I'm only on page twenty. My suspect list is limited to the barber, the jealous ambassador, and the Gamemakers."

"There are no Gamemakers in the book."

"I always suspect them, anyway. Sooner or later, I'll be right."

I sit down at the other end of the couch and put my feet in his lap. He rubs the closer one absently with one hand, holding the book with the other. Five years ago, this probably wouldn't have been possible. The first Games after we found our way together, we barely made it until the kids were in bed before we were. But I find excuses to head out to Twelve a few times a year now, and the Games are more like our chance to pretend that we have a normal relationship, at least if we ignore everything around it. After… after, we'll probably go back to my place.

"Where are you, anyway?"

"Page twenty."

"I don't memorize the pages, honey. Read me something."

He rolls his eyes, but reads aloud. "'So you see,' the boy said. 'I didn't do anything at all. I don't know what any of this is about. I just woke up with a dead girl.'"

"As happens sometimes," I say.

"'As happens sometimes,' Columba said, her eyebrow raised wryly…" He looks up. "What does that really mean? Does anyone really raise one eyebrow wryly? Or any way? I can only do both of them."

"I can do one at a time," I say, and waggle them back and forth. "I think it's a genetic thing."

"So if we had a kid, it would be a half and half chance?"

"I have no idea." I pull my feet in and sit forward, cross-legged, leaning toward him. "You always find a way to bring that up. If it's something you want -- "

"It is. You know it is. But you also know they'd move the reaping to our kid's twelfth birthday just to make you pull his name out of a bowl."

"Do me a favor -- look me in the eye when you accuse me of rigging the reapings."

"You know I don't mean you."

"It's my hand in the bowl, Haymitch."

He backs off the conversation, which is wise, given the bugs in here. If we were ever free of the damned things, maybe we could figure the question out. I think it may be possible to fool me, but I have no idea how they'd do it, and I've never been asked to rig things deliberately. I think it's more likely that, if we had a child this year, they'd lower the reaping age to nine for the next Quell, and name only the victors' closest relatives. I don't mention this. Haymitch doesn't need my help with his paranoia.

"I think you should marry some Capitol guy," he says.

"I beg your pardon?"

"So you could have kids and I could spoil them."

"You'd spoil someone else's child?"

He shrugs. "I'd spoil yours. I just wouldn't care about anyone else who was tangentially involved."

"Well, you'll excuse me if I would care. That's a pretty big chunk of my life we're talking about."

He's quiet for a while, then says, "I just sometimes feel like I'm wasting your time."

I edge closer and put my hands on either side of his face to make him look at me. "Come here," I say, and kiss him. "You are not wasting my time."

He kisses me again, and for a little while the deeper questions go away. I finally settle down, leaning my shoulders on his chest. His chin rests on top of my head. There are too many things we can't talk about, not here. Not at his place. Sometimes, we can steal a few minutes here and there on long walks, or in seedy hotel rooms (after which we have to pay for it with snickering coverage from the gossip rags). The best places are the ones we meet other rebels, but we're very careful to never be in those places at the same time. They're suspicious enough as it is. Haymitch suspects -- and in this, I don't argue with his paranoia -- that they only let us stay together because they're sure we'll slip up sooner or later.

I think we also both know that there's no chance for this relationship to go much further than it has until the rebellion succeeds.

"So what do you think this year?" I ask him.

"Tribute talk?"

"We have to get there sooner or later. Let's get it out of the way."

"Usual bunch from One, Two, and Four. The boy -- Gibbons -- picked up a black eye somewhere between the reaping and the parade. I suspect Glass."

"You always suspect Glass."

"Unlike the books, in that case, I'm pretty much always right. That's why District One kicked him out."

"And that's why I decided to stay. I was afraid they'd assign him to you if I'd… quit."

We look at each other briefly, but don't follow up on this. The Peacekeepers dragged me in during his Victory Tour, and tried everything they could think of to make me admit to being a rebel, and name other Capitol rebels. Much of it wasn't very pleasant. If Caesar hadn't stepped in, I'm pretty sure I'd have, first, lost my job, and second, "mysteriously disappeared." But Haymitch was in trouble, and I decided to do everything I could to make sure I could help him. It was one of my better decisions.

"Your turn," Haymitch says, holding the book in front of me.

"We need to talk about the Games."

"Tomorrow's soon enough. What happens after the wry eyebrow raising?"

I take the book, settle into the crook of Haymitch's arm, and read. "'As happens sometimes,' Columba said, her eyebrow raised wryly. 'I don't suppose you know whether or not the dead woman was alive when the night's festivities began?'…"

I'd be very curious to see a moment from an AU of your 'verse where Maysilee lived and Haymitch died. What kind of victor does she make (and who gets sacrificed)? for orichalcum

The nightmare is always the same, mostly because my mind doesn't need to change anything to make it scarier than it actually was. The birds attack. I start to bleed, but I keep fighting. Haymitch charges in from the hill. He fights through the flock of birds. They're mostly ignoring him; they're here for me. One of them takes a jab at my neck, which I imagine would have been like taking an icepick to the throat, but he grabs it at the last minute and wrings its neck. We go on fighting until most of them are dead. Both of us are covered with a hundred little cuts.

"Thanks," I say.

He smiles at me, and the world is going glassy because of all the blood I've lost. His smile seems to glitter. "Guess we're even," he says.

Then he hits me.

I don't have time to think about it. I think if I hadn't been bleeding, I wouldn't go down so easily, but I have, and I do. Haymitch's bright smile is the last thing I see before darkness closes in, and I am angry in my sleep. I wake up to the sounds of the national anthem to find myself alone on the plateau, carried up to a spot beside the cliff, our blanket wrapped around me.

I go to the hedge, meaning to storm back into the fight, even though I'm dizzy and sick to my stomach.

Haymitch has piled up the hard plastic twigs in the hole we made in the hedge. He's fused them together. The door is locked.

The Gamemakers don't leave me entirely alone, but they can't do much here. There are no mutt pathways. Even the pink birds came through the gate. All they can do is lower the temperature further and further, and when that doesn’t work, they start a brush fire by spitting something out of the far off volcano.

I spend a lot of hours in the arena, and in my dreams, fighting off that brushfire, screaming for Haymitch, trying to get through the hedge, not knowing whether I want to kill him or kiss him.

Then the cannons go off.

I don't know what's happened until later, but in my dreams I see it. He fights the girl from one, stabbing her in the eye. She wounds him in the abdomen with an axe. He crawls back to the hedge, puts his hand on the welded shut part, and whispers my name:


Then he dies.


I shake my head, trying to clear the smoke from my eyes. He can't still be talking.

"Maysilee, wake up."

I force my eyes open and nearly jump out of my skin. With the new, thin-framed glasses I got him, the man in front of me looks exactly as I imagine Haymitch would have looked, and I'm sure for a moment that he's a ghost, a vengeful spirit to tell me I was a waste of a life, that my recklessness got Plutarch Heavensbee killed, and almost shut the rebellion down for good. If Plutarch hadn't taken the blame for my sabotage of the Games computers during the fifty-sixth Games, it almost certainly would have blown open the entire Victors' network. I haven't been allowed to forget this, and when I dream, it's all wrapped up with that last, glittering smile, with the welded-shut hedge, with Haymitch dying with my name on his lips, because he thought I'd be more of a rebel than he was.

So much for his famed brains. He'd have known better.

Lacklen waits until I work out who he really is, then says, "Digger and Glen sent me up to get you. You promised you'd come to dinner."

I sit up, rubbing my head. "They didn't wait for me, did they?"

"They're waiting still."

I pull myself up and straighten my clothes a little bit. They're clean, so I don't have to change. Lacklen says my hair isn't too bad, but I tie a scarf around it anyway.

Half of Panem wants me to marry him. They think it would be romantic. I think it would be ghoulish, and as far as I know, so does he. I did try to adopt him when Rhona died, but that happened before I was even eighteen -- she just gave up after Haymitch died -- and I was probably too close to his age to raise him, anyway.

Still, he's a good friend. He told me that Haymitch more or less told him that he planned to sacrifice himself for a girl tribute if the opportunity came up. That it wasn't my fault. More importantly, that he didn't hold it against me -- in fact, that if his brother thought I was worth a life, then as far as he was considered, I had to be worth it, because Haymitch wouldn't have made a bad decision about something that important. (This assertion contradicts the first -- that he was planning it, anyway -- but I don't call Lacklen on it. I know he means well.)

"I'm sorry," I say. "I didn't sleep last night, and I guess I just… crashed." I grab a jacket and walk to the door with him. "How mad is Digger?" I ask as we go out.

"She's not mad. She just thinks you should have someone out here with you. Ruth Mellark's got her on limited activity until the baby comes, so she can't check on you all the time. She worries." He considers it. "Glen's kind of mad."

This doesn't surprise me. Glen's been in the "protect Indigo" business since the end of the Games, when the camera people accosted her to know how she felt, knowing that her "rival" came home instead of her lover. It's the only time I saw her break down. Glen ended up doing five hours in the stocks for decking two cameramen and a reporter. He may well have blacked his own eye for daring to touch her two years after the Games, but after three kids, I guess he's over it. So far, they're all girls, so I haven't needed to deal with a little Haymitch yet. Digger and I don't really talk about this.

As we get into town, I try not to notice the way kids steer around me. I go to the school every year and give them what lessons I can on how to survive if they're reaped, but they see every year that it doesn't work. Twenty eight children have died under my expert mentoring so far. I guess I can't really blame the others for being a little superstitious about me.

"Stop it," Lacklen says.

"Stop what?"

"That thing you're doing. Making up stories about people being afraid of you. They're not. Knock it off."

"You think I'm making it up?"

"I think you're worrying about it too much. Maybe if you just spent actual time with them, instead of just talking about the Games… I mean, you could actually use the aid society to meet people, instead of just throwing money at mine safety. Not that I don't appreciate that every time I look up at the new vents. But you're alone too much. I wouldn't have let Haymitch be alone this much, and I don't think I should be letting you, either."

"It's probably better if I stay alone."

"Oh." He shrugs and we turn down the street toward the Seam. "I guess I probably shouldn't be trying to set you up then."


"I invited this friend of mine from the mines over to Digger's tonight, he's dying to meet you…"

Lacklen grins and leads the way. I'm not sure whether I want to kill him or kiss him.

I would absolutely to see an AU where Haymitch said "Yes" when Mimi asked him if he loved her. I know it will probably end horribly, but damn it, I still want to know. for sonetka

I understand everything when I open the door, before Mimi even opens her mouth.

I've seen her in a few shots on television lately, with the commentators snidely gossiping about her weight, and that's what it looks like on camera. A little pudginess in her face, a little thick through the middle. Not very thick, even in the shots they put up to ridicule her, but bigger than she was. That isn't much of a threshold. She keeps herself at nearly starvation weight -- and I don't say that without knowledge -- voluntarily most of the time.

Which is probably why it's easy to tell that she's pregnant, even though she's not very far along. She's not wearing anything that hides it. Just a light top that blows against her in the wind. She knows that I can see it. She's looking everywhere except at me.

I reach out and touch her arm and wait for her to meet my eyes.

She finally does. She bites her lip and says, "Can I come in, then?"

"Yeah. I think maybe you should." I guide her inside, and around the piles of junk that have built up again in the entrance hall and into the living room. "Mimi, I, are you…"

"Yeah," she says. "I am."

"And it's…"

She nods, then sits down on my ottoman and starts crying.

I sit down on the floor in front of her and take her hands. I don't say anything. What do you say to a girl who shows up at the door pregnant? She said she was "covered." I didn't ask. I wasn't exactly thinking straight.

Her tears finally taper off, and she takes a shaky breath. "It's okay that you asked," she says. "I…you know I wasn't…" She blinks. "I do know, though. It had been a few weeks."

"It's okay, Mimi. I meant what I said on the phone. I love you. We'll figure this out."

"Are you angry at me?"

"Why would I be angry?"

"I said I was protected. I thought I was! My doctor said that this was supposed to last five years!" She jabs at an implant on her arm, the last arc of what was once a circle. "I asked. He said that teenage hormones are so out of whack that the dosage sometimes goes wrong, especially toward the end of the cycle, and no one told me that, Haymitch! I swear, I never even heard a rumor about it."

I run my thumb over the last mark of it, then the math comes together in my head. "Mimi, you're barely eighteen. When did they put that in your arm?"

"When I was thirteen. When I got the show. They wanted my character to have one cosmetically -- you know, to show she was responsible -- but my mother thought I should get a real one, just in case. I had a contract that I couldn't change my body shape. Which I'm kind of in breach on already. I guess I needed it soon enough. I started taking lessons the next year."

I start to ask what she means by "lessons," but the context makes it pretty clear. I shudder. "The baby grows up here." I stop. "I mean, if it's what you want. If you want to have the baby. If you want to stay…" I sigh, pull myself up from the floor, and sit on the couch across from her, eye to eye. Equal. I'm not yet, and I know it, but she doesn't tell me to get back on the floor, at least. "Obviously, you get the final call."

"I want the baby. But only if you do. I could've… I mean if I didn't want him, I'd have… well, I probably wouldn't have been asking you if you loved me. I'm sorry I had to push that. They wanted me to make all kinds of decisions. I knew I couldn't if you didn't love me, at least a little. But I want him."

I nod vaguely, not sure at all how to proceed. I latch onto the pronoun. "Is it a boy? Do you know?"

"There's a gene scan. I did at seven weeks. Definitely a y chromosome. And he's… all the gene scans look normal." Her eyes suddenly widen. "Oh, don't worry, it was an anonymous scan, just a kit I bought at the store. Actually, that I had Valerian buy for me. In disguise. He and my brother are the only ones who know so far."

"Well, them and anyone listening to the bugs in here," I say, then wince. "Sorry. Danger of being a victor. Not much privacy."

"Tell me about it."

"I guess you'd know." I shrug, trying to look more confident than I feel. "It's okay, anyway. I'd shout it out the window to a nearby live camera if there was one." I playact shouting toward the window. "I'm having a son with Mimi Meadowbrook! News at ten!"

She laughs and claps her hand over her mouth. "Haymitch, really."

"Parade in City Center!" I wrinkle my nose. "No. Not that. You do realize that a district child…"

"I know. And I'm really terrified. Just like every other parent in Panem." She gives me a shaky smile. "Of course, I kind of think I'd be terrified right now even if there'd never been a reaping."

"Me, too."

"You're scared?"

"Are you kidding?" I reach out to touch her belly, but I can't quite do it. "I've screwed up a lot over the last year, Mimi."

"Including with me?"

I shake my head. "No. I think…" I smile and take her hands again. "I think maybe that was the smartest decision I made in months. But now, I guess we'd both better start making smart decisions."

She nods, and we begin to talk, as calmly as we can, about what will happen next.
19 comments or Leave a comment
From: (Anonymous) Date: December 12th, 2014 03:44 am (UTC) (Link)

These were...

All quite charming in a way that was both hopeful and melancholy at the same time (which is appropriate for this 'verse, of course). Thanks!

Sara Libby
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 12th, 2014 06:04 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: These were...

I do enjoy the tone of the HG 'verse, in its own odd way. (I don't find it nearly as cynical as some readers do. Honestly, I don't. Sure, Katniss gets very badly hurt in the course of things, but ultimately, disaster is averted, and the human race has something like a fighting chance to start over.)
From: (Anonymous) Date: December 12th, 2014 07:42 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: These were...

Hi, Sara Libby. Small world - I think we may have met at real life at some point, or at least know people in common through the Jewish community. If you are the Sara Libby I've heard of, you either live in or once lived in the area I'm living now, although I think we move(d) in slightly different circles, observance-wise.

Don't want to say more on a public forum, but hello in any case! It was nice not being the only one to pick up on the District 8 Jewish references!

Shabbat Shalom (to you too, Fern),

orichalcum From: orichalcum Date: December 12th, 2014 04:59 am (UTC) (Link)
Wonderful, thanks so much for the Maysilee fic! Glen and Indigo and Ruth and Daneel is somehow perfect, even if it means no real Katniss or Peeta. And yes - even with M's stronger spirit, her lack of H's conniving genius will really hurt the Rebellion. Though now I sort of want the Mags-Seeder-Maysilee friendship and story.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 12th, 2014 06:06 am (UTC) (Link)
She's definitely one who thinks that she can make some grand gesture and it will make all the difference... before the pieces are in place for it to happen. A great idealist... not much of a chessmaster.
sonetka From: sonetka Date: December 12th, 2014 07:00 am (UTC) (Link)
These were all fantastic, and thanks so much for the Mimi/Haymitch request -- glad you left off before it all started to go south (or maybe it wouldn't have been a complete mess? Maybe Snow would have figured that she would be better as an object of ridicule, going to D12, than anything else?) The implant at thirteen ... urgh.

Indigo/Glen and Ruth/Dannel make a ton of sense, though I wonder if R and D's kids would have the necessary mix of traits to get through the games. Say what you want about Mirrem, she did her (involuntary) bit when it came to helping Peeta learn how to survive. So does Mirrem get to use her Capitol drama scholarship in this 'verse?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 12th, 2014 07:35 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm sure the Capitol would have made their lives together hellish, but maybe, for a little while -- maybe long enough to grow up a little -- they'd put a check on each other excesses for the baby's sake. Maybe. It doesn't usually work like that in life, but sometimes it does. Sometimes people straighten out because they have to, and I like to think that's what would happen here.

I think there's just no equivalent to Katniss or Peeta in the Maysilee-verse. Or Madge, for that matter. Ruth and Danny's kids are probably more like Delly... nothing wrong with them, but they probably wouldn't get through the arena. Glen and Digger's girls? They'd certainly be the outdoors type, and Katniss's strength did seem to come from her father, so maybe... unless she was called on to heal, which the actual Katniss was. Mir may well have taken up that scholarship (though the AU I did with that may still largely apply -- all the talent in the world won't make up for her social differences in the Capitol).
sonetka From: sonetka Date: December 12th, 2014 07:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yes, I remember that story -- I could easily see that particular path ending the same way no matter how she got there. Mir just isn't wired to be happy, unfortunately.

Moving from the Capitol to D12 long-term -- even to Victor's Village D12 -- would be incredibly rough on Mimi, and I'll bet the television comedians would have a lot of fun with her. But I like to think Haymitch and Mimi could keep each other on the straight and narrow enough to keep the baby from living in total chaos -- if nothing else, they both have one big common goal, which is keeping the baby safe. Knowing that their son is coming and will be reaching his 12th birthday all too soon might give Haymitch a strong impetus to straighten out and get going with the rebellion sooner rather than later, and Mimi would certainly have the motivation (and somewhat tattered Capitol connections) to help him.
From: (Anonymous) Date: December 12th, 2014 07:34 am (UTC) (Link)
Hi, Fern. I've been following you for something like nine years now and finally decided to read The Hunger Games - which hadn't impressed me when I picked them up some time ago - simply because I missed Fern fic.

I'm so glad I did, as you are as wonderful as ever. You have such a way of fleshing out canon characters in plausible, moving ways. For instance, it took me some time to see your Effie as an extension of canon -- until you introduced the pills. I think for me, possible the most ingenuous thing you came up with was Caesar's background as the first quell victor.

In any case, I just wanted to thank you for a wonderful reading experience. I will absolutely be reading any original fiction you put on the site, as long as you are very sure that it wouldn't interfere with publishing opportunities.

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 12th, 2014 07:36 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks! Still thinking about it. I'm doing my challenges and edits to keep myself busy. (Wouldn't want to stray too far from my keyboard, after all. ;p)
redrikki From: redrikki Date: December 12th, 2014 03:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
Interesting set of stories. I especially liked the Maysilee one. On the one hand she seems to have accomplished more for the district with the mines and games training, but yeah, she doesn't really have the strategy to plan like Haymitch does for the long haul. On the other hand, Plutarch is dead and that pleases me for some reason.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 13th, 2014 01:38 am (UTC) (Link)
I wasn't sure how I'd like that one, but it turned out fun to extrapolate.
From: (Anonymous) Date: December 13th, 2014 09:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hey, I never liked Plutarch in canon, but with everything Fern's done to flesh him out, it was a punch in the gut to read of his untimely and sacrificial death. (;-p) Fern, you are a genius at understanding characters from the inside-out, and writing them in a way that enables them to express who they are on their own terms. (if that makes sense)
From: queen_bellatrix Date: December 12th, 2014 09:50 pm (UTC) (Link)

Feedback part 1

I realized these had been posted this morning, and have spent all day rereading and wondering what I possibly did to win the fic jackpot lottery. It's taken me this long to comment primarily because my first reaction was something like :d:d:d with no actual commentary.

Now that I've gained some coherence: Mine was so very layered and complex; I'm shocked at what you can fit into such short pieces. One of the things I love about all of your alternant universes is their sense of balance; it's the writing equivalent of for every action there is an opposite and equal reaction principle. The most obvious example that's coming to mind for mine is Glass's continued presence on the Capitol stage. But I think the one I enjoyed most was the really interesting thing with Haymitch's sobriety here. (If I don't entirely miss my guess and he is sober?) It's both the best and worst decision he's made; he has a woman he loves, and he's actually in the world. But without the world being muffled, the limits of what he can have are painfully clear. (Snow must seriously have fantasies about them throwing in the towel and having a kid; I think he might tinker in Gamemaker headquarters for "old time's sake" in that poor kid's Games.)

I especially appreciated that a relationship, while it fixed a lot of things, wasn't a magical band aid, y'know? He still had so much baggage; it just got expressed in somewhat healthier ways than drowning in a bottle. (I keep being alternately charmed/amused at his declaration that he would spoil her kids, and just not worry about anyone tangentially involved, and then appalled to have been laughing a minute before when I read just what the snarck is covering.)

And then of course, there's Caesar. He may've saved Gia, and he gets to watch the other quell victor not drown himself, but damn, that puts an entirely more sinister cast on what happened to his wife, since it happened not long after Haymitch's games. Not to mention the rebellion; I imagine they take their fair amount of crap from the other rebels about not being able to be in the same place at the same time. Multiple briefings/passing of messages inevitably means more chances for them to be intercepted/misinterpreted.

You did a fabulous job making the point of divergence from your stories very plausible, and in explaining just why they were "allowed" to stay together *shiver* That, too, is scarily Snow-like.

With all that said, I love how the angst enhances the happiness, because it becomes so clear how much they had to struggle for what they have. Some of my favorite moments in Shifts were Remus and Dora just cuddling and comfortably reading to one another, which I may or may not have mentioned; if not, I'm amazed, because I was hoping for a similar feel with this while trying to leave the prompt general enough not to cramp you, and you created it in spades; I adore the image created with the last few lines, with her in the crook of his arm and the story spooling out in front of them.

You create such different dynamics in your relationships (this especially struck me, seeing this and the Mimi one juxtaposed.), and I love how this one brought to fruition so many of the things I glimpsed in their platonic interactions.
--The banter; the fantastically awesome banter that started with Haymitch’s query about wryly raised eyebrows and just kept going. (AAnd the hilarious and brilliant pov asides; we barely lasted until the kids were in bed before we were.:d)
--the way she can still call him on his BS; the moment where she told him to do her a favor and look her in the eye when he accused her of rigging the reapings was so reminiscent of her comment that he should've just thrown the booze in because they made a great accelerant in HT.

Like the best of your AU snippets, this opens up so many questions.
--what Haymitch's contributions to the rebellion would be now that he's sober

Edited at 2014-12-12 09:57 pm (UTC)
From: queen_bellatrix Date: December 12th, 2014 09:58 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Feedback part 2

--what his life in the District would be (I love to imagine that he's maybe not as distant from Danny, and that Peeta knows Uncle Haymitch; Peeta would like "Uncle Haymitch")
--what his interactions with the President are--having someone he's actively afraid of losing rather than people he's actively pushing away must engender so many deep breaths and rethinking of irritated snarck.

I love how much scope and thought you put into all of your work; this was utterly *perfect*, and I hope you had as much fun writing as I did reading.

With the Maysilee one, I also loved the sense of balance, with her being somewhat more well-adjusted, but not having the planning skills. I read the words sabotage of the Games computers, goggled and then groaned; I see exactly why she did it, but...And Plutarch; I actually feel sorry for Plutarch. I think this is a record. But in the 56th, he wasn't even 25, and he did a truly brave thing.

I also feel so much sympathy for Maysilee; "I'm not allowed to forget" makes me think she's about as trusted as Blight was after the 70th, which means she's probably locked out of influencing her dream.

One of the things I really appreciated you exploring in this one was the idea that while Haymitch's drinking certainly exacerbated his isolation, a large part of it was due to being the only victor in an isolated village, as shown so well by Digger being frustrated about not being able to check on Maysilee.

I'm interested; I know some people have said she did more for the District, but if I'm not mistaken, those vents were the same ones Haymitch eventually got installed in TANT. Though, I do love that she's following in Duronda's example and talking to the kids. Whether it actually helps or not, it probably calms and comforts the kids to feel like they have a handle on things, and makes her feel a bit more in control; I always thought it would do Haymitch a world of good to actually go in and not hover in semi-creepy fashion outside.

I love that Maysilee and Digger became friends, and Lacklen and Maysilee's friendship is awesome! (Though I entirely agree with both of them that to marry would be ghoulish)

There're so many interesting things to ponder in this one; how Maysilee and Lacklen's friendship started, on the happier side of the spectrum. And on the not so happy, I have a horrible suspicion that Kay and her parents got buried in an avalanche of sweets, especially with Lacklen's pause when she says it's better that she's up there alone. And I'm oddly happy that, while Glenn and Ruth never got close, Danny and his kids live in such a less toxic home; I have a feeling that, without the rebellion driving his need complex (and Maysilee seems closer to the Seam than the town*, his and Ruth's marriage would be a quite good one.

Is it weird that the third one almost makes me more scared because the awful shit hasn't happened yet? Every time I reread it, I feel like I'm in the eye of a storm, and I need to start bracing. I have an awful feeling Mimi is going to be getting roses and a death announcement for Valerian soon (I want so much to be wrong, but what better way to punish she and Haymitch than to let her go to Twelve and then break her, and leave Haymitch to try like hell to not fall off the wagon with no Capitol meds and put her back together)

All the little touches in this one were fabulous; I laughed so much at Haymitch's fox camera shouting; he reminded me so much of what you said his daddy was like with the boys. And as a lady, thank you so much for having him tell her that ultimately, the final call was hers; especially because, along with giving birth in really primitive surroundings, she's going to be entirely uprooting her life.

Also really appreciated his realization that with his drinking, he wasn't quite her equal yet, especially since it was followed so shortly by actions that proved he wanted to be, eventually.

In closing, just have to say that the Capitol is bizarre; implants to be "responsible" and then lessons on sex *shudders*

Btw, are we allowed to pose story expansion ideas up through the end of the challenges being posted; I'd really like to go back and read some of the older ones before I suggest things?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 13th, 2014 02:07 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Feedback part 2

He does scale back a lot on his snark with the president, who, at the very least, can fire or transfer Gia on a whim.

In the Maysilee one, Kay had to escape D12, probably because she was agitating, just like she did when Haymitch won, but more in the public eye. I don't know about the parents; I guess it would depend on whether or not they remained rebels. I think they're dead, at any rate, by the point of the story.

Eventually, Mimi and Haymitch might hit a disaster, but for a little while, I think they'll help each other.

And yes, it's her choice. Where I don't have a lot of sympathy for the position that the father should no say about it and no right to feelings about the subject (it is his child), biology is inherently unfair about it, and puts the real burden on the woman, at least as far as actually bearing the child, and therefore, she gets to make the call. When the guy can volunteer to take over pregnancy and childbearing, then he can overrule and take over the whole business. Until then... not so much. (Theoretically, she could then leave him with Haymitch and never think about him again after the birth, thereby only really uprooting his life, but I don't think she would.)

lessons on sex *shudders*

Especially when you stop to consider: There's a teacher. And that teacher has a few years of experience.

I like to do AUs for the reason you mention -- that give and take, action and reaction. If I move this widget, what happens to that thingamabob on the far side of the story? Most stories work like Rube Goldberg machines anyway -- each event causes some other event, often in an unexpected way. So any mucking around is going to cause a wildly different chain of events. In some ways, AUs need closer attention to canon than canon-compliant fics. (At least in the way I do AU. It really only interests me if I'm relentlessly asking the canon "WHY did it happen this way?") A part of me has always wanted to go back to that Neville-as-Chosen-One AU ficlet I did a while back, not because I think Neville would be better than Harry or something like that, but because I really want to see how the tumblers would fall once they really got going, presuming Voldie tried the same nonsense, at least at first. The Boy Who Lived growing up in the wizarding world would be a very different dynamic than it was with Harry secreted away to Little Whinging. But I digress.

I think I'll put up a separate post at the end asking for any recommendations for expansion. In case something in this batch turns out to be really good!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 13th, 2014 01:49 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Feedback part 1

wondering what I possibly did to win the fic jackpot lottery

Ha, look at the length of your replies! I love them! :D

Haymitch is sober in yours. Gia turned over the earth to get him through a full course of medication, and convinced him not to start again. And yeah, Snow's dearest fantasy is the two of them having a child that he could use -- successfully -- as leverage against the rebellion in both the districts and the Capitol. Of course, it would more than likely backfire for him (just as it would with Mimi's child), because the Capitol will read that child "He could be mine!" and a lot of them would be prone to following that to its logical conclusion: Any of them could be.

I fought it being exactly the like the R/T scenes, but doggone it, I liked those scenes, too. If I had a Significant Other, I would want book sharing to be in the mix.

Let's see... Haymitch is still involved in the Rebellion, and so is Gia, but her role is entirely with the Capitol rebels, while he has to be more careful than he was in the books with his district connections, because he's not so godawful isolated. (And yes, Gia never let him "break up" with his friends at home. She called him on that BS, too, and he was definitely more "Uncle Haymitch" than an occasional babysitter to the Mellark boys... leading to ever more caution in his rebellion.) I think with a closer tie to the Capitol rebels than he necessarily had before, even at one step distant, Plutarch uses his proximity to Thirteen to start setting up those connections.
vesta_aurelia From: vesta_aurelia Date: December 15th, 2014 06:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ever since you created your Maysilee, I've wondered what D12 would have been like if she had lived. Thank you for the (alas) realisitic view of the flowering of Donner-ism.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 16th, 2014 12:42 am (UTC) (Link)
It's harder, I think, for idealists to recognize reality than for realists to see ideals.
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