Something from Effie's point of view after she's taken at the end of The Golden Mean, without her pills to alter her emotions, what does she think about the entire rebel situation? for mariachillin
In the video, the kiss seems shorter than it felt.
I screwed up my courage to kiss him, and it felt like forever, like some wall between us broke and crumbled to dust, like something inside of me woke up and flipped through all of the moments of my life. It couldn't really have been just a few seconds (eleven point two seconds, to be absolutely correct), no matter what the time stamp says.
I watch myself leave. There's some good natured laughter from the other victors, but Haymitch is smiling. It's his real smile, not his sarcastic one. I can still feel the ghost of his arms around me.
Twenty four hours later, he hacked and slashed his way out of the Viewing Center and escaped to District Thirteen, along with three of the victors from the arena. I know this because the interrogators told me, in one of our first little question and answer sessions after I was dragged from my apartment by a pair of Peacekeepers. They were waiting for me when I got home from trying to get Portia out of jail. The only thought I had was getting back to Haymitch, to help him like I always do. Maybe to talk about the kiss. It was very much on my mind.
They said they were taking me for my own protection. It was hard to see who they were protecting me from when they dragged me across my living room, knocking my sofa over and pulling my rug off center. I heard other people in the bedroom, going through my things. It was all in the middle of the day. My neighbors were out on the street for the Games festivities.
Peeta, Enobaria, and Johanna were retrieved (or, as the interrogators put it, "rescued") late that night, and are somewhere here in the security complex.
I wonder where they are, if they were stolen out of the arena with no control, if they've had their faces scrubbed nearly raw by the prison matrons. I wonder if they feel as naked as I do under the lights, with my wig stolen away and my good clothes in a laboratory somewhere. I'm in a thin prison uniform with gaping sleeves that show all the way to my breasts if I lift my arms.
On second thought, I'm willing to bet that they'd consider this light punishment. The interrogators want me to answer questions about Haymitch's appointments. I can only imagine what they want from Johanna and Peeta.
"I want to see Peeta," I say.
"I'm afraid Mr. Mellark is in a higher security level. For his own safety, of course. After the arena breakout and the carnage at the Viewing Center, there's a lot of anger."
"Johanna, then. Johanna's my friend."
"Miss Mason is also in danger, and under much higher scrutiny." The interrogator taps his fingers against his arm. "Now, Miss Trinket, I do need to know who Abernathy's contacts in the Capitol were."
"You have his sponsor list. It's a matter of public record."
"I don't mean his sponsors. We're not concerned with little old ladies and their cats. Who were his rebel connections, other than Plutarch Heavensbee and Fulvia Cardew?"
"I don't know! He wouldn't have told me something like that."
"Please." He rewinds the security tape again and shows the kiss, and the strange interlude before it when he couldn't seem to stop touching me. "Don't tell me that the man who kissed you like that wasn't planning on taking you with him. I am a man. I am not unaware of what lengths we will go to for women we look at like that." He presses another button, and footage of my apartment comes up.
I haven't seen it before. Haymitch pushes in with another victor -- the young boy from District Two, Philo, who was helping Beetee and Wiress -- and sees the disorder from when they dragged me out. He's screaming my name. He goes into my bedroom and picks up a picture of us, and throws it against wall, still calling for me. He comes back to the living room and fishes under the television. I see my cat shoot out and hide under the couch. He tries following her, but Philo puts a hand on his arm.
"No time. We have to get out. I mean it."
Haymitch looks up, confused and frightened, and says, "Effie."
The interrogator pauses the replay. I stare into Haymitch's gray eyes, and I wonder if those eleven point two seconds might have meant more to him than a moment's grin after I left.
"That man didn't have a plan to save you from what he clearly considers an evil empire?"
"How long has my apartment been bugged? That's a Games set-up! Hidden microphones and cameras…"
"I hardly think that's the point."
"Why? Have you been doing anything you wouldn't care to have us to know about?"
"It's my apartment. Anything private that I do, I do in it. You have a camera in my bedroom."
He sighs. "As far as I know, they were installed after your retrieval."
I'm not sure I believe him, but I'm not sure I don't, either. I've taken Haymitch there to vent during the Games without any consequences, and if they'd ever wanted to embarrass or hurt him, I guess they could have "leaked" any number of moments to the press. "Fine," I say.
"So, who were his contacts?"
"I don't know. Haymitch knows I'm a loyal Capitol citizen."
"And you have been long aware that he's a rebel and a seditionist."
There's no point to denying this. I doubt there were many people in Panem who thought Haymitch was one of its most loyal sons, even before all of this. Certainly no one who saw his Games would think so. "We didn't discuss politics," I say. "For obvious reasons."
"But you know who he met with. You kept his schedule."
"And you have all of that! Sponsors, reporters, Caesar --"
"Caesar Flickerman? Is he part of this?"
"You seem quite sure of that. How can you be so sure, if you don't know anything?"
"Because he's Caesar. He's not a rebel. He loves the Capitol."
"Do you love the Capitol, Miss Trinket?"
I think about my apartment, completely out of order. I think about being grabbed. I think about a night several years ago, when a sweet-smelling gas knocked me out, and I woke up in the hospital. No one has ever explained that to me. I haven't felt like it was important, but now… I don't know.
My home is my home.
Which is why I want to see it fixed.
"You love the Capitol," the interrogator says. "And yet, you won't help us."
"I can't help you. I don't know what you want to know. For all I know, Mr. Heavensbee was the only contact he had."
"But you knew he was a rebel contact."
"I knew he was an old friend who Haymitch saw a lot of. He was on Haymitch's victory tour. I didn't know he was a rebel. He was in Capitol Dreams with me!"
"You didn't find it odd that Haymitch Abernathy had befriended a Gamemaker?"
"I didn't think about it. He befriended me, so why wouldn't he?"
The questioning goes on and on, going in circles for what seems like hours. I'm shown kissing Haymitch over and over, and he's shown ransacking my apartment. I'm cold, and the lights keep getting brighter. My hands go up to cover my head by instinct, and the guards put them back on the table. I start thinking I must know something, and trying to cover it up, even though I don't know what it is.
At the end of the day -- and it is the end of the day -- I haven't told them anything, even though they take away my shoes and even my flimsy top (they claim to need to search me for transmitters), leaving me half-naked, with sweat pouring down my neck.
I feel like I felt so long ago, when they ripped my wig off at school. But I don't cry this time. I watch the videos they show me. Eleven point two seconds. I watch Haymitch ransacking my apartment.
I'm not that little girl anymore, and they're not going to humiliate me, no matter what they do. They should be the humiliated ones, behaving like this. Like animals. It's not who we're meant to be.
When they finally let me go, they hand me my shirt. I put it on slowly, and let them lead me back to my cell.
I'd love to see something from Wiress' POV, either during her games, or maybe mentoring a nearly-successful tribute for maraudercat
I think they're cousins. The name has been floating around in my head since the reaping, and it's trying to snag on something. She doesn't look like me at all. She has dark skin and black hair and is very pretty, though our noses are something alike. Mother probably could have told me -- she always knew things like that, and could count numbers of cousins on her toes, which used to make me laugh -- but Mother is dead, and Baba never cared about things like that. They were both orphans at the Community Home together, and he never understood why Mother would care about cousins and aunts and uncles who never came to get them out. He never remembers anyone's name, even if he sees them a lot. He always has to ask Beetee's name, and he thinks "Latier" is the funniest name he ever heard.
He wouldn't know why I know "Kareshy."
I blink. Beetee is holding out the phone. I've got a sponsor on the line. She asked about Dorsey's name. That's why I started thinking.
"It's not common," I say. "There aren't many."
"Are they a good family? Do they make things, like you do?"
"We all make things," I tell the woman on the end of the line. "Everybody makes things. It's what people do."
"Oh, I don't make things. You District Three people are the inventors. I just use what you make."
I can't think of what I'm supposed to say. Beetee has suggested writing a script, but then the person on the other side doesn't know her part, and if she doesn't say what she's supposed to say, then the script stops working. So I just say, "I'm sure Dorsey will make a lot of things for you to use, if she can only win. She knows these fantasy books very well. She was reading one on the train, just like Gloss says that Cashmere was. I'm sure she'll keep being brilliant."
Beetee winces, and I realize that I did something wrong. I named another tribute. I shouldn't have done that. It was just what I was thinking about.
"I taught Dorsey to make things," I add. "So she'll probably do even better."
I guess my mistake doesn't matter, because the woman on the phone offers me money. I have to rifle through my papers to find her name. At least I don't have to ask. People always seem so offended if I forget. One sponsor told the Gamemakers I was "off-putting," and they called me in and made me practice etiquette with an escort, like I was a tribute. The escort gave up on me. I've been a mentor for sixteen years, but I've only had a few make it past the Cornucopia, and I just haven't had much practice with sponsors. Beetee does the regular work.
He pats my hand when I put the phone down. "You did fine," he lies.
"I don't think she liked me."
He shrugs. "Her loss. You got the money; that's all we needed."
"Am I a bad mentor?"
"No. You taught Dorsey about making traps from what she could find. She wouldn't have been able to build her hunting blind without the things you taught her. She wouldn't have been able to turn that sharp grass into a weapon without your lessons about using what she had."
"I suppose. But the sponsors…"
"I know. They're a pain. Why don't you let me take the sponsors? You should watch Dorsey, anyway -- see if she gets something going that you can help with."
I should say no. I should say that I'll learn to deal with them, that I'll know how to say the right thing and make them like me. I should do what everyone else does, and make funny jokes with them, and act like we're friends.
Only no one ever laughs at my jokes except for Beetee, and whenever I try to be friendly, people act like I'm interrupting them. I see other people do exactly the same thing -- or I think it's the same thing -- and no one nods at them politely, waiting for them to go away. But that's how people act when I come up to them at a party. And on the phone, I'm hopeless.
Maybe it's better if Dorsey's chances of getting what she needs don't depend on me suddenly learning whatever secret other people know about this. I've had a long time to learn it, and it never seems to come to me. I always just end up standing awkwardly around, until it seems polite to leave. And then they say I'm surly.
It's probably easier for pretty people.
I nod, and get my mind back on the Games.
The arena this year is a fairyland, with glittering landscapes and poison mushrooms and forests of glass. The glass is unbreakable, though several of the tributes tried for it. It only took Dorsey a few tries before she realized it was a waste of time. The south is marked by an airy gold tower, the east by something that looks like sapphire, and the west by ivory. The Cornucopia this year is light and airy, too, formed from wires whipped to look like a sideways tornado. Most of the arena is an enchanted forest, with flowered trees and fairy caves. A few tributes have been attacked by mutts that live in them, but mostly, they're useless.
She finally made her weapon -- a kind of whip-saw -- from blades of harsh grass that line the path to the dark tower that marks the northern realm of the arena. It's a nearly frozen landscape, with spider webs that glisten with frost, and icicles that gleam like knives in the sun. The grass is the only vegetation. Dorsey cut herself trying to pull it out of the way, and instead of staying away, she realized that she could use it. We talked about things like this on the train. She took the cuts on her hand to pull the first blade, then used it to cut several more. She wove them together at the base and made a handle, and she used it to cut the boy from Six when he tried to attack her. It didn't kill him, but it did blind him, and he didn't last long against the next mutt he found. She followed him, and took his knife before they lifted him out of the arena, but she hasn't used it. She's too small for close work. I told her that, too.
She moves carefully through the glass forest. It's hard to see, because it tends to send out repeated, distorted reflections. But she's been through it a few times now, and she doesn't flinch at the motions around her, or the fiery glare as the sunset starts to hit. She's backtracking to the boy's camp, I think.
She comes out of the glass world as the sun disappears, leaving the arena in a purplish twilight. The boy has set up his camp near a fairy door. He had a tent that someone gave him -- he was a cute boy -- but he tore it trying to harvest the glass trees, and the poles for it are lying in a heap on the ground. They're plastic and blunt. No one would need them, I guess.
Except for Dorsey.
I think about her knife, and how small she is, and how she can't get close.
I rifle through the supplies.
It's cheap, if you're not including bandages with it. Medical tape.
I send it.
She picks it up from the parachute, looks at the plastic poles, and understands.
It takes three of them to make a sturdy spear shaft, and she has to use all of the tape to secure the knife to the end, but really, it doesn’t take her long at all.
Finnick and Johanna discussing Haymitch and Effie sometime before the 75th. Or just them discussing Haymitch, doesn't have to be Effie for beceh
For someone who comes from an inland district, Johanna Mason is a pretty good swimmer, even in the currents of the gulf. She almost keeps up with me when we swim out to Red Rock, the tiny islet that marks the center of Victors' Cove -- our supposedly private corner of the sea. Of course, privacy is relative. They're filming us from the shore, and it will definitely be all over the news tonight. Johanna's Victory Tour has been quite the hit.
At least they probably can't hear out here. The Rock gets covered at high tide, and anything that was put here would get washed out to sea.
She pulls herself up onto the rock and sits down beside me, dripping onto me. "I should probably warn you, this sort of thing is how I end up in the news lately."
"Yeah, I saw you in Eight. And Nine. And Six. And…"
She shoves me playfully. "So am I going to end up on your news, or are you going to end up on mine?"
"I'm not actually planning to fool around with you."
"I've only fooled around with about half the boys they say I have."
I don't comment. I've "fooled around" with pretty much everyone I've been paired with. It hasn't been my call, but I don't tell Johanna that. I think she knows. I'm not sure why I think it, but I do. Her actions so far have been a huge nose-thumbing, and I have a feeling that she's doing it very deliberately. I hope it doesn’t cost her too much. "I was surprised they didn't show you with Haymitch in Twelve. His tribute was your ally."
She closes off a little bit at the mention of River Boldwood, looking away from me and toward the open sea. "They didn't invite him," she says. "He's the only victor, and they didn't invite him. What's that story? Is it just because he drinks?"
"No. It's not. I'll leave the rest to your imagination."
"Hmm. Then I imagine that he's a secret highwayman, and he steals from the rich and gives to the poor, like Don Juan."
"It's Robin Hood that does that. Don Juan is… well, me. You know, seducing everyone he sees."
"Who would you need to seduce?"
I smile. "Anyway, I don't think Haymitch steals anything. Never heard of him doing it, anyway. Did you see his Games?"
"No. They're never on."
"I have the highlight reel. And Mags, with a running commentary. My mother, too -- she knows everything about those Games. There's a lot that didn't make the reel. Including him not letting them take his ally's body away, and screaming at the Gamemakers."
I smile. "You'll like him. He's a good guy."
"I already like him. He did come see me. And he has a great escort. She bought all of my clothes for home. She has much better taste than my stylist."
"She has much better taste than their stylist. Which isn't saying much; she'll wear whatever's in."
"That's half the fun of fashion."
"You actually like that stuff?"
"Yeah. Am I not supposed to? Am I supposed to be wearing plaid flannel?"
"It's the traditional lumberjack uniform, but don't tell the stylists. It's bad enough to be dressed as a tree. Getting put in short-shorts and a cut off plaid flannel shirt would actually manage to make it worse."
"No sympathy. Tree costumes and short-shorts actually cover you. Try living in a swimming district."
"I don't mind being uncovered, as long as I don't look like I'm about to be in a late-night movie." She leans back and basks in the sun. To me, it's kind of a cold day, barely warm enough to swim, but she looks like she's in paradise. "Twelve's costumes were pretty bad. I can't believe they'd do that to someone like River." She opens her eyes and glares at me, as if I somehow made her bring up his name. "How come Haymitch puts up with it?"
"He doesn't. We don't get a lot of choices. Do you think Jack likes those trees?"
"Well, Haymitch doesn't like the sexy miner thing, either. That's how they did him up, too. He still complains about it."
"Was he sexy?"
"I'm not really qualified to answer that."
"I bet he was. I bet all the girls liked him. I heard his victory tour wasn't exactly chaste, either."
"Where'd you hear that?"
"My preps said it, when we were out in Twelve. And my escort said not to take any lessons from him. That was before we knew he wasn't coming. I wanted to talk to him. Jack says he's a good guy, too. Even Blight says he's okay. And Seeder says he's one of her favorites. So does Cecelia."
I smile. "Seeder looks after him. Jack and Cecelia and me… he looks after us."
"Looks after you."
"Yeah. And it's good. It's good to be looked after. You'll like it, too."
"Nobody needs to look after me."
"Too bad. I'm already doing it. And I guarantee Haymitch will, too. Effie took a shine to you, so you may as well be family."
"Are they…?" She makes a very understandable gesture with her hands, which will absolutely show up, with no context, on the news. "I mean, is she his girl?"
"Yeah, I got that." I shake my head. "I think you need to ask something less complicated. You can use your imagination on that, too."
"Well, then, I imagine that she's madly in love with him, but he just won't look at her that way."
"I imagine that half of that is true, but I won't tell you which half."
We sit quietly for a few minutes while she takes in the sun, then she says, quietly. "How do you mean he looks out for you? I mean… you don't seem… Jack says… and Jack isn't… looked after."
I close my eyes. Of course. I didn't tell her because it seemed like a bad thing to spend time on during what will probably be her only visit to the sea, but Jack knows all of it perfectly well, and he's had plenty of time to warn her. "There are things no one can do anything about," I say. "Least of all, Haymitch. But my first Games as a mentor, he helped me. He got between me and the cameras. And Jack… you'd have to ask him, but I think Haymitch just lets him talk and say whatever he feels like, which is sometimes a relief. With Cecelia, I think he's just interested in all the little things that she always wants to talk about."
"But… looking after?"
"It's hard to explain. But you feel safer when…" I give up on trying to explain it. Haymitch can't do anything about what happens to Jack and me in the Capitol, or make Cecelia less fearful that she's going to lose her new husband… but there's something about knowing someone wants to help that makes it all just a little less overwhelming. And then there's the way he'll just randomly step between us and anyone who's standing a little too close, or the way he'll actually jump in if the press is harassing us at hard times. It doesn't have any practical effect, but it's real. It's almost like having my dad back sometimes. Johanna is likely to know that soon enough.
She nods vaguely. I'm guessing that Jack has tried to explain it as well. "I guess I'll look after him then."
"It sounds like a good thing to do. And I'm a very nurturing person."
"You don't believe me?" She grins. "It's what everyone says. I'm brilliant and caring and very matronly."
I laugh. "Oh. Right. I've heard that about you."
"And if it's so good to be looked after, then he won't mind."
"I don't know that I'd go that far."
"We'll see." She sits up. "Come on," she says. "I'll race you back to shore."