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Repost: The Golden Mean, Chapter 15 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Repost: The Golden Mean, Chapter 15
Okay. I've got the end of the chapter to its old place now.

Most of the changes are toward the beginning, plus a few after the parade, since some of what Haymitch initially remembered never happened when I actually went back.

Chapter Fifteen
Plutarch makes a great show of putting one of Fulvia's bug detectors down on the table. This one is bigger than the ones we've used for our conversations out at the fountain, but it's perfectly clear what it is. Its lights flash rapidly, and a kind of soft whistle passes through the room. The green light goes on. We're clear.

A side door opens and two women I recognize from the stylists' pool come in. One of them has snips of wire all over her clothes, and a giant, flame-shaped hair-clip. The other is carrying a bolt of red cloth. Plutarch gestures to them. "Our liaisons for Districts Eight and Three," he says. "Come in, ladies." He nods to the one with the flame hair clip and says, "This is Nerilla Watson. She's our stylist in Three. She's been working with Fulvia and me in the Capitol for several years." He smiles at the other in a rehearsed way. "Cloelia Dangelis is new to me, but apparently, she's been helping Cecelia since her wedding."

We all look at each other awkwardly, then the two stylists come in and sit down.

I look at Harris. "Where is Annie Cresta?"

He sighs. "She was pretty upset at the Reaping--"

"I saw that."

"Yeah, well, the Peacekeepers told us she was too fragile to travel. Neither of the other victors volunteered to mentor in her place, which is why I'm here alone."

"I hope that means they're getting ready to fight," Jack says.

Harris nods. "We've been ready to fight since they blew up Doolin Odair's boat. We've just been waiting for the sign from the rebellion."

"And Annie?" I prod.

"Finnick's pretty sure they're keeping a close eye on her."


"We do have a few friends among the Peacekeepers," Harris says, "and the mayor's one of ours, so hopefully, that'll keep her out of trouble long enough to get her into rebel hands. We do hold the shipyards, and they're clearing the mines out of the bay. The girl Winnow that you sent? She's a treasure. She's been getting people out right from under the Capitol's nose and getting them onto ships. The plan is to get Annie out to sea as soon as her guards blink."

Plutarch looks dour at the derailing of his meeting for such trivial matters. "I was not exaggerating my warning. What we are planning here will have consequences beyond anything we've seen before."

"We know," Lyme says impatiently.

"And you've all talked to your tributes about our goal concerning the mockingjay?"

They shift uncomfortably, and Jack says, "Well, I'm sure you can imagine Jo's reaction. She thinks the whole plan's nuts. But she's on board. She'll do what she has to."

"Cecelia as well," Cloelia says. I doubt she knows exactly what's happening next. "Cecelia sent this." She unfolds a few flaps of fabric from her bolt, and pulls out a paper on which Cecelia has drawn a mockingjay. It is surrounded protectively by the number eight.

Lyme takes the paper and looks at it for a long time. "Does this child have the slightest idea what's happening?"

"No," I admit.

"Have you asked her about it?"

"About whether or not she wants to beat the Capitol? She says she wants to start an uprising."

"That's not an answer."

"I told you when I came to Two," Plutarch says, "we have to earn her trust before we can reveal ourselves to her. And, may I remind you, if the Capitol realizes that anything untoward is going on, they will scoop up Katniss and Peeta first. It's not good for them to know anything."

Lyme looks at the mockingjay drawing again, then says, softly, "Poor kids."

"So we've all agreed to keep the mockingjay alive? All of your tributes have agreed?"

There is general consent.

"Then we're about done," Plutarch says.

"No, we're not," I say. "There's one other thing. Peeta. There's no way she'll do this if Peeta dies. She won't be able to."

Nerilla frowns. "I understand about the girl. Plutarch showed me the reports on the kind of effect she's had in the districts. But I don't know if I can -- or should -- ask Beetee and Wiress to die for the boy. He doesn't seem to care much about being a rebel."

There's some uncomfortable nodding around the table, even from Harris, though I doubt Finnick and Mags would have any argument about trying to save Peeta.

Lyme, who I'm beginning to like a good deal, says, "I'm for it, and the tributes from Six will be for it. Berenice saw his paintings on television. She was crying that he would have to die, because he paints pretty things. It was her talent, too, before she fried her brain." She gives an embarrassed little shrug. "Well, we're trying to sober her up before the arena, but morphling's no laughing matter."

"So Six will help freely," Plutarch says. "Good."

"And I'll help personally," Lyme says. "However I can. Because unless you all come to your senses, those two kids are both going in blind, and I'm betting they're all wound up to die for each other, right?"

I nod.

She hisses and clenches her fists. "Since we're not telling them that there's going to be a jailbreak, they'll be acting out of desperation. Those of us not going in blind owe them something, no matter what the status of the war."

Jack Anderson snorts. "By that reasoning, we should all take special care of the Careers, too."

"I'd argue that we should," Lyme says. "On the other hand, they'll be killing right out of the gate. Trust me, Brutus can't wait to start cutting -- and I should probably mention that he especially wants to cut the Mellark boy. He's furious about what happened last year." She looks at the paper again. "We'll want to keep the tributes from Twelve out of fights. I think the best bet is to have them in our alliances from the start, and have our tributes pull them away from fights."

This is something of a flaw in the plan. Peeta will want to make allies, sure -- hell, he'll want to make actual friends -- but Katniss only allies with people who she thinks need taking care of. If she senses that they're looking after her, she'll bolt.

Cloelia says, "Cecelia says that District Eight loves Peeta, because the girl last year... well, it seems weird to me, but that's what she says. I think she'll help. Woof doesn't really know what's going on at all these days."

Jack sighs. "Well -- you know how Jo is. She thinks the whole love story's a joke. But she's in. Blight might take some convincing."

"How much does Blight know?" Plutarch asks.

"Everything." Jack shrugs. "I know. He's been on the sidelines since the thing with the raiders. But we all had to talk about how we were going to do this. He volunteered to go into the arena no matter who got drawn. Jo and I both decided to bring him back in."

"That wasn't your call."

Jack grits his teeth. "I'm the one he agreed to risk dying for," he says. "I think that makes it my call."

Toffy Taggart, who's assigned to Chaff and Seeder, speaks up. "My tributes are more or less mentoring me, as I'm sure you've all guessed by now. I didn't know much about any of this. But they're good folk, and they told me to tell you that their game plan is to keep as many alive as possible until you get everyone out. They'll definitely help Peeta. Probably the Careers if they can. They don't see why anyone needs to die on this one."

This sounds like Chaff and Seeder, but I somehow doubt this plan is going to work well. I look at Plutarch. "What's the arena?"

He shakes his head. "If your tributes look like they're even a little bit prepared for it, we'll all get hauled in, and the whole thing falls apart. I gave Katniss a hint on the Victory Tour, but I don't think she picked it up, and that's probably just as well. I'll just tell you this -- make sure they're ready for anything. We started designing it while I was still… well, during the time I wasn't involved in the rebellion… and it's deadly."

Another flaw in the plan occurs to me: I may kill Plutarch before we get out of here. I really may not be able to stop myself.

I think of the gallows standing in District Twelve, remember that we're all in this together, and force myself to stop thinking about it.

Plutarch declares the meeting over, but calls me up alone. Great. He waits until the others have left, then says, "Our friends are not a matter of public knowledge, even here. As far as they know, the District rebellions are overseeing the escape. Unfortunately, all of our more deeply knowledgeable members are in the arena."

"What a shame," I say, "that we don't have someone controlling the Games who could keep them alive."

"I told you. Any suspicious behavior in the arena, and Snow will send in the fighters. Do you really want the arena surrounded by combat hovercraft before a rescue craft can get there?"

"Why not just station one there and fish everyone out as soon as they're clear of the mines?"

"Because the airspace is inspected before the Games to make sure no one is planning what we're planning. The supply hovercrafts are inspected as well, and everyone on board is a loyalist. Speaking of which..."


"Well, you'll need to make a show of getting sponsors -- not that you should have much trouble, given your tributes this year -- but we have, shall we say, arranged programs to make it look like you have money even if you don't. What we need to send, I'll send. Does that help?"

I still think it would be easier to make the arena "malfunction," but at least it's something. I nod and start to leave, but he stops me. I turn around. "What else?"

"You're wanted at Caesar's studio," he says. "You and the stylists are supposed to watch the parade from there. Between being a Quell victor yourself and the mentor for last year's victors, you're quite in demand, I'm afraid."

"We have to get them ready!"

"The stylists have had all afternoon, and I doubt you need to coach them on how to stand up in a chariot."

With that, I am dismissed. A car is waiting to whisk me over to the studio, where I find Cinna and Portia, both looking annoyed, waiting for me.

"Don't look at me," I say. "I had no idea we were coming here."

"I'm glad I taught her how to work the suit," Cinna says. He grinds his teeth. "Wait until you see what Snow's demanded for the interview."

There's no way to talk about anything else, which is probably why Snow really has us showing up here. Caesar himself comes out, all smiles, and declares that Portia and Cinna are air-worthy already, but I, as usual, am a mess. He sends them up to the stage to talk costumes, then puts a hand jovially on my shoulder and leads me to the prep area. Razors are buzzing, make-up sprayers are spraying, and the environment is generally chaotic.

When I turn around, Caesar is still grinning, but his voice is low and serious. "Watch your step," he says. "You're being watched."

"I know."

He claps my shoulder and gives an avuncular laugh for no particular reason. "I like you, Haymitch. Always did. And I like your kids. I'm sorry as hell this is happening."

I smile back and nod. "You hate the Games."

He laughs again and says, "You have no idea how much. But don't make a mistake here. You've played it smart so far."

"What do you mean?"

"I hate the Games. I hate Snow. But I'd no more put Panem in the hands of those crazy people rioting in the streets of the Districts than I'd leave a rabid dog on guard duty." He claps my shoulder again, like we're sharing a great joke. "Are you sure you know what you're doing?"

"Are you?"

He laughs for a long time, then says, "Yeah. Yeah, I know what I'm doing, Haymitch. I'll rub their faces in this dirty business as hard as I can. It's going to be hard to keep control after this, no matter what. But watch your step. Be careful who you trust." He gives me one more shoulder clap, then steers me toward a prep booth and leaves.

Sergius and Claudia do what they can with me, which they say is not much, and Valentine brings in a shot that she claims is to help control my drinking. "It's very strong," she says. "Much stronger than the pills. In case someone absolutely insists you start drinking. It should last a few days, at least, even if you can't get to your pills." I thank her.

When I get up to the stage, Cinna and Portia are involved in a deep conversation with Claudius Templesmith about how they've become the design house to imitate since last year's triumph. No details have been leaked about this year's costumes, which seems to irritate Claudius.

He spots me. "Ah, Haymitch Abernathy! Come, sit down."

I paint on a smile and take a seat beside Portia. "Claudius," I say.

"Have you seen the parade costumes?" he asks.

"Not even a sketch," I tell him. "Cinna's pretty tight-lipped."

"It's a big year for you, too," Claudius says. "Are there any plans to celebrate the anniversary of your Quell?"

Sure, I think. I thought I'd call up my friend Maysilee, and we'd have a party with the other forty-six tributes you murdered. I just say, "Not unless you've got something up your sleeve."

This fascinating conversation goes on for ten minutes before Claudius says, "Ah! Our mystery will be solved soon!" He turns to a screen posted above his desk (undoubtedly, viewers at home will be getting this on the full screen, possibly with our reactions off in the corners). It shows the basement of the Training Center, where people are gathered around the chariots. Finnick is standing way too close to Katniss, though she sends him away as we watch. Peeta does not help matters when he arrives a few seconds later and is amused by her obvious discomfort. We can't hear them. The basement is not effectively bugged.

Katniss and Peeta are wearing what appear to be black jumpsuits, though their faces are made up bizarrely. As they get into the chariot, the jumpsuits light up and start to flicker.

The shot cuts over to the exit, and we see the chariots come out. There are an absurd number of illuminated costumes, and I can see Cinna trying not to laugh at some of them. District One has somewhat subtle lighting making jewels glitter, and Two has statues carrying torches. Three makes sense with electrical lights, though Beetee and Wiress look ridiculous in skin tight outfits. I want to cover my eyes on Four -- Finnick has been forced into a strategically knotted net, which the cameras treat people to a long shot of. Mags is done up like a deep water fish with its own lighting. It was obviously designed with Annie in mind, and Mags looks terrible.

Five has fake lightning over the costumes. In Six, there are train headlights placed in highly unfortunate places, though Berenice and Paulin don't seem to realize it, and are waving vaguely to the audience. Johanna and Blight are at least not lit up, though Johanna looks as happy as I'd expect her to look dressed up as a tree for the second time in her life. Cecelia is in a dress that's only half-woven, but Woof is happily completely covered. The poor District Nine tributes are loaves of bread, and have wheat-shaped hats on with light bulbs for the grains. District Ten... has flaming belts on cow suits. (Cinna takes a sudden gulp of water and coughs.) Chaff and Seeder are forced into skimpy field-hand costumes, with straw hats and grain stalks in their teeth; Chaff looks extremely angry. The only saving grace is that they aren't on fire.

When Katniss and Peeta come out, there is an audible gasp from the crowd. Cinna has turned them into embers, burning in the twilight. They are holding hands and ignoring everyone around them. They are inhuman -- beautiful and terrible.

Last year, people threw kisses and screamed their names. This year, I see more than one person in the parade audience burst into tears and sink to the pavement in despair. A cut to Snow shows his jaw clenched shut, his eyes frozen in fury.

In the studio, Claudius looks taken aback. He glances at Cinna and asks about the technology, trying to direct attention to anything other than the angry, vengeful gods in the chariot below. Cinna gives very brief answers, and lets the silence draw itself out as Claudius struggles for the next distraction. He tries Portia, but she (ridiculously) claims that Cinna's the one with all of the information.

Finally, the speeches take over the programming, and the three of us are released. We go down to the Training Center basement, where all of the other mentors are waiting. I take the opportunity to talk to Lyme, though we can't say anything of significance. She won the Thirty-First Games, it turns out, and stepped down as mentor as soon as someone "more appropriate" could be found. She shrugs. "Turns out that I didn't fit the mold of a victor. I wanted a job. I worked in the quarries for a while until they made rules about it."

"A guy in Twelve I've met seems to know you," I say. "Romulus Thread?"

She laughs. "Yeah. Oh, I know Rommy. He's my cousin. He got Reaped two years after I won, but someone out-volunteered him. He's never gotten over the disappointment."

I somehow doubt it's that simple. Thread didn't strike me as anything but frighteningly sincere. But family is family, and there's no point pushing for more answers. If all goes as planned, I'm not going to be seeing Romulus Thread again any time soon. For that matter, even if nothing goes as planned, the chances of me seeing him again are pretty slim.

I go over to Finnick's chariot as soon as it pulls in. "Nice outfit," I say, and wave over him. "Hey, Mags."

Mags mumbles something, but since her stroke, I haven't been able to understand much. I decide to take it as a greeting and give her a little hug. "Saw your games while we were getting ready," I tell her. "I need to remember not to make you angry."

She smiles and mimes shooting at me with a slingshot, then hobbles over to talk to Wiress. Somehow or other, they seem to understand each other.

"You watched everyone's Games?" Finnick asks.

"Peeta's idea. I mostly try to forget about it. How are you holding up?"

"Not bad. Annie's scared, though. I'm worried about what's going to happen to her." He shrugs. "I'm actually feeling pretty good, though, personally."

"Well, you're certainly getting a chance to enjoy the weather," I say, pointing at his costume.

He snorts. "This is probably the least of me my sponsors have seen since my Games. I don't have a single date all week. It's like a vacation if I ignore the death and destruction at the end of it."

"Saw you harassing my tribute earlier."

"Had to do it, after the backpack thing last year." He laughs. "I think she got redder than her suit, though it was hard to tell under that makeup."

I have no doubt about it. She's gotten a little less squeamish about bodies over the last few months -- too many of them on her kitchen tables -- but as far as people she allows to get physically close to her, the list starts with her sister, sometimes snags on Gale and Cinna, and ends at Peeta. I don't think she counts her preps. "You didn't help yourself if you want her for an ally," I say, hoping that anyone from the Games will just think I'm talking about the usual arena partnerships.

"Ah, she'll love me once she knows me. Everyone does. Besides, we have to make her feel like part of the gang, don't we?" He gives his best television grin as the District Six chariot pulls in. Berenice jumps out (wobbling as she lands) and watches avidly for the rest.

Johanna barely waits for her chariot to stop before getting out and coming over. "I hate you, Abernathy," she says by way of greeting. "How did you score Cinna, anyway?"

"Effie got him for me."

"How'd you score Effie?"

"Blind luck." This is nonsense -- Caesar hand-picked Effie for my team because he thought we'd like each other -- but Jo doesn't push it. "And as to Cinna, he wanted in because he had an excuse to set us on fire."

Johanna swats at the leaves dangling around her face. "Well, I want a little of your luck. Trees. Again. This year, they're made out of paper. Double credit." She rolls her eyes. "Probably a good thing my stylist didn't have matches." She spots Jack coming from the crowd and heads over to him, fuming a little more as she goes.

Cecelia and Woof come next, and Cecelia runs for her purse, where she has pictures of her kids. One is learning to play the harp, and another is running for sport. The littlest one seems to occupy his time by covering his face with a great deal of food. They're a little more distinguishable from one another than babies are, but I still probably couldn't pick them out in a crowd. I tell her they're growing just like little weeds, and the older girl looks just like her.

By the time we're done with this, Chaff and Seeder are pulling in. I go over to their chariot to check on them. "You meet Toffilis?" Chaff asks.

"Yup. I remember him from my first year. He hasn't been around much."

"Nice guy. I'd pretty much forgotten about him. It was his tribute who took a dive off a cliff one year. Fifty-sixth, maybe?" I have no memory of this, so I don't say anything. Chaff shrugs. "That's when he stopped coming, anyway." He reaches up with his good arm to help Seeder down, and shakes his head at her field hand costume. "Capitol's known us for years," he says. "They could have used our talents. I'd have made a good chess knight, don't you think? I could've ridden the horse. And we could have dressed Seeder up in her best ballet dress." He wrinkles his nose.

Seeder sighs. "It's over, Chaff. Let it go."

"Like hell I will." He looks up as the door opens and Katniss and Peeta come in, still smoldering. "Now, that was genius," he says, nodding toward Katniss. "You have a long talk with her yet?"

I shake my head. "Finnick thinks we should make her one of the gang."

"And the boy?" Seeder asks.

"Peeta's part of whatever gang takes him in."

"Then let's make sure he's in ours."

The doors close and Katniss looks over to me. I wave to let her know I saw her -- like she can be missed at the moment -- and lead Chaff and Seeder over. I know they've wanted to meet Katniss, ever since she allied with Rue. They weren't allowed at the victory events, to avoid the appearance of a permanent alliance between the districts, but now that they're all fellow tributes under orders to kill each other, it should be fine.

Seeder embraces Katniss as soon as she sees her, and, to my shock, Katniss doesn't even try to pull away. Instead, she asks, "The families?"

It takes me a minute to sort it out, then I remember that she hasn't been getting updates. She has no idea who died in Eleven other than the old man who whistled. I could have told her that at any time, but for some reason, it never came up. I'd have found a way to tell her that. I just forgot.

Seeder says, "They're alive," and Katniss relaxes and pulls away.

I realize what Chaff means to do only a second before he does it -- he grabs her and plants a kiss on her mouth.

Katniss pulls away, her face twisted up like she's just been force fed a rotten lemon. Chaff laughs so genuinely that I can't help laughing along, though I'm sure Katniss will make me pay for it later.

This is too much fun for the Capitol to tolerate, and attendants come in to sweep us off to the elevators. Johanna rushes by us to get in with Peeta and Katniss, and I don't even want to know what she has planned for a hello.

I go up with Chaff and Seeder in the car furthest from the kids, and we're joined by Toffy, but it would be stupid to talk about anything on the Training Center elevators, so we just compliment Cinna's costumes. Chaff tells Toffy, "If neither of us is around to mentor Eleven next year, get us a new stylist. I don't care who it is."

If the Games are on again next year, I think District Eleven will have bigger worries than costuming, but no one says anything about this.

After they get off on the eleventh floor, I ride alone up to the top. Effie is waiting for me, looking like she's been given a room full of birthday presents. "They were wonderful!" she says, clasping her hands together. Over her shoulder, I can see them near their elevator, where Peeta is looking humorously contrite and Katniss looks furious. "Everyone loves them so! I already have people lined up to talk to you for sponsorships. It's even better than last year!"

She hands me a handheld screen. Some of the richest sponsors in the Capitol are begging to see me about them, though they can't officially give me money until the Games begin. I'll be able to hand the kids anything they need without using Plutarch's favors. I don't know why this pleases me inordinately, but it does.

We go to join them. Katniss is definitely in a temper, and I wonder what Johanna did. My guess is that she kissed Peeta, but since no cannons have gone off and there doesn't seem to be any blood on Katniss's hands, I may be wrong about that. Whatever it was, Peeta's amusement at it just seems to make her angrier.

I suppress a desire to hug her, because I think she's probably had her space invaded one time too many tonight, but I like this temper tantrum she's having. It's far from her maudlin moods at home, and not tied to death or self-sacrifice. She's just a teenage girl having a snit. I wish she'd have them more often.

We go to the main door, Peeta barely suppressing a laugh, Effie in high spirits, Katniss on her high horse. It opens, and it takes a minute to process what I see.

There are two Avoxes waiting inside. One is Lavinia, the girl from last year that Katniss obviously knew from somewhere, who Peeta ridiculously claimed looked like Delly Cartwright.

The other is Darius.

"Looks like they've got you a matched set this year!" Effie says brightly, and it takes a lot of strength to remember that she has no idea what she sounds like anymore.

I grab Katniss's hand before she can say anything that will be taken out on the Avoxes, but there's no need. She's just standing, gape-mouthed, apparently unable to say anything at all. She twists her arm away from me and runs to her room.

"My goodness," Effie says. "What's gotten into her?"

Peeta's lingering amusement has disappeared. "She'll be all right," he says, and looks directly at Darius. He knows better than to say anything or reach out, but I see their eyes meet. Darius looks down.

"Could you get us some..." I try to think of something. "Water?"

Darius nods, thankful to be sent away. The girl goes with him. I wonder what her name was, and whose whipping she interfered with.

"Now what was that all about?" Effie asks. "She has the strangest way with Avoxes."

"We're not used to them in Twelve," Peeta says quietly. "It's not our custom."

"Oh, of course. I suppose it takes time to get used to a new place, and you haven't had much time here." Effie goes off to start getting ready for supper.

I look at Peeta, who is staring after the Avoxes. He turns around to face me. "I never want to get used to this place," he says.

"I know," I tell him.

"But I would have, wouldn't I? If it weren't for this Quell. I'd come every year, and there they'd be. Slaves. And I'd just know what to say. I wouldn't even have to think about it."

I shake my head. "You always know what to say, Peeta. That doesn't mean you believe it."

He closes his eyes and takes a deep breath, lets it out in a sigh, then opens his eyes and says, "I want to get this makeup off."

He goes.

I sit down alone until Darius brings me a pitcher of ice water. The ice cube in the middle is shaped like the mockingjay pin.

I look up.

He gives me a solemn nod.
4 comments or Leave a comment
redrikki From: redrikki Date: April 28th, 2015 01:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
Another excellent chapter, as always. One quick correction. When they see the Avoxes, Haymitch refers to Lavinia by her name and then a few paragraphs later he wonders what her name was.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: April 28th, 2015 02:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
Agh, I knew I'd miss one of those! Thanks.
From: queen_bellatrix Date: April 30th, 2015 07:48 am (UTC) (Link)

A Few Catches/Thoughts for Chaps 14 and 15

Some catches for both chaps 14 and 15 in this comment, because it doesn't seem like you've archived yet, and I'm ridiculously behind.:)

Fourteen first and I know you may've caught these on your read-through, but figured a second pair of eyes never hurt:
circuits in each in them Think the second in should maybe be of?

He's hasn't Just need to change the he's to he, I think.

He reminds of the Just think you need an us before of.

no testing of Games Think you may need a the before games?

The only possible continuity thing I caught was when Haymitch is wondering how Drake won: in HT, Beetee tells him that he ran from the maylay, and the rest of his games were a lot of careful tracking. Not sure if you'll want to change or not, because that was a vague explanation to start with, and the drinking hasn't done Haymitch's memory any favors; my semi-photographic memory just dredged it up, so I thought I'd mention just in case.;p

And the fifteen ones:
the Cloelia says Think the the may be an odd edit holdover?

The only continuity thing I can see, though unfortunately it's a rather large one, is the thing with Toffy's back-story. From what I can find in HT, Haymitch actually missed him on his victory tour, but he did meet him in the 51st games; he was the one who told Haymitch to not mind the other victors because none of 'em had made a deal they didn't regret. So, you may want to change some bits in that whole Chaff and Haymitch dialogue sequence; unfortunately, I've put in every word combination I can think of in the find box, and I can't find the games where Toffy's tribute jumped off the cliff; I remember the sequence of events, even remember Haymitch watching it, but can't find it for the life of me. I can say that Haymitch's last real interaction with him was the 51st, so I think you'll be safe just keeping the a few years back thing and changing how he and Haymitch met.

So many cool edits in both these chapters; I have a really early morning, so I'll just mention a couple and do my best to come back and expand more on some of the others.

I adore how you used your list of victors, and expanded wonderfully on so many of the games; especially enjoyed Chaff, Seeder, and Blight's!

And speaking of Blight; what you've done with Blight, especially limited by a sidelong view, is freaking brilliant! He's this man who's deeply flawed, with a jealous streak a mile wide, who makes all these mistakes, but who also redeems himself in spectacular ways; it takes incredible nerve to volunteer to go into the arena, especially when you don't have the kind of immediately self-sacrificial motivation Peeta does with Katniss right there. And he did, because Jack and Jo deserve to survive this, and I'm just quietly flailing over here, because he's just always been this thread in the background, and we've seen him fall so far since Gia left, with the raiders really being rock bottom and then he brought himself back up to do this one really good thing.

I also really like the Blight character development because it highlights stuff with other characters; Jack's entire speech about it being his call is exactly what I would've been saying to Plutarch; what a fabulous way to give Jack an awesome moment before everything starts exploding, and what an excellent way to highlight how hard/semi-impossible it is for these people, who've been lone wolves and very much lived by their own moral compasses, to become the organized, disciplined army Plutarch wants.

Also really appreciated Blight's arc as a reflection on Gia; she's said to Haymitch repeatedly that she's no saint, and I really enjoyed how her being attracted to two such flawed men as Haymitch and Blight showed that (I'm imagining Doolin had his flaws, too; criminal tendencies would certainly imply it, but I hesitate to say that for sure without knowing more about him)

And the Hazelle thing; I really think it worked much better to have them not have sex that second time; it made the pettiness worse, to have her taken away just for showing affection, and really showed how much Snow's paranoia was becoming untenable and he was loosing his grip.

Also adored Haymitch threatening the peacekeepers to let Danny and Peeta have their last wonderful moment!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 2nd, 2015 02:48 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: A Few Catches/Thoughts for Chaps 14 and 15

Yipes, that is a big one. I knew I'd forgotten something about Toffy somewhere.

I'm now looking forward to the re-write of the scene where Haymitch and Blight talk in the bar.

I think that if Coin had succeeded in either killing Katniss or getting her under control, her attention would have turned to the other victors pretty quickly. They aren't put together in a way that she'd be able to force into her conformity very well, and honestly, the only right call that Thirteen made was not putting them in the regular army, which they just would not have adapted to.

Doolin definitely had his flaws. He had kickbacks on his kickbacks to bring in money, among other things. And Gia... not a saint in any way. But they're both good people. I never used to understand the phrase, "The perfect is the enemy of the good," but I think I finally got it.
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