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Repost: The Golden Mean, Chapter 16 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
Repost: The Golden Mean, Chapter 16
Okay, quite a few things weren't ringing right about victor interactions. I think I got most of them.

Chapter Sixteen
Dinner is awkward, to say the least. Katniss is staring at Darius like he's a hallucination that will disappear if she concentrates hard enough. Effie corrects her for it, especially when she tries to help him clean up a spill (surely a pretext for some kind of forbidden contact). She goes to bed, and, though I see Peeta knocking on her door, she sleeps alone, and so does he.

I am not surprised to find him up early the next morning, picking at breakfast and looking tired. I sit down by him, and my bracelet clanks on the table.

"One of you going to tell me what happened?" I ask, pouring a little champagne into some orange juice. Or maybe pouring a little orange juice into some champagne. Peeta ignores this. I think he's resigned himself to my drinking now and then.

"Finnick teased her. Then Chaff kissed her. Then Johanna stripped in the elevator." He blushes. "She was pretty much down to her shoes."

"That's Johanna."

He gives me a sheepish kind of shrug. "I laughed. It was funny, how shocked Katniss was. I like that she's like that. It's just Katniss. It's funny. But you know... maybe I shouldn't have laughed. Johanna was kind of mean to her, and Finnick really did push it. Katniss was already mad before we saw Darius." He looks around wildly, then shakes his head. "I guess it doesn't matter if they hear. Obviously, someone knows we know him."

I nod. "Caution's still not a bad idea."

"I guess." He picks at his eggs. "I had nightmares. I thought they grabbed her and made her into an Avox, too. And I reached out and she wasn't there, which was how the whole nightmare started, and... well, I didn't sleep much."

It occurs to me that Katniss has no idea that Peeta actually needs her. I think she believes he goes to her to comfort her.

Which is something I don't have the slightest desire to get into with either one of them. "What do you think of your fellow tributes?" I ask. "Finnick and Johanna and Chaff made you laugh, anyway."

"How does that matter?"

"You need allies."

"Katniss won't take them. And I don't want them. Last year..." He shakes his head. "It was weird. It was like having friends, except that we all knew the plan was to end up killing each other. That's sick."

"No argument."

He's quiet for a minute, then he says, "Dad told me that they're your friends. The other victors."

"Yeah."

"But it's not true that you and Johanna…?"

"No. Ask her about it. She'll give you theories about my secret trysts in District Seven the year before she was born."

He laughs. "Got it."

"Which also isn't true, for the record."

"Depends on what you mean by 'true.'"

"Somehow, I'm not surprised that you have a creative relationship with that word."

He grins. "I don't know what you mean."

I put some eggs on my plate, and pile on some bacon. "So, if it helps you to think of them as my friends, will you try talking to them?"

He doesn't even think about it before saying, "No."

I sigh. I expected to have to fight with Katniss over this, but I figured Peeta would be a pushover. Unlike Katniss, he actually likes people. I rub my head. "Peeta, you don't stand a chance if you don't have allies. And neither does she, since I'm guessing that matters more to you."

"We're both pretty strong, and she knows survival. I can take on whatever gets thrown at me."

"And let's say you do both make it to the end. Then what?"

"It's easier for me to cut my throat than for her to shoot herself."

"Oh, well, as long as your strategy is so impeccable..."

"Why do you want us to have allies? Won't that just end up getting your friends killed at the end?"

Not if I can help it, I think, but don't say. "Peeta, think about it. Team up with stronger players that you get along with. Try to stay alive as long as you can. Where's the downside?"

"The downside's if it comes to killing them," he says. "If I'd gotten to the end with the Careers, they'd have killed me fast, because I liked them all -- sort of -- and didn't want them dead."

"You know they'd have killed you without thinking twice and you liked them too much to... " I roll my eyes. "I'm not even going to try and make that make sense. But you're stronger with allies. You know that. You watched all the Games. Finnick's the only one who won without allies in the arena, and that's because his allies were his sponsors." I look at my watch. It's nine o'clock. "Where's Katniss?"

He shrugs. "Sleeping, probably."

"She better get down here soon. You're due at training at ten."

We eat together for a while, and I manage to get him to entertain the idea of alliances, and possibly even help me convince Katniss, though he's not in a hurry to say anything else to get on her bad side. He won't commit to anything without her. She still isn't down at nine-thirty, and I go up and pound on her door. She tells me she'll be right down, but manages to dawdle for another five minutes.

Plutarch is trying to run a revolution. I am trying to deal with a teenage girl having a mood.

I remind myself that she has no idea what's going on and neither does Peeta, and now that we're here and being watched, it's too late to change my mind about that. But I guess it's still in my voice when I tell her she's late, because she looks like I've just gutted her when she says she's been having nightmares about severed tongues.

She is not excited at the prospect of alliances. She claims not to trust any of the other tributes except Peeta. She outright hates Finnick, which is a big problem, seeing that he's one of the few who'll be in the arena who knows everything. Unfortunately, Johanna and Chaff are the other two, and apparently, they've already managed to get permanent bad marks on their records. I'm frustrated with Katniss, and with them. They should have waited for me to introduce them. She'd have trusted them if they'd just waited. If I can't get her to come around, I'll have to do something desperate.

Effie comes in at five minutes to ten, looking excited. "Oh, it's training! I'll get you down there right on time!"

"Effie, come on," I say. "None of the others have chaperones. Let's not saddle them with that."

She looks wounded. "But I'm their escort!"

"And you're really good at it," Peeta says. "I'd never find my way around here without you. But, you know, Haymitch is right about the Games. It's better if they don't treat us like kids."

"Oh. Of course." She arranges a few of his curls to her liking, tightens Katniss's braid, and insists on walking them to the elevators.

I wait for her to come back. "Sorry, Effie," I say. "They've got some disadvantages going in here."

"Oh, I know," she says, and sits down on the couch. "I just want to spend some time with them. Before..." She sniffs and takes a long, shaky breath, then forces her cheerful face back on, which makes me immediately suspicious. "Now, while they're training, there's Quell business to attend to. If you weren't mentoring, I'm sure they'd have you go to your arena to walk us through it -- "

"What?"

"It's a very popular destination. It's so lovely, and they've taken out the poison things and the mutts." She sighs. "I suppose you wouldn't want to go, anyway."

"Not in the least," I say, and I know I'll have nightmares tonight that they mean to drag me in there, anyway. A little accident, maybe, a drunken fall off the edge of my cliff. "You haven't been going there, have you?"

"No." She frowns a little bit. "I only visited one arena. I didn't like it. It's different when you know the children." She looks around suddenly. "I mean, I… I spend so much of the year on the Games. I like to do other things." She smiles nervously. I wonder if she's saying that because she thinks it would upset me, or if she let the truth slip and is afraid that someone might take her at her word on it. She pushes herself back onto the subject. "As it is -- you being busy mentoring -- Caesar just wants to go over your Games with you at the studio, with footage."

"Live?"

"No. I think he just wants to get the details straight and get some voiceovers for a special re-airing of the highlights. He'll interview you tomorrow about what you've done with your life since the Games." She bites her lip. "What, uh... what are you going to tell him?"

"Do you want me to cover up our passionate affair?"

"Caesar knows all about our passionate affair." She rolls her eyes extravagantly. "I think he'd just like to know where to take it. You're not mentoring yourself, so you can't talk to him about the interview beforehand. I'll be doing that. You didn't give me much to work with on the phone. What have you been doing lately?"

"Drinking a lot and groping visiting escorts." She looks like she's about to have steam come out of her ears, so I relent a little. "Come on, Effie. You know what my life is like. I mentor once a year. I help out where I can these days, but they're not going to let me talk about that. I annoy Katniss and Peeta. And my house is finally clean. Is anyone going to be interested in that?"

"They might be interested in why your house is clean. The lovely lady...?"

I shake my head. "Hazelle's off the table, Effie."

"But she… well, the two of you…" She bites her lip. "Haymitch, are you… I mean, it's all right if you are. I've certainly…Well, it's not like I'd have anything to say about it."

I don't answer her, which I guess is an answer, because she drops the subject. I've never pressed about the lovers she's had over the years. I guess she doesn't want to know about Hazelle any more than I've wanted to know about them.

She gives me an awkward little smile and hands me my schedule for the day. I roll my eyes at her, and she runs her fingers fondly over mine before letting go of the schedule.

I guess she's off her pills, though she hasn't mentioned it. She doesn't have that manic look in her eyes, anyway.

There's no time to talk about it. The schedule has me headed out to Caesar's right away. She's not coming with me. She's got an interview with Games Gab and a meeting with a theater producer. We go downstairs together. She catches a Games car to go across town, and I walk across to the media building.

I don't need prepping for Caesar, since we're working off camera. He's not prepped, either, though it's hard to tell, since his hair and eyebrows are dyed lavender and he's had so much work done on his face that I have no idea how old he really is. He'd already been hosting my whole life the first time I met him.

At the moment, he's wearing dungarees, an old shirt, and a pair of beaten-up sneakers. Cosmetic work aside, he could pass for a District worker on a ten minute break. He greets me with a clap on the shoulder and leads me downstairs. We will be inhabiting a dingy little production room in the studio basement today. It's dark except for the flickering screens (currently showing the crowded stage from the interviews), and Caesar has put out sandwiches and snacks on a small table.

"I was just watching our interview," he says pointing at one of the screens, which he's paused on a shot of me looking like a smart-ass, which was my default expression back then. Caesar doesn't hold it against me. He starts it running again, silently. "You really got the crowd that night. 'A hundred percent as stupid as usual.'" He laughs. "It wasn't true, you know. They weren't stupid. You've just always been too smart for your own good."

I take the chair next to him, moving aside some food wrappers. "What do you need?"

"Just some voiceovers," he says. "You know it's going to come to Maysilee." He looks over. "I remember she was wearing a pin the night of her interview. They took it away before she went into the arena."

I smile. "I should've realized that if anyone was going to remember, it'd be you."

"I recognized it right away last year. Did you give it to her?"

"No. She's friends with Maysilee's niece. I wasn't actually expecting to see it, either."

"Should we remind people?" he asks, edging the video backward to Maysilee's interview, where the mockingjay pin is visible, if indistinct in the glaring lights. He pauses it.

"I haven't told Katniss," I tell him. "And, honestly, I don't want them to take it away from her."

"A valid point." He looks at another screen, where the parade images are flickering along.

I see myself hanging off the edge of the chariot. Gilla is across from me. In the middle, Beech is trying to hide behind anything he can. Maysilee isn't bothering. They've turned her into a tart, and there's no angle she could hide at.

"Why haven't you told her?" Caesar asks.

"What?"

"Why haven't you told Katniss about the pin?"

"It just hasn't come up. I don't talk much about Maysilee." I shrug. "She probably understands pretty well. I caught the two of them watching the damned Quell tape on the way out here."

Caesar shakes his head. "That tape," he mutters. "Snow was looking over people's shoulders the whole time. Making sure none of your 'misbehavior' came through. I can't see how anyone who wasn't watching live could understand anything."

"Katniss understands me pretty well."

"Yeah, I guess she does." He starts the interviews up again. "Let's see if we can get some other people to understand. I have all the old footage. Snow'll never let me run scenes of you blocking up the mutt delivery systems, but maybe we could get you and Maysilee talking philosophy. Or you telling that story."

I shudder. "Not that. Snow…" I close my eyes. I told Maysilee the story about the three pigs. Snow used it as a framework to kill my family. I'll huff and I'll puff… I shudder and open my eyes again. "I don't want to hear it. You want a storyteller, you should find the first Quell winner. I saw that tape in the library before my Quell -- I didn't watch deliberately, but it was running in the library while I was trying to work. That guy could tell a story."

"Charlie?" Caesar gives me a strange little smile. "He won a few years before I got this gig."

"It's hard to believe you weren't always here."

He laughs. "I'm sure it was hard for everyone else to believe that anyone could replace Candria Light when I took over. She'd been doing it for thirty-one years. She actually could name them all."

"Why do you do it?" I ask. "You're the face of something you hate."

He pauses the video on a shot of Maysilee blinking nervously. "She was talking about her parents' sweet shop," he says. "Got herself all tangled up. Remember?"

"Yeah. You got her untangled."

He nods. "That's why I do it. To help them get untangled, if they need help. To get stories from them that count. That, maybe, people will remember later. I always hate it when mentors tell me to ask them about their strategy so they can intimidate the others. The audience doesn't remember that. Do you remember a word Clove said last year? But they remember Peeta talking about showers -- he made them laugh, then he made them love him and Katniss. If Katniss hadn't forced Seneca's hand when she did, if she'd just put down her bow and refused to kill Peeta or let him kill himself, the public would have forced Crane to let them both live, anyway."

"They didn't have that long. Peeta's heart stopped less than five minutes after they got him on board the hovercraft. There wasn't time for the Capitol to force them to do anything."

"I suppose that's true," Caesar says. "But the point remains: Snow's original idea, that the audience would find it very entertaining to watch them kill each other after everything they went through together, never would have flown. Peeta'd created a narrative that made it impossible for them to accept that. I helped him do it. So did you."

I give a noncommittal grunt and watch forty-seven dead kids make silent small talk. I don't like Plutarch's plans, but at least he has them.

"These are the last Games, Haymitch," Caesar says. "One way or another. Can't you feel it?"

I look at him to see if he is joking or if he looks suspicious. Neither seems to be the case. I don't dare agree or disagree, so I say, "What do you want me to talk about?"

He guides me through my Games, stopping at various points to ask what was going through my head. I realize that most of the questions are about the other tributes.

Narrative.

For memory.

I answer his questions as well as I can.

This business takes through lunch, which we eat together while going through footage. He doesn't bring up the three pigs story, but he does show things I never saw from the filler material. Mom and Lacklen acting like I was a shoo-in. I've thought over the years of how sick Mom was, but I've edited it in my head, just given her the cough I can't forget and sunken eyes. I've forgotten, somehow, that she looked like a walking skeleton that year, bound together by her weathered skin. I forgot that Lacklen was tiny, that, before he got the glasses Caesar sent him, he was perpetually squinting into the distance.

Kay Donner comes on, talking up Maysilee and me. Danny Mellark goes on about me being smart and creative.

And Digger. I ask Caesar to pause the shot of her for a long time. I've nearly forgotten her face over the years, and the only place I could have seen it was the place I haven't been looking -- the Games records. The Gamemakers have had my memory. I re-make it for myself, taking in her black hair, which she kept at shoulder length, curled under at the bottom. She tied it back with a piece of packing string that someone had painted for her. Her thin face. The incredibly pale gray eyes that almost seemed to glow sometimes. I listen to her talk. I'd forgotten her voice entirely. It wasn't a soft, romantic sound. She had a way of being forceful without sounding brash. She also tended to get an irritated tone whenever she was frustrated.

I've almost been conflating her with Katniss, I realize. I've been remembering her hair longer, even braided. I've remembered her more solemn than she was, and physically tougher (which is saying something, as Katniss is no one's idea of a bruiser).

I stare at her now and remember her as a real girl, who I once loved more than anything in the world. She deserves at least this much.

Finally, I tell Caesar that I'm ready to move on.

A small screen at the top of the stack shows the training room, where Katniss and Peeta are eating at a large table with the others. Peeta has thrown himself into making friends (which I expected he would once he met them), and Katniss doesn't seem to be overtly hostile. I can't hear anything, but Chaff seems to be joking with them. Caesar says that they seem to be doing fine.

We finish up around three in the afternoon. A few of the tributes are not bothering with training, and I have a drink or two with Blight in the lounge in the training center (not that I can actually feel the booze, with the detoxers Valentine gave me). Most of the tributes are too scared to know it's there in a normal year, but Blight's been mentoring long enough to know his way around. He says there's no point in training; he's not in shape and couldn't even beat his district partner, not that he plans to try. "So, since I'm going to die anyway, I think I'll enjoy life for a few days instead." I consider this a fine line of reasoning.

"Why'd you offer to volunteer for Jack?"

He shrugs and stares at his drink. "Jack's got a life. Someone he loves. My last chance at that disappeared down the Mississippi a quarter of a century ago."

I think about Gia Pepper, my first escort. She was transferred to Twelve from Seven because she and Blight had gotten a little too close for the Capitol's comfort. Then, when she worked for Twelve, she became a rebel. Snow knew it. Blight got wind of it. We got her out right under the noses of the guards on the Victory Tour train. She let me kiss her goodbye. She was already moving on from both of us, I think. I only heard from her once more, a carefully coded message that she was safe, married, and expecting a child.

Blight and I can't discuss it, of course. If there's anyone among the victors who knows where she is, it's Blight; he arranged for a man from District Four to meet us and take her into hiding. But I can't ask him about it, or tell him about anything I heard from her. There's too much chance of someone overhearing.

Instead, we just pass a few meaningless words and watch television in the bar for about half an hour. Games Gab has started airing a television show along with its magazine, and Effie's segment leads it. She gushes about Katniss and Peeta, and even under the hyperbolic enthusiasm of her Capitol Dreams training, I can see her genuine love for them. I watch her in silence, then get up.

Blight catches me by the shoulder. "You're an idiot," he says, looking up at the television, though Effie has disappeared in favor of an interview with the chariot stable-keepers.

"Not exactly front page news," I say, and leave.

Effie comes back to the apartment around six and checks to see if I'm drunk -- a habit she's had too long to break, no matter how many detoxers she knows are in my system -- then grabs my arm and says, "Haymitch, you need to see this!"

"More sponsors?" I ask.

"Even better. Look!" She reaches into her purse and pulls out a handful of paper forms.

"Alliance requests?"

"From District Four, and Johanna and Cecelia and Faraday Sykes. And Earl Bates, and... oh, Haymitch, half the tributes going in want to partner with Katniss! Even Districts One and Two have asked for her!"

"And Peeta?"

"Well, of course he goes with her. She's not going to leave him behind. That's already been stipulated."

We reach the training center and go inside. Katniss and Peeta are both relaxing in the apartment, waiting for dinner. Peeta says that she's a star because everyone saw her shoot. "I'm about to put in a formal request myself."

"You're that good?" I ask. "So good that Brutus wants you?"

"But I don't want Brutus," Katniss says, then raises herself up in my estimation by many degrees by saying, "I want Mags and District Three."

"Of course you do," I say. I do my best not to convey any delight at this, as I can't think of a quicker way to make her mistrust her instincts than having me confirm them. Now, I just need her to take to Finnick and Johanna. Seeder will make sure she and Chaff get into that group. "I'll tell everybody you're still making up your mind."

We have dinner together, and Peeta gives a recap of Katniss's shooting exhibition so lively that I feel like I was there. For the first time in ages, she seems to be entirely pleased by his admiration. She tells me how good he was at getting the other tributes to eat with them, and how he made it easy for even her to get along with them. They are both flushed and wide-eyed, and Effie insists that we all stay downstairs together and watch something insipid on television. By the time it's over, Katniss is drowsy and Peeta has to be woken up to go to his room.

Chaff skips training the next day and we go outside. I have to sign him out as a mentor and promise not to let him out of my sight, since he's technically in custody of the state. We play chess in the park with a few old men until we start being recognized by kids coming home from school. I am pressed for autographs, and begged to give good wishes to Katniss and Peeta. Chaff is given good wishes for himself.

A few girls hand me kisses that I'm supposed to pass on to Peeta. I tell them that I'd prefer not to get an arrow in the head, which makes them laugh. Two of them have fake braids clipped to their hair, and all of them are wearing mockingjays. A few little kids on the playground are playing at the Games, which annoys me, but one of them has buried himself in the sandbox and is waiting to be rescued by the girl he's playing with. I watch this for a while, thinking about what Caesar said about the Capitol audience not forgetting the story. Unlike the others, those playing at being Katniss and Peeta seem intent on rescuing one another as the highest level of Game play.

Around two, I go to Caesar's studio for prep, and talk him into letting Chaff come on with me. We do a puff piece about my life in District Twelve, most of which focuses on the kids, since the rest of my life is not really fit for public consumption. He asks -- probably out of habit -- if there's anyone special in my life, and I consider giving a carefully veiled hello to Hazelle, but if I did that, half of District Twelve would start speculating on who I was talking about, and a good number of them would pick the wrong person. Besides, I'm not even sure there's anything there, for real.

I tell him, as always, that I'm saving myself for Effie, and the joke, as always, gets a laugh. "Sad part is," Chaff says, "I think it's true."

I make an obscene gesture at him that Caesar says he'll have to cut out.

Chaff goes through the Quell from his point of view as a mentor, trying to find sponsors for so many kids. "Even the favorites didn't have much to work with that year," he says. "And District Twelve barely had anything at all."

"Was there anything?" I ask. "Before that cold pack and the painkillers at the end, anyway."

"Well, Maysilee got some crackers before she ran into you."

"I'll try to contain my jealousy."

He laughs. "Well, you didn't seem to need much. Believe it or not, Drake was looking for something for you. You weren't giving him any clues. After I lost my tributes, I kept an eye on you."

"Yes," Caesar says. "It was you and Seeder who were there with Haymitch in recovery, wasn't it?"

"It sure was. Seeder thought he'd need someone a little friendlier than Albinus Drake. And we both liked him, no matter how unlikeable he tried to be."

"I am unlikeable," I growl.

"Yup, you're a pill, that's for sure. Don't know what we were thinking." He grins.

After the interview, Caesar airs scenes from the Quell, with the commentary I did yesterday. Reporters are in the street waiting to get reactions from Capitol citizens. Most are dazed, many expressing in various ways that they'd forgotten how many of us there were. Kay Undersee is interviewed back in Twelve, and kindly interprets my crazy behavior toward her when I got home as a gallant remembrance of her sister. A photo is shown of the two of them and their best friends, then Caesar pretends to be surprised to see Ruth Everdeen in it. He freezes on the photo and says, "And here we see it -- the ongoing legacy of the Games in District Twelve." Maysilee is faded out, and Ruth's face morphs into Katniss's (I'm actually surprised to see that it's an easy morph; I always thought of her as looking like Glen). It cuts to her live in the training center, where Peeta, Berenice, and Paulin are painting her into a field of wildflowers. As we watch, she also disappears.

It's a nearly perfect cut, and one of the people on the street, now appearing for an interview, is too choked up to tell the reporter why he thinks Quells are such special events.

After the show, I go back to the training center for dinner with my weird approximation of a family, then head out to find Finnick, who is making no progress at all with Katniss. Johanna is with him in the lounge, and isn't even trying to make progress. "You set it up," she says. "I’m not going to play kiss-kiss with a soppy teenager. You're the one who wants us to be allies. You make it happen."

"I'm not the one who put in a formal request," I remind her.

"Well... she can shoot. I wouldn't mind being her ally. As long as I don't have to be her friend."

"I want to be her friend," Finnick says. "I like her. I like Peeta, too. It's amazing how much time they managed to spend with Haymitch without becoming nearly as insufferable."

This could turn into a serious conversation, but Finnick is still high on the idea of a few days to himself, and he grabs Johanna and swings her into a dance.

I get reports back from other mentors that the kids are doing well in training, getting along as well as possible with everyone else (Johanna excepted). I ride in an elevator with Gloss and he compliments Katniss on her composure, of all things. Brutus demands that I confirm an alliance, and at that point I feel comfortable telling him that Katniss would rather swallow mutated worms than ally with him.

He frowns deeply, then mutters, "At least I won't have to deal with Princess Peeta. I wasn't looking forward to babysitting His Sensitive Majesty, anyway." He walks away.

Enobaria makes a point of telling me that she finds it hilarious that Brutus is throwing a temper tantrum about this, but she's withdrawing her request for an alliance as well.

On the day of individual evaluations, I assume Katniss will shoot at targets. They'll certainly provide her with some. Peeta knows to show them all his strength, and maybe do some camouflage. They don't need coaching the second time around. I hear the others muttering about what they'll show the Gamemakers that they haven't already seen. Some tributes, including Beetee and Wiress, go straight back to their quarters after evaluations. Others drift to the lounge, where the rest of us are waiting. We can see the dining hall emptying out as the tributes go in.

Finnick doesn't tell me what he did when he comes out after his, and when Mags comes out next, looking rested, he translates what she says as, "I took a nap."

"What'd you do?" Finnick asks Johanna as she comes out.

"I thought I'd tap dance, but they didn't have the shoes for it, so I threw some axes instead." She throws herself down on a sofa. Jack Anderson wags his finger at her playfully and tells her that she shouldn't talk about her talents, and she makes a great show of obedient bowing to his vast wisdom.

Cecelia made a strong garrote out of plant material, and Chaff says he sat and stared at them for fifteen minutes to prove he could intimidate anyone. "They were shaking by the end, I promise." Seeder says that she built a shelter, because she couldn't think of anything else.

"So Peeta's in there now?" I ask.

"Should be."

I wait to either have him show up in the lounge or to see the elevator go up, but after twenty minutes, neither thing has happened. Finally, the elevator goes up past us. I look to the screen, expecting to see Katniss go in. Instead, she wanders around the dining room by herself for what seems like forever.

"I'm intrigued," Seeder says. "What does he know how to do that takes that long to clean up?"

I am suddenly pulled back to the car full of paintings of the Games, to Peeta with his paint-stained hands bringing me bread, to the light in his studio at all hours.

And I have a sinking feeling that maybe I should have mentored my tributes this morning after all.
6 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
From: (Anonymous) Date: May 5th, 2015 08:54 am (UTC) (Link)

Typo

_figure_ should be _finger_

Great chapter!

-- Tom
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 7th, 2015 03:52 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Typo

I'll grab that, thanks.
redrikki From: redrikki Date: May 5th, 2015 05:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
I really loved the expansion of the scene with Caesar, both because you worked in Charlie and because of the way you brought in Haymitch's recollections of Digger. I liked the idea of how he's been conflating her with Katniss in his head.

I did notice one error though. Some tributes, including Beetee and Wiress, go straight back their quarters after evaluations is missing a word.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 7th, 2015 03:53 am (UTC) (Link)
I definitely wanted to bring Digger more back into it, and the weird tricks memory can do when you're not looking.

I'll get that word.
rocky_t From: rocky_t Date: May 5th, 2015 05:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
I really liked seeing Haymitch's memories of Digger reawaken. Now that we've gone through Haymitch's past in other stories, the narrative surrounding the other victors is even more poignant.

One thing: Caesar's assertion that Katniss hadn't needed to force Seneca's hand with the berries at the end of the previous Games. It was my assumption that if Peeta hadn't gotten prompt medical attention at that point, he would have shortly bled to death. There was no way Katniss could have just laid down her bow and refused to play. She would still have been seen as a rebel, and Peeta would be dead.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 7th, 2015 03:54 am (UTC) (Link)
I think Caesar's just not thinking about that, but I'll have Haymitch at least mentally point it out.
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