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Repost: The Narrow Path, Chapter 4 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Repost: The Narrow Path, Chapter 4
I decided to put back Katniss's full speech; it's too important to gloss over the scene. I just had Haymitch reflect more. Changed Beetee's surname to the movie version (it's harmless enough, I guess).

Chapter Four
"Katniss!" I yell uselessly. "Dammit!"

"What's she doing?" Plutarch whispers urgently.

I look at the monitor, where she's climbing up the side of a building toward Baize Paylor's team of sharpshooters. "She's joining the fight." I look around quickly. "Did anyone hear me yell just now?"

"I don't think so, not with all this going on."

I grind my teeth. This was the only thing Katniss could have done, and it's what we should have given orders for in the first place. It's the only decent thing to do. But if she looks out of control, her deal falls apart. Coin will start by taking her cat and end up executing Peeta. "She's following orders," I tell Plutarch quietly. "She's doing exactly what we want her to do. She's going right up front. Being wonderful, as Fulvia would put it."

Plutarch stares at me, then the full implications hit him. He pushes a series of buttons that give him access to everyone's earpieces. "We have engaged the Mockingjay in battle," he says, though I doubt anyone on her team is fooled. "Give her cover if you can. And fight the bombers, like she is." He turns the microphone off and looks at me. "She can't do that again, Haymitch. You need to control her."

"I told Coin, I don't control Katniss. I talk to Katniss. She understands me. She doesn't always agree with me."

He leans forward and hisses, "This is not the arena, Haymitch. It's not 'anything goes' down there. She's not just responsible for surviving, or getting Peeta out of something. When she goes off script, it puts strategies in danger that she doesn't even know about, and it's likely to cost lives."

"I know. But Plutarch, this is her. This is your Mockingjay. This is the Katniss Everdeen that people believe in. If you wanted a dress-up doll, you picked the wrong girl."

He nods.

When I look back, I see that we now have a viewpoint from behind a ventilation pipe on top of a factory. I can see Katniss's film crew as they try to get out of each other's way. Finally, they get two clear shots, one on Katniss and the other on Gale. The two of them are shooting fire-tipped arrows at camouflaged Capitol bombers. The bombers can only be seen when they break the camouflage to drop bombs, so no one has an easy target.

Katniss and Gale don't do any less than the guns from the District Eight rebels, but that's not saying much. A cold corner of my brain tells me that this will be unbeatable footage for the propo.

Katniss raises her bow and fires at a hovercraft. The arrow hits it cleanly, sending out a plume of flame. The craft wobbles, and suddenly, the electronic camouflage wavers. It doesn't seem to be able to get the cloaking back on.

"Shielding is vulnerable," Plutarch says calmly into his microphone. "Hits to the skin will keep them where we can see them."

I start to tell Katniss she's doing a good job, but her earpiece is out. I switch to Gale. "Did you see them lose their shielding?" I ask.

"Read you," Gale says. He levels his bow at another plane.

"Keep her covered," I tell him.

"Every day," he says.

After that, it would be crazy to keep talking to him in the middle of a battle. A second wave comes, and Gale and Katniss switch over to Beetee's explosive-tipped arrows. These are far beyond anything Paylor's guns are doing; they're the equivalent of small ground-to-air missiles. Katniss takes out the lead plane, and Gale takes out another. A third wave appears, and three more planes go down. The guns manage to take out another, then the wave stops.

The silence drifts below us like smoke.

"Clear!" a voice says into everyone's ears, and Paylor repeats it to her crew. They all straighten up and look out at the wreckage.

"Did they hit the hospital?" Katniss asks.

Paylor nods. She's not miked, so I can only hear her faintly from Katniss's microphone: "Must have."

The film crew emerges from behind the air duct, and Katniss is obviously surprised by them. I doubt it occurred to her that she was being filmed.

They start down from the building.

Plutarch switches back to general broadcast. "That's it," he tells everyone. "We're getting everyone out. The medical cargo transport can pick up the" -- he grinds his teeth -- "the survivors at the emergency rendezvous point."

"Survivors?" I repeat.

"Our medics were in the hospital," he says. Something flashes and he turns a dial. "No, Cressida, it's too dangerous -- yes -- well, I -- the fires are still burning -- Snow's running it live on the Capitol feed --"

Katniss reaches street level, and her microphone picks up Cressida's side of the conversation. "I don't care, Plutarch! Just give me five more minutes!"

Katniss doesn't wait to see what Plutarch tells Cressida. She just sees that someone else has our attention (well, Plutarch's, anyway), and bolts off into the blown-apart streets before anyone has a chance to order her back.

Gale follows her to the site of the hospital, now a burning crater. It reminds me of a poem by Abrianna Fabbri that I read in school. It was from the Catastrophe era, about the Santorini eruption: "Inferno Arriva" -- hell arrives. I don't remember the whole poem, but I do remember that the poet looks down a hovercraft at the burning sea, at the dying figures swimming in it, and says,

In agony they stretch their bony hands
to heaven's final, deadly retribution.
Condemned for sins they never contemplated,
they cry in vain for wretched absolution.

My teacher said the verse was about unconsidered sin, the crimes of thoughtlessness that catch up to us, but I know now as I look down at the hospital, at the flame-ringed people struggling beneath the burning roof, that it wasn't about their sins at all. They are innocents, caught in the crossfire of the gods, while I stand by, doing nothing, like always.

They cease their struggles as I watch, and fade into the raging flames.

I think of Danny, throwing himself in front of a bomb.

"Gale," I say, forcing my voice to be even, "we have a hovercraft. Get out of there."

He can't get Katniss to move. She's transfixed by the flames, trying to understand why the Capitol would do such a thing. Gale comes up with some strategic reasons, which don't seem to settle on Katniss much more than they settle on me.

They bombed the hospital because it's what they do, the same way Katniss ran in because it's what she does. The way I watch from the sidelines, because it's what I do.

While they talk, Plutarch, horrified, flips a screen up from the command table. President Snow is claiming that the bombing of innocents was a message to the districts. Plutarch speaks to Cressida again. "Do we have enough? Can we make an answer for him quickly? I'll... I'll come up with something to say back in Thirteen. We can't leave it unanswered..."

Katniss turns away slowly, heading back for her film crew, and that's when it happens.

Cressida steps forward. Plutarch keeps asking her what she's doing, but she doesn't answer him. She just goes to Katniss and says, "President Snow has just had them air the bombing live. Then he made an appearance to say that this was his way of sending a message to the rebels. What about you? Would you like to tell the rebels anything?"

"Yes," Katniss whispers.

Then she erases any notion of what Plutarch might have written.

"I want to tell the rebels that I'm alive," she says, and I can see her coming back to life even as she says it. "That I'm right here in District Eight, where the Capitol has just bombed a hospital full of unarmed men, women, and children. There will be no survivors."

Across the table, Plutarch is watching her, wide-eyed. I may be a little wide-eyed myself. There's nothing here I didn't know, but Katniss has always been so much more about action than words. That's why she let Peeta do the talking. But now, as in the hospital, she's finding that part of him inside her own heart… though Peeta never channeled rage, not like this. The creature I'm seeing now isn't just Katniss, or just Katniss pretending to be Peeta.

The creature down there, in front of the cameras, is the Mockingjay.

It's what I wanted, and it's terrifying.

What are you doing to this girl? I ask myself, not bothering to conjure anyone else's voice. What have you already done?

She steps forward, burning in the smoky afternoon. "I want to tell people that if you think for one second the Capitol will treat us fairly if there's a cease-fire, you're deluding yourself. Because you know who they are, and you know what they do. This is what they do!" She points at the hospital. "And we must fight back! President Snow says he's sending us a message? Well, I have one for him. You can torture us and bomb us and burn our cities to the ground, but do you see that?" She thrusts her arm back at the wreckage of the bombers. "Fire is catching," she says. "And if we burn, you burn with us!"

There is silence in the hovercraft. I look up and see the crew standing in front of the broadcast screen, dumbfounded.

Plutarch looks at me. "Haymitch, when it comes to Katniss, I will not doubt your judgment again."

"Then get her out of there," I say, as she collapses from the wound in her leg. Plutarch gives the order (again).

I've gotten what I wanted. The Mockingjay is singing, as beautifully as I always knew she could. But at the moment, all I can see is Boggs carrying her small, limp body to the medical cargo ship, and I hate everything I've done.

Plutarch and I don't speak on the way back to Eight. It has been a long day, filled with too many things. When we land, I can't really process that the sun is still up.

The wounded are taken to the hospital, where the staff is reeling from the loss of the medics. Coin is going among them, promising vengeance. She ignores me altogether, which I'm glad of. I can follow Katniss as far as the treatment room, then she's swept away. A distracted doctor tells me that the wound isn't severe, and she probably just passed out from stress.

I am not prepared when something small and hard shoves me into the wall.

I turn around and find Ruth Everdeen, her hands still extended into claws. I'd forgotten about her entirely. I raise my hands for defense if necessary. I don't underestimate the fingernails on Everdeen women. "She's going to be okay," I say.

"You took her into a combat zone? You said you'd take care of her!"

"Ruth, she needs to do this. She needs to fight. She took down three Capitol planes --"

I'm glad I have my arms up protectively, because Ruth moves fast. She makes a sound somewhere between a scream and a snarl and I barely catch her by the wrists. I look around and find an empty exam room, then drag her inside and close the door.

"Listen to me," I say.

"No! I am done listening to you, Haymitch. You got her through the arena, but the Games are over. Do you hear me? They're over, and you can't take these kinds of risks anymore! She's not your little girl!"

Katniss hasn't been anyone's "little girl" since she was eleven and had to take over the family because Ruth checked out, but I hold my tongue on saying this. Katniss has been trying, albeit inexpertly, to mend that rift. So I say, "She's about the closest thing I've got. You know that, and you know why." She doesn't argue. She was one of the people who helped me get through it when Digger was murdered. She knows I don't attach to people lightly, and I never risked having children because I was afraid of what would happen to them. She might even know that I agree with every word she said, but I'm not sure she does. Danny would know, but Ruth never knew me as well, and I don't want her to. "Will you listen to me?"

Ruth fumes to herself, but calms down enough to sit stiffly on an examination stool.

I pull myself up onto the exam table. "It was dangerous. I was a little worried, especially when she pulled that earpiece out."

"She did... what?"

"She cut herself off so I couldn't tell her what to do." I shake my head. That has to stop. "But she was really herself today," I tell Ruth. "None of this lurking around in closets. No refusing to speak. She was being what she needs to be."

"She's seventeen, Haymitch. It's not a place for a seventeen year old."

I sigh. "Ruth, why do you let Primrose work here in the hospital?"

"That's different."

"She sees bad injuries. Gets exposed to some nasty bugs. And I don't even know what cranky old drunks with the shakes expose her to."

"It's different."

"It's different because you understand it. You were doing this when you were her age. Katniss is a fighter. Like Glen. How old was Glen when you started patching him up?"

"Seventeen," she says reluctantly. "It was right after you came back. The stupid tantrums we threw over Lucretia Beckett. Glen got himself whipped three times."

"Exactly. And Katniss is Glen's little girl. Always was."

She looks into a corner for a long time, apparently meditating on a cracked tile, then says, "You're a bastard sometimes, Haymitch. I hate that you just did that."

"Did what?"

"Tried to make me choose between my daughter's safety and my husband's memory."

"I wasn't trying to make you do anything. There's nothing you need to do. Katniss already agreed to this."

"Because you told her to!"

I laugh. "Right. Because she always does what I tell her."

"Do you really think I haven't seen the way she goes to you when she has a problem? She doesn’t come to me. She goes to you the same way she'd have gone to her father. That she's angry at you doesn't change that. And she will always do what she thinks will please you. She'll make up reasons to do it for herself, but --"

"That's not even close to true," I say.

"It's exactly true." Ruth sighs and leans forward, the fight going out of her. "She trusts you. Maybe not with the truth, but with her life. She hasn't trusted me for years. And you used that to throw her into combat."

"It wasn't supposed to be combat. Not today."

"Of course it was. I've read the reports from the other districts, at least the ones they put in the daily news here. There's always a second bombing run. All they were talking about here before it hit was whether or not our staff would get out in time."

"I didn't know that. They didn't give me any news while I was out, and they didn't brief me on that." This doesn't change the fact that my intent was to send Katniss into combat -- eventually -- and I don't try to argue otherwise. "But you've seen her, Ruth. You've seen the way she's been since they took Peeta. She wasn't like that today. She was herself."

Ruth stands up and crosses her arms over her chest. "Who's told you about the way she's been? You've been out of commission."

"Who hasn't told me?" I ask. "Everyone's seen it."

She closes her eyes. "Fine. Not that it makes a difference whether I say it's fine or not. You'll keep doing what you do. But fine. I'll let Katniss be Katniss. And if it gets her killed, I will never forgive you."

"I wouldn't forgive myself, either."

"But that's not going to stop you, is it?" She sighs, then opens her eyes and heads back out into the hospital, where grief-dazed doctors, missing their colleagues, are swearing revenge on the Capitol as they patch up the wounded.

I wait a few minutes, then leave as well. Katniss is still in treatment for the shrapnel in her leg, and there's no good waiting area, so I decide to do my daily check-in to prove I'm not drunk. While I'm waiting for the results, I spot a huddled form in a chair far back in the nurses' lounge -- a blond girl, tired-looking, not terribly pretty, her shoulders hunched down, her hands over her eyes.

I frown. "Delly?"

She looks up and creates a smile out of thin air. "Haymitch! I'm glad you're all right. I've been hearing about the battle."

"I was never on the ground. Katniss took some shrapnel."

"Is she okay?"

"Yeah, it's not serious. At least that's what I've heard."


I lean over the counter. "What about you? You don't look very good."

"I'm supposed to be cheering people up," she says. "But we all saw the bombing. My head keeps going back to District Twelve. I saw the people burning." She takes a shaky breath. "I keep thinking about my folks and Ed. And everyone."

"You should get out of here. Go someplace, have a cry. Or whatever you need to do."

"They won't let me out. It's my job." She shrugs. "Anyway, if I start with that, I won't stop." She forces another smile. "So, I do my job. Do you need anything?"

I can't think of a thing I need that Delly Cartwright could help with. A couple of months ago, I'd have found messages for her to carry, or maybe a spy to hide. She and Ed helped hide Winnow Robinson last winter, before we sent her on to District Four. But now, she's outside the structure of the rebellion, and I can't think of anything she can do. I just shake my head.

"Well, give me a holler if that changes," she says, as the nurse comes back with my negative result for the day. "I’m generally around here somewhere." She smiles brightly at the nurse.

The nurse glowers back and says, "Thanks, Soldier Cartwright, but the only thing that's going to cheer me up is seeing Coriolanus Snow hung from a yardarm for the birds to eat."

"Okay," Delly says. She waves to me as I leave. "See you, Haymitch."

"That's Soldier Abernathy," the nurse hisses.

"Not to my old friends," I say. "I'll see you around, Delly."

I check my schedule and discover that I'm meant to be at dinner. I go to the dining hall and consider joining Hazelle and her kids (minus Gale), but decide that she's surrounded by too many other people. I'm probably not permitted to sit away from my assigned spot, anyway, which happens to be with Dalton and a few of the people who live down the hall from us, I guess. Dalton introduces the woman he's talking to as Harriet Peale. She and her sister Letitia live across the hall from us. Letitia is on duty in the hospital. There are four men. Their names are Felix Bonnet, Harold James, Walter Bass, and Hector Grimm, but I don't learn which is which. Two more women arrive during the meal, late from their assignments, and introduce themselves as Soldiers Miller and Kinney. The others have a joke of trying to learn their first names, and they play along. Today's guesses seem to be "Rosalind" (for Miller) and "Prudence" (for Kinney). There's an elaborate game of some kind in which it's determined that these names aren't right, but everyone still calls them Rosie and Pru until we head back to our hall.

Before I can get to my apartment for any grilling Dalton is obliged to give me about my drinking, I'm interrupted by a breathless messenger who has obviously been running for quite a long way. "Soldier Abernathy," he manages, "you're needed in Command."

"It's half past seven," I say. "Who needs me?"

"Orders from Colonel Heavensbee, sir. You're to report to production."

"Tell them to give you a rank," Kinney says, grinning. "If they're going to pull you around like that off-schedule, you should be an officer."

I have a feeling that they're going to force a rank onto me one way or another eventually, but I'm certainly not going to ask for one. I just roll my eyes and start down toward Command, hoping I don't manage to get myself lost.

It's close to seven-forty-five when I get to the booth, where Plutarch is huddled with Katniss's director, Cressida, and her assistant, Messalla. Fulvia is sitting in a corner in a large chair, scribbling something in her notebook. There are several screens lit up around them, all with different images of Katniss from this afternoon. A moment after I arrive, Alma Coin comes in, without her usual entourage.

"We have the first propo cut," Plutarch says. "Cressida's brilliant. Wait until you see it."

"You could do it that quickly?" I ask. "We've only been back a couple of hours."

"She gave us everything we need to work with," Cressida says. "It was just a question of picking the best shots. I'm using Fulvia's graphics idea for the very end, but with Katniss's new line instead of the old one. We had the special effects ready."

"Her new line?" Coin asks.

"'If we burn, you burn with us,'" Plutarch says. "Simple. To the point. And it tells Snow that every horror he tries to inflict is going to be answered. No more fear in the districts. He can't keep power without that."

Coin presses her lips together. "If that line airs, then she's committed us to a policy."

"Wasn't that the policy anyway?" I ask. "To fight Snow instead of bending to him?"

"Yes, but I prefer to state my policies myself. We may not be able to respond to every attack."

"People understand that," Cressida says. "If we win, then everyone will be avenged, whether any given slight is answered or not." She shakes her head. "It's a propo. It's good. And even if Snow guesses that you can't answer every bombing, he doesn’t know which ones you're going to answer. So it'll put a little fear in him. Personally, after all these years, I think 'scared' is a good look for him."

"Very well," Coin says. "Show me what you have."

With as much of a flourish as he can put into pressing a button, Plutarch starts his propo. It opens with a blank screen, then he grins and says, "I borrowed a little something from the Games."

Claudius Templesmith's voice comes up as flames etch out an image of Katniss's pin: "Katniss Everdeen, the girl who was on fire, burns on."

Coin smiles faintly. "Good choice."

"It'll make Claudius crazy, at any rate," Cressida says. "That's always a plus."

Katniss, bloodied and dirty on the broken streets of District Eight, replaces the image of the pin and begins the speech she gave this afternoon. As she talks about the bombing of the hospital, Plutarch has inserted pictures of her talking to the patients earlier in the afternoon. "This is what they do!" she cries. "And we must fight back!" After it, Cressida and Plutarch have created a montage of the battle, showing her in action, showing the planes going down. She delivers her line, then flames burn up the image and the words appear:


The flames then consume them as well, and the screen is black again.

"I'm convinced," Coin says, without much emotion. "I believe this will rally the districts, at any rate. A voice of one of their own, reminding them of what they all know. It's quite striking." She presses a button on the console. "Soldier Latier, are you prepared?"

I haven't heard anyone use Beetee's surname for years. The Capitol press treats all victors on a first name basis, and we rarely use last names among ourselves, either. I'm sure it showed up on the Quell screens, but I didn't pay attention; after all, I already knew everyone.

He grins at me, probably guessing my train of thought. "Just about, if Plutarch is."

"Ready to go here," Plutarch tells him.

"We can really do this?" I ask. "Right now?"

"You would prefer to wait?" Coin asks.

"No. It all just seems to be moving very quickly."

"Haven't we been taking it slow long enough?" Plutarch says. "I seem to recall a District Twelve mentor this spring being a little annoyed with me for taking things too slowly." He smiles. "Shall we do it?"

"Maybe we should wake Katniss up for it."

"There's no need," Coin says. "She'll see it when she's been healed from her injury. She's done her part."

For about ten minutes, Beetee and Plutarch do some kind of technical dance that I don't entirely understand, then, at eight o'clock sharp, they manage to cut into the feeds of every district in Panem -- though not the Capitol -- with our propo.

It airs here in Thirteen as well, and when I go out into the halls, I find people fiercely happy, chanting anti-Capitol slogans. A young man in a public area sees me and gives me a sharp military salute. There are even cheers, of a regimented sort. I promise to pass them on to Katniss, though I really don't have much intention of doing so. That's a sponsor promise. If she seems to need it, I'll tell her, but I have a feeling it would disturb her.

When I get back to my apartment, Dalton has the television on under the giant cow. It's the only light in the place, and it casts flickering shadows over everything. I sit down on my bunk, next to the picture of Effie that I've put on the scheduler.

"They're going to show it again," Dalton says. "I can't wait. I love it. She's great."

Beetee may or may not be able to break in again. For now, programming has gone back to the regularly scheduled silliness of Capitol-approved television. It's currently running a series about a too-cute-to-be-believed little orphan boy who's been informally adopted by a squadron of Peacekeepers, who of course are always and forever being recruited to find lost dogs and rescue kids from dire circumstances. In this episode, the squadron commander is trying to arrange for a popular young dancer to come and entertain the troops. The little boy is involved in a crazy scheme to help get around the red tape. He has just, for some reason, dressed up as a high society schoolboy, when the screen goes black and a high whistle signals a break-in broadcast.

"Here she is," Dalton says.

But it's not Katniss's propo.

Instead, an image of a forest at sunset appears. Peacekeepers rush through the trees, guns drawn. Lumberjacks run at them with axes. As the camera draws back, it shows bodies strewn across the ground. Some are rebels, some are Peacekeepers. The screen splits, and shows another battle, this one seemingly in District Ten, where a few horses are among the dead. (Dalton draws back in horror.) A third split shows the shoreline in District Four. I can actually see Winnow Robinson on a boat in the harbor, firing at the beach. Peacekeepers and fishermen lie dead together in the sand.

Claudius Templesmith's voice comes over the images. "Violent riots have erupted in several districts. Our brave Peacekeepers are trying to restore order, but current reports indicate up to one hundred deaths so far. No estimate can yet be made on the destruction of property, both Capitol and District owned."

The cameras linger heavily on the bodies, then the screen fills with choking black smoke. Words appear in white:


The screen goes black, then returns to the ridiculous show. Dalton turns it off.

I go to bed, looking at my picture of Effie, thinking of Peeta, of Johanna, of Winnow.

I dream of death.
9 comments or Leave a comment
redrikki From: redrikki Date: October 1st, 2015 01:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
I loved the poem. Is that something you came up with just for this or is it from somewhere?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 2nd, 2015 05:29 am (UTC) (Link)
It's mine. I wasn't going to rhyme it, just do the iambic pentameter, but "absolution" was the best word, so... :D

sonetka From: sonetka Date: October 1st, 2015 11:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
I have no idea how Ruth can watch all this and not have a stroke. The tension is insane.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 2nd, 2015 05:29 am (UTC) (Link)
She's got to be going spare.
From: (Anonymous) Date: October 2nd, 2015 02:26 am (UTC) (Link)
IPad won't let me copy for some reason
When Ruth attacks Haymitch, "you said you'd take of her!" Missing the word care
"And it gets her killed, I will never forgive you" missing an if?

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 2nd, 2015 05:29 am (UTC) (Link)
I'll grab those, thanks.
From: queen_bellatrix Date: October 4th, 2015 01:14 am (UTC) (Link)

Some Catches/Feedback

turns to the microphone off Just an odd extra to.

to the ground, do you Don't have the book on hand, so I'm not sure if this is the way it was written, or if some things got lost in the transition. If it is a transition thing: can't tell if there should be a period after ground or a but before do you see.

you'd take of her! Just need a care before of.

place for seventeen year old Just a missing a before seventeen.

closes her yes Just a missing e on eyes.

And it gets her Just missing an if before it.

It's a half past seven Just an odd extra a there.

The edits on this one were fantastic; you did a seamless job intersperssing the speech with Haymitch's reflections, and the thematic element of this larger than life...construct the mockingjay is becoming being viewed by someone who understands just how vulnerable and fallible she can be worked really well. And the theme of consequences; that's really becoming a tangible thing--not just the consequences of the war, which were in the original, but consequences very specific to Haymitch. Not only is he having to deal with some awful things around personal responsibility--because as much as Snow's actions are entirely on Snow's shoulders, you can't escape those when you recruited someone like Danny; you're bound to feel responsible--, but I also like that the consequences of being molded into a symbol for Katniss, and Haymitch's role in that molding are being brought front and center.

And just some really beautiful imagery, with Haymitch thinking of her as so other-worldly.

Also really appreciated the differentiation of his friendship with Ruth from his friendship with Danny. Because yeah, they were all close, and felt invested, but even just after Haymitch's games, there were different levels of closeness among the group. And it adds even more of a bittersweet layer to everything that happens in the end surrounding Ruth. Because that lack of closeness, just as it creates an understanding barrier here, means he's totally at a loss to help her cope with going back to Twelve, which inevitably puts him in a position where he's also at a loss to help Katniss.

And very, very nice little subtle foreshadow with Ruth mentioning the second bomb runs; love that you're making Coin's undermining of Katniss so much stronger with that little fabrication about her being safe.

This's also just a very good chapter overall; there's something about seeing that propo outside Kattniss's head that really lets us appreciate how powerful it actually was.

Also: I agree that changing Beetee's surname is relatively harmless, but I still stand by the fact that your name combination still had better rhythm! ;)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 4th, 2015 04:23 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Some Catches/Feedback

Wow, those were some random typos that survived the first draft and have been hanging around online this whole time! (Not all, but some.) Got 'em.

I think any decent person (and despite Katniss's protestations, she and Haymitch are both decent people, during and after the Games) should feel the moral weight of what's happening, even if it has to happen. People who just think, "Wow, it's sure fun to shoot planes and make videos" in the midst of this have something fundamentally wrong going on. And of course, they do -- we see it at the end of the books. The ones who wash their hands of the moral cost of war almost plunge the country right back in for another round.

A friend of mine once used the phrase "friend-in-law," for the romantic partners of people who aren't actually friends in and of themselves, or friends of romantic partners who aren't real friends. Haymitch and Ruth are definitely friends-in-law around Danny. They share a lot of experiences because they're in a shared environment, but after the "divorce," they don't give each other much of a second thought until they're forced together again with Katniss as the binding force.

Yeah, I liked "Bannerjay" better as well, and it's actually linguistically corrupted up from a legit Indian surname (Banerjee), sort of a "Yup, been in a country that couldn't get it right for a few hundred years" kind of thing, which pleased me in a world building way. But I figure that I'm drawing a hard line on not adopting the movie's hair color scheme. I have to prove that I can be flexible with things that become part of fanon now and then. :D

Edited at 2015-10-04 04:24 am (UTC)
Tracy Wood From: Tracy Wood Date: October 7th, 2015 05:29 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Some Catches/Feedback

Well the books, never even gave him a surname to start with. Did you ever notice that with the exception of Joanna and Finnick, none of the other tributes in either the 74th or 75th games have a surname.

I sometimes wonder if Collins did this to emphasize the fact that perhaps the audience and the gamemakers saw the tributes as less than human. Just cannon fodder for their sick games. That's my opinion on it anyway. If any of them had surnames in either the book or the movie other than Joanna and Finnick (and Beetee in the movie) I don't recall it.
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