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Repost: The Narrow Path, Chapter 17 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Repost: The Narrow Path, Chapter 17
Not a lot structural. Some tweaking of flashbacks here and there.

Chapter Seventeen
I can't feel anything when I see the apartment building collapse. Katniss. Peeta. Finnick. Gale. All in one horrible second.

I can't even scream.

"Haymitch," someone whispers.

I can't turn my head.

"Haymitch," the whisper comes again, and I register on some level that it is Beetee, and that he has wheeled over to me while the rest of the room is in some kind of rushed response mode. No one is talking to me. Except for Beetee. "Haymitch, I have them, they're moving."

I sit up straight and look at him, not understanding him for a moment. "They... what?"

He looks at Coin and the rest of the room. "Tell them we need to go mourn. And get me the families. Before this is on the news. I'll get Annie. Meet us at my apartment. Ten minutes."

I make my excuses, and beg them to let me tell the families before this goes out on the airwaves. I'm given a pass to get anyone out of work duties or school. Ruth comes with me mutely, seeming to know what kind of news hasn't been aired. We get Hazelle from a station in the kitchens, then go to the school, where we get Prim and the younger Hawthornes. I call for Delly Cartwright as well.

"Are we going to Command?" Hazelle asks dully.

"No," I say.

I bring us to Beetee's place, where he and Annie are waiting. Beetee's apartment is quite generous for a single man, and has a workbench and a large television. The latter is turned off.

He waits until everyone is sitting, then pulls out a handheld device. He speaks to it, and a moment later, a holographic projection of the Capitol comes up above the workbench. There are three dots moving through it.

"What's this?" Hazelle asks.

"Real time," Beetee tells her. "Katniss, Gale, and Finnick. There are trackers planted in the weapons I created for them. Command doesn't know about them. The longer we can keep up the façade of... of what's about to be on the news... the better. But there is no reason for you to believe it."

"What's on the news?" Delly asks. "What about Peeta?"

Beetee sighs. "I don't have a way of tracking Peeta. I'm sorry," he says. He looks around. "But what you're about to see is that they set off a trap while shooting today. I saw the footage. Peeta does seem to have had an episode, but he was alive, along with the others, when they took refuge in an apartment building. The apartment building was demolished by Capitol forces. They are all presumed dead."

"But they're not?" Rory asks. "They're really not?"

"What I can tell you with absolute certainty is that the weapons were carried out of the apartment before the Capitol struck. The only apparent casualties prior to that were Mitchell, who was caught in a trap, and Boggs, who stepped on a landmine. If Katniss, Gale, and Finnick, along with their weapons, left the area, then it is reasonable to assume that they brought other survivors with them."

"Except Peeta, if he was having an attack," Annie says. "Would they have left him?"

Prim shakes her head. "I know Katniss hasn't been great about Peeta since he came back, but there's no way she'd leave him behind. Not for anything."

Hazelle puts her hand into the projection, letting the three dots dance among her fingers. As we watch, they come to rest in another building. "What are they doing?"

I'd just tell them, but Beetee chooses not to. Or, it occurs to me, he actually doesn't know. Keeping secrets is a way of life with him. He might not have any idea what the reason for it in this case is.

He says, "Whatever it is, they haven't chosen to report to their superiors, and I think that it's better if we take our cues from them." No one says anything. Beetee looks down. "I just didn't want you to be hurt unnecessarily when the news breaks."

"Does Coin know they're alive?" Ruth asks.

"She doesn't even know I have a way to track them," Beetee says. "And it needs to stay that way."

We all look at each other solemnly. The Hawthorne children are pale and plainly scared, no matter what Beetee has told them. Vick is watching the dots move through their cloud, his jaw clenched.

Rory turns to Posy. "Po, I think you need to pretend to be sick. It would be hard for you not to tell secrets if you're with your friends. Can you pretend like you're very sick to your tummy? Prim can take care of you special."

Posy makes an exaggerated groaning sound and flings herself into Hazelle's arms. Hazelle, still looking dazed, starts to comfort her.

"Vick?" Rory looks at his brother. "Come on, man. You're not going to be trouble, right?"

Vick shakes his head. "No trouble."

Rory nods to me, like we've been conspiring for years together and he's just pulled off a coup. "We'll be fine," he says.

I nod back to him. He's old enough to have been a tribute, and I can give him the respect due to him for being responsible for his siblings. "Hazelle, Ruth?" I prod.

Ruth turns on me. "You know what she's doing, Haymitch Abernathy. You know it, and you're not telling me."

I look at her as steadily as I can and say, "You know it, too. If you know your daughter, you know what she's doing."

"You turned her into this."

"No," Annie says. "The Games did. The same as they did for all of us."

Delly frowns. "What are they doing, Haymitch?"

"Isn't it obvious?" Prim says. "They're going to kill Snow."

Beetee is called away a few minutes later to create an airtime assault of Katniss's eulogy. The families are given time to mourn -- forty-eight hours before they're expected to be back on their schedules. Delly and I are not given such a generous allotment. We're back on assigned duties tomorrow morning. Delly holds onto me for a long time, obviously not really believing anyone's assurances that they wouldn't leave Peeta behind. I don't try to overdo it. But I do promise her that, if an old drunk is of any use to her, she's got me if she needs me.

"Would you stop underselling yourself?" she says. "If I need someone, you're the first one I'm going to call."

I go downstairs to visit Johanna and let her know what's been happening. The on-duty nurse is watching from the desk to make sure that I don't overly upset her, which could apparently cause some kind of catastrophic chain reaction among the other patients, so I have to obfuscate for fifteen minutes, talking about the high costs of war, and mentioning that Boggs is dead. Finally, the nurse goes away, and I take Jo's hand and lean over, like I'm about to break things gently to her. The nurse gives a sympathetic look and pretends to start reading at the desk.

I am still careful. "Stay quiet Jo," I whisper. "I need you to stay quiet, and not risk them sending me away before I finish talking."

She blinks. I don't know how anyone around here is fooled. Her eyes are completely sharp under the pretense of sedation.

"The whole squad was hit," I tell her. "All of them. It's going to be on the news, and you'll hear it. They've all been declared dead."

"Gale?" she asks.

"With them," I tell her. I'm not surprised that he's her first concern.

She balls up her fist and slams it into the mattress. She tries to say something, but can't seem to get it out.

"It's okay."

"How can you…" Her voice trails off. "They're not…"

I put my finger on her lips. "They'll always be with us." I look up and see that the nurse his disappeared discreetly into the back room, apparently deciding that I'm not going to start a riot here. I reach down and pull Gale's knife from my boot. "Keep it hidden," I whisper, then lean down until I am almost touching her ear. "And keep it quiet, but, yeah, they're alive. Beetee's tracking them."

She pulls the knife up, holds the handle over her chest. She looks like images I've seen of old knights' tombs, stone effigies with their swords held up against them. Finally, she sneaks it back into my hand. "I can't be sure they wouldn't find it while I sleep. Keep it for me. And this." She reaches over to her night table and pulls out the sachet that Katniss made her. "I caught one of them trying to throw it out as garbage again."

"Do you need anything?" I ask.

"You gave me what I need," Johanna says. "I know what they're doing. I can hold on to that."

She goes back to faking drugged delirium.

I go back upstairs for an early dinner. Delly is in the dining hall and joins me for the meal. We're eating when the official announcement and Coin's eulogy propo come on. She mentions one name -- Katniss's -- and that "her brave compatriots" went down with her. The rest is an introduction of herself as the head of the rebellion, and an exhortation to keep fighting in the name of the Mockingjay.

Snow comes on after it, vowing to dig Katniss's body out of the ashes in the morning, and prove that she's nothing but a girl -- a dead one -- and she can't save anyone. I feel strangely distant from it. Delly is fuming, and I make the right noises, but all of it seems far away. I just picture the floating lights in Beetee's apartment, making their way through the Capitol. It's all a lie. All of it. They're alive. They're moving. The lie will help them stay that way. I know the truth.

But I'm very cold.

We'll have a lead of maybe eight hours before Snow's people discover that there aren't bodies to dig up and display. Not much time, but maybe enough.

I hope Katniss understands that. I hope she doesn't do anything insane, like trying to contact her mother. Or me. Not that she'd try to contact me.

"Are you all right, Haymitch?" I turn around. Dalton is standing there, hat in hands -- well, if he had a hat, it would be in his hands, I guess -- looking at his feet. "I'm so sorry. I know how much you loved them."

I realize that I shouldn't sit here looking like I’m calculating our head start, but I can't seem to stop, and of course, I know exactly why. I want to be completely relieved, but as the time has passed, the real truth is starting to sink in, and I can't let it. When I try to brush away the calculations, to stop thinking of the lie as a lie, there's an abyss that I don't want to think about. An abyss in which I may know they're alive for the moment, but in which they are walking into deeper danger with every step. If I look into that abyss, even to put on a convincing show, it's going to look back at me, and I will go crazy.

Delly, who is crying quite genuinely, reaches over and takes my hand. "Haymitch is still trying to believe," she says. "I wish I could."

She starts crying harder, and Dalton puts a hand on her shoulder and says, "Aw, honey, I sure wish there was something I could do to make it better. They may have something at the hospital that'll help out."

"No," Delly says. "No, thank you. I just want to... I want to go home. And think about my friend."

She gets up and runs out of the dining hall.

Dalton sits down across from me. "Do you need to talk? I know you have to be wanting a drink."

"I always want a drink."

"Haymitch, you need to prepare yourself."

"You think I’m not prepared? I've lost two kids every year since I was seventeen!"

"Not these two. Not ones you love."

"I loved all of them!" I walk out over the abyss. See their faces. "I can tell you all of their names. The first two were Ginger McCullough and Elmer Parton. Ginger sang commercial jingles, and Elmer liked math. Hell, Elmer was almost a friend of mine, or as close as I got other than Danny. After that, it was Bessie Park and Stuie Chalfant. Then Mickey McKinley and Violet Breen. Violet was my first merchant kid, at least after Maysilee. She sewed. They killed her at the Cornucopia, and someone stepped on her hand and broke all the bones before she bled out. I was wearing a shirt she'd fixed the buttons on for me the night before. She was… I kissed her. Ettis Carroll and Patsy Darby --"

"Haymitch, stop it." Dalton lowers his voice, and he's looking at me with something that approaches serious concern, and I realize that I've been raving, my voice rising, my words spilling out too quickly.

I'm ranting to cover up the truth.

Ranting to cover up the abyss beneath the truth.

"Sorry," I say.

"Every year, you start drinking again, don't you?"

"I don't want to talk about the booze, unless you're leading up to telling me where your stash is."

"I don't have a stash, and you shouldn't be asking for one."

"My kids were in that building," I say. "The one that Snow blew up."

"Yeah," Dalton says. "They were."

I get up and leave. For some reason, I swing by the apartment and pick up Peeta's picture, and the envelope full of Effie's photos, then I go up to the Everdeens' place. I don't know what I mean to say. I'm distracted by the open door across the hall, the door to Katniss and Johanna's apartment. Prim is sitting on one of the beds, holding the parachute that Katniss carried out of the arena with her. She has the spile on one finger. I look at it and suddenly think about Peeta's brother, Ed. Delly's sweetheart. He dug through his shop to find this and send it to Peeta in the arena. I want it to have a message etched on it, a code, something from Danny to tell me what to do, or give me a warning, or remind me about something important, something that will tell me that of course Peeta's all right, and he and Katniss will stroll back here at any moment.

It doesn't say anything. Of course it doesn't. They wouldn't have let it in the arena if there were anything suspicious about it. And messages from the dead have yet to appear for me in the real world. It's just a plain steel tube.

I sit down on the other bed. I don't know which bed is Katniss's or which is Jo's. "How are you?" I ask.

She pulls the spile from her finger. "Coin used my sister's eulogy for politics."

"I saw."

She opens up the parachute and spills out Peeta's locket. "She must have taken the pearl with her. It was in here with the rest. The spile is you. The locket is Mom and me and Gale. She left us here. She took the pearl from Peeta with her. It's the thing she needed to keep close."

"I don't think it's a judgment on us," I say.

"Oh, I know. I didn't mean it that way. I just... Katniss doesn't even know how much she leans on him. How much she needs him. I know, because I was on the outside watching. She needs him -- " Prim looks around anxiously. "She needed him, to stay on an even keel. Only he's not... he wasn't... there, not really. And without him..."

She doesn't need to finish. Without the real Peeta to ground her, Katniss has gone off through the Capitol on an assassination mission.

Something else catches in my brain. "Wait -- what did you mean, the locket was you and your mom and Gale? That was Peeta's, too. It was his district token for the Quell."

She hands it to me. "Open it."

I saw Katniss open it on the beach, but the cameras didn't get a good angle on it. I never knew what was in it. Staring up at me from one side of the locket are Prim and Ruth. On the other side is Gale Hawthorne. I blink at it for a long time. "Peeta... brought this into the arena?"

"I wondered about it for a long time," Prim says. "Then I realized that he meant to die. He wanted her to come to us. So he brought us with them. For her. To make her fight. Except that the only thing she wanted to fight for by then was him." She takes the locket back and traces the edges of it. "It's the way it should be. We're born into one family, then we grow up and make another one. It doesn’t mean she doesn't love us. Just that she was starting to move on."

"You were still everything to her."

Prim laughs weakly. "I haven't been everything to Katniss since the Reaping. She sometimes forgets I'm even here to talk to. She's always glad when I start talking, but I think... I think that I don't need to be taken care of as much, and that Mom's here to do it when I do. So Katniss did what people do. She fell in love. She started to look at the future. Well, sort of. She never admitted it. My sister isn't... wasn't... big on thinking in the future. After Daddy died, I think she stopped believing that there was such a thing as the future. Just making it through every day."

I nod. I remember when my father died. He had grand ideas about the future. He was always talking about it. The future. The past. Imaginary worlds that constantly spun around in his head. Then he died, crumpled in a heap on the living room floor, and all of his futures died with him. Mom tried to keep them alive for us, but we watched her coughing her own future away.

And then Snow took all of our futures.

It's better not to focus too much on the future. They can take it away any time they want to.

I want to be with Katniss right now, a knife in my hand, looking for Snow. I know the Capitol better than she does. I should have gone with her.

"I think we always would have been friends," Prim says thoughtfully, and I remember that she wasn't talking about assassinations. She was talking about her beloved sister, who is currently sneaking through a war zone. "And sisters are always sisters, right? Did you ever have a sister, Haymitch?"

Lacklen's face flashes into my mind. He had a future once, too. "I had a brother. He died."

"Is he still your brother?"

"Yeah," I say. "Yeah, he is."

She picks up the parachute and starts to cry into it, and I know that all of the assurances in the world from Beetee haven't hidden the abyss from her any more than from me. "I'm scared, Haymitch," she says. "I'm really scared."

I sit beside her and put my arms around her and rock her until Ruth hears and comes in and takes over. I tell both of them to hold tight, though I don't think they need my advice there, and tuck Peeta's drawing above Katniss's scheduling terminal. It seems like this is the right place for it to be.

I move on down the hall to the Hawthornes'. They have a somewhat larger apartment, but it's populated by more people, including children, so it seems smaller. Even in Thirteen, children are allowed toys. Posy and Vick each have a standard issue stuffed winged bear, though Vick clearly thinks he's too old for it, as both of them are in Posy's sleeping area. One of them has been colored green with something.

Posy also has a small crate that she says is a dollhouse. It is inhabited by several of Octavia's old combs, which have paper faces pasted to them. I'm surprised Posy hasn't been arrested for such a wasteful use of paper. Octavia has made them fanciful clothes out of scraps. The combs are named "Mommy," "Gale," "Baby," and "Luciana Veronica Rosalinda Evangeline." I hear several stories about them, because Posy is the only one in a talking mood. Luciana is a soldier and a huntress (who is secretly also a princess), and everyone thinks she's dead, but she's not. She's just looking for her crown and pretending to be dead. Posy reminds me of this frequently. The Gale comb is very carefully set in its cardboard chair, and she frets at it and makes sure it has a warm jacket.

Hazelle is angry, both at the politicization of Katniss's apparent death, and at the complete failure to mention Gale by name, or Peeta, for that matter. Rory is fuming over the same thing, and going over a map of the Capitol on the computer, staring at the block where Gale supposedly died. He asks me a few terse questions about the Capitol and barely listens to my answers as he traces routes through the streets. Vick has made targets on the wall, and is throwing various objects at them with a scary degree of accuracy.

I end up going back to Posy and showing her Effie's pictures (Hazelle takes time off from her temper to roll her eyes at me). Posy is enthralled by the sparkly clothes.

"She's a very pretty lady," she says. "Does she always wear feathers? Is she a nice princess or a mean one? I thought she was a mean one at the Reaping."

"Aw, no," I say. "She's not mean. She comes from a different place. But when you're scared in the Capitol and you're all alone, she's the one who gets your clothes all straightened out and tells you to put your chin up so no one knows you're scared."

"You get scared?" Posy asks, in awe. "But you're a grown-up, like Gale! Are you scared of spiders? I'm scared of spiders."

"No. Not really. Though there were a few kinds of spiders that came into houses on the Seam that it's good to be afraid of."

"What about the dark? Are you scared of the dark?"

"No. Grown-ups get scared of other things," I say.

"Grown-up things?"

"Yeah. Grown-up things."

"Is Gale scared of grown-up things?"

"I bet he is," I say. "And when he gets scared, he does things about it."

"Like what?"

"Like... he's scared of you being hungry, so he goes hunting for food."

"Oh," Posy says wisely. "I get it." She picks up the Gale comb and it goes hunting for dust kitties, complete with a "whoosh" sound when he fires arrows at them.

Hazelle sits beside me and looks at Effie's pictures, though we don't talk about them. She finally says, "Have you heard anything about her?"

I shake my head, and Hazelle hugs me. She doesn't say anything foolish, or demand any confessions from me.

I stay until lights out, then decide to spend the night in Command. No one kicks me out. Beetee and Annie are there as well. The Capitol feed is playing on the biggest screen. They have returned to regular programming. Caesar, looking even worse than before, is hosting a history of the Districts, in which Thirteen is given a distinctly villainous role, and the others are shown as being gullible dupes who need the care of the Capitol to save them from themselves. No one looks at me as my Games kills are shown, over and over. They even dredge up a false accusation about me being inappropriate with a tribute years ago, and strongly imply that it was a regular habit. There are frequent cuts to the events of the day, and updates on the search for bodies. Around midnight, they find Boggs, whose legs are blown off entirely.

A soldier goes off to talk to his family. I have had that duty before. Forty-six times, I've had it. I see the faces of the parents, the siblings, the neighbors and friends. They all say, "Of course you couldn't do anything," but their eyes say something else.

I don't envy the soldier. I don't sleep.

In a corner, Coin is watching footage from Katniss's first Games. She is intercutting footage of minor riots with the salute after Rue's death. She moves on to watch Katniss blowing out the forcefield, haranguing people from District Eight, and speaking in District Two. She goes back to Rue. Watches her be speared. Watches Katniss sing. She says nothing. I somehow doubt she is mourning.

At six o'clock in the morning, a dusty looking leader comes onto the Capitol broadcast. "I'm sorry to report," he says, "that we have found no further evidence of the Mockingjay. Bloody sofa cushions were discovered, proving that the group did in fact take refuge in this building, but they seem to have been gone by the time we bombed it."

Panicked people in the street ask what they are going to do if the Mockingjay is free in the streets of the Capitol. In the background, I see someone arrested, and I can only guess that it's because he is not showing proper levels of distress.

A military analyst is brought on. "It appears," he says, "that Katniss Everdeen and the remaining members of her team have used the service tunnels under the building to escape. The good news is, they don't seem to have reported to the rebel camp. Whatever they are doing, they are doing it alone."

The screen goes dark. Coin stands up and stares at me. "You knew."

"No," I lie.

"You knew!" She swipes her arm across the table, scattering pens and notepads and clipboards. "That traitorous little bitch!"

Annie, who has woken up, waves her hands wildly. "Wait, no! Katniss isn't a traitor!"

"She hasn't reported back to her command structure. She has let us believe she's dead. What can I assume?"

"How about that she can't communicate?" I say. "You saw that wave of... tar, or whatever it was. She couldn't go back. And if they've lost communications, the best thing she could do is go forward."

"She does not make the calls in my army! She is not the leader of this rebellion, no matter what she thinks! She can't take my soldiers and march them off on her own mission!"

By this time, Plutarch and Beetee are both stirring. Coin continues to rage. We try to calm her down. Her upper Command staff tries to calm her down. I have never seen this in her, wouldn't have suspected from her usual icy demeanor. It takes nearly an hour before we convince her not to renege on the Mockingjay deal -- starting with the execution of the Everdeens' cat, and possibly moving on to Johanna. What finally talks her off of this ledge is a report from the camp in the Capitol. A soldier named Gates reports that, despite what's on the Capitol news, there are many people in the poorer parts of town rejoicing, even joining the fight.

"We've been getting a good stream of them all along, of course," he says. "There are a lot of people here who want to throw off Snow. But thinking that the mockingjay is practically back from the dead? They're fighting in the streets, now, even if they haven't come all the way to us."

Coin takes a few deep breaths, then straightens her hair, sits down primly, and, with spooky ease, re-draws the curtains on her rage. "Very well," she says. "Soldier Everdeen was out of line, but it is not a disaster. When she is found, she will be questioned. In the interim, we will continue to treat her as a soldier in good standing."

"Thank you, Ma'am," Gates says. "With the help from the locals, we're ready to push further into the city. There will be wounded. Request back-up for the medical teams."

Coin considers this. "Very well. Medical teams will be sent immediately. Are there other concerns?"

"Yes, ma'am. Commander Boggs was lost in the explosion -- "

"I'm aware of that, Soldier."

" -- and so was his holo. Another one took damage in a firefight. If there's anyone there who has a good handle on where things are here, it'd be real useful."

She doesn’t hesitate here. She may even smile. "That's quite possible," she says. "Soldier Abernathy has had a good deal of experience in the Capitol. He'll arrive with the medical team this evening."

After she closes off the connection, Plutarch says, "Soldier Abernathy doesn't have combat training."

"Nonsense," she says. "He was trained by Gamemakers." She signals to Beetee. "Find Soldier Abernathy appropriate arms. He will join squad two-six-nine in the front line assault on the Capitol."

I follow Beetee over to Special Weaponry. His hands are shaking. We both know that she has just sent me to die. I don't plan to indulge her deliberately. I plan to help Katniss however I can. But she still might get her way.

"It's to punish Katniss," Beetee says.

"Yeah, well. It won't be a punishment if you don't tell her that it is. And don't let Coin tell her, either."

He nods. After some fishing, he comes up with a small handgun, which is less than useless to me. I've never been good with ranged weapons. I take it anyway. It looks reasonably powerless, which means Coin will consider it appropriate. On a more useful level, he finds me a multi-bladed utility knife. "No time to give it special properties," he says.

"It's a knife. It has an edge. That's the only property I need." I reach into my boot and pull out Gale's knife. "Speaking of knives, give this one to Johanna when she's out of the hospital. It's from Gale. He wanted her to have it. And... make sure the Hawthornes are taken care of. I promised him I'd look after Hazelle and the kids if he didn't come back."

"Anything else?"

"Watch out for Johanna and Annie. And Ruth, if she'll let you. And listen to Delly Cartwright. She's smarter than most people you'll meet around here."

By the time I get back to Command, several combat uniforms have been packed into a backpack for me. I am not given a chance to go back to my apartment for anything. The transport is getting ready to leave.

It is a large hovercraft, with a hastily installed panel identifying it as a craft of the Union of Districts -- apparently what Coin, with her usual flair for the dull and uninspiring, has decided to call the rebellion. There's some kind of coat of arms, but I don't get a good look at it before I am escorted inside. I strap myself into a chair. I feel something pressing against my pocket, and discover Effie's pictures. I think about Katniss's pearl, and wonder if I might have brought these anyway.

I doubt it. I never think about Effie when I need to. If I did, she'd be here now.


I look up. "Prim?"

She smiles faintly. She's carrying a medical bag and wearing her hospital clothes. "I guess this is my combat medicine training."

"You shouldn't be here."

"I don't have a choice. Do you? They came and fished me out of the apartment. Mom was still screaming words I didn't know she knew when the elevator doors closed."

With a jolt, the hovercraft takes off, and I am headed back to the Capitol, with Primrose Everdeen at my side, Reaped once more, with no one to take her place this time.
2 comments or Leave a comment
redrikki From: redrikki Date: December 18th, 2015 02:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm pretty sure I mentioned this the first time around, but I am deeply impressed with your Prim. There were hints of her in the books, but Katniss was so invested in seeing her as helpless that we rarely got to see how strong and insightful she was.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 19th, 2015 05:29 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks. There are hints, because of course Katniss is a horribly unreliable narrator, but Prim peeks through now and then in MJ.
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