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Challenges 4 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Challenges 4
Ruth struggling with the impact her depression had on her relationship with Katniss. for Aylat

"Oh," Katniss says, coming in behind me with a diaper in her hand. "I didn't realize you'd…"

"Change the baby?" I ask. "I was in here already. I was reading to her."

"Right." She smiles nervously. "Of course. Sorry. I'm…" She casts around for something to say. "I'm not used to having help," she finally settles for.

If I didn't know that Effie and Haymitch -- or Delly and her husband, or old Sae, or Octavia -- were as likely to change my granddaughter's diapers as Katniss and Peeta when they were in the house, I'd probably not think anything of it. What young mother doesn't think she's responsible for every breath of her first child's life?

But I know that Katniss is used to having other people around the baby. For the first three weeks of her life, the child's been all but buried in visitors, and they love to fuss over her.

What Katniss isn't used to is being helped by me, even though I've been here since I got her, screaming in terror, through labor.

I smile at her and put the baby back in the crib.

We blink at each other awkwardly.

We're trying, after all. Trying to at least be part of each other's lives, if not really family. Giving it our best shot. I think we both know that it's our last shot. If a grandchild can't be something to bond over, then there's really nothing left.

She sits down in the rocking chair where she does her nursing and says, "I got a letter from Annie. She says that the hospital's coming along real nice."

We've talked about the subject before, but it's handy, and I take hold of it. "Yes," I say. I take the big easy chair where Peeta likes to read to the baby. "We've added a wing. And I've been getting a better education. I still know herbs and so on, but I've learned proper surgical procedures, and I may still end up a doctor."

"You were always a good healer."

"Yes, but there's so much more." I bite my lip, trying to think of what more there is. I finally come up with, "I'm still their best diagnostician. The full doctors have me do half the intake work, just because I pretty well always know what's wrong."

She tries an enthusiastic nod. "That's good. I… well, Peeta's bakery is doing well. Has he taken you over? I would, but I'm still kind of tired. I do know my way around it. Not that I bake. That would be dangerous for business. I catch the family food."

It's my turn. I can't think of anything that we haven't already covered. She hasn't been working, except at her hunting and as a help in Peeta's shop. She's already told me how much she likes having the baby, and how scared she is. This latter was reported in a nervous tone, like she was following a script in which her character confides in her mother her insecurities about motherhood, and I replied in much the same way, giving her empty platitudes in lieu of counsel. I'm pretty sure she's talked to Haymitch about it more extensively, since he spent the first year of his own daughter's life in sheer terror. If Glen were here, she'd probably have talked to him about it before me.

She doesn't trust me.

I don't blame her.

I had what my father called my "fits" even when I was small, before things like that seem like they should be an issue. The earliest one I remember was when I was ten. I'd made friends with a little girl from the Seam. I don't remember her name. I grew into whatever beauty I would eventually have, but at that point, I was an awkward, skinny blond girl who even then was a step behind other children's humor. I just never thought to laugh at jokes they found hilarious, and I often had to think very carefully about why they might be funny. Danny and the Donner girls were my friends, but Danny always had to leave right after school to work in the bakery, and the Donners, may I be forgiven for recalling, could be a little fickle, and didn't always stand up for me if the other children were being cruel. (Maysilee grew out of it; Kay never did.) The little Seam girl was in the same boat, and for a few months, we were inseparable. We had great plans to overthrow the popular girls and make everyone be nice to everyone.

Then one day, she came in and said we shouldn't be best friends anymore. There was no explanation offered. I've turned it over a few times in the years since and I think it was probably my status as a merchant. After all, it was right after the first time I spent the night at her house, and that might have been the first time her parents realized who I was.

Or it could have been business gone sour; sometimes people forgot to pay Daddy after he healed them, and that made things awkward. I don't think there was anything going on, but I was ten. No reason I would know. Or maybe her widowed mother made a move on my father and was rebuffed. Or (as I convinced myself at the time) she'd decided to become popular herself rather than continue our quixotic little quest. Or maybe I said something wrong without realizing it.

I don't know. I never knew. I guess I never will now.

At any rate, that was the first time I shut down completely. I got home from school, went upstairs without offering to help Daddy with the herbs, and shut my door. Daddy told me later that he brought me food, but I wouldn't talk to him or eat or acknowledge the world at all. I got up the next morning and went to school, but I failed a test and got into trouble for not doing any of my work. I finally came out of it a few weeks later.

It wasn't the only time it happened. It wasn't all the time, but it was often enough that my friends (who got closer over time) started calling it "Ruth's special place." Danny did his best with me, but he couldn't really be expected to know what to do with it, and I know for a fact that his first little forays with Mirrem happened during one of my visits to the special place. He admitted it to me, weirdly shamefaced after so much time, during the Seventy-Fourth Games. I told him that I knew. He seemed surprised.

I've learned more about the neural mechanics of it since, mostly in the last ten years, Too little, too late.

I'd found a handful of tricks to unlock my special place and get away from it over the years, but after I fell in love with Glen, I let myself forget them. I was happy. I was secure. I never slipped under while we were together, and, in essence, he guarded the door to the special place and never let me go in there.

Then he was gone.

I escaped into that prison and the world went away, just when my daughters needed me most.

Prim, bless her, never understood how thoroughly I'd betrayed her, because Katniss mitigated it for her. Katniss got the brunt of it. Prim did her best to understand, and it was she who gave me my first real diagnosis, and the first real help I ever had. If she hadn't, I'd have never survived her death.

But I knew that if I were the one who went back with Katniss, I would betray her again, and it would be worse than before, because she was in her own special place, and couldn't take care of herself. So here we would sit in her fine house, and we would walk around each other in wide parabolas until we starved to death, because everyone else would assume we were taking care of each other.

So Iatched onto it when Haymitch offered to watch out for her.

She's never forgiven me, not really.

She doesn't hate me, but the last chance I had to really be a parent to her died a quiet and unremarked death when Haymitch was the one to pick her up and carry her home.

I'm now just someone in her life who I think she knows means well, but no more important to her than Sae or Delly.


I look up. Katniss is pale. "I'm sorry," I say.

"It's all right." She gives me another awkward smile. "I just…"

"My mind wandered."

She nods. "Yeah. Mine does, too."

"Is Dr. Aurelius still keeping an eye on that?"

"I think he was expecting post-partum stuff. He's been calling every day. He wants me to take pills. But --"

"Take them."

"But --"

I lean forward and take her hand. "Take them, Katniss. Please. For her." I look at the crib.

She stares at me for a long time, then nods.

We sit in silence for another twenty minutes, until Peeta comes up to fetch us for lunch.

Something with Caesar/Charlie. More from the AU, or him interacting with any of the other victors or tributes. for Karen

"So," Toffy Taggart says to me, looking me up and down with a critical eye. "How long are you aiming to keep up the act, Charlie?"

I close the dressing room door. "I'm not planning to drop it." I frown. "How many of the others know?"

He shrugs. "Far as I know, I'm the only one who's got the right answer, though your old mentor, Tesla's, being quiet about his guesses. Everyone knows you're alive somewhere. It's not like you made any bones about not planning to go to back to Five, and 'missing' is a pretty straight translation of 'off somewhere hiding under a new name.' Or dead, but since there was a big to-do and no one making up a fake way for you to have died, most people guess the first." He shakes his head in disbelief. "But just staying here in the Capitol and hosting the Games? No one's figured that. They guessed Snow just set you up in a different district. I mean, this business takes some solid balls on your part, I admit. But mostly… are you crazy? Snow gave you a chance to get out of this, and you stayed?"

"I wanted to stay in the Capitol. Being host was the only trade he offered. I'm not allowed out of the Games any more than the rest of you are."

"Why in tarnation would you want to stay in the Capitol?" He sits down at my dressing table. "Is it the girl?"

"Maybe a little, but not all. It's… it's everything. I'm getting a degree in communications. I can make movies. I can talk to other people who have good educations. There are things in the Capitol that I couldn't get anywhere else."

"Yeah. That's because they don't let it go anywhere else."

I grind my teeth. "I know. I don't have illusions. But this place… the potential of this place. I don't want to be anywhere else. This is where things happen."

Toffy turns and looks into my mirror. I can't tell what he sees in it from his angle, and it bothers me for some reason. I'll have to sit there later and figure out what it looks like at his height, and whether or not he can see me. "I guess it makes enough sense. You're still a kid, Charlie --"

"I'm only three years younger than you are."

"But you've been in the Capitol the whole time, haven't you? Every day since you won. It's been what, something like eight years?"

"Something like that." Of course, it's exactly eight years, and Toffy knows it. I won the Twenty-Fifth Games, and we're getting started on the Thirty-Third. But District Ten is big on its "something likes" and "roundaboutses," no matter how precisely the person in question knows a thing. They seem to think it's bad manners to be specific. I'm perfectly happy to use whatever manners the person I'm talking to recognizes. If I can learn the many layers of Capitol etiquette (where one does not mention age or anything that might be used to calculate it), I can handle District Ten's deliberate vagaries, even though at home in Five, it's a common enough game for kids to give their ages in days or minutes, just for the fun of the math. "What does how long I've been here have to do with my age?"

"In years? Not a damned thing. But spending eight years in a playground -- "

"It's not a playground. Serious things happen here, too. You're not here year round, so you don't know. You come here to deal with the Games, then you spend the rest of your time in the pleasure parks. There are other parts of the city."

He looks over his shoulder at me and grunts. "Well, clearly there are hairdressers and plastic surgeons and the like."

"Yes, there are people who make an honest living helping other people have a little fun. It's practically criminal."

"When did you get so touchy?"

"Me? You're attacking my home."

"Didn't attack anything." He picks up makeup sponge and looks at it like it might bite, even though he's had people throwing makeup on him for eleven years now.

"I know the tone. That superior little…" I sit down. "You don't attack because that would be suicide. But you insult all the little thing that people enjoy. Break them down. Act like there's something wrong with them. There's nothing wrong with having a little fun changing your hair and your face."

"They've really got you bamboozled, haven’t they?"

"No." I shrug. "At least no more than the districts have you bamboozled." I lean forward, my elbows on my knees. "I know what you think, Toffy. I know what all of them think. I'm not brainwashed. And I don't pretend that all of this does much for the districts. And I don't want the districts to keep getting stepped on. I want the districts to have all the opportunities, too. It's nuts that they don't. But there's no reason on earth for you to get snide about the existence of hairdressers and plastic surgeons. Once you reach a certain number of people in one place, they can specialize a little more. If someone in District Ten wanted to be a plastic surgeon, would you stop him?"

"No. But I don't reckon he'd get much business. He'd be laughed out of town."

"Except that he can't get out of town, so you'd just be laughing and tormenting and making his life miserable for wanting to do anything other than chase cows around."

"If anyone in District Ten could do such a fool thing as turn into a face doctor, then he probably wouldn't be stuck there behind a fence anymore, would he?"

"Not if he had brains. If he had brains and opportunity, he'd come here to the Capitol, and it wouldn't hurt you in any manner at all."

He holds up his hands. "I didn't mean for you to get prickly, and I don't blame you. Five chose to send you here, and we saw on television how they taunted you on the way out."

"Then why are you here, Toffy? Do you mean to let on who I am before the Games start?"

"No. Among other things, if the Capitol's backing you, that could prove hazardous to my health."

"Then why are you here? Why are you letting me know that you… well, know?"

"We were friends, Charlie. That first year you were out. You remember that? Before you got into the pictures and before you started meddling with the media."

"Of course I do."

"So were a lot of other folks in the Viewing Center."

"I know."

"And I know you hate the Games. So what in hell are you doing, Charlie?"

"Caesar," I say. "Please try to say Caesar, okay? Even if you know?"

"For my health?"

"For mine, if that's better with you."

He nods. "Yeah. Okay. So you hate the Games. But now, you're starting up as more tied to them than any of us."

I grind my teeth and run a bug detector around the room. It may be a let me down someday, but it hasn't so far. I made it myself, and I know all the frequencies Snow uses. "I have him, Toffy," I say. "Do you get that? I have Snow on half the stuff he does. He has me on half the stuff I've done, but I'm not trying to get anywhere, so it doesn't matter."


"I saw a chance. I could get in."

"And we get back to the question of why in hell you'd want to."

"I'm not just hosting. I'm working my way up the production chain." He doesn’t answer, and I can tell by his face that he doesn't see. "Toffy, I'm putting myself somewhere that I can do better than mentor. I can try and start prying off the garbage."

"The garbage. Like kids dying?"

"I can't do anything about that. But maybe I can start pulling off those creeps Snow has working the Games. I saw Sandi Matta -- she won the year after me. She had bruises all over her after their new escort got in. And Mags Donovan said that Duronda Carson's escort… well, that Duronda's daughter doesn’t exactly look like she belongs in District Twelve, and…"

"Everyone knows that."

"And no one does anything." I stop him before he protests. "No one can. And I'm not saying that I set out to do it. But I got here. And I'm up inside the production booths now. If I can get control then maybe I can do something to help. But I sure as hell won't be able to if you run around pointing out that I was born and bred in District Five."

He looks at me suspiciously. "You couldn't marry your lady friend, either."

"I never said I only had one motive. Why do you think there can only be one? If I can get married, live here where I want to be, and do what I can to help with the Games, then what, exactly, is your problem?"

"You'll forget who you are… Caesar."

I snort out a bitter laugh. "We all try to. Have you met any of us who's had any success at that?"

He considers this, then shakes his head. "All right," he says. "I won't tell your secret. But you be damned careful, Charlie Flynn. Because you're putting yourself in the middle of a fight, and that doesn't end well for anyone."

Lindon during a particularly dangerous time but with Jack. Obviously, this means set in the district pre-rebellion. for Willow-at-Work

Jack knows something is wrong as soon as he sees me hiding in the shadows at the weigh station, and he doesn’t need to be told to be careful.

He's in a camouflaged box among the logs. Blight made it years ago, and both of them use it to slip off to meetings with other victors. I have no idea what they talk about, because he can hardly tell me in our bugged house. I do know that Seven is ridiculously far from anywhere they meet, and switching from a cargo train onto the rigged log truck is dangerous in itself. He's lucky they didn't catch him there. I couldn't have gotten there in time.

The box is open to the back of the truck now that he has the hinged exit flipped upward, and he slithers down quickly, before the driver has even finished showing his papers to the station keeper, let alone before it moves onto the scales. He falls into the mud and rolls to cover himself, then slithers to the tree line.

I pull him into the shadows, then take his hand and tug him further into the woods, toward a tarp I have hidden behind a deadfall.

I clamber up to the top of the deadfall and look around. No one. So far, so good.

I jump back down.

"I don't know whether to ask for a hello or an explanation first," he whispers.

I take his hand again and give it a squeeze, but I decide to save real hellos for later, when we're home safe. "They know you're gone," I tell him.

He hisses, then swears under his breath for a while. He apparently decides that we're far enough from the station to speak quietly without whispering. "How?"

"Bad luck. The press descended on Johanna for a comment about a dress, and she wasn't in -- just over at the camp with one of her 'boyfriends.'"

"One night stands, more like."

"Whatever. She can do what she wants and you know it."

I can tell he wants to argue. Johanna's lovers are a matter of extreme annoyance for Jack. Snow can't bully her into "entertaining" his friends, and she's been using half the men she meets as an opportunity to rub his nose in the fact that she's making free choices, which Jack doesn't consider an expression of free choice at all, since she's still letting Snow dictate her private life. The cartoon caricatures and sketch comedy bits about her infuriate Jack to no end, and no amount of telling him to let her grow out of it -- or not -- by the natural course of events can move him from his position as her self-appointed protective older brother.

"Fine," he finally grumbles. "What does that have to do with me being out of the district?"

"They decided to cross the green and see if she was visiting her mentor."

He sighs, sits down on a log, and puts his head in his hands. "And what did you tell them?"

"That you were out at a camp doing an art lesson and I wasn't sure which one. What we agreed on. Only they decided to stay and wait."

He slams his hand against the bark of the log. "Dammit. Didn't they have anywhere else to go? Fashion reporters? Why didn't they just call her?"

"I wondered that myself."

"Did you ask?"

"Of course. They said they wanted footage of her reaction, and we don't have film crews out here, and if one word out of their mouths was true, I'll eat my axe."


"Spies," I agree.

"If they had spies, then it wasn't just bad luck."

"I think it was, though. I think they were after Jo. She's the one who defies Snow publicly. If they'd waited for her and not checked on us, then she'd have come home in the morning and all they'd have gone back with was a gossip piece."

He flicks mud from his clothes with an annoyed air. "So what's the plan?"

"Car accident."


"You were headed out to Camp Six, but there was a washout. I pushed your car up to the ravine and I pushed it over into the river."

I wait for the blank look that tells me he's back in the arena, pushing Marcus over a cliff. It used to come every time he thought about a high place, and it already occurred to me that pushing Jack's car off the cliff might cause it, but after a brief flash of memory, he brushes it off and says, "You killed my car?"

"We'll give it a proper celebration of life later. For now, we've got to get you to the ravine. You got out of the car before it crashed, but you better take a roll down the slope and get banged up."

"And I just come wandering in?"

"No. They've been combing the woods for you. Downstream a little. Blight and Jo are keeping them there. I'm going find you upstream, and then I'll get you to the camp, but no one can see us until then."

He flicks away a little more mud, looking at it in a disgusted way. "I was planning on nice quiet night at home. You have no idea how much I've been fantasizing about stretching out in front of the fireplace. It's so cramped in those hidey-holes of Berenice's."

I roll my eyes. "I'll get the fireplace going when you get back. I'll even give you a back rub. Even though I'm the one who's been getting all tense waiting for you."

"Fine. Whatever. Let's go jump around the ravine. It's my favorite." He starts to walk by me, then stops before we reach the end of the deadfall. "Don't get in front of me at the edge of the cliff. Don't even go near it."

"You're not going to push me, Jack."

"I know, but… just stay back, okay." He gives a little bark of laughter. "Or maybe you should push me. Maybe that would balance the scales and I'd stop thinking about it."

"No one's pushing anyone. You just need to look like you jumped out of the car, then made your way down for the water supply."

We don't dare talk in the woods as we make our way toward the river. Once we get near to Camp Six, where I dumped his car, I can hear the searchers from the Capitol thrashing at the underbrush. They look more like they're flushing birds than searching for an injured man.

We go upstream for almost two miles. This should be beyond the point where Blight and Jo have been letting them search.

Jack goes ahead of me to the edge of the ravine. I can hear the river below. The ravine's slopes are steep here, but not totally impassable.

Jack stands there, looking over the edge. He shudders, then turns around and gives me a jaunty salute. "Meet me at the river," he says, then steps over.

I hear him thudding along, skidding down the shale, crying out when he hits something sharp, then finally splashing into the water.

I go to the edge.

He's lying still at the bottom, and for a split second, I think he may have not been careful, that he may have really hurt himself. But he gets up. There's blood on his face, but not much of it. He grabs a rock and smashes his opposite wrist with it, then bends over and finds a pebble. He puts it into his shoe, and when he walks away from the water, it gives him a very convincing limp.

He examines himself, then looks up at me and gives me the all clear sign.

I make my way down much more carefully, though I do skid for about ten feet before I come shooting out at the riverbank at in a clumsy run.

"Did you come to rescue me?" Jack asks, batting his eyelashes absurdly.

"Shut up and lean on me," I tell him.

He grins and throws his arm across my shoulders. "You could carry me," he suggests playfully, the reminiscent mood falling off of him now that the ledge is behind us.

"And waste the fake limp?"

"I could carry you."

"Only if you're floating me along on the river."

We keep teasing each other a little bit as we walk along the muddy river bank, but by the time we get two hundred yards, Jack's fake limp is getting real, as the pebble takes its toll. By the time we hit the searchers, he's in genuine pain, and he really is putting most of his weight on me. Sweat is pouring down his face.

The searcher we come across is from the Capitol, and she makes a point of being slow about getting a hoverbike to get us through the trees to the road, so Jack is forced to stand more. When the bike finally gets us to the truck on the road, where Blight and Jo are waiting with the searchers, both looking relieved, I actually do pick Jack up and put him in the truck bed. I climb up beside him, my legs hanging over the back, and take his hand.

We don't talk the rest of the way home.


24 comments or Leave a comment
From: (Anonymous) Date: March 21st, 2016 08:22 am (UTC) (Link)
Yay! More scenes!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 21st, 2016 05:15 pm (UTC) (Link)
I know... took me long enough!
From: (Anonymous) Date: March 21st, 2016 04:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's not like Haymitch was much help upon the return. Then again, it could be up in the air whether Sae would have done what she did if Ruth was home as well.
Interesting that there was already a pre-existing condition for Ruth even before the mine accident. Her firm imperative for Katniss to just take the pills is important to me for some reason; possibly in light of the lovely advice floating around to reject ALL modern medicine.

One ironic thing I've noticed is that much of the THG fandom will praise the districts and Rebellion as pure (never mind the nasty class rhetoric espoused), yet in the next breath espouse a condescending (at best) rhetoric towards rural America due to its close-mindedness and insularity.
It's as if they don't expect the districts to have a form of bigotry that could manifest in a nasty way. Or they'd think it'd just be limited to those directly connected to the Games (because executing prep teams is such a blow against tyranny). Except when have real-life mass societal grudges ever been contained towards just the truly guilty parties?
Anyways, to summarize, you did give an understandable viewpoint from Caesar about how the Capitol could be desirable beyond the obvious perk.

Wonder how long Jack would have lasted overall without Lindon playing the role of damage control and straight man. Despite the high stakes for the situation, that was a nice display of their relationship in those last few lines.

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 21st, 2016 05:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
This is a while after the return, and Ruth doesn't really know how little Haymitch did (she imagines a much more idyllic relationship between Katniss and Haymitch than is actually there). But yes, taking the pills when you know the alternative is terrifying fugue states -- it's good advice.

I agree about the contrast between the yay/rah view of the rebellion and the frankly crappy attitude toward exactly the sort of people who are in it. Of course the districts have pathologies! There's not a human community ever that doesn't have them, and in most cases, it's going to come out in the direction of the people who live in them. My own relationship with my native small town is... well, "complicated," is as good a descriptor as as any. But I also know that every person there is a person. And by a wild bit of extrapolation, it's occurred to me that the same might be true of the effete urban Capitol population. You know, just maybe.

The funny thing about the "pure" rebellion idea is that Collins is one hundred percent clear that, while several good people are involved in it for good reasons, the thing as a whole is deeply and badly damaged.

I think without Linden to ground him, Jack might have ended up a lot more like Haymitch, and not in a good way.
redrikki From: redrikki Date: March 21st, 2016 05:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
Nice collection. I kind of want to take Charlie and shake him until he gets a clue, but for someone who won a murder competition he's kind of naïve. I liked Linden's rather brilliant plan. The whole Katniss-Ruth relationship is so sad, but not unexpected.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 21st, 2016 05:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
He's not actually wrong about the Capitol's good side, and he did end up doing more for the tributes as a producer than as a mentor... but yeah. The idea that Snow considered him in any manner a serious threat, or that anyone would accept the idea that he'd been helpful? He's young. That's all I can think of.

I think Katniss and Ruth were doing their level best, but that ship sailed a long time ago.
Tracy Wood From: Tracy Wood Date: March 22nd, 2016 07:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
Do you have links to all your little one shots about Caesar/Charlie. I know the bulk of his story is written in one of the chapters of "House of Cards". But I'm especially looking for one where (if I'm recalling it correctly), Peeta tells Katniss and Haymitch the true story of Caesar Flickerman.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 27th, 2016 05:47 am (UTC) (Link)
I don't have links to all of them, no, but here's The Victor.
Tracy Wood From: Tracy Wood Date: March 29th, 2016 01:03 am (UTC) (Link)
That's the one, thanks.
sonetka From: sonetka Date: March 22nd, 2016 08:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
Caesar's bizarrely optimistic for someone who had an entire district shoving him into a tumbrel. Then again,in a way it's how he managed to stay alive through the Games ... but it's one of those things where I can completely understand his reasoning and am cringing at the thought of how in many ways his fate is sealed from that point. Because no matter how much he does, when the day arrives, he'll be seen as a Capitol stooge and that's all.

Ruth and Katniss were painfully convincing -- I do hope Ruth can get some sort of relationship going with her grandchildren even if she couldn't manage with her children. (This story hit a bit of a nerve since we're finding out a lot about my grandmother since her death, specifically that her mother was "taken away" for a mental illness which sounds an awful lot like severe depression after the death of one of her children, and her surviving children went through some pretty bad experiences themselves as a result of her absence).
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 27th, 2016 05:44 am (UTC) (Link)
Caesar needs to believe that there's a way to make everything work.

I think Ruth will bond with her grandchildren, at least a little bit, but her relationship with Katniss is just beyond repair.

Depression is a bitch of thing to handle in a family situation.
Tracy Wood From: Tracy Wood Date: March 22nd, 2016 09:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
The story about Ruth, it sounds like maybe she was genetically predisposed to depression.

Also, was Ruth's mother already dead by the time period of "End of the World", "Rites of Fall", etc. ?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 27th, 2016 05:45 am (UTC) (Link)
Hmm. I never mentioned her, in the stories, so, even though I didn't really think about it or assume her dead, it would be awkward at this point to go with anything else. We'll say she died in childbirth.
From: (Anonymous) Date: March 22nd, 2016 11:52 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thank you

Thank you for more Ceasar/Charlie! It was interesting to see him near the beginning of his transition, and Toffy was a good foil for him, with his straightforward, plain spoken D10 ways.

I also enjoyed the others just as much. In all of them, the last couple of sentences were just perfect. Really reflected the connections between the characters.

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 27th, 2016 05:48 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Thank you

I was trying to decide who it should be, and the idea of someone plain-spoken and kind of blunt kept occurring. Mags was top of my list, but I think she'd be more likely to just say, "Screw it, do your thing" instead of trying to argue. So, Toffy.
golden_d From: golden_d Date: March 23rd, 2016 11:53 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, Jack. I think he and Linden are my favorite of your OCs.

And Caesar/Charlie! If you ever want to write his entire backstory (or, you know, just more little bits!), I am 100% here for that. :)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 27th, 2016 05:49 am (UTC) (Link)
I like Jack and Linden, too. I like nice people.

I don't know if I have any more Caesar in my head. These are coming slowly because the characters aren't exactly offering up words as fast as they used to.
vesta_aurelia From: vesta_aurelia Date: March 23rd, 2016 03:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
I enjoy all the characters you create--and in may ways, Ruth is a creation of yours. She is so realistic, with regards to her depression/fugue state, that I send your stories to people who have the same. It helps to see yourself in fiction. You're not erased.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 27th, 2016 05:50 am (UTC) (Link)
I wish I didn't have cause to know how to be realistic about depression. I hope that reading it is helpful to others!
willowlistener From: willowlistener Date: March 26th, 2016 06:31 am (UTC) (Link)
I waited until I was not at work before leaving my comment, so I got to be signed in.

That Lindon piece was utterly perfect. Just what I wanted - thank you :-)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 27th, 2016 05:51 am (UTC) (Link)
Glad you liked it! It was fun thinking of some trouble for them to be in. I had a grander scheme involving an attack on the Raider camp, but that turned out to be way too much for a ficlet length, if I was going to get decent Jack/Linden interaction in with the action.
From: (Anonymous) Date: March 30th, 2016 02:46 am (UTC) (Link)
....you tease #nowwantsraidercampstory

Willow at work
From: (Anonymous) Date: October 20th, 2016 01:45 am (UTC) (Link)


So... Glass raped Duronda... who had Sheba... and wasn't Sheba the butcher who mothered Mirrem Murphy? Can't remember.
Tracy Wood From: Tracy Wood Date: December 7th, 2016 09:16 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Sheba

No. Sheba was married to a miner. The butcher's wife had a daughter named Rooba by her husband, then had an affair with a Peacekeeper named Justinian Benz. He was Mirrem's biological father.

Another of these little one shots, "In the attic" tells about Duronda looking after her grandson (Sheba's son) while Sheba worked in the mines.
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