I hadn’t realized before how hard Haymitch is playing the game in chapter 7. Part of his strategy is obvious, but this time I noticed something more subtle. The morning of the first training session, Haymitch says: “‘One last thing. In public, I want you by each other’s side every minute’… We both start to object, but Haymitch slams his hand on the table. ‘Every minute! It’s not open for discussion! You agreed to do as I said! You will be together, you will appear amiable to each other. Now get out. Meet Effie at the elevator at ten for training.’”
At first glance, meeting at the elevator at ten seems like a throwaway line, but then I noticed that it comes up again twice in the next page. Earlier in the chapter, Katniss’ irritation with the matching training outfits had been established. And earlier in the book, Katniss remarked on Effie’s efficiency at getting them places on time. And yet on the next page, it’s almost ten while Katniss is still brushing her teeth. A few minutes later, after riding the elevator down to the training gym, Katniss notes, “Although it’s not yet ten, we are the last ones to arrive. The other tributes are gathered in a tense circle… While someone pins the number 12 on my back, I do a quick assessment. Peeta and I are the only two dressed alike.” (emphasis added)
It looks like Haymitch (and his fellow strategists) planned to build on Cinna’s success in presenting Katniss and Peeta as a pair at the tribute parade by ensuring that they make an entrance in their matching uniforms by arriving just on time on the first morning of training. The night of the parade, Katniss noticed the other tributes’ envious glances. Afterwards, Collins had Haymitch explicitly tell us that he, Cinna, Effie, and Portia were sitting down to hash out their strategy: “Tomorrow morning is the first training session. Meet me for breakfast and I’ll tell you exactly how I want you to play it,” says Haymitch to Peeta and I. “Now go get some sleep while the grown-ups talk.”
In continuing to present Katniss and Peeta as a team, Haymitch, et. al., were furthering a strategy that had been publicly presented to all of Panem, and managing it for a different audience — the Gamemakers and the other tributes, who might be wondering if the dynamic D12 duo is for real.
It took him a few seconds of slowly emerging
from his slumber, his eyes still closed, to realize what the feeling was. Peaceful. He felt peaceful.
His body was heavy and the sheets were warm,
the pillow under his head smelt like fresh flowers, and he couldn’t, for the
life of him, find the will to open his eyelids. He had forgotten how it felt
not to wake up gasping for breath, disoriented and terrified by a nightmare.
For the first time in a long time, he felt good. Rested.
If we’re being 100% real about the Haymitch/Effie kiss, the best part wasn’t even the kiss. The best part was the fact that the kiss was so causal that you just know the two of them have been banging this entire time.
Perhaps this is cheating, but since it fits both the Capitol Treats prompt (sort of) for @everlarkedalways‘ #merryeverlark for Dec 12th and the Snow prompt for @loveinpanem‘s Dec 13th challenge, I’m tagging both. Also, I’m posting at a time when it’s technically the 12th where I am but it’s the 13th almost everywhere else. Lol. Thank you, lovely ladies for running these events and keeping the fandom alive. That last bit needs to be said in your best Haymitch voice. ;-)
This is not beta’d and was written rather hastily, so all mistakes are entirely mine. And I need to tag one more person, @ohmakemeahercules, who asked for: “How about Everlark: Peeta recreates the hot chocolate recipe from the Capitol?” Thank you, dear, I appreciate the prompt! <3
The snow storm arrived with no warning, several weeks earlier in the year than usual, dropping three feet of thick powder onto the ground of District Twelve, and trapping its residents inside their homes. As several made attempts to leave their newly built homes for their various jobs in the early hours of the morning, they discovered how ill-equipped they were. District Twelve had plenty of shovels for construction, pointed and spade shaped for breaking ground, but few people had ordered flat edged snow shovels yet.
Each of the Twelve houses of Victor’s Village came equipped with a fully furnished garden shed. Not that Victors were expected to perform such remedial tasks as gardening or shoveling snow from their walkways. Generally speaking, they could afford to hire someone to do it for them. But the Victors of Twelve had never been just your average Victor.
They started their mornings much as they had all done for the past few months. Peeta rose early, gently kissing Katniss’ forehead and brushing aside her hair to ask if she wanted breakfast before she went into the woods. On a gloomy day with snow blanketing the earth, Katniss tended to prefer the comfort of her bed, though. Such a day made her think too much about where she spent her last winter.
“This year, you’re dealing with experienced killers.” Haymitch stands on front of the screen, remote pointed. “Why our esteemed President Snow chose these people, I have no idea why. They’re not even from the districts at all. And to top it all off, there’s an extra 24 tributes, like the last quarter quell.”
I glanced at Peeta worriedly. Not from the districts? “What do you mean?” I turned back to Haymitch, my mind whirling. Was District Twelve the only one sending in a pair of tributes this year?
“Watch. It’s no good.” With a press of a button the screen came on.
“Tris Prior and Tobias Eaton. They say they’re from a place called Chicago.” He shoots us a look. “If I didn’t know better, i would say that they’re your Cato and Clove for this year.” A girl, about 16 or 17 years, with long brown hair. There’s a shot of her throwing knives at human-shaped targets that reminded me sickeningly of Clove. A boy, about 18 years old, in hand-to-hand combat with someone else. The boy easily overpowered his opponent and won within four seconds.
”They sure do remind me of them.” Peeta mutters. I swallow loudly and wave Haymitch on. “Who’s next?”
“Annabeth Chase and Percy Jackson. Now, this is where things start to get… interesting.” The girl with long blonde hair and strange grey eyes easily taking down targets with a bronze knife, reminding me of Cato. I swallowed the bile in my throat and forced myself to acknowledge the next one. The boy had jet black hair and sea green eyes, and there was a shot of him swimming. He quite literally jetted across the waters as if he could control them, and when he emerged on land, he seemed quite dry.
“He could give Finnick Odair a run for his money.” I say dryly. Haymitch barks out a humorless laugh before clicking on the remote again.
“Teresa and Thomas. These ones are strange - no last names, no one knows where they’re from.” The two of them were a pair - they ran through a deadly obstacle course that looked like a giant maze, pausing only to use long wooden spears to kill ugly creatures that looked cross between a mechanical spider and a black ugly worm. Their ease in escaping-though terror was clear on their faces - reminded me too much of Foxface. I rested my head on Peeta’s shoulder. Haymitch took our silence as a cue to move on.
“Clarissa Morgenstern and Jace Herondale. Some would say…” Haymitch pauses, looking as if he couldn’t quite believe what he was about to say. “… that they’re not human.”
Peeta scoffs, but it comes out as a nervous gasp. “W-what?” I glance up at Haymitch, brows furrowed. The Capitol had advanced technology, that I knew - but something otherworldly was completely new to me.
Haymitch pointed at the screen. “Watch.” The girl held up what looked like a glowing pen and drew on her skin. As she drew, swirling black lines seemed to spiral from the tip. When she finished drawing, she dissapeared. I stared at the screen, wondering if she had just turned invisible. The boy held two glowing swords, and he lept from a table to a thin wire to a chandelier while fighting hordes of what i could only describe as vampires. His jumps were impossibly high-ten, twenty, even thirty meters.
“Who are they?” Peeta demanded, his face pale. “How will we kill them? They’ll best us in five seconds, tops.”
Haymitch shrugged. “Make allies. It’s the best way.”
“They’re not human. They’re supernatural.” I blurted out. And looking at them, no matter how impossible it seemed, it was obvious. Percy-i think that was his name-seemed to control the waves. Clary had turned herself invisible. Jace had impossible speed and strength. “We can’t win.” I felt impossibly small, in the face of this obvious death. What a show it must be for the Capitol this year.
Haymitch, at a loss for words for once, opened and closed his mouth as he tried to say something. Finally, he gave up and continued. “These two are a bit more normal, though i wouldn’t underestimate them. Susan and Peter Pevensie. Siblings. Like Cashmere and Gloss.” The girl-about 17- had a bow and arrows. Too similar to me. Her skills in archery were matched to mine, if not better. As we watched, she killed three armored men, and then pulled an arrow from her quiver and threw it at another man, killing him. The boy-18 years old, i guessed- held a sword, easily besting a crowd of ten, fifteen armored men at once. At least they seemed a bit more normal-but they were still powerful, to say the least.
“Hermoine Granger and Harry Potter.” The two of them were holding sticks, running through a very damaged castle. I was about to laugh about it when they pointed the sticks and two jets of red lights flew from the tip and blasted a few hooded people away. My jaw dropped open. Magic. But that was impossible. Beside me, i could hear Peeta stuttering.
“Th - that’s not possible.” He stammered, “Magic isn’t real. This is just a television.” I find myself holding onto his hand, my knuckles white. He’s holding on just as tightly, anxiety getting the better of him.
Haymitch cut him off. “Snow’s up to something. I don’t know what, i just know that he’s up to something, and with these tributes this year, he’s determined to see you dead.”
And he seemed darn close to doing it. How would I kill the girl who could turn invisible? The boy who controlled water? The two magicians?
“Sadie and Carter Kane.” The girl pointed at a pair of locked doors and spoke some gibberish. Egyptian hieroglyphics glowed where she pointed, and the doors blasted apart. The boy was holding a curved sword, and as he charged forward, he glowed and lifted off the the ground, encased in a glowing avatar with the head of a falcon.
At this point I was near vomiting . This was too much. Too much. But there was more. I swallowed hard and took a few deep breaths. Prim. Gale. My mother. I have to survive. For them. I glance up at Peeta. For him.
“These ones don’t have names. They’re just called Numbers Six and Four.” Invisibility, telekinesis, resistance to fire, super speed and strength, flashing hands. Too much.
I closed my eyes and ignored the flashing screen. I can hear Peeta’s heartbeat as I rest my head near his chest as he slumps on the sofa..
“Lena Duchannes and Ethan Wate.” I opened my eyes and saw the girl swirling her hands, creating a storm. I closed my eyes again after seeing hers-one eye was green, the other was yellow. I didn’t care if I missed out on the boy - i didn’t want to see any more.
“Lena Haloway and Alex Sheathes.” They were a bit more normal. Vicious with the knives, through. I breathed a small sigh of relief and felt sick almost immediately. I was feeling relieved there would be easier people to kill. The games were changing me.
“And last, but not least, of the first batch, excluding you two, of course, is Jem and Tessa.”
Haymitch deepened the kiss, doing his best to
ignore the flickering lights and the high-pitched voice coming from the kitchen
where Elindra was trying to get through her phone call despite the statics on
the line. He would grant that to the Capitol woman, the couch she had picked
was very comfortable – and perfect
“Are you trying to give my mother a scare?”
Effie chuckled against her lips. “Horrify her into leaving the house?”
I’m not sure what wakes me first— the sound of the stupid cat whining or the sound of the first rain of the year. But whatever it is, I am pulled out of my content sleep to face it. Peeta is oblivious to the interruption, having come to bed much later than normal to finish a painting. And while I’m tempted to wake him up, the last few nights have been hard on him.
His nightmares seem worse the closer to Reaping Day.
“Stupid cat.” I mutter to him, slipping out of the warmth to let him out. While our bedroom window was open, he seems to be losing his sight with old age. He can’t come and go as he pleases, at least not on the second story. He follows the sound of my footfall. We are both careful to avoid the creaky step at the bottom of the landing. Even the mangy old cat has become attune to Peeta’s needs.
oh dear god please do the "soulamte au where you can't lie to your soulmate' for hayffie! it would be hilarious (or possibly horribly painful... depending on when its set ahahah)
So today is the day I reach chapter 400. I’m
not sure how long exactly I will be able to keep up with this without people
getting bored but as long as we’re all having fun… Hey! Let’s try to reach 500.
That would be a record probably.
I just hope everyone is still enjoying the
stories. There is something called quitting while you are ahead or more likely
stopping before something becomes crap… I just hope I am not on the “becoming
crap” slope. I wrote so many… Am I repeating myself? Is this getting boring? I
love hayffie so much it’s unhealthy but I would hate to write them badly or to
bore you to tears.
Anyway, today is chapter 400 so you get a
prompt that isn’t the oldest in line but that particularly inspired me and that
I enjoyed writing very much. [X]
A Claim & A Promise
Everyone has a soulmate.
That’s a given.
However, Panem is a huge country, a huge compartmented country. The odds of
finding one’s soulmate are never in one’s favor and they aren’t made any easier
by the Hunger Games that kill a bunch of kids every year.