|Serve God, Love Me, And Mend
Author: LadyNobleSong PM
How Haymitch and Effie came to realize that the only way for them to heal their wounds was to have one another. Because, sometimes, love can be found in the most unexpected places. Set during and after Mockingjay. Multi-chaptered, rated M only for violence, for now at least.Rated: Fiction M - English - Hurt/Comfort/Romance - Effie T. & Haymitch A. - Chapters: 4 - Words: 13,426 - Reviews: 41 - Favs: 16 - Follows: 28 - Updated: 09-25-12 - Published: 08-01-12 - id: 8383425
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/N: First of all, thank you all so much! I am really delighted to read that you seem to have liked what I wrote so far. I am also grateful for the reviews some of you actually left me! It's the first time I get so many, so quickly, so I'm really speechless right now. You are all so amazing. I can't believe it's actually happening to me!
As a thanks, I decided I'd thank you by writing chapter II a bit earlier than I thought, so, here it is!
I do really hope you like it.
Once again, reviews are wonderful.
"Who is that?"
Gale had almost spat the words at Haymitch, disdainfully nodding towards the woman still curled up against him.
-She's not on the list, Abernathy. Who is she?
Haymitch did not want to answer, for he knew too well the consequences his words would have on her. He was already to blame for her imprisonment; he would not make any other mistake. He only brought her limp body closer to his chest, unwittingly dissimulating her from the numerous staring eyes.
-I asked you a question, Abernathy. Show me her face.
-She's Euphemia Trinket. She was taken prisoner by the Capitol, with all the others.
Plutarch, who had talked with a calm tone, shot an apologetic glance at Haymitch. The latter felt anger rising within him. He knew very well there was no other way, yet he just wanted to shout, to throw something at them. Effie was unconscious, for god's sake; she needed care, not a trial!
-Trinket? Effie Trinket? Oh, you have to be kidding me, Haymitch!, Gale said.
He refused to answer, as he crossed the hovercraft towards the medical team, his eyes focused only on the fragile figure in his arms.
-Effie Trinket, the escort?
-Yes. So what?
Haymitch had growled, his eyes darkened by a repressed fury, slowly invading his veins. He couldn't bring himself to face Gale, knowing too well he wouldn't be able to control himself any longer; for he could feel his knuckles turning white already.
-She's doesn't deserve to be here, Haymitch. She is the enemy. You shouldn't have saved her.
And it was too late.
-How dare you, you bastard! She's been captured, tortured, just like ours! Who the fuck do you think you are, deciding what she deserves? She's a person, Gale, just like you! What makes you any better, you ignorant jerk?
Haymitch suddenly felt an arm restraining him, preventing him from attacking the young man at once. He turned his head to see Doctor Aurelius, who was glancing at Effie, a look of fear sprayed onto his face.
-If you want to fight, put her down. Now."
He had muttered through clenched teeth, so that Haymitch only would catch his words. It felt like a bucket of cold water had just been thrown upon him, and he instantly sobered up. Effie was still in his arms, lifeless, and hurt. His grip on her was too tight; what if his anger caused her more pain?
He turned back to face Gale, whose eyes reflected nothing but fright. It was the first time he had witnessed Haymitch in such a state. At this very moment, he could see both the victor and the murderer, reflecting through his icy, grey eyes.
The whole room was silent, paralyzed by the thick tension created by the confrontation. After a moment that seemed to last forever, Beetee spoke.
"She's hurt, Gale. It's our duty to care for her physical injuries, no matter who she is, or used to be.
-She sentenced Katniss to death. Does it not repulse you to care for her now?
-Listen, Gale, continued Plutarch. She has been tortured, probably even raped. Her chances of survival are declining at every minute we waste. Haymitch and I both risked our lives for her, so we are not abandoning her now. Is that understood?
-As it pleases you, sir."
Gale had spat the last word with as much disdain as he could, making it very clear he was forced to act against his will. Nonetheless, he stepped back, and Haymitch felt more grateful towards Plutarch as he ever had. She was safe, finally. Nothing would hurt her now.
He turned towards Aurelius, slowly revealing Effie's state to him. Some eyes widened when they realized how seriously injured she was. However, Gale stood silent, an unreadable expression on his face.
"From what I saw, she's been whipped, cut and burnt. Some of her hair's missing, and I guess she's been hit, too.
Haymitch's voice was shaking a little in his throat, as every word reminded him that all these wounds were due to him. He pointed her chest with a single finger.
-They've been carving words right into her skin. And I think she's been… molested, several times before. He swallowed. From the way she reacted, I believe it wasn't the first time they abused her.
Aurelius stood silent, only nodding from time to time. Haymitch clenched his jaws, as guilt washed over him one more time. How could he have been so naïve, thinking she would be safe? She knew him; he brought danger and death wherever he went.
-Her state is serious, very serious, Aurelius eventually said. She needs intensive care, as soon as we can. I'll do my best for now, and we'll get her to the hospital in priority, as soon as we reach 13.
-Thank you, Haymitch muttered."
He unwillingly stepped aside, as Aurelius' medical team rushed over Effie's body, wiping the blood from it, before covering it with thick sheets. As Haymitch had realized while he hold her, her corporal temperature had dropped. She was slowly dying.
As soon as the hovercraft landed, as Aurelius had said, Effie was taken away, along with Peeta and Johanna. Haymitch could only wish to stay with her; he still had a duty to accomplish for the rebellion. He owed it to Plutarch, above all people.
However, despite his efforts, he seemed unable to focus on any of his tasks. He could not get the escort off his mind. What if something went wrong? Who would be there to hold her hand through her last breath? He shivered at the macabre thought.
A few hours later, Plutarch came back. Haymitch wanted to thank him, but the former Gamemaker didn't leave him the chance to do so.
"Effie's out of intensive care, Hay. Go check on her.
-I've got to talk to Katniss and the others, P. I can't just-
-Go; I'll handle it. Haymitch, just go."
For the first time since the rebellion had begun, Haymitch felt his lips curving into a faint smile. He nodded, then quickly left for the hospital. He needed to see her, to witness she was still alive. He walked to the room Aurelius had indicated back in the hovercraft, his whole body tensing. However, when he pushed the door open, whatever hope he might have had was mercilessly crushed. The room was empty.
Haymitch reached the central counter of the hospital, violently slamming his hand against the wood.
"Where the hell is she?
A nurse looked up at him, quizzically.
-Who do you mean, sir?
-You know damn well who I mean! Euphemia, Effie. Trinket. The Escort. Where is she?
-Oh, the woman answered in a guilty tone. Well… She's been taken away.
-She's been what? Haymitch had lowered himself so that he could stare directly into the nurse's eyes. His voice was low, threatening.
-Under my demand.
Haymitch turned his head to see who had just talked. His gaze met the icy, cruel eyes of Alma Coin, who was holding a clipboard tight in her arms.
-Why on Panem did you do that for?
-Gale told me you had brought back a traitor amongst us. I couldn't believe it at first, but it turned out to be true. What were you thinking, soldier Abernathy?
-What did you do to her, you heartless b-
He stopped himself just on time, not wanting to bring any trouble upon Effie or Plutarch. Messing with Coin was known to be a terrible idea.
-I? Oh, nothing. I wouldn't dirty my hands on her.
Haymitch winced, but stood silent, waiting.
-But, since you seem to care so much, she's been treated, and taken back where she belongs. To the Capitol.
- But they tortured her, damn it! They are going to kill her, Alma! How can you let that happen?
-She's not one of ours, Haymitch. It's time for you to learn that as well."
On those words, Coin turned on her heels and walked away quickly, leaving Haymitch in a state of shock and furor he had never experienced before.
How was he supposed to let that happen? After he had worked with that woman for almost twenty years, after she had cared for him more than anyone else, after he had risked his life to rescue her? How could they treat her as nothing more than capitol scum?
Suddenly, he felt a hand poking at his shoulder, and turned to face Johanna, clothed in a white hospital robe. She looked dreadful, like she had been to hell and back; and Haymitch knew why: Just like Effie, she had been tortured for months, almost driven to the edge of sanity. She was like a ghost, overly skeletal and pale, but the most frightening were her lifeless eyes.
"I've got her. Follow me."
It was all she said, before walking away to her room, limping a little. Haymitch instantly followed her, not allowing himself to hope for anything before he witnessed it with his own eyes. As Johanna painfully pushed the door open, Haymitch felt like he took a breath again for the very first time. Effie was laid on Johanna's bed, her figure thin and pale as a corpse, but she was still alive. It was all that mattered.
"Don't ask how and I won't ask why, Johanna simply said.
Haymitch's brow furrowed, but he said nothing. He appreciated Johanna's lack of criticism more than anything. Because when he himself thought about it, he couldn't really say why he suddenly cared so much about the woman in the bed. It was not just pity, no. There was something older, something about her, about him, which he had never quite understood. It felt like it had always been there, binding the two of them together.
-Why? Haymitch merely asked, wondering why someone as strong and brave as Johanna would even bother saving someone like Euphemia Trinket.
-I've known her, Haymitch. In jail. We were cell mates for a while, before they began -using her, for physical needs.
Haymitch stood silent, his eyes wide open.
-They have always been rougher on her than on me. Probably because she used to be one of them. Treason seems to be the worst sin to them. They tortured her merciless, Haymitch, yet she never said anything. Never. She's strong, way stronger than she seems.
Haymitch only nodded, torn between horror and pride. She had resisted them; she had never given up on him. Yet, if only he had known earlier, she wouldn't have had to suffer this hell. It was all because of his selfishness, and he would never forgive himself.
-She kept screaming, Haymitch. I think I'll never forget the sound of her pain.
Her look grew vague, unfocused. She was staring at the wall behind Haymitch, lost in the memory.
-She kept calling for you, she continued. Every time they came onto her, she screamed your name until she passed out.
Haymitch closed his eyes; his breathing ragged. She had always believed in him, hoped he would come for her, and he had not. It was entirely his fault, just like it had been with Maysilee. He had always been too late.
-Listen, Haymitch, I won't say it twice. She needs you. Now more than ever. I don't care what you've done or how you feel, you have to be there for her now. You owe her that one.
-Of course I do. And I will.
-Good. Now, take her with you, and exit through the back door. Go right to Aurelius; he knows what I've done. Leave her to him; he has to take care of her physical injuries. But Haymitch, swear you'll be with her. Her mental wounds are up to you, you are the only one able to help her recover.
Haymitch nodded, carefully settling Effie back against him, like she belonged there, against his heart. Johanna looked at him for a moment, before talking one last time.
-I don't know if she'll ever wake up, but if she does, Haymitch, you have to know she probably will not be the one you remember. She'll be different. These… things, well, they change us. Forever."
Her eyes grew blank again, and Haymitch knew it was time for him to leave. As Johanna was sinking into her memories, he dropped a quick kiss onto her shaven head, and left the hospital, Effie close against him.
Just as Johanna had planned, Haymitch settled Effie at Doctor Aurelius' place, despite his desire to keep her to him only. He had always trust Aurelius, and he knew Effie would be safe with him. He would do his best to maintain her health, which was more than Haymitch could ever have done himself. She would be safe, and alive.
From the moment he had first left her to the care of Aurelius, Haymitch had understood he would visit Effie every day. And he did. He would never stay long, overwhelmed by guilt every time he looked at her, her pure, elegant face hardly visible under all the marks and scars he had somehow helped to create.
After a short while, Haymitch began to feel utterly useless. As Effie remained unconscious, he would just sit, and stare at her until he couldn't handle it anymore. So, he began to talk to her.
He knew just how stupid it sounded, him talking to barely more than a corpse, but somehow, it quickly became indispensable to him. There was the same pattern to each of his visits. Every evening, he would enter the room with a single flower for her, which he had picked up in the meadow. He would drop it in a vase, before sitting next to her, clasping her tiny, fragile hand into his, and then he would talk to her.
He told her about all sorts of meaningless things. His geese, the weather, the food, his family. It was the first time since his Games Haymitch had confessed to anyone, and it oddly felt purifying. He felt entirely connected to her, despite her state. The mere feeling of her hand in his brought him the comfort he, somehow, had always longed for.
One particular afternoon however, everything collapsed. He had been talking for quite some time, when suddenly, he felt her arm flinch. Her face grew hard, as if she was in pain. Then she began violently jerking in her bed, her convulsions intensifying every minute. He could see drops of sweat on her forehead, as well as hear her muffled whimpers, as she seemed to struggle with a terrifying nightmare.
Under different circumstances, Haymitch would have straddled her and pressed her shoulders against the bed, in order to reduce her spasm. But he feared that it would unconsciously remind her of the physical abuse she had been subjected to, and so, he decided for something else.
Slowly, he wrapped her trembling body into his arms, forcing her to sit up on the bed. Her eyes were still closed, but he could feel her slowly calming down, as he tenderly embraced her, his hand drawing soothing circles against the soft skin of her back.
He brought his face against her neck, softly kissing her shoulder, muttering reassuring words against her skin.
"It's over, sweetheart. You're safe, you're with me now. You're not alone anymore. I'm here, Effie. I'm here."
When she seemed to have drifted back into slumber, Haymitch carefully laid her back against the bed, gently tucking her in. And then, for the first time, Haymitch found himself unable to leave her bedside, for he felt like she needed him that night. Consequently, he decided to stay. He settled into the armchair next to her, and quickly fell asleep by her side.
When Haymitch woke up, he found himself staring right into Effie Trinket's deep, blue, and wide open eyes.
A/N: So, that's it! I guess it's about the same length than the first one, really. I'll try to upload Chapter III during the week, but I'm not sure I'll have internet after monday, so I don't really know. I'll do my best!
Thank you all so much for reading, you are bloody wonderful.
Hugs from France,