I. BEGINNINGS AND ENDINGS


The hour of time, and the delicious season;
But not so much, that did not give me fear
A lion's aspect which appeared to me.


Haymitch Abernathy. 17.
Victor of the 50th Hunger Games
Aaron P. Ravenstill Memorial Office. 13:04

Even though it had been months since the Games, Haymitch held his mother's hand whenever they were together.

"I almost lost you once, it's not going to happen again."

Those were the first words Soleil Abernathy said as her son stepped off the train and into her arms when he arrived back at District Twelve, his eyes teary from the journey. The first time he was in that vehicle, Haymitch was crying as well, mostly out of fear that he'd never see his family, his friends, anybody again. He'd never get another chance to hold his mother's hand and have her say that everything would work out in the end.

Haymitch thought that was the end, but somehow the boy was able to make it out, even if he could no longer recognize the face he saw in the bathroom of the train as he journeyed back to his home. His time in the arena was like a movie with horrible editing, forgettable even if it left the District Twelve boy with permanent scars.

The film's ending was the worst part, Haymitch and Maysilee wandering the arena until they saw a cliff of sorts, before his District Partner, his ally, announced that she was breaking up their alliance since she didn't want to have to kill him.

"I'm sorry Hay, I wish it could be both of us, I really do."

Haymitch laughed through the anger, kicking rocks off the cliff until he noticed them bouncing off the barrier that marked the end of the arena. It could have been a fun game for him to play as he suffered through the boredom he would face without an ally, but his momentarily enjoyment was interrupted by familiar screams, Maysilee's screams.

He ran over to see the girl on the ground, the beaks of pink birds in her neck as her screams turned to gasps for air and her eyes began to close.

Despite the fact that Maysilee's death wasn't Haymitch's final moment in the arena, it was the last one he could remember. The District Twelve boy knew that he won at some point in the following hours, but all he could recall was body shaking as he grabbed Maysilee's hand and waited for the cannon to sing the song of her death.

It was the same way he held his mother's hand now, a bit too firm even if the tightness of the grip was explainable.

"I almost lost you once, it's not going to happen again."

Mrs. Abernathy repeated the phrase at the conclusion of her son's Victory Tour, the woman insisting she would tag along as the pair walked through the halls of the main building of the Capitol to meet with the President as the man had requested.

"What does he want to talk to you for?" Her voice wavered whenever she spoke nowadays. It had since the moment Haymitch's name was called at the Reaping Ceremony, and even though he was now alive and well, the middle-aged woman still had trouble getting her words out.

"I couldn't tell you," Haymitch looked down at his mother, her worried expression matching his. Even though he was only five feet and eight inches, he was still taller than his mother by at least half a foot.

Why does he want to meet with me anyways?

Haymitch had never had a private conversation with Coriolanus Snow before. While the District Twelve boy was familiar with the man and they had seen eachother a few times, those interactions were mainly publicity and they never truly had spoken to one another.

"Maybe he wants to congratulate you?" Mrs. Abernathy remained optimistic, pinching her son's cheeks and ruffling her hands through his dark hair and scratching his head like she did when he was a baby, "You did win the Quarter Quell afterall!"

While she was never explicitly proud of her son for killing people, Haymitch's mother was certainly proud of him for surviving against forty-seven other Tributes.

"I'm sure that's it then," He took a deep breath as they arrived at the big brown door that marked President Snow's office and sat on the red velvet bench next to it. Despite the fact that Haymitch had grown to loathe the Capitol and everything that it stood for, he was certainly impressed by its fancy architecture, the cremé molding on the walls and the chiseled marble columns appealing to his eyes which had previously only seen the rundown shacks in Twelve.

They sat outside the door for close to five minutes before hearing a firm click and turning their heads to see the broad man's frame.

While Haymitch had never been explicitly "afraid" of President Coriolanus Snow, he could tell everything about the man was meant to evoke fear. He was taller than the District Twelve boy by at least a few inches, and his black shoes seemed to contribute to loud footsteps. He wore a pinstripe suit that looked freshly tailored, a clean white shirt with a blue tie and a white rose pinned to his lapel. His hair was greying and on the longer side and he had a somewhat thick beard which barely masked the naturally sinister look in his eyes. Haymitch knew he was supposed to be scared of the President, but after the Games it was hard for him to fear anything.

"There you are Mr. Abernathy," His deep voice was somewhat jarring, "I've been waiting so long for you."

"Am I late?" Haymitch began to panic, looking at the new watch one of the Capitolites had gifted him with.

"Not at all," Snow smiled as he twisted his left thumb through his beard, "I'm just excited."

Haymitch got up from the bench, his mother following him before the President delivered devastating news, "I didn't realize she was coming with you?"

"Can I, Mr. President," Haymitch's mother nearly choked through her words, "Just to make sure he's safe."

Snow hesitated before speaking again, "I suppose you can, but rest assured, I'd take care of your son no matter what."

"I'd prefer she come," Haymitch grabbed his mother's hand, pulling her up from the bench, "Thank you for being accommodating."

The District Twelve boy began to feel uneasy as he entered Snow's office. The walls were decorated with portraits of every Victor in chronological order save for a missing photo in the tenth frame, and the windows were barely open. The black carpet smelled musty but besides that the room was fairly clean. The President sat in a large white chair behind a tall mahogany desk and Haymitch and his mother sat on somewhat small stools.

"I trust you understand what I have to talk to you about today," Snow coughed twice before addressing the Abernathys.

"I really don't, Mr. President," Haymitch hesitated before speaking to the man.

"Your behavior in the finale?" The President tapped his fingers on the desk.

Haymitch really had no idea what happened in the finale when it occurred, but looking back on the video he was shown, he didn't really see any issue. He was with a girl from One when he slammed his axe against the barrier, remembering how it reflected the rocks from earlier in the day, and watched it decapitate her. After watching it he actually thought it was a fairly smart move on his part. It certainly wasn't anything worth discussing in a negative light as far as he saw it.

"Yes?" The District Twelve boy was still confused.

"You sabotaged my entire Quell!" Snow got out of his chair and pounded with his hand on the table, "How do you not see what the issue is?"

"I," Mrs. Abernathy took a deep breath before speaking, "I just think he was using his natural resources."

It was almost maddening the way President Snow was able to go from cool and collected to nothing short of a monster. He showed no remorse as he reached into one of the drawers of his desk and pulled out a pistol, "Bullshit."

He pointed the gun at Mrs. Abernathy, the woman shaking and in tears, still holding the hand of her son as if it was her lifeline, "Please don't shoot him."

Even though the gun was pointed at her, the woman was more concerned for her son. Snow's pupils blared at the family as he pulled back the top portion of the weapon before putting his finger on the trigger, "Why would I do that?"

Haymitch tried to grab his mother and run somewhere, anywhere but the confusing situation he had somehow been thrust into but it was no hope. Snow pressed on the trigger, barely making a sound a single bullet flying into Mrs. Abernathy's skull in between her eyes.

She was still holding Haymitch's hand as she collapsed to the ground. The District Twelve boy tried removing the bullet even though he knew it was deep in her head and there was nothing he could do about it. He never thought he would see a dead body so close again, much less the corpse of somebody who was inarguably the most important person in his life. The person who cared for him more than he thought he deserved to be cared for, the person who loved him more than he thought he deserved to be loved was on the floor, blood dripping onto Haymitch's hands from the hole between her eyes.

He didn't understand what was happening, it all was going by so fast. The memories of the people Haymitch had slaughtered flooded his head as he watched his mother's eyes shut for good, a final "I love you," before she was completely gone.

"You monster," Haymitch didn't know what to say to the man who was standing so carelessly above him as if nothing had happened. He wanted to run but his feet wouldn't let him.

"Would you like to discuss what you did wrong now," Snow taunted him as if he was a child, "I don't want my carpets to get even more stained.


I realize the A Perfect Union finale was posted three hours ago but here we go again, my third SYOT in four months! I'm sure you noticed this one takes place a tad later, since Haymitch is well, a thing. This story will be telling the story of the 51st Hunger Games and takes place in the same universe as WTP and APU only later. There is more to be unveiled as the prologues continue, but for now I hope you enjoyed this beginning to a new journey.

Obviously I need Tributes though, and I am pleased to say that submissions are open until October 15th and all the information can be found on my profile. This is going to be a wild ride and I sincerely hope you all join me.
Best,
Lindsay