A/N: This once was going to be a drabble compilation, but as you can see, I've deleted the second chapter/that concept. I've decided just to leave it as a scene between these too. Thank you anyway, to everyone who reviewed it when it was a compilation.
Warning: Spoilers for Catching Fire, but no major ones. It would actually take place before anything we see in the book.
She is the mirror image of her daughter, to him. She isn't really, but he's seen so little of her that it's the first thing to come to mind. Even in his disheveled state, it startles him. But on a second glance, he notices the differences. The softer, blurred edges to this older woman. She has seen so much more, and it shows in the lines round her mouth and the haunted wisdom to her wide eyes. Haymitch gives a grunt, shaking his head. Katniss will never realize how lucky she is to be young.
"I'm sorry to have… to have scared your daughter," he mutters, sloppily wiping spit from his lips. Prim, not Katniss. She ran out in terror when he started screaming, Katniss right behind her. Only the eldest Everdeen was left in the room with him.
"That's alright," she says, her voice calm. She keeps her distance though, that shadowed gaze following him from across the room. Quietly, she sits in a chair. Her vision never lapses from him, but her hands travel to some ointments by her side. She soon grows busy, tightening lids and stacking them together.
"I've seen you before," Haymitch murmurs, after a few minutes have gone by. His chin rests on his fists, his withdrawal fit passed for the moment.
"You have?" She looks surprised. Clearly, it seems unlikely that the first-ever District 12 champion would remember a poor town's woman. Her eyebrow quivers in confusion.
"Not seen," he says, shaking his head and sighing, "But I've heard."
For Katniss, she assumes. With a nod, she purses her lips. Now that she is no longer brought to her knees by grief, she is able to care what her daughter thinks.
At this, she looks up sharply. Years ago? This quiet, grumbling man is not the one that Katniss depicted. He is neither witty nor loud and arrogant. With a slight bend in her neck, she searches for something else in his eyes.
"Maysilee," she murmurs, after a moment. She has been on her mind lately, with the recent turn of events and all. She remembers Haymitch from those particular games as if he were embossed onto her every step. He who had brought much needed glory to District 12, who had been the last to hear words from her dear friend. She always remembered him, but never thought that he might remember – or even know – who she was.
"She talked about you a bit," he says, leaning back in the chair. "And about her sister. She missed you."
"I saw," she whispers, her throat aching. It feels different, hearing it from this man. It feels like it mattered enough for him to tell her.
He glances up, and for a moment, she sees a flicker of pain. If she had looked harder perhaps, she might have seen so much more. His motives, his struggles. She might have been the first to see what lurked beyond the inebriated snark. "Thank you for staying with her," she says, a small smile on her lips. Because she is grateful, and she doesn't even know whether she means Maysilee or Katniss.
He blinks, and the anguish is gone as quickly as it came. "Yeah," he says flatly.
"The pin was hers, you know," she goes on. She suspects he knew this already, but goes on anyway. "It was Maysilee's, and then it was given to her nice. She gave it to my daughter."
They stare at one another; she is caught in past and he in the future. But for a moment, as the mockingjay takes flight in his mind, he's thrown back to remembering its original purpose. Not as a symbol of rebellion or of secrecy, but as the hope of survival and bliss that was clung to by a little girl.
As he stands, excusing himself from the Everdeen household, Katniss's mother is sure she sees tears in his eyes.
A/N: Please review!