good god I love Haymitch. So I wrote this random little fic. So here it is: five things Haymitch Abernathy never did, that he probably should have. Like how I should be studying for my exam tomorrow. Whatever.
"We'd live longer with two of us," she says, and he can't help but look down at the boy lying motionless on the ground, a dart sticking out of us neck.
"Guess you just proved that." He rubs his neck. "Allies?"
She nods and just like that, they're a team. He's never exactly been a people person but with Maysilee they sink into a routine just as easily as if they'd planned it beforehand. He tries hard not to think about the fact that at some point, he will have to kill her. He has no doubt he can overpower her. But he brushes the thought to the side for now, and he can tell from the way she looks at him sometimes that she's thinking the same thing.
Despite the looming knowledge that one of them has to die they get along well. He rests more, drinks more, and the occasional tribute they come across goes down a lot quicker with both of them. He had never thought of her as a fighter, but she wants to seek out the rest of them and take them down. He can't help but think that she wishes that in the course of this, someone will take him down before she is forced to. He's thinking the same thing.
But he has to keep going, and he will keep going, whether Maysilee Donner comes with him or not. He needs to find out what happens at the end. If he's forced to partake in these blasted games he will do it the way he wants to, dammit.
"Haymitch, I won't move until you tell me," she says stubbornly, and this is his out. This is his way out of the alliance. This is how he won't have to kill her.
Instead he answers her. "Because it has to end somewhere, right? The arena can't go on forever."
"What do you expect to find?"
"I don't know. But maybe there's something we can use."
He can tell by her face that she isn't quite as invested in the idea as he is but she follows him anyway and he's much more grateful for that than he probably should be.
When they finally break through, he can't help but feel a little disappointed. It's just a cliff. He went all this way for a cliff.
Maysilee no doubt knows this, and is no doubt angry at the trek they made. But she doesn't say anything.
"That's all there is, Haymitch. Let's go back."
He wants to. He wants to go with her, because maybe he doesn't quite mind her company. But instead he shakes his head. "No, I'm staying here."
If she isn't fond of this, she doesn't let on. "All right. There's only five of us left. May as well say good-bye now, anyway. I don't want it to come down to you and me."
"Okay," he agrees. She waits. This is the part where he should say thank you. Tell her that their alliance meant more to him than maybe it should. But Haymitch has never been one with words.
Instead he crosses over and plants a kiss on her forehead, so quickly most viewers think they just imagined it. Then he says "Goodbye."
She smiles. Nods. Walks away.
The journey home is a blur. He's the first winner from District 12 in a hundred thousand years, or something. He isn't really listening. He doesn't really care.
When he gets home, the cheers echo in his ears and he almost feels as if he could throw up. When he gets home that night, his mother holds him tightly. She sobs into his shoulder. He keeps her at a distance. He doesn't want this, none of it. There's no glory in outliving 47 people. Especially when you killed a lot of them.
That night, he breaks into his mother's special cabinet and downs an entire bottle of some foul tasting liquid that burns his throat. But that night he sleeps soundly throughout and the headache he gets in the morning is the price he'll have to pay for a sleep with no nightmares.
On the third morning he wakes up and puke's his guts out beside his bed and that night he doesn't go near the cabinet. That night he wakes up three times sweating in his bed and his nightmares are filled with screams and candy pink birds.
When he wakes up in the morning there are silent tears rolling down his face and he stares at the ceiling for somewhere between twenty minutes and two days and then he stands up and walks out.
When he gets to the door he knocks loudly and leans his forehead against the wood, half hoping it won't open and half hoping it will.
When Mrs. Donner opens the door, he takes one look at her, with her blue eyes, so much like Maysilee's, staring up at him, dying, and he bursts into tears.
"I'm s-s-sorry... I'm so sorry..." He sobs out, his entire body shaking. Maysilee's mother just sits there and stares, not able to will herself to touch the boy who as good as murdered her daughter.
He stands there sobbing for a few minutes until Maysilee's twin sister walks out. He takes one look at her and starts to cry even harder. She walks over to him and wraps her arms around him, and he apologies to Maysilee one last time.
"I'm sorry... I'm so, so sorry..."
"That shit's bad for you."
He laughs. "You don't say."
Chaff plunks himself down next to him. "Those were tough."
Haymitch scoffs and takes another swig from his bottle. "Didn't even make it past the initial blood bath. Not that they would have lasted long after that, anyway."
"Don't talk like that."
"Don't think of them as less than human. Then they got no chance at all."
"They don't have a chance anyway. And it's easier on me, anyway."
Chaff shakes his head. "What the hell do you matter? You're done. You lived. I don't know how the hell you did it, but you did. And now you're shitting your life away with a bottle o' booze. Least you can do is try and help these kids have the opportunity to blow their lives away."
He brings the bottle up to his eye level and takes a peek inside, watching as the liquid sloshes around inside. Then he says, "I'm not gonna stop drinking."
Chaff lets out a loud guffaw. "I didn't ask you to. Just treat them like they're real. Like they matter. Like you believe they can win."
"Even when I know they can't?"
"Everyone can win. You did, didn't you?"
Haymitch starts to laugh. He laughs so hard that he loses his grip on the bottle and it goes crashing to the floor.
He can't believe he's back here. Well, no, that he can believe. He's been back here every year for twenty five years. But he can't believe he's back here with them. For the first time, he managed to get both of his tributes out of the arena. Managed to keep them safe. And now they're back here and he's sending them off to their death. He can't handle this shit.
He needs a drink.
"I guess this is where we say our good-byes as well."
He wants this to end. He wants to send them off and drink himself into oblivion where he can't remember their names or their faces, these two kids he's gotten far too attached to.
But he can't. Because he has a goddamn rebellion to put into motion.
"Any last words of advice?"
"Stay alive." Katniss seems to think that's a joke but it's all he knows how to say. They should have enough help but with Katniss's stubborn independence and Peeta's insistence on getting the Boyfriend of the Year award who knows what could happen. He hugs them both briefly. "Go to bed. You need your rest."
Katniss shifts her eyes and Peeta speaks for her. "You take care, Haymitch."
He can't watch them die. He can't handle that.
They walk across the room and are just about to leave when he stops them.
"Katniss, when you're in the arena-" he stops. Scowls. Urges her in so many words to remember that the Capitol is the enemy.
"What?" She's so defensive.
"You just remember who the enemy is." He stops, ponders his next words. He knows Peeta won't care. They are far past the point of being hurt over petty words. "And Katniss?" Goddamn, he's bad at this. "You always were my favourite."
Her face doesn't soften, she doesn't smile, she doesn't rush at him and hug him. It's for these reasons that he favours her, despite what she thinks. She just stares at him.
"That's all. Now go on. Get out of here."
And please, for God's sake, come back.
He doesn't know how many times she's knocked herself out.
He knows she thinks she's in the possession of the Capitol. He would probably do the same in her situation. But it would be nice if she could calm down for two goddamn seconds and stop knocking herself unconscious so they could explain.
Eventually she creeps in with a syringe in her hand and he almost laughs. For all those times of quick thinking, there are just as many where she can be so dense.
"Done knocking yourself out, sweetheart?"
This, he knows, will be the hardest part. And not because they're leading a rebellion. But because of how she'll react.
When did he get so far in?
And then comes the hard part.
"Where is Peeta?" She hisses. He wishes he didn't have to answer this. But that's his job. If he didn't do the dirty work, then who would?
"He was picked up by the Capitol along with Johanna and Enobaria."
When she flies at him, he knows he deserves ever line her fingernails etch into his face. Each drop of blood shed. But that doesn't mean he has to stand there and take it.
He isn't even sure of what he's shouting at her and he doesn't know what she's shouting at him. They're terrible, hurtful things and neither of them is sorry for saying them. And then she's banging her head against the table- idiot's trying to knock herself out again- and then the drugs are sedating her but not before she shoots him one last hate filled glare.
That look hurts more than the words.
When she's lying knocked out he goes into see her. He pretends this isn't the easy way out, seeing her when she isn't aware of it, but he doesn't think he can handle that glare again.
He looks down at her sadly. Even in sleep her features are scrunched up as if she's constantly under pressure. He smooths her hair back, wishing more than anything that this didn't depend on her. That she wasn't the mockingjay.
"I'm sorry, Katniss," he says, knowing she'll never accept an apology in real life. She'll probably never look him in the eyes again. "I'm so, so sorry."