DISCLAIMER : This is FANfiction . net
Rated T, for angst and profanity. Catching Fire spoilers.
Bonds are made to be broken.
The phrase scampers around his mind as Maysilee Donner saves his life and says "We'd live longer with the two of us."
"Guess you just proved that."
And, before he can sever their ties –
They've already been knotted together.
Maysilee had never considered herself a fool.
She's done some foolish things, yes, but she wasn't a fool herself.
Then she's lodging a poison dart into the Career's throat and stepping out of the woods. Talking, and agreeing to be his ally. Agreeing to ally with Haymitch Abernathy, who was all curly haired arrogance, snarky comments, steel eyed danger.
And, for the first time in her life, Maysilee considers herself as a fool.
Haymitch isn't often surprised.
He's smart and analytical. His brain is filled with snap judgments, with most (if not all) more accurate than a bull's eye.
Maysilee doesn't take much studying. Blonde hair, blue eyes. Slim, in the healthy, not hungry sort of way. She was the screaming, stark opposite of Seam. He classifies her as the delicate, expensive porcelain type of girl, shattering at first harsh touch. He had been sure she would die within the first day, if not minute.
Even after she saves him from a slit throat, he thinks it's all a fluke. There was really no other option. How else could have this sweet, fragile little girl survived the hell dubbed as Hunger Games?
He regrets asking to join forces before her hair shakes from the nod of her head. Haymitch's blood was yet cold enough to kill an innocent girl, but he still considers the idea. He wasn't about to be slowed down by something pure.
Moments fly by, and so does his first impression. Inexplicably, trusting her is no harder than instinct. She hunts fairly well, and is useful in a fight. From early on, they form a tight-knit team.
He forgets Maysilee: potential downfall. Instead, he discovers Maysilee: potential friend.
Some Careers try to attack them, dead at night, during her shift as guard.
Before she even raises her gun, Haymitch springs awake, knife in hand, silver slashing through scarlet air. After thirty seconds the invaders are dead, and Haymitch is the only one with blood on his hands. He also has blood on his face, and cuts, which Maysilee attempts to treat.
Haymitch is solid and still as her fingers brush healing leaf dew over his cheeks. His skin is cool to her warm touch. Despite the recent tussle, a relaxing silence lingers between them.
"Thank you," she whispers, hoping her words were soft enough to keep the peace. She concentrates on her hands, steady against his face, keeping her eyes trained on his injuries.
He sounds mildly taken aback as he grunts, in a gruff voice, "What?"
She flickers her gaze to his eyes, deep and serious, then turns back to his cuts.
"Thanks. You fought for me." Then, unable to contain herself, she adds "Even though you really didn't have to."
The silence returns, less relaxed than before. This time, Haymitch breaks it.
"Aren't I your ally?"
Maysilee pauses, fingertips frozen a breath's distance from his wound.
"Well, yes, but –''
"Because I thought allies helped each other. As in, if you're in trouble, I help. And vice-versa. Or would you not fight for me in a battle?" He raises his eyebrows, and looks at her, mockingly indignant. She can't help but scowl in return.
"No! Haymitch – no! Of course I'd fight for you! But I was the one on guard, you were supposed to be sleeping, and – ''
She feels as if Haymitch has stolen her words and composure. Since day one, he's unwittingly forced her into more and more of a fool.
"And, well, I could have taken them. You didn't have to fight them all for me. Now you're hurt, and that could end up hurting us, and if you had at least just let me fight with you instead of taking them all on your own you probably wouldn't have ended up hurt at all."
To her annoyance, his eyes are closed. And there's no reply.
"Haymitch? Hello? Anyone home?"
His eyes suddenly snap open, piercing hers. Instantaneously, Maysilee gives an involuntary strangled yelp in surprise. Haymitch (That brat, she thinks, Most of Panem's probably laughing at me now) coos, not without sarcasm, "Aw, were you that worried about me? You're upset that I'm hurt?"
His hands close around her own, rough and so much larger. He moves her hand to touch his face, applying the healing dew.
Sighing, she pries his hand from hers, unknowingly gentle.
"Fine. I get your point. Just - next time, we fight together, okay?" She empathizes "fight together" by using more force than necessary while rubbing the dew.
Haymitch glares at her and snaps "Hey, try being more careful with that, idiot!" Maysilee rolls her eyes and he imitates her.
After, when he thinks she's not looking, a smile blossoms on his face; widening lips and lighting eyes.
From the very beginning, he thought of survival strategies.
Out of those, an idea was produced. A hunch, a theory, a hypothesis. He becomes obsessed with this idea, with testing it out, with confirmation, until it burns in his mind and races a fiery path around his veins. If he was right, if it worked, he knew it could potentially help him survive.
If it didn't help – well, he likes to think of using it as a last Fuck you! to the Capitol.
And even though they, him and Maysilee, are surviving just fine without it, he still hunts the idea. She keeps asking him why, and he doesn't answer, simply because he doesn't know want to say. That's as far as the simplicity goes. He just doesn't know why he can't and absolutely won't tell her his idea. Maybe because he wasn't sure whether he was right. Maybe he didn't want to give her false hope. Maybe he didn't want to give himself false hope. Maybe he wanted to keep this one idea, this one edge, to himself. Just for himself. Nobody else.
Not even Maysilee.
Maybe because, no matter how much he wants to pretend not, only one of them can make it out alive.
Sometime, somewhere, somehow, she beings to feel uneasy.
She had almost forgotten the truth. That she and Haymitch could be killed any second. That she and Haymitch could be killing each other any second.
Haymitch becomes obsessed. He always was, always has been, but the obsession gets worse, and he pushes them to go on and on and on.
She keeps asking, Why? Each time, there's no answer.
They both know what Why means. Why are you doing this? Why are you so obsessed? Why won't you tell me?
She keeps asking, until she can't go any further. Sometime, somewhere, somehow, she had grown uneasy. And, despite the fact that sometime, somewhere, somehow, she had grown to love him, she couldn't quite yet lose herself to help find him. When she refuses to move, he finally gives her exploding question an empty answer.
"Because it has to end somewhere, right?"
Maysilee feels like choking. "Because it has to end somewhere, right?" They both know the second part of his answer, "The arena can't go on forever", means so much less than the first.
"Because it has to end somewhere, right?"
"What do you expect to find?"
"I don't know. But maybe there's something we can use."
There you go, Haymitch, she thinks, with a bitter tinge. You and your empty answers.
They go on. She goes on.
They reach the end.
Earth, flat and dry, reaching to cliffs, with only jagged rocks below.
This is it.
"That's all there is, Haymitch. Let's go back."
She adds Please, loud and desperate in the silence.
She sees the fight, the conflict in his eyes, something raging and impossible and tragic. She knows his answer before he speaks.
"No, I'm staying here."
Her breath catches, and she realizes the finality of what she's said. He does, too, and he tears his gaze away from hers, staring off into something unseen.
"There's only five of us left. May as well say goodbye now, anyway."
And, even though she's scared he's already gone, she says, as clear and honest as possible, "I don't want it to come down to you and me."
He's gone, and she's about to disappear.
He's the mad scientist who just discovered the nuclear bomb.
Except he's not a scientist and he hasn't discovered a bomb. He thinks he could be mad, but he's still ecstatic, because his idea was right and he was right and this could mean survival. He's found the forcefield, the Capitol trick. More importantly, he's found a way to blow the trick up in Capitol's face. He's laughing when he hears Maysilee scream.
He can't think. He can't breathe. But he forces himself to move, running, sprinting, pumping his legs and arms as fast as he can towards the screams, blocking out the possibility that he'll be too late. Blocking out the fact that, if he wants to live, she'll have to die somehow. He only knows the feeling of adrenalin and panic.
He's too late.
Those birds, those damn birds, those fucking birds fly away in swirls of pink feathers and red blood. He arrives to see them pierce Maysilee's throat. She can't talk.
He grips her hand, so hard her it turns white. Slowly, he releases pressure, until he's holding her as softly as he can.
Her eyes are pure blue. He's known that for a while. He starts to believe that crappy cliché, the one about eyes leading to the soul.
Maysilee's eyes are blue and clear and pure and honest and so filled with things, filled until forever with things that Haymitch will never be.
Haymitch tells her he's sorry, scant seconds before her eyes fade to nothing.
He's dying, but the girl from District 1 is already dead. Somewhere in the distance, sounding from the edges of hazy conscience, cannons fire and trumpets serenade.
There are two Haymitch Abernathys.
One lies convulsing on a cliff, body thrashing wildly, nothing but the feeling of rocky surface beneath him.
The other drifts in circles, knowing a part of him is dying yet unable to care. He lives and yearns in memory. Smidgeons of candy-pink, flickers of endless blue, laced with warm gold, everything drenched crimson red.
Haymitch Abernathy, dying with moments of the past, thinks of blonde hair. Blonde hair and full eyes, pale skin and cold hands, compassion, saving grace, and what could have been.