Summary: The beginning of Chapter 26 of Mockingjay in Haymitch's POV

Disclaimer: I don't own the Hunger Games. God, they're amazing books though.


I don't know when, but at some point in these last two years, I've begun to let myself care about someone.

Well, someones, rather.

The first one is Peeta Mellark, because no one could possibly see what he's been through and not wish him well. I used to think that victors may actually have it worst in life, but I take it back now. Victors that have something against the Capitol are the ones that have it the worst.

And the second is Katniss Everdeen, the girl on fire, the Mockingjay, the so-called defender of the helpless. I giggle a little bit at that last name. Johanna had kept me company a couple times, and she had mentioned that name to me. Sometimes we think too alike. However, the giggling part probably has something to do with the pile of empty bottles that littered my floor at the present.

I honestly don't know how I managed to get myself into such a situation. Well, no, that's a lie. I know I got into this when Plutarch Heavensbee asked me to aid the rebels of District 13. But back when I had only just lost my family and my girlfriend, over twenty-five years ago, I had reformed into a model tribute, even if a rather drunk one. I had assumed that I had nothing left to worry about. With a few bottles by my side and a healthy indifference to the kids I was sending off to be killed, I'd be fine.

And now … well, now I'm falling back into despair. All I know is that when Squadron 451's special group went off on their own, they had thirteen people. And when we found Katniss, there were only four of them left. Katniss, Peeta, Gale, and Cressida. They found Finnick's body horribly mangled by some kind of mutt just a little way away from the mansion. I should be happy that Katniss and Peeta both made it through alive, but right now, I'm not sure how much the word 'alive' counts for. Katniss is slowly losing her sanity, and Peeta is a half-possessed mutt.

Finnick didn't deserve this either, but he had it better off than many of the thousands of dead. He, at least, got a few days of happiness as a newlywed before his end. That was more than most of us could claim.

Nevertheless, he was a decent man, and I'd come to respect him. Then again, Boggs was as well, and they found Bogg's corpse with his legs blown off. And Mitchell caught in a barbed net. And Messalla in a puddle of bones and skin. And the little girl, Prim … well, I suppose that's just the irony of life. The decent ones always die.

I think back to that bomb, the trick double-bomb that killed Katniss' sister. I'm not an idiot. None of these events have damaged my mental health yet, anyway. But I certainly wasn't ready for the absolute truth. I had figured from the start that Coin set up the double bombs. It was obvious, if you really analyzed it. Snow was already cornered, and he wasn't stupid enough to alienate his subjects any further when there was a chance he'd be on trial. I was able to put two and two together. So I asked Gale about it earlier today.

Gale had confirmed this and much, much more. The boy finally seemed resigned that he could never have Katniss, not when it was his bomb that killed her sister. After I had gotten over the shock of his news, I almost laughed out of pure exhaustion. Katniss and her boy troubles. They never went away.

Coming back to the present, I reach for another bottle to wash away my sorrows.

I start to drift in and out, my sleep stalked by the same nightmares I had nearly twenty-five years ago. Only these include many, many more people. My mother, my brother, my old girlfriend, and then more. Katniss, Peeta, Finnick. Even Maysilee Donner is there. They're in the holding pen, reaching for a cloud of silver parachutes, and then … they're gone.

I wake to a chilling blast of water on my face. My first, natural instinct is to slash out with the knife I keep under my pillow, until I see who it is.

"Oh. You," I say.

Katniss is standing over me. For the first time since her sister's death, the emotionless mask she wore is gone. What's in its place is much worse. Sunken, haunted eyes, filled with a pain that I can recognize. Stitched up skin, like a quilt in hues of white and pink and shadowy purple. Lips that look as if they will never be able to smile again.

Then she opens her mouth. "Haymitch," she says. Her voice is rough, grating. I guess she finally snapped out of her mute mourning. Good for Plutarch. He'll probably make Katniss record some more propos.

"Listen to that. The Mockingjay found her voice. Well, Plutarch's going to be happy." I take in my surroundings as well as I can with my fuzzy vision. The alcohol hasn't completely worn off yet. Not that I want it to. Before thinking about it too much, I sip from the bottle in my hand. I puzzle over my dripping wet hair. "Why am I soaking wet?"

There's a thud as she drops a pitcher. Katniss isn't a terribly chatty girl, she never was. I let the action speak for itself.

"I need your help."

She's asked me that before. Always about Peeta or Gale. "What is it, sweetheart? More boy troubles?" I know that I sound like a jerk, but the lovely haze in my head makes the entire situation almost laughable.

She just stares at me, and I watch her expression twist into something like hurt. Then she turns to leave.

"Okay, not funny." I try to stand, to pull her back and get her to talk some more, but she's turning the doorknob and slipping away already. "Not funny! Come back!"

Then she's gone, and my world is spinning around me. I had gotten up much too fast, and before I know it, I'm back on the ground.

In retrospect, it probably wasn't a good idea to bring up 'boy troubles'. Not when Gale's device has just killed her beloved sister, and not when all of Peeta's memories of her have been twisted into something evil. Suddenly, I feel like an idiot. I stand up again and manage to get out of my room.

"Katniss!" I call out into the mansion. I get no reply. I stumble on a little further. "Katniss?"

Someone passes by me, and I reach out and grip their arm. "Find Katniss," I say. It's a little slurred, but I think he understands, because he backs away and speaks into his comms.

The alcohol is threatening to pull me back to sleep, so I head back to my room, just barely falling onto my bed before I go under completely.

The last thing I hear before sleep is Katniss somewhere in the mansion, screaming and screaming. And then the nightmares return.


Review please=) Mockingjay was freaking amazing. What was your absolute favorite part?