Disclaimer: I don't own The Hunger Games. Nor do I own the title, which belongs to the AMAZING band Thriving Ivory. If you listen to the song you might understand why I titled it what I did. (Although the song, in my opinion, has more to do with the next chapter than it does with this one, and possibly the last one. I still like the song, though, and thought it fit.)
A/N: You guys can thank dA for this. I had been thinking the other day about how Town Girls and Seam Boys never seem to be able to have happy endings, and then there was a comment on a dA picture that I was looking at... and this idea was spawned and was then given birth to and the result is what you are looking at now. It's edited and everything.
I've never been much of an Haymitch/Maysilee fan, though this story helped me change my mind just a little bit. Do I believe for a minute that this is canon? (After all, didn't it say something in MJ about him having a girlfriend... unless that was Maysilee, ahaha...) No, but this is fanfiction, plus it'd be more interesting if it was! Tragedy is always interesting in my book.
This is going to be a three-shot, just like I said in my summary, although it could be considered just three one-shots since they are kind of connected but not really. Anyway, on with the story!
(Also, do you know how annoying it is not to know some of the main character's real names? I feel ridiculous making up names for the characters, especially for this series because they aren't exactly names like 'Bob' or 'Mary' are they? I keep hoping that Suzanne Collins will put out a character list or something of the like, but I don't see that happening any time soon...)
Angels On the Moon
Her sister laughs when she tells her. "You," she chortles, "and Haymitch Abernathy? Dear sister, it's never going to happen. Build yourself a bridge and get over it!" She says the last three words with a gleeful sort of viciousness. "You can believe that I'm going to tell Mother."
Maysilee should have known that this was going to happen. Her hands curl into fists and when she finally manages to make them relax, which is only after her sister leaves, she notices that had ten crescent shaped blood marks on her hands. It was amazing what sort of reaction her sister could get from her. But she didn't say anything to her sister, even though she wanted to. She never said anything to her twin, though her sister often deserved it. Instead she just bit her tongue and walked out of the room as she prayed that her sister wouldn't do exactly as she threatened.
She had hoped that sharing this secret, one that Maysilee had kept hidden in her heart for about a year now, would bring her and her sister closer together. Secrets tended to do that to people. Instead, though, it seemed to have driven another wedge between them. All that secret did was just added more ammunition to her sister's already loaded canon.
"Idiot," she whispered to herself as she walked out the door of her house which was where it seemed that it was the only place that she could breathe anymore. "I'm such an idiot."
"You've got that right."
Maysilee whirled around and ended up face to face with Haymitch. She hadn't known that he was there, otherwise she wouldn't have spoken out loud. She didn't want him thinking that she was insane or something like that. Her supposed insanity wouldn't exactly help her case.
Haymitch always walked the path that went straight past their road, which was how she had even gotten to know him in the first place. Of course she would have noticed him in school, he was good looking to the point of it being unfair and in a scruffy and rugged sort of way. Girls had often swooned and oohed and awwed over him. Maysilee had always laughed at them and promised herself that she would never turn into one of those silly girls. She often laughed at herself now. Irony wasn't always pretty.
"Well you're a jerk."
"Wow, two in a row. Who would have known that you were that smart?" Haymitch rose an eyebrow and Maysilee had to bite her lip to keep herself from smiling at him. He actually was a jerk but he didn't mean anything too maliciously... she hoped. It was hard to tell with him, and most of the people from the Seam had a deep resentment towards the people from town (and with good reason too).
It seemed as though Haymitch didn't care about that, but it also seemed like Haymitch didn't care about much of anything, to be honest.
"Certainly not you. You're never awake in school anyway, so you wouldn't know about anyone's smarts."
"Only because school is a waste of time. What's the point of educating us when we all know where we're going to go in life? Where they're going to put us in life."
"Haymitch," Maysilee hissed, looking around and making sure that no one else was around. They were quite alone, if you ignored Maysilee's sister who was out of hearing distance inside of their house. "Don't say things like that. What if someone heard you?"
Haymitch shrugged, looking as though the word indifferent was coined for him specifically. He was never one to be afraid. He had no idea what exactly could be taken from him and as a result often lived on the edge of reason and carelessness.
"Well we do. We both know that I'm going to be sent to the mines as soon as I'm eighteen. And you're going to get married to whoever and then you're going to work with him in his family's store and live happily ever after. The end." He said the last bit roughly, almost as though he was angry at the fact instead of resigned. That will most likely be their future, though, and they both know it.
"I know, but still, you can't just, I mean, it isn't as though..." Maysilee sputtered, trying to figure out what to say next. She couldn't get a grip on the words that she wanted to share, but the bottom line was that she knew that talking about the Capitol was a very bad thing, and something to be avoided at all costs.
"You worry too much. Nothing is going to happen just because I said that one thing. It wasn't anything particularly treasonous." Haymitch looked as though he believed very much in what he said, which he did.
He then changed the subject, the topic boring him. He didn't like the way that fear shone out of Maysilee's eyes when she talked about the Capitol, because she shouldn't feel that way. She shouldn't be afraid of much of anything really, because she was just a girl, and above everything else, a girl from town who had the a few of the comforts that most of the people from District Twelve could only dream of.
Neither of them noticed the figure that was in the shadows behind the two of them that had heard every word.
Her mother called her into the study that night. Maysilee knew what it was about but she was still nervous. Her sister gave her a grin that was probably supposed to look encouraging in front of their father but Maysilee knew what the hidden meaning was behind the gleam of those pearly whites. I finally got you for something.
Maysilee's mother was the head of the family when it came right down to it. Her father liked to think that he was in charge, but they all knew who really held the power in the family. Her mother had always been the one to make most of the financial decisions, the one who handed out chores and did the books for her father's store, and the one gave out punishments. Occasionally Maysilee's father got involved (but that was when things got very bad and he didn't do much of anything anyway), but most of the time it was just their mother.
Maysilee knocked on the door and took a deep breath to steady her nerves before she heard her mother softly say, "Come in." With a feeling of dread she opened the door and quickly prayed to something that she wasn't sure was there or not. It was worth a shot at any rate, especially if it could protect her from the inevitable wrath of her mother.
They knew that when they were called into the study things probably were not going to turn out well for any of them.
"Sit, dear," her mother patted the seat next to her. Maysilee relaxed a fraction. Mother didn't sound angry at, which was a good thing. If this was going to be something serious, which Maysilee thought this was, Mother's voice would be clipped and her tone light but sharp.
Maysilee complied and straightened out her skirt. She knew that her mother was going to have to be the one to talk first, and that she was just going to have to wait. Sometimes this technique could be agonizing, and sometimes it was okay by her. Talking was what got her in this mess in the first place.
"Your sister told me, about you and Haymitch Abernathy."
"What did she tell you exactly?" Maysilee asked, praying that her sister hadn't lied or embellished or done anything other than tell their mother the whole truth, that her love was about as unrequited as it got and that was the end of their relationship, other than the occasional conversation.
"She told me that you have feelings for him and that she didn't know if he returned them or not."
Maysilee's whole body relaxed. So that was all? Thank goodness. Maysilee's overactive imagination had been imagining all sorts of horrible things that her sister could have said that would have made more difference than the fact that all their was between them was a one-sided crush.
"Yes, Mother, that's pretty much all that is between us." Maysilee contemplated getting up- what else would her mother want her for? their conversation was over- when her mother placed a firm hand on her thigh and Maysilee knew that she wasn't leaving anytime soon.
"But I want to know how deep your feelings for him go. This could be dangerous you know."
"It's just a crush Mother. He's very good looking." It almost pains her to say this, but it is a good excuse because most people her age can love people based on looks alone. For Maysilee this isn't just a crush, but it might as well be for all of the outcomes that are going to come out of her feelings.
Her mother made a noise that sounded like an agreement. "Yes, he is, but that doesn't make any difference. Maysilee, he's from the Seam."
"So?" Maysilee couldn't help but interrupt, but then she shut her mouth, hoping that her mother wouldn't see that single word as something that was too disrespectful.
Her mother ignored her interruption, though, so she knew that her mother's next words weren't going to involve a punishment or a decree of things that were now forbidden to her.
"Dear, nothing good ever comes from a Town Girl loving a Seam Boy."
There was a gleam that looked like regret in her mother's eye that told Maysilee not to say another word.
The Quarter Quell reaping was two weeks later.
There is always a feeling of fear, underlined with anger, around this time and it effects everyone. Even though Maysilee's name is only put into the reaping one time the fact that there was even the slight possibility that her name could be called frightened Maysilee.
She was sixteen, which mean two more years of nervousness about the Hunger Games, but after that she was done, finally. She couldn't wait to be rid of those feelings.
The representative from the Capitol arrives, without realizing how much the people of District Twelve resent everything that they represent, and they spend at least ten minutes saying a speech that everyone there has heard before.
Maysilee's best friend wraps her arms around her in anticipation and Maysilee can't do anything but pat her friends arm and hope for the best. Does it make her a bad person for hoping that one of the girls from the Seam, one of the ones that have put their names in more than one time to get grain for her family, gets picked instead of her?
May the odds be ever in your favor!
The first girl is called, a girl from the Seam that looks as though she is twelve years old and everyone gets quiet, the way that they always do when a young girl is called. Twelve years isn't much of a life.
"Maysilee Donner." Maysilee feels like her heart is going to stop beating. Her mouth gets dry and her palms start to sweat and she want to faint, but she can't because that would be a sign to the other tributes that she's a weakling, and that can't be done. Instead she untangles herself from her friend and dries her hand on her skirt as she walks up the stage, no expression on her face.
She waits for the boy tribute to be called and she prays that it isn't anyone that she knows. That would be horrible. She doesn't want familiarity in these Games. She wants terror and horror, which is something that she will be getting by the tenfold as soon as she leaves from home.
The first boy is another boy from town, but he is eighteen and Maysilee has never spoken more than two words to him in her life.
"Haymitch Abernathy." Maysilee wants to scream, but she doesn't. Of course he's called. Of course. For a moment Maysilee wonders if this was about their conversation a week ago, but of course it isn't. No one was around then, and anyway, it's not like either of them said something that horrible.
Haymitch walks up the stage looking determined but not frightened. For a moment the two of them lock eyes, if anyone in the audience had blinked they would have missed the exchange entirely, and Maysilee knows that they have some sort of understanding.
The visitation had to be the worst part. All of your friends, your whole family, they were paraded in front of you just so you can get one last look at all of the things that you were going to leave forever.
Maysilee's sister had come up to her in tears and hadn't been able to say anything, the tears were coming too thickly down her face and they had stopped up her throat, making her unable to speak as well.
Her parents hadn't spoken either. Her mother had just opened her eyes and had gotten her daughter to sit next to her while her mother's arms were around her, and she softly stroked Maysilee's hair.
Maysilee's father simply sat on the other side of his oldest daughter and held her hand, while her sister just sat in the corner and continued to cry, the tears streaming down her face.
They had always been a quiet family. Between the four of them there were no useless declarations of love or fighting or any of the things that other families often did to show affection. Other than the sibling rivalry (which had more to do with Maysilee's sister and her insecurities than it did Maysilee herself) they got along quite well with almost no bumps in the road of their peaceful life together.
And now one of their numbers was leaving them for perhaps forever, which would make them even more quiet and reserved. For years after the Hunger Games they would hardly speak a word in their shared home.
When they got up to go her parents each hugged her one last time and they both left Maysilee and her sister alone. Her sister threw her arms around Maysilee and Maysilee patted her back awkwardly, unsure of what to say. The last time her sister had hugged her they had been eight years old and still innocent and still best friends. It wasn't until years later that the bitterness and resentment set in, leaving one of them angry and one of them bewildered.
"I'm sorry, for everything," her sister whispered, and Maysilee could feel the warm tears of her sister somehow make their way onto her shirt.
For a moment Maysilee wants to say that she doesn't forgive her sister, that she never could (How could she be so petty? For half of her life she has wanted her sister not to hate her and now in her last hour she can't even hug her back?), but she could never do that. Just watching her sister cry like that makes Maysilee think that maybe her sister did not hate her as much as she thought that she did.
"It's okay," Maysilee whispered back, hugging her sister back just as tightly. "I forgive you." In a sudden act of goodwill she takes the Mockingjay pin that she is wearing (the one that she got for her fourteenth birthday from her grandfather, her sister had gotten a necklace then) and puts it gently in her sister's hand. "Here. Take this, and give it to one of your children." She planned to say more to her sister but she never gets the chance because a Peacekeeper comes in and wrenches the two sisters apart for the last time.
Maysilee walks out the door to wave good-bye to her family when she sees that Haymitch's family is leaving as well although she can't see Haymitch anywhere. He's probably still in his room. As Haymitch's father passes her he gives Maysilee a look that that is loaded with understanding. Understanding of what Maysilee isn't quite sure, but she wanted to take whatever sort of reassurance that she could get.
"No, I don't need anything else, thank you," Maysilee said, just wanting to get out the door. Haymitch, the lucky dog, had somehow managed to leave without anyone telling him anything. But for some reason their escort had taken more of a liking to Maysilee than the other girl tribute and wanted to get as much as she could out of Maysilee.
It was almost as though all of the Capitol's residents were stupid. They must not have thought about how much the people in the districts resent the Hunger Games, how much they fear them.
Maysilee placed a palm on her forehead, when stressed she tended to get headaches, and began to walk down the hallway looking for a dark and quiet room where no one would disturb her, not even an Avox. Avox's frightened Maysilee because they show what the consequences could be for rebelling against the Capitol.
She opens a door that she realizes leads to a storage area and then decides to open another the the left of it, realizing that it, too, holds things that seem exotic to Maysilee, who is not used to all of the Capitol's rituals.
She finally manages to find a room that isn't filled with just useless stuff and she gets herself inside it and sighs as the throbbing in her head dulls to a faint ache. She rubs her temples and closes her eyes, one of the few things that actually work, when she realizes that she isn't alone.
Maysilee jumped at the sight of Haymitch sitting grimly only a few feet beside her. In her haste to get away from the human race she had failed to notice the only familiar aspect on the whole train.
"I'm sorry," she begins, unable to read his expression. He had hardly talked since the train had started moving and she didn't blame him. She was still in a state of shock herself, but she had been able to work through it and had been able to do something other than sit in a stony silence.
Maybe it was time to start working with these people rather than against them. After all, they held both of their futures in the palms of their hands, and they knew it.
Surprisingly when Maysilee jumped up to go hey put a hand on her shoulder and said the first word that he had said in six hours. "Stay."
Suddenly she realizes that Haymitch is standing very close to her. So close, in fact, that she can see every freckle on his dark olive skin, and every eyelash. He's close enough that she can smell him and she lifts up her head, just a bit, and that's all the invitation that he needed.
Haymitch crashed his lips against hers and at first it is all Maysilee can do not to freeze in her shock, but then she responds with just as much passion as him. Somehow her hands make their way from her sides to his silky dark hair, and his rough hand is on the back of her neck and his other arm is around her, pulling her closer to him than Maysilee ever thought that she would get.
He's surrounding her, taking up her every thought, and a small and quiet part of the back of her mind realizes that this is one of her favorite fantasies. Even so, she never would have thought that it would be like this.
Somehow she manages to regain her mind (maybe it's the lack of oxygen, though Maysilee isn't sure exactly) and when she pulls away she gasps, "Why?" Why now did he decide to kiss her like that? Why should he act like that when it was a very possible thing that either of them could be dead in two weeks?
It wasn't fair and it wasn't right. Maybe he always knew that she loved him and he felt sorry for her. Maybe he just needed to do something to relieve the fear that was eating him, just like it was eating her, from the inside out. Or maybe, just maybe, their feelings were mutual.
"Because," he finally answers after a long pause, "when you don't have the rest of your life left to spend then what's the point of wasting time?" Then he kisses her again and Maysilee thinks that she knows exactly what he's talking about.
Every chance that they get to be alone they take it. Their love- if it could even be called love- is rushed and heavy, but it's there. They know that the end is inevitable now and the closer that they get to it they cling that much closer to the other.
They exchange loaded glances, a subtle touch here and there, and when they are alone they exchange kisses that make Maysilee's heart explode. They don't talk much other than their usual banter or short conversations because they know that promises and sweet nothings will amount to absolutely zero in the long run. Besides, it is easiest not to talk about anything important when you are being sent to the slaughterhouse.
To Maysilee it's like an angelic dream right in the middle of hell.
Sometimes doubt nags at her, telling her that he doesn't really love her, that he's only doing this because he's afraid and people do all sorts of crazy things when they're afraid. But she also knows that Haymitch isn't one to lie and she just takes heart in that.
They know that in these Games that it's dangerous to get attached, but honestly, they'd rather be together than apart.
When the Games offically start- the interviews and the training and the fattening up done, done, and done- Maysilee tries to stay as far apart from Haymitch as possible. He had asked, the night before they were sent into the arena, if she wanted to be allies, but she had refused. She could tell how much that bothered him, but she didn't care. She didn't want to see him die. Not on her watch.
Besides, Haymitch seemed to have a plan and he didn't exactly tell her what that plan was. He just seems to wander around not fighting just walking.
Maysilee, on the other hand, just wants to survive. She managed to get some food- not much, but enough until she could find some more because she did not trust anything in this beautifully vicious world with all of its grandeur and splendor that is underlined with poison, much like the Capitol- and her blow darts because she needed a weapon.
She's able to use her darts well and she manages to survive one day at a time. She wonders, briefly, how Haymitch is faring, but then she realizes that as long as he isn't dead and she's still kicking then everything is okay in her world.
One day she happens to stumble upon people attacking Haymitch and then they become allies, just like he wanted from the very beginning. He's still intent on just walking and the few times she tries to extract information from him ends in naught.
Eventually she just gives up and is content to simply be with him, until the Games progresses (Why does it seem like the days go faster when she's with him?) and once again she realizes that it's time to extract herself from him again.
She doesn't want to be the one to kill him.
But the delicious irony of the whole situation is that no sooner than a few minutes after she leaves him that she is attacked by pink birds with long beaks and a glint of death in their eyes. They pierce her neck and she can't help but scream.
She knows that she is going to die. She is going to die alone and slowly. For a moment she can't help but picture Haymitch's face in her mind.
But then she realizes that this isn't just a memory, that he really is with her, and he is grasping her hand. She can't speak but he is watching her die grimly, no emotion written on his face, but his eyes speak the words that he can't say, for every camera in the arena must be trained on them recording their every movement.
There's guilt there and the slightest hint of something that she can't read. Maysilee so desprately wants to say something, but the wound in her neck makes that impossible. Instead she just closes her eyes and drifts away, pleasantly pretending that her life isn't seeping away an inch at a time.
She doesn't know as she dies that she'll haunt him for the rest of his life. Her ghost will flitter with him everywhere he goes and he won't ever be able to forget her.
Haymitch had never thought of himself as weak. He had never had a reason to because every situation that he had ever been placed in had made him a stronger person. When his father died he had taken the mantle of man of the house with ease because his grief had built a wall around his heart and had made things easier to see.
But this... this is a different sort of pain, a different sort of situation. Never before had he been so... alone. The people he had at one time called friends didn't want to talk to him because they were now afraid of him and he had no one left.
If he had known that the Capitol wouldn't have been content with just taking Maysilee from him he wouldn't have dared to defy them, to make them look like they were stupid. But his arrogance had defeated him just as easily as the Capitol had.
He had heard whispers of how the other Victors dealt with it. Morphling and insanity and liquor. None of those options had ever sounded particularly enticing to him before, but now he just didn't know which one he would chose as he was now give the choice.
His mother and brother, the only family members he had in the world (their house was still standing and empty, a slap in the face for him and now he avoided the Seam entirely) gone and all because of him.
Maysilee, the one girl that he had truly loved (he never could seem to get her off his mind... every time he saw her twin sister, the spitting image of her from a distance, he'd think it was her only to have to remind himself that she was dead and that he watched her the light leave her eyes and the soul depart from her body) taken from him and all because he wasn't just that much faster.
Guilt plagued him and attacked him and never gave him the chance to rest. An escape, a crutch, a healing tool of the weak, they all seemed pretty good to him right now.
As he pulled the money out of his pocket and set it on the table he laughed bitterly, thinking about how pathetic he was and how he had promised himself that this would never happen to him.
"Six bottles of white liquor, please."