It is only fitting that I use Ever as my disclaimer~~
Disclaimer: Hello readers! Thanks for sticking around so long. McKala owns ME. Please don't steal me because I am her fanfic baby. The author does not own my father or the other mentors- unless you count my dad's married girl*cough*friend*cough* who he is just friends with. I am very upset that McKala killed all of my friends, but it was pretty epic that a unicorn killed Robbie. I will never look at those kick-ass facial horns the same...
There is new poll up on my profile. I will keep it open until Jan. 18th. (Tomorrow afternoon)
Last chapter of this story!
Wow! I was reading this story and I have TONS of typos and grammar corrections. I shall slowly but surely fix those.
Also, I was thinking of having Ever go by her middle name "Elizabeth," formally. Friend would still call her Ever, but Capitol people and sponsors would know her as Elizabeth. It just seems more formal.
Haymitch will be acting a little OOC at the end here, but I think it's fine considering:
1. He is sober.
2. It's his daughter he is talking to.
3. I consider him rather wise when he is not intoxicated.
4. So there! :D
Victors Never Really Win
Ever won the Hunger Games two days ago and I have yet to see her. Not from lack of effort of course; it's the Capitol's fault. The want the father/daughter reunion on camera. They haven't even let me peek through the window in the Capitol Hospital to get a look at her. As if having to watch her fight for her life wasn't enough, I get to prolong the suffering after she has won.
I just love this.
Raewyn and Chaff had stayed with me most of the time while I waited thus far. Raewyn's husband and four of their children had arrived in the Capitol the day after the Games were over. Her husband has been on Raewyn like static cling since he got here, and every time she even takes a step near me he distracts her. I hate jealous husbands. Let the woman have a social life.
I turn to face President Snow. "President Snow."
Raewyn and William, her husband, see him and give each other a look. "We'll give you two some privacy." Chaff nods and follows them.
"What do you want?" I ask Snow.
"I am warning you Haymitch. Be careful what you and your daughter do or say. I can make her an orphan with two words. I can make you a grieving father with three."
"You won't have to worry about anything, Mr. President." I say quietly.
"Good. Perfect. I hope you two can give us a wonderful reunion." He says before walking away.
I bite my lip to keep from shouting at him.
"What did Snow want?" A female voice whispers in my ear.
"Where's William? Shouldn't he be making sure we are standing a hundred yards apart?" I joke.
Raewyn laughs, "I really don't care what my husband thinks right now. My friend is going insane right now and I should make sure you go ins- I smell bacon!"
"It's not my sanity I am worried about." I laugh.
She frowns. "Nope. No bacon. Maybe I'm just craving bacon. Oh my gosh! Do you think I'm pregnant? I always crave bacon when I'm pregnant. Did I have sex in the past three weeks? No, I don't think so. You, Chaff and Finnick are the only guys I hung around for like, the past month. I don't think I'm pregnant. I think I just really want bacon. Does that sound logical?"
I laugh hysterically. "And I thought you were the sane one!"
"Raewyn, I've been looking for you." William Hemsworth says sternly, glaring bombs at me.
"Sorry. I was just telling Haymitch it is inappropriate to sexually harass married women." She slaps my hand. "Shame on you."
William glares. "What?"
"Will! I am just joking! My goodness, Haymitch has more respect and decency than that." She says, trying to keep a straight face.
"Haymitch! Haymitch!" Cinna is breathing heavily. "Come on-" he tosses me some clothes. "Hurry and change into those. The hospital released Ever, I have...twenty minutes to get her ready for the victor interview."
"Cinna-" I look at the clothes.
"They're nothing crazy, just a cleaner and newer version of what you have on now."
"Jeans and a shirt?"
"Exactly." He says, rushing off.
I am alive.
I am alive.
I am alive.
I. Am. Alive!
The feeling is just so surreal. I was sure I would die in that arena but for some odd reason I got to live. I got to live and here I am! My prep team is fussing about some Capitol gossip. I hear nothing until Venia says, "Let's go get Cinna!" My face lights up. Cinna.
"Good evening Ever."
"Hey Cinna!" I cheer. "Er, can I not be naked now?"
He grins, "Here you are."
I stare at the black material as he hands it to me.
"You'll love it. It is just your style." I nod and put it on. The little black dress is pleated and spins out when I twirl or even just make a quarter turn. I stand there admiring it until Cinna laughs, "You like it, I assume?"
I nod. "I like, it's just...I look terrible. I lost so much weight."
Cinna nods. "Hm, try putting this on." He passes me a small black jacket. It covers my arms, which is good.
I sigh, "Is this the last interview with Caesar I have to do?"
"The last. For now at least."
"Good. I hate doing these."
I feel the urge to start biting my nails...but I don't. I am actually dreading seeing my daughter after the Games. She will have have lost a lot of weight and will look unhealthy, especially since she is only 12 and tiny to begin with. More importantly, she killed three people in the arena. Twice in self-defense and once to protect a friend. I killed many more than she did so I am not repulsed by that. I am, however, dreading what will surely be her new new personality. She will no longer be a sweet little girl. She will be an adult.
All grown up at the age of twelve. This isn't what Rose and I wanted for her at all.
I wince as the highlights of my Games flash before me on the screen. All of the death...I hated living through it and I would rather not relive it.
Caesar starts with the questions. I answer them the best I can.
I don't want this. What I really want is to go home to District 12. I want to go home to Victor's Village, to the house I live in with my father. There is no way I will move into my own. I think I will give mine to Josh and Ivy and their family, or Kenton and his. Damien's family makes out just fine on their own.
"Ever, have you and your father spoken since your victory?"
I furrow my brow and answer. "No, not at all. The hospital people wouldn't let him see me. I was about to go all psycho chick on them."
Caesar laughs then grins. "Why don't we bring him out?"
As soon as I see him, my face lights up. He rushes to me and gives me a bone-crushing hug. I gasp for air, "Chocking, not breathing!"
"I don't care!" There is something in his voice, something I have never heard before. It takes a moment for me to realize it, but he is crying, actually crying. I can hardly believe it.
"You don't have to cr-"
"Yes I do." He moves his hand to my hair and plays with a piece of it. "We'll have to let it grow out again."
"I like it short." I lie.
"I liked your hair long." He says, still refusing to break the embrace.
"Are you done suffocating me?"
"I love you sweetheart." He stops hugging me and avoids eye contact. He is embarrassed about me seeing him cry.
The rest of the interview flew by. It was annoying, but worth it. We are on the train home now. It is just Ever and myself at the table eating dinner. I notice she isn't wearing her token which she hasn't taken off since Rexton gave it to her. "Where's your token?"
"With everything else of mine on the train." She says cooly.
I nod slowly. "Are you excited about seeing everybody back home?"
She scoffs, "Everybody? You mean my four real friends and a bunch of guys that only talk to me when they have nobody better to talk to? Not really. Most of them probably won't talk to me anymore. They'll be too afraid that I'll kill them when they aren't looking."
I gasp at what she just said. "Yes, but I also mean your uncles and cousins. They'll be happy to see you."
She shakes her head. "Uncle Rexton won't look at me the same. Uncle Raphael always hated me and will wish I died in the arena. My cousins will be too afraid of me. Face it, Daddy. Victors never really win. We get the title, the money- but we loose everything that really has value."
I shut up after that. My daughter knows too much for her young age. I really hope she still has people to come home to after this.
"I'm going to go to sleep. Goodnight." She says angrily.
"Night baby girl."
She glares at me. "I'm hardly a girl anymore." And with that she walks off, leaving me stunned. She was so sweet during the final interview. So loving. Now that I am alone with her, I see how the arena has changed her. I stand up and go to where she is supposed to be sleeping. I knock on the door. "Ugh, come in."
"Ever Elizabeth, just shut the hell up and listen for five fucking minutes!" I yell. She still has a hard look on her face but she is now biting her lip. I only occasionally yell at her, hardly swear at her and never use the F word around her. She knows I am angry.
"Ever look," I say sitting next to her. "I know that the arena leaves physical, mental and emotional scars. I know that it changes people. Believe me when I say that I know it first hand."
She rolls her eyes, "Whatever."
"You know Chaff, right?"
She grins slightly, "Of course."
"He and I both went down the same path after winning and it is the wrong one...did I ever tell you what happened after I won the Games? How life was?"
I sparked her curiosity. Her faces softens and she says, "No."
I take a deep breath and tell her:
"When I was twelve years old, my father was hung publicly for hunting. My mother, younger brother and I were forced to watch. The Peacekeepers wanted to teach us a lesson- and they did. Just not the right one. My mother and I learned to simply be more careful when we went hunting. I tried to teach Dionysus- my brother- but he freaked out every time I or my mother killed something. When I was fifteen, my name was in thirty-six times. I took tesserae every year to help feed my family. My name should have only been in there thirty-two times, but for my third and last Reapings I was able to sneak tessera an extra time.
It was the second Quarter Quell- the 50th Games. The twist this time around was four tributes from each district had to be sent to the Capitol. Two boys, two girls. The girls were chosen first. Tanya Herring and Maysilee Donner. Then the boys were reaped. First my best friend Tristan Moriano was chosen. My name was pulled next. It was my mother's worst nightmare; nobody from District 12 wins of course. Dionysus was only ten years old and knew nothing about hunting or survival.
My mother pretty much knew all three of us were doomed to die soon.
In the Games, I somehow made it to the final two. It was me and one of the Career girls. Both of us were inches from death and I would have died if she hadn't thrown her axe at me and missed. The axe fell over the cliff and popped back up, lodging itself into her skull. I was then crowned victor. I won because I figured out something I wasn't supposed to and made the Capitol look stupid. President Snow didn't appreciate that very much.
Ten days after I won my girlfriend at the time was hung for hunting. I knew Snow planned it because Natalie was just like my brother; neither of them could stand killing an animal.
The days later- thirteen days after I won- my mother and brother were 'accidentally' shot through the head by Peacekeepers who claimed they were too close to fence...I noticed two blood trails just outside of Victor's Village proving the Peacekeepers did it on purpose.
The day after that I bought my first bottle. By noon I had bought five more. Three were gone before the sun even set. I had a killer hangover the next morning, but I decided hangovers weren't that bad if drinking helped me forget and feel numb; which it did.
The Reaping next year is when I first decided to stop drinking. I tried to make sure one of them made it home; neither did. The same thing happened the next year and the next. After that third year I decided to close myself off from the tributes as I did the rest of the world. My first year as a mentor, I met the mentor from 11. He was a lot like me and we were soon best friends. Chaff did the same thing I did after his Games- only his whole family wasn't murdered. He turned to the bottle because he didn't want to remember the arena and that was the sole reason.
Year after year Chaff and I would be at home in our respective districts drinking until we were sick, living with hangovers. Eventually some girl in 11 got to Chaff. He stayed sober while he was with her. She was Kieran and Miranda's mom. I used to make fun of Chaff all the time for being as whipped as he was...that is of course, until I fell in love with my brother's former best friend. Your mom. She and I became very close over the years. You uncle Raphael didn't approve- she being 15, 16 and 17 and I being 22, 23 and 24. But it wasn't and still isn't uncommon for that to happen in District 12 and therefore completely legal.
It was Chaff's turn to make fun of me. We had a good time teasing each other about it until Chaff's wife died because she tried to stop Peacekeepers from whipping her brother for stealing food. He started drinking again and Kieran and Miranda suffered because of it. I promised myself I wouldn't do the same thing to you- once you were born of course. You weren't born yet."
I pause to look at Ever. She is listening carefully. "Continue, come on!"
I smile. "Three months later, you came along. That was truly the best day of my life. I held you and you looked right at me. Rose and I would argue who was your favorite- by the way, it was always me."
"Four months later, your mom volunteered as a tribute in her thirteen year old cousin's- Sage's- place. She was killed by her district partner. I did the very thing I promised I wouldn't do. I started drinking again. At first, it was just to get a little drunk, not wasted. But you started growing up and didn't need constant attention- remember? I used to be sober most of the time when you were very little."
She thinks for a moment. "I remember. I was five or six when the drinking got bad."
I nod, "Yes. That's when I started the drinking again."
She gives me a pitying look. "I didn't know all of that happened to you- or Uncle Chaff for that matter."
I put my hands on her shoulders. "The point of telling you all of that is- I don't want you going down that same path of self destruction. Alcohol, morphling, cigarettes and even this personality change of yours...it isn't the right thing to do. If you change, the Capitol wins. You have to show them they lost. What you said earlier about how victors never really win is as true as it gets. But you can change that if you do one thing."
"What is it?"
"Still smile. Laugh. Be a kid. Be the same Ever Abernathy you always were." I say with a serious smile.
"But how do I stay the same? After what I saw-"
"You are more mature because of that. You saw first hand what the Capitol does. Don't do what I did. Don't do what Chaff did. Instead, do what Seeder and Raewyn did. Take that experience and use it so that you enjoy life and your childhood more. Take it and use it to your advantage."
I see a stray tear fall. "Thank you...I will."
I stand up and smile. "Oh, and Ever?"
"Never call me sir again. I'm your father."
"Yes sir." She says with a goofy grin.