This is fan fiction and I have no claim to these characters and derive no profit from this in any form. Thank you for your reviews.

This is my version of how and why the stuff in the book happened as it did.

Confessions of a Drunk

How Haymitch ends up taking Katniss home. (Mockingjay spoilers)


"I don't know what to tell you Heavensbee. She may never be sound."

Plutarch Heavensbee glared at Haymitch across the table. "Well we can't just let her die in there, she hasn't moved for two days. Isn't there anyone who will see to her if she's released?"

"Only one fool I know of still loves her." Haymitch said sorrowfully, "and she abhors him. Would die rather than…"

"Then get him here. We won't give her a choice. If he's willing then who cares." Plutarch says with a hopeful smile.

"You don't have too look far. I am right here." Haymitch lays his head on his arms, wishing to be far more drunk than he is just now.

"Wait, what the hell are you saying old friend? I mean I know you're fond of the Mockingjay, but we need you here. Hell, this whole thing would have crumbled without you." The look of horrified confusion on his face was comical.

"Is it so hard for you to understand. I may be a worthless old drunk, but it doesn't mean I am incapable of loving something, even if it can never belong to me." Haymitch takes a swig from his half empty bottle. "Even in her current condition she means more to me than life."

"I would never have guessed. No wonder you have been her keeper. Bathing her, feeding her. The only one who could find her when she was off hiding? Does she know?" Plutarch looks at his old friend realizing what a sad hopeless road he walked.

"No. And she never will either. My heart may be a fool but don't take me for one. There is nothing left in there but her hope that we will somehow fix the boy. It's all I can hope for her. I could never fill his shoes, nobody could."

"Then why try? Why torture yourself Haymitch on the whims of a girl who is without the ability to return any of your feelings. I mean sure, help me find a place to put her, then just walk away. There is no reason to throw yourself away for nothing?" Plutarch reaches across the table and takes a swig of Haymitches bottle.

Haymitch stands and walks over to the monitor. Tears in his eyes he touches the image of the girl who lies on the bed, so still only the vitals screen proves she lives. "Because, I did this to her. Because, I let her become trapped in our own Mockingjay dreams and if I can only give her the small comfort of being left alone, until he can go to her, then it will be worth it. I owe her that small thing at the very least."

"Haymitch. I have to say I don't like it. There would be talk if she were moved into your apartment. I mean if it were me, I wouldn't be able to keep my sanity knowing she was in the next room, if I felt like you do. I think you are just dooming yourself to watching her die, one way or another. Look at her. She is a nightmare. The burns alone are just grotesque." His head shakes in helpless disgust.

"To me she's as beautiful as the day Cinna dressed her in fire and the burns just remind me of that day. She was on fire too long Heavensbee and it isn't her fault that it left her imperfect for the public. I won't shack her up in my apartment. I am taking her home." Haymitch says smiling. "She needs it."

"Home where?"

Haymitch laughes. "To district 12. Our home, where she will have her woods and her memories and the one thing that may touch her and bring her back."

"What is that, Haymitch? All she will have there is ghosts."

"She will have me and I can provide her the silence she needs and the ability to leave her alone until she's ready to speak. I can listen to her when she wants to be heard and there are a few who have returned already. They will be glad to welcome her." He says thoughtfully.

"And what happens if she falls in love with you. You could win by default?" Plutarch hedges.

"Well, even fools can dream Heavensbee. But I won't be the one who initiates it. If she figures it out, then I would love her until the day I die. If not then I will watch over her until the same." Haymitch picks up his bottle and winks. "And if I fail, then I always have my best friend here to help me forget what a silly old fool I really am. Come on, release her to me? In twelve the press will not hound her and maybe she can live again at some point. Let me get her out of there before she stops breathing entirely."

Plutarch sighs weighing this information. Finally he nods. "I guess it's the only option we have other than some nut house. If you're sure you want this?"

Haymitch smiled sadly. "You never know what can happen."

I lifted my frail girl on fire and bathed her as the medics put an IV in her arm to give her fluid. I sat on the filthy bed, holding her in my arms, combing her hair, dressing her in cloths like a little child and encouraging her to accept the few bites of food they carefully offered her. Her stomach was so traumatized she barely took ten bites, but she didn't object to my small comfort. She was barely aware of me but she shook horribly if I left her sight.

She was too frail to walk and we had to transport her by wheelchair to the hover craft. Plutarch accompanied us as far as district three filling her in and chatting as if she were fine. She was distant and sullen, but once we were alone she fell into a little sarcastic banter with me. I made her eat a sandwich, watching her resent every nibble. Her eyes searched my face with disgust and I wanted more than anything for her to just allow me to help. She pretended to sleep and I searched the craft for liquor mostly for something to do besides fall at her feet in confession of my ridiculous adoration of her.

I watched her for hours as she finally did sleep. Only then did I kiss her head and whisper "I love you, Sweetheart."

I settled her in her house and offered to stay but she ignored me. I told her I would be back to see her tomorrow. She replied, " I doubt it."

At first it didn't register, but as I walked home, I feared that she meant much more than hinting I would be too drunk. I stood at the window for hours then silently snuck in to check on her. I adjusted her blanket, I mutely stood watching her for a while. She was teetering on the edge and I knew that I had to be very careful. Katniss, in her morfling fog could take anything I say wrong. If I pushed her, I feared I would shove her beyond all help.

I instructed Greasy Sae that if Katniss were to ask for me that she should come get me at once. I told her to keep me up to date on her condition. Each day I stood at the window watching her house and begging her to stir and seek me out. I couldn't bring myself to go. Nightmares of my own showed me each day that one wrong word and I would find her hanging dead. I knew the sight of her lost for all time would break me. It became such a terrible fear I couldn't function. I barraged Greasy Sae each day with questions, but Katniss didn't come to me or ask for me. At night I would sneak into her house and watch over her, a shadow that she never became aware of.

I realized she never would find any awareness of how I felt. "Please Sweetheart, forgive me." I whispered over and over to the darkness. I did fall into the bottle finally once I saw that any hope I had of her caring for me enough to even seek my friendship had been lost the moment I left Peeta behind. I was fooling myself to think she more than grudgingly tolerated me. I had thought she might at least come check on me to see if I had plummeted into some harm if I stayed away. I hoped she would rouse herself to seek me. My plan worked like my life. Sae's reports of her, brought me more despair than I could stand. She was not alive but she wasn't exactly dead either. Sometimes she ate and sometimes she never touched her food. Mostly she slept or stared into the fire.

Peeta called often. I told him to hurry. I admitted to him how little good I was doing her. He agreed with me that pushing her would probably be the last straw. When Peeta returned my duty was over.

The day after he arrived, she changed her cloths. Bow in hand she headed into the woods. I rejoiced at first then shuddered in fear that she had taken a rope with her. I sung her song under my breath, the one about the hanging tree, and I vowed that if that girl did make her song come to life, I would find her. I would be the one who joined her there.

I cried as I finally saw her return on the wagon of the body gatherers. It was almost like they were giving her a return ride because she wasn't quite cold enough to ride in the back yet. Peeta visited me often, but Katniss never did.

My hope was gone and my life meant no more to me than a full bottle. Haymitch Abernathy once again played the roll that suited him best. I drank until I passed out, an unlovable fool once more.

Peeta talked me into it. The kids were making a book of memories. A book of the lost ones. I had 46 memories to add. I only had to be a little sober to recall each of my lost children. I had saved two of them out of 48. It wasn't enough, but it meant they had not died without someone who had once had hope.

These were not the hungry children of my nightmares who taunted me for failing them and devoured my soul in the darkness. I didn't put the anguished faces I drank away in the book. I remembered their smiles again. I put the good things I knew about each of them, during the day, in the book, and one by one the hungry restless ones began to let me rest.