Authors note: This is my first Hunger Game fanfiction, and I hope that you enjoy it =]. NOTE this is NOT a love story between Effie and Haymitch, its just an idea I had that I thought would be interesting to use. Please let me know what you think 3 Happy reading and May the odds be ever in your favor
Disclaimer: I don't own any of the content that is recognizable as belonging to somebody else.
My mother didn't approve of capitol fashions, something that we quibbled about often. I wanted to wear wigs, have tattoos spread across in all directions. I wanted to wear the different fashions that caught my eyes: fur leggings, costumes, intricate bits of fabric sewn together in ways that revealed skin in almost inappropriate ways. I wanted it so much that I could taste my arguments for it curling like chocolate against my tongue. She never listened to my arguments, shooting them down. The sweet taste would melt away, and what moments ago would be a chocolate covered strawberry, would be reduced to nothing but a stone covered in mud.
As the wife and daughter of a high ranking official mother put me through my paces until slouching when sitting became an abomination. When slurping at spoon fulls of soup is looked at like burping at the table. "You must present yourself as a lady no matter what circumstances you are in." For me my mother would let her smile drop, it was serious whenever we talked. Tea time was a must and we would sit sipping silently at the neutral drink. Neutral like the walls around me. Neutral like the pastel dresses that draped modestly around my shoulders with a soft shell scoop. All the dresses had the same shape to them, hourglass to show off my body, but the dress was long enough and the bows decorating the top around my waist kept the attention from my figure. White tights, nylons, long socks. Anything but actual skin. High heels were always attached to my feet, modest colors, modest jewelry, modest hair styles. Modest was the key to my mothers fashion sense.
When I turned seventeen I stayed the night with one of my friends, a girl who was engulfed in the capital fashions. I could spend hours trying on her clothes, her wigs, her make up, and her jewelry. The bigger the heels the better. Her family was laid back, letting golden swoops curl around her arms. I wanted tattoos like hers. She'd grown tired of listening to my whining and that night we left her house to go "see a movie" when in all reality we'd gone to a tattoo shop.
"I really shouldn't" I tried to argue, a strange taste resting against my tongue.
"You've wanted this forever. Just get it." Her hair was pulled up to the side and arranged up into strange twists and covered in flowers. Her dress had no sleeves, the top barely existed as it was. The bottom looked like a cotton ball, round and fluffy, worse her legs were bare and the heels on her shoes were so high and thin they were almost like toothpicks, really long toothpicks. The bell above the shop tinkles with the capitol accent.
The taste on my tongue spreads, strangely metallic with a hidden sweetness of vanilla. A touch of spice, and the sweet cloying smell of mint. The shop was noisy, a whirring sound of needles fighting above the sound of music, strange techno beats mixed with classical components and enigmatic lyrics. Nothing my mother would have wanted me to listen to. And then I was able to place the taste on my tongue. It was the taste of rebellion.
Two days after my mother found out about my tattoo, large swooping golden lines that danced against the skin of my stomach. It was the quarter quell, something my mother had no interest in. My father was the game maker this year, meaning that we would need to be present for the interviews in front of the training center, we would also need to be present during interviews, watching segments of the games, and most of all at the end of the game we would need to be in the room with the victor for the interview.
There's nothing like having your mother choose your clothes to make an argument worse. My mother pushed a pale pink dress in my arms, daring me to argue. The taste of rebellion sat along my tongue, waiting. Hidden behind my bookshelf was a bag that my friend had given me. In it was a sleeveless red satin dress, that covered my breasts, but disappeared into straps until the skirt edge caught them, tying them into large red bows of submission. The dress stopped above my knee caps, but only by an inch or two. The heels were taller than I usually wore, with a skinny heel and a peep hole for my toes to poke through. They were half black and half white, with a bow marrying the two colors together. I put my hair to the side, and instead of throwing product in it and twisting it into tiny snakes, I let the brown curls rest against the side of my head, accentuating the subtle make-up that I'd applied. Rebelling is hard work after all and to step out of the shell too quickly is to set yourself up for disaster.
My mother refused to look at me the whole ride over, even though I sat the way she had taught me. As soon as the doors were opening for our entrance she let her smile fall into place, natural and soft. Her dress was long, and hugged her curves. Her hair was pulled up into an elaborate bun, and she hooked her arm around my fathers so easily that I wasn't sure she was my mother. I took my fathers other arm, and followed as we went towards our seats.
This would be the first time I would see him. A boy who looked as sweet as rebellion tasted. He was tall, with dark shaggy hair, olive skin, and grey eyes. His hair had been styled once, there were traces of the product that sparked a bit in the light, and as other tributes talked, I watched as he rubbed his hair into disarray. When it was finally his turn to speak I was on the edge of my seat. He smiled, a wide blindingly white smile, his eyes crinkled at the edges and he joked easily with Ceaser, though there was an undercurrent under his pleasant words. He was dangerous, something about the way his eyes darkened when he smiled, or how the corner of his mouth twitched after he said something nice about the capitol.
"Haymitch Abernathy everybody" Ceaser's voice is booming and exuberant. We rise for the anthem, my eyes never leaving this mysterious boy who stands apart from the other three tributes from his district.
"Shall we Effie?" My fathers capitol accent interrupts, his way of pronouncing certain vowel sounds setting him up as unique. I love my father, not that I don't love my mother, but I have always found an affinity to my father. Where my mother is strict, quiet, and routine orientated my father is boisterous, spontaneous, and he was always attempting to eat or wear something new. He liked my tattoo and offered to buy me matching ones for my arms.
I switch my gaze to the closest hat, not wanting to get caught staring at the tribute boy, "Is the mockingjay on the top of her hat upside down?" My father laughs and ushers me down to the platform where I am introduced to Ceasar before my mother rushes us back to the car.
"These games aren't fit for young ladies to watch." She was unpinning my hair, determined to push sense into my mind. "I don't want you watching it."
"It'll be on every television anyway, and we have to stand by dad during all of his speeches." I made my tone bored, I didn't want my mother to feel how keyed up I was about seeing Haymitch on the television, and how much of my allowance I was going to sponsor him with.
My mother is silent for a long while, leaving only the plink of the pins in the glass bowl. Then she is humming a song that I used to ask her to sing to me before bed. It's slow with only a few alternating pitches. I'm not sure whats on my mothers mind. Maybe it's seeing the tributes up close this year, seeing their faces so alive in person instead of through the screen, a safe distance.
"You are my sunshine my only sunshine, you make me happy when skies are grey. You'll never know dear how much I love you. Please don't take my sunshine away." The song is simple, and without the capitol accent attached to it like a leech it hurts my heart a little. My mother is definitely thinking what it would be like for me to be on that stage tonight, or fighting in the arena.
She doesn't speak again, though she brushes my hair, plants a kiss on my forehead, and leaves the room. As soon as she leaves my mind goes back to Haymitch, his cool eyes looking into mine. I become a flurry of action running to my closet and pulling my saved up allowance from the inside of a yellow high heel. I count it quickly to make sure the numbers in my head are the same, and I call my friend.
He'd won. I was ecstatic that he'd won. I'd be in the audience tonight for his interview, and then I'd see him again at the end of the tour. When my mom offers me a yellow dress, I don't argue and put it on quickly, setting to work on my curls, which I bunch together and tie a knot into it so the curls spill over my left shoulder. I line my eyes with gold and black, flipping the ends up to look like wings. I wear my yellow high heels, which until recently held my hidden stash of money. What's a better way to celebrate than by wearing the heels that let me sponsor him?
There are hardly any seats left, and we're lucky that my dad is the Game maker this year, otherwise we wouldn't be sitting at all. He is there, looking perfect. There aren't any scars, and his hair is so disheveled that I can see the grimaces on his prep teams faces as they come out and bow. Theres a taste on my tongue. Sweet like sugar, tart like lemon, and smooth like honey. His voice is rough and gravely, he looks tired, but the prep team has hidden this fairly well. I want nothing more than to hug him. I watch his face instead of the recaps, his expression doesn't change, but we're close enough that I can see how his grey eyes react. This is the last time I'll see this boy.
It's the night of the party, I'm allowed to choose my own dress, which is a dark blue. It's a halterneck dress with a heart shaped cut to the chest. It clings to my body, which although short is slim. It hits under my knees, leaving a short expanse of my legs before sloping down my blue heels. The heels have black bows on the top of the toes, and a lace pattern that frames my feet. My hair is twisted up away from my neck. Pearls sit around my neck, and all together I think I look like I came from the 1950's, a time I learned about in my fashion class.
The party is in full swing when we arrive, fashionably late as always, and the tables are still filled with food, the dance floor is bustling with the newest dance craze, and there in the middle of huge group of middle-aged men and women, Haymitch is standing. He smiles occasionally, listening to them chatter about what they were doing during the games. His expression is one of interest and he looks friendly enough, however there is something about his eyes that send little shivers up my back.
"Haymitch!" My father's voice booms out, and the crowd slowly disappears as they shake hands, "I'd like to introduce you to my wife Mary and my daughter Effie."
"Nice to meet you Mrs. Trinket, Miss Trinket." His hand in mine sends butterflies through me and I can't help but smile shyly at him.
"Congratulations." My voice is quiet and his smile is dazzling.
"Thank you." There's an edge to his words, I can't place it but it's unsettling. He is pulled away by President Snow soon afterwards.
It's been years since I've seen Haymitch anywhere other than on television. It's my first year working as a chaperone for District 12, something that I am more than pleased about, though I don't let it on when I'm around others.
"It's somewhere to start," I've adopted the capitol accent, except for when I'm at home with my mother, "Hopefully we'll have a winner and I'll be able to move up to another district soon."
The train has pulled into the station and I'm excited to see how things have changed. I want to see him, let him know that I haven't forgotten him. I pat my hair down, I'd debated wearing a wig but I wasn't sure if Haymitch would remember me. I'd settled on a brown wig with intricate weaves and twists. Tonight is a dinner party with Haymitch, the Mayor and his family, and I. It doesn't happen often but because it's my first year they wanted to explain how it usually goes.
Haymitch's hand in mine is clammy, and his eyes look glossy. "I think I've seen you before." His breath reeks and I can feel my image of him slipping. I knew he was drunk during the games, but they hadn't started yet. Did I just assume he didn't drink when he was home? There's a taste on my tongue broccoli, rancid cheese, and mustard. Along with the taste theres a dull ache in my chest.
His hand is still gripping mine, I smile at him, though it's full of false feeling, "I was at your party when you won the games."
"Thats right." he shakes the finger on his other hand near my face. "You're the pretty girl with the game maker." He kisses me. I'm not sure if he falls over his words and thats the reason his lips are against mine, or if it's because he wanted to. All I know is that I want this to end. The dinner, the night, the games even just to get away from this broken image.
It's when I'm back in my cabin on the train that I remember my mother, and I feel silly for using the accent, for the wig, and for my bubble dress. I put the wig back on the mannequin, let one shoe fall off near the door and the other closer to the bed. My dress is crumpled on the floor in the bathroom. I scrub at my face washing away the made up image, feeling the need to look like I'm seventeen again. I don't look in the mirror because I'm afraid that the image of five years ago will look back, the wanting to belong to the capitol image. The taste of rebellion fresh on my tongue, too sweet for me to handle now, and the feelings of infatuation for the good looking drunk in the dark town outside my window.
I lay in bed for a long while, the deafening sound of silence reverberating. District 12 is so unlike the capitol where nobody sleeps, and where nobody tastes rejection. Shallow feelings, and images of popular fashion, foods, or technology. All I want is to call my mother, sit face to face with her while we drink tea, and tell her she is right. I settle on the only thing I can get in District 12. A couple of peppermint tea, a taste that covers my tongue, wrapping it in a blanket of warmth. I sip and dream of a different reunion with Haymitch. One where he is sober and I'm not a made up capitol citizen. I dream of our first meeting, his hand warm in mine, his smile real, and the feeling of his warm lips on the back of my hand sending the feeling of rebellious satisfaction racing across my skin.