Haymitch sits, slumped in his chair, a bottle of liquor in his hand. It never leaves his hand, but he drinks from it less often. He is still drunk, but sober enough to help the kids in the arena. He half watches them as he chokes down some more alcohol. They are killing him. I have watched him mentor forty tributes over the past twenty year, including this pair. There were eight others before I became the escort for District 12. He drowned out their faces in a drunken stupor. He knew he couldn't get them home, so he didn't even try. I don't think he's tried at anything since the last cannon blew at the fiftieth Hunger Games. The Second Quarter Quell. Where his world was ripped apart and he lost himself.
He still hasn't found himself. I don't know if he ever will. But at least he is trying again. He is trying to save these tributes. I'm not sure if he knows why he is doing this, but I do. And with the new revision, there is the slightest possibility that both could come home. That is, if the Capitol played fair. Which they don't. They never have. They are just working towards the most epic ending in Hunger Game history. Two lovers pitted against each other in a fight to the death.
"I don't want it to come down to the two of them." I whisper nervously, watching the screen. I stand beside Haymitch's chair. I cannot sit. I am too anxious.
Katniss tends to Peeta's wounds, but the boy is in bad shape. They'll be lucky if they can move from the riverbank, let alone find decent shelter. But they are survivors. If anyone can beat the odds, it will be them. Katniss is so much like Haymitch. Far too stubborn to die. And Peeta, well he has something to live for, something he loves. If I understand him as well as I think I do, he will not go quietly in the night. He will survive, because she needs him. But in the end it won't matter. The Capitol will only let one of them come home, the revision is a trick, only they don't see it yet. Which only makes it that much more cruel.
I feel Haymitch's eyes on me. I glance over at him. His eyes are much clearer than they have been in years. While they are still glassy from drink, they are not lost in an unreachable stupor.
"Whatever do you mean Effie?" He asks condescendingly. "The Capitol says two can come home, surely you don't think they'll break their word."
I roll my eyes and glare at him, holding back a biting retort. He smirks for a second, but then his expression shifts. His eyes flash dangerously. There is a crazed look in his eyes. He sees something that he has never noticed before. I know what he has recognized, even before he does. Seam eyes.
He can see it now, the merchant blue eyes. Maybe it's the lack of alcohol in his system. Maybe it's just the first time in twenty years that he is actually looking at me. Maybe it's because he's finally ready to see. He stares intently into my shockingly blue eyes.
"Who are you?" He whispers.
He grabs my wrist and pulls me toward him. His grip is so tight that it hurts. He pulls me so close that I can feel his hot, liquor laced breath on my face. It makes my eyes water. I look away from him, but his other hand grabs my chin and turns my face back towards him. Our eyes meet again. I stare into his steel gray eyes. They seem so focused and years of drinking are erased. For a second he is the young man who beat the odds and won the Hunger Games.
For the first time in twenty-four years, I think he might be ready for the truth. I glance past him to be sure we are still alone. I lean in closer to him until my lips brush against his ear and I whisper softly, so as not to be overheard.
"We'd live longer the two of us."
Haymitch jerks back as though I have physically struck him. He stares at me wordlessly. For the first time ever, Haymitch Abernathy is completely thrown for a loop. Recognition dawns slowly in his gray eyes as he looks past the years and surgical alterations.
"I guess you just proved that." He replies with a smirk, trying to regain his trademark detachment.
With those six words I know he knows everything. Maybe not the details, but he knows the truth. Effie Trinket has never existed. The woman before him is none other than Maysilee Donner. The girl who died in his arms. The girl who took his heart to her grave. The girl who beat the Capitol at their own game.
I look away from Haymitch and notice Katniss on the screen. The pin on her shirt. The Mockingjay. Her token, but really it is my token. The bird that is a slap in the face to the Capitol. The unintended mutation. The bird that was never meant to exist.
I may have worn it during my game, but I was never the Mockingjay. The Capitol choose me, made me what I am. Katniss is the Mockingjay. The Capitol didn't plan for her to be in the Games. And now she mocks them, forcing them to change their rules. Capturing the heart of the districts with her song.
I am not the Mockingjay. I made the Mockingjay. I played the Capitol for the fools they are. I deceived all of Panem. I broke the man who sits before me.
I live even though the Capitol decreed I should die for a crime that was not my own. I thrive in a different form than was originally mine. I undermine the Capitol and everything they stand for with every breath I take. Because I am what they made me. But I have become more than they ever imagined I could be.
I am the Jabberjay.
So, I am on a not so temporary hiatus from my other stories, but I had this idea and I really liked it. If you think I should turn it into a longer story, let me know.