A/N: Er, hello! This is my first foray into HG fanfiction, mostly because I was sorely disappointed in the lack of Hayffie fics. Come on guys! I decided to give a bit of a backstory to Effie, mostly, and a bit of Haymitch, leading up to and past the 74th Hunger Games.
I was originally planning this as a oneshot, but I split it into two parts. Mostly so I can get some feedback to see what you guys want out of it.
The first time Effie Trinket was sent to District 12, to reap those poor, innocent souls, she was twenty-three years old. Her father was able to convince President Snow into letting his vivacious, charming, and worldly daughter into becoming an escort. Secretly, she knew he had paid him quite a sum of money, but the guilt that should have washed over her was absent. This was what she wanted to do, she wanted to serve the Capitol, she wanted to work for the Games, her favorite pastime.
But then she was told she would be working in District 12.
Her heart sunk. She was fairly certain that there was only one living victor, and he was a drunk, and she can't stand the sight of alcohol. Her father drank so much sometimes that it scared her, and she vowed to herself she would never touch a glass. As she watched the scenery pass by, sitting on the train in a lush, blue armchair, she glanced at all the clear bottles filled with multi-colored liquor on the table in front of her. She sighed.
Standing up, she grabbed two bottles in each hand and shoved them into a drawer beneath the table. She repeated the process, nearly tripping over a run in the rug. Frustrated, she kicked off her pale green pumps and slammed the door of the drawer shut.
There would be absolutely no drinking on her train. She would have none of it, no matter how badly this Haymitch would react to her decree.
Flora Peterhouse and Gunner Kempa.
Those are the names of the tributes she drew from the huge, glass bowls. The girl was small, lithe, and her freckled face was pinched with sobs that she tried so desperately to internalize. The boy wasn't much larger than her, and looked just like the rest of the people there in the Seam.
Effie made them shake hands, and she looked over the crowd in front of her. There were so many other children that could have made better tributes. She couldn't even imagine how these two would fare with a Career pummeling them to the ground, impaling them with a sword, having arrows run right through their heads. She shivered, and as she walked the two in the Justice Building, she paused.
The smell of liquor, of a man completely soaked in it, filled her nostrils. It nearly made her gag.
Before she could find the source, however, a raspy voice spoke from behind her.
"Oh, well, look at you! Thought it would be nice having a new escort from the Capitol," he said with much disdain, "but you are a treat, darlin'. Divine."
"So lovely to meet you, Mr. Abernathy," she said, without missing a beat.
He chuckled, waving the bottle of liquor in his hand enthusiastically, "It's Haymitch to you, Miss Trinket."
She pulled a prim smile, her hands clasping in front of her satin, embellished, turquoise blouse. "Well, then, you may call me Effie. Only if we are to be friends, of course."
He took a swig from the bottle. "It'll be nice getting to know you, Miss Trinket."
The man emphasized her name. They were not to be friends, she assumed. She had heard about what happened to his family after his Games, but he defied the rules. He had to have been punished in some way, there was no doubt about that. It always goes badly when one of the tributes tries to outsmart the Game, everyone knows that, and so should have he. She felt no sympathy.
Tucking a strand of white-blonde hair behind her ear, she cleared her throat, told him she would see him on the train, and stalked off promptly, heels clicking on the stone floor.
She heard his chuckle again as she set off, and she could feel his eyes burning into her. Violated was the only word she could come up with that described her feelings at that particular moment.
Effie hardly spoke to Haymitch on the train ride to the Capitol. She spoke to the tributes about the Capitol, about its ways, its culture, anything and everything about her home. Haymitch interrupted a few times to get them to come to his car, to give them tips she hoped, but seeing the looks on their faces afterwards she suspected otherwise.
Flora began sobbing every time Effie would mention the Games, and Gunner would merely grab her hand and stare daggers at Effie. If he were only a few years older, she thought, he would be the perfect tribute. She could tell he had just hit puberty... he was lanky, definitely still thin for his height, and he hardly spoke for fear of his voice cracking in front of her. He was transitioning. He wasn't a boy or a man. And Flora... well, perhaps she was quick, or agile.
Deep in her heart, though, Effie knew there was no chance her District would be winning the Games this year.
That night in the train, she sat in her bed, crying softly. Her tributes, these children, were going to die in two weeks time.
She felt so barbaric for watching this festival of murder every year since she can remember. She reveled in it, she looked forward to it, she picked favorites and was disappointed when they died. She never cried. These were people on a television screen, what's there to cry about?
But when she saw them in person, watched their reactions as she reaped them, caught glimpses of their mothers and fathers and siblings crying in the hallway of the Justice Building, saw their faces when Haymitch blatantly told them there is no hope... it all comes crashing down.
She couldn't do this.
Their apartment was lovely, and it had been lovely living there for two weeks. That day was the day of the tribute assessment. Effie watches as Flora and Gunner eat breakfast while drinking her tea, and Haymitch drinks his own morning brew, whatever it was. The children were already suited up in their training gear, and Haymitch had only bothered to throw a robe on over his poor excuse for pajamas.
She gives the children well wishes and she watches Haymitch walk them to the elevator, still in his pajamas, and gives him a pleading, despondent look. This was it. This decided the fate of these children. Anything lower than a six and they were gone, she knew it.
He responded with a smile. It was small, probably defined more as a smirk, but it's the first time Effie remembers him feeling the same as she did.
Gunner received a six. Flora, surprisingly, garnered a nine.
Perhaps this wouldn't be bad as she had expected, Effie thought. She saw the grin on Haymitch's face when Flora's score was announced. He was proud, and he was desperate for her to win. She had to. Neither of them could imagine her cold, dead body being retrieved from the arena.
It was just Flora and the male tribute from District 2 left. Effie didn't sleep anymore, ever since the girl from District 1 was eliminated from the equation. She sat with Haymitch in the living room, their eyes never leaving the television screen. There was Flora, a thirteen-year-old girl, pitched against an eighteen-year-old man twice the size of her.
He was hunting her. Taunting her. Calling out her name. Screaming things like, "I hope you said proper goodbyes to your family! You are going to die tonight, Flora!"
The arena was a desert that year. Luckily, Flora had discovered the art of burying herself in the sand, underneath bits of brush to cover her face. That was how she survived so long.
Haymitch had stopped drinking days beforehand. Completely focused on getting sponsors, getting anything to help this precious girl out.
Except now... now, all they had to rely on was the girl itself. She had to pull this off herself. She had yet to kill any of the tributes, and she had no weapons on her body. There was a bit of wire in her pocket, possibly thin enough to pierce the skin and cut through the carotid if she were able to get it round his neck. Effie highly doubted that this thought had crossed Flora's mind. She wasn't vicious by nature, and certainly nothing had changed in her way of thinking.
Flora died that morning, just as the sun was rising in the arena. The light had glinted off the tears on her face, and the District 2 boy found her in no time. He grabbed her by the scalp, yanking her out of her dugout, and pressed his knife to her throat.
"Anything you want to say?" He whispered fiercely into her ear, spatting a little.
She struggled against his grip for a moment, and then finally stilled. Acceptance washed over her face.
"I'm... I'm so sorry," she said, in her meek little voice. It cut through Effie's heart. She was saying it to her, to Haymitch, to Gunner, to everyone who had any hope in her chances of winning.
The boy drug the knife across her throat so slowly, so agonizingly slow that Effie nearly vomited from the sounds of the girl whimpering and gurgling. When he thrust her body to the ground, and raised his fists into the air in a bloody triumph, a raw, ragged sob escaped from her mouth.
There was a crash of glass hitting a hard surface, followed by a roar of frustration by Haymitch. He had tossed his glass of water at the wall, and all of the shards went flying in her direction. Effie felt one slice through the skin of her cheek, so slightly, enough for it to burn when her salty tears traversed over it.
"Goddammit, Effie!" He screamed, his face red with rage. The first time he had used her given name... she would always connect the memory of this day every time he said her name from then on.
Effie still sat on the sofa, though, her feet crossed beneath her. She hadn't moved since Flora was killed.
"Effie...Effie...god, fuck this!" Haymitch had stomped over to the liquor cabinet, and began throwing everything everywhere. There were bottles hitting walls, mirrors, the dining table, against the liquor cabinet itself.
Finally, Effie had had enough. "Haymitch! Stop this at once!" She yelled, turning around on the sofa to face him.
He looked at her, eyes puffy with tears. He let the last bottle he held in his hands clatter to the tile floor, and ran his hands through his hair frantically.
"Effie, she could have done it. She could have fucking done it! She gave up! That little brat fucking gave up," he bellowed, his voice raspy with tears.
"I know," she said, shakily. "I know, Haymitch. We all believed in her."
He laughed. Cackled was more like it. "Oh god, Effie, stop saying things like that! You sound so fucking sentimental like this is some pastime, and I'm sure it is for you and your flouncy, posh Capitol life, but do you know what it is for us? It is a constant fear. Have you ever been constantly afraid of something, Effie? Hmm? Do you know what it's like for it to eat away at you? That girl was terrified the whole time, and she died thinking everyone had given up on her, and you sit here with your cute little tears for now and then you're off living it up in a couple of days!"
Every word of this felt like a sword to the stomach. The color drained out of her face, and she watched Haymitch heaving with heavy breaths.
"You have no idea, Haymitch Abernathy, what I have been feeling since I showed up in District 12 for the reaping. I was the one who condemned those children to death. I was the one responsible for Flora. I can't be like you, drowning my sorrows because I, unlike you, have a reputation to uphold!" She screamed at him, her blue eyes darkening with anger.
Haymitch threw his hands back in the air. "Oh, your reputation, is that it?"
Finally, Effie stood up and stalked towards him, bits of glass sticking to the bottom of her slippers. She pushed against his shoulders, and felt a bit proud when he thumped against the wall behind him. "I can't believe you. You know out of all people that it's all on me to keep your District looking any bit reputable, because you won't stop making a fool of yourself and drinking your liver to smithereens! You tell those children that they have no hope in winning, they are the underdogs, and that in this competition, the underdogs never come out on top. What good does that do to them? Please tell me, Haymitch, before I-"
Effie stopped suddenly when his hands gripped the back of her head and pulled her towards him, pressing their lips together in a heated fury. She whimpered against his mouth in protest, but relented when his hands moved to cup her cheeks. His mouth opened nearly at once, his teeth grazing, biting her bottom lip before she opened her own.
The pit of her stomach knotted up when his tongue entered her mouth, and she pulled away immediately. Her small hands were up against his chest, and she could feel his heart beating furiously. "Haymitch," she whispered dejectedly, "we're not in the right mindset for this."
One of his hands came up to stroke its thumb against the back of hers, and he sighed, leaning his head back against the wall. His eyes lowered to hers. They were still red. "Sorry, Eff," he said, and turned on his heel to walk to his room, leaving Effie standing alone amongst the destruction of their apartment.
A/N: Second part is coming soon, I promise. :)
Please review if you can, they make me so happy!