A/N: Um, so, I was definitely not expecting all of the response I got for the first chapter! I am just so overwhelmed, you guys! So far, in all of the fandoms I've been a part of, THG has certainly been the nicest I've ever come across. I can honestly say that I nearly cried while I was reading one review (er...female problems), but it was anonymous and I couldn't reply. So thank you so much anon :)

I also have to say I didn't start shipping Hayffie until I saw the movie, so a lot of it is based on that, and not particularly on the way they are portrayed in the books. Blasphemy, I know!

That day was filled with tons of press. Even Caesar Flickerman came by to speak with Effie, his cameramen in tow. She made sure to smile a lot, to look as pleased as possible with the results. No one had come that far in the Games from District 12 since Haymitch himself, she said to him. Caesar wished her luck with her next year as escort. She still wasn't sure she could continue doing this.

Haymitch hadn't bothered leaving his room during all of the interviews. Effie had to tell them that he was exhausted because he had stayed up for two days straight watching the competition, even though she knew it was a lie. She knew there was no way he could sleep right now. He had essentially destroyed every drop of alcohol in the whole apartment, and recently Effie had discovered that his one and only vice was his one and only ticket to slumber.

When all the reporters had left, and the apartment was finally quiet again, she tottered over to Haymitch's room. She wanted to finish speaking to him about last night. Knocking on the door, she unsurprisingly received no reply.

So Effie did something normally she wouldn't ever do. She pushed herself through that door without an invitation. Haymitch was laying in the middle of his bed, on his back, with his hands clasped loosely on his chest.

"They gone now?" He asked, not bothering to look away from the ceiling.

Effie smiled from the doorway. "Yes, of course. They have the victor's team to speak to."

She stood there for a few moments, watching his unmoving form. The grimace on his face was undeniable. But she wasn't the only one that felt like every last drop of hope had been removed from her soul, and shoved into a cage where it can be torn to shreds by all this publicity.

She stepped out of her heels in the doorway, her feet relishing in the soft, cushiony carpet.

Moving towards the mirror, she began unpinning her lavender wig, her back to Haymitch. She made sure the little pieces of metal were all in a row on his dresser. When she pulled the net that kept her real hair in place, the blonde mess fell out unceremoniously.

She heard him turn over. If she weren't covered by her usual thick make-up, he certainly would have seen the blush rise in her cheeks. Her hands gripped the edge of the dresser, willing herself to turn around.

"Effie," he said, his voice softer than usual. It surprised her enough to turn around. He smiled at her appearance, but then pointed to her face with a lazy finger. "Why do you wear all that?"

She cleared her throat, leaning against the dresser uncomfortably. "I would be a laughing stock if I didn't. I'm a professional, Haymitch, I have to look like this at all times."

Her voice was strong and unfaltering. Haymitch looked impressed.

"C'mere," he murmured, and she promptly followed his orders. She watched him roll over and grab a tissue from his nightstand, dipping it in the glass of water sitting on top of it. When he turned to face her again, she was sitting on the edge of the bed, legs folded underneath her.

The wet tissue touched her face, making a downward swipe down her left cheek. Effie flinched, her fingers digging into her knees. Her face wasn't horrendous, she knew she was a pretty girl, but no one had seen her like this in years. No one had seen her pink-tinted skin, the little beauty mark in the middle of her cheek, or the faint freckles that coated her nose since she was sixteen. Now she could add the raised little cut caused by the flying glass this morning to the list.

Haymitch noticed her discomfort. "I just want to see you," he said softly, "before I go. I have to see you."

She felt every layer being peeled off. Haymitch went through three tissues during the process, and Effie was so terrified of his reaction because he wasn't making any. His face was set in that normal frown of his, the corners of his lips turned down into the blonde scruff on his chin. When he finally threw the last tissue on the ground, covered in white and pink and turquoise, he sat up, gazing fully at her naked face.

Effie wanted so much to cover it up with her hands.

"About this morning," she began, looking down at her lap. Her skirt had risen up to a level she did not consider proper, and she nearly considered pulling it back down again. That was before Haymitch's hand slid over her own.

Her blue eyes focused on his, and she watched as his mouth opened ever so slightly, trying to find words. "Nothing happened this morning. Nothing is going to happen tonight. This is nothing, Effie," he whispered, and she gasped when his hands moved to grip her waist and pulled her towards him. "You are so beautiful, Effie. So real."

Her heart fluttered at his words and then intensified when his lips came into contact with her throat. She moved to lean back, but he pressed her even closer to him. Effie Trinket was kneeling in a bed with a drunkard from District 12, letting his mouth assault her neck and the collarbone that was exposed by her asymmetrical blouse and the delicate space in between. She hardly noticed that his hands had moved from her waist to the buttons that ran down one side of her blouse, unbuttoning them with expert fingers.

His lips finally came into contact with her own after her blouse was shed, tossed carelessly to the floor. His scruff made her face burn, but it was worth it. This was all worth it.

Haymitch laid back on the bed, causing Effie to have no choice but to straddle his hips in order to keep their heated contact. Her skirt rose enough for him to catch a glimpse of her pale blue lacy underthings just before she writhed against his hardness, and he couldn't help but to groan into her mouth.

One of Effie's hands played with the hem of his sweater, her fingers ever so lightly grazing over the hair below his navel. She felt him smile against her mouth, and her hands froze.

"You've never done this before, princess?" He rasped, pushing them both back up so he could dispose of his sweater.

"Of course I have!" She responded, completely startled by the nature of his question. So intrusive, so ungentlemanly, she thought.

"Good," he said, moving his hands around her back to unclasp her bra, "because this shouldn't be something important for you. D'you understand?"

She knew she should have said no, that she should have stood up and left him there, half-clothed and filled with unrequited lust. That's really what he deserved right then after the antics he pulled that morning.

But she didn't stop. All of their clothes were rid of in seconds, his hands traveling to places that normally, she wouldn't ever want them. But it felt so right, and this was what she needed, she needed to make everything feel better. He was the only person who knew how she felt, how she couldn't breathe anymore.

And as she slid onto him, began her slow, deep, undulations, heard his groans and whispers against her ear, she knew that this had to be something more than what he had implied.

It had to be.

Effie was given a chance to escort a more popular district. She turned it down in a heartbeat. Over the next ten years, she lived off of the glances they would share, any time he stood less than a foot away from her, the snide remarks he would make about her way of dress. She even really didn't mind the inappropriate touches she would receive when he had a bit too much to drink. The remainder of the year she would spend as a caricature of herself, parading around with her fake smile plastered on her face and her fingers always gripping the stem of her glass just for a reminder that she had to make it through the day. And the next. And the next. Just waiting for the day she would hop on that train and she could see him.

Together, they watched all of their tributes die. After Flora, Haymitch seemed to realize they would get nowhere near to having a victor. When she became teary-eyed and quiet after any tribute of theirs ceased to exist, he would give a great heave of breath and seclude himself in his room with his liquor.

They never spoke after both of the District 12 tributes were gone. In fact, Haymitch would be gone the next available train.

Her heart broke for the man. Required by law to form an attachment to these children, required by law to attempt to save them, and required by law to watch them die.

So, as she sat on the train with their new tributes, Peeta Mellark and Katniss Everdeen, she waited for Haymitch to enter the room. Noticing that he wasn't coming any time soon, and the lack of conversation she was getting from the two teenagers was getting on her nerves, she hopped up to go and find Haymitch.

Surprisingly, she didn't find him near the bar. She traveled further down the train, to where his room was, and found him sitting on his bed, head bent back and holding a dirty handkerchief to his nose.

Hand on the doorframe, she laughed. "I have to say, Haymitch, that was not your best moment."

He swatted his hand towards her general direction, indicating his displeasure with her presence. "Sometimes, the edge of that stage sorta blends in with everything else, you know..."

Effie sighed exasperatedly and walked forward to grab the cloth out of his hand. "No excuses, Haymitch."

She began wiping off the excess blood from his face. His eyes were closed, a content smile formed on his lips, and she wouldn't have been surprised if he had fallen asleep. But of course, that was not the case.

"I don't think I could do this without you, Eff," he said, no louder than a murmur. He was so inebriated that Effie couldn't take him seriously.

"What? Clean up after yourself?" She smiled, folding the cloth into a neat little square and setting it on the nightstand.

"No... this. Preparing these kids to die," he said, getting up and pushing her lithe form away from him as he walked past.

Effie pursed her lips, not bothering to turn around. "Haymitch, just go talk to them. I heard the girl is actually quite promising."

By the time she turned her head to look at him, he had already left. She sniffed, taking one last look at the bloody handkerchief on his nightstand, and turned to leave for her room.

Effie did not like the girl at all. She was arrogant, rude, and she and Haymitch argued constantly. They were providing her with all these luxuries and all she did was complain. It annoyed Effie to no end.

"Come on, princess, if you were her, wouldn't you be a little on edge too? She does have about a four percent chance of survival in the coming weeks," he said, swirling his drink in the glass at the dinner table. Effie had been offended by Katniss's remark about her job, that she was a heartless woman for doing this for all these years.

The funny thing was, the only reason Effie had stayed so long was because she had a heart. And she couldn't leave Haymitch to wither away. She knew he would if there ever was to be a new escort.

"She volunteered. She knew what she was getting herself into, Haymitch," she said venomously.

Peeta shifted uncomfortably in his seat.

"I think she's going to end up doing more than that," Haymitch responded. "The girl is smart. She's strong."

Effie huffed. "Well, we'll see about that."

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the victors of the 74th Annual Hunger Games...

They won. They won. They won.

She gave out a righteous squeal when it was announced, jumping up with the rest of her team in unison. Cinna wrapped his arm around her shoulders, squeezing her to him. Haymitch had lifted Portia into the air in celebration. She couldn't help but feel a twinge of jealousy, but shook it off because of the sheer absurdity of it.

Not but a minute later, the press was hounding at the door. It felt like hours they were speaking to them, accepting congratulations, and waiting for the moment they could finally see them again. According to the medics, it would be a while.

They sat outside of the room where Katniss and Peeta were being repaired, so to speak, hand-in-hand. Cinna kept eyeballing them from down the hallway, and Portia didn't even bother to look. Or didn't want to.

"This is unreal," she whispered, head resting on his shoulder. "I can't believe any of this."

She felt his body shake with a small chuckle. "You and me both, Eff."

Effie sighed against his shoulder. "Haymitch," she began, looking up at his face. He hadn't shaved in probably a week, and she really didn't want to ask when his last shower was.

"Hmm?" He said, his hand leaving hers to go around her shoulders, pulling her closer to him.

"After all this... Haymitch, I don't think we can be nothing anymore."

He stilled. There was no breath, no blinking, nothing to give her a hint of how he might react ahead of time.

Finally, he pressed his lips to her forehead, in what she hoped was agreement. "We can try. We can try to be something, Effie."

She smiled at him, genuinely, for the first time in years.

"I think I'd like that."

A/N: Sorry for not warning you about the immense fluff at the end, haha. Thank you so much for reading and if you can, please leave a review. I love to hear what people think about my fics!

And to the ten people who started following me on tumblr because of my immense Hayffie feels... you guys are AWESOME. Thank you for all of the support!

More Hayffie fics coming soon, I am sure of it.

Bailey xx