Disclaimer: I don't own these two. But if I did. . . CANON AHOY.

A/N: Ok. So I ship Haymitch/Effie now. Something happened when I went into the cinema and saw The Hunger Games for the first time. I didn't have the ship-sensations for these two when reading the books, but gah, something about WA and EB's portrayal's of them on screen has made me love them, and there are so many literary possibilities to be explored. When I discovered the"Hayffie" tag on tumblr. . . oh my dayyyssss.

Anyway I hope you enjoy this (review s'il vous plait?)- it's a post-Mockingjay fic from Effie's perspective. I MAY WRITE MORRREEE.


Ruins

She cried out as she tried to roll over, the bloodied, pulpy skin of her back had stuck a little to the floor and she'd been too exhausted to move earlier. She lay sprawled on her side, her bruised cheek pressed to the cool stone floor as her breaths came in desperate flickers.

A slit of dusty light had fallen across her face, tainting her pale lips, her throat burning with dehydration. She could barely taste the warm acidity of blood which had trickled from her ear to the corner of her mouth.

Effie couldn't cry anymore. Her body was too exhausted to rack her lungs of sobs and her eyes of tears. She could not afford to waste any more energy . . . she felt sure she would die from the strain of it.

The long, thin wound on her arm had still not stopped bleeding, and she feebly tried to pick away some of her slashed, dirtied sleeve that had stuck to the edge of it; she drew blood biting down on her lip as she watched the gash tear and ooze more. It probably wouldn't be long until they came and did her other arm. She wanted to cry out at the thought.

Time no longer existed as she fell in and out of consciousness. She'd been roused by slaps and cuts and whips, they would feed and hydrate her just enough to keep her on the edge of life, shoving dry bread into her mouth, clamping onto her jaw until she swallowed. One of them had kissed her afterwards, taunted and threatened her, and she felt so dirty and repulsed but unable to do anything as he shoved her back to the floor. She lived in fear that they would try worse; then the damage for her would be irreparable.

She was sure they had not come for her in days. Her body was giving up, and once they'd decide she had no information, they would give up on her too. Every breath felt like agony- her almost opaque skin so tightly pressed to her ribs from malnutrition that she felt her bones would pierce through. She had been left alone, wasting away in some cell in her own dirt and blood.

Effie had become aware of the silence engulfing the prison the last few times she'd awaken. There were no screams or cries anymore. She thought that maybe they'd all been left to die too. And that most of them already had.

She embraced the darkness, although she considered every time she might not ever wake up. But she needed the escape- the escape and the hope; Effie believed that when she'd dream, she'd dream of the Capitol. The days of her easy childhood- brutal and bright- the family she had not had for decades dripping in all the finery and twinkling jewels. Effie thought that the colour and wealth would be the things her mind craved, the exuberant food, golden eyelashes and stiff clothes. . . the hollow laughter, mirthful looks and constructed smiles. The memories were ruins, crumbling like the walls of the city outside.

But every time she was in another place. A place so squalid and sad and destroyed.

She would dream not in brightness, but in muted hues- the pale green grass fighting through the burnt earth, the sky a light smoky blue, the whitewashed walls of their little houses barely standing. Effie would hold her hands up in the light of the burning sunset and see no acrylic but the pinky nude of her real nails. The powder would blow off her face leaving her exposed and peaceful.

Effie would be stood in the meadow blue dress that Katniss had worn on that fateful day. She'd feel the brown haired girl and the blonde haired boy's voices in the air, their quiet whispers of encouragement melding together with the pain and hope of their future.

The breeze would catch lightly around her knees and her soft blonde hair, and she would see his silhouette marked out by the final bursts of dusky light. He'd never move, just stand there with those piercing blue eyes staring at her with a softness she had not thought possible. Those eyes were always the brightest things in her dreams.

She shook awake. A series of deafening booms exploding in the near distance sounded; her cell quivering as she was covered in snowflakes of dusty rubble. Her body seized in pain as a cloudy cough was wrenched from her body. The floor was shaking more violently with every blow. This is it. . . this is it. . .

She kept her eyes closed. She could not face seeing her grave. She did not want to know her final moments. The promise of death was her only friend now; she felt a crushing sense of loneliness, and Effie couldn't hold the whimper that shuddered past her lips as she thought of him again. They had been so strong together, and she hated to think of him finding her like this- what they'd degraded her to. If he ever found her. If he ever looked for her.

The rumbles ceased, her ears stopped ringing and the following silence was ubiquitous. Still the breaths rattled her body, and Effie allowed herself to slip away again. She felt herself drifting over the ruins of his home towards him, his shadow extending towards her as the sun barely lay on the horizon. She would reach him, and his eyes would be crushingly clear. He would touch the bareness of her face, he would feel for her what she did for him- they were not a man from District 12 and a woman from the Capitol- something that would never be allowed. They were just them. Horrendously damaged them.

It was dark by the time she stirred again. She cried out as she tried to shift her body, only driving dust further into her freshly opened wounds. She realised how damp the floor now was. . . how much blood she had lost. . . how long she would last.

Effie held her breath as she heard the yells, the crunching of footsteps over rubble, soon all she could hear were voices and see blue and white figures circling her. She wasn't going to die. She wasn't going to die in this cell. And she felt the dull prick of a needle in her arm, and the chemicals forced her to succumb again.

*0*0*0*0*0*

She woke to bright light and people moving everywhere. Effie felt sluggish and overwhelmed; her body somewhere between humming and throbbing, red and white blurring her vision, hearing the beeping of her heart monitor confirming her own life. Every bed was full; people limbless and crying and alone whilst nurses hooked people up to a drip and knocked them out. It was the easiest thing to do in the situation- fade out their screams of pain until someone could attend to them properly- even if it looked like some of them would never wake up from such a dose.

The hospital was chaos around her, casualties pouring in at a rate that the doctors could not deal with, family members pushing their way through the blood and the screams to try and see if a loved one had made it, the harrowing realisation etched across their faces that they would have to go and search for a corpse among the rubble. She watched a little girl being carried in, screeching in agony as she saw the bloodied stump of her legs, a man. . . burn marks scorching most of his body when he was wheeled in. . . crying out as doctors tried to navigate his inflamed veins in order to give him the sanctuary of sleep. She squeezed her eyes shut, a shivering tear; she couldn't watch all this.

The painstaking loneliness hit her like a punch to the lungs again; no one would come for her. Would anyone even care she was still alive? Was anyone she cared about still alive anyway? Who was she, really? Who did she have? She felt pathetic.

They'd pumped her full of drugs and pasted her wounds up with various balms and bandages; she could feel little apart from the constrictive heat of it all, stripped down and wound up again. She tried to move her hand to lift up the thin sheet that covered her body, but she found it more tightly bound to her drip than she realised, and she let her hand fall back down those couple of centimetres like a limp puppet.

She just wanted to sleep. Sleep and forget. The Capitol medicine would work quickly on her wounds and she'd be dismissed within hours, freeing up the bed for another of the wounded, but the damage ran far deeper than that now. Panem would become a world of the walking dead and the soulless, trapped in a psychological hell. PTSD was something that only the districts knew of, and that was one thing the Capitol would not be able to deal with; the city with no heart.

Greasy blonde hair bobbed in the crowd, and she felt his name dissolve in her throat, and a tear ran from the corner of her eye when she saw him. He had yanked a doctor to one side and she could see the desperation in his eyes, the words jumping from his mouth aggressively. She wanted to cry out, her heart fluttered and she didn't want him to leave her here.

She saw the doctor reply quickly, all the ones at that end of the ward were prisoners, and she saw his eyes dart around until they landed on hers. She felt a lump rise in her throat, overcome with the pain and joy of it all.

He was by her side in an instant, shoving his way through the mob in the corridor, up close she realised he was fairly cut up himself, his hair grubby and wild, "Effie. . . oh god Effie. . ."

"Haymitch. . ." she barely choked out, as she felt her face crumble. It struck her that she must look like a different person to him- no makeup, wig or effervescent clothing. Injury stripping her down to her core. She didn't even care, in fact she'd always wanted to show herself to him but hadn't dared too. She'd had to keep up appearances, for her own pride, protection and for the Capitol. . . this is where it had got her.

She couldn't help the tear running down her face when he gently clasped hold of her hand, he brushed a strand of hair from her battered face, his eyes were glittering and his voice was thick, "Plutarch and I have been trying to negotiate your release for weeks. . . I didn't think you would've made it out alive after the bombs. . . Effie. . . what did they do to you?"

Effie just shook her head, holding onto his intense blue eyes and she felt him squeeze her hand gently. She still couldn't believe he was here, that he'd actually come looking for her. She was overwhelmed by the emotions; his concern for her. She knew, in her heart when it boiled down to it, that they had built an emotional bond on the insults, snide remarks. . . and at least on her part, the lingering looks, over the years. Haymitch was the messy, inconsiderate drunk and she was the uptight, prim affluent- something had balanced out in time. His hidden capacity for emotion though always shocked her.

He took her hand in both of his, his voice dropping to a gravelly whisper, "I'm gonna get you out of here, Effie, this is no place for you. The medication will have done nearly all their work by morning. . . I know you'll still be weak but you're coming with me."

The air was pregnant with silence for a minute as they searched the other's face, all the scars and inflictions of war evident; they're not the same people that met all those years ago, yet somehow they're both unchanged. It just took events so awful for them both to let their guard down, "How did you manage it Effie? How did you not crack?"

She felt a blissful shiver course through her body- she'd not felt like that for months- as he gently traced the fresh scar on her arm with his calloused fingers. Haymitch had never sounded so earnest, and she felt her body sigh as he gently mapped out her puzzled skin.

"I knew you would do it. You and Katniss. I believed in you. . . I kept remembering the first few days with the four of us were together . . . that train. . . the ties we would make . . ." His little smile made her stomach brew with pride. "Is everyone else alive? Is she. . .?" Effie said faintly.

"They're all fine. Your prep team too. Peeta. Snow's public execution is tomorrow. . . Katniss is doing it."

Effie let out something that would barely pass for a laugh, "She'll need a stylist then."

She felt her heart grow when he smiled; she saw now how much he loved her determination. The rebellion had brought out a brighter fire in her, one that he'd wanted to understand but had never been able to before, although at a phenomenally high cost.

"Course she will, sweetheart."

She smiled softly too for a beat, swallowing causing a pain in her ears. She searched his gaze, and she saw clarity and depth swirling in the turquoise, for once not marred by the glaze of alcohol. She had to ask. "Why did you come for me, Haymitch?"

He sighed a little, as if sealing his fate as he looked at their joined hands. She saw him visibly gulp, his voice gruff, "We're partners, Eff. Can't do it without you. Can't do without you around."

She felt her heart constrict when he leant over and kissed the corner of her mouth, and he smelt of blood and fire rather than alcohol and linen. . . he'd fall back to that no doubt. . . but she wasn't worried or annoyed about it for once in her life. She could feel a pain like a void in her centre that would only be filled by nightmares, and fought by them both. They were both now cursed by the night.

Pulling away only to pull up a chair and sit beside her again, the weight of his words hit her: there were no games now, they technically were no longer needed to be together . . . yet here they were, back by the other's side which not even a war could tear apart. She couldn't imagine not being around him; she wanted to be around him. Effie didn't care how messed up that made her, or how imperfect it would be. She felt her blood rush and a strange sense of ease, and even expectant as to her future. . . their future. She never would've imagined it before, but now. . . things had changed so much, and still were changing. Survivors felt like they'd been given a second chance, and Effie wanted to build her own little world with this resilient mess of a man inside it. She didn't feel the desire to conceal her weaknesses with an illusion of colour, and she was actually glad to not be wearing any of her Capitol war paint; instead of seeing impenetrable white, this would be the first time he saw her blush.

"Stay?" She said, gripping his fingers a little tighter.

"Stay." He repeated softly.


A/N: Thanks lads and ladies. Please do review if you have a mo. Thanks muchly! Minx xxx