A/N: Not mine. Again. I love these two so much though my HayffieHeart creys.
Disclaimer: ME AGAIN. Oh gosh, I don't even know where this came from. I just started writing and BAM another day of revision lost. *Facepalm* I can't help it. The HayffieFeels are too strong. I'm also having more, outrageous thoughts for The Poster too (thanks for all your support for that by the way everyone, I went to my favourite place earlier too- the Hayffie tag on tumblr- and OMG some people have posted about it there too which left me sitting grinning like a mad man. . . I should probably be feeling ashamed for being such a dirty human being but I'M REALLY NOT :D. So thank you again).
So yah, a little something here. Sure I'll see you all again soon. *Bashes self over head with a law book*
The Shadows Of Beauty
Haymitch rolled over in his bed, the sheets becoming tangled in his legs. He let out a puff of a sigh, rubbing a hand across his face. Another sleepless night; another night wondering if it would be even worth getting up in the morning. Watch more children die.
He twisted the knife in his hands, remembering doing the same thing in the games. Even decades after he could still remember it with painstaking clarity. Drenched in blood; the two careers, their faces twisted in agony, left pouring out on the ground. He felt sick again, wanting desperately to fling the metal shard away and never pick it up again. But he felt that quaking paranoia rise at the back of his heart again and he clung onto it. He hated this addiction to have it; almost as much as his alcoholism.
Nothing really helped anymore. In fact, had it ever?
He felt his heart ache again. He actually put his hand on his chest at the strength of it. Loneliness bit at his shadow and he wondered if his life would ever change, if he truly was a lost cause struggling through, until one day death would take him. In a fog of drink and bitterness no doubt.
Regular faces had kept him going though, any sort of regularity helped he'd come to realise, craving any sense of normality. Effie was always criticising him for his lack of respect for her schedules, but he did have routine. . . even if it included routine drunkenness.
She was the one it always came back to. He didn't get it; it truly baffled him. Somewhere along the line, he'd grown strangely attached to her. Perhaps it was the fact she made him feel like he could actually be useful, like he was of some worth to someone in the world. Year on year she seemed to believe he could be an able mentor for once- most years he wouldn't even grant himself that title. Her nagging wouldn't stop though because she was always one for self-improvement, and sometimes he did try and make an effort, only to see that sad, disappointed look in her eyes when he relapsed.
Katniss and Peeta had restored a great deal of faith in him- these kids, for their own reasons, were survivors.
And, more importantly, they didn't want the other to die.
He heard a door close outside in the corridor, and a shuffling of feet along the carpet. It was the middle of the night, and everyone had retired to their rooms hours ago. It was odd for someone to be out of their chamber, each person boxed up in their decadent suites. That was a recurring theme in the Capitol: single rooms, locked doors and escorts everywhere. The city was a luxury prison- sacrifice your freedom for a government that will feed your greed.
Sometimes he liked to wander around the apartment in his more restless moments when sleep evaded him. He'd stand by those vast glass windows and stare out onto the colourful carnage below- those all-night Hunger Games street parties in front of the big screens. Hunger. Hunger. Hunger.
It looked like tonight would be another one of those nights. The audience calling for blood. The District 2 Careers were growing tetchy, and with District 12's lovebirds peacefully wrapped up in each other in a cave- he could feel that the gamemakers were going to push for something big soon. He felt nauseous at the thought of it.
Haymitch sighed to himself, clearly tonight was just going to be another sleepless one. He sat up and his head started to ring, damned hangover, his stomach felt like a washing machine on hot spin cycle- the fancy ones they have in the Capitol. He should probably lay off the drink. . . at least until morning.
He shrugged on some loose pants and a shirt, buttoning up a few of the buttons. As soon as he opened his bedroom door, he could hear Caesar Flickerman's voice chattering away- ". . . it looks like Cato and Clove are in need of something too; it will be interesting to see what the gamemakers have planned for the morning. . ."
He stood at the entrance to the living room, his eyes fixing on a petit figure curled at the edge of sofa, shadows dancing in the room like puppets from the light of the television.
"Haymitch?" Came a quiet voice. It was Effie. He realised how much he liked her voice when she wasn't shrieking about the Capitol, the games or furniture. Her night-time voice. Reserved and peaceful.
He could barely see her in the darkness, the TV shedding barely any light onto her form. Her heard her shuffle, tucking her feet under her body.
"Why are you in here?" He asked gruffly.
"The television wouldn't work in my room. . . I had to come and see them. . ."
Haymitch's eyes flicked to the screen, and he saw Katniss and Peeta still asleep in the cave- he grimaced as he watched Peeta's chest jerk in shuddering breaths- his leg looking worse than it did the day before. Caesar was cooing over them, Katniss was curled up next to Peeta, her face for once open and relaxed as she slept.
"Why are you sitting in the dark?" He asked, pushing himself off the door frame and making his way towards the switch.
"Don't!" She cried, his hand hovering near the light switch. He froze- the vulnerability and urgency in her voice startling him.
"I'm. . . I don't have any of my normal stuff on."
She'd turned away, but he could make out her face a little. Fresh, no ridiculous make up, her hair blonde in loose waves. His heart lurched a little.
"Oh. Oh ok." He mumbled, coming further into the room.
He sat down on the opposite end of the sofa. For a while they didn't say anything, simply watching the two sleeping teenagers wrapped in each other's arms, Caesar Flickerman's incessant chatterings going over their heads.
"Can you not send him some medicine?" Effie suddenly asked, Haymitch watching her throat flex as she gulped.
"Tried to- I targeted the soppier sponsors. The gamemakers have barred it being sent though; they've obviously got something planned already."
Effie didn't respond, shaking her head a little- he wasn't sure if it was aimed at him or the games. Haymitch tried to keep his eyes on the screen, but his heart was thumping against his rib cage and he had to look at her again.
He leant on the arm of the sofa, yet tried to angle his body a little more towards her. He didn't know why he was so desperate to look at her- unsubtly shuffling amongst the cushions. Maybe the alcohol hadn't entirely left his body yet. Maybe he also knew that that wasn't true.
He squinted a little in the darkness; he couldn't see her clearly, but he let his eyes trail over her long, pale hair tucked behind her ear- from what he could make out she had soft, delicate features.
She normally looked so hard and brash in the Capitol style. God knows why she inflicted that on herself every day.
"Stop staring at me Haymitch." She said half heartedly, her gaze still fixed on the screen, "You know I'm a human being under it all."
He gulped, "Sometimes I forget."
She turned to him now, her voice hurt; her eyebrows furrowed, "Ah yes I forgot. Just some Capitol drone."
"No I just. . ." He sighed, this was coming out all wrong, "We're different."
"We are in many ways. And I know you think I don't have a heart but. . ." He heard her sigh quietly, sadly, ". . . I try and keep things jovial. If you saw me now, you'd see the chewed down nails, dark eye circles and irritated skin. You probably think I go to bed every night in my wig and heels and complain if I don't get my beauty sleep. But I sit there. . . sit there in my room and watch them until it becomes painful to keep my eyes open any longer."
"Of course. Sometimes I even come down here when I know you've passed out from your day of. . . exertion."
His eyes narrowed impercetibly at her dig, "Why won't you let anyone see you without all those ridiculous colours and chemicals?"
"Have you seen any Capitol citizen without it?"
His words caught in his throat as he contemplated it- he hadn't. No one. Even the fairly moderate ones like Cinna. Why did he want so badly to see her? He should leave now. Go back to bed. Pretend he never got this glimpse of her. He couldn't afford this right now.
He heard her sigh, "It's just not the done thing, ok? I know you think it's repugnant and retrograde and vacuous but. . ."
Haymitch didn't disagree with her. He just continued to watch her watching the television. He was tempted to run to the closest light and flick it on. Oh god would she yell at him then.
He felt like when they'd first met he had had the upper hand because he really didn't care; the Capitol had taken so much from him, and his apathetic style towards mentoring sometimes really ground her down, despite her occasional quasi-encouragement. The problem was, now some part of him did feel something.
He knew he was a mess, held together by drink and people that thought him to be ridiculous in his own way. Now he wanted Effie to be vulnerable too. When had he become so destructive? So utterly intent on dragging everyone down with him?
"I was three when my mother first put lipstick on me."
Haymitch was broken from his reverie, "What?"
"I was three. Sometimes I struggle to think of the times I would see myself without any make up on as a child. My mother would make me wear my wig and make up to bed, it's only been since I left home I can strip myself clean of it all at night. . . of course working for the Capitol I can't allow myself that luxury during the day. I feel like I'm putting more stuff on every five minutes. . . but it's almost nice. . . at night."
Haymitch's eyes were fixed on her shadowy face; she shook her head a little as she stared off into the middle distance, "I just. . . I was raised to think that the further you are from yourself. . . the more beautiful you are. I like unravelling from it all in the darkness, but I still feel ashamed of how I look naturally. It's like however much you try and break away from your brainwash, there's still some awful, emotional tie still there that you can't shake. Like some terrible addiction."
She let out a sad, short laugh, "I remember my mother saying to me that she was so happy I was blonde. . . because my hair would take so well to different hair dyes. I stopped messing around with it when I was twelve and my hair started falling out- my mother was horrified when she saw what a state it was- I let it grow back and hid it under a wig instead."
Haymitch gulped. He for once was truly stumped for what to say. Guilt was the prevalent emotion- he'd always underestimated Effie- treating her like some freakish, poisonous airhead. The Capitol weren't just ruining the lives of the Districts' children, but warping their own. No wonder the Hunger Games had been rolling on for decades when they were creating these tiny, shallow, hateful monsters. Effie wasn't an empty Capitol diamond. She was frighteningly normal.
"What did you think when you first saw the people of the districts at the reapings? On TV?" He rasped, his voice hoarse from lack of speaking. Haymitch just wanted to listen. . . to watch.
"I couldn't believe it. I can remember being about six or seven and watching it, seeing everyone so. . . plain. They looked miserable of course, but I've noticed that most of the tributes over the years seem to have been happy in their skin, and they love their families. I remember crying when my father and mother decided it was time for me to start wearing heels- I must have been about nine- apparently I was too small for my age. My feet are ruined because of it. No amount of miracle Capitol surgery will help. It actually hurts a bit walking barefoot nowadays, so I just soldier on with those towering shoes."
"Where are your parents now?" He asked.
"Around. I don't see them often I just. . . throw myself into my work. I think my mother always wanted me to be a stylist or designer; she's always disapproved of me being an escort, mixing with. . ." She fell silent, mashing her lips together.
"People like me. Victors. District people."
"Yes." She added gently.
"The fact you're still here now though must mean that hasn't exactly put you off."
Effie smirked at him now, and he couldn't help but smile back.
Silence fell between them, all they could hear were the sounds of the wooded night coming from the television. The air was pregnant between them. They were both waiting for his question, burning at the edge of his tongue. Haymitch twitched almost nervously and Effie's throat bobbed with a gulp.
"Let me see you. . ."
"No, Haymitch, I-"
"We've known each other for years, Effie. . . I won't say anything. You know what I think of all your Capitol stuff-"
"What good will it do?" She asked softly.
He couldn't answer that one. He just wanted to see her, so badly. She'd started to unmask her heart. . . he wanted to see all of her unmasked. Intrigue was blazing in his chest; along with other feelings he'd rather not identify.
She sighed, crossing and recrossing her legs, her hands not settling.
It took her around half a minute before she said anything else; her hair had fallen across her face, "Ok." She whispered.
Effie turned round, taking a little breath as she turned on the table light next to her. Turning steadily back, he felt his heart tremor.
She was beautiful. He could describe her no other way. Her skin looked impossibly smooth- not damaged as she said- her eyes a sparkling sapphire blue. Her hair fell just past her shoulders in cascading waves like spun gold in the dim light.
He realised how young she was compared to her Capital alter ego- he thought she was his age, despite her faux-naivety- but she was probably five, maybe 10 years younger than he expected.
He saw a blush rise in her cheeks when his flint blue eyes met her own, his gaze unwavering. She shook her head lightly and looked down at her hands. Clearing her throat, her laughter on the blades edge between humour and tears, "You're looking at me as if I'm an alien."
"You're beautiful." He said, his voice sounded almost bored, belied by one side of his mouth quirking up in a tiny smile and his glittering eyes.
A sarcastic, breathy laugh left her lips, "Haymitch Abernathy, a charmer, who knew?"
"Don't expect it to become routine. Even if you do decide to schedule it."
She smiled and met his eyes again, blue on blue, and something in the back of his eyes took her breath away, darkly sparkling. She wondered if it was mirrored in her own eyes. She feared by the increase of her heart rate that it was.
Effie was the one to break the gaze- reddened cheeks and flustered- quickly standing up, "I should go to bed, try and think of other ways to help the two of them."
She took a few steps towards the door, one hand rummaging her hair desperately, the other was grabbed by Haymitch as he got up and stood beside her.
Effie's eyes grew as wide as saucers, and although her immediate reaction was to pull away, she left it fozen in his bigger, warmer hand. His voice was quiet, "You don't have to hide from me Effie, cover up and all that."
She could only try and swallow down her nerves when his hand came up to brush her cheek. His piercing blue eyes were searching her own behind those couple of loose strands of blonde hair, flicking over her face, taking in every contour and mark in the low light.
She didn't move, didn't breathe as his finger traced the edge of her nose, her jawline and rested under her chin. She felt so deeply exposed and analysed, yet somehow worshipped at the same time. The dichotomy was making her sway. Where had this man come from?
When she swallowed and met his eyes again; she felt all air leave her body. He was so close and she'd never felt so vulnerable in all her days, his breath brushing her cheek. She wanted to stop this now before she felt her walls crash down, but her lips fell apart and his thumb grazed her bottom lip and she found it prickled from his touch; her skin turning to gooseflesh.
With no further warning he dipped down and kissed her gently, her lips soft and sensual against his own, his stubble on her silk skin. He felt her hands come up and grip his arms, as if trying to anchor herself.
She was the one who pulled away. Confusion washing over her; her heart racing. She saw the quiet questioning in his eyes. Neither of them knew what to say.
It was the first time she'd felt beautiful though.
A/N: Do you know what the worst thing about my HayffieFeels are right now? It's that I'm seeing M rated potentialities everywhere. I went and watched the film again at the cinema last night and OH DEAR GOD my mind is a bad place. Someone lock me up. Minx xxxx