Disclaimer: I'm so sorry Suzanne. I cannot stop playing with these two.
A/N: ANOTHER FIC. I need to stop. Oh lordy. This is another of the genre "Haymitch finds out Effie is/was his biggest fan". . . it's more drama-y then humour-y, but I hope you'll love it nonetheless because of the HAYFFIEFEELS. Love you all. xx
The Lonely Princess
He dragged his feet into the living area, knocking over a stack of tapes and plonking himself down onto the leather sofa, swigging the last bit of amber liquid from the glass and shoving it onto the nearest table. The momentary head rush passed, and his vision cleared as he looked at the television screen on the wall ahead.
He noticed it was still on the tape screen from earlier, just a bold, bright blue waiting for another film to be played. Haymitch turned his head and noticed the stack of Hunger Games tapes he'd just bulldozed to the floor- Effie's escort collection- which they'd all been watching earlier for a little survival "research". His vision scanned the mess on the floor and he scowled.
Better clear this up before Effie chews my ear off, he thought, groaning at the effort at shoving himself off his seat, just as he was getting comfortable to slouch the evening away.
He began to pile them up again slowly, huffing at the effort of it all. He reached the final few tapes when one of them caught his eye.
My entry: raw cut.
The rest of them were footage of the Games, so he was both deeply confused and interested at what it was, and why it was in the pile.
His fingers itched just looking at it, and he dug his teeth into his bottom lip at the bad idea that was growing in his mind. Haymitch looked around quickly, swiped the tiny tape off the floor and shoved it into the player.
The video blurred for a couple of seconds before clearing, he heard a child squeal with excitement; the camera shaking as he saw a little blonde girl skip into view. She was wearing a bright blue dress covered in multicoloured sequins; her little pink shoes peeping out from the bottom. Her hair was ringletted and piled up on top of her head, almost like the shape of a pineapple, covered in little silver star pins which stuck out randomly from the curly mass.
The girl looked upwards at the holder of the camera, grinning nervously, "Where should I stand?" She asked in her chirpy Capitol accent, skidding from side to side.
"Just in front of the wall darling, stand still whilst I get you in shot!" A man's voice said off camera.
He heard another voice too; a woman's, "Should we really be encouraging her my dear, I mean, he's from District 12. . ."
The man didn't respond and instead spoke to the little girl cheerily, "Ok princess, you need to look directly at the camera- tell everyone your name and how old you are, and why you want to meet him."
The little girl's eyes narrowed briefly in concentration, then with she clasped her hands behind her back, rocking on her heels, her steady gaze meeting the camera, "Hello everyone. I'm Effie Trinket and I'm six years old, and this is my entry for the competition to meet Haymitch Abernathy!"
Haymitch's eyebrows shot up into his hairline; his jaw going slack as his eyes darted to the time stamp in the corner- the day after his victory at the Second Quarter Quell. Oh my god.
His jaw remained loose, his eyes transfixed in disbelief as little Effie Trinket stood stock still for a couple of seconds longer, eyes blinking yet fixed on the camera, before letting her arms collapse theatrically, "Was that ok daddy?"
The man chuckled as her little face twisted in concern, "Yes it was fine gorgeous girl."
The screen cut to black for a few seconds, before turning back on and she was sat at large, wooden table with a few things laid out in front of her.
"Don't scratch the mahogany Effie!" the woman's voice calls off camera.
"I won't!" She replied sternly, outrage blazing in her little blue eyes as she looked at the owner of the voice off camera- who he assumed was her mother. She turned back, smiling sweetly.
"The first reason I should meet him is because I'm really good at art. I've drawn lots of pictures of him. Here's one of him in District 12." She smiled proudly as she lifted it up, pointing with her chubby fingers to the more salient parts of her drawing- the glass bowl, the stage, the escort standing next to a slightly angry looking Haymitch.
"This one is him at his interview, although his suit was black and not blue but my black pencil broke!" She nattered, lifting up the next picture. She'd drawn him with an eyebrow raised cockily, bright blue dots for his eyes. She giggled as she looked at the camera, "Caesar looked really funny that day although I made him look even funnier!" She smiled devilishy, covering her hand with her mouth- Caesar a rainbow coloured, stick-ish figure with an almost maniacal grin.
Effie's face suddenly fell, her eyes fixing on a pink folder at the edge of the table, "I did one of him at the end of the Games too. But it makes me sad."
Her father cleared his throat when started to look despondent, and she jerked back into action.
"I also got everyone in my class to donate to his fund. Here's the jar I collected it all in!" She lifted a large, glass jar up high, which had a piece of paper taped on to it, For Haymitch, was written across in green crayon.
"I gave all the money. . . well my daddy gave the money. . . to his mentor as Haymitch needed some matches. Although we didn't get all the money as it's very expensive I was told it helped a lot by his mentor in the letter he wrote me."
Effie held up the letter to illustrate her point, reading out loud the line that thanked her for all her hard work.
"It was the best thing ever when we saw him get the parachute on TV!" She grinned, clapping her hands together with glee.
"And I also have some stones that my daddy got me from District 4 which are turquoise like his eyes. My daddy said if I met him I was allowed to give him one. I think it would look nice in his new house in District 12." She picked up one of the smooth lumps and held it up for the camera, twiddling it around in her fingers, "It's interesting too because it looks like just boring blue from far away, but it's got lots of little patterns when you look at it close up, and I think he'd like that too."
The man behind the camera laughed a little, "So, in summary Effie, why should you be the one to meet Haymitch Abernathy?"
She bit her lip as she focussed on her answer, her fingers lightly playing with the edge of one of her drawings where her eyes fell.
"Because when I first saw him, I thought he was a prince. . ." Her tone sounded almost wistful, pausing for a few seconds before her eyes suddenly met the camera again, her lips tugging upwards in delight, "And every prince needs a princess! Princes and princesses should never be lonely!" She slid off her chair and spun around, the sequins sparkling vibrantly as she twirled.
"And that's a wrap beautiful!" He said, the camera jerking as he pulled it off some sort of tripod, holding it in his hands as little Effie continued to prance about happily, "Was that good daddy?" She asked, her dancing coming to a halt.
"Yes it was wonderful darling, I'll edit out all the extra bits and send it off."
The video ended there. And Haymitch felt a weird sensation crawl into his heart- warmth blended with a combination of bizarre fate. Effie hated him now. He never envisaged anything like this as the start of their crazed relationship at all- he assumed she'd never really been aware of him in the games. Before she became an escort. How wrong he'd been.
He remembered the winner of that competition; some screaming, sobbing teenager who'd broken down at the sight of him. Apparently she had tried to break into the penthouse before the games, waited outside with signs with his name emblazoned across it. Security had had to deal with her one too many time. Nightmare.
And he wondered how disappointed little Effie Trinket must have been.
He saw a shadow moving on the wall in the corner of his eye, quickly flicking is head round to catch Effie standing in the doorway, her lips parted in shock- her eyes shining. Like a little girl lost. He could feel his heart pounding suddenly.
"Effie, wait-" He moved across the room with swiftness he hadn't possessed in years, but she was already a good six paces in front of him down the corridor.
"I was six, Haymitch. I didn't know any better." Her voice warranted no discussion.
"It's nothing to be embarrassed about-"
She stopped and rounded on him, Haymitch nearly slamming into her at the abruptness of her stop. She folded her arms, "Oh really? I'm surprised at that, coming from you. Sensitivity has always been your strong point, hasn't it?" She asked, her voice sarcastic and haughty.
He slowly grinned, "You have to admit it is pretty funny. . ."
Haymitch saw something flash in her eyes, and he wondered if he mistook it for hurt. She quickly concealed it though, sighing in frustration as she continued to walk off again, "You are unbelievable Haymitch Abernathy-"
"Wait wait wait!" He shouted, catching up to her again and grabbing her arm.
She shook him free, taking a small step back, "Are you going to continue teasing me about this?"
"I want to, but no, I won't. . . for now."
She glared at him and he held his hands up in mock defence, "I'm intrigued, ok? If anything I'm surprised you didn't win."
Her eyes morphed to slits as she measured him up, "If you're going to bring this up in front of anyone-"
"I won't!" Haymitch exclaimed, and the truth was, he wasn't. Curiosity at this hole he'd found in Effie's seemingly carefree demeanour outweighed any mocking he intended to do. He wasn't entirely sure if this was a hole he should be picking at though.
She'd seemingly let him off for snooping around in her stuff so far, which only drove the intrigue.
Effie swallowed, her gaze still stoic, and a little mistrusting, "Ok. Come with me."
She marched off without looking back to see if he followed her. Walking further down the corridor and into her room, she let the door slide shut behind her, Haymitch barely making it through as the steel clamped shut.
He saw her kick off her shoes, shedding off her wig- her golden hair tumbling out- as she moved across her plush, red carpet. He saw her pull off her fake eyelashes and wipe her lipstick quickly with a tissue, tossing it into a mechanical disposal unit, then throwing off her pale pink jacket over the back of a chair.
"Errr, Effie?" He asked questioningly, wondering how much exactly she was going to take off.
She looked over her shoulder and rolled her eyes, "Relax, I'd just like to be a little more comfortable, ok?"
Effie telling him to relax. Well that was a first.
He shifted from one foot to the other as he stood awkwardly by her bedroom door, taking in the sophisticated black, red and wite decor. What had he got himself into?
Haymitch's eyes fixed onto her as she knelt gracefully onto the floor, flipping her long hair over her shoulders as she pulled out a selection of files from a box. He felt himself drifting towards her when he saw her take out a pink file, opening it up and bringing it over to the small, glass dining table in her suite.
She started to flip through it, her eyes lifting up in exasperation as she paused momentarily, "Well, come over here then."
He wasn't used to this Effie taking control. He was used to her being officious and irritating, fluttering hysterically like some annoying butterfuly dancing in his face that wouldn't leave. Here she was calm and remarkably self assured. He liked it much better. In fact he liked it far too much.
He moved towards to her warily, which only earnt him another pointed look, "I don't bite."
"You haven't shrieked at me yet, given me a manners rant or anything. I'm worried you're going to do it directly into my ear."
She sighed, her arms straight, propping herself up on the table, "I can't yell when I hear my father's voice." She said quietly, dragging her eyes to meet his.
He looked a little startled at her admission, and came and stood by her side as she flicked through the plastic wallets filled with papers and clippings and pictures. He looked at her for a few seconds, watching the recognition flitter across her eyes- smiles tugging at her pale pink lips when memories started to flood back from the things she was skimming through.
She slowed as she reached it, and he saw the small blue stone laying at the bottom of the plastic. She unclipped the wallet from the file, drawing the sheets of paper and stone out from it.
Haymitch couldn't help it as one corner of his mouth twitched up in a smile, watching her spread out the papers gently, as if they were priceless artifacts, realising how precious these memories were to her.
"Here are all the drawings and notes I wrote. My accompanying entry letter. . . you've seen the video now of course."
Haymitch wasn't sure how he was supposed to react to this blunt invite into her past. He'd rarely probed her on her history- through drunkenness mainly- and an omnipotent desire for her not to ask him similar questions.
It was weird seeing the actual things so soon after he even knew they existed. She clearly loved colour as a child as he looked at her drawings; perhaps that's what led her to adopt such a ridiculously iridescent style nowadays. One in particular caught his eye- the one she hadn't shown on the tape.
It was him right at the end of the games- a frowning Haymitch curled on the floor trying to stop the vivid red spilling out onto the grass. She'd drawn herself in it though too- little Effie standing next to him with a magic wand, accompanied by two angels dressed as doctors. If only he'd had such a support mechanism in real life.
Haymitch swallowed as he became aware of her watching him; he could see her studying his face from the corner of his eye.
He cleared his throat, his tone level, "They're cute. You were cute."
She blinked, shaking herself a little as she came back to reality, "I was rather taken with you." She let out a breathy laugh, her eyes growing sad as she looked down at the papers.
Her fingers brushed the gleaming turquoise stone, slowly picking it up, "I remember so clearly when my father gave me the stones, it was only a couple of weeks before your reaping. I loved the way they felt in my hands- almost silken, so polished and vibrant. I'd always wondered what it would be like leaving the Capitol and visiting other places. My dad was a journalist and he was always shooting off round Panem, and he'd always bring me back a little souvenir. I idiolised him completely."
"Is he still around?"
"No, he died doing an investigative piece in District 2, apparently in a weapon factory accident. Towards the end of his life he'd become troubled by the way people in districts were being treated. It's only recently I've been thinking maybe he found something out, that it wasn't an accident, and that's what got him killed."
"By the Capitol?"
Effie nodded sadly, her eyes leaving the stone and staring out of the large glass window on the other side of the room, out onto the vast view of the imposing, glittering city.
"My mother didn't like him encouraging my desire for exploration. She's something of a snob. She used to be fun apparently, but age and time apart from my father made her more bitter. When he was at home, him and I used to sit for hours at the kitchen table, me pointing at places in his atlas and him telling me of the adventures he'd had there. He's one of the main reasons I wanted to become an escort- to see places, to see what drove him, maybe make a difference one day- when the time was right."
"Step one: Haymitch's match fund."
Effie met his eyes and saw the questioning look within them, a mischevious glitter in their depths. She let out a musical laugh- the first true laugh he'd ever heard from her- rolling her eyes upwards in defeat, "Ok, yes! And it was just coincidence I got assigned to District 12, ok?"
"Whatever sweetheart." He grinned, "What did you think when you first met me?"
Effie tilted her head, shocked by his question. She turned to him, her gaze flicking across his face as she furrowed her brow in contemplation. She could see the curiosity swirling in his eyes, "I nearly laughed in all honesty. I thought you were perfect when I watched you in the games. . . and I was faced with a drunk who'd spilled half his whisky down his front."
He couldn't help grimacing in disappointment, particularly the fact that he'd been too wasted to remember the meeting. Perfect. . . Perfect. . .
Her voice dropped to a whisper, "It's when you first met my eyes. . . a little bit of that amazement came back. You still had some of that fight in you somewhere, even if it was clouded with sadness and alcohol."
She heard his breath hitch a little, and she continued without thinking, her breath feathering his face, "Little Effie Trinket was convinced the angels had given you their eyes when you were a baby they were so blue."
Haymitch felt something deep in his chest jump, and it unnerved him. He realised how close they were stood; only inches apart, his hand resting next to hers on the table, he felt something rise in his throat, his mouth going dry as she looked up at him searchingly. He'd never seen her like this before, so open and vulnerable and scared. Like the ground was shifting beneath her.
She took a sharp breath in and broke eye contact, rolling the small rock around in her other hand.
"Would you take it for me?"
She raised her slender hand, the turquoise sitting in the centre of her palm. He saw the quiet pleading in her eyes. This was something he was meant to receive years ago; something her father had allowed her to give away.
Haymitch barely nodded, breaking from the trance of her sapphire eyes. He let his hand sweep the top of hers to pick it up; his fingers accidentally brushing along the veins of her wrist, and he felt her pulse racing there; her pupils dilated and her eyes dropped to his lips- and it knocked the breath from his lungs when it all hit him.
Haymitch grabbed her wrist; the stone sandwiched between their palms, and he closed the gap between them. Their lips meeting in desperate, fleeting kisses, his hand at the nape of her neck, threading into her glossy hair, pulling her closer.
They deepened the kiss almost immediately, Effie moaning as his tongue slid against hers, her free hand clutching onto his shoulder, everything crashing down on them like a tidal wave.
Air was needed and they broke apart; Effie biting her lip and Haymitch's eyes wild with shock. He quickly gulped, rubbing the back of his head. They were silent for a few seconds, breathing heavily.
He noticed the stone had ended up in his hand, "You should keep this-"
"No, no." She said, edging back a miniscule amount, scarlet flooding her cheeks, "Take it."
He didn't push her any further, and slipped it into his pocket. Haymitch was still trying to work out what had just happened, why his heart was beating in his ribs like a bird flapping in a cage. It frightened him; he needed a drink.
"Ok, I'll, um, see you later." He mumbled hurried out of the room, leaving Effie staring down at her pictures of the boy with the turquoise eyes.
And she felt like the lonely princess again.
A/N: Hope you enjoyed folks! Twas a little more angsty than I first expected actually but IT HAPPENS. Please leave a review if you have a spare moment, it's joyous to hear what you all think! Am still working on that M-rated literature too so be readddddyyyy. ;) Minx x