Disclaimer: If I owned the Hunger Games, I would have more fluff between the couples in the books - even in the darkest times :)
I couldn't sleep. Even though Beetee told me to get a good night's rest for the second day of training. I put on a pair of slippers so I wouldn't make too much noise as I wandered around our floor. I heard someone sniffling in the living room. Poking my head around the corner of the hallway, I saw Irene in the living room crying. She was leaning on Wiress' shoulder. Wiress was rubbing her back and humming a soft gentle tune. "Oh – you couldn't –" Wiress stared at me.
"Couldn't sleep." I finished. From observing Beetee, I surprised myself when I finished one of Wiress' sentences about an hour before the Victory Tour. Beetee surreptitiously gave me a thumbs up after that. Wiress beckoned me to sit on the couch next to her. "I hope we're not keeping you up." I said sheepishly. "It's just that – I guess I can't stop thinking about how much I need to do in training tomorrow." Wiress nodded to show she was listening.
"Oh – trust Beetee." Wiress said grasping my hand and smiling at me. "He knows –"
"How to direct your training." Beetee said coming into the living room. "I figured you were up with them when you didn't come back right away." He said smiling tenderly at Wiress. He knelt down to face Irene and spoke gently to her. "Well, since we're all up, would you all like to have a bit of tea?" As if on cute, Wiress got up and headed to the kitchen. "Wiress has a special blend that she keeps here, just for you guys." Beetee sat in the vacated space and put his arm around me. "Son, don't try and learn everything. Tomorrow – not tonight – but tomorrow at breakfast, we all can talk about training. Irene, Wiress and I will help you and talk about what you're worried about after breakfast." We nodded before walking to the table where Wiress was setting a tray with a tea pot and cups on the surface. She gave Irene another hug before Irene sat down. To my surprise, she hugged me before I sat down as well.
"We're proud of you both." Wiress said smiling. Irene and I exchanged glances. "Beetee told me –"
"About your training." Beetee finished. "I talked to the trainers briefly. We're allowed to." He smiled at both of our shocked expressions. We all finished our tea in silence.
"Thanks, Wiress." Irene said smiling. She stood up with her empty cup.
"Oh – the evening crew –" Wiress began.
"They'll put everything away." Beetee explained as Irene put her cup back on the table before hugging Wiress again. "Goodnight, Irene. Sleep well."
"Thanks, Beetee." She paused before hugging him as well. "I – I know you're not technically my mentor – but – you've helped me a lot already."
"I'd better go to sleep." I said. "Sleep well, guys. Thanks for the tea, Wiress." I said. Wiress smiled at me. I hugged her tentatively. She seemed so fragile. To my surprise, she kissed me on the cheek.
"We should go to bed too, hon." Beetee said as I exited the living room. I glanced back just as Wiress came around from her side of the table toward Beetee. She wrapped her hand around his. It wasn't until I lay in bed dozing that I realized why seeing them in that moment brought tears to my eyes. They reminded me of my parents. The way Beetee and Wiress held hands or leaned toward each other on the couch even as they talked with us, the way they looked at each other - all those things I've seen my parents do in their day to day lives. I realized that because Beetee and Wiress were probably married, they were an exponentially more united team than many other mentor pairs. That would explain why really, Beetee couldn't truly mentor without Wiress' help and vice-versa. Working as one just came naturally.
We're sort of their kids. I suddenly thought. They were parents of sorts of two teenagers for several days per year. That's why I felt like I was at home even in the Capital and even as I was dealing with the challenges of being a tribute in the Hunger Games. Maybe I wouldn't leave the arena alive, but I would leave the arena knowing in my darkest days, I felt the protective love of a mother and father from an extraordinary couple.