Summary: On a lazy afternoon, Haymitch and Effie play this-or-that in bed. Post-Mockingjay. Fluff, lots of fluff. Hayffie.
A lighthearted and fluffy post-Mockingjay fic, yay! I don't usually do fluff but post-MJ is pretty sad in canon and then this idea came to me. Plus, I'm already working on a multi-chaptered post-MJ fic that's angsty (though that will probably take a while to complete & post) so I gotta balance it out a bit. Enjoy. :)
THIS OR THAT
"You're turning me into a lazy bum."
"Princess, did you just say the word bum?"
Effie groaned into Haymitch's chest as they lay intertwined on his bed. Through the window and half-drawn curtains of Haymitch's bedroom, the afternoon sunlight bathed the room in a warm orange. He was absently drawing circles on her back, occasionally tracing the faint outlines of her scars that, by now, he already knew by heart.
"Shush, Haymitch. You're turning me into you."
"I'd hope not, sweetheart. How am I supposed to explain to Katniss and Peeta that I'm sleeping with myself?"
She smiled and lifted her head, resting her chin on his chest. One hand sprawled on his torso, she gave him a little poke. "We've been lying on your bed the whole day. Do something entertaining."
"I thought we'd been entertaining each other the whole morning." He looked at her, smirking. "If you get my drift."
She did and laughed. "That's not what I meant!"
He was smiling.
"Think of something to do," she pressed.
"You're making me do all the work."
After a long minute of begrudging thinking, Haymitch had finally come up with something. He explained the rules to her.
"A game. This-or-that. You have to choose your answers quickly, no hesitation. Gut instinct. No over-thinking," he said and Effie nodded. "I know not over-thinking is very difficult for you," he couldn't help but rib.
He laughed and let her get comfortable again, shifting into him. It was nice. He decided to start off with something easy.
"Geese or cats?"
She gave a huff. "I can't help it that your geese deposit their waste everywhere!"
"It adds to their character," he said and continued before she could refute him. "Mornings or afternoons?"
"Of course. Sweetheart or princess?"
He shook his head. "Can't do that."
She looked like she was debating for a second but he quickly nudged her. "Gut instinct," he reminded her of the rules.
"Fine," she said. "Princess. But I do like both a lot."
"Alright, princess." That made her smile. "Cake or bread?"
"Cake. But Peeta's bread is excellent too."
"The Capitol or District 12?"
She looked at him with a small smile.
They both knew where she considered that to be now.
"Home," he agreed. "Manners or no manners?"
Amused, he pushed her even more. "Pine or mahogany?"
". . ." She gave him a look that could kill.
He gave her a gentle pat in mock-apology. "Sorry, princess, I've just never seen anyone get so worked up over a piece of wood."
"It wasn't just a piece of wood."
"I know, it was mahogany."
". . ."
"Katniss or Peeta?"
"Haymitch!" It was like choosing between two of her children. She loved them both.
"I wasn't an option."
She whacked him on the chest. "That's not what I meant!" She was pouting. "You're being mean. It's my turn to ask the questions now!"
He laughed. "Ask away, sweetheart."
She gave a little cough in preparation for her first question.
"Boxers or briefs?"
"Nice start. Boxers."
"Briefs aren't bad either."
"Are you going to answer your own questions too?"
She knew he was teasing. "Winter or summer?"
"Summer, 'cause you look real great in those dresses."
She hid her faint blush by turning her face into his chest but he noticed anyway.
"Not what you said after Katniss's interview," she joked.
He rolled his eyes, fond of the memory. "Because you were fun to antagonize."
"You're just mean. Wig or no wig?"
"No wig." Hair blonde and natural.
"Rain or snow?"
"Because you can't beat me at snowball fights."
His lips twitched but she didn't give him a chance to retort.
"Coin or Snow?"
A big pause. She almost said, Gut instinct! but he answered in time, expression drawn.
"… Coin." By a slight margin. "Snow killed a lot of people." And he imprisoned you.
She looked up at him, at his furrowed brows. She had meant to keep the game lighthearted, but...
She took in a deep breath for her next question.
"Scars or no scars?"
His hands stopped on her back. He made sure to look directly into her eyes. "It doesn't matter."
It was the truth.
She didn't say anything, but her lips quirked upwards and she decided to move the game back on track.
"Me or alcohol?"
"Isn't it obvious?"
"Rules! You can't answer a question with another question, Haymitch!"
He rolled his eyes in exasperation.
"That's not an answer either!"
"You," he said begrudgingly.
She grinned as a warm flush spread throughout her body. "Go get us something to drink from the kitchen. Yes or yes?"
She kept grinning. "It's time for one of us to get up today anyway."
He gave a dramatic huff like it was a big effort to get out of bed and extricated himself from her. He was about to head downstairs to the kitchen when she stopped him.
"Don't walk around the house naked, Haymitch!"
He gave another exaggerated huff and backtracked, putting on the boxers that he found flung on the floor next to the bed. Her grin was ear-splitting now.
"I'll be back," he grumbled.
She rolled over onto her back, listening to the floorboards of his house creak as he headed downstairs. Out the window, the sun was almost below the horizon already, the sky was red. They really had spent the whole day curled up in bed. Sometimes, it was hard for her to believe that she and Haymitch really ended up here, together.
Outside, it was quiet and she knew that next door, Peeta and Katniss must be preparing supper already. From time to time, they would invite her and Haymitch over to eat with them and those were the times she really felt like she was with her family. She rolled back around to look out the doorway. Haymitch was taking an awful long time just to kept some drinks from some cupboards.
She closed her eyes. A moment later, she finally heard his footsteps creaking back upstairs again.
"What took you so long?" she asked when he handed her a glass of red wine, the bottle and another glass in his other. It was probably one of the last bottles of this they had left.
He shrugged. "Got distracted."
She made a sound of disbelief but then focused on the wineglasses in their hands.
"I didn't know you even owned these," she said. "You used to be more of a straight-out-of-the-bottle type."
His lips quirked, gaze following her wineglass, then landing on her. "Figured you'd like these more. You use these to sip your drinks. Don't gulp."
She did as instructed, sipping the wine slowly and he did the same. He was still staring at her intensely and after a while, she was beginning to find it unnerving.
"What?" She laughed. "Is there something on my face?"
"No." He gave her smile. "Keep drinking."
He kept staring though.
A few minutes later, she asked suspiciously, "Did you spike my drink or something?"
"No," he replied honestly. After a pause, he added. "I did put something in there though."
"What?" She plunged a finger into her wine. "I swear, Haymitch Abernathy, if I find—"
She fell silent suddenly when she drew out what was in her wine. It was still dripping with red liquid, a small band and shiny—pearls, diamonds? Somewhere along the way, her breath got stuck in her throat.
It was a ring.
Dumfounded, she only managed to sputter, "What?"
He was just looking at her, smiling, maybe going for nonchalant but he never broke her gaze when he asked the next question.
"Yes or no?"
She stared at him and then the ring in her hands, still speechless.
He gave her a nudge. "Gut instinct, remember?"
Tears formed as a wide grin spread across her face. She looked directly into his waiting eyes and gave her answer with conviction.