Thank you, God, for everything.
DISCLAIMER: I do NOT own the Hunger Games. Here's another one dedicated to my sister.
"Haymitch, Haymitch, do hurry up!" called Effie hurriedly. "Time waits for no one and neither do I!"
"I'm comin', hold your horses," Haymitch scowled.
Effie scowled as well as she lightly fluffed up her wig and touched up her lipstick with her still-alive-but-steadily-dwindling supply of makeup. Even after all these years, she had been saving her makeup and used it sparingly. Haymitch had gruffly given her a bunch when the Capitol had been plundered. Just because they were just going next door didn't mean she couldn't be pretty. It also didn't mean that Haymitch had to take forever.
Sighing, Effie snapped her lipstick back into her bag and tapped her foot against the ground.
"Haymitch, I told Katniss we'd be there by five-thirty. It is now" - she looked to the clock on the wall that had broken glass protecting it - "five-thirty-one!"
"I'm coming, I'm coming, princess," Haymitch said irritably. He appeared from upstairs, his hair disheveled and his clothes wrinkled but he was mostly sober. That and being present was all that counted at the moment for Effie. "God forbid that we get there a minute later than you intended."
"Thank you, Haymitch," Effie said a little sarcastically as she opened the front door.
"'Cause then the world would come to a screeching halt and we'd all die if your schedule wasn't followed," continued Haymitch.
"Haymitch, really," Effie said as she walked out the door. She held the door open for him and he stumbled out, still saying, "Seriously, though. Wait, one day things will go haywire because of us not listening to Effie's damn schedule."
"Haymitch?" Effie said as she shut the door.
"What?" Haymitch said, turning to face her and kicking a goose out of his way at the same time.
"Shut up," she said pleasantly. Smiling, she led the two of them next door to the Mellarks' house.
Effie went up to the door and rapped it with her fist, standing on her tiptoes. After a moment, the door was opened by a dark, brown haired little girl. She looked to be about six-years-old, and her blue eyes looked soft.
"Hello, Lily," Effie said warmly.
"MOM, AUNT EFFIE AND UNCLE HAYMITCH ARE HERE!" the young girl turned and hollered at the top of her lungs.
Effie instantly covered her ears, "Oh, my. What a loud voice."
"Haven't you gotten used to it yet?" Haymitch asked Effie with a scowl on his face.
Effie threw him a look as Katniss came to the door.
"Thanks, Lily," Katniss said a bit wearily as she took the door. Lily smiled and nodded curtly before bouncing back into the house. Katniss sighed and turning back to Effie and Haymitch, "You know, you don't have to."
"But we want to," Effie said in a pleading voice. Haymitch let out a snort and Effie cleared her throat and said, "Well, one of us wants to."
"Okay, then," Katniss said, and she went and opened the door wider. Effie smiled cheerfully and trotted in; Haymitch rolled his eyes and walked in, shoulders sagging.
"Got any brandy?" was the first thing he asked.
"Haymitch!" Effie said as Katniss closed the door and joined her side.
"We don't have any liquor, Haymitch," said Peeta, who was standing behind the floating island in the kitchen, his straight arms holding his body up, his hands plastered to the island.
"Really wish ya did," Haymitch scowled, and he flopped onto the green sofa in front of the floating island.
"He's enthusiastic," Peeta said with a shrug.
"Yeah," Katniss said, rolling her eyes. She turned to Effie and said, "I'm going to go get the baby."
"Alrighty, then," Effie said, taking a seat next to Haymitch. She turned in her seat and said pleasantly to Peeta, "And where did Lily run off to?"
"She was just here," Peeta said thoughtfully. He stood up straight and began to walk toward the office, calling, "Lily, where are you?"
He disappeared into the office and Haymitch, looking at the coffee table in front of them that held three glasses and a pitcher of water, said, "They should have some liquor around here," and he began to stand up.
Effie, realizing that he was about to go search the kitchen, immediately caught his sleeve and said, "Haymitch, there's no liquor! Now, please sit down before you embarrass yourself."
Haymitch let out a loud laugh that sounded a bit like a bark. "Like I haven't done that before, now let go of me, princess."
"Haymitch!" Effie said quickly as he pulled away from his grip. "We're going to be watching little children, and I will not allow you to drink on the job!"
Haymitch, now standing, turned to Effie and pointing a finger at her, said, "Here's the thing, princess. I didn't come here to watch some kids. I was forced to walk my butt over here to amuse you. You're the one who's going to be watching the kids. I'll be raiding the kitchen and counting the moments until I can get back home."
"Haymitch," Effie huffed as he went into the kitchen, "if you didn't come to help me watch, then why did you come at all?"
Haymitch smirked at her as he grabbed a glass out of one of the cupboards. "'Cause you asked me to come, princess."
Effie looked at him a moment. He merely smirked at her before turning back to his alcohol hunt. Effie couldn't help but blush at the compliment as she turned back in her seat. It was a compliment, coming from Haymitch. After all, he never complimented anyone much at all, especially her.
She straightened and smiled pleasantly when Katniss came haltingly down the stairs. One of her arms was at her side and the other was supporting a little blonde haired boy at her hip; he had grey eyes and was watching Effie, sucking his thumb.
"Benjy, say hi to Effie," Katniss said, looking from her son's eyes to Effie's face, which had lit up at the sight of the little one-year-old boy. He looked curiously at Effie before burying his face into Katniss's white sleeve.
"Oh, isn't he just darling?" Effie gushed. The kids from the Capitol had always looked like mini adults; all done up in crazy costumes, not even regular clothes. Their faces had been painted and polished and their hair teased and coiled. Here, little Benjy looked perfectly plain compared to them in the best way possible.
"Wanna hold him?" Katniss said, jerking her hip a little to get him into a better position.
"Oh, yes," Effie said excitedly. She leaned back against the sofa and held out her arms. Katniss gently placed the little boy onto Effie's knee where she held onto his little arms.
Effie let out a squeal of excitement and said, "Isn't he adorable?"
"Yeah, he is now, but wait until he starts screaming his head off," said Haymitch from the kitchen.
Effie didn't bother looking at him. Benjy commanded her attention a bit more by just sitting there, looking at her with wide eyes as he sucked his thumb. After a moment, he made a grab for her thumb. She didn't even realize what he was doing until he put it into his mouth.
"Benjy!" she said, gently jerking it away. The baby looked back up to her with wide eyes and she could swear she heard Haymitch laughing.
"Here's Lily," and Effie turned to see Peeta coming in, Lily running toward her in front of him.
"Hi again," Lily said to Effie, settling into a seat next to Benjy. "Can I hold him?"
"Of course," Effie said, gently placing the baby onto Lily's lap. The ex-Capitol lady wiped her wet thumb on the sofa hastily before looking up to Katniss and Peeta, the former leaning against the wall near the door, the latter next to her, holding a woven basket.
"You sure that you don't mind doing this?" Katniss said, her arms folded over her white shirt, a dark brown sensible sort of bag hanging off of her shoulder.
"Oh, we don't mind at all," Effie said pleasantly, sneaking a quick look at her godchildren. She looked back up to the two parents and said brightly (and loudly), "Right, Haymitch?"
"Sure, whatever," came from the kitchen, and Katniss and Peeta exchanged a look.
Effie smiled harder at his response and said, "You two go enjoy yourselves. I'll make sure that the children get taken care of."
"Okay," Peeta said, "well, we'll be back by nine, then."
"Yeah, there's dinner in the oven, and if the baby doesn't eat anything, that's okay. He likes bread and goat's milk. There's bottles ready for him. Um," Katniss let out a breath, "Lily goes to bed at eight-thirty, you can keep the baby up. He has a weird schedule and he lets us know it."
"Don't let Lily tell you that she can do something that we wouldn't let her do," Peeta said, throwing Lily raised eyebrows. Lily occupied herself with playing with Benjy's fingers.
"Don't let Benjy eat paint; Lily can paint but don't let her do it on the walls." Katniss sighed before turning to Peeta and saying, "Maybe we should stay home."
Effie looked at the baby and Lily but heard Peeta say, "Katniss, they'll be fine. A picnic with just the two of us will do us both good."
"Peeta. . ."
"Is there anything else you want to let us know, sweetheart?" Effie turned to see Haymitch leaning over her, a cup of something in his hand.
Katniss rolled her eyes at his endearment and shrugging her bag's handle into a better position on her shoulder, said, "No, that's it. Just don't burn the house."
For some reason, Effie thought that that was something Haymitch might do. He just shrugged, rolled his eyes and followed Peeta and Katniss to the door. He kept the door open for them, taking big gulps out of his cup.
"See ya, Haymitch," Peeta said. He smiled and looking to the sofa, said, "Bye Lils, bye Ben, bye Effie!"
"See you soon, Peeta," Effie said brightly.
"Bye Daddy," Lily said before turning her attention back to her baby brother.
Peeta nodded and went out the door. Katniss said, "Bye Lily, bye Benjy. Effie, take care of them."
"I will," Effie nodded. They were just children, they shouldn't be that hard to take care of. Right?
Katniss nodded and turned to face Haymitch, who had dabs of grey hair in his coarse hair.
"Don't do anything stupid," she said to him through gritted teeth.
"Will do, sweetheart," Haymitch said, and Katniss turned and followed Peeta out the door.
Haymitch waited until they left the front yard before closing the door and walking to the other three.
"We're going to have such a good time," Effie said excitedly, her hands clasped together.
Haymitch let out a barking laugh as he sunk into a chair that had the back to the wall. "Naw, we won't."
"Why ever can we not?" Effie wanted to know.
Haymitch hiccuped and pointed to the two kids. Effie turned to see the two smiling and Lily talking baby talk to Benjy. They looked perfectly adorable and lovely. What ever did Haymitch mean by them not making them have a good time?
I originally thought that this would be a one-shot, but hang that idea! Anyhoo, I hope you liked it, and please review!