AN: So...this is not the first fanfic I've ever written but it's the first I've ever shared with anyone. Eep! :) I welcome comments, suggestions, criticisms, reviews, whatever, as long as they're helpful/constructive. I hope you enjoy because I've had a blast working on it.

Chapter 1:

"He wants to do what?" She pinched the bridge of her nose as the gruff man began screaming obscenities through the phone. She expected Haymitch to be angry about his clients' decision but nothing prepared her for the verbal onslaught. She wasn't sure half the words flying out of his mouth were even real words. She just waited until he asked an actual question to acknowledge him "What in God's name for?"

"I don't know the full reason, Haymitch. All I know is that Jo came to me a few days ago-"

"A few days? What the hell, Effie?"

She pursed her lips and swore he could hear it. "A few days ago," she repeated slowly, "Jo came to me and told me that things were different this time. It was the next morning that Seneca informed me of what was occurring."

He let out the exasperated sigh she knew he had been holding in. "They are number one in the world right now. Number one. In the world. Their record sales might as well be single-handedly keeping Snow's music division afloat!"

"I'm aware of that. Believe me, we've looked at this from every angle."

He's silent for a minute before he laughs. "It doesn't matter."

"What?"

His laugh builds. "It doesn't matter! They are the most financially rewarding investment in the company. There's no way Crane is letting them go."

"Haymitch." She loses a bit of her composure when she speaks his name as softly as she does. He catches it immediately. The laughter subsides.

"Effie Trinket." His voice is low and warning. "Did the label already approve the break?"

"A few hours ago." Her stomach dropped at her admission, from the guilt of not telling him sooner. "The press conference is scheduled for tomorrow morning."

"Why did you wait to tell me? I could have talked some sense in them."

"Because Snow knew you'd try to intervene. He knows it's a risk to let it happen but that's why he stipulated that it could only be temporary. Among other things," she explained, hearing her voice rise in pitch with each sentence. "I wanted to tell you, Haymie, I did, but he wouldn't let me – he insisted I had to wait until everything was official."

"Ef," he responded softly. She suddenly wished she had this conversation with him in person rather than on the phone. Initially she thought this would be easier – she'd be able to stay distant and calm. Now she wanted more than anything to hold him and run her hands through his hair. She wanted to be what calmed him rather than the liquor she was sure he was searching for. She leaned into the headset and blinked back the tears in her eyes. His voice was no longer laced with anger; he sounded as broken as she felt. "I thought the fights were just ego trips, idle threats. I never imagined he'd follow through on any of them." She heard him take a few long swigs of a liquid and sigh.

An almost inaudible click broke their silence. Effie snapped her neck to the screen on the desk phone and pursed her lips. "There is a press conference scheduled for tomorrow morning. You, obviously, will need to be there as their manager. It would be in your best interest to to make yourself presentable, as you are an official representative of Snow Management," she clipped in an indifferent voice. "Perhaps stopping for a coffee and some bread to soak up any remnants of vodka that may be in your system in the morning?"

"Fax me the information," he responded, his gruff demeanor returning.

"Give me an hour. Goodbye Mr. Abernathy." The click repeated itself and she whispered, "I'm so sorry," before setting the receiver down. She wasn't sure if he heard her but she knew it needed to be said. Haymitch Abernathy was a has-been drunk who was only still around because he had been dubbed as one of the best guitarists of his generation when he was only 15. He hadn't had much success being a manager until District 12 came along. He, literally, stumbled upon them one night and Effie noticed an immediate change in him. She petitioned to work with him as a PR rep for them, determined to make them a success. Together they helped the band grow from playing college bars to selling out stadiums worldwide. In those two years, the pair grew closer, leaning on one another in ways they never could with anyone else. It was a delicate dance between the two – shared glances and smirks, flirtatious jokes, electricity-induced touches in secret.

It was the hopelessness in his voice that got stuck on replay. He was on shaky ground and she refused to watch him self-destruct again, but she didn't know what she could possibly do anymore that would actually help and not just distract. They were good at distracting one another from their actual issues but he needed more. She vowed to help him in anyway she could. Reading over the latest email exchange, she caught a line that she must have missed earlier. A smile tugged at the corner of her lips as she

She pressed the intercom button her desk and seconds later, a hologram image of her assistant appeared. "Venia?" She called out.

"Yes, Mrs. Trinket?"

Effie's jaw clinched slightly at the reminder of why she shouldn't allow one Mr. Haymitch Abernathy under her skin the way she does. Why she shouldn't care if he drinks himself into a coma tonight for any reason beyond him attending the press conference in the morning. Professionalism, Effie, she chastised herself. "I need you to to get someone on the phone for me. And I need him tonight." She watched as the plump young woman brought up a program on the computer and look towards her, indicating that she's prepared. "Dr. Henri Boggs at Northwestern."