A/N: Happy day three of my week of updates! In honor of my third year on FF, I'm posting a new HG one-shot every day for the next six days. I posted When the Skies Get Rough (Peeta/Katniss) last night, check that out if you want.
Today's one-shot is unusually special, because this was written for Caesar's Palace's first fic exchange! This is for the lovely Joanne, aka irmaida xx
Lights Will Guide You Home
"Lights will guide you home
And ignite your bones
And I will try to fix you"
-Fix You by Coldplay
Loss, Sacrifice, Hope
Mizar saw herself as the tough one. Maysilee spent her afternoons in school as late as she could, studying until after dark. Mizar would go to Seam. She'd flirt with the boys in her History class, and in exchange they'd teach her their tricks. They took her into the woods. There would be nights where she'd come home with a black eye or a few bruises, but she would tell herself it was worth it because it made her strong.
So, when "Maysilee Donner" was called at the Reaping, Mizar's throat ran dry. She was the strong one. She should volunteer and take her sister's place, because she had the brawn and Maysilee had the brain.
Mizar was the strong one.
But she saw Maysilee shake her head furiously, and even as Mizar clung on to her and the mouthed the words I volunteer over and over again, she couldn't do it because her sister would never forgive her.
She should've made that sacrifice. Her sister's hatred would've been nothing compared to her own.
It was a non-surprise when Maysilee died. It was a non-surprise when Haymitch held her hand as she took her last breath. It was a non-surprise when Mizar ran to the bathroom and vomited everything out of her system.
Mizar's life was becoming a non-surprise, and as she leaned over the sink she knew it. She saw how it would go—she'd lost Maysilee, and Maysilee was a part of herself.
Mizar was more than lost. You couldn't live when you were already dead.
Thaddeus Undersee was no Seam boy.
Not that Mizar had ever noticed, but Thaddeus would make a point to visit the Donner's sweetshop every Sunday night. It was the one time of the week where he was completely positive that Mizar wasn't in the Seam.
He lusted from afar. For years, Mizar never looked twice in his direction.
It was after Maysilee's death that Mizar stopped visiting the Seam. She spent more afternoons in the sweetshop. She didn't come home with black eyes or bruises anymore.
"Hey," she said to him one day, just as he was leaving. "You're Thaddeus, aren't you?"
His heart pounded out of his chest. Finally, just for once, those blue eyes of hers were staring into his.
"Yeah," he responded. "It's nice to meet you, Mizar."
She smiled. It was the first time since her sister's death that her eyes weren't hollow.
They shut him out, alright. Thaddeus' merchant friends and the higher ups of District Twelve were masters of the two-faced act. They smiled at him all the same and acted like nothing was wrong, but the elephant in the room was that it was completely beyond them, that he would marry Mizar Donner.
There were times where it was completely beyond him, too.
He would hold her at night when she'd go into her fits, stroking her back as her head throbbed. "Ssh," he cooed, but he might as well have been talking to a wall, because she wasn't coming back to him.
He'd given up so much to get to this point. His family turned their back on him, and his respect in the District was nothing compared to what it once was.
But Thaddeus Undersee had something no one else in District Twelve did—he had a photographic memory. As far as Mizar was concerned, she thought the day they officially met was the one long after Maysilee's death. She didn't remember the hours they spent together at the playground, or how Thaddeus dragged her out of the water when she almost drowned. That was when they were six years old.
It was years ago. Mizar didn't remember any of it, but Thaddeus did.
So when they eventually grew apart as all young childhood friends have to, Thaddeus let Mizar move to the back of his mind. He thought about other girls. Mizar was busy with the Seam boys, there was no point.
As a boy, he'd never been in love with her. He had to watch her lose everything to realize how much he'd been missing her.
"I don't get why you do it."
Thaddeus looked away from Madge. It'd taken all of five minutes for him to get her to sleep, a task that Mizar would have to spend hours on. She was tired. She was worn down and not used to motherhood and he'd realized soon enough that Mizar was doubling her pain medication dosage. She was a mess.
So he knew exactly what she was talking about. "Sometimes we need to make sacrifices for the people we love," he said, quietly so they wouldn't wake up Madge.
He kissed Mizar on the forehead. Her expression remained as exhausted as ever.
He'd given up so much to be with Mizar. Only now were his parents starting to talk to him, and the people of District Twelve had found other relationship scandals to gossip about. Mizar and Thaddeus Undersee were old news by then.
"Do you know who you're in love with, Thaddeus?"
"Of course I do. I'm in love with the girl that ate dirt on the playground with me and chased Seam boys around."
And that's when it hit him. Because she was shaking her head and holding back tears as she managed to choke out, "I don't know that person anymore."
The Mizar he grew up with wasn't coming back. That was the day Thaddeus Undersee realized his hope was a delusion.
Madge Undersee believed in delusions.
She had an easier life than most, being the mayor's daughter. So maybe her parents were absent from her life—at least there was food on her table and a life ahead of her to live.
Her mother was never the one she was angry with. Madge shared a room with Mizar, because at night sometimes Mizar's headaches got so bad, she needed someone with her to make sure she didn't overdose the medications that were on her nightstand. Mizar Undersee only ever spoke of her childhood once.
"I wish your aunt could be here to see you." Mizar spoke with a yawn in her voice, curling up in sheets. "She would be proud of you."
Madge had to think before reacting. Only her father ever spoke of Maysilee, and it was fleetingly with the policy that Madge wouldn't ask any questions. "I wish I could see her sometimes," she said. Her heart was racing. "She sounds like she was really special."
Mizar laughed hollowly. "Not special. But she was my twin sister." This would be Mrs. Undersee's cue to start bawling like she did whenever the topic of conversation became too much, but only a single tear made its way out of her eye. "We were completely different. Maybe that's why we were so close, everything I wasn't, she was . . ."
"We don't have to talk about this, mom. It's getting late, maybe some other time."
Mizar leaned in to Madge. She took her daughter's hand in hers.
"You haven't given up on me."
Madge gulped back a lump in her throat. Everyone that knew her mother called her a lost cause, but most of District Twelve didn't even know who her mother was. Thaddeus Undersee had done a fantastic job hiding her. "I know. But Dad has, and that's not fair."
"Only because I gave him a reason to." Mizar sighed. "I couldn't give him the love he deserved, all because of something that happened that was out of my control . . ." Now the tears were starting to flow freely. "He gave up so much to be with me, and I couldn't even give him . . . any reason to hope . . ."
Madge rocked her mother in the dark, whispering reassuring things into her ear. It was like talking to a wall.
But even as she sat there, holding her mother, she held on to the same thought she'd been holding on to for the better part of seventeen years.
My dad fell in love with her. She used to be a merchant girl that played with Seam children, someone that welcomed everyone and gave all of the love she could give. She had a sister who was a part of her and was destroyed when she lost her.
I'll be damned if she loses anyone else.
"Don't worry, mom," Madge whispered. "I'll fix you."
A/N: Sorry this ran on the long side, I actually had to edit out 500 words so this fic could fit inside the 1,500 word requirement for the forum. (I scraped by at 1,425 words for the actual one-shot. That's how it's done xD).
This is something of a companion to The Merchant Girl, which is Haymitch's and Maysilee's story. Writing this was so much fun because I never write these kinds of fics. Big thanks to Joanne for giving me a challenging and fulfilling prompt, I hope you guys enjoyed it and be sure to leave a review xx