Disclaimer: I do not own the Hunger Games characters or any of Bill Chappell's inventions, only the originals.
Dedicated to my great grandma, Effie (yes that's really her name!), who's rocking chair I was sitting in when I got this idea.
Author's note: Set two years after Mockingjay. If this helps anyone, District 12 is in the Appalachian Mountains and The Capitol is in the Rockies, so in modern terms, it's like driving from West Virginia (I decided on this state because it's known for coal mining) to Colorado (I've always thought the Capitol city could be modern day Estes Park, Colorado) And the District Haymitch thought would never end, is modern day Kansas. My family moved from Oklahoma to Colorado and the worst part of getting to Colorado was going through Kansas. It felt like it would never end when my family moved from Oklahoma to Colorado and drove through Kansas. I actually Mapquest'd this trip to make as realistic as possible. The trip one way would be one day and 1500 miles. Also, I think the red truck from Twister screams Haymitch, but that's just me. And yes, Colorado has Prairie dogs, they are all over the place, even in cities!
"Haymitch, I think we should take a trip to the Capitol so your can meet my family." Effie Trinket, soon to be Effie Abernathy said one summer night in District 12 as she coated her hands with a sickeningly sweet lotion in bed.
Haymitch muttered something unintelligible into his pillow, one arm falling over side of the bed. Unbeknownst to Effie, he had fallen asleep several minutes ago.
"Well, that was easier than I thought it would be! I don't give you enough credit, do I, Haymitch?" She asked happily, kissing his cheek.
Undeterred, thinking Haymitch had given her the okay, Effie happily started planning the trip. Haymitch had never met Effie's parents. They knew about each other, a few things about each other and had spoken briefly a few times. However, Effie wanted them to meet before the big day. She wouldn't be able to forgave herself if such a rude act occurred.
Haymitch came down stairs a few mornings later to find Effie in the living room with suitcases, packing away.
"Should I be worried by this?" He asked gesturing to the luggage, "Or take this as a warning?" Was Effie leaving him? He mentally started compiling a list of all the alcohol he wanted to fade what he knew would be an ugly memory.
"Whatever are you talking about, Haymitch? I'm only packing for our trip to the Capitol to see my parents." Effie replied, folding one of Haymitch's shirts.
"Oh ok, you scared me," then Effie's words hit him, "Wait. What?"
"You remember, don't you?" She asked, putting the clothing down and turning her full attention to her fiancé. "Tuesday night, I said we should go visit my parents, so you can meet them before the wedding and you said yes."
"I was asleep! I said no such thing! I hate to break it to you, but we're not going, sweetheart." He exclaimed. He loved Effie with everything he had, but he never wanted to set foot in the Capitol, ever again. Why couldn't they come here?! That and, the thought of people similar to Effie, well, lets just say the world only needs one Effie Trinket.
"Well that's too bad Haymitch. I already confirmed it with my parents, my brother is even coming in!" Effie stated as though it meant something to him.
It seemed like he had no other choice. If the in-laws knew, he couldn't back out or else they would give him hell for the rest of their lives.
"Fine," He groaned dramatically. He caught a glimpse of the bags she was packing. All were neatly packed and color coordinated. "Organized people are just too lazy to look for things." He quipped, turning on his heel and headed outside. Say something to annoy Effie and leave before she can reply, that'll teach her.
Effie shook him awake early that next morning, or late that night, in Haymitch's opinion. No human (especially Haymitch Abernathy) should be awoken at three thirty in the morning. "Up, up, up!" Effie sang.
He halted her with a single finger in the air, not moving from his sleeping position, "If you say 'It's going to be a big big day, I will not marry you."
"Well be that way, grumpy. I will tell my mother not to make her famous cheesecake tomorrow night." With that, Effie left the room, leaving Haymitch to get ready.
A half hour later, Haymitch was loading their bags in the backseat of his truck. Now that there were no restrictions on personal vehicles, Haymitch bought one. Unlike most of the citizens of District 12, he knew how to drive. He once took a Peacekeeper's vehicle, trying to get his little brother to a healer on the other side of the District. And also unlike the rest of District 12 and the poorer districts, he had taken to driving, rather than still walking. He liked not having to walk everywhere.
Effie emerged from the house several minutes later after checking and rechecking that everything was locked, turned off, and that nothing was forgotten. All Haymitch cared about where his geese and Peeta promised to care for them in his absence.
"Let's get this over with." He said.
Effie fell asleep half way through District 12. Leaving Haymitch to entertain himself, though he had to admit, Effie looked cute when she slept.
They had to go through Districts 11, 10, and 7 to get to the Capitol and would be there late that night. Thankfully, due to two time changes not too late, around midnight Capitol time or two o'clock District 12 time.
Effie awoke at the beginning of District 11 and they stopped and ate lunch half way through. Effie had packed them a lunch and snacks for the trip. It wouldn't have been a horrible drive if District 10 hadn't gotten in their way, the last District before the Capitol. It was nothing but farmland with the only thing to look at were cattle and a smattering of farm buildings and homes.
"Ugh! When will this district end!?" Haymitch groaned dramatically, banging his head on the steering wheel.
"Calm down, Haymitch. Enjoy the simplicity," Effie responded, playing on her tablet computer.
"This is too simple. Even for me."
Half an hour later, they passed a homestead that had a giant sign, facing the road that foretold of divine revenge on the country of Panem.
"Thank god for rednecks," Haymitch said to himself. People were getting a little crazy with their new freedom of speech, but it was the most entertaining thing he'd seen all day.
They were more than half way there when it started getting dusky outside. When it was completely dark, save for the headlights, mountains started springing up in the distance and became bigger and more imposing as they reached the Capitol. Effie's family lived just outside the Capitol City on land they owned. Haymitch purposely took back roads to get there, he really didn't want to see the city.
Around twelve thirty local time, they finally arrived. The little garden lights following the paved driveway and the porch light was left on for them. It was quite obvious this was the Trinket residence, the home was painted bright, whimsical colors and lawn ornaments and flowers, shrubs and trees littered every inch of grass.
As soon as the truck came to a halt, Effie sprang from it, apparently eager to see her family. Haymitch hung back and grabbed their bags. Just as he was about to step away and head to the door, he heard a high pitched chattering and something run across his feet; he whirled around and in the low light he could see it; a group of prairie dogs that run into a thicket of trees nearby. He hated prairie dogs.
Haymitch and Effie were greeted by a wave of noise and beings when the door opened for them. Her father greeted them happily, pulling Effie into a bear hug. Two more Effies stood next to him, her mother and little sister. By the look of her family, they were weaning themselves off of Capitol couture much like he was alcohol. And that's really saying something as they were only dressed in their nightclothes. Haymitch was too afraid to think what their 'normal' day to day clothes looked like.
At their feet were two dogs, a hyperactive beagle/jack russell mix that was jumping around and quickly shifting her front feet up and down, and an obese basset hound with large brown eyes that gave the impression she was permanently startled, drooling on his shoes. On top of the bookcases in the living room, were two cats, a tabby and tuxedo cat, ready to pounce on Haymitch's face if he made the wrong move.
Effie's mother was named Lyric, she owned a thriving bakery in the Capitol City. She was only slightly taller than Effie with fading lavender hair. Her father was a tall man with wild blue with a matching mustache and goatee and a giant grin on his face like he were welcoming the President into his house, rather than just Haymitch. His name was Cosmo, above their bakery, he had his computer work shop. Many Capitol citizens preferred going to him rather than shipping their electronics to District 3 because of his convenient location and his work was just as good as District 3's. Behind them was a young girl, probably fifteen with white blonde hair, same color as Effie's natural color.
'That must be her sister who calls her non stop.' Haymitch thought.
Effie's little sister was named Lissy. She relied heavily on Effie, much more than their parents (not that they weren't good parents) and was devastated when Effie moved across the country to District 12. She really did not like Haymitch and blamed him for her older sister's upheaval. Haymitch would never admit a little scrawny fifteen year old scared him, but when he looked in her blue eyes, he saw himself dead. He saw himself dead, in little pieces, being fed to the ginormous slobbering basset hound.
"Oh my god, there's more of you," He said under his breath, dazed from the trip and sudden rash of human interaction.
"Cosmo Trinket, nice to finally meet you in person, son." Haymitch was about to take his extended hand, but Cosmo quickly wrapped him in a bear hug.
"Hi," was all Haymitch could say. He swore he felt his spleen squeeze into his esophagus.
Effie's mother pushed herself in front of her husband. "I'm Effie's mother, Lyric," she smiled, then motioned for Lissy to come up front, "This is our youngest, Lissy."
"Hi," She said coolly, crossing her small arms over her chest and glaring at Haymitch.
"Mother, father, Lissy, this is my fiancé, Haymitch Abernathy. You can thank him for my survival two years ago." Effie said, with a smile.
Haymitch grimaced internally. He hated the thought of Effie imprisoned. Imprisoning someone as harmless as Effie really showed that Snow was truly an evil man. That and especially, hated people knowing he could be a nice guy.
Her parents said nothing, at a loss for words. Finally, after a few short moments, Cosmo said, "Well come in, come in," he said, ushering Haymitch and Effie forward, closing and locking the front door behind them.
Now that the introductions were over, Effie and her family shared a long embrace.
"We've missed you so much!" Her mother exclaimed, nearing tears.
"You look beautiful without all that silly Capitol couture!" Her father gushed.
"Why did you have to move, Effie? He isn't even cute." Lissy said in disdain.
"Well, you're both probably exhausted. We'll let you get some rest. I've set up your old room for you two and you know when breakfast is, your father and I are cooking a large one! Your brother should be in sometime tomorrow." Her mother said to Effie.
Effie nodded and after exchanging goodnights, she led Haymitch to their room.
'Yeah, this is her old room,' He thought as she turned on the light. It was painted in an obnoxious shade of pink , the furniture was wooden and painted white and the room decorated with frilly and girly things.
"Now that wasn't so bad, was it Haymitch?" She asked, pulling out her toiletries and night clothes.
"Hold your horses, sweetheart, we're not home yet. We still have a week to go." He replied, throwing himself on the bed. Effie scoffed and rolled her eyes, vanishing into the adjoining bathroom.
When she was in the shower, he took this as a chance to learn about the girl Effie used to be before they met. On the wall facing the white desk was a pink damask memo board filled with pictures. Pictures of her with friends, receiving multiple awards, school graduation and various dances.
He liked seeing Effie like this, happy and carefree, but he could see a difference in how she carried herself now and in those pictures. Today, she carried herself even taller and straighter. It used be for the sake of politeness (no one likes a sloucher!), now it is out of confidence, like 'I've been through worse, this is nothing.' Yes, the Effie Trinket was a different one now than one before she escorted Katniss Everdeen to the Capitol. And he loved it.
Alerted from his thoughts, he heard the shower shut off. Quickly, he changed and borrowed under the covers. When she joined him in bed, he quickly pulled her closer to him, wrapping her securely in his arms, a habit of his that he would rather go unknown but to the two of them.