Disclaimer; I, of course, do not under any circumstances own, nor make any profit, from the Hunger Games trilogy. I do this purely for my own sick enjoyment. And of course for LankySundown, my idol in this department!
When my eyes cracked open again, it was dark out and the moon had risen high into the milky midnight sky. I shifted my body groaning in protest of the simple actions. I knew he wasn't there. I shouldn't have even expected him to be there, but yet I'd hoped and been let down.
I swallowed thickly. Some sort of off feeling settled in the pit of my stomach. I struggled for a word to describe this feeling. I know I've felt it before, but it was long ago, before I'd hardened myself for our world, our sick and twisted reality. I slipped my eyes closed a thought, thought really hard, because this emotion, it was eating at me and I could barely stand it.
And that's when it hit me, disappointment, I was disappointed. Completely and honestly devastated that our impromptu promise had gone so awry. My cheeks puffed with a harsh exhale. I pushed a hand through the beginnings of my hair before hissing with disapproval. I promptly pulled my hand from my hair frowning with disdain.
"Unacceptable!" I hissed to myself forcing my frail frame from the warm sheets.
How had he even touched such a greasy and disgusting thing in the first place? How had he even managed to rake his fingers through such a thing? Or massage my oily scalp? It was all just so disgusting! I don't see how he managed, but I suppose when you're faced with a challenge such as myself you do your best, even if it means raking your fingers through weeks of oil and dirtied hair. I shrugged out of my clothing and turned to the shower.
It looked horrible to be honest. Like no one had ever really used it, but when they did they were fucking disgusting. I suppose that's the truth though. I wouldn't know for sure because I tend to avoid mirrors. Not a very pretty reflection…
I shrugged the thought off as I stepped into the spray of water. It was a lot hotter than the ones I was generally forced into, but that was sort of the point. The water made me feel like I was melting off all of the dirt and stench that surrounded me.
A renewal process of some sort. Nevertheless I was enjoying it, just leaning against the cool tile with the warm water spewing all over me, a strange tingling overtaking my senses, it was all so oddly relaxing. I even let my eyes slip closed, something I hardly ever did, at least by choice anyway. Closing your eyes meant weakness, and that wasn't acceptable, not for the perpetual Hunger Games that was my life.
That didn't last for long though, not with the frantic knocking, my eyes flew open. My body went ridged and my breathing came in sharp bursts. My heart fluttered in my chest rapidly attempting to break through my frail ribs. I swallowed thickly fright getting the better of me as the knocking slowed a bit. It was hard to hear with the water and my pulse beating in my ears.
"Katniss? Katniss, are you okay? Sweetheart?" He pleaded through the door hoping to reach past the thudding in my ears. I vaguely caught it.
"H-Haymitch?" I called loudly my voice catching harshly as I flicked off the water to hear him better.
"Can I come in?" He asked his voice almost wary. I swallowed, this wasn't weird, and it wasn't different…
"Yeah." I called just loud enough still leaning against the tile. My eyes were lidded and I was suddenly very aware of the sticky humidness of the room as the cool air rushed in behind Haymitch.
He swallowed. He looked uncertain, of what though I wasn't sure. I smiled weakly at him and something sparkled in his dark and stormy gray eyes. He pushed a hand through hair and sighed softly, his shoulders and posture relaxing visibly. He pulled the door back and grabbed a fluffy white towel. He walked over and held his hand out waiting patiently for me to grasp it. I drew in a breath and took his hand allowing him to help me up. He wrung out my hair gently before wrapping the towel around my emaciated body. His lips pressed to my forehead and I found myself being comforted by the action.
"Where were you this m-morning?" I asked my voice breaking slightly as he pulled away and looked me in the eyes.
"I'm sorry I wasn't there, Katniss. I really wanted to be, but I had to lock up my house." I blinked confused as he helped me out of the tub. He noticed and smiled before elaborating more.
"I figured I should stay here with you in one of the guest bedrooms, if you're okay with that?" He asked looking me in the eyes as he began drying me off gently.
I frowned. Was I okay with that? Haymitch practically moving in? Into my house no less… I'd see him all the time. But that wasn't the bad part, no, the bad part was he felt like I needed so much help he had to be there all the time. I shook my head.
"Why?" He locked eyes with me.
"Because, Katniss, you need help and I want to be there for you…" He mumbled something under his breath, but I ignored it instead and thought on his sentence a little.
He wanted to be there. Meaning he didn't just feel a form of obligation, he actually cared enough to stay… Or so it appeared. Did he care? My frown deepened. When had things changed so much? I sighed and nodded giving in. I would be better off with him here to help me recover. He smiled up at me and promised to return. I nodded and perched on the edge of the tub.
I didn't care much to leave this room without being dressed and I'd failed to bring clothes, so of course that's what he was going to get, or at least I hoped so. He didn't seem as cruel as he used to be, like he would play with me in a weak state.
I shivered when the door opened again and Haymitch smiled shutting the door behind him presenting a robe. I frowned slightly.
"All of your clothing is dirty so I picked one of my robes. It's a new one. I figured you wouldn't want to wear any of my ratty shit." He said with a shrug holding it out to me.
I took it quickly and pulled it around my form thankful for not only the warmth, but the protection it provided to my body. I'm not sure what changed, but suddenly I'm not as comfortable with Haymitch seeing me so… bare. He held out his hand.
"Breakfast?" I was about to decline, but then I realized that I should say yes because I'm trying again and that means eating. I nodded shifting my eyes to the ground.
He squeezed my hand before taking the lead. I swallowed and pushed down the fear quelling into my chest. Sometimes I have to let other people take the lead. Sometimes I have to follow without questioning, and while I'm not very good at either of these things, the feel of his hand in mine and the thought of him sticking around, it made it a little less frightening. It made everything I was going to go through a little more worth it because there's a possibility that he might stick around if he likes me enough that is…