Chapter 30: Reap What You Sow
Disclaimer: I don't own THG.
I wanted this last chapter to be different, so I chose to write it in Haymitch's POV.
There was only so much 'Pomp and Circumstance' a man could take. Thank all the gods out there, the graduation ceremony had finally come to a close and every graduating student had a diploma (Haymitch had helped Panem achieve a 99% graduation rate, a record).
It hadn't been a terrible day, really he could see the joy in the air. And there had even been a few highlights, specifically the speeches.
First, was Finch Blackburn's speech. Her valedictorian speech had been...odd. It was a long metaphor comparing every student to bread. Yes, bread. She explained that everyone was their own type of bread with their own unique flavor. That's what he got, anyway. She had used some large words, all in all a very eloquent speech. He got the feeling that everyone clapped because they were too, confused to do anything else. That and they wanted the speech to come to an end.
Second, was the salutatorian speech. Clove Kentwell ( who beat Katniss by .034 points) gave a fairly short speech. But she had a message for Vice Principal Coin. After three years, she admitted her guilt in the Great Combo Conundrum. It had happened back in her sophomore year, when the combinations for all the lockers in the girl's gym locker room had been changed. Coin knew it was Clove and Johanna Mason, but there was never enough proof. It was too, late to punish them; both girls had their diplomas.
And third, Principal Snow announced his retirement. After ruling over Panem Academy for 43 years, Coriolanus Snow was retiring and moving to sunny Florida. People clapped, the students didn't really feel any different. Alma Coin had adopted an almost smug expression, probably thinking she'd become principal. Seneca Crane, assistant vice principal, had appeared relieved. Haymitch was sure he was about to get fired anyway, Snow leaving didn't change anything for Crane.
"Oh, Haymitch wasn't that lovely?" Effie chirped. "They were all so happy! And Katniss looked so pretty, don't you think?"
"Right, yeah. They were great. Are we leaving now?"
"Certainly not! Have some manners, Haymitch. We have to go mingle. Besides, I want to talk to Helen, she must be so proud of Kat."
His glamorous wife led him over to where the Everdeens were celebrating.
"Kat, congratulations, honey!" Effie enveloped the girl in a big hug, every bit the proud aunt.
"Thanks, Effie." Katniss said.
"You were close, sweetheart. Not even a point." Haymitch offered.
Katniss laughed. "It's just salutatorian. I already got into Stanford, so I'm good."
"She's beyond excited, Haymitch. Never seen Katniss this glad to go back to school!" Helen Everdeen beamed.
"It'll pass. Once she sees how much work it is, she'll be begging to be back home." Haymitch joked. The group shared a laugh at Katniss's scowl.
"Uncle Haymitch, Rue and I are going to start school here at Panem next year. Are you going to be our counselor? Katniss says you can write me some hall passes." Prim said.
"I did not!" Katniss protested.
"No hall passes, your sister here probably forged those herself." Katniss denied that immediately. "And I don't think I'll be your counselor, Prim, I got a new job."
Effie put her hand on his shoulder. "Haymitch is going to be taking over as school Principal!"
"Oh, that's excellent!" Helen clapped.
"My uncle as principal, I'll definitely have some perks!" Prim gave him a hug.
"Haymitch Abernathy, school principal. I can see that happening." Katniss said.
"Hey, Kat, get over here!" A voice called.
"Get in here, we want a picture!" Another beckoned.
"Be right there guys!" Katniss called back. "Haymitch, you should be in the picture. We're the bunch that annoyed you the most, right? You're going to want to remember us."
"The worst group I ever counseled." He declared.
"Oh, he doesn't mean that." Effie added. "He never complained about you guys, he loves you and he knows it!"
His niece insisted he be in the picture, standing right next to her and Johanna Mason.
"Counselor Haymitch!" Johanna was clearly happy to be done with high school. "I wouldn't have graduated if you hadn't told me about the overdue library books. Just so you know, I couldn't find them, I had to pay the fines."
"Mr. Abernathy, my parents said they want to talk to you. Is this about being salutatorian, because I'm pretty sure I won fair and square." Clove said haughtily. The girl had no idea her parents had arranged multiple meetings with Haymitch, just to make sure she was graduating.
" Counselor Haymitch, you're Katniss's uncle? That's so cute!" Annie Cresta gushed over how it would be the most adorable senior picture in existence.
The whole time, Haymitch actually felt accomplished. He had gotten this incredibly strange group of teenagers through the most challenging four years in their lives (so far).
He allowed his thoughts to stray to Maysilee, his late wife. It took such a long time to move on after her. It took a miracle, really. But perhaps she had something to do with everything. Maysilee, she had also given him the strength to be successful.
"Let's see it!" Johanna made her way over to her brother, who took the picture. The rest of the group followed, eager to see themselves immortalized in a digital camera.
"Oh my gosh!" Katniss laughed. "Haymitch, you chose the absolute worst moment to blink!"
Sure enough, Haymitch Abernathy had his eyes closed in the picture. Definitely a keeper.
Important Author's Note: A lot of you want a sequel, some of you want college, some of you want weddings and kids. It's a lot. So I've some up with an idea that might work. I'll call it...Beyond Senior Year: An Anthology. It's not going to be a story, really, more like a series of interconnecting one-shots. Little glimpses into life post high school, leading up to the ever so popular high school reunion. And I'd love to get some ideas from you guys, so send those in! I already have a few in progress and you can expect one soon. I hope you all like the idea and thank you so much for reading/reviewing/following/favoriting this story, I'm going to miss it! :)