A/N: I had this idea while watching Game of Thrones (3x8) – Second Sons. Tyrion Lannister's wedding scene to be exact. When I look at Tyrion drunk I imagined Haymitch and thought to myself, 'what if this was a hayffie situation?'. So there are some lines from Tyrion in there. I take no credit for that.
And for anyone who reads Harry Potter fanfiction, one of the headcanon is marriage law which I have adopted in this fic. All in all, I don't know what I've just done except that I had an idea and needed to write it out.
His eyes scanned the hall in distaste. A movement to his right caught his attention, prompting the groom to crook his finger at the wandering waiter, signalling for his empty glass of wine to be refilled. He downed it in a single large gulp before extending the glass out for more. The lithe young man, already uncomfortable in his waiter uniform, took the opportunity knowing that it would be wiser not to wander off too far, to stay put. The waiter took his position by the groom's side, standing dutifully behind the chair with a bottle of wine at the ready.
Next to the groom, the bride chewed her lower lip, worried eyes darting ever so frequently to the glass in his hand. She held her tongue. She was wise enough not to comment on his behaviour just yet. It was too early in the ceremony to incur his wrath, not when they have a few more hours to sit through.
Plutarch Heavensbee, a long-time friend and confidant to the groom, chose that moment to come over. The groom watched him disinterestedly as Plutarch climbed up the steps of the raised platform where the newly wed sat overlooking the gigantic hall, his large frame huffing and puffing for breath.
Plutarch smiled broadly at them.
"Congratulations," he extended his hand at the groom and then subsequently, the bride. "Haymitch Abernathy, married, finally. Who would have thought?"
"Not by choice," he mumbled under his breath.
Ignoring that unwarranted remark even if it held a smidgen of truth in it, Plutarch went on, "go easy on the wine, Haymitch."
It came as no great surprise that his words fell on deaf ears. With a sigh, Plutarch turned towards the bride, "keep an eye out for him, will you, Effie? Don't let him get too drunk at his own wedding."
"I've been doing the same job for years now, Plutarch," Effie answered, clearly unimpressed by Haymitch who by now, had taken quite an interest on a bunch of grapes.
Haymitch plucked one and started to roll it down the length of the table like it was a marble, back and forth, over and over again. He heard what Plutarch had said, of course, and at the back of his mind, he knew he should really slow down on the wine but they had already forced him into this marriage so he will do as he pleased at his wedding.
"Sweetheart," he turned towards Effie, pulling on his tie to loosen it slightly before undoing the top button. "When will this ceremony end?"
"Not anytime soon."
That wasn't helpful at all.
Craning his neck at the waiter standing silently behind him, Haymitch held out his glass once more and watched as the red liquid sloshed within as it was poured out.
"I can't believe I'm fucking married to you," Haymitch blurted out suddenly, tactless as ever. That was the first time he had addressed their marriage since they stood at the altar that morning.
"Hmm," she hummed noncommittally. He acted as though she had been given a choice when the choice was as much missing for her as it was for him. Although, a few seconds later, Effie realised that wasn't completely true. She could have chosen someone else.
"You're a nightmare."
At that, Effie huffed indignantly. Haymitch had told her that countless of times over the years but they were merely colleagues where it didn't matter as much then but she is his wife now.
"I can imagine a thousand other alternatives in which my life could completely fall apart, Haymitch, but do you see me complaining and being downright insulting?," she shot back.
Haymitch was quiet. For the umpteenth time, his eyes scanned the room, taking everything in.
"Did you plan this wedding? Picked out the caterer? Chose the decor?" Haymitch hiccupped, waving his hand carelessly around.
"That's surprising," he mocked. "Thought you would have jumped at the chance to plan your wedding or … was it because of me? I'm not your ideal husband, hmm?"
If Haymitch's purpose was to provoke a reaction from Effie, he was left disappointed. Effie stared unblinkingly straight ahead. Her eyes were fixed on Katniss and Peeta doing a slow waltz on the dance floor. When they finished dancing, she let her eyes roamed from couple to couple, noting that everyone on the dance floor seemed far happier than she was and it was her wedding.
Earlier on, the bride and the groom had opened up the floor with a dance but that was it. It was one dance. Once the music ended, Haymitch had refused to partake in any further dancing and had slunk back to his seat where he proceeded to get drunk.
"You gonna be frigid with me all day long?" Haymitch slurred. "You know what comes after this wedding feast?"
Of course she does and Haymitch knew it too. It was impossible not to know especially since the entire purpose of the law was to repopulate Panem.
Still, Haymitch went on, as if Effie was completely oblivious to what was in store for her on her wedding night. Haymitch leaned forward in his seat, his lips right next to hear ear, "bedding ceremony," he enunciated, smacking his lips loudly.
Haymitch laughed mockingly as if he had told the world's greatest joke when he saw Effie's nostrils flared and lips thinned in response.
"To be honest, I don't even think that's what it's called," she told him dryly.
Haymitch belched rudely, forcing Effie to look around her in alarm in case anyone noticed his behaviour. Leaning back in his seat, Haymitch patted his stomach and answered her, "no, really, that's the term. Plutarch uses it, just following his example. We gotta consummate the marriage. Have … sex, you know? Or the marriage won't be valid."
"Yes, Haymitch, I know," she sighed.
He could be very crude.
"I don't want to. Not with you," he sounded petulant, like a child. Haymitch pinched the bridge of his nose and closed his eyes, sighing quietly.
It must be truly horrifying to have to sleep with her, she thought.
Effie had seen Haymitch half sober on occasion and knew that in that state, he was capable of picking out subtle body language and non-verbal messages needed to read someone and understood nuances. It was a skill that had been carefully honed during all those years he attempted to get sponsors before eventually giving up. It was however, a skill he seldom employed on Effie. She was the exception. He had put up a wall between them and as a result, Haymitch completely failed to register the way Effie's shoulder dropped slightly or how her fingers had curled itself around the stem of her wine glass in an effort to prevent herself from saying something she might regret. If he had bothered to look, he would have seen the hurt reflecting in her eyes.
Effie didn't know how long she could sit next to him, pretending that everything was splendid. She was saved by the bell when Annie came by with her son holding on tightly to her hand, a pacifier stuck in his mouth.
"Congratulations! I hope you have a blessed marriage," Annie said, giving them a sweet smile.
Haymitch raised his glass in acknowledgment, his vision already beginning to blur. Effie pushed her chair back and stood up to address Annie properly. Effie did not have that many friends since the Rebellion and Annie was among the few that she has.
"Thank you, Annie," she said, hugging the petite woman dearly. "I'm so very glad you could make it for my… wedding. You too, sweetie," she told the boy, stroking his hair gently.
Annie returned the hug, squeezing her tightly and the comfort it brought was something Effie needed on that important day.
"He's a good man and you're a good person. You looked out for me while we were in prison - I know your heart, Effie. Both of you. You take care of each other now, alright? And I will always be here, a phone call away, okay?" Annie whispered in her ears, rubbing her back soothingly.
Effie swallowed thickly, nodding her head gratefully.
Out of the corner of his eyes, Haymitch watched them curiously. He wanted to know what Annie had whispered to her but refused to ask Effie about it. Haymitch slumped further in his chair, watching the festivities through half lidded eyes, all the while convinced that he was not drunk enough.
The well-wishers came in a never ending stream which gave Effie something to occupy herself with aside from the inebriated groom next to her. Effie spoke and accepted their congratulations on his behalf since he couldn't even be bothered to acknowledge their presence, something she considered rude, and weathered through the snide remarks her relatives threw her way for being married to a district drunk when she could have chosen some other better suitors who had petitioned for her hand.
Somewhere deep within his consciousness, Haymitch knew he should probably stand up for her and let them know that he would not tolerate them speaking to Effie that way but he couldn't bring himself to care. He was still bitter about being forced to marry and besides, he had not made her invite her family. Nobody told her to invite them. She was the one who had insisted, claiming that it was bad manners not to.
Let her suffer, then.
"Effie, darling," a short old woman, held her hand and looked her imploringly. "I simply cannot fathom the thought of you with… him. And the consummation…" the wrinkly old woman shuddered in disgust, whispering out of the corner of her mouth.
Haymitch heard her despite the whispering. He had a feeling that she meant for him to hear it anyway.
"Aunt Ambrosia, thank you for being here on my joyous day," Effie said flatly, repeating the same line for the thousandth time that night. "The both of us are – "
"The idea is simply appalling, Effie dear. Is there no other way around? Can he even function?" the old woman continued, ignoring Effie.
The rude interruption was the last straw. Effie lost what little shred of patience she had left.
"There will be no... no…," she grappled for the right word before settling on the term Haymitch had used, "no bedding ceremony tonight," Effie snapped.
Effie rarely loses her patience at someone and that was his cue to intervene.
Haymitch rose unsteadily on his feet, holding on to the edge of the table for support. "I assure you, I am very capable of doing – "
"Yes, Haymitch, thank you," Effie cut him off.
Haymitch frowned but Effie was just trying to prevent a confrontation from breaking out between him and her aunt.
As the night wore on, Haymitch grew increasingly drunk. Effie became restless with worry. There were paparazzi here at the wedding. The press would have a field day if he passed out at his own wedding and it wouldn't do for her reputation to have to carry Haymitch back to their hotel room.
Peeta saw the way Effie's eyes darted around the hall trying to think of a way out before Haymitch passed out. He crossed the room towards her.
"Is everything okay?"
Effie was beyond relieved to see him standing there. "No, it's not. Look at him, Peeta!" she cried. "Drunk! You'd think he could make today an exception but clearly not."
Peeta thought about it for a moment before instructing her.
"Take him up to your room, Effie. Put him to bed before he embarrasses the both of you," Peeta said, looking over his shoulder at a group of people, some of them clutching on to their cameras.
Instead of being pleased with the idea, Effie was appalled at the thought of being alone in a room with Haymitch.
She shook her head adamantly. "I – I can't," she stammered slightly. "The feast isn't over yet, in any case. We can't just leave. Don't you think that'll be rude?"
At the word leave, Haymitch who was slumped over the table before this lifted his head up. He squinted at Effie in interest.
"Leave?" he asked hopefully. "Is this damn thing over?"
Without waiting for any of them to reply, Haymitch stood up abruptly, scraping his chair loudly on the parquet floor.
"Come, Effie," he beckoned.
The decision had been taken out of her hand. She couldn't just leave him stumbling alone to find their room. Effie exchanged a look with Peeta, her eyes reflecting the uncertainty she felt. Effie made to follow Haymitch but her steps were unsure and unsteady so very unlike the usual self-confident Effie Trinket that everyone knew.
Peeta jogged towards her as she descended down the steps. "It's your wedding night, so, I think it'll be okay to leave before the ceremony is over. People are leaving anyway. We'll cover for you. Katniss and I will come by to see you tomorrow."
"Peeta, I don't think it's a good idea for me to be alone with him," she whispered urgently.
This was not how she imagined her wedding night to be. A teenage Effie Trinket had always thought the night was supposed to be filled with romance and love but she learnt quickly that life did not always turned out the way she expected it to be. She certainly did not expect to be married to Haymitch. Knowing that it was Haymitch that she would be marrying, Effie had lowered her expectations. He was not a romantic man, she knew that and so she did not expect the night to be filled with roses on the bed and soft music playing in the background but the least she had hoped for was to be with someone sober enough to consummate their marriage without the risk of him passing out on top of her.
Effie did not want to be alone with him right now. If she could delay it one more night, she would or at least until Haymitch had some decent control over his mental faculties.
"You've been working with him for years, Effie. You've been in a room alone with him before," his brows crinkled, not quite understanding why Effie was being so hesitant.
"Yes but that was different!"
"Effie," he said patiently, "he's your husband. You have to learn to –"
"Trinket!" Haymitch's voice boomed over the hallway. "The door is locked. You better have the keys or I swear I will break open this door."
And to prove his point, Haymitch rattled the door knob violently in his hand.
Walking into the room, Haymitch grabbed a bottle of whiskey from the table and collapsed on the bed.
"You ought to change out of your dirty clothes before lying down on the clean sheets," Effie reprimanded him, the same thing she had told him each time she supported him back to bed at the Penthouse, drunk out of his skull.
Haymitch growled in annoyance but pushed himself off and sat at the edge of the bed with his feet planted firmly on the ground and elbows resting on his knees. He pinched the bridge of his nose and squeezed his eyes tight.
Knowing there was nothing else to say, Effie walked past him towards the bathroom when his hand shot out to grab hold of her slender wrist. Effie yelped in surprise. He tugged gently on her hand, urging her to move closer to him.
Her eyes darted from him to the bathroom door as she stood before him, uncertain of what he wanted. His fingers were still curled around her wrist. Haymitch blinked furiously, trying to clear his head and will the two images of his wife swimming before him to converge.
Haymitch cleared his throat, his thumb brushed against her inner wrist. "We have to - "
"No," she shook her head, "you're drunk."
"How observant," he chuckled. "I can still do it, you know. I can… what was that word your aunt used? Ah, I can function."
Effie laughed bitterly. "That is all well and good but the fact remains that you're drunk. You and I are not going to consummate this marriage while you're drunk. And besides, I thought you didn't want to have sex with me. Wasn't that what you said earlier? The thought of sleeping with me seems very repulsive to you."
Haymitch scrunched his face, desperately trying to think back if he had indeed said that. He was very certain he didn't find her repulsive. The more he tried to remember it, the more the memory eluded him.
"Yes, but we have to," he repeated. "Something about the law…the law… it says…"
Once again, his brows furrowed in concentration as he tried to recall what he had meant to say in the first place. What did the law want him to do?
With a frustrated sigh, Haymitch disregarded the thought. Thinking too much was beginning to hurt his head especially not when he was incapable of latching on to a concrete thought process in his current state. Slowly, he released his hold on Effie and watched as she bolted into the bathroom, away from him. The lock slid into place.
Effie did not come out for a long time.
I imagined a lot of awkward fumbling or… maybe not. I'm not sure if I should write the smut or the next chapter even but I'll keep my options open though. Please tell me if you like it! Thanks for reading :)