"They say Plutarch and Haymitch had a hard time keeping her alive," comments Venia under her breath. "She was imprisoned after your escape, so that helps." (Page 365)

Judgement: Effie Trinket

There's some kind of poetic justice in her life after the war.

Maybe she can feel it or it's possible she's only vaguely aware of it. But in her mind, she tries to avoid thinking of what used to be. There's still makeup and clothes and rich food. Sometimes there are even patent-leather high heels involved. Her schedule doesn't exist and neither does her status, but she tries to pretend as she applies lipstick to her unscarred lips.

Effie Trinket's cheap corset is only tied halfway up her back. Her makeup looks different and her stomach is feeling sick, and it's got nothing to do with food. The heels she wears have broken twice already, and her left shoe actually had to be nailed back together. If she presses down she can feel it pinch her skin.

Her dirty hands grip the sides of the sink as the lipstick tube falls to the floor with a soft clink. Her vacant eyes search her reflection for some sign of life, some kind of indication that this is what is supposed to happen. She searches desperately.

And doesn't find it.

There's work to do, meaningless and trivial work. Really, if she thinks about it, there is no place for her in the new regime. There is only wasted time. She frowns in the mirror, the visible lines wrinkling her forehead with each day that came and went. There would be no more surgeries.

Effie's mind flits back and forth, between the things she remembers and the memories she'd like to forget. Escort life had been kind to her, and if she was honest with herself she missed it. Prison was a nightmare, and she had successfully trained her brain to forget it. Except when she slept.

It doesn't help that every person she comes in contact with scorns her, even with just a raise of an eyebrow she can practically hear their thoughts emanating from the would-be insult.

That fucking Capitol bitch.

Haymitch would have found it funny, and Katniss might have defended her. Maybe not. Peeta would have accepted it quietly, and she finds herself wondering if Cinna would have too. So many people are dead. Dead and gone and forever missed. She really has no one.

No family. And friends she could be connected with were executed with other Snow-sympathizers and she knows any that weren't have fled. Plutarch was nice enough to get her this job but it just wasn't cutting it anymore. Too much pain, too much shit to deal with from people who had no idea what she had to go through.

She worked hard, but the reality was her job was going nowhere. There was no one to impress or kiss ass and there was no way anyone would let a former Capitol citizen get a high ranking job. Not anymore.

So when she gets on the train to Twelve, she takes off her wig, removes all the makeup and changes into simple clothes. If they recognize her, then at least they can see she is one of them. She always was; she just didn't know it until now.

Haymitch opens the door, drunk and disgusting as usual, and rolls his eyes.

Then he lets her in without a word and makes a gesture that indicates something upstairs. She doesn't understand until he points to her bag, too. Whatever kind of loneliness she had experienced in the Old Capitol since the war ended, it didn't compare to now.

Isolation surrounded her in a room in Haymitch's house when she came down to find him passed out drunk on the carpet. She lets him be and settles into the room upstairs, falling asleep on top of the dusty blankets.

It's better to be alone with him than alone by herself.

After all, being with him is as close to solitude as she can get.