Chapter 17: The Games, Day 9
"Haymitch…" someone was shaking him awake.
"Couple more minutes, Finn."
"Mitch! Please wake up!"
"Finn, I will punch you if you don't let me sleep a little more."
"It's May, you imbicile!"
His eyes flew open.
She was leaning over him, her hair draping over and tickling his neck yet again. He almost grinned but caught sught of the frightened look on his gaze. He blinked and looked around. They were no longer under the thick thorny brush they fell asleep under. She must have pulled him out.
"They're really close. I think they tracked us, Mitch."
He moved, and she leant back. They both stood up. That's when he heard a muffled laugh and a loud 'sush'.
"Get ready, there's no time to run," he said, bringing out his big serrated knife from its hip holster, the voices coming closer.
She nodded, bringing out the bamboo stick from her pack with one hand. She met his gaze, and he looked down at her boot. She looked down, and grabbed the knife. Then she did a double take.
"Did you-" she asked dazedly, looking down at the new addition.
"Shh," he said, bringing a finger to her mouth. Her eyebrow twitched.
"Well, well, well, what do we have here?" a nasally girly voice broke the moment.
They both turned to find the three others left in the Career group; the Tributes left from three, five, and eleven.
They were all painted green, camouflage style to blend with the forest. The boy, Five, had the bow and arrows they'd hid in the trees. The two girls each had small knives.
Haymitch frowned at the bow and arrow. Maybe they had run away scared... but then doubled back and followed them. He felt so stupid...
"You've got two darts left, right?" he barely whispered to May. Even if he'd made the stupid assumption that they were alone - the two of them together were still a force to reckon with.
She tapped his hand twice with her finger as though to say yes.
"Wait for my signal," he whispered a little louder. He squeezed her hand, and then brought out his large knife with the other, turning his gaze to the trio.
First glance at them, he knew they were putting on a show. They didn't have the same confidence that they did when Maya and Oren were with them.
"A pair of rats from District 12!" one of the girls exclaimed, giggling in delight.
"They probably hid in the mines, waiting it out like cowards," the other girl said.
"Please, we both have more kills than you probably do. Your clothes are too clean," she said, smiling.
They all looked angry at the obvious truth now in the open - that the three of them had gotten by by god knows what; however the Career's saw each of them as some kind of worth for their ally group, meaning he and Maysilee had to stay on their toes.
Haymitch saw the boy grip his bow tightly enough to turn his knuckles white, and stepped forward.
"I'm still trying to figure out how to do this," he said.
"Figure out what? How you two will die?" the boy said, spit flying from his mouth. Haymitch was lucky enough to be out of range.
"No, not that. I know how I'll kill you; I'm still torn about hurting girls though. I'm not sure I'd be able to do it, unless they attack first," he said, turning to the said girls. "I might break a bone, but you both look so tiny it will definitely be an accident. That's when May will come in, with her darts. I'm sure you've seen them before? The whole white gurgle at the mouth thing?" he asked, and glanced at May. She was spinning the bamboo stick around with her fingers, smiling. He couldn't help but grin as well. They might as well put up a front as they did back when they had killed the Careers.
"You?" one of the girls said, disbelieving.
"Me," May replied simply.
"So, you ready?" Haymitch asked taking a dramatic stance hoping it would intimidate the boy.
It did, the fear in his face was obvious. He brought up his bow and loaded an arrow, aiming right at him. His stance was shaky, the bow unsteady.
"I'm going to let you re-evaluate your choice of weapon. Are you sure you want to use that? It's not a puppet; the objective is to keep it still," he continued.
Their reactions were priceless, and he could even hear May suppress a laugh.
Haymitch watched the boy's gaze turn dark, and he moved his aim to Maysilee. The bow and arrow shook even more in the boys hands. Haymitch stepped in front of May, right in the boys aim.
Haymitch was able to predict when he would let go - it was all in the eyes. As it neared him he moved, swinging his knife to knock the arrow off course. He looked down to see the spearhead had managed to cut his arm.
He turned to look at May, shaking, either with fear or anger, he wasn't sure.
Her eyes grew wide.
"Mitch!" she repeated.
He turned around just in time to watch the boy punch his gut with the weakest pressure, it might as well been a tap.
"Now you've made me angry."
He stepped forward, and the boy stumbled back but held up his fists. Haymitch shook his head, and landed a quick right hook on his nose. He heard the crunch of bones breaking as the boy shrieked and fell down, his hands coming up to hold his face.
He heard a female cry out and turned in time to block a weak punch. He moved his foot and kicked at her legs, making her fall over.
"Now," Haymitch said his foot landing hard on the girl's hand that held the knife, she gave out another cry as her palm opened, letting the weapon slip from her hand.
A second later a dart sank into her neck and the tell-tale white foam appeared in her mouth. Haymitch turned to the last one standing, just as the first canon blasted.
"You wanna calls us rats? Have you ever been down a mine? The thing is, down there, in the depths, there's no place to hide," he said, still angry. She shook, and held her hands up.
"Please, I- I just… this is all so-" she was cut off by a dart hitting her chest. She fell down, choking on the white foam spilling from her mouth.
The second cannon blasted.
He looked towards the boy, the last one alive, stumbling to stand up, blood dripping down his face, soaking his clothes. The first blood stains.
He walked backwards, but stumbled and tripped. Haymitch ran forward and grabbed him. He cried out but Haymitch ignored it as he spun the boy's body around, locking his hands behind him, the boy facing Maysilee.
"You want to do the honors?" Haymitch asked. He heard a sob come from the boy kept his gaze on May. She looked scared. He waited a second or two before he spoke again.
"At least a punch. I bet you've never punched somebody before."
She tilted her head, a slow smile showing. She walked forward, her fingers flexing.
She brought her right hand into a fist, and just went for it, throwing her hand forward. It hit between the guy's eyes. He moaned, and his body loosened its restraint.
"Agh! That one hurt!" she said, shaking out her hand as she walked in a circle.
"Tuck your thumb in your fingers; try again," Haymitch said, almost yelling over the boy's cries.
She stopped, her hands falling.
"Why are you-"
"Are you going to punch him or not? I can end it now if you like," he said, pulling a long and pointy knife from his boot, bringing it to the boy's heart, eliciting another cry from him.
She shook her head. He put the knife back into his boot, and held the boy as he watched Maysille approach again.
She tucked her thumb in this time as she brought her hand into a fist. She gave an under-hook this time, hitting him in the gut. He moaned momentarily, but then started laughing.
"This bitch hits like a little girl."
Maysilee frowned then. She looked down, and turned away.
"Does the bitch cry tears?" he continued. Haymitch tightened his grip and twisted the boys arm the wrong way, making him cry out.
"And you cry like a little baby. Typical," Haymitch spat.
"I'm just sorry you have to deal with this thing as an ally. Incapable bitch. I won't even bruise from those punches," he said, coughing but continuing, "did you feel sorry for her? Is that why you're together?"
Maysilee stopped walking around, and knelt down. She came back up with Hatmitch's large serrated knife, which he had dropped during the fist to fist fight.
"This 'bitch' actually saved his life twice already. So I'm thinking the wrong person is holding you back... Any last words? Something for the cameras, maybe?" she asked, taking a few steps forward, the knife glinting on the sunlight.
The boy spat out some blood.
"I'd rather it be a man than a little girl," he said. Haymitch twisted the boy's arms again.
"That's too bad," she muttered.
And without another warning, she drew her arm up and threw the knife. It flew straight at them; Haymitch could only watch as it came towards him.
It landed in the boy's chest, the blade sinking in quickly. He felt the body go limp, and quickly dropped it.
He took the blade out and cleaned it on the boy's pants before putting it back in its holster.
He then turned to May.
"What the fuck?!" he yelled, walking towards her.
"What?" she asked, stepping forward to close the distance between them, glaring up at him.
"You closed your eyes as you threw! You know the importance of aim, right?!"
"I didn't miss! And what were you doing, stepping into his aim with the arrow?" she said angrily, hitting his chest with a fist. He let out a grunt, and then breathed in, noticing how close they were. "Why did you do that?" she asked.
He couldn't answer; he could only look at her.
She hit his chest again, repeating the question. She then continued hitting him; his chest, arms, even one or two on his neck and face. At that he had to take over and embrace her in a bear hug. She was shaking.
"What if you had missed, May? I would be gone… what would have happened then?"
She pulled away and took a few deep breaths, turning her back to him. He reached out and grabbed her wrist to turn her around, meeting her angry gaze.
"I would've killed him off as well!" she said, glaring at him as she closed the distance again.
He sighed and leaned forward, resting his forehead against hers. He heard her give a surprised gasp, but she kept still. Their breaths mingled as he kept his eyes closed.
'I need to get you to the final three. I can help you then,' he thought, breathing her in, his hand absentmindedly rising to rest on her on her hip.
She gasped and drew back unexpectedly. He frowned, opening his eyes; and the look on her face told him he had said his thought out loud.
"Haymitch-" she started, but the whir and horn of the hovercraft made them both look up as it descended into the clearing. His hand on her hip squeezed as he yelled out.
"Get their bags, I'll get the weapons!"
The hovercraft let out a small blast of a horn in a warning but they stayed, moving quickly and grabbing everything they could, running away just in time as the claw came out.
They leaned against a big tree, facing away from the hovercraft, catching their breath as they waited for it to leave.
As the sound of the whir faded away, May dropped the bags and opened all of them. She let out a disgruntled cry as she grasped at leaves, dirt, and twigs that filled each bag. There was only one canteen to salvage.
Haymitch had to fight for her to keep the canteen and the two knives the girls were holding. The bickering only made him miss her more even though they were together. He wasn't sure he would've made it this far without her.
"You're giving me that look again. It needs to stop," she whispered, sounding as though she was in pain.
"Just planning schemes… the usual," he lied.
"Let's keep moving."