They Don't Know About Us

Rated M

Summary: Lavender "Ven" Hartley was finally supposed to be free of the dreaded Reaping Day. She was finally supposed to be able to just go home with her grandmother and just live out the rest of her days working in the mines like her father, and his father before him. She never imagined that she would be reaped for the 69th Hunger Games; it seemed to be impossible her name was only in there seven times. But the fates had a different plan for her, one she would never have wished upon anyone. But she can only hope that her mentor Haymitch Abernathy can stay sober just long enough to help her, and that he can get her the much-needed sponsors to survive long enough. But what she wasn't expecting was connecting with her mentor, finding out that they had far more in common than they would ever care to admit.

Eventual Haymitch/OC

Chapter One: Reaping Day

Lavender found it almost painful to get out of bed, she hated Reaping Day. She had lost many of her friends over the years and even if it was her last time being potentially reaped, she was still scared as ever. She turned on her side with a tired yawn before sitting up and stretching her aching muscles.

"Lavender? Time to get up dear." Came the soft voice of her grandmother, Petunia Hartley was a kind woman who had suffered a lot of losses in her life, her daughter-in-law had died in childbirth along with what would have been her only grandson. Her husband had died of illness brought from years of working in the mines, her oldest son was reaped for the games when he was fifteen and her only daughter when she was twelve only a few years later. While her baby, and second son had died a few years ago in a cave in; in the mines. She was no stranger to loss, but that never diminished her inner light, she was what her husband had always called his light in the darkness.

Slowly dragging herself out of bed she walked into the small kitchen where her grandmother was making eggs, she must have traded some of her herbs in her garden for them.

"I ironed a dress for you and hung it on the washroom door for you. So get dressed first, the breakfast is nearly done." She said with a warm smile, Lavender could see the slight fear in her grandmother's eyes, the fear that this could be the year of either tragedy or the year of relief for what was left of the Hartley family. Walking towards the washroom she yawned again, she looked in the old washroom mirror and sighed. She had dark circles under her eyes and it was obvious how tired she was, and how working in the mines for almost a year had already taken its toll on her. One upside she supposed about Reaping Day was she didn't have to go into the mines today. After washing up she pulled on the short sleeve knee-length navy blue dress with off white polka dots that had hung on the door with a tired sigh. This was her last Reaping, if she made it without having her name called then she was free of the fear of ever being reaped. Stepping out of the washroom she walked into the small kitchen where her grandmother was standing in front of the window. She slowly walked up behind her and wrapped her arms around her.

"Don't worry Nana, since I started working in the mines I haven't had to put my name in any more than needed. And after today we will never have to worry again." She whispered in her grandmother's ear as she turned to wrap her arms around her granddaughter.

"Here, let me fix your hair for you." Her grandmother said as she led her to sit down at the kitchen table, her grandmother put her hair in a simple but elegant side bun and pinned it with some clips. "There…" Her grandmother said pausing to look at her granddaughter for a moment.

"Don't worry, today will be just like every other reaping. Like I said I didn't put my name in for any tesserae. So my name is only in there seven times this year. I'll be fine." She said turning in her seat to look at her grandmother with a small smile.

"I hope so. Thankfully it's your last year in that damn bowl." Her eyes went wide at her grandmother's curse but she smiled none the less.

The walk to the Justice Building seemed far too quick than she was hoping; with a quick hug she told her grandmother once more everything was fine. After having checked in with the peacekeepers she walked towards her section. Before getting there a small boy from the Seam accidentally bumped into her. She looked down and smiled weakly, she recognized him as her neighbor Gale Hawthorn. This was only his second reaping and the poor boy was shaking like a leaf.

"Don't worry Gale; your name is only in there twice. How about after this you come with me to the bakery? I was planning on buying a small cake to celebrate my last reaping year." The small boy looked up with wide eyes and smiled before nodding, he was a sweet boy and she imagined he was what her younger brother would have been like if he had lived.

"Really? Can I bring Rory?" He asked, she smiled even more he was protective of his little brother and the two were often joined at the hip.

"You're whole family can come. How's that sound?" The little boy seemed to cheer up at that and ran off to his section with a quick wave. She silently hoped his name wouldn't be called. She stood in her section and looked up towards the stage. She bit back a groan at the sight of the District escort Olympia Luxor. Covered from her wig to her toes in white; even her skin had a painted white tone. She looked like a ghost in that get up. She wanted nothing more than to throw some coal dust at her so she wouldn't be so annoyingly Capitol.

"Hmm…do you think she is the ghost from the Capitol? Coming to haunt us all?" Whispered one of Lavender's former classmates Daphne, a few of the girls in her section giggled quietly.

"Welcome! Welcome! This year is the year of the 69th Hunger Games! Are you all as excited as I am? Now please contain your excitement for a few moments to hear a lovely word from our beloved President Snow!" Olympia said in her squeaky voice, Lavender let out an annoyed groan.

"Excited? And they claimed they're the civilized ones and beloved President Snow? I think she has lost her mind!" Lavender mumbled under her breath. A few more girls giggled softly. After the short film ended and Olympia began clapping and wiping away her tears. Her actions made many of the people roll their eyes.

"Now! Let us begin the reaping! Let us find out who our lucky tributes will be this year!" She reached her long white-painted talon like nails into the bowl for the girls with a blinding smile. "And the lucky lady this year is…" She opened the paper and cleared her throat.

"LAVENDER HARTLEY!" Lavender froze, she could have sworn Olympia had called out her name, but it had to be a mistake! Her name was only in there seven times! She heard a scream from the section where the families waited and quickly turned around, she saw her grandmother sobbing as she called out her name. "Lavender Hartley? Where are you dearie? Come, come! No need for being shy!" She felt herself beginning to shake in fear; it had to be a mistake!

"Ven! Go. They called you…" Daphne said giving her a nudge which made her stumble a bit. She felt like screaming, she felt like cry but most of all she wanted to run. She couldn't go to the games! She was supposed to finally be home free! She slowly walked through the crowd that parted like she was carrying a plague. She heard sobbing from the boys section and saw poor Gale calling out for her, the boy saw her as an older sister and was smart enough to realize she was most likely going to die. She slowly made her way to the stairs and hoped she could keep some dignity and not fall. Olympia gave her a wide smile and grabbed her arm with an unnecessary and annoy squeal of excitement.

"Now let's find out who the lucky boy will be this year! Congratulations…TOBIAS FLYNN!" She knew Tobias or Toby as he went by. They went to school together; his father was the tailor for District 12. She saw him slowly walk towards the stage with a blank face, except if you looked in his eyes you could see the fear. At Olympia's annoying persistence, they turned towards each other to shake hands.

Peacekeepers ushered her into the Justice Building before she could blink an eye they shoved her into a room with two wooden chairs. She let out a small sob when she saw her grandmother in the doorway. She was sobbing uncontrollably as she latched onto her granddaughter.

"Nana! This can't be happening!" She said with a sob, a Peacekeeper told them they only had two minutes.

"Lavender…I can't lose you! I've lost too many people!" Her grandmother said as she desperately tried to hold her closer than humanly possible. "Take this; I brought it in case...if you…were…." She handed Lavender a small river stone her father had given her as a child, it fit in the palm of her hand and had a hummingbird carved in it. He had given it to her after her mother died.

"Nana I promise I will try my hardest to come back to you. I love you Nana…" The Peacekeeper opened the door and told her time was up. She wasn't expecting anyone else but when the door opened she saw Gale who ran into the room. She quickly wiped away her tears and put on a blank face.

"VEN! They can't make you go!" He called out; she wrapped her arms around the boy and quickly ran her fingers through his hair.

"Promise me you'll be good. Don't cause your parents any trouble when I'm gone. And Gale keep an eye out for my Nana, just stop by every so often and see that she is alright. And no matter what don't ever lose hope." The Peacekeepers came in and pulled Gale away from her, the poor boy was calling out to her when the door closed this time she let the tears she was fighting fall, she felt her legs turn to jelly as she fell to her knees letting out a pained sob. This had to be a sick nightmare; she would wake up soon right? She held the small river stone until it left an imprint in her shaking palm, she couldn't stop shaking and she couldn't stop crying. When the Peacekeepers came they pulled her to her feet and practically dragged her to the vehicle that would take her to the train.

In the vehicle Olympia was smiling like the clueless Capitol idiot everyone thought she was.

"Oh dearie there is no reason to cry! It's an honor to compete in the Hunger Games! Just think of the clothes you will wear! The food you will eat! Such luxuries all at your fingertips!" She said with a grin as they boarded the train, at this point Lavender was beyond fed up, she was past pain and felt nothing but anger.

"SHUT UP! Don't you understand you idiot?! My chances of survival are damn near non-existent! While you sit there with you stupid wigs and luxuries I'm being put into the games and slaughtered for entertainment! And my friends and family forced to watch and they will still starve while you stuff your damn freakish mouths with all of your fancy foods! So sorry I fail to see where it is a fucking honor!" At this Haymitch Abernathy who was borderline comatose from his drinking sat up with a lopsided grin.

"A fighter! You might make it past the bloodbath sweetheart!" She suddenly felt all of her courage leave and she rushed towards the door labeled washroom and threw up what small amount of food she had in her stomach. Her head was pounding from her tears but that didn't stop her from letting out a frustrated scream. She slammed her head back onto the wall and brought her hands up to her face. Picturing her friends and grandmother she knew she had to stop crying, she had to think of how she would make it out of the games, she promised she would try her hardest to at least make it to the final four tributes. Standing up she turned on the water and splashed some cold water on her face before stepping out of the washroom.

"Ven? Hey I know it's probably not much but I swear I will do whatever it takes to get you home. I don't have much waiting for me, my parents…we know that my chances aren't the greatest. Besides that boy…the one who was screaming, he needs you. I have no one like that, and your grandmother she's lost too many people." Toby said as he looked at her from across his seat at the table. She gave him a weak smile as she sat down.

"I can't ask that of you." She said quietly, after letting go of some of her anger and anguish she went right back to being her shy yet nurturing self.

"As our mentor, how do you recommend we stay alive?" Toby asked as he took a small bite of a muffin that was on the table. Haymitch took another swig of his drink and lazily waved his hand in the air as if shooing away a fly.

"Umm…by not getting killed? That seems to work really well." He said before belching, Olympia huffed in disgust.

"Look I get it; you drown yourself in alcohol to forget. But could you at least pretend to care? Can you at least make an effort to help us? Sober up just until we either make it or we both die. I don't care I just don't want to be mentored by a guy who is drunk 24/7! I want to know that there is a possibility that I could make it past the bloodbath, make it longer than a day because my mentor did his job. That he sucked up enough to sponsors to keep me alive for just a little bit longer. I'm not asking you to make me a winner, I am asking you to make me at least keep some of my dignity!" Lavender said as she leaned forward in her chair making sure she held eye contact with Haymitch. "Now tell us what do you want us to do to get sponsors? You want us to be pitiful emotional wreaks? You want us to act like those Career Mutts? Just tell us please." Lavender said softly, she was starting to regret her screaming and crying now that her head was pounding.

"Fine, tell me about yourselves." Haymitch said with a bored sigh, he took one last swig of his drink before putting down the glass.

"There is not much to me. My Dad is the Tailor in the Merchant section. It's just me and my parents. Hobbies…well I like to read and draw I guess. Ven has a more interesting life. People love her too." Toby said as he took a sip of some juice.

"Boring, now what makes you special sweetheart?" Haymitch said with a yawn. When she tried to say nothing Toby cut her off.

"She is a Seam girl; it's just her and her grandmother. But she is like a second mother to half the kids in the district." Toby said with a smile.

"I just work in the mines. Nothing special, and that is an exaggeration." She said quietly, she hated being the center of attention.

"What about that boy, the one who was screaming your name when you were reaped?" She paused a moment to think about Gale, the poor boy who saw her as a friend. Besides his little brother he didn't have many friends.

"Gale, his name is Gale. And I used to watch him and his brother when his mother was working. To keep them out of trouble I mean." She sat there quietly finally deciding to eat something, she slowly reached for a cinnamon muffin. Haymitch sat still a moment he had a look on his face signaling that he was in deep thought.

"The Nurturer and…well we will work on you. If I'm going to be sober you two damn well make it past the bloodbath." Lavender and Toby looked at Haymitch then each other with a small smile and nod.

"Deal." Lavender said with a nod towards Haymitch, who just grunted.

I hope you all like this, I've had this idea for a while now. I felt like Haymitch deserved a little love too, there is never enough for him! So naturally I decided on a Haymitch/OC story because dearies it is the world of FANFICTION! Oh and as for his appearance, I'm going for the movie version but keep in mind Haymitch was still a kid from the Seam! I guess to explain his blonde hair we will say his mother was from the Merchant section like Katniss and Prim's mother.