A/N: Hello, lovelies! Oh my, it's been quite a while, hasn't it? This is the first Hayffie story I've had the time and energy to post so far! Granted, I have a one-shot lounging in my Doc Manager at the moment...but I've been too busy to review and fix everything my Beta suggested I change. Hopefully I'll get around to that soon! I proofread this short little piece on my own, so it might be a little rough. My apologies!
Oh, this was written for prompt #10 of the Hayffie Fanworks Challenge on tumblr!
Effie yawned tiredly, scanning the papers in front of her with such intensity that they might burst into flames under her scrutinizing gaze. However, her intensity was dwindling swiftly considering the amount of sleep—or lack of it—that she had been getting over the past few days.
But she mustn't sleep yet. There was still plenty of work to get done, what with having to repair the schedule and all. The train breaking down on the Victory Tour had put a rather large dent in her carefully planned schedule. It was going to take a lot of time to precisely put it back together.
She reached up and rubbed her eyes, trying desperately to stay awake. Unfortunately, the action didn't help her stay awake at all; it only helped rub all of her eye shadow off onto her hands. The escort frowned down at her now bright blue and green hands, chiding herself mentally for making such a mess.
Effie abandoned her work and headed for bathroom. She quickly found a clean washcloth and turned on the water in the sink. While she waited for the water to warm up, Effie removed her wig, figuring that there was no more use for it this late at night. It wasn't as if she was planning on seeing anyone walking around the train in the middle of the night. She absentmindedly took out the pins and sighed as her long honey colored hair fell from the restraints. After brushing through her natural curls, Effie took the washcloth and wiped away her caked on makeup. Strangely enough, she wasn't too worried about anyone seeing her in this state like she usually would be.
After all, it was late into the night, or rather very early in the morning. No one else in their right mind would be awake at this time of night, or so she thought.
Effie tiptoed out of the bathroom looking like a different person. Returning to her papers, she spread them out on the coffee table in front of the couch and got right back to work. She swore to herself not to retire to bed before she finished mending her precious schedule.
Haymitch staggered down the train, searching for an Avox to get him another drink. He had finished off the bottles that had accompanied him to his room that night, and sleep was never an option. Consequently, he needed more to drink.
His head was buzzing in a numb way that almost pleased him, but the drinks had failed to get him sufficiently drunk enough for his liking. He could still walk, after all, which was a bad sign.
On his way to the bar cart, Haymitch lurched to a stop, grunting as the room swayed around him.
He blinked a few times, staring curiously at the couch. A woman he had never seen in his life was sleeping soundly, fast asleep against the cushions of the couch. She was stretched out along the length of the settee with one arm under her head and the other wrapped around a stack of papers that she clutched protectively against her chest. Although her body extended as far as it could go, she was small enough that neither her head nor feet met either end of the couch. Haymitch felt slightly taken aback by the mysterious woman's beauty.
Something pulled at his heart, urging him to think. This woman seemed somewhat familiar, but he couldn't put his finger on it.
The rhythmic rise and fall of her chest was hypnotizing. Her smooth, delicate features reminded him of someone. Gosh, she was beautiful.
Haymitch remembered the time after a moment of watching her sleep, and he also remembered what Effie was always chiding him on, manners, Haymitch, manners! He knew he shouldn't leave this woman here, whoever she was. It was late, and she probably would want to sleep in an actual bed rather than on a couch in the middle of the train. Besides, he wanted to know her name.
His hand reached out and shook her shoulder gently. "Hey, sweetheart, wake up." Haymitch said, his rough voice coming across harsher than he had intended.
The woman jumped, her eyes shooting open in surprise. When her eyes found his, she seemed to relax a little. "Oh, Haymitch… it's only you." She sighed, relinquishing her grip on the papers and setting them back on the table. "Thank you for waking me. I must have fallen asleep."
He would know that voice anywhere, and suddenly he could see Effie in the woman's eyes. "Effie?" Haymitch squinted at her, plopping down on the sofa next to the girl.
Effie shifted uncomfortably under his stare, wondering why he was looking at her so intently. "Yes, Haymitch?"
"You look so…different." He muttered, dropping his gaze to his hands in embarrassment as he remembered his thoughts earlier. Had he actually been thinking about how beautiful Effie Trinket was only moments ago? No, that couldn't be true.
Her lips pursed into a small frown. "What do you mean?" Effie ran a hand through her hair, her eyes widening when she realized that she was completely sans makeup and wig in front of an actual human being. Actually, it was worse than just any human being, it was Haymitch Abernathy. "Oh dear." She breathed. Distress washed over her pretty face like a wave crashing against the shore, something Haymitch had only seen once on his own Victory tour while in District 4.
Haymitch smirked. This was the first time he had ever seen her without the Capital's influence clouding her natural beauty, and he found himself enjoying it…enjoying her.
"Oh dear." Effie repeated to herself, burying her face in her hands. "Please don't look at me, Haymitch." She whined, her sky blue eyes pricking with tears. Effie couldn't remember ever being more humiliated in her life. This was one of the first times she had ever been unmasked in front of someone since she was very young. It made her feel insecure, and without the shield of makeup she usually donned, Effie felt extremely self conscious.
"Why not? You're kinda pretty without that crap all over your face. Your hair is awful nice, too." He was still staring intensely at her, which wasn't much help to her insecurities.
Effie withdrew her face from her hands hesitantly. "Excuse me?" She mentally prepared herself for Haymitch to make fun of her. She knew it was coming.
"I said that you look fine, Princess. Maybe even kinda pretty…"
Effie faltered, a deep blush gracing her cheeks. Haymitch's smug smirk turned into a grin and he found himself laughing, shaking his head in disbelief. It was the first time he had seen her blush.
He even found himself hoping it wouldn't be the last. He liked seeing color spread across her cheeks. His hand grazed her cheek on the way to take a curl of her hair between his fingers. He twirled the silky strand around his finger, and then deliberately tucked it behind her ear.
Effie's wide eyes never left his as she bit her bottom lip. Her scarlet cheeks burned under his touch. "I'm sorry, Haymitch. This is incredibly rude. A woman of the Capital should never be seen like this, it's positively disgraceful." Her words tumbled out of her mouth at a speed faster than the train they were currently riding on. "I didn't expect you to be awake at this time. I should have realized my mistake considering you never sleep, but I wasn't thinking properly. I'm just so tired. The schedule is a disaster! Oh, no one should ever have to see me like this! I know you're just trying to be polite. I know I look awful without all of my—," Haymitch silenced her by pressing his lips against hers; a method that worked wonders for both of them.
Several moments passed before he finally pulled away. They stared into each other's eyes, bright blue against dull grey, for a time that seemed to last forever. Then, Haymitch stood up and headed for the door, leaving a breathless Effie staring after him in confusion.
As he reached the doorway, Haymitch stopped and turned on his heel to face her. A small, genuine smile played on his lips. With a slight shrug, Haymitch told her something she had never in a million years expected to hear—especially from District 12's drunk. "Sweetheart, you should know by now that I don't say anything just to be polite. Besides," another shrug, "I think you look better without it anyway."
With that, Haymitch left to get more alcohol. Meanwhile, a flustered Effie retired quickly to her room after gathering up the rest of the papers.
At breakfast the next morning, Haymitch was rather pleased to see Effie wearing considerably less makeup than usual. Maybe after a few more nights like the previous, he could somehow convince her to abandon her mask and wig completely…
A/N: What did you think? I would love love LOVE reviews. They make my days so much brighter...
Side note to the lovely people reading my other fics: I am SO sorry for leaving you all hanging for so long. I feel far too guilty to bother you with excuses other than the fact that life simply caught up with me. I will try my best once summer starts to dive back into Forever and a Day and Welcome Home (both have upcoming chapters). I feel awful for abandoning all of you, and I promise I have not abandoned the stories. Forever and a Day has been a challenging one to continue. I flew through 20 pages of MMAD fanfiction and realized quickly that the outcome I had planned all along was terribly unoriginal and I don't feel right continuing it with the same end that so many other people have used. I like mixing things up. Don't give up on me, though! I'll make it up to you guys.
Until next time, stay gold.