He sets down his bottle with the other empties and goes for the next one. There's a loud knock on the door. Haymitch ignores it.
It comes again, more insistent. "Sir," a terse voice calls, "President Coin requests your presence."
Without turning, Haymitch takes one of the empty bottles and hurls it at the door. The shattering crash is very satisfying, and the sound of startled boots jumping a half-step back even more so.
But the knock comes again, hesitant at first, then stronger. "Sir, it's about the Capitol prisoners. Pardons, so forth."
Haymitch sets down the bottle and curses the air blue between his bed and the door.
But he comes.
The walk through the mansion is long, and Haymitch's legs are wobbly. President Coin greets him with barely-concealed dislike, and he smiles to himself to see her anticipating an argument. Good. He'd hate to disappoint.
She and the other higher-ups are gathered around a long table in the new war room, and Haymitch takes his seat without any particular grace or style. They are, as promised, discussing the Capitol prisoners, mostly people that were already down there when the rebels took over. Haymitch doesn't give a rat's ass. He drifts.
Until someone says Trinket. Then he's awake.
"Effie?" Plutarch is saying, clearly startled. "She's alive?"
Haymitch finds himself on his feet without really thinking about getting up. "I want to see her."
President Coin gives him one of those tight, long-suffering looks of hers. "As an escort from the Games, she's the wrong kind of symbol to--"
Plutarch is saying something else, but, it doesn't matter. Because, again, Haymitch finds himself doing something he hadn't really decided to do. Yelling.
He doesn't know exactly what he's saying, because his brain has clearly decided to detach from the rest of his body, but Haymitch knows his job. His job is to protect people who don't have a goddamn clue how to do it for themselves.
He can go to his grave a stumbling, slurring, worthless old man, and not give a damn, as long as he does his job, right here and now.
Eventually Plutarch calms him down enough to put logical arguments on the table. Pardons, a show of good faith. Haymitch is sober enough by now to put forward "recognizable symbol of reform" and see the idea take place in Coin's head.
She lets him go down to the cells. Haymitch chalks up another victory for team pain-in-the-ass.
The cell door is rusty. Inside is dimly lit.
The woman huddled in on herself in the corner is unrecognizable for a moment. Drab hair, dirty skin, no clothes to speak of. The automatic flinch away from the door certainly belongs to a stranger. But she sees him. Her eyes widen, then narrow. Her jaw ticks. Her head lifts, her shoulders straighten.
"Haymitch," she says, with a mix of irritation, resignation, and resolve that is only Effie. "It would be you." Her voice trembles--all of her is trembling--but she is still Effie. And she still hates his fucking guts.
Haymitch stumbles across the cell, drops down beside her, and pulls her roughly against him. She's shaking uncontrollably, her whole body rigid.
He holds her until the shaking stops.