Finnick was onto something, she thought as she deftly twisted the cord around her thumb again before slipping it off, with his knots. The endless, repetitive, mindless motion was comforting, good stress relief – kept you from strangling someone, at the least. It kept you from breaking entirely apart when you shattered like glass. It kept you sane as you watched your mother stray closer and closer to death with each blazingly hot day, fearing each day would be her last, thanking God each night when she returned to some sort of functionality. It kept you from crumbling into a thousand pieces as your dearest secret dreams were dangled tauntingly just out of reach. It kept you from crumpling into a boneless heap when you fell asleep yet again while trying to work, the heat causing hallucinations and drug-like trips. It kept you from dissolving as you watched your sister be wasted, so utterly wasted, beautiful and talented and bright, slowly dying of the heat. It kept you going, when you hadn't showered in a week. It kept you from giving up entirely, when the shelter refused any help at all. It kept you distracted, when you were so hungry you couldn't think straight – and so stressed that eating would make you physically ill anyway.

It kept you from Sabbath to Sabbath – that you couldn't observe properly anymore, but you tried, oh you tried – kept you from conversation to conversation with the only person around whom you felt normal, because they were the only ones not trying to pretend it was all normal. It kept you distracted and occupied through hours of mind-numbing boredom. It was one, tiny little thing, you could do. It was utilitarian and aesthetically pleasing.

She looked down at the long, thin, shimmering pewter-grey cord she'd woven, and gave a tiny smile. It was tougher, for being knotted, stronger, with a bit of give to it – just like her. As she made the cord, so life made her – a few weak threads, in the hand of a Master, suffering now, but for purpose. For a purpose...