Here is part Two of my "Life with Annie" story titled "Together we are complete."
This is where we will really start getting into the drama and Finnick/Annie romance.
Mind you it's not going to be fireworks in the first chapter, I still have some ideas and building up to do so bear with me.
There will also be heartache as with all good stories :'( I'm probably going to cry writing it...
Gah! as I was typing that I just thought of another dramatic sad part I could put in! Curses!
I hate having that kind of writing ability where you're talking one minute and BAM story idea the next.
Lol sometimes I think I scare people because in the middle of talking sometimes I'll go "OH!" and they will ask "What?" And I'll respond with a grin and say "oh nothing, please continue with what you were saying" :D
Anyway I've kept up the suspense long enough, so here's the chapter! (so excited!)
Chapter One: Home.
When Annie and I finally found the strength to let go of one another she started firing questions at me.
"Finn I'm so glad you're home! Were the games hard for you? What was it like to be a mentor? What did you do while you were in the capitol? Did you..."
I cut her off before she can babble any further.
"Annie! I'm so happy to see you, but could you give me a minute to breathe before smothering me with questions?"
She grins, and shakes her head.
"You've been gone for far to long mister Odair, and I miss talking to my best friend."
I laugh and start walking toward the stairs that lead down to the street, Annie right by my side gripping my hand almost painfully tight. But I don't mind, it makes me feel like nothing could ever separate us again.
"So are you going to answer my questions?"
I shake my head, and she pouts.
"I want to be home right now, talking about the capitol isn't how I want to spend my first day back."
Seeing her pouting makes me smile. I lean down close to her ear as we walk, whispering.
"I think it's classified anyway."
She gives me a small smile, and cheers up.
Swinging our linked hands and walking down the street, I breathe in the salty air deeply and let it out in a sigh. This is right, being home holding hands with Annie, this is where I belong.
"So I'm not allowed to ask any questions?"
Annie asks hopefully, I shake my head.
"How about I ask you a question?"
She sighs, and then shrugs.
We turn onto a little side street in between some buildings.
"Is there any update on Mags condition?"
Annie doesn't answer right away, and her grip on my hand tightens. I stop, and look at her. She stops to, and slowly meets my gaze.
Her green eyes are dewy with unshed tears, and she slowly shakes her head.
"She's still in a coma...no change."
She says in a barely audible voice. I swallow hard, and start walking again.
"Oh. How's Bruce doing?"
"I wouldn't know, I haven't seen him since he got Mags to the hospital."
This isn't a good sign, he's probably been holed up in some bar for who knows how long.
"How's your mother doing?"
Annie seems to brighten up a little bit talking about her mother.
"She's doing really well. She visits Mags as often as she can, and sometimes she brings her flowers. She says even though Mags can't see them, she'll know that they are there. Something about being able to sense the color and nature in the room."
I smile, Mrs. Cresta loves flowers.
"That's really good. Do you think we could stop by the hospital?"
Annie agrees, and soon we are walking up to the large clean building. Once inside, the nurse at the front desk smiles when she sees Annie.
"Hello Annie, how are you today?"
"I'm doing much better now."
She says looking at me. The nurse smiles, and turns to me holding out her hand.
"Hello Finnick, I'm Tina. It's nice to finally meet you. Annie never stops talking about you."
I smile and shake her hand.
"Nothing to awful I hope."
"No, quite the opposite in fact. I assume you're here to see Mags?"
We both nod. She smiles sadly.
Annie asks hopefully, but we both can see the sadness in Tina's eyes even before she shakes her head.
"Oh, well can we go see her now? Finn hasn't been home since her stroke."
"You know where her room is."
Annie still holding my hand tightly, leads me down several hallways, and stops in front of room 76. Taking a deep breath, she opens the door and leads me inside.
The room is small and neat. A hospital bed, two armchairs and a heart monitor furnish the space.
Mags is laying in the bed, her eyes closed in what looks like peaceful sleep. Her frail wrinkled hands are folded on top of the sheets, and her white hair lays across her pillow in a halo.
The heart monitor beeps steadily, and the IV tube drips in time to it.
Annie stands next to me, her grip tighter than ever on my hand.
"It looks like she's sleeping doesn't it?"
She says in a whisper. I nod, unable to say anything. Annie takes a step forward, and pulls on my hand slightly. I shake my head. Not ready to face this, after all I've been through, there's always another thing that tries to break me. If I didn't have Annie, I probably would've broken long ago.
She watches me closely, as I stare at Mags.
"Finn...are you okay?"
I swallow, and blink several times. Turning to look at her, I try to give her a small smile, which turns out much to forced.
She glances at Mags, then looks back at me.
"Um...I have to use the restroom...be back in a minute."
She passes me and walks out of the room, closing the door quietly behind her.
I know she didn't really need to use the bathroom, she's just letting me have time alone. How does she know what I need so much? She's only fourteen but she never ceases to surprise me with her perception and good judgment. How did I ever get to deserve someone like her as my friend?
I walk slowly over to the bed, and pull one of the armchairs close to it. I sit for a minute, just watching Mags and listening to the heart monitor beep. I pick up one of her frail hands, and hold it gently in both of mine.
I say softly, fighting the tears threatening to spill out of my eyes.
"I'm sorry I wasn't here when you needed me."
There's no stopping the tears, and they flow down my cheeks as a sense of helplessness washes over me.
"It seems like I'm never there for the people I care about anymore. I don't even know where Bruce is, and he's probably the worst off out of all of us."
The heart monitor is my only reply.
"Ariel and Poseidon are getting married."
I say wiping the tears off my face.
"It's rather funny, when I first met them I never would have pictured them together...But I'm glad they have each other, they deserve to find happiness. Especially after everything we have to go through."
One of my tears falls onto Mags hand, and I wipe it off with my thumb.
"It's funny, the Cresta's were my only family for as long as I can remember. Then when I was reaped, you were so kind and gentle. I never had a grandmother, but if I did she couldn't have been more caring than you. Now you and Bruce are the closest thing to family I have. Bruce is practically my father, and I wouldn't be alive if it weren't for the both of you."
I sigh heavily, trying to get my tears under control, but they only flow more. And my chest quivers with silent sobs. It's just too much, I can't handle all this. The games, being a victor, being a mentor, in constant fear for the ones I love, everything is just too much to handle. I lower my head to the mattress, and the wall I had so carefully built to shield all emotion and pain, quietly breaks. All the pain and suffering, emotion and sorrow of a lifetime flood through me.
I'm glad Annie left, I wouldn't want her to see me like this. We've seen each other cry before, but I was always the strong one who would comfort her, and tell her everything would be alright. She soon copied me, being strong and telling me everything would be alright. But not this time, I had finally broken, and everything was not alright.
"I'm sorry...I can't do it anymore...I can't pretend to be strong and act like nothing is wrong...everything is wrong...and it's too much to handle."
My mind is so overrun by emotion and pain, that I slowly lose sense of everything except for two things. Mags hand still held tightly between my own, and the sound of the heart monitor.
After letting all of the issues I had held back so long flow through me, it leaves me feeling completely drained. The mattress under my head is wet from my tears, which have finally stopped, and a long shuddering sigh shivers through my body.
I slowly become aware of someones arm around me, their hand slowly rubbing back and forth on my shoulder blade. My first thought is Annie, but she would have just grabbed me in the tightest hug she could manage. Bruce? No, he would just tousle my hair and give me a heavy pat on the back. Mrs. Cresta is the most likely option, this is a motherly kind of comforting.
I don't lift my head, I'm too fatigued to find the strength. So I just sit there, letting whoever it is comfort me. After a minute, I feel them kiss the top of my head.
The word is a little jumbled, and the voice is slightly hoarse but my name was clearly said. I slowly lift my head.
She smiles at me, and places her hand on my cheek.
"Hello my dear boy."
Her voice is gargled, and sounds dry. But I can understand what she's saying. I reach up and touch her hand on my cheek, reassuring myself that I am not imagining this.
Fresh tears of relief fill my eyes, and spill out onto my cheeks. She moves her hand and wipes the tears gently away with the back of her hand, and then places her hand under my chin.
"No more of that please, my bed is already all wet from your tears."
I laugh quietly, and kiss her hand.
"When did you wake up?"
She brushes my hair out of my face as she answers airily.
"Right around when you broke down. I heard everything you said you know, I could hear what everyone said."
I have a little trouble following what she says, but I manage to make it out.
"Is your throat dry? Do you want some water?"
She shakes her head.
"The doctors said that the stroke might have damaged part of your brain."
"Talking is harder, hard to form words right."
I nod. She shrugs.
"It could be much worse though."
There's a knock on the door, and I call out."Annie?"
"Come in quick!"
The door flies open and she runs in, her face worried. When she sees Mags, her face lights up.
She runs over and flings herself on the bed, hugging Mags tightly.
"Oh we were so worried about you!"
Then she releases her quickly, and looks at her closely, then she turns to me.
"Is she alright? Does she know who I am? Does she remember anything?"
Mags laughs, and runs her hand through Annie's untamable hair.
"I'm fine, considering the possibilities."
Annie looks at her for a minute, then she turns to me.
"Finn did you understand her?"
"She says she's fine under the possibilities. Could you not understand her?"
Annie shakes her head.
Then she turns to mags.
"I'm sorry, does it hurt to talk?"
Mags shakes her head.
"No, it's getting easier too."
"I heard what you said that time!"
Then she hugs her again."I'm so glad you're better!"
She jumps off the bed, and holds a hand to her head."Oh! We have to go tell the doctors...and Mom...and someone should really find Bruce."
Mags and I both smile, as Annie runs out of the room shouting that she would be back in a minute.
"Well, glad my regaining conciousness made someone happy."
I give her a gentle hug.
"I'm sure it's going to make everyone happy."
She puts her hands on my shoulders, and looks me in the eye.
"Are you okay?"
"Better now that I'm home and you're better."
She keeps up her hard stare.
"Really, and venting really helped too."
She pats my cheek.
"You'd better be telling me the truth young man."
At that moment several doctors and nurses hurry in.
"Mr. Odair, I'm afraid you'll have to leave now. Mags needs to have some tests done, we'll call you when you can visit again."
I hesitate, unwilling to leave Mags. She pats my arm."Go on, I'll be fine."
I stand, then lean down and kiss the top of her head.
"I'll see you soon my beauty."
She laughs, and waves me away.
I walk out, and find Annie waiting in the hallway with her biggest sulk face on.
"They wouldn't let me back in."
She says with a huff. I smile and grab her hand.
"That's okay, they kicked me out as well. Where's your mom at?"
Annie and I start walking toward the hospital doors as she answers.
"Probably at home, she knew you were getting home today so she's making a big dinner."
"Although it's probably not going to be as good as the capitol food."
I give her hand a gentle squeeze.
"I'd rather have one of your moms dinners more than all the capitol food."
Once we reach the Cresta's house, I am almost suffocated by Mrs. Cresta's hug. She finally releases me, and gives me a kiss on my forehead.
"Welcome home sweety."
Soon after that, dinner is ready, and it's the best meal I've had in a month. Real food, not capitol flawless dyed stuff. After dinner, we sit and talk for an hour or so, Annie and Mrs. Cresta asking about the games from a mentors point of view. I tell them what I can, not sure if the information is classified or not. When they ask what I did on my free time, I simply said that mentors don't really have free time. They are satisfied with this answer, and I am relieved that they don't press further.
After a little while, I tell them that I should go try to find Bruce. Annie pleads with me to stay, and I promise that once I find Bruce I'll come right back.
"You'd better, or I'll never speak to you again!"
Annie says with a grin.
"Don't worry, I'll be back soon."
I leave, and quickly start searching all the places that Bruce usually hangs out. Finally I come to the bar where Bruce found me after I got beat up by Surf and a couple of his buddies. Man I haven't thought about Surf in ages, I wonder what ever happened to him?
The bar is as dirty and dank as I remember, but I have to duck to enter the low doorway now.
I approach the counter, and smile as I see Mister Gibbs, the large greasy man who owns the bar.
"I'll have a glass of your finest whiskey please."
I say in a authoritative voice, he turns around, and after squinting at me for a minute, he grins broadly.
"Finnick Odair! Well I'll be. All grown up now are you?"
He says looking at my height and broader shoulders. I laugh.
"Well not exactly all grown up. How are you doing Mister Gibbs?"
He chuckles and wipes the counter with a rag.
"Oh, life is pretty much the same for old mister Gibbs."
He pours me the whiskey, and I pay him several gold coins.
"Keep the change, I have more money than I know what to do with anyway."
He laughs and nods."Thankee much."
I pick up the glass, and lean over the counter, lowering my voice confidentially.
"Any chance a certain mentor would be here tonight?"
He jerks a thumb over his shoulder.
"In the back, poor lad's been here since Mags went to the hospital."
I look at him questioningly, and he taps his temple.
"Word travels fast, especially gossip in the bars. Ole mister Gibbs keeps his ears open."
"Thanks, I'll see you around."
He salutes, and goes back to rubbing down the counter. I walk to the back of the bar, and find Bruce at a corner table, looking horribly ragged and in dire need of a shave, and a shower.
He looks up, and blinks in surprise.
"Finnick! You're not supposed to be back until Saturday..."
I shrug, and sit down across from him.
"It is Saturday."
I place the glass of whiskey in front of him, and he downs it in one draught.
Is all he says.
"Mags is awake."
His head snaps up.
"Really? Is she alright?"
"Her speech was affected a little, so her words are slurred and gargled a bit, but other than that she's fine."
He drags his hand down his face, and lets it drop to the table.
"Why are you here Bruce? I thought you were doing better."
"I'm just tired."
"Tired of looking for the answer?"
He looks up surprised.
Is all I say, and he nods. Then he laughs.
"At least I'm not that bad huh?"
I raise an eyebrow, and give him a stare.
"What? I'm not as bad as Haymitch Abernathy."
He mumbles. Over the past two years since I won, the grey streaks in his hair have spread, now all the hair on the sides of his head is grey. But the top and back are still a dark Ebony.
"Bruce you said you would try to shape up for me."
He looks guiltily at the empty whiskey glass.
"You're like a father to me, and I need you to be strong, and help me get through things."
He remains silent.
"Bruce I think the President knows about me...and you."
He slowly raises his head, his grey eyes deadly cold.
His voice sends shivers down my spine.
"He came to visit me at the training center, he threatened to use Annie for the same thing us victors are used for."
Bruce curses under his breath.
"She's only fourteen! That sick..."
He continues to curse.
I continue, and as I retell what happened, I can almost smell the blood and roses.
"After I agreed to take extra long double trips to the capitol he promised that she would be left alone. Then he told me to tell you hello."
I finish telling his what happened, and he sits silent for a very long time.
"I was afraid this would happen..."
I look at him intently.
He looks up, his eye's clearer than they were a minute ago.
"Nothing, it's nothing. I'm just a little groggy from the alcohol. I'm sorry I let you down Finnick, I promise I'll try to be better."
"But not tonight, tonight I will drink until someone has to carry me home, and tomorrow I turn over a new leaf. Deal?"
I shake my head and chuckle.
"Deal Bruce, just make sure you don't get into trouble."
"No promises. Goodnight Finnick, I'll see you tomorrow maybe, probably not if I am to get the hangover I'm hoping for."
I laugh and pat him on the shoulder.
"I'll have medication ready. I'll see you later."
He nods, and shouts towards the bar.
"Mister Gibbs! I require your finest and strongest alcohol!"
I hear Mister Gibbs voice roar back as I exit the bar.
"Right away Bruce me hearty! I've got vodka that will leave your face in a permanent wince!"
I hurry back to the Cresta's house, and by the time I get there it's dark outside.
I open the door quietly, and sneak into the house. I find Mrs. Cresta in the kitchen.
She turns and smiles.
She whispers back."Did you find Bruce?"
I nod with a smile.
"Yeah, he was at some bar. He promised to shape up tomorrow though so I'm going to let him party till he drops tonight."
She laughs quietly.
"Annie's in the living room, she insisted on staying up until you came back."
"Thanks, I'll go say goodnight."
I walk quietly into the living room, and smile as I spot Annie curled up in her favorite armchair. She's leaning against the back of the armchair, and her hair is fallen over her face, and the ends quiver each time she exhales.
I creep over, and gently slide my arms beneath her legs and shoulders. Very carefully I lift her, and she groans slightly as she starts to wake up. I shift her in my arms slightly.
She sighs quietly.
"Shhh, I know, I'm sorry."
She moves slightly, and wraps her arms around my neck, resting her head against my shoulder with the tip of her nose barely brushing the side of my neck. I feel her warm breath on my neck as she murmmers.
"I forgive you."
Then she falls back to sleep with her arms wrapped around my neck. I carefully carry her to the doorway of the kitchen.
"I'm going to take her upstairs."
I whisper to Mrs. Cresta, she smiles at us and nods.
I carry Annie gently upstairs, and put her in bed. Then I pull the covers up over her.
I look at her for a minute, she's so small and innocent. So pure. I brush the hair gently out of her face.
"I'm going to keep you safe little Annie, I'll always protect you. You're the one thing I have that the president can't touch, I made sure of that."
I gently kiss the top of her head, and walk back downstairs.
"Is she asleep?"
Mrs. Cresta asks quietly.
"Yeah, went right to sleep when I put her in her bed. Thank you for dinner, I should probably go."
She hands me a blanket and pillow.
"Why don't you stay here? I don't want you walking home in the middle of the night, and we've missed you."
She kisses my cheek.
She disappears to her room at the back of the house. I go to the large couch in the living room, and sink onto it gratefully. Within a few minutes I am fast asleep.
I wake up in the middle of the night by someone shaking my shoulder. I sit up, and let my eyes adjust to the dark.
"Annie? What are you doing up?"
Before I can say anything else she flings her arms around my neck, and hugs me tightly.
"Hold me."She whimpers. I wrap my arms around her confused.
"Annie are you okay? What happened?"
I feel tears on my shoulder, as she answers.
"I woke up, and I thought I dreamed that you came home and that Mags woke up...it was all to good to be true."
She sobs into my shoulder, and I hold her tighter. I lay back on the couch with her wrapped in my arms.
"It's okay, I'm here."
She sniffs, getting her tears under control.
"Don't let me go."
I tell her the only thing that I can."Never."