Sorry about the rather depressing contents of the last chapter, and unfortunately we are heading for more of the same type of material so be prepared :'(
But probably the next chapter after this we will get to see Finnick back with Annie! Yay!
Also if you haven't checked out my blog, and you are interested in seeing what my characters look like, go ahead and check it out at "Wendy Hamlet. blogspot. com" and you can see photo's of what I pictured Ariel, Poseidon, Bruce, Finnick and Annie as. Although for Finnick and Annie I just picked what was closest, because in my head Annie looks a little different than the photo, and the same for Finn. (although I thought the actor who's photo I picked should have been cast as Finn :P He would have been perfect! Oh well)
Anyway, song for this chapter is "This is home" by Switchfoot.
Chapter Twelve: Johanna is home.
The next morning I wake up as I feel Johanna shift in my arms. I open my eyes and blink several times, trying to focus them.
Johanna is laying sprawled across my chest, her arms crossed above her head are resting on my shoulder, and her head is resting against my ribcage. Her legs are curled up, and her bent knees are resting against and slightly on top of my legs.
She turns her head and looks at me sleepily.
"Are we home yet?"
I shake my head.
"Not until this afternoon."She sighs, and I groan as she leans all her weight on my chest as she pushes herself up and rolls off me."I can't wait to see Leo, I've been worried about him since I've been gone."
She looks at me something just occurring to her.
"Hey, I just realized you'll get to meet him."
I groan and sit up, stretching my arms above my head.
"Yeah, I'm looking forward to it."
She suddenly punches my shoulder.
"Ow! What was that for?"
She grins at me."You'd better be a good example to him, he thinks you're the coolest."I rub my shoulder and glare at her.
"Of course I'll be a good example. You didn't have to hit me."
"Don't be a baby, it wasn't even that hard."
She leans forward.
"Want me to kiss it?"
I jerk away from her with mock horror on my face, my expression changes to surprise when I fall off the bed and land on my back. The wind is knocked out of me, and Johanna pokes her head over the edge of the bed, then she starts laughing hysterically.
"Not funny."I manage to gasp. She falls back on the bed still laughing, as I regain my breath and painfully stand up.
"Jo seriously that hurt, stop laughing."
She can't even answer, holding her ribs as she continues to laugh. I glare at her.
"Do you want me to make you stop?"
She finally gets her laughter under control, and sits up, wiping tears from her eyes.
"Oh goodness! That was so funny."
I plop onto the bed next to her, as I reply.
"You have sick humor."
As I say this, I poke her in the side, and I discover something very interesting about Johanna. She is crazy ticklish. She squeals and squirms away from my finger, and I get a incredibly mischievous smile on my face. Her eyes widen.
"Finnick don't you dare!"
She tries to crawl off the bed and run but it's too late. I grab her ankle and pull her back, then I start mercilessly tickling her. She screams and squeals, trying to squirm away but my grip is strong.
"Stop! Finnick stop it!"
She manages to scream between laughing. I can't believe how ticklish she is, she has to be the most ticklish person I've ver seen. You can just poke her side and she starts laughing.
After several minutes of tickling, I stop and let Johanna sit up.
"That was really mean!"
She says gasping for air. I laugh and extend a finger towards her, she grabs it and twists it savagely, causing me to flip back on the bed.
She laughs, and gets off the bed.
"You deserved that. Come on I want breakfast."
I grin and stand up.
"You're impossible you know that?"
She smiles and salutes with one finger.
"Why thank you."
Then she rubs her hands vigorously over her short hair, causing it to stick up. Glancing in the mirror, she shrugs.
"That'll have to do until I get prepped. I'm thinking cake for breakfast. Sound good?"
I walk over to her shaking my head.
She smiles and runs to the door, calling back over her shoulder.
"Why not? I'll race you to the dinning car!"
I laugh and chase after her. After several minutes, we are seated with the mentors eating breakfast. We decided on settling for pancakes, saying that it was close enough with whipped cream and chocolate on them. After breakfast, Jo and I decide to play pranks on the mentors. This doesn't go over so well, and Jo and I are banned to our rooms until we reach district seven.
I'm laying on my bed with my feet on the floor, still grinning as I think of the look on Dusty's face when she discovered her dresser was full of whipped cream.
I hear the door open, and I sit up quickly. I see Johanna very carefully closing the door behind her. She winces as the latch clicks, and then with a grin she walks over to me.
"Jo! What are you doing? We're supposed to wait in our rooms until we get to district seven."
I whisper quickly. She wrinkles her nose and smiles.
"Well I don't like being told what to do."
I smile and reply sarcastically.
She chuckles quietly and sits beside me.
"It was worth it wasn't it?"
I hold in a laugh.
We both stuff our faces in pillows as we start laughing, trying to muffle the sound. After we get our laughter under control, we lay on our backs staring up at the ceiling.
"I'm going to miss this."Johanna says with a sigh. I turn my head to look at her.
She shrugs, still looking at the ceiling.
"Mostly spending time with you...I've never really had friends. I tell myself I don't need them, but it's been nice hanging out with you."
She turns her head to meet my gaze.
"I'm going to miss hanging out with you too."
She sighs, and turns to look at the ceiling again.
"No you won't, you'll be too busy hanging out with Annie."
I raise my eyebrows.
"Are you jealous?"
She turns to look at me with a much too casual face.
"What? No. Why would I be jealous?"
I open my mouth and smile.
"You are totally jealous!"
She rolls her eyes and stares at the roof."Yeah, right. Whatever you say Finnick."
"You know it's true. I am going to miss you though."
She looks at me unconvinced.
I nod solemnly.
"Well that makes me feel better."
After a moments silence, she sighs.
"I just wish there was some way we could see each other on a fairly regular basis, but unfortunately there's that stupid 'don't leave your district unless you have orders to' rule."
I think of all the times I'm forced to leave the district for my 'jobs' and I wonder if in a year or so Johanna will have to do the same.
She turns to look at me."I'm sorry, I didn't mean to bring it up..."
I shake my head.
"It's fine. I just hope we don't have a reason to run into each other at the capitol."
She shifts uncomfortably.
"That's not going to happen. I won't let it."
I look at her.
"If it happens you don't really have a choice."
She looks at me, and I see the usual rebellious light in her eyes is shining brightly.
"You always have a choice Finnick."
I decide not to press the argument any further, and in a couple of minutes Johanna's prep team collect her to get ready. I dress in a pair of black jeans, and a long sleeved grey sweater. Even though It's still fairly warm in district four, it doesn't mean all the other districts are warm in the middle of winter. I find a pair of leather black boots and I pull them on over warm socks. Then I brush my hair quickly, and meet the others in the main car.
"You look nice."
Johanna comments teasingly. I glance at her dark red sweater, skinny jeans and knee-high black boots.
"You look nice too."She has her usual dramatic smokey eyes and spiked hair, and she's wearing a pair of large silver hoop earings.
"And I actually mean it."She rolls her eyes.
"I meant it too."
I chuckle and shake my head.
The train starts to slow down, and Cyprus clears his throat.
"You two remember to behave like adults and victors."
Dusty nods her slightly grey haired head in agreement.
"We don't want you to behave like two-year olds like earlier today."
Johanna and I cast glances at each other out of the corners of our eyes, and we both start snorting with held in laughter. Dusty and Cyprus look at us sternly, and we close our mouths tightly, refusing to look at each other knowing it would make us laugh again.
The train stops, and the doors open. After several minutes of preparation, we are standing on the stage and Johanna is giving her speech. Once she's done, the whole square erupts into cheers, and the partying commences.
And what a party, it almost made me wish we were out with the regular district citizens instead of having dinner with the mayor. Since we have an hour or so before we have to be at the mayors house, Johanna grabs my hand and starts dragging me through the crowd.
"Where are you two going!"
I hear Cyprus call after us, I look back as Johanna pauses. I can see his wispy light brown hair blowing in the slight breeze, his light blue eyes watching us closely.
"I've got to get Leo! We'll meet you at the train!"
He narrows his eyes.
"You'd better not be late!"
Johanna doesn't reply, but starts tugging me again. She leads me through several streets, giving me no chance to stare in wonder at all the trees. There are so many! I've never even seen most of these kinds, in district four we have palm trees and evergreens, among with a few others. But here there are so many different kinds, I can't even imagine what they look like when their leaves change colors and fall.
I guess I should have guessed since this was the lumber district that there would be lots of trees but I'm still blown away.
For the short time that I was here on my victory tour, I had other things to think about, and I since we arrived kind of late, it was already dark and we went directly from the train to the mayors house, and back to the train.
Johanna leads me down several more streets, until we're standing in front of a rather grimy looking large log building. Johanna stops and stares at the large double doors.
"What is this?"
She takes a deep breath.
"The boys community home."
I look at her.
"Is Leo staying here?"
"He had to since there was no one to look after him while I was gone. He's treated well though."
She adds the last part quickly, more like she's trying to convince herself more than me. I nod.
"I'm sure he's been fine without you."
She nods quickly.
"So are we going to get him or what?"
She looks up at me and blinks.
"Oh! Yes, of course. Come on."
She keeps tight hold on my hand, as she leads me through the double doors. We walk through several hallways, and through a large play room, then she walks to a door and opens it.
"Hey! Who intrudes?!"
A harsh voice calls out, Johanna releases my hand, and walks fearlessly up to a large boy with short black hair and a nasty scar across one eye, the damage done to the eye has caused it to turn foggy and white. Johanna walks right up to him, barely reaching his shoulder. She thrusts out her chin, and drops her voice so that it is gruff and slightly grating.
"Recognise me now? I thought you had at least one good eye Thorn."
The boy who must be Thorn, seems to lose a little of his confidence, shifting uncomfortably from one foot to the other.
"I thought you'd be at a party or something."
Johanna puts her hands on her hips, and smiles.
"Well you aren't to good at thinking are you Thorn? Better just leave that to people with brains huh?"
He looks like he's about to say something, his one dark brown eye glowing hotly at the insults. Johanna narrows her eyes, daring him to make a move. There's a moment of tension, then he spits on the floor near Johanna's shoe, and stalks away.
I raise my eyebrows in surprise. He could have squashed her, actually now that I think about it, he probably would have been on the floor before he made a move. Johanna is as tough as nails, and I know from experience that she can easily incapacitate someone much bigger than her. She would have to be able to to survive on her own all these years.
"Where's little lion?!"
She shouts loud enough so everyone in the room can hear her. The boys of all different ages look at her like she's the boss, some of them afraid, some admiring. I hear a shout from the far side of the room, and a small boy with dark curly hair starts running through the beds and scattered belongings of the other boys.
The boy screams as he runs up and tackles Johanna, clinging tightly to her, laughing and crying into her shoulder.
"I'm so glad you're home!"
He says, pulling away from her and wiping off his face. Johanna smiles, and there's so much love in her eyes that I'm surprised.
"Hey little lion. How are you doing?"
He smiles, and kisses the tip of her nose.
She laughs, and stand up, holding his hand tightly. She turns around to face me.
"Finnick this is Leonardo. Leo you know who this is."I crouch down so that my eyes are level with his. I smile and offer my hand.
"Nice to finally meet you Leo."
His brown eyes are wide, as he takes my hand and shakes it.
"Wow, you've got a strong grip!"
I say as he releases my hand. He smiles and looks up at Johanna.
"You can thank my sis for that."
"Come on, we've got to go to the train station, then we're going to have dinner at the mayors house."
Leo opens his mouth in surprise.
"Let's go. I'll see you lads later!"
She calls over her shoulder to the rest of the boys. They shout back assorted replies as we walk through the door, and make our way back to the streets.
If I thought Johanna was small for her age, I couldn't have imagined how small Leo would be. If Johanna hadn't told me he was eight, I would have guessed six at the most. His long almost black curls and large wide-set brown eyes make him seem so much younger, He also has Johanna's small bone structure. I could hold both his wrists between one finger and my thumb. He only reaches Johanna mid waist, which puts him barely at my hip.
As we walk, he proudly shows Johanna two missing teeth.
"They were loose, and then I fell and knocked them out."
He explains. Johanna congratulates him. It's so weird to see her act motherly and sweet to someone, and it makes me smile.
"What are you grinning at?"
Johanna asks me suddenly. Giving me her most piercing glare, I look down and see that Leo is mimicking her perfectly. This makes me laugh.
"Nothing, I'm just glad to see you're happy."
Leo's face brightens instantly, and he grabs hold of my hand too. His whole hand is only about the size of my palm.
"Why wouldn't she be happy?"
He asks innocently. Johanna gives me a warning look, and I say quickly.
"Because she's been stuck with me for the past couple of weeks."
Leo laughs, along with Johanna.
"Yup that's exactly right."
Leo tugs on my arm lightly.
"You weren't mean to my sister were you? 'Cause if you were I'll beat the living daylights out of you."
I pull a terrified face, and shake my head quickly. Johanna speaks up indignantly.
"You were too! Leo do you know what he did to me this morning?"
Leo shakes his head, eyes wide.
She glares at me accusingly.
"He tickled me!"
Leo turns to look at me shocked.
"Oh no! Nobody tickles Johanna, not if they value their life. Shame on you Finnick."
He says sternly. Johanna looks smug, and turns her head away. The moment she does, Leo let's go of my hand and holds it up in a fist, I bump fists with him, and he grabs my hand quickly as Johanna turns back around. She narrows her eyes at the innocently smiling Leo and I.
"What are you two grinning about?"
Leo and I answer in unison.
She looks suspiciously at us, but Leo turns her attention away.
"Isn't that the mayors house?"
It is indeed, and the next couple hours are spent eating, talking, laughing, and more eating. After dinner is over, all the adults retire to a large lounge. The mayor and his wife don't have any children, so the only people under the age of twenty there were Jo, Leo and I. We are told we can entertain ourselves in the living room if we want, there's a television in there, books, and other such things.
Johanna and I plop onto the large couch, while Leo chooses an enormous armchair that almost swallows him.
He exclaims slightly muffled from the chair, then he grabs the TV remote and start flipping through the channels.
Johanna starts poking me with her foot, and no matter how hard I ignore her, she keeps doing it. Finally she brings her heel down hard on my thigh.
She grins. I give her a glare, then I grab her thin left ankle in my hand, and before I even start tickling she says in a scared whisper.
"Don't do it!"
I of course immediately start tickling, and she writhes on the couch, laughing helplessly. The next thing I know, something hard comes in contact with my nose and I fall on my back seeing stars.
My vision slowly clears and I see Johanna's worried face hovering over mine.
"Are you alright?"
She asks quickly. I blink several times, and groan.
She looks relieved that I'm fine, and she sits back on her knees. Leo walks over and sits on the floor beside me.
"She kicked you."
I slowly sit up.
"You kicked me?"
I ask Johanna astonished. She looks at me completely not compassionate.
"Hey you deserved it! I am not responsible for any injuries you get when you tickle me."
As I sit up, I feel something in my nose, and in a minute something is running down my lips and chin. Johanna's eyes open wide and she covers her mouth with her hand.
"Your nose is bleeding!"
Says Leo slightly startled.
I hold a hand up to try to stop the blood flow, quickly getting it soaked in blood.
"Yeah I got that. Thank you captain obvious."
Leo giggles at the comment, and Johanna gives me a look, and runs to the bathroom. Returning with a hand towel.
She says handing it to me. I hold it to my nose, and partially wipe my hand off on it.
"Sorry, I didn't mean to."She says after several seconds. I shake my head.
"No you're right, it was my fault."
"It was worth it though."She sticks her tongue at me.
"Has it stopped bleeding?"
Asks Leo hopefully. I remove the cloth for a second, and press it back quickly when I feel more blood pour out of my nose.
"No, not yet."
Johanna looks concerned.
"It shouldn't be bleeding that much..."
"You kicked me pretty hard, maybe it's just-"
I'm cut off as I suddenly start coughing, I have my eyes closed as I cough, and I hear Johanna gasp in shock.
I open my eyes, and stare in shock and fear at the now blood spattered carpet. I cough again, and this time I can feel and taste the blood coming out of my mouth.
Leo starts crying in shock and fear. Johanna looks at him for a minute before turning back to me.
"We need to get you to the hospital...now!"
She says as she grabs my arm, pulling me off the floor. I suddenly feel very week and light-headed, and I can't stand up straight.
"I don't feel so good Jo..."
I say as more blood dribbles out of my mouth.
"Hang in there, we're going to get you help."
She says quickly, putting my arm around her shoulder, supporting me. The next thing I know we're out in a hallway.
"Dusty! Cyprus! Help!"
I hear Johanna shout, but everything starts swimming before my eyes, and then gets swallowed up in black.