So here's the other chapter I promised!
I'm just going to post this as a whole other chapter, I know I left you guys in suspense a little bit with the last one, and I had planned out all that's going to happen in this chapter too so here you go!
Song is "Broken" by Lifehouse.
Chapter Nineteen: Slowly going back.
I jolt awake, sitting bolt upright and gasping for breath.
"Finnick! Calm down."I feel a gentle hand on my shoulder, and my body relaxes. I turn and see Annie kneeling on the floor beside me. I look around, and it takes me several seconds to remember what happened.
"Jo..."Annie stands up and sits beside me.
"Don't worry, she's sleeping upstairs. Mom is watching her."I exhale a deep breath, and rub my eyes.
"How did you get her to sleep?"
Annie smiles, and warmth spreads through me to see her smiling again."Mom gave her some tea with sleep syrup in it."
I sigh, and nod slowly.
"Wish I had some of that on the train, the morphling wears off way to fast."
Annie looks concerned.
I shake my head.
"I can't tell you the details, but Johanna's little brother Leo died four days ago. I found her in the capitol scaring the citizens, she lost it so I decided the best thing to do would be bring her home. There was a train leaving that night, so I just dragged her aboard."
Annie's eyes grow sad.
"Before you passed out you told me her brother died..."
She pauses, and looks at me.
"You said it was because she didn't do something...something every victor is required to do...but you wouldn't tell me what it was."
My mind races furiously for something to tell her, I hate lying to her, but it would put her in greater danger if she knew the truth, and I can't do that to her.
"Did I? That's strange, it was an accident, Leo bumped his head and drowned in the lake."
I say a little too quickly. She looks at me for a second, and I can tell she doesn't believe me.
"Oh okay."The distance is starting to return to her eyes, and it tears me up inside knowing that every lie I tell her, I'm only pushing her further away. I want to be close to her again, I want to be able to tell her anything and everything, I want her to laugh at me and call me Finn, I want her eyes to hold that same spark they used to when she looks at me.
I sigh, knowing this is impossible, I can't ask that of her. She has been nothing but good to me, and I've repaid her by lying, spending less and less time with her, and accusing her boyfriend for only liking her so that he can sleep with her. Gosh what a jerk, she's better off without me.
"Annie I'm sorry."
I say quietly, avoiding her eyes.
"I'm sorry for everything, not being there when you needed me, for not telling you the truth, and for just being an overall jerk."
She remains quiet for a long time, and the whole time my heart is pounding. Finally she says quietly.
"I forgive you...I forgave you every time something else came up, and I will always forgive you."
I slowly raise my eyes to meet her gaze.
"But we can't just go back to how things were. I'm sixteen now, and you're practically a man, we can't just make up and go back to being best friends."
I swallow hard, and nod. I know she's telling the truth, things have changed. She takes a deep breath.
"But, I am willing to try and start over."I look up hopefully.
"You're giving me a second chance?"
She smiles slightly and nods.
"I guess you could say that. But we need to be honest with each other, I won't be able to spend all my free time with you, I have Heath now."
I nod, smiling slightly. Annie is agreeing to become friends again!
"I understand, I won't have a whole lot of free time either..."
I trail off, and Annie nods.
"Oh right, the capitol."She says it with disappointment in her voice, disappointment in me."It's not what you think Annie."I blurt out before I have time to think. She looks at me curious.
"What do you mean?"
I shrug and shift slightly.
"Um...well it's just that..."
"It's just...after winning the games, I became really popular in the capitol, and I have to go there and do interviews and photo shoots."
She shrugs."I just don't understand how you can be there so much and for so long."
I laugh slightly.
"It's a nightmare really, you see if one magazine gets an interview with Finnick Odair, all the other magazines need an interview with Finnick Odair. Same thing for the fashion magazines and all the Television shows."
"Well then I feel sorry for you."I put on a mournful face, and sniff.
"Yes you should, it's murder being this good-looking."
I am rewarded with a small laugh from Annie, and her nose crinkled slightly like it always does when I'm being ridiculous.
"Same old Finnick."
"I made a promise not to change."
She nods slowly.
"Do you want something to eat? It's almost lunchtime, you slept all night."I nod.
"Yeah, to tell the truth I'm starved."
She hops up and I stand up beside her. She leads me to the kitchen.
"What sounds good?"
"Oh anything. Do you want me to help with anything?"
She shakes her head.
"You just sit there and I'll make some scrambled eggs. I'm sure mom and Mags would want some too, they've been taking shifts watching Johanna."
I glance towards the stairs.
"How's she doing?"
Annie shrugs as she starts pulling out eggs and a frying pan.
"Last I heard she was sleeping peacefully, poor thing."I nod.
"To tell the truth I'm not sure if she's going to be okay."
Annie begins whipping the eggs in a large bowl, saying quickly.
"Well I know how she feels...losing someone close to you is hard."My mind goes back to when Robbert died, Annie went off the deep end, and was in complete denial, I was the only one who was able to snap her out of it.
"Leo was the only family Jo had...She was more like his mother than his older sister."Annie pours the eggs into the pan, and starts scrambling them."When she wakes up do you want me to talk to her?"
I sigh, and rub my eyes.
"If you want to and you're up to it."She nods.
"I will, maybe I can help her."She says hopefully, I smile at her willingness to help.
"If anyone can it's you."
She smiles and shakes her head.
"Well I wasn't very good at helping myself...I'm still not."
I watch her closely.
I ask slowly. She shrugs.
"Only once in a while. I can figure out what's real or not and then it goes away."I nod slowly."You should have told me sooner."She shakes her head.
"It only started again a few years ago."
I look guiltily down at my hands.
"When I left?"
I look up and she nods slowly.
She shakes her head.
"It wasn't your fault."
She dumps the eggs onto a large plate and sprinkles some cheese over the top.
"What should we have to go with these?"
She asks, changing the subject. I get up and walk over.
"Hmm...maybe some fruit?"
She ducks around me into the pantry and appears with several bananas and a melon.
"Will these do?"
I take the fruit from her, and smile.
A few minutes later and we are sitting at the table with Mags and Mrs. Cresta eating the light breakfast.
"How's Jo doing?"
I ask Mrs. Cresta. She shrugs.
"She is sleeping now, we'll know more when she wakes up."I had explained as much of what happened as I could, Mrs. Cresta looked sadly at Annie, knowing that they could relate. Mags just watched me closely, being a victor she knows there's more to this than I'm telling. After breakfast I ask if I can go see Johanna. Mrs. Cresta agrees. I walk carefully upstairs, and open the door quietly. Johanna is laying on her back, sleeping peacefully. I walk over and carefully sit on the edge of the bed. I pick up one of her hands and hold it between mine.
"I'm sorry Jo."I say quietly. I bend over and kiss her lightly on the forehead. She stirs slightly, and opens her eyes.
She asks hoarsely, pushing herself up onto her elbows.
"You fell asleep."
She blinks and stares at me.
I nod with a smile.
She looks around her, confused.
"Where the $$ am I?"
"How much do you remember?"
She frowns as she thinks.
"Um...I remember you dragged me onto a train...and that's it."The morphling must have deadened her memory.
"You are at Mags' and the Cresta's house in district four."She sits up fully, and rubs her eyes.
"Well what the $$ am I doing here?"
I sigh, and pat her hand.
"Being kept safe."
She grumbles and pulls her hand away from me.
"I don't need to be kept safe."
I shake my head.
"Wrong, you need to be under constant watch."
She glares at me.
I lift my shirt so she can see the scratches all along my torso. She stares at them in shock, then looks down at her own less scratched arms.
"Did I do that?"
I nod slowly.
"You really don't remember?"
She shakes her head frowning.
I stand up and stretch.
"You would have panic attacks and start clawing at yourself and me when I tried to stop you, and you would scream...loud, really loud."She rubs her forehead.
"What did you do?"
"Most of the time I would just sit on you until you calmed down, well after we ran out of morphling."
She glances down at the little circular bruises on her arms.
"Oh...that's why I feel funny."I nod.
"You're probably going through withdrawal right now."
She slides her feet over the side of the bed and stands up and sways. I catch her before she falls, and she grabs onto my shirt to keep her balance.
"Feel like eating anything?"
She nods slowly, her eyes focusing and refocusing slowly, her skin is a little pale, so I slide my arm under her knees and carry her downstairs.
"How are you feeling?"
Mrs. Cresta asks gently. Johanna is surprisingly good-tempered.
"A little shaky, but better. Thank you for everything."Mrs. Cresta smiles.
"No problem, we're happy we could help. Do you want some breakfast?"
Mrs. Cresta disappears in the kitchen, and I look at Johanna, still in my arms, strangely. She turns her head, and our faces are almost an inch apart.
She asks as I continue to stare at her. I shake my head.
"Nothing...are you feeling alright?"
"Besides the fact that my little brother is dead, I may be crazy and am too weak to stand by myself, yeah I'm feeling super."
I smile and shake my head. There's the Johanna I know. Annie has been standing quietly a little to my left.
"Would you put me down already? I feel like a stupid weakling."
I set her down in a chair, beside Mags, and straighten up. Mags leans over and says with a grin.
"Well you acted like a stupid weakling in your games, at least the weakling part was an act."
Johanna stares at her for a minute, then turns and looks at me.
"I like her."
Mags laughs, and Annie and I smile. Johanna turns to Annie.
"Hey pal, good to finally meet you in person."
Then she turns to me.
"She's not as pretty as you made her sound."
I stare at Johanna in shock, and Annie laughs nervously.
"Remember your manners, these two haven't been on the best of terms lately."Mags says poking Johanna with her elbow. Johanna rubs her side and turns to Annie.
"What did you do? Did you and Finnick have a fight?"
She spins around to face me.
"Why didn't you tell me this?"
Annie and I look at each other awkwardly, and it's Annie who speaks up first.
"We just haven't had time to hang out as much as before. Finnick has all his appointments in the capitol, and I have Heath."Johanna turns at me with her eyebrows arched high.
"Heath? Who's Heath?"
I lower my head and mumble.
Johanna gives me a hard glare like I've done something horribly wrong, then turns to Annie with a smile.
Annie smiles slightly.
"Thanks. It's nice to finally meet you in person too, you're not as much of a witch as Finnick made you sound."
Mags finds this hilarious, and she laughs as Johanna gives me a look.
"Oh really? I might just have to have a little conversation with Mr. Odair."
I grin sheepishly, as Mrs. Cresta walks in with a plate for Johanna.
For the rest of the morning, we just talk about nothing in particular, everyone broadly avoiding the subject of family, not wanting Johanna to flip out again.
"Finnick can you take me down to the ocean?"
Johanna asks suddenly. I blink in surprise.
"Um...are you sure?"
She nods. Then she turns back to everyone else.
"I'm not trying to be rude, but I've never seen the ocean before."
They all agree that I should take her."We'll be back soon."I say as I lift Johanna and walk to the front door. Annie opens the door for us, and smiles.
"Don't stay out to long."
I smile back.
"We won't, see you soon."It takes me about twenty minutes to get down to the beach, and I set Johanna down on the sand. I sit beside her, and she leans up against me.
She breathes quietly, rubbing her hands over the sand. I nod.
"Leo would have loved it."
She says, closing her eyes as a tear rolls down her cheek. I watch her carefully, but she shows no signs of having another attack. I wrap my arms around her, and rest my cheek on the top of her head.
"I bet he can see it now."She nods slowly, more tears running down her cheeks.
"I never want to go near water again."
She says with a shaky voice.
"I've always been afraid of drowning, then Ziva and Cecil in the games...now this."
I nod slowly.
"I know."She sighs.
"You're an idiot."I lift my head, and turn to look at her.
She sighs, and turns so she's facing me.
"Annie? How could you let that happen?"
I shake my head.
"I don't know what you're talking about."She scoffs, and turns back to the ocean."Fine, play the fool. I can see the truth behind it all, if you two refuse to see it than that's fine with me."
I stare out at the horizon.
"Johanna you're not making any sense."She chuckles.
"I'm making perfect sense. You just are choosing not to understand."I scoot up so I'm sitting right next to her.
"I'm trying to understand."She shakes her head, then she turns and kisses me. I'm actually not surprised this time. She breaks the kiss.
Then she turns and looks at the ocean again. I sigh in exasperation."I think you're just trying to confuse me."
She rolls her eyes.
"When we kiss, there isn't a spark, we can both enjoy the kiss, but without the spark it's nothing more than a kiss. I can just give you a kiss, but the one who holds the spark can give you their love, their pain, their hopes and dreams, their fears and worries, everything."
I frown."We already know we don't have a spark...what's your point?"
She sighs and grabs my hand.
"Nothing. I'm just tired, and crazy. Just remember, when you kiss that someone with the spark, you can give them everything in that kiss. Got it?"
"Yeah, I got it. Do you want to go back?"
"let me get on your back, I don't want you to carry me around like a stupid baby anymore."
I laugh and crouch in the sand so she can wrap her arms around my neck. I grab her legs and stand up.
Her head is right by my ear.
"Yeah I'm peachy. Let's go."I pretend to drop her, and her grip tightens frantically around my shoulders, I laugh and she slaps my shoulder.
"Not funny you jerk!"
I turn and give her cheek a kiss.
"Sorry dear, I couldn't resist."
She chuckles slightly.
"Come on already, Annie is going to be waiting for us."We make it back to the Cresta's house in time for lunch, and afterwards Johanna asks if she could take a nap. Mrs. Cresta and Mags agree this is a good idea, and I carry her upstairs.
"You sure you'll be alright alone?"
"I'll be fine, I just need rest."I nod.
"I'll see you soon."
She waves a hand.
"Get out of here already, you're annoying me."
I chuckle as I close the door and walk downstairs. Annie is waiting for me in the living room.
"Do you want to take a walk on the beach?"
She leads the way down to the beach, and we walk in silence for a while. She finally breaks the silence.
"Listen...there's this dance thing at school for the seniors. It's on saturday if you want to come."
I stick my hands in my pockets.
"Do you want me to come? Or are you just asking to be nice?"
I say slightly teasing her. She smiles.
"I want you to come. I think it would be a good way to hang out with each other. Plus I would be the coolest girl there if I got Finnick Odair to come."I laugh.
"Oh well now I see why you want me to come."
"Heath likes you, he says you're 'pretty cool', so I'm sure he'll like having you there as well."
"Well I'm glad the current boyfriend of my ex best friend likes me."She bumps her shoulder against mine.
"Not ex, just friend right now, you can earn the title back."I smile.
"Alrighty then. Do I need to bring a date?"
"Not really, I'm sure lots of girls would be happy if you didn't have a date."
I grin."Okay, I can be your and Heath's chaperone."
She shakes her head.
"Oh no! Please don't do that."I laugh.
"Alright I'll just go single than."
There's silence for a minute, and I have the urge to tell her the real reason I've been going to the capitol. I stop, and grab her hand gently, making her stop too.
"Listen Annie I..."
She seems surprised, and we both glance down at our linked hands. I feel a slight buzz in my fingertips, and it travels up my arm, sending warmth through my body. I see Annie flush slightly, and we let go quickly.
"I...um...I'm glad you invited me."
I finally stammer. She pushes her hair back from her face, and nods.
"Yeah me too...should we start going back?"
The rest of the walk is a little awkward, although I don't know why. I can still feel the tingle in my fingertips, and I wonder why Annie blushed.
"So it's on saturday?"
I ask as we reach victors village."
"Yeah, Heath's coming to pick me up, so you can hitch a ride with us."I nod.
"Okay thanks."The rest of the day goes uneventfully, and soon Jo and I are saying goodbye. I offered to let Johanna sleep at my house since I have plenty of spare bedrooms, she agreed, so now we are saying our goodbyes.
"Bye Annie, I'll see you later."She nods.
Johanna can walk by herself, but I offer my arm to support her. She takes it and we walk slowly to my house.
"It seems like you and Annie are getting back to normal."She remarks. I nod.
She looks up at me.
"I'm going home tomorrow."
"There's a train leaving for district seven tomorrow, and it's my ride home."
I shake my head.
"Johanna you can't go home."She holds up her hand.
"No arguing. I've made up my mind. I'm perfectly capable of taking care of myself, and I'll be fine."I'm hesitant, but I know I couldn't stop her if I tried. Once Johanna's made up her mind, that was it.
"I'll be fine. I'm going to get a job, even though I don't need it, somehow I find chopping down trees is therapeutic."
"I bet it is. Alright then, what time does the train leave?"
She lets out a sigh.
"I'll walk you there."She leans her head against my arm.
"Thanks Finnick. You're a good friend."
She ends up spending the night in my room, she's still having nightmares and I don't know when I'll see her again. I give her a light kiss on the forehead.