Author's notes: I just finished with Catching Fire, and oh man, did I fall in love with Finnick (and Johanna and Mags and pretty much the entire cast all over again) while I was reading it. Finnick was the one that demanded I write something for him though, so here it is. Hope you enjoy.
Disclaimer: I don't own The Hunger Games.
But a walking shadow
That's what they call it. An unfortunate coincidence.
A simple, unfortunate coincidence that – out of all the hundreds of other names that could've been drawn during the reaping – Annie Cresta's name is plucked out instead.
Finnick Odair knows bullshit when he sees it and this is bullshit of the ripest sort. There is no such thing as coincidence when the Capitol and their precious Hunger Games are involved.
He'd thought they'd been careful, that he had kept up enough of a front in the Capitol to keep them from suspecting that he had any interest whatsoever in the beautiful, brown haired daughter of a fisherman with a soft smile, softer hands, and bright eyes. But they knew; they had always known, because when he was with Annie, Finnick was happy and there was nothing more appealing to the Capitol than breaking a victor's rebuilt spirit, to remind them that they are no more than pawns, even after the arena is far behind them.
The Capitol has another thing coming if they think they can break him like this, through underhanded tricks and unfair lotteries. They've picked the worst victor to play around with because Finnick always fights back, and he doesn't fight clean, least of all when it comes to Annie. He won't lose her to them, not when they've taken so much from him already.
Annie has the will to survive, and Finnick will give her the means. Between him and Mags, she'll be the best-trained, best-supplied tribute the Games has ever seen and when she wins, he'll prove that he's – that they are stronger than the Capitol, and there's nothing they can do to break him and Annie apart.
But Finnick forgets that there are other ways to destroy someone than throwing their lover in an arena to be slaughtered, and the Capitol plays off his forgetfulness beautifully.
Because when Annie wins the Games through nothing more than pure luck and bitter coincidence, it isn't a cause for celebration. When she returns to him with a mouth that no longer smiles, but screams with terror, rough hands that reach for a knife whenever he approaches, and glazed eyes that no longer recognize him, Finnick knows that Annie Cresta is gone and will never come back.
Finnick forces himself not to break; he won't let the Capitol have the satisfaction of knowing all their plotting has paid off.
But he cracks.
Oh, how he cracks.