A/N: I'm sure it's been done before, but this is my version of Finnick and Annie's wedding night. It's my first time writing anything remotely like this, so please be gentle, and if you have the time, please review. I'd love to get some feedback.
Also, this fits with my other stories, The Calm Before and Crept Up On Me.
Finnick and Annie and their friends and their home all belong to Suzanne Collins and Scholastic.
Rated M for sexuality.
A NIGHT FOR FIRSTS
I shift her weight in my arms. Weave my right arm around her back, under her legs. A stray curl of her hair tickles my cheek. My left hand opens the door to the room that will have a different meaning now that I'm Annie's husband and she's my wife.
"Oh," I say. Because our room has transformed in another way too.
Everything here is the same. The hallways are a maze of unforgiving white. Our bed sheets, our furniture, even the contents of our drawers are, for the most part, identical. We all dress in the same gray outfits. Eat the same dull food.
But what was a prison became a haven the day Annie arrived. For the first time, we were free and safe, and that fact alone was enough to make up for the lack of seafood and daylight. As soon as they brought her here, we moved in together. Our limbs tangled in an effort to make up for the distance while the bed on the opposite wall remained happily empty. There was no way I was letting her out of my sight, and no was ever letting her go.
District 13 has gone all out tonight. The reception, with three hundred pairs of eyes looking only at us. And not because they wanted to see what we were wearing or what we would say, but because the friends we have among them know that this is the kind of happiness Annie and I never imagined we could have together.
There were other things, too. My suit and the green dress that matches Annie's eyes and makes her even more breathtaking, gifts from Katniss, and from Portia and Cinna. The ceremony, led by Dalton. The cake from Peeta.
And now I see that someone has pushed the beds together and arranged some of the same leaves that decorated the reception in the shape of a large heart in the middle. A square of cloth hangs over the light, dimming the harsh and yellowy fluorescence to an absolving glow. I'm guessing this is the work of Johanna.
"Oh, Finnick," Annie says when she sees it. She's pleased. Add that to the list of things that make this the best day of my life.
At Annie's delight, something between a laugh and a sigh escapes my lips, bringing her attention back to me. She kisses me on the mouth. Her salt-watery lips smile against mine. Her tongue tastes like cake. Another reminder that we're married now.
I don't think Annie has any idea how much I need this. This thing I've never let myself have. The very thing I fought to rid myself of. I never wanted to be vulnerable. I couldn't be. Not in this way, at least. Since the day Snow announced the Quarter Quell, I've been an ever-deteriorating wreck. In only a few months, I've considered the fact that I might lose Annie in another arena. Wished Annie dead to save her from the torturous Capitol. And then wished myself dead so that I might find relief. Now I'm holding her in my arms, smiling and kissing her. My wife. I've saved this kind of vulnerability for her.
To some extent, we've always taken care of each other. Even if I had no idea what was going on in her head, I was a victor too and that made me more able than most when it came to coaxing a smile or even just words out of her. Annie was the anchor that kept me grounded. She knew, even if she didn't fully understand it, that I wasn't the person on television, surrounded by new women every year. Not really. And when I needed reminding that I wasn't so bad or that there were worse things the Capitol could do to me, or simply needed a friend, she was there. Looking at her now, it's hard to imagine a time when I wasn't in love with Annie.
She pulls away just enough to give our eyes a chance to reacquaint themselves in this new lighting. Then hers close, overtaken by a smile that wrinkles the bridge of her freckled nose. A tiny, beautiful laugh rings in my ears. Her hand drops the shoes she's been carrying and finds the knot of my tie. My feet take this as their cue to move us further into the room, toward the waiting bed.
I wrap my left arm around her, let my hand come to rest in her hair, and move her from my arms to the bed in one smooth motion. My mind realizes immediately that my body's done something wrong. I try to swallow and find that I can't. Because I'm doing things too smoothly, and I'm making it obvious that I've had plenty of practice at this. Which Annie knows, of course. But that doesn't mean I want to remind her right now. This night is ours. I don't need the past getting in the way of that.
My hands need something to do, so one runs its fingers through my hair, scratching the back of my head. The other searches for a pocket it can't find and ultimately ends up opening and closing confusedly.
Annie lies on her back on the bed, knees together and slightly bent, one arm draped carelessly above her head, the other over her abdomen. Still smiling and yet looking more vulnerable than I've ever seen her. It's this fact that puts me back on track, ungracefully pushes my body on top of hers until I'm hovering on all fours, covering her fragile body with my muscled one. I press my forehead against hers and kiss her again. Kissing we can do. Kissing is familiar. But even this knowledge can't repress the fact that this is the first time I'm able to kiss her without having to curb my body's ache for more.
Annie retreats enough to lower her eyebrows and ask me seriously, "Are you nervous?" The very thing I should be asking her about now. She's never done this. Not at all. And how many years did it take me to work up the courage to do something so simple and equally complicated as kiss her? Not until after the Quarter Quell announcement, when I decided I didn't care if kissing her might hurt her because I probably wouldn't get another chance. Annie is damaged goods. There's no denying it. But even if she was a normal girl, I doubt that I would have trusted myself not to ruin her. I've always had to tread carefully with Annie.
I'm trusting that, at least for tonight, the memories and the torture will somehow lose out against the still unbelievable fact that we're married and all of the joy that comes with that knowltedge. But just as I know her well enough to know that she'll be here and not lost somewhere inside her head tonight, Annie knows that I have every reason in the world to be nervous about this.
Sex isn't something I've done outside of my twisted obligation to the Capitol. It's something I'm good at and something I've hated up until tonight. It's the line between who I am and who I pretend to be. And even though I can't imagine crossing that line with anyone but Annie, I'm panicking a little.
I turn my face away from hers when I say, "Of course I'm nervous, beautiful. I've never done this before." I don't mean to make a joke of it, but I'm anxious and what else can I do? It's true, anyway. I haven't ever done this. Or at least not like this.
I press my temple to her cheek, which tells me that my comment has elicited another smile. "Do I intimidate you?" she asks playfully.
Annie might possibly be able to intimidate a school of small fish, but she's such a graceful swimmer that even that's unlikely. I say the honest answer into her ear. "You terrify me."
Everything in my life depends on Annie. Whether I live or die will only reflect what Annie does. Happiness and heartbreak. She holds them in her hands. I welcome the vulnerability like a lost friend. Loved once. Forgotten later. And one day as necessary as air. I've never had much control of my own life anyway. If it's going to belong to anyone, it might as well belong to Annie.
Except that right now, I think I'm the one who needs to be in control.
There have been times when I've wrapped my arms so tightly around her body that I threatened to break her. Times when I've taken her face in my hands and begged her eyes to find mine and come back to the present. I've put in the time. I've learned what she needs. But we're swimming in uncharted waters now. I know what to do but I'm entirely unsure what to do about it.
"I love you," I tell her, because it's true and it seems as good a place as any to start.
The hand that was previously on her stomach finds its way inside the fabric of my borrowed jacket, fingers the thin material of the shirt so that I can feel her gentle, exhilarating pressure at my side. "I love you too."
The words, her hand on me. They are an invitation to her body. My lips find her mouth. Her jaw. Her neck. The other of her hands finds my hair. I slide my own hands further down the bed, finding the leaves that no longer resemble a heart on the way. Kiss her exposed collarbone. My body surprises me with its automatic motions. I've never kissed anyone this way, and yet I know exactly what to do. What my next move will be.
My fingertips feel her shiver as they brush away the strap of her dress, delicately tracing the path my lips will follow. I'm new at this kind of touching, but not new enough to overlook the signs that, like her hand on my side, will point the way. The jagged ebb and flow of each breath. The way the hand that touched my hair now tenderly tugs it, giving my mouth direction. I don't need to ask if this is okay.
Desire has turned our hearts to magnets. When I pull away, her hands drop to the bed, lending support as she leans up and follows me. I whisper that I love her into her mouth as both of our left hands struggle to work as a pair and remove my jacket. She gives up. Goes for my tie instead. I rest on my ankles, use both hands, and manage to get the thing off. Then we're sitting, facing each other. One less article of clothing keeping the magnets inside us apart.
"Hi, Mrs. Odair." I try to say it as seriously as I can but fail miserably and start laughing. I can't help myself. My night keeps getting better and better.
Annie smiles sweetly. "Hi, Finnick."
The straps of her dress dangle dangerously around her shoulders, which I'm aching to kiss again, but Annie has a different idea.
She sits tall on her knees and kisses me. Her fingers find my neck, my waist, and draw little designs that I think might be knots. She untucks my shirt and finds the skin beneath, and it's my turn to shiver.
I'm itching to find the zipper at the back of her dress, but once I do, this moment with her kissing me and tracing little knots on my skin will be over. I command my hands to her face instead, where my thumbs find the line of her jaw and pull her closer.
I know it's time when she starts undoing my buttons. Annie stands up and lets me inch the zipper down from behind her, slowly revealing a sliver of bare back. Then the dress falls to the floor.
She might have offered to do it this way because she's nervous about me looking at her like this, but the result is even sexier and more comfortable than if we had stayed on the bed. Because even though I'm looking at her in only her underwear, I still haven't seen her. And I can hold on to the touching and kissing a little longer.
My hands that are still desperate for something to do hold her hair away from her neck so that I can kiss it, discover the delicate and perfect curves of her breasts.
I know this night will never last as long as I'd like.
The hand that recently held her hair drops to her hip and toys with the waist of the only thing keeping me from the rest of her. I'm about to give in to myself and slip my hand inside when she turns away from my reach and toward me, revealing the sight that touch has tried to paint in my mind. She's beautiful.
Annie helps me out of my shirt and pants and shoes. And when we're both in only our undergarments, we brush the remaining leaves off the bed, lie down facing one another, and touch in a new way for the first time. I let my hand guide hers at first, teach her the right pressure and speed. With her, I'm as gentle as I can be. Until she scratches my arm and teaches me that it's possible to be too gentle.
Our eyes remain as locked as they can but are easily distracted. Mine close when the pleasure drowns out my other senses. Shift to her mouth every time it makes a noise. To her breasts that move with the motion of her arm. "You're so beautiful," I tell her.
Then, because my eyes are closing with more and more frequency, I slide my hand out of the fabric and position myself on top of her again. Slide downward and out of her reach. Trail my tongue along her hip. Remove the last barrier. Kiss her.
I can't help it that the loss of control evident in the sounds she makes remind me a little of the jabberjays who pretended to be Annie in the arena. I tell myself that these cries mean pleasure, not pain. That she will always have me to take care of her now. I don't need much convincing. These are beautiful sounds.
It's no use trying not to be too good at this, either. Annie, who needs more care than anyone I know, has made me alone responsible for this part of her. I can't pretend it doesn't give me enormous satisfaction to know that I'm the one pulling this music from somewhere deep inside her.
"Finnick," she manages. My name spoken in her voice sends a wave through me, and I know she's close. No, neither of us will last as long as I'd like. It's a good thing we have the rest of our lives for this.
I slide off my boxers and crawl back up, nuzzle my face in her neck. We're both ready, but this is the part where I have reason to be scared.
"I don't want to hurt you," I whisper into her skin.
We're already touching. Moving our hips, hungrily pressing against each other. All that's left is to enter and give ourselves over entirely.
I've been building something up inside her, and if I wait too long, that thing will retreat. So I believe her when she tells me, "I love you, Finnick. I know you won't hurt me."
I lift myself onto my knees, ass resting on my ankles, take Annie's hips in my hands, and slide her down the bed toward me. Her legs drape instinctively over mine. This position will permit me to watch her and to touch her. To kiss her salt water lips and submerge myself completely.
Over her head, one of Annie's hands traces nervous designs on its partner's wrist.
I hold out my hand to her, and she places one of hers in it. I position it between us. She will be the guide. At least for a little while, she'll control the depth and speed.
I'm careful to watch her. Even if she doesn't tell the truth, her expression will. And I try to let myself feel only what I see in Annie's face, but it feels so impossibly good. I watch close her eyes and bite her lip. Pain. But she's doesn't stop, and soon hurt is replaced with something deeper. Eyes still closed, still biting her lip, she smiles.
And I smile, relieved, and lean forward to kiss the place between her breasts, where her ribs connect to protect her heart. The reins are in my hands now.
I rock my hips. Alternately kiss her and watch her. Revel in the way she arches into me. Tug on her lower lip when she lifts her head to kiss me. Grunt into her mouth while she sighs into mine.
I pull away and force her eyes to lock onto mine. Because right now, she's here, moving with me. Breathing with me. And maybe if I can keep her eyes with mine in this moment, she'll stay with me forever.
My hand finds the space between us and draw tiny circles like the ones she made on my neck and my waist and her wrist. Her head pushes into the bed. Then her back arches as her shoulders follow. I'm losing her, but in a different way than I'm used to.
"Stay with me." I know even as the words push past my lips that I'm too late.
I silently curse myself for pushing my face into her chest, for gripping her arms because the waves that wrack her body are too much like the tempestuous ones of her breakdowns. And then I clench my teeth and follow.
I'm panting and sweating and too overwhelmed to move. My lips brush the nearest skin they can find and inform Annie that I'm still alive. I know I should say something. To ask how it was seems stupid and inappropriate, but my head is a mess. Instead, I hear my voice ask, "You okay?" which sounds equally awful, if not worse.
Annie exhales loudly. It takes what little energy I have left to pick myself up and see that she's smiling. Why wouldn't she be? It's still our wedding night.
I pull out gently and roll back onto my side. The magnet in Annie's chest pulls her to face me. Without waiting, she says "What was your favorite part?"
I laugh. "You haven't even given me time to process it all, my love." But even before she asked, I had an answer. In the Capitol, where women spend who knows how much money to turn their bodies into someone's idea of "perfect," there are still those among them who want the lights off and the blankets on. In the districts, there are women who see these monstrosities and actually think less of their own natural beauty by comparison. And then there's Annie, fragile, broken, perfect Annie, who trusted me with all of herself tonight. "You were my favorite part," I tell her.
She rolls her eyes, a relic of the past. Before she won her Games and came home crazy, the Annie I briefly knew did this same thing in an elevator to our floor of the Training Center. That she does it again now is evidence of her recovery. But it also means she thinks I'm pretending, which I'm not. "That's not a real answer," she tells me.
"Based on what logic?" I tease. "What was your favorite then?"
Her cheeks go red and a small laugh comes through her nostrils.
Of course that's what she liked best.
"I thought so." I say. "I liked it all. Seeing you. Touching you. Tasting you." Her smile widens at the last part.
And then, because I've tricked myself into believing Annie could be normal before, I ask, "Are you going to be okay?" She flinches at the words. It's awful timing, I know. But I can't end this night without an answer. I need to know that this wasn't just something that could happen under the influence of bliss and dancing and wedding cake. "It's just that sometimes I get so used to having you around, and then you check out again. If you think that's something that might happen again soon, I need to prepare myself for it."
I pull a piece of leaf from her hair as she contemplates my words.
"I think," Annie says carefully, "that if you could do this and I could do this, then we could do anything."
It's vague enough not to be easily mistaken for a promise she's sure she'll break, but if it's all Annie can offer, I'll take it.
She pushes me onto my back and lays her head on my chest. This whole day must have taken a lot out of her, because soon after, she falls asleep. My mind is still too busy trying to catch up with the rest of me for me to be able to think much of anything but the sight of Annie's hair spread across my chest. We sleep like this a lot, but never without clothes. This is a night for firsts.
"Annie," I say in a loud whisper. I want to wake her, but I pose the risk of startling her, too. "Annie."
She breathes some question that lets me know she's awake enough to hear me.
"I just wanted to tell you that I meant what I said before. About you being my favorite part of tonight."
Her hand hand finds the place over my heart and her fingers trace the same little designs she's been drawing all night. Then they stop, and I tell her I love her one more time before I, too, surrender to sleep.
Thank you for reading!