Disclaimer: I own nothing.
Finnick's my favorite, along with Gale and Haymitch. Am I the only one who imagines him as an Alex Pettyfer type? (: This is probably the only Hunger Games fic of mine I'll ever post.
warning: minor mockingjay spoilers.
if anything, I want this to last
(finnick and annie.)
I dare you to move
like today never happened
"Did you always love Annie, Finnick?"
"No. She crept up on me."
- Katniss and Finnick, in Mockingjay
In one single moment he goes from seventeen and on top of the world to ten years old, scared and helpless. Was that really her name that passed through the lady's lips, or simply his imagination running wild? Are those her fingertips burrowing themselves into his muscled arm, or his mind creating pain? Is this really life we're living, or is it all just some sick form of entertainment created by the Capitol?
And suddenly the warmth of her hand wrapped around his leaves him and he snaps back into reality.
"No, no, no." He swears loudly, pushing away the crowd but she's left him already, she's up on that stage and he sees her knees trembling in front of all these people, her whole body shaking. Her face keeps a calm, but scared exterior, a cool mask and he has a feeling deep in his gut that this act is all for him.
But her eyes, dark and angry, are unforgiving.
He thinks he wants to forget how they look in that moment, and then he realizes he doesn't, he doesn't want to lose any part of her, even if she's already lost her mind.
They don't do anything to her in the Capitol, really, while Finnick is with the rebels. She is mostly left alone, imprisoned in a decent cell among other mild convicts. But one day a faceless guard leads her out of her cage and into a too-white room that makes her feel claustrophobic.
A man on the other side of a glass window stares at her unceremoniously, his face unrecognizable. She feels self-conscious in her jail-issued nightgown, her surely ratty and matted hair.
"Look into the camera," the man demands calmly, his voice husky and even, "and tell Finnick Odair to come to the Capitol or you'll die."
Her mouth falls open; noise struggles to escape but all that leaves is the rush of her breath leaving her. If she tells Finnick to come back, surely they'll kill him - or worse, torture him. But if not, she'll most likely suffer even more than he would. But she can't. She won't. Would she?
Determination fills her chest, and she stands her ground, glaring into the blinking red light beside the lens built into the whitewhitewhite wall in front of her.
"Don't come back, Fin," she murmurs softly. "Don't ever give yourself to them." And for a second, the madness consumes her and she lets out a laugh - a long, tired, menacing laugh.
But it only takes that one second for the screams to fill the air.
They're too loud, too painful. Her ears ring as she struggles to drown out the sound, but it's impossible. Already the screams are beginning to imprint themselves into her jumbled brain, crawl their way into the space where she stores the material for her worst nightmares. It's the sound of his scream, she knows it all too well, but others are mixed in - the sound of her little brother's desperate calls before he succumbed to the waves beside their home, the shriek of a stranger in the town square being whipped by a Peacekeeper. And finally, the wail of a baby, long and low and real. She knows, in whatever part of her is still sane, that if ever she had a future (because surely she has none now), this is what her and Finnick's son would sound like.
This makes her knees buckle and her head dive to the ground, crashing into the stone floors forcefully, her hands clapped over her ears, her body writhing and pleading to make this torture stop. "Please, please, stop! Oh my God, please, Finnick!" she screams without realizing, and when the room falls silent she finds tears on her cheeks, blood dripping from her temple where she'd dug her nails into her skin in frustration. The blinking red light is gone and replaced with a solid green glow that has nothing on Finnick's eyes.
"Good enough," the man behind the window sneers, his eyes twinkling like someone who's just been entertained by something horrible. They throw her back into her dungeon with no food for three days, only the wondering of how exactly they'd gotten so many different samples of Finnick's scream to feed her nightmares.
He dreams of her every night, in the arena.
Sometimes they are brilliant fantasies that make him wake in a cold sweat, his heart pounding and his face red. Some make him come to with his hands buried into the roots of his hair, clutching the strands in anger at nothing in particular; sometimes he finds himself opening his eyes slowly and smiling, memories of her own subtle grin, her own sparkling sea-foam eyes making winning all worthwhile. But the odd nightmare finds its way into the blackness of his sleep-land every once in a while, and these he feels he never awakes from, only shakes himself out of a trembling trance to find himself thrown into a real-life nightmare.
One night he is shaken awake by a rustling outside of his hiding place and he peeks out, catching sight of a thin, shadowy form. He is just beginning to take aim with his trident when the figure turns, and his wrist breaks its fluid movement because this girl, she is his home.
"Annie," he whispers, almost questioningly, and his arm lowers too fast, his guard falls too swiftly. An arrow whizzes too close to his head for comfort, and in a split second of frozen time he realizes that, though the general build and long, wavy, brown-almost-auburn hair are a match, the square and firm shape of the girl's face, the narrow, electric blue eyes are not Annie at all, but merely a District Five tribute who was almost spared mercy. Almost is not good enough in the Hunger Games.
He ignores the remorse as he watches the razor-sharp tongs of his trident pierce her swaying body.
"Hiya, Ann-eeeeee," an eight-year-old Finnick sings loudly, settling cross-legged on rough and sandy shore, smirking at his neighbor. "Watcha doin'?"
"My name is not Ann-eeeee, it's Annie," six-year-old Annie retorts sharply, smoothing her skirt down when a strong wind ruffles it. "And I'm fishing, dummy, can't you see that?"
Finnick frowns, but his lips bounce back into their catlike smile soon enough. "I couldn't, actually, because you haven't got any fish to show for it," he teases, and ignores the way her lower lip begins to jut out and tremble.
"You're mean," the young girl whines, her hand coming to rest on her bony hip, her eyebrows bending down to form an angry, almost comical expression. She wants to hate him. She really does. She does hate him, in fact. He's just a stupid idiot boy who lives two houses down.
A slow, mischievous smile spreads across his face. "Sorry, Ann-eeeeee," he belts childishly, and Annie covers her ears with her palms. But she doesn't press too hard, because honestly, even if he does stretch her name out like a rubber band, her name sounds almost-pretty in that rusty, off-key voice of his.
Gale finds him wandering through the hospital hallways one day, on his way to visit Katniss' room. "Lost?" he murmurs, touching the older boy's arm lightly before stepping in front of him. "Where you going, Odair?"
They've never really been friendly. Not even close. Gale doesn't like the way Finnick jokes with Katniss, seemingly having this bond of friendship with her after a couple days of alliance in the arena; Finnick dislikes Gale's sort-of-vicious and fair-but-unfair way of thinking, even if it does benefit the rebels. But when that distant glint in Finnick's foamy green eyes comes into view, Gale feels like he knows him. "I… don't know. I was just… I had a dream and suddenly I'm here." A panty-dropping flash of white teeth appears and disappears. "Don't tell anyone? I don't think I'm s'posed to be out of my room today."
The dark-haired boy nods in understanding, already starting to pull away, to run. "Our secret," he says politely, and starts on his way.
"Where are you headed?" Finnick calls suddenly.
Embarrassment floods into Gale's cheeks, warming them. All of a sudden he doesn't want to admit he's going to visit a lost cause, to comfort a girl who loves someone else. Who loves everyone else, apparently, everyone else but him. "I was just… going to my room and I thought this was a shortcut, but I guess not," Gale lies lamely.
A knowing look materializeson Finnick's tanned, sculpted face. "You know, Hawthorne, if I had a chance to do it all over again, I would. To make it better. I keep thinking, what if I'd never gone to the games? What if she never did? Would life be different? Of course. We would probably be married now. Started a family. Be happy together." Torture stretches itself across Finnick's features. "If I could control it, I would have done everything in my power to make her happy. I would have spent every waking moment with her, and every moment I couldn't I would have spent thinking of her. I would have made sure we had hours for me to memorize her smile, the sound of her laugh. I wish I could have taken every second I wasted over these years and given it to her, given it all to her. If anything, I want it to last." And then the same, lost, haunted look returns on the man's face, and he is gone, shuffling down the shiny hallway, never in the right direction of his destination. Wherever she is.
Gale, rethinking, starts to walk to Katniss' room, a little more confidence, more of a tinge of determination in his stride.
It hurts to look at her own son.
She calls the baby boy Finn Nicholas Cresta-Odair, and he is perfect. His hair is the same shock of beach blond as Finnick's, but his eyes are the sea-foamy, murky-lake water shade of aqua Annie's are, rather than Finnick's jade eyes. The baby has a subtle, mysterious grin and likes to reach his hands into the air in fluid movements, as if waving to someone invisible. He is beautiful and quiet; already he loves the sound of ocean against land. Everyone is careful around Finn and call him "the baby" instead of his name even though Annie quite likes the sound of it ("Finnickolas, Finnickolas", the names blur together in this flawed mass of tears some nights.)
But she cannot forgive herself because every time she looks at her baby boy she wonders. She wonders if maybe when he's older he'll want to be called Finn, or Nick, or the most terrifying - if he'd ask everyone to call him Finnick. She wonders if someday he'll be the spitting image of his father; if he'll have the same crawling smirk and impish glint. She thinks about who he'll fall in love with. She thinks about who he'll break. And then she remembers that she shouldn't be thinking alone, that Finnick should be here and they should be Finnick and Annie and Finn all the time, never just Annie and Finn or sometimes just Annie, and that why is he gone? Why does he always leave? He's not coming back this time, is he? Does he know of his son? Does his son know of him?
So she stops looking at her son, because this flood of thoughts is too much to bear.
Her brother dies when she is twelve years old.
Finnick finds her out on the flat stretch of dirt that hangs precariously above the ocean close to their homes. She is curled up on the piece of land, her knees tucked to her chest, a curtain of dark hair hiding her solemn face. She looks out upon the view of the moon floating above the water, seemingly inches away when in reality it is untouchable. She doesn't notice Finnick until he is settling beside her, cross-legged and pale.
"Annie," he begins, but her slightly crazed rambling doesn't allow him to continue.
"I'm fine, in case you were asking," she mumbles, turning to face him. The glowing moon is reflected in her green-almost-hazel eyes. In this moment, he decides she's beautiful. "James was eighteen. And he died at sea, so he was probably happy up until the end anyway; he'd rather be out there than home with me. In fact, I barely knew him, technically. And he signed for tons of tessarae this year, and the Reapings are coming to town in two weeks, so at least now he wouldn't have to compete in the Hunger Games. And I'm twelve, I can sign up for tessarae, and Daddy can keep working and we'll be just fine. We'll be fine. We didn't need him anyway."
He's speechless. "I know you'll be fine, Annie. You're strong," he tells her, but he can see the parts of her breaking down in front of his eyes.
Her lower lip trembles and they're little kids again, fighting over fish. "I don't want to be strong anymore, Finnick," she whispers, and there's so much fear in her eyes that all he wants to do is hold her.
"I'm right here," he reminds her, his voice coming out cracked and confused, but she collapses into him anyway. Her tears stain the sky-blue of his shirt and her sobs rattle them both, but under the light of the moon and in the wake of grief Finnick Odair kisses Annie Cresta gently, feeling a part of him coming together as she is falling apart.
It's not fair, but he doesn't let her be scared when his name is called.
She's near tears, and it really bothers him that she always seems to be near tears with him. "Don't cry, don't cry," he pleads when they're left in the privacy of the room. He clutches her wrists softly, presses their chests together. "I swear to you, Annie, I'm coming back if it's the last thing I do."
"You promise?" she croaks, her eyes downcast, avoiding his serious gaze.
"I swear on everything we've ever had together," he tells her. Silence falls upon them as she keeps on staring at the floor. Her sobs are halted for a moment, and he feels fear for just a second before she hiccups and starts crying all over again.
"What if you don't come back?" she whispers, ashamed of her fears. "What if… what if you don't want me when you come back? What if -"
"I will always want you," Finnick insists, wiping away a trailing tear with the rough pad of his thumb. "You're everything, Annie, everything, and I couldn't possibly exist without you, it would be like the worst kind of torture, and -"
She interrupts his rushed words with a laugh. "You're so -" she chokes out in between peals of laughter and tears "- damn corny!" And then she bursts into tears all over again, clutching him to her. Her lips appear beside his ear and he wants to promise her the world as she whispers her words. "I love you, Finnick," she confesses.
"I love you, too," he murmurs back, and then kisses her with everything he's got.
When he pulls away, she slaps him. The loud crack of her hand against his cheek echoes through the room, and his fingers ghost over the sting she leaves. Already, she is backing away, her face scrunched in conflict.
"I hate you, Finnick Odair!" she declares. "I'm trying to get ready for you to leave me and possibly never come back, and who do you think you are? Kissing me like that, and now that's all I'll be thinking about while you're gone and how I'll never be kissed like that again if you die and… I hate you!" The tears stream down before she finishes this time and he thinks - no, knows - he loves her, even then.
The room is very, very dark.
A glass of wine keeps his mind sober, but he has to lead his stumbling new partner towards the glamorously decorated bed, careful not to trip over the various articles of clothing now strewn across the room.
The lady isn't much older than him, for once. Maybe one or two years. She's pretty, but not stunning - more of an average sort of face. Her eyes glow in the dark, and her hair is like satin against his skin, but he's sorry to say it will never be enough.
Her teeth explore his neck and he moans for the fun of it. (He's become a very good actor.)
"Tell me a secret, honey," he purrs, bored already as she kisses his lips forcefully. "I'll tell you one of mine."
"Alright, Mr. Odair," the woman slurs, and she gushes something about being in love with her best friend's boyfriend, kissing him, cliché and all that. It's very interesting, Finnick thinks, about how the things that we should hide the best are always the secrets that spill out first. He strokes her body and whispers sweet nothings in her pierced ears, taking control because he's good at this. "Now tell me one of yours," the faceless woman requests in a low moan, her back arching.
"I'm in love with a girl," he admits, and then smiles when she kisses him this time because he's thinking of Annie's face, "who's mad."
And the lady laughs, long and maniacal in this dark, dark room, and it's still not enough.
"Finnick," she whispers softly. Her face is pale, the only light in the room the moonlight that's managed to sneak past the thick curtains. He captures her lips in his, silencing her, save for the mewls that escape her throat. "I love you," she says, smiling slowly, and then he kisses her again, savoring the feeling of her lips curved against his.
Is this really happening? he has to keep asking in his head. But the ecstasy he feels every time her body wraps around his is too much to have been created by another one of those cold-sweat dreams so he accepts reality and clutches her to him, afraid to let go because she's like fairy dust, magical when sprinkled on you but so easy to lose.
"Don't ever leave me again," she demands, and he growls, burying his face in her hair and inhaling that salty sea air scent that never seems to wash out of those waist-long brunette locks.
He grins and presses a wet kiss against her shoulder, making his way up her neck and to her lips. "Never, Mrs. Odair," he murmurs against her smooth, cold skin. "I'll go sane before I do."
She giggles and kisses him again, willing this moment to freeze and for them to stay like this, in love and together and maybe just a little bit a lot a bit mad.
And this is how they make their forever.