Author's Note: So, I was re-reading Mockingjay and this little scene popped into my head. It's my take on what Finnick and Johanna are talking about when he goes to see her in the infirmary after she has failed her training test and finds out she can't go to the Capitol with them. Please, please review! This is my first fic with Johanna, so any feedback is welcome.
I don't like it here. There are a couple of reasons for this. For one, I'm in the infirmary, and infirmaries are never good places to be. Second, the walls are too damn white. I mean really, no one wants to be locked in a small room all day staring at stark white walls. If you stare at the walls long enough, you start to see things crawling underneath the surface; then you blink and you realize that they aren't there anymore. White walls, not good. And then there's the fact that I can hear the constant beeping of the machines and smell that awful, antiseptic smell. That smell is almost as bad as the walls.
People are gathered at my door, staring in at me like I'm some sort of animal in a zoo. There are doctors who are too scared to come into the room because they know that one wrong move is going to have me trying to tear them apart. There is Plutarch, wondering how he's going to be able to use a broken tribute. There's Haymitch—surprisingly semi-sober—studying me like he isn't sure what to make of me. I don't see Katniss or Finnick, but I know they won't be long. Where there's Haymitch, those two are soon to follow.
Finally, one of the doctors works up the courage to come into the room. In his hand, he has a small bag of clear liquid. No way. He's not coming near me with that stuff. For being a doctor, this guy doesn't seem very smart. Because it's always a good idea to bring a bag full of water into a room with someone who was tortured with the stuff. Yeah, way to go, man.
A chill creeping up my spine as the cold water laps against my toes. The sharp shock of the electricity. The taste of blood when I bite through my lip—
"Get that shit away from me," I whisper shakily, forcing the words past my lips. The beeping on the heart monitor speeds up, telling the whole damn world that I'm terrified.
Annie's high-pitched screams in the room next to me, and Peeta's yells on the other side. The cold, cold water trickling down my back. The sponge between my teeth. Pain—
"Ms. Mason, we have to make sure that you stay hydrated—"
"I don't care. Find another way and get that stuff away from me." My tone leaves no room for argument, but I think it's the constant, rapid beeping of the heart monitor that tells him I'm about to get out of this bed and beat him down. Well, not really. I'm far more likely to try and then freeze up. That's what I did in the training exercise.
I'm not sure if I should be ashamed or angry about it. Rationally, I know that I shouldn't be ashamed; what happened to me at the Capitol was not my fault. They tortured me. They tortured me. It isn't my fault that I fell apart in the exercise; it hasn't been a month since I got back. It isn't my fault, but it feels like it is. All that work—the running, the weapons training, giving up the morphling—was for nothing. Now, while Katniss and Finnick are off being useful, I'll be stuck here in the hospital ward with the god awful white walls and antiseptic smell.
The smell might be worse than the walls or the water. You see, when they first started, they wanted everything to be pristine and white—exactly like our infirmary. It had that clean, bleach smell that creeps into your nose and burns your nostrils. Then they would bring the water and the ba-batteries and—
When you're electrocuted, you don't really have much control over your bodily functions. But to leave that mess there? They wouldn't have it. So every time I woke back up, the room was white again, filled with that clean bleach smell. And now, I'm stuck here.
The door creaks open again, but this time it's Finnick. He isn't smiling or trying to tell me that everything is okay. He's been around the block enough times to know that if we don't win this, my nightmares will look like paradise compared to what they do to us. So he doesn't try to lie to me, and I can respect that.
"How are you holding up?" he asks, even though it's obvious.
"I'm stuck in the loony bin while you and Katniss get to go have all the fun. I'm not exactly thrilled about the prospect."
He shrugs, knowing exactly what I mean. We all want our chance to get into the action, to make those sons of bitches who did this to us pay. But I'm not going. It feels like I've been cheated, like someone stole my prize. But that's my doing, I guess. I can't jeopardize a crew by going.
"It just…I want it so much, Finnick. I think I want it more than I want to breathe, and I can't have it. They tort—they had me for months, and every day for those months, they found new and more creative ways to make me hurt. By the time it was all said and done, I wanted to die—"
He tries to stop me. This isn't the first conversation we've had like this. Back in our mentoring days, he was my guy to talk to. That is, when he wasn't off with some Capitol woman. He was closest to my age, and he knew what it was like to have the Capitol breathing down his back every minute of every day. He understood. He also understood that after every time I spoke to him, I regretted it. I hated telling him; I hated sharing that part of me with someone else, like I couldn't handle it on my own. And now he's trying to keep me from regretting this.
"I wanted to die," I tell him. "But they wouldn't let me. I tried. I tried to give up and just to let go, and they brought me back. Now you have to make them pay for it."
He's silent for a long time before finally answering. "I know that th-they did the same thing to Annie. You're strong, and Annie is too, most of the time. But there are sometimes when she can't tell what's real anymore. I need you to look after her while I'm gone."
I'm not exactly the babysitter type. I'm not really equipped with the right people skills for it. But he's asking and I can see the pleading look in his face, like he knows that I'm the only one who can understand. Of course, he's right. I am the only one who can understand.
"Go give 'em hell. Make them pay. I'll make sure Annie's alright."
He smiles, because he knows that I'll do it. We've made a deal, he and I. He'll do what I can't and bring down the Capitol—the most important thing in the world to me—and I'll do what is most important for him: look after Annie. I've given him a task, and he's given me one.
I realize that my heart rate has slowed and Finnick has figured out how to turn off that terrible beeping noise. He has managed to calm me down when no amount of sedative would. I'm not going on the mission, and I hate that. But he took the sting out of it. He gave me something that no one else could.
I'll protect the one he loves, and he'll give me my vengeance. It seems like a fair enough trade to me.