Their meeting is over, although in her opinion it wasn't much of a meeting, given it was only Johanna herself, Finnick, and Heavensbee. Slipping from the back room, she heads out into the nightclub; the other two will follow at staggered intervals. It isn't a problem if Johanna and Finnick are spotted together, they usually go clubbing at least once whenever they're both in the Capitol, but if Plutarch Heavensbee, Head Gamemaker of the 75th Hunger Games in which Johanna will be a tribute and Finnick might be, is seen in the company of either of them, it would be bad.
As soon as she opens the door, light and sound assault her, the combination a physical pressure thumping through her chest, the beat of the music threatening to overwhelm the beat of her heart. Several people watch her as she weaves through the dancers, which is nothing new; the citizens of the Capitol love their victors. Occasionally she joins in for a second or two when she sees something she likes, but she doesn't dance with anyone for long, she keeps moving. None of the watchers appear to be Peacekeepers of any stripe though, so she relaxes a little and stops at the bar, slaps her palm down on the chromed surface to get a bartender's attention.
One of the four, a man with spiky blue hair and glowing eyes, slings a hand towel over his shoulder and leans over the bar toward her, his eyes traveling over her body, appreciating the fit of her skin-tight red dress. "What'll you have, Johanna?" he asks with a wink.
She leans in and gives him a little cleavage. She's never seen him before, but everyone in the stinking Capitol knows her, or at least they think they do. With a sweet smile that doesn't come anywhere near to reaching her eyes, she says, "It's Miss Mason to you, Blue, and I'll have a Cosmo."
He blinks, but doesn't seem to take offense. Not that she cares. "Yes, ma'am, coming right up."
She smirks at him, then turns around and leans back against the bar, sees Finnick out on the dance floor, bumping and grinding with a dark-skinned couple. "Not yet, but I'm hoping to change that real soon." The blue bartender chuckles, presumably having seen her fellow victor dancing —Finnick does stand out in a crowd— and slides her drink to her across the bar. It comes to rest close to her left elbow.
"Shall I charge this to the Victors' Fund, Miss Mason?"
"Sure." This nightclub and a couple of others like it on the strip, as well as a handful of restaurants and shops, have long-standing agreements with the government of Panem to provide whatever visiting victors might want or need. The sale of her fellow victors funds the damned thing, so Johanna doesn't like to take advantage of it. Finnick's laughter rising above the pounding music draws her attention and she sips at her drink, watching him dance, all sleek grace, sex on two legs. He's probably responsible for at least half the money paid into the fund, and it never felt right to use it, not until she made her own "contributions" to the fucking thing. She downs the rest of her drink and signals Blue for another. Fucking thing is right, she thinks. Somebody ought to do something about it. Oh, yeah… Blue looks a little uncomfortable when she smiles at him and takes her drink; she forces her expression into lines a little less murderous.
When she looks back out over the gyrating crowd, Finnick is slipping between the spaces, heading toward her. He takes the drink from her hand and downs it, daring her with his eyes to do something about it. She just gives him a sour look and says, "Bitch."
"You love me." He pushes in beside her at the bar and another bartender, this one a woman with spiky red hair and glowing eyes, takes his order. A couple of seconds later Finnick hands Johanna a replacement for the drink he stole, but not before touching the cold glass to her bare shoulder. She refuses to give him the satisfaction of jumping.
"You are such a child," she tells him.
He just smiles beatifically and sips his drink. "Want to dance?"
She raises an eyebrow at him. "Don't you have someone to do?"
His smile slips a little at the barb and she feels like crap for it, but not bad enough to apologize. Rather than responding with a barb of his own, he just says, "That was earlier. I still have a little free time left."
Scowling, she asks, "Why do you always let me get away with shit like that?"
He shrugs and leans back against the bar beside her, watching the dancers. "Because I know you don't mean it?" A girl dressed only in strategically placed feathers waves at Finnick and blows him a kiss; he pretends to catch it with his free hand, presses it against his heart, and the girl squeals.
Johanna rolls her eyes. "Disgusting."
Finnick looks at Johanna and grins. "That? I've seen disgusting and that was not it. Not even close." Johanna realizes he's not wearing any makeup as she watches the color drain from his face, clearly visible even in the flashing, brightly colored lights of the club, proof that he's out on the town for his own reasons, not the Capitol's. Finnick empties his glass and pushes off from the bar, his expression anything but amused. "Gotta go."
"What do you mean, you have to go? It's still early and I want to have a little fun." She hip checks him. "I thought you wanted to dance."
"Changed my mind. I have to be somewhere at midnight and I need to get some rest." He's still eyeing the entrance. Following his line of sight, Johanna spots a man just inside the front door; standing close behind him is someone who has the look of a bodyguard.
"Rest when you're dead, loser," she tells Finnick. The guy by the door looks familiar, although she can't place him.
"I love you, too, Jo."
She turns to ask Finnick who the man is, since he so obviously knows him and equally obviously is dodging him, but Finnick is already halfway to the back door. "Shit." She hurries after him, recalling at last where she'd seen the other guy: a quick spot on the television last night. Vitori Romo is Panem's most prestigious attorney, one of Snow's cronies. The video used in the spot, something about a divorce from his fifth wife, was of Romo ushering Finnick Odair into a limousine. According to the tabloids, Romo is infamous for his anger management issues.
Johanna catches up to Finnick just outside the back door and, grabbing him by the hand, she continues out to the street. She hails an approaching cab. Finnick doesn't ask what she's doing or why and she doesn't offer. When a cab stops, she opens the back door and gestures for Finnick to get in. He cocks his head to the side, a quizzical half smile on his handsome face, then folds himself into the middle of the back seat, his arms spread out along the back.
He just smiles and shakes his head no. "See? Child," she says and climbs over him to the opposite corner. She rests half against the seat and half against the door, her legs draped across Finnick's. Her right arm on top of his, she plays with his hair, just to annoy him, while she gives the cabbie her address. On a whim, she leans toward Finnick and nudges past his leather jacket to nip at his collarbone, exposed by his lack of a shirt.
"What part of 'I have to be somewhere' do you not get?" he asks, a little breathless, and lets his head rest on the back of the seat.
"You can get some rest at my place." She grins wickedly up at him. "You know. After."
He just rolls his head from side to side and laughs, lets her play. "Not having sex with you, Jo." He angles his head toward her and opens one eye. "Not tonight." She just smiles and traces a finger from the hollow of his throat down his chest and stomach, then strokes along his waistband. When she starts to unbutton him, he grasps her wrist and brings her hand back up to his stomach and just holds it there, her palm flat against his skin. So, smiling wider, she plays with his ear.
"Which one of us is the child again?" he asks. "I forget…"
She laughs as the cab rolls to a stop in front of her building. The cabbie comes around to open the door for them; Finnick gets out first and reaches in to pull Johanna after him. The cabbie stands waiting, but doesn't say anything. A light rain is falling and Johanna wants to just walk away and leave him there, but instead she says, "Bill it to the Victors' Fund." She drags Finnick into her building, not letting go of his hand until they're in her apartment and the door is closed.
Flipping on the lights, she moves past him into the room, but stops at the sight of Finnick's stomach, at the bruises revealed there by the brighter lighting of her living room. She whistles. "Pretty rough day, huh?" He nods, but offers no explanation. Rain spatters against the windows.
Taking a step closer to Finnick, Johanna pulls the scarf from around her neck, lets it float to the floor. "Yeah. Me, too." She doesn't see a lot of clients, but the ones she does almost always seem to want to cause pain. Just one more thing Snow needs to die for.
Finnick frowns at her throat, at the dark bruises there, bruises that could only have been made by choking hands. "Jo?"
She shrugs. "It's not so bad." She finally looks him in the eye. "Not like it is for you."
He strokes her throat with the backs of his fingers. "Snow?"
"Yeah. So?" She can't stand the sympathy in those sea green eyes of his. It's even harder to take the understanding reflected there.
"But I thought there was no one…." He trails off when she quickly drops her gaze from his and refuses to let him catch her eye again, but she knows he's already seen the truth. "Me?"
She walks over to a table by her kitchenette and pulls a pair of glasses from a cupboard above it, takes a bottle from its place in the middle of the others lining the wall, and pours clear liquid into both glasses. Draining one of them with a gasp at the burn, quickly bitten off, she shrugs again. "He said it'd be a shame if your Annie met with an unfortunate accident because of my stubbornness." She stares into her now empty glass. "What was I supposed to do? Son of a bitch knows what makes us all tick." Refilling her glass, Johanna says, "I mean I don't know Annie, but I know what she means to you."
Finnick drops to the couch, his head in his hands. "I didn't think I could possibly hate him more."
She walks over to him, waves the other glass under his nose until he takes it from her and then drops in beside him as he downs it to the sound of more rain striking her windows. "We should start a club. Charge dues."
He looks over at her and she hates the pain on his face even more than the sympathy and the understanding that were there before. "I'm sorry, Jo."
"Don't be. Not your fault. And hey, at least I'm not some scared kid." Not like Finnick was when Snow started with him. She wonders if Snow has tapped the kids from Twelve yet.
The clock chimes 9:00 and Finnick is still watching her. He lifts a hand to cup her jaw, strokes her cheek with his thumb. She can't help it when her eyes drop to his mouth any more than she can stop herself from leaning into him. He pushes his hand into her hair, slides it around the back of her neck as their open mouths meet. Finnick's mouth is sweet, tasting of the sugary drinks he'd had at the club and the liquor here, and he may not have come here for sex, but he sure isn't kissing her like she's his sister. And isn't it just like Finnick, when faced with the knowledge that she's suffering the same pain he's known for years, that he tries to take it away the only way he knows how?
For a while, it's just kissing, but then Finnick shifts them both and pushes Johanna down onto the couch, pushes her dress up. She's not wearing anything underneath, so there's nothing to impede him as he glides his hands lightly over her breasts, follows with his mouth to suck at her nipples. She digs her fingers into his hair, holds him there for a while before pushing him lower. He licks and kisses his way down her stomach. She pushes the leather jacket from his shoulders; it slides to the floor, pooling under its own weight, and she runs her hands freely over his bare shoulders and back.
Holding himself up on one arm, he reaches between them and unfastens his trousers, then glides his palm over her hip, parts her thighs, traces a line with his tongue until he can lick into her. She moans and holds him there for a time, too, until he pulls away from her, stands and strips off his trousers and underwear together, then settles back between her legs. He kisses her again, more urgently than before, and she tastes herself mingled with the sweet.
"Now, damn it," she tells him and he shoves into her, deep and hard, and she gasps into his mouth. One foot on the floor for leverage, he thrusts into her, setting up a rough rhythm as she wraps a leg around his hips, pounds her heel into the small his back, her timing slightly off-set from his strokes.
He comes before she does, but he's Finnick Odair, well-trained to please; he slips his hand between their bodies, strokes her clit until she comes hard, all but shouting his name. After, before he has a chance to pull out of her on his own, she gives him a shove and slips out from under him, goes into the bathroom to clean up.
When she returns, Finnick is sprawled across her couch, still bare of chest and foot, but wearing pants again, albeit still unfastened. He hasn't left any room for her. She makes like she's going to sit on his head, but he moves before she can follow through and she sits at an angle, leaning as much against the arm as the back of the couch. Finnick shifts a little and rests his head in her lap, closes his eyes. She plays with his hair again and he jumps, bats her hand away, so she stops tickling and soothes instead.
They don't talk, not about what just happened, not about all that happened in the past, not about what lies ahead. His breathing changes and Johanna looks down at his face. He looks younger, more relaxed in sleep than she has ever known him to be. She keeps playing with his hair, winding it around and unwinding it from her fingers.
A few minutes pass and the clock chimes 10:00. She leans down and kisses his forehead. "Finnick?"
"How much lead time do you need for your appointment?"
"An hour?" He still doesn't open his eyes. "Rafe wants me in prep by eleven."
"It's a little after ten," she tells him. He grabs her hand, the one playing with his hair.
"Tickles." He doesn't release her hand; instead he threads his fingers with hers and tucks their hands in between his cheek and shoulder. "Give me ten more minutes?"
"What? Like I've got nothing better to do?" But she stays where she is and he's so tired that, as far as she can tell, he falls asleep again almost immediately. "I'd kill Snow for you, if I could," she whispers and he squeezes her hand, not asleep after all.