I've always found Finnick and Annie's story, while heartbreakingly beautiful, to have giant gaps in it. Here is my attempt at filling those gaps. I do not own The Hunger Games.
Over; under; twist this way; now that; now go over – wait no, under – no that's not it. Look what you did a small voice inside the girl's head snapped, as she looked in slight annoyance at the irreparable error in the tapestry she was attempting to weave. Oh well, she would just have to start over, for the fifth time. Yes, twelve-year-old Annie Cresta lacked many things, but at least she was never short of patience. Still she couldn't help but sigh as she pulled out the many stitches she had already made during this last attempt. She dropped her hands from the board she was weaving on, and rubbed her hands. Her fingers had already formed calluses from tying countless knots. And don't forget the ridiculous amount of needle pricks.
Her stomach rumbled, but she ignored the pang of hunger that had just hit her. No food since breakfast? So what, it was only….oh. It was well past midday. For an early riser like herself, this meant over 6 hours since she had last eaten. She remembered now that she hadn't even finished her breakfast, only eating half of a warm, salty roll, before she had lost interest, her appetite small as she had only just woken up. Having wandered to the stall in the markets her aunt and grandmother ran together, she had helped the two older women clean and tidy the stall before the customers came arriving.
Nets, baskets and ropes were always on high demand so business was rarely poor. Then she sat, forever stubborn, with the board set in front of her, attempting to recreate a gorgeous tapestry behind the back counter while facing the sea. The bustling noises of the market stalls was muffled and instead replaced with the steady building and crashing of the waves. Annie liked this sound, especially when the rhythm changed slightly. Just as her being would accustom to the rise and fall of the ocean, a particularly large wave would begin to build, and she would listen, and listen, her fingers still and her quiet humming ceasing, and listen furthermore, until she heard the especially loud crash of water. She hummed again to herself quietly, sometimes letting out the few words she could remember of sea shanties her grandfather sometimes sang to her.
"Annie Cresta!" her grandmother's voice croaked and she stuck her head out from inside the stall. "Child, have you been weaving this whole time?"
Of course not, what a stupid question. She had sung and listened to the ocean as well, but somehow she felt like her grandmother would not count these as being actual pass times like Annie did.
"Pretty much, Nonna," she addressed her grandmother with an old, old word, from some language no longer spoken. When she had asked why, Nonna had told her that's what she had called her own grandmother, which reminded Annie that her grandmother had been born around – if not before - the time of the rebellion, very long ago.
"Well I think that's enough for today," Nonna declared. Annie didn't object, in spite of her determination, her fingers felt numb and she found that the habit of saying "just a little longer" was overpowered by her hollow stomach. She nodded and rose, taking Nonna's hand, "Time for lunch".
After she had eaten her aunt had shooed her away, telling her to go off and play somewhere. Annie scampered off, taking off her shoes, as soon as she was around the corner from the stall. She really didn't care for the wretched things, and was merely forced by her aunt to wear them. "What kind of a lady walks around town bare foot?" was how her aunt had answered her previous inquiries about this. Annie loathed when adults answered questions with more questions. So now with her sandals stored in the tightly woven basket she held, the girl trotted down to the beach and walked along, right where the waves reached, so that her footsteps were left in wet sand but not yet washed away. After about ten or fifteen minutes she had left the town's centre behind and had a reached a part of the beach where very few people resided other than the odd fisherman, and her own family. It was at the edge of a bay, and there laid giant rock pools which to Annie seemed to hold entire worlds. This was her true favourite place in the world. Because you had to climb over a small rock face with a tip that reached over the sea to reach it, it felt extremely secluded, along with the tiny bay next to it. There was very little sand on the beach of this bay and it was just like any other part of the beaches surrounding the district, most likely not as nice, but Annie felt as though it was hers: her own special escape, and that made it special.
Her hand reached greedily for a bit of sea glass that had caught her eye, and when she picked it up and brushed the sand off of its smooth surface she found it to be redder than she had thought. She smiled to herself due to the rare find, and placed it in her basket next to some shells that had taken her fancy. She sat by one of the pools with her feet dipped in the sun heated warmer. She sighed in content setting her basket down next to her, closing her eyes, and humming the same simple tune she had been humming before while brushing her hair with her fingers. It stayed rather wild, but she had freed it of most of the knots the wind had caused. It grew quit slowly, but was thick, and reached far past her shoulders. Annie had a strange habit of chewing strands of hair when she was worried or upset. Washing never seemed to get rid of subtle taste of salt, which she liked, although she had no idea how it got there as she never swum. She let her mind wander to imagining what swimming must feel like, the deepest she would ever go was knee deep, but maybe, maybe…
Splash. A splashing sound broke her thoughts and gave her a start. She had been sitting close to the small cliff which marked the edge of the bay, and saw the unmistakable disturbance in the gently undulating water. Something had fallen from the cliff and landed in the water, and she could only stare at disbelief as a boy's head burst from the water, gasping for breath. She remained watching in silence as the boy swam his way around past the rock pools, pushing against the deceivingly strong tide, and paddled to her small beach. Once out of the water he lay down in the sun, short of breath with his eyes closed. He appeared to be smiling to himself.
Annie rose, taking her basket with her, and made her way carefully across the rocks, in and around the life filled rock pools, and over to the shore, where the boy was lying, not noticing her. What an idiot, she thought, peering to see his face and see that he was only a year older than she was. The name Finnick Odair appeared in her mind. "Well," she breathed to herself, "It would be Finnick Odair to do something that stupid, wouldn't it?"
He seemed to have heard her though, and peered up to see her standing looking at him from several feet away. His surprise did not show but he was shocked for a second. He didn't think anyone came here.
"What are you looking at?" he asked, though he noticed his voice was slightly aggressive. He hadn't meant it to be, his surprise at finding someone else here had made it that way. "Don't you know not to creep up on a man while he's sleeping?"
His tone seemed to have no effect on her, and she replied, "One, you weren't sleeping. Two, you're not a man, in fact you're hardly older than I am. And three, don't you know not to go jumping off 40 feet high cliffs?" Was he an idiot?
Finnick sat up, "Don't exaggerate; it couldn't have been more than thirty." He let her other statements slide, they were true after all. "And," he added, "It's called fun, Cresta, you should give it a try sometime."
Annie huffed at this, "Sorry if my idea of fun doesn't involve nearly getting myself killed." But her annoyance was gone the second she snapped, what did it matter if some silly fisherman's son didn't think she was daring enough to have fun?
Finnick stood up, dusted his sandy hands off, and said, "Whatever you say Cresta." The scrawny girl with the bushy hair and strangely pale skin eyed him reproachfully. It wasn't that her skin was pale, it was just that it was fairer than most of the rest of the kids at their school. Her skin still had a light brown glow, as the sun shone most days of the year here, but compared to some of the golden skinned people of the district it looked like she rarely went outside. For some reason, the words "Come on" somehow slipped out of his mouth and before he knew it he had grabbed her bony wrist and was taking her up the rocky hill to the cliff. She shook her hand away but continued following him, only a couple steps behind him, her bare feet scaling the rocks with practiced ease. Practiced ease she seemed to share with the Odair boy.
Sure Annie could be a smart mouth, but Finnick possessed a childlike enthusiasm for his newly discovered source of entertainment which he longed to show to someone. He overlooked this flaw in his companion and surprised himself slightly when he decided to lead her up to the cliff. It wasn't as though he disliked her, it felt odd to him just because they had known each other but never really spoken. The new discovery and the surge of bravery which enabled him to jump left him feeling very happy with himself. The cliff face probably loomed about 25 feet about the blue waves, give or take a few feet. When you were up there, it certainly felt like give. He remembered the intense elation and rush of adrenaline he had experienced during the drop, which lasted longer than he had anticipated, and a feeling of falling which was entirely new to him. There had been times before then where he had planned to jump, but looking over the edge had caused his instincts to scream at him to back away. This time, he had taken the cliff at almost a run, not looking, not thinking. Look before you leap? Please.
The two reached the top of the hill. Annie looked around her, admiring the view. Tufts of grass and flowers grew between cracks in the rock and dirt, but the small cliff was mostly bare. Though quite compared to other parts of the shore, it remained rather secluded, as most recreational swimming was done by children at the far end of the bay, a good half hours walk from this point. Dozens of small fishing boats dotted the water all around the coast and the horizon glimmered blue and white with the sun's light bouncing off it playfully. This place really was beautiful. She had never been up here before, as she used to just cross the hill at the ridge to where the rock pools were instead of turning to her left to go to the cliffs edge. It looked too exposed, but now that she was here the surrounding rocks provided hidden sitting places. She knew she would come to visit this place again.
"Come here, look," Finnick was at the cliff's edge, peering over the edge. He felt a thirst for that crazy feeling he had felt falling down, wishing that he could jump again and again and again and fall forever. His previous fear had been replaced with the urge to drop off the edge, it didn't feel right to just stand here looking. "Doesn't it make you just want to…to jump?" His voice sounded excited at the prospect.
Annie did as she was told, setting down her basket, and looked. She felt instantly sick and backed away from the edge almost immediately.
"You're crazy, Odair," she said, feeling slightly faint.
Finnick spun around, "It's not scary at all, its scarier looking over the edge. Come on, you should do it!"
Annie just stared at him. What an idiot. Finnick Odair, loved by so many, was turning out to be the stupidest person she had ever met. I wonder if they realise how stupid he is, and ignore it, or if they're just blind…
"I just don't think I'd enjoy it," she replied dryly.
"Oh I forgot," Finnick teased sarcastically, "You don't enjoy anything remotely fun." There was no sting in his words though, just friendly teasing.
"Well," replied Annie, "Maybe you should try to remember that for next time." He grinned.
"If you're sure," he said.
She approached the edge one more time, and saw the swirling mass of water beneath her. The surf must have picked up since Finnick had done his jump, and the drop seemed to reach even further down than the first time she had looked. "Yeah," she said, about to turn around, "I'm sure."
Just as she stepped back, she felt hands on her shoulders, jerking her forwards and backwards. Finnick let out a small laugh and shouted, "Saved your life!"
This was not funny to Annie in the slightest. She squealed in shock, and though it was just a second of jerking her heart beat picked up to something frightening. Finnick pulled her back and she turned to push him hard on the chest with both her hands. Unsuspecting of this sudden outburst, he fell back onto the ground, the wind knocked out of him. "Don't ever do that again!" she cried, eyes a crazed mess. "Ever."
Finnick looked surprised and struggled for a few seconds to get his breath back. He coughed, "Alright, alright, I wasn't gonna let you fall anyway." He looked at her and shook his head, "Besides, you would've been fine, even if I did."
Annie's eyes narrowed, but she held out a hand to help him up. Stupid Odair boy. "I really don't think I would be, Odair." He gripped her hand and she pulled him up.
"Don't be such a drama queen, 25 feet won't kill you," he said as he rolled his eyes.
"It's not the height I'm worried about," she retorted.
He looked at her with a confused expression.
Annie sighed, "I can't swim, idiot."
Finnick's eyebrows went up, "Seriously?" His disbelief was clear in his voice. "Cresta, you live in District 4, right next to the ocean, you're twelve years old, yet you can't swim?"
Annie's eyes narrowed once more, "It's not that I can't swim, I don't want to."
"So you can swim?"
"Then why do you say that?"
Annie sighed, "I could learn if I wanted to, but I don't, so therefore I see no reason for me to." This wasn't really true, but as if she was going to tell him why she really didn't want to.
Finnick seemed to see right through it though. He scoffed, "Yeah, right. Come on, you seriously just don't want to swim for no reason?"
Annie hesitated, "It's not like I don't go into the water or anything." Her voice was getting defensive. Now who looks like an idiot? She thought. "I go deep enough. Just don't swim. I nearly drowned when I was little, you know? No, you can't control those waves, they've got a mind of their own. It seems silly to risk it."
Finnick laughed, he couldn't help it. "No," he said quickly as Annie looked offended and began to turn away, "It's not that. It doesn't matter that you don't swim. It's just what you said about the waves. They're not like that, they're like a bed, you're not meant to fight them. You…you float with them."
Annie nodded slowly, understanding. She looked down to her hands and thought back to the sea shanty she had been humming before. "It's meant to feel like the ocean," her grandfather had told her. "You mean sound?" she had answered. Nonno had shaken his head and laughed. "No, the sea feels like that."
Finnick was looking at her, slightly puzzled. "You're a strange one, Cresta."
She looked up from her hands, "Huh?" Then realised she had started to hum the song. She tried to retort with something smart, but her focus was lost. Annie Cresta, lost for words? Surely not.
Finnick looked slightly amused.
"Whatever Odair," she muttered, and picked up the basket holding her shoes and shells. "I'll see you later I guess." With that she turned and walked away.
"Hey, Annie," Finnick called after her. She turned to look at him. "Sorry about the whole… cliff thing," he attempted a smile.
Annie just nodded at him, but her lips tightened a bit into the beginnings of a smile, though she didn't feel like pulling a full one. The fact that he had used her name deserved at least some recognition. "Don't let it happen again Odair." She then turned and began to make her way down the rocky hill, down to the main bay, back home.
Finnick watched her as she went, and decided that while Annie was slightly different, she wasn't so bad. Maybe they could even be friends. He didn't stay on the cliff for much longer, and soon began making his way back down to go swimming on his beach again.
"Hey dad," Finnick peered into the main room of the beachside hut in which he and his father resided. The smell of fish cooking caused his mouth to water.
"Hi son," his father did not look up from the stove, but was concentrating on the fish, making sure not to burn it. While Alec Odair worked very hard to catch fish, he had a certain talent for burning it, "Dinner's almost ready."
The man was tall, and built to be lean. He and Finnick were obviously related, but you could see that there were missing pieces where his mother had left parts of herself on him. Yes they both had skin obviously browned by the sun, though Alec's was darker, and you could see that Finnick was going to be tall and similarly muscled, but that's where the similarities pretty much ended. Finnick's facial features were that of his mother: sea green eyes, angular features and brown hair that had quickly been turned bronze by the sun. Or so he'd been told. Photographs weren't a lot to go by, and when his father had caught him looking at them around a year ago he had snatched them away and stored them in a box. Although Finnick had searched, the box seemed to have disappeared.
Basically just an intro chapter, I hope you liked it, review are revered and loved and appreciated and all constructive criticism is more than welcome, really. If there are any mistakes please feel free to point them out. I will most likely be updating weekly at least and have planned several chapters. I haven't exactly decided when this story will end, or if it's going to be broken up because it seems like there's so much to fill in, I'll just see where the story takes me.