A/N: This is incredibly unconventional and one-sided, so a word of caution: don't be expecting anything lovey-dovey. But I like this little one-shot, because I didn't OD on the angst and I think I got the characters down well. I had kind of a different take on Johanna—I made her seem really, really guarded in this, even though I know she's incredibly ballsy. But I figured if there was anyone in the world she'd be guarded about, it would be Finnick. As far as Finnick goes, I went for a nice-guy approach. (Also, note: this is the second one-shot in a row I'm channeling a Vampire Diaries character. Whahoo.)
Disclaimer: I drop a few F-bombs in this. My apologies in advance, because I refuse to bump it up to the M rating. I'm stubborn like that.
Waking up naked and next to Finnick Odair was a nightmare for me. My first thought was (most obviously) SHIT. FUCKING HELL. Or, well, at least something along the lines of that. Because as far as I was concerned, I'd just royally fucked up one of the few friendships I had.
That's me. Johanna Mason, telling it how it is.
I didn't linger in bed a second longer to think about what'd happened—I'd figure it out soon enough, I was sure. And as I threw my clothes back on haphazardly, the memories from the previous night came rushing back to me. The dinner, the alcohol, the things we said…hell, the things he said. Especially his rant about Annie. It was enough to make my head spin.
"She can be such a fucking nut case sometimes…"
It wasn't fair to judge him. He'd been drunk, and there was a little too much truth in what he was saying anyway. Sober Finnick would never say anything like that. As far as I was concerned, he loved Annie more than anything else in the world. But drunk Finnick was reckless and loud mouthed and would do things he wouldn't want to remember in the morning.
Especially not something like fucking Johanna Mason.
I didn't think as I was getting dressed—I did it quickly and sloppily, hoping to God that Finnick was a heavy sleeper and wouldn't wake up in time to see me. I was banking on the hopes that he'd blacked out last night and wouldn't remember any of it. Hell, I couldn't remember any of it, but I didn't have to since the evidence was right in front of me. I knew what'd happened, but he didn't have to. All I had to do was slip out quietly, and then—
I was this close to being out the door in time—this close and he would've never had any idea that we'd had a drunken one-night stand. It would've been my secret, something that (if I had any sense of humor) I maybe could've told him and even laughed about when we were old and crippled. But that was too easy. Now I had the weight of a serious offense on my shoulders.
"You couldn't have stayed asleep a minute longer?" I snapped.
He rubbed his eyes, squinting away from the light. "What're you doing here?" he asked groggily.
"Yeah, I could see that." And then his eyes widened. "Oh, fuck."
You could see the realization hit him like a brick wall.
"Trying to fill in some blanks there, Finn?"
"We didn't." He looked down, suddenly aware that there wasn't a stitch of clothing on his body.
As he held his head in frustration, I sighed and said, "I think we did."
"D'you remember any of it? Because I don't remember anything, maybe it's not—"
"Oh, what else could it be—you were drunk, I was drunk, and all I can remember from last night is you complaining about your girlfriend—"
I stopped myself. Fuck. Seeing the look on Finnick's face, I could tell I'd run my mouth too much. Dragging Annie into this took our little hookup into a different realm of 'unacceptable.'
"What'd I say?" he demanded.
"You called her nutcase."
"Shit," he said under his breath. He ran a hand through his hair.
Oh, we were knee-deep in something neither of us could handle, alright. At that point I'd known Finnick for about a year, which was the same amount of time I'd been a victor. He was twenty, and at that point, I was eighteen. And as far as prostitution went, we were both in the same boat. Finnick told me that he thought I'd had it worse—I was allowed barely a week out of the arena before President Snow wanted to start selling me all across Panem. Oh, no, I wouldn't have that—I had too much pride and self-respect. So what'd he do?
He went off and killed my family.
Needless to say, I wasn't the biggest fan of Finnick Odair at first—the prostitute that he was, at least he kept his family, which made me spiteful. But in a matter of years, they were all dead anyway. All he had left was Annie, and where the hell did that get him? It was a never-ending chain of secrets with her, at least up until that point.
And, now, it looked like that chain was about to get longer.
"You can't tell Annie," he said.
I scowled. "I wasn't going to."
"Good." He paused. "And I can't tell her either."
"What, you're going to keep this from her?"
"It's not like I have a choice."
He was right. I knew he was right.
"Yeah. That wouldn't go over well," I muttered.
He looked at me, and I knew what he was about to say, because the look he was giving me was downright sorry. He was apologetic and frustrated and unhappy about this entire thing all at once, and I had an idea that deep down, he knew what I was thinking.
You can't think like that, Johanna.
"I'm sorry, Johanna—"
"I get it—we'll forget. You don't have to worry about any loose ends with your girlfriend."
Harshly as I said it, it was with my face down, using the ends of my shoelaces as an excuse to look away from him and tie them. Oh, I knew he was relieved, because the entire thing was downright painful. But I'd let him off easy, and now, his biggest fear was gone. Annie wasn't going to find out. The only collateral damage he had was my feelings, and besides, it wasn't like he knew . . . he couldn't possible tell . . .
I looked up, and wished I hadn't. His sincerity meant one of two things.
Either Finnick Odair was a genuinely nice person, or he knew my biggest secret.
I was in love with him, and there wasn't one fucking thing I could do about it.
That was a blip in the road between me and Finnick we didn't discuss after that day. I guess that could happen—two people have unintentional sex in a drunken haze, and instead of letting it ruin their friendship, they forget. It's easier, anyway. You don't have to deal with the what-ifs and what-nows and the complications of the who-elses. (Obviously, I didn't have anyone else, but Finnick did.) But in some ways, it's harder. There's no closure. There's no sense of where you two stand and how real things are afterwards. It's not like you can talk about it.
But I never wanted to talk about that night again. So Finnick took my cues, and we never did.
There were some nights where I sure as hell wanted to, though.
It was one of the Capitol's get-togethers—a Victor party, usually right before the Games when all of the Victors were in town mentoring. This was the year of the 74th Games. Like usual, there was alcohol, and lots of it. You had Chaff and Haymitch going back and forth with the beer pong for a good hour before Haymitch eventually called it off—not tonight, he said, this was a year where he wanted to be sober. Huh. Wasn't that interesting. Maybe Twelve would finally get some good representation. About time, I thought.
I hated these dinners, because my friendships weren't extensive amongst the Victors. Finnick was my friend and so were Mags and Annie, and Blight wasn't too bad either, but I couldn't stomach One and Two for a second.
"You up for some beer pong, Jo?"
I turned around. Only one person in the world called me Jo, and he knew I hated it.
"Not tonight, Finnick, we have teenagers facing their deaths to mentor tomorrow," I snapped.
And when he smiled, I knew he wasn't wasted, not in the slightest. "I couldn't have said it better myself." I looked at the drink in his hand, and it was only sparkling water.
"You've got the right idea," I told him. "I wish Chaff could sober up just one of these years.
"And he wonders why Eleven hasn't won in a while."
I snorted. "Have you seen the guy from Eleven this year? He's huge. He'll almost be good enough to take on Two."
"Almost," he agreed.
And then Chaff came barreling over, a beer in his hand a drunken smile on his face. "Well, if it isn't the man of the hour!" he slurred, throwing an arm around Finnick. "What, you haven't had any yet, Finn?"
"Nope. Unlike you, I might want to bring someone home alive this year."
I laughed, but stopped myself. Jesus. I couldn't laugh at Finnick's jokes—especially the ones that weren't funny. I'd be beating myself up about this for nights. If Chaff'd noticed . . .
But, thankfully, he didn't. He was too drunk to have his attention on anyone but Finnick. "Aw, come on!" he bellowed. "A man gets engaged, he should have some booze!"
I almost dropped my glass of sparkling water, which suddenly felt like it had all the effects of wine in my stomach. "Engaged?" I spluttered.
Finnick turned to me, at a loss for words.
"Sure, didn't you hear?" Chaff was still bellowing. He was such a loud drunk. "He got done on one knee yesterday, all old-fashioned with a ring en' everything!"
"With Annie?" I said hazily.
"About time! You two've been at it for long enough, might as well," Chaff said.
Finnick was looking at me, and Iknew these were waters he didn't want to test.
So, there I went, giving him the easy way out. "Well, congrats Finn—you've secured a lifetime of ass, as if you hadn't already."
The only thing worse than a loud, drunk Chaff was a loud, drunk, in-hysterics-laughing Chaff. He was falling all over the place, and being over six feet tall, Finnick had to put some elbow grease into making sure he didn't knock over anything or anyone.
I took that as my cue to leave. I'd acknowledged the engagement, I'd made my sarcastic comment—that was all I had to do. Now I could make up some excuse and go talk to Mags or Seeder or Cecilia. Instead, I opted to leave, because I wasn't feeling the dinner anyway.
But never in a million years did I think Finnick would follow me out.
"Leaving so soon?" he asked.
"Yeah. Kids, mentoring, going sober for the night . . . is any of this ringing a bell?"
It was a clear night in the Capitol. The city had a hologram grid over it, much like the roof of the arena did. Most of the stars were simulated to look perfect, as if they already didn't. That was the taste of Capitol citizens for you.
I turned on my heel to walk away, but Finnick grabbed me. "What the hell?" I exclaim.
"Johanna, we need to talk about this."
"Oh, now you want to talk Games strategy?"
"No, we need to talk about Annie."
I sighed. "I'm sorry if my congratulations didn't seem sincere, but you should've told me sooner. It might be a surprise, but I consider you a good friend of mine. And friends typically tell friends when they're getting engaged."
Hah, I think. Lies.
"You're right, Johanna, we are friends," he said bluntly. "And I'm in love with Annie."
"I'm engaged to Annie."
"No shit, smart one. What's your point?"
"My point," he said as he softened his voice, "is that you can't feel about that way."
Pain didn't cross my face. I knew how to put on a good act—pretending not to love Finnick Odair was the best act I'd ever put on in my life. But he was smart, and I knew that he could see right through it. I was believable, but on nights like those, I wasn't believable enough.
"Is this about that small issue of us banging each other? Bet that put a nice little dent in your fairytale, didn't it?"
We never talked like this. Most of our conversations were sarcastic and evasive, and the ones where we opened up about our past had been over a couple glasses of wine. And, so far, I was hating this conversation.
"Just say it," he said.
"If there's something you want to say to me, here's your chance. Take it."
No, I thought pointedly. I can't. Everyone I care about ends up dead. What a scandal it would be if all of Panem knew how much I love you, Finnick.
That thought was for me. What I said next was for him.
"You want me to say something? Well, truth is, I don't know how Annie enjoys sex anymore, because you're terrible in bed."
We both knew that was a lie, but we cracked up anyway. There I went again—I'd given Finnick Odair an easy out. He didn't have to feel any guilt, any pain or anything owed. While I was still hurting, I made him believe everything was okay, all with that one sarcastic crack.
"So everything's okay with us?" he asked.
Of course not. Now I'm going to spend the rest of my life trying to make myself believe I don't care. Maybe one day it'll be true, but what does it matter? This isn't life or death—this isn't the arena, or the Games.
I'll get over it. I always do.
"Sure," I said instead, "it's always been."
A/N: Thanks a billion for reading! Reviews are very much appreciated. I also have a collection of other Hunger Games fics for different pairings, so be sure to check them out-
Peetniss—Words Not Spoken
Glato—The Other Games
Rue/Thresh—Little Girl, Gentle Giant
Clato—A Drug for Angels