Hey! Since I completely forgot on the last few chapters, happy New Year! I can't believe I remembered now… Anyway, thanks for the reviews, I hope you like this chapter. And before I forget, in last chapter there was a quote Patrick said that was along the lines of ''Love is giving someone the power to destroy you, but trusting them not to'', I just wanted to clear out that I didn't come up with that, I actually saw it on Criminal Minds. Anyway, I hope you like it.
A clock. If I think about it for a second it makes sense, a lot of sense. ''Katniss, you're a genius!'' I say smiling. I help Katniss wake up the other –I must say that Johanna stayed true to her promise of slapping me- and we told them what Katniss had discovered. Katniss insists that we need to get out of here, that if we stay here we might be prey of whatever threat the game makers are planning. Johanna disagrees with Katniss' theory, but I'm certain she just wants to argue with her, but finally we all agree to move just in case something might happen. Personally, I don't want to meet with another super mutt or with another cloud of blood.
Katniss wakes Wiress and Beetee up while we prepare a few things for the walk. I walk over to Johanna and I offer her some water. She takes it without glancing at me ''Are you mad?'' I ask her carefully, as I pick up my knife and strap it to my belt.
''Yes'' she says, picking her own knife and looking at the blade, making sure it is sharp enough. It is, and I feel immature when the thought of running away from my armed best friend comes to mind.
''Do you mind telling me what I did?'' I ask her as we walk towards the others, who are discussing where we should go next.
''I don't know.'' She says, and her voice sounds restrained like she's trying not to shout ''Maybe, you passed out for hours right in the middle of the arena, you gave no signs of been alive and if it weren't for Finnick maybe you would've died!''
''And what was I supposed to do?'' I say, getting angry myself ''Turn into some kind of superhero and magically absorb the blood and gain super powers with it?''
''You could have left me there!'' she says raising her voice a little ''You came back! Do you think that wasn't what made you faint? If you had just left me there you would've never fainted! And if you hadn't volunteered on the first place you would've never been in danger in the first place!''
''You're mad at me because I'm here? If I recall correctly, I've saved your life at least thrice since the quell started!'' I yell, not caring if the others hear ''You're basically mad at me, because I love you enough to risk my life for you?''
''Yes!'' she shouts too ''I'm mad at you because you're risking your life! You're too selfless! And… And I don't want you to die for me!''
''Since when is selfless a bad thing?''
''Just forget it'' she says. But I don't forget it. She didn't just mean with her. When she said self less… She was nagging me about something else too, not just protecting her. She turns her back to me and walks over to Beetee mentioning something about a wire. When I walk over there Johanna is glaring at Katniss. ''I guess I must've been distracted by keeping your little friends alive. While you were… what, again? Getting Mags killed off?''
''Johanna…'' I say shooting her a warning look.
Katniss squeezes her knife handle.
"Go ahead. Try it. I don't care if you are knocked up, I'll rip your throat out," says Johanna, ignoring me.
''Johanna, enough!'' I say and I'm surprised by how angry and strong my voice sounds.
''Shut up, Brainless'' she says, with almost as much strength as I did. Even as angry and annoyed I am at her I can't help but think that she hasn't called me Brainless in years, and how annoying it is.
Finnick says we should go to the Cornucopia, and from there check whether the clock theory was correct after all. We all agree and we start going. I'm in the back of the group, because of my leg I walk pretty slowly, and Katniss is beside me eyeing us all carefully. It takes me a few moments to realize what she's thinking, but I guess been around Johanna so much has made me good in catching the emotions on otherwise expressionless faces.
''You're thinking about how to kill us'' I tell her indifferently, like if I couldn't care less, which honestly I actually can't care less.
She looks away startled. ''Don't worry'' I say smiling ''I don't care, just an advice, don't go after Johanna, you might be good, but she's brutal''
''Are we seriously having this conversation?'' she asks me.
I laugh and I decide to drop the killing thing for now, but I need to make sure that she doesn't decide to kill us in our sleep before Beetee's master plan to destroy the force field that is supposedly around the arena. The cornucopia is deserted, except for the golden horn and a pile of weapons. I don't pay close attention to what they're saying; instead I head to the big pile of weapons, looking for a sword. It doesn't take me long to find one, my usual pick, silver, about 3 feet long and thin.
Johanna starts picking axes and she's looking like a kid on Christmas morning. She then throws one that sticks right into the Cornucopia a few inches away from my face. I don't flinch, Johanna might be mad at me, but she wouldn't kill me. And her aim is much too good for her to hit me accidentally.
I walk over to where Peeta is, squatted on the ground drawing on the floor. He's creating a map of the arena. ''From 7 to 8 Johanna and I had to face a monster called behemoth'' I tell him and he's quick to write it in his map, with clear handwriting.
''Look how the Cornucopia is positioned'' he tells Katniss when he sees her.
''The tail points towards twelve o'clock'' she says. They start talking about distinct dangers in every different area of the arena. I stop paying attention and I scan my surroundings instead. I've never been pretty good in paying attention for long to one sole thing, I'm very hyperactive. Before it used to annoy me to always need to have something to do, but now I realize that, that probably kept me alive in my games and in other situations. I look at something moving. It might've been the breeze or my imagination, but I don't want to take chances.
''Something moved'' I say warning the others. Then I notice something, Wiress was singing, she isn't anymore. We all turn and I see Gloss, holding Wiress, whose throat is slid open. Faster than I could've considered possible an arrow sinks through Gloss's temple and an axe hits Cashmere in the chest. Brutus throws a spear towards Peeta, but Finnick deflects it and is hit by a knife that Enobaria threw. A second spear goes to Johanna. I throw my sword towards it and it hits is, thankfully , stopping it in midair.
I feel anger, and I realize the other thing Johanna was nagging me about. ''If you touch her again'' I say ''I swear to God I will kill you'' That's what I told Brutus, what she was nagging me about... My resistance to killing, even if it is necessary. I feel like it's time for me to drop my noble act, and kill. I run there fast, very fast, not even bothering to get the sword again. Enobaria is already swimming out of the little island where the Cornucopia is, but Brutus is not. Before he can make a dive for it, I punch him in the jaw, with my left hand. The metal one. Which by the way, hits significantly harder than a regular hand.
Brutus loses balance and turns to look at me. ''I told you I would kill you if you touched her'' I say gritting my teeth. He smiles and I dive for him, I guess he underestimated me, because I get plenty of good hits, but he takes me by the neck and lifts me up like if I were a rag doll. That's when the whole island moves, rapidly and violently. Brutus and I both fall to the water. He loosens his grip on my neck, but we're under water so it doesn't do me much good. I kick him in the stomach, still underwater and try to swim to the surface. He takes me by my wrist and pulls me down again. I hit his face with my elbow, over and over again, until the water turns crimson from his blood. His grip loosens and I swim to the surface.
I take deep breaths, but I'm still not done. I see Beetee swimming, just a few feet away from me, towards something, then there's Katniss, who dives to the water towards what I can only suppose is a body. I swim towards Beetee and I help him get a hold of my neck, like I did the first day of the quell. I swim back to the island, with Beetee holding onto my neck. I spit water and I help Beetee up. Finnick and Beetee have now lost their district partner. I feel a sudden closeness to Johanna, not just because she's my friend, but because we share a bond, just by coming from the same place. I walk towards her. ''Sorry?'' I whisper, smiling, just for her to hear. I remember when we were little, we had a huge fight, I don't remember what it was about, but I do remember that I apologized exactly as I'm doing now. She smiles and lets out a short laugh, probably remembering that same situation, and she wraps her arms around me. I hold her close to me, like if it were the last time, and maybe it is, and we stay quiet for a while.
''Let's get off this stinking island'' Johanna says finally, honestly to my displeasure, since I didn't feel like letting go of her just yet.
We have a small argument about where is 12 o'clock now that our guide, the cornucopia, moved to a completely different direction. We decide to just go to a random direction.
''I should have never mentioned the clock'' Katniss says bitterly ''Now they've taken that advantage away as well''
''Only temporarily'' Beetee says ''At ten, we'll see the wave again and be back on track''
''Yes, they can't redesign the whole arena'' Peeta says.
''It doesn't matter'' Johanna says impatiently ''You had to tell us or we never would have moved our camp in the first place, brainless''
I look at her suppressing a smile ''Brainless?'' I whisper in her ear ''I'm pretty sure that's how our friendship started''
''Shut up'' she says, for the second time today.
We are walking when another cannon sounds. ''Who's that cannon for?'' Finnick asks.
''Brutus'' I say without looking at anyone in particular ''He finally drowned''
''You killed him?'' Johanna, Finnick and Beetee ask at the same time.
''Yes'' I say nodding. I remember how I felt when I killed Clive, I felt guilt, remorse, the idea that I deserved to die, that I was the lowest, dirtiest thing on the universe. Now, nothing. I don't know if that's a good or a bad thing. When we reach the jungle, we peer into it, trying to decipher what may be waiting inside.
"Well, it must be monkey hour. And I don't see any of them in there," says Peeta. "I'm going to try to tap a tree."
"No, it's my turn," says Finnick.
"I'll at least watch your back," Peeta says.
"Katniss can do that," says Johanna. "We need you to make another map. The other washed away." She yanks a large leaf off a tree and hands it to him.
I don't feel like helping out, so I just sit down on the ground and watch how Peeta begins to draw his map. ''Why did you kill him?'' Johanna asks me sitting down beside me ''I thought you had a no killing policy''
''He tried to kill you'' I say, like if it's the simplest thing ever ''Besides, you were right. I am too selfless, it's important that I stop that and that I just kill, we are at war, and we can't afford a noble idiot''
She purses her lips ''I still think you're way too selfless,'' she says ''But that's just a part of who you are and... It's cool. I'm not saying you should be a sissy again...'' she says and I raise an eyebrow at her ''But, you should still be that noble hero, who knows when to spare a life''
''I think I'm passing my sappiness to you'' I say with a smile.
''Good, because you had way too much sappiness in you''
Well, today was an interesting day, I think as I close my eyes for a second. I killed a person for the first time since I was 14, I fought with Johanna, I solved the problem with Johanna and we discovered the arena is a clock. ''Tick-tock, tick-tock'' I can almost hear Wiress saying that. It's almost like a countdown, a countdown to the next danger, to the next death.
Please read and review! And an important question, I have been thinking for a pretty long time to do a few chapters in Johanna's point of view, but I'm not sure about that at all, so it's up to you. Would you like to see Johanna's POV? And you should all check out a story called My name is Nine by Peeta's stalker, is really, really good :) and she's a terrific writer, honestly you have to read it.