I lie in my bed in District 2. It's always kind of stuffy here, and I feel like I can't breathe properly. I guess the weather isn't much different from District Twelve, but there aren't as many open spaces, no meadow, no forest. Even though I've been here about three months now, I still can't seem to adjust. Of course, this stuffy feeling is better than going back to Twelve, to the destruction, to her. A breeze drifts though the open window, billowing the sterile, white curtains slightly. The breeze feels good across my bare chest. I feel my hairs stand on end. It's almost chilly but refreshing. I feel the sheet that's slung across my waist tug slightly. I look over at my bedmate. She's awake now, and she is attempting to pull the sheet up over her bare shoulders.
"Can't you shut that fucking window? It's freezing," she groans.
"Nope," I reply. I'm not getting out of bed. If it's that big of deal, she can go back to her own room. She glares at me, and I look back to the ceiling to hide my smirk. As terrifying as she is, she can be cute. Of course, I would never ever tell her that. I like my balls right where they are. I feel the mattress shift beneath me, and her tiny frame burrows into my side. I glance down at her.
"What the hell are you doing?" I ask, amused. "I didn't know you liked to cuddle."
"Shut up. I'm cold, and you won't close the window," she snaps, getting comfortable.
I think of the way she used her mouth on me earlier that night. I guess I owe her a cuddle. It's only fair, right? I just didn't realize that the same girl who chopped down kids with an axe when she was just a kid herself would want to cuddle.
And, if I'm being honest, it's not bad at all. It actually reminds me of when Posy was little. She would get upset late at night, and after scrubbing merchant clothes all day, Ma often wouldn't hear her whimpering, but I always did. She would crawl into my cot and snuggle up under my chin, a little ball of heat. I'd tell her stories about the animals in the forest. Of course, I left out me catching them in my snares or Katniss downing them with her arrows. After a while, she would fall into a peaceful sleep, dreaming of squirrels and rabbits, not reapings and hunger.
I've almost fallen asleep when Johanna's voice breaks the silence.
"Do you still think about her a lot?" she asks without preamble.
What the hell? I don't want to talk about this. Why does she want to hear about it? This can't be a good conversation for either of us. We are naked in bed together. Why do we need to talk about other people? I know Johanna likes to make people uncomfortable, and normally I think it's hilarious, but what fun can she get from this? If she wants do this and ruin a perfectly good evening then fine, I'll play along.
"Yes," I respond bluntly. I can hear the harshness in my voice, and while I don't particularly like it, I don't care. She shouldn't be asking questions like this. It's kind of our unspoken rule. We keep each other company because we don't know anyone else here in District 2. We also keep each other company. We are young, and sometimes the mood strikes. Why not?
"You're not going to hurt my feelings," she says. I groan. She's too perceptive. Why does she even need to be asking me questions if she can read my damn mind? "What did you hate most about it all?"
"That I'm not with Katniss," I reply automatically. I hear her make a little snorting noise, and I know I can't fool her.
"That he won Katniss," I amend. I stare at the ceiling. Yeah, I know how that sounds, but I don't like to lose. I've spent my whole life loosing. As a Seam kid, the least I deserve is to marry another Seam girl who understands what it's like to never have enough of anything. Johanna's body against mine no longer feels comforting. It makes my skin burn. I wish she would have gone home, or I guess I could have stopped being a lazy ass and shut the window.
"Come on. Try a little harder than that," she half laughs. I scowl at the ceiling. What does she want me to say? I already admitted that my feelings are half selfish. I think again, racking my brain, and I think I know what she's getting at.
"Fine. As much as I hated damn near everything, I couldn't actually hate him. He's too damn good. Even after the capitol fucked with his mind, Peeta fucking Mellark couldn't do any wrong in her eyes. Even as a crazy, he's just so nice," I rant.
"Nice has never been your strong suite," she says when I finally quite down.
"It's not yours either," I shoot back.
"Never claimed it was," she says. "I've never had much use for nice. Usually, it doesn't get you a damn thing."
"Usually…," I trail off. We lie together in silence. Caving slightly, I rub her back lightly. All in all this isn't so bad. I'm not saying I want conversations like this every night, but it's nice to finally say what I'm thinking. You can't talk bad about Peeta Mellark to anyone. It's like some kind of goddam proclamation. I guess calling someone nice isn't really even talking bad about someone, but still, complaining makes it a little easier.
"Why can't he just be an asshole? I just wish I could hate him," I say into the dark. Johanna doesn't answer, so I assume she is asleep. I close my eyes trying to fall asleep as well. I feel Johanna roll off of me and the sheets shift again. I look over at her, and she's curled up in the sheet with her back to me. She looks so small, fragile even, huddled up under the sheet. I am about to reach out to her. I feel an overwhelming need to pull her back to me, but before I can react, I hear her whisper something that stops me.
"Yeah, I could never hate Annie either."
Author's Note: This story is not necessarily related to my other Gale/Johanna story, Visiting District 12. I am kind of on a Gale kick. I think I've mentioned this in other stories, but people are too harsh on Gale. Gale didn't kill Prim. To state that as the end all be all for your Gale hating argument grossly simplifies a number of complicated issues. Okay, I will get off my soapbox. I hope I haven't scared you away. By the way, I am not Team Gale or Team Peeta as my mix of stories will attest.