Disclaimer: Don't own, don't sue.
You played a game.
You played it with full bellies and empty hands, with no bows, no arrows, no guns.
She started it. She started it when she took off her top and then took off her bottoms, and made no movement toward you.
"I'm not going to fuck you, you know," she said with hands on her hips. The way her elbows formed a frame for her body, you noticed, made her breasts stick out toward you. Unlike other women in your unit, Johanna never saw battle, so her skin was beautiful. It wasn't un-scarred, but it was the closest to perfect that you had seen in a long time. You stared at her and thought strangely and sadly of Madge Undersee's milky white skin against yours.
"So...why are you here, then?"
"I heard your bathtub is nicer than mine."
She turned, showing you her ass. It was your room in the apartment complex, your bathroom. Most of the soldiers and members of the force lived in this building, or the identical ones that lined the streets of District Two. You had no doubt that Johanna's bathtub was just as lavish as yours, but you let her saunter naked past your window, the one that looked out at the wreckage of the quarry that you blew up six months ago. They just started to clear the rubble, but you knew little of the plans. It wasn't your mission.
In fact, it was her mission. She was part of the team of commanders who were overseeing it. In your opinion, it was a bullshit job. You wondered why she wasn't overseeing something more important.
"You have any oils? Any of that fancy Capitol soap shit?" she asked from the bathroom. You followed her in there, and it was strange how her presence in any place simply dominated. This was your room, your house, but suddenly you were a visitor. A voyeur.
"Just as well, I guess." She bent and turned the taps of your bathtub. Over the sound of rushing water, you heard her say, "it might smell like roses anyway."
She got in while the tub was still filling. The bathroom gleamed diamond white, light reflective on every surface. Everything here was clean and bright, but it wasn't colorful. Everything was shining silver, grey, tan, and black. It was like the Capitol, but more industrial.
She leaned back against the side of the tub, made her legs bend so her knees stuck out of the water. You tried not to look at the dark place between her legs. Her shoulders looked tense as the air began to steam around her and she blew out a long exhale.
"Like what you see?" she asked with her eyes closed. You chuckled because it sounded like a joke.
"Could anyone not?"
She smiled a bit, opened one eye to look at you.
"You're far too clothed, Commander Hawthorne."
Only minutes ago, she'd said she wasn't here to fuck you.
"This is my apartment, Commander Mason."
"Soldier Mason," she said sharpy. "I've been demoted."
This threw you off. It couldn't be that hard to run a routine clean up operation. Johanna didn't seem like an idiot.
"What happened?" you asked.
She lay there for a moment or two before raising her arm and and scooping up a handful of water. She looked at the handful for a long time until it ran through the cracks in her fingers, down her arm, back into the tub. She looked down at the water like there was something wrong with it.
"There was a situation at the quarry this morning," she said finally.
You didn't know what that meant. You stayed leaning against the door, watching the water lap up over her breasts. After a while, she looked at you and said,
Something inside told you not to, told you to go to the other room and distract yourself, but you were never one for listening to those incessant little voices. You removed all your clothes and stood at the side of the tub. Self-consciousness hit you like a cold draft. You buried the feeling by burying yourself in the water.
She sat up a bit so there was room for the both of you.
"You want me to talk to Head?" you asked. Out of anyone, you probably had the most pull with Rhines, the newly elected head of The Force. During the election, you had been up for the position, but Plutarch though it would be best for you to remain Commander, and when the times came, a liaison to the rest of Panem. People recognized your face from the rebellion. People would trust the new Force if you were the one presenting it.
"You don't need to talk to Head," she answered.
"What were you reassigned to?"
"Nothing," she said.
You didn't understand.
"You're out of the army now?"
"I'm still Soldier Johanna Mason." Then she added, "on paper."
You nodded. So many things got by on paper. On paper, your military career was spotless. They wrote nothing down of parachute bombs and Capitol children and Rebel medics.
After a while, you reached out to touch her leg. She pulled it away, pulled it out of the water, dripping down on you. She lowered her foot to your chest slowly, trailing her toe down your stomach. You touched her leg this time, held her foot, and felt brave enough to kiss the inside of her ankle.
"You're handsome," she told you when you kissed the other side of her ankle.
You wanted to tell her that she was beautiful, but then she pulled her foot away from you and drew up her knees.
You were playing a game.
When she left that night, you went to bed alone. You reached down to fantasize that she was running her hands along your cock. After you came, it occurred to you that Katniss was no longer the woman you thought of when you did this. And you tried hard to stop the crying, but it came anyway.
A few nights later, you got home from training new recruits with sore limbs and a lot of steam to blow off. You were originally supposed to ship out to District Five, where Snow's "advisers" were rumored to be hiding out. At the last minute, Rhines postponed the mission for a training session of new recruits. You were pissed off, but orders were orders, and you no longer had a Mockingjay there to defy them.
You and a few fellow Commanders were given a group of supposed intermediate level trainees. You soon learned that most of them were considered intermediate because they were in there 30's and 40's. Walking up the rows of them, you could feel the resentment coming at you in waves. Every command met with resistance, with nasty looks, soft muttering. You were just 20 years old as of last month, and they hated you for it, because you out-ranked them and they had to follow your orders.
You didn't feel 20. The last two years aged you at least double that.
You were going to go to the back room where you had a target practice area. You were going to throw knives into the wall until your arm fell off, but when you entered your bedroom, she was there. You didn't even want to know how she got in here.
"What's your shower like?" she asked you.
You had to laugh otherwise you would scream. She sat on your bed with her legs crossed, arms crossed. Defiant and unreasonable as she was, you still thought there was something very small about her.
Instead of waiting for her, you threw the shirt angrily over your head and kicked off your boots. You walked into the bathroom to strip off the rest, throwing open the shower door, pressing buttons.
"You're in a state," she called from the bedroom. You rolled your eyes and stepped into the shower. The hot water rolled off your back and you imagined the steam was rising from your skin.
When she came in, she was naked again. It was a sight you were sure you'd get used to, but it would never stop being beautiful. Very carefully, as if she might slip, she entered the shower and winced as the water hit her. You were much taller than her, and standing over her, having her look up at you made her look vulnerable.
"What happened at the quarry that day?" you asked. You looked into it, but there were no reported incidents from the last few days. On paper.
Johanna reached for a sponge, covered it in soap from one of the dispensers. She reached up and washed your shoulders in slow circles.
"They started pulling bodies. Crushed things. Burned up." She switched to your chest and covered it in foam. "Rotten, most of them."
"How many?" you asked. You shouldn't have wanted to know because you were not keeping count of how many lives you blew through.
"A lot. I don't know. I blacked out. That's what happened." She stopped washing you, turned the sponge on herself.
"It was my idea to collapse the mountain." You had no idea why you told her, maybe she already knew, but you searched her face for horror and didn't find any.
"If you're looking for guilt, you're talking to the wrong fucking person," she said. She turned away from you to wash her face under the spray of water, and you suddenly were filled with the distant image of her slicing a boy's neck open in the Games.
"I don't feel guilty. We had to take the mountain. We'd all be dead if not."
There was something that both of you weren't saying about bodies and horror, but it filtered up into the air with the steam, and was carried away through the vents.
"Plutarch used to say this stupid thing," she said after she rinsed the soap from her breasts. "Something about everything being fair in wartime. And everything being fair for love."
"You think that's true?"
She turned back to look at you and her mouth was upturned into a little smile.
"I killed those kids." She shrugged. "I did that for love. That's fair."
You wondered who it was that she loved enough to come back from the arena alive. You remembered her saying something to the alliance in the Quell, about everyone she loved being gone. You thought about Katniss and Prim. Katniss could have killed the whole world to get back to Prim, and it would be fair.
You kissed Johanna so that she wouldn't ask what it was you killed for.
You pressed her to you, felt the rough edges of her breasts and her nails digging into your arms. You were hard against her stomach, your hands on her face, rubbing against her for relief. She bit you. She was a mean lover, throwing you against the wall of the shower.
With the water spraying all over you both, she reached down to touch you and your fantasies became real. Her hands were quick, evoking deep sounds from your aching abdomen. She spread her legs enough that you could touch her, but then she clamped her thighs together and trapped your hand when you tried. She sucked all down your neck, and no doubt, left her mark there.
And unexpectedly, you felt her other hand reach farther back, and she made you widen your legs with her shin. A finger went inside you, causing you to bite down on her lip and she did something with her hands to make you suddenly feel wet and aching. You came with a hiss, shuddering, undone.
Without words, she washed you from her belly. She left you in the shower with the water growing cold.
That night, you woke from your sleep with a nightmare. Your father had been in the mines when the canary stopped singing. The dark, cavernous mine walls were switching from stone to coal, stone to coal, and all the walls crumbled, all the air went dead. Everything and everyone dropped, falling perfectly into the stillness of death. Your father's dead eyes, the canary screeching out in Johanna's voice, Johanna's screams. But when you woke, it was your screams.
In the hallway of the complex, you found the elevator and rode down to the 5th floor. You stood in front of door 225 for a long time, thinking about the nightmare, before you finally knocked. If she was asleep, she wouldn't have heard it, so she must have been awake. She came to the door in underwear and a shirt.
"What do you want?" she asked sleepily. Part of you thought it was an act, but you softly asked her if you could come in, which was a courtesy she never extended to you.
She shut the door behind you while you surveyed her apartment. It was nearly identical to yours. You wanted to look in the bathroom to find the tub and confirm your suspicions that it was no different from yours either.
She kept the place pretty messy, but not as messy as Haymitch's house. This made you think of your mother back in Thirteen still, with your brothers and sister, and you pinched yourself for not calling them every day like you said you would. Then, like with most things, you put it at the back of your mind and focused on the woman in front of you.
"You want a drink?" she asked as you moved into the room further.
"Well, don't mind me." She poured something amber into a glass and swirled it around before drinking most of it down.
She took you into her bedroom, much the same as yours, but with the bed facing the opposite wall. You sat down and waited for her to do the same. She didn't sit beside you, though, she came and straddled your lap. Her underwear was thin enough that you could see most of her.
You looked around and wondered how she'll pay to keep this place when she's not on active duty.
"Are you planning on moving to another District?"
"I might stay," she said.
She didn't say. She kissed you slowly, easing open your mouth with miniscule movements of her lips. You breathed in liquor and something else that you couldn't name. You didn't try to grab her ass, you reached around her and held her to you with both arms. You forgot all about the nightmare.
She kissed and kissed and kissed you until something like love opened up in your chest.
"You can use my shower," you said in between kissing the corner of her mouth. "Whenever you feel like."
She sat back on your thighs, looked around, almost guiltily. You smoothed your hands over her skin. She wanted to say something, but it was taking a while. With patience, you sat like that, slowly breathing. She finally pulled her face away from your neck and said,
"They used water. After the Quell. They pulled out Enobaria's teeth, and they were going to cut me, but when they realized I was a rebel, they used water." She didn't cry or look sad about it. You rubbed her arms over and over. "They tied an electrical wire to me and made me stand under a shower. A little homage to Beetee, I guess."
A vague memory surfaced of the doctors in Thirteen mentioning this, and you wondered why it never clicked before. She couldn't shower alone and you couldn't get back to feeling normal.
"I'm glad we got you out," you said. Her eyes were brown and soft when she said,
"I never thanked you before."
She didn't thank you then.
She kissed you again and tucked herself tightly to you. With her eyes open, she reached down and pulled you out of your pants, pushed aside her underwear and sank onto you. The last and only time you had sex was with Madge, two days after the Quell. She had been nervous and quiet and you had been lovelorn and heartbroken, but this wasn't like that at all (although, maybe your heart was sill a little broken).
She was warm and wet, the perfect place to bury yourself in. You didn't worry much about inexperience because she moved herself on you, harnessing her own pleasure and letting out soft gasps that you never thought would come from those hard lips.
She came before you did, hard against your chest, crushing and pinching you to her. Her eyes closed when you let go inside her, breathing in her smell, buried in her chest.
After a while, when your breathing calmed, she said,
"I forgive you."
"For what?" You put your hands firmly on her hips, and you dreaded whatever she would say next.
"For collapsing the mountain. For all those people." She touched your face, fingers tracing over your eyes, brushing your lashes, making you blink. "Anyone else that you had to kill."
You stifled a sob in her breasts, thinking of Primrose, and she smoothed your short hair back. You were still inside her, so she moved her hips up to free herself. She pushed you back onto the bed, peeled off every layer between you both. Her arms brought you back to reality and held you close. Her cheek pressed to your forehead, her hands tangled up with yours, she said,
"Nothing about it was fair. What Plutarch said was bullshit."
"I know," you said, and you sniffled, depleted, but she was holding you together. It felt so good, you didn't let the shame in.
You fell asleep like that. No nightmares of canaries and quarries came, but vague dream of trees and oceans did.
You woke in the morning to look down at her, the woman with her cheek in the pillow. You saw a circular scar you didn't notice on her neck, you listened to her snores that were deep. You missed the sound of her husky, hard voice.
You were done playing games.
When her brown eyes opened finally, you took her hand.
"Shower?" you asked.
A/N- If you review, I will give you a cookie.