Chapter 86

"Spit that out!" Finnick yells as he runs across the room and frantically forces my body up just enough so that he can slam a firm hand against my back. I gag, and he hits me again with his right hand while using his left hand to fumble with my chest restraint. The strap comes free and he forces me up into a sitting position, wrapping his arms around my waist from behind and pumping at my stomach. I cough up the pill, but he keeps at it until I've choked up my breakfast, too.

It's only when I fall back weakly in his arms that Finnick relents.

"What the hell were you thinking?" he hisses at me, reaching down to release my wrists. He lets me go and walks to the end of my bed to unstrap my ankles. I collapse back against my mattress as he picks up Peeta's unharmed sketchbook and sets it on my IV stand before tearing the vomit-stained blankets off of my bed and letting them fall into a heap on the floor.

"I'm sorry," I croak. "I meant to swallow it. I didn't think it was you."

"Of course it was me," Finnick says with frustration. But when he sees the distraught look on my face, he walks back around my bed and pulls me up into a sitting position and into his arms. "Is this because Peeta left?" he asks softly.

"No. It's why I told him to leave."

Finnick holds me more tightly. "No more of that," he whispers. "You're safe. I'm here to sign you out of this place. I know you've had enough."

I try to smile, but I really just want to curl up into a ball and vanish. I don't belong here. I don't belong on this earth. Peeta belongs, and Katniss belongs, but there's no place for me.

Finnick leads me out of bed and helps me find a fresh set of clothes. I change slowly, just going through the motions. I shouldn't be alive right now. I shouldn't be alive. Although I can tell that Finnick is uncomfortable watching me strip down and wander around my room, he doesn't let me out of his sight for even a moment. When I'm ready to leave, I tuck Peeta's sketchbook under my arm and nod slightly to Finnick. He puts his hand on my back and guides me down corridor and then down the stairs to the reception desk. It's almost too easy as he signs me out of the hospital.

We're out in the street before a voice calls sharply from the entrance.

"This is unauthorized!" Dr. Aurelius shouts at us. "That patient is mentally disoriented, and if you remove him from our care- "

"He's coming back to District 4 with me," Finnick says firmly. "I will personally ensure that he resumes whatever treatment he needs with the doctors there." I begin to tremble, and he squeezes my shoulder in reassurance.

Dr. Aurelius starts into the street after us, and Finnick whispers one word quickly into my ear: "Run."