Firstly, I'd like to thank all the regular reviewers. It's really nice to see that no one's given up on this story yet. It's a little different than Splatterlog, but there are some bits, especially in this chapter that might be familiar.
The line at the medical warehouse was surprisingly short. Maybe people in District 2 didn't want the new Capitol's help. Johanna rolled her eyes. If I were them, I'd take whatever help I could get. After the war, District 2 was one of the worst hit, along with District 12. Not to mention it was one of the larger districts, with more people and fewer supplies to go around.
If she weren't so desperate, Johanna would have waited until the line was a bit longer before taking action. Of course, if she were better off, Johanna wouldn't be stealing from the medical warehouse in the first place. God, you're a wreck. Whatever. At least, after this, Johanna would be a happy wreck. A very happy wreck. So she went through with her plan anyway.
Johanna found a bunch of raggedy kids milling around the back of the building, swearing and pushing each other around. They stopped and stared at her as she walked up them, eyeing her. Holding her arms behind her back, Johanna glanced at the oldest one. "You guys wanna do me a favor?" The kids said nothing. Leaning in closer, Johanna pointed at the warehouse. "I want you to go in there tear the shit out of each other. Make a big scene."
The kid folded his arms, his dirty little face scrunching up at her smile. "What's in it for us?"
"Yeah." The boy next to him only came up to his shoulder, and Johanna did her best to keep from snickering as the brat imitated the first.
"I've got candy." Johanna smirked.
Johanna stepped closer, holding it out.
A girl, probably no older than six, stepped out from behind the other two. She pushed her broomy hair out of her face, eyeing the sweets. "That's not very much."
"She's right." The oldest glanced up at Johanna again. "What else do ya got?"
Christ. These kids were tougher than the ones back home. And that was saying something. "Fine. One-fifty."
"We want ten."
"What do I look like? A bank?" Johanna pulled out gold coins, which, by the way, she had found in the pockets in one of Gale's pairs of pants. She considered it a tip for cleaning up after him. "One for each of you. I'll double it I see some tears."
The kids glanced at each other, then grabbed the candy and coins from Johanna's hand, and stuffed it in their pockets. She followed at a distance as they ran around the building.
"I was FIRST!" The youngest screeched first, shoving her older brother aside.
"Don't push me!" He, of course, pushed back after picking himself up from the doorway.
"Stop fighting or I'll beat you both up!" The eldest, probably a friend of theirs by the look of it, pretended to break them up, only to make things worse.
Around them, the line turned from a meandering string of people to more of a swarm. Johanna hid her smirk as she edged around the crowd and slipped inside. As if on cue, the kids brought their fight out the door, drawing the crowd's attention away from her. Perfect. She wandered through the isles of crates and boxes, some open, some not. Towards the back corner, in a pile of pain killers, Johanna found what she was looking for.
Picking up a small bottle, Johanna read the label. Morpling, 200 mg. Prescription only. Use as directed….
Johanna snuck it into her pocket, and made her way out, and around to the back of the building again. Five minutes later the kids followed, looking only slightly worse for wear. The youngest of course, proudly pointed out her wet cheeks.
"Nice work." Johanna smirked, handing her a coin.
"What about us?" Her older brother folded his arms in comical outrage.
"I don't see any tears." Johanna rolled her eyes.
"You didn't say all of us had to cry." The eldest argued.
"Fine." Johanna sighed, handing out the remaining two coins. The kids immediately ran off, leaving a small cloud of dust behind them. Shielding her eyes, Johanna heard, more than saw someone's fist flying toward her face. "—The hell!?" She blocked, ducking away from the punch, only to be kneed in the stomach.
Whoever it was didn't wait for Johanna to catch her breath. They knocked her against the back wall of the warehouse, pinning her arms above her head. Then, the dust finally cleared. "Hello, Johanna."
She saw her teeth first, gleaming sharply in the shadows of the noon sun. "Hi, Sharkface."
If Enobaria didn't like her new nickname, she didn't show it. Then again, that crazy bitch was always smiling. "What are you doing in my district?" She pressed her arm tighter against Johanna's throat.
"It's a free country." Johanna managed to get out as she pulled her knees up, kicking Enbobaria off of her. The other victor fell back, kicking Johanna's feet out from under her as she went. Both of them tumbled to the ground, and wrestled for the upper hand. Johanna swore when Enobaria ended up pinning her again.
"You're not supposed to be here, are you." Enobaria leaned closer.
Johanna didn't reply, focusing on twisting out of the hold.
Enobaria continued, grinning wider. "I wonder what your psych team would do if they found out you were stealing these." She held up the bottle, and Johanna froze. "Send you back to Seven, maybe? Hold you in one of their asylum's?"
"You wouldn't dare." Johanna leaned up, meeting her gaze. With everything and everyone that mattered gone, Johanna had no reason to leave this bitch alive. A life sentence in prison was so worth it. And that was only if she got caught. Not likely.
Enobaria shrugged, tossing the bottle aside as she got up. "I could turn you over." She snickered as Johanna rolled over to get the bottle back. "But I think I'd rather watch you burn."
By the time Gale finally came home from work, Johanna was long gone. Her head felt light and fuzzy, and little pins and needles cascaded up and down her body like a palpable breeze. She was inside though, wasn't she? Pfft. Who cared?
Gale himself was a blur, a fine looking blur at that. "Hello Gorgeous." Johanna leaned back breezily against the couch, eyeing him.
The guy in question stopped mid motion, his suitcase suspended halfway down to the floor. Johanna wasn't sure of the expression on his face, but it sure looked nice. "Hey." Instead of setting the bag down there, Gale carried it to the couch, sitting on the edge of the one corner Johanna wasn't sprawled across. "You okay?"
Johanna grinned, crawling over to him. He was so far away. "I'm more than okay, Hawthorne." She crawled onto his lap, smirking down at him. "You, on the other hand, need to loosen up."
Unfortunately, that's when Gale glanced over at the end table. He picked up the bottle, holding it up between them. "What's this?"
She tried to snatch it away. "Nothin'."
Gale kept it out of her reach, with his goddamn long arms. "You aren't supposed to be on this stuff anymore."
"Whatsit matter, Gorgeous?" She brushed her lips against his. The tingling sensation she normally got from a good kiss felt even stronger. God, she could do this all day.
Then, Gale decided to ruin her fun and push her away. "I don't want to kiss you when you're drunk." He glanced at the bottle. "Or high." Gale looked her up and down. "Come on, let's sober you up." He picked her up a little too easily, and carted her off to the bathroom.
Johanna forgot to panic until he turned the water on. Then, her mind decided to make up for lost time. The water hissed into her ears so loudly that it was hard to hear anything else. Her own pulse sounded like a torrent of water swishing around in her ear canal. She couldn't do this. She couldn't. "No." "NO!"
Even though Johanna fought Gale like a cat, she couldn't match his strength. Soon enough both of them were under the water, and Johanna couldn't breathe. Just tell us what you know, and we'll stop. They were lying. The pain would never end. No one would rescue her. No one, save for her torturers, and pathetic Peeta Mellark would ever hear her scream. Except it wasn't the guards or Peeta holding her there.
"Johanna? Are you okay?" He waved a hand in front of her face.
How the fuck was she supposed to answer that question when she was drowning? "Let go of me." Johanna managed to choke out. She managed to pull away, but she couldn't remember the way out of the fucking shower. Instead, Johanna pressed herself against the wall, as far away from the water as she could get. It stung as it hit her shoulder blades and her butt. Even though she knew Gale was the only one with her, Johanna felt hands all over hear, touching places she never wanted them to touch, let along grab, or pinch or slap.
Johanna tried to slip away to her memories of Finnick, with his warm, glowing face and his smile that could melt the sparkling Capitol streets. She only saw his corpse torn apart by mutts, and smelled his blood in her nose. "Fuck!" Her own words sounded like some pathetic whimper.
Another hand touched her arm. "Johanna? You okay?" It wasn't like the cold hands of the guards. This one felt hot to the touch, more searing than the hot water of the shower. Johanna heard him mutter something, but she couldn't hear it over the pounding in her ears. Next thing she knew he was peeling her soaked clothes off.
And then the hands were everywhere again, the cold, hard hands, and Johanna couldn't get away. By the time the water finally stopped, Johanna couldn't tell if she had been crying or not. All she knew is that she could hardly move, and she felt stiff as a board.
"Johanna?" Gale's hand touched her shoulder, and she was shivering and burning all at the same time.
"Don't touch me!" Her muscles wouldn't move like she wanted them to, so she stumbled more than she ran, into his closet, and closed the door.
Holy cow, researching morphine highs was a little disturbing. I wasn't sure what it was like to be dopy on pain meds. Pretty sure the stuff they gave me when I got my wisdom teeth removed just made me mean, haha.
Anyway, hope you liked this one. Took me a little while because of real life getting in the way of my writing. The next chapter is largely a follow up to this one, from Gale's perspective, so I don't think it'll take as long. We can hope, right?
Also, some of my favorite characters from Splatterlog will be making appearances in one way or another. Submit your guesses in the reviews, and the winners get useless brownie points!