That night, she goes to see her.
The world did not stop for them like they thought it would; their touches did not slow time, their kisses did not bring respite to the suffering they felt. It was only for a moment that they would experience it, the subtle pieces of their lives that would seem to stretch on for hours. Her fingers threaded, tangled in Johanna's hair as she writhed like a glittering gold goddess beneath her; Johanna would smile, watching her, eyes wild, lips wet, pinning her and devouring her like a gladiator.
She always knew Johanna would win, even if Johanna herself didn't know it. But when she stepped into the arena, it became very obvious that she knew all along.
She doesn't hesitate like Johanna's mother. She flings open the door and grabs her, clings to her, falls to her knees with sobs of relief, of heartache, of pain. The moon shines low behind them.
Johanna holds her gently, as she knew she would, murmuring soft words of comfort into her ear as she runs her hand down the trail of her spine. The night is cold. "Come on," Johanna urges gently, kissing the side of her head. "Let's get inside."
Johanna wraps a blanket from the cupboard around her shoulders and pours them both mugs of tea. It's bland, mostly water, but she feels like fire so it's at least appropriate.
It isn't long before she begins to cry once more, tears streaming to a chorus of incoherent sobs of I knew you'd be back, and I love you, and Don't leave me.
And then she pulls Johanna into a kiss, searing and fierce and possessive, not necessarily an admittance of doubt or a reinforcement of commitment, neither here nor there; but it speaks to her anguish, to her fears; that for a brief moment in time, no more brief than they knew to expect, the only piece of herself she had ever been able to give away was thrust into the arena. Johanna had gone into the games with half of her heart and won both a crown and a life together, with a simple swing of her ax.
And once again she feels as though she is the mistress of nature itself, a force so primeval and unpredictable and strong that it could vanquish their very existence. She feels the wild in Johanna's mouth and feels it's strength in the fingers that dig into her hip, the unpredictability in the softness of the hand on her cheek and the instinct in her eyes.
They barely make it to the bed. Johanna rips her clothes off, a golden gladiator once more, devouring, conquering, making known what is hers, what was always hers. She pulls her head down to her breast and once again entangles her fingers in Johanna's dark hair, closes her eyes, mouth open, panting, as she feels her presence again, a truth unknown to the liars in the Capitol that this is in fact what Johanna Mason is, this sexy, predatory, possessive creature, this loyal and loving woman, this executioner, this beast, this force of nature which tears away her modesty and brings her quaking to the pinnacle of her physical truth.
"Say my name," she pants. It is meant to be sexual but it feels like a wager.
"Ariadne." Johanna breathes. Spotting the look in her eyes, she stops her ministrations and leans down, planting soft, chaste kisses on her lips, the line of her jaw, her neck. "Ariadne, Ariadne, Ariadne."
She burrows herself in Johanna's embrace, head resting just below her collarbone, body curled inwards with her hands clutching at Johanna's shirt. Johanna entwines her arms protectively around her, pulling the blankets around them just so in a cocoon-like embrace.
When she awakes – not for the first time – shaking for fear of Johanna's demise, her gladiator is patient, gentle, whispering into her hair with words velvet and dark. Ariadne listens to her heartbeat, slow and steady, the one truth she has to prove that, in fact, Johanna Mason is still with her.