Chapter Twenty Four

Finnick sat straight up in his chair when Aidan entered the room behind Annie. He held his breath when Annie turned to see the boy and he watched as the colour drained from her face. No. No No No No No.

Spinning around, Finnick moved to watch on the large screen. Annie didn't know what to do. He could see that and so could the rest of Panem. What would the handful of sponsors he'd managed to get for her be thinking now?

"How are you, Annie?" Aidan asked silkily as he moved further into the room, still blocking Annie's escape out the door. "I'm so glad that you've lasted until now. I was almost afraid that somebody would kill you off before we got to spend any time together…"

"We're not going to spend time together…" Annie said slowly. Aidan smirked.

"Oh, we are…"

Finnick clenched his fists. What he wouldn't give to be able to kill that piece of shit on the spot. He suspected that nobody would mind watching him die. Would Annie be able to kill him, though? He didn't know. Would she fight? She'd fought the boy who had attacked her during the bloodbath… Aidan was a skilled fighter, however. Finnick had watched him kill several tributes now. Annie hadn't even taken her knife out yet. No; her best bet was to run.

"Run, Annie…" he said lowly. "Run!"

"…What did you do to Lumina?" Annie was asking Aidan, and Finnick tried to calm down enough to listen to the conversation. Aidan just shrugged. "Did you kill her?" Annie continued.

"I don't think so." Aidan replied, moving around slowly. "I gave her a bit of a whack on the head… She'll probably be out for a while. Maybe I'll spend some time with her when I'm bored with you…"

Finnick snarled.

Annie glanced uncomfortably around the room and Finnick watched her try to judge the distance to the door. She wouldn't make it. She still had to pass Aidan.

"I have to say," The boy said loudly, "I have been anticipating this since I first saw you…"

"I can't say the same…" Annie retorted.

"I must admit, it's a bit of a shame that Odair got there before me…" he went on, "But, well, that is his nature, isn't it?"

"You're not as clever as you think you are." Annie growled.

"But still, more clever than you." Aidan said flatly. Finnick watched Annie give a small laugh.

"We'll see."

"We will indeed…" Aidan nodded, circling slowly, his eyes locked on Annie.

Finnick wondered if she was even carrying a knife. She had to be. How could she not be? Why hadn't she taken it out yet? He twisted his hands painfully when her eyes darted toward the door once again and she realised that Aidan was no longer blocking her path. Finnick nodded. "Run, Annie…" he breathed.

She flung a blade in Aidan's direction the moment she made for the door. It was so quick that Finnick nearly missed it, but Aidan had been expecting something as he'd avoided the blade and made it to the door at the same time Annie did. He pulled her back and she broke his hold on her the way Finnick had taught her.

Shaking his head in denial, Finnick watched as Aidan slammed the door shut, trapping Annie inside. He watched as the boy moved toward her as she backed away. He watched as Annie tried to dart around her attacker and he watched as Aidan punched her in the face. She went down. Finnick couldn't breathe. He hadn't prepared her for that! Why hadn't he prepared her for that?

"No…" Finnick ran his hands through his hair, not knowing what to do. He looked around the room at the other mentors. Some were watching the screen avidly. Others were giving him sympathetic looks. Not one of them was doing anything. But, what could they do? What could he do? He'd gotten Annie as many sponsors as he could. He'd been downstairs a few times now and there was nobody else down there who would consider sponsoring her. He'd gotten them all already. He couldn't do any more.

Annie needed him to do something, but there was nothing more he could do.

He watched helplessly as Aidan hauled Annie off the ground by her long dark hair. Her eyes were barely open and he wondered just how aware of what was going on she was. He watched as the boy from District Seven threw her against the heavy wooden table, knocking the medical supplies that Annie had been packing to the floor. The small groan that he heard from her had Finnick's heart in his throat.

He tugged on his hair when Aidan grabbed her again from behind and forcibly bent her over the table, holding her down. He watched as the boy pinned Annie's wrists to the table with one hand while one of his knees forced its way between her legs. Annie let out a cry as she struggled, trying to get free, but Aidan held her down, pinning her with his own body as he kicked her feet further apart.

Finnick turned away, twisting his hands again. He couldn't just stand here and watch Annie be raped. He ran his hands through his hair once more, tugging roughly. Annie's scream spun him back toward the screen. She was arching her back trying to get room to move, but Aidan yanked hard on her hair with his free hand and Finnick watched tears fill Annie's eyes.

"Annie…" he breathed, moving closer to the screen. "Don't panic. Breathe." He watched her. Aidan seemed to be having trouble with the suit she was wearing and so he flipped her over on the table.

"I want you to watch me…" he snarled, then his face changed, and he smirked. "And I want to watch you enjoy it…"

Annie was shaking her head wildly as she struggled again. "No!" she cried, trying to claw at him. Aidan belted her hard across the face and she lay still for a moment. Finnick watched as Aidan tried to undo the front of Annie's suit. He'd managed just the top when she started to fight again.

"Good girl…"Finnick breathed, tugging on his hair once again as he watched her pull a knife from her belt. He held his breath when Annie managed to cut Aidan across the cheek. The boy jerked back with a pained cry and Annie pushed herself up only to be knocked back down when Aidan lashed out with his fist once again.

"Fucking whore…" Aidan snarled, pulling the blade from Annie's hand.

Finnick watched, unable to draw breath, as Aidan moved back over her, pressing the blade to her throat. Annie's green eyes widened for a moment while the boy just laughed softly. "You'll do what I want…"

"I won't." she breathed softly.

Finnick couldn't help the whine that escaped him when Aidan traced the blade down Annie's body. "You will…" the boy told her. "Because, if you don't…" without warning he stabbed the knife into her stomach and the sound Finnick made nearly drowned out Annie's scream. Finnick sank to the floor, his eyes glued to the screen as the camera zoomed in for a close-up of the wound. It was happening. She was going to die. He couldn't get her out. Forcing himself to draw a shuddering breath, Finnick realised that he was crying. He wiped his hands over his face, trying to clear his vision a little.

On the screen, Aidan was pulling the knife out of Annie's stomach. She gasped, curling up a little and Aidan slapped her across the face. "Look what you made me do…" he snarled. Annie cried softly. Finnick looked up when somebody touched his hair. Mags was standing over him, her hand on his head.

"You need to get up…" She told him softly. He shook his head. "Now." She added. Closing his eyes for a moment, Finnick forced himself to his knees and then his feet. Looking around, he saw that everybody else in the room was now watching him. He didn't want to know what they were thinking. Mags guided him to the long couch and directed him to sit in it. His eyes found the screen again.

Aidan was leaning over Annie once again. Finnick had just missed what the boy had said to her, but he caught the disgusted look that crossed Annie's features a moment before she head-butted him, bringing her knee up into the boy's groin at the same time. Aidan crumpled to the floor, a stream of curses pouring from him. Annie forced herself off the table and to her feet, pain evident on her face as she pressed one hand to her stomach in an attempt to stem the bleeding.

Finnick watched as she moved slowly for the door. Aidan had gotten himself up, however and followed her. "Where do you think you're going, Bitch?" Annie turned on him, her face paler than usual. "I'm not done with you." He continued, moving to grab her. Annie moved quickly, the way Finnick had shown her, breaking Aidan's hold on her and twisting his own arm as she turned her body, bringing him around to the ground at her feet. With another twist, she broke his arm and stepped back, watching as he howled.

Finnick blinked, hardly daring to believe what he'd just seen. He then jumped when the door behind Annie flew open and Torsti came in followed by a dazed looking Lumina. Watching Annie back slowly into a wall and then sink down to the floor, looking even more pale than she had two minutes before, Finnick bit his lip. She needed help. Proper medicine. He forced himself to his feet quickly and moved to the Sponsoring Station. She had medicine to heal wounds, but she would need something to protect against infection, something that would work on the inside. He flipped through the list of medications to see what was suitable and then choked a bit at the price. It would clean her out again.

Knowing that she needed it, he quickly keyed in the code and went back to the couch. Lumina was now kneeling by Annie, trying to get a look at her wound. Finnick's breath caught at the sight of Annie's pallid skin and her half closed eyes. He knew all too well what a stomach wound could do to a person. More often than not, surgery was required. Surgery wasn't something Annie was going to get anytime soon.

He watched, trying to breathe normally as a small parachute dropped what he'd sent on Annie's lap and Lumina opened it for her, before directing her to swallow the contents. The blonde girl then dove over to the mess of other medical supplies that were strewn across the floor and started searching for something else that could be used.

"It's in the other house." Finnick muttered, knowing that the tube he'd sent before was tucked neatly in Annie's bedding. Lumina seemed to come to this conclusion herself as she stood up and ran for the door. Finnick watched Annie's green eyes follow the girl across the room before focusing on Torsti who was kneeling over Aidan on the ground.

"You're a sick fuck." The blond boy said coldly. "You like to cut on girls? You like to hurt them?"

Aidan mumbled something that Finnick didn't quite catch and then Torsti had cut his throat. The camera zoomed in for a nice close shot of the boy coughing and drowning in his own blood before backing off again to finish with a shot of Torsti covered in the blood spray watching his victim become still as a canon sounded loudly. He knew that replays of that would be playing repeatedly in the capitol all night and probably for days to come. How very dramatic. Just the way they liked it.

Torsti then went over to Annie who still hadn't moved from against the wall. "Let me see…" he said, pulling Annie's hand away from her wound. "It's a little to the left…" he mused "He may not have hit anything vital…"

"I consider all parts of my body vital." Annie muttered, pain evident in her voice. Finnick leaned closer, trying to get a better look at the wound. If the knife hadn't pierced her actual stomach then she may actually be alright. With no stomach acid or fluids leaking into the rest of her body the medicine would work much better and she wouldn't need surgery. He closed his eyes, praying to every god who would listen.

He opened his eyes once more when he heard Lumina return. The two then set about cleaning and treating Annie's wound while Finnick just watched her face. He could see her struggling to remain conscious. She kept mumbling to herself and he wished that he could just pick her up and carry her back to her room. He would sit her on her bed and hold her, stroking her hair and telling her that everything was going to be fine. He would tell her that when he took her home to District Four that they would go to the beach and swim every day. They would lay on the sand and just listen to the waves lapping the shore and fall asleep in the warm sun.

It was then that Finnick realised he was in love with her.

Author's Note

Here is my update! I hope that it did not disappoint.