Finnick didn’t know any Spanish at all, but something about what she said seemed to make sense to him. No matter how upset he was inside, he could never deny Annie’s touch and the comfort that came with it.
"You never know where you’ll find your home," he murmured, his eyes fixated on Annie. His hand, the brand new hand of his, slid into hers and intertwined their fingers before sitting down with her.
The water was soothing to him, but memories of the last time he sat in the water crept into his mind. Right after those jabberjays.. Katniss was there.. Both of them in pain.. Human.
His grip on Annie tightened out of instinctive fear.
His other hand reached for Katniss for the same reason.
"The jabberjays, Kitten.. The mutts saying your name.. it was like being in the arena again." he admitted in a yelp, pain and fear registering in his voice. "I didn’t want to lose you either! I’m sorry!"
Annie apparently wasn’t ready to let her leave, and Katniss wasn’t ready to fight her on it. She wasn’t sure what she had said, but she let Annie continue to guide her towards the water. The water was beautiful, but it was nothing like home. Home was soup at the Hob. Home was the ash in the air that seemed to stay no matter what the weather was. Home was Twelve. She could admit this to herself, but going back was what she couldn’t do.
Katniss smiled softly over at Annie and looked out across the water, letting her toes curl into the damp sand slightly. She looked back and her smile dropped slightly, seeing Annie and Finnick together. She wanted to walk away and curse at them for having something like that. She was jealous. But Katniss realized it wasn’t anyone’s fault but her own that she was alone. She couldn’t blame them for loving each other.
Her hand found her way back into her pocket, and her fingers wrapped around the pearl again. She sighed and closed her eyes, savoring the moment. Her eyes quickly shot open when she felt a large hand grasp her wrist tightly. She tried to pull away instinctively, fear rising inside of her, but Finnick was stronger than she was. “Let go of me!” she screamed, forgetting to register who was latched onto her.
When he mentioned the arena, she could almost hear those screams again. He was scaring her, but most of all, everything was coming back in waves, like the ones that were hitting the shore now. “Stop, Finnick!” she screamed again, letting out a sob and gripping his arm with her other hand. She plopped down next to him, shaking his arm slightly.
"I’m here, it’s okay. Please stop. It hurts too much."
The moment she felt herself being pulled in tighter to Finnick, she started to coo softly in his ear. “You’re home, mi cielo. Real. Estás conmigo. You’re safe here,” she pleaded, gently squeezing his hand. He often dragged her out of episodes the same way.
She watched in shock as he grabbed for Katniss and gasped when Katniss reacted with the same fear as he had. Both of them had battle scars that only they could understand. Two games and a rebellion coated their once smooth skin with thick callouses.
It almost appeared as they were both in a trance, halfway lost in an episode of the mind. Scooting in closer to place a hand in the waves, she let the water run over her fingers.
"No two waves are exactly the same," she mused, "but they come from the same ocean. How is it that two similar beings are so different yet keep such harmony?" she asked, her eyes on the two of them once more.
The second she spoke in that quivering whisper, he knew he had hurt her. His eyes snapped shut as tightly as possible and he groaned quietly. They didn’t open until they were alone and she was chiding him.
"Don’t start this again. I don’t owe her a damn thing. If she wants a token of my appreciation, she can climb down that sewer and scrap it up herself. I think I’ve got a whole arm down there for her. There’s your sympathy too." He could feel her eyes burning holes in his back as he uncurled his fists.
"I left you without saying goodbye because I was so sure I would come back to you. When my life flashed before my eyes, it was too late for me. I almost… I didn’t want to die.. I mean.. I didn’t even say goodbye.. and blaming her is easier than admitting that I failed you." he admitted softly, thankful that the glasses hid his eyes from hers.
"I can’t believe I’m blaming a child for my mistakes.."
She nodded her head at Annie in thanks and headed down the hallway. Katniss could feel her stomach churning again and again, so as soon as she opened the door, it was closed again, and she was on her knees in front of the toilet. This wasn’t unusual or rare. Since she had left Twelve, her stomach had gifted her with many sleepless nights and days in bed. She hadn’t gone to a doctor, because she knew the cause was stress. She was just waiting for the day her hair started falling out.
Katniss sat, slumped against the wall for a little bit, regaining her breath. She wished there was a window in this bathroom she could just jump out of and leave. Finnick didn’t want her here. Annie was thanking her for something that kept her awake at night. No matter where she went, she seemed to be a burden. Maybe she would just leave.
She got up and flushed the toilet before splashing her face with water and rinsing her mouth out. She stared at her reflection before feeling in her pocket again. Yeah. Katniss would thank Annie and tell her she was ill. That would be the end of it.
Walking out, the kitchen seemed to grow quiet immediately. I guess this was her chance to speak up.
"I’m uh…I’m sorry. I’m not feeling well. I think I’m gonna..go."
Before she could speak, they both turned towards the voice behind them. Looking back at Finn once, she walked over and took Katniss’ hands.
"El océano es la cura..” she smiled, nodding towards the door. She gently pulled her towards the back until they could walk outside. She slid one hand free and wrapped an arm around Finn, easing him outside with them.
When they were at the edge of the ocean, she let both of them go and inhaled deeply.
"Home…" she murmured, looking over at Katniss. "You’ll find your home soon."
"I’m sure you’re right about that."
Hurting Katniss didn’t make him feel better, but he did take some satisfaction in how she covered her pain up. As much as he wanted to hurt her, to yell and curse her name, he couldn’t. Annie had said it was because it was easy to hurt the people you love since they never stop loving you. Unfortunately for someone as stubborn as him, Annie was right.
Though she was much smaller than he was and he could still manage to pin her down and restrain her with his injuries, Annie was not someone he wanted to mess with. He scowled and turned his face away in a childish manner, accepting defeat.
While pretending like the fact she still referred to the house as ‘casa de Cresta’ didn’t upset him, he hobbled towards the back door to the patio. All he wanted to do was sit in the water and let the waves break him down. Sitting in the water was always calming in times of trouble for him. He lifted the glasses from his nose to look at the water gently churn around with a sigh.
"Don’t thank me. I just hung out in the sewer for a few days. Didn’t exactly help the rebel cause too much.." he said, sounding more heartbroken than he had hoped. The last thing he wanted was for anyone to know that he felt like a failure to his cause.
With their backs turned and headed for the kitchen, Katniss took the spare moment to reach into the pocket of her shorts and feel around for the thing she brought with her. Once her fingers ran over the small, smooth pearl, she adjusted her hand and rolled it between her index finger and thumb. Thinking of him was stressful and more than anything made her hate what she had done by leaving him alone, but the pearl soothed her.
When Annie called her over, she jumped slightly, quickly letting the pearl go before pulling her hand out of her pocket. She walked over and leaned against the counter, thanking her softly as she handed her the bowl. She scanned the fruit for a minute before taking a piece and biting into it, allowing herself to settle into the taste.
Her stomach churned the minute Annie thanked both of them. Suddenly, she wasn’t hungry, and instead felt sick down to her bones. Thanking her was the last thing she should ever do. In fact, Katniss was surprised Annie didn’t despise her for bringing Panem to ruins and nearly killing the man she loved. Finnick didn’t exactly make the situation any better, and her stomach did another flop.
"Where’s your bathroom?"
Annie smiled when Katniss enjoyed the snack. If she hadn’t, she would have made something else for her, but having her approval of anything was all she really wanted.
If there hadn’t be a guest present, Annie would have gotten the chancleta out. Not only was Finn being pessimistic and brooding, but he was making her feel bad. She felt tears prick at her eyes before swallowing hard and blinking them away rapidly.
"Down the hall to the left." she said, her throat sounding too thick.
When Katniss left, she angrily made her way over to the door, glaring at him once more.
"I hope you’re happy with yourself, Finnick. Do you think making her miserable is going to change the past? What are you going for here? Are you trying to make her cry or kill herself?"
"If that’s true, I’d hate to see how you treat your least favorite."
"Something about losing a limb makes a guy a little angry," he grumbled, his eyes locked with the equally enraged pair down the hall. "Just ask the baker if he’s talking to you."
It wasn’t fair to pin all of his anger on Katniss. He knew that it wasn’t her fault that he was left down in the sewer. If he had been in her position, wouldn’t he have assumed the worst had happened too? She was the Mockingjay, not God. He had been prepared to die when he left if it meant Annie could live the rest of her life in peace. War had consequences.
He should be expressing his grievances since he knew the feeling of losing a sister, but felt nothing but strong and irrational anger. Though Annie had meant no harm with her comment, it made him look weak and vulnerable.
"I’m going back to bed," he muttered, staggering slightly as he tried to walk away.
Being her with both of them was like talking to the devil and angel on her shoulders. You could guess who would take each role. Katniss held her gaze, her grey eyes full of anger. Really, she was tired. She was exhausted and guilty and being here didn’t help the cause. She really should have been angry with Annie for lying. If this was called ‘bed rest’, she wondered what him being up and about was truly like. Maybe he’d be less of an asshole.
"I would ask him, but I’m sure he’s got better things to do." she said, shrugging, "I’ll just take your word on it."
Her attention was back on Annie, her features softening up slightly. Katniss had a soft spot for Miss Cresta, and while she wished she could be anywhere but here right now, she also didn’t want her pain and anger reflecting back onto Annie. “I’m fine. The Capitol isn’t…home, but it’ll do.” she said, shrugging, “Oh uh…I’ve never had it before, but sure..”
Her eyes were back on Finnick as soon as he spoke. “Sweet dreams, buttercup. Rest up.”
Even if Katniss would have said no, Annie would have gotten her a bowl of something. It was just custom to her to always serve those who were more deserving than she was or who she considered higher. If Finnick would have known that was why she was so eager to take care of him, he would lose it.
As she walked to the kitchen, her arm wrapped around Finnick. Though it looked like she was helping balance him, she only did it to get close enough to angrily whisper at him something along the lines of them going to the damn beach and don’t piss of the person with access to your food and medicine.
She eagerly waved Katniss in further to the kitchen as she grabbed a bowl of papaya from the fridge. “Casa de Cresta is always open to you. I can’t wait for us to go in the water. I didn’t think it was possible for the beach to be any more beautiful…but it is now. I have both of you to thank for that.”
The last thing Finnick could afford to be at a time like this was ungrateful. By the grace of a higher power, he survived something that should have been fatal. He made it back to the love of his life, bruised and broken, but in one piece. His efforts for freedom succeeded and his home was free.
So why was his heart so cold now? The post traumatic stress wasn’t going to be the death of him; his pride would be what nailed his coffin shut. He couldn’t stand looking like a monster and being so vulnerable. He couldn’t take being taken care of, no matter how much he loved Annie.
When she recommended a day at the beach, he was nothing less than eager. Going out would be as close to normal life as he was going to get or had gotten in months. That and he had an excuse to wear sunglasses to hide his face without Annie pouting at him.
The knocking on the door explained why Annie had been so nervous today. At the sound of her name, he turned to the doorway with a glare at his Annie.
"Better shut the door now so she can’t run off on us, honey.”
Katniss never minded being alone. In fact, she preferred the solitude. She enjoyed hunting by herself, and other daily tasks and/or hobbies were much easier to do alone. But by the time she crawled into her bed at night, she realized what she hated most was the loneliness that seemed to creep up on her every chance it got.
Lying in bed made her remember the feeling of a pair of arms wrapped around her, and she thought back on past friends. Allies. Family. Soon, the sun was rising, and her thoughts had consumed any chance of sleep she might have had. Katniss missed the people she used to…still loved, but she was unsure she was ever going to get the chance to see them again, let alone be welcomed back into their life.
When the phone rang one afternoon, Katniss hesitated to pick up. Now that she was in the Capitol, it could be anyone. She feared it was someone back home. So when she heard Annie Cresta’s voice on the other line, she breathed a sigh of relief, though her stomach dropped again thinking about Finnick. Annie assured her he was in bed rest. A day at the beach would be okay as long as it was with the sweet girl from Four and not with the peacock who she was sure still hated her guts.
Seeing Annie again brought on a whirlwind of emotions, but she kissed both her cheeks and managed a smile. “It’s so nice to see you again, Cresta.” she teased lightly. Her smile quickly faded as soon as she heard his voice. Katniss glanced over Annie’s shoulder and glared Finnick’s way, ignoring the guilt ridden part of her that was screaming at her to be kind. But giving others the upperhand had never been her strong suit.
"Oh you know I would never run away from you. You’re my favorite ally of the bunch."
Her eyes immediately shot a look at Finnick, not amused with his commentary. No more than a few months ago, he was convincing Annie that ‘Kitten’ was a friend and that no, he shouldn’t kill her first in the arena. He had introduced them warmly and talked about her in a way that showed so much compassion that she had almost mistaken it for real passion. Having them act so cold now made her feel as if this wasn’t real life. That scared her too much.
"You’ll have to excuse mi novio. The doctors say no sugar cubes and he isn’t taking it well.” she smiled, shutting the door behind her.
"How are you? How is the Capitol? Would you like some papaya?" she asked, moving things along in an attempt to smooth over those rough edges. "I’ve been feeding it to Finn for the past couple of days and he says it’s good."
The cure for everything in District Four was the ocean. It wasn’t uncommon to hear the suggestion of a dose of sea as a remedy for just about any injury or illness. Annie was a firm believer in the healing powers of the familiar sea foam.
Since Katniss and Finnick had spoken last, things were still tense between them. While they had both said some of the things they wanted to get off their chests, there was a scar that would need to heal with time.
Neither of the other party members were informed of the other being in attendance. While it was known that Finnick was very likely to be there, she stretched the truth on the phone and said he was on bed rest.
It wasn’t until Katniss was at the door that she mentioned it to her dearly beloved.
"Katniss, bienvenidos," she welcomed her friend, kissing both of her cheeks happily. "I’m so glad you could make it."
Día de los Muertos.
It almost seemed silly to say ‘day’. The dead always surrounded everyone in Panem. There was no family in the country that was entirely complete, or at least not that Annie had ever met. No matter where she went or who she met along the way, somebody had passed in every family. Panem had been a dark place for many years. The Rebellion changed the scenery, but could not every perfect the situation.
Bane the sleepy crab
…It’s different when you hear someone else call your baby crazy. It’s even worse knowing that if this gets out, they aren’t going to think he got his ‘crazy’ by accident.
I’m worried, Finn. Just because he’s a little peculiar… that doesn’t mean he’s some nutcase.
They aren’t saying that at all, Annie. They are just as concerned as we are and want to make sure he’s ready for college. Nothing about that letter even insinuates they think he’s crazy.
You’re exactly right, which is why we should have him see someone and work out the issues.
He’s not going to want to do this. We should’t force him to do something he doesn’t want to do, Finn. That’s cruel.
He has troubles, but always finds his way back to reality. It…It’s not that bad.