Characters: Johanna Mason, Finnick Odair
Setting: The Capitol the night before training begins for the 74th Games
Summary: Johanna may be prickly on the outside, but she's a marshmallow on the inside, especially when it comes to her best friend. When he needs a pick-me-up, she knows what to do.
Author's note: This fic was written on the fly for kawuli, who wanted Johanna and Finnick being friends. Happy birthday, Kawuli! I hope you like it.
Finnick stares into space, focusing on nothing, as far as Johanna can tell. He’s been like that, not moving, hardly even blinking, since she entered the Victors’ Lounge ten minutes ago. She said hello, but he didn’t respond, too far inside himself to notice. There are teeth marks at the base of his throat and she can see a faint bluish shadow around his left wrist where the sleeve of his shirt has crept up his forearm.
Right. “Must’ve been a real winner this time, huh?” Her voice sounds too loud. Finnick doesn’t even twitch, and it’s starting to worry her. She’s seen him high, and she’s seen him drunk, but this is something different. Picking up one of Lyme’s magazines from the coffee table, Johanna lobs it at his chest, hitting him dead center. The magazine slides to the floor, landing atop the pair of dress shoes he’d kicked off sometime before she got there.
For a moment, she thinks he’s still too far gone for her slick paper missile to register, but the he sucks in a deep breath. He shudders, and then he focuses on her.
“No, I’m Gloss.” She strikes a pose straight from a men’s fashion magazine. “Can’t you tell?”
She knows he’s with her again when he snorts. Half a second later, Lyme’s poor magazine sails fluttering through the air at her head.
“I thought you went to bed.”
Johanna saunters over to where he’s still slumped on the couch. When she starts heading his way, she isn’t sure what she’s going to do or say, but by the time she takes the half dozen steps to reach him, she knows exactly what she wants to do, what Finnick needs. Taking hold of his hand, so much larger than her own, she hauls him up from the couch, a bemused smile on his handsome face.
“What are you doing?” he asks.
“We,” she responds around a smirk, “are going out.” Not letting go of his hand, she pulls him toward the door.
“It’s two in the morning,” Finnick protests, but she can tell his heart isn’t in it.
“It’s the Capitol, bonehead. What does that have to do with anything?” The Capitol never sleeps. And the Capitol loves its victors.
“Oh, like you never walk around barefoot at home?”
“There’s beach sand and saltwater at home, not concrete and broken glass.”
“Fine.” She throws his hand in the air and he laughs. “Get your shoes.”
Ten minutes later and they’re out on the street in front of the Training Center waiting for a cab. While they wait, they pose for pictures with and sign autographs for the Games aficionados camping out in the nearby park.
Fifteen minutes later still, their fans have gone back to the park, and the cab still hasn’t arrived, although a man does pull up near them in a convertible sports car. Leaving it running, he gets out and runs into the Training Center.
Smacking Finnick in the shoulder with the back of her hand, Johanna says, “Come on, Fish Boy.”
Finnick doesn’t move. “We’re stealing a car?”
She grins at him. “We’re going for a ride.” When he still doesn’t move, she sighs. “We’ll give it back.”
With a shrug, Finnick walks past her and opens the car door. “Are you driving or am I?”
“I am, of course.” As they drive away, Johanna hears shouting behind her. In the passenger seat of the two-seat car, Finnick turns and waves.
“That guy is pissed,” he remarks with a laugh. “Snow’s going to be pissed, too.”
“No doubt,” Johanna replies, enjoying the feel of the wind in her face and her hair, “but it’s Games Season. He’ll get over it.” Hopefully without deciding to punish anyone. During Games Season, victors can usually get away with just about anything. The guy whose car they’re borrowing will have bragging rights with all of his friends. “So long as we don’t wreck the car or kill anybody, we’ll be fine.”
For the next few hours, Johanna and Finnick drive around the heart of the Capitol, stopping for a drink here, some dancing there. They take turns driving. They stop at an exclusive restaurant for a bite to eat - on the house. Finnick wins a pile of money at a casino and gives it all as a tip to the young woman who brings the car to them from the garage. He never once mentions the bruises or the teeth marks or what led to him hiding out in the Victors’ Lounge, but the haunted and hunted look leaves his eyes, which is all Johanna really wants.
Just as the rising sun begins to lighten the sky, taking over from the artificial lights of the Capitol, Johanna pulls up in front of the Training Center.
“Thanks, Jo.” Finnick leans over and plants a kiss on her cheek.
“Don’t thank me. I needed to get out of this place for a few and I just didn’t want to be alone.”
He gives her a lopsided grin, something she doubts anyone in this damned city has ever seen. “I know, but thanks all the same.”