Characters: Finnick Odair, Johanna Mason
Additional Tags: references to forced prostitution, Drug Use, Alcohol Abuse/Alcoholism
Summary: Johanna's different this year. Finnick isn't sure he'd say he's her friend, but he cares enough to try to find out what's up.
Finnick hadn't exactly been keeping track, but when he sees Johanna at the start of the 69th he realizes it's been since the Victory Tour of the 68th since he's run into her at the Capitol.
She's sitting slouched between Blight and Phillips at the Parade, arms crossed over her chest, looking bored, when Finnick slips into his seat next to Mags. She disappears up to the Seven floor before he can catch her afterwards, and that is unusual enough to make him curious.
He doesn't have much time to think about it because as soon as the kids are up in their rooms he's off to prep, and then he sees her at the rowdy Games-debut party, and she's alone.
And that's new.
He escapes his date for the night long enough to intercept her at the bar, where she's leaning back on her elbows and watching, a glass of amber liquor dangling from her fingers.
He waves at the bartender, who nods, brings something over. Finnick leans back next to her, and she's watching him out of the corner of her eye, rolls her eyes when he says hello.
"On your own tonight?" he asks, as though it's an offhand comment.
She smirks, mirthlessly. "I'm out," she says. "Couldn't hack it."
Finnick's stomach clenches. "How'd you manage that?"
Her face darkens and she downs the rest of her drink. "Turns out, you send enough people to the hospital you end up off the list."
He knows the rumors, about games taken too far, heard clients speculating how best to handle her, whether it's worth it, whether she's worth the risk. "Huh," he says, leaves it. Doesn't ask what it cost her.
She turns away from him, gets another drink with a toothy smirk at the bartender. "Who're you with?" she asks him, once she's taken a long pull.
He points out tonight's date, and she laughs, sharp and short. "Looks like fun," she says, and he laughs.
"Go on," she says, after a short silence. "She'll be looking for you."
Finnick sighs, finishing his drink, and heads back out to the dance floor.
He doesn't see Johanna leave.
Finnick's days and nights start blurring into an exhausted haze the way they always do, and he loses track of Johanna because he loses track of everything. But the night after the Games start he sees her, because this time she's trying to be seen. The club is decked out in bloodbath-red, dancers on pillars gyrating in body paint that makes them look mutilated, filthy, some of them spinning knives and spears and swords, a mockery of the whole thing, and Finnick's been drinking all night to keep it from settling into his brain.
Johanna isn't bothering with alcohol tonight. When he sees her she's in the middle of a crowd of people, dancing pressed together, fingers and lips and tongues exploring, covered with a sheen of sweat, her pupils blown wide in the strobing lights. There's cameras flashing, and she's lucid enough to bare her teeth at them, before biting a mark into the sweep of a girl's neck. Finnick looks away.
He finishes early, sort of, with his client, and he doesn't want to go back to the Games complex, so on an impulse he heads back to the club.
Johanna's drinking now, sitting at the bar with space around her, and her eyes don't focus on him until she blinks, once, twice. "Finnick," she says, smiling stupidly. "You came back for me."
"Yeah," he says, sitting next to her, and he takes the drink out of her hand, downs it and savors the burn.
"Hey," she says, ineffectual. "That was mine."
"What the fuck, Jo," he says, setting the glass down. She looks away, tears welling up in her eyes. He sighs. He's too tired for this.
"I'm taking you home," he says, and she shakes her head hard, grabbing at his arm when she loses her balance.
"I have a room," she says, fumbles in her bra for a keycard. "Not going back there," she mutters. "Fucking shitshow."
He takes the card, looks at the name of the building, and gets the bartender to call them a cab.
Johanna leans against him the whole way, and he thinks she's fallen asleep until he looks down and sees her staring blankly out the window. She doesn't say anything until they're in the hotel room she's clearly been staying in for a while. It's a mess, clothes on the floor, a half-eaten meal on a table in the corner, half-empty bottles behind it. She goes for the bottle, and he grabs her wrist, sick of whatever this is, disgusted by her, showing off when she could stay out of sight.
"What the fuck, Jo," he says, lets his voice go hard. "Why're you pulling this shit?"
She jerks her hand back, and he lets her. She crawls onto the bed, sits leaning against the headboard. Lets her head fall back against the wood, once, twice, then stays still.
"What do you care?" she asks, and he'd like it better if she sounded angry, instead of tired and hopeless and fucked up, slurring the words a little.
Especially since there's not really an answer to that. "You're a fucking mess," he says, and she smiles at that. "I don't want you hurting yourself."
At that she dissolves into laughter, which quickly turns hysterical and dissolves into sobs, doubling her over, her hair falling over her face, which is buried in her hands.
Finnick is way too tired for this. He sits down next to her and pulls her toward him, and she clings, burying her face in his chest, getting tears and snot all over the thin silk shirt he's wearing. He has the momentary thought that his stylist is going to kill him, dismisses it as irrelevant.
She winds down, finally, sits up a little, though she doesn't pull away. "He killed all of them," she says, dully, muffled through her tears. "When I got back last time, ashes were still warm."
It takes Finnick a minute to process what she's saying. "Oh, shit," he hisses out, between clenched teeth, when he gets it. "Jo, shit, I'm so sorry."
She dissolves into tears again at that, slowing finally to hiccuping sobs and then long shaky breaths. "I'm a fuckup," she says finally, the sarcastic edge back. "So he burned my house down, killed my family, and told me I was done."
"But then..." Finnick shouldn't ask, but if he leaves it he's not going to get another chance. "Why--" he waves an arm, because he doesn't know what to say.
"They can't have me anymore," Johanna says, and she smirks again, and it's a pale imitation of pleasure. "Let them see what they're missing." Finnick sighs. "Besides," she says, and she's drifting toward sleepiness now. "'s fun. I got off like four times." She snuggles closer to him, a hand dropping to his lap. "We could fuck if you want," she says. "I bet I'm better than whoever you were with before."
Finnick stares at the ceiling. "No," he says. "Jo, I'm fucking exhausted." She moves her hand, but stays close.
"Stay," she says, and she's mostly dropped the smirk. "I..." she rolls away to face the wall, curls up. "I don't wanna wake up alone."
"Johanna..." Finnick hesitates.
"Please," she says, still not looking at him.
He takes a breath, in, out. It's a bed, and at this point he's going to pass out pretty quick once he's horizontal. What could it hurt?
"Okay," he says. "But sleep, Johanna."
She doesn't say anything, still curled on her side facing the wall. He sighs, slides down under the covers. When he's closed his eyes he feels her roll toward him, tuck herself into his side, and he lets her rest her head on his chest, puts an arm around her still-too-hot back, and falls asleep.