It ended up being 90% backstory and 10% the actual prompt (#pulling a lora) but whatever, here it is! Hope your birthday weekend was great!
Victor Affairs must’ve gotten tired of trying to get ahold of Johanna by phone, because she comes out of the woods to find a Peacekeeper standing at attention on her porch, in full uniform.
She spent the night outside, because it’s late summer and hot still and her house feels like a trap–the whole District feels like a trap–but she can’t stomach going back to the Capitol yet so soon after the Games. Not these Games, anyway. So it’s the woods, sleeping out in the open and daring some wild animal to attack her, climbing trees and wading in the stream out in the hills and not talking to a single goddamn person for a while.
She only came back because she’s hungry, and she’s tired of being alone with her thoughts, and now there’s this guy to deal with.
“What’s up?” she asks, with a sharp grin like she’s on camera. The—man, probably, but who can tell with the uniforms and the helmets and everything—stands even straighter, and she can’t see his face but everything about him radiates disapproval. Not like she expected anything else.
He hands her an envelope. She glares at it, but it’s ordinary paper, not the heavy linen stuff the President uses. “Your presence is requested for a special event,” he says, and she was right, dude, and right again, disapproving. And here she’s even sober, being healthy, enjoying the wonderful outdoors of District Seven.
She raises an eyebrow, opens the envelope. Train schedule, prep schedule, event schedule, and she’s supposed to be leaving in an hour, so good thing she decided to come home when she did. “Okay,” she says. Snaps her heels together and salutes the guy just for fun. “I’ll be at the train station.”
“I will escort you.” Statement, not question.
“Alrighty then,” Johanna says. “Back in a bit.” She goes inside and closes the door, looks around. She’s got a half-unpacked bag from the Games thrown in a corner of her room and she kicks it open. Her feet leave dusty prints, and she smiles a little at the thought of her stylist’s face when he sees them. She doesn’t wear shoes around here much in summer, old habits from saving her work boots for, well, work. No work to do, so no shoes, so callouses that they’ll peel off with some weird-ass torture device so she can wear whatever monstrosities are popular this season.
It’s not like it matters what she packs. This is an official trip for official publicity for some shit she didn’t bother to read, so the stylists will be dressing her, they’re putting her up in the Games Complex, there’s enough shit there to withstand a Seven winter. So she tosses in a knife and her latest wood carving project, because Johanna’ll take any excuse to have some kind of weapon in her hand, adds a couple pairs of jeans and a sweatshirt, because the weird-ass Capitol weather and weird-ass climate control means she’ll probably want it.
She slings the bag over her shoulder and goes back out to the porch, where the Peacekeeper hasn’t moved.
“Come on, you,” she says. “Let’s go.”
On the way out, she considers telling Blight or somebody what’s going on, but fuck it, they’ll probably see her on TV before they realize she’s gone.
She checks the schedules while she’s on the train. A celebration, apparently, of the completion of a new concert hall, opening night, some kind of play about the pioneers who created the first Arenas and made the Hunger Games what they are today.
So of course, they invited a whole bunch of Victors. When she gets in she sees mostly the usual suspects for Capitol events. Cashmere and Gloss, Finnick and Theo from Four, Brutus making very serious gestures at Lyme, who looks like she’s trying not to laugh at him. They’re all dressed for the Capitol, and Johanna spends about four seconds feeling a little self-conscious in 3-day-old clothes and greasy hair and sandals. And then Finnick sees her and waves and she realizes he doesn’t care, and she doesn’t give a shit what the rest of them think, so she waves back, heads for the elevator.
One of these days she’s seriously going to strangle her stylist. Philia’s talking as soon as the door hisses open. “Oh good, you’re here. It’s an afternoon event,” she says, “and the new fall lines are just fabulous, just you wait.”
And then she turns around and sees Johanna and shrieks. Literally. Like a fucking child. “What did you do to your hair? And your skin—“ She stops, puts a had to her forehead, theatrical. “Get in the shower immediately, I have to call for backup.”
Two fucking hours later Johanna is finally dressed, and heads downstairs. The oddsmakers’ courtyard has turned into a circus, eager Capitol VIPs mingling with the Victors, and since so far as Johanna can tell none of the Victors are with clients, it’s a goddamn free-for-all. Cashmere and Gloss are back-to-back as though they’re fighting instead of signing autographs and giggling and trying to avoid the worst of the groping, and Finnick looks like he’s about ready to start stabbing people. Well, to her. To the Capitolites he probably looks perfectly charming, but she knows what it means when his smile shows that many teeth.
And the wolves are eyeing her now, too, and oh no, she is not dealing with drunken Ministers when she’s still fucking sober, so she saunters over to Finnick. “Hey babe,” she says, putting a hand on his chest. He looks at her for a second before his expression cracks from “dealing with these fucking people” to an actual smile.
“Hey,” he says, pulling her close, and the photographers’ flashes start going off. Johanna poses for them, and she just assumes Finnick’s doing the same, because her idiot stylist’s idea of an “afternoon event” involves the most ridiculous hat Johanna has seen…okay no, this is the Capitol, that’s not true. But definitely the most ridiculous hat she’s ever worn, and anyway she can’t see him because the brim is too wide and gets in her way.
And then he starts petting her, and it’s so ridiculous she has to laugh. “What are you doing?” she asks, reaching up to adjust the thing.
“Who, me?” he asks, mock-serious, still grinning.
She shakes her head. “Come on,” she says, punching him, “we’ve got a play to go see.”