Ocean Breeze and Evergreens
“This is stupid,”
Johanna growls from the bathtub as fingers run through her damp hair. Katniss, Finnick, and the others had taken off to The Capital almost two weeks ago. Since then she had spend nights in the hospital, her only visitors being Buttercup, who often wondered into her room, and Annie Cresta.
At first Johanna had been shocked to see Annie sitting by her bed when she woke up from a drug-induced sleep. Since Finnick left, Annie had been completely alone. No one else in 13 seemed to want anything to do with “Crazy Cresta.” Johanna figured that she would have to watch over Annie for Finnick, she would do that for him. But also because she was lonely too. The people in 13 cared for Annie Cresta like they cared for her.
So when Annie stated that she wanted help to get better for Finnick, Johanna had been taken back. Annie wanted to try to overcome her PTSD, become more independent. Become someone worthy of Finnick’s love. Johanna at the time of course laughed at her and said that nothing would make Finnick love her any less. But Annie insisted that she wanted to do this for him, herself, and their unborn child that she had told Johanna about as soon as she found out herself.
And of course Annie Cresta wanted to repay that debt, by aiding Johanna in getting over her fear of water. Johanna was terrified of not only having a panic attack again, but Annie was pregnant, there was an unborn child to be concerned about too.
Katniss had been helping her before she left, nights of clawing at Katniss’s arms as they stood in the shower had done little to help her. Katniss could distract her sure, but Johanna couldn’t stand being under the water for too long, no mater how many times Katniss kissed her.
Annie’s theories were different, still water instead of a shower was the first thing she changed. Baths were easier, Johanna found, there wasn’t the constant pour of water down her back, the constant burning against her skin.
“I’m sure Katniss wouldn’t mind,” Annie teased lightly, of course she would pick up a thing or two from spending so much time with Johanna. The teasing tone was something only Johanna got from her, it made Annie seem more normal, less messed up from the Games.
“I know your not sassing me Cresta.” Johanna growled as Annie poured the cup of water over her head to rinse the shampoo out. Johanna flinched as the water hit her head, biting down on her lower lip to prevent the whimpers that threatened to escape her throat. Annie hummed some tune from District 4 as she filled the cup again, this time allowing the water to hit her hand instead of directly on top of the other girl’s head, guiding the water through blonde haired that was growing in black at the roots.
The Capital bleached her hair blonde before their first promo, her stylist team looked like they were horrified to do it. Johanna didn’t hold it against them too much, they were like many other people in The Capital, confused and stupid. Confused as to why Johanna was restrained as they did it and stupid because they never questioned why Snow ordered it to be done. Her stylists actually liked her black hair, hated her for a week when she streaked it red after her family was killed.
“We need to trim your bangs,” Annie commented brushing the wet locks out of Johanna’s face, she sat at the side of the tube with her bare feet in the water. “They’re getting long.”
Annie smiled as she finished rinsing Johanna’s hair. Swinging her feet out of the water and standing up. “Are you OK to finish up?”
Annie smiled and walked out, leaving the door open just in case. Since Finnick left Johanna had been taking baths in the room he shared with Annie. The doctors had even discussed moving her in with Annie, only to reframe since they thought Annie and herself were too unstable together.
The best they got were long visits during the day with a guard checking in on them every half-hour. Which only made Johanna laugh since if she wanted to kill Annie, she would be dead in way under a half-hour.
Johanna finished washing quickly and got out of the tub, drying herself before she changed into her uniform and walked out into the main room.
They became inseparable after a while. When Johanna trained, Annie was there. When Annie had an appointment with her head doctor, Johanna was just outside the door. They had started making their appointments one-after-the-other. They talked about their loves being at war and they were left here.
When Annie had an episode, Johanna was the only person who could bring her back to reality. The only person who could stop Annie during her freak out sessions. After Finnick she was the only person in 13 to be able to make Annie feel safe. In return for her helping her try to overcome her fear she protected Annie.
“Do you know if it’s a girl or boy?” Johanna asked seemingly interested, she couldn’t remember how many months Annie was pregnant.
“I find out later this week,” Annie smiled as they ate lunch, the table seemed too empty without Finnick or the others. “I hope Finnick will come back alright,”
“Katniss too,” Annie added with a gentle smile in Johanna’s direction, “So, a cabin in 7?”
“Where did you hear that?” Johanna blushed as she turned away.
“You talk in your sleep sometimes,” Annie commented with a giggle, one the occasions they did allow Annie to stay in the hospital with Johanna they slept side by side in the hospital bed. Not in a romantic way like they would with Finnick or Katniss, but after sharing a bed with someone for so long, and empty bed is unsettling, “It’s kinda cute.”
“Do I have to tell your husband your hitting on me?” Johanna smirked and Annie rolled her eyes.
“Only if I can tell Katniss you were letting me.”
“You and I have to stop spending so much time together.” Johanna joked lightly. Annie laughed as well.
Johanna almost can’t believe it when Coin asks her to go on a mission for them.
“I need you to escort these healers to The Capital,” Coin starts slowly, “You and two other soldiers.”
Johanna’s puzzled, but doesn’t refuse, after all she felt like she fucked up so many times that if this war was to end, she had to do something to fell like she at least tried to help the rebellion. So she accepts the job.
The two other soldiers are weaker then she is, she’s still confused as to why Coin asked her to do this. Annie sees her off, pure concern on her face.
“You have to promise to come back,” Annie starts as she pulls the taller girl into a hug, “I don’t know what she wants you to do, but if you could make sure Finnick gets home safely, I’ll name our first son after you.”
“What?” Johanna almost laughs, but Annie looked sincere about it.
“I kinda like the name ‘Mason’, it’s a strong name. After all, you’re the one that brought me and Finnick together.” Annie smiled, “Finnick told me the day he told me about you. He admired you for standing up to the Capital. At first he though it was stupid of you and how you loosing your family was the ultimate punishment for betraying the Capital. But you still had fire in you, he could see it when you mentored. You never gave up fighting the Capital, so he wanted to fight too.”
“I didn’t know.” Johanna admitted,
“He told me that if you could do all you have and still want to fight for something you believed in, then he would fight so there could be an ‘us’ someday.” Annie smiled and pulled away from the long hug, “Take this with you.”
“What is it?” Johanna asks as Annie slips a small driftwood piece in Johanna’s hand, its in the shape of a dolphin.
“In District 4 we give these charms to the fishermen, it’s to make sure they get back to shore safely. The elders always told stories about how dolphins saved the lives of many fishermen who were lost at sea and got them home safely.” Annie smiled as she closed Johanna’s fingers around the charm and held her hand with both her own, “It’s to protect you from the water.”
Johanna doesn’t know what to say, next to the bundle of pine needles it was the most sentimental thing Johanna owned.
“I’ll bring Finnick back,” Johanna nods, “And come back with him.”
Annie nods with a watery smile,
“So you’re having a boy?” Johanna grins, “Finnick’ll love it.”
They say their final good-byes before Johanna is taken aboard the craft filled with young healers. She holds the charm and brings it to her nose. It smells like the ocean, Protected. She fishes the bundle Katniss gave her out of her pocket and does the same thing. Evergreens, pine. Home.
“Johanna?” Finnick’s voice sound surprised as a crawls away from the lizard mutts.
“Dammit Odair, your wife will have my head if you die.” Johanna comments with a smirk as the other two soldiers stand behind her with guns raised in case more mutts came after them. “Lets go, Coin will kill me if she found out we came for you.”
“Johanna,” Johanna turns to see Katniss keeping pace next to her, “How did you?”
“Beetee helped, kinda, he knew where you guys were supposed to be, besides I couldn’t let you have all the fun.” Johanna flashed her a signature smirk.
“But how did you...you....the water”
“It still bothers me” Johanna started, “But I had help...Annie actually had been helping me since you left. I wanted to get better...even a little bit for you.”
“If we weren’t in a war-zone I’d kiss you.”
“If we weren’t in a war-zone,” Johanna started, “I’d be doing a lot more then just kissing you.”
Johanna can just make out Katniss’s red face as the embarrassed girl turns away with a snort.
“PRIM” Katniss watches Prim run to try to aid one of the injured medics. More parachutes are falling,
“Katniss-” Prim starts as Johanna runs forward easily picks up the girl and tries to get away as the parachutes fall.
She couldn’t let Prim die, she meant too much to Katniss. Her legs had moved on their own, and now they burned. Hands are frantically hitting her legs as she looks up to see Prim trying to treat her wounds.
“What the hell happened?” Johanna asks as she tries to stand back up, had they fallen?
“It looks like a cellar?” Prim guessed as they looked up only to see fire and pieces of the ceiling fallen in. “It must have been under where the bomb went off.”
“Lets get out of here.” Johanna decided as she pushed herself up and steadied herself before grabbing Prim. They run through the maze that lay under The Capital.
They had to walk back to 13, the maze let out too far from the aircrafts for them to meet up with the others, so they spent the time going between rebel camps headed back. Johanna usually carrying Prim piggy back in exchange for Prim healing her burns from the bomb fires.
“Johanna,” She hears a familiar voice as they make their way to the entrance to the underground district, it’s Annie. She runs over and pulls the girl into a hug, “I thought you were dead.”
“You and Prim,” Annie starts, “Katniss thought she lost both of you, they went on their way to kill President Snow now. Johanna, she didn’t even speak for days.”
Johanna felt her chest tighten, of course Katniss would think they were dead. What else would you think if you saw two people get caught in an explosion. Johanna looks down and Prim looks just as shocked and concerned as she did.
“When’s the next craft to the Capital?”
The arrive just in time to see Coin fall from the balcony, to see Katniss get pulled away and labeled “Mentally Disoriented”
They don’t let Johanna or Prim see her for almost three days. So they do the very Johanna thing and wait at the doorway with Katniss’s mom, who is more then overjoyed to see Prim alive. She even looked happy to see Johanna. Katniss had told her family about them, her mother approved almost instantly.
Prim gets to see Katniss first, they make Johanna wait longer since she wasn’t family. Finnick and Annie stopped by constantly to check up on her, make sure she wasn’t suffering from what they affectionately called, “Katniss-withdrawal”
“I was thinking Jo,” Finnick stars as they sit in the waiting room, “I like the name ‘Mason’ too.”
“Annie told you about our deal” Johanna smirked, “I didn’t think she was serious.”
“Annie was very serious.” Finnick laughed, “You know, she hasn’t had as many of her freak outs lately, she said it was because you and her worked together while me and Katniss were gone.”
“So you’re like...officially friends now?” Finnick’s smile grew wider with every world.
“It’s more like sisterly affection, but yeah, I guess you could say that.” Johanna smiled back.
Seven days, Johanna counted, Seven days they made her wait until they let her see Katniss. As soon as they said Johanna could go see her she raced into the room, causing Katniss to jump when she entered.
“It’s been too long Brainless.” Johanna commented as she walked to the side of the hospital bed, “Miss me?”
Instead of responding she felt the younger girl grab the collar of her shirt and pull her down for a rough kiss.
“I thought you were dead.” Katniss admitted before Johanna reconnected their lips, it had been far too long she they last saw each other, last felt each other’s touch, last kissed each other.
They settle down in District 7 on the boarder close to 4. Where the smell of the ocean mixes with the evergreen trees. Katniss doesn’t ask why Johanna picked this spot, and doesn’t question why there is a driftwood dolphin keeping the bundle of pine company on the side table. They visit Finnick and Annie often. They try to forget what the war did to them.
But Johanna still holds on to the small charm when she goes near water.
And Katniss still calls Prim and her mom at least once a day.
Annie still has bad days, just not as often as before.
Finnick still jumps at anything that even somewhat sounds like a lizard mutt.
All healing near the smell of the ocean breeze mixed with the comfortable smell of evergreens.