She closes her eyes because it’s supposed to be better that way. With her eyes closed, she can be anywhere. Or anything. Or anyone. More specifically, she can be anyone but herself—anyone but this foolish semblance of a girl standing nude at an ocean shoreline with her toes clenched like claws into the sand.
She hears the crash of waves before she feels it. It’s a terrifying sound —a massive booming echo that resonates like bricks colliding into each other.
It sounds as if it could sweep her away –or even worse, sweep her into its current—and she tenses before it makes contact.
Her body is rigid —frozen in fear— as the collapse of waves ram against the shoreline and tickle her ankles (wiping her feet clean of sand and grime).
Cold remnants of water splatter against her calves, specks just barely reaching her shins, but she feels it everywhere—all over.
She can’t breathe. The water is weighing her down, filling her up, pulling her under. She wants to fight or scream or resist somehow, but her eyes, her lungs, her nostrils, even her tongue feels singed from the saltiness of the water.
She thinks that maybe she’ll just drown this time (maybe they won’t pull her up in time; maybe they’ve realized they’ve gotten all they can out of her). She thinks that maybe she’s alright with that.
Just as she’s reigned herself to death by Capitol bastards, her body seems to resists on its own; she feels breath draw into her lungs and constrict, holding tight as she tries to defy the deep burn in the chest, and then she’s being pulled up.
“No,” she’s screaming. She can’t stop screaming. “No. Please, no. I don’t know anything,” she cries, bracing herself for the shocking pulse—for the nameless, faceless Capitol chattel to ignite the droplets of water that cling to her skin into an angry detonation of sparks. “Please; I don’t—” she breaks into sobs before she can even think to stop herself—before she can even restore a semblance of herself here, in the here and now, in the post-revolution restructure of District 4.
It’s instinct that makes her flinch away from the hand that suddenly cradles her shoulder blade from behind, but the hand doesn’t retreat, doesn’t move to hurt her or shock her, doesn’t move at all really—just holds steady, faintly grounding her.
She opens her eyes slowly, turning slightly to take in the woman before her—to take in the wild green doe eyes and strands of hair rustled by the salty District 4 breeze.
Annie always seems to look slightly more manic than Johanna feels; it’s how Johanna has come to know her— always on the verge of tears or mental collapse; always seeming to project the things Johanna feels but hardly reveals.
Annie doesn’t speak much nowadays (save for the soft, cooing murmurs to Finn Jr. that Johanna oft has to press her ear against walls to make sense of or the surprising hum of excitement she seems to put aside until Katniss visits) so Johanna’s not expecting Annie to vocalize this soft sense of comfort she’s offering. She’s not quite expecting Annie’s hand to trail down her arm either, so when the palm cupping her shoulder slides to her elbow, lathering a gentle exfoliant into her skin, Johanna flinches again, expecting the shock that comes after the soul drowning. Annie’s hands are surprisingly gentle, but, perhaps not all too surprising, because ever since Johanna relocated to District 4—to help with Finn Jr. (a favor to the departed Finnick, she still maintains)—she’s seen how Annie’s hands, albeit shaky even at their best, have consistently manage to soothe even a fussy fatherless infant of the revolution.
Johanna watches Annie carefully as she quietly works her fingers against Johanna’s skin, scrubbing in the sea scented soap and scrubbing away the grime the shortage of revolution cleansing wipes has accumulated.
Annie starts at her shoulders, thumbs dipping into the stark hollow dips at her collarbone as she makes her descent, caressing soapy residue into even the most intimate crevices of her body.
It’s not until Annie dips to cup ocean water in her palm that Johanna panics, her body trembling in anticipation of the terrifying rinse down.
Annie seems to sense her terror, cupping her cheek with one hand—green eyes staring deep into hers, beseeching her to stay right here with her and not retreat into her dark memories—while her other hand, cool and damp from its dip in the water, slowly strokes across her brow, washing her face with a gentle caress.
She dips her hand into the oncoming crash of waves again, one hand still on Johanna’s cheek, holding steadfast, the other coming up cupped with a good amount of salty water that she drips down Johanna’s neck, gently massaging out the soapy residue.
Johanna recoils, nails digging into the bony flesh of Annie’s wrists for purchase; she tries to escape, but Annie ceases her thrashing, her palm stronger but seemingly gentler on her cheek as she brings her back in the moment with a delicate confidence the water seems to bring out in her.
Annie trickles water across her chest next and when she cups her breast to catch the water from dripping too far, Johanna shivers, but finds it’s not out of the fear. Her breath pushes from her lungs in a gasp, Annie’s action sending a pleasurable throb through her; her nipple hardens beneath the firm touch, and Annie’s eyes widen in a silent question. Johanna doesn’t know the question—perhaps it’s one she’s never been asked—but apparently Annie finds the answer in her face or perhaps in her steadiness, because she cups her breast harder, fingers sinking into the supple swell.
She hasn’t had someone touch her like this in a while and even then, never so thoroughly. Annie flicks her thumb against her nipple, green eyes earnest as she does so, and Johanna almost doesn’t even realize the new stream of water that drips down her abdomen, far too caught up in the warmth tumbling in the pit of her stomach.
Annie slides her palm across her breast bone, fingers circling skin flushed from both the chill of the ocean water meeting the cool breeze and the heat that blooms from inside her. Her abdomen clenches as fingers dip into the spaces between her ribcage, arousal gripping static-like to her senses, making her feel both heavy and lightheaded. Johanna doesn’t let go of Annie’s wrists, even as shockingly dexterous fingers glide between her inner thighs, pressing without hesitation against her sensitive flesh.
Johanna doesn’t have words for the way her body seems to melt against Annie’s fingers. She doesn’t seem to remember any words except shallow gasps for breath and shuddering moans.
She’s not used to opening herself up like this—to feeling this raw with someone, but she supposes this whole post-revolution thing has left her feeling emotionally raw anyway.
Annie’s fingertips slide against her slit and catch against her clit; she trembles hard, eyes blown wide as she rests her forehead against Annie’s.
It’s pretty primal from then on, back arching as her hips strain to find a rhythm against the slip and slide of lithe digits.
She can feel the swimmer’s strength in the District 4 native’s arm—a trait Johanna once shamelessly admired in Finnick. Annie’s movements are quick and nimble, overwhelming Johanna’s every nerve-ending with an intense pleasure that rises in her stomach until she starts to sort of feel like the ocean is rising in her—fluid and overpowering—, her body collapsing in on itself and into Annie like the crash of waves against the shore.
She feels raw and warm as she convulses—fuzzy and refreshingly clean—and as Annie drizzles more water into her, washing her clean of the rest of soapy residue, she keeps her eyes open; it’s better that way—she can’t be anywhere but here.