|katniss everdeen - au, jaha (burningwings) wrote in the100,|
@ 2016-04-22 21:36:00
|Entry tags:||!log/thread, finnick odair, katniss everdeen|
WHO: Katniss & Finnick
WHAT: smoothing over the post-Storybrooke awkwardness.
WHEN: ehh, let's just say it's today-ish.
WHERE: out in the woods.
WARNINGS: allusions to the lack of consent involved in Storybrooke relationships. Mentions of Hunger Games stuff too, esp. Finnick's past.
Things were slowly going back to normal. Katniss was returning to her old hunting routines, which, aside from Peeta, was the thing she’d missed most about Mt. Weather. It was strange to remember her time in the florist’s shop, especially how many times she’d arranged roses into bouquets without even flinching at the scent.
Of course, that wasn’t the only weird thing that had happened in Storybrooke, and it wasn’t the weirdest. She and Finnick had been extremely awkward around each other since they’d gotten back. She just didn’t know how to talk to him, didn’t know how to broach the conversation they probably needed to have, and also didn’t want to confuse or upset Peeta. If working through the details of Storybrooke had been difficult for her, they’d been even harder on him.
She also really didn’t want to talk to Annie, who always seemed to be somewhere near Finnick. It wasn’t her fault she’d been married to Peeta, had a family with him, but Katniss still couldn’t help hating her a little bit for it. Even with that aside, she didn’t want to talk about being married to Finnick in front of Annie, which meant she was avoiding the subject, and avoiding Finnick. He seemed to be doing the same thing, though whether that was because it was what he wanted or because he was taking the cue from her, it was hard to tell.
But once they had both started to go out hunting and fishing again, there had been a few more times when they’d run into each other, either on the way in or out, with neither of their spouses present. It made Katniss feel so awkward that after it happened a few times she just couldn’t stand it anymore.
Finally one morning, instead of walking past him and heading out the door, she stopped and looked at him. “Hey, we should-- probably--” No, she didn’t want to lead in with that. “Do you want to go fishing again sometime? I mean-- today, if you want.”
He tried to give Peeta and Katniss their peace. He suspected this had to have been harder on them than it had been on him and Annie. Their relationship was just so much newer, while his and Annie’s had endured plenty. Finnick knew, in a deep-set way, that what he and Annie had was unique and lasting. Peeta and Katniss were still learning what their relationship was.
But he’d needed to be close to Annie anyway. It reassured him, made him feel more grounded, and they’d been playing “Real or not real?” quite a bit still. He was trying to be gentle with her because of that, a little slower to touch her than what he would have been normally. He just didn’t want to confuse her.
And that was largely the approach he’d decided to take with Peeta and Katniss too. He didn’t know how either of them felt particularly about what had happened. He suspected that Peeta needed some clarifying on the reality of things, too, and he suspected that Katniss hadn’t liked the way he had seen her. And so, he didn’t want to push things.
He should have been glad that Annie had been with someone he knew was kind and knew would never hurt her, but it was hard for this chasm to exist between them and the people he considered their closest friends. He’d been through a lot with Katniss, and he’d never not known how to act around her. But then, he never would have thought that he’d essentially rape her either. He’d had nightmares since they’d gotten back of old times in the Capitol. He just couldn’t shake them. It’d been a long time since he’d had dreams like that, and he woke up in pain from them most nights, trying to hide that from Annie, because he didn’t want to provide her with any extra stress.
So, he was surprised when Katniss approached him -- and happy and nervous at the same time too.
“If that’s okay with you,” he offered back.
“Obviously, or I wouldn’t be asking.” Katniss had gone from being too polite to being too snappy, in about two seconds. She sighed, and looked down at the bow in her hand. “Look, Finnick, we’ve got to figure this out sometime. It’s going to be weird to talk about, but it’s weird not talking to you at all, so… I want you to come with me. Whenever you’re up for it.”
Was it weird that she missed him? Not as her husband, or lover, or anything like that, but as her friend. Even in Storybrooke he’d been her friend, her best friend. It had always been easy to talk to him, and being so close to him for two and a half weeks should have made that easier, not harder. But there had been romance and sex involved (kind of), and that always seemed to make things really damn complicated.
The snappy response reminded him so much of when they had first met -- it had some sting to it at first, but he almost immediately reminded himself that this was a defense mechanism for her. It was the same as when he smiled at people that he hated.
All the same, it was a relief when she took that wall down; he had to give her credit. He was sure that wasn’t easy. And if she was putting herself out there, was taking this risk, he wasn’t going to let it all be for nothing.
“Right,” Finnick said. “Let’s go.”
Katniss would have understood if he wasn’t ready to do this right now, but she was relieved when he said yes. A moment later she realized that meant she was going to have to figure out how to actually have this conversation, and that was daunting. But she had decided to do this, so she nodded, and led the way out the door.
She waited until they were a few minutes into the hike into the woods before she spoke again. “Are you okay?” she started with, and belatedly added, “You and Annie?”
“Yes, we’ve been okay,” Finnick answered. He thought that was the truth. It was hard. But they were used to dealing with hard -- they knew how to handle it to an extent. Even when Annie had been scared and overwhelmed when they had come in Storybrooke, she had known to ask for him and known what to ask him.
“The baby’s all right,” Finnick added. “And Annie picked up some sign language while we there, so I think she’s enjoying that.”
She had always liked communicating to him in this silent sort of way, and now she had a literal language at her fingertips.
He paused, and then bounced the question back at her.
“You and Peeta?”
“We’re okay.” Katniss wasn’t ready, quite yet, to go into detail about her relationship. That wasn’t really how she’d intended the question, but because she definitely wasn’t going to work up the ability to have a conversation with Annie about this, she’d felt somewhat obligated to at least ask Finnick how she was doing.
But she did, on some level, want to know that they were okay - together. She didn’t like the idea of messing that up for them, and she imagined on some level that Finnick (and possibly Annie) felt the same way about her and Peeta.
She looked away, out into the woods, which made it a little easier to be more vulnerable. “We were already a little insecure about each other, and this… didn’t help. But I think it also made it pretty obvious, to me, that I’m supposed to be with him.”
She glanced back over at him, and added a little more lightly - because she knew it wasn’t the real reason - but still relatively seriously, “You’re not acting weird around me because you’re in love with me now, right? Because I already had a friend like that, and I really don’t need another one.”
The announcement that this had strained them came as no surprise, although he was heartened to hear that it at least had emphasized that they were supposed to be together. He had trouble imagining that anyone had come out of this lightly -- although it did seem as if some people had forgotten about the event entirely. Maybe there was a kind of blessing in that, but Finnick found the idea of his memories -- the one thing he at least could usually rely on -- being stripped away as disconcerting. He knew he had an ability to withstand bad memories that a lot of people around him didn’t, but that made him prefer to be able to remember what had happened to him rather than to be left wondering, letting his imagination spool out infinite possibilities.
When she turned to look at him, asking if he had fallen in love with her, he paused. He knew what his response would have normally been -- a Capitol smile with paired with a reassurance that he most certainly had been in love with her for a long time. But even the joke tasted bitter in his mouth.
So, he decided to trade in the truth.
“I’m just sorry for any pain I caused you,” Finnick answered, knowing that barely even scratched the surface.
When he didn’t respond to the joke, Katniss’ humor deflated entirely. She looked over at him, frowning. “What are you talking about?”
There was plenty of pain to go around, but all of it was because of the magic that had messed with their heads. None of it was Finnick’s fault. There had been difficulty between them, sure, but they hadn’t been in their right minds, and they’d resolved it, anyhow.
It was harder when she was more focused on him, and he wanted to skirt from underneath that frown, recede back into the smile and humor. But she, unfortunately, had the uncanny ability to see right through that now, and he suspected that if he pulled it out, it would only piss her off.
“I just,” Finnick said a touch nervously. “I know things happened there that you wouldn’t have wanted to happen, so I’m sorry.”
“Finnick,” she began, and then paused, not sure how to go about saying this without making both of them really uncomfortable. “Look, it wasn’t your fault. The magic made me think I was with you. You made a point not to do anything if I didn’t want it, but -- sometimes I thought I did. That’s all.”
She lifted a hand to run through her hair. And as an afterthought, she added, “I know it wasn’t what you wanted, either. And -- if that’s bothering you, then I’m sorry, too.”
He knew she wouldn’t necessarily lie to him, but he still felt conflicted. He had felt as close to normal as he would ever be in that world, but it wasn’t as if they really were. They had brought aspects of their personality in with them, and even if he hadn’t slept with anyone but “Katrina” in that world, he still felt like had brought all the dirty bits of his past in with him. He just didn’t have a normal view on sex, and they all knew that. And so he felt bad that he somehow -- even if he hadn’t wanted to -- exposed Katniss to that in some way.
And what if it was because of all that he -- Finn -- hadn’t been able to tell what Katrina did or didn’t want to begin with?
So he knew, that wasn’t all. But he didn’t know how else to tell her that.
Katniss stared at him, waiting for him to say something else. She felt like that was all she had been doing in the aftermath of this. Waiting for Peeta to sort through what was real and what wasn’t. Waiting for Finnick to say something. It was exhausting.
“You didn’t cause me any pain,” she continued, just to emphasize the point. “None of what happened in Storybrooke was what I wanted, but -- it would have been worse if it had been someone else. A complete stranger, who might not have actually cared about me at all, or… Gale. That would have been a mess.”
She turned and started walking again, tired of holding still. “So if you’ve been beating yourself up over hurting me, you can stop now.”
It was still odd for him, in a way, to know how to react to how brash Katniss could be. It was that trait he admired in her -- and the same that he had admired in Johanna. But it wasn’t as if he and Johanna had ever seen had discussions like this, so to say. They’d seen each other at their worst, but they’d also just been reinforcing the other’s perceived image: hers that she was angry and mean, his that he was the flirt and the playboy.
“Are we okay then?” he asked, half running to catch up with her until he was standing beside her. “Are there things that you want to talk about?”
“I just want things to go back to the way they were.” Katniss had really been in a good place before magic had turned her life upside down for a few weeks. She and Peeta had been happy and close and more comfortable with each other than they’d ever been. She wanted that back.
And she wanted her normal friendship with Finnick back, too, or something close to it. “I don’t want this to be awkward. I want to be able to talk to you. You’re probably my best friend now that everything’s gotten complicated with Gale.”
It was both a surprise and not when she said those last few words. Of course he knew how close they had gotten. It had been devastating for him when she had forgotten him, even if that hadn’t been for an incredibly long amount of time. But, as it he had recounted to Annie, Katniss had saved his life and he had come to depend upon her friendship.
“I want this to be normal too,” Finnick said quietly. He let his arm brush gently against hers, his fingers against her arm just for a moment -- the first time they’d actually touched since everything had untangled itself and they’d found themselves back in Mount Weather.
Katniss leaned into it just a little, comforted by the contact. It really hadn’t been horrible, being married to him; in a lot of ways, the closeness of their friendship had been similar, they’d just put a different label on it. That was the part that hadn’t really worked. She wasn’t in love with him, she didn’t want to sleep with him, but she still liked being near him and was much more comfortable being tactile with him than she was with most people. Mostly because she had always been completely, one hundred percent sure that it was just comfort and platonic affection. For as long as they’d known each other, she and Finnick had always been in love with other people.
“It was really awful,” she said after a moment, “When all my relationship problems were with you and I didn’t have you to talk to about it. That was probably the worst part.”
“Well, I’m glad that we’re back to normal so you have someone to talk about relationship problems with,” Finnick couldn’t resist teasing.
All the same, he understood what she meant. Peeta and Annie had been missing from their lives in a glaring way. But by switching roles, they, in a certain light, had been missing from each other too. They were a good support system for each other, and a lot of that had become more precariously balanced with the strange way they had chosen to develop their relationship.
“Of course, the worst part about the whole thing was that I shaved my legs,” Katniss said, making a face. If he could make light of it, then she could, too. But it really was bothering her, although by now, thankfully, she’d been back to normal as soon as they’d returned to Mt. Weather. It probably would have been back to normal by now anyway, because shaving didn’t last quite as long - and wasn’t nearly as painful - as the waxing that the Capitol’s prep teams always insisted upon doing.
She had never understood what they had against body hair, and even now, having spent time as Katrina, she still didn’t get it. She wasn’t sure Katrina had really understood it either, had only done it because it was normal and expected of her, especially in a relationship. “I don’t know why she - or I - even bothered.”
Finnick couldn’t help but burst out laughing when she decreed that the worst thing about being in a parallel universe where they had been mismatched with each other was that she had shaved.
Of course, being a Capitol sex toy, he was no stranger to being frequently waxed himself.
“What, would you have preferred a styling team to do it?” Finnick teased.
Katniss raised her eyebrows at him, but she was still smiling. He of all people had to know all the implications that came along with the way the Capitol plucked the tributes as if they were taking the feathers off a turkey -- although, the boys had always been able to keep more body hair than the girls.
“No,” she said, “Definitely not.”
She paused, and then shook her head. “I just feel like...being Katrina was like being an entirely different person. She was similar to me, but I might as well have just been...living inside another person's mind for a couple of weeks.”
“I guess if I didn’t grow any chest hair there, that dream is dead,” Finnick said faux woefully, peering playfully down his own shirt. They’d done a lot of things to him after he’d first shown up in the Capitol. And being 15 and naive and stupid, he hadn’t paid attention. He knew, at some point, they’d done something to make sure he couldn’t have children (which had obviously worn off or been changed in Thirteen). But he had a feeling he’d never really know the extent to which the Capitol had abducted his body. He’d had his legs waxed an unseemly amount, depending on the whims of his clientele.
“You don’t think Finn and Katrina are a possibility of who we could have been?” Finnick asked thoughtfully. That was more how he’d thought of, but then, he was easily swayed into having a positive opinion of anything that made him seem more normally. So, of course, no, he didn’t really want a world where he and Annie weren’t together, and he and Katniss mistakenly were. But a world where he hadn’t been forced to sleep with loads of people he hadn’t wanted to? That was a world that he had to at least consider the benefits of.
“That must be why she liked Peter better,” Katniss joked, “Because he had all that nice scruff.”
It was intended to be funny, but it was also a little bit true. If not for the fact that he’d looked tired and worn down, the unshaven look really would have suited Peeta’s handsome face. Katniss just really, really preferred any natural look over the types of modifications that had been so popular in the Capitol. She didn’t understand why people felt such a need to change the way they looked, whether subtly or drastically.
She hadn’t really thought about Storybrooke from the perspective Finnick was suggesting, so she took a few moments to think about it. “Maybe,” she said, after a while. She hesitated again before adding, “I think… their relationship was a lot like the one I might have ended up having with Gale. If I’d chosen him.”
Finnick looked over at her and raised his eyebrows. It was still amusing (despite kind of having slept with her?) when Katniss made anything that was vaguely sexual.
He wasn’t sure exactly what to say, though, when she added that she thought “their” relationship might have been similar to hers and Gale’s.
“You love Peeta in a different way than you love us,” Finnick affirmed gently; he was certain she knew that by now. He reached out to squeeze her arm lightly.
“You’re my friends,” Katniss clarified, a little uncomfortably. “And I probably would have been hung up on him, still, but… maybe in a different way. That’s what I meant.”
She hadn’t been quite as attracted to Peeta, back at the time in her life when she’d thought that she wanted to make things work with Gale, but she’d still had difficulty getting him out of her mind. It was still fairly vivid in her memory. Gale had been on her mother’s table, finally passed out after being treated for the wounds on his back from being whipped, and that had been all Katniss could think about. Until Peeta walked in, and then she’d had to forcibly remind herself that she had chosen Gale.
Obviously that hadn’t lasted long. But it might have lasted a little longer, or a lot longer, if not for the Quell.
“You ever think about…” She paused. “How if some of the worst things in your life hadn’t happened, some of the best things wouldn’t have, either? Like you and Annie?”
He didn’t miss that he’d made her a little uncomfortable, so he didn’t press that point -- especially not right now.
Her next question though -- he couldn’t help but laugh. Did he ever wonder about how the bad things in his life were connected to Annie? Constantly.
“Of course,” he answered, smiling at her -- although it was more the parody of his smile than anything; he still couldn’t control that all the time. As much as he wanted to say that everything he had done in the Capitol was an act, it had become hard, over the years, to keep the two Finnicks from bleeding into one another.
He loved Annie, and he would never want a world without her, but that didn’t excuse the fact that they, and their relationship, were intricately tied to the Hunger Games, her PSTD, and the way he had been sold afterward. One of the reasons they worked so well was because they could see beyond the images the Capitol had tried to paint of them. Annie had been able to see how much pain he was in despite the smiles, and he had been to understand that she wasn’t crazy.
“You’d think I’d want a life without the Games and the war,” Katniss said, letting out a breath. “But… I don’t. I don’t want any part of that. I want to leave it all behind me.” She glanced over at him. “Except the parts - the people - that I already had.”
It wasn’t just about Peeta. Most of it was, but not all of it. There were subtler reasons that she couldn’t have explained to anyone, about how Katrina had felt about her place in her family, in society, in the world as a whole that had, in smaller ways, made her miserable. Things she hadn’t necessarily noticed, but Katniss was able to see them in retrospect. Apparently a “normal” life wasn’t all it was cracked up to be, although she'd known that, from seeing the Citizens in the Capitol.
But it was mostly about Peeta.
Finnick couldn’t say the same, but then, he and Katniss had grown up in ways that were bad in very different ways. His life had always been entangled with the games. There was no part of him that wasn’t, in some way, entwined with the Hunger Games. Raised by a victor. Career. Victor. Whore. And then the games had brought him Annie. And then, of course, he’d died before he and Annie had the opportunity to live out their love in the fullest sense of the word.
So, yes. If he could have had a “normal” world where he still had Annie, he would have taken it in a breath. There were plenty of other relationships that he would have wanted to maintain: Mags, Katniss, Jo. But the trappings that had brought them all into his life, he could have done without. So, on that page, he did understand a bit better what she was saying.
“Well, it seems like we’re likely to keep everything as is anyway,” Finnick said.
“For now,” Katniss said. “Until the next time magic gets out of control and messes with our heads again.”
It was just a realistic calculation of the future. More and more lately, the supernatural powers at work around them seemed to be messing things up. First they’d made her younger. Then they’d made Finnick think he was in the Capitol, and Annie was one of his clients. Then they’d all gone to Storybrooke.
And Katniss couldn’t help wondering, what next?
It wasn an uncomfortable truth, and one that Finnick wasn’t dealing with well -- particularly because he’d been messed around with magic so many times here, and every single time, he’d been able unable to do anything to help himself. The lack of control was nerve rattling for him, and he didn’t like being reminded of it.
So, he just hummed quietly without saying anything in particular, because what was there to say?