WHO: Annie and Finnick WHAT: Finnick having nightmares are Storybrooke WHEN: ehh, let's just say it's today-ish. WHERE: Their room, gym WARNINGS: Mentions of Hunger Games stuff too, esp. Finnick's past.
He hadn’t slept since they had come back.
He laid down every night besides Annie, feeling calmed by having her near, by having his hand over where he could feel Tristan squirming along inside of her. But every night, it seemed like she would fall asleep beside him, while he was left awake for several hours more. When he did fall asleep, he was almost always plagued by the old nightmares: being back in the Capitol, being grabbed, torn, hurt, owned.
This nightmares had came frequently after he’d come back from his trips to the Capitol, but time usually wore them away.
But somehow, being in Storybrooke had brought them roaring back, as if his memory was trying to reassure them they really and truly were real.
He woke up every night, cold with sweat, his breathing coming fast. He felt frayed, restless within his own skin. It was hard to be in the same bed with Annie after those sort of dreams, as if he could transmit them merely from being too near.
He had tried yoga the first night to try and calm himself back down, and found that it provoked both memories of Storybrooke and of sexual positions.
So, instead, he’d started retreating to the gym to do lap after lap, wearing himself down until he could either go back to sleep or it was an acceptable time to head out to go fishing.
Since coming back from Storybrooke, Annie was confused more often than she had been before. Even putting her hands on her belly didn’t anchor her anymore, because she had done that there, too, when she’d thought she was carrying Peter’s child. But for the first time her confusion had nothing to do with thinking that she was in danger. Memories of her life in Storybrooke conflicted with her life in Mount Weather and Panem, but they were mostly good memories.
So, when she got confused, she usually wasn’t terrified. Which was, in a strange way, an improvement.
She had noticed Finnick sleeping restlessly, though. Mostly she had noticed that he was tired, but she’d picked up on subtler signs of him being on edge, too, even if she hadn’t actually been awoken by his nightmares.
When she woke to find him gone, she panicked for a moment, until she saw his clothes on the floor. So, he’d gone out somewhere. Not disappeared.
Mussed, still wearing her nightgown with her coat wrapped around her shoulders, she went in search of him. It was too early for the mess hall to be serving breakfast, and too early to be out fishing. That probably meant he was in the gym.
She didn’t go there often, so it took her a little while to find her way, but when she arrived, there he was. Running around in circles.
Leaning against the doorway, she watched him, waiting for him to notice her, or finish his routine.
Running or swimming made it easier for him to shut things out. He had been trained to this, after all -- to just focus on the rhythm of his body, the pacing of his breaths, the fall of his feet. It was a relief sometimes.
So, he was surprised when he came around again and spotted his very pregnant wife leaning in the doorway instead of being up in bed where she was supposed to be.
“Hey,” he said, slowing down and then stopping. He leaned in to a peck a kiss to her cheek.
“Hello,” Annie said, smiling at him. She was mussed and tired, but glad to see him anyway, and tilted her head to return the kiss, pressing it lightly on his lips. “What are you doing up so early, Finnick?”
His instinct, even after all these years, was still to lie and say that he had just been in the mood for a run; it was something that had been ingrained him from growing up in the Capitol, but years of being beside her had also made him more aware of the fact that he often lied without being aware of it. So, he stopped himself.
“I couldn’t sleep,” he confessed, which was perhaps a bit off center from the actual truth, but still close enough to it.
“I didn’t mean to worry you,” he tacked on, which is why he figured she was down here. He rested a hand gently against her lower back.
“You didn’t leave me a note,” Annie pointed out. It wasn’t an accusation; her expression was filled with concern. “There’s something wrong.”
She knew he wasn’t lying, but she also knew it wasn’t the whole truth. There was something that was making it hard for him to sleep, and she didn’t know what it was. But she moved closer to him, turning into the arm that was around her back and putting her hands on his chest.
It came as no surprise when Annie was able to effortlessly see that more was wrong than he was saying. She usually could.
“I’ve been having nightmares,” he confessed, something that was no stranger to the two of them. It would have been embarrassing otherwise, but the two of them both had their fair share of lurking dark corners when it came to sleeping.
“You could have woken me up,” Annie said, gently. She leaned in and pressed a kiss to his chest, just above her hands. “Do you want to stay down here and talk about it, or go back to bed?”
“No,” Finnick said emphatically. “You need your rest.” Besides, he would have had to waken her every night since they had gotten back. And he knew that, sooner or later, the nightmares would stop. They always did. But in the meantime, he wanted the last step of her pregnancy to go as calmly as possible, particularly with all of the stress that had happened lately.
“Let’s go up to bed,” Finnick murmured, pressing a kiss to the top of her head.
“So do you,” Annie retorted, not unkindly. “Besides, if I have to wake up, I’d rather wake up to find you there with me, Finnick.”
She understood why he worried about her, but she was actually sleeping fairly well lately. Her memories of Storybrooke didn’t scare her, not even in her subconscious while she slept. It was true that she was tired more easily, and needed more rest, but she took naps during the day when she needed them; no one ever seemed to begrudge her for it. She took his hand as they started to make their way out the door.
“I know,” Finnick answered. It wasn’t an argument. Just point of fact. But that didn’t make it any easier to try and fall back asleep when he was trapped between how much he loved her and the family they were making and how tormented he felt about how his skin was crawling with the touch of others.
He gathered her close for a moment before they headed out, just holding her. Even though he had met Tristan already, now that he was here with her while she was pregnant, it was hard to imagine the two of them permanently becoming a three. Their relationship had been so much always, but also confined to the two of them.
He followed her obediently out of the gym when she took his hands.
He wasn’t arguing with her, but he wasn’t agreeing with her, either. Annie walked with him quietly for a few moments, and then asked, her voice low, “What are the nightmares about, Finnick?”
He didn’t like talking about what happened -- had happened -- in the Capitol with her. It had been hard enough when she had first found out. That had nearly destroyed him. He hated, almost more than anything, when people knew what it was he had done.
But it was hard for him to deny her anything, even this, especially when he knew that avoiding an answer would make her worry more.
“Things that happened in the Capitol,” he answered, voice just as quiet. …
“Oh,” Annie breathed, her hands tightening around his. “I’m sorry.”
No wonder he hadn’t wanted to talk about it. But he hadn’t had nightmares like that in a while. She couldn’t remember the last time that had happened - although her memory was a little confused these days. And… he hadn’t been waking her up, so it was possible that he’d been dreaming about it more often, but she hadn’t known about it. “How long has this been happening?”
“Just since we got back,” Finnick answered, since there wasn’t any point in lying about that. It was obviously all connected -- somehow -- to what had happened in Storybrooke. He had hoped that some of it might have been assuaged by his discussion with Katniss. He’d thought that maybe this all stemmed from the guilt he’d had about sleeping with her there. But they’d done nothing to make them abate, so then again, maybe not.
He didn’t know what tipped his subconscious one night versus another, but he knew that he was tired and ready for the nightmares to leave.
“Are your memories confused, too?” Annie knew that other people had an easier time sorting through what had happened in Storybrooke than she did; her memories were all tangled up together. Some of them were fuzzier than others, and she was mostly able to separate them by location - Panem, Mount Weather, Storybrooke - but a lot of the feelings surrounding them swirled around, refusing to entirely settle in one place or another.
Except for Finnick. He was the same constant that he always had been, even though she now had memories of him as her friend in the pool, her yoga teacher, a customer at the bakery.
“No,” Finnick answered, because it wasn’t quite that. He knew where he was, and he knew where he had been, and overall, he understood how those pieces fit together. He’d never had problems with his memory in the same way that many other victors did. He’d been able to compartmentalize too well for that -- which had been both a curse and a blessing when it came to working in the Capitol later. The only reason Snow could force him to sleep his way through the Capitol was because he’d been so “well-adjusted” after coming out of the arena. Clients didn’t want to be woken by a thrashing, scared victor.
But at the same time, he’d had a marked difficulty escaping his present situation -- which was precisely how he’d wound up taking every drug offered to him, desperate for anything that would temporarily blot out the starkness of his reality.
“Why do you think they’re coming back now, then?” Annie had other theories -- he’d played a part, in a manner of speaking, in Storybrooke. Not the same part as he’d played in the Capitol, but it had still been pretend, a whole life that wasn’t real, a relationship that hadn’t really happened, either. Except it had happened to them, for a little while.
“I don’t know,” Finnick answered, his exhaustion shining through in those words.
Because he truly didn’t. He didn’t like thinking overly long about why they might have come back, because it made his mind linger too long on memories that he no longer wanted to have. That took him back to a bad place.
They were nearly back at the room; Annie stayed quiet as they went inside, so as not to disturb the others in the unit. When they were back inside their room, she closed the door behind them and gently tugged him back down to the bed.
“Maybe,” she said quietly, curling herself up against him, “Maybe it’s because the magic made you pretend to be someone else. Or because it took you away from me, the way the Capitol used to.”
He eased himself back into bed beside her, even though he knew that he probably needed a shower. But he was comforted by being this close to her. He wrapped his arms around her, sliding his face into the space between her neck and her shoulder.
“Maybe,” he murmured. It made sense. And at the root of it all, these were all things that were outside of his control; he had been manipulated by outside powers in both scenarios, made to do things that he normally wouldn’t.
“You’re back now,” Annie said softly, although even as she said it, she didn’t feel like it was enough. Nothing was ever enough to make up to him what had happened in the Capitol. Their lives were supposed to be their own here, and although she hadn’t really been thinking about it that way, Storybrooke had taken away a lot of their control. The only thing she could tell him was that it was over. “No more Storybrooke.”
Her fingertips twitched on his skin, didn’t quite write anything. She wanted to make the hand sign for safe: but that required moving her hands more than she could or particularly wanted to do right now.
“I know,” Finnick answered, even though they both knew it helped to hear it. Sometimes there was a difference between implicitly knowing something and hearing it spoken aloud, making it more real.
“I love you,” Finnick murmured against her skin; he needed something more to tell her how incomplete he had felt without her there -- how it scared him, a little. He’d felt some pull toward her there, but it had been indecipherable.
“I love you too, Finnick.” Annie wasn’t entirely sure how much she had managed to help, but she hoped the reassurances had soothed his mind a little. She raised a hand and ran it through his hair and down over his neck, gently tracing four letters over the skin where his neck met his shoulders. Love. “We’re back in Mount Weather, together. We’re going to have a life here. The Capitol will never touch you again.”