|Finnick Odair (changingtide) wrote in the100,|
@ 2016-02-06 17:54:00
|Entry tags:||!trigger, annie cresta, finnick odair|
Who: Finnick and Annie Odair
When: Backdated to mist plot
Where: Finnick and Annie's room
What: Finnick is affected by the mist, Annie helps him through
Rating: Moderate (non-graphic mentions of sexual assault)
He had been trying to avoid the weirder things that happened here. As if that would somehow protect them.
So, far, it hadn’t worked too well. There was just no way to prepare for anything and that’s why this place was so difficult for Finnick. He was used to planning. Strategizing.
But here, it was mostly reacting. And that he wasn’t terrible at -- he had been trained to react well -- but it was still an uncomfortable sensation. Not being able to maintain his body heat. Annie and his disappearing into thin air. Katniss forgetting months of her months. None of those things could be anticipated whether you were paying attention or not, or prevented.
Despite all of that, it was still unsettling when he suddenly realized his surroundings where shifting around him, looking the texture of the bunker to be overlaid with something more lush.
He knew this place. His knew knew it and his sense of smell knew it, but his brain refused to acknowledge it again, because after the last time, he had said ever again. He was going to die in the Quarter Quell and no one was going to have any ownership over him. But here he was, walking through the hallways of the Aldjoys’ house -- the first couple who had ever bought him. Who had bought him time and time and time again.
No. Had he gone back? Was this how it happened? Had he left Annie alone by accident?
He rested one hand on a doorknob, willing himself to sink through it, but it turned, same as it always did.
Due to a specific request, Annie had gotten into the collection of silk that they had in Mt. Weather. There wasn’t a lot - or at least, not that she’d found - but there was some. She hadn’t yet started to sew, but was sorting through the cloth. It was probably only taking so long because she kept being distracted by how soft it was, how colorful, how it ran like cool water over her fingertips. She’d always loved silk, although she appreciated the warmth and comfort of cotton the most.
She looked up, realizing that she’d been thoroughly distracted for a while, because it was already time for Finnick to come back home. She brightened when she saw him, and rose to greet him, reaching for his hands and starting to lean in for a kiss.
Something like shock thrummed through him at the sight of her. At first, he didn’t know what to do. He just stared as she rose to meet him. He jerked away when she reached for him, acting on impulse -- real impulse, what his body told him to do rather than what years of training had told him he should do.
It had been too long since he’d forced himself into submission. It had been months since he’d endured anyone’s touch -- other than Annie’s, and endure wasn’t the word he used for that.
He didn’t know where Annie was. That sent him almost immediately into a panic -- he had lost her again. Or was he home? Was he back to when he had left? Was this after the war? He didn’t know. He had no idea when he was. But if he was really and truly back home, no matter what the time, refusing Savera was not an option, not if he wanted to keep Annie safe where he was.
He wrestled himself into submission, put a placating smile on his face.
“Sorry,” he murmured, low, voice a near burr.
He smoothed his hand back over hers and leaned in to kiss her, open-mouthed and smoldering, the way he had been taught to.
Something was wrong. Annie knew it the moment he flinched away, and she stopped immediately, pulling her hands back. She didn’t understand why he’d pulled away, and was too surprised to say anything about it immediately. His smile unnerved her almost as much; she hadn’t seen this side of Finnick in a long time.
She couldn’t even remember the last time it had happened. Sometime when they were still getting to know each other, she thought. Yet she’d never seen him look quite like this.
But his hands were still soft on hers, and she let him kiss her. It made her nerves jangle like an emergency alarm going off. Oh, it felt right, too; the press of his lips was familiar, but the way he kissed her was all wrong. She pulled back and looked up at him.
Gently, still holding onto his hands, she asked, “Finnick? What’s wrong?”
His heart skipped a beat when she pulled away and asked what was wrong. He had fucked up. He had fucked up and someone was going to pay if he didn’t work harder to fix this. He just didn’t know where he stood with her right now, which was making this all so difficult. She loved to challenge him, to make him do things with a slight bend of her will, but she had never been overtly cruel to him either.
But if this was after the Quarter Quell -- and if they had found out about Annie --
“Nothing,” Finnick reassured with a bit of a coy laugh. Since he was still holding her hands, he reached down and pressed a heated kiss to the inside of her wrist and then began to let his mouth meander its way up her arm.
“What could possibly be wrong?”
She really didn’t mind the feeling of his lips on her skin, but Annie pulled her hands and arms back. There was something wrong, he was going about this all wrong, and she was worried for him. He wasn’t enjoying touching her, wasn’t looking at her with love and awe the way he normally did. He looked like he had just come back from the Capitol - more than that, as if he was still there.
She doubted her own perception of reality for a moment. They weren’t in the Capitol, were they? They couldn’t be. No, if they were in the Capitol, if he was worried about her safety, he wouldn’t be kissing her at all. So why was he kissing her, if he didn’t really want to?
It hit her, then, that this was probably how he acted with his clients in the Capitol - the people he kissed, but didn’t want to kiss. She didn’t know what to do with that information. She usually tried not to think about that, because it made her heart ache for so many reasons, for him and for herself. She wished she could go back to not knowing that, but she couldn’t.
“Don’t,” she said. She still didn’t entirely understand what was happening, but she knew it had to stop. Instinctively, she took a step backward. “Don’t do that.”
She’d ordered him around hundreds of times before. She always pushed the envelope a little with him. But never, in the decade that he had known her, had told him to stop doing anything. And especially not like this -- that almost soft voice, the hesitant step backward.
Panic flared up hard in his blood. He couldn’t read her. His own survival had always depended on being able to read the desires of whoever he was with. But he couldn’t do that suddenly. Everything she was doing was at counterpoint to his history with her. She had always taken charge, but her energy had dialed down, and he didn’t know what he was supposed to do.
The game exhausted him already. He wanted to ask, point blank, what this was. Was he in trouble? Was she angry with him for what had happened in the Quarter Quell? For Annie? What sort of punishment was this? He didn’t want it to be drawn out and agonizing.
But to ask was to surrender automatically. It was to show his hand before he needed to. So he struggled to keep up. Did she wanted to be pursued? Was that the game? But if he was wrong -- the risk was too great if he was wrong there.
Instead, he headed over to the bed and sat down, legs splayed enough to look casual but not so much that it looked obscene.
“What are we doing then?” Finnick asked -- an invitation: He was here to obey, not cause trouble. He would do what she wanted. He might have partaken in the rebellion during the Quarter Quell, but he wasn’t going to gamble Annie’s lives when he had no idea what the stakes were.
That question didn’t seem very enlightening at first. But a moment later, Annie realized it must mean that he didn’t know what was happening, either. That was unusual - he was the one she relied upon to know what was happening, even when she didn’t - and she wasn’t entirely sure what to do with it.
No, she knew what to do. She had to offer him the same kind of grounding, reassuring words that he always had for her when her mind wandered. Tentatively, she started to approach him, not wanting to startle him or give him the wrong impression.
“Do you know where you are, Finnick?” she asked him, quietly. Having safely made it to the bed, she sat beside him - leaving some space, so that she didn’t give him the wrong impression. She reached for his hand and gently pulled it towards her, placing it on her stomach. “You’re home. With me and Tristan.”
The question caught him off guard, the same as the rest of this strange interaction. The words themselves would have been threatening, except for that they were paired with that soft tone. It seemed like a genuine question.
He kept watching her, warily, as she approached him on the bed.
At this point, the only thing that would have made sense was something cruel to follow up all this pretense. He waited for some kind of hit, told himself to take it and make sure that she saw some of the pain.
And then she sat down instead, reached for his hand -- which he let her take.
But the next set of words he was utterly unprepared for. Tristan. He didn’t take the time to think things through, to wonder over how she had found out about his son. He reacted on instinct alone, something that he had never had the privilege of. He yanked his hand away from her and stood again, shoulders tight.
“Don’t do that,” Finnick warned her. “Don’t talk about him.” It was the wrong move, undoubtedly. If he was trying to protect Annie, this was a bad choice -- revealing his weakness. But if she knew about Tristan, that weakness was already a given.
Annie had hoped that touching her stomach would ground him, in the way it grounded her. Whenever she felt lost, if Finnick wasn’t there - sometimes even if he was - her hands went to her stomach, and she could feel the life growing inside her. It helped, more than she might have expected. But he hadn’t really touched her, hadn’t really felt it.
He was acting like he didn’t even know who she was. How could she get through to him, when he looked at her, but didn’t see her? When he listened, but didn’t hear?
“He’s safe,” she said, after a moment. She hoped that was true, anyway. Maybe there was something she hadn’t realized. “You’re safe, too. I promise.”
He didn’t understand what was happening, so he gave up.
“Where’s Annie?” he asked, his question near a demand, a false show of bravado -- it was all he had left. If she knew about Tristan, there was no sense in not asking where Annie was, and that was all he cared about in the end.
He wanted to know where Annie was and he wanted to know that she was safe.
He remained distanced from her, feeling strangely cornered.
“I’m right here,” Annie said, quietly. She’d guessed it, but hadn’t been sure, that he hadn’t known who she was. “I’m Annie.”
He wouldn’t believe that, she knew. She looked down at her hands - which were, of their own accord, resting on her stomach - and tried to think of what to tell him. What he’d remember. Things to help him figure out where he was, as well as who she was. “We’re in Mount Weather. This is our room. Katniss and Peeta are here, next door. I make clothes, you hunt and fish. This morning, you stayed in bed and talked to my stomach for an hour.”
Finnick was shaken to the core at hearing Savera’s voice say that she was Annie. He faltered, frozen, uncertain what to do. He was overwhelmed -- he rarely had trouble distinguishing his reality. On the contrary, he had spent a long time after his games trying to distort it.
But this -- this sounded like real or not real. She was trying to tell him how to come back. And sure, Savera could have found that out about them. She could have been trying to manipulate him. But this all seemed beyond the reach of the Capitol.
He stared at her for an additional beat, remembering how she had tried to get him to touch her stomach. He watched her warily, took two jerking steps forward, and then rested his hand on her stomach, where she had pressed it earlier.
For a moment, there was nothing that helped him distinguish anything -- but then, he felt that fluttery kick, the one that he had come to associate with Tristan.
“Annie?” he whispered.
“Yes,” Annie said, relieved that he was starting to believe her, even if his eyes were still fooling him. She put her hands over his to keep it on her stomach, and said softly, “Close your eyes, Finnick. Whatever you’re seeing, it isn’t real.”
He felt a little panicked. He was used to relying on his senses. He was tactile. He read people. But he was at a loss here. He didn’t understand what was happening or why, or how long it would even last.
He did as she said that. He kept his hand pressed her against her stomach, where Tristan’s little foot was tapping, and shut his eyes. Even then, it was hard. It didn’t shut out the sounds he would have sworn were from the Capitol, the smells that he equated intimately with the Aldjoys.
“What’s happening?” Finnick managed to ask.
“I don’t know,” Annie told him, honestly. She didn’t know if closing his eyes would even help. Touching her seemed to help; or maybe it was Tristan kicking, rather than her stomach.
She wanted to ask what he thought was happening, but she wasn’t sure he would want to tell her. She had put some of the pieces together already. He thought she was someone in the Capitol, someone that had paid for him before, someone who made him afraid. And she knew why he had acted the way he did; she’d understood that for a long time. But he’d remembered Mt. Weather, and Tristan, and what had happened that morning. “You remember this morning. How long have you been confused?”
“Just now,” Finnick answered. That at least was a perceptible shift. “When I was walking back.”
This all meant that it was probably something odd happening here -- like when Katniss had abruptly lost some of her memories. But that meant that it would end eventually too. He had to just get through that.
But it was more unsettling than he would have thought, still knowing that it was Annie standing in front of him, but hearing Savera’s voice.
“Is it any better with your eyes closed?” Annie asked, quietly. He believed her, but he didn’t seem to be relaxing. Maybe it wasn’t just what he saw. He could feel Tristan, though; that was something.
It was a strange thing to happen to him, who had always been so aware of his reality. He wouldn’t have survived the Capitol if he’d lost his grip the way she had. That was one of the ways she knew he wasn’t broken, which meant… which meant… it wasn’t his mind. Something must be making her look different to him. What was she supposed to do about that?
It wasn’t and it wasn’t. He didn’t want to tell her that her voice didn’t sound like hers, but someone’s he still had nightmares about. But he could hear her speech patterns, the cadence, even if it wasn’t her.
He dared a peek to see if things were any better, and almost instantly felt dizzy. The worlds were superimposed on each other, and he could see both the Capitol setting and their new home in Mount Weather.
But the longer he looked -- the longer he tried to pick out the details of where he knew he was -- the more it started to shift in favor of reality. The Aldjoys’ apartment dissolved from around him.
And then Annie was there too. Herself. Pregnant and beautiful. He leaned in to hug her immediately, without thinking about it, his hold maybe a little too tight. But the instant that they were in contact again, he was reminded of how he had acted with her. How he had kissed her. How he’d consider if overpowering her was the game that he was supposed to be playing right now.
Annie was watching him, and she could see the reality of his situation starting to come back to him. She waited for him to look at her, and see her, not the person he’d thought she was. A small smile started to appear on her face when she could tell that he saw her, and she accepted the hug, wrapping her arms around him in return, with Tristan in her round belly right in the middle of them.
Her fingers curled into his shirt, and she buried her face in his shoulder. It had been incredibly strange and difficult to be the one trying to help him sort through his reality, and she hadn’t realized she’d harbored so many doubts about whether she could until now, after she’d succeeded. She’d wanted to tell him it might wear off or that he’d figure it out, but she hadn’t known if it was true. It was such a relief to know that it was.
He felt her curl her fingers into the back of his shirt, but being this close to her again made all his blood go cold. Anything could have shifted the wrong way. What if he had hurt her? He could have. He was entirely capable of it.
Even if they’d ended up having consensual sex like that --
The idea of it made him sick. He’d been terrified of hurting her for a long time when they’d started having sex. That he’d do something that he just wouldn’t know was wrong anymore, because he was so accustomed to the worst things. He didn’t want Annie exposed to that side of his life at all. And here, he’d thought, they’d at least left a lot of that behind. But it was still inside him, apparently. Waiting to snap its jaws shut around him.
“I just,” Finnick said, not getting a full sentence out as he started to pull away from her. “I need,” He still wasn’t saying anything of consequence, because he didn’t want to say that he needed to be away from her, just for a second.
As soon as he started to pull away, Annie let him go. Her arms dropped to her sides, and then her hands returned to her stomach, instinctively, for comfort. Relief was fading a little, because it had been too soon, apparently, to believe that everything was better. He was glad to see her again, but still unsettled by what had happened.
She understood that. For years, touch and affection had been difficult for them; it would probably never be entirely simple. Even this far away from the Capitol, something could happen to bring back its influence. That made her feel sad and even a little bit angry, but it wasn’t the most important thing. He was the important thing.
Patiently, quietly, she asked, “What do you need, Finnick?”
“I just need some space,” Finnick said, the words practically pulled from him. He hated admitting his weaknesses, especially when it came to his issues with being sold. He’d maintained a reputation as a remarkably unaffected victor for years, and even with Annie he liked to pretend that years of being sold had changed him less than they had.
But she knew, all the same. There was no point in lying to her, not now, not with something as big as this.
She didn’t know how close he’d come to hurting her. But he did. He knew what he was capable of doing in this moments.
Annie understood some of it, at least. Maybe more of it than he would have guessed, after all these years. At the very least, she could make educated guesses at what was running through his mind right now, and that was why she didn’t argue. Even though space in between them was one of the last things she wanted.
It wasn’t the very last, though. It was a better option than asking him to stay and not give him the opportunity to recover from whatever he’d seen and felt. More than anything else, she really didn’t want any of his associations between her and whoever he’d thought she was to linger, didn’t want this to become anything worse than it already was.
So she didn’t argue. She nodded, and said simply, “Okay.”
He watched her as she answered him, trying to see if there was anything besides concern lingering beneath the surface of her answer. He didn’t know. He realized that he was still overwhelmed, still trying to read too much into what was the true of what was happening.
“Okay,” he said, voice low, barely there. He leaned in and pressed a soft kiss to her cheek, light. It wasn’t them, not really. But she was also the only one he would have ever been allowed to kiss like that.
Then he hurried from their bedroom.