This story chronicles Annie Cresta's time in the Hunger Games and her relationship with Finnick Odair

WARNING: Contains mentions of swearing, drinking, violence and sexual assault.


4. Alone Again

It’s night time again before I go find Finnick. I feel a day is enough time to cool off after his outburst this morning. He wasn’t present at lunch or dinner so I ask the people in the kitchen to prepare a plate of food for him. I asked for it to be simple but they hand it to me silently a plate more decoration than food. When I’m in the hall I take off the bigger decorative pieces like the carrots carved into mini tridents and mermaids and I shove them into my pocket. I head down the hall and I am about to knock on Finnick’s door when I hear him talk to Isla.

          “-just stop Isla, okay? I’m not in the mood” Finnick sounds so very tired. I tip-toe down and stand by the door my curiosity outweighing my guilt right now.

            “Uhhh” Isla groans, “I don’t know what you’re problem is Odair. It should be second nature to you right now”

            “Maybe to you” he replies darkly.

There’s brief movement inside and then a yelp from Isla.

            “What the fuck Finnick! Why did you do that?”

          “I told you not to touch me” Finnick’s voice has an edge to it I have never heard before, “Now get out before I throw you out”

The door opens suddenly and Isla falls out of it pulling a strap on her shoulder up. She snarls at me like a dog and marches down the hall to her own room. Finnick is about to close the door when I put my hand up to stop it. He looks surprised to see me so I quickly push the plate toward him.

         “You weren’t at lunch. Or dinner. So I though you could do with some food” I say quickly. A faint smile glimmers on his lips.

            “Thanks Annie, I appreciate it”

He goes to close the door again but I can’t help myself. I have to ask.

             “Is there anything you want to talk about Finn?” He shuts down immediately and scowls.

             “No Annie, not really. Though maybe you should stop spying at other people’s doors”

For the third time in two days Finnick slams the door in my face. It is marginally better than being ignored.

I bang on his door with my fist. “You are being a terrible Mentor Finnick!” I shout. With the noise it is really no surprise when Kier stumbles from his bedroom rubbing his bleary eyes.

            “What’s going on out here?” he says and yawns.

            “Something that is none of your business” I push past to get to my room and I hear him laugh.

            “Woah, ok Ms Cresta! Someone’s finally showing a bit o’ backbone!”

I bare my teeth in response and slam my door. The sound it makes is so loud it rattles my bones and makes Raven shout out for all of us to shut up. I giggle. That felt good. Now I know why Finnick is so fond of it. I revise to slam doors more now. After all I only have a few days left in which to do it.


In the morning it is Finnick who approaches me first. He finds me sitting at the very back of the train in the little sitting room that looks out on the tracks behind us. We stream by trees, chain-link fences and crumbling buildings but no ocean. I wonder how they stand it. The people in the Districts that are land-locked and barricaded from the never-ending, forever of the ocean. Finnick holds two steaming cups of some kind of brown liquid that looks like heated dirt water and a faint grin on his face. This is his peace offering. I sip some of the drink and recoil much to Finnick’s delight.

            “Here” he hand me several sugar cubes he scrapes from his pockets, “It tastes better with sugar” he plops at least five into his own and then gulps half the scalding cup down. I put two into my own drink and sip carefully. The sweeter taste is much more pleasant but at the same time I can still taste the bitter. It kind of reminds me of the Capital with all the beautiful food and furnishings hiding the bitter cruelty below.

            “Listen Annie, I’ve been talking with Kier and he’s been telling me that they still do that whole ‘we’re just shooting javelins and practising wrestling’ schtick when you’re actually being taught how to fight and throw spears and knives”

I nod my head. That sounds familiar. We have time devoted to physical education every day where we would shoot ‘javelins’, practice ‘archery’ and ‘wrestling’ for exercise all a thinly veiled disguise for illegal Career training.

            “Ok then. That’s good!” Finnick says and finishes his drink, “So how good were you? At everything?”

          “Um, archery – terrible. I always dropped the arrow before I could even take a shot. In wrestling I was better at dodging then doing any fighting. I never like the spears – oops sorry – the javelins. I was always pretty good at darts though”

            “Throwing knives?”

            “That’s the one”

They called it darts class but who really thinks darts is an exercise? Especially given that our darts were much heavier, sturdier and sharper than any of the dart boards found in backs of our restaurants.

            “All right then. As soon as you get to the gym and I want you to get a feel for the knives. Don’t throw any yet though. Spend most of your time at the plant identification table. Can’t have you out on the first day ‘cause you ate something you shouldn’t of”

He gets to his feet and gestures to my empty cup. “You finished?”

          “So, are we just going to ignore how you’ve been treating everyone since getting on this train?” I ask sharply, handing him the cup. He has at least the good grace to look embarrassed. I go to touch his hand but the minute my fingers brush him he flinches. He jerks back and I think I can hear him mumble “Not here”.

          “Finn, can you please tell me what’s wrong? And don’t tell me nothing, I’m your friend. I know when something’s bothering you” I frown and for the first time since we’ve gotten on this stupid train Finnick purposefully stares me straight in the eyes like we playing at a staring contest. He keeps moving his mouth as if he’s going to say something but nothing comes out. He clears his throat and he finally looks like he is about to speak. His eyes quickly dart to the window behind me.

            “I think we’re just at the Capital, Annie” he says.

I want to groan at this obvious subject change but I don’t. At this point it is quite clear he doesn’t want to talk about it so I will ask him no more. I turn around and instead of the forests and fences from earlier there are smooth, sleek, walls jointed with gold. Above them I see the tops of impossibly tall towers painted bright pinks, blues, silvers and gold. I bet the gold is real. Think how much money went into those rivets on the wall. When I turn back around he is gone and once again I am left alone.


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