Note: okay, so after watching Catching Fire for the third time yesterday (and having just finished the book for about the third time as well), I'm fully shipping Katniss/Johanna. So here we go. This takes place during Mockingjay, by the way.

I can't sleep. The morphling has ceased to flow through my veins and I am now restless. I look to my left, only to find Johanna staring back at me from her bed.

"Can't sleep either?"

"No," I reply.

"Yeah. They've cut off my supply, so I'm basically going through hell right now." She kicks off her blanket and groans.

"I'm sorry," I murmur.

"Sure you are." I can't see her face, but I'm positive she's rolling her eyes. We lie there in silence for several minutes.

"Johanna? What did they do to you…in The Capitol?"

She is silent for several more moments. "You can't imagine," she says in a voice hardly above a whisper.

I hoist myself up on my elbow. "Do you think you'll ever be normal again?"

She snorts. "Define 'normal'."

"Touché," I say. We are silent again. I can just make out her features in the pale light. She looks nothing like the strong, confident girl I met several months ago. She has transformed into a pale, hollow shell of her former self. If this is what she looks like, and how she has been tormented, I shudder to think of what they did to Enobaria.

"I think I'll be okay," she finally says. "Eventually."

"What did you mean?" I ask.

"What did I mean by what?"

"What you said…in the arena. About how there's no one left you love."

She sighs. "You don't want do know."

"Yes. I do. Please, tell me."

She rolls over so she is facing me. "You know how Finnick was the darling of The Capitol? Girls flinging themselves at his feet?"


"The Capitol…they purposely do that with the…" she makes a disgusted face. "More attractive Victors. Women and men pay for the company of their time…make them do things…sex, mostly." I gasp, just staring at her. Would this have been my fate, had I not pulled the stunt with the berries? Would it have been Peeta's? "Yeah," she scoffs, off my look. "They wanted me to be the next Finnick. I refused. They went after my family and…" she trails off and shrugs. "Then I was on my own."

I'm speechless. Hearing her talk about this so callously makes my blood boil and only fuels my deep hatred of The Capitol. "I'm so sorry."

"Don't be. It's happened before. Like to Haymitch." Haymitch? They got his family, too?

"Is that why Finnick do it? To save…Annie?" I ask.

Johanna shrugs again. "I guess, yeah."

I don't know what do say to her. How could a person do this to another living being? How could people be so…used…to the point where there are unrecognizable? A feel a pain in my chest as I think about Finnick with those women, paying him to sleep with them. Finnick, doing this just so his love, Annie, could go on unharmed. Johanna, refusing, and watching her family and friends be murdered in response to her defiance. It makes me respect her. Really, it does.

"Is that why you said that love is weird?"

She looks up, startled. "When did I say that?"

"In the arena," I admit. "I heard you murmur it under your breath, after you first told me about Finnick and Annie. Right after the jabberjay attack."

She thinks back and seems to remember. Even in the dim light, I swear I see her blush. "Oh. I'd forgotten I'd said that."

"Is there really no one left you love?"

She hesitates for a moment. "Yes."

"There was never a boy back home in Seven or…?"

She sits up quickly. "See? I hate when people assume that every girl automatically has a boy back home, or out there somewhere! Sometimes, it doesn't work that way!"

I stare at her in confusion. "What are you talking about?"

She looks around to make sure we're alone. She slips out of her bed and sits with her legs tucked under her on the edge of my bed. "I can't believe I'm about to tell you this, but we were allies in the arena, after all. And if it weren't for you, I'd be dead…or worse." She bites her lip. "Can you keep a secret?"

I study her face intently, catch her flickering eyes. "Yes," I say carefully.

"I like girls," she says, so quietly that I can barely hear her.

I stare at her quizzically. "You do?"

"Yes," she says, a little louder this time. Well, this is certainly new to me. Who would've thought that Johanna would be like this? She looks at me expectantly, watching for me to say something.

"Oh," I say. "Okay."

"God, Katniss!" She all but yells. "How have you not seen it before?"

I try to think back. And now that she mentions it, I sort of see what she's talking about. Johanna, stripping down in the elevator after the Victors rode through The Capitol. Johanna, staring at me when I was in the archery course during training. Johanna, who made a pact with Finnick and the others that they would die in order to keep me—and Peeta, for that matter—alive. Johanna, who ripped my tracker out and pretended to kill me to keep me safe from Brutus and Enobaria. Johanna, who…sounds as if she is in love with…me. But that's impossible. Why would she be?

She must notice the look on my face. "So you've figured it out," she says.

"Me?" is all I can manage to say.

She moves closer to me, her eyes staring into mine. "You." All we can do is stare at each other, face to face, her breathing quick and my breathing normal. She leans in and kisses me, and suddenly, I am breathless. This is nothing like the kisses I've shared with Peeta, and it's certainly nothing like the few I've shared with Gale. This is soft, and it is sensual. She puts her hands on the side of my face and pulls me even closer, if that is physically possible. My heart is beating fast, as if it will fly out of my chest. After a few more moments, she pulls away.

"Johanna…" is all I can manage to say.

"I was betting on you to win the first time around, Girl on Fire," she laughs.

I look down. "I remember watching your Games," I admit. "I thought you were crazy. Brilliant in your strategy…but crazy."

She chuckles a little. "I get that a lot." She brushes my hair back and tucks it behind my ear. It's a soothing gesture, and it makes me shiver a bit. "And I know that kiss probably meant nothing to you. I mean," she laughs in spite of herself. "Look at me. I'm not beautiful anymore."

"But you are," I whisper.

She kisses me again, quickly, briefly, as if she cannot help herself. "Thank you." She gives me one last look and starts to go back to her bed. "Well…goodnight."

"Johanna?" I say as she is climbing back into bed. "Just so you know…it didn't mean nothing."

I cannot see her, but I am pretty sure she is smiling.