A/N: And here we have one of my favorite BOOK stories: The Hunger Games. This is actually going to be my first fanfiction of a story with a set course, so since we all know what I like to write we should all know where this is going: SCREW PEETA. Muffin Man(hehehe found that in a few different good fics) is no longer important. At least not as a romance interest.
Based on the title, can you guess what's happening here? For those of you who can't, or who got here by accident, this is a Joniss ship, board now or run along. To that end! I'm making a habit of letting people into the minds of the characters as I see them, so this is how I see Johanna, not necessarily how Suzanne Collins wrote her, and the same goes for Katniss. They will be sweet at times, they will be vulnerable at times, and since they are both hard-headed and stubborn, they will most certainly be a little fiery at times. How they interact however is all part of my own little world, and how I dream things happened instead of how they really did.
I think this is customarily where I'm supposed to say "The Hunger Games franchise and all characters associated with it are copyrighted property belonging to Suzanne Collins." So I just did.
In the years after the war, we often forgot how certain things came to be. We forgot who pulled the country together after the fall of the Capitol and the death of both President Coin and President Snow. We forgot how families moved on from the deaths that they endured. We even forgot how much we hated each other.
But there were other things we never forgot. Some we couldn't, and some we just refused to. We never forgot the Games, the hell that we were put through for seventy-five years. We never forgot the faces of those we killed. We never forgot those who died for us. We never forgot the challenges we had to face. And we never... forgot how we found peace at last. Peace in each other, and peace for each other.
In the end, there were so few of us left. All of us had lost someone, but a few of us found someone in the war. Just a few, but it was enough for us. To know that we, the broken, could find someone willing to put us back together was enough.
My name is Katniss Everdeen-Mason. I was the Girl Who Was on Fire, I was a star-crossed lover from District 12, I was the Mockingjay. But there is only one title that means anything to me now. I am the girl who tamed, was tamed by, and married Johanna Mason, a tribute from District 7. She was the real woman who carried the revolution, because she saved and carried me. This is our story.
It began with the Quell, the third in history. Laws state that every twenty-five years, there is a special games with an extra twist. My mentor(really the mentor for both Peeta and I, but who cares about a baker's son?) was in the last Quell. That was the year that they doubled the tributes. That was also the year where they first got a taste of someone using their arena to make fools of them.
This year? This year, I'm betting that the new twist wass because of me, because of how I won and managed to get my fellow District Twelve tribute out with me. For this Quell, the twist was some drivel about how even the strongest of us cannot stand before the power and might of the Capitol. Translated, that meant that I was going back into the games, since I was the only female victor for my district. I wasn't the only woman that happened to though. There was a single other occurrence, notable because she was the only surviving female victor for her district. Johanna Mason, District Seven.
I suppose I should do this all in order. When we heard the announcement on the television live, I... ran. I tried to run away from the truth, but I couldn't. The fence, which had never been electrified consistently before, was live. I couldn't escape into the woods. I couldn't flee my nightmares, and I couldn't flee my future.
I ran and hid the only place I could: an abandoned house in the Victor's Village. I don't know how long I was there, and in the end it doesn't really matter. Eventually, want Snow said finally made it into my head. I was wallowing in my fear and agony when I realized that it meant either Haymitch, my surly and always drunk mentor, or Peeta the baker's son whom I was supposedly madly in love with, was going in with me. Once that stuck I bolted again, this time straight to Haymitch to call a debt I'm still not even sure I was owed.
I walked into that man's house and I sat down to share a drink with him. I used that drink and the chat that followed to give myself time to ask the impossible. I asked him to save Peeta, by any means necessary. If Peeta was named, volunteer. If Peeta volunteered, protect him instead of me. Haymitch swore that he would, swore on his drink. He fucking promised me that he would help Peeta this time, make sure he came home and had the life he deserved.
The Reaping came, and Peeta took Haymitch's place just like we knew he would. We weren't even given time to say goodbye to our friends and family before we were hustled onto the train, and I think that the Peacekeeper Commander actually enjoyed getting to tell me that it was a "new procedure." On the train, the atmosphere was that of the condemned, and honestly that's exactly what we were. Peeta and I watched the recap of the Reapings, and that's when I saw her. I should say, that was the first time that I truly saw Johanna Mason, not just the girl that everyone else saw. I'd watched her games six years ago of course just like everyone else, but the impact of seeing her again now was completely different.
Back then, she was just fifteen and I was eleven. I still had a father, and I was too young to have begun to notice people in that way. Yet even then, she caught my eye. I admired her for her ploy of appearing weak and vulnerable at the beginning, and then once she had a weapon in her hand she became a Fury screaming for the blood of her enemies. Then my father died, and I suddenly had to provide everything for my family. I didn't have time to notice people, even if I had wanted to, because my mother fell into a waking coma and couldn't take care of my sister and I. I hated how weak my mother had become, so I made myself be strong. Thinking back on it now, I think that I was trying to be Johanna, to be the girl I'd seen in the arena. She didn't need anyone else, and I wanted to have that kind of strength and independence.
Now though, with me being a victor myself and a little older, things were different. I saw things about her that I'd failed to notice before. The shape of her face, the way her sharp chin actually defined her and kept her from being a complete baby-face. The arch of her eyebrows, making her look fierce and coy all at once. The balance of her body, strong and muscular yet somehow delicate. In a close-up of her face, I even got a good look at her eyes. A hazel so light and so beautiful it looked like amber shining in the summer sun.
I'm fairly certain that at that point I had never actually noticed just how... stunning someone could be. I mean, objectively I could see why Gale always had so many admirers, and Peeta isn't hard on the eyes either, but Johanna at the Reaping... she absolutely floored me. Even after that though, I still didn't understand what it meant.
Our own Reaping played, and the announcers teared up about how the odds would never be in our favor, blah blah blah. It just made me sick to hear, and I ran away again to my cabin so I didn't have to listen to them gush about how this would be the best games ever. I was tired of the tapes, I was tired of the cheer, and honestly I was tired of the "romance" with the baker's son. After we had returned home the first time, he learned the depth of my indifference and things cooled off rather quickly between him and I. Even on the Victory Tour, where we were supposed to be making everyone believe the lie, we had too many issues out of the public eye to really be convincing when there were cameras to catch it. That night, every tree in my dreams had Johanna's vibrant eyes. I woke up several times sweaty and out of breath without knowing why. All I knew was that I felt like they could see right through me and into my heart. The last dream I had that night woke me up with the feeling of lips on my own, though I was alone. I had this... tightness in my chest that I couldn't explain.
At breakfast, I didn't speak. Actually, I didn't say a word until I was in the Capitol and alone with my stylist. Blessed Cinna, how I adored that man. He always made me feel safe, and I could trust him with anything. Just he and I, I could pour my heart out and he would never judge. He even know, right from the beginning, that I didn't love Peeta, not the way everyone believed, and he still helped me play the fiction so I could survive. I didn't name a soul, but I told him about my dream and very cautiously mentioned that the eyes belonged to a woman. He understood. He knew I was confused, and just like always he made me feel calm. He told me, "In the forest, a tree is a tree, so no one will judge you by the one you choose to climb." I didn't quite understand, but I got enough through my head to know that he meant he was there for me still, no matter what or who I wanted.
Even then, Peeta and I matched. We were beings of fire, unforgiving of the travesty that had us returning one year after we first entered the arena. We held hands, but even he knew after that. He knew I wasn't with him, I wasn't invested in the story of the lovers anymore. He didn't know where I was anymore, but I wasn't with him.
And then... the bomb dropped on us all. She snuck up on us, ducking into the elevator at the last second.
Johanna Mason from District Seven is less that a foot away from me. She stares at me, looking through me with those impossible eyes as she says, "Isn't my costume awful? My stylist's the biggest idiot in the Capitol. Our tributes have been trees for forty years under her." Her headpiece hits the ground, and she looks like she's trying to strip me with her eyes. "Wish I had Cinna, you look... fantastic."
My mind runs blank with her eyes filling me up. I say the first think I can think of, needing to say something to her. "Yeah, he's been helping me design my own clothing line. You should see what he can do with velvet." She steps right up to me, and I have both succeeded and failed. As she unzips, ensuring that my eyes follow her hands, her husky voice almost moans, "I have. On your tour. That strapless number you wore in District Two? The deep blue one with the diamonds? So gorgeous I wanted to reach through the television and rip it right off your back."
As her costume hits the floor, I don't know whether she means she wanted the dress, or simply wanted my body bare so she could memorize every inch of it like I'm doing with her right now. I can't take my eyes off of her, and the shifting light from my costume playing on her breasts is mesmerizing. I know my mouth is hanging open, but I can't get it to close.
She doesn't look at Peeta, just me, but she still manages to talk to him all the way up to floor seven. She speaks with a raspy, come-hither voice, and when she asks a question that seems to be directed at him just as much as everything else was, she cuts off his answer with an almost harsh, "I wasn't talking to you." The doors open and she steps out, a look of disbelieving triumph on her face as she strokes my cheek. "See you later, Girl on Fire." The doors close behind her, and I'm just mouthing like a fish out of water. Haymitch and Peeta start laughing uproariously until I can speak again. "What?" I demand, glaring daggers at both of them. Haymitch just mutters, "That explains a lot," but Peeta elaborates his own thoughts.
"It's you, Katniss. They're only doing this because you're so... pure." I refuse to acknowledge his words. I won't give him the satisfaction of being right. Again. the doors open on floor twelve and I stomp off to my room, locking the door behind me. I stay there and sulk all evening, but as the night wears on and it gets later, I can't fall asleep. Eventually I become restless, so I slip out of my room and down the hall to roof access. The cool night breeze hits my face and for a moment, I pause and just stand there. I imagine that I'm free, at home in the woods where I belong. Then her eyes flash in my mind and it's over.
With a heavy sigh, I open my eyes and step towards the edge of the building, only to stop and stare. I'm not alone after all. The other rooftop refugee sits gazing over the streets, just like Peeta did last year. Her spiky hair is instantly recognizable to me. Johanna Mason, the woman whose eyes haunt me in quiet moments, is perched on the roof's edge. My breath catches in my throat again, and for a moment I'm torn between running away and running towards her. My choice is taken from me when she turns and sees me standing still.
Johanna grins a wicked grin, and when she moves, she flies through space. Between one heartbeat and the next, her body is pressed into mine. "When I said I'd see you later, I didn't think you'd seek me out so soon." she purrs in my ear. I don't know how to speak, to tell her it was a fluke, but it doesn't matter. This woman who captivates me is wrapped around me, and all I can smell is her. 'Smells like home.'
I must have a panic attack, because when I can think again she is gone, and I am in my bed. She did leave a note beside me though. "Next time stay conscious, brainless. ~J"