Chapter 39

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Someone shakes me awake, and I flinch but open my eyes. Gale is crouched down in front of me. I look around and figure out that I'm on a hovercraft or something but I can tell we're not moving. Gale's mask has been removed and I can see him clearly. He wears a kind smile - although I can see he's strained from a nasty wound in his shoulder - as if he feels bad for me, but not as far as pity. And I like that he didn't pity me, I don't want his pity. It feels nice to see a familiar face after so long although the last time I had seen him he was lying on Katniss's kitchen table unconscious. That felt like so long ago now. The Quarter Quell and the arena seemed like a lifetime ago and each day since has dragged.

"We're here," he tells me and helps me out of the harness that strapped me down. I stand shakily, using Gale's arm for balance, and take a step down the ramp that led outside. My eyes squint at the harsh light of the sun but the fresh air cools my body and brings tears to my eyes. I haven't taken a step outside in so long and I have missed the fresh air and freedom it brings, despite the fact that we're in a barren District. We're swiftly led underground and I eventually let go of Gale, getting used to walking by myself again. It's still difficult and my body's on fire but I manage it.

We're sent to the hospital and I'm promptly but in a bed and my blood is taken and led off somewhere for testing. As someone begins to clean the cut on my forehead, I hear a commotion outside.

"Anna!" someone yells and I hear the pain in their voice. "Vivianna!"

My head flies up and my eyes widen. I jump out of the bed, ignoring the doctor's protests, and race towards the voice, despite my legs threatening to collapse.

"Finnick!" I scream back, a sob lodging in my throat as I run through a crowd and then I stop as I see him at the end of a corridor. "Oh, Finnick!"

We both rush forward and collide with each other, his arms find my hips and lift me up, my legs wrapping around his waist as we spin around and around, both a crying mess, and the world stops because I am home. Everything comes out at once, all the pain and anguish and loss I've felt in my lifetime comes flooding out of me in heavy tears and I cry on his shoulder, still wrapped in our tight embrace. When we pull away he keeps his forehead against mine, eyes wet and closed. He lifts my chin and kisses me, for the first time in months, and I melt into it. I had missed this so much - this is what Snow kept me from. From being with the person I love more than anyone else in this forsaken world. My Finnick.

He's mumbling my name, over and over, peppering light kisses all over my face as if he can't quite grasp that I'm really there, and I hold onto his neck out of fear I'd lose him again. Because if I ever did, I know I wouldn't survive it. "You're here," he whispers into my lips and a smile cracks on his face. "You're here."

"I'm here," I whisper back and nod laughing as I do. We hug once more and let go, but our hands intertwine and hold on.

"Vivianna!" I turn and see Haymitch stood behind me. I let go of Finnick's hand and jump into Haymitch's arms, fresh tears spilling down my aching cheeks.

"I missed you so much!" I cry into his shoulder and he laughs and squeezes tight and when we pull away I see his eyes are slick with tears. Haymitch was lonely and I knew that he only felt like he had me - and now Katniss and Peeta. But before that it was just us two for a few years, depending on each other. A father to me. A daughter to him. A dysfunctional family, sure, but the only family we had left. And how my heart ached to be with him and Finnick again.

"I missed you, too, sweetheart," he ruffles my hair and then turns my head side to side. "You need to get back to the hospital. Clean up your wounds. You've got quite a few."

I nod. "I know," Finnick's hand slips into mine.

"Get some food, too, you need it!" Haymitch smiles at us and then starts to walk off. "I'm going to see Katniss and Peeta - I'll come see you again later, Anna."

"Come on" Finnick leads me back to the hospital and the doctor goes back to fixing me up. My face is dabbed at and cleaned with alcohol before she goes to work on my more serious wounds like the ones to my legs and torso. It hurts but I grip Finnick's hand for comfort and grit my teeth. He sits on the bed with me, his lips on my head whispering soothing words to me. When the doctor leaves, we lay down properly and stay there, my head on his chest, our hands locked and I close my eyes contently. My cheek rises and falls with his steady breathing and I can hear his heartbeat. It's fast but still calming to me as I know that he's alive and so am I and that is all that matters to me right now.

"What did he do to you?" Finnick asks me quietly and I can tell he'd been trying to form the question for a while, trying to not to upset me.

I intake a breath sharply. And then I sigh. "Every form of torture you can imagine nearly. Endless, relentless torture that they called ''persuasion''. It was awful. If they weren't beating or shocking me or lacerating my skin, they were telling me stories, horrible stories," I tell him slowly and then I pause for a while before I add, "He told me about my parents, Finnick."

"Your parents?" I can hear the surprise laced with anxiety in his voice.

"Yes. Their story. What they did. Why he killed them," I breathe out slowly to stop the tears again. I'd cried too much today already. "He put me in the same cell that they died in."

There's silence but Finnick's hand grips mine tighter as he clenches his fist. "I'll kill him," he then says, slowly, venom in his voice - a tone that is so unlike Finnick that it scares me.

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