Chapter 9

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Katniss is pacing, agitated by her itchy scabs. She looks up into the sky and angrily yells "Hey, Haymitch, if you're not too drunk, we could use a little something for our skin!" It's almost funny how quickly the parachute appears above her. She reaches for it and mutters "About time...", a playful smirk on her face. God, I love it when she smirks. She sits down next to me and unscrews the lid, showing a thick, dark ointment. It smells very repugnant, a combination of tar and something else that I don't recognize. She takes a glob of it and starts rubbing it on her leg, which turns a sickly gray-green. She lets out a sound of pleasure, so I assume it stopped the itch. She tosses me the tube, expecting me to put some on too. I give her a disgusted look. "It looks like you're decomposing." I sit there for a minute, refusing to put on the ointment, but the itching becomes more intense and I give in. I start rubbing it on my body. I wrinkle my nose at the repugnant smell and even gag a few times. She looks at me, a very playful smirk on her face. "Poor Finnick, is this the first time in your life you haven't looked pretty?" I smirk back at her. "It must be. The sensation's completely new. How have you managed it all these years?" Her smile falters like she thinks I mean it, but then I think she realizes I'm joking, and she smirks again. "I do have one secret." My eyes light up and I scoot closer to her. My smirk widens as I say "Oh, really?" She immediately blushes. "Uh- Nevermind..." I scoot even closer to her, my lips almost touching her ear. "I love secrets..." Her blush becomes a darker red. She whispers awkwardly "But I'm not going to tell you..." I give her a devilish smirk and whisper "Would you be willing to tell me..." Her blush deepens more, knowing what I'm about to say. "If I gave you the pleasure of my company?" I whisper this seductively, recalling her words from before the tribute parade. She glances away awkwardly and I sit back, laughing. "I'm joking! I'm joking!" I smirk again "Maybe..." She laughs and leans back, no longer tense. Just then, there comes a rumbing from the jungle across the water from us. We look up, startled and curious. A big wave crashes through the jungle and onto the beach. This causes the rest of the water to wash up on our beach, but we manage to grab all our belongings in time. I'm about to say something, but Katniss points across the beach to some shadowed figures stumbling out of the jungle and motions for us to be quiet. We move to the edge of the jungle and watch the three figures. They're red and wet looking, and one of them walks in circles, as if confused. Another one is stumbling around, even falling down a few times. The third figure turns around and I immediately recognize her face. I jump up from my spot in the jungle and run over to them, excited. "Johanna! Johanna!" She sees me and yells back "Finnick!" I give her a hug, although she's covered in thick, red liquid, which I think is blood. I'm so relieved Johanna is still alive. She's my best friend and I don't know what I would do without her. She turns to me and I see a lone tear just below her eye. "We saw the storm and headed towards it, thinking it was water, but it was blood. Thick, hot blood, pouring down on us, we couldn't see a thing. And that's when Blight ran into the forcefield." I give her a comforting hug. "I'm so sorry, Johanna." She whispers "He wasn't much, but he was from home," but I still see the hurt in her eyes. I can tell he meant more to her. I give her a questioning look but she shakes her head fiercely, not wanting to talk about it now. Her facial expression becomes irritated as she looks at Wiress and pratically spits out the words "And he left me with these two." She nudges Beetee with her shoe. "He got a knife in the back at the Cornucopia. And her-" We all glance at Wiress who is still stumbling in circles and muttering "Tick, tock. Tick, tock." Johanna rolls her eyes. "Yes, we know. Tick, tock. Nuts is in shock." This seems to draw Wiress' attention and she careens into Johanna, who harshly shoves her down on the beach. "Just stay down, will you?" Katniss steps forward. "Lay off her!" I whisper to myself "Oh no..." as I steal a glance at Johanna. I can practically see the flames in her narrowed eyes. "Lay off her?!" She's getting angry. I start to become worried as she steps forward; I know what she does when she's angry. Her hand flies up and slaps Katniss across the face. Katniss stumbles back a little and looks at her in shock. This only seems to make Johanna angrier. "Who do you think got them out of that bleeding jungle for you?! YOU-" I decide now is the time to clean Johanna up a bit. I throw her over my shoulder before her anger can flare up to the point of a full-blown fight. She starts thrashing in my arms, yelling obscene things at Katniss. I dunk her in the ocean water and pull her back out. She's still screaming. I start repeatedly dunking her in the water until I pull her out and she's silent, a look of annoyance on her face. "You didn't have to drown me!" I laugh. "You know I wouldn't drown you, Jo." Her eyes flare up with anger a little when I call her Jo, but she remains calm. "Don't call me Jo." I chuckle. "Okay, Jo." I walk out of the water and towards Katniss as I hear Johanna let out a puff of breath. Katniss is cleaning Beetee off with some moss, taking careful notice of his cut. She seems to be good when it comes to makeshift healing. I sneak up behind her until I am practically breathing down her neck. I whisper in her ear "Meow!" She squeals as she drops the piece of moss in her hands. She turns towards me and attempts to slap me playfully, but I catch her wrist. I smirk as she gives me a death glare, her eyes sparkling with amusement. I slide my hand up and into her hand, no longer holding her wrist. I give her hand a little squeeze and walk away. As I'm walking back into the water, I turn and see her staring down at her hand, the one I held, as if in deep thought. I smile, knowing she must be thinking what I'm thinking. There was an undeniable spark between our hands. A spark of warmth. A spark of love.


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