By the time Johanna was to be released from the hospital wing they had already worked out where she would be staying. Katniss needed to get away from her family, she felt bad for waking them up all night from nightmares and got tired telling them she didn’t want to talk about them. So it just came naturally to her that her and Johanna should get a compartment together. Coin agreed, saying that having an extra pair of eyes on both of them would ease her mind a bit. On the one condition that they got the compartment wedged between Cressida’s and Haymitch’s.
“Wait… you agreed to taking the room with Cressida on one side and Haymitch on the other?”
“Well it was either that or we would have to be down a few floors with no window.” Katniss said, semi lying by omission.
“I think I could have done without a window.” Johanna said rolling her eyes.
“I doubt that Mason, you’ve been itching to get out of here since they brought you in.” Cressida said walking in.
“She’s right you know?” Katniss chuckled as Cressida flopped down on the chair next to her.
“Yeah yeah yeah, whatever. So what’s the plan for when I get out of this hell hole?”
“You have two choices.” Katniss said. “One, you start training alongside myself and the others or two…”
“Coin wants to keep you as a prisoner.” Cressida finished for Katniss.
“What the hell for!” Johanna yelled.
“She doesn’t believe you are on our side.”
“She thinks there is too much evidence of you trying too hard during the games to get on Katniss’ good side and that you gave up in the end when Gale was trying to save you because you knew that Snow wouldn’t…” Cressida stopped and looked back up at Johanna. “Jo, she thinks it was a plan all along for you to do what happened in the games.”
“She’s a fucking bitch.” Johanna yelled, Katniss and Cressida nodded.
“You have to go talk with her.” Katniss added. “We’ll go with you.”
“Good.” Johanna pulled the IV from her arm getting up. “Let’s go.” She said as she put weight on her feet and stumbled forward slightly. Cressida grabbed her arm putting her back on her feet.
“No Jo, it can wait for a few days.” Katniss said.
“The fuck it can, that bitch thinks I’m on the capitol’s side?” Johanna grimaced as she struggled to walk, Cressida went to grab at her arm again but Johanna shook it off. Walking flagged by Katniss and Cressida she looked around the hospital set up slightly confused.
“I’ll lead.” Katniss said and Johanna nodded. Johanna watched as Prim’s head popped up behind the counter.
“Hey! No no no!” She said walking over to them, she stood in front of the three women. “Get back in bed.”
“I’m being released in a few days anyway!” Johanna snarled more out of pain than anger.
“No Johanna, you aren’t ready to be walking around and putting extra stress on your body.” Prim said. “And who pulled your IV out?” Prim grabbed a bandage and put it on Johanna’s arm.
“I have to go speak to Coin.”
“No, out of the question.”
“Hey duck,” Gale said walking up. “How about this, I’ll go with them and make sure she doesn’t put too much stress on herself.”
“I don’t need another fucking babysitter, I already have two!” Johanna growled, this time from anger.
“I’ll stand outside, promise.” Gale said and Johanna nodded losing the will to fight.
“Get Finnick too. We’ll meet you at Coin’s.” Johanna said struggling to start walking again. This time she allowed Katniss to help her. They walked down the winding hallways slowly, stopping every few minutes. “Dear god tell me we are almost there in this godforsaken place.” Johanna said.
“Yeah, we’re here.” Cressida said as they stopped in front of a door, she knocked standing tall, waiting for the door to open.
“Cressida? What are you doing here?” Coin answered the door.
“I need to speak with you.” Johanna said stepping up to the woman and away from Katniss’s helping hand.
“I didn’t know we had anything to speak about Miss. Mason.” Coin said and Johanna snarled.
“You think I’m part of the Capitol, so yes, we have something to talk about.” Coin’s eyes go wide when she hears this, her jaw going slack. She stepped back and let Johanna in, Johanna looked over at Katniss who gave a single nod and followed Johanna into the room.
“Wait.” Finnick said running up with Gale.
“Mr. Odair?” Coin asked raising an eyebrow.
“Johanna asked I be here.” Finnick said pushing past Coin to stand next to Johanna. Johanna looked at Cressida and Gale then back to Coin.
“I want them all in.” She said and Coin narrowed her eyes at the younger woman before allowing everyone in. She walked slowly back to her desk she was working at, sitting down she looked across the desk at Johanna.
“Sit down Miss. Mason.” Coin said and Johanna looked back at the chair, carefully controlling her movements she slowly lowered herself into the chair, avoiding making any facial expressions to show her pain. When Johanna looked back up Coin was looking down toward her desk, writing on the papers, for a split second Johanna wondered if it was out of respect that the woman was avoiding Johanna’s obvious struggle, the thought quickly disappeared when she remembered why she was there.
“You knew President Snow, from a long time ago.” Coin nodded. “You know what kind of monster he was.”
“Miss. Mason, I don’t have all day.”
“Do you know how he got us to do what he wanted?” Johanna looked toward Finnick who was looking at his feet, hands clenched. “It started out small, he’d ask us to join him at a party, he would tell us that the whole country was watching us. Looking to us to inspire them, that we couldn’t let them down.” Johanna clenched her jaw taking a moment to control herself. “If we refused we’d be denied small things, like access to some of the other events, mainly dinners and such. Then when we would agree he’d allow us that access again. Soon parties turned into meeting his friends, which turned into sleeping with them… If you refused he’d threaten things, your friends… family. You don’t believe him, maybe because you’re so young and naive. You somehow still have morals even though you just got out of an arena where you killed innocent kids that are nearly your own age. During the time in the arena you forget that your human, you hear that cannon and you are so… a weight is taken off your chest. So you feel like as soon as you are out you feel untouchable. You forget that yes maybe you defeated death, but all you know, hasn’t. So those accidents that always air on TV in the winning district right after a game… they aren’t accidents, its Snow making sure the Victors know they aren’t free. He hurts those you love, he punishes your home district.” Johanna stopped, Coin was listening intently, she had placed her pen down a few moments before and leaned back in her chair. Aside from herself only Finnick had known the true horrors of what Snow was capable of. Cressida had gotten out of the Capitol a few years before Johanna’s games, they had talked extensively about it over the past few weeks. Katniss only had a year and most of that was spent in the Capitol anyway, then her next games started and everyone was put at risk again. “I refused to let Snow pressure me… and he killed my family.”
“After he killed my family… he took me, he kept me at the Capitol with him and tortured me. He sold my body to whoever would pay, he did the same to Finnick and so many others. He was smart, he never made out right threats, he would ask things like how are your parents?”
“How is Annie?” Finnick added, he had tears in his eyes.
“He would take those you loved against you. So you really had no idea he was actually threatening you. Then you come to an agreement, and he still kills them. His only mistake was he left me alive. My father knew he would die one day, he knew that someone had to carry on District 7’s role in the upcoming revolution. I was it. I went to the Capitol and even before I got in a room Plutarch met me. He handed me a paper with my dad’s signature on it, and it was the declaration of war against the Capitol. He never even spoke he just handed me the paper and nodded before disappearing again. That night I met every major head in the revolution, and my place was cemented, along with every other Victor, and they knew what was coming. Now you stand here and deny my right to be fighting for my country.” Johanna’s anger boiled up quickly. “They captured me during the games, I gave myself up so Katniss wasn’t going to be at risk. You needed her more than I needed her, or was needed here. They took me and placed me in a room next to Peeta, when I was screaming he would listen and when he would scream I had to listen. I was soaked in water and electrocuted. I was stung from the ceiling…” Johanna stopped holding back tears, she refused to cry in front of the woman.
“Jo, it’s ok.” Katniss whispered, grabbing Johanna’s hand.
“My muscles are gone, I can barely walk… You have no idea what happens, what you get put through. You are not the head of this revolution, you aren’t even a key part. You just took advantage of the fact that these people needed a leader. You aren’t even very good at that. You need to feel needed, and you are terrified that this next generation of us will take over.” Suddenly Coin slammed her hands down on the desk standing up, Cressida stepped forward in front of Johanna.
“Get out Miss. Mason.” She snarled.
“No President Coin, you need to understand. I don’t want to revolt against one country just to end up back under the same rule.” Johanna said locking eyes with Coin.
“President Coin if I may?” Finnick said stepping up alongside Cressida, he waited till Coin flicked her hand allowing him to speak. “Johanna is right, we’ve been part of the hell that Snow created for so long, we’ve lost family and friends, Johanna’s own father was kill in front of her. We don’t trust easily and you standing here saying Johanna is a threat… Well if you think that way then I’m out, and Annie will be too.”
“I’m out.” Gale said setting his sidearm down on Coin’s desk.
“Sorry ma’am.” Cressida said taking her weapon off setting it along side Gale’s. Coin looked over at Katniss who just shook her head.
“If she’s a threat, than I’m a threat.” Katniss said and Coin sighed.
“It looks like I have no other option.” Coin said looking at Johanna. “If I hear one whisper about you doing anything out of ordinary, I will have you killed.”
“That isn’t going to make me side with you.” Katniss snapped. “Johanna is one of us, she fought alongside me, she saved my life, without her you would have no Mockingjay.” Katniss said and looked over at Johanna who was smirking looking back at Katniss with a raised eyebrow.
“Get out of my office, you have your damn demands.” Coin said turning away from the group and back toward her work. Katniss grabbed Johanna’s hand and helped her to her feet. Johanna walked between Katniss and Cressida back out of the office.
“Miss. Mason.” Coin called after, Johanna stopped and turned slightly back toward Coin. “I knew your father, I met him a long time ago. I’m sorry what happened to him. You’ll get your revenge.” She said and Johanna nodded.
“Thank you, ma’am.” Johanna replied and kept walking out of the office, once the door was shut she slummed against Katniss.