They're passed out in his living room when the storm begins.
The first clap of thunder has Johanna screaming herself awake. Haymitch wakes a second later, hand going for the knife he no longer needs to sleep with but keeps close at hand anyway. Old habits die hard.
"Quiet down a little, sweetheart," he snaps over the storm and her shrieking. "It's just a storm."
"Easy for you to say, brainless," Johanna manages shakily. "The Capitol didn't torture you with water and shocks."
He can tell by looking at her that she's close to shrieking again, so he does the only thing he can think of at the moment; he joins her on the floor and presses a bottle into her hands. She smiles gratefully and raises the bottle to her lips, drinking desperately.
He watches the way she slugs the liquor back, the way her hands shake as she lowers the bottle, the way her eyes are wide with fear. And he feels helpless.
He hates feeling helpless.
"Think I finished it," Johanna says, looking at the bottle almost quizzically. "Oops."
He laughs softly. "You need it more than I do right now," he says, wrapping an arm around her shoulders. "And now you're as drunk as I am."
"But not drunk enough," Johanna says hollowly. "Never drunk enough."
It's then that Haymitch realizes just how much they're kindred spirits, both running though they no longer need to. But running is easier than stopping, he notes as he hugs her against him. It's a gesture of comfort and affection both, and as Johanna leans against him wearily, he can feel her shaking.
"You're not alone," he murmurs. "I'm here."
"Careful, Haymitch, or I'll start to think you care."
He does care, more than he wants to. This caustic, prickly young woman has worked her way under his skin and he isn't sure he wants her out. But caring for her leaves him vulnerable, giving him someone that can be used to hurt him. He doesn't want that for her. No matter that those in the Capitol who would have used her against him are gone now, he still doesn't want that for her. He doesn't want her to be a weapon against him.
It's odd, really, this caring for someone business. Caring in a way he hasn't cared in over twenty years. A way he's thought he'd never care again. A way he's not so sure he'll be any good at.
He shakes his head, dismissing the thoughts and blaming them on the alcohol and the company. He always thinks strange things when he drinks with Johanna.
Johanna pulls away from him then, pulls away and falls over, sprawling out on the floor. "I'm tired," she announces.
"People generally sleep in beds, sweetheart." Something like affection laces his voice then, though he hopes she's too drunk to notice it.
She must be, because all she says is, "The bed's so far away. The floor's right here."
Haymitch certainly can't argue with that logic. It makes enough sense to him. And who's he to talk, really? He generally ends up passed out in a chair anyway. The floor will be a refreshing change.
He nudges the bottle away -- it must've slipped from Johanna's hand at some point -- before flopping onto his back and looking up at the ceiling, idly thinking that it needs a good dusting.
Johanna takes that moment to curl up against his side before she realizes what she's done. And maybe she's too drunk to realize it, anyway, because all she does is wiggle her way into his arms and rest her head on his shoulder.
Haymitch just goes with it, figuring Johanna will be out of his arms by morning. She's prickly, his girl --
-- the thought cuts off mid-think and he wonders just when the hell she became his girl in the first place, and if she even wants to be.
But then he realizes that she's fallen asleep and all he does is shift his arm around her and run his other hand over her hair.
Before he can think anything else, he's out cold again.