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Axe and Arrow:
The Johanna Mason and Katniss Everdeen Story
Chapter 2: Enter the Girl on Fire
Johanna Mason-Age 14
"Joey, can you get that apple for me?" A little boy stared up into a tall apple tree, straining his neck to see the red fruit. His golden bull cut was so adorable. He looked like a little farm boy, but with a flannel red shirt on. His washed out jeans dragged underneath him and his face was covered in chocolate dressing.
Johanna looked down at him and gave a smirk. "Stand back, Trello." She made sure the little boy was out of the way before throwing the axe into the air. She twirled the axe she had in her hand and focused her gaze on the red orb. She threw the tool up and the blade spun around like the wheel on the "Price is Right". The blade sliced off the apple with one chop and the red fruit fell down to earth.
The apple feel hard on one of the tree branches but it didn't break. It laid there until Johanna walked over to it. She picked up the apple and carefully looked at it before giving it to the small boy.
"Now, take that home and wash it off good. I don't want you to get any worms in your stomach or get sick. You hear me, Trello? I know you don't like to listen but it's not good for you to eat dirty things."
"Okay, Joey. I will run home now, and thank you." Trello smiled at her, showing the white of his teeth. He looked about the age of Johanna's little sister.
"You bet, kid." Johanna tipped her head walked over to pick her axe back up.
"Wow, look at you being nice for someone other than themselves. I'm impressed." An older woman with orange, curly hair walked up to the girl. Her hands were covered in rough veins and age marks. Her hair was frizzy like someone forgot to put a dryer softener into a dryer. The outfit she was wearing wasn't very appealing either.
"Why are you here?" Johanna asked giving her the stink eye.
"Oh you know, just checking in. Making sure you're not doing anything stupid. We all know you’re good at that."
"Get the hell out of my way, Winifred." Johanna said sarcastically. It slithered off of her tongue like poison.
"And the female victor from District 7 is, Johanna Mason."
Johanna started laughing in the middle of the crowd. She was so pissed off that she was hysterical, you know the laughing people do when you're borderline crazy. She walked up to the stage to stand next to Blight. Her smile never fading because she was forced to hold in another laugh. She started remembering back to when she was first called 4 years ago. The screams from her sister and the rest of her foster siblings bombarded her mind like a never ending record.
Johanna hated that nickname, Joey too. Whenever someone would call her those names, it would send her into a murderous state. Someone would have to mean the world to Johanna for them to be able to call her that now. Johanna didn't expect to fall in love anyway, let alone be called that anymore. Something she didn't have to worry about. She only loved one person and they loved someone else.
Blight turned his body to shake Johanna's hand and nodded to her. Johanna took it harshly, she knew this man. He was her mentor and she hated him. He was the one that told her about her family and what happened to them. Blamed him for going on the victory tour after she won the games only to learn that they have been killed. Every single one of her foster siblings. All because she defied President Snow's orders.
"Fuck you, Blight. You may be from home but I have nothing to say to you." Johanna snapped as the guards motioned for them to file through the iron doors.
"Woah, still sore about your friends, kiddo? It wasn't my fault that Snow had them killed, I was just relaying the message. It would have been 10 times worse if I hadn't told you. So get the stick out of your ass and focus on the new games." Blight replied, flicking his lips between his teeth.
Johanna clenched her fists so tight that they caused little droplets of blood to spill on the pavement. She wanted to slam his head into the fucking wall but she had to restrain herself. What kind of person would she be representing if she killed someone from her own district. She still had to protect her district and gain respect. She once again had to hide her feelings about everything. Hell, she won't be weak this time. That was over and done with and everyone knows how she is with an Axe, "Freakishly Amazing" that is. The televised footage of how she murdered people in her games seemed to plague the minds of people around Panem. They never forget.
So, she didn't open her mouth for the first time when someone told her off. It amazed her, maybe she is already preparing herself for the games.
Just like Katniss and Peeta, no one was allowed to see them off. Johanna didn't have anyone to say goodbye to her and wish her well wishes anyway.
"Johanna, may I come in?" A male's voice rang outside the black, iron door. The voice echoed in the hallway, due to the high ceiling of the 7th floor of the building. He banged on the door three times before the door opened with a sudden wave.
"Finnick?" Johanna asked, scratching her arms with a rough hanging nail. It left red streaks run down the sides of her arms as her hand went up and down the soft skin.
Her hair was a mess, like she had slept with it up or something. It was fluffy with little strands sticking out to the sides and plastered on her face. It looked like she was either exercising or destroying her room. Finnick would have like to think that latter of the two.
"Did you hear from Haymitch?" Finnick asked, stepping inside of the room. He held out his hand and revealed an envelope.
"I'm assuming that's what that is?" Johanna pointed to the coffee table in the middle of the room. It was a glass coffee table with leaves inside the clear coating. "No. I didn't open it yet. I figured it was just something to remind us of the games.
"Not exactly. " Finnick interrupted. "We need to convince the girl on fire and the bread boy that we're allies. We need to make sure they win for the uprising of the Capitol."
Johanna's shoulders jerked at the thought. She had no intention of helping those two at all. Actually, those were the first two she was going for. She didn't care who she was, she wanted to rip Katniss's throat out.
"Why in the hell would I do that? Save her life instead of my own. Bullshit." Johanna lashed at.
Finnick stopped her, holding her shoulders tight. "Trust me on this Johanna. We have to make sure they win. We need to convince them in every way possible. Have to make the career's think we hate them, think you can do that? We need to be CONVINCING."
"Convincing? Finnick, I hate that little brat with everything that I am. But, if it is to get rid of Snow in the end……….fine. Just this once. I'm not making any promises to not kill her on the spot. If she even shoots one arrow at me, she's one headless twit. Got it?" Johanna huffed and pointed at Finnick.
"That's my, Johanna. Just go with it for now. We all know who Katniss is going to pick for her allies, so we need to make sure they are in good hands too."
"HA! Whatever. I just want to smash this axe in her face if I ever get the chance to." Johanna eyed a metal tool on the white couch.
"Have you tried out the furniture yet?" Finnick asked as he pushed down on the soft cushion."Here, want a sugar cube?"
Finnick pulls out a crystalized square and held it in his index and thumb finger. "Smile for me, Johanna."
Well suit yourself." Finnick replied, flopping down on her couch.
Johanna rolled her eyes and turned her back to the boy that was laying on her couch. She needed fresh air, and what better way than to do some laps around the different floors. She didn't care if she wasn't allowed on them. What could they possibly do to her if she got in trouble by someone?
"Heading out. I'll be back shortly, going to do a few laps around the place."
Finnick saluted her and pressed his head into the arm of the couch.
*HUFF HUFF HUFF*
Johanna stopped in the middle of a glass hallway on the 12th floor. She steadied her breathing as she knelt down to put her hands on her knees. She was bent over, shaking rapidly from the run that she just put in. Running calmed her, it makes her escape from the pain in her heart. All she can remember was running on THAT day. It was her way of trying to remember and escape the reality that it happened. The smell of their burning flesh was engraved into Johanna's brain and it was all she knew.
"A-re you alright?" a woman's voice rang out into Johanna's head. The sweet sound made Johanna's breathing hitch and stop in an instant. She didn't think that anyone was awake at this hour. She then remembered what floor she was on and laughed to herself. She now realized who the woman that annoyed her to death was behind her,.
"Well, if it isn't the Girl on Fire." Johanna stood up straight, turning around slowly so that she could get a good look at her. Johanna's skin glistened in the light and little droplets of sweat ran down her arms like in a Gatorade commercial. Her hair was tied back into a tight ponytail but her bangs were plastered on her face. Katniss's hair wasn't in its normal braid. In fact, it was hanging down around her shoulders freely, without any restraints. It fell down her shoulders and to her back. Katniss was wearing a long sleeved shirt that made her look like she was swimming in it. It was obviously not hers. Peeta's perhaps?
"I must say that you look quite lovely tonight. Your outfit must have been picked out by your fashion designer. It makes me quite jealous that you have such an awesome wardrobe. I want to steal half of your outfits right off of your body." Johanna said enticingly. She was making fun of the outfit. "Your Bread Boy give it to you? I'm sure he did."
"Excuse me?" Katniss tried to interrupt the hostile woman.
"What? I'm not right? Then it must be your 'OTHER' friend….oh what was his name? The one you helped in your town square. That hunk of yours, man was he good looking. Mmmmm." Johanna teased, knowing full well that she was egging Katniss on. She had no intention of actually meaning anything she had said to her. Johanna was trying to keep her cool so she wouldn't kill her. She WAS ordered not to and it made Johanna even angrier.
"What is your problem? Y-your Johanna Mason right? From District 7?" Katniss questioned, she eyed the woman who was standing before her. Johanna's stance was quite intimating. Her body was the perfection of a God, formed just right and her hair was matted, tangles everywhere from the run she had just put in.
"Well, you're a smart one aren't you? Did I disturb the all MIGHTY, Katniss? I WOULD feel horrible if I did." Johanna said in a sarcastic tone.
Katniss eyed her with a raised eyebrow, confused by the tone in Johanna's voice. Katniss just stood there with a look on her face that said nothing.
"No, you didn't disturb me. I was actually on my way to……" Katniss was interrupted by Johanna's puff of air that escaped her lips.
"Ha, well that's a relief. I don't need to hear anymore. As long as my huffing and moaning didn't wake you, I can sleep better tonight." Johanna rolled her eyes, turning her head around with an enthusiastic look so that she was eying the scenery outside the windows. The hallway overlooked the Capitol. In the blackness of night, it was covered in jewels of buildings. Out in the distant you could see the train rail light up across the horizon, lighting up the night sky. Holograms of the victors plastered on large panels on the runway, where President Snow would make is grand entrance when the tributes arrive on their chariots.
Katniss followed her gaze towards the glass window, admiring the way Johanna looked. It seemed so real and Katniss was finding it hard to turn away from her. Why, though? Maybe she was perplexed at how Johanna was towards her, hostile. Katniss hadn't met anyone else outside of her district since she had left for the games this time around. This was new to her since she had won the games. She only knew of people who looked up to her, and Johanna…was the exception.
"Would you look at that?" Johanna interrupted Katniss, causing her to flinch. Johanna saw this and hissed with a soft laugh. "Did I startle you just now?"
Katniss's lips curved up into a half smile, not showing teeth but enough to imply that Johanna had caught her flinch.
"Do you see that over there?" Johanna asked, bringing her hand up to motion towards outside. She had pointed to the large panel with their faces on them. Katniss walked over to her with hesitation, eying the area.
"What is it?" Katniss asked as she looked over at all over them. She couldn't see anything wrong with them that caused Johanna to make her want to see the images.
"All of these Victors, have a story. Out of all of them, we know nothing. How come you are everyone's favorite? Why are you so damn special, Miss Everdeen?" Johanna formed her lips together like she was about to spit in Katniss's face. Her eyes pierced into Katniss like she was a cat getting ready to pounce on an innocent mouse. Johanna wanted to know everything about this Katniss that everyone loved so much. Why her of all people? She could care less if it was herself getting all of the attention…in fact she hated the attention in her district.
"I…..I'm not sure myself. I can't answer that." Katniss turned away, hesitant. She was trying to reframe from staring into Johanna's eyes. She seemed compelled to them, they were the most beautiful shade of colors. A dark brown, with patches hazel that seemed so powerful…like she was hiding a dozen of secrets. A mask that hid the emotions of a young girl who was crying out in pain. That would explain the hostility towards her.
Johanna tapped her index finger to her chin while she turned her head half way, looking up at the ceiling. "Ha, what a Brainless answer. Well, that's what it's going to be."
Katniss shot her head towards her again. "To be what?"
Johanna turned her head towards her again, this time reaching out her hand so that it was touching Katniss's face. Her finger traced her jawline that went up to Katniss's ear. The smirk on Johanna's face made the mighty Girl on Fire swallow a big gulp of saliva.
"To know your secrets, Miss Everdeen. Why everyone loves you so much." Johanna hissed and then dropped her arm down to her side. "Well, evening. I need to head back to my room, take care….Brainless." Johanna straightened herself up, forming a smile across her lips and then gave Katniss a nod.
Before Katniss could give her a farewell, Johanna was running in the opposite direction. The expression on Katniss's face said it all. WHAT. THE. FUCK. JUST. HAPPENED? The startled Katniss brought her hands up so that she ran her hands through her dark hair. It fell loosely onto her shoulders with ease. She walked back into her room and swayed back and forth.
"Something wrong, Katniss?" Asked Peeta as he sat down a try of bread on a table in the middle of the room. The look on Katniss's face was blank, she strides across the living room to sit on a chair. Her gaze was hazy, she was in a trance, thinking about what had just happened. Who she had just met.
"I…..I. Oh sorry. I just met someone out in the hallway that's all." Katniss replied as she sat back against the back of the chair.
"Who was it?" Peeta asked while he grabbed a slab of bread from the basket.
"I…not sure. I didn't catch the name." It was in that exact moment that she had forgotten the name of the girl that stole the words right out of her mouth. Something that never happened to her before. It would be something that she would never be able to explain.
Johanna Mason-Age 13
"What did the Doctors tell you?" asked a young girl around Johanna's age at the time. Her hair was up in a tight ponytail, dark hair that had tiny streaks of red showing in the light. Her form was lean and thin, showed little curves but she had the cutest freckles on her cheeks. Johanna was around thirteen years old, full of energy and life. She had the maturity level of an adult at this age, mostly due to the fact that she was helping out with Foster kids.
The young girl looked up from a sitting position. She was sitting on the outside porch, watching the swaying of greens and the smell of pine that filled her nostrils. The breeze was quite refreshing to the young girl after a hard days work cutting down trees. Johanna was covered in dirt and grime from head to toe. The look on her face was nothing but sorrow and pain.
"No change, Rey. She's going to be hooked up for a little while longer. I don't really understand it, they say it's helping her but, she is still the same. I-I can tell she is tired…..she says she isn't but, she hasn't been getting sleep." Johanna said with a gaze so distant that the young woman that was standing in front of her, moved to her side.
"Well, have you been sleeping too? You look so tired as well and…." Regan stopped.
"No, I haven't been sleeping. Knowing that each breath that she takes could be her last…….I don't want to miss it, Regan." Johanna rubbed the back of her neck with her dirty hand, leaving a dark spot in place.
"Jo, do you want me to watch her while you take a shower. I will come get you if anything changes, I promise." Regan said as she put a hand on Johanna's shoulder.
Johanna turned her head to look at the girl with bloodshot eyes. She hesitated before letting out a reply. "Sure. I think that will be alright." Johanna nodded before standing up on the steps of the porch. Regan watched as she headed towards the door and walk in.
Regan followed her to her sister’s room, where the little child was hooked up to various machines. A tube was inserted into the little girl’s nose for oxygen, she looked extremely thin. Surprisingly though, the chemo hadn't taken effect on her hair just yet. It was clearly thinning out but the little girl still had a batch full of dark hair. Regan watched as Johanna moved quickly around the room, gathering a shirt, pants and undergarments for her shower. She was in a hurry, she didn't want to be gone from Emily's side for a second.
"Jo, it's okay. She isn't going to go anywhere, take your time. It's okay." Regan said calmly, trying to relax Johanna.
"Y-yeah, alright. Your right. I'm okay. Well, I will be back in a bit.
Regan smiled at her and moved to sit next to her sister in a chair. She looked around the room at all of the pictures on the walls. Photographs everywhere consisted of her, Johanna and her sister. She also noticed one that had her and their mother. Regan laughed at the love in each photograph, it was something that she didn't see before in Johanna. Regan hoped that one day Johanna will be able to smile like that again.
"Johanna needs a break. I can't imagine the world of pain she's in." Regan whispered. For all of us in this young age, Johanna is going to snap one day.
Johanna took care of all of Foster kids since the woman in charge of the Foster home was an alcoholic. She was the sister of Johanna's mother, the oldest of three women in the family. Obviously, she was the least favorite, and had a bitter attitude towards Johanna's mother. Johanna saw a different side of her Aunt, one that no one else saw, an abusive and manipulative person who hated Johanna with everything that she had. Jealousy was not even half of what Johanna's Aunt felt.
When Johanna's mother had her, the Grandmother sent her presents and money every week. She was someone who was just in the Foster business for the money. She spent all of the money that she was given to help the kids on herself. Because of this, Johanna was forced to work by cutting down trees at a young age. She was the youngest girl who ever worked in the lumber yard. She took pride in what she did because it was not for herself, it was for her family. Never once had Johanna bought anything for herself and Regan, her best friend helped her in that department. Regan would give Johanna simple and meaningful gifts that would make Johanna tear up at the sight of it. Johanna missed these gifts and when she lost her mom, she had nothing. Her Aunt sold all of her mother's belongings and gifts. She sold them at a local antique shops. Johanna had nothing left of her mother except for the photographs.
"Joey?" Emily whined as she slowly opened her eyes. Regan shot up and turned her head towards her. She started to get nervous but then calmed herself down. "Em? Em, she is just taking a shower, she will be out in a second." Regan waved her arms around trying hard to stay calm but for a young girl, it was hard.
"Okay, Reyie. Can you hand me my kitty?" Emily asked as she pointed to the end of the bed. A stuffed kitten was on the foot of the bed and Regan didn't notice it until she saw Emily pointing at it.
"Oh this? Yes, of course." Regan bent to the side to retrieve the stuffed animal. She gave it to Emily who happily accepted it and snuggled her face into it. Her eyes closed shut as she smelled the fake fur. "Mmmmm."
Regan looked around to make sure that she could still hear the water running in the next room. She secretly hoped that Johanna would hurry up since Emily was awake.
In the bathroom, Johanna's head was leaning forward on the wall of the shower. The rushing water poured down from the shower head over her skin, steam billowed out like a cloud and the mirror was frosted over with condensation. Heat was raising from Johanna's skin as she stood there, water droplets running down her hair strands and body. Her eyes were closed, she took in the moment of serenity and peace. The shower to her felt amazing, and she didn't want to move. Her thoughts were running wild to the point where she had yet to wash her hair. She traced the wall of the shower with delicate fingers, running over the indents and design of porcelain.
"Fuck….." Johanna whispered. It may seem like harsh language for a young girl at that age but Johanna didn't care. She was smart enough to use that language wisely, unlike now a days.
Johanna brought her hands up to a bottle to her left and squirted soap in her left palm. Rubbing her hands together, she ran her hands through her dark hair, getting rid of all the dirt and mud out of the strands. She closed her eyes, feeling her fingers slowly calm her. She missed the touch of her mother’s hands on her head. That was the only way that Johanna was able to sleep when she was young, running hands through her hair. The sensation calmed her and now it was gone.
The fruity smell of fragrance from the shampoo filled the room and once she was done washing, Johanna dipped her head into the shower stream of water. She did this until all the soap was gone from her head.
"Johanna!!" Regan yelled from the other room.
It took Johanna a few seconds to realize a voice was ringing through her ears. She stopped in the middle of washing her body to peer out of the shower curtain. "Yes, Regan?"
"Emily is awake. Are you almost through?" Asked Regan as Emily looked at her with a happy gaze.
"Hiiii, Joey!" Emily yelled from the bed.
Johanna smiled at the young voice. "Yes, I'm almost done. I will be out in a minute." Johanna replied as she continued to wash herself rather quickly this time.
Once she was done she stepped out of the shower, showing the room her true, young self. Johanna stood on the bathmat looking at the steamed up mirror, not moving a muscle. It was like she was in a trance, the sight of herself, of who she was. She was becoming a young adult at the age of thirteen. She watched the hot steam rise from her skin before taking a towel over herself and wiping off. She put on her new clothes and wrapped a towel around her head like a turban and proceeded to walk out of the bathroom.
"Sorry you two, I didn't know that I was in there for that long. Did anything happen?" Johanna asked as she sat down next to Regan.
"No, nothing happened. Em slept most of the time but woke up just recently. I didn't want her to get worried that you weren't around." Regan admitted as she looked down at the little girl.
"Well, thank you, Regan. Thank you for looking out for my little sister." Johanna smiled at her, teeth showing like pearls.
"Joey, can you tell me a story?" Emily asked as she scrunched up her kitty.
"Another one? Well, alright." Johanna said as she rubbed her forehead.
"I would like to hear it too." Regan agreed as she slid up closer to the two of them.
Johanna smiled and then let a laugh escape her lips. She situated herself so that she was on the left side of Emily and Regan was sprawled out on the foot of the bed with her head resting on her hand.
"Once upon a time, there was this girl who loved the Mockingjay birds. She was a star and won the Hunger Games. Her bravery and skills was known throughout the districts, she was praised and well liked. What made this girl special was that she had the most precious gift of all. Her sister. Before the games started, her younger sister was called in the reapings. The girl stood up to them and volunteered for her sister, thus starting her adventures in the Games. The odds were in her favor and she ended up winning. Now she lives in peace in the victors village with her family. With her victory, she was dubbed the Mockingjay, the girl who stunned the Capitol and Panem Districts." Johanna ended the tale, she looked to the side to see that Emily fell asleep in her side. She was curled up around her, the tube in her nose almost fell out so Johanna had to place it back in.
"Wow, you really think that could happen?" Asked Regan as she sat up from the bed.
"What could happen? The story? Yeah, I don't know. I would like to think that it could someday. Our districts need a leader. Someone that we could look up to instead of the President." Johanna replied.
"I think you should be the leader, Jo." Regan said with a smile.
"Oh and get picked for the games, I hope I never am. I couldn't leave you and Emily. You two are the only ones I have." Johanna smiled.
"Only? What about your other Foster siblings?" Regan asked.
"Oh yes, them too. I can't leave you guys behind. I have to do my duty and protect you guys. That's what I do best."
With that, Regan hurled herself at Johanna, throwing her arms around her neck. She hugged Johanna tight against her, like what she said meant the whole world to her. "You're all that I have too, Jo. I hope you or I will never get picked for the games. We could live together forever."
"That's a promise." Johanna smiled and returned the hug.
"I love you, Regan."
"I love you too, Jo."
- Pearl Otome
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