Johanna Mason was finally finding some sense of happiness in her life. She had friends and she was finally letting people close to her again. She was even considering Katniss, Peeta and Annie as family now. They were the only people she had.
She was settling into her new life in Seven. She made regular visits into District Twelve to see Katniss and Peeta. She even traveled into District Four to see Annie and her baby that reminded her so much of her best friend. Maybe that’s why she loved it so much. It reminded her of Finnick.
But living alone in Seven was hard. She tried living day today but without someone around, it was getting harder and harder not to give into the morphling cravings she still has. It blocked out all of her bad memories. She was ashamed to say that she had caved in a few times. She was trying to stay active as much as she could. She bought an old bike from a vendor in town and took daily rides as often as she could.
Once when out for one of them, she ran into someone she hadn’t been expecting to see. They had nonchantly stepped in front of her bike, put a large, strong hand out to stop her from moving forward any further. Johanna hopped off the bike, an amused smirk on her face.
“What the hell do you want, Hawthorne?” she asked, smiling at the dark-haired boy. No. Boy wasn’t the right word. Not anymore. Gale Hawthorne was now a man. The events from the Rebellion had set it in stone.
“Aw, Mason. I thought you’d be happy to see me,” Gale teased. “You said to come visit anytime one the phone.”
“Well, one, I never expected you to actually come,” Johanna replied, pulling her brand new pack of cigerettes from her pocket, using her fingernail to split the seal. “And two, if you did come, I would’ve guessed you would try the house.”
“You never gave me an address. How was I supposed to find you? I’ve been searching the damn district for two days,” Gale said, smirking slightly. “Glad I finally found you here.”
Johanna couldn’t help but smile as she brought the cigerette to her lips, flicking her lighter over the tip. She puffed her first cloud of smoke in his direction, leaning against the seat of her bike.
Gale waved his hand to clear the air around his face. He had come to see Johanna because she seemed to be the only friend he had left. He knew he could eventually make up with Katniss, but neither of them was ready for that so soon. Besideds, Johanna’s attitude mimicked his own. They got along well.
“I’m glad you came, Hawthorne. How long you gonna stay?” she asked, turning her face so that she was looking at him.
Gale shrugged. He really didn’t know. He knew he didn’t belong in Two. He didn’t know anyone there and he had trouble holding down a job. He would love to go back to District Twelve, but he can’t, not until he’s over Katniss, and somewhat over the guilt he felt of being responsible for Prim’s death. He couldn’t stand seeing her in pain. He also knew he would never be able to bear the sight of Katniss with Peeta. It would kill him.
“I dunno. If I had a place to stay for awhile, I’d actually like to find a place here,” Gale said. He adverted his gaze away from Johanna. He wondered if she would offer.
“That’s really obvious, Gale,” she said with a laugh, taking another long drag from her cigerette. “Why not just flat out ask me? Come stay with me. I have plenty of room. Hell, I get lonely. It’ll be nice to have a friend around.”
Gale gave her the first genuine smile that he’d been able to put on in a long time. “I could hug you right now, you know.”
“Don’t even think about it.”
Gale let out a laugh at this. It was good to feel happy, even if it was only for a little while. He had to agree with Johanna, it would be great to have a friend around. Neither of them knew how close that friendship would be, or where it would lead.
-Taken by Gale Hawthorne in District Seven, sometime later that day.