There are a lot of Hunger Games fanfics, but I still hope that this will catch readers' attention. I'm so tired of writing this – I own none of the original.
Skylar – District 2
Gale plops onto the couch. His weary gaze locks onto me. "They're learning. I just wish I didn't have to teach them." He scrubs a hand over his eyes.
Cautiously, I take his bow from him. He lets me, proving how exhausted he is. After several decades, District 2 is still struggling to recover from the rebellion. Gale and I have been helping, moving back and forth from 2 and 13… and the Capitol. It does not help matters that Gale misses Katniss, who refuses to acknowledge his existence anymore. Sometimes I visit her, Peeta, and their children, Gale and Primrose. Rose is a lot like Katniss' late sister, her own namesake. Gale (Jr.) is more like his father than my best friends. I want to kill them both – they're too arrogant – which will leave just Catnip and Rose. Gale (Sr.) might recover then.
"Did you find any turkey?"
I smile slightly. "When don't I?" I grab his plate from the kitchen and return to his side.
"Perfection, as always," he compliments around a mouthful of food. "We can hunt together, if you feel up for a little competition. I don't have lessons tomorrow." He leans his head back. "Finally, a day just for hunting and relaxing!"
My smile vanishes. "I'm going to Twelve tomorrow. Visiting," I explain.
With a groan, he switches on the TV – Panem news. Both of us straighten up at once. "In a mine collapse, volunteers have lost their lives. Search-and-rescue workers are unsure of how many victims were caught, but a Hunger Games survivor was found: Peeta Mellark. He and his son suffocated under the rocks. All of Panem's sincerities to Katniss and her daughter."
Gale turns it off and slams the remote onto the table. "Always a mine!" he rages, shaking his head.
I flinch. Depression is attempting to claim him once more. But I won't let it. "Gale, Katniss and Rose are alive! You have to come with me tomorrow – for Catnip." This time he winces, and I edge closer to him from my perch on the couch arm. "She might be in shock, so she might need both of her friends there. Plus, we can take her outside Twelve together. I can't do this alone." A wave of grief hits me when I meet his eyes. He lost his father, Prim, Katniss, and…
"I can't go back to the place of nightmares," he rasps, looking at me but seeing something else. The World of the Dead. Abruptly, he snaps to attention. "You shouldn't be here, Sky. What if…?"
Knowing where this is going, I shake my head to cut him off. "What if the Capitol never saved me, Gale? I'm supposed to be dead! I am still living, though. What if I never came back to you? You would have committed suicide by now, and then where would your family be? Where would Katniss be?" I am close to shouting; I clamp my jaws shut. Hell would break loose if I lost it. Once it happened, and I do not want to go back. My wish would have come true a lot sooner and a lot more violently.
"Sky?" Realizing I've closed my eyes, I reopen them. Somehow me going crazy revives Gale. He wraps one arm around my waist and makes room for me on the cushion next to him. I rest my head on his shoulder with a sigh. "Promise me you won't die on me yet… that I won't have to say goodbye."
"You won't," I vow quietly.
Taking his bow from me, he checks the arch from the string. One arm still curled around me, he angles his head on mine. "I'm glad you came back," he murmurs.
"Me, too," I whisper in response, imagining the havoc everything would be in. "The way I was brought back…"
Gale tightens his grip. "Snow's dead," he reminds me.
"So are my parents," I growl. "He killed them personally."
The fact that I can "steal" emotions probably is not much good. Gale's despair in me blazes furiously. Just another reason to hate Snow. He hurt all three of us – Katniss, Gale, me – before the Mockingjay indirectly killed him. Gale has seen this before, when I first escaped the Capitol, instead of being their soldier. He knows me better than anyone.
"Don't feel," he soothes. "Block off everyone's emotions except your own. Snow is dead; he can no longer control you."
Rage fades. Love dies. Briefly I wonder where that passion came from, then recall how much he loved/loves Katniss. My "brother" has no idea what he is possibly getting into…
The hovercraft disappears in the sky. Gale looks around his old district, his expression unreadable. I reach for his quiver of arrows; he whips around and clutches my wrist. With a slight shake of his head, he lets go, snapped out of his trance.
"Victors' Village," he guesses, leading the way.
I match him step for step. "Madge might be there."
Gale just shrugs. "She's a good friend, but Catnip needs us." Determination sets his jaw.
A wail rips the air, followed by the sound of glass shattering. Two familiar faces join us. "Good to see you, Sky."
"She's freaking out."
"Cinna, Haymitch," I greet somberly.
We all break into a run. Haymitch pulls up and protectively brings a shocked Rose to her feet. Cinna nods at me, staying behind with the victor.
Racing up to the house, Gale and I glance at each other worriedly.
I know I have some things to explain. First, the books never specify that Cinna is dead; we just take that for granted. Second, I hate Peeta. No offense to those of you who are oh-so-in-love with him, but I really prefer him dead. Plus, he will make a better character this way. Third, Skylar and Gale have never and will never date/get married/whatever. Gale is in love with Katniss; that won't change. Fourth, Madge is only mentioned (for now) and may never truly come into the story.
If you flame about any of the above topics, your review will be ultimately ignored. Constructive criticism is accepted – being arrogant about my story can result in death (figuratively speaking). Until next time.