|What Could Have Been
Author: Liyorah PM
A visitor appears on Katniss's doorstep. Against her better judgment, she let's him in. Talks of the past, talks of redemption, talks of what could have been... all around her coffee table.Rated: Fiction K - English - Angst/Drama - Katniss E. & Gale H. - Words: 1,382 - Reviews: 3 - Favs: 1 - Published: 08-06-12 - id: 8402185
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Did this for a friend. We've been challenging each other to write more. And I picked a pairing I was super unfamiliar with. Oh...
What have I done?
Katniss held her cup in a shaking hand, her eyes trained anywhere… everywhere… but him.
"I thought we could talk,"
Katniss looked up to stare at his forehead – not his eyes.
"We are," She replied, her tone clipped as she swallowed heavily. "I let you in my house, didn't I?"
"Come on, Catnip," She saw a hand reach for her across the table and she slid further into her seat, the two pairs of skin not so much as touching.
"My name is Katniss. Katniss Mellark."
"I was trying…"
"Catnip - that Katniss, is long dead – you should know that better than anyone."
There was a dead silence in the room. Katniss finally looked up into those grey eyes with her dark brown. Gale's eyes. She let out a sharp, painful sigh. They were so much older, but the color – those storm eyes hadn't changed.
"It's been so many years. Why now?" She finally managed to ask, unknowingly starting a fire deep in her belly.. "I am married. I have two children. I put the past behind me. And now you decide to bring it back to the surface."
"You what?" Her voice raised ever so slightly.
"Just listen – all I want is to…"
"Just let me finish!"
And that was it.
"You brought the dead memories, the hauntings back to life! Are you here to what, Gale?!" The woman was on her feet. "To torment me further?! What should I let you explain?! How everything done was because it simply had to be?!" Katniss's voice grew sharp and she dropped the glass she was holding. Her eyes were wide, her jaw clenched… before pausing at her outburst. She blinked, looking at the glass at her feet, before glancing at Gale, finding his own knees bent, as if about to stand to stop her, to calm her as he used to.
He couldn't anymore.
Katniss touched her throat, unsure where that came from. She didn't know she was still so angry. It was… a surprise for her. Slowly seating herself, she stared at the floor.
"I shouldn't have yelled." She said simply – no apologies.
"Katniss," Gale's voice was wavering, she noticed – shocked even. It didn't surprise her. She was acting like a lunatic. "I came to… to… to not just explain, but… but to apologize. For everything. I wanted to put the past behind me. It was… I had no closure. And I couldn't take it anymore."
Katniss nodded stiffly.
"No closure, huh?" She repeated him, one eyebrow raising as she pursed her lips.
"Exactly, I…" Gale started, but was cut off.
"No closure from the lives you fortified. No closure for the act of abandoning me. No closure."
Another silence. Katniss didn't have to look up to see the guilt in his eyes. He knew she knew. At least it saved the conversation over the death of her sister.
"I need to clean this up. You can wait here, if you want."
The woman stood, turning her back.
"Or you can leave."
Katniss made her way into the kitchen to grab the broom and dustpan. She and Gale didn't live in any forms of luxury… nor in poverty. They simply lived. No one needed for anything. And that was all she could have asked for.
Seeing Gale still sitting, Katniss pressed against the table with her foot, pushing it till it hit Gale's knees. He inhaled sharply, obviously uncomfortable, but she showed no sign of caring. Sweeping quickly, she took the dustpan back to the kitchen to toss it in the trash.
Going back to her seat, Katniss plopped down.
It was Gale's turn to swallow uncomfortably.
"What happened… in the war… Katniss, I was young and angry."
"I was too."
"…I know. But I… I guess I was brasher. I guess I… I just had so much to lose if the war wasn't won. I was prepared to do anything."
"Do you think I didn't have anything to lose?" Katniss asked. "In fact, I did lose. Even though we won." She gave a half smirk, just wanting to watch him squirm. She thought she had matured from wishing to… to pluck at his heartstrings. She was wrong.
"I can't explain this when you're being so defensive! Not without making me the villain."
"Changed?" Katniss scoffed.
"I'm trying!" Gale suddenly snapped, his hands turning into fists, slamming into the table.
"Don't break my furniture." Katniss said stiffly.
Gale pinched the bridge of his nose. "You… are so… infuriating."
"This is a great apology."
"Please… Just hear me out. Please."
Katniss's brows furrowed. "I want to make something clear, Gale."
Gale was silent.
"I don't owe you anything."
The man placed his head into his hands. "I know… I know… Katniss… I'm sorry – I can't say anything else! I can't change the past."
She had to look away.
Her eyes were prickling. And she hated it.
"… You know?"
"Yes," She said quietly. "I know that you're so sorry. And know I am too. For it. For the situation."
She heard the sigh across the room. Of relief, cautious relief though.
"What do you think life would have been like?" She suddenly asked. "If there was no 'Hunger Games'? If there had been no war? If we had a completely different situation?"
There was no hesitation in the answer.
"We would have been together."
Katniss looked sharply back at him, her eyes widening.
"We would have raised our siblings together, since our mothers couldn't. We would have had our own kids. We would have been together."
"Would we have?" She breathed.
"I would have built you a house. And we would have hunted every day, brought the kids with us even. I would have bought you a pretty dress for our wedding. And you would have laughed at it. You would've eventually worn it though. I'd spend a lot of nights on the couch, because you were so damn difficult… but I wouldn't really have minded. We would have been happy. I'd even get us a T.V. Just for kicks."
"You've thought it out."
"Into every detail."
"Do you think about it often?"
"Every single day, every single minute."
That was it. Tears fell down Katniss's tan face. She rubbed at it. "Did you ever marry?"
"They why do you think about that stuff?"
"Because you were the only one."
Another silence. But it wasn't heavy. It was just contemplative. Sad even. She couldn't stop staring at him, and it seemed he couldn't stop either. His fingers twitched, she noticed. As if he wanted to wipe her tears.
"I forgive you."
Gale opened his mouth, but Katniss shook her head.
"You have your closure, Gale." She stood, hiccupping to stop from crying. "Move on with your life. And try for happiness."
Gale also stood, kicking the table so it was once more in the middle of them. She shook her head to stop any attempts from moving towards her.
"The situation wasn't different."
They both stared at one another, as if trying to imagine that their lives had ended up winded together.
But they hadn't, and they wouldn't, and both knew that.
Gale left with heavy footsteps. Katniss closed the door behind him.
She went on with her day… welcomed Peeta and the children home that night… asked them how fishing was… and went to sleep. As if nothing had happened.
And nothing really had happened, if she thought about it. Because it didn't affect anything. It couldn't have.
She might have said it to him, might have meant it for a moment… but Katniss could never forgive Gale.
And she'd never stop thinking about what could have been.
Reviews would really be super great for this because I don't think I got either of their characters down.