A/N: This is my second Hunger Games story. My other is a Peeta/Katniss called, "The Beach with the Pink Sky". I am sadly a fan of both parties and I don't know which one to choose or who she will end up with in the end. I have a feeling that one of the boys will sacrifice themselves, maybe both.
This store takes place on the day that Gale kisses Katniss. I think it is sort of tragic in the way that he loves her and that he kept it a secret from her, though I had a little inkling there in book one. I hope you enjoy!
Of Woods and Traps and Kisses
I am glad that Gale accepted my invitation to hunt today, though a small part of me wishes he hadn't. When Gale arrived today my heart skipped a beat, then it seemed as if my world shattered when he just gave me a curt nod and carried on towards our favorite hunting spot.
Very few words were spoken, however, and an uneasy silence fell over us as we hunted and gathered.
While I didn't really need the food, Gale's family did, as well as pretty much every other family in District 12. As we made our way back towards where we entered we gathered the snare traps we set earlier on our way in. Not too bad, I thought to myself. We managed to get a wild turkey, two squirrels and a surprising catch of a wild dog. That added to our five fish and hefty amounts of greens and wild berries, was not too bad for a day lack of communication.
Once the animals were gutted and stored away in our traveling packs we continued on to the fence.
Just before reaching the fence, Gale turned around and double backed to me. Quickly he cupped my face in his hands and leaned towards me. My eyes never closed as I watched his lips descend to mine and felt the chapped, yet smooth lips press against mine. My heart fluttered against my ribs and my breathing stopped. It wasn't until a moment later when he pulled away did he open his eyes and stared into my bewildered ones did I take a breath.
"I had to do that. At least once."
Just as quickly as he turned to me before, he turned back along the path. My mind raced for something to say and all that came out was, "Wait."
Gale stopped in his tracks, but did not turn back to me. His hands clutched at his sides.
My head tried to comprehend what had just happened, how I felt about it. The brief kiss with Gale was nothing like the kisses I had experienced in The Games with Peeta. Those had felt empty and almost too tactful to get what we needed, with the lone exception of the cave. This one had made my stomach fall to my toes and made everything, for that brief second, seem perfect in the world. But it was also completely unexpected. My mind was telling me not to be stupid, let Gale go, you'll jeopardize everything you fought for in The Games, while my heart was telling me something completely different. I spoke my hearts desire.
"Kiss me again."
With snake like speed, Gale crossed to me a second time and pressed his lips harder to mine. One hand moved to the back of my head, weaving around my long plait, and the other wrapped around my midsection as he drew us closer together. Unsure of what I should do with my hands I placed them on his shoulders.
Taking this as an invitation, Gale opened his mouth against mine. Uncertainty washed over me, none of my kisses with Peeta were like this, following the lead set by Gale I opened mine as well and our tongues touched for the first time.
A jolt of something seared through my body and ended in my lower region and I took a deep breath through my nose. A cry bubbled up from Gale's throat and into my mouth as his hands moved once again to my face. He twisted my head to the left and he went in the opposite direction, further deepening the already deep kiss. My arms wound their way around his neck and secured themselves there as his left my face and picked me up.
It wasn't until I felt bark at my back that I realized what he had just done and I broke away from the kiss. "What are we doing?" I asked while panting for breath.
Gale quirked the corner of his mouth, giving me a half smile. "We're making everything right in the world."
So he felt it too. And my heart broke. My eyes started to fill with tears as I spoke. "We can't."
Just as suddenly as it all happened he dropped me to the ground and he was three yards away from me. Turning away from me he gripped his hair in both hands and yelled obscenities into the wild. "Why, why can't we?" He turned and he looked as if he had been tortured with some horrid news.
My tears began to flow. "Because I have to be in love with Peeta, not you. By loving you I risk my life, your life, our families and Peeta's. I can't let that happen. I won't let the Capitol take any of you away from me."
Gale's face turned red, with anger or sadness I didn't know. "Do you love Peeta?"
Did I love Peeta? Do I love Peeta? I thought about my feelings for him, the pain I felt when I thought I'd lost him, the overwhelming amount of joy I felt when we both could live. What I was willing to sacrifice for him. In my own way I did love Peeta, could probably end up really truly loving him one day, but after Gale's and my kiss it was hard to not recognize the feelings I had for him, the one's I tried to pass off as a deep friendship. On the other hand, If I allowed myself to fall deeper with Gale, everyone else around me that I loved would perish.
"Yes, I love Peeta." The tears cascaded down my face as a sob made its way out of my mouth in time with Gale's.
"Do you have any idea how hard this is for me? How hard it was for me to have to sit and watch you everyday in The Games, wondering if you would ever make it out. If I would ever get to lay eyes on you again breathing, then to see you kissing Peeta as if your life depended on it. How I wished ever single day that I wished I had nerve enough to kiss you before, to tell you my true feelings. Now, to just get shot down and have my feelings thrown back into my face."
Gale turned away from me and hung his head. I could tell by the shaking in his shoulders he was crying silent sobs.
Gathering all the courage I could, I walked over to him and put a hand on his shoulder. I expected him to walk away from me, to leave, but he turned towards me and gathered me in his arms and held me. The tears were no longer silent for either of us as we clutched to each other and cried our emotions out.
The sun was getting lower on the horizon when Gale started to pull from me, but I clutched to him. Speaking in hushed tones into his ear, "I love you Gale. I kept thinking about you while in The Games, every time I kissed Peeta I wondered if you were watching, what you'd be thinking. It has to be like this though. If we run, people we love die, we die. I don't want either of us to die. It took us this long to be honest about our feelings to each other and ourselves. The only thing we can do now is continue on as if nothing has happened to protect our loved ones. Perhaps one day, a year, a decade we can be together. But now, we have games of our own to play. Let's play the game we've been playing for years to get through this and one day allow ourselves to openly love each other."
"Okay." Was his only response.
He pulled away from me and kissed me once more lightly on the lips, then the cheek, followed by each of my eyes and ended on my forehead. With tears still in his eyes he pulled me close to his side and he slung an arm over my shoulder.
"C'mon cousin, let's get you back to you knight in shining armor."
With a smile to him I nodded my head and took hold of his hand on my shoulder.
"But first we need to make a few deliveries on the way home."
Walking just like that we approached the fence and threw a stone at it making sure it was not electrified and crawled under it.
We never saw the camera that hung from the tree a few yards away.