I am going back into the arena.

That night I took a long, hot bath. The same phrase repeated itself in my mind a multitude of times. I am going back into the arena.

There were only three of us, Peeta, Haymitch and I. No doubt the boys, or would they be men, would take the others place when called. I only knew that if Peeta goes in, he will be the one to come out, I'll make sure of it.

A soft knock on the bathroom door broke me from my reverie. "Yes?" Primm's head poked in, her face blotchy and red from the nights tears. Her voice faltered as she spoke, "Gale's in the living room. He wants to speak to you." A new onslaught of tears cascaded over the rims of her eyes as she sniffled and closed the door.

I slipped beneath the water one final time, rinsing my hair of the conditioner. I stayed beneath the water until my lungs begged for air and I emerge with a gasp.

I toweled myself off, running it quickly over my hair and slipped on one of the ultra plush robes the house came supplied with. I fingered my hair, parting it down the center and left the bathroom.

I made my way to the living room and saw my mom holding Primm. My mom's eyes were just as red. Gale stood near the door, his face showing signs that he'd been crying too. My mom looked from Gale, then to me, and excused herself. "I'm going to take Primm upstairs to bed. Good evening, Gale." Gathering my sister in her arms she ascended the stairs.

The moment my mom was out of the room, Gale crossed the room, and enveloped me in his arms; my voice was low and shaky as I said, "They know."

Gale pulled back to look me in the face. "They know?"

"President Snow, he came right before the Victory Tour and said if I didn't put on a good show to stop the uprising…he knows about the kiss, knows you're not my cousin."

"You think…"

I put my finger to his lips to silence him. If they saw the kiss, no doubt they have the house bugged. We'd already said too much. I've already said too much.

He seemed to get the idea. No more talking about that.

Gale pulled away, but still had an arm around me and guided me to the couch to sit down. Pulling me closer, he cradled my body against his, my head tucked into his arm pit, as I cried out my frustrations into his chest; my world shattered and broke into a million pieces.

Once the tantrum was over, I pulled away and wiped the evidence from my face on the sleeve of the robe. Taking a deep breath I turned my eyes to meet Gale's.

His soul was bare to the world through his eyes. He begged me to run away with him. All the while knowing it would do us no good. I squirmed under his gaze. The intensity of his look rolled something in my stomach that begged for release. Without any caution to the wind, no care in the world, he leaned in and kissed me, wrapping a hand around the base of my skull securing me in place. I gave into the kiss. I'm a goner in the games anyways, what does it matter?

Our tongues duel for domination and soon I am pulled onto his lap and held in place by his large hands. My hands find their way to his face, neck, and chest; anywhere I can touch and feel his warm skin. Things began to reach fever pitch then, and I started to become aware of my surroundings and slowed things down. That's when I noticed where his hands were. I pulled back and looked down at my exposed thighs, my face turning a deep red. While my robe for the most part still remained secured, the positioning of my legs had opened the robe at the bottom. Gale's hands rested on the tops of my thighs, partially covered by the robe.

My dignity was only being covered by the thick tie that went down the front.

It was almost as if Gale hadn't known where his hands were. Looking up, his face was just as flushed as mine. Pupils dilated, breathing erratic. Still looking me in the eyes he slid his hands further up my legs.

My breathing stopped as his large, calloused hands made their way further up my thighs. Our eyes locked onto one another's. I inhaled a much needed breath when his thumbs met the crux of my thighs, where they turned into the mounds of my vagina. Time ceased to exist for us at the moment. Slowly, still looking me in the eye, he moved one of his hands closer to my apex, through the brown curls, and brushed against my hard nub. At first it didn't feel like anything, but as the tempo built and the pressure became harder, soft gasps started to escape my mouth, and my hips started to dance over his hips.

It was his turn to gasp. "Kat," he whispered to me, pulling me closer to him, "if you don't want this to go any further, tell me now. If we continue, I don't think I will be able tostop." He emphasized his point by nuzzling my neck, sucking on it softly.


He pulled back, a look of confusion crossing over his face. I leaned forward and kissed him, opening my mouth to him so our tongues could dance once more together. Taking this confirmation, we both stood and we went up the stairs together, hand in hand.

Once inside of my bedroom and the door was closed and locked, he turned back to me, crossing the few feet between us. He kissed me again, this time with more passion and urgency. Both of his hands made their way to my face, cupping it and slowly making their way into my hair. His mouth opened and closed with mine, our tongues mating in our mouths in a frantic desperate rhythm.

One of his hands left my hair, trailing down my neck and over my collar bone, to the 'v' created by the robe. We pulled apart and stood frozen; with a nod of my head, his hand made its way further down the front of my robe and to the belted tie. A small tug and it was free, the robe fell opened, and I bashfully moved my hands to cover my pubic area.

Not once did Gale's eyes leave my face.

Stepping back, he took in my appearance. The robe was opened, but barely revealing the swell of my breasts, my hands covering what was about to become his.

"You're beautiful, Katniss. I should have said something to you sooner, but like a fool I didn't. I love you, and it took me too long to come to terms with the fact. If I could, I would take you away from here now, but I won't, not if there's a fighting chance you can make it out of the arena alive."

His declaration twisted something inside of my heart, my stomach clenched and the tears I fought to hold back broke over the surface. "I love you, Gale." With that declaration, my hands went to the sides of the robe, pulling the fabric away from my body and letting it fall to the floor.

Gale's eyes roamed over my body, his mouth opened slightly as he took in my nakedness. I watched as his hands went for the hem of his shirt and lifted it over his head. With visibly shaking hands, he undid his belt, the button on the pants he wore, the zipper; in one motion, his pants and boxers pooled on the floor.

It was my turn for my mouth to hang open. His tanned body was lean, with just a little muscle showing through on his arms and stomach. There was no hair on his chest; save for the dark line that went from just below his belly button, to his penis. I watched as it grew in length from what I could only imagine was a semi-erect state, to a full erection.

It jutted out from his body about six inches, tanned just like the rest of his, but slightly darker. He walked forward, and it bounced with his movements, until he stood in front of me.

"Do you want me?"

My body seemed to think so, and the juncture between my thighs throbbed at his question. "Yes," I breathed out. Reaching forward, I wrapped my hand around his penis, allowing myself a small gasp at the warmth it produced and how silky it felt. I moved my hand up and down the length of it, feeling the ridges and the tremors that ran through it.

Suddenly Gale's hand stopped my ministrations. "Keep that up, Katnip, and it'll all be over too soon."

Closing the distance between us, his penis slid along my stomach as he moved in to kiss me. Wrapping his arms around me, he started to move me back towards the bed. When the back of my knees hit the edge of it, I sat down and Gale moved with me and knelt on the ground between my legs.

"I don't want to sound like a lunatic, but I have always wanted to taste you. Can I taste you?"

I wasn't entirely sure what he meant, but I gave him the reply he wanted. He made his way down my body, laving it with kisses until he reached my stomach. "Lie back, Kat, let me love you with my mouth."

My heart started to beat faster, but I did as instructed. A feeling close to what I felt earlier when he had his fingers on me, started again, only this time it was his tongue. He licked from my bottom up to my nub, and a moan escaped me as he swept over it. Taking it into his mouth, he sucked on it, all the while twisting his tongue in circles. Pulling back a little, he tongued the area just below my clitoris, and it felt as if a million bolts of electricity shot through my body. I felt my insides clamp down and begin to pulsate, my toes curled with another lick.

Without notice, he reached up with his hands and spread my further. He looked at my bared flesh, licking his lips. "You taste like vanilla and cherries, but beneath that is all you, your own natural flavor. I don't think I will ever be able to forget the way you taste." He stuck his tongue into my opening, swirling it around and made his way back to my clit. I got up onto my elbows so I could watch him. One of his hands released their hold on my vagina, and slowly with one finger, slid it into me. Barely to his second knuckle he hooked his finger and pulled out. A tremor wracked my body.

He repeated the motion, this time licking at my clitoris as he did so. I nearly cried out, but bit my bottom lip to keep from doing so. He repeated the same movement for several minutes, until finally my back arched off the bed, a soundless moan of pleasure coming out in a whoosh of air as I collapsed back onto the bed, his finger still buried inside of me.

I lay on the bed for what seemed like an eternity. My eyes were closed and I knew he had gotten up from the floor, I could hear him rustling around. Then he spoke, "Lift your hips up." I did, and I felt a pillow being positioned under my hips. Opening my eyes, I saw his erection so very close to my face, so close I could lick it, and I daringly did.

A sound I had never heard come from anyone met my ears. "It was hard enough not to jerk myself off; I don't want it to end like this."

I knew how he wanted it to end. "Make love to me, Gale." I opened my legs further, and Gale walked around the bed to the edge. I bent my knees and put them on the edge of the bed. He came to a rest between my legs and stepped close to me. He took his erection in his hand, and moved it south, running the head of his penis along my moistened vagina and finally place the head at my opening. Glancing up to my eyes, he pushed forward, and I felt the mushroom tip enter me. I watched as his eyes closed and he withdrew, only to thrust forward once more, this time entering me further causing a burning sensation.

Once he was far enough in, the burning had let up, but a painful pressure presented itself. Opening his eyes, he looked into mine, and with a nod of my head he pushed forward those last few inches until he was buried completely inside of me.

I yelped as the pain flooded into me, my body clamping down on the intruding object inside of me. He leaned over and kissed away my tears, not moving inside of me. Moments passed and the pain let up for the most part. "You can move now, I think the pain in subsiding."

He kept his face in the crook of my neck, only moving his hips to pull out. Pain once again shot through me, but it was the burning kind. He moved back into me and continued his agonizing pace.

The more he moved the less then pain got, but his movements started to falter. Pushing up onto the palms of his hands he looked me in the eye, his own tears flooding his face. I moved my hands to the sides of his waist and started to urge him on. The burning was almost gone, and it was slowly cascading into something more pleasurable.

"I'm not going to last too much longer…" he moaned out, as his thrusts became a lot shallower.

"Let it happen," I whispered to him. I somehow felt it when he swelled inside of me, and he got a lot harder.

I ran my hands over his back and into his hair. I gripped it and brought his mouth to mine, our tongues mimicking what our bodies were doing. He tensed up suddenly, and drove into me three more times before pulling away from our kiss, my body and pulled out. He gripped his penis in his hand and pumped it fast and hard until semen spurted from the end of his tip, only to shoot onto my chest, stomach and finally drip onto my pubic hair.

With his last bit of effort, he pulled the pillow from under my hips and crawled onto the bed, pulling me along with him. Somehow we managed to get under the covers and snuggled closer to each other.

"How come you didn't finish inside of me?" I asked.

"Because I don't want to implicate things for you in the arena, it wouldn't be fair. You have to be strong, not burdened with something growing inside of you. I love you, Katniss, and if you…when you make it out of the arena, I will be here waiting for you, to marry you. Then we can have a family."

The way he worded it made my stomach sink. When I came out of the arena, Peeta would be dead. I was supposed to love him; I did love him in my own way.

Gale spoke no more and neither did I, but as I drifted off to sleep, Peeta was fresh on my mind, and how he had to come out of the arena, and that when I leave here, it would be my last time. I turned my body and faced Gale. His breathing had already evened out in his sleep, and I traced the bridge of his nose with my finger.

"I love you."

I closed my eyes and let the days events pull me under and into sleep.