Title: Work For The Working Man
Author: Sunshine Through The Storm
Summary: Gale reflects on life without Katniss. Songfic set to Work For The Working Man, by Bon Jovi. Not Catching Fire compatible.

Brief Author's Note: This is a kind of prequel to a story I'm going to write with my friend, so this is just a taste of what our AU is like. When the fic is up, you're welcome to read and review on it :).


I rise from the filthy hole where I spend twelve hours almost every day earning a pitiful sum of money to keep my family alive. I screw up my eyes as the moonlight shines, brightly illuminating the path back to my home on the edge of the village. If I look hard enough, I can see the outline of the small house- candlelight flooding through the cracked window of the main room.

I'm here trying to make a living
I ain't living just to die
Never getting back what I'm giving
Can someone somewhere help me justify
Why these strong hands are on the unemployment line

Filing through the main building next to the mine, I punch my time card out and weave my way through the exhausted crowd of emaciated bodies. Hanging up my tools in the bunker for the night, I pace through the doors into the coal dust stained zone that is the Seam of District Twelve. I trudge in my heavy work boots along the meandering dirt trail towards my home and my family.

Now there's nothing left
But what's on my mind
oh ohh oh ohh

"Daddy!" My tiny girl Erin trills as she flings the door open to let me in. She's soon shadowed by Jason who only started walking a few days ago, and baby Jasper who crawls rapidly to me. My gorgeous wife Rubia calmly brings up the rear, smiling but still reflecting the weariness I feel too. I tug off my boots and store them in the corner with the other shoes. Dodging my way through the perilous maze of homemade toys and dolls, I collapse into my cosy armchair by the blazing fire. Erin bounds onto my lap and waves a picture book at me, insisting that I read it.

Who's gonna work for the working man
(Hurt) for the working man
(Work) Get your hands in the dirt
Who's gonna work off the curse
(Work) Brother I'll be damned
(Work) If I don't raise a hand
(Work) Whose gonna work, work, work
For the working man, working man

Jason clamours onto my knees to join his redhead sister. Rubia fits Jasper in between them snugly and brings her own chair closer. Pulling my arms around all three of my children, I opened the sky blue book and began to read a very old tale about a girl who wore a red hood. Erin's favourite. Wonder why...

Empty pockets full of worry
Had to get two jobs
And it was hard enough just getting by
With the grace of god I'll get us through
I only know what I know how to do
I'm the only one who's got to look my family in the eye

One by one, the children fall asleep, having waited for hours for me to come home before they went to bed. Erin evades sleep for the longest, clutching at consciousness, but fatigue overwhelms her eventually. Rubia plucks each sleeping babe from me and tucks them all to their big bed on the far side of the bedroom. I follow her and as I blow out the candle I hear Erin call for me.

Day after day
Night after night
Oh Ohh Oh Ohh

"Hey sweetie." I say, taking her hand. That's something about working in mines. You grow used to living in dim light. "What is it?"

"Daddy." Erin whispers softly. "Daddy, I don't have my Poppy doll. I can't sleep without her!"
I sigh, and search for another match for the candle. Pulling on Erin's hand I manage to get her out of the bed without jerking her so that the boys wake too, and together we begin to search the living room. Dim embers glitter in the brick fireplace, throwing long shadows around the room.

Who's gonna work for the working man
(Hurt) for the working man
(Work) Get your hands in the dirt
Who's gonna work off the curse
(Work) Brother I'll be damned
(Work) If I don't raise a hand
(Work) Whose gonna work, work, work
For the working man, working man, working man, working man

Eventually, the much-loved and shabby doll is found- fallen down the side of the chair- and returns into Erin's arms. Erin squeals happily and bounces off to bed. I absentmindedly stack some of the scattered books into a semi-neat pile, and tuck a wooden family into their wooden beds, and shut them safely inside their inviting wooden home.

I lost my pension
They took my I.D
These were my friends
These were my dreams
These were my hopes
These are my streets
Can you hear me?

I look out the window and cast my eye over the rest of the district. Twinkling jewels on the outskirt of the black coated area symbolise Victor's Village. There, reside Katniss Mellark (née Everdeen) and her husband Peeta. I suppose I should thank him for taking away any chance I had with Katniss- after all, I would never have met Rubia, and we wouldn't have Erin, Jason and Jasper. And of course, there wouldn't be crazy old Faith or Aliyah.

Who's gonna work for the working man
(Hurt) for the working man
(Work) Get your hands in the dirt
Who's gonna work off the curse
(Work) Brother I'll be damned
(Work) If I don't raise a hand
(Work) Whose gonna work, work, work
For the working man, working man, working man, working man

I think about these things before I eventually totter off to bed. Sure, I work long hours, have poor pay but in the end it is all worth it. For Ruby, Eri, Jase and Jazz. To see their happy faces at the sight of a bountiful meal or a new toy sewn from beautiful new cloth. Those moments I live for.

These were my friends
These were my dreams
These were my hopes
These are my...

I stretch my arms and smile to myself. Thanks a billion Peeta, you've made me a richer man than President Snow himself can possibly ever be.

Streets...


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