Hello everyone! I know, its been forever. I was just rereading my old story in anticipation for the movie coming out next week and realized I had a partially written chapter I never published, so I figured might as well share it! I would start writing again if I wasn't buried in graduate school. Earning a masters degree leaves little time for writing for fun. But I have every intention of coming back when I am done at the end of this year.
Disclaimer: I do not own The Hunger Games or any of its characters. These belong to Suzanne Collins.
I realize I should be paying more attention but my mind is in different stages of disbelief. I watch Peeta and Gale as they map out different plans of execution across from me. Alex is right there in between them which makes this even more surreal. He's already taken a liking to Gale. I suppose I should have expected as much. I mean, how intrinsically linked to Gale was I myself? Of course my own blood would pick up on this. But that's not the surreal part. The surreal part is the way in which Peeta seems to have no problem with Gale interacting with Alex. They've already spent the better part of the morning huddled together talking snares and insects, Alex's latest obsession.
I will never understand men. Is a punch in the face all it takes to wipe away the fact that Gale made a move on me? Is the harm so easily forgiven with a single, controlled act of violence? Well, whatever. I'm glad that Peeta has as much patience as he has because people around here were seriously on edge for the first few hours after Gale arrived. Now, everyone seems to be at ease. I'd venture to say, even in good spirits. Though, Alex seems to help with this. He's got his father's people skills, that's for sure. He moves from group to group putting on shows that range from singing and dancing to demanding answers to the most innocuous questions. He's a good distraction for all of us.
When they break up their meeting Peeta goes off to grab Alexander. Gale slowly makes his way over to me. We haven't spoken since he arrived.
He tousles my hair. "Catnip," he says with a smile. It's all wrong. His voice, his smile. This isn't the person I knew. This is a man I've never known before.
"Hi," I say. I wonder if he thinks the same about me. Am I as different to him as he is to me? "Why are you here?" I ask him.
"I wanted someone on my side who I know would have my back," he says with confidence. I narrow my eyes at him. How presumptuous for him to think that I'd just drop everything and fight with him. He's right … but still. "I mean Peeta, of course," he adds and I can't help but laugh.
There is no romantic tension between us. Those feelings were washed away years and years ago. There's some other feeling tugging on my sub conscience that I can't place. How can he still do this to me? I suppose it's a hunter thing. There is an undeniable connection that a hunter has with their kill. You can never shake the feeling of taking a life - whether it's an animal or a person, which I unfortunately have far too much experience with. But even more than that there is an undeniable connection that a hunter has with their hunting mate. It's not unlike a marriage, I suppose. The way that Peeta is always watching out for me, the way I feel safe when he's with me regardless of the situation. It's an inherent knowledge that manifests itself as a feeling. Because Gale is here I'm ten times more ready to fight. Because we know each other. We know each other in a way that no other people can understand us. We can hear each other's heart beats from a mile way. I could know the sound his steps make even with five years between us. No, it is not unlike a marriage. It is a connection that is linked by a physiological need to survive and so it never fades. It only grows stronger the older we get, as the need to sustain becomes stronger.
Peeta and Alexander make their way back to us and I only notice the way my body has become angled towards Gale when Peeta's eyes move quickly between the two of us. I walk toward Alexander and try to pick him up. He dodges me and runs away.
"Alexander!" I yell but he's already jumping into Haymitchs' lap. Haymitch, Alex and Peeta have some boy's club mentality that I'm frequently left out of. No, I will never understand men.