a/n: GaleKatniss, forever & always. i've become strangely attached to this pairing (and FinnickAnnie) and have been wanting to write a Hunger Games fic for awhile now. (i'm moving into different fandoms now.) so, here you are! sorry about the lengths of these one-shots- i promise they'll get longer!

disclaimer: Suzanne Collins owns.

ignite the flames

So maybe she ends up with blonde, pretty boy Peeta. He doesn't forget, though. Those stolen kisses—(only when he's in pain, darling)—forever haunt his memories, the details and angles and war-weary lines of her too-old-to-be-eighteen face sharp in his dreams, brought clear from the recesses of his mind.

She's Katniss, his verybest friend, and aren't best friends supposed to end up together? But then comes along the (stupid, stupid) 74th Hunger Games and (stupid, stupid) Peeta Mellark, and dreams of dark-haired, gray-eyed children are lost in nightmares of pretty blonde babies and her&him.

She falls in love with him. It may begin as an act but it ends as something more, and no amount of convincing is going to reassure him because honey, she's never been that great of an actress. (So, she must genuinely love the boy, right?)

So he hardens, and solidifies, and matures, becomes that man with the sharp angles and ruthless tactics—and only around her is when he softens because she makes him putty in her incapable hands. (It's been like this from the very beginning.)

They could almost be related—it makes him disgusted to even process the thought—because of their whole "District twelve likeness" and the sort. (When he was her 'cousin', he thought he couldn't take it anymore.)

But then he becomes her maybe lover when Peeta's off getting brainwashed in the Capitol, and is that all he is, only a second choice? (The boy with the silver medal, not gold.)

Her body tenses up and she prepares herself whenever she kisses him (it's never rehearsed when she kisses Peeta, now is it?) and it breaks his heart a bit more every time, thoughts chasing through his head like what's wrong with me, why doesn't she love me?

He's stubborn and loud and dashing and proud and why can't that be enough?

Peeta's just a pretty face and soft spoken words, and brainwashed and he's more like a genteel little lamb or something—

And she ranges somewhere between dragon and spitfire. (Don't dragons eat lambs, anyway?)

Really, though, he's much better equipped to handle this dragon, Katniss Everdeen, girl on fire, because he's known her all his life. (and Peeta's only known her, what? A couple of months? A year?)

And okay, fine, maybe Peeta's just a smidge more careful and definitely not reckless (the safe choice) and maybe he'll try and protect her. (But she's girl on fire and she's always been the one to fight until the very end, and it's just another reason why she should be with him instead of pretty boy Peeta, isn't it?)

All the reasons add up to how she should be with him and not Peeta, and he and her are definitely the most compatible (they work together flawlessly and godgodgod, it should be him!); what was the point of this again? (To break his heart a little bit more, perhaps?) (Wait, never mind, there's nothing left.)

Then the reasons become a permanent list in his head, but then the fact that might've killed Prim comes up too—and suddenly, the reasons don't matter, because she can't forget that (possible) fact and she chooses Peeta over him, and that's that, he guesses.

(But he'll always be waiting in the wings, for her to forgive him, for her to hunt with him again, for her to hug him—and for her to kiss him.)

(Maybe one day, it'll happen—and when that day comes, it won't be rehearsed)

After all, Katniss Everdeen, girl on fire, was always meant to be with Gale Hawthorne—the boy who ignited her flames.