Okay, so I do not like Gale. And yet this came out, and painfully so. THG belongs to Suzanne Collins; title belongs to Death Cab for Cutie; breaks belong to My Chemical Romance's Na Na Na (Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na).

For Starvation's February prompt, envy. You should check out the forum, if you want to talk to cool people and obsess over writing a oneshot every month.

grapevine fires

the little children raise their open filthy palms

She looks up at him with those wide cerulean eyes, and then back at the goddamned—and still howling—cat. "Are we going to die?"

He wonders if she means herandthecat, or herandhim, or all of them. The sirens are blaring so loud he can't think straight.

He kisses her the top of her head. Because her pigtails are coming loose, because of that brave look in her eyes, because he envies her that. He's scared shitless and she isn't and that's not how it's supposed to be.

She cares too much, and he wishes he could be just as sweetly naïve.


"Not if we run like hell," he says. And it's kind of worth it to him to see the relief and shame on Katniss' face. Because now she owes him, a lot.

Prim hugs him, later. She smells like that cat, and he's so unbelievably glad.

like tiny daggers up to heaven.

The night of the Capitol falls is the worst. He feels the explosion in his bones, silver parachutes and a shitload of ashes. I did this and I'm not sorry.

He kneels in the crushed bricks of the now-ruined City Circle and coughs the guilt out of his throat.


make no apology; it's death or victory.

He stares at her reflection and tries, hard, to find her. Not the girl called the mockingjay, or the girl who kissed him in District Two. Just Katniss. Her skin is the color of unripe peaches, and he wants to touch her and find out if she feels like them, too. Her eyes are still grey, but newly (and startlingly) apathetic. "Was it your bomb?"

No. She wouldn't believe him. He wouldn't believe himself.

Yes. She would hate him. And to be honest, he'd hate himself.

He settles with the truth, as much as it hurts. "I don't know. Neither does Beetee. Does it even matter? You'll always be thinking about it."

She cuts any maybes that were ever between them by not answering, and he stops looking for a dead girl.

He killed that girl (the girl who genuinely loved him) the moment he killed her sister. And maybe he didn't. But there's that chance, and it's what inwardly tears galeandkatniss in half as he tells her, "Shoot straight."

There are no accidents, in war.

He wonders why it hurts so much to walk away, and Prim's voice whispers, because you still love her, of course.

ask angels made from neon…scream out, "what will save us?"

Prim. Hopefuleyes and hopefulsmiles and hopefulsentences as she held his hand in the ugly light of the TV, twice. He envied her that. He wasn't hopeful. He was scared shitless and she wasn't and that wasn't how it was supposed to be.

He almost returns. He gets as far as District Ten before he resolves not to take a single step off the train.

She giggles and calls him a coward.

So he grits his teeth and walks to Victor's Village. And then he sees the dozens of neatly-pruned primroses crowding the house, a mustard-colored cat, and he runs. He ignores her mantra of cowardcowardcoward and can't really breathe until the train jerks to a halt back in Two.

Even in death, she's there. And he isn't.

everybody wants to change the world, but no one, no one wants to die.

He's wide awake that night, like always, wiping dried salt from his five o'clock shadow and trying to peel away images of yellow pigtails and blue eyes.

Thisisn'tsurviving. The peach-colored primroses in front of their house are surviving a hell of a lot more than he is. (Because even if there were gale-flowers, he knows they wouldn't be lining the steps of Mr. & Mrs. Mellark's house.)

He's jealous of a yellow-pigtailed girl whose blood is ironically encrusted under his own goddamn fingernails.

I wish I was half as brave as you were, he tells her.

I think you are, she lies.