I'm so sorry I've not updated for months! I think I got a bit distracted after my exams last summer and I basically forgot about it all! Thanks to BeeIncarnate for subscribing to my story, as the email kind of reminded me that my fanfic exists! So here's the next chapter guys! Enjoy!
'I love you.' I. Love. You.
That's what Gale said. He loves me and I can't say it back. There's silence for a few too many seconds, until Gale breaks it by flicking water at me and yelling 'race you to the house!' as he jets off towards the shore.
It's a week to the day since Paylor called me, and I've finally made a decision about the election. The phone rings at exactly nine and I stand by the phone for several moments before picking it up.
'Hi, Katniss, it's Paylor. Have you decided?'
'Yes, I'll do it.'
'Great! Well I've got to go, there's still plenty that needs organising before the Campaigns start. I'll see you in Capitol on Monday?'
'I'll be there.'
Three days left, to figure out how I'm going to deal with a Presidential Campaign that mirrors my Victors Tour, but that wasn't on my mind.
I've been avoiding Gale, and it's been harder than I thought it would be. I've been milling around 4 since Paylor's first phone call, wondering what to do about everything, and he's still not decided what to do about anything. The house is the worst; there's not enough room for me to avoid him, and the glances across the table just make me feel guilty.
My last few days of freedom in 4 are hard, I don't know what to do with myself, but I know that I need to speak to Gale before I leave for Capitol. The only question is when and how to I get him on his own for long enough to talk, and what would I even say? I still don't know whether I could tell him I love him back, and that's clearly what he wants to hear.
Meanwhile, Annie has asked me to be baby Finn's godmother when he gets christened in a few months, and I've been spending a lot of time looking after him whilst Annie has been at work. She's much better now, and she's teaching the kindergarten class at the main school in 4 – she likes knowing that she's teaching the children of the rebellion, the first generation to be truly free from The Hunger Games.
Finn is an angel, and probably the only child I will ever have an affinity with; I've spent time with him in the water, and it's clear he's Finnick's son. He loves being surrounded by water, and although he can't swim yet, I know he'll swim before he can walk. He's only a few months old, but I know he'll be a wonderful man when he grows up, and I know Finnick would be proud.
On my last day before the start of the Presidential Campaigns, me and Finn are on our daily swim, when I feel a tug at my foot from under the water and I start. Gazing down through the clear liquid, I can't see any explanation for it, but then a dark mop emerges from the depths of the sea. Gale.
'Hey gorgeous,' he coos, and I look at him, bewildered. 'Are you swimming?'
'Er, yeah...' I reply, still confused.
'Oh, I was talking to...' he mumbles, gesturing at Finn.
'Oh, I see,' I smile, giggling nervously. I hesitate, and then continue: 'I think we need to talk Gale, and probably on dry land.'
He nods. 'Come on little man, let's goooo whooooooosh.' Gale grins, as he sweeps Finn up out of his inflatable ring, and carries him to the shore.
I follow them, smiling as Finn's gurgling giggle crosses the waves to me, wondering how it's possible for a child to be born out of all the hatred and pain of the rebellion, yet be so ridiculously happy all the time. I think he gives me hope that things really are changing, for the better, and it helps me to see that despite the deaths caused by the rebellion, they didn't die in vain. I just wish Finnick had lived to meet his beautiful son.
As Gale sits on the edge of the pier, he props Finn up on his lap and he gurgles happily, grinning toothlessly in my direction, his piercing blue eyes meeting mine. I sit down next to them, and wait a moment to see what Gale decides to say.
'I know I said I love you, and I know that it scares you, but just so you know, there's no pressure from me at all. You don't have to say it back now, or ever, I just wanted you to know how I feel, so you know where I stand. I know you still need time to mourn him.'
'To mourn Peeta, you mean. It's okay, you can say his name, I've mourned him for months now, and I'm not about to move on totally and forget him, but I understand his how his mind was in the end, and I knew it was going to be him or me.'
Gale is silent for more than a moment, and then he wordlessly slips his arm around my damp shoulders and holds me close to him, the only sound between us being Finn's contented gurgling as he balances on Gale's knees.
'Shall we go back to the house?' he finally asks, 'You've still got to pack for tomorrow.'
I smile and nod, still surprised at how well Gale seems to know me, picking up Finn as we both turn towards land and walk back to the house, hand in hand.
So I know that chapter was really short, but I wanted to get something written so you guys had something to read as I've not written anything for months! I won't be updating really frequently, but I'll probably write something like a chapter a month! :)
Oh and thank you to EStrunk, iluvdinos, TeamGeSoIGetPeeta and teamgale143 for reviewing my last chapter, and for anyone who's interested, I got 6A*s and 4As in my exams last summer! xx