Note: This is my first attempt at a Hunger Games fic. It was a drabble request for Katniss/Gale. The prompt was "sex". Sounds easy, right? Not so much. I got Gale and Katniss where I wanted them and then they refused to cooperate with me. Maybe they felt I needed to wait till I knew them better? LOL Anyway. Takes place after the first book, when Katniss comes back from the first hunger games. Character do not belong to me, blah, blah, blah, you can thank Suzanne Collins for them.

Waiting Out the Rain

I'd told him we'd have better luck fishing. There was a storm coming, I could taste the metallic tinge as the air turned humid. The skies were blue and flecked with clouds right now, but within a few hours they would be dark gray. I know Gale knew this.

And so did the animals. The squirrels had huddled up in their nests and the rabbits were in their burrows. There was still time to hike down to the creek and catch a few fish for our families. There would not be enough catch for trading today though. We'd wasted too much time for that.

I tried not to sigh out loud. Twenty-five percent of hunting was skill; the other seventy-five percent was patience. Most of our time today had been spent standing and waiting. Very quietly. Gale and I were not big talkers anyway. Oh, he could rant for hours on politics and the Capital, but beyond that, on subjects that touched close to home – like his family or his feelings – Gale kept those things to himself.

I impatiently shifted my weight from one foot to the next. I thought for sure Gale would give me a dirty look, but he seemed deep in thought, staring off into the distance, straight in front of him. Maybe he saw food. My fingers twitched at the ready to raise my bow.

"I thought I'd never see you again."

It took a minute for his statement to sink in. It was so out of place, my brain shuffled to find the meaning of it. And since I had no answer or retort for him once I understood what he was talking about, I said nothing in the uncomfortable silence that followed.

"I thought I'd never seen you again," he repeated. "And then when I saw you kissing him, saying that you loved him, part of me hoped I never would."

I stood stock still and held my breath.

"Was it an act Katniss?" He still stared straight ahead, not looking at me. "Have you kissed him since you've been back?"

"No," I answered him honestly. I hadn't. I didn't even know what I felt for Peeta.

All I knew was that the whole time we'd been in the games, every moment had felt like it might be my last – every second filled with fear. Except for those moments when Peeta and I were pretending to be in love with each other, kissing for the cameras and the audience. Those seconds had been a sweet reprieve from the icy fear.

But love? Was I in love with Peeta Mellark? If I was, then why could I think of nothing else but the kiss with Gale two weeks ago? Why did every free moment of the day and when I lay in bed at night, why did that kiss and his hands on my face replay over and over?

My answer must have satisfied him. He stood abruptly and placed his hand on my arm.

"Let's go down to the river and catch some fish, Catnip."

One word.

One word and I knew he'd forgiven me for the sin of trying to keep myself alive, whatever the cost.


I had to work fast. The sky would be opening up soon, and the rain hitting the water would blur and distort the fish through the clear stream, not to mention muddy the water. Either of those situations alone would make a clean hit difficult. And I prided myself on my precision.

"Watch the rocks over there Catnip. There's moss on them."

The words were no sooner out of his mouth, then I raised my bow, taking aim, and my foot slid on the slippery green rocks. My ankle twisted under me and I went down, banging my knee on the sharp edge of stones.

I'd felt worse pain. I'd felt much worse pain and kept silent. But I was with Gale, I was safe, so I shrieked as I slowly pulled myself back to my feet. I moved my foot around, testing how badly I'd hurt my ankle, when I was swept off my feet and Gale carried me through the shallow current and back to shore.

He set me down and took my bare foot in his hands. He wiggled it gently from side to side and up and down, gauging my reaction as he manipulated it.

"Nothing's broken," he murmured, more to himself than to me. "I'm going to pull your pants up over your calf. Tell me if I hurt you."

I nodded as he took the bottom hem of my pants in his hand and gingerly pulled it up over my bloodied shin. I grimaced and bit back the wicked sting as the material grazed the cut, bruised skin. There wasn't much blood; the cut wasn't what hurt so much as slamming my shin bone.

He pulled a small cap from his bag slung over his shoulder and filled it with water, pouring it over the bloody cut, cleaning it. The cool water took the burn out of it.

He sat on the ground beside me and pressed on my shin, gently. "Does that hurt?"

I bit my lip and shrugged. "It feels bruised and sore, but it's fine."

He held my gaze as he continued to work his agile hands over my calf and shin, pressing and stroking. He reached into his bag again and pulled out some white gauze and wrapped it around twice before tying it off in place.

I felt a drop of water plunk right on the end of my nose and it was quickly followed by another one hitting my head. It was starting to rain already.

"Come on," Gale picked me up again before I could protest and made his way into the trees, finding a sheltered spot under a low-hanging bush underneath a tall heavily leaved tree. "This should keep us dry."

The sky opened up and the shore where we had just been sitting was completely drenched in the downpour.

"You okay?"

I flexed my leg back and forth, and wiggled my toes some more. I nodded. I could see my shoes still along the creek bed where I'd kicked them off to wade through the stream.

Some things are better when they're unexpected. If you see them coming, you can over think them, taking away from whatever experience it is that you don't expect. That's how it was when Gale leaned toward me sitting beside him and kissed me.

I just reacted without analyzing, which hardly ever happened for me. My life lately had been such a roller coaster of life and death situations these last few months, I tried very hard not to ever let anything take me by surprise.

So it was beyond my control when my breath caught and my arms wrapped themselves around Gale's neck and my lips were returning his kisses before I could stop them.

He seemed to be taken aback at my sudden abandon. He hesitated for just a second and then his mouth pressed harder against mine and my lips parted under his.

We continued kissing even as a gap in the trees overhead allowed the rain to sneak through and drops were tapping persistently atop our heads. I giggled as one hit me on the forehead. I felt Gale's lips curl up into a smile against my own and he pulled me onto his lap, being very careful not to jar my leg as he did so.

"Come here, its drier on my side." He scooted us back a bit further under the tree so he could lean his back against it. "Okay?"

"Mm-hmm." I tilted my head back, eyes closed, waiting for him to resume kissing me. When he didn't, I fluttered my lids open, capturing his gray eyes twinkling humorously back at mine.

"What do you want, catnip?" he teased.

"Nothing," I scowled, embarrassed. I pulled my hands away from his shoulders and folded my arms across my chest.

"Nothing?" His handsome, dark features looked amused and annoyingly sure of himself.

"Nope. Nothing." I turned my head away childishly and sulked.

"Not only are you surly as Buttercup, you're stubborn as well." He snickered.

I turned and hissed at him, before I begrudgingly giggled along with him.

"Come here, my little kitty Catnip." The closest Gale had ever come to uttering an endearment to me was when he called me by his pet nickname, Catnip. I shockingly thrilled and my stomach did a strange loopy-de-loop at his words.

He kissed me again and his mouth was more demanding this time. The first kiss had been a test and apparently I'd passed. But this time he was more sure of himself due to my enthusiastic reaction. I made a noise in the back of my throat as he wrapped his arms more securely around my back and pulled me closer, crushing me against his chest.

The forest was quiet around us, nothing but the sound of the rain pattering against the leaves and rocks. Its rhythmic sound was relaxing and almost hypnotic. Nothing to distract us from this new experience of our bodies pressed together and the taste of each other's lips.

If it wouldn't mean starvation, I would never feel the need to do anything but this in the woods with Gale again. I'm sure my mother and Prim, and Gale's family would not appreciate it, but still.

Gale groaned and shifted me uncomfortably on his lap, lowering my back down, so I was beneath him on the pine needled ground. He sucked my bottom lip into his mouth and nibbled on it gently, making my head swim dizzily. I broke out in chills as his mouth broke free from mine and made its way down my jawline to my neck, kissing and nibbling at the same time.

He was murmuring something that I couldn't quite make out. It sounded like he kept repeating, "you're mine".

It had never been like this with Peeta. But then Gale was older than us, eighteen. And while I'd never given it a thought before, I wondered how he got so good at what we were doing now. How many girls did he keep company while I was in the ring, fighting for my life and before that even, when I was too young for him to attempt anything like this with me? The thought made me ache even while it was me underneath him.

Gale continued to lavish kisses on my neck and at the same time I felt his hand softly tickling the skin above the open v-neck of my shirt. My body was reacting in weird ways I wasn't sure I knew how to handle. I wanted him to continue and lower his hand over my chest, but at the same time, I didn't.

Even though I'd kissed Peeta and held Peeta and even slept with Peeta, sharing a sleeping bag through the night, he had never had this effect on me and had never gone beyond chaste, close-mouthed kisses. Gale, in his jealousy of things that had never happened between Peeta and I, was pushing the boundaries.

His fingers gently trailed over my breast, coming beneath it, cupping it, rubbing his thumb over my hardened nipple. I wanted to do these things with Gale; I liked what we were doing.

But I wasn't ready yet.

I pulled his hand away.

"Stop Gale, stop."

"What's the matter, Catnip?" He kissed my lips softly.

"I just, I can't." I met his eyes. "Not yet."

He nodded his head and sat up. "Is it because you're in love with him?" He asked me quietly.

And then I knew with certainty. "No. I'm not in love with him, Gale. I'm just not ready yet."

And I think he understood, because he smiled and I saw it in his eyes.

He pulled me into him and we huddled together, waiting, as the rain began to slow.

"I can live with that," he told me, kissing my cheek.

And I believed him.