disclaimer: I do not own The Hunger Games in any shape or form. I just like playing around with the characters. ;)

Happy Birthday, Rach!

After who knows how long (hours, hours, he'd already been in this damned area for hours), he finally stopped by a tree, listening hard to make sure no one else was around.

Deeming that it was safe enough for now (they were never safe under the Capitol's gaze),he thought of how he'd seen Katniss' gaze become blurry and disoriented, as if she'd seen something horrible just before coming into the arena (but what isn't horrible about this whole place?). He hoped she'd gotten her hands on one of the bows he'd seen. It would serve her well, get her out of what was probably a blood bath at the Cornucopia (it was always a blood bath, death in the air, bodies strewn on the ground).

He probably should have stayed with her, made sure she was okay, but there had been too many coming at him, too many to fight off (but not for Katniss, no, she could kill them all if she wanted, with those magic fingers of hers), and the water gave him an advantage of a quick get away.

He knew Katniss had to survive the arena because she was the leader of the rebellion (the mockingjay, the girl who was on fire), but it was so much more than that (her eyes, her soul, they touched his heart like no other before her). He wanted to keep her safe just because he wanted to hold her close (kiss those pretty little lips, the ones that rarely ever turn up into a beautiful smile) though she was already married to the boy, Peeta.

The idea that she was married burned in his heart, but he shoved that aside (people fell out of love, didn't they? He was living proof) and started the trek through the (fake, fake, it's all fake, a product of the Games) jungle to find Katniss, and, most likely, Peeta. As he walked, he made a vow, out loud and to himself, that he would protect Katniss, no matter the cost, not caring if the whole world heard it (which they probably have, the Capitol hears everything, sees everything).

He hadn't needed to say it out loud, but he felt like he owed her family that much peace of mind.

Owed it to Haymitch to keep his promise.

Owed it to himself not to entertain the delusion that he was protecting her for anyone but himself (like the selfish, vain boy everyone else knew him as).

[A/N]: Please excuse me if this was crap, but it was my first attempt at a fic (or drabble, I guess) in a long time. I hope you enjoyed, and if you liked it, please leave a review!