Disclaimer: I don't own anything. Just playing with the scenes and characters. First story, written in immediate post-Mockingjay coma, slightly edited later. Everything is Everthorne and everything is embarrassing, feel free to watch me go down with the ship.

THG 1: Leaving You

Gale is holding me tightly in his arms, frantically whispering some last minute advice into my ear. Barely listening, I cling to him with all my strength, creasing his shirt between rigidly clenched fingers.

The clock on the wall keeps ticking, our time is running low.

Finally, Gale pulls away a little and releases his hold on my waist, only to cup my face in his palms. He leans so close our noses almost touch, his eyes burning into mine with intensity I've never seen before.

"Catnip, whatever you do, just come back. Come back to me." He's talking too fast, fighting to keep his voice steady. He pauses slightly, taking a deep breath. "Whatever you do, remember... I love you."

I stare at him, wide-eyed and speechless, willing myself to do something, anything to prevent our last moments together from passing in awkward silence. On impulse, I rise to my tiptoes and press my lips against his cheek, just before the door opens, and the Peacekeepers pour in to rip us apart forever.

For a few more seconds I watch the surprise, hope and despair battle on his face, then the door thumps closed and the Peacekeepers drag him away. Gale's last look remains etched into my memory and floods my heart with resolve. I will let the love I saw shining so brightly in his eyes to be my guiding light and bring me back home. Back into his arms.

Maybe then I'll bring myself to answer.