Author: aimmyarrowshigh
Fandom: The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins
Story Title: "Four Times Gale and Katniss Made Love, and One Time They Didn't"
Summary: Written for thgkinkmeme, prompt: "Katniss/Gale, first time."
Character/Relationships: Katniss/Gale
Rating: M
Warnings: Some sexual content and allusions to Capitol sex trade. The usual.
Story Wordcount: 3,000
Disclaimer: I only own the original concepts. All settings and proprietary language are owned by the author of the work from which this is derived.
Notes: I have no idea where this came from. Unbeta'd. 5LoB part two is coming soon; I got waylaid. Um, enjoy?

Four Times Gale and Katniss Made Love, and One Time They Didn't

He had always thought that the first time he made love to Katniss, it would be outside – maybe under that big tree, the one with the big knot in the trunk like an owl eye; a god's eye, Katniss had called it back when they first met. He'd told her that word wasn't allowed and she'd whispered that her father said it all the time, and Gale remembered saying, okay. A god's eye.

He never thought that they'd be tucked up in the rickety bed at Katniss' house, so early in the evening that it was almost afternoon, and all the windows still thrown open against the summer heat. He didn't know where Mrs. Everdeen was. Didn't really matter.

All that mattered was that Prim was coming home.

Gale had burst through the Everdeens' door only moments after the baker's boy ate those berries. He died with Prim cradling his head and tears streaming down her face. He died asking Prim to tell his father it was worth it. Gale couldn't help thinking, like everyone else in Panem, that it was strange how alike they looked.

Katniss careened towards him like she was propelled by something explosive inside her; she wrapped herself all around Gale before he even had time to say hey or it's good or slow down; I love you.

It shouldn't have been what Katniss was doing that night. But Gale couldn't seem to find it in himself to mind, not when Katniss was tucked up atop him like a nesting bird, brown arms like wings folded around his shoulders. Her face was wet where she kept it pressed to the crook of his neck.

She murmured something about breadover and over, something about unpaid debts.

He had always thought that the first time he made love to Katniss, it would be in her little bed – maybe early in the morning, when they'd finished hunting and Katniss smelled like leaves, basil and blackberry and yellowpurplewhite flowers. Maybe late in the afternoon, when the shifts were changing at the mines and everything was quiet for just a half-hour: dust settling and ground still, and no canaries singing. That sweet, silent spot of every afternoon… maybe it was the absence of the grating sound in his ears from the maws of the machinery below his feet, but to Gale, it almost felt like they lived somewhere better than District Twelve for just a little while every day.

But they didn't.

He lived in District Twelve, and the odds were not in his favor. He wasn't surprised when Effie Trinket pulled his name from the Reaping ball. If he hadn't been numb, watching his mother cradle Posy close and cry out in the crowd, he would have been shocked that Madge Undersee got pulled, too. He felt bad for thinking, Capitol gets to see the pretty dress after all.

He's not sure how he got from the stage to that little room in the Justice Hall. But then he was sitting on this fancy couch, softer than the bed he had at home, and Katniss was in the doorway pleading you have to come home; what could make you fight hard enough to come home?

And he answered, you.

She still had on that blue dress, the whole time. Gale ran his hands up her thighs, pushed the skirt up to her waist to watch himself sliding into her body, all shining with Katnissand their dark skin and dark curls almost matching.

He had no idea there were cameras on him already. He had no idea they'd show thatduring the Interviews, that they could even take that from him and turn it into part of their Games. He saw it reflected on the huge screens around the stage while the grotesque, perverted Capitolites catcalled him and he felt sick.

And then Madge looked coquettishly out at the crowd and charmed everyone by telling them all that she'd nursed a crush on him for years and was it any wonder?and she paused just right when she said that he'd come around every morning to sell her… strawberries.

And so it became his strategy. Gale the lothario, lures you in with a kiss before he kills you. Not everyone's born with a face for the camera, but Caesar Flickerman called him Gorgeous Gale and that was that.

So he won. Fiery boy everyone in Panem was meant to want became the hottest commodity of the Capitol. Snow had plenty of video of Katniss to show him in his black, black office after the Games ended (red smears on Madge's mouth). Gale had served up Katniss on a silver platter and he wished he weren't going home.

And he wasn't right away. He'd gotten a lot of Sponsors for District Twelve, hadn't he.

When he did make it back to District Twelve, Katniss was waiting for him at the train station with her arms wrapped around her chest like she had to hold her insides in, but she smiled when she saw him. It wasn't a smile that he'd seen very often, and he thought:

even with the rest of it, I wasn't lying when I said I'd come home forher.

Gale was polished and waxed and coiffed and Katniss' nose twitched with a held-back laugh when she stepped up close to him.

She put her hand on his chest and he flinched.

He thought about all of the Capitol eyes watching her all the time now and shook it off, and he smiled and said, hey, Catnip. Guess what? I got to meet Finnick Odair.

He had always thought that the first time he made love to Katniss, it would be after his last Reaping – maybe he would tell her that he'd been saving up to propose the right way, but he just couldn't wait anymore; maybe he'd just kiss her and say, it's the only thing in Panem that makes sense, you and me; let's go home.

He never thought that it'd be Rory.

Cripes, Rory was so little. At that age where he was all legs and ears and goofy-looking. But Prim cried, and cried, and cried.

Gale and Katniss sat with Rory in that little room in the Justice Hall while Prim cried on his shoulder, and they all said things like, you know how to survive, Roar, that's more important than knowing how to kill and we'll be proud of you no matter what happens, Rory and when you come home, it'll be almost Posy's birthday, huh? Maybe you can steal Effie's wig and bring it for her 'cause she likes pink, huh?

And he did come home, but home wasn't District Twelve by the time he got there. Something happened. Haymitch and the Mentors from other Districts, they did something, and the Arena exploded before the Tributes even landed on their plates. The Arena went up in flames and so did half the streets of the Capitol, and the videoscreens were still set not to turn off for the length of the Games but instead, it was Finnick Odair's face listing the crimes of President Snow's cabinet.

Somewhere out there, Rory was stuck on a train full of guerilla soldiers, and back home, the Capitol sent in firebombs. Gale grabbed Katniss and pulled her close for just a second, stroked her hair back from her face and kissed her, hard, just once, before he took off around the Seam, pounding on doors to get everyone away, get them to the lake.

Katniss ran off toward the Merchant Quarter, hellbent on saving Madge Undersee and, for some reason that made Gale's gut twist, the youngest son of the baker – something about life and death and bruises – and Gale waited for her in the copse of trees before the meadow, ready to run out into the burning District to get her if she didn't come back.

But she did, dragging Madge with one hand and the boy – something Mellark – with the other. A few pale-haired Merchant kids were able to keep pace with them; Madge and Peeta were each carrying a screaming toddler, but that wasn't what Gale saw.

He saw the wall of fire closing in on them. Felt the heat of it on his face. He wanted to yell to Katniss to leave themand run faster, but he knew that she already made her choices. She was going to save the mayor's daughter and the boy with the bread even if it killed her.

It made him hate her, and love her more at the same time.

Gale snatched the babies and pulled Madge after him as soon as they were with reach and they all ran off pell-mell towards the water. Katniss' braid singed with the heat of the flames and Gale heard Peeta – that was his name – yell for her when Katniss screamed. When they all got to the lake, Gale watched Peeta push Katniss down into the water, pouring handfuls over her head to put out the girl on fire.

He would owe the baker's son for the rest of their lives (however long that might be), he thought, when Katniss sat up, sputtering.

And then Gale gathered her up and called for everyone's silence, and they all looked at him, lost. He said, we've gotta head North. He said, it's the only way left.

So they walked, Gale and Katniss out in front of eight-hundred lost souls, to District Thirteen. Katniss didn't speak for hours after that scream, and kept running her hand over the back of her neck like she was trying to find a braid that wasn't there anymore.

Then finally, when they stopped everyone to rest for the night, she looked over at Gale and asked, in a raspy, burned-out voice, do you remember the hovercraft? The redheaded girl?

Yeah, Gale said back. I do.

I wonder what happened to her, sometimes, Katniss admitted. What she was running from.

Same thing we are, said Gale. Only thing anyone runs from in Panem. Capitol.

Then Katniss was quiet again, but laced her fingers through his. Gale didn't sleep.

They arrived in District Thirteen the next morning and almost got shot to death by the paranoid mole-people who lived there, but Madge Undersee stuttered out something about Haymitch Abernathy and they lowered their weapons. It took hours to get everyone sorted out with numbers and uniforms and compartments to live in like they were all shoes that had to be matched up into sets and stowed away until it rained.

Gale got a compartment with Katniss. Said Vick needed the extra bed in his for when – when, when, when, not if – Rory came back. Said he and Katniss were married.

As far as he was concerned, it was only a small lie.

The baker's son looked stricken, and got a compartment with an old man who cobbled shoes in the Hob. Katniss said, I was gonna live with Madge, and Gale said, Madge's fine with your mom and Prim.

A few days later, Katniss looked up at Gale while they tied their boots for the day and she said, you kissed me during the bombing.

Gale nodded. There wasn't really anything to say to that. It was true.


Gale shrugged. Because I love you.

Katniss blinked and nodded and didn't say a word, and Gale didn't see her for the rest of the day while she trained with Madge and he ran around doing gopher errands for President Coin, with her hair like she cut it using a slide-rule.

That night, back in their compartment, Katniss hesitated after she took her pajamas out of their drawer. She watched Gale as he changed into his own right in the room, no shame, and then she spoke. How do you know you love me?

Gale smiled sadly at her. Because I don't give a damn if this whole country goes up in flames as long as you're okay.

Katniss nodded, then turned away from him and stripped out of her gray uniform. Gale watched the lines of her back and the indents at the base of her spine, the lean curve of her waist, and he wondered he hadn't noticed that her shoulders and neck were all scarred from the bombing, too. She pulled on her standard, plain Thirteen-issue pajamas before she turned to come over to the bed.

She lay down beside him and studied his face for a long time in the dark, gently closing and opening his eyes with her thumbs like she was collecting data. I guess I love you, too, she said finally, and it wasn't perfect, but he would take what he could get.

He kissed the scarred skin gently, over and over, as he moved inside her in the dark, and he thought that it was good Peeta Mellark had been there after all, to save Katniss from the fire.

He had always thought that the first time he made love to Katniss, it would be when they were free – escaped to the woods, maybe, or after someone finally shot that bastard President Snow right in the heart like he deserved. He thought that when he finally made love to Katniss, there would be no more prying eyes. No cameras glinting in the trees or hum of the electric fence, no more black market deals just to survive.

Instead, he got Madge Undersee knocking on his door in the middle of the night and a hovercraft waiting to take him to the Capitol. Of all people, Haymitch Abernathy and Finnick Odair were waiting for him inside with somber expressions, and that Gamemaker, the fat one, the one who designed the wolf-mutts that killed Peeta.

Katniss was a Victor, Finnick explained shortly, and she was pretty. She was a pretty young Victor whose strategy was being lovable and beautiful and – desirable.

So Gale had to come to the Capitol tonight.

He couldn't stay.

He couldn't save her.

But he could be the one Katniss chose, just this once, just something for her – one thing in her life that she got to decide. She was trapped by the mine collapse and the District she was born in and the illness of her mother and the laws of the Peacekeepers and the Hunger Games and Peeta's death and this, this system of making the Victors keep playing, just to remind them that even though they were hailed as winners, it was really Snow who won. Always.

Afterwards, Katniss turned away from him on the mattress and curled in on herself. Gale wrapped an arm around her anyway, because he was alive and he was Gale and she had to, had to, had to have this to remember. He murmured, I love you in her ear, and she sucked in a sharp breath between her teeth and grated out - I know.

But then she whispered, ask me.

And he kissed the back of her shoulder and said, ask you what?

Katniss didn't move even as he nuzzled her ear softly with his lips, and he knew that it tickled her. Who I would have picked, she muttered, if I'd really gotten to choose.

Gale's stomach felt filled with ice even as he kept his hands and his lips moving and his voice light for her. Who would you choose?

Katniss was quiet for a long time, even after she'd rolled over again and pulled Gale's hand down between her legs again so that he would have everything and the Capitol couldn't take anything else. I'll never know, she said finally. Because I haven't ever gotten a choice.

Gale had always thought that he would make love to Katniss for the first time after he finally told her that he loved her. He knew her, knew how she worked and how she thought – it wouldn't be something she thought about until… well, until it was. And Peeta had gotten to it first, telling Katniss that he loved her, getting kisses, but he didn't know Katniss. It wasn't real.

But he was real. And Katniss had to know that. He'd even taken the stupid gloves, useless Capitol things that made his fingers about as useful as sausages. He knew that Katniss was fond of that stylist, but he didn't like it. Didn't like who she was when she'd been speaking to him – when she'd been letting the Capitol in.

But even under that, he loved her. So he told her. Snowed into a little, isolated house in their woods with a roaring fire and silence and she'd been staring at his hands…

And all she said was, I know.