A/N: We said it would be up very soon, didn't we? Thanks to everybody who's stuck with us so far! We hope to never disappoint!
And to those just coming in, please read Wildfire first as this is the sequel. Not much will make sense to you otherwise.
Chapter 1. Awaken
In his small house in the Seam, Gale Hawthorne stood with his three younger siblings, cooking some sort of game he had hunted earlier in the day. For the first time in a long time, all three of his younger siblings were there to help.
The only thing that interrupted the scene was the sudden knocking on the door. Smiling towards the little girl, Gale asked Posy to go answer, assuming it was his mother home with more work to do. The 4 year old nodded as she shyly ran off. However, Vick and Rory also followed after her, a little to Gale's surprise.
The next instant played out in almost a blink of the eye. Posy's scream echoed through the home, startling her oldest brother. Gale turned and dashed out of the house, but when he opened the door, the Seam was no longer there. Instead, he stood in a familiar jungle-like forest with damp grass. He couldn't pin point where he had seen this location before from, but it didn't matter.
He turned his gaze back to where the house once was, but instead, all he found was a large tree. From the branch, Posy stood with a spear stabbed clean through her before plummeting to the ground, her legs shattering.
The oldest brother's eyes widened as he tried to run for her. However, his feet had sunk into what looked like part of a swamp and vines began to constrict his legs slowly like snakes. Two more screams echoed as he looked right and left. To the left, he witnessed a mysterious figure carve a curved blade from Vick's stomach to his heart while on the right Rory's body began to sizzle before bursting, filling the air with an eerily familiar red mist.
Gale tried to scream out for them, but his voice had vanished. He looked around wildly for something, some sort of help. Instead, when he turned his head back, he found himself face to face with Madge, covered in her own blood.
Gale's eyes snapped open immediately and his body sat up in the cushioned bed under him. Sweat was pouring from his forehead and dampening the hair that he suddenly grasped onto tightly, allowing a scream of terror to escape from under his arms. Quickly, as soon as Gale began screaming, two skinny arms were suddenly around his chest from the side of his bed, comfortingly, as if the person had been sitting and waiting, knowing he would wake up, screaming in horror. The sudden touch only startled Gale more at first as his screams abruptly stopped and he turned with wide eyes.
Katniss, face dirty and scratched, was sitting by his bed, looking concerned but unsurprised. She slowly let go of him and sat back, worried she had touched him too soon. Around her were plain, white walls while an assortment of wires ran from Gale's arms and chest to IVs and other machinery.
"K-Katniss..." he choked out as he slowly began to gauge his surroundings. Slowly his eyes trailed down to all the tubes attached to him before his vision snapped back to Katniss, more horror evident in his weary eyes. "What happened? Where is everybody? I didn't win, I couldn't have! Willow, Amur, and..."
"Shh..." Katniss said quietly, setting her hand on the side of Gale's head gently. "We got you, Willow, and Amur from the Arena. They're in other medical rooms, getting checked out. I told you I would get you, remember?"
Only the basic message of Katniss's words processed through Gale's rattled mind. They are alive. That much eased him, but it wasn't enough to make him any closer to being alright. He grasped her hand that was on his head quickly, but, as he did, his mind flashed back to Madge. To her hand on his cheek, bloody and weak as her life was stolen slowly from her body. He trembled, but his grasp only became tighter.
He tried to think of other things quickly, to try and keep his sanity and strength. However, if it wasn't Madge's death, then Sage, Sisal, and Joule's were the immediate next string of thoughts he couldn't push away. The fall, the slash wound, the... "K-Katniss... what happened to Joule?"
Katniss just pressed her lips together. She had sworn she wouldn't get emotional in front of Gale, especially with him in the condition he was presently in, and she intended to keep that promise to herself. She hadn't even allowed herself to cry over Madge's body, afraid that Gale would wake up at any second and see her. She pulled his hand into her lap, holding it with both of hers. "Let's not talk about that right now, Gale."
"What happened to Joule?" he repeated as he looked up to her with desperate eyes. "Her body... sizzled and... there was an explosion... and after that, I remember seeing..." He reached up slowly with his other hand, running his fingers lightly down her braid as he pulled it to rest on her shoulder. He was desperate and needed to know what had happened.
Tears quickly sprung to her eyes when he touched her hair and she looked down at their intertwined fingers, not letting him see. "She had... Thermite in her glass eye... When she was fighting, somehow it broke I guess, and the powder got all over her. She had no choice but to jump into the force field so it would explode, so we could get in and rescue you."
"Thermite? She snuck that past the Gamemakers? And..." His mind froze as he dropped her braid. His eyes traveled down to the black outfit the girl before him was in and piece by piece he forced his unstable mind to connect everything. "She was... breaking the force field for you all to come in... Amur, when he stabbed my arm and dug into it... It was all planned. Willow too?"
She nodded slightly. "Amur had to get the tracker out that the Capitol had inserted in your arm, as well as all our arms. I... tried to tell you the plan, but you weren't talking to me in District 13, which is the only place I could have told you without being overheard."
Slowly, Gale pulled his hand out from under Katniss's as he turned his head up towards the ceiling. His body never ceased to tremble as he laid back down. A smile spread across his mouth but the tears that started down his cheeks were evidence enough that the grin was empty. "Then..." he choked, his voice strained and flat. "I couldn't save anybody. I was the one everyone else saved."
Katniss slowly looked at him after he pulled his hand away from her. She chewed on her lip for a moment before setting her hand gently on his arm. "Gale... I know... it's hard. I'm sorry that I didn't tell you the plan. I... should have made you listen, but I knew that... Joule, Willow, and Amur would take care of you and they did. And there's nothing wrong with that."
Gale didn't seem to hear her though, or he just wasn't listening. His eyes weakly moved back and forth towards the ceiling of the room, counting the holes in the tiles to himself. He kept this up for a full minute or two before speaking again, but his eyes staying in place. "Let Haymitch know he was right."
Katniss frowned slightly, watching him cautiously. "About what?"
"I'm not special, nor am I necessary."
Suddenly, instead of sadness, Katniss felt an intense stab of anger. She had watched Gale carefully, planned all of this for him, to save him, and now he was just brushing it off like it was nothing. Now with the joy she felt at getting him out alive mixed with the sadness from Madge's death mixed with the intense anger, she was just a hurricane of emotions. She stood up suddenly. "I'll do that."
There was a long pause as Gale continued to stare only up. He could tell by her tone that his comment had upset her, but his mind was so warped with this new information that he couldn't bring himself to focus on it. Katniss's face slowly began to turn red and she quickly turned and walked out of the room. She had to keep herself from yelling at him, knowing what he just went through was almost unbearable, having just gone through the Games herself a mere few months before.
That didn't mean, however, that it wasn't very hard.
In the small hallway of the large craft, Peeta stood with his back against the wall, waiting for her. In the week since they had escaped via the hovercraft, the painter had been informed about everything that transpired at the Justice Building meeting he had missed.
Seeing Katniss, the boy straightened up a little and gave her a sympathetic smile. "He awake then finally?"
Katniss just nodded stiffly, arms crossed, but didn't say anything else about him. "How are Willow and Amur?"
"Awake," he sighed. "Amur's able to get up and walk but I don't think Willow's doing too well with everything."
She nodded slightly, as if expecting that. "She's a child. I guess it'll take her a while to be okay."
"What's the plan now then?"
Katniss shook her head slightly. "I don't know. There's not much we can do until Gale and Willow are at least able to get out of bed."
"Maybe we should go talk to Haymitch. See if anybody has a plan of action yet or any ideas on what to do from here."
She paused for a moment before shrugging slightly and nodding, still upset and finding it hard to care about anything other than wringing Gale's neck. She started walking down the hallway anyway to the large room where the Mentors and Haymitch often congregated in. Inside, most of the mentors had come together, many watching as Beetee messed with the television screen in the center of the room. At this, Katniss raised her eyebrows slightly, but walked over and stood by Johanna, Finnick, and Annie. "What's going on?"
"Volts and Nuts here think they can find a way to get a connection to broadcasts without running a cable," Johanna explained, though she sounded bored. She started pulling at her sleeve a little, not liking being so constricted. "So we can see what's going on or something."
Katniss rolled her eyes slightly at the nicknames, but continued to watch Beetee and Wiress intensely. "I'm sure it's obvious what's going on. The Capitol's probably trying to cover up the break-in... or trying to put a price on all our heads."
"It would still be better to know den I guess," Chaff's voice came from a few feet away as he sat at a table with his friend.
Katniss shrugged slightly and Haymitch tilted his head back slightly to look at Katniss. "How's Hawthorne?"
Katniss sent him a slight glare and another shrug. Haymitch clucked his tongue and looked away from her. "No need to be so tetchy, sweetheart."
"Got it!" Beetee's voice interrupted everything as the television flickered on. The screen faded for a second before the capitol's symbol appeared on the screen. Haymitch's head lifted from the back of his chair and he turned to look toward the screen along with the rest of the room.
Beetee found a seat away from the television so he did not block anybody's vision as a young woman with baby blue colored skin appeared on the screen. "This is a special report coming live from the Capitol to all Capitol citizens. Due to a shortage, we ask that all citizens conserve their food resources. Transportation has been halted due to a series natural disasters preventing the transport of seafood and grown produce such as fruits and vegetables to make the trips to our Capitol."
Katniss furrowed her eyebrows for a brief moment before comprehension dawned and she couldn't help the small smirk that formed on her face. Chaff let out a hearty laugh as he patted Haymitch on the back with his stump. "So we caused 'natural disaster' eh?"
Haymitch smirked slightly and shoved his shoulder against Chaff's. "Or rebellion. Same thing, I guess."