A/N: Thanks to aimmyarrowshigh for letting me borrow her headcanon.
The Bad In Each Other
down the neon river / the sadness canoes / either without or with her
Fiest, "The Bad In Each Other"
Stunned silence. It's cut by a young man shoving through the crowd and a young woman screaming her sister's name. I volun-
Her lip splits when he claps his hand over her mouth, smearing face and fingers with crimson.
Katniss struggles. She's strong.
Gale is stronger.
He stands in the velvet room and faces Peeta Mellark.
She's soft-hearted. They've never spoken, but someone has to tell him about Prim.
The baker's son is red-eyed. Believe me, I'll look after her.
Thank you. Silence. If you're the one who does it you'll wish you died in the arena. More silence. Good luck.
Peeta nods. Say goodbye to Katniss for me, please.
You know each other?
They meet in the hall, exiting different rooms. Peeta says goodbye.
She walks by. Her face bears his palm print of blood.
Dinner is a stew of turnips and rabbit. Hazelle says, You know what it cost.
Most people watch on the town square monitors. The Hawthornes stay home with their warped television.
Her dress is made from flickering candlelight. None of the other tributes look at each other, but Peeta holds tight to Prim's hand and sometimes leans down to whisper in her ear. She looks no older than ten.
The crowd of monsters cheers.
Catnip's cold fury is blocks away, and Gale freezes from it.
He needs food more than he needs classes about coal.
All his snares are cut. The bow she gave him is in pieces. The knife that belonged to his father is unmolested. He brings down a slow-moving turkey, carves it, leaves half in their meeting place.
He finds the turkey pinned to an oak.
The arrow flies an inch past Gale's head. The screams that follow scare away all the game. You killed her! You killed my sister!
She's not dead yet, Catnip.
The next arrow clips his ear. Don't call me that! I wanted to go! I should be there and you know it!
They didn't pull your name.
You would have volunteered if it was Rory!
Would you have tried to stop me?
He expects a third arrow to go through his heart, but there's no response. It takes a few minutes to understand she's left. He never saw where she was.
Prim gets a rating of four.
I just want to go home to my mother.
The camera shows the audience wiping away colorful mascara tears. Gale begins to see strategy to the interview, to the little girl clothes, the ducked eyes, the whispered answers. Prim is angelic innocence. No one will enjoy watching her die.
Then it's Peeta's turn.
I'm in a difficult situation. With Prim being the other tribute.
I can only imagine - she's such as sweetheart, isn't she? Cheers from the crowd.
Well, it isn't just that. You see... Prim is my half-sister.
The night forest rustles with whispers.
He has nothing to offer except, Could be a ploy. Just because they're both blond-
Mom says it's true.
Gale keeps vigil from a distance as Catnip rocks her father's jacket. She leaves wordlessly at dawn.
Half the contestants are slaughtered at the Cornucopia. The Careers turn on the District 12 tributes. Prim cowers in the lake while Peeta explains that his sister is a healer.
Any of you know how to clean a wound? Or which plant brings down a fever? No? That's what I thought.
The big one from District 2, Cato, sees value in Prim but not Peeta. Prim says, Kill him and I'll let you all die.
There is a new tone in the youngest Everdeen's voice. Gale wonders if Katniss hears it.
Gale finds the baker sitting in the Meadow, lost and hollow-eyed. Gale gives him a squirrel.
There is a television in the cafeteria during lunch. On screen, Prim cleans and packs the District 2 girl's deep cut. The tribute doesn't notice when Prim adds a poisonous herb to the poultice.
Gale glances across the room. Katniss' face is white. It's a mistake, she mouths to the mayor's daughter. But it's a good mistake.
The District 2 girl dies. Peeta sends Prim running into the fields while he holds off the others. Cato cuts him on the leg and he staggers off before falling unconscious near a stream.
A few hours later Prim runs into the hidden tributes from District 11. Thresh looks at the fair-haired version of his own companion.
I made a deal, the tribute says. With your brother. You can stay.
Thresh watches the little girls snuggle together to nap in the sun. The Capitol panels are puzzled, but Gale is not. Thresh won't let the sadistic Careers do it. Thresh and Peeta agreed to wait. They agreed to make it painless.
On the way home he sees Katniss creeping to the fence. Are you hungry?
She shoves him and he hits the chain links. They're not electrified tonight. I haven't shot you because I like Rory and Vick and Posy. They shouldn't watch you die.
The clouds shadow the moon. Did you think I'd forgive you?
No. He didn't think at all.
You never knew he was your brother?
The cameras zoom in on Prim's face. No, she says to Rue. But my dad... well, the person I thought was my dad... we were never anything alike. He was the same as my sister, and she and I aren't alike, either. I think I might be more like Peeta than Katniss.
A banded snake slithers close. Rue and the cameras do not notice it. Prim and Gale do. Prim says nothing.
The scene cuts to Peeta delirious in the mud.
One woman on the commentary panel chokes up. She says her son and daughter are close. The subject quickly changes to District 1.
Katniss isn't at school, is nowhere to be found, and Gale spends hours shouting his rage into the valley.
Capitol television arrives in peacock suits and flamingo dresses, wanting to know all about Prim's parents. How the filthy coal miner stole the blond merchant girl away from her childhood sweetheart. It's a great story.
They're looking everywhere for you, Gale tells the trees. They'll figure out you're outside the fence. The Peacekeepers can't ignore that. They'll whip you when you come back.
He offers the forest what he offered before. To never go back at all.
No answer. She might not be there.
The interviewers catch him in the streets. Did the other miners help cover up Mr. Everdeen's cruelty to his wife?
Gale did not know Mr. Everdeen. No. He was the kindest man I ever met.
He doesn't beat them to death with their own cameras.
Templesmith says there can be two winners if they're from the same district. When Thresh looks at Prim she runs.
Prim manages to find Peeta. She is an excellent healer. He may live.
The baker's wife says, Both the brats can rot in the arena. The panelists shake their heads.
Mrs. Everdeen is silent and empty when they beg for details about her tragic affair.
The flamingo woman asks the baker whether he'd rather lose his youngest son or his only daughter. Gale breaks the television before the baker responds. Posy bursts into terrified tears.
Gale still can't locate Katniss.
The Careers begin to kill one another. Six left.
It's the most compelling television ever produced.
He told me after the Reaping. He didn't want me to go in not knowing.
Did he tell you how it happened?
It's a tale of innocence and loss and irresistible passion. Villains and victims and star-crossed lovers. Peeta knows how to sell a story.
Prim's eyes shine. You know... I'm really glad we're here together.
Me too. Sister.
Sponsor gifts float down like raindrops.
He spots her leaving the town square and follows to her hiding place behind the Hob. Katniss, wait.
No pause. No response.
Where are you sleeping?
She clutches her hunting jacket tighter. Her lip is still scabbed.
Stop. I'm not the enemy.
He takes the brunt of her pain the way he wanted. If you hadn't stopped me from volunteering they wouldn't be telling these lies!
The whole country's eating it up. The lies keep them alive.
My father loved us! He loved my mother! She loved him!
Dirty coal miners make great bad guys.
Why isn't my mother saying anything! Prim should be telling everyone how he sang to her, why didn't my mother say he brought her flowers-
Catnip doesn't fight when he pulls her close. She cries into his chest. It's not forgiveness.
Rue falls to a snakebite. District 11 has no sponsors.
The scavenger girl from District 5 dies after Prim pretends to eat from a bush of poisonous berries.
More gifts fall as Prim weeps.
Gale sees the tears are fake.
She didn't want to do it.
The Games change people.
She's not changing. She didn't have a choice.
She didn't have a choice, Catnip, but they still change people.
Why didn't you let it be me that changed?
You know why.
No, I don't!
Prim's skills reach their limit and the blood poisoning creeps up Peeta's thigh. More gifts, many gifts, but there isn't enough money in Panem to buy the medication he needs.
If I don't make it back, Prim, promise to tell our father how much I love him.
Broadcasts of crowds. Parents with murmurs of Tragic. So awful. Such sweet children. The forbidden: Unfair.
Then no more live reactions.
Do you know where Katniss is?
No. He closes the door in Mrs. Everdeen's face.
Hazelle is harsh. You have no right to judge that woman, Gale, or anyone else.
He ignores her. He'll judge people who break Catnip.
Are you ever going to go home?
It's not home anymore.
Thresh faces Cato and Cato faces Thresh. The tributes kill each other.
Closer examination of the rule book has disclosed that only one winner may be allowed.
Gale hears moans echo through the square. Gale hears moans echo through the country. Gale spots Katniss watching from an alleyway.
Prim sobs and seems not to notice that Peeta has poisoned himself.
Primrose Everdeen wins the Seventy-fourth Hunger Games.
Gale hunts and imagines painted Capitol faces every time he throws his father's knife.
Prim didn't starve and sustained no injuries. She is ready for the post-Game celebrations in record time.
Gale passes the baker in the street. He looks as though he will never speak again.
She saw. She knew he was going to eat the berries. Katniss lost more weight than Prim. She wouldn't even let me drown that stupid cat and she let Peeta die without a word.
The Games change people, he says again. They destroy people. But he sent Prim there.
He waits for the blame.
She looks him dead in the eye. It's the Capitol that destroys people, she says. And I'm going to destroy the Capitol.
He will love her for his whole life.
Killing Peeta Mellark is the stupidest thing the Gamemakers could have done.
The fall of the Capitol won't begin with armies. It will begin with the crying parents in the audience. Muted audio doesn't hide the lips forming the words No and Cruel and Wrong.
Tears drip from Prim's flawless pale cheeks and the lights shine her hair into a halo. She is the symbol of all grief. She makes her interview a memorial service. Because she is the winner, the cameras cannot turn away.
Gale turns with her.
He waits through the day with a bag of belongings. She arrives at dusk.
How is Prim?
His legs hurt as he stands from the grass. You're sure about this?
Yes. I'm not going to move to Victors' Village and play along with the lies. I can't stay here, Gale.
No forgiveness. But she'd rather they be together than not, and he's satisfied. Together they can find something.
Ready? he says.
He lifts the fence.