A/N: Title and lyrics borrowed from "Somebody That I Used To Know" by Gotye. Set during The Hunger Games through post-Mockingjay (pre-Epilogue). Spoilers are inevitable.
You can get addicted to a certain kinda sadness
Like resignation to the end, always the end
So when we found that we could not make sense
Well you said that we would still be friends
But I'll admit that I was glad that it was over
Somebody That I Used To Know
Prim is reaped. Katniss volunteers.
Gale desperately shoves through the crowd - he has to stop her.
He's fast, but not fast enough.
Prim thrashes and clobbers, but he's stronger.
He settles for: "Up you go, Catnip.", and when Katniss looks at him, he strives to convince himself that it's not the last time she does.
She is the Girl on Fire.
Their costumes illuminate the dark town square with their glaring radiance.
Gale swore he hated everything made by the Capitol. But how could he hate this?
Rory jokes that Peeta looks ridiculous in his matching costume.
He loves her, and she loves him. Gale is sure of that more than he is sure of his name.
Prim tells him that it's a trick. ("She's doing it so that she can come back to you.")
Katniss kisses Peeta Mellark in the arena, and it's more real than his last memory of her grey eyes.
He spends the last days of the Games in the forest.
When he goes back, they are coming home. Both of them.
A kid on the way tells him that she's his "cousin" now, and that he has to play along for the cameras.
Gale swore he hated nothing more than the Capitol, but how could he not hate this more?
Her reality is fake smiles, and cameras, and fancy dresses.
His is stifling air, and coal, and the dim light from his miner's cap.
The Quarter Quell is announced, and she is going back in the Arena.
He runs to her.
"It would have been different if I had volunteered in his place," he whispers in her hair, as she cries in his arms. He meant to say, "It would have been different if I hadn't let you volunteer in Prim's place.", but he knows she'd hate him for that.
"How so?" she asks, her voice bleak and broken.
"I would have died to protect you."
Eventually, he agrees to help them.
In the end, she is different.
Peeta Mellark was taken by the Capitol, and, inside the prison cell that is Thirteen, she is searching for him.
She is drifting away from Gale, turning to Finnick Odair for consolation - he knows, and he helps in his own small way.
She becomes the symbol, the icon of the rebellion. The Mockingjay.
Gale recalls all those mornings in the woods outside Twelve; they would leave one day, he thought. Leave Twelve, and leave the twisted world of the Capitol behind. Together they would make it.
They would be refugees, but they would make it.
In the end, he is different, as well.
He has fire in him, always did.
He will not falter - he will fight.
He is the one who finds him and brings him back to her, and he regrets he didn't kill him the moment he did.
Because Peeta Mellark is a Capitol mutt, and he swore he hated everything made by the Capitol. But, anything that breaks Katniss, he hates more.
The day the war is over is the day he knows he has lost her.
She will never look at him the same way.
Hell, she might never look at him again. All he will have of Catnip will be the last forlorn glance she offered, right after she volunteered to take her sister's place.
When he does see her again, she is not Catnip. She is not the Girl on Fire. She is not the Mockingjay.
He doesn't know what she is anymore.