This story has been my head all night and for the past day so I have to write it down. This was inspired by a very big decision that my husband and I made together recently.
Thank you for all your support and alerts. I hope that you will continue to review.
All characters in the Hunger Games do not belong to me.
This storyline also has nothing to do with "Fires" though it could be interpreted that way.
I bruise you, you bruise me
We both bruise too easily
Too easily to let it show
I love you, and that's all I know.
All I Know
Chapter One: The Reunion
The buildings of the Capitol shone outside the window as Katniss stood reading the letter. It had arrived just five minutes ago but she still couldn't believe it. Haymitch had been sick for only a few months but the cirrhosis was so advanced that it didn't take long for him to go. As everyone knew, he had been drinking for years.
Her mind wandered to the last time she saw him. He was looking outside his window when she left. He made no move to stop her but even in the darkness of night she could see his eyes shining in disappointment.
Katniss couldn't blame him.
Haymitch had written begging her to come back when she first left but she was still in pain. Her nights were full of nightmares and she woke up screaming for those first few months. Often she would search for his strong arms and sweet kisses when these nightmares came but she reminded herself that she was the one who left him.
Her mentor had been sending her letters these past few months. Mostly to tell her that he was sick but also asking—no pleading for her to come. They had their own issues with one another that still needed to be resolved and the dying man wanted to address them. Mostly Haymitch had wanted Katniss to see him—her eyes closed and she could see his bright blue eyes.
"Katniss?" She turned to find Gale standing there looking at her. Without thought, she ran into his arms and he wrapped his arms against her thin form. "What happened?"
She pulled away. "Haymitch is gone." Katniss didn't even realize that she was crying until she saw the wet blotches on her friend's shirt. "He begged me to come Gale. I was too much of a coward to do it and now it's too late."
Gale took the letter from her and read it. His eyes widened to see who it was from. After putting it down on a nearby table, he took her in his arms again. "I'm so sorry." He smoothed down her hair. "Do you want me to come with you?" She nodded looking up at him. "Johanna is on her way back. We will all take the train together. Now go pack."
Katniss walked to her room and he sighed to himself. She had changed so much over the last few years. She was painfully thin and the muscle that she had once built was now non-existent. The girl he loved was non-existent replaced with this waif of a woman. Years of nightmares left her skittish and he knew that whatever the doctors were giving her was not helping.
Gale reached for the phone to call Johanna. She always knew what to do.
The said letter on the table was short but had sent them all into a tailspin.
Haymitch is gone. Burial is this weekend. Please. Please come.
Johanna put a blanket on her best friend before joining Gale who was sitting by the window. Katniss laid in a pill induced sleep. Goodness knows that she needed it. When Katniss came to her four years ago, she was broken. Johanna was never used to laying down roots or anything but her friend needed her. They decided to buy a place together in District One because Katniss wanted to be as far away as she could.
Four years later, Katniss was just as broken and the girl who had fought and won the Hunger Games seemed to be gone.
Johanna was different too. She against her better judgment began to care. She cared for the woman who was sleeping on the seat across from her.
She looked at Gale who simply put his arm around her. She cared for him too. More than she wanted to.
"How long was she crying when you found her?" she asked when she had settled against him.
"Maybe a few minutes. She didn't even notice that she was." Gale looked out the window at the passing landscape. He himself had not been to District 12 in years. He wondered how his family was. His brothers and sister had all grown up without him. "We haven't been there in years."
"They probably think you ran off and married each other," she joked. It wasn't a big secret that everyone thought that Gale and Katniss were together. What people didn't know was that while he was staying at their place, it was Johanna's not Katniss's bed that he slept in.
She didn't feel the need to correct people but there were times when she felt a twinge of something seeing them together. Johanna didn't expect Gale to run through the Capitol streets declaring his affection for her but she didn't want him to ignore that she too was important to him.
"It could've happened but we aren't the same," he replied honestly.
There was that damn twinge again.
"Not to mention there is always that blond, blue eyed elephant in the room."
Sometimes when she was annoyed or angry at Katniss, she wanted to point out the obvious. Katniss was the one who had left Peeta. She was the one who took a midnight train out to District 2 where Johanna had been living and asked tearfully to stay.
"You don't understand what she's been through," Gale argued and Johanna shook her head. They were two peas in a pod.
"She needs to realize that she is the one who made herself this way," Johanna responded. "I love Katniss but it was her choice to take off and she has to live with that. You can't always argue that it was because of the Games, or Peeta, or her nightmares. It's time for her to confront this. You can't hold her up all the time."
Johanna knew that she sounded almost like—she hated the word—like a girlfriend but she had to have some dignity. She didn't act catty or jealous but Gale always brought that out of her.
Gale pulled her close. "You're right. I will not interfere." He kissed the top of her cropped hair. "Are you jealous? You know it's not like that with Katniss and me."
"I have no idea what you're talking about," she replied laughing to herself. They turned to see that the sun was rising and they found themselves looking at the gray tinge of buildings that were District 12.
Katniss awoke when she felt the jerk of the train. They were here.
"Good morning lovely," Johanna said as she sat up. "How are you feeling?"
"Like I've been dragged against the tracks."
"You look like you have been," she replied and joined Katniss where she was sitting. Taking her long braid apart, she ran her hands through Katniss's thick hair to rid it of the tangles. Then she began a newer neater braid. When she was finished, she arrange her friend's bangs so she looked at little bit more presentable. "There. Now you look like the scowling girl I met at the Games." Katniss managed a small smile and Johanna squeezed her friend's hand.
Gale entered after washing up to find the two women together. He had contemplated how he was going to introduce Johanna to her family. She never really mentioned it and he didn't know if it was the best time to bring it up.
"Where will we be staying?" Johanna asked when he sat back down.
"Haymitch's," he replied. "My mom has been cleaning for him for years. She wanted to see if there was anything that Katniss might want that were his."
Katniss looked at her friend. "I don't think I will."
"Well it's a nice house and we will be comfortable while we are here," Johanna supplied.
Katniss looked down. "Is Peeta still living there? In Victors Village?" Her voice sounded wistful.
"I have no idea Catnip," he replied affectionately. She smiled. It was nice to hear the old nickname.
Katniss felt shaky when her feet touched the ground. It had been four years since she had come back. It was comforting and frightening to smell the old familiar scents of her childhood home. Carrying her bag, she joined her two friends who were standing side by side.
It was nice to see them together.
The trio walked towards the main square of the town where the townspeople where just beginning their day. Needless to say they all made an impression as they walked pass the familiar stores. They could hear the whispers as they walked passed people. Gale waved at a few of the people he knew.
Her stomach clenched when she saw a building that was definitely familiar to her. She could see the sign hanging saying "Mellark". Katniss stopped for a moment finding it hard to breathe.
Tears filled her eyes as the scent of bread filled her nostrils. "I don't know if I can do this."
"Is that his place?" Johanna said and put her arm around her friend. Katniss nodded and put her hands over her face as she breathe deeply.
"I think Posy is working there." He went over to his friend and lifted her chin. "Maybe we should just head over to Victors Village. You don't look well at all."
"I can do this Gale," Katniss said after a moment. "It's not like I can avoid every area of District 12 in fear that he will be there. I have to face him sooner or later."
"Hey Katniss." Peeta. She felt something ache inside of her.
"I guess it's sooner rather than later," Johanna muttered to Gale. "Hey Peeta!" She walked over to the man and gave him a hug. "You're looking good. Been lifting those flour sacks, haven't you?"
"Not as much but I have other things to keep me busy," he replied still staring at Katniss. "Nice to see you Gale." He walked over to the other man to shake his hand. "Posy is inside the bakery if you want to see her. With Zoe."
"Zoe? That's her name?" Katniss suddenly said.
Since he was standing in front of her, she could finally look him over. He was still broad but a little taller. His hair was darker blond but his eyes were still the same blue. After all this time, she still loved to look at them. However, as he looked at her she could see that they were expressionless. Once they shone bright for her.
"Someone had to name her," he replied harshly. Katniss shrunk back and felt herself back into Gale's chest. He placed a comforting hand on her shoulder and she could see Peeta's eyes narrow.
"Who's Zoe?" Johanna asked.
The door to the bakery jingled and they watched as a little girl rush over to Peeta clutching a white bag. She was around four or five. Her complexion was pale and her eyes were bright blue. Her face was heart shaped and her nose was pert. She was wearing a pair of dungarees and an olive jacket with the smallest pair of boots that Katniss had ever seen.
Her most distinguishable quality was the long dark hair that was in a single braid down her back.
"She looks like—"Gale couldn't even finish his sentence.
"Daddy." The little girl held up her bag excitedly. "Miss Posy made blueberry muffins but she said that I had to share with you." She turned to them with a smile and Katniss's heart almost stopped. "I don't have enough muffins for the rest of you."
"That's okay," Johanna said with a laugh and grinned at Peeta. "Cute kid."
"My name is not Kid! It is Zoe," the little girl retorted. Gale couldn't help but laugh at the fire that burned in the girl's eyes.
"Manners Zoe," Peeta said to her affectionately. "Remember what Miss Effie told you the last time she was on the phone with you."
"I will do the 'manners' part but not the dress wearing part," Zoe stated. "Who are they?" She pointed to the three.
Peeta knelt down so that he was the same height as Zoe. "That over there is Mr. Gale, he is Miss Posy's big brother." He pointed to Gale who waved to her with a gentle smile. "Next to him is Miss Johanna."
"Hey Zoe." Johanna greeted her.
"Who is she?" The little girl pointed to Katniss bouncing from where she stood. "We have the same hair!"
"That is your mother, Katniss Everdeen."
This is the end of Part One. Please expect an update every 2-3 days. If you don't see one than please nag me!
My former manager's daughters call everyone either Miss or Mr and I always thought it was cute.
Sorry this was short. This could end up a giant epic if I'm not careful though.
If you're so incline, please review! Peeta buns for all who do!