Here it is, my new story! Not really fluffy, but I promise there will be some Galeniss in this. If you want fluffy, feel free to read some of my other fanfics. I wanted to try something different, and fair warning-it won't always be pretty. But anyways, enjoy!

Disclaimer: Yeah I own the Hunger Games. Not.

I'm breathing in gasps, attempting to ignore the large bloody gash in my shoulder that is bleeding profusely. I have to end this before I pass out from the lack of blood. End this so I can go home alive, not in a simple wooden coffin. Get back to my family and friends. I've come too far to give up now, too far to just die. To have them have to watch me die. And the only thing in my way is the ferocious blonde District 2 girl, who acts like she's been waiting for this moment her whole life. Like she's enjoying herself in this bloody battle to the death. Something tells me she is- this is what Careers are trained for, it's more of a game to them than a death sentence like most of the country sees it as. After all, she freaking volunteered for this.

Like me, she ignores the few wounds I've managed to give her, and unfortunately none of them are fatal. None of them are quite as bad as the ax that ripped apart my shoulder and resulted in a huge wound, which is making it difficult just to keep focused let alone fight her. We both have our weapons in hand, staring each other down as we do a dance of sorts around each other, sizing each other up before the inevitable attack, the death blow to end it all. And she knows as well as I do that I'm losing.

Just a little more and she will be right where I want her. Just a few more steps to the right and she's done for. I subtly move our dance in that direction; unbeknownst to her that she will lose this battle by doing so.




The zipping of my snare can be heard as she steps on the trigger, and it effectively grabs hold of her ankle and pulls her in the air. She's now dangling about five feet off the ground upside down, with a stunned expression and no weapon in her hand. She dropped it on the ground in her surprise trapping, and now it is beyond her reach. Quickly taking advantage of the now weaponless and surprised Career, I lunge forward and end this thing with a quick slit of her throat.


"Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you the Victor of the Seventy-Third Hunger Games, Gale Hawthorne of District 12!" Claudius Templeton announces. I can hear the loud cheering of the Capitol at my win, and I drop my knife to the ground and fight to stay conscious until I get to the ladder of the hovercraft. Then everything goes black.

I really don't know why I turned on the television in the first place. It's not like it's anything good ever and but it's well before dawn so I didn't think anything special would be on. But of course it would be my Games. Being the most current Victor, they would be playing my Games today of all days. It's Reaping Day.

Shaking my head to attempt to get the images of my Games out of my head that I was just vividly reminded of, I put several coins in my pocket and quietly leave my house in Victor's Village, hoping to not wake up the rest of my sleeping family. Especially Rory, because it's his first reaping-he needs all the sleep he can manage to get. Since no one has to take out tesserae in my family anymore (not that I would have ever allowed them to regardless), he's about as safe as he can get with one slip. Not much to worry about, but the reaping is horrible for anyone, even the safest people. I'm not even in the reaping and I'm worried sick.

I walk the path to town to buy bread from the baker before going to the woods to meet my best friend, Katniss. It's not necessary for me to hunt anymore since I have more money than I know what to do with, but I do for two reasons. One, I really have nothing else to do since I'm not required to work in the mines, and I really do enjoy hunting more than anything. And two, Katniss still needs the meat for her family, which consists of her mother and little sister Prim, who is the most important person in the world to her. Even with the Parcel Days in the last year as part of my win for the whole district, any hunting helps. I begged Katniss to take some of my money so she wouldn't have to take out tesserae or worry about anything, but she refused. She's just as stubborn as me, but I guess that's one of the reasons I love her. Yes, I love her, as more than my best friend. I have actually for about the last six months, but I haven't showed it. Not to her. She's not interested in marriage or kids, and when it comes to people she's pretty oblivious anyway. Her only focus is survival. She could marry me since I have so much and could take care of her without risking the mines, but I know she still wouldn't want it. It would just confuse her and would make our friendship complicated if I did something, so I keep my feelings relatively hidden from her.

Because of her stubbornness and taking tesserae, she has twenty slips in the reaping bowl today. She refused to let Prim take any out, so she has one slip in her first year just like Rory. I hate that Katniss wouldn't let me make her safe so she would only have to take out her required five slips. It's just so unnecessary now to take more, because I'm more than willing to take care of her. To give her the best odds I can to make sure she doesn't have to go through what I did. And trust me, it's not an experience I would wish on anyone...except maybe a few Gamemakers and President Snow.

I pay for two loaves of bread as well as a few cookies, and I duck under the uncharged fence to go to our meeting place. It's a rock ledge that overlooks the valley, and it's quite a view. I sit down and wait for her to show. After about fifteen minutes, she does.

"Morning Catnip." I greet her. She smiles a real smile and I return it with my own. I swear she only really smiles in the woods, where we can be ourselves. I don't mind though, because it means that they are only for me.

We have a pretty normal day, eating breakfast that I provided and doing a little hunting and gathering. I love spending time with her, especially here in the woods. I'm really going to miss her when I have to leave today for the Capitol for at least a few weeks if not more. I wish she was going with me.

We leave earlier than usual to get ready for the reaping, and I give her all the food and money we have left today after trading at the Hob and the mayor's house. I know she's unhappy that I didn't take any, but I ignore her protests and start to walk off quickly before she can give any back to me. I've found that this is the only way I can get her to accept it all, and even that doesn't work half the time.

"Wear something pretty." I tell her flatly as I pick up my pace to my house-not that it would matter what she wears, she's always pretty. I listen for her following footsteps and find none. Good, she's not chasing me down today. Probably realizes that she won't be able to hunt much in the coming weeks because of required viewing so she will grudgingly accept and not run after me to force it back into my hands like usual.

I come into the house and hear the television on again. I really should have hidden the remote before I left, everything on is terrible anyway. We get a few Capitol channels in Victor's Village, but a majority of what is on is something to do with the Hunger Games. Not my idea of daily entertainment. I go to see whose watching and I find Posy playing with a doll on the floor, not really paying attention to the screen. I'm glad because of course it's featuring me again. This time it's my final interview before I left the Capitol last year.

"So Gale, you had quite an exciting Games experience. Very impressive for someone from District 12. What made you fight so hard?" Ceaser asks me. I give him a serious look, and reply.

"I promised I would come back home. Any means necessary."

Any means necessary; I certainly did that. When I had my final goodbyes with my friends and family before the Games, Katniss had been my last visitor. Maybe there wasn't anything romantic between us, but she ran straight to my arms and gave me a tight hug. She promised me that she would keep my family fed because we made a pact about that. Then she gave me some advice-get a bow, use my snares. Told me to be nice and not show my complete hatred for the Capitol, because that would not get me sponsors. In response I gave her a dark laugh.

"Catnip, they don't always have bows. And how do you know I'll get sponsors anyway? If you haven't noticed, we're from District 12, not a Career District." I scoffed at her. Really, she couldn't believe that I'd get any sponsors. Not with the drunken bum Haymitch Abernathy as my mentor.

"You can get sponsors. And you will come back." She replied with a forceful insistence.

"Well I'm certainly going to try to come back. I'm not going down without a fight." I assured her.

"Promise me you'll come back. Promise me now." she declared suddenly.

"I promise." I replied, staring into her eyes so she knows I'm telling the truth.

"Any means necessary?" she continued, glaring at me with her fierce grey eyes which have a blazing fire behind them. I swear for such a small fifteen year old girl, she really can be quite terrifying. Even without a bow in her hands.

"Any means necessary." I confirmed. And I definitely did so. I'm not proud of some of my moves in the Games, but I promised her I would come home any means necessary. And unfortunately, some of those prideless moments were necessary to win.

I bound up the stairs and go to my room to change into better clothes. I put on a white dress shirt and black pants, and comb my hair. Unfortunately, it really does matter what I wear now because I'm the mentor this year, and the only person in the district of reaping age not in any danger of being picked. People will be watching me, and I will be the one who tries to get sponsors for my two unlucky tributes. I shudder at the thought. If I despised the Capitol before, that has nothing on my burning passionate hatred now. Now I know things, more than I ever imagined being true. Things I wish weren't true.

I go downstairs and eat lunch with my family, who are all dressed in their best for the reaping. Rory is in clothes similar to mine, but his shirt is a dark green, not white. We eat lunch and go to the square earlier than usual because I have to get there before everyone else. We arrive, and I hug my family goodbye and walk to the Justice Building, where 12's escort, Effie is waiting with the mayor.

"Gale! So wonderful to see you again. It's been too long since the Victory Tour." she says in her annoying Capitol accent. Sadly I've had to get used to the accent, but it doesn't make it any less annoying. Just the opposite, actually.

"It's good to see you too." I reply politely even though it isn't, because making Effie mad is not going to help anything. I've learned that lesson the hard way, and I'll see even more of her this year-I can't escape her by going into the arena this time.

"Do you know where Haymitch is dear? He's late once again." she asks, frustrated. I stifle a laugh at that. Yeah, I bet Haymitch is late every year. Probably getting completely wasted before going to the damn Capitol once again. I would start drinking to help my nightmares too, but really, I don't want to turn into Haymitch. He's more than drunk enough for the both of us on a daily basis anyway.

"No I don't. Sorry." I answer. But there he is, stumbling in. Wasted, as I predicted.

"Let's get this show on the road!" he slurs with a chuckle. Effie stomps her feet and pushes him out the door to the stage, and the mayor and I follow. I take my seat and search the crowd for Katniss, determined to not take my eyes off her until I know for certain that she is safe.

The mayor goes to make his speech, and then he recalls District 12's list of Victors. This is pretty short since there are only three, and just two of us are still living. After his speech, Effie goes and says her line, May the odds be ever in your favor!, which Katniss and I make fun of on a regular basis. Really, anything is funny in the Capitol accent, but saying it like Effie is just hilarious.

I hold my breath as Effie says "Ladies first." and walks over to the girl's bowl of names. Twenty of those slips say Katniss Everdeen on them, and I hope with all my might that the slip that Effie has in her hand is not one of them. I do a silent chant in my head. Not Katniss. Not Katniss. Not Katniss.

And it's not Katniss. No, it is someone far worse-Prim. Shit.

I just sit there shocked for a minute. Prim? It can't be Prim. For Panem's sake, her name was in there once. One fucking slip. She had the best odds someone can have and got reaped. I shake my head internally and try to focus again. That's when I hear the words I knew would come from my best friend's mouth.

"I volunteer! I volunteer as tribute!"

So I'm getting what I wanted after all. Katniss is going to the Capitol with me; I won't be leaving her behind this year. I curse at myself for that. Be careful what you wish for.

So what do you think? Gale's a Victor and Katniss's mentor. Oh, and I apologize in advance for the curse words. This is Gale's mind after all; I wouldn't expect him to not at least think them. Most if not all chapters will be in his POV, but I will tell you if it changes. Next chapter up tomorrow afternoon!