AN: Because I never could stop thinking about Gale after the books ended. You can count me among the people who feel like he didn't get a real ending. It didn't even have to be a happy ending and considering what happened, I don't think it could have been. I'm considering writing something longer in the future, but for now just getting some oneshots out of my head. Enjoy.

Maybe in five or ten,
yours and mine will meet again-
Straighten this whole thing out.
Maybe then honesty need not be feared,
as a friend or an enemy.
But this is the distance,
and this is my gameface.
-The Fray

You don't think you'll ever lose the person closest to you.

You think moments will last forever, so you forget to cherish them.

I never thought there would come a day when I wouldn't have Katniss Everdeen. It just didn't seem possible: that two people so close could just stop being who they were and start being different people — alone.

I never knew anybody better than I knew her. I never will again. Who would have thought that bringing down the Capitol, the thing I wanted more than anything, would cost me the most important person in my life?

It cost her the most important person in her life, too.

But that's my fault.

I'm walking home from work now. It's been six months since the war and I'm settled in District 2, still taking care of my family the best I can. I have a government job and I can help run things the way they should be run. It's what I've always wanted, except what I really want is her here with me.

I miss her so much it aches.

It's not a dull ache either. I feel the pain everywhere, like someone ripped off a part of me and forgot to mend the wound. I guess that's kind of what happened. Katniss was a lot of things to me, but mostly she was my saving grace.

I can still feel the touch of her hands — hardened from hunting, but somehow still soft. She always smelled faintly of the woods, of green leaves and blackberries. When I kissed her, it was gentle, so unlike the fiery girl I knew so well. Maybe that's because she was always holding back with me in that area of our relationship, but I like to think she was letting herself be vulnerable.

I know she's with Peeta. And that's fine. I want to hate him, but I can't. And hating her is impossible. I always said that she would pick the person she couldn't survive without. I guess that wasn't me. Maybe I knew that all along.

Prim crosses my mind everyday. So do the bombs that killed her. That's my burden to carry; it's loaded with guilt and raw pain. But I don't regret designing those bombs. I was fighting a war; I was trying to keep everyone I loved safe. Even now, I can't let my mind wander to what would've happened to the rebels — to Katniss — if the Capitol would've won.

We had to win. I had to win for me, for my family, for the people of the districts … and for her.

So I don't regret designing the bombs.

But I regret not knowing what they were going to do with them. That's what i can't live with; that's what sends me into a cold sweat every night as Prim's face flickers across my mind. She was so innocent, so young and trusting. She didn't deserve to die. None of those children deserved to die.

And I played a part in it, I know I did, and that's why my best friend will never be able to look at me again.

There isn't much woods around District 2, but that's fine with me. I don't think I could make myself hunt even if there was. I don't have to feed my family anymore, of course, but it's also no longer an escape. It's a trap. Every moment spent in the woods is a reminder of who isn't going to show up to meet me.

It's not just that I was in love with her. I lost my confidant, the one person who could tell what I was thinking without words. We could communicate with just a glance, a look that could say everything from you go left, I'll go right to everything is going to be okay. A look that could say I love you.

Are you still you when the only person who knows you is gone?

I don't feel much like me.

Sometimes, I want to go back to District 12 and see her, but I don't want to cause her any more pain. I don't want to see her grey eyes — the ones that used to light up just for me, just in the woods — look back at me dull and unfeeling or full of hatred. I don't know which would be worse.

I hope she finds happiness. I hope she finds comfort. Even if I can't be the one to make her smile anymore, I hope Peeta is the one who can.

I'm not selfish enough to wish her pain I always wanted her safe and happy and protected. I wanted her family that way, too. But I didn't do my job; I didn't make sure everyone was safe.

My life isn't bad, I know that. It could be so much worse. I remind myself of that every Sunday when my mind unwillingly makes itself believe that I'll be going hunting, that I'll be seeing Katniss. For a moment, my face will relax into a smile. Almost always, I find myself pulling on my boots before I remember.

Sundays used to be my favorite day of the week. Not anymore. Now, I practice weaponry in government facilities. I punch a bag until my hands are bleeding and numb, but even then the pain doesn't go away.

With a sigh and a small shake of my head, I open the door to my new house and sit down on the bed, running a hand lightly over the untouched sheets.

I hardly sleep anymore, because I can't check and make sure Katniss is still there.

I hope she's okay.