dedication: to my lady crushes.
notes: hate me all you like, it won't change the fact that I don't like Peeta.
title: nothing will satisfy me but your soul
summary: Katniss bites down, bites hard, and imagines she's ripping out his throat. — Katniss/Gale.
The 74th Hunger Games end in a flash of light.
Katniss sleeps still and silent, the first night.
She does not dream.
The click of pebble against glass, and her eyes snap open—wake up—and she's up and reaching for her bow—where is her bow—
And then she stops and tries to breathe and remembers that the Games are over.
She notches an arrow before she opens the window anyway, just in case.
"Catnip. Catnip. Wake up!"
It's just Gale.
She contemplates shooting him for all of two seconds. The night is dark and she can't see, and no one would blame her—not right now, anyway. The thought makes her sick and she reels backwards because there's still blood and she's killed people before—she could kill him now and it wouldn't—it wouldn't—
"Shut up," she hisses out the window. "Shouldn't you be a asleep like a normal person?"
In the darkness, all she can see is the movement of his shoulders up and down and birdlike. She drags in air through her teeth, and climbs out the window. Her hands crunch down on the sill and all she can think about is the glass in the Capitol—there was so much glass and there's already coal dust under her nails and oh, sweet sky, she wants to vomit.
Katniss tumbles into him. Forces herself not to use him for balance.
"Hey," he says and steadies her anyway, "hey, you okay?"
She nods once, quick and jerky, no movement wasted. She can't get the words out. She doesn't even try. She thinks about the fence and wonders if it's electrified right now and thinks—yeah, you know, we could have run. You and me, we could have done it. We could have run.
But then Prim would be dead and Peeta would be dead and everything would have been different.
Her fingers curl into his shirt.
"Fine," Katniss says.
He pries her hands away. His hands have gotten big—rounder in the knuckles, blunt along the edges and when did that happen? She'd only been gone for twenty-four days (twenty-four days, ten hours, seventeen minutes and counting) and his hands can't have changed that much in so little time. They can't have. She won't accept it.
Katniss doesn't realize she's shaking until Gale forces her to sit down.
She wants to tell him he's a moron. She doesn't need to be told to breathe because she is breathing, she has to keep breathing to live and her hair is in her eyes and she can't—
So she doesn't.
She takes great big gulps of cold night air. It tastes all wrong. She covers her eyes, curls on the ground in the dirt in the ash in the coal dust and trembles. "I killed people. You were right. You were right, it was—it was exactly the same, shoot them in the eye and they die and Gale, Gale, it's—"
She hates that she babbles.
But this is Gale.
She babbles herself into silence and he just sits there with his big hands and his black hair and his eyes, and he's just so much a part of the Seam and so much a part of who she was that Katniss can't imagine her life without him.
"Is it true?"
"You and Breadhead."
She bites out a laugh, sharp and acidic. "I didn't want to die. It was the only chance I had. I needed to come back."
He's hands clench into fists.
And then he kisses her and it's as sharp and acidic as her laugh, and furious and dusty and cold, and it is everything Katniss hates about herself because oh Gale, you know how I feel about this what are you doing why are you doing it what do you think this will achieve?
He kisses her again.
It is sweet in its desperation.
Something twinges deep inside, and she kisses him back. It is as violent as the worst part of the Games. She doesn't have the brain capacity to wonder if he knew she needed this. Probably.
Her teeth dig into the flesh at the crook of his neck. Katniss bites down, bites hard, and imagines she's ripping out his throat.
She could do it.
She knows she could.
Katniss does not cry.
She jumps up, jumps away, and can't look him in the face.
"Sorry," she says. "I—I can't."
She closes the window behind her.
(Later that morning when the sun rise, for the first time in a long time President Snow makes the journey to District 12, and the rebellion begins.)