Disclaimer: I do not own The Hunger Games or any of the fabulous characters associated with it. All credit goes to Suzanne Collins. This is for entertainment only!
Also, this is the first story that I ever wrote after I discovered fanfiction, so please be kind! Thanks for reading, and I hope you like it.
Katniss sat as still as stone, crouched down low in the brush next to Gale, watching her prey and waiting to take her shot. Even though she had plenty of money now from winning the Hunger Games to buy all the meat she wanted in town, she still went hunting every week with him. He had been her best friend for years, her confidante. He knew how hard life had been for her before the reaping for the games... before her life had been turned upside down and everything changed.
Since she'd come back from the Victory Tour with Peeta, her relationship with Gale seemed strained. Being together used to be as easy as breathing, but now, it felt like it was an effort to find things to talk about. Their lives just weren't the same as they used to be. They didn't have as much in common anymore. Katniss was a celebrity- even though she didn't want to be- and he was still just Gale Hawthorne, the hunter from District 12. And then of course, there was Peeta, who was the complete opposite of Gale. She felt a smile begin to form on her lips at just the thought of him, but she forced it away so Gale wouldn't see. Katniss sighed as she tried to clear her head and focus on what she was doing .
Just as she steadied her arrow and pulled back her bow, Gale whispered sharply, "Take the shot, Katniss! What the hell are you waiting for?"
Gale's interruption broke whatever semblance of concentration she'd had, causing her arrow to miss by two feet, and the animal to scurry away.
Katniss stood up in a flash, totally irritated. "What the fuck, Gale!"
"Really? Me?" he asked, towering over her as he stood up next to her. "I think the question is more like, what is going on with you! A few months ago, the Katniss I used to know could have taken that shot with her eyes closed!'
"Yeah, well, a lot's happened to the 'Katniss you used to know', in case you've forgotten! You'll have to forgive me if my mind isn't always focused on making the kill anymore! Isn't it enough that I'm here with you right now?"
Gale's face softened, just a little. "It would be, if that were true."
"What is that supposed to mean?" she asked.
Gale took a step back, leaned against a tree, tossed his bow down, and stuck his hands in his pockets. "Even when you're here with me, you're really still with him. You're a million miles away, your eyes are distant. Sometimes it's like I don't even know you anymore."
"Don't blame Peeta, it's not his fault. We got thrown into the games together, remember? We didn't choose it. All he's ever done is try to help me."
"Yeah," Gale chuckled to himself sarcastically. "He sure has been helpful, professing his love for you on national TV and all... I guess we all know that you were his only hope of staying alive in that arena. Without you to protect him and show him how to win the game, your sweet little baker boy had about zero chance of survival, and he certainly wouldn't be living in that fancy house next to yours in the Victor's Village right now, would he?"
Katniss glared at Gale, and she felt her face getting flushed with anger.
Gale slowly moved towards her until he was standing just inches from her face, his gray eyes staring at her. "So tell me, Katniss, what exactly has he done to help you so much? You mean the little 'sleepovers' you guys have all the time?"
Before she could stop it, a look of surprise flashed across her face for just an instant.
Gale smirked and continued, "Yeah, I know about that. I may not live in your fancy little private neighborhood, but word still gets around. I know that the two of you spend most of your nights together."
She swallowed dryly. The truth was that they did share a bed frequently, but it was because Peeta couldn't bear to hear her screaming during her nightmares about the games. He would hold her, making her feel safe until the morning light. But she couldn't tell that to Gale, he would never understand such weakness on her part, nor could he ever comprehend the depths of Peeta's compassion.
"Yeah, well, it's not what you think. Remember, we were sort of forced to get engaged on the victory tour? We have to keep up appearances if we want to protect our families from the government!"
"Oh, right! Of course!" Gale said sarcastically. "And I almost forgot to congratulate you."
"Shut up Gale, you don't understand!"
"You're right! So make me understand! Tell me, what is so great about Peeta Mellark?"
More than you could ever know, she thought to herself.
Instead, she simply replied, "Just drop it Gale. I don't want to argue with you. I'll see you next week. I'm going home." She picked up her bow and started to walk away.
He followed after her. "You mean you're going home to him!"
She kept walking, sighing "Goodbye, Gale!" without even turning around.
The hunter stopped in his tracks, and with venom in his voice, he yelled to her. "Are you fucking him, Katniss?"
Now she was pissed. Best friend or not, he had just crossed the line. She whipped her head around and glared at Gale. "Not yet! But I will be!"