Not my Fault

It's not my's not my fault...the thought echoed in Gale's head as he flipped the switch.

He would admit: His new job rocked. Being in District 2 gave him a chance to do the thing he majored in: Trapping and bombing. But the job was also bad.

It was emotionally painful. Very.

"Nice job today, Gale," a former Peacekeeper who was now his mentor smiled encouragingly to him, clasping him on the back, "why don't you call it a night? You look real tired today."

"It's nothing, Jarry," the eighteen year old waved his hand dismissevly, covering it with a smirk, "thanks, dude. "

"No problem,"

The high-tect door closed behind the younger man, and his foosteps echoed across the empty hallway. Everything was so clean, unlike at the mine.

Damn it, he hated the mine. But it didn't bring back such vivid memories...

Gale gave the simple hand geusture to set the rest of the paracutes off.

A simple hand movement.

A simple hand movement that killed Primrose Everdeen.

Stop it, he mentally scolded himself, tearing his thoughts away from her.

Anything but her.

He'd allow himself to think about ANYTHING but her.

His mother. His brothers and sister. Katniss' mother. Katniss. Peeta.

No, he couldn't think about those last two. That'd remind him of her.

He couldn't seem to find sleep that night. He had an off day when morning came...he grasped the bed sheets and let out a shakly, uneven breath. He couldn't let his thoughts go to her, no matter what. The pain he felt when his thoughts did cross to that terriotory made him completley shut down and once even pass out.

Her blonde hair, and how she always wore it in two braids. How it never lost it's color, even though her face sometimes hollowed. How her blue eyes always had some level of sparkle to it, and how her blouses always formed a duck tail in the back.

She was a little duck...

He cursed outloud and hit the wall as hard as he could, letting the pain make those thoughts melt away. This fist mark was now part of the collection he'd put in the steel before.

It was Hamburger Friday, which Gale was always fond of. So he piled his plate didn't matter. He was still working off that teenage boy hunger, after all, so the cook's didn't mind. Besides, he worked with bombs and such...those kinds of people could get away with almost anything.

Mayo. He actually was forcing himself to think about a condiment as he tried to force away his thoughs.

Colemet looked at him skeptically. Her long brown braid looked just Katniss', which only hit Gale that much harder in the heart and soul. Her blue eyes reminded him too much of Katniss' little sister...


He winced at the word. Yes, that's what he did.


Yes, that's what he was.

Letting it go.

No, that's what what he wasn't doing.

"What's eatin' you?" Colemet confronted him after lunch, since he always slept in on his days off, and asked the question rather directly as he dumped off his serveral plates.

"Nothin'," he turned away, averting her eyes and trying to stride away. She caught his shoulder, shaking her head and pulling him back to the table.

"Liar," she kept a hold of his wrist, and while her hand was much smaller, she could still keep him at bay for a little while. She was only fourteen, but she had all that fire in her that Katniss had...

Another blow came to his heart and soul as he slumped down in the seat, squirming as if he was in trouble, "Yeah, well."

"Now what's wrong?" she forced him to meet her gaze, and he squeezed his eyes shut to avoid those intense blues.

"I've just been feeling guilty, I guess," he shrugged, as if it wasn't a big deal, "about...what happened."

It'd been about half a year since the Capital was overthrown. Half a year.

And he still hadn't let her go.

"Gale Hawthorne!" she was angry...he knew he'd made her mad by powering out of her hold and leaving. Now he was basically running to escape her angry side.

Her angry side was not a fun side.

And suddenly he had a memory that was quite painful but not random, considering the hell this day had been for him.

"GALE!" he'd made the mistake of pushing her playfully into a bush.

The bush had thorns.

Now he was running for his life.

"C'mon, Catnip! It was a JOKE!" he was grinning, which she didn't find amusing, as he slid easily under the weak spot in the 'electric' fence. He was seventeen and she was fifteen, but she was still faster if she wanted to be.

"I don't CARE!" she couldn't help but smirk a little, and he chuckled softly as she aimed an arrow at him playfully.

"No! No, KATNISS!" a voice screamed, and a flash of blonde hair and a white blouse zipped from the house to in front of him. Her little sister, whom he'd met about a year ago, had her arms spread out, trying to shield him.

"Prim?" the other teenager didn't seem to know what to make of it either.

"Don't shoot!" the little ten year old was breathing hard, looking scared to pieces but not wavering, "he's your best friend!"

The brunette girl sighed a little, jogging to return her bow and arrows to their hiding places before kneeling down to her little sibling, "Prim, I'd never shoot matter how mad I might get."

He didn't know if she'd actually follow through on that if she got mad enough. But for now he figured he might as well calm the kid was kinda his fault for running and acting scared.

Now, he wasn't really good on the whole 'comfort' thing. So, with a little glance upward, like he was asking God for help, he knelt down beside his best friend and tucked in her little duck tail.

"Yeah, Little Duck," he smirked, and she actually giggled.

He lost his footing and crashed to the ground as the memory left him. During his rememberence of one of his favorite scenes from his life, he'd forgotten the forest had a lot of aboveground roots. This gave Colemet a chance to catch up and help him to his feet.

"What's wrong, Gale?" she asked, her voice unamused and firm, and yet her eyes were kind, showing him she did care. He figured he could trust her, anyway...she was 'sorta' his new best friend ever since he lost Katniss.

So he told her everything he knew about Primrose Everdeen. Then he managed to get out what he'd done to the little thirteen year old girl, basically a child in the ways of the world.

Colemet actually had tears in her eyes as she wrapped her arms around his neck, "It wasn't your fault. You didn't know she was going to be there."

She was right: He didn't. But that pain was still in his heart, and nothing would even seize it.

He stared at his ceiling. It wasn't even five yet, and it was Enchiladia Night, so he would want to be there for diner. But he just couldn't see himself getting up until Colemet came and got him.

He hadn't known Prim would actually go and be on the line of battle. She was thirteen, not even old enough to be known as 'Soilder Everdeen.' But she was special, and she was there.

And he'd blown her to bits.

Now Katniss resented him. He'd heard she forgave him from a few, but he knew it was his fault and he would never be completley forgiven. Of course he'd known they'd loose a few of their soilders, but it would get rid of Presidant Snow's little arrangment of kids as a shield. He didn't want to kill children, but the Captail had killed some their own.

That was the guilt that would pass...probably. If only he'd known...

Blonde hair in two braids. Two bright blue eyes. A bubbly attitude, a big smile, and fast little nimble legs. It was the picture of Primrose Everdeen.

Except it wasn't her. Not entirely, at least.

"Come along, Airmet," her father urged, tugging gently at the little five year old trying to lag behind him.

"But I don't like enchiladas..." she sighed softly, and he was amazed he could hear her whisper.

"I'll take her, Jarry," Gale was suddenly with them, grasping his hand in a handshake and a trustworthy smile.

"You sure?" Jarry knew he could trust his friend, but he knew how much he loved that mexican food.

"Yeah," he knelt down, smirking kindly to the little girl, "hi, Airmet. What do you say we go raid the desert bar!"

"YEAH!" she bounced on her little heels, "thank you, Mr. Hawthorne!"

She was adorable. He gave her a secure little hug and chuckled at the back of her blouse, "Tuck in that tail, Little Duck."

She giggled. And for the first time in six months, he grinned and laughed back.


Yes, he'd done it, but not on purprose. There was reason to pardon his guilt.


She forgave him. He knew she did, just seeing the mirror little girl of her.

Letting it go.

And that's what he could finally do.