I've wanted to write more Hunger Games stuff for a while, so here's this meager piece. It is very, very likely that I got details wrong for this story, like the order in which things happened or people that were at certain places at certain times, so hardcore Hunger Games experts, you might not appreciate this.

Let the records show that I was rooting for Katie Cassidy as Johanna for the movie, but I do think Jena Malone will do wonderfully.

No rights to The Hunger Games.

Gale perched on the edge of the bed, peering down at Katniss's sleeping figure. She hadn't said a word to him since Prim, and probably not to anyone. He hoped desperately that if she wouldn't talk to him, she wouldn't talk to anyone else either.

Johanna Mason, some psycho former-tribute with patches of hair, kept eyeing him with an indiscernible expression from the cot next to Katniss. Finally, after it became to maddening and frustrating and unrelenting and annoying, Gale addressed her about it.

"What?" he demanded of her.

Johanna's gaze flicked up to him when he addressed her, and a smirk spread over her features. "Young love," she mocked. "It's endearing to watch, especially as it crumbles to pieces."

Gale scowled at her.

"Hey, no shame in it, man," Johanna chortled. "Maybe I'm just jealous, which is admittedly unhealthy. No one's ever waited over my hospital bed, eagerly awaiting the moment where I'll acknowledge them, tell them I forgive them for everything, even blowing up my adorable little sister."

Gale's jaw tightened. He averted his guilty gaze. "I didn't blow her up," he tried to convince himself. "I didn't kill Prim."

Johanna's smile was almost sympathetic. Almost. "I know you didn't, honey," she agreed. "You just helped concoct the pesky device that ended up blowing her to bits."

"Are you trying to help, because you're terrible at it," Gale snarled.

"Look, kid," she continued. "What's meant to happen happens. If the little blonde nurse lady is dead now, she's supposed to be dead now. She's in a better place. Or worse, I suppose. I'm not the judge of her moral character. Point is it's not your fault. Every time one of us gets shot, we don't blame the guy who invented guns."

Gale eyed her suspicious, uncertain of her intents. "Okay?"

"But dear, sweet Katniss here," she went on, nudging her head in the sleeping girl's direction, "she's not thinking as intellectually as I am. Let me tell you something, babe, she doesn't love the baker extraordinaire. Not in the way he wants.""

Gale eyed her, hanging on to her words, though he wasn't sure why exactly. "How can you be so sure?"

"Because I'm smarter than I look," she replied. "Smarter than Katniss, here. She isn't even sure if she loves him like that. But she doesn't. And that's just how it is."

"How do you know?" Gale pressed.

Johanna sat up, crossing her legs on the bed. "You saw Finnick and Annie bumbling around the place, right? Before his whole crash-bang-boom-dead situation? You remember. It came right before Prim's."

Gale winced at how casually she spoke of Finnick and Prim's death, but didn't interrupt.

"I'm not one-hundred percent on the definition of girl-versus-boy, heart-and-smiles love," Johanna said, "but that's the closest I've seen to it happening between to people. It only makes sense that Finnick dies, right? It's only fair. Who should happy living on earth?"

Her dreamy expression turned snarky again as she refocused on him. "Same for you, hotshot. You and her, living in the woods, hunting down cute, woodland creatures to feed your adorable families? Then marriage, and kids, and blah, blah, blah. You were on the path to happiness, weren't you? But no one is meant to happy on earth, are they? Not truly. Not completely. At peace, maybe. But not elated. At least, not for extended periods of time."

"That's cynical of you," Gale pointed out.

"Because I'm usually all rainbows and smiles," she teased. "Okay, maybe my worldview is off, but Finnick and Annie, let's get back to that. They were, more or less, in love or whatever. Katniss does not feel the same way about Peeta that Annie did about Finnick. Of course, she doesn't feel the same way about you either. The only girl she loves with notable intensity is dead, just like a good chunk of the people I loved once.

"If it's any consolation, Katniss here could've loved you the way you want. She could've even loved the baker like that. And maybe she will one day . . . the baker, not you."

"Why not me?" Gale asked before he could stop himself.

Her expression softened. "Her sister is dead. And it's not your fault, I know that, but when people love too much, they often don't think sensibly. Just look at the Insane Odairs. If I had to guess, I'd think she'd blame you. To her, this wasn't meant to happen, even though it totally was. She doesn't think death can touch something as lovely and adorable as Primrose Everdeen, and she's probably going to be looking to place blame."

"Wouldn't she blame—"

"Snow?" she finished for him. "That's probably a no-brainer, but some of her blame still falls to you. She might not know it, but she's aching for people to blame for what's going wrong in her life. Not only will you be convenient, kicking you out of her life helps her settle her romantic disputes. Blame and grudges are ridiculous, aren't they?"

"You sound like you speak from experience," Gale noted.

"I've lost a lot of the people I love," Johanna reminded him morosely, "but not all of them are dead."

Gale understood.

"Like it or not, I'm pretty sure Katniss is about to ostracize you, so you might not want to be waiting so eagerly for her to respond to you."

There were clearly a great multitude of thoughts swimming behind Gale's eyes, but Johanna continued without so much as an empathetic glance. Instead, she leaned back against her bed, plastered a smirk onto her face, and added, "While you're pining, make yourself useful and get me more morphine, won't you?"