A/N: Hello everyone, I found this site only a few months ago and I've fallen in love with it. There are lots of wonderful Madge & Gale stories and I am really intrigued by their dynamics so I decided to write a story myself.
I do not own the Hunger Games or any of the characters from the book; that all belongs to Ms. Collins who gave us these books. Some of the conversation will be straight from the book so the credit for all that once again is also Ms. Collins'. Please note there are spoilers for all three books throughout this story.
If you review or send me a message, I promise to reply back; I may even send you a preview. I'll write this story in Madge's and Gale's POV and it will stay mostly canon but there were a few things I didn't like about the books and I may have to go AU at those points. If you have ideas, suggestions, criticism, etc...please send it my way because I would love to hear from you. Now, on to the story!
I run to the justice building as fast as my feet will carry me. This wasn't supposed to happen. My best friend just volunteered to go into the Hunger Games. I curse myself for that moment when I looked in my dad's eyes and he shook his head imperceptibly to tell me 'no.' While I took a moment too long to decide – could I do this? Could I decide for so many people? Did I have the right - while I was still thinking, Katniss had already volunteered. By the time I came out of my trance Peeta Mellark was walking to the stage. I curse myself for hesitating to volunteer for Primrose Everdeen. Katniss shouldn't have to go into the games; I should be the one going.
There is only one thing I can do. I know I don't have the right to make this decision but I also know it's the only thing to do – this is the only way to guarantee Katniss' win. I take a deep breath, I'm Madge Undersee and I will not second guess myself anymore. The thought of Katniss, my only friend, going into the games brings tears to my eyes but I won't let them fall out until after I see her.
At the Justice Building I wait impatiently to see Katniss. My whole body shivers at the thought of Prim having to go into the games; she is too sweet – she would not survive the games. I wrap my arms around myself for strength and warmth as a chill passes through me.
Suddenly, magically, I feel warmth behind me. I turn my head just a little and see Gale Hawthorne standing in line behind me. He's not touching me but heat radiates off his body. I had been on the verge of losing my courage but somehow his presence gives me the final nudge to do what I'm here for. Finally, Mrs. Everdeen and Prim come out of Katniss' room crying. I don't have time to attend to them but just as I am about to go in, Peeta's father goes in before me. That puzzles me but I can't worry about it right now. As soon as he comes out, I rush into Katniss' room before I lose my nerve again.
I rush in and with purpose and resolve in my voice I say, "They let you wear one thing from your district in the arena. One thing to remind you of home. Will you wear this?" I show her the pin in my hand.
"Your pin?" Katniss asks me confused.
"Here, I'll put it on your dress, all right? Promise you'll wear it into the arena, Katniss? Promise?" I have to make sure that Katniss wears this – without the pin no one will recognize her – no one will help her. I hope the urgency in my voice is enough to make her wear it. If she is going to come home she must wear this pin at all times.
Katniss says, "Yes," and I quickly give her a kiss on the cheek and leave the room before I falter again. My tears are about to spill and Katniss needs support, strength, and courage – not weakness or tears.
Gale brushes past me into Katniss' room and my head spins as I realize what I've just done. I take a deep breath and sit on the steps of the Justice Building to collect myself. Have I just ruined the work of hundreds of people over the last 20 years? The thought makes me sick. I hope I made the right decision. The tears are falling unbidden now. I don't know if I'm crying for my friend, for the start of something new or the possible end to the years of hard work of hundreds of people.
Suddenly the door opens and I hear, "…And remember I believe in you." Gale gets thrown out of Katniss' room by two peacekeepers in white uniforms as he mutters those words to Katniss. He looks like he is about to shove them back, which could be detrimental to him and his family.
"Gale, I'm so glad you're here," I say walking to him. The peacekeepers leave him when they see me; after all, I am the Mayor's daughter. The enormity of my actions has not left me yet. I look Gale in the eyes and try to draw some strength from him. Strength that pours out of every pore in his body - strength that he offers his family and Katniss. The same strength he would never intentionally give me, but today I take it from him anyway. "Katniss will be fine. If you ever need anyone to talk to, I'll always be here. I know I could use a friend."
I step forward to hug him and he blocks me with his arm as he says, "I don't need anything from you, Princess, and I have nothing to give to you." Without looking back he pushes past me and stalks off. I hate the way he calls me Princess making it sound like an allegation instead of a title or name.
Stunned, embarrassed, rejected, hurt and lonely I stand there watching his back walk away. Slumped shoulders and a tired tread replace his usual, strong stride today. One of the peacekeepers asks me, "Miss Undersee, was that boy just rude to you?" I quickly shake my head while my ears burn with embarrassment.
"No, he's my friend, we were just joking. It's our way of celebrating the start of the 74th Hunger Games," I say with a smile plastered on my face. Most of them are too stupid to realize what I just said makes no sense. Satisfied with my answer and my excitement of the Hunger Games, the peacekeepers leave me alone. Once again, I sit on the steps of the Justice Building to collect myself before I have to go home and explain my actions to my dad.
"Miss Undersee?" a tentative voice comes from a small woman who looks vaguely familiar and is obviously from the seam. I wipe my eyes and quickly plaster my trademark smile on my face. She continues, "I just wanted to apologize for my son and thank you for protecting him and," she leans closer to me and whispers, "For lying for him."
Once again my ears burn with embarrassment. Gale's mother saw my entire interaction with him. For the first time in my life I tried to hug a boy and he blocked my attempt and to top it off it was all witnessed by his mother and a couple of peacekeepers. When I don't say anything she continues, "He's a good boy, and he would never be so rude, he's just under stress and shock from Katniss…," she trails off not sure how to describe Katniss' predicament.
I want to tell her that I know he's a good person but he is always so rude to me. His comment from earlier today, 'Pretty Dress,' swirls through my head but I take a deep breath and say, "Mrs. Hawthorne, please do not apologize. Katniss is my friend too. I know exactly how he feels. Gale…," I stutter at his name on my tongue. Brushing it off, I continue, "Your son is someone I respect and admire for the same reasons I do Katniss. They are both alike. They both fiercely love their families and have a unique strength. Both Gale and Katniss are fighters and survivors. Please assure Gale she WILL come home." I take another deep breath and instantaneously become embarrassed at her intense gaze on me. I don't know what she heard in my words or saw on my face. I wish I knew how much she knows.
Suddenly she smiles and says, "Thank you for helping my son, Miss Undersee."
"Madge!" I state instantly.
She smiles and says, "Hazelle." She pats my cheek in a motherly manner and walks off in the direction her son had gone just a few minutes ago.
When I get home, I'm relieved to see my dad's not home yet. Karl, our butler, rushes forward to take my sweater from me. Rose, our housekeeper, guides me into the kitchen for a quick snack. Hazelle's simple pat on my cheek has left me yearning for my mother and her touch.
I climb the steps towards my mom's room. She will probably have taken the morphling by now. Reaping days are always hard for her. Usually she waits just long enough to make sure it isn't me before she drowns herself into a world of darkness and oblivion.
I open her door and see my mother sleeping on the bed. Even in morphling induced sleep and her state of health she looks like an angel asleep on the bed. My mother is beautiful even now and I can only imagine how stunning she must have been before sadness and illness claimed her. I wish I could take some comfort from my mother right now – I wish she was awake – I wish I could tell her exactly what I've done today. I sigh and go sit on the floor next to her head, leaning back against the bed. I just need to sit close to her. Unexpectedly, I feel her fingers combing through my hair; I'm happy she didn't take the morphling but that also means she is in pain. I don't turn to look at her. I know she knows that something is wrong and I'll say it when I'm ready to talk about it – not that I could talk about it openly to her – not in THIS house. I bask in her comfort, her love and then finally begin, "Mama, I did something to defy daddy today and he will not be happy with me."
My mom chuckles and says, "Madge, sixteen year old girls are supposed to defy their fathers. Tell me, does this concern a boy?" She asks.
"Mom! You know it doesn't. I have bigger issues than hormonal teenage boys. I don't have time for them or their drama."
My mom sighs loudly and says, "Madge, dear, you are human, you are a beautiful teenage girl. I want you to have a normal teen life. I want you to hang out with friends, fall in love, sneak out of the house to go to a party, kiss a boy – have a good time."
Normal teenager? Is she kidding? We live in a world where a teenager has to hunt illegally to feed her family, where she has to volunteer to kill or be killed to protect her twelve-year-old sister from that fate. A world where my mother at the age of sixteen lost her twin in the Hunger Games. It's a world where I can't even openly talk in my house – where I have to pretend to be someone I am not. I will never be a normal teenager.
I hate the Capitol and President Snow because I can't even have a normal conversation with my mother. Snow's officials bugged our entire house so they can listen to everything to make sure my dad doesn't do or say anything treasonous – as if making my mother a morphling addict wasn't enough. What kind of life is this? Suddenly my hatred is so intense that I am no longer afraid to face my father. I'm ready for this life as we know it to change for the better where girls like Primrose Everdeen can have the kind of teen experiences my mom wants for me. Perhaps our sacrifices will make their life better.
I climb in bed with my mom and hug her. I smile because I'm no longer afraid. The determined Madge Undersee is back and she is here to stay.
Sometime during the night, I realize I have already sacrificed Peeta. He's not my friend but I know he is a good person. He is kind and one of the few in the entire district that willingly talks to me. I didn't even visit him. For years, my dad has drilled into me the need to make sacrifices – he has told me several times that change doesn't come at a small price. Is Peeta a small price? I close my eyes – Yes, I've already sacrificed Peeta in my head; No, he isn't a small price to pay. Only one victor can come home and I've just tipped the odds towards Katniss – and for Peeta that means that I've tipped them away from him.
A/N: So, what do you think? Please review because it makes me happy!