So... I know it's been like forever since I posted the last chapter, I have had MAJOR writer's block. However, I AM BACK!

Just one question: was anybody surprised by the last chapter...anybody?

Chapter 15: Waiting, Watching, and Wondering

Four people were rescued from the Capitol after years of imprisonment and identified. The young, red haired girl around the age of seventeen, formerly came from District 5, woke several hours after arriving in District 13 said she was called Voss. One of the boys, Cato, was still largely unresponsive despite being in better shape than the rest of them. District 13's doctor claimed it was because he had been used to a comfortable lifestyle in District 2 before his imprisonment, unlike the others. The dark skinned boy, Thresh, was recovering nicely as the medics had said but his injuries had been severe. Gale remembered what he had looked like before the Games had ended. All muscle and dangerous, now her was barely strong enough to stay awake longer than a few minutes.

And then there was Katniss, the medics had tried everything they could to get her to respond to any type of treatment to no avail. They were assuming that she would wake when she was strong enough to, which could be any time. Gale had kept a silent watch on her every spare moment of his time, waiting for her to wake. She had been cleaned up, making the paleness of her skin and her bruises more apparent then they had been and her matted hair had been shorn off. He carefully slipped her hand into both of his, feeling every bone through the dry, chapped skin. If Gale had not known that she was now eighteen he would have guessed much younger, so young that she could have been the girl that he had once accused of stealing. That day may as well have been forever ago, judging by how much had happened since than. However he still remembered every second of their first meeting in the wood.

They had been so young, both of them, struggling under the weight of the world on their shoulders. The first time he had met her she had been so small, several inches shorter than most girls her age, but she more than made up for it in her determination. She had always been small, but she had never been so fragile. He felt as if simply touching her would cause her to break, to fall apart and he would lose her all over again.

Part of him wondered if it would be better if she would never wake up. If she were to just slip away back into nonexistence she would never have to face the horrors on the world again. Never have to learn how to live without her family or deal with the pain of everything she had been through. Another part of him wondered what would have happened if he had never met her, if she had never stopped to look at his snare. He would have never spent the last two years missing her, she would have been a shadow in the woods, another victim of the Games, and the brave volunteer that he would have felt a moment of sympathy for. She would have been respected by Gale, but before long she would have been forgotten like the rest of them. Like the rest of the District 12 tribute, she would have been missed, mourned, and than she would have faded away with the rest of them.

'But she wasn't' He reminded himself, she was right there in front of him, she wasn't truly gone and she never had been. She had been hidden from the rest of the world, locked away because she was too dangerous to live, but why had she been to important to kill? Why had the Capitol bothered to keep her alive? Surely they didn't keep her and the other three alive by accident, they must have had some unknown motive 'Than again' Gale thought 'this is the Capitol'.

The fact that it was the Capitol was what brought the worst questions to Gale's mind, what had happened in the past two years? She was not simply in bad shape because she hadn't been cared for in two years, someone or something had hurt her. Had she been beaten? Tortured? They was no telling what she and the others had been through. All possible worst case scenarios flashed through his mind before he could stop them.

He still had a hard time believing that she was alive, he had after all been grieving her for the past two years. Two years of her crossing his thoughts when he was trying to forget her, haunting his dreams and causing his nightmares. Hunting was never the same, even when he remembered she wasn't there he would turn to talk to her, hoping that she would be there this time. Being inside the districts boundaries was difficult as well, people would give him pitying looks and look away when he caught them watching him. While being in the district was difficult, it was not nearly as hard as being in the woods where she followed him like a ghost, silent and unseen but there, reminding him that he had lost her. Even after the pity-filled looks ended and he stopped looking for her in the woods, he still could not forget her. No matter how hard he tried to move on and find any sort of happiness with different girls, but nothing could ever come close to what he and Catnip did.

He found it ironic that he had never realized how much he had loved her until he had lost her.

Gale must have fallen asleep at one point because what must have been hours later he felt slight movement in his hands. It took him several moments before he realized the significence of this. When it did he jerked awake, suddenly aware of his surroundings. Katniss' eye were open, unfocused and blinking against the dim light that had crept into the room. He tightened his grip on her hand, causing her to look at him with shocked grey eyes.

"Hey Catnip" Gale said, not even trying to hide his tears "Welcome back"

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