She stood in the room of her old house, looking into the mirror. Her dress was a simple white dress, and her hair was put up like it had been on reaping day, all those years ago.
Had anything really changed? Peeta was waiting for her, like Gale used to wait. She was changing her entire life today, everything she stood for. She had always told Gale she would never get married, she'd never have children. But after today, she would be committing to both, with a man who was not Gale.
But Gale wasn't the one waiting, he wasn't even here today. The last time she spoke to him, he hadn't even said goodbye. She had called him to invite him to the wedding, and he'd been so angry that he'd shouted at her to reevaluate her decisions and hung up.
And for the last month, that was really all she'd done. Peeta had noticed her silences, but he didn't comment on them. He figured it had something to do with Gale, but she hadn't told him the coversation, so he didn't know specifics.
All this time, all these years, she'd been too much of a coward to talk to him. She'd come to terms with Prim's death, but she really just missed him. In the woods, in the house, in the square... everywhere held memories of Gale. it was a good place to escape memories of Peeta, because she didn't really have any of him in district 12. His memories belonged to the Capitol and 13.
Johanna came into the room and saw her tears. "It's time, Katniss," she said. But Katniss couldn't move. Johanna crossed the room and hugged her, "I know, Katniss. I know." But Johanna didn't really know. Katniss had never told anybody any of her feelings for Gale.
The whipping, the kiss, the confessions...Katniss considered it all while she was hugging Johanna. The whipping had opened her eyes to just how far she would go at the threat of losing him, the kiss had showed her that the Capitol wouldn't let her have a life with him. She chose the rebellion, she chose Gale, but the decision had changed with Prim's death.
Now where was she?
She was about to be a new bride, but her heart just wasn't in it. She loved Peeta, but she missed Gale more. She just couldn't have a life without him, and it took her almost getting married to realize let her go and led her out of the house, down the aisle to the waiting man at the end of it. In the Meadow.
She thought to herself that she needed a sign. Something to point her in the right direction.
She looked from Peeta's waiting face to the woods. Through the trees, in the distance, she saw him. It couldn't be possible. She couldn't see their rock from here. But there he was, sitting on it, plain as day.
It was just a hallucination, her heart was telling her what she really wanted. It was the boy with the snares. Gale.
She looked back to Peeta's face, just two feet away from hers. He reached to take her hand, and she pulled back from him. "I'm so sorry. But I can't do this."
She ran back to the house, grabbed the bag that was to be used for her honeymoon, grabbed some money from the table and headed to the train station.
Gale kept his eyes on the clock. Only twenty minutes till she'd be married.
He looked again, only 10 until she'll be leaving for her honeymoon.
He finally got disgusted with himself and tore the clock down from the wall and broke it. It took all of his self control not to break everything in the apartment. He had no right to be angry, no right to want her back. All these years and he hadn't even tried to talk to her. The only time he did, he ended up screaming at her.
He loved her. And he'd never love anyone else. After he knew she would've left for the honeymoon, he turned off his tv and lights and headed to bed without even bothering to lock the door. his house was so close to the woods that no one would bother him.
Crying didn't help how he felt anymore, so he didn't. Distracting himself didn't work anymore, so he didn't try that either. All he could do was stare at the ceiling, wishing the pain would go away.
But it didn't, it never did. His dreams were filled with her, and he didn't care to make them stop, even if he knew how.
There was a knock at his door. No one ever visited him, except his mother and siblings, and they weren't due for another two weeks.
He groaned at the next knock, deciding he better get up. He opened the door to Katniss, face flushed in a white dress. He narrowed his eyes, figuring it was some attempt to say goodbye before her honeymoon.
He opened his mouth to say something and she put a finger to his lips. "I couldn't do it."
She stretched up on her toes to kiss him, thinking to herself that she'd finally made the right decision.
She was Gale's, he was hers. Anything else was unthinkable.