I don't own The Hunger Games, or The Terminator.
"So what about you?" Peeta asked. "You didn't even have the excuse of fighting a war."
"Yeah, but after my parents…" Katniss didn't finish the sentence. "I told you, I was never going to let myself fall for someone."
"And no one ever tried to change your mind?"
"Just one person, actually. My friend, Gale."
Peeta's face drained of blood. He lost all signs of happiness, all signs of mirth. "G-Gale? That's an unusual name."
"Peeta, are you okay? What's the matter?"
Peeta completely ignored her question. "Katniss, your friend Gale. What's his last name?"
"Hawthor-" Before Katniss could even finish the name Peeta was out of the bed like a shot. After a moment he started pacing back and forth across their small motel room, at first in a confused manor but growing angrier by the moment. "Peeta! What's going on?"
"Are you sure you want to know, Katniss?' She fought the urge to recoil from his voice; she had never heard him angry at her before. "You said before that you didn't want to know the future. Do you want to know now?" Peeta seemed to be growing more and more maniacal by the moment. "Do you really want to know what it is to know the future but not be able to change any of it? Do you want to know what it is to be completely powerless?"
"Peeta, you're scaring me. Please tell me what's wrong. Are you saying that Gale is going to die?"
Peeta laughed, but it was a mean laugh. He finally stopped pacing. "Oh yes. Gale Hawthorne will most certainly die. And my only regret was that I missed it."
"Peeta, what are you talking about?"
He took several deep breaths to try to control himself. He sat back on the edge of the bed, and Katniss wrapped him in a hug from behind, her head resting on his shoulder. "Peeta," she almost whispered, directly into his ear, "please calm down. Whatever it is, we'll face it together. Please tell me what's wrong. Please."
After another minute or two, Peeta felt enough in control of himself to try to explain. "Katniss, for the majority of its existence, Snow Industries was run by two men. One of them was Coriolanus Snow, the chairman and CEO of the company. He was in charge of the company from the 1970s until we killed him about five years ago."
Peeta paused; Katniss could feel the tension building in him. She clutched him tighter, planted kissed along his neck and shoulder. "We lost so many good people on that mission. Boggs, Jackson, Odair, Homes, Messalla, Castor, the Leeg sisters…" Peeta had to pause again. "So many lost. But we got our target, we killed Coriolanus Snow."
Peeta took a deep breath before continuing. "Like I said, there were two men who ran Snow Industries. One was Snow himself. The other was their chief weapons designer. He was actually more important than Snow, in a way. He actually invented everything: The drone aircraft, the automated missile launchers, the robot soldiers, the computer-controlled vehicles, the CATOs, all his ideas, all his designs." Peeta stopped, and turned so that he could face Katniss for the first time since he started talking. "Katniss, that man was Gale Hawthorne."
"No…" Her brain couldn't process that. She couldn't believe it.
"Katniss, what does your friend Gale do for a living?"
"He-" She realized what she was about to admit just as she was about to say it. If it were anyone else but Peeta she would have refused to continue, but she knew that he had offered her nothing but the truth, and she owed him nothing less. "He works for Snow Industries. As a weapons designer."
Peeta pulled her into a hug. "Katniss, I'm sorry. But your friend Gale, he's one of the most evil men in history."
"No…" Katniss sat back. "I can't believe that. How could that be?"
"Gale Hawthorne was the second in command and chief weapons designer for Snow Industries," Peeta said. "All of their major weapons systems that they used to kill half the human race and subjugate the survivors, they were all designed by Gale Hawthorne. Five years ago, when we killed Coriolanus Snow, Gale Hawthorne took over complete control of Snow Industries. He's been enemy number one of the human race since that day. That CATO that killed your sister, killed two other women named Katniss Everdeen, killed a stationhouse full of cops? It was sent here by Gale Hawthorne. When we stormed the Snow headquarters and destroyed their computer control equipment, we finally captured Gale Hawthorne, and the only regret I had about coming back here for you was that I wouldn't get to see his execution."
Katniss took several minutes to try to absorb this information. She trusted Peeta and knew that he wasn't lying, but at the same time she refused to believe that what he was saying could be true. "Peeta, I've known Gale since I was twelve. His father died the same time mine did. We helped each other recover. We hunted together. We each helped the other feed our families. Gale's brother Rory was my sister Prim's boyfriend, he was killed by the CATO at my apartment alongside Prim. Gale Hawthorne is my closest friend, I love him like a brother. I'd trust him with my life, in fact I might not be alive right now if it wasn't for Gale."
"Well, Prim and Rory and two Katniss Everdeens and thirty cops would definitely all be alive right now if it wasn't for Gale Hawthorne." Peeta took another deep breath. "I was twelve the first time I met Gale Hawthorne too," he said, earning a shocked look from Katniss. "See this scar just above my right eyebrow?" he asked her. She had seen it earlier, but Peeta was so covered in scars from his rough childhood and his years as a soldier that she hadn't paid it any special attention. "I was twelve, and Gale Hawthorne was leading an inspection detail, making sure that our mines were operating at peak efficiency. I was part of the kitchen staff serving him lunch, and I was so nervous that I spilled his tea." Peeta grimaced at the memory. Katniss just waited for him to continue. "He pistol-whipped me as punishment, then as I tried to get up off the floor he laughed and told me that I should be more careful in the future. He made me thank him for sparing my life before finally letting me go back to the kitchen for a bandage."
Katniss lightly ran her fingertips over the scar. It had faded with the years, but it stood out as if it glowed in the dark now that she knew that her best friend had inflicted it on a defenseless child. She really didn't know what to think. This was all too much. This was even worse than the first moments in the pizzeria had been, because she believed everything that was happening now.
Finally, she figured out what had to be done. "Peeta, we have to go see Gale."
"I don't know how Gale becomes the monster you know in the future, but right now he's my friend. He's a good man, his whole life is dedicated to supporting his mother and his younger siblings. If we go and talk to him now, if we explain everything that will happen, then maybe we can prevent it. If Gale refuses to build the weapons, then there can't be a Reaping Day, right?"
"Do you really think he'll believe us?" Peeta asked skeptically.
"He'll believe me," Katniss answered with complete confidence.
Peeta thought things through for a moment. "If you really want to prevent Reaping Day, if you want to prevent Gale Hawthorne from developing the deadly weapons of Snow Industries, there's a much easier way of doing so."
"We kill him."
"No!" This was rapidly spiraling out of control. "We're going to talk to him, not kill him. I'm telling you, he'll help us. He's a good guy."
"What if he won't help us?" Peeta asked. "Look, we're going to have to treat him as a hostile, at least at first. What if he thinks we're nuts? What if he thinks I've kidnapped and brainwashed you? What if he tries to turn us over to the cops again?"
Katniss wanted to disagree, but Peeta made too much sense. "Don't hurt him," she pleaded with him. "Whatever crimes you say he committed, he hasn't committed any of them yet. Don't take revenge for things he hasn't done yet."
Peeta was quiet for a moment, then he heaved a heavy sigh. "You realize how dangerous this is? If we go after Hawthorne and Snow, that CATO will be on us in a hot second. Not to mention Snow security forces, and every local military and law enforcement agency." He turned to look her straight in the eye. "I came back here to keep you safe. If we had any sense, we'd find the deepest, darkest hole available, and hide there for as long as we could."
Katniss didn't flinch away from his gaze. "We can prevent Reaping Day. We have to try."
There, Peeta found he couldn't disagree.
This is just a short teaser, to introduce where I'll be going with the second half of this story. My main priority right now is my Civil War AU story (Shameless Plug: which is awesome so go check it out if you haven't already!) so this probably won't be updated again until that is finished.
In case it wasn't clear, Gale will be essentially taking on the role of Miles Dyson from Terminator 2, with the climax of this story being a mish-mosh combination of the manufacturing plant from T1, and the Cyberdyne HQ and steel plant from T2, as Katniss, Peeta, and maybe Gale? fight the CATO and try to destroy Gale's work to try to prevent Reaping Day.
What will happen when Peeta confronts Gale? What will Gale's reaction be when he finds out about Katniss and Peeta? Will Gale believe anything they tell him about the future? Will he side with K&P or with Snow Industries? Will Peeta meet the same fate as Reece? Will they prevent Reaping Day? I'll find out when I write it! You'll find out when I post it!