A/N: Welcome, welcome! Okay, before we get started with the good stuff, let me get a few things out of the way. First and foremost, gotta give a disclaimer: I am not the owner of The Hunger Games and all credit for that is to Suzanne Collins for the characters she so wonderfully created. The only thing I own are my own ideas and few original characters.
Secondly, this is the third and final installment. If you haven't read my other two stories, this one may not make much sense. I recommend reading The Things Which Determine Our Fate and then The Safety of Love before reading this one. It is a Gadge love story and at this point not really canon at all anymore. I tend to get a little excited about posting new chapters and fail to proofread my work sometimes but if you can overlook that I'm positive you'll enjoy this story!
And now, without further ado, I give you My Everything!
How dare he do this! Does he find it funny? Am I nothing but a huge joke to him? Did his stupid friends dare him to do this to me? I mean, he's always been short with me, never once friendly, but this is really low of him. Gale Hawthorne making a mockery of my current state to tell me I've somehow forgotten an entire year of my life. For a split second I almost believed him. Almost thought he was about to provide me with the answers to all my questions but of course he wasn't. He was only playing some kind of cruel prank. He left without so much as a single explanation or clue as to what was going on supposedly over the last year. Katniss would be furious at him if she knew. She never let him get away with his snarky comments about my wealth or about me being the mayors daughter. She'd really kill him for this one. I doubt I'll mention it though. Too embarrassing. I mean, what would I say about it? That I woke up to find Gale Hawthorne of all people holding my hand? That he smiled at me and then proceeded to tell me he'd been waiting for me to wake up so he could fill me in on the events of the past year? It doesn't even sound plausible. No, Gale Hawthorne has never for a moment taken any interest in me and all this had to have been some cruel joke of his. Some way for him to make fun of me for being so confused right now.
When he left the room I was so angry that I threw my water glass across the room, hitting the concrete wall, shattering glass all over the floor. Hot, angry tears filled my eyes but I knew it was wrong of me to break the glass and I should have had better manners. I make a mental note to have my father pay for the glass I broke as I struggle to climb out of bed. I've got to clean that glass up before someone comes in and sees it. It would just add to my embarrassment for anyone to know at I'd let Gale Hawthorne get me to lose my temper. As my feet hit the cold, concrete floor my head spins a little again but not nearly as bad as earlier. This time I don't faint or fall down. I just have to move slowly. I make my way over to the glass, dragging my bag of fluids with me and begin to pick up the larger pieces first. I take them over to the small, metal wastebasket by the door and drop them in it. Another wave of dizziness comes over me and I have to lean my forehead and palms against the wall to steady myself. After a moment, I make my way back over to the remaining bits of glass and try to figure out the best way to clean it up. The pieces are too small to be easily picked up with just my fingers. Without a broom and dust pan, I have no idea what to do but I don't want to just leave it like this. This room is practically bare but there is a pillowcase on my pillow. I could use that over my hand and sort of wipe up what's left. It wont be as efficient as a dust pan but it'll have to do. And it does. After I sort of wipe up everything, I shake the pillowcase out into the wastebasket and then place the pillowcase on the cabinet so it can be laundered.
Im making my way back to the bed when I remember that I still need to look in the mirror and I may as well get it over with while I'm up. I slowly make my way over to the mirror and take a deep breath before stepping in front of it. And then I gasp audibly and bring my hand to my mouth. I'm hideous! A puffy, somewhat healed cut, or rather multiple cuts, cover my forehead and one of my cheeks. On top of that, I have a bandage on my head. With trembling fingers I reach up and lift back the bandage only to reveal a row of bloody stitches where a small patch of hair has been shaved off. I guess this is where I was hit. This is the reason everything isn't making sense right now. I also notice that my face seems pink. Like I spent too much time outside in the sun. And I seem thinner. But what is all this a result of? It doesn't make sense. Nothing makes sense. A surge of annoyance, bordering on rage boils up inside me. I need answers and I'm tired of waiting for them. The next person to come in this room isn't getting to leave without telling me something, anything that will make sense.
I get back in bed and doze off for awhile again. I can't seem to shake the exhaustion I feel. At some point while I'm asleep the medic must ahve returned because my fluids bag is gone as well as the tubes in my arm. I must have slept right through all of it. When I wake up, Katniss is sitting in the chair waiting for me.
"Hey, you could have woken me up. I hope you weren't waiting long." I yawn and smile.
"You need your rest. Didn't want to disturb you." She shrugs in her ever casual way.
"Did you find out they father knows I'm here? I'm finished getting those fluids so I can probably go home soon. Is he coming to get me?"
"He won't be coming to get you Madge." She tells me quietly. She won't look at me and her fingers are making little circles on the edge of my bed.
"Oh, don't let that worry you." I laugh. "He's probably just busy. He's always busy these days. If you call my house I'm sure Mabel will come for me."
"No, you don't understand. Madge, I'm about to tell you something and you won't want to hear it but I have to tell you. Your father and Mabel aren't in 12 or in 13 for that matter. They're both Capitol prisoners. They have been for quite some time now."
"What?" I ask in horror. Capitol prison? There must be some mistake!
"I know it seems impossible and I can't imagine how difficult it is to hear but it is the truth. You knew it yourself before your head injury."
"Katniss, how much time have I forgotten?" I ask her as stinging tears glide down my face. I don't know if I can handle what e answer will be but I need to know and I have to ask now.
"I'm not sure exactly. Seems like almost a year." Her voice is quiet and she still isn't looking at me. This is the same thing Gale said but how can that be? How do you just forget a year of your own life? What in the hell happened to me?
"Please, you have to tell me what happened to me." I choke out through my sobs.
"You were in the games. The Quarter Quell. A mission was put into action to rescue you from the arena. When it was time to get you out, you resisted and had to be knocked unconscious. That knock on the head is why you've lost pieces of your memory. The medics think it'll all come back though, that it's a temporary problem."
I sit, sobbing to myself as my damaged mind works to comprehend the words Katniss just spoke to me. I was in the games. I was forcefully removed from them. My father and Mabel are prisoners. Katniss just sits, waits for me to speak again.
"Why would I resist being rescued?"
"You weren't aware of the plan. You got paranoid and tried to run away. Johanna Mason had to act fast because the window for your rescue was so small and she did what she needed to do. Hit you hard in the head and then carried you to the rescue site."
"Johanna Mason? But she..."
"Victors were included in the reaping as part of the Quell twist." she interrupts, already able to know what I was about to argue.
"And my father? He's in prison? Why?"
She sighs a little, eyes still down on the blanket of my bed. "It's sort of a really long and complicated story. Something to do with your mother. It would probably be better explained by someone who was alongside you from the being of all of it."
"I have no idea what that means. Alongside me for what?" I ask as I feel my frustrations start to grow again.
"It's just that I wasn't even home from my games when everything began to unravel. A lot took place without me around. You should really let Gale be the one to get into all those details."
"Gale? Why would Gale know anything about it?"
"Because Gale and you became close while I was away in my games and a relationship developed. And later, after I got back home, you two were married. Gale's your husband Madge."
I stare at her with eyes the size of saucers, mouth hanging open. I feel lightheaded again, this time from the impact of of the newest bomb to drop on me. I close my mouth and eyes, resting my head back on my pillows. Married! I'm freaking married! At 17! And to Gale Hawthorne of all people! Gale Hawthorne! I don't even know know how to process this.
"Are you okay? Madge?" Katniss asks, concern flooding her voice.
"I think I just need a little time to process this all. It's sort of a lot to take in." I tell her through closed eyes that still drip tears.
"I know it is. I'll come back and check on you later. Try to rest, okay?" She says softly, almost sadly as she exits the room. I never do open my eyes to watch her go. I only know she leaves based on the sound of her footsteps against the concrete floor.
"Here kiddo. You look like you could use a little of this." Haymitch says as he shoves a flask into my hand. Without hesitating, I open it and take a swig. Moonshine. Burns all the way down my throat. I take a second, heftier swig before handing it back to him. I wipe my eyes and look at him.
"Gotta give her time. She'll come around. Katniss is in with her now, she'll tell her some basics, get the ball rolling so to speak. You can fill in all the details for her later."
"She doesn't even know me. She doesn't even think we're friends much less married." I tell him glumly.
"Nope. But hang in there. She'll be discharged from medical in a little while. They'll bring her up to your unit for her to get settled in."
"They expect her to stay with me even though she doesn't know me as her husband?" I ask in shock. Can't they give her a unit alone until her memory comes back or at least until she gets more comfortable with the idea of her and I as a couple?
"That's the way it works around here Kiddo." He explains. "Might wanna get on back up there so she doesn't have to come home to an empty place."
I nod wearily and head towards the elevators. I intend to go on back to our unit and wait for her but I find my fingers pushing the button for level 6 instead. I need to talk to my mother. I need to see if she could possibly have any advice on this at all. Once on their floor, I follow the narrow hallways until I locate their unit. I knock and wait for an answer. I don't have a code for they keypad so I can't just go inside like I would back at home.
"Gale? Are you okay? What's wrong?" My mother asks immediately when she sees my face.
"She doesn't remember me, Ma. She can't remember anything about us or the past year." I manage to tell her without breaking down completely.
"Have you been drinking?" She whispers leaning in close and inhaling.
"Did you hear what I just said? She doesn't know me anymore!" I say more urgently, tears filling my eyes. I ignore the question about my drinking. Right now, that isn't important.
"You aren't making any sense Gale. Come inside and lets sit down. We'll talk about it."
I follow her into their unit which is much more spacious than mine is but still small. They have a split unit which means there are two rooms connected in the middle with a small bathroom. When you enter, it's one of the bedrooms. To get to the other one, you have to go through the bathroom. No windows. Same dull, bland grey and white palate.
"Where are the kids?" I ask her, noticing their absence and not wanting to talk about this in front of them.
"Mrs. Krull took them upstairs for dinner. I wasn't hungry. Wanted to get situated down here and let all of this sink in. This is all quite a lot to swallow in one day."
"You were saying? About Madge? What doesn't she remember about you two?"
"She was knocked out during the rescue and it made her lose parts of her memory. I went to see her. She talked to me like she used to, back before we were ever friends. And when I tried to hold her hand, she pulled away from me. Ma, she had no idea we were together. What am I going to do?"
"Oh Gale, that's awful! I'm so sorry." She says and she hugs me. I fall into her, letting her console me even though I'm too old for it.
"I don't know what to do now. Ma, she is absolutely everything to me and I need her."
"Gale, she fell in love with you once, she'll do it again."
"Ma, she doesn't even think we're friends. She doesn't remember helping Rory or going into the woods to the lake or marrying me." I remind her, doubting I could make Madge love me again. As I speak, another sob escapes me and I bury my face in my hands.
"Gale, you can't fall apart. You'll need to be stronger than ever right now. Madge is likely very scared and she'll need you to be there for her as she sorts all this out and makes sense of it all."
"I'm not sure I know how to do that."
"Gale, I watched you two fall head over heels in love, battle through impossible circumstances and triumph together in love. If anyone can get through a little memory loss, it's you two." She encourages as she gently wipes the tears from my cheek.
I take a deep breath and stand up. I need to get back to my unit before Madge is brought up from the Medical Center. I have no idea how I'll do this. How I'll ever manage to earn her love again, but I know I'll try. With everything I have, I'll try to get her to remember and to love me again.
"Tell Posy I came by to say hi but that I had to go back and check on Madge. I don't think we should tell them about her memory yet. Maybe Rory, but not Vick and Posy."
"Of course. I'll just tell them she's resting for now. We'll figure out the rest as we go along." She agrees.
On the walk back to my unit, I pass a few other people in the halls. Everyone is dressed in grey clothes. Plain and simple, nothing fancy or flashy. I have no idea why we all have to wear the same thing here but I suppose the manual will tell me if I ever take the time to really, thoroughly read it. So far all I've done is skim through it. Actually, I've got quite a bit of learning to do when it comes to this place. It's all so foreign.
Once I'm back in the unit, I wash my face so it won't show so much that I've been crying. I don't want her to know that I'm falling apart over this. I think my mother is right when she says I need to be strong for Madge right now. I can't imagine how this must all feel for her, how much this all is for her to have dumped on her. I mean, what's it like to wake up in a strange place and be told that you've forgotten a whole year of your life practically? I've just washed up when I hear a knock at the door. I look at myself in the mirror one last time and give myself a quick, silent pep talk. Alright Hawthorne, this is it. You have to win her love all over again.
I open the door and find Madge with some sort of escort person. He hands me a small bag with medicines in it and instructs us to contact the Medical Center if we have any questions or if Madge starts to feel worse. And then he's gone. Leaving just me and Madge. Alone in our new home. Just us. I step aside so she can come inside and she does, but with obvious hesitation. I shut the door behind us and turn to see her, eyes scanning the room.
"It's so small." Her hushed voice nearly whispers.
"Yeah, it's um, simple." I say as awkwardly as possible. I have no idea what to say to her. I want to grab her, pull her to me and kiss her like I never have before. Want to touch her, feel her because she doesn't seem real to me. But I can't. She doesn't think of me as a husband. I don't want to make her any more uncomfortable than she already is.
She sits down on the edge of the bed, biting her bottom lip, staring down at her hands in her lap. I put the medicine down on the nightstand and sit down on the floor. I'm afraid if I sit on the bed she'll pull away from me and I don't think I can handle that.
"So, I guess you probably have a few questions you want answered, huh?" I finally say, breaking the silent tension that seems to be building.
"More than a few."
"I...I can try and answer them for you. If you want me too."
She's quiet for a moment, her eyes searching my face before she speaks. "I could really use some answers."
I nod in understanding and wait for her to find a way to begin. I can see that she isn't comfortable talking to me and I know it's because she doesn't know me. I was such an ass to her back before Katniss's games that it's totally understandable for her to not know if she can trust me.
"Um, Katniss told me that you and I, um, well, that we got to know each other a little during her games and I was wondering if you could tell me how exactly that happened? I mean, it's just that from what I remember, you and I weren't exactly friends so I can't imagine us as such."
"That's probably a pretty good place to start. It'l help everything else make sense a little more." I begin. "Do you remember your garden?"
She wrinkles her brow for a second and then she nods. "I remember being excited that I was getting a garden. But I didn't have it yet."
"Okay, good. Well, Mabel hired my friend Thom and I to clear the land behind your house and help you get everything ready for the garden. That was really the first day that you and I talked. You helped me with a problem."
"I helped you? How?"
"Well, it was after we were done clearing the land and we had this big pile of stuff to burn. Thom went on home and you and I sat out all night watching the fire. Your father, he was away on a trip and well, when he was away, the fence was always turned on. Well, the day before that, Rory, he's my brother, had gone out into the woods to look for me and then the fence turned on and he got trapped out there. That night, as we sat by the fire, you found out Rory was stuck out there and you offered to help. You told me you knew how to turn off the fence. And then the next day, you skipped school and turned off the fence so I could go rescue Rory before the mandatory viewing."
She stares at me in disbelief, mouth slightly hanging open. "I turned off the fence? And I skipped school?"
"Yeah, crazy, huh?" I say giving her a slight smile.
She nods, mouth still agape. "And then what happened? Did we become friends because of that?"
"Well, sort of. It's hard to explain in words what really happened after that. For me, it was like the first time I got to see that side of you. The side of you that you never usually let people see. I guess you could say that I was very intrigued. We spent a little time together and just kind of became a couple. It all happened pretty fast."
"So you became attracted to me because I turned off the fence for you?"
I shake my head. "No, I was already attracted to you, I already thought you were flat out gorgeous. But I never realized until then that there was so much more to you than I'd given you credit for. See, I never saw you as anything other than the rich daughter of the Mayor. I never took the time to get to know you before that."
"You think I'm gorgeous?" And again her mouth falls open.
I laugh even though I try hard not too. I guess, as far as she remembers, this is the first time she's heard me say it so it would be shocking to her.
"It's not funny!" She lashes out at me, pulling my laughter to halt.
"Hey, I'm sorry. I wasn't laughing at you. It's just that I can't imagine you not knowing how beautiful I think you are. I, I'm sorry I upset you." I apologize. I can't believe I just upset her. Can't believe she'd think I would laugh at her. I want to hug her, make sure she knows I didn't mean it like that but I can't do it.
She folds her arms over her chest but her shoulders drop a bit so I think she's relaxing a little.
"Is there anything else you want to know?" I ask. Obviously, I'm sure there is but I don't know what exactly she wants to know right now.
"Why are we married?"
"What?" I startle not understanding her question right away.
She sighs. "What I mean, is I'm only 17. That's awfully young to be married. I just wondered if there was a reason for it. Like, um, if we had to get married or something." She rephrases for me and her cheeks blush bright pink.
Pregnant. She wants to know if we got married because she was pregnant. "No, we didn't have to. You weren't pregnant or anything."
I see her relax a little more but her cheeks stay bright pink. "Well, was there another reason?"
"Yes and no. Above all, aside from everything else, we got married because we love each other more than anything. But we got married sooner than we would have normally because you were going to be reaped. You wanted a chance to be married, to be a wife, before you had to go into the games."
"I knew I was getting reaped before it happened?"
"Yeah, that's kind of a complicated story. And kind of a long one at that."
"It seems like everything is complicated. I don't think I've ever been more overwhelmed in my entire life." She sighs and rubs her forehead.
"Does your head hurt? Want me to get some of your medicine?" I ask, springing to my feet.
"Headache." She informs me as she closes her eyes and keeps rubbing her temple.
"Here, it says to take this if your head hurts." I say handing her one of the blue pills from the bag the medic sent. I get her a glass of water from the bathroom sink to take it with. She takes it and swallows it. I can't help myself and I reach out to stroke her face. My touch startles her and she pulls away, eyes flashing fear.
"Sorry." I mumble and take a step back.
"I think I'm going to try and rest." She says and looks down at the floor. Her cheeks are red. I've definitely made her uncomfortable. With just one brush of my hand on her cheek, I've made her pull away from me.
"Yeah, sure. I'll take the floor, you take the bed." I tell her, not making eye contact. I grab a pillow off the bed and flip the lights off. She doesn't speak again and it's dark so I can't see her but I hear her as she climbs under the blanket and gets situated in bed. The concrete is hard and cold and I know I won't sleep tonight. I'll have to see if I can get an extra blanket tomorrow. I took the floor because I know the thought of sharing a bed with me would really send her into a panic right now. And I don't want that, I just want her to be comfortable. I want her to feel safe around me. Want her to trust me. And more than anything, I just need her to love me again.