Chapter 33

(Gale POV)

"Come here."

"I'm right here." She says in confusion.

"No, up here. With me." I tell her as I pat the bed next to me.

"I don't want to jostle you." She tells me hesitantly, chewing her bottom lip.

"Just get up here already, would ya?" I say again with a roll of my eyes. She hesitates a moment more before obliging me and climbing up and laying down next to me.

"Just tell me if I hurt you or anything. I don't want to make you feel any worse than you already do." She says nervously.

"Hush. All I want is you, curled up next to me. That alone will make me feel better." I tell her as I put my right arm around her and kiss her temple. And I mean it. Just having her here does make me feel better. Well, at the very least it distracts me from the continual soreness I feel on my left side. It's really unbelievable how sore one little missing spleen can make you feel. Unbelievable and ridiculous.

"I love you, you know that? I can't tell you how glad, how relived, I am that you're back and that you're going to be okay." She says softly as she leans her head against me.

"Love you too. So much."

"I'm serious. Do you have any idea how worried I was? I was a wreck. Puked in the Communications Bay and everything."

"You puked in Communications?" I ask, holding back a snicker as I picture her puking in there. I know it isn't funny but at the same time, it kinda is.

"Mmhmm. Sawyer was wonderful about it though. Gave me his wastebasket just in the nick of time and didn't get angry at all. Actually, he was extremely patient with me the entire time you were gone. Took time to explain what was going on, even gave me a task so I could feel useful. You should really thank him next time you see him."

"Sawyer? Hmm, that's awful cool of him. I barely know the guy."

"Well, apparently he helped work my own rescue. I was worried that I was bothering him but he assured me that I wasn't and said I was acting the exact same way that his own wife would've acted if it was him out there awaiting a rescue."

"Didn't even know he was married."

"Hey, how was the church? Did the storm damage it? Was it still how it was when we found it before?"

"Yeah. Wish you coulda seen it again too. I'm glad you were able to understand my clue at the cabin. I didn't think about it until after we were already at the church but it was stupid of me to leave a clue like that."

"What do you mean?"

"I mean, when I last spoke to you before I left you had your memory but the doctors were still examining you so for all I know it could have been gone again. Could've been a temporary thing, ya know?"

"Nope, it's still here. To stay. How come you didn't just stay at the cabin?"

"I was worried that our crash might have drawn attention and I didn't want the wrong people to find us. The church was good for shelter and all but it was so cold. It would've been nice to have the fireplace from the cabin but I didn't wanna risk it."

"Thanks for that. The not risking it, I mean."

"Hey, I don't suppose you know how the rest of the people from my crash are doing? Nobody's told me anything."

"You faired the worst of it all. Well, of those who survived anyway. The woman and her children are fine. Dehydrated and malnourished but overall just fine. And the communicator, Tull, he's completely fine, just a few scrapes and bruises."

"It was awful out there. There were graves out there. That woman, her name is June, she told me there were more of them who survived the initial destruction of 12 but died trying to survive out in the woods. They had to bury them right there in the woods. When I found her and those kids, they were hidden is this crappy little shelter of sticks and pine needles. I honestly doubt that they could've survived much longer themselves." I tell her as images flood back through my mind."

"Did you see any of 12?" She asks me quietly.

"Just a tiny bit. I wasn't allowed to go over there, had to stay in the woods. What I saw though was just charred rubble, nothing left. They really were intent on destroying all of it."

"I don't know if I'll ever be able to shake the feeling that I hold so much responsibility for all of this. If my mother just would've not signed that marital contract on my behalf, none of this would've happened."

"Nah, don't take all this on yourself. The way I see it, if it wasn't one thing it just would've been something else. That's how Snow operates. He can't let people just be happy and live life. If she hadn't signed a contract, there just would've been something else for him to toy with and attack. You've just have the misfortune of being his focus is all."

"Gale, if I ask you something will you answer me honestly?"

"Always."

"The mission with my father…are you still going to try and work it?"

"I want to but I can't. The doctors wrote me out of active duty for the next month and a half. Katniss says it'll all go done much sooner than that." I tell her glumly. I feel her relax a little next to me when I tell her I won't be going and it makes Rory's words ring back in my ears.

"How do you feel about me going back out on missions once I'm cleared by my doctors though? I may be missing this next mission but I know there will come a time for others."

"I'm torn. I don't want you to go ever again because I don't want to ever feel the overwhelming fear I felt this time but then I also know that's very selfish of me to feel that way. And that makes me want you to go and to do whatever you're best at when it comes to helping with missions and I know that puts you out there in the middle of all the action."

I sigh. "Yeah, I get that. I mean, neither of us would be here if it weren't for other people be willing to step up and do missions so I feel like it's only natural that I do what I can to pay it forward but then I think about how I hate making you and my family worry about me and it makes me feel guilty."

"But I do think you should keep doing them." She says very quietly.

"You do?"

"Yeah, I do. But I am thankful I have a few weeks to recover before I have to worry about you again."

"Did I tell you yet how much I love you?" I tease with a smile and she smiles back, burying her face against me. I go to reach for her, momentarily forget to be gentle on my left side and end up causing a shooting pain through my chest and abdomen. The pain makes me tense up and wince for a second and Madge notices of course.

'What's the matter? Did I hurt you?" She asks, eyes wide as she sits up quickly.

"No, it was me. I moved wrong. I'm fine though, just a little flash of pain over my incision is all." I tell her as I try to get her to lay back down with me.

"You have to be careful. You didn't pull any stitches out did you?"

"Madge, calm down, I said I was fine."

"Let me check your incision." She insists not buying what I'm saying.

"Would you stop?" I say pushing her hand back as she reaches for my blanket. I hate having her fuss over me like this. Feels weird. I'm the one who should be making a fuss over her.

"Gale Hawthorne, either you let me check that incision or I call for the medic to do it for me. Your choice." She tells me as she hops off the bed and folds her arms over her chest.

I give her a look hoping she'll cave and lay back down but she just stares right back at me, eyebrow raised, refusing to budge. I don't have the energy to keep fighting her on it so I claim defeat and pull back my blanket and lift my gown for her to see my stitches. I look away though, not wanting to see it again myself.

"It looks okay I guess. Does it still hurt?" She asks as I feel her fingers ever so gently trail over the edges of the incision.

"No. I told you it was fine. You're making a fuss for no reason." I tell her, trying as hard as I can to be patient with her.

"I just don't want you to try and be all tough about this if you're actually hurting. I want you to get better."

"I know. Just wish you wouldn't make a big deal about it is all."

"I need to get going anyway. Posy will be coming by in a bit, don't want to keep her waiting again." She says effectively changing the subject.

"You're leaving?" I pout.

"I can come back with Posy if you want. I know she'd love to see you."

"Nah, not til I'm outta here and back home. No need for her to see me like this." I say as I point at my various tubes.

"Love you, I'll come back after dinner." She tells me as she leans down quickly kissing me goodbye.

"I'll be right here waiting for you." I say, wishing she could stay. I love that she keeps Posy but right now, I'd rather have her here with me.

She blows me one more kiss as she slips out the door of my room. She's amazing that one, and I'm lucky she's mine. Thankful to be alive and be here with her again.

(Madge POV)

Posy and I walk hand in hand to the cafeteria for dinner. She knows that Gale is sick but that's all. We haven't told her anything else and honestly, it's the simplest way to keep it. I doubt she'd understand it in full detail. We collect our trays and head over to where the rest of the Hawthorne clan is gathered, plus Rebekah, Katniss and Peeta.

"Hey, it's good to see you out and about finally!" I tell Katniss as I sit down next to her.

"Tell me about it." She replies with an exasperated sigh. "I don't think I could have possible stood another day laid up in that hospital bed."

"When do you get the cast off?"

"Ugh, at least another month in this thing but possibly longer. It itches like you wouldn't believe." She says with a roll of her eyes.

"Do you get to go back to work yet?"

"Yup. Already started back today. No active duty though."

"Well, Gale's out of active duty for several weeks himself. At least you'll be able to keep each other company at work." I tell her with a smile.

"What's active duty?" Posy asks with a tug of my sleeve. I hadn't realized she was listening so closely to our conversation.

"Just means that because Gale hasn't been feeling well, they'll give him easy work to do so he can rest and get better faster." I explain.

"Did he broken his leg too?" She asks.

"Oh no, not at all! Just sort of has a really bad tummy ache is all."

"When my tummy hurted, Prim's Ma gived me medicines."

"And did it make you feel better?"

She nods her little head up and down.

"Well, that's the same thing the doctors are doing for Gale. And as soon as he's all better he'll come see you."

"Maybe we can make him a get well card too." Rebekah offers to Posy.

"After dinner?" Posy asks her.

"Just as soon as you're finished." Rebekah tells her pushing her plate towards her, drawing her attention back to the meal.

The rest of the meal goes by quickly and I find myself eating a little faster than usual so that I can get back down to see Gale again before he goes to sleep. As soon as I'm finished, I excuse myself from the table and make a mad dash for the Medical Center. I end up passing Tripp in the stairwell. Even though I'm in a hurry, I know I should stop and talk to him for a minute or two. I'd been sort of avoiding him because I felt awkward with the combination of finding out he loved me and not having my memory. I just wasn't sure how to act around him. But, now I have my memory and things can be normal again. I can be normal again.

"Hey Madge! How's it going?" He asks, smiling big.

"Good. Really good. Guess what?"

"What?"

"I got my memory back!" I tell him as I tap my fingertip against the side of my head.

His whole face lights up and it's evident how truly happy he is for me. "Madge! That's incredible!"

"Tell me about it! It came back, in a flash of a moment, out of nowhere."

"Well, congratulations! Where are you off too right now? I was just heading to dinner myself."

"I'm heading down to Medical to see Gale."

"Is he sick?"

"Not exactly. He had surgery. But everything's fine, he's just healing up."

"Well, tell him I hope he feels better soon. I'll see ya later." He says as he starts to continue up the stairs.

"Thanks, I'll be sure and tell him. And hey, maybe you and I can catch up sometime this week and talk. It's been awhile." I tell him.

"That'd be great." He says, grinning again.

"Okay, lunch tomorrow maybe?"

"Sounds good, see you then!"

I wave goodbye and then resume making my way down to Medical. When I get there, Gale's lying in bed with his eyes closed. Damn, I was hoping he wouldn't be asleep yet. I hover outside the door, debating whether or not to go in or go on home but I really just want to be near him so I go in. As quietly as I can I make my way over to the bed and sit down in the chair next to him.

"You lost your mind again? Get up here with me." He says, eyes still closed but hand held out to me.

"How'd you know it was me? I thought you were sleeping?" I ask in amusement as I carefully climb onto the bed to lay next to him.

"Just resting my eyes is all. And I knew it was you. I'd know those footsteps anywhere. They're my favorite ones to hear."

"You sleepy?" I ask as he tilts his head over to kiss my forehead.

"Mmmhmm. Was waiting til you got back to fall asleep though."

I rest me cheek against his chest and close my eyes too. It feels so good to have him next to me again. I only mean to stay until he falls asleep and then go home but next thing I know, I feel someone shaking my arm.

"Excuse me, but you can't sleep here mam." A medic whispers.

"Sorry, I didn't mean to fall asleep. What time is it?" I whisper.

"It's alright. I'd let you stay except it isn't allowed. Department policy and all. It's late, well past midnight."

"I'll just be going then. Sorry." I apologize in whisper again as I tiptoe out of the room.

Out in the hallway, it's quiet and empty. I walk as quietly as I can so as to not wake any other sleeping patients. I certainly didn't intend to be here so late. Just as I round the corner though, I pause, having heard my name. Well, not my name. The Undersee name. I lean close against the wall and listen to the conversation happening on the other side of the wall.

"She'll need a full analysis. Whatever treatment they've been providing, we'll need to supplement. Her poisoning is severe and we won't be able to undo the years of damage to her brain but we should be able to provide pain relief and comfort."

"Did they give you an ETA yet?"

"Not yet. I expect they'll let us know more once they're in position. Just be ready when the call comes in."

"I'm heading home to get some shut eye but I'll have my pager on me."

My mother! They were just talking about my mother! And they were talking about bringing her here! That means the mission is either taking place right now or nearly about to get started! My mother, my father and Mabel will be here soon! I can't believe they're going to be here! I mean, I knew the mission was still going to happen and that it would be soon but I never thought for a minute that it would be this soon!