A/N: The last time i read THG, i was wondering how Prim and Gale's siblings would feel about certain things that went on around them. So I started writing! Hope you like it and don't forget to review :)
I don't think I've ever seen Katniss as scared as she was this morning.
She didn't know it, but I was actually awake, and I was watching her when she left. She was headed to the woods, for me.
I'm only four years younger than she is, but we're both older than our years anyway. Dad's accident only happened a few months ago, and Kat has taken over to feed me. She goes hungry most nights, and I try really hard not to complain, but I'm so hungry, all the time.
So she finally decided she'd had enough of the tesserae and of the goat's milk and cheese, and has finally taken to the woods. She's only been gone a few hours, but I'm just worried about her being alone. I wish she had taken me, but she says the forest is no place for an eight year old, and I have no business handling weapons.
Like she does either.
A few hours after dawn, she finally comes through the door, and she's smiling so widely that it kind of catches me off guard. I haven't seen her smile like that since Dad died. It's only for the food though, and her smile evaporates as soon as my stomach is full, and she doesn't start eating until Mom and I both have eaten. She ushers me to bed and I sleep peacefully on my full stomach, for the first time since Dad passed.
She gets braver as the days go by, soon she goes hunting even when we don't need the food and says she has to practice. I don't know anything about hunting, but I get down the book of useable and eatable herbs that Dad made and I spend the next week drilling her on it.
Before long, I start to put on a little weight. It's not really noticeable to anyone who isn't an Everdeen, but it's really noticeable to me and I can't stop smiling. There are a few boys in my class who have noticed how much fuller my face looks, and I can't say I'm unhappy about it. Kat spends too much time in the woods, so she doesn't really understand how I can have time to spend on boys.
And I've already had more boyfriends than she has. But I really like this boy in my class, named Rory Hawthorne. I'm too afraid to talk to him, but I'm hoping he notices some of the boyfriends I've had and gets all jealous. A girl can dream, right?
About two weeks after Katniss starts hunting, the Victory Tour comes to town, and she's too afraid to go into the woods with all the Peacekeepers around. It only lasts for a day or two, but the tribute is from District 7, and 12 is trying extra hard to impress her. I don't really care what Johanna Mason or whatever her name is thinks of my home, but everyone else does.
But this will be Katniss's first reaping, and I can tell she's really nervous about it. She only has a few months left until the actual reaping, and I'm just as scared as she is… I'm not sure what I would do if she weren't here.
She starts going over the book of herbs with me almost every night, until I know them front, back, side, in and out of water. I'm exhausted, and one night, possibly the hardest drilling ever, I end up falling asleep in her bed instead of with mother.
But in the dead of night, I realize I've made the wrong decision in sleeping with Kat, because her nightmares make her thrash all over the bed and it wakes me up. I sneak out of bed to join Mom in her bed, but I hear Kat talking. She never speaks in her sleep, so I decide to inch closer so I can hear what she's saying. I think it's a name, it sounds like she's saying Kale, or Gale, but I can't be sure.
I pull back the quilt on Mom's bed and think of people I know with similar names. Mail, Kale Outland, Gale Hawthorne… Surely she wasn't dreaming of Gale Hawthorne.
He's only two years older than her, and he's undoubtedly the most handsome boy in the district. I know Kat, she would convince herself she didn't have time to chase him, so why was she saying his name? I decide not to worry about it and pass out again.
It seems like I've just closed my eyes and Katniss is waking me again for school. She wears the smile she had from last night, and I recognize fresh meat sitting on the table for our lunches today. She serves me a light breakfast, and the smile doesn't fade like it normally does.
"What's up with you?" I ask her.
She shakes her head and raises an eyebrow as she puts on her jacket, "Nothing. Why?"
"You're just acting weird," I answer. She lets the silence sit as I finish eating and getting ready. The smile still doesn't disappear, and I wonder if it's from her dream or if she saw something (or someone) spectacular in the woods today.
"Who's Gale?" I ask.
She tries to hide it, but I can see a faint blush on her face, and I start giggling, which makes the color deepen. She shakes her head, "Hawthorne. I met him in the woods yesterday," and dismisses the subject.
I can't be certain, but I think her smile widens as she yells that we're going to be late.
Today is the day. My whole future rides on this one moment.
Mom and I take our baths and get ready as Katniss comes in from the woods. She's a lot calmer than I would expect, but she did just get back from the woods with Gale. Six whole months and they never spend more than two days apart. I'm glad she's found someone she can confide in. I mean, she's my sister and all, but she's twelve and I'm eight. There are just some things that I know she doesn't want to talk to me about but that she can talk to Gale about.
Like food. And Mom.
Mother has gotten worse over the months. It's like the happier she sees me, and the more she sees Katniss trying to have a normal life, the farther away she gets. I know it's on Kat's mind a lot, but I don't want to make anything harder for her, so I sit quietly and pretend I don't notice and do my homework.
But today is different. As Kat walks through the door, she hugs me and looks at Mother. There's hardness in her eyes, and I don't know if it's from the stress of possibly leaving me by myself or just because Gale is in the Reaping too. She can't lie to me though, I know she cares about him as much as she does for Mother and I.
She takes her bath and I sit on her bed while she changes. Mother is in her rocker in the other room, and we can hear the creaking of it as she rocks back and forth to pass the time. As Katniss finishes putting on the reaping dress, she crouches down to take my hand.
"Prim, this is a very important day." I nod, and let her continue, "You know how Gale and I have been working to feed you and his family," I nod again, "and you know the herb book, right?" Once more, I nod, afraid to speak. "If this ends badly today, I want you to start going into the woods with Gale. You don't have to hunt, and he won't let you. He'll show you how to be quiet and gather the herbs we need to eat."
I nod and she tilts my chin up, "Prim, do you understand? He will feed you and give you all the meat you need, but you will have to show him herbs. Got me?"
And without another word, the bell rings, signaling it's time for us to go to the square. She takes my hand and leads Mother and I into town. She has a firm hold of my hand, but I can see her eyes darting across the square, and the tenseness of her body.
She's looking for Gale.
When she finally finds him, her whole body relaxes as he leads his larger family over to ours. I look at Rory Hawthorne before giggling and dropping my eyes. Kat lets go of my hand and crouches in front of me to hug me and kiss my forehead again. I squeeze her tight and whisper good luck for her.
She forces a smile as she stands up and takes Gale's hand before heading to her spot in the square.