A/N: Some reader discretion: this fic is T borderline M, it gets a little steamy. Bahahaha you've been warned.
~Sharing Joy and Misery~
I got one friend laying across from me
I did not choose him, he did not choose me
We've got no chance of recovery
Sharing hospital joy and misery, joy and misery, joy and misery
-Hospital Beds, Florence + the Machine (Cold War Kids cover)
"I'd hate him too, if I were you."
Gale's eyes flickered in my direction for a second before he went back to staring at the screen. He usually didn't watch these political broadcasts in the town square—he always hid at the Everdeens, to console Prim and tell her when it was okay to open her eyes.
But the Games were over, and now Katniss and Peeta were on their Victory Tour.
It was the end of another interview. They leaned in and kissed at the end, as they always did.
"Today's District Three, there's only two days left," he responded. His voice was flat.
"Right. And then they'll be home."
He looked away from the screen for the first time all afternoon. His eyes were glued on mine. Clearly, he hadn't thought of that.
"At least she's alive."
"Seriously, it doesn't matter. The entire thing's a charade." He raised a brow. "You knew that, right?"
"Of course I knew. But charade or not, I'd still be upset."
He rolled his eyes. He started backing out of the square, the broadcast over for the day. "Goodbye, Madge."
Oh no you don't. I reached out and grabbed his arm.
"You're doing a very good job of acting like this whole thing with Peeta doesn't suck."
"Thanks, I guess."
"That wasn't a compliment." I let him go.
He finally offered me a smile. "Well, you're doing a very good job of acting like this—" he pointed at himself, then me, "Doesn't suck."
I felt my face go crimson red. He knew. Of course he knew.
He walked away. My eyes stung. The only reason he's treating me like this is because I'm the mayor's daughter. I repeated that in my head like a mantra.
Whenever Gale did his hob trades or made sales in District Twelve, I don't think his mind ever strayed much from hunting. Otherwise he definitely would've noticed the girls giggling as he walked by, and all of the stares he got. Then again, he was always flanked by Katniss, so his lack of interest shouldn't have been a surprise.
I was one of those staring girls. But I never let myself giggle.
"Oh, God, this is a bad idea."
He wouldn't listen to me. In between heaving breaths and stolen kisses, he kept at it, ignoring my feeble pleas. My heart was pounding out of my chest, and with him this close to me, he could definitely hear it.
It didn't escalate to anything more than kissing, at least not that time. Maybe it was the rawness of the Games or the fact that the first girl he could get his hands on happened to be me, I don't know, all I knew was that kisses weren't supposed to be so rough.
I wasn't supposed to enjoy kisses that rough.
"Stop," he pulled away. Oh, my God, his eyes. You'd expect the fire in them to be gone after everything he'd been through. They were more alive than ever. They were alive with pain I'd never be able to understand, but they were still alive.
Stop. I touched my fingers to my lips.
The 74th Hunger Games were underway. And while Katniss slept on Peeta's shoulder in the cave, I was kissing her best friend.
I will not see Gale. I will not see Gale. I will not see Gale.
I'd wake up at five every morning. I'd toss my hair into a bun, splash cold water over my face, and slip out the front door, making sure to leave it a crack open for when I got back. I'd make my way through district Twelve, keeping my head down and hoping no one recognized me. On the off chance someone did, the excuse was always the same—"I felt sick, just needed some fresh air."
I'd make my way to the outskirts of District Twelve.
I will not see Gale. I will not see Gale. I will not see Gale.
He'd be there. He'd wordlessly hand me a bucket of strawberries, his hands still stained with red from picking them. I'd set them on the ground.
Katniss and Peeta were both home from the Games. Not a day went by when Gale didn't have to hear about their star-crossed lover ploy.
So he'd reach out. The motion was so quick that'd I'd practically fall into him, letting him kiss me and hold me and keep at it for as long as he wanted. I'd never say a word, because so long as it didn't become anything more than that, I could reconcile what was happening. It's just kissing.
There was a point where kissing stopped being enough.
Not that I'd ever vocalize it—I'd lay awake late into the night, pulling down my pajamas and letting my fingers go where they wanted, where I wanted his fingers to be. I wouldn't say his name, I wouldn't make a sound. I'd think of our kisses. I'd think of our early morning meetings. I'd think of the way his hair flopped over his eyes, or how the muscles of his arms looked when I was wrapped up in them.
I'd never say his name, and I'd never tell a soul. That made it all okay. My burning desire existed only in my mind—and that's okay.
"Gale, please, wait—"
The fence of District 12 seemed so permanent and absolute before. I'd never questioned what was outside of District 12, and I'd never wanted to. But now I was.
The Quarter Quell had just been announced. Gale Hawthorne and I were standing next to each other in the town square, listening as the words came out of Snow's mouth. And like a bomb, Gale went off, running into the woods so he wouldn't hurt anyone near him.
I was running after a Seam boy. I was running after the scum of District 12 and his temper tantrum, the subject of which was another girl. I was running after a boy that was in love with someone else.
God help me.
He screamed obscenities at the Capitol, and even though I was reaching out for him and trying to calm him, he didn't seem to realize I was there.
It was hours. And then, the anger subsided.
At that point, I had my hands on his shoulders and my gaze locked with his. We were both standing, panting because we were breathless.
And that's when the tears welled over, and it seemed like the entire thing was just too much, because Gale only had so much room in him to be angry. I was wondering when the upsetting reality would hit him.
I pulled him close. I stood like a statue, and the silent sobbing lasted for all of a minute. He really was a frugal guy—he didn't waste any more tears than needed.
"She'll be okay," I said to him. "She's a survivor. Peeta and Haymitch will make sure she comes home, she'll be alright—"
"She was never mine." He pulled away. It looked as if he'd never cried. He looked me in the eye and didn't hesitate before talking. "It doesn't matter if she lives or dies, because one way or another she'll always be his."
I could barely choke out the words as I said them. "So now you stop pretending like you don't hate Peeta Mellark."
He shut me up with a bone-crushing kiss. I invited it, nipping at his lips and running my hands through his hair, feeling that for the first time this was different. When he tugged my shirt off, I didn't resist it. It'd happened before, and I vividly remembered what I said last time. "Stop. This can't escalate. Katniss is my friend."
Except she was never his. And now, he knew it.
It was a matter of minutes before only flimsy undergarments covered our body. My back was pressed on the forest floor, and his eyes glossed over my body in its entirety. I could tell what was running through his mind. She's soft; she's the softest girl I've ever been with. I always knew she had more than a few pounds to spare, but now I can see it, right down to every roll of fat on her stomach.
The words that came out of his mouth were something else. "You're better than me, Madge."
"How can you say that?" I whispered. Everything in my life was handed to me on a silver platter. He made a life for himself. It was so easy to see why I fell for him, and why the feelings were never returned.
"You really just want the best for me," he said.
I ran out into the woods to console him. I kissed him without any question during the first Games. I stopped him when our antics threatened to go too far.
It was hard to deny a word of what he was saying.
"Of course I do," I responded. My voice had left me.
"Then let me give you what you want."
My eyes widened. I looked down, down to where our bodies met, to where the only things between us were cotton undergarments. How many times had I dreamt of this? How many times had I muffled my own cries—cries of his name—with a pillow, because I knew how taboo it was?
It was taboo, in a way. Katniss—
Oh, but wait. She isn't his.
I nod. It's all I can manage.
He kisses me. And since it's not the least bit endearing, that's how I can guess our fucking will be. He'll more than likely rip a whole in my underwear, enter me and thrust himself so deep that I'll scream out. But I'll let him, and I'll milk every second for all that it's worth, not bothering to muffle my cries because it's finally happening.
It's my first time. He's my first time.
It means a lot of things.
It means all of the joy in the world for me; it means his misery.
She was never mine.
It means my misery.
A/N: Hot daaaaaamn, I haven't had my fingers fly across a keyboard so fast in a LONG time. It was nice to take a break from Cato/Clove for once, I really really really hope you guys enjoyed this. Leave a review and I'll love you forever. Oh, and while I'm at it, check out Shake it Out and Sweet Nothing, my two Career centric multis.
Have the happiest of New Years, I wish you all the best :D