Disclaimer: No ownership... :'(
What Hurts the Most - Rascall Flats
Some Hearts - Carrie Underwood
White Horse - Taylor Swift
Beautiful Soul - Jesse McCartney
Chapter 1 : Waterfalls
Honestly, I never thought I would be sitting in this room, waiting to say goodbye to my only friend. It's funny how stuff like this happens. One moment, everything in the world can be perfect, then the next, your world is turned upside down. I can only imagine how Prim and Mrs. Everdeen must feel right now. Why couldn't it have just been someone I had never even heard of before? Why was sweet Prim's name drawn? This world we live in is such a cruel place.
I undo my mockingjay pin and fiddle with it. The least I can do is give her my token, show her that I care. Maybe it will keep her safe like it has kept me safe.
The only other person sitting outside Katniss' room with me is Gale; everybody else has come and gone.
"You think she'll make it?" He asks me. It surprises me that he has spoken at all.
I don't know why he bothers to ask, but it's the first thing he's ever said to me that wasn't an insult or meant to be mean. For the first time since being in this room, I look at Gale. He looks sad, defeated almost. I can only imagine what is going through his head right now. Everybody in the district knows how Gale feels towards Katniss, even though she doesn't see it.
I can't bear to tell him what I'm really thinking. District 12 hasn't had a victor in 23 years. Why would this year be any different? Instead, I say "Yes. Katniss is too stubborn to die."
For the first time, possibly ever, I see Gale Hawthorne smile. To say it didn't take my breath away would be a lie. If I thought he was gorgeous before, the Gale in front of me now was an Adonis. His white teeth glowed against his dark skin. I have to admit that I have always found Gale Hawthorne attractive... whenever he walks into a room, my attention is just drawn to him. I will admit, at least to myself, that I was always kind of jealous of Katniss for having such a hunky best friend.
Gale looks back towards the cobbled stone floor of the Justice Building, his smile slowly disappearing. "Thank you," he whispers.
I don't reply. I don't even know if he meant for me to hear. But I am glad I could put a smile on Gale's face, even if it was only for a second.
The door to Katniss' room opens. I look at Gale, expecting him to go in.
"Go ahead," he says, "I need just a minute longer."
I stand up to collect myself, straightening my shoulders and standing tall.
I enter the room, standing almost awkwardly. What do you say to somebody you may never see again?
"Thank you." I say quietly.
"For what, Madge?" She looks confused.
"For being a friend." I answer shortly. Finally, I know what I can do for her. It's small, but it's something.
Urgently, I walk towards her.
"They let you wear one thing from your district in the arena. One thing to remind you of home. Will you wear this?" I hold out the gold pin that mere moments ago had still been attached to my dress.
"Your pin?" She asks. I know it's probably the last thing on her mind right now.
I don't wait for an answer, instead moving to attach the pin to her dress. "Promise me you'll wear it in the arena Katniss?" I ask. "Promise?"
"I promise." She says.
Before I leave, I give her a hug.
"I believe in you Katniss Everdeen." She smiles, and I return the gesture before walking out of the room.
"See you when you get back." I call over my shoulder before opening the door.
"Goodbye, Madge." I hear her say quietly.
Gale slides by me as I make my way out of the Justice Building.
Instead of immediately going home after saying goodbye to Katniss, I decide to get some fresh air by walking around the district. I need to clear my head. Not long after I start walking, Gale runs up next to me, keeping his strides short in order to stay at the same pace I am.
"You mind if I walk with you?" He asks.
Who am I to say no? Instead of dismissing him, I shake my head indicating that I don't mind. It seems like we walk around the district for hours, but I know it's only really been about forty-five minutes.
Gale Hawthorne has hated me since the day he understood that there was a difference between town and seam people. And, honestly, I can't, and don't, blame him for feeling the way he does. I've never gone hungry a day in my life, never frozen at night. I have seen some kids from the seam look like they were about to keel over right where they stand and die because of starvation. Most don't have jackets, so in the winter on the way to school, they freeze. No, I don't blame Gale for how he thinks of people from town.
Knowing where his hate for me stemmed from made me feel a little better, though, whenever he was mean to me. I knew that he didn't hate me as a person, just that I was privileged, that I had never gone hungry, been cold, or been fearful for my entire family as he has been. And because I know how much he hated me, it was shocking me that he was standing right beside me, walking with me through the district. He was not saying mean or hurtful things, instead making me feel like I wasn't so alone.
Maybe this is why Gale decided to walk with me. No matter the reason, I cannot possibly find one good enough that would make Gale Hawthorne want to walk beside me. For forty-five minutes, we have both remained silent. I'm tired of wondering though.
"Gale," I ask, "why are you walking with me?"
He does not seem surprised or hurt by my question. He acts more as though he had eventually expected it. Gale stops walking, making me turn to face him. As if he no longer knows what to do with his hands, he puts both of them into his pants pockets. For the first time since we've been walking, Gale lifts his eyes to mine. I briefly wonder why I haven't ever paid much attention to his eyes, then decide it's because I've never been this close to him before.
The grey orbs, I notice, aren't just grey. They have tiny specks of white on the outside, white rims his iris', and streaks of silver are mingled with the grey. All of this is outlined in black, making the rest of his eyes pop. I wish my eyes had so much detail.
Gale completely ignores my question when he finally does answer. Instead, he asks me if I have ever seen a waterfall.
This makes me laugh, and I decide that he must be crazy. Of course I've never seen a waterfall. I've never been out of district twelve. The closest I've ever been to the wilderness is the meadow below the seam. I've never even seen a picture of a waterfall, only heard of them.
My curiosity gets the best of me. "No. I haven't."
Surprising me, Gale grabs my hand. His grip is gentle, but urgent. He probably has some of the warmest hands I've ever felt, and his dark skin makes mine look translucent. Obediently, I follow Gale.
When I see the fence surrounding the district looming ahead of us, I instantly feel a surge of adrenaline. I've never been outside the fence before. I wonder what my father would do to me if he ever found out. The closer we move to the fence, the more excited I become. I've never done anything rebellious before, at least not with my actions.
When we finally reach the fence, Gale lets go of my hand. He lifts up a small panel on the fence, and it instantly falls away, leaving a gap just large enough for a Gale sized person to fit through. Once he is finished removing the fence, he looks at me.
"After you," He motions with his hands.
I can't seem to wipe the smile off my face as I bend down to walk through the gap. As soon as I stand up straight, I'm greeted by trees. I don't move forward fast enough, making Gale's chest bump into me from behind. I flail my arms forward, trying to catch myself, but Gale catches me before I can hit the forest floor.
"Careful." He chuckles as he lifts me back to my feet. I feel the blush rising up the back of my neck.
After he replaces the gap in the fence, Gale gestures for me to follow him, so I do. A few times, Gale gets so far ahead of me that I am scared I may lose him. He seems to realize how far behind I get, though, and he waits for me to catch up. I'm not used to the rough terrain, so I trip and stumble a lot more than I like to admit. I'm sure my dress will never come clean again, I've fallen in the dirt so much.
Eventually, I hear a soft crackling noise. As we get closer, it gets louder. I presume that it is the waterfall, and my legs carry me towards the noise just a bit faster.
Gale stops ahead of me and turns to face me. This time when he smiles, it actually resembles a smile and not a grimace.
"Ready?" He asks.
"Yes." I reply breathlessly.
He leads me through the trees and I see the gorgeous waterfall instantly. It's probably the most beautiful thing I have ever laid eyes on. It's not too tall, probably only about fifteen feet. What it lacks in height, it makes up for in width. It's about fifty feet across, and in the middle, a large rock juts out, splitting the water in half. The white streaked water bubbles and foams as soon as it hits the water in the pool underneath it. Mist rises up from the water a few feet, giving it an ethereal look.
I walk closer towards the pool. From far away, it looked almost like a mirror, reflecting the sun and the trees. The closer I get, the clearer it becomes.
"What do you think?" Gale asks.
"It's beautiful," I breathe, "more than beautiful. Breathtaking. How did you find it?"
"I was hunting one day. Tracking a deer. The tracks led me here, but the deer got away."
"For what? We had an excellent dinner of fish that night." He smiles.
All throughout his little talk, which is the most I have ever heard him talk to anybody besides Katniss by the way, he's unbuttoning his shirt. I guess I should have figured he would want to swim. This must be why he asked if I wanted to come to the waterfall in the first place.
I bashfully look away from him. A few seconds later, I hear a loud splash, and look back towards where Gale had previously been standing.
All that remains is his hunting boots, shirt, pants, and on top of everything: his undershorts.
Gale Hawthorne is swimming in that pool, not twenty feet away from me, and he is completely naked.
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