Disclaimer: I do not own the Hunger Games or any of its characters.
He leaves Katniss standing next to Peeta at the lockers. He wonders when one of those fools is going to have enough balls to tell the other one how they feel. It's crazy how they both like each other but they are oblivious to it. He shakes his head. He promised both of them that he wouldn't tell the other, he wonders if it would be something forgivable if he did. After all, it would be a huge favor.
He rushes to the class where he knows Madge is waiting for him. He has just finished greeting Annie, Finnick, Jo and Madge when they hear yelling and gunshots. He rushes to the door locking it and turning the lights off. Then he asks them to kneel on the ground and stay down close to the wall so they won't be as visible. Madge takes his hand and squeezes tightly.
"Where's Katniss and Peeta?" she asks with wide eyes. He shakes his head. He had left them in the hallway and he just hopes they weren't there anymore when all this started. Sadly, something inside him tells him that that is not the case.
They hear steps and boisterous laughing outside and everyone cowers closer to the wall.
"Where are Peet and Katniss?" asks Finnick next to them, Annie trembling and clinging to his neck.
"We were all in the hallway and then I left to come here and I don't know guys…I'm really not sure…" he says and Finnick and Madge whose faces he can actually see seem pale even in the darkness.
"What are we going to do?" asks Madge looking at him and he wishes she wouldn't ask him because he doesn't really know. For the first time he doesn't have an immediate answer. The worry he feels and dread that fills him is overwhelming. He just shakes his head.
"You have your cell phone, right?" she asks him and he nods. "Text them. I'm sure they are all right" she says. But even she sounds unsure.
He takes his cell phone out of his pocket and makes sure is in vibration mode as he starts texting Peeta. If one of them is most likely to be out there it is him.
"Did he answer?" asks Finnick scooting closer. He can only shake his head and he sees in Finnick's face that he has that feeling too. He knows that something is not okay, a feeling that has nothing to do with their current situation, because as much as he is scared because there's someone on the loose with a gun they are relatively safe in this classroom.
Finnick arrived in town a few years back and had been brought to Gale by Peeta who met him in one of those classes that no guy that respects himself would take. But of course Peeta took and the other guy was taking it to get girls. At the beginning he had not liked the green eyed, too handsome to be a guy boy with his noisy and loud personality. He had grown on him and the three of them had become inseparable. Finnick just as Gale tended to protect Peeta. He had found out about Peeta's mom in the hard way. As he was visiting Peeta and he saw how she beat the crap out of him for some flour spilled on the counter.
Gale understands perfectly well how Finnick is feeling right now because they probably are feeling the same.
"Try again" Madge says but he knows why she insists. She feels like if Peeta doesn't answer Gale is going to go out there and start looking for him even at his own risk. He knows that is what scares her and he knows that is exactly what he is going to do if Peeta doesn't answer.
They hear someone yelling outside and everything in him asks him to go out and help. He is not alone and he has to think about all the people in the classroom before doing something that may endanger everyone.
"Please" yells the voice "Someone please" but not one of them make a sound or move. The thing is that the voice sounds just like Peeta's childhood friend Delly. "Please" she cries again. That's enough.
"Gale don't" asks Madge as she pulls him down and squeezes his hand with more force. "Please just stay here" she asks pleadingly. He shakes his head. She seems to understand and reluctantly lets his hand go.
"I'm going with you" says Finnick right behind him. Gale looks back and sees Annie trembling next to Madge while Tresh moves his hand on her back soothingly.
They open the door as quietly as they can, they can't see the girl but they hear the sobbing so they start walking towards the sound. As they walk they see some people on the floor, unmoving and it unnerves him. When they turn to the right where the sound is coming they see Delly in the floor a boy's head on her legs. She is crying and talking in hushed tones to the boy asking him to wake up.
At this distance he can't see what is wrong with him but he just hopes that there is nothing wrong with him.
They walk slowly and silently looking all around them for signs of the shooter. They reach her and Delly looks up at them with tearful eyes.
"He hit his head when everything started…he won't wake up" she says crying.
They don't utter a word just limiting to indicate her that she has to be quiet, they just kneel to pick up Thom who is lying in the floor his head on Delly's lap. He's got a nasty bump on his head that they can see bleeding but there doesn't seem to be something else wrong with him.
As they walk back to the classroom they pick up any person on the way that asks for help and they head back to the classroom. There are approximately ten people with them when they begin walking back. The knot in Gale's throat has only gotten bigger since going out and coming back. His phone has not vibrated, not even once. Peeta is not answering which only adds to the heavy situation at hand.
"Text Katniss" Madge tells him imploringly when she sees his worried expression as he kneels next to her when they are back into the classroom.
In the classroom people has started moving to clean small wounds or help the new comers.
"Are you okay?", he asks her and plays with the phone on his hands waiting for the answer.
"I'm fine", she texts him back and he sighs in relief. At least she is okay. So he decides to ask about Peeta. Last time he saw any of them they were together so he can hope that they are together.
"Yes" she sends back. And something breaks inside him. Like if this yes, he is with me means more than just that.
"What is she saying?" Finnick asks his eyes wide and concern evident on his features.
"He is with her…" he says but Finnick must see on his face something because he scoots closer leaving Annie with Madge again.
"What's wrong?" he asks and Gale shakes his head looking at him directly to the eyes. "Something's wrong…you can feel it, right?" he asks and Gale nods, Finnick sighs. "Before we decide to play hero ask her if he's okay. You know Katniss…she won't lie to you"
Finnick is right. Katniss wouldn't lie to him about something like that. She knows how important Peeta is for him. So he sends a text asking. He waits but she doesn't answer immediately like the past texts. He sends another one demanding an answer and waits again.
"She's not answering anymore" he says as he stands up.
"No news means good news?" Finnick says nervously but they both look into each other's eyes and they know that under these circumstances no answer from Katniss means something definitely is wrong.
"I have to go look for them" he states simply turning to look at Madge and Annie as well at the rest of the kids that are in the classroom right now.
The panicked look that he gets from Finnick, Madge and Annie tells him that he's being stupid.
"You don't even know where they are!" Madge exclaims.
"She's right man!" Finnick tells him looking directly into his eyes. Finnick is a very truthful and a trustworthy person. He usually knows what to say and is wise beyond his years even when everyone just knows that crazy, sarcastic and flirty person that he shows to the world. He is so much more than that. And he is one of the bravest people Gale knows so he knows that he is not agreeing with Madge out of simple fear. "If you want to help, you have to be rational. First you need to keep pressuring Katniss…maybe she will tell you where they are and then we can do something to help"
"You are right…but it may take time and I don't know…"
"Gale", Annie looks at him. "If there is something you can do, you will do it. But not risking your life! We are not letting you!" she tells him firmly and he nods. That's all he can do. Besides it doesn't matter how stubborn he is, he knows they are right. Not knowing where they are, going out there is practically suicide.
They hear more shots and everyone cowers and even yells a little bit. Gale shushes them all. He stands up and goes to the door just to make sure that the shooter or shooters are not that close. He can hear more than one voice and he wonders if there is more than just one person shooting out there. It just makes the rock at the bottom of his stomach feel heavier.
Suddenly out of nowhere there's someone standing in front of the door and Gale's eyes widen as he sees Mr. Cinna standing in front of the door with Miss Effie and Miss Portia standing behind him. They look disheveled but they seem fine and Gale opens the door at Mr. Cinna's insistent face.
"Kids! Are your all right?" he asks a little breathlessly.
"We are fine professor, just a few concussions and bruises but we are all okay" Gale answers as he looks around at his friends and classmates.
"Fine. We are taking you out of here. The windows in this part of the building have small window panes that are removable and Cato and his friends are currently at the library…so we can help you get out through that window" he tells them and they all turn around to see the windows and wonder how any of them didn't think about opening the curtains and finding a way out through there. Gale notices that Mr. Cinna says Cato and his friends and he knows that his suspicions about there being more than one shooter are correct.
"We can go out?" their voices rise and he can hear the relief in their tones.
He can't feel that relief. Not when he knows that Katniss and Peeta are not okay.
"Yes, follow me" he says as Miss Effie and Miss Portia follow him helping him to remove the small window panes that are big enough to fit them without moving the curtains.
"I'm going out first. We cleared this entire hallway of students so we are coming with you" says Miss Effie.
And so students start going out.
His cell phone vibrates on his hand and he looks immediately that there's a text from Katniss.
"He's hurt. Please come! We are in the art hallway classroom 123"
He feels as if all the air has been sucked out of the room. He feels cold. He looks to Finnick who is helping Thom out of the window as Miss Effie and Miss Portia help him on the other side. He catches his eyes and walks to where he is standing.
"What's wrong?" asks Finnick like knowing there is something wrong.
"He's hurt" is all he says and Finnick pales. Finnick turns to look at Mr. Cinna. They both know that there is no way in hell that Mr. Cinna is going to let Gale go out of this room in another way that is not through the window where everyone is going out. But they know too that Gale won't go anywhere that is not to where Katniss and Peeta are.
"I'll be diversion. Leave when there is only you and I left, okay?" he says and Gale nods saying thank you with his face more than with words. "Be careful, man" he says imploringly. He nods.
"Please, be careful. He made me promise not to tell you. He didn't want to risk you"
He grinds his teeth, his jaw tensing. Peeta is so stupid! Why is he always doing this? Why protecting people at your own risk? But then again…isn't that what he is going to do too? He tells her he's on his way.
He still remembers clearly the day Katniss pounded on his door and he had to run a few houses down to find Peeta bruised and breathing with difficulty because his mom had beaten him up.
He loves his brothers with his heart. His father was constantly busy and hardly at home when they were little so he had to take the role of a father too. Maybe that's the reason why he took on that part at an early age. But with Peeta…he was a friend, a brother and he gave as much as he received from the boy.
It would be unfair to say that his brothers were different to him than Peeta, because well they are younger and don't understand much about the responsibilities that he's got on his shoulders. And those responsibilities usually come from them but still. It's not like they can help him the way Peeta does. And adding to that is that…he has always wanted to give that kind of freedom to his brothers, the sense that they can be kids as long as they want to and not being forced to grow up so fast like he had to. It is very different with Peeta.
It was like… a long lost brother that didn't add more responsibilities. He is more than just a friend. He is like a brother he knew he could count on and that would never leave him alone. He had, in many ways protected Gale even if he didn't know or didn't acknowledge how much he had. Peeta always thought he was less and meant less and did less than he actually did. Those were the lingering effects of having a mother like his.
Finnick pretends he can't get out and needs Mr. Cinna's help. He thinks Mr. Cinna already knows that Gale is not planning to come out through that window.
He takes advantage of that and as silently and as fast as he can he moves to the door and is out of the classroom in seconds. He starts walking towards the class but in the way stops in the bathroom when he hears some laughter coming from a hallway close to him. He takes advantage of that and calls 911 but only to get more angry when they tell him that they are doing everything they can and that they will reach his friend as soon as the situation is under control or something like that.
All he can think about is that if Katniss is asking for help is because Peeta probably is pretty bad and she can't stand to see him like that anymore.
When he reaches the classroom he tries to open the door but it doesn't relent so he texts Katniss and then tries again and that's when she opens the door. As soon as she sees him her eyes water and she jumps to his arms knocking the air out of him.
"You made it!" she says simultaneously.
"You should've told me sooner Catnip!" he tells her and he is mad but he can't be that mad at the same time because she was trying to keep him safe too. It must not have been easy for her, being in this situation.
"Gale?" he hears Peeta and he walks to behind some canvases and stuff and sees him sitting on the floor against some closets covered with a piece of fabric. He looks pale and sweaty and tired. And Gale feels madder at the sight, thankful at the same time because his brothers are home and safe. God bless chickenpox!
"What the fuck dude?" he asks kneeling next to him. He places his hand on Peeta's forehead only to find it clammy. His lips are really really pale and he is worried. He doesn't look good at all. He knows all these signs and what they mean. After all, they took that class on Peeta's insistence.
"Why did you come? Why did you call him?" He asks looking first at him and then at Katniss. He knows that look, the look that says that what she did is unforgivable and he sees Katniss wince. This somehow makes him get madder.
"Shut up! How could you ask her not to tell me? Just shut the hell up" Gale tells him looking at him seriously. "We have to get you out of here dude…this doesn't look good" he says standing up and running his hands through his hair he knows he copied this action from Peeta but it actually soothes him when he is nervous or mad. Right now, if he is honest, he is pretty scared.
"No" he answers and Gale turns to look at him sharply.
"You don't have much time Peeta. Your breathing is shallow, your skin clammy, you are shivering. All of those signs that you are going into shock dude! You know what follows?" he asks him.
"What do you know?" he asks him but he knows that Peeta knows he is right. After all they take most of the same classes and this was one of them and they took it because of him God damn it! Some shit about emergency cases and stuff.
"I'm not an idiot Peeta!" he yells and Katniss jumps. "I know you didn't want to risk me or Catnip here but we have to get you out! As soon as I found out I called 911 but they said they can get in until it is qualified as a secure area. That's not happening soon…no one knows for certain where the hell Cato and his friends are so we are taking you out right now" he tells him and he sounds authoritative. Is behind that tone that he hides how scared he is, how bad the situation is!
"I don't think I can" Peeta says almost in a whisper and he can feel the blood draining from his face. For Peeta to admit that… he shakes his head, this can't be happening. He is going to take him on his arms in order to get him out if he needs to. He is going to do whatever it takes! He hasn't been keeping him out of his house to keep him alive only to have him killed by a psycho in school where they were supposed to be safe, where Peeta had always been safe!
"Peeta" Katniss tells him as he looks at the floor and winces. "I know" she tells him taking his face between her hands. "That's why I called Gale! We are getting you out of here okay? And after that we are going to talk about what you told me! We are going to but you have to be strong okay?" she asks of him. He wonders what happened while they were alone. He wonders if this is what it took for Katniss to tell him…or for Peeta to tell him. These two are unbelievable.
Peeta's face is pale and he winces looking down sadly and he wonders even more now what it is they have to talk about. It doesn't matter. They have to get him out of there!
He sees Peeta nod tiredly. He looks resigned. That's all they need.
"Come on" he says as he helps Peeta get up and he sees him pale as he tries to stand on the leg. He passes Peeta's arm over his shoulders and sustains the majority of his weight. He is taller than Peeta so it is sort of easy. "It's okay Peet! Small steps! We are getting you out of here"
"I'm not worried about that" he tells him seriously and he knows. Oh, he knows that he is not worried about himself but about Katniss and him and he feels like crying. Gale never cries.
"I know what you are worried about. But we are going to be okay…you are the one that matters right now, okay?" Peeta moves his head weakly.
"Why don't you guys just go out and look for help and then come back later?" he asks as Katniss takes his other arm passing it over her shoulders.
"You are not alone Peet! You have not been alone since you were seven and Catnip found you. So you are not alone now…we are not leaving without you…" he repeats.
"Let's go" says Gale and they start walking. He thinks Peeta is in and out of consciousness because at moments he feels him not helping at all to walk out of there. It is okay, it doesn't matter. If he has to carry him or drag him out of there to save him he is going to.
"You can do this Peeta, we know you can!" Katniss tells him.
"Wait…please" he asks them and Katniss and him share a worried look. "Katniss…I…"
"Peeta please…we have to get you out of here…" she says urgently. She knows too the precarious of the situation.
Everywhere they look they can see blood and in some places even some bodies. He feels Peeta lose his footing a couple of times and he sees down to where the makeshift bandage is placed and he knows he has to put something else on his leg to stop the bleeding. It seems like walking had made the wound start bleeding heavily again and he doesn't think Peeta has any more blood to shed.
"We'll stop here first" he says as he sees the nurse station. He shares panicked look with Katniss who seems to understand exactly how terrified he is feeling.
They get in and surprisingly there is no one there. They sit him in a chair and run inside to grab bandages and stuff. He gives Katniss a hoodie to put it on Peeta who is shivering heavily.
"We have to put this on you" he hears her say Katniss taking one of his arms and putting it inside one of the sleeves of the hoodie. Then the other arm and she hugs him rubbing his back with her hands to give him some warmth.
"Best part of my day", he hears him say and sigh and his heart breaks a little at that.
"The best part is going to be when we are out of here" she whispers but he hears. I walk to them and grab the bandages that I am going to need.
"This may hurt Peet but I'm going to apply another bandage, tighter okay? We need to buy a little more time, we are close now". Peeta nods and grunts a little when he tightens the bandages around his leg. "Now we go" Gale says and just like before they support him with their bodies as they walk out again.
They are so close that Gale could yell in relief. They just have to turn to the right and at the end of that hallway is the exit. But it was too good to be true! As they turn there is Cato standing with a rifle or something like that hanging on his shoulder. He turns around and he sees them standing there. His eyes widen.
"Whoa Whoa Whoaaaa!" he says putting his hands up. He pales. Katniss pales and Peeta looks from one to the other one, all Gale can feel is that they are so close and yet so far and that Peeta doesn't have the time. Not much more. Fuck! They have to make it on time! He just wants to run past Cato and get Peeta out of there!
"What the hell happened to you Peet?" Cato asks. He looks genuinely concerned. Gale wonders how he has the nerve to look concerned; this is his doing after all!
"What do you think happened to him?" he asks sending daggers with his eyes towards Cato's. If he didn't have that big gun on his arm and if he wasn't in such a rush to get out of there so Peeta can get the medical attention he needs he would beat the crap out of him.
"Shit, I told you to stay away from the hallway today!" Cato turns to look at Peeta angrily and he can't believe that Peeta probably knew this was going to happen.
"I forgot…" Peeta manages to croak out and he knows then that Peeta didn't know. He couldn't possibly!
"Shit, shit shit! This isn't my fault! It's your fault! I told you! I told you God damn it!" he starts yelling and pacing in the corridor, he looks crazy. He takes the gun and places it on his hands from time to time as he paces and runs a hand on his neck.
"It's done dude…just let us get out!" Gale tells him slowly, like when he hunts and approaches a wounded or scared animal. "We have to get him out or he is going to die…he's shivering like mad now…there's not much time left" Gale tells him and Cato's face scrunches up with some sort of worry and indecision.
He seems to ponder for a few seconds what his plan of action is going to be. Seconds that tick away from Peeta who keeps bleeding.
"Please Cato, Please! Let us take him out please" Katniss begs but he only shakes his head.
"No! No one is going out!" He yells. "I'm sorry Peet I'm really sorry I can't let you go" he says and he sounds genuinely sorry. He keeps looking everywhere like if he says or does the wrong thing something bad is going to happen and he wonders where the other shooters are, he wonders why is Cato doing this and why he looks the way he does. Something is off, something doesn't make sense.
"He is your friend! Are you going to let him die?" Katniss yells. He knows she is desperate now, he is too. He can hear the tears in her voice. "If he dies you killed him! You are killing your friend!" she yells again and Cato shakes his head. He looks from side to side nervously.
"Shut up! Just shut up!" he yells and points at them with his gun. Then he lowers it and he opens his mouth as if to start saying something but then closes it.
That's when Gale sees a head, more like a helmet in one of the windows in the door. The police officer moves his hands as if telling him to get down and he counts to three with his fingers. At three he pulls Katniss and Peeta down to the floor and he hears the doors banging open and shots.
Everything happens in a blur. Police officers enter the school. Katniss is screaming for help he doesn't think that she knows she is yelling. The paramedic asks them if they are okay but they just point at Peeta. The paramedic tells him to help him apply pressure as they put an IV and who knows what else.
As soon as they are out his mother and his brothers and little Posy run to where he is as does Katniss family. There's no one for Peeta and he grinds his teeth. Katniss gets into the ambulance with him and he detaches himself from his family.
"We know son" his mother tells him as she hugs him tighter. "It's going to be okay! I am so proud of you! Now let's go to the hospital!" she says as she wipes the tears from his cheeks. Tears he didn't even know that he was shedding. Tears that are not out of relief because as much as he feels it because they are out now and Peeta is on his way to the hospital, he knows this is not over. That he may not make it. And that if he doesn't he doesn't know what he is going to do to live with himself.
AN. Hope you enjoy! Only a couple more chapters! Thank you so much for the follows and favorites as well as for the reviews! They keep me motivated and going! For the guests leaving reviews thank you so much! Just so you don't have to keep checking all the time Sundays are the days to update! Hope to hear from you!
I thought it was very important to tell Gale's point of view of all this and so here it is! Next is Katniss point of view with the outcome of this entire ordeal! Be patient! I promise to update faster if you are good to me! Jk jk! I hope I don't disappoint!