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Story [Hunger Games] Breathing Room, early-stage Katniss/Gale, back when they were just kids in the woods

Discussion in 'Non Star Wars Fan Fiction' started by karebear214, Feb 8, 2012.

  1. karebear214

    karebear214 Jedi Master star 4

    Sep 7, 2002
    Title: Breathing Room
    Author: karebear
    Rating: K+
    Characters: Gale, Katniss
    Disclaimers (Hunger Games): The Hunger Games trilogy was written by and belongs to the brilliant Suzanne Collins. I'm just borrowing the characters and world for a short while.
    Summary: "A few months of free hours in the woods together, and somehow already they can read each other, hear the words that are never said." On Katniss' first Reaping Day, Gale suddenly becomes aware of everything he's in danger of losing. (I feel like I've got this teenage "pre-romance" thing going on, in this world. Prim and Rory, at first, and now this early-stage Gale and Katniss...)
    Notes: With thanks to 8Stops7 for the title. I'd written the whole story but couldn't to think of what to call it, but this song just fits, in mood and tone.

    "You're scaring all the game away," Gale says, stuffing his hands into the pocket of his jacket. It's colder than it should be. Spring in District 12 is always cold, but in all fairness, it's really closer to summer now, and the bite in the wind certainly doesn't make it feel that way.

    Katniss turns, glaring at him with all the anger a twelve-year-old girl can muster.

    "It's okay to be scared, you know."

    "I'm [i]not[/i] scared," she tells him, angrily kicking at a rock it front of her. It pops out of the ground and bounces violently away, splashing into a nearby puddle with a satisfying splash.

    He raises an eyebrow but says nothing. He wouldn't believe her even if he didn't notice the way her hands are shaking, sweaty, her grip slipping off the bow she holds like a lifesaver, even though she clearly isn't planning on shooting anything today.

    Or maybe she's just praying she won't have to.

    Because if her name is pulled and she's sent to the Capitol... it won't be animals she's shooting.

    "You'll be fine, Catnip."

    "Are [i]you[/i] scared?" she asks, although she somehow manages to make it sound like an accusation.

    "No," he replies immediately.

    He's sure she can tell it's bull****.

    A few months of free hours in the woods together, and somehow already they can read each other, hear the words that are never said, the messages in heartbeats and pauses. The way he holds her sometimes, when she needs to cry, to [i]remember[/i] that she's just a little kid who just lost her father, that she's carrying far more than she should.

    But it goes both ways.

    He already [i]knows[/i] that he doesn't think of her as a little kid that needs protecting, because he relies on her almost as much as she relies on him. He comes out here sometimes because he [i]needs[/i] her. He needs the way she somehow knows how to defuse his violent anger, the way the warmth of her fingers wrapped around his as he shows her the intricacies of a snare line centers him.

    He needs her when he storms off into the woods, literally shaking from anger and fear, ripped awake from nightmares of cold, airless dark and the loud concussive booms of cannon blasts and explosions.

    She's not the only one who lost a father and she's not the only one who has to worry about tiny slips of paper spinning around like deadly snow in a clear glass ball.

    He's made it through Reaping Day twice before. He tries to remind himself that worrying won't get him anywhere. He [i]has to[/i] plan for being here tomorrow, because there are no other options. He's the only one who can keep his family fed. His mother does what she can, but it's not enough. They barely scraped by before. He signed up for tesserae the day he turned twelve, and that was when he had a father.

    He has to stay alive because it will be years before his siblings are old enough to buy survival the way he does. He picks up another rock and throws it into the puddle after Catnip's. It sinks, fast and heavy, and it doesn't make him feel any better.

    He reminds himself that eighteen isn't [i]that[/i] big a number, not really. There are plenty of other boys, older than him, with way more chance of being picked.

    Katniss grabs handfuls of berries from the bushes nearby, ri>
  2. NYCitygurl

    NYCitygurl Manager Emeritus star 9 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Jul 20, 2002
    Aww, Gale is so sweet!! [face_love] I love the imagery at the end!