In the woods waits the only person with whom I can be myself. Gale. I can feel the muscles in my face relaxing, my pace quickening as I climb the hills to our place, a rock ledge overlooking a valley. A thicket of berry bushes protects it from unwanted eyes. The sight of him waiting there brings on a smile. Gale says I never smile except in the woods.

“We could do it, you know,” Gale says quietly. “What?” I ask. “Leave the district. Run off. Live in the woods. You and I, we could make it,” says Gale.

I won’t! You know I won’t! Katniss, remember I — he says, and they yank us apart and slam the door and I’ll never know what it was he wanted me to remember.

Then suddenly, as I was suggesting I take over the daily snare run, he took my face in his hands and kissed me. I was completely unprepared. You would think that after all the hours I’d spent with Gale—watching him talk and laugh and frown — that I would know all there was to know about his lips. But I hadn’t imagined how warm they would feel pressed against my own. Or how those hands, which could set the most intricate of snares, could as easily entrap me. I think I made some sort of noise in the back of my throat, and I vaguely remember my fingers, curled tightly closed, resting on his chest. Then he let go and said, “I had to do that. At least once.” And he was gone.

“I’m so sorry,” I whisper. I lean forward and kiss him. His eyelashes flutter and he looks at me through a haze of opiates. “Hey, Catnip.” “Hey, Gale,” I say. “Thought you’d be gone by now,” he says. My choices are simple. I can die like quarry in the woods or I can die here beside Gale. “I’m not going anywhere. I’m going to stay right here and cause all kinds of trouble.” “Me, too,” Gale says. He just manages a smile before the drugs pull him back under.

Gale is mine. I am his. Anything else is unthinkable.

(via veronicafitzosborne)

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