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28 August 2012 @ 09:33 pm
i would give all this and heaven too - Gale/Prim Future fic  
Title: i would give all this and heaven too
Fandom: The Hunger Games
Pairing: Gale/Prim
Rating: PG
Summary: Set years after Mockingjay. Gale lives a relatively normal life, but is unable to escape a certain grievance of the past.


-
Gale wakes up in a cold sweat, the beads slowly cascading down his cheeks and forehead. He runs his hands through his hair and takes a deep breath to try and rid himself of his newest nightmare. He should be used to them by now, considering he has been having the same dream with slight variations for years. For 17 years, to be exact.

They all start out the same way. He is back in the Capitol, his arms gripped by Peacekeepers in the town square. He wrestles his way out of their grasp and runs in the opposite direction, looking for Katniss.

He is always looking for Katniss.

Suddenly, the roar of a hovercraft sounds from above and he stops amidst the chaos--the screaming, the blood, the tears, everything--for a few peaceful seconds of looking at the sky. He is confused as to why it is here, and finds his answer below. There are children everywhere, innocent children, huddled together looking terrified. The children are just randoms, people he doesn’t know but then something catches his eye. Long, blonde hair fitted in braids stare back at him and he knows its Prim.

“Prim!” He shouts, but his lungs constrict and she isn’t hearing him. “Prim!”

Where is Katniss? He wonders to himself. She should be here, she would want to be here. Everything seems fine until he sees small silver parachutes float downwards from the sky. From the hovercraft. Although he has seen them several times, he doesn’t know what they are, doesn’t know what they are usually used for.

He never had to be in the Games.

Everything seems fine. The parachutes land in children’s hands, but Gale doesn’t take his eyes off Prim.

“Prim!” He calls again and this time she looks up at him.

Their eyes connect for one brief, blissful second until everything goes white and Gale is pushed backwards onto the pavement. He is up in an instant and already trying to run to her.

“No!” He yells, his voice sounds scratchy and he is disoriented from the bomb. He makes it to the rubble that was once a building with children when a voice speaks to him from above.

“Good work, Gale!” The hovercraft seems to be saying and all he can do is stare at the sky.

Then he wakes up.

After sitting for a few minutes in silence, in an attempt to slow his breathing, he gets out of bed. Another hard day at work is ahead. Work consists of attending meetings and carrying out plans. Nothing goes without a majority vote, and he can’t say he enjoys it either way. It is a decent job though, and a million times better than before, when there was no choice in anything and everyone suffered. He supposes at his age, he should have a wife and family, but he has neither. When he used to imagine his life (he tries not to use his imagination too much these days) he always thought of having a bundle of kids and a loving wife that he could come home to after a long day’s work.

How much his vision has changed.

These days he doesn’t imagine anything, doesn’t desire anything except for some peace. The night is plagued with terrors and memories he wishes he could erase. The morning is full of decision-making and working with people he still isn’t sure are his friends.

Friends.

The word seems foreign to him now. The last time he saw Katniss was 10 years ago, and even then it was by accident. He was back in District 12 for a conference, and because he was from the area they thought he would be best equipped for the job. The “job” entailed sitting in a room in an old abandoned house discussing a new plan for food production. The entire day was dull and all Gale wanted to do was go home before any more of his past could catch up with him. On his way back from the conference, he passed by his old house, and then the Everdeen’s. A flash of one of his recent nightmares came back to him and before he could imagine Prim standing in the doorway, he left. He walked back towards the town, wanting nothing more than to go by unnoticed.

But today would not be that day.

He made it almost to the end when he saw her from across the way. She looked happy and healthy and it was all he could have ever wished for her. It was all he wanted for her. Coming up from behind was someone he knew very well, even though they barely spoke. He watched as Katniss gripped Peeta Mellark’s hand and smiled, reveling in their walk to the market.

He considered going up to them, being the bigger person and congratulating them on their relationship. They went through a lot and came out together. It was something Gale could not say about himself or his life. But the image of Prim was so tightly burned in his mind that he couldn’t bear the thought of talking to someone related to her. He would break, and all the years he spent trying to keep it together would be ruined. So his wish was granted and he was able to walk by without recognition.

The nightmare he had the night he got back to District 2, however, was his worst one yet.

“So what do you think, Gale?” A voice snaps him out of his memory, and he is grateful for it.

He doesn’t really know what they are talking about, but he knows it’s something about the education system.

“I think it’s a good idea. The more people we can get to fill the schools the better.”

The rest of the table nods in agreement and although Gale should feel good about what he is doing, feel accomplished, he cannot. He feels nothing. Nothing but grief and heartache and loss.

After Prim’s death he decided to slink away into oblivion. She wasn’t mentioned much, mostly because the mere sound of her name brought most people to tears, but he thought of her often. When he talked to Katniss about it all those years ago in District 13, he made himself seem almost cold towards the subject, made it seem like he was just letting her know that their relationship is forever changed because of Prim’s death, and there was no going back. But that isn’t how he wanted to do it. He didn’t want to go to Katniss and tell her that everything was changed, he wanted to go to Katniss and grieve. He wanted to hold her tightly while they both cried and cried and cried and tried to make sense of how they had come this far, how they had fallen this low.

But Katniss would never allow it, so he pretended to move on.

Truthfully, Prim’s death affected him in more ways than one. Katniss wasn’t the only one who had a relationship with Prim. Gale did, too. During the first Games, with Katniss gone, he taught Prim how to hunt, he brought her food, and she and him even had lunch together sometimes. Prim became much more than a responsibility, she became a friend. And when she died the world seemed harsh and colorless. His world changed just as much as Katniss’s. Because although nobody really knew that he and Prim interacted as much as they did, Gale did. Gale knew. And the thought that Prim could have died at the hands of something he created hurts a lot more than his loss of friendship with Katniss.

After work he decides to take a different way home, the more scenic route. He isn’t sure why he has never taken it before, until he reaches the garden.

A shiny, beautiful, light pink primrose rests in a pile of other flowers he doesn’t know the name of. He considers plucking it, but by the time his hand reaches the top of the flower the air rushes out of his lungs. He takes a few steps forward, trying to get the image of the innocent flower out of his mind. He can’t though, not after he sees Prim in its place. Doubling back, he picks the delicate flower out of the warm ground and sticks it into the pocket of his shirt. His heart constricts and he has no choice but to rush home. Because he knows what is coming.

He slams the door once he reaches his sanctuary, but the feeling of relief passes quickly when he thinks of the flower. The nightmare, the flower, she is everywhere today. He has not allowed himself to shed a single tear since the day Prim died, but today he is exhausted, today he needs a release.

He leans back against his front door and sinks to the ground. Images of Prim flash in his mind, and this time he doesn’t try to stop them. He lets them pass, thinking that perhaps this is now his time to grieve. The memory of Prim taking care of him after his whippings is the first thing that comes to mind, and as soon as it enters, tears spring from his eyes and down his cheeks. He remembers her gentle touch, her quiet attention to his wounds as he laid there, half-conscious half not.

“Thank you, Prim,” He remembers whispering to her once when she came down the stairs at night to replace his bandages. The whole house was quiet and although he had been awake for some time, he assumed everyone else was asleep. Leave it to Prim to remember the sick.

“Shh,” She said in response and laid a cool cloth on his forehead. She seemed so old in that moment, so mature. That night, Gale made his own vow to keep Prim safe. It was no longer just a promise to Katniss, but to himself, too.

And to Prim.


Things seemed so hopeful then, even though he was hurt and the whole district was hysterical. He thinks of his life now, and how nothing seems so hopeful anymore, though the destruction is over. A forty-something, broken man full of nightmares and regrets. That’s all he is.

“I’m so sorry Prim,” He cries at the ceiling. “I failed you, I failed Katniss, I failed everyone. I broke my promise to keep you safe, and I’m so, so sorry.”

The tears roll down his cheeks but his throat emits a horrible sound. He can’t allow air into his lungs for more than a few seconds before the sobs take over. He wishes Prim were still alive, he wishes she were here, standing in front of him. He wishes he could talk to Katniss like he used to. He wishes he still had his family around him. He wishes he didn’t have to live in isolation because of his past crimes.

He wishes, he wishes, he wishes.

He lurches forward, cradles his head in his hands and groans. Was it mine? he asks himself. The thought that he constructed the very bomb that destroyed little Prim makes his stomach turn and he has to breathe deeply to relieve himself of the feeling. Just then he feels something brush his pant leg.

The fragile flower that he placed in his pocket has fallen out and tumbled down onto his lap. He stares at it, lightly tosses it between his fingers and then cups it whole.

Suddenly, a soft shh nestles itself in his ear and he swears Prim is next to him, whispering the syllables of comfort he has waited desperately for years to hear.

“I’m sorry,” He says again, to the nothing in his home. To the no one around him. “I’m sorry.”

Shh.

He allows it to lull him asleep, right there in his foyer. He has long since cared about appearances, or any kind of normalcy. When he wakes in the morning he finds the flower still clutched in his hand. It is untarnished, unbroken, and still bathed in a soft, light pink glow. His eyes feel crusty and dry, his cheeks stiff with old tears. Slowly, he rises from his spot on the floor, a new mission forming inside of his mind.

He walks to his kitchen in search of a vase. Of course, he’s never needed a vase before, and so there isn’t one to be found. Instead, he settles on an old bottle. The label is scratched off (though he knows the bottle most likely held liquor, since that has been his company on and off for the past 17 years) but it is still intact, and Gale knows Prim was never one for rules or normalcy, either.

He puts the bottle under the tap and fills it with water. Once it’s full enough, he inserts the flower into the top of the bottle. The stem reaches about halfway in, while the top of the flower sticks out like the sun. Gale keeps it on his counter as he fixes his breakfast, as he gets ready for work, as he steps out his door. All through work he thinks of that flower, sitting on his counter. Thinks of how it could be Prim, if only for a little while.

It will die, Gale thinks, it will die because it has to, but instead of agonizing over it, he feels a certain purpose wash over.

Work goes by fast and he knows it is because he didn’t spend the whole meeting thinking of that horrible day they invaded the Capitol. Instead, he thought about the walk home from work.

He decides to take the scenic route again, knowing it is the only route he will take from now on. He looks to the area where he plucked the primrose, expecting to find a gaping hole. But this is District 2, and they like to keep things clean, like to keep things in order. So a new flower has been planted in its place, and Gale thanks whoever is watching over him for it. Thanks them for not taking this away from him, too.

A pale, pink primrose stares back at him amidst a group of colorful flowers. He smiles (his first genuine smile in 17 years, and though it is a smile of relief, Gale counts it as a smile nonetheless) plucks it out of the ground, and places it in his front pocket, intending it to join the other in his kitchen.

The next morning Gale wakes up and walks down into the kitchen, staring at the two flowers encased in the bottle. He smiles without baring teeth and plans to make a detour on his way home from work.

After all, if he is to continue going the scenic route, he is going to need a vase.


 
 
 
whirl_fragrancewhirl_fragrance on August 30th, 2012 04:40 am (UTC)
Ooh, I really loved this! I didn't like how the ending of Mockingjay just completely ignored Gale. It felt really rushed and the way Gale just disappears from the narrative made me feel like I was supposed to care more about Katniss and Peeta getting together. But I honestly was more curious about Gale, and Collins never addresses that at all. I mean, he must've been guilty. I think you're exactly right, because I think Gale and Prim were friends and were close too, and it must've been really awful for Gale to know how she died. This is just such an interesting exploration of how Gale would deal with Prim's death and knowing he may have had a hand in it. I think he's pretty sure that the bomb was his, actually, but maybe that's just me.
neverknew_xoneverknew_xo on August 30th, 2012 03:51 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much for the review! I completely agree about the ending of Mockingjay excluding Gale. He was an essential character and all we really know about him at the end is that he has a fancy job in District 2. I had so many questions by the end, like what was his fancy job? Is he married? Does he still grieve because of everything that's happened? So many questions. So since we got that kind of vague ending, I really wanted to show Gale wrestling with his guilt, because I think it's a lot harder when you don't know if you did or didn't do something wrong. I'm really glad you liked this! It's my first time writing about The Hunger Games series :)
sly_as_fawkessly_as_fawkes on September 8th, 2012 01:40 am (UTC)
This was awesome. It's nice to read something from Gale's POV and something with depth of feeling. I really enjoyed it.
neverknew_xoneverknew_xo on September 8th, 2012 05:09 am (UTC)
Thank you so much! I'm glad you liked it :)