Molli (yourgravity) wrote in quietmoments_hg,

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Fic: We Found Each Other In the Dark

{ ++ } Hi y'all!  Brand new member here - and so super glad to have found this amazing community dedicated to Gale/Katniss!  (I'm pretty sure they're my OTP though Angel/Buffy are still giving them a run for their money.)  I'm looking forward to spending a lot of time here.  : )  I come bearing a fic! 

Title: We Found Each Other In the Dark
Word Count: 2, 270
Author: yourgravity
Summary:  Thread straightens, and turns, facing the assembled crowd, all of which are staring at him in cowed silence.  Gale has laughed with them, hunted with them, traded with them.  Several people have tears in their eyes, but haven’t made a move to help him.  And they are staring at him, wide-eyed - most have taken a few steps back, not wanting to be too close to what’s coming.  Gale can’t blame them.  This has always been his fight.  His people are good, strong, and solid.  It isn’t their fault they’re all too afraid to speak out, to make a difference.  It’s just how they’ve been conditioned to be. But he's never been like everyone else.  | Gale is whipped and holds on to memories of better times to get through it. 
Author's Note: This is how I imagine Gale's POV of his BA whipping.  And yes, this is what I consider my personal canon Gale.  I just, I adore him, and I can't help it.  For the most part I've tried really hard to keep him close to how he was in the books, but my own love for him has probably changed him just a bit.  Please let me know what you think!  This is a small portion of a longer, ongoing WIP withsofteyes.

“How do you plead, boy?”

Lifting his chin proudly, Gale meets the gaze of his accuser.  The new Peacekeeper, Thread, does not deserve the title; if anything, he’s made a mockery of it in the hard expression stamped into his features, in the whip held eagerly in one hand, in the knife in his belt, and in his stance: hungry, keen to attack.  He is a man who takes pleasure in other’s pain – and that tells Gale he is also a weak man.  He’s a man who needs the shit beat out of him, so that the next time he wants to inflict agony, he will think twice.  But since Gale can’t do that, all he can do is square his shoulders and do what he’s always done, when the odds are against his cause: fight ‘em til he can’t.

“Innocent,” he proclaims quietly.  He never raises his voice.  He doesn’t have to.  Despite the usual crowd of people in the square, the place is eerily silent.  No one dares to speak; everyone is too afraid of interrupting.  Gale can smell the stink of their collective fear.  It is in their silence. It is in their eyes, familiar gazes he knows well.  It is in the way only a few will look at him. 

“Wrong answer,” Thread responds tersely. 

Looking up and around, Gale catches Darius’s gaze.  The Peacekeeper’s face is pale, bleached of color, and there is no sign of his normally ready-smile.  Darius shakes his head imperceptibly as Gale eyes him calmly.  He knows Gale is not going to back down.  (Everyone knows it.)  He knows all too well the anger Gale has carried inside for years, since his dad’s death, maybe even before, at their way of life, the state of things, the have’s and the have-nots, and all the spaces in between.  He knows, just as Gale does, that this is the last straw.  His breaking point. 

The fist catches him in the face before he is even aware it is coming, and Gale staggers, spitting out blood as his lip splits under the force of the blow.  He glares up at Thread, his gray eyes as violent as the sea during a storm. 

“You want to say guilty,” Thread says, and the utter calm in his voice infuriates Gale. 

“Fuck you,” Gale returns.

It takes Thread, and two other Peacekeepers, two full minutes to wrestle Gale against the post in the center of the square.  He fights them the entire way, screaming at them until his throat burns, raw.  They only manage to do that because of the gut-punch Thread hits him with, which causes him to lose his breath.  Disoriented, he stumbles, and that’s when they grab him and force him to his knees.  Thread rams his knee into Gale’s stomach, and laughs when Gale wheezes for breath. 

“How do you plead?”  He asks again.  And again.  In between punches, until Gale gasps out a confession.

“Guilty.”  Gale almost chokes on the word and the blood from his busted lips but at this point, he is realizing that Thread is serious.  That he is in over his head.  That he has no allies, that the few friends he has here in the square are too terrified to do anything.  “Found the bird wandering in the Seam and I stabbed it with a stick,” he lies. 

Thread straightens, and turns, facing the assembled crowd, all of which are staring at him in cowed silence.  Gale has laughed with them, hunted with them, traded with them.  Several people have tears in their eyes, but haven’t made a move to help him.  And they are staring at him, wide-eyed - many have taken a few steps back, not wanting to be too close to what’s coming.  Gale can’t blame them.  This has always been his fight.  His people are good, strong, and solid.  It isn’t their fault they’re all too afraid.  It’s just how they’ve been conditioned to be.  But he's never been like everyone else. 

“The punishment will now be carried out,” Thread announces.  He coolly uncoils his whip, and flicks it out at his side a few times.  The sound it makes raises goose bumps on Gale’s arms, and he tries to hide his shudder.  The people nearest the middle of the square jump back, mothers shoving their children quickly behind them.  A few of the women turn away, and Gale envies them that ability.  He can’t help but tense up when he hears the air whistling above him. 

 When the pain comes, Gale bites down into his bottom lip, tasting fresh blood immediately.  The second lash is enough to make him jerk violently against the bindings.  The third sends a full-body shudder through him.  His shirt provides a thin barrier between the whip and his skin, but after three lashes, the fragile material, already four winters old, begins to tear.  The pain increases twofold then, and Gale closes his eyes, choking back the scream that wants to tear out of his throat.  Instead, when the whip plows across his back, he thinks of a good memory to combat the anguish.

 Sixth lash.

“Of course you can swim,” Katniss says, gray eyes wide.  “Everyone can swim.”

“Not me,” Gale answers, a little defensively.  He walks to the edge of the water, staring uncertainly down at the smooth surface.  It isn’t too deep – maybe ten feet – but that’s over his head, and he doesn’t like not knowing what to expect.  He hates the thought of not being able to touch the bottom.  Of not knowing what’s down there. 

“Well come on then, I’ll teach you,” his best friend answers.  “It’s easy.”

Crossing his arms across his chest, Gale looks skeptically at her.  His gray eyes are dubious as he looks at the water, then back at her, then back at the water.  He knows swimming is a useful thing to know, just like he knows his dad would have taught him, eventually.  His jaw tightens, and he squints into the late-afternoon sun.  Swimming looks like fun, and he can imagine dunking and splashing Katniss, but it doesn’t mean he’s in a tear to learn. 

“What do I have to do?” He asks finally. 

“Just jump in and then you – oh Gale, you just swim,” Katniss says impatiently.  Gale is turning to ask her what she means when he feels her smaller hands on his back.  The next thing he knows he is falling through the air and into the lake.  He hits the surface – the water is colder than he expected – with a yelp, and awkwardly kicks his feet until he surfaces, spluttering. 

“Now was that so hard?” A smirking Katniss asks, from several feet away.  She is making lazy circles around him, and with a grin, Gale sets off awkwardly after her.


The day Posy is born.  His mom’s face and the smile when she first holds Posy in her arms.  His dad, and how proud he looks as he gazes down at his newborn daughter. 




Katniss.  Katniss.   Katniss.


“Hold it carefully, Gale,” his dad instructs, gingerly placing the worn guitar in Gale’s hands.  Gale gazes up at his father before he cradles the instrument in his hands.  The wood is scarred here and there but lovingly polished.  Gale can remember seeing his father bent over the kitchen table with a rag, rubbing on the guitar, trying to bring the once-bright wood back to life.  They haven’t had money to replace it and only barely manage new strings every so often. 

“Now strum one of the strings,” Cameron says, and then guides one of Gale’s hands to rest on the strings.  His father moves his hand in the correct way, and Gale glances up at the sound that he has coaxed forth.  He grins up at his father. 

“That’s awesome, Dad,” he says reverently.  “Can you teach me more?”

“Sure can, boyo,” his father says quietly.  “Just don’t tell your mom we’re in here instead of outside working, or she’ll have a fit.”

They laugh together, and then Gale bends over the guitar, concentrating now on all the different sounds and chords. After awhile, even his clumsy fingers manage to produce a few pleasant sounds, and he and his dad spend the rest of the afternoon together, heads bent over the precious guitar, waiting for the music to emerge.   


The first time his dad ever took him hunting.  Waiting patiently in the forest for an animal to come along.  Forgetting to be quiet when his trap actually works.  “I’m sorry I shouted,” and “it’s okay, Gale,” and he’s never seen his dad grin so broadly. 

Thirteen (it is harder to focus now, harder to breathe)

It is August, the first time he sees Katniss Everdeen.  She is standing with her family at the Reaping, and she looks uncomfortable.  The sun glints off of her dark hair, and she turns her head to scan the crowd.  Her eyes pass over him quickly, but long after she has turned away, Gale is still staring at her, rubbing idly at his chest, which has tightened. 

The pressure does not ease until she looks his way again.


Listening to his father tell old folk stories of the America-that-was.  Gale knows that everything cannot possibly be as wonderful as it was in the stories, that even those people had problems and wars and sickness. They cannot have always been warm in the winter and cool in the summer.  Food can’t have been that plentiful, things like milkshakes and French Fries, pizza and tacos. 

Gale doesn’t know how to believe in a world without the Games and the Capitol.  He hates it, chomps at their bit regularly, but it’s all he knows.  And yet…

Warm around a fire, as his father’s voice, deep and rich, begins another story, it is nice to believe that it was, and maybe even – is -  all possible.






Watching Posy dance in the rain.  He is so grateful that at least his small sister will have a chance at innocence, that her childhood will not be torn apart as his has been.  She is so precious to him and there is nothing he’ll not do in order to protect her and what’s left of his family. 


His mother tucking him in at night when he is very small.  His father watching from the doorway and, “Hazelle, he’s getting too old for this,” rubbing his beard, and “Hush up Cam, it won’t be long before he wants nothing to do with me, so I’ll mother him as long as I can,” and his Ma’s embrace, surrounded by her scent – lavender and vanilla.  He has never felt that safe since.


“That’s enough,” a furious voice says.  Darius.  The whip does not fall for an infinite amount of time, and all the world is frozen and shattering sharply slowly silently, but when Gale opens his eyes, he sees Darius lying near him, eyes closed, a line of blood slowly trickling down his face, which is bleached of color, bone-white.  His chest is rising and falling shallowly, but he is unconscious, and the blood is sliding, falling, pooling in the hollow of his throat. 

“Anyone else want to interrupt?” Thread yells.

The only sound is the desperate intake of air Gale manages before the whip falls again. 





Katniss – the pain –


“Didn’t think you were gonna show,” Gale comments quietly when she finally appears at their designated meeting place.  He tries outwardly to seem calm, as if it does no matter that she has met him here to learn about his traps, but inwardly, he feels light enough to fly. 

“My family needs fed.  You can help me,” she returns, her eyes, so similar to his, holding him rapt. 

Straightening, Gale shoulders his pack and takes a few steps.  After a moment, he looks back. She is staring after him, and he halts, the late-afternoon sunlight partially blinding him as he looks at her.  In this light, this angle, she looks to him like she is on fire. 

“Come on, Catnip,” he encourages, hiding a smile at the nickname that he knows he’s going to keep using, if only because it irritates her.  “Let’s go.”


The last time he ever sees his dad.  It’s early, and Cameron is leaving for the mines.  Gale is up because he can’t sleep; he remembers he wandered out into the yard and saw his dad there, staring off into the dark horizon.  They sit on the front steps and talk until the sun rises.  Gale doesn’t even remember what the conversation is about, but he remembers the cadence and lilt to his dad’s deep voice.  He remembers thinking even then, that when his father spoke, it sounded like music. 

He’d give anything to go back to that time, or just to remember that conversation. 


His vision is trembling, and blurring around the edges.  He thinks of his family, and grits his teeth harder, trying to block the pain.


Lines of fire are licking at his back, and each new lashing sets off new pockets of flames, fresh pain.  One hand is stuffed inside his mouth so that he will not cry out. 


“Katniss – “ He breathes her name like a prayer, lost to anything other than the thought of her, his best friend, his confidante, the other half of his heart.  He has to endure this for her, for his family.  Too many people need him. The Capitol can whip him until he is half-dead, but he will still survive.  He will always survive. 


Darkness beckons, and without a second thought, Gale follows. 

Tags: fanfiction, katniss and gale
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