Gale sat alone in the forest, listening to the birds in the trees, and watching the water move below the ledge where he was sitting. It was the day of the Reaping and he just wanted to get away beforehand. There was nothing but fear and anxiety at home, for his name had been entered so many times into the Reaping.
You were looking for an escape from your own home, where your parents were growing upset at the thought of the impending Reaping. You were hoping that you would not be chosen, but your name was on a handful of those small papers.
Absorbed in your thoughts, you wandered through the forest, where you had come several times to have some time to yourself and once to daringly pick the plants that grew on the other side of the fence from District 13. You remembered that to be in the forest was illegal, and the thought made you nervous, but you pushed on. Every sound made you jump, for you knew how much trouble you could get in, and did not want to be caught.
You wandered across a stream, where a ledge overhung. Crouching down by the water, you thought back to your first Reaping. You were wearing a gold dress which had formerly been your mother's. The names were called in short succession and you had but a few worries as you went back home. There would be two other families grieving that night, not your own.
There were a pair of soft footsteps being you and you whirled around to meet the serious gaze of a pair of grey eyes. You slipped in the slick mud by the water's edge as you took a step back, startled to see Gale. He lunged after you, catching you before you could fall into the water behind you.
"Thank you," you said, his arms still tightened around you.
"It's no problem, [Name]," he said and pulled you away from the water. "Why don't you come up here?" He motioned to the ledge.
You hastily climbed up after him, for you trusted Gale. He had been in your classes since you were little and had supplied your family with meat several winters ago when you had been starving. He had also been your best friend all of those years.
He swung his legs off the ledge and you followed suit, sitting close to him. He took your hand as the two of you looked out at the peaceful forest, where the stream trickled between the rocks and the birds sang such sweet notes. You lean against him, your head on his shoulder.
"Gale," you said, "if you get Reaped this year, promise me something."
"What is it, [Name]," he asked, looking at your with only a flicker of sadness in his eyes.
"Promise me you'll come back," you said, looking into the face of the only friend who had stayed true to you over the years. You're overcome with a feeling of loneliness, despite that he is here beside you.
"I will." He murmured. "I'll come back for you."
You gave him a grateful smile, and then closed your eyes just to revel in the moment. It would have been the best day if not for the Reaping later.
"Look at me, [Name]," he asked. He brushed your hair out of your eyes.
You looked up at him, into those familiar grey eyes. He kissed you, his lips warm against yours.
"I'm sorry I didn't get the nerve up to do that before now," he said, blushing. He was wishing that he had in fact not waited until now, when there was such a chance for him to be sent to the Hunger Games later.