Title: And You May Yet
Author: The Artful Dodger / dodger_sister
Fandom: The Hunger Games
Category: Angst, Gen, Hurt/Comfort
Characters/Pairing: Gale Hawthorne & Finnick Odair
Warnings: For minor mentions of prostitution.
Spoilers: For all three books.
Summary: Gale and Finnick share a moment, maybe their only moment, this moment right here.
Word Count: 1,549 words.
Date Written: March 18, 2012.
Disclaimer: The Hunger Games was written by Suzanne Collins, not me. I wrote this story, for fun, not profit.
Feedback: Bring it. dodger_sister / TheArtofDodger@comcast.net
Beta’d: By the lovely ceitfianna.
Author's Notes: I used to be able to just say, ‘These two dudes are hot and awesome, they should hook up,’ and reasonably make it happen. That must have been in my younger days because I wanted to go there in this fic and I couldn’t plausibly make it work. I really tried! But I kind of like this moment between Gale and Finnick better, so it all worked out, in the end. My two favorite guys in this series, right here.
Gale found him wandering down the hallway in his hospital gown.
The most beloved victor in the history of The Hunger Games. Confused, tugging aimlessly on a piece of rope, pants-less.
“Hey, Finnick,” he said, casually coming up beside the man.
Finnick jerked his head in Gale’s direction, looked at him with a furrowed brow and then blinked. “Hello, Gale.”
“You headed somewhere in-particular? Want some company?”
One corner of Finnick’s mouth turned upwards and he looked down at his feet, where one of his shoelaces was untied. “That was deftly smooth. I like how you tried to find out if I am wandering around completely at a loss as to where I am, without calling attention to the fact that I look massively unhinged.”
“Catnip always said subtlety was not my strong suit,” Gale told him with a shrug.
“I know my brain is all muddled, but did you just call her Catnip?”
Gale felt his face turn hot and looked down at his own feet. “Yeah, I did. Don’t mention it to anyone, would you? I have a reputation,” and he made a vague hand gesture in the air, “to uphold.”
The other corner of Finnick’s mouth turned upwards as well. “I’ll take it to my grave.”
Neither one mentioned how that might be sooner for both of them than they ever could have imagined.
“Come on,” Gale said, grabbing Finnick by the arm. “Let’s blow off our schedules and take some downtime.”
“All I have is downtime,” Finnick told him, but he followed after Gale anyway.
They went back to Gale’s quarters. His family was off, adhering to their carefully planned schedules, as was the way in District 13, so Gale plopped down on the bed he shared with his little sister.
Finnick stood awkwardly in the room, shifting his weight from foot to foot, until Gale patted the spot next to him. It was quiet then, but comfortable, and Finnick lay back, legs hanging off the side of the bed, letting his eyes fall closed.
“I never said thank you,” Gale told him and lay back on the bed as well.
“Keeping her alive. Out there, in the arena.”
Finnick opened his eyes and Gale was startled by how green they were, up close like this. “I didn’t do that much. I mostly kept him alive. That seemed to do the trick for her.”
At the mention of Peeta, Gale tried to keep his face neutral, but by the expression on Finnick’s, he’d failed miserably.
“Did I cross a taboo line there?” Finnick asked with concern.
“It’s hard to hate him, you know, when I can easily guess what they must be doing to him there,” Gale said quietly.
“Especially when he is such a good guy,” Finnick said and then with a forced smirk, “It’s almost disgusting, what a good guy he is.”
Gale knew Finnick was trying to change up the mood, push past this heavy place before they settled there, but he wasn’t stupid and he didn’t miss the pain that flashed across the other man’s eyes. Finnick had to have been thinking of Annie and Gale felt that building rage inside of him, the one that always threatened to push through, at the complete and utter unjustness of the situation.
“Yeah,” Gale answered instead and then decided to change the subject, to keep the other man’s mind from going down that path. “So, overall, Great Lover of the Capitol, how many people do you think are throwing memorial services for you right now?”
Finnick closed his eyes, but not in time to hide the sheer agony that painted his beautiful features with something hideous; eyes crinkled up, flash of anger across his iris, lips drawn tight and pressed together into a thin line of hate.
When he opened his eyes again the pain was gone, replaced by something else, something almost pleased. “Do they think I’m dead?” and Finnick sounded more than happy at the thought that all his past lovers were grieving, curled up on their beds, despondent and beside themselves.
“Or they think you’re being horrendously tortured by us pesky rebels. Either way, it’s all very tragic for them,” Gale said, unable to keep the bitterness out of his voice. With everything Finnick had been through; both trips to the arena and the loss of Annie, Gale was quite sure the people in The Capitol were making it very pointedly all about them.
“I suspect a lot of them are grieving,” Finnick told him. “I suspect a whole other lot of them are going over the secrets they shared with me. Even if you are forcing it out of me, they have to know now how utterly stupid it was to engage in pillow-talk with someone from the districts.”
“Is that what you did?” Gale asked, astonished. “Pried secrets out of them?”
“Finnick Odair, covert spy at your service,” but it was beyond bitter and Finnick was pulling up into himself, knees drawing up towards his chest.
“Did you…” Gale started and then stopped, unable to find the right words. “Did you trade yourself for secrets for the cause?” Gale asked and he knew he sounded like a child, like some little boy who had never been kissed, even if that wasn’t true, but the thought of it made his stomach clench. If this was how it went, then Finnick hadn’t even gotten to enjoy the spoils of victory. It had all been about gathering information for the future.
“It wasn’t my intent, but I wasn’t stupid,” Finnick said and started weaving the rope again, winding it through his fingers in smooth, slick motions. “The opportunity presented itself. And I took it.”
“I can’t imagine the people of The Capitol had much to say that was worth anything,” Gale told him with disgust. “If Katniss’ prep team is anything to go by, it all sounds like dribble to me.”
“Amongst the dribble, much like pearls hidden inside the rare oyster, you can find gems. And anyways,” Finnick said with a shrug when Gale reached out and stilled his twining hands, “the best stuff came from a level far above any prep team. Politicians like to throw their weight around, you know. Especially the men.”
Gale opened his mouth and then closed it abruptly. It hadn’t occurred to him that Finnick might take to both sides of the stream like that. “I didn’t…” and he breathed out hard and said, “Really?”
Finnick flashed that brilliant smile of his at Gale. “Really, really,” he said. “Men share the best secrets. It’s like they think the size of their secret determines the size of their manhood. The bigger the one, the bigger the other.”
“I'm guessing it’s usually the opposite.”
Finnick nodded. “Most always.”
They lay there for a moment, on their sides, facing each other, hands still intertwined. Finnick slowly relaxed his pose, let his legs fall back out a little, their breaths mingling in the small space between them.
“What about you, Gale Hawthorne? Kiss and tell, sweetheart,” Finnick said and winked at Gale.
Gale felt his face flush hot and Finnick smiled. “Come on, you can tell me. I won’t spill, I promise.” It was soft, slightly teasing but somehow sincere and when Gale looked at him, Finnick was looking back, straight into Gale’s eyes. “Tell me,” he said and Gale felt compelled to.
“Do you want to know about everyone?” he asked, tone light and playful, albeit somewhat forced. Gale didn’t talk about things like this - it just wasn’t his way.
Finnick was looking at him then with deep eyes, like he was searching for something in Gale, something Gale didn’t want him to see.
“No,” he said at last, “just tell me about the one that matters. Tell me about Katniss.”
Gale sighed. “What’s there to tell? I kissed her. She barely kissed me back and even that I sometimes think I imagined. It was over before it even began and she was already with Peeta by then anyway.”
“Not by choice,” Finnick reminded him.
“You watched the 74th, you saw how she looked at him,” and Gale was spitting it out, the old familiar fire rising up in him.
Finnick reached out, touched Gale’s cheek with one finger. “She hadn’t made up her mind when she came home, Gale. Maybe those idiots in The Capitol couldn’t see that, but I know you could. She hadn’t made up her mind - they made it up for her.”
“It doesn’t matter now, does it?” and Gale blinked, suddenly surprised he was looking at Finnick through a haze of tears.
“Ssshhh,” Finnick whispered, hand stroking across Gale’s cheek, tracing the outline of his jaw, and somehow he seemed closer than he had a moment ago, suddenly their faces were so close their noses were nearly touching. “It’s not over yet.”
Gale’s grip on Finnick’s hands tightened and he dragged the other man to him, pressed his face against Finnick’s neck. “I just want her to be happy,” he said then, voice muffled against the warmth of Finnick’s skin. “I’d die for it.”
“And you may yet,” Finnick told him and curled himself around Gale, cradling them both against the truth of the words.