Always and Forever

The Secret Stash

“You’ve got to be kidding me.” Finnick pounds his fist into the sand angrily. Peeta and I have just finished telling them everything that we know and nobody is very happy about it. Obviously.

“I just knew there was something sketchy about Colette. No one, and I mean no one goes from being a killer to a friend that easily.” Gale adds, his arms protectively around a shivering Madge. So much for keeping it a secret from the pregnant girls.

“Well we’re going to need to come up with a plan. Soon.” Peeta says and everyone nods in agreement.

“I agree.” Annie says quietly. “But how are we supposed to get to that other island, I mean I’m a pretty good swimmer but for that long and the fact that I’m over six months pregnant might cause a few exhaustion problems.”

“That’s why I suggest that we wait until Colette’s supplies arrive the next time, then we steal the small boat and row to the island, take over the ship and make the captain sail us back to Panem.” Peeta explains.

“That’s a smart idea.” Gale begins, “But it’ll never be that easy.”

“I know, that’s why we need to have everything planned out to perfection and always be ready for a quick getaway.” Peeta tells him.

“Okay, so does anyone have any idea on how often the boat comes to the island?” Finnick asks. I shrug, “Probably every few weeks or so, because they bring Colette enough to feed us all and extra!”

“Okay, that gives us time to prepare then.” Gale says.

“Yeah, and I say that the next time Colette comes here to visit, a few of us sneak off to her secret hideaway, with either Gale or Katniss to lead us, and take some of her food. I heard she had bread!” Peeta practically drools on himself while just saying the word bread.

“Sounds good!” Madge exclaims, rubbing her large stomach. “I’d love something else other than fish and squirrels and if I never ate another mango or banana in my life, that’d be fine with me!” Gale chuckles and gives her a sweet kiss.

“Don’t worry sweetie, I’ll get you some different food as soon as I can.” Madge smiles up at him and Gale can’t help but lean down for another kiss.

“Come on guys!” Finnick complains jokingly. “You can do that later! We have more important things to take care of!” To prove his point he gives Annie a lingering kiss, causing her cheeks to turn pink.

“We’re never going to get anything done!” I whisper to Peeta.

He smiles, “Eh, who cares.” Then he wraps his arms around my waist, practically drawing me onto his lap.

“Peeta!” I say giggling, and try to wiggle out of his arms. He holds me tightly though so there is no chance of escape. I don’t really care though. I love the feeling of being in Peeta’s arms like this. He captures my lips with his when I’m least expecting it but I return the kiss soon after.

“Well look at that.” Finnick laughs. “An important meeting turned into a triple make out session!” We all pull apart from our spouses when he says this and everyone begins to laugh.

“Who cares, we have time to plan anyways.” Gale says with a smirk and gives Madge, who is still on his lap, another kiss.

“What time is it?” I ask Peeta once we have all settles down somewhat.

“Supper time.” Peeta returns with a grin.

“Let’s go eat then!” I exclaim, standing up quickly.

“So I guess we’ll finish up tomorrow, late morning?” Finnick asks.

“What? The kissing or the planning?” I reply with a smirk.

“Both!” Gale exclaims with a laugh.

“Sure.” I reply and pull Peeta up onto his feet. We say good-bye to the others and make our way back to our little log hut.

“You know, I think I’m finally getting used to sleeping on the hard ground.” Peeta comments once we’re alone on the little path.

“Good for you. But I can’t to get back to our real bed in District 12.”

“Me neither Kat. I actually meant that I could finally tolerate the hard ground.” He smiles and squeezes my hand.

We pass the clearing where we can usually see Colette’s little shelter and not surprisingly she is absent.

“Probably goading on all of her fresh food.” Peeta grumbles, seeing where I am looking.

“Yeah, you’re probably right.” With a sigh we walk to few more steps to our own front door and duck inside. When I reach in our little make shift box to grab a squirrel for our stew my fingers touch something else. Pulling it out I gasp.

“Peeta! Look what I found!” Peeta hurries over to my and looks over my shoulder.

“I can’t believe that with all the excitement with Gale being sick and everything, that night I forgot to bring the seeds from Colette to Annie!”

“You don’t think they are poisoned, do you?” He asks skeptically.

“I don’t know. I would hope not.”

“So should we plant them?”

I shrug, “We might be leaving soon so it probably wouldn’t make much sense. But we could plant a few just as an experiment.”

“Sounds good. I can dig up a little square of dirt next to the house and we can plant them later tomorrow.” Peeta says excitedly.

We don’t bother making a stew but just cook one of the squirrels over the fire then eat the meat along with a banana to wash it down.

“Tired?” Peeta asks once we’re finished eating.

“Yeah.” I sigh and wipe my hands on the grass.

“Ready for bed?” I nod again. Peeta then stands up, dumps our remaining water on the fire and pulls me into our ‘bedroom.’

“Sorry about our date.” He apologizes while I change into my pajama t-shirt.

“Not your fault.” I tell him. “Besides, it’s not like it was a boring day. We learned a lot of helpful things and we could possibly be going home in a few weeks!” I lay down on the blanket and pull the other one up over my body. Peeta comes down beside me a few moments later. I rest my head on his chest like I usually do and fall almost instantly to sleep, barely catching Peeta’s voice, “Good night Kat.”

The next few days go by relatively normally, Peeta and I plant a few of the seeds but of course nothing happens to them in the first few days so we just keep on watering them, hoping that something will come out of our faithful, hard work. We don’t see Colette at all so the time never comes when some of us would get to steal some of her delicious food. Peeta and I finally got a chance to go on our date last night and it was just lovely, I’ll never tire of them as long as I’m alive.

Soon a week has gone by since our last adventure with Colette and we are all very bored and some of us a little grumpy too. Knowing that there is food not far away, but at the same time too far for us to reach, is awful. Both Annie and Madge are moody and craving weird things that of course we don’t exactly have on hand here.

“Hey Catnip!” I look up from the squirrel I am currently skinning in my open ‘kitchen’ to find Gale running madly towards me. Automatically I suspect that something terrible has happened, maybe something having to do with Madge. I wait somewhat patiently for Gale to arrive and when he does I have to wait a few seconds longer for him to catch his breath.

“What is it? Is it Madge? Is everyone okay?”

Gale chuckles, “Slow down Catnip, One question at a time. Yes everyone is fine, but Finnick spotted Colette getting into a boat probably to head to the other island, so we have a few hours at least to raid her food supply!”

“Really?” My voice comes out sounding sort of high pitched but I don’t care. “So we can get some bread!”

“Oh yes, we sure can.”

I grin and stand up, setting my half skinned squirrel to one side.

“So Peeta already agreed to stay here with the girls while the three of us, you, Finnick and I, go get the stuff.” Gale explains to me.

“Hey! You already made the plans without me?” I fake hurt and Gale just shrugs.

“Well when Finnick came running up, everyone but you was in the same place so I volunteered to come and tell you.”

“Thanks Gale.” He smiles, “So, are you ready? We want to have enough time to get what we need.”

“Sure, I’m ready.” I say and slip my sandals on. “Let’s go.” Together we sprint back to the Odair’s where everyone else is waiting for our return.

“Peeta immediately comes over to me for a hug and kiss while whispering in my ear, “Please be careful.”

“Don’t worry Peeta, We’re only going to get some supplies and come right back. Besides, Colette isn’t even there.”

“I know, but I just need to know you’ll be safe and come back to me all in one piece.”

I chuckles slightly, “I’m sure Finnick and Gale won’t let anything hurt me.”

“I know.” He says again.

I give him a comforting smile and one last kiss.

“Alright, let’s go.” Finnick announces, taking command.

“We hope to be back in no more than 2 hours.” Gale tells Madge who clearly doesn’t want him to leave no matter how harmless this endeavor may be.

“You better be.” Annie says sternly. “If not I’ll be coming after you myself!”

“Well hopefully it doesn’t come down to that.” Finnick smiles and kisses her nose. Annie smiles back and plants a kiss on his lips.

“Ready?” Gale asks a moment later.

“Yep, let’s go.” I say and then the three of us start of with Gale in the lead, Peeta and the girls getting smaller and smaller until they are out of sight because of the many trees blocking our vision. It doesn’t take Gale long to remember how we got to Colette’s secret hideaway. Soon we are at the clump of bushes that we hid behind last week while listening in on her conversation on the walkie-talkie.

“This is it.” Gale announces in a hushed voice even though Colette is not even on the island.

“Let’s hurry.” Finnick says and together he and Gale pull back the bushes to reveal… Nothing. That’s it. Absolutely nothing.

“I’m almost positive this is the place!” Gale says defensively.

“Yeah it is.” I assure him. “Look, you can see footprints and scuffs on the dirt where the shelter used to be but its been taken away.”

“You don’t think…” Gale doesn’t finish his sentence but we all know what he is thinking. You don’t think that Colette packed up all of her stuff for good and left the island, trapping us forever.

“I don’t know.” Finnick muses. “How about we keep walking and maybe find out for sure if she left for good or if she just moved her things to a different location.”

“That’s a smart idea.” Gale agrees. “Maybe she got suspicious that one of us found her place and decided to move it.”

“Or maybe she moves it every few weeks because since this is such a small island it’d be hard for us not to come across it.” I suggest.

“That’s possible too.” Finnick says nodding.

“Okay, let’s go.” Gale says and we all get up and follow him.

“Should we split up?” I ask.

“Well, we would cover more ground that way.” Gale decides.

“Sure would.” Finnick agrees. “Let’s settle to meet back here in half an hour.”

“Sounds good.” I reply and then we head off in three different directions, each hoping that we will be the one to find Colette’s secret camp and provisions.

I go through the denser part of the forest, hoping that she was thinking to set up camp in a more secluded area. Well at least that’s what I would do, and she seems to be pretty smart.

I’ve been wandering through the trees for almost thirty minutes already and am just about to turn back when I hear Gale’s signal whistle that we used to use back in the woods of District 12. I hurry back the way I had come, eager to find out what he found or what happened. I stumble into the small clearing at the same time that Finnick and Gale do.

“I heard your whistle, what is it?” I ask breathlessly.

Gale grins, “I found the secret stash.”

“You did?” Finnick asks in disbelief.

“You bet!”

“Where?” I ask.

“You won’t believe it, but it’s actually all up in a tree pretty near our camp!”

“What?” I sputter, “So she’s been spying on us this whole time without us knowing!”

“It would seem so.” Gale admits gravely.

“Do you think she’s been listening to our conversations about her?” Finnick asks.

“I sure hope not.” I grumble.

“Yeah me neither.” Gale agrees. “But we’d better get going, it’s going to take some time to climb the tree and get the stuff down considering we are the only eligible climbers.”

“Okay, let’s go.” Finnick says and we begin briskly walking back towards camp.

“So whose camp is it closest too?” I ask Gale.

“Yours actually.” He replies. “I guess since it’s the farthest from the beach.”

“Well that makes sense.” I say quietly. “But its still pretty unnerving.”

“I agree.” Gale says, “But hopefully it won’t be for much longer, and she might even spend the night on the other island.”

“I doubt it, because she might think that we’d notice her absence and I’m pretty sure that she wants to keep us in the dark on everything.” I tell him.

“I guess that makes sense.” He shrugs, then says, “Here we are!”

Sure enough, quite high in a tree very close to mine and Peeta’s shelter is a small tree house.

“I can’t believe I’ve never noticed that before!” I say, a baffled expression on my face.

“They must have built it while we were on our all day swim or something.” Finnick proposes.

“Probably.” Gale agrees.

“So, who’s going up first? Remember we have less than an hour to be back.” Finnick says.

“I’ll go first.” Gale says and grabs onto the first sturdy branch, swinging himself up to the next one. “I’ll go next.” I tell him and do the same as Gale.

“Finnick, you could stand down there and we throw the supplies down to you.” Gale suggests.

“Sounds good!” Finnick calls upward. Gale doesn’t let me climb up all the way to the house but tells me to stay about half way up where he can hand me things. I tried to protest but he wouldn’t hear of it, saying that Peeta would be horrified if something happened to me. I put it that Madge wouldn’t be too pleased either, especially after what happened with the tiger but he just shrugs it off and begins rummaging through the materials above.

The first bag comes falling through the branches a few minutes later and I barely catch it, then without checking inside I call a warning down to Finnick and drop it.

“Remember, don’t take too much that it’ll be blatantly obvious!” I yell up to Gale, receiving only a grunt in return. A few more packs come done in a span of about ten minutes and I am beginning to think that Gale is just grabbing stuff randomly. Hopefully Colette doesn’t miss any of it too much.

It has been almost exactly 2 hours since we left so I call up to Gale to let him know.

“Be right down!” He calls back and I begin my descent. Finnick has quite the large stack of things at the bottom of the tree and I grin when I hop down off the last branch.

“Can’t wait to show the others!”

“Yeah, me neither.”

Gale is down beside us a few seconds later and we all pick up as much as we can to bring back to the Odair’s to sort out and divide. We begin making our way back but I can’t help but feel a pair of eyes staring at my back all the way.

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