Always and Forever

The Search

Peeta's POV

It takes all of the will power I posses, and a little help from Gale and Finnick, to prevent me from jumping into the water and swimming after to save my damsel in distress.

“They’ll just shoot you without hesitation and then where would we be?” Finnick says reasonably.

"But they don't even have a gun!" I insist.

"We don't know that for sure." Finnick reasons and I know that he is right.

“So, what’s the plan?” Gale asks, a hint of desperation in his voice.

“Well, what a sad lot we are.” I say with a shaky laugh. “Three guys on a lonely island with their wives captured by the guys that have been trying to kill them for like six months.”

“Don’t forget that two of them are pregnant.” Gale adds.

“Thanks Gale, I really needed that.” Finnick mutters under his breath.

“Sorry. Okay, we need to come up with a smart and well-thought- through plan before we do anything rash.”

“I agree.” I say, plopping down on the sand.

“Well at least we have the supplies, and probably Colette’s too.” Finnick mentions and Gale and I just groan.

“Not helping Finnick.” I tell him.

“I know.” He puts his head in his hands. “I just need to get my mind off of what they could be doing her, to them.”

“Yeah, we know sort of where Katniss is.” Gale says. “But Annie and Madge are actually missing.”

“You know.” I begin, “The captain and his men could have possibly come in two boats then when you told the girls to run they could have been captured and taken back to the other island in the second boat.”

“That is actually quite possible.” Finnick says, lifting his head.

“So, if we can get to the other island we might be able to find all three of them!” Gale finishes.

“We can swim.” I suggest.

“What about the supplies?” Finnick asks.

“Well, I don’t know about you two but I would rather save my pregnant wife than bring my clothes with me.” Gale puts in.

“Thanks Gale, that makes us feel real good.” Finnick laughs.

Gale chuckles and stands up, “So, our great thought-out, smart plan is to swim there and then think of a plan?”

“Sounds good enough to me.” I chuckle slightly. “I don’t want to waste any more time here.”

“Okay then, but should we maybe put the packs in the bushes over there?” Gale recommends.

“Sure.” Finnick replies and the three of us pick up our three packs and begin walking to the woods.

“Should we maybe just bring one pack with a change of clothes for the girls just in case.” I ask.

“Yeah, that’d probably be smart.” Gale agrees with a nod and begins digging through his backpack and pulls out a pair of shorts and a shirt for Madge and Finnick and I do the same, putting the outfits in just one pack and leaving the other two in a clump of bushes.

“What about the guns?” I ask.

“They’ll be useless if they get wet.” Gale tells me.

“We’ll bring the knives instead.” Finnick says, throwing them in the pack as well.

Gale volunteers to carry the pack and after we throw our sandals in, as well as our shirts, leaving us in just our shorts, we all jump into the cool water to save our damsels in distress.

Katniss’s point of view…

As soon as we are out of sight of the island and the guys, one of the buff men grabs some rope and yanks my arms roughly behind me. I bite my lip to keep from crying out as he ties my hands securely behind my back.

I don't say a word as I sit in the boat on our way to the other island. Colette is silent while the two large, gruff men row and the captain sits looking off into the distance, looking a little pale from his arm wound. The third man sits at the back of the boat doing nothing at all. I sigh and slump to the side of the boat, my hands already feeling sore from the tightness of my bonds.

About ten minutes later the second island is in view and I breathe a quiet sigh of relief. Another ten minutes and a giant wave pushes us right up onto the sandy beach. The ship is still in sight around one side of the island, and just the tip of the sails are visible. Two of the large men grab me crudely on the arms while Colette takes the captain into the woods where they probably have a camp or something.

I don’t bother trying to fight against the guys who are at least a foot taller than me and weigh probably three times as much, 2/3rds of which is solid muscle.

I wonder why they have to keep such a tight grip on me when my arms are still tied behind my back. I couldn’t run in the sand like this even if I wanted to.

I also wonder if the guys found Madge and Annie or if they are lost or even possibly here on this island with me.

“Walk faster!” One of the men yells at me. From now on I have decided to call him Mr. Muscle, and the other I’ll just call: Big.

“You don’t have to try and rip my arms off!” I shout back, taking a big gulp of courage. “I’m not going anywhere.”

“We don’t know that.” Big says gruffly, not loosening his hand on my small bicep at all.

“Right, like I could get far in the sand with my hands tied behind my back and you two so close to me I can hardly breathe.” I retort.

They just laugh and don’t pay me any attention whatsoever, so I hang my head in defeat and shuffle along between them, hoping that we arrive at our destination as soon as possible. The sun seems to be hotter here and after only ten minutes off constant walking my mouth is parched and my back sticky with sweat. My sandals have long been filled with sand and my arms are beginning to lose all feeling in them. Finally, because I am in desperate need of some sort of liquid to cool my tongue I decide to try and talk to these guys. They can’t be as tough as they make themselves out to be, right?

“So, how much longer till we get to wherever we are going?” I begin.

“Just shut up and you’ll find out when we get there.” Mr. Muscle replies angrily.

Well that didn’t go too well, “Don’t you guys get thirsty doing all this hard work in the hot sun and endless sand.” I try again.

“Actually”…Big begins but is cut off my Mr. M, “No! Now shut ur trap girl b’fore I shut it for ya!” I make up my mind to keep quiet for now before I get into more trouble than I already am, if that is even possible. The sun feels as though it is getting hotter and hotter and I am almost positive that my skin is burning.

My feet are so incredibly sore and the bottoms are raw and red from rubbing in the rough sand for about twenty minutes now. I have to wonder if we are actually going to the ship, but then why wouldn’t we just go in the boat, it would have been a lot quicker. I’m so confused and the sun probably isn’t helping much.

Finally I think I see a small wisp of smoke rising above a clump of trees, either that or my eyes are playing tricks on me.

“We’re almost there.” Big whispers and right then I decide that I like him better than Mr. M and the others. I nod gratefully and I hadn’t noticed until now that I can feel my arms again, the guys must have loosened their tight grips while I was deep in thought. I guess they want me to keep my arms, thankfully because so do I.

I am surprised at how bright it still is since it is already evening. Glancing quickly down at my watch I realize that it is 8pm. That helps lighten my mood a bit because the sun should be going down anytime now and it’ll cool of a lot. I guess it just felt like hours since we ate dinner when in reality it has only been about two and a half.

“Here we are.” Mr. M says curtly. I glance around and sure enough a small camp is set up with four tents in a circle with a good-sized campfire in the middle. Why they have a fire in this heat is beyond my comprehension right now. Two more sailor-looking men sit on either side of the fire cooking some kind of meat, but no one else is in sight. Colette must have taken the captain to the ship for medical attention, which means there are more people around! ‘So much for outnumbering the bad guys’.

Mr. M lets go of my arm and Big lets go of the other and I immediately begin rubbing the blood back into them. Mr. M doesn’t waste any time though in shoving me towards one of the tents and I quickly fall to my hands and knees and crawl through the opening. The door is immediately zipped shut and I am left in semi darkness. The sun is still shining so I can still see my way around, but I know that it won’t last long, and in less than an hour I won’t be able to see anything at all.

Taking in my surroundings I find a sleeping bag rolled up in one corner, a tiny lantern in another and a plastic bag filled with food. I have to wonder why they are giving me food and stuff when they’ve been trying to kill us all this time. Then I get a thought that maybe Big secretly put the stuff in here, but then quickly push it out of my head because I know he wouldn’t risk doing that. It was probably just my imagination or the heat of the sun affecting my thinking that I thought he was being nice to me. I then roll out the sleeping bag and plop myself down on top of it. Grabbing the plastic bag I begin emptying the contents. Despite having eaten less than three hours ago I am starving again and also still very thirsty. Whoever left the food must have been thinking ahead because sure enough, there is a large water bottle filled to the brim with water. I am just about to guzzle it down when it occurs to me that this stuff could possibly be poisoned.

But my thirst ends up getting the best of me and I open the cap and begin taking small sips so that I don’t get a stomachache. Once I am rehydrated I grab a small loaf of bread, some cheese and a banana. Since there aren’t any utensils I just break off a large chunk of the delicious smelling bread and place a slice of cheese on top. All thoughts of the food being poisoned have left my mind as I enjoy my meal. By the time I have finished eating and my stomach is full, the sun is almost gone and only a little sliver of light from the fire outside allows me to see shadows. Putting the leftovers back inside the plastic bag I place it in one corner, then take the sleeping bag and roll it out, deciding that I may as well get some rest while I can, considering I might not be allowed to later on.

I fall asleep soon after, due to exhaustion, with thoughts of Peeta, having no idea that he is already on his way to rescue me.

Peeta’s point of view…

It seems to be taking us longer than before to swim to the other island. It doesn’t help that the sun is setting, and if the moon doesn’t come out, we won’t be able to see anything and we’ll probably end up getting lost in the waves. My legs are burning from keeping myself afloat for so long and I can tell from the strain on the other’s faces that they are wearing down as well.

“Are we almost there?” Gale asks, swimming up beside me.

“I’m not sure.” I reply honestly. It shouldn’t take this long but the only time I swam there was in the middle of the day, not at night.”

“Great, so we’re lost?” Finnick huffs in annoyance.

“I didn’t say that.” I retort. “I see a big shadow of something up ahead, let’s swim towards it, maybe it’s the island.”

“Fine.” Finn replies and with a burst of energy the three of us begin swimming fiercely through the calm and somewhat warm seawater. About ten minutes later we come into some shallow water and after standing up on our wobbly legs we walk through the water up onto a sandy beach, much like our own.

“Is this the right one?” Gale asks, looking round in the moonlight.

“I’m not sure.” I reply, also taking a look around. “I never actually went on the island, Katniss and I stayed out in the water and watched. There was also a big ship.”

“Well the ship could be on the other side, how about we walk a little bit and check this place out.” Gale suggests.

“Couldn’t we rest our legs for just a minute?” Finnick complains, plopping down on the sand.

“Sure. I could use a quick break.”

Gale takes the backpack off and sets it down beside him, and the three of us put on our damp shirts and lay back on the sand to rest.

“I hope they’re okay.” Gale sighs, running his fingers absentmindedly through the sand.

“I’m sure they’ll be fine.” I assure them.

“Easy for you to say Mellark.” Gale says, “Your wife isn’t pregnant or lost, we know she’s on the island with the captain.”

“Right, so Kat not being pregnant should make me less worried about what could happen to her.” I retort angrily.

“It’s different.”

“No it isn’t!” I shout.

“Guys, just stop arguing, it’s not going to help us find them.” Finnick says reasonably.

“I know.” Gale sighs again, “I just can’t help but imagine all the terrible things they could be doing to Madge right now.” He punches his fist in the sand heatedly and groans again.

“We’re going to find them.” I assure him. “I won’t stop until we do.”

“Me neither.” Finnick agrees and Gale nods along with us.

“Good.” I say with a smile, “Then let’s go rescue our women!” Finnick cracks a smile and the three of us stand up and begin making our way down the beach once more.

“Think we’ll find them in the dark?” Finnick asks a few minutes later. Just as he is saying this I notice a small light in the distance and the faint smell of burning wood, I quicken my pace while saying, “I think we will, sooner than you think.”


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