Secret Hollows


A/N: I'm so sorry that this has taken me so long to get out. I really wasn't lying when I said I had no idea with I was doing with this story, so, It's taken me a while to figure out. I do greatly apologize for my few updates recently. I hope to remedy that soon. I hope you all enjoy!


"How was your day today?" Gale asks me as he noiselessly enters my room and sits next to me, putting his arm around me. I lean into him and he kisses me on the forehead.

"It was okay," I say.

"Okay, hunh? That's an improvement, right?" He lets out a slight laugh I can tell he doesn't mean. He's worried.

"Yeah," I say with a small laugh. "I spent the whole day looking at things."

He turns me and gives me a slightly funny look.

"I was thinking about them too," I say, as if that explains things.

"Okay?" He seems slightly concerned, and I don't know if he meant that to sound like so much of a question.

The confusion he has wrinkles his brow. I think it's kind of cute. I turn and wrap my legs around him, pulling myself up on him a little bit and start playing with the buttons on his shirt.

"Do you really want me to explain it to you?" I say. He's about to say yes but I lean in and start kissing his neck, small at first. On at the crease of his jaw, one close to his chin. One by his collar bone. Then by his ear. I kiss him and kiss him again until he's finally able to say yes but for an entirely different reason.

. .

I don't know how much time passes, but Gale and I are clothesless except for our underwear, and he's on his knees leaning his hair in my hand almost guiding him and he kisses my inner thigh, his lips getting close to mine.

"Gale," he's name comes out like a gasp as my eyes roll into my head as my nerves whirl away from me. "Gale," I say like I want something, as he's getting closer and closer to me, and I think I want him to keep coming closer. I'm spinning now, trying desperately to hold on to myself, to hold on to him, to hold on to this moment, and almost certain I'm about to fly away. At first, all I want to do is let go and get flung out into where ever this feeling will take me. I call Gale's name again and again, practically begging for this. But then suddenly, it occurs to me, that if I let go, I don't know where this will take me. I've never let go of anything in my life. I've always kept myself focused and on target. The thought scares me more than anything.

"Are you okay," Gale asks, perhaps having noticed some change in me. I can't explain it, so I don't try. I just take his chin in my hand and pull him up to me to kiss him.

We have to shift our legs a bit to get comfortable, but he's lying next to me, my arms around him, running my fingers up and down the muscles in his back, letting his lips draw me back into the bliss I felt before.

As he traces kisses across my collarbone, hand in my hair, holding my head, I can feel myself coming closer. But again, right after joy breaks within me, a way of nerves hits right after. I try to focus on the sound of his breath, and what part of his body I want to touch next.

"Are you sure you're okay?" He looks slightly concerned.

"Yeah," I say a bit more dismissively than I mean to, a bit more annoyed, "I'm fine. So quit asking." I reach for him again and kiss him.

He wraps a strong out around me and breaths, "okay," his hot breath hitting my neck and stirring want inside me again. I'm ready to crawl back in, and I shift myself next to him, wrapping my leg around one of his and pulling myself up to kiss, and as I do, my body presses against him, and by him, I mean him. And he's hard, and I suddenly can't avoid the implications of that, it scares me.

I jerk away.


"Sorry," I say, realize how crazy I must seem.

"You don't have to apologize," he soothes, "but you need to tell me if something's wrong."

"Nothing," I try to deflect. But I can tell I'm not fooling him. His brows knit together the way they do when they're trying to figure something out. "I know, it's just," his looks at me like he doesn't understand at all and I feel bad because I like this so much, I just am nervous about doing something I've never done before, and not knowing how exactly to do it, or what leads up to it, and I want to say this all as quickly as possible because I can see Gale's mind at work, trying to figure me out, so I want to get to the point. "It's just, your penis."

Perhaps I should have used a few more words to explain.

He's not sure if he should laugh or panic. "What?"

"I'm sorry," I look away and can feel myself blushing. "I just, I felt it, and it scared me because sex scares me, and it made me think of sex."

"You're afraid of sex?"


"God, Katniss!" He's alarmed and I don't mean for him to be.

"No," Gale, I almost laugh and he looks at me strangely. "It's not you. It's just…me." I wish I had a better way of explaining all that.

"Katniss," there's a strange gravity in his voice that I don't quite understand. I can tell I haven't done a very good job explaining this. I can almost hear his mind working.

"It doesn't scare you?" I look up at him.

"No," he says, quickly, but I can tell his mind is still elsewhere.

"Maybe fears not the right word," I try to explain better. "Nervous?"

"Is it because you're uncertain? Or has something happened?"

"No," I say quickly this time, and he smiles. "I really like this, I really like you, but I'm afraid."

"Afraid?" I can tell he's concerned. "Katniss, you know I'd never do—"

"No," I almost laugh as the idea of this is so preposterous; Gale's the one thing in the world I don't think I could ever be afraid of. I lean in quickly and kiss away his worry, taking his face fully in my hands and pressing my lips to his. "I know, trust me." I smile and he returns it. "And," I add trying to make this better, "I mean. I'm also curious about it. And I'm also excited by it," I quickly counter, not wanting him to freak. "Look, I've just never done this before. I'm having lots of emotions right now. And I'm not sure what to do about it."

"Okay," he says after a few moments of recovering himself, still uncertain about what to say. I suddenly feel bad about that. He shouldn't have to say anything.

"I'm sorry, Gale, I'm just need to stop thinking about this." I lean in to kiss him again, wanting his hands all over me, to hold me and stop the thoughts flying around my head. He pulls himself off of me to lie down next to me. He turns so we're facing each other and can see he's not letting this go. "I don't know what else you want me to say." I say with a bit of temper.

"Just talk to me about how you're feeling," he says taking my hand softly.

I huff and look at him, trying to gauge my chances of avoiding this conversation. I can see I can't.

"I like this," I look up at him, trying to communicate that it's true. I can tell he believes me. He doesn't say anything, but his eyes ask for more. "I like it a lot. And I want more of it…" His eyes stay steady, taking it all in, just like he did when he got me to talk about the Games. I remind myself how well that worked and try to let go. "But when I start to think about wanting more, that eventually leads to sex. And then that's scary because I don't know what that's like, and then I try to think about that, and then I get all nervous because I don't know where the line is."

"Katniss," he says with a strange urgency, "the line is wherever you want it to be."

I take a few moments to consider this. "But how am I supposed to know where that is?"

Gale exhales heavily as he thinks that through. I guess knowing where to put that line has never been a problem for him.

"I've never done it before." Gale and I haven't talked about our pasts yet, though, I'm assuming he knows this, but as we get closer and closer to one another, I want to make sure he knows this for sure. "So," I turn my eyes away from him, "I don't know what to expect, and I guess, that's scary."

I can hear him intake a deep breath and he nods, understanding, or at least trying to. I mean to give him a minute to make sense of this.

"I mean, it is scary, right? It's terrifying to not know what is going to happen or how it's going to feel, or what it's going to mean, or what it's going to change…" I hadn't even realized I was thinking those things until I just said them, and now I don't want to think about them, I don't want to think about them at all. I'm babbling, I know I'm babbling, and I don't know what I'm saying, so I know I should stop. "Can you just...can you just tell me what it's like?"

I turn over and look him in the eyes. He takes a deep, thoughtful breath. "Katniss—"

"Don't worry, Gale," I say, trying to fend off his nerves or embarrassment or whatever. "I heard all the gossip at school, and I'm not entirely oblivious to how handsome you are," he chuckles slightly as I say that, "I know you've had a lot of girls."

His brows furrow again. "That depends what you mean by had."

I exhale a bit frustratedly. He doesn't have to go into technicalities with me. Not when we're laying in by practically naked together.

"Katniss, I've never had sex."

I hear the words before I comprehend them. "What?"

He laughs a bit sheepishly. "Yeah. I've never actually done it."

"What do you mean by actually?"

"I mean, I've done just about everything else. But I've never slept with anyone."

"But what about all the girls you took to the slag heap?"

He rubs his face and takes another breath. "I never slept with them."

"Seriously?" I'm incredulous. "None of them?"

He frowns. "There weren't that many. And yeah. I'm not saying I didn't come close a few times. But I never did. I wasn't going to risk getting some girl pregnant, especially while I was still of the reaping age."

"But you'll risk getting me pregnant?"

"I don't think I just said that."

"So you don't want to have sex with me?"

"I don't think I just said that either." He doesn't sound annoyed, but I know he is. He shifts his weight in bed slightly and reaches out for me, but I pull away.

I'm not even sure what I'm thinking. But for some reason, my mind is spinning. For some reason, I was comforted by the fact that Gale knew what he was doing...and now that he doesn't. And that terrifies me.

"So neither of us knows what we're doing?"

"Katniss," he's using the voice he does when he's trying to stay calm rather than naturally doing so. I can tell. "I don't even know what you mean by that."

"What do you mean you don't know what I mean?"

"Do you even know what you mean?" he looks at me pointedly, and this upsets me more. I sit up and pull away. He follows my movements wraps his arms around me as he pulls me into his chest. "What's bothering you, Catnip? Because if I didn't know better, you seem almost upset I haven't slept with anybody."

"Well, it sounds ridiculous when you say it like that."

He rubs my arms and says, "Mmmhmmm."

I exhale and try to sort out all my thoughts. But as I do, all I'm thinking about is how good it feels. "That feels good."

He mumbles comprehension again and leans in to kiss me. I take his hands in my and hold them before me. I stare into them not knowing what I expect to find.

"You're hands are rougher," I finally say.

"Yeah," he shrugs it off, "the mines."

I can only nod my acknowledge.

"Let's get some sleep," he finally says when I don't talk for a few moments, "But let's talk more tomorrow, okay?" He brings me into and I can feel his lips through my hair as we settle down on my mattress.

. . .

Gale comes to my house late the next night, noiselessly coming into my room well after dark.

"I almost thought you weren't coming," I say a bit more spitefully than I mean to. My mind had been running with worry for the past few hours.

"I'm sorry," he says, tilting his head to mine. I can smell the coal and sweat on him. He didn't shower. "They made us work an extra hour, bumped up the quota," he yawns absent mindly before leaning into kiss me. I kiss him back, but can feel his lips are dry and the dirt in his hair. "And then I had to help my mom…" He yawns again.

"Did you eat?" I ask, suddenly worried.

"I think so," he says. "God, I missed you." He looks at me with a renewed focus and kisses me.

I never wondered before about what Gale thought about all day while working in the mines. But the way he's kissing me now gives me some idea.

I kiss him softly and deeply before getting up and taking his hand in mine. "Come here," I say.

His eyebrow arches curiously. I flash a smile, and guess I managed the perfect bit of mischievousness because Gale's eyes flash and he suddenly seems to have found energy.

I take his hand softly and lead it to the bathroom across from my bedroom door. He doesn't say a word until I pull him inside and flip on the lights.

Since I've only seen Gale mostly in the shadows these past few nights, I'm a bit shocked at how worn he's looking. The circles under his eyes, the color of his skin. "Oh, Gale…"

"I'm fine, Catnip," he says a bit dismissively, registering the look on my face. "Plus, I wanted to talk about you tonight."

I take his hands in mine and examine his dirty nails and torn knuckles. I bring one to my mouth and kiss it. I spent the whole day thinking about what I wanted to say to him; suddenly, none of it seems to matter.

I go over to the tub, put in the stopper and switch on the tap. Hot water is puring out in an instant. Gale seems to notice, this is not a feature they have in the Seam, and says "nice."

"Mmmmhmmm," I mumble as I lead him over to the tub. I start to pull of his shirt, and he helps me get it off his head, though I notice him pause, muscles probably aching as he does so. I realize his back must be so sore.

I next move to unbuckle his his belt, slowly pulling it out of its loops as my fingers trail along his waist line with it. Gale just stands and seems to savor the moment, but when I reach for his zipper, he stops me.

"Katniss," his eyes look as heavy as lead.

"It's fine, Gale," I say, looking up with a smile, "I know what I'm doing."

"But," he seems to struggle to say.

"Are you going to make me take off all my clothes first?" I add playfully, my fingers dancing around his navel and dipping tugging at the top of his pants.

He looks at me deeply for a moment, I'm sure trying to gauge my comfort level or emotional state. I guess he decides to believe me. "Well," he says with a small chuckle, "if you're offering…"

If he had any doubt about comfort, I discard it as quickly as I do my clothes, pulling of my shirt and underwear in quick succession.

I see some sizzle in his eyes and he's moving towards me before he even realizes it.

"Hey," I say, raising a playful finger. "Now it's your turn."

He nearly trips over himself getting his pants off. I bury my lips in my palm to hid my smile.

We study each other, completely naked for a few moments, and then I finally say, "Alright, come here." I walk towards him but not into him and take his hand, leading him to the tub.

"Are you going to bathe me?" He says in a tone that's somewhere between a joke and a grunt of disbelief.

"Yes," I say matter-of-factly.

"Why?" He asks as if the notion were preposterous.

"Because," I say as I sit on the edge of the tub behind him, bringing his shoulders against my knees, and leaning in close to his ear, "you need a bath." I can almost feel his skin rising to me as I say it and he laughs. I take a bar of soap and begin to lather, running my hands up and down his shoulders, his arms, his back. He closes his eyes and sinks into me, into the moment. I think we're both happy. I'm not sure if there's a word to describe the sounds he's releasing, but that certain note of contentment and satisfaction in them all.

When I finish his back, having rubbed it too, I move to the front, and he opens his eyes just slightly as I do, I'm sure to appreciate the view, and continues to let me bathe him. After I finish washing the suds from his hair, I lower myself in the tub in front of him, letting my legs slide up over his and around his waist. He trails his fingers up and down them, and exhales again. "So talk to me, Katniss," he finally says. I don't know where he found the energy to use his voice. "I want continue our conversation."

"Tomorrow, Gale," I say, not wanting to disturb the moment he so greatly deserves. "Tomorrow."

A/N: And, just one final questions, should any one be interested in commenting on how they imagine Gale's sexual history, I'd be greatly interested in hearing your thoughts. I go back and forth deciding how much sex and what sexual stuff he's actually done, and while I know he's a very good looking teenage boy, he's also responsible and lives in a place where life is very hard. I'm really not sure what is best or right or whatever, so if anyone has any thoughts, I'd love to hear them.

Thanks for reading! CG

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