*AN* Sorry I've been gone for so long! I went into a Hunger Games coma before and after the movie and I just couldn't write!! The movie was amazing, and HEY to all the new readers I've gained because of the film's huge success! Welcome to the Hunger Games family! :)

"Meld! Meld!" I call to my co-worker the second my feet hit the Nut's stony interior. The eagerness and urgency in my voice surprises those around me - I haven't sounded like this since.... well, ever, as far as they knew. It's the tone of voice I always had growing up. When Katniss and I had gotten good game on a hunt, when we'd made a great bargain at the Hob, when she'd returned home after the Hunger Games, more than once, when Beetee and I had made a breakthrough....

The reason the people working here thought this tone coming from my mouth was so foreign is because they never knew me before the Rebellion, and I'd never felt this enthusiastic about anything since then. Now I have something to really live for.

"Yes, sir?" Meld asks as he walks up to me, slightly breathless and looking a little taken aback. I ignore his expression.

"We need every worker we can - I have a new assignment."

"Does it have anything to do with Katniss Mellark, sir?"

Him saying her name is like a strike in the face. I step back, my pulsing heart contracting painfully. He tagged Peeta's surname with hers. I felt so wrong, yet I knew it was true. They were married. I'd seen their kids. I shouldn't keep denying it.... but I do.

"How... did you know?" I ask, trying to regain my composure, but now all the workers around us are watching and I am almost sure they've seen my reaction now. Their leader has never lost his composure before.

"She visited us yesterday."

My heart contracts again for a hundred reasons in one. Firstly, the memories of here could be enough to destroy her in one glance. Secondly, Katniss never knows when to give up looking - and if she looked too far in Mockingjay Firearms, she'd find my greatest secret. Meld cuts off the panicked question about to leave my mouth:

"She doesn't know, sir." And that is all the reassurance I need. This is why Meld is my right-hand man. "Now, sir, what is this urgent assignment you talk of?" 

Meld is calm, cool, collected, with the aura of an ex-Capitol living man still pugent on him. He came from the old Capitol, from when it was corrupt. He is a man of effiency and many other things, and his skin is still slightly tinted lime green from when that was deemed 'fashionable'. 

My workers are watching me. They know now that Katniss is here, and they know the source of my eagerness and rejuvanation. There's no point in holding back. "We are going to find Peeta Mellark." Some startled gasps fill the air in response, but Meld just nods in acknowledgement. He had predicted this. "I need all my best men and women on this mission. There's absolutely no time to stop and -"

"Mr. Hawthorne, sir," Meld stops me and I don't know why. "If you excuse me, but all our best men and women are already working on something..."

Of course. My heart sinks at this realization. They're already busy, working on my deepest, darkest secret. It's the one I never want Katniss to find out about, yet in a way, she already knows all about it.  It's ironic, then, that I'll have to move these workers away from my darkest secret and towards my worst nightmare. 

"Meld," I say, my auhority returning. "Disassemble the Hunter-Rescuer bomb team and assign them to the Peeta Mellark team. We will stop at nothing to find him."

At that, I turn on my heel and stride further into my workplace, doing my daily rounds as I always did. Now there's no turning back. We're finding the man that ruined my life, for the woman who is my life.

The Hunger Games: Book Four - How it Might Have Been ... Gale.Read this story for FREE!