Peeta


Katniss's eyes go wide as my hands reach out, grabbing her by the throat in a lock so tight her face reddens. It's not me who's doing this, but I can't stop. The momentary control I had of myself is gone now, and I'm in shock. Everything happens so fast.

My children stand beyond Katniss next to Gale, watching with wide, horrified eyes as their father turns into a monster. Debris crashes around them, and I want them to be safe. Even if I can't stop myself from hurting her, at least if the Capitol let my kids go, everything might seem a fraction less horrible. As soon as I think this thought I regret it and take it back, because I can't kill Katniss. I love her.

Time speeds up and suddenly Gale is there, his face lit with rage, trying to wrench my hands from around my wife's neck. I must be stronger than I realized, or maybe the Capitol have enhanced me somehow, because he struggles for a moment to loosen my grip. Gale has always been the stronger one, the hunter. He would've survived the Games without the use of our silly love tactics. And for that, I have always, and still do, resent him.

My anger is something I can still mildly control, seemingly, because suddenly Katniss crashes to the ground, gasping for air, her face a slight shade of blue, and Gale and I have our fists raised at each other.

"Get back!" he cries to Katniss, and rage bubbles inside me. It's a strange scenario - some part of me is grateful that he is protecting her from the monster I've become, but another more present part of me is furious that he's protecting her, saving her, and I'm not.

Of course, Katniss is still as stubborn as ever, and as Gale fires his first punch - landing me square in the jaw - she shouts at the children to run, to get away, and then turns back and joins in our fight.

It's two against one, but I'm more powerful than them both combined. A hatred for Katniss runs deep in my veins, implanted there by the Capitol, and though I can feel it's not true, not sincere, I can't fight it, not fully, so I turn it on Gale. If I can destroy him, maybe, it will destroy her. Collateral damage.

I fall to the floor harshly as Gale lands a roundhouse kick into my stomach, and in a flash, I see red, and reach back behind me so quickly I'm sure this stimulation has enhanced me, too much to be natural. Grabbing a brick that has become dislodged from the roof, I jump back to my feet quickly, and in one, swift movement, my hand sails through the air, swirling the dust around us, and smash the brick into Gale's head.

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