Gale gets home early from the mines, flowers hidden behind his back. He’s not good at being romantic but he knows when he makes Madge upset. Yesterday was one of those days. He didn’t even know what he did, but he knew he had to fix it. Flowers were the first step.
He enters their house quietly hoping to surprise her. It’s mid afternoon, the warm air soaking up their small home in the Seam. Madge is usually doing laundry around this time. If it’s nice enough she might even be visiting Katniss, Gale has no idea what she could be up to.
His question is answered, however, when he closes the door quietly behind him and hears a muffled cry coming from the living room. His hand drops from behind his back and swings to the side of him as he marches to the source of the noise. There on the couch sits Madge, her face in her hands as stifled sobs wrack her body.
“Madge?” Gale’s voice is worried, panicked. “Are you alright? What’s wrong?” She looks up from her hands and wipes her eyes with the back of her hands. The first thing she sees is the flowers and then another strangled cry escapes her.
“I’m fine,” she says quickly, sniffling as she does so. “I’m fine, I’m fine.” Gale’s eyebrows knit together as she stands up, trying to scurry past him. “You’re home early,” she sniffles again, “I should start dinner, or something.”
“Hey,” he walks up behind her, dropping the flowers on the table. “I’m sorry, I don’t even know what I did yesterday, I’m just sorry I did it, alright?”
“What?” she turns to him confusedly, wiping under her eyes again. “No, it’s not you. Nothing’s wrong, I just had a long morning, is all. Don’t worry about it, Gale.”
He wraps his arms around her waist as she tries to busy herself at the sink. “Madge,” he whispers. “What’s wrong? Talk to me.”
“Nothing,” she says again through a hoarse voice, his arms tightening their grip around her. “Gale, nothing’s wrong,” yet still, she sniffles. His chin rests on her shoulder and she drops the dishes she has in her hand back into the sink, reaching down to his arms to pull them away from her.
“I got you, um, flowers,” he says when she pushes him off. She looks toward the tulips and lilies resting on the table as her eyes fill with tears again. “I-”, he sighs, “Madge, what’s wrong?”
“I’m so sorry,” she shakes her head, whimpering and bringing her hands to her face again. “Gale, I’m so sorry.”
“What’d you do?” he asks, panic returning to his voice as he lifts her chin out of her hands. “Madge, what’d you do?”
“I didn’t do anything!” she croaks, jerking her chin out of his grasp. “I just, we just, we’re, I’m…” she can’t say it. She can’t say it.
“Gale,” her chin quivers as she tries blinking back tears that already leak down her face. “I don’t know how we’re going to do it.” Madge continues to shake her head and she can’t meet his gaze. “I never should’ve married! I can’t do this, I can’t.”
“Madge,” he says again. “You’re scaring me,”
“I’m pregnant!” she finally yells, and then collapses against his chest. “We’re having a baby and they’re going to take it away from us!”
“You’re…?” she nods against him as he feels hot tears pushing through the fabric of his shirt. “Madge, that’s wonderful!”
“No,” she weeps. “It’s not, it’s not wonderful. What happens when they turn 12? Oh, God,” A whole new fit of sobs wrack her body as he holds her closer. The Reaping. The Games. There’s no hope. “I can’t do this, I don’t know what…”
“Shhh,” Gale soothes her, pulling her as close as she can. “Madge, it’s okay. It’ll be okay.” Still, she shakes her head and pulls his shirt closer to her in fistfuls. “I’m not gonna let anything happen to our baby, alright? They’re not gonna take it away. I swear.” And when Gale says it, he means it.