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Secret Santa for SexualOddity (Hunger Games)


Sophie<3

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Hey SexualOddity! :) Here's your Secret Santa story! Are you excited? Sadly, the Hunger Games was the only one of your fandoms that I knew, so I went and watched both movies, then read part of the first book again (I read all three when they first came out). I wanted to really get it right, because I know from your Supernatural stories that you like a little plot connected to the story and not only sneezing, right? So in my story Katniss is 15 and Gale is 17. It's a little less than a year before the Reaping in the first book.

You said you liked male allergies, so obviously that's what I wrote about! Also, I tried to make Gale all tough, which wasn't too hard, because it goes along well with his character, I think.

So... I sincerely, really, truly hope you like this! I did try, but if you don't like it at all, let me know and maybe I can try to work on something else? It turned out to be pretty long. Over 4,000 words.

So yah, have fun! I hope I did well and you love it! Merry Christmas! <3

We have to put a stop to this! I mean, what are they doing here? Why can't they just get back to their stupid little lifes in the Capitol? I bet they think our district is too dirty for them!”

Gale, please...” I mumur, but truly I understand what he means. The Peacekeepers arrived two days ago. It's made things a lot harder for both of us. You never know when you'll run into them, because they do random patrols in the Seam and everywhere. Ever since they arrived, we haven't made it to the fence. It was too risky. If they saw us slip through the hole, they would have fixed all the broken parts right away and probably made sure that the electricity gets turned on at all times. That would be the end. That's why we've avoided going into the forest all together, which meant no hunting for two days, thus no meat and no trading.

Katniss!” I look up. Gale only ever calls me by my real name when he is angry. “Don't you see what they are doing to us? They want to control everything we do! Do you know why they came here this time?”

I shrug. “People at school said that there were small uprisings in the mines...”

Of course there were!”, Gale yells. I look over my shoulder quickly, but there's nobody there to hear us. We're already in the forest, where we can be honest. Still, this sort of paranoia is just so deeply engrained in my mind... especially when there are Peacekeepers around.

Gale continues his rant and I let him. I know that he needs it right now. “The miners work under horrible conditions! Our fathers died in those mines! I would voice my protest, too, if I were one of them. All they do is work and most of the products get sent to the Capitol anyway!”

I just nodd and start to wish that he would calm down. I know that he's right. I agree. Just like Gale, I wish that the Peacekeepers would finally get on a train back to the Capitol where they belong. Still, I don't see how yelling about it is helping anybody. That's why I interrupt Gale gently and say: “Hey. Let's just focus on feeding our families for now, okay?”

He stares at me and for a moment it looks like he is going to start yelling again. Then he takes a deep breath and says: “Okay.”

I know that he's just as hungry as I am. And Prim. My mom. His family. The last two days have been tough. Now we're in desperate need to bring something home. We reach the place where I keep my bow hidden and I take it out. Then I grab a few arrows.

I blurt out: “Let's get a deer today!”, and Gale half-smiles. I notice how much better he looks when the tension leaves his face and he becomes more relaxed. This is the Gale I know and like.

Great idea, Catnip”, he says ironically. “Let's sell it right in front of the Peacekeepers' eyes, shall we?”

I shrug, knowing that he has a point. We can sneak a few squirrels back into the Seam under our coats, but how could we make a whole deer go unnoticed? Besides, I don't think we've ever caught one, so why should we get one today?

Let's check the traps first”, suggests Gale.

Think we got anything?”, I ask. We haven't exactly been lucky lately.

He shrugs. “Let's hope for a rabbit.”

A while later, we've checked every single trap and found nothing. Gale's expression becomes hard as stone again and I can see his muscles tense up. “Those bastard Peacekeepers are probably scaring all the game away!”

Yeah. With their smell”, I agree semi-seriously, because they do smell different, strangely clean and sterile like everybody from the Capitol, but I doubt that they could actually have an impact on the forest from that far away. I get Gale to laugh, though.

Okay”, he says and runs his fingers through his dark hair. “We need to shoot something, then.” It's a good thing he grabbed one my spare bows, because he'll need it now.

What would you like, Mr. Hawthorne?”, I ask jokingly.

Hm...”, he grins. “A fox would be nice. And you know I have a soft spot for rabbits.”

I'll see what I can do.”

So we stroll through the woods for a while, silently now, trying to make as little sound as possible.We walk for a long time. The woods seem empty today, as if all the animals decided that they would be better off elsewhere, and left. It feels like there's a hole where my stomach should be. Prim got to eat the last bit of dry bread that we had at home.

Suddenly, Gale touches my shoulder and points to a tree top. I hold my breath and squint. There's a tiny movement. I think it's a squirrel. Gale and I stand right next to each other, both completely still. The squirrel moves. I can see it clearly now. For a moment, I wait for Gale to raise his bow. When he doesn't, I know that he wants me to take a shot, so I slowly raise my bow, never taking my eyes off the squirrel in the tree top. I draw the bow, aim. My hand shakes a little. I haven't done this in too long. Determined to get it right, I raise the bow a bit higher. And the squirrel gives a squeak and runs off.

No!”, I scream, because it's out of my sight now. Gale simply sighs. “It's okay, Catnip”, he says in an attempt to comfort me. “There are plenty more where that one came from.”

Really?”, I say irritably. “Because I haven't seen any so far.”

It's okay”, he repeats and gently pushes down the bow that I am still aiming at the now empty branch. “We'll get something. I know we will.”

However, half an hour later, Gale's optimism is beginning to vanish. “Let's take a break”, he suggests. I know he must feel just as worn out as me. We've been running for a while, following a fox's tracks, but we lost them, and we probably never had a chance of catching him anyway. So when we reach a beautiful maddow, it's tempting to sit down for a bit and catch our breath.

Just for a little bit”, I say firmly before letting myself drop into the grass next to Gale. For a while we just sit. I pick up one of the flowers growing next to me. It's tiny and pink and I don't think I've ever seen it before. I raise it to my nose and sniff. It smells sweet.

Gale watches me as I pick up some more and start arranging them in a wreath. “For Prim”, I say, thinking with a hint of bitterness that it's a weak substitute for food. Gale begins picking up some of the flowers, too.

Do you think we could ask anybody for food?”, I want to know from Gale. I'm beginning to feel pretty desperate. What should I tell Prim and my mom if I come home empty-handed?

Who?”, he asks and rubs his nose with the back of his hand.

I don't know. Anybody.”

Catnip. Everybody has to fend for themselves. We just have each other.”

You're right. We'll just have to catch something. Nobody will help us out. Hey... what's wrong?” I notice that his eyes are tearing up. He is pinching his nose with two fingers now and his eyes are half-closed.

Nothing”, he says immediately.

Your eyes are tearing up, Gale”, I point out.

It's nothing. I just have to...- nevermind.”

What is it?”

He doesn't answer, just closes his eyes and pinches his nose even harder. Then he sniffles and says: “Let's get going before it gets dark.”

Okay”, I say, still observing him closely. He's acting strangely and I want to know what it is. The wreath of flowers that I made for Prim, I put on my own head for now.

Do you think we should go even further away from the fence?”, I ask Gale.

I think we should... um...sh....um.... Ha-ESHH-eww!!”

I frown and stop on the spot. Was that a sneeze?? Gale never sneezes. It's so not like him. I mean, okay, I've seen him sick before. Last winter we were both really sick. I remember how we both basically coughed our lungs out. My nose was really runny, too, and I sneezed a few times. But him? Never. It seems like that just doesn't happen to him.

Before I can say anything, Gale's eyelids start fluttering again. My jaw drops at his second and third sneeze. He doubles over with the force of them and barely manages to catch them in his hands. It's weird to see him so out of control.

Huh-rUSH-oo!! Heh-eesh!!”

He takes a deep breath, sniffles, and looks unsure of whether or not it's over.

Bless you?”, I offer, confused.

He nods a thanks. Then he pretends like nothing happened, but I notice how congested he sounds when he says: “We should get just a little bit mbore away frob the fence.”

Sure”, I say, feeling really distracted. We start walking again and Gale alternates sniffling wetly and rubbing his nose. I'm starting to really worry. I can't have a sick hunting partner. I need him now more than ever. But then again, maybe it's nothing. I mean, where did it even come from?

Shh...”, he hisses, interrupting my thoughts. “There.”

This time, I see it right away. It's a chipmunk and I want to hit it so badly. We both know that we need this catch. Gale and I raise our bows simultaneously. I pull out an arrow and draw the bow.

All the sudden, I feel Gale tense up. We've been hunting together for a few years and I know his body really well. Whatever he's doing now, it's not normal. His bow is shaking and he tilts back his head slowly. “What?”, I hiss. The chipmunk freezes.

Gale's head jerks forward forcefully right when I release the arrow. His powerful sneeze echoes in the forest, while my arrow flies through the air and misses the chipmunk by a few inches.

Gale!”, I yell. “Damn it, I could have had that one! Why did you have to sneeze?”

He looks at me all apologetically and I immediately regret yelling at him.

I don't know”, he says and rubs his nose again. “I'm sorry, I couldn't hold it back.”

Alright then”, I say, sort of grumpy. As my anger about the lost chipmunk vanishes, my concern for Gale returns. He never sneezes. Especially not more than once!

Are you feeling alright?”, I ask as we move on.

Of course!”, he exclaims like I insulted him just by asking. “Catnip, it's nothing!”

I shrug and we move on. It's hard to actually worry about Gale. He's always so tough.

We jump across a small stream and I see them. A bunch of turkeys. They're picking food off the ground and are not even noticing us. I point towards them, but Gale already spotted them. We both draw our bows and release the first two arrows in synch. I hit one. He hits one. I shoot again and hit another one in the eye. He misses. The birds rush off quickly.

I feel a smile spread on my face. Three turkeys. That should do for tonight.

Good job, Catnip”, Gale grins and gives me a pat on the back.

You too, Gale.”

You got two, girl.”

I smile and we go to pick up our kills. I know that Gale's little sister loves turkey. She'll be happy.

As we bent down, it happens again. “Hu-ISH-OO!” The first one caught him off-guard. I can tell by the shocked look on his face and the fact that he made no effort to cover it up. Then he tries to suppress the next sneezes, desperately pinching his nose shut, but they're just too powerful.

Huh-eshh-eww! Ha...ha...a-choo! Hu-tcheww! It-choo!”

I raise my eyebrows at him. He ignores me and goes back to picking up the turkeys. I'm not really sure what to do. Gale is two years older than me and he's never weak. Even when we were both sick last winter, he didn't seem that bothered. He just went on as usual. Now it's different. He sniffles really wetly and his eyes look red and bothered. I don't know what to say. Gale is my hunting partner and I want him to be healthy. I'm sure he feels the same way about me. But taking care of each other? Not really something we would do.

So?”, he says sharply, interrupting my thoughts. “You gonna pick up that turkey, Catnip, or should I just take them all home?”

No. I got it”, I hiss back and bent down to pick it up. I want to help Gale and make him feel better, but it's hard when he's all defensive like right now. I just wish I knew what's wrong with him.

Alright then”, he says, desperately trying to make his congested voice sound normal. “It's getting... d... dark. We should... um... huh... ah.”

Yes?”

We should get back to... um.... huh... huh-essh-OO! E-shoo! Ha-ISH-ew!

He doubles over, buries his face in the crook of his elbow and drops one of the turkeys at the same time. After his last sneeze, we both just stand still. He's apparently waiting for another sneeze to come, I'm just completely confused. Gale's eyelids shut again, as he wrinkles his nose and anticipates one final sneeze. “Huh... huh... HA-ngg-TCHEW!”

The force of it make him drop the second turkey, too.

Wow”, I say, feeling overwhelmed. “Are you sure you're okay, Gale?”

Yes”, he groans. “I keep telling you! It's nothing! Have you never seen a person sneeze before?!”

Not you”, I answer quietly, but he decides to ignore it.

Just stop worrying about me, okay?”, he says irritably. I know he's truly embarrassed. It's not like him to be so weak and out of control and it puts us both in an uncomfortable position. “Let's go home and cook these turkey, alright?”, suggests Gale now and I nod.

As we head back to the fence, carrying our kills, I observe Gale closely, trying to decide whether he is getting sick. I notice that his nose is extremely runny. He has to wipe it every five seconds. Even though he tries to turn his head away and do it discretely with his sleeve, I see it every single time.

Also, his eyes are watering and he rubs them a lot, as if they were itchy. Apart from that, he seems alright though. He's walking straight. He's not sweating, so no fever.

In fact, he seems as strong and tough as always, except for... “Hu-ee-choo!”

Bless you”, I murmur and he mumbles a thanks, avoiding to look at me.

He sneezes another five times before we finally reach the fence. I keep wanting to ask him whether he's feeling okay, but I'm afraid he'll get even more embarrassed and yell at me.

Gale is looking down at his feet, rubbing his nose again. That's why I see them first and grab his arm, quickly pulling him back behind a tree.

What?”, he asks loudly.

Shhhh....!!”

What?”, he repeats more quietly this time and frowns.

Peacekeepers”, I whisper. “They're right by the fence.”

What?”, he says for the third time, shocked. “Do you think they're waiting for us?”

I shake my head slightly. “It's probably just another of those patrols.” I risk a peek at them, then quickly hide behind the tree again. “They're just walking along the fence.”

What now?”, says Gale and sniffles wetly. He looks miserable for a second and I have the sudden urge to hug him. The moment passes and I wonder what's going on with both of us.

We could try to sneak by them”, I say, feeling pretty uncertain about this myself. Can we actually make it? I know we can be silent. And quick. And we definitely need to get home!

Gale nods and says: “Let's try.” We step out from behind the tree, leaving the safety of the forest. “Let's run over to those bushes first!”, whispers Gale and we move quickly, like we do when we chase something, but don't want to be seen. I keep my eyes on the bushes and duck behind them as soon as we get there. The Peacekeepers keep walking along the fence. I don't think anybody turned their heads. It seems like we've gone unnoticed so far.

Gale and I sit right next to each other. Our arms and part of our thighs touch. I can hear his aggravated breath. It's weird. It was just a short sprint. He shouldn't be out of breath...

Oh no...”, I whisper, as I see the Peacekeepers turn around. “They're coming back our way.”

It's okay... they-”, Gale sniffles. “They're probably just on their way back.”

I hold my breath and so does Gale. Then he makes a noise. “Huh...”

Gale?” I grab his arm. He looks at me helplessly, sucking in his breath and wrinkling his nose.

I shake my head. If he sneezes now, they'll hear us! He has to hold it back! Please?

Gale covers his nose and mouth with one hand. I can tell he's trying hard to hold it back, but it's no use. His whole body shakes as the sneeze finally breaks through. “Huh-gkknh-choo!”

I suck in my breath and squeeze his hand. One of the Peacekeepers heard him. He's looking over to us, but he's staring at the forest behind us. My heart races in my chest.

Then he turns back to the group and moves on. He probably dismissed it as the sound of some sort of weird animal.

I let out a sigh and whisper: “That was close!”

Gale doesn't answer. I turn my head, feeling alarmed. And I was right. It's not over yet. He's not done. His dark hair is all messy from the way his head has been thrown around with the force of the sneezes, but he can't fix it right now. He needs his hand to squeeze his nose shut. I wish I could help him, but I don't know what to do. He's still fighting it, but another round of sneezes manage to escape from his nose anyway. “Huh-eh-shew! Hh-gggnk!! Hah-esh-aah! Hah-gnhxx!”

He sniffles, then looks at me apologetically, his hand still clasped in front of his nose and mouth. His eyes are watering and he looks miserable and really sorry. I want to tell him that it's okay, that I know he tried to hold it back, but I can't talk right now.

The Peacekeepers are looking over again. Two of them stopped walking. They're exchanging looks and talking. My whole body is tense. I imagine myself jumping up and shooting them, if they come any closer. Gale squeezes my hand. I'm scared, so scared.

Then they move on.

Catnip”, whispers Gale. “You can breathe again.”

I laugh with relief and take a deep breath. “Great job, Gale!”, I whisper, pretending to be mad. “You almost got us arrested! Why can't you control yourself?”

Katniss!” He didn't realize I was joking. “I don't know what just happened, alright? Can you just let it go and stop asking about it?”

I'm silent for a moment, then I whisper. “Are you getting sick, Gale?”

No!”, he answers fiercely. “How many times do I have to tell you? It's nothing!”

Fine. Still, it's too risky to get to the fence right now.”

Why? I'm fine.”

I know, Gale. It's just... if you sneeze again while we run over there, they'll hear us!”

I won't sneeze again! I promise! That's ridiculous!”

You can't really promise that, you know?”

Yes, I can! It's nothing and I can control myself! I won't sneeze again!”

Pss! Let's take this conversation back to the forest, okay?”

I can tell he's not happy with this, but we have to get back to the forest and he knows it. So we rush back to the safety of the trees, walk a bit and sit down underneath a huge birch tree.

I'm hungry”, states Gale. He sounds grumpy. He's probably mad that we didn't make it back home, which is understandable, because it was kind of his fault. And now it's getting dark.

I'm tired”, I say.

Gale looks at the turkey that we put down on the ground next to us. “Should we maybe have one?”

No! Gale! We need to bring them home! Think of Rory, Vick and Posy!”

Alright, alright!” He puts up his hands defensively. “We'll just wait a bit and then try to get to the fence again, right? I don't really want to spend the night in the forest.”

Can I lay down, though?”, I ask. My body is exhausted. We've been out hunting all afternoon and I haven't had a proper meal in too long. Gale smiles a little. “Sure, Catnip”, he says gently. I'm about to rest my head on the ground, when he offers me his lap with a tap of his hand. I accept the offer and rest my head on his strong muscles and the fabric of his pants.

You want to take a nap?”, he asks. “I'll watch you and wake you up in a little while.”

Hm”, I say. I do feel kind of tired, but I don't really want to seem weak, either.

I don't have to answer, though, because right then Gale's nose decides to act up again. He bends over and sneezes into his hand, close to my head. “Huh-ESH!! Hah-esh-ooh!”

Gale!” I can't take it anymore. “What's wrong with you?”

He looks down at me. Sniffles. Shrugs. And admits: “I don't know, Catnip.”

Well, we have to find out what this is! We'll never shoot anything again if you keep scaring every animal in this forest off with your sneezes!”

He laughs a little. “I wish I knew how to stop this. I... huh-esh-eww! Hah-rush-ooh! Ah-hgnk!”

He rubs his nose on his shoulder and gently strokes my hair with his free hand. The sensation is strange, but I'm too tired to resist it. Still, I want to get to the bottom of this, so I think hard. “It all started on the maddow, didn't it?”

Did it?”

Yah, when I made the wreath for Prim. Is it still on my head?”

Gale touches it. “Amazingly, yes. I think she'll like it. These flowers are really beautiful.” He gently picks one out of my hair and holds it up to his face. Right then, his expression changes again. He loses all control and goes into a fit of six sneezes.

Gale!”, I yell and sit up.

I'b sorry”, he mumbles all congested, but that's not what I meant. I know what it is now!

The flowers! I've never seen them before! I think they're making you sneeze!”

He frowns. “You think?”

Of course! It started on that maddow when we first saw them, and then I kept them on my head in the wreath, so when ever I was near you, it made you sneeze again!”

He nods. “Okay. Makes sense, I guess.”

Let's test the theory”, I say and giggle a little as I pick the wreath off my head and hold it to his nose. Gale tries to push me away, but a new sneeze fit takes over his body and he is completely at the mercy of his nose.

I laugh and say: “Now I know how to tease you!”

The sneezing subsides after a while and he growls: “Don't do that to me ever again!”

I hold up my hands. “I'm sorry. It wasn't funny. See? I'll throw these away!” I toss the wreath away from me and it breaks as it falls to the ground.

Sorry, Prim”, Gale says sheepishly.

At least we know what it is now.”

I told you I wasn't getting sick”, he says triumphantly.

I smile and nod. It's a relief for sure. If Gale was sick right now, I wouldn't know how to go on.

We stay underneath the tree for a while and I rest my head in his lap again. He sneezes occasionally, but now that the flowers are gone, the sneezes are getting weaker and he manages to stifle them.

After a while, Gale gently rubs my shoulder and I get up. We head back to the fence in the twilight and are relieved to see that the Peacekeepers have left. We manage to sneak through the hole. I try not to let my guard down, even though I'm so tired and hungry, but it's not necessary. Nobody is watching us. We're not in any danger.

We decide that Gale should take home two turkeys and I'll take just one, but the biggest one we got. If there are left-overs at his house, he'll bring them over tomorrow.

Well, today was fun”, I say a little awkwardly. Gale still doesn't look like his usual self with his eyes so red and watery and his nose just as red and runny.

Can we never talk about this again?”, he says, apparently still embarrassed.

And avoid that maddow?”, I suggest with a smile.

Good idea”, he groans and turns around. Over his shoulder, he says: “See you tomorrow, Catnip.”

Bye, Gale.” We leave in opposite directions and I chuckle, realizing that nothing can hurt Gale Hawthrone, except a tiny and delicate pink flower...

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Oh gosh Sophie, I loved this SO much. There were so many things in it that REALLY gel with what I like and I assumed that I'd asked for them on the Secret Santa thing, but I just went and read what I'd sent again and there's not a lot on there at all apart from characters and fandoms and male allergies, so I don't know how you did it, but you've hit on a ton of things that are just my favourite ever. I'm so flattered by the work you've put into it. Such an awesome awesome Secret Santa. If the one I'm filling ends up a tenth as good as this I'll be over the moon. So, yeah, I wanted to write you a list of all my favourite things.

1. The setting and the characters just ring so true, and that's what I wanted more than anything. It feels like it could just, almost, happen for real, and that makes it really hot.

2. I love Gale, especially in the books, for his stubborn rebelliousness. I always thought Katniss was a little more practical with it, like, she'd pick her battles, but Gale would rail against the Capitol at every opportunity, You really captured that element of his character, which was awesome :D

3. Ohhhh man. I love Gale just starting to get allergic, and trying to hold it back and not wanting to tell Katniss.

4. I love the sneezes! (That probably goes without saying...) but also the way you write them, the build-ups and the interruption of his speech and the spellings! Yum, yum, yum, yum, yum!

5. I love how they're both so confused by the whole thing, Gale is just adorable being so blinky and uncertain whether he's finished. And oh - the stuffy-nose talk!

6. There's sneezing-whilst-trying-to-be-quiet and sneezing-whilst-hiding! And the stakes are so much higher because they haven't eaten and I love the tension and frustration of the whole thing. And his complete inability to hold back the sneeze when they're hunting the chipmunk! Be still my heart!

7. They caught turkeys! And now they can have Christmas dinner! That makes me happy :D

8. Awww... after all that denial, Gale seems so vulnerable when he finally admits that he doesn't know what's wrong with him. I LOVE allergy attacks where it takes a while to figure out the cause, btw.

9. Mmmmm... I love characters being allergic to other characters. So awesome. (Again, how did you know???)

10. So hot, them testing out the allergy, and Katniss teasing him about it and Gale being all snappy! And then he's so embarrassed. Love it!

This was just such an amazing present. You made me smile so much. I'm SO grateful. You're the best!

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SexualOddity....! YOU made ME really happy with that long answer!! smile.png I kept smiling throughout! I think it's amazing that I was right about so many of your preferences! I'm just so happy that you enjoyed it, that's all I wanted!

Oh and... judging by your Supernatural fics, I'm sure the person you write for will be overjoyed and extremely thankful, because you're so good! Again, really glad that I managed to make you happy! Thank you for taking the time to reply in such detail! (:

Merry Christmas, girl!

newyear.gif

Omg I can't even explain how perfection this is ^-^ amazing <3

Aww... Deathy, thanks so much! c: I'm really glad you enjoyed! I didn't even know you liked the Hunger Games! (;

Mod note - merged posts

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SexualOddity....! YOU made ME really happy with that long answer!! smile.png I kept smiling throughout! I think it's amazing that I was right about so many of your preferences! I'm just so happy that you enjoyed it, that's all I wanted!

Oh and... judging by your Supernatural fics, I'm sure the person you write for will be overjoyed and extremely thankful, because you're so good! Again, really glad that I managed to make you happy! Thank you for taking the time to reply in such detail! (:

Merry Christmas, girl!

newyear.gif

Omg I can't even explain how perfection this is ^-^ amazing <3

Aww... Deathy, thanks so much! c: I'm really glad you enjoyed! I didn't even know you liked the Hunger Games! (;

Mod note - merged posts

. There's a lot people know about me :P . Haha. But no problem :)
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How did I not see this before!? It's so cute :) I love gale and the fact that he's got allergies is just so- gahh idk. Very good story and great plot. Also the whole sneezing-while-hiding thing is very classic ain't it? :P great job once again. Loved it.

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