How we cite our quotes:
They both laugh. It's so strange to hear them talking like this. Almost like friends. Which they're not. Never have been. Although they're not exactly enemies. (23.82)
Funny enough, the one thing that brings Peeta and Gale closer together is also what will always keep them apart: their shared love for Katniss. They both love her and don't know if she loves them back, or at least whom she loves the most. She's the one who holds the power – she's the center of their love triangle.
I wrap my arms around his neck, feel his arms hesitate before they embrace me. Not as steady as they once were, but still warm and strong. A thousand moments surge through me. All the times these arms were my only refuge from the world. Perhaps not fully appreciated then, but so sweet in my memory and now gone forever. (24.42)
Katniss turns to Peeta for comfort one last time, just as she turned to him for comfort so many times – "a thousand" – during the Games and the victory tour. Has anything of their friendship remained? Will she ever see him again? This might be the last time they'll ever embrace – the last time she will ever see or get to hold on to her friend.
Heart pounding, adrenaline burning through me, everyone is my enemy. Except Gale. My hunting partner, the one person who has my back. There's nothing to do but move forward, killing whoever comes into our path. (24.60)
In the Games, Katniss didn't have Gale at her "back" – she didn't have him to rely on, to be a team with. Instead, she had Peeta, whose skills complemented hers, but who – let's face it – was never a fighter. Gale can protect her and work with her in ways that Peeta just can't.