Gale, who I have never seen cry, has tears in his eyes. To keep them from spilling over, I reach forward and press my lips against his. We taste of heat, ashes, and misery. It's a surprising flavor for such a gentle kiss. He pulls away first and gives me a wry smile. "I knew you'd kiss me."
"How?" I say. Because I didn't know myself.
"Because I'm in pain," he says. "That's the only way I get your attention." He picks up the box. "Don't worry, Katniss. It'll pass." (8.69-71)
"[…] I knew I'd misjudged you. That you do love him. I'm not saying in what way. Maybe you don't know yourself. But anyone paying attention could see how much you care about him," he says gently.
Anyone? On Snow's visit before the Victory Tour, he challenged me to erase any doubts of my love for Peeta. "Convince me," Snow said. It seems, under that hot pink sky with Peeta's life in limbo, I finally did. And in doing so, I gave him the weapon he needed to break me. (11.19-20)
"We were outside at the end of the day. I tried to catch your eye. You looked away. And then... for some reason, I think you picked a dandelion." I nod. He does remember. I have never spoken about that moment aloud. "I must have loved you a lot."
"You did." My voice catches and I pretend to cough.
"And did you love me?" he asks.
I keep my eyes on the tiled floor. "Everyone says I did. Everyone says that's why Snow had you tortured. To break me." (16.83-86)