Disclaimer: I do not own The Hunger Games in any shape or form.

To Kill a Mockingjay

I thought that being picked for the Hunger Games would be the most terrifying experience of my life. And being stung by a tracker-jacker when I was ten would be the most painful.

I was wrong. Both times.

The most terrifying moment was when I got caught up in this net, knowing that it wouldn't end well.

The most painful isn't feeling the spear enter my body, just as Katniss arrives. It's knowing that I'll never see my family again. That they're in our house, right now, watching me die. That Janel is probably covering Raym's eyes so my five-year-old brother can't watch his sister be killed; and Janel wishes that I could be there to do the same for her. That Veera and Gidde stopped arguing when they heard me scream. That Hafen – my baby brother – will lie there and wonder what all the big people are looking at.

It's knowing that I'll never laugh again. I'll never jump from tree-to-tree. I'll never get to watch Gidde achieve his dream of becoming a writer, or talk about boys with Janel. Hafen will never even know me. I'll never sing.

It's knowing that what we all guessed came true: I had no chance of surviving the Games.

I hold my hand out and she takes it. My eyes focus on her badge. Everyone knew her as the girl on fire but to me, she was the girl with the mockingjay pin. That's what set her apart.

When I was little, Papa used to call me his 'little mockingjay'. Not when I got older but when I was young and scared. That's why I trusted Katniss. I needed someone to love, someone who would keep me safe.

"You blew up the food?" I whisper. I'm not sure why it's important. Maybe because I want to have died for a reason. If she wins, then I'll win too. I'll have helped.

She says she did.

"You have to win," I tell her. I don't care that Thresh winning would give my family food for a year. Katniss needs to go home and see Primrose. She needs to be the sister I can't be.

She promises she will.

The cannon fires and she loosens her grip. Panic fills me. She's leaving. I don't want to die alone.

"Don't go," I plead, tightening my grip. I feel like a young child. But, isn't that what I am?

"Course not. Staying right here," she assures me. I sigh with relief as she pulls my head into her lap and moves some of my hair. I feel like I'm five again, and Mama is looking after me.

Thinking of Mama makes me wish for music. A good song. Something to keep the terrors away. I don't want to die scared. I want to die like my Uncle did – in his sleep – or like Raym's twin did, one week after he was born, too young to know the meaning of fear.

"Sing," I say, barely having enough breath for that word. That scares me. I've never run out of breath so quickly before.

In the silence, I think that she will not agree. She doesn't like music. Maybe she doesn't know how much I need this.

"Deep in the meadow, under the willow."

She has a beautiful voice. How can she not like music when she sings so well?

"A bed of grass, a soft green pillow."

It's like being sung to sleep. Like Mama does after a hard day.

"Lay down your head, and close your sleepy eyes."

If I don't open them, I'm in bed. That's all. Sleeping, not dying.

"And when again they open, the sun will rise."

And I won't be scared anymore. I won't be in danger.

"Here it's safe, here it's warm."

What happens when you die? When Uncle Rishet died, Papa said we go to a magical place where everything is perfect. When Terun died, Mama said he just went to sleep.

"Here the daisies guard you from every harm."

This is the safest I've ever been. I'm dying in a girl's arms, who I only met two days ago, and it's the safest I've ever been.

"Here your dreams are sweet and tomorrow brings them true."

Do you dream when you die? If you sleep then maybe you do. I don't know. I never asked.

"Here is the place where I love you."

I can't open my eyes now. I can barely breathe. And her voice is getting fainter.

"Deep in the meadow, hidden far away."

Are my family listening? Can they see this? Raym will have fought his way out of Janel's arms. I hope this doesn't hurt him. I hope he doesn't get nightmares.

"A cloak of leaves, a moonbeam ray."

I used to love to sit with Papa, Gidde and Veera in the night and look at the moon. Papa always held Gidde, telling him to look out for monsters. I did the same with Veera. No one held me.

"Forget your woes and let your troubles lay."

So this is one last chance to be happy. This is the death I knew I couldn't have when they called my name at the Reaping. With someone I love by my side.

"And when again it's morning, they'll wash away."

I wonder if my brothers and sisters will tell their children about their Aunt Rue. Or will I be washed out of memory? Just one more failed tribute.

"Here it's safe, here it's warm."

I'm still scared. Mama, I'm scared. Can you hold me, Papa, like you hold Raym? Like you held me when I was younger. Can I be your little mockingjay one more time?

"Here the daisies guard you from every harm."

I can see Terun and Uncle Rishet in front of me. Terun looks just like Raym. He even holds his hand out, like Raym does when he wants to know I'm there. Uncle Rishet is smiling at me.

"Here your dreams are sweet and tomorrow brings them true."

I know I'm imagining it but I can sense my family behind me. Mama, Papa, Janel, Veera … all of them. Waving to me. Katniss stands nearby. Mockingjays fly around them. They all open their mouths but only Katniss' voice breaks through.

"Here is the place where I love you."

Terun holds my fingers. Uncle Rishet puts a hand on my back to guide me, just like he did when he was alive. I hold the tears in as I turn to look at my family, one last time.

I see them mouth the last line of Katniss' song. I need to sing something back. My farewell. Not the last line of the lullaby. My own last line.

It is very shaky. My voice cracks on the final note.

I walk away with Terun and Uncle Rishet. Tears drip down my face as I quietly sing the line again.

"Everywhere is the place where I love you too."