Rue's Lullaby: The Souce.

A/N: The origins of Rue's lullaby and the impact it unknowingly had on the first and second great rebellions of the Panem era. Dark, serious one shot. Follows the rebellion in it's infancy to it's defeat and beyond.

A lot of thought was put into writing this, so I hope you enjoy. The quotes and verses are italicized to distinguish between what I copied and what I wrote myself.

'Mockingbird' was intentionally put in the first few paragraphs because it was set before the first rebellion, whereas 'mockingjay' will be seen in the later paragraphs as the setting would be during or post-war.

Disclaimer: I don't own, don't make money, don't claim. So don't bother me.


"The song that comes to me is a simple lullaby, one we sing fretful, hungry babies to sleep with. It's old, very old I think. Made up long ago in our hills. What my music teacher calls a mountain air. But the words are easy and soothing, promising tomorrow will be more hopeful than this awful piece of time we call today." ~ Katniss Everdeen, The Hunger Games: Chapter 18.


Deep in the meadow, under the willow
A bed of grass, a soft green pillow
Lay down your head, and close your eyes
And when they open, the sun will rise

Here it's safe, and here it's warm
Here the daisies guard you from every harm
Here your dreams are sweet–
–and tomorrow brings them true
Here is the place where I love you.

Deep in the meadow, hidden far away
A cloak of leaves, a moonbeam ray
Forget your woes and let your troubles lay
And when again it's morning, they'll wash away

Here it's safe, and here it's warm
Here the daisies guard you from every harm
Here your dreams are sweet–
– and tomorrow brings them true
Here is the place where I love you.

Here is the place where I love you.


It originated as a mother stood alone in a meadow completely at odds to the one she was describing in song. The ground was barren and dusty, the trees starved of water, their branches bare of leaves. Her voice was sweet as it could be with her pain so clear for the world to see.

The limp body of her baby lay before her, still covered in blood and tears. The chest was still and no breath came from it. As the body grew cold, the final words of the song fell quiet and the woman reached for the kitchen knife.

She failed as a mother and her child didn't even get to breathe in the world she brought it in far too early. Blame weighed her shoulders down more than sacks of rocks and sand ever could.

Her husband heard the song as he ran to her, as did the few mockingbirds that lived in trees. The words were beautiful and daunting and broken from sobs and screams. Neither could stop the woman before she was consumed by the agony and the pain and let the knife plunge hilt-deep into her chest.

The man sank to his knees when he finally reached them. The blood that soaked the dry dirt matched the blood of her still-born child. His scream carried startlingly well through the woods and to the village.

At their funeral, the husband sang the song for the entire village to hear, before walking away into the dying woods, never to be seen again. Legend has it he drowned himself soon afterwards. The swan-song of his deceased love, however, lived on.


"Shh, babe. Don't need to cry." As the grandmother crooned to the baby in her arms, all too aware of it's tiny limbs and wide-eyed innocence, she stole worried glances to the world outside. The window was dirtied and cracked, not that the town outside was any more clean.

Still the child kept crying, so the grandmother blessed it with a song she remembered from her childhood. The crying didn't stop, but the wails died down in their fervor. So young, and it knew it's loss. There was nothing the old woman could do but sit and wait with a brittle hope.

By the small fireplace, a young boy watched the flickering tails of fire with a cold stare. His youthful face swallowed up by the eyes that seemed to have seen things no child should have needed to. Aged far too soon from conditions and circumstances out of their control.

"Mama and papa aren't coming back, are they?"

Instead of answering, the old woman rocked in her wooden chair and raised her voice so that the lullaby carried better. It was easier than thinking. It was better than truly hearing the brittle pain in the boy's voice.

"They spoke up against our leader. That's not allowed."

The baby started crying again, and the old woman tried to quieten it with warm milk from a stained bottle. It was the best they could get. She ignored the boy and concentrated on the infant in her arms.

Finally, the baby fell in to a fitful sleep and the soothing melody of the lullaby stopped, leaving only a dry, heavy silence.

"Why can't I remember their faces?"

The grandmother looked at her grandson and a tear fell from her eyes. It had been hours since the boy came back to the house far too empty with eyes far too perceptive. Her voice was sweet when she sang, but when she spoke, it rasped as if she hadn't spoken in years.

"They swapped their lives for yours. But the government demanded for your memories, too."


The gunshot sounded and echoed for several long moments before reality sunk in to the people.

The father stared at the body of his daughter, skin taut over bones, body thinned from long periods of starvation. He blinked back tears, wondering why there wasn't much blood. Maybe she simply had no blood to spare from her weakened body. She didn't even cry out in pain, she just stopped halfway through her words and slumped to the floor.

He couldn't move, couldn't breathe, but he felt his brother—her uncle—move beside him, voice filled with anger and hurt and seething fury. "What was that for? She had done no wrong by you! Defenseless, non-threatening, a mere child! What gave you the right to shoot her point-blank?"

The soldier turned and there was a small smile gracing his features. "She was singing a childish lullaby during an official broadcast of the President himself. By law, there can be no talking or noise. I warned her to shut up."

"How can that justify her death?" Another townsperson spoke up, themselves close to the family. "The girl had a mental disability for God's sake. She didn't know better. Where's is your humility, man?"

The soldier casually adjusted the rifle, the metal flashing in the sunlight and the smell of smoke carrying past the masses of people as a light breeze picked up.

"I showed mercy. I waited until the President stopped speaking before shooting her, didn't I? It gave her enough time to finish that stupid little song. That is the mercy of the Capitol."

On official records, the soldier's death was one of the first of the rebellion. An "unprovoked attack" of a town that brutally stoned a soldier to death. The death of the girl went unnoticed, the body mysteriously disappearing, along with the entire town.

All that remains is a blackened crater with pieces of shrapnel, and local mockingbirds that remember the song and the sound of bullets and bombs. And so begun the rebellion.


The small girl sung the words to her dying father, not knowing why he was dying, only knowing that there was too much blood and that he died fighting for his freedom. The rebellion seemed so unimportant in the face of her father's slow death.

Slow, but far, far too quick. Were people meant to grow so pale?

His dying words made him cough up more blood. "Your voice is as beautiful as your mother's." Harsh, raw words that dripped of truth and desperation and acceptance.

Sobbing harder, singing all the while, the small child hadn't the heart to stop and remind him that her mother was killed in a bomb raid by the Capitol a week earlier. No matter; it seemed he was losing consciousness anyway. Her voice broke and wavered, but he motioned for her to continue with weak fingers that seemed to have trouble moving.

Pale as her hands were, they seemed bleached white from the dark blood running down her fingers as she tried futilely to stop the bleeding. The hem of her dress soaked the run-off almost greedily.

All she could give him was the gift of song. As she cried, she truly wondered whether it was enough. It wasn't, but she kept going.

The song finished and her crying was quiet enough to be swallowed whole by the darkness of the night.


The government held too much power while the working class held none. Dictatorship with an iron fist while the masses trembled under the weight. It was inevitable that the strain would accumulate until it was too much.

The balance was wrong. Always too much or too little. With the rebellion, it was forced more out of whack.

Too many starving, not enough food. Too many tears, too many children crying, not enough laughter. They'd loss their niece to starvation, the child too caring for its own good. She always gave her rations to her brother, and for her kindness lay dead in a grave her brother dug. Last they'd heard, he refused to speak and would only eat if they said that the dead niece had offered the food.

Too many deaths, too many bodies, not enough time for funerals, not enough graves. His mother-in-law had died by gunfire, his uncle by disease, and his father by a suicide-bomb. They were all buried in a mass grave that didn't seem big enough for the huge pile of nameless corpses.

The balance was completely wrong.

The farmer-turned-makeshift-warrior watched his house crumble as his fields were razed to the ground with torrents of man-made fire. He turned and drained the last of the whiskey, a small treat to the ill or the dying as frivolous luxuries such as alcohol had quickly dwindled in the first days of the war.

Too many injuries, too many illnesses, not enough medicine, not enough doctors. The man's leg was being eaten away by infection. Should he have to wait much longer for the right medicines, he'd have to lose it or suffer a painful death. His wife was out back sterilizing the hand saw they had once used to fall trees.

Through the comfortable haze of alcohol dimming his vision and slowing his thoughts, he hummed an age-old lullaby to himself as he watched his weeping wife approach him with the glinting blade.

As the fire raged on behind her, she looked like a avenging angel. Her beauty didn't dim the pain one bit as his leg was hacked off. Ironically, the howl of the fires kept them safe, drowning out the sounds of the man's screams and the woman's shrieks.


Strangely enough, the district with the least amount of glory was the inaugural champion of the infamous Hunger Games. It wasn't a spectacular arena, but there was plenty of blood and murder and the Capitol cheered each and every one of them.

District 12 was the winner of the first ever Hunger Games. People forgot or cared not to remember though, probably because the victor went insane quickly after. Not something Panem chose to advertise except to re-enforce the message: this is what we do to your children for your rebellion; this is your unending punishment.

No one could blame her though. She was forced to kill so many people. Blood stained her clothes when she left the arena. It was brutal, cold and unforgiving. Her mind couldn't handle the guilt. Maybe the heaviest burden was when she had to kill her brother. Either way, it took three people to restrain her and stop her screaming when they were leading her away from the body.

Fame and fortune didn't give her any more life. If anything, they drained it from her. District 12 shunned her, unable to look at the girl who they watched kill to only be rewarded with riches as their stomachs rumbled with hunger. In the early stages of the games, the districts received no additional reward for a victor—there were no celebrations, only anger and sadness.

All she did until her days ran out was sing a lullaby about a meadow with flowers. She died thin, starving, and uncaring, she died without knowing her brother let her win, and never knowing that the blood that ran through her veins was faintly related to the original creator of the song she chanted even on her death bed.


Katniss singing the song for Rue was the real spark of rebellion, subtle as it was. Although slightly paraphrased, it was an old lullaby most of the districts knew. It made them wonder about a time they could talk freely to those in other districts. If they shared a child's song with a girl from District 12, what's to say they couldn't get another message through?

By following through with the last wishes of a girl who's loyalties lay with a district that was not her own, she showed teamwork. Endangering her position by singing beautifully, breaking the silence of the woods? That was something never before seen. To risk one's own existence for someone who was already dead?

The song was sweet and dry, innocence that survived years of bloodshed and indiscriminate violence.

It reminded them of better times. It reminded them of rebellion. It reminded them of hope.

The lullaby lay down the network of explosives. The berries lit the fuse.


A/N: This plot bunny has been gnawing at me for ages, so I'm glad I've finally got it written down. I really should be finishing the conclusion of my trilogy, but can't be stuffed.

Hope you enjoyed, so can you review?