Disclaimer: I wish, but I don't own the Hunger Games.

Chapter One


"I want to go with them as a guard." Peeta's voice is determined: he's less willing than ever to let me out of his sight after the moment with the pearl. And to be perfectly honest, I don't want to leave him either. Not here, in the arena, where Brutus or Enobaria could get him. Even Finnick could easily turn around and literally stab him in the back.

"You're too slow. Besides, I need you this end. Katniss will guard." says Beetee. "There's no time to discuss this. I'm sorry. If the girls are to get out of there alive, they need to move now."

"Why can't Finnick go with Johanna? He can run faster than me." I pause, trying to think of another good reason without breaking the alliance. "And I can use my bow to guard here. I won't be able to use it properly if I am hanging on to the wire at the same time." Peeta nods vigorously, egging me on.

"Katniss and I have been working together for a while now, we do better together. And Finnick and Johanna know each other well, too."

"They have a point, Beetee." Purrs Finnick. "It's OK, we'll just drop the coil and come back up. Katniss is right; I can run faster than her, and we are more likely to meet Brutus and Enobaria down on the beach. Come on Johanna." The two of them run off, before Beetee can object further, Johanna looking happier about tis pairing than the previous one. I turn to Beetee.

"Right, what do you want us to do?"

"You and Peeta just stand on either side of the tree, and if you see Enobaria or Brutus, shoot. I need to concentrate, so I don't want a big fight down below distracting me." I roll my eyes, and he grins, then clambers up the tree.

The Arena is silent for a while, except for the clicking coming from the eleven to twelve o'clock wedge. Then, I heard a faint snick! Followed by a whirring noise, that sounded faintly metallic. Then Beetee gasped.

"No! They must know our plan!"

When the whirring stoped Beetee slid down the tree, and scooped up a branch from the ground. Then he turned to me.

"I'm sorry Katniss." Then he swung the branch around, and I felt a blast of pain on the side of my head. I wasn't quite unconscious; I couldn't move, but I could hear Peeta's yell, and saw him fall next to me.

No, no, no, no, no. How could this be happening? Beetee? He was the only tribute besides Peeta that I trusted even the tiniest amount. I became aware that Beetee had pulled out a knife. He lifted it, and then brought it down into my arm, digging through the flesh. I tried to scream, but my voice didn't respond. Then Beetee turned to Peeta. A cannon fired.

"No!" The thought of Beetee's knife plunging to Peeta's heart, of Peeta lying there, the life leaving his body, was enough to wake me out of my stupor. I swung my arm around, catching Beetee in the shoulder. He gasped, then stood up, brandishing his bloodied knife.

"Katniss! It's not what you think!" I grabbed my bow, but my arm was too weak to pull on the string. Then I saw the sight of a person standing behind Beetee, a person much more terrifying. Brutus.

"It's not what you think Katniss, Trust me! I'm only going to rip out your heart, but don't worry, it's for your own good!" Whined Brutus, mimicking Beetee's tone. "Purr-lease. I've had enough of this nonsense. Lets get this done!" He took a step towards me, raising his sword. "Got any last words, Girl on Fire? What about you, Volts?" I just stared at him, terrified. So this was how it was going to end. I could kill him now if Beetee hadn't injured my arm! Brutus grinned, just as three metal spikes poked out of his chest. He looked down in astonishment then crumpled to the ground. Standing in his place was Finnick, clutching his arm. A second cannon fired.

I turned my attention back to Beetee. Unable to use the bow, I punched him in the face with my good arm. He fell, unconscious. I was about to grab his knife to finish him off, when a low moan came from behind me. I turned, expecting, I don't know, Enobaria or one of those monkeys. But instead, I saw Peeta.

"Peeta! Peeta, are you OK?" he muttered something, but it was so low I couldn't hear him. "What did you say? Peeta!"

"I said, That's a stupid question. Does it look like I'm ok?" I look him over again. A heap of blood on his head, from where Beetee hit him, A deep gash in his arm. Extremely pale from loss of blood, and still not quite recovered from his encounter with the force field.

"No, I guess not." He smiled. I heard a rustling, so I turned away from Peeta, in case Beetee was waking back up. All I saw was Finnick wrapping the severed wire around Beetee's knife. Why was he doing that? The lightning might strike any second!

I sigh. If Finnick dies, that's one less tribute to get out of Peeta's way.

Suddenly, there is a huge crash, and the area filled with light. The lightening. I look away from Finnick, not wanting to see another person die. I have seen way to much death.

As I turn my head, I feel something whoosh past my face. I don't believe it! Finnick is about to die, and so he's thrown the knife at me, to kill me too. I know I want Peeta to survive, but it would be better if I stayed alive for a little longer. Finnick was going to die anyway, why take another person down with him?

My thoughts are interrupted as I get thrown backwards, away from the force field that is located near the tree. I manage to wrap my arms around Peeta so we stay together and so we are not separated by the blast. I lie on my back, Peeta groaning on top of me, and I see something I never thought I would. Or could. A hover craft was floating above me, a metal claw descending into the arena. But how? They couldn't take me, I was still alive. They couldn't take Finnick, as Peeta and I were still in the picture. But the claw wasn't going for Finnick. It was aiming at Peeta and me.

I tried to get up, to force myself to run, but I couldn't. The gash in my arm, the throbbing in my head, and the weight of Peeta's body against my chest were stopping my ability to move. I felt the claw wrap around the two of us and lift us off the ground. Well, at least we got to be together when we died.

As we flew through the air, carried by the metal claw, I could feel the blood seeping out of my arm and I knew that I was in trouble. I glanced at Peeta and saw that he was in the same boat.

Then we were in the hovercraft, and I saw a man standing over me. Plutarch Heavensbee. The Head Gamemaker. He leant over and pulled Peeta off me. I tried to hold him to my body, but I was now so weak I couldn't do anything. As I tried to struggle, I realized that I wasn't just weak; I couldn't move at all. I must be in shock or something. Once Peeta is off me, Plutarch leans over me and does the worst possible thing. He closes my eyes.

Maybe I am dead.