All Characters belong to either Markus Zusak © or Suzanne Collins ©.
An idea that I'm surprised I haven't seen before on this site. I'm afraid Death is slightly OOC.
So much time. So much death. So much life.
I hadn't been so busy since what the humans called the apocalypse, when people crawled over each other and stepped on their brothers faces to climb into my arms. When people pushed little buttons that destroyed the reality they lived in. All of it was an attempt for peace.
I'd have to sit a man down and ask him about that one day. Or a woman. Either of them would be fine if they gave me a straight answer. I'd wait for someone to sit up at my appearance before I asked. They'd be the most consolable, the easiest to question.
Most of the people I collected around that time were brats that cried how unfair it was they'd been taken. I refused to speak to them. It's never fair. It wasn't fair that the human race was dying and that the Earth had finally decided to fight back against her inhabitants. It wasn't fair that humans thought the Earth would take what they'd given to her.
So the countries fought and people died. Nothing was new in the world and I was busy. Places changed name, but the Earth continued to absorb the people's blood and tears. It never changed. It probably never will.
There was now a country called Panem. And in that country lived humans that were just as human as the beings I'd always picked up.
But one day, I sat in a hall of decision making people as they decided to kill children for politics. That was the gist of what I understood. I had other things to do, other people to collect (a plague had just broken out in Eastern Europe at the time), but I'd decided that a matter involving killers most likely applied to me. I was a little surprised that they hadn't invited me to the meeting.
After that, I watched on as people became less human than I'd ever seen and it killed me to see their children die. It killed me to see their children kill other people's children. I pictured it as nothing other than forced murder, though there were no trials. Only celebrations.
And then, one day, there was a man that liked to sing, who died with a sky of black and a family's image in his eyes. A girl became his daughter and I met her many more times that I'd ever met The Book Thief. This girl was small and bony and thin. She shot arrows with the bow of her father and cared for the family he left behind. She befriended a soldier and fire burnt in her veins. But she wasn't that person yet, the one I saw echoing from her future. Two words changed her.
The words to change a world:
Around that time of year, I spend quite a lot of time in the area (people die of broken upset hearts to see their children die and, of course, children died as well), so I had the chance to see how the Girl on Fire's death games played out.
I usually tried not to sit in the humans' arenas too long. They were violent places of lost screams and useless begging for my brother, Life, to keep them longer. I was collecting a boy named Marvel (whom hadn't died in the nicest way, but pleasant deaths rarely occurred nowadays) when I turned to see Katniss Everdeen sitting with a girl named Rue whom I had to collect in a few minutes anyway.
With Marvel in my arms, we watched Katniss Everdeen sing to her friend as she died. I picked Rue up like a parent would to a child (which she was no more than) and held her whilst I watched the Girl on Fire place flowers around her friend's body. Marvel couldn't watch anything but tiny Rue. I could feel the unsaid apologies as his tears fell onto my cloak.
That was the first time Katniss Everdeen struck a chord with me. But, being in this place, I knew we'd meet again. So I took Marvel and Rue home and returned to the arena to collect another named Clove.
I had to pull a knife out of her soul's hands just to carry her. It wasn't possible for her to puncture my own body, but it wasn't something I wanted to carry. A boy named Cato held Clove's body and all she could say was "We thought we could go home," and I knew I'd be collecting him soon enough.
Less than a beat later, I was in a cave, waiting to take away a boy named Peeta Mellark as his body tried to kill him from the inside. He was too weak to sit up and just as I was about to help him, Katniss Everdeen plunged a syringe into his heart and made this particular journey unneeded.
I only met her once more that year. She gave an arrow to the boy named Cato as creations I hadn't ever met before bounded off into unnatural forests. I stood by as Peeta Mellark and Katniss Everdeen almost killed each other because my bones told me they'd die soon. I learnt it wasn't something uncommon with this new breed of Hunger Game humans. Cato sat on my shoulder and said, "That should've been me," as I pressed my hands to the glass Katniss Everdeen banged against.
Low and behold, it wasn't to be the last time I met her by accident. Katniss Everdeen was a girl that I surrounded in mind and body and soul. She fought and killed and didn't die, even when she should've. She was there when I collected a woman sitting alone in a fog that melted her skin. She was there when Peeta Mellark was protected by a mad woman with years of intoxicants in her veins.
Katniss Everdeen was always there, through so many deaths, I wondered if she was contagious. But it wasn't something that'd happened before and humans were all the same.
There was once a day where I sat down and read The Book Theif's story again, not for the last time. I sat in the forest and ignored the itching in my legs to collect the souls that needed collecting. I just wanted a short holiday and it was all I ever wanted. Ten minutes would only make my job harder, but I didn't mind all that much as long as I got a break.
So I sat and read and she jumped out from the trees with branches in her arms and a smile on her face. She turned to Gale Hawthorne and I watched them set a trap for an animal like I did for the humans. And as she smiled at her dear friend, I decided that I wouldn't mind seeing her again as long as she smiled at least once.
I tailed the Girl on Fire through a complex of the killed and took them all into my arms as they climbed onto me. I took Finnick Odair and he laughed as he sat in my arms and complained of a headache. I smiled too, for we'd met before. Neither the laugh nor the headache were genuine, but if it made it easier I was all for it. When I looked up, I saw her staring down at us with an air of remembering.
Primrose Everdeen jumped into my arms, hugged me around the neck and told me she hated me. She said she wanted to protect people from me. I told her not to hate the messenger and that emotions helped no one. She moved out the way for the other children to climb onto my back and offered to walk when it looked as though the young souls were too much for me. As I explained that it didn't work that way, I saw the dark girl hiding under blood and skin as she was carried away and I almost though I'd be collecting her there and then.
The last time I met the Girl on Fire before her death was a time where she was the killer and a part of an almost suicide case. An arrow shot straight through the heart of someone who wasn't supposed to die and a man who thought the entire situation humorous. I must admit, I was glad to have Coriolanus Snow in my grasp. He'd made my job all the more difficult these last few years.
So you see, Katniss Everdeen and I are old acquaintances and one day she shall die. Thy sky will bleed red with her fire or green like her home. Or white like the plant for which she was named. She'll be the one I'll ask about war. Already, I know she'll sit up at my presence. Though I can think of many of her friends that could explain just as well.
Peeta Mellark would be one to explain the issues more eloquently. Gale Hawthorne might tell me the story from a soldier's point of view. Though, I'd met too many soldiers in my existence. Haymitch Abernathy had looked me in the eye before; he'd probably curse me for not taking him in his drunken stupor. But oh, how did they not understand that if I'd taken any of them earlier than their time, they'd have missed everything?
All of them, I could imagine sitting up to meet me. They would all be ready for me if I came.
So, if I blink once more, I might open my eyes in time for the Girl on Fire's flame to snuff out. I just hope her Boy with the Bread will be there to hold her hand as she leaves. It's not something unknown for couples such as them, but I hope they go together.
Katniss Everdeen sat up to meet me and sang to her now grown children and their children as they cried at her scarred body. Peeta Mellark held her hand and mentioned through whispered tears that he'd always stay with her. She smiled and kissed his cheek with ghostly lips.
The sky was white, not for her plant, but for her innocence.
She told me she wanted to wait for him to come to her and I said it didn't work that way. As an old and wrinkled woman, her eyes burned with the same stubbornness I saw when she stabbed Peeta with a syringe. She was determined.
So I picked her up over my shoulder and took her to the woods. She stared at me as though I was the worst evil and I told her who I was, even though she already knew.
I reminded her:
"I am Death."
Her mouth curled into a smile as she realised that I was real and this wasn't a nightmare. Her mind told me that she imagined that ones she'd killed to shoot her dead one by one as she walked towards me. Neither of us spoke as we considered things to tell the other. I wanted to tell her that she kept more people alive than those she had killed. I wanted to explain that she'd both made my job more difficult and easier.
She reminded me:
"I am the Mockingjay and we are friends."
I realised then that we were friends and that, though we wouldn't meet again and I hadn't a physical book to remind me of her life, I'd always remember her. Sensing my thoughts, she climbed behind me and I saw through her body as she plucked an arrow from the hollow of a log. She gave it to me.
I hid in my cloak next to the story of the Book Thief. Both objects, I would cherish profusely as they helped me to understand the humans I collected. They both made it easier to carry the souls of the dead, because both told the story of the living.
I didn't ask the Girl on Fire about peace and the war it takes to create. She'd already shown me the answer.
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