Fandom: The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins

Title: Crisis Averted

Rating: T

Word Count: 692

Summary: None of this would've happened if we had just set the girl on fire.

Prompt: Have any of you seen the HISHE Hunger Games Bonus Scene?

Genre: Tragedy

Disclaimer: If it's familiar, it likely belongs to my friend Suzanne Collins.

She's stuck in a tree.

She isn't quite sure how she got in this situation. Not just the fact that she's been treed like a frightened squirrel or the fact that she's trapped inside a forest with other children that are intent on murdering her at the first opportunity that presents itself. That all makes sense to her. That all happened based on her own choices. She chose to climb up this tree – even if it was more of an instinctual scramble than anything else – and she chose to fight her way onto that stage after a name that was not hers had been called.

No. What she isn't quite sure about is how things even got like this in the first place. Sitting in that tree with nothing to do but shuffle her feet and try to ignore the fact that she really needs to pee, she wonders how anyone ever thought it was a good idea in the first place to stick a bunch of kids in an enclosed area and tell them to kill or be killed.

She knows she should probably be more concerned with the fact that her death is likely imminent and far too soon, but she has no plans, even as her mind races left and right and the day starts quickly turning into night. And she realizes that she's always been too preoccupied to really think, too busy trying to be mother and father and sister all at once to ever sit still and wax philosophical.

So she's sitting in this tree and thinking thoughts she's never thought before along with the familiar ones – like whether that blonde boy sitting at the bottom of the tree realizes that his act is now paper-thin and how her family – no, her sister – will cope without a provider/caregiver – when a girl with knives for hands and a pointed nose squints hard at the campfire near the base of the tree.

The girl palms a knife and holds it over the fire, watching with dark eyes as the cool metals turns red and hot. Then, the girl leans forward and whispers something to those sitting around the campfire, something about burning branches and flesh.

The blonde boy with soft eyes who says he loves her begins to argue – murmuring about forest fires and accidents and death – but another boy – the one with a cruel mouth and thick brows – moves towards him, almost too quickly for her to see from her place in the treetop.

There is a tussle that follows, and the flighty blonde girl lets out a yelp when the blonde boy's knife meets her skin. But it's a battle of five against one. The blonde boy with the soft eyes falls to the ground with steel caught in his throat.

She is still in the tree, only having made it halfway down in the rare opportunity of distraction that she had been given. She hears a cannon echo though her ears and mourns the fact that she will never know for sure how much of a liar that boy really was.

But she doesn't have much longer to think on those things. The time to wax philosophical disappeared when the girl with knives for hands leaned forward and whispered to the others.

She can do nothing but watch the children at the base of the tree as they cut its branches and set them ablaze. She tries to avoid the flames as they toss the burning wood up and up and towards her, but it doesn't take long until her whole world is filled with light and pain.

For a few moments, she is the girl on fire. Then, she is no more.

The boy with the cruel mouth lives – as he knew he would – and the next year, there are twenty-four new kids stuck in an enclosed area that must kill or be killed. And the year after that, there are another twenty-four kids.

There is no rebellion.

There is no Mockingjay.

There is no Katniss Everdeen, victor from District Twelve.

Crisis averted.