.

All the boys shout it out loud now, all the girls scream it out louder.

"We don't want to, we don't have to live like that."


Eidra Nevett, District Two


Brux stares at me, then at Shael behind me. A smarmy smirk slowly crawls onto his thin lips.

"Looks like it is the finale," he says tiredly. He raises his crossbow slightly, nodding towards it. "Not gonna lie, I was half-expecting you, but not District Ten over there. Merritt, maybe. Not her."

Something hot blazes in my chest, and I feel the need to defend Shael from… whoever Brux thinks he is. "Her name is Shael," I say harshly.

Brux merely laughs. "Why bother knowing the name? She'll be dead in a minute, and maybe I will be, too. You even could be, Eidra. It's serious business. This isn't like back at the academies or whatever you have back in Two. This is all we've trained for."

"You've trained?"

He pauses, biting his lip, watching over my shoulder. I glance back to see Shael inching forward, her face a mask of terror and dread, hands clutched around a small dagger. I move to the side so I can face both of them, so I can avoid being stabbed in the back, and nod for Brux to continue.

"It's a long story," he says abruptly, face reddening into a blush.

"I'm sick of this talk," I say, shaking my head. I don't want to know about his past, not when he's going to be dead soon. I have to think positively. "Let's just… get this show on the road."

So here we go, then.


Shael Havern, District Ten


Eidra stabs Juno in the back.

The cannon erupts across the arena, a sickening noise that makes me clutch my dagger even harder, like it's some sort of lifeline. I inch ever closer, masked by the shadows that the giant lollipops provide.

Brux and Eidra are talking now. Brux doesn't seem upset that his ally was just slaughtered. In fact, he's laughing, even if it does seem to be a bit hostile.

My hands tremble and I wipe them on the side of my jumpsuit, smearing dried blood onto the pastel pink color. I nearly laugh myself. The irony. Dressed like children, forced to play murderers.

A shaky laugh does come from me, and this time Brux looks up and notices me. His strange pale eyes penetrate through to my gaze, and he nods, putting up a hand briefly before going back to talking with Eidra. Like the situation's not life or death. Like this is just a recess at school or something.

It's much more serious than that, though.

It's a game, but not a sort of game that kids should be playing.

I stride closer and closer to the duo, and Eidra immediately turns around and swivels to the side. A grim smile passes her face, and she says something about being sick of some sort of talk. How we should just start the fight already.

It's started.


Brux Redragon, District Seven


"You've trained?"

My mind freezes, and I stop talking for a second. I can't. I can tell Juno about the cult, but not… not Eidra. I don't know her so well. I don't feel comfortable enough.

Shael sidles up to us, finally, her hands wrapped around a pathetic dagger. Offering a tentative nod and a weak, scared attempt at a smile, she looks over at Eidra, who nods at me to reply.

"It's a long story," I mumble, trying my hardest not to blush.

Eidra tosses her hair, glaring. "I'm sick of this talk. Let's just… get this show on the road."

It's over, then. Everything I've trained for, everything I've volunteered for, my whole world. It's coming to the final judgment point. Will I reign victorious, or will I perish at the hands of one of these two? Eidra would be more likely, competent and skilled, but Shael could hold a couple tricks up her sleeve.

I have counted people out before. But this time, I'm not going to. I'm not going to be a stubborn guy like I've always been before. Maybe it's time I take my mother's advice to stop being so into myself, and take a good look around me.

"I'm ready when you two ladies are," I say finally.

And, in unison, they nod and raise their weapons.


It began with Brux Redragon, always the cocky one, despite how much he loathed conflict. He knew the odds. He knew he could make it.

As he raised his crossbow to try and get a blow in, having only three metallic arrows left in his pocket, Eidra took a swing at his hip with her knife. It was perfect. Slicing through skin and fabric, Brux leapt back, hissing and flailing his crossbow about.

That singular move delivered a nasty blow to Shael's face.

Blood quickly streaming out of her nose and her eyes smarting with tears, she stumbled back, nearly losing the grip on her dagger. But she wouldn't stop to check what damage she had been given. She'd come too far to abandon any hopes of going home. Clutching at her nose, slick with crimson blood, she blindly cut through the air with her blade.

Meanwhile, Eidra was in perfect condition. Watching Shael and Brux each size up the severity of their wounds gave her enough time to strategize for herself. She leapt back slightly, trying to get another cut into Brux's unmarked skin.

But what she didn't expect was for Brux to whip out an arrow.

As he shot it, almost missing his target, Eidra shrieked in fear, her nerves getting the better of her. She wasn't thinking. She took the arrow to the forearm, cutting through skin and the stupid pink jumpsuit that she had hated so much.

Shael watched the two of them through clotted tears. Wiping away fluids with the sleeve of her own jumpsuit, tasting the metallic tang of her own blood, she silently seethed over how silly these two were – overconfident, cocky little devils. All they had to do was overlook their pain and try and get a fatal blow in there.

But one mistake was all it would take to lead to their threatening deaths.

With Eidra blinded by the pain of her arm, Shael saw this as the perfect opportunity to strike forward and take out the District Two girl. She leapt forward like a lion pouncing on a wounded bird, letting loose a piercing battle cry.

But instead of Eidra, she caught somebody else.

Brux.

Her dagger pierced him through the side, just as he strung his second arrow. Arching his back, knocked out of air, he barely had time to catch Eidra's eye.

Something was exchanged between them.

Not admiration, friendship, or mild toleration. Something more like… respect. Acceptance.

His eyes closed, and he slid beneath the cover of the clouds to the unknown below.

He had wanted to die a regal death. And here it was – and not too shabby, at third place. Maybe he hadn't brought recognition to his cult. But whatever he did, was sure to resonate with them for a long time afterwards.

It was down to Shael and Eidra.

Shael was injured but ready to continue, while Eidra was merely shocked – she had expected it to be her and Brux, never the timid girl from Ten. In the Capitol, she hadn't taken much notice of her, anyways – it had all been about the larger threats. Halcyon from Six. Cole from Eleven. Ellika from Three.

But not Shael. Never Shael.

Meanwhile, for the Ten girl, the tables were completely turned. She had taken so much notice of Eidra in the Capitol. The vivacious girl with so much to live for, an energetic gleam always twinkling in her eye. The apple of everybody else's eye.

Whoever won was sure to make the Capitol – and their district – proud.

They each had so much in common. Both scared. Stricken. Somewhat beaten-down and weary.

But they had so much difference in them, too – while Eidra was sure to try and play it up, make a show – at least, judging from the girl she was in the Capitol – while Shael would do anything, showy or not, just to get back to Ten. There was everything to gain, yet everything to lose.

"I don't want to kill you," Shael said quietly, eyes trained on her dagger, stained with Brux's fresh, sticky blood.

"The feeling is mutual," murmured Eidra, eyes flickering back up to Shael. They were quiet, each girl clutching her weapon, hearts beating in rapid unison.

And then Shael struck.

She had done so much already, more than anybody had expected, so what was one more crazy thing?

The only problem was, Eidra had the advantage.

Shael was caught off-guard when Eidra ducked just under the dagger, and without another thought, her arm jutted out, catching Shael in the hip.

Another injury.

Screeching in the newfound pain, eyelids screwed shut, Shael brought her dagger down on the top of Eidra's head, cutting through the skin and knocking against her thick skull. As Eidra's howls joined in the cacophony of animalistic noises, the two collapsed to the ground, shrieking in the terrible, terrible pain of their injuries.

Eidra's knife was thrown aside in the confusion. Shael still clutched her dagger, now tainted with both Brux and Eidra's blood.

Before she knew what was happening, the two girls were lying on their sides, and Shael's weapon was torn out of her hands.

And it was brought down on her throat by Eidra, the girl who would never give up.

She sank into the ground, Tethys's name playing on her lips.


A/N: Ghost Town by Shiny Toy Guns.

3rd – Brux Redragon, District Seven. A dagger to the side.

The boy who just wanted some respect.

2nd – Shael Havern, District Ten. A knife to the throat.

The girl who was nothing special.

1st – Eidra Nevett, District Two.

The girl who was always on her toes.

Runasfastasyoucan, Brux was legitimately my favorite. Cocky, hating most people, casual, flippant, ugh, he was the whole package. He was so nice. At first I was a little iffy on him, I will admit that… but from the second I started writing him, it all melted together. The backstory, the personality, the little things you added to make him special. Thanks for submitting!

Meghan, Shael was somebody who, at first, was going a lot fewer places. I'll be blunt, I didn't see much room for development in her form. I thought that that was her, and that was it. But there was so much more there, and it all sort of unlocked on her journey. Everything about her soon became my favorite. I knew where she'd go for a while now, anyways. Thanks for submitting!

Jake… Hope you enjoy your first victor ;_; I'm crying right now both because Eidra is so nice and I'm so proud of her, and because. . . . I'M THE LAST ONE TO GET A VICTOR? You know what, I think the main reason it took me so long to process that she would be my victor is the main fact that I'm a selfish little idiot and yeah, I wanted you to be victorless with me ;_; but hey, we all get over stupid little things like that, and yes, I'll say it – from the moment I got her form, I wanted her! Her journey has been so much fun to write about and get feedback upon. Thank you so much for submitting!

Quick update, yeah? I was so pumped to get this out!

Yeah… one more chapter. There's not going to be a SYOT after this, but hey, we'll see about the launch chapter of Teen Idle, yeah? I do like having a game in the Capitol in one story and the arena in another.

But, hey. We'll see. Maybe my time is coming to an end here. On any rate, I'd really appreciate a follow from you, since it would keep you updated if I do roll out another SYOT at some point :)!

Questions?

Thoughts on each POV?

Are you happy with the victor?

Favorite scene?

Favorite alliance?

Overall favorite tribute?

Favorite quote?