Disclaimer: The Hunger Games isn't mine. (Neither is Macbeth, from which I've been lifting my chapter titles.)

When the Battle's Lost and Won

Rowan, Fern, Oliver, and Laurel sat quietly around the fireplace, each whittling away at a small piece of wood. The children had gone to bed early, the little ones confused by the older ones' grief, not realizing yet that their brother and sister were never coming home.

Late that night, Laurel tucked a tiny doll beneath a pillow. Oliver placed a top under another. Fern left a small wooden cat under a third. And Rowan slid a pair of new dice beneath Moss' sleeping head.

Far away, in the Capitol, a young victor rolled a pair of dice and drank a silent, solemn toast to the fallen.

Farther away, in a moon-lit forest, an owl shrieked, and an eagle settled into her nest, her little ones safely beneath her wing.

And farthest of all, safely beyond harm's reach, waiting in a misty field of grain, a brother welcomed his sister. Another sister greeted her brother. One by one, twenty-three children – strangers and enemies no longer – joined hands and waited.

The newest arrival smiled – a wild, careless smile. Laughing freely, wondering, but no longer fearing, what lay ahead, she turned to the others. Then, with a smile, she led them on through the mist.

Author's Note: And there you have it. Thank you to everyone who's been reading; I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. And, just for good measure...

"When shall we three meet again? In thunder, lightning, or in rain? When the hurlyburly's done, when the battle's lost and won." ~ Macbeth Act I, Scene i, 1-4