CHAPTER 12

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A/N:  Thank you for your patience! Please let me know what you all think about this chapter as it marks the end of Catching Fire (:

also...

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

DISCLAIMER: I do not own anything or anyone from The Hunger Game Trilogy. I do however own Quinn Larkin and her story.

As the allies stood around the lightening tree, Quinn sharpened her dagger. The heat was sweltering and even with her torn suit, her hair curled and her brow sweated as the sun burned her exposed shoulder. Finnick remained within a few feet of her, watching as she blew wandering stands of blonde hair out of her eyes and her brow creased slightly as she tucked the knife into her belt and turned to look at him.

"What?" She huffed, aggravated by the heat.

As the victor from four grinned cheekily, Beetee spoke up: "Let's get started. Typically, a lightning strike contains five million jolts of electricity, we don't want to be here when it hits. You three girls, take this." The man ordered as he tossed the wire to Quinn, noticing the worry on Finnick's face as he stepped closer to her. "Unspool it carefully, make sure the entire coil is in the water, understand? Then head to the two o'clock sector, we will meet you there."

"I'm going as guard." Peeta immediately argued, prompting an audible sigh from Quinn. "I need to go with her."

"There are two careers out there, I need two guards."

"Finnick can protect you fine on his own." The boy continued to argue.

"No." Quinn immediately interjected at the suggestion, "He's not cannon fodder and he's certainly not going to take on three victors on his own so that you can waltz through the jungle holding hands!" Finnick smiled at his feet as the young woman jumped to his defence, something stirring inside of him as he recalled their conversation in the training room and her choice of words. As she opened her mouth to continue, he intertwined his hand with her right hand as it rested behind her back. A sign of affection that had gone unnoticed by the group.

"Why can't Finnick and Johanna stay? Peeta, Quinn and I will take the coil." Katniss suggested, determined to keep Peeta by her side.

"So you can slit my throat after I've killed the careers for you?" The victor from five spoke in a false sickly sweet tone before continuing in a much lower, threatening voice. "Two against one? I'm not sure that you will like your odds, Princess."

The tension between the two girls could have been sliced with a knife. The younger of the two miserably failing against the alpha. Beetee reminded the allies that they had promised to keep him alive until midnight as Johanna agreed and stood beside her friend.

"Is there a problem here?" Finnick finally spoke up.

Beetee nodded towards Katniss, unconsciously moving to stand beside Quinn. Four against two...Katniss didn't have a leg to stand on and so she shook her head: "No, no problem."

After whispering goodbyes and exchanging kisses with Peeta, the Girl on Fire turned to Quinn, pulling her out of earshot of the others as her eyes flickered to the victor's hand as it slid out of Finnick's. "Haymitch told me that you never break a promise – you promised to keep Peeta alive. I know you don't trust me but...please, stay here and do that."

The Ice Queen surveyed the Girl on Fire's face for a moment before deciding that she would rather be with Finnick should the worst happen and so she nodded. Katniss let out a sigh of relief as she took the coil from Quinn's hands.

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