I do not own neither "Hunger Games" books, nor the characters.
This fanfiction is AU (Alternative Universe), and it's a little bit of "crossover" with Downton Abbey, but without DA characters or places. It takes place in England in 1914, before the WWI. Oh, and I gave names for Peeta's parents (and Annie is his older sister).
Hope you enjoy my story, I hope you can understand everything even with typos or gramatical errors, but English is not my native language (I try the best I can =D)
It was during the morning rush that Katniss felt more life in the mansion. All the servants were up since 6 in the morning, preparing breakfast and the table in the dining room, going to the town to buy some product that suddenly disappeared and was needed.
At 7am sharp, Katniss went to Lady Annie's room to wake her up and help her prepare. It had been two years since she had become Lady Annie's Maid, when she celebrated her 18 birthday and entered the marriage age. Being a Maid was a great honor, especially for Katniss. Her own mother was the Maid of The Right Honorable Amelia Mellark, wife of the Earl of Carlisle. So having her daughter following her footsteps made her extremely proud.
After an hour tightening the bodice, putting on the dress, shoes, fixing hair and makeup, Lady Annie was ready to come down and have breakfast, served by the footmen and the butler of the mansion. While the whole family ate their breakfast, Katniss and the other servants would make the beds, clean the rooms, the house, while the residents lived their own life's.
Lord Robert Mellark, Earl of Caslisle, sometimes went to visit his friend the Mayor, or was closed inside the library dealing with matters relating to the mansion and its grounds. Lady Amelia would sometimes go to the village and buy new clothes, but usually ended up spending the whole day at the house of friends nearby. Lady Annie used to accompany her mother most of the time, and Honorable Liam (the second son, untitled) liked to hunt with friends. Unlike his young and active brother, Lord Peeta, Viscount of Foxley, the second born child and the first in line to heir everything, enjoyed spending the day in a room located in the attic of the mansion, where he kept his canvas and paints.
Lord Peeta never showed anyone his paintings, but Katniss onde or twice slipped into the room in a quieter evening, usually during the period when the family was in London, to admire his paintings. The flurry of bright colors fascinated her, how he could effortlessly capture the grandeur of the mansion and its lawns, the heel of one of tthe horses in the stables, how he held the essence of a simple vase.
It almost didn't seem, looking at him many times sitting at the dinner table in silence, that those hands could create such beautiful things. Lord Peeta was, among the three children, the most reserved. Rarely intervened, only at the insistence of Lord Robert. And when they had guests, it was always the first to retire to his room after the meal.
Although she lived surrounded by glamor and wealth, Katniss never felt dazzled by the easy life that they all had. Sometimes she thought Lady Annie was futile, concerned only with the new hairstyles or fashion dresses, dissatisfied by not yet having received any marriage proposal. Katniss couldn't be worrying about stuff like that. It was certain that she would not marry in the near future, much less have a family. Her work as a servant was to go on smoothly until Lady Annie's marriage, and she would probably insist that Katniss accompany her to her new home. If she were to marry, she would have to leave her work in order to raise the children she would give birth to. Fortunately, she didn't have to worry about a roof and food for now, but she still worried about every penny, sending her money to the village, to help feed her younger sister, Primrose.
Prim was 15. When Katniss came to work at the mansion, she had the same age as her sister today. Katniss desired that Prim could have the opportunity to follow her dreams and become a nurse, and never have to follow the footsteps of Katniss and their mother. So she saved all the money she earned, so that next year she could send her sister to a nursing school, allowing her to shape her own future. Otherwise, her sister would come to the mansion, and could never pursue her dreams.
When Lady Annie came home with her mother, late in the afternoon, Katniss followed her to her room to help her prepare for supper.
"Look, Katniss, the dress I ordered from the seamstress arrived today!" Lady Annie cried hysterically, waving the box in her hand.
Looking at her opening the box as if it were something very precious almost made Katniss laugh. Not that she thought that the manners of Lady Annie were innapropriate, or that she was stupid. Lady Annie acted according to her volatile and moody nature, a little different from Katniss. Hardly seemed that Lady Annie was only two years older than Katniss.
"It's beautiful, Ladyship" praised Katniss, seeing the green dress with a black transparent cloth over it, decorated with embroidered beads, creating the shape of flowers. It was indeed a beautiful dress, perfect for a girl of possessions.
"I cannot wait to wear it today for supper" Lady Annie began to take off her shoes "How do you think my hair should look? I think I want a braided updo."
As always, Katniss helped her to get ready. Sometimes she felt a little jealous of Lady Annie, her life was carefree, she just worried about how many of her friends were already married or if the party she gave in the mansion was more impressive than the last one. But Lady Annie, despite the class difference, was quite a friend to Katniss and sometimes she even offered her her old clothes (which were hardly used), and also considered Katniss her confidant, often calling her to the room to mourn over young men who had asked her friends to marry them after courting her for weeks.
When the clock showed it was five o'clock, Lady Amelia made a surprise appearance at her daughter's room. After a moment to praise the beauty of the new dress, Lady Annie called Katniss aside and asked her:
"Katniss, could you ask Lord Peeta to come down from the attic and get ready for supper? Unfortunately today he's going to have to do it alone, since the driver is sick and Gale had to pick up the Mayor and his family."
"Sure, Ladyship, I'll do it," said Katniss, making a little bow. Before closing the door, Katniss coudn't help but hear the conversation between Lady Annie and Lady Amelia.
"Mom, the Mayor's family again? Didn't you realize yet that Peeta will never marry Madge?"
"Annie, Madge is a very gifted and lovely girl. It is true that she has no noble blood but she will be a good wife for your brother"
"Mom, she has nothing in commom with Peeta. He doesn't like her, and I have to admit that she is a bit bland, even for him!"
Katniss closed the door quietly. She runned to the service stairs up to the attic, digesting what she heard. Lord Peeta would be forced to marry Miss Madge, the Mayor's daughter? Just because both families were friends? In the lower class, marriages of convenience were rare because any family had a lot to offer, unless they possessed a small farm – and that was rare. Love marriages happened very often, but only within the class, because God forbid if a poor girl would marry a noble for love. At most she could be his mistress for many years. And still the girl would live unhappy and have her reputation ruined forever.
Reaching the attic, Katniss knocked on the door of the room where Lord Peeta was painting, and waited for his reply. Within seconds, the door was opened by Lord Peeta, messed hair and paint on his face, hands and on his work apron.
"Oh, hello, is there a problem?" He promptly asked, worry in his eyes.
"No, Lordship, Her Ladyship asked me to call you. The Mayor and his family will be here in half an hour and Gale can't help you get ready today" said Katniss, without the courage to look him in the eyes.
"Oh, right, Gale took the place of the driver today." said Lord Peeta thoughtfully. "Yes, I'm going downstairs then."
Katniss did a little bow and turned to the service stairs, while Lord Peeta was preparing to close the studio door.
"Katniss?" The girl stopped suddenly when she heard her name. She felt her face turn red with astonishment, never thinking that Lord Peeta knew her name. She turned to him and he ran his fingers through his blond hair. "May you help me remove the paint from my hands and my face? Gale always helps me with that."
"Yes, Lordship" Katniss hastened to answer. "I'll be in your room in five minutes."
She turned around and entered the service stairs. She closed the door and leaned against it, still nervous from the exchange of words. It was not usual for a maid to enter the room of an employer unless he wasn't there, but she had to help him. All footmen were busy arranging the dinning room and polishing the silverware for supper.
She went downstairs and grabbed a basin filled with water, and a bar of soap. Everyone were distracted, so she ran back upstairs to the first floor, where was located Lord Peeta's room.