Disclaimer: This fanfic is rated 'M' for adult themes. I do not own any of the characters of The Hunger Games or of Pride and Prejudice.
"It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife."
- Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
Katniss Everdeen enjoyed walking. In fact, she quite enjoyed it. She enjoyed the feeling of the brisk morning air as it filled her lungs. She enjoyed the feeling of the dew that collected on the hem of her dress as she trudged through the fields that boarded the estate she had come to call home. She enjoyed how the morning fog surrounded her in a veil of invisibility. She enjoyed the peaceful calm she felt and how it cleared her mind and settled her soul before the start of each day. Of all the things she had come to enjoy since arriving at Seamfirth, it was the walking.
As she approached the stone wall that separated the estate from the neighboring field, she sat atop the wall to watch the sunrise. She could just make out the sun peeking over the trees. It burned a bright, molten orange, painting everything in its path with a soft, warm glow. A new day with a new beginning laid waiting. She observed that the walls of the house were starting to show wear from the elements over the years, but for the most part, it had remained unchanged since she stepped foot here twelve years ago.
The two Everdeen sisters had arrived on the doorstep of Seamfirth shortly after the passing of their father and mother. They had met their unfortunate and untimely demise after a fire had claimed their lives. It was speculated that the fire had started in their bedroom from what they assumed had been a candle that had not been properly distinguished. Even though the fire had not claimed the whole house, it was a miracle that the two young girls had escaped with their lives.
A few days later, they had packed what few belongings they were able to recover from their smoke damaged home and waited anxiously to be collected by their father's only living male relative. It was decided upon that they were to live with him and his family at their estate. They had never met him nor heard of him. Katniss was unsure of their exact relation, but the gentleman who had come by to inform her of what was to become of them mentioned he was her father's cousin. To Katniss though, he was nothing more than a stranger.
Mr. Abernathy received the news of his cousin's passing only a day before he was scheduled to collect the two orphaned girls. It did not leave him much time to make preparations for the new arrivals, but what he was most concerned over was his wife's nerves. The news had initially come as a shock to Mrs. Abernathy, but he reassured her it was for the best and not to dwell on the unfortunate circumstance. His daughters on the other hand had been quite delighted with the news and were beyond excited for their arrival.
When Katniss first saw Mr. Abernathy as he stepped out of the carriage to collect her and her sister, her heart sank for he was of a true likeness of her father. He had the same olive skin tone and the same deep, grey eyes, although he was unshaven and his hair unkempt, perhaps from his long journey to collect them.
Mr. Abernathy studied the two young girls closely. His mouth straightened into a thin line which caused his lips to almost disappear.
"What is your name child?" he asked the elder of the two, gruffly.
"Katniss, Sir, and….and this is my sister Primrose," she answered, not meeting the eyes of the gentleman before her.
He looked to the younger child and observed that although the two were sisters, they looked nothing alike, expect for the nose.
"I see," Mr. Abernathy sighed, "and what of your age Miss Everdeen?"
"I am eight years, Sir, and my sister has but only just turned three."
Mr. Abernathy took a deep breath before slowly letting it out with another audible sigh. "My name is Mr. Abernathy and I was your father's cousin," he said curtly. He looked into the eldest girl's eyes, eyes that matched his own, eyes that appeared full of pride and something else that caused his face to soften. "Come my dears, I am sure you have had a frightful few days, let me take you to your new home." He looked to the two bags and two trunks sitting beside the girls. "Is this all you have to take with you?" he questioned.
"Yes, Sir, that is all we have. Most of what the fire did not destroy the smoke damaged beyond repair," Katniss said with a frown.
"I see," Mr. Abernathy replied as he scratched the stubble on his chin with his long fingers. "You may address me as 'Mr. Abernathy' if you wish or as 'Uncle', although I would much prefer the latter," he said with a friendly smile as he extended his hand.
Katniss hesitated before she took Mr. Abernathy's hand and he help her into the carriage. After he gently lifted Primrose in, he climbed in after them and closed the carriage door behind him. Once their belongings had been loaded onto the carriage, Mr. Abernathy snaked his hand out the window and smacked the side of the carriage three times. The carriage lurched forward and caused Primrose to startle; hot tears began to roll down her cherub face.
Mr. Abernathy watched as Katniss took her younger sister into her arms and cradled her tight to her chest. It was only when she sang a haunting lullaby that her younger sister ceased her crying and fell into a deep sleep. It wasn't soon after that Katniss followed her sister in sleep. As Mr. Abernathy watched the two young girls as they slept, a small smile found his face and he sighed in relief. Something tugged at the back of his mind; it told him that he would not regret this unexpected turn of events.
Once the sun was completely over the horizon, Katniss heard the wake up call of the rooster which had brought her back from her memories. She inhaled one last refreshing breath of cool morning air before making her way back to the house. She could smell the smoke of the morning fires being lit to prepare the morning meal as she hurried in through the servant's entrance at the side of the house. She hung her muddied coat on the peg by the door before quickly warming her hands by the fire.
Katniss could hear the muffled voices of her aunt and uncle coming from his study down the hall. She quickly straightened her dress and smoothed out the unruly hairs that had come free from her braid. The hem of her dress was visibly soiled from her morning walk, but she didn't mind. She tried to quietly tiptoe to the sitting room but along the way she spotted her two youngest cousins huddled closely outside their fathers study door. She crept up behind them as quietly as she could until she was less than an arms length behind them.
"It's unbecoming to find you two eavesdropping at your fathers door," Katniss whispered, her face mere inches away from the two girls prying ears.
"Oh!" Johanna gasped as she jumped from her spot, causing the wooden floor boards to creak beneath her.
"Both of you hush!" Portia chided, "I can no longer hear a thing!"
"Perhaps that's because you're not mean to," Katniss laughed, hoping she had ousted her young, naïve cousins. "What is this all about anyway?"
"Mamma has said a young gentleman has taken ownership of Seaforth Park and is to take possession within the week!" Portia said while she tried to stifle her excitement.
"And he's single, Kat! He is young, single, and is said to have inherited nearly a hundred thousand from his father!" Johanna swooned as she clutched her hands over her heart.
Johanna, the youngest of the Abernathy daughters, had already surpassed Katniss in height though she was only in her fifteenth year. Katniss loved all of her cousins dearly, yet she thought that Johanna was always too concerned with gossip and matters of the heart, much like her aunt. This lead Katniss to believe that this was why Johanna had become her aunt's favorite.
Katniss frowned at her younger cousin's dramatic display. "Even if he is single and wealthy, you know nothing of his looks, what if he resembles a troll with the temperament to match, would you still think so highly of him?" Katniss chuckled.
"Oh, Kat, you haven't a romantic bone in your body, do you?" snapped Johanna.
"What good would it do me," Katniss replied playfully before taking her cousins by surprise and tickling them at their waists.
Katniss took a step back as the two girls fell forward and tumbled through the doorway into their father's study, landing in a heap on the floor. She peered into the room and saw her uncle seated at his desk, his elbows rested on the arms of his chair and his fingers formed a steeple in front of his mouth. His face was a mix of surprise and anger for the unexpected intrusion, but his face quickly softened when his eyes fell upon Katniss out in the hallway. Mrs. Abernathy, however, was in a state of shock as she gaped with an open mouth as her daughters struggled amongst themselves on the floor.
"What is the meaning of this?" Mrs. Abernathy shrieked. "Have you no manners? No respect for my nerves? I did not raise my daughters to have such disregard for privacy!"
Johanna and Portia untangled themselves from one another and giggled as they stood. They straightened the skirts of their dresses and their hair before they stared back at their mother innocently.
"That's better," Mrs. Abernathy scolded. "Now, Mr. Abernathy, as I was saying before we were so rudely interrupted," she said as she glanced back at her daughters with stern eyes.
"Yes my sweet, who were we speaking of? A Mr. Odair was it?"
"Oh Mr. Abernathy, you know quite well who we were discussing! Yes, Mr. Odair, you must call on him as soon as possible so that we may meet him. Think of your daughters and your nieces, Sir! Please, for the sake of my nerves!"
Mr. Abernathy had become quite acquainted with his wife's nerves over the years; he considered them dear friends of his. He laughed to himself at the thought as he arose from his chair and strode to the large window. He crossed his hands behind his back as he gazed out to the fields that boarded his estate. Beyond the fields, Seaforth Park stood high on a hill.
Mr. Abernathy had married the former Miss Trinket over twenty-five years ago, to which many had thought an odd pairing at the time. He himself had wondered what had overcome him when he had made the decision to take her as his wife. Mrs. Abernathy had come from a family of lower genteel standing, her father an accountant from the Capitol. In her younger years, Mrs. Abernathy had been a comely woman, yet her tendencies to engage in paltry gossip and her lack of accomplishments had turned away the affections of many would be suitors. It wasn't until Mr. Abernathy, who had been scorned by his friends for not taking a wife yet, had discovered her one evening at a ball held in the Capitol. He had drunk himself into a stupor and vowed that he would pursue the next eligible woman he crossed paths with. Luckily for Mrs. Abernathy, she had been at the right place at the right time.
"My dear sweet wife, much to your dismay, I have always held the best interests of my daughters and my nieces at the forefront of my heart." Mr. Abernathy turned his gaze from the window to his two daughters and to Katniss before looking back to Mrs. Abernathy. He tried to suppress a smirk as Mrs. Abernathy stared at him blankly. "This is why I have already called upon Mr. Odair, two days ago when he visited Seaforth Park to finalize the transfer of ownership."
Mrs. Abernathy raised the back of her hand to her forehead as if she were to faint from her husband's revelation and fell back into her chair. "Oh, thank heavens!" she sighed dramatically before turning to her daughters once more. "You have the most excellent father, come," she jumped out of her seat, "let us share this wonderful news with Annie and Primrose. What a most wonderful morning this has turned out to be!"
With that, Mrs. Abernathy floated out of the room with Johanna and Portia following close at her heels. Katniss leaned back against the doorframe and smiled as she shook her head. Mr. Abernathy watched his niece in delight. He had come to favor Katniss most over the years, more so than any of his daughters.
"My dear Kat, what is it that you find so amusing?" Mr. Abernathy asked with a hint of amusement to his voice.
"Oh Uncle, you really must take better care of Aunt Effie's nerves," she laughed wholeheartedly.
"Why my dear, I hold her nerves in very high regard," he smirked before returning to his desk. "Now if you wouldn't mind, I have several more affairs to tend to before the day is out."
"Yes Uncle, I shall leave you to it," Katniss replied and backed out of the doorway and closed the door behind her.
Katniss heard giggles and laughter from further down the hall and followed the pleasant noise to the sitting room at the end of the hall. In the sitting room she found that Mrs. Abernathy, Johanna, and Portia had joined Annie and Primrose.
The Abernathy's had three daughters. Annie was the eldest. At two-and-twenty years, she was only two years senior to Katniss; their closeness in age led them to become confidants growing up. Mrs. Abernathy had birthed two more children after Annie, one a son, two years after Annie and one a daughter, two years after the boy. Both babies were unfortunately stillbirths which plunged Mrs. Abernathy into a deep depression which left her nerves in disarray. A year after the second stillbirth however, Mrs. Abernathy found herself with child again, a daughter who was born happy and healthy whom they named Portia.
Mr. Abernathy started to grow weary however with no male heir to his estate. The birth of their youngest, Johanna, two years later brought much joy to Mr. Abernathy, but also caused him to give up hope for ever bringing another son into the world. The arrival of the Everdeen sisters brought Mr. Abernathy further joy but pain also, as now he was faced with the task of acquiring suitable matches for all five of them.
"I'm sure he is the most handsome man in all of England!" Johanna sang as she twirled around the room.
"Please sit down, Jo, before you fall and hurt yourself," Annie requested with a soft voice as she continued to trim the bonnet in her hands with a beautiful light blue satin ribbon.
"Yes, please do, Jo," Primrose agreed. "You're quite distracting you know," she teased as she stuck her finger with her sharp needle, "Ow! See!"
Katniss laughed as she joined her sister on the chaise beside the fireplace. "Oh this is nothing to fret over, Prim," Katniss said as she kissed her sister's fingertip. "What is that you're stitching?" Katniss asked as she leaned in for a better look at her sister's handiwork.
"It is called a mockingjay," Prim answered without taking her eyes from her work for fear of pricking her finger a second time.
"Oh it's just some silly fictitious bird from one of those books she reads," Johanna sneered when she had finished her twirling and found a perch at the window. "I don't know why she still insists on reading those ridiculous books," she laughed. "There are much more interesting activities to keep ones self occupied with."
"Such as?" Prim said, humoring her cousin as she was a custom to.
"Such as daydreaming of Mr. Odair and his hundred thousand inheritance," Katniss scoffed, as she rolled her eyes in annoyance at her cousin.
"Precisely! Unlike someone I know," Johanna said her voice thick with sarcasm.
"Oh hush, Jo!" Katniss snapped back. "Not everyone spends every waking moment dreaming of such foolish thoughts."
"It's fine, Kat, leave her be," Primrose interrupted, turning back to her stitching.
"You are too much of a bore for my taste," Johanna huffed with an upturned nose as she sat up from the window and exited the sitting room.
Katniss turned back to her sister, taking the stitched cloth in her hand. Primrose had a skill unmatched by any of the Abernathy daughters for sewing and needlework. Katniss studied the perfect little x's that formed a beautiful bird with a silver, grey body, black crested head, and wings of white and black and striped with blue. It looked to be a cross between a mocking bird and a blue jay.
"Did you produce this from your imagination?" Katniss asked.
"Yes," Primrose whispered as she looked away shyly. "It is a songbird with the most beautiful voice imaginable. It was in one of the books we saved...," Primrose trailed off as she set her needlework down on her lap.
"One of Pappa's books," Katniss whispered. Primrose nodded in affirmation. "Well, it is exquisite, Prim," Katniss praised, lightly running her fingertips over the stitches.
"If only Aunt Effie thought as much," Primrose whispered, as she looked over to Mrs. Abernathy who had already nodded off asleep in her chair. "She said I need to pay more attention to the tension of my stitches and that the back should look just as perfect, if not better, than the front."
"Do not pay her any attention, Prim," Katniss said, cradling her sister's delicate chin in her palm. "Aunt Effie is too preoccupied with marrying us off to suitable gentleman than to worry about such a trivial thing such as the tension of your stitches."
"Oh my dear Kat, I adore you greatly," Primrose sighed, placing her tiny hand on her sisters as her eyes fluttered closed.
"And I you, Little Duck."
Author's Note: Hello! I hope you enjoyed the first chapter of my other WIP that I've been working on for the past few months. This storyline is of course based on Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, but I've taken a few liberties and changed some things up to fit more in line with The Hunger Games characters.
I'd like to say a big thank you to streetlightlove and Court81981 for motivating me to continue with this story. If you haven't already, you need to check out their current historical Everlark AU's:
If This Be Treason, Make the Most of It by streetlightlove
A Favorable Wind by Court81981
Please feel free to leave a review and any feedback you may have, I'd love to hear from you! Also, I'm on tumblr (pookieh) if you want to come by and chat!
Thanks for reading!