Authors note: Hey y'all! So I got this idea of a fic. My direct experience with Inuit/Eskimo/Native Alaskan culture is limited to a summer camp I went to in Canada. I was eleven, and an Inuit girl was my cabin mate for 6 weeks. She got heat stroke in 70 degree weather and she hated ice cream. Anything else I pull from research on the Internet. So hopefully I don't piss off any history buffs reading this with the liberties I've taken. I don't know much about polyandrous societies, so if you're an anthropologist reading this, please take it all with a grain of salt. And hook me up with some details that Wikipedia and Britannica left out. This first chapter is just to get the lay of the land. Drama to come. Lemons to come. Rating it M for mature themes and later chapters. Reviews are love.
Disclaimer - I don't own the hunger games. I just play with the characters.
Katniss strokes her growing belly with her index finger, feeling the stir of life move inside of her for the first time. She's barely showing, though most of the village is aware of her condition. She wonders which of her husbands is the genetic parent. It doesn't matter, she supposes. She has grown to love them all, and so no matter which is responsible, her baby was conceived in love, and will be cared for by all of them. It's an unseasonably warm day, almost 45 degrees outside, and she's hot from the changes in her hormones. Kneeling by the hearth in the center of the large main room of the barrabarra, she mashes the berries she gathered earlier that day with fish and the last of their whale fat into alutiqqutigaq. She enjoys a serving as waits for her men to return home.
Finnick arrives home first, bearing four otter pelts, and several fish, his catch of the day. He greets Katniss with a kiss then strips off his parka and outer layers and warms himself by the fire of the hearth. As a fisherman, he spends most of his day on the water, which is still quite cold. She hands him a bowl of alutiqqutigaq.
"Thank you, for cleaning the otters, Finn. I'll go preserve the fish."
"Katniss, wait." He unwraps a cloth from his arm to revealing a 6 inch gash on his shoulder. He managed to stop the bleeding, but it still needs to be treated.
Katniss makes short work of cleaning his wound. She sings to him, as she mixes a salve adding dried herbs and drops of oil. She has learned the healing arts from her mother, a skill which has made her a desirable mate. She bears the marks of her lineage on her face, a tattoo in black ink - a swirled design leading from the back of her ear across her cheek, to her chin. Not many twenty years olds have their choice in mate. But Katniss's maternal heritage has secured her the ability to choose not only one, but three of the men she saw fit to build her home and her life.
Finnick is a fisherman. When he was only fourteen, he fashioned a new kind of harpoon, a three pronged spear at the end of a long stick, which he used to slaughter his first whale. The hip bone of his conquest is now the main structure of the roof of their barrabarra, sheltering their family from the elements. Finnick wears the whiskers of a sealion in his ears, a symbol of his hunting skill in the water. Because of his rare fair coloring he is considered to be one of the most attractive people in Unalaska.
Gale is a huntsman. His ability to track and trap has ensured his family's survival in even the coldest winter. He is fearless, and has a record for bringing down bears, the skins of which are used in their home to insulate the living quarters and to add comfort to the smaller room in the back of their barrabarra. Gale has numerous tattoos and piercings marking his vast accomplishments as a huntsman. He is Katniss's second cousin, though he does not fall into the same social class as Katniss and her mother. The Aleut people draw their lineage maternally, with the honor being passed down among the women. As a male, Gale was born into relative poverty. He grew up with Katniss and she does loves him. But, when it was time for her to take a husband, she picked him out of obligation.
Peeta is a craftsman. He has a natural gift for working with wood. His baidarkas are the most beautiful and the safest boats on the water, and his decorative masks and sculptures are the most highly sought after in Unalaska. Being an artist, his skin is mostly clean. He is marked only by the piercings which signify his high social class. He has used his craft skills to fashion three sturdy beds, large enough for two, which are lined up in a row toward the back of the room, separated only by Bear pelts hanging from the roof, offering a visual divide in the sleeping quarters. Peeta is currently creating a cradle for their expectant child to sleep in. He is excited to begin a second row of beds in the sleeping area. Smaller objects, such as bowls, eating utensils, and decorations around the house have also made by his hands.
Gale arrives home, to the barrabarra just as Katniss finishes wrapping a bandage on Finn's arm.
"Get into another fish fight, Finn?" He teases. He feels a twinge of jealousy - Katniss will likely share Finn's bed this evening, to tend to his wound. Katniss disinfects her hands with a liquid in her first aid kit and begins a new task of preserving the fish as she listens to her husbands' exchange.
Finn laughs. Gales always giving him a hard time."Had trouble docking. I didn't see Peeta around."
Because of their work, Peeta and Finn spend a lot more time together and understandably share a closer bond with each other than with Gale. They both work on the water and after a particularly good fishing day, like today, Peeta helps Finn ashore and home. But today he wasn't at their usual meeting place.
"I slipped and caught my shoulder on my trident. Wait'll he gets home. I'll give him a piece of my mind" Finn continues as he finishes his meal.
"Don't blame Peeta. Where is he, anyway?" Finn shrugs. Gale continues, "Maybe you'd be stronger, better able to handle the baidarka yourself if we had some whale to boil. Or a walrus. It's been a while since you took one of those down," Gale says as he drags in a caribou, todays kill, settling it toward the front of the room, near where Katniss is working. He meets her eyes and smiles warmly. "Leave Finn alone," Katniss smiles back as she cautions Gale. "No one has had walrus or whale in months. It's too hot," she says as she wipes her brow with her arm.
"It's not that bad anyway," Finn says. He examines his arm. "I stopped the bleeding myself."
Gale drags a fingers over the markings on Katniss's face. He feels a familiar stirring in his lower abdomen. He kisses her lips gently and whispers "Where are you sleeping tonight?" She pulls away from him "Not this again."Katniss usually rotates her sleeping space every night, trying to share her warmth equally among her husbands. This has worked out until recently. Gale has been wanting her to sleep in his bed more often, since they discovered she is carrying. He drops her gaze and turns his attention to the pot in the hearth in the center of the room. He spoons out a serving of the alutiqqutigaq for himself. He sits next to Finn and watches as Katniss uses salt and parchment to preserve the fish for later use before slicing the caribou meat into small chunks meant for stew.
Gale pats Finn on the back before standing up and again walking
toward Katniss. She has just finished working with the food, when he grabs her by the hand and motions toward the small room in the back of the barrabarra. "C'mon, beautiful," he says encouraging her to follow him. Katniss gives Finnick a questioning look. Finnick nods at her and pulls out a length of rope and begins making knots. Katniss smiles at Gale. She's exhausted, but she'll deny her husbands nothing. Gale's appetite for her has become insatiable as the bump in her middle has become more evident.
They take two steps toward the back room when they hear a rustling at the front of the barrabarra. Peeta emerges from outside, dripping wet - the rain must have picked back up - and filthy. Katniss and Gale watch as Peeta steps into the large room and tosses two large pieces of ivory on the ground. They side across toward Finnick, who picks them up and examines them. "Walrus? Where did you get these, Peeta?"
Peeta drops to his knees in front of the hearth and it's clear he's hurt. Katniss releases Gale's hand, and grabs a cloth as she makes her way over to Peeta. She peels off his parka, finding a wound at the top of his left leg. "What happened?" she whispers as she begins to clean him. "Did you fight a walrus?" Peeta nods. "Where is it?"
"Ten minutes north of our meeting place," Peeta says making eye contact with Finn. "It's covered. But you should go get it before someone else finds it."
Finnick is on his feet, wincing slightly as he pulls his outer layer back on over his shoulder. "You wanted some walrus, right Gale? Let's go get it. I'll need help bringing it back here." He tosses a covered knife in Gale's direction. The two men exit, leaving Katniss and Peeta next to the hearth.
Another woman would have taken twice as long as Katniss to strip Peeta of his clothing, clean him and his wound and park him next to the fire with a large serving of alutiqqutigaq. She's done in no time. "I'll boil the blubber for you as soon as they get back. It'll help you keep your strength up," she says putting a new pot of water on the fire. "You'll need to rest for a few days." She turns her attention to the ivory on the ground. She takes a strong metal knife and holds it into the fire letting it grow red with heat before using it to cut off a piece of the ivory. She chips away at it, making a small circular ring which doesn't quite close, and puts it aside. Peeta watches her work, and he knows what's coming next. He imagines Finn will be the one to do it. Katniss has plans for the rest of the ivory, but they'll have to wait for now.
"Whats wrong?" she asks.
Peeta sighs. "I didn't hunt it. It attacked me. I was just defending myself. I don't deserve-"
"Yes, you do. It was a clean kill, wasn't it?" Peeta nods.
"Then we'll celebrate it."
"Katniss?" Peeta breathes." You love me? Real or not real?"
They kiss deeply. Katniss sits with her arms wrapped around Peeta.
Finn and Gale return with all they could salvage from the beast. "Nice job, Peeta. One wound right through its eye," Finnick beams, handing Peeta his knife, which he had left in the beast.
"Yeah, well. It DID take a chunk out of my leg. I didn't have to aim far." Peeta laughs, still comfortable in Katniss's embrace.
"Its wasn't that big. But it's better than nothing I guess," says Gale, his voice dripping in sarcasm.
"Aww, is big bad Gale jealous?" Finnick purrs. Gale scoffs.
Katniss giggles. She gives Peeta one last hug before releasing him. She walks over to Finnick and hands him the ivory circle. "Let's" she suggests. Katniss slices off a piece of blubber and adds it to the water that's now boiling over the fire.
"It'll be my pleasure," says Finnick as he bends down beside Peeta. He pulls an animal skin from his parka and offers Peeta a swig of its contents. Peeta accepts, chugging the liquid heartily.
Finnick retrieves a straight, sharp piece of ivory, grabs the flesh of Peeta's bottom lip and pierces through it. As the taste of his own blood fills his mouth, Peeta tries hard not to let his pain show. Even Gale is impressed with Peeta's pain tolerance. "Your first. This shows the honor in what you have done. You will be protected from Khoughkh," Finnick says as he threads the ivory circle of Peeta's first kill through the new hole in his lip. Katniss is at his side, applying a healing ointment to the piercing. She kisses Peeta's lips. Finnick helps Peeta stand and walk toward the back room. He sets him down on the bear skins on the ground there and leaves Katniss with him. She kisses him again, and soon the sounds of their pleasure fill the air.
That night, Gale sleeps alone.