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Fic: Blessings
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Title: Blessings
Fandom: The Hunger Games
Rating: G
Pairing(s): gen, Mrs/Mr Everdeen, Mr/Mrs Mellark, Mrs/Mr Hawthorn
Warnings: au, rubbing blood on babies (in a not extreme, well intentioned way)
Notes: for the trope bingo prompt “au:fantasy”. A bit of magical realism for you all. I originally wanted to add some world details (the Games are now a ritual sacrifice, Mrs. Everdeen’s parents cursed her when she ran off with Mr. Everdeen, a double binding can pull a person in two directions) but I think that works better as saved for a rainy day.

Summary: Three families, three blessings, three secrets. A magical in-Panem AU.

“Hearth and home,” Holly Everdeen whispered, drawing a line in ash on her baby’s forehead. “Your warmth and love and safety beside her.”

It was nearly midnight, the wrong time of day for this sort of blessing. But Holly’s in a bind – Peacekeepers only allow prayers to the president, and Holly refused to dedicate a child of hers to that monster.

So with the shutters pulled and blankets over every crack, Holly sat in front of the fire with her three week old baby and wove a bit of her fading magic.

“Your steadfastness and security around her,” Holly whispered. “And I call her Katniss. A meal for a child who will never starve, not while you have power.”

The next day in the woods, Jack Everdeen drew a cross in deer’s blood on his daughter’s forehead and dedicated her to the hunt. Holly didn’t tell him about her night in front of the fire.

A few years later, after a particularly hard labor and a severe plague, Holly dedicated her second daughter, Primrose, to health and healing. This time she told her husband and they fought. You couldn’t eat health or healing. You couldn’t feed a family with them.

But she didn’t regret it. Not once.

Rene Mellark dedicated his first son to the state, as was required by law. The second son went to trade and commerce, the same blessing his wife had been given by her parents.

The third son, Peeta, he dedicated to the mill and the stove. His parents did it for him; he ought to do it for at least one of his sons.

“Feed your family well,” he told the boy, who came into the world fat and red-cheeked and strong. Good Mellark stock if he ever saw it. “You can nourish them with a little just as well as a lot. And I expect you to crush every obstacle to that. I know you’re capable of it.”

“Sentimental nonsense,” said his wife. “But since we own a bakery, I suppose it could be worse.”

Secret blessings made her nervous, even though she’d had one when she was born. It’s not like anyone noticed in District Twelve.

Hazel and Mick Hawthorne disagreed over the dedication of their oldest son.

“He’s from the Seam,” Mick said. “He should be dedicated to fire.”

“Panem is a dangerous place,” said Hazel. “He ought to be dedicated to the shield.”

Their cousins were no help. Everyone had a different opinion – to milk and egg, should they fford to buy livestock; to the fox and the vole, so he could easily hide himself from danger; to trade and commerce, like a merchant; to sword and spear, so as to fight any dangers; or, if they were truly unable to choose, dedicate him to President Snow and to Panem, as the law said they should. It gave no particular benefits, except perhaps a bit of national pride. But it was safe. Wasn’t that what they wanted?

“I won’t have any son of mine dedicated to that bastard,” Mick growled. “And I don’t want nothing to do with those merchants. The sword is good…”

“They do that in District Two,” Hazel said.

Mick scowled and spit. “Then let’s forget all that and dedicate him to the hunt. It ain’t legal, but it’ll keep him fed, and he’ll have to be wily and dedicated and more besides.”

Hazel didn’t quite like it, but she had no better suggestions. She refused to let him take the baby into the woods.

Instead, Mick brought a little blood into the house, and a pine branch to set the baby on.

They dedicated Gale during mandatory viewing, when they were guaranteed no interruptions. It gave Mick a thrill to go against the law while President Snow gave a pointless speech.

A little bit of rebellion slipped into his blessing. Neither of them noticed.

This entry was crossposted to My DW Account. Please feel free to read or comment on either site.


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