PROSPER PINE (II)
17 || DISTRICT SEVEN || HEIR
Also Known As: N/A
Father - Prosper (I)
Mother - Persephone
Cousins - Asher (17) & Maple (15)
Play-By: Paul Craddock- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
In a twist of irony which had nothing to do with chance--and everything to do with the cruel decisions of your father’s father, and his father before that--the Pines were a family which clashed vehemently with the rugged backdrop of District Seven. Your parents couldn’t walk down the street without heads turning in their direction, all eyes narrowing in envy -- and you learned, before you could truly understand what it meant, that the Pines were different.(Better).
Your parents’ finely-pressed suits and refined accents were a stark contrast to the rough-spoken lumberjacks, with their scruffy beards and dirty jackets and sawdust-coated, calloused hands. Prosper and Persephone Pine were made for District One--if not the Capitol itself--the forest folk would snarl through yellowed teeth, but your parents’ superior smiles suggested they believed otherwise. In One, they would have blended amongst the masses, and the Pines were not a family to slip by unnoticed. In One, they would have been commoners attempting to live above their station, peasants mingling with the elite, but in Seven… in Seven, they shone, in the spotlight, at the top, exactly where they were meant to be.
You grew up in a stone-brick house nestled in a clearing of one of the districts’ many forests, far away from the rowdy lumber-yards and factories. You were never cold, or hungry, or culturally deprived
; the manor was filled with the frivolities of intricately-carved furniture and custom-ordered rugs, because your family never had to cope with the desperation of empty stomachs. A business in manufacturing and trading specialist wood was profitable, but more so were the dealings it could mask -- though you, of course, knew little of where your family’s money came from. You were young; it was only important that you were privileged where the other children were poor, and your parents sneered that perhaps if their
families worked harder, then their offspring wouldn’t have the stick-thin arms and pot bellies of poverty. - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
“Darling. You must behave properly at school -- you understand that, don’t you?” Your mother’s voice was venom-laced silk, her grip a touch too firm as she adjusted the lapel of your jacket. “You needn’t make your father angry. He has such a lot to facilitate at the moment, we certainly can’t add more stress into the mix. Do you understand what I’m saying, Prosper?” The concern in her voice didn’t match the hardness in her eyes, or the tautness to her cherry-painted lips. “You’ll be good
won’t you, darling?”
Being good, of course, meant walking with your head held high and sitting upright at your school desk. It meant watching while the filthy commoner
children ran in the mud and fell from the trees, scraping their elbows on the way down because they’d never been taught proper climbing etiquette. It meant sneering until those who wore rags for clothes left you alone at lunch-time, or wrinkling your nose when one of them was idiotic enough to believe they were worthy of your company.
The cost of your parents’ pride was loneliness; it was the price of being the Pine heir, the apple of your parents’ eyes, the golden child. Just as your father had business associates and your mother had important connections, you too would have acquaintances, children from other wealthy families who you would allow to follow along behind you down school corridors, or who you would smugly show around your bedroom while your parents held meetings in the sitting rooms downstairs -- but never friends.- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
There is, however, one truth which every citizen of Panem’s districts knows: life isn’t good
. For anyone other than the fortunate Capitolites, an existence in Panem isn’t supposed to be luxurious or hopeful, so in another shift which had nothing to do with fate--though perhaps one which this time couldn’t be attributed to your family’s decisions alone--your cousins were left orphaned on your doorstep, begging for shelter in a desperate plea of ’please, we’re family’
Your parents were selfish and manipulative, but never charitable, so it would come as no surprise that their motivations for allowing your cousins into the warmth of your home were as far from altruistic benevolence as possible -- but it would be a few years, yet, before you’d truly understand; instead, on the night your cousins arrived, you scowled in your parents’ directions while Asher and Maple were led upstairs to move into one of the guest bedrooms, and when your mother returned alone, you folded your arms across your chest and set her with a fierce glare.
“Mother, I want to know why
!” Your cheeks were flushed pink, your bottom lip stuck out in a dramatic pout.
“Prosper!” Your mother hissed, something stone-cold and razor-sharp in her expression as she pulled you into the study, closing the door firmly behind her. “You will never
have the respect you deserve if you think childish temper-tantrums are the way forward. Think!
But eleven-years-old was too young to understand; too young to realise the significance of the reaping, because you’d always believed yourself to be invincible, untouchable. Too young to understand the value of having another boy, the same age as you, within your father’s control. You only saw other children peeling your parents’ attention away from you, living in your
house, eating your
food, trying to play with your
toys. Even when your mother insisted they were only gutter rats, fleas, little more than vermin who could never come close to being as important as you -- you still didn’t like it.
You ought to have appreciated having the company of other children your age close by, but you knew you weren’t supposed to be any friendlier with your cousins than with the dirty ruffians at school. They might have been Pines in blood -- but they certainly weren’t in name; a family-splitting row between your father and his late brother had disowned them before they’d even been born. Disinherited. Inferior. Without a penny to their name, without anything
aside from what your father chose to give them.
Another child might have been kind to them. Might have reached out to two orphans who’d lost everything overnight. Might have been friendly, and caring, and empathetic -- but you weren’t just any child. You were Prosper Pine, and they weren’t worthy of your notice. You were the epitome of the well-mannered, beloved son in front of everyone else; you escorted Maple around the ballroom at one of your father’s business gatherings and exclaimed about how awful
it was that they’d lost their parents, loudly emphasising that they’d always be welcome in your own home, just so you could remind the guests of how generous your family could be -- and yet there was a coldness to your smile and a smug, nasty glint in your eyes, because you knew your cousins could never say anything to contradict you, and that gave you all the power in the world. - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
“Correct, Prosper. Hold the axe just-so, and swing -- in one smooth motion. If you want it, if you will it
, the wood will crack at your whim.”
Your father taught you how to chop wood--the proper way--because there was a difference between being ill-educated and deigning it to be beneath you. But his lessons were always about far more than trees, and wood, and axes; unspoken connotations, subtle hints buried in half-sentences, clues woven into the flicker of a cold smile on his lips. He didn’t help you piece together the connections, but instead left you to discover them for yourself. It was the Pine way; it was how he’d learned from his father, and how you would learn from him -- but you had to do it alone, had to learn to be self-reliant, capable of making your own decisions and drawing your own conclusions. You were spoiled by your parents--given everything you could ever want, and with every opportunity in the world at your fingertips--but you were never coddled.
When you were very, very young, you sulked, stamping your foot and demanding that your father told you what he really
meant, but when he stormed away without a second glance and left you alone in the strange forest clearing, you learned that even if patience and subtlety didn’t come naturally to you, you had to try
. You wanted to be the son they had hoped for. You wanted to live up to their expectations, and to--someday--be as strong and commanding as your father, or as intelligent as your mother, or as capable as they insisted any son of theirs should be.
More than anything, you hated seeing the look of cold, disdainful disappointment in your father’s eyes, or the way your mother’s hand would leave your cheek stinging red if you didn’t behave as a Pine should. You hated overhearing their hushed, whispered conversations, which would leave you feeling small, and powerless, and weak -- at least until you sought out your cousins and provoked them with nasty comments until you felt better.
Asher would always rise to your goading, springing up from wherever he’d been sitting and curling his hands into fists, glaring at you with all the hatred in the world. But Maple would tug on his sleeve and pull him away, something sorrowful and apologetic on her expression. You loathed Asher as much as he loathed you -- but with Maple it was different. You knew what your mother said about her was true--she was still vermin, still filth, still of a social status which no well-respecting citizen could lower themselves to associate with unless they had something to gain--but on the rare occasions when the rest of the district was sleeping, when Asher and your parents were snugly tucked away behind closed doors, you wouldn’t sneer at her quite
so pompously. A quiet, fleeting moment, just while you happened to overlap while helping yourselves to some hot cocoa or a handful of biscuits, and the two of you would share a few murmured words before retreating back to your bedrooms, never to speak of it again. - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
You lived the life which your parents carved out for you -- not only because it was expected, but because you relished in it. You enjoyed the reaction you could provoke in Asher or the way your classmates would look downtrodden after you reminded them of their true worth.
You were important.
Or so you thought. - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
OOC Name: Squirrel
Reference: Third character!