Disclaimer: No, I don't own Star Trek, in case you were wondering.
AN: IDK if this is a prologue or a first chapter so much as a little of both, since this is a major AU (yet not, you'll get it) and I felt the need to explain some of the differences, though I didn't feel like simply rewriting some of the scenes in the movie closely enough to do it. This chapter will be mainly, if not entirely from Sam's POV; you'll see why. Also I'm kinda copping out right here by telling you this is a genderbend and not typing out the birth scene, so yeah. Jane (Janie) Tabitha Kirk is a girl. So there you go. Lastly I'm sorry for the lack of dialogue; I'm just not that good at it.
Samuel George Kirk blazed down the empty dirt-road leading away from his pathetic excuse of a family home in the old, dusty convertible that his goddamned stepfather was so goddamned proud of, even if it wasn't his, but his actual father's. The thought of drunk old Frank being proud anything would've made him snort if he hadn't realized the previous evening how true it was when he'd heard him negotiating a wickedly high price for it on the phone. That's what had brought him to this. There was no way in hell he was letting that monster sell his father's car, the one and only thing belonging to George Kirk that Winona had ever kept, to his knowledge, anyway.
He was just sorry that he'd dragged his poor little sister into it. He knew she didn't deserve the punishment she was probably going to end up getting for leaving the house anyway. Sam looked over at his sister with a twinge of regret. Maybe he shouldn't have done this. Frank never let her out of the house, except for school, and even then he constantly insisted that she wear long pants and shirts, and now Sam was starting to understand why. Looking over at his sister, arms clasped over her knees curled tightly into her chest and wide-eyed, he glanced remorsefully at the scrapes and bruises littering her arms and legs. The bastard had abused her; ever since Sam grew old enough to start fighting back he'd taken to abusing his sister.
'Fucking coward' Sam thought angrily, though he wasn't entirely sure who he was angry at, Frank, or himself. His hands tightened around the wheel as he felt himself flush with shame. How had he not noticed?! As soon as Frank had stopped beating him he'd felt a relief unlike any he'd ever known, and he'd been too wound up in himself to notice that his sister had become more and more withdrawn, taking on more of the household chores, especially cooking. 'She probably did it in hopes of appeasing him.' Little Janie had grown so melancholy he'd taken to calling her blue jay, which, now that he thought on it was not only mocking, but cruel. Sam felt nauseated with self-loathing; it was his job to protect his sister, since there mother was never there to do it, and he'd failed. Briefly taking in his terrified little sister's bruised limbs once again, he felt horrified at just how terribly he had failed.
So it shocked him, when they drove through the barrier that indicated they were about to truly hit rock-bottom, his sister leapt from her seat with an almost squeak, tackling him and knocking both of them over the top the door (the roof had flown off some time ago) and out of the speeding vehicle, onto the hard dirt ground right before it sped off a cliff into nothingness. All he could do was blink up at her shock. She, however, was curling up into his chest, the muffled sounds of words coming out between her hiccupping and tears. "Please, Sammy, don't do that again. Don't ever do that again. I need you. Please don't leave me. Please don't do that again…"
She had saved his life, but not just his life, both of their lives. His little blue jay had just saved his life. How could he have been so irresponsible as to think that she would jump out of the car on her own? Sam put his arm around his little sister, his little Janie, and made a vow to himself right there and then that he would change, that he would do everything in his power to keep her safe; he would no longer be the terrible brother that he was, not as long as Jane was there, not as long as she needed him…
SEVERAL YEARS LATER ON TARSUS IV
The famine had stricken them all terribly. His little sister was literally wasting away before him and there was nothing he could do about it, nothing he could do to keep his vow, no matter how hard he tried, and oh, had he tried. After the incident with the convertible, the police had stepped in and Frank had been sent to jail for child abuse and neglect; Winona was nearly brought up on the same charges until he had objected that there really was nothing she could have done, having been off-world and out-of-touch too often and too long to really take notice. Having grown up with her when their father was still alive, Sam knew that she cared for them, just not enough to be there. Her profound grief drove her to work constantly in order to prevent severe depression from taking over. In the end she was deemed unfit to be their guardian and they were sent to live with her brother and his wife on the Terran colony.
The next several years on the colony couldn't be called anything but peaceful. Luckily his sister hadn't been at all offended at his continued use of her old nickname, and, her having grown quite fond of listening to and mimicking the wide variety of birdcalls that were to be found the tropical planet, it only became more appropriate, and when their aunt and uncle learned of it, it simply stuck. Despite no longer being forced to do so, she displayed a continued desire to cook and bake, and became quite infamous for her white chocolate macadamia nut cookies. Jane was still shy, though she became much more willing to come out of her shell as she grew older. Sam was immensely proud of his sister for her strength and capacity for forgiveness, even if he was rather envious of the latter, as he could not find it in himself to forgive anyone for anything as easily as his sister did, especially when it came to hurting her. He had to be a good older brother after all; he'd learned his lesson.
When the famine came, however, there was nothing he could do about it; there was no brotherly act he could perform that would relieve her hunger, no brotherly affection he could show that could ease the ache in her belly, no brotherly, protective hugs he could give her to raise the skin from her bones. They all did their best, gathering roots from wild plants, the only things that were barely edible, parsing them, boiling them, mashing them down to almost nothing before they could even be ingested, paranoid of possibly eating the poisonous heavy metals that made the other parts of the planet's wild greenery inedible. They shuddered every time they passed the bright, wild berries that their aunt and uncle had eaten to test if they were safe, only to find a few hours later that they weren't.
Sam tried every evening to push his tiny share of bland, sticky gray mass onto her plate, only to have it shoved directly in his face on her spoon. Jane knew very well what he was trying to do, but she was having none of it, insistent that he would need the energy to look for more tomorrow and that that was the best way to look out for her and he could not deny that; the roots were getting harder to find by the day, and the even smaller rations given to them by Kodos barely provided enough energy to dig them up, let alone go farther into the dense forests looking for them. Never before the famine had Sam a reason to curse Tarsus IV's hot, humid climate, that now zapped too much of his, everyone's strength daily. Helplessness consumed him as he watched his little blue jay finish her meager plate of "food", sighing almost imperceptibly as she did so.
Before he could say anything, make her reassurances of some sort, a sharp knock came at the door. They both jerked up, startled, and both walked hurriedly to see who it was. Sam knew Janie hoped against hope that Starfleet would come, just as fervently as he despaired that they never would, though he always displayed the opposite, if only for her sake. Upon opening the door, the siblings felt a little stunned to see a man with a long phaser standing there…
WHOAH, CLIFFHANGER! I THINK WE ALL KNOW WHAT HAPPENS FROM THERE THOUGH, SO, EVEN MORE YEARS LATER, BACK ON EARTH
Working as a bartender at the local bar was not an easy job for Sam G. Kirk. It especially wasn't an easy job when people acted inappropriately towards the wait staff. Add on the fact that the wait staff currently being acted inappropriately towards was his little sister and goddammit if he wasn't gonna get fired for assaulting a customer, again. Sam was in the midst of filling a rather large drink order from a rather pretty dark skinned Starfleet cadet when he heard a squeak followed by the sound of a tray being dropped. Looking up abruptly he saw another, rather large Starfleet cadet with his hand on his little Janie's skirt and before the idiot knew what hit him (literally) Sam had leapt over the bar and had promptly begun breaking his face.
Faintly he heard Janie's distressed calls of "Sammy, don't! I'm okay! You'll get fired again!" But something in the back of his mind snapped that it was too late, and he stalled as his sister fell silent, terrified that he might have spoken that thought aloud. However, when he looked up he noticed that a graying man in a black Starfleet uniform was snapping at people to get out, which the cadets did with particular urgency, excepting the groaning man beneath him. Janie, head down, tried quickly to skirt around him but let out another, quieter squeak when the man, officer, he corrected himself, laid a hand on her shoulder and shook his head, gently telling her to stay put. Sam glared up at the stranger's offered hand and got up by himself, putting a protective arm around Janie who shrunk in on herself guiltily, trying to attract as little attention as possible.
"Go on and get yourself patched up, Cupcake." The man sighed exasperatedly at the cadet still sprawled on the floor, who struggled to his feet, glaring and muttering insults on his way out. "Why don't we sit down and talk?" the officer more ordered than asked, looking at them both interestedly. Sam huffed, but did as he was told; Starfleet officers are the worst people to go around punching. Janie meekly sat down in the chair next to him, still not looking up, and the officer sat across from them both.
"I'm Captain Christopher Pike." He stated, extending his hand in greeting.
"Sam Kirk." Pike's eyebrows rose at that, then even more so when Sam simply stared at his hand, refusing to take it, and he started to retract it.
"Um, Jane…" Sam's little sister mumbled before she briefly glanced at Pike's face and, giving his hand a brief, timid shake, withdrew it just as quickly and began fiddling with her hair. His eyebrows rose even further, if that were at all possible.
"Well, it's a pleasure to meet the both of you. Y'know I was friends with your father back at the Academy," Jane straightened up a little hearing that, focusing her gaze on Pike, though her fingers never left her dark blonde locks. Sam merely narrowed his eyes. "And he used to tell me all the time about how proud he was of his son." Here he looked pointedly at Sam, who crossed his arms and looked away. "Now I come across you all grown up and getting into bar fights? At your own job?" he proclaimed incredulously. "And from what I've heard this isn't your first time, either." Jane squirmed in her seat uncomfortably. She knew they were all her fault; her brother was only ever protecting her.
"It's none of your business what I do or don't do, however you knew my father." Sam spat cuttingly.
Jane furrowed her brow, opening her mouth as if she might object- "Yeah, but don't you think you were meant for something greater?" Pike interjected, beating her to it. "You have so much potential, you both do," Jane's jaw snapped shut and she shrank back in her seat, not expecting to be brought into this, "And yet you squander it away by staying here, taking one meaningless job after another until you get fired. Do you really enjoy being the only genius repeat offender in the Midwest?" Sam's teeth clenched. "Especially when you're not the only one you have to worry about?"
That got to him. Instantly Sam straightened in his seat, sending a worried, guilt-ridden glance at his little Janie, who looked for the entire world like she wanted to be anywhere else right now, brow furrowed in anguish as her fingers twisted her hair even more tightly around her knuckles.
"I-," he hesitated. What is it to this stranger, this Starfleet Captain, what he did with his life, how he took care of his sister? Yet his tone of voice seemed to imply that he cared, he really and truly cared what happened to them, and it had been a long time since he'd heard that. Looking him once again in the face he found that the man was being completely honest with him, even if he had some sort of inscrutable glint in his eye.
"Why don't you try Starfleet? Follow in your father's footsteps?"
"What?" Sam blinked. Jane relaxed her grip slightly, tilting her head curiously at his proposition.
"If you don't like it, you can always catch a shuttle right back here; I think I could even persuade the Academic Council to give you both full scholarships to the Academy, provided you're willing to put in the effort of course." Pike smirked.
Sam turned to gaze thoughtfully at his little blue jay, only to belatedly realize the continuing accuracy of that nickname as blue eyes brighter than a winter sky gazed back him. He rolled his eyes at his little sister's antics, knowing he could never say no when she looked at him like that, and that, even if she wouldn't go without him, he would never live it down if he didn't. She had always admired Starfleet, even if it was what kept their mother away from them. Once again the envy of her capacity for forgiveness crept up on him.
"Yeah, I guess…we could…give it a shot…" he sighed. If that's where his sister wanted to go, then he would go to, if only to make her happy.
"Shuttle leaves at 0900 tomorrow morning." Pike smiled before getting up and extending his hand once again for Sam to shake. Huffing, he reluctantly did so this time around. Jane, in contrast, grasped the captain's hand in both of hers and bounced up and down, squealing excitedly.
"Thankyouthankyouthankyou! Oh, we won't let you down sir, I promise!" Then, realizing what she just did, her eyes widened almost comically as she snapped her hands back to herself and mumbled something about collecting their final paycheck before scurrying towards the manager's office, hiding behind a curtain of hair. Pike simply shook his head and took his leave, grinning.
THE NEXT MORNING
Arriving just after 0830 with all their most essential belongings stuffed into duffel bags slung over their shoulders, brother and sister approached the dock yard, gazing up in awe at the nearly completed starship being built.
"Nice to see you, Mr. and Ms. Kirk." A familiar voice prodded them out of their wonderings. Pike smirked amusedly while getting a random cadet to take their bags.
Once they stepped onto the shuttle Sam felt more than a little out of place to see that they were the only ones not wearing a Starfleet-issued uniform. He hid that discomfort upon noticing a certain bald-headed man sitting nearby and smirked at his bruised visage. Then he steered his sister farther down the aisle of seats, taking a couple towards the rear across from the young lady he'd been in the process of serving when the whole debacle started, who quirked an eyebrow at him.
Sam smiled sheepishly, "I'm sorry I kind of almost knocked you over last night."
"I, uh, I guess I owe you a few shots, miss…?"
"Miss Uhura, right, um… I really am sorry about-,"
"Don't worry about it, I understand." She regarded Janie for a moment, who shifted uncomfortably under her stare. "But I will take you up on that offer sometime, mister…?"
"Uh, Kirk. Sam, Kirk…"
"Mister Kirk." She flashed a brief smirk. (Hey, that rhymed! Lol)
Then shouting was heard as several of the shuttle personnel dragged a very loudly protesting older man in civilian clothing out of the rear lavatory and plopped him down in the seat next to Janie, who once again began to fidget uncomfortably. Sam frowned. Uhura simply raised an eyebrow, unimpressed. The man then leaned over towards Janie as he began fastening his seatbelt.
"I have necrophobia, do you know what that is? A fear of dying. Space is a vacuum and if even one of these windows loosens ever so slightly, the pressure in this cabin'd drop so fast we'd all explode, then the temperature'd dop and our insides'd freeze and all the air would rush out so whatever's left of us would suffocate and there's no one to stop us from gravitatin' right into the sun where the shuttle'd explode and we'd all burn to death."
All of this the Southern-accented man said in one breath and without ever taking the intensity of his dark eyes off of the fidgeting young blonde next him.
"B-but, Starfleet is all about w-working in space-," his sister managed to get out.
"Yeah, I know, but the wife left me no choice. Took half the planet in the goddamn divorce and left me with nothin' but my bare bones." He snorted, then unexpectedly softened. "Leonard McCoy. I'm on the medical track. Might I inquire as to what a pretty young lady such as yourself is going into the Academy for?" He inquired gently.
Sam burned silent holes in this McCoy's head, though he seemed to go unnoticed.
"I, um, Jane. Probably ps-psychology…" she trailed off uncertainly, looking askance at her brother, who did not look at all happy about the man's flirting.
"Well since we might have a few classes together, and because it would be impolite, I'll try not to throw up on you or your body guard over there." McCoy smiled at them before taking out a silver flask and taking a large gulp. "You look like you need it with him around." He held it out to the blonde who looked at Sam once again before turning back and bashfully shaking her head. "Who is your overzealous boyfriend there, anyway?" he teased, though not blaming him, seeing as she was quite attractive, and he would most likely react the same way to someone flirting with her were she his partner, though he would definitely be much more vocal about it.
Jane's eyes widened in horror at that question and she hid her face, blushing darkly, mortified.
Sam's glare intensified at the accusation as he growled angrily, "She's my sister."
Uhura laughed so loudly that even Cupcake stared.