I never, ever meant to show Joe up. Ever. But somehow, I always did. Nothing he ever did was good enough, because I had already done it. And done it better. And what was so hard about it was that he didn't stop trying. Every time Mom or Dad made some sort of comment about how "Jim did it better," Joe would just stop that activity and go out and try something else. And never once did he say anything to me about it. He would just take their criticism. Over and over and over again.

What infuriated me the most was when our parents would ignore his accomplishments. For example, he did much better in history and language arts classes than I ever did. He had a real aptitude for it. But they would dismiss that out-of-hand. "You need to concentrate on your science, Joe. You have to have a science background to become a doctor." I was their clear favorite and we both knew it. So somewhere alone the line, Joe stopped trying to impress them and set about making himself "tolerable." He actually said that once, that he hoped our parents found him "tolerable."

I never knew what to do to help. I would encourage him to take his own path; to do what he wanted, but we both knew that if he did that, they would hate him. Literally hate him. I was always so angry about that! Doctors, both of our parents, committed to healing whenever they could and not causing any harm, and they were slowly killing their second son…and without even noticing or caring.

By the time he was fourteen, he had dropped from "tolerable" to "endurable," and had become annoyingly nervous about everything. Yes, he did have asthma and allergies, no they weren't half as bad as he made them seem. But I could still be sympathetic because I knew where all of this was coming from. His total and complete insecurity about his self-worth. The irony of all that was how reliable he was. Whenever we needed anything done, like the table set or dinner made, he would do it, usually without being asked. As if he was pleading with us, "Don't I add something to this family? Anything at all?"

I don't think anyone would understand how this hurt me. I was a sort of doctor-in-training, and watching him struggle with his hurt, day in and day out, killed me. And through it all, he still confided in me. Me, the cause of all his grief, however unwitting it was on my part.

So, without telling him, I convinced Mom and Dad to send him away to camp. I figured that if he were away from all of us, free to be his own person, maybe that would help some. I knew it would help me, at least. I could stop worrying about causing Joe more grief.

Ah, the camp. Well, that was a total fiasco…as far as my plans went. For what it did for Joe…that Digiworld place was the best thing that could have happened to him. Ever. I don't care about the fear and physical things that happened to him. Those were only temporary, and this change in him is permanent. I guess being destined to save the world would do wonders for your self-esteem.

Mom and Dad will always be Mom and Dad, but I can see that Joe can handle that. I guess my little brother isn't so little anymore.

And I can't tell you how glad I am.
~*~*~*~*~*~*

Yep, a Jim-fic! Probably one of the first. But I like his character. I mean, just look. All the other related people are focused on. Tai and Kari, Matt and TK. What about Jim? How did he grow up? Why did Joe always talk to him and why was he always trying to give Joe good advice. I don't have a big brother myself, but Jim seemed to go a bit far. Anyways, let me know what you think, please. I'll appreciate it forever and ever.

Oh, yeah. I own nothing.