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Jim knows a bit about hating people. Words: 1350; Title: Tori Amos


elevator music (the way we fight)


Hating Frank is pretty much a given. The man breezes into Jim's life when he's three and sets up shop permanently when he's five, demanding to be paid respect because he's the man in the house now. Nevermind that the house they live in, the car he drives and the woman he fucks all belong to another man.

A dead man.

And that man's name is George Kirk and he's Jim father and hating the usurper is almost his duty – he knows all about duty, grows up on tales of it, tales of his great father and the way he went beyond his duty and saved eight hundred people and even if Pike looks at him like he's stupid, he knows the exact number, thanks anyway, knows it by heart. Eight hundred and seventeen people. Including his mother. Including him.

So he hates Frank because it's his duty and it's not like the man makes it hard. He marries Winona, loves Winona – or maybe the prestige and titles and infamy she brings to rural fucking Iowa – but Sam and Jim are unwelcome tag-alongs. Like buying a dog and getting the fleas for free.

Only fleas went extinct in the late twenty first century and Sam and Jim are here, are alive and loud and children. Who might be damn self sufficient when it comes right down to it, but still children. With a mother who loves the stars more than them, who drops them at Frank's door – their father's door, their father's whole damn house – four weeks after the wedding and doesn't come back for nine months.

Frank has no idea how to deal with them, doesn't want to learn and lets them feel it. Sam's reaction is to go into teenage rebellion several years too early and Jim, still young and bright-eyed and unable to fully comprehend, tries to please Frank, tries so hard. And is shot down every single time.

So yeah, he fucking hates Frank as soon as he is old enough to understand what that means, to put a name to the burning, aching hotness in his chest that wants to jump from his ribcage and tear into something.


A lot of the time, he hates his mother, too. This hate is different, sure it is, not the bright, glowing flame he holds in his heart of hearts for Frank – may the bastard fucking burn – but a softer thing, more quiet. Like coke that's been left in the sun for too long and lost all its fizz. Flat. Lifeless.

And how sad is it that he needs soft drink analogies to explain what he feels for his mother – the woman who gave birth to him?

But that's the problem, isn't it? Winona Kirk gave birth to him. And that's it. End of story. Over, amen, out. She gave birth to him and clung to him for a week until they were rescued from the shuttle and brought back to Earth and there she put him in her own mother's arms and crumpled to the floor in great heaving sobs.

He knows. He's been told often enough. It's meant as an encouragement, that story, an example of the great epic love his parents shared. All it is to him, all it shows him, is that his mother loved George more than either of his sons.

Why else would she be up there, in the stars all the time, if not to chase a dead man's ghost across the black? Why else would she drop his sons at the feet of a man who neither cares for nor wants them? Why else would she run so very hard from them?

When he's small he believes the stories of mommy saving worlds and peoples. But then he gets older and he learns the meaning of the word escapist and from that moment on, that's what Winona becomes in his mind. An escapist of reality and responsibility who would rather die on some backwater planet than watch her children grow up.

Oh, she comes home, yeah, sure, and she brings them presents. Books and trinkets, things you'd expect from a distant aunt. And she takes them on great adventures, movies and amusement parks and whatever the hell she can come up with, trying to make up with material things what she lacks emotionally.

All Sam wants, all Jim ever wants is a mom but she's deaf to that particular plea.

Frank's sin is not wanting to raise the spawn of a dead man whose shadow hangs over every damn thing in his life.

Winona's sin is clinging to that very same shadow with mad desperation and destroying the real things, the solid, living breathing remains of her husband in the process. Her sin is leaving her sons on Earth with Frank, who hates them right back.

So Jim hates his mother, too, hates her for all she didn't do for him and all the chances and good things she took away from him by fucking up his life from the very moment she put him in his grandmother's arms and sunk to the ground.


But most of all, fucking most of all of his messed up, useless parental figures, Jim hates his father, noble, wonderful, brilliant, self sacrificing George Kirk.

Who was suicidal and dumb and brave and who died and caused all this shit. He broke Winona's heart, he made Frank look upon two innocent boys and see only problems, only unwelcome things, he made Sam look at Jim like he was a poor replacement, and he makes Jim spend his life under the weight of two simple words.

Your father.

Never George, never Sam's father, always his. Your father died for you. Your father was a hero. Your father would be disappointed in you. Your father was better, faster, stronger, smarter, nobler, fucking anything and everything.

Your father was a god and you are the shriveled, sobbing, screaming little bundle of spit and shit we got in return for his great sacrifice.

His father loved Jim. He knows that. He died for him. That's a fact.

But there are also other facts, facts that everyone else seems to forget:

His father never hears him say his first word. He never sees him take his first step, never teaches him how to punch, never defends him from bullies and Frank and never tells him how to talk to girls. He is never there, he never kisses Winona like he should, he never pats Jim on the shoulder or hugs him or tells him he's proud and when other people tell him George would be – proud that is – it sets his teeth on edge every damn time because he's not.

George isn't anything because George is dead.

And that's the one truth that everyone else seems to forget. George, his father, is dead. His atoms are scattered across space along with the debris of the ship that went up in flames with him.

He's not here.

He's never here.

Frank is here and he feeds Jim, clothes him and sometimes, albeit reluctantly, he even pats Jim on the head like a dog that did a cool new trick. Winona comes and goes but she's there, too, occasionally and always on Christmas. If she can swing it.

But his father is not.

Jim grows up and grows old in the span of twenty years, he fucks up his life and somehow manages to straighten it out and saves the entire planet and his father's. Not. Here.

And for that Jim hates him with all the desperate, wild irrationality of a child that spent countless hours of his fucked up youth lying on the floor of his dingy room, wishing for someone to come and take him away.

No-one ever did and eventually Jim packed a single back pack and took himself away, just started walking like Sam had almost six years earlier and he never looked back.

At least that's what he tells himself.