brave new world
summary: a collection of snippets/drabbles/whatevers. one minute jan is jumping out of a friend's car and crossing the street, but then it all goes to hell. or technically, deep space nine.
disclaimer: nothing belongs to me, as per usual
stardate: 2373 (Jake is 18, Jan is 22), season 5.
brave new world: five
The first time Jan notices Jake Sisko, he is with his father. She's sitting at Quark's bar; it's been a particularly rough day so far so she's decided to try and drink her feelings. She's only on her first gin when the Siskos walk down the winding steps from the holosuites. It's not exactly an unusual sight, but something catches her eye: in Jake's hand is a baseball glove and Captain Sisko has a ball in his hand.
It takes her awhile to work up to the courage to approach Jake and ask him about baseball. They've never really spoken before so just walking up to him and being all "hey! I was creeping a few weeks ago and saw you with a baseball glove! do you play?" isn't a particular talent of hers. She stays quiet, and waits (hopes?) for something else to be a reason to approach him. The perfect opportunity presents itself when Jake, who apparently is an aspiring writer, gets a piece about the Battle of Ajilon Prime published and she happens to read it.
"You're Jake, right?" is the first thing she says to him when she finally just makes herself walk up to him on the Promenade.
"Yeah...you're that girl who appeared out of nowhere, right?" he asks, eyebrows raised.
"Oh yeah, that's me. Jan Malusky, girl who appeared out of nowhere," she jokes, feeling awkward. "Um, anyway, I wanted to tell you I read your article, you know. It was real interesting and yeah, congratulations on getting it published."
"Thanks," he says, looking a little surprised. "Good interesting or bad interesting?"
"Good interesting. I liked that you chose to talk about war in a gritty, real way, not glorious or patriotic. Reminded me of Hemingway or The Red Badge of Courage, I guess."
From there they form a friendship. She learns that Jake is eighteen, wants to be a full-time writer, and before living on Deep Space Nine, he lived on Mars, and before that on a starship. His grandfather lives in New Orleans, and Jan promptly asks him questions about it, wondering how different it is than the one she knew.
"What about you?" he questions, and at first Jan isn't sure if she can say. As if sensing the meaning of her reluctance, he continues: "My dad, uh, told me about...where you're from. So I already know that part."
"Well...I'm from Cleveland, Ohio. I wasn't born there, though, but when I was pretty young we moved up there from North Carolina because it's where my parents were from. My grandparents moved there from Poland after World War two. Three sisters and a brother plus my mom and my dad. Big supporters of Cleveland sports - baseball, especially, but football and basketball too. I graduated from liberal arts college in Ohio with a religious studies degree. Didn't really know what I wanted to do. Still don't."
"Baseball?" he asks, suddenly, visible excited. "What team would that be?"
"The Cleveland Indians. It was rough...if you know anything about Cleveland sports, you'd understand!"
Jake invites her to play from time to time after that, and she goes the first time. Except she's terrible. Her forte is watching, not playing, she explains. Then on the eighth month anniversary of her arrival, Jake says he has a surprise for her. He takes her to the holosuite and it's a baseball game. More than that, it's a familiar stadium. Suddenly it all dawns on Jan and she wants to hug the shit out of Jake Sisko.
"What year is this?" she asks, eyes wide, seeking confirmation for what she already knows to be true.
"2018. Game seven of the World Series between the Indians and the Reds," he explains, a goofy grin slapped across his face, like he knows how much she is about to freak out. Which she does. It is almost like being at home. Jake explains that in true Indian fashion, they had led the series early on, winning three games in a row, and promptly losing three more after that. As she watches, the Tribe scores a run in the first inning and the second; they let the Reds catch up in the third, which is disappointing, but she's seen worse. In the fifth inning Cleveland sneaks in a run but in the sixth and seventh leave men on base while the Reds jump ahead by a run. And then at the top of the 9th they let the Reds score by an embarrassing display from the Indian's shortstop, leaving them trailing by 2. Jan accepts that they will lose, that it will be fucking 1997 all over again. Damn you, she thinks at the bottom of the ninth as the bases are loaded with two outs and the score is still 5-3 and they have come to the bottom of the line-up. She imagines that her mother is (was?) probably crying at this point.
But then a miracle happens. A player she's never heard of, with a rather average ERA comes up to bat...and hits a grand slam. A motherfucking grand slam and she's on her feet screaming and hugging Jake and she can't believe it. They won. After 70 years of royally fucking up, they finally won! The roar of the crowd is in her ears and suddenly, rather painfully, her mind goes back to her mom. Her poor mom who stuck by Cleveland with devotion her entire life, waiting for even one of the teams to win a championship title. Through Rick Manning, Albert Bell, Jim Thome, CC Sabathia, Grady Sizemore, and more. "Next year" is (was?) finally "this year." Her tears of joy turn into wracking sobs of loneliness and homesickness. She can hear Jake asking her what is wrong but she doesn't respond. She is glad Jake did this for her, really, but Jan would give anything to have watched this on TV with her family, to see her mother's tears and the whoops and shouts , to hear her brother say what a fucking miracle it was for the shitty Tribe to finally pull through. To get drunk with them in celebration and run into the streets and to actually live the experience of Cleveland winning something. Instead, she is in a holosuite watching a ballgame that happened more than 300 years ago on a space station light years away from her home planet, forget her hometown.
"Computer, end program!" she manages to choke out between the years, ignoring Jake's concerned look and rushing out, even though it means she will have to run through Quark's and the Promenade crying. That's how desperate she is to get away and back to her quarters because the only cure is for her to just cry it out. She'll have to apologize to Jake later, but she just can't do this. In a second, she is gone.
baseball bonding! I've been planning this one forever. remnants of home for poor Jan. it is also a tribute to my own mom. here's to hoping, Cleveland.