Rating: R, for language
Word Count: 3969
Notes: For Shipwars, Team Spork Entry, Prompt #5: Fairy Tale
Summary: Jim often felt like Cinderella. Well, if Cinderella had a dick and a penchant for sarcastic repartee.
Dedicated: To daphnie_1 *blows kisses*, who encouraged this to be written.
Special Thanks: To janice_lester who should get the beta of the year award. Her patience, dedication and skill is unparalleled.
It was Frank’s poker night; a miserable day of the week that never boded well for Jim. Not that any day really boded well for him. ‘Boding well’ was a phenomenon that seemed to just skip over the first fourteen years of his life.
Riverside sucked. Frank sucked. Life sucked, and that pretty much encompassed it all.
It was a sad testament to his life that Jim had planned out his rebuttal to Frank’s predictable onslaught on the walk home from school that day. Sure enough, Frank started in on him the moment he walked in the door, as per their predictable, painful routine.
“Listen here, you little shit, while your mother is away, I am in charge, and while I am in charge, you’ll do what I tell you! You want to eat tonight? Well, go do the chores I listed out for you and sent to your PADD.” The angry tone registered, but, as if Frank were any of the adults from that 20th century Peanuts holovid he and Sam used to watch over and over as children, all Jim really heard was ‘blah, blah, blah, blahblahblah, blah’.
He didn’t need to hear Frank to get the gist of what was being said. It was old hat by now. Part of Jim couldn’t help but wonder if Frank lived for this moment every day, if this was how Frank got his jollies during his mother’s absence.
It had reached the point where he could just about mouth Frank’s part for him.
Jim often felt like Cinderella. Well, if Cinderella had a dick and a penchant for sarcastic repartee, that is. Sad, cliché fairy tale of a broken home? Check. Plucky young thing determined to persevere despite vapid repression? Check. Jim was a bit short on ugly stepsisters, though that wasn’t exactly something to complain about, right?
Just dealing with Frank was bad enough, he didn’t need to tempt fate by commenting on the missing players in the drama that was his life. The fact of the matter was that he was the young, handsome, entirely misunderstood innocent… well, maybe not innocent, exactly, but that was only because he refused to take Frank’s shit without the world knowing damn well how he felt about it beforehand; what did it matter in the grand scheme of things if his innocence came with a little justifiable attitude?
Frank utterly deserved it, both for being the world’s largest dickwad, and for turning Jim into a virtual servant while his mother served off-world just because he knew he could get away with it… They both knew Jim’s mother couldn’t be bothered to check up on them or really care all that much what Frank did or how he ruled the house. As long as Jim was alive and breathing when she came home, and sporting no visible signs of Frank-inflicted violence, she counted the addition of Frank in their lives as a win.
Really, Frank fit the ‘wicked-stepmother’ role to a sickening degree. The only thing missing was the corset, and crooked nose. Which Jim would totally pay good money to see. In fact, a digital touch-up of his mother’s and Frank’s wedding photo wouldn’t go amiss…
Jim had to give Frank points for perseverance, though; Frank was trying his damnedest to break Jim’s spirit the way he had Sam’s. It was just a shame that he wouldn’t succeed. Because, unlike his brother, Jim was no runwayway. Cinderella (and every other wishy-washy, utterly spineless heroine from countless fairy tales… sad, that, and kind of insulting to womankind) had accepted her lot in life with the cheery, resigned disposition of a heroine-in-distress, singing to animals and other such maudlin (and frankly, slightly disturbing) bullshit, Jim was not going to take that kind of blatant power trip lying down. Not anymore. Jim had reached a boiling point. He was sick and tired of being pushed around.
This Cinderella was busting heads and taking names.
“I’m sorry, Frank, but I’m afraid I cannot paint the house, fix the fence and do every other damn thing around here, just because you can’t be bothered. I am a fourteen-year-old student, you see, and we have to do things like homework. Foreign concept for you, I know, what was the last grade you completed? Fifth? But for the rest of us in possession of a brain larger than a gnat’s, it’s what we do.” Frank spluttered. Jim smiled sweetly. “But let me put it in terms you’ll understand: me no do homework, teacher will investigate. Teacher investigates, I must inform her that I was too busy being treated as a slave in my own home to partake of such a silly thing as actively participating in my education. And starving children is actually a form of child abuse -- just a fun fact for ya there, Frankie.”
And that was for Cinderella, Snow White, and every other repressed individual who’d had the misfortune, throughout history or literature, to put up with a Frank.
And the nice puce shade that Frank turned made the entire exchange more than worth it. When Jim did doctor that photo, he’d make sure to include the magenta coloring, it suited the bastard.
“Abuse? You don’t know the half of it! I could show you abuse! And don’t give me that shit about homework. I never see you doing homework! The only reason you bring it up now is to try and weasel out of earning your keep around here.”
Jim glared at Frank defiantly.
“Maybe I don’t do it because I’m too busy playing the role of your indentured and starved servant.” The truth of the matter was he didn’t really need the time at home after school; he usually did his homework at midday break. Not like any of his assignments were all that challenging or required more than five minutes and half of his attention. But Frank didn’t need to know that. The things Frank didn’t know already far outweighed what he did by a long stretch… a stretch the size of the Pacific Ocean. One more omission wasn’t going to do him any damage.
At that Frank did laugh, a malicious and evil sounding laugh so over-the-top, so vividly recalling the stereotypical villain from a really, really badly acted horror holovid that Jim couldn’t help but roll his eyes… twice.
And then a third time, just for effect, since being over-dramatic was kinda the order of the day.
“Kid, you think you have it so bad. You don’t know just how bad it can get. So let me spell it out for you in terms you’ll understand. You go do the chores I listed for you, and you do them with a song in your heart, or you don’t get fed, and you get grounded, indefinitely and probably till the end of time, and then, when your mother gets home, I lay out for her, in intricate detail, just what a little shit her youngest son really is.”
Jim couldn’t help the fourth eye roll, and he didn’t think anyone would blame him for it, because really, someone forgot to tell Frank that when threatening someone, the threats should be, well, actually threatening.
He was well past the point of caring what his mother thought, hadn’t cared since Sam had run away and she had done nothing to rectify their living situation. Besides, that was all shit about “when your mother gets home”. If Frank really wanted her to know something, he’d just call her. Nor did he care to eat whatever gloop Frank would come up with that evening, as the man was a hopeless cook and had busted the kitchen replicator in a fit of pique last week (which Jim may or may not have provoked him to). Jim could easily just eat extra at school the next day. And the grounding? Well, the tree by Jim’s window had been his best-friend since he was five.
How obtuse could one grown man get, really? Frank was an embarrassment to the species.
But Jim would do the chores, and purposely not sing while doing them, if for no other reason than he needed something to occupy his body while his mind plotted his escape out of this hell-hole once and for all.
Jim’s fairy godmother, one Christopher Pike, entered Jim’s life with a bang but a distinct lack of fairy dust. There were stars dancing before Jim’s eyes at the time, but that probably had more to do with the combination of repeated blows to the head and alcohol than it did Pike’s abrupt arrival on the scene.
Here Jim was, innocently wallowing in the misfortune of getting pummeled by behemoths whose mothers probably nursed them on steroids rather than breast milk and pondering the predictability of humankind and how it was his misfortune to be among them, when this insanely idealistic (and, Jim suspected, marginally insane) man waltzed into his life and started yammering about destiny, reaching one’s potential, and fucking Starfleet.
Now, Jim had a long history of rolling his eyes through well-meant but ultimately futile career speeches from councilors who looked at his ridiculously high assessment test scores with stars in their eyes… and then actually met him and realized that he was, perhaps, a mite troubled. Just a tad, mind. Growing up with an asshole for a stepfather, with a mother constantly away on missions out among the stars, while living in the shadow of a heroically dead father, had sure helped him grow up the sort who didn’t take all that well to being patted on the head and told he could become something if he only worked hard and dreamed big enough.
But Pike had the foresight to approach this well-worn monologue of ‘you could do so much better, Jim’ in a uniquely effective way… he dared Jim to do better.
Never let it be said that James Kirk passed on a dare.
There was more to it than that of course.
Pike had looked him in the eyes and told him he’d be a captain. A fucking Captain, man. He was dreaming on Jim’s behalf, and he was dreaming big. And the faith in those eyes had been undeniable and unshakable. But Pike didn’t have to know that.
It was actually a pretty profound experience, though Jim would never admit it aloud. He wouldn’t want to give the man a big head or anything, it would make his recruitment speeches even more over-the-top zealous. But from the get-go Pike had believed in him, had shown unwavering conviction, and all within minutes of first making Jim’s acquaintance.
Jim had been used to anger, doubt, resentment and disappointment, but belief was a whole new ball game.
He felt obligated to Pike now, determined to live up to that faith.
The man was a fucking wizard at manipulation, using psychological warfare to bend the world to his will, and while Jim totally saw through him, and knew full well what Pike was doing, (he wasn’t an idiot, thank you, hell, he admired the guy’s skill and audacity when doing it), he also recognized that Pike was doing it for Jim’s benefit.
Kind of weird to be looked after like that. Kind of new.
Pike mightn’t have a magic wand, but he knew people, knew how to open doors and make things happen. Like picking up slightly bloodied repeat offenders off dusty bar-room floors and having them all dolled up in cadet reds the next day, no application forms, no interview shit, no three referees’ letters required.
And Jim couldn’t seem to shake the guy once Pikey had latched on… (Okay, so he might not exactly want to shake him, but, again, totally not admitting that part out loud. He kind of, well, liked that someone was looking out for him. It was awesome.)
Throughout Jim’s three years at the Academy, Captain Pike continued to check up on him periodically. On the surface Jim pretended to be annoyed about it--after all, who wanted their recently adopted father (or slightly neurotic uncle) looking over their shoulder? A kid needed to leave the nest and all that, needed to feel free to live his life and make bad decisions involving sex, booze, inadvisable hair-style choices, etc. on his own.
But since Jim had never had any sort of sane supervision growing up, he was actually secretly eating it up. The whole youth/mentor thing was a bit of a kick.
And when Pike handed over the Enterprise to him with nothing but pride in his eyes, Jim couldn’t help but follow their ‘relieved of duty’ spiel with a tailor-made spiel of his own.
“Thank you, fairy godmother.”
Pike grinned, eyes dancing with mirth, and clasped Jim’s hand and squeezed it.
“Just take care of the pumpkin, kid, she’s one hell of a ship. I’m trusting her in your hands. If she comes back scratched, beat or totaled in any way, it’s coming out of your allowance.”
Jim’s ringing laughter marked the end of the ceremony.
Despite a life that oddly mirrored Cinderella’s, one thing Jim was certain he did not need was a Prince Charming, or a Princess Charming, or even a royal version of the occasional barn animal that Uhura had once accused him of coveting.
One-night stands and his right hand were company enough, thank you kindly, and the great thing about his right hand was that it didn’t want to discuss feelings with him, didn’t expect flowers and chocolates on Valentine’s Day and he didn’t have to feel accountable to it… well, other than keeping the body it was attached to alive and kicking and all that.
So perhaps that was why when his soulmate walked into his life, Jim didn’t notice. He noticed the part where said person had him up on charges of academic dishonesty in front of half of Starfleet Academy. He noticed the part where he wanted to smack Spock for being an evil bastard in serious need of an imagination transplant (and had had the urge to put Bones right on that). He noticed the part where no one seemed to be on his side here. Not even his own fucking fairy godfather/neurotic uncle/whatever the fuck Pike was. But the part where this dude with the pointy ears was his fucking soulmate? Not so much.
He wasn’t trying to cheat on the Kobayashi Maru, he was trying to beat the test, there was a difference. Cheats did things covertly and tried to conceal their tracks and get away with it, whereas innovative geniuses tried to solve problems in new, invigorating and unorthodox ways, like say, reprogramming the parameters of the test, and were pretty blatant about it.
Clearly ‘innovative’ and ‘unorthodox’, were things somewhat removed from the uptight Vulcan’s purview.
Jim would like to think a ‘soulmate’ of his would be a little more understanding of this distinction. So when meeting older Spock (who was, for all intents and purposes, a pretty cool guy, one actually in possession of an imagination… clearly not a universal constant for all Spocks across the space time continuum) and being told that he and Spock were destined for great love, great life and great adventure, his disbelief on the matter was entirely justifiable.
Cinderella may have been a disgustingly cheery, no-back-bone possessing, animal-conversing virgin, but at least her prince had been marginally agreeable (in that equally lacking a back-bone, wimpy kind of way… the guy was looking for a wife, by shoe size, after a single meeting under false pretenses, come on). It was just Jim’s luck that his own prince-substitute would be someone who had a stick the size of the Academy stuck up his otherwise mighty fine butt.
Fate was clearly playing a prank on him. One that wasn’t very funny (okay, okay, maybe it was marginally funny, but only because Jim didn’t think Spock knew how to laugh or to recognize a joke, so the thought of Spock being party to one was kind of hilarious).
But the thing about Spock was that he kind of grew on Jim over time without Jim being entirely aware there had been any growing going on. First impressions really were a great evil of the universe, Jim believed this firmly, because behind that rigid Vulcan control lay a passionate nature, one wise and smart and savvy and kind.
It started with little things, noticing that Spock was always first to cover a shift for an ill or injured crew member, or the way he guarded Jim so fiercely on away missions, even before they liked each other.
“Spock, man, I know you take your position as First Officer seriously, but taking a stun for me, really above and beyond, you know?”
“No, I do not know. And as it is highly doubtful I will be aware of being ‘above and beyond’ in the future, I feel it prudent to warn you of this premeditated ignorance now on the off chance you may wish to conserve the oxygen it would take to remind me.”
“Right, so that was humor, right? You’re being sarcastic with me? I’m totally on to you, man. Hey, did you know that the position of your eyebrows totally gives you away?”
Or the way Spock’s mind seemed to run nonstop, never pausing, never stagnant. Jim could practically hear the wheels of Spock’s brain turning whenever he was near.
“An interesting move.”
“Not as such, no. Hand over the bishop if you will?”
“Damn. You suck. I mean, you don’t suck, which is why I’m getting my ass kicked here. But you suck because I have a reputation as the messiah of the chess board. The handing of my ego back to me on a platter is ruining my zone.”
“I see. Far be it from me to ruin the reputation of the chess messiah. I shall endeavor to lose with greater frequency.”
Spock’s eyebrow rose.
Underneath all that scary control lay a passion that rivaled anything Jim had ever felt. His first glimpse of it had been Spock choking him, and that had been… unfortunate... but it had manifested itself in a small number of milder, less lethal displays since, and it intrigued Jim beyond the telling of it. He couldn’t help but look at Spock, during away missions, or while dealing with uptight Admirals, and wonder ‘how are you really processing this? What is going on in that head of yours? Would you share your insight with me, please?’
And Spock’s strength, both mental and physical, was unparalleled. It was fascinating. Jim knew it had to take the Vulcan tremendous willpower just to hold back from utilizing that greater strength to gain the upper hand whenever the two of them worked-out together, or to keep from lording that greater mental discipline over the rest of them during operational meetings, but Spock didn’t. He was so restrained.
Restraint was not exactly Jim Kirk’s middle name. Kind of a foreign concept to him, actually. Which only made it all the more admirable, in his humble opinion.
He came to realize that being pretty damn cool really was a universal constant indigenous to Spocks across the space time continuum. Or at least the two he knew. Who would have thought? The shoe fit, and all that rot.
So maybe the whole ‘Prince Charming’ thing wasn’t actually that bad a fate. Actually, winding up as Spock’s soulmate was pretty fortuitous, truth be told; a pretty good deal compared to the wake of a crummy childhood spent in solitude. Jim liked -- okay, he fucking loved -- this whole deal. Who’d have thought? Years of flying solo, of only depending on himself, had done weird things to his psychology, he admitted this, but Spock? Spock proved that the universe could get something right.
Who knew a fucking fairy tale could be so damn prophetic?
If people had told Jim at 22, when he had first joined Starfleet, that he would one day be bonded and thus married to Vulcan’s only approximation of a prince, he would have laughed, long and hard, in their faces. And had he had been channeling Bones at the time, that laughter would have been accompanied by some vigorous cussing.
The thing was, it wasn't the bonding itself that he found the most ironic. That had been a no-brainer. He loved Spock, plain and simple. There had been a time when Jim would have never imagined himself married or even marriageable, now he couldn’t imagine himself married to anyone else.
He and Spock had been through the quintessential relationship drama, had experienced the progression from hated rivals to bosom buddies (although if Jim had harbored a little crush on Spock throughout the duration of that friendship, he wasn’t admitting it to anyone, especially not Bones… though he suspected Bones already knew as he had been smirking more often than usual these days) to ardent, passionate lovers. And when this magical, mystical, absolutely wonderful quirk of biological imperative entitled Pon Farr stumbled upon them, they had become even more than that.
For the record? Jim totally loved Pon Farr a whole heaping hell of a lot. It was like a fantastic blessing bestowed upon him from all the gods and goddesses above.
So no, the marriage itself was not that much of a shock. It had been meant to be; even in the most cynical recesses of his heart, Jim knew this to be true.
No, the shocker came a few days later, when the congratulatory gifts and communiqués started catching up with them, on the Enterprise, in deep space, via space stations and transports.
Apparently Spock knew one, or two, or three… thousand people.
“Uh, Spock, please don’t take this the wrong way, but we’ve received more transmissions of well wishes lately than there are Vulcans left in the galaxy, and I’ve always kind of had the impression that you didn’t care for a sizable portion of those remaining alive, something about childhood tormentors and giving the Vulcan equivalent of fuck you to the board of the VSA… and no, don’t deny it, I saw it firsthand in your head. You can’t lie to me, buddy, you had angry thoughts, admit it. Anyway, my point is, how in the world do you know this many people and how do they know we‘re bonded? I haven’t even told my mother yet!”
The sparkle in Spock’s eyes gave away his amusement, no matter that his lips hadn’t twitched towards anything resembling the grin that would have given a lesser man away.
“You are aware, yes, that my father is an ambassador, and that I, as a youth, was introduced to a sizable number of acquaintances through his profession? And that my family is directly descended from Surak, one of the oldest and most established lines within Vulcan society, even in the wake of Vulcan’s passing, thus making our bonding a matter of public record?”
Good God, he really had married a prince. He really was Cinderella, only with a dick and a penchant for sarcastic repartee. That would, thankfully, never change.
Oh, and backbone, he had that in spades. Franks of the galaxy had better beware.
But really, what did it matter whether life, and that his life in particular, imitated art?
So his life was a fairy tale, albeit with more space pollen, completely-off-their-rocker foes, and exploding planets than any one tale had any right to, but the thing was, it was his tale, his and Spock’s. This was their story being lived. He and Spock would write the rest of it as they journeyed, together.
Jim flashed a large grin at his t’hy’la and held out his fingers for a Vulcan kiss.Happily-ever-after had nothing on them.