spock: logic is sexy

Fic: Family Portrait (Kirk, gen)

Title: Family Portrait
Author: igrockspock
Rating: teen
Characters: Kirk, with a McCoy cameo
Summary: James Kirk does not need a family, and his family does not need him.
Notes: for gelsey and "character study" on my cliche bingo card



When Mrs. Schmitz tells everyone to draw a family picture for parents' night, the other kids whip off pictures of 2 parents, 2 siblings, 2 cats, and one dog. They draw a tree and a house and a smiling yellow sun in the corner, and they're done in ten minutes. Jimmy, on the other hand, has serious work to do. He rushes through the rest of the day's assignments, which are always too easy anyway, and spends the afternoon crouched over his electronic art padd, drawing what his teacher will later call a mural. He draws himself, of course, front and center, riding a horse, wearing a ninja's uniform, and carrying a sword and phaser for good measure. Then he adds his brother Sam, his mother, Granny Kirk, Grandpa Fredrick, six of his cousins, Aunty Lou and Uncle Ted, 3 cats, 2 horses, 1 mule, and his best friend Jose's parents, who always invite him to stay for dinner. As an afterthought, he adds his stepdad too because Mom would be sad if he didn't, but he selects an unflattering shade of brown and draws the nose a little too big. It's an acceptable compromise.

“Who are all these people, Jimmy?” Mrs. Schmitz asks when he's done.

“They're all the people who're raising me,” he says proudly because he's seen the other pictures and none of the other kids are lucky enough to have a family this big. But Mrs. Schmitz is frowning at the screen before he can even finish his answer.

“But what's this?” she asks, pointing to the ball of fire in the corner.

“That's my dad blowing up in space.” He hadn't known how else to draw him. Leaving his real father out of the drawing wouldn't have been right, but he can't picture him as a pale, watery ghost or an angel with wings and a halo floating in the sky. He could have drawn a grave adorned with flowers, like he did for Grandma Frederick, who died when he was six, but that would be a lie too: there'd been no body to bury, so the hole in the graveyard with his dad's name above it was empty. Mom always said that Dad never told lies, and he believes her. So he drew Dad the only true way he knew. He doesn't say any of that when Mrs. Schmitz – or the guidance counselor -- ask why he'd drawn his father that way. He just shrugs his shoulders and says, “I dunno.” They wouldn't understand anyway. Neither of them knew what it was like to have their dad blow up in space to save their lives. He's the only person in the whole school and maybe the whole world who knows about that.

The picture, the first entry in his permanent school file, feels like it will haunt him for the rest of his fucking life, which guidance counselors are fond of reminding him might be very short. This particular model, a Mr. Wilkerson with a balding head and clammy handshake, thankfully does not warn him of his impending death but he does pull up the picture and ask the favorite question of school psychologists everywhere: “what about all these people, Jim? You really wanna let them all down?”

The thing is, they'll all go on without him just fine. Most of them are already. Grandpa's dead in a space shuttle accident. Granny Kirk'd been a hell of a lady in her time and maybe worth straightening up for, except now that her mind's shot she thinks Jim's her long-dead son, and that means he'll be her golden boy till the day she dies. Which will probably be pretty soon. Jose's parents had quit inviting him for dinner after he drove his dad's car off that cliff, and Jose'd moved on fast after Jim had gotten them both busted for possession. His childhood best friend has other people now. And the rest of the family have Sam, and Sam has the rest of them. Give him a few years and he'll also have a wife and fat children to draw pictures of their family underneath a smiling yellow sun. Family that big, one person's expendable. He doesn't say any of that though, just takes a long pull on the flask in the pocket of his leather jacket. He prefers the principal's office to the counselor's any day, and they'll never know the flask was empty.

He doesn't think about family much at all, except sometimes his father, till he meets Bones on the shuttle to the Academy. Frankly, he doesn't feel much need to be attached to anyone, but Bones is clearly not meant to be on his own, so he adopts him on the theory that you can't disappoint anyone who's as fucked up as you are. He's right, and it's not long before Bones is listed as his official next of kin, not that Jim ever tells him that. But being who he is, he's in the county hospital before the month's out (good party, bad drugs), and Bones picks up with a grumbled “good god, kid,” puts him to bed, and keeps an eye on him till he's slept off the worst of it. That makes him think that having a family isn't so bad, so he picks up everyone as crazy as he is (Gary Mitchell, a couple Andorians whose names he can't pronounce), everyone who looks a little orphaned (like that 12-year-old Russian kid), and a couple people who clearly need a little more fun in their lives (honestly, most people at the academy). And Gaila, too, although he's not sure if the term family is appropriate for someone he fucks in 8-hour marathons. But she's the only person he knows who loves freedom as much as he does, and it's nice to be understood.

Really, he'd never have been able to take command of the Enterprise without them. All 435 people on that ship are his family now. Whether they're brothers and sisters or sons and daughters he can't really say, but he knows they're his – and he knows they belong to people at home who are depending on him to keep them safe. That much trust would have been too heavy for him not so long ago, but he knows how to love now, so it's okay.

“We are all family now,” he tells the crew the first time he addresses them. “I know you've got brothers and sisters and husbands and wives and moms and dads and kids at home, but your family can't get too big, and I expect you all to look out for each other – and yourselves. And if you didn't have a family before you got here, well now you do, and you'd better learn to love it fast.”

They'd better fucking listen. He doesn't think he could stand it if he lost a single one of them. It's not good enough to just to protect them either – he needs to know them, what they believe in, what they care about, who they love. It kills him not to know why Yeoman Rand's been crying in the head in the middle of her shift or whether Sulu ever got lucky with that ensign he's been making eyes at for the last two weeks. And shit. He needs to call his mom. If it hits him this hard not to know about his crew, how must his mom feel after 9 months of carrying him, 18 years of trying to raising him, and 5 years of radio silence? Not to mention the whole giving birth while listening to her husband die in outer space.

“Uhura, open a channel to my mother's home in Iowa. I'll be in my ready room,” he says and walks off the bridge. Who cares that it's the middle of his shift? Nothing matters more than family.
Ah, this was great! I love Kirk's huge extended non-family family! <3

Loving the next of kin thing too. Totally have a fic with that.

This entire thing was made of love. And he called his mommy!
Thank you! I've been holding onto the McCoy next of kin thing for so long. I was glad to finally find a story for to put it in!
Awww! I got all teary-eyed towards Kirk's speech at the end. This was really sweet, and a great take on how Kirk sees family, considering how fucked-up his own was.
Um. Ugh. Um. *almost cries, which is IN NO WAY TYPICAL*

I love little Jim, drawing himself front and center, riding a horse, wearing a ninja's uniform, and carrying a sword and phaser for good measure (and lol at including his father as an exploding ship!), and then older and disillusioned, and then a tiny bit fucked up BUT OMG SO AWESOME AS A SLIGHTLY FUCKED-UP CAPTAIN!! Bee-you-ti-ful!
Bones is clearly not meant to be on his own, so he adopts him on the theory that you can't disappoint anyone who's as fucked up as you are.
***
THUD.

You slayed me with this one. This whole fic-- Jesus.

That makes him think that having a family isn't so bad, so he picks up everyone as crazy as he is...everyone who looks a little orphaned... and a couple people who clearly need a little more fun in their lives. (And Gaila.)

YES.
Thank you! Especially for commenting on the McCoy bits. I really love the character, but I cannnot channel his voice for the life of me, so I was glad to get a small chance to write about him.
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<ibut Bones is clearly not meant to be on his own, so he adopts him on the theory that you can't disappoint anyone who's as fucked up as you are.</i>

Love this line. And I liked Jim's definition of family quite a bit.
wow. that was lovely. I really liked your take on kirk's family. I also really liked that he just kind of misunderstood his place in the family as opposed to having an un loving or abusive family. I love how you incorporated that into his experience at the academy and the last line was a perfect conclusion to your set up. great job!

kudos!
crazytook
Misunderstanding his place in the family is the perfect way to describe it! I'm glad you enjoyed the story :)
He doesn't say any of that though, just takes a long pull on the flask in the pocket of his leather jacket. He prefers the principal's office to the counselor's any day, and they'll never know the flask was empty.

I don't know why that particular detail made me whimper, amidst this whole lovely story, but it really did.
This. Fantastic job of showing what these people really mean to him. Loved it!
I like Kirk's extended family and his changing relationship to them. Esp. like the ending. Awww. :D
“We are all family now,” he tells the crew the first time he addresses them. “I know you've got brothers and sisters and husbands and wives and moms and dads and kids at home, but your family can't get too big, and I expect you all to look out for each other – and yourselves. And if you didn't have a family before you got here, well now you do, and you'd better learn to love it fast.”

This made me sniffle. Gah!

Loved this!
Oh, this is wonderful! A really nice look at Kirk and his thoughts on family.

For some reason, this line really caught me:
Frankly, he doesn't feel much need to be attached to anyone, but Bones is clearly not meant to be on his own, so he adopts him on the theory that you can't disappoint anyone who's as fucked up as you are.

Also, yay for mentions of TOS characters that didn't show up in the movie!

Wonderful job.
That. Is. Beautiful.

Also: Gary Mitchell and Yeoman Rand shout-outs! Yay!