Fic: Experimentation (Winona)

Title: Experimentation
Author: igrockspock
Character: Winona
Rating: R
Summary: Winona's life, told in a series of non-scientific experiments
Notes: written for the Where No Woman Has Drabbled Before challenge and my cliche bingo card

Winona decides she'll grow up to be a scientist on her 6th birthday. “Scientists work in big labs with lots of test tubes and chemicals,” she writes in Mrs. Proctor's 1st grade class, misspelling most of the larger words. She begins her first experiment immediately and doesn't look back, not even when Mama spanks her for starting a fire in the kitchen.

When she is 13, she concludes that real scientists experiment in all aspects of life, not just the laboratory. Hacking the access code to her father's liquor cabinet isn't really hard, and afterward, she and her best friend Becky make experimental cocktails from equal parts rum, whiskey, tequila and Aldebaran brandy. Mom never figures out why they throw up so much the next day, and Winona knows that true scientists don't give up just because the first experiment went wrong – they just do more research. This time she looks up cocktail recipes instead of hacking 101, and although she and Becky still throw up in the morning, at least the drinks tasted a hell of a lot better going down. She keeps on experimenting, and by the time she's 15, she can drink every boy in her class under the table, which means she can do the rest of her experimenting sober. Thank god she knows exactly what she's doing when she pushes Becky against the wall and kisses her hard; otherwise she might have missed how much she loves the feminine curve of a hip beneath her hand. From then on, having sex with girls isn't an experiment; it's a vocation.

George is an experiment too, for awhile anyway. First, he's an experiment in fucking men. When she discovers she loves the way his cock fills her up better than even the best holographic strap-on, she decides the experiment is worth repeating. Soon she's sleeping over every Friday night, and then every night. It's not an experiment because it's not a conscious decision; she turns toward the comfort of it as instinctively as a plant turning toward sunlight. When George points out that they act like a couple, she claims it's an experiment in monogamy even though she knows she stopped looking at anyone but him a long time ago.

“Do you think he'll ask you to get married?” Becky asks, and Winona decides she's not going to wait to find out. She buys a ring and asks for his hand, and when he says yes, she knows her experimenting's done for good.

She doesn't start again even after George dies: she doesn't need to test single motherhood to know she doesn't want to raise her boy without a daddy. She marries Frank, who's a little boring but not unkind, because he loves her stories and her son. And because he's in the right place at the right time, but she's not admitting that.

Later, after Frank's gone and Jimmy comes home every night reeking of booze and women, she wants to say, “do you think you've done anything I haven't?” She wants to ask if he likes to nurse a mellow bottle of Bud or if he prefers to feel tequila burning down his throat. Blonds or brunettes, she wants to say, slim and toned or curvy and voluptuous or both. I always liked a girl with an ass.

She never says any of it though. Motherhood's not the place for experimentation, especially not if you're raising the only son of the only man you ever loved. Truthfully, she has no idea how this is supposed to be done and goddamn George for leaving her alone to figure it all out. She latches onto the first thing that sounds even a little right: “you won't live under this roof if you won't respect my rules” and “your father died to save you and this is the best you can do with your life?”

When Jim moves out and doesn't speak to her for a year, she wonders if experimentation would have been the better course, but now it seems too late. So she picks him up from strange women's houses when he's too drunk to drive and bails him out of jail when he's too drunk for common sense. She brings him brochures from Starfleet and commercial shipping lines and off-world universities, tries to find out what he likes enough to make a living. She gives him time and attention and tough love and a hug when he'll let her. The only thing she doesn't give him is money because he doesn't ask, and she's not a fool.

Five years later, when he calls her – sober – to tell her that he is the captain of the Enterprise, she takes him out for a drink instead of dinner and tells him a few of her stories. She doesn't know if it will work, but if it doesn't, she'll just keep experimenting.
Heh. It's actually based on what my little sister did the first time she drank. I came home one night and discovered her mixing all the alcohol in the liquor cabinet together in 20 oz. soda glasses. She and her best friend imagined it was supposed to taste that hideous, so they just made themselves drink it down. Being a wonderful big sister, I did not inform them of their error.