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ST Fanfic - In search of experience Pt.1

Title: In search of experience 
Series: Western Skies (#5)
Author: Anrui Ukimi
God-like Beta: Welovethelegend

Rating: PG-13
Warnings: AU, Wing!fic / #5-only warning: Attempted non-con
Word count: 61301
Pairings: Jim/Bones, Chris/John...kinda.
Notes/Disclaimer: Not mine, I just like playing with them. :)

Summary: Jim has issues. He knows this. People without issues don't generally get into bar brawls just to get their head to calm down. They also aren't completely paranoid over people trying to get into their pants. Honestly...he's just getting really tired of secrets. 
Could also be called: Jim might be a bit in love. He may take awhile to figure this out, though.
In this story: 

Jim - 21-25
Chris Pike - 46-50
John Archer - 57-61
Winona Kirk - 50-54



In search of experience
    Jim Pike né Kirk barely dodged the fist that would have shattered his nose, bending back as far as he could manage as encumbered by the harness. The momentum sent him to the floor, which, while painful, turned out to be a good thing, as the cops swept in seconds later and dragged the perpetrators out. Jim decided that staying where he was sounded like a intelligent plan, until one of the human cops walked up to him. Wincing against the twinges in his upper wings, Jim grabbed the edge of the table he was under and hauled himself to his feet, expecting to be dragged out with the idiots who had started this. Instead, the bartender intercepted the police officer and informed him that the kid had been a bystander only, and hadn't even thrown a punch before he had been knocked down. Not that he hadn't been thinking about it. The cop left, and Jim let himself slump into a chair. The remaining patrons had already done the same, and the rumble of voices returned to a more normal level as he grabbed a tortilla chip from the half-empty bowl sitting on the table and popped it into his mouth, chewing slowly. The bartender cycled back around to him a few minutes later, setting down a glass filled with what looked suspiciously like Dr Pepper. Damn Texans and their Dr Pepper.
    "I must confess, I didn't expect you to be so flexible, kid. On the house." The bartender chuckled as he used his fingertips to slide the drink over Jim, who made a face. "Considering you were involved, at least indirectly, I think it would be best if you were sober at the end of the evening. The police will probably be keeping an eye on the place." Jim grunted, taking hold of the cold glass.
    "Thanks." The bartender gave him a friendly smile and raised his arm, and Jim watched with tired amusement as the man took a second glance at his back and gave him a pat on the arm instead.
    "Sorry about the trouble," the bartender said, and Jim shook his head in dismissal as the man walked away. He had gone much longer without trouble than he thought he would; he had gone all the way from home through Mexico, and even Peru without a single issue. Figures that it would happen closer to his home soil. Downing the fizzy drink in one shot, he got to his feet and nodded to the bartender in thanks as he made his way from the bar. Last thing he needed was a criminal record. Dad would kill him. Jim stood by his bike for a few minutes, breathing in the cool night air and keeping an eye out for cops before heading back to the motel to crash. The next morning, Jim munched on a bagel from the deli outside the motel, ignoring the cream cheese he was getting on his upper lip, and wondered where he should go next. Like Chris had said, Teotihuacan was fascinating, Machu Picchu had been awe inspiring; but now he wanted to travel around the good ol' US of A. He popped the rest of his bagel into his mouth and chewed as he casually looked out onto the street, his eyes focusing on a middle-aged woman with blond hair walking on the opposite side of the street.
    "That's something I haven't done in awhile," Jim muttered, wiping off his mouth with a napkin and rising to his feet. Mom. He hadn't talked to his mother since before he left on his road trip, dedicating any comm time to calling his dad. The motel room had a console for occupant use, and he sat himself in the uncomfortable seat in front of it, inputting the code for Commander Winona Kirk's personal comm address. Jim tilted the chair onto its back legs as he waited for it to connect. After thirty seconds or so, a familiar voice came through from the other end, sounding a bit out of breath.
    "Commander Kirk speaking. Hello?" Jim gave a slight smile and leaned forward, causing his chair to return to resting with all four legs with a thud.
    "Hi, Mom." Jim heard a sudden intake of breath from the other end, and suppressed a snort.
    "Jim? Is that you? I haven't heard from you in awhile! How have you been?" Winona's tone sounded genuinely happy, and Jim relaxed a bit in his chair.
    "Who else would call you Mom? Unless you were expecting a call from Sam or something." Jim paused. "Mind if I turn on the video feed?" Winona hummed a negative, and Jim hit the appropriate button. His mother's head and shoulders filled the screen, and he found himself looking her over. Her honey-blonde hair was partially white at the temples, her face was the same as always, with a few fine lines at the corners, and she was dressed in...overalls? Jim looked behind her head and got his answer immediately. That was no starship. "Mom, are you back in Iowa?" Winona brought up a hand and plucked at the left strap of the overalls, a smirk on her face. 
    "No no, Starfleet decided that these were the chic new style of our uniforms." Jim raised his eyebrows with an amused skeptical look, and Winona snorted. "Yes Jim, I was working outside when you called. Her eyes narrowed as she scanned her son. "Speaking of where the hell are you, where are you? That's not the Mojave house." Jim shook his head.
    "I'm on a road trip. I needed a break from college. So what you see behind me is the fine upscale decor of a Texas motel," Jim said with a smile, and Winona's own eyebrows headed north.
    "A road trip, huh? I'm surprised Chris let you go." Jim gave her a confused look. and Winona shrugged. "He is rather overprotective of you, Jim," she said blithely, and Jim frowned, propping his elbows on the table in front of him and resting his face in his hands.
    "He just likes making sure I'm doing alright, Mom. He had no problem with me going, hell, he even suggested a place to go." Winona raised her hands palms out in an apologetic sort of gesture, and Jim restrained an eyeroll. "When did you get back dirtside?" Winona glanced away for a moment, then returned her eyes towards the screen.
    "About two weeks ago. I've just been doing work around the house since I got here, a lot of things needed some maintenance." Jim nodded, and Winona continued. "Where have you gone on this big trip of yours?" Jim grinned, and sat back up in the chair.
    "I just got back from doing a circuit of Mexico, with a detour to Machu Picchu. Dad suggested Teotihuacan, which was fantastic. Have you gone?" Winona shook her head, and gave Jim a quick once-over.   
    "No, never had time. I'm off-planet too much," she said, and smiled. "That explains the tan. Caught some rays down on the beach down there?" Jim gave her a dry look.
    "I can't go sunbathing, Mom, you know that." The smile slipped off his mother's face, and Jim sighed silently. That had lasted longer than he thought it would. Time to change the subject. "How long until you go up again?" Winona looked relieved at the redirection, and she straightened in her seat, her expression recovering itself into a soft smile.
    "I'll head out in a month." Winona ran a hand through her hair, the strands separating into loose bunches from dirt and oil. "So right around the time I get the house all fixed up again, basically." Winona gave a resigned smirk, and Jim looked at the wall behind her head.
    "I'm surprised you haven't sold the place, now that no one is living there," Jim mused, and Winona gave him a strange look. "What?"
    "No one ever asked Chris why he hadn't sold his Mojave house while you two were up on the Yorktown, did they?" Winona said her words slowly, an expectant look on her face; Jim blinked at her for a few moments. Winona chuckled, and leaned back in her chair. "You can be a bit dense sometimes, Jim." Jim's eyes widened, and he smacked his palm against his forehead.
    "Right, stupid question. Moving on," Jim muttered, and his mom barked out a laugh. "Any other big plans before you go back up?" Winona shook her head.
    "Nothing in particular. How about you? Decided where you are going next?" Jim tilted his head in thought, and Winona waited quietly.
    "No, not yet, probably head towards New Orleans or something." Winona nodded, and gave a little smile.
    "Now I have been there. Mardi Gras, about twenty-five years ago. That was one hell of a party, let me tell you." Jim watched his mom's face flicker in an obviously happy memory, before she blinked and her face dulled. Jim could do the math. "Not the time of year for that, I think; I may be wrong though, it has been a long time." Jim nodded.
    "So I've heard. Wine, women, and song, yeah? Sounds like a great party." Jim stretched his arms over his head and smiled naughtily. Winona rolled her eyes as he glanced at the time. "Well, Mom, I probably should let you get back to whatever I took you from. I've got one more call to make before I head out today." Winona nodded, and rose to her feet, but remained bent so her face was still in view.
    "Say hi to Chris for me, and take care of yourself, Jim." She smiled, and Jim gave a short wave as the connection was cut. That had gone better than usual. Awkward conversation had been mostly kept at bay, and they had managed to keep it positive. Jim yawned and stretched, wincing when his wing bones strained against the harness. He needed to find a place to go for a flight in peace; probably on the way to New Orleans. Texas had a lot of open spaces, Jim mused as he dialed up the familiar code to Chris's personal comm. As the tanned, friendly face of his dad filled the screen, his laugh lines strong as he gave Jim a brilliant smile, Jim had a sudden stray thought. What if he had been arrested last night?
    A hour later found Jim packing the saddlebags of his bike, and thinking about a question Chris had asked. He had conveniently ignored it during their conversation, but now it was all he could think about. Did he really want to visit his mother? The two of them had a relationship that usually suited Jim just fine. They spoke every few months, she usually sent a little something for Christmas (but never his birthday,) and that...was that. He hadn't seen her in the flesh since Chris had taken him from Iowa, and the frightened, disturbed look as she scuttled back into the shadows to get away from him that he last remembered seeing on her face still occasionally flashed through in his dreams. Jim closed up the saddlebags and straddled his bike. It had been almost ten years. A chance like this probably wouldn't come around again for a long time, and he knew it. Sighing, Jim started the bike and hit the kickstand. New Orleans first. He'd think about his mother later.
    New Orleans was awesome. Fucking awesome. Jim couldn't get enough of it. He had missed Mardi Gras, but there was still so much to do; he felt his resolve over his...privacy waver a tiny bit as person after person sashayed, teased, and flirted around him, but that didn't stop him from other activities. He rather liked those activities, even if he had to keep his pants on; but two weeks after he got to the famous city, he was actually tiring of partying. Waking up every day with what tasted like death in his mouth and the acidic tang of alcohol in his nose was getting rather old, and he had been sleeping in his harness for the last week, which would be a problem once he took it off. He could already feel the itching spreading, and the usual dull ache of the muscles he wasn't using was slowly transforming into stabbing pain. It was time to go. There was nowhere in the packed city where he could go for a flight undetected, and Jim knew that it could actually be dangerous for him to go much longer without a decent stretch out. Jim rolled out of bed, and staggered into the bathroom to grab a quick shower. As he stood under the spray, harness still in place, he pondered his options. He could continue east and travel through the South- or he could head to Iowa. Where his mother was. Jim leaned forward until his forehead was pressed against the shower wall, the grooves of the tiles uncomfortable, but not enough to distract him from the path his thoughts were taking him. It had been ten years. In that time, Chris had become the father that many kids dreamed of, supporting and caring in all the best ways, stern when he needed to be; without resorting to the screaming and physical threats that had been his life with Frank before. His mother had become an idea more than a reality during that time, an obligation instead of a joy, and that was almost entirely on her shoulders. Did he want to face her alone? Jim sighed, and finished up his shower. No, but he needed to. He wasn't a child anymore, and Chris had far more important things he could be doing than walking him through a visit with his own mother.
    Jim took his time heading to Iowa. He could have made Riverside in a day, if he had wanted to, but there was no reason to rush. As he entered the Iowa state limits three days later, however, Jim found himself wishing that he had forced himself to travel overnight, if only to keep moving so he wouldn't flake out. He stopped for the night in the southern portion of Sioux City, and spent the night in a fitful sleep. If he wanted self-discovery out of this adventure, he had a feeling that he was going to get it in spades very soon. The next morning, he choked down a greasy breakfast at a local cafe, and tried to convince himself that this was a good idea as he mounted up and headed into Riverside. His route took him by the shipyards, the metal framework tantalizing out of the corner of his eye as he sped past. He did not slow down. The fields were freshly planted and as boring as they ever were. Jim would take the mottled redgreybrown of the desert any time over this place, with its never ending sameness that made him want to turn right around and flee to the first place that knew what a cactus was. Jim slowed down as the silver siding of the house he had spent most of his first eleven years of life came into view, the building tall and ugly against the surrounding landscape. He was starting to think that maybe he had been adopted, and Chris was the family that had been desperately trying to find him. It was the only way to explain why everyone else in his family seemed fine with the sterile landscape of Riverside. He killed the engine and coasted to a halt in front of the house, staring at the front porch. The smell of the soil, damp from a recent shower, was almost soothing, dredging up long forgotten memories from the time when he got to be a normal child; before she had gotten remarried. It still felt strange, however, considering his affinity to the desert. Jim focused on it as he hit the kickstand and dismounted, trying to allow the scent to distract him from the sudden urge to turn right around and leave. He took a deep breath and walked up to the porch, raising a foot and wincing as the wood creaked under his weight. What the hell was he going to say to her?
    "I had a feeling I'd be seeing you." Jim's head shot up at the dry tone, his eyes falling on the figure of his mother, half-obscured in shadow; he tried to get his mouth to move, but he was unable to get anything intelligent to come out.
    "Uh?" Winona gave a soft sigh and opened the front door, stepping inside and holding it open behind her.
    "Come on in, then. No reason to be standing around outside." Jim climbed the steps and paused at the threshold. Winona's eyes softened, but she said nothing as Jim stared at the door frame like it would tell him the secrets of the universe. Taking another deep breath, he looked at his mother and entered the house. "You planning on staying?" Jim gazed at the stairs, before listing his head to the side in thought.
    "I honestly hadn't thought about it. I can get a motel in town, don't worry about it." She was so much smaller than him, Jim realized when she had to look up to speak to him; the last time he had seen her in person, he had only reached her chest. He stood a head taller than her now. Amazing what ten years does to a kid. Winona shook her head and gave a soft snort.
    "Nonsense, Jim, you can stay here. If you don't want your old room, you can stay in-" Jim cut her off with a sharp look.
    "My old room is fine. Thanks, Mom." Mother and son locked gazes for a moment, before she huffed and gave Jim a slight smile, lines that she didn't have ten years ago crinkling at the edges of her eyes with the effort. They were nothing like the smile lines on his dad's face, the lines that seemed to appear when Jim needed them most. There was no trepidation behind Chris's smiles.
    "Well then, why don't you put your bag up there? I assume it's with your bike?" Her tone was light and questioning, and Jim nodded automatically.
    "Yeah." Winona waved a hand, and Jim found himself back out by his bike, pulling his duffel out of the left saddlebag. The chill swirling in his stomach had not calmed, and he again fought down the urge to just leave. Snapping the saddlebag closed, Jim gave himself a little shake and walked back into the house. His mom was nowhere to be seen, so he climbed the stairs and opened the door to his old bedroom. It was basically as he left it, from what he could remember. A few ancient PADDs were still sitting on the bookshelf, and he could see his old baseball uniform folded and sitting on another, the leather of the glove dull with dust. A model of a NX-class starship, a broken model of a Daedalus-class ship, the left warp nacelle cracked; he could also see his copy of The Secret Garden, the only actual paper book he had owned up to that point, its cover worn and brittle with age. He had forgotten it in the rush to leave that day. Leaving footprints in the dust on the floor, Jim plucked the book from its spot and thumbed through it absently, before turning around and setting it on the bed. He shrugged his bag off of his shoulder, dropped it next to the book and left the room. 
    "Have you eaten, Jim?" Her voice trailed up the stairs, and Jim didn't answer as he entered the kitchen, cutting through the dining room and bypassing the front room. He didn't want to think of blood on the walls and his own mother flinching away from him right now, not when he had just arrived.
    "I had breakfast in Sioux City." Winona looked up from the refrigerator, pulling out what appeared to be sandwich supplies. She shot the food a meaningful glance before meeting her son's eyes again, and Jim shrugged. "Sure. I think I'm hungry enough for lunch."
    "Anything you can't eat?" Jim bit down the urge to say that she should know these things, but she wouldn't. She was barely there even when he was still living at the house, never mind the last ten years.
    "What you have out looks great." Jim walked back to the dining room and fell into a chair, wondering if they were going to talk like this the entire time he was there. As lunch stretched into an awkward affair, with short stilted comments the only interaction between mother and son, Jim came to the conclusion that his musing was probably going to be accurate.
    Amazing how two people can stay in the same house and eat all their meals together without really saying anything. One day turned into two turned into four; Jim helped out around the house, doing repairs and painting some of the third story rooms that were used primarily for storage. Jim kept his harness on, and Winona didn't bring up his wings. If his mother had noticed that he avoided the front room on the first floor, she hadn't said anything. Of course she wouldn't, Jim thought as he slapped paint on the walls of the storeroom. Why would she admit to something that would just make them both uncomfortable? The boxes that had been crowding the sides had been moved to the center to allow for him to paint, and when he stepped back to survey his work, his foot connected with one of them, spilling the contents on the hardwood floor. An ancient PADD bumped into the side of his foot, and he automatically bent down to pick it up. There was a name scratched loosely into the back of its casing, and Jim traced the letters with his fingers. If his stuff was still in his room, why was Sam's stuff boxed up and in the attic? He didn't think much about his brother anymore, not after years and years of getting no responses to his messages. Sam would be twenty-five soon, if he remembered his birthday correctly. Over ten years had passed he last saw him in the flesh, or even saw his face; after the whole debacle that ended up with him staying with Chris, he had sent a series of text only messages scattered with a few audio ones, receiving replies only for the first eight months or so, and had not received one since. His mother had been dismissive of the topic, Jim now realized as he thought back on the times he's brought him up in conversation; any mention of Sam led to her quickly changing the subject. Jim touched the etched letters of his brother's name one last time before leaning over and righting the box, placing the PADD back inside. Something to talk to his mother about later. Seeing a spot he missed, Jim picked the paintbrush back up and set back to work.
     A few hours later, at dinner, Jim remembered to bring Sam up. "Why is Sam's stuff up in the attic?" As soon as he spoke, Winona tensed up almost imperceptibly before returning to her meal. Jim raised an eyebrow, but chose to take another bite of his dinner rather than say anything. Silence fell between them, broken only by the sounds of their silverware clicking against their plates, and Jim felt a thread of suspicion creeping into his mind as his mother continued to avoid looking at him. "When was the last time you spoke with him?" The older woman's hand tightened around her fork, and questions about the situation took shape in his head. "Why aren't you saying anything, mom?" Jim watched his mother take a deep breath, before finally raising her head and meeting his gaze.
    "He hasn't been around for a while, and I decided to use his old bedroom as a guest room." Her tone was flat, and Jim smelled the lie a mile away.
    "Why didn't you use my room instead? I was the one with the attached bathroom, not Sam. It would've made more sense." His mother's lips thinned as he spoke, and Jim stopped talking to let her speak.
    "I didn't use your room because there was a greater chance of you stopping by." Jim leaned back in his chair, thinking about how to respond. Where the hell was Sam, anyway? Considering he hadn't been home in around ten years, Jim knew something was up. After gulping down most of his juice, Jim sent the glass down and angled his body in his chair, facing his mother directly.
    "I don't suppose you have an explanation as to why he hasn't answered a single message that I've sent since soon after I left." A statement, not a question, and Jim knew he was pressuring her to respond. The two stared each other down for what felt like an eternity before Winona dropped her silverware to her plate and pushed herself away from the table. Jim didn't move as she got to her feet, but he never broke eye contact with her until her face scrunched and she looked away.
    "I didn't want to lose you too," she said, and Jim didn't know what to say as he watched tears gather in her eyes. "At least I can still talk with you, even if I've lost you to Chris now." Jim was struck dumb with both confusion and anger, and he surged to his feet and slammed his hands on the table as he tried to formulate a response, his brain barely registering the sudden flash of fear in the older woman's eyes.
    "You didn't lose me to Chris, you left me with him. Or have you conveniently forgotten that part of the story?" He could feel his wings straining against the synthetic skin of his harness, wanting to show his displeasure. It was clear that his mother saw something in his eyes that she didn't like, and Jim could not suppress the snort as she took a few steps away from him. "You still can barely stand to be in the presence of your freak son, I mean, look at you! I get a little irritated and you look like you want to find your phaser." He straightened his back and took a deep breath, but stayed in his position. "Where the hell is Sam?" His voice was like the Santa Ana winds, powerful and dry; Winona froze in place, before choking back a sob that made Jim's skin grow cold.
    "I don't know, Jimmy. I haven't heard from him in years. He left home about a year after you did, and I've only received one message since." She clenched her fists, as if she was trying to control the tears that were now making her way down her face. Jim's jaw dropped.
    "What the- are you saying he's dead?" He may not have spared much time to think about Sam over the last decade, but he was still his goddamned brother, and if he's been dead all this time and she kept it from him-
    "No- no, I'm saying I have no clue where the hell he is. I've done some inquiries, had some people keep an eye out for me, but nothing has turned up." She spoke quickly, clearly trying to get the words out before she thought he would explode. She had a point. Jim forced himself to close his eyes and jaw, taking a series of deep breaths while refraining from saying something he would probably regret. Why hadn't she said anything? Jim opened his eyes slowly, fixing on his mother's pale face.
    "Are you saying that he's been missing for almost ten years, and you didn't have the guts to tell me? What the fuck is this? I could have done something!" Jim hissed out the words as the older woman ran a shaking hand through her hair as she tried to collect herself. Jim felt his patience decaying as the moment stretched on.
    "What could you have done? You were only twelve when he ran off, Jim! There isn't anything-" Winona was pacing as she spoke, looking not at Jim but at the walls around her; Jim slammed a hand down on the table, causing her to snap her head back in his direction.
    "I could have asked Chris for help! Or even John! You know they have contacts and access to resources that you don't-" Jim said, his voice rising in volume as he spoke. He didn't expect Winona to grab a glass off the table and throw it at the wall behind him, her face contorted into an ugly expression he did not recognize.
    "I refuse to ask Christopher Pike for anymore goddamned help!" Cold understanding flooded Jim as the older woman screamed, and he took a step back and allowed himself to lean against the table. Looking at her again, he realized that he knew exactly what expression was in her eyes. That was guilt mixed with an inexplicable shot of...jealousy. The guilt was easy to understand, even before everything happened, she had been off planet more than on; he would have described her as a distant parent by the time he was in second grade. But jealousy...what the hell was she jealous about? Jim let his lip curl as the answer came to him, and he ignored the angry gasping breaths of his mother as he mused it over. She couldn't stand the fact that Chris had succeeded where she had failed, not once, but twice over. Jim bit back a snort and met his mother's eyes, letting her know exactly what he thought of her statement as he opened his mouth.
    "Is that what this is about? Is that what this is about? If it wasn't for him, I'd probably be dead and you know it. Or are you conveniently forgetting the fact that you were rambling for hours to him about- what was it? Oh yeah, me belonging with the angels. Isn't that right?" He was on a roll now, and although she immediately began shaking her head in denial, he could see the wind go out of her sails as she slumped into a chair. The room fell silent except for the sound of breathing, and Jim couldn't think of anything else to say. When Winona raised her head, the look in her eyes made him want to turn around and walk out the door.
    "Jim, that's not what I meant; I was just scared, I didn't know what was happening to you. I panicked and called Chris, but I never expected him to actually take you-" They were done. She was only making excuses now, and Jim cut her off with a roll of his eyes.
    "Bullshit. You couldn't even look at me when he brought me back down after helping me clean up. You stayed in the shadows and wouldn't talk to me. Or am I completely imagining this, too?" Jim crossed his arms and looked down at the blond woman, the lines around her eyes stark in the poor artificial lighting, making her look far older than her years.
    "Jim, I know I screwed up. But I didn't think I would be able to take you back, not with the darling of Starfleet acting as your father-" She wasn't even listening to her own words anymore. Jim moved away from the table and walked a few steps towards the exit, before turning around and shaking his head.
    "Well, at least he tried, unlike certain other people I know who won't even tell their own son that 'oh, by the way, your brother is missing; but I'm not going to tell you for some ten years because I know that you'll ask Chris for help, and we can't have that because I'm a guilt-ridden bitch who refuses to take responsibility for her own mistakes-'" Jim drawled, and watched dispassionately as she leapt from her chair in anger.
    "You are out of line, Jim-" Winona said, her words coming out in a strangled tone. Jim rolled his eyes again and passed through the door before replying.
    "Am I?" He spoke without turning around, closing his eyes against the choked noises he could hear behind him. He had to leave. This farce had gone on too long. Jim walked up the stairs to his old bedroom, and quickly stuffed the small amount of clothing he owned back into his duffel, following suit with his toiletries, then giving the entire area a swift look over. The Secret Garden sat on the nightstand next to the bed, and Jim took it and carefully placed it in with his clothes before striding from the room, closing the door behind him. His mother was at the base of the stairs, looking up at him with a lost expression that he felt nothing but pity for. He said nothing as he descended the stairs, but stopped once he had walked a few steps beyond her. "I give up. I'll get out of your hair now, so you can go back to your own life without me fucking it up. Do me a favor, send me a note if you ever manage to find Sam. Or drop me a line if you find his corpse. One or the other." Jim didn't wait for a reply. Opening the front door, he stepped out onto the porch, the night sky overcast and cool as he shrugged on his jacket. A thin-fingered hand clasped his shoulder as soon as his jacket was on, and he heaved a deep sigh before turning around and facing his mother. Jim could see the moisture building back up in her eyes, but he couldn't bring himself to care.
    "Jim, stop, please; I'm sorry I insulted Chris, I know you're rather defensive about him, and I'm just frustrated with the situation-" It was times like this that Jim wondered how she ever rose to her rank in Starfleet; a person who could not account for their own failures without blaming others was of no use in any serious organization. He didn't have the energy to argue anymore, raising an eyebrow as he stepped away from her reaching hand and walked down the stairs of the porch towards his bike. He could hear her moving behind him, but did not acknowledge her until he was seated on his motorcycle.
    "I do point out that this is a situation that you largely created ten years ago, mom." Winona closed her eyes, and Jim leaned over and fired up the bike. "I'll be seeing you around." Giving her a quick nod, he hit the kickstand and angled his bike towards the front of the property. Jim did a quick glance into his side mirror as he exited the gates. His mother was still standing there, staring blankly in his direction. The night was perfect for a quick flight, and Jim drove straight to the familiar and unnatural canyon that had almost been the location of his first actual flight. He gave little more than a cursory look at the area before ripping off his shirt and harness and leaping headfirst into the quarry. He didn't come down until the sky grew light and his skin was chapped from the cold.
    Jim had gone out of his way to try and forget the entire encounter. Several days of aimless riding had landed him in New York, tense and distracted; he had been there once before, on a rare trip with his mother over fifteen years prior, but it wasn't like he remembered anything. He traveled to the city and played tourist for a while; the Statue of Liberty had been restored after the wars, and as he stood on the observation deck in the statue's crown, he mused about how great a launching site it would be. Several days later, Jim was repeating the experience, instead this time on the top floor of the Galactic trade center, which was celebrating its hundredth anniversary by giving free tours of the historic building. He went through the motions, mechanically following the tour guide, a good-looking young man who was probably a few years older than him, as he explained the history and the schematics of the structure. The tour was interrupted by an old woman questioning him on a fact, and Jim was forced back to awareness when the young man gave a smile clearly meant to appease the elderly woman. The faint dimples that appeared looked just like Sam's, and Jim found himself losing all interest in what was going on around him. Slipping away from the tour group, he crossed over to the other side of the floor and looked out the clear aluminum windows. The building was one of the tallest in the world, but he had no problem making out the distinct shapes of the people below. It was no different from tracking animals in the desert. Almost ten years. Sam had been missing that whole time and his own mother couldn't get herself together enough to tell him, too jealous of Chris and too frightened of him to rock the boat. Jim found himself laughing, a quiet humorless act that sounded more like he was crying; he didn't even realize that his face was wet until the voice of the tour guide sounded from behind him.
    "Sir?" Jim wiped at his face quickly as he turned around, the polite expression on the man's face giving way to slight concern. "Sir, are you all right?" Moving his hand away from his face, Jim shook his head and sighed.
    "I'm fine, just thinking about things." The tour guide raised his eyebrows, but Jim could see that he knew better than to ask. The man raised an arm, and gestured towards the rest of the tour group.
    "I'm afraid it's required that all visitors remain with their group, sir, unless you would prefer to leave?" His tone was faintly apologetic, and Jim suddenly felt a little embarrassed about the whole affair. "No, I'll finish the tour." He followed the guide back to the group, barely processing the information as the tour began again, but instead found himself wondering if John had done the same tours when he was a kid.
    Jim traveled upstate before he remembered that John had told him that although he had been born in New York, he had spent much of his youth in San Francisco. He took the opportunity to enjoy the scenery, and even risked a short flight in the Adirondack Mountains, noting the differences from his familiar mountains in the Mojave before nearly sideswiping a small cabin near one of the summits. It took hours for him to calm his heart down to a normal rhythm. The incident spooked him, and he cleared out the same day, driving until he ended up in a mediocre motel in Buffalo. His funds were running low, but after some poking around, he found an aftermarket hovercar modifier willing to let him work for a few weeks on a fleet of cars he needed programming work done on, and he got down to business. Days were spent coding, and nights were spent either in his room or at various bars, mingling with the locals. He gave a quick call to Chris, but he couldn't really think of what to say.
    When the odd jittery feeling started around the time he wrapped up on the vehicles, Jim disregarded it in his search for another short-term job. After another few weeks fixing bikes at a garage, Jim was finding it hard to concentrate, and when the owner told him to leave and not return until he got off whatever drugs he was on, he knew he had a problem. He insisted that he wasn't on anything to the weathered, craggy visage that was scowling down at him, and the man had just sighed and told him to figure it out. As Jim walked back to his room, he could only think of one thing.
    He couldn't recall how long it had been since he had done that aborted flight in the Adirondack Mountains.
    Jim didn't even remember how the damn mess started. But as he ducked a fist and sent one of his own into the gut of one of his assailants, he came to the conclusion that he really didn't care. His mind was racing as he staggered back from a foot that clipped his shoulder, his skin tingling with a sensation he knew all too well. As another bastard clipped the side of his mouth with a broken beer bottle, the surge of adrenaline was almost too much for him. His face was burning from the fresh gash, his ears ringing from a blow that had landed earlier, but the feeling rushing through his body was one that he could never get enough of; that same buzz he got when he was in the dry desert air, gliding on the currents. Jim never thought that he would get that rush from a damn bar brawl. The grin was plastered on his face before he even realized it, earning Jim angry shouts from the other participants as they ganged up on him.
    "What the fuck is so funny?" The guy looked like a bad cross between an ugly Klingon and a donkey, exceptionally unfortunate considering Jim was pretty sure he was human. He also had a glass jaw, as Jim found out in a jarring moment that almost kicked him out of his adrenaline high; the sickening crack as his fist broke the asshole's jaw was one he hadn't heard since he had crashed into that jutting rock near the house at fifteen when Chris was on leave. It seemed to signal the end of the fight, as the injured man fell back against the bar with a strangled moan, and Jim was knocked to the floor by the cops he hadn't even noticed show up, a knee pressed into the base of his spine hard enough that he could feel it through the harness and his wings. He wasn't the only one; Jim watched from his rather low vantage point as the others were hauled out of the disaster that they had wrought on the place and dragged outside. When all the other brawlers were taken out, the attention shifted to him. The knee withdrew as hands wrapped around his biceps and pulled him to his feet, the support keeping him from swaying in place. The rush was gone, all that was left was the throbbing of his body and the taste of blood in his mouth. He had always hated to come down.
    "What were you trying to prove, kid?" The officer standing in front of him just looked tired, and Jim blinked owlishly at the man. He wasn't trying to prove anything, he just wanted to- fuck, he didn't know. Officer...McLean sighed and shook his head. "I know that bunch of idiots are no angels, but you broke his jaw, kid. I can't just wave you off with a warning." Jim's mind was trying to fight through the haze of liquor and pain to parse the wavy-haired man's words, and it wasn't until a scanner of some sort was produced that it clicked. He was under arrest.
    "Oh fuck." Jim's mouth slurred the words around the blood coating his tongue, and the officer gave him a wry look.
    "Took you long enough. Got your head knocked around a bit, from the looks of it." The man pointed the device at Jim's feet, and the anxiety that had been coming into existence filled his veins with ice.
    "Whass' that?" The mumbled question seemed to surprise the officer, who paused in his actions and looked up at Jim.
    "First time getting up this close and personal to a police scanner? Newest model on the market, you should feel honored. Try not to make this a hobby, and we'll get along great, kid." McLean wiggled the device in the air. "I'm just checking to make sure you don't have any weapons on you. Anything else I find will be returned when you are released. Safer than a patdown, not with all these telepathic species and what not." The scanner reached his waist, and Jim tried not to squirm as the officer reached into his pants and removed his bike key and wallet, slipping them into a bag he pulled from somewhere. When he reached mid-torso, McLean gave his scanner an odd look. "Care to explain why I'm picking up large quantities of bio-plast, kid?" Jim's jaw tensed, but the man didn't reach for him, and a glance at his side revealed a way of explaining. Gesturing with his chin, he indicated the cut in his shirt.
    "Birth defect...the bio-plast is used as extra protection to keep the mangled mess of my back together." It was one of the long-held cover stories, and it was only the second time it had ever been used. He was pretty sure he had gotten lucky over the years. The explanation worked; all three officers gave varying expressions of pity, and after McLean poked at his side through the rip, he finished up the scan and stepped back.
    "Sounds like the last thing you needed to be doing is to get into a fight with the locals. I can't keep calling you kid, you got a name?" Jim almost said the usual answer, his mouth opening to utter James Pike like every other time he had been asked that in the last ten years; he practically bit his tongue to shut himself up. They'd have Chris on the comm in minutes, and this was not the way he wanted to see him again. There was only one solution. The name was almost alien to him now, like a possession loaned and forgotten about for years before being returned, and he took a deep breath before opening his mouth.
    "James Kirk." He didn't know what he expected from that revelation, but the calm entering of the information into a PADD by the officer was all he could hope for at this point. After a minute, the officer looked up.
    "Looks like it really is your first encounter with us, Mr. Kirk. I'm going to cuff you in front instead of behind your back, but one sign of trouble and I'll have you stunned, got me?" Jim nodded mechanically, and the officers holding his arms pulled them to hang in front of his crotch, tightening a strap around his wrists. "Time to go tour the local precinct, Mr. Kirk. Behave, and you'll be done with us in less than twenty-four hours." 
    It ended up being around thirty-six, but the judge was in the hospital. Officer McLean handed back his belongings personally, and gave Jim a short farewell speech that summed up to the phrase "Keep your nose clean, and I won't have to see you walk out of here again." Misdemeanor assault charges, but since it was his first offense, they let him off with a fine. He had enough credits to pay his motel bill and clear out of Buffalo. He had no intention on sticking around, it would only invite trouble.
    In retrospect, he should have listened to the officer's advice. And the advice of every other officer and bartender who looked at him with exasperated pity as he picked himself (or was picked up) off yet another bar or club floor, nursing new bruises and feeling that elusive rush fading. Having a pretty face (and a fucked up looking back, but Jim preferred to assume the former) helped him get out of a lot of shit, but as Jim glared at the cop taking his booking photo in whereverthefuck Indiana, he wasn't sure if he was angrier at the police or at himself. The holding cell they threw him into was a first, last time he had been just handed a warning and told to not come back. Well, there was more places he could go to. Not in Indiana, though. Nothing to do but to drink.
    After managing a night without getting in too much trouble, Jim decided that he wanted to talk with his mom again. He didn't know why he was willing to give her another chance, but it sounded like a good idea at the time. That tequila concoction he had tried that night probably had something to do with that. A short comm call later led to a pre-programmed message from her console, stating that she was offplanet and would be so for eight months. Fucking figured. He left a message and decided to look for a job in town the next day. He was tired of picking insects from his bedding before going to sleep every night.

Part 2




( 12 Tufa Towers a Leaning — Visit Negit Island )
Jan. 28th, 2010 02:08 am (UTC)
Just started reading, but I had to stop and comment to let you know that I promptly freaked the fuck out and kept refreshing your recent entries page until part one came up. okay back to reading.
Jan. 28th, 2010 02:12 am (UTC)
HAHAHAHA I was wondering if someone would be around to notice! XD I private-locked them all, then unlocked them backwards as I linked to each part.

Jan. 28th, 2010 02:27 am (UTC)
Jan. 28th, 2010 02:29 am (UTC)
<3 <3
Jan. 28th, 2010 11:02 am (UTC)
Have only first sat down to the computer in the morning when I realized there was an update to this story. I must first say how excited I am before I even begin reading. :D
Jan. 28th, 2010 11:03 am (UTC)
Yay! :) I hope you like it! :)
Jan. 28th, 2010 07:58 pm (UTC)
Love it that you start with the "lost years" from Jim's side :) Great to learn that it was the emotionally devastating encounter with his mother that threw him off.

No Sam, eh? Wonder if he's as dead as my Sam :)
Jan. 28th, 2010 11:24 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I wanted to elaborate on that time period a bit before moving on. Of course, elaborating "a little bit" turned into 16k word, go figure. :P

I'm still deciding on Sam. ^^;
Jan. 28th, 2010 11:53 pm (UTC)
Oh, fascinating portrayal of family and travel here. *jumps on to next part*
Jan. 29th, 2010 12:32 am (UTC)
:D Thanks!
Aug. 15th, 2010 01:03 am (UTC)
I read this over at AO3 so I though i should mosy on over and comment. It nice to see someone do a serious wing fic, you've handled it in a really interesting way, slowly unravelingthe background without rushing it.
I can see Jim being called the Archangel of the Federation once his wings become common knowledge. :)
Aug. 15th, 2010 09:57 am (UTC)
Thanks for the wonderful comment! :D

....archangel, huh? I think it would go to his head. ;)

( 12 Tufa Towers a Leaning — Visit Negit Island )