I promised myself I wouldn't write any new fanfiction, especially Star Trek fanfiction. So of course I am responding to a prompt from st_xi_kink. Prompt is here: http://community.livejournal.com/st_xi_kink/1886.html?thread=4367966#t4367966
No beta, so all mistakes are mine entirely...
Warning: K/S implied...
Five things about Love and Life James Kirk Learns too Soon and One Thing He Learns Just in Time by MockingbirdQ (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The First thing he learns too soon: Love Hurts.
Some of his earliest memories are of his mother crying for no apparent reason. At age three, Jim doesn’t understand why she is sad or what “chronic depression” means. All he knows is that his mother is sad, that he can’t help her and that it has something to do with the fact that his father is dead. Apparently, love hurts a lot and having two sons who loves her isn’t enough to make up for their father’s loss. His first understanding of love is that it makes people sad. He doesn’t like to feel sad and decides he won't love anyone, other than his family, ever.
The Second Thing Jim Learns too Soon: Love isn’t Enough.
When Jim is five years old, Winona finally recovers and although that should make life much better for George Jr. and Jim, it does the opposite. Their mother reenlists in Starfleet and makes the decision to leave them with their aunt and uncle while she is gone.
For weeks after the announcement, Jim is on his best behavior. He rarely gets in trouble, and constantly hugs and kisses her, reminding his mother in his own way that he loves her.
But she still leaves him behind, despite his clinging hands that force his uncle to physically hold him back to prevent him from hanging onto her.
She comes back on leave 9 months later and Jim refuses to kiss her or respond in kind when she says she loves him. He knows now it doesn’t matter. People who love you will still leave you behind.
The Third Thing Jim learns too Soon: Love makes you Stupid
When he is eight years old, Winona tears his life apart again. She is planning to remarry because she is “in love”. Jim had thought of love as something that only happened once and never again, but he realizes this is not always the case as a result of his mother’s remarriage.
Jim meets her future husband and immediately dislikes him on sight. The man looks nothing like his father. He smiles at Jim and George, but the smile never reaches his eyes. His arm is constantly around Winona possessively, and his expression warns the boys to keep their distance. When he tells the boys to do something, he becomes angry if they don’t automatically respond without question, although Sam is guiltier of defying him then Jim, who is quieter and “good”.
When his mother announces that the boys will be moving out of their uncle’s household and will be staying with their step-father while she is off planet, Jim Kirk realizes that for whatever reason she has completely lost her mind.
Things do not go smoothly between her husband and the boys whenever she is gone. There are constant messages to her that George is acting up. It all cumulates 3 years later in Jim driving his father’s ancient car off a cliff, after discovering his stepfather planned to sell it. His mother had given the man permission to do so, despite the fact that the boys considered it “their father's”. This only proves to Jim that love makes smart people lose all ability to reason, which he was able to confirm the first time a beautiful girl kissed him later that same year.
The Fourth Thing Jim Learns too soon: Love Doesn’t Last.
By the time Jim is twelve, Winona and his stepfather are divorced, bitterly. He hears her confide in her sister in law that it was a mistake to remarry and that she should have never trusted Frank with her sons. She says she was infatuated, but never really loved him anyway.
Winona takes a two year leave of absence to “straighten the boys out” as she tells her brother. George becomes calmer in her presence, but Jim continually acts out. She spends two years shuffling him back and forth between therapists and court hearings before finally realizing he will never again be the little boy she left behind 7 years before. Jim is defiant now and angry at her, for leaving him. He is thirteen years old when she gives up and returns to space.
The Fifth thing he learns: Love is really about sex.
The first time a girl says to Jim, “I love you”, he is fourteen and has just had his first sexual experience. She is two years older, more experienced and infinitely more mature. He admires her and wonders if this is how his father and mother felt about each other, before dismissing the idea that his mother every loved anyone.
Two nights later, he sneaks into her room, intending to tell her that he loves her in return. He finds her having sex with another teenager, and chanting “I love you” as the slightly older man plunges into her. He realizes that “I love you” is just another way to say “I love sex.”
Over the next decade, subsequent sexual encounters seem to bear this idea out. He never lets anyone close enough to confirm differently even if this wasn’t the truth.
Even so, his standard response when a partner says “I love you” is “I understand how you feel”. It usually takes them a few moments to realize he is not responding in kind, and gives him time to orgasm or recover a bit before they toss him out. Usually.
One Thing Jim Learns Just in Time: Despite this, Love is Still Worth it.
He begins to forget all these things after becoming captain of The Enterprise. Yes, listening to Bones commiserate about his ex-wife and leave his daughter behind seems to prove #1 and #2 as fact. Chekov mooning after whoever he is obsessed with at the time supports #3, and Spock and Uhura’s very messy break up seems to epitomize #4. Kirk’s own experience with countless lovers on countless planets, where the universal translator spits out “I love you” on myriad occasions make him sure that “love” and lust are often the same creature, confirming #5.
But the feelings he has for his crewmates, and especially his first officer, quickly grow beyond mere camaraderie and he comes to realize he is closer with some of his officers than he is with his own brother. They are a family, in their own strange way.
And the first time he realizes that as much as he cares for the rest of his crew, he would gladly die for Spock and that he doesn’t want to serve without the Vulcan beside him changes everything.
They are on an undocumented planet, running for their lives from a large predator (why are there always things that want to eat him when he beams down?) when he realizes his feelings for Spock. His first is injured and attempted to brush off how badly, despite the fact that Kirk is familiar enough with Vulcan anatomy to recognize that the injuries are frighteningly close to the location of Spock’s heart. As they attempt to hold back the large canine long enough to teleport, Jim realizes there is no one he would rather have at his back, or in his life forever as a calm, constant presence.
Later, when they are safely on The Enterprise and Spock has recovered under McCoy’s loving care, or bitter snarkiness as it is, Kirk invites himself into Spock’s quarters. Jim tells him of his feelings in the only way he knows how, due to his past experience with the older Spock. He asks Spock to mind meld with him, and is surprised by the peace and deep affection that flows through him as they exchange memories and emotions. Jim feels the tenuous bond between them and it feels right, in a way he can’t even qualify. All he knows is that the feelings between them are strong and real and right there, beyond lust or friendship.
And Jim Kirk realizes that even if everything he ever thought about love before was right, at that moment, it is all worth it…