Rating: PG (Language)
Pairings: Kirk/McCoy (background)
Word Count: 1,321
Summary: Joanna's life used to be easier before she had two Step-Dads. For the FML challenge at jim_and_bones.
Disclaimer: I know this may come as a shock, but I am not, amazing as it may seem, Gene Roddenberry, J.J. Abrams, Paramount or Bad Robot. Just so you know.
The first time I brought a boy home, Mom smiled pleasantly, Clay nodded at him over his PADD, and I took him out to the back where my old playhouse was and we made out for two hours. Afterwards he sat by me at dinner and if I seemed flushed no one remarked on it.
The second time I brought a boy home, I was supposed to be grounded, but there’s this tree right by my window, and, well, I’m not on the track team and the basketball team for nothing.
Then Dad got home from his tour.
Don’t get me wrong, I was thrilled, I love Dad and I hadn’t seen him in five years. But when your Dad is the CMO of the USS Enterprise, indirectly responsible for saving the freaking planet at least once, and is in all the newsfeeds because he just married Captain Kirk? Things get awkward.
I was counting on the newlywed bliss to cut me some slack.
I was so wrong.
“Hey, JoJo,” Dad says when he came in that first night. “How’s my best girl?”
I hug him tight; he smells like aftershave and fresh grass.
“Awesome,” I say. He lets me go, and then there was Uncle Jim.
“Hey kiddo,” Jim says, his hug more brief. “It’s been a long time. I remember when you were this high.” He gestures to a height below his waist, and I flush.
“Yeah, well, adolescence. It happens,” I say.
“She’s already got boys coming over,” Mom says, and I flush darker still.
“Oh really?” Dad says with interest. “Do I need to go find Pa’s shotgun?”
Uncle Jim just laughed with the others, and I thought I was safe.
Five hours later, I’m climbing down the tree, light and easy as a cat, and congratulating myself on my stealth when a familiar voice says, “Really kiddo?” and I freeze.
“Hiya, Uncle Jim,” I say all cool, like this happens all the time. “How’s it going?”
“It goes,” he says pleasantly. “Do you have a good story at least?”
“Maybe?” I hedge for time. “Crap. Um.”
“Yeah, thought so,” he says. “One of your boys?”
My face feels like it’s burning. “Mark,” I say. “He’s going to be an engineer. We have a—uh—tutoring session.”
“Right,” Uncle Jim says, drawing the word out real long. “Tutoring session. At eleven at night.”
“It’s for astronomy?”
“Uh huh. Back up you go, kiddo. Unless you wanna go through the front door and explain this to Bones yourself.”
That makes me feel like throwing up.
I climb the tree.
Two nights later I think I’m safe because they’re not even supposed to be at our house—they’re across town visiting Grandma instead. And I have plans to meet Daniel, and well, how often does lightning strike twice?
“Seriously?” Uncle Jim just sounds amused. “It’s even down to the minute, kiddo. You have it like a science.”
“Apparently not,” I mutter.
“Is it this Mark kid?”
“Daniel,” I say.
Uncle Jim whistles. “You make me proud. Really. Okay, like clockwork, right? Back to bed.”
I don’t waste time arguing this time. Instead I plot.
Thursday night I arrange a sleepover with Michaela Cooper. Sleepover in the sense that I pack my pajamas and a pillow and some romcom vids, we watch one of them, and then start the second one to playing while we change into our cute clothes and wait for the signal from Aaron Matheson and Kamraan Mudil.
The boys are leading us to their car when there’s that damn voice.
“Fuck!” I yell.
The others freeze in panic. “Do you have, like, a stalker or something?” Kamraan wants to know.
“Yes,” I say mutinously.
Michaela’s eyes are wide even in the dark. “Wow,” she says in admiration. “Epic.”
“C’mon, kiddo. You know the drill.”
“Aggh!” I stomp my foot, but shake my head. “See you guys later,” I mutter, before walking right up to Uncle Jim. “Dude, what is your malfunction?”
He looks confused at that. “I’m your Step-Dad now,” he says. “I’m supposed to protect you.”
“From a good time?” I glower mutinously.
“From doing stupid things.” He shrugs nonchalantly. “Seriously, kiddo, you’re what, thirteen? You’re too young for this shit.”
“I’ll be fourteen in a month,” I say stubbornly. “My grades are good, and I know how to use protection.”
“I like how you think that was meant to be comforting,” Uncle Jim says dryly, “but believe me when I say it isn’t.”
I grunt, and let him lead me to his car. I’m expecting him to drive me back to Mom’s place, but instead he takes me to the 24-hour diner off the highway. When we walk in I see some of the seniors in a booth, and they look at us in astonishment. I’d enjoy their attention more if the guy I was with wasn’t, you know, my Step-Dad, but whatever.
We sit in another booth and Uncle Jim orders two chocolate milkshakes and an order of fries.
“This is totally contraband, by the way,” he says happily when the shakes come.
“Uh huh,” I say, unimpressed. I play with the paper the straw came in, folding it into shapes idly.
“Look, I get what it’s like having a parent who’s never around,” Jim says when we’ve both got some chocolate in our systems. “And hormones and peer pressure and all that. Seriously, I do, but this isn’t the answer. What’s gonna happen one night when I’m not there and you meet the wrong guy or something?”
“I can take care of myself,” I say. “You’ve seen too many vids.”
Uncle Jim snorts. “Bullshit,” he says. “I used to be thirteen going on fourteen too, kiddo. I’ve been in and out of more trouble than you know. That’s why I’m trying to talk to you.”
I roll my eyes. The waitress brings us the plate of fries, and I take two, dipping them in ketchup. They are hot and crispy and salty: perfect after the chocolate. “Is it worth pointing out that you turned out okay?” I ask.
“Not really,” Uncle Jim says with all that smooth arrogance you see on the newsfeeds. “I’m special.” I look up to say something snarky and obnoxious, but then I look in his eyes, and—well, I don’t know what’s in them. Memories, I guess. It’s not an easy look.
“Fine,” I say. And we change subjects and talk about school and stuff, and he cracks jokes, and I laugh.
He drives me back to Michaela’s and I get in without a problem. I change back into my pajamas, and go to sleep. When I wake up, Michaela is curled up beside me, the two of us like puppies, and then her Mom comes to get us up for school.
“So what’s up with stalker-guy?” she asks once we’re out of the house. “Who was that?”
For some reason I don’t want to say it’s my Step-Dad, so instead I just say, “Some guy I know. He’s not that bad, though.”
“Huh,” Michaela says. “Cool.”
I’m thinking after that chat and all that maybe we’ve gotten some kind of peace accord going on, but when Monday night rolls around and I’m sneaking down the tree to go see Mark, Uncle Jim is already there.
“I thought we’d learned something, kiddo,” he says.
“Fuck my life,” I mutter, and start climbing back up.
Screw it. The boys aren’t worth the trouble.
“I hope you realize that I’m gonna die a virgin,” I call back, pitching my tone low so that it carries to him, but so that Mom and Clay won’t hear.
“Doubt it,” Uncle Jim calls back. “Just try to be legal, okay?”
“I’ll try,” I grumble, and his laughter is warm in the night.
Having two Step-Dads is a pain in the ass, but I suppose there’s worse things.