[personal profile] wushu76
Title: Pain Follows Me.
Author: Wushu
Pairing: I wrote it thinking Kirk/Spock, but who Kirk’s lover is, is completely up to the reader.
Rating: R
Word count: 1725.
Disclaimer: I don’t own anything to do with Star Trek. Just borrowing them. I’ll make sure to wash and dry them before returning, promise.
Author notes: Written for this prompt in the [livejournal.com profile] st_xi_kink meme. This is my first attempt at writing in this fandom, so please, let me know what you think.

Summary: “I didn't think anything could be worse than Tarsus."

“I didn't think anything could be worse than Tarsus."

The words escaped his mouth before he could stop himself and Jim couldn't even blame the alcohol. He was stone cold sober.

Looking up Jim could see the need to know in his lover’s eye, but also knew he wouldn’t press. Would wait for the information Jim wanted to share. He considered silence for a long moment, just leaving it there, but it seemed the smallest crack in the wall of control he’d built up years ago, was enough to open the proverbial flood gates.

“It was after I destroyed the asshole’s car.”

Jim had already shared that story with his lover.

“Mom decided that we needed… time apart. As if we were bickering siblings, and she sent me to her sister and family. They lived on Tarsus IV.”

His eyes dropped away from the dark gaze, looking at his hands that were still in his lap.

“I had been there for a few months when it started, enrolled in school and everything. Top of my class, playing sport. The normal stuff I’d never really done on Earth. I even won the science fair, got to meet Governor Kodos as he handed out the awards.”

Jim reached for his drink with a hand that was shaking so slightly it could almost be a trick of the eyes, not really there, and grabbed his glass, wishing there was something stronger than water in there, if he was really going to tell this story, he wanted something to dull the pain.

“That’s why he remembered me you see. Kodos’ criterion for getting food was fairly specific. You had to offer the colony something for your survival. Essential support personnel, the… top of the bell curve, the smartest ones, the prettiest ones.”

Taking a swallow he fought off the memories.

“He remembered me, decided that I was a prime candidate for the future of his brave new world. My aunt, her husband, her whole family was killed, although I didn’t know it at the time. The governor took me into his own home. He was, charismatic, and I was a child. A desperate child longing for approval. Approval he offered, but it came with strings.”

Jim finished his water and didn’t say another word as his lover refilled it for him, then sat again, closer than before, but taking care not to get too close, knowing that he couldn’t take the contact right now.

“He took me with him on his eugenics’ tours.”

His voice was full of controlled anger, but what was uncontrolled was the sick self loathing.

“As he toured the colony, deciding who would live and die. At first I didn’t see the killing, I think he didn’t want me to see my family dead, knowing he’d ordered it. I would have been much harder to control, but it wasn’t long before he had me standing beside him as they died. I can still feel the weight of his hand resting on my shoulder, sometimes, and see the approval in his gaze as they died.”

Jim shuddered, his whole body shaking as he remembered seeing someone killed, right in front of him, for the first time.

“He would allow me to plead for some of them, but that was only to give him more power over me. The first time I begged him not to kill someone, he agreed that I could chose ONE of the people in the ten he had just condemned. The second time he said yes, again allowing me to save only one of them, but I had to do something for him. Something nice.”

Finishing the water he put the cup down, staring out across his cabin, unseeing.

“He wanted a kiss, and to be thanked.”

The sound that escaped Jim then would not have fooled anyone into believing it was a laugh.

“He allowed it to be just on his cheek the first time and the thanks could be verbal, but it wasn’t long before both of them changed. At first it was a peck on the lips, then more and more. The cost of every saved life grew higher, and every time I baulked at the escalation, he said no the next time. Someone I couldn’t save.”

He met his lover’s gave then, seeing the dawning understanding in his gaze, knowing what was coming next even before Jim said it.

“Before a month had passed, I was little more than his bed warmer. The word no had been removed from my vocabulary. At least when directed at him. If I wanted to save them I had to give him whatever he wanted, right there, normally in front of them. And he never let me save more than one, forcing me to chose who would live, after he had decided who would die.”

Swallowing Jim looked away and stood up, heading to his bathroom and splashing his face with water before coming back, wet hands raking through his hair.

“I saw thousands of people die and sold myself to save a few dozen of them. By the time they finally discovered what had happened and taken the colony back almost all of the people I had tried to save were already dead. I was in hospital for weeks afterwards, malnutrition and my refusal to tell them what had happened. Oh, the doctors could work out a lot of it. A child’s body is not designed to do many of the things Kodos had me doing. They leave a mark.”

Once again he made that sound that could not be mistaken for laughter.

“I don’t think my mother ever recovered from her guilt. She had been living with it before, the guilt of being a survivor of the Kelvin. But, she never left earth again. Resigned from Star Fleet and everything.”

Sighing Jim moved to sit down again, finally looking at his lover.

“I never told anyone more than the most basic details about any of it. One of the other survivors knew what I had done to save him. I’m fairly sure he told them. But because of my age my records were completely sealed. That’s why you never saw anything about it there.”

There was a knowing tone to his voice, acknowledging that his lover had read his records.

“I swore after it all, that I would never, ever be responsible for someone else’s living or dieing again. NEVER.”

This time Jim’s laugh did show amusement, but there was still so much bitterness.

“And being a starship captain, means in the end, every single life in the ship is your responsibility. Who knows that better than me, a child who only survived because my father was willing to take on that responsibility? I never had the overly romantic view of command that so many other cadets had. I knew from a very young age what the costs could be.”

Jim’s gaze was once again caught in the past as he gazed across the cabin. Lost in memories of his time after coming back to Earth.

“I’ve never been known as someone who walked the path of moderation, but I threw myself into every dangerous thing I could afterwards. Survivor’s guilt, twice over. If Starfleet knew how messed up I really was, they wouldn’t give me command of anything, let alone the flagship of the fleet.”

He was silent for several moments, contemplating what he had just admitted before he started speaking again.

“I avoided every possible thing that might lead me to responsibility, and I threw myself even harder into predatory sexuality. In some strange corner of my mind I decided that if I was the aggressor, then no one could ever control me like that again. And also, I was determined that he wasn’t going to stop me from having that normality in my life. A health sex life. What I didn’t, couldn’t see was that what I was doing was hardly that.”

Jim once again focused on the room he was actually in, the person he was talking to and he offered his lover a sad smile.

“It didn’t take me long to realise that sex and alcohol we both an easy way to escape things I didn’t want to think about. Getting into fights worked too, because when I was fucking or fighting, all I was thinking about was the moment, and most of the time I wasn’t thinking, I was just acting and reacting. Getting drunk just made it even more thought deadening.”

Reaching out for the very first time since he had started speaking he took his lover’s hand in his own, holding it loosely.

“The first thing I ever wanted to be was a Starfleet captain. Just like my father. Someone he could be proud of having saved. According to my mother I used to drive everyone insane talking about it. After Tarsus, everything changed. Because I knew, without a doubt I was never, ever going to be someone he was proud of, never. Damaged goods, the butcher’s wh-ore.”

Jim closed his eyes, unable to look into those eyes as he said these things.

“Unworthy. Unworthy of his sacrifice, unworthy of surviving the Kelvin or Tarsus.”

He swallowed roughly, feeling fingers tighten over his own.

“I was starting to realise it wasn’t true you know. When I had that now infamous bar room conversation with then Captain Pike.”

This time it was his own fingers that tighten and Jim smiled slightly.

“Enough that I realised in not doing what I had dreamed of as a child, joining Starfleet, would be letting him win, just in a different way. Letting him take my dream away.”

He let out little huff of sound that was honest amusement, although fleeting.

“The rest, as they say, is history.”

Taking a deep breath Captain James T Kirk of the Enterprise gathered his strength and opened his eyes. This time when he caught his lover’s gaze he held it, searching for a reaction, searching for something he didn’t even realise he still needed, and he smiled. Over the course of his monolog he had seen shock in those eyes, surprise and amazement, but now, he smile because the one and only thing he could read on his lovers face, deep in his eyes, was pride.

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