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Story [Top Gun] Fragmentary [Seeing a Trailer Backstory] [UDC 10]

Discussion in 'Non Star Wars Fan Fiction' started by DaenaBenjen42, Sep 9, 2022.

  1. DaenaBenjen42

    DaenaBenjen42 Jedi Grand Master star 5

    May 15, 2005
    Title: Fragmentary
    Fandom: Top Gun / Top Gun: Maverick (2022)
    Author: DaenaBenjen42
    Characters: It's drabbles. Clowns in a circus car, with a special guest or two, because I love the idea of Charlie meeting a recently divorced father of five whose entire family is mad at him for moving to Virginia.
    Disclaimer: **points to Paramount, Bruckheimer Productions... Tom Cruise...**
    To quote Bratling/Brightfeather, who was actually quoting someone else: "I borrowed them, squeezed them, hugged them, called them George, and then gave them back like a good girl." (Yes, I'm going to keep using it!)

    Notes: Somehow, someway, the movie I did not have a copy of until recently caused plot bunnies in F-14's. I'm STILL STUCK on everything else, so how DO we break this writer's block I've got? Exactly. Plot bunnies in F-14's it is... though honestly, I expected said plot bunnies in F-14's, if I were ever to get any, to involve David James Elliott.

    Story this is Backstory Exploration for: Seeing a Trailer

    And re: the title... hey, I got to use it after all! Yay!
    (Thank yous, many of them, go out to Mira_Jade, DarthIshtar, vader_incarnate, Kahara, Tarsier, thesanctuary, indynerdgirl, amidalachick, samwife, watin77, GraceEliz, Karrington, Mnm456, Sophia_The_Scribe, MatalieMichelle, ash_blackthorn, inspired2013, SupermassiveUbersue, and Mistress_Renata, for the encouragement to kill more ink pens. How many have died so far since I let myself start writing again? Two. They did NOT die in vain.)

    Warning: Permanent Angst Warning. Welcome to the SECOND fandom where I'm giving a permanent angst warning. If you're new here: the other is Robocop. Everybody warned? Fabulous.

    Drabble Prompts taken from Ultimate Drabble Challenge #10

    Week One - UDC 10 - Charlie gets a study partner...

    1. Prelude

    He was in the base library after their last Hop for the day when he noticed their civilian instructor, Charlie, poring over several books and what looked like duty rosters at once while writing on a yellow notepad and muttering to herself. Carefully, he looked over her shoulder to read what was on the pad and frowned. "Otis Redding?"

    Charlie froze and turned her head to look at him. "I'm trying to find answers on something. You're...?"

    "Wolfman." He frowned at the other details. "Who disappeared in an F-4 in November of '65?"

    "That is part of what doesn't make sense, Wolf. VF-51 wasn't even flying F-4 Phantoms at the time."

    2. Bygone

    She'd explained what the research was for, and now Wolfman was even more intrigued as he read through a record of service for a member of VF-51, who was the father of one of his classmates. Then he frowned. "Charlie?"


    He showed her and she stared first at the information, then down at her yellow notepad. "Home on leave in February of '68?"

    "And the memories of children are fluid," she muttered, writing that detail down. "Thank you."

    "The rest of this file is redacted," he said, flipping some pages in confusion. "Why would they do that?"

    3. Impend

    Charlie sighed. "If I knew the answer to that, I'd already have that promotion I'm working to get, Wolf."

    Wolfman nodded. "The detail I don't get is the Otis Redding song."

    Charlie smiled, then noticed something. "Huh. That's interesting. F-8's, something classified I couldn't get into, and the squadron downed at least two North Vietnamese MiG's in '68, making them MiG Killers." She sighed. "That doesn't answer my question about what happened to Duke Mitchell, though."

    "Maybe it does," Wolfman told her, waving his hand down at the service file he still had open. "And it's so secret they redacted it."

    4. Descend

    Charlie sighed again. "Maybe it does," she echoed, reading another service file. Then she frowned at the redacted pages that covered the same amount of time. "And I know just who to ask."


    "Commander Metcalf." She continued frowning as she raised her head to look at him. "What were you actually doing in here, anyway? I know you didn't come in here to help me with this mystery."

    Wolfman shrugged. "Yours is more interesting?" Charlie glared at him. "Research on radar systems, because the F-14's radar cone has blind spots and Jester keeps using it to his advantage."

    5. Arise

    Charlie stared at him for a long, long moment before laughing. "Oh! Well, you can go do that, then, Wolf. Thank you for your help."

    Wolfman paused. "You're sure?"

    "I'm sure. I keep running into redaction roadblocks." She glanced down at the notepad, shook her head. "November 1965, when he was home for a month in '68. That is some story, there. It's like someone was daring anyone to actually look into it and discover the holes."

    Wolfman left her to it, and Charlie continued to grumble over twenty-year-old paperwork for another hour or so. Eventually, she found something that made her chuckle.
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2022
  2. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Chosen One star 6

    Aug 21, 2006
    I like how you introduce Wolfman and Charlie in reading a mystery file
    Vek Talis and Kahara like this.
  3. DaenaBenjen42

    DaenaBenjen42 Jedi Grand Master star 5

    May 15, 2005
    @earlybird-obi-wan ... Charlie was chuckling there at the end because she'd done some math and realized another hole in the story, that being that the F-4 Phantom was too big to be launched off of the Oriskany. Thank you. :)

    Week One - Bonus Set (And Nick Bradshaw joined us for a first meeting...)


    It's Uniform Day when he first sees him, a small kid that didn't seem to fit in with others and wasn't sitting with anyone. What captures his attention isn't the uniform, but the days-old black eye and suspicious bruising on the kid's exposed arms. Also, and Nick took note of it because it was the lunch hour, the kid didn't have a tray and was doing homework instead. Frowning, he looked down at his own lunch, at the halved sandwich, and considered it.

    After a moment, he packed his lunch back into the brown sack.


    It was a small thing amid a day of things, being hungry but unable to do anything about it. Homework distracted him, but only so much. Glancing up, for he was always wary of his surroundings, especially on Uniform Day when anything out of place could get him downgraded, Pete blinked in surprise to find another NJROTC member watching him, brown eyes studying him intently.

    After a moment or two, the guy smiled. "Can I join you?"

    Stunned, Pete simply nodded and the guy sat down. He's tall, gangly, and blonde.

    "Someone hit you?"

    Pete stared at him, then returned to his school work.


    Slowly, because he didn't want to startle the kid again, he unpacked his lunch and then sat there for a minute, watching him. Then Nick shook his head in thought. "You hungry?"

    The kid glanced at him, at the food with interest, and returned to the textbook. "Can't get lunch today."

    "That's not what I asked."

    A minute went by... "Yes."

    Nick nodded and slid half of the sandwich over to him. "Here." A startled expression, and then the kid stared at him. "Go on. Mom makes the best baloney sandwich."


    Nick glared at him, interrupting the protest, and pushed it closer. Slowly, the kid accepted it with a nod of thanks.
  4. DaenaBenjen42

    DaenaBenjen42 Jedi Grand Master star 5

    May 15, 2005
    A/N: **stares at prompts** Okay... what kind of battlefield? (And then Mom suggested a mental one. Mental Battlefield it is.) To that end... Mav's Mother got a name picked from Popular Baby names of the late 1930's because the novelization didn't give her one.
    Be advised, for I took inspiration from Aggie Highway of Heartbreak Ridge, talking about 1968 for how a service member's wife would have seen it. My favorite summation for HOW BAD '68 was came from, From The Earth To The Moon in the form of a telegram from a Mrs. Valerie Pringle to the crew of Apollo 8: "You saved 1968."
    Context: The Year started with The Tet Offensive, and ended with three men making a successful voyage from the Earth to the Moon and back.

    "This music."
    "Old friend?"
    "My folks loved it. I haven't heard this in years. My mother used to call down from her room and have me play this over and over again. I would get so sick of it. But not her. She'd just sit up there alone, listening. Hours. She died shortly after him."
    - Maverick and Charlie

    Week Two - UDC 10 - Pete and Nora Mitchell - 1968-1970

    6. Battlefield

    It was so hard to stand, to get up and do anything after the news came. After her world had collapsed around her. Did it even matter anymore? He'd left them, to disappear off the face of the Earth dishonorably. Left them, left her without even a letter. Left her to watch the television, with it's nightly horrors from the other side of the world. To watch as, one by one, flag-draped metal coffins were shipped home to grieving families. Left her to raise their son in this nightmare, not knowing if she was doing the right things by him or not.

    7. Opponent

    He was really starting to hate the record player. Not because it had actually done anything to him, but because his mother wouldn't let him play anything else. The same song, one he remembered his parents dancing to in the living room before his father had shipped out again, over and over again like a mantra, it's slow, off-beat tune an attempt to soothe something deep inside.

    Pete stared at the spinning record as the song ended, waiting for a shout he knew was coming to start it again. If he didn't, would she be mad?

    8. General

    In the kitchen, she frowned as she watched her son, eight years old, make a sandwich. His technique was sloppy and she would have to clean up after him, but he was doing it nonetheless. She wanted to step in, to get up from her chair and show him, but settled for watching. How many had he made while she was up in her room, demanding that he start the record again?

    Pete brought the sandwich over to her, smiling. "Good enough, Momma?"

    Nora froze. "Is this for me?" He nodded. "Oh. Yes. Yes, Pete. It's good enough."

    9. Knight

    In the line at the grocery store, Pete watched his mother chat with a lady who had noticed her bracelet. It wasn't much, just something with his father's name on it that she'd worn since they'd been told he was missing in action. Something about it, how the other lady was asking questions, was making his mother upset. He could tell by the emergence of lines on her forehead. He reached out and pulled at her skirt, and she glanced down at him. He nodded to the display by the register. "Can I have one of those?"

    Nora stared at him for a moment, then shook her head. "We have real food at home, Pete."

    10. Ceasefire

    Opening the door, the first thing he noticed was the silence. There was a fuzzy noise, and Pete frowned as he found the record player still turning, blipping over and over again at the end of the record. He turned it off and waited for it to stop spinning... that one. Again.

    Setting his book bag down, he went in search of her, for it was odd for her to leave the record player on like that. Eventually, he found her, seated in the chair in her room, appearing for all the world to be asleep, except her eyes were open and fixed, staring at nothing.

    He sat on her bed, staring at her for a long time.
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2022
  5. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Chosen One star 6

    Aug 21, 2006
    Poor kid, only his mother and now no one
  6. SupermassiveUbersue

    SupermassiveUbersue Jedi Youngling

    Sep 8, 2022
    That ending!....oof. I love the record player as a storytelling motif in this last set. There's just something about mundane things in the environment that elevates drama into psychological horror. Very well done!
    Vek Talis and DaenaBenjen42 like this.
  7. DaenaBenjen42

    DaenaBenjen42 Jedi Grand Master star 5

    May 15, 2005
    @earlybird-obi-wan Well... not COMPLETELY alone, but yeah. Thank you. :)

    @SupermassiveUbersue Sort of "what's wrong here?" dialed up a notch or two, and then it's NOT the thing that's wrong, but the indicator? Thank you. :)

    @Tarsier ...thank you. :)

    A/N: Alan Jenkins, Pete Mitchell's former Social Services Case Worker, first appeared during a phone call made during part seven of Seeing a Trailer.

    Bonus - Alan Jenkins, Fort Worth CPS Case Worker (He needs a raise.)


    The file on his desk seemed to taunt him as he looked from it, to the eleven-year-old playing with a bracelet cuff and humming, and back down at the file again.

    Reading a file and actually assessing a kid like this... two entirely different things and he knew it. It was one thing to say the kid was a problem that had gone through three different placements in a year, entirely another to have him sitting here, humming an off-beat tune to himself and not acting out. Did this one actually have a problem with authority figures, or was it something else?

    "Hey, kid," he said, getting his attention. The kid jumped, startled and blinked up at him with suddenly-large green eyes. "Can I see that?"

    "See what?"

    "The bracelet, kid."

    Slowly, as if he trusted no one, and probably he didn't, the kid handed it over and then glared at him. "It was Mom's."

    Jenkins nodded and examined the silver cuff, noting that the bracelet cuff was too big for the kid's small wrist. The fact that the kid had an MIA bracelet which had belonged to his mother was indeed in the file, but... "Was this your father, Pete?" The words "Richard 'Duke' Mitchell, USN LCDR" glared up at him in a startling reminder of war far from home. He'd heard the stories, the rumors, of course, but that wasn't his concern right now.


    Jenkins nodded again. "I'm sorry."

    "Mom hated it when people asked," Pete told him, voice cracking with emotion, and Jenkins glanced at him, waiting for more. "Always sad after."

    Carefully, he held it out and the kid took it back, snatched it quickly out of his hand. Possessively. Exactly what he'd expect, given the circumstances. "Well, it's a sad, hard thing, to lose someone and not know if they're alive or dead."

    Pete nodded, sniffling. "Yeah."


    Jenkins glanced down at the file, trying to glean something, anything, and his gaze landed on school performance. It made him pause, and then frown. 8th grade at eleven years old? "So... do you like school?"

    Pete nodded. "Dad said I should always be eager to learn, if I wanted to fly like him."

    "That so? Well, he's right." Good grades, a couple years ahead in school, in spite of personal trauma. He liked this kid already. "Favorite subject?" It was probably math, going by the file.

    "Math," Pete told him, smiling. "I like numbers. They make more sense than English."

    Jenkins chuckled and grabbed a piece of paper, wrote his home and office number on it, then handed that over. "I want you to memorize those."

    Pete stared at the phone numbers, then frowned at him. "Why?"

    "So you can call me if you need to."


    The rest of the assessment revealed that this kid, Peter Mitchell, did not actually have a problem with authority, or authority figures, but rather being personally attacked because of his family. Jenkins didn't like how the kid talked about being slighted, listening to how others slighted his missing father or talked about his recently-deceased mother. It, the behavior of others, had led to more than one altercation and removal from a foster placement, and also for his first case worker to get disgusted with the situation and ask for someone else to take him.

    As Pete wound down from talking about incident after incident, Jenkins sighed. "Pete, can words hurt?" He nodded. "Can you do anything about the person that says them without thinking?"

    The question made the kid pause and stare at him. "Yes?"

    "Aside from react and cause a scene."

    He thought about it. "No?"

    "Exactly." He leaned as close as the desk would allow. "Sticks and stones. Do you know that rhyme?"

    Pete nodded. "Yes, sir. Words can hurt, though."

    "And they often do, but self-control is important if you want to fly like your father. Understood?" He waited for the realization to crawl across the kid's face, and then he was nodding. "Good."
  8. Tarsier

    Tarsier Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Jul 31, 2005
    Hi, Daena! Here, finally, with some comments. :)

    First I should note that I've never seen Top Gun. Also, you write drabbles in pen?! I do occasionally when I'm away from my computer, but man do I get tired of manually counting words fast!

    Week One - I love the ...atmosphere?... of this. I'm picturing the cozy study space... I love the back and forth, and I'm always up for a good mystery!

    Bonus - I already love both these characters! Poor Pete, but I'm so glad Nick reached out to him [face_love]

    Week Two - Great use of the battlefield prompts! I especially like the record player as the "opponent." The "good enough" exchange is so sweet and sad. Poor kid :(

    Bonus - Yay, looks like things might be turning around! I like Alan already also. :)
  9. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Chosen One star 6

    Aug 21, 2006
    I love how Alan cares for the kid
    Vek Talis likes this.
  10. DaenaBenjen42

    DaenaBenjen42 Jedi Grand Master star 5

    May 15, 2005
    @Tarsier ... I tend to do drafts when I'm unsure on paper first, and then move to typed. Helps with the thought process. And welcome to this particular fandom. I'm doing my best to keep things clear so people who haven't seen either movie can get the feel for it without that background. Sort of turning around, sort of not. Thank you. :)

    @earlybird-obi-wan I couldn't see this guy judging him on who his father was, even though he's ex-Navy (Korea), and it just felt right to have him be friendly and Dad-like. Thank you. :)

    A/N: The answer to my question on this set? Shop class. Weather or not they actually would have let a twelve-year-old near the wood working equipment... whole different matter. Probably they would have, as it was the 70's. Also, when the Tomkins family was first mentioned while Maverick was having a dream/nightmare flashback in-story during part seven? Honestly, I thought Bart Tomkins was one of the parents. To my surprise, he isn't.

    Week Three - UDC 10 - The Tomkins Placement

    11. Inlay

    On getting back to the office after an assessment, he didn't notice them immediately. No, he was distracted by the case file in his hand until Frank cleared his throat and made him look up. Alan paused, frowning at him. "What?"

    "Back the way you came."

    Slowly, Alan turned and found Sheryl Tomkins and a now very familiar twelve-year-old seated on two uncomfortable chairs in the waiting area. "Oh." He approached them, noticing that Pete was crying. "Mrs. Tomkins?"

    She nodded to the small pre-teen next to her. "Show him, Pete. It's what we're here for, after all."

    Alan bent down and noticed that Pete was holding a small wooden box with a tree pattern carved into it. "What's that you got there?"

    Pete handed it to him. "Made it in shop class."

    "Oh yeah? Very nice." On a whim, he opened it, only to frown at the silver cuff laying inside that was in two broken pieces. Oh. That explained the crying.

    12. Outrun

    Alan glanced at Sheryl in question. "Did he tell you about this bracelet?"

    She frowned. "No, just that he wanted to see you. Bracelet?"

    "MIA bracelet." Alan paused and looked, really looked at Pete, to find him staring at his hands. "How did it get broken?

    "A week ago," Pete admitted without looking up. "Bart wouldn't leave me alone, and I wanted to do what you said, to just let him talk. He wouldn't stop, and snatched it off my wrist, because it was loose like it always is."

    Out of the corner of his eye, Alan saw Sheryl go rigid at the admission. He stood up and gestured at Frank to join them. "Sit with him for me?" Frank nodded. "Mrs. Tomkins? With me, please."

    13. Withdraw

    The pained expression on her face as he drew her away told him much. It wasn't that she hadn't witnessed any of the behavior going on in her household, he knew. No, it was that she hadn't considered it bullying of any kind. Pete wasn't the first attempted foster care placement with this particular family, but every time felt like the first.

    "I should have watched them closer," Sheryl finally said with a shake of her head. "Bart never seems to know where the line is, no matter what I say."

    Alan nodded. He knew that, that her son was incorrigible. Usually, he was good company, upbeat, and somewhat tolerant. Usually. "Sounds like he was trying to get his attention and went for the kill and over shot."

    14. Partake

    Sheryl nodded. "It does." She sighed. "I like this kid, you know? He's quiet, respectful. Does his homework without being prodded into it like most children. Just... he always seems to be sad. I don't think I've seen him really smile in the whole three weeks he's been with us."

    Inwardly, Alan was sighing. Of course not. This was the fifth placement for Pete Mitchell. "He hasn't really been there all that long. It takes time for him to really come out of his shell."

    "And Bart..." She glanced at the box in his hands. "I can't defend what he did, Al."

    "I don't expect you to." Alan watched as Frank tried engaging Pete in conversation, only to be ignored. "He was there, you know?"

    Sheryl frowned. "What?"

    "His mother. He's the one who found her, and his first case worker noted that he was functionally mute for a month after."

    "Oh." She sighed again. "And he was withdrawn all week, after Bart broke the bracelet."


    "Al, this... we might not be the right placement for him."

    He hated that resigned tone in her voice. "Give it another week or so? I hate to have to move him again."

    15. Uphold

    Frank glanced over to where Alan was talking to Mrs. Tomkins, noting that her posture had relaxed slowly over the course of the conversation. That was good, he thought has he turned his attention back to the twelve-year-old who was still staring at his hands. What did it take for a kid with a history like this one to come out of his shell, even a little? "So... how is school?"

    "I got to use the woodworking table," Pete said, lifting his head to look at him with a suddenness that caused him to jump, startled at the change. "And next week, we're leaning about metal-working!"

    "Oh really? What about the other subjects?"

    Pete grinned and suddenly he seemed like a whole different kid.



    Upon entering the house with groceries in her arms, Sheryl is met with the sight of her son with his nose in a textbook, appearing to be studious, and their charge asleep on the couch beside him. She frowns at that, knowing that Bart's behavior had been suspect for weeks and it was unusual for Pete to take naps when there was homework to be done. In fact, this seemed like a complete reversal, as her son did not like textbooks. Especially not math. In fact, he despised them.

    "Bart? There are a few more bags in the car."

    He looked up, saw her, and reached over, only stopping when she glared at him. "Pete can help?"

    "Now, Bart." Was it her imagination, or was Pete guarding his arm, even while asleep?


    The groceries put away, she directed her son to the kitchen table to actually do his homework. Then she checked on the twelve-year-old, for now she was suspicious. Incredibly suspicious, in fact.

    Upon getting close to him, she found that he wasn't actually asleep and he was indeed guarding his arm. "Pete?"

    "Hurts," the boy told her, voice a pained whisper. She touched his arm gently, carefully, and he hissed in pain. "Hurts."

    She nodded, angry that she hadn't taken him shopping with her.

    When her husband arrived home, he found a note: "Took Pete to ER. Dinner will be late and Bart is grounded. Help him with his homework."


    She was still in the waiting area when Alan arrived, spotting her immediately. He nodded to her and went to ask the receptionist about their charge. The receptionist studied his social services ID, then nodded and let him back, where a nurse led him directly to a specific curtained area. There he found Pete, laying on a gurney with his left arm in a splint, staring at the ceiling

    A doctor approached him, explained that it was a greenstick fracture of both bones in his lower arm, that it should heal in short order and didn't require a cast, and Alan thanked him, sighing as he joined Pete on the gurney.

    Pete blinked, noticing him. "Do I hafta go back to the Tomkins house, Mr. Jenkins?"

    Alan sighed again. "No, kid. You don't."

    "All my stuff is there."

    "You let me and Sheryl worry about that, Pete. All right?"

    Pete stared up at him for a minute before nodding. "Okay."
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2022
  11. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Chosen One star 6

    Aug 21, 2006
    Poor Pete and his foster parents. But he likes school.
    Vek Talis and Tarsier like this.
  12. DaenaBenjen42

    DaenaBenjen42 Jedi Grand Master star 5

    May 15, 2005
    @earlybird-obi-wan Yep. Loving school this much is probably a large part of why he ends up Lieutenant at 23. Thank you. :)

    Week 4 - UDC 10 - Nick Bradshaw, Present and Future Mother Goose

    16. Breeze

    It was the next Monday, after sharing lunch with him, that he saw what must have been the youngest kid on campus again. He was seated in the grass after class, reading a book for English when a angry yell sounded. "Hey! You come back here, you little pipsqueak!"


    Nick frowned and looked up just in time to see another student chasing a now-familiar shorter kid across the grass. "What-"

    "Don't," a student sitting nearby told him in a bored tone. "Bart will give up eventually, because that kid runs faster than him. He's just mad that Mitchell is a smarty-pants."

    17. Idyll

    Watching his mother make lunch from the kitchen table as he ate breakfast, he wondered if he should tell her about the younger student who never seemed to bring a lunch or have money to buy lunch at school. It seemed so odd, how no one else seemed to notice. Or maybe they did and shrugged it off. Their JROTC adviser never commented on the bruises, either, as if he expected those and they were par for the course where Mitchell was concerned. "Ma?"

    "Yes, Nick?"

    "Can you make another sandwich for me?" She glanced over at him in question. "There's this... kid. Never has a lunch."


    "No. Four days now, always has an excuse for why he doesn't and never gives a straight answer other than 'I couldn't bring lunch today.'"

    She paused, then nodded and set about making another sandwich. "I'd like to meet him."

    18. Shade

    He found him seated outside the cafeteria this time, again doing homework instead of eating. "This seat taken?"

    "No," Mitchell said without glancing up.

    Nick smiled and set the extra brown paper sack on top of the open textbook in front of him. "Eat now, study later." Mitchell frowned at it, then tried to hand it back to him. "No, that's yours. Ma made it for you."

    "For me? Why?"

    Nick shrugged and pulled another brown paper sack out of his backpack. "Because I asked her to."

    19. Balm

    He watched from a distance as an older woman stopped Mitchell, Bart Tomkins fuming at her side with his arms crossed. The kid didn't seem unhappy to see her, and she had a sort of solemn smile as she handed him a small wrapped box and then gave him a hug and prompted him to open it. Nick frowned at the subtle body language, wondering how they knew one another as the kid opened the box and then stared at the contents in what could only be described as shock.

    Nick inched closer, and could hear her say... "To replace the one that Bart broke, Pete. I know how important it is to you." His gaze slid to Bart, who seemed even more upset. "Bart, you owe him an apology. More than one."

    "Mom," Bart started to whine, only to freeze when he spotted Nick, who was frowning deeply at him. "I'msorryIbrokeyourarmandyourmom'sbracelet,Pete."

    20. Linger

    Afterwards, after the two of them had left, Nick joined him on the steps. Pete didn't look up and continued to stare into the box in his hands as if he couldn't quite believe what he was seeing.

    Inside the box was a silver bracelet with adjustable links attached to a curved plate with two names: "Richard 'Duke' Mitchell, USN" and "Nora Mitchell" in black against the silver.

    Pete shook his head slowly. "The old one only had Dad's name on it."

    Nick paused, wondering why that detail was important. He had so many questions now.
  13. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Chosen One star 6

    Aug 21, 2006
    great to see Nick and his concern for Pete
    Vek Talis likes this.
  14. DaenaBenjen42

    DaenaBenjen42 Jedi Grand Master star 5

    May 15, 2005
    @earlybird-obi-wan Thank you. :) (The strong friendship had to start somewhere, you know?)

    Bonus - Week Four, UDC 10 - Teachers


    The music was startling, as Mrs. Henderson set down the music books on her desk, for there wasn't supposed to be anyone in her classroom so early. She cocked her head, listening to Sitting on the Dock of the Bay's off-beat tune for a few moments before going into the music room proper. There she paused at the sight of one of her students dancing slowly around the room, singing along.

    When the song ended and he noticed her, he blushed at having been caught. "I'm sorry, Mrs. Henderson. I just-"

    "No, Pete," she told him cautiously. "No need to be sorry. Just ask if you want to use the record player." She frowned. "Why this song?"

    He shrugged. "Don't hate it so much now."

    That response was puzzling.


    On duty in the cafeteria, Mr. Wilson was startled to see the youngest student on campus joined regularly by the newest, recently transferred from Tennessee. He couldn't recall if he'd ever seen Mitchell with a friend, especially not one who regularly turned up with an extra lunch sack and didn't accept no for an answer on weather or not he accepted the generosity.

    The third week brought a change, a smile to a normally pensive thirteen-year-old, and when Bradshaw brushed past him, Mr. Wilson stopped him with a hand on the shoulder. "Good job."

    Nick simply nodded and continued on his way.


    The two students still seated on the front steps caught his attention, and the Principal frowned. The newest and the youngest, one of them staring into a box in his hand. He inched closer, and was startled to hear Pete Mitchell telling Bradshaw about... tutoring?

    "Bart has trouble reading," Mitchell told him. "Gets frustrated real easy, and I'd been trying to explain the importance of wording in a word problem, when he..."

    "Lost his temper," Bradshaw finished. "And that's how you broke your arm."

    "Yeah... and also why, when he wants me to explain the math to him, I sometimes have to run. A lot. He's nice, and then not, and..."

    The Principal frowned at that. "Mitchell?" They both startled, looked back at him. "When that happens again, run to my office."


    "You heard me. I give you permission to run in the halls in that instance."
  15. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Chosen One star 6

    Aug 21, 2006
    They have a nice principal
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  16. Tarsier

    Tarsier Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Jul 31, 2005
    Pete is so sweet, I'm so glad he's finally getting some support!! Nick's a good guy :)

    Love the descriptions of the box and the new bracelet.

    I think these are my favorite exchanges:
  17. DaenaBenjen42

    DaenaBenjen42 Jedi Grand Master star 5

    May 15, 2005
    @earlybird-obi-wan ...the trouble before this was that Pete wasn't telling anyone about the problems because he'd learned to say nothing due to his mother being incredibly detached. Now at least one adult knows, and NOW they can do something about it. Thank you. :)

    @Tarsier Thank you. :) (And yes. Nick? Totally earns that Mother Goose call sign.)

    A/N: I was going to do a meet-cute. Meet-cute got postponed for Pete needing to sleep on a couch at Fort Worth Social Services. I'm pretending that it's actually in Fort Worth, but in reality it's not. In the 70's, it could have been?

    Week 5 - UDC 10 - The Break Room Couch at Fort Worth Social Services

    21. Astray

    It was late in the day on a Friday when she was passing by the break room and something caught her eye. Pausing, she looked in, only to frown at the small, sleeping teenager in a JROTC uniform on the couch. Sheila stared for a minute, then snagged another case worker as they were passing by. "Any of your kids in the JROTC?"

    Frank frowned at her as he stepped to the door and looked in. "Oh. I'll go get Al."

    She stared after him, a frown forming. One of Alan Jenkins's problem kids, which explained the sleeping on the couch in their break room.

    22. Temerity

    A gentle shake to his shoulder, and Pete was groggily awake, blinking up at Alan. "Hi."

    Alan sighed. "That bad?"

    "That bad, what?" He followed Alan's hand to one of the bruises on his arm, then lightly brushed the healing black eye. "Oh."

    "Yes. Oh. How did those happen?"

    Pete sighed. "There was more than one, and I wasn't fast enough."

    Alan stared at him, then nodded. "When was this?"


    "And what did Mr. and Mrs. Tatham say?"

    "They didn't ask."


    Pete shook his head. "Mrs. Tatham simply offered me a steak for my eye."

    23. Nuance

    Another Friday, and Sheila frowned at one of her co-workers standing at the break room door as she passed it. "Tell me there's not a teenager in there asleep on the couch."

    Dorinda nodded. "Not alone this time."

    Sheila blinked in surprise and looked in, to find two teenagers on the couch this time, Pete Mitchell's head on the other's lap. "Oh. Is he... singing?" The blonde, lanky teenager shushed them, and Sheila wanted to laugh, but didn't dare because he looked absolutely serious. "Right. I'll get Al." That song had sounded awfully familiar.

    24. Duress

    It was an odd thing, to be sitting on the couch in the break room at a Social Services office, with a sleeping Pete Mitchell curled up to him, only to realize that the odd thing was actually a woman watching them with an amused smile. He wanted to ask her what was so amusing, and why Pete was singing in his sleep after he'd convinced him to take a nap when he'd started yawning, but was afraid extra noise would wake him. Among other questions he had... if Pete was this tired in the afternoon on a Friday, was he getting proper sleep?

    "Thank you, Sheila," a man's amused voice said, and Nick looked up again to find that the woman had been joined by a man, maybe the same age as his father or older, standing there studying them. "So that answers the question I had about Harry's notes involving singing Sitting on the Dock of the Bay. I wondered."

    25. Perception

    Nick frowned at that. Who was this guy, that he didn't find this out of the ordinary? "Sir?"

    The man sobered and entered the break room and pulled a chair over, closer to the couch, and then sat down. "Pete doesn't normally bring anyone with him to his standing Friday appointment. Your name, kid?"

    "Nick." Standing appointment?

    The man held out a hand, which Nick shook, eyeing him with suspicion. "Alan Jenkins. I'm his Social Services Case Worker. Known him long?"

    "Two weeks, sir."

    Jenkins nodded, pausing when the singing stopped. "Oh, good. I might still risk a panic state, but less so now."


    Jenkins paused. "Would you believe that every time Harry woke him up while he was singing like that, Pete would ask where his mother was and then have a panic attack?"
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2022
  18. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Chosen One star 6

    Aug 21, 2006
    Poor Pete, having all these difficulties in his young life. But he has friends who care
    Vek Talis and Tarsier like this.
  19. DaenaBenjen42

    DaenaBenjen42 Jedi Grand Master star 5

    May 15, 2005
    @earlybird-obi-wan ...yep. (Also, hi. We have bonus set. :) )

    Bonus - UDC 10 - Week Five


    A shake to his shoulder and Pete was awake, a question forming that never came to fruition because Alan was studying him thoughtfully. "Has Sheila started joking again about charging me rent?"

    "No, but she is amused every time you sack out on the couch in here," Alan told him. "How did you meet Nick?"

    "He offered me half his sandwich," Pete answered with a smile as he sat up.

    Nick snorted in laughter. "You were studying in the cafeteria and tried to tell me no, you weren't hungry."

    "That, too." Pete winced at the frown Alan was directing at him. "It's not as bad as it sounds, Mr. Jenkins. And Nick's right: his mother does make an excellent boloney sandwich."


    Alan glanced from one to the other, frowning. "Did you not take your own lunch to school with you?"

    Pete sighed. "It's not that. It's more I'm the smallest in my grade, and..."

    "Oh, that explains it," Nick said, and Alan frowned again. "Explains the bruises, too, actually. Our principal is right: run to his office when stuff like that happens."

    "I'd be running there all the time, Nick."

    Nick glanced at Alan. "How old is he?"

    "He'll be thirteen in July," Alan told him. "He skipped a couple grades."

    That answered a few more questions that Nick didn't quite realize he'd had.


    Pete knew he'd have to answer the unspoken questions radiating off of his case worker eventually, but how did he explain that he'd been trying to find a way not to sing in his sleep after Mrs. Tatham had asked him about it? After he'd feigned ignorance and shrugged and tried not to talk about it? After Bart had started singing it him to be annoying, not realizing why it wasn't the best thing to do or what the song meant to him?

    When Nick suddenly dragged him into a hug, Pete blinked up at him, startled. "I probably shouldn't ask, but what's the importance of Sitting on the Dock of the Bay?"

    "Mom made me play it all the time," Pete whispered, honest, because he couldn't not be. "And I know she'd been listening to it. That day."

    Jenkins leaned back and looked at Dorinda, who was still standing in the doorway like a sentry. "Would you go call the Tathams for me? I think we're keeping Pete for the night. Maybe the weekend." She nodded and left them to it.
  20. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Chosen One star 6

    Aug 21, 2006
    A great set with ideas for Pete
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  21. Tarsier

    Tarsier Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Jul 31, 2005
    Aww, I love this friendship between Pete and Nick! [face_love] Pete is exactly the kind of character I adore. And I'm glad Alan is there.
  22. DaenaBenjen42

    DaenaBenjen42 Jedi Grand Master star 5

    May 15, 2005
    @earlybird-obi-wan ...the running to the Principal's office when bullies try to be mean, or the actually TALKING about the problems? (Thank you!)

    @Tarsier Am also very glad he has Alan Jenkins, who heard "She gave me a steak for my eye" and probably instantly decided to start looking for a better placement. One that has a better understanding of first aid and psychology. Thank you. :)

    A/N: Initially, I saw the splash prompt and thought I'd be doing a whole different drabble set. How different? The ocean and a rescue helicopter were involved...

    Week 6 - UDC 10 - Mundane Triggers are Still Triggers

    26. Splash

    Nick frowned suddenly when Alan's attention settled on him, a speculative expression creasing his features. "What?"

    "Two weeks," Alan said, shifting his gaze downward to Pete, who hadn't tried to get out of his arms. "And he trusts you."

    "I'm fine, and you didn't need to call the Tathams. That'll just make them worry. You don't need to keep me for the night, Mr. Jenkins. I'm fine."

    "You're having singing flashbacks," Alan said gently, watching as Nick looked down at the top of Pete's head thoughtfully. Clearly not fine, if the word salad was anything to go by.


    "The singing, Pete. I knew you did that, but I didn't realize why until now, because you weren't talking about it, about her. I suppose the next thing you're going to tell me is that you were trying to stop it by listening to Otis Redding." Pete winced. "Ah, so you were."

    "Mrs. Henderson said I could use the record player in the music room when she caught me," Pete admitted, sounding miserable.

    "That's not how you deal with something like this, usually."

    "I hate it less now?"

    27. Rumble

    Nick wanted to laugh at the ridiculousness of that statement, but caught Alan's gaze and didn't dare. Was this progress? Really weird, awkward progress? "Just because you hate it less doesn't mean it wouldn't still trigger you, somehow." Alan frowned at him and Nick shrugged. "Ma and I did some volunteering at a group home for troubled men, mostly vets, before we moved. Even the most mundane things can set off trauma responses."

    "Very true," Alan replied, then studied him again. "Knows a bit about psychology. Both parents at home?"

    Nick stared at him, for that was a bit odd to ask. "Yes. Why?"

    28. Thump

    "Curiosity, Nick." His eyes flicked to Pete again, then back to him. "Do they know you're here?"

    Nick shook his head. "No, but Ma wanted to meet Pete when I told her about him. She was concerned when I told her that he never seemed to have a lunch."

    "Oh really?" Alan leaned back again and looked at the man who had taken Dorinda's place in the doorway. "What do you think? Home visit when I drop Nick off?"

    Frank smiled. "Wouldn't hurt. They sound like good people, if their son is anything to go by. Want an application packet and a meeting schedule?"


    Pete glanced up at him. "What just happened?"

    "I think your social worker likes my Ma and he hasn't even met her yet."

    29. Flutter

    She was just setting the table for three and wondering where her son was when she noticed an unfamiliar car pull up out front. Helen frowned as she watched Nick get out of the back of it, followed by a really young boy. In fact, really young AND short. What was Nick doing, accepting rides from an unfamiliar man and his son in an area he was new to?

    The boy looked toward the house and she stared at him, trying to figure out from a distance why he appeared upset, even if his neutral expression said otherwise.

    30. Crackle

    He'd been expecting a lecture upon entering the house about accepting rides from strangers, but stopped at the dumbfounded expression on his mother's face. Nick followed her gaze to Pete, then nodded. "Ma, this is Pete Mitchell. You remember? The kid I told you about?"

    Helen nodded slowly. "And who is the man who gave you a ride? Is this your father, Pete?"

    The man shook his head, answering instead. "No, I'm his social worker." He held out his hand. "Alan Jenkins."

    Helen shook his hand, and her gaze slid back to Pete, who looked like he wanted to fall right through the floor. "Have either of you had dinner yet, Mr. Jenkins?"

    "No, Ma'am."

    She smiled. "Then you are welcome to join us. Nick, set two more places."
  23. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Chosen One star 6

    Aug 21, 2006
    Love how Alan and Nick's family cares for Pete
    Vek Talis and Kahara like this.
  24. DaenaBenjen42

    DaenaBenjen42 Jedi Grand Master star 5

    May 15, 2005
    @earlybird-obi-wan ...meanwhile I'm like "this isn't normally how one ends up a Foster Parent with a bonus child," but... here it works? Thank you. :)

    A/N: With these bonus prompts... does it count if a character is rattled and someone glugs or feels like doing so? Twang is accounted for because Texan and Tennessee accents.

    Bonus - Week Six - The Bradshaws


    As Nick passed by her, he stopped and tapped his left wrist and then motioned back to Pete and Alan. Helen frowned at him for a moment, nodded, and shooed him off to the kitchen, then turned back to look at... how old was this boy? Certainly not as old as her son, judging by his height alone. Left wrist, and then she frowned, hoping that wasn't what she thought it was. "Pete? Can I see that?"

    Pete looked up at her, frowning. "See what?"

    "Is that an MIA bracelet?" Out of the corner of her eye, she noticed Jenkins was staring at the kid with an unreadable expression, but didn't dare break eye contact with Pete. He nodded and came closer to show her, and Helen paused at the two names listed. "Are they both MIA?"

    "No," Pete answered. "Just Dad. Sheryl gave it to me after school today. I don't know why she put Mom's name on it, too."

    Helen nodded. Both parents gone, a social worker... not having a lunch at school enough times that her son felt he needed to intervene somehow. "Can I hug you?" Pete stared up at her, startled, as if he didn't understand the question, and then he nodded and she was blinking back tears as she put her arms around him.


    Nick heard the back door open as he finished setting the two extra places, glanced up to see his father with a plate of freshly cooked hamburgers, and put his finger to his lips. He nodded to the living room, and his father put the plate down on the counter, then looked, only to frown at the sight of his wife hugging a small boy he'd never seen before while an older man looked on. Nick joined him. "Did you make enough for five, Dad?"

    His father nodded, still frowning, then whispered back: "Who is the kid?"

    "Pete and his social worker, Alan Jenkins."

    His father paused. "Wait a minute. That kid goes to your school?"

    "Skipped a couple grades, according to Jenkins," Nick explained and his father nodded.

    "Good kid?"


    Nick watched his father go into the living room and shake hands with Jenkins, and then bend down when his mother finally let go and say hello to Pete, who clearly didn't know how to react to another person dragging him into a hug.


    Dinner was anything but quiet as his parents asked questions of Jenkins and Nick felt like laughing into his napkin at how overwhelmed Pete looked, even as he put his burger together. He reached over, nudged his shoulder. Pete looked up, and Nick smiled reassuringly at him. "It's okay, you know?"

    "No one ever asks," Pete told him. "Or they're Navy and they assume things because of something they heard at the base."

    Nick paused, taking in the implications of that and felt more than saw his mother's attention on them. "Oh?"

    Suddenly Pete was blinking back tears and he took a deep breath. "Pass the mustard?"

    Nick passed the mustard to him and then he jumped at hand on his shoulder, as Jenkins slid a note over: [Ask if he can stay the night?] Nick stared at the note, glanced at Jenkins in question, considered why he'd do that and then quickly put the note in his pocket. "Ma? Dad? Can Pete stay the night?"


    At the request, Pete froze. What? Why would Nick want him to? What was going on here?

    "If Mr. Jenkins says yes," Nick's father answered, and Pete looked up at him, startled. "I don't see why not. Helen, what do you think?"

    "Of course he can," Helen said, smiling. "Pete, do you want to stay over?"

    Slowly, uncertain, Pete nodded. "Yes?" He looked at Alan, who smiled and motioned to the burger on his plate, reminding him of it.

    "Eat, and then we'll decide," Alan told him. "You've never had a sleepover before. It's different."

    "Never?" Nick wondered. "Not at all?"

    "No," Pete said, wondering why that mattered all of a sudden when he hadn't had a permanent home since the spring of 1970.
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2022
  25. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Chosen One star 6

    Aug 21, 2006
    Nick and his parents. And Alan. I love them for taking care of Pete
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