[personal profile] soundczechfic
Title: Oh My Stars
Author: [livejournal.com profile] soundczech
Rating: G
Disclaimer: I claim no affiliation with Johnny’s Entertainment. All events depicted herein are fictional. Inspired by the Talib Kweli song, Oh My Stars.
Summary: Future of Child Stars / Stargazer: Hoshi has problems.
Notes: HAPPY BIRTHDAY [livejournal.com profile] mnemonic_psych!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ILU!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I’m sorry this isn’t longer/better.

baby you’re a star
that’s what you are to me
know how I can tell?
‘cause you’re a part of me

Hoshi blows through the door like a natural disaster, making the photo frames that line the hall rattle and shake on the wall. She stomps out of her glittery purple hi-top sneakers and into her house slippers and storms through the living room, cheeks flushed and eyes red.

“What’s wrong, baby?” Jin asks, sitting on the couch in bare feet, laptop perched on his knee. He’d been working peacefully for hours, but the beat he’d been tracking vanishes from his head in the face of her distress.

“Shut up!” she screeches. “I hate you! Leave me alone!”

She marches into her room and slams the door. Jin rears back as if he has been slapped, though he knows better than to take this personally; she’s a very dramatic little girl, and it’s been getting worse as she gets older, rather than better. Jin doesn’t like to think about what is going to happen when she really hits puberty. She is almost eleven years old.

He closes his eyes and counts to ten, then follows to her bedroom door, which Koki came over and painted bright yellow with rainbow coloured stars at her demand. Jin knocks gently and says, “Can I come in?”

“No,” she says, her voice muffled.

“Why?” Jin asks.

“Because I’m ugly,” she says. Jin’s heart squeezes painfully and an angry lump swells in his throat.

“You are not,” he says angrily. “Why would you say that?”

“Everybody thinks so,” she says. He can hear the tears gurgling in her voice. “STUPID ONII-CHAN JUST MAKES ME LOOK WORSE.” She sniffles loudly. “Everyone says he looks just like dad.” Jin presses his palm to the door, wishing she’d open it and let him outside. Being stuck out here when she’s in there, all miserable, makes him feel short of breath and panicky. “I bet my real father was an old, fat, salary man.”

She’s probably right, but it doesn’t matter. It’s true that Akio is looking more and more like Kame as he gets older, with a slight hint of Jin around the nose and lips and in his wide shoulders, features they all pretend aren’t happening lest someone realise he’s a freak of nature and try to take him away and do experiments on him. Hoshi is beautiful too, though, and Jin doesn’t understand how anybody could think otherwise. They must be blind. His baby is a knockout.

“You can’t listen to what people say,” Jin cajoles through the door. He feels like an idiot talking into its solid wooden indifference. “Most of them are stupid anyway.”

“You can say that ‘cause you’re handsome,” she says. “You don’t know what it’s like to live with the face of a troll.”

“YOU DON’T HAVE–“ Jin bites back the denial, sensing futility. “Oh, for god’s sake. Hold on. I’m going to show you something.”

He gets it from the very top shelf in the study, where Kame jammed it in the hopes that no-one would ever find it, because nobody ever uses the study. He carries it lovingly to her room, where she has opened the door but is sitting cross legged on her bed with the doona draped over her like a cloak, gazing up at him suspiciously.

“Now, I’m not saying YOU ARE UGLY, that is crazy. But if you WERE, which you’re NOT, you should look at this, because you’re just a baby and there is always hope for the future,” he rambles as he carries it triumphantly into the room, laying it in front of her knees. She stares at it; from the outside, it looks like an innocuous black photo album, more sedate than any of the ones they use to keep their photos of the kids.

“What is it?” she asks.

“Your father’s deepest darkest secret,” Jin says, opening the album to the front page. 11 year old Kame stares up at them with his thick mollusc eyebrows and disjointed facial features, puffy bags under his eyes and hair lopsided and unflattering. It is a terrible photo. Hoshi shrieks and grabs the album in her tiny little hands. Her doona cloak slips off her head and pools around her shoulders.

“THAT IS NOT DAD,” she yells, turning the page, where 12 year old Kame is laughing, eyes squished tight and mouth gaping wide open. Kame’s mother put this album together at Jin’s request, but Kame confiscated it upon its arrival. “DID HE HAVE PLASTIC SURGERY?”

“No,” Jin says, reaching out to helpfully turn the page for her. Jin and Kame playing playstation on Kame’s living room floor. Kame’s fuzzy eyebrows were squished together and the gap in his teeth was showing. A cluster of red pimples decorated his mouth. “He just grew into his face.” The page turns again and Kame is beaming beneath his stupid spiky hair. “I always thought he was cute.”

“I guess love really is blind,” Hoshi says.

Jin ignores her. “The point is, a lot of people called Kame ugly. And then he grew up a bit and it turned out that he was beautiful, they just never noticed before, and they looked stupid.” He ruffles her hair. “Don't ever let anybody tell you who you are. That's up to you."

Kame appears in the doorway, still dressed in his work clothes. He starts saying hello, and then his eyes fall on the photo album open on the bed in front of her.

“Oh, god, why,” he says, looking long suffering. Jin will hear about this, tonight, but it was worth it to see the smile spreading back over Hoshi’s face as she flips through the photos, touching Kame’s awkward little face.

“Pops says he thought you were cute,” Hoshi tells him. “I think he might have been brain damaged, you look like a troll doll.”

When she’s done with their photos, she looks up their really old videos on YouTube, making fun of their clothes and their hair and their stupid dance routines, their old-fashioned songs. Akio comes in halfway through and joins. Jin wouldn’t give up his kids for anything in the world, but man are they bad for his ego.

“You’re a good dad,” Kame says later, when Jin is brushing his teeth. He spits a mouthful of foam into the sink and rinses his mouth out.

“You don’t look like a troll doll anymore,” Jin replies, kissing his cheek on the way to bed.



May 2012

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