ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This story belongs to the series Love Is For Children which includes "Love Is for Children," "Hairpins," "Blended," "Am I Not," "Eggshells," "Dolls and Guys,""Saudades," "Querencia," "Turnabout Is Fair Play," "Touching Moments," "Splash," "Coming Around," "Birthday Girl," "No Winter Lasts Forever," "Hide and Seek," "Kernel Error," "Happy Hour," "Green Eggs and Hulk," and "kintsukuroi."

Fandom: The Avengers
Characters: Phil Coulson, Nick Fury
Medium: Fiction
Warnings: Minor character death. Bullying. Fighting. Suicide attempt (minor character).
Summary: This is the story of how a little boy named Flip grows up to save the world a lot.
Notes: Hurt/comfort. Family. Fluff and angst. Accidents. Emotional whump. Disability. Sibling relationship. Nonsexual love. Parentification. Manipulation. Coping skills. Asking for help and getting it. Hope. Protection. Caregiving. Competence. Toys and games. Comic books. Fixing things. Martial arts. Gentleness. Trust. Role models. Military. BAMF Phil Coulson.

This story takes place long before The Avengers and "Love Is for Children." It shows how Phil acquired a lot of his skills and interests. It's based in large part on a discussion between myself and [personal profile] dialecticdreamer about why Phil has the particular types of abilities that he does. Because it spans a long time, there are segments, and those are all different lengths. The shorter ones can stand, but the longer ones will need to be divided, so it's going to wind up with posts of different lengths too. This story fills the "original characters" square on my 12-8-13 card for the [community profile] genprompt_bingo fest.

I also have a list of photogenic scenes from the whole series for fanartists to consider, a series landing page, and an archive of images.  The perk story "Brotherlove, Brotherlust" Part 2 is still open for participation.

A note on feedback: While it's not necessary to comment on every post I make, remember that I don't know who reads/likes things if nobody says anything. Particularly on long stories, I've discovered that I get antsy if there's nothing but crickets chirping for several posts. So it helps to give me feedback at least once, even if it's just "I like this" or "This one doesn't grab me." First and last episodes are ideal if you rarely feel inspired to comment in the middle.

Anonymous commenters: You don't have to specify exactly who you are, but it helps to have a first name or a username from some other service, so I have some idea of who's saying which and how many different "Anonymous" folks there are. You can just type some kind of identifier at the end of your comment.

Warning: The first chapter is a sad one.

Read Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5Part 6Part 7Part 8Part 9Part 10Part 11Part 12Part 13Part 14Part 15Part 16Part 17Part 18Part 19Part 20Part 21Part 22Part 23Part 24Part 25Part 26Part 27Part 28Part 29Part 30,Part 31Part 32Part 33Part 34Part 35.


"Little and Broken, but Still Good" Part 1


When Flip is seven, his world comes to an end. A trip to the movies on a rainy night ends in disaster. A truck skids into the left side of their car. Flip's father is killed instantly; his mother breaks a few bones but survives mostly intact. Flip's older sister Alexa curls herself over him the moment before the crash. The firemen have to cut her out of the wreck, and her skull is cracked. At first nobody knows if she will live or not.

Flip doesn't have a scratch on him. That almost hurts worse than the rest.

When his mother explains what has happened to their family, Flip tries to be brave about it. He tries not to cry. It hurts too much, though, and the tears leak out. Sobs shake his small frame.

Mom isn't very good at hugging right now, with her left arm in a cast, but Flip doesn't care. He clings to her anyway as he cries.

The funeral is awful. Flip's mother wears a black velvet dress with a pearl necklace, and a stupid little hat with a veil that doesn't really hide her face. She goes through a whole box of kleenex. Alexa is still in the hospital, so she can't even come say goodbye to their father.

Flip sits stiff and straight on the hard wooden bench. He imagines that he is a knight, and knights don't cry. He doesn't have a suit of armor, but he does have a suit. It is black and scratchy. Flip imagines that it is really armor, and oddly enough that works. He feels a little less awful. He remembers this. It may come in handy someday.

* * *

Notes:

"This is my family. I found it all on my own. It's little, and broken, but still good. Yeah -- still good."
-- Lilo & Stitch

Emotional trauma may affect anyone, but childhood trauma and traumatic grief can be worse because children feel just as bad as adults but have less ability to work through it. It's hard on families to face the loss of a parent. There are ways to help children deal with death or to cope with your parent's death.

Survivor guilt often affects people who escape a terrible event. Know how to handle survivor guilt.

Coping skills allow people to withstand challenges. Imagination and visualization are useful techniques. People sometimes stumble upon them by instinct, as Flip does here. The psychology of dress is complex, and people may use clothes to armor or hide themselves. There are ways to teach coping skills to children or build better coping skills yourself.


[To be continued in Part 2 ...]

Off to a great start!

Date: 2014-05-30 06:26 am (UTC)
dialecticdreamer: My work (Default)
From: [personal profile] dialecticdreamer
I love the contrast between the scratchy suit he really isn't comfortable with and the 'armor' and comfort he gets from it because the reality is /worse/, emotionally.

Looking forward to the next parts! Thanks for posting.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-05-30 06:57 am (UTC)
finch: (Default)
From: [personal profile] finch
I really liked the imagery of the suit, too. Looking forward to seeing what you do with Phil's backstory!

(no subject)

Date: 2014-05-30 07:03 am (UTC)
thnidu: plus sign (plus)
From: [personal profile] thnidu
Ditto on the suit/armor. I see him as, in his imagination, transforming the discomfort of one into the discomfort of the other, and handling the need to endure the scratchiness (→ the imagined weight and stiffness of the armor) by invoking the bravery and dedication of the knight.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-05-30 08:20 am (UTC)
sherza: (Default)
From: [personal profile] sherza
agree with everyone else about the suit, and will add this:

No freaking *wonder* Phil latched onto Steve so hard. From a kid's point of view, Steve 'put on a suit' too, and more or less became a literal knight in shining armor who protected people who were hurt.

Oh, Flip, sweetie!

Date: 2014-05-30 11:44 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] murphysscribe
Wow.
My heart breaks and I want to hug young Flip.

What you're doing with the suit seems spot on.
Astute comment from the commenter who referenced Captain America- suit and superhero armor, that makes exquisite sense. Plus father figure element?

Also, I see the seeds of beginning to understand the comforts of ageplay and possibly, looking ahead, the fascination with teaching and emotional processing-- will be curious how the older sister role plays out.

Ditto

Date: 2014-05-30 01:30 pm (UTC)
ext_1575623: (Default)
From: [identity profile] draggon_flye.livejournal.com
Ditto what the commentor above said. I see the seeds of so much here. It reminds me a bit of Bruce and Hulk. The visualization and imagination are classic coping skills for young children. I can't wait to see how this all plays out.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-05-31 03:26 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
What they said.

Helga

Good Start

Date: 2014-06-01 06:15 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I like how you described the funeral, especially how Flip takes time to feel sorry for his sister and tries so hard to keep it together.

It reminds me a lot of how I felt at my mother's funeral. Trying really hard to keep it together. Trying to remember that as bad as it was for me, it was probably exponentially worse for my father and grandparents. Knowing that falling apart would mean that they would have to try and be that much stronger to hold me together. Wanting to be strong for my family rather than have them be strong for me.

I think, if you have a strong family unit, rather than getting lost alone in your grief, you tend to get lost in trying to take care of everyone else's grief, and not deal as well with your own feelings. Or maybe you tend to deal with your own feelings by helping others with theirs. Or maybe a combination of the two, lol. It's kind of hard to tell where one begins and the other ends sometimes.

Suffice to say, I think I'm going to have a lot of feelings about this particular story and I like the way you are handling it so far.

Sincerely,
Firstar28

PS Sorry for all the sentence fragments. Talking about feelings doesn't tend to come in complete sentences for me.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-06-01 09:25 pm (UTC)
brushwolf: Icon created by ScaperDeage on DeviantArt (Default)
From: [personal profile] brushwolf
Hm. I mean I like it, and so I hate to sound critical, but I don't know if a 7 year old who lived through something like that would even have feelings that coherent, you know? I'd figure more that it'd be little flashes of emotion and the rest would be this huge blank space where the rest of humanity gets to have emotions and memories, but honestly I've no idea how you write something like that.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-06-02 03:19 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I don't know, children FEEL emotions just as profoundly as adults. They just don't have the cognitive skills to articulate them. That's why trauma can have such a profound life long influence when it occurs at an early age.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-06-02 05:29 pm (UTC)
brushwolf: Icon created by ScaperDeage on DeviantArt (Default)
From: [personal profile] brushwolf
My apologies. What I'd meant, here, is not that a child wouldn't have emotional complexity, so much as that, because he was directly in the accident, I'd expect him to have been traumatized into basically emotional numbness. I now realize that I was being overly simplistic in my thinking, and I'm sorry.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-06-02 04:44 am (UTC)
sherza: (Default)
From: [personal profile] sherza
Having lost someone very dear to me at close to that age (I was nine) - not a parent, but a much-loved grandfather on one side of the family and much-loved grandmother on the other side within a month of each other - I can absolutely confirm that kids can, do, and will react like this to a big loss.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-06-02 05:31 pm (UTC)
brushwolf: Icon created by ScaperDeage on DeviantArt (Default)
From: [personal profile] brushwolf
Again, I'm sorry; I felt that because he was directly involved in the accident, he would have been too traumatized to respond to much of anything. I hadn't intended for that to be in any way a condemnation, and I apologize here for overly simplistic thinking.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-06-03 10:04 pm (UTC)
helgatwb: Drawing of Helga, holding her sword, looking upset. (Default)
From: [personal profile] helgatwb
Sad, but I love backstory, so.

I'm looking forward to learning how your Phil came to be who he is.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-06-04 01:12 am (UTC)
just_ann_now: (Default)
From: [personal profile] just_ann_now
He doesn't have a suit of armor, but he does have a suit.

Oh, Flip. He did keep that armor, didn't he?

(no subject)

Date: 2014-06-06 02:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] laughtillwecry.livejournal.com
I'm really looking forward to seeing Phil's story. Lookin good so far.

My Feels

Date: 2015-09-18 03:10 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Omg. That hit me right in the feels. How can so few words reduce me to tears.

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ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
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