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Of Hugs and Hangovers

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Frank longed for getting utterly trashed. But of course, he couldn´t do that. He had honestly done enough wrong for this weekend. He hated visits at the Kirks. Of course he knew that Sam and Jim should see both grandparents from time to time. But the Kirks looked down their noses at him even more than Winona´s parents, despising the man who had taken the place of their dead son and claiming that he just wanted to capitalize her fame for himself.

What the hell did they know? He had loved the woman since he was fifteen. He was no George Kirk, and he knew that she really was out of his league. But at least he could take care of her and her kids after all that had happened to them.

Not that said kids were particularly happy about his care. Especially Sam, who was antagonizing him any time he could. He understood that the boy missed his father, but it still hurt that he couldn´t even see how hard Frank tried to do everything right.

And this time, after this afternoon of humiliation, his nerves were stretched thin as a thread, Sam had repeated the accusation of his grandparents, probably without even understanding it, and Frank snapped.

He had yelled angry and hurtful words at the boys until Sam was pale and sweating, and Jim was openly crying.

And he had no idea how to make it up to the kids. He was not good – scratch that – he was horrible with things like that.

Frustrated, he hit the wall of the barn so hard that his knuckles were bloody afterwards.

"Doesn´t that hurt?" The quiet question pulled him out of his stupor. Little Jim was watching him curiously, but was also wary, ready to bolt if Frank´s wrath was directed against him.

"A bit," Frank sat down carefully not to scare the boy away. The younger one was not as angry with him as Sam was, probably because he had no recollection of his father.

"Why did you do it then?" The boy seemed calmed by his lack of anger.

"I was angry with myself," Frank tried to explain, "For shouting at you and your brother."

"It scared us," Jim agreed, "Why were you so angry with us?"

"I wasn´t angry with you. It was..." the man had no idea how to explain to the five year old how uncomfortable he felt with the Kirks. "I didn´t feel well. Your grandparents..."

"They said not nice things to you. But that wasn´t our fault."

"No, it wasn´t. I just took my frustration out on you," Frank hung his head. "I´m sorry."

"It´s alright," Jim came over an examined his hand. "You should get that dressed."