Past Resentment by Daniel Rush
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Past Resentment
based on Lori McDonald's Fan Fiction RESENTMENT
(c) 1972 Gatchaman Tatsunoko Pro. All rights respected

ISO Headquarters 3pm

"Pffft"...."THWACK!"..."EEEP,EEEP,EEEP!"

"Good shot Aniki!" Jinpei said as he jabbed an elbow into Joe's still injured side. He got a snarl and a mad look back from his fellow team mate and bird sniper as they sat on a ledge of the ISO building. Jinpei cringed as if he was bracing himself to get slapped but Joe wrapped an arm around him and smiled with some approval of the boy's action.

"No harm done Jinpei. At least the pain tells me I'm alive." Joe watched as Jinpei threw another wad of paper into his mouth and fired another spit ball into the head of an unknowing crow. Joe was feeling better about the boy, perhaps a bit envious at how easy it was for Jinpei to relax on and off duty. Joe reached into his back pocket and pulled his thick wallet out to thumb through the various pictures inside.

"Hey, you want to see something funny?" He asked the boy as he pointed to one of the photos. It was a picture of Jinpei when he was seven, just starting out in the ninja tai. The youngster had a habit of sleeping in his chair during long missions with a stuffed animal of some sort. Joe had caught one of these moments when Jinpei lay contorted and cuddled across the arms of his chair with the stuffed teddy bear under his chin. "Jun said you looked so angelic in this. Brings back memories don't it?"

Jinpei took the photo and smiled. "Yeah, I remember Hakase saying, {"Now Jinpei, there's no room on the God Phoenix for Winnie the Pooh."}like I listened anyway."

"I used to hide them from you too. Remember how you'd look all over the ship for your toys? Finally weaned you off of making the Phoenix your own personal toy box."

"Yeah, but I still keep that teddy bear though. It's a good pillow on long flights when there's nothing to do. By the way, What did the doctor say about your rib?"

Joe patted his side. " Two weeks before I'm up to fighting trim again. Say, I never mentioned how good that fake fight trick was, back in the cell. Where did you get that one?"

"You wouldn't believe it."

"Try me."

"Jager Saber Mori." Jinpei said with a bow of the head.

"An anime?"

"Remember what Master Lee told us once? {"Always remember things you see today that you can use tomorrow, even if they look stupid."} Mori and Mina-chan were in this cell in episode 10 and the guards had stripped them both. Well, Mina-chan beat the living snot out of Mori just to get the guards to walk into the cell...simple strategy."

Joe nodded in agreement. Jinpei was much smarter and brighter than some people gave him credit for. All be some of it bordered on childish tempts of fate. Joe remembered how he'd dog and pick on the boy relentlessly when they were younger, how he'd try to see Jinpei fail at everything. The thoughts about his parents came back again, how at eight-years-old he couldn't save them and thought no kid could ever do such a thing. Jinpei was proof to the opposite, which Joe detested from day one without thinking.

He remembered one day in particular when the team was still in it's forming stages and Jinpei was trying hard to fit in at the tender age of six. Joe was being a total bastard to the boy calling him baby this and baby that. The last straw was switching Jinpei's underwear draw with a full box of diapers. The angry child walked up during a training session between Joe and Ken and scratched Joe in the face...

"I hate you!" Jinpei snarled. Joe pushed him to the mat but the little boy came right back and kicked Joe in the knee. That started a real fist fight and one that Joe was never proud of. He never said sorry to the boy for such a thrashing till...

"Jinpei? Remember that thing with the diapers in your draw?"

"Hmph...Now? I did get you back for that."

"Rightly so. I'm...sorry it ever happened."

"Aw shoot Aniki, I should have never snapped like that at you."

Joe turned to put a hand on Jinpei's small shoulders. " No. For years I've called you nothing but baby names Jinpei, I take them all back. You really are a bigger man for your age."

"Oh yeah? Well then I take back all the times I put nair in your shorts, exlax in your cocoa, itching powder in your socks..."

"You are a devious little bastard."

"No...I get even. Besides, I don't want to lose the challenges of laying gags on you Aniki. You're a real test of my abilities you know."

"I see." Said Joe as he stood up and helped Jinpei over the railing and onto the roof. "Let's go out for an ice cream. Find a place where we can talk some more."

"ok." The boy gave Joe a toothy grin at the thought of being treated to anything he liked. A thought quickly squashed when Joe shook his head. "Anything bigger than a cone and you pay for it."

"Oh...I thought you'd buy it for me?"

"You know me better. It's to teach you responsibility. I don't want you turning into a mooch, like Ken."

"Hmph...He'll never pay Onechan off. She knows it too but you tell me if she cares."

Joe gave off a slight laugh in response. "You still want him to marry your sister? I guess he's still the best around even if he's a bit lacking in perfection huh?"

Jinpei gave Joe a long look silent look back as they walked up to the G-2. Perhaps he'd been too harsh in thinking about Joe as not being another mister right. Of course, his track women with girls did amount to some doubtful thoughts within the young swallow. But Joe never treated Jun poorly, never called her names, and she did like to have him over a lot.

"Aniki? What do you think of Jun?" The boy asked as they drove through the business district and into Yutoland City itself.

"Many things. Why do you ask? Or should I even wonder?"

"Well...I just want to hear what you think. You think she deserves Ken?"

"Jinpei, it's not me to think what your sister deserves. She can make her own choice. Ken's not a bad guy if that's what you're thinking."

"No. I wasn't thinking he's a bad guy at all. I...just wanted to hear what you think of my sister that's all."

Joe gave the boy a sideways glance. "Well...she's...very nice."

"That's all? Just nice?" Jinpei leaned over in the passenger's seat and smiled.

"Smart. Thoughtful. Very calm..."

"Pretty?" The boy asked further.

"Jinpei? Where are you going with this?" Joe asked with a smirk as he watched the boy sit up strait in his seat.

"Ulmm...no where. I...I was just wanting to know what you thought." Jinpei turned in his seat and began whistling to himself as Joe began to catch the clue. Driving past the Utoland Central train station, Joe pointed out the two-story ice cream store with the big as you please sign "SCOOPS" hanging over the doorway. Looking at the swallow, it seemed the boy's tongue would fall out of his head from the shock of seeing heaven before his eyes. Once they were inside, Jinpei made a quick run for the help yourself stand and began constructing a pile of sweets such as Joe never saw before. The Condor was just happy with his two scoop cone while he watched the youthful nightmare mound of ice cream form before his eyes. As he and Jinpei sat at a nearby table, it was a wonder that the boy could carry such a towering treat by himself.

"What in the name of God is this?" Joe asked as he pointed to the melting pile of unrecognizable ice cream before him.

"Simple...two scoops of chocolate, two scoops of vanilla, two scoops of malt, two scoops of Jimmies, Two scoops of peanuts, two more scoops of chocolate, some syrup, Carmel, raisins, huff...and...three bananas."

Joe shook his head. "You little suicidal maniac, you're going to be sick, fat, or both when you're done."

"Hah! I eat stuff like this for breakfast. Ask Onechan."

"Before or after you throw up?"

"Joe! Not while I'm trying to eat!" Jinpei began to dive into his ice cream chaos while Joe surveyed the surroundings for anyone interesting, mostly of the female origin. The one behind the counter looked possible, she'd been smiling at Joe ever since he walked in. When he turned back to look at Jinpei, he found the youngster sitting back in his chair with the monster float all but devoured from view.

"Holy...You ate it that quick?"

Jinpei smiled back and nodded with a serious gloat. "I told you it wouldn't bother me. I can eat a lot of stuff and I'll stay like I am."

"All the work during our missions. Then again, I think you do need to take on some more weight. I worry about you being so skinny."

"You do?" Jinpei said as he covered a burp from his mouth. "Onechan thinks the same thing. She says my being so skinny aggravates my Hydroxia."

"I'd agree with her, after I had to pull you out of the shower last week because you collapsed. We all warn you to drink your water like you should Jinpei and you just blow the advice through both ears."

"I don't want to be looked on like a pussy Joe."

"And I can't have you blacking out and getting sick because of dehydration. You push yourself too hard sometimes kid."

"I wish you wouldn't call me kid."

"I'm sorry. I know it makes you upset."

Jinpei leaned forwards in his seat and crossed his hands on the table. "Do you blame me for being so gun ho? I want to be as good as you and Ken, I wanna show what I can do so I don't get left behind on the Phoenix like Ryu."

 " You think we try to keep you away from the missions?" Joe asked as he finished his cone.

 "No...but you and Ken have tried to keep me behind you, out of the way. I may be small Aniki but that never made me any less good."

   Joe smiled as he sat back in his seat.  "You know...I was very scared at first when I saw you all banged up in the cell Jinpei. You didn't have to stay behind and fight for me but you did. You know me and Ken really do think of you from time to time. We didn't want to expose you to a lot of danger at first, it's a basic instinct you have for younger people, especially your age."

   "When you said you resented me because I was so good, did that also mean you hated me being around because I'm so young?"

    Joe shook his head. "No Jinpei, I nor anyone on the team has ever hated you. We're family remember? As with all families, there's a want to protect the youngest one from bad things."

  "I guess I took it all wrong then. I'm sorry Joe."

  "Bah, nothing to be sorry for. I see you've finished that monster float of yours. Any ideas on what to do next?"

   Jinpei tapped his head in thought. "mmmph...I dunno. I was thinking of just sitting around tonight and playing Nintendo or just nothing."

   "Hmph...Kids and their priorities. Don't you go girl hunting or something more interesting?"

   Jinpei snickered back. "Girls? That's for you older people. I know only two girls, my slave driver Onechan and the baseball pitcher down the street who tries to bean my brains when I walk by the house."

   "So..she likes you." Joe said with a smile.

   "She does not!"

   "You want to kiss her."

   "I don't! I don't even look at her!" The boy said with his arms out.

   "Liar." Joe whispered as he turned into the trailer park in North Yutoland.

   "I am not! She doesn't even exist!"

   "Jinpei? You're blowing smoke." Joe said as he got out of his car and sat on the hood with Jinpei stomping defiantly before him.

   "Ok...she says hi to me, then she beans me! You satisfied now Aniki?"

   "Is she cute?"

   "JOE!"

   "Come on...is...she...cute?"

    Jinpei stopped pacing about and moved a foot through the grass and dirt. "yes..."

    "I can't heeeeeeer you."

"YES! SHE'S CUTE!" Jinpei snarled as Joe sat seriously nodding at his frustrated young team mate.

"What's her name?"

"Naomi..."

Joe reached out and patted the boy on the shoulder. "You're getting to be more and more like me all the time. Soon you'll have girls coming out of the woodwork after you after I'm done teaching you the facts of life."

"Yeah, the Official Aniki no Joe book of killer women and gun toting bomb shells. How to get a girl and kill her in 30 ways or less. My girlfriend was a Galactor and now she's dead. Sex lies and nuclear bombs by Condor no Joe..."

"That's enough. I don't need a shrimp to tell me my life's story."

"Well, Doctor Ruth in a flack jacket might get you laid at last Aniki."

 Joe leaped off the car hood and caught Jinpei by the waist, twisting the youngster into a tight ball of giggling flesh in his hands. "Now...say I'm a short, little, wet behind the ears punk and I promise to wait on Aniki no Joe hand and foot because I worship his vast knowledge of girls."

"That's too much!" The giggling boy replied.

"Say it or die by giggle torture runt." Joe said as he began to tickle Jinpei's sensitive stomach.

"I am a short, little wise ass who will.....HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA...STOP IT ANIKI!"

"You owe me kid, now say it or else."

"I PROMISE TO KICK ANIKI NO JOE'S...AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA...."

"I give up...you're having too much fun Jinpei."

"You'd better...I was about ready to stomp you. Besides, the great swallow Jinpei never surrenders to anyone but his ball and chain sister."

 "Jun is not a ball and chain Jinpei, why do you always give her so much grief?"

 "I dunno...it's fun."

 Joe went back to sitting on the car and patted the hood for Jinpei to join him. "Now...how do you really feel about Jun? Honestly?"

 " She..." Jinpei almost started to cry. "She's all I have. Sometimes I just wish I could do more for her besides being a big worry on her head."

 Joe pulled the boy to his side. "Ok...What do you say you and me go shopping tomorrow for some things. Give her an early birthday surprise for being so nice. You like that?"

 "You'd help me do it?" Jinpei asked.

 "Why not?"

 "Until today...I...I didn't like you at all...I'm sorry Aniki no Joe."

 "Aw shoot. I sure gave you lots of amo to hate my guts over the years. No harm done."

 "You mean it?"

 "Every bit. I think we're past resenting each other from now on. Certainly we could close the gap between us. You're a great kid Jinpei, and a good man."

 "You called me a man. I...like that." Jinpei smiled as Joe slipped off the car and took his young charge by the shoulders.

   "Well then, mister great swallow Jinpei, let me treat you to some fine Italian home cooking. And then we can talk about a subject we both like...Girls.

   "Sounds good to me Aniki. By the way? I...umm..."

   "Yeah, yeah, you too Jinpei. I love you too...little brother."

   "Now that "little", I can sure live with."

the end
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