Hello there! Long time, no see (my bad I know) but, here: an Alicia Zimmermann-centric piece as she goes to Parents’ Weekend during Jack’s freshmen year. [focus on Alicia, Jack, and Shitty] 6k
Somewhere, deep in her heart, Alicia Zimmermann knows she is a bad mother.
It started out as a worry, as maybe it does for all new mothers, that she will be a bad mother. That she won’t know what to do with a baby or a toddler that one day she will accidentally drop him or forget to feed him or feed him something he is actually allergic to or maybe she’ll scar him emotionally somehow and she worried but she survived his childhood okay. And then, after he was five or six, she stopped worrying about it. She thought she was doing pretty good. Jack had hockey and loved hockey and, sure, they didn’t have deep emotional talks but she didn’t exactly have any basis of comparison. Television families told her she was doing okay. No teenage boy wanted to have deep talks with his mother. And, look, if Jack didn’t talk to her all that much as he turned 12 and then 13, at least he was still talking to his father. Mostly still about hockey but she… she thought that had counted. Hockey was like French, to her. Another language she could understand but couldn’t quite speak. But Bob could. He was on top of it. Jack was taken care of.
She loved Jack. That was never the problem. The problem was that her love wasn’t enough. It didn’t matter. It didn’t alert her to any of the facts and maybe it even blinded her– She loved her son and her son loved hockey and so she loved hockey too. She loved her son and then her son seemed to love a boy named Kent and they never talked about it but she let Kent come over all the time and she figured they would discuss it at some point. She just… assumed everything was okay. Even after he was diagnosed with the anxiety disorder and given pills. It was always… well, that was a little problem but it’s handled and under control and everything is okay now.
See. Bad mother.
A good mother would have known somehow.
A good mother would have pushed and prodded or sensed it without even having to be told.
A good mother would have paid attention to how hard Jack was on himself. A good mother would have made sure her son had interests outside of hockey. A good mother would have known that Jack’s long silences after losses weren’t normal. A good mother would have preached balance and fostered friendships with different types of people and stopped the fucking hockey.
She didn’t though. Stop the hockey. No, not Alicia Zimmermann. She encouraged it. She went to the games and cheered the loudest and she even loved it a little bit because she thought it brought him joy, like his father. She bought into the vision: Jack playing hockey like Bob, the Zimmermann legacy continued throughout the ages…
God, she even used to tease Jack about how it took his father three years to win a Cup and she was sure Jack could manage it faster than his old man.
A good mother wouldn’t have done that. So, see, she’s always been a bad mother. Even now, now that she’s almost lost him, now that she’s promised to do better, now that she’s finally read all the books and online articles about anxiety and pressure and the danger of sports and hockey culture… now she’s still just as bad. Just for different reasons.
Now she is a bad mother because it’s Saturday afternoon and he’s been at Samwell for almost three months and she does not feel like mothers are supposed to feel in this moment.
She glances around. At the sea of other mothers and fathers crammed onto Samwell’s campus for Parents’ Weekend. They are not nervous. They are excited. Happy. Enthusiastic. Overjoyed to see the teenager they had left just a couple months ago again. To her right is a father almost (but not quite) breaking into a run to give his son a hug. To her left, a mother has burst into tears. Happy tears.
And then there’s her. She’s not excited to see Jack. Well, no. No, it’s not that she’s not excited. She is. She is. (She is. She repeats it once more just to remind herself). She is just…
She is nervous too. More nervous than she is excited.
also me: the closer you look at franky and his backstory, the more horrifying it gets. i mean, he turned himself into a cyborg using old scrap metal, on a dirty abandoned ship with no medical knowledge or tools, without any help. he was gone for four years. is that how long it took him? not to mention the cybernetics themselves. most of franky’s body is metal. but after getting hit by the sea train he was still mostly intact. this means, at some point, franky cut off his own arms and legs, his stomach, his nose, and at least one eye. like he wasn’t just adding metal to broken parts, he flat out replaced them. he had to make working nerves. he had to make veins that could transport cola. he had to cut out one of his own goddamn eyes. he had to, at some point, cut out his own stomach and replace it with a fridge. what the actual fuck.
i love mob so much please for the love of god tell me about ur feelings on 100% ecstasy
OH BOY WILL I !!! ABSOLUTELY 100% (pun unintended but warmly embraced)
out of all the 100% events, ecstasy is my favorite. the drama… the tragedy… will fiction EVER peak like this again? i don’t think so. but BEFORE I DELVE INTO ALL OF THAT, there’s something i want to talk about first: mob’s psychic powers as an expression of his emotions.
we all know that mob suppresses his emotions to avoid outbursts of psychic power. but THAT implies that mob’s psychic power is a form of self expression, in the same way that body language is expression.
he can direct his psychic powers – the same way we can direct our bodies’ actions – but there are other components that are difficult to stop, similar to how people’s shoulders tend to hunch when they’re angry or upset, how they subconsciously cross their arms and direct their feet away when something is making them uncomfortable, etc.
unless you know about these bits of body language, and make a deliberate attempt to suppress them, it’s difficult to stop your body from revealing something about your emotions. similarly, one function of mob’s psychic power is as an extension of the way he expresses himself. these things happen subconsciously and mostly without mob’s control.
for example, one of the trademarks of mob’s 100% events is that mob starts releasing waves of psychic power that push his hair back. other side effects include cracking the ground under him, often to dramatic effect.
mob doesn’t push his hair up on purpose, it’s just something that happens – as a result of him releasing his pent-up emotions in the form of psychic power. these little bits of expression aren’t something he can control.
mob also says something REALLY INTERESTING in his first 100% event:
during 100% rage mob uses his psychic powers to fight dimple, yes, but these lines suggest that his outburst of power happened because he finally had to express his anger. and that implies that, in order to show his emotions, and express himself, mob has to use his psychic powers.
which is something he almost never allows himself to do.
never forget the disdain / loathing mob had for himself at the beginning of the manga, and how convinced he was that he couldn’t allow himself to express himself OTHERWISE SOMETHING LIKE THIS WOULD HAPPEN.
further material to consider: the lines that he said right before his 100% animosity / hostility event
at this point, mob hasn’t taken any action against koyama yet. his outburst of psychic power, radiating outward and blanketing the area, is not doing anything but expressing his hostility – to the extent that mob expects koyama to be able to feel it.
in addition to that, during mob’s fight with toichirou, he cycles rapidly through a LOT of emotions, and this is what he says about it:
canon suggests that it’s not just a buildup of of emotions that cause his powers to run amok; allowing his powers to run amok also allows himself to feel the full intensity of his emotions. his psychic powers are key to expressing himself.
I COULD GO ON… but i’ll just leave things here for now. to summarize: mob subconsciously uses his psychic powers to express his emotions, which is why suppressing his emotions also suppresses his psychic powers.
figure 1: a helpful venn diagram of things
which brings us to the REALLY SAD, BITTERSWEET, MOURNFUL TRAGEDY THAT IS 100% ECSTASY.
the fight against toichirou is possibly the first time mob has been able to fully utilize his psychic powers. the first time he’s had to, even. all the unconscious limits he’s put on himself – not allowing his psychic power to go free, stifling his emotions and powers – all come undone.
mob is allowing himself to be himself, wholly and fully. he’s removed his inhibitions. he’s running wild and free. he’s no longer expending energy trying to regulate his psychic powers – he’s allowing himself to feel. this intensity of emotion and action is something mob has never given himself before, and the freedom of it… feels good. incredibly so. he feels free, he feels alive, and toichirou – the only individual to ever stand on a level close to mob’s – understands perfectly.
this is a level of joy mob has never felt before.
the release of his psychic power even comes hand in hand with mob’s body language becoming much freer and more expressive than it is in daily life. look at him go!! mob, for the first time in years… letting himself feel the intensity of his emotions, just as they really are.
but of course his happiness isn’t going to last
because mob wants to be a part of society, and he thinks he has to keep his psychic powers sequestered away in order to do that. his greatest fear is accidentally hurting the people he loves with his own psychic power, and when he remembers that possibility…
the tragedy of 100% ecstasy is that – for just a brief moment, mob released himself from his self-imposed limits. for a moment, he let himself really feel, he let himself be, and in that moment he experienced a richness, an intensity, a moment of being so utterly present and alive that it brought himself to heights he’d never reached before.
and mob will never willingly allow himself to do that ever again.