Jack and Jill went up a hill
to fetch a pail of water
When Jill was young, Hugh used to bring her to the observatory. He would point out the stars, planets, and constellations visible in the Californian sky and say, "That's where I go to work, and one day, you'll go up there too."
(Jill, of course, did not understand why her father left so often into the sky. She cried.)
Mom fell sick when Jill was six,
the year she lost her father
"Third Fleet Admiral Hugh Hunter is reportedly MIA. Hunter was bound for Eridani c when he lost communications. The status of his mission is unknown."
This news had not been enough to bring Jill's older brother home from boarding school. "He's a hero," Jake said over the phone. "Hugh's not dead, Jill. There was a system malfunction, and he needs a little help."
Jill repeated these reassurances to her mother. "Your brother is a fool," Isabella lamented, her eyes ringed red. "The Hunter men are destined to die violently." Isabella was diagnosed with clinical depression just a month afterward; ten years later, Hugh Hunter was declared legally deceased.
(During the war, Jill prayed every day for Jake's safety. Jake did, in fact survive, but their mother's words will haunt Jill to her grave.)
She never learned to be concerned
Her brothers never taught her
Until her early twenties, Jill had always felt distant from her brothers. Jake was nine years older than her, and Jael five years younger. They had grown up in different environments. Jake had grown up watching Hugh's back, stepping into Hugh's footsteps. Isabella had raised Jill, taking her abroad on mission trips to poor countries. Jael had grown up alone in their house in Sacramento, his siblings too absorbed in their own affairs.
It was no wonder they turned out so different, Jill thought.
Jake had, at fifteen, taken on the role of The Man. "I'll find Hugh," he'd vowed. "Watch me."
Jael had watched him. The youngest Hunter, the sweetest boy Jill ever knew, supported his family from the sidelines.
And Jill, Jill had met a man six years her elder. He was a soldier, but different from Jake; where Jake carried a big stick, he wielded a sharp wit.
(His name was Van.)
At eighteen, Jill joined First Fleet
She was her father's daughter
As was expected of her, Jill entered the military soon after graduating. She was welcomed with open arms as Jake's sister and Hugh's daughter.
"I have high hopes for you," her captain told her as a cadet. "And I have high expectations."
She never found out if it was because of her sex or her family, but the captains drilled her harder than they drilled any of the other trainees. Five days in, she told her brother she was going to drop out. Jake looked at her with such disappointment that she never complained again.
(Jill survived Hell week.)
Mistakes she made could not be changed
Van's perfect wife was not her
Her time with Van was short-lived, but long enough for a wedding and an affair. Their jobs meant that they were rarely together; Van quickly rose through the ranks of the Sol military.
Jill quickly realized their marriage would not last long. She was constantly busy, and Van was constantly abroad, so when Jill missed her period, she was surprised. She had never put that much thought into being a mother, not with Isabella as a role model.
"You'll be a great mom," Jael told her earnestly.
Van was in a different stellar system when Jill suffered the miscarriage. She didn't mind. During Van's lengthy absences, Jill met an ex-con named Sterling. She and Van divorced after a year.
(Jill gave him back her wedding band.)
Another man; she named him Caynn
And he was all that mattered
Jill refused to make the same mistakes; when she got pregnant again, she left the military and resolved to find a suitable lifestyle to support her child. Caynn was born in May; Jill was twenty-two.
Sterling took one look at his son's blonde hair and blue eyes and declared Caynn a true Hunter.
(Jill would never be prouder.)
Pat left Jill and skipped the hill
He jumped into the water
Jill enrolled in Princeton with a major in Biological and Chemical Engineering, juggling two part-time jobs in the meantime. Somehow she managed to squeeze a love life into her hectic schedule in the form of an Irish engineer named Patrick.
Their relationship was cut short by a suicide attempt; after learning that he was psychologically unfit to work for the Sol military, Pat jumped off of a bridge. When Jill received the call – "I'm looking for Jillian Hunter, Patrick Flannery's girlfriend? Captain Flannery told me to call this number…" – she refused to believe it.
Standing by Pat's hospital bed, Jill broke down. There was a limit to how much she could put up with.
(She didn't let him drag her down.)
Jack fell down and broke his crown
Jill wouldn't tumble after