Rob MorrisAugust 14th 2293
We were riding to final retirement. We were riding to final dispersal and dissolution. But none of that mattered a damn for the moment, because we were riding in triumph. Wed all done it againfor the last time.
Like the photo-ops wed all come to despise and were certain would one day kill us, we all stood on the bridge, minus Hikaru, Janice and Christine, of course. It was there we sighted the world that has for this crew embodied the yin and yang of military-style engagement and containment. Triumph and defeat, all raw and in our faces, all plain as the green of Spocks blood. It is only when we see Serenidad that I allow myself to remember.
I have a step-son, half-Klingon and all honor. I have two sons, half-imps and all my heart. I have a wifeand I know that half the male humanoids in this galaxy curse me for that fact, regularly. A glimpse of her will tell you why. And it will tell you nothing about her at all. Why would I have to remember such a thing? Im not senile, after all. But in order to be away from them, I cannot think of them any at all. Some would call it a sorry way of coping. But for all that time from the dinner with Gorkon, through Rura Penthe and Khitomer, until this very moment, it is how I remained sane. I made no talk of them, did not think to ask how they were, and even leered at women playfully, as though I were not a man with a waiting family.
That all changes now, as this little wonder of a planet comes into full view as we take orbit. I smile to think that maybe Sita was right. House Durit aside, Klingons who need less dilithium might just leave Serenidad alone, once and for all. Its not exactly a border world. But that train of thought triggers another. My last conversation with my wife was a rather brutal, pointless argument. But that wont be my last conversation with Sita. I am alive, and I am coming home to her. Once weve made upthen, then, we will really make up. I realize quickly that I am smiling. I notice almost as quickly that Jim is not. He sees me look at him, concerned.
"Boneswhen I called Peter, before we left, I argued with him. Bitterly. It was like ten years agoonly I picked the fight. Picked it, and I wouldnt let him walk away. Suppose I started things up again? Neither of us needs that grief."
I never know what to tell him. Peter Kirk can be a bitter angry young man, yet Ive never known him to be casually so. What happened on and over Dianas was the result of a slow boil. It was all about comfort he was offered but never took, and help he needed but never sought. Yet, another perspective quickly offers itself up.
"Och, Capn, ye are not givin the lad his due. If he wouldnae take a swipe at me when I gave him some small cause to go at it, then I rather think your wee tantrum will do little more than put you further up in his prayers. When he came back to us, he came back for good. Since then, he has not given any of us cause to question the trust we placed in him. And if he takes a bitter turn, then Ill straighten him out. Hell hear me, and hell come around, just as quick as ye ken."
Jim smiles at Scotty, and nods. Its very odd on one level. We all worried when Jim brought Peter back on board, after his time in Tantalus was done. But only Scotty openly bristledand he did a lot more than just bristle. Yet by the time that mission was over, Scottys only threat was an admonition to write constantly. I would never dare ask if Scotty adopted Peter Kirk to replace poor Peter Preston. I feel on some level it ties in though. Scottys niece has never kept secret that she holds us responsible for her brothers loss. But where she shouts her hate from a distance, Peter Kirk stood firm while Scotty vented his spleen over the young mans crimes right in his face. To a man like Montgomery Scott, that makes all the difference.
As Uhura makes contact with the surface, my anticipation builds. Each time with Sita is not merely like our first time. Its like my first time. I hope Davie and Jimmy like Peter. Because Lieutenant Kirk is about to be assigned baby-sitting duties for the next two years or so. But Pendas face quickly shifts from its almost natural pleasant look to a look of near-terror. When she avoids looking at me, I almost know.
"Captain, Connor Randolph says that while the royal family is secure and safe, the royal residence itself has been invaded by an unknown number of Khmyr Klingons. She requests immediate aid. An E-M pulse has rendered the surrounding area transport-incapable."
Pavel departs the Bridge immediately to build a squad to take my home back by force, if necessary, and it seems like it just might be. But I do not allow this to shake me. For my life, the life Jim once swore loudly that men like us could not have, is safe. But then it hits me. Connor Randolph is thorough. Her message included only that my family is safe. No one else is mentioned. A frenzied oversight? I hope so, but as I do, Penda makes a very uncharacteristic slip in decorum.
"Jim, Peter is alone at the residence."
Spock is in Jims chair, and we are both in the turbolift before any other explanation is added. Yet despite what is likely soon to be the impossible grief of my dearest friend, only one thought stays in my mind.
My family is safe.
As we approach the palace estate perimeter, Pavel and Connors forces thankfully find no targets for their marksmanship. They fire on some likely positions anyway, though no taunting or angry Khmyr emerge or return fire. No mines. No fields. We soon find out why. The crashed transport is full of dead and frankly roasted Khmyr. What the hell were they carrying? A nod from Jim lets me know that Sita and the boysincluding a reluctant Miguelare safely on board the shielded Enterprise, with Spock and Uhura ordered to break orbit at the first sign of trouble. I want to be with them. But Connor says that Peter got Sita out, and then destroyed the emergency transporter so she couldnt be followed. So more than my usual debt to Jim is involved here.
The guards rush Calita Iberez to join us, as we overlook the path leading directly to the house. Its funny. I now remember something else from before I left. The situation at the Klingon border had Sitas proxodone supply dangerously low. How did they replenish it so quickly? The black market is unreliable, and if Miguel set foot on QonoS, theyd mindwipe him, implant a bomb in place of his livers, and send him back to give his mother a hug. But obviously, my wife is alive and mobile, so Calita, bless her skinny but cute behind, found a way.
"Leonard? Is there any word on Peter?"
So shes met him. Thats not too surprising, considering his extended stay. So why do her words say more to me than they should? Before I can reply, Connor is speaking in her uniquely Xartheb tone of voice.
"The field is clear. Were going in. Do not under any circumstances identify Lieutenant Kirk to the invaders. As long as hes just another Starfleet officer to them, we have a chance."
"Kyptin, I vwill stay and keep the doctors safe. Enterprise is still in orbit, and I can call down a strike if need be."
This is Connors turf, and she knows the terrain. Pavel does not want to have the entire force wiped out at once, if an ambush escaped the sensor sweeps. As the first group descends, though, everything shifts. Thiel raises his weapon, and shouts.
A single Khmyr does emergeand promptly falls on the remains of what was once my front door. Even from our remove, I can see that hes big. Way big. My tricorder tells me the rest.
Thiel shouts again.
"Commander Chekov, bring the doctors! We have a wounded man."
Only a single wounded man? Not to be flip or morbid, but are these the Khmyr we know? As Calita, Pavel and I get closer, the fallen Khmyr we saw actually gets much larger. I had wondered what had been in that smashed cryo-pod on the Khmyr transport. Part of me wishes Id never found out. Inside, though, things are even worse.
Jim is holding Peter up. My God. The boy is a bloody mess. Did he defeat that monster on the floor, or did some of Connors people arrive early? Calita gasps openly, then gathers herself and rushes to Peters side. Jim gently lowers him, and Calita removes her own flak-jacket to support his head. But Ive taken care of this patient for almost thirty years, and assert what I think are my rights of primacy.
"Calita, let me tend to this young man. You know damned well what happens when you get too worked up."
And she was worked up. As worked up as Id ever seen her, and that includes Davies birth. But as it turns out, she has rights in this matter that rival Jims.
"Leonard, go to the ship, and kiss your very anxious wife and children, who are desperate to see you. I am more than capable of taking care of my fiancé, all right?"
I stand up at that. My eyes are wide. But Jims eyes are like the blasted ships hull. Hes about to lose control. That Spock chooses that instant to beam down is a blessing as no other.
"Fiancé? My nephew has a fiancé? I go away for two lousy months, and he reorders his entire life? My Peter is going to get married?"
Spock may have sensed his distress, even on the ship. But he doesnt need a mind-meld to feel it now.
"Jim, Peters well-being is in good hands. You know this. I suggest we let the doctors do their work."
That incredible man looks at our friend, and shakes his head. Jims not far from tears.
"Spock, I cant lose him. Hes all I have left of my brother. Were each all the blood the other has. Its not fair. He paid his debts. He came back to me, whole. The Old Bastard got David. He cant have Peter."
Connor checks the internal security recordings, while her people and Pavels sweep the residence. Besides the giant, three dead Khmyr are found. All slain by a young man who once had to walk on crutches. Connor slams the wall, enraged.
"He killed oneoneof them with a projectile weapon, not even a phaser! The othershand to hand! Captain Kirk had to hit Kruge with a stinking tree! But our guest here took on that freak with his bare hands!"
I try hard to ignore both the state of Peters body and Connors prideful shouting. I glare at Thiel, and he responds.
"Connor, beloved, the doctors are trying to save Peters life. You must not shout!"
Her face softens, as she looks at her man.
"I know, Thiel. ButI taught him. What did he find in my lessons thats eluded me? How did he accomplish something that Im just not certain I could have?"
"Khmyr arrogance. Probably none of the arrogant fools pulled their blasters. Why would they, on one lone Human?"
Connor joins the sweep, after saying some shocking words to the unconscious Peter.
"Get better, Pete. You owe me a rematch. And no holding back this time, okay, pal?"
That one has Jim kneeling by his nephew.
"Her? You beat.....her?!"
Sweet Lord, Jim. Youre thinking about family honor now? Or is it that youre trying not to think about other things? Oh, here comes Pavel now, shaking his head as usual...
"Bozhe moi. Kyptin, there are three of them besides the giant. One decapitated, one shot, and one with a smashed nose and a snapped neck. He must have fought like a Siberian grizzlyafter you wake him from his hibernation in February. You have cause to be proud, sir."
Jim isnt listening. Calita nearly has Peter stabilized. I ask Connor a question.
"When can we move back in?"
"Not tonight, Doctor. We need to know, beyond any shadow of any doubt. Prepare to spend the night on Enterprise. And keep me informed. Hes a real warrior, that one."
At Calitas nod, Jim gives the order, and we beam aboard, where not only a medical team awaits us. My wife is also there. Calita exchanges an odd look with her best friend. The hand Doctor Iberez places on her man seems almost proprietary, as though her claim might be challengedor that it had been. Sita looks at us both, plaintively.
"Dont let him die!"
I cant define the exact type, or the depth. But I do know my wifes face. I know her looks. The look shes giving Jims nephew is unmistakable. Its the look of love. And the question rises again. What was done about her proxodone?
Calita will stabilize her man in Sickbay. If she cant, then well already be in position to beam him to a hospital or break orbit for a starbase. But thoughts of anyone else vanish quickly as I cross the nearly empty transporter chamber, there to deeply kiss my beautiful wife. Only the needs of my children and decorum keep me from making love to her then and there. When were done, she adds fuel to a small but smoldering fire of suspicion within me.
"Is Peter going to make it?"
Now, should I be taken back by this question? Because I am. Why, I dont know. Peter Kirk just saved her life, and acted to ensure the lives of the boys by cutting off his own escape. But thats when it all hits me. The boys were apparently already at Connors secure bunker. The Khmyr are seemingly nine steps ahead of us, and know our security grid. So the boys were only marginally safer with Connor, and probably miserable without Sita. I know of only one other reason why they would be sent away.
"Sitago and ready Davie and Jimmy, so they both dont have strokes when they see me. I have to go to Sickbay."
I leave before she can somehow stop me. I have to get this thought out of my mind. Its too wild to just let go. The ache I feel will be satisfied, in time. Because we are both alive.
As I get to my deck, though, I receive part of my answer. Directly in front of my office stands Miguel, two precious bundles dropping out from his powerful arms. My legs feel the impact of a pair of photon torpedoes, then vice-like grips like tractor beam has them.
"Daddy! DaddY!Daddy! DaaaaaaaddddY!"
Miguel never moves away from that door, and what I hold in my not-so powerful arms prevents me from even ordering him away. So for now, I joy in holding my pride and joy. They grow both excited and calm in my grasp. Yet now I know part of it, because they were all waiting for me. My wife, stepson and protege pointedly do not want me examining Peter Kirk.
As life drifts slowly back to what we foolish folk dare call normal, I realize I am being guided by my family. When Jim and Spock offer to take the kids for a few hours, Sita outright lies and tells our friends they have to be with me. Bull. They know Im going to be around from now on. They worship Jim and Spock. Miguel is a bit less subtle about matters, asking me to help him review new security measures. Yeah, right. Calita has not been home at all, to shower or change. Love for herGod, its hard to sayfiancé? Or an effort to keep me out of the loop?
Locking myself in the shower, I start it and remove my robewith my clothes on underneath. I decide to bypass my handlers, once and for all. Using my wristcom will bypass Connor Randolph, as well.
"McCoy to Enterprise. Beam me to the following coordinates."
A stabilized Peter is now at the hospital. And I know an access corridor hidden from view near his room. Sorry, Calita. But Ive seen your man through some very hard times. I need to know if hes perhaps returned the favor.
As I enter his room, I see that outwardly, Jims nephew is in remarkably good shape. His internal diagnostics tell a different story, though.
"Son, I thought I told you never to face a Klingon directly. You faced four. Typical Kirk arithmetic."
Im whistling past the graveyard, of course. This young man put the life of my family well ahead of his own, apparently with no more thought than Jim would give. Blast you, Peter. Your probation is two years done with. You dont have to prove yourself to anyone.
I turn, and see Jim. Im not at all surprised. He so wants to be here, if his nephew wakes upor if he never does. Right now, either possibility could happen.
"Captain, you look like forty kilometers of bad roadall of it racetrack."
"I wont abandon him, Bones. Once, when he needed meI wasnt there. I had some good reasons, and some not so good. But here and now, I will make my stand. He will not die alone."
I have to get rid of him. But I also cant allow this man to wallow. Wed never get him back.
"Jim, youre both made a certain way. Hell, you were raised and influenced by the same people. You didnt offer help that he didnt ask for. A failure of communications. Joanna once told me that while Heathers complaints against me were valid, she resented her mothers efforts to lay all the divorce on me even more than my lack of effort. So now, Joanie and I are speaking, but Heather and Joanie arent. I pray that changes, but that situation makes you and Peter and Scotty and his kin look like a public exchange between Spock and Sarek. We are what we are, Captain. Nothing can change that except us, and then only by degrees."
"Jim, stop regretting what you cant change. And consider that unlike David, you will have a chance to say goodbye, this time."
Gently, he strokes his nephews hair, and smiles.
"Thank you, Bones. Always."
Catching a break, I make good if deceptive use of it.
"You wanna thank me, Jim? Go find Calita. Waylay her something fierce. I dont want her to catch me double-checking her work."
He smiles and does what I ask. And I hate myself for lying to him. Using my own hospital code, I shut and seal the door. Now, only Calita or the General Administrator could get in and stop me.
"Forgive me, Peter. But I have to know."
His left shoulder is a work-in-progress. Thankfully, few of the bone fragments shattered loose by the giant Khmyrs dagger traveled. Blood loss was not what I thought it would be. Bad, yes. But not truly life-threatening, considering how rapidly he was treated for his wounds. His stomach took a hard blow, like a medicine ball was fired from a cannon. But Id still classify the blow as more of a wind-stealer. His ribs took an impact, but his lady was on that soon and they are back in place. The dagger was not poisoned, though it did contain heating elements meant to facilitate its cutting power, simultaneously sealing and re-opening wounds as it went.
"Apologies to Azetbur. But only a Khmyr."
His palms bled, probably from that pile-driver move he did on the one Khmyrs nose cartilage. As he fought to snap the bastards neck, he was stabbed in the thigh. No cut is a good cut, but the bleeding was not arterial. The gash on his forehead was from a glancing, not a direct blow, thank Heaven. The punch the giant threw, the one that Peter caught, started the bones in his hands on a slow backwards journey. Calitas notes tell me she almost didnt catch that.
"Peter, you should be mostly unconscious. But you shouldnt be comatose."
So I take it to the next level. Blood scans are telling. Mister Kirk was suffering from one of the worst cases of anemia Ive seen since Jimwell, take a pick. His electrolyte and other nutrient levels are being raised very, very slowly. Signs of complete physical exhaustion abound. Consistent with a battle royale with four creche-bred killing machinesor is it? Peter is in excellent physical shape, and is very stringent about his basic diet and exercise regimens. Avoids rich foods like the plague, since his stay at Tantalus. Plus, I saw the security tapes. Only the last one, the giant, really ran him ragged. Voices around the corner tell me my time is nearly up.
"But I only went out with one admiral at that time. Oh, God. Poor Lori. No wonder Peter seemed to warm up to her."
"JimUncle JimI really need to get back to my patient, qué?"
I make the scan of Peters lower torso, and undo the seal. A call to Enterprise has me away before she sees a thing. Calita, darling, youre a friend and a little treasure. But God help you if youve kept something from me.
Back in my office at the residence, Davie interrupts my work.
"Daddyis Cousin Peter going to die?"
"No, of course not. Cousin Peter loves you boys, and hes fighting to get well for you right now."
He smiles. That little smile makes me feel young as only his mothers touch can.
"Peter said the same thing about you coming back!"
Peter did a lot while I was away.
"Did he now? Tell me, was he nice to you and Jimmy?"
"We both love Peter, Daddy. Hes like a grown-up, but not really. Are you sure hes gonna be okay?"
"You calling your old dad a liar, David?"
"No! Peter said thats not nice."
He leaves, blissfully unaware of just how many lies weve built around us, all to keep the peace. As my scan finishes collating, I painfully add one more.
Peter Kirks crotch is a reddened, sore mass of overused tissue. None of the Khmyr hit him there. Hospital personnel say Calita barely left the hospital for almost two weeks.
My wifes supply of Proxodone is very, very fresh. Her scans indicate that it was only introduced to her system within the last three days. Her last dose would have run out just before we met with Gorkon. Miguel is the only other candidate, and hed be a basket case by now if he had. I feel a sudden need to find Teresa.
I hear her in the room Peter was using. Shes cursing, lightly.
"Damned thing! I only want that one song."
I vaguely recall Jim mentioning his late brothers love of an obscure music genre, something about one-shots. Peter Kirk kept his fathers collection.
"Is this it?"
The frown on her beautiful face tells me it isnt. But as it begins to play, I feel a nibble of fate. Good fate, for once.
"Oh, how happy; you have made me; Oh..how happy, you have made me; I have kissed your lips for a thousand times; and more times than I can say; I have called you mine; You have stood by me; In my darkest hour..."
She looks at me, and I cant help but offer my hand to dance. In my eyes, she sees somehow that I know.
"Dont hate him."
I kiss and hold her, and hurriedly lock the door. Is making love here Freudian? Do I care? In the afterglow, I assure Sita that her continued life is my only concern. I inquire only gingerly. He was good to her, and didnt let the wanton monster she can become provoke him to anger. Apparently, Sita was two steps above animal when Calita returnedwith medicine Miguel fetched from the black market. They both knewand both tried to keep it from me. What Peter Kirk did does not anger me. That he kept up with The Witch as I call Teresas later stage, fully explains his exhaustion. Its also amazing, on a medical level. No, Peter is a hero in my eyes. He willingly took the scythe-blow the Old Bastard meant for my womantwice. Peter and my Sita are innocent of wrongdoing.
But his fiancée and her firstborn have a whole hell of a lot to answer for.
I wait until Calitas getting off shift at the hospital, and Miguels session with Connor Randolph is done. Then, the Enterprise transporters do their work. As they are taken via beam into Sickbay, they look stunned and a bit angry. My patented glare erases that, and lets them know, as the man once said, the jig is up.
"Teresa has been my patient for about twenty years. Peter has been my patient for longer than that. Their health is always my concern, even in this circumstance. First things first. Doctor Iberez, youre off the case. Miguel, I expect much better from you than a clumsy deception."
He nearly recoils. There are times I forget that Im one of the only father-figures hes ever known. But I have to get this lesson through to him.
"Leonard, I kept this from you to protect Peter."
"Oh, really? Well, son, I might almost accept that. But did you really think that I would attack him or even resent what Peter did? What I want to know is, how did you get him to do it? Sitais well, Sita. But that aside, no boy raised by Marjorie Kirk willingly goes with another mans wife. Even at their worst, Ive seen both Jim and Peter agonize rather than see that line crossed."
Of course, my wife is beautiful, and a young man is a young man. But I cannot believe Peter would simply disrobe and jump in. George and Marjorie Kirk kept their long marriage going by taking to heart the part about forsaking all others. Their children were bred and raised with that lesson. Ruth aside, if Jim sees a ring or the equivalent, he walks in the other direction. Funny how many people dont add that little fact to their trash-talk about him.
"I did not directly ask him to be with Mother. I only exacted an oath from him to protect her life no matter what he had to resort to."
Calita looks him over with her own frown.
"No. He left directly asking my man to yours truly."
"If you had merely been honest with Peter about Mothers condition from that first incident, he would have not been so taken aback!"
I call a cease-fire before that fabled Iberian temper really comes into play.
"Miguel, stand down and beam down. Your mother wants a few choice words with you."
Now truly wincing, my half-Khmyr stepson leaves muttering as he heads towards the transporter room.
"Peter only had to face the giant. I have to answer to Mother..."
I look at Calita, and I say one word:
"Details? Are you crazy?!"
"My wife and patient had a major episode while I was away. I need to know how it progressed."
She acquiesces, very grudgingly. You think Starfleet officers take discipline badly?
"She was already in a bad way when Peter arrived. We were doing everything for her short of using that last precious dosage. By the time I met him, she was already flirting with him by way of a few pranks."
A nice, somewhat lonely young man with Jims looks. Add that to Sitas tendency to fixate on a friendly face as a means of getting through her rough spots. Throw in the raw pain of the past two months, and they could have ended up together in any event.
"I fell for Peter, hard. But I began to wonder if fixing us up wasnt Teresas way of putting someone in between her and Peter."
Apparently, the feeling was mutual. He proposed on something like their third date. Oh, Sita. Did you even tell Peter about her? Peter, did you even ask why such an incredible young woman wasnt already spoken for? Or were you trying to get my wife off your mind, no matter what?
"Calita, how much did Peter know about her addiction? Did he know what he was dealing with?"
Again, a look can tell so much. She actually tries to turn away.
"She kissed him. Hard and long and deep. I told him she had a nervous tick resulting from her imprisonment on QonoS. I told him that it made her extremely impulsive."
Which is a bit like saying that Peter was mildly upset during the Dianasian mission.
"Young lady, once you had established that Peter could be trusted, the rest should have been revealed. How did it finally play out?"
"The pool. She snuck up on him. Underwater. After stealing his suit."
Well, I mentally joke, that boy always was a bit too tense for his own good. The joke almost forces the carnal image away. Almost.
"Ill presume you told him then."
"Leonard, I had a lot of difficult choices to make. On behalf of several people I love, including my future husband! Besides, it wasnt even clear that he was an option, until Starfleet told him he wasnt going anywhere."
Shes fudging, but I wont call her on it now.
"Did you max out Sitas birth control?"
"Did you max out Peters?"
Her pretty face freezes outright. I hate playing this card with a woman whos suffered as she has. But a doctor puts her patients first, last, and always. Our pain and our love must never cause us to ignore hard medical facts, like the potency of a young man.
"Calita, I think that youve tried to deal with an uncomfortable situation. Primevally uncomfortable. It got to you. It happens. So get yourself together, and think over where you, in your well-intentioned efforts, went wrong. You didnt inform Peter of Sitas condition. You didnt protect Peter from what Jim can tell you is a horrible prospecta child you can never acknowledge. Finally, you tried to lie to me about all of this. Is there anything else I should know?"
Shes embarrassed, and a bit upset as she gets up, and tosses down a padd.
"Our friend Peter came up with this studyafter three lousy hours! Maybe I dont want to be his doctor after all. Leonard, why the hell didnt he follow Teresa outor go with her?"
Poor kid has it bad. She really doesnt understand the tradition shes hooked up with. The one that her man has resumed, since his madness was cured.
"Lita, when you lie down with dogs, you get fleas. Lie down with lions, and you get eaten. With Kirks, you prepare to see them take wounds you cant believe, and risks you cant forgive. Since you were a little girl, youve hung around and been a friend to a princess. Now, though, youve chosen to become part of a true galactic dynasty. Get used to what it all really means."
She seems almost in tears as she goes.
"Maybe thats just not in me. Youre welcome to your patient, Leonard. And keep him out of red sunlight."
Apologies to your matchmaking, Sita. But if Peter has grown up, then I worry about Calita. And marriage takes two grown-ups, at the bare minimum.
I pass Pavel on the way to Peters hospital room. I ask the obvious. I dont like what I hear.
"Da, those Cossacks have now put a price on the lieutenants head. Their price was higher than the Orion Syndicates price. So there is now a bidding war, damn them all."
Nobody pisses the wrong people off quite like the Kirks. Scotty is still maintaining his quiet vigil, joined by Spock.
"...yet I still dinnae ken how the lad did all that. He is a man as any other. If he could perform such feats, then why did he not merely shake me off when I bent back his arm?"
"The answer, Captain Scott, is balance. On Dianas, Peter was a broken, tired thing, and definitely out of balance. Performing an action such as we viewed on the recording requires calling up ones every last reserve. One as badly lost as he was could not have broken your grip."
Scotty looks at the unconscious young man, and I know that look. When he watched his Peter dyingthat was the look. You dont forget that.
"When he didnae ask for help, to ease his souls pain, he paid a price. When he called upon his every reserve, he paid a price. So when does a good young man stop paying for debts he himself did not incur?"
Scottys Bible reading has him at Augustus census, so Spock and I leave him be. My old friend asks me a very pointed question.
"Doctor, where is Doctor Iberez?"
"Shes angry at him, Spock. The way I get angry at Jimcept Im not in love with him, to boot."
Spock almost cracks a smile, bless him.
"Indeed. Doctorplease keep your patient well. As one who also found his way back, I find his progress heartening to observe. I believe that I would miss him."
Having a bare moment, I look over the findings Peter made on Sitas blood work-up. Damn. Fifteen-odd years for me. About ten for Calita. Peter Kirk takes three hours, and comes up with a marginal but telling improvement in my wifes existence.
My kids love him. Miguel lied for him. He stood up to Sitas illness. Hes now showing not only traces of Jim, but of his lost cousin. I can live with almost all of this. Yet on some level, this is still the little boy I remember.
"No. Not a boy. Not anymore."
I order a gift made for him, because this man is going to wake up. As I finish the order, a beaming Scotsman tells me I was right to do so.
"Doctorcall for the captain! Tis grand, grand newsthe very best!"
Pendas reaction on the line is free of almost any restraint. She let me know that Valeris cozy betrayal hit her hard. So perhaps the recovery on all levels of this young man is a real boost. But no one can beat Jim as he bounds down the hall, his spirit for a moment young again. Hes awake, and if I have to compete, at least its not with a memory.
"Now what the hell do I say to him?"
My turn comes quickly, and I just as quickly realize that he may be as nervous about speaking to me as I am to him. Some dilemma. You make marathon love with the most beautiful woman in the galaxy, and the simple urge to boast about it must be forever denied, simply to keep decorum. Perhaps thats my angle.
Peter, you and I now have something in common. But we can only talk about in private, all right?
No. I can see where that would lead. Maybe a humorous twist?
I thought it was just me. But now we know for certain what Sitas favorite position is, heh?
Ugh. Definitely out. Plain-talking?
I want you to know that I know what you and my wife did...and that Im all for it.
No, Im not. What am I, an idiot? Ill live with it, easily enough. But Ill never wish that this had to occur.
Just get it all off your chest, then we can put it in the past.
In between his giggling, running to the bathroom, and just staring dumbly at me, Im sure that would be a memorable conversation.
"Peter, I would like to talk with you about a very tender subject..."
No, I dont. Neither does he. The one thing neither of us want is to ever talk about this. Were not built that way.
"...about a very tender subject that we will never, ever discuss. I mean it, Peter. Not a word. Because of you, shes alive. Thats all that counts, and I love you for it. I am not a widower. My sons and stepson still have a mother. Serenidad, this crazy beautiful world, still has its Princess. So we will not discuss the Khmyr you rescued her from. We will not discuss any actions you undertook to accomplish this miracle. We wont quip, or wink, or talk in code. You will never bring the subject up. Am I understood?"
He understands, and even seems grateful. No offense to Noel and Van Gelder, but there are times when silence is golden and public denial is a very, very good thing. After he endures the tender mercies of Sita and the boys, I move away to speak with my wife on another tender subject.
"Did you tell him about some of Calitas, shall we say, difficulties?"
"Leonard, I never thought theyd fall this hard for each other. I was beginning to enter my fog when I set it all up. Dont you think this all took me by surprise?"
I hold my walking heart, and let getting Peter and Calita to the altar be a concern for another day. If that day ever comes. I have my doubts. Though I love them both, I have my doubts.Two Weeks Later
I look at the small platter of Starfleet medals, and joke with my now-former commanding officer that not a ones for him. But its all good. Because the name Kirk is still the one on nearly all of them.
Jimmy and Davie look on with pride as their cousin is knighted by their Mommy. When Peter finally leaves in two weeks, it better be while those two are asleep. He makes one hell of a babysitter, to boot. I surprise both Jim and Sita by taking my chance to speak. I surprise me, too.
"Peter, I had this inscribed plaque made while you were recuperating. Lieutenant, never feel that you have to live up to the words of this poem. Because to my mind, you already have.
His face flushes with embarrassment, so I naturally call him to his feet. This isnt six years ago, Peter. Youve earned all of this, and more. Later, some of my friends look at me while Sita dances with her hermanito Peter, and I cant resist the chance to quip.
"Well, Im going to say it if no one else will. They make one cute couple!"
When Jim dances with his niece-to-be, I wisely make no comment at all. Peter finds me, and looks me over.
"Doc, I have a question, whether you like it or not."
It seems Ill maybe have to remind him of our agreement.
"How soon after warning me off did you try to patch things between Jim and Spock?"
Jims nephew and I are going to get along just fine.
"Oh, I lasted all of three hours. You may have caught some of the blow-back from one of my attempts when you made that CommPic call."
This moment, with these people, is a dream from which I never want to awaken.
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