My AO3 hiatus pays off for my blog readers. Here’s chapter 2
Jim met Carol and their son at a café just down from the Starfleet Shuttle Bay in San Francisco. It had been rebuilt, as much of the area had to be, after Khan had destroyed it all those years ago now.
David was just a couple of months over three years old now, talking, sometimes even in whole sentences, and looking every inch a cross between himself and Carol.
As soon as he saw Jim, he jumped off his chair and ran for him. “Papa! Papa!”
Jim’s mood brightened instantly. “Hey there, buddy.”
Jim grinned and bent down to pick up his son. He gave the boy a big kiss on his cheek as David’s chubby little arms encircled his neck. He turned to Carol as he walked over to their table. “Hi Pretty Lady.”
“Charmer to the last,” she said, agreeably, leaning in to kiss his cheek. “Join us for breakfast?”
“Of course.” He set David down in his seat and then took the seat across from Carol. “You look beautiful. You’re doing well?”
“Yes, great, thank you.” She smiled at the waitress who had come to their table. “Pancakes for my son, please. And I’ll have the vegetable omelet, rye toast.”
The waitress looked to Jim, who glance at the menu quickly. “The fruit plate. And coffee.”
“Fruit plate? Is that all?”
“It’s enough,” he assured her. He reached into his bag and pulled out the stuffed Enterprise with really working lights and phaser sounds. He handed it to David. “Something for you to play with.”
“Yay!” David said, seizing on to it.
Carol focused on Jim. “You look really tired. Are you overdoing?”
“Of course not.”
“Of course not.” She snorted. “You’re an overachiever, Jim. You always have been. It’s one of the reasons we couldn’t work long term. You’re exactly who they have in mind when they say workaholic.”
‘Yeah, yeah.” But he smiled. Maybe he was, maybe he wasn’t. The Enterprise was his partner. The one he was meant to spend his life with. He could accept that.
“Listen, in about a month, I’ll be starting at a new research facility,” she said. “It’s only a six month assignment, but it’s on Rigel Three.”
Jim frowned. “So you and David are going?”
“Yes, exactly. The Enterprise will likely be out of range for most of that time. But I’m certain you’ll be pretty busy anyway. I just wanted you to know. There’s no need to worry either. We’re getting a lovely apartment there in a building that overlooks the golden river.”
“Is it safe?” He was already thinking about how he would need to look up Rigel 3 and read everything about it.
“Perfectly. I would never take the baby somewhere unsafe, Jim. But I need your consent.” She handed over her PADD. “If you could just put your thumbprint on that line.”
Jim sighed. “This is why you let me take him for a week. So I’d agree to let you take him off planet for six months.”
“Well, yes, of course. You would have done the same thing if you were me.” Carol shook her head. “And you are getting to take David. I could have been difficult about this whole thing, Jim. Remember what you told me about your meld with Ambassador Spock? How the Carol from their universe kept David away from Jim there?”
Jim had never expected that he would create a David with Carol here. He hadn’t expected anything at all to be the same, so that one, vision or not, had surprised him. But she was right, she could have been difficult. She could have left the Enterprise without ever telling him a thing about David.
Jim tried to have a vision but nothing happened and he wasn’t surprised. It had never when he wanted it to.
He pressed his thumbprint down and handed it back to her.
He shrugged. “You were right.”
“I don’t mean to be a witch, but this is really important to me.”
“I know.” He smiled and took her hand. “And you aren’t.”
Carol stared at him rather wistfully. “When you look at me like that, I just, I wish…it had worked between us.”
Jim didn’t have the heart to tell her he would only ever be in love with Spock. He’d tried to love her, but it just wasn’t there.
“Me too,” he said softly, and was glad that their breakfast arrived.
By the time Jim made it back to Riverside, it was late. Too late for dinner and he had fed David on the shuttle anyway. David was asleep in the hover car when he drove up to the farmhouse, so Jim just hoisted him up on his shoulder and carried him into the house, where Winona waited.
“Sorry, Mom, I couldn’t keep him awake one more minute.”
“It’s okay,” she whispered back. “I’ll get to meet him in the morning. He’s so beautiful. He looks just exactly like you did at that age.”
“And there’s no part of Carol there at all,” he said with a smirk.
“Well.” She sniffed.
Jim chuckled softly. “I’m going to bring him upstairs.”
“Are you hungry? Need something to eat?”
“Yeah, I fed David on the shuttle. Let me get him settled and I’ll come back down.”
Jim went up the stairs and carried his son to his room, where he’d stay for the week. He laid him on the bed and put the covers over him, not bothering to change him into his pajamas for fear he’d wake him. He set down David’s suitcase and then stood over his son watching him sleep.
If he did one thing right, it was this boy. Not that it took anything special to have impregnated Carol. But this boy, at least he was a legacy.
He reached down and took his PADD out of David’s suitcase where he’d shoved it. He had messages from various crew members about Chekov.
Jim sighed, rubbing his eyes. He zeroed in on the one from Spock. He couldn’t help it.
I grieve with thee.
So simple and yet, Jim’s eyes pricked with tears.
God, he missed Spock. And he didn’t even know why. Spock had been so…distant. That had been one of the other reasons he’d thought about that job on Yorktown. He’d made so many invitations to play chess with Spock, yeah, he’d seen that in Ambassador Spock’s memories too, only to have every one of them denied. Jim had finally given up.
And then Altamid happened. Another thing Jim had failed to foresee. What was the use of his sight if it didn’t happen when he needed it?
Bones said Spock and Uhura broke up just before Krall, but, they’d made up or something, because he’d seen them on Yorktown at his birthday celebration and after and they were as close as ever.
Jim set the speaker by David’s side so that if he woke up or made any noise Jim and Winona would hear him.
Then with one last fond look at his son, Jim went downstairs for some food with his mom.