This one might be a bit sad to some. This concludes August

George Kirk was pretty sure he had everything ready to leave. He’d checked and double-checked. His wife, Winona, was avoiding him. He knew why. She did and didn’t want to go. He understood and felt the same way.

Prior to this day, they’d had that conversation.

“You don’t have to come, sweetheart. You can be reassigned to a place in San Francisco. Then Sam can stay with you while I’m on the Kelvin.”

“I know,” she said softly. “I know that’s true. But this assignment is short. It’ll mean so much to both our careers. After the baby’s born, I’ll be back here anyway.” She’d rested her hand on her still flat stomach.

Their second child. They’d decided not to learn what they were having this time. With George Samuel, they had decided to find out. It had been fun, but this time, they’d decided to make it a surprise. George thought she probably wanted a little girl, but he’d be happy with either.

“Son.”

George turned to his father, Tiberius Kirk. He was looking older than he’d ever looked before to George. That concerned him some. He worked hard on the Riverside farm and he had no one to help him these days.

“You okay, Dad?”

“Sure, sure. You ready to go?”

“I think so. You get my boy settled in?”

Sam was going to stay with George’s parents until Winona returned to Earth after her Kelvin assignment. Children didn’t belong on a starship. Eventually Winona would settle back here with both their children and George would continue on the Kelvin. George was going to be First Officer.

“Yep. He’ll be fine. Probably ought to say your goodbye though. I’ll then drive you two to the shuttlebay while Mom stays with Sam.”

“Right. Okay.”

George gave his Dad’s shoulder a squeeze, then went over to where his mother waited with little Sam, who barely knew how to walk. He probably would never remember his parents’ absence. That gave George some comfort.

He first hugged his mom, who wrapped her arms tight around him. 

He smiled when she released him. “Think Dad’s all right?”

“He was complaining about some aches and pains. He’s not a young man anymore, George. I expect you’ll know what that’s like yourself one day.”

He laughed. “Yeah. But not for a long long time, Mom. I’m not even thirty.”

She reached up to ruffle his hair. “Don’t I know it. Never mind. Your son will be fine here. He’s a sweet boy and you’ll both be back with him before you know it.”

George nodded and dropped to his haunches to hug and say goodbye to his son. “Okay, buddy, Daddy has to go. Daddy and Mommy.”

“Go?” His fat little bottom lip trembled.

“Yeah for work. But we’ll be back. Mommy first before you know it. And you’ll have a little brother or sister.”

Sam didn’t seem too sure about it and his eyes were getting wet.

“Hey.” Georg hugged him. “You’re going to be fine. Grandma and Grandpa will take good care if you.”

“K.”

“Daddy loves you. So much. And I will be back. I promise.”

He hugged his son again and then waited while Winona did too, openly sobbing.

It was too late for her to stay behind, they both knew it, but George made the suggestion anyway when she joined him, still wiping her eyes.

“You could—”

She shook her head. “Let’s just go.”

He smiled and leaned over to kiss her forehead. “It’ll be all right, Win. This is going to be great for our family.”

She smiled back. “I know. Let’s go before I run back to him.”

George turned to go.

“Daddy!”

Giving her hand a squeeze, George turned back just as little Sam waddled over to him on unsteady legs and hugged George’s legs. He felt tears sting his own eyes. This was all much harder than he had expected. He scooped Sam up, kissed his cheek and then handed him to his mom, quickly leaving.

****

Sam held onto his two-year-old brother’s hand while Mama talked to Grandma. He could sort of hear what she was saying.

“I can’t handle taking care of them right now. I don’t know what else to do. So if I could just leave them here with you—”

“Of course you can.”

 “Just for a short time until I can get my act together. It’s been so hard without George and—”

“Yes, I know. I’ll take care of those boys.”

“I know you just lost Tiberius but—”

“No, no. You just do what you need to do, Winona, honey. Sam and Jimmy are safe with me.”

Sam watched as Mama glanced their way. She had left bags with their things next to Grandma. She wiped her eyes and then instead of coming back to Sam and Jim, she hurried away from the farmhouse.

“Mama,” Jim whined.

Grandma came over to them with a smile. “Come on in, boys. We’re going to have a wonderful time together. Don’t you worry. And your Mama will be back real soon. Before you know it.”

Sam glanced at Jim as Grandma began to walk toward their bags. “Don’t believe it, Jimmy.  They always say that.”

He tightened his hold on Jim’s hand and followed after Grandma.

****

“You’ll be staying with me and Frank now.”

Sam didn’t look away from his grandmother’s grave. She was buried next to grandfather. There was no grave for George Kirk, Sam’s dad. There had been nothing left to bury.

His mom had come with a man who attempted to smile at them like he was okay, but Sam didn’t buy it. There was something in Frank’s eyes Sam just didn’t trust.

“Sam, come on. Frank is waiting over there with your brother.”

“What about this place?” Sam asked.

“We’ll sell it. Frank has his own farm. We don’t need this old place. It needs a bunch of repairs anyway. Now stop stalling and let’s go.”

Sam bent down and put a rose on his grandmother’s grave. This time there was no one to say they’d be back before Sam knew it.

****

“Why are you leaving?”

Sam almost wavered at the pained look on brother’s face. Almost. But he couldn’t stand to live there one more day. His mom was gone again. On some assignment for Starfleet. And they were stuck with Frank. Sam hated Frank.

“Because I can’t be a Kirk in this house.”

“Please. Please don’t go.”

Sam swallowed. Looked off into the distance, beyond where Frank stood, glaring at them. He looked back at Jim. “I’ll be back before you know it.”

Jim stared at him. Then he looked down at the ground and nodded, as Sam moved away, to leave Riverside behind.

****

Jim shared a look with Spock. Pursed his lips, and then approached the little boy sitting on the biobed, his small legs dangling off the side. He had strawberry blond hair and a smattering of freckles across his nose and cheeks.

“Hi,” Jim said softly.

“Hello,” he said in a small voice.

“Are you feeling better, Peter?”

“Uh-huh. Not in pain anymore.”

Jim smiled. “That’s good. Listen, uh, your dad—”

“I know he’s not coming back,” Peter said. “They never come back.”

Jim felt a lump form in his throat. He felt Spock’s hand on the small of his back and he sent thanks through their bond.

“He isn’t coming back, you’re right. And your mom, too.”

Peter nodded. “I’m-I’m an orphan.”

“Me too.”

Peter looked up at Jim, surprised. “You are?”

“Yes. My dad has been…gone since I was born. I never knew him. My mom, your grandma, died last summer.” Jim glanced at Spock. “Spock’s mom is gone too. But he still has his dad.”

Peter looked at Spock, then back to Jim. “Who will take care of me? Where will I go?”

Jim let out a steady breath. “You aren’t going anywhere.”

“Huh?”

“You’re going to live here with me and Spock. On the Enterprise. We’ll take care of you.”

“You, Uncle Jim?”

“Yes,” Jim said. “It’s all arranged. Me, Spock, and the whole crew. We’re going to be your family and you’ll be ours.”

Peter seemed to think about this and then he nodded. “Uncle Jim?”

“Yes, Peter?”

“Can we go to the mess? I’m super hungry.”

Jim laughed and helped Peter off the biobed. “You bet. Spock and I are hungry too.”