Jim found her in Sam’s childhood room, looking over all the framed work he had on the walls. It hadn’t been removed even after Sam had left the Kirk farmhouse for, at the time, parts unknown.

She had stopped in front of a framed quote Sam had up there. Jim was well familiar with it.

“What though the radiance which was once so bright

Be now for ever taken from my sight,

Though nothing can bring back the hour

Of splendor in the grass, of glory in the flower;

We will grieve not, rather find

Strength in what remains behind;

In the primal sympathy

Which having been must ever be;

In the soothing thoughts that spring

Out of human suffering;

In the faith that looks through death,

In years that bring the philosophic mind.”

She turned to him then, smiling, her arms opened to receive his embrace. “I knew you’d come.”

“Of course I came,” he whispered, as she hugged him so hard it nearly hurt. She had strength, Winona Kirk.

“That was his favorite, that quote.”

“I know.”

She still held him. “You came alone?”

“Uh-huh. Took the shuttle out of San Francisco this morning. Spock had a meeting.”

She finally loosened her grip, but only to lean back to look at him. He’d worn his dress uniform here, not bothering to change, and he felt stiff and hot and uncomfortable in it.

“You look far too tired. Did you sleep at all?”

Jim shook his head. “Not much.”

His mother sighed and moved out of his arms to stretch her arms out indicating Sam’s old room.

“It’s stupid, you know. I feel closer to him here though he hasn’t been here in years.”

“Well, if it helps, who cares the reason?”

She smiled then, strained though it was, and she took his hand. “I don’t understand how this could have happened.”

“Deneva became inhabited by—”

She shushed him. “I know all the official details.  I want to know why once more I have to grieve for a member of my family. Why do I keep losing people I love?” She bit her lip. ”It’s not fair.”

Life wasn’t fair. Anybody who’d done any kind of living knew that. But his mom didn’t need to hear that nor would she want to.

“I’m sorry.”

“He was my son and I have to outlive him. He was a scientist! Not dangerous at all.” She closed her eyes. “Not like you and you had to go and die too.”


“Don’t tell me again it was a mistake to tell me about that. The mistake was you dying. The mistake was letting you join Starfleet.”

Jim didn’t remind her he was an adult when he enlisted.

She turned her back on him to get herself under control.

When she turned back around her eyes no longer overflowed tears, but wetness stained her cheeks.

“How long can you stay?”

“A few days.”

She grabbed his hand and pulled him from the room and down the stairs. “I’ll make us some coffee.”

“Okay. Let me go get out of this uniform, okay?”

“All right. But just change in the bathroom down here. I don’t want to let you out of my sight for too long.”

Jim took his bag into the down stairs bathroom and sent a quick text to Spock.

I’ve arrived. She’s pretty hysterical.

He expected an immediate response, but was surprised when it didn’t come. Spock had to be busy then.

When he emerged a few minutes later dressed in jeans and a T-shirt, she was waiting for him, holding a mug of cream filled coffee.

He took it, smiled, and took a sip. “Haven’t had coffee this good in a long time.”

“Nothing can happen to you.”


“Don’t Mom me. You have to promise.”

“It’s not that easy. Being the captain of a starship, I can’t promise that.”

She seemed to draw into herself. “At least you have Spock there to watch out for you. Right?”


“I think he’ll do his best to keep you out of harm’s way.”

“He will.”

The tears flowed again. “You’re my baby, I can’t lose you too.”

“You won’t,” he whispered.

She put her coffee down and so did Jim as she threw her arms around him once more. He held her tight and let her cry.

“I can’t believe Sam’s gone.”

“I know, I’m so sorry.”

“Promise me, Jim. You have to promise me.”

He closed his eyes. “I promise.”

There was a knock on the door and they both pulled away from the embrace with a frown.

“Probably Mrs. Whatley with another one of her lemon cakes,” his mom said with a sniff.

Jim perked up at that. “Lemon cake?”

He went to the front door and opened it and—

“Oh, my God.”

For Spock stood there, looking about as wonderful as anyone could, and Jim pulled him close, holding him so tight, he might be hurting him.

“You came.”

“Of course I came.” Spock looked behind Jim to Jim’s mom. “I grieve with thee.”

“Come inside, before we all freeze,” she fussed, yanking them both inside the house and pulling both into an embrace of her own. “Thank you. Thank you.”