Fandom: Star Trek 2009
Characters: Frank, Jim Kirk, Leonard McCoy
Genre: Family, General, AU
One of the first things he could remember when he thought really, really hard about it was a deep voice, singing him a lullaby, and the feeling of absolute safety the owner of the voice brought to him. It's the voice which always followed him around, talking, singing, humming always there, wrapping him in the soft tones.
He never was alone when he was little. There was his older brother Sam and, of course, his mother. Sam was his big brother, who taught him things. Mother was the woman who gave birth to him and also the only female in their house. She never looked at him directly, never talked to him in the same warm tones she sometimes talked to Sam. And, of course, she always disappeared when it was his birthday.
And then, there was Frank. It was his voice which soothed him into sleep when his teeth were keeping him awake, his arms he nestled into when he missed someone's touch or woke up to nightmares. The man always had a smile for him ready.
Almost too suddenly although not overly unexpectedly, even to his young mind mother left them for space. Only Frank and Sam stayed with him, yet sometimes, there had been something very sad in the depths of Sam's eyes, when they happened to speak about mother.
One day, they were playing with other kids on schoolyard. That was when Jim bested one of the older boys in some basic math. And the meanie decided that no normal kid of Jim's age can be so smart, unless there is something very wrong with him. Sam stepped in, shielding his younger brother.
"And you! You both are freaks! No wonder your father rather died and mother left, so neither of them would have to suffer your presence!"
It was like a slap to their faces; even the boy realized that it was too much but it was already too late to take it back. Wordlessly, Jim and Sam grabbed their schoolbags and almost run home, being completely silent the whole time before Frank opened doors and let them in. He was already preparing dinner, as usual, when he noticed something was wrong with them. And as usual, he chose his direct approach.
"Alright, boys, what's wrong?"
"They say that we are freaks, so our momma doesn't want to be with us," blurted Sam.
Frank's eyes widened at that. "Who the hell did say that?"
"They were picking on Jimmy, and I told them to stop and " And Jimmy suddenly knew what was wrong. This wasn't the first fight they ever got into there had been several of those already. This one had been the worst by far. And all of these always started with something he did or didn't do.
"How did papa die, uncle?" he quipped, almost too afraid to say, to hear more.
Frank took a deep breath. "I do not know any details," he confessed. "I mean, I know the info which made it public, James, but not everything. So I can tell you a part but for more you would have to wait some time. And then, I will tell you everything, would that be okay for you?"
Sam gave him an odd look. It was quite normal that Frank didn't know something but promised them to look it up and answer them. But never, never had the matter of their inquiry be so personal and Jim thought that Frank will maybe wait long enough for them to forgot about everything and that will be that.
Two weeks later, when they got from school, Frank waited for them, package of printed documents and datapads on the desk in front of him. He hasn't forgotten. Part of Jim, and obviously Sam as well, is amazed by the fact. They all sit around the table, sipping hot chocolate, holovids of interviews with Kelvin survivors flashing in front of their eyes, with Frank adding some additional commentary to each holovid they have seen. It wasn't until later when they noticed Frank eyeing one last disc.
"What is on that disc, uncle?" asked Sam.
Frank was silent for a moment, making his heart twitch painfully in his chest. "It's recording of the final call from Kelvin to the medical shuttle. You two sure you want to hear that?"
Hear the voice of their father? Jim and Sam exchanged a look. Sam remembered their father, Jim never set his eyes on him, never heard his voice. It's almost magical to hear voice of their mother, full of emotion, his baby cries and their father saying "I love you so much" in voice so tender it hurts. Sam disappeared shortly after the recording ended. He stayed, his eyes trained on Frank, who looked back, his face unreadable. For a moment, he hesitated what to do now. Were it his mother, he wouldn't dare to do anything but this is Frank, man who took care of him ever since he was a small baby. He hugged Frank.
"Thank you," he whispers, and Frank's eyes show understanding.
The years afterwards are spent by having their noses stuck in a book or eyes glued to datapads. They will show those jerks who is freak here! Soon, they excelled in every single subject. The teasing, often bordering on bullying, had never been far Jim with his so-much-like-father looks was perfect reason for his classmates to pick on him even more than they picked on his brother. He often hid the bruises he got from fights with his classmates. But in the end, Frank found out he yelped in pain, when his uncle laid his hand on his shoulder to take a look on what Jim had been reading. He tried to cover it by making some more sounds but it was already too late for that; Frank had already been pulling his shirt aside with a dark scowl upon his face.
The raw fury in Frank's face when he saw all the bruises made Jim tremble. "That had been done by your classmates, hadn't it?"
Jim could only nod, when Frank lifted him carefully, carrying him to the car, breaking speed limit while driving to hospital. He could see the personnel taking pointed looks at Frank, while they were treating the bruises and abrasions. They didn't say anything but Jim could see the questions in their eyes.
When they were on their way back, Frank turned his head to look at him. "You know, James, that I can't leave this be, don't you?" At his hesitant nod, Frank continued: "I will speak to the headmaster tomorrow about this."
In the end, it showed not to be completely necessary. As soon as Jim entered school the next day, he was whisked away by the secretary and led towards the headmaster's office. They both had been talking about how kids should be kept safe and how no one should ever hurt them, and that they hope he knows he can always talk to them, should he need help And that was when he had enough. He threw a temper tantrum, in his opinion rather unfitting boy of his age, about the hypocrisy of their statements, since Frank was the one who finally noticed something was off and brought him to hospital to take care of that, as he would never hurt his nephew unlike his classmates !
The silence which set in was deafening. The secretary just gaped at him, the headmaster gazing at him thoughtfully. Big things happened afterwards none of them earning Sam and Jim any more friends. 'At least the bullying ceased,' thought Jim when he was walking home from school, alone each day, keeping to himself when he sat in the school, adding every single bit of information to his memory. One of the things he remembered from books was "knowledge is power". And he will do anything to be as strong as he can.
Sam obviously thought otherwise. He brought it up one day, several months after Frank took Jim to hospital. None of them could remember what exactly had been said afterwards but there had been lots of shouting, both of them running upstairs to their rooms in the end, leaving Frank alone in the living room.
End it now, whispered something in Jim's head. You are just ruining things for people they keep saying you are so much like your father; take something of his and show them.
He decided to take his father Corvette, slowly getting out through the window and climbing down the tree which stood nearby. Just don't alert Frank, he would stop you from doing anything
Once the motor got started, he stamped on the accelerator, pushing the pedal down to the floor. The car flew from it place, motor roaring loudly. Switching the radio on, so he wouldn't hear Frank's calls to the inbuilt phone, he let the wind flew through the car, not caring about the cop who set on following him for breaking the speed limit. Soon, he found himself speeding the car towards the old quarry, the edge of the ravine coming closer by each second.
Flashes of his life appear before his mind's eye. Frank singing him a lullaby. Frank letting him and Sam cuddle to him in his bed, while he reads them a story before bed, even if Sam complained he's too old for that. Frank spending hours in front of his computer terminal, browsing through the extranet, trying to find answers for his nephews. Frank marching to headmaster's office with report from hospital about the bullying, demanding something to happen. Frank, sitting brokenly in their living room, his head hid in his palms after their fight.
And he knew he can't go down with the car. The car was about twenty meters from the ravine when he opened the doors and jumped out. Only the cop's quick assistance saved him that day, because he jumped out too late and would have fall down, as he hung on the edge of ravine. Sometime later, when he's transported to hospital with broken arm and showing signs of shock, he could only say his name and address and then watch, fascinated, how the doctor and nurse are setting his bone back. Frank came for him some time later, his face strained and worried. Later, he learnt that Sam had run away.
The rather uneasy situation between situation between Jim and Frank soon transferred into fragile balance; both of them treading carefully around the other one. The balance had been disturbed abruptly while Sam had still been incommunicado, by Winona arriving to Riverside.
She crashed into their lives with force of a tropical storm, destroying everything in her wake. It scared him that she was so careless about what her doings may cause. Without knowing what had been going on for the last few years, she just said: "I think you need a chance of scenery for a time. You, Frank, stay here and Jim will go to other planet." Well, he might have misquoted a bit but that was what she basically said. She just made several calls and then disappeared again, after telling him he's due to leave Earth for Tarsus IV in five days.
It wasn't that he hated aunt Alison, sister of his father. He never even met her or her husband or kids. Well, met only on the holo screen when his mother called him to introduce himself. From the look of it, aunt Alison wasn't overjoyed by the prospect of having juvenile delinquent at home with her little kids. And he didn't want to leave Earth. He wanted to stay with uncle Frank.
Some days later, when Frank was leading him to transport, carrying his suitcase, he was dragging his feet, trying to make the boarding of the ship as late as possible. Frank just stood there, obviously feeling a bit more than just simply awkwardly, looking down at him. When his luggage was safely in the transport, Jim remained the last few minutes with Frank, clinging to him as if his life depended on it. He was quite aware that young man of his age should know better and when the last signal for boarding sounded, he tore away and run to the ship, leaving Frank standing there.
The whole journey was unsurprisingly rather uneventful. He spent the few days of travel by reading and generally keeping to himself, gazing from the windows into the wastes of space. He was rather pleasantly surprised to get out of the transport to find aunt Alison, her husband Max and their children Annie and Mark waiting for him at the spaceport. One of the best periods of his life started.
He called Frank every few days. The man looked lonely but obviously perked when Jim started to tell him what had he been up to. Annie and Mark loved their cousin, and aunt Alison and uncle Max treated him just like they would any of their nephews. And most of all, they saw kid who had been wronged, not kid who did wrong. That of course didn't excuse the Corvette incident or anything like that. They also wouldn't blame Frank for anything they praised him for being so good at being a parent, even when they heard about Sam running away.
Jim felt like a plant which had been kept in the dark for too long. Frank did his best, of course, but it wasn't in his options to give him the special teaching plan as he got here. There had been even Hoshi Sato on the planet the famous linguist from USS Enterprise, and what more, she took liking in him and started teaching him what she knew.
He had been on Tarsus for about two months, when all the adults started to look worried all the time. Aunt obviously thought he couldn't hear when she told Frank "there are rumours about crop failure". But he did. It didn't come as a complete surprise, when the system of food distribution showed up.
And soon after that come the fateful day, when the current government had been overthrown by man who called himself Governor Kodos. His face appeared in the holovids, his face dark and austere, as he slowly read his manifesto:
"The revolution is successful. But survival depends on drastic measures. Your continued existence represents a threat to the well-being of society. Your lives mean slow death to the more valued members of the colony. Therefore, I have no alternative but to sentence you to death. Your execution is so ordered, signed Kodos, Governor of Tarsus."
That was when the time of screaming, death and hunger started.
For some time, he had been able to escape with group of children, when family of Aunt Alison had been murdered in front of his eyes. Soon, he became their leader, showing them how to put the theory he read about in book put to use. They were able to escape for several weeks, all of them too weak in the end to run anymore. That was when Kodos' men captured them. He was dragged away from the rest, to the Governor himself.
With him, there were eight other children of various ages. Kodos had them listen to another of his speeches. Something about opposing him, instead of doing what they had been told to. To Jim it didn't make much sense. And part of him thought that even Kodos himself did not really know what he had been talking about, his eyes having strange glow to them.
The Starfleet finally showed up.
He didn't know what exactly was happening afterward, as the next thing he remembered was waking up on medical shuttle on the way to Earth, medics rushing all around, an IV stuck in his hand, droplets dripping slowly. "Don't worry, you're safe now," said one of the nurses, who noticed him awake, "just few more hours and you will be with your family again."
The nurse had obviously no idea what she was talking about, though Jim later, when there had been some people from Starfleet Intel, asking him about things. What has it been like before the massacre? Why was he at Tarsus IV in the first place? Did he see Kodos? Could he describe him? So many questions and he was just so very tired.
Frank had been by his side ever since the medical shuttle hit the ground, leaving only when the Intel guys forced him. Jim thought it had been rather fitting that it had been Frank in the end who made him live again that was when his body refused to understand that dying now is no longer an option of escaping the cruel reality.
"I dare you to best your body," he said. And that was obviously the impulse his mind had been waiting for. In matter of few short weeks he's going through rehabilitation to strengthen his muscles, so he can go home with Frank again. Part of his psyche was still affected by the famine, though. If someone didn't tell him to eat, he would simply forget. When Frank got him new PAD, he programmed it that every few hours it would give a soft buzz which would mean it's time to eat.
Mother appeared soon after that, hysterical beyond all reason that her little baby could die. As if she cared, though Jim acidly. It was her fault that the kids at school were teasing them because she never was on Earth when it mattered. It was her fault that Sam was still not found. It was her fault that he had been sent to Tarsus, where he nearly died. And here she was, acting as if nothing really happened.
She said something what sent Frank over the edge. Was it something about him not being the perfect son? Or about Frank not being the best caretaker for her children? He wasn't sure but there had been lots of shouting again, and accusing fingers. Mother crossed the line when she slapped Frank and told him she will delete him from boys' files as their immediate family, and take her boy with her.
He finally had enough of mother who never had been there. He stood in front of Frank, telling her with calm he never knew he possessed that he won't leave Frank. Part of him panicked, when he saw the look in her eyes. Almost without knowing what he's doing he clung to his uncle, holding tight, afraid to be dragged away from what he started to recognize as safe haven.
"I don't know you," he told her, and something in all of them broke. She just stared back wordlessly, before turning around and leaving, not looking back.
It was just the two of them again, this time with no fragile peace between them. Jim would go to school, do his schoolwork, help Frank with cleaning the house and preparing the dinner They both started to study Jim for early entrance to high school, Frank for finishing the degree he was going for when the Kelvin disaster happened.
When Jim finished the high school and got his tests done, Starfleet invited him to join their ranks. Some part of him was telling him to join but he decided against it. University was in his future, not the Starfleet. So he started getting several degrees, mainly in sciences. And between the classes, he would drink and get into fight. Regularly.
He ended at police station every time, battered and bloodied from the latest of his fights, waiting for Frank to come to take him home. Soon, he was known as that infamous Kirk guy drunkard, ruffian and womanizer. He understood the first two but him and being a womanizer? He knew he was quite a look and he flirted a lot, that much was true. But if he slept with tenth of the women he flirted with, it was too much. But obviously, the girls decided that whoever hadn't slept with him was a looser, so they kept on creating more and more stories about how they got seduced by him. Sometimes, he was unsure if he even spoke to the women he was supposed to sleep with.
His life changed when he entered the Riverside bar one day it's full of people in red uniforms; girls were wearing short skirts, showing their legs off. Starfleet cadets. He flirted a little here and there, aiming towards the bar. When one of the girls came to bar, ordering drinks for about twelve people, he started to flirt with her. She was pretty, alright. But it was cold beauty; full of barely hidden disdain towards everyone who didn't wore the same uniform. If he didn't notice that one of her classmates, a burly young man, was following her, he wouldn't probably try so hard to be charming. He felt a flash of pride when he obviously surprised her by knowing what linguistic is about. Well, who wouldn't know it, after they studied advanced form of it?
The burly guy obviously got the impression that he's not respectful toward the girl, Uhura, enough. And started a fight. One boobs-grope, several bruised ribs, lots of broken glasses and tables later, a sharp whistle pierced through the pandemonium.
"Cadets, out," sounded clear man voice, carrying commanding tone.
The cadets cleared the whole bar, leaving only the barkeeper, Jim and the man there. "Wow, you can whistle really loud," blurted Jim the first thing which came to his mind. The man just quirked a quick smile. While he was drying the blood from his face and ordering himself a drink, the man who didn't stop staring at him intently finally introduced himself. Captain Christopher Pike. The guy who wrote the dissertation about Kelvin.
He told him that Starfleet could use someone like him. That his father didn't believe in no-win scenarios. "And look where it got him," said Jim resentfully.
Pike just smiled. "Depends on your definition of win, James Kirk." He rose from him chair. "Your father was Captain for twelve minutes and saved eight hundred lives. I dare you to do better."
That was it. His life had been once again steered in another direction by a dare, thought Jim next day, as he sat in transport ship to San Francisco, next to the only guy in civilian clothes, Leonard I-may-throw-up-on-you McCoy. While they were trading jokes well, he was telling the jokes, Leonard was answering them with sarcastic remarks. The guy was obviously trying to overcome some kind of phobia aviophobia? and let's face it; he would rather face sarcastic remarks to anything he says than to get thrown up on.
When they were getting out of the shuttle, he remembered what Leonard told him. "All I have left are my bones." Bones. He smiled. Leonard just got an absolutely amazing nickname.
The same day he enrolled to Starfleet Academy, he called Frank as soon as he was able to get to comm unit in relative privacy. His uncle answered the call almost t immediately, as if he had been expecting the call.
He gave him his patented smile. "Hello, Frank, I have some news for you." Explaining what happened was quite easy. Frank didn't seem very surprised, as he recounted happenings of previous night, only smiled a bit when he heard the dare.
"I hope you know what you are doing, James," said Frank before the closed the connection.
Jim just gave him humourless smile. "Yeah. Me, too."
Like always before, Jim called home every few days, sharing tales and gossips. He didn't share everything, though. He knew that Frank surely heard the gossips about his womanizing ways. The gossips started here, too, only few days after his name appeared on the test results with top marks. Not that he didn't like hearing about his amazing technique or women flirting with him. Far from it. Even he had some standard he wouldn't jump into the bed with every woman who offered. For something like that, he had too much to do in the three years he was to finish the Command track, as well as all those courses he took as extra. Returns home, to Riverside, were far and long in between but always balm to his nerves. Frank didn't judge him, just like Bones. They heard the gossips and thought nothing of that.
Last of the things he wanted to do was to beat Kobayashi Maru simulation. They said it's an example of no-win scenario. Ha! Nothing like no-win scenario existed in his opinion. After the test defeated him for the second time, he finally got it. The test was a cheat in its unfeasibility. He spent endless hours searching for clues about its coding. In the end he found them and successfully hacked into the program source. Installing a subsection which would allow the scenario be beaten was piece of cake, compared to the previous effort.
To say that he was in a somehow high spirits was an understatement. In a few days, he will show them all. Right now, his success was calling for a celebration. Sadly, it went nowhere the person who he wanted celebrate with was roommate of the girl who was the reason for his entrance to Academy Uhura. And she walked on them before they could get anywhere, throwing him out of their room dressed only in his underwear. But what she aid before she heard his breathing caught his attention the Klingon fleet had been destroyed by a surprisingly advanced ship. And the ship appeared out of nowhere company of strange phenomenon which looked as a tropical storm taking place in space.
It didn't click together in his head for several days but once smuggled to Enterprise on the way towards Vulcan, which sent emergency call, under pretence of being sick (which in the end wasn't so far from truth), he finally realized the significance of that phenomena.
Vulcan wasn't facing geologic catastrophe. It has been attacked by Romulans.
Make other believe him had been quite difficult task not only because of the fact that one of the people to convince of the truth in his words had been the instructor, who called an academic hearing about his so-called cheating of Kobayashi Maru simulation. Add to that, the mentioned instructor had also been secret boyfriend of the icy beauty. Birds of feather, really. She would judge him on his supposed promiscuity but the fact that she is dating one of the instructors and obviously using the connection to get on Enterprise (he knew for sure she had been supposed to be on Reliant), was obviously completely alright. Double standards be praised.
After Captain Pike had been captured by the Romulans and the Vulcan destroyed, he rebelled quite openly against decisions of Acting Captain Spock. Unsurprisingly, it ended with him being dumped on Delta Vega, one freezing hell of a planet. Browsing through the survival box he thought that Cupcake, the security guy back from Riverside bar and now deck of Enterprise, really had to get kick of this, since the survival box was incomplete, things like phaser or hand torch completely missing. When he was trying to escape some kind of snow monster oh, but the planet was suppose to be safe, who would have thought something will come up and bite him in the ass? he definitely was coming up with several ways how to get back to Cupcake for that.
When the man who saved him from the snow monster revealed himself as Spock, he couldn't stop himself from blurting "bullshit". Really he doubted that the green-blooded bastard could ever seem so warm and friendly. And more warm and friendly towards him. One mind meld later, he understood. Vulcans could feel emotions this one felt them so strongly that James jumped away from him, tears streaming down his cheeks. On the way towards the Starfleet station they were silent Spock probably didn't deem speaking now logical and Jim had his head full of what leaked through in the mind meld. So, it looked like this Spock knew him in another lifetime. Was a friend with him. He also knew his father in fact, his father was what inspired him to join the Starfleet. And he was Captain of Enterprise. It came as a surprise to Spock, that here he wasn't Captain that he had been dumped to Delta Vega by his version of Spock.
Everything changed once they set their feet in the station. The engineer there was obviously some crazy genius known to Spock, the one who came up with transwarp transport in other timeline. He was also the one who managed to lose Admiral Archer's beagle. Spock corrected his theory and sent them to Enterprise. Jim wanted him to come with them, which Spock refused. Later, part of Jim understood why. In the cold eyes of Spock, who faced him on the bridge (where he was dragged together with the engineer, Montgomery 'Scotty' Scott by no one else but Cupcake himself), he could clearly see the small flames of emotions, which he fed by each word that passed through his lips.
"You never loved her!" he threw in his face, desperate for final show of emotional compromise. That was the proverbial straw that broke camel's back. With roar, Spock pounced at him, throwing him around the bridge for a bit before he found himself over the console, furious Vulcan on his throat. If not for intervention of his father, Jim would be dead in matter for seconds. Like this, Spock gave up command and left to compose himself, his father trailing in his steps but not before throwing Jim unreadable look. Same went for Bones, who definitely didn't show as much belief in his as usual. And Uhura gave him even colder shoulder, if that was still possible.
"I hope you know what you are doing, Captain."
"So do I," he said, obviously surprising her, before he addressed the whole ship. The ship's course changed from Laurentian system to Earth, to intercept the Narada, before it destroyed the planet. It looked like the ship was composed mostly of some kind of geniality trust, since there had been some miracle navigator of name Chekov; amazing pilot Sulu (who was with Jim back at the drill over Vulcan) and Scotty is even more of a genius than he seemed to be before. Spock looked like was able to regain some of his balance at least the outer balance; Jim didn't know anything about the inner one. He saw sparks of what the other Spock meant when he slapped his Spock on the back before they prepared for transport to Narada. He was scared of what was about to happen, if they didn't succeed. But the crew didn't want to see scared, unsure Captain. They wanted to see cocky and arrogant James Tiberius Kirk, the guy who slept his way trhough cadet ranks and cheated at unbeatable test simulation.
When Jellyfish, ship as advanced as Narada, only much, much smaller, called Spock 'Ambassador', he knew that Spock knew something wasn't said to him but they didn't have time for further questioning, parting ways with Jim flashing Spock another of his patented grins and "don't worry, Spock we'll make it" said over the shoulder, before Spock flew Jellyfish out and Jim run to find Pike. Two tries at let's-choke-Kirk-once-and-for-all later (why the hell do Vulcans and Romulans always go after his neck, Bones will kill him himself as soon as he lays his eyes on him) he finally manages to find the Captain, who doesn't look all that worse for wear. Well, he looked beaten and deathly tired but otherwise seemed quite fine to Jim's untrained medical eye. That was until Jim had to drag him away, as Pike was unable to move on his own.
"Holy cow," he wheezed, the triple chocking starting to catch with him now, "what did they do to you?"
"Centurian slug," murmured Pike, "forced down my throat "
Jim had more questions but seeing as Romulans were starting to come closer, closer and even closer, closing every possible escape route, so Jim did the only thing possible. Pulled out the communicator and shouted:
"Beam us up, Scotty, now!"
Jim, Pike and rather surprised Spock appeared on the transporter platform in a whirl of energy. Pike is immediately whisked away by med team, while the two of them run to the bridge. It was damn enjoyable to tell Nero "suit yourself", when he screamed he would rather died thousand times in agony that to accept their help. When Enterprise nearly followed Narada into the singularity, he finally let some of the panic and fear show. If not for Scotty's quick thinking, they would follow Nero and his crew into death. Now, they were only limping their way back to where Vulcan used to be, to look for any possible survivors and then continue to Earth. Luckily, there had been some life yet to save on the way, so it was not completely fruitless.
The whole bridge crew, made up from Jim, Spock, Uhura and Sulu, had been running non-stop for several days, writing reports, scanning the nearest space for possible help, running repairs and all of that before Bones made his way to the bridge and gave them an earful about irresponsibility. Jim wanted to tell him he's okay, no need to worry but being thrown around, choked and thrown around some more is not good for your health, especially when accompanied by lack of sleep and sustenance. Yet in the end, he was too tired for that, letting Bones lead him to sickbay without protest, just ordering the rest of the Alpha shift to take at least two shifts off, before they return.
He didn't know what exactly Bones did to him when in the sickbay but when he opens his eyes again about day later, he could breathe again without trouble, his muscles no longer screamed in protest every time he moves and he was hungry like he hasn't been well, for a very long time and to his surprise, there was a meal already prepared for him on the small table next to biobed he lied on. Bones himself was sleeping just across the room, looking more relaxed than he could ever manage looking while awake. His blanked slipped from his shoulders, so before Jim left, he pulled his covers up again, resting his hand on Bones' shoulder.
It still took him few weeks before he, Scotty and Uhura manage to patch comm systems good enough to be able to send at least short distance messages, few more days before they can broadcast the long distance ones. He records short message for Frank, shortly explaining what happened and promising to call once there will be any chance of it.
The opportunity presented itself soon enough and he were sitting in front of his terminal, nervous as a teenage boy before his first date. The first message was sort of a reply to the message sent to Pike Frank was rather desperate to know what happened to his nephew. Now it will be all real time and their time was limited, the rest of the crew wanting their chance to call home, too.
Frank responded the call almost immediately. His face, tight with worry, relaxed as soon as he saw who's on the other side of the screen. "James," he said, "you're alive."
And that was all Jim needed to hear before the words flew out of his mouth almost without thought. In the few minutes they had he didn't say many things which made any sense but the most important part was "we are going home, Frank. Starfleet will notify you and all the others about the date of our arrival. See you at the spaceport?" he asked in the end, unsure.
The last words he heard before the connection ended was chuckle and "ya bet you will, Jim."And he smiled.
Next few weeks before the finally find themselves orbiting Earth were endless. The good side of it was that the crew has finally seen that there is more to him he could hold more than just his own during staff meetings, was caught conversing with some of the Vulcan refugees in their own language and Sulu swore that he heard him singing some Russian song with Chekov or some song about pirates with Scotty, while they were doing something in engineering (with half of the engineering crew joining in for the chorus).
When Earth could finally be seen on the main screen on bridge, the whole crew was so caught up in cheering that no one but Uhura noticed the Acting Captain nodding absent-mindedly to the image, while quietly singing "I cherish you, planet of mine, your heat and cold "
All of the personnel and refugees were to transport to Earth in the next few hours, the bridge crew the last ones to leave Enterprise. When they were transported to the dock grounds, he looked around. Over there was Bones hugging his daughter, over there he saw Uhura, Chekov had been passed from arms to arms of his huge family Then he saw him.
For a moment Frank just gazed back at him. Jim's feet felt as if someone glued them to the ground. When he opened his arms, Jim didn't care that it didn't look professional at all and just run up to the man and hugged him tightly, clinging to his uncle, as if he were eleven again, not caring about the world around.
Several months later, after graduation and solving at least part of the mess created by Nero, there is another Academy hearing, with only about one third of graduating class attending. The rest was lost to battle of Vulcan. He was standing in front Captain Pike, who recovered well enough to be able to attend.
"I relieve you, sir."
"And I'm relieved," answered Pike with a small smile. Shaking his hands with Jim, he added: "Your father would be proud, Jim."
Jim looked over heads of the students assembled, towards the place where his only family sat and smiled. "I certainly hope so."
Frank smiled back and nodded slightly. And Jim knew that no matter what he will do in future, Frank will always be proud of him and that he actually is not as fucked-up as people around always seemed to say.
He was right where he was supposed to be. He was Captain of Enterprise, just like old Spock told him, so the reality tried to correct itself. He may even become friends with his Spock, if the said Vulcan returned to Starfleet, although he didn't count on it. Given the clear dislike he could feel from Spock and Uhura, any chances at building a friendship were quite in vain. But he had Bones, Sulu, Scotty and Chekov. And Frank.
Everything will be fine now, because he was home.