Fourth in the Conversation series. Picks up where Boy's Understanding left off at.

And I still haven't hear if Paramount is willing to make a deal yet or not, so for the moment I can still no longer lay claim to Star Trek


The gray skies were starting to break up when Captain James Kirk slowly made his way up the narrow pathway, thankful the rain had stopped before he started out. A few yards from the crest he had already spotted a figure standing just under the enormous spruce gazing down at the pair of blue marble grave stone.

He already knew Peter would be here even though the two hadn't spoken to one another for the last few weeks. Twenty years had gone by since Sam's death, actually tomorrow would mark the anniversary but he knew Peter would be shipping out early in the morning for the old Earth Colony 2. The same Colony that Sam had been in high hopes of transferring too shortly before his death on Denevan. He suspected that Peter wanted to chase that opportunity his father hadn't had a chance, and was going to do it under Star Fleet's flag. He had pulled together the two worlds of his family and did the near impossible by combining the two but doing so his way.

He had been keeping a closer eye on his youngest nephew than he let any of his friends know, from the moment the two had parted back on Starbase 12 twenty years earlier. And knew his brother would've been, or possibly was as proud of him as he was. He set out everything he wanted in his life from the beginning and kept as close to his plans as he was able to manage which was more than most could ever say in their lives. An ugly truth that he could admit to living through himself.

The last year and a half were a perfect example of that. First dealing with Khan's resurrected terror, then finding Carol and coming face to face with a son he had never known existed. Spock's ultimate sacrifice, saving the crew and the ship with the act. It had been a period of Kirk's greatest grief and anger that would've eaten him alive if there hadn't been another life or death emergency to focus his attention on.

With McCoy carrying Spock's katra around within his head unbeknownst to the rest of the crew and on the verge insanity, Kirk had little time to wallow in self pity. This was followed by a second trip to the Genesis planet to recover Spock's body, the destruction of the 'Enterprise' and the vicious death of his son David at the hands of the Klingon's. Even now, he hadn't had time to let that truly sink in, half afraid of what his own response would be if he did.

By the time they had returned Spock and McCoy to Vulcan for the fal-tor-pan ritual, then return to earth for the inevitable court-martial proceedings only to find the earth in need of their assistance again, he was on the verge of total exhaustion by the time it was done. Physically and mentally.

Somehow though it had all ended in a fashion that could be considered satisfactory. He had his rank reduced to Captain, but it gave him the opportunity to regain the command of his ship and regroup with the crew that was looked upon as the best Star Fleet had produced. His only real regret and remaining scar was David's death and Carol's cool avoidance of him.

The thought of David brought him back to his surroundings as he glanced back up toward Peter. He hadn't actually laid on eyes on the younger man in since they had been on Vulcan over a year ago, when he had been on his way back to earth to listen to Star Fleet's offer. His father's regard had steered him to the planet to check in with the wanted crew, and offer whatever he possible he could if it only be a few well-chosen words of concern and encouragement. They both knew there was nothing that Peter could've said to Star Fleet or the Federation that would've kept them from the charges they would be facing on their return, but he had taken the risk of letting the then Admiral that he was behind him no matter the cost.

Looking back now, Kirk realized that it had meant a great deal to see the young man walking up to the Klingon ship, 'H.M.S. Bounty' as it had been re-christened by the Doctor. At that point everything in his life seemed to be crashing into the ground, any chance of reconciling with Carol, his career with Star Fleet and possibly losing a man he considered to be close enough to be a second brother to him. He had his friends who were willing to walk the same road to whatever judgement they would find still standing at his side, but seeing Peter approaching and then clasping the tired Admiral in a tight bear hug had given him a resurgence in his spirit. It had been part of what had kept him going on until he found himself back on the bridge of his 'lady' again.

At this point they were the only family that had kept in contact with one another over the years, something that Peter had seemed determined to maintain even at the tender age of ten when they had departed back on Star Base 12. And in the twenty years since the death of Sam and Aurelan Kirk they had, in one fashion or another, managed to let the other know of what their lives were carrying on like. Something that was more than what James Kirk had had with his brother, father or son.

A strong tie that had begun because of a tragic episode that could've left both Kirk's empty and lost in their soul's. And now after twenty year's of struggling through pain and resentment, some of which he still held more deeply than even he knew, he had a better understanding of what Sam had tried telling him all those years ago before he boarded the 'Farragut'.

He had also carried the days he and Peter had spent together after the Denevan tragedy aboard the 'Enterprise' with him. The two had gained much from each other seeing something they had lost in Sam Kirk in the other. With his death, Sam had actually managed what he hadn't been able to while living. Bring the family closer.

Slipping his hand into a coat pocket, Kirk faintly smiled when he touched the small ornament that was sitting snugly in a corner. He had kept it with him from the day he had received it from the original five year mission aboard the 'Enterprise' to San Francisco and back to the newest 'Enterprise' he now commanded. It was one of few personal items that he had chosen to keep with him, and now he found himself ready to give up for the same purpose in which he had received it.

"I suppose you we're beginning to think I wasn't going to show up." He said when he approached the grave site and younger Kirk.

"I wasn't worried." Murmured Peter offering his hand to the Captain.

Taking the hand in his own, Kirk was impressed at the amount of strength in the man's grip, and quickly reminded himself again that this was a thirty-year-old man and not a ten-year-old boy.

"Been waiting long?" Asked Kirk glancing down at his brother's grave stone.

Following his Uncle's gaze, Peter barely shrugged a shoulder. "Ten minutes at the most. I figured you'd probably beam down as soon as you were in range instead of waiting for docking procedures."

"You're getting to know me too well." Kirk said looking back up into Peter's face.

"It's just I'd do the same thing." He replied reading the tired hazel gaze of his Uncle. "I'm glad you came out."

A corner of Kirk's mouth slowly pulled back into appreciative half smile. He was never sure of how to talk to the young man. Never sure of what he really expected or wanted him to say. He had had the same problem with David once they both stubbornly accepted the truth. With David though, he had felt that . . . his son had the same difficulty in dealing with his father. Peter was different. In that way he was different from the rest of the Kirk's for the most part. He never had trouble with expressing his emotions to anyone, although he usually maintained a quiet, controlled facade that Kirk faintly recognized as his own father's shadow. He was a strange contrast of his grandfather and father at times, with his grandmother's deep navy blue eyes.

"I brought something with me." Kirk finally said, breaking out of his tattered recollections while reaching into his coat pocket. "I thought with you heading out tomorrow for the Earth Colony. It might be an opportune time to be giving it back."

Peter's face changed slightly, softening by fractions already knowing what the Captain was referring to. "So, can I expect you to stop by while I'm out there?"

Retrieving the ornament from his pocket, Kirk glanced back at his nephew unsure if he really had heard him. "I don't know how many time the 'Enterprise' will ever make it out to that sector, but if I find myself any where near the Colony I'll drop by."

"Good. Maybe I'll even act like I know who you are when people ask about you." A familiar smile spread over Peter's face as his eyes fixed on the brass compass dangling from a dark red ribbon between Kirk's fingers.

Handing it over to Peter, Kirk let his own smile grow but only a few somber centimeters. "You might need this while you're out there now on the same tracks as your father and myself."

Taking the small compass in his fingers, Peter gazed at the inscription on the back. He knew every word, syllable and curve in each letter that was engraved in the metal case, even though he hadn't laid eyes on it since he had given it to his Uncle.

After a moment he swallowed, ran his thumb over the letters once more then glanced up at the Captain. "No. I don't need it. I know exactly where I have to go if I feel myself becoming disoriented in this universe."

An eyebrow twitched curiously along Kirk's forehead as he watched the younger Kirk hold the compass up, the ribbon between his fingers. Seeing the questioning look in his Uncle's eyes Peter smiled even more and tapped his chest with his free hand directly over his heart, then turned towards the enormous spruce tree. Moving to one of the lower handing branches he took a moment and weaved the ribbon around the frosty blue needles.

Satisfied with his work he took a couple of steps back and paused beside the Captain again. "I'm sure at sometime, there'll be someone who comes along who will need it just as much as we did."

Gazing at the small compass dangling from the branch, a glint of sunlight striking it along the edge, Kirk sighed in a satisfied manner then gave Peter a speculative look. "You sound as if you already believe that someone is going to be looking for it."

Watching the compass slowly turn on the ribbon, Peter's smile grew a fraction then raised an eyebrow a few millimeters and glanced over at his Uncle. "Being a Kirk, I've learned one thing. Anything is possible."

Placing a hand on his nephew's shoulder, Kirk nodded in the direction they had both come. "I'll buy dinner. It may be a few months before we have chance to talk again face to face."

Starting to walk away, Peter paused and glanced back at the grave stones then gazed back at Kirk. "Do you miss him?"

Kirk felt every molecule freeze at the echo of words from twenty years earlier, as he let his eyes drop to the blue marble stone then back at the younger man's gaze. "Yes I do, Peter."

With an understanding nod, Peter gave the grave one final look then rejoined Kirk as they started back towards the cemetery gate, neither one speaking as the left the other to their memories.

Over head the sky had clouded over once again the first few drops of rain starting to fall, splattering on the marble headstones. By the time the two Kirk's had disappeared it was raining steadily with a breeze also beginning to pick up sending the branches of the spruce to swaying, showering the blue needles on the graves.

In the next gust a slim deep red ribbon spiraled down until it draped over the name of 'George Samuel Kirk' chiseled in the stone. The glimmer of brass was gone though, but safe in the hands of a Kirk.

Okay, I end it here and in this fashion mostly for my own purpose of possible coming back around with a story to follow who took the compass. But it will be a separate story, if and when I do it. I think I might, but I'm not gonna make any promises at this moment. So you can choose to believe in the supernatural aspect or the suspenseful aspect of who the Kirk is that reclaimed the compass. Mostly cause I don't know and if I don't know I'm sure the Captain nor Peter would either.