Takes place after the story Full Circle and after the movie Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home,between Peter Kirk and Carol Marcus. (And yes, I loath and despise Carol Marcus.)

DISC: Nope. Never did. Never have. Never will. But someone at Star Trek or Paramount could've tried to RSVP one of invites to my New Year's Party. Even if it was only me, my Mom and the cats. All right so the cats were the only ones who actually stayed up til midnight if you're gonna get picky!


A ONE-SIDED CONVERSATION ON GUILT

Entering the crowded lounge, he glanced around the loud and pressing mass of people searching for a specific figure. Remaining at the top of the steps, he continued scanning the scene barely able to see the outlines of the figures at each table by the tiny flickering candlelight adorning the center of each tabletop. Finally looking off to his extreme right he caught sight of the blonde woman he had been looking for most of the early evening sitting at the bar.

A determined expression settled quite easily on the man's face as he moved along the bar and snatched up the empty stool next to the woman's before she had a chance to react. Turning the seat toward the somewhat surprised older woman, he shook his head at the bartender when he approached.

"I know I'm intruding but I have very little time until I have to report back to Headquarters to catch my shuttle and I needed to speak you before I left. With everything the way it is I may never have the chance to say what's on my mind." Hesitating, he moved farther back onto the stool his navy blue eyes watching the woman's face carefully. "I suppose I should introduce myself before going any further. I'm Peter Kirk, Dr. Marcus."

At this the woman sat back on her own stool and gave the younger man a curious look although he did notice a flare of annoyance come to life in the back of Carol Marcus' blue gaze. If she thought it was going to be a slight deterrent she was going to find out that the Kirk's shared a few things besides a name.

"I'm going to start out by saying that 'he' doesn't know that I intended to talk to you. In fact, he thinks I'm on my way out of the system as we speak. So there isn't any need to blame him for this."

Peter smiled faintly as he wondered what his Uncle would think if and when he found out that his youngest nephew had lied to him about his departure time. Considering he was at this moment sitting around a campfire toasting marshmallows', swatting at bugs and listening to the Doctor's voice ramble on about life under the magnolia trees, Peter doubted that the man would've given it a second thought. That is until he discovered why Peter had lied.

"All right. What is it you want to say?" Setting her forearms along the edge of the bar, Carol Marcus smiled to herself instantly recognizing the forthright trait of a Kirk.

"He carries a lot of guilt with him. He always has. Guilt from things forty years ago to present day. Everything that happened aboard that ship or any command that he had. And with everything he takes away from all of that, guilt seems to be prevailing overall. He'll carry it with him for the rest of his life. It's a genetic pattern you could say. My father was the same way til the day he died. I'm sure that my Uncle will do the same. But I don't think he needs the strain of any unnecessary guilt in the meantime."

The corner's of her lips' twitched in growing irritation at the young man's immediate and blunt choice of conversation. She had an instant suspicion the second he introduced himself that he had searched her out for this particular purpose. Something she wanted nothing to do with at this point in her life yet. For the last few months she had ignored any type of contact that Jim had tried to make with her. She wanted to deal with her grief alone, while letting her anger and spite build a cold buffering wall around her to keep 'his' unwanted words from breaking through. The last thing she needed at this stage was another one of 'them' to come around and deliver a lecture on matter's that he had no clue about.

"How would you know anything about his 'unnecessary guilt's'?" She quietly asked, finding herself caught in the strangely profound dark blue stare.

"I've spoken to him. You haven't." Was the just as soft reply but with an edge to it. "I've also spoken to the one who was with David on the Genesis planet when it happened. There were a few things' she said to me. Nothing outright, mind you. But enough to get the idea."

As he spoke, a picture of Saavik came to life in Peter's head. He had only the one chance to actually speak with her when he had ventured to Vulcan to see his Uncle after their return from the Genesis planet. But he had been immediately struck with the struggle, she was carrying within herself. Or perhaps it wasn't the struggle itself, but the way she capable of keeping herself together after everything she'd been through on top of trying to maintain the control she had been training for most of her life. There was a great deal of dignity and ability in her being when he first met Saavik, but he had sensed something in her. Maybe it was the fact of being alone most of his young life he had become able to attune to individuals instantly or possibly she had wanted him to be made aware of it. Who knew? It was enough that he had to search her out and talk with her a few moments alone.

She had chosen her words and what she wanted to tell him carefully. He hadn't expected anything less and was capable of piecing enough together with what she had said and what he had gathered from his Uncle when they were alone, to come to a few conclusions of his own. For a while he had considered telling his Uncle, but realized it would possibly soften the internal anguish, yet it would hardly begin any kind of self healing coming from him. It needed to come from the only one who could make it mean anything.

He had carried around his thoughts and feelings on the subject feeling it necessary to vent them. And right or wrong, he was set to air them out if he ever was given the chance to meet the woman face to face that partially blamed for the weight of guilt that his Uncle was bearing on his shoulders now.

"The two of you kept quite a few things between yourselves didn't you? And don't misunderstand me. It's rare that a parent and child are as close as you and your son were. A lot of people spend their entire lives trying unsuccessfully to build what you two had with anyone. I have little doubt that 'you' did it out of love for your son, but you can't make me believe you weren't also wanting to keep him as close to your side and wrapped around your finger as long as possible. Out of protectiveness and hate. Everything you hated you instilled in him for the most part, which was a sense of protection for him. It kept him out of Star Fleet's hands, which also kept him from ever having contact with the man that was his father."

Peter knew he had hit a nerve by the resentful flinch that swept of over Dr. Marcus's face before she had a chance to look away from him. Cruel as he knew as it sounded it was what he felt he had to say, and by her reaction to what was said so far he had been closer to the truth than she cared to admit possibly to herself.

"A father that he somehow presumed knew of his existence and was lead to believe abandoned you with a child on your own. Now we both know Jim Kirk in different ways. However, you can't make me believe that you actually convinced yourself that if he had known of David's existence that he wouldn't have tried to contact you or make some type of attempt to see you or David. That was your doing. And did very deliberately. To keep David with you. Maybe to keep a little bit of a man that you knew you wouldn't ever be able to completely have. Or possibly as a bit of vindictive revenge against him. Whatever your reason, it's pointless to have let it be carried this far. David's gone. There's nothing more to be gained out of that, unless you plan on letting him walk the rest of his days carrying the guilt of something that he knew nothing of because of a choice you made."

Pausing Peter glanced at his wrist chrono briefly then gazed up to meet the harsh gaze of Carol Marcus, who was close to letting the young man know where he could take his beliefs and thoughts shove them until they bloomed next spring.

"Frankly, I don't care what you think of me, Dr. Marcus. After this I don't plan on seeing you again and I'm quite sure you have no intention of ever looking me up. That doesn't bother me, because this isn't about me. It's about a young man who held onto a lot of pain and hate that may or may not be the reason he's dead. And also about a man who's walking around with a load of anger and pain, some of which he doesn't deserve. One of them you can't do anything about. David will have that resentment with him for eternity. The other you can do something about, if you choose. You'll have to push aside the blame and bitterness about David's death first. He made his own decision's on that count. Decision's he made for your benefit and you know it. You were his mother after all."

Sliding off the bar stool, Peter glanced toward the tinted windows and gazed momentarily at the pinpoint lights that made the outline of the Star Fleet Headquarters and the Golden Gate Bridge. He had come to terms with what was to be important in his life year's ago aboard the 'Enterprise' when he and his Uncle had begun to share their grief over the death of Samuel Kirk. Admittedly they weren't as close as some, but they had maintained some type of contact through the years which had made them surprisingly closer than those who knew them would've guessed. He knew the feeling's of pain, loss and anger. But he couldn't understand why anyone would decide to use that as weapon against another sharing the devastating emotion's.

True, that maybe that wasn't her intention's at all. Yet they came across in that fashion loud and clear. Adding the fact that she had been avoiding any contact with the Captain since David's death wasn't helping the circumstances either. The turmoil of emotion's that were generated throughout this was pointless in his opinion. They weren't going to gain back a son. They weren't going to gain anything. Only lose more.

"I don't care what you do with your own grief and frustration. But I do care about my Uncle. He deserves to know everything that happened at the end between you and David. That David might have understood a little more than he showed toward his father. One way or another, my Uncle deserves a little consideration and some respite from his own regrets, even if it is minor."

"You have a great deal of well-controlled compassion. You must take after 'your' father." Remarked Carol Marcus sitting up again to meet the dark reflective blue eyes of the young Kirk.

Hesitating as he started to move away, Peter Kirk's mouth twitched with a tiny gentle smile. "Yes. Yes, I do. I knew my father, Dr. Marcus, not for as many years as I would've liked but I knew him well in the time we were together. He also had a hard lesson to learn before I came along in his life, but he had a chance given to him. Believe it or not, even with knowing what happened with him and his other son's, I can honestly say that whenever someone makes a similar comment to me, that I'm damn proud that anyone can see him in me. Good night, Dr. Marcus."

FIN