Takes place sometime between Star Trek: TMP and Star Trek: TWOK, and when you read this, arriving at the end and saying 'Wait a minute!', you may want to go read 'A Conversation Between Stranger's' to have an idea of whole thinking behind all these oddities that seem to keep cropping up among these stories. But it's not necessary if you want to consider this an AU story instead. Whatever, have fun with it and I hope it does surprise one or two!

Disclaimer: Star Trek and Paramount still don't think a dollar a down and a dollar a day is not enought to consider getting a contract ready, so ! still can't claim ownership.


A FATHER LOSS

"I'll see you the first chance I get. Take it easy until then son."

The younger man winked as he released his grip from the other man's hand and began to move away, heading toward the lounge doors.

Mouth pursing in thought, Kirk stared at the now empty doors then shifted his gaze back out the viewing window at the half dozen ships moored in the bay. The 'Enterprise' seemed to be a mere scant dozen yards or so from where he stood, while on the other side of it was the smaller ship the boy would be taking.

Clasping his hands behind, he found himself still working around that one word that he had been trouble bringing forward for the last three days. Son. But even when he finally had found the strength to use it, the attempt had come across far from what he had wanted to mean.

He seriously wondered if he should have told the whole truth to the young man this time, from beginning to end and risk the boy's ugly reaction to it.

'How do you know he doesn't already know?' Came the complacent voice from the back of his head, as it always did at these times.

'Because if he did, he would have tried breaking my neck instead of wanting to spend the time with me these last three days before shipping out.' Sighed Kirk, knowing the boy would have every right to do so once he was given the truth.

'Oh, I don't know. ThIS entire family seems to have one hell of a long forgiving and understanding streak running through it. That's what generally gets you into these damn contrite corners of yours.' The voice snorted back.

Wincing inwardly at the words that had hit their mark, Kirk sighed again and reconsidered the choices he had made that lead up to this inner dialogue.

Admittedly it started and ended with him. These types of situations always seem to. He had been the one who had the relationship with the boy's mother, believing at the time that it may have lead to something more. More permanent. More meaningful. More of everything that he thought he needed at that time in his life.

He was young, barely had his lieutenant bars pinned to his shirt, the green behind his ears still reasonably fresh and the 'U.S.S. Farragut' as his future at that moment. She was a few years younger than him, knee deep in every science class that the Academy had open space in and could've had any future she wanted at a whim.

As time went by, Kirk realized that he wasn't part of that future she had in front of her. Especially when he was finally given his assignment aboard the 'Farragut'.

It had taken him three hours and four stiff glasses of bourbon to work up his strength to finally go back to their apartment and break the news to her. The rest of the night she had cried in his arms.

They both knew it was impossible at the time for them to remain together. She knew there was no amount of asking, pleading or begging that would make him change his mind and resign to stay. As he knew there was nothing he could say to her to make her leave the Academy and become nothing more than a 'camp-follower'.

Before he left, something had made him decide to make that quick introduction between her and the man that would be known, even for the short amount of time, as the boy's father. Considering that both were in need of a someone who would possibly understand what the other was feeling, it had felt as the right gesture to do for both people. Each suddenly faced with their own painful loss at the same time. It would be a comfort for them both. A comfort that grew into a surprisingly passionate love.

He had tried to be happy for both. Which failed with miserable anger and resentment. Yet, that nagging voice had cynically pointed out it was his choice to bring them together. Something he finally acknowledged after God knows how many sleepless nights.

But when he received the word of the birth of their son, he had been stunned. Especially when all three were well aware that it had only been seven months since they three had gone their ways. She had never offered an explanation to him. And whenever they meet her eyes said enough for him not to press.

He realized the boy would be better off. Never having to wonder where his father was or if he was coming home at all. A place that could be called a home with people who would be there with him when he needed them. Not when it was convenient for them or for their superiors to let them be there. However, like with everything life it was short lived.

In fact, they hardly had a chance to begin when it was taken away. And yet there was nothing he could do for them. Not the way he really had wanted. A promise had been made by and it was meant to be kept. Which he had done, much to his growing inner pain.

Now after all these years he wondered if he had chosen right to remain quiet even now. Didn't he deserve...Didn't the boy deserve the right...to let the truth come out?

He wasn't sure. He never was. It was something ugly and aching that he struggled with more and more. Wanting to say something. Anything. Like, 'My son.'

But it never came the way he really wanted it to be intended. Nothing did.

And again, he had lost. More in these small battles, than in any large scale clash he could recall. Little pieces of himself lost here and there with little hope of trying to putting himself back together. Simply because of not finding the courage to say what had been eating at him for some 20 years to tell the young man that 'he' was really his father. Would there ever be that moment in his life?

"Well. How did it go?"

From nowhere McCoy had snuck up beside Jim while lost in his reverie, startling him enough that he had to force himself from leveling an irate glare at the Doctor.

"Fine." He murmured staring back out the viewing window, his eyes focusing on a small worker bee as it swept over the 'Enterprise' hull. "Just fine. He seems excited about all of this and he's more than capable of handling anything they decide to throw at him."

Noting something under the odd tone of his friends words, Bones glanced out the corner of his pale eyes. There was nothing in the man's face that gave away what was going on inside his mind, which was normal when he was chewing on bitter memories.

"He's a good kid. Always has been, considering everything he's been through." Smiling faintly, McCoy glanced back out at the 'Enterprise'. "He seem to know what he wanted to do and did it. The best there is in his scientific field for his age. It's a shame he decided not to go into Star Fleet though. Yet he has youth on his side and can change his mind, I suppose. I guess it depends on how soon he screws up his life, like the rest of us."

Laughing softly at his own words, McCoy let it evaporate when he saw that his humor was not shared by his friend.

"He'll be fine, Jim." He quickly added feeling more than a little chagrined, sensing that maybe he had trespassed in the middle of a somber celebration. "And I think no matter what anyone else tells me about life, death and everything else, Peter's father is proud of him."

Swallowing a his heart that had leapt to his throat, Kirk maintained his control and slowly looked over at McCoy, a small weak smile showing up on his face.

"Yes Bones. I know his father is proud of him."

FIN