Jim had known that he and Leonard McCoy were going to be good friends when the man had taken the seat next to him and informed him that he'd probably get puked on. He knew it because they were going to Starfleet Academy together, and he was the only person on the shuttle who didn't look like someone had shoved a pole up his ass, so, statistically, the odds of Jim finding someone else to spend the next three years with were pretty slim. It was just lucky that Bones also happened to be one of the best men he'd ever met.

Jim had known that he was never going to get it on with Uhura when he'd seen her kissing Spock in the transporter room. He'd figured it out because if she was kissing Spock, and she'd been turning him down for years, then it was likely she had some weird alien-kink fixation. Which was fine – god forbid he should ever judge someone for their sex life – and it at least gave him a good explanation for all the turn-downs now. He tried not to think too hard on it when she dumped Spock for Scotty, though.

Jim had known that he and Scotty were both in love with the same lady when an alien species had offered to trade what amounted to half a planet for the Enterprise, and even though she was Starfleet's, and they never would have been able to accept anyway, the both of them had worn identically horrified expressions at the prospect. Pictures of it from the ship's bridge surveillance systems were still floating around, courtesy of some very amused (and anonymous) security officers.

Jim had known that Sulu was going to make one hell of a captain someday when he'd gone crazy with that weird alien disease and started running the corridors, waving a sword, pretending to be a musketeer, and snatching up 'damsels' left and right. The guy might have been one hell of a pilot, but like most species in the universe, Jim could recognize a member of his own kind when he saw them. Someday his helmsman's butt would be warming a captain's chair.

Jim had known that Chekov was going to endure some kind of horrible torture in his life the first time he'd seen the kid drink to his happiness. The universe was just far too fond of irony, and Chekov, with his startling intelligence, open, guileless demeanor, nervous smile and eagerness to prove himself was a temptation too strong to resist. The only thing for it was to start brushing up on his post-traumatic stress psychology while he still had the time.

Jim had known that he was going to die before Spock did the first time he stood in sickbay, staring at his first officer's prone form as his breathing came in a small, almost imperceptible rhythm, and finally felt the hard knot of panic and dread in his chest start to unwind. He knew he was going to die before Spock did, because his first officer's ability to suppress his emotions would make him strong enough to go on after that separation. He'd seen that grim determination in the older Spock as well. It was one strength Jim didn't think he'd have.

And he knew, then, that he'd also die alone – because he wasn't going to go as an old man in bed, and as long as his crew was with him, there'd always be someone to catch his fall.


Author's Note: Wound up writing a couple of snippets to get my brain working for 'Home' again (I stuttered. Apologies.) It seems to have worked, because I'm writing chapter twenty-five easily now, but I thought I'd post these to try and make up for the delay.