Disclaimer: Still not mine.
A/N: Lifted from the wonderfully inspirational kink_meme: Winona Kirk hadn't given her youngest, Jim, more then a passing thought in about six or seven years... Until she starts getting calls from reporters wanting an interview with the mother of the hero who saved the federation.
Winona stumbled through the door and kicked it shut behind her, dropping her satchel unceremoniously at her feet and staring around the living room with bleary eyes. Christ alive, it'd been a long fucking day, and the aftermath was only just beginning. She'd caught bits and pieces of the newsfeeds, even if some of her colleagues' conversations had died the moment they'd seen her; she knew that thing that had taken her husband was back, and she knew it was gone. One of the feeds had reported that the sole surviving flagship, Enterprise, had lost its Captain—she remembered Chris Pike vaguely, he'd been one of George's friends so long ago—and that presumably First Officer Spock was now Acting Captain. She'd have to send him a personal note of congratulations and thanks, Winona mused to herself as she yanked off her boots and briefly rubbed her aching feet.
She walked into the kitchen and gave a numb look at the fridge before she shook her head and opened the cabinet over the sink. There, a bottle of Strathisle Scotch she'd been saving for years, one she'd never really thought to drink because she'd sworn she'd do it only when George had been avenged.
Tonight counted, and she carried her loot back to her favored recliner and dropped into it with a weary groan, flicking a bitter look at the message light blinking away. "How many messages?" she asked her machine.
"Yeah." She uncorked the scotch and took a long swig with no respect for its age or potency. She wanted to get utterly shit-faced tonight. The newsfeeds hadn't had much to go on—Captain Spock was too busy saving Earth to file reports, and Starfleet was a disjointed mess at the moment—so they'd filled their quota by digging up the clips about the Kelvin and George. Of course their next step would've been to come after George Kirk's widow. Winona supposed she should be grateful they hadn't gotten their hands on her Fleet comm, or she'd have been fielding them off at work too, but the house comm was public and she'd never gotten around to changing it.
Fuck it. She'd deal with them in the morning. She drank again and lowered the bottle, eyes burning as reaction really began to set in. Vulcan was gone. Half of the Federation's founders wiped away in one horrible blow, a proud and distinguished people who'd been exploring the stars hundreds of years before Earth even knew space flight existed turned into an endangered species in one fell swoop. Earth's beloved if austere partner gone with no warning, no chance of salvation. She shuddered at the thought and wondered how long it would take for the loss to really sink in. Right now Earth was celebrating its own survival thanks to the Enterprise's crew and their daring captain, but euphoria would fade with the night, and reality would soon set in.
She didn't bother to turn the newsfeeds on, there was no point. Earth was safe, Vulcan was gone, and all she'd see was George plastered across the screen, a stark contrast to the half-Vulcan who'd saved her world and lost his own, but beaten the ship that had murdered her beloved. No, better to get drunk, and she did just that.
She woke to birds chirping a bright greeting to the sun slanting through her windows, and a pounding head that sent her stumbling straight for the bathroom. She emerged an hour later, refreshed and not as hungover, thank God, and pulled on jeans and a t-shirt before she wandered downstairs. They had the day off at least, and by now it had probably become the week; too many people had died, Starfleet would shut down briefly in the aftermath to mourn and gather itself to move on. She grimaced at the messages—eighty-one, really? The reporters must be desperate for a soundbyte to be pestering her this long!—and ignored them in favor of the kitchen. The hangover blockers had kicked in, and a greasy fry-up sounded perfect today.
Winona wolfed down fried eggs, bacon, tomatoes and hashbrowns, savoring each guilty bite because what the hell, she was still alive to do it. Then she dutifully washed up before returning to the living room and grimacing at the machine—nearly a hundred messages now, dammit. Ignoring them was a temptation, but there might well be legitimate calls from friends worried about her. Sam would call her official comm when he couldn't get through, but not all of her friends had it. Sighing, she sank down into her recliner and braced herself.
"Computer, play messages."
"Commander Kirk, this is Jon White from the Iowa Star. I had a few questions about your reactions to the return of the ship that destroyed the Kelvin. My number is…"
"Mrs. Kirk, I'm Willa Richardson from the Herald, I was hoping to get your take on—"
The first twenty were about what she'd expected, and there were a handful of calls from concerned friends peppered through them, enough for her to keep going.
"Commander Kirk, I'm Henry Rosier from the New York Times. I'd like to discuss the recent events, let you have your say. How does it feel to know your son avenged his father and saved Earth? Please call me back."
Winona sat frozen, staring at her machine. Sam? Impossible, Sam was on the Lunar Colony, working as a biologist, and someone would've contacted her if he'd gotten swept up in this madness.
"I'm Amy Jireu from the Global Inquirer. We'd like the exclusive on James T. Kirk, and we're willing to pay you for it. Call me back."
Winona couldn't breathe. Not Sam. Jim.
"I'm Sam Atkinson from Federation News. We'd like to speak with you, Mrs. Kirk, see how you feel about being the mother of the hero who saved the Federation. Please call me back. Thank you."
Jim, a hero? The hero who'd saved the Federation? The boy she'd washed her hands of years ago had saved the world? Impossible, and the scorn rose thickly—and died when she remembered the half-furtive looks and the way conversations had died when she'd entered a room yesterday. Not because of George, as she'd assumed, but because of Jim. Because she boasted about Sam and Aurelan and their boys to anyone who'd listen, because she kept holos of them plastered across her office, but she rarely spoke of her youngest and when she did, it was always scornful. After all, one son had turned out fine, so she could hardly be blamed for the shuttle wreck that was her second.
She hadn't even thought about him, she realized slowly. Hadn't even wondered where he was, if he was all right. Hadn't cared enough to wonder, she corrected herself, because it'd be a miracle if she'd spared more than a passing thought to him over the past several years. Too much lay between them, and she'd never quite forgiven him for keeping her from going down with George, much less acting so much like his father. Sammy might've been George's namesake, but it was Jim who was a shining mirror of his father's indomitable spirit and durasteel determination. And she'd never forgiven that either.
Frank hadn't been the best of choices as a stepfather, but Sam had turned out all right. Jim, though, had gone from a quiet, biddable child to a fierce rebel overnight. So she'd shipped him off to her sister on Tarsus IV, relying on the colonial life to shape him up a bit. She'd gotten him back months later, a living skeleton with haunted, haunting eyes and nothing but savage contempt and deep distrust for those in authority. It had taken him months to recover physically, and the underlying distrust and borderline disdain had never vanished from his eyes. He'd never trusted her again. Nothing she'd tried had worked, not that she'd tried all that hard, not with George's eyes glaring back at her. He'd nearly flunked out of high school, hadn't even bothered with college, not that he'd had the grades or the brains to get into anything worthwhile as far as she knew.
In fact, when was the last time she'd even heard of him? Winona frowned as she thought back—three years ago, maybe? Then the usual scuttlebutt about George's youngest getting into yet another bar fight, drunken wreck, or combination of the above had simply died overnight. She'd been grateful he'd finally had the courtesy to go elsewhere rather than continue embarrassing her and tarnishing his father's name in his hometown, and then she'd put it aside, telling herself she'd done her best by Jimmy and he'd squandered every chance she could offer. He wasn't her problem anymore.
She fumbled the holo on and the Federation News logo popped up on the screen.
"—for those of our viewers just coming on, I'm Sam Atkinson, and this is Federation News," the anchor announced, his face solemn. "We've just received an update from Starfleet confirming the destruction of the ship we now know is called the Narada." He began a narrative as simulations flashed across the screen; the giant ship that had haunted her nightmares for twenty-five years pitted against the tiny form of the Kelvin, George's sacrifice for his crew, the reappearance of the ship above Vulcan yesterday and the frantic cry for help that had, ultimately, proven a trap costing Starfleet eighty percent of its graduating and junior classes. With the main bulk of the Fleet engaged elsewhere, they'd staffed their six ships in orbit with their cadets and nearly every officer on Earth and gone to save Vulcan, but five of the six had died at the Narada's torpedos, leaving only the flagship alive. The anchor solemnly related Christopher Pike's heroic sacrifice of himself to spare his crew, and then recounted Vulcan's death and the fraction of survivors evacuated in time, sparing a moment to honor Amanda Grayson specifically. Her loss had compelled her son, Acting Captain Spock, to remove himself from command as being emotionally compromised, and Acting First Officer James T. Kirk, youngest son of Captain George Kirk, had stepped up and taken command of the flagship. He had then planned and led a daring offensive which had disabled the Narada, including the mining rounds it had adapted to induce anomalies like the one that had swallowed Vulcan, and ultimately led to the ship's destruction. The Enterprise had survived, although it too had sustained heavy casualties in the battle, and was limping its way home at impulse, Atkinson concluded seriously. Captain Kirk's mother, Commander Winona Kirk, had not yet been available for comment.
Winona sank back into her chair, not sure if she wanted to laugh or cry. Jimmy had saved the world, had avenged his father. The boy she'd spent years considering useless in the back of her mind was the only reason she was still alive.
She hadn't even known he was in Starfleet.
No, Winona realized, that wasn't quite true. She'd gotten a comm three years ago, from a solemn-faced man in casual clothes who'd told her that Jim had enlisted in Starfleet, but she'd cut him off right there, sick to death of her youngest and his fuck ups. She'd sneered, she realized sickly, as she'd told him she didn't appreciate pranks like this, and he was damn well old enough to know better. His face had frozen, she thought now as she looked back through unclouded eyes, and his warm eyes had gone cold and hard. She hadn't cared at the time; Jim was a good hacker, she'd give him that, and it wasn't inconceivable that he'd hacked out her private comm number and put someone up to pranking her. She'd gone on to inform the man that if Starfleet was desperate enough to recruit criminals they were welcome to her son; she'd had enough, she'd shouted, and she never wanted to hear from him again. The man had nodded briefly, informed her that he'd consider that permission to remove her from Jim's emergency contacts and put himself down instead since she clearly didn't want Jim and he did, and disconnected without bothering to tell her his supposed name.
She'd been grateful, Winona admitted sickly. Grateful she wouldn't have to deal with Jim again when he hadn't followed up on the prank, when nothing but silence had come, and she'd put him out of her head for good.
The official image of Captain Christopher Pike flashed on the screen and she groaned as she recognized the man who'd contacted her three years ago and watched her with cold eyes. Lovely, just fucking perfect. No wonder she hadn't gotten any of the usual updates and the like that most parents of Starfleet cadets did; Pike had clearly taken her at her word, and taken Jim. She wondered briefly if Jim knew about it, and what he'd made of someone who wanted him that badly.
She'd fucked up, big time. She'd neglected her youngest, she'd blamed him instead of listening, and in the end, she really hadn't given much of a damn about him. She'd been convinced he was rotting in a bar somewhere when he'd been out saving the Federation.
Maybe it was too late, but she had to try, had to at least make an attempt to bridge the gulf she'd built between them. He was her son, and the thought of losing him hurt because she knew how close he'd come to dying yesterday. He might've died a hero but he'd still be as dead as his father.
George had sacrificed himself as much for Jimmy as he had for her, and she'd blamed Jim for that. She'd never once stopped to think that he was the last thing George had given her.
Winona wiped away the tears she hadn't realized were falling and nodded grimly to herself. It might well be too late to fix this, to salvage some sort of relationship with her son, but it wasn't too late to try. And if he slapped her attempts away, if he ignored her as she had him, well, she'd try again. Because she'd given up too early and too often when he was a kid, and she wasn't going to do it again, not this time. He'd made himself a man without her—she wondered what hand Chris Pike had played in the man Jim had become, and surprised herself by hoping it was a big one—and she wanted to know that man.
Taking a deep breath, she reached for her comm and called an old friend. "Jon? It's Winona. I was wondering if you had Jim's number…"