Remember Who You Are
Summary: The Enterprise is sent to represent Starfleet at the opening of a memorial at the new colony on the restored planet of Tarsus IV. Jim is distressed, but his crew doesn't know why.
AN: Oh. My. Gosh. I CANNOT believe how long it's been since I updated. I am ashamed. Very, very ashamed. You know how I said I would try and updated before my life got really busy? Yeah, well I was too late (School. grrr...). It didn't help that after I uploaded the previous chapter and read what was going to be my last chapter, I was tempted to throw the whole thing out because it was incredibly awful. (I had written the whole story before I started posting it, but I'd rushed the last chapter so when I went back I didn't like what happened, the people's reactions, my grammar, etc.) So the chapter had to be edited. A lot. The problem was that I didn't find time to really sit down and edit it until Thanksgiving (for those of you outside of the US, that's late November). Then I didn't get around to posting it until now, after the holiday season. Gah.
AN2: TO ALL OF YOU WHO REVIEWED: I am so incredibly sorry that I did not respond to most, if not all, of your reviews since the last chapter. When I was posting more regularly, I would upload my next chapter, respond to all my reviews from the previous chapter, and then post the chapter. So I told myself I would respond to your reviews when I posted this last chapter. It was supposed to motivate me to get working on it. Now I feel that it would be kind of pointless to respond to a review you sent me...f-f-four months ago!? (facepalms on the desk.)
AN3: THANK YOU TO ALL WHO FAVORITED, ALERTED, OR REVIEWED. 3 You guys are so great. And you kept me from forgetting about this story; how could I when my email inbox was flooded everyday with a notice saying [New Story Favorite] and [New Review] and [New Story Follower]? So thankyouthankyouthankyouthan kyouthankyouthankyou!
AN4: And now...the final chapter! (I only hope it was worth the wait.)
As always, thanks to FyreFlyte for reading this, getting excited about it, and encouraging me to get it all written.
Disclaimer: I do not own Star Trek, Star Trek:2009, Jim Kirk, Spock, Tarsus, etc. And the title of this story was inspired by the song Sound the Bugle by Bryan Adams from the Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron Soundtrack.
Chapter 5: Group Hugs and Healing
The only sound in the room was that of Jim's choked sobs. He tried to suppress each one, but it was a lost cause from the start. Every time he breathed out, his breath hitched. It had been so long since he'd cried, and never had he ever cried quite like this. He heard movement behind him but didn't turn around. Here he was, surrounded by people he cared about and whom he had hurt. And he was sobbing. How pathetic. He didn't think any of them had ever seen him cry except Bones, but that one time had been different.
Suddenly a pair of arms wrapped themselves around Jim and something wet pressed itself into his shoulder. He looked down in surprise to see Kev with his face buried in his shoulder. Then Tom was also there, wrapping his arms around both of them. Jim enveloped them both, and buried his face between Kev's head and Tom's shoulder. They stayed like that, holding each other and crying together. It was comforting, refreshing, healing to cry like this with them.
He was vaguely aware of a hushed feminine "Out!" followed by shuffling, more hushed grumbling, an abruptly cut off "But vat-," and a "Dammit kid!" before the door to the room clicked shut and the three old friends were left alone with their memories and each other.
Jim felt a small smile sneak it's way onto his face. When he finally looked up and met Tom and Kev's gazes, they were smiling too, drinking in the sight of him.
After a few minutes, they broke apart, wiping their eyes.
"So how did you figure it out?" Jim asked, addressing Kev.
"Your name was on the list of the dead." Kev said ruefully.
Jim's eyes widened at that. "Oh. Um, does that mean my name is on the memorial too?"
"Wonderful. I suppose we'll have to fix that."
A couple of moments passed in silence, then Tom posed the question they all wanted to ask: "Why didn't you tell us you were alive? Why didn't you contact us before?"
Tom sat back and crossed his arms, fixing Jim with a glare and a frown. This was the sort of reaction Jim had been dreading, and he couldn't help his involuntary reaction in which his shoulders slumped and he turned away, not meeting their gaze, fresh tears brimming in his eyes.
"Whoa, hey JT," Tom exclaimed in alarm, reaching toward Jim and pulling him back. "It's gonna be okay. We are really glad to see you."
"Not disgusted, annoyed, and disappointed that I'm a coward?" Jim muttered, glaring at the floor and angrily brushing away his tears.
"JT!" exclaimed Kev in shock, at the same time Tom spluttered, "Excuse me?"
Jim looked up at them, perplexed.
"Well, aren't you?"
"For the love of- no we are very well not!"
Jim blinked. "You're not."
"I'm mad that you would even think that we'd hate you!" Tom exclaimed.
"Seriously JT. You think you were the only one who tried to forget about T-Tarsus completely?" Kev said, wincing slightly at The Name. "I hadn't heard from Maggie since the day she went back to Earth until today," he continued, "but at least I knew she was alive, or at least that she had survived. Unlike you."
Jim blinked. "Oh."
"What I want to know is why you didn't tell me who you were when you found out that I was on your ship and we were going back to this nightmare," Kev said, grabbing Jim's hand as Tom laid
his hand on Jim's shoulder.
Jim gave a dark chuckle. "What was I supposed to say? I got out of the hospital on Earth five weeks after I'd been brought in, and tried to ignore the whole experience for the rest of my life. That included not trying to find you or contact you. And I was succeeding too, until we had to attend this service." He turned to Kev. "I honestly didn't know you were on board until you beamed down this morning," he said, placing his hands on Kev's shoulders. "I had trouble paying attention when we first received our mission instructions, and didn't even know we were bringing a survivor to the ceremony." Jim drew Kev into a hug. "You've grown up so much."
Kev grinned. "I can't believe I didn't figure it out before: James T. Kirk, hero of Tarsus and savior of Earth. It makes sense."
"Yeah I know!" Tom exclaimed. "Goodness knows you've been in the news enough." He squinted at Jim. "It must have been the hair-your hair is a lot darker now than it was then."
Jim snorted in amusement.
Just then there was a light knock on the door and Uhura stuck her head in. "Sorry to interrupt but-" her head disappeared abruptly and a hissed "no, not now Scotty!" was heard. She stuck her head back in and continued: "Sorry, but the gathering just let out, and you should probably wrap this up if you don't want everyone walking in on you guys."
"Thanks Uhura," Jim said, and with a nod she left, closing the door behind her.
The three survivors turned to look at each other again.
"We've come a long way from that," Kev said, gesturing at the large picture behind them. The three stood shoulder to shoulder, gazing at the image of their younger selves.
"Yeah," Jim agreed. "Thank you for, you know, carrying me then," he said, somewhat awkwardly.
"And thank you JT for leading us through that," Tom said. He then snickered. "I understand why you didn't stay for the moment of silence now. That must have been awkward."
"Yes," Jim agreed, shuddering, "yes it was."
"So," Kev said, opening the door, "shall we?"
Jim straightened and, with a nod, went out into the day to confront the rest of his ghosts from this planet.
"So," Jim said, shifting nervously under Bones' scrutinizing gaze.
"So," Bones stated, facing his friend with his arms crossed and tapping his foot, waiting. The rest of the bridge crew, plus Kev and Tom, looked on.
"How many hypos do I get for this one?"
"Goddammit Jim!" Bones seethed, breaking out of their stand-off by whipping out a hypo and brandishing it at the source of most of his problems. "I'm your doctor and your friend! You're supposed to tell me about these things! It would explain some of your wacky self-destructive habits that I've been wondering about for years!"
"Sorry!" Jim pleaded, dancing around the table away from the doctor and the dreaded pointy needle. "If it helps any, I never told anyone."
"Ever?" Sulu gasped. "But that's unhealthy!"
"Indeed," Spock intoned. "Humans especially need to express their emotions to others after great emotional upheaval."
"Because you're so good at that," Jim muttered under his breath, dodging behind Spock who found himself between Dr. McCoy and the captain.
Spock stepped to the side, forcing Jim to flee again, and fixed him with a withering look. "I am part Vulcan. I meditate."
"Really?" Tom said, looking at Spock curiously. "I've never met a Vulcan before. I was wondering what was up with your ears."
Spock blinked at Tom, eyebrows twitching in confusion. "I do not understand. My ears are not 'up.'"
"Never mind Spock," Jim grinned, twirling and snatching the hypo from Bones' grasp, and tossing it in the trash as everyone else, except Spock, started laughing. Bones threw his hands in the air and muttered something about next time.
"Well," Kev said. "Now that we've told the crew, we should really tell the other survivors."
Jim swallowed nervously. "Yeah, yeah I should." He stood up, and so did everyone else in the room.
"I said we," Kev said, as he and Tom came to stand next to Jim. Bones started to say something but he was shushed by Uhura. Jim shot him an apologetic glance (which was met with a glare that made Jim dread the next time they would meet) and then headed through the door, Kev and Tom on his tail.
Kev grinned, bouncing up and down excitedly. "Ben's gonna have a heart attack when he finds out who you are!"
Jim patted the dirt down and stood up, brushing off his hands.
"There. There are now fifty-seven trees for fifty-seven survivors."
His crew clapped and Kev whooped out loud. Jim looked around at the memorial. It had been two days since his friends had found out what was possibly his darkest and best kept secret. The name stone had been updated, and he had spoken to, apologized to, and cried with every one of the fifteen other kids. Ben had even fainted. Jim had relived good and bad times with them again and again, finally facing his past and finally starting to heal.
That business finished, it was time to head back home to the Enterprise. They were already a day late for their next mission. As the command crew plus Lieutenant Riley prepared to beam back up, Jim hugged Tom one last time.
"You'd better keep in contact with me this time, you idiot," Tom growled, hugging back fiercely, "You and Kev both."
"I will, I promise," Jim assured him.
He went to stand next to Bones.
"So JT," Bones scowled, "As soon as we beam back up to the ship, you are coming to Sickbay and sleeping for eight hours."
"Sleep?" Jim asked, surprised. Sleep was the last thing he expected his best friend to make him do first. Jim had been preparing to explain himself to his long-time best friend all day. Sleep was supposed to come many hours later afterhe had talked to Bones and then avoided him by helping all over the ship. The hypo was inevitable, but it wasn't supposed to come so soon.
"Yes sleep. In sickbay. Where I can make sure it's peaceful. Because if I'm right, and I usually am when it comes to you and emotions, you haven't had a good night's rest since we found out about this mission over a week ago. You worried about it constantly, probably had nightmares, and probably stopped sleeping at all. Then you tried to hide it from the rest of us - which, mind you, didn't work very well. Everyone knew something was up, we just didn't know what. And so you got yourself so worked up about everything that you started blubbering like a baby when it all came down on your head."
Jim grinned. "You know me too well Bones. It's good to know you haven't changed now that you know about this. Really good."
Bones huffed. "When I feel like getting drunk I'll grill you for the details. Any other major parts of your tragic past I don't know about?"
"Well, you know about the brother that left, the absent mother, and the abusive stepfather," Jim said, listing them on his fingers. "Did I ever tell you about-"
"Stop! That was supposed to be a rhetorical question!"
"I know Bones," Jim smirked. "I was just kidding."
Bones opened his mouth but was interrupted by Uhura who was holding her communicator.
"Captain, Admiral Pike is waiting to talk to you. I suspect it has something to do with you and," she gestured vaguely at the ground. "This."
"Wait, how could he know?" Jim questioned, alarmed. Pike wouldn't be happy to learn that he was a survivor.
Bones rolled his eyes. "Your crew kept all the reporters off you while you were making up for lost time with your buddies."
"Wait, really?" Jim said, looking at him in shock. "I didn't even notice. How could I possibly have not noticed?"
Bones snickered. "Vulcans can be very intimidating."
"What he means," Uhura interrupted impatiently, "Is that I told them to leave and Spock backed me up." With a flip of her hair, she marched off to stand next to the aforementioned Vulcan.
"Alright, what really happened?" Jim demanded, turning to Bones.
"Uhura told the reporters to back off, one of them tried to get passed her by pushing her aside, and so Spock used his Vulcan nerve pinch on him, confiscated his camera, and politely informed the group of reporters that if they didn't depart from the planet within the next twelve hours he would have them arrested for harassing a Starfleet officer."
Jim shook his head. "Have I ever told you guys how awesome you are?"
"Yeah well, it's inevitable that the rest of the world will find out now. Anyways, you can proclaim our greatness to the world after you've slept."
"What about Pike?"
Bones shrugged. "Too bad for him. He can talk to you later."
When Jim tried to protest, he held up his hand. "You owe it to me for never telling me. No arguing."
Jim sighed and pulled out his communicator.
"Kirk to engineering. Eight to beam up."