Day Going Home

by Starsinger

This is the epilogue. Jim's being discharged, and his first stop is Admiral Archer's office. Chekov, Spock, Uhura, and Sarek have been off on that pesky little mission into Bajoran Space, and he misses them. Don't own any of them.

Oh, instead of my usual rant, I present to you this simple song. Well, the first part of it anyway. If you want to hear it, it's the theme song from Star Trek: Enterprise, starring Scott Bakula (uh, someone else on my to drool over list) as Captain Johnathan Archer. I feel that it accurately describes Kirk and his crew at this point and time.

It's been a long road

Gettin from there to here

It's been a long time

But my time is finally here

And I will see my dreams come alive at night

I will touch the sky

And they're not gonna hold me down no more

No they're not gonna change my mind

(Chorus)

'Cause I've got faith of the heart

I'm going where my heart will take me

I've got faith to believe

I can do anything

I've got strength of the soul

No one's going to bend nor break me

I can reach any star

I've got faith

I've got faith

Faith of the heart

Jim and McCoy returned to the ICU where Jim spent the better part of a month. All the nurses looked up to see him standing there. He leaned on the cane that had once belonged to Christopher Pike and his hat was tucked up under his arm. Crachett was the first one to him. She enveloped him in a big bear hug. When he'd been so weak he couldn't feed himself, Crachett had been his favorite nurse to feed him. She was patient, and always had stories to tell about the latest shenanigans her kids were up to. Well, they were adults now, but, as she told Jim, if they're your kids, they're always up to something. When McCoy asked for her transfer to the Enterprise, Jim nearly fell out of his wheelchair to approve it.

"I know you're not here just to see me, I'll be seeing you up on that fabulous ship of yours in a couple of months," Crachett said.

Jim smiled down at her, "Yes, you will."

The other nurses came around. They loved it when a patient went from practically dead to walking out of the hospital. It meant that they did their jobs. "Where are you headed now, Captain?" one asked.

"San Francisco, they'll pin some medals on me, give me a desk job while I finish recovering, and finish repairing the Enterprise. Then, I'm back in space with the finest crew Starfleet has to offer," Jim said that with pride. He knew it to be true. His heart ached for Uhura, Chekov, and Spock, it couldn't have been easy to watch an entire civilization destroyed and its people enslaved.*

Each nurse came and gave him a hug. They were both sad and happy to see him go. They, too, loved a good outcome. McCoy and Kirk headed out of the hospital and walked, slowly, to the transporter pad. McCoy had a satisfied grin on his face. "Jim, they've got me teaching a couple of medical courses at the Academy starting Monday."

"Are Sulu and Scotty meeting us in the Federation Assembly Hall?" Jim asked.

"That's what they said they'd do. They're not missing this ceremony for anything."

They stopped at the local transporter pad, giving the tech instructions. She saluted them before waving them onto the platform. "Good luck, Captain," she said before she energized.

"I'll meet you at the hall, Bones, Admiral Archer wanted to talk to me about that mission before the ceremony," Jim said after they re-energized in San Francisco. McCoy smiled in return. Jim and McCoy reached the doors as a young cadet opened the doors, glanced at them, and saluted before Kirk returned the salute. The young cadet hurried on her way. "You're getting lax, Bones. You were supposed to return the salute too." McCoy laughed as they went their separate ways.

The secretary saw him coming and hurriedly opened the door to Archer's office for him, "He said to let you in, sir, he's expecting you."

Jim thanked the young man and stepped into the office. Porthos, as was his job, was curled up on a doggie bed in the corner. He politely waited until Archer waved Jim into a seat before coming over and demanding attention. "Hi, Porthos, good to see you too, buddy."

"That's right, pay attention to the dog, he's the important one here," Archer said with a laugh. "Jim, while the Enterprise's repairs are being done, I'm having you run tactical here at Starfleet Command. You see patterns nobody else can see, so I'm putting that brain of yours to work outside the hospital. Enterprise is still a couple of months from complete repairs, but according to McCoy, that'll give you enough time to finish recovering. I did get a complaint from Starfleet Medical in Zurich, he claims that you're stealing one of his best nurses from the ICU. Are you?"

Jim grinned, "McCoy offered, she accepted, and I simply signed the transfer."

"Good for you," he was interrupted by his secretary.

"They're here," was all he said.

"I don't need to tell you that we're sending you into space for five years to find stuff, do I?" Jim shook his head and laughed. He did remember Admiral Komack telling him that before he woke up. "Good, stand up, your stalwart crew is here."

Jim stood and turned toward the door. He smiled, knowing that's what they would need now, and for the second time that day had the breath squeezed out of him by a woman. "Whoah, Uhura, I need to breathe, you know?" he said with a chuckle.

"I was just telling Jim about that five year mission you're going on," Archer said with a chuckle. "But, first, we've got a ceremony to attend." Uhura smiled broadly while Chekov was doing what only could be termed as a "happy dance" around the room. Spock nodded in satisfaction.

"So, how were the Klingons?" Jim asked. He noticed that Uhura had slipped her hand into his as well as Spock's. He was happy with how comfortable she was feeling around him. He realized that they were like siblings and spats were normal, but they had each other's back when the time came.

"Okay, first off, if Chekov ever gets another cup of Raktajino, take it away from him. It's the Klingon version of coffee, and he was bouncing off the bulkheads." Kirk and Archer laughed as Chekov hung his head in embarrassment. "Second, they're actually quite civilized. Although, Captain, I don't recommend getting involved with one. They can be pretty violent."

"Da," Chekov said, "Captain McDaniel came back from a night vith her husband with a broken shoulder."

"Yeah, and she said Guldarth was slowing down," Uhura shook her head. They entered the council chamber and separated. Kirk moved to the middle of the room. As he looked around, he realized that it was filled. Sarek, Elder Spock and the entire surviving crew members of the USS Enterprise stood there as witnesses.

Begare Turmino of Alpha Centauri stepped forward. Her clothes as formal as her new role. "Nearly a year ago, San Francisco was nearly wiped off the surface of the Earth by a madman. Many good men and women died that day, and, I'm told, you were one of them. You thought of all those around you who would die if the warp core reactor did not restart. So, you did the impossible, and the Enterprise did not slam into the ground."

"It's been a long road for you, Captain, and I see you are still suffering from some of the effects of your ordeal. So, for your role in stopping the total destruction of the City of San Francisco and saving the lives of millions of men, women, and children without thought of your own personal safety, I, formally, award you the civilian's highest honor, the Medal of Honor." She brought the medal around his throat and clasped it there. "Congratulations, Captain." She reached out and grasped his hand. He saluted her before turning to the appreciative applause of his friends and crew. Yes, it had been a long road, but now he was finally home.

*"Inevitable"