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Fic: Things Never Change

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Jun. 20th, 2010 | 10:47 am

Title: Things Never Change
Characters: Winona, Jim
Rating: G
Summary: Winona hears that her baby boy, her beautiful miracle, has become captain of the Enterprise. She also hears he didn't invite her to the ceremony. And oh, she's stubborn—she's going to the ceremony anyway.
Prompt for where_no_woman Ficathon: AOS 51. Winona Kirk at the ceremony when Jim takes command of the Enterprise. Does he tell her what Spock prime said about George being there in the other timeline?



Winona Kirk stood silently against the wall in a large ornate corridor. She kept her head down as people mingled around her. She didn't feel like talking to anyone but one person in particular, but he was currently occupied. Her youngest son was constantly surrounded by masses of people all with straight postures, perfectly pressed dress uniforms and firm handshakes. They all wanted to extend their congratulations to the now youngest captain in Federation history.

A record he stole from his father.

This is why Winona stayed in the shadows, trying to make her presence less known. She was here today to show she was a good mother and proud of her youngest son, not to bring up haunting memories of the day she lost the man she loved more than anything in this galaxy. Because James T. Kirk was the son of George Kirk, she knew people planned on bringing the late hero up. She didn't want to be reminded that she still woke in the middle of the night, longing for him and believing that he should be on the other side of the bed. She also stayed in those shadows because she didn't want reminding that her baby boy—her incredible miracle—could meet the very fate his father did on the day of his birth.

She felt horrible knowing that she had been fine with Jim's criminal record on the dusty plains of little old Iowa but there he was practically safe. Any trouble he got into was basically of his own accord. Others may have thrown the first punch and started the fight, but it was his own damn fault he ended up in such circumstances. His problems were his own business and she liked knowing that. In space he could be twiddling his thumbs, keeping his head out of trouble, and then be hit by a massive alien vessel with mind-blowing weaponry for no apparent reason—

It may have been a gorgeous May day in San Fransisco, but Winona was sure there was a draft in the building. She pulled her jacket tighter around herself and wrapped her arms around her chest.

A Vulcan walked past her at a brisk pace and ended up in front of her son. She smiled a little, noticing the way Jim's unusually professional demeanor melted when he saw the Vulcan man. He seemed so much like George when this happened, a fun-loving man who was happiest when he was surrounded by those he loved.

So much for keeping George out of this.

Jim smirked at the Vulcan, punched him playfully in the shoulder and then stopped suddenly. His and Winona's eyes met and she quickly looked away, focusing her attention on the windows lining the corridor. She suddenly hoped he hadn't gotten a good enough look and didn't know it was her. She was nervous to talk to him and saw that he was so busy and so in demand. He didn't have time for his mother now. He never had time for her before. Why would that change? She saw him receive his reward for a job well done and flash a happy but modest smile. She witnessed his big moment; shouldn't that be enough?

Jim nodded politely to the Vulcan and brushed past a crowd of people to walk up to his mother. She could feel a weird feeling rise in her throat that she identified as nerves. She pushed it down and pretended that she wasn't feeling it. She hadn't seen her son in the flesh in three whole years and he was now easily the biggest name in the Federation. They also left on rickety terms, having confronted him on broken promises shortly before he packed his bags and headed to San Francisco.

It was easier to push down her nerves when she noticed her son was experiencing nerves himself. He was her son, after all. She could sense these things. He stood unnaturally far away from her with a rigid back. He even had his hands behind his back, something she had never seen him do. Was this because he ran away from home with no warning and no goodbye? Because he didn't call in those three years, ignoring every holiday including her birthday? Because he was still scared that his mother would reprimand him for the wrong he did in the recent battle, even though he had the scars of a hero to prove he did all of the right things anyway?

Winona nearly swore at herself for thinking of these things. Her son—her flesh and blood—saved not just the planet but the whole Federation and all she was thinking about was how her boy had been breaking the rules...again. She hated to know she was just as a bad mother as Jim had been a bad son. It was never one sided. She always worked on his and Sam's birthdays. She rarely took them to the county fair or out for ice cream. Worst of all, she never stopped her sons from rebelling other than giving them a fierce tongue when she found out what they did. There was never a punishment, just fifteen minutes of Mom's fiery temper and maybe a couple of tears. These things, however, were in the past and should stay there, but she's the bad mother that kept bringing everything back out of their scary little closets, along with the other Kirk family skeletons.

"You didn't tell me you were coming," he said sternly. However, he was smiling. It was something that reminded her of George. No matter how stern he tried to be, he couldn't remain mad at her or Sam for long. She remembered one time in this very hall where George tried to confront Winona about something but let a small smile creep onto his beautiful face. He was wearing the same red cadet uniform as well.

"You didn't tell me you packed up your belongings and headed to Starfleet, either," she said, attitude oozing through her words. "You break your poor mother's heart, she feels like she should do the same thing back."

"An eye for an eye, Mom?" he said, dropping his chin. "You still have to be tearing me down, even though I'm the captain of my own ship now?"

"You never made life easy for me, either," she retorted, lowering the tone in her voice like she used to when he was younger. Well, still young enough to be reprimanded by his own mother and obey. Nine. Something like that. Maybe he was eight.

Jim placed his hand at the back of his neck, rubbing feverishly at his hair line. "Well, that's in the past. Let's forget about that, okay? I'm just glad you came. Did you see the ceremony?"

"Yes. Commander Bartell recognized me and I sat next to him for the ceremony. You know, had I had a formal invitation from my son, I wouldn't have had to try to sneak into it."

"Honestly, I didn't think you'd show up. The only reason you came to my high school graduation was to let people know that you were still there," he said sheepishly, almost like he was hoping his statement wouldn't get her riled up. Winona let her blood cool for a second (she was there for him, not just to look like a good mother!) but then lowered her chin the way Jim had earlier.

"Well, then I was trying to prove to people that I would always stand behind you, a 4.0 student with a large criminal record but no interest of advancing his career. I see now you need no one to stand there with you. Your new reputation precedes you."

That felt weird, Winona thought as Jim raised one eyebrow. As odd as it sounded, she meant every bit of it. Deep down inside she was a good mother; she tried! She wanted to be there for her son but he never let her and her attitude wouldn't let him beat her. This moment, then, was a rare one. Jim's silent but questioning glare meant he was shocked, but he held it longer than she expected him to. Was he waiting for something? Attention? Praise? These were things she once upon a time tried to give her son but she remembers not having a lot of time to do it. She wasn't used to dishing out compliments and good words. She considered saying another positive statement to her youngest boy, but the words got stuck in her throat. It was like she was allowed one thing and then had to give up. Her stomach also churned slowly. When was the last time she said something nice to him prior to their last words? She couldn't remember and that made her feel sick.

When he broke his glare, the air around them became awkward. They stood in silence for a minute, both clearing throats and looking into random directions when they made eye contact. When Jim resumed rubbing his neck and tapping his feet, she knew she had to say something. Although this was a difficult meeting for the two of them, part of her didn't want to let this opportunity go. He had obviously matured so much and she didn't get to witness it.

"You look well. A little bit of meat on your bones helped, didn't it?"

"Mom," he said sharply, now directing his glare at his feet. "They feed me well and I get a lot of exercise. You know how training for a captain went. Dad did all of these exercises, I'm sure."

A part of her froze. She wanted to snap at him, telling him not to bring up those painful memories of George at this time. She was having a hard enough time without mentioning him. These corridors had no specific memories attached to them, but seeing them again made her heart ache. It didn't help that Jim now resembled his father more than he did his mother. She used to think that other than his looks, Jim got everything from his mom : his determination, his independence and even the swagger in his step. Sure, he had his moments where he resembled his father's collected and live-life-to-the-fullest demeanor, but he was Winona through-and-through. Now that Jim himself had relaxed but held a professional stance, he really mirrored his late father in many ways.

But today was a new beginning. If James T. Kirk, the hell-raising son of Washington County, bears a striking resemblance his clean cut, beautifully poised father, then his mother could do the same. She'd try for him, her son. "Yes, your father spent an excessive amount of time at the gym. He was a firm believer in a physical captain. People believed in a man that could handle the same workload as his crew."

Jim turned his head to his mother and turned the corners of his mouth toward the moon. He paused for a second, staring into her eyes, almost analyzing her, before he spoke again. "You've never mentioned that before. In fact, you rarely mention Dad."

She sighed. She really didn't feel like talking about this. "When you were younger I mentioned him all the time. You'd used to plead for stories and I always obliged. You were in love with him like many children were in love with Superman. He was your Superman. Then one day I just...stopped.

Jim then closed the awkward gap between them. "Why did you stop?"

She swallowed deeply. "As time passed, I realized more and more that he was never coming back. It took a...a long, long time for me to understand that he was never coming back. You would never meet him and Sam's time with him was far too short. When you were a toddler I felt like he was on that extended mission he was supposed to be on, five years...the day you turned six I..."

Genuine concern was racing through Jim's now furrowed brow. Winona almost jumped in shock when she realized this. She cleared her throat before continuing. "But it's good to talk about him, you know? I should have done it more when you were growing up but it was just so hard...and the whole town was still grieving with me, you should have seen..." Jim nodded like he understood and it fueled her strength. "And your uncle, I never could talk about George in front of him—"

"Oh Christ, do we really have to bring Uncle Frank into this? He was just jealous that Dad took his precious little sister away from him." That was the Jim she knew. Jumping to quick, irrational anger. Apparently he hadn't lost all of his old ways. "Uncle Frank hated Dad."

"Frank was just looking out for me, you knew—"

"And Dad was pretty much a gentleman, wasn't he?"

"Honey," Winona whispered, "your Uncle has nothing to do with today."

He stopped suddenly and let out a fast breath. "Right, right," he said as he turned on his heel to turn away from Winona. He let out a slow breath and clenched his fists twice before turning back to her, much cooler than just a few seconds before. Had this discussion occurred five years previously either the wall or someone's nose would be broken. Probably his hand, too. Once again, she saw George in him.

She took a small brave step forward and they were now at a normal Terran proximity. She carefully ran her thumb over her son's cheek. She was afraid he wasn't going to let her touch him like he rarely did in his late youth, but he didn't say a word. So grown up!

"Listen, Mom...there's....something I want to tell you."

She was confused but that didn't match the level of shock when he took hold of her hand for one quick second to squeeze it tightly for just one second. It was quick but he was still giving her an loving gesture, something that hadn't happened since she bailed his bruised and broken self out of jail when he was 19 and nursed him back to health. He had thanked her a couple of times, told her he'd pay her back some day, and then gave her an almost violent kiss on her forehead as he left, not to see her again until he was once again in need of another bail. She had every reason to be tempted to remove her hand from his, but she welcomed this change. She greatly missed the days when her toddler would run to her and literally leap into her lap. Those days were so long ago, before they both turned cold on each other. Their bridges were still in tact but they were definitely smoking. "Go on," she said as he squeezed once more then let go. She loved the gesture but was sure that from an outsider's perspective they looked like they positively loathed each other.

He thought about it for a second, curling his arms on his chest. "It's hard to explain." When she glared at him, he cleared his throat cautiously. He knew that she heard that line before when he'd try to explain why he was doing the wrongful things he did in his youth. "Well, I...um...well, the media hasn't gotten wind of it yet, but I was actually marooned on Delta Vega shortly after Vulcan was destroyed."

"Havoc, I'm assuming?"

"Mutiny, actually," he said a bit sheepishly.

"Not one of your finer moments...not that you generally have fine moments."

Her snapped back as she mentally kicked herself. She thought Be nice! to herself as he growled, "Mom" under his breath.

He shuffled his right foot for a second and huffed again. "So, when I was on that ice planet I met...some guy from the future told me something—no, I'm not lying—" (Can he tell that I'm skeptical?) "—this is the truth. Nero was actually from the future as well. But anyway, this man from the future said that in his past, I knew Dad."

If she had a smile, it fell. "Well, you know of your father—"

"No, I knew him. Catch in the backyard. Beers when I was sixteen. That kind of 'know.' Where...I grew up with him in my life. I thought...you'd like to know that in someone else's life, I knew my father and you still had him to love." Jim's voice faded on the last words like the words cut into him deeply. He then stared into space with a pensive look, his blinks slow and controlled.

Winona was dumbfounded to say the least. She now understood why he was putting up with her harsh words. He had something to share with her, something that obviously bothering him and only she could understand what those feelings meant. However, this seemed too good to be true. This was a man who knew who Jim Kirk was and decided to mess with his emotionally fragile brain immediately after watching an entire planet be destroyed. It was an obvious lie. "You do realize that this man was lying to you and you let it get into your head. And now you're bringing me into this! You're going to make me think 'what if' and I'll have to live with those memories you know I've kept dormant for so long!"

"He was telling the truth, I know it! The things he said about the future they just...they make sense. He know so many things about new technologies and new planets and galaxies and future events and everything felt so real...tangible!" he threw his head back for a second like he was to scream. He put both of his hands on the back of his neck and gritted his teeth. "Dad could have been here today, standing here with you, telling me how proud you are of me."

Winona then realized that while she managed to say some positive things to her son, she never once told him she was proud of him. She was—deep down— but there was just so much scar tissue over her heart. She was cautious and unwilling to just throw nice words around.

"Are you proud of me?" he said like he knew what she was thinking. "And if you are, would you ever say it? Could you ever say it?"

She was stunned. "I...you know I...this is what I always wanted for you—"

"That's a lie and you know it," he said softly. However, the soft tone made the punch to her gut feel like it was made of lead. "You know you wanted me to live a calm, simple, boring life doing something for Uncle Frank like fixing old cars or something. You never wanted me to do what Dad did because you were afraid of losing another person you love because it's been 25 years and you still can't deal with it."

She didn't have words. She knew that what he said was the 100% truth. Since George died she had a small vendetta toward Starfleet, even though she remained employed through them for a handful of years. The only reason she remained was because the pay was good, it kept her mind off the fact she was a single mother with a toddler and a newborn and because she didn't want people to think she was weak, someone who couldn't face the business that killed the man she loved so much.

"James, I—"

"Look, part of me wants to believe you're here because you're proud of me. Deep down inside, I know you are. I know you want to be a good mother as I want to be a good son. If I could go back and change things I would. I'd have been a better son. Dad would have wanted me to." He stopped suddenly, giving Winona a look that she remembered used to be him asking for approval. He gave her sad eyes accompanied by his mouth slightly open, almost in a pout. His head was tilted to the left. "I'm sorry for what I put you through in my youth. You didn't deserve that and I am sorry."

Once again, Winona didn't have words. She had never received an apology from him, let alone hear him admit that he did some wrong in his past. It opened a lot of deep wounds.

"Jim, you've...grown up so much," was all she could say and she brushed her fingers on his shoulder. He reached up and took her hand, putting it back down at her side before he let go. There was obviously still some awkward tension between the mother and son. However, there was an obvious saddness and a twinge of frustration coming from her boy. She felt a rare feeling of sadness herself. This was supposed to be Jim's finest day and he brought up hard, painful memories. While choking back the onslaught of emotion she was feeling, she managed to murmur a few words. She needed some time to herself now, to think over the last few minutes. "You've spent enough time with your old Mother. You should get back to talking to your superiors."

He didn't seem to notice what she said but if he did, he chose to ignore it. "You know, I'm sure Dad would have wanted you to be a better Mom, too," he whispered. It was just too much; Winona had to look away, hoping he wouldn't catch the glimmer in her eyes that were tears. Jim was speaking the truth and she knew it. It just hurt too much to think about.

He hesitantly kissed her temple. She didn't turn to look at him or acknowledge that it happened just like he hadn't listened to her last statement. "Thanks for coming, Mom." When she didn't say anything back other than sigh deeply, he turned on his heel and walked back to the Vulcan, whom Winona could see was staring at the two Kirks.

Winona's original plan was to hop back on a shuttle to Iowa because San Francisco was too stuffy for her these days, but there was no way she could be around people in her state. She managed to find a hotel close to the campus and cried herself to sleep that night. Jim Kirk hadn't made her cry in quite some time.

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Comments {4}

adafrog

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from: adafrog
date: Jun. 20th, 2010 05:07 pm (UTC)
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Lovely.

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I got a fever and the only prescription is more ZQ

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from: forthisreason
date: Jun. 21st, 2010 03:50 am (UTC)
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Thanks!

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Danahid

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from: danahid
date: Jun. 21st, 2010 01:21 pm (UTC)
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Interesting and complicated, as I imagine their meeting would be. I liked this very much, liked that your Winona had reasons for being the way she was, liked that she and Jim tried to meet in the middle...

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I got a fever and the only prescription is more ZQ

(no subject)

from: forthisreason
date: Jun. 21st, 2010 03:36 pm (UTC)
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My Winona is such a confused woman. She has it in her to love and be that great mom but she's so damaged and so independent it gets in the way.

Thank you very much!

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