Summary: Back in the present, Kathryn finishes the story. [In response to Jupiter Station Narrative Challenge #170.] Rated PG. J,P AU, Angst Part 4/4(?)
Disclaimer: Star Trek is Paramount’s. This story’s all mine.
Archiving: Please ask me before distributing elsewhere.
By Daffnie (firstname.lastname@example.org)
You’re mother’s child
But night lays you down
Hair aflame, wild look in your eye
Naked belly to the ground
A forest fire
Nibbles at your veins
Crawls up your arm
runs away with your mind
And burns dry thoughts like leaves
Eyes stare up
But something’s in the way
In the Bible only angels have wings
And the rest must wait to be saved
A dry tongue
Screams at the sky
But the wind just breathes words in
As a strange bird tries to fly
Pieces of us die everyday
As though our flesh were hell
Such injustice, as children we are told
That from God we fell
Where are my angels?
Where’s my golden one?
Where’s my hope
now that my heroes are gone?
Some are being beaten
Some are being born
And some can’t tell
the difference anymore
~ ‘Amen’ written by Jewel Kilcher
“I went on with my life afterwards, trying not to remind myself of how much I missed having you around. Of course, I couldn’t keep you out of my mind. I’m not really as strong as Justin believed I was. I often cried myself to sleep thinking of you, wondering how you were, thinking about what I did to you.
“Years later, long after the mission was finished and I was settled back home before my next assignment, I saw you. Owen invited me to one of your ski competitions, and I went, knowing very well that it would be difficult to bear. He never wanted you to know that I was your mother. I guess that was fine with me. It made my life easier for the first few years. But when I saw you at the bottom of the hill, having just won your race, it was all I could do to keep myself from running down and congratulating you. I wanted to go and tell you how much I loved you, how much I missed you, but I never could work up the courage.
“I went to another race a while later that year, uninvited this time. I had to see you again. I had to know that you were alright. I was so happy when you started down the slope...you were doing so well. And then you fell...,” Kathryn sighed and shifted her gaze to her folded hands in her lap. “It was so hard for me to just stand there and not be able to protect you. You were in so much pain...and all I could to was watch and pray.
“Days and months ticked by, blurred together, and I had no sense of direction, no purpose for my life anymore. Time had no meaning then. I couldn’t eat. I couldn’t sleep. All I could think of was you...on that mountain, your face swollen and gashed, your limbs in awkward positions. You were mumbling something that sounded like ‘Where’s my mother?’. I guess you were in shock then and I knew that you weren’t yourself, but when you asked that, I wanted to go tell you. I stayed back though, watching. Later, I wanted to contact you, Tom, to see if you had recovered yet. I wanted to hear all about your life so far, all that I had missed out on. I wanted to be filled in about your first love, how you were doing in school, what your dreams were for the future, for the present. Most of all, I needed to find out if you remembered me somehow. Maybe if you had some sort of memory of that day when I had to hand you over, I thought that maybe you would understand. Of course, you were much too young at the time...only about two months old. You never knew me, Tom. I never knew you. It was so difficult, but I went on with my life, sleepless, empty, and sad.”
Tom stared at her with sorrowful eyes. Kathryn wipped away the tears that trickled down her cheek and managed a smile.
“The next time I saw you was when you were in Auckland, at the penal colony. I had to get you out of there somehow, and thankfully, Owen agreed to my plan, after much dispute, of course. I talked him into giving me permission to retrieve you, and when I was there, as you were welding something, I planned on introducing myself as your mother. I thought better of it, though, because I was afraid that you’d refuse my offer. You would probably think I was a loon, fresh from some deep space mission with no human contact for years upon years. Well, in a way, that was true. I was very detached from the real world then. I had learned to create my own in order to get through each day. I’m sure that if a psychologist had taken a look at me then, they would have declared me unfit for duty, a risk to myself. I couldn’t let anyone find out how separated I was from everything at the time, especially you. So, I simply asked you to come aboard, and you’ve been a wonderful asset to our crew since then. I was finally able to come out of my shell when we were pulled into the Delta Quadrant. I woke up and saw that my crew was at stake, their lives were on the line, and I was the one to protect them. So I shed my past grievances; I accepted the present instead of remaining in the past. The problem was, thought, it took me all this time to tell you this. I wish I would’ve told you sooner, Tom. My life have been filled with so many mistakes that I brought upon myself. It could have been much easier if I had only opened my eyes.”
“I ruined your life. I’m so sorry for that,” Tom murmured. “I can’t even imagine the pain I caused you.”
“No, don’t be,” she said and put a hand on his. “It wasn’t your fault. You deserved better, Tom. I’m the one who’s sorry. I could have given you my love, but I was young and naive. My priority was to my career when it should have been to you, and I was foolish enough to give you up.”
“But you probably wouldn’t be here now, telling me this, if you had kept me. You wouldn’t have this ship, you wouldn’t have asked me to be the pilot, and for all we know, you could have died.”
Kathryn felt tears burn her eyes, and whispered, “Sometimes I wish I would have. With Justin and my father. I wanted so bad to be buried, lifeless, worry-free, in the snow with them. I wanted some sort of release...I needed something, anything, that would take my mind off from you...off from my fiancé’s and father’s deaths. If I had died, it would have spared me a lot of grief.”
“Don’t say that. If you had, I would have never met my mother.”
She looked up with a tear-glistened face and smiled. He brought her into a hug, and they stayed in their embrace, neither wanting to let go.
“Did you even know that you were adopted when you were young?” asked Kathryn as she clung to Tom like a life line. He gently pushed her away but kept their healing physical contact as he put his hands around hers.
“I was never told so, but I suspected something of the sort. I was so different from the rest of my family. I never felt like I really belonged there. My mother...well, my adoptive mother anyway...was so beautiful, and so were Moira and Kathleen. And then there’s me,” Tom laughed. “And with Owen, we were on opposite ends of the spectrum. I joined Starfleet just to get on his good side, but I never felt any love from him...ever. In fact, none of my family seemed to genuinely love me. There was always this...boundary that kept us apart. I guess what they gave me was a kind of deluded devotion because they felt they were obligated to, but there was never really the affection that I had expected, that I *wanted*. Maybe that’s why I tried so hard to please them. Maybe I thought that if I was some sort of overachiever, they would love me.” He shrugged. “I suppose that all they cared about was keeping clothes on my back, food in my stomach, and a roof over my head.”
Kathryn’s expression was one of authentic compassion, and she pulled him into another embrace.
“I love you, Tommy. Don’t you ever forget that.”
“I won’t...but you know, it’s going to be hard calling you ‘mom’. After all these years of not knowing, I might not be able to get used to it.”
She let go of him and laughed.
“I don’t expect you to. You need to adjust.”
“Okay, so what should I call you?”
“Whatever you feel is comfortable.”
He nodded, “Captain will do. And when we’re not on duty, I’ll make an effort to call you ‘mom’.”
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