Chapter One

Adrift. For the past ten years it hadn't mattered where they were, or what their mission was, Winona had only needed to know that her George had been with her. Now, he wasn't. He had left her, left her to raise his sons, left her by herself. She hadn't been by herself in ten years, longer than that because she had been attached to George Kirk the first day they had met in academy. He had been stunning, sun-bleached blond hair, summer-sky blue eyes, and a smile that just lights up the entire world. George had drawn people in, he emitted charm and friendship like the Sun emitted light. He was friends with all sorts of people, many of which Winona did not agree with at all, she had had to give several undesirables a talking to over the years. George Kirk had been hers since she had first seen him. It had just taken her a few years to get him to agree.

But now he was gone. He had left her. Winona breathed deeply, trying not to panic, what was she going to do now that her George was gone? She had given him two sons, had followed him everywhere, had bowed to his parent's wishes, she willingly took his name. And he left her.

No, George had chosen to do the right thing, he had saved everyone. The USS Kelvin had taken too much damage, there was no way for them to get out of the situation, and the self-destruct had to go through. With the auto pilot off line someone had to stay with the ship and guide it into the enemy, no her George wouldn't have given his life for anything less than saving everyone. George wouldn't have misread a situation; he was too good; he did exactly what he had to.

Someone off to the side was asking her questions, asking for names, but she didn't answer. Winona Kirk looked down at her son and knew he would be the spitting image of her late husband. He would grow up wearing George's face, using George's eyes, using George's smile; but he would never be his father. There was no way anyone could match the bravery and courage of her George. He might wear George's skin, but it was on loan. She would have to spend some time reminding him that he wasn't wearing his own skin, it was on loan.

She would make up a list, she decided, all things the boy wouldn't be allowed to do. Because he was wearing George's skin. There were a dozen predilections and habits she had made sure George was cured of. Winona was positive her George had never realized that those things were dirty, that hanging around, being with, those people was rubbing their filth off on him. Winona would make sure the boy didn't attempt any of those horrible sinful things. Certainly he would never be allowed near the hideous Christopher Pike, not after what he attempted to get her George into. The audacity of the male, to believe he would make a better partner for her mate than she would. That just because George willingly found time to spend with him, no matter how she tried to dissuade him, didn't mean George wanted him. He didn't, want Christopher Pike that is; he had chosen Winona to be his spouse after all, she was the one who had given him children.

"Don't worry. You may be wearing his face but I won't let you forget it's not yours. You'll do good, I promise you'll earn it." Winona murmured to the baby at her chest, forgetting where she was. There were very few in the medical shuttle where she had given birth to the child wearing his father's face, but those there watched in concern and determination. They had just listened as the bravest most charitable person they knew gave his life so that they would survive. They would not fail in protecting his son.

"Winona you must be tired, why don't you give the child to me while you sleep?" The doctor murmured soothingly, pressing a hypo gently into her neck and taking the newborn from her lax grip. There was something wrong with Winona Kirk. It went well beyond bad postpartum chemistry or post-traumatic stress disorder and into the danger of harming herself or others. For now the doctor and her limited staff were not able to help Winona Kirk, but they could take care of George Kirk's son, and it would start with good pediatric care.

The medical shuttle was not equipped to do proper Federation aftercare for a new born, there were inoculations and enhancements that were general practice by pediatric doctors that could not be administered, but what the doctor could do she would do. There was a battery of tests that they had the equipment to proceed with. Height and weight were a little on the small side, but that was predicted given that Winona Kirk had gone into labor several weeks early because of the stressful situation they had found themselves in. Eye color was noted, blue, and digital prints of his hands and feet were being taken when the forceful hold of shuttle-fetching programs could be felt drawing the shuttles in. The large vessel the shuttles were approaching was massive; at least twice the size of the USS Kelvin and instead of being shaped like a Starfleet vessel it was a long rectangular ship. Painted on the side as they approached the flight bay was the name: SGC Narcissius.

Inside the flight bay were rows and rows of small space craft hanging one ontop of the other as technicians and mechanics floated from one area of the bay to the next. The lack of gravity ensuring that even if something came loose in the hanger it would be unlikely to do any damage. It was a busy, messy place, and once the shuttles started landing it was crowded too.

Everything was handled with a smooth precision, almost as if it were routine, calming many of the survivors. Every survivor was interviewed for name, rank, and mental or physical trauma; ensuring that a complete record was available to send to Starfleet headquarters. All others were assumed dead. With the loss of both the Captain and First Mate Kirk, Doctor Heben'gi, as chief medical officer was put in the position of command, where she met Commander Tresk of the SGC Narcissus with the new born James Tiberius Kirk in her hands, crying.

The baby was loud and squirming with energy he shouldn't have had only several hours out of the womb. She had been quickly escorted to a side room so as to not interfere or upset the other survivors of the Kelvin and directed that the Commander of the vessel would be with her momentarily, he had been waylaid by another issue. Heben'gi tried not to be disgruntled that the Commander's first priority wasn't taking care of the survivors of the Kelvin, but acknowledged that it was entirely possible the vessel had other possibly dangerous items to deal with. But the baby just would not stop screaming.

The infant was screaming and squirming in its limited way when the doors opened for two men. Heben'gi did not have a good sense of hearing not with screams of the infant and the dead ringing in her ear so she only caught every few words.

"George Kirk is-"

"We understand that-"

"in this light-"

"take the baby"

Unprofessionally, and very rudely Heben'gi, Chief Medical Doctor of the USS Kelvin, interrupted the man who was speaking. "Who is the chief medical officer aboard this vessel."

The man who had approached with the commander, lightly stepped forward, "Did you need something Dr. Heben'gi?"

Willing to admit that she was probably overreacting but not really caring, Heben'gi lightly thrust the baby into his arms, "What I need is sleep, but this child cannot be put back with Winona Kirk." Heben'gi glared fiercely at the man she was thrusting the child toward, "I will sleep, and eat, and ensure that those who have survived the Kelvin are being taken care of and then I will come find you. If you do not have the baby, if you have hurt, or allowed it to be mistreated I will be very displeased." At the end of her rope Heben'gi turned and walked to the general area she knew were the sleeping quarters, it might not be appropriate but she needed to rest and recover. If they hurt the baby she would find them and ensure they hurt, a lot. Until then she had no choice but to trust them with the infant.

"Well," said one man after the alien doctor had left, "that's one way to deal with trauma."

Dr. Jeremy Beckett was not surprised to return to his infirmary aboard the SGC Narcissus and find a member of the Kelvin's decimated crew standing above the incubator and crib that he had placed the Kirk child in. George Kirk had been on the SGC Narcissus for over four years and had given his life to ensure the survival of his friends and family. Beckett had grown up in the SGC culture and knew intimately how sacrifice and charisma could make a determined and loyal man a god. So he would let the survivor watch the baby, but he would make sure nothing could hurt that child.

"Can I help you?"

The man sighed, "Winona isn't likely to ever let me near him once she's herself again. I just -" head down and braced against the see-through box, Jeremy could guess what the baby was to this man.

"I am Dr. Jeremy Beckett, CMO of the SGC Narcissus; we haven't been able to get Mrs. Kirk to answer any of our questions, were you close enough to the deceased to know his medical history?" The young man turned and Jeremy observed the hunched form. Attractive, even when beyond tired and having lost a dear friend, the man's hazel eyes were filled with pain and sorrow, his blond hair dirty and his uniform mussed; but still very attractive.

"Lt. Christopher Pike, I was filling in for a communications officer aboard the USS Kelvin when it was destroyed." Running a hand through his hair, messing it up even more, Lt. Pike turned back to the cradle, gently touching the glass. "I was building a case against Winona, Line Theft at least, but I was really trying for coerced bond and pair interference." The baby held all of the Lt.'s attention so Jeremy tread very carefully.

"Line theft? Was George Kirk a member of any of the royals?" It would introduce an interesting array of problems if George Kirk wasn't as human as his records indicated.

"He was a Sheppard, the son of Dana Kirk nee Sheppard." Jeremy's pencil broke. "He was born on Atlantis, when we had spoken of bonding he had always said he wanted his children born on Atlantis like he was. But Neither were," Lt. Pike sighed, "there was no legal confirmation I could find that the Sheppard Clan approved of Winona's bonding to George, but I'm not a citizen of the Union, there was no way they were going to talk to me."

Jeremy Beckett blinked rapidly when Lt Pike brought his attention back to him, "That would be a basis at least for Line theft. There would be paperwork Captain Kirk had to file for right to birth on Atlantis," if the Lt was telling the truth this might turn into a huge political battle, and Sheppards fought to the death for their children.

"Perhaps," came Lt. Pike's voice, very soft, and once again directed at the incubator, "perhaps he simply didn't have the time." The voice didn't leave much to uncover, Pike didn't want to think he had been left to dry, ignored and neglected for a woman who by all accounts of her peers might not have been stable even before the Kelvin Massacre. Jeremy Beckett could feel the ache building up in his chest at the very idea that his bondmate would leave him, which was ludicrous, they had been together for years, but psionic bleed-off was a very real thing.

Regardless of whether George Kirk was willingly bound to Winona Kirk or not, because he was a Sheppard and a citizen of the Union it had to be brought before the Council of Nine. A quick dip into his office had a subspace communication window on his monitor and a request for the Union Citizenship Number. Inputting the correct numerals brought up the terminal he needed, and a video request to the Sheppard Clan. Only a moment or so later had a very disgruntled man on his screen.

"Greetings Elder Sheppard,"

"What do you want Beckett?" Jeremy stifled a grin at the abrupt and caustic manner of the man on the other end of the Video call. Many in the Union and the SGC clung to the overly formal manners that had sprung up as an off-shoot of diplomatic relations between nations and people groups, a useful tool to help ensure communication. Then again just as many hated the manners and did away with all but the most necessary in anything but formal situations. Members of the Sheppard Clan were well known to be friendly but blunt; it was their loyalty and determination that put the clan at the top of the social classes, not their diplomatic and political verve. "And it had better be good; I only just went to bed."

"I'm sorry Elder but the news is anything but good, will you acknowledge there is a son of the Sheppard Clan named George Kirk?" Jeremy watched closely as the Elder nodded.

"Yes, the son of Dana. He currently serves in the Starfleet I believe, he wanted an arena where he could shine as himself and not as another amazing member of the Sheppard Clan."

Swallowing, this was the hard part, "Does the clan have any record of his bonding or the production of heirs?" The elder shook his head.

"There is one note in his file from a meeting with the Sheppard Clan Mediator that he had professed finding his Anchor, a male he met at Academy and intended to lure him to the Union through the judicious use of Spaceships and really good whiskey." Jeremy gave a brief smile at the long-standing joke before he caught the Elder's eyes narrowing, "This was marked as unfulfilled nearing eight years ago and now you're asking confirmation and paperwork. What happened, Dr. Beckett?"

So Jeremy Beckett explained the whole thing: the massacre of the Kelvin, the birth of James Kirk, the suspected mental instability of Winona Kirk, the heartbroken man in his infirmary with a case for Pair interference. At the end, he was exhausted, the Elder was furious, and there was an open line to Starfleet Command and the highest Federation Court Judge the Sheppard Clan could get their hands on. All in all the makings of very uncomfortable coming days.

Or a very uncomfortable night as it turned out. Once Elder David Sheppard was up and awake, concerned about the possible loss and abuse of a member of his clan, there was no chance he wasn't going to get to the bottom of the issue. Which was how Dr. Jeremy Beckett, Lt. Christopher Pike, and the new born James Kirk, found themselves on the command bridge of the SGC Narcissus staring into the enlarged faces of Admiral Archer, Federation High Court Judge Tav Marceel, Union Supreme Justice Sona'ta Ye, Elder David Sheppard, and General Jack O'Neill. Most of the command crew was the epitome of focus and control going through their jobs like masters, but Jeremy could tell from the minute tremors and twitches that no one wanted to mess up under the eye of one of the founders of the Union.

General Jack O'Neill, like his Anchor Dr. Daniel Jackson, and many of the other founders of the Union who had obtained Ascension and stuck around, was viewed as a man no one wanted to piss off. Records of his daring and bravery from his first career with the SGC had become accessible to the public in the last century. Jeremy could only imagine the untold number of things this man had seen and done. CMO Beckett couldn't help but run through the list of vanquished enemies put an end to by this man and his team. There was no doubt that this was a man to follow into battle, no matter the cause. He had never left a man behind, and never left a sacrifice unrecognized. It was no surprise that he would take an interest in a custody trial for the sons of a sacrificed Atlantean military officer, who was possibly not with his wife of free will. It was very much something he was interested in.

"I do not appreciate being woken up before the second sun even rises on my planet! If this is over anything but a crime of the highest sort I will have all of you skinned to your bones and fed to a Lishkith!" The pale-blue skinned alien with his multitude of antenna ringing his face looked quite a bit like the carnivorous predator he wanted to feed the Union crew to, having had no time to preen before the video call went through.

To the right, a calm and placid, almost bored, response cut the High Court Judge Tav Marceel from winding up again. "Marceel, you've been making the same threat for the past twenty years, find a new one." Dr. Daniel Jackson, lounging in the background of General O'Neill's vid screen, mischievous smile crooked. "Or else someone might think you don't mean it." An insulted huff was all the response that Tav Marceel could give.

"As much as I love the verbal combat you boys get up to, I believe we have some rather serious accusations brought before us." That was the start, Admiral Archer was a hundred and thirty-eight years old, and he had not dragged his body out of his very comfortable bed to watch males in much better shape than he snipe at each other. No matter how much fun it was to watch and listen to. "What was the crime again David?"

Elder Sheppard sighed, "Pair-bond interference, line theft, and spousal abuse."

"All of which we may be able to prove, but to what end?" Tav Marceel leaned forward, placing his too big facial features well beyond the safe distance from the screen. Distorted, was the thought, and if the words coming out of his mouth were any indication, it wasn't just physical. "I propose right now that if the prosecution can prove these accusations against Officer Kirk that we keep this quiet. It is incredibly likely that Officer Kirk will not stay planet-side; we can impose joint custody between her and her parents as a precaution in case of child abuse brought on by PTSD. But George Kirk is dead, he cannot benefit from the pressing of charges against his widow, it would only sully the sacrifice he made."

"Marceel, you can't think-"

"Be reasonable man -"

"To cover it up!"

A riot was being induced by the alien now sitting very smugly back in his seat, "Come now. Be reasonable. It's been how many years of pair-bond interference? Eight? Surely if Captain Kirk's other half felt so slighted, we would have heard about it before. There is no man who exists to prove that George Kirk was an unwilling partner to Winona Kirk."

"I can." Christopher Pike showed no fear in the sight of the elite deciding his fate around him. "I followed George where ever he went without question, when he started acting out of character a few years ago I kept track. I had every intention of one day winning George back from whatever Winona had done to him. I have no reason not to use that information now to win custody of his sons." No fear, no shame, and whole lot of backbone. Christopher Pike looked like he would be making himself at home with George Kirk's family.

"No you won't." Tav MArceel said confidently, antenna twitching gently. "Not if you want to be able to take care of those boys. A Starfleet officer, dishonorably discharged for admitting to stalking, and seducing a commanding officer won't get you very far on any planet." General O'Neill was clearly not ready to give up the fight and was already conferring with Dr. Jackson about what could be done. Elder Sheppard was furious, to angry to speak, while Admiral Archer looked very very tired, and Justice Sona'ta Ye, who had yet to speak held thinly pressed lips together.

A light chuckle broke the somber atmosphere right before the voice did. "It was saturation addiction, and I have to admit that if Christopher Pike had ever attempted to seduce me, Winona wouldn't have lasted a day." George Kirk was on the bridge.

- Part Two

Chris was dazed. As much as he had dug in and made himself home in denial he hadn't expected his best friend and the love of his life to come back from the dead. Though, given the smiles, and outright grins on the majority of Union citizen's faces, it wasn't all that unusual for them. He reached out for him, just gently tracing the edge of his torn uniform, feeling the dirt and grit. He could smell the smoke, and almost as though called Chris could hear the sound of his friend's last moments. Grasping him tightly as he neared, Chris burrowed into the safest place he had ever found, his best friend's arms, unwilling to let go, or even think about letting go of either of the males in his arms. His boys, Chris would never let his boys go again.

The baby smelt like talcum powder and spice. That spice was all George, heat and burn that Chris had always remembered from their one night together. Holding the infant in his arms with George wrapped around him, whispering assurances, Chris wished he never had to move, but the rising rumble of voices in the background foretold the ending of their moment. "Hold on to James, Chris. Let me handle this and I promise you'll never have to let either of us go again." Chris didn't have to hear that twice, cradling the infant in his arms close to his heart the baby didn't move. He couldn't help but protectively shield his son from the gaze of the elite, from the gaze of the crew, from everyone that wasn't him or George. Their son. Their eyes. Only.

George stood in the line of sight between his small family and the elite. "I do not appreciate your … editing of events Judge Marceel." Kirk smirked, "but please allow me to give you mine. After it became obvious that the USS Kelvin required manual piloting to engage the enemy space craft, I elected to stay on board while all the other evacuation shuttles were put in use. Having driven the USS Kelvin into the enemy space craft and lost communication with the shuttles I became aware that there was a miniscule chance that in the blast I would survive in an Evacuation pod. I took the chance and survived to be picked up by the SGC Narcissus, and it was while I was in medical that CMO Beckett detected an undesirable substance in my blood."

"Whereupon a council was called for both Union representatives and Federation representatives to reign on the custody of James and Samuel Kirk, and the crimes of Winona Kirk." Dr. Jackson filled in, just as gleeful as George, at the 'edited' report of events.

Tav Marceel flailed, literally, his antenna went every which way in his stupefaction, "You cannot mean to tell me that you intend on leaving out your ascension?!" There was money in the study of ascension, Chris knew. Between the prolongment of life and the limitless possibilities of the manipulation of matter, it was one of those cultural facets that the Atlanteans didn't share with anyone, not even their allies in the Union. If the Federation got proof that George Kirk had ascended, it was entirely possible that he would spend the rest of his life in a five-by-five lab cell. Chris wasn't going to let that happen, he had just gotten George back.

"What ascension Judge? Dr. Beckett and I called you hear to oversee the criminal charges against Winona Kirk, nothing else." Chris shot a matching smirk to his partner, it wasn't even a lie.

General O'Neill snorted.

"I will authorize the arrest of one Winona Kirk on two accounts of Line Theft, one count of bond coercion, and one count of pair bond interference." Justice Sona'ta Ye, an older Jaffa male, finally interrupted. "You will send me all your data Lt. Pike?"

Chris agreed, "Of course, sir. I'll send you all the records I have." Chris turned hesitant, catching George's frown. The man had turned to him, his back to the elite, his brow furrowed and his gaze distant.

"I remember a civil service, and paperwork. But it's not a legal bonding ceremony without paperwork from the Clan being filed with the Union." A vicious glint came into his eye, "It's possible she was never legally a Kirk."

Vicious was the grin on Admiral Archer's face, "Which would tally up an account of identity theft and masquerading as an officer onto her as well." rubbing his hands together and chuckling darkly Admiral Archer gave every appearance of planning nefarious things. "Oh, I like the way you think boy. I like the way you think."

Justice Sona'ta Ye must have agreed with Admiral Archer because a disturbing type of smile crossed the stern Jaffa's face. "I will keep in contact with you Captain Kirk, to ensure that everything goes smoothly." A simple blink, interference from subspace frequencies, and both Admiral Archer's and Justice Sona'ta Ye's video calls ended. The lack of fanfare was made up by the tantrum Judge Tav Marceel was throwing.

His antennas were rattling, and his complexion was turning a startling shade of purple. He was yelling and shaking, shouting, though the communications officer for the bridge had muted him once the alien had started questioning the legality of birth for the founding members of the Union. It was embarrassing, Chris thought, that a grown political leader could tip into unbecoming behavior so fast. Which spurred another thought. Spinning, but still careful with the baby in his arms, Chris pinned the Communications Officer to his desk with a steely stare. "Have you been taping Judge Marceel?"

The officer shook his head; still pinned it changed direction, and then changed direction again. "Man, just answer the damn question!" Elder Sheppard had clearly reached the end of his rope. The communications officer was pale, very pale, when he answered

"ye-yes, sir" Chris gave a decided nod.

"good."