Old Spock told him being captain of the Enterprise was his first, best destiny.
It doesn’t feel that way.
James T. Kirk grows up with blue eyes, and it makes more of a difference than you’d think.
James Tiberius Kirk is born on a shuttle in space, seconds after the Kelvin goes down, after his father dies.
(James Tiberius Kirk is born on a farm in Riverside, Iowa)
James T. Kirk becomes Jimmy.
George Samuel Kirk becomes Sam when the name George becomes too painful for their mother to say.
Sam is four years old when Jimmy is born.
Jim hates the stars with all his might.
Space for taking his father, impossible blue lightning like his eyes.
The fleet that takes his mother, and leaves him with Frank.
That made his brother run away.
He never sees Sam again.
(Jim loves space with all his might. Swears he’ll be a captain one day. He has his father’s brown eyes and smile. Sam doesn’t leave until college, where he meets a girl, and moves to Deneva. Sam’s kids call him uncle Jim.)
Jim gets sent to Tarsus IV by Frank.
He’s dragged onto the shuttle, kicking and screaming all the way.
He drives his father’s car off a cliff before he leaves.
(Jim begs with all his might to go to the Tarsus IV colony. But the song remains the same.)
Riverside is too big and too small all at once for James T. Kirk.
And no one ever lets him forget it.
Watches the George Kirk Memorial shipyard build the flagship Enterprise from the ground up.
And drinks and fights and flirts.
At least Frank is long gone.
So are Sam and Winona.
(James T. Kirk joins Starfleet the moment he can. Graduates top of his class.)
James Kirk is his father’s son but not really.
Splitting image save for the eyes.
But none of his charm.
The thing they always forgot when looking for his father in him, Jim Kirk never met George.
He joins because he couldn’t resist the dare to be better, not to live up to a legacy he never wanted in the first place.
He says he’ll make captain in four, but he doesn’t think he’ll live through the year.
(James Kirk is his father’s son and wants to make him proud. Big shoes to fill and an even bigger legacy, whether his eyes are brown or blue. But the one with brown eyes fights for it rather than against it.)
Jim ends up on the Enterprise by mistake.
Because Bones smuggled him, and Spock hates him, and Pike has a perverse sense of faith in him.
Everything goes wrong and Vulcan dies dies dies dies dies.
But the Earth is saved.
Inspite of himself, they think James T. Kirk could be a hero like his father (after decades of calling him anything but).
They make him Captain of the Enterprise.
It’s the funniest joke he’s ever heard.
(Jim works up from ensign to helmsmen to captain slowly but surely. He meets Bones young enough, the age difference not nearly so staggering. He meets Spock once he’s captain, and Spock is to be his first officer. They are both tempered by age and experience, more sure of themselves.)
Jim meets old Spock on that planet.
And can’t get the memories out of his head.
First best destiny.
One that he did not earn this time around.
Memories of brown eyes instead of blue.
Green shirt instead of gold.
Older, wiser but none the less James T. Kirk when the bridge crew comes together.
They are too young to be anything but a mess, he thinks.
That other Jim Kirk had it all, it’s the worst joke he’s ever heard.
But then again, that other Jim is dead.
Jim thinks he deserved better, but then, maybe they both did.
(In other life, he’s dead dead dead.)
(Jim and Spock are old when they meet and they are older when they get together. So much wasted time. And it is odd for Spock to see Jim Kirk both so young, and so unsure. The insecurity even more off putting than the blue of his eyes. Jim Kirk has always been the fleet’s best captain. One to be dragged into the Admiralty kicking. One who loved space and his crew, and Spock is not quite but nearly equal measure. Spock has a holo of Jim Kirk singing Happy Birthday in a locket to prove it. He isn’t worried for their young selves, they have time enough to find their way. Spock too painfully shy of his humanity and Jim Kirk too caught up in his own. They have and always will be friends. Even in this strange new world.)
Jim Kirk has blue eyes and a captaincy he doesn’t deserve and a lifetime older than his own, of memories that are his and aren’t all at once, muddled in his head.
Mind meld side effects.
What once and would have been Jim Kirk, without the lightning storm in space.
Impossible like his blue eyes.
Living up to his supposed first and best destiny in a way that feels wrong.
He knows what would have been, the once and future captain.
An impending five year mission.
Jim Kirk sitting in the captain’s chair of the Enterprise.
A first best destiny.
He opens his eyes.
Blue instead of brown.
It feels like a lie.
(Everything he touches should turn to gold. Instead it turns to ash.)