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Heaven is Bloodless, Part Nine



Masterpost

Now

“Bones?” he mutters, ears ringing. “Bones?”

“I’m here, Jim.” The man looks hardly better than Jim feels, face dark with dirt and soot. Dressed in his dark brown leathers and with a bow and quiver strapped to his back, sword buckled at his belt and a tomahawk dangling at his side, he looks fierce as hell. His hand touches Jim’s cheek. “I’m here.” He pulls Jim to his feet.

“Ugh.” His ears still ache from the force of the earlier explosion. “The fusiles?”

Bones nods. “The Aragonians brought the big guns—literally.” He grins darkly, then, and pulls Jim to the ground as the earth shakes around them. “Luckily the D’Angelines and Tiberians have a nasty surprise for them.”

Jim feels a giddy laugh building inside of him. “Sam?”

Bones nods. “Never count a Kirk out of a fight. Either of them.”

Jim laughs, clapping his consort on the back. “Damn right,” he says.

It’s soon clear that the battle is in fact turning in their favor. He and Bones fight back to back, and Jim can feel the familiar sound of wings in the back of his mind, mixed with the ringing sound of steel. It fills him with a wild joy, like and unlike anything else he’s ever known in his life.

“Jim Kirk.”

The voice through the smoke of the battle is familiar, and Jim isn’t surprised when the Yeshuites’ General emerges. His drab gray uniform is dark with dirt and soot, and spots of blood stand out in damp relief. He looks like nothing so much as Hades emerging from the Underworld.

“You!” Jim stares, and his anger solidifies in him. “Matthiah!”

“Jim Kirk.” The former Cassiline repeats, and he spits on the ground. “Are we really gonna do this, son?”

“You’ve gotta be kidding!” Bones behind him, disbelieving. “Jim, let the D’Angelines take care of it. He can be charged with war crimes—“ His consort’s voice is very distant, though.

“You gonna let that happen, Jim Kirk? You were Pike’s fosterling. You know what he’d do, don’t you.” Matthiah—Mattheu laughs. “Aye. Aye, you do. That’s it boy. That’s it.”

“Jim, no—“

“Bones, get out of here,” Jim says firmly. His daggers feel like living things in his hands, warm and beating. “This is something I’ve got to take care of myself. For Miramanee.”

“That’s it, boy,” Mattheu taunts him. “I taught you everything you know. Let’s see how well you learned your lesson, eh, boy?”

“I learned it well, Brother,” Jim says. “You always were the best. I was proud to have been taught by you.” He crosses his vembraces, bowing but keeping his eyes on the old man. “I protect and serve.”

“Hah!”

A sharp, bitter laugh, and a flash of lightning in the air: a thrown dagger, and Jim is already moving, deflecting it from its path to Bones’s heart with his own blades as Mattheu falls to the ground, throat cut.

They stare at the fallen Cassiline.

“The terminius,” Bones says blankly. “He performed the terminus.”

Jim licks his lips, and he can feel wings in his temple once more. “He thought he was killing me, because he was killing you. But he didn’t. I stopped it.” He stares at the lone dagger on the ground, its twin still held in Mattheu’s grasp. “I stopped his blade.”

“I thought that couldn’t happen,” Bones says, shocked. “They’re too fast—“

“He wasn’t. It wasn’t.” The world starts to return to something like its normal self. “I was.”

Bones shakes his head. “Impossible,” he mouths, but his lips are starting to quirk upwards in a grin of triumph.

Jim feels himself smiling back in answer. “Not impossible,” he says. He salutes his consort with the daggers, and they hold onto one another as the earth shakes once more. “C’mon,” he says when it’s over, “let’s find the others!”

~

At first, Jim thinks the signing of the peace treaty is going to be completely anticlimactic.

That’s fine by him, really—after the intensity of the last few days, a dozen individuals meeting in an Algonquin longhouse, ranged around portable D’Angeline desks seems preferable.

To his bemusement, Bones disagrees completely.

“They’re arguing about where to put commas, Jim!” he hisses in exasperation. “Commas! War and fury and degradation and they think it’s rules of grammar!”

Jim slaps him on the shoulder. “I’d rather argue over commas than over land, but I take your meaning,” he says.

They stand off to the side, reduced to spectators. Miramanee, as priestess once more, sits calmly in one of the plush chairs around the table. Her expression is carefully neutral and regal as she listens to the men talk, and with her belly as heavy as the moon, she reminds Jim of Muscovite icons he’s seen of the Blessed Miriam. Pamouic is at her side, the pair of them flanked by Escabarres on the one hand and by Gill on the other. The siblings have made their own form of peace, at least for the moment.

The door-flap opens and Sam enters, looking about curiously. Circumspectly he takes a space in the back, opposite Jim and Bones; Miramanee sees his entrance but she doesn’t acknowledge it.

Jim can tell by the subtle shift of her posture, though, that she is pleased.

Well that’s interesting.

He raises his eyebrows at Sam, who gives him a nod of the head and a twitch of the lips in response. Jim grins back, relieved that the pair of them have finally gotten the puzzle between them solves—well, as much as one can solve love, at any rate.

“What are you lookin’ so pleased about?” Bones wants to know, impatient as ever.

“I’ll tell you later,” Jim promises.

As if that had been a sign of some sort, bottles of ink are opened, and each representative is handed a pen with as much pomp as could be endowed on such a simple act.

“And with the stroke of a pen, so a new world is made,” Rebbe David says in satisfaction.

“Oh yes, my Father,” Jim agrees in fervent admiration. “Oh, yes.”

Afterwards there is a general feeling of celebration, however subdued. Jim, Bones, and the Rebbe stand with Miramanee and Sam.

“Congratulations, Peace-weaver,” Jim says, hugging her gently. “We take joy with you.”

“Great joy,” Bones echoes with a grin.

“As do I,” Miramanee says. She looks tired but pleased. “I pray Okee will give us His grace.”

The familiar sound of wings beats in the back of Jim’s mind. “I think they will,” he says. “In fact, I’m sure of it.”

He frowns then, because the tenor of the wings beating changes—becoming almost frantic. Jim feels his heart speed up in response: it’s not the intense beat of joy or swift staccato of passion; it’s darker, more—

”Whore!” The cry is in Yeshuite, and Jim turns just in time to see Ibrahim emerge from the crowd, knife drawn.

Just in time to see Rebbe David interpose his body between Miramanee and her attacker.

Just in time to see the blade cut them both.

”No!” He has his daggers out, but Sam’s pistola makes a loud sound like a crack of thunder. Blood blossoms on Ibrahim’s white shirt like the petals of D’Angeline anemones.

Ibrahim mouths wordlessly at them, his eyes glazed in hatred, and then finally, death.

“Blessed Elua have mercy,” Jim murmurs, as shocked exclamations and murmurs arise from the rest of the crowd belatedly. Bones drops to his knees to examine their fallen friends.

“See to the girl,” Rebbe David orders through shallow breaths.

“The baby,” Miramanee says, her voice a whimper. “Is he—“

“Shh, shh,” Bones says gently, his hands exploring the roundness of her stomach carefully. He looks up at them. “We have to get her to my surgery. Now.

“I’ll help you,” Sam says immediately, taking her in his arms.

“Bones?” Jim holds the Rebbe in his arms. Bones frowns as he starts to run a similar exploratory
examination on the old man, but Rebbe David bats his hands away impatiently.

“Take care of her, I said!” The Rebbe glares at Bones.

Something passes between them, and then the healer nods. “This way,” he tells Sam, and they disappear out of sight.

Jim understands what this means.

“No,” he says, voice choking. “No.”

The Rebbe laughs; the sound is thick in his throat, mixed with blood. “I—have lived—an
undistinguished life,” he says. To Jim’s chagrin, he pats Jim’s hand comfortingly. “With my death—I do something of note—is it not so?”

“You were never undistinguished, honored Father,” Jim murmurs in Yeshuite. He can feel wetness on his face. “You are a good man. You will sit at the right hand of Yeshua himself for this.”

“Ha!” Rebbe David sounds amused—and tired. His lips form that familiar, small smile. “That—will be—something. No?” The light leaves his eyes, but the smile remains.

“Yes,” Jim replies—too late, always too late. “It will be something, alright.”

He’s not sure how long he sits there, holding onto his friend. At last, Diego don Escabarres steps forward, squatting to his knees. He places a hand on Jim’s shoulder. “I grieve with you, Jim Kirk nò Pike,” he says. “Go find your friends, now. I will see to the Rebbe.”

Jim nods, standing up slowly, muscles cramped and sore from kneeling on the ground for so long. He jogs through the encampment, mind foggy with grief and exhaustion. A woman’s cry cuts the air, and then he’s running faster, speeding towards the sound. He darts through the door-flap of the longhouse that is its source, staring.

Miramanee lies pale and exhausted on a table covered with a blanket. She is naked, partially covered with a blanket. Sam holds onto her hand, tears streaking his face. Bones’s back is to them all.

“Bones?” Jim asks, voice strangled.

Wings are beating in his ears once more—

Bones turns. He holds a swaddled bundle, murmuring shushing noises to the whimpering child, and lays it in Miramanee’s arms. She opens her eyes, peering at the wrinkled, dark little face, and laughs.

“Oh, you,” she says to the baby. “Oh, welcome, little you!”

Sam stares at them in wonder. “He’s beautiful.”

Bones nods, small smile curving his lips as he wipes his hands with a length of linen. “He is indeed,” he murmurs. He turns to his consort. “Jim?”

Jim nods. “He is,” he echoes. They will speak of the Rebbe later. He reaches out to stroke Miramanee’s hair gently. “What’s his name?”

“David,” she says immediately. Her face is wet too, but she is laughing. “His name is David.”

~

He dreams of Pike that night.

“I thought you were gone,” he tells his foster-father, his Duke. Pike stands on a dock, and
behind him is a peaceful green landscape: rolling hills, fragrant trees. Spock and Nyota are in the distance, waving.

Pike gives him one of those small, fond smiles of his. “That was the plan,” he says. “Funny how those always change where you’re concerned.”

“Yeah, well.” Jim grins, but he can feel it fading. The sun is setting behind Pike. He realizes he’s standing on a boat. A warm salty breeze fills his nostrils, and he wants to move—now. Explore—find things. “I really have a lot left to do, don’t I?” he asks.

Pike nods. “You do. You will.” He looks so—so
proud, Jim thinks, heart tight. “I’m so proud of you, my son.” He steps back, and the ship is moving away from shore steadily. He lifts an arm in farewells. “Safe journeys.”

Jim echoes the gesture. “You too.”


~


When he awakes in the morning, he feels—free, he thinks, almost with surprise.

“Uh oh,” Bones says when he sees him, but his lips are quirking upward. “I know that look.”

“What look is that?” Sam asks. There are dark circles under his eyes, but he’s beaming, cheerful
as he holds baby David.

Miramanee laughs. “It’s the look he has when he’s had an idea.” She smiles at Sam. “The same one you tend to have, actually.” She bites her bottom lip in mirth, and Sam flushes.

“Well,” his brother says, but he trails off.

“We’ll have to leave soon,” Jim says to them all, instead. “You know that right?” He licks his lips, taking in their dismay. “It’ll be—better this way.”

Sam’s mouth is a thin line, and he glances between Jim and Miramanee. “I know just the thing,” he says, peering at Miramanee once more, and she stares at him questioningly. She’s puzzled, and then all at once she seems to understand: a smile of relief and delight breaks over her face.

“Do you mean?” she breathes.

“I do,” he says firmly, kissing her.

“I’m glad you do,” Bones says crankily, “’cause I sure as hell don’t!”

Jim doesn’t either, and then somehow—intuition, or maybe just a growing knowledge of how Sam’s mind works, tips him off. “Your ship, Sam—you can’t—I’m not—”

But Sam laughs. “Oh yes you are, little brother. After all,” he says, pressing another kiss to Miramanee’s brow, “a Kirk should never be without a ship!”

~

They make their arrangements quickly. In these days of the new peace—such as it is—there is much to do. The first of these is seeing to the funeral of the Rebbe David Francis. He is buried in a traditional Yeshuite ceremony, with most of the inhabitants of New Londinium and the better part of Pamouic’s tribe in attendance.

“The Rebbe was a good man,” the new Chieftain says to Jim, looking older than his years. “Are you certain you will not stay?”

“I’m sure,” Jim says. “I wish I could, but—” He shrugs, uncertain how to explain it all. He’s free now, finally, really free—and that means so much to do, so many places to go.

So many goodbyes.

When they say farewell to Escabarres, he presents them with a bound set of papers. “Komack’s seal,” he explains when Jim opens it up. “These will allow you into any port, Terra Nova or Terra Antica. Rather useful, wouldn’t you say?”

They’re real, too. Had the King planned this after all? But Escabarres gives him a small smile and shows his ring.

“Will I ever know the answer to that mystery?” Bones asks him ruefully.

“Will any of us?” returns Escabarres.

He’s escorting them to the door when they see young Alejandro setting a tray before a little girl who glances at him, wide-eyed, but says nothing.

“Who’s she?” Jim asks curiously.

“She’s the daughter of one of the Yeshuite families that were with the Algonquin during the attack. Her kin are all dead.” The little girl’s eyes are a dark hazel, her hair a dark brown. She holds a cornhusk doll close under her chin. “All we know is that her name is Joanna,” Escabarres continues.

Bones sits down so that he is at eye-level with the little girl. “What’s your dolly’s name?”

“What’s going to happen to her?” Jim asks behind them.

Joanna is silent for a moment, then mumbles something.

“What’s that?” Bones pitches his voice low, keeping it light, friendly. Nonthreatening. She reminds him of every child he’s ever seen in the Houses of Night-Blooming Flowers, their marques in doubt, a lifetime of indentured servitude before them, one way or another. He had never been able to do anything about it—until now.

“Sano,” Joanna says. “It means ‘fox.’”

“We don’t know,” Escabarres is saying. “Hopefully we’ll find a family willing to care for her.”

“Do you like foxes?” Bones asks. When the little girl nods at him, he smiles at her. “Me too.” He looks up, over at Jim, who meets his gaze, wide-eyed. The sound of wings is in his ears, and he turns back to Joanna. “Would you like to go on a trip?”

Joanna nods, and throws her arms around his neck.

“I’ll alert Mr. Mitchell we have one more crewmember then,” Jim says.

As it happens, they have one more: when they return to their house, there are several cases of luggage in the foyer. “Scotty?” Jim asks blankly, and the man shrugs and lights his pipe.

“I told her tae talk to you, sir,” he says, and that’s when Rand appears, another bag in her arms. He peers at little Joanna. “Who are you, then?”

“I’m Joanna,” she says.

“O’ course ye are.”

“What’s all this?” Jim asks Rand.

“Honestly, sir, you didn’t think I wouldn’t be coming as well, did you?” She doesn’t even look up as she appears to be taking some sort of inventory. “If the better part of the last year has taught me anything, it’s that you can’t possibly survive without me.” She does look up then.

Jim swallows, something thick in his throat, like gratitude. “Welcome, Mistress Rand.”

“Thank ye, Captain Kirk.”

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