Title: The Boy and the Sea Dragon (1/?)
Fandom: Star Trek AOS
Characters: Kirk, Spock, McCoy
Disclaimer: I make no profit on my fandom writing. But I do enjoy lovely comments. :)
Summary: On an away mission, Captain Kirk encounters an old friend he hasn’t thought of in years. Unfortunately, their meeting is less than fortuitous and bodes ill for the rest of Jim’s crew.
Sunshine warms the earth. An east wind blows sand with fierce determination. The sea wall is already coated in a fine layer, its drab grey taking on the appearance of gold. A boy, the age of nine, ignores the stinging of the sand-laden wind and climbs over the sea wall to the beach. He leaves behind two small, smeared handprints.
He returns to the same spot which he has frequented for the last month. It is damp from the receding tide, but the coolness of the damp is pleasant on his skin. The child also finds that when he digs his toes into the sand, it has a satisfying squishy quality.
“Are you there?” he calls as soon as he is seated. “Hello?”
The sea murmurs quietly, like a sleeping giant.
The boy can be patient. He knows that if he waits long enough, his friend will visit.
A terribly slow and frustrating ten minutes later, when he is drawing pictures in the sand with his finger, there is the familiar noise of distant splashing. So the child hugs his knees with his arms and watches, wide-eyed, as his friend comes from the sea.
It looks like a dragon—well, how he imagines dragons might look—on two legs. Green scales patch its long legs (which bend backwards rather than forward) and the back of its arms. The face of the creature is strange, unnerving, with its slanted dark eyes and long whiskers like seaweed. It has no hair, only a round rough-looking scalp.
The boy is not afraid. “Morning.”
It makes a noise that must be a greeting and wobbles on its legs awkwardly as it approaches. The child thinks that it must not stand very often. Why would it need to stand, except maybe on the bottom of the ocean?
“How are you doing?” he asks. His mother says that politeness is required even between friends. The child and the sea dragon have not been friends for long.
It settles in front of him on its haunches and reaches out a hand. The boy raises his own hand to meet its fingertips. It speaks to him this way—a kind of talking in his head.
Hello, child it says.
“Jimmy,” corrects the boy.
He thinks it’s funny, how this thing cannot say a simple name like Jimmy.
“It’s okay to call me Jim rather than Jimmy.” There is a pause. “How come you won’t tell me your name?”
I have no name.
“Can I name you?”
Always the same response to Jim’s question. He likes to nickname things and people, even if they already have a proper name. Sometimes that makes people mad at him; others think he is twice as cute. So Jim goes on to his second favorite question: “What are you?”
I am like you.
Jim doesn’t believe this because he has never woken up with fins and scales and black fish eyes.
“I am a Human,” says the boy. “You look like a dragon from an old storybook.”
There is no response, but Jim feels an emotion that he identifies as amusement. The sea dragon often thinks that he says funny things. Time to try another tactic. He disconnects their fingertips to dig in his pocket. Then young James T. Kirk places a crumbling biscuit on the sand between them and asks, “Are you hungry?”
When the sea dragon tilts his head and stares at him, Jim takes this for confusion and holds out his hand again. When they are touching, he repeats his question.
It extends a long claw and spears the biscuit. Jim likes the sea dragon’s claws, though he rarely sees them since they are normally retracted; they are as hard as steel and he has seen his mysterious friend fed on jellyfish by slicing them into shreds with those claws.
The child watches with fascination as the biscuit is inspected. “I like lots of jam on mine, but I didn’t put any jam on yours ‘cuz you might not like jam. Aren’t you gonna eat it? It’s good.” Jim picks up a sand-coated crumb and pops it into his mouth. It’s gritty but he forces himself to look pleased.
The biscuit is smelled and discarded. Jim sighs and puts it back in his pocket—perhaps he can get his older brother Sammy to eat it later on a dare.
The sea dragon makes a rumbling noise, blinks its ghoulish black eyes and reaches for Jim’s hair. Jim remains still, barely breathing. He wonders if his friend will let him touch the scales along its neck and shoulders; he has been so curious about how they feel, if the texture would be rough like a lizard’s skin or smooth and sharp like fish scales.
There is a painful tug on his hair. “Hey!” Jim cries. “Don’t pull so hard!”
Hair like the sun is what his friend says.
“It’s blond, like my father’s.” The boy knows how much he looks like his deceased father—he is told so by his family rather often.
The sea dragon starts to lean towards him when a call rings out in the distance.
It’s Sammy hollering from the beach house, probably because his mother is ready to go shopping in town.
His strange friend cocks his head for just a moment, listening, before it starts to crawl back the way it came.
Jim scrambles after it shouting. “Wait! Wait! I need to tell—”
It stops just at the edge of the lapping salt water and holds out its hand. Jim grasps it in his; it feels weird—cold and slightly like the slime of a fish.
“We’re leaving tomorrow,” the boy tells him urgently. “We’re going back to Iowa because Mama’s new boyfriend wants to get married and I don’t know your name and—”
Peace, child. We will meet again.
“When? There aren’t any beaches where I’m from.” Just endless rows of cornfields, old houses, and barns.
We will meet again.
The sea dragon disappears back into the sea.
Jim stays there for some minutes, trying to pick out the difference between the flashes of sunlight glinting on the ocean and what might be a fin. He finally turns away, feeling sad and alone, to trudge back to the sea wall.
Sam meets him on the other side.
“Where have you been, dumbass? Ma is so mad.”
“On the beach,” he mumbles.
Sam looks at him through narrowed eyes. “You aren’t supposed to go there without me or Frank to watch you.”
Jim shrugs with all the sullenness of a small rebel child. Sam wisely does not mention Frank’s name again. Neither of them like their soon-to-be stepfather.
Jim is only half-listening as his brother talks.
“I hate Iowa. I’d rather stay on the coast. But Ma—”
Jim wants to stay on the coast too in hopes that he will discover more about the creature that he befriended.
“God, I don’t think I can stand it, Jimmy, I just can’t—”
Sam has been complaining a lot lately, about everything. He doesn’t yell like he’s angry, not as Jim does when someone makes him upset. No, Sammy is much more introverted—and sometimes that scares his little brother. It feels like something is building, something bad, and Jimmy will be helpless to stop it from happening.
He breaks into Sam’s familiar speech.
“Sammy, do you think Mama will forget him, you know, now that she’s gonna marry—”
“Don’t be stupid. Frank is nothing like Dad.” Sam grabs Jim’s arm to pull him up short. “Dad’s a hero. Nobody will ever forget that, especially not us.”
Jim feels bad, because he secretly wishes that people would. Maybe then they’d stop looking at little Jimmy Kirk and seeing George Kirk instead.
“I guess not,” he says as he scratches at a bare leg with one of his feet. “Sammy?”
“Do you believe in… mmmmm… you know, when you meet people you’re supposed to? Like maybe if you’ve met them once and then don’t see ’em until a long, long time later?”
His brother stares at him. “You mean like destiny?”
Sam shrugs. “I don’t know.” They walk back to the house in silence.
Jim can’t stop thinking. Destiny has to be real. How else will his friend find him again?