Some days, it’s easy to forget. Some days, it’s easy to walk through familiar white halls, nodding to faces in those familiar uniform colors. It’s easy to look out the viewport at the stars going by, easy to turn in his chair to talk to his First Officer, easy to lean forward towards his Helmsman, easy to feel his CMO’s presence behind his left shoulder. Some days, it’s easy to pretend he doesn’t feel the -A painted on the hull of his ship like a brand on his heart.
Some days, it’s not so easy. The leather of his seat is the same comfort it’s always been, but sometimes, when he sits just so, the material creaks and his old ship, his first love, flashes before his eyes. The hallways look the same, but sometimes he feels like the color is just off, and for a moment he’s back in the ruins of his beloved, running sideways along the wall. The uniforms are the same, but the faces are different, and sometimes he looks at one ensign and sees another, a memory. The ship is different, the crew is different, he’s different, but sometimes it’s too much.
Some days, the ghost of the Enterprise sits too heavy on his heart. Spock tries to understand, but Jim knows he doesn’t quite get it. Neither does Bones, or Uhura, or Chekov, or Sulu, or Scotty - none of them really get it. On those days, he wonders about all the ghosts in his life. He thinks that, if his father hadn’t gone down with the Kelvin, that this is what it would feel like. He thinks that, if Pike hadn’t died in that antechamber at Headquarters, that he could soothe Jim’s soul with a comment and smile.
And yet, in a flash, it’s gone. The ghosts are just that once again, and he can look at his new ship, his new family, without the filter of the one, the ones he lost.