That's My Boy

Title: That’s My Boy

Author: Tempest

Series: TOS, AU

Paring: S/Mc

Rating: PG-13

Summary: Spock is injured in an away mission. McCoy and Kirk have to help him cope with it. Mostly McCoy.

Disclaimer: I don't own TOS. I never have, and I never will. Star Trek and all of its relations are property of Paramount and Viacom. I only own this story. Anybody who has a problem with the thought of men in homosexual relationships with each other, please stay away. Flames and feedback are welcome. Please ask before putting this anywhere.

Author’s Notes: I realize that’s probably the worst summary in the universe. Let me explain why. I can’t go into details about how and what and when and why because then I’ve ruined the story. It might not be a good story, but I tried. It’s interesting. I blame overexposure to television and too much time on my hands for this idea. Bonus points to whoever, after reading this, knows what I’d been watching that made me think of this. I apologize if this is sad. I don’t think it’s sad, but I also live in a cave and fight Romulans so I don’t have to pay for alcohol. Please don’t hurt me.


That’s My Boy

By Tempest

October 7, 2004



      "Standard orbit, Mr. Sulu. Mr. Chekov, keep our shields up." Captain Kirk leaned forward in his chair, peering at the center screen. "Status of the planet, Mr. Spock?"


      Spock turned towards his library computer and read for a few minutes, repeating the information to the bridge crew. "Classic M-class planet, Captain, with a nitrogen-oxygen atmosphere, gravity 98.2% of Earth. The planet has a humanoid population, little is known about them, aside from that they have evidently not achieved space travel."


      "And they stand between our territory and that of the Klingon Empire," Kirk mused to himself. He sighed and stood up from his chair, walking to stand beside the bar separating the bridge. "Well, Mister Spock, our mission is to seek out new life and civilizations. Do you feel up to leading the away team?"


      "As always, Captain."


      Kirk nodded at the Vulcan and walked back to his command chair, engaging the ship-wide intercom. "Lieutenant Jackson and Ensign Evans from Security please report to the transporter room. Lieutenant Phillips from Sciences please report to the transporter room." Kirk looked up at Spock with a smile. "They're all yours, Mr. Spock. Have fun down there."


      Spock walked towards the turbolift, his eyebrow raising as he retorted. "Fun, Captain? I assure you this is in the name of duty." The doors open and he entered.


      "Just keep saying that-" Kirk sighed, as the doors closed again, keeping him from his response.



      In the transporter room, the away team had assembled themselves, waiting for their Vulcan leader. Evans tucked his phaser on his belt and turned to Jackson. "Unknown peoples on this planet, do you really think we should be beaming down?"


      Jackson gave him a friendly pat on the back, and then stepped up onto one of the transporter pads. "Discovery is our job, remember? Besides, we have Mister Spock coming with us, and of course, we got Phillips here to track the biology, isn't that right Aaron?"


      Phillips chuckled as he stepped up onto the pad beside Jackson, calibrating his tricorder with one hand, as he made a muscle with his other arm. "Oh yeah, certainly. We boys from sciences make great fighters. If you get scared, just use me as a human shield."


      Evans nodded; he couldn't help but grin, and stepped up onto one of the pads as well. "Thanks."


      Phillips nodded, his hands going behind his back. "Sure, what are mad scientists for?"


      The two security officers began to laugh, and at that moment, Spock walked in, a tricorder slung over his shoulder and a phaser in his hand. "Prepared, gentlemen?"


      Phillips gave a nod of his head, as Evans and Jackson each chimed in with an "Aye, Sir."


      Spock stepped up onto the transporter pad. "Very well. Energize," He said to the transporter chief. And within seconds, their forms had dissolved, and they were gone.



      Kirk paced the bridge, checking the chronometer again. "Uhura, is there a response from the away team yet?"


      The communications officer shook her head, "I'm sorry, Sir, nothing yet."


      Kirk tried to resist his frustration, but gave in, slamming his hand down on the back of his chair. "Dammit. They've been down there four hours without checking in." He sighed and turned to Chekov, who had taken over Spock's science console. "Get me a reading on the away team, Mr. Chekov."


      "Yes, Captain." The young, navigator's head bent over the panel as he checked the scanners, only to pop up again a moment later. "Captain, there's something wrong with the away team's life signs. I can get a reading, but not a clear one."


      Kirk made a low noise of irritation. "You're sure, Chekov?"


      "Aye, Sir."


      "That's it." Kirk tapped the intercom. "Kirk to transporter room."


      "Transporter room, Kyle here," came the immediate reply.


      "Mr. Kyle, get a lock on the away team, and beam them up, now." Kirk could not emphasize the last word enough.


      "Yes, Sir." The intercom was cut and Kirk sighed, sinking back in his chair, his forehead resting in his palm.


      The respite was short-lived, for no more than three minutes later; there came another beep from the intercom. "What is it, Mr. Kyle?"


      The voice on the other end of the comm. was shaky. "Sir...the away team isn't moving. I called for some orderlies to take them to sickbay."


      "I'll be down there in a minute." Kirk slammed the button down and stood from his chair. "Sulu, you have the con." He walked to the turbolift and bolted inside when the doors opened.


      Sulu and Chekov exchanged a glance, and Uhura set about listening to comm. chatter from deck five.



      The doors to sickbay swooshed open and Kirk entered, looking for McCoy. "Bones?" he queried, walking towards the surgical area.


      "Not now, Jim. I just sent my orderlies out. Kyle said there's some problem with the away team." The doctor was changing himself quickly into scrubs and running his hands under the sterilizer beam.


      "Bones, I don't want you to be shocked, but Spock was on the away team."


      McCoy was facing away from Kirk at the time, his expression unable to be read. "Spock's a big boy, Jim. I'm sure he'll be fine. Besides, this was just an isolated planet, right? We've seen him through worse."


      "Bones..." Kirk started, but was interrupted with the orderlies leading four biobeds into sickbay, sheets drawn up on three of them to cover the faces of the occupants.


      McCoy rushed to meet the orderlies, all doctor now.


      Kirk moved to McCoy's office, getting out of the way to let him work.



      McCoy tore off his outer scrubs, his emotions threatening to take control of him. He pinched the bridge of his nose as he made his way into his office.


      Kirk met him with a cup of coffee. "How's it look, Bones?"


      McCoy took the cup gratefully and had a sip, falling into his desk chair. "Not good. Phillips, Jackson, and Evans are dead. Some sort of brain hemorrhaging as far as I can tell."


      Kirk nodded, keeping silent for a moment, the weight of three dead crewmembers heavy on his shoulders. Finally, he spoke. "And Spock?"


      McCoy did not respond right away. Finally, he took in a deep breath. "I...I don't rightly know, Jim. He has extensive neurological injury. Thankfully, the Vulcan construction of his brain kept him from death, but until he's awake, I can't tell you the extent of the damage."


      Kirk sighed. "Will he recover, Bones?"


      "We can only hope. I'll take care of him right now. You need to work on the letters to the families."


      That was one of Kirk's least favorite of all his duties. "I know. Let me know when he wakes up, Bones." Then Kirk turned and left sickbay.



      Kirk made his way back to the bridge. Two distraught spouses had been notified and a devastated set of parents. He had offered the sincerest condolences he could and had taken full responsibility for what happened, had given a full explanation of what had happened and had sent for two men from ship's stores to box the personal effects and send them at the next outpost.


      He sighed wearily as he took his seat. "Sulu, take us out of orbit. Set course for Starbase 23, warp factor 4."


      "Aye, Captain, warp factor 4." Sulu's fingers flew over his panel.


      Kirk could feel the heavy atmosphere of the bridge. Everybody was concerned but nobody was going to ask questions. There was less than one hour left in the duty shift; he only needed things to go smoothly until the end of shift. Then the crew could get the relief they needed and could all go to sickbay to ask as many questions as they wanted about Spock and the mission.


      The bridge carried on in silence. Kirk stared at the main screen, Uhura monitored subspace chatter and Sulu and Chekov were exchanging quiet looks in a silent bet of who was going to ask the Captain for information first. The whistle of the comm. sliced through the tension. "Sickbay to Captain Kirk."


      That wasn't McCoy's voice. Kirk was growing concerned. "Kirk here."


      "This is Doctor M'Benga, Captain. Doctor McCoy requests your presence in sickbay. He says make it quick."


      "I'm on my way. Tell him to hang on." Kirk punched the "off" switch and hopped from his chair, heading once more to the turbo lift. "Sulu, take the bridge." When the closed on him, and the turbolift set into motion, he let out a sigh. *This better be good news.*


      The doors opened again and he strode towards the sickbay. Upon entering, Kirk made his way to the Intensive Care area when he felt a restraining hand on his shoulder. He turned his head to meet the eyes of M'Benga. "Captain, Doctor McCoy told me to stay out here and keep you from barging in. He'll be out in a minute."


      Kirk opened his mouth to say something, but M'Benga interrupted him. "Don't make Len any more stressed than he already is."


      Kirk nodded. "All right, I'll wait."


      The wait was not a long one, when McCoy came out of the unit, and sighed. "Well, Jim, he's awake."


      Kirk breathed a sigh of relief. "That's great news, Bones."


      The doctor gave a shake of his head. "Not exactly." He turned to M'Benga. "Geoff, can you go make the rounds on the other patients and remind the nurses that the shift will be over soon, and they deserve to take a break?"


      M'Benga nodded and headed back into the other area of sickbay, leaving the two men to themselves.


      "All right, Bones, what makes it 'not exactly' good?" Kirk stared down his friend, not willing to take a coddled answer from him.


      "He's awake, Jim. His five senses seem to be working well enough. His sixth sense, however, seems impaired to the point that his ESPER rating is bouncing back and forth between average human range and a range that is normal for the average Betazoid. He has no ability to control it. He has no ability to control his emotions right now. And his cognitive functions are reminiscent of a small child, maybe 4 or 5 years old. The good part of this is that he does recognize the sickbay and can identify people. But it's...well, if he could fully understand the circumstance, he'd be pretty miserable, pitiful situation, really Jim. And this is all because he was spared death by hemorrhaging."


      Kirk wanted to react, but he could tell from his friend's tone just how terrible he was feeling. So he tried to stay in the role of the Captain. "Can you ask for a Vulcan Mind Healer to come to the ship to help with therapy? Or maybe send Spock back to Vulcan?"


      "I don't think that will help, Jim. This isn't a psychological cause. It's purely physical and you know how the Vulcans get about non-psychological medicine. We'll just have to take his therapy nice and slow and see where it goes from there."


      Kirk nodded. There had been a reason he hadn't gone into medicine. "Can I see him, Bones?"


      McCoy shook his head. "Not the way he is now. For him I can't let anybody see him. When he's a little better I'll allow non-medical personnel to visit. But not now."


      Kirk sighed and forced a tight smile. "I understand, Bones. I won't ask again. I can tell how this is bothering you. But when shift ends, how about I get you a cup of Saurian Brandy and you, me, Scotty, Sulu, and Chekov organize a poker game? M'Benga's welcome too."


      McCoy shook his head again. "Maybe, Jim, I'll see what's what when everything's settled here. And I'll get you a report on the incident tomorrow."


      "All right, Bones, but don't drive yourself crazy." Kirk turned around and walked out of sickbay, forcing himself into Captain mode, knowing the crew would have questions for him when he returned to the bridge.



      McCoy watched as the Captain left, and then walked back into Spock's room. It was isolated from the rest of sickbay, so he could hide the Vulcan from the eyes of patients and visitors. His face took on a gentle smile as he returned to Spock's bed. "Hiya."


      Spock lay atop the biobed. The sheet was pulled around his body and his limbs were tied down with medical restraints. His eyes were slightly glassy, and his head was bandaged. He tried to move his hand but couldn't. Instead, he looked up at McCoy. The expression on his face unmasked, raw emotion in his features and the look itself was pitiful.


      McCoy pulled up a chair and sat next to the Vulcan. He ran his hand over Spock's cheek, keeping his voice gentle. "I'm sorry, Spock, but we need to keep you still. I know you're scared and you want to move, and when you're checked out of sickbay and we're back in our quarters, you can move all you like."


      Spock moved his lips in response, but no sound emerged.


      McCoy bent in closer. "What, Spock?"


      "Le-Leonard...I'm cold." His voice was meek. Although it was the same low baritone, it had a tinge of childishness to it.


      "I'll get you some more blankets, Spock. Those should warm you right up." McCoy went to the small closet where linins were kept and got out a couple of blankets, Starfleet issue for medical patients, the use of. He spread them out on Spock's form and lovingly tucked him in. "That better?"


      Spock gave a slight nod of his head. "Will you stay?"


      McCoy nodded too, the smile on his face growing ever so slightly. "As long as you want, Spock." He sat back down in the chair, placing his hand over the bulge in the blankets at Spock's side, which was one of the Vulcan's hands.


      McCoy spoke in quiet whispers to Spock, soothing him into sleep. Eventually, the Vulcan's eyes closed and then McCoy let himself relax, recuperating from the harsh events of the day, and drifted off in the chair beside him.




      Spock's eyes fluttered open; his breathing was loud and raspy to his own ears. He lifted his head slightly to gaze around his surroundings and quickly found that he could move nothing but his neck. *Where am I? Why...why can't I move? These aren't my quarters!* His face contorted into a wince. *My head hurts. And I'm hungry. How am I going to eat if I can't move?


      The sound of a door sliding open interrupted his thoughts and he turned his head to the side, gazing up to see McCoy. He cleared his throat. "Leonard...I'm hungry."


      McCoy smiled gently at him. "Good morning, Spock. You slept for a long time. How do you feel?"


      Spock stared back at the doctor, confused. *Didn't I just say I was hungry?* McCoy's smile was reassuring. *Maybe Leonard will get me some food if I answer his question better.* "My head hurts, and I can't move."


      McCoy moved closer to Spock. He himself had had a restless night. After waking up after a quick nap at Spock's bedside, M'Benga had ushered him to get the first set of tests completed on Spock and then had sent him back to his quarters for bed. He had only time for his morning coffee when the life sign monitor told him Spock was awake. "We can take care of all that."


      The doctor reached down and pulled back Spock's blankets and then set about loosening and removing the Vulcan's restraints. After each was pulled back, he lovingly massaged the skin beneath the strap to help Spock's muscles. "Let's get you ready for everything. What do you want for breakfast?"


      Spock sat up slowly in the bed, gazing around the room for a few minutes. He then reached out to grab McCoy's hand, as he slowly climbed off the bed. "Pla-savas shihvek."


      McCoy helped ease the Vulcan to his feet; feeling strange considering Spock was an inch taller than him and outweighed him by at least fifteen pounds. He recognized that term. It was a kind of Vulcan pie. "You can't have that for breakfast, but maybe later tonight. How does treahk-tor kheh and theris-masu sound?" That was what Spock usually had when he took the time to actually eat breakfast.


      Spock nodded, keeping his hand within McCoy's fingers. *Leonard makes good treahk-tor kheh. And he'll give me pla-savas shihvek tonight. Maybe means yes.*


      McCoy smiled a little wider, putting his other hand on Spock's shoulder. "Great, I'll get that set up for you and get you taken care of. Come on." McCoy led him into the small patient restroom and helped him remove the sickbay jumpsuit. He helped the Vulcan to the small private, water closet and left him to his own business, while he went about getting him a clean jumpsuit, and telling the attending nurse to make Spock's breakfast order.


      Spock stepped out a few minutes later and McCoy helped the Vulcan change. He adjusted the collar of the shirt and then led the Vulcan back to the room. "My head still hurts, Leonard."


      McCoy went to one of the medication cabinets and produced a hypo spray. He placed a calming hand on Spock's arm while he injected it into the side of his neck. "That should help. Now, let's get you some breakfast."


      Spock nodded and sat down on the edge of the biobed. At that time, Nurse Chapel walked in with a tray consisting of a bowl of cereal and a cup of tea. She placed it upon the small table that folded out onto the biobed and smiled at Spock. His gaze was distant and a little frightened. She quickly turned her head away. She may have long since recovered from her romantic intentions for the Vulcan, but she still could not stand the sight of such a strong, intelligent man reduced to his current state. With a dismissing nod from McCoy, she exited back to the main area of sickbay.


      McCoy at once returned his attention to Spock, a coaxing grin on his face. "Spock, eat up, when you're done, we can get a few more tests in and then go from there."


      Spock nodded and dipped his finger into the bowl to have a taste. McCoy was about to interrupt him and remind him to use his spoon when Spock grimaced. "This isn't your treahk-tor kheh. You didn't make this!"


      McCoy's expression remained calm as he reached out to place one hand over Spock's. "I was with you the whole time, Spock. I didn't have time to make it; you know that. Nurse Chapel worked on making your breakfast. You don't want to look ungrateful do you?"


      Spock gave a shake of his head. "I don't want to eat Nurse Chapel's cooking. I want yours."


      McCoy sighed softly to himself; he had not dealt with children in a long time. "Spock, will you eat it for me?"


      Spock looked at McCoy for a long moment, before looking down at the food before him. He nodded slowly. "All right." Then he lifted his bowl and began to drink it.


      McCoy sat down in the chair beside the bed, waiting for Spock to finish. *This is going to take longer than I thought.*


      McCoy sat at his desk looking over the print outs of the test results. They all said the same thing. With a sigh, he laid his head in his hands, his elbows resting on the cool metal of the desk. Irreversible damage. Every single test made that clear.


      For the second time in his life, McCoy truly understood why it was that the Hippocratic Oath prevented one from practicing on family. He was conflicted, and worse than that, he felt inadequate as both husband and doctor. He had no way of saving Spock from a fate that under most circumstances, Vulcans would consider worse than death.


      On the other hand, at least Spock was alive, and himself, in some capacity.


      McCoy would have continued musing, but M’Benga came up behind him, startling him when a hand came to rest on his shoulder. “Len?”


      McCoy’s head came up with a start, looking around behind him. “What is it, Geoff?”


      “We’ve kept him here for five days, testing him, looking for answers. We’ve tried all medicine known to Starfleet, the Federation, and we’ve tried those healers three times. He hates being stuck back there. You know what. I think it’d be best if we just let him go back to his quarters and hope time heals him.”


      “And we’ll have to assign him a caretaker.”


      M’Benga just stared back at McCoy.


      McCoy sighed, nodding. “I can take two shifts, but what do I do when I have to be in sickbay?”


      M’Benga exhaled at that, thinking. Non-medical staff were out on that, and he had the same shift as McCoy. And McCoy could not just take a leave indefinitely without him personally being sick. “A nurse.” It was the logical answer.


      “Which one? Chapel makes him nervous and he doesn’t really know Burke that well. And Thomson’s Esper sensitivity makes her ineligible for that job.”


      M’Benga could hear the worry in McCoy’s voice and did his best to reassure him. “What about Harrison?”


      Harrison’s an orderly, Geoff.”


      “He’s an orderly who’s in the process of finishing up his nursing training. And it’s about as much as we’re going to get on this. Besides, he had a Vulcan roommate back at the Academy.”


      McCoy sighed softly, pinching the bridge of his nose. “He’ll have to do, I guess. I’m just worried about Spock. He’s...”


      “I know.” M’Benga tried to smile, but it did not quite reach his eyes. “You go get cleaned up and I’ll sign the release orders so Spock can go back home with you.”


      McCoy nodded and started for the back of the sickbay, not sure what else he could do for the Vulcan he loved so dearly.



      “All right, Spock, let’s get you settled down on the bed and I’ll finish unpacking your stuff before I get some sleep, too.”


       The Vulcan sat on the bed, much like a young boy trying to impress his teacher or parent in hopes of getting praise. “Where will you sleep, Leonard?”


      “On the couch right over there.” McCoy had a suitcase open on a nearby table and was unpacking Spock’s clothing and some of the personal effects he had with him in sickbay, including what could only be described as an arts and crafts project, Vulcan style.


      Spock cocked his head to the side. “But that’s wrong.”


      McCoy stopped his task so he could look at the Vulcan. “What do you mean wrong, Spock? The bed’s yours, I’m here to take care of you, and so I’m sleeping on the couch.”


      “You used to sleep in the bed, too. I remember.” Spock furrowed his brow in concentration. “You slept on the right side.”


      McCoy once more felt that odd sensation in the pit of his stomach. His mind and heart were in conflict. “Off limits,” said his brain, and he could hardly disagree. Ignoring the pull on his heart, he smiled at the Vulcan, a kind, gentle smile, that of an elder trying to explain the nature of the universe to a small child wanting to know why everybody dies. “Now I sleep on the couch, Spock. It’s not that bad, really. I’m only a few feet away, and I can hear if you call me, so you won’t even have to get up.”


      Spock was about to question further, protest so he could have a reality like his memories, but he stopped in the process. He had been told to behave himself, to be a good boy, and then he could have a treat. Besides, he knew he would make McCoy proud if he behaved, and he wanted McCoy to be proud of him. He wanted to make McCoy happy.


      “All right, Leonard,” Spock said as he rose from the bed, turning around to change into the pajamas that had been laid out thoughtfully on the side of the bed. He threw his clothing on the floor, not thinking about using the hamper, and put the trousers on, forgoing the shirt; it was too warm for it.


      The pajamas had been purchased on a shore leave to Rigel VII, one that Spock most likely no longer remembered. They were a silk byproduct, with the texture of silk but the warmth of flannel. Green with small red hearts. McCoy had given them to Spock for the High Holidays that year, and Spock had worn them, either out of comfort or a desire to humor the doctor. McCoy had never been certain.


      While the Vulcan dressed, McCoy busied himself with the rest of the unpacking. The last thing he needed was to stare at Spock’s nude form before falling asleep on the couch, with the possibility quite high of never being allowed to touch the Vulcan in the way of lovers again. He finished putting the clothing away and disappeared into the head to put away a few of the personal grooming products.


      Spock finished with his pajamas and sat down on the bed, slipping himself under the covers. The lights were already dim and he tried to close his eyes, so he could sleep. It had been a long day; he was tired. And yet, he had a feeling he could not explain. It was wrong to be in bed by himself. He simply did not understand why.


      McCoy came back into the main quarters, putting the empty suitcase in the closet. Turning his head, he noticed Spock; although his eyes were closed, his body’s position told his doctor’s instincts that the Vulcan was not yet asleep. He walked over and sat on the side of the bed. “Hey, mind if I tuck you in?”


      Spock cracked one of his eyes open, the question taking a moment to settle in. Then he nodded enthusiastically. “Please, Leonard.”


      McCoy smiled softly at him and reached out to take hold of the covers, bringing them up under Spock’s chin and helping them form a warm cocoon around the Vulcan body. He then smoothed the fabric out, and after feeling, through the covers, Spock’s body snuggling into the warmth, he leaned over to kiss him on the forehead, an act that was mostly paternal in nature. “Good night, Spock. Sleep well and sweet dreams.”


      Spock closed his eyes and yawned, before whispering, “Goodnight Leonard,” and turning onto his side to sleep.


      As McCoy walked out into the main area of the quarters, to take up residence on the couch, he had to ignore the whispered, “I love you,” he heard from the Vulcan. He wanted to return the sentiment, in more ways than would be ethical.


      He put his shirt in the hamper, and then removed his boots and sat down on the couch, making it up into as comfortable a bed as he could. He lay down, resting his head on the pillow and looked up at the ceiling. He longed to be in the bed beside Spock, not even touching him, just to lie beside him, feeling the warmth of his body. But he could not. He needed to be the strong one.



      It was nearly 0300 hours when the door chime rang, waking him from a fitful sleep. McCoy had no robe available to him, and deciding that no crewmember worthy of being on the flagship of Starfleet would be afraid of a forty-two-year-old man’s bare chest, did not bother fishing out a shirt from Spock’s dresser.


      He checked quickly to make certain the chime had not woken Spock; it had not, proving that internal logic was what kept the Vulcan from being a heavy sleeper; and then he went to the door, stifling a yawn as he answered it.


      Kirk was on the other side. Taking in McCoy’s disheveled appearance, his bare chest and his fatigued mannerisms, not to mention that the fly on his trousers was half-buttoned, a look of disapproval settled over his features. “I just got off a double shift, Bones,” he said.


      “Want a gold star?”


      Kirk sighed softly, moving towards the door. “I would have come over earlier, I meant, to check on you.”


      “I’m fine. Spock’s asleep; he’s very tired, so I suggest not going in there.”


      Kirk stopped, bringing his hands to his sides. “Fine. But that’s what I came to talk to you about.”


      “If it has to do with Spock being tired, you don’t need to worry. After massive trauma like what he’s been through, the body needs a while to adjust. Eventually he’ll be back to normal, physically, anyway. The mentally, emotionally, and telepathically part is still up in the air, although it’s not looking good.” McCoy was rocking on the balls of his feet, a nervous habit he had developed years ago.


      “That’s what I came to talk to you about.”


      “Well, you certainly have a mouthful for three in the morning, don’t you, Jim?”


      Kirk sighed, his stern military bearing coming forward so he could get his point across. “Listen, Bones, I don’t mean to pry, but are you and he...” Kirk paused, trying to put it as delicately as possible, “Are you and he doing the horizontal tango?”


      McCoy simply stared at him for a long moment; somewhere between offended that Kirk would ask, and depressed that he had to answer in the negative. “No, Jim. Absolutely not. It’s against medical ethics.”


      Kirk seemed to visibly relax after hearing that. “I just had to check, Bones. Starfleet doesn’t have a lot of rules about fraternization, but if Spock only has the mental capacity of a small child-“


      “-It would be considered statutory rape, as well as molestation. I know, Jim. And I haven’t touched him like that since the accident.” *And it’s hurting like Hell,* he thought to himself.


      “That makes me feel loads better, Bones.” Kirk smiled slightly at him, then seemed to be reminded by the disheveled appearance, “No offense, Bones, but you look like Hell.”


      “It’s been a kind of long night, Jim. And a long week. And you didn’t exactly give me time to finish my beauty sleep.” McCoy brought his hand up to rub at his face.


      Kirk nodded sympathetically, “I know, Bones. And this probably won’t help at all, but the whole crew’s praying for the both of you.”


      McCoy nodded back, “Thanks, Jim. Now can I go back to sleep?”


      “Of course. Try to get some rest, and I’ll put you on beta shift tomorrow to give you some extra time.” Kirk reached out, patting McCoy on the shoulder, before turning away towards his own quarters.


      McCoy sighed and went back inside Spock’s quarters, ordering them to lock before lying back down on the couch, trying to get back to sleep in what was his home away from home, and yet, something he might never adjust to.


      Unbeknownst to him, Spock had awoken during the conversation, and although he remained in bed, he watched McCoy’s every move, sorrow plain on his face.



      The next morning, McCoy awoke to a familiar, but unexpected warmth. Opening his eyes, he quickly realized what it was. Spock had climbed out of his bed and had joined him on the couch, lying down beside him and wrapping an arm around the doctor, leaning his head on against the human’s shoulder.


      McCoy carefully extracted himself, not trying to wake the Vulcan. Unfortunately, the movement was more than the Vulcan’s unconscious could ignore and slowly, brown eyes opened to gaze at him. A lazy smile was on his lips. “Morning Leonard.”


      McCoy stretched the muscles in his back and neck, not pleased with the development. “Morning, Spock. Why aren’t you in your bed?”


      “I wanted to sleep with you. You wouldn’t sleep in my bed, so I came to you.” Spock paused in his explanation for a moment, “You feel cooler than I thought you would.”


      McCoy sighed softly. He did not want to deal with this right now. He had to separate their relationship from lovers to a more familial one. He reached out a hand to help the Vulcan to his feet. “Let’s get you cleaned up and dressed, and then we’ll take care of breakfast. All right?”


      The Vulcan took McCoy’s offered hand, rising to his feet. “All right, Leonard.” He followed the doctor’s lead into the head and watched as McCoy prepared the bathwater in the wash basin. Scotty had converted it to allow baths as well as showers while the Vulcan had been in sickbay, knowing that Spock would need some help bathing.


      McCoy turned around as Spock stripped off his pajama bottoms and climbed into the bathtub. McCoy then turned back and soaped up the washcloth, running it over Spock’s body.


      He had bathed Spock before the accident. It was something he always enjoyed doing, a time to relish every part of his lover’s body, while slowly working to arouse them both.


      This time, however, like the times in sickbay, was about efficiency, about need. As a result, he carefully separated his mind to view Spock as a patient, a brother, a son, rather than his beloved, so that he could do the task without making an awkward incident that would break his promise to Kirk and violate his medical Oath.


      Spock’s Esper ability, not controlled by his conscious mind anymore, picked up on McCoy’s distress and he reached out to lay his hand on the doctor’s wrist. “Leonard,” he said softly, “You do not want me?”


      McCoy sighed very softly, cupping some water in his hands and sprinkling it over Spock’s hair to clean the soap out. He smiled as he watched Spock close his eyes and scrunch up his face; very similar to how his nephew used to behave. “Of course I do. The way you are, the way we’ve been. It may be a little difficult to understand, but just leave it up to me, okay?”


      Spock listened to McCoy’s words carefully, and then nodded. “Yes Leonard.”


      “And we have to sleep in separate beds, so don’t sleep on the couch again, okay?”

      Spock was more reluctant to agree, but finally nodded again, the water from the bath growing a bit colder.


“Good, now let’s get you dried off and dressed.” McCoy helped Spock out of the bathtub and gave his body a quick rubdown with his favorite towel, a black one with a map of the Alpha quadrant.


      McCoy then left Spock to finish the rest of his cleaning and went outside to lay out Spock’s clothes for the day. The new parameters in the relationship would just need some getting used to.


      The days passed into weeks, and although Spock’s attitude was enthusiastic, he was eager to assist the medical staff and especially McCoy in any way he could, the damage to his brain was proving irreversible. It seems that he would be stuck as a young child on the inside, a shell around those best parts of the Vulcan, while his body served as a constant reminder of what he once was.


      However, he was improving with many of his habits and social interactions and not only was he allowed visiting with non-medical personnel, but as long as he was assisted, he had free run of the ship. He was especially fond of the recreation room, especially when Uhura was in there, singing. She was attempting to re-teach him to play his ka’athaira. The process was taking longer than she had originally expected, but he had just learned to play “Mary had a little lamb,” and it was certainly better than nothing.


      McCoy, after being relieved of his shift, went back to Spock’s quarters to change clothing and clean up a bit. Noticing that Spock was absent from the living residence, he went out, doing a quick search. He found him in the mess hall, surrounded by a group of junior officers, and Harrison, looking probably half as tired as he really was.


      McCoy approached them, overhearing the conversation. They were telling Spock stories of his past, without making him feel badly, by using the stories of “The Best Vulcan in Starfleet” rather than his name. However, Chekov, who had been in the middle of recounting the tale of The Doomsday Machine, quickly shut his mouth when he saw McCoy approach. “I think that’s enough story for one day,” he said.


      McCoy waved at the group of officers, walking around to speak with Harrison for a moment, updating himself on Spock’s status. Apparently, the Vulcan had not eaten yet, even though he should have. He had refused, waiting for McCoy to show up to help him out. Although he knew that all hopes of their romantic life were shattered, a warm feeling spread throughout his chest, knowing that no matter what, the Vulcan did love him.


      The doctor made his way to the replicator to get their meals for the evening, vegetable sandwiches and salad. He needed to keep Spock’s vitamin level up, since the Vulcan could no longer keep count himself. Afterwards, he decided, as he also took two cups of tea for them, he would get some of those cookies that Rand had made; they would make a good treat for the Vulcan.


      He brought the food trays back over to Spock, the group of officers having dissipated, all but Uhura, who had decided to stay for the meal. “He’s doing much better with the ka’athaira today, Len. You’d be proud.”


      McCoy set the trays down on the nearby table, sitting beside the Vulcan and moving his chair closer. “I can’t wait to hear what he’s learned,” he turned to face Spock, getting the food ready, “When will you play for me?”


      “Miss Uhura says I’m not allowed to play for anybody until the recital.” The recital was a reference to the quarterly talent show Uhura and McCoy had started more than two years ago. It was coming up in less than three weeks.


      McCoy handed Spock his glass of tea, making certain it was firmly in the Vulcan’s hands, before taking up his own sandwich. “I’ll just have to wait, then, but I look forward to hearing it.” He took a bite of the sandwich, wishing he had replicated some ham instead.


      Spock took a few sips of his tea, feeling a bit self-conscience. He was not very sure of his ability to play the instrument; Uhura made it look easy, but for some reason, most of the music eluded him. Not saying anything, he carefully placed his mug back down on the tray, and picked up a sandwich.


      As he went to bite into it, the vegetables leaked out the side, falling into his lap. He only got a mouthful of the rye bread, and he stood up quickly, to get the vegetables off. They fell to the floor, leaving behind a stain on his trousers.


      Uhura was somewhat surprised and stood up to help pick up the fallen food, but McCoy seemed unphased. He put a hand on Spock’s shoulder to get him to sit down and then began to wipe at his trousers with a napkin, getting most of the juices off.


      He then picked up another one of the sandwiches and, moving closer so that he was practically sitting on Spock’s chair, held it up to the Vulcan so he could take a bite.


      Without any indication of the embarrassment one might normally feel at being fed publicly, Spock took a bite, enjoying the taste of the vegetables. McCoy slid his arm around Spock’s back to keep him steady in the chair as he finished off the sandwich.


      Uhura had gone back to her seat during the display and was watching with a sad smile on her face. “You make a good father, Len,” she said softly.


      McCoy nodded, handing Spock his tea mug once the sandwich was finished, and then gave the Vulcan’s shoulder a squeeze. He knew that he would be able to adapt to their new relationship, because Spock needed him. “That’s my boy.”



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