This wasn't the first time Dr. Leonard McCoy had treated the
Vulcan First Officer in sickbay, and, based on past performance, it
wouldn't be the last. Still, he found himself more concerned than
usual about his alien patient. Sure, Spock's hybrid nature made even
a simple cold difficult to diagnose accurately, but this time he had
to get everything just right. This time, it was personal.
Spock had undertaken the mission to fly into the giant
amoeba, albeit per the Captain's orders, but McCoy had been just as
willing to volunteer for what was likely a suicide mission. It
hadn't turned out that way, at least not yet. The amoeba had been
destroyed, Spock's shuttle recovered, and Spock himself had emerged
from the pressurized hanger deck with a handful of report disks. And
Captain Kirk had been there to greet him, of course, as well
as McCoy, and they both raced to the prone form, fearing the worst.
"Spock!" McCoy said, reaching him first. He had his
mediscanner out, passing it over Spock's body even as he placed a
hand to the Vulcan's throat. The thready pulse told him as much as
the readout . . .Spock was going into shock.
"Jim, call sickbay . . .we need an antigrav down here stat,
and I want an isolation room prepped to Vulcan-norm temperatures."
McCoy pressed a hypo to Spock's shoulder while the Kirk called for a
Now, two hours later, Spock was still unconscious. He was
stable, his vital signs hovering on low-norm, and McCoy had treated
the many bruises and abrasions he'd suffered as the shuttle coursed
through its difficult journey. When the Captain next arrived, he'd
have good news. His first officer would recover.
McCoy stared down at the pale face, listening to the slow
inhale and exhale of breath, breath that meant life. Yes, Spock
would live. This time.
Spock felt himself floating in the warmth of the ICU room,
his body blessedly numb from the drugs coarsing through his system.
He was back on the shuttle . . .
("I am dying . . .like the Intrepid . . .I can barely move,
barely breathe . . .except I know "why". . .it is this
thing . . .this invader . . .or are "we" the invaders. . . no, this
is our lives, our right to fight for life . .. I must record my final
thoughts . . . I just saw Enterprise pass by me . . .they are going
into the belly of the beast . . .why does a human expression consume
me now? . . .McCoy is no doubt on the bridge . . .does he regret not
wishing me luck? . . . I regret never having told him . . . how
much . . .")
"How is he, Bones?" Kirk asked.
Spock was still in an ICU cubicle, still under 24 hour
monitoring a full day later. His few moments of consciousness had
been spiked with pain and disorientation, and McCoy was becoming
"Jim, he was inside that . . . "thing" . . . far longer than
any of us. Half the crew passed out with only a brush against it.
Heaven only knows what Spock was subjected to. Not to mention the
banging-up he got just getting there."
("And I let him go out there," McCoy thought. "And I never
told him . . .and now here he is, hurt, and in pain . . . and I need
to let him know . . .")
Suddenly the alarm monitors sounded. McCoy raced back to the
room where Spock lay. The Vulcan was fighting for air, clawing at
the IV tube providing nutrients to his depleted body.
"Spock! Relax . . . It's okay . . Spock!" McCoy soothed. He
held Spock's shoulders to the bed; finally, Spock calmed, and slowly
opened his eyes.
"Doctor," he whispered.
"It's okay Spock. You're home . . .back on the ship."
"I thought . . . I was dying."
"Not on my watch, Mister." McCoy said.
Spock started to sit up, only to feel the doctor's hands once
more pressing him back to the bed, gently this time.
"Lie flat, Spock. You have some damage to your spine.
You're lucky you're not paralyzed; as it is, I'm keeping you off your
feet for the next week."
"In here?" Spock asked, visibly shivering.
"Too cold?" McCoy asked.
Spock decided it was better to let the doctor believe that,
than to admit the real reason for his trembling. The blue eyes
focused on him with such concern, such compassion . . .Spock knew his
emotional controls were in shreds, and needed time to repair, to heal.
"I am uncomfortable, yes," he said.
McCoy studied the readouts over Spock's bed.
"Well, I suppose I could have you transferred to your cabin.
All you need now is rest . . .bed-rest, mind you. I can set up a
monitoring schedule. Will you agree to follow your doctor's orders?"
"I will," Spock said. He shifted slightly, and drew a sharp
breath against a sudden stab of pain. He closed his eyes, and willed
his body to relax. The soft hiss of a hypo against his shoulder, and
McCoy's voice telling him to try to get some sleep, were the last
things he remembered.
Spock woke in the relative warmth of his own cabin. He was
lying on his back, in his own bunk, covered with a soft quilt he
recognized as the one his mother had sent to him a few months ago. A
pitcher of water, along with a filled glass and straw, sat on the
table next to him. He reached for the glass, and noticed a thin
monitoring band around his right wrist. Sure enough, McCoy appeared
not five minutes later in his doorway.
"Glad to see you're finally awake," McCoy said, smiling. "I
was beginning to think I'd have to cart you back to sickbay just to
get some fluids in you." He passed his small handheld scanner across
the Vulcan's body, and checked the results. "Looks like your beauty
sleep worked. How do you feel?"
("Beauty sleep?") "Much recovered, Doctor," Spock said. "How
long have I been here?"
"In your cabin? I had you moved four days ago. You finally
went into a healing trance, came out of it yesterday, just long
enough to about knock me across your cabin, and you've been sleeping
Spock frowned. "You helped me break the trance? But
how . . ?"
McCoy colored slightly. "How did I know when you were
ready? I . . .uh . . .stayed with you . . . and when you started to
speak, to ask me to hit you . . ."
"You were here? For three days?"
"Well, yeah. I was worried. I didn't want to move you back
to sickbay, didn't know what kind of disruption you'd feel, and the
rest of my staff, they're still tired and dealing with the residual
effects of that amoeba thing . . . and . . ."
Spock quirked an eyebrow, waiting for him to continue.
"And I wanted to be with you when you woke up. To tell you a
few things. In private."
Spock started to sit up, and McCoy helped him, propping a
pillow behind his back for added support. "That's far enough. We'll
see about letting you out of bed tomorrow." McCoy busied himself
refilling Spock's water glass from the pitcher, then refilling the
pitcher. Spock watched him move about the cabin, grateful for the
silence, yet wondering just what the doctor meant, and if he would
actually tell him. Finally, he decided to press the issue.
"And what is it you would tell me, Doctor?"
When McCoy didn't answer, Spock pulled aside his mother's
quilt and scooted over to one side of the bunk. His back protested
the movement, and McCoy's small scanner chirped.
"What the devil . . .Spock, what are you doing? Your pain
indicators just went off the scale!" The doctor whirled on him,
almost dropping the pitcher.
"A momentary spasm, doctor. Please . . . Come sit down.
Tell me what you need to say."
McCoy set the pitcher aside, and carefully perched on the bed
next to Spock.
"Here, let me get that pillow adjusted." He slipped his arm
under the Vulcan's shoulders, and Spock found himself leaning back
into the cool smoothness of human's touch against his neck. Some of
the tension left his body as the spasm passed, and he sighed and
closed his eyes.
"Am I hurting you?" McCoy asked.
"Negative." Spock allowed himself to settle more heavily
against the pillow, and McCoy's arm. "Indeed
it . . .feels . . .good," he admitted. He leaned his head into
McCoy's neck, his breathing became slow and even, and he appeared to
fall back asleep.
McCoy watched him for a few minutes, debated whether or not
to try to dislodge his arm from beneath the slumbering Vulcan, then
decided he wasn't all that uncomfortable either. Might as well let
him sleep. He positioned himself more comfortably on the narrow bed,
and drew his side of the quilt over both of them.
As he studied the alien face, so vulnerable in sleep, he
began to speak.
"What I needed to tell you Spock . . .and I'm not certain I
can do this when you're awake, but I needed to tell you that you
scared the hell out of me. I thought you were dead . . .was certain
you were dead, and at that moment I felt something inside of me die.
And all I could think about was our last
argument . . .arguments . . .and the fact that you died thinking I
wouldn't, couldn't, grant you your own kind of dignity. But I did, I
always did. You were just so powerful in your beliefs, so
compassionate in your own kind of love and loyalty, it scared me. I
couldn't bring myself to tell you that I loved you, but that fear was
nothing compared to the fear I felt when I thought you were gone.
I'm a doctor, I'm supposed to be immune to losses I can't control,
passionate about those I can. But I was never immune to you."
McCoy felt his arm growing numb, and slowly began sliding it
from underneath Spock. The Vulcan sank more deeply into the pillows,
and to McCoy's surprise, actually snuggled closer.
"Nor I you, Doctor," Spock whispered. "Nor I you."
With a soft chuckle, McCoy tucked the quilt more securely
around the two of them and drifted off to sleep.