It Was Pleasant

Title:  It Was Pleasant

Author:  Ster Julie

Codes:  AOS; Mc, S; written for Spiced Peaches

Rating:  PG

—ooOoo—

 

Chapter 1— I Kissed a Boy

 

Summary:  McCoy has to perform rescue breathing on a senior cadet, the very Vulcan senior cadet.

 

A/N:  Thanks to WebMD for the info on treatment of near drowning victims.  Please read the PSA at the end.  Someone you love may need you to know this information!

 .

 

To Leonard McCoy nothing beat the freedom of gliding across the water, the feel of being nearly weightless, or the quiet sounds the water made as he stroked lap after lap.

 

McCoy agreed with the adage, Swimming is the perfect exercise.  Ol’ Jim Kirk could have his boxing, his weights and his jogging.  Exercise was only good if it was done, and swimming was McCoy’s exercise of choice.

 

McCoy got out of the pool and was heading to the lockers when a ruckus began at the other end of the pool.  Four cadets were grappling with that Vulcan cadet.  He was putting up a valiant fight, but McCoy would put good money on the other four guys.  He expected a big splash any minute.

 

McCoy laughed at the loud, “NO!” emanating from the Vulcan as he arced over the side of the pool and hit the water on the deep end.  The doctor expected the Vulcan to rocket out of the water spitting mad.

 

Instead, the water rocked itself back to calmness and still the Vulcan sat on the bottom of the pool, a dark, motionless figure.

 

McCoy studied the form, willing him to move.  How many minutes had passed?  How long could a Vulcan hold his breath? 

 

McCoy rattled off Vulcan physiology in his head, the effect of chemically treated water on Vulcan lungs which had evolved in an arid climate… 

 

“Dammit,” McCoy cursed.  He flung his towel aside and yelled, “Call for help!” as he made a running leap into the pool.  He kicked and scissored his legs to force himself down, down until he felt the immobile form.

 

McCoy grabbed the Vulcan around the waist and held him against his side, leaving himself free to kick and stroke the way back to the surface quickly.

 

McCoy’s lungs were burning by the time he had broken the surface with his heavy load.  /“The Vulcan body is more dense, therefore less buoyant,”/ McCoy remembered from class.  /No wonder he sank like a stone!/  He checked the Vulcan and saw he wasn’t breathing.

 

/Oh, God!/ McCoy thought.  /Brain damage on a Vulcan begins at four minutes without oxygen!/  He grabbed the Vulcan from behind and began the inward and upward thrusts of the ancient Heimlich Maneuver, all the while kicking to the pool’s edge.

 

“C’mon, c’mon, BREATHE!” McCoy ordered.  He spared a panicked look around the pool. 

 

No one.

 

“Those goddamn sons of bitches!” he cursed.  He turned back to his patient who was looking whiter and whiter.

 

“It’s just you and me,” McCoy told him.  “I can’t do this alone.  You have to help me.”

 

McCoy maneuvered them to a side ladder.   By sheer force of will he got the unconscious Vulcan out of the water and onto the deck.  Kneeling at the Vulcan’s head, McCoy pushed on his back and pulled his arms.

 

McCoy checked again.  Still no breathing.  He had been successful and in getting some water out of the Vulcan’s lungs, so McCoy flipped his patient over and began rescue breathing.

 

McCoy didn’t want to think about the Vulcan’s pallor or the feel of the cold, stiff lips beneath his own.

 

/Position the head.  Pinch the nose.  Seal the lips.  Blow.  Turn my head.  Breathe.  Seal.  Blow.  Breathe.  Seal.  Blow.  Breathe.  Seal.  Blow.  Breathe.  Seal.  Blow.  C’mon, dammit! BREATHE!/

 

The Vulcan began to stir.  He turned his head and started to cough and gasp.  McCoy grabbed his patient’s shoulder and turned him on his side, beating out a percussive pattern on the Vulcan’s back to help him expel more water.

 

The Vulcan crawled away from the edge of the pool and over to a nearby bench.  He hauled his torso over it, draping so that the planet’s gravity could help pull even more water out.

 

McCoy ticked off a list in his head of all the things the Vulcan would need immediately.  /He needs bronchodilators, steroids, antibiotics so he doesn’t develop pneumonia, but which ones?  He also needs dry clothes to prevent hypothermia—nah, not cold enough in here.  Wonder about brain damage?  His oxygen was cut off for more than four minutes…/

 

The Vulcan began another round of coughing. 

 

“You’re going to be okay, sir,” McCoy said as he percussed the Vulcan’s back again.  /Gotta dry out these lungs.../  He looked around for inspiration.  His eyes fell on the perfect solution.

 

“Can you stand?” McCoy asked.  “You need to get out of those wet clothes and into someplace warm and dry.”

 

McCoy half supported, half dragged the Vulcan to the sauna just inside the nearby lockers.  He stripped them both of their sodden clothes, grabbed some towels and settled the Vulcan inside the warm room.  He raised the temperature and lowered the humidity as far as the safety features would allow. 

 

McCoy saw bruises forming on the Vulcan’s torso.  The doctor mentally kicked himself for using the Heimlich as designed for humans and not the modified maneuver.  He hoped he hadn’t damaged the Vulcan’s heart!

 

The Vulcan stretched himself out face-down on the bench.  His breathing had improved and his coughing lessened.    McCoy wished he had a scanner to see if that was good or bad.

 

“Can you tell me your name, sir?” he asked as he began to assess his patient.  McCoy knew that his patient was the famous Vulcan cadet named Spock, but he needed to know if he knew his own name.

 

“Spock,” came the breathy answer.

 

“What day of the week is it?”

 

“Tuesday.”

 

“Can you open your eyes?  Good.  How many fingers am I holding up?”

 

Spock peered at McCoy’s hand in front of his face.

 

“Three.”

 

“Very good.  Do you know my name?” 

 

Spock peered again at the doctor.  “McCoy,” he answered with a gasp, “Leonard, M.D., first year cadet.”

 

“Yup, I’m, a plebe.”

 

“My hero.”

 

McCoy chuckled at that last answer.  “Very kind of you, sir.  Now, I need to call for some help.  The comm panel is just outside the door.  I’ll be right back.”

 

McCoy exited the sauna, hit the intercom button and barked, “Medical emergency, near drowning, indoor pool.  It’s our Vulcan cadet.  I’m drying him out in the sauna.  McCoy out.”

 

McCoy took a deep breath of cool air before re-entering the super-heated sauna.  He could feel the moisture being sucked right out of his pores.  He only hoped the arid heat was doing as good a job on Spock as it was doing on him!

 

Spock began to cough violently.  Soon there was a small puddle on the synth-wood floor.  McCoy covered it with a towel and smiled encouragingly.

 

“Good job, sir.”  McCoy studied the weak Vulcan a moment.  “If you don’t mind me asking, sir, why did those cadets throw you into the pool?”

 

“Reported… them… for cheating…” Spock gasped.  Expelled.”

 

“Stupid asses,” McCoy groused.  “Sir, when you are ready to press charges against them, I’ll be glad to give my testimony.”

 

“Charges?” Spock breathed.

 

“Well, attempted murder for one, of course,” the doctor said, “and general stupidity for another.”

 

“Oh.”  Spock paused a moment.  “Doctor?”

 

“Yes?”

 

“Did I waken to you kissing me?”

 

McCoy was taken aback by that question.  He tried to cover with sarcasm.  “Uh, who do you think you are, Sleeping Beauty or something?”   Then McCoy sobered.  “Look, I had to perform rescue breathing on you until you could breathe on your own,” he answered.

 

“Oh.”

 

“Disappointed?”

 

“Never.”

 

“Oh.”  McCoy moved to the door.  “Where the hell are the medics?”

 

“It was pleasant.”

McCoy head whipped back.  “What?” he breathed as he returned to his patient’s side.

 

“You were so warm and I was so cold,” Spock continued.  “I could sense your physical warmth as well as your warm thoughts, your genuine care for me and your fear for my life.”  Spock trailed his hand up McCoy’s bare chest.  “So warm,” he purred.

 

“I didn’t know that Vulcans swung that way,” McCoy murmured.

 

Spock thought a moment as he processed the meaning of that idiom.  “This Vulcan ‘swings’ both ways,” he admitted.  “I could demonstrate…”

 

Spock pulled McCoy’s head closer and met his lips in a gentle kiss.

 

“Thank you for saving my life,” he said sincerely.

 

McCoy grinned his crooked grin, his eyes twinkled, and he replied, “You are very welcome.”

 

The door to the sauna burst in and medical personnel rushed to Spock’s side.  McCoy went back into professional mode and presented Spock’s case.  “Who are you?” the rescue squad leader barked.

 

McCoy snapped to.  “Dr. Leonard McCoy, Ma’am, first year cadet.  May I borrow your scanner?”

The leader yielded the instrument to the professional.  McCoy ran it over Spock. 

 

“Damn,” he swore, “significant amount of water in both lungs still.  He’ll need O2 and whatever pulmonary meds his body can tolerate.  I hope there’s a list in his charts.”

 

“I’m sure there is, Doc,” she answered.  She pointed to the towel McCoy wore.  “You got other clothes?”

 

McCoy dropped his eyes and groaned.  “Let me get my gear and I’ll go with you.”

 

By the time the med team was loading up Spock for a trip to the Infirmary, McCoy had emerged, fastening his jacket as he ran.

 

Spock touched McCoy’s sleeve.  “Was I too forward?” he asked quietly as the air car made the quick hop to the med center.

 

“Nah,” the doctor replied, knowing what Spock meant by that question.  “It was … pleasant.  Maybe someday I can give you some swimming lessons.”

 

END Part 1

Public Service Announcement on drowning, taken from WebMD

For a swimming rescue, approach the person from behind while trying to calm the victim as you move closer. A panicked victim can pull you down.

         Grab a piece of clothing or cup a hand or arm under the victim's chin and pull the person face up to shore while providing special care to ensure a straight head-neck-back alignment especially if you think the person has spine injuries.

         The best option would be to float the victim on a board while towing to shore.

 

First aid for a near-drowning victim

         The focus of the first aid for a near-drowning victim in the water is to get oxygen into the lungs without aggravating any suspected neck injury.

         If the victim's breathing has stopped, begin mouth-to-mouth rescue breathing as soon as you safely can. This could mean starting the breathing process in the water.

         Continue to breathe for the person every five seconds while moving the victim to the shore.

         If the airway is obstructed making breathing impossible, perform the Heimlich maneuver to clear it by hugging the victim from behind with your arms around the victim's stomach and using the thumb side of a closed fist with your other hand on top of the fist to pull in and up. Continue these thrusts until the airway is cleared.

         Chest compressions in the water are difficult to do without a flat surface that does not give way and are reserved until such a surface is available.

         Once on shore, reassess the victim's breathing and circulation (heartbeat and pulse). If there is breathing and circulation without suspected spine injury, place the person in recovery position (lying on the stomach, arms extended at the shoulder level and bent, head on the side with the leg on the same side drawn up at a right angle to the torso) to keep the airway clear and to allow the swallowed water to drain. If there is no breathing, begin CPR. Continue CPR (mouth-to-mouth breathing and chest compressions) until help arrives or the person revives.

         Keep the person warm by removing wet clothing and covering with warm blankets to prevent hypothermia.

         Remain with the recovering person until emergency medical personnel have arrived.

 

Medical Treatment for Drowning

Someone with no symptoms after a near drowning will be observed in the emergency department for six to 12 hours and should follow up with a doctor in one to three days.

Someone with symptoms will be treated as follows:

         CPR if not breathing

         Oxygen for people with low oxygenation

         Breathing tube and machine if person is not breathing properly

         Heated intravenous fluids to increase low blood pressure and to warm up the victim

         Stomach tube to decrease abdominal distension that may cause vomiting

         Immobilization of neck with a collar for suspected neck injury

         Invasive monitors if person has cardiac or respiratory instability

         Bronchodilators to decrease airway spasm

         Antibiotics for lung infections

         Steroids to decrease lung inflammation

         Treatment for shock and hypothermia

         Hyperbaric chamber for divers with decompression sickness (the bends)

         Supportive care and counseling for the person and his or her family

Good advice to have.  May you never have to use it!

—ooOoo—

 

Chapter 2—Swimming Lessons

 

Summary:  After Spock nearly drowned in the Academy pool, and McCoy saved him by using CPR, and the two discovered that the touching of lips was pleasant indeed, McCoy decides to take matters into his own hands. 

 

A/N:  This is how I learned to swim (except for kissing the teacher part!)  To this day I can only do the backstroke, but hey, that’s okay by me!

.

 

Leonard McCoy espied that Vulcan Senior Cadet eating in the Mess Hall.  He scribbled something on one of his padds, marched over to the cadet as if he was on official business and smartly handed it over.

 

Spock looked curiously at the plebe, noticed that it was his hero and dropped his eyes to the message.

 

You

Me

Pool

Tomorrow

0530

Swimming lessons 

 

“I hope I never have to do CPR on you again,” McCoy whispered without preamble.  “You’re going to have to learn how to swim.”

 

Spock took another bite of his meetloaf* and chewed on the meaning of the message.

 

“Will standard issue swim trunks be sufficient?” he asked once he swallowed.

 

McCoy smiled as he imagined the Vulcan in a Speedo.  “Wear a warm-up suit over it,” he suggested.  “I wouldn’t want you to catch a cold.”  McCoy mock saluted.  “See you in the morning.”

.

 

It was a long, sleepless night.  McCoy fretted that he would sleep through his alarm, that he would say or do something stupid to scare the Vulcan off, that Spock would end up being too dense to swim and sink like a stone again, and on and on. 

 

For his part, Spock was concerned that he would not be able to master his fear of the water, that he would shame himself before the doctor, and that he would not be able to learn to swim and thus not complete his last remaining physical education requirement and fail to graduate.  He could not, would not go back to Vulcan if he failed to graduate.

 

Speculation is pointless, Spock chided himself.  Sleep or meditate, but this worry is illogical and a waste of time!

.

 

McCoy dragged himself to the pool.  He didn’t think he got more than an hour of uninterrupted sleep.  He hoped Spock hadn’t arrived yet.  He wanted to get in a lap or ten before the lesson.  The water usually could wake him up and energize him.  But it was not to be.

 

The doctor found Spock primly sitting on a bench against the wall, a towel draped across his knees, and a forbidding look on his face as he stared down his archenemy, the pool.  McCoy sighed.  This wasn’t going to be easy.

 

“Good morning, sir,” McCoy said, careful to lower his voice so that the loud echoing would not bother the Vulcan’s ears.

 

“Greetings, Doctor,” Spock replied. 

 

“Ready to conquer the beast?” McCoy asked with a smile as he rubbed his hands together.

 

“‘Conquer the beast’?” Spock repeated.

 

McCoy gestured to the pool.

 

“Ah,” Spock commented as he understood the doctor’s colorful language.  He thought off a way to postpone the inevitable.  “Perhaps if today you just demonstrate the basics, I could observe … ”

 

“My God,” McCoy interrupted, “you can be scared of the water!”    He sat beside his reluctant student and spoke gently to him.  “I’ll be with you the whole time, Spock,” McCoy assured.  “We’ll stay along the edge so you can hang on.  C’mon.  You can trust me.” 

 

Spock looked at McCoy and sensed the doctor’s sincerity.  He stood slowly and removed his sweatsuit.  McCoy for his part kept his face calm and open, and his eyes riveted to Spock’s face.  He didn’t want to reveal his feelings (yet!) and scare the Vulcan further with any romantic advances. 

 

“Are the swimming costumes intended to be so … brief?” Spock asked, forcing McCoy’s eyes south along Spock’s “glory trail.”  The barest scrap of fabric clung tightly to Spock’s hips and ... other parts.  McCoy cleared his throat at the sight.  “I feel so nude in these.”

 

“Uh,” McCoy began, “there are longer styles, Spock.  You can try one of those next time.  Let’s get in the pool.” 

 

McCoy dove in quickly to hide the sudden bulge in his own trunks.  Spock stood on the side and murmured, “You said you’d stay with me.”

 

McCoy popped his head up and extended a hand.  “I’m right here, Spock.  Sit on the edge of the pool and put your legs in the water.”

 

“It’s too cold,” Spock protested. 

 

“It is not,” McCoy countered.  “I raised the temp to 90˚ before I left the locker room.”  He thrust his hand out again, indicating the edge of the pool.

 

Spock gingerly toed the water, found the temperature cool but tolerable.

 

McCoy was hard pressed to hold his tongue and kept his usually barbs to himself.  Spock was still skittish as a colt, so McCoy used his best bedside manners with him.

 

The doctor went over the basic mechanics of swimming with the Vulcan, demonstrating how to kick, how to stroke, and how to turn one’s head to breathe.

 

“You’re gonna have to get wet for the rest of the lesson,” McCoy said gently.  “I can’t show you how to float or tread water with you sitting on the side.”  He held his arms out to Spock, assuring him with his eyes.  “This isn’t even the deep end.  See?  I’m standing up in the water.  I’ll take care of you.”  McCoy saw Spock gulp a couple of times before stretching his hands out like a toddler to his parent.

 

McCoy took the two outstretched hands and gently pulled Spock down to stand in the water.  It barely came to their waists.  “That’s good, Spock,” the doctor murmured.  “It’s not too cold, is it.”  McCoy led the reluctant Vulcan into slightly deeper water, no more than chest high.  Spock tightened his grip.

 

“Hey,” McCoy yelped.  “I’m a doctor.  Don’t break my hands. I need those for surgery.”

 

Spock eased his death grip and mumbled, “Sorry.”

McCoy brought him to the edge of the pool.  “Grip the side of the pool, Spock,” he instructed.  “Put your legs out behind you and kick.”

 

Spock did as the doctored ordered and soon a mass of frothy water was churning behind him. 

“Am I swimming?” he asked.

 

The doctor threw his head back and laughed.  “Well, right now you’re half right.  Let’s get your arms involved.”

 

McCoy stood the Vulcan up and turned him toward the center of the pool.  He demonstrated again how to breathe while swimming by bending over until his face was in the water and turning his head to inhale. 

 

Spock balked at putting his face in the water.  Before the Vulcan could get out of the pool, McCoy changed his tactics and said, “Let’s try something else.”  He took the Vulcan’s hands and pulled him to the center of the pool.  He released Spock’s hands and extended his arms.  “Lie across my arms, face up,” he said.  “I promise I won’t drop you.  I’m going to show you how to float.”

 

Spock stretched out across McCoy’s arms and steadied himself until one arm was under his shoulders and the other was under his hips.  As he held the Vulcan, McCoy found he had to take a few calming breaths of his own.

 

“You can also swim in this position,” McCoy continued, “and you don’t have to worry about putting your face in the water or changing how you breathe.  It’s called the backstroke. You would kick as I showed you earlier, but you would move your arms differently.  Lift your left arm straight up and swing it back and around in a circle.  Lift your right arm and do the same thing.  When I swim this way, I feel like I am pulling the water under me.  Try it.”

 

Spock did as McCoy said, kicking his legs and swinging his arms back and around.  McCoy kept his arms under Spock as he propelled himself across the shallow end but decreased the amount of support until the Vulcan swam the last three strokes unassisted. 

 

When he touched the wall, Spock stood up and was surprised to see a smiling McCoy several feet away from him.

 

“You did it,” the doctor said happily.

 

Spock was speechless.  Either swimming was easier than he thought, or McCoy was an excellent teacher.  /Most likely both,/ he thought.

 

“I’ll teach you the fine points next time, like how to turn laps, how to use the ceiling as a point of reference so you don’t hit the wall and so on,” McCoy added.

 

Spock nodded mutely, still mulling over what he had accomplished with McCoy’s help in so short a time.  He moved closer to his instructor and placed a gentle hand on his cheek.

 

“I am so very grateful, Doctor, for your help,” Spock said.  He leaned close and properly thanked his teacher.

 

As McCoy’s body began to respond to the kiss, he pulled back and muttered, “No, no, no.  Bad idea.  There’s no time for that.  We still have to get ready for Reveille and Morning Formation.  We’d better hit the showers.”

 

In response, Spock smirked and launched himself across the pool and began to swim across to the ladder.

 

McCoy shook his head.  “Now you are just showing off,” as he raced his student freestyle.  

 

He decided that he was going to like these lessons after all.

 

END Part 2

 

*Shameful plug for my story “Basic Training” found here: http://www.fanfiction.net/s/6106116/1/Basic_Training

 

—ooOoo—

 

Chapter 3—What’s With You?

 

Summary:  Bones always runs from Spock, Kirk observes.  What’s up with that?  (Pre-Nero)

.

 

“Here comes that pointy-eared bastard.”

 

Kirk looked at his friend as he dragged him down another hallway.

 

“Bones, you say that every time you see him before you run the other way.  What’s up with you?”

 

Bones looked around nervously.  “Uh,” he stammered, “the two of us have … history.”

 

“History?  The two of you?

 

“Yeah, history.  Now can we drop it?”

 

Kirk thought a moment as they turned another corner.  “Isn’t that the guy you tutored our first year?  The one you saved from drowning?”

 

McCoy fumed, “I said drop it!”

 

Kirk wouldn’t let it drop.  “The one you were so angry over when he didn’t graduate top of his class because of some technicality on a Phys Ed class?”

 

“Technicality, my ass!” McCoy hissed.  “The criteria said ‘swim.’  So what if he did the backstroke instead of swimming freestyle?  He could swim.  That should have been that, but no.”

 

“So why do you run away for him when you see him?” Kirk continued.  “Do you think he blames you?  Bones?  Say something.”

 

McCoy lowered his voice further.  “We had a … thing going on back then, but then that she-wolf caught his eye and I … I can’t stand it.  Okay?  Are you happy now?”

 

Kirk studied his friend.  “Bones, this is not like you to give up so easily,” Kirk observed.   “Man up and go after what you want.”  Kirk looked over his shoulder.  He could still see the Vulcan in his charcoal-colored instructor’s uniform.  “Except I don’t know what you see in  him.  Women are so … so …”

 

“Yeah, and everything that women are he’s not.  He was just what I needed after Jocelyn.  But now, now he’s happy with that snooty cadet.”

 

“Happy?  A Vulcan?

 

“Whatever.  I had my chance.  He’s obviously over me.” 

 

“But you’re not over him.”

 

“Shut up and let’s get to the assembly before were marked tardy—again.”

 

END Part 3


—ooOoo—

 

Chapter 4—Haven

 

Summary:  Spock needs a safe place to fall apart after Nero.

.

 

The doctor found Spock literally staring into space at one of the ports on the Sickbay deck.

 

McCoy was exhausted from dealing with all of the injured crewmembers, with the rescued Vulcans, and with all of the extra paperwork he had to do after Doctor Piri was killed in the first battle with Nero.  But he put all that aside to see to Spock’s needs.

 

“I know it won’t change anything, but I want to offer my condolences on your loss, Spock,” he said gently.

 

Spock eyed McCoy tiredly and nodded his gratitude.  The adrenaline of the fast and furious action of the past days had worn off and Spock was left with exhaustion, bruises and the crushing weight of loss.

 

The ship was limping back to Earth.  Spock had tried to distract himself with reports and repairs, but he still caught himself unsure of where he was or why he was there.  But it all came back to him whenever he saw his father anchorless and lost.

 

Nyota had tried to give him support, to nurture him, but Spock felt smothered.  He didn’t need softness and coddling.  And he couldn’t reach out to Sarek.  Spock found that he had nothing left to deal with his father’s pain.

 

He needed strength.

 

He needed steel.

 

He needed McCoy.

 

Spock turned from the viewport and whispered to the doctor, “May I speak with you in private, Doctor?” 

 

McCoy moved them into an empty isolation room.  He waited for Spock to speak first. 

 

“I feel like I am drowning again,” Spock admitted finally. 

 

McCoy nodded sadly.  “I’m sure it feels like that,” he said gently.  “I wish I could wake us all up from this nightmare, but I can’t.  We just have to accept what happened and move on.  You’re grieving.  Be gentle with yourself.   My god, you lost not only your mother but also your whole world.  Of course you’re going to feel overwhelmed by pain and loss and anger and a whole bunch other emotions. Don’t fight them.”

 

Spock nodded, then his face crumpled and he began to shake.    

 

McCoy put his hands on Spock’s shoulders.  “You have been so strong for all of us,” the doctor murmured.  “If you need to fall apart, then go ahead and fall apart.  I’m right here.”

 

Spock trembled with the effort to control himself.  “If I allow myself to fall apart,” Spock began, “I fear I will not stop.”

 

“It’s okay,” McCoy gentled.  “I’m a doctor.  I’m good at putting people back together.”

 

Spock looked deeply into McCoy’s eyes and saw his genuine concern, just as he remembered from that fateful day at the Academy pool.  He saw McCoy’s strength and sincerity.

 

Spock found a haven in McCoy.  He knew he was safe at last, safe enough to allow himself to be fragile, to be vulnerable, to find release. 

 

And release he did.

 

Spock launched himself into McCoy’s strong arms, arms that once before dragged him from the abyss, that held him aloft, that beat life into him once again.  Spock crumpled into fragments in those strong arms, trusting in the doctor’s sworn words that McCoy knew how to reassemble him when this moment of weakness, of indulgence had passed.

 

The doctor stroked Spock’s hair and back.  “I’ll stay with you as long as you need,” McCoy promised.  “I’ll help you pick up the pieces.

 

Part of Spock’s mind, a part not so smothered with grief, analyzed his fragmented self.  He remembered a mosaic built of shards from what was once an eating vessel.  His mother had fashioned the pieces into a table top.  “See, Spock,” she had said, “even out of brokenness and pain, we can build something new and beautiful.”

 

Spock realized that Vulcan could never be restored, that the vast majority of its people were lost forever, but, with considerable work, the rebuilding of their culture could bring forth something new.

 

And it could reignite the familiar.

 

Spock had lost his time sense.  How long had they been sitting on the floor, slumped against the wall?  How long had he been in the good doctor’s arms?  Spock decided that it didn’t matter.  He reached up and pulled McCoy’s head down to his to thank him properly.

 

It was very pleasant indeed.

 

-END-

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