My Little Town

My Little Town


By Phoenix

Star Trek TOS


R, language, sexual situations, homosexuality

Set after The Undiscovered Country

Based on My Little Town by Paul Simon

Disclaimer:  The characters don't belong to me.  I'm not making a redneck cent off this.


For Tempest





My Little Town by Paul Simon


In my little town

I grew up believing

God keeps His eye on us all

And He used to lean upon me

As I pledged allegiance to the wall

Lord I recall

My little town.


Coming home after school

Flying my bike past the gates

Of the factories

My mom doing the laundry

Hanging our shirts

In the dirty breeze

And after it rains

There’s a rainbow

And all of the colors are black

It’s not that the colors aren’t there

It’s just imagination they lack

Everything’s the same

Back in my little town.


In my little town

I never meant nothin’

I was just my father’s son

Saving my money

Dreaming of glory

Twitching like a finger

On the trigger of a gun

Leaving nothing but the dead and dying

Back in my little town.





Spock, respected Ambassador and middle-aged, stolid Vulcan of note, was in his temporary quarters on Starbase 67, kneeling on the floor in a meditative pose, incense burning in a censer beside him, when Dr. Leonard McCoy came to his door.


The doctor took a step in, smelled the incense, and hesitated.  It took another few seconds in the dim light to notice that Spock was naked.  "Am I interrupting something?"


"No."  Spock gazed at the doctor.


"I came to tell you that I won't be attending the rest of the conference with you.  I'm taking a few weeks off and I hoped you could deliver my lectures for me."  McCoy glanced again at the censer.  "I didn't know you used this incense.  It smells like--" he stopped.


"Dark Shudo.  It aids meditation."


"You just said I wasn't interrupting something.  Unless Vulcans say meditating when they really mean, ah…" McCoy fumbled for words.


"A sexual activity?"


That threw the doctor off balance.  "You said it.  I didn't.  Anyway, I'll leave you to it."  He turned back towards the door, but Spock interrupted him.


"I will deliver your lectures.  Is there a concern that is causing you to depart so suddenly?"


"My mother has passed away and I need to see to a few things."


Spock blinked.  In all these years (and inside the whispery recesses of the doctor's brain during the katra-dropping), McCoy had never mentioned his mother.  Spock had assumed that she, like McCoy's father, had died years ago.


"My condolences, Leonard," Spock said.


"Thanks."  The doctor half-shrugged and left before the Vulcan could say anything more. 


Spock remained kneeling for some time, wondering.  When the Dark Shudo had burned out except for a trickle of smoke rising in a straight line towards the ceiling, Spock stood over the censer.  The smoke was quick to nip, then burn.  Pain stung his genitals.


He grabbed the side of a bureau, but did not move.  By the time the last of the Dark Shudo had cleared the ventilators, Spock had decided to give in to a whim.  It was illogical to indulge impulses, but Spock was too old or too secure or maybe just didn't give a shit enough to care.


He put on a robe and went to his comm unit.


The next morning, McCoy was departing, literally one foot on the pad, when Spock cut in ahead of the line in the transport room and walked onto the pad beside him.


A few people muttered.  McCoy gave Spock a sideways look, but didn't say anything until they were planetside heading towards the shuttle rental counter and the Vulcan was still walking with him.


"Where are you going?" McCoy asked.


"With you."


"What do you mean, with me?"


"You are returning to Earth.  I intend to accompany you.  I have secured Admiral Caetano to deliver your lectures."


"Are you visiting someone on Earth?"


"No, I will be staying with you."


"Like hell."


"I will fly the shuttle, Leonard.  A two-seater will be sufficient, I think.  Our bags seem to be well under the weight limit."


"Just a minute, Spock.  I don't recall inviting you."


"What will be our port of call?  Georgia has two."


"Spock, you're not coming with me."


"Leonard, the attendant is waiting for our destination port of call on Earth," Spock said, gesturing at the man behind the rental counter.


McCoy opened his mouth, a bit wearily now, and then realized that some of the people in line behind them at the transport were now in a line behind them here.  And they were still muttering.


"Glynn County," McCoy said.  "The Golden Isles airport."


Spock procured the shuttle and led a strangely silent McCoy to the shuttle.  Once there and away from the crowd, McCoy gave the Vulcan a sharp look and began to walk away.


"Leonard, this is our shuttle."


"I told you, you're not coming with me."


Spock put his hand on the doctor's arm.  In Vulcan, he said, "I will grieve with thee and then leave thee alone."


McCoy broke the contact and stood for a minute, his face unreadable.  "Fine," he said at last in a voice that even Spock could barely hear.


He entered the shuttle.  Spock followed, set the controls, and took the ship into space.  McCoy, his face turned away into the shadows (for he hadn't turned on the light on his side,) continued his unnatural quiet.


Spock began to have second thoughts.  In an attempt to break the tension, he asked, "What was her name?"




"Was she a physician like your father?"


"No, she was just my mother."


"Did she have dark hair?"


McCoy finally turned and looked at the Vulcan, as if trying to find ulterior motives.  Then he relented.  "She had dark hair down to her waist and blue eyes.  She married my father when she was seventeen and he was thirty-eight."  He hesitated before saying in a tone that sounded surprised, "She never married again after he died."


After that he wouldn't say anything more.


When they touched down on Earth, McCoy rented and drove a flitter.  Spock watched the landscape change from brown to green, and then to a murky colour in between the two.  McCoy's route followed the shore line of the Atlantic, busy ports on the water and rusty industrial warehouses inland, highways appearing and disappearing underneath them, desolate except for the occasional hovercar, and bounded by endless scrubs of fading red clover.


Two small islands appeared, more swamp than land.  At these McCoy turned, putting the ocean behind them, but only for few moments.  He landed the flitter in a field, untended and full of brush but with old plowlines still visible.  He pointed through the windscreen and said, "My mother's house."


They were behind a small one-story house with a grey roof.  Spock got out of the flyer and nearly walked into a tilted pole holding up an old clothesline.  He made his way to the front of the house, his boots sinking into mushy grass.


The house faced a gravel road shrouded with trees.  If there were neighbours, Spock couldn't see them.


"There's a bog over there," McCoy said, pointing towards another line of trees at the side, but these ones were bare and black.  "My friends and I were forbidden to play there, so of course we did.  We lost more shoes in the mud than I can count, and once I was chased by an alligator."  He nodded towards the house.  "My mother's swing."


A wooden swing, held by chains, creaked and swung slightly in a breeze.  A wooden canopy kept the sun off the swing and shaded the front door.  McCoy opened the screen door and a fly that had been lurking there buzzed past Spock's ears.


Spock swatted belatedly, not used to insects, and drew a breath of damp, hot air.  "You grew up in this house?" Spock asked, trying and failing to place McCoy in it as a young boy.  He couldn't reconcile what looked like an impoverished dwelling with the knowledge that McCoy's father had been a physician.


"Yes, I grew up here."  McCoy struggled with an old-fashioned, metal lock before finally giving the door a kick.  It swung open into the gloom.


Spock stepped over the threshold and into a hallway.  It was hotter inside.  He wouldn't have minded, but the air was humid and pressed on him.  He looked in vain for environmental controls.


McCoy opened a window beside the door, walked down the hall into a room that looked like a kitchen, and opened another window back there, allowing a small crossbreeze.  It didn't help.


The Vulcan followed McCoy.  A food cooler came on with a sudden vibration.  Beside it was a cooking stove.  The window McCoy had opened looked onto the back yard and field.  Underneath it was a sink and counter with two canisters on it labelled sugar and coffee, and a cutting board.  A few wooden cabinets were on one wall, and a table and chairs were in a corner.


Spock had never seen anything like it before.


McCoy led the way back into the hall, opening and closing doors on empty rooms, as he said, "This was my parent's room.  This was my room.  This is the refresher.  And down here is what we called the sitting room."


They were in a large room at the front of the house.  A vid screen was the only modern element.  Other than that, Spock felt as if he'd walked into a museum.  Chairs and a settee, covered with flowery fabric, were grouped in a semi-circle around a low table.  A couple of other tables dotted the room, one with a lamp and another with an empty vase.  A fireplace with a mantle occupied a good portion of one wall.  Under a window that looked out towards the road was a circular metal object, fastened into the floor.  Spock had to dig through his memories and came up with a picture in a vidbook he'd once read.  It was a radiator.  He stared at it in wonder.


"Your mother never moved from here after your father died?" Spock asked.


"She was in a care facility the last few years.  Otherwise, no."  McCoy gestured down the hall.  "There's a cot in my father's study.  It's hard as granite."  He went out the front door.  Through the window, Spock saw him walking towards the bog.


Spock went into the study, dropped his haversack on the floor, and sat on the cot.  It creaked under him.


He tried to imagine a woman with long hair in the kitchen, making dinner for a small, blue-eyed boy.  He tried to think of McCoy senior, sitting in here at a desk, perhaps the influence for his son to go into medicine.  He tried to envision a couple on the swing on the porch in the evening.


He had trouble and not just because his Vulcan upbringing rebelled at such conjectures.  This house did not fit his idea of Leonard McCoy.


Spock sat, thinking quietly, until he noticed a series of pictures on a wall by a window, their frames covered in dust.


He got up to investigate and discovered old-style photographs under the cloudy glass.  A family of three stood in front of the house, a tall woman with long hair standing beside a shorter man who was partly turned away from the camera.  A small boy stood in front of the woman, her hands resting on his shoulders.


There were more pictures of the woman, out in a garden or hanging washing on a clothesline.  One of her laughing in the porch swing and two of her at a beach, holding a baby.  Spock found class pictures of the young boy, more and more recognizable as McCoy as he grew older.


The pictures gave way to a series of clippings and diplomas:  David McCoy, Doctor of Medicine University of Atlanta, Surgeon Laureate Earth Colony II, Award of Distinguished Service Cygnia Minor, Research Fellowship Canopus One.  The awards continued along a shelf past the window.


Spock read through the clippings until the sweat matting his shirt became too heavy.  He went into the kitchen, but the small breeze that had been there was all but gone.


Finding a glass, he got himself a drink from a tap (that didn't turn on automatically when he held the glass under it.)  Then he opened the cupboards and checked the food cooler.  Empty.


He could purchase some food.  That would at least make things a little more sufficient.


As he walked back out to the flitter, he looked around.  The doctor was nowhere to be seen.


"Leonard!" he called.  There was no answer.


Deciding that McCoy would probably figure out where he had gone, Spock got into the flitter and started it up.  A query of the onboard comp showed that there was something called Walgreens nearby, and Spock was not surprised to discover the store sold food that required cooking rather than being in a form suitable for a replicator.


He returned to the house and was putting the groceries away when the doctor turned up again.


McCoy glanced at the bags and went back outside.  Spock poured two glasses of juice and followed him out.


The doctor was sitting on the front step.  The sun was low in the sky now, and slanted across him.  As Spock sat down, he said, "You hoped I would leave?"


"I was hoping you'd figured out how annoying you were, barging in like this, and yes, that you'd left," McCoy said.


Spock, gently, said, "It is not as though you have never 'barged' in on me."


"We do have that habit with each other," McCoy admitted, looking out towards the road.  A hovercar went by, raising a cloud of dust in the coming twilight.


"When did your mother die?" Spock asked.


"Three days ago."


"Did you wish you had been with her?"


McCoy hesitated, and then turned to look at the Vulcan.


"I had a mother," Spock said.  "I wasn't there when she died."


"My mother wouldn't have known if I'd been with her or not."


"That's not what I asked."


McCoy leaned back, resting his elbows on the stoop behind him, and looked up at the darkening sky.  "We used to sit out here in the evenings, waiting for my father to return from the medical centre."  He pointed up.  "Rukbat, Arkab, Alnasi.  I always had trouble finding that one.  Kaus Media and Kaus Australis.  Ascella.  It's not dark enough to see it yet.  Kaus Borealis, that's the one at the very top.  Over there are Antares, Sargas, and Lesath.  And that one right over the top of the house is Al Lah."


"The eye of God," Spock translated.


"That one scared the hell out of me when I was a kid," McCoy said.


This Spock could see, a woman and child on the porch, looking up while they waited.  His mother had done the same with him.


"Nobody calls the stars by those old names anymore.  We were out of touch here," McCoy added.


Spock looked at the doctor and said, "I did not know that Humans lived," he paused before saying, "so close to the land."


"Something happened.  It had to do with my father," McCoy said. "Afterwards, when I was seven, we moved to this house."


He silenced.  Spock turned his attention back upwards.  He knew the common names of these stars, but the names that the doctor had called them gave them a mystery, a presence that Spock had very rarely felt when considering the night sky.


He pointed to the left, at a place in the sky low in the horizon.  "What did your mother call those?"


"Start at that one over the tower.  That's Adhafera," McCoy said.  He traced a somewhat circular shape.  "Al Jabbah, then Algenubi, Denebola, Rex, and Zosma.  They belong to the constellation of Leo."


Spock allowed himself a small softening of his features.  "I prefer those names."


"So do I," McCoy said.  He picked up a glass of juice and took a sip.


"I could make dinner," Spock said, and McCoy made a grim noise.


"I don't think so.  I've tasted your cooking."  The doctor got up and went in the house.  Spock found him pulling vegetables out of the cooler.


"This city is famous for a stew made with tomatoes, lima beans, and okra.  I'm surprised you didn't buy it, Spock.  Walgreens used to have an aisle of them in pre-fab packages."


"Tomatoes, lima beans, okra, and rabbit meat.  I saw it.  It looked appalling," Spock said, gratified that the doctor appeared to have calmed down enough to bait him. 


McCoy chopped some carrots and green beans and put them in a pot on the stove.  Spock hunted for and found plates and glasses.


As he set the table, he said, "Will you keep this house?"


"The land is already sold," McCoy said, washing eggplant.  "The house will be demolished."


Spock didn't comment as he set silverware beside the plates.  The doctor's tone had been too casual.  Over the years, he'd heard people accuse McCoy of being sentimental; he knew the doctor was not.  But the doctor had grown up in this house.  If it didn't mean anything to him, he wouldn't have protested when Spock had decided to come with him.


Someone knocked on the front door.  McCoy put the eggplant in the oven before going down the hall.  Spock heard someone say, "I saw your lights on."  A few minutes later, McCoy returned with an elderly woman.


She eyed Spock curiously as McCoy introduced them.


"This is a neighbour, Mrs. Sinclair," McCoy said.  "I used to stay at her house when my parents went out.  Mrs. Sinclair, this is Ambassador Spock, a friend of mine."


"Ambassador, hmm?" she said, peering at the Vulcan.


"An honour to meet you," Spock said.


"A pleasure," she said, but she was already turning back to McCoy.  "As I was saying, I saw the lights on, and then I saw Bill Corbin and he said it looked like someone broke the door in, but I didn't think anyone would turn the lights on if they didn't belong here."


"I broke the door," McCoy said as he gestured at the table.  "Would you like to sit down?"


"I have a key.  Your momma left it with me.  You could have got it."


"I have a key too, but the lock's rusted out."


She sat.  "It's a sad thing about your momma.  She was a good person.  The pastor wanted to hold a service, but she was clear that she didn't want any of that.  They interred her ashes beside your father's.  Have you been out to see it?"


"Yes, I went this afternoon."


Mrs. Sinclair gave McCoy a nod before turning to Spock.  "Are you in that space fleet too?"


Spock sat across from her.  "I was, but I am retired."


"Hmm," she said again.  "That's all this boy ever talked about when he was little.  Space this, space that.  He was forever building model rockets and spaceships."  To the doctor, she said, "I'll never forget when you launched that rocket through my front window.  You broke one of my crystal horse figurines."


"That was over fifty years ago," McCoy said.


"And that telescope," Mrs. Sinclair said.  "Don't try to tell me you were looking at Venus."  To Spock, she added, "He was looking in Coralie LaFayette's bedroom."


McCoy cut in.  "Would you like something to drink, Mrs. Sinclair?  Coffee?"


"If I drink coffee now, I'll be up all night."


"Tea?  Juice?"


"I'm fine.  Just let me have a seat and look at you."  She patted his hand.


McCoy took a chair.  She studied him for a few moments and then smiled.  "You favour your momma all right."


"You're the only one who ever said that.  Other people said I looked like my father."


"Other people are blind as drunken bats," Mrs. Sinclair told him.  She turned to Spock.  "Were you and Leonard on the same spaceship?"


"We served together on one ship, the Enterprise."


"And what did your people think, you doing that?  Or did they all work on spaceships?"


"My parents did not approve at first," Spock said.


"It's a hard thing to watch your child going off to God knows where.  This boy was like one of my own.  I worried about him every night.  I could only imagine what his momma went through, but she was right proud of him."


An expression went across McCoy's face, quickly clamped down.  It went too fast for Spock to read.


"Won't you have something to eat with us?" McCoy asked, ending the subject by standing and going to the oven.


"I suppose I could stay for a bit if one of you will walk me back home afterwards.  I don't like crossing that road when it gets too late, what with all those boys racing their flitters."


"We will ensure you return to your residence safely," Spock said.


McCoy finished the cooking as Spock set another place.  During dinner, Mrs. Sinclair told stories of McCoy's boyhood, and then gave updates on what had happened to various neighbours.  McCoy was mostly silent.  Spock carried on what should have been the doctor's end of the conversation.


"That girl you liked, Alice, that went and married Edward Warnes, they're divorced now," Mrs. Sinclair said.  "And she's back living in her father's old house by the pier.  Of course you wouldn't care if you've gone and gotten yourself married again."


Amused, Spock left this particular part to be picked up by the doctor.  McCoy gave Mrs. Sinclair a small smile and said, "I'm not married at the moment, but I think we'll let bygones be bygones."


"It's just as well if you're going to up and go back into space," Mrs. Sinclair said.  "How's that girl of yours doing?"


"She's married and working on Alpha III."


"Do you get to see her much?"


"No," McCoy said, "but we write."


"I don't know what it is about your family that you have to scatter so.  My girl and boy both still live here, and I have four grandchildren.  Brightest little girls you could ever see."  She turned to Spock.  "What about you?  Do you have a wife and children?"


"No, I do not," Spock said.


Mrs. Sinclair gave both he and the doctor a sad look.  "Is it worth it?" she asked.  "To go off into space and have nobody waiting at home for you?"


But she didn't expect an answer.  She stood and said, "Will you be home for long?"


"Just a few days," McCoy replied.


"Come and see me before you go because I don't expect you'd ever be coming back here again."


McCoy walked Mrs. Sinclair home as Spock cleaned up.  The doctor returned in time to dry the dishes.


"Will other neighbours visit, once they know you are here?" Spock asked.


"I don't know," McCoy said.  "Mrs. Sinclair was my mother's friend.  She was here a lot because my father worked so much.  She and my mother were close."


"What about your father's friends?"


"My father kept to himself."


Not knowing what else to do with the dishrag, Spock put it over the tap to dry.  "Leonard, I will not ask what happened with your father, but I note that Mrs. Sinclair did not mention it.  Other neighbours may have put it aside as well."


"No one ever spoke about it," McCoy said.  "But none of my friends were allowed to come to the house, and their parents didn't want me in their houses either.  Like father, like son."


He went down the hall.  Spock followed, and found the doctor in the study in front of the wall of pictures and awards. 


"My father used to spend hours in his study.  If I wanted to talk to him, I had to come in here and see all this, all these plaques and degrees.  In here he was bigger than life.  Outside…he was ashamed to walk out the front door."


McCoy finally turned around.  "I was born in Atlanta, but my parents moved to Earth Colony II just after I was born.  One of my father's patients, a teenage girl, said that he…" McCoy hesitated.  "Before it came to trial, she died of a blood infection.  It was sudden and I guess people wondered about that too.  Because there was no trial, my father wasn't given a chance to defend himself.  Do you know what it's like when you can't prove you're innocent?  And it didn't look good that he had married someone so young.  So my parents left, and he was able to get in with the Georgia Health System, but he really only saw the men off the fishing boats and elderly people.  When he wasn’t working, he just hid out in the house.  Sometimes, I wondered.  About my own father, I wondered.  But the man I knew wouldn't have done that.  My father was a good man, Spock."


"Leonard, even if your father had a trial and been exonerated, you could not know beyond all doubt."


"It wasn't the trial.  It was that he never held up his head again."


Spock glanced again at the pictures.  "Did your parents have a happy marriage?"


Caught off guard by the question, McCoy said, "I think so."


"Your mother couldn't have been happy with a man she didn't trust."


McCoy stared at him.  "This is a Vulcan, saying this to me."


"I grew up with a Human mother too," Spock said.  "As for your father, guilt comes for many reasons, and not always for the apparent ones."


"Spock, don't try to tell me about Human psychology.  I've already gone over this ground."


"Then the only wisdom I can offer you is to accept that there are some things you will never know, and to have faith."


McCoy sighed.  "You're out of your depth."


Spock acquiesced with a nod.  "What may I do to assist you?  I could help you pack up these pictures."


"The recycler and removal company are coming the day after tomorrow.  They'll clean all this out."


"But these pictures," Spock started.


"No.  I don't want them."


"Perhaps your daughter--"


"She doesn't want them either."


"Leonard, these are paper photographs.  They cannot be replaced."


"Spock, when you went to Gol, you got rid of things that couldn't be replaced.  It's called letting go."


"I regret it now.  I also remember that you disagreed with my actions at the time."


"You had better stuff than me."  McCoy walked out of the study.


Spock followed. "Leonard, where will you sleep?  There are no beds in the bedrooms."


A somewhat skewed smile crossed the doctor's face.  "On the settee."


"This is amusing?"


"When I was walking Mrs. Sinclair home, she asked if we were boyfriends.  I guess she wondered where I was sleeping too."


Spock paused at that.  McCoy added, "It's not the first time I've been asked about you and me."


"I have encountered it as well."




"During the mission on the Enterprise, Jim asked me."


McCoy looked amazed.  "Jim Kirk?"


"He asked twice," Spock said.


"He never asked me."


"He probably doubted that you would answer."


"And you did?"


"Obviously I did not, or he would not have asked the second time."


"That ass thinks sex solves everything," McCoy muttered.


"And just as obviously, it doesn't," Spock replied, and McCoy gave him an uncomfortable look.


"What did you say the second time?"


"That he should speak to you."


"The more prevailing rumour, which still persists, is that it was you and him."


"That is more logical.  It is well-known that it is much easier to get into the Admiral's bed than yours."


Spock followed McCoy into the sitting room.  He eyed the settee.  "Leonard, this is small for your height."


"It's a hide-a-bed," McCoy said.  He grabbed a handle under the cushions and pulled.  "I hope mice haven't gotten into it."


The settee extended into a bed of sorts, with a rusted metal bar serving for the bottom legs.  To Spock, it looked like another museum piece.


McCoy put the cushions at one end to use as pillows, and said, "That cot in the study will upend you if you try to lie down on it.  You're welcome to half of this."  He picked up his haversack and added, "It's too hot to sleep.  I'm going to get a shower."


A few minutes later, Spock heard water turn on.  A water shower, he realized.  A luxury, and one he also indulged in when the doctor had finished.


When he came out, McCoy wasn't around, but a sheet had been thrown on the hide-a-bed.  Spock lay down, forgoing his usual meditation, and listened to the night sounds.


A high-pitched, rhythmic chirping came from just outside the window by his head.  Something flapped, perhaps in the trees.  It was followed by a faint splash that he assumed was from the bog.


He woke later with a sudden start, having had a dream that he had tumbled down Mount Rhy-kee at Gol.  The doctor was beside him, breathing soft, deep breaths.  Spock was matching the breaths, calming his heart rate, when McCoy spoke.




"Vulcans do not have nightmares."


"I've slept beside you enough to know that they do."


McCoy turned until he was facing Spock.  The Vulcan reached over in the darkness and brushed his hand over McCoy's.


"I was dreaming of Gol," Spock said.


"Helluva place," McCoy said.  "The only thing that beats it is that place where the katras bounce around."


"Katras are interred in the Hall of Remembrances."


"Hardly interred.  They move around in there.  It's damn eerie.  Corridors and corridors of ghosts."


"They are only shadows, Leonard."  Spock touched McCoy's hand again, a slight caress over each of the doctor's fingers from tip to knuckle.


The doctor touched him in return, laying a palm on Spock's chest.  When the Vulcan said nothing, McCoy stroked down from the breastbone.


Just over one nipple, hidden in the skin, McCoy touched a crescent-shaped scar.  As his fingers moved over it, Spock arched slightly into the touch.


The doctor found the matching scar over the other nipple.  His mouth closed on it, sucking gently.


Spock was startled as well as aroused.  Vulcan consorts who administered to unmarried males in Pon Farr often used their nails.  That McCoy had not only looked for the scars left by a consort, but had unerringly found them, shouldn't have surprised Spock.  Yet it did.


McCoy sensed the hesitation.  "What is it?"


"It has been many years," Spock answered, stroking the side of McCoy's face with his index finger.  He felt the cheekbone and the rough scratch of the unshaven chin.  He caressed down over McCoy's neck and then back up, touching the lips one after the other, stroking their length.


"What did you say when Mrs. Sinclair asked if we were boyfriends?" Spock asked in a whisper.


"I said no." 


McCoy drew Spock's fingertips into his mouth, his tongue flicking over the small ridges.  Spock caught his breath.  McCoy continued touching him, his fingers running lightly over Spock's skin, moving so quickly it was like butterflies coming down and lifting off again, his touch dancing around Spock's face and chest until Spock was taut, his back arched up, his penis jutting and aching, a dark mass below in the faint moonlight coming from outside.


He felt the doctor's hands move down, one gently cradling his testicles, the other rubbing the base of his penis, but too slowly, a teasing stroke.  Spock pushed against the touch and a cry escaped him.


All at once McCoy's mouth descended on the end of Spock's penis, drawing down hard over the knob, his tongue exploring the pulsing opening of Spock's urethra.  Spock cried again and came, shooting ejaculate in hard throbs, colours bursting over his retinas until he couldn't see.


When it eased, when Spock could make out the doctor beside him and he could relax enough to lie back down onto the damp sheet, he murmured, "My freedom."


"Ssh," McCoy said as he came up and brushed his lips over Spock's cheek.


Spock reached down to where the doctor's hard penis lay against his thigh.  He rubbed leisurely, easily, stroking over and over that place just under the ridge until McCoy shuddered and his seed spilled over Spock's leg.


They fell asleep in the mess.  Spock woke the next morning to the smell of coffee.


He poured a cup for himself, adding several teaspoons of sugar because the doctor tended to brew the coffee strong.  He was turning back towards the hallway when a piece of paper on the table caught his eye.


It was a note from McCoy.  Gone to the lawyer's.  Back soon.


Spock drank his coffee and then cleaned up the hide-a-bed, folding it back into the settee.  He straightened the clothesline pole, and washed and hung the sheet and their clothes from the day before.  Finding an old broom, he swept the kitchen and attempted to fix the front door lock (he couldn't.)  Then he went into the study and contemplated the pictures.


A couple of boxes sat in the hallway.  Spock could pack the pictures and diplomas, but the doctor had been remarkably insistent that he didn't want them.


He left them alone and went back outside.


A flitter came down the road, slowing slightly, the male driver eyeing Spock with a look that was not hostile but not friendly either.  Then he drove away.  Spock watched him go before walking around the house and into the field.


His path took him through the line of black trees which he realized were dead when he got to them, old branches snapping off in clouds of dust in his hands.  He walked through the brush, making his way carefully in watery ground until he was sinking to his ankles in algae-laden dirt.


Marsh grass poked at his skin over the tops of his boots.  As he moved to try to avoid it, he walked into a cloud of gnats.  He backtracked from them and mosquitoes attacked his face and hands.


He was not prone to swearing, but he did wonder why McCoy would want to play here as a child.


Resigned to the incessant insects, Spock (and they) made their way through a tangle of wet, hanging branches and moss-covered trees.  He pushed aside a particularly heavy curtain of leaves, struggled through, and was all at once at the edge of a swamp.


Dense plants moved in the current of the muddy water, weaving back and forth under lily pads and masses of green muck.  Frogs jumped away when they saw him, disappearing with little plunks and scattering water striders skimming over the top of the pond.


Something big and brown floated by him.  Spock stilled until he discerned it was a log.


The bog was large, stretching in front of him to another line of trees, but also running to the left as if it might lead out somewhere.


Spock had never seen a swamp before, not like this, not something that you could put a boat into and drift off somewhere.  He wondered if people living around here might do that.


He heard his name being called.  "Here!" he called back.  A few minutes later, McCoy appeared, batting mosquitoes around him.


"If you're not used to places like this, it's not the safest spot," McCoy said.  "And, by the way, that's not a fallen tree."


Spock glanced down at where the doctor was pointing.  The log had floated closer to him.  He looked again and saw two eyes above the water line, regarding him silently.


He backed away.  The alligator continued quietly downstream.


"If you want to see water, I'll take you to Jekyll Island.  We'll go tonight when the sun's not so hot.  Unless you're leaving?"


"Do you wish me to leave?"


"We have conversations that it might be better to avoid," McCoy said.


"I disagree," Spock said.  "We are too old to continue this game."


McCoy leaned back against a tree and gazed across the water.  "This place smells rotten, like something decomposing.  When I was a kid, I never noticed it."  Finally he turned back to Spock.  "You have something else on your mind?"


"It is none of my concern."


"Yeah, and that's always stopped you in the past," McCoy sighed.


"When I was at Gol, one of my requirements of study was to review and classify my past experiences with people.  This included you."


"Review and classify?  I don't think I want to know."


"I realized that you knew much more of Vulcan ways than you ever disclosed.  Even before I met you, you knew about Vulcans.  Yet, when I checked your Starfleet record, I was the first Vulcan you served with."


"Do tell."


The doctor's manner was challenging.  Spock had put him on the defensive.


"During our first months serving on the Enterprise, you addressed me with what I initially thought was prejudice.  Your comments were sarcastic and racial," Spock said.  "I did not understand it, for you had, by then, served for many years on different planets and ships and with many races.  You treated all beings with respect.  Except for me."


The doctor opened his mouth, but Spock continued on quickly.  "On Tantalus V when I decided to mindmeld with Dr. Van Gelder, you tried to stop me.  You knew what a mindmeld was.  When the Mellotians recreated the gunfight at the OK Corral and I melded with you, I found that you had shields.  Basic ones, but they were there.  You knew about Plak Tow.  You told Jim that I had to go to Vulcan, and you knew why, but you kept my secret.  You did not tell him.  I suspect you know what Kolinahr is as well as any Vulcan."


"Probably not," McCoy said.  "Did I ever apologize for the way I spoke to you back then?"


"With your actions, many times."


A small animal went into the water from the opposite shore.  Spock watched it disappear, the rings on the water flowing out until the current overpowered it.


"The other night you recognized the Dark Shudo incense in my room."


McCoy took a moment to reply.  "I know what it is.  I'm sorry I walked in on you."


"I was preparing to touch myself."


McCoy shifted uneasily.  "Yes, I get it."


"After you left, I did not wish to complete the act alone.  I calmed myself by letting the smoke burn me."


The doctor stared at him.  "That's a hell of a thing to do."


"Dark Shudo brings both pleasure and pain.  Like most things.  But my point remains that you not only had knowledge of Vulcans, but intimate knowledge."


"But as you say, it's none of your concern," McCoy said.


"No, it is not."


The doctor looked away.  "When I started on the Enterprise, I had just been dumped.  Royally dumped.  There was an arranged marriage and he honoured it.  When I saw he honoured it, I mean he up and went.  Three years and not a peep out of him.  And then he just left."


"He was Vulcan," Spock surmised.


"And you looked just like him."  McCoy finally looked back at Spock.  "Even the way you spoke."


"Honour is often misunderstood.  Is this why you keep pushing me away?"


"Let's just say that my life has not been one happy skip around the mulberry bush."


"If I understand that, neither has mine," Spock said.  "My masters at Gol classified you as a demon."


Taken aback, McCoy said, "How...lovely."


"I was told that there can come a being whom we can neither overcome nor surrender to, a being who taunts us with our deepest desires.  Our only freedom was in separation, mastery over our thoughts, and Kolinahr."


"I don't think I was quite that bad," McCoy muttered.


"Hear me," Spock said.  "Vejur had been Kolinahr.  I sensed him while at Gol.  Vejur was pure, clear logic.  Emotionless, timeless, measureless, unattached.  It should have been complete unto itself.  It should have been free.  Instead, it had been sterile and unable to continue as it was.  A being of pristine logic that could not cope.  It either joined with its creator or ceased to continue.  On my smaller scale, I wished the same, and the logical place to search was with the one man who had understood this desire from the moment I met him."


"The demon," McCoy reminded him.


"You are a compassionate and wise man, and my masters were wrong.  Our demons are us.  We torment ourselves."  Spock reached over and put his hand over McCoy's.  You are my freedom.  You think what I may not.  You speak what I may not say.  You touch what is forbidden to me.  You offer mercy.  I fly in your eyes.  And," he softened his expression.  "I do not have any arranged marriages to honour."


"You're mad," McCoy said, his voice catching.  "I could almost think it's that seven year thing."


"The scars you found last night are old.  I have enough training that I no longer endure the madness."


"Well, maybe not that madness.  You're giving me too much credit."


"There is another valuable reason I desire to stay with you."


"I can only imagine."


"You recognize alligators."


"Barking mad," McCoy said.


"Leonard, don't keep trying to send me away."


"Spock, your timing sucks.  I just lost my mother and, yes, I do wish I'd been with her."


"I know, Leonard.  I felt the same when my mother died," Spock said. "You stayed with me then, and would not leave."


A bird called, a lonely sound coming from the other side of the swamp.


"If she was proud of me, she never said so," McCoy said.  "She was upset that I left, but I couldn't stay.  All anyone ever saw when they looked at me was my father."


"I went through something of the same on Vulcan."


After a few moments, McCoy conceded, "Yes, I suppose you did."  He took Spock's hand.  "Let's get out of here.  I'm up to my ass in bog and you're covered in mosquitoes."


"Why do they bother me and not you?"


"Thick skin."


They returned to the house, mud caked to their shins and smelling of dank seaweed.  McCoy changed his clothes and went to see Mrs. Sinclair.  Spock resigned himself to doing a second load of laundry by hand.  Then he made another trip to Walgreens.  When he came back, McCoy was waiting on the porch swing.


"Where were you?"


Spock sat beside him and opened a small bag.  "I went to get this."


McCoy laughed.  "Calamine lotion.  I haven't seen that stuff since I was twelve."


"It is what the pharmacist recommended."


"It'll work, but it will turn you pink."  McCoy dabbed some on the back of Spock's hands and forearms.  "You have a doctor in the house with you.  You didn't need to go to Walgreens."


"You did not bring a medical kit."


"I still could have done better than this.  You might also be reacting to the laundry soap."


"I do not make a habit of washing clothing by hand."


"No, I guess an important Ambassador wouldn't."


Spock smiled.  "Yes, Leonard, I am a very important person."


McCoy continued stroking Spock's hands, caressing down the length of each finger.  "I packed a supper, if you'd like to go to Jekyll Island.  It won't be as buggy as here."


Spock, reacting to McCoy's touch, could only manage, "That is acceptable."  He leaned forward and kissed the doctor.  The kiss was interrupted by the sound of a hovercar slowing down on the road.


The woman in the car had paused to look at them in frank curiosity, but sped away when the two men glanced over at her.


"This place is stuck in time," McCoy said.  "Mrs. Sinclair told me that she'd never seen a Vulcan before you."


"Has she ever seen an Ambassador before me?"


"Ambassadors are a dime a dozen," McCoy said as he got up.  "Let's go."


They took the flitter to the island and wandered briefly along the flowery trails, but soon descended down a rocky path to a beach.  They ate on the sand, close to where the cool waves of the Atlantic Ocean rumbled in and drew out again.


Spock shaded his eyes and looked across the water, seeing ships in the distance, so far out that their masts seemed to touch the white clouds where the seagulls flew.


"The one with the nets is a shrimp and crab trawler," McCoy said.  "The grey one is a cargo ship.  When I was growing up, ships used to come and go all the time, and the docks were surrounded by factories."


"Did you ever go on a ship?"


"Everyone did."


They sat, watching the distant boats, until the wind picked up and dark clouds began moving in.  The beach grew deserted as a rainfall started, though it was a gentle, quiet rain.


McCoy and Spock moved inland and found a sheltered spot where they could still see the water.


Spock looked over and saw that the doctor's face had become pensive again.


"Leonard, if I may resume an earlier conversation..."


"I don't know.  What's the subject?"






"You think of it as final.  What if it is not?"


"It's final for those of us left behind."


"No, you and I have both experienced it already, in large and small ways.  We experienced it last night.  Sleeping and awakening is self-annihilation and resurrection."


"On some philosophical, cerebral level," McCoy said tiredly.


"To experience orgasm is to experience death.  In that moment, nothing else in the universe exists."


"Some might say it's a moment of being alive."


"Death and life are one and the same to Vulcans, and to some Humans as well."  Spock stroked McCoy's hands until he felt them loosen.  "Be still, Leonard.  Be still with me.  This is all we ever can do, to be here and to be accepting.  Do not think.  Do not look towards the future.  Just breathe." 


He moved one hand up the doctor's arm, his fingertips running over the skin and soft hair.  Then he came to the sleeve, went over it quickly, up to the warmth at the side of McCoy's neck.  He followed the path his fingers had taken with his lips.


McCoy turned, opening his mouth to say something, but then changed his mind and lay back instead.  Spock followed him down, shifting until he was lying on him and their bodies were pressed together.


He rubbed against McCoy, exciting himself and feeling the doctor becoming erect underneath him.  They kissed, hard kisses, their tongues twisting and pushing until their breathing was ragged and harsh.


McCoy pulled his mouth away.  "Do we dare?"


"Yes," Spock said.  He rolled on his side, opening his trousers and then opening McCoy's, pushing everything down enough so that they could press their erections together.  The friction was both sweet and rough.  They bucked against each other, mouths back together, fingers tightly intertwined, moaning as they struggled to reach a crisis.


The movement wasn't enough for Spock.  He kept sliding on the grass.  But then he began to feel the build-up, that particular heaviness spiking through his groin.  He groaned, feeling the orgasm coming near.  McCoy made a noise in return as he pushed up onto Spock, thrusting in short, frenzied strokes.  He cried again and Spock felt a hot spray of ejaculate.  It sent him over.  He came in a satisfying wave of relief.


When he could catch his breath, he said, "A moment of death."


"Don't, Spock," McCoy murmured, splayed and relaxed against the Vulcan.


"What is that, Leonard?" Spock asked.


McCoy lifted up, and then shifted around so that he could see what the Vulcan was looking at.


It was a rainbow, though not much of one.  It strained through the clouds, the colours fading into a murky, dark mix where it tried to reach the ground.


"It's time to leave this place," McCoy said.


Spock nodded in agreement.  They straightened their clothing and walked back to the flitter.


The removal company arrived in the morning.  In the flurry of furniture being moved and boxes being packed, Spock followed McCoy into the study.




"Ssh, Spock," McCoy said.  He picked one picture from the wall, the one of him and his parents in front of the house.  As he left, Spock heard him say, "Everything goes, please."


The Vulcan picked up their haversacks and followed the doctor.  He found him outside, at the front of the house, gazing at the porch swing.


"That was the last place I saw her."


"It is fitting," Spock said.


They stood for a moment longer.  Then they turned and walked to the flitter.




Return to Main Page