My Little Town
R, language, sexual
Set after The Undiscovered
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
are you going?" McCoy asked.
do you mean, with me?"
"You are returning
to Earth. I intend to accompany you. I
have secured Admiral Caetano to deliver your lectures."
you visiting someone on Earth?"
I will be staying with you."
"I will fly the
shuttle, Leonard. A two-seater will be sufficient, I think. Our bags seem to be well under the weight limit."
a minute, Spock. I don't recall inviting you."
will be our port of call? Georgia has two."
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.
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.
this is our shuttle."
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
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
she a physician like your father?"
she was just my mother."
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."
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
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
"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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
did your mother die?" Spock asked.
you wish you had been with her?"
hesitated, and then turned to look at the Vulcan.
had a mother," Spock said. "I wasn't there when she died."
mother wouldn't have known if I'd been with her or not."
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."
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.
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.
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."
hmm?" she said, peering at the Vulcan.
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?"
have a key. Your momma left it with me.
You could have got it."
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
Mrs. Sinclair gave
McCoy a nod before turning to Spock. "Are you in that space fleet too?"
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."
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."
cut in. "Would you like something to drink, Mrs. Sinclair? Coffee?"
I drink coffee now, I'll be up all night."
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?"
served together on one ship, the Enterprise."
"And what did your
people think, you doing that? Or did they all work on spaceships?"
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."
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?"
married and working on Alpha III."
you get to see her much?"
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,"
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?"
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.
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."
about your father's friends?"
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."
wasn't the trial. It was that he never held up his head again."
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."
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,"
"No. I don't want them."
"Perhaps your daughter--"
"She doesn't want
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
"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.
"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,"
"He never asked
"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.
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
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
"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.
McCoy said. "The only thing that beats it is that place where the katras bounce
"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
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
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
"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
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
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
"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
"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."
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."
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."
McCoy said. "Did I ever apologize for the way I spoke to you back then?"
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."
took a moment to reply. "I know what it is.
I'm sorry I walked in on you."
was preparing to touch myself."
shifted uneasily. "Yes, I get it."
you left, I did not wish to complete the act alone. I calmed myself by letting
the smoke burn me."
doctor stared at him. "That's a hell of a thing to do."
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."
was Vulcan," Spock surmised.
"And you looked
just like him." McCoy finally looked back at Spock. "Even the way you spoke."
is often misunderstood. Is this why you keep pushing me away?"
just say that my life has not been one happy skip around the mulberry bush."
I understand that, neither has mine," Spock said. "My masters at Gol classified
you as a demon."
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
"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."
scars you found last night are old. I have enough training that I no longer endure
"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
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
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."
went through something of the same on Vulcan."
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."
do they bother me and not you?"
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.
sat beside him and opened a small bag. "I went to get this."
laughed. "Calamine lotion. I haven't
seen that stuff since I was twelve."
is what the pharmacist recommended."
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."
did not bring a medical kit."
still could have done better than this. You might also be reacting to the laundry
do not make a habit of washing clothing by hand."
I guess an important Ambassador wouldn't."
smiled. "Yes, Leonard, I am a very important person."
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
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.
woman in the car had paused to look at them in frank curiosity, but sped away when the two men glanced over at her.
place is stuck in time," McCoy said. "Mrs. Sinclair told me that she'd never
seen a Vulcan before you."
she ever seen an Ambassador before me?"
are a dime a dozen," McCoy said as he got up. "Let's go."
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.
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.
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."
you ever go on a ship?"
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.
and Spock moved inland and found a sheltered spot where they could still see the water.
looked over and saw that the doctor's face had become pensive again.
if I may resume an earlier conversation..."
don't know. What's the subject?"
think of it as final. What if it is not?"
final for those of us left behind."
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."
some philosophical, cerebral level," McCoy said tiredly.
experience orgasm is to experience death. In that moment, nothing else in the
might say it's a moment of being alive."
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."
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.
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.
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.
pulled his mouth away. "Do we dare?"
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.
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.
he could catch his breath, he said, "A moment of death."
Spock," McCoy murmured, splayed and relaxed against the Vulcan.
is that, Leonard?" Spock asked.
lifted up, and then shifted around so that he could see what the Vulcan was looking at.
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.
time to leave this place," McCoy said.
nodded in agreement. They straightened their clothing and walked back to the
removal company arrived in the morning. In the flurry of furniture being moved
and boxes being packed, Spock followed McCoy into the study.
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,
Vulcan picked up their haversacks and followed the doctor. He found him outside,
at the front of the house, gazing at the porch swing.
was the last place I saw her."
is fitting," Spock said.
stood for a moment longer. Then they turned and walked to the flitter.