Painful Embrace

Title: Painful Embrace
Author: Melinda
Series: TOS 
Codes: S & Mc  Intense Friendship (pre-slash), Intense Hurt/Comfort
Rating: [PG-13]
Summary:  Spock & McCoy are abandoned on an isolated planet by the Klingons and discover how much they really care about each other.
Warnings:  Major character death and suffering. 
Disclaimer: CBS-Paramount owns Star Trek. No copyright infringement is intended, and I am making no money.    
Feedback:  Yes, please. Any and all. 
Beta:  Huge thanks goes to Rose for the very extensive beta help and to Ellen for some key plot ideas in the opening of the story. I also want to thank Lisa for her initial feedback and encouragement to post the story. Thanks also goes out to Janet, Jessica, Dru, and Julianna for their feedback and suggestions. I had a lot of help with this one! All mistakes are my own.
Author's Note:  Submission for Spiced Peaches XVIII 
Archiving: Spiced Peaches and The Spock/McCoyote's Den.  All others please ask.

Painful Embrace


by Melinda




McCoy fell to the ground, unconscious. Spock could see the blood and bruises, courtesy of the Klingons’ interrogation technique.


"McCoy is the weak one," they had said. "He will suffer the consequences of withholding information."


The Klingons had not physically harmed Spock. They merely forced him to witness them torturing the doctor.  As McCoy had suffered physically, Spock had suffered emotionally in silence.


Spock questioned himself if he had acted appropriately when, at McCoy’s request, he had removed the memory of their mission from McCoy’s brain. 

McCoy had treated Spock after his earlier experience with the Klingon Mindsifter.  He’d seen how much damage Spock had suffered.  The doctor knew that if the Klingons used the machine on him, he would not be able to withstand it.  

Spock knew how difficult it had been for McCoy to ask him to remove the memory.  Leonard's dislike of what he called “Vulcan mumbo jumbo” was almost as famous as his distrust of the ship’s transporter.  Spock had admired the strength it had taken McCoy to ask for the meld. 

Logic dictated that the Klingons were unlikely to stop sifting McCoy’s mind simply because they were unsuccessful.  Spock realized that now, but at the time, he was so touched by McCoy’s request, his logic failed him.

Looking down at the crumpled, broken figure of his friend, Spock wondered how much of this damage was his fault?  How much of McCoy’s pain would have been spared if he’d left the knowledge for the Klingons to find?

Yes, the damage to the Federation would have been severe.  Spock knew that he should place the needs of the Federation over the safety of the one Doctor.  As he watched McCoy’s blood spread across the floor, Spock found no comfort in that knowledge.

As for the Klingons, having failed to find anything in McCoy's brain, or to break Spock by torturing him with McCoy's pain, they reluctantly decided there was no secret to find.  They were angry and frustrated that they were getting no cooperation from the Federation officers, and so they abandoned them on the planet, alone and without help.


Spock didn't move until the Klingons beamed up to their ship. Once alone, he rushed to the doctor’s side and knelt down beside him. McCoy's face was bruised and bleeding, and his clothes were tattered from the severe beating inflicted upon him.


With no medical supplies, Spock had no way to ascertain how badly McCoy was injured. The Klingons had taken everything with them. McCoy would suffer, Spock knew that much. His injuries were severe.


A crash of thunder startled Spock. He glanced up at the sky. There was a storm approaching. He did not want to move the injured doctor, but it was equally dangerous to allow McCoy to weather the storm.


Spock quickly scanned the area. He saw what looked like a cave in the distance. As gently as he could, he lifted the unconscious McCoy into his arms and carried him to the cave. Then he set about making the human as comfortable as the circumstances would permit.


Ten point seven minutes dragged by before McCoy regained consciousness, but it seemed an eternity. It was pouring now. The deluge seemed somehow fitting.


McCoy awoke in pain. He felt disoriented. When his blurred vision finally cleared, he saw Spock sitting beside him. The Vulcan’s eyes were trained on him.


McCoy struggled to speak. "Are they gone?" he asked.


"Affirmative," Spock replied.


"Are you alright, Spock? Did they hurt you?"


"No," Spock said quietly.


McCoy grimaced in pain. Putting his hand to his chest, he tried to feel his injuries beneath. After a few moments of silent pain, he slowly lowered his arm back down to his side.


"I think I'm dying, Spock."


"The Enterprise will return soon."


"Not soon enough."


Spock said nothing. The shock of those three words had robbed him of speech. He knew McCoy was right. The doctor was dying, and neither one of them could stop the inevitable.


"You know, you never think of it happening to you,” McCoy said, somehow managing to favor Spock with a wry grin. "Guess you won't have anybody to bicker with now."


Spock remained silent as he continued to stare at McCoy with deep concern in his eyes. McCoy, in response, seemed to force himself to become serious.


"Spock,” he said,  “I—I want to tell you something…before it's too late."


Spock knew instinctively what McCoy wished to say, but he could not stand to hear the words. He did not know how to deal with the feelings that seemed to be welling up inside of him.


"Rest now, Doctor,” he said. “You must not strain yourself.”


"No - I don't have time to rest, Spock. You know that, damn it!"


As if to prove his words, McCoy groaned in pain and turned his head in frustration. His body became taunt and rigid.


Spock gently put his hand on the doctor’s arm. McCoy lay there for a minute trying to get a hold of himself. Slowly, he began to speak again.


"The Klingons sure did a good job, didn't they?" he asked with a trace of bitterness.


Spock did not bother to disguise his disgust as he spoke. "They are efficient in their…methods.”


"At least they didn't hurt you."


"Not physically,” the Vulcan owned.  In truth, the Klingons had hurt Spock, in the worst possible way.  Physical pain would have been preferable to the Vulcan rather than seeing McCoy suffer so horribly. 


McCoy turned his face to look at Spock. He stared at his friend without saying anything.


Spock met his gaze for a moment, but finally averted his eyes. The Vulcan's face revealed his heart. He knew McCoy could see straight through him.


"I don't know how to say this,” McCoy said softly. “You—you mean a lot to me Spock. I—"


As the doctor broke off, Spock reestablished eye contact. McCoy’s face was flooded with pain.


Spock found himself at a loss. He was grasping at his logic, attempting to fight his feelings for the Doctor. He could not bear to see his friend suffer so…and Spock could not mask the pain of it.


"Spock ... " McCoy struggled to continue.


"Doctor, you must conserve your strength. That is the only way to—"


"To prolong the time until I die?"


"Doctor," Spock protested.


"I'm dying, Spock," McCoy said bluntly. "Don't you understand what I'm trying to say before I die? Let me say this."


Spock pulled his hand away from McCoy, retreating into himself. He remained calm outwardly, but inside he could feel himself breaking. The half Vulcan was ashamed of his feelings, torn between wanting to suppress his emotions or allowing McCoy to see them, and that mental torture of condemning himself for his feelings was almost too much to face.


McCoy knew exactly what Spock was doing. "Spock, don't shut me out like this - not now." he gasped. He paused to reach out and grasp the Vulcan’s arm. "Do you know how much it hurts me when you do that? When you put that wall up? When I do it myself? Don't do that to me."


Spock was silent.


"Damn it, Spock. I care about you—but I never could tell you—never could say it."


Spock slowly pulled his arm free from McCoy's grasp.


"You do not have to say this, Doctor."


"You don't understand. I want to say this...I need to say it now—for me as well as for you."


Spock stared at the doctor. McCoy's eyes were wet. "It hurts me seeing you hide from your own feelings. Maybe I teased you too much about your human half, but I could see your pain too."


Spock didn't know what to say. He couldn't avoid the truth in McCoy's statement—not now.


"I always tried to get past that blasted Vulcan wall of yours,” the doctor continued. “I guess I failed, and I've tortured myself for so long because of it."


There were tears forming in McCoy's eyes—tears that must be from the emotional and physical pain. He turned his head away from Spock, apparently ashamed.


"You did not fail, Doctor." Spock touched McCoy's face to wipe away the tears, but McCoy refused the hand, weakly pushing Spock's arm away.


"Don't, Spock. It doesn't matter anymore."


Spock pulled his hand away.  Now, McCoy was shutting him out, and Spock realized how much pain that caused him. He desperately wanted to voice his feelings for McCoy too.


Spock felt especially vulnerable when it came to his feelings for McCoy. His affection ran deep for this human. Now, McCoy was about to die, and Spock wanted his friend to know, with no doubts, how he felt.


"It matters to me." Spock tried to reach out again, but McCoy turned away a second time.


Spock hesitated and then said, "Why do you refuse my help?"


McCoy didn't respond.


"Doctor - do not shut me out."


McCoy finally turned to look at Spock. The Vulcan had never seen such a vulnerable look in his friend’s eyes. "Your well being is of concern to me," he assured the doctor.


"It's all a game isn't it, Spock.? It's always a game."


That remark cut Spock to the heart.


"No, Doctor. This is no game." Spock put his hand on McCoy's arm. "I care about what happens to you."


McCoy was broken in body and emotionally drained. He hurt deeply. His physical pain was getting worse. Spock knew this.

He wanted to comfort the doctor in these last moments because he could sense McCoy’s need for someone to understand him, to be near him in this time of great fear and pain.


After a few moments of hesitation, McCoy weakly put his hand over Spock's. "Thanks, Spock. I needed that.” He paused to sigh. “I don't want to die. I don't know what I'd do if you weren't here right now."


McCoy closed his eyes. All at once, he was overcome by nausea. He coughed over and over in pain, holding his chest.


Spock offered what little comfort he could. The doctor started to vomit blood from the internal bleeding. Spock raised him to a sitting position. McCoy grabbed his arm with one hand and then half buried his head on Spock's shoulder.


Spock held him as he spit up two or three times in a row. The Vulcan’s tunic became soaked with blood.


As the spasm stopped, McCoy was shaking with pain in Spock's arms. He was suffering, and Spock could do nothing to ease the pain.


"Oh, God, Spock - I don't want to die like this ... Help "


 Spock hugged his friend to himself, holding him tighter. "You are not alone. Just hold onto me, Bones."


Spock placed his hand on McCoy's head.  The Vulcan's touch was easing the intense pain, even though they were not linked by a mind meld. McCoy held on to Spock with what little strength he had left. He was scared to death, but despite the fear, he had never felt such comfort or warmth.


His fear began to melt away. For a few minutes, Spock and McCoy held each other in that painful embrace. They said nothing, for they had no need for words. They understood one another.


Five minutes later, Spock felt McCoy's body go limp in his arms. His friend's breathing subsided.


"Leonard..." Spock softly said, still embracing his friend.


Spock laid McCoy back down onto his back. He looked at the Doctor's bruised yet peaceful face. Even as a half Vulcan, Spock could not contain his grief. He didn't even attempt to try. This death cut him too deeply. Part of him had died with the Doctor.


Outside, the storm had abated. In the quiet stillness of the isolated cave, Spock said,

"Peace, my friend. I shall never forget you."


Alone, Spock wept.



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