The Second Sacrifice

                                 THE SECOND SACRIFICE


By Mary Barnes

Series: TOS

Pairings: S/Mc

Rating: PG-13 for mentions of violence and torture

Disclaimer: Star Trek belongs to Paramount/Viacom. I own this story and make no profit from it; it is for entertainment purposes only.

Author’s Notes: This story is takes place in the aftermath of both “The Empath” and “For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky.”




  “’A pearl of great price’, Scotty had said.”  McCoy thought to himself.


Gem was that and more.”


In retrospect he still could not believe all that had happened on Minara.  The emotional and physical pain that had pushed his body beyond the limits of what he could have endured, had ended abruptly.  Though feeling physically healed, the aftershocks remained leaving McCoy exhausted.  The quiet confines of his quarters were comforting with his personal space, his belongings and the sounds of the ship. McCoy was in control of this environment, and the area of Sick Bay. 


Control of his environment has always brought him peace. 


 Although he had chosen himself to be the Vian’s last subject, he had no control over the events that had happened. However, it was past now and all of them had returned to the Enterprise together.


  Jim Kirk’s body scan showed some residual effects of the bends.  It was Kirk’s eyes that reflected the same emotional strain and the unresolved trauma that had occurred all three of them.


     Reflecting back on Spock’s response to his injuries, McCoy had been touched by the unshielded love and concern in Spock’s eyes and touch.  However, once back on the Enterprise, the mask was securely put back in place.  McCoy would give anything to see  that expression in Spock’s eyes again and to feel that compassion in his touch.  He definitely would not experience those things if Spock had left with the Vians.  They would have destroyed Spock’s incredible mind and left him useless and broken; a great loss to the Federation, his family and to Jim.


 McCoy had checked Kirk over and gave him a dose of Tri-Ox and a sedative. He informed Kirk to get good nights sleep and that he was on light duty for three days. M’Benga wanted to do an exam on McCoy, but he threw a tirade of excuses not to have this done.  He was perfectly fine.  McCoy did not even scan himself; was he afraid he was not healed or was he afraid that all of the pain had been an illusion?  A rather painful illusion: cardiac failure, lung congestion, and the deep dull pain from his injuries.  Gem’s touch had alleviated his head and facial pain, but the pain through out his body was not lessened.


     McCoy set about getting ready for bed.  Although tired, he felt restless and agitated.  As he changed into his lounge wear, he began to shake uncontrollably. He put his hand on the dresser for support.  McCoy felt neither cold nor hot, he could not focus on how he felt.  After he had steadied, McCoy went to his desk and poured himself a glass of whiskey, took a sip and felt its burning promise of relief down to his stomach.  He had not eaten since his return to the Enterprise and the whiskey made him slightly nauseated. 


Beyond the physical pain, it was being alone when he was tortured that had unnerved him.  His reaction to the pain was not of any consequence to the Vians. Jim’s torture had the beautiful Gem as witness to his pain. Those calming, expressive eyes would have provided some solace or focus beyond the cold expression of the  Vians.   The empty cylinder with his name on it was the only object he could focus on.  Waves of pain from the impact of their assault replayed through his mind.  Then hanging from his wrists, his body’s dead weight pulling at the joints of his wrists and shoulders, waiting for deliverance or death. 


     McCoy sat at his desk in silence for a while, and then he took another sip of whiskey.  His stomach lurched and rebelled against the alcohol. McCoy barely made it to the bathroom in time and once again his body was racked by spasms.  Dizzy and sweating profusely, McCoy collapsed to his knees.  These were not the symptoms of alcohol on an empty stomach, something was very wrong.  He grimaced at a spasm of pain then once again he vomited, this time he was vomiting up blood.  Before he could call for help, darkness engulfed him and he passed out.




     Jim Kirk had fallen into an exhausted sleep.  Along with his pain, seeing McCoy broken and damaged had upset him greatly.  His inability to take care of McCoy’s medical needs had frustrated him and he was embarrassed by his queasiness when McCoy had vomited.  How many times had McCoy taken care of him when he was sick?  Kirk admired McCoy’s steel reserve at medical emergencies and that unwavering bravery in the face of death.  To spare Spock and him any anxiety of his condition, McCoy had delivered one of his tongue and cheek remarks.


     You’ve got a good bedside manner, Spock.”


Kirk could see the words spoken had the same effect on Spock as it did on him. It was McCoy’s refusal to be healed by Gem that had upset him the most. The Doctor had such a strong sense of the preciousness of life, but he had excluded himself from this privilege.  It was that damned stubborn refusal to accept help that was the one obstacle in Kirk and McCoy’s friendship.  Kirk had always invited and needed Spock’s and McCoy’s help.  McCoy, to his knowledge, had never let anyone cross that line.  Kirk’s thoughts replayed McCoy’s statement when he was diagnosed with Xenopolycythemia:” I’ll be most effective on the job until you find a replacement.”  Then he was going to stay on Yonada to die, why did Bones feel so expendable?  He had even offered his life for Spock and himself on Minara.                                     


When they had returned to the ship, McCoy had seemed fine.  It was Kirk who was still feeling the effects of the Vian’s torture.  Bones’ medical tricorder had confirmed this.  What had McCoy said after Gem had touched him?  Kirk would still need some time in the decompression chamber.


It was a tightness in his chest that awakened Kirk.  Taking a deep breath was difficult and the pain had returned to his joints and head  .Kirk pressed the intercom button to McCoy’s quarters, there was no reply.


Kirk called Sick Bay.  Dr. M’Benga answered.


“What can I do for you, Captain?”  He asked.


“Is McCoy there?” Kirk inquired.


“No, to my knowledge, he is in his quarters.” M’Benga said.


“He didn’t answer when I called.  I’m having trouble breathing and it feels like the bends have returned.”  Kirk gasped.


 “Come to Sick Bay immediately, Captain, do you need assistance?”  M’Benga asked.


“No, I’ll call Mr. Spock and we’ll be right there.”


Spock answered on the first buzz, “Are you alright, Captain?”


 “No, Spock.  I need your help; I’m having trouble breathing and the pain….”


“I’ll be right there, Jim, do I need to notify Sick Bay?” Spock asked.


“No, Dr. M’Benga is waiting for us.”  Kirk said weakly.                                                                 


Spock supported him most of the way then carried him into Sick Bay. He placed Kirk on the exam table and was pushed aside as the nurses and Dr. M’Benga administered oxygen, Tri-Ox and obtained IV access.                                                              


To Kirk, the blur of the staff seemed out of time sequence.  Then a warm comfort flowed through him, it was easier to breathe and thepain subsided.


“You should start to feel better now, Captain.  Your body was starving for oxygen.


You came in at the right time.”  M’Benga informed him.


Kirk nodded.  “I guess I should have let the Vians heal me instead of Gem. They seemed to have done a better job on McCoy.”


M’Benga rolled his eyes. “I would not know the answer to that, Captain.  McCoy would not let me examine him.  He said he had scanned himself and he was fine. “You know how he is.”


Kirk frowned. “Yes, I do.  When I called Sick Bay, I thought McCoy was here.  He didn’t answer in his quarters.”  Kirk sat up abruptly, M’Benga gently pushed him back on the bed.  “What if the Vians had not healed him either?  What if he is still injured?”


Spock stiffened. “I can go check on the Doctor if you wish, Captain?”


 “Please, Spock I would feel a lot better.” Kirk said relaxing.


  “I know I would, too.” M’Benga said. “I’ll get my bag and go with you, Mr. Spock. He can’t argue with both of us.”


There was no answer at McCoy’s door, and Spock used his emergency code to gain admittance.  McCoy’s quarters were quiet, and his bed was still made.                                                                   


“Dr. McCoy?” M’Benga called out. “Leonard?”  M’Benga stepped into the bathroom and cried out, “Oh, hell, McCoy….!”


Spock ran into the bathroom to see McCoy’s still body on the blood stained floor.                                                                 


 M’Benga gently turned McCoy over and ran the Feinberger over his body.


McCoy’s face was white and his lips were pale, blood was the only color on his face.


“There’s evidence that he has bled in his chest, but no new bleeding, there’s some congestion in his lungs….He’s got a tear in his stomach, and bleeding… there is peritonitis…signs of septicemia…he’s in shock.  What happened down there, Mr. Spock?”


Spock informed M’Benga the extent of McCoy’s injuries.


M’Benga stared in disbelief, “That sounds like blunt force trauma injuries.  They apparently healed the major things, but left the effects of the injuries unchecked.” M’Benga pulled out his Med-Link, “M’Benga here, set up OR stat.  Have blood ready for transfusion, volume expanders and medications ready.  Bring the aero-stretcher to….”


Spock cut him off.  He gently picked up McCoy in his arms, “It will be faster if I carry McCoy to Sick Bay.”  McCoy’s lean form seemed so vulnerable, almost fragile in his arms.  It was McCoy’s personality that gave the appearance of strength. Upon entering Sick Bay, Spock strode past Kirk with McCoy in his arms.


Kirk’s eyes widened.  “Oh, no, Bones…no!”


Nurse Alvarez placed a gentle hand on Kirk’s arm.  “Dr. M’Benga will take good care of him, Captain.”


Spock placed McCoy on a stretcher.  The Sick Bay staff worked fast as McCoy lay pale and motionless.  His clothes were cut away, IV access was obtained, blood products and fluids started, then he was rushed into the surgical area.


Spock walked over to Kirk’s bedside. 


“What happened, Spock, what’s wrong with Bones?”  Kirk asked anxiously, he eyed the blood stains on Spock’s tunic.                                                                           


“It is as you had feared, Captain, the Vians did not perform adequate repairs to McCoy’s body.  There are some unresolved injuries.”  Spock said as he still starred at the door to the surgical area.


“How bad is it, Spock?”  Kirk asked anxiously.


“I do not know, Captain.  Dr. M’Benga will inform us after McCoy’s surgery is completed.  May I suggest, Captain that you sleep?  I will awaken you when I have news of the Doctor’s condition.”


Kirk fell asleep almost immediately.


Spock paced the area from Kirk’s bedside to the doors of the surgery area.  He pondered the past thirty hours.  Kirk had almost died and McCoy……McCoy had pulled one of his illogical and human reactions to the events with the Vians.  Like with Miri, injecting himself with the untested vaccine.  The doctor had flagrantly disobeyed Kirk and himself by dosing them with a sedative and went as the chosen victim for the three of them.  He had not expected McCoy to be as broken and wounded as he was.  When Spock touched the doctor’s skin, he felt the intense pain and the failing body functions; what he wasn’t prepared for was the strong love McCoy had for him.  Spock wanted to have some time to meditate on these feelings that the doctor had for him when they returned to the Enterprise. Then he recalled how McCoy had acted after Spock had found the Fabrini cure for Polycythemia.  The doctor had approached him many times afterwards for what Spock had interpreted as gratitude.  Like Kirk, he was unprepared to learn that the doctor had been diagnosed with a fatal disease.  McCoy had kept it to himself until Christine Chapel informed Kirk. 


During McCoy’s recuperative time after the painful Fabrini treatment, he had allowed Spock to see his vulnerable and unguarded self.  Spock was honored that the doctor allowed himself to be somewhat dependent on Spock. McCoy’s demeanor was softer, quieter and gentler.  There were no episodes of the usual spats that they had shared before and not the acerbic and sarcastic remarks about his logic or his Vulcan heritage.  When Spock told him that he had expressed his thanks sufficiently, McCoy became angry and did not talk or approach Spock for days.  It was a week later that the relationship between them resumed its usual pattern.  Spock now understood what McCoy had been trying to convey to him.  The time to process the emotional messages from McCoy had been greatly shortened when he found the doctor on the floor of his bathroom.  When he had touched McCoy’s skin he was bombarded by waves of despair.  His thoughts were halted by a gentle hand on his arm, he turned to the person who had interrupted his pacing and meditation.  Christine Chapel was holding a mug of tea, and from the aroma, it was one of his tea preferences.


“You cannot help Kirk or McCoy if you wear a trench on the floor. Sit down and rest.” She commanded softly guiding him to the chair by Kirk’s bedside.  Spock wanted to inform her it was highly impossible for him to tread through the flooring and the metal beneath it but he held his tongue when he saw the worry and concern in her eyes.  He murmured a quiet “Thanks” and sat down in the chair.  He sipped the tea and his eyes went from Kirk and the monitors over his bed to the closed doors of the surgical area.


Hours later, he heard a soft moan from Kirk and saw the captain’s eyes flutter open. Kirk seemed confused at first but he looked at Spock who, as always, was at his side. “How are you feeling, Captain?”  Spock asked standing up from the chair.


“I feel much better, Spock.  How did McCoy’s surgery go?”  Kirk inquired.


“I have not talked to Dr. M’Benga; I believe that he is still in surgery.”  Spock replied.


Ten minutes later the OR staff wheeled in McCoy on a bed and placed him in the bed space across from Kirk.  Christine Chapel was at McCoy’s side, she was holding his hand. He was placed on full medical support, his body still and very pale.                                                    


 “Christine, how is he?”  Kirk asked.


She tried to give Kirk a reassuring smile.  “He’s stable, Captain.  Dr. M’Benga will fill you in on your and Dr. McCoy’s conditions.  He’s on his way in now.”


M’Benga walked in and stood by McCoy’s bed, he looked exhausted.  Then he looked over at Kirk. “Captain, you’re looking better.”  He glanced up at Kirk’s monitor.                                                                                                                    


“I like the look of your blood gas readings.  I would like to keep you in Sick Bay the rest of the day, then you need to be on light duty for two days. “


“You look tired, Dr. M’Benga,” Kirk said, then he asked, “How did McCoy’s surgery go?’


“Most of it was cleaning up the mess the Vians had left.  There were signs of the trauma, some bruising of his organs and repaired tears.  It looked as if he had been subjected to blunt force trauma, but only on the inside.  I need to do some more scans and tests to check for more injuries.  The exact extent of the Vians’ crime is still unknown.” M’Benga stated.


“Their crime, Doctor?”  Kirk asked.


“Yes, Captain, their crime.  They performed experiments on you and McCoy in the interest of weeding out which planet they should save.  Then they leave with their protégé  without facing the consequences of their actions.”


M’Benga pointed at McCoy, “Captain, I’ve seen less damage done by the Klingons! It’s bad enough you both had to go through this once, but you have to deal with all of these injuries again.  Not only are you going to heal physically, but the psychological impact needs to be addressed.” 


“I believe this is a wise decision, Captain.”  Spock said.  “McCoy was alone for several hours after he was tortured.  You were returned soon after they had tortured you, not to in any way diminish the trauma you experienced.”


 “I can’t imagine what he went through.  What you both had to go through.”M’Benga said.  “I’m going to keep Dr. McCoy heavily sedated for at least three days.  I don’t want all of my surgical work to be undone, I want him to heal.  As you know, McCoy’s the worst patient on this ship.  I wish he would practice what he tells his patients.  He’s written and implemented the protocol for most of Star Fleet’s Medical policies and procedures.  Ironically, he wrote the policies for dealing with the repercussions of the mental and physical tortures that you and he faced.”


Kirk looked over at McCoy, then up at Spock.  “I forgot he was alone all of that time, Spock.”


“Yes, Jim, alone.”  Spock said and he wondered what difference it would have been to McCoy if he had known how Spock felt about the doctor.  An 87-percent chance of  death the Vians had estimated McCoy’s odds were if he was the chosen victim.  McCoy had faced the same or greater odds with the Xenopolycythemia.  Neither Kirk nor Spock wanted to face losing the doctor again.  The events on Minara and tonight revealed to Spock that he cared about McCoy, more so than a friend.  Spock had acknowledged the doctor’s affection for him and knew that he felt the same sentiment for McCoy.




McCoy had the sensation of floating in a warm river.  He was aware of noises and voices around him but could not identify what they were, and he was so relaxed that he had no desire to find out who or what they were. He felt a gentle warm pressure on his hand and recognized the cadence of Kirk’s voice.  McCoy slowly opened his eyes, it was hard to keep his eyes open.  Kirk and Spock were both at his bedside, their faces were out of focus.  Kirk was talking to him but he could not make out what Kirk was saying, he tried to concentrate on the words.  Then Spock laid his hand on McCoy’s forehead.


You are not alone, you were never alone, Doctor.”  Spock’s voice resonated in his mind. “I treasure thee.  Now rest, heal and be aware that I understand what you have tried to tell me.  For I have the same deep desire for you that you seek”


The words flowed through McCoy’s subconscious and then through his body. Their effect strengthened him and soothed him.  His blue eyes met Spock’s ebony eyes then an enveloping warmth flowed through him and he was pulled under the influence of sleep again.




Several days later the pain returned.  McCoy was aware of the sound of his heartbeat on the monitor above his head.  He had pain in his abdomen, his head throbbed to the rhythm of his heart rate and it irritated him all the more.


“Leonard, how are you doing?”  Christine asked.


McCoy opened his eyes and looked up into her concerned face and scowled. “How the hell do you think I’m doing?  Turn that damn audible pulse sound off, it’s driving me crazy.”


Christine sighed and turned the sound off; she looked slightly hurt by his tone.


“I’m sorry, Christine, I didn’t mean to bark at you.”  McCoy murmured.


Christine smiled, “You don’t know how good it is to hear you bark.  Do you need some medicine for the pain?”


 “Yes, my head is killing me.”  McCoy realized he was in Sick Bay. “How did I get here?  I was in my quarters?”  Then he remembered being ill and passing out.  “What happened?”                                                                     


“Spock and M’Benga found you unconscious in your bathroom.  I’ll get you something for the pain then get M’Benga, he’ll catch you up on what has been going on.”                                                                       


M’Benga came in right after Christine had left.  “Well, Len, how do you feel?”  M’Benga glanced up at McCoy’s monitor.  “Christine is getting that pain medication for you.  I’m going to look at your incision and see how my meticulous handy work is doing.”  M’Benga opened


McCoy’s gown and examined his abdomen, the dark hands were gentle as they palpated.  M’Benga again looked up at the monitor, then his tone became more serious.


“Len, the Vians didn’t do a real good job of putting you back together.  You had major surgery five days ago to repair what they failed to do and to do a little house keeping in that scrawny body of yours.  You know the extent of the damage the Vians had inflicted on your body.  They had left the old blood in your chest and abdominal cavity.  Your stomach had a tear, some of the stomach contents and bacteria had leaked into your abdomen.  To put it mildly, you were a mess inside.  Later, when you feel up to reading, I have the post mortem results on Ozaba and Linke.  The Vians had learned a lot about human anatomy from those unfortunate victims, by the time they got to you and Captain Kirk, they were experts.  It’s the undoing of what they caused that they should consider some refresher courses.”                                                                   


“How’s Jim?”  McCoy asked


“He is doing better, Len, he is back on duty” M’Benga said as he closed McCoy’s gown and pulled the blanket back up.


Spock walked up to the doctor’s bedside and looked at his monitor readings, then back at McCoy.  M’Benga greeted the First Officer and left. “You are in pain, Doctor.  However, if is gratifying to see your vital signs stable again.”


McCoy recalled Spock’s voice, had he been dreaming that Spock had communicated those words to him?  Spock’s posture was the same as it usually was, strait with his hands behind his back.  The stoic Vulcan expression was masking any evidence that those words had been issued from him.  He studied Spock for a while then Christine returned with his pain medication.  Before McCoy could ask her to hold the pain injection, she had administered the dose.  The pain medication lowered his ability to restrain his control over the words he wished to say to Spock.


“Spock, I wanted to tell you thanks for savin’ my life, if you hadn’t found me…” McCoy began his accent becoming evident with his relaxation.


“Dr. M’Benga also was responsible for your rescue as prompted by the Captain.”Spock said as he stepped closer to the bed.




He gasped as McCoy grabbed his hand.  Once again he was infused with the feelings from McCoy.  He laid his other hand on top of the doctor’s. 


McCoy smiled sleepily, his eyes glittering with the welling of tears. “Was I dreamin’, Spock?  I heard your words in my mind, ‘I treasure thee’. I did feel alone when the Vians were finished with me, but I would have felt much worse if they had taken you.  The ship could cope without out its grumpy CMO. None of us could cope if you had been subjected to what the Vians had planned for you. I..I have to  say something, Spock, I have to tell you that I love you.”


Spock said nothing, he looked away from the intense blue eyes and instead looked at the pale hand he held in his.


“Please look at me, Spock.”  McCoy pleaded weakly, the medication was making him drowsy.


Spock turned his dark gaze to McCoy, “There is something that I have to say to you as well, Doctor.  Since your near death from the Xenopolycythemia, you honored me with your trust and your open dependency.  I regret at that time I miss took your attempts at revealing your feelings for me as gratitude for finding your cure. It was difficult for Jim and I to consider the possibility of losing you to your disease.  The pain you had to endure during the Fabrini cure was also difficult to witness.  You were able to survive both.  After Jim and I awoke from your sedatives in the Vian’s lab, the same sense of loss was revisited.  When we found you wounded and dying, Jim was devastated and desperate.  I must admit that I knew what your chances of survival were.  My logic kept me detached until I touched you.  The strength of your compassion for me was greater than the pain you were experiencing.  I have not experienced that from anyone else except my Mother.  To have two individuals who have that amount of love for me is most fortunate.”


There were tears flowing from McCoy’s eyes.  Spock gently wiped them away with his fingers then placed his warm hand over McCoy’s forehead.


Sleep, Doctor, and continue to heal.  There is time for us to explore and cultivate what we have revealed to each other.  Sleep in the knowledge that you are not alone and you are treasured.”  His thoughts eased in as sleep claimed McCoy, he kept his hand on the doctor’s forehead for a little bit further.  As he did for Kirk, he now sat at McCoy’s bedside and would wait for McCoy to awake again.



                                            The End

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