When Vulcans Smile

Title:  When Vulcans Smile

Author: Phoenix


Rating:  PG, language

Main characters: Spock, McCoy

These boys aren't mine.  I am as profitless as Sulu is gorgeous.


No feedback unless you want to dance on the dust of my mistakes.


Set during the beginning of the Enterprise's five year mission.  Dr. Piper has just retired and McCoy is replacing him. 


Kind of plotless.



/ / /



Hartnell was a hot, bacteria-laden planet full of dilithium.  There were trees, dripping with heaven knows what.  Monkey-like creatures lived in them, shitting on the people below.  McCoy had learned to walk fast, head down and mouth closed.


While the Enterprise loaded her cargo, McCoy and his team doctored the natives.  They'd been here five days.  It didn't take that long to replenish dilithium; McCoy had pulled his new CMO weight.  These people needed medical care.


James Kirk had taken McCoy's insistence on remaining with a chuckle.  McCoy didn't know much about Kirk, or what the Captain's relationship with Piper might have been.  He'd only been on the ship a month.  Rumours abounded about Starfleet's golden boy and McCoy had heard them all.  Not that he cared, but the rumours and the golden boy hadn't quite matched up.  Kirk was a quiet, rather intense young man.  If he held a party every night, McCoy was yet to hear about it.


McCoy entered the circle of temporary medical tents they'd set up on their arrival, automatically cataloguing the ratios of his staff to people waiting on care and the supplies on hand.  Nurse Chapel gave him a smile as he passed.  Fourteen straight hours on her feet, her hair plastered to her with sweat, and she still looked a hundred times better than anyone ought to.  McCoy had a suspicion about how Piper had picked his staff.  They were all young and pretty.


McCoy took over a line of people waiting to be seen.  Rain started outside, pattering on the tent and adding to the humid muskiness within.  McCoy turned up his lamp. 


Inoculations.  Eye complaints.  Miners coughing on the dank air they breathed while digging crystals.  Pregnant women.  Children with rashes.  Lieutenant Sulu showed up at one point, excitedly exclaiming over a plant of some sort.  McCoy didn't know what to make of him – a helmsman who wanted to be a botanist.  He shrugged at the leafy thing Sulu was holding and turned to the next patient.


A man came in with his daughter, a dark-haired girl of eight or nine, holding her father's hand tightly.  McCoy paused, a hesitation that probably wouldn't have been noticed by anyone except the person he suddenly discovered standing behind him.


"Mr. Spock," McCoy said.  "What can I do for you?"


Another enigma, McCoy thought.  The First Officer walked through the ship like a shadow, not a peep out of him until he was asked a direct question about quasars or electron pulses or something else equally scientifically obscure.  Then you couldn't shut him up.


"The Captain desires a progress report."


"I have a communicator," McCoy said.


"I also wished to ascertain the situation first-hand," Spock said.


"We're good."


McCoy detected a frown in the Vulcan's otherwise impassive black eyes.


"'We're good' is not precise," Spock said.


There was something about Spock that made McCoy feel as though he was always being put down just that tiniest bit. 


"You're here first-hand.  Feel free to ascertain," McCoy said.  "Watch out for the monkey shit."


Spock blinked.  Perhaps no one had ever spoken to him that way before.  "The mammals are called Kerroes.  They are not monkeys."


"But the shit's still shit," McCoy murmured.


Spock left and didn't reappear for several hours.  McCoy thought the First Officer had returned to the ship.


He showed up just as they were packing the medical equipment.  The last of the medical team were beaming up and a security team was overseeing the dismantling of the tents.


McCoy was outside in the perpetual rain, his shirt sodden down his back and a tired headache flickering behind his eyes.  Spock walked up to him, soaked as well and yet somehow still tidy.


"Doctor, if you have a moment."


"What is it, Mr. Spock?"


"I did not deem it prudent to continue our earlier conversation in front of your staff."


McCoy waited.  The First Officer was his superior in rank, but not in reality.  He wondered if Spock would remember that before blasting him.


"These people are not your responsibility.  The Enterprise has been delayed four days, seven hours, and sixteen point three seven minutes due to your insistence on remaining here," Spock said.


"Mr. Spock, I'm a doctor, not..." McCoy blinked as it sunk in.  "Sixteen point three seven?  What the hell?"


Spock's communicator chirped.  As he answered it, McCoy said, "Point three seven isn't a possible fraction out of sixty seconds.  You made that up."


"I am a Vulcan.  I do not make things up," Spock said.  "My calculation was based on temporal quantum time which—"


"Bull puckie—"


"Gentlemen," came Kirk's voice from the communicator.  "I assume you're both ready to beam up."


McCoy was fiddling with his tricorder.  "There's no temporal quantum time option in the clock settings."


"Doctor, I do not need a crude time keeping device such as a tricorder in order to calculate—"


"Spock, McCoy, get your tails up here now!"


"Speaking of tails," McCoy started just as the transporter clouded his vision.   


The monkey's back end that he had just noticed did not transport with them.  But something else did.


And landed on both of them as the transporter beam coalesced.


Commander Scott was the only one brave enough to laugh.  The other crewmen in the transporter room looked down quickly and pretended to be studying the control board.


Spock's expression did not move even the tiniest millimetre.  He simply left as if nothing had landed on him.


McCoy mumbled a string of curse words that included so many variations of the word shit that even Scott was impressed.


The doctor didn't see the First Officer for a week, which suited him.  But there was a wedding, a novelty to McCoy who'd so far served on scientific vessels and freighters.  Fraternization not allowed.


He didn't know the crewmembers who were getting married.  Novelty aside, he was considering not attending, except that Uhura coaxed him into being her escort.


"You could try smiling," Uhura said after he'd stood glumly in a corner for an hour, nursing a glass of fruit juice.


"Weddings depress me," McCoy said.


"Some date," Uhura sighed.


"It was your choice," he replied.


"I'm not asking for a grin.  A tiny edge up of one side of your mouth would do wonders.  Even Mr. Spock does better at this than you."


"Since when do Vulcans smile?"


Uhura gave him a wink.  "You'd be surprised."


She stuck by his side for another quarter hour before throwing in the towel.  He began to hit the illegal liquor that the engineering crew had brought in.  It somehow seemed fitting that he would eventually make his way to the three Vulcans he could now see across the room, and give them earfuls about making up numbers to prove a point.


One of the Vulcans was sympathetic, but the other two kept ragging on.  The argument continued into a blur, and the blur continued until McCoy abruptly woke up, face down, on the floor of his cabin.


He rolled over.  The ceiling was incredibly close.


McCoy tried to get up and banged his head.  Someone said, "Do you require assistance, doctor?"


He felt someone take his legs and pull.  McCoy sat up slowly and realized that he'd been under his desk.


Mr. Spock was kneeling beside him, a bland expression on his face.


That's when McCoy realized that he wasn't even in his cabin and this was someone else's desk.


"This isn’t good," McCoy said.


"I made two attempts to offer you more comfortable accommodations," Spock said.  "But you insisted on remaining in what you called your fort."


Bits of the evening began coming back to McCoy.  And there was nowhere to cringe.


"If you are going to be ill, the refresher is behind you," Spock said.


"Alcohol doesn't make me sick," McCoy said.  He didn't bother to add that it had a different, equally unfortunate effect.  It made him mouthy.




Which he figured Spock already knew.


"Did I really call you a—"


"Six legged, gremlin-filled vacuum tube whose problems would all be solved if I could only get a woman?  Yes, you did," Spock said pleasantly.


"After saying that to you, why am I here and not in the brig?"  McCoy glanced around and added confusedly, "In your quarters..?"


"You called me the vacuum tube when we were in here," Spock said.  "And we are here because you followed me.  That may cause some rumours."




"You followed me after announcing to the room that I was the loveliest man you had ever seen."


"Holy hell," McCoy said as the memory surfaced in a burst of humiliation.  "I'm sorry.  Which still doesn't explain why I'm not in the brig facing a summary court martial."


"I am the sole witness to the vacuum tube comment.  A summary court martial would serve no purpose other than to make it public.  As for your consideration of my appearance, that was not...displeasing."


McCoy closed his eyes briefly, angry at himself.  When he opened them again, Spock said, "I have some sympathy to your position."


"With regard to how you look?" McCoy muttered.  To his amazement, the Vulcan seemed – he blinked – amused.


"With regard to weddings," Spock said.  "Among my people, weddings are not a happy event."


He held out his hand.  "Do you require assistance getting up?"


McCoy didn't.  After a moment of wondering what he had gotten himself into, McCoy took Spock's hand.


The warmth surprised him.  The gentle way that Spock pulled him to his feet did as well.


Spock did not immediately let go.  In a knee-jerk reflex of self protection, McCoy said, "I will probably call you a gremlin again.  You have that effect on me."


His eyes were still blurred.  He thought he saw Spock's mouth twitch.


"As you wish, doctor," Spock said.


McCoy went to the door.  It opened, but he glanced back before going out.  Spock was at his desk, already working on something on his computer, as emotionless and Vulcanish as ever.


McCoy sighed to himself, and went out the door.


/ / /

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