James Kirk was angry--that much was obvious. He was certainly making no attempt to hide it; on the contrary, he had gone out of his way to yell at a terrified ensign, to curse loudly and creatively at the food processor, and to chase half the mess room away with his glare.
"Oh, and he made Yeoman Peters cry," McCoy added helpfully. Spock raised an eyebrow.
"Yeoman Peters?" he asked, sounding dubious.
"Yes, damn it. Don't look at me like I'm an idiot." The doctor nodded at the captain, who was seething over a plate of leafy greens. "Your fair captain has made a grown man cry."
"I do not think this is funny, Doctor. The captain is in obvious distress."
"Really?!" McCoy snarled, a little too loudly. His voice echoed in the now nearly empty mess hall. He shot a look at Kirk, who was still stabbing his salad and grimacing. "How ever did you guess?" the doctor hissed. "Why the hell do you think I called you? I'd digest my dinner a damn sight better if you weren't around." He gestured to the table, the detritus of a meal gone bad.
"Thank you, doctor. I shall be more mindful of your dietary needs in the future," Spock said. McCoy glared at him. Spock paid no attention. "Did you try speaking with the captain?," he asked.
"Of course I did!"
"Your attempts were obviously insufficient."
Now it was McCoy who was seething.
"Look, you pointy-eared jackass," he growled, poking his spoon in Spock's direction. "When I tried to speak to the captain, he gave me a look that would stop Medusa cold and told me to leave him the hell alone."
"You took the captain at his word?"
"Oh, for the love of--no, Commander, I did not take him at his word. I told the captain to mind his damn mouth...and that's when he started shouting at some kid from Engineering. Blew right past me."
"I see," Spock said, in a tone that indicated that he most certainly did not. The doctor sighed. Getting annoyed with Spock was like trying to start a fight with a brick wall. And he had gotten his knuckles bloodied more than once.
For a moment, they studied the captain in silence. Across the room, Kirk was muttering to himself between mouthfuls and vigorously abusing his coffee cup. If he was aware of their presence, he was ignoring them with aplomb.
McCoy sighed, suddenly exhausted. He pressed his palms into his eyes, feeling every second of the last eight hours. "Why don't you just talk to him, Spock?" he said wearily. "If he'll listen to anybody, it'll be you." Spock inclined his head, not taking his eyes off of Kirk.
McCoy waited a beat. Then two. Then three. Spock didn't move. The doctor felt the last of his very limited patience drain away.
"Damn it, Spock!" he exploded, throwing stealth to the wind. "The one time in my life I call you for help, and you turn into a goddamn statue?! What's gotten into you? The captain--our friend--is practically foaming at the mouth, and all you can do is stare at him?"
The Vulcan turned to him, eyebrow at the ready. "Doctor, there is no need to shout. I am perfectly capable of hearing you. As, I believe, is the captain."
McCoy turned and saw Kirk glaring at them.
"Fine!" he said, shoving his chair away from the table. "You two deserve each other. Leave me the hell out of it." He stomped towards the exit without turning back. Two of the stubbornnest beings in the whole goddamn universe, and he was responsible for them both, he thought. Hell, he was friends with both of them! "What does that make me?" he mumbled. "A damned fool, probably." He headed for the lift, already anticipating the relative peace and blessed non-Vulcanness of his office. Let the two of them deal with each other's moodiness for once. At least his brandy bottle would treat only one patient tonight.