For the first time in all of his thirty-nine years, after decades spent in various operating rooms, piecing torn up ensigns back together, inoculating all manner of space disease from Andorian Shingles to the common flu, Leonard Horatio McCoy, seasoned doctor and Chief Medical Officer of the Starship Enterprise, fainted. His last conscious thought before watching the lights of Sickbay fade before his very eyes, was that the second he woke up, he would kill them both.
XxxxThree Months EarlierxxxX
They were at it again, McCoy thought with no small amount of irritation. He’d come to the bridge for a change of scenery, only to be met with a sight that was all too familiar. Commander Spock was sitting at his station, head bent over the scanner as he gave the Captain a verbal readout. The Captain, and this was the sight McCoy had been rolling his eyes at the second the doors of the turbo lift had opened and he’d stepped onto the deck, was also at Mr. Spock’s station. It wasn’t as if Jim Kirk suffered from hearing loss, McCoy was his doctor after all, if the Captain were going deaf, he’d be the first person to know.
Fact was, the Captain was perfectly capable of receiving the Vulcan’s report from his own chair on the bridge, but as usual, Jim was sidled up next to Spock’s seat, one hand on its corner so that his arm hovered only inches away from the Commander’s back, hovering just inside of what most people would deem ‘personal space.’ Bones’ blue eyes traversed the rest of the bridge—nothing out of ordinary on that front either—noting that everyone was studiously monitoring their own consoles, the air thick with an unspoken agreement not to acknowledge ‘that which is not to be acknowledged’: The fact that their Captain, fire-hearted, intergalactic lady killer, was absolutely smitten with their emotionally unavailable—oh, and by the way—one hundred percent male, Vulcan First Officer.
“Thank you, Mister Spock,” Jim’s voice, soft and warm, floated across the room into McCoy’s ears, as he watched Kirk lean in just a little bit further to add, “Let me know if you find anything else.”
“Indeed Captain,” Spock’s voice was as thick as the glint in his eye was visible when he looked up at Kirk, that non-smile of his slipping into place. It was enough to make Bones want to smash their heads together. Could they be any more sickeningly sappy or plainly obvious, and how was it that neither of them had managed to cotton on yet to their own damned feelings? Denial was more than a river in Egypt, and theirs apparently ran even deeper. He wished they’d wake up already and get a cl—
“Bones,” Jim tapped him on the shoulder as he crossed back to the center seat, catching the doctor off guard. “How’re things in sickbay?”
Quick on his feet, Bones cleared his throat and pushed his musings aside for the time being, “Nothing new to report, Captain. Ensign Myers has recovered from the flu and she’ll be starting back on duty in engineering tomorrow.”
“Good, good,” Jim smiled easily, relaxing into his chair as he took a PADD from his yeomen. “Thank you,” he said with a grin to Rand’s replacement, who blushed slightly before scurrying back to the turbo lift the way she came.
Bones rolled his eyes and continued with their conversation as if she’d never been there, “I saw my name on today’s landing party.”
Jim’s eyes were clearly amused as he turned to face his friend and CMO, “Well, now Bones—”
“Don’t start,” McCoy huffed, “I didn’t come here to argue, just to ask what is I’m supposed to do on a planet completely devoid of all life?”
“I thought you said you didn’t come here to argue?” Jim shot back with his signature grin. “Where’s your sense of exploration?”
“Sense of exploration, huh?” Bones harrumphed, falling easily into the habitual banter, something they did whenever either or both of them were feeling particularly bored, “I’m a doctor Jim, not Davey Crocket.”
Kirk chuckled, “I think you’d make a fine Mountain man, Bones.”
“He’s certainly got surly down to an art,” Uhura cut in from her station, deciding to join in, her eyes glittering beautifully over her shoulder.
“Indeed?” Spock’s voice was just to the left of McCoy’s ear and he jumped a mile out of his skin.
“Damn it, Spock!” McCoy near hollered, “Don’t do that!” The man moved like a damned cat!
“I was unaware that the doctor’s particular demeanor of unfriendliness could be considered an art form, Lieutenant,” the Vulcan continued as if Bones hadn’t said anything at all and then turned to him to ask, “Do what, doctor?”
He wasn’t sure what he should strangle Spock for first, “Why you—”
“Sulu!” Jim interrupted the line of bickering beside him, “What’s our current ETA to the planet?”
“About half an hour, sir,” the navigator replied, trying and failing to hide his grin.
“Enough time for a quick coffee, then,” Kirk stood from his seat. “Gentlemen?” Jim offered over his shoulder. With a silent nod from Spock and ‘why not’ from the doctor, the three made their exit as Sulu took the center seat.
“Captain,” Spock momentarily abandoned the readings of his tricorder in order to draw Kirk’s attention, “I believe we may have stumbled upon something of considerable importance.”
Jim immediately felt the hairs on the back of his neck stand on end as he approached his First, “Why does that sound and awful lot like ‘uh-oh’?”
Just as the words had left his mouth and before Spock could explain, the ground beneath them began to tremble and shake, earth and stone breaking apart. “Wha—Oaaaahhh!” McCoy’s voice boomed from behind him, and Jim turned his head just in time to watch his friend slide down a newly formed crevice to the unknown below. Two hands sought purchase around Jim’s forearms with a grip like an iron vice.
“Captain!” Spock shouted over the turmoil, so loud that even a mere two feet of distance made it hard to decipher the Vulcan’s shout, “If we are going to fall, we should attempt to do so in the same area as the doctor!”
“Agreed!” Jim yelled back, his mind reeling from the unexpected tremors, but kept firmly in check by Spock’s ability to maintain a calm composure even when the world was literally being torn out from under their feet. “Together!”
They waited for an opening and then, without so much as word between them, lunged toward the same rock slide McCoy had disappeared down. I hope we’re not falling to our deaths down here, Jim thought to himself as they descended none too gently on their backsides down an earthen slide that seemed to go on forever. Spock hit the bottom first with a barely audible grunt, Jim landing half on top of him less than two seconds later with a loud, “Oomph!”
They lay there for a few minutes as the world around them finally stopped crumbling, Jim sitting up first with a pained, “Sorry, Spock. Are you alright?”
“Affirmative,” Spock replied, reaching into his science case to procure a light. “And you, Captain?”
“Fine,” Jim replied, his eyes scanning the area they landed in the second Spock’s light began to illuminate the darkness. “I’m sure my fall was softer by comparison.”
“Indeed,” Spock replied, standing. Jim followed suit and imagined the inclined eyebrow that the Vulcan must be sporting right now though he couldn’t actually see it in the limited light. The sound of Spock, brushing his uniform clean of as much dirt as possible, was comforting in ways he knew it probably shouldn’t be.
“Uggghh…” they heard a muffled groan form somewhere to their left. Spock raised the light, its glow just bright enough to cast over a dirtied, human hand, a shock of science blue visible just at the wrist.
“Bones!” Jim shouted, sprinting toward McCoy’s prone form. Spock was just behind him, and they quickly knelt beside their CMO and checked him for injuries.
“How is he, Spock?” Jim asked worriedly before focusing his eyes back on the doctor, “Bones? Can you hear me?”
Spock had located the doctor’s bag and procured his medical tricorder to run a preliminary scan, “The scan of his vitals is showing evidence of minor head trauma, likely a concussion,” Spock hypothesized. “There are signs of a foreign contaminant in the doctor’s lungs, but otherwise, he is intact.”
“Foreign contaminate?” Jim repeated, concerned.
“While I am not a doctor, by any means,” Spock answered, “I would hypothesize that it is likely due to inhalation of the disturbed soil and silt of the planet’s surface during the recent seismic disturbance.”
“Then we’ve likely been exposed to it too, haven’t we?” Jim asked, more to himself than to anyone else, his adrenaline overload starting to abate, leaving him feeling loopy and more than a little exhausted. He barely noticed the whirring of the medical tricorder as Spock read his vitals.
The Commander then turned it to himself, then tucked it away, “Indeed, we have all been exposed.”
“Alright,” Jim snapped out of his trance for a moment, “potential effects?”
“I am not sensing any effects within my own physiology Captain, and the scans of the tricorder would indicate as well that there are none, save a mild discomfort in the lungs,” Spock informed.
Jim felt a minor degree of relief at those words, “Good.” He regarded Spock in the dim light, calm, efficient and collected as he inspected their communicators, and he felt a familiar ache in the pit of his stomach. It was moments like this one that really drove it home, just how important Spock had become to him, and how his very presence could bring him a measure of ease even in the direst of situations. He closed his eyes and exhaled, now is not the time…there will never be ‘a time’ either.
Later, when they were back aboard the Enterprise, Spock having managed to salvage a communicator by combining parts from all three of their broken units, Jim let himself into the doctor’s empty office down in sickbay. Its usual occupant was resting comfortably in a biobed on the other side of the wall, expected to make a full recovery. He reached into the bottom drawer, where he knew Bones kept his Saurian ‘for special occasions and emergencies only’ and poured himself a drink. He’d refused an offer to unwind with Spock and a game of chess earlier, the temptation to reach out and touch stronger than usual and wondered just how long he’d be able to keep himself from acting on it.
He felt uncomfortably warm at the thought of Spock, his throat dry despite the drink in his hand, and he swallowed dryly. Damn it, he winced internally, if only he could touch…just once…just for a while.
Spock was…pacing, the characteristic unusual in and of itself but, unfortunately, not the most disconcerting evidence of his emotional turbulence at present. Several behavioral anomalies had surfaced since he parted ways with the Captain earlier that evening, all of them symptoms of a larger, more complex issue at play. Once the first symptom had arisen, Spock had immediately attempted to perform a self-diagnosis as to the cause of his wholly unwarranted and uncontrolled erection. His self-diagnosis had revealed nothing out of the ordinary—only Spock knew that his heart rate must be elevated as a result of his arousal at the very least. Why he was unable to sense such rudimentary fluctuation, which he knew to be present, was a mystery.
Furthermore, Spock had submitted himself to several medical scans only to find that whatever was causing his elevated heart rate and other bodily anomalies was undetectable, though at least the tricorder was able to detect his physiological symptoms. Still, this was not the worst. His phallus was still painfully swollen, even after two successful attempts at manual stimulation, and his skin itched for tactile contact with another. Not just any other, however, no. Not just anyone would do, but Spock knew that the one he desired would never accept him, never allow the physicality his body now seemed to crave, despite his best efforts to deny it.
Jim…Spock wondered at what point his feelings for his Captain, who had become his closest and most valuable friend, had transitioned from respect and camaraderie to the deepest…the only love and desire he had ever known. What a cruel reminder, here in this moment as he longed for that which he could not attain, of what he would succumb to should he ever experience the perils of Pon Farr. Spock know, that should he ever fall prey to the fever, that it would be Jim, not T’Pring, for which his blood and mind would call. Control…he hissed within the confines of his psyche. He could not allow this ailment to cast him further into turmoil.
Somewhere, in the back of his slowly fading consciousness, Spock was dimly aware that the ‘foreign contaminant’ from the planet was the only logical variable worthy of accusation for these symptoms. It was 0124 ship’s time, but Spock could no longer delay. With shaking hands and weak limbs, he ceased his pacing and crossed his sleeping quarter into his office. He was headed for sickbay, despite knowing that it would be of no help, when suddenly he was standing face to face with a flushed and sweating James Kirk.
XXXXXX End Part 1 XXXXXX