Title: Offerings on the Vine (1/3)
Fandom: Star Trek TOS
Characters: Kirk, Spock, McCoy
Disclaimer: I own the plot bunnies but not the cast.
Summary: Spock’s and McCoy’s suspicious behavior catches the attention of the Enterprise crew. What could they be up to?
McCoy walks into the one of the main science laboratories on the Enterprise, the second most frequented place by a certain Vulcan. The first man he encounters is hunched over a PADD transcribing a series of notes.
“Excuse me, son.” McCoy taps him on the back.
With obvious reluctance, the scientist barely cranes his head around to glance at the source of such an ill-mannered disturbance. “Can’t you see I’m—” His eyes go wide with recognition of the CMO, and McCoy is clearly amused as the fellow immediately backpedals from his intended (rude) reproach.
“Oh, Doctor McCoy! C-can I help you, Sir?”
“Looking for a Vulcan. You know, the Head of your—” McCoy glances around at the sterile, neatly organized lab, “—department, Lieutenant. Seen him about?”
Leonard thinks that if the man widens his eyes even a fraction of a millimeter more, they’ll fall straight out of their sockets. (And he’s not currently equipped to pop ’em back in.)
“N-no, Sir. Not here, Sir! I mean, Mr. Spock—that is who you mean, right?—”
Doctor McCoy raises a hand to stop the onslaught of nervous stuttering. “Will he be in later today?”
“I could, uh, check the schedule, Doctor.”
“You do that.”
“Yes, Sir.” The Lieutenant scrambles off his stool, hastily gestures at the doctor to take his vacated seat, and shuffle-runs into an adjacent room. McCoy pretends not to hear the fairly loud “Doctor McCoy’s looking for Mr. Spock!” and the muted excited chatter that follows.
He sighs and shifts on his stool. By the time the scientist returns—some (several) minutes later—McCoy is halfway through the recorded Log entry left on the tabletop. He is squinting one eye and rubbing his bottom lip with an index finger when his thoughts are summarily interrupted.
“Doctor McCoy! Mr. Spock…” The man trails off when he notices what McCoy is reading. He fairly leaps at the table to slide the PADD out from under Leonard’s nose. “Don’t read that!”
When McCoy turns around to fully confront this (already flustered) person, he gives the officer the patented better-check-your-tone-you-fool-boy look, complete with his raised eyebrow of Incredulity. “Now, what’s all the to-do for, son? I was enjoying a good read.”
The Lieutenant, who probably wishes by now that he hadn’t had the unfortunate luck to be on duty when McCoy decided to come visiting the Science Department, goes somewhat red in the face. “Forgive me, Sir, but you don’t have the security cl…” He can’t finish that statement with Doctor McCoy giving him such an intense look.
Leonard feels that he’s been in this lab a little too long, so he opts to cut the other so slack. “Is Mr. Spock scheduled to make an appearance down here or not?”
“Yes, Doctor McCoy. He should arrive in a matter of—”
“Won’t be hanging around to greet him, no worries. Just see to it that he gets this, alright?” Doctor McCoy pulls out a small package and puts into the startled officer’s hands. He pauses at the lab door, looks over his shoulder. “Only to Mr. Spock.”
The package is placed carefully on the nearest counter. “Only to Mr. Spock.”
McCoy’s parting statement drifts back to a particular pair of ears. “And if, by chance, curiosity should take ahold of you, Lieutenant, I’ll be very glad to give you a special examination come time for your physical.”
So it is that Mr. Spock, upon entrance to his department, is promptly bombarded by an unsettled member of his team with an un-opened package and several intrigued (but slightly apprehensive) assistants loitering in the background.
Gossip, originating between one lab scientist to the next (and then to his friends), starts with the hushed tidbit “Mr. Spock got a gift from Doctor McCoy!”
Approximately three shifts later, Christine Chapel is minding her own business when Mr. Spock comes through the Sickbay door. She immediately straightens her skirt, takes a quick peek at her face in the reflective steel surface of the medical instrument in her hands, and approaches the Vulcan with a demure smile.
“Are you in need of assistance, Mr. Spock?”
“Nurse Chapel,” he greets her in his usual stoic manner. “I seek Doctor McCoy. Is his office occupied?”
Christine tries to not to actively deflate at this news, so she rears back her shoulders and addresses the (sweetly oblivious) First Officer with that cool tone she learned from her training days at the Academy. “Doctor McCoy is unavailable at this time.” When Spock’s eyebrow goes up, she tacks on, “Shall I contact him, Sir, and arrange an appointment for you?”
“That won’t be necessary, Nurse. I do not require medical attention at this time.” Christine swears that Mr. Spock pauses before he continues. “However, if you have no object, I would request that you give Doctor McCoy this—” He presents her with a roundly wrapped container previously hidden behind his back. “—parcel.”
She takes the object tentatively and with no small amount of curiosity (and perhaps a stab of jealous). “Yes, Sir. I will hand this to Leonard personally.”
“Thank you, Christine.”
The use of her first name warms a little piece of her heart, and she answers with a smile. Mr. Spock exits Sickbay, and Christine is the designated bearer of a mysterious gift from the First Officer to the CMO. While she does not stoop so low as to pry, she certainly mentions the odd incident to Uhura on her lunch break in the mess hall.
By the end of Beta shift, the small (originally harmless) buzz of gossip grows into full-blown speculation. The CMO and the First Officer, known adversaries, are trading personal gifts. And oh, how the crew of the Enterprise wonders why.
The sightings and encounters of the Present-Affair become more frequent—and varied—in occurrence. Ensign Yeeves claims that he saw Doctor McCoy slipping a note into Mr. Spock’s pocket. Yeoman Rand swears that they trade secret winks at one another on the Bridge at least twice daily—never mind that Vulcans don’t deign to wink. A geologist of the Science Department tells her friends—and long-distance fiancé—that she overheard Spock and McCoy arranging a secret meeting (though she couldn’t quite hear the time or place) over the comm unit in the Science Officer’s personal lab. Scotty and Chekov (because they can) form a betting pool on the nature of the exchanged gifts. Another crewman suggests a bet on whether or not the two officers are lovers, but he’s quickly smacked upside the head by his girlfriend, and no one mentions that notion out loud again. (In the privacy of their own thoughts, however, is another matter entirely.)
It takes almost two weeks before Captain Kirk overhears a piece of this gossip. He is idly pacing towards the gymnasium, with a towel over his shoulder, when the words “…seen ’em together recently… didn’t they look chummy?” gives him pause at the turn of a corridor. Kirk is about to step into sight and address the issue of gossip-mongering on his ship when the next phrase throws that thought completely out of his head.
“Do you think the Captain knows what’s going on?”
Jim leans against the wall and listens intently for the answer. (He decides, quite suddenly, that it’s better that he goes into the situation fully knowledgable of the subject at hand.)
“Naw, Joe, Captain Kirk can’t know a thing about it! Mr. Spock and Doctor McCoy aren’t making their business public, now are they?”
“But they don’t seem to be hiding their exchanges, either. I mean, what number are we up to?”
“I heard that it’s McCoy’s turn. Four so far.”
“Huh. I heard it was six and a half—’cause one of ’em was a letter that that little Nurse from Sickbay happened to accidentally read.”
The other snorts. “What’d it say?”
“T’was ship business; some disease research or other.”
“Well, that don’t count, Harvey!”
“Fine, six, it is.”
Jim is confused by this point, and it’s obvious that the two officers are about to start a long-winded (simpleton) argument. So he steps around the corner with a wolfish grin plastered on his face.
“Evening, gentlemen.” They immediately snap to attention. “At easy.” He is granted a large space in which to pass by when they practically plaster themselves against the wall. As the Captain swaggers along down the corridor, Jim adds over his shoulder, “I heard it was five.”
When he is in the locker room, Kirk decides an immediate impromptu chat with Bones and Spock is in order. After all, it’s not fair for them to leave a good friend in the dark—and Jim certainly doesn’t appreciate being the ignorant one. So he keeps his eyes open as he goes through his workout, catches whispers and the names of the First Officer and CMO, even as he throws some poor ensign over his shoulder onto the mat with a whap.
Yes, there is definitely something afoot; at least, the crew thinks so and that’s good enough for Kirk.