Title: Come Hither and Welcome (1/?)
Fandom: Star Trek TOS
Disclaimer: Don’t own ST, wouldn’t want to—just playing with the characters for personal entertainment.
Summary: When Bones retreats, Kirk and Spock follow—which leads to a mystery; and this particular Mystery’s name is Leonard McCoy.
Leonard leans out the window and observes the stewing mess of reporters in front of his hotel. Before he pulls back, a man points up in his direction and shouts something. The crowd shifts with intent, loud hollers, and cries of “Doctor McCoy!” He quickly latches the window back into place and retreats into the cool silence of the small kitchen.
He cannot think, has barely even slept in the last few days. He’s had to relay strict orders for no comm-calls except from those on a very short list of names. Simply walking out of the hotel becomes a nightmare of noise, light, and grabbing hands. Leonard only wants a little peace.
The decision is easy.
He scribbles a short-hand message on a PADD, codes the locks engaged and places it into the hands of a bewildered but eager hotel portman with the instructions and address for immediate delivery. He knows from experience that the receiver of his request, his friend, will be prompt in scheduling what he desires. Now it’s only a matter of reaching the destination with stealth.
McCoy pauses briefly over the night bag he packs. Should he comm Jim or Spock before he goes? When he realizes that no, he won’t, that he cannot remain sane in the presence of others any longer, he feels a small knot of guilt form in his chest. They promised each other to remain together; it’s part of a relationship—even a triad such as the one forming between them—to let your partners know basic details like why you might suddenly disappear.
He admits that he doesn’t want to be followed. Where he is going is a place that McCoy has planned on sharing with them in the future, has always told himself that he would when all three schedules align for leave. But now, at this moment when all is chaos and misery, Leonard only feels the need to escape. Alone.
So he goes before dawn, when the mass interviewers and nosy busy-bodies are quieter and less on-guard, because Doctor Leonard McCoy has never shown a tendency for night-owlism in the past two weeks. In fact, he’s made it crystal clear in a few short phrases his dislike of the attention and hubbub of the people awaiting his arrivals and departures from his room. The good Doctor is often seen with an irascible expression even when he heads off into the city between Captain Kirk and the Vulcan Spock. Now, however, everyone is too relaxed to notice the inordinately hunched bell-hop who sidles along quietly into the street—strangely, with a bag hitched over his shoulder—and sets a brisk pace through the San Francisco shadows.
“Thank you, son.” Leonard climbs out of the old truck and shakes the hand of the young, amiable driver.
Len had caught a ride about two miles outside of the south-central transport station in a small town of Alabama. The two had spent the next hour leisurely chatting about vehicles like the antique baby blue truck that rattled down the back dirt roads of semi-rural country-side. They had both agreed that these days such rarities in transportation were still a part of the deep South where people are generally slower (too stubborn) to give up their past. Len maintained the identity of a traveling Georgian (which, technically, he is) who is in a slow amble to visit an old friend. He did not talk of personal matters, which the fellow accepted with courtesy—in particular, not his profession or (newly augmented) fame. He’d introduced himself as Leo; the young black-haired man was Jimmy (which brought a sudden grin to Len’s face). They spoke of old Southern comfort and, as the two men journeyed across open land, they were kindred spirits of slow-lane living and sweet tea on a shady porch.
McCoy departs from his companion at a crossroads he remembers well. About one-quarter of a mile due north is a little off-beaten path through the pines into private land. It’s known only to a select few and traveled infrequently. Leonard enjoys the fresh air and the sunlight that dapples in patches over the path. His shoulder muscles are relaxing and his mind calms.
He’s almost there.
The kitchen door opens immediately after his first, soft knock. A silent woman—the housekeeper—nods gravely at him, does not address him by name, but merely turns on her heel and leads the way to the upper floors by narrow hallways (once used by servants of the manor house centuries ago). She leaves him standing in the door of his favorite room. Leonard drops his bag to the floor, strides over to the bed and sinks down onto its coverlet edge. It’s so tempting to just slide into the covers, but his mother—bless her—taught him proper household manners. So he takes the few minutes to unlace and remove his boots, arrange them at the foot of the bed, before allowing his body to sink into the down comforter and sigh into a pillow. The air is deliciously cool this late in the year, with autumn on the verge of winter. His ears register the sound of rustling leaves through the open window to his left (an oak, he recalls, tall and old). Then there is the slow muting of senses as he folds into the rest of a weary man.
His last thought is of a dark golden-haired Captain and a tall, angular Vulcan. He imagines the phantom presences of each on either side of his body, barely disturbing the sheets as they settle onto the bed. His fingers twitch once, and Leonard is lulled into oblivion.
“Bones is gone.”
Spock takes his time, completes the message that he is composing on his PADD, before acknowledging Jim’s statement (and the anger underneath). He says nothing to Jim, however, only looks calm.
Jim is far from calm. He is not simply angry; he is worried because when Bones just up-and-disappears that means the man is at the far end of his rope. As McCoy claims to know James Kirk and his moods like the back of his hand, so does Jim know the tell-tale signs of Leonard McCoy’s. In fact, he has been aware of a deep tension in the doctor since the press release two weeks prior. All of the Enterprise crew, currently stationed on Earth, are being hounded by packs of news-hungry wolves that loiter around every corner. Jim was hoping to be able confront Bones sometime soon for a little reverse psychology (which Jim has learned vicariously as Len’s test subject on many an occasion). He can get McCoy riled up quite easily that, in turn, is actually a good method for relieving pent-up tension. Bones points his finger, harangues, and then Jim nods quite solemnly and apologizes, maybe throws an arm over McCoy’s shoulders. It’s a system between them that Spock claims to find fascinating. Jim just knows that it works.
“Spock, don’t sit there and tell me that you aren’t curious. Bones didn’t even tell us he was leaving!”
“I have made no statement.”
“You act like you don’t care!”
Spock takes these words in stride, as always, because like Jim knows Bones, so Spock knows of Jim’s sharp—often soon-regrettable—reactions to a situation that upsets the Human.
He blinks and replies, “Leonard’s well-being is a matter of importance to us both, Jim.” He pauses. “You have questioned the hotel management.” Spock states, not asks.
“He left at 2300 hours dressed as a bell hop. Apparently the manager discovered one of his staff supporting a new leather jacket on duty and grilled the boy.”
Both of Spock’s eyebrows lift. “Fascinating. I did not realize that Doctor McCoy was an expert in espionage.”
That brings a rueful smile to Jim’s face. “Sometimes I feel that we barely scrape the surface of Leonard McCoy. There’s no telling what tricks Bones has up his sleeve.”
Spock, long used to colorful (strange) Human turns-of-phrase, merely nods in understanding. He rises from his chair, clasps his hands behind his back, and awaits the Captain’s instructions.
Jim does not disappoint. He says, “We’ll find our errant doctor, Spock, because Bones made one fatal mistake: He sent a package ahead of his departure and—” Jim walks up to Spock, places one hand on each Vulcan shoulder. “—that, my genius Vulcan, I suspect will lead us directly to him.”
Jim’s hands tighten marginally while his thumbs stroke the fabric of Spock’s uniform. He smiles. “But not yet. Let’s give Bones a moment or two to think he’s safe, before we go hunting.” Kirk leans in, his smile growing wider. “Then he’ll have to come up with a very good excuse for not informing his lovers—”
“Captain and First Officer,” Spock interjects, seemingly not bothered by just how far into his personal space Jim is.
“—lovers of his sudden plans to ditch town.”
“Jim.” Spock says this word with a barely imperceptible inflection.
“Hmmm?” Kirk’s eyes are merry.
“I calculate a sufficient probability that Leonard does not require immediate location.”
“Really? Then shall we save the hunt for tomorrow morning?”
They do so, though there is a time or two when they reach for their third and only then remember the circumstances. In the morning, they set to finding Leonard McCoy with a fervency and dedication that many envy and most respect. Even before lunch, the first lead has been uncovered and Captain Kirk sends a missive to Starfleet Command that only says Kirk, Spock, and McCoy are collecting overdue shore-leave and Command will be notified of any details later. When Spock ponders waiting for a reply, Jim tugs him out of the apartment and to the transport station. There’s no turning back after that. They’re off to collect Bones.