Title: Come Hither and Welcome (5/6)
Fandom: Star Trek TOS
Summary: When Bones retreats, Kirk and Spock follow—which leads to a mystery; and this particular Mystery’s name is Leonard McCoy.
Previous Parts: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4
So I’m making a second post today because the fourth part only contained the “confrontation.” There will be one more to go after this.
Leonard wakes to the soft sound of tinkling chimes that indicates a visitor is outside of his suite. He silently thanks Claire for her tasteful addition to the manor house comm-system because chimes are much more pleasant than the annoying buzzers used in starship quarters. It solidifies the fact that he is truly not space-bound and on good solid Southern earth. And best of all, it doesn’t wake up Jim.
So McCoy slides out of the bed and dons a robe. Spock, as usual, has already risen and found a way to occupy himself this morning—probably on the grounds’ gardens, sitting under a tree in meditation. Len smiles at that image.
He opens the door to find the housekeeper, straight-backed and blank, facing him.
“Breakfast is being served in three quarters of an hour, Doctor McCoy.”
“Yes. Right, thanks. I’ll just—”
“Please inform your guests as well.” McCoy raises an eyebrow. “I will have extra towels and robes brought to your rooms shortly. Good day.”
Len shuts the door with a laugh. Can’t get nothin’ past that woman. McCoy knows this from much past experience. He returns to the bedroom to find Jim stretching awake. He picks up the nearest object at hand, which happens to be a soft slipper, and tosses it at Kirk.
“Give me a good reason.”
Jim rolls out of bed and sweeps past McCoy into the bathroom, calling over his shoulder, “Well, hurry up, Bones!”
Claire is already seated at the table, sipping tea, with a half-eaten scone on her plate. She remarks absently, “Help yourselves.” Jim doesn’t need to be told twice because he’s already located the buffet table by scent. McCoy takes a seat across from Claire and plants his elbows on the table.
When Jim finally scoots in beside him, a plate bearing twice its load capacity, Leonard takes one look at the selection and remarks, “Cook’s skimping out on us.”
Claire meets his eyes. “And have you introduced your friends to her yet?”
Jim’s “Who’s Cook?” is ignored as Len groans. No wonder. “I’ll correct that mistake.”
“Food’s good to me,” Jim says between mouthfuls.
Leonard is torn between lecturing him on eating a proper healthy meal—not all that bacon and butter—and table manners. Instead he tells Jim that Cook’s food is usually even tastier when she isn’t feeling left out. Jim seems astonished that Southern cooking can get better, but McCoy can already see the scheming in his eyes to charm the chef.
Spock joins them after fifteen minutes of small talk. He sits without loitering on McCoy’s right. Jim has another plate (only half-full because Leonard filled it himself) of food and Len stirs a black coffee. When Spock decides to speak, he turns to Claire. “Lady DeMont, the landscaping of your estate is most pleasing.”
She smiles. “Thank you, Mr. Spock. We try to keep a sense of serenity about us.”
Spock inclines his head in agreement.
“We also have meditation room. Moira will be glad to show you where it is, and I hope that it suits your needs. We try to accommodate all manner of guests here at DeMont.”
Spock thanks her.
Jim wants to know, “Where are your other guests?”
“This is a personal wing of the estate, Captain. As Leonard’s… friends, your privacy is of the utmost importance to us.” Her eyes are twinkling as she adds, “Besides, your presence might cause quite a stir here, if it were known. I have some delicate clients, you understand.”
Jim laughs good-naturedly. “I promise that we’ll try to stay out of trouble. We’ve all had our fill of crowds.”
“That’s an understatement,” Len mutters. He sighs into his coffee. “Claire, we’ll be leaving for the hospital in a bit. Can I get you to bring Tommy in later? There’s a new test I’d like to run, if it’s alright with ya’ll.”
“Of course.” She says, though not necessarily to Leonard, “I know that my son is in good hands.” She excuses herself, then, to see to matters of business.
Leonard almost doesn’t want to spoil the quiet breakfast by answering the questions in Jim’s eyes. So he waits until Jim has placed his fork to the side and swallowed his food.
“Tommy just turned twenty-two years old.”
It’s obvious that Jim doesn’t know what to say and that Spock is listening intently.
“Claire was in her fifth year on the Seoul II colony—she’s a botanist—when she became pregnant with Tommy. All this time and we still aren’t any closer to figuring out if the boy’s deficiency started in the womb or within the first few years of birth.” Leonard rubs his forehead as if a headache pains him (maybe it’s just the memories). “Anyway, his natural growth development ceased around the age of six. We’ve made some progress with his mental capacity, but…” He trails off.
Jim squeezes his forearm. “It’s okay, Bones.”
He breathes deeply, thinks about all those yearly trips (before Starfleet) to visit Claire and Tommy. To see the hope in her eyes that eventually gave way to disappointment and resignation with each passing year and negative test results.
Spock and Jim allow him a minute to sit quietly. When he is ready, he starts at the beginning.
“My mother is a DeMont on her mother’s side. Claire and I met each other for the first time at a family reunion when I was about ten years old. We aren’t exactly blood-related, Jim, but we have always kept in touch.
The DeMont family is old money, if you can’t tell by now. My grandmother had no siblings but two male cousins. The oldest died in his twenties; the second inherited this estate from his uncle, because it is DeMont tradition to pass down the holdings to the closest male heir.” He thinks ruefully that that’s why Fate had DeMonts produce so many women.
“I presume that you, by right of your mother, came to be the next male to inherit.”
“Right as always, Spock. I was just into medical school then, hadn’t met Jocelyn yet. I really didn’t have a clue what the Hell to do with my new fortune, and I let it sit in a trust for a few years.”
“So you’re loaded, Bones.”
McCoy chuckles. “Don’t get your hopes up, Captain. I’m still a poor ol’ country doctor. All the DeMont daughters and wives have been rightly pissed for generations about being cheated out of their inheritance—so they’ve talked impressible male DeMonts into as many legal conditions as they could, just to muddy the waters. It may sound like I’m rich, but the money is mostly tied up in this estate. ‘Sides, what do I need it for, with Starfleet so generously covering my expenses?”
Spock does not bother to comment on McCoy’s sarcasm. Jim just snorts and uses his fork to push around the crumbs of food on his plate.
“But I did find a way to direct some of the funds to restoring and supporting the local hospital.”
Kirk’s eyes light up. “Which they named St. Leonard in your honor!”
“No, it’s been called that forever. I was named Leonard in its honor ’cause my grandmamma convinced my mama that it’s a traditional DeMont name.”
“Records indicate that your surname is McCoy-DeMont on the estate title.”
McCoy waves a hand at Spock’s statement. “A technicality. Can’t have an owner not named DeMont in control, even if he is the heir. Luckily, I didn’t have to make it legally binding; otherwise, ya’ll would have a mouthful every time you wanted to address me.”
There is another moment of silence. Then, “Tommy thinks you’re his father.”
McCoy nods. “Claire came back to Earth when Tommy was eight. It wasn’t long after that we discovered Tommy’s memory cannot maintain itself beyond the span of a couple years. I didn’t want Claire and Tommy to have to go through the pain of re-hashing over his lack of a daddy all the time—cause he would ask a lot—so I offered. I can’t really explain it better than that. It makes Tommy happy, and I don’t mind. Jocelyn didn’t like the idea, but I told Joanna when she was old enough to understand.” McCoy smiles slightly. “If I’m not mistaken, she comes down here once in a while to visit and vid-comms Tommy pretty frequently. So technically, he’s got a father AND a stepsister.”
“Why didn’t you mention this before?”
“Well, Jim, I just don’t go around telling people. I mean, there’s nothing shameful about Tommy, but Claire likes her privacy in caring for her son. We’ve got a lot of extended family, and some of ’em aren’t too pleasant.” McCoy leans back in his chair, chewing at his bottom lip. “I don’t know. I was planning on talking with ya’ll about this soon anyway, because I had planned to come down here on the next shore leave. But then we had to go off and divert another galactic disaster, get commended by Starfleet and plopped down on Earth…”
He shrugs. “There’s no accounting for the kind of crazy life we lead. I should have remembered that.”
Leonard pushes back from the table, indicating his closure of the subject. He tells Jim and Spock to go get ready. He has to be at St. Leonard’s soon. Jim just props his socked feet on Len’s vacated seat and dares the doctor to move him from the dining room with that tell-tale gleam of trouble in his eyes.
Spock is kind enough to agree with McCoy’s request that he nerve-pinch their Captain and haul him upstairs, so Jim jumps up and out of reach from sly Vulcan fingers. Kirk leads the way back to their rooms, McCoy and Spock following behind at a more sedate pace.
Tommy meets them at the kitchen door, impatiently watching Captain Kirk flirt with Cook. “Where are ya’ll going?” he wants to know as he never takes his eyes off Jim.
Spock answers. “We must depart for St. Leonard’s Hospital, nu’ri-veh.”
Tommy wrinkles his nose. “Oh. Is Cap’n Kirk going too?”
Len looks over at Jim, who is busy watching in delight as Cook makes him a special lunch packet of sweets. Damn, gonna have to keep a close eye on him. “He is, my boy. And later your Mama is gonna bring you to join us all.”
Tommy looks like he can’t decide if this is good or bad. He stops scuffing his shoe on the floor to suddenly turn to Spock. “I read that Vulcans are super-strong.”
“A Vulcan has a strength capacity that is—”
“Oh Lord, Tom, don’t get him started. Spock, please. I have a headache already.”
Tommy is ignoring McCoy. “S’ock, I’m real big. I bet you can’t pick me up.”
Spock, of course, sees this for the devious little boy challenge that it is. He bends over and delicately lifts the child to eye level. “Is this satisfactory?”
Tommy grins and kicks his legs in the air. “No. Higher.”
Leonard is clutching at his stomach and tightly clenches his jaws shut.
Spock complies. Tommy directs, “Now, to the left and mind the door, please.”
McCoy thinks his gut is going to burst if he has to contain his laughter any longer. He’s getting heartburn from the strain. Jim stands beside him, cookie to his mouth, as they both watch Spock calmly pass by the hallway entrance (for the third time). “I like that kid,” he remarks.
Len is glad that they all agree.
*nu’ri-veh – young one in Vulcan.