Jim had reserved a quaint little place to stay among a row of side-by-side condos along the eastern shore line. The view heralded a magnificent stretch of glowing green water met by a golden skyline; they had been drawn to the window immediately upon entry of the residence. Bones, hip propped against the window seal, Spock—tall with his hands clasped and minutely tilted jaw, and the Captain in the middle, a hand resting on each to connect the three of them.
Those were the beginning moments of shore leave, when peace settled over their temporary home like a blanket. When they were able to exchange sweet looks and touches, and acceptance of one another.
Before the incident in the Square—an incident Bones is frightfully aware of and closed-mouthed about to his lovers.
For McCoy, doctoring is part of his essence. He could no more ignore his innate need to heal than Spock can deny the Vulcan Pon Farr. It defines him. So that late fateful evening Doctor McCoy spent tending a native woman (female? Shii’ret-an? Monster?) was no one’s fault but his own nature’s. Had he been aware of the dangers, of what she would do to him, he still could not have stood idly by while she bled out on packed dirt and others hurried past (heads down) in the dying light of the day.
At the time he had been furious—and verbally explicit to any passer-by within earshot—that she was treated so callously (left to die, can the non-existent die?). Bones had grabbed the nearest arm for help (Help me, damn you! She’s losing too much!), and seen a grim face before the arm was wrenched away again and the street emptied faster. Now, staring at his own grim face in the bathroom mirror, Bones understood perfectly well why no one had touched her (like he had) or felt fear for her (like he had).
If he had known—
Waving Jim and Spock off to an afternoon hike, rather than joining them, made a difference. An offer to prepare dinner, a required trip to a little gourmet market in the Square.
If he had known—
That paradise is not real, nor safe, nor without secrets. To never help a stranger with tangled glowing hair (the color of the sea) and six-inch lacerations on both arms.
If he had known—it would not have mattered at all. McCoy cursed his nature.