Title: Untitled (6/?)
Summary Something has changed McCoy and he’s not sure how to explain it to his lovers.
Notes: Thanks to everyone for hanging in there. This part is still following McCoy directly after Part 5. We get some action (and trauma!Bones). I seriously never expected to develop such a story, for what could have originally been a drabble. Oops.
Previous parts: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5
McCoy marched to the corner of the Square. There were still blue stains on the ground. He just stared at them for a moment, contemplatively, before turning sharply on his heel. A tavern faced the west side, opposite of the way. He remembered distinctly the twin serpent tails on the wood panel hanging outside, though the etching underneath was written in the native Shii’ret tongue. This is where he’d managed to stumble into, with the bleeding female in his arms (blue blood on his new coat). No one had stopped him from entering then (or now), but every face had turned away as he gently deposited her limp body on a table, then demanded medical supplies (bandages, thread, anything you got, God dammit!). When he had started to work on her arms with the meager tools available—its occupants had slowly begun to filter outside.
He walked into that tavern in broad daylight, and felt a terrible déjà-vu as each person faced away again—only this time, they would not acknowledge his presence. McCoy did not understand; but he didn’t have time to, either.
He approached the hostess behind the counter. She kept her eyes averted.
“I am looking for the…” he fiddled with his translator, “green-haired one.” No response, which aggravated the knot of anger in McCoy’s stomach. “I know you remember me!” he almost barked. Pushing down frustration, he took a deep breath. “Please.”
She flinched, dropped her rag. McCoy waited. (What else could he do? Rage?)
“Ceri’a,” she leaned forward, whispering. “By the Sea.”
“Ceri’a? What is that? Her name?” Leonard jammed a hand through his hair.
The hostess picked up her rag again and left without another word.
Well, a lot of good that did me. McCoy slumped against the counter. His headache was back.
By the time he managed to get to the docks, the golden sky was darkening to grey. The occasional lap of water soothed Bones as he walked across the sturdy old boardwalk. (You’re out here on a guess, Len, you fool old man.) He didn’t expect to find her around, but there was little places left to go. Not back to the condo, not back to sleep, that’s for damned sure.
So it was a great surprise when a small figure darted in front of his legs and away again. He jerked, hand on his chest to keep his heart inside.
A giggle came out from under the boardwalk. McCoy crept over to the railing, braced himself against it. He said, in his very limited Shii’reti, “Hello.”
“Helllo…” A child’s voice, hushed but still high-pitched.
“I’m lookin’ for a lady with green hair. Seen any about?”
A small face appeared at the edge, looked up at him. “She’s the Bad one. You’re supposed to stay away from the Bad one!”
“Well, now. I’m a—“ he paused, “healer. Even Bad ones get hurt. I need to help her. It would be wrong not to.” Not quite a lie, McCoy.
“You cannot heal a Bad one.”
In for a penny, in for a pound. “I am a special healer. I can heal anyone.”
A moment of silence, then “Oh.”
Thank God, naivety is universal. “Where?”
“That way,” a voice chirped and a small arm pointed north.
“Thank you, little one. Now, get, it’s almost dark!”
Laughter again, the dark blur (loosely shaped into awkward juts and angles) scrambled onto the edge of the boardwalk and disappeared into the shadows.
McCoy faced north. But he paused when the voice rang out, suddenly sounding older than it should. “She’s looking for her baby, but she won’t find it! Be careful, do not take from–” here the translator shrieked and feel silent.
I’ll be careful, McCoy assured himself. He knew just how dangerous she could be.
She was standing at the very edge of the northern dock. “Hello!” he called out.
Her posture did not change, only her dress (God, the one he’d last seen her in) shifted in the breeze. He caught the glimmer of dark stitches snaking down her right arm, where he’d had to patch her up as best he could. Both her arms were dirty. (Don’t these people know to keep a wound clean?) That unkempt hair was foul green against the dusky sky.
McCoy tried, “Ceri’a.”
And then she turned to face him, looking out of flat, cold eyes. “McCoy,” she drew his name out, as if from a sheath. “McCoy.”
There was no room left for small talk. “What did you do to me?”
“I had to feed us. The baby, my baby—“ her nails curled in at this, “was hungry for it!”
What was she saying? It made no sense. “I am not here to talk about a blasted baby! My mind—damn you—you’re screwing with it!”
She opened her mouth (for the first time)—and a terrible keening came out. McCoy grimaced, and shook her by the shoulders. “Stop that! STOP IT!”
She latched onto the front of his shirt, digging in her nails. “Come with me, McCoy. The baby’s waiting for us!”
“Get your hands off me, lady!”
“We belong out there!” And with surprising strength, she flung them both over the edge of the dock. McCoy immediately surfaced and spat out a mouth full of green water (not sweet-tasting, like the smell, at all).
“Ceri’a! Damn it! Ceri’a!”
Something grabbed his ankle and drug him under again. He flailed and struggled (such heavy clothes), but a body wrapped itself around him tightly, squeezing the fight out of him. Through a green haze—white sharpening the edges—he could barely make out the smile on Ceri’a’s face.
She sang softly in his head. Home, home, we return to the Sea! Baby waits for me.
Something snapped in his chest. Bones feared that she had broken one of his ribs, but there was no pain. He felt warm—unaccountably, comfortably warm (like being curled up next to Spock). Except it was in his lungs (oh God) and he instinctively gasped, drew a breath of water.
And did not choke. It tingled.
(No reflexive contraction of the trachea.)
His lungs pushed out the water like air.
Bones did the only human-thing possible. He panicked.
He thrashed in her arms, bit the nearest piece of her flesh, and when she finally let go, Bones broke the surface. By the time his hands were clutching at the sea-soaked wood, he was half-spewing water and sobs and Oh Gods.
He didn’t remember dragging himself onto the dock, or stumbling off the boardwalk, tripping onto the sand.
He didn’t remember Ceri’a either.
Until she came crawling out of the sea like a monster.
And by the time he was far south (lungs still burning), almost home, McCoy’s mind had catalogued the night as (medically) impossible and “Do Not Disturb.”
He half-heartedly shrugged off Spock’s inquiry about the state of his clothes (water’s churned up tonight, too close to the sea). Ignored dinner and fell into bed. When Jim crept in beside him some hours later, he was still terribly awake.