Title: Untitled (13/?)
Summary Something has changed McCoy and he’s not sure how to explain it to his lovers.
Previous parts: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10 | Part 11 | Part 12
The sea is angry. It spits foam along the jetty and smashes itself against posts sunk deep into the seabed. Bones decides that he might as well complete this exercise (in futility) by walking straight over the edge; he’d make a flying leap, but any increase in his gait will alert the two men just stepping off the boardwalk to his intentions. They won’t be happy about the results either way.
So he keeps his pace steady, nonchalant, like a lover’s stroll.
(He’d appreciate the time to shuck his boots but that won’t be happening.)
Jim doesn’t call out his name (nickname, birth-name, or otherwise) and ask him to wait up. Both Spock and Kirk are silent stalkers—the solidarity at his back. He’s going to miss them very much.
The green waters are inviting, despite the tempest. Something inside him sings to the tune of the crash-crash-crash and it’s almost more than he can bear. (The water in his eyes might be tears of heartbreak.)
Then he takes the final step from the real world, into air, and disappears out of sight.
When Bones walks off the edge of the dock, Jim thinks time stopped. It mocked him with a cruelty he could barely comprehend, said “no more Bones, no more Bones” until Jim caught his next breath and dove into a run.
Why had they let him get so far ahead?
(Because he was uncertain about things he should never question.)
He is dimly aware of a strong grip hauling him back from his pitch into the sea after Bones. He might have heard frantic yelling, the smack of soft flesh under his unforgiving hands.
Why had they let him go?
He twists like a snake and claws like a bear, but no amount of force can shake the hold binding him. Panting, he calls out for Spock to help him, and surprisingly a voice orders in his ear.
“Jim, I am here. Calm yourself!”
He manages to still for a second or two. There is nothing but rocking green below them stretching out too far. Empty.
It’s panic that is sharp in his mind, repeating He’s drowning, Bones is drowning…
He will not drown. He cannot drown. Jim. Be calm; be calm and wait. A security blanket, lovingly ragged at the edges, wraps around his mind—quells the terror and the fear and the loss.
He knows that waiting is too hard a task. He does it anyway.
Spock has carefully sorted through his thoughts—categorized them into a series of possible, impossible, and improbable (but viable nonetheless). He has concluded that he has acted illogically (foolishly) by allowing Leonard to distract him from the task of discovering the truth. He is aware that it remains illogical to feel guilt. Time does not afford him the use of emotions.
Doctor McCoy is more affected by the Shii’reti than he anticipates. If his word is to be believed (and Spock refers to the Doctor as many things—but a liar in not one of them), then the man can indeed be a scientific marvel. And Leonard knows exactly what he is doing when he drops into the ocean, without aid, without Jim or Spock right next to him.
It is only these musings—conclusions—that keep the rational mind functioning in Spock and not the primal protect-defend of the bond (despite its recent quietness).
He calculates the probability that Leonard is correct (sane) and will survive—finds them acceptable (marginally) and thus focuses his attention on the other wild bondmate. One that will, in fact, do himself harm if Spock slackens his grip.
He wills his body not to disobey his decision to remain above-water when the counter in his head hits one full minute.
One full minute that Leonard remains submerged, unseen.
He wills Jim to stay in his arms when two full minutes have passed.
Two minutes of no air.
There is no distress along the bond from Doctor McCoy.
Two minutes twenty-one seconds.
Two minutes forty-four seconds.
Jim still chants Leonard’s name softly, like a mantra that keeps his soul in one piece. Just when Spock feels the coil of muscles, knows Jim is about to fight him again (and Spock may just let him go, go with him… this has gone on long enough…)
A face floats to the surface.
But it is not Leonard’s face.
There are fish eyes and billowing hair (it could be sea-strands, the color is so similar). A wide mouth with shining rows of teeth, and streaks—long thin curling streaks of red rising up…
Shii’reti blood is blue.
Human blood is red.
There is a cry in the air, in his mind; Spock never recalls whether Jim, himself, or both produced that sound. He only ever remembers the emptiness where Jim should have been, of the splash and the animal shriek of the monster, and knowing that wherever Leonard and Jim go, he follows without thought.
Bones realizes his impetuous mistake the moment he feels he is not alone in the sea. There is a swift wake coming through the water, and the shiny blue fish that had come to investigate his disturbance of their domain scatter amidst the barnacles clinging to the posts.
The water calms him, though, and by now he knows he should go up to the surface to meet his fate (the two hazy figures far, far above).
Then the fish flea and sea-weeds sway violently as a blur hits him sideways. He has no more than a moment of Oh fucking God before Ceri’a takes a hunk of his thigh and darts into the shadows of the deep.
His vision is white with pain and only the (screwed up) new instinct to breathe water keeps him from passing out. He sinks slowly to the mud, hangs there for an intermittent amount of time. (Seconds.)
Where is she? Is she coming back?
His left hand clamps around the wound (hurts, but the salt water doesn’t sting it), to keep the seepage to a minimum, from attracting her (or God forbid, other predators).
It’s weird, but he thinks he can scent his own blood on the water.
Stay the fuck away! Leonard thinks back at her.
She’s amused, he knows it. She’s amused and something more, something dangerous—she’s angry.
You take from Ceri’a, McCoy. You take without asking.
He is quiet—the mouse to the hunting cat.
She screams in his head. Never take from the sea! Nevernevernever!
That’s when he makes out her shadow flitting along the posts, close to the surface. His eyes catch the glint of sunlight in the blackness, through the boards of the dock. He thinks, acid rising in his throat, of Jim and Spock up there.
Or the sea will take from you, McCoy.
She’s angry and terribly hungry—for revenge.
When she goes for the surface, for the most precious parts of McCoy, Leonard surrounds himself with red. The red of alarm, of anger, of his life’s blood. Of his very Human heart.
He latches onto her (hard-scaled) legs the moment his counterparts come crashing into the sea.
Note: We’re entering the home stretch (I think). A few more parts left. This fic is emotionally draining; I need to re-charge. Please tell me you guys are faring better!