Title: Untitled (14/15)
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 | Part 13
It’s mass confusion.
Ceri’a plans to drag Leonard’s mates into deep watery graves and make a snack or two of them (Bones gets nasty mental images along said-lines) but she is hampered by the man wrapped around her legs. She bucks, he twists. The scales patching her skin are slippery in the water, and his grip is clumsy at best. So he digs his nails in under them—rips out two or three. There is blue and red in the water now, a murky combination in the green (a black ink).
She breaks out of the water like a shark coming to bear on a tasty morsel. But Bones weighs her down, makes the arch snap in the middle and fall flat. There is shouting and water slapping his face; hands trying to cling to him and someone’s left bloody stripes down his chest and no right sleeve to his shirt.
He knows who is going to save Jim and Spock—he is. But who will save Leonard McCoy, because damned if his energy isn’t flagging fast while this wild creature shows no sign of abating her attack.
There is little time to make a plan. He (numbly) understands that the moment he releases her, she will come right back, only not for him. So he curses and spits and wishes to God he was a Vulcan because he would nerve pinch this bitch straight back to Hell.
Any other thoughts are broken into pain when she swerves and deliberates smashes him rib-side into a dock post. A distant “Bones!” is muted over the rushing in his ears as they sink down. Leonard doesn’t think, can’t think, only clenches his fist tightly so Ceri’a can’t get away. His boots are crunching through the shells attached to the wood as he seeks purchase to hold them both. It’s hard, with the water shoving him against the post as the waves come in and sucking to pull him out to sea as they fall back out.
But he’ll be God-damned if he lets her go.
She swings around to face him, and they hang there, underwater—two enemies—for a heartbeat.
Her eyes say, They are already dead men.
It’s at this moment that Leonard sees something far beyond saving. He never wants to kill, but now he realizes it would be a sweet mercy to put Ceri’a down. The healer in him hates lost (wasted) life; the man acknowledges the hard truth—not everyone can be saved.
He doesn’t get the chance to choose.
Ceri’a bares a wicked grin as Bones feels a body tuck into his back. Jim, no! His mind rails because it can be no other. Jim has hooked a leg into Leonard’s, an arm securing back to chest; Bones flittingly thinks of their sleeping positions (Lord let me feel that again) before the beast in front of him lunges with a scream of water, jaws wide for them both.
Spock appears upside down, over her right shoulder and Leonard has a second to marvel (a water-bound Vulcan!) before Spock’s free hand grabs her green hair and cracks her head into the post.
The cold light in her eyes goes out.
Relief floods his limbs (shock, says the brain). The hand clutching Ceri’a does not know to let go. All is eerily still—a tomb of water. Bones is on the verge of movement (to Spock) when he jars abruptly at a terrible snap in his chest (like a chain breaking) and suddenly he can’t breathe anymore. His lungs are full of seawater and his body goes traitorous, seizes and Oh God he needs air there’ s no air there’s no—
Everything is fuzzy: sounds are fuzzy, his limbs are fuzzy, and that something stroking his face makes it all fuzzier. He gives in to nothing.
He’s dreaming; there is no other explanation. The world is white and quiet and softly beeping. Oh Lord, he thinks, Heaven looks like Sickbay. Not that he doesn’t love (and appreciate) a fine Sickbay, but a man doesn’t want to die just to end up back at work.
It’s fucking illogical.
That makes his brain jumpstart because (“S-spock?”) he remembers Spock—dear, wonderful calculator Spock—delivering some high-end justice to a terminally ill problem.
The beeping is louder, annoying really, now that he thinks of Ceri’a. Is she dead?
‘Cause he’s dead, he’s pretty sure. And it would be a damned shame if she’s still swimming around tryin’ to eat his lovers.
One set of his fingers are being squeezed (a little painfully) while the others are brushed, shifted around (into a familiar pattern, it’s bleary to his mind).
“Leonard…” the word is soft, and suddenly his thoughts detangle themselves into smooth lines.
The sweet caress across his inner shield is one he hasn’t felt in ages. It makes him tremble and unable to resist opening his eyes when he hears the word “Bones.”
Jim and Spock.
They are still with him; he is still with them. Sweet Jesus, thank you. It’s the only prayer he can muster.
When Bones drifts back into sleep, Jim lays his head down on the biobed and thanks every Deity his brain can dreg up. It’s a long, long list and he has the time (because Bones is going to be okay).
Spock cannot persuade him to rest on his own, so the Vulcan just waits until the opportune moment (when Jim is on Deity thirty-six) to physically remove him to the next biobed. Jim doesn’t let him get away, however; he rolls onto his side, pulling Spock’s arm with him—and, subsequently, Spock into bed too.
They settle into exhaustion.
Jim dreams about a green-haired woman with long fangs and a split skull laughing over them as Jim and Spock try desperately to pump the water out of McCoy’s lungs.
Upon his third coherent wakening, Doctor McCoy wants out of the biobed now. Chapel—his trusty, hypospray–back-stabbing head nurse—rolls her eyes at him and says “shall I get the special straps?”
Leonard would pout but he’s too old. Never mind that his bottom lip protrudes a little, it’s out-classed by the epic snarl-fest that seems to go on forever (until a fed-up Chapel comms the Captain and First Officer).
McCoy proceeds to express his explicit feelings on any number of subjects, especially those involving grade-rank and the CMO’s prerogative.
(A sick CMO doesn’t get prerogative, Doctor. How does that woman look so sweet while sassin’ him?)
She pulls out a hypospray and he wisely holds his tongue for the arrival of Jim and Spock. Instead, he demands their charts. It is standard McCoy procedure to have the two commanding officers examined after a mission gone awry—whether they were on it or not (because shit just magically happens to them).
M’Benga has taken care of the minor abrasions, but McCoy does not like the notes on Jim’s mild concussion, apparently a result of tagging along after Leonard and a demented sea monster under the dock. Spock’s chart includes enhanced meds to combat a compromised immune system. McCoy bets that Spock accepted them as disdainfully as he could (the Vulcan constitution is more hale than that of other species), a song and dance McCoy encounters frequently.
When he is satisfied that they were well-cared-for in his absence (his semi-coma), he leans tiredly back on his pillow and waits. They don’t need to know that he is satisfied, so he begins composing a little speech about “thou shalt not foolishly jump into the sea…”
After a week-long recuperation (and examination), McCoy admits to himself that he needs to go back down to the planet. The Enterprise has not left orbit due to miles of red-tape, reports, and the comings and goings of an exuberant Science Department.
It isn’t every day that the CMO of the Enterprise undergoes a physiological transformation with non-Human characteristics. Fortunately for McCoy, the Science Department is completely under Mr. Spock’s thumb, and they would rather piece together a report with meager tricorder readings and second-hand results than disturb Doctor McCoy. (To do so would mean facing a traditional Vulcan challenge—deadly those things—over transgression against Mr. Spock’s bondmate).
He wonders aloud why—if his body was storing (and reacting to) the unknown chemical—he didn’t die upon transport to the Enterprise. Not one person can answer that question, but it makes Jim pale with realization. McCoy spends the remainder of beta shift assuring the Captain that, indeed, it wasn’t much of a risk, they had been working blind—for God’s sake, stop wallowing, Jim!
There are long hours of research and tests. The research he sneaks in because he has been ordered to rest; the tests are no fun since he is the test subject. However, when all is said-and-done, the conclusion is this: Leonard’s reversion is an honest-to-God miracle. He gets a series of transfusions, and hemodialysis cleans up his blood. The bond, which must have been sabotaged, is quite active again.
Leonard is too much of a scientist at heart to accept the word miracle. He thinks that Ceri’a had linked him to her (through infection?) and that link was broken. Why she did it, though, is another matter; being a companion—or a mate—to Ceri’a does not bear thinking about.
He finally convinces the Captain to let him go planet-side. (“Fine, a full security team, Jim! Just keep ‘em outta my hair.”) They beam directly into the Square. Security fans out in a wave of red. When the people of Shii’ret recognize the outfits, they clear the streets. Bones can handle that; he’s had his fill of the Shii’reti.
Jim is on his left, tense; Spock, his right—seemingly more interested in his tricorder, though Leonard knows better. McCoy does not turn towards the makeshift laboratory, nor head to the tavern. He simply looks ahead and asks quietly, “Where is the body?”
He has not queried this before, not even after the briefing for M’Benga’s reports or in his own personal log. Now, back on the home-ground, he knows that without the answer, there will be no closure. (It’s not real.)
Captain Kirk steps up, weighs him down with the most serious expression Bones has ever seen on his face. Jim answers, “We don’t know, Bones. We left her on the dock after—reviving—you and beaming onboard the Enterprise. When the security team came down, her body was gone.”
“Was she dead, Jim?”
“Doctor McCoy.” It is Spock who addresses the issue. “I confirmed her condition.”
He doesn’t say, Really, Spock? Before or after you decided to brain her against the post?
He is weary. He is not upset, truly not. But he feels the strange sensation (like heart-sickness) of a pup taken too young from its mother. Which is a foolish (unnerving) thought.
He wants to be assured that her hold over him is truly gone. He closes his eyes, lets the wind play with his hair. The sea is a little more than a mile away. It still tugs at him, so he answers the call the only way he knows how—by taking Jim’s arm and holding onto Spock’s shoulder.
“I am going to the ocean,” he says. “Will you come with me?”