Title: Untitled (15/15)
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 | Part 14
Jim orders the Security team trailing behind the trio to wait at the edge, where grass meets beach. Jim, Spock, and McCoy trudge onwards, heading straight for the water lapping lazily at the shore. No one complains about the wet sand or cold wind. No one comments on the weird little crab-like thing that scuttles into a nearby sand-hole, or just how damned pretty the golden sunlight looks sprayed over the green cresting waves.
No one dares to say a word.
They approach like grave-robbers, all quiet steps and hushed breaths.
Leonard stops, circling a spot, and sits down. (He shivers, remembering the last time he did this.)
Jim joins him, closer than necessary but still straight-backed and alert. Spock remains standing.
Five idle minutes creep by as Leonard takes measured breaths of sweet sea air.
He came here with hope and dread. Hope for his future beyond this planet; dread, for the unnamed thing lurking at the back of his mind that whispers McCoy.
If he does not return to the sea, will he lose this need?
Leonard feels Spock at this shoulder, sturdy, and sends a little zing through the bond. Spock zings back.
If he does not return to the sea, will he be happy?
Bones catches Jim looking at him, and Jim smiles.
“A penny for your thoughts?”
“Well, Jim-boy, I don’t rightly know if I should share.”
Jim looks up. “Spock, if you would?”
Spock studies them both (almost gravely) before opening the connection between their three minds.
Leonard is inundated with love, concern, patience, and a tiny bit of nervousness. In return, he allows them to feel his worry, lingering fear, and longing.
They take all that he gives—sooth the worry, cleanse the fear, and puzzle over the longing before replying with longing of their own—for him to remain, a part of the whole.
Leonard cannot deny them; never could. He simply lays open his heart and says yes.
The ghosting of breath (cold wind) on his neck dispels the last of the (long) vision. The beach is empty: no Jim, no Spock. No man but McCoy himself and the spirit at his back.
Is this what you desire? She’s half part of him.
I want the dream, he thinks sadly.
Yes, it was a good dream.
He turns, cannot make out much of her but the halo of green hair and long clear nails.
Why show me this, Ceri’a? Why not just devour what’s left of me and be done?
A debt, McCoy. Whispering. She wavers. I am free.
You are dead, he clarifies.
Yes, she agrees. Free to return Home.
And I’m dead too.
He tastes the mist on his lips.
She must be smiling because a hole gapes where her mouth should be. No, McCoy, you will live.
The sun spreads, then—goes white and he falls into the brightness. There is the echo of “No, don’t you dare! Don’t leave us, Bones, you promised!” and “Breathe, fuck—BREATHE!”
His throat and chest burns, his face raw—hurting—and slack. The boards of the dock dig into his skin. He can’t open his eyes.
But he hears the shouts (and sobs?) Jim makes, feels the hard hands pushing on his ribcage. And he wants to say, Ah Hell, Jimmy, don’t cry. He blacks out instead.
One week and four days later…
They retreat from the beach at dusk. McCoy stoops to pick up a shell and places it in his pocket. Jim and Spock are ahead of him now, by several steps. His eyes pause on a spot down the beach (where—in a lost place—a man stands with the ghost of a Shii’reti), and he moves on.
In the distance, a fin breaks the even surface of the water (coasts in a little line) and the sun glints off vivid silver-lined scales. At least, it might be that this happens. But Leonard’s mind has already returned to the path leading to the city and the call of “Bones! Come on!”
Note: I put myself out of my misery. It’s done. :) I almost took the evil Bones-can-never-suffer-enough route. (But Jim and Spock pulled out the phasers, and I re-considered.)
Anyway, there is a nice side note that accompanies the end of this fic (here); if you were/are confused, this is the place to hash it out. I accept full responsibility for my awkward little brain.
Thanks for all the comments. Your feedback has been beneficial; it might have prevented a serious character massacre. If you enjoyed this fic, don’t forget to feed the poor author with a review.