Title: TO SAY 'I LOVE YOU' ... BEFORE YOU DIE
Author: T'Lin ( LinkyS@aol.com )
Challenge Scenario: Write a S/Mc where Spock thinks McCoy is dying and tells him his feelings.
Note: Written for the SpockMcCoyHaven Fest - http://spockmccoyote.tripod.com/
Note 2: This story contains spoilers for the ENTERPRISE episode, "Doctor, Doctor" (a bit of history, as it were)
Archiving: ASC*, Spock McCoyote Den, and my own web page - http://www.geocities.com/tlin_s/ - all others, please ask first.
Disclaimer: Paramount/Viacom own the TREK universe ... I just borrow from them from time to time for entertainment purposes. No copyright infringement intended, nor do I make any money off of this. Although the characters and settings belong to others, this original story is the property of T'Lin © 2 February, 2002
by T'Lin 0202.02
As I entered the lab, I could hear the familiar voices of Nurse Christine Chapel and Doctor Leonard McCoy. It was obvious to me that they were unaware of my presence, or the fact that they were being overheard.
I was about to make my presence known when I froze, as McCoy said, "Look Chris ... there's no point in me saying anything to anyone. It's not as if there's anything any of them can do, anyway."
"But Leonard," Miss Chapel replied, "they are your friends. They have a right to know."
"No, they don't." McCoy said, his emotions making his voice rise ever-so-slightly. After a slight pause, he continued, "Look, it's my life we're talking about here ... and with this mission coming to an end soon, we'd all be going our separate ways in a few months, in any case."
"But ..." Chapel interrupted, only to have McCoy's words override whatever it was she was going to add.
"Look, Christine, there's no 'buts' about it. You know as well as I do that once this mission is over, we all go our separate ways ... and eventually, no matter what our intentions are in the beginning, we loose track of one another." There was a slight pause, then I heard McCoy continue, a touch of sadness in his voice, "The fact that I will no longer be around in six months will not affect anyone else's future in any way, so there's no point in telling them."
Again there was silence. I was once again tempted to make my presence known when Miss Chapel said quietly, "I'm sorry to hear that you feel your life has had so little impact on us that we would not miss you. I most certainly will, and I will continue to do all I can to alter what you have come to believe is inevitable. You, of all people, should know that in medicine, there are always new possibilities."
I stood in silence trying to fathom the meaning of the conversation I had just overheard. As my mind replayed Miss Chapel's last words, there was only one logical conclusion that I could make. McCoy was dying, and had resigned himself to the fact. Remarkably, he was displaying a very 'Vulcan-like' response to the situation, which in and of itself was unusual.
I was startled out of my musing by the opening of the door to McCoy's office. Miss Chapel looked surprised to see me standing there, then gave me a slight nod of her head as she said, "Good morning, Mister Spock. What can I do for you?"
Not letting on that I had heard anything, I said, "I was just checking to see if you had the results of the atmospheric inoculation tests completed. The Captain, as you know, is eager to clear this planet for shore leave. The sooner we can assure him that the crew can be inoculated against the few trace elements of the atmosphere that are harmful, the happier he will be."
I had come to the conclusion long ago that it was easiest to deal with the crew using terms they would relate to ... thus, mentioning the Captain's 'happiness' over a situation, even if I did not see the significance of it, myself.
"Oh, yes ... doctor McCoy has the results in his office," she had said, as she looked over her shoulder in the direction of the office she had just vacated. "I believe he was about to contact you and the Captain about them."
"Very well." I said, as I stepped toward the office.
For a moment, I thought the nurse was about to add something, but she hesitated, before nodding once more, and turning away. Whether or not she suspected me of overhearing their conversation, or was about to warn me of the doctor's foul mood, I will never know.
What I do know is that at that moment, although we frequently argued, I considered him to be one of my best friends ... I could not envision myself in a future without him by my side, in an endless debate. I realized that I did not want to loose him from my life, and that I needed to tell him how I felt ... I needed to tell him that I loved him ... before he died.
"Well, are ya goin' ta stand there all day?" I heard him say, and I realized I had been staring at him for several moments.
Forgive me, Doctor ..." I said, as I cleared my throat. "Nurse Chapel says that you have the results of the atmospheric inoculation tests."
"Yes, they're right here ... I was just going to call the captain, and set up a briefing." There was a pause. He was looking at me, with the most curious expression on his face. I raised my brow ever so slightly, which seemed to break the mood. "Here, let me give Jim a call, and see if he's available for that briefing right now ... I'll only be a minute," as he punched in Jim's code, he indicated that I sit down.
"Very well," I said, and came more fully into the room, to sit as he suggested. Jim was, as I already knew, free, and would be joining us momentarily.
McCoy and I sat in silence for a moment ... I wanted so much to tell him how I felt, but could not find the words. My indecision must have shown, for he asked, "Everything OK with you, Spock? You seem a bit distracted."
I looked him in the eye, as I said, "I am fine ..." then hesitated. I knew Jim would be here in only a matter of minutes, but I had to say something to McCoy now. Otherwise, I would never find the words to tell him how I felt. Determined, I cleared my throat, and continued, "Actually, I am not. I have just discovered that someone I ... care deeply for ... will not be with us much longer."
McCoy was instantly alert, asking, "What's wrong? Is it your mother? Father? Is there anything I can do to help?"
I was touched by his concern ... of course, he would assume it was one of my parents. After all, I had never expressed feelings of 'care' for anyone else. I smiled ever so slightly as I said, "No, Leonard ... my parents are both fine."
McCoy had that curious expression on his face again, whether it was due to my using his given name, or my smile, I do not know. "If not your parents, then who?" he asked, still staring at me.
"You, Leonard." I said, then continued before I could change my mind, "And when I heard this, I realized that I do not want to loose you from my life," I said, and watched his expression. After all these years, you would think I could read the human face, but not McCoy's. Not today. The shifting emotions went past far too quickly, I could not tell if he were intrigued, or confused ... or a million other possibilities.
Finally, he seemed to settle on curiosity, as he said, "I don't und..." but he never continued the thought.
"Bones ... Spock," Jim said, as he entered the office, cutting McCoy off in mid sentence. "Can we make this quick, I need to return to the bridge in ten minutes." And he took a seat, never once noticing that he had interrupted a private conversation.
We exchanged a look, silently consenting to finish this conversation when the briefing was over.
Five minutes later, Kirk left McCoy's office, and we were once again alone. Although we were both under orders to start the inoculations, in preparation for shore leave, we knew we had to continue this conversation first.
McCoy had stood when the captain left, and now came to sit on the edge of his desk, arms folded across his chest as he looked down at me. He stared at me for a heartbeat, then said, "Spock, is it my understanding that you have feelings for me?"
"Yes," I said, my throat suddenly dry.
"And why, pray tell, did you decide to tell me this today, of all days?"
There was a trace of something in his voice that made me hesitate. I could not decide it if was anger or distaste ... or perhaps excitement ... either way, he deserved to know the truth. I held his gaze, as I said, "Forgive me, but I overheard your conversation with Nurse Chapel. When I saw you immediately after, I realized I could not let you die never knowing that I ... loved you."
On my final words, his eyebrow raised in what I believe was disbelief. He gave a low whistle, and said, "I'll be damned." Then a smile spread across his face as he continued, "I never thought I'd see the day when you'd admit it."
His reaction caught me by surprise, and before I could say anything, I felt his fingertips under my chin, tipping my head up to lightly kiss me. That first touch of our lips was electric ... opening me up to the full extent of his feelings for me. Apparently, he had been suppressing his love for me, waiting for the day I was ready to share my feelings for him.
When at last he broke the connection, he said, "I've been waiting a very long time for this ... but I have no intention of dying anytime soon."
I was puzzled. I replayed the conversation in my mind, then asked, "But what about Nurse Chapel's determination to, I believe her words were, 'continue to do all I can to alter what you have come to believe is inevitable.' She then went on to say, 'You, of all people, should know that in medicine, there are always new possibilities.' ... if she was not talking about your imminent death, what then?"
McCoy smiled, as he obviously realized how these words could have been misinterpreted by me."Ah, I see where you got the idea I was dyin' ... especially if you heard my earlier comments about not bein' around in six months." McCoy sat back on the edge of his desk, looking down at the perplexed Vulcan. "Spock, have you ever read the logs of Archer's ENTERPRISE ... or more specifically, those of the Denobulan, Doctor Phlox?"
"Not extensively, but I have familiarized myself with them to a degree. Why do you ask?"
"Well, early on in their first mission, they came across a planet a few light years out from Earth. On this planet, there were two distinctly different species - the Valakian and the Menk."
"Yes. As I recall, one species was in the process of dying out, while the other was evolving into the dominant species." I paused for a moment, trying to recall if there was anything else that I could recall about them. "If my memory serves me, the Valakian's asked Doctor Phlox to 'find a cure' for the disease that was devastating their people, which is when he discovered the truth about their evolutionary path."
"That's right ... but what isn't in the public record is the fact that Phlox actually found a cure. Apparently, Archer decided, at Phlox's recommendation, to withhold the 'cure' and allow 'nature' to run its course."
I could see McCoy's enthusiasm for the subject, but not how it connected to our earlier conversation. "This is all very fascinating, of course, but what does it have to do with ..." I stopped, suddenly realizing what he intended to do. "You are planning on going to the aid of the Valakians, aren't you."
It was a statement, not a question, but he answered nonetheless, "Spock ... yes. I plan on joining the medical delegation that has been aiding them, and the Menk, along their evolutionary path."
I reached out to take hold of his hand, somehow needing this connection between us to help me understand. "What about the Prime Directive? Does it not prohibit the Federation from interfering with the proper development of this planet?"
"Had we discovered these people after the formation of the PD, of course it would apply. But we didn't ... and by the time the Federation returned there, there were doctors from a dozen different worlds, all doing their part to ease the suffering of the Valakians, even though none were able, or willing, to put an end to their plight."
"Yes, I suppose that makes sense." I said, realizing that if we had discovered the truth to their evolutionary path, so would most other warp-capable species ... most of whom seem to have their own version of a Prime Directive, when it comes to lesser species. "But tell me, Leonard ... if you are planning on joining this global aid effort, why did you make it sound so permanent?"
There was sadness in his eyes, as he said, "Because, when I signed up, I did so for the long haul, just like everyone else on the team. This is a process that has been going on for hundreds of years, and will continue to do so for hundreds more. What's twenty years of my life, in comparison?" I still held his hand, but he took my other in his free hand, and lifted them both to his lips. "Until today, I felt there was no reason for me to make it a short-term commitment. We're not only offering comfort to a dying species, but observing the emerging one. There is so much to learn about the evolutionary process ... from both sides of it ... a lifetime is not enough."
"Which is why you had resigned yourself to never seeing any of us again." I said, knowing I could not ask him to alter his plans for me. "Yes, I understand now ... very admirable." I released his hands, and slid the chair back so that I could stand without being too close to him. Composing myself, I said, "Doctor, I do believe we have some work to do. If you will excuse me, I will go to my office and set up the schedule for the crew inoculations. I will send the list to you as soon as it is done." And with that, I stepped toward the door.
But before it opened, I felt his hand rest gently on my shoulder. I turned slightly, to look into those liquid blue eyes of his, as he said, "Spock ... please don't be angry with me. I will not change my mind about helping the Valakians and the Menk, but that does not mean ..."
He stopped abruptly when I turned and kissed him. It took only a second for him to respond with the passion I knew was in him. When I pulled away enough to look into his eyes once again, I said, "I suppose I could always visit you."
"Yes, I suppose you could ... or then again, you, too, could join the team."
I raised my brow at the suggestion ... I had never contemplated a future for myself outside of Starfleet or the Vulcan Diplomatic Corps ... but suddenly, the prospect of joining Leonard on his medical/scientific odyssey was looking quite appealing.
McCoy smiled. "No need to answer right now ... we still have three months before this mission is over, and another three before I have to report ... there's plenty of time for you to think about it."
"Indeed, there is," I said, as I took him in my arms once more, and added, "in the mean time, we have work to do. Then I do believe we have some shore leave coming to us, where we can discuss our future in more *intimate* detail."