A/N: This can be considered a bit of an AU because I am not an authority on Joanna McCoy's appearances throughout the Trek Universe (comics, novels, TAS). So this is my own story about her. Joanna never appeared in an episode of TOS, but Dorothy Fontana and De Kelley talked of McCoy having a daughter. Unfortunately, the episode never came to fruition. Also, I reference some things that are not canon.
Anyway, thanks so much for reading and enjoy!
A baby. He was really about to deliver a baby. Leonard McCoy had not delivered a baby in a long, long time. But he was sure that he remembered how. That was something a doctor could never forget how to do. Still, his knowledge of the correct procedures did not prevent beads of sweat from forming on his brow and invisible hands gripping his lungs, making it hard to breathe. He had never delivered a baby in a cave, on a jagged, rocky floor in the heat of day. He could not fathom Eleen's pain at this moment, in both the physical and emotional realms. She did not want this child. She had told him herself. Knowing this, the child's chance of surviving such an unconventional birth was slim. If the outside conditions were off, Bones knew that a mother's love was the only force that could pull this baby through.
He struggled to think of words of encouragement. Perhaps she would change her mind if he could remind her that she was the baby's mother. So he told her, "Say to yourself: the child is mine, the child is mine. It is mine!"
Eleen, being a Capellan, misinterpreted McCoy's words. "Yes, it's yours."
"You're a father!" Jocelyn smiled at her husband from the hospital bed. McCoy walked into the room in a trance. A numbness of complete delight and disbelief enveloped him. His eyes roamed from his wife's glowing face to the tiny bundle held tightly against her chest. He took a seat next to her bed, deliriously beaming from ear to ear.
Even in her exhausted state, Jocelyn laughed. Her brown eyes shone with pride. "It's a girl," she said.
"Joanna?" McCoy asked, a quiver in his voice. This was the name they had agreed upon. Lemuel, if it were a boy.
"Yes, Joanna: 'God is gracious.'" Jocelyn whispered. She kissed the newborn on the head, and turned her around to face McCoy.
"She's an angel," he said. The infant had been sleeping, but at the sound of McCoy's warm, Southern drawl she squinted her eyes open. They were of the purest blue; exactly like her fathers'. A tuft of light brown hair sat messily on top of her delicate head.
She was his daughter. There was no mistaking that.
Bones snapped back to reality. He was cradling a baby boy in his arms. A healthy baby boy! Eleen had done it; love had won the day. All through the delivery, Bones had been thinking of Joanna's birth: the best day of his life. He wondered where she was now; he had not received a letter from her in some time, perhaps over a year.
A tear formed on his cheek. Eleen thought it was a tear of joy for her healthy newborn son. And it was; Bones told himself that. She named the baby after him.
Triacus: a scientific colony gone horrifically wrong. They witnessed their parents commit suicide and were showing no grief. Dr. McCoy could not believe what he was seeing. He had thought it was traumatic shock, but when they arrived on board the Enterprise, they were still as happy as ever. McCoy was beyond worried. Why were they acting like this?
McCoy examined the children: Tommy, Steve, Don, Ray, and Mary. Their health checked out just fine. McCoy was secretly discouraged. Though he did not wish disease on any of them, a bodily contaminant would at least account for their abnormal behavior. Nurse Chapel said she was going to give them ice cream. Kirk said he was going to question them. Bones was skeptical about the idea, but submitted to his commanding officer's wishes.
Later, after he had conferenced with Kirk and Spock, Bones sat in sickbay contemplating the dilemma. Was the legend of Triacus actually coming true before their eyes? Had a marauding evil force decided to prey on innocent children? He felt a heavy fog weighing on the ship and on his mind. An evil presence certainly felt near and real. He puzzled over this thought for what seemed like hours.
Suddenly, McCoy lifted his head off of his hands. It felt like new life had been breathed into him; like he was receiving a second wind. He felt lighter; the room felt more fluorescent.
"Did you feel something?" he asked Nurse Chapel.
"Now that you mention it, yes!" she answered, walking towards him from the other room. "It might sound crazy, but I feel like the sun is shining after a thunderstorm."
Bones jumped up. "I'm going to the bridge. Take care of things here."
When he arrived at the Bridge, Bones smiled. The children were crying! They were sobbing. They looked afraid, they were exhibiting all of the normal signs of grief.
"They're crying, Jim. I don't know how it happened, but it's good to see," he said.
The little girl, Mary, seemed to be taking it the worst. Bones looked on as Kirk tried to console her. "It's all right, Mary. It's all right. It's all right, isn't it, Doctor?"
Bones took Mary in his arms. "Yes. It's all right. We can help them now."
He led them back to sickbay. He decided to examine them all individually, starting with Mary. Nurse Chapel would keep the boys comfortable. Besides, he had a soft spot for little girls.
He plopped her on an examining table. The jolt made her giggle between sobs. He ran a medical tricorder over her small body. Everything looked healthy. He got out the mini hammer to check her reflexes, tapping each knee. The method was antiquated, but the device was a favorite with children. Her crying slowly lessened. It was now time to talk about the grief.
"Now, tell me why you are crying, Mary," Bones urged gently.
A fresh round of wails started: "I miss my mommy!"
Joanna cried into her daddy's shoulder. It was her first day of school and her mother was not there to see her off.
Jocelyn had left a year ago, when their little girl was only four years old. It broke his heart to see them separate, and he secretly felt responsible. Parents never left because of the children; it was always the spouse. He couldn't remember doing anything wrong, but what would make Jocelyn want to be with another man? He tried to get the information from her, but it was no use. Their conversations were cold and virtually nonexistent.
She had not been a bad mother. She did all of the things mothers were required to do: feed, clothe, teach, and play with their children. However, she must have received a better offer. She put up no custody battle for Joanna.
McCoy had taken off from his job at the hospital to walk Joanna the short distance to their small Atlanta suburb school. Now, they were outside of the brick building, a distance away from the rest of the children and parents.
"There, there, my angel," McCoy stroked her silky hair. He had called her that when she was born and never stopped. "Daddy's here. You're going to love school! Besides," he said proudly, "you are so far ahead of the other children. The teacher will love you."
"I'm not afraid of the schoolwork, daddy," cried Joanna, "It's just… what if I meet a Vulcan child?" Her eyes were stricken with fear. The contrast between their redness and the shocking blue irises was striking.
McCoy did all he could not to let out a snort of laughter. He had read her a story about Vulcans the night before, and it had frightened her. She said their ears and eyebrows made them look scary. But more than that, their stoic personalities upset her. She was used to warm, gentle, and empathetic adults.
This result was not McCoy's intention, of course. He wanted to expose her to different species and cultures at a young age, in hopes of instilling a lasting tolerance.
"I don't think any Vulcans go to this school. But if you see one, you should be kind to him or her. Okay?" he wiped her tears away with a handkerchief.
She nodded. "I love you, daddy," she said and ran off into the classroom.
As Bones listened to Mary's story, he was horrified to think of an evil force pretending to be an angel. An angel would never manipulate innocents.
That night, McCoy dreamed of Joanna's kindergarten class – in which there was one Vulcan child – and woke up with tears on his face and a rock where his heart should be.
Bones had noticed a terrible fatigue in Lieutenant Saavik ever since they had been marooned on Vulcan with a damaged Klingon Bird of Prey, about four months ago. She was slower to speak, quieter, less assertive. He told her about it, and surprisingly, she agreed to be examined. He supposed she only agreed because it was logical. Whatever the case, Bones was happy to feel useful again, since he couldn't assist in repairing the ship.
The results of the examination were staggering. Impossible, Bones thought. Utterly, completely, impossible. Saavik was pregnant. Not that her being pregnant was impossible, of course.
"Do you know whose baby this is?" he asked her. It was an awkward question, but it needed to be asked.
She broke her emotionless façade with an obvious facial squirm and hesitant speech. "Yes, Doctor McCoy. It is the child of Captain Spock."
Some quick tests (the medical equipment was highly advanced on Vulcan) showed that Saavik was correct. She briefly recapped the events of the Genesis Planet in order to explain how this, in fact, could be true. Since she wasn't well versed in the ethics of discretion, Saavik spared no logical detail.
"That's enough, Lieutenant. I understand now. Glad I could be of service." He interrupted her.
McCoy sent Saavik on her way to tell the necessary parties the news and retreated to his private room inside the Earth Embassy on Vulcan. He sat in a chair facing the window. Bones was glad that his mind was beginning to feel normal again, but having a completely human mind meant that he was back to feeling real emotions. When Spock's katra had been rolling around in his head, he was split between human and Vulcan personas. Maybe that's how Spock felt most of the time.
McCoy stared out the window and saw the red mountains of Vulcan. How did he end up on Spock's home world? Spock. His Shipmate. His Commanding Officer. His friend. Despite their differences, Bones considered Spock his friend – most of the time. That green-blooded Vulcan sure could push his buttons.
Spock was a father. Bones couldn't wrap his mind around the idea. What kind of a father would he be? He remembered years back on the planet Capellus IV, Spock had refused to hold Eleen's baby. He almost seemed repulsed by the tiny Capellan. Would Saavik even choose to tell him?
Now they would all be fathers: McCoy, Kirk, and Spock. McCoy thought about the death of David Marcus. He had talked it over with Kirk for many nights. They had even cried together, not that Bones would ever admit it. Bones did not know what it felt like to lose a child. But he knew what it felt like to abandon one.
"You can't go, daddy! I'll never see you again!" Joanna McCoy was eighteen years old, and she still called her father "daddy."
"Of course you will, angel." Leonard McCoy was forty-five years old and he still called his daughter "angel."
They were sitting at the kitchen table of the McCoy household in central Georgia. It was a modest cottage, but it suited them. In just a few hours, McCoy would leave Georgia for San Francisco, California: Starfleet headquarters. He continued, "We can write each other about all our adventures. Yours at Ole Miss, mine aboard the U.S.S Enterprise." Bones was proud of Joanna for choosing to attend his alma mater.
"But you'll miss everything!" Joanna protested. "Please, I know I agreed originally, but I'm scared." She stared at her hands.
"I'll have lots of shore leaves," Bones said. "I'll even let you come visit me at the nearest starbase."
At that, Joanna smiled. She had only been off-planet a few times and it was an incredibly exciting prospect for her. "We'll both study hard and when we're finished, you'll be a nurse, and I'll be…alive. Hopefully!"
"That's not funny, dad!" she said, but she was used to her father's sense of humor.
As far as living by herself, Bones trusted his daughter. She was a good girl. Her aunt and uncle lived close by the University of Mississippi and promised to look in on her. She was also welcome to stay with them for holidays.
They both rose for one last embrace. Neither one wanted to let go first. So they stayed that way for a long time, and McCoy kissed his daughter's forehead.
"See you soon, angel," he grinned.
Joanna tried not to cry. "See you soon, daddy."
Four Earth years later, after she graduated, Joanna became a successful nurse. She had enjoyed visiting her father so much at Starbase 11 that she fell in love with outer space. She began working as a pro bono nurse marauding across the galaxy, just like her old man. At the time, Bones had been worried sick about her, but he had finally gotten used to the idea. Almost. The last time he saw Joanna was five years ago. Their correspondences had grown farther and farther apart.
A buzzing sound jolted Bones out of his reverie. It was coming from the personal computer on the side of the desk. All the rooms were equipped with one. That sound meant that a message had come in; he rushed over and began reading.
To: Leonard McCoy
Sender: Joanna McCoy
Bones almost cried aloud. But he didn't; maybe just being on Vulcan was causing him to reign in his emotions. He read on:
I got your letter. Are you alright? I'm sorry you are stuck on Vulcan for a while. But I'm really not sorry about it, because… I'm coming there! Dad, I didn't want to tell you this in writing, but I also don't want you to be surprised when you see me. I'm coming to Vulcan to get married.
What? Bones had to do a double take. And a triple take. Why would she come here to get married? To accommodate her father? As much as he hoped it was for that reason, something told him it wasn't. The letter continued:
Yes, it's really true. I am going to marry a Vulcan. He's wonderful, dad. You might not think so, but I'll help you to see him through my eyes. I will be there in a few days. We're careening past stars and planets as you read this.
The first thing Bones did was tell every one of his Enterprise crewmates, including Admiral Kirk and Captain Spock, that his daughter was coming. He told Kirk gently, mindful that he had just lost his son. And he told Spock uncomfortably, considering she would be marrying someone from his race, and also because he didn't know if Lieutenant Saavik had broke the news to him yet.
Bones couldn't contain his joy. He almost didn't believe that he was about to see Joanna. To his surprise, he didn't care why she was here. She was going to marry a Vulcan – the species that Bones had the most trouble relating to – but she was also going to hug and kiss her father. He would rather have both than neither one.
Sure enough, a Federation cruiser showed up at Vulcan's docking bay two days later. He received another message from Joanna, telling him where she would beam down. The coordinates were just outside the Bird of Prey. The area was loud, out-of-the-way, and smelly.
"Are you sure you want to choose that spot? It ain't pretty." Bones yelled into the communicator.
"Yes, I want you to be the first person I see," she replied.
A body began to materialize in front of Bones' eyes. There was no mistaking who it was, but Bones blinked and pinched himself. Her long, light brown hair came into focus. Her dazzling blue eyes were staring right at him. His daughter was here.
Jocelyn and McCoy had chosen the name Joanna for their daughter, because it meant, "God is gracious." However, during his travels throughout the galaxy, in which he encountered various life forms claiming to be gods, strange beings with incredible powers, McCoy began to doubt the existence of a God at all. Especially the Christian God of his ancestors. But now, as Joanna ran to him and he felt her warm embrace, the doubt left him and was replaced by the unconditional love of a father.