Title: Impromptu Bondmates

Author: Nemo the Everbeing

Rating: R

Author's Note: Boys and girls, it's been fun. Thanks for reading this new sort of story for me, and thanks again to Kim for being my beta. You're wonderful.

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Chapter 7

The light was bright as all hell when Leonard McCoy opened his eyes. In fact, for a second, he was completely convinced that he really was in some horrible afterlife, and the Devil was leaning over him.

Then, he realized that it was only Spock.

Then, from somewhere outside his field of view a warm voice said, "You know, Doctor, I've begun to question why they always let you go on these missions. You never seem to come back quite right."

McCoy rolled his eyes. "M'Benga?" he asked.

"Hmm?"

"Shut up."

Then, a new voice entered the conversation, laughing. "Now, Bones, is that any way to talk to the man who's patched you up so well?"

"Jim, is that you?"

Kirk's face moved into his sight. "Sure is."

McCoy regarded the assembled mass of people hovering over him in bemusement. "Guess I know how Dorothy felt, huh?"

Spock looked quizzical, while Kirk smiled at him. "Who does that make me, then?" the captain teased.

"One would hope the Scarecrow."

Kirk shook his head in good-natured disparagement. "Are you trying to tell me something?"

McCoy faked innocence. "Whatever would lead you to that idea, Captain, Sir?"

Kirk laughed again. "And what about our Mr. Spock?"

McCoy got a mischievous grin on his face. "The lion, of course."

Kirk didn't follow, but as Spock surreptitiously brushed his hand against McCoy's he arched an eyebrow at the grinning Doctor.

Immediately, the bond springing up between them, McCoy became privy to more information than simply the sexual innuendoes of "The Wizard of Oz".

Spock hadn't told Kirk about their bonding. M'Benga knew, but Spock had held off informing the captain.

Smart man.

As if reading their minds, Kirk said, "What I don't understand is how you ended up as bad as you did. The injuries I understand, but the brain damage? How did that happen?"

"Brain damage which, by the way, I've fixed," M'Benga added. "A simple Vulcan procedure."

The subtext of that statement was in no way lost on the doctor. "Jeffrey, you're a saint," McCoy told him.

"How well I know that."

Carefully at first, and then with more certainty, McCoy swung his feet over the edge of the biobed and sat up, glancing at the assembled men.

Kirk, particularly, was eyeing him with careful scrutiny.

"What?" McCoy demanded.

"You're being evasive," Kirk pointed out.

"I don't know what you're talking about."

"You're also not a great liar."

McCoy set his face in stubborn lines and Kirk sighed.

"Does this have something to do with certain finds you made on the planet?" the captain suggested. "The ones we're currently holding in our brig?"

At that, the entire nightmarish final scene on Harmageiddon II returned to McCoy's mind. He remembered watching in horror as Gessad and then Kataq were brought down, and that last image of Spock grappling with the equally powerful Telara after his own aborted attempt at a nerve-pinch.

Kirk had said guests.

Plural.

"Can we see them?" McCoy pressed.

Kirk glanced at M'Benga.

"He's sound enough," the other doctor conceded.

Kirk shrugged. "You heard the man. Come on."

Spock immediately stepped up to help McCoy, who found the tactile contact between them much more awkward on the Enterprise. Here duty and expectations came back to the fore, while they could be pushed to the back of his mind on the planet.

'You are finding the concept of our continued bonding to be troubling,' Spock commented.

'It's tough to incorporate into my sense of how things around here run.'

'The change would be imperceptible to the rest of the crew, Leonard. As we have proved, we will not discontinue our . . . discussions, even if we are bonded.'

'Arguments, Spock. We have arguments. You don't call names in "discussions".'

'I do not "call names" at any time, Leonard.'

'You implying something, Honey?'

'Whatever would lead you to that assumption, Doctor, Sir?'

McCoy shot Spock a surprised look. 'Was that an attempt at humor?'

'Certainly not.'

Kirk glanced back and caught then staring at one another. "Gentlemen?" he queried, sounding uncertain.

McCoy shook himself. "It's nothing, Jim. Spock's just . . . full of surprises, is all."

Kirk eyed him, and McCoy knew that he didn't have his captain at all convinced, but Kirk decided to let it go for the time being and resumed his brisk pace.

McCoy and Spock both knew that they couldn't keep this deception up for much longer. Jim Kirk may be brash, and at times even arrogant, but one couldn't possibly accuse him of being dim. He already knew something was up, and before long, he'd be wanting an explanation.

But, for the time being, they had other, more immediate concerns.

They continued on to the brig, only to find it in an uproar. Security personnel were hustling about, and Giotto stood hip-deep in the middle of it, barking out orders.

"Report," Kirk snapped, dropping his casual act like an old sweater. It was a talent McCoy couldn't help but admire.

"We don't know how she did it, Sir," Giotto managed.

"Who did what?" Kirk prompted, but Spock was moving beyond him.

"Telara," Spock stated, and McCoy felt his insides go cold at her name. At Kirk's questioning look, the Vulcan added, "I apologize, Captain. I was so focused on Doctor McCoy that I failed to inform you of the events that transpired on the planet's surface. Telara is the Romulan woman you beamed up with us."

McCoy also pushed into the room, and immediately saw what all the fuss was about. Telara lay in a graceful sprawl on the floor, and aside from the green cast of her skin and eyes, she seemed perfectly poised, as always.

He knelt at the woman's side, checking her in a more or less cursory manner. After all, he knew what he was going to find. "She's dead, Jim," he said, looking up at the captain. "Fried herself on the force field, though Lord knows how she did it."

"Then the Lord and I share something in common," a wry voice stated.

McCoy spun, shocked to find himself regarding Gessad in another containment field. "Why is he in there?" the doctor demanded.

"Sorry, Sir," Giotto tried to explain. "When you were beamed up, things got very confused. I decided to put them all in separate cells until this business got sorted out."

"As I was saying," Gessad broke in, "Telara accessed the field through a wiring juncture in the wall. Then, she tampered with the settings until she made the charge of the force field lethal. A rather simple and elegant suicide for a woman who refused to be captured alive."

"But why?" McCoy demanded. "Why the hell'd she refuse?"

"To avoid a return to her people in disgrace," Spock stated simply, regarding her body impassively. "To return to them in anything less than victory would be utter ruin in her eyes."

"She took the coward's way out," another voice from the next cell spat.

McCoy couldn't believe his eyes. "Kataq?"

The Klingon looked amused. "Surprised to see me, Tiny McCoy?"

Ignoring Kirk's stifled snicker behind him, the doctor said, "More that you're here, and not on a slab in my morgue."

The Klingon threw his head back and laughed. "It takes more than a Romulan disruptor to kill a Klingon." Then, he added, slightly more sheepishly, "And apparently she was not aware of Klingon physiology and at what point on my body a shot would be lethal." He shrugged eloquently. "It appears that luck more than anything was on my side."

McCoy smiled. "Sounds all right to me." He then turned to the captain. "Jim, these two men saved both of our lives several times over."

Kirk stared hard at their unlikely saviors. "You pick up the strangest friends, Bones," he told the doctor. Even so, he signaled Giotto, who dropped the fields imprisoning Gessad and, after a slight hesitation, Kataq.

The Klingon stepped out and clapped McCoy on the shoulder. "It is good to see you on your feet once more, Tiny McCoy. I worried that your days as a warrior were over, and I worried also for your parmaqqay, should you die."

Kirk looked puzzled. "Your what?"

McCoy pretended not to hear him. "Well, I'm a tough old bird."

"That you are," Gessad murmured.

McCoy turned to him. "You! Last I saw, you got yourself electrocuted."

"An unfortunate turn of events, I admit. I was mildly concussed, but it's nothing that my people can't fix."

McCoy heard alarms in his head go off, even as the ship clamored with proximity warnings to echo them.

"Your people—"

Gessad smiled deviously at him. "I'm afraid I was not quite forthright with you, my dear human doctor. You see, my shuttle did crash, but it was not alone." He scanned the faces of the other stunned humans in the brig, and the one Vulcan face, impassive but for the single raised eyebrow. "I admit that I did not have much hope for relations in this direction from Cardassia at first, but you have forced me to reconsider."

The Cardassian stepped away from anyone else and raised his chin. "Perhaps we will meet again under more official circumstances, Leonard McCoy. It would be, I imagine, a distinct pleasure."

Then, before anyone could stop him, Gessad grasped the collar of his shirt, which bore a single brooch. In a voice that rang with a sudden, unexpected power and authority, he called, "This is landing party one. Transport."

And before their eyes, Gessad dissolved into a pillar of light, adding as he left, "Until then, Doctor."

McCoy couldn't honestly say he was surprised. In fact, he was grinning. Clever son of a bitch did have a taste for the dramatic.

"Until then," he responded to the absent form of his enigmatic friend.

"Did you know—" Kirk began angrily.

"Not a clue. It was just fitting, is all."

The captain rolled his eyes and glanced at the Klingon. "I don't suppose you have any fireworks show you want to dazzle us with, too?"

"A Klingon needs no such flair. All I ask is that you take me to the borders of Klingon territory and return me to my people."

It was obvious that Kirk didn't actually like that idea at all, but this man had saved the lives of his first officer and CMO. A debt was owed.

Kirk nodded tightly.

Kataq smiled. McCoy realized that, even though he himself had earned Kataq's respect, old prejudices ran deep, and this was Captain James T. Kirk, enemy of the Empire.

He should be glad they weren't engaged in a full-on brawl by now, the two hot-heads.

Wading in to prevent tensions from rising any more, McCoy stepped up to the massive Klingon and asked, "What about you? You took a phaser blast to the chest. Klingon physiology or no, that's going to do some damage."

"A warrior—"

"Wants full access to all his capacities," McCoy stated. "Come on, Mister. Let's get you to the infirmary."

So, the day passed, and McCoy seemed to be refereeing Kataq and Kirk's silent challenges and skirmishes, attempting to treat the recalcitrant Klingon, and, at some point in time, corner Jim so they could talk about what had happened.

That opportunity for the last task finally came at dinner, when Spock entered the sickbay just as McCoy finished passing the dermal regenerator over Kataq's chest for the final time. M'Benga's shift was done, and McCoy had sent Chris home already, so that just left the three of them.

"That'll do it," he said. "You're gonna need to relax for a while to give that time to fully heal, but you're going to be fine."

A security guard waited, and then escorted the Klingon to his quarters. Kataq went along more or less willingly after giving the two of them one last, less than subtle wink.

And then, Spock and McCoy were left alone in the room.

"We need to tell him," the doctor blurted out.

"I agree. That is why I have contacted the captain and requested his presence in his cabin for dinner."

"You what?!"

"I believed that you would prefer to tell him in private."

"If course I would, dammit, but I thought you would have talked it over with me before making this sort of plan!"

"You were not there when the opportunity arose. I apologize."

"Goddammit, Spock! This is completely—" Cutting himself off, McCoy sat down on the edge of one of the beds and ran a hand through his hair. "Who knew it would be this difficult? Just thinking about doing this is making my stomach do jumping jacks."

Spock regarded him quizzically, but didn't ask. Instead he said, "He is our captain, and, therefore, deserves to know about something that so highly impacts his senior staff."

"Yeah, Spock," McCoy snapped, pinching the bridge of his nose. Then, more softly, he added, "I know. It's just . . . it's Jim. I'd hate to think of him not approving of this." He waved his hand vaguely between the two of them.

Spock crossed to stand before him and McCoy glanced up at him. "His blessing is very important to you, then?"

"He's one of my closest friends. Yes, it's important."

"Then to tell him seems only—"

"You say logical, and there'll be consequences."

"—Rational."

For a second, the doctor couldn't decide whether he wanted to shout at Spock or laugh. At last, deciding on a compromise, McCoy pulled himself to his feet and kissed the Vulcan hard, enjoying the momentary surprise he evoked. Then, he pulled back and said, "Let's get this done, then."

They moved quietly out of sickbay and headed resolutely for the captain's cabin. As they went, McCoy couldn't help but wonder what, precisely, he was getting himself into. Once they told Kirk, this thing between him and Spock was going to be official. They would be as good as married.

Married.

It was an interesting thought. After all, they were pretty much married in the Vulcan sense. To make it real for McCoy, though, what they really needed to do was go through the entire wedding rigmarole. Suits, party and all.

And he would like nothing better than to have Jim Kirk be the one to preside over the ceremony.

Jesus, was he in deep, or what?

Before he knew it, they had reached their destination. McCoy froze in front of the door.

Spock regarded him. "Leonard?"

"Did it just hit you that we're actually doing this?"

"No, I have been aware of that fact since I arranged this meeting with the captain. I cannot understand how you would not be aware of it."

"It's—" McCoy blew out his breath in a frustrated sigh, "—never mind. Lord save me from literal-minded Vulcans."

And then, suddenly, the door opened, and Kirk was peering out. "I thought I heard you two out here. Are you having a good time standing in the hall?" At their continued glares at one another, he added, "Apparently not." At their continued silence, Kirk demanded, "Gentlemen, are we having dinner or aren't we? Because if we're not, I do have several duty rosters that need my approval."

Spock slowly turned to Kirk. "We have something to discuss with you, Sir."

"So I gathered," Kirk murmured wryly.

The three of them filed into the captain's cabin, and McCoy shifted uncomfortably from foot to foot, very aware of the thin ice they were skating on. This all had to be done very delicately so as not to—

"The doctor and I were bonded on the planet, Sir," Spock stated.

There went delicacy.

Kirk blinked at them in shock, then threw his head back and laughed for several moments. Once or twice he attempted to speak, but the words were almost immediately aborted by yet another fit of laughter.

Finally, Kirk's laugher slowed, and he said, "My God, Spock. Here I thought you had no sense of humor. How long have you been waiting to say that? Good God, that was one of the funniest . . ." at their looks of dead earnest, his words trailed off, and his jovial expression was replaced by one of utter shock. "You're serious."

McCoy managed a "Yeah."

Spock fared better and said, "Indeed. The bond, without the correct medical supervision, was, in fact, the cause of Leonard's incapacitation in the first place."

Kirk seemed to be having difficulty taking it all in, not that McCoy could particularly blame him. "You called him . . . and the two of you are . . . gentlemen," he said, regaining some of his natural, authoritative tone, "I think you can appreciate my shock."

That forced a bark of laughter out of McCoy before he could stop it. "Jim," he stated, "you have no idea."

That got a slight smile on the captain's face, even if it was rather rueful. "So, do you love each other?" he asked, looking slightly worried about stepping on toes.

"Yeah," McCoy told him. "Took a long time getting there, but yeah."

Kirk glanced at Spock, silently asking him the same question.

Spock merely nodded, but that was enough.

And, slowly, a grin broke over Jim Kirk's face. "Well then, Spock, Bones, you'll forgive me for saying it, but it took you long enough!"

McCoy felt a grin spread over his own face.

For the first time in what seemed like an eon, things were looking up.

. . . . . . . . .

McCoy poured a glass of bourbon and offered it to the Vulcan currently standing awkwardly in the middle of his quarters.

"No, thank you, Leonard. I don't drink."

McCoy poured a little more in the glass and carried it with him to his couch. "Now, that's something we're gonna have to work on. Can't have a proper wedding without champagne." He grinned deviously, adding, "Not to mention a proper bachelor party."

"You wish to be married, then?" Spock asked, still looking surprisingly stiff.

McCoy scowled. "Didn't know you'd—would you damn well sit down? You're giving me the jitters just looking at you—act like it was some sort of death sentence."

Spock crossed the room and sat next to him. "It is not a death sentence, Leonard. I just think that shipboard relationships are often inadvisable."

"So you want to carry on the good stuff without the commitment? Is that it?" McCoy snapped, not liking where this was heading one bit. "Live our lives unofficially sort-of married, but not going the whole way?"

"On Vulcan, we are officially married," Spock pointed out.

To cover up the pain rapidly spreading throughout his system, McCoy crossed his arms, growling, "And now you're having great big second thoughts about that one, aren't you?"

"I am not," Spock said, in a surprisingly sharp tone. Then, much more quietly, he added, "My parents may, however."

McCoy faltered at that.

Sarek.

Not exactly a man Leonard McCoy ever wanted to cross the wrong way.

Sighing and pinching the bridge of his nose, he said, "Listen, Spock, if you're really not wanting to do this, I'm sure there's some way that we could—"

Then, to his great surprise, Spock leaned over and kissed him.

"I wish nothing more than to marry you, Leonard McCoy," he stated very deliberately. "But we also must consider the potential ramifications such an act would inevitably bring about. A bond between two people of the same sex is not unheard of in Vulcan culture, but to add to that idiosyncrasy the fact that one of us is human and the other only half-Vulcan." He shrugged eloquently. "It is not something that shall be looked upon favorably."

"Spock, are you planning on moving to Vulcan any time soon?"

"No."

"Good. Neither am I." Reaching out and pressing his index and middle finger to Spock's, McCoy said, "At this moment, I'm not thinking about how Vulcan, human, or any other society is going to look on us. I love you, and that's God's honest truth."

"As I love you," Spock murmured, glancing down at their fingers.

"Good to know." McCoy used his other hand to tip Spock's chin up to look at him. "Spock, the other stuff's important, and Lord knows it's not going to be sunshine and roses convincing everyone that this thing between us is okay. But we'll burn those bridges when we come to them." He shrugged. "I don't honestly see how else we can play this."

Spock nodded. "I do not wish to admit it, but what you say is quite . . . logical."

"Damn straight." Then, slowly, a mischievous grin spread across McCoy's face. "Now, Spock, Honey, I do believe you've had a ravishing coming your way for a while now." As Spock's eyebrows both shot up, McCoy's smile grew. "Care to give this thing between us a whirl?"

Then, to McCoy's delight, Spock smiled back at him. True it was that tiny, smug little Vulcan smile of his, but dammit, it was still a smile. "That, Doctor, is the best idea you've had all week."

As McCoy kissed Spock and his hands began to wander south, he mused that the mission on Harmaggeidon, for all the hell and nausea it had caused, hadn't turned out half-bad, after all.

Maybe their next vacation could include beaches and little drinks with tiny umbrellas, though.

. . . . .

. . . .

. . .

. .

.

And then, there was the end.