A/N: Star Trek does not belong to me, and none of the characters belong to me aside from Dr. Springer, Aldric and any extras that are randomly mentioned. A few references to Enterprise, because that was the one I - unfortunately - watched the most of. I was planning to do a series with Dr. Springer and Dr. McCoy, so input is needed. (Also, there seems to be a theme with BonesOC fics than involve the OC being another Doctor of some kind - therapist, dentist, whatever - I chose this because of various reasons, they're probably not the best, but mostly I chose her to be a shrink because of his aviophobia.
"Good Morning, Doctor."
Doctor Leonard McCoy didn't need a shrink. He never had and was proud to say that he never, ever would - even if routine psychological evaluations were necessary according to Starfleet Protocol. He skipped them, just because the psychologist in charge – Doctor Amelia Springer – was from Germany. And he sure as hell didn't need some glorified parody of Sigmund Freud 'nein-ing' or 'ja-ing' him for an hour.
He had never met Doctor Springer, which was strange because he met most all of the crew in some check-up or other when they got hurt. But as it was the woman had never entered sick bay even once and they had never run into each other in the hallways. Of course, there were a lot of hallways so that didn't seem too strange, it was the fact that she probably never got sick. Oh well, he didn't need her expertise and she must not have needed his.
It was late, at least the ship's clock read, and most of the other crewmen were asleep or else getting ready to man their night shift and even Jim had retired. But Bones couldn't manage to get to sleep. There was paperwork that needing doing, an endless pile of lists upon lists of injuries that had been mended last week but he never got around to typing up. The paperwork was done alone, by him in pure silence. He wasn't sure if he liked it that way or not, but the humming of the ship kept him from going insane.
He was sure he was the only one still working with any degree of difficulty. Those in the bridge during 'night'-shifts (if you could distinguish the night-shifts from the 'day'shifts) really only watched and listened for trouble which never seemed to come when they were just floating in space like this with most of the crew sleeping. But McCoy was actually working, actually making his brain almost explode with lack of sleep. When the text he was trying to read became a garbled mass of black dots on white he figured that he could do with some caffeine, so he found his way to the mess.
There was only one other there, a woman from the science division he didn't recognize, and he didn't bother to greet her because he didn't particularly have time for manners when he could hardly see a thing through the veil of sleep. The ship's replicator supplied him with the strongest possible blend available and he sipped the drink in silence. As the miracle of caffeine began to overtake him he noticed something odd.
"What happened to your hand?" the doctor asked of the woman, pointing at a white makeshift bandage that actually covered the majority of her left arm, rather than just the hand. "Burn yourself?"
"No." Hardly looking up from the book she held with her good arm she shook her head, "I fell and scraped myself a fair bit."
"How much is 'a fair bit'?"
She looked now, apparently the tone he used offended her in some way. "There's extensive bruising and a few moderate cuts."
"And you didn't bother coming to sick bay?"
"I don't make a habit of doing that."
"Because a certain Chief Medical Officer doesn't make a habit of coming to his psych. evals.," she returned to her book. "That and I can do just fine on my own."
"Oh really?" McCoy harrumphed. Obviously this was the elusive Doctor Springer. Who seemed to think that her petty little penchant for getting even was more important than her physical well-being. "You're breaking protocol by hiding your injuries from the ship's medical staff."
"You're breaking protocol by avoiding your mandatory therapy sessions."
"That's ridiculous. Are you seriously saying that you've denied yourself medical attention just because I'm not showing up to your silly, little dog-and-pony-show sessions?"
"Are you seriously implying that mental health is second to physical health?"
"Hey, let's not forget which one keeps you alive!"
"Don't both? What good is being in top shape if you want to off yourself?"
McCoy stopped, and he supposed it was a good point. But he was still right. And to prove he was absolutely 100% right he grabbed the shrink by the arm and unwrapped the torn pieces of fabric she'd used to cover the injury. Immediately he knew he was right. He pointed smugly to the line of purple that seemed to be more bruise than skin, with various ugly red gashes spaced throughout. And he could definitely see the beginnings of an infection from the improperly cleaned wounds.
"Sick bay, Dr. Springer."
It took about five minutes to find the right anti-biotic whilst keeping the good lady from running off. After he administered it she'd calmed down for some reason, though McCoy didn't bother questioning it because he was just damn glad that she didn't try kneeing him again. He gave her some ice for the bruises and proper bandages for the cuts and decided that other than that there wasn't much he could do at the moment but make sure she didn't make the situation worse. He kept her there for at least a moment, because hell company was fine by him.
"So what skyscraper did you fall off of to give you that in the first place?"
"What happened then?"
"Fencing," she shrugged, "I figured I'd give it a try. But I soon realized that psychology is and always will be my only strength, that and always fence with blunt-tipped weapons."
"So you can promise that you won't do this again?"
"I never said that did I? Doctor McCoy, I'm a slow-learner."
"You're just doing this because I wouldn't show up for your sessions."
"Not showing up is childish. Thinking that you're Superman and can withstand the horrible disorders, phobias and neuroses that develop in space all without any sort of psychiatric help is childish."
"You don't get psychiatric help, do you?"
"I have long distance sessions with doctors based back on Earth when I get the chance. I realized a long time ago that even I wasn't above being analyzed."
"And I'm a child if I haven't realized that yet?"
Bones sneered, "Think what you want."
"Hmm." Doctor Springer closed her eyes and seemed to think deeply for a moment. Where before she came across as less than constructive she went into super shrink mode now. "How about we make a deal?"
"A deal?" said McCoy incredulously. When was this woman going to stop harassing him?
"Yes. I will let you administer a complete check-up on me – the kind I never show up for – right now if you show up for the session you're scheduled for tomorrow."
"Why would I do that?"
"Because then I won't cite protocol violation on you."
"Well… that's good to know. What's in it for you though?"
Springer laughed, "Pardon?"
"Why do you want to analyze me so much?"
"Because I'm a psychologist and that's what we do."
"Fine then," McCoy stood and motioned to a biobed that he expected the woman to get onto, "get ready for your examination."
Out of some strange mix of spite and his own unique brand of flirtation he ran every test imaginable for every conceivable condition. He ran a blood-test for Crayois Finglar Chromosomal Disorder, scanned for Mendakan pox and tested her eyesight, hearing, reflexes and taste-buds. Throughout the entire ordeal the woman became increasingly pale – a lot of blood was drawn – but did her best to grin and bear it. He wondered just how committed she was to this cause.
Having given her what seemed to be a twentieth hypospray he declared that he was done. He turned to put away his instruments and heard the loudest sigh of relief that he'd ever experienced in his life.
"Well, I know I'm possibly the best doctor out there, Ms. Springer, but you don't have to be so sad that our time together is over."
"Not completely over actually. Tomorrow, remember?"
"Yes. I remember," he sighed quite audibly as well. "I'll be there."
With a triumphant smile she turned and wobbled out the door, causing him to let out an evil little laugh. But just as he did she turned back around and looked at him seriously as if she knew something.
"I know you don't want to sleep so far out in space, what with all the danger," she started, "but the Enterprise is going to need her chief medical officer in top shape."
And she left. And McCoy was left with a strange feeling in his stomach like something was going to happen that could end poorly. He got a few hours of sleep, albeit in the MedBay and not his own quarters. He had strange dreams of sauerkraut.
Dr. Springer's office was a neatly organized mess. Papers piled miles high on her desk but there seemed to be some shape to the mass and tags with colors and numbers and words stuck out in various places. The floor was clear of debris, but was scratched as if the sofa and chair of the traditional style shrink's office were moved around a million different ways. Along the empty walls were bookcases that barely held a large variety of traditionally bound books – which one didn't see a lot of.
All in all it seemed like she was lax about order, but needed at least a little bit to function. When she'd come in she had asked him a million questions about his preferences. Would he like to sit on the sofa or the chair, would he like to lay down or sit up and what he felt comfortable being called or calling her. It was as if she thought of every little detail that would make a patient more comfortable and asked them about it, which he had to admit was a nice thing. He'd chosen to lay down on the sofa and stare into the ceiling as she sat there with her clipboard and asked him things and asked only to be referred to as Dr. McCoy.
"So I have a list of questions that the regulations 'advise' me to use," Dr. Springer rolled her eyes, almost in disapproval of the orthodox method, "I can either disregard them entirely or ask them all or ask a few and see where we go from there. Anything really."
"What does it matter?"
A shrug. "Some of my patients prefer more structure, some are more free form."
"And what if I don't particularly want to answer any questions?"
"Then I guess you can ask them."
He furrowed his brow and turned his gaze from the ceiling to the woman.
"You can ask me these questions, or any other questions."
She handed him the list, which was long and consisted of many complex questions that he agreed with her were very laughable. "Any questions?"
"Any at all."
Bones sat up and scanned through the list for a suitable query. Finding one he picked up the pen attached to the board and pretended to make notes.
"What was your favorite toy as a child?"
"It was this old doll my brothers made for me called Ebba."
"Interesting," mocked the good doctor, "why did your brothers make you a doll?"
"Because there was nothing else to do in a town with a population of several hundred other than that, really. Even now it remains reminisce of the 21st century."
Springer's eyes flickered as she was taken back, and Bones started looking back at his own childhood. His own favorite toy, hometown. Then his memory stretched into adolescence, then med-school then… marriage. He let his little tangent bring up the next topic.
"Have you ever been married?"
"Yes I have." And now a grimace. "His name was Aldric."
He chuckled, "Divorce? I've been there."
"No," she shook her head, smiled a little and Bones had a realization. "I'm a widow."
"Uhm," he coughed nervously and wrote this down, feeling the need to take this seriously for some strange reason, he was the shrink for now. "What happened?"
"He died last month on this very ship."
And there it was. Bones remembered him now. His name was Aldric Thayer, he was one of the medical officers that had died and McCoy had tried to save him. Tried, but he had failed even to pay attention for one second when a nurse drew his attention to another patient. Aldric died on a biobed with no one paying him any mind. And this was only a month ago, yet Dr. Springer spoke of it with complete confidence, with no qualms about telling him any of this.
"I remember Aldric."
"I can hardly remember him, myself," she admitted freely, "I have to admit I married him on a whim and had he not perished in the attack it might have ended up the way you say your marriage did. We didn't love each other after all, apparently, that and his work consumed him."
"I remember that, he never left his station."
"In the last days that he was alive I never saw his face once, we were avoiding each other like the plague. I... didn't cry when I learned he died."
"Because you didn't really love him."
"I felt guilty though, I mean, he was my husband. I should have cried. I should have had some respect for the man. I should have mourned my own husband."
He felt strange in his stomach again. The poor woman was telling him all of this and he had treated it like just a game.
"Why are you telling me this?"
"Because you asked, Dr. McCoy."
"No," he shook his head, "you could have given me any other answer but you're telling me all this even though it's so soon and it's obviously making you feel this bad feeling again. You could have lied, Dr. Springer, or changed the subject."
"If I lied what sort of example would I be setting? These sessions are places where people remove massive burdens from themselves and I try to encourage my patients to be honest, if I weren't honest myself I would be a hypocrite in every sense of the word."
"Have you talked to anyone else about this?"
"Every day since, just to make sure I'm not a danger to myself or others on the Enterprise."
"And you're fine now?"
She shook her head adamantly, "Not at all, but I'm not wrought with conflicting emotions, either."
"I'm sorry," was all that Bones said before their session was over. To Springer's - and his own - surprise, he agreed to another session (well, so long as Dr. Springer allowed him to watch over the recovery of her arm as per the same general rules of this first agreement). It was around lunch time and he headed into the Mess. More people were there and he saw Jim at a table with him. He got his meal and sat with the two.
"Jim, Commander Spock," Bones acknowledged the two.
"I am somewhat surprised you did not use your other name for me, Dr. McCoy," came the calm Vulcan's reciprocated nod of greeting, "you are so fond of it, it seems."
"What? Heartless, green-blooded, Vulcan son of a bitch?"
"That is a variation I have not heard yet."
Jim put his hands in the air in a gesture of surrender, "Bones, Spock. It's lunchtime. I just want to eat my sandwich without the two of you locked in some new deadly struggle."
"I have no qualms with Lieutenant McCoy, I was merely making an observation."
"And I was just saying 'hi', Jim."
The captain shook his head and bit into his grilled cheese, an excellent example of the common-man in a leadership role. It was things like this that Bones thought made him a better captain than Spock would have been. Jim is better because of grilled cheese? The voice in the back of his head piped up, and for a moment he seriously doubted himself and Kirk all at once. But then he remembered that he had a steak in front of him and the doubt was long gone.
"What're you having, Spock?" Jim said, saying it more like 'Schpochka' with his sandwich in his mouth.
"You know you should probably have a salad, too, Bones. What with that steak?"
"Damnit Jim, don't lecture the doctor about health."
Something bleeped in Jim's pocket all of a sudden and he removed a data-screen from his pocket, reading it quickly ith a blue light of amusement on his face. Whatever was on that screen must have been interesting. Even Spock looked up at the captain and regarded his expression with a mite of curiosity, though he said nothing.
"What's so damn funny, Jim?"
A pause on the doctor's part. Bones didn't remember sending anything to the captain's data-pad at all, let alone anything that was particularly funny - unless he had been drunk which was always a possibility, but it was mostly Jim that was sending him drunk-messages lately. "I don't follow, Jim."
"Dr. Springer sent me your very first psych evaluation and it's some good stuff. You actually saw a shrink?"
"What? Hell, no. A shrink saw me."
"Yeah, Bones, she said you asked all the questions - she's still got a list of your neuroses longer than my arm."
"Damnit Jim!" Bones put his fork in his steak. "Psychiatrists are all the same! Not even that. Women, Jim. Women are all the same. Every single damned one. She said I could analyze her, ask her the questions and she goes and turns it around on me."
"Regulation states that a psychological evaluation must be given for all personnel," Spock interjected, "she was simply doing her job using a viable solution to a seemingly unsolvable problem."
"I don't particularly give a damn about regulation seeing as she TRICKED me! She probably wrote me off as some nut incapable of working and...!"
"Not actually, Bones," Jim shrugged, putting the data-screen on the table where the doctor could see it, "she said, 'Dr. Leonard McCoy is naturally inclined to be on the defensive, works himself to the bone and is not so over his fear of outer-space as he or anyone else may think - all in all with more sessions he could foreseeably mellow out but is no more unfit to work than any other member of Starfleet personnel.'"
McCoy didn't understand. He was gruff, uncivilized at times and a workaholic but this report made him out to be absolutely average. What was she saying? Who bothered to list a person's faults if all they were going to say was 'no worse than the rest of them'? Why take the time to figure out what was wrong with someone if they were fine to begin with? "That woman... confuses me."
The rest of his day was spent running scans on Crewman Reid, who had been the only crewman on the entire ship that was able to contract the flu in space. However inconvenient, he had to admire Reid's determination to get sick. After he sent Reid off to get a week of rest he almost collapsed from exhaustion, but managed to fall asleep on a biobed instead.
It was a week later that they docked on Risa for three days of shore leave where they would have time to rest for a while. McCoy was abundantly thankful for two reasons: the first being that he would be on solid ground for once; and the second being that Risa was to outer-space as Las Vegas was to America - it was a pleasure planet in several senses of the word. His first stop was Arkunda, which was a large restaurant/bar that he'd heard highly of. Jim had followed him in, but the place was so crowded that they'd lost each other along the way.
While the place was mostly a dance floor or eatery, Bones found himself drawn to the bar. It was his natural place in life other than the Operating Room. He assumed his regular position instantaneously - elbows on the counter, leaning forward slightly and waving for another drink every hour or so. It was after five hours of this that he noticed a familiar face sitting on a stool to his left a ways.
"Doctor McCoy," she responded simply, lost in some far off train of thought as she somberly sipped her bottle of Risian Ale.
Bones raised an eyebrow, "What's on your mind, doc?"
"Still addicted to the interrogative, I see."
"You enabled the behavior," McCoy defended.
A shrug, and the woman finished her drink. "I suppose."
"Another round for the both of us." The bartender brought around two more bottles and set them out. "Say, this stuff any good?"
"Zehr gut." She murmured after taking a rather large sip. "But it doesn't particularly matter that it tastes good, seeing as the primary use for alcohol isn't to taste good rather than to make you feel good."
He whistled, "I didn't know my shrink was an alcoholic."
"She's not, she's just German." She didn't laugh but Bones sure did.
"So what is on your mind, doc?"
"The depressing fact that I'm spending the rest of my shore leave after this cooped up in a rented room writing out paperwork. That and my inability to form meaningful relationships with people."
"You're a psychiatrist," McCoy reminded her, "you study people and get inside their brains and fix them for a living."
"That's the problem. I can't talk to people without going into analyst mode. I can't get to know someone without needing to know what made them that way and what I can do to change them. A psychiatrist does that, but a friend just relaxes around you. Hangs out."
"You're doing fine now."
"With alcohol helping out," she reminded him, "and even then I'm secretly keeping tabs on everything you say."
She laughed halfheartedly, "Why are you here?"
"Because I have a serious problem."
"Ah," Dr. Springer nodded, "which might be just another reason why I'm here, in a strictly philosophical sense."
Their conversation continued for another hour, and McCoy found that with her around he was drinking a little more to catch up with the woman. It was by nightfall that his vision was definitely tenfold blurrier. His judgment wasn't fully intact either.
"I think I should be getting to my room," Springer suggested at one point, and McCoy nodded in agreement without really understanding what she was saying. Her accent was thicker and she was obviously slurring her words. "It's late."
"Let me walk you there," he slurred back.
She remembered where it was only barely and he staggered along side her. Having reached the door she smiled at him vaguely while he stood there obliviously. "I've got to go inside now, Herr McCoy."
With no prior warning, this statement from Springer provoked him and he grabbed her by the shoulders and violently kiss her on the lips. The woman, already disoriented, had absolutely no idea what was going on. She tried to lightly pull away at some point but Dr. McCoy wouldn't let that happen. Something had awoken inside him for just tonight through his lack of inhibitions and he wanted - maybe needed - to be with someone for once. He hadn't been with anyone since his divorce, hadn't bothered. But... Springer confused him damnit, and maybe if he put himself closer he could figure her out.
Well, he figured out that she wore apricot flavored lip gloss. That and she had a veritable lack of inhibitions too, seeing as she let him continue only just a few seconds after he stopped her escape attempt. Pulling away for breath, Bones watched as she quickly opened her door and ushered him inside. In the morning he didn't remember much after that except having had a general feeling of being impressed.
He awoke to her sleeping, exposed form and a massive headache. Getting up to get some aspirin, he realized that this probably broke quite a few rules - but what happens on Risa, stays on Risa, right? Bones heard her stirring and turned to see that Amelia had opened her eyes and was looking at him.
"Good morning, doctor."
"Good morning to you too, doctor."