A Logical Conclusion
Author's Note: This takes place after the events of "The Galileo Seven," and so fairly early in the series.
McCoy stood outside of Spock's quarters, wondering why he felt so nervous. It was ridiculous. Hell, it was illogical. He sure hadn't worried about what Spock would say or think when they were all down on Taurus II and Spock was giving orders. He took a deep breath and got ready to hit the buzzer. This was absurd, and he'd been standing outside of Spock's door for way too long. He needed to grow a pair and—
Without warning the doors swooshed open, and Spock, who'd been exiting his quarters, walked right into McCoy.
The Vulcan blinked several times in surprise. He'd obviously—and logically—not expected to find McCoy in his doorway. One eyebrow twitched upward. "Doctor?" he asked.
McCoy nodded, as if the question had been one of identity rather than a request for a much-needed explanation. Then he took a deep breath and released it. "I was, ah, just coming to see you," he said. "Do you have a moment?"
"Yes," Spock said. "I am free of engagements until 1900 hours."
"Good," McCoy said. He waited for Spock to retreat into his quarters, but the Vulcan didn't move. "Can we go in?" he asked after a moment.
"Yes," Spock said. Though his tone was stiff and formal, the Vulcan looked wary as he turned and headed back into his rooms. McCoy followed him inside, and barely waited until the doors had closed behind them to begin.
The words jumbled out without preface. "I wanted to apologize."
Spock shut his eyes briefly. When he met McCoy's gaze, his expression was impenetrable. "An apology is unnecessary."
"Yes, it is." McCoy folded his arms. Since he'd followed Spock in, his nervousness had somehow translated itself into conviction. "I was out of line. We all were. We all deserve to be written up for insubordination—but you're not going to do that, are you?"
Spock did not reply for a moment. Then he said, "Are you suggesting that I press charges against you and Dr. Boma, or posthumously against Latimer and Gaetano?"
McCoy sighed. "No. Of course not. I just mean that you'd be well within your rights."
"Then I hardly see the point of this discussion, Doctor."
McCoy felt frustration rising within him. Why the hell couldn't Spock accept an apology? Why'd he have to be so damn stubborn? "I'm apologizing, Spock! I thought you might appreciate it after all we went through today. Are you even listening? I'm saying that I shouldn't have questioned your orders or lambasted your logic or tried to guilt you into being a better commander! Why is it that—" He cut himself off, realizing that he had begun to lean forward and gesticulate in Spock's face. Yelling at Spock, he reminded himself, would defeat the whole purpose of an apology. He took a moment to compose himself, then folded his arms once more across his chest. "Y'know what, Spock," he said, "I'm sorry. That's it. I'm just sorry."
When Spock said nothing, he turned to leave. He had almost made it to the door when Spock's voice arrested him. "Doctor," the Vulcan said. "Are we friends?"
McCoy pivoted to stare at Spock in the face. He was ready to snap an answer when he realized, with some amount of shock, that he didn't have one. "Are we," he repeated. "I… Aren't we?"
Spock shook his head slightly, an admission to ignorance, and looked down. "I had believed…" he began, and a strange expression passed across his face. He cleared his throat. "I had believed that a friend would not have so endeavored to undermine my command."
"I wasn't trying to…" McCoy began. But he stopped. That wasn't true. He had been trying. He hadn't just questioned orders, he'd questioned them unnecessarily and loudly and in front of the whole crew. He'd expressed perfect disgust with almost everything Spock had done or ordered, when he hadn't had any better ideas. In doing so he'd encouraged the other, less senior, officers to do the same. That was, after all, why he had come here to apologize. Maybe Spock was right. Because either they weren't friends or McCoy was the worst goddamn friend in the world.
"However," Spock continued, as though there had been no pause or interruption, "You did risk your life to save mine, when to leave me would have been far more logical."
He was tired of logic, and tired of arguing with logic. "I couldn't leave you behind, Spock," he said.
Spock nodded once, as if this were new information. "Why not, Doctor?"
"Because I couldn't!" McCoy bristled. He was tired of being questioned, too, and so disillusioned with himself that he just wanted to crawl under a rock and stay there for a few years.
"Had you not waited or come to rescue me, you would most likely have been able to attain orbit without firing the boosters prematurely. All aboard would have had a better chance of survival."
McCoy shook his head. "I wasn't thinking about chances, Spock," he said. He felt defeated.
"What, then, were you thinking of?"
He hesitated, searching for both the right answer and for an acceptable way to say it. "I…" he began, and realized that there only was one answer. "I was thinking about you."
Spock inclined his head, but looked up to meet McCoy's eyes with his own a moment later. "I believe that I would do the same for you," he said.
"Well," McCoy said, for lack of a better reply, "Thanks, Spock."
"If we are both willing to risk our lives for one another, despite any illogic inherent in doing so," Spock said, "then, Doctor… are we not friends?"
For once, McCoy had no argument, no counter to Spock's logic. He actually smiled, for a second, both in relief and at the irony of the fact that Spock had reached this conclusion through his tireless logic. "Y'know," he said, shaking his head just slightly, "I think we must be."
They looked at each other for a moment.
Then McCoy said, more seriously, "Thank you, Spock," and turned to leave.
"Doctor," Spock said.
"I am pleased."
Now McCoy did grin. "Me too, Spock. Me too."
Feedback appreciated! Was it out of character or too mushy?