Since I am almost done with Wanderers and Deities, I have decided to test the waters with a young McCoy fic. I am relying mostly on TOS-verse canon, but I am expanding in some places, since the reboot verse is technically an alternate reality after the year 2233. I have plans to take this up to the point where he joins the Academy, but I am unsure as to how long it will be. There absolutely will not be an OFC, I promise you that.

Rating is for language, consumption of alcohol, and adult themes later on.

Read, review, and enjoy!



He is six years old when he has his first real drink of bourbon.

The year is 2233, but the southern climate continues as it always has, undaunted by the passage of time. Even though the heat of summer has not yet broached the cool of late spring, the night is heavy and oppressive, and his clothes are stuck to his skin with the humidity. The air is thick and smooth like velvet, almost palpable, like he could reach out and run it through his fingers. He feels like he's drowning with every breath.

There is an ornate glass of the aforementioned liquid perched on the end table, abandoned. This was obviously not the intention of its owner, an older man who is asleep in the chair next to said drink.

The perspiration on the outside of the glass entices the younger occupant of the room with a siren's call. The liquid within is a gorgeous shade of amber, like the jewels of resin on the trees. He wonders if it will taste sweet, like syrup, and feels his mouth water at the thought. The young boy's lips curl into a mischievous smile that brings a bright light to his eyes.

They are intelligent, those eyes, and do not match the awkward angles of his youthful exterior. They are a duplicitous shade of hazel, an amalgamation of green and brown—though they suddenly become more of the latter as the color of the bourbon reflects in them.

He uses both hands to extricate the glass from its resting place, holding his breath. The coldness against his fingers makes his entire body tremble. He folds himself stealthily against the back of the chair and stares at the bounty between his palms. The smell wafts up to him, grainy and bitter, and he has to fight back the urge to sneeze.

His conscience resolutely reminds him that he should not partake in said beverage, but curiosity wins this battle with little remorse, and he lifts the glass to his lips.

It is not so much the sound of a glass hitting the floor that awakens David McCoy. Rather, his attention is instantly drawn to the image of his young son, nearly doubled over and coughing. The front of the boy's shirt is covered in the evidence of his delinquency, and there is a furious red blush to his cheeks.

"Leonard Horatio!"

David reaches down and whirls his son to face him by the nape of his neck. Instinct makes the young boy shy away, but his father draws his attention with a quick snap of his fingers. Words are not necessary to describe the ire that is painted across David McCoy's face; there may not be an adjective potent enough to convey it.

The commotion brings Eleanora McCoy into the room like a ghost. She has that knowing expression on her face that is common to mothers everywhere, when the maternal radar suggests that mischief is afoot.

She encounters her husband with one hand clamped tightly on her son's arm. The other is pointing judiciously at the glass on the carpet, and the smell of bourbon reaches her on the threshold of the room. Normally David would be verbally lashing out at his son, but the bourbon has made his tongue sloppy. He has merely resolved himself to staring, a scowl on his face, and her son is attempting to curl away from the unbridled ferocity in the expression.

"David, enough."

David looks between her and his son, and lets the boy's arm drop with an unsteady snarl.

"Leonard," she speaks softly. "Go to your room. We will talk later."

It is not her words, but the way that she says them, so level and sharp like the blade of a knife, that chases young Leonard from the room. Only when the soft click of a door sliding shut echoes through the house does Eleanora let her eyes wander. She examines the glass and the corresponding stain, the newspaper now scattered across the floor, and settles her gaze on her bleary-eyed husband with a heavy sigh.

She reaches down and gathers the glass, as if removing it from her husband's view would suddenly resolve everything.

"That's enough for tonight, David."

Her husband gives the expression of a man that just swallowed something foul. "Damn that kid."

"You don't mean that." She is inclined to say 'that's the bourbon talking,' but the last time she exercised her wit in that fashion quite a few objects almost ended up broken. For the sake of clemency she opts for the more diplomatic route.

David sighs thickly.

"I'll take care of him," she offers.

She turns on her heel and leaves the room in measured steps, taking the glass with her.

Leonard sits with his legs akimbo at the center of his bed and stares out the window. Thick, featureless clouds have blanketed the sky, blotting out the stars and leaving a monotonous shade of navy blue in their wake.

At the moment he is not thinking about the incident downstairs, though the bourbon is still burning at the back of his throat. His mind is instead wandering in the way that only a child's can, as he tries to think of anything except the horrific expression on his father's face.

Leonard Horatio. The tone of his father's voice echoes in his head, and he has to fight not to let his skin crawl.

He wonders why his mother chose to name him Leonard. She says that he was named after his great-great-grandfather, which he always found strange, not because he was such a distant relation, but because the only time his mother ever spoke of the man was to tell stories of the famous gardens he planted. His mother loves flowers. Sometimes he wonders if she loves them more than him. She threatened to tan his hide once, when she caught him pulling petals off her gardenias, and he is now permanently banned from the side of the house that shades her precious flora. He sighs dejectedly. This Leonard does not like flowers. They make him sneeze.

Horatio is even worse. His mother often tells him that he should love it, because he was named after a great character in the work of Shakespeare. He often wonders, in his child-like way, if his mother realizes that Shakespeare is old. His mother loves Shakespeare almost as much as her flowers. She used to recite lines to him to ease him to sleep when he was an infant. Sometimes, when everything else is completely silent, he can close his eyes and hear the echoes of her voice, gentle waves of sound in his memory.

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

That was her favorite line. She would always finish her readings with this phrase, the standard he carried to the world of dreams. It always hangs in the back of his mind, a guiding voice that he never acknowledges outright. He does not realize it now, but that eternal phrase will have profound implications on his life well beyond his childhood years. It is but one of the many ethereal hands that fate will send forth to fashion his destiny in ways he can not yet understand.

Leonard sighs. He wonders bitterly why his father could get so angry, but he thinks, rather triumphantly, that it probably has something to do with the fact that his drink tastes so bad. There is a saying his mother uses all the time: you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. He decides to bring this up with his father sometime, when the memory of this event is long gone.

The door creaks open, and his mother enters. She watches him from the threshold with something of a smile, but it is a hollow one that does not reach her eyes. He watches her as intently as a six year old can manage as she approaches his bed and sits down on the edge.

"I can't punish you for being curious, Len," she says after a heavy silence.

Leonard decides that she is not angry, and greets her with a gap-toothed smile. She ruffles at his hair, but there is something oddly mechanical about her movements, something that does not feel right.

"Whassa matter?"

She placates him with a wave of her hand. "It's nothing. You, on the other hand, are up too late."

"Oh." He takes a moment to think. "Why is dad so angry all the time?"

". . . Your father is under a lot of stress right now, Len."

"Lots of doctor stuff to do?"

That ghostly smile flickers on her lips again. "Yes."

He decides to test his earlier theory on his mother. "I think he needs to stop drinking that stuff. It tastes bad."

Eleanora stares at her son for a moment, before a pure and genuine smile cracks through her flaccid features for the first time in quite a long time. She reaches out and embraces her son, and Leonard can feel her breath, warm and wet, against the back of his head. Her body jerks as she attempts to control a sob, and as she releases him from her embrace Leonard can see tears hanging on her eyelashes.

"Why are you crying?"

"It's nothing, Len."

To Be Continued.