It's raining today. What does that mean besides running through puddles in the rain? At long last you get another Snow Patrol Diary entry. I've been slack. This is the next to the last one. Enjoy.

Disclaimer – Must we constantly have this conversation…

Set Down Your Glass

Art therapy.

Only a wanna be, free loving hippie like James T. Kirk would subscribe to such a theory.

"I'm a doctor, not some pimple faced teenager, tripping acid."

The instructor shot a piercing glance towards the back of the room and although tempted to respond by sticking out his tongue, Dr. McCoy avoided the action. The teacher continued her murmuring about choosing a partner for the upcoming project.

"What is this…art or square dancing?" The comment was followed by a few guttural groans of Klingon and a loud click of the tongue. The doctor's eyes shot up from the blank canvas and two rows in front of him sat Nyota Uhura. The same lieutenant he'd shared a few drinks with back at the academy; treated for broken ribs that were not sustained in any battle, and the same woman whose legs reminded him daily that he was a red blooded American male. Not some cold and logical green blooded goblin who would treat her like a science fair project.

Nyota sighed and allowed her eyes to travel around the room. She caught a glimpse of the doctor and tilted her head slowly to the side before delivering a wonderfully devilish smile. Yep, she definitely reminded him that he was all male and incapable of testing the boundaries of his sexuality. The lieutenant moved to the open spot next to Doctor McCoy and continued to roll her eyes as the instructor finished the details of the project.

"One of you will be the artist and the other the subject."

The way the woman said the word subject made them both snicker. Another warning glare was delivered in their direction.

"Find an essence within your subject that you want to capture; strength, vulnerability, gracefulness, or beauty."

Leonard was staring at Nyota's bare shoulder peeking from the oversized collar of her tunic. The skin was the color of powdered cocoa with a mix of cinnamon. She was shimmering and his mouth was watering. Held hostage by the sight, the doctor did not realize the instructor was beside him.

"I believe someone has found their subject and what a beautiful one it is."

The doctor blushed, cleared his throat, and attempted to straighten his appearance.

"Leo, you okay?"

He nodded in response to her question.

"I volunteer to be the subject. I can sing, dance, and conjugate verbs in over 95% of the Federation's languages but art just is not my thing."

Doctor McCoy laughed. He lingered on the thought. It was a rarity. Sometimes Jim said something totally asinine that got a deep belly laugh out of him. Other times he laughed at Sulu and his thousands of varieties of plants that he had lovingly named after beautiful women. This week Naomi Campbell was the helmsman's favorite. There were the moments when Chekov mispronounced words and made them sound like vulgar words and yes they often tricked him into repeating them. However, rarely did he laugh and feel relief, warmth, and relaxation.

The two of them took their cue from the rest of the classmates, moving to a deserted corner of the observation deck. Leonard arranged the easel and canvas, filled the empty jars with water, lined up his brushes, and finally the paint.

"Okay, someone has done this before."

"Utter a word and…"

"You will not hypo spray me with anything." Nyota winked at the doctor. "Where do you want me?"

Leonard squelched the automatic response and led Nyota to the stool a few feet from the canvas. He positioned her back facing the canvas, tilted her head to the side, and pulled her hair from that dreaded ponytail.

"Wait a minute mister."

Leonard ignored Nyota, "Don't make me pull rank." She relaxed and allowed him to arrange the soft curls of her hair. He pulled on her tunic exposing a little more of the shoulder he had an urge to bite. "Stay, just like that."

He eased his way back to the canvas and hurriedly sketched her frame, "Quit wiggling."

"Fermez la bouche!" Nyota hissed.

"Such a brilliant linguist." The doctor responded in full sarcasm mode.

Leonard whirled the water around in the jars as he cleaned off his brushes; concentrating on the perfect mix of colors to match the tone of her skin. It was mesmerizing to watch him work. Even the instructor found her way to their corner on several occasions.

"Lovely."

"Breathtaking."

Each time causing Nyota to focus more intently on the quiet doctor who was staring at her in a way no man ever had. He studied the lines of her profile, the curve of her neck, and the slight bend in her shoulder blades.

"Stop doing your eyes like that."

Nyota bugged her eyes and Leonard raised his hand and echoed a long drawn out whiny version of, "Teacher."

"Snitch." Nyota said before straightening up and returning to her original pose.

Leonard continued with his endeavor. When it was completed he stepped back, looked it over, and smiled. "Damn, I'm good."

Nyota and the instructor both made it to the canvas in record time.

Patting his back, the instructor proclaimed, "You are very talented."

Nyota stood mouth open with wide eyes, "Its beautiful Leo."

"Of course you are."

The smile he received in response was all the thanks he needed but instead she stretched her body to reach him and planted a light kiss directly on his lips. "Thank you."

"I can finish the background and then I will bring it to your quarters."

Nyota agreed while grabbing her belongings and heading for the door. She paused and threw another long look in the doctor's direction. He blushed for the second time that day.

Leonard stayed on the observation desk to finish the painting; adding a gloss so that her hair would shine perfectly in the picture. He adjusted the color of her tunic to a deep cream that perfectly accentuated the richness of the texture of her skin. Finally he decided on a deep blue for the painting's background.

"This is positively beautiful." The instructor stood in awe before working some technological magic that immediately dried the painting. Although he preferred old methods he was grateful. "You translated the love in your eyes perfectly; I hope she will recognize that."

The woman's words threw him off guard. He opened his mouth to protest.

"No need denying what is obvious to an old one who has had her share of loves. Go on now."

Leonard cradled the painting carefully like a newborn he'd just delivered in sickbay. He reached her door and before he could buzz the door parted allowing him entry. The first he noticed, her hair was still down. She was like an anxious kid, arms out, reaching for the painting.

When Nyota's eyes landed on the finished product she began to cry.

"What's wrong?"

She shook her head, "Nothing."

"Nyota." Leonard allowed his voice to soften. He watched as her fingers traced the lines of the painting.

"I thought I was numb because of all the loss in the past year, the Narada, Gaila's death, and finally the breakup with Spock. I didn't think I could feel anything anymore." She was silent for a few minutes. "Then a few weeks ago, you looked at me and I smiled from the inside out. Today, this, you look at me, and see the perfection in the imperfection."

"Doll face you're pretty damn perfect."

"Thank you."

"The pleasure is all mine."

Leonard helped Nyota hang the painting in her sitting area. They finished the night off reminiscing on old times over a very badly replicated pizza and warm beer. When he stood to say goodnight, she quickly moved from her spot on the floor and threw her arms around him in a big hug.

"I promise I won't tell that you're a big softie."

"Only when it comes to you."

Leonard left Nyota smiling like a silly school girl at her door.