Alternate Scene: This is just a different way the confrontation between Spock and Bones could have gone.

******

As their conversation drew to a close and Jim started yawning every other sentence, Bones hit the captain with a sedative and laid him down in his bed. Then he left his quarters, heading towards the bridge.

Although Spock was technically not on duty, according to Jim, Bones knew that the Vulcan would most likely be manning the science station.

And as Bones exited the turbolift, he found that he was right.

"Commander Spock, a word?" the doctor requested.

Dark brown eyes met his own, and the Vulcan gave a little nod before rising gracefully from his station.

They walked side-by-side into the nearest conference room, and Bones waited until the sound-proofed door was closed before beginning to speak.

And he was talking – not yelling – which was something he only did when he was very, very serious – and Bones knew that Spock was observant enough to pick up on that.

*****

"Do you want to lose him? Is that why you're doing this?" Dr. McCoy asked Spock in a serious voice.

"I do not know of what you speak, doctor," Spock replied stiffly.

"Can you smell him on me?" the doctor asked curiously. "He came into my room and hugged me like he never wanted to let go. Do you know why?"

Spock stared back at him stoicly, clasping his hands behind his back to hide his tension.

"You're not giving him what he needs – emotionally. Jim might act like the cockiest bastard in the universe, but if you know anything about him you know that he needs reassurance and approval and affection like he needs air," Dr. McCoy continued. "And he's either going to turn to another for what you're not giving him, or he's going to break it off because he thinks that you're not giving it to him because he's not good enough for you."

"My relationship with the captain is not your concern," Spock replief stiffly.

"Not my concern?!" the doctor yelled indignantly in response, before taking a deep breath to calm himself and level his tone. "It is my concern when my best friend comes to me nearly crying, desperate for affection and love and saying that the person who is supposed to give it to him instead makes him feel like a prostitute."

Spock's hiss of shock echoed throughout the silent room.

"The captain…Jim would not say that," Spock replied, knowing that the doctor could sense his distress.

"You're right – he used the word 'whore'," the human responded, no traces of forgiveness in his voice or on his face. "He feels like he pressured you into a sexual relationship that you're not ready for or that you didn't want, and that's why you've been withdrawing from him for the past two months. He told me that you were both happier when you were only friends."

Spock did not answer, turning from Dr. McCoy and facing the opposite wall. The doctor's statement was not true – Spock had been happier in the past two months than he had ever been in his lifetime.

But Jim…

Spock thought of his t'hy'la, of the look on Jim's face whenever Spock refused to meld their minds and whenever he left after their lovemaking – had Spock's shame of his own emotions made Jim think that he was ashamed of his lover?

Spock illogically clenched his eyes shut against that truth, knowing that he had been in denial.

And that denial had hurt his t'hy'la – his Jim – the one person who accepted him whole-heartedly.

Spock had thought he was acting out of concern for Jim when he refused to mind meld, when really he was protecting the emotionless veneer covering his feelings and harming his love in the process.

What would he do if Jim left?

Spock could not imagine a life without Jim by his side and in his bed – his captain, his friend, his lover.

"He's in my bed – I hit him with a sedative after he refused to sleep," Dr. McCoy told him after a few minutes had passed in heavy silence. "If you don't fix this, I will take him away from you – and you have to know that I have the ability to do that. A few pushes in the right direction from me and Jim would drop you like a hot potato – not because he doesn't care for you, but because he doesn't think that you care for him. Not really. And you know I could work with that."

Spock could feel the jealousy and anger and rage filling him, but he could not control himself.

If he did not, he would turn and strangle the doctor – and this time there was no Sarek around to stop him.

But the thought of Jim – of hurting Jim by hurting Dr. McCoy – allowed him to control his violent impulses.

"I'm not saying this to hurt you, Spock," the doctor continued. "I'm saying this because Jim is my best friend and you're hurting him. You're hurting him when you have the ability to make him happier than I ever could."

"You love him," Spock accused in a low voice.

"Don't you?" the doctor retorted levelly. "Make him happy, or I will."

Spock watched as the doctor walked out of the conference room, leaving him alone.

He had much to think about…