Title: Old Wounds
Characters: Spock, McCoy mainly; bit of Kirk and Scotty
Rating: T for safety; brief mention of Mirror, Mirror and all that baggage
Word Count: 400; four connected drabbles at 100 each
Summary/Warnings: Small piece from and after Spectre of the Gun. Spoilers for that episode and Mirror, Mirror, as well as insignificant nod to Dagger of the Mind. For those of you who have never tried to write drabbles (which are exactly 100 words, no more and no less), it's nowhere near as easy as it looks - and the key to good drabbling is understatment and implication. That's why this is posted as a separate fic from my miscellaneous ficlet-and-drabble series; these four took every bit as long to write as a oneshot. (Eesh! :) Anyway:

Approximately three minutes, one hundred eighty seconds, he estimates according to length of stride and distance, until their opponents arrive. An average of sixty seconds to spend upon each of his companions before they must face the Melkotians' trial.

Kirk, he knows, will not take that long unless they mutually wish an extended contact, and he is quite taken aback by the readiness with which he is accepted by Montgomery Scott; at first understandable hesitation, but then cheerful acceptance – as is typical of his life-outlook in general.

Quite logical; the engineer is, after all, the second most brilliant man aboard.

McCoy is an entirely different matter.

The physician resists his gentle intrusion with an astounding amount of force, which for a moment shocks him until he senses the emotion that fuels the defense, carefully shielded. He remembers then, and sees the memories: not only was the doctor wary on the first occasion he'd used the mind-meld for the benefit of a mission, but McCoy also had been the victim of a violation that he had refused to discuss, many months ago.

Then the mists clear, and he sees the ugly, twisted root of the unconscious desperation.

It is unmistakable terror.

Fear, in this case, is a logical condition of existence rather than emotion, and one he knows has lain too long festering. However, he has only twenty-three seconds, and possibly fifteen of the captain's, to calm and convince the physician's mind of the unreality of this place and its weapons.

It takes every moment of those to project the earnest promise of I would never harm you…Leonard, but finally the barriers lower enough to permit gentle control; and touching nothing more despite the obvious need for healing he withdraws, for it is Jim's turn, and they have no more time.

Surprisingly enough, that tenuous connection to McCoy is the last to snap when they find themselves aboard the Enterprise, and it is the doctor's hands that steady him as his mind reels in severance.

More surprisingly, it is McCoy who enters his quarters later that ship's-night, asking hesitantly and without sarcasm if he can spare a moment to talk.

He has just been permitted to begin healing the worst of the damage when his commanding officer stops by hours later, checking on his friends before retiring.

The Captain sags in grateful relief, blinks suspiciously, and then leaves without a sound.