Here it is, ladies and gents. End of the run, no more to go. Hope you enjoyed it, and...once you get to a certain point in this chapter (you'll know it when you see it) understand that I really couldn't help myself... Enjoy anyway.

McCoy glared at the biobed in front of him silently. Jim had just left after visiting him for the first time since they had been retrieved. The meeting had been joyous, yet hampered by the silent and pale figure lying on the biobed. Shadows pockmarked the figure's face; the outline in the bed was thin, nearly skeletal. He was underfed himself, but whereas McCoy had been a healthy weight, Spock had always been underweight.

But the most important thing was the blanket itself was a thermal one, combating the effects of the very start of hypothermia; the cover hid heavy bandages and wires, and Spock still was unmoving.

It was all McCoy could do not to scream in frustration. So close. They were so close, and Spock was slipping away.

His mind was running through 'could have's and 'should have's like lightning, possibilities dancing across his vision. The planet had already been classified as dangerous and the ship was already long gone. He could just begin to see the end of this miserable journey; he just wished that Spock was awake to see it with him. He'd seen the start, now he needed to see the end.

But the hobgoblin was refusing to wake up. They had contacted Sarek with the news that his son was still alive; the relief in those eyes was something that McCoy had clung to. Now Spock just needed to open his eyes, and they could move on completely.

He sighed, rubbing at his temples, his eyes closed and his mouth set. "Dammit, goblin…why do you have to make things so difficult?"

"Talking at the air again, Doctor?" McCoy nearly jumped, turning his head a little quicker than normal to face the one who had spoken, a small smile tugging at the corner of his mouth at the slight one on his head nurse's face.

"More like talkin' to someone who can't hear me…" McCoy answered easily, shrugging slightly.

"Doctor…he'll be fine. Really, we just need to give him time."

"You put a lot of faith in that..."

"Not in that, in him; trust me, he'll come around. He's done so every other time; this one won't be any different."

As McCoy sat in front of a weak, but mostly whole half-Vulcan he couldn't help but reflect to himself that Chapel had been right. The two of them were in the mess hall sitting across from each other, crewmembers all around them, and a large selection of vegetarian foodstuffs were in between them. The crewmembers had come because it was one of the only times that Spock had been seen out of the sickbay; the two of them were there to help support crew morale, and the food was there due to the doctor attempting to help get Spock back to the proper weight.

Spock had finally been able to eat the proper and healthy amount, and now McCoy was attempting to push the boundaries of that a little and see if he could get him to be able to eat just a bit more. Spock was, naturally, protesting slightly, but at the sight of McCoy's glare he gave it up.

The crew had been slightly amused as Spock diligently went through each bowl and plate that was in front of him methodically. Then he stopped. McCoy immediately narrowed his eyes, looking at the last bite that was in front of him, and back up at Spock with a raised eyebrow.

"Well…are you gonna eat that?"

"Negative. I have, in fact, reached full capacity; any attempt to add more and my body will attempt to expel it."

McCoy snorted. "Don't be ridiculous. It's just two bites; what more can two bites possibly do?"

"Doctor, please, I do not believe that I can hold any more."

"Look, Spock, who's the doctor here, me or you?"

"You are…" His voice was resigned and McCoy nodded.

"Exactly. It will be fine; in fact, I'll make a deal with you- one more bite and I'll let you go."

Spock paused, hesitated, looked from him to the bowl, and finally back up at him, an eyebrow slowly rising. "If you insist…" With that he slowly reached out, stabbed the tomato calmly, and proceeded to chew.

"There, see? No problems there." McCoy grinned as Spock finally swallowed and regarded him with a raised eyebrow. The crew who had been close enough to hear the conversation also smiled, and then they hesitated. Spock had turned a shade of yellow that did not look all that healthy; the next second he had launched himself out of his chair and across the mess hall to the recyclers, where he proceeded to vomit spectacularly into the open hatch.

The entire hall was silent, staring at the hunched-over figure that hadn't made a move to straighten, shock, sympathy and general confusion the feeling on everyone's mind.

McCoy's grin fell. He frowned and looked down at the salad. "Must have been a bad tomato." The sudden loud and carrying comment made everyone burst out laughing, and Spock to straighten back up, tugging at his shirt and returning to his place in front of McCoy.

"I did warn you, Doctor."

"So you did. I'm sorry, Spock; next time I promise I'll listen to you."

"You and I both know that this is a highly unlikely prospect."

McCoy couldn't help but give him a small smile. "True, but I'm workin' on it. We'll get there in the end, I promise."

"Very well, Doctor. I shall attempt to do the same."

The two of them began clearing away the dishes, McCoy warning Spock to eat in his quarters at the earliest point he could, the half-Vulcan agreeing. They continued walking down the hallway together, chatting quietly about whatever (although Spock would deny anything of the sort), when McCoy suddenly stopped in the middle of the hallway, making a harried-looking ensign hurriedly stop in order to avoid running into him. Spock pulled him off to the side and raised an eyebrow at him.

"I just realized… We've been holdin' a proper conversation without argument or anythin' for an entire day almost."


"What do we tell Jim?"

Spock was silent, and then looked back up. "Strictly speaking, Leonard, there is no reason to tell him."

McCoy's face pulled into a grin, and he clapped him on the shoulder. "Spock, I like your thinkin'."

"I believe it would be best for you to remove your hand from my person."

"Oh, I'm sorry; I just thought…"

"No, from time to time I shall allow such a thing, but Jim is coming."

Kirk's face was pulled into a smile at the sight of his First Officer up and about, although McCoy seemed to be helping him upright.

"Dammit, you pointy-eared goblin, didn't I tell you not to overdo it?"

"My apologies, Doctor; I assure you that this is the first time that it has happened."

"Ha! Knowin' you, you've been close to keelin' over all day!"

As Spock opened his mouth to reply, Jim stepped in. "Hey, you two, play nice, alright? Spock, if you are having trouble standing up, maybe the doctor's right. Really, you two, didn't a couple of weeks in captivity teach you how to get along better?"

The two of them paused, looked at each other, and then back to Jim. "Are you kidding? There's absolutely no way!"


With that, Jim began to laugh, and the world was complete again, if not a little fuller than it had been before.