Len was absolutely not looking out for Spock to enter the mess when he saw Sulu walk into the Mess Hall for alpha shift meal break, retrieved his meal from the replicator and walk to the table where he, Jim and Nyota sat. The doctor in him couldn't help but notice how the younger man winced as he swung his leg over the bench.
"Are you okay, Hikaru?" Nyota asked, concerned.
"Yeah," he answered. "I pulled my hamstring sparring with Lokai yesterday"
"Are you sure?" Kirk added. "Have you had Bones look at it?"
"It's not that big of a deal, sir." Sulu tried to wave off their attention.
"I'm the doctor in this tin can, Lieutenant." Leonard spoke up. "I'll be the judge of that." He pulled out the medical tricorder he always kept on hand and began to run it along the length of Sulu's leg. "It's a strain."
"See, no big deal."
"Report to sickbay at 1600 hours for Occupational Therapy." Len ordered Sulu.
"Doc, I don't think-"
"In fact . . ." Len interrupted the man, and walked over to an empty chair and pulled it over to the table and sat down and slowly pulled Sulu's leg on to his lap.
Everyone stared as Len began to knead the muscles of Sulu's leg working around the injured area.
"This should give you some relief until then."
"Thanks, doc. That feels great."
"No problem," he answered, lowering the leg gently before looking once more to the door and returning to his own meal
"I blame you, Bones!" Kirk shouted at his best friend.
"I'd take you more seriously if you didn't sound like a petulant toddler." Len raised his eyebrow at Jim.
"Boooones . . ." Jim whined as the turbolift doors opened and they walked onto the Bridge.
"Why did Chapel have to fix my shoulder? You're my doctor."
"I was elbow deep in green blood at the time, kid." Len answered, glancing over to the science station where he could see Spock's shoulders tense, as Jim sat in his chair. "I checked her work after surgery. She did a great job repairing your torn rotator cuff."
"Then why does it still hurt?"
"Maybe, the pain is in your head?"
"Maybe, the pain is in my shoulder!" Kirk retorted. "Can you just check it please?"
"Fine, you big baby." Len ran the medical tricorder over Jim's shoulder. "Hmm"
"What is it?" Jim asked. "Is it messed up? She told me that it'd be 'good as new.'"
"That it is . . ."
"What does that mean?"
"Your shoulder is as good as new." Len said putting the tricorder away and pulled on Jim's injured arm and stretched the shoulder joint.
"Then why does it hurt?"
"Because your shoulder shouldn't be new; it should be 27 years old." Len dug his hands into the muscles of Jim's neck, shoulder and upper back.
"Oh . . ."
"Yeah, she took the regeneration a little too far, so the muscles are a little tight. You just got to work it out until it loosens up a bit."
"Hey, don't stop!" Jim exclaimed when Len turned back towards the lift.
"I have real patients waiting in sickbay."
"How can I help you Lt. Vro?" Len asked his patient.
"I have injured my leg, Doctor."
"Let's take a look," Len asked as he ran the tricorder over her hip and leg. "I don't see anything . . ."
"It hurts so bad right here," she said pointing to the area of her inner thigh and groin.
"Ok, please lie on the bed and lift up your uniform."
Gail did as asked, lying back on the bed and lifting her uniform skirt. Len found himself drawn to the expanse of emerald skin before him. He shook his head.
"Umm, can you show me again where it hurts, Lt. Vro?" She held his hand and guided it up her thigh and over where her leg met her torso. Their eyes met . . .
"Please, call me 'Gaila,' Len."
"Gaila," Len answered with a smile, digging his hands into the flesh there.
"Ooh," she moaned.
"How's that feel?" he whispered, huskily.
'That's it, Lenny."
""Lenny?'" Len shook his head again trying to clear it. She placed her hands on his jaw leading his gaze back to hers.
"Kiss me, Leonard."
"Yes . . ." Len leaned down and inched closer to her lips.
"Doctor McCoy." Spock spoke from the door.
"Am I interrupting?"
"No, I was just, um-"
"The doctor was treating me for an injury, sir."
"I see," Spock said, moving closer. "I assume you are feeling better, Lt. Vro? I suggest you return to your station."
"Yes, sir," she answered, jumping off of the exam bed and pulling her skirt down. "Thanks, Doctor."
Spock followed her with his eyes as she left the room before turning back and looking at McCoy. He could read the question in the man's eyes and the tilt of his head.
"I think I need to increase the dose on her pheromone suppressants," he said nervously.
"Indeed." Spock answered. "I have come for a sleep inducer."
All of the embarrassment of being caught under the influence of Orion female pheromones evaporated.
"Come to my quarters an hour before bed."
Spock arrived at his quarters at 2030 hours.
"Greetings, Doctor," Spock said as he entered the CMO cabin.
"Hey, Spock," he answered. "Come on in and have a seat."
The two men moved to the small sofa and table. Len offered Spock some tea and sat to drink two fingers of whiskey.
"You could have just given me the hypospray this afternoon and I could have administered the medication myself instead of bothering you during your off-hours.
"Spock, you've used them to sleep all week."
"I have only asked three times."
"And I'm betting that the other days you didn't sleep at all." Len shook his head. "I'm reluctant to give you the medication so much. We have no idea of the long term effects on you hybrid physiology. We are treating the symptom and not the cause."
"Doctor, we both know the cause and neither of us can remedy that."
Spock hadn't been sleeping well since his mother death and the destruction of Vulcan. He'd finally sought Len's help after a month of poor sleeping habits. They'd found that the sleep inducers kept the nightmares at bay but regular sleep brought on horrible dreams and just made Spock try to stay awake as long as possible.
Spock had been ashamed to admit he 'feared' anything so he'd suffered in silence before breaking down and asking for help. As it was, Spock only ever asked for a hypospray and wouldn't allow him to do his job fully and try to treat the cause.
"No, Spock," Len admitted. "I can't bring your mother back. But I can be someone you can talk to. It's unhealthy to not deal with your emotions.
"I can assure you-"
"Don't try to feed me bullshit and tell me it grits, Spock. I know you're hurting. Let me help you."
"I do not know if . . . "
"Just think about it, okay?" he said. "In the meantime let's see if I can get you to sleep tonight without the inducer."
He asked Spock to disrobe down to his briefs while he set up a massage table in the center of the seating area of the cabin.
"I replicated some of that incense you like to help you relax. Computer, lights to 50%."
"Thank you, Doctor." Spock said as he lay down on the massage table on his stomach.
"I could use latex gloves to limit transference but I've been reading up on Vulcan healing techniques and I understand that they use touch to convey thoughts to the injured; that those thoughts are just as powerful when it comes healing. I'd like to forget the gloves and try to replicate that."
"Without gloves," Spock warned. "I would be privy to any thought in the forefront of your mind. I wouldn't want to intrude on your privacy."
"Its fine, Spock, I don't have anything to hide from you."
"You may proceed."
Len warmed up some massage oil in his hands before beginning to work on the muscles of the upper back. There was a significant amount of tension in the muscles and several were in spasm. Len winced at the pain he imagined Spock must be in constantly.
"Doctor . . ."
"Right, happy thoughts only."
He continued the massage thoroughly working all the knots and kinks out of the man on his table. He could see the skin under his hands flush a light green as blood flow increased to the area he was working.
It took a while, nearly two hours and Len had barely noticed the time but Spock was sleeping. He ran a tricorder over his head to get a reading on his brain waves and saw that Spock was sleeping very deeply, unlikely to have dreams tonight.
The question was how to move him? Len knew at this time it was unlikely that any of the crew would be in the corridor so he activated the anti-grav of the massage table and moved it towards the door.
When things got slow Len would tour the ship and check on the crew. His most frequent stops were inevitably Engineering and the Bridge, as these were the mostly likely crew members to have been recently released from sickbay.
He made his way from Engineering to the Bridge to check in on Ensign Yard primarily; he'd been released for duty 3 days earlier following an away mission gone awry but he also wanted to use the opportunity to see Spock.
He'd finally taken Len's suggestion on speaking to someone about his nightmares and his whole ordeal with the loss of Vulcan and the loss of his mother. Len had tried not to be jealous that he'd elected to speak to Dr. M'Benga. On the other hand Len had been relieved; he wanted Spock to come to him not as a doctor but as a friend or maybe something more.
They had barely spoken in the month since Spock had fallen asleep in his quarters; in fact it had been the following morning when he'd message Len to tell him he wanted to list Dr. M'Benga as his primary physician. His colleague had been giving him minimal updates to protect Spock privacy and he trusted Geoff and his assurances.
Len exited the turbolift and walked towards the environmental station where Yard sat.
"How are you feeling, Mark?" Len asked quietly, laying his hand on the man's shoulder. Out of the corner of his eyes he could see Spock turn to him briefly before refocusing on his station. So what, if Spock disapproved of his informality.
"Much better, Doc, thanks," Yard answered turning to Len, also speaking quietly.
"No vertigo, lightheadedness or headaches?"
"That's good. If you feel any of these, don't hesitate to pay me a visit."
"Sure thing, doc."
"Ok." Len gave one last pat to the young man's shoulder before walking over to Jim.
"What are you guys up to here?" he asked.
"Star mapping," Jim answered with a sigh. "Nothing much for me to do; do you want to grab a bite?"
"Yeah," Len answered. "I could take a break."
The two men turned towards the lift, when a gasp sounded behind them. They both turned to see Chekov topple out of his seat.
"Chyort voz'mi!" Chekov screamed . . . and Sulu laughed.
"I told you it was too much." Sulu said.
"Idi na xuy husesos," Chekov responded, from between clenched teeth.
Len ran over and dropped to his knees by the boy.
"What happened?" Len asked.
"He ran for 3 hours this morning." Sulu told Len since Chekov could get nothing but curses and groans past his lips. "He's out of shape. I told him to take it easy and work his way back to that level."
Figuring the ensign's right calf had cramped, based on where he was clutching and Len grabbed the boy's leg.
"This is going to hurt a bit," Len warned and he dug his fingers into the tight muscles.
"Ebanatyi pidaraz!" Chekov groaned, squeezed his eyes closed and tears leaked out.
"Language, Ensign . . ." Jim teased the kid.
"You speak Russian, Captain?" Spock asked coming over to where Chekov had fallen.
"No, but I know a swear word when I hear one."
Len rolled his eyes as he continued working the cramp out of the young man's leg.
Len sat at his desk massaging his hands. He'd been in surgery for 14 hours and though he hadn't felt it at the time, now he was sore. He sighed and rolled his shoulders. Suddenly, he felt fingers digging into his upper back like the talons of the devil himself.
"What the fuck?" he screamed, shrugging the hands away and jumping out of the chair. His nurse, Christine, stood behind him, her fingers still curled.
"Good God, woman!" Len screamed. "What are you doing?"
"I was giving you a massage, you looked tense."
"Don't ever do that again . . . to anyone."
"No," he laughed, sitting back down. Christine laughed a bit and left him in the office.
A few minutes later a voice called from the door, "Doctor?"
He turned to see Spock standing at the door.
"Come on in. Is M'Benga not available?"
"I am not here to see him. I'd like to speak to you."
"Sure, sure. Have a seat."
"I'd like to discuss the reason for my wish to be attended by Dr. M'Benga."
"Oh, Spock, you don't need to explain yourself to me." Len looked down at his hands and began massaging them again nervously.
"I wished for you to know that my decision was not based on any perceived fault of your own. I wanted no impropriety-"
"Is this about the massage? Did I offend you in some way?"
"Not at all," Spock assured him. "But I did realize something that night. I'd like permission to court you."
"What? Really?" Len asked before he could stop himself.
"Yes," Spock took Leonard's hands and began massaging his palms. He sighed in relief. "The night you assisted me via manual stimulation, I advised you that I would be able to sense your thoughts by way of my touch telepathy. During that time I was able to read that you were attracted to me but wouldn't act upon it because of your ethics as a physician. That is why the next day I asked to be transferred to Dr. M'Benga's caseload.
He looked up at Spock and saw a slight smile on the man's lips and he continued to massage Len's hands. His caresses lightened until Spock was just rubbing his fore and middle fingers against his.
"Leonard?" Spock asked softly. "As Vulcans do not indulge in public displays of affection, we are limited to what actions we are allowed culturally. This caress is the equivalent of a kiss."
"So you've gotten to first base without me even knowing?" Len joked and Spock immediately pulled his hands away.
"Perhaps I was mistaken?"
"No, no," he pulled Spock's hands back towards him and linked their fingers. "I was just teasing. So what now?"
"I will begin courting you." Spock stated confidently. "First I will see to your comfort and well-being. You are fatigued and in need of sleep."
"I'm too wired to sleep after this last day."
"I have the remedy for that." Spock said coming to stand behind Leonard and placing his hands on his shoulders. He kneaded the tension out of Len's back, relaxing him and soon his head was tipping forward and his eyes were drooping.
"Leonard, you must relocate to your quarters." Spock told him.
"No, I have to stay close for my patient." Len said, drowsily. "Christine has set up a cot for me."
"Acceptable. Once you awaken, will you join me for a meal?"
"Sure," Len answered. "Since we have kissed in the Vulcan way; how about we try the human way?"
"I am amenable to that suggestion" Spock whispered as Len sealed their lips in the sweetest goodnight kiss. The first of many to come.