Notes: Way back when I wrote Attitude Adjustment, a couple of reviewers put out the general question of why Spock never melds with Bones in fanfic. I have no idea why, but now I've written one where they do. Enjoy!
Disclaimer: I do not own Star Trek 2009, and I make no profit from this work.
He'd known it was going to happen. There was just no way that it wouldn't. The away team consisted of Jim, Spock and a couple of the security personnel with the blandest names known to man. There was just no way that was going to go well.
And sure enough, half an hour later...
"Dr. McCoy to the transporter room!"
This was why even the medical staff had to pass routine fitness tests - the sprint from medical to the transporter room involved no turbolifts, but it was an eight hundred metre stretch that usually involved moving around other people.
He tore into the room, Nurse Chapel hot on his heels, to find (shockingly) both security personnel hovering uncertainly at the console, Jim kneeling on the transporter pad, and...Spock curled into the far corner of the transporter, lying on his side in something approaching the foetal position, staring blankly ahead and shivering, his nails clacking now and then when they hit the plastic base of the pad.
"Spock?" Jim was saying. "Spock, it's me, it's just me, it's Jim. Is it alright if I touch you?"
The kid had had the good sense to kick open the emergency first aid kit that lived in the transporter room and cover his hands with a pair of latex gloves - but as he reached forward, Spock distinctly flinched away, and McCoy approached quietly and calmly.
Jim was white-faced and looked strained, and his eyes were bleak as he flicked them up towards McCoy. "They had a device to test our integrity by...accessing your most painful memories."
"Oh shit," McCoy breathed.
"Yeah, it...wasn't pretty. It felt...it wasn't remembering, Bones, it was like everything was actually happening. Lieutenant Anderson tossed his cookies then and there but Spock...he just collapsed and shut down. He's been like this since. We've haven't been able to get anything out of him. I think he's in shock."
He was definitely in shock; McCoy's tricorder was whining and spewing forth highlighted issues - neural activity, body temperature, muscular cramping - at breakneck speed, and, frankly, the shivering and the wide, empty stare would have told McCoy that anyway.
"Nurse, get those two back to Sickbay, check them out and get them appointments with Counsellor Owens," McCoy murmured, nodding at the two pale security guards. "Jim..."
"I'm staying here," Jim said flatly.
"Did he say anything?"
Jim shook his head.
"Alright," McCoy snapped his own pair of gloves on and slowly sank down to his knees on the transporter pad. "Spock? Spock, can you hear me?"
He received no response.
"Jim, is there a blanket in that kit?" McCoy asked quietly.
Jim nodded and crept away to get it. McCoy took the opportunity to inch closer and put himself between Spock and the rest of the room. No need for them to get an eyeful.
"Spock, can you hear me? Can you try and talk to me, please?" he coaxed.
There was no response, and he seemed to remain unaware even after Jim passed over a heavy blanket and McCoy snapped it out and draped it around the prone body.
"Jim, I want everyone else out of here now," McCoy snapped. "Give the man some privacy."
Jim nodded and slipped away again, although McCoy had absolutely no doubt that he wouldn't include himself in 'everyone else.' Still, it wouldn't much matter. They'd served together four years - Jim had definitely seen Spock in worse states than this.
"Spock, I'm going to touch you," McCoy said, lowering his voice and leaning in a little. "I'm not going to do anything. I'm just going to touch you."
He carefully rested a hand on the blanket-covered shoulder, and when he didn't get any negative response, trailed it higher to brush through the dark hair and against the psi point on his temple.
That got a response - even through latex, Spock's telepathy responded to the general sensation of another mind nearby, and those blank eyes suddenly snapped up to meet McCoy's.
"Can you hear me now?" McCoy prompted.
"...I..." his eyes darted from side to side frantically, and his hand came up to grip at McCoy's wrist, tightening until the bones began to grind.
"Spock, calm down," McCoy urged. "Calm down, it's alright. You're safe."
"I am...alone," Spock breathed, and his voice was shaking as much as his body. "They are gone. They are gone. They are all gone."
They. McCoy knew - the nightmares that happened at least once a week, the vacant stare every anniversary, the thousands of emerging medical text on the Vulcan trauma, the way he would sometimes start in the middle of meditation when he came across the gaps where his people used to be - he knew what Spock meant. He knew, as much as Jim knew, what that relived memory had been.
"No, you're not alone," he murmured, still rubbing at those psi points. "You're not alone. I'm here. I'm right here. You can hear me; you can see me. I'm right here."
"No," Spock whispered. He was so pale that McCoy could almost see his cheekbones glowing under the skin. His eyes were huge dark pits in his head, wild with pain. "I cannot feel you."
"Jim," McCoy called, making a snap decision. "Can you transport us to his quarters?"
"She won't 'port with both locations inside the ship," Jim shook his head apologetically from his hovering point at the steps to the pad. "But I can clear the corridor to the sickbay and help you get him there."
"Do it. Call ahead to Chapel and have her clear the main bay and the nearest private room to the door," McCoy added, turning back to Spock. "Come on, Spock. You need to move."
"No," Spock curled in on himself tighter. "No, no, no, they are gone..."
"Spock, listen to me," McCoy begged as the tricorder began to whine. The last thing he needed was the Vulcan going into deeper shock than he already was. "I can't touch you right now. You'll latch onto me, and we need to get you somewhere comfortable before you do that. But if you just come with me, just down the corridor into the medical bay, then we can get you settled."
He wasn't listening; McCoy wasn't even sure whether he could hear him. But when he eased his arms around Spock's torso and hauled him into a sitting position, those long fingers curled into his shirt and clung.
"Jim, give me a hand," McCoy grunted. "Try not to touch him skin-to-skin, he might reach for you if you do and then we're all hip-deep in shit."
"God, he weighs a ton," Jim muttered, but between them they managed to get Spock to his feet, still wrapped in the blanket, McCoy sagging under the pressure as he clung persistently to the medical blues. "Bones? Is he going to be alright?"
"He'll get through it," McCoy grunted. "PTSD, essentially. He's going to have some screaming nightmares for a while, but..."
He ripped off one of the gloves and slipped his hand into the gap between Spock's belt and shirt, feeling the too-fast (even for a Vulcan) shiver of a heart in his side. Spock wouldn't be able to mentally latch onto him with just that, but hopefully it would go some way to keeping him calm. He was still shaking, and McCoy was getting concerned with how bad the shock was.
"I'm right here, sweetheart. I'm right here. It was just a memory, that was all, you're safe, we're all safe..." McCoy couldn't possibly keep up the veneer of professionalism when faced with that desperate whisper of his own name, and to hell with it. It was just Jim.
The medical bay, when the doors hissed open, was empty bar one nurse, who pointed them silently towards Recovery Room One and disappeared into the operating theatre. From the glimpse McCoy caught as she vanished, Chapel had moved all of the necessary patients and personnel into there to keep them out of the way.
"Pay rise for Christine," he muttered to Jim as the doors slid shut behind them and they eased Spock up onto the biobed.
"Done," Jim agreed.
"Computer, raise room temperature five degrees," McCoy ordered. "Spock? You still with us?"
His fingers were still tangled in McCoy's shirt, his heart still too fast under McCoy's bared fingers. But at McCoy's voice, he stirred, his eyes dark slits in his face, and murmured something incomprehensible.
"What was that?"
"Jim. You must...help Jim. I have hurt him..."
McCoy shot a sharp look at Jim. He was white-faced and stressed, but looked physically fine - and sent McCoy an utterly bewildered look in return. "He hasn't even touched me!" Jim exclaimed.
"Spock, what did you do to Jim?" McCoy asked, suddenly suspicious.
"I beat him, I choked him, I tried to kill him, I..."
Jim made a strangled sound and collapsed heavily onto another biobed. "Oh God..."
"No, sweetheart, you didn't, you're confusing the memory with now..."
"You were there, everyone was there - but they are gone, they are all gone, Mother..."
His fingers were cold in the front of McCoy's shirt and he nodded to Jim. "Jim, get out. Nurse Chapel and Counsellor Owens for you - and so help me God if I find out you didn't go."
"Okay," Jim croaked. "Bones...will he...?"
"He'll be fine," McCoy said with much more confidence than he felt. "He just needs an anchor right now, and that would be me. He'll be fine. Go."
He waited, eyes trained on Spock's face, until the door slid shut behind Jim, before he drew the other latex glove off with a snap and perched on the edge of the biobed.
"Alright, sweetheart, c'mere," he murmured, drawing both of Spock's hands up and pressing them to his face. "Go on, darlin'. You need me; come in. Come on."
Neither moved - but Spock surged, and McCoy fell, energy clashing in the middle like a thunderstorm, and a howling wind was ringing in McCoy's ears even at the sand stung his eyes. He could hear Spock's voice-thoughts-voice? - 'reallgoneemptysilencegone gone-gone-gone-gone, wish-that-I-were-gone, takemewithyou!, don't leave, leave, don't leave, don'tleavemealoneouthere...
McCoy struggled to breath over the maelstrom - he could feel Spock's hands on his face, and the air in his lungs, but he could also feel the scratch of sand on his skin, and a terrible gaping wound, ripping through his chest and leaving a great hole, bleeding out from the inside...
"Spock," he croaked. "Spock. M'here. M'here..."
Leonard-McCoy-Bones-sweetheart, man-of-many-names, warmthGeorgiawarm, , hereherehere...
"S'right, I'm here," he managed, still struggling. His brain felt too big for his skull, and his neck screamed with a tension headache, and Spock's fingers brushed where they dug into his psi points. But he didn't retreat, and fell again, fell further, and...
He felt it, the warm wrap of a mind around his, like an injection of hot liquid into his skull until it threatened to spill out of his eyes - and it was Spock, and he knew it, wrapping himself around McCoy and clinging, and if McCoy could not cling back then it was merely clumsy human inability, and he thought up all the sheer aggravating, troublesome love that he felt for this man and pushed...
They burst apart, the headache exploded in McCoy's skull, and Spock's hands fell back to his chest.
"Ow," McCoy said eloquently, squinting down at Spock. "Hey. Hey, look at me."
Spock stared at up him, eyes still wide and face still white, but much more stabilised than he had been before. The biobed readings were crawling back towards normal, and his heartbeat was gradually calming. "My...my apologies, I..."
"No you don't," McCoy grunted. "You good to move?"
"I...believe so, yes."
"Then we're going back to your quarters. You're going to meditate, and I'm going to keep an eye on you, and then we're going to bed and I'll take a shot at keeping your nightmares at bay, because we both know you're gonna have 'em."
"I..." Spock closed his eyes and took a deep breath. "I apologise for..."
"Nope," McCoy said, helping him into a sitting position. "Not your fault. Now, come on. Jim's not expecting you back on duty for..."
"He's fine," McCoy said. "Worried about you, that's all. You definitely got the worst of that. Now, come on. The sooner you can meditate and sleep, the better off you'll be."
Spock paused, seated on the edge of the biobed, and caught McCoy's wrist in a tentative grip.
McCoy's hand turned to grip his. "You needed me. You needed to know you weren't alone. And you oughta know by now, I ain't leaving you alone."
As McCoy had expected, the console chimed at the end of Beta shift. He'd spent three hours watching Spock through meditation, a brief shower, an even shorter meal, and then a steady process of bullying him into bed and applying a light sedative to stop him automatically waking at every single thing.
So when the console chimed, he was stretched out in bed, a sleeping Vulcan (if the restlessness allowed it to truly qualify as sleeping) weighing down one side, hand over that hummingbird-fast heart and the trained medic in him measuring the respiration rate without really thinking about it.
"Computer, answer, audio only."
"Bones?" it was Jim, and a whispering Jim at that.
"You can speak normally, Jim, I've got him sedated. You won't wake him up." The chime would have woken him normally, but over their year and a half together, McCoy had perfected the sedative doses to keep him under for 'traffic noise' - chimes, voices, doors - but not so heavy as to keep him out for alarms - or nightmares.
"Is he okay?"
"He's fine," McCoy replied, rubbing an arm up the long, bare back idly. "Might be a bit twitchy for a while, but he'll be fine."
"I'm a doctor, Jim. Yes, I'm sure," McCoy replied, shifting a little when the arm over his waist shifted slightly higher and tightened. "Are you okay, kid?"
"M'fine," Jim said, then sighed. "That just...scared the shit out of me, you know? It's just so damn easy to forget that he's...he's still hurting, underneath."
"He'll probably always hurt - but we all do. We've all got pains," McCoy muttered.
"Yeah, but...you know."
"Yeah, I know. He'll be alright, Jim. He's not doing this alone."
"I'm happy for you. Both of you. You deserve that - what you got. And I'm glad he had someone. I couldn't have done what you did."
"If you had to, you could. You're Jim Kirk, kid. If you got to do it, you will."
Jim chuckled, and McCoy grinned.
"Yeah. I'm that awesome."
"Oh get your damn ego off my link."
"'Kay, Bones. Night. And tell Spock I'm glad he's okay."
The chime of console going dead made Spock shift in his sleep, turning his face into McCoy's shoulder with a slight frown creasing the smooth skin between his eyebrows. McCoy scrubbed a hand lightly up into the dark hair and rubbed a thumb over the psi point at the temple until the frown eased.
"S'alright, darlin'," he murmured into that thick hair. "Y'not alone."