Disclaimer: I do not own Star Trek: 2009.

McCoy scowled at Kirk from where he stood across the Bridge. "My God, Jim. You can't just go down there. It could be a goddamn trap."

"Bones, it's no big deal. These people want to talk, that's all. There's no reason to panic."

McCoy scoffed. "The Federation has been arguing with the Klingons over this territory for months. Now there's a damn Klingon ship at the station. Things could've gotten hostile by now, we don't know."

"Bones, I love that you care so much, but I have to go. Spock and I will beam down together. We'll be back before you know it."

While McCoy was relieved that Jim wouldn't be alone, knowing the Vulcan would be his only companion wasn't much consolation, either. He'd feel much better going with them, but the interested party had requested the Captain and First Officer come alone.

Spock rose from his seat, turned to McCoy, and gave a slight nod. "There is no reason to believe we are in any danger. I assure you, Doctor, the Captain will be safe."

Yeah, because his assurance meant so much to McCoy. "He better be."

Kirk and Spock retreated to the transport room. McCoy headed back to Sickbay, resigned to do as he was told, no matter how much it bothered him. Truth be told, while he did have concern for his friend, Jim and Spock constantly running off together was taking some getting used to. And it wasn't going very well.

Things had been so much easier when it was just McCoy and Jim at the Academy. When pointy ears hadn't been a factor at all.

God, he missed those days.

When he arrived back at Sickbay, McCoy did his best to appear calm. Nurse Chapel approached him, her expression tentative. "Dr. McCoy, what is it?"

So much for pretending.

"That green-blooded hobgoblin is out of his Vulcan mind, that's what. He's gonna get himself killed, along with Captain Kirk, and then I'll be the one left to pick up the goddamn pieces."

"Commander Spock has always kept Captain Kirk safe in the past. You should give him more credit. He's a very…wise man." Her face flushed as she spoke, but McCoy paid no attention to that.

"He's not quite a man, though, is he?"

Nurse Chapel pressed her lips into a thin line. "We have patients to attend to, Doctor."

"Right you are," McCoy said, more than ready to lose himself in his work. When Spock and Kirk beamed aboard, he would have words with them. But until that time came, there was nothing else to do but wait.

Some time later, McCoy headed back to his quarters. At the last moment, he decided to detour to the transport room, and see if Scotty had heard back from Jim yet. But he didn't get more than a few steps before finding Spock in the corridor, alone.

"Where's Jim?" McCoy asked, stopping right in front of Spock. He half-expected the science officer to walk around him, but he stayed in place.

"He remained at the station to discuss the terms of the arrangement. It seems the party there is in need of having some goods transported and guarded. As I assured you, we are perfectly safe."

Relief flooded through McCoy, but only for a moment. After that, irritation bloomed in its place. "You could have at least pretended to be on my side."

The Vulcan's left eyebrow arched, as it so often did. "Actively supporting something I know to be wrong would be illogical."

Know to be wrong? Screw him. McCoy was a doctor, goddamn it. It's not like Starfleet picked him up off the street. He knew his stuff.

Unfortunately, so did Spock. In fact, McCoy was beginning to think he knew a little too much.

"You know what I think? You're jealous of my friendship with Jim." Things were getting petty now, and McCoy damn well knew it. Still, he couldn't bring himself to shut up.

"Fascinating," Spock said, his eyebrows lifting. "You are projecting your own insecurities onto me. It's a concept I have never experienced."

"Yeah, because you wouldn't know what an emotion was if it hit you with a goddamn stick!"


Something ruptured inside McCoy. "Damn it, Spock, if you say fascinating one more time, I'm gonna—"

"Your idle threats do not phase me, Doctor. Now, if you'll excuse me." Spock continued on to his own quarters.

Damn it. McCoy knew he should let it go, but he hated being cut off mid-argument. So he followed Spock into his quarters, fully expecting to be kicked out. Spock didn't really seem to mind, though. It was almost like he expected it.

Inside, Spock turned to face the Doctor. "As I said before, your insults have no affect on me. You are welcome to continue trying, if it satisfies your emotional needs."

"What the hell do you know of my needs?"

"Not very much, I must admit. They are illogical."

McCoy was sick of hearing about logic. Spock sure as hell was not logical—not to him, anyway. There had to be something that would get underneath his skin.

"What's it gonna take to make you feel something?" McCoy grabbed Spock's shoulders, his fingers digging through the textured material of his Starfleet uniform. The heat of Spock's skin was startling, but he would not allow it to affect him.

"You assume that I feel nothing."

"I know you don't." If Spock's attitude was anything to go by, the doctor was spot on. Except for that one incident on the Bridge, Spock had showed no signs of feeling much of anything. He had the emotional depth of…something with very little emotional depth.

"On the contrary, Doctor, I feel a great deal. However, unlike you, I am in control of my emotions."

Heat flared through McCoy's bloodstream. His fingers curled into a tight fist. It was a risk. Spock, being of superior strength and skill, could easily deflect the blow. But the temptation was too strong to resist. It was about time someone put that pointy-eared bastard in check.

Spock caught McCoy's hand in midair. A look of bemusement settled over his features. "If this is your attempt to prove control, it's not very effective."

"And what would you have me do?"

They were so close now. Close enough to hear each other's heartbeats. Close enough to lose control—McCoy was, anyway. Spock was still perfectly calm, to the point of irritation.

At least, that's what McCoy believed.

Spock dropped McCoy's hand, and reached toward him with his own. McCoy couldn't hold back the flinch that overtook him. He had no desire to become a heap of useless meat on the floor. The Vulcan nerve pinch would be quick, but his pride would take considerable time to recover.

"Injury is not my objective."

"What, then?"

"As you are constantly reminding me, I am only half-human. But that half is strong, Doctor. If you allow me to bring our minds together, I can give you the gratification you so desperately seek."

McCoy considered. While he didn't relish the thought of sharing such an intimate moment with Spock, he was interested in learning what secrets were stored in that mind of his. He swallowed. "All right. I'll give it a shot."

McCoy closed his eyes, right as Spock's fingertips pressed against his cheekbone. His touch was soft and gentle. So far, the mind-meld was not nearly as bad as McCoy had expected. He took a deep breath, and then—

"He's a traitor, you know. Your father. For marrying that human whore."

Anger surged through Spock's veins, white-hot, and unlike anything he'd ever experienced. The air before him was red and palpable, moving in thick waves. He didn't think as he let out a scream, instead allowing his emotions to take control, for once.

Spock's fists flew into the older Vulcan's face, again and again, until they both lie on the floor, bleeding. The rage continued to simmer inside Spock in a slow, controlled burn.

It was too late to take it back, and he wasn't entirely sure he would have, had that been an option. Deep inside him, the craving continued. He pushed it away, like he knew he was supposed to, though a part of him wished he hadn't.

The revenge had been sweet for a moment, but it wasn't enough.

It never would be.

Spock stood outside the Katric Ark, the world crumbling around him. He flipped open his communicator. "Spock to Enterprise. Get us out now."

Panic skittered up and down his spine, engulfing him in its frenzy, but still, he maintained a calm appearance. They would get out in time. The statistical likelihood was not one hundred percent—it never was—but in his mind—no, in his heart—there was no other option. He had already managed to free most of the elders and his parents from the Ark, after all.

The beaming process had started. Escape was logical.

His mother turned to face him. A sheer amount of desperation brewed in her eyes, along with fear. A small cry escaped her lips, and his grip on her faltered.

Seconds later, he stood on the transporter pad. His hand was still extended, but around his palm was nothing but air.

The room was silent, a thousand eyes boring straight into him, waiting. Expecting him to falter, hoping for it even. He stepped off the pad and did his best to compose himself. Yet in his chest, a black hole swirled, much like the one that had consumed his home planet. It sucked out the control he was so determined to maintain, leaving him utterly wrecked.

She was gone. It didn't seem possible, and yet, it was. The one person who understood him—often better than he understood himself. The one whose expectations he had never failed to meet.

She was just gone.

There were so many things he wished he could have said. It was too late now, and there was nothing he could do to change that.

So he did the only thing he could. He left.

"You never loved her!"

In his mind, Spock was once again on Vulcan, a child being berated for his emotions. Except this time, it was for having none, while before it had been for having too many.

No matter what he did, it was never right. Or so everyone else would have him believe.

So, he did not hold back. Not this time. His mind a vortex, he threw punches left and right, aiming for injury and nothing less. His hands wrapped around Kirk's throat.

He deserved this. They all did.

Before him, the life of James T. Kirk hung in the balance. But all Spock saw was static, rage.

"Spock!" His father's voice snapped him back to reality.

He had become emotionally compromised. And the worst part was, everyone knew it.

Spock released his hand from McCoy's face.

A sharp gasp emitted from the Doctor's throat. He stumbled backward, hitting the wall. He slid down into a sitting position on the floor, tucking his knees tightly against his chest. Violently, his shoulders jerked back and forth as he began to hyperventilate.

Spock kneeled before him. "Doctor McCoy."

No response. For the first time in his life, McCoy had no comment on the matter. Fascinating.

"Leonard," he tried again, careful to keep his tone soft.

Still nothing. McCoy's eyes were wide, but empty. He was in shock.

Spock extended his left index and middle fingers, gently tracing them over Leonard's. Inside the Doctor's mind was sheer anguish, though not his own. Transference.

Spock had done this to him. And for what? To put an end to the relentless arguing that he wasn't even sure he disliked?

Was it even worth it? He did not know.

A chill ran down Spock's spine. During his introspection, he had continued to trace his fingers over Leonard's. And now, the Doctor was returning the gesture. Spock stiffened, unsure if McCoy was aware of the gesture's meaning, and not entirely certain why he had started it in the first place. But the feeling of the other man's skin against his own, warm and slightly rough, felt too good to ignore.

"Doctor, are you all right?" he whispered, leaning forward.

McCoy lifted his head, meeting Spock's eyes with an intense gaze. Their faces were only inches apart now, and the tension between them was palpable. For the first time since Spock's planet was destroyed, he was almost…

Spock blinked. I am in control of my emotions, he reminded himself. He could not afford to slip, not again.

"I should go," McCoy whispered.

"Wait." Spock extended his hand, but the Doctor brushed right past him.

It was too late for second-guessing. He had missed his shot. Any other time, the Vulcan would have found peace in his solitude, but for some reason, he was unsettled.

Spock leaned back against the wall. He had never felt so alone.