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Dr. Leonard McCoy considered himself a stouthearted man. A fine southern gentleman, stern and no-nonsense yet still compassionate and careful with his work. He could take a knife to the throat without breaking a sweat and even tell his assailant a better vein to aim for. He could patch the wounds of an alien species, the likes of which he had never seen before, and perhaps even cure a rainy day. He was solid, strong, composed...

Until one Mr. Spock opened his mouth and uttered something so casually that McCoy felt weak at the knees and fainted.

Perhaps, to an outside observer, the matter of Spock, a Vulcan, calling McCoy by his nickname “Bones” was enough to shock McCoy amidst the stress of their situation at the moment. Of course, that had some truth to the matter but there was another, underlying cause that McCoy only realized after later introspection.

McCoy noticed more readily now, almost painfully so, the warm and intoxicating tones in Spock’s voice. Deep and rich, like amber bourbon, it poured from Spock’s throat and flowed into McCoy’s ears and began to leave him flustered each time. The words Spock said didn’t matter as much with McCoy hooked on the intonation of the steady sounds and soothing utterances, especially in their more peaceful conversations.

It left him in longing adoration after each discussion, and embarrassed after each of his stuttered arguments in their constant debates. He could only hope that Spock, as observant as he was, hadn’t noticed or identified just why McCoy stumbled over his own words each time Spock spoke.

He was like a child with a schoolyard crush. So much for being a stouthearted man.

“So, I believe that this would be the most logical schedule to maintain while on shore leave if we wish to maximize our time here,” Spock uttered in a spine-tingling quiet as he tried not to wake Kirk sleeping in the other room.

“Ah— Well— That—” McCoy shook his head to clear it of those thoughts of how warm the even tones were on an otherwise cold morning. “That may well be, Mr. Spock, but y’know that’s not the point of a vacation, right? We’re supposed t’be relaxing and taking things leisurely, not following an itinerary to do any ol’ tourist attraction there is.”

Spock pondered that silently for a moment and then finally offered a succinct “I see.”

“Ah...” McCoy hesitated. Perhaps he had somehow offended Spock. “Now I’m not saying we can’t follow this here schedule of yours, I just mean that... Well, Spock, even if we didn’t do everything and just did thing as they came, it wouldn’t be a waste of our shore leave. S’all. I’d mostly like to spend time with you— That is, relaxing with you here too, without having t’worry about work.”

Spock’s silence continued another moment longer. “I suppose I see the merit in that.”

“Right,” McCoy said.

“After all, there may be unexpected events that interrupt these plans, and the rigid structure does not adapt well to humans’ need for flexibility.”

McCoy blinked and then huffed up. “Why, if I didn’t know any better, I’d think you were trying t’be insulting.”

“I...” Spock glanced up at him. “Was not... trying to be insulting.”

“...Right.”

“Mm.”

 

♦♦♦♦♦

 

Mr. Spock considered himself logical, stoic, and better organized than most if not all of his fellow crew members on the Enterprise. Being half-Vulcan, he had different biological and psychological needs than the humans around him, but everything had been sufficiently handled each time it arose that he could say that a majority of his time spent on the Enterprise, he could manage not to have any needless emotional displays or any developing fondness for humans.

After all, it was more a fondness for specific humans.

The captain, naturally, was a good friend, for as far as the word stretches in Spock’s mind, and Spock was grateful to know him. Mr. Scott, as strange as he was in his methods, proved himself reliable and adept time and time again. A few others had similar praises that Spock kept in mind at all times.

And then there was Dr. McCoy.

A challenge—that was the most persistent praise for what had to be one of the most illogical humans Spock had ever met. McCoy was intelligent, emotional, and often at odds with Spock in what made for one of the thought-provoking encounters a Vulcan could ask for. Debating with someone on equal footing but of wildly differing opinions, after all, was a great mental trial to overcome.

Yet, strangely, Spock had more recently observed something in McCoy that was likewise an enjoyable sensation. True, it had always been there as an ingrained part of McCoy, but there were moments where it shown stronger. Moments that Spock caught onto and listened closely for even in its weaker moments.

McCoy’s accent, however illogical it may be for Spock, had Spock captivated and silenced at the most inadequate moments of moments.

Hearing McCoy utter things so innately him, so clearly from the culture McCoy developed in, was fascinating to say the least. The drawl he was so known for, the slurred, contraction of words that need not be contracted, the fact it came out stronger when McCoy was flustered or inversely most at ease. Even in the stuttering that seemed to afflict McCoy recently in their debates left Spock quiet for an unsuitable amount of seconds after as he illogically absorbed and analyzed the different inflections of McCoy’s speech.

“That may well be, Mr. Spock, but y’know that’s not the point of a vacation, right? We’re supposed t’be relaxing and taking things leisurely, not following an itinerary to do any ol’ tourist attraction there is.”

Spock felt himself silenced yet again in a strange awe as he contemplated not the words McCoy said but how he had said them. A second too long, perhaps, before Spock remembered to give a reply. “I see.”

“Ah...” McCoy paused for a moment himself. “Now I’m not saying we can’t follow this here schedule of yours, I just mean that... Well, Spock, even if we didn’t do everything and just did things as they came, it wouldn’t be a waste of our shore leave. S’all. I’d mostly like to spend time with you— That is, relaxing with you here too, without having t’worry about work.”

His silent appreciation lasted shorter this time, as he realized in it that McCoy had thought he had offended him. “I suppose I see the merit in that.”

“Right.”

“After all, there may be unexpected events that interrupt these plans, and the rigid structure does not adapt well to human’s need for flexibility.”

McCoy blinked, stunned for a moment, and then took on a look of burgeoning offense. “Why, if I didn’t know any better, I’d think you were trying t’be insulting.”

“I...” Spock tried to analyze what he had said wrong in his distraction. “Was not... trying to be insulting.”

“...Right.”

“Mm.”

The two of them lapsed into silence, and Spock analyzed the situation in the time to think. The two of them, speaking quietly but distracted by something... an inefficient way to handle whatever the issue may be, he decided. He looked up at McCoy.

“Is everything alright, Doctor?”

McCoy startled out of whatever thoughts passed through his own mind. “Oh— Everything’s fine. What about with you?”

Spock eyed McCoy carefully. “It would appear not everything is ‘fine’, Doctor. I have noticed how you seem to stumble with your words when speaking with me frequently in recent days.”

“Oh...?” McCoy looked over Spock as well and then frowned. “And what about you, huh? You’ve been awfully silent between your words lately. Don’t think I haven’t noticed. Are you having trouble thinking on par with your normal speed? Have you been sleeping properly?”

“I’ve been sleeping sufficiently, Doctor.”

“Then what’s with the pauses?”

“...Well, Doctor, it seems I’ve found myself fascinated...”

“By...?”

“Your accent.”

McCoy sputtered indignantly. “My accent.”

“Yes.” Spock nodded. “I seem to enjoy listening to you speak and your choice of words. I’ve been silent following your sentences due to my internal review of what it is about your voice I enjoy.”

McCoy shook his head and sat back in his chair. “Of all the things... Spock, that’s why I’ve been stuttering talking to you.”

Spock lifted his brow. “Is that so?”

“Yes,” McCoy answered. “Because something about your voice... I enjoy hearing you speak too, and I’ve been flustered like a school child hearing it ever since you called me ‘Bones’.”

“Fascinating,” Spock uttered. “And if I were to begin to call you ‘Bones’ more often?”

McCoy sent him a pointed look. “Don’t you dare.”

“Very well,” Spock relented. “But the matter still stands... What do we do from here...?”

McCoy hummed in thought. “Let me see that itinerary of yours. I want to make a change to it.”

Spock handed over the schedule and watched curiously. “What change are you making...?”

“Let’s see... How about...?” McCoy deleted one of the entries and added in a replacement. “Dinner for just the two of us tonight. I’m sure Jim will understand. That is, if you’re open to the idea... Perhaps the two of us can talk more and see if it’s only each other’s voices we seem to find attractive?”

Spock cast a shadow of a smile. “I would not be opposed. Very well then. I believe the Earth phrase is ‘it’s a date.’”

McCoy placed his hand over his heart. “Oh, no you don’t. You’re not making me faint on vacation.”

“Apologies, Doctor.”

“No worries, Spock.”