It’d been a slow day- no medical emergencies, no unstoppable force here to kill them all, just quiet. When Spock walked into his office, McCoy instinctively knew he was here to argue. Good, they were due.
“Here for M’benga?” He said, feigning ignorance.
Spock pursed his lips. “I was reviewing yours and the captain’s log from yesterday’s excursion-“
“You aren’t required to do that,” Bones retorted, making the accusation understood. Bad move- put him on the defensive too soon.
“No,” Spock conceded, “But my curiosity got the better of me.”
So quick with an admission of guilt? What was he after?
Spock continued. “The captain mentioned that the Aphradines are assigned mates with a machine that determines compatibility. They boasted that they haven’t had a separation in more than a thousand years. If that is true, such technology would be of untold value to the rest of the galaxy.”
McCoy frowned. At this rate, he was only pretending to be working. “If you’re asking how it works, I don’t know.”
“Not how,” the Vulcan countered, “that much could be deduced. The question is if the same strategy could work on non-Aphradines.”
Eyeroll. “We can’t test it.”
The Vulcan inhaled.
“I believe we already have.”
Bones put his padd down, turning slowly to look at him. “Spock, why don’t you come out and say what you came here to say?”
“Have you considered Jim romantically?”
“Would you be will-“
“No,” he said, with more force. “The Aphradines also went through the ship’s files- they probably saw that Jim and I were married, and figured we were a good match anyway.”
“There are several other married couples on the ship, Doctor. You and the Captain were paired via brain scan- not files.”
Leonard’s hands balled into fists, leaning on them when he stood. If this pointy earred bastard came to argue over the affairs of the heart, he was out of his goddamned depth.
“Does it occur to you that their concept of love and our concept of love may be entirely different? Maybe Jim and I’s friendship best matched their definition- not to mention biological, neurological, and physiological differences. Trying to fit their process onto us wouldn’t even be comparing apples to oranges- apples to elephants as far as I’m concerned.”
“Besides-“ he added, “-how do you even know he’s into men?”
Spock rolled his head to the side, staring at the Leonard with an exceptionally bored expression.
“Fine,” Bones huffed, folding his arms defiantly. “you can have that one. But that doesn’t discount anything else I just said.”
“You have yet to deny any attraction to the captain,” Spock said clinically, more like a comment on the weather and not an accusation of his own.
Leonard chose to ignore the heat in his face. “I’m his doctor, Spock, that would be entirely inappropriate.”
“Never told you I was into men, either.”
“I interpreted the omission as admission.”
McCoy’s face soured.
“What would you have done if that computer decided we were soulmates?” Bones asked, “Because something’s telling me you wouldn’t be down on one knee.”
Spock’s eyebrow twitched. “As relieved as I am that that did not occur,” he retorted, “I would’ve certainly considered the machine’s assessment, which is what I’m asking you to do.”
“Yea, I’m sure you would’ve,” McCoy sneered. “I won’t do it. Jim is my friend, and I’m not gonna ruin that. I suggest you conduct your own study, and I’ll be happy to send you material on human matchmaking techniques.”
“I had hoped you would have at least been interested from a scientific-“
“Save it,” he snapped, “No machine can tell you who to love!” McCoy picked you steam, moving from around the desk. “The Aphrandines captured us because they were so goddamn bored that the most overused cliches provided them with endless entertainment. Relying on that technology had made their very existence dull. Love gives people something to live for-“
“-And making it easier-“
“-Would make it worthless.”
They were close now. Spock’s mouth formed a thin line.
Out of his goddamned depth.
“The scientific process is worthless without a human element, something you don’t seem to understand.”
“I believe in knowledge for knowledge’s sake.”
“There’s no such thing.”
A punctuated silence. McCoy figured that was the end of it, but evidently Spock had one more card to play. He broke eye contact, rocking once on his heels.
“I’ve reviewed your reports before, Leonard. They’re some of the most detailed in Starfleet. Vivid descriptions, perfect chronology, and you save all opinions for the end.”
He paused, but this time Bones was playing the stoic.
“Only the Captain made any mention of the Aphradine’s mating procedure and it’s effectiveness. Not you.”
Leonard’s stomach turned. Spock made his way to the door, turning to speak once more.
“A curious talent you have, Doctor. The ability to say more with silence than words. I might not have noticed, except you left no opinion, either.”
McCoy’s eyes flickered to the floor, than back at his colleague.
”Spock,” he said, voice hoarse.
”This stays between us.”
McCoy watched Spock disappear behind the door, now wishing today hadn’t been so mundane.