McCoy was sitting upright on the edge of the bed when Spock returned at the end of his shift. He’d changed out of his uniform and into a loose-fitting shirt and trousers. He was barefoot, carrying his boots in his hand. “I don’t know what this involves,” McCoy began, “but I’m reasonably sure I’m not gonna like it.”
“You appear to have reconsidered in my absence,” Spock observed. “I assure you, doctor, nothing that we do here will cause you the slightest harm. On the contrary, you will probably find the process most pleasurable.”
“Thought Vulcans didn’t believe in pleasure,” McCoy grumbled. He reached down to tug off his boots. “So what do we do now?” he asked. His voice was muffled by his bent-over posture. “Hold hands and sing some obscure Vulcan hymn?” He straightened, glaring at Spock with his usual caustic expression. It was, Spock thought, reassuring. If McCoy could find it in himself to be cutting, perhaps he was already well on his way to recovery.
“Nothing so esoteric, doctor.” Spock tucked his boots under the bed and sat down next to McCoy – not too close, but close enough to signify he was willing and able to provide physical support if the doctor wished it. “We talk.”
“Talk.” McCoy’s blue eyes – such a bright blue, a clear sapphire that sparkled with hidden depths – snapped with something very like anger. “About what?”
“You will tell me precisely what occurred,” Spock said, “in your own words, leaving out nothing, no matter how inconsequential.” He moved to sit with his back against the headboard of the doctor’s bed.
“And what are you gonna do?” McCoy asked, eyes narrowed.
“I will listen.”
It was easier to talk when Spock lowered the lights and lit several candles around the room. The small flames illuminated McCoy’s quarters and cast flickering shadows on the walls, as if they were in a cave together, hunkered down against some primeval darkness. “Damned if I know where to start,” McCoy said.
“Begin wherever you wish.” Spock sat beside him, his legs bent, forearms resting on his knees. “I will listen as long as is necessary.”
“Why are you doing this?” McCoy’s voice was harsh, almost rasping; the enforced intimacy had already begun to wear on him. How long would they be sequestered here together, and what would be the end result?
“It is incumbent upon me to assist you in this,” Spock said quietly. His hands tensed, clasped his kneecaps, released. His heart rate was higher than normal, and he was aware of the shallowness of his breath. Release, he thought. Calm.
“And you’re gonna listen no matter what I tell you?” McCoy huffed out an irritated breath. “Goddammit, Spock, you didn’t even do anything! It was your counterpart, this…facsimile of you. It’s not like you have any responsibility—”
“Doctor,” Spock interrupted. “We have been over this.”
He made himself very still, and waited. In the silence, his keen Vulcan hearing discerned the subtle throb of the warp core, pulsing power to the nacelles, and the whoosh of the ship’s ventilation systems, and McCoy’s uneven breathing, and the beat of the doctor’s human heart…
“It was so sudden.” A long pause as McCoy filled and emptied his lungs. “I knew…I mean, I figured he was going to do something…I just didn’t know what. And then he was crowding me back against the bulkhead and—” He stuttered into silence.
“Say the thing you dare not say, doctor.” Spock’s thoughts tumbled after one another, a disordered jumble that owed no debt to logic. “You will not offend me.”
“He…touched me.” McCoy shook his head, eyes closed. “Not just physically. This was…”
A violation, Spock thought, but he did not say this aloud.
“He forced himself on me. He forced himself into my mind. He…took things…” McCoy swallowed hard, throat clicking in the silence. “He looked inside me. He knew me.”
“I am listening, doctor.” Hearing McCoy’s pain, his desolation, was almost physically painful. It was dangerous, opening himself to McCoy like this. He knew better, and he would have never risked himself this way, except…
“Things I’ve kept private…knowledge I kept even from myself…he went into my head and he—” The doctor broke off, breathing heavily, the way humans always did when they tried to keep from weeping. He marshaled himself. “I’ll tell you the truth, Spock.”
And he did. Told Spock everything: how the mirror universe version of the science officer had gone into his mind without permission or mercy, had taken what he wanted without thought or care, heedless of the damage he perpetuated, and McCoy—
He had been broken by it. Broken in ways he could neither comprehend nor heal. Broken, by one who knew precisely what he was doing, knew the damage he wrought, and did it anyway.
McCoy was weeping, his head between his knees, and in that instant Spock loathed his own race, despised the thing his alternate self had done, and despised himself for it as well, for what was he but a simulacrum of his own dark nature?
Vulcans had always been a violent race.
He reached a hand out to McCoy, touched his shoulder, and the doctor collapsed forward into him, clawing at him, sobbing soundlessly with his mouth wide open, his features taut with agony. He pounded Spock’s chest with a bunched fist, but his blows were weak and ineffectual, his essential force drained by the trauma he’d experienced. “I am so sorry,” Spock murmured, but he wasn’t sure the doctor even heard him. “I am so sorry, my dear friend.” His own, all-too-human emotions were rising in him, threatening to overflow his carefully cultivated reserve, and it frightened him. If he lost control, allowed emotion to overtake logic, he would be lost, he would be utterly at the mercy of his own secret, primitive self, and the idea terrified him. He held tight to Leonard McCoy, arms wrapped around the doctor’s frame, cradling him, protecting him, even as his own emotional storm raged through his essential being and ravaged him. He wrapped a hand around the nape of McCoy’s neck, fingers clasped in his soft, dark hair, and when McCoy’s mouth found his, he did not resist. He opened himself to the doctor and returned the savage, violent kiss McCoy offered, and when the doctor pulled away, Spock was completely unsurprised to find his cock was hard as iron.
They stripped each other in silence, hands moving swiftly in the dark, and when McCoy laid him flat and straddled him, Spock didn’t resist. He groaned into the doctor’s open mouth as McCoy’s fingers unerringly found his entrance, smoothing the tight ring of muscle with a slippery lubricant that smelled like sandalwood and warmed him like the hearth fire of his ancient home, and when those same fingers found and smoothed the hidden place inside of him, he keened his pleasure to the darkness. “Leonard…I want…”
“Goddammit, Spock, are you sure?” McCoy’s face hovered over him in the darkness, his voice a sibilant hiss of ragged sexual desire.
“Yes.” He parted his legs, allowed the intrusion of McCoy’s hard cock as it breached him, pushing back his body’s natural defense and entering him completely. Spock sobbed with pleasure as McCoy filled him, his hips rising to meet the ingress of the doctor’s swollen member as they moved together, voiceless and silent, joined bodies struggling towards the ultimate completion of their pleasure.