McCoy stares at the tricorder reading and says, “Ha,” before the detachment dissipates and a wave of blind panic crashes into him. “Why you little-“ Nurse Diego looks up from her patient, he cuts off the tirade, and puts on his professional face. His professional face looks awfully like a grimace which is close enough. “I’ll be in my office,” he tells her even though she’s turned her attention back to crewman Franklin and stalks away, tricorder clenched in his right hand.
He sets the tricorder on the far corner of the desk like it’s infectious and busies himself trying to read publications from Starfleet Medical. His eyes flitting over to the tricorder and back again and again until he’s read the opening paragraph three times and isn’t actually sure what it is he’s reading about besides it being having been written with an overabundance of adverbs.
“All right,” he grumbles, “let’s try one more time,” and rucks his shirt up for a clean scan.
Spock makes a soft exhale that would, on anyone else, sound like surprise and that’s when McCoy starts to really pay attention.
“You okay there, Spock?” He asks despite knowing the man wouldn’t voice a problem unless it was dire. Considering he’d gotten a piece of metal lodged in his right iliac region and has taken the stiff upper lip approach to the event ever since McCoy would be a damn fool to expect any kind of reply.
“I appear, good doctor, to be suffering the ill effects of poor planning.” Spock pants.
McCoy is too professional and exhausted to panic, but it’s a close thing. Instead he rolls up onto his knees to tend to his patient.
“What’s wrong now?” He grumbles, lifting Spock’s shirt to look at the cauterised wound fingers running around it cautiously and sees nothing there he wouldn’t expect. Spock hisses out a breath at the brush of his fingers and McCoy frowns at the offending area as tingling warmth creeps into the digits. He misses his tools, he misses his Medical, he misses the Enterprise.
“Perhaps it would be adventagious at this time for you not to touch me.” Spock grits out.
McCoy jerks his hands off sweat damp skin, his knee is pressed up against Spock’s outstretched leg, his body leaning over him, and he’s of two minds on his next actions. Listen to his patient, or act on the necessary knowledge that Spock is a masochist who won’t seek his own help. He decideds on the second, but gives Spock another chance to be forthcoming.
“Why don’t you tell me what’s wrong then, Spock.” He asks with a twist to his lips.
The Vulcan wets his own lips, staring at the other side of the cave and says nothing. McCoy waits about as long as his patience lets him, which isn’t long. He slots his hand over Spock’s forhead to feel his tempture and Spock tries to jerk back only for the back of his skull to strike the rocks behind him. His skin is warm, so warm McCoy feels like his own skin is heating at the touch.
“Spock,” McCoy warns.
“It is merely biological imperative,” Spock grimaces, “enhanced by a Vulcan ritual I preformed two weeks ago.”
Bones digests that, translates that, grimaces, and asks plainly, “Are you telling me you took something, and now it’s making you-“ McCoy runs his eyes over his friend clinically and picks up the more glaringly obvious sign he’d overlooked before. Professionally he doesn't look below the belt unless there’s an indication of a problem there, “-horny,” he says like he’s given up on life.
Spock inclines his head, wets his lips again and says, “That is correct doctor.”
“Well I don’t know how to tell you this,” McCoy grinds out, “but that is not a medical condition, no matter what little boys like to say to their prom dates.”
Spock laughs and it sounds self depricating, “I assure you, doctor, Vulcan biology would disagree.”
Right. Vulcan biology. Biology they’ve kept a close lid on. The kind of biology he’d been scraping together bits and pieces about in an attempt to be able to save his crewmates life should it ever come to it (and it always came to it, but so far they’d been lucky or he’d been very very clever).
“And did you think,” McCoy chastises, “that maybe embarking on a mission while roofied to the eyeballs might be a problem?”
Spock’s expresison pinches together in a flinch and McCoy has a hundred questions about time, location, requirements, biology, and not enough time to ask them. He can see from the way Spock’s expression is glazing over, the way his eyes keep coming back to McCoy and skitting away like he doesn't want them there. Spock is losing cognizense and whatever he set in motion is going to run its course no matter what he does.
“I had,” Spock pushes out on jagged breaths, “intended to return to New Vulcan to meet my intended before this occurred, however my recent wounds appear to have- expediated the process.”
McCoy makes a hapless jesture at the cave around them, “You’re engaged?” He demands on a slightly hysterial note because there’s playing things close to your chest, and there’s planning to leave your job, taking Vulcan sex drugs, and having a fiance waiting in the wings. “You’re got a screw loose,” McCoy tells Spock, annoyed, but he runs his hands over the Vulcan’s forhead, around the back of his neck, checking his vitals. He can feel they’re all above the ‘normal’ range he’s managed to map out over the years, but he can’t tell by how much because he feels too warm himself.
“My apologies, Leonard. I do not yet know her.” Spock says, and McCoy makes his choices. He needs water, food, and medication if it can be found. A sedative would be ideal. Anything to get Spock’s heart rate, tempreature, and blood presure down. He can’t just wait here for the Vulcan viagra to go down and Spock’s in no state to move.
“I’m going to go-“ he starts.
Spock catches his wrist before he can stand, and their eyes lock and hold. McCoy feels something twitch in his throat, feels warmth spread from the ring of fingers around his wrists that seeps in and surfuses through his muscles.
“I’m afraid,” Spock apologieses, “it’s much too late for your assistance.”
And McCoy says, against all better judgment, his voice breathy and unable to look away, “I can help,” in a way that says something different to what he meant to say.
McCoy takes the tricorder out of Medical to his quarters, hides it in an ornamental vase that’s managed to survive all their travels and writes a report for the broken equipment so no-one will go looking for it. Then he sits on his bed, squeezes his eyes tight against the headache wanting to crawl up his skull and wills the entire problem away. Surprisingly it doesn’t go away.
“Damn hobgoblin,” he grouses, and throws himself back against the mattress. One hand lands above his head, the other over his stomach until he realises it’s there and he purposefully rests it on the bed beside his hip.
If he were anyone else he’d be able to pretend it wasn’t real, but he’s a trained medical practitioner, a damn good one, and when his equipment says one thing he knows not to assume another. Besides an entire afternoon of tests had resulted in a slew of unassailable data. He’d be a hypocrite not to believe it, but that doesn’t make it anymore palatable.
Tomorrow he’s going to have to start putting out feelers. For all he would like to ignore the problem it’s not going away and he’d rather be prepared than ignorant.
When his door chimes interrupting his musings he drags himself back to sitting, rubs his face and invites whoever it is in. Hell, it’s not going to make his day worse that’s for sure.
Kirk enters his quarters with his usual confident swagger and assesses him with a sweep of quickfire eyes.
“Jim,” McCoy greets and stands to great his friend. He’s halfway through pouring two glasses of whiskey when he remembers that that’s a bad plan. He pours it anyway for appearance sake. “To what do I owe the pleasure?” He holds the rim of one glass out of Kirk who salutes him before taking a sip. McCoy pretends to sip his own, the smoky flavour on his tongue and reminds himself that a sip is not going to cause any damage to- any damage.
“Nurse Diego reported that you were unusually distracted today.”
“Reported?” He doubts.
“Said,” Kirk corrects smoothly.
“Hobnobbing with us little folk again, Jim?” He teases to misdirect but the captain is smarter than that, so he smiles amiably and keeps to the point.
“So, what’s been bothering you, Bones?”
“You make it sound like I’ve been out of sorts for weeks.” He defends.
“Haven’t you?” Kirk’s surprise is enough to pull him up short. He hadn’t though he’d been out of sorts at all.
He recovers, “Well what can you expect? We haven’t had an emergency in over a month, it’s unnatural.”
Kirk smiles, toasts him and takes another sip of his whiskey, “I seem to remember a time you hated all this space stuff.”
“There’s a difference between hating something and being smart. We’ve never gone this long without something happening,” he leans in conspiratorially, “which means something is happening and we just don’t know about it yet.”
Kirk laughs outright, grin vibrant, shoulders shaking. It lifts something in McCoy, even though they’re not talking about it- nor can they so long as he keeps it a secret- there’s something soothing about the good company of your best friend. No matter what happens in the future he knows Jim will have his back.
Spock has him on his back, and he went there willingly. Its… confusing. He’s uninjured, he’s not a Vulcan, he’s perfectly able to control his own urges, but his head feels slow and foggy like he’s got a fever or blood poisoning. Then Spock is kissing him, and he forgets to be concerned because it feels… nice. Excellent. Amazing.
“You stop, and I’ll finish what the crash started,” he warns the Vulcan who’s pressing down against him hands scrabbling to get under the Starfleet uniform and to skin.
“That,” Spock huffs, “is the chemicals talking,” then mouths at the exposed skin of his shoulder. The wet warmth of the contact drives McCoy to distraction and he says other things, many other things, as he gets an intimate demonstration of Vulcan anatomy.
“Damn it.” McCoy tugs his uniform top down angrily but the slight curve of his belly stretches the fabric and there is a gap between pants and top that is entirely against regulation. “Really?” He asks it aggrieved, “is it not enough you’ve taken my alcohol?” His belly remains auspiciously quite which is just as well. If it started talking back that’d be a whole different kettle of fish he isn’t prepared to deal with.
Aggrieved he tries to suck the offending bump in and makes a direct path to Medical. He’s got some smocks that will tide him over before the new uniforms he clearly needs will be ready, he just has to make it there without running into anyone. Which is why he runs into Spock and Jim. “Right, of course,” he mutters to himself, and smiles thinly at the both of them as they stop to greet him.
Spock, as per their custom since returning from Altamid, is polite to a fault. It sets his teeth on edge and probably makes him grumpier than normal. What can he say? He doesn’t like being treated like glass.
“Where are you storming off too?” Kirk asks the edges of his eyes crinkling.
“Dr McCoy is currently on the night shift,” Spock informs tonelessly.
“That’s right,” a small frown forms on Kirk’s brow, “it’s not usual for you to be on a separate rotation.”
“Nurse Jovani and nurse Keto put in for family leave and the roster’s a bit stretched.”
“So naturally, you’re overworking yourself.” Kirk acknowledges.
Before McCoy can defend himself Spock does it for him, “Dr McCoy is more than capable of covering the work of two of his subordinates.”
“Of course,” Kirk agrees, “but he shouldn’t have to. We need our doctor sharp,” he teases.
“Well try not to have your insides gorged out on the next mission and it won’t be a problem, Jim.” McCoy banters right back.
It’s a friendly feeling between them, even with Spock standing right there looking at him. Like nothing life changing has happened. Then Spock ruins it by observing, “Dr McCoy, why is your uniform not regulation?”
McCoy tries to suck his gut in, folds his arms, and glares at Spock.
Kirk laughs, “Should I reinstate the exercise program, Bones?” McCoy shifts his glare to his captain.
“If you do, I’m going to make you run the damn course with me.” He warns, and Kirk bites off his jokes at the threat.
“Are you… unwell Dr McCoy?” Spock pushes, stilted and overly formal.
McCoy forces a smile onto his face and says through his teeth, “I’m medically sound, Spock, just the pies on Phiot agreed with me a little too much. Now, some of us have places to be.” He didn’t wait for a response before heading off. Besides he didn’t think he was required to be polite when people called him overweight.
Spock is big, or maybe anything feels big when it’s eking out a space for itself in your body with relentless thrusts. Logically he knows it should be disconcerting. He should be disconcerted. Instead his digging his fingers into the curve of Spock's sweaty back and meeting him trust for trust.
“You’ll be perfect,” Spock grunts, framing his face with one hand as he looks down at him, “loyal, strong, smart.”
“You get to stop flatting a man once you’re dicks in him,” McCoy replies, too flustered to handle that kind of attention. Sex was, impersonal, brief, obligatory. It wasn’t whatever the hell Spock was doing with the way he touches, and looks, and won’t stop talking.
As if ignoring him Spock leans closer, hitches McCoy’s right leg up against his hip and says, “Perfect,” and then, “you’d be an amazing parent.”
“What?” McCoy blanks, tries to parse out the meaning and gets stuck in the jumble of endorphins, hormones, and the constant shift of their bodies as they chase their high.
“Do you want them?” Spock asks like it’s urgent.
“What?” He blinks up at the Vulcan, toes curling as a thrust hits just the right spot.
“Children,” Spock stills and McCoy clenches and aches with the need to keep going, to never stop. “Answer me.”
He flounders, thinks about things he’s never let himself want before. How quickly the words bubble onto the tip of his tongue. How quickly the desire floods and floors him. “Yes,” he begs dragging Spock down to him hungry and desperate. “Do it,” he orders, “knock me up.”
“I fail to see-“
“Put a baby in me you obstinate Vulcan.” McCoy snaps, and Spock stutters in his pace, pushes up against his hips and trembles, eyes unfocused.
Then he starts a harder pace, pushes McCoy across the cave floor with every thrust, arms curved around his shoulders to pull him back into each thrust, all the while telling him again and again how he’ll do it, how good McCoy will be. It can’t happen, but the idea… the idea is too much to bare.
They’re on a little planet with an aggressive bug infestation when Spock corners him in the cave the team’s taken shelter in.
It’s been two weeks and McCoy has been monitoring himself closer than he’s ever monitored one of his patients. The curve of his belly is becoming more pronounced, and he’s taken to wear a loser uniform top and a regulation white lab coat that has raised several eyebrows. Thankfully he instils enough sarcasm and fear to have kept opinions on his fashion choice at bay.
“You have put on more weight,” Spock states rudely.
McCoy huffs, “This is hardly the time, Mr Spock.” He’s got three crewmen who’ve taken hits from the alien bugs, and there’s a toxicity rising in their blood that he’s trying to counter with what supplies his med kit has. They are all currently unconscious in this far corner of the cave. If he didn’t already he thinks he could learn to hate caves.
“As you have endeavoured to avoid” he says the word distastefully, “me since Altamid, it would appear there is no other time, Dr McCoy.” He stalks behind the doctor as he moves from one patient to the other. “Besides, these patients are as stable as your limited medical equipment can currently make them.”
McCoy spins to poke a finger into Spock’s chest, and the Vulcan merely raises an eyebrow but does not back away. “I thought we agreed we weren’t going to talk about that,” he seethes, but that emotion dies when Spock’s expression does something complicated, something that looks horrified and hopeful and is far too human for McCoy’s good senses. McCoy turns to leave but Spock catches his arm, holding him still without turning him.
“I wasn’t aware we were talking about our… congress.”
McCoy turns back to the Vulcan the stress of the conversation and the timing sharpening his anger. “We’re not,” he bares his teeth, but the effect is lost because Spock isn’t looking at his face. Instead Spock’s eyes are locked on the lose uniform hiding the curve of his belly and his expression has become blank.
Strangely McCoy would be the first to tell anyone who was willing to listen that Spock had no emotions, but the reality is that Spock hides his emotions better than anyone McCoy has ever met. It’s taken years but he’s got a catalogue of the minutia of the Vulcan’s expressions, so watching them all vanish in the blink of an eye is concerning.
“You’re pregnant,” Spock breathes and the anger in McCoy flares to life with a vengeance. He turns sharply and shoves the Vulcan away from him.
“You knew this could happen,” he snaps, and it’s lucky the three patients are unconscious because no-one would be able to sleep through hire ire. As it is the other crew in the cave glance at them, Kirk among them. “You knew you could put your little-“ he chokes on every insult he wants to spit out unable to push it through even to hurt the man in front of him. There’s something that tastes like betrayal in every word he considers. Not to Spock, he deserves everything McCoy could say to him, but to the life growing in him. McCoy rallies on, undeterred by the realisation in the face of his anger. “You knew!” He accuses again and Spock’s expression has gone from blank to overwhelmed alarmingly quickly and McCoy doesn’t care. He shakes with the desire to fight the first officer, but they are still in the middle of a mission with bugs that want them dead just outside a temporary shield and three sick crewmen. “No- no,” McCoy shakes his head fiercely, “there is a time and a place to have it out, Spock. And this sure as hell isn’t it. So, take your pointy ears back to the rest of the crew and get us out of here while I look after my patients.”
It’s not until they’ve fallen apart, messy and exhausted in a cave on an alien planet recovering from an attack on the place they both called home, that McCoy’s brain starts working again. It’s a sluggish process, synapsis’ firing in all the wrong directions until they aren’t. He can feel the rocks under him, digging into his hip, his left arm, he can feel scratches on his back starting to sting, and he can feel… other parts of him that are sore and stretched out in ways he knew they could be, because of his medical training, but had never experienced personally. Still it takes him until his breathing has calmed down to realise exactly what’s happened.
He flicks a glance to Spock whose sprawled out next to him, naked because skin contact had been necessary, and still breathing in a ragged broken way.
McCoy scrambles out of arms reach, looks at his hands then his arms, as if trying to find the points of infection but there’s nothing, no visible sign of what he’s quickly realising just happened.
He rationalises that he’s thinking again, so the threat has passed but he’s still careful as he retrieves his clothes from around the room and pulls them on to hide his skin piece by piece. Then he waits for the Vulcan to wake, because they’re on a foreign planet, and Spock is still under his care until he can hand him off to… himself. Because he is the chief medical officer of the Enterprise and the crew members peculiar physiology and health are his problem.
“If you’d told me anything about your damn biology this never would have happened.” He tells the unconscious Vulcan. It makes him feel a little better to say it, but it doesn’t change what’s just happened. He flushes at the memory of it all then forces himself to think about their next steps.
“No,” Spock vetoes with absolute resolve and Kirk sputters in surprise.
“McCoy is the only person the creatures have shown no interest in,” Kirk reasons, but he looks like he’s puzzling over the refusal. “Do you have an alternate plan, Mr Spock?” Two more crew members have been scratched but the giant bugs, and McCoy has had to tend to them too. Any other crew member who gets near the shield incites agitated activity on the other side, but McCoy’s presence has been ignored by the bugs for reasons he can’t be sure of.
“I will go,” Spock states.
McCoy scoffs, “Yeah, that’s going to go swimmingly.”
“Captain,” Spock intones, “it is impractical to send our only medical staff into a hostile situation simply to call for more assistance when I am perfectly capable of the task.”
“Bones knows what’s safe and not,” Kirk counters watching Spock like he’s a science experiment behaving contrary to expectations.
“I disagree, Dr McCoy does not consider his own health in the face of his patient’s peril.”
“Which is why he’s a damn fine doctor,” Kirk agrees, but he’s not listening to Spock’s argument, and that is apparent. “Now, you’ll need to plug this into the starboard quarter panel,” Kirk continues, and McCoy choses to ignores Spock as well listening to the captain. He reaches to take the reel of cable from Kirk when the captain suddenly collapses. McCoy jerks forward to catch him, but Spock is already there lowering the captain down to the cave floor. It’s not hard to realise what’s just happened, no matter how unlikely.
“Did you just-“ McCoy makes a pinching motion and Spock glares at him as he snatches up the cable agitatedly. “He’s gonna chew your head off,” he says not sure if he’s impressed or surprised by the insubordination. He shouldn’t be, really, considering their history together.
“Tend to your patients, Dr McCoy,” is the only reply Spock gives him before he goes through the cave openings shield at a run.
McCoy stands gobsmacked, looks at his unconscious captain, and the room full of patients he can do little for and rubs the bridge of his nose in frustration. “Great, just what I needed, one more unconscious idiot.”
Spock comes to with a start, his body sitting bolt upright and McCoy has a front row seat for the myriad of emotions flitting across the Vulcan’s face until he notices McCoy and his expression closes off.
“Dr McCoy,” he greats, then seems to decide there’s something wrong with what he’s just said. “Leonard-“
“Dr McCoy,” McCoy corrects and Spock considers and inclines his head in agreement.
“The fever appears to have passed,” Spock says but doesn’t move, like a rag doll trying to learn how to move again.
“Well isn’t that swell to know,” McCoy replies with a bite. “Is it likely to come back, by any chance?”
“Then put your clothes on because you still need medical attention and we’re still stranded.”
“Of course, doctor,” but Spock still takes his time to get his limbs to work, finding clothes and pulling them on, pausing when he gets too close and McCoy puts a bigger distance between them. “I am no longer-“ Spock struggles to find the word he’s after.
“Poisonous?” McCoy offers helpfully, and Spock’s face twitches but he inclines his head in agreement again. “Well, bully for you. Let’s keep our distance anyway.”
“Of course,” Spock says again but then says, “I think it’s imperative that you know-“
“No,” McCoy interrupts hands raised between them, “unless we’re about to strip down and go at it again if you don’t tell me, we’re going to die, or it’s some form of apology, I don’t want to hear it. I can only handle so many shocks a day Spock, and trust me when I say that this” he motioned to the pair of them, “counts as a shock. Anything else I can take care of on my own.” McCoy give Spock precisely two seconds to voice any of those very important pieces of information but Spock said nothing.
“Reckless!” McCoy shouts down at Spock as he repairs the wounds. Spock tolerates it. “Completely reckless!”
Nurse Messer on Spock’s other side works silently, trying not to draw attention to himself.
“It was necessary,” Spock counters, calm now they’re in the Medical and McCoy considers letting him bleed a bit more while he tends to the rest of the crew. But they’re all being seen to and Spock is the only one who came back bleeding.
“Necessary my ass,” McCoy grumbles, and he goes to deal with the gaping claw mark stretching from Spock’s shoulder down to his elbow.
Spock catches his wrist, fingers wrapped around it in a way they haven’t since- that time. They’ve only touched out of necessity since the incident, and McCoy is surprised how affected he is by such a simple thing. His heart rate ratchets, his skin feels hot, but it’s not the chemical induced haze of that time. This is his own physiology screwing him over. He glares at Spock, and Spock looks back unapologetically.
“The risk was too great,” Spock says plainly, “and so long as I am alive I will die before I allow any harm to come to your child.”
Nurse Messer makes a noise, and McCoy levels him with a glare that promises a slow horrible murder if a single word leaves his mouth. The nurse makes a quick retreat to the other side of the room, but his mouth is already moving and McCoy would watch the flood of gossip that’s about to unfold, but Spock drags his attention back with careful hands.
“You know I hadn’t told them,” he says resigned but still bitter.
“It was necessary for the medical staff to be appraised of your situation,” Spock replies unapologetically.
“Yeah, you and I, we’re going to have a long conversation about choice and how next time you’re on my operating table I might just choose cut off parts of you you love if you don’t start respecting to mine.”
“The captain will also have to be informed,” Spock says unrepentant.
McCoy points at the gaggle of medical staff tending to the crew members, “If everyone on this ship doesn’t know before you’re back on your feet I’ll eat my hat.”
“You do not have a hat, Dr McCoy.”
“Of course I have-“ McCoy realises he’s being teased and breathes in a slow deliberate breath. “You are a menace,” he seethes.
“And the father or your future child,” Spock replies serenely. It’s a punch in the gut, but he feels more affection than he anticipated. It’s a surprise, but not. “I should inform you, doctor,” Spock says before he can really measure his emotional reaction, “that I intend to demonstrate to you exactly why Vulcan males are considered ideal partners.”
“Are you hitting on me?” McCoy asks without thinking, he doesn’t have time to regret it before he notices the small rise of the corner of Spock’s lips. “You are,” he realises.
“I did not perform to my best on the first occasion, it seems only reasonable to allow me a second try.”
McCoy deals with the shock that Spock is flirting with him almost as well as he deals with the shock that he likes it. Which is, not very well at all. But he feels that little rush of excitement again, that thrill of being seen, being considered worthy and it makes him smile. “I wouldn’t be opposed to that,” he admits.
“Not really the ringing endorsement I was looking for, Dr McCoy.”
“Want a different answer, ask a different doctor,” McCoy shot back, unwilling to flatter the man’s ego. Instead of being confronted though, Spock ignores the scrapes and cuts he still has to pull McCoy down lips meeting his in an all too familiar way. McCoy positively melts into it until a voice behind him clears in a very intentional way. McCoy flushes, recognising the voice and pulls back from Spock sharply.
“Something you want to tell me, Bones? Mr Spock?” James T Kirk asks with that thread of amusement heavy in his voice. Gathering his fortitude McCoy turns and finds not only the captain but every one of the nurses on duty staring at him with varying levels of shock.
“Oh, great this is just what I need,” he mutters, though his hand is still caught by between Spock’s warm one and that’s okay too.