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Shine a Light on the Shadows in Your Mind

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Aside from the beard, the man holding McCoy by the wrist looked like his Spock. Up close the similarities were even more obvious, and he even smelled the same. There wasn't a snowball's chance in hell McCoy would ever admit that he recognized Spock's scent, but still, it was the same. Achingly familiar.

It was just the eyes that were wrong.

McCoy should have shouted, demanded his freedom, made at least some attempt to pull away, but that cold, seemingly omnipresent gaze kept him still and silent as Spock pushed him back against the sickbay wall.

Spock's broad hand easily covered the side of his face. McCoy was dimly aware of what it meant, of what was going to happen. Just aware enough to feel fear seep through him as the tips of Spock's splayed fingers pressed into his skin. His touch was hot, too hot to be normal, so hot that McCoy imagined for a second that it would leave burns behind. Spock said something, but his voice sounded like it was coming from far away, and McCoy couldn't make out the words over the thunderous beating of his own heart.

And if he'd thought Spock's touch had burned, well, that was nothing compared to the scorching pain that lanced through his skull a moment later.

Stop, he wanted to scream, but he was paralyzed. His body and his mind weren't his own anymore.

"Doctor," said Spock, his voice light and serene. It was enraging how little the meld seemed to affect him, even as McCoy struggled. "This will be easier for you if remain calm."

Being told to remain calm just drove McCoy crazier. He could feel Spock rifling through his thoughts, his memories, and he couldn't have calmed down even if he'd tried. And he wasn't much inclined to try, not with some foreign invader tearing through his brain. He could follow what Spock was looking at- his time at the Academy, his history courses, the time he'd first met Jim. The first time he'd come aboard the Enterprise.

And that was fine, wasn't it? If this doppelganger wanted to know more about a universe he was never going to actually see, what did that have to do with McCoy? Let him take what he wanted. It didn't matter either way.

McCoy almost had himself convinced of it, convinced he was fine, when his thoughts were turned to his own Spock. The kind one, even if McCoy had never really thought of him that way until that very moment.

The real one.

"What makes him any more real than me?" asked Spock.

If Spock felt the rage McCoy directed at him it didn't seem to affect him any. His presence was perfectly calm as he sifted through McCoy's thoughts, even as McCoy's own mind roiled in outrage at the invasion. And if it had just been McCoy's memories, clean recollections of his actual experience, maybe it still wouldn't have mattered so much.

The meld was something deeper than that, though, because Spock pressed right into the most private corners of his mind without any resistance. Right past the memories and into the fantasies, things he barely even let himself focus on during daylight hours. Fantasies of being pinned against the sickbay wall, eerily similar to his current situation but for completely different reasons. Fantasies of Spock's mouth on his, of what those long and elegant fingers would feel like trailing down his sides, wrapping around his cock-

"Fascinating," said Spock, interrupting the flow of his thoughts. McCoy ground his teeth, and wanted nothing more than to murder him for acting so perversely familiar.

"It has nothing to do with you," snapped McCoy. He wasn't sure if he'd actually managed to say it out loud or not.

"It seems relevant to me," said Spock. "A version of me, at least."

McCoy wanted to lash back at that, but it was difficult coming up with cutting remarks when his mind felt like it was on fire.

"Maybe it could be useful," said Spock. "Here. Just focus on the distraction."

What distraction, thought McCoy, and then Spock's mouth was pressed against his own. Dimly, somewhere in the back of his head, he knew things were wrong - it was his Spock, and his Spock wasn't here, and wouldn't be making out with him against the sickbay wall even if he were. It was hard to concentrate on that, though, with Spock flush against him, the kiss warm and just a little possessive, and whatever had been bothering him about it slipped right out of his head.

Had they been arguing? Well, it didn't matter anymore. Most of the time they didn't even argue about anything important, really, it was just that McCoy liked arguing. And he suspected Spock liked it too, even if he wouldn't admit it.

McCoy shoved his hips forward, pushing up against Spock as best he could, because the kissing might be nice but he still wanted a lot more than that. "Spock," he tried to say, trying to verbalize what he wanted, but Spock wouldn't let him the kiss break long enough for McCoy to get the words out. In the end, though, McCoy didn't need to say it out loud - his desperate attempts at rutting against Spock's leg apparently made the point for him, and a second later Spock was undoing the closure on his pants and pulling them down.

He groaned as Spock's long fingers wrapped around the base of his cock, pulling lightly down the shaft. Spock's grasp was barely there, just enough to pull at the skin, a nearly electric sensation that still left McCoy desperate for more.

"Please. Spock, please," said McCoy, finally breaking out of the kiss. The light touches were going to drive him insane.

"If I had known this was all it took to get a little civility from you, I would have done it sooner," said Spock, running a thumb across the slit of McCoy's cock, and it made McCoy want to scream but it was still too fucking light.

"Come on, you're killing me here," said McCoy, thrusting his hips forward, trying to push harder against Spock's hand.

"Patience," said Spock.

Then Spock slid easily down onto his knees, pulling McCoy's pants and his underwear down further to expose more of his legs. His hands pressed firmly down on McCoy's thighs as McCoy shuddered, his mouth close enough that McCoy could feel the warmth of Spock's breath against his cock as he exhaled.

After a few seconds that somehow felt like an eternity, he drew his tongue up the length of McCoy's cock, his hands keeping McCoy's thighs firmly in place even as McCoy tried to thrust up into the contact. He repeated the motion, deliberately slow and languorous. All he ever did was try to drive McCoy crazy, so why should the sex be any different?

"Please," begged McCoy, he'd never been too proud to beg in bed, and Spock took mercy on him, taking him fully in his mouth.

McCoy bit into his own hand, trying to stop himself from thrusting too hard against Spock's face, trying to calm things down enough to find a steady rhythm. He reached his free hand down to Spock's head and wound it through his hair. He didn't want to hold Spock in place, he just wanted to mess up that perfectly combed hair for the hell of it.

"That's it, that's exactly what I needed," said McCoy. He tried to slow his breathing down to distract himself, to keep himself from losing it so he could keep going, but the flush heat of Spock's mouth was too much for him.

He came into Spock's mouth with a moan, his legs almost giving way beneath him, but then Spock was on his feet and pressing him back against the wall again, supporting the both of them as he kissed McCoy again.

His mouth was slick this time, the taste of both of them mingling in McCoy's mouth as they kissed. McCoy pulled Spock closer, their legs sliding between each other. He could feel Spock's still clothed erection pressing firmly against his bare thigh, thick and leaking pre-come even through the fabric. His heart raced, knowing that in a second that same erection was going to be pressing into his mouth, all the way down his throat, just as soon as this kiss was done, and-

"That's enough," said Spock, except the voice was wrong. It was too cold, even by Vulcan standards, and it washed over McCoy like ice water.

Reality came rushing back to McCoy as Spock removed his hand from his face. The separation was sudden, violent even, and the realization of where he was hit McCoy in a disorienting wave. He pitched forward, grabbing onto Spock for balance, his fingers digging into the ISS uniform, and for a second all he could think of was how familiar the fabric felt. It was the same fabric they wore back home, just a different cut.

Then he realized the position he was in, still pinned between Spock and the s-ickbay wall, their legs tangled together, and he was disoriented for a moment to find he was still fully dressed. And Spock may have dropped the hand from the mind meld, but his other hand still had McCoy firmly by the wrist. McCoy shoved at Spock, but it didn't accomplish anything other than to make himself feel helpless. There wasn't much one man could do against a Vulcan.

"What the hell did you do to me?"

Spock - and it felt so wrong to think of him as that, but McCoy didn't have another name for him - pulled away from him.

"You're already familiar with the mind meld technique, Doctor."

"That's not what I meant," snapped McCoy. "What the hell was-" started McCoy, and then he faltered. He wasn't sure what to call it. Vision? Fantasy? Mental blow-job? It sure as hell wasn't a memory.

"That was something I pulled out of your mind. Something to distract you while I found the information I needed," said Spock, his voice still insufferably calm. It made McCoy want to claw his face off.

There was something in his eyes, though, that stopped him. An implicit reminder that Vulcans were stronger than humans, and that this wasn't his Spock, and McCoy wasn't going to be coddled if he tried anything stupid. Not that he was in any position to try anything. The meld may have ended, but his head still felt like someone had taken a hammer to his skull.

"You're lying," said McCoy, but the accusation sounded unconvincing even to his own ears.

"You can think what you like," said Spock, shrugging. He pulled away and McCoy nearly collapsed, but Spock caught him by the arm. "We need to go. You don't have much time."

Suddenly McCoy remembered that, on top of everything else, there was a ticking clock he was supposed to be worried about. Damn it. "How long were-"

"Less than a minute," answered Spock, before McCoy could even finish the question.

It had felt a whole hell of a lot longer than that. McCoy rubbed at his face with his free hand as Spock pulled him into the hallway, heading for the transporter room. At least that's where McCoy hoped they were heading. It wasn't as if he could stop him if Spock got it in his head to drag him someplace else.

He ran a hand over his face again. The spots where Spock's fingers had pressed against his face during the mind meld were still hot, almost as if he'd been branded, and it was hard to concentrate on anything else. He put a foot down wrong, and Spock had to grab him with both hands to keep him him from falling.

"I don't need your help to walk," snapped McCoy, struggling against Spock's grip.

"Suit yourself," said Spock, letting go of him. Unbalanced by the sudden lack of support, McCoy immediately fell to the floor, and it somehow felt as if the impact jarred his brain worse than his knees.

Spock gave him a few moments to try and stand on his own, but after McCoy fell a second time Spock grabbed him by the arm and hauled him back to his feet. "Don't be difficult. We've taken enough time as it is."

"And whose fault is that?" growled McCoy.

"Fair enough."

McCoy wanted to shove him off again, but he wasn't confident he would be able to stay on his feet without Spock's support. His head was swimming, and something was clearly wrong, something he couldn't put into words, he could just feel it in the back of his head. "What did you do to me?"

"We've been over this already, Doctor. I required information, and I required in a timely manner, so I performed a mind meld."

"You did something worse than-" said McCoy, but then he stopped himself. The Vulcans were a reserved people at the best of times and downright secretive when it came to certain aspects of their culture and abilities. McCoy really had no idea what a mind meld was supposed to be like. He just knew they were a thing, and that Spock - his Spock, at least - wasn't particularly fond of them. Still, surely somebody would have told him if it it was supposed to feel like someone had repeatedly taken a hammer to his skull. "My head feels like it's on fire," rasped McCoy.

Spock stopped and looked at him, something like curiosity in his eyes, and it made him seem almost familiar for a fleeting moment. He ran a thumb across McCoy's temple, where his fingers had pressed in earlier, and McCoy couldn't control the full body shudder that overcame him.

"The meld was somewhat rougher than I intended," he said, still lightly stroking McCoy's face. "You put up more resistance that I'd expected. There might be lingering damage."

"Fix it," said McCoy. He'd meant it as a command, but he was still shaking and unsteady on his feet, and it came out plaintive and pathetic instead.

Spock looked at him, his deep black eyes contemplative, and for a moment McCoy was afraid he was going to initiate a second meld.

The moment passed, though. "If we delay any longer you're going to miss your window of opportunity," said Spock, as he resumed hauling McCoy down the hall.

McCoy let himself be dragged to the transporter room. There was no way he was going to stay on this nightmare version of the Enterprise, not even if it meant dealing with a hole in his head for the rest of his life.

"If you find it bothers you, I'm sure you can always ask your own Spock for help."


McCoy's elation at being back on his own ship was nearly overwhelming. The first thing he saw was Spock, and it was his Spock, there was no doubt about it in McCoy's mind. The fact that he was clean-shaven didn't matter; it was his eyes that made it obvious, the way he looked over the team with mild concern before acknowledging that they were all there, all in one piece.

McCoy stopped himself from sobbing with relief, but it was a close call.

That joy carried him through the first day, through the first week even, but eventually he had to admit that the burning in the back of his head wasn't fading. It subsided during the day, when he was busy and distracted, but when he was alone at night trying to sleep there was nothing to pull his attention away from the pervading sense of wrongness that lingered in his thoughts. So he didn't sleep much.

And McCoy was used to working on little to no sleep, he had to be on a Starship, but it still wore him down around the edges. He was flipping through data reports in the lab, and had in fact been going over the same report again and again for the past hour because his eyes kept slipping over the words, when Spock walked by.

McCoy only noticed him out of the corner of his eye, and for a second he was paralyzed.

"Spock," said McCoy, hoping his voice didn't sound as raw to Spock as it did to him, and Spock turned to look at him.


McCoy just needed to look him in the eyes. That was all it took to convince him it was the right Spock, the one he knew, the one he liked more than he would ever admit. "Never mind," he said. "I had a question, but it slipped my mind."

McCoy looked back down at his report, fully aware that he'd kept eye contact a little too long, and that he'd done this same thing a few too many times. Spock had almost certainly noticed something was up, even if he hadn't said anything.

He tried to focus on the words in front of him, but once thoughts of Spock got into his head it was hard to get them out again, thoughts of his mouth and his hands and what they could do to him-

He shook his head, as if the physical motion could somehow clear his thoughts, and made himself concentrate on the summary table of white blood cell count ranges in front of him. He was a doctor, he had a job to do, and he was going to concentrate on that.

It was his mind, and he could control what went on it.


Still, Spock remained something of a problem, even if it was through no fault of his own. He wasn't the first coworker McCoy had ever fantasized about having sex with, but he was probably the least likely to be appreciative of sexual interest. And as hedonistic as he claimed to be, McCoy still had enough common sense to know that starting something with a colleague on small ship scheduled to stay in deep space for the next few years was a recipe for disaster. It'd be a terrible idea even if the subject of his affections weren't a Vulcan.

It was just a shame the one person on the ship who might be able to help him with his problem was the person he least wanted poking around in his head.

"Doctor McCoy?" asked Spock, and McCoy realized too late that he'd been asked a question.

"Sorry, what was that?"

Spock frowned. "Are you feeling well? I can come back later."

"I'm fine. I'm just tired," said McCoy.

Spock looked at him suspiciously. "Are you sure?"

It wasn't the first time he'd asked after McCoy's wellbeing since the team had returned from the ISS version of the Enterprise, and his solicitousness was starting to grate. McCoy had put a lot of effort into acting normal, and yet even the Vulcan was calling him out on it.

"I'm fine," said McCoy. "If you ask me, you're the one who's looking a little green."

Spock huffed in mild irritation. "You've used that line before. More than once, I might add."

"Well, like I said, I'm tired. It's hard to come up with good material when you haven't had a good night's sleep."

"You haven't been sleeping," said Spock. Under his usual Vulcan stoicism there was a note of concern.

"Everybody has a bad night now and then, Spock."

"It appears you've had a number of 'bad nights' since you came back from the ISS version of the Enterprise."

McCoy leaned back and cracked his knuckles. He knew he was going to get called on it eventually. "I don't know why I let you people talk me into that transporter room time and time again," said McCoy. "Every week there's a some kind of ion storm or magnetic interference or other nonsense gumming up the works."

"Do you believe you're currently suffering an after-effect of the transporter?" asked Spock. "If so, it seems you were the only member of the away team affected."

McCoy sighed, and for a moment he considered lying. Blame it on the transporter for now, tell Spock he'd run a few tests, and deal with it later. "No, it's not that," said McCoy. "I don't really want to talk about it."

"Doctor," said Spock, and for a moment he seemed almost uncertain of what to say. That was unlike him. "It's been over a month, and you do not seem to be improving."

McCoy thought about telling him to leave. But Spock was right, as little as he wanted to admit it. His mind still felt like it wasn't his own, and time had not improved the situation any. If anything, it was getting worse, slowly but surely. The lack of sleep certainly wasn't helping anything.

"Fine," he said, and he got up to lock the door before he came back to his seat. Mostly just to buy himself time to gather his thoughts, although the last thing he wanted was for them to be interrupted.

Spock waited in silence as McCoy drummed his fingers against the table. "When we were over there, the other version of you- he did something to my head," he said.

"A mind meld," said Spock. He sounded disapproving.


"That wasn't in your report," said Spock.

McCoy shrugged. "Slipped my mind, I guess."

Spock frowned at him and said nothing. "Sorry," said McCoy. It really should have been in the report, and if it had been somebody else and they'd left something that important out they'd have caught a lecture from McCoy about it. But it wasn't the first time he'd been guilty of hypocrisy.

"He performed a mind meld, and I guess he botched it or something," said McCoy, running a hand through his hair. "I don't know how to explain it, really. There's something wrong with my head now, and I keep waiting for it to fade, but it isn't. It doesn't hurt anymore, not really, it just feels wrong. It keeps me up at night. I can't relax, because there's something wrong."

"McCoy," said Spock, with an uncharacteristic softness to his voice. "You should have told me about this earlier."

"It wasn't your problem," said McCoy.

Spock sighed. "That's not the point. Did you think I would prefer to sit back and watch you suffer?"

"I thought you liked seeing me suffer?"

"Doctor," said Spock, his voice tense, and McCoy regretted trying to get a rise out of him.

"Can you fix it?" asked McCoy. There was a hint of desperation in his voice, and it grated, but he was at the end of his rope.

"I believe so," said Spock. "You're upright and coherent, at least by your own standards, so I have no reason to believe the damage done to your mind was severe."

"Well, thank God for small miracles," said McCoy. His fingers twitched. He really wanted a drink, but he might as well save it for afterwards. He had a feeling he was going to need the whole bottle by the end of the day. "I don't suppose there's some Vulcan guided meditation nonsense you can walk me through, is there?"

"It is going to require another mind meld," said Spock. "There's no getting around that."

"Of course it is," said McCoy. If he'd really thought there was a way around another meld he would have asked for help ages ago. He stood and leaned against the wall, and Spock followed, stopping a respectable distance away from him. "Let's get this over with, then."

"Inhale and then exhale," instructed Spock, and McCoy did as he was told, for all the good it did his racing nerves as Spock reached for him. He placed his fingertips to McCoy's face, right on the exact same spots his doppelganger had. The sensation was softer this time, though, and McCoy found himself leaning into the touch as Spock chanted softly. He willed himself to think clean, empty thoughts.

And this Spock's presence in his mind was so, so much lighter than the other's that McCoy almost didn't notice that the meld had started. But then Spock was there, turning McCoy's thoughts gently back to the ISS Enterprise, and McCoy let him do it, let him sift through the memories until they were looking at mirror images of themselves in the same position.

McCoy could feel Spock tracing back the pathways the doppelganger had taken in his mind, and he could feel the relief that followed as the pathways were righted.

He would be relieved, he really should be relieved, except-

"Wait," said McCoy, but he said it too late, because the images were already laid bare in his mind. Spock's hands on him, Spock's mouth on him, and all the other perfectly vulgar things McCoy wanted from him.

"McCoy," said Spock, and his voice was clear, but McCoy could still hear traces of his own anxiety reflected back in it. Spock's heartbeat was so fast, hammering away at Vulcan speed, and McCoy could feel his own heart start to race faster, trying to catch up. "Please, stay calm."

McCoy inhaled and then exhaled deeply, trying to get his heart rate back down to something that could be called reasonable in a human. "Easier said than done," he said. "I'm sorry, I-"

"You don't have to apologize," said Spock.

McCoy could still feel him inside his head, still righting the things his mirror image had left unbalanced. "I should have-"

"McCoy," said Spock, and his other hand rose to cradle McCoy's jaw along the side of his face where they weren't joined. "Ordinarily, a mind meld is something that goes both ways," he said, his thumb lightly pressed to McCoy's mouth, stopping McCoy from saying anything out loud even as his mind raced. "It is difficult in this case because you don't have any latent telepathic ability of your own, but still. You can see into my thoughts, my desires, just as well as I can see into your own. You just need to focus. Focus, McCoy."

McCoy tried, he really did, because quite frankly he would much rather go for a sprint in Spock's head rather than spend another second in his own. But all that came to mind when he did were images of Spock on his back, naked and hard and thrusting up against him, more of the same, more of the parts of himself he would rather Spock not see.

"You are confused," said Spock. "That's not your mind. That's mine."

"That doesn't make any sense."

"You're getting confused, and it's because my desires are the same as yours," said Spock. He said it like it was so straight-forward, so simple, but it still took a moment for things to click into place for McCoy.

"I swear to God," said McCoy, and he had to stop and inhale because all the air had left his lungs, "I swear I will kill you if you're fucking with me right now."

"I could not lie to you under these circumstances, even if I wanted to." McCoy could feel him pulling away, separating them both out into two separate minds again. And all of a sudden that was the last thing he wanted. "The damage should be fixed now."

It was fixed, McCoy could feel it. The aching hole in the back of his mind had been paved over, good as new, and the only problem was it left McCoy without anything to blame his behavior on.

Spock's fingers slipped down McCoy's cheek, the warmth of their touch sliding softy across McCoy's skin. McCoy shifted his head to the side, catching Spock's thumb in his mouth before his hand had a chance to drop away, and was rewarded as Spock's whole body shuddered against him. And maybe if he hadn't just been inside Spock's head, McCoy could plead ignorance as to the sensitivity of a Vulcan's hand, but the fact was he'd known about if for ages.

"If you really weren't lying, then prove it," said McCoy.

"McCoy," said Spock, clearly exasperated, "You should sleep. We can discuss this once you've had a chance to recover." But they were still pressed flush against each other, and McCoy could feel Spock's erection pressing into his thigh, proof enough that Spock wanted the same exact thing he did.

McCoy took Spock's hand in his own, holding it close enough to his face for him to take two fingers in his mouth. McCoy twisted his tongue around them, tasting salt and clean skin as he sucked, and he might as well have had Spock's cock in his mouth the way he was reacting, moaning so loudly McCoy was a little worried someone might hear.

It was a good thing he'd locked the door.

Spock free hand was at McCoy's pants, deftly undoing the closure and shoving them down just far enough to pull McCoy's cock free, and McCoy groaned around the fingers in his mouth. He reached down to return the favor, his fingers fumbling with the clasp on Spock's pants, and they probably should have stopped and taken their clothes off first. He'd always been too damned impatient.

McCoy managed to get Spock's pants tugged down just as Spock wrapped his hand around McCoy's cock and pulled, warm fingers dragging across the sensitive skin, making McCoy's hips reflexively jerk forward. He wanted more of it, and Spock obliged him, taking him in a firm grasp and stroking.

McCoy gasped, and Spock's fingers slipped from his mouth. Spock took the opportunity to take ahold of McCoy's face, his saliva-coated fingers pressed against McCoy's jaw and holding his head back even as McCoy desperately thrust against his hand.

His legs went weak as came into Spock's fist, biting down on his lower lip to stop himself from yelling loud enough for the whole ship to hear.

"Are you satisfied now?" asked Spock.

McCoy let Spock hold him up for a moment, giving himself a chance to catch his breath. "Almost," he said, then eased himself down on his knees until his face was level with Spock's erection. He exhaled on it heavily, not quite letting his mouth touch it, and heard Spock's breathing hitch above him.

One of these days, he was going to get Spock really and properly worked up, but it was enough teasing for the moment. He dug his fingers into Spock's hips, holding him close as McCoy took as much of his cock as he could down his throat. He was out of practice, but they'd have time to work on that later, and at the moment he didn't think it mattered much. Spock was already close to the edge. McCoy sucked, pulling back and then moving forward again as Spock shifted against him.

"Leonard," said Spock, so breathless he could barely get the name out, and it was so satisfying seeing him like that, desperate and aroused. "Leonard, I'm-"

McCoy was expecting it, and he was ready as Spock came in his mouth, letting him shudder through the climax. He swallowed as Spock pulled away from him, his legs still trembling slightly, and Spock turned and slumped to floor beside McCoy. McCoy shifted so that he was properly sitting, not resting his knees on the hard floor, which come to think about it he was probably going to regret in the morning. But that was tomorrow's problem.

"Seriously, McCoy. Is your mind at ease now?" asked Spock as McCoy leaned against him.

Spock ran his fingers softly across McCoy's temple, and McCoy sighed at the gentle touch. There were so many more things he wanted to do, so many things he wanted done to him, even if he was too strung out to do anything more than rest at the moment.

"Yes," said McCoy. "I think I'm going to be fine."