“But there are so many options,” McCoy says, his voice buzzing through his universal translator and straight into the ears of the entirely unimpressed Rigellian delegation who are, quite frankly, kind of assholes. “Fireworks. Why not that? We’ll pop a bottle of bubbly. Cook up a pot of black eyed peas. Put away a dozen grapes. Smash a plate or two. Drop a ball. Hell, what do you do on Vulcan?”
But Spock, because he’s Spock and there is nobody else that McCoy could have possibly been stuck with on this mission and on today of all days, only blinks.
“Celebrating the change in star date is illogical.”
McCoy throws up his hands. “Of course it is.”
“We have done our research,” the lead delegate says in its squeaky, shrill voice that frankly makes McCoy want to tear his own ears off. “And our offer stands. A demonstration of your most sacred tradition in exchange for your freedom.”
“Sacred,” McCoy mutters. “And if we don’t?”
“You will be sentenced to seventy five years imprisonment on the poisoned shores of our ocean of death,” the delegate says and it takes a lot - a lot - to not laugh.
“Spock,” McCoy mutters after he’s gotten control of the twitch at the corner of his mouth. He thumbs off his translator and leans closer to whisper, “This is insane. We’re not doing this.”
“Creating strong diplomatic ties with the Rigellians is the goal of our mission,” Spock says and McCoy huffs out a breath. “Taking us as prisoners and sentencing us to decades in prison is not the type of outcome Admiral Barnett expected of us.”
“Decades?” McCoy asks. “I’m pretty sure that cause their years are oh, I don’t know, five minutes long, and their ‘poisoned shores’ are what looks like a pretty nice beach on a fresh water sea, the Enterprise will be beaming us up after an afternoon of sunbathing. And frankly, since I got my ass stuck on this away mission from hell instead of being able to be at the party back on board, I could go for a bit of a nap in the sun.”
“The fact remains that their perception of the incident-”
“-The fact remains that no, Spock. No. It’s not even midnight, in case you haven’t noticed. It’s the middle of the goddamn afternoon here, and even on ship’s time it’s what, 2100? This doesn’t make any sense.”
“The Rigellians themselves have said that we do not have to wait until midnight.”
“The beach, Spock. Sand. Sun. Hell, I’ll make you a sandcastle.”
“Doctor, our duty to-”
McCoy steps closer and puts his finger in Spock’s face. “Are you seriously telling me that instead of spending a glorious day on the pristine beach that is right over there and that our sensors confirm is like something out of Hawaii, you would rather give in to this hell of a negotiation and - and kiss? Jesus, Spock, is the idea of a nice afternoon addling your brain?”
“I assure you I am in full control of my facilities. As you should be, in considering the mission parameters under which we were sent here.”
McCoy stomps a half dozen steps away. The armed guards follow him, their guns raised. They’ll shoot he knows - he certainly found that out during their capture, the foam and rubber darts hurtling at him and Spock and harmlessly bouncing off. What a damn joke this planet is. Or would be, if he could get off of it, change out of his uniform, and enjoy the party that he’s currently supposed to be attending in the rec room, and regale the rest of the crew with the hilarity of this mission. Spock can even come if he wants and confirm that they’ve been apprehended by the vaguely purple locals with their high pitched voices and earnest efforts at detaining them.
But no. He could have been stuck here with Jim, who would have sweet talked his way out of this entire thing, or Uhura who never would have gotten herself in this situation to begin with, or hell Sulu or Chekov or Scotty or literally - literally - anyone else that would have made this into a rather enjoyable day.
Except it’s Spock here with him, and Spock actually cares about things like diplomacy and mission success.
Which means that there’s no chance in hell that McCoy will get to visit that beach with it’s annoyingly pristine sand and likely perfectly warm waves. And it’s either sit here for the rest of the day and have Jim’s New Years party tick past them as the tiny purple aliens continue to shriek at them or… God if it were just anyone other than Spock.
“Fine,” McCoy snaps, walks back over and grabs the front of Spock’s uniform.
Like ripping off a bandaid. No time to let himself think about what the actual hell he’s doing, cause he leans in, closes his eyes, and tries not to grimace through kissing Spock of all people.
Who is stiff as all get out and there’s an awkward, horrible moment of stillness before Spock softens and kisses him back with a sigh against McCoy’s cheek and - and that’s enough of all this, now isn’t it.
“There,” McCoy says and lets Spock go. The front of his shirt is all sorts of rumpled. McCoy looks away. “Happy?”
“Eminently so,” one of the Rigellians chirp and then they actually start clapping.
McCoy raises his eyes to the sky and tries not to groan, audibly at least. What a goddamn year this has been, and what a hell of a way to end it.
The worst part isn’t the sudden spread of viral Denubian stomach flu through the ship, or the fact that the reprovisioning stop had failed to yield any decent bourbon, or even that New Years Eve fell in the middle of a scheduled ten days straight of work - which McCoy’s pretty sure he has Spock to thank for and all of its accompanying headache of exhaustion.
No, the worst part is that he’s been looking forward to tonight for weeks now and Gary Fucking Mitchell just had to ruin it, like he ruined every single year at the Academy and then some.
“He’s an ass,” Uhura says as succinctly as she ever does to Spock’s questioning eyebrow.
“Full of himself,” McCoy clarifies.
“Thinks he’s God’s gift to Starfleet and the human race,” Uhura says.
“Ego as big as the beta quadrant,” McCoy adds.
“Never shuts up,” Uhura says.
“About anything,” McCoy says and drains his beer, grimacing.
“And he is Jim’s closest friend?” Spock asks.
“Hey.” McCoy sits up from his slump against the table they’ve retreated to, as far from Jim and Gary Fucking Mitchell as they can get in the rec room turned party room. “Now that’s just insulting, Spock.”
“You know, I thought I could make it through the week he’s spending on board, but…” Uhura purses her lips and shakes her head. “I think I might just go toss myself out of the airlock.”
“That is not advised,” Spock says.
“Well, then I’m at least not sharing the remainder of my year with him in any sort of close proximity,” she says, stands, and tosses back the last of her champagne. “Goodnight.”
“She’s a smart one,” McCoy says and he’d join her, but he carved out this evening from a stack of paperwork, vaccine rounds for the entire damn crew, and some much needed sleep and he’s not giving into the lure of a Gary-free evening at the expense of finally getting to kick back for once. Plus, there’s still champagne in the bottle.
He tips it towards Spock, who shakes his head.
“Why does Jim continue a friendship with him?” Spock asks and McCoy shrugs, upending the bottle into Uhura’s empty flute and pulling it in front of himself.
“Mutual recognition of equal self-aggrandizement?” McCoy takes a healthy drink. “No damn clue. Trust me, even you’re a step up in Jim’s taste in buddies.”
“That wasn’t a compliment,” McCoy says, frowns, and takes another sip. “Can’t you come up with an imminently logical reason to kick him off the ship?”
“Jim enjoys his company.”
“Jim enjoys our company and I don’t know if you noticed, but even you won’t get near Gary Mitchell with a ten foot pole.”
“Starfleet uses metric units. Surely you are aware of this, Doctor. A three point oh four eight meter pole,” Spock says and then he’s slipping McCoy’s - Uhura’s - glass from his hand and taking the tiniest sip anyone has ever taken. “Curious. For the cultural import placed on this beverage, I would have presumed it would be more pleasing.”
“You know, when the esteemed Lieutenant Mitchell graced the Enterprise with his presence just yesterday, I decided on the New Year’s resolution of putting up with entirely less insufferability in the coming year,” McCoy says and snags the glass back.
“That will be difficult.”
“You’re telling me,” McCoy mutters. Spock’s hands are warm enough to leave lingering traces of heat over the curve of the glass. McCoy frowns into the champagne, sure that it’s warmed from its chill.
“Considering the amount of time you must spend with yourself, it would be nearly impossible.”
McCoy sets the glass on the table with a hard click. “How about a resolution of your own: not being absolutely unbearable.”
“In light of the fact you are sitting here with me and are avoiding only Lieutenant Mitchell, it can be logically deduced that my presence is, in fact, comparably quite bearable.”
McCoy splashes more champagne into his glass. “Ok, something easier then. Talking less.”
“Is this a resolution you have also considered?”
“You don’t have to wait until midnight, you know,” McCoy mutters.
Which… he might have done well not to say. Cause Spock’s eyes flick over to his and for a horribly long beat McCoy remembers the press of Spock’s mouth and the fist of his collar in his hand and that chuff of breath against his cheek and Spock - Spock’s blinking and looking away again and McCoy would have been pretty damn smart to keep his big mouth shut.
He pushes the glass aside.
“I think Uhura had the right idea,” he says and stands, straightening his shirt. “’Night.”
Jim won’t miss him. Hell, Jim probably hasn’t even noticed he showed up at all, which only makes McCoy more annoyed with the entire evening. No, he could use a good couple hours of sleep and a fresh start to the year in the morning. He’ll have a halfway decent breakfast and lose himself in yet another day of work, forgetting tonight ever was supposed to be any measure of fun.
But Spock - because he’s Spock and is the most irritating person who has ever graced the Enterprise only baring one Lieutenant Gary Mitchell - rises and follows him to the turbo lift, which is really just the icing on the cake, now isn’t it.
“I have been considering one resolution,” Spock says evenly, his hands tucked behind his back like always.
McCoy grunts “Ok” and wishes for this turbolift ride, this evening, this damn year to go on ahead and wrap itself up.
“Many of my esteemed colleagues,” Spock starts and McCoy eyes him cause there’s a tone behind esteemed that sounds nothing of the sort, “Have often encouraged me to embrace my human side. You among them, Doctor.”
Ah, yes, there it is. McCoy rolls his eyes.
“So?” he asks and the doors finally swoosh open. Four doors down is McCoy’s quarters and three more to Spock’s, which means McCoy just needs to get halfway down the hallway and he can rid himself of half-Vulcans and the final moments of this entirely wonderful night.
“Illogical advice, though I have given it some amount of thought,” Spock says and follows McCoy to his door.
“And?” he prompts. He’s too tired - and hasn’t had enough to drink - to want to play these types of circular games with Spock just right now. “What genius conclusion did you draw, Mr. Spock?”
“That were I to follow your suggestion, one aspect of my human heritage that I often neglect is that of spontaneity,” Spock says. “And there is only one logical solution.”
For a moment Spock watches him. Then, he leans forward and McCoy finds himself being kissed.
He jerks in surprise. A warm hand settles on his shoulder to hold him still and soft lips tug at his. When Spock finally pulls back, he’s still far too close.
“Have a good evening,” Spock says and then he’s gone, those hands folded behind his back again and his door rushing open and closed behind him.
McCoy doesn’t know how long he’s left standing there in the hallway, but something tells him it’s clear into the new year.
This was not how this evening was supposed to go.
Finish his shift - which of course ran late - find some dinner, change into something that involves jeans and zero Starfleet insignias, and beam down to the bar that Jim found for the night’s festivities.
They have dozens of different types of whiskeys. Dozens.
Spock’s hand fishes down the front of McCoy’s pants and he groans into Spock’s mouth.
“Shit,” he says and it should have been stop or hold on a damn minute or what the hell are we doing, but he hasn’t gotten his mouth around any of those sorts of words for the weeks that this… this… this thing has been going on and with Spock’s thumb drawing that slow circle he does so well, McCoy is once again speeding well past the point at which he should slow down and bother thinking.
And, well. It’s his one night of leave. And Spock lost his shirt a handful of kisses ago and halfway across the room, and the bed is right there, and - “God, just wait a second, would you?” McCoy asks and grabs at Spock’s wrist.
“It is 2317,” Spock says and manages to shuck of his pants without any type of the graceless squirm that has McCoy hopping on one foot to rid himself of his damn clothes. “I presumed that given the timing of the night’s festivities, efficiency would be paramount.”
“Efficiency,” McCoy mutters. This entire thing is better - easier - when they don’t talk.
And the easiest way to shut Spock up is to kiss him. Which McCoy does, pushing Spock onto the bed and crawling over that long, pale body to interrupt whatever astonishingly logical comment might be coming next.
The second best way to keeping him quiet is finding that angle that - God, yes, like that - creases the corner of Spock’s eyes and makes his mouth hang open - Jesus it’s so, Spock is so -
“Fuck,” McCoy groans and Spock’s head arches back and they never do manage to make it to the bar, the planet, the transporter room and this was absolutely and entirely not how tonight was supposed to go, but by the time the year ticks over into a new one, McCoy is well past the point of caring.
“You can just say it,” Jim says, his elbows on the table, his chin on his hands, and a terribly irritating smile on his face.
“Shut it,” McCoy mutters into his glass.
“You miss him,” Jim says and he’s a decorated Starfleet captain and is responsible for more heroism and diplomatic success and scientific exploration than others years into their careers, and he freaking sing-songs it.
“The only thing I miss is the peace and quiet I was enjoying before you invited yourself over.”
“I couldn’t enjoy the evening with the thought of you wallowing alone,” Jim says and pours himself more of McCoy’s bourbon. “Pining, as it were, for your wayward-”
“-Don’t you have a party to host?” McCoy asks. “Your crew to see? Uhura to turn you down in a new and spectacular way in front of everyone you both know?”
“Not everyone,” Jim says and tips his glass towards McCoy in a terribly cheerful salute. “Cause you’re moping around in your quarters and Spock’s shuttle is so sadly delayed.”
McCoy doesn’t need the reminder. Nor does he need the smirk Jim has had since he first wheedled out of McCoy a confirmation of everything he suspected about what was going on with Spock.
Which is none of his damn business. Wasn’t then and isn’t now, and McCoy sips at his bourbon and wills a rogue band of Klingons to attack the ship and pull Jim and that damn grin of his out of McCoy’s room.
When Jim holds out the bottle, McCoy sighs and pushes his glass across the table for more. This is Spock’s fault anyway. The very logical need to jet over to Cappella Prime to gather botanical samples - and why ferns are more important than running the damn ship with Jim, McCoy didn’t and doesn’t know - and the delay to collect the fronds to ensure it happened at the planet’s equinox, and then the necessity of spending long enough there to consult with the foremost expert in bioluminescent xenoflora… It’s not McCoy to blame for the fact that he’s been stuck here with a cold bed and nobody to help him with the handful that is Jim Kirk for fifteen days now.
Sixteen, soon enough.
McCoy sighs into his glass.
“Come on,” Jim says, stands, and smacks McCoy on the shoulder. “This is frankly pathetic to watch. You’re coming with me, and you’re having fun.”
“No,” McCoy says.
“Well, you’re coming with me and it’s up to you if you don’t enjoy fun. Suit yourself,” Jim says and at his tug, McCoy finally lets himself be pulled out of his chair and shuffled into his boots.
If Spock were here, he’d help commiserate about the fact that sometimes just going along with Jim is a hell of a lot easier than resisting.
Though if Spock were here, McCoy wouldn’t be leaving his quarters now, would he. No, they’d have fifteen very long days to catch up on and it’d be logical enough to start right away.
The party is fine. Loud and with terrible music blasting through the rec room, and the champagne Scotty replicated has a strangle green hue to it, but it’s not the worst of Jim’s parties McCoy has been dragged to.
Still, there’s a host of places he’d rather be. Like asleep. Or in bed. Not sleeping. With Spock there. Also not sleeping.
He frowns at his green champagne.
And when he looks up again, he has to blink. Twice.
Cause Spock, who is currently on a shuttle and likely nose deep in a tome of botanical literature and surrounded by perfectly preserved fern samples, is in fact here. In this room.
Across the room, working his way through the crowd.
McCoy pushes himself up from his slump against the wall.
“You’re back,” he says dumbly when Spock reaches him.
That damn eyebrow rises. “Clearly.”
“Hi,” McCoy says and they don’t really do this, this public thing and sure Jim knows and Uhura too and a good half of the bridge crew - which really means the entire ship has a clue or three - but all the same it’s odd to be here in the middle of a room full of people.
Whatever. Fifteen days is a long damn time and McCoy fits his hand behind Spock’s neck and pulls him in.
“Hello,” Spock says and McCoy kisses him. Hard. Wraps his other arm around Spock’s waist and keeps him there even though it’s awkward to hold his champagne flute like that and he probably needs to breathe at some point and somewhere over the clang of the music, someone’s wolf whistling.
“How’re the ferns?” McCoy asks when they finally pull apart.
McCoy rolls his eyes.
“Of course they were,” he says and kisses him again and it’s not the worst New Years he’s had, now is it.
“In all of illogical hell-” McCoy grabs another hypo. “-How in God’s name did you-” Jabs it into Spock’s neck. “-Think for a Goddamn second-” Presses the button on it and depresses it with a hiss into Spock’s skin. “-That what you did wasn’t anything but insane?”
“The Captain was in danger,” Spock says.
“You were in danger,” McCoy snaps and hypos him again. “Jim is fine, you green blooded ingrate! I have better things to do with my time than stitch you back together.”
“By all means,” Spock says dryly. “Go enjoy your evening.”
“I would be, if I wasn’t stuck here with you and your idiotic choices.” McCoy grabs a dermal regenerator and tugs at Spock’s ripped uniform shirt. “Arms up. Easy there, try to keep your blood inside of you, it’s where it belongs, you know.”
“Your grasp of internal medicine is as commendable as always, Doctor.”
“Next time, try take the impact to your head, Spock. It might improve things.”
And it’d leave his side alone. McCoy hisses in sympathy as he peels the last of Spock’s shirt off. Gently, he pokes at the edge of the burn.
“Hurts?” he asks. “Chapel, a roll of gauze and three hypos of cordrazine.”
“When you touch it, yes,” Spock says.
“Clearly severe injuries only improve your disposition,” McCoy mutters. He pats the head of the biobed. “Lay back.”
Spock falls asleep twenty minutes into McCoy sterilizing and healing the wound. Well, he needs it. Runs himself ragged chasing after Jim, he does. It’s been five damn years of this, and the man could use some decent rest. He’s pale enough as it is, and there are dark circles under his eyes.
With a sigh, McCoy straightens the pillow beneath Spock’s head and orders the computer to turn the heat up. It’s not exactly a substitute for the frankly scalding temperature Spock prefers to sleep at, but at least it’s something and McCoy has a way to go on the gaping wound stretching from hipbone to rib.
When he’s done, he’s sure Jim’s party is in full swing. And that Jim is there despite his own day of sticking his neck out for the good of the Federation and likely ignoring McCoy’s orders to not mix alcohol with the hypos he gave him.
“Go on, get,” he says to Chapel when he finally sets the last dermal regenerator down. “I’ll keep an eye on him, go have fun.”
“You’re sure?” she asks.
“Need me to say it twice?”
She doesn’t apparently, because she leaves him there with the doors swishing shut behind her and the silence of sickbay, broken only by the slow beep of the monitor above Spock’s bed and his even breathing.
“Lights at thirty percent,” McCoy orders.
Chapel’ll give him plenty of shit when she finds him in the morning, but he nudges Spock to the side anyway and tucks himself next to him. He hates this. Always has, the headlong rush of injuries on his biobeds, the blood that flows too freely, and the harried business of fixing up bodies that should by all rights be hale and hearty and heathy enough to not need a trip to his sickbay.
And it’s all the worse that it’s Spock, and that despite all of McCoy’s best intentions, the man makes him stare stupidly at the lines of his profile and brush his hair gently back from his forehead.
Spock’s eyes flutter open. “Leonard?” he asks.
“Go back to sleep,” McCoy whispers. It takes some maneuvering - these beds are too damn small for two grown men and trust Spock to land himself in sickbay instead of in their quarters tonight - but he gets himself up on his elbow so that he can lean over and press a soft, chaste kiss to Spock’s mouth. “Happy New Year.”
And Plus One
McCoy wakes up to an empty bed, which is just plain unfair since he fell asleep with an armful of naked Spock and frankly, if he’s not going to open his eyes to the sight of pale skin and how messy a pillow can make that horrible haircut, there’s not much point in consciousness.
He rolls onto his back and digs his fingers into the corners of his eyes. Then, he gets up, shuffling around for his pants.
Downstairs, he frowns at the spotless kitchen before tossing open the door to the back porch.
“Coulda left the dishes for the morning,” he says to that straight back and pale slice of neck above a - a sweatshirt. McCoy tucks his fingers into the collar and plucks at it. “Theft is illegal, you know.”
“I assure you, I have no interest in permanently acquiring a garment such as this.”
“Hmmm. You should.” McCoy rubs his fingers over the back of Spock’s neck. “It’s a good look on you.”
Though most things are. As well as nothing at all, which McCoy should currently be enjoying, an arm over Spock’s trim waist and their feet tangled together.
He sighs, the blow of breath puffing white in the night air. Spock was smart enough to find a pair of socks. McCoy settles a step above his seat on the porch stairs, a leg on either side of those shoulders, and tucks his toes into Spock’s warm thighs.
When he dips his hands into that sweatshirt, Spock jerks.
“Obtain gloves,” he says. “And desist. Please.”
“But you’re warm.” And he smells good. McCoy flattens his fingers over the tight skin of Spock’s belly and noses into his neck. “Come back to bed, would you?”
Which means a handful of hours, at least. Long after McCoy will have grown bored and wandered back to the bedroom himself. It was the same on the ship, finding Spock on the observation deck sitting in the dark and silence, his eyes on the warp trails flowing past the ship, or the planet of the week orbiting below them. Georgia in winter is likely a poor substitute, but if Spock minds he doesn’t say, just leans back into McCoy’s body at his gentle tug, those brown eyes of his still fixed on the stars.
McCoy presses his cheek to Spock’s temple. “Miss it up there?”
McCoy has no interest in agreeing with him, but he’s sure Spock knows all the same cause McCoy doesn’t exactly do the sensible thing of going back inside to his warm bed, but instead sits there, his thumb idly stroking Spock’s stomach and his eyes also lifted to the stars.
Midnight comes with a flash of fireworks on the horizon and the neighbors on both sides cheerfully shouting. Somewhere, Jim is toasting with a too full glass of champagne and Uhura is probably with him.
“We'll go back,” he says into that dark, soft hair.
“I would like that.”
McCoy tugs him closer. “Me too.”