|OX FORGOTTEN, SELF ALONE
by K.V. Wylie
One day, one night, one moment,
One step, one fall, one falter,
This way became my journey.
"Book of Days", Enya
Two ranking officers needed to attend any diplomatic coming or going, so McCoy found himself waiting with Scotty in the shuttle bay that night, both of them uncomfortably dressed to the hilt and both so tired that they could only exchange sympathetic yawns. Scotty had been knocking between repairs and the bridge and McCoy had still not slept since performing surgery. That was why he thought it was his eyes playing tricks on him when he recognized the Vulcan who stepped out of the shuttle.
"Sapok?" he asked.
"Leonard, my regards," Sapok said, holding up a hand in the Vulcan salute. He turned to Scotty and said, "Captain?"
"Chief Engineer Scotty," he said. "Our captain would have met you himself but he is in sickbay recovering from injuries. Welcome aboard."
"I have been updated on your general status though I was unaware that Captain Kirk had been injured. I trust he will soon recover."
"He'll be up and about before you know it," Scotty said. "You've been given quarters near Ambassador Sarek's. The ensign will take you there." He gestured at one of the guards, but Sapok interrupted.
"I must check with Ambassador Sarek first."
"Not until tomorrow. He's asleep," McCoy said. To Scotty, he said, "If it's all the same, I can take Sapok to his room."
McCoy led the way to the turbolift. Once inside, he leaned discreetly against the wall. Sapok noticed.
"Leonard, you are tired."
"I wanted to tell you about Sarek. He had major surgery. If he gets up on his feet too soon, he'll ruin what I did. I've noticed how strong-willed he is and I'm worried he'll be pulling the same thing on you."
"I have been V'ell en T'Pau's adjutant for seventeen seasons. If you say that the Ambassador must rest, he will rest."
The turbolift halted and McCoy led the way. "This is where Ambassador Sarek and his wife are staying, though the Ambassador is in sickbay right now," he said as he pointed at a door. "And you're just down here." He palmed another door open. "I'll give you voice access tomorrow. There's an intercom if you need anything."
"The quarters are adequate," Sapok said.
"Good night," McCoy said as he left.
Sapok found him very early the next morning in sickbay. "Leonard, am I to evict the Ambassador's surgeon? That would be highly discourteous."
"I thought I took everything out of there," McCoy said sleepily. He'd spent the night in one of the labs in sickbay and gotten up only a few minutes before Sapok appeared. "How did you find out that I gave you my quarters?"
"When I rose I found a data tape with your name on it, and checked the Enterprise's roster," Sapok said. "I will be unable to explain this trespass to the Ambassador."
"Then I'll explain it to Sarek. You're not evicting me. I spend more time in sickbay than anywhere so I might as well sleep here too," McCoy said. "Anyway, we're both part of the same family now, and this is what the host does for the guest. It's in the Vulcan rules somewhere. T'Pau told me."
"Your status in the family is higher than mine, therefore you do not give up your bed in order to sleep--" Sapok looked around the office. "Where did you sleep? There is no facility here."
"I have a cot in the back," McCoy said. "How can my status be higher? I'm human."
"Irrelevant. You married Spock and he is of Surak's direct bloodline."
"Just a minute," McCoy muttered. The statement twigged at him. "If Spock's bloodline is so direct, why isn't the issue of an heir important?"
"Why do you think it is not?"
"It's not in the marriage agreement."
Sapok looked somewhat askance. "It is not there because you are both males, Leonard. Unless human biology is rather different than I comprehend--"
McCoy waved that off. "Shouldn't it then be in the contract that Spock has a responsibility to father a child with a Vulcan woman and I need to put up with that? You know, family duty and keeping the bloodline going and all?"
"Such a clause would be part of the marriage contract if it was determined that you would refuse. V'ell en T'Pau thought you would be amenable."
"Why would she think that?"
"You have a daughter. You have brought a child into the union. You could not refuse Spock's right to do the same."
McCoy stared at Sapok. "Goddamn."
"I can't believe the conjectures and grief this marriage has caused."
"What grief?" Sapok asked.
"Never mind. I'll deal with it." McCoy rubbed his eyes. When he looked up a few moments later, Sapok was still watching him.
"The issue remains that I may not evict you."
"Then where will you sleep? In the corridor?" McCoy returned.
"Rather than a cot in here, could you not stay with your husband?"
McCoy chuckled. "This is the second time in my life I get to say this. My marriage is less than I imagined."
Sapok looked thoughtfully at McCoy for a few moments. Then he said, "Most marriages are. I must attend to the Ambassador now."
After Sapok left, McCoy cleaned up and changed into a fresh uniform. He went looking for Spock only to discover that the Vulcan was on-duty on the bridge.
It was the first time McCoy had ventured onto the bridge since being outed on the bulletin board. No one seemed to be paying attention. The bridge crew was more concerned with repairs than the doctor's reappearance.
McCoy went to the science station and said in a low voice, "What are you doing here? I haven't cleared you for duty yet."
"I am fit," Spock said.
The doctor muttered something as he ran his scanner over the Vulcan. "I need to talk to you. Do you have a few minutes?"
"In the captain's absence and considering the current situation, I expect to remain on the bridge until twenty-three sixteen when the last diplomatic discussion is expected to end."
"It's important, Spock."
In a whisper that McCoy had to strain to hear, Spock said, "Doctor, we would unnecessarily add to the speculation were I to leave the bridge in your company for any reason other than a professional one."
McCoy scowled as he returned to the turbolift. After the doors closed, he said, "Jerk."
He checked Kirk (who was restless but felt crappy enough to agree to another day of bed rest) and then took a look in at Sarek (who might feel restless and crappy but would never admit it.)
Sapok and Amanda were at Sarek's bedside, Sapok receiving instructions from the Ambassador in between Amanda's attempts to get her husband to eat. The situation was amusing, but tense.
McCoy went to the ship's gym for the rest of the morning, doing slow laps in the swimming pool despite thoughts cartwheeling through his mind. As he floated, looking at the high, rounded ceiling above him, it occurred to him that the last time he'd felt this upset was during his divorce. And he was upset. Despite his casual words to Kirk, McCoy didn't know how to deal with this marriage. It was making a difference.
He spent the rest of the day in his office trying to get through the reams of reports and logs that were always overdue. Chapel brought a tray of food for him at shift change, but no one else bothered him.
It was very late and his eyes were stinging from looking at the computer screen when the door buzzed.
"Enter," McCoy said.
Sapok came in.
"How's the Coridon issue going?" McCoy asked, not that he cared much. It just seemed polite to ask.
"Ambassador Sarek is content with the progress," Sapok replied.
McCoy knew that the word 'content' translated to ecstatic. "Good. And before you say anything about who's sleeping where, I remind you that I out-status you."
"I have another suggestion," Sapok said. He moved behind the desk and held up his hand, two fingers extended.
McCoy frowned. He opened his mouth.
And then he silenced abruptly as the meaning of Sapok's gesture hit him.
At last he said, "Oh."
Then he laughed. "Ok. Yes. Just let me get my things."
McCoy woke several times that night. He wasn't used to sleeping beside someone though he wasn't sure if he was waking because it was unfamiliar or because he wanted to keep checking that Sapok was still there. The sex had been fulfilling in more than a physical way. Sapok had a gentle touch and he had moved on McCoy as if there was no one else but the two of them and they had all the time in the universe. The doctor's skin still tingled. He hadn't realized how much he'd missed just touching and being held.
When the chronometer clicked to oh five hundred, Sapok woke as if an alarm had been set. He looked over, saw that the doctor was awake, and brushed McCoy's lips with a fingertip. Then he got up and began to dress.
"The vote will be taken in six point three hours," he said. "I must prepare. I will be casting the Ambassador's vote on his behalf."
"How do you think it will go?" McCoy asked as he moved into Sapok's warm spot in the sheets.
"The Ambassador does not foresee any difficulty," Sapok replied.
After Sapok left, McCoy slept in, something he rarely indulged in. Then he went to the officer's lounge for a late breakfast.
Amanda was there, sitting at a table by the viewscreen. "Doctor," she said.
"I should call you that, shouldn't I?" she said. "We're family now."
Startled, McCoy didn't immediately reply.
"I would be with Sarek but I can't seem to get a word in between him and Sapok."
"Once the vote is over, you can take Sarek home and make him stay in one spot for a while," McCoy said. He got coffee and a roll.
Amanda gestured to the chair across from hers.
After he sat, he said, "As it's just you and me here, the humans in the mix, could we talk about…it?"
"Last night, Sarek said that T'Pau's logic was admirable," she said.
"I get the logic, but it still left Spock without a choice."
"Vulcan would say that is irrelevant, though Sarek might not," Amanda said. "It left you without a choice as well." She smiled a soft, depleted smile. "I know nothing about you, Leonard. I know nothing about the man who is married to my son."
"I was born in Georgia and used to be a general practitioner there. I have a daughter; she's grown now. I served on several vessels before the Enterprise and if I had any spare time, I suppose I'd take up squash."
Amanda chuckled. "Sarek is fond of humans though he would never say it. Long before he and I met, he was sent on a diplomatic mission to Earth, and asked to stay as the envoy in the Vulcan embassy in San Francisco after the mission was finished. That was where I met him. I was a linguistics teacher and often stood in as an interpreter."
For a moment she looked very innocent. McCoy could see the young woman in her and wondered what that time had been like. Then she was Lady Amanda again.
"Sarek would have welcomed you into the family, but thought it might not be appropriate considering the communication we received from the Matriarch."
"You mean because it happened so suddenly?" McCoy asked. "I'm coping."
"I meant because of the situation with Captain Kirk. "
McCoy wondered if she was talking about T'Pring's challenge and the fight in which Kirk had nearly died. Yet, why would that be a factor in Sarek welcoming him to the family?
Then, with a rush like air leaving a vacuum, a whole lot of little things clicked together into one big thing, the elephant in the room. McCoy saw Kirk's face as the captain asked quietly if there'd been a mindmeld. Saw Kirk picking at a salad, not looking at him. Remembered Spock saying stiffly, this marriage will not interfere with any intimate contacts.
I didn't know, McCoy thought, stunned. Then, in the same thought, I did know.
"T'Pau's very thorough, isn't she?" McCoy murmured. "How she finds these things out, I have no idea."
He realized that if T'Pau knew, Sapok did too.
Then he wondered, if T'Pau knew, why had she chosen him instead of the captain?
McCoy recovered. Emotional he may be, he could outdo Vulcans when it came to reeling in emotions. In a gracious, generous voice, he said, "That is Spock's business. And the captain's. Not mine."
They finished their breakfast, speaking of little things, small and innocuous family matters. Then McCoy went about his day as if nothing had changed. He discharged Sarek from sickbay and checked in with Uhura to find the results of the vote. He ate dinner in the lounge, watching ships come and go for ambassadors. That evening the Enterprise lifted her belly and set course for Vulcan for it wasn't deemed wise for Sarek to travel from shuttle to shuttle in his condition. The Enterprise would take him to Vulcan.
Just at that point in the last watch when the night crew is struggling to stay awake, McCoy went to his quarters to his warm bed where Sapok waited.
Later, while Sapok slept, McCoy got quietly out of bed and opened a small panel on a shelf. He withdrew a bronze Shiva. This figure was of Shiva the Destroyer, dancing as the world ended and began again anew, his heavy braid unravelling behind him and his third eye blood red even in the almost imperceptible glow of the night light.
An old girlfriend had given McCoy the small statue thirty years ago, if not more, and it had travelled with him. The figure held no religious significance for him (or for his old girlfriend – she'd bought it because the blue of Shiva's throat had exactly matched McCoy's eyes,) but it appealed to him in an offhand sort of way. He'd been curious to see the two incarnations of Shiva in Spock's quarters, the high god and the dancing Nataraja, arranged reverently by a Vulcan who paid no particular reverence to them.
McCoy's statue represented Shiva after the god's third eye had burned desire into ash, the enlightened Shiva who recognized the folly of attachment. It was heavy to hold and eventually McCoy set it on the bedside table. He got back into bed, moving gently until he was against Sapok's warm skin, raised one arm on the pillow to support his head, and looked at the statue. He thought about T'Pau, about Kirk and Spock, and about an alien world that would marry one of its sons to a human male.
If Sapok had been awake, he would have eventually seen a contemplative, settled smile cross the doctor's face.
|Continues in Return
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