Let Them Go
Even before he had somehow managed to attract the attention of his childhood tormentors, Spock had never seemed to be a particularly Vulcan child. While he certainly had the appearance of a stereotypical Vulcan with his close-cropped hair, thin frame, and angular face, the truth was that most Vulcans also had an air of cold about them despite their high body temperature. Spock did not have this, and it was often remarked upon as tactfully as possible by the citizens of Vulcan. “Warm” was what they called him, and, while it might have seemed like a casual observation or even a compliment on many planets, on Vulcan such words were insulting. Demeaning. Human.
As a child of only four, Spock did not know this. To him, the word was what it was; a word. It had a set meaning, a certain spelling, and specific phonetics to go with it, but even as intelligent as he was, the connotations of the word escaped him.
He didn’t understand, not really, when Stonn started avoiding him. In his mind he was able to calculate a noticeable decrease in shared activities and conversation, but he could see no reason for the shift in behavior. He tried to bridge the gap between them, mend Stonn’s failing opinion of him, and he did it through the only means at his disposal: direct contact, and perseverance.
It was only when he started school that he began to realize that his actions might have been in error. Stonn, elder than him by two years, found himself surrounded by classmates who took great strides in order to torment him about his “friendship” with a child who was half-human, a child they could not bother directly due to his father’s influence and their teacher’s watchful eyes. Beyond that, Spock noticed that their actions seemed to follow a specific trend; the more Spock reached out to him, the more Stonn was punished. The correlation was direct, and undeniable.
So Spock stopped trying. He did not want Stonn hurt, and he could recognize that he was indeed being injured by the actions of his peers, even though he did not show it on the outside.
And so it was at the age of only five that Spock silently said goodbye to his first, and last, childhood friend.
Abide By Their Wishes
While Spock could not recall the bonding ceremony that had taken place when he was a very young child, he could recall in perfect clarity the day he met his future bondmate, T’Pring. They were nearly identical in age (a difference of only two days almost to the hour), almost identical in height (three point five centimeters, to use a Terrain measurement), and well-suited in temperament, interests, and coloring. They seemed to be very well-matched to Spock and, even if it was not Vulcan to do so, he imagined that he was happy to be paired with such a lovely female.
As per the usual procedures, Spock and T’Pring spent a great deal of time together in between school hours and domestic obligations; they spoke in calm, ordered tones about their days and their respective knowledge, and it was comfortable in a stilted way. Spock felt he could ask for nothing else, but apparently T’Pring did not feel as satisfied.
“Spock,” she had said during one of their periods of silence, using the shortened version of his name, she had said once, in an effort to waste as little time as possible.
“Yes, T’Pring?” Spock had no such excuse; he felt a fondness for her simplified name that he could not explain, and so he didn’t try to.
“May I make a request of you?”
“You may.” It was odd that she would ask, in fact, considering the purpose of their meetings.
“I understand that you are…affectionate. I wish you would not be so.”
T’Pring’s eyes were serious, and Spock looked at them intensely. They were darker than his own, but no less intelligent or appealing. He had said so, once. Apparently he had been in error to do so.
“This displeases you?”
“Yes.” There was no hesitation in her reply, because she was Vulcan. Spock found himself displeased with this, although he did not say as such. He merely inclined his head, and agreed.
“Then I shall strive to abide by your wishes.”
She nodded, and their meeting continued, the matter dismissed although Spock tried his best to do as she requested. With time, Spock found himself more able to curb his impulses and emotional reactions, and he felt that she was pleased with this—at least, the subject of his affection never came up again.
They met regularly between the ages of twelve and fourteen, and towards the end of their meetings, it was jointly agreed upon that the bonding should not take place until a later date. Said date came, and it was again agreed upon to push the bonding ceremony to another time, this time until they had both reached adulthood. On the day of Spock’s adulthood ceremony, however, T’Pring was nowhere to be found.
He was informed later that T’Pring and one of his elder classmates had been found sitting quietly on one of Vulcan’s great cliffs, their minds already bonded. Spock found himself displeased with this but he did not react beyond a single blink, merely thanking the messenger for their discretion and continuing on to his meeting with the Council of Elders. They discussed his future in simple terms and he found, much to his displeasure, that his final judgment on the matter was as they’d feared: emotional.
As he made his preparations to leave for the planet of Earth, he wondered if T’Pring’s bondmate was as stoic as he was apparently unable to be.
Allow Them Their Pride
Spock had been considered something of a prodigy at the academy, with his mind that functioned well and a body that was able to surpass the efforts of most other species. While this was a point of some satisfaction for him, he tried his very best not to let it show, as he was very conscious of his status as the first Vulcan of his generation to serve in Starfleet. Still, that did not mean that his efforts were always successful and, on more than one occasion, his pride regrettably poked through.
Unfortunately, Vulcan pride tended to manifest itself as arrogance in the eyes of humans, and it had resulted in conflicts several times. It was for this reason that, although he had graduated from cadet at the top of his class and in record time, he had chosen not to take a ship’s post immediately. While his official reason was that he had many experiments to concern himself with—something which was also true—his second motivation was his ever-failing knowledge on the behavior patterns of human beings. Although the admission pained him somewhat, he knew that it was imperative that he learn the intricacies of human relations before he concerned himself with alien ones.
And so he found himself tucked into a corner of the most advanced xenolinguistics class, watching the students in rapt fascination as they interacted, joked, and generally behaved in a most illogical fashion. The teacher was speaking, of course, but five or so cadets in the far row seemed unaware of it, much to the discomfort of…a very familiar cadet with dark hair. Cadet Uhura, if he recalled correctly, and he always did.
Spock blinked, attempting to focus around his quite illogical initial reaction: surprise. She was a communications major, after all—it should not have surprised him that she was in a xenolinguistics class, albeit a very advanced class for a mere first year student. Clearly she was quite bright, as she also excelled in one of the computer classes he instructed although it did not apply directly to her field. She was an able student, almost Vulcan in her seriousness during class but wholly human in her interactions with her classmates and with him. Teasing, he believed was the word.
He wondered why he was filled with unexpected warmth at the thought. Peculiar; the temperature of the classroom should not have affected him in such a way, as it was well within the range of acceptable. Interesting.
He glanced at Cadet Uhura once more, mind skimming over several of their encounters, reflecting on each conversation. Although he was not in the habit of forming hasty conclusions, he felt a hypothesis forming in the back of his mind, something he knew had to be addressed as soon as possible. So deciding, he stood and calmly approached her.
He assured himself that his actions were for research purposes; a human would have said it was curiosity. Truthfully it was neither, but, as Vulcans were not in the habit of lying even to themselves, he simply refused to acknowledge that.
“Cadet Uhura.” He tilted his head in greeting and settled three seats down, an acceptable distance if she should wish to ignore him as humans sometimes did; it was most illogical.
She, on her part, seemed both surprised and pleased to see him. More pleased than surprised, if such a reaction could be measured. Hypothesis confirmed.
“Professor Spock. I didn’t know you attended this class.” She tugged on her skirt, a nervous gesture he had seen her make several times in his presence. He did not comment on it, but rather than make his customary response designed to end the budding conversation, he replied with a statement he knew to be leading.
“I do not on regular intervals. However, the most recent attendance records announced the presence of several open seats, and I was…inclined to attend.”
“You were curious? You, Professor?” She smiled, and blushed prettily. He tilted his head.
“Affirmative, although I am averse to phrasing my motives in such a manner.”
“Oh, no, of course not.” Her laugh was light and melodic; he had heard one of his students mention her singing capabilities, and he imagined the comments were accurate.
“Your secret’s safe with me.”
“You have my gratitude.”
She smiled wider, and resumed taking notes. For a moment there was only the sound of the teacher’s monotone voice and the giggling of cadets in the background, and he wondered if he might have miscalculated. Then she put her notes back securely in her bag and looked up, clearly expecting him to say something. He obliged.
“I must confess, I am not familiar with this particular language.”
She beamed at him and took the statement as the invitation it was, standing and moving so there was just one seat between them.
“No? Well, I’m new to Andorian as well, but it’s fascinating. Here, let me show you what I mean-“
She opened up the rather thick volume that had been resting by her feet and began conjugating verbs and explaining the differences between basic Standard, Vulcan, and Andorian words. Spock listened intently although the information was mostly familiar to him, as she spoke with a melody and a passion that computers did not have.
And if she mispronounced an Andorian word or two…well, he did not correct her.
Lie To Them
Starfleet collectively referred to the occurrences of that day as “The Nero Incident,” and it was a description that Spock found wholly inferior. However, he was unable to provide an acceptable alternative since Vulcans had too much taste to refer to it as “Doomsday” and Spock himself knew that a more accurate description would require too many words for practical usage by humans. Captain Kirk suggested, with some forced amusement, that it be referred to as “The Shitstorm,” but he was, thankfully, ignored.
Nyota, for her part, didn’t comment beyond offering her sympathy, and defending the Vulcan rite of silence with the same passion she exhibited when faced with any aspect of alien culture. Spock would have said “thank you” if it had been his way, but the truth of the matter was that regardless of her good intentions it made him very conscious of his place: an alien, whether among humans or Vulcans. This description was more accurate than before, in fact, since so few Vulcans remained and of those who did, only one—his father—looked upon him with any fondness. Or the Vulcan equivalent, rather.
This made him reflective at the oddest times as the months went by, in the oddest places, and, although no one in particular noticed, it made him behave very erratically for a Vulcan. His figures became slightly less accurate, his words became limited and curt, and his stance became ever so slightly more rigid as the days went by but, again, no one noticed.
Nyota, however, did notice his lack of contribution to their conversations, something that did not surprise him—she was a communications major, after all. However, whereas most humans would have commented on it immediately, Nyota waited until the silences had begun to taint their day-to-day interactions before asking about the cause. It was…very Vulcan of her.
“Spock? Can I talk to you?” The query was hesitant, uncharacteristic of Nyota. He wondered if he intimidated her that much, or if she was scared of how he might react. Considering that they had been engaging in personal relations for thirteen months by that point made both options seem unlikely, but he could not fathom another.
“Of course, Nyota. Have I been behaving in an unsuitable manner?” He knew that his sense of time was fading; he was no longer able to give an estimate of time down to each second, and found himself having to speculate—for shame!—when forced to give such a measurement on the bridge. He wondered if she had caught such a failing.
She shook her head.
“No, no, of course not. But…Spock…I’m worried. We don’t talk anymore.”
Spock inclined his head, and pressed his hands together more tightly behind his back.
“We are presently conversing.”
“That’s not what I mean. Spock. Is something bothering you?”
She looked at him with gentle eyes and a soft smile, and Spock’s hands tightened again. She wanted an explanation, even as she feared what it might be; he would not give her one.
He didn’t want to explain that an entire planet had been punished for his future mistakes, that his mother had died with a planet of people that could not mourn her, that his concentration was requiring more and more mediation to maintain. He couldn’t say that he was forgetting basic knowledge, that he found himself sleeping more than usual, that he found his appetite gone.
He wouldn’t say that he found the idea of being alone in the universe—as he was alone then—terrifying, and that terror more shameful than anything.
“Negative. Nothing is ‘bothering’ me—I may, however, be becoming ill.”
She smiled then, the expression relieved, and her posture relaxed to such a degree that he knew she had been worried for some time about his status.
“Oh. Well, make sure you go to sickbay then, alright?”
Spock agreed, and bid her farewell, promising to attend dinner with her in a few days. After she turned and left he went back to his quarters, mediated, and slept for seven hours and some odd minutes. When he woke, he found a hypo for an immunity booster and an anti-depressant sitting on his nightstand with a vibrant yellow square of paper saying to drink more water. Spock dressed, administered the offered medication, placed the paper in the proper trash receptacle, and left without another thought.
It was only when he arrived at the bridge for his early morning shift and was preparing his instruments that he recalled that he had not, in fact, gone to sickbay.
Accept Their Anger
The mission had not gone according to the designated plan—or rather, it had gone somewhat according to the Captain’s plan, which so rarely agreed with logic or the wishes of others. To describe it simply, none of the crew had died although they were “acceptably” injured, the governor of Omega VII had been successfully recovered—also acceptably injured—and the primitive natives on the surface, although now aware of the fact that there was life on other planets, were unable to pursue the landing party to their inevitable demise. According to the last party members to be beamed aboard, this had probably started a war.
In summary, it was like many of the Captain’s first contact missions. Spock had become somewhat inured to this, and so his reaction was simple and logical, as was his mission report and his subsequent responses to the admiralty who did not consider the success of the mission acceptable.
Nyota did not react this way, although he did not blame her. He was so rarely injured that even he was surprised by the amount of blood loss he experienced when simply traveling from the transporter room to the sickbay, never mind the resulting surgery. He could condone her tears, even if he could not understand them, and he was quite accepting of the fact.
He was even accepting of the resulting emotional reaction on her part, even if it was quite possibly one of the most illogical reactions he had seen from a human.
“Promise me you won’t go on any more away missions, Spock. Promise me.”
She had said this with tears in her eyes and her hand clasped firmly around his own, taking up space in sickbay that went unnoticed as the team of nurses and associate doctors rushed about to tend to five other injured crewmen who had not been conscious upon beam up. Spock felt a rush of sadness, a flash of worry, and the soft, soothing pulsing of love from her fingertips to his, and he promised.
He was the head science officer, the Enterprise’s first officer; he could not be excused from away missions. He knew this, and he knew the request was illogical, as did she. He expected that the request was something couples did—empty promises to reassure one partner or the other, but that were not realistic in the smallest way.
Clearly, Nyota did not see it that way, as he felt a slap of anger surge across their joined hands before she released him.
“You’re lying.” Her voice was flat, and as angry as he’d expected. He did not respond, simply waiting.
“I’ve been nothing but honest with you the entire time, and you—you can’t even pretend—you bastard.”
It was on the tip of his tongue to correct her insult—her would have, had it been relevant to the situation. However, he had seen enough of his mother’s worry turn to anger at his father for him to understand that logic would only make it worse; save the relationship, perhaps, but make the situation worse all the same.
So he said nothing. She waited for several minutes, her face growing colder with every passing one, but he did not respond. After five point six minutes, she stood, slapped him hard enough for the sound to resound through the sudden silence of the sickbay, and stormed away.
He knew it was the last time he would get to watch her walk away in anger, but he also knew it was the last time she would cry at his bedside. The trade was even in his eyes.
He was pondering this, trying to convince himself of the merits of logic in such a situation, when he felt a warm hand come to rest on his shoulder for the briefest moment. It radiated sympathy. Spock instinctively looked up, although he already knew there would be a suitably angry expression on McCoy’s face to counteract the kindness he had unwittingly displayed in that simple touch.
“Well, you know what they say. If you love someone, let them go…”
McCoy’s voice was gruff yet oddly sympathetic, and his words were something Spock had heard before, although never in such a tone. It was almost enough to make him smile. Almost.
“No, Doctor. Not this time.”
McCoy gave him an odd look but said nothing, simply returning to his work.
Spock and McCoy didn’t get along in the classical sense, but it didn’t take Spock more than two weeks after his encounter with a sharp object to notice that people still called them friends. Upon realizing this, he experienced the all-too-rare feeling of confusion, and, in an effort to further understand the complexities of an illogical human mind, he began to analyze their interactions for some clue. He was alarmed when, after a mere four months, he was able to detect a pattern that he had neither planned nor been aware of until that time.
Usually, they would start with greetings, polite and distant. McCoy would say something—a leading statement filled with illogical reactions or poorly supported opinions. Spock would respond accordingly, usually to correct some detail with no intention of causing irritation. McCoy would respond with a raised voice, and an average of 1.5 insults, to which Spock would then respond in kind with a scorn that was almost passionate. At this point, the Captain tended to separate them, or quickly push the matter aside, but on the occasions where the Captain was not present—rare as they were—they would go on like this indefinitely until a crew member or emergency interrupted. When they encountered each other afterwards, the former debate would be dismissed without discussion, and the cycle would repeat itself, except with a new topic.
It was…quite odd. Odder still that Spock had not noticed.
It was with some interest that Spock began to observe the doctor during their conversations. While he was not expecting any great revelation, he was surprised to note that McCoy, at least was aware of their pattern. So much so that when Spock had refused to “take the bait” for the third consecutive evening that McCoy frowned more so than usual and pulled out a scanner with his normally surprising efficiency.
Spock maintained his stance and allowed the scan, watching curiously as McCoy’s eyebrows dipped down when the scan showed him to be perfectly healthy. The expression remained half confusion and half concern for approximately 12.7 seconds before his customary scowl replaced it and he put his scanner back into his med kit with a flourish.
“Well, I can’t make head or tails of how you’re acting, then.”
Spock rose an eyebrow, and McCoy bristled noticeably.
“Acting, Doctor? Do I appear ill to you?”
McCoy scoffed like it should have been obvious.
“Well, yeah. You’re not—when I—you’re behaving differently, alright? God, you green-blooded elf, do I have to spell it out for you!”
Spock watched in some fascination as McCoy blustered, his hand twitching towards his scanner again when Spock made no reply to either his insult or his use of colloquial earth terms.
“Doctor. I am not unwell. I merely…wish for us to come to an accord.”
It seemed only logical. Spock may not have had many friends—in fact, he considered himself lucky to still count Nyota among their number—but he did know that friends were not supposed to fight.
McCoy didn’t seem to agree with him; in fact, he straightened and appeared to rally for an attack at Spock’s words, although Spock knew perfectly well that McCoy knew to what he was referring.
Spock would have sighed; he was attempting to make peace, and McCoy was being difficult.
“I do not wish to fight with you.”
McCoy scoffed, and made a slashing motion with his hand that was more than a little alarming.
“I’m not fighting; I’m just trying to figure out why you’ve suddenly done a one-eighty with your habits!”
McCoy seemed to give up some internal fight at that, and yanked out his scanner for a second diagnosis, mumbling all the way.
“A one-eighty, Doctor McCoy?”
“Dammit, I know you know what I mean!” When the second scan gave him the same results, McCoy seemed to deflate. Spock had never seen the doctor in such a state—found it odd, in fact, that Spock’s lack of scorn would result in such a reaction. McCoy was not a confrontational person, not usually. He kept his responses short and to-the-point, if a bit emotionally charged, and he did not deviate from this with superior officers. Except for Spock, as it seemed.
It occurred to Spock then to wonder why, if the doctor had been aware of their fighting patterns, he had not tried to stop it himself. And Spock formed a hypothesis.
From that point on, their interactions did not change very much, although crew members began to look at them with something like alarm when, instead of fighting indefinitely, one or the other gracefully bowed out of their heated discussions after only a few minutes. Conversations between them became almost civil, and the professionalism between them increased to such a level as to allow compliments to enter their conversations. It was pleasant in a familiar way, and Spock tried to keep it as such even as he tried to subtly shift their conversations in a different direction. Flirting, he believed it was called.
However, for all his efforts, McCoy seemed to either not notice or blatantly ignore his attempts. Shortly after they passed the second year marker of the Enterprise’s mission, Spock was ready to admit defeat in the matter, and did so.
After all, it was commendable that they had managed to form a friendship; perhaps it was too much to ask for more. Perhaps it was greedy.
And so, Spock did not make the attempt again.
It was exactly two point five years into their mission when the Enterprise showed herself to not be invincible after all, and sustained damage of such a degree that rescue vehicles had to be launched to remove the crew and their ship back to Earth. The Captain maintained a decidedly cheerful attitude the entire way—helped, no doubt, by the fact that there had been no casualties although seventy-five men and women had been injured during the last blast from the recently self-destructed Klingon ship—and it got to the point that McCoy ended up threatening him with a strong tranquilizer in order to silence him. The Captain, of course, responded with the comment that the doctor needed a vacation, and would be among the four hundred crew members taking one when they reached Earth.
McCoy grumbled, said something about Spock not taking a damn vacation, and went silent. Spock squeezed his shoulder reassuringly, garnering himself odd looks and suspicious glances from nearby crew members that he ignored in favor of McCoy’s grateful glance in his direction. No one spoke again until they reached the space ports surrounding Earth because, although the Captain made light of it, the truth was that it had been a near miss, and only superior defense systems had saved the Enterprise from total destruction.
Spock knew with absolute certainty that this was the reason the most senior officers stayed in the space port with the damaged ship rather than departing to parts unknown for a well and true vacation as much of the crew did. The Captain stayed to make sure his responsibility, his ship, survived through the repairs, and Mr. Scott, chief engineer, stayed to make sure his beloved lass (as Spock had heard him refer to the Enterprise) was not redone in a way that damaged her highly complex systems.
McCoy, for his part, seemed to stay to convince himself that the sickbay was not, in fact, full of bodies. Spock understood; the doctor had been a wartime surgeon, or so he had heard, before he made the decision to settle down and then, alternately, the decision to join Starfleet. Spock understood that, and so, when nighttime dawned and McCoy still remained in the sickbay, Spock left, promising to procure him a room at the official lodgings. Spock reserved himself one as well, and mediated until early morning when he found, to his consternation, that McCoy had not returned.
Knowing of only one place he could be, Spock returned to the space port, to the Enterprise, to the sickbay. And it was there that he found him, seated precariously in his office chair next to two empty bottles of bourbon while he steadily worked on his third.
Spock did sigh, then, although the emotionalism was lost on the nearly unconscious man.
McCoy lifted his head to look at him, and Spock was alarmed to see his eyes tinged red.
“Oh. Spock. It’s you.” He laughed, a gruff sound, and began drinking again. Spock rose an eyebrow, and forced himself to ask the obvious.
“Indeed. Doctor, what are you doing?”
“Drinking myself stupid- what else?” Another laugh, a sound that Spock did not understand and was incongruous with his depressed face and drastic actions. Spock could think of no reason for either.
“Your reaction is most illogical. The potential disaster did not occur.”
“I know. It isn’t that—or isn’t only that.”
Spock frowned and McCoy blinked at him in surprise although the expression was not much different from his normal face. “Different enough,” he had heard McCoy say just once before.
In contradiction with his expression, Spock’s voice was gentle, his approach slow.
“Then what ails you, Doctor?”
“My wife—ex-wife—lives around here, her and her new husband. I called her up, thought I could see my daughter. It’s her birthday tomorrow, you know.”
McCoy seemed to expect some response from him, so Spock perched himself on the edge of the desk and responded in the only way he could.
“I was not aware.”
“Yeah, well, it doesn’t matter. Because she doesn’t want to see me.”
“Your ex-wife?” Although he could not imagine wanting to see T’Pring even if she still lived, he understood that some humans had the urge to see their previous mates. It seemed odd to him that McCoy should be such a human, and he was both relived and somewhat confused when McCoy shook his head. The gesture sloshed bourbon onto the desk and Spock’s hand, but he did not move, not even to wipe the liquid off.
“No—my daughter. She’s turning eleven tomorrow, and she doesn’t want me there.”
The sentence ended on something like a choked cry, and McCoy looked back down at the bottle he held. Spock watched him with sympathy, and ran through possible scenarios that could take occur, possible responses he could make to solve fix this problem. He could come up with none.
Save, perhaps, one. It would hurt—even someone as used to suppressing their emotions as Spock could acknowledge it—but Spock knew McCoy needed the reassurance more than Spock needed his secret.
McCoy didn’t look up, didn’t move at all, not eHe simply remained staring at his drink. Spock tried again.
McCoy did look up then, eyes surprisingly focused for someone on the receiving end of quite toxic levels of strong liquor. Spock hoped he was focused enough, and he took as deep a breath as he could. His chest, for some reason, was quite constricted.
“I love you.”
Spock had been a part of human society for nine years and he had noticed that, in times of embarrassment, some humans had a tendency to blush quite alarmingly. McCoy did not have this tendency. What he had instead was a tendency to sputter, and choke, and make dire threats, all of which he was likely attempting to do, with little success.
“I love you.” More sputtering, and some choking where the drink McCoy had recently taken tried its level best to come back up. Spock used the opportunity to remove the bottle from McCoy’s hands, and set it calmly on the far side of the desk. He continued with an almost bland voice.
“And as such, I cannot allow you to drink yourself into a coma.”
Something broke then—Spock could tell, although he was uncertain what it could be. All he knew was what he saw, and that was McCoy suddenly collapsing in an exhausted heap with his head in his hands and crying. Loudly.
This went on for several minutes, during which time Spock didn’t move. He merely waited.
After some time—Spock was ashamed to admit he lost track of the exact passage of the minutes—McCoy looked up at him with surprising clarity, and spoke in a voice that was surprisingly strong.
“My ex-wife used to call me Leo, you know. I hated it. But Leonard…that’s what my grandmother used to call me.”
Spock was silent, simply waiting. For what, he couldn’t have guessed.
“I don’t mind if you call me Leonard.”
They looked at each other for one point seven minutes, and Spock felt a certain understanding flow through him. What would have happened afterwards, he did not know, because the next instant, McCoy had slumped forward, quite unconscious and snoring loudly. Spock sighed.
When the next morning found McCoy settled in one of his own sick beds and Spock resting calmly nearby, they didn’t speak—Spock didn’t know if he remembered, in fact. But McCoy smiled at him, seemed to gather some courage from Spock’s blank expression, and left, Spock following silently. McCoy caught a public transport to the far East side of Oakland, and calmly strode into a house on the furthest corner of 8th and Sycamore. Spock stood outside, waiting, and felt an immeasurable relief when he heard a young girl’s happy cry.
McCoy came out not ten minutes later carrying a girl with straight brown hair and strong blue eyes and a sharp chin.
“Spock, this is my daughter, Joanna. Joanna, this is Spock.” The girl waved at him, gave a smile full of small white teeth, and then promptly wiggled out of her father’s arms and ran back inside. Spock expected McCoy to follow, but he didn’t, seemingly waiting for something.
McCoy waved a hand, smiling even as he rubbed his temple. A hang over, then.
“Hey. I told you, I don’t mind if you call me Leonard.”
Spock blinked once, twice, but McCoy’s expression didn’t falter. If anything, the smile became wider.
And then Spock smiled.