Work Header

Deepening of the Spirit

Work Text:

In the wake of Khitomer, Spock was tired; disappointed in Valeris, first disappointed and then vindicated by Jim. The peace conference was saved, the peace itself would be built. Spock would hold onto the Enterprise, as they all would, for as long as possible.

But not forever. All the galaxy was changing, and Spock would evolve with it.

The door chimed.

Jim had been and gone, and Spock knew of only one other he might expect to find at his door, on this sort of evening.

"Hey, Spock. Can I come in?" McCoy looked tired but content, and achingly familiar. He had found time to shave, and to change his clothes, but had not chosen to sleep.

Spock gestured, and the doctor moved inside, the door shushing gently shut behind him. "Welcome, Doctor. Did you require something?"

"You've got the warmest room on the ship, and I'm still trying to convince my toes that they're attached to a blood supply."

"Then by all means, Doctor. I believe the phrase is, 'make yourself at home'."

"It's not just the heat, Spock. I guess I was looking for some company, of the non-Jim variety. You busy?"

"Not at present. May I ask why you are avoiding the captain?"

"Just wanted to see somebody else, remind myself I'm not being arrested or frozen to death." Despite the Vulcan warmth of the cabin, Spock watched a shiver pass over the doctor's body. "Don't tell Jim, but he stood it a lot better than I did."

"Jim, as they say, has more insulation, Doctor."

McCoy laughed. "I'm gonna tell him you said that."

Spock raised an eyebrow, which was met with both of McCoy's. The doctor's happiness was welcome. Viridian patch or no, their retrieval from Rura Penthe had been far from a certainty, and there was a relief in having both his companions once more within the safety of the Enterprise. A different flavor of relief, for each.

"The ambient temperature onboard ship is sufficient to have stabilized our core temperature to human norms."

"Well, I'm only human, Spock." He smiled. "I know it's all in my head, but that won't stop me wanting to curl up somewhere warm for the next week."

"Then please, sit down." Spock moved to the replicator at the sideboard, and keyed in a request.

The tea Spock brewed this time was not Vulcan, required no ceremonial glass, or pinches of spice. It was herbal, and smelled heavily of apples and cinnamon. McCoy's lined, steady hands cradled the cup as he accepted it, and he let the steam curl up around his face, waiting for it to cool enough to drink.

"How're you doing, Spock? We got hauled off and frozen a little, but I know that Valeris girl was important to you. And that scene on the bridge didn't look like much fun for anybody."

Spock swirled his own mug, watched the steam break, curl, reshape. "No. It was not." Head still down, McCoy lifted his gaze, and Spock met patient, knowing eyes.

"I hope we didn't all disappoint you."

Spock allowed the question to settle. It, and McCoy, deserved honesty.

"You did not. When the chancellor was attacked, you tried to save him. Just as you have always tried to save anyone you could. You are a good man, Doctor. That has not changed."

McCoy turned the cup in his hands. "It's a hell of a thing to have, your respect. You make people want to live up to it." He leaned until their shoulders brushed, a conflicted pleasure at Spock's regard filtering through the contact. "For a guy who looks like Satan, you make a pretty good angel on our shoulders, Spock."

Cinnamon chased away the shipboard smell of recycled air and too many alien beings, and the silence spread warmly between them.

"You know, sometimes I miss having you stuck in my head."

Spock blinked, more than once. "Indeed, Doctor?"

"Drove me damn near insane, but... it wasn't so bad knowing you were there. Once I did know you were there, that is." He shot Spock a sideways glare, but the look was teasing. "Lord knows it was the only way you'd ever make sense to me."

McCoy sighed, steam trailing sideways with his breath. "It took us a damn long time to admit we could get along."

"Yet I would not consider the time ill-spent." Spock's face, he knew, must show his confusion.

"Don't worry, Spock. Me either."

There was something in that friendly flirtation, an element Spock had heard myriad times before, yet never scrutinized.

It was an appropriate time for overtures of peace.

He set his tea aside, and deliberately extended his hand to McCoy. The returning clasp, when it came, cemented both his logic and his resolve. He turned his body, and pulled McCoy into a hug. He felt a single, startled inhalation, then McCoy subsided willingly against Spock's chest, tension draining from his frame.

Spock had held McCoy before- as indeed he had been held himself- through years of serving beside one another, through a lost count of saved lives. McCoy weighed less now than he had then. His body was less strong. But as Spock allowed his fingers to trail over the back of McCoy's wrist, his mind was even brighter. A cognitive dissonance of fear and empathy and anger and respect, blended now, without the jagged edges that had caught and frayed at Spock's younger, defensive self-image.

"Careful, there, Spock. A fella might get ideas."

Spock settled his chin against the doctor's hair. "Indeed. One might."

Confused exasperation bloomed into something pleased and surprised under his fingertips, then settled into satisfied bemusement. "Huh." McCoy shifted, and settled himself more firmly within Spock's grip. "Well, alright then. We could do worse."

Jim was not Peter Pan, however he wished it. The Enterprise would not fly forever.

Soon she would be decommissioned, and her crew would go forward, seeking the next stage of their lives. This time Spock would not go forward alone.

Spock pressed his lips to silvered human hair, and did not loosen his grip.

They could indeed do worse than this.