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Trapped six feet under

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McCoy's eyes opened to see darkness. Bitter familiar darkness. His eyes closed then opened again. Pitch black color that took on various shapes to his imagination. He moved his boots only to feel that they were restricted to one space that had a hard barrier. McCoy attempted to move onto his side but there wasn't enough room to do that. His entire body ached. Almost as though someone had used a agonizer booth. A painful setting that overwhelmed McCoy to the point of collapse. The memories of other Spock's forced mind meld still lingered. He felt a rounded circular item pressed against his palm. He held his hand up to see a bright blue light illuminating from it.

He was briefly blinded by the blue light.

McCoy ducked the light away closing his eyes. His memories started to jog back at him at what happened, earlier.

"Leonard," Spock said, approaching the man. McCoy looked up toward the Vulcan from the padd.

"Yes?" McCoy said, as the doors had closed behind the Vulcan.

"I have been evaluating our relationship for the past twenty four hours and come to a conclusion regarding its status," Spock said, as the man's heart had started to beat fast. McCoy braced himself for what the Vulcan had to say next. "Will you bond with me?"

McCoy hardened as he stood up from the chair placing his hands on the white desk. The doctor sighed, while bracing himself for the inevitable. Mental, life long bonds were highly important to Vulcans and their way of life. A bond with him? What was Spock thinking? Was Spock thinking straight? Or was he just getting ahead of himself? Was it the progress of their relationship that had spurred him into making this decison? McCoy feared that if a marriage with Spock screwed up, there would not be any coming back for him. He just wouldn't live past it.

"Spock. . ." McCoy said. "I don't think I will ever be ready for another marriage. Last one took the wind out of me," he walked around the desk. "look, I am not even the ideal candidate to marry."

Spock raised an eyebrow.

"You are a ideal mate," Spock said. "there is no one I rather choose than you."

McCoy sighed.

"We've been datin' since 2258," McCoy said. "hasn't it come to ya attention that there I will never be ready to marry again?" turning Spock down was not quite easy for the doctor. He knew the words but delivering them was painful. The Vulcan did not display emotional hurt. "what are ya thinkin' askin' me to bond with ya?"

"From what I have gathered regarding your previous marriage, you never had time for each other," Spock said. "fortunately, we share the same desire to ensure the captain's safety. Wherever the captain goes, we will follow. And we share the same shift. We will not drift apart, I assure you. If our marriage were to fall apart, one of us would have to be dead."

"No," McCoy said. "it's different," he shook his head. "it's nothin' about that. Jocelyn began to divorce me when my father was dyin', and she had every right, but the divorce was finalized a day I killed him," the words came out like a hurricane on full speed ready to strike down who ever was in its way. A knife to the heart. It was surprise knowledge that hadn't been told to Spock. Now he got a wider scope of the divorce. "and I am just scared that ya will divorce me when I can bounce right back like jello from somethin' terrible. It'll take some time and space on my own to heal, but I will be back to semi operatin' in time," he rubbed the back of his head looking up toward the taller man. "Ya see why I told ya that Jim would be a better person to date in the first place, right? I am not worthy to be in a relationship with someone as good as ya. Jim is, not me."

"You are breaking up with me," Spock acknowledged.

"We can still be friends with benefits," McCoy said, placing a hand on the man's shoulder. "or just friends."

"Excuse me, Doctor, but I have some unfinished business to attend," Spock turned away sliding out of the doctor's grip then made his way out of the empty office leaving the man behind.

McCoy leaned against the desk, rubbing the back of his neck.

It went better than he thought.

He felt surprisingly better than expected about it.

He told the truth, and that was what counted, besides, Spock deserved someone better.

Nyota appeared out of thin air as McCoy was reading the diagnoses over Kirk. She was right behind him with her arms folded and a hurt expression plastered on her face. McCoy could sense that someone was behind her. He turned toward the woman's direction raising an eyebrow back at her. She was in her off duty attire being colorful consisting of a skirt to the attire and a dark purple shirt.

"Spock tell ya?" McCoy said.

"You broke up with him," Nyota said.

"I did," McCoy replied.

"You were hopelessly in love with him a day before and now you're just. . ." Nyota was wordless at first. Trying to find the words to fit what he was doing, relationship wise. "keeping your distance?"

"Look," McCoy said, turning completely in the woman's direction. "I am givin' him in space. He didn't answer what kind of relationship he wanted," he jotted down on the padd regarding Kirk's condition. "I am keeping it professional for now until he answers it. Playin' it safe."

"All I am hearing coming from you right now is bullshit," Nyota said. "and I don't like that."

"Ya wanted Spock but thin's didn't work out," McCoy said. Nyota frowned.

"He was married to his Vulcan duties," Nyota said.

"And ya here about me breakin' up with him?" McCoy asked, raising an eyebrow in return. He lowered it. "ya have no standin' talkin' to me about breakin' up with Spock," he turned away back toward the resting captain on the biobed checking the vitals. "besides, there are better people out there who can accept that proposal."

"Wait, he proposed?" Nyota came to the side of the biobed along McCoy's side with widened eyes.

"Yes," McCoy said, as Nyota's hands clasped over her mouth before a gasp escaped.

There was silence between the two colleagues as the man checked on the captain's vitals placing one hand on the man's neck. The captain's heart beat was stable. It was seen on the monitor behind McCoy. The beeps coming from the equipment was the only sound filling the air between the two officers. Nyota slowly took both of her hands off her mouth regaining her composure.

"You turned down . . . a bonding proposal," Nyota said.

"I did," McCoy said.

"Len," Nyota said. "Vulcan's don't go offering their mind and soul like candy every day."

"Ny. . ." McCoy stopped, turning toward her. "there's thin's in this head that I don't want him to see," he tapped on the side of his forehead. "No one should see it. There are thin's I put in my reports no one should read. The ones where Spock and Jim aren't there and I have to help those people. And what kind of man is he marryin'? There are somethin's that he doesn't know and shouldn't know. I have skeletons in my closet and issues," he glared at her. "I can't get over them over night. Nor over five years. I've adapted to it. And lived with it."

Nyota observed the man as understanding dawned on her.

"You are not ready to open your mind to him," Nyota said.

"Weren't ya?" McCoy asked.

"We had some mind melds but never a link," Nyota said.

"Lucky girl," McCoy said. "ya a perfect woman with no skeletons in her closet or issues. You're absolutely flawless in and out."

"I have flaws," Nyota said.

"Yes, ya do," McCoy said. "ones that ya can get married with. . ." the doctor sighed. "I don't want to destroy another marriage."

"I see," Nyota said, and then Kirk groaned.

"Wakey, wakey, sun flower," McCoy said, bouncing on the tips of his toes leaning forward with a smile as Kirk's eyes began to open. "lights are up."

McCoy aimed the device upwards to see the color brown. Hard, wooden brown that didn't have a dent. He placed his hand onto it as he felt along the surface. He couldn't hear a sound. There was nothing to hear. The only company in here was his heartbeat, his oxygen, and a strange lighting device. McCoy attempted to slide it out of his hand onto feel that it was embedded. He lightly tapped on it. A small holographic figure appeared on his chest belonging to a light blue figure in a cloak covered in tattoos. He appeared to be familiar.

"Hello, Doctor McCoy, this is Chancellor Ohalis of the Fa-tukie people," Ohalis said.

McCoy recognized the man as his eyes widened in terror and dismay, but also of anger.

"I have confiscated everything that can be used to track you," Ohalis explained.

It felt like he had been dumped into a well shackled to stone and punched repeatedly in the ribs before being dropped. Ohalis paused, almost as though waiting to see his reaction, waiting to hear his anger, waiting to see his dismay, and how vulnerable that he would be at this state. Normally, people would offer anything to escape. To return back to the land of the living with free space to move about. McCoy could have two hours and thirty three minutes worth of oxygen. He shouldn't waste it.

"As of the time that you have awakened, you are not on a limited supply of oxygen," Ohalis went on. "There is a device that will close off your oxygen tank. . " so he could be upset. "Whenever I decide to do so after the device alerts me to your awakening," the smile was devious and evil. "You have fallen prey to what my business dealings regarding my people. For that, I am truly sorry, but you have to die. I have reported to your people that you died, accidentally, by stepping into the wall rays when chasing after a patient," Ohalis appeared to be pleased of himself. "you have twenty four hours worth of oxygen. The saying goes that no one can hear you scream in space. No one can hear you scream from beyond. That orb installed into your hand? It is a determinator of how much oxygen you have left. Welcome to the dark. And congratulate me for my election results. Farewell, I will think of you when I fall asleep to victory."

Ohalis vanished in a flicker of blue light.

"No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no!" McCoy repeated, banging on the wood. "SOMEONE HELP ME. . . . PLEASE!" The wood was hard against his fists smacking it in a way. "HELP ME! ANYONE SOMEONE! PLEASE! I don't want to die alone!" It was a type of tough wood that didn't break easily. "JIM, SPOCK, ANYONE! SOMEONE! GET ME OUT OF HERE! PLEASE!"

McCoy banged his fists against the hard surface repeatedly as the camera went up and up pleading for help as his voice became less heardable by the passing layer of dirt. There was a field of recently moved grass over the small mound at a park that was being visited by several blue skinned individuals. They didn't hear the frantic screams for help. People were off, smiling, holding hands. Birds landed onto the mound hunting for worms. They were the only ones to hear the screams. It was calm and serene. Dark clouds were in the horizon. Cars speeded by the park. Our camera panned down beneath the soil, down, down, down. Until we returned into the long, wide coffin that restricted a upset McCoy. There was light coming from the doctor's face as though his hand was placed onto it. The man was weeping. He didn't have a phaser. He didn't have a communicator. He attempted to claw at the wooden surface with his fingernails but they were not sharp enough nor did he have the strength that Spock had. He sucked on his fingers clenching his hand in pain.

Tears freely flowed down the side of the man's cheek. He was alone. Completely, hopelessly, and devastatedly alone. It had been almost ten years since he was alone. Not since the impending divorce and the loss of his father. He visualized the crew grieving for him. Kirk, most importantly, broken up about it the most. Spock pretending to not have feelings. Scotty coping in his own way. Nyota weeping off and on off duty. Christine having to adjust to M'Benga taking over. Janice getting used to him not being there and having difficulties getting over his passing. He visualized Hikaru calling Pavel, who was stationed on the Reliant as Lieutenant, to break the news. He visualized the crew coming together and talking about him. Moving on. It made him smile thinking of Kirk having one of his moments and calling M'Benga by the nickname 'Bones' by accident. Kirk and Spock making sure they had grieved properly and remained steady.

Dying by slow suffocation.

Six feet under the ground rather than above it.

I was wrong about space being my cause of death, McCoy thought as another tear streaked down his cheek.

Memories of before this predicament came back as the ache in his body died down.

Kirk suddenly apparrated by McCoy's side, "Good afternoon!"   

McCoy was walking down the corridor headed toward the bar.   

"What brin's ya here?" McCoy asked.  

 "Nothing important," Kirk said, causally. "Rumors say you broke up with Spock."

 "Yep,"  McCoy said.

"Bones, you broke my first officer," Kirk said. "Fix it."   

"He is perfectly fine," McCoy said. "last time I saw him, his ass was up your eyes and his eyes was to the console."

Kirk sighed, rubbing his forehead.

 "He is a Vulcan," Kirk said. "He's never going to admit that he is upset."   

"Let Spock deal with it on his own way, we shouldn't force him to be emotional," McCoy said. "and you would make a excellent form of comfort for a Vulcan. You can comfort anyone, Jim, face it."  

 "He is not my ex-boyfriend," Kirk said.

  "I did what I could," McCoy said.

"Take him back," Kirk said.

  "Kid," McCoy said. "remember how I was when I first met ya?"

   "Uh huh," Kirk grew a fond expression then turned his head to see a glare on the doctor's face.  

 "Imagine what it'll be like if he left me," McCoy said. "it'll be a lot worse."   

"Don't be a pessimist," Kirk said. "Spock would never leave you.  If he did, it would be against his will."

 "You know who would be a better boyfriend with Spock?" McCoy asked.  

 "You would be," Kirk said.

  "No, Jim, that will be ya," McCoy came to a stop facing the man. "ya and Spock share heart eyes. ALL. THE. TIME. And there is no personal space between ya."   

"What?" Kirk said, appearing to be perplexed.  "I do that with everyone."

  "Don't kid with me,"  McCoy said. "everyone else has personal space except for Spock and ya."

  "Just because my other counterpart was in a relationship with the Ambassador doesn't mean it'll happen here," Kirk said.  

 "Is that a dare?" McCoy asked, raising his eyebrows back at the man. "because I happen to remember who made my head nurse and your communications officer get into a relationship."

"I am not daring you," Kirk said. 

"I did it once, I can do it again," McCoy said.  

 "No, Bones, no," Kirk said.

 "All I want is my best friends to get back together and Spock to be Spock again."  

 "He isn't different," McCoy said. "are ya humanizing him when he's barely showin' emotions?"   

"I can tell," Kirk said. "it is in his work performance."

"I will think about it," McCoy said, then swept by the man.   

"You better!" Kirk called back.

McCoy's fist landed on the hard, wooden surface.

I am an idiot, McCoy thought.

A tear slid down the side of his face.

So many unsaid words. His last words to Spock couldn't have been, "Ya bein' an asshole."

There were things that the doctor had yet to tell Spock. Perhaps he knew.

 His recollection of earlier returned.

McCoy came out of the holodeck only to stop when he saw Nyota and Spock, Nyota had her arms wrapped around the man's shoulder. McCoy raised his eyebrows in surprise to see them together. The doctor rationalized they were either hanging out or getting together. Which baffled him. Because Nyota was in tears after she broke up with Spock. She filled McCoy in at the bar on the Yorktown before the fateful call was made by Kirk to return to the Enterprise. She had regained her composure during the drink and appeared at peace. Unlike her, McCoy didn't cry before or after the break up.

  "You two," Nyota slid her hands off the Vulcan's shoulder. "talk."

 Nyota skated away on her silent black skates attached under her shoes--when did she get roller skates?

 And wasn't that against regulations?

  "You could have told me in the beginning regarding your fears," Spock spoke first.

McCoy sighed.

  "It was a flin' back then," McCoy said. "I didn't think we'll come this far. And to ask the question."  

 "Doctor," Spock said. "I have been honored to serve with you as a friend, lover, and colleague. You would never destroy ruin a marriage," he placed one hand, carefully, on the human's shoulder. "our relationship has been rocky at best. . . You have not destroyed the foundation of it. The trust. The respect. And the friendship."

"I can't give ya kids," McCoy said.   

"I have donated sperm to the effort of my species come back before our arrival to the Enterprise A," Spock said. "I want you and only you in this union."

"Spock, this is your first rodeo in marriage?" McCoy asked.'

 "Yes," Spock said. A feeling sunk down within the Vulcan as he knew what the human was about to say so he held his hand up. "I am not asking, demanding, or I requesting. I understand the difficulty and turmoil you have when it comes to someone you respect and love dearly about your own issues effecting them," McCoy nodded. "I admit, it was ill timed. Your mother had just informed you that she was sick---"

"My mother is sick?"  McCoy looked stunned as he had interrupted the Vulcan.

". . . Didn't you get the holovid?" Spock said. 

"She doesn't like to worry me these days," McCoy said. "some weeks I hardly get a message from her. How typical of her. Now it makes sense why she gives ya a holovid over me," Spock let go of the human's shoulder. "if all ya want is to be in a legal relationship with me then ya can count me out."

"I will send the holovid to your comn terminal," Spock said. The Vulcan paused tilting his head, curiously. "did you tell your mother?"

"I didn't send her a message last week that we broke up," McCoy said. "So, she is not sick anymore?"

"The illness is difficult to get over," Spock said. "her doctors informed her it would take two weeks for it to be cured."

"Just what I need," McCoy said.

"Fa-tuk is a few hours away," Spock said. "do you require company?"

"Asides to tellin' Jim where I'm goin'," McCoy said.

"Indeed," Spock said, with a nod. 

"Why would I need company?" McCoy asked.

 "It would be logical to come with you to pretend that we are still engaged in a relationship for your mother's sake as she still believes we are in a relationship," Spock said. "It will be beneficial to her health and speedy recovery to see that her son is happy. And the holovid will explain her illness at full length. . ." Spock cleared his throat. "doctor, I come as a friend."
"Good," McCoy said, then walked away.   The Vulcan was right.

"Nyota!" McCoy unexpectedly paced himself along the woman. Nyota turned her head in the direction of the doctor who was in red pants and shirtless, exercising, on the running section.

"Yes?" Nyota said. 

  "If ya do that to me again, I will tell your girlfriend about the time ya forgot a unidog," McCoy said.

"Don't do that," Nyota said.  

"Then don't do that to me," McCoy said. "Ya gotta know when thin's are supposed to remain private." 

"Such as you?" Nyota asked. "Private? Your business is all over the ship." 

"Because it concerns me and all four hundred thirty personnel," McCoy said. "Someone has to make sure they're operatin'."

"Of course," Nyota replied, jogging. "You are back together and that is all that matters. Spock is going to be fine from here on out."

McCoy wanted to correct Nyota.

But he didn't have the heart to bust her bubble.

McCoy  turned his attention away  from the woman.

His eyes were faced toward the screen indicating how many laps he had to go.

McCoy wasn't quite sure if he was the person a Vulcan should marry. Spock could be mistaken. Love did that sort of thing. They had been dating for ten years. Ten long, eventful years watching his two colleagues shape up into prominent role models to be looked up toward. Easily the best of their generation. Pike had been proud of that too. Pike served the father role quite well enough that sometimes Kirk went ahead and called him 'dad' when referring to him often times confusing others who knew his father was dead. It was all right given that Pike was his father of choice. Helped shape Kirk into the man he was today. The man McCoy was today? He was the same man who boarded the recruitment shuttle.

The two men entered the captain's office in the wee hours of the morning side by side. Spock's hands were locked behind his back, military style, with one hand clenching his wrist. McCoy had his arms folded as the captain sat down into the desk appearing to be well pleased seeing the two together. He was in his green wrap around variation. His sleeves reached down toward his wrists with the captain strips. His pants were in the shorts variation with the pant legs discarded on the chair across from the desk. He had several containers in cubbies holding the medals that he had earned with his development and service in Star Fleet including some mementos. One of which being a Bat'Leth dangling on the wall.

"Back together again?" Kirk said. "That's great news!"

"Captain, we need to pay a visit to Fat-tuk," Spock said. Kirk's eyebrows raised.

"Star Fleet has a travel warning regarding that planet," Kirk said.

"We are aware of that," McCoy said. "Eleanor is down there recoverin' from a bad Kazuot Virus."

"Oooh," Kirk said. "I thought that wasn't a problem since it was contained six months ago."

"It is," McCoy said. "but my ma is a very stubborn woman when doin' thin's in the name of research." Kirk nodded his head in understanding.

"Star Fleet hasn't sent a mission this week so we can go there," Kirk said, seeing the small rounded shape of a necklace under the man's uniform. "In fact," the captain paused. "no," he shook his head. "This will be a emergency visit, and, if you can get your mom aboard so she can recover, that will be a plus," McCoy was internally screaming in his mind. Spock glanced over toward the human who then walked out of the room. "so, old dog you, how was the getting-back-together?" Spock looked at his captain with curiosity. 

  "I have yet to experience it," Spock said. Kirk leaned against the desk. "For the sake of Miss McCoy, go with it." 

"So he is keeping it back on you?"  Kirk asked.

"It appears so," Spock said.

"Why?" Kirk asked.

"This is not the right timing," Spock said. "I will get back to you regarding it, Jim."

Kirk shared a small smile toward Spock making the  Vulcan feel like he was on cloud nine. Kirk came over to the computer alongside his captains desk. The captain looked up in the direction of the Vulcan. His blonde curled bangs swept to the left side of his forehead. His sapphire eyes flickered, as though his train of thought had just came to a crash with another train, and his mind was at a standstill. For a moment there, the captain didn't know what to say. It was almost a hilarious sight, if Spock would human, he would have noted that it would have been the appropriate time to fake a cough to draw the captain's attention back into the face of reality. The captain shook his head snapping out of it.

"Dismissed,"  Kirk replied, with a wave. "Go make plans for your couple time."

Spock nodded then made his way out of the office while Kirk's heart like eyes lingered on the man.