"I can't give you anything but love, baby
That's the only thing I've plenty of, baby
Scheme a while dream a while
We're sure to find
Happiness and I guess
All those things you've always pined for
Gee, I'd like to see you looking swell, baby
Diamond bracelets woolworth doesn't sell, baby
Till that lucky day
You know darned well, baby
I can't give you anything but love."
“Leonard. Here you are,” Spock said eagerly as he entered the otherwise deserted day room. “I thought that you would meet the shuttle or might even be at our quarters when I returned.”
“Oh, you‘re back?” McCoy muttered. He had taken one quick look at Spock to check for obvious injuries before turning away. “Sorry to disappoint you. I guess I got sidetracked. The time got away from me, I guess.”
“Leonard. Do not be that way,” Spock cajoled as he approached McCoy. “You know that I had to be debriefed by Jim.”
McCoy glanced at Spock, then quickly away again. “What? A shuttle isn’t that big.”
“I was busy flying it, Leonard.”
“Yeah, but a shuttle is only so big! Jim was within earshot of you the whole flight back. You could've talked to him then! Weren’t you and Jim together the whole time while you were gone on the mission? You two saw the same things. Or did he blink and miss the light of a comet that you saw? What the hell did you have to be debriefed about?! And why did it take so long?!”
Spock felt off-balance. His little pepper pot was upset, especially with him, and not making a whole lot of sense. Spock did not know quite what to do. He thought that McCoy would be happy to see him and would rush into his arms. Instead, McCoy was acting what Spock could only define as peeved.
Spock held out his hand in appeal. “I am back, safe and sound. Is that not cause for us to celebrate?”
McCoy whirled with eyes blazing. “Don’t you lie to me! I watched the shuttle cripple back!”
“I did not lie, Leonard. I am safe and sound. The shuttle may need some repair.”
“Some repair?! I heard the transmissions between you and Scotty! It’s a wonder that you made it, at all, as damaged as that shuttle was! And I expect that you had to be a hero on the mission, too!”
Spock did not know how much McCoy knew of the mission, so he hoped he could sidetrack McCoy from learning details of a pretty scary situation.
Spock held out his hands. “I did what I had to do to save Jim and the mission. Come on, Leonard. Give me a proper welcome home.”
McCoy slapped Spock’s hands away. “Go away!”
“I thought that you would be waiting for me, back in our quarters,” Spock said to further distract McCoy from the dangerous mission.
“How? How did you want me waiting?!” McCoy snapped. “Lying naked on the bed with a big bow on my butt?!”
“Well, that would speed things along,” Spock quipped, trying to keep things light. He attempted a grin which came out as a grimace that would be more appropriate on a scary Halloween mask.
McCoy looked stunned and horrified.
Spock realized how it must have sounded to McCoy, as if Spock was being flippant. Flippant? When had Spock ever been flippant? Why should McCoy believe that Spock would pick a time such as this to start displaying unusual behavior such as flippancy?
But Spock also realized that this was not the time for his logic or even for his borderline annoyance at McCoy for thinking that Spock could be callous enough to be flippant. McCoy was upset and needed to be soothed. And that needed to be done by the one person in the universe who was most important to McCoy.
It was time for the Vulcan to step up, and hallelujah, Spock, for once, realized his role. Soothe McCoy, even if it didn’t make sense. Accept blame, even if he felt blameless. If he wanted his friend appeased, and his mate receptive to amorous advances later on, Spock needed to start soothing.
Spock tried to put his arms around McCoy who fought him half-heartedly for a moment, then melted to him. But just that quickly McCoy pushed out of Spock’s arms and turned around.
“No, it isn’t right,” McCoy mumbled.
What the hell, Spock thought and finally understood what drove men to cursing. He was doing everything right. He had taken McCoy into his arms. He had been set to soothe. He had been set to assume blame for something not his fault.
But, hell, you have to have something to soothe, not something that was standing a few feet away and stamping an irate foot like a true Southern belle.
This cursing could get to be a regular routine with Spock.
In the meantime, Spock decided that he had to grovel by eating crow. He did not know if the crow was a tasty bird or not, but he had an idea that he was about to find out.
“I am deeply sorry that you feel that I was being inconsiderate of you, Leonard. I was merely doing my job. If need be, I will resign. Then we would be separated because I could not be on the Enterprise with you, anymore.”
“Of course, you cannot resign and leave without me,” McCoy mumbled as he turned back. “If one of us quits, the other one would have to quit, also. Especially if it was to ease the concern of the other.”
“I would do that for you, Leonard.”
“I know you would. But we both know it would be wrong. It would force something unnatural between us. We wouldn’t be honest anymore, and it would eventually split us up because we would be giving up something we love. We have to stay true to ourselves first. Otherwise, we’re not worth a damn for anyone else.”
“’To thyself be true,’” Spock quoted.
“That’s right.” McCoy studied his mate. “The reason I pushed out of your embrace just now was because I wasn’t disgusted with you, but with myself.”
“You, Leonard? How?”
“I asked something of you that I shouldn’t have asked of anyone going on a mission.”
“To be careful?”
“Yes, but it was more than that. It put an unnecessary worry on you. You might have paused the split second longer that it would have taken for you to save someone’s life, even Jim’s. Even your own. That was unfair of me. You have to go on instinct, split-second decisions, and experience. If I threw something else in there, the outcome might have been disastrous. It was unfair of me to ask something like that of you.”
“Yes, but you had good reason. I am your mate. You should expect certain things, certain loyalties from me. My heart and my body are yours, as well as my life.”
“It’s only because I love you so much.” McCoy could only talk in a harsh whisper because he was feeling so much emotion. “I would be devastated without you in my life.”
“I know, Leonard. I feel the same way. My love is all that I truly have to give you. It is yours for however long you want it.”
“Always,” McCoy whispered. “Always.” McCoy covered his eyes with his hands and let his overwrought emotions claim him. He had held them in too long.
Spock pulled his arms around McCoy and began moving him to music that only they could hear.
“I can't give you anything but love, baby,” Spock sang softly.
McCoy sniffed once. “What’s that?”
“An old song that was written in 1928.”
McCoy settled more into Spock’s arms. “No, I meant that caterwauling.”
“I am singing to you, Leonard. A love song.” Spock touched his lips to the top of McCoy’s head.
McCoy squeezed his eyes shut from the touch of the kiss on the top of his head, but kept his voice gruff. “That’s one man’s opinion.” But McCoy moved his hands from his face to Spock’s chest. “Well?”
“What’s the next line?”
"Of your song from 1928."
"It is not my song, Leonard."
"It is now! Sing, Vulcan!"
Spock probably thought that McCoy should know Twentieth Century American music more than he did, but Spock hurried to comply.
“That's the only thing I've plenty of, baby.”
“That’s the second thing you’re full of, but we won’t discuss that now.” McCoy pulled his arms around Spock’s neck and found the special spot for his head between Spock’s chin and shoulder.
After a moment, McCoy began to shake.
“Leonard?” Spock asked with alarm, but kept dancing to the slow music.
“You scared me,” he whispered into one of the pointed ears that he loved so much. “Please make me feel safe. Make me feel whole again.”
What the hell, Spock thought. He had been the one to go on the dangerous mission. He had done the scary stuff with Jim Kirk and the rest of their party while they were gone. He had flown the crippled shuttle home. And now McCoy was the one needing reassurance?!
Of course, McCoy did, Spock realized. McCoy’s heart had been with Spock on that entire mission, and now McCoy was complete again.
But the brutal, honest truth was that the mission had been scary. And Spock had been scared. And maybe it wouldn't be so bad to admit that now.
Spock tightened his arms around McCoy. “I will try to make you feel safe again only if you make me feel safe again,” he whispered and could hear his own vulnerability. But once the words of fear started, Spock could not stop them. He had to confess everything to McCoy. “There were a few moments there on the shuttle that I thought we would not survive. And Jim, duty, career were forgotten. All I could think about was that I might not ever see you again. I would not have the opportunity again to tell you how very much I love you and that I always will.”
That’s all that McCoy had really wanted to hear. His Vulcan needed him! McCoy’s lips found Spock’s as he crushed Spock against himself so tightly that nothing in the universe could ever, ever hurt Spock again. Nothing could get past McCoy. He wouldn't let it.
That’s when Spock learned that he did not always need to be the strong one. Sometimes, it is alright to show some weakness, especially to the person you love. Especially when that other person’s arms felt so safe and so warm around him.
And so much like home.
“Till that lucky day
You know darned well, baby
I can't give you anything but love.”