Funny how things work out, Leonard McCoy thought as he watched the glider that was taking his daughter to Arilion IV depart. Almost exactly a year ago Joanna should have gone on this exact same flight but had then been taken hostage along with Spock and over 200 other people by a group of Cespian rebels who wanted to force the Federation to cease all ties with Andor.
Spock had been supposed to watch Joanna for a day until her flight departed. Instead, he had ended up keeping her safe throughout the hostage crisis and had eventually gotten her released, preventing her from being injured in the Federation forces’ botched rescue operation.
Against all odds, and in spite of initial faulty treatment by the Starbase doctors, Spock had woken up from his horrific injuries sustained both before and as a result of that operation, and had continued his unlikely friendship with Joanna to this day.
In fact, Joanna and Leonard McCoy had spent the better part of the day with Spock in the Starbase’s arboretum where Spock had patiently and expertly answered all of Joanna’s questions about plants, from their names (which McCoy for the most part did not know) to the process of photosynthesis (which McCoy did know but had to admit he would not have been able to explain in the child-friendly words Spock had found).
Spock was basically Joanna’s best friends and as the two of them had grown closer, so had McCoy and Spock. Not that they hadn’t been friends before all of this happened; they had been, but just that, friends. And now? Definitely more than friends. McCoy chuckled. Funny how things work out.
As McCoy watched the glider grow smaller in the distance, he thought about how, in the beginning, he had been a little jealous of Spock’s close relationship with Joanna. She seemed so comfortable talking to the Vulcan and called him more than she called her father. McCoy had witnessed some of these calls while Spock was still confined in sickbay for three weeks after Joanna’s departure from the Enterprise. McCoy had kept Spock under observation as the Vulcan had been unable to enter a healing trance due to the head injury he had sustained. When McCoy had finally allowed him to go back on light duty, he had still seen Spock every day for physical therapy. The damage one of the rebels had done to Spock’s arm had taken another four weeks to undo.
Surprisingly, throughout Spock’s time in sickbay, he and McCoy had talked a lot. About Joanna, abut their respective relationships with their parents, about everything and anything really. And, the two of them had continued to talk to Joanna, though never together. Eventually, McCoy had realized that he was actually a little jealous of Joanna’s close relationship with Spock. From what McCoy could glean from Joanna’s stories about her friendship with the Vulcan, he was just so attentive, so thoughtful and caring towards her, McCoy found himself wishing this would extend to him too.
Joanna seemed to easily bring out these qualities in Spock and, McCoy thought gratefully as he walked back towards the base's main hall, she had also brought him and Spock together. Literally. It had really been rather sweet, he reminisced. During Joanna’s eighth birthday party, which both he and Spock had attended, some three months after the events on the Starbase, she had taken each of them by the hand and led them outside into the garden where they were alone. She had pretty much rounded on them and addressed them in a serious tone.
“I think,” she had begun without prelude, “that you like each other like Mummy and Ben like each other.”
Ben was Jocelyn’s new boyfriend. McCoy had not been too keen on meeting him but once he did had to admit he was a nice guy.
“It’s not logical,” Joanna had continued, giving Spock a meaningful look, who in turn raised an eyebrow, “to deny what is plainly true.”
And with that she had left them standing together in the garden, dumbfounded, and that, as they say, had been that. Now, nine months later, they were long over the first awkward phase and McCoy suddenly realized how happy he was. Spock had not been able to accompany Joanna and him to the departure gate, but he and McCoy would have dinner together later tonight. The Enterprise’s First Officer had had to beam back to the ship to oversee a crucial part of the refit process, a five-day procedure which happened to coincide with the date of Joanna’s departure to Arilion, something McCoy suspected he had Jim to thank for, who, two days after McCoy had casually mentioned Joanna’s summer holiday plans, had informed him of the dates they would stop over at Starbase 10.
McCoy looked around the base’s main hall, ever busy, just like it had been on that fateful day last year. He cast his mind back to the death and destruction he had witnessed here and could almost not believe it was the same place. Everything had been rebuilt and the hall was now more modern and more beautiful than it had been. Joanna had hardly recognized it when they passed through. McCoy had been worried that coming here would cause his daughter to have flashbacks but nothing of the sort had happened. Joanna had chatted away with Spock as happily as ever and the Vulcan’s usual impassive face had not betrayed any feelings towards the place he was in, if there were any such feelings, which, of course, Spock would deny, McCoy thought. The doctor was nevertheless glad that he had been able to drop Joanna off himself this time.
With two more hours until dinner, McCoy was looking around, trying to decide where to spend that time. He had just decided that it was not too early for a drink and was walking towards one of the bars that advertised non-synthesised alcohol, when he suddenly felt someone standing too close to him. Just as he wanted to turn around, he felt something being pressed into his back and a deep voice whispered into his ear.
“Yes, that’s a phaser, and yes, I will use it if you don't do exactly what I say. Now, move. Upper levels. I don’t have all day.”