Word Count: 17,909
Summary: Written for darlapr0duction’s prompt for the help_midwest challenge. In the middle of shore leave, the drunken bet seemed like a lark: “Get Spock laid.” Leonard found himself laughing just as much as the rest of them. What a ridiculous idea.
Notes/Warnings: (highlight):Angst, Schmoop, I did not intend for there to be any such ‘kinda sorta’ consent issues when I wrote this, but to do the prompt I guess they are there. Kindof. Sorta. Anyway, if that’s a trigger you might want to give this one a pass. darlapr0duction prompted this several, several months ago- even though I told her I had a few other fics to finish first. She was endlessly patient. BB, I hope you enjoy this. I tried to get everything in from your prompt, but you’ll see where it went in a few other places! Thanks tojademac2442 for her ninjabeta skillz and endless patience, and to jlm121 for the cheerleading and occasional kick in the butt to remind me SPONES WRITE SPONES NOWWW. :) I love you guys! Oh yeah. Title taken from Three Card Trick, by the Clash. ♥
Leonard watched as the muscle in Spock’s jaw twitched. It was like his damn eyes couldn’t look away from the small, seemingly involuntary movement. It was hard to make himself forget what that slightly greenish-pale skin tasted like. He tried to hide a shudder by tightening his hands into fists.
Leonard’s skin felt too hot. No, too cold. The bright lights in the transporter room seemed all at once like something out of a nightmare. Spock stood in stark relief against the pale walls, like a painting that had not yet been finished. His civilian clothes were completely unadorned; the serviceable black tunic and heavier black trousers tucked neatly into his boots. Even with everything, Leonard’s first thought was that he looked fucking amazing. The fact that he had bought Spock the tunic just made everything just that much more terrible, somehow. A karmic punch in the balls. The alcohol in his stomach lurched, and Leonard felt as though he was going to spew vomit all over the pristine deck. Bile tasted sour in the back of his throat.
He was not new to feeling guilty. God, of course not. But this... watching that one, tiny indicator of how close Spock was to losing control, seeing how absolutely... blankly Spock stood there... it was its own version of torture.
Spock’s attention snapped to Jim. Fuck. Leonard hadn’t even heard the door slide open. Leonard didn’t know what expression was on his face, but he turned like a puppet towards Jim as his friend stalked confidently forward, but whatever it was, Jim didn’t even bother to acknowledge it. And that... that was somehow almost as painful as Spock’s reaction.
“C’mon, Spock. I need your help. Shore Leave’s all done. Time to get our shit together. By that I mean time for you to get my shit together for me, so that I keep up with my unfailing fucking awesomeness.” Jim’s voice was too loud, jarring in the acoustics of the room. His smile wasn’t anything close to his normal 100-wattage. If anything, it was brittle and just as fake as his jocularity. It didn’t fool Spock. It sure as fuck didn’t fool Leonard. But it might fool the ensign stuck on third shift, manning the transporter console. Maybe.
“Indeed, Captain. I shall join you momentarily.”
Spock took very fourteen very precise steps to the doorway, and disappeared through it without another word; he passed close enough that Leonard could smell his sharp, spicy scent, close enough that the recycled air currents swirled close to Leonard’s skin. Leonard turned to Jim, reaching out the way he had a hundred times before to grasp Jim’s forearm. He was shocked when Jim jerked his arm away hard enough that Leonard lost his balance, causing him to lurch hard enough to the right that he scraped his hip on the console.
“You know, it’s not even what you did. Don’t get me wrong. I’m so fucking pissed off at you right now that I can’t even stand to look at you. But the way you used me to do it? That... that was just fucked up, B-bones.”
Leonard just closed his eyes, not missing the quick look the ensign gave him under her eyelashes, nor the way Jim edged around him to leave the room. Especially not missing the slight way Jim’s voice cracked over his name.
Closing his eyes didn’t help. He could still see Spock’s too-careful, completely blank face. A statue. A Vulcan statue.
But Spock’s eyes told a different story. And Leonard had a feeling that he wouldn’t be able to forget that, or the hurt that was so damn obvious in them, any time soon.
“Ah! I can’t be sayin’ if or not he actually has a stick up his arse, but it seems that there’s som’th’n botherin’ the Commander. ‘An’ it could be...” Scotty burped quietly, gesturing with his hands. “...vaguely stick-like in appearance, seems t’me.”
“Pointy-eared...green-blooded...” Leonard grunted and took another drink, aware that the insult was rather on the pathetic side. The whiskey burned his throat in the best way possible, and for a second he felt light-headed as he knocked the double back, slamming the green glass onto the counter. Leonard didn’t know how in Bessie’s bleeding bloomers they got shit this good in the back of the goddamn beyond, but he wasn’t about to complain. He’d been on shore leave for exactly twenty minutes, and could already tell that he probably wasn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
“So, I take it y’have a wee bit of an issue with our favorite Commander?”
“I’d say. Jim might not think anything of the way that hobgoblin just stuck him on that ice cube, but I sure as fuck have a few things to say about it. Did you know that he got chased by two different fucking monsters? One was so poisonous that it took Jim two weeks.Two weeks of treatments with his damn-fool physiology to recover. That was at the finest facilities in Starfleet Medical, mind you. Then on the bridge...”
Leonard’s hand tightened around the glass, all at once furious at his own impotence. He hadn’t been able to stop Spock from marooning Jim on Delta Vega, and Spock’s little snotty reply made his blood fucking boil every time he thought about it. And even worse, the way Leonard himself just sat there like an idiot with his thumb up his ass when Jim goaded Spock into losing his shit right there on the goddamn bridge....
He’d just stood there.
Leonard took another drink, finishing it off in one gulp. It was their first shore leave, and they were only going to be here one night. Seventeen more hours, to be exact. Jim had barely sat still for the slew of his standard STD inoculations before practically sprinting off that damn tin can he was so proud of, on the hunt for ‘as much pussy as I can fuck into whatever surface was available’ with a slap on Leonard’s back that caused him to roll his eyes.
Jim had only been Captain long enough to break in his two pairs of ‘Fleet-issued black boots, but it was kind of endearing the way he was trying so hard to be such a good Captain. “Good Captains don’t fuck their crew,” he’d said. Which was true enough, and not really Leonard’s business anyway.
“Yeah, well, that guy needs to get laid more than anyone on any planet, ever.” Leonard raised an eyebrow, nodding in that way that people set on becoming shit-faced nod at acquaintances. Leonard knew him vaguely from the ship. Jim called him Cheesecake or something. “You guys don’t mind if I join you, do you sirs?”
“Dinna be callin’ me sir, laddie. I’m on leave. Under protest, mind you. Commander Spock suggested that I would ‘benefit mentally from some relaxation and rest not conducted on the ship.’” Scotty made a sound that was more reminiscent of one of the barn cats at the old McCoy farm hawking up a hairball, and Leonard hid his smile behind another drink of his drink.
“Yeah?” Leonard vaguely recognized the burly-looking ensign as he swung his leg around the seat, plopping down on his chair. “I couldn’t help but overhear you two.”
Leonard had a small niggle of discontent before drowning it in another shot of the fine whiskey. He wasn’t much for drinking with people he didn’t know very well, let along people from the ship that he might have to put back together one day. Still, Cheesecake (Carrot cake? Cupcake?) liked his drink, and given that he only had a few hours, Leonard figured he might as well get shitfaced.
Later, Leonard couldn’t have said who the idea came from. Maybe it was Scotty. Maybe it was Whatshisname. Maybe it was him. But once the idea took ahold of him, Leonard found that he couldn’t shake it. He couldn’t stop imagining it.
He’d admit to having somewhat of an addictive personality. There was no doubt that once he judged something worthy, he completely put everything that he was into it until the damn problem got resolved, one way or another. Like his marriage with Joce. Leonard hadn’t been blind to the fact that he’d been neglecting his wife. Maybe he had expected that she would be a tad bit more loyal. More understanding. It wasn’t like he was stepping out on her. Hell, he’d been doing clinic hours on top of his residency, on top of adding a concentration in xenopsychology. Some nights he hadn’t been able to make it home until the very wee hours of the morning, only to slap at the snooze a few hours later as he started his whole day over. Leonard had wanted to make sure his wife had all of the trinkets and bibs and bobs nonsense that she was used to before marrying down into the McCoy clan, so he’d worked his ass off to get them for her.
Unfortunately, while he was working, she was sharing blankets with Clay. Leonard had been completely blind-sided, a small, screaming part of his brain not believing the facts until he saw them thrusting into his wife, saw the claw marks that she wouldn’t put on him, criss-crossing themselves on the broad, muscled expanse of Clay’s back. Leonard’s eyes had met Joce’s; had seen the determined flicker of recognition, had watched her head tip back in pleasure as she came.
By the time she’d finished, he’d been gone.
He’d stayed with his daddy at first, working himself even harder until he was exhausted, going through the mockery of his happy life almost in a fugue state. His daddy wasn’t one much for bullshit, and had called him on it frequently, going so far as to slap him upside the head a few, well-deserved times.
But when daddy had gotten sick.... There had been nights where he hadn’t slept. Weeks when he hadn’t taken the time to shower, to eat anything. He’d done everything he could to find the cure. Everything he could think of, and some things he no one would think of....
Yeah. Leonard could be one obsessive son-of-bitch when he felt it necessary.
The plan, hatched after who the hell knew how many shots, had been simple. Get Spock Laid. Hire a hooker for him, have her seduce him, then sit back and they’d have the last laugh, knowing that the Vulcan wasn’t so damn aloof as he pretended to be. That night, the three of them had found this hilarious, and talked about it endlessly, each of them trying their hand at making a “Spock-like ‘O’ face, or wondering if Vulcan junk was even compatible with human sexual organs.
Leonard had found himself laughing along with them. He’d known full well that Spock had all the same plumbing as humans, but hadn’t felt comfortable sharing that with the other two. It had been more fun to listen as the other two imagined Spock with a detachable dick, or some kind of furry muff like a woman. There had been more drink, and more stupidity until the alarm had gone off, reminding the three that their leave was almost over. They had made their staggering way back to the ship, Scotty to his bed, Cupcake (Turns out his name was Halloran. He hated the monkier Jim had stuck him with.) off to his quarters, and Leonard to sickbay for some detox hypos.
Leonard had fallen asleep with his hands pillowed on his desk, and had completely forgotten about their little idea almost as soon as he’d wiped the grit from his eyes and started back on his shift.
Leonard jumped, swearing when his knee hit the end of the biobed. He turned, rubbing his knee at Spock’s cool tone. Long practice had him making sure that he hadn’t disturbed his patient with his gracelessness.
“Be with ya in just a sec, Commander.” Leonard couldn’t help the way his posture straightened, nor the slight anger in his tone of voice. Figured. A whole room full of fully-trained staff, and Spock bothers him when he could clearly see that Leonard was busy.
Leonard rolled his eyes and made a shooing motion with his hand, finishing up his readings on Ensign Jakers before removing his gloves and turning around. Chapel gave him a weird look as she jerked her head towards one of the private areas and Leonard sighed gustily before stepping inside the room.
“Alright, what the hell was so important that you couldn’t let Nurse---Jesus Christ, Spock!”
Leonard’s eyes widened as he immediately took a step forward, reaching blindly for the gloves that were on the supply counter to his left. Spock’s hand was wrapped in a towel that had started off as white, but was now bright green with his blood.
“Doctor, while my given name is habitually unpronounceable by the human tongue, I must inform you that my mother was not religious enough to name me after....”
Leonard moved the ends of the towel away from Spock’s wounded hand, ignoring the way Spock blew out a heavy breath at the slight movement. For Spock that was pretty much a pain-filled cry of agony. “Why the fuck didn’t you say something? Or let someone else see it? Jesus, you’re gushing like a damn stuck pig...”
He reached for the smaller suture laser, unsure of the amount of damage that needed to be treated. He dropped the towel, ignoring the way it hit the deck with a sickening splat and immediately saw the problem. Spock had somehow ripped the skin of his palm, his digitus medius and digitus annularis, deeply enough that a good-sized chunk of the flesh of his ring finger was completely mutilated. It looked like a bite of some sort, as though teeth had ripped through the flesh, then had ripped it further when the teeth were removed. Leonard turned and reached for the proper, smaller hypo that Chapel had obviously set aside for him, the bright green tip showing Leonard at a glance that it was a strong antiseptic to combat the infection from the bite.
“Doctor McCoy, is it customary for you to use such... colorful metaphors while you work? I admit that I was not fully cognizant of this medical technique. Is it meant to distract you or your patient?”
Leonard shut his mouth with a click of his teeth. “What the hell got at you, Spock? You’re damn lucky that it didn’t take off your finger!” He began to suture where he could, ignoring the blood that dripped steadily down his own glove, and onto his wrist, staining his uniform. He refused to rush this, knowing full well how sensitive Vulcan hands were. Leonard looked up, and almost dropped the small instrument when he saw the slight tinge of green on Spock’s cheeks. His eyes narrowed before he looked back down at Spock’s fingers, finishing the suturing and beginning to blot the dried blood off of Spock’s hand and wrist.
They were in the middle of space. It wasn’t like Spock had been munched on while on an away mission. There hadn’t been any dirtside contact for a good month. Where the fuck would he had gotten a bite? And it was definitely a bite of some sort.
“Spock?” He darted his gaze back up to find that Spock was watching him work with a face carefully blank, except for the way the tips of his ears had gone slightly green. Leonard had the impression that Spock was hiding something. If it had been Jim sitting here, Leonard would have just berated him until Jim told him what he wanted to know. But he and Spock weren’t friends. That approach wouldn’t work. “Look, you can tell me or I can have you tell the Captain. But you know Jim. He’ll be laughing about whatever damnfool stunt you pulled. And we’re on this boat for four and a half more years, Spock. At least with me, you know I have’ta keep it behind my teeth. But you’re gonna explain yourself, Commander.”
Leonard watched as Spock straightened his shoulders, his left eyebrow climbing to just under his hairline. Leonard just met his gaze, waiting him out.
“ Lieutenant Uhura gave me a gift for my natal day.”
“What the fuck did she give you, a vampire?” Leonard pulled away and found a pain-killer. It wouldn’t last very long with Spock’s physiology, but it would numb the area enough for him to finish. The hiss of the hypo was loud in the private medical room.
“Negative. It was... a shelat.”
Leonard blinked. The urge to laugh caused him to wheeze for a second, biting his bottom lip hard enough to hurt. “Say what now?”
The look Spock gave him would had probably withered a lesser human into a shaking pike of goo. Leonard just raised his eyebrow back, giving up the ghost of trying to keep in his laughter. He managed not to laugh in Spock’s face, but that was only because he was distracted by the darker shade of green on the tips of Spock’s ears. He’d never noticed them before, really. Well okay you couldn’t not notice Vulcan ears. They were kind of obvious after all. But Spock’s had a slightly more graceful tilt to the cartilage, the tip less bulky than that of a full-blooded Vulcan.
“A shelat, as one with your extensive xenobiologic background must know, Doctor,” Spock’s breath hitched just slightly as Leonard cleaned at the now sutured cuts, administering the antiseptic with a slight brush of his fingertips, “can be rather temperamental. Nyota, however, was not aware of their tendency towards physically demonstrative regard.”
“Affection, huh. Funny, Spock, I never thought of you as someone who would call a few bites affectionate.” Leonard finished his work, bending down over Spock’s hands so that he could view his work with his own eyes. He knew he had equipment that would allow him to view it with microscopic precision, but Leonard wanted to make damn sure.
Spock raised an eyebrow. “Perhaps, Doctor, that is indicative of the fact that you do not ‘know’ me at all.” He left as quietly as he’d arrived.
It took Leonard almost a full minute to shut his mouth.
It wasn’t until Spock saved Jim’s life for the first time that Leonard really started to acknowledge that he had an... issue. Jim had been torn apart. He and Spock had beamed on board in a swirl of lights, Spock almost covered with Jim’s blood. Spock hadn’t even looked fazed as he calmly gripped the makeshift tourniquet that kept Jim from completely bleeding out, his hands strangely graceful as the strength in them kept his Captain alive.
Leonard was barking out orders almost before they had finished materializing, trusting to the competency of Chapel and Fitzpatrick as he and Spock lifted Jim onto the gurney. Spock normally would have had no problem completing the task himself, but Jim’s wounds were severe enough that Spock ended up straddling Jim’s bulkier body on the gurney, holding on while Leonard began trying to stabilize him, unable to let go.
“What the fuck happened?! That was supposed to be a peaceful planet!”
“Indeed. Perhaps, Doctor McCoy, someone neglected to tell them that.”
“They just opened fire, Doc. The Captain pushed Spock out of the way, and they lit into him.” Sulu was looking pale enough that one of the nurses following them to the medbay stopped him with a hand on his arm, gently drawing his gaze away from his blood-soaked hands.
Crew members flattened themselves to the wall as they ran by, then it was a blur of desperation and skill and reluctant praying that he was talented enough to not fuck this up god please let him be able to fix this--
Much later, after rebuilding part of Jim’s cardiovascular system from damn near scratch, an exhausted Leonard had made his way to his office. He had just taken a shower and had been too tried to dry himself off properly; the slightly too-small scrubs he wore were fine for the relative relaxation of his whiskey and the calmness of his quiet office. He had been sitting there with his head in his hands, elbows resting on his old-fashioned desk-blotter when the doors had slid open.
“He’s fine, Spock.” Leonard had been speaking before the Vulcan could open his mouth, knowing why he was there. In the past year or so of serving together, Leonard had tried his damndest not to get in the way of the friendship between Spock and Jim. It had been eerie how quickly the two of them had hit it off. If Leonard had been the romantic sort, he’d say that their friendship was destiny or some shit like that. God knew the two worked together like some well-oiled machine, anticipating the other’s needs and movement almost as though they were one person instead of two separate beings. Jim had been delighted with the chess games and the late nights working together. Leonard knew that with Spock as a first, there was no way that they could actually be working all that much, and that had made something dark inside of him twist at the realization that, knowing Jim, it was pretty damn likely that they weren’t mere “friends” at all.
Leonard was pretty sure that they were fucking. He’d been a little uncomfortable at how his stomach had tightened when that little lightbulb had gone off. It wasn’t like either of them were particularly obvious. Both of them were far too professional. Jim had been as damn handsy as ever, but it was Spock... the slight quirk of his lip or the tiniest bit of softening around his eyes when he looked at Jim that had made the bile rise in Leonard’s throat, pissed for some reason that he couldn’t quite make himself examine too closely.
He’d been appalled at himself.
“I am aware of the Captain’s status. Your own contribution to his current recovery is not insignificant.”
“In my study of human biology, I have learned that after times of great physical stress, it is most beneficial to fill one’s nutritional needs for optimal efficiency.” Spock took a step inside of Leonard’s office, face his own coolly implacable mask.
It must have been his exhaustion, because the flash his mind produced when Spock said ‘studying human biology’ had Jim bent over a sweaty, blushing Spock with that cocky grin of his, eyes narrowed with concentration as the Vulcan looked up at him.... Leonard coughed, pressing the heels of his hands on his eyes until he saw starbursts. It had to be the exhaustion. He’d never, never thought of Jim like that before. When they’d made those first tentative strides towards friendship, Leonard had carefully stuffed Jim in the box labeled as “friends” and hadn’t changed course in the four years that they’d known each other. He’d certainly never been this... irked before at thinking of Jim with someone.
“What?” Leonard’s bark was gravely. He was so fucking tired, but even that didn’t excuse his rudeness. His mama would smack him upside the head if she heard him right now. He breathed out, slowly. “Sorry, Spock. My brain isn’t quite running at its best.”
Spock came inside his office, then walked over to the replicator on the wall. Leonard was still trying to bite back the uncomfortable images that had suddenly sprung up in his head. He’d never thought he was the kind of man that envied his friends their happiness. He heard Spock murmur something, and sighed at the familiar sound of the replicator working, then Spock’s boot heels as he walked back towards Leonard’s desk.
“My... mother often ate this meal when she was emotionally compromised. She called it ‘comfort food.’” Spock leaned forward to place it near Leonard’s elbows. Leonard opened his eyes in time to see a quick flash of pale stomach as Spock’s uniform rode up from reaching around Leonard’s own folded body so as to not spill what was on the tray. Leonard had to swallow hard, staring down the small bowl of thick chicken soup, the grilled cheese sandwich, and the thick chocolate brownie that sat on his desk.
It hadn’t been exactly the best time to realize that he hadn’t been sick with jealousy over Jim, but with Jim with Spock.
He had no idea how he kept from leaping up from his chair or doing blurting something asinine out in a fit of blushing stupidity. Instead he had eaten the food on autopilot, uncomfortably aware of Spock’s proximity as he stood near his desk at his familiar parade rest, clearly having no plans to move until Leonard had finished every goddamn bite. Spock had taken his tray and had paused for a moment, clearly uncomfortable.
Leonard watched out of the corner of his eye as Spock hesitated, then reached out to touch Leonard’s shoulder in a brief gesture. “Please see that you get the optimal amount of rest, Doctor. Jim will need you when he gains consciousness.”
The doors had shut behind him before Leonard could make himself release the woosh of pent-up breath. He felt utterly disgusted with himself. Spock had not only made it a point to feed him, he had willingly mentioned his mother, attempted some awkward Vulcan version of a comforting gesture, and all Leonard could think about was the smooth, pale flash of stomach and how much he fucking wanted to taste it.