To Say "I Love You"...Before You Die

Title: To Say 'I Love You' ... Before You Die
Author: T'Lin
Series: TOS
Pairing: S/Mc
Challenge Scenario: Write a S/Mc where Spock thinks McCoy is dying and tells
him his feelings.
Rating: PG-13
Note: Written for the SpockMcCoyHaven Fest -
http://www.members.tripod.com/
janetsykes/thespockmccoyotesden
Note 2: This story contains spoilers for the ENTERPRISE episode, "Doctor,
Doctor" (a bit of history, as it were)
Archiving: ASC*, Spock McCoyote Den, and my own web page -
http://www.geocities.com/tlin_s/ - all others, please ask first.
Disclaimer: Paramount/Viacom own the TREK universe ... I just borrow from
them from time to time for entertainment purposes. No copyright infringement
intended, nor do I make any money off of this. Although the characters and
settings belong to others, this original story is the property of T'Lin 2
February, 2002

******

TO SAY 'I LOVE YOU' ... BEFORE YOU DIE
by T'Lin 0202.02

As I entered the lab, I could hear the familiar voices of Nurse Christine
Chapel and Doctor Leonard McCoy. It was obvious to me that they were unaware
of my presence, or the fact that they were being overheard.

I was about to make my presence known when I froze, as McCoy said, "Look
Chris ... there's no point in me saying anything to anyone. It's not as if
there's anything any of them can do, anyway."

"But Leonard," Miss Chapel replied, "they are your friends. They have a right
to know."

"No, they don't." McCoy said, his emotions making his voice rise
ever-so-slightly. After a slight pause, he continued, "Look, it's my life
we're talking about here ... and with this mission coming to an end soon,
we'd all be going our separate ways in a few months, in any case."

"But ..." Chapel interrupted, only to have McCoy's words override whatever it
was she was going to add.

"Look, Christine, there's no 'buts' about it. You know as well as I do that
once this mission is over, we all go our separate ways ... and eventually, no
matter what our intentions are in the beginning, we loose track of one
another." There was a slight pause, then I heard McCoy continue, a touch of
sadness in his voice, "The fact that I will no longer be around in six months
will not affect anyone else's future in any way, so there's no point in
telling them."

Again there was silence. I was once again tempted to make my presence known
when Miss Chapel said quietly, "I'm sorry to hear that you feel your life has
had so little impact on us that we would not miss you. I most certainly will,
and I will continue to do all I can to alter what you have come to believe is
inevitable. You, of all people, should know that in medicine, there are
always new possibilities."

I stood in silence trying to fathom the meaning of the conversation I had
just overheard. As my mind replayed Miss Chapel's last words, there was only
one logical conclusion that I could make. McCoy was dying, and had resigned
himself to the fact. Remarkably, he was displaying a very 'Vulcan-like'
response to the situation, which in and of itself was unusual.

I was startled out of my musing by the opening of the door to McCoy's office.
Miss Chapel looked surprised to see me standing there, then gave me a slight
nod of her head as she said, "Good morning, Mister Spock. What can I do for
you?"

Not letting on that I had heard anything, I said, "I was just checking to see
if you had the results of the atmospheric inoculation tests completed. The
Captain, as you know, is eager to clear this planet for shore leave. The
sooner we can assure him that the crew can be inoculated against the few
trace elements of the atmosphere that are harmful, the happier he will be."

I had come to the conclusion long ago that it was easiest to deal with the
crew using terms they would relate to ... thus, mentioning the Captain's
'happiness' over a situation, even if I did not see the significance of it,
myself.

"Oh, yes ... doctor McCoy has the results in his office," she had said, as
she looked over her shoulder in the direction of the office she had just
vacated. "I believe he was about to contact you and the Captain about them."

"Very well." I said, as I stepped toward the office.

For a moment, I thought the nurse was about to add something, but she
hesitated, before nodding once more, and turning away. Whether or not she
suspected me of overhearing their conversation, or was about to warn me of
the doctor's foul mood, I will never know.

What I do know is that at that moment, although we frequently argued, I
considered him to be one of my best friends ... I could not envision myself
in a future without him by my side, in an endless debate. I realized that I
did not want to loose him from my life, and that I needed to tell him how I
felt ... I needed to tell him that I loved him ... before he died.

"Well, are ya goin' ta stand there all day?" I heard him say, and I realized
I had been staring at him for several moments.

Forgive me, Doctor ..." I said, as I cleared my throat. "Nurse Chapel says
that you have the results of the atmospheric inoculation tests."

"Yes, they're right here ... I was just going to call the captain, and set up
a briefing." There was a pause. He was looking at me, with the most curious
expression on his face. I raised my brow ever so slightly, which seemed to
break the mood. "Here, let me give Jim a call, and see if he's available for
that briefing right now ... I'll only be a minute," as he punched in Jim's
code, he indicated that I sit down.

"Very well," I said, and came more fully into the room, to sit as he
suggested. Jim was, as I already knew, free, and would be joining us
momentarily.

McCoy and I sat in silence for a moment ... I wanted so much to tell him how
I felt, but could not find the words. My indecision must have shown, for he
asked, "Everything OK with you, Spock? You seem a bit distracted."

I looked him in the eye, as I said, "I am fine ..." then hesitated. I knew
Jim would be here in only a matter of minutes, but I had to say something to
McCoy now. Otherwise, I would never find the words to tell him how I felt.
Determined, I cleared my throat, and continued, "Actually, I am not. I have
just discovered that someone I ... care deeply for ... will not be with us
much longer."

McCoy was instantly alert, asking, "What's wrong? Is it your mother? Father?
Is there anything I can do to help?"

I was touched by his concern ... of course, he would assume it was one of my
parents. After all, I had never expressed feelings of 'care' for anyone else.
I smiled ever so slightly as I said, "No, Leonard ... my parents are both
fine."

McCoy had that curious expression on his face again, whether it was due to my
using his given name, or my smile, I do not know. "If not your parents, then
who?" he asked, still staring at me.

"You, Leonard." I said, then continued before I could change my mind, "And
when I heard this, I realized that I do not want to loose you from my life,"
I said, and watched his expression. After all these years, you would think I
could read the human face, but not McCoy's. Not today. The shifting emotions
went past far too quickly, I could not tell if he were intrigued, or confused
... or a million other possibilities.

Finally, he seemed to settle on curiosity, as he said, "I don't und..." but
he never continued the thought.

"Bones ... Spock," Jim said, as he entered the office, cutting McCoy off in
mid sentence. "Can we make this quick, I need to return to the bridge in ten
minutes." And he took a seat, never once noticing that he had interrupted a
private conversation.

We exchanged a look, silently consenting to finish this conversation when the
briefing was over.

*****

Five minutes later, Kirk left McCoy's office, and we were once again alone.
Although we were both under orders to start the inoculations, in preparation
for shore leave, we knew we had to continue this conversation first.

McCoy had stood when the captain left, and now came to sit on the edge of his
desk, arms folded across his chest as he looked down at me. He stared at me
for a heartbeat, then said, "Spock, is it my understanding that you have
feelings for me?"

"Yes," I said, my throat suddenly dry.

"And why, pray tell, did you decide to tell me this today, of all days?"

There was a trace of something in his voice that made me hesitate. I could
not decide it if was anger or distaste ... or perhaps excitement ... either
way, he deserved to know the truth. I held his gaze, as I said, "Forgive me,
but I overheard your conversation with Nurse Chapel. When I saw you
immediately after, I realized I could not let you die never knowing that I
... loved you."

On my final words, his eyebrow raised in what I believe was disbelief. He
gave a low whistle, ans said, "I'll be damned." Then a smile spread across
his face as he continued, "I never thought I'd see the day when you'd admit
it."

His reaction caught me by surprise, and before I could say anything, I felt
his fingertips under my chin, tipping my head up to lightly kiss me. That
first touch of our lips was electric ... opening me up to the full extent of
his feelings for me. Apparently, he had been suppressing his love for me,
waiting for the day I was ready to share my feelings for him.

When at last he broke the connection, he said, "I've been waiting a very long
time for this ... but I have no intention of dying anytime soon."

I was puzzled. I replayed the conversation in my mind, then asked, "But what
about Nurse Chapel's determination to, I believe her words were, 'continue to
do all I can to alter what you have come to believe is inevitable.' She then
went on to say, 'You, of all people, should know that in medicine, there are
always new possibilities.' ... if she was not talking about your imminent
death, what then."

McCoy smiled, as he obviously realized how these words could have been
misinterpreted by me."Ah, I see where you got the idea I was dyin' ...
especially if you heard my earlier comments about not bein' around in six
months." McCoy sat back on the edge of his desk, looking down at the
perplexed Vulcan. "Spock, have you ever read the logs of Archer's ENTERPRISE
... or more specifically, those of the Denobulan, Doctor Phlox?"

"Not extensively, but I have familiarized myself with them to a degree. Why
do you ask?"

"Well, early on in their first mission, they came across a planet a few light
years out from Earth. On this planet, there were two distinctly different
species - the Valakian and the Menk."

"Yes. As I recall, one species was in the process of dying out, while the
other was evolving into the dominant species." I paused for a moment, trying
to recall if there was anything else that I could recall about them. "If my
memory serves me, the Valakian's asked Doctor Phlox to 'find a cure' for the
disease that was devastating their people, which is when he discovered the
truth about their evolutionary path."

"That's right ... but what isn't in the public record is the fact that Phlox
actually found a cure. Apparently, Archer decided, at Phlox's recommendation,
to withhold the 'cure' and allow 'nature' to run its course."

I could see that McCoy's enthusiasm for the subject, but not how it connected
to the earlier conversation. "This is all very fascinating, of course, but
what does it have to do with ..." I stopped, suddenly realizing what he
intended to do. "You are planning on going to the aid of the Valakians,
aren't you."

It was a statement, not a question, but he answered nonetheless, "Spock ...
yes. I plan on joining the medical delegation that has been aiding them, and
the Menk, along their evolutionary path."

I reached out to take hold of his hand, somehow needing this connection
between us to help me understand. "What about the Prime Directive? Does it
not prohibit the Federation from interfering with the proper development of
this planet?"

"Had we discovered these people after the formation of the PD, of course it
would apply. But we didn't ... and by the time the Federation returned there,
there were doctors from a dozen different worlds, all doing their part to
ease the suffering of the Valakians, even though none were able, or willing,
to put an end to their plight."

"Yes, I suppose that makes sense." I said, realizing that if we had
discovered the truth to their evolutionary path, so would most other
warp-capable species ... most of whom seem to have their own version of a
Prime Directive, when it comes to lesser species. "But tell me, Leonard ...
if you are planning on joining this global aid effort, why did you make it
sound so permanent?"

There was sadness in his eyes, as he said, "Because, when I signed up, I did
so for the long haul, just like everyone else on the team. This is a process
that has been going on for hundreds of years, and will continue to do so for
hundreds more. What's twenty years of my life, in comparison?" I still held
his hand, but he took my other in his free hand, and lifted them both to his
lips. "Until today, I felt there was no reason for me to make it a short-term
commitment. We're not only offering comfort to a dying species, but observing
the emerging one. There is so much to learn about the evolutionary process
... from both sides of it ... a lifetime is not enough."

"Which is why you had resigned yourself to never seeing any of us again." I
said, knowing I could not ask him to alter his plans for me. "Yes, I
understand now ... very admirable." I released his hands, and slid the chair
back so that I could stand without being too close to him. Composing myself,
I said, "Doctor, I do believe we have some work to do. If you will excuse me,
I will go to my office and set up the schedule for the crew inoculations. I
will send the list to you as soon as it is done." And with that, I stepped
toward the door.

But before it opened, I felt his hand rest gently on my shoulder. I turned
slightly, to look into those liquid blue eyes of his, as he said, "Spock ...
please don't be angry with me. I will not change my mind about helping the
Valakians and the Menk, but that does not mean ..."

He stopped abruptly when I turned and kissed him. It took only a second for
him to respond with the passion I knew was in him. When I pulled away enough
to look into his eyes once again, I said, "I suppose I could always visit
you."

"Yes, I suppose you could ... or then again, you, too, could join the team."

I raised my brow at the suggestion ... I had never contemplated a future for
myself outside of Starfleet or the Vulcan Diplomatic Corps ... but suddenly,
the prospect of joining Leonard on his medical/scientific odyssey was looking
quite appealing.

McCoy smiled. "No need to answer right now ... we still have three months
before this mission is over, and another three before I have to report ...
there's plenty of time for you to think about it."

"Indeed, there is," I said, as I took him in my arms once more, and added,
"in the mean time, we have work to do. Then I do believe we have some shore
leave coming to us, where we can discuss our future in more *intimate*
detail."

End

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