"Bones, it wasn't your fault."
As if that was any comfort. The hum of the heart rate monitors provided more an irritation than a sense of normalcy as he hovered about Spock's biobed.
"Doctor, you will not change anything by standing here," Spock quietly admonished, tilting his head toward the sound of McCoy's feet as he shifted from side to side, "regardless, I am otherwise—"
"You aren't getting out of that bed until I tell you to!" McCoy hissed, placing a hand on Spock's arm as the Vulcan attempted to rise, "You may feel fine for now, but I don't want to take any chances."
"You are being overly protective," Spock commented, "It is not assisting this situation."
Chapel was going to kill him. "You're going to have to get used to me. I'm going to watch over you, whether you like it or not. You can do what you want otherwise. We'll go anywhere you want," McCoy reassured, gesturing through the air, and aborting the gesture upon realizing that Spock couldn't see it, "Hell, I'll even live on Vulcan for you."
"I appreciate your sentiment, doctor, but I would rather decline it," Spock replied quietly.
"Excuse me?" McCoy's hand dropped to smack off his side. "That was a direct order from the captain to take care of you. You can't exactly refuse that."
"That is the point," Spock adjusted himself on the biobed, "You would be caring for me only out of duty. It would, ultimately, divide us."
Silence passed between them, with McCoy trying to hold in his irritation. Quietly, he asked, "You don't think I'd want to watch over you?"
"Ultimately, it would be overridden by that human emotion, guilt," Spock replied.
McCoy's hand moved over the bed to cover his. Sarcastically, he replied, "Boy, I'm sure happy that you have human behavior all figured out."
"You have not contradicted me," Spock replied.
"Don't jump to conclusions so quickly. I'm trying to—" McCoy broke off, his eyes widening at a flicker of movement on Spock's face. His hand slid off Spock's, and he braced both on the edge of the biobed to lean forward.
"Doctor, what were you saying?" Spock asked.
McCoy's eyes narrowed. There it was, that flicker of movement again. "Spock," his voice was lower than it typically was, "Are you looking at me?"
"Yes, or rather," Spock's gaze wavered as if he was attempting to lock onto him, "I am trying to do so."
"How?" He continued, his voice nearing monotone.
"It is a redundant eyelid Vulcans have. I had forgotten its use, due to a lack of need. It allows for the prevention of blindness within the desert biome," he replied matter-of-factly. Though he couldn't quite register McCoy's expression yet, he lifted a hand, "I have only recently regained awareness of it. Frankly, I find it odd, how my concentration was diverted."
McCoy felt his skin slowly flushing a shade of red. "Oh, I'm sure that's exactly what happened."
Spock blinked, adjusting his vision. "This is preferable, however, as you will not have to care for me. Now," he moved to the side, and swung his legs over the biobed, "I must return to the bridge."
McCoy's hand clamped down on his shoulder, and before the Vulcan could comment, he growled, "Don't you ever do that again."
"To order me off the frontlines is foolish."
McCoy's hand tightened, and Spock batted him off. "Don't try to sidestep the point. I heavily doubt that you just forgot about your second eyelid. You worried me. I thought I had blinded you for good."
"It did not happen. We may move on from it now."
"Look," he folded his arms, "Let's get two things straight. One: that was not goddamn funny, and two: I don't much appreciate what you said about me towards you. I understand well enough that you have a low opinion of how I act, but to think that of me is insulting."
Spock braced both of his hands on the bed, in anticipation to stand. "I did not say that you would be unwilling to look after me. However, I did say that you would grow tired of it. That is not the same thing," standing, he surmised, "Perhaps you should also consider my own concerns for your future."
McCoy took a step back from him. "Funny, you seem not to show it without getting one over on me."
"Doctor, I may say the same about you," Spock replied, his tone indicating that it was in passing.
Miffed, McCoy muttered, "Well, I'm glad we settled that. Now, get out of my sickbay. I need that bed for a patient."
Spock nodded, and walked away. McCoy glared after him and waited for the exterior door to close. In frustration, he drove his fist into the surface of the biobed. Leaning over it, he breathed heavily before straightening up to follow him out. He'd fill out the medical log later.
Spock held the turbolift for him, and McCoy stepped on board without saying anything. He leaned against the side wall. At least Jim would be happy.
"Have I disappointed you, Leonard?" Spock inquired.
After a moment's silence, McCoy glanced over at him, and replied, "Disappointed me, no. I've come to expect this out of you."
Spock said no more, and Leonard watched the lift's numbers count to the bridge's level.
Outside of purely operational need, that had been the last conversation Spock had had with McCoy, the human retreating to blow off steam, as it were. Spock had at first welcomed that, as it afforded more time for intellectual pursuits. However, he later found the lack of interaction with him disappointing. He lacked the routine he had once had with Leonard, such as sitting with him for meals, as well as intimacy, such as seeing the doctor grooming himself from a disheveled appearance in the early morning to what was typical of him. The last kiss they had had was Vulcan, and that had been days before the mission to Deneva.
McCoy had learned his lesson, though he was, as humans put it in less refined terms, licking his wounds over it. Spock afforded him the space, though it was not only that. He found that, occasionally, McCoy's remark to him about his lack of disappointment played itself over again, in his mind. He found the contempt in it unsavory, but that was par for several of his comments.
After thinking further on it, he found it was due to the dismissiveness of it. Spock was cognizant of the emotions he had contained tightly within himself and found that his attachment to Leonard had grown closer. That would also need to be addressed soon, if he wished to lay the matter to rest. It continued to disturb his meditations.
That was when the transfer request appeared on his desk, for a Dr. Jabilo M'Benga, signed by Dr. McCoy. Spock found that he read over it one more time than was necessary.
However, his opinion of it was ultimately different as he spoke to Kirk on it. "I understand the necessity for a doctor who has worked with Vulcans, but this seems to carry a hint of favoritism," he commented, glancing over the PADD as he spoke with his captain.
Kirk folded his hands on his desk and smiled. "Favoritism, Mr. Spock?"
"Dr. M'Benga is not as versed in other species than Vulcans. As I am Vulcan, it would seem that Dr. McCoy is only concerned for me, in this case. I find this unnecessary."
"You are also our commander, and frankly, after the incident, this would appear warranted," he replied. Kirk had been referring to the mission as "the incident," and Spock found his stoicism regarding the deaths of his brother and sister-in-law to be rather out of the norm. He was, however, also aware that Kirk tended to also, these days, be spending his time more often with McCoy, and understood why. "That aside, the crew has been majority human during this first year, but you have also seen the roster for this second year."
Spock nodded. "It is more varied, due to our positioning in space. Replacing human crew members with other humans is simply not feasible."
"Exactly. This is a step in that direction, from how I see it."
"Perhaps," he agreed, "however I do not like the implications of this."
"What implications?" Kirk asked, although Spock could see his face slowly falling. Humans were too easy to read.
"I would prefer not be considered an invalid on this ship."
Kirk shook his head. "No, I can assure you, you're the farthest thing from that."
Spock gave a passing thought to whether Kirk's opinion would change, when he would experience pon farr, but said nothing on it. "I will take you at your word for the moment, captain, but I would prefer for your actions, as well as those of the doctor, to be presented as proof in the future. I will also provide my signature for the transfer."
Kirk smiled as Spock set down his PADD next to his on the desk.
Reconciliation with Leonard was still needed, and Spock did not think that McCoy would provide it. It was not common for Leonard to offer an apology for a transgression, and Spock admittedly did look down upon that aspect of his lover. However, that was not to say that he was trying to correct that misbehavior, as evidenced by his immediate apology after the eradication by light had gone wrong. And that effort was what turned Spock toward him. He would present him with a choice.
Tugging open a drawer in his quarters, he brought out a square of black scrap cloth. On the rare occasion that he would need to, or prefer to, make manual adjustments to, or fix, his clothing, he kept it. A cutting tool was in the drawer of his desk, and he quietly carved thin strip of it loose. Spock ran the cloth over his hands contemplatively. He was taking a risk with this, but nevertheless it would allow him to make his decision.
His relationship with McCoy bore a difference to the bond he had with T'Pring, with the latter being continually cool. Her mind was often closed to him, and they barely wrote any communication to each other. Their first meeting had been awkward, as it often was between children, but he had sensed a greater distance in her body language. T'Pring had tended to step away from him, or stare, similarly to a timid animal. He'd gotten used to the staring at that point and had found that he had not liked the idea of spending the rest of his life with her.
It had crossed his mind before to call it off, but he decided against it for a few reasons. Most principally, it would not be looked upon well, as it was his duty to tradition, and to her, as well. They could also divorce later.
Pon farr was coming, sooner than he wanted to think on it, and he refused to force McCoy's hand on that. He could sense the doctor's understandable reservations about sharing a mind, and he did not trust himself with bringing this upon him yet. He heavily disliked the prospect of harming him and did not want to think on what he could do, when not fully himself, to him. Nevertheless, his bond with T'Pring would, in theory, override that, and with the closer it came, the more he distrusted his mind in sleep. Erotic thoughts of T'Pring would either vanish, or be replaced by, thoughts detailing McCoy. On a stranger occasion still, he'd encountered both at once, caressing, fondling, and kissing him. After that vision, he had preferred meditation to sleep for a week.
Someone else was there, as well, from T'Pring's end, and he had a suspicion about it. That was yet to come, however, the matter not being as pressing. As to the implications of what that were for McCoy and himself, he was not sure. Nevertheless, he was careful in keeping his affair with McCoy private, within reason, lest he shame his house. It didn't matter if his fiancé was also seeking another mate, but it did matter as to who would be caught first. He wasn't about to challenge another aristocrat and be branded as nothing more than primitive human spawn for the rest of his days.
There was a concern he had, occasionally, for if they did bear children, but he dismissed it. Likely, she would not wish to do so, and branded as less than by having a partially human child. Also, with his consistently being away, it would not be feasible. She could easily utilize contraception.
Spock was careful in approaching McCoy about the prospect, as precarious as things were.
Blue eyes raised to look at him. "Yeah?" Spock found Leonard's gaze held a different quality to it, from where he sat on the observation deck, dappled in shadow as space passed over them.
"May I sit here?" He asked, indicating the width of the bench that McCoy sat upon. The doctor had been alone in the room, its low lighting indicating that it was past the ship's "sunset," the night shift having already taken over.
"It's not taken," he replied, and Spock sat down beside him. McCoy turned his head at that, as there had been ample room, but said nothing on it.
"You do not typically venture here," Spock commented.
"Headache from earlier," he rubbed at his eyes, "The penicillin was mislabeled in sickbay. Had to dump it out, create a new batch from scratch, and yell at someone. How was your day?"
"The details of it would not interest you, but it was typical," he replied, "My apologies to you."
McCoy lowered his hands to his lap. "Thanks."
Spock stared out at the stars in silence, having seen this view multiple times before, preferring the quiet of the area, but not finding it the "same," as some humans had claimed. There were multiple complexities in it, depending upon position. Stars died, and planets aged, the universe continuing to change. A hand brushed against his, and he felt rooted once more.
"You and I have a few items to discuss," Spock commented.
McCoy sighed. "Look, I'll admit what I said was not right."
"That is not the only thing." McCoy glanced up at him at that, and Spock saw his lover's throat move. "I would like to extend to you an invitation."
The corner of McCoy's mouth curled up at that. "Never talk you for the partying kind."
"It would be a convalescence between us, within two nights' time. If you wish, after you are off-duty, you may report to my quarters."
He nodded his head. "All right, I'll be there. I must say I'm interested."
"I have heard that relationships, in human culture, are bettered by a sense of newness between partners," Spock replied.
McCoy leaned back on his hands. "They are, and they aren't. Eventually, it all gets stale, after a while, as you grow older." He pointedly ignored Spock's raised eyebrow, as Spock had dutifully informed him, more than once, in the past that Leonard was not old by Vulcan standards. "What seems to work, more so, is stability, but," he shrugged, and lowered his head, "that bores some people, and the cycle begins over again."
"What is your preference?" Spock asked, choosing to skirt a subject that was troubling McCoy.
McCoy reached out, and touched his arm, wrapping his fingers around it. Spock felt satisfied with his answer.
Spock's quarters were lower lit than usual, McCoy noted, and he could smell the remains of incense burning, indicating that Spock had meditated recently. There had been a sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach about this, in relation to their spat.
He'd been utterly careless and found that he had disliked himself more than much else, given what he had nearly done. Thinking more about it, McCoy realized that he had mishandled his unhappiness about what had transpired, in that he had ultimately taken it out upon Spock. As to Spock's theorizing about how he would have come to think of the Vulcan in the future, in his blind state, he wasn't sure, but it had angered him. He had defended himself against it, but ultimately had found himself to blame.
That wasn't to say Spock hadn't wounded him with his words, and McCoy had been thoroughly annoyed by him, but in retrospect, he realized that he'd been poorly equipped for the situation. Perhaps Spock had not been aware of that second eyelid, since he had dwelled in the more settled areas of Vulcan, and upon starships. McCoy couldn't place the blame entirely on him, especially given how he was his physician. He needed further information on Vulcan anatomy, that was to be certain.
During the days in which he had not seen Spock, he had begun to consult the databanks about possible staff members to assist him in this. There was a Dr. Jabilo M'Benga, who had caught his attention, given his time serving on Vulcan. He had composed a transfer request, and run it by Kirk and Spock, who had both approved it shortly after receiving it. Starfleet's response, however, had been lukewarm. Due to M'Benga being needed elsewhere, the transfer would not go through for another year. McCoy, meanwhile, dug through any recorded information he could find on Vulcans, and hoped that his ill-equipment would not cause an issue until then.
Spock's uniform top was gone, leaving him in his black undershirt. His hands were folded behind his back, prompting McCoy to inquire, "So, what's the occasion?"
"This is an informal meeting," Spock answered.
"I suppose that makes me overdressed, then."
"You may remain as you are, if you wish," he reassured.
McCoy folded his arms, and asked, "What's the topic?"
"Our performances a few weeks ago were not exceptional. I wish to address that," he responded.
McCoy chuckled at his words. "And what would you regard as exceptional?"
Spock lifted his chin. "That should go without saying, Leonard. Nevertheless," he lifted a hand to indicate a PADD upon his desk, "I saw your request for the transfer of Dr. M'Benga."
"Of course, you would, commander. Is he suitable?" He asked, angling himself sideways, his voice taking on a slightly sarcastic tone.
"Yes. I find Dr. M'Benga's record commendable. However, my question is to why you have made the request."
McCoy dropped his arms, caught a little off-guard by the question. "That should be obvious to you. Because I didn't entirely know how your body worked, I nearly blinded you. I won't allow myself to run the risk of having that happen again."
Spock tilted his head to the side. "Do you intend for him to take over my care?"
McCoy shook his head. "No, and that's in the report, as well. What're you getting at?"
"You admit your fault, that you didn't know?"
"Yes," he muttered, taking his glance from him.
"That is a satisfactory answer."
McCoy looked back at him, and he felt as if a heaviness had descended upon him. "You didn't expect me to." Anger coiled in his gut at that.
Spock nodded once, and, much to McCoy's own surprise, his own anger dissipated. "It seems our opinions of each other need work."
McCoy shrugged. "In some respects."
"Another question, then," Spock paced a few steps toward him, "Had the captain not ordered you to care for me, for the remainder of my existence, would you have done so?"
McCoy felt sweat trickling down the back of his neck at that, and his mouth was dry. He licked at the inside of it, all the while that dark gaze bored into him. Finding his voice, he replied, "You bet."
Something flickered through Spock's eyes, and McCoy wasn't quick enough to catch it. He figured that he had said the wrong thing, until the Vulcan withdrew his hands from behind his back to present a piece of cloth.
"What's this?" McCoy asked at the sight of the item.
"It is a common black cloth," at McCoy's annoyed expression, Spock added, "But to be more to the point, I intend for you to blind me with it."
He blinked slowly and tilted his head. "Come again?"
"You are capable of hearing me correctly."
"But why?" McCoy asked, questioning whether he was awake, or this was some sort of wet dream.
"You mentioned to me before that I had insulted you. I wish to rectify that."
McCoy's eyebrow was threatening to disappear into his hairline. "And this is how you want to do it? To be frank, I hadn't expected this out of you."
"I thought it would also be interesting to try." Spock held out the black cloth to him. "The rules of this engagement are simple. You may do whatever you want, as I also am allowed. However, this cloth must stay in place. Once removed, the engagement is concluded. You may not interact with me sexually until the cloth is secured. Do you wish to proceed?"
"Are you sure?" McCoy asked, refusing to look at the cloth, and keeping his gaze locked on Spock.
The doctor still hesitated, and Spock found it oddly endearing. At last, however, he relented, shucking off his uniform shirt to hang over the back of Spock's chair. McCoy slowly moved toward him, and Spock tipped his hand sideways to drop the cloth into his palm. "Computer, lock door."
McCoy didn't move as the lock clicked and continued to stare at him head on. Whether he was waiting for Spock to change his mind, or if it was something else, he wasn't quite sure. The ship quietly hummed around them. Spock however, didn't move, and continued to stare back resolutely at him.
Walking around him, McCoy brought his hands up, and placed the makeshift blindfold over his eyes. He smoothed it into place, his hands moving back slowly over Spock's skin and hair. He was careful not to tie it too tightly, and though he was tempted to kiss the back of Spock's neck, he would be breaking the rules of the game in doing so.
"There, that ought to do it," McCoy stepped back around him. He waved a hand before Spock's face experimentally, and when the Vulcan did not acknowledge the motion, he fully took in the sight before him. He found himself without a word to say, for a moment. Spock's features, to him, had appeared elegant, with him always being composed, and poised. He had that composure now, though the covering of his eyes rendered him somewhat helpless. No, not helpless, he corrected himself. Spock trusted him, otherwise he would not have agreed to this. Nevertheless, it still weighed on him. "If you want out, tell me right away," McCoy demanded.
"Certainly," he replied, "Have you any other stipulations?"
McCoy lowered his forehead to Spock's and sighed. "I don't want to harm you."
After a pause, Spock replied, "If this truly does bother you, Leonard, we may stop now."
"No," he gave a pained grin that he was relieved Spock couldn't see, "I'm just getting it out there."
"Ah, yes," Spock commented, "Your sensibilities need to be addressed."
McCoy snapped his head back. "Spock!"
Spock folded his hands behind his back and tilted his head to the side. His typically interested expression looked off with his eyes covered. McCoy felt his irritation slowly fall away at the rather outlandish scenario.
McCoy 's boots thumped on the floor. He ultimately decided to keep them on, as it would allow Spock to know where he was. He raised an index finger and traced slowly under Spock's jaw as he moved about him. Spock didn't react to it, and McCoy felt awkward. There wasn't a role he had to play, rather it was just him, as he was. Spock could move freely about, touching him back, and catching his hand if he so wished. He could also walk away from him. It bore little difference to before.
Unless that was the point.
Spock wasn't acquainted with role playing, to McCoy's knowledge, much less other games. That left a sincerity to this, and that unnerved him. He stopped, standing just before Spock, and half ready to call this all off. He glanced over at Spock's door, and sighed, feeling stuck.
He turned his head at Spock's voice. It was quiet and searching. It wasn't searching for a physical placement, however, as he hadn't moved, but intention.
"Yeah, I'm here," he muttered, raising his hand, and placing his palm against the base of Spock's neck.
Spock's hand slowly rose to rest on top of it, and McCoy smiled at the motion. "C'mere, love," he instructed quietly, winding his arm possessively about him, and drawing him in close. Spock let out a breath, and McCoy smiled at having caught him off-guard. He kissed his temple, and placed his lips to his ear, running his teeth along it.
Spock squirmed at the nip, and McCoy grinned, nibbling further on it. Lowering his fingers to his ribs, McCoy stroked them, gently, and the Vulcan slowly relaxed in his hands. "You feel soft, you know," McCoy said in his ear, "I might not wanna let go of you."
Spock took a few moments to gather his words. Swallowing, he replied, "If that is what you wish."
McCoy 's one hand moved up to the back of his shoulders, rocking him slightly. His other hand lay flat against Spock's ribs. He let go of his ear and leaned up against his head. He could feel that Spock was still walking a thin line between slipping fully into him, and strictly adhering to discipline. However, he was against bringing him over the edge. It was wrong to push him too far, psychologically and ethically. He tightened his grip upon his shoulders before letting go and drawing out. Spock did value him, more so than he had previously thought.
Spock raised his hand slowly, the fingers slightly curled. "Th'y'la."
Grasping them, the doctor kissed them, groaning as Spock's free hand latched onto him. As Spock's nails drew over his back, McCoy, wanting more, kissed down his wrist. Spock buried his head in his shoulder and groaned.
McCoy decided against pressing Spock against his desk, as it would only serve to physically trap Spock. However, he did carefully walk him to stand beside his chair. Leonard also stuck his foot out too far, and purposely bumped it to indicate its placement. Spock indicated his recognition with a slight tilt of the head.
Spock found McCoy's actions, thus far, rather interesting. He had not taken advantage of him but was also not overly delicate. If he had any suspicion that McCoy had thought him weak, or easy to manipulate, it was unfounded. What remained was the sentiment, and while he understood why McCoy valued it, there needed to be concrete fact. He found that strange about the doctor, as the medical field was founded on data.
But then again, McCoy injected sentiment into it, arguing for a patient's life, or quietly comforting a wounded individual. He wasn't the only one to do so, with Chapel being firm with her patients, but similarly caring, as well. It was a sentiment that didn't need to be there, but it was expressed in differing forms. Vulcan healers, for example, devoted their entire lives to helping diseased minds, despite the very real danger it would bring to them. Leonard's volatility was quite dangerous to himself, but nevertheless, it drew Spock to him, due to the cause. Healers were rather complicated.
McCoy slowly slid his fingers under the fabric of Spock's shirt. Spock groaned, and arched, the movement reminding Leonard of a cat. He tugged it slightly upward and pressed his fingers against Spock's skin. Spock's breath caught as he felt his lover's fingers brushing against the hair on his chest. Reaching out with one hand, he grasped McCoy behind the neck, and tugged him into himself.
McCoy's eyes widened at that. He tilted his head up. Spock's other hand was balancing his weight upon the nearby chair, his fingers kneading absent-mindedly at the uniform shirt McCoy had left draped over it.
McCoy's knees bent, and his hands slid slowly down. As he descended, he pressed kisses against Spock's chest, ending at his navel, which he licked. Spock's hand seized his hair at that, and McCoy tilted his head away to mutter, "Easy, Spock, you're hurting me."
He released his hand immediately. "I am sorry."
"No harm done," McCoy replied. Keeping his hand raised, he fastened it against Spock's hip. Turning his head, he pressed the side of his face against his lover's thigh. He relaxed, shutting his eyes, and allowed for Spock to gather himself again. A hand stroked along his back and shoulder. McCoy pressed his weight against Spock's leg, his other hand trailing at his side. Spock's hand squeezed his shoulder, and McCoy could feel the affection through it. He glanced up, and found that he did not wish to rise, merely to remain resting against Spock as he was. However, his knees were beginning to hurt.
McCoy slowly rose, Spock gripping onto his shoulder to steady him, and reached out to the waistband of Spock's pants. However, he stopped, dropping his hand and taking a step back. "No."
Spock raised an eyebrow. "What is your intention?"
"That should be plainly obvious."
"Why do you hesitate?"
"You can't see me. I won't do it if you can't," McCoy responded flatly.
Spock shook his head. "It will bring me no discomfort."
"Doesn't matter," McCoy disagreed, "It feels like I'm taking advantage."
"Strange," Spock commented.
McCoy's voice took on a defensive note. "Yeah, well, we all have our boundaries."
Spock shook his head. "That was not my point. You would not have resisted, otherwise. I find that to be interesting."
"What?!" Leonard exclaimed in annoyance, and grumbled, "If you are testing a new pet theory on me, Spock—"
"No, I am not," he replied firmly, cutting him off. McCoy felt as if, behind that blindfold, Spock's eyes were boring into him. Spock held out his arms, and McCoy tentatively grasped them, squeezing them lightly. "Rather, you have done as I have come to expect of you."
Irritation built in McCoy at that, but he slowly relaxed at Spock's calmness. He trusted him and found it to be placed correctly. Lowering his hands, he took one of Spock's in his own. "I think this game's gone on long enough. Let's end it well," he commented. At Spock's nod, he began to lead him toward the bedroom.
"Come on," he whispered, stepping backwards, and checking over his shoulder. Led by their clasped hands, Spock moved slowly over the floor. "This way, careful." Grasping the frame of the doorway to the bedroom, McCoy swung himself slightly about to position himself before Spock. He doubted heavily that Spock didn't know where he was, as he was familiar with the room's layout. Still, however, he waited for McCoy to instruct him, either verbally, or by pulling him.
McCoy let go. Moving backward, he sat down upon Spock's bed, and taking off his boots and socks. Spock turned his head at the soft thumps. Lifting his hand, McCoy entwined his fingers with Spock's before tugging him forward. McCoy slid backward on the bed, spreading his legs, and allowing Spock to kneel before him. He could smell the incense on Spock's body, and inhaled its other-worldliness deeply.
McCoy reached forward and loosened the blindfold before dropping it away. Brown eyes blinked slowly to adjust to the light, and McCoy swallowed as they registered him sitting there. Spock reached out, and McCoy allowed him to touch him, his fingers sliding down over his face, as if he was attempting to memorize it. His hands landed on his shoulders, squeezing them, and holding him in place.
The Vulcan's lips found McCoy again as he kissed him, his arms wrapping about him. Spock's leg slid along the bed as he slowly flipped them on their sides, with McCoy bringing his wrists up. Spock's hands moved over them, and brought them about his neck, allowing the doctor to cling to him as he kissed down his face. Nuzzling up against his neck, Spock breathed into his lover's skin. He lay up against him and adjusted himself to allow McCoy to bend his arms. He wrapped one arm possessively about the doctor and raised up on his elbow. "Spock, I…" His voice trailed off as he felt his lover's thumb trace over his jaw and lips. Whatever he had been planning to say next died in his throat, and he ran his tongue over Spock's thumb. A muted groan rose in the Vulcan's throat, and he gently pushed his thumb further, in that soft wetness. Leonard was grateful for the thumb in his mouth, as he did not have to say anything. He chided himself against it. The last time he'd done so, he was betrayed.
Spock didn't push him on what he hid in that moment. Nevertheless, he sated his curiosity about him, feeling about the inside of his mouth with one hand, while the other, behind McCoy, traced his vertebrae through his undershirt. The doctor groaned at the former and slid over the bed at the latter.
McCoy's hand found his wrist and squeezed. Spock took his signal to let go, and withdrew his hand, moving his fingers together to dry his lover's saliva from them.
McCoy let go to place his hand to Spock's cheek. It was all right. Spock could see, and they were merely playing. No one was hurt. When had this come up, though, Spock wanting to play with him?
Their first night together, Spock had been akin to a coiled spring in his stiffness, wishing to, move than anything, get it right. McCoy had been coaxing, and gentle, though it had worried him, more than much else, whether he would hurt the man. And today, he very nearly had, but this, he couldn't understand fully.
He was stumbling, about to fall, and Spock remained there. Couldn't he see the strain? Couldn't he feel it? It was burning within him, to the point of where it felt as if he was being consumed alive by it.
Spock could sense it now, through their touch, that which McCoy refused to tell him, as it would allow him to let his guard down.
And McCoy realized, in the moments that passed in silence, that he should have noticed it sooner. Spock's voice had been soft, quiet, and, for once, it faltered. Just over the first note of his name, which was more common, these days, with Spock occasionally short-handing his name as "Len."
This was real, this was safe. It was never even, but he'd come to expect that from him. And that was the most difficult to go back to, a feeling of normalcy. He'd turned it down, before, when Nancy had offered it to him, and had regretted it.
Spock looked as if he was collecting himself to say something else. Damn Vulcans, they never did say what they truly needed to. McCoy had come to know of, over recent times, the emotions that Spock kept chained within himself.
His eyes searched Spock's, and he hesitated. He considered heavily the amount of damage he could do to him by unlocking them, with just a few words. But Spock…He was laying it bare before him. He could feel it burning, as well, just beneath the surface. Ever since that day on Earth Two, when he'd collapsed from the injection of the prototype cure, Spock had been aware of his growing affection for McCoy. And before that, McCoy wasn't sure either man knew where it had begun.
He saw himself as Spock saw him that day, in a glimpse between their touching skin, devoid of life, passed out on the floor, with Spock folding his hands over his chest. Vulcan hands were so sensitive, yet he had gripped onto McCoy longer than he should have. And it made the kiss he gave him, after returning from the mission, make more sense. How human of him, to indulge his fear of McCoy's life being fleeting.
"I—," his eyes searched over Spock's face, "I love you, too."
Spock grasped him, and tugged him into himself, holding the doctor tightly against him. Leonard shut his eyes and buried his face in the Vulcan's shoulder. "Don't worry, I'm not going anywhere," he muttered, his voice muffled as Spock's arms tightened about him. Spock didn't loosen his grip, and McCoy found less that he cared. For all that Spock claimed to be rational, it seemed that he, too, was trying to process reality.
The kiss was lazy, and rather sloppy, with McCoy's tongue sliding over his lips. Tugging his lover closer, he deepened the kiss. Spock leaned into his touch, his eyes closed, and a muffled groan escaping through the kiss. "Th'y'la..."
McCoy paused to comment, "My, my, you're lovely, and I have you all to myself. Lucky me."
McCoy was utterly entranced by him, he could feel it, the drool sliding past his jaw. There was care, but so much more, longing most principal, and protectiveness. He found, just for a moment, that he coveted it, and McCoy willingly gave it to him.
McCoy drew out, his hand stroking along Spock's cheek. "You are nervous," Spock commented.
He shrugged. "Got every right to be. You're uneasy, too."
Spock said nothing on that matter, but instead commented, "You seem willing to allow this to continue."
"What else am I going to do with my time?" He joked. The humor fell as he added, "But you don't have to rush this, Spock. We can keep things as they are, for now."
"I did not intend to do so, Leonard," he replied, "Otherwise, it would be an emotional overindulgence."
McCoy wondered why Spock revealed his hand to him, this soon. Not that he was complaining about what had happened between them, tonight, but he hadn't expected the Vulcan to admit it to him. Spock twisted about to lay upon him, and McCoy scratched his scalp absent-mindedly. Placing a kiss to it, he muttered, "We'll talk in the morning." Spock said nothing, snuggling into McCoy's warmth, and drifting off.