Title: Compensations
Author: Angel
Done for the challenge: write a story where one of the guys loses
his job.
This is an AU that occurs after the episode "Operation: Annihilate!"

McCoy took another reading. There was no help for it. The biobed,
the tricorder, even his own medical sense all led him to one
inevitable conclusion.

"There's nothing I can do for you, Spock. I'm sorry."

"It is not unexpected, doctor." Too carefully, the Vulcan swung
himself off the biobed. He made slow, measured steps to the door of
sickbay, one hand out in front of him. The door hissed open and he
disappeared down the corridor, one hand steadying himself against
the wall.

McCoy sank down at his desk. As he had done a hundred times since
Spock had walked into the wall and said "I am, however, quite
blind," he pulled up all the information he could find about ocular
implants, surgery and restoring sight. There seemed to be no options

That evening, McCoy joined Spock in his quarters, at the science
officer's request. Captain Kirk had already taken a seat, and was

"Captain, I have already shown you proof I am no longer fit to
perform my duties. If you require the doctor's word on this, he is
here as well."

"Bones?" Kirk needed answers. He couldn't just give up his best
friend, and the best science officer in Starfleet, without knowing
that everything had been done to salvage him.

"I'm sorry, Jim. The damage is irreversible." The words felt like a
pulled tooth, wrenched out by some primitive tool without

"Spock, if you resign, where do you want us to take you? Vulcan?"

"I would prefer Earth, Jim. Terra has been adequately tamed. Natural
hazards still abound on Vulcan. I have accepted a teaching position
at Starfleet Academy."

"Spock! You didn't tell us?"

"Indeed, I just did."

McCoy watched the discussion, aware he could be seeing one of the
last interplays between the pair. That broke his heart. Jim would be
lost without Spock. And Spock, though he'd never admit it, would be
bored without Jim. There certainly wouldn't be a grand master chess
player at the Academy.

The thought of shipping without Spock clenched at him, gnawing like
little puddles of acid at his stomach. He'd figured out his own
attraction to the Vulcan a few months earlier, but kept it quiet.
Shipboard romances seldom worked out, and he just knew Spock would
find same-sex attraction useless and illogical.

He weighed his options, placed his own communication, and conferred
with Jim. Kirk was not happy with his decision, but accepted it.

"Spock, the Nashua will be within rendezvous range in 18 hours.
They are headed back to Earth for a refit. Captain Jones has made
all the arrangements for you."

"Thank you, Captain."

"I wish... I wish there was something I could do!" Jim Kirk paced
in frustration.

"Jim." The soft word from his friend stopped him. It was rare for
Spock to use his first name. "All that can be done has been. I
will miss our chess games."

Kirk turned away, making ready to leave as he could no longer trust
his voice. "I'll see you at the send-off, Spock." He did his best
to keep control, and it did not desert him now.

"Good-bye, my friend."

The send-off was a formal affair and all the senior officers
attended. McCoy was conspicuous by his absence. Uhura kept her
dignity, but shattered Vulcan social convention by hugging Spock as
he prepared to leave. Sulu was as formal as he could be, and Spock
answered the ancient Japanese leavetaking words with equally old
ones in Vulcan. Chekov promise to be a credit to Spock's teaching
as he filled in for the new Science Officer. Spock became aware he
was listening for McCoys distinctive drawl, and not hearing it.

He positioned himself on the transporter pad, his luggage on the one
behind him, his harp cradled carefully in his arms. The doors
whooshed open.

"Now don't you leave without me." McCoy barged through the room,
shaking random hands, to set his luggage on the pad beside Spock's
and take up position on the next pad. "Energize."

"Doctor–" Spock was cut off by the whine of the transporter. "What
are you doing?" he asked when they rematerialized.

"Going to Earth. Did you think Jim Kirk was going to let his best
friend travel half-way across the galaxy blind and alone? I'm the
new chief infirmary officer at Starfleet Academy."

"Welcome aboard, gentlemen." Captain Jones held out a hand. McCoy
shook it. "Your cabin is ready."

"I am to share quarters on this trip?" Spock asked.

"As your personal physician, Dr. McCoy asked to stay with you. I
think you'll find them comfortable. We're not Enterprise, but we do
all right."

The quarters were comfortable, and the twin beds made McCoy much
more comfortable. It was three weeks to Earth. He could certainly
find a way to tell Spock in that time.

The ensigns settled their baggage and Spock began acquainting
himself with his new rom. McCoy sat down for a moment and opened
the collar of the dress uniform.

"It was not necessary to accompany me, Doctor. The Nashua has a
medical staff."

"And Dr. Ortiz doesn't know the first thing about Vulcan hybrids.
He skipped advanced xenobiology since the entire crew is human."

Spock spent the next two days meditating. McCoy helped out in the
Nashua's sickbay, explored the ship and tried to tempt Spock with
special treats coaxed from the mess-room computer. Spock remained
oblivious to the overtures, sunk within himself. In a human, McCoy
would have called it depression. Spock did allow an evening
examination each day, so that was some sort of progress.

Each evening, McCoy tried to work up his courage to speak, but
nothing ever came.

A week passed, and McCoy had screwed his courage to the sticking
place. That night, as Spock lay under his tricorder, he bent in for
a kiss. Spock, to his great surprise, returned it.

"I wondered when you would do that. My calculations were correct."

"Calculations? You pointy eared computer, what calculations."

"I calculated that within the next two days, there was an 84% chance
you would kiss me on the mouth, and 8.4% chance you would kiss me
elsewhere, a 6.6% chance you would touch me intimately and a 1%
chance you would initiate sexual activity."

McCoy sputtered. "So that's what you were doin'? Calculating the
odds I was going to jump you?"

"Indeed. Had you not initiated contact within the next three days,
I would have done so. Your constant state of arousal has been most

"Arousal? What?"

"You could not have been unaware of it, Leonard."

McCoy wasn't sure which surprised him more, the tone or the use of
his first name.

"I was aware of it, dammit. I just didn't think you were."

"My ears and nose have been compensating for my eyes. Humans have a
distinct smell when aroused."

"Are you saying I stink?" McCoy was suddenly, painfully aware that
he was still leaning over a supine man.

"Not at all. I did not say it was unpleasant." Spock's hand was
shocking; hot and strong and gentle along his face. "I meditated
long, attempting to understand your motivation for giving up
Starfleet merely because I was no longer capable of duty. I am
gratified to know I was right. How long will you stay once we reach

"As long as you want me to. Spock, it won't be easy for you. We
can get a sensornet up and running that will compensate for your

"Speak the truth, Leonard." The simple imperative stopped the
doctor's words.

"I love you, Spock."

The truth lay there for a moment, then Spock's fingers came t rest
lightly on his face. McCoy nodded his consent as Spock started a
light meld.

"It is true. I suspected as much."

"Spock,. When someone says he loves you, it's good manners to say it

"Indeed." Spock never moved his left hand, but his right reached up
and pulled the doctor down for another kiss.