Title: Teshuvah (1)
Part: 1 / ?
By: K.V. Wylie the embarrassed
Email: riordan10 at yahoo.ca
Fandom/Series: Star Trek: The Original Series
Pairing/Main Characters: McCoy, Spock/McCoy implied
Rating: This part PG
Status: New, WIP
Warning: Major Character death, pointless angst
Disclaimer: The characters belong to others. This is
non-profit fanfic, and no harm is meant.
Summary: Originally for the SpockMcCoyHaven Tenth Wave. My
challenge was to write a S/Mc about the meaning of life and it
had to include at least five references to classical
literature. I wasn't sure if Janet was joking (I've since
found out she wasn't <g>), and I'm not really up on the
classics, so the references I'm stealing are from the stuff I


Leonard H. McCoy died. The good news was, he found out there
really was a heaven. The bad news was, it's not where he

He felt more than saw paradise as he fell. He couldn't have
described it a moment later except for a feeling burning in
his heart.

He landed somewhere. He could see his hands, no longer as
gnarled as his one hundred and forty years had made them. His
legs disappeared into rolling mist.

Beyond that, he could see and feel nothing. At least until
the basketball hit him.

Rather, went through him. McCoy saw it coming a second before
it flew through his chest. It careened off something behind
him and landed on some grass by his feet.


A boy appeared, grabbed the ball, and darted off without a
word. McCoy watched him run past some swings to a basketball
court where several other boys waited. Their game resumed as
McCoy looked around.

He was in a park, on a bench by swings, a sandbox, and some
trees. The sun was shining, earth's yellow sun, children
played around him, and two women with strollers were walking
on a red-gravel pathway.

"I was dreaming," he thought, relieved and euphoric. He
hadn't died. He'd only dreamed dying.

The women neared him. McCoy stood and nodded cheerfully.

The women ignored him.

When he sat, he noticed his hands again. They were young, the
fingers straight, knuckles no longer swollen by arthritis. He
could make a fist without pain.

The bench shifted. A man sat beside him.

"Good day," McCoy said, but the man merely took out a book and
a sandwich.

"Can you hear me?" McCoy asked. He didn't get an answer.
Then he remembered the basketball.

"You're right. It did go through you."

At first, McCoy thought that the man with the sandwich had
answered him, but another man was sitting on the bench as

"I'm Sullivan," he said as he - McCoy shuddered - simply put
his hand through the middle of the man eating his lunch, and
patted McCoy's arm.

Sullivan was so strangely pale that McCoy stared at him.
Except for two black pupils, Sullivan's skin, clothes, and
almost translucent eyelashes were starkly white. McCoy
half-expected to find powder left behind from his touch. (2)

"You did die, if you're looking for a second opinion,"
Sullivan said in a rather good-natured tone. "You died
peacefully in your sleep. Isn't it a lovely day?"

Disorientation and terror filled McCoy's chest. "W-when did I

"Leonard, don't worry about it."

"When was it?"

"If you want to measure in linear time, which is difficult for
me, a couple of minutes ago," Sullivan said gently. "Don't
panic." (3)

"I'm still dreaming," McCoy said without being able to believe
the words. The man between them finished his lunch and opened
his book. "This doesn't make sense. I thought I would meet
people I knew, like Jim, my father. I wasn't afraid because I
thought that was what happened. But I didn't see anyone."

"Leonard, the thing is, you're going to have to go back."

"Back? Back where?"

"Back to the whole birth, suffering, death cycle again. I'm
sorry to break it to you, but, see, you did something you
shouldn't have," Sullivan said. "This is your punishment, but
it's all in how you look at it. I see it as a chance to make
things right." He gestured across the park. "At this moment,
your mother is in a hospital over there, in labour with you.
We only have a short period before you'll be born. Is there
anything you want to know before you go?"

"My mother's dead," McCoy said.

"You're hanging onto that linear time again," Sullivan said.
"It's 2227, if that means anything to you, but I recommend
viewing time a different way."

"It's 2227 now?" McCoy repeated. "Again? I have to live my
life over as punishment?"

"So you're caught up?" Sullivan went to rise, but McCoy
grabbed him.

"Wait. I had a good life. There was pain, but also some very
good things. This is not that bad a punishment."

Sullivan's easy-going manner dimmed. "Leonard, you did
something you need to fix. It's big. You caused someone
unspeakable grief. Because of that, there is something you
can't have this time around. You can't have your husband,

He eyed Sullivan. "Spock and I were married for . . .
decades. Or will be."

Sullivan moved in front of McCoy and knelt. "Leonard, you're
going to be born, you'll have your childhood. Everything that
happened before will happen again, pretty much. You won't
remember this conversation with me until you're fifteen or so.
Then you'll enter medical school, enter Starfleet, and
eventually be assigned to the Enterprise. You'll work beside
Spock, see him, talk to him, for years, Leonard, all the while
remembering what you once had with him, a memory that he won't
have. And it's going to hurt, because you can't have him this

McCoy thought of the long, hollow of years opening up before
him. "But if I change what it is I did?"

"Fix things and you will get to go to a better place when you
die again. But with Spock, no matter what you do, his heart
will not turn to yours."

McCoy put his hands to his face. They were trembling.
"Please tell me that I won't feel the same about him."

"Leonard, you will still love him. It'll feel worse now,
because he won't return it."

"What did I do that was so terrible? What did I do to deserve

He didn't get an answer.


"I'm not allowed to tell you, Leonard."

"Then I can't fix it! If I don't know--!"

Sullivan rose, then took McCoy's hands in his and lifted him
to his feet. "Leonard, look around. Why is this day
different from all other days?" (4)

The next thing McCoy knew, he was waking up in his bed from a
bad dream. Earlier, he'd been playing baseball with Russ and
Simon, and one of the flyballs had hit him in the head. He'd
come home, swollen over one eye, but his father had taken one
look and declared his head too hard to hurt. His mother had
given him an icepack and put him to bed, for it was a school
night and he shouldn't have been out so late anyway, trying to
play ball in the dusk.

But the dream had been so vivid, he'd woken up in a sweat.
There'd been a park bench and a strange white man named
Sullivan and a sense of déjà vu, that he'd been in this bed
before with a bag of what was now water, nursing a lump on his
forehead. Russ had run home in panic when he'd seen the
blood. McCoy had stood there in Simon's back yard, looking at
drops of blood falling onto his hand, and wondering why the
sight seemed so familiar.

And now he'd dreamt something impossible.

The light in his bedroom went on, and his mother came into the
room. "Leonard? What's wrong, dear? I heard you yell."

"It was just a dream, mom," McCoy said, trying to convince

She sat on the edge of his bed and peered hard at him. "Maybe
I should keep you home from school today."

"I have to go. The teacher's giving a surprise quiz that will
count for twenty percent of our mark."

His mother smiled. "If it's a surprise, how do you know about

McCoy suddenly shivered, and tried to hide it from her. "I,
uh, someone always finds out."

"Uh hmm," she said, shaking her head indulgently. "I knew you
ran with a bad crowd, dear."

"Russ and Simon are great guys."

She kissed his cheek, then drew the covers up to his neck. "I
was just teasing you. You can go to school, but try to get a
little more sleep first, dear. It's not quite four yet."

After she turned out the light and left the room, McCoy rolled
onto his side. In wan moonlight, he could see his desk, a
window, and a trophy for horseshoes on the ledge. His book
bag was on the floor. The homework from yesterday was in it
and still not done. In his desk, carefully hidden under a
souvenir rock he got during the family's vacation to the Grand
Canyon, was a note from Ginny Lawson, passed to him during
Latin class by one of her giggling girlfriends. It read, "I
like your eyes. Ginny." He was fifteen, he had a dog, a
hydrogen scooter, tapes about cowboys, and a couple of books
with pictures you don't show your mother. Next year he would
be taking pre-med classes at the teaching hospital, and his
father said he could learn to drive the flyer.

He closed his eyes as he started to cry.



"Hurry up, Len! You're going to be late!" cried Nadi as he
pounded up the stairs.

"I'm coming," McCoy said, trying to fasten his robe.

Nadi paused at the top of the stairs long enough to yell, "If
you're late, that makes the program longer. The sooner we get
through this, the sooner we get to party. Misha is waiting
for me."

"Him and ten other boys," said a tall, willowy girl. She
finished the buttons on McCoy's collar and handed him his cap.
"Time to graduate, Len."

"Thanks, Deneve," McCoy said, as he risked giving her a quick
kiss. The dressing area under the stage was open at two ends,
and a professor could walk in at any time.

"You look handsome," she smiled, giving him a once-over.

"I look like an idiot," he groused.

She gave him a kiss, and not a quick one. Afterwards, he eyed
her in surprise.

She shrugged. "Who cares if we get caught? What can they do

"They could tell your father," McCoy said. It was the wrong
thing to say. Her face dimmed.

"Dad will come around," she said, though both of them knew the
reappearance of Atlantis was a more likely event. The McCoy
family was too poor for the Del Vane family and also for this
college which bore two wings named after the illustrious Del
Vanes. McCoy was here due to scholarships and weekend jobs.

Pomp and Circumstance sounded upstairs, and Deneve ran up to
join the procession. McCoy lingered in the dust and dimness.
He remembered how tonight went, or would go. They would go to
a party at a lake and Deneve would dump him for Nadi. Later,
while he was sitting by himself by one of the bonfires, a girl
who had drank too much would offer to make out with him, then
throw up on his lap.

It wasn't as if he remembered everything - Deneve's kiss a few
moments ago was new - but the major events were unaltered. He
had known when his tonsils would be removed. He had known
when his dog would die. He had known when his mother would be
in a flyer accident.

He'd known, and couldn't stop any of it.

Under his breath, he said, "Isn't it possible to change
anything? I thought that was why I was here."

He didn't expect an answer, and he didn't get one. Sullivan
from his dream of four years ago had never appeared. He may
not have existed, except in McCoy's head.

The Dean's welcoming address began, and McCoy knew she would
soon be looking for him. He was valedictorian and, as part of
his speech, he was to read a poem she'd selected. It was
something by Tennyson.

McCoy checked his pockets, then rechecked them frantically.

"Damn," he said. "Not like I shouldn't have seen this

He pounded up the stairs as he heard himself being introduced,
and ran to the podium. A hall packed with people was before
him, everyone looking up. Some looked bored, some were crying
happily, and some were ready with digitals as they waited for
their child to come on stage to get his or her diploma.

Are there more like me? he thought. Here for the second time,
alone with what they know? Waiting for that moment they
really screwed up, but not knowing when it will be?

He felt a flush over his face, and he grabbed the edges of the
podium to steady himself.

"Mr. McCoy, are you all right?" the Dean whispered.

No, he wanted to say. No, I can't believe I have to do all
this again. No, I don't want to do this anymore.

What came out was, "I forgot my speech."

"Do the Tennyson reading then."

"It was with my speech."

"Make something up," she hissed.

Still holding the stand, he raised his head. For a second, he
looked for his father, before remembering that his father
wasn't there. David McCoy was at an outpost a hundred
thousand light years away, teaching the natives how to purify
their water and plant crops.

McCoy looked out at the faces again. "I suppose every class
is told that they are the future, the ones who will take on
the problems of the galaxy and solve them. Certainly,
everyone in the graduating class has plans. Some are going on
to further education, some are entering apprenticeships, and a
few stupid ones are entering Starfleet service."

The Dean flashed him a look that he ignored.

"We all think we're moving forward. We've believed that,
until now, we've been waiting to start, waiting to begin doing
the important things for which our parents and our teachers
have been preparing us, and now that we're graduating, the
time of waiting is over. In the last few years, I've
discovered that sentiment is a load of cow shit. There is no
importance to the future. The most important stuff is
happening now. And I have to warn my fellow classmates, no
matter how many careful plans we make, we're going to screw
up. We're going to hurt others. We're going to feel pain and
loss, and sometimes we're going to be very afraid. We're not
moving forward. We're just moving and, in seventy years or a
hundred years, whenever our end comes, we're not going to know
any more than we do at this moment. Our priority shouldn't be
on making plans for the future. Our focus shouldn't be on
what we hope to become or do. Living for a future goal is
nonsense. The peak of a mountain is dead snow. Life happens
on the sides of a mountain. (5) Don't bother trying to climb
up anywhere. Just worry about what you are and what you're
doing to other people at this second. In the end, that's the
only thing that's going to count."

He finished to startled silence. A few people tried to clap,
but most were just staring at him.

As he walked past the Dean, she muttered, "That speech
wouldn't have passed the committee, young man. What were you

Young man, McCoy thought. I've seen one hundred and
fifty-nine years.

He joined his boggled classmates. Deneve leaned toward his
ear. "Leonard, what was that?"

"I forgot my speech," he said.

"That was the best you could come up with?"

Nadi frowned at him. "I'm going into Starfleet."

I know, McCoy said to himself. In fourteen years, you'll die
when the warp core overloads on your science vessel. I'll be
in Starfleet by then, and an absent father to a beautiful
little girl. Deneve will die in thirty-six years from a
genetic disease that's already brewing in her cells. In
thirty-six years, I apparently won't have Spock.

Nadi's name was called and he went up on stage for his
diploma. Deneve sat forward, waiting for her turn. Digitals
flashed around McCoy.

Can't anything be different? he whispered. Please tell me.

No answer came, so he graduated, took Deneve to the beach
party, got dumped, and threw out his pants after the drunken
girl vomited on his lap.


1 Teshuvah is often defined as repentance, but a more basic
translation is to turn. Teshuvah means to 'turn' inward, to
judge ourselves.

2 In Jonathan Livingston Seagull, by Richard Bach, Jonathan
is urged to strive to reach perfection by a pure white seagull
named Sullivan.

3 Anyone who's read The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by
Douglas Adams knows that this particular bit of advice didn't
help Arthur Dent much at all.

4 I changed the question that Jewish children ask their
parents during the celebration of the Seder meal at Passover.
The actual wording is, why is this night different from all
other nights? One of the answers is, because this is the
night we were set free.

5 "To live only for some future goal is shallow. It's the
sides of the mountain which sustain life, not the top. The
sides are where things grow." Zen and the Art of Motorcycle
Maintenance, by Robert M. Pirsig.