Title: Teshuvah (1)
Part: 1 / ?
By: K.V. Wylie the embarrassed
Email: riordan10 at
Fandom/Series: Star Trek: The Original Series
Pairing/Main Characters: McCoy, Spock/McCoy implied
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
was to write a S/Mc about the meaning of life and it
had to include at least five references to classical
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
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
felt more than saw paradise as he fell. He couldn't have
described it a moment later except for a feeling burning in
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
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
The sun was shining, earth's yellow sun, children
played around him, and two women with strollers were walking
"I was dreaming," he thought, relieved and euphoric. He
hadn't died. He'd only dreamed dying.
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
The bench shifted. A man sat beside him.
"Good day," McCoy said, but the man merely took out a
"Can you hear me?" McCoy asked. He didn't get an answer.
Then he remembered the basketball.
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
Except for two black pupils, Sullivan's skin, clothes, and
almost translucent eyelashes were starkly white.
half-expected to find powder left behind from his touch. (2)
"You did die, if you're looking for a second
Sullivan said in a rather good-natured tone. "You died
peacefully in your sleep. Isn't it a lovely day?"
and terror filled McCoy's chest. "W-when did I
"Leonard, don't worry about it."
"When was it?"
you want to measure in linear time, which is difficult for
me, a couple of minutes ago," Sullivan said gently. "Don't
"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
to break it to you, but, see, you did something you
shouldn't have," Sullivan said. "This is your punishment, but
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,
mother is in a hospital over there, in labour with you.
We only have a short period before you'll be born. Is there
you want to know before you go?"
"My mother's dead," McCoy said.
"You're hanging onto that linear time again,"
"It's 2227, if that means anything to you, but I recommend
viewing time a different way."
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
"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."
moved in front of McCoy and knelt. "Leonard, you're
going to be born, you'll have your childhood. Everything that
before will happen again, pretty much. You won't
remember this conversation with me until you're fifteen or so.
you'll enter medical school, enter Starfleet, and
eventually be assigned to the Enterprise. You'll work beside
see him, talk to him, for years, Leonard, all the while
remembering what you once had with him, a memory that he won't
And it's going to hurt, because you can't have him this
McCoy thought of the long, hollow of years opening
him. "But if I change what it is I did?"
"Fix things and you will get to go to a better place when you
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
didn't get an answer.
"I'm not allowed to tell you, Leonard."
"Then I can't fix it! If I
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
bad dream. Earlier, he'd been playing baseball with Russ and
Simon, and one of the flyballs had hit him in the head.
come home, swollen over one eye, but his father had taken one
look and declared his head too hard to hurt. His
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.
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
had stood there in Simon's back yard, looking at
drops of blood falling onto his hand, and wondering why the
And now he'd dreamt something impossible.
The light in his bedroom went on, and his mother came
room. "Leonard? What's wrong, dear? I heard you yell."
"It was just a dream, mom," McCoy said, trying to
She sat on the edge of his bed and peered hard at him. "Maybe
I should keep you home from school
"I have to go. The teacher's giving a surprise quiz that will
count for twenty percent of our mark."
mother smiled. "If it's a surprise, how do you know about
McCoy suddenly shivered, and tried to hide it from
uh, someone always finds out."
"Uh hmm," she said, shaking her head indulgently. "I knew you
a bad crowd, dear."
"Russ and Simon are great guys."
She kissed his cheek, then drew the covers up to his neck.
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."
she turned out the light and left the room, McCoy rolled
onto his side. In wan moonlight, he could see his desk, a
and a trophy for horseshoes on the ledge. His book
bag was on the floor. The homework from yesterday was in it
not done. In his desk, carefully hidden under a
souvenir rock he got during the family's vacation to the Grand
was a note from Ginny Lawson, passed to him during
Latin class by one of her giggling girlfriends. It read, "I
your eyes. Ginny." He was fifteen, he had a dog, a
hydrogen scooter, tapes about cowboys, and a couple of books
pictures you don't show your mother. Next year he would
be taking pre-med classes at the teaching hospital, and his
said he could learn to drive the flyer.
He closed his eyes as he started to cry.
up, Len! You're going to be late!" cried Nadi as he
pounded up the stairs.
"I'm coming," McCoy said, trying to fasten
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
"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."
Deneve," McCoy said, as he risked giving her a quick
kiss. The dressing area under the stage was open at two ends,
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.
shrugged. "Who cares if we get caught? What can they do
"They could tell your father," McCoy said. It was
thing to say. Her face dimmed.
"Dad will come around," she said, though both of them knew the
of Atlantis was a more likely event. The McCoy
family was too poor for the Del Vane family and also for this
which bore two wings named after the illustrious Del
Vanes. McCoy was here due to scholarships and weekend jobs.
and Circumstance sounded upstairs, and Deneve ran up to
join the procession. McCoy lingered in the dust and dimness.
remembered how tonight went, or would go. They would go to
a party at a lake and Deneve would dump him for Nadi. Later,
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
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.
his pockets, then rechecked them frantically.
"Damn," he said. "Not like I shouldn't have seen this
pounded up the stairs as he heard himself being introduced,
and ran to the podium. A hall packed with people was before
everyone looking up. Some looked bored, some were crying
happily, and some were ready with digitals as they waited for
child to come on stage to get his or her diploma.
Are there more like me? he thought. Here for the second time,
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
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
What came out was, "I forgot my speech."
"Do the Tennyson reading then."
"It was with my speech."
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
is told that they are the future, the ones who will take on
the problems of the galaxy and solve them. Certainly,
in the graduating class has plans. Some are going on
to further education, some are entering apprenticeships, and a
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.
he walked past the Dean, she muttered, "That speech
wouldn't have passed the committee, young man. What were you
man, McCoy thought. I've seen one hundred and
He joined his boggled classmates. Deneve leaned
ear. "Leonard, what was that?"
"I forgot my speech," he said.
"That was the best you could come
Nadi frowned at him. "I'm going into Starfleet."
I know, McCoy said to himself. In fourteen years,
when the warp core overloads on your science vessel. I'll be
in Starfleet by then, and an absent father to
little girl. Deneve will die in thirty-six years from a
genetic disease that's already brewing in her cells.
thirty-six years, I apparently won't have Spock.
Nadi's name was called and he went up on stage for his
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
Jonathan Livingston Seagull, by Richard Bach, Jonathan
is urged to strive to reach perfection by a pure white seagull
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
during the celebration of the Seder meal at Passover.
The actual wording is, why is this night different from all
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.