Title: Tongue-tied
Author: Acidqueen <a.q @>
Series: TOS
Codes: S/Mc
Rating: PG-13, warning: Fluff!
Author's Note: SpockMcCoy Den challenge story. Challenge is
revealed in the end.
Disclaimer: Paramount/Viacom owns Star Trek, I own my brain. No
infringement is intended, and no money is being made.
Archive: The SpockMcCoyHaven, my own website at , ASCEM, all others ask, please.
Acknowledgement: Thanks to Autism Mom for a last-minute beta. All
remaining errors are mine!

Summary: It starts with cherries and ends with cherries. The
story takes place after TMP.


Spock was used to McCoy's relaxed stance once the doctor declared
himself off-duty, and so he wasn't surprised that McCoy sat on
the table in the newly designed sickbay next to a glass filled
with undoubtedly alcoholic beverage. It was unusual, however,
that he would eat in sickbay, and what he ate was even more

Spock stepped closer to make sure he identified the red fruits

"You are eating cherries, doctor?"

"Ah, Spock," McCoy said, and looked up. "Care to have one?"

"Thank you," Spock said and picked a cherry. "I wonder - how did
you get them?" he asked. "I cannot recall any cherries on our
delivery list, and you did not receive a parcel lately." In
concentration Spock tasted the cherry, which was sweet but not
overly so. He swallowed the stone and put the stem onto the
little pile McCoy had already built.

"Remember the rendezvous with the 'Yarona' two days ago? Dr.
T'Rala is an old friend of mine, and she knew about my love for
cherries. So she got me a bowl from another friend on Arrelius
VI. Quite a service."

McCoy graciously motioned Spock to take another cherry, and the
Vulcan obliged.

"It is unusual for Vulcans to present fruit to a friend," Spock
said, after he was done with the cherry.

"Well," McCoy blushed slightly. "She's a special old friend - if
you know what I mean."

"Indeed?" Spock raised a brow.

"We met after the five-year-mission, when I joined the frontier
brigade. Wasn't really the best of times for me, but she was a
great colleague...and more." McCoy thoughtfully picked a cherry,
circling it in his fingers for a moment before eating it. But he
didn't simply chew it, but closed his eyes, barely moving his
mouth. Obviously, the memories brought back some intensive

In silence, Spock picked another cherry and examined it more
closely. Given the remotely heart-shaped form and the red blood
of humans, it was no wonder that this fruit had a certain
symbolic content centering on love. The Japanese culture, as
Spock recalled, even had a cherry blossom fest, while Americans
like McCoy would rather celebrate Valentine's Day - if there were
something to celebrate. On Vulcan, the offering of any fruit was
a courting ritual, an old custom from the time when fruit was
rare on the wastelands of his home world.

"But a gentleman doesn't kiss and tell." McCoy opened his eyes
and put a handkerchief on his lips to catch the stone.

"Perhaps occasionally it would be better to share."

"Are you becoming a voyeur in your old age?" McCoy asked amused.

"I simply wonder how you survived having closer contact with a
Vulcan," Spock said, and took another cherry. Without eating, he
sat down opposite to McCoy. "I had the impression that some
traits of my people can overly tax your patience." His fingers
carefully held the cherry against the light, as if it were a
little jewel ready to reveal its inner fire.

"I'm not sure if it's more you or your Vulcan side that taxes me
more," McCoy admitted. He picked another fruit, using its stem as

"But we're working together better than in the past, I think." He
threw the Vulcan a short glance, then concentrated on the fruit,
licking over its surface a few times before eating it.

Spock watched him in growing fascination. McCoy was barely as
relaxed as he was now, too tired or maybe too happy for griping
and dropping caustic remarks - Spock could almost believe this
was another person, not the one he was so often battling with.

The Vulcan took his own cherry and ate it, fully analyzing its
taste, the sugar content and the spicy flavor while dismantling
the stone. The flesh was firm and yet compliant and covered his
tongue with juice for a moment before he swallowed. With
fingertips that were already dyed slightly red, he reached out to
take another cherry.

"We often shared, T'Rala and I," McCoy said suddenly. "At first,
she didn't like them, but in the end she used to finish all the
little baskets I bought. And damn, those were worth their weight
in gold on the outer rim station where our hospital ship
regularly docked."

"I have always liked cherries," Spock said. "And these are
especially tasteful."

"Thank you, I'll tell her." McCoy threw Spock another, unreadable
glance. "Actually, I didn't want to share them with anyone - but
now that you're here, I don't mind."

"Mind sharing or sharing with me?" Spock asked.

"Uhm..." McCoy took another fruit, taking his time to select just
the right one. "With you, I guess," he finally said.

"I see." Spock reached for the bowl with the cherries and was
about to take one when McCoy leaned forward and offered him the
one in his hand.

Spock knew exactly what this gesture meant on Vulcan. But he
wondered if McCoy knew it too.

"Take it. I won't bite." McCoy smiled. "And I know," he added.
His hand held its position, offering the fruit...and many more

Slowly, Spock took the cherry. It was warmer than the others. It
was also one of those looking very much like a heart. He put it
in his palm, unwilling to just eat it yet.

"I learned it from her," McCoy said. "She told me after I had
already fed her with cherries for two weeks. I think it's a bit
weird - it's not as if fruits are still valuable little rarities
today. But well, we humans cultivated some funny, old-fashioned
rituals, too."

Spock thoughtfully looked down at the fruit in his hand.
"Although you claim to know the meaning of this gesture, Doctor,
I am not exactly sure what you are implying with it."

"It means exactly what it looks like," McCoy said. "Nothing more,
nothing less." He shrugged and reached out for the bowl, but
Spock's hand was faster. The Vulcan carefully chose one of the
fruits and offered it to McCoy.

McCoy stared at the cherry, suddenly hesitant. "You don't have
to, you know," he said. "It's not as if I know if it will work
out. Maybe we'll kill each other on the long run." Their eyes met
over the table.

"And you don't have to compete with her. She wouldn't stand a
chance against you anyway," he added.

Spock wordlessly held the cherry between his fingertips.

"All right." McCoy took the cherry. "And now?" he asked.

"We will eat them."

"And then?"

"We will see what else one could do with cherries."

"I'm game," McCoy said. "And I even know something to do with a

Simultaneously, they lifted their cherries to their lips, sealing
their new agreement.


Four weeks later the Enterprise arrived on Earth, and a little
"welcome home" party took place in the mess, attended by all the
Enterprise officers. Spock and McCoy arrived very early, as it
was the First Officer's duty to informally inspect the festivity
before the Captain commenced the party.

But as usual, Uhura and her team had planned everything
perfectly. The room was nicely decorated, and the buffet was long
and full of delicious specialties from all over the galaxy.
However, it was a bowl with little red fruits that caught McCoy's

"Look, someone bought cherries," McCoy said with a certain glint
in his eyes, and took a first one.

Spock's stance was overly controlled, arms crossed behind his
back. "I assume Lieutenant Uhura was responsible for this."

"Sure I was," Uhura said, drawing closer. She circled her hand
around McCoy's waistline, lifting her head for a confident
whisper. "A little bird told me that you like cherries, doctor."

"I do," McCoy agreed whole-heartedly, eating more of them.
Thankfully, a small recycling unit was standing nearby to receive
the stones.

"And I also heard that you can do a little trick with the stem,"
Uhura said.

McCoy lifted a brow. "You've heard that?"

"Yes, doc," Uhura smiled. "And I hope you'll show it to me."

McCoy's gaze met Spock's, but the Vulcan only shrugged minutely.

McCoy gave in. "My pleasure, Uhura," he said, took one of the
longer stems and put it in his mouth. Uhura intensely stared at
his face, watching ever small move of muscles. Only seconds
later, McCoy took the stem out again - with a perfect knot.

Uhura was flabbergasted. "You really did it! Oh Doctor, you've
got to teach me that trick."

"Some other day, maybe," McCoy said with a twinkle, and dropped
the proof of his little talent into the recycler before anyone
else could ask him for a performance.

The communications officer got the clue and, after a bit more
small talk, left her colleagues alone.

Spock drew closer to McCoy and selected an especially shiny

"It wasn't you who spread the rumor, was it?" McCoy asked him.

"Of course not." Unobserved by anyone, Spock fed the cherry to

"I hope so," McCoy said after he got rid of the stone. "Otherwise
I'd be hard-pressed to tell Uhura that we can even tie a stem


My (old) challenge was: "Write an S/Mc where one of the boys
reveals a hidden talent." Written with a little bow to the TV
series "Twin Peaks" ;-)