Series: Mind, Heart, Soul
Characters: Spock, McCoy, Kirk
Word Count: (this chapter) 1500
Rating: T
Warnings/Spoilers: Spoilers for Spock's Brain.

Summary: Tag scenes for the end of Spock's Brain. Yes, that episode. Serious treatment of that not-so-serious episode.

A/N: Just trying to finish up some WIPs here, folks. Nothing much to see.

The humans have an expression, if looks could kill, and none in his experience have ever quite embodied that particular aphorism quite like the captain of the Enterprise. He has seen Jim Kirk make an entire room full of bickering diplomats quail before him, turn belligerent young ensigns into loyal officers, sway an army into surrender with nothing more than the power of bluff and a righteous fury mingled with just enough charm to make him incredibly dangerous. Were the phrase a literalism, both he and the Doctor would likely be in need of medical attention themselves at the moment due to McCoy's uniquely confrontational therapy methods.

Jim has never reacted well to being cornered, one reason why though it is to McCoy the captain comes when he needs psychological assistance, oddly enough it is usually to Spock he turns for emotional security. It is an illogical paradox which has puzzled him from the moment he realized with dismay that this human had all but crash-landed through every barrier he had ever put up against such emotional beings - but a paradox which for reasons inexplicable is of benefit to them both. To deny that which exists is not logical, and therefore he does not make the attempt.

He does, however, refrain from giving vent to a very human sigh at this present juncture, and only sits back to, as they say, wait it out.

"Doctor McCoy, you are out of line!"

"So put me on report, Captain." The drawl is as dry as Vulcan sand at mid-day. McCoy has not bothered to even look up from where he still types busily at his report. "Or you gonna just stand around and make a scene about that too?"

"Doctor, your antagonism is hardly diffusing the situation."

"You stay out of this."

"You ordered me to remain in this office," he points out reasonably. "As I have no interest in becoming collateral damage in whatever conflict you are unable to resolve between you, I should prefer to be released to my quarters if neither of you are willing to act in a manner befitting your stations as Starfleet officers and adults of your species."

The captain's eyes grow comically wide, and a startled laugh breaks from between his lips. "Consider me duly chastened, Mr. Spock," he says finally, and Spock can see the anger has faded into something more like simple frustration, the lines of stress around his eyes having dissolved somewhat. Now, he merely looks inestimably weary. "Bones, are your brain surgery techniques responsible for that increased directness, or have we really been that bad?"

McCoy looks sourly over the computer monitor. "Both, probably. Now sit down."

After a momentary hesitation, Kirk pulls the second chair over and slumps into it with a stiffness that indicates exhaustion rather than tension, soon casting a side-glance in Spock's direction. He raises an eyebrow, and sees the human deflate even more, either in relief or resignation.

"So how much trouble are you in, first of all." McCoy clicks off the computer program, sets the stylus down and folds his arms, leaning back in his chair.

"Command's been advised of the detour, but Scotty thinks he can get us back on course without any significant loss of time once the Contact team beams back up, so that depends on how much of the written reports they believe." A quiet sigh. "Not sure I would believe them myself, but that is on my head, no one else's."

"A successful First Contact will do much to alleviate any official repercussions, Captain."

"It'd better," Kirk mutters ruefully. "Do us all a favor, Mr. Spock, and keep your internal organs safely where they belong from now on?"

"That is most definitely my intention."

"Good, good. All right, Bones, let me have it, whatever it is." A half-amused, half-resigned look across the desk. "But I will say, Mr. Scott has already done quite a masterful job of picking up where you left off on the Observation Deck, so go easy on me?"

"I got nothing to say to you except I'm sorry, Jim."

Kirk blinks, obviously not expecting that opening salvo.

"Look, this was a nightmare from start to finish, for all of us." McCoy sighs, flicks Spock a brief glance. "We both have things we probably should've done differently, when it all comes down to it, but there's not a human alive who can tell how they're going to react under those circumstances until they're knee deep in them, so." He shrugs. "I know better than to push you when you're derailing, Jim. Doesn't mean I always have the good sense to stop."

The captain leans forward with a nearly silent sigh, elbows on knees and hands scrubbing down his face. "Derailing is a very good word for it. Next time, don't be afraid to stop me before I completely spin out of orbit."

"Sometimes I'm a better psychologist than friend, Jim."

"That's not true, but apology accepted. If you'll take mine in return."

"Fair enough. So, you want to get in on this apologizing action, for scarin' the devil out of all of us?"

Spock raises an eyebrow, and is secretly pleased to hear the captain laugh, for the first time in many hours.

"It's not like he could help any of it, Bones."

"Yes, well." McCoy looks mulishly over the desk at him. "'F it's all the same to you, I'd prefer you not end up in my Sickbay for the rest of our five-year mission, Mr. Spock."

"I assure you, that would be my preference as well, Doctor. I am disinclined toward the human vice of gambling, and I believe you would say the odds are very much against a successful second such operation at your dubiously qualified hand."

An indignant sputter. "Dubiously qualified!"

"Here we go," Kirk mutters, though there's no real exasperation in the tone. McCoy swats his hand sharply with a padd as he reaches for the half-empty decanter, however, without skipping a beat.

"Not on an empty stomach, you don't."

"If I have to sit here prisoner and listen to you two, I do," Kirk retorts, though with amusement. "Or are you going to unlock that door, Doctor?"

"Fine, fine. But you're both off-duty until the day after tomorrow, and if I see your computers show you logged in during the next twelve hours? I am not in the mood to be crossed tonight. Don't push me."

Kirk turns an innocent look in his direction. "Mr. Spock, I am a firm believer in not poking the bear, as we say on Earth. And yourself?"

"Your strategy, as always, is quite sound, sir."

"Just get out." McCoy snorts, and punches the lockdown mechanism with a shake of the head, though it is obvious the human is fighting the urge to smile. "And don't forget you still owe me a brain-scan, Commander. You want to eat dinner or something first, that's fine, but if you're not back in here before ship's midnight I send Nurse Chapel after you. And y'know she's probably still a little emotional, so. Best interest to come back and take your medicine like a good little Vulcan."

He does not deign to dignify that with an answer, especially as the captain appears to be trying most gallantly not to laugh at his expression. After such a day as the last has been, he would much prefer Kirk find amusement in the situation, even if it is at Spock's own expense. It is a small enough price to pay, to put the man's mind at ease, and will likely amply repay itself in a lack of sleepless nights or unpleasant dreams later this evening.

"Well, Mr. Spock, I believe a strategic retreat is in order." Kirk makes an overly grand gesture toward the door as it opens.

"Indeed, Captain."

"Shall I tell your staff it's safe to come out of hiding now, Bones?" is the parting volley he hears as he exits just before the captain, followed by an undignified yelp and the sound of something clattering against the door as it slides shut only just in time, nearly clipping the captain's hastily-scuttling boot-heels.

He raises an eyebrow.

"That went well," Kirk says brightly, beaming at the ward in general.

Across the room, the trio of interns currently on duty regard their commanding officers over the top of a computer bank with something resembling awe.

The intra-comm scratches briefly. "Get outta my Sickbay unless you want to become a permanent resident!"

"Well, you heard the man, Mr. Spock."

"I believe he could be heard in the delta quadrant, Captain. My definitively superior hearing, has no such difficulty whatsoever."