Title: He Did His Very Best (Part 18 of To Talk of Many Things)
Authors: mga1999 and skyblue_reverie
Fandom & Pairing: Star Trek Reboot (aka AOS, ST XI, etc.), Pike/McCoy
Rating: R for language
Word Count: around 4300
Summary: The further correspondence of Leonard McCoy and Christopher Pike. A revelation is made - ooooh.
A/N: From skyblue_reverie: Knock on wood, the next few parts should come out in fairly rapid succession. Hopefully. From mga1999: Yeah, but only because we've had them done for two weeks and just needed to edit. :P skyblue_reverie: I don't know if we want to admit that - we might get stoned to death. mga1999: Eh, they should be glad we had a cushion or they'd be getting nuttin!
Click here for series masterlist with links to all prior parts
To: Christopher Pike (firstname.lastname@example.org)
From: Leonard McCoy (email@example.com)
I was working on something in the lab just now, writing up - well, that doesn't matter. Anyway, something suddenly occurred to me. Chris, have you been worrying because you feel like maybe what's between us - our relationship, your feelings for me - are a side effect of the Centaurian slug's secretions?
Maybe I'm way off base, but re-reading your last comm, it seems like maybe that's what you were hinting at, the thing that you said would've made me feel worse if you told me. If so, please, please listen to me and believe me. I've been doing a lot of research on that damn stuff. It can do a lot of things to the human system - it can give you physical symptoms like hand tremors and headaches, and it can cause your memory to play tricks on you. You've experienced all of that.
But one thing that goddamned shit cannot do is affect your emotions or change your personality. It can't make you feel things that you don't, and it definitely can't create love where there wasn't any. Anything that you've felt since the Narada - that's all you, baby. I swear it.
I know that hearing it from me isn't the same as knowing it for yourself, and only time will give you that. I'll try to be patient while you take whatever time you need to feel sure that your emotions are your own. But I guarantee you, darlin', the love that's between us is 100% us, and has nothing to do with that damned bug.
Am I crazy here? If so, please let me know. But if I'm right about this - shit, Chris, you shouldn't have had to suffer with this fear on your own. I'm sorry I didn't figure out sooner that you were thinking about this.
I love you, no matter what.
To: Leonard McCoy (firstname.lastname@example.org)
From: Christopher Pike (email@example.com)
You're right. You're absolutely right. I'm not quite ready to talk about it yet. I -- I need a little time before I'm ready to wrap my head around a few things. I swear to god, Len, and give you my word that I'm not trying to use it as an excuse to back away from you or anything like that. I know I love you in my heart. I just need some time to convince my brain of that. I hope you understand.
I'd write more, but it's been a rough couple of days here. There was an explosion in engineering and I lost eight crew members, and twenty are still in sick bay. The ship is fine; there was no damage, luckily, and we're already patrolling the neutral zone.
I promise -- Just give me a few days and I'll tell you everything.
I love you.
To: Leonard McCoy (firstname.lastname@example.org)
From: Christopher Pike (email@example.com)
I don't even know where to start. The obvious place would be at the beginning, but I honestly don't even know where that is. So let me answer the comm from a couple weeks ago first that doesn't have anything to do with what we need to discuss.
First of all, god, Len. I'm sorry you lost your mom that way. Explains a lot about how you feel about shuttles. I'm so sorry that you've never really had any grandparents around in your life other than your grandmother Kamilla. I was very lucky. My father's parents, like I said before, died when I was four, but my dad's father's parents both lived until they were almost 105 and 107 respectively, so they were around until I was almost thirty, even though they lived in Australia mostly. I still have my mom's mother, and her father has only been gone about twenty years now. Plus, my mother was the youngest of four. She has a brother and two sisters. You'll meet them and all the rest of my cousins at the anniversary party that Friday we're in Florida. My father was an only child, so there isn't any family on that side except for a couple great-uncles and a lot cousins who live in Australia. I think a few of them are coming for the party. I should warn you, it will be quite a 'society' event, so be prepared for that.
I'm not sure if I've mentioned this before, but my father's family originally came from Australia. South Australia, and to be exact, in Clare outside of Adelaide. Our family has owned and operated a winery there since the late 1800's. Parts of my father's family still run it today. My father was never much into the family business, but my great-grandfather worked and ran it well into his eighties before he turned it over to a nephew. Hence one reason for my love of wine. It's in my blood, so to speak.
Needless to say, Len, my family is very wealthy. My mother's side of the family was very wealthy from old family oil money - they were smart enough to get out and into electric propulsion before the oil market went belly up and they were heavily involved in production of the first hovercar. So when I said I had substantial assets, I meant it. If I hadn't joined Starfleet, I would never have had to work a day in my life, and I'd still have been very comfortable. That never occurred to me though. If there was one thing my parents and grandparents instilled in me, it was the need to work hard with integrity and honor and to share what you have with others. I live by that.
So you might think it's 'charity' for taking care of your -- I mean our -- house in Georgia, but to me, it's simply giving back to you in a small way for all that you've given me in my life, Len. If you still can't accept it, if you want to pay half, I'm not going to stop you. Keep in mind though, I've had Annie authorize a lot of work -- It might get a bit pricey. I promise though, nothing will be changed, and fuck, Len, that's a huge property. Annie said something like almost 300 hectares? And there are five buildings on the property not including the barns and stables? I have to say I was a little surprised. She hired a property manager while she was there, and they are going to look into hiring crews to get the orchards going again. Again, I hope I haven't overstepped my bounds. But from the holos she sent me, Jesus, Len, it's beautiful. I can see why you loved growing up there so much.
My ranch in Mojave resides on only about thirty hectares, but it's surrounded by a protected desert reserve. There is the main ranch house, a small house that Annie lives in, an indoor pool with a guest house that has a retractable roof, two barns, stables, and a separate garage that has quarters above them where four people could live. My parents had a maid and butler who lived there. Having servants like that, though --that was just never me. The main ranch house has six bedrooms. So yeah, if you decide to have kids, Len, sounds like we'd have plenty of room to raise them at your place or mine. It's pretty incredible to think about, if you ask me.
Yeah, I'm rambling, avoiding the subject that I need to address. I honestly still don't know where to start. And to answer your question, I don't know what happened to that 'sappy old man' in the last six months, or maybe a bit longer than that. Maybe it was the distance, maybe it was stress. I just felt like -- I don't know. Dr. Rossen pointed out some things to me last month, and I talked to Philip about it too, from a medical standpoint. I'm not sure what the crystal has been showing since October when we were last together. For the first month on the Exeter, other than the back spasms and a few headaches, physically, I felt okay. I thought it was just my body adjusting to sitting on the bridge and to the stress of running a ship again. I had just seen you, and we had spent practically all the time we were together having sex --- making love. It was amazing.
I'm just going to come out and say it. I stopped feeling sexual again. I told you at one point I was having trouble getting an erection, but it wasn't just that. When I did, when I forced myself, just to prove that I could, it just -- It just wasn't good, Len. It was like all the times before when I was single and getting off. It meant nothing. It got to the point, when we were fighting, that I wasn't jerking off at all. I'm not sure if you noticed that. I noticed you weren't as much either, which was understandable. But me, I wasn't at all. And I don't know if you just thought that the physical pain I was in was keeping you from seeing it or I don't know what you thought, or if at times you even cared, Len.
As my condition deteriorated, I don't think I have to tell you what happened. You know from my medical records. And those two days before my seizure -- God, those were the scariest days of my life. After the procedure and when I was recovering, I was talking to Dr. Rossen about my sexual issues. I was frustrated that I couldn't get an erection again, even though Philip assured me it would come back, just like everything else, as I recovered. She pointed out that -- Well, a lot of the emotion I feel, not just with you, but in general, has to do with sex. In some ways I know she's absolutely right. I'm not an emotional guy at all, Len. I'm stoic, blunt, and brash. I always have been, and before I met you, I could count the number of times in my life I had cried on one hand. Since meeting you, and during my decline, that number has more than tripled. Dealing with these emotions at times has been scary as hell. Dr. Rossen told me that I expressed my 'emotion' before by fucking, and I'll be honest, that really never crossed my mind before.
Sex for me, in most ways, was just a release. It was just a fuck, to put it crudely. Yeah, I guess Robin and my ex-wife were a little more than that. Maybe a few others were too, but absolutely nothing compared to what I felt with you. That first time I kissed you, after our first 'date,' I guess. I don't know how to explain it, Len. And then as we kept seeing each other, kissing and then the night on the couch before you left -- God, even though I couldn't get hard then or feel much, it was amazing. I felt things, not just sexual things, that I'd never felt before. It was like an entirely different part of me that I didn't know existed. I dove in. I fell hard for you, Len. I don't think you realize how quickly I fell for you. It scared the hell out of me actually. I'd lie in bed at night trying to convince myself that I wasn't already in love with you, or that it wasn't a good idea in the first place, using every excuse I could come up with. I think I mentioned this before.
The harder I tried to fight it, though -- I just couldn't. So I decided to just surrender and see what happened. And God, Len, every time we were together it just got better and better. It was so perfect. Almost too perfect. Every time I thought the sex couldn't possibly get any better, it did. The more we were with each other, the more time we spent acquainting ourselves with each other, it just -- It was amazing. I think you nailed it when you said that I'm intoxicated when I am inside you. I was. Utterly and completely.
So as I got sicker, not knowing why, and we were apart and things started going downhill in our relationship, I felt -- I just -- I lost my connection with you. Kissing, getting you off, having sex with you was how I connected emotionally. When I was still feeling that, when we were writing each other dirty comms regularly, or having vidcomm sex -- Being apart from you wasn't as bad. But when I stopped feeling sexual or being able to jerk off -- I don't know, Len. I just lost something. I know it probably has a lot to do with the bug and the toxins and now I understand that the extra spinal/cerebral fluid was causing more havoc than the actual bug. But I didn't know that at the time. I thought -- I was convinced -- it was something in the toxins that was making me unable to think or feel, and so of course my mind decided, fuck, if it can do that, what if all this time I wasn't really feeling what I thought I felt about you? The day that thought popped into my head, I was completely devastated, Len. I cannot tell you how utterly awful that was. That was the day I sent my letter of resignation to Richard. Because if somehow that bug had manipulated me in any way -- Not just in my command, but God, if I hurt you -- if it turned out none of what I'd felt was real... I honestly wanted to walk out an airlock. It was that bad. No, it was worse.
After a few days of hell, it finally occurred to me that if I felt that bad, there had to be some truth to how I felt about you. My heart, my heart just ached, Len. I was so confused. I was in so much pain physically. I felt like I was completely losing my mind, which was actually true by that point. The seizure happened and everything else shortly after that.
When I woke up, supposedly free of the bug, my mind was still not quite all there. I couldn't move again. I still had the idea that the bug may have been having some influence over me all this time. Rationally, during lucid times, I could tell myself that the bug made me tell the truth, so how would the damn thing be able to make me fall in love with you? But irrationally, I thought, well, maybe I was feeding off of your love and emotions. I thought your love was influencing my feelings. I'm telling you, Len, I've been torturing myself over this. And yes, reading what you said in your comm helps. It helps a lot. I meant what I said in that comm trying to reassure you. I know that I love you -- in my heart, anyway. My brain, though -- my brain is still trying to process all of this. Add in the fact that sexually, I can finally get an erection again, but I'm still not feeling much. I don't feel like jerking off. I feel hollow. I don't feel at all like that 'sappy old man'. I've been scared as hell, Len. And it's not like I could share any of this with you. I thought for sure I'd send you off the deep end, or I was convinced you'd leave me.
Rationally, I know I just need to see you. I need to be with you. I need to be inside you. I need you inside me. I just need to reconnect with you again, and I know everything will be fine.
Irrationally, I'm scared to death that when I do, I won't feel anything. If that happens -- That will be the end of me.
I do want to say though, that I'm sorry, I'm so sorry if any of this I've written -- God, Len, the last thing I want to do is hurt you or upset you with all of this. I thought I could handle it. I thought if I could just somehow hold it all together until we see each other in June -- Then I'd have my answer and it wouldn't matter anymore.
You figured it out though, and I wasn't going to lie when I answered you.
Well, that's where I'm at right now. I'm sure there is more, but god, right now I feel like I've been through the wringer simply writing all of this. I need to sleep so I can shut my mind off. Because right now, my mind is not a pretty place.
I do love you, Len. I know I do.
To: Christopher Pike (firstname.lastname@example.org)
From: Leonard McCoy (email@example.com)
God damn it, Chris. I am sorrier than I can say that you're going through all this shit. I'm hurting for you. Not because of you, darlin', but for you. That last sentence of your last comm - I don't know who you're trying harder to convince, yourself or me. Either way, I can hear the self-doubt in every line of that comm. Me and self-doubt, well, we're old friends, but I'm guessing that brash, bold, stoic Christopher Pike has barely even made its acquaintance before. I wish I could take all of this from you, suffer it in your place. I'd do it in a second.
But I can't, so I'll just do what I can to help. Tell me what that is, Chris. What can I do or say that would make this easier for you? Fuck, you've got no idea how badly I want to be with you right now. I'm half-hoping the Enterprise gets damaged somehow or other, so we'd have an excuse to get back to vidcomm range, at the very least.
Did I notice that you weren't feeling sexual, before your seizure? Yeah, but I put it down to either the physical pain or the emotional fallout from our fight. I was barely feeling sexual myself. If I'd known it was more than that... fuck, Chris, of course I cared. I told you I never took off my ring. I'm always watching over you, darlin', always. I'll always care how you are, no matter how angry or upset we might be at each other at any given time.
As for using sex to express emotions... well, I'm sure you know that that isn't healthy if that's the only way you express emotions. And I can see that if you were feeling all kinds of crazy new things with me, that would be scary. God damn, though - you don't know how much it means to me to hear it was like that for you, falling for me. To know that I affect you that deeply - god, Chris, it makes me feel good. I am sorry, though, that it was so hard for you to deal with, so overwhelming.
I don't know if this helps at all, but Chris - my experience of falling in love with you, of how it feels when we're together - it's the same as yours. It's like nothing I've ever known before. It's more intense than anything I've felt before, or even anything I've ever imagined. When I said during that vidcomm that you being inside me was intoxicating, I meant it every bit as much about me as about you. I don't think that falling for you scared me quite the way it did you - as I said before, I've always felt things deeply, and I've never really tried to fight that. I wouldn't have the first clue how to fight it anyway. I just jump into the deep end when it comes to emotions, simple as that. But god, Chris, the way you make me feel, the love I feel for you, it's my reason for being. I mean that.
I feel godawful that you went through that despair alone, thinking you'd been influenced by the slug, thinking your love for me was all a lie, thinking about how that would hurt me. Shit. I don't even know what to say. And I know you've said before that you'd never actually hurt yourself, but baby, please, don't ever... I couldn't live with myself if you hurt yourself on my account. Fuck, if something happened to you, I'd - I don't even want to think about it, honestly.
I guess that's about all I have to say about all that for now, because I don't want to make things worse. And I don't mean to pressure you by saying any of this. I'm not looking for reciprocal declarations, and if you never again feel like that "sappy old man," it's okay, and I'll still love you every bit as much. But please, darlin', if there's anything I can do, tell me how I can help. Anything you need, it's yours, you know that.
Good lord, Chris, I had no idea your family was so wealthy or prominent in wine-making circles. I asked Jim if he knew and he just gave me a look like I was the slowest kid in class. What can I say? I don't read tabloids or follow society gossip. I'm sure that's yet another reason that the press is so interested in you. Well, at least you can have the satisfaction of knowing that I fell for you, and not your family name or money, right? Someday when we do that traveling that you're so fond of, you'll have to take me to Australia, show me the place your family came from.
You've probably already figured out that I'm pretty big on roots. I like to know where I came from. I like to know where the people I care about came from. As for my family, the McCoys can trace their ancestry all the way back to the first European settlers in the new world. In fact, my grandmother, my daddy's mom, was active in the DAR, which is the Daughters of the American Revolution. So I'm directly descended from someone who fought in that war on the side of what was then "The United States of America," hundreds and hundreds of years ago.
As for the family property, my many-times-grandaddy McCoy was a carpetbagger; he moved down from the north after the American civil war, to set down roots on a piece of land he could call his own. And I might be biased, but I think it's the most beautiful place on earth or any other planet. But it's not fancy, and we never had a whole lot of money when I was growing up, so it was always a bit tumble-down. I've gotta admit, it'll be really nice to see it restored to its former glory. I mean, not that it was ever that glorious - it's always just been the farmhouse and a few outbuildings, storage sheds and the like, but still, I never thought I'd get to see it all fixed up. So hell, if you want to throw some of your family money at our house, go right ahead. I won't stop you, and I'm pretty sure that I don't have anywhere near what it would take to actually fix the place up right. Thank you for that, Chris, really. You'll never know what an amazing gift that is.
You know, when I was a kid I used to dream of breeding horses. I think I told you I wanted to be a vet - well, I wanted to be a large animal vet, and I always thought that if I came into a windfall (how, I've got no idea, because nobody in my family was rich), I'd buy some horses and breed the most beautiful, strong, sleek horses that Georgia had ever seen. Now that I've got myself a rich partner, maybe I'll actually look into doing that when we retire. Never in my life thought I'd ever really get to do that. Don't worry, though - I meant what I said about my tastes being simple, and I'm not planning on spending all your family money.
Well, I've got a bit of a headache, so I'm going to end this now and see if I can get some rest before dinner. Guess I'll be eating alone again because Jim's having dinner with the walking computer in his quarters. Lt. Uhura's getting pretty steamed about all the time they're spending together too, and I gotta tell you, if she was my woman I sure wouldn't be neglecting her like Spock has been lately. Not that I have the slightest interest in her, mind you. Maybe I'll buzz her and Christine and see if they want to meet me in the mess - I know they're friends.
I'm thinking about you, Chris. I love you, and I do believe with my heart and my mind that you love me too. Please, please tell me how I can help you, all right?
p.s. Chris, I'm so sorry about the explosion in engineering and the crewmembers you lost. I know that never gets easier.
On to Part 19