Burlap M, S/U, K/U (implied) [ PG]

Image courtesy of Paramount, Nichelle Nichols and the Interweb
Disclaimer: Paramount owns Star Trek. I only own my fantasies.

Summary: A sequel of a sort, to "Tokens" and something to honor our dear, sweet De on his 86th birthday.

A stately woman made her way through the throng of little legs, gently guiding them out of her path as she made her way to the old man sitting in the biggest chair in the living room. She leaned down and spoke into his ear, as much for the sake of him hearing her over the din of the party as discretion. A grayed brow rose in quiet curiosity and he put out a hand for the woman to help him from the deep cushions.

At a loud harrumph from him, the pile of youngsters stopped as one and moved out of his way. A forgiving grin replaced his fake scowl as he carefully made his way into the quietness of the study. He sat down gently--this chair was far harder than the pleasant one in the parlor--and switched on the comm panel.

"McCoy here," he said grumpily, unsure who was on the other end of the communication; Joanna would only tell him he had a call. He thought it had better be something good to interrupt his birthday party-

"Hello, Leonard. Happy Birthday!" A beaming face gushed at him from the panel.

"Well, I guess it's better than the alternative. Hi Nyota, how are you, my dear?" McCoy asked the image staring back at him, assessing the beauty that only seemed to deepen as she aged. It wasn't fair that she remained so youthful and he looked like a piece of burlap...

"I'm wonderful, Doctor, and I see your humor still keeps you company." She teased back, always one to play the game with him.

"Something has to keep me entertained. Right now I've got a gaggle of great-grandkids in the other room trying to one-up each other. I'm too old for all that energy." He groused more than necessary because he had a reputation to uphold.

"Ahhh, I see, no fountain of youth for your birthday again this year?" Nyota laughed sympathetically, easily seeing through the charade of McCoy being irritated by his family. She knew he loved spending time with Joanna and her kids and their children, though he would be loathe to admit it.

"Nope, got a boatload of socks and cologne, though. At least my feet will be warm and I'll smell better." He smirked in that impish way of his that melted Ny's heart.

She smiled and looked off camera, her eyes warming to something out of range. "That's better. You know, my greatest present was given to me on my birthday..."

"So, how is the overgrown elf?" McCoy asked baitingly.

"I am present and remarkably well, Leonard," the tall Vulcan answered for himself as he stepped behind Nyota, resting his hands on her shoulders in a subtly possessive manner.

"Well Hell, I don't doubt it. You're a damn Vulcan ain't ya and you have the company of the most gorgeous woman I've ever known," McCoy tossed back in envy, only too aware of how these two had gotten together those many years ago, although far more recently that it could have been.

"Affirmative, on both points, Doctor." Spock spoke solemnly but McCoy saw the twinkle in his eyes--a twinkle he would never have shared in the past. No, back then, those tiny sparks of emotion were only shared with Jim.

Jim, the man they had all loved--still loved. Ny's allusion to her 'best present' caused McCoy's memory to race down that path from long ago--to the memory of Jim's last birthday present to Ny, a parting love letter of a sort. Jim had asked Spock to deliver it upon his death, a last duty to his best friend. A gift that had brought Spock and Ny together after so many years of silent friendship. McCoy didn't begin to know what all Jim told her in the letter, he'd never asked and neither of them had ever said. He only knew that Jim had opened their eyes to a possibility between them.

And the reality was staring back at him from the viewscreen, the beautiful woman looking up lovingly at the Vulcan who tenderly brushed his knuckles against her neck. McCoy hid a grin at the open affection between them, somehow embarrassed by their display although he had preached to Spock about expressing his emotions for years. It made him happy and sad at the same time. Happy that they were happy, but sad that Jim had never allowed himself to openly accept that same love from Nyota, the woman who had quietly devoted most of her life to him.

McCoy pushed those ghosts away and gave his two friends a broad smile, it was his birthday and he was determined to be happy--crabby, but happy. "Don't rub it in, you walking database. Give it another twenty years and you'll be feeling aches and pains too."

"No doubt, Doctor, but I have the utmost confidence your beads and rattles will produce a sufficient remedy," Spock remarked with his own patented raised brow of disdain.

Before McCoy could fire off a retort, Uhura interceded, knowing the battle that was to come. "Okay, you two, play nice. Len, we're on our way to the opera but we just had to call and wish you a happy birthday. You know we *both* love you very, very much." The last was said with a quick upwards glance, a warning to keep quiet if McCoy had ever seen one.

"Thank you, Nyota, it has been a happy one and I love you *both* too. Now, go listen to that hog-killin' and have a great time. McCoy out."

The shocked look on Spock's face at McCoy's admission of love was the best birthday present he would ever get. Who knew those brows could actually disappear under his bangs?


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