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Author's Chapter Notes:

Their friend, Leonard McCoy, begins the long road back to sobriety.

McCoy left a memo cube on the dining table and walked out the front door of Kirk and Spock’s home at 3 AM.   He had spent his whole life avoiding confrontation and didn’t see a reason to change now.  He told himself it was to keep his personal problems from affecting T’Bis, but he knew that was bullshit.


It was foggy, and he gave a misted kiss on the cheek to Christine Chapel when she picked him up at the curb.  He slid in the front seat and pulled his duffel into his lap.  “Thanks, Chris.”


She patted his hand.  “You’re doing the right thing, Leonard.”


“I hope so.”


“When was your last drink?”


“Shortly before I walked out the door”


“We’ll say 2:30 AM, then.  Where’s the bottle.”


“In my duffel, Chris.  But there isn’t even one good swallow left in it.”


She hit the brakes and pulled to the shoulder.  “Pour it out.”


“Aw, Chris, come on.  It’s almost empty, I swear.”


“Pour.  It.  Out.”


Grumbling, he doused the scrubby weeds with the amber liquid.  He shook the bottle for good measure and watched the last drops fall.  “Happy now?”


“I’m happier for you.”


Once the door was closed, Chapel aimed the aircar to the coastal flyway and programmed the dash control for the community Carmel by the Sea.


“I don’t smell coffee, so I guess Bones is still asleep.”


T’Bis came running into the kitchen.  “Daddy, there’s nobody in the guest room, and this was on the table.”  She handed the memo cube to Kirk.  Spock stood behind him with his hands on Kirk’s shoulders while they both listened to the cube.


“It was time for me to go.  Chris is taking me to a place she knows in Carmel.  I’ll get in touch later.”  McCoy’s voice sounded raspy and thick with emotion.


Spock wrapped both arms around Kirk’s waist, and kissed his mate’s neck.  Doctor Christine Chapel was a fellow crewmember from their Enterprise days, and she was an outspoken proponent of substance abuse rehabilitation.  Her own experience with alcoholism following the death of her fiancé, Doctor Roger Corman, made her especially compassionate in dealing with fellow addicts.


“I knew this day was coming.”  Kirk tossed the cube from hand to hand, as he looked at the ceiling.


Spock squeezed his hug a bit tighter.  “We all did.”


After the medical examination and the inspection of his baggage, McCoy was assigned to a room and handed a datapadd.  “The daily schedule is posted on here.  We take all our meals together, and everyone participates in the discussions.  No outside contact the first month.  Some of our residents use the padd to keep a journal, or just write down their thoughts.  It’s not required, but with your ordinary distractions removed, you have a lot of time to just think.  If you have any questions, we’re happy to help.”  McCoy flopped on the bed with the datapadd in hand, and looked forlorn.  “Doctor?”


McCoy looked up at the staffmember.  “Yes?”


“Welcome.  We’re glad you’re here.”


God, he wanted a drink!  He thought about those last drops of whiskey that Chris made him pour out onto the weeds, and wished he could feel their coolness against his tongue right this minute.


And his mind drifted to the last few drops rolling out of a bottle, years ago…


He sat at the kitchen table at his grandmother’s house.  Grandma emptied a bottle into her coffee cup and eased herself into the chair opposite his.  Leonard poked his sandwich crust with his finger, and wished for the thousandth time that his mother would pick him up and take him home.


“Finish your supper, Lenny.”


“I want Mama.”


The woman took a swig from the cup and squinted at the chrono over the door.  “Another three hours yet, Lenny.  She’s in the Emergency Department again tonight.”


“Where’s Daddy?”


“Out runnin’ around, as usual.  Sorriest day of your mama’s life was when she dragged him here and said she loved him.  For all his education, he can’t keep a job and support his family!  Your mama’s a hard-workin’ woman, and deserves better than him!”


“Don’t talk about my daddy like that!”


“Don’t you sass me, young man!”


Leonard ran out of the house, slamming the screen on the front door.  He’d find his daddy, and they’d go home and wait for Mama together.  He didn’t have to listen to Gramma say nasty things about Daddy!


The young boy finally found his father sitting at the bar in one of the small grills next to the main road.  Doctor David McCoy was discussing microbiology with a disinterested bartender.  He walked softly up behind the stool and tugged on his father’s shirt.  “Daddy.”


The bleary-eyed man turned around.  “Lenny?  Where’s your mother?”


“She’s working, Daddy.  I wanna go home.”


“Yeah, she’s working all right.  More like working over that pharmacist…”


The bartender was drying glasses.  “David, take the kid home.”


“Turn up the music, barkeep!  That’s Patsy Cline, singing the truth!”


Your cheatin' heart
Will make you weep
You'll cry and cry
And try to sleep.

But sleep won't come
The whole night through
Your cheatin' heart
Will tell on you.

When tears come down
Like fallin' rain
You'll toss around
And call my name.

You'll walk the floor
The way I do
Your cheatin' heart
Will tell on you.


“Come on, David, this is no place for a kid.  I’ll call a cab.  Go on home now.”


The man stumbled down, and the boy kept him from falling.


It wasn’t the first time this had happened.


Chapter End Notes:

(“Your Cheatin’ Heart,” written by Hank Williams, performed by Patsy Cline)

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