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Author's Chapter Notes:

McCoy tries to hide in space.

There was the crying springtime rain when Jocelyn left, taking Joanna with her.  They’d make attempts at reconciliation, but both knew it was over.


McCoy couldn’t admit it then, but he did love the bottle more.  Especially since he crawled to the bottom of it and stayed there.


The first scene was the church, then the altar
Where we claimed each other, with tears of joy we cried
Our friends wished us luck there forever
As we walked from the church, side by side

The next scene was a crowded courtroom
And like strangers we sat side by side
Then I heard the judge make his decision
And no longer were we man and wife

I hate the sight of that courtroom
Where man-made laws push God's laws aside
Then the clerk wrote our story in the record
A church, a courtroom and then goodbye

We walked from that courtroom together
We shook hands and once again we cried
Then it was the end of our story
A church, a courtroom and then goodbye


He barely remembered their day in court.  Although he made a rough joke of it for years, Jocelyn hadn’t cleaned him out.  He willingly signed over everything: the house, the car, all personal property, custody, whatever she asked for, or whatever her attorney asked for.  His lawyer tried to get him to keep something, anything, but McCoy waved him off.  Make a clean break, walk away.  Cut off the dead limb, clear out the infection, cauterize the stump, maybe it would heal.


He couldn’t see for the tears in his eyes when he stumbled outside.


“Len, Len, wait…”  Jocelyn chased him down on the sidewalk.  He just wanted to get away, but she grabbed his arm.




“Joss.  No, please.  I gotta go.  Joss…I’m so sorry.  I hope…no…just…I’m sorry.”


He ran away, back to the room he was renting.  And he stayed drunk for days.


When he sobered up, he enlisted in Starfleet, and told the recruiter he wanted to leave immediately.  He was put on a transport for San Francisco that afternoon.


He functioned through training.  It was mind-numbingly boring, but that was okay.  He desperately needed boring, he needed to have his entire life chopped into pieces and controlled so he didn’t have to think.


He was a medical machine in uniform: wind him up, turn him on, and he could patch pieces together and rebuild broken bodies.  Stick him in a can, launch him into space, and let him practice medicine.  It was perfect.


And don’t think.  Turn off the thinking until after shift, and there’s always a bottle in each port.  Every resident of the galaxy made some type of intoxicant, and they all functioned to erase the memories.


If he could have just stayed an automaton, it would have worked.  The brightness of the stars had attracted him to Starfleet, and the blackness of space helped him hide his pain.  But he had to go and make friends.


Kirk should have stayed a drinking buddy.  The two of them could kill a bottle together or soak a weekend in booze, and it was great.  Kirk was a hotshot, though, and attracted trouble like honey draws bees.  One of the bodies he was always patching up was Kirk’s, and he wanted to strangle the kid when he was in one piece.  Then the kid made Captain and picked up the Enterprise, and insisted McCoy serve as the CMO.


Damn, he didn’t want to care about anybody!


Kirk was fun, and smart and intensely loyal.  He had a first officer that wore pointed ears and a snotty attitude, and McCoy took secret delight in baiting the guy.


Vaudeville forever missed out by not employing Vulcans to play the straight man in all comedy routines.


Every single person posted to the USS Enterprise was a credit to Starfleet.  It humbled McCoy to serve with them.


McCoy discovered he could feel, still.


And dammit, he hurt.


Chapter End Notes:

(“A Church, A Courtroom, and Then Goodbye,” written by Miller/Stevenson, performed by Patsy Cline)

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