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Author's Chapter Notes:

Bones is approaching the end of this journey.

McCoy still belonged to Starfleet, but he was on an indefinite leave of absence.  Sort of.  He had helped with the tribunal on New Vulcan when the abuses of Gol had been exposed, and the experience left him drained.  All Enterprise crewmembers had served with valor, not only during the five-year mission, but with the whole V’ger debacle.  Many of them stayed in Starfleet, others had retired.  McCoy elected to “inactive reserves,” and was trying civilian life in Georgia again.

 

He kept in touch with some people: Jim and Spock, of course, and he heard from Christine Chapel after she received her doctorate degree in Behavioral Medicine.

 

And he was an honorary uncle to T’Bis.  Oh, that little girl had won his heart!  She had been created from the madness of bioengineering that took place on New Vulcan, but her very existence was a blessing to all around her.  You take the epitome of good qualities from both Jim Kirk and Spock, roll them together in a ball and crown it with curls and stick pointed ears on it, and you’d get T’Bis.

 

In Georgia, McCoy was able to hang out his shingle as “an old country doctor.”  He worked at a family practice clinic and welcomed the slow pace of ear infections, busted arms, and reminding people to eat right and exercise.  The best part was seeing Joanna regularly.  He lived and worked in the same town where Jocelyn and Joanna had settled after the divorce.  Joanna would often come by the clinic after school and do her homework while McCoy saw patients.  Then they’d walk to his house and spend time talking at the kitchen table.

 

McCoy found the bourbon bottle didn’t get empty so fast these days.

 

“Len, it’s Jocelyn.”

 

He smiled at the comm unit.  “Hello, Darlin’, what can I do for you?”

 

She sighed.  “I need to tell you something, I want you to hear it from me first.”

 

“I’m all ears.”  McCoy smiled at himself, because that line made him think of Spock.

 

“I’m getting married, Len.”

 

Whoa!  Talk about dropping to the center of the earth.  McCoy didn’t remember the rest of the conversation.  He barely remembered how to breathe.

 

Sweet dreams of you
Every night I go through
Why can't I forget you and start my life anew
Instead of having sweet dreams about you

You don't love me, it's plain
I should know, I'll never wear your ring
I should hate you the whole night through
Instead of having sweet dreams about you

Sweet dreams of you
Things I know can't come true
Why can't I forget the past, start loving someone new
Instead of having sweet dreams about you

 

Sure enough, that bottle of bourbon became his very best friend.

 

Again.

 

It was the beginning of the end.

 

 

 

 

Chapter End Notes:

(“Sweet Dreams,” written by Don Gibson, performed by Patsy Cline)

 
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