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Author's Chapter Notes:

It's finished!

It was graduation day in Carmel By the Sea.  McCoy knew that all the other people who were completing the program were looking forward to seeing family members in the audience.  He felt like he was the Last Man in the Galaxy.  Oh, Christine Chapel would be there, and he was damned grateful for her support and the absolute kindness of her heart.  His biggest problem in Life, however, had been feeling so absolutely alone in everything.  It was time to pull on his Big Boy Boots now, and admit that he was the only one who could control how he reacted to everything .  He wasn’t sober for anyone else but Leonard H McCoy.

 

Life is like a mountain railroad
With an engineer that's brave
We must make the run successful
From the cradle to the grave

Watch the curves, the fills, and tunnels
Never falter, never fail
Keep your hand upon the throttle
And your eyes upon the rail

 

He sat in the front row with the others, and waited for the director to call his name.  When he walked up to the podium to receive his certificate, he saw an arm waving from the audience.  Someone needed to go to the bathroom?

 

It was T’Bis!  “YAY Uncle Bones!”

 

McCoy felt tears flood his eyes.  Spock was probably having seven different Vulcan fits over her display of emotion!  Kirk was next to her, a big grin plastered on his face.  And if it wasn’t ol’ Pointy Ears himself, raising one eyebrow and almost showing a smile.

 

He loved them.

 

After the ceremony finished, people dispersed.  McCoy made his way to the Kirk family, and Jim grabbed him in a bear hug.  T’Bis strangled his neck with her embrace, and she kissed him on the cheek.  “We’re very proud of you, Uncle Bones.  Daddy said you worked very hard, and I’m glad.  I don’t want you to be unhappy any more.”  Spock not only shook hands, but covered their grip with his left hand.

 

“Bones, there are some folks in the lobby who want to extend their best wishes to you, as well.”  Kirk led their group through the doors to a large atrium.

 

Dammit all to Hell!  Uhura, Scotty, Sulu, Chekov, Christine…how they all managed to show up in one place at the same time will be the mystery of the ages.  His hand was just about pumped off his arm, he was hugged and kissed and fussed over.  Each and every person told him how much he meant to them, how his presence in their lives was a valuable thing.

 

A young girl came running down the hallway and tackled him in an embrace.

 

“Daddydaddydaddydaddydaddydaddy!”

 

“Joanna?”

 

Standing off to the side was Jocelyn.  She came up to him and ran her hand down his arm. “Len.  We’re so proud of you.”

 

If I could see the world
Thru the eyes of a child
What a wonderful world this would be
There'd be no trouble and no strife
Just a big happy life
With a bluebird in every tree

I could see right, no wrong
I could see good, no bad
I could see all the good things
In life I've never had
If I could see the world
Thru the eyes of a child
What a wonderful world this would be

If I could see the world
Thru the eyes of a child
Smiling faces would greet me all the while
Like a lovely work of art
It would warm my weary heart
Just to see thru the eyes of a child

I could see right, no wrong
I could see good, no bad
I could see all the good things
In life I've never had
If I could see the world
Thru the eyes of a child
What a wonderful world this would be

 

If a shuttlecraft dropped a bag of plasticrete blocks on his head, it couldn’t have hit him harder.  Jocelyn had practically interrupted a honeymoon to bring Joanna here for his “graduation.”  These people had done God-knows-what to come from the four corners of the galaxy to show their support.  Jim, Spock, and even T’Bis had been there for him, always, completely, totally.

 

Of course, Christine had been telling him for years, “When you’re ready, Len, just let me know.”

 

McCoy had never been alone, not really.

 

 

Chapter End Notes:

(“Life’s Railway to Heaven,” written by Snow/Tillman, performed by Patsy Cline)

(“If I Could See the World,” written by Masters/Pope/Satterwhite, performed by Patsy Cline)

OH, this has been such a painful journey to travel!  I am filled with such appreciation to all who made the trip with me.

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