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Blue (2/?). Spock/McCoy, Amanda, ensemble. All parts here.
Off to Bones' right, a slender woman attired in a vaguely foreign dress was strolling along the path. Her hands were clasped behind her back—the posture stirred an echo of memory—and she looked to be admiring the spring jonquils.


II.


Bones had, although he didn't realize it 'til later, one more encounter with the legacy of Mr. Spock prior to his and Jim's premature graduation. A late afternoon in spring found him slouched against a low retaining wall, taking long pulls of Tennessee whiskey from his flask; Jim was off flunking the Kobayashi Maru for a second time, and Bones didn't have the heart to watch his friend's face go all disappointed and stubborn again. He was a good kid, Jim Kirk—a good man, rather—but when he got some harebrained idea in his head, he wouldn't be budged, no matter how ill-advised the scheme.

Off to Bones' right, a slender woman attired in a vaguely foreign dress was strolling along the path. Her hands were clasped behind her back—the posture stirred an echo of memory—and she looked to be admiring the spring jonquils.

She offered Bones a smile as she drew closer, so he saluted her with his flask and said, "Morning, ma'am."

"Good morning"—she squinted at his uniform—"Cadet?"

"Just Bones, ma'am." She was on the far side of middle age, the woman, and her face was lined, but her eyes were a clear, rich brown, and her hair was only lightly streaked with gray. She wasn't Fleet, Bones could tell that much by how she stood.

"Then I'm just Amanda," she said, and surprised him by hopping up on the ledge next to him. Bones revised his estimation of her age; she was either younger than he thought or unusually spry. "Although I can't imagine that's the name your mother gave you."

Bones chuckled. "No ma'am, just a nickname from a friend. He calls me that so much that I've just about forgotten what my given name is."

"You don't have much use for ceremony, do you, just Bones?" she said, and her lips quirked.

"I'd probably feel differently if I were command track, but no, not really," he admitted.

"Operations, then?" she asked. "Or—no, you'd be in sciences, I think."

"Yes ma'am," Bones said. "Medical, to be exact."

"How interesting!" And she did seem genuinely impressed; she wasn't offering lip service, the way some did.

"Sometimes. And sometimes it's all dense textbooks and denser patients. I used to run a practice in Georgia, back before I enlisted, and for every kid with a broken arm I'd get three ladies who came in cryin' over a chipped nail. Begging your pardon."

"No need," Amanda said easily, and Bones noted that her nails were cut short, clean but unadorned. "And then you joined Starfleet, where there are less chipped nails?"

"And more bruised egos." He shrugged a shoulder and took another pull of whiskey. "The state was getting a mite small with my ex-wife still in it." That was more than he'd told anyone except Jim, but like his friend, this woman invited confidences. "And you—just stopping by to admire our flower gardens?"

She laughed, low and throaty. "No, I'm here to visit my son. He teaches at the Academy. It's all terribly dry, I'm afraid, although I couldn't be prouder of him. I do like to stop by and remind him he has a mother whenever I'm on-planet."

"One of those kids that thinks they're hatched, huh?" Bones said, and was rewarded again with her laughter.

"Mm, no," she said, "but he is rather...reserved."

"My daughter's like that—always got a serious face on, like the sky'll fall down if she cracks a grin." He thought about Jo, about her solemn blue eyes and unsmiling mouth; when she was a baby, he'd promised to maker her smile every day. The failure haunted him.

"I understand how that is better than you know," Amanda said. They fell into silence, watching the breeze stir the leaves on the trees; a crowd of students wandered past, a squirrel darting out of their way just in the nick of time. Bones uncapped his flask again, hefted the solid weight in one hand, and offered it to Amanda.

"JD?"

Her eyes danced. "It has been a long time," she said, and took it from him, "since I've indulged." Then she tossed a mouthful back; her face screwed up at the taste, but she took another swig before returning it to him.

"I'd best be going," she said, shading her eyes as she looked up at the sky. "My son is punctual in all things, and he'll only indulge his mother so far." The look on her face was fiercely adoring. "Best of luck to you and your daughter, Bones."

"And to you and your boy, Amanda," he said, even though her boy was probably older than Bones himself. "Nice meetin' you." She smiled at him one last time and then turned and walked away; and although her steps were quick and purposeful, Bones was sure her gaze lingered on the jonquils.


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