Title: Somewhere, In Time
Word count: 11,586
Disclaimer: I do not own Star Trek, Somewhere In Time or their characters. No infringement intended.
AN: Some dialogue may have been taken from SIT.
Summary: Under stress from his personal life and career, Leonard McCoy takes an impromptu break in a hotel by the sea. Whilst he is there he discovers a portrait of a handsome young man to whom he finds himself instantly attracted. Whilst researching the history of the portrait, he comes to realize that it is of the same elderly gentleman that had approached him 8 years earlier. This leads to a life changing obsession that will take him somewhere in time.
Eight years previous
"Dad, it would really mean a lot to me if you could make it. After all, it is the opening night of my first play. You know how long I've waited for this. Mom said..." he trailed off as his father interrupted him with one of his 'you should have gone to Med School' tirades. He'd spent his entire youth listening to the same speech. He rolled his eyes as the onslaught continued. "Fine! Fine, whatever. I just thought for once in your life that you may actually be proud of your son. Tell Mom I love her and I'll be seeing you at Christmas...maybe." With that, he slammed down the receiver and fled the theatre via the stage door.
As he stepped out into the cool morning air, hands clenching furiously at his sides, he failed to notice until the last moment that an old man was about to crash into him. The anger and hurt he felt towards his father dissipated instantly as the old man touched him gently on his shoulder. Striking blue eyes that held a hint of sorrow gazed at him momentarily before the elderly gentleman spoke.
"Come back to me." They were the only words uttered as the man pushed something into his hands and fled as fast as his frail body would permit him. He looked bemusedly at the retreating figure before inspecting the lightly wrapped bundle. He opened it carefully to reveal a gold antique pocket watch. He gasped at its beauty, astonished, that someone whom he'd never before encountered would relinquish such a treasure...
Leonard H. McCoy, disgruntled playwright and embittered ex-husband, tore yet another sheet of blank paper out of the old fashioned typewriter, crumpled it, then launched it at the overflowing waste paper basket in the corner of the room. He leaned back, balancing his chair precariously on two legs and sighed long and hard. He rubbed his eyes roughly with the heels of his hands in an attempt to rid himself of the weariness that had been creeping up on him over the course of the previous few weeks.
"Damn it!" he cursed, scaring his cat Spock, who had been slumbering blissfully on the love seat under the window. "God damn divorce lawyers," he mumbled as he made a beeline for his hidden – for emergency situations only of course - supply of bourbon.
"God damn publisher and God damn fucking shitty life!" he yelled when he realized the bottle was empty. He flung it towards the nearest wall and only felt mild satisfaction as it smashed against its target.
"I can't do this any more, Spock," he said to his faithful feline as the lithe black beauty insinuated himself between his legs, almost causing him to stumble. He bent down and picked up his sole companion and smiled at the resulting purr. "Why can't the rest of my life be as beautiful and uncomplicated as you, my pointy-eared friend?" He laughed as said ears prickled in acknowledgement.
"Come on. Let's go eat before I end up a blithering idiot." As he walked towards the kitchen his telephone rang. He knew without looking at the caller ID who it would be. His publisher, without fail, had called him twice a day, every day for the past three weeks demanding to know when his current play would be completed. His final deadline was looming and he couldn't bring himself to write a single word. Writer's block had not been a worry before, but then again, neither had soul destroying, life sucking ex wives. Without succumbing to the temptation of telling Chris Pike where he could 'damn well stick it', he strode purposefully to his bedroom to pack. "Come on, Spock. Let's get the hell out of Dodge." The cat simply meowed his agreement as Leonard went about his task.
Socks followed boxers, and shirts followed pants as they were unceremoniously thrown into the suitcase on the bed. Leonard paused suddenly to look at Spock who was observing avidly from his perch upon the dresser. "Am I doing the right thing, Spock? Oh, what do you care? As long as you're fed and watered and have your ears tickled occasionally..." he snickered as Spock's head rose up as if in indignation. "No offence," he continued, "but you're pretty easy to please. If only the rest of my life was so uncomplicated."
With one last glance to make sure he had everything he would need for a short trip out of the city, Leonard typed up a note for Chris to let him know he wouldn't be gone too long and not to worry - the play would be completed upon his return. He left it in the typewriter knowing that his publisher would undoubtedly stop by that evening. He scooped up Spock with one hand and grabbed his case with the other and headed resignedly out the door.
Leonard released a sigh of relief as he lowered the soft top on his car. The cool breeze that caressed his face was a welcome distraction to the thoughts tumbling through his mind. A pang of guilt at leaving Chris to face the music struck him about thirty miles into his journey, but he realized that he desperately needed the break to re-charge his batteries and kick start his muse back into gear. It didn't assuage his guilt completely, however, as Chris was a good man; a good friend who was as equally under pressure as he was himself. He decided to give him a call to apologize as soon as he arrived wherever it was he was heading.
After several more hours of aimless driving along the sun drenched coast, his stomach reminded him that he hadn't eaten since early that morning. "We had better keep our eyes peeled for a motel, Spock. Hopefully we'll find one that accepts pets." He'd belatedly realized that he should have left Spock with a neighbour. He didn't relish the prospect of being forced to sleep in the car overnight.
It was another hours drive before he caught sight of civilization. He pulled his car over so that he could take in the majestic beauty of The Grand Hotel as its awesome structure stood proudly on the cliff top. Leonard whistled as he took in the sight before him. He sighed a little as he looked towards Spock lying on the passenger seat of his car. He didn't fancy his chances of being granted permission for Spock to stay at such an establishment. But needs must, he decided as he eased himself back into the driver's seat and headed for the hotel. It was even more impressive now that he stood at the foot of the steps to the magnificent entrance. A cough beside him brought his attention to the valet standing expectantly. He smiled sheepishly and muttered his thanks as he handed over his keys and a couple of bucks to a guy whose name tag said 'Sulu'. Before following the bell person and his luggage up the steps, he glanced over his shoulder at Spock and winked at him conspiratorially and smiled a promise to return for him shortly. Spock simply walked off amongst the trees.
The hotel was as equally impressive inside as it was without. The old world features gave it a character that Leonard instantly appreciated. He always felt immense pleasure when not in the confines of the too modern city.
After completing check-in and a lengthy discussion with an old guy called Pavel, Leonard headed towards the restaurant, attempting to ignore his stomach as it growled in impatience. He smiled as he recalled the Russian desk clerk telling him that cats were not permitted but he would gladly take him in for a few days. He explained that he lived in a cottage on the grounds and that it would be an 'absolute pleasure' to have the company. When he arrived at the restaurant he was a little dismayed to discover that he was a half hour early for dinner. At a loss as to what to do, he shrugged and began a walk around the hotel in the hopes that the time would pass quickly.
As he exited the main lobby, he came across a room called The Hall of History. His curiosity instantly piqued at this and he entered. It was like stepping back in time. He did not know where to look first as so many beautiful things lined the room; glass cases holding the most fragile. As he turned full circle something caught his eye and he was instantly drawn to its source. At the end of the room, bathed in sunlight was a magnificent gilt framed portrait. He was so mesmerised he didn't even realise that he'd moved. Suddenly he was before it and he was transfixed by the beauty of the subject. His breath hitched as a pair of sparkling blue eyes gazed as if into his very own soul. Those eyes...they were so familiar, yet rationally he knew it was impossible. He looked beneath the frame for any indication of a name. but the plaque was missing. His heart sank for a reason he could not fathom. He attempted to rationalise his ridiculous feeling of loss. Of what he did not know, but something about the portrait inexplicably pulled at him; something in the beautiful blue eyes gazing upon him. Hunger instantly forgotten, he rushed from the room. He had to seek out Pavel. He just knew the old man could help him.
As he exited the Hall, Leonard was dismayed to find that Pavel was no longer at reception. He glanced around briefly, unsure as to where he should begin his search. He sighed and made his way through the lobby and stopped just short of the entrance. As he emerged he was relieved to find that the old Russian was tending the roses. "Pavel!" he shouted.
"Yes, Mr McCoy. What can I do for you?"
"Pavel, there's a photograph of a man on the back wall in the Hall of History, but there isn't a name plate. I was wondering if you could tell me who he is."
"Aah, yes. That's James T. Kirk. He was a famous actor in his day. In fact, he starred in a play at the hotel theatre."
McCoy felt his pulse quicken as the old man relayed his tale. It took a moment for him to realize just what it was that Pavel was saying. "I'm sorry. Did you say that there was a theatre?"
"Yes, sir. Down by the lake."
"When was this play done?"
Pavel rubbed his chin as he tried to recall the date. "Oh, err that will have been 1912. Yes, it was back in 1912."
"1912..." McCoy felt suddenly dejected. "Thank you, Pavel," he replied before heading back into the hotel. Once again he found himself sitting in the Hall of History. The lure of the man in the portrait intrigued him to the point of distraction. He just could not get him out of his mind. After several hours of silent contemplation, he returned to his room in the hopes of getting some rest. But unfortunately he found sleep to be elusive. He sighed and leaned over to the night stand and grabbed his watch to check the hour. Dawn was still two hours away, but he decided to make an early start. He was due to checkout before noon yet found himself reluctant to do so. After taking a brief shower, he dressed and left for the hotel restaurant. The aroma of coffee and bacon did nothing to tempt him so he chose to forgo breakfast for one final visit with the portrait of the beautiful stranger.
He leaned on the wall for a moment then smiled as he came to a decision. Almost at a run, he left the hotel and reached Pavel just in time to stop him putting his luggage in the trunk of his car. "Pavel, can you take my things back to my suite. I'm going to be staying a while longer." He offered his thanks as he climbed into his car. He looked over his shoulder as the old man was picking up a suitcase. "One more thing, can you tell me where the nearest library is?"
"In town, right past the church."
"Thanks again, Pavel. I'll catch you later."
The old man stood bemusedly for a moment as the car sped down the drive. "Come on, Sulu," he called. "Help me get these things back inside."
Several hours later, Leonard McCoy was ensconced in a quiet corner of the town library. The desk in front of him was littered with several volumes featuring actors of the 20th century. He scanned book after book and page after page with a fervour he felt pleasantly pleasing. Unfortunately his search was proving fruitless. His exasperated sigh was just audible enough that it earned him a glare from the librarian. Realizing he would get no further alone, he decided to enlist the young woman's help. After a little persuasion, and an unashamed use of his southern drawl, she agreed to locate the theatre biographies he requested. When she returned he thanked her politely and resumed his seat at the desk. The excitement of his search was intoxicating as he leafed through the material before him and his heart leaped when he came upon 'Theatre Monthly'. There on the front cover was the name 'James Tiberius Kirk – The Final Years'. He flicked through the pages carefully until he came across a family portrait. Young James Kirk sat upon the lap of his mother Winona while his brother George Kirk JR stood proudly beside a man he presumed was his father. He continued his perusal and mumbled quietly to himself at every new fact he discovered. It wasn't until the final page that he sat back in astonishment. His heart rate quickened and he felt suddenly short of breath as the image gracing the entire page was that of the elderly gentleman whom he met briefly some eight years before. He traced the page gently with his finger until he reached the small text directly beneath it...'James Kirk. This was the last photograph taken of him'.
A lump formed in his throat as he flicked desperately once again through the pages. Sadly no more information was given, but upon further investigation he managed to discover the current whereabouts of the author. After a quick tidy up, he returned the biographies to the librarian and offered his heartfelt thanks. She smiled softly and replied with a gentle, "You are welcome."
It was cold and raining relentlessly when McCoy reached the home of the author. He tapped on the door softly at first but after a moment his knocking became more insistent. Finally the door opened.
"Miss Uhura? Miss N.P. Uhura?" he enquired.
The woman looked at him with a measure of wariness. "Yes, I'm Nyota Uhura."
"Pleased to meet you, ma'am. I'm Leonard McCoy. I read your article on Famous American Actors."
Her suspicion continued as she asked, "What is it that you want?"
"Information about James T. Kirk."
"What sort of information?"
"I'm a playwright and I was thinking about doing a play about his life..."
Uhura attempted to close the door. "I'm sorry, I can't help you."
McCoy put a hand out to prevent the door from closing completely. "Please, ma'am. Please don't," he almost begged. "This is not for a play, Miss Uhura. This is something very personal."
"I don't understand."
He reached into his jacket and pulled out the pocket watch the old man had given him.
"Where did you get that?" she barked furiously.
"He gave it to me, ma'am. At the opening night of a play I wrote. It was about eight years ago at Enterprise College."
"That watch was very precious to him, Mr McCoy. He never let it out of his possession. He took it with him everywhere. It disappeared the night he died."
"Died?" McCoy staggered back in shock. "He died that night?" A sense of grief washed over him and his face paled alarmingly.
Uhura took his arm. "Won't you come in please."
He followed her into the house and she guided him to a small, but pleasantly decorated room. "These are all Jim's things. I was going to donate them to a theatre collection."
McCoy moved passed her and walked over to a mannequin clothed in an elegant suit. He reached out to finger the undoubtedly expensive material.
"He wore that for one of his plays," she said by way of an explanation. "He looked mightily handsome he did, but apparently, no woman could garner his attention."
"Miss Uhura, what was he like?"
"When I knew him he was kind and thoughtful, but he seemed empty somehow. Empty inside."
"He wasn't always that way was he?"
"Oh no. When he was young he was strong, wilful and his eyes sparkled with mischief and fun."
"What made him change?"
"No one knows why exactly. Only that the change seems to have taken place about 1912. After he performed in a play at the Grand Hotel."
Leonard turned once more to the suit being displayed proudly and wondered wistfully about its owner. As he looked behind it he noticed a portrait of a stern looking gentleman on the wall.
"That's Francis B. Williams. Jim's manager and rather unaffectionate uncle."
"Was he as strange as you seemed to indicate in the article?"
"There was something strange about their relationship. Francis seemed to have complete control over Jim's life and there had been talk that he often abused him, but sadly nothing was proven." Realizing that she must have said too much, Uhura moved over to the window. Leonard's eyes followed her and he spotted a book on the table beside her. He picked it up and laughed as the face of his former philosophy professor graced the back cover. He explained to her that the man, Montgomery Scott, was someone he always looked up to, but he couldn't fathom why James Kirk would own such a copy.
"He read that book over and over."
McCoy turned the book over to look at its cover. 'Travels Through Time, by Montgomery Scott.'
He gasped and pondered the book's significance when a model of the Grand Hotel under the window caught his attention. The book momentarily forgotten, he knelt down to examine it more closely.
"He had that built the same year." Uhura lifted the top and it began playing a beautiful melody."
"That's my favourite piece of music in the whole world." He looked at Uhura. "I don't understand what's happening."
She gazed upon him in sympathy. "Come. Sit with me, Leonard and let me tell you all about James Tiberius Kirk."
The following morning, Leonard McCoy found himself en route back to Enterprise College. It was with some trepidation that he approached his former professor. "Sir!" he called to the man as he entered the lecture theatre. "Professor Scott, may I speak with you a moment?"
"Of course, laddie. Now what's so urgent it can't wait until the end of the day?" he paused for a moment as he glanced over the younger man before him. "You are not a student of mine are ye, laddie?"
"No, sir. At least not now. I was a student of yours about nine years ago."
Montgomery Scott gazed at him partly in amusement and part curiosity. "Well spit it out then, lad. I haven't got all day."
"I have just one question for you, sir. Is time travel possible?"
"Well now, that is a question isn't it?" The professor indicated for McCoy to sit and he began to tell him about an experience he'd had many years before. He explained his attempt at hypnotising himself into believing that he was not in the present, but four hundred years in the past. He went on to explain that he had to feed suggestions to his brain and tell himself over and over again the date to which he wished to travel. He spelled out the details over and over, again and again, and again.
"And?" McCoy leaned forward, his hands clasped tightly in anticipation.
"Well, I'll never really know. I have not done it since. I felt exhausted afterwards. If it really did happen, I was only there for a fraction of an instant."
"Yes, sir. But you were there."
"I thought so."
Leonard jumped up and took hold of Scott's hands tightly. "Thank you, sir. Thank you so much." Then he was gone.