Disclaimer: Star Trek is copyright by Paramount and Viacom. This is a work of non-profit fan fiction and no copyright infringement is intended. This story is copyright 2000 by Jade Nocturnias and may not be posted, distributed, or linked to without my consent.

In Someone's Shadow

Jade Nocturnias

I should tell her.

Nah. What good would it do? I can hardly believe it myself. I mean, who would have thought I'd fall in love with her? Not that there's anything wrong with her; just the opposite. I just mean, well.. I'm not sure what I mean. When I think about her it drives me crazy.

It wasn't until after what happened with the Tholians that I really thought it out. Not to sound like I'm bragging or anything, but I'm a busy man. So many people, so much needing done… but she was so strong, so determined through it all, a constant help from what I gather. I was rather preoccupied at the time, but I did think about her. And after it was all over, I realized a lot.

How can I tell her when she loves Spock? That alone floors me and I could shake my head over it, but whatever else he might be Spock is a good person. Stubborn and logical to the core (at least he wants everyone to think so) but a good officer. And friend. I once wouldn't have thought I'd ever call him that, but it's true.

It's not like it's mutual; that I know of, at least. And even if it was, Spock wouldn't let himself act on it. Not the Vulcan way. So maybe I'd stand a chance. Court her the old-fashioned way; she's that type of woman. Flowers and poetry. I can do that. I would do that for her. If I thought it would do any good. Get her away from her hopes of winning him; steer her into my waiting arms.

But when all is said and done, I can't. Maybe because of how much she loves him. Maybe because they're both my friend and if there is ever even the slightest chance it could work for them I'd want them to have it. Maybe (and I HATE to admit this, even to myself) I'm afraid that I can't measure up to everything that Spock is. He IS pretty damn amazing in a lot of ways.

No. Whatever the reason, I can't do it. It's hard to look at her, because when I do I know she'll never see me as I am. She'll always see me in someone's shadow. In HIS shadow.

Aah! Here she comes now. Got to be my usual polite, professional self.

"Dr. McCoy needs you to sign these, Captain."

"Of course, Miss Chapel. Anything for the doctor."

"Thank you, sir," she says as she takes the data padd. As she turns to leave she smiles at me, but though it is warm it has nothing more than friendship in it. Guess I'll have to be content with that.

It's dim and cold standing in a shadow.