“So other than turning me into Sleeping Beauty for a couple of weeks, are there going to be any other side-effects from Khan's blood?” Jim asked. Spock had finally left, after updating Jim on everything he'd missed. Jim had been shaken by the news of the state of his crew but he'd forced it to the back of his mind. There was nothing he could do about it until he got the hell out of Starfleet Medical, and the only way to do that was to get his doctor to release him.
Which meant getting through the great obstinate wall he affectionately called Bones.
“Sleeping Beauty, ha!” Leonard snorted derisively.
“How soon can I get out of here, Bones?” Jim asked. He'd have gotten up to make a break for it if he wasn't already feeling so tired he wanted to go back to sleep. Anyway, if he tried he'd only get as far as the door before collapsing to the floor which would've only resulted in making Bones laugh at him.
Also, he'd probably get his ass strapped in so his second escape attempt would be all the harder to implement.
“Not until I'm good and ready to let you out. Your body has gone through a massive trauma,” Leonard said, sitting down in one of the guest chairs beside Jim's hospital bed. “You've only just begun to heal from all that radiation and not all of Khan's proteins are out of you. Which are playing hell on your system. It'll probably take another week, maybe two, before you're free and clear.”
“I can't stay here a week,” Jim said, aghast. He'd be bored out of mind in two days, let alone two weeks. He had so much he need to do besides sitting on his ass all that time. He needed to write reports. Starfleet Command probably had questions for him. Hell, he had questions for them, such as how Marcus had created a warship to go to war without more people in command being in the know. Sure Spock had probably taken care of a lot of it, but he'd been the captain for most of the mess, however much Admiral Marcus was to blame, Jim also bore a lot of the responsibility.
He forced himself to sit up.
Leonard reached out and forced him back to the bed by pressing his forefinger to Jim's collarbone and pressing down. Leonard didn't even have to exert himself.
“Umph,” Jim grunted as he fell back onto the bed. He glared.
“When you can get yourself out of bed then we'll talk,” Leonard said.
“Aw, Bones, come on,” Jim complained.
“And don't even think of trying to get the nurses to help you,” Leonard said, scowling. “I've warned them about you, and they know that I'll know if they help you. They know better than to let you get your way. Now get some sleep. Real sleep.”
Giving in, because he really was pretty tired even after two weeks of shut-eye, Jim stopped arguing with his best friend and closed his eyes.
The next day when Carol Marcus stopped by for a short visit, it took Jim about two seconds to remember her name. He put it out of his mind, excusing the lapse as him still being tired and recovering. Carol, for all that she was an attractive woman, wasn't even in the top ten of things that had an impact on him that day.
And well, Jim had always been a little fuzzy when it came to names. It was a trait that had bitten him in the ass (and slapped him across the face) more than a few times in the past.
“How have you been holding up?” Jim asked.
“I've been better,” Carol said lightly. The watery smile that flashed across her face made Jim look away. There was too much grief in her eyes. It was an emotion that always made him feel helpless; always had, especially with his past. Nothing he thought to say ever helped. “Starfleet finally released the body so the funeral is tomorrow.”
Jim hesitated, wondering who she meant until the memory of Admiral Marcus' gruesome death returned to him. Right, her father. “Is someone going with you to the funeral?”
“Leonard offered to keep me company,” Carol said, shaking her head. “But... I can't do that to him. It's taken everything just to keep the media away. I'll be fine.”
“Yeah, you will be,” Jim agreed. “Is someone going with you?”
Carol shot him a startled look, her blue eyes were wide.
“I mean...,” Jim corrected himself, because he'd asked that already, hadn't he? “You should let someone keep you company.”
“Yeah... I may do that,” Carol said, slowly. “Um... thanks for listening, Jim. I really should find Leonard, I promised to meet him for lunch.”
“Okay,” Jim said agreeably, but wondering over the strange expression on her face. A couple of minutes after she left his hospital room, Jim forgot about it.
His memories faded away, so slowly that Jim doesn't even realize anything was wrong until the morning his doctor entered his room, greeting Jim with a smile. That was when Jim realized that he'd completely forgotten the man's name.
“Well, it looks like you'll finally be out of here, Jim. Your baseline readouts look like they're finally back to normal.”
“That's great! No offense, but I'm not really a fan of hospitals, doctor...um, I'm sorry, I totally forgot your name. My head for names is really the worse.”
The doctor froze in place, dropping medical tricorder from lax hands. The tricorder broke with a loud crack. The horror growing on his doctor's face as he stared at him worried Jim. It was too heartbreaking, like he'd ripped out the guy's heart and then stomped it flat in front of him.
Nervously, Jim licked his upper lip. “That's not what's wrong is it?”
The man's face went blank, then hardened with determination. “No. But I'll fix it, Jim.”
“It's like Khan's platelets are reformatting him!”
“Agree, that is the closest analogy to what is happening to the captain, Dr. McCoy.”
“He's not dead but we're losing him just the same man! How can you stand around being so calm?”
“I. Am. Not... It is only through every application of Vulcan control that I am not expressing it. Do not push the limits of my self-control, Doctor.”
“No... no... you're right. It's just... I can't damn well take it lying down that he's losing everything that makes him who he is. If I can't find a way to stop the memory erasure...”
“He will be lost to us.”
He smiled at the two dark haired men who stood before him. “Hi,” he said brightly.
“Jim,” said one of the men. His voice was low and anguished, and his eyes were so sad.
He stopped smiling, concerned. “Are you alright?”
The sad man shook his head, his eyes glittering with barely held back tears. The other man, with slanted eyebrows and ears that swept into points, closed his own eyes for several seconds before he opened them again. His regard was like a weight.
“Jim,” the sad man said again.
Curious at the response he'd gotten twice since greeting the two men, he tilted his head in curiosity. “Is that my name or is it yours?”
The sad man's shoulders slumped, as he answered, “It's your name.”
“Jim,” he said, thoughtfully. He thought he liked it. “What's your name?”
The man with the slanted eyebrows and pointed ears finally spoke. “I am Spock.”
“I'm Leonard McCoy. You – you call me Bones.”
Jim frowned. “Wait a minute, I call you Bones? Did we know each other?”
“Yeah,” Leonard McCoy said hoarsely. “You do and you will again, I promise.”