Disclaimer: Paramount owns the characters.
Archiving: THFFF, ASCEM, Acidqueen. All other ask permission, please.
Author's note: This story contains spoilers to my other story "Happiness At Least". Better to read that first. http://spockjones.blogspot.com/2007/05/happiness-at-least-nc-17-revised.html
Summary: Return from the Guardian of Forever.
“Chief Medical Officer’s Personal Log: Stardate 3196.2—make that point 3….*yawn*... ‘scuse me……ah, it has been interesting….”
“During the two weeks since our little adventure through the Guardian, our memories of our time in the past have begun to fade. Actually, a better word would be…dissipate… It is not the normal erosion of memory that blurs detail and lends a sort of……sepia nostalgia to recollections; it is a near-total loss of the ability to retrieve information. The memory degradation correlated with the Enterprise leaving the Guardian’s system, three days after we came back through. We all present with symptoms of dissociative amnesia: subtype, selective--specific to recollection of events that occurred after entering the Guardian portal. Prompting from the ship’s history tapes is losing it’s effectiveness in assisting with memory retrieval, with subjects reporting symptoms and sensations of depersonalization and derealization--the memories seemed “removed” from their personal experience, as if they were reading about characters in a novel. Additionally, other than an intellectual and/or sympathetic response, any emotions relating to retrieved memories were absent. This pathology is unique, its etiology unknown and....and this is starting to sound like the article they’ll never let me publish in NEJM…. At any rate, I labeled it Temporal Memory Loss Syndrome or Time-traveler’s Amnesia…and if they do what I think they’re planning, there’ll plenty more opportunities for case studies… Classified, of course….”
“Jim has lost his memory of his love for Edith Keeler. I got a warmer response from him when I showed him an image of Abraham Lincoln……but he is falling in love again with Nyota. I see him giving her lingering looks on the bridge..….poor guy. And Spock seems…preoccupied. There was something I was going to record about him but I lost the memory before I could get it down…and if he knows, he’ll never tell me………Uhura is her lovely self again: whip smart, perceptive…excruciatingly beautiful…skilled at keeping Jim in check, tender and protective of Spock…..and still a total mystery to me….…..”
“I am…what I’ve always been……ahem………”
“Family, friends, colleagues… lovers…are like pictures of unknown ancestors from an old family photo album. Maybe that’s part of what the Guardian meant when it said, “All is as it was”……”
“But we are changed by this experience. Like when you wipe a hard drive then restore all the software, sometimes the computer is still a little glitchy. I don’t know what I’m trying to say……. Nothing’s changed and everything’s changed. I look at them…and…love them so much…it hits me like a punch in the gut. They are my friends. I loved them before, but some of that was just…doctoring. Since we’ve been back….I don’t know…”
“It’s not just me. Spock doesn’t have to stop by my office on his way to the lab but he does, and Jim keeps calling me up to the bridge. When I get up there, he gives me a big grin and just wants to shoot the shit. Then the three of us….ha.…and then the three of us pretend that we’re not mooning around Uhura’s station like lovesick plebes. She doesn’t seem to mind…laughs…ignores us…keeps working. She can multi-task better than Spock. Oh man…Yesterday, she leaned against me in the turbo lift…granted, it was crowded but she didn’t have to…for three decks…her back to my front…her body heat…I bent my head forward…just to breathe it in…I swear she turned her head toward me a little……………She smells so good. I—.”
“Computer, pause entry.”
“--please report to Deck 5, 3L-105 on the double. Repeat. Dr. McCoy, 5, 3L-105.”
McCoy snatched his medical pouch from its shelf and darted out the door. He walked down the corridor, his stride long and relaxed but moving quickly. He breathed deeply through his nose and battled the panic that tried to join his heart in his throat.
When he reached 3L-105, he palmed the lock, suddenly realizing that the page had not been designated a medical emergency. He stepped into the cabin only far enough to allow the door to swish closed behind him. He paused, letting his instincts get a feel for the room. The air lacked that sharp electric quality that seemed to accompany emergencies but he stood, tense, balanced on the balls of his feet.
The cabin was dark, lit by two candles that burned on a table in the sleeping alcove. He heard a rustling in the flickering darkness there and turned only his eyes toward the sound.
Uhura glided into the main room. She wore a sari in wide subtle stripes of persimmon and brown. The rich fabric shimmered across her shoulder and draped low around her hips. The cropped blouse barely contained her breasts and revealed the tender curve where her waist dipped beneath her ribs.
“Remember this?” she asked.
McCoy gave a negative shake of his head.
She turned around slowly. Gold bangles clinked at her wrists.
He watched her, mentally ticking off his medical checklist. The light was too low to see into her eyes but she was steady on her feet and her breathing was slow and regular—though he could see her pulse pounding in the hollow of her throat. He could safely assume that she wasn’t injured or intoxicated. He forced himself to relax. A little.
“How’d you know I wouldn’t come running in here with Chapel or a couple of red shirt muscle-heads?” he asked.
She smiled and leaned against the edge of her computer desk. “I didn’t say it was a medical emergency and I know you happen to be off duty,” she said.
“Your page said “on the double” and I’m never off duty. You know that”
“Ok. So I took a chance. Looks like it paid off.”
He kept his eyes on hers. “Paid off?”
“You’re here. With me. Alone. Finally.”
He stared at her for a full minute. He took out his Feinberger. “Front and center, Lieutenant,” he said.
She chuckled, but pushed off the edge of her desk and stood obediently before him. He held the Feinberger an inch from her forehead and clicked it on. He ran it for a few seconds, briefly studied the readout then did the same at her temple. He carefully replaced it in his pouch and folded his hands behind his back.
“Do I check out, doctor?” she asked.
She walked backwards until she connected with her desk and leaned against it again. “Does there have to be something wrong with me to want to be alone with you?”
They watched each other in the dim light.
“I’m not very good at games, Nyota,” he said quietly. “And frankly, I wouldn’t have thought that of you.”
She fingered the soft fabric of the sari. “I ordered this a couple of days after we got back from Anachron Prime, before my memory started slipping and everything was …gone.”
They’d all recorded personal journals beyond their official reports to Starfleet.
She laughed, suddenly embarrassed. “By the time it arrived, I opened the package and had no idea what it was. The good thing is that I made sure to record the reason I bought it. It must’ve made complete sense at the time. Now…” She grabbed up handfuls of the silk, looked down at herself and laughed again. “So much for my grand seduction.”
“Oh, I don’t know about that,” said McCoy. “Your plan wouldn’t have to be all that grand to get me, baby.” His eyes wondered slowly down her body, but he stepped back and leaned a shoulder against the bulkhead by the door, putting some distance between them.
“See that,” she said, gazing at him with narrowed eyes. “That right there is what I mean. My journal tells me we had something.”
“Well, that’s nothing new. We flirt shamelessly. And it’s going to get us in trouble one day,” he said, grinning.
“It looks like it did.”
“What? It—we did?”
“According to my journal, it wasn’t trouble, it was good—and it wasn’t a secret.”
He frowned. “I don’t remember.”
“I think I might be a little insulted,” she said, raising a brow.
“I was in my nineties, young lady. My memory back then probably wasn’t that great. Speaking of which, I was uh…in my nineties…”
“Apparently your age wasn’t a problem.”
He looked up sharply. “And Spock…”
“It was after he went to Bhutan. Had nothing to do with him.”
McCoy looked skeptical.
“Trust me,” said Uhura, wryly. She sat at her desk and plugged a data wafer into her computer. She picked up her stylus and pointed at the screen. “Look at this hospital newsletter photo I found of you. You had to be about ninety-three then.”
He came around and peered over her shoulder.
The photo showed a candid shot of McCoy kicked back in a cafeteria chair, dressed in blue scrubs, arms folded across his chest. His thick silver hair was mussed and his attention was focused beyond the camera, a lazy half-smile on his face, his eyes intent beneath his lashes like a man who is watching his lover approach. The caption read: “Dr. Lowell relaxes after seventeen hours of surgery.”
“Oh,” said McCoy, blinking. “Wow.”
“Yeah. Wow. Isn’t it nice to know that you’re going to be er, healthy in your old age?”
“Assuming I don’t get killed on some god-forsaken planet somewhere, I’m going to be pretty hot at a hundred.” He grinned down at her. Uhura blushed and looked away. McCoy looked at the photo and chuckled, shaking his head.
“Would you like a glass of wine?” she asked.
She stood and eased by him. He walked back to his place by the door.
“Please sit down,” she said. “Let me blow out these stupid candles.”
“Leave the candles. But I think I’ll stay standing over here.”
“Um, ok.” She took a bottle out of a cabinet and poured wine into two cups. She handed one to McCoy. “Sorry. I don’t have any stemware.”
She sat at her desk. She fussed with the sari, finally pulling the drape off her shoulder and bunching it in her lap with a frown. Her cleavage was deep and lush in the tiny blouse. McCoy dragged his eyes away.
“So, what’s going on with you and Spock?” he asked.
“I don’t know. I went to him once after we left the Guardian’s system and it was…awkward. He was very distant, almost rude. There was something…I can’t remember. I can’t believe that we were in a relationship…the baby…everything. My feelings for him now are more like the schoolgirl crush I always had on him. No, it’s deeper than that. My feelings for him—all of you—are different now. I don’t know. I can’t remember. It’s so frustrating. Do you understand?”
“Yes.” He nodded. “And you called me in here on the double because--?”
“I don’t want to lose everything. And beyond what my journal told me...” She stopped, embarrassed again.
“Go on,” he said.
“I‘ve always thought that you and I had some…chemistry. With all the flirting and everything. Before we left the system, I remember remembering that I wanted to know what it’d be like to be with you as a young man.”
“I’ll ask around,” he chuckled.
She stared into her cup. “Right. It was a bad idea.”
“I didn’t say that.”
She looked up at him.
“It’s just that I think we’re all still a little emotionally unstable. If I was a jerk, I’d take advantage of that. And let me tell you, I really, really, really wish I was a jerk.”
“I’d better go,” he said, downing the rest of his wine.
“Ok.” She stood uncertainly in the middle of the room.
“How about a hug? For old time’s sake,” he said.
Neither of them moved until McCoy smiled and held open his arms. She stepped forward and he wrapped his arms around her waist. He bent his head and buried his face in her hair. He inhaled deeply the scent of coconuts and verbena. He tightened his arms and straightened his body, lifting her off her feet. He stared for a long moment over her head at the inviting sleeping alcove. He set her down. He sighed and stepped back, cupping her face in his hands. He stroked his thumbs across her cheekbones and traced her lips with his fingertips.
“On my one-hundredth birthday, I’m going to look back on this moment and kick myself in the ass,” he said softly.
“One your one-hundredth birthday, I’m going to show up on your doorstep wrapped in a big red bow.”
He laughed and walked to the door. “Maybe I won’t wait that long,” he said over his shoulder.
“I hope that’s a promise,” she said.
He turned back. His eyes raked over her body.
“See you later, dollface.”