Jim slowly opened his eyes, wondering where he was. And why his head hurt so much. Why was he in sickbay? What this time?
He shifted enough to look over more of the room where he was laying, sighing in relief at a familiar sight. He cleared his throat softly, wondering about the dryness of it and his mouth. "Hey Bones?" When there was no response, he tried again. "Bones?" Jim said a little louder.
Bones turned slowly, his hazel eyes huge in surprise. Jim had seen almost every Human expression possible on Bones' face but this look of complete astonishment was quite possibly a first. Took a lot to rattle Bones but apparently Jim had done so.
"Jim?" Bones said, coming closer, staring unblinking at Jim, making him wonder if he had grown an extra head in the time that he couldn't account for.
"Yeah. Why am I in sickbay? Where's Spock? Why is there a security officer outside my door?" Jim asked, the questions running together.
"What is your whole name?" Bones asked quietly as though afraid he would startle his friend.
"James Tiberius Kirk, Captain, Starship Enterprise. NCC-1701. Spouse of Commander Spock, First Officer and Chief Science Officer. You are Dr. Leonard Horatio McCoy, Chief Medical Officer. Why? Where's Spock?"
"Are you still seeing elephants?" Bones asked, his palm lightly on Jim's forehead.
"Elephants? What? Are you high?"
Bones shook his head, studying Jim with a critical eye. "How do you know me?"
"You're my best friend. We met on the Starfleet shuttle from Riverside to San Francisco. You threatened to throw up on me. Stop asking me so many questions and answer mine," Jim said, his patience quickly coming to an end.
"Spock is still confined to your quarters," Bones started, Jim frowning as he interrupted.
"Confined to quarters? Why? What's going on?"
"He's in quarantine. You are in sickbay because you are still recovering from Seyp fever. You've been here for a week now. Spock's never had it and if he gets it, he would most likely die from it."
"Seyp fever?" Jim repeated. "That's… not good. How many have it?"
"At last count, 25% of the crew had it. About half of those have recovered. The other half are on the mend."
Jim titled his head slightly, listening for a moment. "Where are we? Not out in space."
"Circling Spacestation Clapton. With so many sick, we had to orbit. That's when Pike came on board."
"Chris is on board?" Jim repeated.
"Has been for three days," Bones explained. "What's the last thing you remember?"
"Uhmm… I was on the Bridge. Until it started spinning. I turned command over to Hikaru and got to the bathroom just in time."
"Where I found you passed out with the fever. Seven days ago."
"I've been here an entire week? Unconscious?" Jim asked, considering the hole in his memory.
"You weren't unconscious the last four days," Bones corrected. "You woke up and asked me why there were pink elephants in your room."
"Pink elephants?" Jim repeated, looking at Bones like he had truly lost his mind. Which was really quite sad, all thing considered.
"You were hallucinating. It's common with Seyp fever. You also thought you were eight."
"Eight what?" Jim asked with a frown.
"Eight years old. I contacted Winona and she confirmed that the last time you had it was when you were eight. You reverted with the fever."
"You're making this up, right?" Jim asked, an undercurrent of hope in his voice.
"I am not. When you came to, you asked if your mom was coming. So I contacted her and she told you she couldn't come. Because she was out on assignment."
"I talked to Mom?" Jim asked, wondering if the fever had made him a parrot that was only capable of repeating whatever McCoy said.
"Twice," Bones confirmed. "You knew we were friends but not exactly why. You called me Leonard, which was frankly a nice change of pace."
Jim frowned even more at him. "And the security at my door?"
"You managed to escape to your quarters last night. In the middle of the night, naturally. You wouldn't come back so I contacted Pike who told you that you had to return with me."
"You always were a tattletale," Jim said with a lighter tone. "Is Spock okay?"
"He's fine. Bored but otherwise just fine."
"And the rest of the crew? They are over it or getting better?"
"Every one of them. No deaths. No serious aftereffects."
"And you didn't get it," Jim said, studying Bones closely.
"Never do. I have natural immunity. Like Winona. Now, would you like to talk to Spock?" Bones asked cheerfully.
"Do you need to ask?" Jim replied, accepting the comm-vid to contact Spock. "Hey."
"Good afternoon, t'hy'la. How are you feeling?"
"I can't really answer that. Because I have no recollection of the last week. Bones tells me I thought I was eight."
"You did. And there were elephants in your room. Pink ones," Spock added.
"So he said," Jim agreed, shaking his head in dismay. "Did I say anything stupid or embarrassing?"
"You did not. You were, in fact, quite adorable if somewhat precocious."
"Precocious?" Jim asked with a laugh.
"Leonard told you that you left sickbay without permission?"
"Yeah. But that was only because I wanted to be with you, right?"
"Of course. Although you did seem to remember Gaila as well," Spock joked.
Jim laughed at his statement. "I would never break out of anywhere for her."
"As I am aware," Spock assured him.
"When can you come see me?" Jim asked him.
"Well," Bones said, considering Jim. "Now that he's back to his adult self, it might be safe to release him to your quarters."
"Really? You'll let me leave?" Jim asked.
"I'm fairly sick of you by this point," Bones claimed. "And I know as your adult self, you'll tell me if you start to feel like you are relapsing."
"I can't give it to Spock, right?" Jim asked, to make absolutely sure.
"You are past the contagious stage. Which is one of the reasons you broke out of sickbay."
"Because you told me it would be safe to be with him," Jim guessed.
"Yeah. Me and my big mouth," Bones said. "Spock can be released tomorrow. Most everyone's over it and those who aren't are no longer contagious."
"When can I return to duty?" Jim asked, Spock looking vaguely amused.
Bones sighed in frustration over the question, not that he wasn't expecting it. "In the last week, you've barely eaten. You've slept more than been awake. You need help getting to the bathroom. When do you think you can return?"
"Why is he so mean to me?" Jim asked Spock, otherwise ignoring McCoy.
"I do not consider it unkind, t'hy'la. I consider it… concerned. And he is correct."
Jim shrugged, returning his focus to Bones. "So I can go to my quarters?"
"Yeah. I'll get a wheelchair," Bones said, leaving after a last sigh.
"You need to contact Winona," Spock said.
"I will. Once I'm in our quarters. Is Scotty in command?"
"He is. The Admiral has also been in command. Not much is required while we are at the spacestation."
"True," Jim agreed. "What have you been doing?"
Spock told him, much as he had the 8 year old version of Jim.
"And I was worried they would yell at me about the reports?" Jim asked with a laugh.
"You were quite concerned," Spock agreed.
"I hope you weren't too worried."
"You were more worried than I was. You were afraid you would not become yourself again. And wanted to know what would happen if you stayed little," Spock told him.
"I can imagine," Jim said, looking over at Bones when he returned with the wheelchair. "Bones is back. I'll see you in a few minutes."
"I look forward to it," Spock said, closing his connection.
Bones helped Jim move from the bed to the wheelchair, covering him with a blanket as a precaution. "Here are the rules," Bones said in what Jim thought of as his scary doctor voice. The security officer held the door open as Bones pushed Jim through in full lecture mode. "You and Spock will not engage in any physical activities more strenuous than him helping you to the bathroom. You will spend most of your time in your bed. Alone. You will eat at least once an hour. I don't care if it's Pop Tarts and graham crackers. Eat. You can have coffee but switch to decaf after your first two cups. Pepsi is okay. You'll want orange soda and that's fine as well. Water is best but anything you drink will help. You may use your computer for 10 minutes each hour. I'll make Spock activate the timer if you try getting past it. You can have visitors as long as you are in bed. Sleep when you need to. If you start to feel dizzy or light headed or feverish, you are to tell Spock immediately. Immediately. No 'brave Captain Kirk who can handle it himself.' You are to tell Spock at the first signs. And if I find out you tried to stonewall him, you will be back in sickbay for the next month. You got me?"
Jim started at the sudden silence. No, he hadn't been listening but if it was really really important, Bones would tell Spock.
"You have no idea what I just said, do you?" Bones grumped from above him.
"Maybe?" Jim replied. "Sleep. Eat. Drink. No sex. That about it?"
"I hate you. I've never told you before but now's as good a time as any," Bones said, his tone surprisingly mild compared to the words he was saying.
"I know you do. It's mostly jealousy. And I can live with that," Jim said, howling when Bones thumped him on the back of his head. "Hey. That's no way to treat your patient. Or your commanding officer."
"You are a brat of the worst kind," Bones informed him.
"Yeah. But I'm your brat."
"No, you are Spock's. May God give him patience enough to deal with you," Bones prayed. "I preferred you as an 8 year old. At least you listened."
Jim shrugged, grinning when they arrived at his quarters. He reached over and input his code, mostly because he could. "Honey, I'm home," he announced unnecessarily. Spock was standing just before the door, obviously happy to see them – obvious to anyone, not just Jim.
"So I see," Spock responded as evenly as he could, not sounding nearly as Vulcan as he would have preferred.
"Bones has a whole long list of rules. Mostly they come down to the usual – eat, sleep, drink, no sex. You know. It will make him feel better to give you the unabridged version," Jim said, accepting Spock's help to leave the wheelchair. By unspoken agreement, Spock helped him over to their bed, settling Jim as Bones fussed over them both. "I'm fine. Stop fussing."
Bones straightened, looking him over with a frown. "What do you want to eat?"
"Chicken soup?" Jim requested, secretly glad when Bones nodded in agreement.
"Very mature," Bones agreed. "You want Pepsi? Orange soda? Water?"
"Water," Jim decided, shifting the pillow behind him so he could sit more comfortably. "I can call Mom from here, can't I?" he asked them both. Or neither of them. Didn't much matter, really.
"Here you are," Spock said, handing him the vid-comm from the bedside table. "Can you do it yourself?"
Jim very maturely stuck his tongue out at Spock before contacting his mother. "Hi," he said brightly when she activated her end.
"Hi baby. How are you doing?" she asked with a sleepy smile.
"I woke you up, didn't I?" he said with some guilt.
"It's fine. I'll go back to sleep. Are you feeling better?"
"I am. I don't think I'm eight any longer. I don't actually remember ever thinking I was," Jim told her, making her laugh.
"You were quite adorable," she assured him. "And much less trouble than the first time."
"That's good. Although I apparently broke out of sickbay last night," he confessed.
"I'm not surprised. I'm sure Leonard wasn't either," she said with a smile.
"He wasn't. That's what he told me anyway. If it's true, I know I left only because I wanted to be with Spock."
"Of course," she agreed. "I'm glad you are feeling better, my dear."
"Me too. I'll let you go back to sleep. I'm sorry again I woke you."
"I don't mind. I appreciate you letting me know you are out of sickbay with Leonard's permission."
"Will you contact me later today? Once you wake up properly?" Jim asked with a smile.
"I will, dear. Listen to Leonard. And to Spock."
"I promise," he agreed, signing off and watching until the very last minute. He sighed, handing the vid-comm to Spock.
"It wasn't so long ago you avoided her," Bones reminded him when he settled next to him with the soup and a glass of ice water.
Jim shrugged, accepting the bowl to try the soup. "Being Captain changes a man."
"Very true," Spock agreed, watching him eat. "You will need to sleep when you are finished eating."
"You'll stay?" Jim asked Spock who nodded in agreement.
"I will. In this way I can be certain you do not leave," Spock said making Jim laugh.
"Okay. Do you think I'll remember thinking I was eight?" Jim asked Bones between bites.
"You might. You might not. It's not predictable. Everyone reacts differently to the fever. Lt. Bailer remembers speaking Ancient Greek. Jenkins has sworn off fish forever. And Silverstone hates flamingos. She said she always has."
"Does she recall that they were filling her room?" Spock asked.
"She does. Thankfully they didn't scare her. Mostly annoyed her with being there." Bones turned his focus to Jim when he stopped eating, staring down at the bowl which was half empty. "You done?"
"Yeah. I'll eat more when I wake up," Jim said, surrendering the bowl to him.
"That's fine. No cause for concern. Do you want to talk to Pike now or once you're awake?" Bones asked.
"Now," Jim decided, waiting as Spock requested him. Once Pike was on the line, Spock explained that Jim was now in his quarters, Pike expressing his relief.
"So you are back to normal, at least for you?" Pike said.
"That's what I'm told," Jim agreed. "I have to take a nap now. But when I wake up, will you come for a visit?"
"Of course. And try to stay put so Leonard doesn't have to rat you out again," Pike requested with a smile.
"I promise," Jim said with a nod. "Apparently my eight year old self was still stubborn."
"Yes but not unmanageably so," Pike assured him. "Go to sleep. I'll see you when you wake up."
"Thanks," Jim agreed, disconnecting and scooting down in the bed. He smiled when Bones pulled the covers higher, making sure he was snug and warm. "I thought you said you hate me."
"I do. But if you relapse, I'll have to take you back," Bones claimed. "Do you want me to leave you a hypospray, just in case?"
"No," Jim said at the same time that Spock agreed. Jim just frowned at them both and closed his eyes, almost instantly asleep.
"I guess his big adventure has him worn out," Bones said quietly.
"It would seem so," Spock agreed warmly. "Thank you for taking such good care of him. I cannot contemplate what would become of him if you were not as careful as you are."
Bones shook his head at that, smiling at Spock. "Between us, we'll keep him safe."
"I'll hold you to that," Spock said, telling him good-bye before he left them alone.
Spock watched Jim sleep for a few minutes, always comforted by his presence and the relaxed expression on his face. He finally turned his focus to a padd, reviewing some of the reports from his Science staff, signing off or requesting clarification as necessary. Not that the reports or the experiments were vital. Mostly they were tasks that had needed to be done for some time but never managed to make their way to the top of the list. This enforced down-time had been the ideal chance to take care of some of them.
"Elephants? No. The circus isn't in town," Jim was saying, shaking his head. "Of course I didn't. Why would I?...mmm…. Mom won't yell, I'm sure."
"Jim," Spock said, a warm hand on his shoulder. The contact assured Spock that Jim was not concerned by his dreams although he was very talkative as a result.
"Chris will make sure. I don't know what time it is on Saturn. Flamingos don't fly. Do they?... Sam had it first."
"Jim," Spock said a little more loudly, shaking him gently.
"What?" Jim responded although Spock wasn't entirely sure he had woken up.
"Are you awake, love?" Spock asked.
"Uhmm…" Jim moaned before rolling onto his back. He slowly opened his bright blue eyes, barely focused on Spock. "Hey."
"You were dreaming. I became concerned," Spock explained.
"Oh. I'm okay," Jim decided, taking a deep breath. "I remember being 8 now. How many people knew?" Jim tried hard not to be embarrassed by what the fever had done to him but some of the things he said and done were very… childish.
"Not many. The Command Crew visited with you. They found you adorable. Even Nyota enjoyed visiting with you," Spock teased.
"Thank God Hikaru didn't mind helping with my pajamas."
"You would do the same for him," Spock reminded him.
"Yeah. I know I don't need to be embarrassed but I can seem to help it."
"You do not have any reason to be embarrassed. But I believe it is understandable. And you know that none of them will, I believe the saying goes, hold it against you."
"Hopefully they won't," Jim agreed. "I need to use the bathroom. Then can they come for a visit? So I can prove I'm not 8 any longer."
"Certainly," Spock said, leaving the bed to help Jim over to their bathroom.
"Think Bones would have a fit if I took a shower?" Jim asked, looking longingly at their shower stall.
"Sit. I will check," Spock said, activating the comm. Dr. M'Benga answered, assuring them it would be fine so long as Spock was with him the entire time.
"Is Bones okay?" Jim asked Spock who repeated the question, in a slightly different way, to the Doctor.
"He is. I made him take the rest of the day off. I believe he went to the spacestation for something to eat."
"Good," Jim said loud enough so that the Doctor would hear. "Thank you."
"You are welcome. And I'm glad you are feeling better," M'Benga said with an unmistakable smile in his voice.
"Me too," Jim agreed, watching as Spock started the shower before stripping off his clothes. Once he was naked, he helped Jim out of his pajamas as well.
"You may look but you may not touch," Spock warned as he helped Jim into the steaming water.
"You are a spoilsport," Jim claimed.
"And we must listen to the Doctor's orders. If you become aroused, we cannot do anything about it," Spock reminded him.
"Mmm…" Jim sighed, letting the water beat down on him. "This feels really good."
"I can tell," Spock said with his version of a smile. "Hold still and I will wash your hair."
"Kay," Jim said, closing his eyes and enjoying the feel of Spock's hands on his scalp. "I missed having access to our bond."
"As have I," Spock said, kissing Jim's wet forehead. "It is good to have you back with me where you belong."
"Me too," Jim said, leaning against the wall.
"Have we tired you?" Spock asked in concern, Jim's fatigue leaking over to Spock.
"I'm afraid so. I wish I could stay. But…."
"I understand," Spock assured him, turning off the water and helping him out of the stall. He quickly and thoroughly dried Jim, helping him back to bed. "I will get your pajamas."
Jim nodded, sitting on the edge of the bed as he waited. He wasn't a lot of help as Spock dressed him in warm pajamas before settling him properly in bed.
"Are you feeling up to visitors?" Spock asked, kissing his forehead.
"I think so. Since I just have to sit here," Jim said.
Spock went to the intercom to tell Nyota that they should come, receiving her promise that she would bring the rest of the Command Crew with her.
"What would you like to drink?" Spock asked, gazing down at Jim with a heart-warming expression.
"Hot chocolate," Jim decided.
"Certainly," Spock said, going to their tiny kitchen to prepare it. "No, I have not talked with Sarek recently. Why?"
"You usually talk to him once a week. If I was sick for a week, you should have contacted him," Jim said.
"Other concerns took precedence," Spock reminded him, sitting next to him when the hot cocoa was ready.
"I guess they would," Jim said, carefully sipping the delicious treat. "Do we have our next orders yet?"
"We do not. As we had no way of knowing how long it would take for the entire crew to make a full recovery," Spock said.
"That makes sense," Jim agreed, smiling when the door chimed. Spock called them for to enter, the Command Crew coming in and practically tumbling over one another in order to greet Jim. He laughed at their enthusiasm, trying to answer as many of their questions as he possibly could. It came out that he did remember being eight and he thanked them all for their kindness, their help, and their patience.
"Ach, Cap'n," Scotty said. "It's not anything but what you'd have done for us."
That was met with a chorus of agreement, all of them assuring Jim there was nothing they wouldn't do for him, as an adult or as an eight year-old.
Chris sat in the armchair, taking it all in with amusement and indulgence. He spoke when someone addressed him directly, otherwise not interrupting what could best be described as a family reunion.
After they had been regaling the Captain with stories of what he had missed for almost 45 minutes, McCoy came in and proceeded to shoo them all out. "I know you want to stay. But it's been long enough for his first time. Yes you can come back tomorrow. No I won't change my mind. Yes I'm sure he needs to sleep."
He finally convinced them all to leave, only Chris remaining behind, shaking his head and smiling at the other three men. "You are quite the trio."
"Do you think we've just been insulted?" Bones asked Jim and Spock as he scanned Jim for his peace of mind more than from medical necessity.
"Quite possibly," Spock said, looking over at the Admiral, amusement dancing in his dark eyes.
Chris laughed and stood up. "I have some Captaining to do. I'll see you all tomorrow."
"Good night," was the response as he left them alone.
"Do you wish to sleep here tonight?" Spock asked Leonard when Jim admitted his eyes weren't going to stay open any longer.
"No. He'll be fine. And if you need me, you only have to let me know."
Spock nodded, caressing Jim's hair as he quickly drifted off to sleep. "Thank you again for being such a good friend to us both."
"I thought thanks were illogical," Leonard teased, ordering the lights down to 10%. "Call me if you need me."
"You can be certain that I will. Sleep well," Spock said, watching him leave before returning his undivided attention to Jim who was already dreaming about activities they would be undertaking just as soon as they were allowed to do so. The idea pleased Spock immensely, making him smile to himself as he slid down in the bed to lay closer to Jim, very soon sound asleep with his t'hy'la snug up against him, right where he belonged.
~ The End ~
A/N: Thanks again to everyone who showed this story so much love! The reviews have been inspirational and the number of times this story has been favorited is astounding to me! Thank you all for such lovely feedback! It's been fun!