The world of white light that had bombarded him when he first opened his eyes morphed into the colors and shapes of a hospital room. It had the look, smells, and feel of Terran design. Being the first Vulcan/Human hybrid, and with his choice in both careers, Spock had seen plenty of medical facilities across the Federation. He knew who the architects of this one most likely were.

"Welcome back."

Turning his head towards McCoy's voice took effort. He felt weak, drained, and as he wondered why, his memory finally placed the reason for his being here.

"Kadelson fever?" he asked, just to be sure. He remembered the diagnosis from right before he sank into full delirium, but the fever might have affected his memory.

McCoy nodded, white shaggy hair falling down over blue eyes that were as sharp as the day Spock first met him. "Someone thought all the warnings about bringing Kadelson plants around Vulcans were exaggerations. The old 'the Vulcans are holding us back' argument. I thought that died off over a century ago."

Other memories came back. A meeting of the Federation Council, his being requested to report, and the plants in a doorway as he made his way to Council chambers.

The benefit of being on Earth meant the elderly McCoy could easily reach him. He might not say it out loud, but knowing his old friend oversaw his hospital care was soothing.

Some movement from the corner of his eyes started to make him turn his head, but Setik, his son and eldest child, came to stand next to McCoy. A second later, Spock's daughters, the twins T'Kel and T'Pren, shifted into his vision too.

They scowled at him.

Worse, McCoy saw it and tried very hard not to laugh.

Spock didn't know what McCoy found so entertaining. "And why are my children so displeased to see their father recover?"

They chorused half-hearted apologies, to which he pointed out, "Insincerity can be associated with lying. Vulcans do not lie."

Somehow, this made matters worse.

McCoy coughed, trying to hide laughter, and finally managed to say to the children, "Unless they're ill, of course. All people can say things they don't mean when they're sick."

The twins' onyx eyes and Setik's sapphire ones stared at Spock, measuring.

"Is that true, Father?" Setik asked. His voice cracked in the middle of 'true', and Spock recalled his thirteen year old son's voice was changing. Biology, not emotion, caused the rise and plummets in the tone, but those eyes seemed to beg Spock to agree.

The situation grew more perplexing by the minute.

"Doctor McCoy is well versed in xenobiology. He knows of what he speaks."

Three sets of young shoulders relaxed from their rigid pose.

"There, you see!" McCoy said to them. "Told you so. Now, why don't you three go tell your mother and everyone else that your father is awake."

"Saavik is here?" Spock asked. Some vague image of almost waking up before with Saavik leaning over him came back. Was that Saavik? When he tried to focus on it, he thought it might have been someone else with him and the whole thing a memory from years ago.

T'Pren was the last one out the door, but at her mother's name, she darted another look at her father. McCoy shooed her from the room.

"Oh, she's here," the doctor answered. "Came rushing to your side and stayed with you night and day. Even by human standards, it was very touching."

He got slowly to his feet and walked over to the bed. "You know, all those years you told me how important logic was -- well, I'm finally admitting you were right. Because without it, you have sunk yourself into a hole."

"I do not understand."

"You said something during the fever that was highly illogical. When you started to wake up at one point and Saavik came over to you."

"I said--"

"You called your wife by another woman's name. With a hell of a lot feeling in it too."

McCoy sat down on the bed's edge. "As a friend and someone who failed his marriage, let me say this. You're a dead man."

"I could not have..."

"Oh, you did. We all heard you. Me, your children, everyone who was in the room. You called her Valeris, by the way."

Spock closed his eyes. Perhaps, if he was fortunate, this was all more delirium caused by the fever.

But McCoy was still there. "You'd think you'd know better after Jim pulled the same boneheaded mistake. Don't you remember when he cut short his shore leave on Quidorite and hid on Enterprise from that woman... come to think of it, what was her name? Her real one, not what Jim called her at the worst possible moment."

The previous memory came back again, waking up on Earth, and a Vulcan woman leaning over him. "I didn't know it was Saavik," Spock explained to both McCoy and himself. "I thought I awoke from an injury during a training mission. Valeris had to care for me before the paramedics arrived. My fever confused the present with that memory."

"Sure, trot that excuse out. Maybe Saavik will actually buy it."

"It is the truth!"

"Of course it is. Vulcans don't lie, right?"

"Saavik will believe me." At least, he tried to convince himself that she would.

"Why shouldn't she? After all, you'd understand it if she called you -- say, Achernar if she was delirious."

Spock's eyebrows snapped together hard. "Why do you mention Achernar? Saavik told me nothing ever existed between them except his offer."

"Exactly. So you have no reason to send your heart monitor pounding away like it's doing. Wait, here comes your wife to kill you." McCoy patted Spock's shoulder. "Been nice knowing you, friend."