I cannot claim the story idea as my own. The prompt I worked from was as follows:
Scenario/Prompt words: what if Noah had woken up from his surgery with complications? Reid had warned Luke that Noah might not be Noah when he woke up so what if Noah experienced temporary memory loss and couldn't remember Luke? Maybe Noah has feelings for Reid and suffers from the old Florence Nightengale syndrome. Of course I'd want Luke to fight for Noah and for Noah to eventually remember everything.
Squicks/Dislikes: Reid as the perfect doctor/hero.
Preferences/other notes: happy Nuke ending
This prompt really spoke to me, and even though I wasn't able to complete this to have it included among this year's BB efforts, I hope the prompter reads this and enjoys it as an ongoing story.
The story's title is derived from the lyrics of this classic Elvis Presley song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=neAIbEYVlPE
The story picks up during the May 6, 2010 episode, immediately after Luke leaves Reid and Katie's apartment, and follows canon up to that point.
What he had almost just done…it was disgusting, reprehensible. He felt a level of shame over it that he only ever remembered feeling before he had accepted his sexuality. He would never have forgiven himself had his brain not kicked in and stopped things from going any further.
But he had wanted it. He was horrified to have to admit it to himself, but it was true. Reid’s hands on his body…his tongue in his mouth…he had wanted that. And much more.
Six months earlier, he would have been grossly offended by the mere suggestion that he would ever want anyone else but Noah to make love to him. Although it would be difficult to argue that what he and Reid were about to do not twenty minutes earlier was “make love.” That was pure lust. Even as Luke had found himself caught up in it, it had felt strange, foreign. He had never experienced sex independent of love. And thankfully, he still hadn’t.
But he had wanted to, and the acknowledgement of that fact filled him with confusion and dread as he entered Noah’s hospital room. The man Luke had loved for three years lay on the bed, his serene, restful appearance belying the possibility that he might never be the same again.
He took a deep breath and thought back to all the days and nights he and Noah had spent just talking, about everything and nothing, for hours and hours, never tiring of hearing the others' voice. Luke missed that more than he could put into words, but he also wondered if that natural connectedness was something they could ever get back. Although it had only been about six months earlier that everything was okay, it felt like an eternity ago, like a reincarnated person’s vague memories of a previous life.
But whether he and Noah would ever be together again as a couple, Luke needed Noah to get better. He needed to see Noah live the life he had fought for, worked for. He needed to see Noah continue to grow into the person who was so beloved by Luke’s family and their friends. He…just needed Noah in his life, in whatever capacity that might be.
He pulled a chair over to sit down next to the bed. He reached forward and took Noah’s hand in his. “Noah,” he said quietly, his voice shaking a bit. “I’m trying really hard to believe that everything’s going to be okay. I don’t care if you’re blind. I just want you to wake up so you can do everything you want to do with your life, everything that I know you can. So, Noah, open your eyes.” He swallowed the lump in his throat. “Please,” he added.
He gave the other man’s hand the gentlest of squeezes, and gasped out loud when he felt Noah’s fingers begin to move against his own.
Noah’s eyes slowly opened and groggily scanned the room. His eyes came to rest on Luke, and he squinted as if trying to make him out. Luke felt like shouting and jumping for joy, but instead he smiled broadly, thinking it was best not to overstimulate Noah.
“W-who are you?” Noah stuttered confusedly. “W-Where am I?”
Luke unconsciously released Noah’s hand. His smile faded and his brow furrowed. “I-I’m-Noah, it’s me. Luke. You’re in the hospital. You just had your surgery a few hours ago.”
“Luke?” Noah weakly attempted to push himself up to a sitting position, but couldn’t quite summon the strength. “I don’t know any Lu-what surgery? Where’s my dad?”
The door flew open and Reid came charging in. “How long has he been awake?” he asked sharply.
“He just woke up,” Luke answered, quickly standing up and moving the chair out of the way. “He seems confused,” he whispered as Reid passed by, pulling out his stethoscope to begin checking Noah’s heart rate.
“Noah, do you remember where you are?” he asked.
“No,” Noah answered, and Luke could recognize the subtle impatience in his inflection. “That’s what I was just telling that other guy. He said I had a surgery? What surgery? Where’s my dad?”
Reid didn’t respond right away. After listening to Noah’s heart, he told him, “I know this is confusing, but I’m going to need you to take a few deep breaths and stay calm. Your heart rate’s really spiked from all this excitement.”
Luke watched nervously as Noah did as he was told, letting a few deep breaths in and out. Once he seemed sufficiently calmer, Reid told him, “Alright, Noah, in case you don’t remember, my name is Dr. Oliver. I just need you to answer a few questions for me, ok?”
“Okay,” Noah answered with a nod.
“What’s your last name?”
“Mayer,” he replied immediately.
“And where do you live and with whom?”
“Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri with my father, Colonel Winston Mayer.”
“How old are you, Noah?”
“And what year is it and who’s the President of the United States?”
“It’s 2006,” Noah answered, “and George W. Bush is the President.”
Luke’s eyes had filled with tears, while Reid nodded his head at Noah’s answers in a noncommittal way.
“And how’s your vision?” he asked.
“T-things are a little fuzzy and out of focus,” Noah answered. “But I can see.”
“Good,” Reid responded. “That’s what the surgery you had was for. You were having a little trouble with your eyesight, Noah.”
“Listen, Dr.-Oliver, I think you said? I don’t mean to be rude, but can you please explain to me what’s going on? It’s hard to remain calm when this is all so confusing for me.”
Luke bit his lower lip to keep from full on sobbing, while Reid pursed his lips in resignation. “Well, it seems that you’ve got some memory loss, Noah. Your memories only seem to go up to 2006, but it’s actually 2010.”
“2010?” Noah asked, looking between Reid and Luke in bewilderment. Luke couldn’t bring himself to meet his eyes.
“That’s impossible,” he stated firmly, locking eyes with Reid and shaking his head. “It’s 2006. I’m a junior in high school. I just took my Chemistry midterm yesterday.”
“I know it’s hard to believe, but what I’m telling you is the truth,” Reid told him gently. “We’re at Memorial Hospital in Oakdale, Illinois, which is where you live now, and it’s May 6th, 2010. What day was yesterday for you?”
Noah thought for just a single second. “March 22nd,” he answered. “It was a Wednesday. The last thing I remember was studying for my History midterm and then going to bed at our house on the base.”
“Well, if it makes you feel any better, Noah,” Reid said, with a subtle smile, “I’m not going to make you take a History midterm. Although today is a Thursday, so at least there’s some continuity there.”
“I still don’t understand,” Noah said weakly, his blue eyes looking pleadingly at Reid for a more thorough explanation. “Why do I live in Illinois? WHERE is my dad?”
“There’s been a lot of changes in your life in the last four years, Noah,” Reid said, “but right now I need to go get some tests ordered for you so we can see what’s going on in that head of yours. I promise that once that’s done and we know what we’re dealing with, I’ll let your friend Luke here start filling in the gaps of the last four years for you.” He gestured toward Luke, and Noah, who had been focusing his complete attention on Reid, turned his confused eyes in Luke’s direction. This time, Luke looked up to meet Noah’s eyes, and gave him an awkward smile.
“I’ll be right back,” Reid said, patting Noah’s knees reassuringly. He gestured for Luke to follow him closer to the doorway. When they got there, he whispered, “He’s going to keep asking all those questions, but we need to dole out information little by little so we don’t overwhelm his already fragile brain. Right now, just tell him that you’re his friend, and tell him about what he’s studied in college or some other banal things. Save the major information for when we have a better sense of what we’re dealing with.”
Luke nodded nervously. With all that had gone on in the last few hours, his brain was feeling pretty fragile, too.
“This certainly isn’t how I hoped the night was going to go,” Reid said, with a suggestive smile that made Luke instinctively take a step back and put his hands out in front of him.
“You better go order those tests, Dr. Oliver,” he told him pointedly.
Luke recognized the disappointment in the older man’s eyes. “I’m on my way, Mr. Snyder,” he said, before opening the door and pulling it shut behind him much harder than was necessary.
Now alone in the room with Noah, Luke turned around to face him. Noah sat staring up at the ceiling, tears standing in his eyes. At realizing Luke was looking at him, he immediately wiped them away and cleared his throat.
“So, you’re my friend?” he asked Luke.
“Yes, Noah, we’re very good friends,” he answered with a smile, pulling the chair back over so he could sit beside the bed again.
“It’s just so weird to hear that,” Noah told him, “because I don’t really have many friends, at least not really close friends, like you say we are.”
“You have lots of close friends here in Oakdale, Noah,” Luke assured him. “There are lots of people who care about you.”
“And what did you say your name was again?”
“Luke. Luke Snyder.”
“Luke Snyder,” Noah repeated, as if saying the name aloud might pry loose a memory. After a few seconds, he shook his head. “I’m really sorry. The only Luke I can remember is Luke Bailey, who lived on the same base in Georgia with me when we were kids. I hope you’re not offended that I don’t remember you.”
“No, of course not,” Luke said quickly, though he could almost feel his heart breaking. “It’s not your fault, Noah. Hopefully, after these tests, Dr. Oliver will have a better idea what to do to restore your memories.”
“How long have I lived in-Oakdale, right? How long have you and I been friends?”
“Almost three years to both those questions. We actually met the day you moved here. We did an internship together at a television studio, and then you stuck around to study Film at the local University.”
Noah scrunched up his nose at hearing that. “It’s hard to believe my dad let me study Film,” he said. “Hopefully that means he finally came around.” At Luke’s silence, Noah asked him, “What happened to my father, Luke? Why does everyone keep dodging that question? Is something wrong with my dad?”
Luke wasn’t entirely sure how to answer that, but he was fairly certain that any way he tried to, he would be violating Reid’s instructions not to overwhelm Noah’s brain. So he simply said, “Your dad doesn’t live in Oakdale. Dr. Oliver doesn’t want me to bombard you with too much information right now, but I promise, Noah, that once he gives me the all clear, I will personally explain everything to you, including where your father is living now.” He reached forward and took hold of Noah’s hand, giving it a gentle squeeze. “Everything’s going to be alright, Noah. I promise.”
Noah looked down at their enjoined hands in puzzlement for a moment, before suddenly jerking his hand out of Luke’s grasp. Luke gave a soft cry of surprise, and then slowly drew his hand back to his side.
“I’m sorry,” Noah told him immediately. “I’m just-I’m sorry.” He looked away to stare at the wall on the opposite end of the room from where Luke was sitting. He was shaking visibly. “I’m pretty freaked out right now, and I’m trying really hard to stay calm. I know you were just trying to comfort me, and I appreciate that.” After a few more seconds of looking away, he turned back to face Luke. “Thank you,” he said simply, forcing the slightest hint of a smile.
“You’re welcome,” Luke responded, fighting the urge to try taking Noah’s hand again. “Anything you need, I’m here for you.”
Just then Reid came through the door followed closely by Alison, who was pushing a wheelchair.
“Okay, Noah,” he said, “Alison’s going to wheel you down to start prepping you for your tests, and I’ll be down in just a few minutes.”
“Hi Noah,” Alison said, smiling and extending her hand to him. “I’m Alison Stewart, and you and I are good friends. I hear that you’re having a little trouble with your memory.”
Noah’s mouth opened in surprise at the arrival of yet another good friend he had no memory of, but he recovered quickly, and accepted her hand. Seeing him holding onto her hand tightly, Luke couldn’t help but feel pangs of jealousy.
“Hi Alison,” Noah replied. “It’s nice to meet you-again, I guess I should say.”
“Well, knowing you has been a great pleasure for me the past few years, Noah. Now let me help you into the wheelchair and get you rolling.”
As Noah readied himself to begin moving from bed to chair, she glanced quickly at Luke and shot him an encouraging smile. “It’s going to be okay,” she mouthed to him silently.
“Thank you,” he mouthed back. He was sure he probably looked every bit as shaken up as he felt.
Once Ali had assisted Noah into the chair, Luke stepped in front of it. “I’ll be right here waiting for you, Noah,” he said. “If you need me, just send somebody to come get me, okay?”
“Okay,” Noah answered, although he looked completely baffled.
“Alright, Noah, away we go,” Ali told him, before wheeling him through the doorway and out of Luke’s sight.
Luke let out a breath he hadn’t even realized he’d been holding, and turned in Reid’s direction. The doctor’s face was buried in Noah’s patient chart.
“Well,” Luke said, “at least he can see pretty well. The surgery was a success in that regard.”
“Yeah,” Reid replied, not looking up, “not too bad, considering that less than an hour ago you accused me of trying to kill him on the operating table.” He reached down to retrieve a pen from his breast pocket.
“I shouldn’t have said that,” Luke told him apologetically. “Whatever your personal feelings are, I know you would never do anything but your absolute best work in surgery. I was just very, very upset, and I wasn’t thinking rationally tonight.” He paused. “I made a lot of mistakes tonight,” he added.
“So you keep saying,” Reid responded bitterly, scribbling away on the chart.
Luke decided to ignore the remark. “So, do you think he’s eventually going to remember the last four years?” he asked.
“It’s too early to tell until we get the results of those tests,” Reid answered. He finally looked up to meet Luke’s eyes. “But one thing I do know is that if you had just given in to what you really wanted tonight, I would have made sure it was a night YOU would always remember.”
“Reid, please-” Luke said, beginning to back away.
“Oh, cut it out, Luke,” Reid said, giving him an icy cold stare. “You doth protest too much, it almost makes me nauseous.”
“I’m protesting because what’s going on between us isn’t fair to Noah!” Luke snapped. “You’re his doctor and I’m his…”
“…his what?” Reid interrupted. “What exactly are you to each other anymore? After the last few months of him pushing you away you can barely even call yourselves friends.”
“That’s not true,” Luke insisted. “Noah and I will always be friends.” He shook his head sadly. “You just…don’t know. You weren’t here. You didn’t see how he and I were…before.”
Reid chuckled mirthlessly. “Well, at this point, I’m in no worse a position to judge your past history together than HE IS, because he doesn’t remember a goddamn thing about it.”
He stepped up close to Luke’s face so that they were almost nose to nose. “Listen, Luke, when I want something, I go for it. That’s just who I am. That’s how I got to be where I am today. And I want you. Frankly, I’ve wanted you since probably the second or third time I laid eyes on you. And if I didn’t think you wanted me too, I’d back off. But I know you do. You’ve been doing a piss poor job of hiding it lately.”
Luke shook his head. “Reid…”
He put a finger up to Luke’s lips to silence him. “So when you’re ready to be honest about what you want, when you no longer feel this pathological need to be loyal and devoted to a former boyfriend who treated you like shit, and who, for the time being at least, doesn’t even REMEMBER you, let me know, because I know what I want and I think I’ve made it pretty clear.”
With one more piercing stare directly into Luke’s wide brown eyes, he moved to leave the room, turning around in the doorway.
“It’ll be morning before we have any of the test results,” he said. “You might want to go home and get some sleep.”
“I don’t think so,” Luke replied. “My head is spinning way too much for me to sleep.”
Reid nodded, and then left Luke alone with his thoughts.