"Let us out!"

"For the last time Kirk, they cannot comprehend you. This might astound you but highly evolved species like the Gurachii find learning a mediocre language like human English, an unjustifiable waste of time."

"Oh well thank you for your input interpreter Khan. Weren't you supposed to be able to negotiate with these highly evolved snake-people, or whatever the hell they are; being such a brilliant parcelmouth and all."

"I don't understand that reference Kirk," growled Khan, rising from the damp cell floor in his aggravation; "and I don't appreciate you placing the blame of your own typical stupidity on my shoulders."

"My stupidity? You're the one who bragged that you were familiar with this planet Khan." Jim gabbed two cell bars and clenched his fists around the cold metal.

"Yes in my time, me and my people found genuine goodwill and amorous hospitality here."

"Figures." Jim snorted and leaned heavily into his hands.

"And just what are you implying Kirk," hissed Khan, his eyes narrowing dangerously at the other man.

"Exactly what I said."

Khan took a warning step in Kirks direction, but the other man didn't so much as flinch; his back still carelessly facing the aggravated man.

"You are a waste Jim Kirk; a waste of a man, a waste of a captain and a waste of time overall. I cannot believe I once fooled myself so, pretending to see something more in you."

Jim tried not to let the words get to him, but they hit him hard. Not surprisingly; being raised fatherless and with a mother who could hardly stand looking at him; in a home, where between an abusive step dad and alcoholic brother he was lucky to get by, a week without a heavy beating; Jim didn't have the most solid self-esteem. It was in fact the primary behind his desire to constantly better himself and seek everyone's approval. A subconscious part of him trollied around in the back of his mind; reminding him that if he put his welfare behind everyone else, they will have no reason to hate him; no reason to beat him down.

Khan held no such pretenses; he always acted according to his own judgment and placed himself and his crew ahead of the rest. However he recognized his value even among the people most dear to him and easily melded the hierarchy to suit his needs. It was this that most infuriated Jim, that as similar as they were in regards to the loyalty they held for their crew, Khan was not tied back by this hero-complex that forced Jim to make unclear decisions in order to save everyone. Khan might have helped Jim once, might have been the only person willing to try and correct Jim's broken logic; but that was a lost option. Jim couldn't count on establishing any kind of relationship with the brunette; not after everything that transpired between them, almost two weeks ago, in his quarters. Sighing heavily and lifting his gaze to solemnly study his Star Fleet ring, Jim let himself think back on that night.

"I believe Captain my intentions couldn't possibly be more clear," the hand still holding his own made steady progress up the inside of his thigh.

"I know that. I just need to clear this up Khan…I," Jim momentarily lost his breath when he felt the tip of one index finger run across the length of his cock. Even through the thick denim, the heat was oppressive and the lightest of pressure caused his body to react involuntarily. "I can't do this. I don't….find you attractive."

As soon as the words left his mouth, some nagging part of his brain burned to take them back. The pressure on his hardness disappeared and the heat was replaced by a burning itchiness that begged Kirk to touch himself. Khan withdrew into his chair as far as the backrest allowed and stared regally at the other man. His neutral expression gave nothing away, though Kirk could have sworn a dullness had overcome his eyes that wasn't there earlier. Lifting himself gracefully from the chair, the dark haired man easily crossed the expanse of the room in a few long strides and pressed the release button for the front door.

"Wait!" Jim jumped from his seat and ran quickly over to the other man, grabbing him by the shoulder as he made the first step out of his quarters, "I didn't mean it like that!" He begged. "I just…I…you're very attractive it's just I…you don't understand," Jim made one final effort to get through to the other man, but Khan didn't so much as stir under his hand and simply rolled his shoulders to dislodge his weakened hold.

"No Kirk I understand perfectly. You find me physically inadequate to please you; therefore I am not to bother you any more. You have my word Captain that I will cease all attempts to win your affection form this moment onwards. Good night," and he slipped quietly from the room and disappeared down the hall, leaving Jim to stare after him; dumbstruck, relieved and strangely just a little bit sad.

After that night Khan made it very clear that he was avoiding Jim. He took his meals in his quarters unless he was sure that Jim would be unable to attend the dinning hall. He received his assignment directly from Spock and no longer thought to consult with Jim about anything regarding his work, not that he ever did so before (Jim was well aware that Khan could easily run every aspect of the ship on his own without so much as skimming a manual) and on field duty, only gave brief, impersonal answers to any questions Kirk had for him at the debriefing. Overall Jim was in the doghouse and he didn't even know how he got there considering him and Khan were never a thing to begin with and he really tried to let him down gently. So maybe he could have said something a little more sensitive than 'I don't find you attractive," to a man who took such immaculate pride in his physical appearance; but that was water under the bridge, and surely Khan would have preferred Jim let him down sooner rather than later.

Still Khan had been slighted, and he let Jim know his distaste in the mater in the most Khan like way possible; by completely ignoring him. So it was quite a surprise when the field team was called to investigate a planet that some of Khan's crew were able to identify as a non-hostile colony of highly advanced, sociable beings; that had once assisted Khan and his people with minor ship repairs and hosted them like they were long time friends. Kirk immediately gathered an away team. However unfortunately for him the only person still capable of a moderate level of common tongue was Khan, since he had spent most of his time with the local leaders, holding political discussions. The rest of his crew preferred interacting amongst themselves and had therefore only grasped the very basics of the language; not nearly enough for comprehensive communication. So Jim and Khan beamed down together to establish initial diplomacy before sending for the rest of the field team.

Sadly, unbeknownst to Khan, shortly following his visit to Gurach a pirate ship declaring itself a Star Fleet vessel landed on their shores. The crew pillaged their land and killed the locals and what they didn't plunder they burned. By the time the vessel took off for parts unknown, the entire population of the planet was so drastically reduced that the Gurachii worked tirelessly for over 200 years to recover even half of what they had lost. Hence when the two men beamed down, they were immediately assaulted, bought before the elders, tried and sentenced to death. Khan's multiple attempts at conflict resolution fell on deaf ears.

"I'm sorry," Jim finally managed to whisper to the other man. They were to be executed at moonrise and Jim really didn't feel like being beheaded with this thing hanging over them like a storm cloud. "I know you did everything you could to negotiate for our lives. It's not fair for me to blame you for any of this; you didn't know."

Khan remained silent but Kirk knew he was listening from the sensation of being watched.

"I'm sorry about what I said earlier as well. I misspoke, being molested can do that to a guy," Jim couldn't help quirk, laughing a bit at his own stress relief. "I think you're very attractive Khan, I'm bi-sexual I would know. I just didn't want you to pursue this with so much hope. There is too much bad blood between us buddy, to ever give this thing a fair go. I could never, can never…" Jim trailed off; he knew they would die tomorrow and therefore nothing he said at this point could really make a difference but still he held back saying 'forgive you for taking Pike'.

Suddenly there was a hand on his shoulder, and another one wound around his waist in a firm hold. A puff of air hit the back of his neck and Jim knew he was right in speaking up when his body instinctually unclenched and he let himself lean back into the firm muscles and comforting heat of the other man.

"Khan?"

"I remember."

"What?" Jim tried to turn around, but the arm tightened around him, shortly joined by the other to form a locking hold.

"I remember, everything I did to you."

"What? When?" Jim gasped and started struggling against the other.

"Always."

"How?"

"Like the rest of my crew; the vulcan's only altered my memories from before my second awakening. I know why Admiral Marcus had me revived and why I blew up the Star Fleet base in London, but most importantly I know why you hate me so Kirk, I remember what I did to you."

"No!" Jim continued to thrash about fruitlessly against the stronger man, who in turn buried his nose in Kirk's hair.

"Accept it Kirk." He mumbled into the crown of Jim's head

"No!" Jim yelled and stomped hard on Khan's left food, shoving with all his might against his chest. The brunette stumbled and took a step back, loosing his hold on Jim's waist. Taking the opportunity, Kirk spun around and using the momentum swung and struck Khan hard on the jaw with a perfect right hook that…as expected, did nothing. Khan glared at Jim and rubbed his uninjured jaw, and Jim glared right on back; 'damn this bustard and his metal-plated ass'.

"You lied to me, to the federation, to the crew! Why?"

Khan lifted one arm toward the blonde but Jim easily sidestepped out of reach.

"I thought it would be easier for you to agree to give our relationship a fresh start if you thought I remembered nothing."

"But don't you see Khan that means you haven't changed!" growled the younger man. Sieving his fingers through his hair, he jerked the roots in frustration and spun around; unable to look the other in the face any longer. Khan knew; Khan never changed; he was the same man who killed Pike and flattened half of San Francisco and like before he regretted nothing.

"I must disagree Captain, my presence aboard your ship, working along side my crew and assisting with the development of yours, has provided me with profound insight into the value of human life. People are precious because they are flawed but sympathetic and thrive on sharing and receiving kindness. I find this fascinating, I can't remember my previous life aboard Botany Bay but I'm quite certain I never gave this much thought and if not for me accompanying you on this mission I doubt that I would have ever taken the time."

Jim turned around and gave the super human a suspicious look.

"So what, you learned benevolence from watching others? Don't buy it Khan."

"No Kirk you misunderstand me, I simply learned to appreciate it as an important element of establishing harmony. Subduing someone by force isn't the only way to maintain a productive relationship with another being. I had not considered this option before, since dominating other species always concluded in my favor in the past, or so I would imagine. "

"I could have told you that." Jim snorted but didn't shield away when Khan reached for him and placed one hand atop his shoulder.

"Indeed, but I'd much rather you showed me."

Jim swallowed and suddenly the damp little cell in the frozen environment felt entirely too hot.

"I…" The blessed creep of the prison entrance disrupted what would undoubtedly be a string of gibberish a mile long; and Jim couldn't be more grateful. A serpentine creature with scaly blue skin and lidless eyes approached their cell, removed a padd from his robe pocket and began to hiss something mechanically, while scrolling down slowly with the tip of one finger.

"What's he saying," Jim whispered over the steady stream of hisses.

Khan seemed absorbed for a long moment in the content of the other man's speech, before turning around and giving Jim a blank but calculating look.

"He's preying for our souls; it's customary before an execution."

Jim nodded. Of course snake people would be sticklers for religion.

"He's also explaining, how we will be escorted to a lavished dining hall tonight to partake in our last supper."

Jim watched a glint enter the pale eyes, and suddenly the calculating look made a lot more sense. He quickly reached behind himself, and watching the creature carefully pressed the comm button on the small portable device that thankfully remained in tact. Though it had failed to reach the ship multiple time over the past seven hours in remarkably caught a signal, albeit a very weak one, this time around.

"Chekov."

The creature didn't so much as glance in his direction, having no understanding of English and Khan kept careful watch of the creature's movement, ready to warn Jim at a seconds notice.

"Chekov," Jim repeated though their was no point, the transmitter was tiny but also completely one sided. They could only hope that the message will reach his crew uninterrupted and in time. "Beam us up from…"

"The large hall, north east of the main court where we landed." Khan supplied and Jim quickly repeated the location.

"In…"

Khan took a moment to listen to the creature carefully before supplying a time frame. "Somewhere between two to three hours from now."

Jim relayed this and added that they monitor the location carefully, until they get a clear signal on them. The creature finished, made some kind of fluid gesture with his hand and walked out. Kirk shot Khan a smile that broke at the overwhelming rise of hope in his chest. They were going to make it.