It's 2am and two weeks until my exams and I'm out here dishing out another chapter...Thanks to all my wonderful reviewers! You gorgeous, seductive sirens; I'm at your mercy! You keep me going and my inspiration flowing steady :), this chapters dedicated to all of you who've stuck with me this far! LIVE LONG AND PROSPER!
Jim beamed aboard the ship, leaning heavily against Khan, who admirably held himself strong against the additional weight. The medical staff on wait, were the first to rush to them, quickly pulling the men apart and all but dragging them to med bay. The two orderlies deposited Jim on a medi-bed and moments later a similar thump was heard from the bed to his right. Bones of course rushed in seconds later and gave the panting blonde an unprecedented scowl of doom.
"I can't believe you Jim, risking your life like this on a suicide mission. Honestly, if you're not an epitome of a dumb blonde right now," he grouched.
"It's nice to see you too Bones," supplied Jim before promptly sagging back into the pillow.
"In one ear and out the other…" muttered the furious doctor, and quickly ran the medical scanner over his friend. Khan watched the interaction with a hint of amusement, it was clear how much the two cared for each other, especially when the doctor proceeded to bully the captain into rolling over on to his side, so he could proceed to give him a number of hypos in the rear. And yet unlike Jim's attachment to his first officer, Khan felt no jealousy at the familiar interaction.
"Alright stop your whining you brat, I'm done here."
Bones deposited the last used hypo tube into a medical tray and turned around to give Khan an appraising once over.
The brunette nodded, and sat up in bed; swinging both legs over the edge and facing the still frowning Jim, who was rubbing his ass with one hand while glaring petulantly at the doctor.
"I told you Dr. MacCoy, my people recuperate from all human known ailments, hence you asking after my captain's well being is redundant," supplied a high pitched female voice, before said female entered the room, nose buried in a padd.
"Oh well sue me nurse Kutta for asking after my patients health like a concerned human being." Bones voiced dripped with sarcasm.
"I didn't question your bedside manner doctor," the petit brunette looked up from her data and studied the CMO with a vaguely confused expression, "I simply find you asking after his wellbeing to be superfluous, since both you and my captain know of his biological capability to withstand physical ailment. Perhaps if you were to ask if he was in need of anything, for example a glass of water; your attempt to share your concern for him would appear more genuine."
"Ahh", Bones threw his hands up in the air and stormed from the room. Being reasonably accustomed to Leonard's outbursts, Elsa bowed to her Captain and Captain Kirk before calmly following her employer from the room.
"Well don't they make a pair," Kirk whistled and shot the other man a cheeky grin.
Khan smirked back and the two continued to study each other in comfortable silence. They had survived; for now knowing that, and being able to share in the sight of each other was a luxury all on its own.
"Captain?" Spock's impassive voice broke through the intercom.
Sighing Jim answered, "yes Spock," but didn't interrupt the eye contact. Khan's smirk appeared to stretch wider at the implication behind this offhanded gesture.
"If you have clearance from Dr. McCoy I would like to request your presence on the command deck. An issue has arose, that requires your immediate attention."
Jim rolled his eyes and reluctantly broke away to shoot the intercom speaker a dirty look. Not that it had camera capabilities, still the action alone made him feel slightly better.
"Alright Spock, I'll be there shortly."
"Thank you Captain. Spock out."
Jim looked at Khan apologetically and made to rise from the medi-bed. Khan quickly moved to hold him back, hands pressing firmly down on Jim's shoulders.
"Are you sure you feel well enough to rise Kirk? The variety of hypos administered by doctor McCoy might still be settling in your system, perhaps you should rest a few more minute before…"
"I'm fine Khan," Jim quickly cut in and gently removed the spindly hands with his own; unable to suppress a shudder at the cool, silky texture of the skin on the long digits. "I told Spock I'll be there, and he did say it was important; I should go."
Khan nodded and took a step back allowing Jim enough space to rise and walk from the room.
"Oh," Jim paused mid step to the doorway, throwing a flirty wink over his shoulder, "and call me Jim."
He didn't need to look back to know Khan was watching his every step. What might have surprised him was the uncharacteristic concern, lining his face.
Spock was studying a data screen behind his desk when Jim walked in. He was about to walk across to his First Officer when Uhura noticed him out of the corner of her eye.
"Jim!" she exclaimed and rushed over to grab him around the shoulders, her large coffee colored eyes darting all around his face and body; effectively scanning for injuries. By the time she was satisfied that he was indeed quite healthy and more than capable to resume his duties, the rest of his crew lined up, surrounding him joyously; and proceeded to greet him and clap him on the back in open enthusiasm. Even a couple of Khan's people, who were subbing in for the shift, paused amidst their respective tasks to give him a customary nod of greeting. Jim took all the extra attention with a cheery smile and waited out the rush before proceeding over to Spock as he initially planned; Uhura's strangely worried gaze following him away. The half-Vulcan was the only one who didn't rise to greet his captain, and another Captain might have felt slighted if not down right insulted at such open display of disrespect, but not Jim. He knew the Vulcan, like one might know a brother, like he knew Bones; and even if the FO didn't display any sign of outward relief at his Captain's successful escape from another near death encounter, Jim knew that out of all the well-wishers aboard this ship, no one cared more about him returning aboard safely than Spock and of course Bones.
"What you got for me Spock?" Jim deciding to jump right into it, plunked himself in a near by chair.
"Something that you might find particularly disturbing Captain."
Jim frowned, and leaning forward in his chair to rest his elbow on his knees, waved one hand as a silent gesture to elaborate.
"I have been doing research into the planet Gurach, and assisting Lt. Uhura in interviewing Gurachii nationals shortly after your imprisonment; in hope of gaining a better understating of their initial turn against the Federation, and using the information to parley for your release. What I discovered…"
"Yes, I know," Jim waved one hand dismissively, " Khan translated the leaders story, during the trial. A pirate ship, masked as a Star Fleet vessel…"
"Pillaged the planet and committed mass genocide." Finished Spock, Jim stared open-mouthed at the half-Vulcan. Spock never interrupted him, ever. Even when he was proposing idiotic, suicidal ideas, with 0 statistical chance of success, he still let him finish before countering the absurdity of the proposed notion. "Yes," continued the other, not at all perturbed at his Captain's shock, "I'm sure he did; and I'm sure he translated everything accurately," said Spock, sounding anything but assured. "However," and here the Vulcan lowered his voice to an almost indecipherable whisper, shooting a distrusting look at the backs of the two Botany Bay crewmen, "I do believe, Khan might not have been so inclined as to share the more damaging information of that fateful incident; as it of course would not lie as heavily in his favour."
Jim frowned and bit his bottom lip to let Spock finish, though something inside him was bursting to jump in and defend Khan.
"Have you not found it strange Jim that the Gurachii detained you with so much unnecessary force and hardly spared a moment preparing your case to the jury before sentencing you to death? The Gurachii, as I discovered from my older counter-part, were known to be highly diplomatic, merciful and generous. They had all but abandoned the death sentence before that fateful invasion; and even when they did propose capital punishment in court, the leader assured my counter-part that the accused received a lengthy trial and multiple years for appeal before the sentencing was carried trough. Further more, had it not occurred to you as to inquire after the cause behind all the joined efforts on the Enterprise being so tardy in removing Khan and yourself, from Gurachii custody?
"Spit it out Spock," Jim hissed, suddenly feeling uneasy at the heavy intensity in the Vulcan's onyx eyes, "what are you trying to say?"
The Vulcan leaned forward in his chair until the distance between the two men became palpable. "What I am saying Captain, is that around the time of the invasion, Star Fleet Command declared a prisoner ship, one SS Botany Bay, indefinitely lost in space; and the only three words the oldest living Gurachii had been willing to communicate to Uhura, hold high probability of universal definition – 'Khan Noonien Singh'.