Chapter 1: Measure of men Chapter Text

After Kirk had awakened arrangements had to be made before Khan could be returned to cryo. At first Leonard had been glad the mad man would stay in cryo until the systems failed on him. He didn't believe it death as a punishment but he was as close as he could be on the subject to changing his mind where Khan was concerned. The man was dangerous, in every sense of the word. But as days crept by and Jim got stronger, Leonard found himself in the private lab that Star fleet had provided him, studying the serum he'd made from Khan's blood. As much as Dr. McCoy knew the man needed to be behind bars, secure in a cell where he couldn't hurt anyone else, he also knew that the opportunity to study the genetically engineered man was now or never. He'd been able to synthesize a serum to restore Jim back to life but it seemed without the key ingredient of Khan's blood, there was no replicating it. Possibilities for medical advancement were unlimited if he could break down the key regenerative components.

That is what he'd told more times than he could count to various panels and admirals until someone had finally agreed, most likely to shut him up. Now, as he stood in front of the glass wall of the cell, he wondered just what he'd gotten himself into. Everything about Khan radiated strength, confidence, that barely controlled savagery that he'd seen not only in the man but also in Spock when his control had been broken. Khan's frame alone was sleek and muscular, hiding the power of the genetically engineered muscles and bones that made the man resistant to even the brutal beating Jim had tried to lay on him.

And he was beautiful, clearly a superior species. Even the man's face was engineered to bring a feeling of inferiority and desire. As much as he condemned the practice, McCoy was fascinated by the thought process behind the work. A superior human, resistant to disease and even death.

"You are not required to submit to the tests or procedures, but I'd like to think that you will anyway. If not for the betterment of life then for my sake, seeing as how I was partly responsible for saving the lives of your crew." The look those ice blue eyes delivered made Leonard shiver.

"If that is the case, aren't all of the lives that were taken when I crashed into San Francisco also partly your responsibility? You already knew what I would do in retaliation for the deaths of my crew. Your...bluff... costs tens of thousands of lives. Will learning something from studying me help ease that weight off your shoulders, Doctor?"

It had only recently started to occur to him just how much damage their actions had caused on that day and Khan's words burned through his soul. He wasn't sure any of the decisions had been wrong but so many lives had been destroyed nonetheless. The worst part was he could see the people he knew doing something similar in the right circumstances. Jim...if he had seen what Khan had seen, if he'd had his crew held against him as leverage...

Swallowing thickly, Leonard tried to keep his temper in check. This wasn't like arguing with Spock over some Star Fleet regulation that the half Vulcan wouldn't bend on. This man was dangerous.

"If you consent you will be moved to a high security ward at Star Fleet medical. I will be overseeing every aspect of the testing personally and nothing would be overly invasive. Or you can stay here, spend the rest of your time in this cell before they stick you back in deep freeze with the rest of the meat popsicles."

Slowly rising off the bench at the back of the cell, Khan smirked at the doctor as he came to stand just an inch behind the glass. "Come closer, Doctor," he purred, barely surprised then the doctor hesitated but complied, taking a step closer to the front wall of the cell.

"Closer."

There was something about the way the man enunciated the word that drew Leonard in, that deep voice drawing him in closer until there was nothing but six inches and the pane of glass separating them.

"Are you afraid of me, Doctor?"

Those blue eyes had a hold of him and before Leonard could stop himself he was nodding. "Yes...in a sense," he recovered, staring defiantly back at the mad man. "I know what you can do. I know you if this glass wasn't here you could tear me apart limb from limb. I know you almost killed my friend, almost killed all of us, and for what? Revenge? Blood lust? I'm well aware of how dangerous you are." As he spoke Khan's eyes bore into him, weighing and measuring every single gesture and syllable. He felt wanting.

"And you freely offer yourself for this work? Do I intrigue you, doctor?"

Flushing at the implication to the words, Leonard gruffly shrugged his shoulders. "Of course you do. You're a medical marvel that is now illegal to reproduce. There's a lot I could learn from a week with you. Now do you consent so we can start the dog and pony show of having you moved or do you want to keep wastin' my time?" he snapped, his southern drawl thickening as the despot toyed with him.

"A week with me..." Khan murmured thoughtfully, as if savoring the suggestion. "Very well, Doctor. I shall...submit to your tests. I shall enjoy the company for my last week awake."

As he left the detention facility, Leonard could understand how Jim had felt when he'd brought Khan onto the other ship, like he was the one being used and not the other way around.