Do No Harm
A/N: Aren't you all lovely. Thank you so much for the feed back on this story. The reviews help me more than you can know in hammering out the next chapter. I seriously considered leaving you with a terrible cliffie but decided I just couldn't do that to you. I'm sure you'll agree it was worth the wait!
Ah yes, the poetry. The last was by Walt Whitman, I sing the body electric. This poem is "I want" by Emily Dickinson. If you think of any others that might fit their spicy little affair, please do suggest. I do have a couple more in mind. Unbeta'd, mistakes are mine and feel free to point them out. Also, I have attempted to pick out Cupcake's name from the dialogue. I probably have it wrong but it's something like that. If you can tell me for sure, I'll love you forever!
Also, a late disclaimer, I make no money from doing this. I own none of these characters, I just have fun with them.
That night Leonard found himself lying awake in bed, unable to sleep as the day played through his head. The time with Khan had been far less painful than he'd thought. After they'd eaten something had settled between them and though the work hadn't shown fruit yet, but they'd managed to make profiles of half a dozen cells for them to try to recreate. Kicking away the blankets, Leonard got up and moved into the other room. Pouring himself a drink, he flopped into the chair in front of his desk, dragging his hand over his face.
"Computer, display information on the Eugenics wars," he sighed, wishing he'd been able to just put what Khan had said out of his mind. he kept reminding himself that this had nothing to do with seeing if the warlord had a point, just for some background. As the screen lit up, Leonard sipped his drink as he drank in the history of the man he was working with.
It seemed that Khan was right about one thing, his history was rusty on the subject. Khan had been part of the second phase of augments, selective breeding from extraordinary parents along with genetic manipulation of his embryo. His mother had been an Olympic triathlete and speed skater and his father was one of the times most promising nuclear physicists. He'd started off with the building blocks to be superior to most human beings. There wasn't anything about what augmentations he'd had personally before being born but there were a couple of pictures of Khan throughout his life. There was a few of a teenager, just beginning to fill out his long limbs, lanky but clearly muscular, engaging in several sports. There was one of Khan running through the yellow tape at the end of some race, his arms thrown back and a look of triumph plastered on the young face.
Before he could stop himself, Leonard had already admitted that he looked magnificent.
There were lists of accomplishments in his young life. There were awards in martial arts, two sailing world cups, both equestrian jumping and dressage, fencing, something called cricket, a Pulitzer, and an astounding five PHDs before he was twenty five. Now Leonard was no slouch himself but as he studies Khan's past he couldn't help but feel intimidated. Not even a Vulcan close to the end of their life seemed capable of so much.
As Khan became more of a figure in politics the backlash against him and dozens of other augments became more vocal, as did the propaganda about augment superiority. The conflict began as typically as any he'd ever hear of. An attack on a group of augments, who were quick to retaliate. It was only weeks later that battle lines were drawn in the middle east and only a month after that before Khan had decisively taken over all of Saudi Arabia. Countries pushed back and Khan's control continued to stretch out against them, barely impeded. By the time there was the first joint military operation against him, Khan had gathered most of the augments in the middle east and India to him.
There was a historical record of Khan when he'd conquered India, in a uniform that Leonard had never seen before. Resplendent was the word that came to mind, though the picture of Khan with a sea of people bowing to him made his skin crawl. There was an arrogance on the gorgeous face in the picture that he'd never seen on the man.
After Khan's initial success bloody conflicts broke out between factions of augments and countries right across the globe. Most of the leaders that emerged outside of Khan's reach were brutal, slaughtering indiscriminately. Comparing Khan's campaigns to those of the other Augment factions they had fewer casualties by nearly half, even though the numbers involved with both sides. Khan had been a strategic genius, and though he had captured more countries than any other faction, he was considered to be the best of the dictators, ruling with a firm but fair hand.
There was little information on Khan personally except that he had no wife or children, was never known to have had a permanent lover and it was quite the honor to catch his eye for an evening.
His drink forgotten, Leonard read over all the available information again and again until there was just a couple of hours before he was due back at the lab. With a sigh, he forwent trying for any rest, heading for the shower as he tried to sort out all of the data he'd absorbed. Khan was indeed a warlord, but far from the worst there had been during that time. In addition to that, the man seemed...different than he'd been when he'd ruled. Much of the arrogance was gone. Even if he ever had command again he just didn't see the same desire to conquer that he had before, a dangerous and probably foolish notion.
When Khan joined him in the lab mid morning, Leonard's smile belied his gruff greeting. "'Bout time. I sent for you twenty minutes ago. What was the hold up?" The doctor's eyes darkened and he straightened up as Khan came to a stop perhaps closer than he needed to. "Have the guards been giving you a hard time?" When Khan smiled in response Leonard's stomach clenched in surprise. The man was too beautiful as it was, but that smile, that teasing, warm, real smile was nearly more than he could take.
"You'd have nothing but my word either way," Khan murmured, one of his hands resting low on Leonard's back. "Not to worry, doctor. I don't bruise easily and I did receive a meal of sorts this morning. I heard you yelling at the guards through my door last night. I believe they have received the message."
Letting out a long breath that he covered with a huff, the doctor stepped away but motioned Khan over to look at their failed results from the day before. "All of the programs we set up failed to produce a proper gene sequence. I know it's only day two but I'll be honest when I say that I'm not used to such spectacular failure. I usually have...something to start working from," he sighed, pushing the slide off the microscope in annoyance. When he turned around he was nose to nose with Khan who was regarding him carefully.
"You're fatigued, doctor."
Leaning back against the console, Leonard shrugged his shoulders, trying to keep the heat from rising from his cheeks. "Yeah, decided to give myself a history lesson last night instead of sleeping." Glancing up at Khan who was looking at him expectantly, a very small, pleased smile on his face, Leonard huffed in annoyance. "Yes, you were by far the most benign of the despots. Congratulations. You still subjugated nearly a quarter of the planet. How do you get by day to day without the masses bowing at your feet?"
Holding Leonard's defiant gaze, Khan brushed a thumb along the side of the doctor's face. "I miss it less than I thought," he murmured. "Particularly lately. You're very satisfying company, doctor." For just a moment Khan leaned in close enough that he could feel the doctor's breath on his face before he pulled back just enough to draw Leonard back towards him. "I think you're starting to enjoy my company as well," he teased, pressing his hips closer to the doctor's and taking a hold of Leonard's hip gently. He could feel the hips pressing forward even as the doctor tried not to move. "You try very hard to stay in control, doctor, even though it's against your nature. Is this time really so repressed that you have to keep yourself in check constantly?"
The sexual tension between them was so thick Leonard was sure he'd need a proper scalpel to cut it. If he hadn't spent the past three weeks going over Khan's genetic profile he would have been certain there was some Betazoid or Orion in the man with the way he was being drawn to him. A string of curses ran in his head for allowing the incident the day before, for letting himself question what he knew about the man in the first place.
"I...I told you my damned reasons yesterday. I just want to..."
"Yes," Khan cut in, drawing McCoy closer. "You do want. I can feel your desire every time you look at me. You don't have to deny yourself, doctor." His voice was a soft, seductive purr as his other arm slid around Leonard's back. "Desire, doctor, is one of the best things about being human. But to deny it..." he whispered, holding his face just inches away from Leonard's.
Drawing a deep breath, McCoy could smell Khan all around him and it was intoxicating. Lifting his chin their lips brushed ever so slightly and he couldn't stop the pathetic sound that pulled from the back of his throat when the contact lasted only a fraction of a second. Khan had to be doing something to him, tricking him. It was impossible to want someone this much when you hated nearly everything about them. Leonard prized freedom like he did air; Khan stood against the very notion of it. But the man was so damned beautiful and intelligent.
"Khan..." he pleaded softly, though even he couldn't be sure just what he was asking for mercy towards.
""I want"—it pleaded—All its life—
I want—was chief it said
When Skill entreated it—the last—"
As Khan began reciting yet another beautiful poem, Leonard's face contorted in frustration. He should hate it. People didn't spout poetry to him and he didn't find it beautiful. It was supposed to be cheesy, over the top in some florid way that was unlike him completely.
"And when so newly dead—
I could not deem it late—to hear
That single—steadfast sigh—
The lips had placed as with a "Please"
Toward Eternity— " Sliding a hand along the back of Leonard's neck, Khan brushed his lips against the shell of the doctor's ear. "If you ask me to stop, I will. If you ask me not to try again, I won't. But we both...want. I can feel it in every part of you as clearly as I can feel your erection against my thigh. Stop denying yourself." Dragging his lips back along the doctor's stubbled cheek, reveling in the barely audible sounds of encouragement he drew from the man as his tongue flicked out to taste the other man's mouth.
"KHAN! Back away from Dr. McCoy. NOW!" blazed out into the room, snapping Leonard out of his trance as he tore himself away from the hot body that had been pressed against his own. Breathing heavily, Leonard turned away from the security camera as Khan lifted his arms in surrender. "I know the good doctor said we were supposed to ignore your little games but any more of that and I'll be pushing the button that fries your brain, understand?"
The smirk faded from Khan's face as he folded his hands behind his back. "Perfectly," he growled, his eyes still fixed on McCoy who was trying to pull himself back together.
"Doctor, are you..."
"Yes, I'm fine, god damn it! Just...don't push that damned button unless he's killing me. I still need his brain for another five days. Just...let's just get back to work." Flopping back down at his station, Leonard buried himself in designing a new experiment, pointedly ignoring both the security team and Khan until he could calm down.
Two hours later, Leonard's embarrassment had passed and he was once again blustering in frustration at the stubbornness of Khan's genetics.
"I thought maybe if we added more blood to the samples we have that it would spread out the amounts. Yeah, maybe diluted to the point they wouldn't bring someone back from the dead but still enough to save many lives. But no! No, the samples have all become completely inert after adding any kind of filler to them." Growling softly to himself, Leonard moved over to the protein sequencer and ordered a cup of coffee. "Hungry yet? I brought lunch today," he added, picking up the refrigerated bag and motioning Khan over to one of the empty biobeds on the other side of the room.
"How domestic of you to make us a picnic."
Leonard's cheeks flushed and he scowled in attempts to hide it. "Look, if you'd rather eat protein gruel, keep it up. I certainly don't have to be nice to you so you better watch that genius mouth of yours."
As Khan settled in beside the doctor and began opening containers, he gently brushed his fingers against the back of the man's hand. "I am grateful. This...world, this time, has been far from kind to me. Even locked underground with you is one of the first times I've felt at home since I was awoken." Pulling the lid off another container, Khan lifted it to his nose. "Brandied peaches. Cute," he murmured, eying the Georgian doctor with a gentle expression.
Taking the container from Khan, Leonard felt his face heating, much to his frustration. "I ain't cute!" he insisted, his accent becoming far stronger when he was so flustered.
Khan was just seconds away from disagreeing with the man when the doors to the lab slid open. The easy expression fell from his face as the Captain and Spock strode across the room to them.
"Bones. Spock wanted to see if he could offer you a hand and I just wanted to check in. See if you needed anything, though I take it lunch is already looked after," Jim added with a raised brow, looking t the cozy set up the two had spread out over their makeshift table. "A picnic, Bones? You do remember that he is a mass murderer, not a visiting geneticist, right? He killed Pike. Nearly killed everyone on enterprise, including you."
Leonard opened his mouth to reply, only to snap it closed when Khan's hand rested on his lower back again.
"That would have indeed been a tragedy. Leonard is a fascinating creature. The world is better off with him in it I think, though it's a pity he's so lonesome. Forced into willing captivity with me just for the slim chance of saving millions of lives, perhaps humanity has progressed, at least with some," he added, careful not to make his smirk too obvious to the group. He could see a visible reaction from both of the other men. The look of utter fury on Kirk's face alone was enough to lift the corners of his mouth.
"Get your damn hand off of him!" Kirk seethed, taking another step towards the biobed, his hands balled into fists at his side.
"Please, captain, you couldn't hurt me even on your best day, no matter what the lingering effect of my blood is insisting in your brain. Please stop attempting to get behind me, Mr. Spock," he finished, deliberately turning his attention to Spock, who had indeed been trying to slip around the end of the biobed unnoticed. "You both are very protective of him, aren't you? But he needs protection far less than than either of you. Tell me captain, is it that you're truly jealous or do you just not like anyone playing with what's yours? Is that...why you've kept your distance, Spock? You wouldn't dare outwardly get closer to the doctor if you thought it might affect your precious friendship with him. Besides, how important are Kirk's friends to him really? Look at how easily he tossed his last best friend aside for you. How long before he shunts you aside for Marcus's daughter?"
The other three men in the room gaped and glared and stared impassively at Khan, neither Spock or Jim saying a word, which only made Leonard more curious as to just his much of what the prisoner said had been right. It was true that he'd felt abandoned by Jim since the tenuous friendship between Spock and the captain had begun but he certainly hadn't mentioned it to Khan. Just how intuitive was the superman?
"How..." he started before realizing that he didn't want Jim to know that Khan was correct. "Alright, that's enough, Khan," Leonard warned, his voice coming out far more surprised than he'd intended.
"You shut the hell up! You don't know anything about Bones and I. He and I have been friends for years. He isn't threatened by my friendship with Spock. And Spock is with Uhura. You don't know a damn thing about any of us!" But even as his friend resisted, Leonard couldn't help but think that Jim's rebuttal was little more than objecting just to be obstinate. It did seem that somehow the man knew things that he shouldn't.
"You treat relationships like a child with a shiny new toy. The only reason you are here now is because you're afraid that someone else has started to play with the toy you abandoned. Just like if commander Spock had dared to explore his interest in the doctor you'd throw a childish hissy fit. Your naivety and selfishness will get the people around you killed."
"Khan! Enough!" Leonard entreated, utterly baffled by the shade Jim's face was turning. He want the only one who looked uncomfortable though. Spock looked like he was trying to swallow his tongue, the usually perfectly pale face an unpleasant blotchy green.
"Doctor, I can assure you that my interest in you is purely platonic and I have been enjoying..."
Just what Spock had been enjoying they never found out as an enraged Jim launched himself over the biobed, sending food and h and Khan to the floor.
"No! Would you two stop it!" Leonard snarled, more than a little annoyed that the lunch he'd made and had been looking forward to eating was now mostly on the floor. "This is a laboratory, not a boxing ring! Khan, stop before you hurt him!" that comment only seemed to throw His friend into an even higher rage. Kirks fist pounded into Khans face again and again, with seemingly little effect before he was flying across the room.
As Spock launched into the fray Leonard jumped towards him, grabbing a hold of one of the half Vulcan's powerful arms. "SPOCK! Spock, stop it!" The arm he was holding onto suddenly reared back, striking the doctor in the temple. Shuffling backwards holding his head, Leonard watched blearily as Khan's leg came down brutally on Spock's chest with a fierce growl, leaving the Vulcan on the floor winded and Khan scrambling over him.
"Are you alri-" Khan started, his eyes concerned as he knelt over the doctor. Before he could even finish the sentence his face contorted with pain.
"Khan? No NO!" the doctor screamed as Khan keeled over to the side, his body tight and shaking as a violent seizure racked his body. Crawling over to Khan and turning him on his side to protect his head, Leonard looked up at the security camera in the ceiling and snarled. "Turn it off! For fuck sakes you're going to kill him!" Instantly some of the tension left Khan's face but the seizure continued and Leonard eased Khan's head into his lap. "Spock! Spock, get me that tricorder!" His hand smoothed over Khan's dark hair as the man fell still, horror gripping his chest as Khan's blue eyes stared, unseeing, straight ahead of him.
As Spock knelt beside him Leonard snatched the scanner from his hand, his face paling further as he ran it over the man's head. "Oh god. Spock, help me get him up." The two of them lifted Khan up onto one of the biobeds and Leonard resumed taking readings, his face looking more and more grim. "Jim," he said finally, stepping away from the bed and giving his friend a once over with the tricorder before stepping back. "Go and get the security team in here now. Make sure you get the remote for the chip. Don't...don't argue with me right now," he added when Jim opened his mouth to respond.
"Doctor, this was not your fault," Spock murmured softly, resting a hand on Leonard's arm as he looked at the screen above the biobed. There is a chance with his regenerative properties that he will..."
"Don't...just don't," Leonard whispered, dragging a hand over his face. "This is entirely my fault. I asked him for his help and I put that damned chip in him and I didn't tell you both to leave or put Khan back in his room when I saw he was getting to Jim. This is entirely my fault."
There was another tense silence in the room as both men stood at the foot of Khan's bed before Spock finally broke it. "What he correct when he said, about you being lonesome? It was never my intention to direct the captain's attention away from you in anyway."
Letting out a long breath but not looking away from the monitor above the bed, Leonard shrugged. "Jim chooses who he spends his time with all on his own. Besides, was it true what he said about you have some sort of interest in me?" he added, letting the question speak for itself. He really couldn't be sure if Khan had hit the mark on that one or even what the man meant by it but he had to admit the man's intuition had been astonishingly perceptive so far.
Spock didn't have a chance to respond before Jim was leading six men into the lab. Marching across the room, Leonard held out his hand for the remote, quickly popping off the back off it and tearing at the circuits. "Who...was the idiot who not only pushed this button but held it down?" he asked, his voice wavering. A couple of the security personnel fidgeted in their red shirts but no one said anything. "I...I can't have you here. Post as many people in the corresponding transporter pad as you want but I don't want any of you here in this facility anymore."
Shuffling forward, Jim pulled the remote that Leonard had been shredding out of his hands. "Bones, you know we can't do that. He's dangerous. He could..."
"He isn't dangerous anymore, Jim. He has brain damage from the charge, which is specifically why I said it was only to be used as a last resort!" he bit out acidically. "I don't care if you set the transporter down behind you, just go. If there's any change in his condition I'll contact starfleet."
Most of the security team left with grumbles, leaving only Jim, Spock and the two senior security officers, though Cupcake was the first to step forward. "I'm sorry, doctor. I take full responsibility. I shouldn't have left the control in anyone else's possession other than mine."
"It's not your fault Lieutenant Hendle. It's mine and mine alone," Leonard sighed, leaning back against the biobed Khan was on and pinching the bridge of his nose.
"Look...Bones, I know it's unfortunate but come on! This is hardly a huge loss. He's going back into stasis. At least if someone wakes him up again he won't have that super human brain to rain destruction on them." As McCoy lifted his head to look at the captain he could tell he'd said the wrong thing. "I mean...I just don't want you to beat yourself up over something that wasn't really your fault."
"My whole adult life I've lived by an oath, do no harm, Jim. But I put that damned chip in his head and now he's a vegetable. This...is the worst thing I've ever done, Jim, and if you can't see why then you don't know me at all. Just...just go. All of you. I'll send you a message if he wakes up."
Much to everyone's surprise, no one objected and he didn't watch as they filed out of the room leaving him and his catatonic patient alone.
Hours dragged by and finally when he was sure there was nothing else he could do medically for the man Leonard moved him carefully back to his quarters on a hover stretcher. Carefully he removed Khan's shoes and shirt before easing him onto the bed and covering him with one of the starfleet issue blankets. Unable to stand the blank look in those blue eyes anymore, he carefully closed the man's eyes before sitting on the edge of the bed, his hand petting gently at Khan's hair.
"Computer, music, smooth jazz, early twenty-first century, volume soft," he ordered, his free hand sliding it's way into the unconscious man's. "I don't know if you can hear me but...I'm sorry. I'm...so sorry. I won't stop looking for a way to fix this. Whatever happened before this...this...this shouldn't have happened and it's my fault. I'm so sorry. You had such a brilliant mind and...shit," he gasped, the guilt hitting him hard as the weight of what he was responsible for really hit him. He'd as good as taken a life, and for what? "I promise I'll do whatever I can to fix you, no matter how long it takes."
A slight squeeze of his hand was the only warning he received before those impossibly blue eyes opened, relief washing over him like a tidal wave. "Khan! Khan, good god, can you hear me?" he demanded, pulling out his tricorder and trying to take a reading.
"I can hear you," the man responded though there seemed to be some struggle to form the words. Khan's hand folded clumsily over the scanner, closing it before he tried to prop himself up on an elbow. "Not your fault. Come here," Khan murmured, pulling McCoy down to the narrow bed and tangling their fingers so the doctor couldn't resume his scan. "I'll re...re...I'll get better," the man whispered and Leonard realized Khan was struggling to find words.
"I didn't know if your brain would regenerate the same way. I'm so sorry..."
"Shh," Khan whispered, brushing his thumb along Leonard's lip, leaning in to nuzzle the point of tension between the man's eyes. "I'll get better. Stop...worrying."
And then they were kissing, Leonard sucking hungrily at Khan's lips as if they would offer some reprieve from his guilt as Khan kissed him just as passionately in return. Lips and tongues and limbs tangled together, the pair drinking one another in right to their cores, bodies pressed tightly. As they finally broke apart, Leonard cradled Khan's head against him.
"I'm so sorry," he gasped, pulling his fingers through the thick, dark hair. "I'm so sorry." Khan's pale pink lips trailed over his face kissing as he shushed and soothed the doctor. "God, your eyes. There was just nothing and..."
"And now?" Khan asked, leveling his eyes with McCoy's, tracing one of his thumbs along the doctor's expressive eyebrow. When Leonard made a desperate noise in the back of his throat, he smiled, sealing their mouths together again, this time the embrace slower. "Rest with me. I will have...recovered when we wake."
Nodding, Leonard allowed the stronger man to pillow his head with an arm, moaning softly when their mouths met again in lazy kisses and brushes of tongue. It was only when he began to get worked up again and Khan chuckled that low, dark, too sexy chuckle and ordered him to sleep again that Leonard finally let himself relax, in deadly arms.