The first thing that Khan recalled, when he had been unfrozen, surrounded by soldiers, was a name.
He wasn't sure exactly why he remembered it, or why it seemed so important. So he stored it away to evaluate later, focusing on the men pointing guns in his direction instead.
A week later, he had a face to match the name. Blue eyes, so dark and unique that one might think them brown if they didn't look close enough. Blond hair, dark, with the occasional grey. He had a very washed-out appearance, as though he'd been through hell and back and been aged by the experience, but his smile... His smile was stunning. Brilliant. Khan marvelled over the beautiful image in his head, worshipping it even as he was forced to design weapons for the man who'd awoken him.
Slowly, Khan regained bits of his memory. Most memories were of him and Gavin, in a white faculty called Baskerville, being experimented on by men and woman in white coats. Running, healing, pushing their limits until they gave out. One thing he remembered in particular was the punishments. They would be punished harshly, most often for referring to each other as strange names. He could vaguely remember the names; something starting with a J, one syllable for Gavin. His own had been something ridiculous, odd sounding. It started with a 'sh' sound. He knew the names were important, somehow, but he couldn't quite remember how. Eventually they'd given in, though, allowed the training and injections, the experiments and the new names. It wasn't so bad, as long as they had each other. There were others, too. Burke, a silver-haired man with warm eyes and a charming grin. Regan, a young woman with too-thin lips and a mousy appearance. So many others, people he cared about and those he had grown to care for. His family. His crew.
He cared for them.
But they were being held prisoner by the man who had woken him. There was no way to help them, he had no way to unfreeze them. So he waited. Sometimes he'd look at their faces in the cryotubes, so cold and dead-looking. When he found Gavin, he spent all of his free time observing, waiting for his lips to twitch up into the mischievous smile, waited for those beautiful eyes to open and stare at him with his usual warmth and affection – but he knew that wouldn't happen. His Gavin was sleeping, still so tired. So he talked to him, about the things he was designing and the new identity they were giving him. He'd been allowed to choose the name. John, for the first name. He wasn't quite sure why. Harrison, because of a vague memory.
One thing. Harry is short for Harriet.
But most of all, he promised Gavin that he would save him. There would be nothing to keep him away from his crew, from his Gavin. Nothing. So he hid them, concealing them carefully inside weapons. It was a risk, but it was his best option.
Or, it was. But he was caught. He had to run, rebel, escape. They were left behind. It was a betrayal of the highest offence, and he promised himself that he would do whatever it took to save them. Killing had become second nature to him, and so with little regret, he had fired upon the Starfleet meeting, desperate to regain his crew, only to be thwarted by James T. Kirk.
He wasn't quite sure whether to be relieved or not.
Escape was easy, and he regrouped on the offensive planet as best he could. The Starfleet crew members arriving was a mild surprise, but the message's mention of torpedoes had him saving their lives, surrendering when he realised that they now had his crew. So he told them most of his story, told them of his family. Gained a small measure of trust, was allowed onto a mission with Kirk. He was tempted to kill all the crew members and just find his family, but he was certain Gavin wouldn't approve.
So he took control of the other ship, killed the man who had threatened his family. It was easy, really. And the return of his family, when he finally had the medical equipment to treat them. It would be fine. He sent the captain back, fired upon their ship for being part of the group that had nearly killed the ones he loved, whether they were aware or not.
Then, he realised the torpedoes were armed to go off.
All Khan could do was watch in numb horror as what he thought was his crew, his family, his Gavin... Died. No. Dead, blown to bits and never coming back. Consumed with rage, he piloted the ship down into a controlled crash towards San Francisco, jaw clenched with rage and thoughts poisoned with revenge. He must have killed thousands in the process. He didn't care. Why should he? They deserved it, killing his family, destroying the only things he cared for just as he thought they had been returned.
They caught him anyway.
But the anger evaporated when he heard that his family was alive, saw the tanks himself, found Gavin's sleeping form and cried onto the icy metal. He was allowed one hour – they recovered his friend, his lover from the tube and brought him down to the prison in which he was being held. Gavin, alive and well, looking tired and confused but lightening up the moment he saw Khan. That beautiful smile, the one he'd been waiting for so long to see, was aimed at him, stunningly beautiful, and all he could do was hug the other man and cry silently onto his shoulder. It didn't matter then that Starfleet was watching, monitoring, intruding on their privacy. That they only had an hour. It was the greatest gift he could ever have been hopeful to receive, to have the love of his life back with him. Gavin murmured comfortingly to him, calling him by his old name. Sherlock. Gavin's own, John. Sherlock and John, John and Sherlock. Two men drawn into a terrible destiny by circumstances outside of their control.
After several long minutes, Sherlock intertwined their fingers together and looked down at his John, for the first time in a long time feeling content.
"I love you, John."
"I love you too. Sherlock."
And when they were both taken away, frozen again and stored away indefinitely, side-by-side, they went with smiles on their faces. They would be together, truly.