“No, not that one. Go fetch tube 288355 and be quick about it.”
The ensign – not one of McCoy’s nurses, he must have followed Scotty up from engineering – jumped to obey, which did not sit well with McCoy. He was the highest authority in this room, not some suit-wearing, umbrella-toting bastard. “Who the hell are you and what are you doing in my sickbay?” And, come to think of it, how had this man even gotten on the Enterprise in the first place? Damn Scotty and his transwarp beaming equation.
“Doctor,” Carol hissed, drawing McCoy’s notice to the way she had jumped to attention, practically saluting the man. And McCoy had really liked her too. “Mr. Harrison practically is the Federation.” Like that would make a difference to McCoy, even if it made sense.
“Sherringford Harrison,” the man said smoothly, coming to stand beside McCoy alongside the stretcher, giving Jim’s body an appraising look that McCoy didn’t much care for at all. “And I thought I was here to do some picking up after a couple of my charges, but judging from Captain Kirk’s condition it appears I’m actually here to do your job.”
Things just went downhill from there.
Really, this doctor was just being dreadfully obstinate; it might be admirable if it weren’t so trying. Of course, that had been Mycroft’s experience with all doctors more often than not. He had to wonder if they weren’t just bred that way.
“Do try to be reasonable, Doctor McCoy. Your scans have found nothing wrong with my ring, correct?” It would be a shame if it were otherwise, even if, in many ways, Narya was little better than a trinket now.
“Right,” McCoy ground out.
“So there is no reason not to let use the ring. If it works as I claim, then Mr. Kirk will be healed. If it doesn’t, then I will leave you to your own dubious methods.” The dragon’s blood would work, but it would hardly be pleasant.
“You’re worse than the hobgoblin,” grumbled McCoy.
Mycroft smiled slightly. “I’m flattered by the comparison. I’m sure Spock would be as well, were he here to hear it.”
McCoy glared at Mycroft for a good long moment, before finally letting out an exhale of annoyance. “Fine, we’ll try it your way."
Oh good. Doing, ugh, legwork was bad enough, he would hate to have to force the issue.
John Watson had learned a lot about reading people and situations living and working with Sherlock Holmes. Before, he never would have imagined that it would be possible to spend five minutes talking to someone about nothing, and somehow figure out what they do for a living, how many pets they have, where they live, where they’re originally from, and where they last went on holiday, but now he was actually doing it, kind of. Of course, he wasn’t nearly as good at it as Sherlock was, but John had made his peace with that being universally true long ago (though where a socially-inept dragon got off knowing so much about human nature, John hadn’t the foggiest).
There was one exception, though, one situation that John could read and Sherlock seemed unaware even existed. Which is probably why when John woke up after God knows how long with a scowling uniformed man standing over him, the first words out of his mouth had nothing to do with asking where or when he was, or what happened in the ‘Eugenics Wars.’ Nope, his first words had nothing to do with any of that.
“Good Lord, what has Sherlock done this time?”
“I don’t like it,” Uhura bit out, her arms crossed as she glared at the pleasantly non-descript man – John – standing on the transporter pad next to her. She didn’t like that McCoy had unfrozen one of the augments. She didn’t like the idea of throwing this man, augment or no, in the middle of a fight between Spock and Khan. And she didn’t like that Khan was apparently getting off more or less scot-free.
“You don’t have to like it.” You just have to do what I say. There was fire in his eyes, suddenly, and steel in his spine, and Uhura could now see the man that might be able to put a stop to Khan.
Not that that mattered to her. Her Captain had earned the right to order her into the fires of Hell itself, if only because she knew Kirk’d pull everyone out fine the other side, but this man hadn’t.
The two glared at each other for a moment, then suddenly John’s look softened. “In my experience, and there’s a lot of it, miracles rarely come for free.
Kirk, sleeping soundly in sick bay. Uhura gave a sharp nod and turned to Ensign Kyle. “Energize.”
Rage. Rage, rage, rage.
Smaug would put an end to this filthy half-breed. He would rip and tear until there was nothing left of this pathetic less-than-a-worm but pieces, and then he would scatter the pieces to the four winds.
And then, he would make this world burn. He would set fire to the lands and turn the skies to ash. He would bleed out every single person until the seas were awash with red. They would know the desolation of Smaug, the chiefest and greatest of all the calamities.
“Smaug! That is ENOUGH!”
Smaug froze. (Data: John was alive. Data: John was awake. Data: John was here. Conclusion: Everything else was irrelevant.)
Sherlock became all but unaware of the rest of his surroundings in his haste to get to John. (Data: John looked the same ever.) Sherlock wrapped himself around John, smelling and, for good measure, tasting the back of his neck. (Data: John felt the same. Data: John tasted the same. Data: John smelt, under the harsh chemicals, of wool, tea, gun oil, and Southfarthing Leaf. Data: Gandalf’s illusions couldn’t mimic smell properly. Conclusion: John was aliveawakehere.)
“Did you just lick me, Sherlock? That’s disgusting.”
“Enterprise, four to beam up. Tell sick bay to prepare for our arrival.”
“You’re seriously going to just let them beam back aboard? Kirk is in sick bay, unconscious, and you’re not even going to get a security escort?” Nyota demanded quietly, though not quietly enough to escape Sherlock’s inhumanly sensitive ears (of course, whether he was paying any attention to the two of them was another question entirely).
Spock refrained from pointing out that turning over both Watson and Sherlock to ‘the Federation’ was the agreement made to save Jim’s life, as he was sure Nyota was aware of that and merely hoping that he would creatively reinterpret the conditions of the arrangement, as the Captain might have. As Spock would have done, if he knew only what Nyota did.
“Such measures are unnecessary. With what I have now learned, I am confident that Sherlock no longer poses any great threat." At Nyota’s confused and somewhat incredulous look, Spock elaborated, his voice almost unconsciously taking on the lilting cadence of his ‘Uncle’ Mycroft’s reading voice. “It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations, if you live near him.”
“Wait. What do you mean dragon?”
Chapter 2: Chapter Two
Heaven, Jim thought, didn’t quite live up to its reputation. That, or Hell didn’t live down to its, but he liked to think that sacrificing his life to save his crew would have netted him out some good karma. The dark vague place he was in felt more like Heaven than Hell anyway, what with the pervading sense of safety and warmth and calm.
There was also the distinct possibility that Heaven did live up to its hype, but Jim was not yet fully capable of perceiving it in all its splendor. He had only just died, after all, and switching from having a physical body to a metaphysical one was bound to be a tricky transition. Jim was sure he’d get the hang of it no time, and soon he’d be cruising around fluffy cloud Heaven, hanging out with his dad, watching over his friends and loved ones from on high, and introducing the angels to a wider variety of musical instruments than just the harp.
“This isn’t exactly comfortable, you know,” said a voice, presumably one of Jim’s fellow dearly departed, and Jim had to admit, he kind of had a point. Sure, Jim was more comfortable now than he had been previously, but previously he had been dying of radiation poisoning on the floor of the warp core chamber, so that was a pretty low bar to be setting.
“You should have considered that before making me think you were dead, twice.” The second voice was deep and probably should have been soothing, but something about it just set nerves on edge. For a second or two, anyway before that same sense of serenity washed over him again. See, it had to be fluffy cloud Heaven.
“How is that my fault? I was unconscious the entire time,” objected the first voice.
“I request you put up with your lack of comfort; we don’t want him trying to level the planet in retribution again,” chimed in a third voice, and Jim felt himself overcome with two waves of emotion. The first joy because he would recognize that monotone anywhere and somehow Spock was here, and the second horror because somehow Spock was here, as in up in fluffy cloud Heaven. Spock had died and Jim’s sacrifice had been for nothing after all. As much as he hated the idea of Spock living on for decades, centuries even, without him, he hated the idea of Spock not having that time even more.
“Captain, you must calm yourself,” Spock implored and a blanket of peacefulness tried to settle over Jim again, but he was having none of it this time. “Captain. Jim. You are out of danger and your body is recovering, but you cannot afford to place yourself under undue stress at this time. Please remain calm.”
Jim opened his eyes, only realizing as he did so that they had been closed. And he wasn’t lost in some nebulous dark place, or in a fluffy cloud Heaven, but in sick bay. Apparently he wasn’t dead after all. Then, far more important than those other realizations was, “Spock, are you holding my hand?”
Spock dropped Jim’s hand, which he definitely had been holding, like a hot poker and Jim immediately regretted saying anything. “Apologies, Captain. The physical contact was simply so I could exert a light telepathic influence on your mind in order to maintain your calm state, which, as I stated, is necessary to your full and expedited recovery. I did not intend to intrude on your personal space.”
“It’s not a problem. I’m just sorry you had to do that; I know how you feel about touching.” Especially hand-touching, if Jim was remembering his xeno-cultural classes correctly.
Spock looked down for a second, appearing uncomfortable, which was not a term Jim ever thought he’d use to describe his Vulcan First Officer. “I must confess, there was an ulterior motive to my actions as well,” Spock said in a quiet voice.
“Oh?” Jim asked, amused almost. There was literally in no ulterior motive that he could think to reasonably apply to Spock that would in any way upset Jim.
“Yes, Captain. When I thought you were… gone, my emotional controls were not what they should be. Though, logically, I should need no more than the insurance of Dr. McCoy that you are no longer in any danger, I found the tactile and telepathic reminders of your continued health to be beneficial in reestablishing my control.”
“Well, if it gives you emotional security,” Jim said lightly teasing as he reached out to grip Spock’s hand in his once again. Spock looked up at Jim, apparently surprised, and then he regarded him with naked – well, naked to Jim’s eyes anyway – relief and not a little affection. Jim’s grin couldn’t help but growing response and his heart – his stupid, stupid heart which knew Spock had a girlfriend and could shut up already – beat a little faster.
“Hamish. He’s John Hamish Watson, in case you’re looking for baby names.” The voice, the same deep one that had set Jim on edge earlier, cut through the air, abruptly reminding Jim that sick bay wasn’t exactly a private place. Jim turn to look, certain that he couldn’t be hearing what he thought he was hearing, because there was no way Spock would be sitting there calmly if… Khan was lying in the next bio bed. Sprawled on top of another man. Sprawled like a puppy. On top of a man who was giggling. Giggling. What.
“What the hell is going on, Spock?” Honestly, Jim had been expecting his voice to come out angry or a little panicked, but instead it sounded very authoritative and captainly. Good for him. Except for the part where it made Spock want to sit up at attention and let go of Jim’s hand. Well, Jim had learned his lesson after the last time and he gripped a little bit tighter, not enough to completely force Spock to hold his hand if he really didn’t want to – god forbid Jim ever get that desperate – but enough to make it clear that he wasn’t interested in letting go anytime soon. Or ever. Details. Besides, Spock and said that they were friends now, and guy friends could hold each other’s hands. Sometimes. Not really. Whatever. A brief sort of tug-of-war ensued, but since Spock could easily beat Jim in a contest of strength even when Jim hadn’t almost just died, it was clear he didn’t really want to win it. It was only a moment or two before Spock bowed to the inevitable, though he looked guilty as hell about it. Well, as guilty as Spock could look anyway. Score one for Jim. (Yes, Jim was now reduced awarding himself points on the basis of platonic hand-holding. This pining business sucked.)
“As I said, you are no longer in any physical danger, so long as you do not stress yourself unduly.” Spock said in faint lecturing tones, having apparently taking offense to Jim sudden lack of calm.
“Stress myself unduly?” Jim echoed. “Did you hit your head when the ship was crashing? Is it amnesia or blindness because, in case you can’t see him, that’s Khan lying there, who, in case you can’t remember, is not a good person.” Not to mention the way Khan was looking condescendingly amused by Jim’s whole mini freak-out. Which really wasn’t helping Khan’s case, or Jim’s lack of calm.
“I am well aware of Khan Noonien Singh’s identity. Indeed, I’m aware of all of his aliases.” Which was Vulcan for ‘I know something you don’t, so cease your illogical human panicking right now.’ And, when Jim thought about it for a minute, it did seem pretty unlikely that both Spock and Bones would have completely taken leave of their senses at the same time, which was the only way Khan would be just hanging out in sick bay, unless something else that happened while Jim was dead. Unconscious. Whatever.
Okay, so calm, peaceful, Zen. Jim could totally do that. Probably. He gripped Spock’s hand a little tighter and let out a breath. “Alright, maybe you should start from the beginning.”
“Certainly, Captain. After you lost consciousness, I return to a bridge with the intention of seeking out Khan and apprehending him to ensure he paid for his crimes.” Spock’s voice was a neutral, nearly like it always was, but there was something almost painful about the flatness now. Jim looked at the long white digits wrapped around his own and wondered what sort of storms were raging beneath that calm surface. “We located Khan in the wreckage of the Vengeance, but were unable to get a transporter lock to beam him up to the Enterprise. Instead I beamed down to his location at which point there was… an altercation. We were interrupted when Lieutenant Uhura and Mr. John Watson –”
“Doctor John Watson,” Khan corrected, sounding just a bit proud. Jim supposed the pride made a certain amount of sense, after all John appeared to be Khan’s boyfriend or husband or whatever, and people tended to be proud of the accomplishments of their significant others.
Then the frankly somewhat non-descript looking man he was laying on top of rolled his eyes and said, “Pretty sure my medical license expired a couple of centuries ago.” Right, so apparently John was not one of the Section 31 scientists that had developed sympathy for Khan and helped him escape, like Jim had been assuming, but was one of the other people frozen inside the cryotubes. Which did probably better explain when and how and why he and Khan hooked up, but it raised the question of why Jim’s crew thought the answer to a rampaging augment was to wake up another one.
“Forged medical licenses don’t expire,” Khan muttered, only raising further questions.
“Dr. Watson,” Spock amended, sending a rebuking look at the pair, “beamed down as well. Lieutenant revealed that you were not deceased, as I had believed, but in sick bay and well on your way to recovery. Furthermore, Dr. Watson was able to clarify for me Khan’s previous identity as Sherlock Holmes.”
“Is that supposed to mean something to me?” Jim asked.
“It is highly unlikely that it would, but there is a great deal of relevance in the name for me. Sherlock Holmes is my ancestor.”
“Someone had kids with that asshole?” Jim asked, which was far from the most important matter at hand but it was certainly the first thing that popped into Jim’s mind.
Khan – er, Sherlock, Jim supposed they were calling him now – snorted in disgust and John let out a bark of laughter. “Oh God, can you imagine?” he asked Sherlock, before turning to Jim. “No, there was procreation, but I wouldn’t say that Sherlock ever had kids. You’ve heard of the Eugenics Wars?”
Of course he had, though he’d always thought of them as being the realm of conspiracy theorists. He maybe should have guessed the truth of it, given that Sherlock had already confessed to being an augment, but independently deciding to get genetically modified to try and make himself better than everyone else just seemed like the kind of thing that smug asshole would do. But then, that wouldn’t explain the all too familiar haunted look at the back of John’s eyes.
“You guys weren’t exactly volunteers, were you?” Jim asked.
John gave him a tight smile. “No, not exactly.”
“Oh. I’m sorry.” God damn eugenics anyways.
“Don’t bother. It’s over now, and all the scientists that deserve to be sorry for what they did are already dead,” Sherlock cut in. “Besides, it was somewhat necessary that I eventually have a hatchling, and this way I was able to foist it off on someone else to raise.”
Jim turned to Spock, “Are you sure he’s related to you?” Because this guy was starting to get really weird. And not adorably eccentric kind of weird that Spock got sometimes, just straight up one can short of a six pack and two crayons short of a box kind of weird.
“Quite certain,” Spock confirmed. “Once he was identified to me, I was able to recognize him, and furthermore, once we had re-boarded the Enterprise, my uncle Mycroft was also able to corroborate their story.”
“Mycroft,” Sherlock sneered, the word dripping with disdain.
“You would prefer it if I refused to take his word as to your identities?” Spock asked mildly. “Because I am certain that Security would be happy to throw you into the brig if that is what you wished. Misters Hendorff and Giotto in particular feel they ‘owe you’ for the captain’s current state, I believe.”
“Don’t mind him,” John said, sending a chastising look at Sherlock. “He just likes to pretend like he hates Mycroft. Sort of a sibling rivalry thing.”
“Who is ‘Uncle’ Mycroft?” Jim asked. And also, why should he be considered the ultimate authority when it came to identifying Spock’s ancestors? Was he like their family historian or something?
“My apologies, Jim; I do not believe I spoke clearly. Mycroft is not my uncle, though he can be considered a somewhat distant family relative, and it was at my mother’s insistence that I used that particular moniker. You may now him by the name he uses more commonly nowadays, Sherringford Harrison.”
Jim’s eyes widened. He had heard that name before, though technically knowing about Harrison – oh, hey, Jim just realized that his last name was the same as the alias Marcus had given Sherlock, that couldn’t be coincidence. Had Marcus been deliberately trying to taunt Sherringford or Mycroft or whatever? It certainly sounded like something he would do, the cocky bastard. But anyway, focus, knowledge of Harrison was somewhat above Jim’s paygrade, but being Starfleet’s golden boy and literal posterchild did come with some privileges. Of course, the part where they made him all but swear on the life of his firstborn – ha, like Jim was going to have kids – not to tell anyone, even Spock, seemed a little pointless now.
All of that meant that Kirk was more than willing to believe the story about Khan’s other identity as Sherlock now. Jim wasn’t entirely sure what all kind of information and technology Mycroft was privy to, but he was certain it was more than enough to positively identify one rouge augment as being one of Spock’s ancestors (and presumably one of Mycroft’s own ancestors too, given Spock and Mycroft’s distant relation). After the shit that just went down with Section 31, Jim wouldn’t be inclined to trust a shadowy government figure, but Spock was willing to vouch for the guy, and that was good enough for Jim.
“Okay, so he’s your great grandpa,” Jim said.
“Great, great, great, great, great, great grandfather,” Spock corrected and Jim looked at him in askance.
“I get it, he’s super great. None of that, though, explains why he’s not in the brig because, as I think I mentioned earlier, he’s a bad person.”
“He’s not all bad,” John offered.
“And I’m not a person,” Sherlock added, sounding unbelievably smug about it.
“You are not helping,” Spock said dryly, before turning back to Jim. “The condition for Mycroft suppling the equipment necessary for your recovery was that Sherlock be turned over to heads of the Federation to be dealt with, specifically himself. And, given what we now know about Sherlock’s identity, appropriate measures were taken to ensure that he would pose no further threat.” Spock nodded to indicate the bio bed where Sherlock was still sprawled on top of John. From this Jim surmised that Sherlock absolutely was three honeycombs short of a hive, and now that he had his significant other/handler and was back on whatever medication he was supposed to be taking, he was unlikely to try to start an intra-galactic war again. Jim wasn’t so sure he was onboard with the idea of Sherlock getting off without any sort of retribution for his actions, but on the other hand, Jim also had a relative that was four nuts short of a fruitcake. And while Jim’s great aunt was pretty much harmless, Jim could at least sympathize with Spock and Mycroft’s plight in theory.
“Okay, I guess I’m willing to table that discussion for now, but we’re coming back to it later.” It seemed rude, after all, to talk about a crazy person and their craziness while they were right there in the room with you. “On to my next question: why aren’t I dead? You said something about your incredibly powerful family member letting Bones use some top secret and possibly experimental medical technology to save me,” Jim prompted. Which should not be in any way construed as a complaint; Jim was alive wasn’t he, and feeling pretty good, all things considered.
“In a manner of speaking,” Spock replied in a way that sounded suspiciously like, ‘no, Jim, that’s not what I said; stop being an idiot.’ “Uncle Mycroft has agreed to loan you Narya until you have been fully recovered, likely in another day or two.” Spock gestured with his free hand to Jim’s free hand which someone had apparently put a giant ring on while Jim was sleeping. Unconscious. Dying. Whatever.
On the one hand, Jim was fully aware the ring probably looked the way it did to be subtle about its true purpose – important if it really was top secret stuff – and that it likely house some sort of experimental medical nanotech, because there was no way Jim was recovering that quickly with conventionally available medicine. Not that Jim had ever bothered to try and learn about medicine, not feeling that he needed to because he was best friends with Bones, but he still ended up hearing a lot of rants and grumbles about all the things modern medicine could and, more often, couldn’t do because he was best friends with Bones.
On the other hand, it still looked like Jim was wearing a ring with a giant ruby in it, on his ring finger of his left hand no less. And what, Jim was just supposed to ignore that? “Spock, did your Uncle stealth propose to me while I was unconscious? I mean, I understand why he might have wanted to, I’m quite a catch if I do say so myself, but I just don’t think I’m ready for that level of commitment with someone I’ve never met.”
John chuckled and Spock looked entirely exasperated, which Jim was counting as two wins.
Then something else occurred to Jim. “Hey, did he mean Narya, as in the ring of fire, as in ‘three rings for the Elven-kings under the sky?’” Jim asked. “Because that would be pretty old school nerdy. I might consider marrying him after all.”
Then Spock growled at him, or at least he did something that Jim would have sworn was growling if not for the simple fact that there was no way in hell Spock would ever be growling. (Though as a side note, the not growling thing was kind of really hot.) “You are not going to marry Mycroft,” Spock said.
“Of course I’m not going to marry your uncle. I have no interest in that and I doubt he does either.” Besides, it would be a little unfair to Mycroft and really awkward all around, given that Jim was head-over-heels for Mycroft’s ‘nephew.’ Jim squeezed Spock’s hand a little tighter, and Spock relaxed. A little bit. He still looked faintly pissed, but then Spock always looked faintly pissed, Jim thought.
“You really should do a better job of marking your treasure if you’re going to be so upset when people try to steal it,” Sherlock interjected.
Jim was originally willing to write that comment off as a bit of Sherlock’s crazy, but then John came in with: “Sherlock, did you try and steal Jim from Spock?”
And Spock added: “No one could steal Jim from me, because Jim is not my possession. And I am a Vulcan, not a dragon.”
Wait. What did Spock mean, dragon? What the metaphorical Hell was going on here? “Spock?”
“I mentioned earlier that my ancestor has a number of aliases. Though Sherlock is his preferred name, he does have another one you may be familiar with: Smaug,” Spock said, looking completely serious. Of course, Spock always looked completely serious when he didn’t look faintly pissed.
“Are you trying to tell me that you are the descendant of a dragon from a children’s storybook, meaning that you are also part dragon?” Jim asked.
“Yes. I’m one two hundredth and fifty-sixth dragon to be exact,” Spock replied.
Jim considered that for a moment, then nodded. “Alright then. Are you a dragon too?” he asked John.
“Reincarnation of Bilbo Baggins, actually,” John corrected and Jim nodded again. Yeah, Jim was definitely done here for the moment.
“Jim? You seem to be taking this well,” Spock commented, almost cautiously.
“Well, if my crazy great Aunt Swan is to believed, I’m related to pretty much every other fairy tale character there is, so I guess you can be part dragon,” Jim said. “Besides, to be honest, I’m starting to suspect that I might still be dreaming right now. In fact, I’m still feeling pretty wiped, so I’m going to go back to sleep and maybe when I wake up none of this will have happened.” Though it would suck to find out that Spock never actually held his hand.
Jim settled himself in as comfortably as he could in the bio bed, and closed his eyes. “Good night, Spock. Good night, John and Sherlock.”
“I assure you, you are not dreaming,” Spock said.
“Good night, Spock.”
“Good night, Jim,” Spock answered dutifully. Jim gave Spock’s hand a quick squeeze, and smiled as he fell asleep.