Before we get to this chapter, I just want to take a moment to say that I know what I am doing with this. I have had SO many people harass me over the end of this 'fic and the start of the next one because they think they know better than I do where I am taking this. Please do NOT do this. I find it extremely annoying and frustrating. ------------------------------------------------------- --Chapter Twenty-Five-- After they'd eaten lunch, having a picnic in the shade, Khan dragged the parts of their bed from Earth out of the Reliance's hold, where they'd been sitting for nearly six months, and hauled them into the cabin. He put it all back together, and even put sheets on the mattress. When he came back out to join her in the shade, Anthea reflected that life was good here. Headache aside, she was content with how things progressed in their settlement. That was, until she glanced over, towards the village square, and saw Marla McGivers flirting with one of Khan's men. Barton, she thought it was. Anthea stiffened. "What is she doing here?" she demanded. Khan followed her gaze. "Oh, the McGivers woman? She came down with the supplies from the Enterprise that Kirk gave us. She's decided she would rather be here with twentieth-century men than out in space with twenty-third century ones. As we've something of an imbalance of men to women, I thought this was an . . . imperfect solution. Is there a problem?" His wife narrowed her eyes. "I went to school with her. I can't stand her. She's one of those women who will flirt with anything that moves, and takes her personality from her flavour of the week boyfriend." "I'd noticed she's . . . forward," Khan said dryly. Anthea's grey eyes lifted to his face. "Did she put the moves on you?" "She tried," he told her with a small chuckle. "I tried to dissuade her from coming here, but-" His beloved wife growled. "How dare she!" "Thea, calm down. Nothing happened." "Still. It's the principle of the thing! I'm going to go lay down a few rules." Khan laughed out loud. "Thea!" She ignored him and stomped across the clearing to the redhead. "You!" Marla turned, pretty features brightening. "Anthea Mackintosh! What are you doing here?" "Anthea Harrison, not Mackintosh. Actually, technically, it's Singh. Khan is my husband." All of the colour drained out of Marla's face. "Oh. I . . . didn't realise." Everyone had stopped to see what Anthea was so angry about, so it was dead silent in the village when the crack rang out, of Anthea's palm across Marla's face. "You try anything with my husband again," Anthea hissed, "and I will kill you. And it won't be pleasant. You understand me?" Marla nodded rapidly, her hand pressed to her red and stinging cheek. "Perfectly," she whispered. "Good. I'll tolerate your being here because we need more women, but if you so much as put a toe out of line . . ." The redhead looked down at the ground. Anthea turned and stalked back to Khan. As she passed, Otto made a big show of bowing, saying, "Kaiserin!" Khan leaned against the tree where she'd left him, looking vastly amused. "Feel better now?" he asked. "Somewhat." Anthea reached up and rubbed her forehead. "Headache's back, though." He snaked an arm around her neck and kissed the top of her head. "McCoy told you to take it easy and keep your blood pressure down," he reminded her. "I know, I know." "I believe someone needs assurance of my affections," he murmured. She grinned when he curved a hand around her waist. "Mmm. Maybe I do." "Should we go see if the bed is . . . put together correctly?" Khan asked her. In full view of everyone, he pushed her hair out of the way and kissed the side of her neck. "That would be good. I-" Suddenly, she went absolutely white. "Oh." Anthea's knees buckled, her eyes rolling into her head. Surprised by this, Khan barely caught her as she slumped to the ground. As he lifted her limp form into his arms, he shouted to his sister, "Kati! Watch Nolan!" With his wife in his arms, Khan sprinted for the Reliance. Yves wasn't in the medbay when Khan came in, Anthea unconscious in his arms. The doctor had been outside for once, and he had seen Anthea's collapse. He was close on his leader's heels, though. "What happened?" he asked, as Khan put Anthea on the closest bed. "Doctor McCoy warned her not to get overly stressed," Khan fretted. "He said it could cause bleeding. She slapped the McGivers woman, yelled at her. Then she just . . . dropped." Yves pulled out a light and checked Anthea's pupils. One was larger than the other, and sluggish to respond to the light. Muttering under his breath, he fetched his tricorder and scanned her. "I do not like her vitals. I need to check . . ." The doctor fetched the brain scanning equipment they'd used on Kati and attached it to Anthea. The area above the bed lit up with a display of Anthea's brain, in three dimensions, and her vitals appeared on the wall-mounted monitor. Yves frowned. "Merde," he murmured. "It is not good." "What isn't?" The Frenchman poked a finger into the neural monitor's display, where a dark patch marred the surface of Anthea's brain. "She has a hemorrhage here, see? I cannot stop it, Khan, I do not have the tools or the training." "What do we do?" Khan demanded. The vitals monitor started screaming, interrupting before Yves could tell his leader there was nothing to be done. Anthea's heartrate began to drop, blood pressure bottoming out. Yves grabbed the defibrillator and shoved Khan out of the way. He ripped Anthea's shirt open, pressed the paddles against her skin, and pressed the controls that sent a jolt through her. Her pulse jumped, then flattened again. The good thing about her heart stopping was that she was no longer bleeding into the space between her brain and her skull. The bad thing was that it was, in fact, stopped. Khan felt his heart drop into his toes. He was helpless to do anything. "Get me adrenaline!" Yves snapped. Khan rushed to the refrigerator near Yves's desk and dug through the medicines until he found the one he sought. Across the medbay, the doctor gave Anthea yet another jolt. Returning to where Anthea lay, he opened the hypo and jammed the needle straight between her ribs, through the top of her left breast, and into her heart. "Clear," Yves said. Khan stepped back, and Yves shocked her again. This time, her pulse caught and held, though it was thready. The equipment monitoring her brain beeped again, letting them know that the hemorrhage had resumed, if slower. "My blood," Khan said. "We can-" "No time," Yves snapped. "We have no concentrated platelets left, Khan. The only thing we have is-" The doctor's face went completely blank, and he spun on one foot, diving across the small medbay to the refrigerated storage Khan had just raided. The blonde man yanked the door open, rifled through its contents, and came up with an injector. Khan recognised its contents instantly. "Yves, that could kill the child." Yves shook his head. "Maybe. But the child will die with her if she does, non?" A split second was all he could spare. Khan looked from Yves to his wife. His friend was right; Anthea was hemorrhaging inside her head, just as McCoy had warned them about, and if they didn't do something now, she was going to die. He climbed up onto the bed, dragging her into his lap. To Yves, he nodded and said, "Do it." Yves took a deep breath, psyching himself up for it, and pressed the injector of serum to Anthea's jugular. At first, there was no change. The serum had been developed for Kati, not for Anthea, and they had no idea how she would react to it, if at all. One second ticked by. Two. Five. Ten. Thirty seconds after the injector drained into Anthea's vein, she began to seize, just as Kati had. Khan wrapped his arms tight around his wife, burying his face in her hair. It wasn't how one was supposed to handle a seizure, but if Anthea didn't survive this, he wanted- he needed to be holding her when it happened. "Please, my darling," he whispered. He gathered her close, pressing his lips to her temple. "I do not beg for anything, my Thea. But- Please. Do not leave me." Yves split his attention between the readouts and his patient. Seeing Khan so vulnerable was a completely new experience, and he wasn't sure how to respond. So he made himself busy, fetching a new extractor. Silently, he held it up. Khan caught a glimpse of it, nodded and held out his arm a little. Yves drew what he could, immediately turning to inject the fresh blood into Anthea's shaking arm. The doctor sighed. "And now, we wait." Khan didn't respond, just sat and rocked back and forth on the bed, holding the dying love of his life in his arms.