There is an old Russian proverb, Lyubopytnoy Varvare na bazare nos otorvali, which basically means that if one is too nosy, something bad will happen to one’s nose. There is a similar Standard proverb about a cat or a dog, but Chekov can't remember it to save his life.
The point is, Chekov is a curious person - he always has been and probably always will be. His mama constantly tells him that he's asking for trouble, but he can't help himself. He loves learning new things, watching people and talking to them (and it's not gossiping).
He knows many things that happen on the ship, because being the youngest person aboard often means that other crewmembers don't take him seriously. It's a bit insulting, but Chekov is used to the treatment by now, and sometimes he even likes being underestimated.
And if he happens to overhear or see something he isn't supposed to, it's not his fault that everyone thinks he's clueless. He isn’t.
The thing is, Chekov usually never goes on away missions. It's not that he doesn't want to go on them; Captain Kirk just doesn't want to take him because of his age (which is kind of hypocritical, since the Captain isn't much older than him).
It's very cold at night on this planet. He's freezing, and he can't sleep because of it. Yes, Chekov is from Russia, but he has never slept on the cold ground there. He thinks with longing about his warm, comfortable bed back on the Enterprise and considers that maybe the Captain was right, after all—maybe away missions aren't really his thing. He's starting to regret that he persuaded Captain Kirk to include him in the landing party.
A sudden noise to his left makes him tense in alarm. Night predators?
Chekov lets out the breath he's been holding. It's just Captain Kirk.
"Yes, Captain?" Spock says quietly.
"You aren't asleep?"
"I think it is quite obvious that I am not." To Chekov's surprise, Mr. Spock sounds almost amused.
"Right. Stupid of me. God, it's fucking freezing here. I bet it's even worse for you."
"On the contrary, my temperature levels are within normal range. Vulcans can regulate their body temperature, and so I am not experiencing any discomfort."
"I hate you. I really, really, really hate you."
"Envy is hardly logical, Jim." Yes, Mr. Spock definitely sounds amused. "Are you not able to fall asleep because of the cold?"
"Yeah. Kinda. I can't feel my toes and I swear my balls crawled up inside me."
There is a short silence.
"Would you like to share body heat?"
"Are you serious? You hate being touched."
"I am not very comfortable with it, but that is irrelevant at the moment. I do not wish for you to acquire hypothermia."
Kirks chuckles quietly. "Spock, I doubt I'm in any danger of getting hypothermia before the others here. Chekov is the most likely candidate; Russian or not, he's just a boy and isn't accustomed to these kinds of conditions."
Chekov pouts. The Captain really does think of him as a little boy.
"Come here, Jim," Commander Spock says in a voice that suggests arguing is likely to be hopeless.
Chekov hears the sound of footsteps and some rustling before everything falls silent again.
"Mmm. You're like an electric blanket. So warm."
Chekov instantly feels jealous.
"You should have informed me sooner that you were cold. Your skin is exceedingly cool to the touch."
"Sorry--I wouldn't want someone's cold nose press against my neck, too."
"I do not mind, Captain."
A muffled chuckle. "Great, 'cause I have no intention of moving. My freezing nose really likes your warm neck."
"A nose cannot have an opinion, Jim."
"Mine does, because I'm just awesome like that."
"You are also very humble."
"It's all part of being perfect. Comes with the job."
"Sleep, Jim," Spock says after a few moments. "We must wake up early."
"Yeah. I really feel kinda sleepy now. And warm. And comfy. Mmm…. so warm."
"I believe I understand your point. There is no need to repeat yourself. Sleep."
A pause. "I suggest you never refer to me like that again."
"Aw, you're not fun, Mr. Spock," Kirk mumbles with a sleepy chuckle.
"Have a good night, Captain."
"Oh I will." He makes a humming noise. "You think Uhura will let me borrow you for a few nights? The environmental controls in my quarters are malfunctioning again."
"Most unfortunate. I will examine the controls in your room as soon as we return."
"So the answer is 'no,' then. Pity. How are things with Uhura, by the way?"
"Our relationship is satisfactory."
"’Satisfactory’? What does that even mean?"
"I believe the word means 'giving satisfaction sufficient to meet a demand or requirement.'"
"Ah. I mean—great! I'm happy for you guys." There is a short pause. "You know, I used to have a thing for Uhura."
"I am aware."
"Isn't it a bit weird for you that your best friend—I'm your best friend, right?"
"Indeed you are," the Commander says very softly.
The Captain doesn't speak immediately.
"So isn't it a bit weird that your gorgeous best friend tried to hit on your girl a few times? Don't you feel all caveman-y or something?"
"'All caveman-y'?" Mr. Spock repeats slowly.
"So you aren't the jealous type?"
"Vulcans do not experience jealousy. Jealousy is—"
"Illogical, of course. You're becoming predictable, Mr. Spock."
"I apologize, Captain. I shall endeavor to be more unpredictable and enigmatic in the future."
"Ha-ha. You're funny, you know that? And if you say Vulcans don't do funny, I'll bite you, I swear."
Silence. Kirk snickers.
"May I ask what is the cause of your enquiry?" the Commander says finally.
"Just wondering, you know? A little bird told me that Vulcans are really possessive about things they love."
When the Commander doesn't say anything, Kirk lets out a small laugh. "An idiom, Spock. Just an idiom. Relax, I don't talk to birds."
Spock sighs—honest-to-God sighs. "Were you not attempting to sleep, Captain?"
"Hm, do I frustrate you, Spock?"
"Wow, that's quite an accomplishment to get you to admit it. When we get back to the ship, I'll make an entry in the Captain's log: Yesterday Mr. Spock said that I frustrate him—"
"You know, even Bones is more fun than you," Kirk informs him before making a contented sound. "You're lucky you're so warm and comfy, or I would make Sulu my new best friend. Sulu is way cooler than you—ha, cooler. Pun."
Spock takes a deep breath. "Are you sufficiently warmed, Captain?"
"You wanna kick me out?" Kirk says in a voice that sounds like he's either pouting or messing with the Commander. It's probably the latter, because Chekov knows that Captain Kirk doesn't pout. Captain Kirk is the manliest and bravest Captain in the Fleet.
"I must admit that the thought is becoming more and more appealing."
"You're a cruel person, Spock. All right, fine—stop glaring at me, I can feel it—good night."
A moment later…
"My back is kinda freezing. Just saying."
A few moments later…
"Is this acceptable?"
"Yeah. Mmm…you have the best hands ever."
"I highly doubt it."
There is a short silence.
"Thanks," Kirk says softly. "I promise to get up early. Can't let them see you're a big softie underneath that Vulcan exterior, can we?"
Spock's voice sounds almost amused as he says, "Indeed -- we cannot let our subordinates see that their Captain needs his First Officer to protect him from cold."
Kirk snorts a laugh. "All lies. It was your idea, not mine! I was going to do the manly thing, but my First Officer felt lonely and badly wanted to cuddle me. Obviously, as a responsible Captain, I couldn't let him suffer."
"If you say so, Captain."
They fall silent. Chekov hugs himself, feeling more alone than he ever did before. He wouldn't mind having someone to huddle against, too.
When he wakes up, it's dawn. Yawning, Chekov climbs out of the sleeping bag and looks around. Everyone else is still sleeping. His gaze lingers on the Captain and the Commander. Kirk is practically lying on top of his First Officer, his head resting in the crook of Spock's neck. The Commander's arms are wrapped protectively around him, face buried in the golden hair.
They look... They look cute.
Chekov chuckles, catching himself on that thought. He never thought he'd ever use the word "cute" when Mr. Spock was involved. The Commander is anything but cute.
Chekov will never admit it to anyone, but he isn't very comfortable around Mr. Spock. It's not because he is xenophobic—he isn't. It's just. Just. He still remembers the look on the Commander's face when he failed to beam up his mother. Sometimes Chekov dreams about that day--about the planet dying before his eyes and the expression on Spock's face as he stares at the empty transporter pad. He dreams about Spock's choking him against a console and wakes up covered in sweat, sucking in frantic gulps of air and on the verge of throwing up, feeling terribly guilty.
He thinks—no, he's sure—that the Commander blames him for not saving his mother, and Chekov doesn't blame him for that. Sometimes he thinks that if he was just a little faster, tried a little harder – he could have saved Spock's mother.
Chekov swallows and makes himself stop thinking about it. Quietly, he goes behind the trees to relieve himself.
As he emerges out of the trees, he freezes at the sight.
Captain Kirk is still lying on top of the Commander, but now he's propped on his elbows. He is… He's staring at Spock's sleeping face with so much naked, desperate want and longing in his expression that it's uncomfortable to watch.
The Captain leans down, his lips hovering just an inch above the Commander's. A beat passes; the next moment, Kirk is on his feet.
"Fucking idiot," Kirk mutters, looking angry.
Spock shifts a little and Kirk quickly schools his face into a neutral mask.
"Good morning, Captain," the Commander says, opening his eyes and blinking sleepily.
"Morning, Spock," Kirk says, smiling down at him. He kicks Spock's leg slightly. "Get up. We need to leave the forest as soon as possible so that we could hail the ship. Your girlfriend is probably crazy with worry."
Spock raises an eyebrow at him. "I doubt it. Lieutenant Uhura is a professional."
"Good morning, Keptin, Commander!" Chekov says cheerfully.
Kirk stiffens visibly and turns his head. "Morning, Mr. Chekov," he says with a smile that doesn't reach his eyes. His shoulders are tensed and there is an uncertainty about him as he watches Chekov warily.
"Great day, isn't it?" Chekov says, and the Captain's shoulders relax, his smile becoming more genuine.
"Yup. C'mon, kid, let's wake the others up."
Pavel nods and goes to wake up Lt. Giotto, feeling weird and uncomfortable and as though he’d witnessed something that he wasn't supposed to see.
Chekov doesn't tell anyone. He tries not to think about it. It's none of his business. Maybe he misunderstood it and the Captain isn't really pining over the Commander—over his taken best friend, who is in a serious relationship with his Communications Officer. After all, everyone knows that James T. Kirk doesn't pine; people pine for him.
The Enterprise is in the orbit of Fettel ll, and Mr. Spock has been missing for twenty-eight hours. The evidence they have suggests that the natives want to sacrifice the Commander to their gods; they seem to consider him some sort of evil creature because of his pointed ears. Lieutenant Uhura is, quite understandably, very anxious, so six hours ago the Captain ordered her to leave the bridge, telling her that she's emotionally compromised.
Kirk himself doesn't look emotionally compromised at all. He looks calm and collected, and Chekov is relieved—relieved to know that he got it wrong.
Captain Kirk works without resting, and only because of the Captain's hard work do they manage to locate and retrieve Mr. Spock just before he's to be burnt at the stake. Chekov is very proud to serve under such a great captain.
Mr. Spock is seriously injured, and Chekov decides to visit him. He tries to persuade Sulu to go with him, but Sulu just mumbles something about his plants and Chekov heads out to sickbay alone.
Walking down the corridor leading to sickbay, Chekov thinks about the equation Mr. Scott asked him to solve. He's still thinking about it when he rounds the corner, so it's fortunate that he sees the Captain and comes to a halt before Kirk could notice his presence.
Kirk is leaning his forehead against the wall. He has his eyes closed and is taking deep, calming breaths, his hands clenched into fists. He is trembling, faintly.
Chekov stares at him for a few moments, then quietly tiptoes back before walking forward again, trying to make as much noise as possible.
When Chekov rounds the corner again, Kirk looks every bit the Captain he has come to know.
"Chekov! You wanna visit our First Officer, too?" Kirk asks with a grin.
Chekov makes himself smile. "Yes, Captain! Is he all right?"
Kirk shrugs with a smile. "I haven't seen him yet—Uhura’s with him—but Bones told me Spock would be citing regulations in no time."
Chekov's face already hurts from smiling. He wonders if the Captain's face is hurting, too.
"Maybe we should go in?" he suggests, and Kirk nods.
"Yup; the lovebirds have probably had enough time to kiss and hug. Let's go."
Uhura is sitting by Spock's bed. Commander Spock doesn't look well. He's very pale and seems to be very tired and weak in comparison to usual, but Captain Kirk is looking at him like the half-Vulcan is the most beautiful thing he has ever seen.
"Captain," Spock says, his voice sounding a bit warmer than usual, but Chekov might be wrong, since he's far from being fluent in ‘Spock-talk,’ as the Captain refers to it. "Mr. Chekov."
"Hey. How are you feeling?" Kirk says softly, beaming at Spock so brightly he seems to glow. Chekov has to look away, his insides twisting with pity.
Spock raises an eyebrow at him, and Kirk chuckles. "Right. Of course you don't feel anything."
"Indeed. I am well, Captain, which I cannot say about you. How long has it been since you slept?"
Kirk rubs the back of his neck.
Spock narrows his eyes.
Kirk smiles at him sheepishly. "Well..."
"You have not slept for at least thirty-six hours," Spock says, and Chekov doesn't have to be fluent in Spock-talk to hear disapproval in the Commander's voice.
"Bones hypo'd me!" Kirk says defensively.
Spock just looks coldly at him.
The Captain sighs. "All right, fine! Stop giving me that look."
Uhura puts a hand on the Commander's shoulder. "Spock needs rest, Captain."
"I do not need—"
"No, it's okay." Kirk looks at his First Officer. "I'm going to my quarters to have my beauty sleep. And you're welcome, by the way. Asshole."
Spock's expression softens slightly. "Thank you, Jim. You have done an admirable job—as always."
Kirk grins and steps forward, but then seems to think better of it. He nods awkwardly to Uhura, pushes his hands into his pockets, and leaves the ward.
"Um, I'd better go, too, then," Chekov says. "It's good to have you with us again, Mr. Spock."
The Vulcan looks almost confused before nodding. "Thank you, Mr. Chekov."
Chekov's mother used to tell him that Men'she znayesh' - krepche spish' (The less you know, the more soundly you sleep). Chekov hasn't really believed it before, but now he feels so bad for the Captain that he really has trouble sleeping.
He tries not to think of it—it is none of his business—but after that mission, he cannot ignore it anymore.
Captain Kirk is an interesting person. He seems an open book, but he actually has the best poker face on the ship. Most of the time, it's hard to tell what's behind Kirk's ever-smiling face. He's good at hiding his emotions. But unlike Commander Spock, he doesn't hide his emotions and thoughts behind an indifferent mask; he hides them behind other emotions, smiles, childishness and obnoxious attitude.
Captain Kirk is good, but since Chekov knows what to look for, he cannot not notice the looks the Captain gives the Commander when he thinks no one is looking; the almost unnoticeable tension on his face every time he sees Spock and Uhura together; and the bright smiles that don't reach his eyes.
It is… sad. But the saddest thing is, nobody but Chekov notices anything. Either Captain Kirk is that good, or no one just cares enough to look.
The thought makes Chekov even more depressed.
"Where's the Captain?" Chekov yells. The bar is very loud and he isn't certain Hikaru has heard him, so he repeats the question.
Sulu just shrugs distractedly, ogling some Andorian. Sighing, Chekov stands up and gets out of the booth. He's not sure why he's worried about the Captain, who is older than him and much more experienced, but he is.
After ten minutes of searching, he finally spots the Captain leaning against the bar. He has a bottle of something in his hand and is talking to a man—if it can be called 'talking,' considering that the man is groping the Captain's ass. Kirk doesn't seem to mind, though. Actually he doesn't seem to be paying attention to anything the man is saying, too busy staring dumbly at something on the dance floor and drinking, drinking, drinking.
Frowning, Chekov follows Kirk's gaze and winces, seeing Uhura and a very reluctant-looking Commander Spock slow-dancing to some cheesy love song. The Commander looks like he is going through torture, but overall, the couple looks lovely—dark and gorgeous.
When Chekov looks back at the Captain, neither he nor his companion is there anymore. His worry heightening, he looks around the bar frantically until he spots them disappearing into a bathroom.
Chekov bites his lip. He isn’t naïve; he can guess why they went there. He knows it's none of his business what the Captain does on a shore leave, but he can't help but be concerned. Captain Kirk is more than a little drunk and it's obvious that he isn't thinking clearly at the moment. And Chekov still remembers what happened during the previous shore leave. (It never ceases to amaze him how Captain Kirk manages to get into those messes. The Captain says he's just special; Doctor McCoy scowls every time he hears that.)
Chekov hesitates, not knowing what to do. That man could be dangerous and harm Captain Kirk.
"Mr. Chekov?" says a familiar voice into his ear from behind, and Chekov's shoulders sag in relief. The decision is made for him.
"Yes, Mr. Spock?" he says, turning around. Spock is alone. Chekov can see Uhura on the dance floor, looking daggers at Spock's back, her arms crossed over her chest.
"Do you know where the Captain is? He was at the bar four-point-two minutes ago, but he is not there anymore." The Commander looks mildly worried.
"He went into the bathroom," Chekov says, then adds, "with a stranger."
Spock's face darkens, and he quickly heads towards said bathroom. Chekov thinks for a few moments, then decides to follow him, hoping that the Captain won't kill him for cock-blocking him.
As he reaches the bathroom, the man the Captain was with rushes out as if chased by demons.
"What the fuck, Spock?" is the first thing he hears. Chekov freezes at the doorway.
Captain Kirk is pissed. His face is red with fury—and probably alcohol—as he glares at his First Officer.
Spock clasps his hands behind his back. "I may ask you the same question, Captain." His voice isn't his usual calm tone. "That individual might have been dangerous—"
Kirk laughs hoarsely, shaking his head. "To what – my dick?"
"Do I need to remind you what happened during the previous shore leave?" Spock says in a clipped tone.
Kirk's eyes flash. "Do I need to remind you that it's my fucking life and that I'm on a fucking shore leave and for once, it's none of your goddamn business what I do with my time?! If I want to fuck some guy, I damn well will. Is that fucking understood?!" He's practically shouting, body shaking with rage, fists clenching and unclenching at his sides. "You don't fucking own me, Spock!"
Chekov has noticed that Captain Kirk's use of expletives is in direct correlation with the level of his intoxication. It seems the Captain is much drunker than he looks.
Spock steps closer to Kirk. "Jim, what is the matter? Why are you so agitated?” He sniffs. “Why are you so inebriated?"
The Captain stares at him, breathing heavily, his face twisted in a grimace.
"What's the matter?" he repeats flatly before leaning against the wall and sinking to the floor. "He's asking what's the matter," he mumbles, then snorts, then starts laughing, leaning his forehead against his knees. His laughter becomes louder until it sounds almost hysterical.
"Jim," the Commander says softly, sinking to the floor, too. Chekov can't help but notice how different Mr. Spock is around the Captain.
"Jim," he repeats, touching the Captain's shoulder. "Tell me what is wrong. I will do my best to find the solution."
Kirk laughs even harder, his whole body shaking with laughter.
He goes quiet very abruptly, his shoulders sagging. "Go back to Uhura, Spock," he says tiredly, staring at the floor. He looks far too old for his twenty-six years. "There are things even you can't do."
"I do not understand."
"Of course you don't. Go." Kirk's lips twist. "You shouldn't make your beautiful girlfriend wait. Because waiting, and hoping, sucks. Trust me."
Spock blinks. "You are not making any sense."
Kirk chuckles bitterly, burying his fingers in his hair. "Well, 'never claimed to be logical. But Uhura—gorgeous and hot Nyota—she's very logical and perfect, isn't she? You look so fucking perfect together."
Chekov can see in the mirror how the Commander's brows furrow, and before the Captain can say anything he will very much regret in the morning, Chekov coughs. "I can take the Captain back to the ship, Mr. Spock."
They turn their heads to him.
Spock frowns. "I will accompany him myself, Mr. Chekov."
"No!" Kirk jerks away from Spock, and picking up his bottle from the floor, gets to his feet a little unsteadily. "Chekov will do. 'Don't need you, Spock. Go back to your girl."
Chekov registers the change in the Commander's features, a flicker of something resembling hurt, before Spock schools his face into an impassive mask and gets to his feet, too. "Very well. I shall see you in the morning, Captain." He looks at Chekov. "Make sure that the Captain is safely aboard. Hail me when he is."
"Don't need a fucking babysitter," Kirk growls, heading to the exit. "I'm not that drunk."
Chekov nods to the Commander and hurriedly follows the Captain.
"Go back, Chekov," Kirk says when they get outside the bar. He pulls out his communicator. "Don't worry, I'm going home."
Chekov fidgets. "I can't, Captain. I promised."
Kirk snorts a laugh. "Spock won't bite your head off, Pasha. He's like a sehlat—looks dangerous, but actually all cuddly and soft—and—" He shakes his head and takes a big gulp from his bottle. He presses a button on the comm. "Two to beam up, Ensign Sokratis."
Chekov doesn't know what to say, so they wait in silence for a few minutes before the world finally disappears around them.
Despite the Captain's objections, Chekov accompanies him to his quarters. He waits until Kirk undresses to his boxers and T-shirt before helping him into the bed.
He's about to leave when hears Kirk mutter, "Never fall in love, kiddo. Love sucks."
The next morning, the Captain either doesn't remember anything, or pretends that he doesn't.
The thing about First Contacts is that half of the time, they go terribly wrong. This time, it's Captain Kirk, Doctor McCoy, and Lieutenant Uhura who get themselves kidnapped by natives.
Unlike the time Commander Spock was kidnapped, there is no need to search for them; the rest of the crew knows where they are being held. The problem is, given the layout of their surroundings, they can safely retrieve only one of them without alerting the natives. The safety of the other two will be in danger and cannot be guaranteed.
As Acting Captain, Mr. Spock is the one who has to make the decision. Chekov doesn't envy him. After all, these aren’t three random crewmembers; those three are probably the people closest to the Commander.
Everyone on the bridge, Chekov included, watches the Commander, waiting for his decision.
Spock's face is carefully blank, as always, when he says, "We will rescue the Captain first."
Chekov nods. It's probably only logical to save Captain Kirk—he's the commanding officer of the Enterprise, after all; there’s probably even some regulation about it.
Later that evening, when the ordeal is over, he goes to sickbay to visit Uhura and Doctor McCoy. They have some nasty wounds, but they're alive, and that’s the only thing that matters. He's about to come into Uhura's ward when he hears raised voices from inside. Chekov stops and listens.
"…you even listening to me, Spock? I'm telling you again: you have nothing to feel guilty about! I'm not some stupid girl—I understand that it was your duty to save him. I'm alive, right?"
"Yes. But you could have died."
"But I didn't."
"This is not the point, Nyota. The point is—"
"The point is, you're overreacting. You're not being logical, Spock. I don't get it. Why are you feeling so guilty about your quite logical decision?"
"I do not feel guilty," Spock says quietly, and Chekov frowns.
Uhura snorts. "Don't give me that bullshit about not feeling anything. I know you feel."
There is another pause.
"You do not understand, Nyota."
"Then make me understand!"
Chekov jumps and whirls around, his face heating up. "Captain!"
"Well, it's becoming a tradition of sorts, isn't it?" Kirk says with a crooked smile. "You're here to visit Uhura?"
Chekov nods, hoping that the Captain doesn't think that he's been eavesdropping—even though he has been doing exactly that.
"Are those for Ms. Uhura?" Chekov asks, looking at the flowers in the Captain's hands.
"Yup. Stole them from the botany labs. I see you have a gift for her, too."
Chekov smiles proudly. "Yes. This is a real Russian chocolate!"
Kirk chuckles. "Of course it is. Well, let's go in, then."
Commander Spock turns around when they enter. His gaze sweeps over the Captain's body, as if checking for any wounds, and lingers on the flowers.
Spock narrows his eyes. "Captain—"
Kirk smiles at Uhura. "How is my Chief Communication officer doing?"
Uhura gives him a faint smile. "Thanks, I'm well. Privet, Pasha."
Chekov smiles at her and puts his gift on the stand beside her biobed. "I hope you like it. Eto nastoyashyi russkii shokolad. Moya mama—"
"Captain," Spock says more urgently and Chekov pauses.
Jim rolls his eyes. "I'm not listening to you, Spock. I already know what you're going to say—that I need some rest, yadda-yadda. I feel fine, all right? I'm not the one—"
Spock practically jumps to the Captain's side and snatches the flowers from him.
"Hey! It's a gift for Uhura, not for you!"
Spock throws the flowers into the trash. Jim (as well as Chekov and Uhura) stares at Spock, his mouth open.
"Why the hell did you do that? I picked them myself!" Kirk finally says, scowling.
Spock takes a tricorder and starts scanning Kirk. "I believe if you were not so fatigued, you might have noticed that those flowers are on the list Doctor McCoy and I have compiled for you."
Kirk frowns. "It can't be right. I don't remember ever having an allergic reaction to those flowers. Actually, I've never seen those flowers before."
"You are correct; you indeed have never encountered those flowers before, but they belong to the same genus as Andorian rithersku, to which you have a severe allergic reaction. That is why they are under the 'potentially dangerous' category—there is a high chance that you will be allergic to them."
Kirk rolls his eyes. "That list has, like, dozens things on it, and I know that I don't have that many allergies. It's called paranoia, Spock. I think there's a Russian saying, 'Don't make a dinosaur out of a fly'—right, Chekov? Chekov has a thing for Russian sayings."
"It's an elephant, not a dinosaur, Captain," Chekov corrects, and Uhura snickers.
Kirk makes a 'whatever' gesture. "My point stands. Seriously, I think Bones's paranoia is contagious. I feel fine, really."
Spock furrows his eyebrows, looking at the tricorder. "You are not 'fine,' Captain. Your temperature is one-point-three degrees higher than normal," he says coldly before thumbing a button on the sickbay communicator. "Nurse, please bring a hypospray with the Captain's anti-allergen #2 to Lieutenant Uhura's ward."
Kirk scowls at him. Uhura chuckles. "Stop pouting. Spock's right, Jim. You might feel fine now, but it doesn't mean anything. Thanks for the flowers, by the way."
"You're welcome. And I'm not pouting."
"Yes, you are, Jim," Spock says, taking the hypospray from Nurse Chapel and stepping closer to the Captain. Chekov wonders why the Commander just won't let the professional do her job.
Kirk winces. "I hate hypos."
"I am well aware of your irrational fear of this medical equipment," Spock says, gently tilting the Captain's head.
"Hey, it's not fear. It's an aversion."
"If you say so."
"Stop laughing at me."
"I am not 'laughing' at you."
"You totally are."
"You are suffering from delusions, Jim. It is done."
Kirk blinks, staring at Spock. "Really? I didn't even feel anything."
"And you are not supposed to feel anything. If done correctly, injection should not cause any pain."
Captain Kirk lets out a laugh. "Are you insulting Bones? I'm totally telling him you said that!"
Spock raises an eyebrow. "I am certain Doctor McCoy is quite capable of performing injection. Perhaps he simply finds satisfaction in punishing you for your irresponsibility when it comes to your own safety. I advise you to be more careful in your actions in the future."
Kirk closes his eyes for a moment before looking at Spock. "Look, don't get me wrong—I do appreciate that you care, but I'm not made of glass, Spock. I have a total of three allergies. Three. Maybe it sounds weird to you, but the universe isn't conspiring to kill me." He smiles at Spock and clasps him on the shoulder. "Relax, okay? You won't get rid of me so easily."
The Commander eyes Kirk's smiling face before nodding. "I will do my best to keep my concerns to myself, Captain."
Kirk groans, "God, you're hopeless, Spock."
Uhura clears her throat slightly. "I'm… sort of tired, Spock."
Kirk steps away from his First Officer and pushes his hands into his pockets. "Yeah, sure. I hope you get better soon, Lieutenant. I’m going to visit Bones. Chekov, you coming with me?"
Chekov nods, feeling uncomfortable all of a sudden.
He feels Uhura's gaze following them out of the ward.
Chekov is proud to say that he is an expert on gossip. He doesn't gossip himself, of course, but he knows the ins and outs of how gossip works on the ship, and, more often than not, Chekov can easily tell true rumors from false ones.
The rumor about Uhura's pregnancy is not true, he knows, but everyone else seems to believe it. Chekov blames Yeoman Ballack for spreading it to begin with. The fact that Uhura put on some weight (which, in Chekov's opinion, is a very good thing; now she actually has curves) is understandable—they're in space, after all. But no, obviously, speculating that she's pregnant is much more exciting than the truth.
It is another shore leave, and thanks to that stupid rumor, instead of having fun, Chekov has to watch Captain Kirk poison himself with alcohol at the bar, get groped by a stranger, disappear into a bathroom with him, and Mr. Spock kick the Captain's unfortunate companion out.
To say that he is feeling a déjà-vu would be an understatement.
Now Chekov once again finds himself looking into the bar bathroom through the door left slightly ajar. Chert pobery, he's getting way too invested in this.
"Go away, Spock," Captain Kirk says, staring at the ceiling dumbly. He is sitting on the floor with his head leaned back against the wall. He seems much drunker than the previous time.
The Commander sinks to the floor next to him. "Jim, tell me what is wrong. It is not like you to become so inebriated." A muscle in his jaw flexes. "And it is the second time I came across such a distasteful scene. Why did you let that—that individual do—"
"Do what?" Kirk snaps, switching to aggressiveness. "Kiss me? So kissing is fucking distasteful when it's me, huh? It might be a fucking strange concept for you, but some people want to kiss me! Strange, huh?"
Spock frowns. "That has nothing to do with—"
"Leave me alone, Spock," Kirk says, closing his eyes. "Go to Uhura and your baby."
"Nyota is not pregnant."
Kirk snorts. "Doesn't matter. She might not be pregnant now, but one day you're still gonna have 2.5 kids and a white picket fence, and I'm gonna… I'm a fucking idiot to…" He trails off and rubs at his face, his shoulders sagging.
"I'm tired," he says finally, staring into nothing. His blue eyes look lifeless. "I'm fucking tired of pretending, putting on a happy face, being all smiley and shit, and— I can't do that anymore. I can't."
Chekov swallows, his heart clenching in pity.
Spock's frown deepens. "What are you talking about, Jim?"
"'Wanted to be a better man," Kirk says with a harsh chuckle, as if not hearing Spock. "'Wanted to be happy for my friends. But I'm not a better man. I'm selfish, dammit. I want…" His lips curl into an unattractive smile. "Sometimes I have these thoughts...I think, 'What if I just go for it and damn the consequences, damn the morals?' It's fucking stupid, 'cause I know I don't stand a chance and I'd only destroy good friendships and working relationships for nothing, but it's fucking tempting - so tempting. 'Cause I get tired of being a good guy, you know? I wanna grab and fight for what I want. I wanna steal--and not just from some random stranger, but from a friend."
He chuckles, dropping his eyes to the floor. "I'm disgusting, I know. But the worst thing is, I can't shake these thoughts, and I can't act on them." He rubs his face. "I'm so sick of that. So fucking sick."
Chekov can actually see the moment the Commander finally understands. He stares at Kirk, his mouth a little slack. "You…"
Kirk bites his lip hard. "I didn't choose this, Spock," he says quietly, staring at the floor. "We don't choose who we fall in love with."
Spock's jaw works. "I cannot believe that all this time--" he grits out, getting to his feet. His eyes flash with… some emotion. "All this time you called me friend while… You are correct. You are."
"Disgusting, huh?" he says when Spock starts turning to the exit. "Okay. Okay." He laughs, self-deprecating and bitter, and covers his eyes with his hand. "I've never thought I'd say this, but you've no idea how sorry I am that I've ever met you."
Chekov is the only one who sees the pain cross the Commander's face before he steels his features into a stony mask and heads to the door.
Chekov barely manages to escape unnoticed.
Chekov takes his tray, and, turning around, hesitates. Uhura is sitting at Commander Spock's table. Doctor McCoy is sitting at Captain Kirk's table. Sulu and Robertson are seated at a 'neutral' table with Scotty and his engineers.
Chekov feels like his parents are divorcing and now it's only down to who gets the kids.
He hates it.
They used to be KirkandSpock. Despite their many differences, they were the best command team in the Fleet, always in sync, always presenting a united front. Now, not so much.
It's been almost a week since the shore leave, and the Captain and the Commander are still not talking outside of work. There are no more chess games, no more daily meals and work-outs together—nothing. They're painfully civil towards each other, but that's about it. The tension between them is so apparent that Chekov can feel it every time they are in the same room.
He looks between the tables again before heading to Captain Kirk's table. If he has to choose sides, it won't be Spock's. Chekov is angry with him. It's hardly the Captain's fault that he's fallen in love with Spock. In Chekov's opinion, Spock's reaction was unjustified and just downright mean. Even if he didn't return Kirk's feelings, he should have shown his friend compassion and just gently let him down--not tell Kirk that he was disgusted with him.
Nodding to the Captain and Doctor McCoy, Chekov sits down and starts eating, painfully aware of the silence and the glaring lack of Mr. Spock at Kirk's side. It feels so wrong.
Everyone is quiet for about five minutes before McCoy finally breaks the silence. "Jim," he says in a low voice. "Just let me talk to him-"
"No," Kirk says firmly, not looking up from his plate.
"I said no, Bones," Kirk says in a steely voice.
"He's made it clear that he doesn't want to have anything to do with me." Kirk stabs something on his plate with his fork. "I'm not gonna beg him to forgive me when I have nothing to apologize for. It's not my fault that I—" He cuts himself off, glancing at Chekov warily. "I have my pride, you know. Screw him."
Chekov bites his lip, badly wanting to tell the Captain that he knows everything, but seeing the way Kirk's jaw is clenched, he keeps his mouth shut. If he says anything, the Captain will find out that he's eavesdropped on his conversations, and not once—not even twice. Chekov doesn't want Captain Kirk to think badly of him.
Halfway through the meal, he looks up and catches Commander Spock looking at their table. The Vulcan is practically boring a hole in the back of Kirk's head, paying attention neither to his girlfriend nor to his meal.
"—you look at me, Spock?!"
Chekov raises his head from his PADD. It's Lieutenant Uhura.
"I am rather occupied at the moment, Lieutenant."
Holding his breath, Chekov quietly tiptoes towards the edge of the platform he is on and looks down at the lower level of the Engineering deck.
Mr. Spock is doing something on a computer terminal, rather pointedly ignoring his girlfriend.
Uhura folds her lips into a thin line. "Yeah, and that's the problem. How long it's been since you stopped working and got some sleep? Look at yourself, Spock! You've lost weight, you're tense as hell, and you even have bags under your eyes!"
"My health is satisfactory, Lieutenant, and I have no desire to discuss non-work related subjects while I am on duty."
"And when you aren't on duty, you avoid me like a plague!"
"I do not avoid you."
Uhura puts her hands on her hips. "You know what? I'm sick of it, Spock. Tell me what the hell Kirk did, or I’ll ask him."
Spock's gaze snaps to her. "You will not speak to him."
She narrows her eyes. "If you don't want me to speak to him, you'd better start talking."
"It is none of your business, Lieutenant."
"None of my business? I'm your girlfriend, Spock."
"It is none of your business," Spock repeats, staring at the computer terminal. He really does look sick, Chekov thinks. His face is thinner, and his clothes seem to hang more loosely on him.
"Did he…" Uhura starts, but trails off.
The Commander looks at her. "Did he what?"
Uhura eyes him for a few moments before shaking her head. "Never mind," she says with a sigh. "Just tell me what's going on, Spock."
"There is nothing 'going on,' Lieutenant."
She snorts. "Right. Look, why can't you just talk it out and make up? The crew is worried, Spock."
The Commander looks back at the terminal, his jaw set. "It is not something we can merely 'talk out.' And I am not the one who should be seeking conversation. If he were sorry—if he wished to seek my company, he would have done so."
"God, men," Uhura says with an eye-roll. "You're worse than teenagers, seriously. This is ridiculous, Spock. It's obvious that you're both miserable!"
Spock presses his lips together. "He is not miserable. He does not care."
Uhura stares at him. "God, it's… You know, at times like that, I feel like he's your girlfriend and I'm the best friend to whom you complain about said girlfriend. You're being stupid, Spock. Why can't you turn on your goddamn logic when it comes to Jim Kirk and think rationally? Logically, your fighting with Kirk is bad for the crew's morale—but you just don't care." She shakes her head with a small laugh. "It's like there's a cool-headed Spock for everyone and an irrational and stubborn Spock just for Kirk!"
"I do not find the subject amusing and do not wish to discuss it further. Dismissed, Lieutenant."
Uhura huffs and turns away, her ponytail slicing an angry arc through the air.
But then— "Nyota," Spock says. Uhura stops.
"Do you consider the Captain… attractive?"
Uhura whirls around, frowning. "What kind of question is that? I'm not the kind of woman who would look at other men that way while I'm in a relationship."
Spock stares at the computer terminal. "But if we were not in a relationship?"
Uhura's mouth falls open. "Is that your way to break up with me?"
Spock doesn't look at her. "Do not be ridiculous. Answer the question, Nyota."
Uhura looks at him with a deep frown. "Well. He isn't really my type—the blue-eyed blonds never did it for me. But objectively, yeah, he's hot, and he's a genius—which is a turn-on, okay. Why are you asking Spock?"
"Sociological research," Spock says evenly and starts typing, clearly dismissing her.
Uhura stares at his straight back for a few moments before shaking her head to herself and leaving.
Frowning, Chekov eyes the Commander. He can't quite put his finger on it, but he has the niggling feeling that he is missing something.
"I've got thirteen Valentines!" Chekov announces proudly to Hikaru as they sit together at the Valentine's party. With all the excitement around the fight between the Captain and the Commander, he's completely forgotten about Valentine's Day, and getting so many Valentines was a pleasant surprise. "But you've probably got dozens, right?"
Sulu flushes and shows him his two Valentines.
"Oh," says Chekov, rather confused, then adds quickly, "Two is a good number, though!"
Sulu glares at him and turns away, making Chekov feel pretty bad.
"It's a stupid holiday, anyway," Sulu grumbles.
Chekov nudges him. "Oh come on, cheer up, Hikaru! You're the only one sulking here!"
"Nope," Sulu says, nodding toward one of the tables. "Spock's sulking too, so I'm in good company."
Chekov looks over and finds that Hikaru is right. Although 'sulking' isn't the word Chekov would choose. By Vulcan standards, Commander Spock looks positively angry as he eyes the dancing crowd.
"I guess if my girlfriend was dancing with someone I was fighting with, I'd be pissed, too."
"Maybe," Chekov says, frowning. The Commander has no one to blame but himself that his girlfriend is dancing with Captain Kirk now. Spock refused to dance with Uhura, rather rudely—Chekov heard it with his own ears earlier. From this distance, Chekov can't see Uhura and Kirk's expressions very well, but from afar, they look like they are enjoying themselves.
Chekov looks back at Spock, but he's not there anymore.
"Shit," Sulu mutters and Chekov follows his gaze.
"Blja," he curses, seeing that Commander Spock is making his way through the crowd to Kirk and Uhura. "You think he'll make a scene?"
"I think we're about to find out," Sulu says as Spock reaches the pair.
Spock puts a hand on Uhura's arm and practically jerks her away from Kirk. The two men exchange a glare before Spock accompanies a very pissed-looking Uhura back to their table. She is saying something angrily, but the Commander doesn't respond, his expression cold as frost.
"Huh, Spock's never struck me as the jealous type," Sulu says.
Chekov frowns, thinking of the conversation he overheard during his first away mission.
"Yeah," he says. The feeling that he's missing something appears again.
Chekov looks back to Captain Kirk and finds him staring at the Commander's hand on Uhura's back as he ushers her through the crowd.
The next day, there is a rumor that the Captain is dating Lieutenant Kathleen Robards from the Science department.
At first, Chekov doesn't believe it, but when he enters the mess, the Captain is sitting at Kathleen's table. Kathleen is gorgeous -- tall, with dark hair and eyes and pale, flawless skin. They look good together.
Chekov looks around, then heads to Commander Spock's table. He hasn't sat at his table since the whole mess started, but Chekov isn't a coward. He puts his tray on the table and sits down, facing Spock and Uhura, and only then notices the strained silence between them.
Chekov licks his lips, frantically trying to come up with something to say. "So, it's true, then!" he says, smiling. "Captain Kirk is seeing Ms. Robards! She's very pretty. I'm so happy he found someone."
The Commander puts his cup down with a little more force than necessary. "Mr. Chekov, refrain from gossiping about your Commanding Officer."
Chekov pales. "I'm—I—" he stutters, feeling embarrassed, confused, hurt and guilty all at once.
"Spock!" Uhura snaps. "You're being too harsh. Pavel didn't mean anything bad."
The Commander purses his lips. "It is still unbecoming behavior. The Captain's personal life is not Ensign Chekov's business."
Uhura rolls her eyes. "Spock, it's the Enterprise. Innocent gossip is practically the only source of entertainment. If you don't like hearing it, don't listen, and don't ruin the fun for others. And I agree with Pasha—it's about time Jim started dating."
Spock glances at Kirk and Kathleen before returning his gaze to his plate. "I see no logic in wasting time speculating on other individuals' personal lives. Moreover, that particular rumor is obviously false."
Uhura raises her eyebrows. "How do you know that? You aren't talking to the Captain."
"I can say with full authority that the Captain's affections lie elsewhere," Spock says flatly. "Even if he starts a romantic relationship with Lt. Robards, it will not last."
"Elsewhere?" Uhura says in a strange tone.
Spock gives her a sharp look. "You seem to be very interested in the topic."
Uhura frowns. "What are you hinting at?"
"I am not hinting at anything, Lieutenant." Spock stands up. "If you excuse me, I am needed on the bridge." With the last look at Kirk and Kathleen, he leaves.
Uhura's gaze follows Spock's retreating figure before she sighs heavily and turns to Chekov. She smiles at him, but it's obvious her heart isn't in it; she looks annoyed, frustrated and tired. "Never mind him, Pasha. He’s just… being Spock."
Chekov nods with a smile, even though he isn't convinced. The Commander just hates him.
When Captain Kirk is in a bad mood, everyone does his or her best to distract him and cheer him up. When Mr. Spock is in a bad mood, everyone does his or her best to be as quiet as possible – or, ideally, not to breathe.
Spock is in a very, very bad mood.
These days, he's snappish and irritated to the point that Chekov is scared to even shift in his chair, not wishing to draw Spock's attention to himself. He doesn't want to be an object of the Commander's sharp tongue.
When Mr. Spock reprimands poor Yeoman Rand for the dust on his station, Sulu sends Chekov a message: Jeez, what crawled up his ass and died?
I don't know, Chekov replies.
A minute later, Sulu sends another message. It pisses me off that the Captain doesn't interfere, no matter what the Commander does. Reprimanding Janice for the fucking dust is ridiculous. And Spock can’t not know that it's over the top. It’s like he’s doing it on purpose.
Chekov frowns and writes back: You think he wants to make the Captain angry? Why would he do that? They are already at odds!
Sulu's reply doesn't come immediately. I don't know. I just keep getting the impression that he wants a reaction from Kirk, or something.
Chuzhaya dusha - potyomki, Chekov thinks. Other person's soul is darkness. Chekov probably will never understand the Commander.
A week later, the Captain is back at the "Captain's table"—Kathleen has broken up with him.
Apparently, Captain Kirk is "great in bed but emotionally unavailable and distant." They are her words, not Chekov's. And apparently, Kathleen "doesn't have time for shallow relationships," because Mr. Spock finally gave her the project she's wanted to work on for ages and it will take all her time.
If Kathleen chose a project over Captain Kirk, Chekov decides, she doesn't deserve him.
There are also rumors that Uhura and Spock are at odds. They were caught arguing a few times, and Spock's yeoman told Chekov that they haven't slept together in two months. Chekov doesn't know what to make of it. It's true that recently the Commander and Ms. Uhura don't look like a happy couple—or like a couple, period—but it doesn't necessarily mean anything. Every relationship has problems.
But, as they say, net dyma bez ognya. There is no smoke without fire.
Chekov doesn't mean to eavesdrop, really. He never means to--it just happens.
He is looking for Hikaru when he comes across Spock and Uhura in one of the botany labs.
"—said you needed to cancel our dinner together because of the ship's business." Uhura sounds angry.
Chekov freezes and holds his breath.
"I said no such thing," Spock says evenly, viewing something through a microscope.
"You let me think that. You didn't correct me."
"Technically, it is indeed the ship's business, Lieutenant. Doctor Grint asked for my help with these plants."
Uhura huffs, crossing her arms over her chest. "It might be the ship's business, but doing this job is not among your duties, Spock. If it was, it would've been fine—our duties come first and foremost. But you canceled our date—our first date in ages—so that you could do this! It's not a fucking emergency or anything--"
"Remember yourself, Lieutenant," Spock warns her. "We are not in the privacy of our quarters."
Uhura pinches the bridge of her nose. "Fine. Sorry." She sighs heavily, meeting his eyes. "What's happening to us, Spock? I'm a communications expert, for God's sake, but it feels like we can't talk to each other anymore. We just don't work."
The Commander eyes her. "Are you saying that you wish to end our romantic relationship?"
She shrugs, looking tired. "I don't know, Spock. Lately, I feel like we're staying together only by habit, because it's safe and familiar, and I don't like it. I get irritated over the tiniest things you do, and I hate it. But the worst thing is, I feel like I'm losing you as my friend. Half of the time, I don't understand you at all! Don't you feel it, too? That we're becoming strangers?"
The Commander puts the microscope away. His eyebrows are furrowed as he regards Uhura. "Yes."
She smiles sadly and leans her forehead against his shoulder. "I think it's the first time in ages we agreed on something." Her voice is a little muffled when she resumes speaking. "We should do something about it, Spock. We can't continue like that. Not to mention the Captain—"
Spock's face tenses ever so slightly. "What about him?" he says in a clipped tone.
Uhura pulls away from, frowning. "What's up with you? Every time I mention Jim, you start acting weird. It can't be only because of your argument with him—which I still don't know the cause of, by the way. Talk to me, Spock. Please."
Spock looks down and is silent for a few moments before meeting Uhura's eyes. "Jim has romantic feelings for you," he says flatly.
Chekov's jaw drops. What?
"What?!" Uhura says, her eyes going huge. "Who told you that?"
Uhura gapes. "He told you that?"
"During the shore-leave? Are you sure there was no misunderstanding? What about that Kathleen thing?"
Spock stares at some point next to Uhura's shoulder. "There was no misunderstanding, Nyota. Yes, he told me during the shore leave, but, in retrospect, there had been signs I should have noticed. Sometimes he behaved oddly when we spoke of you, and once he even admitted that he had a 'thing' for you, but I did not think of it seriously. Regarding his affair with Lieutenant Robards, I do not know his motives. Perhaps he was attempting to take his mind off you."
Uhura's eyebrows furrow. "I still don't buy it. Kirk has never given any sign that he ever felt something like that towards me. If anything…" She frowns. "Wait. Do you mean… Do you mean that you two are fighting because of me?"
Spock's lips fold into a thin hard line. "While I would not phrase it like that… it is not incorrect."
She stares at him. "So all that aggressiveness and— You’re jealous?"
Spock's jaw clenches. He says nothing.
Uhura narrows her eyes and tilts her head. "Yes, you are jealous… but of whom?"
"I do not know what you mean."
"Don't play coy with me, Spock. In the two years we've been together, you've never got jealous no matter how hard I tried to provoke you—because apparently jealousy is illogical—and now you are, all of a sudden?"
She eyes him for a few moments before letting out a laugh. "You're not jealous of Jim. You're jealous of me, aren't you?" She chuckles. "Huh; my own boyfriend is jealous of me, because his best friend wants me. What an irony, god." Her lips twist. "Not that it's so surprising. Jim is the only thing you've ever acted possessive of."
The Commander's purses his lips. "I am not jealous, and I am not possessive of Jim."
Uhura raises her eyebrows. "I'm neither blind nor delusional, Spock, and I know you. I've never been able to read you as well as some people, and yet I seem to read you better than anyone else. You hate not being the center of Kirk's attention and you hate when someone else has it. You practically glow when he smiles at you and look annoyed when he smiles like that at someone else. Every time he enters the same room we are, it's like I disappear. Every goddamn time, Spock. It used to make me jealous as hell, because I couldn't compete with that, but lately? Not so much."
"You are speaking nonsense," the Commander says, clasping his hands behind his back. "I feel nothing for Jim but friendship."
Uhura smiles crookedly. "Keep lying to yourself if you want—been there, done that—but it doesn't change the fact that Jim has you wrapped around his finger."
"I assure you I am not—"
"Spock," Uhura cuts him off, almost condescending. "Please. Now you might be jealous and pissed with Kirk because he dared to secretly have feelings towards someone who isn't you, but I'm sure that the moment Kirk looks at you with his baby-blues and says that he's sorry, you'll forgive him everything and take him back. You're dying to take him back. He's got you so whipped that it's not even funny. It's kind of pathetic to watch you pull his pigtails during shifts, trying to get his attention back."
Spock's cheekbones tinge with green. Chekov stares, his mouth open.
Uhura starts laughing. "God… You know, it's almost cute. You're like a lovesick teenager who has his first real crush and doesn't quite know what to do with it."
"This conversation is over," Spock almost spits.
She smiles, and leaning in, gives him a peck on the cheek. "No, it isn't. We're going to have a talk tonight." Her face sobers. "I'm tired, Spock. I'm tired and I don't like what we're becoming. We can't continue like this—it's unfair to both of us. We need to decide on something."
Chekov turns around and leaves before either of them could notice him.
The next day, they arrive to Daltorian system.
It's very hard to persuade Captain Kirk to include him in the away team again, but when Chekov tells him that the second time is a charm, Kirk laughs and agrees.
It's a very simple mission: they are to negotiate with the natives for the benamite crystals in exchange for medical supplies.
All is well—too well—until Chekov accidently steps on something furry that turns out to be the Governor's favorite pet.
The thing is, Daltorians worship their pets to an unhealthy degree and harming them is the worst kind of crime to be charged with. Chekov didn't kill the thing or anything, but the Governor still makes a big fuss over it and signals for his guards.
Chekov doesn't know how to look at the Captain in the eye. The mission is in danger of failing because of him, but the worst of all, Captain Kirk is the one who has to suffer public humiliation. By Daltorian law, the commanding officer is responsible for the crimes committed by his subordinates.
"We have no choice but to do it, Captain," Spock says. Chekov flinches at the sound of his voice. He has just given the Commander another reason to hate him.
Kirk stares at Spock, looking rather flustered. It's probably the first time in weeks they're talking about something other than a status report.
"No," Kirk says, his face flushing. "That's crazy. Uhura—"
Spock's jaw tightens. "Lieutenant Uhura is not here. I am. I more than understand your reluctance, sir, but if we do not do this, your well-being will be in danger—not to mention the mission. We need the benamite. We have no choice."
Kirk licks his lips. "I know, but it doesn't—it doesn't have to be you. I don't want it to be you."
Spock's nostrils flare. Wow, now he looks pissed. "I will not allow anyone else to— I am a logical choice, sir. You are the Captain. You cannot humiliate yourself by doing it to a low-ranking officer. It will ruin your authority. Moreover, Lieutenant Ferguson is married, Ensign Chekov is a child, and Ensign Clichko is not willing."
Kirk opens his mouth to say something when the Governor of Daltorians booms, "We're waiting!"
The Captain chews on his bottom lip for a few moments before he sets his jaw and sinks to his knees in front of the Commander.
Chekov feels like throwing up. All of this is his fault.
"No!" the Daltorian growls. "Get on some distance from your subordinate and then crawl on your knees to him."
The Captain glares at him, but does as he is told. Visibly avoiding looking the away team's way, Kirk crawls on his knees to Spock, his face flushed bright red.
Standing in his customary pose with his hands clasped behind his back, the Commander watches the Captain crawl to him. Chekov can clearly see his face and he wishes he couldn't. Although Spock's expression may seem blank to the untrained eye, there is a muscle twitching in his jaw, indicating that he is very, very angry.
Chekov bites his bottom lip, his stomach turning. He wants to look away, but he makes himself watch, because it's the least he can do. He can’t just look away and pretend that it's not happening, like the other members of the landing party are doing. This will be his punishment.
When Kirk reaches him, Spock unzips his pants and pulls out his cock. Huh.
"Make him beg for it!" the Daltorian yells, and the crowd cheers approvingly.
These Daltorians are sick perverts, Chekov thinks, watching Spock say something quietly to the Captain. He seems to be trying to convince him to do something.
"Beg!" the Daltorian growls.
"Please, let me suck you!" the Captain says dramatically, his voice sounding like he's about to laugh hysterically. The crowd boos, clearly seeing through him. The Governor's face turns bright orange with fury.
Chekov hugs himself, feeling scared. An angry crowd can be dangerous.
As if thinking the same thing, the Commander grabs Kirk's head and makes him tilt his face up. The crowd falls unnaturally quiet. There is fury in Spock's dark eyes when he says, "You will beg."
The Captain's eyes widen. He licks his lips.
"Let me suck you," he says again and this time he sounds like he means it. A murmur runs through the crowd; they still aren't entirely convinced.
Taking his cock in his hand, Spock rubs the head against Jim's cheek. He still looks angry. "You will ask me nicely," he says quietly, his cock fully hard now. "Ask me. Say my name."
Kirk's Adam's apple moves as he swallows. "I wanna suck you," he says, looking the Commander into the eye. "Please, let me do it, Spock."
There are a few approving cries from the crowd, but the Governor is still frowning. "Insufficient!" he growls.
The Commander's jaw clenches. "Insufficient," he repeats, staring at the Captain. His eyes glimmering with something Chekov can't put a finger on, Spock rubs his leaking cock against Kirk's lips. "Tell me how much you want this." The crowd cheers.
Kirk's face flushes bright red, his eyes glazing over. "Wanna suck you so bad," he says in a low voice, rubbing his cheek against Spock's penis like a cat and licking at it, his gaze still locked with Spock's. "Wanna put it in my mouth. Please."
Spock glances at the Governor before saying in a rough voice, "Passable," and brings his cock to Kirk's lips.
Chekov really, really shouldn't be watching this, but he is frozen. His eyes refuse to look away from the Commander's cock sliding in and out of the Captain's mouth. Now, Chekov isn't really into guys, but even he has to admit that it's… hot. It shouldn't be so hot, because he's watching his commanding officers being humiliated in public, forced into doing this, but the sight of the Captain's plush lips around Spock's cock turns him on—he can't help it; he's a teenager.
Kirk's eyes are closed. He looks like…He looks like he loves having his First Officer's cock in his mouth. Oh. Right, Chekov thinks, glancing down at the bulge in Kirk's pants. The Captain is not over the Commander, then.
Spock buries his hands in Kirk's hair, guiding the Captain's head. His eyes are wide open and very, very dark. He stares at the Captain's face the whole time, his fingers gliding over Kirk's neck and hair—possessively, Chekov thinks. It seems Uhura was right.
Chekov can tell when Spock comes: he visibly trembles and his eyes flick shut for a moment. The Captain swallows everything.
Chekov exhales in relief. Thank God it's over.
The Captain stands up, and avoiding Spock's gaze, turns to the Governor. "Are you satisfied?" he asks firmly, and Chekov blushes when he realizes why Captain Kirk's voice is so husky.
The Governor shakes his head, which in their culture means agreement, and says, "Quite."
The Standard phase "the tension could be cut with a knife" was made for this situation.
Chekov stares at his monitor, pretending to be very engaged in his work. From the corner of his eye he can see that Hikaru is doing pretty much the same. Everyone is so silent that Chekov can hear only his own breathing and the occasional beeping from the consoles.
It's been like this ever since they beamed up from Daltoria. Everyone avoids looking at the Captain, the Commander, and Uhura, who don't look at each other.
All of this is Chekov's fault. If he only... If only... But zadnim umom vsyak krepok. There is no point on dwelling on it.
Even when the Commander leaves the bridge to "observe an important simulation," the tension in the air doesn't lessen.
Chekov looks over his shoulder. The Captain is staring at his PADD like it has the answers for all questions in the universe. Uhura's back is so straight that it looks unnatural – certainly uncomfortable.
Chekov turns back to his console and stares at it, seeing nothing.
He's sitting in an armchair on the observation deck, wallowing in guilt, when he hears footsteps. Chekov doesn't want to talk to anyone, so he sinks down in the armchair and holds his breath, hoping that whoever it is will not notice him and will go away.
"So," says a familiar voice behind him. Chekov winces. It's the Captain. "You wanted to talk to me? I'm kinda busy right now—"
"Captain," says Mr. Spock, and Chekov dies a little, hearing his voice. He contemplates showing himself so that they wouldn't think that he is eavesdropping, but he cannot look at either of them right now. He feels too guilty and embarrassed. "I believe we need to talk about it."
Kirk sighs. "Can we not talk about it? What's done is done, so there's no point in discussing it, right? We did what we had to. Let's just move on." A pause. "And since when are you talking to me again?"
Spock doesn't answer immediately. "Regardless of our… differences, I will not let you suffer from guilt when it is not your fault. Do not blame yourself for—"
Kirk chuckles. It sounds humorless. "You think it's so easy not to feel guilty? Rationally, I get that there wasn't a goddamn thing we could do about it, but… I ruined a relationship. Uhura broke up with you because of that."
"You are mistaken. We had... certain issues before the mission. In fact, we had a prolonged discussion yesterday and decided to end our romantic relationship—"
Kirk squawks. "What?! Why the hell didn't you say anything?"
"I did not think it was relevant."
"God, I kinda want to hit you right now. Of course it’s relevant, Spock! There's a difference between sucking a taken guy's dick and a single guy's…"
He trails off. An uncomfortable silence descends upon the observation deck. Chekov tries to breathe as little as possible, remembering about Spock's Vulcan hearing.
"Awkward," Kirk says.
"Very," Spock agrees, his voice rough.
Kirk sighs heavily. "Dammit, I hate it. All this tension on the bridge, between us... I hate it, Spock. I hate that every goddamn crewman looks at Uhura and me like they're expecting us to start a catfight."
"Has anyone been disrespectful?" the Commander says in a clipped tone.
"No, nothing like that. Everyone is doing their best to pretend they didn't hear anything about the mission, but I'm not dumb; they're trying too hard. Fuck, I can only imagine Komack's face when he reads the mission report."
"It is highly unlikely that Admiral Komack has not read similar mission reports before. In fact, it is surprising that theEnterprise did not have to deal with such a situation previously. The incident can only prove that you are a responsible and dedicated captain—you placed the interests of the mission above your own."
Kirk doesn't say anything for a few moments. "Yeah. Right." He sighs. "So, about you and Uhura... You aren't upset?"
"Our parting was amicable, sir. The only thing I regret is that we did not make public the knowledge that we ended our relationship."
"Yeah. It would've been much less awkward if the crew knew that you hadn’t cheated on her."
"Indeed. But what is, is."
There is a silence again. Chekov cannot hear anything. He starts thinking that they left the observation deck when Captain Kirk finally speaks. "Stop that 'sir' thing, OK? I hate when you 'Captain' me, but 'sir' is even worse."
"What do you wish me to call you? Since you do not consider me a friend, it is unacceptable for me to—"
"Wait. Who said I don't think you're my friend?"
"You made yourself clear that you regret becoming acquainted with me."
Kirk sighs. "You know I didn't mean it, Spock."
Spock says nothing.
"No, don't go— Spock, listen." Kirk's voice now sounds very close to where Spock is. "That night in the bathroom…I was drunk and felt pretty down—and okay, hurt—because of the things you said. I'm not sorry that I've met you. No matter what, you're still one of my best friends, okay? Even if you were kind of an asshole about the whole thing."
"I… see. What about your romantic feelings for Nyota?"
"Nyota is a single woman now. I know it is not my place to ask, but do you intend to pursue a relationship with her? I must admit I am… confused. Why did you pursue a relationship with Lieutenant Robards if you have romantic feelings for Nyota?"
Chekov can almost see Captain Kirk blinking and can only imagine how confused he is. Chekov was just as confused when he heard Spock's and Uhura's conversation yesterday.
"Feelings for Nyota," Kirk repeats flatly. "You mean— Ah. Shit. So you were so pissed because..." He laughs, sounding incredibly relieved.
"I fail to see what is so amusing—" Spock makes a startled noise. "Jim."
A muffled snicker. "I know, I know, you hate touching, but bear with me for a minute, OK? A little hug won't kill you. I missed you, you fucker."
"Does that mean that—"
"Yup. I'm taking you back."
"Uhura? Hmm, you know what, I realized that… the thing I had for her was just a crush. She's smart and super hot but— Fuck, you'll break my ribs, Spock."
"I… Your company was missed as well."
Kirk laughs a little.
"May I inquire as to the cause of your mirth?"
"It's just... I'm happy to have you back." Kirk’s happy sigh sounds muffled – likely by Spock’s shirt. "Wanna go to the gym? I'm dying for a good sparring match. I haven't gotten my ass kicked in way too long."
"I am amenable to your suggestion."
After about a month, everything finally returns to normal. People move on and find better things to gossip about. Captain Kirk and Uhura have gone from being painfully polite to each other back to their usual sarcastic banter, Spock and Uhura seem to be friends, and, at least once a week, Spock spends his evening with her instead of spending it with Kirk. Chekov thinks Uhura looks much happier and at ease than she's been in months. There's actually a new rumor that Mr. Scott is courting her, and Chekov wishes him luck.
Much to everyone's relief, the Captain and the Commander are KirkandSpock again. If anything, they seem to have grown even closer. Maybe it's because Spock no longer has to divide his attention and his time between Kirk and Uhura, but maybe not— Chekov isn't sure.
What he is sure of is that the Captain no longer has the haunted look in his eyes when he looks at the Commander and Uhura, and his smiles reach his eyes these days. Chekov didn't really realize the extent of Captain Kirk’s tension and guardedness, but now he has fire in his eyes that wasn't there before.
Chekov likes to watch the Captain like that. He notices that he isn't the only one.
Huh, he thinks, catching Spock watching the Captain. Something is brewing.
Captain Kirk doesn't make it a secret that he thinks the crew should get to know their high-ranking officers better in order to build the trust and raise the morale. Honestly, Chekov agrees with him. When the Enterprise is on star mapping missions, they have nothing to do for months, and morale becomes pretty low.
That's why, every month or so, by the Captain's orders, some kind of entertainment is organized. This month, it's Chekov's turn to come up with the entertainment.
"Blind man's bluff? Really?" Hikaru groans out, coming to stand next to Chekov. "It's a children's game, Pasha!"
"It's called 'zhmurkyi'!" Chekov says, frowning. "I'll have you know it was invented in Russia!"
Hikaru rolls his eyes and mutters something before they both turn their attention to Commander Spock, who is not looking amused but letting the Captain tie a scarf over his eyes. Chekov wonders who managed to persuade the Commander to participate in the game and be 'It.'
"I guess it's only logical that he’s 'It,'" Hikaru says, as if reading his thoughts. "Anyone can identify him because of his ears and hair, if they catch him."
"Shh," Chekov says as the game starts. Mr. Spock turns around slowly, somehow managing to look dangerous even with a pink scarf covering his eyes. Crewmembers circle around him, giggling, but Spock does not attempt to catch any of them. He just stands there for a few moments, his nostrils flaring, then walks right towards the smiling Captain.
Kirk's eyes widen and he makes a move to escape, but to everyone's excitement, the Commander catches him easily. The Captain goes still, his face flushing as Mr. Spock slowly trails his hands up Kirk's body until he reaches his face. Spock carefully examines his face with his both hands, fingers brushing Kirk's lips, cheekbones, then examining the shape of his eyebrows.
"Captain," Spock announces finally and everyone cheers.
Captain Kirk laughs and nudges Spock, saying something about 'cheating telepaths,' then removes the scarf from Spock's eyes. They look into each other's eyes for a few moments before the Commander takes the scarf from Kirk and blindfolds him carefully.
Yes, something is definitely brewing. Smiling, Chekov looks away from them to Hikaru and accidentally catches the sight of Uhura. Standing next to Scotty, she is watching their commanding officers with a long-suffering, amused expression on her face.
Since the beginning of their journey, there have been a lot of missions that went wrong, but the Nekas II mission is one of those that go terribly, horribly wrong.
"Mr. Chekov—" Spock snaps.
"I'm trying, I'm trying!" Chekov mutters, his hands flying over the transporter controls. "But the volcanic dust— There's too much interference, sir!"
"I do not care," Spock growls above him. "Try harder."
Chekov shivers, panic and fear constricting his throat.
"For fuck's sake, Spock, stop looming over him! You're only distracting him!" Doctor McCoy shouts, pacing back and forth the room. "I'm worried about the kid, too, but bullying Chekov won't—"
"Jim has not responded to our hails," Spock says tightly.
"Maybe the volcano is interfering with communication, too! I swear, only with Jim's luck could something like this happen!"
"Locking on a signal!" Chekov exclaims. "I don't know whose it is, though. Beaming him up!"
A dirty Ensign Black appears on the transporter pad, and maybe it's bad to think that, but Chekov is disappointed to see him and not the Captain.
"Ensign, report," Spock snaps. "Where is the rest of the landing party?"
"I don't know, Commander," Black says, panting. "There was a strong earthquake and I lost the others in the chaos."
Spock's jaw tightens. "Dismissed," he says to Black, and steps onto the transporter pad. "Beam me down, Mr. Chekov."
Chekov shakes his head. "I can't, sir! Because of the volcanic dust, I won't be able to get you into the right—"
The Commander gives him a glare. "Beam me down immediately, Ensign. That's an order."
Biting his lip, Chekov reaches for the controls. The Commander is crazy. Since he will have to do it blindly, Chekov may end up beaming Spock into the volcano's crater or under a pile of rocks.
"Don't, Chekov!" McCoy snaps before turning to the Commander. "You aren't going anywhere, mister! Jim would kill me if I let you."
"Remember to whom you are speaking. You cannot order me, Doctor," Spock says through his teeth. "Energize, Mr. Chekov."
Chekov looks between them, torn.
McCoy scowls, crossing his arms on his chest. "Actually, I can. I'm pulling rank on the basis that you're emotionally compromised. Chekov, return to searching for signals. We still have four men down there."
"Aye, Doctor," Chekov says, relieved, and returns his gaze to the screen. If he tries this...
"I am not emotionally compromised."
McCoy scoffs. "Oh really? Then why are you looking at me like you want to beat me to death?"
"I am not—"
"Look, Spock, I get it, really—I'm worried shitless, too, but get a goddamn grip on yourself! If we beam you down, we'll just have another guy down there we'll have to search for! Where is your logic, dammit?"
Chekov almost jumps in excitement, finding two faint signals of communicators, and carefully gets a lock on them.
"He may be unconscious, or injured, or—" Spock says, his voice cracking a little.
Praying that one of those two is the Captain, Chekov exclaims, "Beaming two crewmen up!"
Neither of them is Captain Kirk. Chekov's heart sinks when he realizes that one of the crewmen is unconscious, his neck turned at an unnatural angle. Doctor McCoy jumps to the body to check the pulse and then slowly shakes his head to the Commander, his face grim.
Feeling nauseous and avoiding looking at Spock, Chekov quickly returns his gaze to the controls.
He listens to the Commander's conversation with the unharmed crewman with half an ear. No, he doesn't know where the Captain and Lieutenant Alonso are. Yes, the situation down on the planet is only getting worse. Apparently, the planet is very unstable and unsuitable for colonization. Chekov is sure that he would have found it all very interesting if the Commander's voice wasn't becoming sharper with every passing second.
Mr. Spock dismisses the crewman and calls security officers to take the body to Sickbay.
Now it's only Spock, McCoy, and Chekov in the transporter room. Chekov works, trying to ignore the heavy silence. Somehow, Spock's silence is even worse than his harsh words.
With every passing minute, Chekov feels like it's harder and harder to breathe. He tries not to think about—not to remember—the expression on Spock's face when Chekov failed to beam up his mother. He tries not to think of how the Commander looks at the Captain when he thinks no one is looking. He tries not to think of the dead crewman—Doctor Belinski—
Chekov almost cries in relief when two faint dots appear on the screen. "Found them," he mutters, licking his dry lips.
"Thank god!" McCoy exclaims. Spock doesn't say anything, but Chekov doesn't expect him to. A communicator signal means nothing; there's no guarantee that its owner is alive or just didn't lose his comm.
"Getting a lock," Chekov mutters, his fingers trembling slightly. Please, he thinks. Please. "Beaming them up." He presses the button and looks up.
They watch the transporter platform as two figures begin materializing on it. Chekov grins when he sees Captain Kirk—dirty, but alive and uninjured—standing on the pad next to Lieutenant Alonso.
"Thank god, Jim!" McCoy exclaims, pulling the Captain into a bear hug.
"Aw, Bones, think of your reputation!" Kirk teases, smiling, and looks over McCoy's shoulder to the Commander. "Hey, weren't you worried about me, too? Where's my hug?"
A myriad of emotions cross Spock's face, and, in a heartbeat, he's at Kirk's side. McCoy barely manages to step away from Kirk as Spock wraps his arms around the Captain and squeezes him tightly.
Chekov stares, his jaw slack. As far as he knows, Mr. Spock hates public displays of affection. Captain Kirk blinks, looking surprised, too—maybe he was only joking about the hug—but after a moment, he returns the embrace, closing his eyes as Spock nuzzles his hair, his ear, his cheek.
"Er," Doctor McCoy says with a pinched expression, and looks pointedly at Lieutenant Alonso, who is gaping at his commanding officers. "Uh… dismissed, Lieutenant."
"Yes, Doctor," Alonso mutters and leaves the transporter room with a gobsmacked expression on his face.
"I'm not the one who should be worried about my reputation," McCoy grumbles, glancing at the hugging pair that is showing no sign of breaking apart. The Commander is whispering something into the Captain's ear, and Kirk is smiling—no, beaming, and looking almost giddy with happiness. Kirk whispers something back, his lips brushing Spock's pointed ear, and Spock's arms tighten around him.
And Oh again, when the Commander presses his lips to a corner of Kirk's mouth, then to the other before they start kissing, slowly at first, then hotter and deeper with every second.
It's like a scene from a romantic movie. Chekov grins and looks at Doctor McCoy, who rolls his eyes with a long-suffering expression on his face. "Never thought I'd say that, but finally. I was already sick of all the drama."
Chekov smiles. "Same here, Doctor!"
He blushes when he hears a moan and looks back at them. He flushes even harder, seeing Captain Kirk's hands all over the Commander's body as they keep kissing, kissing, kissing. Chekov has a strong suspicion that Spock's hands are below Kirk's waist.
"For fuck's sake, get a room, you two!" McCoy says, turning green.
The couple breaks the kiss and turns to them, Spock's hand resting on Kirk's waist. Kirk's face is flushed, his lips swollen, and he looks a little dazed, as if he doesn't quite believe it's really happening. Spock is looking at him with so much… adoration and naked want in his eyes that Chekov has to blink a few times to make sure that his eyes aren't deceiving him.
"Don't come crying to me when the security video of that little scene is all over the ship by the evening," McCoy grumbles.
"Uh-huh," Kirk says with a besotted smile at his First Officer. Spock stares at his smiling face, then pulls him back into a kiss.
Doctor McCoy groans. "What are you, teenagers?"
When he gets no answer, because his commanding officers are too busy sucking each other's tongues, McCoy rolls his eyes. "Captain; Commander," he says mock-respectfully and leaves the transporter room, shaking his head.
Chekov looks hesitantly at the kissing couple, then heads to the exit, too. He's almost out of the room when he hears, "Mr. Chekov."
He turns. The Commander presses a kiss to Kirk's temple before looking at Chekov. His dark eyes are soft. "Admirable job, Ensign."
Pasha swallows, and smiles.