So ummm…..hi? Long time no see? This is something I chucked together in about an hour because this idea wouldn't leave me alone. I've not written in ages (as in years!) and I am very very very rusty. Enjoy!

To be honest, Pavel Chekov wasn't sure what to expect when it came to birthdays in space. Back home on Earth, they'd usually been simple and spent surrounded by his family. But here? Here was different. Here was bright lights and noise and missions and duty. He didn't expect much- not a day off, or anything that extravagant- but maybe something small. Some cake in the mess room, perhaps. That seemed to be standard for other crew members.

What he hadn't expected was for there to be no celebration at all. None. Nada. Nothing so much as a 'happy birthday' over pancakes that morning. Sure, celebrations at home had always been quiet, but his parents had always started the day by wishing him 'happy birthday' and making him pancakes. Pancakes were a birthday treat- nay, a tradition. He had sat with Sulu and Uhura, as he always did on Thursdays, and neither of them had made a peep. A dull ache had reverberated through his chest, blossoming as he ate another bite of pancake and looked around the mess hall. There was laughter at the other tables, friends greeting each other and shrugging off professionalism for just that little bit longer. Sighing, he drew his attention back to his own, silent table. Even his pancakes seemed to sit morosely on his plate, a reminder of birthdays at home, a sharp dividing line between there and here. He almost considered raising the fact that it was his birthday- surely they knew?- but that seemed a bit desperate so he had opted instead to sit in silence with them until it was almost time for their shift to start.

But now they were walking to the Bridge, and the silence was verging on painful. Other crew members hurried past, glancing at the three of them as they did so. If he didn't know better, he'd think they were looking at him. He half-turned to Sulu and Uhura to ask if there was something on his face or uniform, but their eyes were focused straight ahead, shoulders back, heads up. Professional mode. Carefully, he ran a hand over his hair, attempting to flatten his curls.

The sigh of the doors announced their entry. The room was already full, bustling with the day-to-day activity of the ship. The three of them crossed the floor towards the Captain's chair, before pausing to greet Kirk. The Captain was sat in position, flanked by McCoy and Spock. It wasn't the first time that Chekov was struck by how like blue shadows the two older officers were. As they approached, Kirk turned to look at them, a broad grin on his face. Chekov had been on board long enough to be fluent in James T. Kirk's patented smiles, and he recognised this as the one McCoy would call a 'shit-eating' grin. To make matters worse, said grin seemed to be pointed straight at him. McCoy had also spun round to greet them with a drawled 'Morning,' his eyes lingering briefly on Chekov before flicking away. Spock was the only one who behaved normally, standing staidly on the other side of Kirk and nodding a solemn greeting. Pushing down the ache in his chest- I wish I was home- he swallowed hard and walked towards his station.

He'd expected something; some celebration of some kind; some sign that his friends knew it was his birthday.

He hadn't expected that sign to be a literal banner draped on the back of his chair with 'HAPPY BIRTHDAY' emblazoned on it in shimmering pink. Glitter stars littered every work surface. He was sure his face must have been a picture, because Sulu was watching him from his chair, sniggering. A tight smile was drawn across Uhura's face- she was too composed for anything else- but her eyes twinkled with laughter. A sharp peal of laughter broke out behind him; Kirk and McCoy.

Scotty, who had been conspicuously absent all morning, chose that moment to arrive on the Bridge. Chekov had put his absence down to some emergency in Engineering and had tried to reason with himself that making sure the Enterprise was running was more important than meeting your friend for breakfast on his birthday. But, as Scotty burst into the room festooned in multicoloured boas and a hat that was so comically huge that it looked like an alien growth sitting on his head, a bag of parcels slung over his arm, he realised that he was yet again wrong. This time, he couldn't help his jaw dropping open. Behind him, he could hear Sulu shrieking with laughter, while Kirk was so hysterical that it looked like he was about to slide right off of his chair. McCoy was bent double, one hand balanced on Kirk's back and the other covering his eyes, his shoulders quaking. Even Spock, to his amazement, was grinning.

Sure, it wasn't quite like birthdays on Earth. But, he supposed, it could do.