Title: Some People Made
Mistakes (he didn't)
Author: The Scarlet Pencil
Summary: There are unexpected hazards associated with working on the USS Enterprise.
Note: Written for the kink meme.
They didn't even have sex.
It was just an innocent touch, Sulu gripped Chekov's hand comfortingly as they navigated their way through the thick, jungle-like plants that pressed them from every side.
Had they known what that simple touch was going to do, they would have put fifty feet and an iron fence made out of tigers between them.
Chekov started feeling sick a few weeks after the away mission. At first he didn't think anything of it. But after a few hours had gone by with Chekov desperately trying not to throw up on his console, he gave in and went straight to sickbay. After all, he wasn't the Captain, infamous for getting heavily injured and yet never making it around to sickbay until McCoy showed up to drag him away.
McCoy frowned a lot at Chekov's readings, but finally gave Chekov a hypospray for the nausea and instructions to return the next day.
"Can't find anything wrong with you, although your estrogen levels are oddly high," he said. "You might have caught some sort of freaky space flu for all I know. Come back so I can see if it's gone."
Of course, it wasn't gone next day. Or the day after that, or the day after that.
Sulu came by Chekov's quarters.
"You look like hell," he said cheerfully, and then with more concern, "Are you all right?"
Chekov nodded. "I feel mostly fine. Just..." he shrugged and trailed off. He didn't know how to say the words in his native Russian to express the subtle wrongness, the uncomfortableness in his skin he was experiencing, let alone English.
Sulu nodded, and Chekov was pleased to see that even without words, he understood somehow.
It was three months later that McCoy finally figured it out. He was treating another patient at the time, on yet another planet. A pregnant woman, to be specific. And suddenly, the symptoms lined up. For a moment, his hands shook from the shock. Then he finished treating the woman.
The minute he was beamed back aboard the Enterprise, he headed straight for sickbay and started rigging his sensors to search for something Chekov should not possibly be able to have. Then he called Chekov.
McCoy could tell that his own nervous energy was making Chekov anxious but couldn't really help it. After all, this was exactly the insane, impossible, crazy shit that seemed to happen to crewmembers of the Enterprise on a regular basis. And he wasn't disappointed.
"Well, Chekov," he paused, not really sure how to say this gently to the young man sitting on the med. He decided to just get it over with. "God knows how, but you're pregnant."
There was shock at the announcement, of course. Followed swiftly by denial. Followed by a sonograph, which resulted in Chekov gaping in shock at was very obviously a baby on the monitor.
Staring at that screen had made everything entirely too real.
So now Chekov was staring at the wall of his quarters, trying to figure out what to do. He wondered who the child belonged to... if it even belonged to anyone else. After all, men couldn't get pregnant, so obviously the rulebook had been spit upon, torn up, hurled out the window, and set on fire.
Chekov hadn't allowed McCoy to tell him the gender of the child. He wasn't certain that he wanted to know.
How would he take care of a child if he kept the baby? On a starship bound for dangerous missions, of all things. He'd have to give the child away. Or he'd have to resign his post. The thought alone caused despair to sink into his stomach.
This wasn't even mentioning how freakish he felt. It would only get worse. Chekov's could feel his face grow hot just thinking about how he'd look when he started to show more than he already was. It was fine when he thought it was some sort of weird swelling caused by some weird alien disease. Now though...
How, why, what to do, god what to do...
McCoy must have taken him off active duty and warned the captain not to bother him, because Chekov was left alone the next day. He had taken to pacing and then stopped, unsure as to whether or not that was good for the baby.
He sat down, feeling unsure of himself and hating it. He had always known what he was good at and therefore where he wanted to be in life. He had known he wanted to become a tactician from a very young age, known he wanted to serve on a starship. Dimly, he had thought of starting a family in the far off future, but certainly not now. And not alone.
Sometimes, he had allowed himself to think about Sulu, and allowed himself to think about how nice it would be if they saw each other as more than friends. No, Chekov thought wistfully, nice was the wrong word. Too weak. Wonderful was better, perfect was better, everything Chekov had ever wanted was exact.
Not that that was going to happen now.
It had been a while since Chekov had last eaten with him in the mess hall, or showed up for a chess game, or even talked to him about his tactical reports. Sulu had been about to visit Chekov of his own volition, just to see if he had done something to offend his friend, when McCoy had shown up suggesting that he do just that.
"He needs some comfort right now," McCoy had said, and instantly Sulu was on edge, thoughts jumping from one scenario to the next, none of them good.
"Is he going to be all right?" He had asked, a hint of panic in his voice.
McCoy nodded slowly. "He'll be fine," he said slowly, and Sulu knew there was a catch to that. But McCoy, though sympathetic, refused to elaborate ("Patient confidentiality, Sulu, you know I can't break that.")
Sulu made his way through the corridors, a feeling of dread falling on him with every step he took. But whatever was going on, he promised himself, he'd definitely help Chekov. The reasons for that promise nagged at him from the back of his mind, the contentment he felt around Chekov, the way they worked so well together, the easy friendship they shared.
Sulu wouldn't let anything hurt that.
Now Sulu was standing outside Chekov's door, still wondering what was wrong. The idea of Chekov being in trouble of any sort didn't sit well with him at all. The idea of Chekov having some disease that would cause him to leave, even if it wasn't fatal...
That thought hurt far more than it should.
It took Chekov a long time to answer the door, which worried Sulu even more. He was begining to consider going to the captain and having the door forced open when Chekov finally answered.
"God Chekov, what's wrong?" he said instantly. Gone was the bubbly, happy-go-lucky man Sulu was used to. In his place was a stranger who looked as if he had the world on his shoulders.
For a moment they stared at each other, Chekov looking like he was struggling between sending Sulu away and inviting him in. Sulu waited, unsure of whether or not he should push force the issue.
"Come in," Chekov decided at last, and Sulu quickly moved inside the room before Chekov could change his mind.
"What's wrong?" he repeated. "Chekov..."
"I—" Chekov looked at him helplessly. "I do not know what to say."
Sulu frowned. "Are you going to be all right?" That was the most important thing, after all.
"Yes," Chekov said slowly. "I think I will be all right." Even if Sulu hadn't been Chekov's best friend, he would have seen right through the uncertainty in Chekov's voice. Distantly, some part of him felt hurt that Chekov didn't trust him enough to tell him what was going on. Sulu ruthlessly crushed that part. Whatever Chekov was going through, it was obviously tearing him up and Sulu wasn't going to add to that.
"Chekov. Pavel," He rarely ever called Chekov that; it caused him to look up. "Look, whatever's going on..." Chekov started to say something but Sulu waved him quiet. "You don't have to tell me. But I am your friend, and I don't want anything to happen to you." He ran a hand distractedly through his hair. "If you want to talk to me, no matter what it is, I promise I'll listen. And if you don't, I promise I'll be here anyway. I—" He stopped, unsure of his words. I what? Like you? Want you? Love you, even? "I care about you, you know. A lot." He felt uncomfortable with getting even that close to saying it, but right now it needed to be said.
There was silence, and Sulu waited for Chekov to decide. He knew that whatever was going on had to be pretty big, and he hoped Chekov would trust him enough to tell him.
Chekov finally spoke in a low voice, his Russian accent even thicker than usual. "You promise not to... think of me as a freak?"
Well, Sulu hadn't expected that.
"Pavel, whatever is going on, I would never think of you like that." He was frowning now. "Nothing could ever make me think like that."
Chekov nodded once, and told him.
It wasn't the hardest thing Chekov had ever done, but it was close. Losing Spock's mother was harder. Nearly losing Sulu and the captain was harder. But this was still hard.
He watched Sulu's face closely, searching for any hint of disgust. Sulu's opinion meant the most to him, more than the doctor's or anyone else's. McCoy had been very supportive in his own way, telling Chekov, "God knows Jim gets into weirder shit every other week, and the crew still respects him for some unfathomable reason." Still, Sulu wasn't McCoy or the crew, and Chekov couldn't help but feel anxious.
It didn't help that his stomach was noticeably bulging now, even though he was wearing very loose clothes.
"How long until it's time?" Sulu said, finally.
"Three, maybe four months," Chekov said. "The doctor will have to perform a caesarean section, and he wants to do it before the child gets too large, since I'm not exactly made for this. But he cannot do it too soon, or the child won't... won't do as well."
Sulu nodded slowly. "Then, you're having the kid?"
A slow nod. "Yes. It doesn't feel right, not to." Chekov felt dizzy. It was one thing to decide to keep the child, but what was he going to do after?
Sulu, in that odd way of his, understood how Chekov felt without Chekov saying anything. Impulsively, he leaned forward and hugged Chekov gently, as if he was afraid to hurt the baby.
"Everything's going to be fine," Sulu reassured him. "I know you'll figure it out Pavel; you're the most brilliant mind in the fleet."
"You don't mind?" Chekov had to ask. "We're still friends?"
"Of course I don't mind," Sulu said, smiling. "We're friends, this isn't going to change that." He paused, looking thoughtful. "Does this mean I get to be an uncle?"
Deciding to keep the baby meant deciding what to do with it when it was born. There were really only two options: adoption or leaving the Enterprise for a more stable, less life threatening position.
Chekov didn't want to do either.
He had talked through it with Sulu over and over again. He didn't want to leave the Enterprise. He loved his job and his coworkers and, if he was honest, Sulu. Not that he told Sulu that part, of course. Sulu had been so wonderful, so understanding, so helpful. Chekov knew that Sulu was the kind of person you found only once in a lifetime, and he didn't want to mess that up.
But that was quickly becoming a moot point anyway, because if he didn't leave he'd have to give the baby up, or at least leave it under the care of someone else. And he absolutely hated the idea. It was his child, and even if he was too young to be a father and even if it was totally unexpected and impossible, it didn't change the fact that the baby was his and he wouldn't give it up.
It was a no-win scenario. Perhaps that was why Chekov found himself in front of Kirk's quarters, waiting for him to answer the door.
It was intimidating, honestly, to be talking to the captain about something like this. Chekov was grateful that the captain already knew about his condition, because he didn't think he could bear having to explain it again. But Captain Kirk just smiled and invited him in and made him sit down. Soon Chekov was babbling about his problems while Kirk just nodded and let him.
"Well," he said when Chekov finished. "The kid will just have to stay on board the Enterprise."
Chekov gaped at him.
"I mean," Kirk said defensively, "I know we're sailing into uncharted territory and all that dangerous stuff. But I don't want to lose my best tactician. And," his voice turned wistful, "I know what it's like to have your only parent off in space. Even though you know they love you it still hurts." He turned his attention back to Chekov. "The Enterprise is a very safe ship. I can't promise you that she's invincible, of course, you know that. But it is an option for you both to stay here."
"But—Starfleet regulations—" Chekov stuttered.
Kirk grinned. "I'll work around it somehow. You don't have to decide now. It may not be the safest option, either. But it is an option."
"Keptin... Thank you." Chekov hoped that he kept his voice from sounding overwhelmed.
He and Sulu had another idea to troubleshoot.
Tommorrow, Chekov was going to have the surgery.
He couldn't help but feel stressed and nervous, even with McCoy's stern admonitions to get some rest. But nerves had gotten the better of him, and he couldn't stop glancing at the door to the adjacent room.
Chekov still didn't know how Captain Kirk had magically slid past hundreds of rules and regulations to allow Chekov to keep his child on the Enterprise. He didn't think even the captain's legendary abilty to charm Starfleet into giving him unprecendented amounts of leeway extended to something like this. But however it had worked out, Chekov was now in new quarters with a small, adjoining room for the child.
He had absolutely no idea how he was going to get through child-rearing alive.
But he knew he would, because everyone had been so amazingly helpful. He hadn't quite realized just how well liked he was until Uhura started dropping off furnishings and toys. She had laughed at his protests and simply told him, "What are friends for?" Scotty had shown up a few days later, and before Chekov had known it the second room had been outfitted with everything he'd need to take care of a child and some things that he hadn't known he'd need. ("Is that a working model of the solar system on the ceiling?" "Aye! To scale!") Even Mr. Spock had made an appearance, and although Chekov had half-expected him to state how illogical Chekov's pregnancy and the room and everything was, he simply offered his congratulations and asked him to fill out some paperwork when he was able. Kirk had also made an appearance, cheerfully promising to spoil the kid rotten until McCoy had dragged him away, promising to prevent Kirk from doing just that.
But most of all, he had Sulu.
Chekov knew quite simply that he wouldn't have made it this far without him. Sulu had patiently helped him with the planning, had accompanied him to sickbay for every single checkup, had helped with the List of things Chekov was and was not allowed to do (Chekov always capitalized the List, because it was just that large and that restrictive.)
If Chekov hadn't been in love with Sulu before, he certainly would be now.
By now, Sulu had had the passcode to his room for what felt like ages. Chekov heard the familiar knock on the door and called out a greeting. Sulu flashed a grin at Chekov as he entered.
"You should be resting," he said reprovingly.
"I am resting," Chekov protested. "I am sitting down and will go to bed as soon as I can sleep."
Sulu snorted disbelievingly, but didn't press the issue. Instead, they settled down into a chess game.
Normally when they played, they would talk about everything and anything. Things related to the baby, things about the crew (Chekov had been avoiding leaving his quarters as much as possible, so Sulu kept him updated on the silly things the drunk engineering personel were up to, or the latest unsuccessful pass the captain had made at Uhura, or the latest numbers on the betting pool whose stated purpose was "to cash in on when Spock finally chokes Kirk to death.") Also, Chekov normally won. After several months of concentrated playing, Sulu had improved his game quite a bit, but Chekov was Russian and Russians always won chess games, or so he claimed.
Right now though, Chekov was winning much faster than usual, and Sulu seemed to be thinking about something uncomfortable. They played on in silence.
"Checkmate," Chekov said. Then, hesitantly, "Is something wrong, Sulu?"
Sulu opened and closed his mouth a few times. "No," he said sheepishly. "Just... uh... I was wondering if I could touch? Before tomorrow—But I don't want to make you uncomfortable—"
"Ah." Chekov wasn't quite sure how he felt about that. He hadn't let anyone touch the now very obvious bulge except the doctor, and only during the checkups.
But this was Sulu, and since tomorrow the baby would be born—"I do not mind," he said before he could change his mind.
The moment he felt Sulu's warm hand on his abdomen; the baby started kicking. Sulu looked enchanted, and Chekov couldn't help but blush at the intimacy of the action, how close they were, everything.
Later, Chekov would wonder whether it was temporary insanity or foolhardy courage that allowed him to pull Sulu closer and kiss him. At the time, all he could think of was how right it felt, just like the decision to keep the baby had been, even though he had no idea what would come of that decision.
He had no idea what Sulu would do either.
It was a quick, chaste kiss, and Sulu pulled back to look at Chekov. Chekov stuttered.
"It's all right," Sulu said, and Chekov relaxed because Sulu was smiling and there was a gleam of what looked very much like happiness in his eyes. "Now, does this mean I get to be a father?"
The surgery left him feeling very sore and very relieved because his body finally looked normal again. Nearly nine months of feeling horrible over his appearance were finally over. It would take a few more months before the ache would go away and his body would return to completely normal, and it would take a while before he'd be fit enough to be certified for combat again. But the doctor had assured Chekov that as far as he could tell there wouldn't be any permanent side effects from the unusual pregnancy.
More importantly though, he was holding a little girl in his arms, and he couldn't quite decide if he was happy or just panicked. Then again, he'd done enough panicking over her future these last months, he decided, it was time to be happy right now.
Sulu sat next to the bed with the same look of enchantment on his face that he had last night. "She's wonderful," he said.
"Yes," Chekov said happily. "But," he added thoughtfully, "I have no idea what to name her."
Sulu looked amused. "We've been talking over everything for months, and yet somehow that escaped us."
Chekov shrugged. "I did not want to think about it then. It would have made everything too real for me." For a moment, there was silence. "What would you name her?"
"Me?" Sulu looked surprised at the question. He frowned, thinking. "I had an aunt back home," he said finally. "She was a scientist for Starfleet, and whenever she visited she'd always bring me some exotic plant from where ever she had been posted last. Her name was Demora."
"Demora," Chekov said, testing the name. "I like it. Very much."
They were interrupted by the appearance of McCoy.
"Good, you're here," he told Sulu. Then to Chekov, "I've run every analysis I could think of, and they all say that you have a perfectly normal, healthy little girl." Chekov beamed. "I also ran a DNA analysis."
Chekov nodded, his smile slipping a little. "And what did that show?"
McCoy coughed. "She has two parents. You, and Sulu here."
"What? Really?" Sulu looked torn between shock and joy.
"But how?" Chekov said, knowing he must look exactly the same. "We have not ever... it is impossible!"
McCoy snorted. "You just had a healthy baby girl and you're lecturing me about what's possible? And I have no idea how. He matches the test results, that's it."
McCoy left rather quickly after saying that. He did not want to be in the middle of the sure to come discussion over that bit of news.
Neither of them really knew what to say. Chekov swallowed. "You still wish to stay?" he had to ask.
Sulu sat on the side of Chekov's bed. "I wanted to stay when I didn't know she was mine, and I definitely want to stay now," he assured Chekov.
"That is wonderful," Chekov said, smiling, and he would swear Demora giggled just then because she was happy too.
Years later, Chekov and Sulu saw Ensign Demora Chekov-Sulu off when she took her post as helmsman of the USS Enterprise-B. There were congratulations and long-winded reminisces, but at the end of the ceremony Chekov took his daughter aside while Sulu distracted Admiral Kirk.
"Promise me you will be careful," he told her.
"Of course, Dad," she replied, wearing the same easy smile that Chekov had seen on her father's face countless times. "Certainly more careful than you and Daddy," she teased.
Chekov laughed. "Certainly. Just remember, be very careful who you hold hands with."
AN: In i., "an iron fence made out of tigers" is a reference to one of Zero Punctuation's video game reviews, I think the one for The World Ends With You.
In xii. and xiii., Demora is the canon name of Sulu's daughter.