A/N: The prequel to Dating the Captain, this is the story of how Jim Kirk and Pavel Chekov became acquainted...and a little scenario called the Kobayashi Maru.
Disclaimer: as with Dating the Captain, I own nothing, and make no profit from this other than warm fuzzies. This is not done for filthy lucre, but rather out of love, and as a tribute to the legacy of Gene Roddenberry, the Great Bird of the Galaxy himself, who showed us the future.
"I don't believe in the no-win scenario."--James T. Kirk
Note: spoken in Russian
Every Story has a Beginning....
"Begin Personal Log."
"I have just been introduced to the Kobayashi Maru test, which I failed."
James Tiberius Kirk, cadet at Starfleet Academy, paused, grimaced and went on.
"After the test, one of my 'crew members' in the simulator told me that I actually did fairly well. Apparently, the Kobayashi Maru is a 'no win' scenario, and is designed to be impossible to complete successfully. I think she was trying to tell me not to worry about it, but still…" he trailed off, thinking back. Had he missed something? Neglected to follow standard procedure? Not seen an opening that was carefully hidden?
"Now that I've been through it, I've been sworn to secrecy about the test, in order to 'preserve the validity and reliability of the test for future use'. According to what I was told, every command line cadet is put through the Kobayashi Maru, and it's obviously one of the Academy's best-kept secrets. Still, I'm not convinced that I couldn't have done better."
"End Log entry."
Jim Kirk sat back, thinking furiously. It had started out just like another simulation…boring, boring, waiting until whatever 'it' was going to be that day to start; until then, boring, boring….
Until today, he'd actually enjoyed being in the simulator, especially when they were running combat sims. Of course, that didn't happen very often, not with a full crew—in retrospect, he should have realized that something was up when he noticed that the simulator was filled with what would have been the normal bridge compliment for an Antares class vessel. And, of course, his instructions had been a bit more vague than usual, but at the time he hadn't thought anything about that. It wouldn't have been out of the ordinary for the man in the 'hot seat' to be given vague, or even misleading instructions—the instructors were bastards like that, but they'd never deliberately lie to you—but still, the 'routine patrol' set-up was a common beginning for whatever the twisted minds of the training staff could come up with.
When the 'call' from the 'ship in distress' came in, he'd smelled a rat. Of course, with the 'routine patrol' being 'along the Klingon border' you were virtually guaranteed that at least one warbird would put in an appearance at some point. Still, it wasn't considered good form to raise the shields at the first sign of trouble, and typically got you a low-grade arse chewing if you did. The accepted practice was to suspend your disbelief and act like nothing at all was going to happen…which was sheer nonsense, he'd yet to hear about a simulator run that didn't have SOMETHING for you to deal with. And, he supposed that it was theoretically possible that a Klingon would want to talk, rather than fight…but he seriously doubted it.
So, he'd been handed a crippled ship stuck right in the middle of the Neutral Zone. No biggie, he could do this. Scan for enemies, look sharp for any distortions that might be cloaked ships (and damn the Romulans for supplying the Klingons with cloaking devices, anyway!), notify Starfleet of their intent to mount a rescue, and go to yellow alert….
And then it had all gone to hell.
He'd managed to get the shields up before the first Klingon fired, so he'd still had a ship when the next two decloaked. He knew he'd gotten lucky when his first salvo of return fire blew the port nacelle off the last ship in line. Clearly, the simulated-Klingons hadn't expected him to charge them, then spin back around to take them in the flanks. He'd taken his lumps—his port shields were trashed, and he had hull damage on three decks—but two of the first three ships were heavily damaged and the other was an expanding cloud of gas and scrap—and then the next triad had decloaked off his port beam aft.
He hadn't given up, even then. When the next salvo 'killed' his helm officer, he'd taken the position himself, whipping around to starboard and managing to rake the bulbous forward hull of one of his new opponents.
It hadn't been enough, not by half.
The massed disruptor fire from the remaining ships had punched through his aft shields and practically sheered off his right warp nacelle. The emergency protocols had taken the mains off line, and with that his remaining shields had dropped to barely a third of their previous strength. Even worse, one of the Klingons was almost as good at maneuvering as he was, and was riding his tail like he was a comet. When that Klingon's disruptors cycled, his next shot had ripped into the Federation ship's shuttle bay, setting off a chain reaction of explosions that had eventually blown the engineering hull to pieces. As the bridge filled with the smoke of burning circuits, he saw his ship dying around him…just as another D7 passed in front of him. As a last gesture of defiance, he managed to get off one last salvo of photons, but the death of that particular ship wasn't enough to affect the outcome by that point.
His ship was destroyed, his crew was dead, and there were still enemy vessels left to ravage the Kobayashi Maru.
Kirk had just sat there, stunned. The defeat had been so total, so overwhelming that he didn't know how to react. Even when the 'dead' crew began to stand up and brush themselves off, he'd stayed there in the helmsman's seat, staring at the now-blank viewscreen.
He vaguely remembered a couple of people telling him that he'd actually done well—two enemy destroyed outright, three so heavily damaged that they'd need months of yard time—before he could pull himself together enough to go to the post-scenario briefing. At the briefing he'd answered as best he could, knowing that it wasn't good enough, and far below his usual standards, but he was still in shock over what he had just had done to him.
It didn't help at all when Captain Delatorre, one of his favorite tactical instructors, commented that if he hadn't spread the fire in his third salvo between two attackers, he would've had a record of three enemies destroyed and one damaged, rather than two and three. Of course, Jim's way left only one enemy untouched and undamaged, rather than two, but still….
Now, back in his room, he saw Delatorre's point—three destroyed and one in the yard was preferable to only two destroyed and three in the yard dog's hands—but it wouldn't have changed the outcome of the scenario in the least.
Sighing, he shut off the log and pulled up a tactical simulation program on the room's comp terminal. Maybe if he had used the wreckage of the first destroyed ship to shield him until he could come about to attack the other two…?
"Begin Personal Log."
"I've been asking around, and it seems there's actually no way to beat the Kobayashi Maru scenario in practice, because the program keeps throwing Klingons at you until your ship is destroyed. No one knows this for sure, but it's the best explanation that fits with what everyone's told me about the test. The Klingons attack regardless of what you do, and if you raise shields as you go in you get three wings of warbirds rather than just two. Also, if you go in mother-naked, it starts you off with only two ships, but quickly works its way up to the point of ridiculousness. The program seems to have a rapid ramp-up of the hostility level, so that if you quickly defeat the first ships the later waves come closer and closer together. Even ignoring the Klingons and making a mad dash for the Maru won't work, because there's always at least one Klingon waiting behind the ship to blast you the second you drop shields to bring the Maru crew aboard."
He paused, thinking, then continued. "I guess you could always run in, blow up the Maru and run like hell, but I don't think that'd get you very many points. Of course, you might be able to catch a few Klingons in the explosion, but you'd still get a major chewing for killing innocents. And, I rather doubt that the instructors would buy the reasoning that the crew of the Maru is already dead, without more detailed scans than you'd have time to get before the whole damn Klingon fleet arrives."
Disgusted, he took a drink from the bottle in his right hand, then went on. "So, if the program is written to be unbeatable, the only way I can think of to win the scenario is to change the program. And, of course, I'm not nearly good enough with computers to do that, so I guess I'll just have to try again. Maybe I'm missing something, after all."
Smiling, Kirk shut off the recorder. There…that ought to be sufficient to cover him, at need. Oh, personal logs were supposed to be locked, sealed and confidential, but Jim Kirk wasn't about to trust his career to that. Not with what he was planning….
Pavel Andreievich Chekov was not having a good day.
"Stupid, wretched thing! Motherless son of a misbegotten cow! Useless, worthless piece of junk! Why do I bother with you at all?" he cursed the computer console he was currently working at. Immune to his words (perhaps because it did not speak Russian), the console continued to show only uninterpretable garbage, rather than the complex series of multidimensional transforms he wanted it to display. Getting no response to his vocal epithets, the cadet sighed; then got down on his knees and opened the computer's front access panel for the third time.
"Now, you stupid, uncultured beast! You will tell me what it is that is wrong with you, and I will not be forced to have you replaced with an abacus," he muttered, crawling halfway into the console to peer and pry at its inner workings. Now, what could be wrong with it this time, he wondered? He had already adjusted the duotronic matrix array, and reset the collinear processors. Could it be the integral vector buffer? Muttering to himself, he began checking the connections to the vector buffer board, only to be interrupted by someone clearing their throat in the room behind him.
"Just a minute…I will be right with you," Chekov called out, suppressing an urge to sigh at the interruption.
Jim Kirk heard the voice from inside the bowels of the computer console, and raised his voice a bit above his normal tone. "That's okay, take your time. I'm in no hurry."
Truthfully, he wasn't in any hurry. The view from where he was standing just inside the door was quite satisfactory. A pair of slender legs rose up to a set of buttocks that was, in a word, spectacular. "An arse like a Georgia peach," Bones McCoy would have described it, Kirk thought, and he certainly wouldn't have disagreed. Kirk grinned as he indulged himself in a long, open, admiring look at the rump so carelessly displayed before him. Of course, it wasn't his usual fare, but hey—straight but not narrow, that was Jim Kirk—and he'd had more than one experience in the past with members of his own sex. Of course, off the top of his head he couldn't remember when he'd been with someone of either gender with a butt that high and firm…and tight, if he was any judge.
He was able, barely; to wipe the leer off his face and put on an appropriately neutral expression as the young man that spectacular derriere was attached to crawled out from under the console. Reaching down, Kirk pulled the young man to his feet easily.
"Thank you," the young man…boy, really…said, brushing himself off. "Now, how may I be of service?" he asked.
Kirk suppressed a grin at the double entendre the young man had just made, and answered with as straight a face as he could manage. "I'm looking for a Cadet Chekov…he's supposed to be working on the computers in this area?"
"I am Pavel Chekov, Mr…?" he said, turning his introduction into a question.
"Kirk, Jim Kirk," the older man replied. Confusion showed in his face as he looked around and past the other man. "I'm sorry; I was told that Pavel Chekov was at the top of the class in computer programming." And several other subjects as well, but that wasn't what Kirk needed at the moment.
The younger man sighed and shook his head. "I am that Pavel Chekov. Yes, I am very young to be in Starfleet. No, I do not know what questions will be on the computer operations final examination. No, I am not interested in helping you study, or in studying for the final examination with you. Will there be anything else?" he asked, the look on his face saying very clearly that he hoped the answer was 'no'. Obviously, he had given these answers enough for them to become rote.
"Actually, yes, there is," Kirk said, putting his best 'I'm a good guy, you can trust me' smile in place. "But…and I've got to say this…you really are young to be in Starfleet, aren't you?"
The younger man sighed, and sat down, waving Kirk to a chair opposite his. "Yes, I am." Then he merely sat there, looking at the man who was interrupting him with a resigned look on his face.
Giving himself a mental shake, Kirk sat, then gave the other man a long, careful look. Even though the man's expression was downcast, he had a very attractive, almost pretty face. High cheekbones drew Kirk's eyes upwards to hazel orbs, just under a shock of curly hair. Below, a set of extremely kissable lips was drawn into a neutral line, and the arch of an elegant neck flowed up into the tiny dimple on the boy's chin.
Kirk gave himself a mental shake as he realized just how he was thinking about the young man's face. Since when did he describe another man's lips 'kissable'? Well, while sober, that is.
Apparently, since right now…and they still looked quite kissable.
"I'm sorry, maybe I've found the wrong person. See, I was looking for someone to help me with a computer problem, and it's kind of complicated," Kirk said, giving himself a little shake.
"I probably can help you with computer issues," the younger man said, his tone conveying the sigh he desperately wanted to make. "Can you tell me what problem is?"
Kirk smiled, and shook his head. "It's more than a little complicated, actually," he said, trying to be dismissive and polite at the same time.
"I can not tell you if I can be of help without knowing more about situation," the young man said neutrally.
Kirk smiled, putting an effort into appearing friendly and trustworthy. "Say, I'm hungry! Are you hungry? Want to grab a bite to eat?" he asked. "My treat," he added hastily, as the young man turned to look at the computer console he had just crawled out from under.
"I should not," he said, then gave in to the impulse and sighed heavily at the garbled screens. He seemed to wilt for just a moment in his chair, and Kirk, sensing an opening, jumped in.
"Oh, come on…it's the middle of the afternoon, and I bet you haven't had a break since lunch." At the guilty look on the younger man's face, he smiled, and played a hunch. "Wait a minute…you skipped lunch, didn't you?"
Chekov turned to him, eyes wide, then nodded guiltily. "I was hoping to run a complete set of transforms for Professor Semmes before class tomorrow, but now I do not see how I will be able to do so," he said miserably. Something about his tone and the slump in his shoulders touched something in Kirk that only a second before had been crowing in glee that his hunch—once again—had paid off.
"Well, that's it, then! You'll never get anything done if you pass out from low blood sugar," he said heartily. Of course, stealing one of Bones McCoy's best lines couldn't hurt. "Come on, I'm buying…please?" he asked, smiling in a way that said 'I'm really harmless, and what could it hurt?'
"I…I suppose it would be more efficient for me to speak with you while we eat," the young man said, wavering.
"Exactly! Now, how do you feel about chocolate?" Kirk asked quickly, before the curly-haired boy could change his mind.
"Chocolate? I love chocolate," Chekov said, his eyes lighting up, then dimming again. "But I should not eat chocolate at this time of day," he said, sadly.
"Why not?" Kirk asked, standing himself to prompt the other man to stand.
Standing, the younger man was a good three inches shorter than Kirk, and he looked up into Kirk's blue eyes without pretense. "I have…what is called 'sugar rush', that makes me do odd things," he explained.
"Oh, like what?" Kirk asked, interested.
"Last time my classmates gave me chocolate on empty stomach, I worked all problems in n-dimensional calculus textbook."
"That doesn't sound too odd," Kirk quirked on eyebrow as the young man shut down the console and turned back to him.
"I am sorry, I did not explain very well." His 'v's' were pronounced like 'w's', which Kirk was starting to find appealing. "It was only second week of class, and I worked all problems in the textbook."
"As in…the entire book?" Kirk asked, surprised. He'd had the one required course in n-d calc, then thankfully moved on. His class had only covered about a quarter of the text, and the last half was reserved for the advanced mathematics and science seminars that only a handful ever qualified for. To have worked the entire book…!
The young man just shrugged and walked out of the room. "There were some errors in the demonstration problems, which I discovered. Captain Eddings was rather upset with me until Commander Spock confirmed my work," he said, striding down the corridor with Kirk at his side.
"So…you're telling me that you worked through the entire n-d calc book in the second week of your first class?" Kirk couldn't believe it.
"And made corrections," Chekov said. Then, he noticed that he was walking by himself. Turning, he saw a flummoxed Jim Kirk just standing there, shaking his head in amazement. "Are you well?" he asked carefully. Long experience had taught him that telling people about some of the things he had done caused them to laugh at him, or insist that he was lying, or something equally unpleasant.
Jim Kirk gave his head a final shake and looked at the young man happily, a broad smile lighting his face. "Oh, I'm quite well…and I think that you may just be the man I'm looking for after all."
"I am not one you should be asking to do this thing, Mr. Kirk."
"Pavel, please…it's Jim, okay? And, if there's anyone who can do this, it's you, and we both know it," Kirk said around a mouthful of sandwich. "How's your sandwich?"
"My sandwich is very good, thank you. This is very nice place," Chekov said, looking around. Kirk had led him out of the computer building and on a short stroll across the Academy grounds before hailing a cab for the short ride to Ghirardelli Square, where he had insisted on buying a late lunch at a small sandwich shop there in the Square. Jim liked it not only because the food was invariably excellent, but also because it was only a few steps more to the Ghirardelli Ice Cream and Chocolate Shop. He couldn't count the number of times that a simple lunch date had led to a chocolate sundae, and then to working off the sundae horizontally back in the Academy dorms. And, even though he hadn't initially thought any further than getting the young man sitting across from him wired on chocolate and turning him loose on the simulator with a comp terminal, Kirk found his thoughts wandering in…other directions.
"I'm glad you like this place. It's one of my favorites," Kirk smiled. "And, since you won't have an empty stomach after we've eaten here, I thought we might finish off with some chocolate."
Chekov shook his head. "No matter how much chocolate you make me eat, Mr. Kirk…Jim," he corrected himself, "it will not change fact that what you ask can not be done. Is not possible," he finished, then bit into his sandwich again. Chewing, he swallowed, then seemed to realize that there was a small drip of mayo on the side of his mouth. Kirk found himself fascinated as a small pink tongue darted out to lick the errant condiment away. "Does not matter," Chekov went on, shaking his head. "Is not possible," he repeated.
"Why not?" Kirk asked. Rather than being confrontational, he was genuinely curious about why this young genius—for he certainly was that, Kirk was rapidly coming to believe—kept saying that the simulator couldn't be hacked. And that, not ten minutes after he had told Kirk (during Jim's lead up to asking 'the big question') that any computer system could eventually be compromised. "I thought you just said that you could get into any computer system?"
"Any computer system I can access," Chekov said, waving one finger for emphasis. "But simulations computer is physically separate from other computers at Academy, for security reasons…and, I suspect, to prevent people from doing exactly what you are asking me to do. No," he repeated, "is not possible. Not to mention, would have us both expelled," he snapped his fingers, "like that! So!"
Now, this objection, Jim had anticipated, and he already had his answer ready. "Are you sure about that?" he asked, slyly.
"Of course! Would be violation of honor code, and many regulations." Curly hair bounced as the young man vigorously nodded his head. "Clearly, expulsion offense."
"Even for the no-win scenario?" Kirk asked, raising an eyebrow and looking confident.
Apparently, something in his face made Chekov look at him suspiciously. "You are not supposed to be talking about the Kobya…that scenario," he said, catching himself after he had already revealed that he knew the name of the scenario. "Is against regulations."
"So, Mr. Chekov…I'm wondering just how you know about it, when you're not a command-line cadet." Jim smirked at his blushing companion. Gotcha! he thought.
Pavel Chekov looked down at his food, blushing furiously. "I…am under orders not to speak of it," he said finally, his voice very small.
"Hey, Pavel, it's okay, really…whatever it is, your secret's safe with me, and you don't have to say anything more if you don't want to," he said carefully. Then, putting two and two together, he went on in a soft, casual voice. "Last year there was a big uproar about how somebody had opened up the Academy's secure computer files like a Marine opens a rations pack. I remember that every comp terminal on campus was scanned, scrubbed and rebooted. But, they never did say who had done it, or what they had seen when they were in the files. That was you, wasn't it?"
Chekov seemed to find his half-eaten sandwich fascinating beyond belief. When he spoke, it was still in that very small, very young voice. "I made mistake…I did not know Professor was making joke when he said anyone who defeated Academy security protocols would get automatic 'A' in course. I thought he would give extra credit...." He trailed off, not seeing the look of amazement and admiration that lit up Kirk's face.
"Oh my…you thought…but how…oh my…" was all that Kirk could say before he burst out laughing.
At the first laugh, Pavel Chekov's head snapped up, his eyes bright with unshed tears, rage and shame blossoming on his face. "I did not know! I thought was class assignment, for credit! And besides, I only opened files and read them myself, did not copy them!" he finished angrily. "Then, I closed security protocols back, and carried only copy of work to Professor by hand, on chip!"
"Pavel…Pavel, don't be mad! I'm not laughing at you, I'm laughing at that stupid Professor, and at all the chaos you must have caused!" Jim was laughing so hard he was crying, and paused to wipe his eyes. "You must have made most of the staff crap their pants when they found out!" He took a deep, calming breath. "Pavel Chekov, that has got to be one of the best stunts any cadet has ever pulled at the Academy, ever. So, why can't you talk about it?"
"Admiral Komack and Commandant Izikawa made me promise not to tell anyone," Chekov answered, his eyes once more downcast and his voice soft. "It would…be disruptive to know that someone…as young as I…did what I did…." He shook his head, unwilling or unable to say anything further.
Jim Kirk looked at the dejected figure across the table from him. Without thinking about what he was doing, he reached out and gently lifted the younger man's chin with his fingers. When a pair of bright hazel eyes finally met his, he carefully reached up and wiped away the tears that were spilling down across those high cheekbones. "You mean, it would embarrass the hell out of him, your Professor, your other classmates, and the Academy's computer security people." Getting no answer except that intense gaze, Kirk went on. "Pavel, what you did is nothing short of amazing. Starfleet has some of the best computer people in the Federation on staff, and consults with the Daystrom Institute regularly to make sure their equipment and programs are always up to date. For you to beat them all like you did is an incredible achievement, whether you understood what the Professor was saying or not. You deserved a commendation, at the very least."
"I was happy at time not to be expelled," the young man answered him.
"Oh, bull!" Kirk replied, still keeping his voice soft. The last thing he wanted to do was spook the boy. "That's the kind of original, out of the box thinking that we're always being harped on about, isn't it? It's the same thing with the Ko…the scenario I've been talking about. What's the use of having a no-win scenario? After all, they've already proven that the computer can always throw enough ships at you to beat anybody…big deal! So, what's the use of proving something that's meaningless? If the computer can just pull out a hundred ships to your one, why bother even trying? So, since our instructors never do anything like that for no reason, they've got to be looking for something else…and obviously, nobody's figured out a way to give them what they're looking for, at least not yet. How do we know that they're not looking for somebody to actually manage to break their security on the scenario?" He gave the younger man a gentle smile, not realizing that his hand was now caressing Pavel's cheek gently.
Pavel Chekov, on the other hand, was all too aware of the hand holding and caressing him, and felt himself settling into the gentle touch. "I…I do not know," he admitted, unwilling to do anything to break the soft contact. "It does not make sense to write program which cannot be beaten, just to have such program." He closed his eyes, then drew back to allow himself to think more clearly without the distraction of a warm, calloused hand on him.
"No one can seriously believe that program such as that is actually beatable," Pavel said thoughtfully. "Any child could lay out basics of such program, is not difficult. So, logically, must be other reason." He paused, and looked at Jim Kirk frankly. "No other reason was given to you, da?"
"Nyet." Jim smiled, and was please when Pavel smiled back. "Oh, by the way, that's about the extent of my Russian," he said, and was rewarded with an even bigger smile from his new friend.
"Is fine, I will teach you to speak Russian, is most beautiful of all languages," Chekov said.
Jim Kirk surprised himself when he answered immediately. "Not as beautiful as my teacher," he said, then had to look down himself as Chekov's eyes widened and he blushed prettily.
"I…I do not…am not…" he stammered, embarrassed yet again, only to hear Jim cut him off.
"Yes, you are…and I'm surprised that no one's told you that before," he said.
"No, no one," Chekov replied, and once again found his eyes meeting Kirk's blue gaze. "Not like that," he corrected.
"Then I'm glad I'll be the first," Jim Kirk said, then reached out across the table to lay his hand on Chekov's. "Although I'm sure I won't be the only one, Pavel."
For a long moment, the two just sat there looking into each other's eyes. Then, shyly, Pavel drew his hand back and picked up his sandwich. Taking another bite to cover his unease at the intimacy of the conversation, he tried to move back to the original topic.
"If, as you say, our instructors are looking for original solutions, then you may be correct about altering program," he said thoughtfully. "Certainly it would seem to be most obvious solution, but will require great care and planning to accomplish."
"Will require?" Kirk asked. He was also glad that the conversation had swung back to the problem of the scenario, but found himself strangely missing the intimacy of the previous moments. That was something that rarely happened to him, but he'd take the time to worry about it later. "Not 'might require' or 'would require', but 'will require'?" He grinned, when Pavel nodded back at him.
"I am not willing to concede your analysis of instructor's intent yet, Mr. Kirk," he grinned slightly. "Still, there is certain logic to argument that warrants further study."
"So, Mr. Chekov, I take that you're willing to give my ideas that 'further study'?" Kirk grinned back, knowing that he'd won this round.
Pavel Chekov nodded, taking another bite of his sandwich before he replied. "Yes, on one condition," he said, his face neutral.
"Okay," Kirk said, warily. Just what was this young genius going to demand for his assistance? And, would it be a price he was willing to pay?
"Yes, is most important." Pavel Chekov's face was blank, although there was an impish twinkle dancing in his eyes. "You promised chocolate sundae, after lunch." Then, he blushed and grinned at the same time while he watched the effect his words had on the older man.
Jim Kirk sat back, shocked at how well he'd been played, then grinned. "Well, since I promised, I guess I have to come through, don't I?"
"Would be best if you did," Pavel smiled back warmly, taking another bite of sandwich.
Jim just nodded, and went back to his own meal. Of course, now he had to make sure to leave room for the sundaes he would shortly be buying.
A quick trip to the sundae shop turned into a long, leisurely afternoon of ice cream, a stroll down Fisherman's Wharf, a sea lion watching session, a cable car ride, and a long rambling discussion about how each of them had come to be at Starfleet Academy. Jim found himself opening up to the young man at his side in ways that he'd never opened up to anyone—not even his own family—about growing up without his father, and his rebellious, tumultuous youth. In return, he learned a little bit about Pavel's large family, to the point that he finally laughed and told the younger man that he'd need a print out to follow the list of brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, honorary aunts and uncles, cousins and various other peoples. Pavel had just smiled at this, blushed in a way that Jim was rapidly coming to find charming, and said that he could probably have a list by sometime the next day. This led to a retaliatory tickle, which Pavel frantically tried to dodge, which only made Jim more determined. In short order, the pair was laughing and gasping together happily…until they realized that Pavel's back was pressed up against a wall and that Jim had his arms around the smaller boy.
The moment turned serious, and Jim Kirk found himself being carefully studied by warm, unblinking hazel eyes. He found that he didn't mind the look at all, and that he also didn't mind what he saw reflected back in those eyes. Of course, he knew that he wasn't the man that Pavel Chekov thought he saw—no one human could possibly be that—but for some reason he found himself wanting to try harder to be that man.
"Pavel…" he said, then stopped. For the first time in his life, James T. Kirk found himself at a loss for words.
"Jim…" Pavel responded, then pushed against his captor gently. "I think…that I must return to my work soon."
Jim nodded, hating to break the moment but completely unable to pressure the delicate-appearing young man in his arms. Sighing, he stepped back, and offered Pavel his hand in compensation. The hand that slid into his was warm and soft, and squeezed his fingers gently.
The conversation on the way back to the Academy dorms was muted, as each man was caught up in enjoying the company of the other. Oddly enough, they hadn't released their grip on each other's hands until they were standing outside of Pavel's room.
"I had wonderful time today," the young Russian said, his accent more pronounced than usual, his voice hushed.
"Me, too," Jim agreed. He made no move to leave.
Pavel hadn't moved, either. "I must go," he said, still not moving.
"You've got stuff to do."
"You should go, then."
Neither of them had moved during this exchange, content to stand and look at each other. Then, Jim sighed and backed away slightly, breaking the moment.
"Your roommate will be back, if he's not already here," he said.
"Oh…I do not have roommate," Pavel said. "I have not had one since I came here. I was told it would not be appropriate, because of my age."
"Oh?" Jim asked, his interest peaked. "So, if I came in, we wouldn't bother anybody?"
"No, but if you come in…" Pavel started, then paused and took his own deep breath. "If you come in, Jim, I am afraid that no work will be done," he finished, blushing to the tips of his ears.
"And would that be so bad?" Jim breathed, closing the distance between them again. He found himself wanting to be with this young man more intensely than he could remember wanting to be with someone in a long, long time.
Pavel put his hands on Jim's chest, not pushing him away but stopping him from coming any further. "Da, it would, today. I have things which must be done before tomorrow, and you would only distract me from that."
"Only distract you? Oh, I think I could do more than just distract you," Jim grinned, his interest plainly showing. He let his hands drift lightly down the sides of the younger man caressingly, taking care to keep his touch light, gentle.
"Da, you could, and I would most probably let you," Pavel smiled shyly. "But, I must do this, and also I must think about what you asked of me, and that I can not do with you here," he finished.
"You don't have to think about my little project today," Jim wheedled, not realizing that only a few hours ago he had wanted that very thing and nothing else.
"Da, I must, while is fresh on mind," Pavel answered. "Now, go, before I do foolish thing and ask you in." He gave the gentlest of pushes, and Jim let himself be moved back out of Pavel's personal space.
"All right, if you insist. But I want to take you to lunch tomorrow. Where can I meet you?"
"I have seminar until noon, but then am free for afternoon. Will front steps of Academy be acceptable?" Pavel asked, his smile hopeful.
"Tomorrow, noon, front steps…I'll be there," Jim said, stepping away. Then, right before he turned away, "Oh, and Pavel…" he paused, then decided not to say what he was thinking. "Tomorrow, noon. Don't stand me up!" he said, instead. And with that, he spun and strode away purposefully.
Pavel Chekov stood there for a long moment before he smiled and turned to activate his door. "No, Mr. Kirk, that I will not do."
A/N: well, here it is, the prequel to Dating the Captain. Many people (thank you all!) requested a sequel, but this one needed to be written first. And, as usual, what started out to be just a little throw-together piece turned into a monster that's taken much longer than I thought it would. Still, it's almost finished, so I thought I'd go ahead and break it up into a few parts, for your enjoyment. Yes, it's woven into the text of the new movie, and will explain to one and all just what was really going on 'behind the scenes'. Plus, I had to explain how the events of Dating the Captain came to be, now didn't I?
Next Chapter: the plot thickens...and there's chocolate cake!