Four Times Sulu wanted to tell Chekov he loved him and the one time he did

I

"Look Sulu!" Chekov grins happily; his cornflower blue eyes alight with wonder, pointing at the view screen "Look at the stars"

Sulu's heart almost melts at the look of happiness on the Russians face.

"They're only stars, Pavel" he laughs, fixing the ensign with a fond grin." They got no stars in Russia?"

They're on the graveyard shift, but Sulu isn't bored out of his mind, not with Chekov to keep him company. They can talk for hours without really saying anything at all, and as much as it embarrasses Sulu to admit it, he looks forward to these shifts more then he should, because he gets to spend time with Chekov.

The Russian looks at him, fixing a playful pout on his face and sticks out his tongue in such a display of immaturity Sulu laughs again.

"Of course they do. But just look at them, Hikaru. They're beautiful"

Sulu can see what Chekov means. The stars are beautiful, bright and clear in the pitch-black sky, but the stars seem to pale into ordinary when Sulu compares them to Chekov. And suddenly there is so much he wants to say. He wants to tell Chekov that he loves the colour of his hair-and how the curls always look completely untamed, no matter how much the ensign brushes it. He wants to tell him that the color of his eyes are so much more beautiful then the stars out there in the night sky. But he doesn't

"Yeah" Sulu sighs, "Yeah, they are"

II

Sulu can tell Chekov is silently terrified as they sit close to each other in the cold dank cell, wondering if they'll ever get out of here. The aliens that have kidnapped them have demanded a ransom from the Federation, and Sulu can't bring himself to remind Chekov about the Federation's non-negotiation policy when dealing with inter-planetary terrorism, regardless of any possible hostages. It doesn't help that the aliens have said that if they don't get what they want in five earth hours, Sulu and Chekov will be shot.

"We aren't going to get out of here, Hikaru" Chekov whispers, gripping Sulu's hand tightly, laying his head on Sulu's shoulder. In any other circumstances, this would have given Sulu grounds to tell Chekov how he feels, and even now it's hard not to blurt out that he'd never let the aliens touch Chekov because he couldn't stand it if anything happened to him.

"We will, Pavel" Sulu whispers back, squeezing the Russians hand and laying his head against Chekov's, fighting the urge to embrace him and never let go for fear the Ensign will slip away from him "I promise"

III

"What's wrong?" Sulu looks up as Chekov storms into the quarters they share. Actually it's more two rooms interconnected by a bathroom, but Sulu and Chekov go in and out of each others rooms freely to talk to each other and it's obvious now that Chekov needs someone to talk to

"It's…it's just everyone" Chekov cries exasperated, walking over to Sulu's bed and sitting down on it "I'm fed up of being treated like a child" Sulu sits down next to Chekov, fighting the urge to put his arm around the Russian. Now is not the time, Chekov needs to talk to him.

The Russian sighs, "I'm nearly eighteen and everyone still acts like I'm barely out of pre-school. I don't get it. I suggested something to Kirk just now, an answer to a problem Commander Spock has been having trouble with and he just pats me on the head and tells me that the grownups are talking now. The guy is three years older then me!" Chekov sighs again, frustrated "Why does nobody take me seriously?"

"I take you seriously, Pavel" Sulu says, looking at Chekov. He wants to go on, wants to say that he doesn't see Chekov as just some kid, wants to tell him how he's the most intelligent person he knows. He wants to tell him that he's the one person who can make him laugh the most, who can light up his day just by being there, the person who he can tell almost anything. But he keeps silent.

"Da" Chekov smiles at him gratefully " I know you do, Hikaru. I know"

VI

Chekov can hold his drink better then the entire Enterprise Bridge crew- even Kirk and Bones, who are both seasoned visitors of pubs and bars, but as Sulu half-drags, half-carries a drunken Chekov back to his quarters, it certainly doesn't seem that way.

"Aw, come on, Hikaroo" Chekov whines "Anozer drink vont kill me"

"You've had enough Pasha" Sulu mutters, noticing that Chekov's accent seems to get more pronounced when he's drunk "You're on first shift tomorrow, you have to be up early"

"Spoilsport" Pavel pouts and if he wasn't trying to drag the Ensign along the corridors of the Enterprise, he would have found it so hard not to notice that there is nothing cuter then when the Russian pouts like the grumpy teenager he should have been at seventeen.

The Russian stumbles and they both fall against the wall, and Sulu suddenly becomes painfully aware of how close Chekov is, how Pavel is looking into his eyes, moving closer so that their faces are so close, their lips are almost touching.

"You know, you haff really beautiful eyes, Hikaru" Chekov whispers, and for a moment he doesn't seem drunk at all, except for the faint smell of Vodka on his breath, his lips pushing gently up against Sulu's and it's like as if all Sulu's dreams have come true but better. And all Sulu wants to do is kiss back, and finally tell Chekov about the feelings he's been hiding for so long.

But Sulu's been brought up better then that, and he can't just take advantage of the fact that Chekov is incapable of making rational choices in his present state. No matter how much he resents the fact, he gently pushes Chekov away, hoping the ensign won't remember this in the morning. The last thing he wants is for the Russian to feel awkward, or even worse give across the message that Sulu doesn't have any feelings for him. Because he does. Very much so.

"Come on, Pavel" Sulu whispers, helping prop up the ensign, who seems to be attempting to fall asleep standing up and failing miserably " Better get you to bed"

I

It's Chekov's eighteenth birthday party and Sulu's been trying to pluck up the courage all night to tell him how he feels. Which is why he's been hiding in a corner all night, sipping distractedly at a drink which tastes a bit like raspberries, and why he shouldn't be surprised when Chekov notices and comes over, his face a picture of excitement and his blue eyes dancing happily.

"Are you OK?" he asks, flicking a concerned look at Sulu "You've been over here all night" Sulu wants to groan and curses inwardly at Chekov for being so bloody observant but at the same time wants to curse him for not being able to realise that Sulu is hopelessly and irrevocably in love with him

"I'm fine. Honest" he flashes Chekov a grin, but it doesn't seem to convince the Russian as Chekov folds his arms and raises one eyebrow in a frighteningly accurate impression of Spock. Sulu hastily changes the subject "Here, Pasha, I forgot to give you your present" he digs into his pocket and brings out a small black disk that he bought from a Veradian market stall when he was last on shore leave.

Sulu takes hold of Chekov's hand, opening the ensigns palm and placing the disk flat down, trying not to think too deeply into the fact he's holding Pavel Chekov's hand as he clicks the small grey button on the side before moving his hand away.

Chekov gasps quietly as the device suddenly comes alive, beaming an image in front of him of stars, hundreds of stars blinking to life before his eyes. It's all to scale, and its as though Chekov can see the entire universe, orbiting planets and asteroid belts slowly moving, and hundreds of stars blinking out of the holo. A perfect picture of the night sky which Chekov loves so much and it's so clear and …perfect that Chekov can't speak for a moment

"Hikaru" Chekov whispers, his face lighting up in a thousand mega-watt smile "It's beautiful" His other hand moves and takes hold of Sulu's, and it's this small gesture that gives Sulu the courage he needs. Because if he doesn't do it now, he'll never do it and he'll spend the rest of his life regretting it.

"Not as beautiful as you, Pasha" he whispers back and he presses his lips against Chekov's, in front of everybody in the room, but it doesn't seem to matter anymore as Chekov kisses back and it's suddenly like fireworks going off inside his heart. He can hear someone wolf-whistle and Sulu swears he can hear McCoy grumble, "It's about bloody time", but he isn't paying attention to that. All he can concentrate on is the feeling of Chekovs lips against his own and all too soon they have to break the kiss off due to lack of oxygen.

"I love you, Pavel" Sulu has finally said it, and he's never meant it more then he does now, looking into Chekovs bright blue eyes, smiling and hoping that he hasn't just made a completely idiot of himself for nothing

"I know, 'Karu" Chekov smiles back, pressing another kiss against Sulu's lips to continue from where they left off "I love you too"