Lieutenant Nyota Uhura couldn't sleep, and she knew it was because Spock wasn't there. She had known he was going to be away for a few days: he and lieutenant Sulu had been sent down to the planet surface of Deltor Two to conduct basic geological tests on the rock structures, but as much as it hurt her pride to admit it, she felt lonely whenever Spock wasn't around. Which was why she was awake at nearly two in the morning, the bedside lamp next to her bed highlighting the shadows in the corners of the room.

Knowing that sleep just wasn't going to come that night, she got up, taking her dressing gown from where it was draped over a nearby chair, and tying it around her waist, walking over to her desk, where her PADD was lying. She was trying to teach herself Russian, taking advantage of the fact that she had a ready-made speaking partner on board. So far she was doing quite well, and could hold whole conversations with Chekov without the ensign having to repeatedly correct her as he had had to when they had first started their talks. They now held competitions where she spoke in Russian, and he in English, seeing which one would make a mistake first.

She' d got to know Pavel Chekov quite well over their conversations and they had become quite good friends. She'd even been helping him with his English as repayment for him teaching her Russian, even though he had repeatedly said that he didn't need payment for helping out friends.

She was re-reading a section on her PADD about conjugates when there was a faint knock at her door. She frowned, putting her PADD down, flicking a glance at the time – quarter to three as she crossed the room to her door.

Whatever she'd been expecting, it hadn't been to see a pyjama-ed Chekov at her door, nervously wringing his hands

"Hello "She could see how embarrassed the ensign was, and it looked like it had taken him a lot of effort to drag himself up here.

"Dobriy vecher" Uhura replied, reverting to his language in an effort to calm him down. He looked tired, and she could probably guess that he hadn't been sleeping well since Sulu left. "Are you ok?"

Chekov smiled faintly at her use of his own language, but he couldn't really find the words to express what he was feeling in either language

" I …I cannot sleep" he said, and Uhura couldn't help but feel sorry for him. She knew exactly how he felt because in truth she felt exactly the same.

"You're not the only one" Uhura sighed theatrically, gesturing him inside her quarters. "Harasho, come in Chekov" Uhura laughed good naturedly, seeing the Russian stall outside her quarters " I won't bite"

"I am sorry to disturb you so late at night, lieutenant" Chekov muttered, following Uhura self-consciously into her quarters, looking around at the pictures on the walls, and bookcase full of books on xenolinguistics and syntax, noticing that her room was a lot bigger then his own.

"Pavel, it's Uhura. You don't have to stand on ceremony here" Uhura left Chekov standing in the middle of her room as she walked over to the replicator, ordering two cocoas "Or you can call me Nyota, if you wish"

Chekov smiled as she said this, knowing how privately she guarded her personal details, including her first name, especially from people like Jim Kirk.

"OK. Nyota" He smiled at her as she passed him one of the cups of cocoa "spah see bah" He thanked her, automatically taking a sip before swearing profusely in Russian as he swallowed a mouthful of scalding hot liquid.

"It's hot" Uhura grinned, as she watched water stream from the ensigns eyes "Sit down, Pavel" she continued, watching the look of nervousness resurface on the youths face, which gave him a decidedly endearing quality as he stood in the middle of the room, his curls bed-time-haywire and blue eyes watery, but alert despite the bruise-like bags under them.

Chekov sat down cautiously on the small sofa at one edge of the room, overlooking the window where he could look out and observe the stars in their hundreds moving slowly past. Uhura sat down next to him, placing her cup on a coffee table in front of the sofa, curling her feet up to her chest and studying Chekov seriously, taking in the bags under his eyes.

"You haven't been sleeping," she said, and Chekov didn't even attempt to deny it

"Neither have you"

"Very attentive, Pavel" Uhura laughed, then sighed deeply "same reasons as you, just a different person"

"You miss Commander Spock, da?" Chekov affirmed, eying his drink carefully before gingerly taking a small sip.

"Da" Uhura nodded and for a moment, the two just sat in silence; comfortable with each others company

"You are good for Commander Spock, I zink" Chekov said suddenly, looking at Uhura seriously

"Oh?" Uhura said, looking at Chekov quizzically. It was unlike him to be so forward.

"You bring out his human side. Vhen he is around you, he…" the Russian paused as though wondering how to continue "…he is less focused on what is logic and what is not. He is more focused on how his emotions affect you"

"You think?"

"Da. I see how he looks at you. It is good"

Uhura's tone was playful now "And what else do you see, oh wise one?"

Chekov frowned momentarily as he processed what Uhura had just said, before flushing pink with embarrassment "I…" he stopped, either unable or unwilling to continue

"It's ok, Pavel. You can say what you like to me"

Chekov lowered his voice slightly "I see zhat you care about Commander Spock very deeply too. Like you don't have to be anyone else but yourself around him." The navigator flushed again, embarrassed "I'm sorry, Nyota. I shouldn't have pried"

"No, it's OK," Uhura smiled distantly "You're right" she turned her head away from the view outside the window and laughed " Look at us, Pavel. They've been away three days and we're already unable to cope efficiently without them"

Chekov grinned back and Uhura could see the relief in the youth's eyes that someone else understood how he was feeling.

"It seems stupid," the Russian said, setting down his now empty-mug on the table, as Uhura drank her cocoa "But vhen Hikaru is avay, I don't feel…here. Like part of me is not vith me, it is vith him" he looked at Uhura "Does zhat make sense?"

"Perfect sense, Pavel"

"I think I'm in love vith him, Nyota" Chekov said, quietly, almost to himself "and I don't know vhat I'm going to do"

"Why do you have to do anything?" Uhura frowned, setting down her mug next to Chekov's "Surely that's a good thing"

"Da, da, it is" Chekov replied "but it's just…" he sighed, "Hikaru is a lieutenant and I am… I am just an ensign. I love Hikaru, so so much, but it is hard to make people understand. They look down because they see a junior and senior officer and I can see vhat zhey mean. Sulu could have anybody else, so vhy vould he have chosen me?" Chekov paused " It is hard also, knowing that my father vill never accept me if I choose Sulu. My father…" he looked sadly at Uhura and suddenly, he looked very young and very lonely "…my father is a traditional man, and I've spent all my life being told that being like this, being in love with another man, is wrong."

Uhura's eyes were blazing when she next spoke, seeing the look of helplessness in Chekovs eyes "Don't you ever let anybody tell you that what you and Sulu have is wrong, Pavel. I've seen the way you look at each other, how you hold hands and laugh at jokes that none of us get and how you always seem to smile just that little bit more whenever Sulu's on shift with you. And that is good, Chekov, that is so good. Love is so beautiful and so don't ever let anyone tell you anything different. It doesn't matter what others think because other people aren't Sulu." She paused "and as for your worry about him outranking you, well that doesn't matter. He loves you Pavel, no matter what your station and that's all that really matters"

Chekov was grinning when she had finished, his blue eyes lighting up

"Thank you" he said, and somehow he managed to convey all his gratitude to Uhura in those two small syllables.

Uhura smiled back, and stood up, picking up the empty mugs as she went.

"That's OK, Pavel. Now, do you want some more cocoa?"

They ended up talking long into the night about nothing really, small meaningless things: James Kirk and his latest conquest, if Chapel fancied Bones, whether Scotty really did sleep in engineering as the rumour went; a rumour which Chekov vehemently protested false, and Uhura was inclined to agree with him; Chekov and Scotty had become very close friends, after a late night graveyard shift conversation about the finer elements of Scotty's warp theory.

It was nearly four, standard earth time, when Uhura saw Chekov finally cave into tiredness, yawning quietly, although the ensign tried to hide it behind his hand.

"I think it's time we turned in, Pavel " Uhura smiled; as Chekov yawned again, his eyelids dropping slightly as he did so.

The navigator looked at the clock and groaned.

"I vill get killed if I'm caught in the corridors zis late"

"Just camp on the couch if you want, Pavel" Uhura said, "I've got a spare blanket you can borrow"

Chekov's suddenly sleepy eyes turned to look at her worriedly "Are you sure, Nyota. It is not too much trouble?"

Uhura waved her hand dismissing his fears "You're my friend Chekov. It's no trouble. You're practically dead on your feet already. I can't imagine you making it back to your quarters before you fall asleep in the turbo lift" she smiled at him "anyway, neither of us are going to be able to sleep if we sleep on our own."

Chekov nodded, and Uhura padded over to one of her storage drawers to take out a standard federation issue blanket, passing it to Chekov "Sorry that the couch probably isn't as comfortable as your own bed, but…"

"Is fine, Nyota" Chekov grinned, a glint returning to his eyes that had been missing over the last three days "anyway, will be better then sleeping alone. Or in turbo lift"

Uhura laughed as she draped her dressing gown back over the chair and slipped back into her own bed, Chekov lying down on the sofa and pulling the blanket up over his shoulders.

"Night" Uhura whispered as she flicked the lights off, plunging the room into darkness.

"Goodnight Nyota" came a sleepy reply from somewhere in the blackness "Sveet dreams"

"Sweet dreams, Pavel" Uhura smiled, lying back onto her pillows, jostling a bit to get comfortable, but as she stared at the ceiling, listening to Chekov's breathing gradually becoming slower and quieter, she was glad that at least tonight, she did not have to face the lonely darkness of night time by herself


Uhura was awoken the next morning y Chekov shaking her gently

"Uhura? I'm sorry to vake you Uhura, but…"

Uhura groaned, opening one bleary eye to study the teen. "What is it Chekov?"

"I'm sorry Uhura, but I've just been told zhat the avay team vill be back soon. I zought you vould like to know"

"They're back?" Uhura sat up suddenly, with a grin on her face

"In about fifteen minutes" Chekov confirmed, smiling as well. Uhura got out of bed, seeing that Chekov had obviously returned to his rooms while she was still asleep and gotten changed into his uniform. Uhura was all ready to start walking down to the transporter room, but she was still in her pyjamas.

"I vill vait for you outside" Chekov promised and within ten minutes, Uhura was washed and dressed appropriately, and however unnecessary it was, she had put on mascara and eyeliner, just to greet Spock with. Not that he'd notice that much. Vulcan or not, Spock was still a man, and didn't understand the subtle reasons why women of any species always endeavoured to make themselves look better. There were just some things men didn't get.

Uhura walked outside of her quarters, dragging her long hair into a rough ponytail as she met up with an eager Chekov, smiling at him as they took the turbo lift to deck seven, the feeling of anticipation curling in the pit of her stomach as they got closer to their destination

"Anyone arrived yet, Scotty?" Uhura asked as they greeted the chief engineer.

"Not as yet, Uhura, but according to the commander, they should be arriving pretty soon"

No sooner were the words out of the Scotsman's mouth, then the comms came to life

"Two to beam up, Mr Scott" came the unmistakable voice of Spock and Uhura couldn't help feeling relieved to hear his voice, but she knew she wouldn't feel completely ok until she saw the Vulcan safely back on the Enterprise.

"Speak 'o the devil" Scotty grinned and Uhura heard the thrum of the transporter fill the room. Slowly but surely the figures of Commander Spock and lieutenant Sulu completely visible on the transporter pad.

Spock raised his eyebrow slightly as he saw Uhura; in what she thought was something like a Vulcan's version of a half-smile.

"Lieutenant Uhura. I did not expect you here to welcome my arrival back. I assure you it was not necessary"

"I know" Uhura smiled "But I missed you"

Spock's eyes softened and he allowed himself a small display of emotion.

"I missed you too, Nyota," he said, as Uhura walked up to him and captured his lips with her own, his hands wrapping tightly around her waists to deepen the kiss. She heard Scotty coughs in embarrassment and quietly leave, not that her attention was particularly focused on anything but the feel of Spock's lips against her own.

When they broke off, smiling at each other unashamedly, Uhura raising two closed fingers upright to allow Spock to display his affection in his own way, his two fingers running gently over hers in what Spock had told her was a Vulcan's version of a kiss.

Uhura looked over at Chekov and Sulu, who had their foreheads rested together, their arms wrapped around each other's waist, not dissimilar to how Uhura and Spock must have looked only minutes previously.

"I missed you, Pasha" she heard Sulu whisper as he lowered his lips against Chekovs. Uhura couldn't help smiling at the two as she turned to leave, catching Chekov's eye and winking at him. He probably would have replied, but his attention seemed otherwise engaged as she left the transporter pad hand in hand with Spock, leaving Chekov and Sulu still in each others arms, their kiss deepening.

After all, she reasoned, they had three days worth of catching up to do.