Hello everyone! I know it's been a long time since you've heard from me. Here it is, the slightly revamped, edited, completed story of Sulu and Chekov's Christmas in Russia. I hope you all enjoy it. Merry Christmas, and happily holidays.
To Russia, With Love
for beautiful dreamere and kitchan
"I ees telling you! Vill be fun!" Chekov declared again as he and Sulu walked down the corridor. "Russia ees best place for vinter. Vill be fun."
"I don't know, Pavel…" Sulu said evasively. He wasn't that thrilled about the thought of all that snow. And besides, who would take care of his plants?
"I already arranged whole zhing," Chekov continued, either unaware of or ignoring Sulu's misgivings. "Set up place for plants to be taken care of, Hikaru."
"Where?" The young Asian didn't like just anyone taking care of his plants.
"Biology major at Academy has already said yes," the Russian confided. "Besides, please? Eet ees almost my birthday, Hikaru. Vill mean wery much to me eef you come, too."
Sulu sighed, but ended up smiling as he glanced over at Chekov's puppy-dog eyes. "Fine, okay? I'll come! But only because it's your birthday."
Chekov whooped. "Yes! I vill see you at terminal, da?"
Sulu nodded, and the Russian jogged off to get his things from his room.
"What have you gotten yourself into, Hikaru?" he asked himself in quiet amusement. "This is going to be one hell of a shore leave. He's lucky that his birthday is soon, otherwise I never would have—"
Sulu stopped walking.
Suddenly, he was doubled up in laughter, the sound of it bouncing off the metal walls of the ship and coming back to him, making it seem as if the whole ship were laughing as well.
People in the hallway were staring at him.
"That little—I can't believe it! He manipulated me! He downright, underhandedly manipulated me!" He pulled himself up straight and rubbed the tears out of his eyes. "I can't believe it," he said again, breathless from the hilarity.
Grinning, he took off at a jog toward Chekov's room.
"Pavel! Pavel you dirty cheat! You're birthday's not until September!"
"And zen ve vill eat sochivo, and I am promising you, eet vill be delicious. And zen—"
Sulu chuckled quietly to himself as he listened to Chekov prattle on happily about all the things they would be doing over the break in Russia as they walked through the shuttle bay. It seemed that his new friend had a lot of younger cousins that Sulu would get to meet as well.
He just hoped he had the energy for it.
"Hey, Pavel?" he interrupted, stopping the young Russian mid-description of the story of Babushka. "Does your family celebrate on the 25th? I've heard that sometimes Russian Christmas is celebrated on January seventh."
"Vhat? Oh, da. Ve celebrate on twenty-fifth. My family ees not wery religious, and zat day ees just easier for everyone to get togezher on. Vhy?"
"Well…just curious. That's all." Sulu sheepishly rubbed the back of his neck.
"Zat ees not all. Tell me, Hikaru." Then Chekov gasped. "Oh no! I forgot! You do not celebrate Christmas, do you?"
"Personally, I don't," Sulu agreed. "However, my family does celebrate New Year's on the 31st. I was actually just wondering if I could leave then and not be rude."
"Oh," said the young Russian. "Da. You could leave zen." But the boy sounded…a little sad.
"Hey, Pavel," Sulu began. "I know you may want to spend New Year's with your family, but…" He cleared his throat. "Well, the invitation's open. Just in case."
Sulu had never seen anyone's eyes light up so fast.
They loaded their bags into the shuttle and climbed in, cheerfully discussing this and that. Sulu tried not to be too worried about the impending visit. He didn't want to offend anyone, not knowing the traditions.
Chekov seemed to notice this when the young Japanese man's smile slipped.
"You are not vorried, are you? You do not hawe to be. My parents are wery nice people. Zey vill like you."
"You sound like your bringing me home as a date to introduce," Sulu chuckled. After a minute, Chekov began to laugh, too, and riveted his attention firmly out the window.
"Ah!" came the happy exclamation that woke Sulu from his brief doze against the window of the shuttle. "Zhere! Ve are here!"
"Wha..?" was Sulu's intelligent reply.
"Ve are here! Quick get your zhings!" Chekov trilled while wrapping a scarf around his neck. One glance outside at all the snow made Sulu want to close his eyes and go back to sleep.
"…Right." But he got up anyway and shouldered his bag.
Before he could answer, Chekov had opened the door and let in the freezing air.
Well, if he hadn't been ready, he certainly was now.
"Ah, home. I have missed you vile I hawe been avay. You do not seem to hawe changed much. Zis ees good."
Sulu smiled at Chekov's back while the Russian wandered around examining the Russian shuttle bay. Though it had been a long time since he had been back to his parents' house in Japan (they had moved there from San Francisco when he joined Starfleet), he was sure he would react quite the same way.
"But ve must go now," Chekov said, and it took a Sulu a minute to realize that the boy was now talking to him. "Or ve vill be late. Come now, Hikaru, do not dawdle."
Chekov's cheeky grin made Sulu snort incredulously, but he jogged to catch up as the Russian led the way down the street.
The house in front of them looked welcoming and warm, and Sulu sighed in relief as they mounted the front steps. Pavel knocked once, and then the door swung open to reveal a very loud, very festively dressed woman with a huge smile on her face.
"Pavel! I am so glad to see you!"
Sulu watched in amazement as his friend was swallowed in one of the tightest hugs he had ever seen. Chekov was laughing loudly and hugging back.
"Hikaru," the boy said when he could breathe again, "zis ees my mother, Lucresa Chekov. Mama, zis ees my friend Hikaru Sulu."
It took only seconds, but Sulu soon found his hand captured in a very firm handshake. Not knowing what to do, he returned it.
"Velcome, velcome! Ve are very pleased to have you. Vhen Pavel said he vas bringing home a friend, vell…" She gave him a cheeky smile and released him. "Ve did not expect you to be so cute."
When he glanced over, Sulu found that Chekov was blushing.
"I am sorry," the Russian said as he and Sulu were ushered in. "She ees not usually like zis."
Sulu shot him a smile as he toed off his shoes inside the door.
"Zat ees nonsense!" exploded a loud voice to their left. "She ees alvays like zis!"
"Deda!" Pavel exclaimed excitedly and jogged over to an elderly man in a rocking chair.
"I see zis ees your friend from work," said the man. "Help me up, Pavel." The young man did so, and soon the elder was on his way over to Sulu. Sulu honestly did not know what to expect.
"Zis ees my deda," Chekov said happily. "Deda, zis ees Hikaru Sulu. He ees ze pilot of ze Enterprise."
"Nice to meet you, sir," Sulu said, and held out his hand. Approvingly, Pavel's grandfather took it and gave it the same treatment Pavel's mother had.
This process was repeated with Chekov's father, Andrei, as well.
"S Rozhdestvom!" the navigator called into the kitchen, where he received a chorus of the greeting back. Sulu watched in amazement as all six of Pavel's cousins came streaming out of the kitchen to bury his friend in a dogpile.
"Zhese are my cousins," Chekov said. "Grigoriy, Dasha, Ruslan, Sergei, and Faina."
The one Pavel had identified as Ruslan, stood up and examined Sulu carefully. He looked to be about seven, and the eldest of all the cousins.
"Pavel," said the boy after a minute, "vhy did you not tell us you vere bringing your boyfriend?"
Pavel's eyes widened comically before he shoved all of his cousins off of him and stood up, straightening his clothes with a hurried, frazzled air.
"Nyet!" The denial rang out sharply in the silent house. "Nyet. Hikaru ees just my friend. He ees not my boyfriend."
"Zen vhy is your face all re—" A hand clapped over the boy's mouth as a young looking woman stepped out of the door. She must have been at least thirty five, though, Sulu mused distractedly, because she was the mother of some of these kids. She was Pavel's aunt.
"Leave him alone," she said firmly. "Ve vill not be rude, remember? Come now, back into ze kitchen vith you."
For a moment none of the children moved.
"All of you. Now." The children sprang into motion, all retreating back into the kitchen with backward glances at the two friends.
"I am sorry about zat," the woman began, but Sulu held up a hand.
"It's no problem, really." He smiled kindly, and just like that, the tension in the air seemed to diffuse.
No one noticed Chekov's sigh of relief.
Once introductions were finished and Sulu had presented his gift to Pavel's father, it was time for dinner. This was the first hurdle that Sulu had to pass, and he was worried.
From what he had heard from Pavel, Russian etiquette was rather involved. He just hoped they'd forgive him if he made a mistake.
He was seated between Pavel and Pavel's aunt Sasha. Recalling at least some of what his friend had told him, Sulu poured a drink for Sasha.
After Pavel's father had invited them to eat, Sulu muttered a quick, "itadakimasu," and tucked in.
It was delicious!
He wasn't sure what it was called (and wasn't sure he'd be able to pronounce it, even if he was), but it was good. And for some reason, it seemed to taste just a slight bit better after Pavel glanced over and smiled at him.
"So, Mr. Sulu. How ees your family?" Mrs. Chekov inquired.
"The last time I spoke with them they were all doing quite well. I'm actually going to head down to see them for New Year's," the man answered honestly. He wasn't much good at small talk, but he'd try for Pavel's sake.
If only to make the boy look a little less green around the edges.
"Zat ees good," Mr. Chekov said. "Family ees very important."
"I agree," Sulu smiled. "Especially around the holidays. I don't get to see my family that much, so I'm hoping that time doesn't fly."
"Da, family ees wery important," Chekov said quietly, just so his grandfather would stop staring at him.
Dinner continued on in silence for a few minutes. Suddenly, Mrs. Chekov asked, "Do you have a girlfriend, Mr. Sulu?"
Chekov almost spit out his milk.
"Mama! You hawe no right to ask zat! Zat ees a wery personal question!"
Mrs. Chekov didn't seem to mind her son at all. Instead, her strong gaze was pinned on Sulu, who was finding it hard to swallow his mouthful of food.
When he had finally succeeded, he met her yes and answered honestly that no, at present he didn't have a girlfriend.
Once again, conversation reached a small lull, with the cousins talking amongst themselves and the adults all chattering.
Then, "Vhat about a boyfriend? Do you have a boyfriend, Mr. Sulu?"
This time Pavel nearly choked on his meat dumpling.
"Mama! Nyet! Do not ask zat!" The young Russian slammed his hands down on the table, face red. "Zat ees too personal, Mama. You hawe only just met him."
"Pavel…" his father cautioned, and Chekov turned slightly redder.
"…Please forgiwe my outburst," he muttered, and directed his gaze sheepishly at his plate.
Now, Sulu had no idea what to do. It really wouldn't have been a problem to answer the question. The answer was no, just the same. After all, it wasn't as if they'd asked him if he wanted a boyfriend.
He'd rather not answer that, at present.
After dinner, Chekov led his guest up to a room whose walls were papered with posters of Starfleet ships. Sulu looked around at them all with a smile.
"Is this…your room?" he asked the flushed Russian with a teasing grin.
"…Da. Ees mine. I vas wery interested een Starfleet. I still am."
"Well, that's good. Glad to know actually being in it hasn't eroded any of the splendor." Sulu placed his bag down where Chekov directed and sat down on the cot. "Is it nice to be home?"
"Oh yes. Wery nice. I don't beliewe I knew how much I missed eet until now. Eet ees wery, wery nice to be home."
A comfortable silence settled over them as they listened to the bustle of people moving around downstairs, accompanied by the dim hum of conversation.
After a few moments, Sulu noticed that Chekov had been sending him quick, shy glances. He always managed to turn away and pretend nothing had happened before Sulu could call him out on it, though.
Finally the young Asian met Chekov's eyes and smiled. "Something you wanted to ask me, Pavel?"
The Russian man flushed scarlet and rapidly shook his head. "Nyet! Ees nothing! Sorry to bother you!"
Soon after that, he went to sleep, leaving Sulu's mind full of questions.
The weeks leading up to Christmas passed in a blur of awkward questions and flustered Russian navigators. It seemed that no matter what question Chekov's parents asked, Pavel always found reasons that Sulu shouldn't have to answer it.
Especially ones about his love life.
Eventually, Sulu drew Chekov aside to stop the spluttering at the current line of questioning ("So, are you looking for girlfriend?"), and to make something very clear.
"…Da, Hikaru? Vhat ees eet?" The Russian fiddled with the hem of his shirt and didn't look Sulu in the eye.
"You know, I'm not going to break if I answer a few questions. You don't need to freak out. It's fine. And besides," he said catching Chekov's chin so he would look at him, "it's not like these aren't the same questions I'll be getting from my family, so just think of this as practice."
"Da, okay," the young Russian agreed, subconsciously leaning his face into Sulu's hand.
They stood like that for a few moments before they both seemed to come back to their senses. Chekov coughed and stepped back, flushed. Sulu's face colored as well, and he dropped his hand.
"Yeah. So…we okay?" he asked, not sure why he did.
"Da. Everyzhing ees cool."
And they walked back into the living room a calculated distance apart, both under the impression that the other wasn't feeling exactly the same way they were.
As the sun set on Christmas Eve, the family gathered together in the living room to light the candles in the windows and put last minute presents under the tree.
"Ah!" Pavel said with a smile as he peered out the window. "Ze first star ees out. Eet ees time for dinner."
It took a few minutes of bustling, passing dishes out from the kitchen and shooing children out of the way before dinner could commence. Finally, everyone sat down to eat borsch and tomato salad, followed by the main dish of sauerkraut, finishing with a communal bowl of sochivo passed around the table. It was just as delicious as Chekov had promised it would be.
When the dishes had been cleared and cleaned, various seats were taken to listen to Chekov's grandmother (who had arrived earlier that week) tell the story of Babushka, and old woman who had gone to see the baby Jesus, only to have just missed him. The children sipped at their vzvar distractedly while Sulu took the time to enjoy his. The honeyed drink was very pleasant, and it made him feel very warm.
As he story went on, Sulu's attention shifted from Beba to Chekov, who was sitting next to him on the couch. His friend's eyes had lit up and were shining almost brighter than the Christmas tree. He smiled, glad to see him so happy.
When the story was over, the children were shooed off to bed and Chekov's grandmother (affectionately called Beba) directed her attention to her grandson's guest.
"So," she began, either not noticing or not caring the Chekov tensed the minute he sensed a Sulu-oriented question, "do you have any traditions een your family around zis time of year?"
Sulu could almost see the relief rolling off of his friend and tried not to laugh.
"Not especially," he replied, constraining his mirth to a smile. "My family doesn't celebrate Christmas. Instead, our big winter holiday is New Year's, which everyone goes full-out for."
"Ahh…" she replied, returning his smile and handing him a mug of hot chocolate.
"In fact," Sulu went on, "Christmas Eve in Japan is mostly a day for couples. It's rather romantic. It's kind of like Valentine's Day."
At that, Beba raised her eyebrow and seemed to notice her grandson's growing distress. She had to fight back a chuckle as she watched his face turning steadily redder. Sulu followed her gaze and watched in confusion as Chekov stood up abruptly and went into the kitchen without a word.
"I vonder vhat ees up vith him," Beba said with a knowing smile.
"I'll go and see, if that's all right," Sulu offered, his concern for his friend growing in his chest. Pavel had been acting so oddly these past few days…Sulu hoped he wasn't being too obvious about his intentions. He kept forgetting that Pavel was only eighteen and that all of his blushing and stuttering might really just be him trying not to let his family scare off a friend. Lord knew Sulu had felt much the same the first time he had brought his friends from the academy home.
Andrei nodded, and Sulu rose to go talk to his friend. He found Pavel working quietly with Sasha, cutting fruit for the pies that would be dessert tomorrow afternoon. He stood awkwardly in the doorway, wondering if now was really the best time to talk to him.
Sasha noticed him lurking first.
"Oh, Mr. Sulu. Did you need somezhing?"
Sulu wished she hadn't said anything as he saw Chekov's shoulders tense.
"I—no. Nothing. I just wanted to see if Pavel was all right." The understanding that flashed in Sasha's eyes kind of unnerved Sulu. Well, she knew. And Beba too, if her smile had been any indication. At least no one seemed to hate him yet. They just thought it was hilarious.
"Vould you like to talk to him alone?" she asked, ignoring the little squeek of protest from Chekov.
"…No. No, that's all right. I don't want to make him any more uncomfortable than I already have. Please, excuse me for interrupting you." He gave both of them a short bow and left the kitchen. He returned to the living room and addressed Andrei.
"If it is no insult or inconvenience to you, I believe I will retire to bed."
"No, of course not. Eef you are tired, zen, please, do not let us keep you." He nodded to Sulu, and Sulu bowed back, returning the smiles of everyone in the room.
Then he turned and went upstairs.
After a few moments, Chekov peeked his head out of the kitchen.
"I am ruining everyzhing, da?" he asked sadly. "He ees not having a good wacation. Vas not fun."
"Oh, Pavel, you just need to talk to him," Beba said.
"Da," said Deda. "Zhings vill vork out. You vill see. Eet ees simply a matter of communication."
Pavel sighed disconsolately. "If I vere him, I vould not vant to talk to me."
"He ees probably zinking ze same exact zhing," Pavel's mother countered. "Now go. Before he goes to sleep."
Chekov sighed, but complied, following his friend up the stairs.
The door was shut when Chekov reached it, and that was almost enough to make the young Russian decide that all of this was just a horrible mistake and that he should go back down to his family. But he was not a coward.
He lifted a hand and knocked twice.
"Hikaru? Ees Pavel. I am sorry for disturbing you, but I vas vondering eef ve could talk."
The silence that greeted him was almost too much.
But after a minute, there was a reply of, "Yeah, just one second, okay?" and then Pavel heard the sound of Sulu's bag's zipper opening and closing.
'He was undressing,' Chekov thought, and cursed the flush that rose to his cheeks at the realization. And then he cursed himself for being eighteen and hormonal, because he had not wanted to spend his entire vacation hiding from the man he'd invited to come to Russia with him.
"Yeah, sorry about that. This is your room, after all," Sulu said, and opened the door a moment later. He was wearing only a pair of sweatpants, but there was a light gray t-shirt in his hand.
For a moment, all Pavel could do was stare.
"Pavel? Are you all right?" Sulu asked, worried. Maybe his friend was sick. He hoped not, because he didn't want Pavel to be ill for the holidays. And, maybe selfishly, he didn't want Pavel to be sick because it wouldn't be proper for Sulu to cuddle him as things were now. It was hardly likely that
"Oh! Yes!" said the Russian, suddenly struck out of his daze. "I hawe come to apologize for making your wacation horrible."
The way glanced down at his feet tore a little at Sulu's heart.
"Pavel, listen. Hey, look at me. You haven't made my vacation horrible. I thought I was making you uncomfortable."
"You are!" said Pavel, and then clapped a hand over his mouth. Sulu's eyes widened, and then, to Pavel's horror, saddened a little.
"I'm sorry, then," Sulu said. "If you want, I'll leave tomorrow morning. It won't take long to pack, and I—"
"No!" Chekov said. "No, I am sorry. I did not mean for eet to come out like zat. Eet ees not your fault zat I'm uncomfortable. Really. Eet's me. Really, eet ees me."
Now Sulu just looked confused.
"I don't understand, Pavel," he sighed. "What's making you uncomfortable, then? I'll stop whatever it is that I'm—"
Chekov kissed him.
Sulu stepped back quickly, blinking confusedly. He studied his friend's face for something—anything. Chekov's eyes were closed, but not out of happiness. The small lines around the corners told Sulu all he needed to know.
Pavel was scared.
"I—" Sulu began, helplessly, not knowing what to say. But Chekov shook his head quickly.
"No, you do not need to say anyzhing, Hikaru. I'm wery sorry. Please, just forget eet."
The young Russian moved to go, muttering something about arranging another room for Sulu so things wouldn't be awkward as he attempted to flee back down the hallway, but Sulu lightly grabbed his arm.
It wouldn't be enough to hold him, if he really wanted to go, but Chekov stopped nonetheless.
"Pavel, please. Can we talk about this? Just for a little?" Sulu hoped he didn't sound as confused as he felt—because really, he wasn't sure if that much confusion could fit in only those few words. Slowly, Chekov turned to face him, not meeting his eyes.
"Vhat ees zhere to say, Hikaru? I am sorry I kissed you. Eet vill not happen again. I am promising."
Sulu's mouth opened and closed a few times before he gently let go of Chekov's wrist.
"I—what if I wanted it to?"
Chekov's head snapped up so fast his neck cracked.
"You—vait, vhat if you vant vhat?" Eyes wide, Chekov stared. And stared.
Sulu cleared his throat and rubbed at the back of his neck anxiously. "Well, I mean…I've only been trying to flirt with you for the last few weeks. I thought that was what was putting you off. I was just about ready to give it up as a bad job and apologize. So it would be okay with me if it happened again."
"Eef…" Chekov swallowed. "Eef I…"
"Yes," Suu chuckled
Chekov did not relax. However, he stopped looking so much like he was going to peg it down the hallway and run screaming out into the night. Sulu noted it as a marked improvement.
"You…you do not vant to punch me? I vas expecting—"
"No, I'm not going to punch you, Pavel." Sulu smiled at him, trying to get him to smile back, because that idea was ridiculous.
Eventually, Chekov's face lifted into a bright smile.
"Does zis—does zis mean zat we are…vell, you know…" The Russian shuffled his feet and ducked his head, looking hopefully up at Sulu.
Sulu chuckled. "You know, I don't think we've said a complete sentence to each other all night." Then, he gently took a hold of Chekov's arm and pulled him close, dropping a kiss onto his forehead.
"Merry Christmas, Pavel."
Chekov blushed. "I…yes. Ees a wery merry Christmas."
"Do you have to go back downstairs? I don't want to keep you from your family," Sulu said, fondly running his hand through Pavel's hair.
"Nyet, Sasha ken finish the sochivo vithout me. I zhink I vill go to bed, so ze morning vill come faster. After all, eet ees bad to be avake vhen Ded Moroz and Snegurochka come—ve vill not get any presents."
"Is that so?" Sulu laughed, but he let Chekov pull him back into the bedroom.
"Da, Beba says. So ve must go to bed now, just to be safe."
"If you say so. But, uh, won't your family get suspicious?"
"Of vhat?" Chekov asked, stopping to peer at Sulu in confusion. "Ze children hawe already gone to bed, so zey vill not be surprised zat we are sleeping, too. Vhen you hawe so many small children een ze house, Christmas morning comes wery early. Vhy vhould zhey be…" His eyes widened and he blushed furiously. "I—wait, nyet, I didn't mean—zey vouldn't zhink ve vere—"
"Calm down Pavel! I was just screwing with you. No of course there's nothing suspicious about going to bed a little bit early on Christmas Eve. But you might want to go down and say goodnight to your family. Just in case."
"I…da, yes, I mean, I vill go do zat. See you again in a minute."
Sulu chuckled quietly to himself as the young Russian bounced down the stairs to bid his family goodnight. From what he could hear—from the tones of their voices, since he didn't understand the words—it seemed like his family was giving him a hard time, just like Sulu had expected them to. A few minutes later, a red-faced Chekov appeared at the top of the stairs and walked past Suu with a mumbled, "Yes, I vill be going to bed now and I vill newer, newer be getting back out."
"That bad, huh?" Sulu asked, settling down onto his cot as Chekov fell face-first onto his bed.
"You hawe no idea," came the muffled reply. "But I kennot feel too bad about myself tonight, because you vill be facing ze same in ze morning."
Sulu snorted and looked over to find Chekov grinning at him. "You little shit," he said, and chucked his pillow at his boyfriend. Chekov ducked under it, laughing.
"I ken enjoy zhese zhings now because you are my boyfriend and eet ees zheir job to say embarrassing zhings to you. Most of zem vill probably be about me and vhat I vas like as little baby, but I do not mind. Vhen ve get to your house for New Year's I vill make your parents tell me all about you vhen you vere little. I am sure zhere are many zhings to tell."
"My mother will love that, I'm sure," Sulu said with a sigh. "Anyway, I'll worry about that when we get to it. Goodnight, Pavel."
"Goodnight, Hikaru. I vill see you een ze morning."
If Sulu had not been so fond of Chekov he would have killed him. Four a.m. was not a reasonable time to be getting up for Christmas, no matter how many small children there were in the house.
"S Rozhdestvom, Hikaru! Wake up! Eet's time for presents!"
Sulu bit back a curse and swiped ineffectually at his boyfriend, trying to get him to stop shaking him. "Pavel, sshhhh, Pavel go back to sleep. It's too early for this."
"Ees newer too early for Christmas, Hikaru. Come now, everyone ees vaiting for us."
The guilt that had Sulu up and dressed five minutes later turned to weary frustration when he got downstairs, only to be greeted by Sasha's, "Oh, Pavel, no, we told you to let him sleep for at least another hour! Ze children have not even eaten yet."
"Vell now he ken eat breakfast, too," Pavel said. "And zen presents."
"You're as bad as a kid yourself," Sulu sighed, but it was hard to stay mad when Chekov was grinning like that. "Okay, yeah, breakfast and then presents."
Chekov kissed his cheek and led the way into the kitchen, ignoring Sasha's smile. Sulu greeted the rest of the family sleepily and tried to ignore all of their teasing as well as Chekov did, but found himself blushing sometimes despite his best efforts.
When everyone had finished eating, the mass migration to the living room began. The children rushed in first exclaiming at the piles of brightly wrapped gifts, closely followed by Chekov, dragging Sulu along behind him. Chekov pushed him down in front of a pile of three or four presents, and Sulu had already started shaking his head before Chekov had even turned away.
"I can't accept these," he said.
"Vell, tough," Chekov declared, plopping down next to Sulu, already rearranging his own pile of presents. "Zey are for you, so you must take zem. No discussions allowed."
"None," Chekov said definitively. "Now, you are ze guest, you vill open first."
Sulu looked up to find everyone watching him expectantly. He cleared his throat. "I, um, okay. Thanks." He picked up the present closest to him. "This one's from Sasha." Carefully unsticking the tape from the side, he peeled the bright red wrapping paper back, grinning when he saw what it revealed. "A cookbook! Thank you so much. I can't wait to make some of these for my parents, they're going to love them."
"You're velcome," Sasha said with a smile. "Okay, Pavel, now you."
Chekov grinned and reached down to grab a present from his pile.
They continued on in a circle, letting the little kids who had more presents to open more than one at a time. By the time he was down to his last present, Sulu had added a sweater from Beba and Deda and a book on Russian agriculture from Andrei and Lucresa to his collection. All that was left was Pavel's present to him. He picked it up with a happy smile and opened it.
"Oh, Pavel, thank you."
The young Russian shrugged even as he blushed. "You vere telling me earlier how much you needed new plants, so I got you some seeds. From Russia!"
Sulu laughed. "They're wonderful, Pavel. Thank you, really."
"Vas nozhing," the teen said, but Sulu kissed him anyway. "Now I vill open yours." Chekov tore the paper off the small package and blinked in confusion. "You…got me cabbage seeds?"
"Yeah." Sulu half-shrugged. "I'll grow it for you. I remember you always say that the synthesized stuff at spaceports makes your pirozhki taste weird, and I know that's your favorite food from home, so…"
"Hikaru, thank you so much. Zis means wery much to me," Pavel said, blinking a few times quickly. "Ve vill hawe ze best pirozhki now. Spasibo." He leaned in and kissed Sulu enthusiastically until his father cleared his throat. Pavel retreated back to his side of the couch, hiding his face behind his hands.
Finally, all of the presents had been opened and among the mess of colored paper scraps and ribbon pieces the children played with their new toys. The adults had gone into the kitchen to prepare the rest of the day's meals, waving off Sulu's offer to help. So instead, he settled back against the couch cushions and snuggled Chekov close to his side, sipping contentedly from the mug of coffee Sasha had handed him.
"Vhen vould you like to leawe for your parents' house?" Pavel asked him as he opened the book of Russian history his father had given him.
"We can take a few days," Sulu assured him. "They aren't expecting me until the thirtieth."
"Good, I vould not vant to leawe just yet."
They settled into silence again as Sulu watched the kids play, Chekov's nose buried in his book. A few minutes later, Chekov sighed and looked up again.
"Your parents…vill they…vill they like me?"
Sulu couldn't help it, he started to laugh.
"Vhat?" the young Russian demanded. "Hikaru, vhat ees so funny?"
"Oh, Pavel," Sulu said, turning his head to kiss the top of Chekov's. "They are going to eat you alive."
Remind me never to try to type Russian accents again. I have undoubtedly messed up somewhere along the way and I apologize. That is all.