Death and All His Friends
Those who are dead are not dead
They're just living in my head
And since I fell for that spell
I am living there as well
Time is so short and I'm sure
there must be something more: 42:Coldplay
Pavel Chekov groaned as he entered his quarters, the lights flicking on with a smooth precision and he sighed with relief as the door closed behind him, blocking him off from the rest of the world. Another day on the Enterprise over, and still he hadn't said a thing to Sulu, the words he needed to say festering on his tongue. He'd sat next to Sulu watching the helmsman, talking with him, laughing with him but still the words had been there, frozen and stagnant like poison, growing and growing until Chekov knew that no matter how much he wanted to say it, he wouldn't. Because he couldn't. Chekov couldn't tell Sulu, because he knew that Sulu would hate him. The words he wanted to say so badly would change things even if Sulu didn't hate him for it. He would lose his friendship with the one man he respected the most, and that was one price he wasn't willing to pay. If his words would make Sulu unhappy, would change things between them or make him lose his only friend, then Chekov would keep quiet. Because he had no other choice.
But the words were pent up inside his very being and someway or another, he needed to let them out. He needed to explain the turmoil he was feeling inside of him. The Russian paused, before making his way over to a chest of drawers in the corner of his room. He opened the top draw to find assorted bits and pieces from his childhood – his old life before the enterprise. He'd taken everything he could with him after his father had kicked him out, and had brought it aboard his new home for the next five years. He ran his fingers gently over the red flaking paint on his wooden yo-yo, the string worn out with years of use and close to the point of breaking. A picture of his mother caught his eye- the photograph encased in a silver gilt frame. It was the only photo he had of the women who had died when he was eight. She was smiling out of the picture; her wide blue eyes that were so like his own giving him courage.
He hunted around further in the draw, pushing running medals and assorted pens to one side, before he found what he was looked for. The old fashioned writing paper may have been hard to come by in this century, but Chekov had still always liked the crinkled feeling of paper behind his fingertips. He'd never really used any up, intent on keeping it for an important occasion. This seemed a good a time as any.
He took the paper over to his desk, along with one of the pens in the drawer, setting it down and seating himself in front of it. He stared at the sheet for a few moments, pen clutched in his hands with nothing to write, trying to sort all his thoughts and feelings out into a semblance of order. He wondered where to begin, before placing the pen at the top of the paper, writing in slow neat letters;
My Dear Hikaru…
Sulu looked around Chekov's quarters- former quarters he had to remind himself bitterly- and couldn't help feeling angry at the injustice of it all. Chekov had barely been dead a week and already they had been ordered to pack his stuff into boxes, clearing the room for his replacement. Sulu hadn't even remembered his name in a small act of defiance, but every day from now on he would have to look at this man, knowing that it shouldn't be him working at the console next to him, it should be Chekov. He would have to smile at the man in a friendly way even though he would be sitting in Chekov's seat, saying Chekov's words but in the wrong way, sleeping in the bed that Sulu was looking at now and acting like Pavel Chekov had never existed. Because to this man, this new man probably straight from the academy, governed by rules and with a unsullied idea of what space is like, Chekov wouldn't have existed, because he had never met him. And Sulu will have to be reminded, every single day of his failure to save his best friends life.
Sulu's eyes pricked uncomfortably, but he knew he wouldn't cry. He hadn't cried yet, enduring Chekov's death and subsequent funeral with a stony empty silence, as though there wasn't anything inside him. Everything else died when Chekov did.
The anger was back again, just thinking about Chekov, thinking about how Jim rang up Chekov's family to tell them about the Russian, only have realised a few moments later that Pavel Chekov didn't have anybody, only a feckless father who didn't give a toss about his son. It came down to Sulu to speak at the funeral, because he knew him best. Uhura cried quietly and Bones just sat there hating himself because he couldn't stop the inevitable to save one young man from dieing. Sulu choked out words like 'intelligent', 'funny' and 'a great friend', but none of these words summed up half of what Chekov was. Chekov had been the best friend Sulu could have asked for, the person who made him laugh when he wanted to cry, the person who sat with him all night when he was sad or scared, the person who meant to world to him. Chekov had been the smartest kid he had known, but he wasn't open about it and preferred to keep it quiet behind the other parts of him; his ability to be funny even when he didn't mean to, his accent that singled him out but which always brought a smile to Sulu's face, because it had been the best sound in the world. The kid had been so full of life, so happy and curious, and he shouldn't have been allowed to die as he had, his body tortured and battered simply because he had been seen as the enemy, crying in pain as he bleed to death a million miles from home and by the time Sulu had found him, it was already too late for miracles. Chekov had died in Sulu's arms, a result of someone else's war, someone else's battle, and no one had been able to stop it. Sulu hadn't been able to stop it. Chekov was nineteen years old and lying dead in the arms of his best friend.
Sulu breathed out, his eyes flicking around the room at all of the stuff that had once been Chekov's but what now belonged to no one. It felt wrong being here, like invading someone's privacy, but there was no one left to complain. Sulu ran his hands over the chest of drawers he was standing next to, opening the top draw and looking at what lay inside. He smiled as he caught sight of an old yo-yo, running his fingers over the flaking red paint. Chekov's medal for winning the academy marathon was already gathering a faint layer of dust, but Sulu wiped it off with his thumb as he picked the heavy gold circle up in his palm, wrapping the ribbon adorned with Starfleet's symbol around his fingers, before placing it gently in a box by his feet, filled with Chekov's clothes, various padds and books on astrophysics and tactical analysis. A copy of The Three Musketeers had lain proudly on Chekov's bedside table, a Christmas present from Sulu, but that now too was in the box.
Sulu picked up a photograph frame, looking at the women it displayed. It could only be Chekov's mother, her eyes the same colour as Pavel's and her hair the same sort of texture, tight curls trailing down to her shoulders. She seemed like the sort of women Sulu would have gotten on with, her eyes alight with a mischievous smile he often saw in Chekov's. The Russian had never mentioned his mother, preferring to stay off the subject and it was only recently that Sulu had found out the full story while adjusting Chekov's file. Chekov's mother had died in a house fire when the Russian had been eight, leaving him alone with a father that couldn't stand the sight of him. It was no wonder to Sulu that Chekov had applied to the academy at fourteen.
Sulu put the frame into the box along with the medal, before something caught his eye. It was a piece of old fashioned paper, folded up and hidden at the back of the drawer. Sulu would have thought little of it, except that it seemed to be addressed to him, the word 'Hikaru' the only word visible on the letter. Sulu brought it out, unfolding it in his hand, before sitting down on the bed and reading it, the date at the top reading two years previously, his hand shaking slightly as he recognised Chekov's neat italic handwriting.
My Dear Hikaru, he read.
I don't know whether you'll ever read this letter or in what circumstances it will be in if you do. There are so many things I've wanted to tell you, but it has always been so hard. I'm a coward, I guess, in not telling you, in writing my message down on a piece of paper you may never see. That's life I suppose. There's always going to be things that need to be said but aren't. I don't know really who I'm writing this to, you to tell you of my feelings or me, to prove that I'm not a complete coward, that I'm not kidding myself with this.
The thing is, Hikaru, that I love you. There. I've finally said what I've been keeping inside for so long. I love you Hikaru Sulu. I possibly always have, right since we first met on the shuttle that was taking us to the enterprise. Do you remember? I had never seen the stars so close before and you murmured next to me 'beautiful, aren't they?' They were so bright, but they soon faded into the background as I started talking to you. You weren't like anyone else, Hikaru. You never talked down to me, never made me feel like a child. I may have seemed too young to serve aboard a starship, but you never made it seem that way. I thought that it was just a crush at first, but that longer I've been around you, getting to know and to care for you, I realise that it isn't just a crush. It never was and never will be. I never told you about my feelings, and I regret it sometimes, when I see you smile at the female yeoman, or go on dates and I have to encourage you even when I feel like crying. . Maybe as you're reading this I have told you, and I hope that if this is true the outcome wasn't bad. I was always scared that you'd hate me if I told you, that it'd ruin our friendship forever. You're my best friend Hikaru, the only person who really understood me, and I didn't want to lose that.
I've never felt love like this before. You make me want to smile every time I see you, and my heart beats in my chest like it's barely contained. My heart doesn't belong to me anymore Hikaru, it belongs to you. I've wanted to tell you that for so long, and maybe one day I will. Because I'll still mean it. I'll always mean it. I'll always love you Hikaru Sulu, whatever happens and I live in the hope that one day, you'll feel the same way. Until then I'll still be here for you.
With all my love, forever
Sulu sat for a moment, staring into space, the ramifications of what the letter said slowly filtering into his brain. Chekov had loved him. Chekov had loved him, and he hadn't said anything, not a word, for two years because he thought Sulu would hate him for it. Sulu wouldn't have hated him, couldn't have hated him, not Chekov, not for a reason such as that. Sulu had always convinced himself that he was imagining that Chekov could possibly like him in that way, because that was what Sulu had wanted so badly. He'd wanted Chekov to love him back, he'd wanted Chekov to know how strongly he felt about him. And now Chekov was dead, Sulu would never be able to tell him . At least now he knew Chekov had felt that way, knew that if they'd maybe had more time, they could have admitted it to one another.
Part of his mind hoped that Chekov had realised that he'd loved him before he'd died, but the despair and pain Sulu had been holding back suddenly broke the barriers he'd put up around himself. He felt hot tears begin to flow down his cheeks, and he made no move to wipe them away as reality moved to the back of his mind until all that was left was the memories of a man he'd loved so so much.
Half an hour later, Uhura found him sobbing inconsolably on a dead mans' bed, all the tears he'd been holding back finally breaking free. She could do nothing but hold him as he cried into her shoulder, no longer officers or colleagues, but just two friends, as Sulu finally mourned for the man he had loved, and the life he could have had.
OK, that's…more angsty then I wanted . I'm not quite happy with the soberness of the ending, so I might write a sequel that makes it a little happier.