Author Note: This has been in the pipeline for ages, but I've finally managed to write this up around exam revision and general distractions. I know I've already sort-of written something talking about how Chekov and Sulu first met, but I wanted to explore other ways it could have happened and in a lot more detail. Some little moments in this may come be similar to some moments in my other stories and I'm sorry for this; it hasn't been intentional, ideas have just sort of leaked elsewhere.
Hope everyone likes it.
If you do not like slash- even the subtle kind, please do not read. I'm only going to say this once. :-)
Summary: Chekov and Sulu were always destined to end up together, but sometimes these things take a bit longer then love at first sight.- Pre-slash-
Or five moments that brought Sulu and Chekov together.I
The shuttle taking the newly enrolled cadets is filled with talking and laughter, old friends who hadn't seen each other since primary school catch up on the years they've missed, and new friendships are being struck up here and there, some lasting, some not. A group of boys- all about twenty something with styled hair and cheeky grins- eye up the group of girls on the opposite side of the shuttle, who have all grouped together on boarding . Some of the cockier lads- with their friends egging them on with hoots and jokes- try and initiate conversions with some of the more attractive girls with age-old chat up lines that just make the girls laugh in higher pitched voices, some genuinely interested but most just mocking.
Hikaru Sulu sits on a seat to the side, watching all this going on. He doesn't sit grouped with the rest of the lads- but isn't so far away to look a bit of a loner, and therefore open to comments from some of the loudmouth boys near the front- because this is all new to him, the nervous laughs and the noise to disguise the anticipation, and truth be told he's a bit nervous. Nervous of all the new people he's going to be meeting, the new surroundings of the academy, new rooms, new teachers, new everything. He, Hikaru Sulu, middle child of three siblings from San Francisco, is finally going to the Starfleet Academy, to train to be a pilot of a starship, something that he has been wanting to do for the majority of his life. And that's enough to make anyone a tiny bit nervous.
He looks around at the other passengers; just letting his eyes gaze round and trying to commit at least some faces to memory. The Andoran man sitting next to him looks a bit sick, eyes closed and his skin looking a bit pale, and the grey-haired late-comer on the other side of him doesn't look any better. There is a pretty dark-skinned women sitting near him to the left, shiny black hair tied up in a ponytail and an irritated glare breaking up her smooth features; a glare which seems to be directed at a loud brash blonde-haired guy sitting opposite who seems to be trying to get her attention. An older man sitting next to the blonde looks as nervous as Sulu feels; his hands clamping tightly to the arm rests while he swears under his breath and growls at the blonde to keep his libido on a leash for five minutes, to which the blonde grins.
Near the end of the row is a younger lad then the rest of them, blonde curls, big cerulean eyes. He, like Sulu and some other quiet passengers, isn't speaking, and looks nervous , Sulu taking in tired eyes and a face pale from worrying. Sulu considers for a moment going over to the kid and initiating a conversion, but then he remembers he's strapped in until they get to their destination and he quickly drops the idea. He sighs, closing his eyes and leaning back, listening to the faint hum of the shuttle as it makes its way toward his future. Slowly, the sound cuts out the loud chatter of unfamiliar voices and after a while Sulu finds himself drifting off to sleep with the image of the young man in his mind.II
Sulu swears violently in Japanese as he sprints down the staircase, taking three stairs at a time in his rush. He doesn't actually speak Japanese, but he knows some of the culture through his family, and Sulu's grandfather, who used to sit in a high-backed chair and tell fairy-stories to an enraptured grandson, had accidentally taught him some swearwords after he had tripped over Sulu's plane models that had littered the floor that day. When Sulu had asked about the words, the old man had winked and warned with a slow grin in his eyes that he better not use them in front of his mother.
Sulu nearly trips on the edge of one of the stairs and swears again. He's been here three weeks at the academy, getting his head round the timetable and workload, but he still hasn't managed to figure out where all the rooms are. Which is why he is currently running around the west wing of the academy, searching for the hall which his lecture on astrophysics is currently being held in, a lecture that he is now- Sulu checks his watch- fifteen minutes late for.
He catches sight of the required room- at least he hopes it is-and pushes the door open. Heads turn to look at him as he watches quickly in, trying not to meet anyone's eye as he interrupts the lecture and well aware that he has gone a tomato-red colour in his embarrassment. His professor- a Dr. James Sherman- gives him a disapproving glare before continuing with the sentence he was halfway through. Sulu lets out a sigh of relief as he slips into the first available seat, the staring heads gradually losing interest and tuning back what Dr. Sherman is saying.
Placing his books on the desk in front of him, Sulu attempts to do the same, but he's obviously missed something vital because whatever the doctor is currently explaining all sounds like Klingon to Sulu. A digital screen to the front of the room displays a line graph, alien to Sulus eyes, with a positive sloping correlation of results. Formulas litter themselves in lines underneath the graph, filled with lots of random symbols like pi and omega that just serve to confuse Sulu even more.
"Page sixty-seven" an accented voice says to his left and Sulu looks round to see a young blonde kid pointing at Sulu's textbook "Ze doctor is discussing ze finer aspects of Correls first rule of Space Travel"
A light bulb metaphorically clicks over Sulu's head and he vaguely remembers a mention of Correls Law when he had first flicked through his topic books. He quickly flicks to the page the kid suggested, and amidst columns of writing finds it illustrated with a small graph identical to the larger version on the screen.
"Thanks" Sulu whispers at the kid who smiles lightly. It's nice to know that at least some people are helpful around here, and Sulu is about to introduce himself when a loud abrupt cough is directed at him and the kid by an irate-looking Sherman, who raises his eyebrows at them before continuing. The kid turns away, a smirk lighting in his eyes that Sulu returns. He wonders about the kids accent, Slavic, probably more the Russian end of the spectrum, but he has more important things to consider as he begins to follow the thread of the lecture, tuning in just in time to hear the doctor begin to describe the differences between Correls First Law and the recent theory of trans-warp drive.III
"Uhura!" Sulu shouts across the academy courtyard, earning a few quick looks from fellow cadets who soon turn away "Uhura!"
His second shout grabs her attention, and the dark skinned women turns around and smiles upon recognising him. She holds up one slender finger to him, signalling for him to wait as she finishes her conversation. She's talking to a curly blonde haired cadet, who from this distance, looks like the kid who helped Sulu in astrophysics. As Sulu walks closer, taking his time to allow Uhura to finish up, he takes the opportunity to properly take in the kids' appearance. He's obviously younger then the rest of them, his face still retaining some remnants of childhood, but with intelligent blue eyes that give Sulu some clue about how the kid managed to get into the academy at such a young age in the first place. It's not unheard of for brighter kids to enter the academy earlier then the minimum age of eighteen, but it's uncommon and Sulu doesn't think he's ever seen anyone this young before entered. Sulu hasn't had another lecture with him yet, but he's intrigued now as to how the kid got in so young.
The kid seems to be finishing up his conversation as Sulu walks across the courtyard towards the two. A small smile is on his face, filled with childish innocence and naivety and Sulu's curiosity grows a bit more.
"See you later, Uhura" he hears a Russian accent say and Uhura smiles back, waving him away with her manicured hand.
"Get going Pav or you're gonna miss your class. Another chance to show off that superior intellect of yours"
It's clear from Uhura's tone that she's joking with him, and the blonde that she referred to as 'Pav' rolls his eyes, sticking his tongue out in an immature fashion as he waves, walking off with padds held in his hand.
"Sorry to keep you" Uhura apologises as Sulu comes up to greet her, watching the blonde disappear into the throngs of students "you off for the rest of the day?"
"Yeh, I'm free all afternoon" Sulu replies', smiling at his friend, then out of curiosity asks "who was that guy you were taking to?"
"That's Pavel Chekov" Uhura replies, before a grin begins to form on her face and her expression turns sly, joking "why, you interested?"
"What… No!" Sulu shakes his head, startled by the question, and Uhura laughs in a musical giggle "I was just wondering. I've seen him in my lectures"
"Whatever, D'Artagnan" Uhura teases; using the nickname she made up for him after she found about his love of fencing and adventure books. They're good friends and so Sulu knows not to take any of her comments seriously, especially when she jokes about his (lack of) a love life. He knows – not in a vain way- that he's handsome enough to pull any girl with the right words, but he hasn't really seen anyone he really fancies getting to know a lot more personally. Uhura's smile gets even cheekier "I think he's single. And he's attractive "
"How old is he Uhura? Thirteen?" Sulu isn't stupid enough to get involved with an underage minor, but now Uhura mentions it, the kid does have something about him, a look that's a bit too shy to be bold or extroverted, but an intelligence in his eye that wards away anyone who's looking for someone cute or just a quick fling. Not that people won't try- Sulu knows for a fact that some of the guys round here will try it on with absolutely anyone.
"Fourteen" Uhura shrugs and Sulu's impressed at the kid's age of entry. No kid that young has ever been accepted before. "That's only two years if you're prepared to wait"
"Uhura!" Sulu groans, hitting her lightly on the shoulder. Uhura laughs and smiles back
"All right, I'll stop. C'mon then, let's go."
"Where?" Sulu fakes a scared wariness, which makes Uhura smile.
"I know a great Xenilian restaurant downtown where we can have some lunch"
"Trying to poison me, Nyota?" Sulu grins as Uhura shoves him playfully, but as the two of them walk away, he casts one glance back through the crowd searching for a last glimpse of the blonde curls of Pavel Chekov.
The Twin Moons was a small pub near the centre of San Francisco, frequented by mostly Starfleet cadets looking for a night away from studies and essays due next day that they haven't started. It was neither a very busy nor a particularly glamorous pub, situated down a wide alleyway near a kebab takeaway and a dress-hire shop, but it still had its fill of customers and night after night was filled with scatterings of raucous laughter and loud music. It's a pub where you can get away from the comfy norm, and it may not be gentle or quiet but it's the right place if you want to be alone, or be someone else.
It is this pub that Sulu finds himself at one frosty night late November, sitting down at a small table in the corner of the room, and quietly sipping his sythehol. Voices wash over him, the energy and emotion of the occupants –many of them seasoned regulars-filling the room completely like the atmosphere at a baseball game when someone gets batted out, but this doesn't serve to make Sulu feel any better. In fact, it only serves to make him feel worse, and now he wishes he had never thought of coming to this unfamiliar place with its loud chatter and blatant lack of inhibitions, because it only serves to remind him of what he's missing- his home, the baseball games he used to go to with his father.
Sulu's father was often working, but even in the busiest of weeks Sulu never remembers him missing a match. He and his dad would go out to the match early on a Saturday, Sulu sitting on his fathers shoulders chatting excitedly about the game and his week, a scarf on the colours of the San Francisco Giants wrapped twice around his small neck. They'd wait in anticipation for the game to begin, the two of them sitting side by side, popcorn and hot dogs covered liberally with ketchup in their hands. His father would always talk about the most amazing things, all the planets he'd been to with his work in xenobotany, all the exotic plants growing there, like the Kalamorvan Lily- which only opened once every hundred years in a poof of glittering pollen- or the native daisy on Davoras Alpha which changed colour when you touched it depending on which mood you were in. They didn't just talk about plants, often their conversations turned to baseball and Sulu can remember his father avidly describing a baseball tournament he had gone to with his own father, when the Giants scored the winning point against the Seattle Mariners in the last three seconds of the match. Sulu would sit for hours listening to his fathers steady calm voice, and whenever he was with his father-whether the Giants won or lost- he felt at homes, like nothing else in the world mattered except his father, propping his up on his shoulders so a smaller Sulu could see the game.
Its memories like this that makes Sulu miss home even more. He's been here for almost three months and he loves it here, but at the same time he misses hi extended family from his mother who told him Japanese fairy tales when he couldn't sleep, to his aunties and uncles and sort-of relations, like his father's friend who Sulu had dubbed Uncle Hiro, an ever-cheerful man who could whistle Onward Christian Soldiers and perform party tricks with only paper and string, all the way down to his youngest cousin Keiko, who Sulu supposes will be about seven now. Sulu misses them all, and that's why tonight he's sitting in a loud run-down pub drinking quietly and reminiscing on what he doesn't have.
His musings are cut short as he hears an angry growl from a table near the centre of the room; a voice hinted with an accent he'd know anywhere.
"Look, vill you just leave her alone!?"
Sulu whips round to the source of the noise to see Chekov, young face and eyes blazing. There's a girl with him, about Sulu's age, and judging by the reddish tint of her skin and the muted gold of her eyes, comes from one of the Martian colonies, like Zenon or Takna III. Sulu is shocked to feel a muffled pain in his chest that he attempts to shrug off as his brain puts two and two together to make a logical four. She's Chekov's girlfriend. That knowledge hurts more then it should but then Sulu takes in the full picture. Chekov's standing off against four other guys that Sulu vaguely recognises as cadets training for security detail. Sulu then notices the bruises on the girls' cheek, dark and blossoming and then suddenly everything clicks.
"Why should I, kid?" one of the lads smirks, and the arrogance on his face is enough to make Sulu instantly dislike him. "She's my girl last time I looked"
"I'm not yours, Yarak," the girl mutters, her voice trembling as she turns to look the bloke in the eye " I told you I wanted this to stop"
"Shut it, you mouthy whore. You want another slap?" Yarak hisses, moving away from the other three who seems to be contented to just stand there and look gormless, his hand moving to strike her. The girl flinches, but Chekov has faster reflexes the Sulu would have given him credit for, as his hand blocks Yarak, grabbing hold of his forearms and grasping it tightly.
"Don't speak to her like that," Chekov growls quietly, although the club is quiet enough to hear a pin drop. The music seems distant, and quite a few people are drinking down what they have before leaving, sensing a fight. Chekov's eyes are blazing blue fires and although Yarak seems a whole head higher then the Russian, the young man stands his ground, unmoving and stoic
"Oh, I'm sorry, Ruski" Yarak mocks, pulling his arm away with a sneer "I didn't realise she was greasing your pole too"
Chekov doesn't answer and Sulu is quite impressed with his self-control. He isn't part of this, yet even he is having trouble staying out of it, his hands itching to land a punch on Yarak's face. God knows the guy deserves it.
"Zis discussion is over" Chekov says, trying hard to keep his voice neutral although Sulu is close enough to hear the undercurrent of venom in his tone. There is a pause, in which neither party says anything, the three goons shuffling anxiously, and the girl casting her eyes nervously at the exit as Chekov and Yarak lock eyes, before Chekov turns away to look at the girl "Come on, Kora, let's go"
The girl 's eyes fix suddenly on Yarak and she seems rooted to the spot, torn between staying and leaving. Chekov passes her a small communicator, pressing it into her crimson-shaded hand with a gentle smile.
"Ring Melissa and get her to pick you up ok?"
Something in Chekovs voice breaks the spell Kora is under and she smiles gratefully, muttering a "thank you Pavel" in the sing song accent of Zenon, before asking 'but what about you?"
Chekov shakes his head "I'll be fine. I'm leaving now anyway. See you tomorrow in warp theory?"
Kora nods and with one last smile at Chekov steadily walks away, her step gaining assurance the further she got to the door.
"Don't you dare" Yarak hisses after her, and although Sulu can see her pause slightly, she keeps her head held high and her steps don't falter again until she's opened the door out into the alleyway and walked out.
"I believe she has" Chekov says quietly as the door closes behind her. He too, turns to leave but Yarak has obviously come here for a fight and he isn't going to leave without one. He growls before launching himself at Chekov grabbing him by his hair before twisting him round and landing a punch in his gut. Chekov doubles over with a gasp of pain, his eyes watering, but surprises both Yarak and a watching Sulu by quickly recovering, whipping round and hitting Yarak back hard, his fist solidly catching the guys nose, hard enough to make it bleed.
Sulu is aware of the remaining patrons leaving quickly out the back, the barman nowhere to be seen, and soon it's only him left watching what's going on. It's Chekov against four of them now, the goons rallied into some form of basic action, and although the kid is putting up a bloody good fight, they still outnumber him massively, in height and bulk as well as age. Two of them come up behind his back and grab his arms, twisting them round painfully while Yarak uses this opportunity to punch Chekov hard in the face.
A red mist has settled over Sulu's eyes and he know there is no way he's going to stand by and watch this. That's cowardice, four to one and he isn't going to watch as these bullies beat the crap out of a fourteen year old. It's time to even this fight a bit and that's all he thinks about as he gets up and taps Yarak on the shoulder. The guy whips round, surprised and angry, and Sulu doesn't hesitate in thumping him clear across the jaw.
It's about then that all hell brakes loose.
"Well I think it was very brave of you" Sulu comments as he dabs at a nasty gash on Chekov's forehead. They're both sitting in a nearby café, the servers at the till giving them dubiously looks as they take in the customers rough appearance.
"Vas not brave, vas stupid" Chekov mumbles, flinching as the antiseptic on the cotton pad touches the wound, but he doesn't pull away.
"I'm sure Kora appreciates it" Sulu smiles
"She is a friend" Chekov shrugs, and Sulu's heart inexplicably lightens at Chekov's comment " Anyvay…" the Russian flinches again before continuing " …anyone who treats a women like Yarak deserves vhats coming"
Sulu grins at the anger in Chekov's voice "Well, you showed him didn't you? Just be glad we chose the shadiest pub to pick a fight in. Any others and word would have gotten back to Starfleet."
"I'm sorry I got you into zis" Chekov grimaces as Sulu dabs at the cut a little too harshly.
" Not at all" Sulu reassures him, giving Chekov's forehead a critical look before putting the used cotton pad in his empty throwaway cup of coffee. "I wasn't just going to stand by was I? Anyway, we managed to give them a good thrashing before we got kicked out of the pub so I say that that was a night well spent."
"Zank you" The Russian smiles, and everything seems right with the world for a moment.
"My pleasure" Sulu pauses before holding out his hand "While we're dealing with the social niceties, I better introduce myself. Hikaru Sulu"
"Pavel Chekov" the teenager takes his hand and shakes it before winching from the bruises he's received to his ribs. Sulu doesn't feel that good, his body hurting in various places but he's had worse in impromptu fencing practice without protective gear.
"Pavel Chekov" Sulu grins, trying not to act like Christmas has come early. "In any case, that was some fighting I saw. You've got some pretty good reflexes"
"It vas more desperation actually" Chekov admits, going an attractive pink at Sulu's praise "I vasn't really zinking about what I vas doing"
"Whatever it was it worked" Sulu replies, before a thought comes into his head "I tell you what, if you want, I can teach you some basic fighting skills. With reflexes like that you could be a really good fencer, it's just your timing that's a bit off "
"Zhat vould be nice" Chekov grins and Sulu tries not to, think about how amazing Chekov looks when he smiles.
"In the meantime," Sulu continues, casting another look over Chekov's bruises and cuts and feeling his own clearly through the poor protection of his cadet uniform. "I've got a doctor friend you can see. He's as grumpy as hell, and he wont be happy that we're turning up at his doorstep this time of night, but he'll get you ribs sorted out fine"
Chekov nods and Sulu helps him up off the table he's been sitting on. The two leave the café, the servers watching them as they go, walking down the near-empty street back to the academy. It's after curfew, but it is a Sunday, the majority of cadets are still out, and Sulu knows one of the guards at the entrance, so they should get back in without much bother. Sulu hasn't yet realised that this is one of the most pivotal meetings in his life, although he knows that after tonight he isn't just going to forget about the Russian walking with him, but at the moment he's content just to talk with Chekov by his side and the stars shining brightly overhead in the dark black of the sky.V
"This is it" Sulu murmurs as he stands outside his new quarters, staring at the white panel entrance of the room that's going to be his home for the next five years. The Enterprise has set off again after returning to Earth following the Narada Incident, but it feels different to the first time Sulu was stationed on board. That time he was replacement for a fellow pilot, temporally holding the post in the rushed panic that was the journey to Vulcan. This time it's more real, he's cut all the holding strings and he's a fully initiated officer aboard a starship. He's finished up all his courses, completed all his exams and attended the graduation ceremony- introducing Uhura and Chekov to his parents who have come to congratulate him, tears of pride barely held in check in his fathers warm eyes and tears flowing freely from his mothers as she hugs him fiercely and fusses abut his weight and the bags under his eyes. But now all that is over and here he stands, luggage in hand containing all his connections to home, before he enters his room.
His first thought is that it's quite bland, but his mind quickly follows up on that thought remembering that it's his to furnish with his own stuff. It feels like his first day at the academy as he puts his bag down, taking it all in. He hears the soft tones of singing coming from the quarters next door and he walks over to the adjoining door and knocks politely, wondering who it is but secretly hoping. The singing stops on the first knock, but then an accented voice shouts though:
"Come in. Mind ze mess"
Sulu walks in though the door as it opens, and nearly trips over a box full of things. Chekov is standing near his wardrobe putting away his uniforms neatly. A couple of small things have already found themselves decorating the room, a Star Of David attached to a chain on Chekov's desk, joined by a couple of books on astrophysics and warp theory, as well as a photograph frame in which Sulu can see a picture of himself, Chekov and Uhura at an academy party that he can't even remember now. It all seems so long ago now.
Chekov looks round as Sulu walks in, and he beams as he catches sight of his friend.
"Hikaru! Have you found you room yet?"
"I'm right next door" Sulu can't help a smile gracing his own face, the Russian's enthusiasm infectious.
"So we are neighbours?" Chekovs' grin inexplicably manages to get bigger until it seems is danger of taking over his whole face. "Zis is the best, 'Karu"
Sulu nods, too proud to tell Chekov he bribed Kirk to enable them to get adjoining quarters, but what he therefore doesn't find out is that Chekov did exactly the same thing to get them in neighbouring rooms. Sulu smiles and offers to give Chekov a hand unpacking, his own luggage forgotten, suddenly feeling like he's suddenly found his place in life aboard the Enterprise, doing what he loves and surrounded by Chekov, his friends and the stars. He doesn't know how it can get much better then this, but as he looks at Chekov out of the corner of his eye, he hopes that somehow it does.
OK, I'm not too sure about the ending, so if you have any comments please don't hesitate to review. That isn't a desperate plea, honestly! :-).
Just watched the ONLY Sulu/Chekov fanvid on Youtube. Instantly my favourite despite being only one minute twenty. Honestly, if I knew how to make videos, there would definitely be a lot more of these fanvids :-)
'Till next time.