This is my very, very, very late fic for eldee for help_haiti over on LJ. I feel like such a jerk for taking so long to write it! She asked for Chekov/Kirk and I originally had a much different fic started (which I plan to one day finished) but it had gotten too long and sort of got out of hand so I decided to start from scratch. And this is what I came up with. It's my first Star Trek fic ever, so I hope I did okay!

Thank you to my wonderful beta, laurahellomoto (again on LJ) You're the best beta ever!

Disclaimer: Anything you recognize I don't own.

A lone figure stood unmoving under dim lights of the transporter room. It was deserted, no shift manned it this late at night which made it a perfect time for Pavel Andreovich Chekov to reminisce. He remembered the adrenaline pumping though his body as his fingers flew over the keys and the rush of joy when he saved tow of his own. He also remembered how broken and lost Spock looked, his arm outstretched uselessly as he stared at the space his moth should have occupied. If only he had been faster, better; he might have saved her. The guilt still stung in his chest as he thought of it, even now.

The door slid open with a whoosh and by the way his heartbeat increased ever so slightly, Pavel knew who it had walked in. He once hated how his heart had somehow become aware of the captain, especially given the times he broke it with his mission dalliances the rumor she let spread.

It had been a gradual thing, falling in love with James T. Kirk. At first Pavel figured it was nothing more than a crush born from the deep loyalty the captain seemed to naturally inspire in his crew. The captain's sexual exploits with women on the ship and on the planets they sometimes visited soon grew to legendary proportions, so Pavel kept his feelings hidden and resigned himself to several months of pining before moving on.

And then, about six months after the Enterprise first sailed under the official command of the young captain, the ensign began to notice Kirk paying some extra attention to him. He would ask Pavel for his ideas and opinions more often both on and off the bridge. Yet the young man managed to convince himself that the captain simply remembered his duty as mentor to the younger man. But then Pavel began to have the distinct impression someone was watching him, though he could never find a pair of eyes on him when he searched for the source of the feeling. Looking back now, he realized the captain was in the room every time.

Two months after that, the Russian overheard a conversation between the captain and chief medical officer he knew was never meant for his ears.

Pavel had just rounded the corner to the medical wing with some records Mr. Spock had asked him to take to the doctor when he heard the two men arguing, their voices carrying easily through the open doors. He stopped in the middle of the hallway; quite aware he could be caught eavesdropping at any moment, yet unable to move.

"I don't want to talk about this with you anymore, Jim. I already told you what I thought about it the first time you brought it up. You want to sleep with him, fine. But don't get involved. You let your emotions get the best of you when it comes to the people you care about and that can cost lives!"

"What the hell are you talking about, Bones?" The captain's voice was like a beacon and Pavel found himself several steps closer to the doors. He stood with his back against the wall beside the doors and leaned ever so slightly forward. Kirk's back was to him and could see the irritated look on McCoy's face as he spoke.

"Let's say he gets trapped on a planet that's about to blow up and if we don't get the ship out of orbit right now we'll all get caught in the explosion and die. He's the only one down there, Captain. You gonna try and rescue him or you gonna save the rest of us?"

Kirk leaned back on his hands and titled his head to the side, as though thinking. "Why is the planet going to blow up?" He said after a moment, laughter in his voice. McCoy's face turned red Pavel thought the doctor's head might actually explode.

"Dammit, Jim! This is serious. If you don't do something about this instead of mooning about like some love-struck farmboy I am going to have to do something I really don't want to do."

"Oh really?" Kirk said, his voice still light. "And what's that?"

Pavel could see in the doctor's suddenly pale face he really didn't want to say what he was about to say. "I don't feel safe with my life in the hands of a captain who might actually put the life of one man before an entire ship."

Pavel couldn't keep back a gasp; he knew what that meant. And from the way Kirk straightened up, so did he. As he should, he used the same tactic on Spock six months ago by provoking the Vulcan into emotionally comprising himself. But if McCoy actually reported Kirk to StarFleet it would ground him indefinitely and make Mr. Spock captain until they returned to Earth. But he wouldn't dare. "You wouldn't," the blond man said with a tone in his voice that almost sounded like a threat.

"Of course not," Bones sighed wearily, his shoulders slumping. "But that pointy-eared bastard would, so would anyone else who has a grudge against you. Or him. I mean it Jim, figure out what you want from the kid before you get somebody killed."

The men began to part ways and Pavel quickly walked away before he could be seen, his heart pounding. As far as he knew, the doctor only called one person "kid." Him. But that would, it wasn't possible. It would be too much to hope.

In the present Pavel smiled at his former naïveté and the memory of the following week, when the captain cornered him in a deserted hallway, made a slightly stammered yet well-practiced speech about how much the young man meant to him before kissing Pavel nearly senseless. They had moved slowly after that, from kisses stolen in secret, whispers spoken to the dark, as they lay tangled in each other's arms, feelings never shared before now common knowledge between them and to now, partners in every sense of the word. Only the ones closest to them knew about the relationship and though McCoy still kept a wary eye on his friend's leadership abilities, the small group seemed happy with the two being in love.

Love. Some days it still felt like such a foreign concept to be the recipient of true and undeniable love from a man who had built his life from his adolescent years on, on the status of being the biggest playboy in the galaxy. And yet here he was, Jim's lover for just shy of two years. A small smile grew on his face until Pavel's eyes focused on the platform once more, a sober reminder of why his feet had lead him to this room on this day.

"I thought I might find you here," came a familiar, yet groggy voice from just behind him, jerking the young man back to the present. The warm puff of air on his neck caused Pavel to shiver.

"I couldn't sleep," he said softly, not taking his eyes from the platform. "I was dreaming." Jim's eyes must have followed Pavel's gaze as he sighed heavy, a mixture of sadness and frustration.

"It's been two years."

"I know."

"You weren't to know the ground would give way when it did," Jim said as he tentatively rested a hand on the young man's shoulder, his thumb stroking the back of his neck. "Spock forgave you even though we all know you didn't need forgiving. It was beyond your control." These words had been spoken in some variation in the days that followed the incident by everyone Pavel knew, yet they never made him feel any better. It was the first time lives had been changed because of his actions, and it shook him to the core. But if he was going to become captain one day, he had to get used to life and death decisions and be confident in his choices.

And yet….Pavel looked down at his hands; his stupid, clumsy hands that should have been quicker, should have been able to save nine lives instead of only eight. He looked back up at the empty room they stood in and cleared his throat.

"I was thinking of when you told me you wanted to be with me," Pavel said, still not looking at the man beside him. The hand on his neck squeezed slightly, letting him know Jim wasn't happy with the change of subject. In fact, he knew that Kirk hated it when Pavel did that yet never fought with him about it. Well, almost never. "Actually, I was thinking about what I heard you and Dr. McCoy talking about just before that." He finally turned to look at his lover, who had tilted his head slightly in curiosity. "When he asked you what you would do if you had to choose between saving me and saving everyone on the ship."

Jim stared unfocused for a moment, trying to remember this singular conversation in years' worth of them until it finally stepped forward and he grinned brightly. "You heard that?" Pavel returned the smile with a sheepish one of his own and nodded.

"I didn't mean to hear it, but…you were being rather loud." Pavel continued to smile and his partner laughed, the sound filling the room and pushing away some of the sadness that had previously occupied the space. When he quieted, the ensign continued. "I've been meaning to tell you ever since the last mission, but if it did ever come down to that, if you ever had to leave me…I would understand. I wouldn't hate you in my last moments. I would respect you. Love you." Tears formed in the young man's eyes and his voice tripped over the emotion welling in his throat, but with the shadows of Amanda Grayson's death hovering over him and the remnants of fear from their latest mission when he had stood helpless under the guns of people mean to be peaceful clinging to him like wet cloth he felt it vital he said the words out loud.

The captain held Pavel close, enveloping the younger man in his arms and scent. "I hope it never comes to that," he said softly. "But thank you." They stood like that for a while before the ensign pulled back and returned to his earlier position of facing the platform.

"I only wish…" he sighed, his well-known and tired regrets hanging between them unsaid. Thinking of death always brought him back to that moment, when Amanda's life rested in his hands and let her slip through his fingers. It was a weight his shoulders would always carry, no matter how long had passed.

As though sensing his thoughts, Jim grabbed Chekov by the shoulders and turned, him, forcibly removing his gaze from the empty platforms. His grip was solid, not rough and his voice stern but gentle. "It was two years ago, Pasha. You did everything you could to save a group of people after a crewmember recklessly, though not without purpose, beamed onto a crumbling planet. There will be generations more Vulcans because of you." He paused, his blue eyes staring intently into the young man's brown ones, making sure no reproach was taken from his following words. "When you become a captain in your own right, you can't beat yourself up after losing people. It sucks, yeah, and it hurts like hell but if you want to keep your ship flying you can't do things like this to yourself anymore." Later Pavel would think back on this night and call Jim's statement hypocritical as the captain often went into small bouts of depression whenever they lost people on a mission, be they crewmembers or civilians. Pavel thought it was what made him a good captain. It's what he held onto to be a good captain himself.

But on that night he simply nodded, forcing the other man's words to take root in his mind and his soul, wanting to live up to the vision his partner obviously had of him.

"Let's go back to bed." Jim said softly before taking Pavel's hand and leading him away. Together they turned their backs on the ghosts that would never leave the platform, knowing in the back of their minds they would be here again in a year.

Please let me know what you think! I truly value everyone's feedback and it really helps. Thank you!