I've lost her.
The thought kept running itself through Pavel's brain as he boarded the Enterprise for the second time. Nero had been defeated and they had won and everything was righted again, but Pavel still couldn't shake the nagging pain in his mind.
He hadn't been able to save everyone.
Since the mission had ended and they had been reassigned to the Enterprise, Chekov had only conversed with Mr. Spock in regards to the general mission. There hadn't been any emotional conversation between the two, not like the Vulcan engaged in emotional discussions with anyone other than the captain, and although Sulu and the others had reassured Pavel that Spock didn't blame him, Pavel couldn't help but believe it was his fault that Spock was now motherless.
The seventeen-year-old plastered on the smile for everyone to see as he boarded the beautiful vessel, but as he took up his station, he tried to fight the frown on his face.
He had lost her.
Pavel was shaken out of his thoughts when a voice asked from behind him, "Everything set Mr. Chekov?"
"Ve are ready for takeoff, Keptain."
As the Enterprise roared to life and Jim called for warp speed, Pavel felt himself running through the motions of the mission almost mechanically, barely paying attention to anyone around him. When Spock's voice was heard talking to Kirk, Pavel felt his body stiffen as he tried to fight off the urge to run from the deck.
The hours trudged by, and by the time the night-shift was called out, Pavel felt as if he was going to be violently ill. The stress of knowing that he had shortened the surviving population of Vulcan because he hadn't been good enough to save Amanda was eating away at him. He knew deep down that he should be proud of saving the people he had, but it wasn't enough for the teenager.
Scotty could have saved her, Pavel thought bitterly as he shook his head roughly to clear his mind. No, even Scotty would have had difficulty and probably would have failed...right?
"Is everything alright?"
Pavel jumped as he realized Sulu had leaned over to him and was regarding the Russian with a concerned look.
"Yes, everything iz fine."
Sulu didn't look so sure but turned his attention back to the windshield nevertheless.
Pavel took a deep breath; he had to get hold of himself. He couldn't afford himself to make any more mistakes or lose anyone else this time.
When it was time for the night-shift to take over, Sulu watched as Chekov all but ran out of the bridge and to his quarters. Biting his lip, Sulu made his way to the captain and asked, "Captain, may I have a word with you?"
"Sure thing Sulu. What's up?"
Sulu gestured for them to move towards a quieter corner of the room before whispering, "It's about Mr. Chekov, Captain. He seems...off lately. Ever since the Vulcan incident he hasn't been acting like himself. I'm worried that he blames himself for what happened."
"That's nonsense - everyone knows it wasn't his fault and nobody blames him," Jim huffed as he crossed his arms. "I'll make sure to have a word with him before tomorrow."
"Thank you, Captain," Sulu beamed appreciatively as he made his way to his own quarters.
Jim looked at the empty ensign's chair and shook his head.
The kid was too damn young to be worrying over something so heavy.
As Pavel was heading towards his quarters, he wasn't paying attention to where he was going and physically bumped into none other than the notoriously sassy doctor himself
"Doctor McCoy! My apologies sir, I vas not paying attention to vere I was goin-"
"It's fine, kid, don't worry about it," McCoy waved off the ensign's babbling with a wave of his hand. "Where were you off to in such a rush anyway?"
"Oh, just my quarters, sir. It has been a long day and I am very tired."
"Yeah, you don't look so good," the doc commented, suddenly taking in Pavel's complexion. "Are you feeling any other symptoms besides fatigue?"
"Oh no, sir, I am just tired, nothing more! It is nothing, I promise!"
Bones didn't look so sure. "If you're still not feeling well tomorrow, make sure you report to medical. I'll have someone take a look at you - we can't have one of our most important crew members out of commission, can we?"
There was a slight smirk in Bones' face, and Pavel felt his ears redden as he looked down at his feet quickly. He knew Bones was most likely complementing him, but Pavel's own insecurities caused him to wonder if Bones blamed him for the death of Spock's mother as well and was making a joking reference to Pavel's mistake.
"No Doctor," Pavel mumbled, but the life was gone from his voice as he bit the inside of his cheek.
"Hey, kid -"
"Excuse me sir," Pavel cut in quickly as he hurriedly moved around Bones and speed-walked to his quarters.
"What the hell?"
"Hey Jim, I think there's something wrong with Chekov -"
"Yeah, I know. I'm going to talk to him as soon as I make sure these guys here are all set up," Jim replied, nodding to the night-shift crew.
"What's up with him?" Bones asked, crossing his arms and leaning against the wall beside Kirk.
"Sulu thinks he blames himself for Spock's mom's death or something," Jim explained with a sigh. "It's stupid really; the kid did everything that he could."
"That pointy-eared bastard doesn't blame the kid, right?"
"Spock? Of course not. But I don't think Chekov fully knows it."
"Maybe that hobgoblin should talk to him then and explain himself."
Jim couldn't help but smile at the gruffness in Bones' tone. It wasn't exactly a secret that after the Nero incident, almost everyone aboard the Enterprise had fallen in love with the little Russian and had taken him under their wings. Despite his age, Kirk knew that Chekov was one of the strongest and most mature members of the Enterprise, and for that reason alone Jim was proud to serve with him.
"I'll go talk to Spock then."
"Good and make sure he doesn't scare the hell out of the kid, alright?" Bones huffed as Jim smirked in response.
Pavel was curled up in his bed under the covers, hugging his knees tightly to his chest, trying to block out the image of Spock's defeated face at the death of his mother. The Russian's eyes were shut tightly as he tried to quiet his sobs - Spock had been emotionally compromised because he had messed up. Because he had let Spock's mother die.
When there was a knock at the door, Chekov held his breath until the person went away. He presumed it was Sulu but he couldn't let anyone see him like this, he would be ashamed of himself for letting his friends see him so broken. After a few moments there was another knock at the door and Chekov turned his back to the door, wishing everyone would leave him alone.
His body stilled when an unexpected voice called out through the intercom speaker, "Mr. Chekov, may I come in?"
The memory of Spock pinning Kirk against the comm in a choke-hold flashed through Chekov's mind as the Russian boy began fearing for his life. Was this to be his punishment for letting Amanda die? Had Spock come to terms with his emotional instability and planned to end the Russian's life in response? No, Chekov knew the Vulcan wouldn't kill him, but what if he voiced his opinion of Chekov failing him? Surely that would hurt the Russian more than Spock killing him! Chekov knew deep down that everyone he respected still questioned his abilities, and what if Spock had come to tell him he was relieved of his duties? Oh no, what if he would never see his friends again!
This brought an entirely new wave of despair upon the little Russian who covered his face with a pillow to stifle the sounds of his broken sobbing.
"Mr. Chekov if you do not open this door for me I must advise you that I have the authorization of the captain to open it myself and thus force entrance into your personal quarters. I do not wish to do that, but if you do not open this door willingly, then I will have no other option."
Chekov hesitated at the calmness of Spock's voice. Was that what the Vulcan sounded like before he told you that you were a disgrace to Starfleet's most prized possession and that you were hereby relieved of all your duties for good and demoted in rank?
Chekov roughly rubbed away the tears and snot with his uniform shirt before making his way to the door and pressing the button for it to slide open.
Chekov's eyes couldn't help but flash up to Spock's before quickly diverting away to the ground. He couldn't bear to see the possible disgust and hatred in the lieutenant's eyes.
The Russian knew his voice sounded broken and defeated, and he clenched his fist behind his back to keep himself from breaking down before his superior.
Spock looked down at the boy before cocking an eyebrow and asking, "May I come in?"
Chekov quickly nodded and stepped back, allowing the man into his quarters.
As the door slid shut behind them, the two stood awkwardly before Spock gestured to a group of chairs sitting in the corner of the room. Chekov quickly sat in a chair directly opposite the Vulcan and closed his eyes briefly for a moment, hoping that this would not be the last night he spent in the comforting room.
"Captain Kirk, Doctor McCoy, and Mr. Sulu seem to be under the impression that you are not happy, Mr. Chekov. They informed me that they each believe your current state of possible unrest has to do with the Enterprise's latest mission. Are they incorrect in believing this?"
Chekov bit his lip as he willed himself not to fidget. He weighed his options before deciding that honesty was his best shot.
"Zey are not incorrect, sir."
Spock nodded at this as he pressed the pads of his fingertips together and rested his chin on the tips of his index fingers.
"Mr. Chekov, do you blame yourself for the loss of my mother?"
Chekov's head snapped up sharply at the sudden notion and his eyes grew wide as fear flashed across his face. Spock's demeanor remained calm and impassive as he waited for the Russian to swallow and return his gaze back to the floor with a slight shake. Chekov knew Spock could be blunt, but he hadn't expected the half-Vulcan to just come out and ask him like that! A few minutes passed and Spock was about to ask his question again when a few tears fell down Chekov's face and the teenager lost all composure.
"It vas all my fault, sir! I couldn't save her and because of my mistake you had to suffer so greatly and it was all my fault! I should have tried harder or done somezing else, but I couldn't save her! I let her die, sir! It was all my fault!"
Chekov was sobbing uncontrollably by this point as he wrapped his arms around himself, not being able to look at Spock. The Vulcan didn't say anything but tentatively stood up from his chair and crossed over to Chekov, pulling a chair up beside the boy and wrapping his arms around the Russian.
Chekov sniffled and looked up at the lieutenant, his eyes wide with an array of emotions, the primary one being shock at the normally expressionless lieutenant gripping him gently but tightly, as Spock merely pulled the Russian closer to his chest and rested his head atop the Russian's.
"The captain tells me that in human social situations, a 'hug' can be very helpful in relieving pain and suffering. Mr. Chekov, there is no reason for you to suffer anymore. I do not blame you for the loss of my mother, and neither does my father. You did everything that you could, and I do not want to see you beat yourself up over it any longer."
"But sir, I couldn't -"
"If she were here now I am sure that she would tell you herself that she does not blame you," Spock cut in as he felt the ensign's body quiver in his arms. "You were very brave for trying your best, and that is all anyone can expect from you."
"S-so you are not here to fire me, sir? Or to tell me I disgust you?"
Spock pulled away just enough to look into the boy's begging blue eyes and felt something akin to tenderness pass through the half-Vulcan's body at the sight.
"No, Mr. Chekov. I am not here to do either. But I must insist that you return to your normal bubbly self - this crew is not whole without your smiling self," Spock said, quickly pulling his arms away and resting his hands on his knees, both relieved and saddened at the loss of physical contact.
"Thank you very, sir. I vill try my hardest to not let anyone, including myself, down again," Pavel whispered strongly as his body stiffened confidently.
The corners of Spock's lips almost quirked upwards as he gave a formal nod.
"I don't expect you to relieve yourself of this imaginary blame you have placed upon yourself so quickly, so if you ever do need to be reminded that it was not your fault again, please do not hesitate to approach me. Or the captain for that matter. Nobody blames you, Ensign Chekov. So I highly advise that you cease blaming yourself."
Pavel gave a weak but genuine smile at this as Spock nodded and stood up to leave. Before the Vulcan left the room however, he turned and said almost with a smile, "Oh, and Mr. Chekov?"
"I may have lost a family member, but I have gained an entirely new family among the members of this crew. And I hope that you will consider yourself a part of that family."
"Y-yes sir," Pavel exclaimed quickly, overcome with emotion by the statement.
Spock gave a final nod before leaving the quarters, making sure no one was around when he allowed a quick smile to grace his face.
Over the next few days the old Chekov began returning as the ensign cracked jokes with Sulu, beamed under the captain's praise, blushed under the good doctor's profanities, and treasured in the knowledge that the Vulcan considered him a family member.
Chekov had found a family among the Enterprise as well, and if there was one thing his new family taught him, it was that family looks out for one another and helps one another when darkness falls.
A/N: I know this was very short and not my best work, but please review anyway and I hope you enjoyed it!