Fandom: Star Trek
Prompt: I would love to read a follow up to this, maybe where the rest of the core crew find out what happened and goes all protective? - Amfibolit
Jim frowns when he bids Chekov goodnight, absentmindedly swirling the remaining tea around and around the bottom of his mug. The kid is seventeen.
Yes, he remembers Bones’ face on the Bridge when Chekov told them that for the first time. Yes, he had a moment of Starfleet is sending children to fight their war before snapping back into action. Yes, he accepted Chekov right back into his crew after the whole mess was over.
Chekov is, for lack of a better term, tiny. He bounces around the Bridge like Tigger when he’s on coffee, making puppy-dog eyes at Sulu to have him order it for him when they try and cut off his caffeine supply. He scurries around Engineering, following Scotty, poking his head out from increasingly bizarre places. He rattles away at his station in the science lab, spouting things far too fast for Jim to keep up with, like some pint-sized prodigy.
Of course, most of the crew took one look at him and decided, on the spot, they were adopting this little Russian whiz kid. Jim smiles when Sulu starts moving their conn chairs just a little bit closer on the Bridge. Bones bluntly informed him that Chekov was basically their kid now, which of course prompted Jim to call him Dr. Marshmallow for a week. Scotty rattles on about his abilities like a proud papa, almost as much as he rattles on about the Enterprise. Uhura holds weekly tea parties that Jim’s not cool enough to be invited to but Chekov always returns to his next shift with an extra bounce in his step.
Jim leans against the back of his couch, frowning at the door.
Two other cadets had stayed in the science department. James Atkins and Simon Walsh. He’s heard reports from Spock that their behavior was…less than ideal from some of the other officers in the lab, mostly in the form of sarcastic comments and the like. But the things he heard last night…
Jim’s heart clenched when he saw Chekov standing in front of the two officers, clinging to a PADD like a comfort teddy, large tears rolling down his cheeks. Then he had glanced up and he’d looked so scared.
Jim managed to keep a hold of his anger until he’d quietly bade the crying man to go wait by his quarters. Then, the second the doors had closed behind him, he turned to the now cowering officers.
“Whatever explanation you think you have,” he said coldly, “save it. I don’t want to hear it.”
“No.” Jim glared at the crewmember on the right. “Name and rank. Now.”
“L-lieutenant Simon Walsh.”
Jim turned his gaze to the other officer. “Lieutenant James Atkins.”
“Well then, lieutenants,” Jim growled, fighting the urge to snap when both of them cowered at their titles, “I hope you’ve enjoyed your service on the Enterprise. When we reach Starbase 23, it will be over. I’d start looking for other places to serve.”
Walsh’s eyes widened. “Sir, but—“
Jim folded his arms and stared hard at the pair. “This is not the first time I’ve heard reports of this sort of behavior, but it is the first time I’ve seen it. And it will be the last. You should be ashamed of yourselves.”
“But he’s a kid!”
Jim took a step closer to Atkins who immediately took one away. “That kid, as you put it,” he said in a dangerously soft voice, “has done more for this ship than you. He is smarter than you. He is more compassionate than you. If you were an officer aboard my ship, you would take that as an opportunity to learn.”
The door to his quarters chimes.
Spock walks in, hands folded behind his back. “You wished to see me, Captain?”
“Yeah, Spock, c’mere.”
Spock takes a seat on the couch next to him, taking in his frown and restless hands. “You are disconcerted.”
“That’s one way to put it,” Jim growls, looking up at his second officer. “I just spent about half an hour trying to calm down Chekov.”
“Ensign Chekov?” Spock’s expression didn’t change but Jim spots the slight shift in Spock’s posture. “What happened?”
“I found him in the observation lounge on Deck 7,” Jim explains. “He was crying. In front of two officers.”
“Lieutenant Walsh and Lieutenant Atkins?”
Jim nods. Spock’s hands tighten marginally on his knees.
“Captain, request permission to speak freely.”
“You don’t gotta ask, Spock,” Jim says, “but granted.”
“It is my opinion that the two of them should be transferred off the Enterprise.”
“Yep, that’s my plan too.”
Spock nods sharply. “Are…did they…”
“Take your time, Spock.”
Spock swallows, his hands tapping gently against his legs. “I understand that my feedback on the ensign’s report earlier did not go as well as he might’ve anticipated,” he says slowly, “I would be…most displeased if that were used against him.”
“You know him,” Jim says quietly, “he’s a good kid. Don’t think he’s been told he’s a good kid as much as he has a smart kid.”
“And if he is unable to fulfill that role,” Spock finishes quietly, “then he does not have…anything.”
“The report really was of excellent quality,” Spock says, “I simply requested that he include the other portion of the research.”
“He knows, Spock.” Jim smiles as he raises the mug to his lips. “He spent about half of the time telling me what he was going to do to fix it.”
“And you are certain of your capabilities to convince him to stay?”
Jim gasps in mock offense. “How dare you!”
“I am merely trying to assess all of the variables in this equation.”
“He ain’t going anywhere,” Jim says, “I think half of our crew would riot.”
Jim looks over at Spock. Spock’s pasture is still ramrod-straight, but there’s an odd tenseness in his shoulders that is not typically there. “You okay?”
“I am deciding whether or not the others should be informed of this incident.”
“Pretty sure that isn’t our call.”
“I am aware.” Spock tilts his head to the side. “Perhaps it will simply be enough to inform the crew that the lieutenants will be discharged upon our arrival to Starbase 23.”
“Sounds good to me.”
Jim’s proud of his crew. It takes them until Chekov walks onto the Bridge the next day to spread the news around. He sees Sulu pull Chekov aside before they sit down, murmuring something to him. Chekov’s all smiles when he sits down. When their shift is over, he sees Uhura loop her arm through his and walk confidently down the hall. Chekov glances around in confusion when they all reach the mess hall. He extricates himself carefully from Uhura and gets his food, finding a quiet table by himself in the corner.
Jim glances around. The entire hall is watching him, turning to whisper and mutter to themselves. He catches Uhura’s eyes and they nod.
Uhura goes first. She’s got enough of an aura to dispel even the most malignant of gossipers. She takes her tray, carries it regally across the hall, and sits next to Chekov, immediately prompting one of their conversations. Jim follows, plonking himself down across the table and propping his head up on his hands as he eats. He smiles when Spock joins them too, quickly latching onto whatever technobabble they’re going on about now. He waves at Scotty to get his ass over here.
By now, the entire mess hall is gossiping. And Jim can see it’s getting to Chekov. He wants to reach across the table, tell him it’s okay, people are always going to talk, but that will make it worse.
Then Bones comes in.
Bones takes one look around the hall, sees what’s happening, and stops. He frowns at their little table in the corner. Jim wants to wave him over, explain what’s happening, but he knows that also might just make everything worse. Plus, he knows Bones’…somewhat abrasive manner might not help Chekov right now.
As it turns out, he needn’t have worried.
Bones walks right over to the table and plops his doctor self down in the last empty seat at the table, right next to Chekov. The conversation kind of stutters out, leaving the entire mess hall quiet.
Bones notices. Raises his head. Looks at the entire hall.
And just like that, the spell is broken. People turn back to their own tables, partially out of the threat from the CMO. Chekov glances at the doctor and he nods, signature grimace softening just the slightest bit. As everyone turns back to their food, Jim catches Bones’ eye. He smiles.
“Not one word, Jim,” Bones growls.
Jim laughs, raising his hands in surrender. He looks instead at Chekov, smiling, happy, bouncy in his seat.
This is much better.
“Welcome to the family,” he murmurs, “you’ll do great, kid.”