“Something on your mind, Spock?” Kirk broke the silence in the bridge when he noticed his first officer deep in thought. Everyone looked over at the Vulcan.
“No sir. It recently occurred to me that today would have been my mother’s birthday.” Spock replied, sounding and looking slightly saddened. Chekov swallowed and looked away, which Sulu noticed.
“Pav? What the matt-” Sulu was abruptly cut of when Pavel stood quickly and exited the bridge. Kirk turned to the pilot.
“What did you say to him?” He half exclaimed. Sulu explained what had just happened.
Pavel avoided everyone for the next week. He looked worse every time he appeared on the bridge, dark patches under his eyes, getting skinnier, looking scruffier. Each day, Hikaru grew more worried and told the Captain to be wary and told McCoy to be prepared. Sulu wasn’t going to force Pavel to do anything.
One day, when they were on the bridge, Spock seemed to notice Pavel’s neglected form and pulled the Captain aside for a moment.
“I have reason to believe Ensign Chekov’s condition is due to the fact I mentioned my mother a week ago.”
“What do you mean? How does… oh!” Kirk’s eyes widened in realisation.
“I realise that I have not yet informed him that I do not blame him for her death. I feel this is somewhat my fault.”
“No, don’t be silly, Spock. I never thought… that he’d end up like this…” the Captain glanced over at the navigator, as did Spock. “He’s only 18. He shouldn’t even be on a star ship, let alone dealing with what happened that day.”
“I concur, Captain. I do not believe there was any way of saving her.” Spock replied. Suddenly, Pavel slumped to the side and fell out his chair, falling to the ground.
“Pavel!” Hikaru leapt from his seat as Kirk and Spock started running over and moved Pavel so he was cradling him in his lap with Pavel’s head against Sulu’s chest. “Sulu to sickbay! McCoy, Pavel’s just fainted!” McCoy swore through the comms and replied: ‘Alright, calm down, I’m on my way.’ Sulu shook Pavel gently. “Pav, wake up. Please Pasha.” Chekov slowly opened his eyes and looked up at Sulu.
“I’m sorry…” he whimpered. Sulu helped him to sit up and gently rubbed circles on his back comfortingly. Spock stepped forward and knelt down besides the young navigator.
“Ensign, is the neglect to yourself an effect of the events that happened on the day of my mother’s death?” Pavel nodded, muttering another ‘I’m sorry’ before choking back a sob. Spock wrapped his arms’ very uncharacteristically, around the young navigator and hugged him as he spoke.
“You do not need to apologise, Ensign. I want you to know I do not blame you for her death. You were not assigned to the transporter that day, yet you managed to save the Vulcan High Council, the Captain and Lieutenant Sulu. I doubt any other officer on the ship would have been capable of doing that and saving my mother. I do not want you to blame yourself. I know she would not want you to either.” He released Pavel and nodded.
“Zank you… Commander. I… I feel slightly better nov.”
Kirk watched as McCoy and Sulu managed to persuade Pavel to go to sickbay, then walked over to where Spock was stood beside the captain’s chair.
“Did you hug Ensign Chekov?”
“I did. I have found it is a way of comfort amongst most humans.”
“Can’t argue with that.