This story is part of the Vacancy series
By Karmen Ghia
James T. Kirk was not the most patient being in the galaxy or even the greater Bay area. Much as he enjoyed Chekov, he frequently had to remind himself that Chekov was no longer in his chain of command; Chekov was a fully functional adult male; Chekov was his lover, not his protégé; there was absolutely no benefit in yelling at Chekov and worse, Chekov either yelled back or sulked for days. More annoying, from Kirk's point of view, was the sharp temper his lover had when provoked. It was terrifying and Kirk had had no inkling of it in their previous association. Of course not: a junior officer who displayed that kind of anger, said sharp things and generally got the last word would have been off his bridge immediately and off his Enterprise as soon as possible.
Kirk pushed away from his desk and focused on a watercolor of an ancient sailing ship on the wall of his office. He released the breath he'd been holding and began to calmly sort through his annoyance with Pavel. He noted that when he was angry with the Russian he thought of him as 'Chekov,' but when feeling more tender, as 'Pavel.' This was not very helpful but it indicated he was calming down.
'If Pavel is going to be this much of a distraction ...' Kirk cut off the thought. 'Nah. He said no, he seldom says no to me, I'll get over it.'
Kirk reviewed the conversation that had so provoked him. He'd just received a last minute invitation to a reception for the new Andorian ambassador. 'Bring an escort,' had been part of the message - an order, not a request. Of course, Kirk had wanted Chekov with him but Chekov had other plans he chose not to alter.
'Well, why should he?' Kirk thought calmly. 'He doesn't work for Admiral Psycho,' referring to Admiral Pynchon, head of the Fleet diplomatic corp, which was where Kirk had landed when he was reassigned to Fleet headquarters. Kirk had a moment of regret for Pynchon, who was under the gun in this matter.
The Andorians were acting strangely. Yesterday they were packing their embassy and leaving Terra forever. Today they were installing a new ambassador and demanding all the pomp and ceremony of a full scale diplomatic reception. Kirk had much sympathy for whatever poor devil drew the duty of putting this huge party on in a mere five hours. Emergencies were not uncommon in Admiral Pynchon's department and they were handled and handled well, but no one ever enjoyed them.
Admiral Pynchon was eccentric in just the right amounts to be an excellent diplomat. He was a hell to work for: impulsive, capricious, domineering, demanding. However, all was forgiven every time the old boy pulled the Federation's chestnuts out of the fire, which was frequently as the latest crop of Federation diplomats were complete idiots. This meant that Pynchon and his staff, which included Kirk, had to move fast more often than they'd like. This stupid reception was a prime example: the Andorians had been offended by one the Federation council undersecretaries and now it was up to the Fleet, which they trusted implicitly, to smooth them down and get the situation back on track. Only Pynchon and his staff could do this because they were fast, sleek and experts every one of them. Pynchon had honed his command skills defending the Federation borders. He'd never quite lost the 'red alert' mentality but most of the time it served him and his department well.
Chekov didn't work in a 'red alert' mentality. He worked for Admiral Teddy Bear, better known as Admiral Calhoun.
In retrospect, Kirk realized he must have been slightly in love with Pavel at the end of the five year mission. He'd been extremely pleased that Pavel was assigned to the theoretical navigation department in Calhoun's staff because he knew that Calhoun would not allow the ensign to be mistreated. At the time, Kirk had merely chalked up his concern for Chekov to a captain's pride in a junior officer who'd drawn a good posting. HA! Yeah, right.
Kirk wanted Chekov with him that night because it was an important event and he found his young lover's presence comforting. As he had found all his bridge crew comforting in difficult situations on the Enterprise. But it was Tuesday night, the night Pavel spent with Spock, and he would not rearrange it to accompany Kirk to the reception.
The captain had been fully aware of this arrangement between Spock and Chekov well before he became Chekov's lover and moved in with them. He even welcomed it; the respite from the intensity of his relationship with Chekov was just what they needed. It was an intense relationship because they were both intense men and Chekov was strung a little higher than Kirk had noticed before. 'Is that true?' Kirk wondered. 'No, it's not. I'm still pissed off at him for turning me down.' He shook himself, got out his little black book and made a date with the first woman he called. That settled, he focused on the report he was reading until it was time to go home and dress.
He found Chekov waiting for him there.
"I'm sorry I said no," Chekov said, snuggling into Kirk's arms. "Spock thinks I should go with you."
"I've already made other plans, Pavel." Kirk pressed a fatherly kiss to the Russian's forehead.
"Oh, good," Chekov said cheerfully. "So, I'll see you tomorrow," and sauntered off to help Spock make dinner. Kirk usually spent Tuesday nights with whomever he was moved to spend them. If Chekov ever felt jealous, he did a superb job of hiding it from everyone. Kirk suspected his lover did not feel jealous.
Kirk watched him go, marveling yet again at the ensign's lack of neediness and insecurity, and turned back to his dress uniform. He spent a moment chatting with Spock and Chekov before his car arrived.
The reception and the lovemaking following it had been an unmitigated success for Kirk. He returned to his office the next morning and changed into a fresh uniform he kept there for emergencies. He sent his dress uniform to the laundry; it had champagne all over it due to the reception going into warp around eleven. 'Pavel would have loved it,' he thought and decided they would have fun tonight and didn't give it another thought the rest of the day.
Unfortunately, it turned out to be a long, long day and Kirk did not get home until late that night. He found Chekov waiting up for him, whiling away the time with a reader.
"Did Commander Bhoghosstian really rip the Pyninarian Ambassadress' dress off last night?" was the ensign's first question.
"As a matter of fact, he did," Kirk answered, shouldering out of his tunic. "How did you hear about it?"
"There's an article on the wires about the reception," Chekov admitted, looking back down at his reader. "It says the civil police were called and Admiral Karbanova convinced them to go away."
"That she did." Kirk stepped into the shower and didn't catch Chekov's last question. "What?" he called, tuning off the taps.
"I said, did Asala really perform? I thought she only did forum concerts and vids."
"Someone on Pynchon's staff grew up with her and she sang at the reception as a favor," Kirk said, toweling his hair dry. "Just she and a pianist were all the music we had last night." He hid his smirk while he waited for the next question.
"Was she good?"
"The music was quite nice," Kirk drawled, slipping into bed next to the Russian. "Although, she's not my favorite singer, I thought she did a credible job. Sorry you didn't go?" He pulled Chekov into his arms.
"Oh, no." Chekov was blasé. "I had a perfectly nice evening with Spock."
"That's good." Kirk wasn't listening, he was much too interested in kissing Chekov's throat.
Kirk was pleased with the enthusiasm Chekov had for the next invitation to a diplomatic reception, which was not on a Tuesday night, fortunately.
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