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Star Trek Fic: But One Day We'll Float (Chekov/Sulu, Mature) - A fiend with magical bunny-like powers
Star Trek Fic: But One Day We'll Float (Chekov/Sulu, Mature)
And now instead of talking about TV I shall share with you some Chekov/Sulu fic!

Title: But One Day We’ll Float
Author: cordelianne
Fandom: Star Trek XI
Pairing(s): Chekov/Sulu
Rating: Mature
Word count: 1,576
Disclaimer: Sadly not mine, in any way.
Summary: Sulu almost can't remember the time before the war. He almost doesn't recognize Pavel Chekov.
Notes: Thanks to savoytruffle for her invaluable beta and awesome feedback!
Inspired by this picture. The title is from the PJ Harvey song We float.

They haven’t seen each other in two years.

Two years and… something.

Sulu stopped keeping count sometime in the first year when the war with the Klingons consumed all his thoughts, leaving no room for that funny thing named Pavel Chekov.

A distant, dissonant memory belonging to a time when everything was brighter and shinier and people would touch and laugh. And Sulu would, fuck, smile.

The war may be over, but Sulu’s smile hasn’t come home. Just one casualty among so many of a victory barely won. He’s First Officer now, on a ship that’s not the Enterprise and the only one he’s even seen is Jim, in flashes over communications.

Sulu tugs at the bow tie tight around his throat, wondering why he even bothered. A fucking black tie banquet. Like there’s anything to celebrate.

He doesn’t recognize Pavel at first.

It’s Spock that catches his gaze – standing tall and ramrod straight, impossible to miss – and then it falls naturally to the man beside Spock and, shit, that can’t be Pavel.

Not with short cropped hair and his hands in his suit pockets, so comfortable like it’s his uniform.

Sulu doesn’t tell his feet to move. They carry him toward Pavel like they have a life of their own. His eyes take in his old crew: Bones, a drink in one hand, his other arm slung over Jim’s shoulders. Jim gesticulating at Spock and Spock taking it in without reaction. Nyota sitting to the side, engrossed in her PADD. Scotty tossing back a shot like it’s water.

And then Pavel, standing, shoulders back, attention on Jim and Spock.

They’re all there, but they’re not the same.

Not the way Sulu remembers them. It’s like some life has been drained from them. He sees it in the slump of Nyota’s shoulders, the scars on Scotty’s face and the dark circles under Pavel’s eyes.

He’s about to turn around and walk away, go back to his room so he can drink in peace, but he stops at the sound of his name.

Although it was Pavel who called him, it’s Jim who greets him with a hug.

“Hikaru,” he says, slapping Sulu on the back. “Man, it’s good to see you.”

Sulu feels like he’s choking, like everything is closing in on him. He sees flashes of Klingon prison bars and pulls back from Jim abruptly, sucking in breath. “Yeah, you too, man.” And he still can’t get enough air because he’s staring into Pavel’s eyes. Were they always green?

All this time it was blue in his dreams.

So this is what losing your mind feels like.

“Hikaru.” Pavel speaks and moves slowly, like Sulu’s some alien wildlife he doesn’t want to spook.

Sulu plasters a grin on his face and pulls him into an awkward half-hug. “Pavel.”

It’s the first time he’s said that name aloud since the day before he left the Enterprise. Chekov didn’t see him off. Still hurt even though Sulu didn’t have a choice, he was following orders.

Fucking orders.

He should just retire, find some small isolated colony, start a vegetable garden, and forget there’s a universe out there.

The thought must show on his face because the rest of them greet him without hugs and Pavel guides him over to a chair, apart.

He pulls up a chair of his own and sits beside Sulu. Almost too close, but Sulu can still breathe so it’s okay. Pavel hand rests on his shoulder, so light, he almost can’t feel it. But he can, warmth travels through him like that first sip of coffee in the morning.

“It is okay that you’re sad,” Pavel says. “I am sad, too.”

Sulu meets Pavel’s eyes and sees his own pain reflected back. Even the bright Pavel Chekov Sulu once knew wasn’t left untouched.

Of course he fucking wasn’t.

“I just wish you weren’t. So sad.”

The words are so soft, Sulu isn’t sure they were actually spoken, but he doesn’t ask Pavel to repeat it. He fumbles in his pocket for his bottle of pills.

When he has them out, Pavel’s hand closes over his and he opens them for Sulu. “Your leg?”

He nods. Pretending that’s it.

So Pavel heard about Sulu’s injuries then.

Sulu’s heard nothing about Pavel all this time.

“What about –?” He swallows the pills instead of finishing his sentence.

Pavel’s smile doesn’t reach his eyes. “I am fine.”

Sulu wants to tell Pavel he hopes he really is fine. That even though Sulu can’t be okay, he wants Pavel to be.

Sulu doesn’t say anything. Because apparently he doesn’t have any courage left for the things he actually gives a fuck about.

Pavel doesn’t say anything either.

Sulu breathes in, breathes out. Keeps it even and calm.

They watch the speaker’s podium being set up in silence.

The silence continues when he walks back to his room, Pavel still at his side.

Sulu thinks they must have agreed on this turn of events but can’t remember the last thing he said.

Did he mumble something about drinks?

Or maybe he just suggested sex flat-out. It fits with the way Pavel’s stripping off his jacket and tie.

He should say something. Maybe ‘I miss you’ or ‘I need you.’

Or, ‘How are you even here?’

Sulu decides to do something, anything. He closes the distance between them and places his hands on Pavel’s shoulders. “I…” He’s forgotten how right his hands feel touching Pavel. They should always be right here.

“It’s okay,” Pavel breathes in his ear. His arms wrap around Hikaru’s waist. “I know.”

He doubts Pavel does know. But then he is a genius and since Sulu doesn’t feel like running or pushing Pavel away, he rests his head on Pavel’s shoulder.

They stay like that, swaying as if to music.

Sulu hears the hum of a vacuum out in the hall, the steady beating of Pavel’s heart and his own breath as he exhales.

For a moment Sulu feels like he’s stepped back into a time where Pavel still had curls and was the brightest thing in the universe. Where everything makes sense and all he needs to do is press their lips together and nothing could ever go wrong.

He kisses Pavel, knowing that’s not true. Knowing this is probably it for them. One last time.

But if this is it, Sulu’s not going down without a fight. Something in him always fights, even when all he wants is to give up.

He slides his tongue into Pavel’s mouth and it doesn’t feel like giving up. He grips him tighter and it doesn’t feel like fighting.

He remembers Pavel being softer. He’s firmer, stronger, now.

Like he can hold Sulu up.

Sulu sinks into him and lets Pavel pull him to the bed.

Lets Pavel take the lead even though it was always Sulu before.

Lets Pavel kiss his cheek, his neck, his ear. Feels the hot breath.

Lets his hands push off Pavel’s shirt to touch the still-soft skin underneath.

Lets himself pretend they’re young again.

Young and in love.


He feels something like happy when Pavel hands him the lube and lays out beneath him.

It’s the best thing Sulu’s seen in years.

He remembers how pushing into Pavel used to feel; like he’d discovered the secret to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, all that good shit. Like he was special, privileged, lucky. He almost feels it again, like he’s twenty-two and it’s not just Pavel, but his whole life that’s spread out before him.

Like in that whole life all he wants is Pavel.

He still wants Pavel.

Never stopped wanting. Maybe just forgot how for a while.

Right now he can’t understand how Pavel isn’t always consuming his thoughts, pushing out all the bad and leaving only this.

He’s forgotten that he can actually feel this way. Feel good.

“So good, so good,” Pavel gasps. “Hikaru.”

Sulu comes, flashing back to Pavel at seventeen, their first time. Pavel glowing with sweat, his curls wild, eyes gleaming with the most brilliant smile. Like Sulu is everything he ever wanted.

He knows he’ll never be that to anyone. Not anymore.

And no one will be that for him.

He wishes Pavel could be.

That he could draw a line from his heart to Pavel’s and they would be okay. But Sulu knows that while his heart may be beating, pumping blood, it doesn’t do anything else.

Not anymore.

Sulu dozes.

When he blinks his eyes open Pavel is sitting up against the headboard, drinking water. He offers it to Sulu when he sees that he’s awake.

A few minutes pass and Sulu feels himself sinking into sleep again when Pavel asks, “How long were you there?”

Sulu knows exactly what he’s asking. He closes his eyes. He sees the cold, dark walls of his cell, the gray skies and barren ground of the prison yard. “Ten months, five days.”

Pavel exhales, like he was holding his breath waiting for the answer. “A long time.”

He feels Pavel stretch out beside him, rest a hand on his shoulder.

“Too long?”

“Maybe.” Sulu opens his eyes and meets Pavel’s which are just a few inches away. “I don’t know.”

Pavel shifts and rests his head over Sulu’s heart, his arm draped over his chest.

Sulu drifts off to sleep hearing his words echo in his head.

Maybe. I don’t know.

Note: The line, “That he could draw a line from his heart to Pavel’s and they would be okay,” is very closely based on this line “And I draw a line/To your heart today/To your heart from mine/A line to keep us safe'” from PJ Harvey’s One Line. This song was very much a theme song for me for this fic.

Tags: , ,
Current Mood: moody moody

33 comments or Leave a comment
brighteyed_jill From: brighteyed_jill Date: June 15th, 2010 08:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
This is heartbreaking! I love the little hints about the ways Sulu has changed. And they're still them despite the damaged they've taken. Well done.
cordelianne From: cordelianne Date: June 16th, 2010 03:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
That's really great to hear that they still felt like them despite the changes - that's always the challenging thing of a fic like this. Thanks so much! :D
ljismahname From: ljismahname Date: June 15th, 2010 09:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh this is SO good. Absolutely heartbreaking and I totally teared up. I love your characterization of them, it's very real. I adore this especially:

Sulu comes, flashing back to Pavel at seventeen, their first time. Pavel glowing with sweat, his curls wild, eyes gleaming with the most brilliant smile. Like Sulu is everything he ever wanted.

Well done :]
cordelianne From: cordelianne Date: June 16th, 2010 03:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
Aw, it was a heartbreaking fic for me to write so I'm glad that translated to you, as the reader. And that's great about the characterization - it's something I really want to get right. Yay, I'm glad you like that line you quoted. Thanks so much! :D
(Deleted comment)
cordelianne From: cordelianne Date: June 16th, 2010 03:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ah cool, that's great that you spotted the line - I felt I'd better note where I got that from considering the wording is basically the same. I love the song too - its mood is perfect for the fic. I'm glad you enjoyed. Thanks so much! :D
From: hollycomb Date: June 15th, 2010 10:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
I love this a lot:

And he still can’t get enough air because he’s staring into Pavel’s eyes. Were they always green?

All this time it was blue in his dreams.

It says so much, gorgeous. <3
cordelianne From: cordelianne Date: June 16th, 2010 03:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's very awesome that you quoted those lines as they're my favourite in the fic. It was one of those moments when they just wrote themselves and I thought "Oh yes, this fic will work." Thanks so much! :D
rubynye From: rubynye Date: June 15th, 2010 10:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, oh. So wonderfully, atmospherically heartbreaking and hearthealing at once.
cordelianne From: cordelianne Date: June 16th, 2010 03:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
Your comment pleases me so much as that is exactly what I was going for! Thanks so much! :D
besamislabios From: besamislabios Date: June 16th, 2010 12:32 am (UTC) (Link)
I loved this, so full of nostalgia and heartbreak. Beautiful. :-)
cordelianne From: cordelianne Date: June 16th, 2010 03:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
Aw, that is wonderful to hear! Thanks so much! :D
secretsolitaire From: secretsolitaire Date: June 16th, 2010 11:53 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, this is so sad and wistful and good. I like how Sulu lets Chekov take over for a while.
cordelianne From: cordelianne Date: June 16th, 2010 03:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
That's awesome to hear! I love the idea of Chekov being the strong one who helps Sulu in this, so I'm glad you liked that. Thanks so much! :D
katmarajade From: katmarajade Date: June 16th, 2010 03:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
This is just beautiful and it gave me shiny eyes! *sniffles* I like how damaged and broken it all is without you writing it out. The hints at the horrors Hikaru has been through are so much more powerful for being left unsaid. Seeing the change in Pavel from bouncy bright-eyed teenager to war-tested man was heart-wrenching and strangely inspiring. I liked this a lot! You've got such a great style and I'm glad you're writing for this pairing now! (mind if I friend?)
cordelianne From: cordelianne Date: June 16th, 2010 03:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
Aw, what a lovely comment! I'm glad you liked the hints vs going into detail about what Hikaru experienced. I'm always of the belief that less is more, especially with difficult subjects like this. I admit to also finding their transformations heart-breaking - this was one of those fics which sorta wrote itself and I felt like I was along for the ride. I'm pleased you enjoyed! Thanks so much!

Oh yes, I'm happy to be friended and will friend back. :D
turnonmyheels From: turnonmyheels Date: June 16th, 2010 07:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
so so sad.

and beautiful.
cordelianne From: cordelianne Date: June 17th, 2010 03:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
Aw, that's great to hear! Thanks so much! :D
paytofay From: paytofay Date: June 17th, 2010 04:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
I, too, loved the line about his eyes! thanks for sharing this; it was lovely.
cordelianne From: cordelianne Date: June 22nd, 2010 03:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
Aw, I'm so pleased that you enjoyed the fic and also share the love about the eye line! Thanks so much! :D
izzyfics From: izzyfics Date: June 17th, 2010 05:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
Lovely and sad. And I like the open ending, especially the question, "too long?"
cordelianne From: cordelianne Date: June 22nd, 2010 03:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
That's wonderful to hear that you liked the "too long" question and the open ending - it was a fic where things couldn't be tied up easily. Thanks so much! :D
moonlitelupines From: moonlitelupines Date: June 18th, 2010 06:09 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, this was lovely and heartbreaking. Your use of language is just gorgeous! I love how you managed to incorporate so much while using so little. I want to know more about this world, about the history that you've created...but at the same time, this sits in a very satisfying way. IDK if I'm making sense, but I really enjoyed this!
cordelianne From: cordelianne Date: June 22nd, 2010 03:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
Aw, you made total sense and your comment absolutely made my day!! I'm so pleased that the saying less thing was effective - I like how sometimes saying less says more. Thanks so much! :D
crackemod From: crackemod Date: June 22nd, 2010 06:58 am (UTC) (Link)
Hi, just to let you know, your story has been recommended here at crackenterprise.
cordelianne From: cordelianne Date: June 22nd, 2010 03:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
That's awesome! Thanks so much! :D
zauzat From: zauzat Date: June 22nd, 2010 09:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
Beautifully done and very moving. You capture the essence of a long, hard road out of innocence very well. I loved these lines:

Like Sulu is everything he ever wanted.

He knows he’ll never be that to anyone. Not anymore.

And no one will be that for him.

He wishes Pavel could be.

cordelianne From: cordelianne Date: June 23rd, 2010 08:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
Aw, thank you so much for the lovely comment! That part you quoted made me cry when I wrote that - heh, hopefully that doesn't sound weird or conceited to have admitted that! I just feel so sad for Sulu then. Thanks so much! :D
stormatdusk From: stormatdusk Date: June 24th, 2010 09:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
They should always be right here

lovely lovely lovely. thank you.
cordelianne From: cordelianne Date: June 25th, 2010 03:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
Aw, I'm so pleased that you enjoyed it and that line. Thanks so much! :D
(Deleted comment)
cordelianne From: cordelianne Date: July 13th, 2010 02:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh that's wonderful to hear! I'm very happy about your comments about my style. I really like the less is more approach, especially with a topic like this. That's awesome that you enjoy the song - I was in period of relistening to old favourites and it felt like I was rediscovering PJ Harvey.

Aw, hee, sounds like we should definitely be friends! I'm friending you! :D
(Deleted comment)
samueljames From: samueljames Date: September 30th, 2011 11:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
Beautiful but sad. I like the comparisons of how they were before versus now.
33 comments or Leave a comment