Fandom: Star Trek XI
Spoilers: Not really
Summary: Sequel to It Takes A Village. Jim tries to give Chekov ‘The Talk’; it turns out to be far more difficult than he imagined.
“It’ll be a piece of cake,” Jim tells Bones confidently. Chekov’s nearly eighteen, after all, and he’s spent the last few years at Starfleet Academy. Jim knows Starfleet Academy. There’s no way that kid doesn’t know the facts of life. He’s pretty sure this is Bones’s idea of a prank. But whatever, the Academy didn’t exactly cover ‘giving your navigator the talk’; Jim assumes it falls under the concept of ‘pastoral care’, which always seemed to him the least interesting part of being a Starfleet captain.
Three months in, it strikes him the pastoral care thing is going to be a more dominant feature than he ever expected.
“Chekov! Hey, Chekov!” The kid waits for Jim to catch up, an enquiring look on his face.
Jim grins at him, and claps him on the shoulder. “Quick question, whizz. You know all about the birds and the bees, right?”
Chekov nods, all bright attentiveness. “Yes, sir. We studied them at the Academy.”
“That’s great.” Jim claps him on the shoulder again. Piece of cake. Chekov smiles cheerfully.
“I always liked the parrots.” He heads off. Jim watches him, his grin fixed in place.
It’s all fine, Jim assures Bones. He tosses around words like “idiomatic difficulties” and makes a quick escape before Bones can aim his eyebrows properly. He tracks down Chekov in the mess hall, where he’s poring over a padd. Jim grabs a meal from the replicator, and slides his tray onto the table next to him.
“Hey,” he says.
“Hello, Keptin,” says Chekov, looking a bit confused. He glances around. “Did you want something?”
“No,” says Jim airily, poking at a bit of green jello with his fork and wondering what category of space cuisine it falls into. “I just thought we could chat.”
“Talk. Shoot the breeze.” Jim waves his fork eloquently. He notices Spock sitting with Uhura and Sulu. Are they watching him? Nah. He’s paranoid.
Chekov’s nodding, and putting his padd to one side. “Werry well,” he says, folding his arms, and looking serious. “What would you like to talk about, Keptin?”
“Right,” says Jim. He smiles, leans back. This is fine. He’s been doing girl-talking-stuff since he was a kid. He can do this. “So, just to put this out there: you know how babies are made, right?”
Chekov’s just staring at him. “How… babies… are made?” he says, his tone distinctly dubious. He mimes rocking a baby. “Babies – yes?”
Jim points and grins. “Exactly. You know how that works. What am I talking about? Of course you do.”
“Of course,” says Chekov. “I am not child, Keptin. Babies are brought by bears; everyone knows this.” Something beeps, and he jumps up. “My apologies, sir, I will be late for my shift.”
He leaves. Jim pokes at his jello again.
“You are not enjoying your lunch, Captain?” asks Spock. He’s standing over the table, Uhura and Sulu hanging back.
“It’s great,” lies Jim, and assures himself that there is no hint of mockery in Spock’s dark eyes. He definitely remembers reading somewhere that space made you paranoid. He thinks maybe he should mention it to Bones.
He won’t mention the part about bears bringing babies, though.
Bones says he’s not paranoid and tells him not to be such a whining baby, but Jim’s about 92% sure that people are watching him, which is admittedly a fairly usual state of affairs for him, so he thinks maybe he just has some kind of latent captainly guilt over Chekov and the bear thing – he’d think Chekov was playing him, but Christ, just look at the kid – and he just needs to sort it out.
He goes for a different tack. They’re on the bridge – Sulu is down in Engineering having some sort of spontaneous warp engine symposium with Scotty (Jim makes a mental note to do something about the number of subspace messages going between Engineering and Admiral Archer’s office because, seriously, they both need to get over the beagle thing, and, oh yes, how exactly did this become his problem?), and Spock and Uhura are having an intense conversation about Vulcan vowels, or what-the-fuck-ever (look, it’s not like he’s not curious about what goes on between those two, but it’s private, and he can deal with that, he’s a mature adult, and he’s sure Bones knows something he’s not telling, cuz he gets pretty twitchy whenever the subject comes up, but that’s a casual interrogation for another day), so it’s just him and Chekov.
“Sulu says you have a thing for that brunette in the AstroLab,” he says to Chekov, and the Navigator spins round, eyes wide in betrayal.
“Sir!” he says, looking around furtively like it’s some kind of secret and not something everyone on the damn ship knows about.
Jim waves a hand. “Hey, relax. Everyone knows about it. So, look, you know how to talk to girls, right?”
Chekov shrugs. “Actually, I do not know so many girls.”
“But at the Academy…” Jim breaks off. Chekov is shaking his head. “Sisters? Cousins? Aunts?” Chekov’s still looking sad and shaking his head. Jim’s getting desperate. “What about your mom?”
Chekov hangs his head. “I was raised by monks in Siberian orphanage,” he says.
Jim stares at him, then concedes momentary defeat. “OK. What’s our course looking like?”
“He was raised by monks! In an orphanage!”
“You don’t say. Hold still.” There’s a whoosh of a hypospray.
“Ow! I told you stop doing that!”
“Oh, stop your whining.”
“In an orphanage, Bones! Oh, and did you know that one of our transporter officers is having a crisis of confidence of his ability to do the job? I practically had to talk him down jumping off a warp nacelle. Then I had to go and talk to his superior – who is, I now know, a total asshole – about reassigning him.”
Bones potters with his equipment. “Well, sounds like you had the right idea,” he says.
Jim rubs his neck where Bones injected him, and looks woebegone. “I didn’t realise it would be this hard,” he admits quietly. “I mean, exploring and fighting and adventuring – I got that. But this?” He shakes his head. “I’m not cut out for this, Bones. I- I’m flying blind. I mean, Jesus, how am I supposed to advise anyone about anything?” He flops back on the Med Bay bed, and covers his face with his arm.
Bones swats at his legs. “You finished, princess?” The only response is a mumble. “Snap out of it, Jim! You wanted this captaincy, and you’ve got it. You’re a big fish in a tiny pond on Enterprise, and people are gonna look to you. You just have to try to steer ‘em right.” His voice softens slightly. “You’re doing a good job, Jim, and you know if ever you need to talk about anything that…”
Jim sits up abruptly, eyes sharp. “Really? Cuz Spock came up to me earlier and asked a question about human female hormonal cycles and I was thinking it would probably be more your sort of…”
Bones is already backing away. “Oh, I don’t think a mere medic should interfere in the delicate relationship between the captain and first officer,” he lies.
“Bastard,” says Jim.
“Mnh,” says Bones, flapping a hand. “Get out of here, Captain.”
Jim removes himself from Med Bay, and goes on the hunt for Chekov once again, finding him on his way to his quarters.
“You weren’t raised in a Siberian orphanage by monks,” he says, and Chekov grins.
“I’m talking to Spock. You’re on night shifts for a month.”
“Yes, Keptin,” says Chekov, his head lowered. But he doesn’t sound particularly abashed, and Jim returns to his quarters to compose a poisonous message to Bones - because like he believes for a minute that the doctor didn't have anything to do with the Siberian orphanage - about the inadvisability of trying to prank the man who holds dominion over every man and woman’s creature comforts.
A week later, Chekov slumps into the mess hall, looking morose. “Miya does not wish to be my girlfriend,” he says sadly. Jim smiles commiseratingly.
“Sit down, kid,” he says. “Lemme tell you about the time Susie Hathaway dumped me for Eddie Jones.”
After a few guy-stories and a couple glasses of moonshine, Chekov is looking, if not perkier, then certainly less morose, and Jim thinks he might be getting the hang of this captain thing after all.