Thine, oh Paramount/Viacom, All thine and never mine -these characters, situations, and all the myriad creations of the Great Bird. Pray indulge us this humble fanfic, and I'll make no claim to it's rights.

Knot the Second:

Lost & Found in the Old Presidio

By Taylor Dancinghands

Six blocks walking in the night air made chill and damp from the famous San Francisco fog did much to dispel the inner, alcohol-induced fog with which Sulu and Chekov had begun their journey.

It was this inner fog, and not any meteorological phenomenon which was entirely to blame for the fact that they had also begun by walking several blocks in the wrong direction, wandering two blocks into a commercial district before they even realized that they'd left the residential neighborhood where Chekov's quarters (as well as Scotty's and Uhura's) were.

They'd come back to the residential neighborhood by retracing their footsteps (to the best of their questionable recollections), and Sulu was pretty sure he knew where Chekov's apartment and the airpad (where he'd left his shuttle) were, but only pretty sure.

*Now there's irony for you,* he chuckled to himself. *The helmsman and navigator of the most famous starship in the Federation, and we get lost in six square blocks of San Francisco--not ten kilometers from Starfleet headquarters!*

Still, it was about as nice as most San Francisco nights got, and Sulu was now just clear-headed enough to pay attention to it--and also still drunk enough to enjoy it.

It was foggy, but it was a light fog--blurring without dimming the street lamps' light into a series of golden balls stretching away down the curving street. From where the lamps threw light against the trunks of the towering eucalyptus which lined the street, to Sulu's eyes they seemed to disappear as they reached up and out into foggy nothingness.

"Shouldn't we haff passed Mr. Scott's residence again by now?" Chekov interrupted his reverie.

Sulu looked around, this time focusing more on the houses and addresses than on the trees and fog.

"I dunno; I think we must have," Sulu said. "I guess I wasn't really paying attention."

"Do you t'ink we can find my qvarters before de sun comss up?" Chekov asked, without really expecting an answer.

But Sulu was already feeling defensive about his vaunted piloting skills. "Look," he said. "It can't be far--we're in the right neighborhood. I bet if I could see the stars we'd be there by now."

*Oh, well, **that** sounds really confidence inspiring,* Sulu thought with chagrin. *Sure, you weren't paying attention.* Oh, he'd been paying attention all right, just not to where they were going. He hadn't really thought, until now, about how long it had been since he'd spent any companionable time with Pavel Chekov. *I thought I'd learned not to stare.* But watching the half-inebriated Russian, singing something in the mother tongue as he strolled unselfconsciously under the lamplight, Sulu felt the old longing in his heart again.

*Cut it out,* he schooled himself. *If he was interested he'd have said something. He can't possibly have failed to notice by now, can he?*

But Sulu had been down this road too many times before. He quashed his rebellious thoughts of desire, and once again put away his longing for a more intimate relationship with his longtime companion. He was having a pleasantly drunk night out with a good friend, no need to spoil it with futile yearning for things he'd determined long ago were unobtainable.

Their wandering had brought them now to an intersection. The road they were on ended, and another led off to the left and right.

"Well? Watt do you t'ink?" Chekov asked.

"They're your quarters. What do you think?" Sulu successfully returned the ball.

"I t'ink. . ." said Chekov with deliberation. "I t'ink I need a map. But we don't haff a map. So watt do you t'ink?"

Sulu sighed heavily. Their reputations were on the line, and the ball was in his court. He thought hard. "Pavel, your quarters, are they at the top of a hill, or at the bottom?" Everything in San Francisco was on a hill, including the Presidio. This could give an important clue.

Chekov had his eyes closed trying to envision the building he had stayed in the last three nights, but probably not paid much attention to, otherwise.

"Yes," said Chekov like a spiritualist receiving a message from the beyond, "I can see it. Dere is a hill. De building is. . . is. . . on its side."

"The building is on its side?" Sulu said, confused.

"De hill side," Chekov said, exasperated. "Halfway up it, or halfway down, dependink how you look at eet."

"That's not going to help a lot, Pavel," Sulu said with ill-concealed exasperation as he reviewed their options, one snaking up the hill into the trees and fog, the other winding down it.

Chekov gave one of those heartbreakingly innocent smiles and shrugged expressively. Sulu swallowed hard and struggled to keep a lid on his uncooperative imagination, trying to focus on the task at hand.

"OK, I have an idea," he said after a moment. "We go up the hill and look for a view to get our bearings. The fog's not so heavy that we won't see the Golden Gate, or at least the spaceport beacon. Then we'll have a better idea of where we are."

"I suppose dat would be a possitive step towards disscovering where my qvarters are--almost as good as a mep." Chekov considered. "Up de hill it is, den."

The winding road was steep enough to effectively put an end to conversation, but also served to warm them with exertion as they climbed, driving away the foggy night's chill. But if San Francisco is a city of many hills, it is also a city of many breathtaking views. As Chekov and Sulu toiled their way to the crest of the ridge on whose flank the Presidio rested they did indeed find a place to stand between the ancient eucalyptus
trees and look out and down the hill.

Below them the city and the bay were revealed in patterns of light that stretched away on all sides. The fog was lifting some, and it was even possible to see the lights of the Golden Gate bridge faintly in the distance. Starfleet Headquarters and its adjacent spaceport were clearly visible on the left, and directly below them, described by the meandering patterns of lights occasionally obscured by the corridors of eucalyptus, was the Historic Presidio Residential District, in all its glory.

Sulu quickly spotted the neighborhood landing field where he'd parked his shuttle flyer, and looked to see if Chekov was going to be able to find hisquarters from here. The soft gold lamplight showed the Russian's face sharply focused on thepattern of lights below. Sulu knew that look. If Chekov hadn't spotted his objective yet, he'd have it soon. He leaned back against one of the fragrant trees and took in the whole view while he waited. It was worth spending time on. Memories of flying an antique internal combustion helicopter (only it wasn't an antique then) over that same skyline not long ago (in memory) brought a smile to Sulu's lips, but as the memory continued, unbidden, Sulu came to recall how his memorable day's outing had ended: how he had returned triumphant to the ship to learn that Chekov was missing and presumed to be in enemy hands.

Recalling the sense of near panic that had gripped him upon hearing this news he felt a chill wash of fear sweep over him again, like the chill, damp bay breeze. Reflexively he looked up at Chekov, childishly needing to reassure himself that the Russian was truly standing beside him, content and unharmed.

Chekov was indeed still there, leaning against the neighboring eucalyptus. He had either determined the location of his quarters or had given up and was just woolgathering. In either case, his focus had softened, his features relaxed, as he also took in the vision of bay fog and lights.

Hikaru Sulu felt an almost wrenching surge of desire on every level of his awareness, from the heart of his affection for the courageous being who had risked and suffered so much in the last few weeks and months, to the all-consuming desire he experienced as he gazed at the gorgeous creature standing next to him silhouetted in the lamplit fog.

*Get a grip, pilot,* Sulu admonished himself severely. *Come on, let's get him home and get you into a cold shower.*

"So, d'you think you can see your building?" Sulu asked when he was sure of his voice.

"Yes," said Chekov, rousing himself. "I t'ink. . .if dat iss de shuttle field. . . " he pointed to where Sulu had located it, himself, and Sulu nodded. "Den my quarters are. . ." Chekov's outstretched arm pointed to trace a line of fog-blurred lights headed to the left, away from the shuttle field, ". . . right dere."

Chekov appeared to be pointing to a spot directly below where they stood, nearly to the very bottom of the hill.

"And how do you suggest we go?" Sulu asked, even though he was pretty sure he knew the answer.

"Back de way we came," he said cheerily, pointing down the road they had just toiled up. "I knew we should haff gone down de hill in de first place."

"Well then, why didn't you say so?" asked Sulu, glad to be distracted, even if by exasperation.

"Well, you seemed to know watt you wair doink..."

"I did not!" Sulu protested. "How did I seem to know what I was doing? I kept asking *you* which way to go!"

"I t'ought you wair chust t'inkink out loud," Chekov answered, all innocence. Sulu gave up. The hill was steep and he had to pay attention to what he was doing or risk a possibly serious fall. "Drunken Enterprise Helmsman Takes Tumble Down Presidio" was a headline he would like to avoid seeing on the Federation news service. But after awhile the hill leveled off a little and, as he kind of got into the rhythm of his downhill amble, he began to catch himself Chekov-watching again. *None of that, now,* he chided himself. *How about some small talk, to distract yourself?*

"So what are your plans for tomorrow?" he asked Chekov as they walked.

"Not'ink in particular," the Russian replied.

"Well, why don't we get together--do something fun?" Sulu went on before he knew what he was going to say. "Maybe. . . do you want to see what I've been flying out at the test range?" he asked, thinking fast. "They'll probably let me take you up in anything you want. Anything they'll let me fly, anyway."

"What makes you t'ink I want to be anywhere near dose deathtraps you fly?" Chekov retorted, a little abruptly.

"OK," said Sulu amiably, trying to salvage what he could. "What are your plans for tomorrow?"

Chekov looked as though he were about to say something, then seemed to change his mind and said something else. "I'm . . . I'm busy tomorrow," came out almost sullenly.

"Oh yeah? Doing what?" Sulu asked before he could stop himself. *What has gotten into you?!* he railed inwardly. *Half a bottle of sake and three, or was it four, shots of vodka,* he answered his own question. The cool air might have sharpened his senses but it hadn't done a thing for his wits.

"I haff a meetink," Chekov responded tersely.

But now Sulu was worried, and not anymore altogether sorry that he'd pried.

"Aren't they finished with you yet?" he asked with concern. "Pavel, they can't make you keep going to these meetings, the case is closed. What the hell can they still want from you?"

"I asked for dis meetink myself!" Chekov said through clenched teeth.

"Huh?" asked Sulu intelligently, stopping dead in his tracks. "Pavel, what the. . .how come?"

Chekov stopped, heaving a great sigh, evidently despairing of keeping anything to himself. "I want a court-martial for my actions on de Reliant, and dey won't give me one. My meeting wit' de Admiral tomorrow iss my last chance to convince dem otherwise."

"But. . . Pavel, why?"

"Because it's all on my record!" It was clearly painful for Chekov to speak of this, and painful for Sulu watching him, but it was better that someone hear what was on Chekov's mind before he did something stupid.

"Its in my record dat I betrayed my crewmates, helped a dangerous madman to gain control of a Starfleet wessel, and was de only surwifor of de ship I betrayed. Nowhere on my record does it say if I wass found responsible or not, nowhere does it say if I was culpable. Der wass no hearink, no trial, and no official findink, and wit'out a court martial, dat's de way it will stay. No commandink officer in his right mind would choose an officer wit' a record like dat."

"But you're already signed on the Enterprise 'A.' Nobody there will care," said Sulu, not getting it.

"Dat's not de point!"

Sulu began to wonder when the Russian standing in the middle of the street and shouting would eventually wake the neighbors, but there was no stopping him now.

"Dat's not de point! Don't you understand? Why do you t'ink I left de Enterprise for de Reliant? Did you effer wonder?"

"Well, sure," Sulu stumbled, confused and really worried now.

"Watt did you t'ink, den? Why did I do it?"

"I dunno. Everybody had their theories. . ."

"Not dem, you." Chekov made an angry gesture. "What did you t'ink?"

Now somehow this had become personal and Hikaru Sulu was utterly, utterly lost. He didn't know what was troubling Chekov, he only knew what was troubling him, but without understanding what Chekov wanted from him all he could think of doing was telling the truth."

"I. . . I thought you were tired of being. . .being ogled."

There was an awkward silence.

"Ogled?" said Chekov after a moment. "Watt means dis. . 'ogled'?"

Sulu felt his heart slowly begin to sink into his belly as, conversely, most of his blood seemed to have rushed to his face.

"You know," he said with anguish. "Leered at, stared at, be. . . lusted after. . . drooled over. . ." he was growing hysterical, but Chekov stopped him.

"You thought I left de Enterprise because I wass tired of beink. . . ogled at?" he asked incredulously.

"That wasn't. . .?"

"I thought. . . you neffair seemed to t'ink I could take care of myself," Chekov explained, bewildered. "You wair always lookink out for me, checkink my work. As if you didn't trust me to do my job. As iff you nevair stopped thinkink off me as a . . . as a wet-behint-the-earss ensign. Are you tellink me dat's not watt you thought?"

If Sulu could have caused the Bay Area Tectonic Stability Field to fail in a way that would result in the ground under his feet opening up and swallowing him, he would have. He was dead cold sober now, and assaulted by a score of crystal-clear memories of all the times he had ever made an excuse to go over and talk with Chekov. Every time he had made up a reason to work with him on some project. Seeing now how it must have seemed to Chekov. How patronizing his tone, how constantly interfering he must have seemed.

Without any real hope of salvaging his friendship, much less having it develop into anything more, Sulu felt compelled to offer an explanation and apology.

"Pavel, you were the most competent new officer we ever had on the Enterprise. You knew your job better on your first day of duty than a lot of guys who'd served for months, or more. If I seemed to be. . . hanging around a lot it was just because I . . . I wanted. . .I never wanted you to think that I thought. . . that you couldn't do your job. You were great at your job. You probably would've done it better without me hanging around. I was just finding excuses to work with you, to be near you so I could ... so I could. . ."

"Ogle?" Chekov put in helpfully.

*Now, please,* Sulu wished with all his might at the earth under him. *Any time now, please.*

"Pavel, I'm really sorry. I never ever thought of you as anything less than the. . .the best navigator we ever had." *And a toothsome little morsel,* rose up unbidden in his thoughts. He winced inwardly and looked up to see Chekov moving again, walking slowly down the hill.

"All I wanted wass to get you to stop t'inkink of me as a 'leetle brother' and it turns out dat wass nevair watt you t'ought," Chekov said, almost to himself as he walked.

They continued in silence for another block or so, Sulu trailing dejectedly behind Chekov, and moved out of the street and onto the sidewalk, before Chekov spoke up again.

"I feel like an idiot," he said.

"Well, there's plenty of that to go around," Sulu responded with heartfelt sincerity.

"I chust wish I had known," Chekov went on.

"Known what?"

"Dat you wair. . . ogling."


"I ... wouldn't haff minded."

Now it was Sulu who stopped dead in his tracks, halting in the center of an irregular patch of light where one of the streetlights shone down through the eucalyptus branches above. It took him several minutes to locate the tiny mangled fragment of hope that he had heedlessly swept into aseldom-visited corner of his heart, but find it he did.

"What," he said after a moment, heart in his throat, "if I still was?"

"And are you, still?" Chekov asked.

For an answer, Sulu overcame years of carefully trained inhibition and let it all hang out. He let his eyes openly sweep the navigator's body in appraisal from head to toe, from where the lamplight fell on his elegant features, and shone on his mist dusted brown hair, to the napped fabric of the slacks he wore just close-fitting enough to outline his perfectly-shaped ass, where Sulu longed to lay his hands. With his eyes and smile he took in how the Russian stood poised under the light, and how even the slightest gesture like the uptilting of his head as he regarded Sulu, revealed the catlike grace with which he moved, always. All this and more he took in while allowing himself what he never had before, to show openly his appreciation and admiration, even letting a little sigh escape at the last.

As Sulu watched, Chekov blinked and then swallowed hard. His lips parted as though preparing for speech, but he remained speechless for several more moments before he found his voice.

"OK," he said, not quite steadily. "Maybe we can forget de ogling for now ..."

Sulu felt his heart falter.

"And go on to de part where you let me kiss you?"

Sulu would later wonder how it was that his poor heart hadn't just given out at that point. Having spent the latter part of the evening on an emotional roller coaster to wind up teetering on the brink of a precipice of despair, and just as he was certain he was doomed to plunge over theedge he'd found to his astonishment that he'd been given wings.

He didn't remember exactly how he'd assented to Chekov's inquiry but now he found himself tasting Pavel's lips, felt the Russian's mouth against his own, consuming him as he, in turn, consumed Chekov's. Even so it was hard to believe he was actually holding Pavel's compact, lithe body in his arms.

As though to prove it to himself he reached up with one hand to comb his fingers through Chekov's silken hair, reached down with the other to caress his firm and shapely ass, all the while plumbing the depths of Chekov's mouth with his tongue. He floated euphorically in this cloud of sensations until a critical spacer's instinct intruded and reminded him that he would need to breathe. He lifted his lips away with a gasp, opening his eyes to the vision of Pavel's beguiling eyes and face in the golden lamplight.

"My God, Pavel," spilled from him as he brushed his lips over Chekov's hair.

"Hikaru. . ." Chekov whispered happily as he nuzzled Sulu's throat. Sulu had wanted to say more, but had to stop when Chekov reached up to nibble on his ear and the sensation made him almost sob with pleasure. He caressed the navigator's face, feeling the smooth skin there, and wished to touch more of him. He was once again consumed with desire, but this time. . .

"My God, Pavel," he said again, and this time Chekov lifted his head to meet Sulu's eyes with his own sparkling with passion. "What. . . what have we done?"

"I don't know," said Chekov innocently as he kissed Sulu's face. "Watt *haff* we done?"

"Years!" cried Sulu, gathering the Russian into his arms. "Years wasted!"

"Well, den," said Chekov wickedly, caressing the inside of Sulu's thigh, "we will haff to make up for lost time."

Sulu gasped as Chekov's agile hand found its way to his groin and firmly stroked what it found there. In a white heat of ardor Sulu found Pavel's mouth with his own and attacked it voraciously, while his hands roamed Chekov's clothing, searching for a way in to touch and stroke, skin to skin. He saw Chekov's eyes open wide as his hand found the gap between slacks and sweater and slipped beneath.

Basking in the heat of Chekov's passion (and a good wool sweater), Sulu's hand found its way across Pavel's back to caress the strong shoulders, slipped under his arm to caress the sensitive skin there, ranged over his belly feeling the smooth muscles and finally reached up over his chest to brush first one, and then the other nipple with his fingertips.

Chekov gave a soft moan and thrust his hips against Sulu with such force that he staggered back a step or two into the shadows and fetched up against the trunk of one of the eucalyptus trees. Thus braced against the tree trunk, when Chekov pressed against him he thrust back almost feeling the heat of the other's sex through their clothing.

Both inflamed with passion now, they tasted one another, stroked and fondled one another, pulled each other close, thrust against one another all under the sheltering shadow of the eucalyptus. But at length Sulu, gasping and panting, regained some measure of self-control.

"Pavel," he gasped. "I think ... I think we should probably ... " he

moaned slightly as Chekov kissed his jaw, his cheek, "we should take this ... uhm ... inside?"

"Why?" asked Chekov, reaching under his shirt.

There was, Sulu thought, probably some law against this sort of thing, but that seemed like a pretty abstract concept right now. No, there was another important reason, worth interrupting himself a moment ago, but what was it?

Unexpectedly, Sulu gave a little yelp. Chekov had slipped his hand under Sulu's shirt and were his fingers ever cold! That was it!

"Because it's too damn cold!" Sulu said, kissing Pavel's icy fingers as he removed them from under his shirt.

"Well, you do haff a point," Chekov conceded. "My qvarters should only be two or three more blocks down. We can light de fire," he concluded with enthusiasm.

"You're sure you know where it is now?" Sulu was in no mood to wander around lost in the fog for another hour, but then, it wasn't likely that Chekov was, either.

"Not as sure as I am about some things," Pavel said, casting an endearing and affectionate glance at Sulu, "but I am sure enough dat it will take less time to find my quarters dan it will to call a cab and get a hotel room."

Sulu smiled. He had thought this through. "Point the way, navigator!" he said, throwing his arm around said navigator's shoulders.

"Full impulse power, helm!" said Chekov as they stepped down the hill into the fog.

"Steady as she goes!"

End - Knot the Second