"So for your stag night two days from now --" Jim began the following morning over breakfast.
Len jerked his head up so fast from staring at his cup of coffee that he heard his spine crack. He turned to look at Jim in horror. "What? No! No one's having a stag night!"
Jim looked personally wounded. "Are you kidding me? You're getting married, Bones! That's huge! You've got to have a stag night with sexy dancers and card games and lots of alcohol. It's like, the law or something."
"Where? On planet Fraternity Assholes?" Len grumbled. He lifted the PADD he'd hauled along to breakfast in the officers' mess in front of his face and pointedly ignored Jim.
"Look, Bones, I'm your best friend," Jim began in his best wheedling tone. He'd already done that duck and peer thing around the PADD which meant he was now eyeing Len from the side with a plaintive look on his half-hidden face. Stupid recent generation of PADDs and their scaled-down screens. Gone were the days when Len could easily block out Jim's wide blue eyes trying to entreat him to do something stupid and catch up on the latest medical journals at the same time.
"Says something about my taste," Len muttered.
"And it's my duty to throw you a bachelor party, okay? So don't try to make me not do this."
Leonard pretended to think about it for a second. "No."
"Come on, I'm feeling like the worst captain ever right now." Jim lowered his voice and leaned in closer. "Two of my crew are getting married under sort-of duress, there are a heap of Regalians who are getting antsy and excited waiting for a crazy huge wedding bash, and now we're dealing with a whole bunch of Parliamentarians insisting they hold off on signing the papers ratifying their entrance into the Federation until after the ceremony."
"Not listening," Len muttered.
"Plus, everyone in Engineering spent more time talking about what they should get you and Chekov for a wedding present yesterday than they did on fixing a burnt-out nanacel, my helmsman is more focused on boutonnières than he is on his mission reports, and Spock's mad at me today because -- well, I don't know why the hell he's mad at me, actually." He slumped in his seat and then he turned those big stupid baby blues on Len and said in his most plaintive voice, "Let me have this."
Len shot him an incredulous look. "Oh my god, are you reverting back to your strategies for trying to get your big boy bicycle or your first Little Captain Starfleet Halloween costume? You can't tell me this kind of thing ever worked on Winona."
"No," Jim admitted, looking a little put out about it, too. "But you have to let me do nice stuff for you, on account of all the times you've saved my life and been there for me when things have gone to hell and junk."
"Give me one real reason why I should," Len argued.
"I understand that you will be observing the period directly prior to your joining with Ensign Chekov with what is known as a 'stag night,'" Spock observed in his fun-times monotone as he took a place at their table with his own tray.
Apparently Spock wasn't so miffed at Jim that he wasn't going to take his customary place at his side for breakfast. After all, how could he miss out on keeping that freaky Vulcan-y stare alternately tuned intently to whatever Jim was doing and scaring off any giggly ensigns or yeomen who might try to finagle a place at their table?
"Yeah, well, you heard wrong," Len shot back.
Spock merely arched an eyebrow as he began neatly eating what looked like a pile of cactus segments sprinkled with weird pollen and funky sprouts. Not that Len wasn't going to judge his culinary choices, especially not if maybe Jim's epic lust for his First Officer might actually drive him to copy Spock's healthy entrees and stop eating only those damn cheeseburgers all the time.
Of course, the way Jim was nervously wolfing down French fries -- which definitely weren't on his personal approved foods list and weren't supposed to be available at breakfast anyway as per CMO's orders, damn it -- Leonard wasn't going to count on Jim adopting a new health food regime for love just yet.
"Come on, Bones!" Jim alternated his glare at Len with a hopeful smile Spock's way. "It'll give Spock a chance to observe human rituals." When he looked Leonard's way again he raised his eyebrows as high up as they would go, a surefire Jim Kirk signal for You gotta be my wingman right now, Bones, please please pleasepleaseplease!.
"Indeed." Spock raised an eyebrow expectantly as he gazed at Len.
"Plus it's your last night of freedom and all," Jim put in unwisely. "You don't want to miss out, do you?"
Len would have liked to shove his chair back as he got to his feet, but the damn mess hall seats were affixed to the tables with bolts. "Shut your mouth, Jim," he muttered as he stood to leave.
"Bones, hey, no! Don't be like that! Wait up," Jim called after him, abandoning his tray to hightail it after Len.
"Don't you want to spend some quality time catching up with Spock?" Leonard said pointedly as Jim jogged by his side to keep up with his rapid pace.
"Nope. Things are a little -- Spock might need some time, or --" Jim looked half like he was going to laugh out loud from sheer nervousness and half like his lower lip was fixing to slide out in an aggrieved pout.
"Weird after the two of you made out last night? At least, I hope that's all you did," Leonard added when Jim's jaw dropped.
"How do you know about me and Spock?" Jim asked, incredulous and far too loud. Then, "No, seriously, how?" in a more hushed tone when two passing lieutenants looked at him curiously. "I thought nobody saw..." he trailed off with a wince when Leonard shot him a pointed look.
"Let's just say you weren't exactly alone on Regalis Prime when you started up that lip lock last night. So what the hell was that, anyway?" Leonard gave Jim a sharp poke in the ribs and narrowed his eyes. He felt on firmer ground now, being the one to ask the questions and put Jim on the spot. "You looked like you were about to climb Spock like he was a tree."
Jim eyed him defensively. "You want to know what the hell that was? Well, that makes two of us, because I want to know what the hell you were thinking, kissing Chekov the way you did."
"It's none of your damn business," Leonard grumbled.
"Oh, and what happens between me and Spock is yours?" Jim asked, looking like he was really getting upset now.
"Jim, you should know by now that everything you do is my damn business!" Len exploded.
"How does that not work both ways?" Jim asked in exasperation. "Look," he said in a softer voice, tugging Len to the side so that they could slip into in an empty briefing room instead of carrying on in the middle of a crowded corridor. "I thought you were doing this to help out, to be a nice guy. And then last night, the way you kissed Pavel, it sort of seemed like, well. Maybe you're getting married to Chekov because you actually want to be with him."
"Don't be an idiot."
"Oh, so you're saying you don't want to be with him?" Jim planted his hands on his hips and frowned. "I mean, leaving aside the fact that you're marrying the guy in a couple of days, which would sort of seem to support the liking him romantically thing, if you're not interested in Chekov you were sending one hell of a mixed message last night the way you had your tongue down his throat. You can't just lead him on if you don't actually have feelings for the kid, Bones."
"Good thing you weren't leading Spock on, then, huh?" Len commented wryly. "The way the two of you were clinched together in that alcove, anyone would expect that you woke up this morning on some kind of straw mat beside a Vulcan meditation stone."
Jim's cheeks flushed an angry red. "Oh yeah? Well, for your information, I did sort of lead him on, because nothing else happened besides a few kisses! We both went back to our rooms once we were aboard like good senior officers, without one more grope, and oh my god, did I lead Spock on?" For a moment Jim looked shocked and worried. "Maybe he totally thought we were going to hook up, and I left him hanging right outside the door to my quarters! I was trying to be classy and leave the door open for something more, you know, serious, but -- maybe that means he thinks I don't want another chance. Maybe that means he won't give me another chance!" Then he shook his head and his jaw went tight; unluckily for Len, it seemed like he was ready to shift gears and get right back to haranguing Len about his low down dirty dog ways.
Leonard screwed up his face in aggravation, and prepared to let Jim have it when the lecture started up again. Yeah, he was ready to admit to himself he'd acted like an idiot the night before, but that didn't mean he had to stand for Jim needling him.
But then Jim Kirk had to go ahead and take a seat at the table and look up at Leonard soberly as he gestured for him to join him. Len scowled but sat down all the same.
Seeming every inch the Starfleet Captain, Jim said firmly, "I don't want you to hurt Chekov or confuse him about what this means. But I don't want to see you hurt either."
"Hell of a time for you to go all mature on me," Len groused, but his heart wasn't really in it. He slumped in the chair next to Jim's and sighed. "I don't know what to tell you, Jim. Last night, I just --" He took a couple of deep breaths. "I let myself get caught up in the moment."
"Was that all it was?" And when had Jim gained that underlying strength in his voice that made Len want to blurt out the whole mess in his head before he figured out his jumble of thoughts for himself?
Not trusting himself to speak, Len nodded. Then he made himself say, "It's just a formality, this wedding, just for ceremony. It's to smooth things over with the Regalians. I know that. The kid knows that. No one's going to try to complicate things, and no one's going to try to pretend it means a damn thing to either of us."
"Okay. If you say the two of you have it worked out, then fine." Jim folded his hands and looked at Len calmly. Then he waggled his eyebrows. "Still, bachelor party, am I right?"
As Len stormed out of the room and away from his captain, a plaintive, "Aww, come on, Bones!" echoed after him.
Len would have been perfectly fine with avoiding Jim for the next few days. Only then his damn Captain called a mandatory meeting on the following day, calling for all the personnel that Leonard and Chekov had indicated they wanted involved in the actual service to attend. That way, in lieu of a time-consuming wedding rehearsal down on the planet, they could run through the plans together on the ship.
Len imagined the Regalians had objected to missing the chance to throw another hullabaloo and party for the rehearsal dinner. That crowd sure seemed to love pomp and ceremony. But obviously they were coming up quick on the actual wedding day, and everyone involved understood that there was only so much time left to take care of the details. Hell, if Leonard had his way, there would be no run-through at all; he figured that the ritual-obsessed Regalians and the well-trained crew could fumble their way through a structured ceremony without practice.
"It's to make sure we don't stick our collective feet in our mouths and mess up this Topaline deal for the Federation, I'm sure of it," Len grumbled to Christine as he handed over his open chart PADDs to her and prepared to leave sickbay. "Because since when does Jim care about protocol like that, unless the brass is leaning on him?"
"Well, whatever it's for, just pay attention," Christine told him briskly. "We can't have you tripping over that foot in your mouth on the way down the aisle and ruining Chekov's wedding day, now, can we?"
"Yeah, well, it's my wedding day too," he muttered, but she wasn't paying him one jot of attention, already having moved on to chat with the whiny ensign who had been waiting to talk about his poor little sprained finger.
As he walked by the door to his office, he paused, wondering if he should try yet again to get in touch with his daughter. He'd spoken to his dad once via audio link, verifying that Joanna was having a terrific time on Marina II with her grandparents. But every other time he got through it seemed Joanna had just gone to sleep or was invited to a friend's for dinner or out playing with the neighbor kids.
Despite his mother's offer to schedule a set time for Joanna to speak with him, he didn't push to make it happen. Not when Joanna was probably having the time of her life, getting to be the new girl on the colony and making lots of friends. No way would he want to interrupt any of that, particularly when she'd experienced her own tough times after the divorce. Knowing that his shy and withdrawn little girl was getting a taste of being carefree on this visit, even if only for a while, was more important than having a desultory conversation about whether she was minding her grandparents and eating all her vegetables.
Besides, if he did reach Joanna directly right now, he still wasn't entirely sure what he would tell her about this whole upcoming wedding debacle. Would he give her the bare bones, just saying he was getting married and leaving it at that? Or would he go into detail about Chekov and his razor-sharp mind and green eyes and appealing habit of smiling to himself whenever the two of them were together and he thought Len wasn't watching? Or would he take the angle of the whole royalty tale like it was a bedtime story, play up the part about Chekov on the throne, and Daddy getting to be the royal spouse? Joanna had always liked those stories about girls who discovered they were in fact princesses, even if Jocelyn insisted that fairy tales weren't good for kids.
With a glance at his wrist chrono, he mutely shook his head and turned toward the door. There was no point trying to call right now, obviously. Clearly he had to get going if he was going to make the meeting.
He pushed away the rush of relief in his mind at the thought of not having to bring the topic up to his kid for just a while longer.
He trudged down the corridor, weaving through the people on their way to Medical or taking a short cut through to Sciences, and spotted the ready turbolift just as it was about to close.
"Hey, hold it," he yelled.
"Take the next one, buddy," someone called out in a teasing voice, and a few people laughed.
"Very funny," Len grumbled as he shouldered his way into the crowded lift. He much preferred the more exclusive smaller lift that operated between the bridge and the rest of the ship, prioritized for officers and bridge crew. This one, like the other lifts, was designed for more general transport, sized to ferry a dozen crewmen all over the ship. It made frequent stops and tended to be crowded. Sure, Len had the authority to override all those other destinations for patients needing to get to sickbay in an emergency and to tell all the non-essential occupants to scram. But he definitely couldn't justify forcing everyone else to disembark and using his bypass code when he was merely running late to a non-urgent meeting on account of dragging his feet.
"Lieutenant," he said to a no-nonsense woman from Engineering who gave him a quick nod in acknowledgement. She stepped back and to the side slightly so he could make his way to an open spot. He was about to grumble that she could have just shifted over herself when he realized that the empty space the lieutenant had left for him put him right next to Ensign Pavel Chekov.
He stifled a sigh and took the vacated place. She probably thought she was doing Len a favor, letting him in next to his fiancé. Of course there was no way for her to have known he'd been lollygagging on his way to the meeting because he knew that things were bound to be damn awkward between him and Chekov at the moment. They hadn't spoken so much as word one since that ill-advised make-out session in front of the upper echelons of Regalian society last night. Well, he supposed they might as well start the awkwardness a few minutes ahead of schedule.
By the time the lift door had shut and Leonard slid in alongside Chekov, a number of interested eyes turned their way. Just great. Now they had an audience for this weirdness. Oh, are you headed to a meeting about our supposedly real wedding too? Same here! he imagined saying while the others looked on avidly. Damn it, he was a doctor, not some cheesy holovid soap opera performer!
"Hello," Chekov blurted a little too loudly as soon as Len's gaze met his.
Someone in the little clutch of crewmen let out a heartfelt, "Awww!" In the opposite corner, one ensign giggled.
"Something funny, Douglass?" Len called out.
"No. Um, no, sir," the ensign replied, obviously trying to bite back a smile from spreading over his face.
"Hi," Leonard finally replied in a lower tone to Chekov. Chekov dipped his head in a second greeting and then smiled shyly. "I'm guessing we're headed to the same place." There, that ought to be furtive enough to not haul out personal information in front of the others and friendly seeming enough for a guy chatting with his husband-to-be.
"Da," Chekov said eagerly. "I mean, yes."
They rode in relative silence for a moment until they reached the next stop, where one of Spock's little protégés crammed himself into the increasingly crowded space, muttering to himself and barely making eye contact with anyone. They sure were a barrel of laughs, those guys down in Sciences.
Leonard glanced up to see Chekov watching him. Well, at least the kid was watching his mouth, his own lips absently parted all the while. Probably Chekov was wishing Len would say something else to dispel the tension. No doubt this was just strange for both of them. Too bad, Len thought sourly; much as he didn't like the idea of Chekov feeling weird about anything, he was never one for unnecessary chit-chat, especially if he felt pressured to carry on in front of a bunch of people. And a full lift crowded with nosy crewmembers who clearly would be better off minding their own business definitely didn't inspire him to blather on about nothing in particular just for laughs.
Besides, he wasn't sure if anything he tried to say to Chekov right now wouldn't come out all wrong. After all, even after wrestling with the subject on his own when he unsuccessfully tried to catch some sleep last night and all the while he was forcing himself to get ready to face the ship's morning, he still wasn't sure how he should deal with the topic. Maybe he should be making excuses for kissing Chekov like it was going out of style at the party, or finding a way to laugh off that unplanned make-out session like it was nothing, as it probably was to Chekov.
If he opened his mouth now, he might blurt out something ridiculous like, You smell good (which Chekov seriously did; Leonard wasn't sure how since he probably used the standard issue soap the rest of them got for their sonic showers). Or worse, Hey, I'm not sure if you noticed, but my hands meet perfectly in the small of your back (which they definitely did; Len had been manfully trying without much luck to push right out of his head all the ways that his body was telling him the two of them fit like they were made for each other).
So to cover up the oddness he tried a smile. If the way Chekov glanced away was any indication, it had probably looked more like a scowl. Ah, hell. Well, he'd come up with something to say to Chekov by the time they got off the lift and hopefully smooth over any ruffled feathers then.
"Could it get any more packed?" he grumbled when one ensign skipped off and two more crowded on. Luckily at the very next stop someone at the door to the lift said, "Sorry, all full," to some unlucky crewmember who had obviously rushed up to catch a ride. And they were on their way again.
At first everyone else seemed content to stay as quiet as he and Chekov were. At least none of them were probably going through any personal nuttiness over forced engagements and upcoming marriages; though, if they were, Leonard didn't want to hear a single word about it. Could be they were experiencing that sleepy reaction to the late-day lull of ship's afternoon that Jim often complained about. If only all the idiots on board would get their eight hours, they'd have nothing to complain about.
The lights in the turbolift shaft flashed by, vertical and then horizontal as the lift adjusted to its next destination. The shifting and swaying of their motion set Chekov into a small stumble, and a second later he was pressing against Len's body. "Apologies," Chekov said under his breath. He quickly looked up at Len and then down again, biting his lip.
"Don't think anything of it," Len said, his voice hoarse. He nearly resisted the urge to reach out and steady Chekov with a hand resting at his waist but did it anyway at the last minute. Well, what was he supposed to do, let the kid fall when he could have prevented it?
"Thank you," Chekov told him softly.
Len just jerked a nod in reply. When he realized he was still touching Chekov's hip he snatched his hand back.
One of the mess staff on the other side of the lift nudged the woman standing to his right and winked not so subtly. With a sinking feeling Len realized that maybe the reason the group was so quiet was that they were seriously was hoping for some kind of spectacle to take place between him and Chekov. What were they expecting, that he was going to dip the kid tango-style and kiss him passionately for their amusement? When a few of them caught his eye with their blatant stares, Len glowered until they had the decency to look away.
But then the same lieutenant who had greeted Len began asking her neighbor about the new snacks that were supposed to be available at the commissary but hadn't arrived yet. Thankfully just a few words spoken aloud seemed to relax the tension a bit. Moments later, other conversations began or restarted, providing a background hum of small talk that evened out the periodically surging and waning drone of the lift engines.
After a second or two Leonard decided it was probably safe to say something to Chekov without anyone peering their way. Better than standing there stiffly watching the way too attractive lingering blush on Chekov's cheeks.
Trouble was, what should he say? Sorry for pawing at you the other night didn't seem like the best opener. Or how about, listen, if you end up having a few too many on our wedding night, don't worry about me trying anything, because I actually get how little this is supposed to mean to either of us, all evidence from the way I kissed you like Atlanta was burning the other night to the contrary.
He should say something, though. At the moment all the other turbolift occupants seemed fine with their own conversations, no longer unduly eager to see if Chekov and he were going to do something relationship-y. They reacted quickly at the various stops to get off on the decks they were headed to or stepped further inside to help newcomers find a spot. But instead of setting Len's mind at ease to know no one was paying them any attention, it made Leonard feel increasingly uncomfortable that he and Chekov seemed the only ones not to have a few words to exchange.
When he glanced up, he saw Chekov's head was bowed slightly, and that there was a small smile on his face. Leonard nearly repeated what he'd said to the annoying ensign at the start of the turbolift ride, Something funny? Because maybe Chekov thought it was amusing, how Len was obviously at a loss for words. After all, he kind of had Len over a barrel with the embarrassing things that had gone on last night, every single one of which Len had drunkenly instigated.
Len sighed and reined in his surly thoughts. He should know better that Chekov wasn't that type of kid, really. He had a kindness and openness to his manner that made Leonard doubt he'd ever made fun of anyone except in a friendly, teasing way.
Then Chekov caught his eye and smiled a little wider, a crooked appealing grin that had Leonard unconsciously starting to smile back.
"This meeting, it should not take too long, I think," Chekov said hesitantly. He seemed almost breathless, though lord knew why; there had been enough stops in between all of Leonard's brooding that there was no excuse for either of them to puff or wheeze, even if Len had been running to catch the lift initially.
"It better not," Len complained. "I don't have time to sit around and listen to Jim go over stuff the rest of us take as common sense. I've got plenty to do down in sickbay without all of these interruptions."
For some reason, Chekov seemed to find this funny too, because he smiled again at Len, open and sweet.
"I like that about you," he said suddenly.
Len blinked. "Come again?"
"Your strong feelings about things," Chekov clarified. "Your passions," he continued in a slightly lower voice.
Someone else in the lift coughed pointedly.
"For your work primarily, of course," Chekov added quickly.
"Thanks," Len said uncomfortably. "I always thought you had that too," he said after a pause. He waved the hand that wasn't holding onto the lift stability bar vaguely. "You're damn good at what you do, and you get your job done without much drama or fuss. I respect that."
Chekov pressed his lips together, seeming like he was trying to hold back another grin. "To hear such a thing from you is very nice. Truthfully, I did not think that you noticed me much. Until lately, of course."
"Oh, no," Len disagreed. Some of the others seemed to have tuned in to their conversation and were leaning in a bit, apparently trying to catch their words. Len gave one in his line of vision the stink eye before he shifted, bodily trying to keep Chekov away from their gazes and keep the conversation between them private. "I always noticed you." Because he had, of course. It was hard to miss a boy genius on the ship fixing anything and everything crying out for desperate solutions during their crisis moments. Even during the lulls and milk runs, it was tough to avoid seeing Chekov at his station whenever Len lurked around the bridge; he couldn't help but notice how much both Jim and Spock relied on his competency and enthusiasm.
And if he'd also noticed Chekov a time or two because the kid was very easy on the eyes, well. No one but him had to know about that embarrassing little piece of information.
For some reason Len's gruff words had made Chekov turn bright pink. "That is good to know," he said almost to himself. Then he cleared his throat and met Len's gaze squarely. "I have some time after this meeting the captain has called. Lately I have been quite occupied with the Regalians, but today there is no such commitment to which I must adhere. Perhaps if you have some time yourself," Chekov said before he hesitated.
"Yeah, I've got some time," Len admitted. There was always work down in sickbay, but Geoff M'Benga was on duty, and it would keep.
"We could share lunch," Chekov said quickly. His cheeks burned once again after saying the words, but he looked eager to hear Len's answer, not like he'd flushed because he regretted extending the invitation. "That is, if you are agreeable --"
"That'd be just fine," Leonard said gruffly. "I can take you to the Officer's Mess if you like, or --"
"Or, if you like, my quarters," Chekov offered. He laughed a little, seeming slightly nervous. "Only because that way we can speak alone and not be interrupted."
"Or worry about busybodies listening in," Len said pointedly, glaring at a Yeoman who had joined the lift at the last stop and seemed overly interested in what they were saying. Instead of looking cowed, she gave him an innocent smile and didn't even have the courtesy to avert her eyes.
"That is true as well, I suppose," Chekov said, seeming amused. "Well? Will you join me in my quarters for lunch and conversation?"
When Chekov's words caught up to him, Len nodded slowly. He had no idea what Chekov wanted to speak to him about privately, but it didn't seem like anything bad. He supposed it would be a good chance for them, maybe an opportunity to iron out some of those marriage-related issues and expectations. It had been on his mind, obviously; hard not for it to be when Christine had reminded him daily that he ought to be scheduling such a conversation with Chekov, preferably before they walked down the aisle together as husband and husband.
It was best all around they tackled that stuff today, Len decided. Maybe Chekov had a couple of conditions that he'd thought up to make his life easier once he had to be married to Leonard. Maybe Leonard would have a chance to mention how he didn't expect anything from Chekov once they were wed.
Or maybe it was something else entirely, not at all about limits or keeping things exactly the way they had been before either of them had ever imagined they'd be calling the other man husband. Leonard felt an almost pleasant flutter of curiosity in his chest. Despite his tendency to go into situations expecting the worse, maybe some of this strange and unlikely situation could turn out more or less okay for them both.
"I'd like that," he found himself saying.
Chekov beamed at him, again swaying toward Len as the turbolift movement had them shuttling along a horizontal path.
Well, what the hell, Leonard told himself crossly, no longer bothering to check whose eyes were trained on them. He reached out to steady Chekov just in case he needed it. He didn't want the kid to be embarrassed about falling into him, or getting teased by his crewmates for stumbling on the turbolift like a plebe. But when he touched Chekov's shoulder, Chekov didn't pull back with muttered thanks or correct his posture with a mumbled excuse. Instead he leaned into Len, looking at him with those pretty green eyes wide and shining, those lips that Len now knew were soft and oh-so-kissable parted hopefully, and Leonard, instead of letting go, curled his fingers a little tighter around that slim shoulder.
"Awww," the same voice from the start of the ride murmured from across the lift.
Chekov jumped and pulled himself back slightly. He grinned at Len even though his cheeks were now flushed a deep pink.
"Mind your own beeswax," Len snapped, scowling again when most of the other turbolift riders snickered instead of looking abashed. "Ignore them," he advised Chekov in a low growl, yanking Chekov a little closer away from their nosy audience.
"All right," Chekov said, gazing into Len's eyes. And there was that breathless voice again. Maybe Leonard should have him checked out for lung capacity issues. Hearing it made Leonard want to slide a hand to the small of Chekov's back and support him there, just in case. After all, he already knew just how well his hands fit perfectly right at that spot.