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“Hey, are you okay?”

Sulu looked surprised by his appearance and his question. Maybe he ought to check on his helmsman more often, but Sulu was always the one crew member Kirk never had to worry about. He was as solid as solid could be.

Well, until now.

Of course, Kirk had heard the rumors that Sulu’s marriage was in trouble, but he didn’t listen to rumors. He hadn’t listened to the rumors Spock and Uhura had broken up for good nor that Kirk was the reason. That’s why he had been dumbstruck when Spock had grabbed him after a mission gone wrong again, and kissed him breathless. Spock had told him he was surprised Kirk didn’t know what everyone else did.

So yeah, Kirk didn’t pay attention to that.

But it was plain enough Sulu was hurting. He’d gotten rip-roaring drunk, took out his fencing sword and sent a group of first years scrambling for engineering.

He was now in the observation deck, still swinging that sword around, though fortunately not at Kirk.

“Sure, I’m okay.” Tears were streaming down his face. “Pavel’s dead and I haven’t seen my husband and daughter in fifteen months. But sure, I’m just peachy.”

Spock suddenly appeared behind Kirk and he went to move forward, his stance threatening because of the swinging fencing foil, but Kirk stopped him, holding him back.

“I’ve got this,” he whispered.

“He is—”

“Spock, I’ve got this. It’s okay. I’ll see you in our quarters.”

Spock wanted to argue, Kirk could see that, but he went anyway.

Sulu lowered his foil. “You get to work with your lover. It’s not fair. You guys share quarters even. Do you know how hard it is to maintain a healthy relationship long distance?”

Kirk did, but he knew that wasn’t the answer Sulu needed then.

“Would you like some time off, Hikaru? To spend with Ben and your daughter? I can approve a leave.” Kirk moistened his lips. “Chekov’s passing has hit us all hard and brings it really close to home just how isolated we are out here.”

“For-for how long?”

“How long do you want?”

“Six months? Is that too much to ask?”

“I’ll see.” He paused.  “I don’t want this, but it’s possible for you to request some kind of transfer to Yorktown to be with them full-time.”

Sulu shook his head. “I love my life on the Enterprise. I-I just wish…”

“I know. Take the leave. I know I can give you at least three months.”

Sulu nodded and swallowed. “Thank you, Captain. And I’m sorry I scared everyone. If I’m excused, I think I need to go throw up.”

Kirk smiled faintly. “You’re excused.”

Sulu left the observation deck and Jim walked to the view, looking out at the stars. Only seconds later, he sensed his first officer coming up behind him.

“You didn’t go to our quarters.”

“He had a sword.”

Kirk chuckled. “He was not threat.”

Spock shrugged. “There is no sense taking chances.”

His smile slipped and he pulled Spock into a hug. “Yeah, I know. I know.”

They all missed Chekov and Kirk wasn’t sure things would ever go back to the way it was before. But they would survive and thrive again.

But the Enterprise was all many of them knew. Their quarters was their home.

“Come on, babe, let’s go home.”