Mise-en-abîme- Chekov x Reader
A/N: Goddamnit I hate the fact I’m fond of this trope (slight mythology parallels, Chill older brother!Kirk-not yet but there will be, all of it). But the tag needs more fics and here, have one and have a long-ass one :) Also enjoy my philoso-babble at the start, let’s hope I can bullshit my exams this well. Um yeah, it’s gonna parallel Psyche and Cupid, take your feelings and run. Translations are ripped from google translate (sorry).
Part 1 of 5
It is known to all who study Earth History, that the within study of the Western World; religious beliefs have shifted from that of the Polytheistic to the Monotheistic. Evidence of which can be traced from the study of literature of antiquity.
Yet above all, it should be noted that humanity worships love. This notion is to be found within the basis of all major Earth religions (see Chapter 3 for further elaboration). The fixation with the idea that we are not wholly alone in the world and are destined for an inextricable connection. Platonic or erotic. Romantic or eternal. Whether this love transcends class, race, gender, species or divine nature; it is to the discretion of the individual and society for whom these texts resonates with.
The Mise-en-abîme- a dream within a dream, a story within a story that parallels the key narrative- of the tale of Eros & Psyche is a notable example. Found within Apuleius’ Metamorphoses, it remains a prime example of an allegory and, of humanity’s ability to relate to the transcendent concern of obstacles to love. Yet it is worth noting that in this instance, it is the woman who is undertaking the physically perilous trials of love as opposed to the literary trope of the “knight in shining armour”. This trope itself; resulting in the hyper-masculinity of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, was resurrected in Walter Scott’s 1820 novel: Ivanhoe. This courtly love, while catering to conservative Victorian sensibilities as a departure from the seemingly-libertine nature of Byron strains of writing, do not remain eternal and do not truly represent human nature when it concerns love. Humanity is ultimately drawn to those tales of Eros and Psyche, Persephone and Hades, Achilles and Patroclus: reiterations of which are implanted within our minds from our childhood fairytales of forbidden love. It is emphasised by the novels of our youth, then cultivated in the next generation; as we from our deathbeds, spin a final enchanting tale for our grandchildren.
-An Extract from M Reyes, The Human Story: A study of societal perceptions of fictional and non-fictional literature. Required reading for graduate-level Earth History cadets.
“You’re ensign [y/n]?” You stood nervously, fiddling with the sleeve of the blue uniform you’d spent a childhood dreaming of as you roped poor elder and younger siblings into playing ‘diseased- patient-on-an-away mission’ while yourself played the Starship Captain or the Science Officer or the Chief of Medical interchangeably. However it was most frequently the role of Science Officer that you played as your friends’ defeated Klingon warbirds. The bridge of the Enterprise, fuck that, just to be part of the Enterprise crew was notoriously difficult. But apparently your ability to bullshit was sufficient.
That was a bit of an understatement, you would fight anyone, tooth and nail to get here.
But Captain Kirk continued to stare at you evenly, observing his PADD with your details before him. He smiled encouragingly as you confirmed your details, impressed with your exam scores. Well he should be, you spent night after caffeine-fuelled night studying chemical formulae and the biology of various planets. You stretched, using textbooks to lift your leg in the splits as you revised nineteenth-century authors and their works. You memorised mathematical equations, an old-fashioned marker correcting integrals on the bathroom mirror. You were discouraged as a precocious nine year-old for aiming too high, the Enterprise only accepted the best they had told you, and you re-tied the ribbons adorning your pig-tails and said “fucking watch me”.
Your eyes now began to observe the brilliant array of personnel aboard the bridge, lingering briefly on an ensign about your age at the helm, before once again attempting (and failing) to make eye contact with Captain Kirk.
“You specialise in scientific research? That’s cool-“ Kirk looked up, pointing at your diploma displayed on-screen in his lap.
“Jim, no one says ‘cool’ anymore,” You recognised the quiet sass to come from the Lieutenant Uhura, and you suppressed a snigger. This crew was practically legend, everyone in the Academy talked about the gorgeous Captain Kirk and his equally as talented crew, navigating deep space, surviving John Harrison and Romulins and Klingons.
“Aye captain,” You nodded, holding your hands behind your back to calm your nerves, appearing to be brave. “I took a double degree, majors in Xenobiology and Xenoarchaeology-“
“It also says you took courses in Creative Writing and Earth History?” Kirk raised a brow in amusement, smile playing on your lips. From the corner of your eyes you sensed both men at the helm turning to face Kirk’s command chair. This time you took a proper look at the boy about your age, dark-blond curls adorable messed as he offered you a shy, reassuring smile. Navigator, his position must be navigator. Why else could he be seated at that position with such authority?
“I like too many things?” You replied unsurely with an uncomfortable grin. Your eyes instead met the smiling boy’s as he held back a quiet laugh, tilting his head down at a reproving glance from his companion. Kirk laughed in delight at your cheek and stood, shaking your hand. He congratulated you and with a rather brutal clap of your shoulder, told you that you’d love shadowing Dr McCoy for the first few weeks. The doctor in question seemed to perpetually wear a frown, but with a terse smile he led you to the turbolift to what you knew would be the med bay. Glass panels slid before your eyes, taking one last look of a bridge that you hardly dared believe you would see again. You bid a quiet farewell to the polished surfaces and the efficient crew as sliding doors silently slid before your eyes. The pristine-white panels, chrome detailing reflecting artificial light and a crew who were easily the best in Starfleet. You felt a slight lurch as the lift began it’s descent to a wholly new world below the bridge, one far more chaotic and experimental than the necessary control of the navigators and linguists and commanders above.
The likelihood was that unless you rapidly ascended the ranks or, someone managed to get severely pissed-off enough with Commander Spock to murder him, you wouldn’t be seeing the Bridge anytime soon. It was a nice dream, a sweet dream to be remembered when the hours spent staring at data got far too much. Or perhaps it was more convenient to imagine the Bridge as Doctor McCoy grumbled on and on about how a single hole in the hull of the ship could boil everyone’s blood to-
Well, you didn’t like to dwell on it. The next five years were going to be absolute fun.
“Mr Chekov, I understand you are as of now, off duty.” It was more of a statement than a question, but Chekov nodded anyway at Spock, acknowledging the Vulcan as he vacated his post for the next shift. He couldn’t quite place the name of the particular Lieutenant in question, but he gave a cheery greeting anyway before walking over to Spock.
It was always ‘do this, Mr Chekov’ and ‘don’t press that, Mr Chekov’ and his absolute favourite:
“Kirk, doesn’t the lad look adorable?” Scotty would pull the engineering goggles off his head and ruffle his curls with no small amount of pride, “he’s going to be a bit of a heartbreaker when he grows up, just watch,” and of course, Captain Kirk would reply with:
“Curls get the girls, Mr Chekov- or really, anyone.” With a snide grin and a wink, attempting to set him up with crewmates about his age, or attempting to teach him how to flirt-
He was never following that particular piece of advice ever again, not if he wanted to remain alive for the next five years.
“Mr Chekov, would you mind delivering this PADD to Doctor McCoy and his assistant-“
“Ze new ensign?” Chekov interrupted Spock, a little excited. It had been nearly three months since they’d left Yorktown and he hadn’t even had an opportunity to greet her, let alone get her name. In his mind she was just fleeting glimpses of a short, blue hemline and snippets of laughter and conversation. Always rapid-paced and always intelligent. She was the embodiment of excitement and passion, finishing her lunch in the mess hall before bidding her friends goodbye and returning back into her lab. Their shifts never aligned, he ran regular daytime shifts while it seemed she worked irregular in the laboratory as she seemed to enjoy, spending the rest of her time either observing Doctor McCoy or watching some old earth film in the recreation hall.
“Yes, ensign [y/n].” Spock confirmed. Chekov felt his pulse begin to quicken a little, the barest hint of perspiration forming at his temple. He was nervous now, why was he nervous? “Mr Chekov, are you well?”
“Eh-ah… yes, sir.” He was sure he’d more-or-less snatched the PADD from the Vulcan, raising a brow in silent question before turning away.
The brief trip to Medical Bay was boringly familiar, most people retreating to private time within their rooms for showers and calls home. He had hoped no one noticed his slight nerves, after two months of only seeing part of her, he would be able to address her directly. That was new.
And also somewhat terrifying.
He could do this. After all, he was seventeen when he first came aboard the Enterprise, surely talking to a girl was easier.
“Chekov! Spock told me he’d be sending you down,” Bones turned the corner, exiting a small room. His eyes were first drawn to a slumped figure, seated upon a stool as she had evidently grown tired of waiting for the computer to analyse the unknown samples, “that the PADD?”
“Yes sir,” Chekov handed the PADD over as they both stood over the young ensign’s shoulder. Chekov found her slow breaths enchanting as her chest rose and fell in the rhythm of sleep. Her hair gently cascaded from a ponytail, fanned over the stainless steel bench, her elegant head resting upon her forearm in what he could only guess was a terribly uncomfortable position. “Ees she asleep, sir?”
“[Y/n]? She’s been down here for three days, only left to grab food from the mess hall.” Bones shook his head in consternation. “She’s an absolute sweetheart- got all the work done- but gone and burned herself out. She sleeps deeper than a comatose patient, knocked over some equipment earlier and she didn’t even make a peep.”
“Reelly, sir?” Chekov was interested more with the gentle flutter of eyelashes against her warm cheek and the slight shadow they cast. She looked so wholly at peace, so different to the literal ball of energy who would bump into him in corridors, attempting to find a colleague in order to corroborate her hypothesis. What clever mind lay asleep there? “она хорошенькая,” He stopped himself before he could continue, noticing the incredibly satisfied smirk on Bones’ face.
“She got you all hot and flustered now?” He whispered in amusement, “I have no idea bout what you said-“
“Whatever it is, don’t be mean to the poor kid, you’ve no idea how many loops she’s flown through to get here,” Chekov nodded at Bones’ warning, brushing a strand of hair away from her serene face.
“нет, I don’t theenk I ewer could,” Chekov’s reply was mostly to himself, quiet and delivered with a small smile on his face. No, he never would.