Navigator by SLWalker
Summary: (2250) - While Corry and Scotty are still dealing with the fallout from the Churchill, and issues closer to home, Scotty meets a future crew mate, now only five years old.
Categories: Original Series Characters: Chekov, Pavel, Corrigan, Andrew (Corry), Scott, Montgomery (Scotty)
Genre: General
Warnings: None
Challenges: None
Series: Arc of the Wolf: Uncategorized, Arc of the Wolf
Chapters: 1 Completed: Yes Word count: 3788 Read: 1256 Published: 12 Jul 2013 Updated: 12 Jul 2013
Story Notes:
Written for my sister and for Joy, both of them diehard Chekov fans.

1. Chapter 1 by SLWalker

Chapter 1 by SLWalker
The storm had blown in hard and fast, and then ended just as fast, leaving the city of Chicago clear for the twilight that wouldn't do much to dry the remnants of the downpour out. It wasn't really cold, though, just kind of breezy on the lake shore, and there was something to be said for weatherproof coats.

"Well, at least that's out of the way," Corry said, probably for the fifth or sixth time in the past couple of hours. Scotty had lost count, and just nodded, the reply he'd been giving each time.

There wasn't much to say about it. Just about everything had already been said, at least so far as the Churchill went, and Scott wanted nothing more than to just stop talking about it, to anyone or everyone.

There were a whole lot of things he was sick of talking about.

"Maybe that'll be the end of it," Cor said, sounding tired and frustrated. Though, Scotty wasn't sure if the frustration was for the circumstances that had them in Chicago, or simply because both of them were raw-nerved and exhausted and overwrought. Maybe it was a bit at him, too; they'd had a few snarling matches in the past several days, fierce agitation prompted by mutual frustration that, at least, ended quickly and relatively painlessly.

Tonight wasn't going to be one of those nights where it built to that point, though. Scotty could already sense that much, even through his weariness; they might take some light shots at one another, but it wouldn't turn into a fight.

But even when they did fight, there was no malice. It was all just frustration and turmoil, and had to find voice somewhere. So, instead of potentially blowing up on people they loved but who didn't have the same codes of combat, they usually raged at each other for a few minutes, just like the storm that had passed, then sat down, breathed and let an again comfortable silence fall. They both knew how to snap at one another and not draw blood; had known that now for years.

It's a strange thing, to genuinely appreciate someone else at the exact same time you're yelling at them. And even though he had no idea why, that thought made Scott laugh. Not a happy laugh, but it felt good. Couldn't guess the reasons for either part, however.

"What?" Corry asked, looking over as they walked in step, eyebrows drawn in bemusement.

"Nothin'," Scotty replied, after a moment, shaking his head. He gestured, then. "We're not what the universe considers sane."

"Pretty sure that was established long ago."

"Aye, but still."

"Gonna bite my head off if I ask what prompted that thought?" Cor asked, but the tone was warm and a bit joking, if not still tired.

Scotty nodded. Warm, but not joking when he said, "Probably."

"Fair enough."

Corry wasn't above pushing issues. Not quite as much before the Churchill, though he would then, too, but after and more recently to the point where those issues could turn into fights. That pushing, had it been anyone else but Corry, would have easily prompted Scotty to genuinely try to draw blood. Except, he knew Cor well enough to know that it was Corry's way of trying to cope with everything. To talk it out, to be open and direct, to eventually understand. Even if there were still some things that had no answers.

It was effective. And even when it was miserable, they were careful with how they spoke to each other. But that didn't make it enjoyable. It was good to know, faithfully, that 'fair enough' would hold for now. Scotty had never and would never share Corry's need for having heart-felt discussions, even if he'd bear those for Cor's sake.

"I think that maybe they must've transported this restaurant to another part of the city," Corry said, frowning a bit as he looked around the lake shore park they were crossing. "We shoulda found it by now."

"I'm not against just goin' back to Boothbay Harbor and waitin' for Abby." Only after he'd said it, did Scotty actually ponder whether he ever would have even a week ago. "Order some carry-out, turn in early and forget this bloody day ever happened."

"Yeah, but she's gonna be late tonight, and I haven't eaten since breakfast."

Scotty made a face. "If ye haven't been payin' attention, I've been here all day. Obviously, I already know that we haven't had lunch, and we're close to missin' dinner. I didn't somehow fail to notice that."

There was a long silence, where Scotty expected Corry to take the bait and snark back; he hadn't even known why he had let himself get impatient like that, except that he just wanted to go the Hell back to Maine, even if he was still self-exiled from South Bristol, and spend some time not thinking, talking or otherwise.

"Okay, so two muffins were baking in the oven, right?" Corry didn't look over, just continued on with whatever this joke would be, "And the first muffin looks over at the second muffin and says, 'Boy, is it hot in here!' What d'you think the second muffin says?"

"Damned if I know," Scotty replied, after a moment where he actually pondered that question seriously.

"'Holy shit! A talking muffin!'" And Corry smirked.

"That's absurd," Scotty said, but the longer he thought about it, the funnier it got. And after a couple of moments, he was laughing for real.

"I love that joke!"

"Absurd." But he was still chuckling about it. Scotty considered explaining exactly why it was absurd, even if it was amusing him for that very same absurdity. He was just about to launch into it, too, when some movement up ahead in the semi-dark caused both of them to pull up short in their walk at the same time.

Part of being overwrought was all the jumping at shadows that they'd been doing. Now was no different. In a split-second, Scott was ready to fight and didn't need to look over to know that Corry would be, at worst, a heartbeat slower.

The fact that it was just a child, barely illuminated by a lamp on the path in the park, was enough to make both of them feel sheepish.

Corry huffed out a breath. "Someday..."

He didn't need to finish it. Scott understood. "Aye." The child had stopped at the same time they had, and now was apparently frozen in his or her spot, looking ready to bolt in any direction. "Wee thing, to be out here at this hour."

"Yeah. Lost?"

"Maybe." Scotty thought about it a moment and frowned. "Go run and see if ye can't find a comm station? Maybe there's a notice out or someone's lookin'." Though, it didn't fail to occur to him that maybe this child was being used as a decoy for muggers... cities were still cities, after all. And then, he immediately mentally smacked himself off of that track. One, because it bothered him that he'd even think it; two, because the way he felt right now, he'd pity a mugger or three if they wanted to make a try of it.

There was a pause. Corry was doubtless warring over whether or not to do as he was told, or insist that they stick together, and wondering if he was in danger of becoming overbearing, and trying to measure what the right action would be, and a million other things that they used to do on instinct... and, if there was any decency in the universe, would someday be able to do again.

"Stop thinkin' for awhile, Cor," Scott said, shaking his head with a half-smile. "Just go."

Corry nodded. "Be careful." And, though he still looked serious, he took off along a side-trail for the road at a jog.

The child watched Corry leave, then looked back at Scotty. Who knew better than to step closer, even if that would give the child (boy? looked like a lad) a chance to bolt at his leisure. They stared at each other for an indeterminable amount of time, and then Scotty raised his voice only loud enough to be understandable, "Ye got a name?"

The boy didn't reply immediately, glancing around, then looking back. Then, slowly, he said, "I am not to tell strangers my name."

It was accented English, though fairly precise and formal, and sounded a bit like the child was pronouncing things exactly as some tutor suggested. Scott had to grin a little at that. "Good policy, really. Except, ye look a little lost."

"Yes," the boy answered, his posture relaxing a fraction. He didn't step any closer, though, and neither did Scotty. "Vhere did he go?"

"To try'n find a comm. See if there're any notices out about missin' children. Or if someone's lookin' for ye."

There was another pause, and then the boy shook his head. "English is... is new. Slower?"

It had been a long time since anyone had actually asked him to slow down; in fact, Scotty was pretty sure that the last time was when he was still in the Academy, when his own accent was heavier and his pacing far quicker. Now, he wondered if they thought he was talking slow and sounding like Maine when he was in Scotland. "Aye... er, yes. He went to see if there was anyone lookin' for you."

The boy nodded, a sort of solemn looking nod. Apparently, given his posture now, he wasn't going to go running off into the trees.

Scotty half-shrugged to himself, sat down on the still-wet ground and started unlacing his boots.

"Vhat are you doing?"

"Well, if I turn out to be trouble, ye can out-run me," Scott replied carefully, setting one boot aside, along with the sock, and then starting on the other one. He shrugged again, glancing up with a wry grin. "No boots, wet ground, in the dark. Right?"

The boy wasn't quite able to stifle a smile at that. Probably finding the idea of an adult taking his boots off in the middle of a dark park about as absurd as Scotty had found the muffin joke from earlier. "Yes."

"Good." Once his footwear was off, Scott stood back up and left the boots and socks there, walking to the point where he was still a good few meters from the boy, but at least under the park lamp. Then he just sat back down again, cross-legged, ignoring the wet ground. "How'd ye get lost?"

It took the lad a moment to reply, and Scott realized that it was because he was not only mentally rewinding the question to hear it again, but thinking of what the proper wording for the answer would be. Kind of impressive, really; he could only be about what, five? He sure didn't look like a child who lacked any quickness -- his gaze was still a little wary, but very curious and intent. Just a little wary. A healthy amount. "Papa vas speaking vith his friends, I vanted to see more."

"So ye wandered off?"

The boy nodded, looking somehow abashed, proud and maybe a little defiant, like he was daring Scotty to laugh about it.

"It's all right. My friend can't navigate either." Somehow, Scotty said it with a straight face. Not so much because he found the child getting lost amusing, but because he found Corry getting them lost amusing. Come to think of it, maybe he was the one who should have gone running for help.

"Nav... navigate?" The boy tested the word out once or twice more, obviously looking for a definition.

"Means to get from one place to another without gettin' lost," Scott answered. "He can navigate at sea fine, but not on land."

After a short time where the boy pondered that, he finally sat down on the stone curb, not too close but not too far away. Which, Scotty supposed, was a good thing. Less likely to get lost again, if they just stayed in one place and waited for rescue.

The irony of that didn't escape him, and he smirked to himself, shaking his head.

"Vhat?" the boy asked, obviously thinking that it was aimed at him.

"Nothin'. It's... a long story."

The boy gave him a look. "You are not being very... very..." he said something, a word that Scotty didn't recognize, probably hoping that it would prompt the English equivalent to jump into his head. After a moment, he tried, "Open?"

"I suppose open works." Scotty half-grinned back. "Well, I don't know yer name. Can I say the same?"

"No." The boy drew himself up, even though he didn't stand, and then squared his shoulders. Obviously, he was comfortable enough to start posturing. "I am ch... a child, and not to give strangers my name. You are not a child."

"No, I'm not."

Apparently that stumped the lad, who was maybe expecting that by pointing that out, he would be able to get a name. But instead of saying anything else, he rested his elbows on his knees and put his fists under his chin.

"Cold?" Scott asked, amiably.

"It is not cold," the boy answered, aghast. Despite the fact that he looked cold, and wet, and tired. But then again, maybe he was used to colder.

"Right." Scotty shrugged out of his jacket and tossed it over to land beside the boy; at least his own shirt was dry, and he figured that Corry wouldn't keep them out there all night waiting. Worse came to worst, he'd take the boy himself and find a policeman and that'd be that.

The boy picked the jacket up, then stopped. "It smells of pie."

"I spilled some nutmeg on it this mornin', while I was makin' breakfast."

"On your coat?"

It was only after pondering the simplicity of that question that Scotty realized the relative absurdity of his explanation. The truth was, it was warm in Abby's apartment, but he had felt cold, so he'd worn his jacket from the minute he was off the couch and had kept it on all day. Nutmeg and all. Leave it to a child to point that kind of thing out. "Aye... yes. On my coat."

The boy obviously wanted to ask what an adult would be doing cooking in a coat, but didn't; just took the jacket and pulled it around his shoulders, looking a bit like he was wearing a cloak. Then, he piped up, "It smells good. Nutmeg."

Little peacemaker. "It does."

Silence fell again, though not a really uncomfortable kind of silence. The boy fidgeted some, and Scotty was a little amused that he wanted to do the same thing. He'd never quite overcome that nervous habit, and doubted he ever would -- he foresaw many long years of having to clasp his hands behind his back to keep himself from it. But he managed to hold still this time, peering off into the direction that Corry had gone in what seemed like far too long ago. At least, until a flash of blue-white light caught the corner of his eye and he snapped a look back at the boy. Who had apparently found his penlight.

Scotty thought about telling the lad to stay out of his coat pockets, but then stopped himself. There wasn't anything important in there, aside the penlight, and the boy seemed entirely conscientious despite sneaking off from his father.

The boy shined it around, temporarily blinding his 'guard', then turned it off carefully, turning it over in his hands. Then he stopped and held it out a little, under the street lamp better. "Vhat does z... this say?" he asked.

"Wolf," Scotty replied, not needing to look. There was only one word on the penlight, small silver letters etched into the matte black casing.

"Volf?"

"Uhm... large, wild dog?"

The boy took a second, then got it and nodded enthusiastically, saying another incomprehensible something that Scotty figured was probably the translation. Maybe it was Russian... it was still hard to place. Though, even knowing what language it was, he couldn't speak it anyway. Just a little French he'd mostly forgotten. A couple of Gaelic curses. And the Doric dialect, but despite making even a lot of other Scots blink, it wasn't really so much its own language. Even if those who spoke it still insisted it was.

The lad was shining the light around again, looking more comfortable with the bright little beam in his control, and inadvertently nearly blinded Scott again in the process. Then made an apparent attempt to really do so.

"Does z..." There was a pause, and even though Scotty had his eyes closed to keep from having his night-vision ruined, he could hear the frown. "Does that hurt?"

"No. Not really." No sense in asking what. While they'd faded from the rather vivid colors they'd been, his jaw and face surrounding was still pretty visibly bruised up. At least now more yellow-green -- ugly colors, but healing. "D'ye mind not shinin' that at my face?"

"I'm sorry," the boy said, sincerely, pointing the beam elsewhere. "Did it hurt?"

Only a child could get away with asking that question. Those who knew what had happened didn't need to ask; adults who didn't were too polite to ask, and probably assumed that he had just been fighting. Which Scotty supposed was a fair enough assumption.

While it hadn't happened yet, if anyone would've been impolite, they would have gotten backed off soundly.

Only a child could ask that question.

"Some." It had, but... Scotty shook his head. "It did. But not for long."

"I fell once. It hurt." The boy nodded, still solemnly. "I vas climbing a tree, my arm vas like it for a long time, then it vas better and I got up top."

"Did ye?" For some reason, that little declaration made Scotty smile. "Was it high up?"

"Yes! It vas." The boy seemed to puff up proudly, which was... well, cute. For lack of a better word. All pride in an oversized coat that smelled like nutmeg. "I vanted to fly, but I did not vant to fall; I vas very careful." That second part again solemn, the way only children can be about some great accomplishment, some rite of passage.

"Very wise," Scotty replied, and meant it. He went to tell the boy to always be careful, then remembered the normal, wary look he'd gotten earlier. Not frightened, just intelligently cautious. Not over-sensitive, not waiting for something bad to come out of the trees, just sensibly wary. He stopped himself. "How long ago was it that ye wandered away from yer father?"

The boy seemed to deflate a little. "I do not know. It vas before it vas dark."

"I'm sure..." Scotty paused, then continued, kind of shocked by the spike of protectiveness that had flared, "I'm sure he'll find ye."

"Yes?"

"Yes."

The boy seemed bolstered back up again, and then got up and moved, sitting next to his 'guard', still playing with the penlight. And then proceeded to give Scotty the long version of the tree incident. And then another incident involving some relative and a dog. And yet another about some other children, where they had apparently saved a whole village from destruction... of course, with him as leader. The lad got progressively harder to understand as he spoke, but his tone was easy and happy and carefree, and Scott didn't try to slow him down any or stop him, just let him recount the triumphs of his childhood thus far.

Time went a lot less slowly then. Scotty couldn't guess at how long, but eventually a shout made him look up, and then the boy was on his feet and crashing into a man who looked like he had been run through the worst possible wringer. Corry looked relieved, too, and walked over a bit breathless. "Sorry. I had a hard time tracking Andrey down; he was searching the other end of the park frantically, and there was a bunch of..." his voice trailed off. "Where are your boots?!"

Scotty watched the reunion with a bit of a smile, then glanced over. "Back on the path. Figured that I'd be less of a threat if I couldn't run."

A flash of something crossed Cor's face, but he didn't say whatever thought prompted it. "Well, call me mother if you want, but go put your boots back on. It's pretty chilly."

"Yes, mother," Scotty replied, with a chuckle, and went to go get them. The boy and his father were speaking what he guessed was Russian to each other -- the boy looking ashamed but relieved, the father looking upset, relieved and scolding all at once, no hint of rage, just something genuine. Kind of heartwarming, really.

He got his socks and boots back on, starting to really feel the chill himself; it hadn't occurred much to him before. When he came back, the father -- Andrey -- was talking with Corry, though he took a long moment to thank Scotty profusely for staying there was his son.

The boy slid the coat off and offered it back, and after Scott took it, offered the penlight next. "Dyadya Volf..." he said, speaking very formally. "Thank you."

Scotty gave a half-smile back. "Ye're welcome." And as an afterthought, as Corry bid a cheery farewell to Andrey, "Don't get lost, all right?"

"I vill not," the boy replied, a solemn promise. Then he broke into a happy smile and didn't pull away when his father took his hand to lead them out of the park.

After they were out of earshot, Corry let out a relieved sigh. "Well. Now what?"

"I say we go home and make yer fiancée dinner. Since ye can't seem to navigate us to this restaurant we were supposed to find by now, and she'll be home soon."

Cor rolled his eyes, throwing his hands up in the air in a manner that was all ham and bad acting. "Hey, I'm telling you, I'm sure they just transported the whole thing. There's no way my directions were wrong!"

Scotty shook his head, waving Corry off and walking for the road, not bothering to see if his brother was going to follow. "All right, so two lost... gentlemen were walkin' in a park. And the first one looks at the other one and says--"

"'Boy, it's chilly and I'm hungry'?"

"'Get yerself some acting lessons.'"

There was an incredulous silence, then Corry jogged to catch up. "Wait... what?! Now that was absurd!"

And Scotty just laughed.
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