Ash Tyler was sat on the examination table in front of you again. Ever since he arrived on the ship he'd been coming to sickbay frequently to make sure he was recovering from his injuries - today was his final check-up.
Each appointment had been harder than the last - not because his injuries weren't healing or he wasn't adjusting to the ship - but because the initial attraction you'd found with him had developed into a full-on crush.
When you first met him, he was in a bad way - but despite cuts and bruises, he was unbelievably handsome. As soon as you initially stripped him of his battered Starfleet uniform and saw the expanse of skin, it was hard to keep a professional composure.
For his first check up - he actually opened up to you and talked a little more - not about what went on in the Klingon prison, but about anything else. He was asking you lots of questions, but most importantly he seemed actually interested in the answers. The check-up seemed to fly-by, he was beginning to heal and you were lost in conversation - the appointment ran over.
After that, you were getting to know each other - with no other interruptions than the occasional hiss in pain when you checked his ribs or other tender parts of his body. The conversation was as pleasant as last time, and a friendship was beginning to form.
After a few weeks, the appointments decreased in frequency, but the friendly chats persisted and your affection grew deeper. You looked forward to days with his appointments, and it was the highlight of the day. Despite only knowing each other a short while - you had grown rather fond of him, though you wouldn't admit it.
Ash had just gotten on board the ship and was only just beginning to physically heal - you gathered he had a lot of mental healing to follow.
Maybe one day, you'd finally make a move.
“Hey Ash, How've you been?” You were asking both as a doctor and a friend.
“Better, much better. Of course thanks to you.” He said and began to take his shirt off as he did every appointment.
“Well, your body did all the work really.” You smile.
It was finally completely bruise-free and no longer covered by bandages. Ash had begun light exercise upon your professional recommendation - now you could see it had other benefits. His tanned skin firming around some growing muscles.
You move closer, and press gloved fingers gently against each of his ribs. Your breath hitches even though you're not the on3 being touched.
“No pain?” You ask, as steadily as you can manage - you feel like you've gone bright red.
“None at all, actually.” He confirms.
You remove your hands and move embrace his face softly so you can inspect it. Even through the gloves, you can feel the prickle of his stubble.
“All bruising and swelling are gone in the face too, your eye’s looking well.” You move away and remove your gloves. “That means you won't need to see me again.”
You try to offer him a reassuring look, but really you know you'll miss your favourite patient.
“Unless I get injured again, then I'll be straight back to you.” He laughs, picking up his t-shirt from beside him and pulling it over his head.
“I knew I was your favourite doctor.”
You're just joking, but secretly wishing it was true. You cough and continue on.
“Anyway, I'll sign off on the paperwork and the captain can finally assign you some proper duties.”
“I can't say it's not welcomed - though I'll miss this place.” He says as he rises from the table and begins to walk away.
“Look after yourself, Ash.” You call after him - you try to hide the sadness you're actually feeling - but it probably shows despite the smile you're putting on.
“Anything for my favourite doctor.” He winks at you as he leaves.
Wednesday's were a great day. Yours and Sylvia's shifts finished at the same time. She was the closest thing you had to a friend - besides Ash - and she was the only one you could talk to about the entire situation - on nights like these in which you ate together.
“My day was the same as always, but I enjoyed it anyway.” She smiles and goes quiet for a few seconds before she pipes back up again. “How about you?”
“Fine, I guess.” You sigh. Today would've been an appointment day with Ash, and your thoughts begin to drift off when you see a figure stop in front of yours and Tilly’s table.
You look up to see it’s Ash - standing in front of you with his tray full of food.
“Hey.” You weren't expecting to see him again so soon. “Sit, please!”
“Thanks.” he says as takes you up on your offer and places down the trail.
“Hi.” chimes Tilly. “Cadet Sylvia Tilly.” She puts out a hand which he shakes gently.
“Ash Tyler.” He smiles.
“Ash. Hey (Y/N) he's got the same name as that guy you like.” She says beaming, but when she turns to you and sees the stricken look on your face, she knows it's the Ash. “Oh.”
The moment is tense and silent - and part of you doesn't know whether to make up some elaborate lie or just come clean about the entire thing - despite the fact you're expecting to get swiftly rejected.
Unknown to you, Ash had fallen for you too.
When he first came aboard the ship, he was thankful you were gentle and patient with him. He admittedly was also embarrassed to be shirtless in front of such a good-looking doctor after he'd spent the last few months wasting away.
At the next appointment, he'd begun to trust you. You were always as careful as possible with him and gave him whatever advice you could - whether it was what to eat or things about the ship. He enjoyed that you answered all his questions and talked to him about anything but the Klingons and the torture.
He also noticed when you momentarily walked away from his bed how well your uniform fit you.
With each appointment it was getting harder to be under your touch - not just from the occasional pain - but how much he wanted to touch you back. Before Klingon prison - he was more confident in what he did. Now, not so much. Maybe he'd say something later when he knew for certain you weren't in a relationship - he might have a shot.
At that last appointment, he'd found it hard to actually leave. Everything on this ship was so strange and new, and you were his one comfort. He guessed if he ever so much as got a cut he'd come back to see you.
You didn't have the chance to say anything because he took it first.
“How long?” He asked quietly.
“Since the beginning.” You responded honestly.
“Me too, at least now we can make up for lost time.” He said hopefully.
Yes you could, you thought, and you'd be sure to thank Tilly and her loose lips later.