"You really need to get out more" Nyota mumbled as I fiddled with the wiring of her control panel "You need to stop being so timid around people, I know that Jim thinks you're cute, not that you've ever spoken to him longer than to ask for a signature, actually I've only ever seen you properly talk to to Scotty...that's just because he's your boss"

"I told you, I'm not interested in the captain or a one night stand, so please stop trying to persuade me to have one"

"I'm not suggesting a one night stand, I'm suggesting a date. I'm suggesting you socialize"

"Thanks, but the captain isn't my type, I'm perfectly capable of screwing up my own love life"

"But I could set you up" I sighed as I wiped my hands

"You know for a Xeno-linguist you sure have trouble understanding the word no."

"I just want you to be happy" I rolled my eyes

"You just want the captain to act a little more mature, you just know I won't put up with any of his crap" she smiled guiltily, she should know better than that "The answer is still no"

"Fine, at least tell me your type, I seriously want you to start dating"

"No. The problem should be fixed, if it acts up again, or you wind up spilling more coffee on it, call engineering"

"Will do... think on it ok, you're too nice to stay single" I sighed

"I'm going now" I stated as I headed back to engineering I marked off my request before looking to another

"There's just a sickbay tune up, one of the biobeds is acting up, you can leave it for Johnson, he's on the next shift"

"Nah I'll do it, it won't take me half an hour to fix a biobed, probably just loose wiring or something" I marked the job as 'in progress' "I'll see you later Scotty!" I called before heading to sickbay. When I arrived nobody seemed to be around so I just got to work, crawling beneath the biobed to work. I sighed as I replaced some of the components, how they managed to damage the gyroscopes and the stability mechanism I'll never know.

"Who's in here?" A gruff voice called out, surprising me causing me to jolt banging my head on the latch causing a whimper before slipping out

"I'm here to fix the biobed, nobody was here so I just let myself in, sorry" I stated

"Your head is bleeding" he motioned me to sit

"You surprised me" I blushed looking to the floor "I hit my head on the control latch"

"Sorry, can't be too careful" I nodded as I felt him apply pressure to my head "doesn't look like too deep a gash, I'll just seal it with some glue... I don't think I've seen you around before"

"I tend to go unnoticed... I like to go about my business without too much interruption..."

"Though as the CMO I should have seen you for your routine assessment"

"About that... I never actually have those by a doctor..." almost as if on cue Christine walked in "Hi Christine" I smiled

"Another injury? You really should be more careful" she sighed

"This one wasn't my fault!" I protested

"It never is, you're much too easily startled, one of these days you're going to wind up seriously injured."

"I am working on it Christine" I smiled

"Yeah, though if you could work on it a little quicker would be nice, I swear you're adamant to train me into a doctor with all these treatments and examinations"

"Well someone has to keep you on your toes" Doctor McCoy cleared his throat reminding us that he was still there, with a glue gun, waiting to glue my head together "Sorry..."

"Would you rather glue up her wound? Since you seem to have already been playing her doctor"

"You'd best do it, she needs to get used to other people touching and talking to her" she smirked walking back the way she came

"Traitor" I mumbled beneath my breath before looking back up at the doctor

"So shall we start with something simple? How about your name?"

"Aleriya Stromanski..."

"There that wasn't so difficult was it."

"You'd be surprised..." I smiled "so can you glue my head together?" He nodded as I felt his fingers brush back my hair, I felt the urge to pull away

"You're alright" he stated, the warm glue slowly covering my wound as he slowly nudged my skin together, I could feel the heat of his breath on my forehead, he was intoxicating. "there. if you take it easy it'll be fine" I nodded

"thanks"

"I don't bite. there's no need to be worried."

"habit..." I mumbled "I'll just close up the panel and get out of your hair" I smiled crawling back beneath the biobed, quickly finishing the wiring before closing it up. "I'm sorry for interrupting your work" I bowed my head lightly

"No apologies necessary, if you feel any nausea, dizziness, etc, I want you back here as soon as you can, ok?" I nodded before heading to my room, checking my mail I saw a message from Nyota asking if we were still on for lunch. I have half a mind to completely blank the both of them after today... I agreed to meet up with them later, before heading for a nice warm shower.

"Aleriya" Nyota called me over to the table where Christine was sat sipping her tea,

"Christine!" I growled, clutching my tray tighter "Why would you do that to me!" I protested

"What happened?" Nyota asked

"I hit my head when I was fixing the biobed, and Dr. McCoy was going to glue it together, when Christine came in, now he offered to let her take over, but she said no, and just left! You know I'm not good with new people!"

"You're still here aren't you?" She smirked "Besides, I thought you liked "

"That is completely out of context! You asked which of the guys in the bar I would prefer, the doctor was obviously the most reasonable choice."

"Hmm? Why? I mean the good doctor doesn't go out unless Jim drags him, so there were probably a lot of people there"

"I don't know, he's kind, understanding, smart... better than the immature brats that usually turn up" I rambled

"So, that's your type"

"I don't have a type!" I protested "So leave it alone" I grumbled biting into my sandwich.

"You must have a type Aleriya, surely you must want to date someone"

"Why should I? I mean look at me, I'd just be a burden to anyone who would take me, I'm clumsy, shy and well me..."

"You need to stop putting yourself down, you're beautiful and kind, honest and smart, there's nothing wrong with you, other than you're too shy to meet anyone"

"Just leave my lack of love life alone... both of you"

"We'll see" Christine grinned as I shook my head, returning my attention to my food.

*Bones' POV*

"Ehh!" Aleriya's face turned a bright red as Scotty informed her she was taking his place on the team "But... you know I can't!"

"Don't worry, it's just an exploration mission, there's no people down there" he ruffled her hair lightly "You're just there to make sure they don't damage their equipment"

"How about I stay and fix the ship and you go play babysitter!" she flailed before shying away again, she was quite unusual, I asked Christine about her and she simply told me what I already knew, she was incredibly shy but apparently a good friend when she overcomes that boundary, which is why Christine has been nagging me all morning to watch out for her on this mission, since it was her first on world mission.

"You'll be fine lass" he smiled as she wearily moved to the transporter, tightening her pouch of tools on her belt, she took a deep breath standing beside me

"Morning Doctor" she smiled weakly as she attempted to make conversation "erm... what do you know about this planet... Scotty only just told me I was going down in his place..."

"Not much to say, it's a rough terrain, lots of cliffs, ridges but also a lot of plant life. We're mainly going to study the area, see if there's any ruins from any past civilizations ... least that's what Jim says." she chuckled lightly

"Sounds like a nice place" she tied her hair up, allowing me to properly see her face, that cut on her head was healing nicely "I mean provided the plants don't kill us... Christine's always talking about poisonous plants... between her and Nyota I think they're trying to train me to help them do their jobs..." she trailed off "even though both their jobs involve people... I became an engineer because I don't do people... people are scary..."

"You're doing fine" she jumped a little, the heat rising to her cheeks

"I... said that out loud? I'm sorry..."

"There's nothing to be sorry about, you're allowed to speak, don't let anyone tell you otherwise" she nodded and gave me a proper smile before Jim announced 'energize' and we materialized on the planet surface, that's when I noticed her eyes light up at the scenery "Take it you like it?"

"It's amazing" she grinned before Jim commanded our attention

"We'll split up into groups of two..."

"oh..." she cringed at that, being alone with someone must be harder than being in a group

"Jim, I'll take Aleriya, she doesn't need to be involved in the heavy searching, we're just here as a precaution" Jim sighed a little but agreed before sorting out the rest of the party,

"Thank you" she stated as we started wandering in a direction "Being around new people makes me nervous..." she twiddled her thumbs causing me to chuckle

"No problem, though you're talking to me just fine."

"Christine makes a point to talk about you... In case I need medical attention... and she's not there... or something..." she bent down to scan a purple flower "It's a lot like Earth... well old Earth... you don't get forests like this anymore"

"Sounds like you know a lot about it"

"I spent a lot of time in the holodeck ... I couldn't wait to leave Earth... what about you? You don't seem like the space adventure type..." I chuckled

"You're quite observant, divorce, ex-wife didn't leave me much choice"

"Ahh... she doesn't sound very nice... especially if you came this far... though I suppose being out of our comfort zone can only help us improve in the long run" she grinned "Shall we have a look around? I mean they can always contact us on our communicators, It's something to keep us busy, right Doctor McCoy?"

"Sure, and just call me Leonard, Doctor McCoy just makes me feel old" she chuckled slightly

"You're not old at all, just less reckless" she smiled "shall we, Leonard?"

"Leonard!" she called over "Look at these!" I walked further along the cliff side to find her observing an old inscription

"What is it?"

"Looks like an old derivation of Klingon... based on what Nyota has been teaching me... but... it's odd... it doesn't read like Klingon... it's an account of events... but it's so... personal... unlike Klingon language today... if that makes sense... I'm rambling aren't I?" she chuckled nervously "I guess I should scan it..." she dug out her tricorder scanning the writing before turning, "What a view..." I followed her line of sight, this world was covered in trees and wildlife, there was nothing but green for miles, almost made it hard to believe that anyone used to live here. Suddenly the ground began to shake "Len!" She yelled as the ledge gave way beneath me she grabbed my hand as I slammed into the side "Hold on" she begged, tears forming in her eyes "Can you reach your comm?"

"no... It fell when I did, what about yours?"

"At my feet... I was focusing on catching you" she cursed under her breath "Damn buckle"

"What're you trying to do?"

"If I could get my damn shoe off I could activate the communicator but these boots have buckles... this is why I never wear these things in engineering..."

"You can grab things with your feet?" I smirked

"Comes in handy when you're stuck under some large machine... damn it!" she cursed "I'm fine, just scratched my foot on the rock" she winced it was taking all her concentration to keep hold of me, "I take back what I said earlier, comfort zones are good, I'd much rather be screwing around with some machine"

"All honesty, I'd rather be dealing with one of Jim's mystery allergies than this" she chuckled

"Yeah apparently you and the Captain have some very... colourful... arguments"

"Well, the kid's so damn awkward... doesn't listen to a word you say"

"I know... he won't act mature... unless it's some life threatening situation... that's why Nyota has been trying to get me to date him... I may be shy... but I'm no pushover..." the light in her eyes brightened with a new determination,

"Everyone ok?!" Jim's voice echoed from her comm "Check in" we listened as the other teams responded "Bones? Aleriya?"

"Almost... got it..." she chewed her lip "Aha! Jim! Can you hear me?!" she stated

"Aleriya? Is everything ok?"

"No, We're stuck on a cliff ledge... Len is... just hurry please!"

"I'll get Scotty to beam you both up"

"Only lock onto my communicator... Len's is at the bottom of the ravine...Stupid earthquakes... just a little longer..." she forced a smile, the strain visible on her face well I'm not exactly of a small stature

"When we're back on the ship, I owe you a drink" she chuckled slightly as I felt that familiar sensation we were being beamed up to the ship and within seconds we were in the transporter room, I was thankful to feel the floor again, whereas Scotty had rushed over to hug Aleriya

"I'm sorry lassie, I didnae think you'd be in any danger. I'm so sorry"

"I'm fine... Scotty... it wasn't your fault" she smiled slowly wiping the tears from her eyes "Len had it worse than I did" she looked over to me and smiled "How you feeling?"

"I've never appreciated the ground so much" she nodded as I stood up dusting the dirt from my uniform "you need any help?" I offered my hand, helping her to her feet when suddenly she let out a pained gasp as she stumbled back to the floor her hand moved instantly to her leg "Let me see, the adrenaline wore off, that's why you're feeling it now" as I moved her leg so I could see the injury "good god woman!" I exclaimed at the sight "I thought you said you'd only cut your leg, not sliced it open"

"You'd have worried, couldn't have that" she smiled, her eyes glazing over, her body was going into shock, she'd lost a fair amount of blood

"I'm going to have to take you to sickbay" I stated before scooping her up in my arms, she instantly leaned into me, she was losing consciousness, I cursed as I placed her on the biobed, reaching for a hypo

"No...no anesthesia ... allergy" she mumbled

"This will hurt without it, I can treat you for allergies" she shook her head as I started stitching, she whimpered, trying her hardest not to scream, "almost there, you're doing just fine" I added as I finished up the last few stitches, as Christine walked in

"Oh god! Aleriya? What happened?"

"Chapel, she's going to need blood replenishment, can you prepare that?"

"Will do" she lightly gripped her hand before gathering the necessary hyposprays. "Your leg's all sewn up" I wiped the sweat from her brow, her breathing was rapid, the strain was evident on her face "You're ok"

"I know..." she smiled slightly as she closed her eyes,

"Just one more hypo before you can sleep" she nodded as Chapel handed me the hypo before administering it "There you go, I'll check on you in an hour"

"Thanks... Len..." she mumbled before her breathing evened out,

"She's asleep" I sighed in relief "Damn woman, she should have told me she'd cut her leg"

"She probably didn't want you to worry. I heard from Scotty that he beamed you up from a cliff ledge, are you ok?"

"Just scrapes. Could have been much worse, she's got good reflexes, and a strong arm..."

"Yeah, she's dependable" she sat beside her, stroking her hair "doesn't want anyone to worry, especially about her, she's always talking herself down, like she isn't important... Scotty and I... we thought maybe if she started going on missions... she might just start opening up... this is my fault... she's always asking us not to interfere... but..."

"She wouldn't want you talking like that, it was just an accident, it's nobody's fault" she nodded rising to her feet "don't worry, I'll keep an eye on her. You can go get back to your rest. Can't have you tired come your shift" she nodded

"You should get some rest too. You've had an... interesting day"

"That's one way to put it"

*Aleriya's POV*

I groaned at the pain in my leg, I really need to stop getting injured so much, I opened my eyes and sure enough I was in sickbay, though it was unusually quiet. Looking over to the bed beside me, I couldn't hide the smile that crossed my features, Len was fast asleep, I sighed at the state of his arm, it was covered in scratches and cuts, I swiftly moved to my feet, wincing at the pressure, but I've been through worse, even if it has been a while. I looked through the medical supplies grabbing an antiseptic salve and a bandage for that nasty gash that the blood had seeped through his shirt, I sat beside him, slowly washing the blood and dirt from his arm, he groaned lightly at the contact of the cold antiseptic. After I'd cleaned up his arm I paused momentarily, Christine said they usually just cut away the shirt to get to the wound, but I don't know how comfortable I felt doing that... though almost on cue he groaned and opened his eyes

"Aleriya?" I nodded

"You're bleeding... I need to bandage that injury on your side before it gets worse" I stated before I lost my nerve, he chuckled softly

"So you're playing nurse?" he smirked reaching for his shirt wincing when he tried to pull it off

"How bad is it? Do you need painkillers?" he shook his head

"Just a hand... you're blushing... relax," I nodded, taking a breath as my fingers curled around the hem of his shirt tugging it up revealing his chest wound, dabbing the antiseptic I cleaned up the wound before applying a dressing, bandaging it up I felt my fingers trail across his chest "You're doing just fine, Christine must have taught you well" I nodded "You've stopped talking again"

"Sorry... I'm just not used to being around half naked men..." I blushed tying the gauze into a knot

"I don't bite" he smiled before rising to his feet "Thank you" he lightly kissed the top of my head before slipping into his office emerging in a new shirt "You should keep off that leg if you want it to heal properly"

"I've worked on worse" I grinned "we engineers are made of stern stuff, have to be able to work during a crisis."

"Well while there isn't one, you're on doctor's orders to be careful."

"I'll try" I was interrupted by the grumbling of my stomach "er... suppose we should go eat something..."

"Sounds good"

...

"Aleriya!" I spun to see Nyota "Hey, I heard you got the day off"

"Yeah, but I decided to help Len in sickbay, since Christine transferred he's had his hands full"

"You've gotten quite close to Doctor McCoy the past few months" I nodded "you may not have noticed but you're a lot more confident for it"

"It's strange... I mean the reason he offered to let me help in sickbay was because it would get me used to talking to people, even just a little, but Len just makes me feel much more at ease... I kind of forget all my fears... It's bizarre" she just smiled

"Well that's good, maybe you should make a move on the good doctor" she winked causing my face to burn red "Calm down, one step at a time, though I think you and the doc would be good together, he's good for you. I guess you shouldn't keep him waiting"

"You're still crazy." I chuckled before continuing to sickbay

"Hiya Len" I smiled as I signed into the roster "Any patients in today?"

"None yet, but it's still early"

"Ahh, shall we sort out the requisition forms? Scotty has been fretting over engineering's all morning, Commander Spock want's them done before we reach the station, so all the orders can be dealt with quickly"

"I was about to start them, you don't have to stay do the paperwork"

"I don't mind" I smiled "It wouldn't be fair to leave it all for you to do,"

*Leonard's POV*

I looked up from the requisition forms to see her lightly chewing on her stylus "Do you think we need anymore percogesic? or should we just order something like acetaminophen? we have plenty of antihistamine medication, is it worth ordering in another combination?"

"Just order some acetaminophen, should do the trick" she nodded before continuing, truth be told I was surprised at how quickly she picked up working in sickbay, she'd memorized most of the medication we use and was becoming much more confident around people, she looked up at the sound of the comm as Jim made an announcement about some ambassador joining us, that was when I noticed her face pale, "Aleriya? Are you ok?"

"Yeah, sorry... I just zoned out for a moment" she forced a smile, but something was bothering her, "You sure? You don't look too well..."

"Ambassador Hakar... Stromanski... is my older brother... oh god... he's coming here" she panicked "oh god" I quickly wrapped my arms round her pulling her to my chest as she sobbed

"You're ok..."

"I don't want to go through that again... please don't... let him" she clutched to my shirt,

"shh, I won't leave you alone with him, what happened?" she looked up, conflict visible in her eyes, even after all the progress she made, the mere mention of her brother coming sent her straight back into that self conscious, unsure state "Aleriya... trust me"

"I... I was never good enough... my family... were very political... I wasn't, that made me a disappointment... they thought they could beat it into me... I was smart enough, I was just choosing to disrespect the family name... it carried on for years... until I built up the courage to run away... I didn't have a single thing to my name, so I enrolled in Starfleet, became an engineer, I met Christine after an accident, she slowly made an effort to make me open up, even just a little, but it was hard... especially around men, you just don't know what to expect... I thought being in space, I'd finally be away from them..."

"I'll speak to Jim, we can try keep him away from you" she shook her head

"It's pointless... if he wants to see me he will, he's got that kind of authority... I don't want anyone to get in trouble on my behalf"

"You deserve to be protected too" I brushed the hair from her face, "At least let me ask Scotty to let you work in sickbay when he's here, that way you won't be alone" she nodded as she once again found comfort in my arms, I wasn't about to let anyone hurt her again...

"You sure you want to put up with me for a week?" she mumbled

"I think I'll manage" I smirked, she was putting on a brave front again.

"Len... Thank you... for putting up with me." I sighed, no need for that talk again

"I don't put up with you, I've told you that before, so stop talking yourself down"

"Alright" she took a breath before smiling "No point moping around... I... I'm stronger now"

"That you are" she kissed my cheek

"thank you"

...

"This place is incredible" she grinned looking down into the station's biodome "I always wondered what the deep space stations looked like..." I couldn't help but smile at the enthusiasm until a loud grumble emanated from her stomach causing her face to flush red "Say Len... are you hungry?" she chuckled

"Come on, my treat" I smiled wrapping my arm round her shoulders "I heard the observatory deck's cafe is one of the best"

"I'll take your word on that" she chuckled easing into my side. "This sauce is amazing"

"Sometimes you're such a glutton" I chuckled lifting the napkin to her lip

"I enjoy food... I mean it's one of the finer things in life, if I get fat, so what? That just means I've had a full life right?"

"Right" I smiled, she's quite a woman, I'd seen far too many women starving themselves for their figure, but Aleriya was doing it right, living for herself, without being obnoxious about it. She's a beautiful woman for it. I was brought out of my thoughts by the beeping of my padd, I checked the message, frowning slightly, it was from Jim...

"Anything important?" I shook my head "He's on board isn't he?"

"That brain of yours can be a problem sometimes" I sighed "He is, Jim and I didn't want to spoil your day off"

"It's fine" she smiled, lightly holding my hand "Thank you anyway... how about I buy us dessert?"

"I wonder if I could rearrange the composites of the replicator cartridges to make food like that... that's what food should taste like" she grinned as I walked her to her room "thanks for walking me back Len"

"I promised didn't I?" She chuckled as her doors slid open and she froze... "what's wrong?"

"Someone's been in here... the temperature settings are different... they're set to change according to body temperature...I'm never that cold... Len..." she trembled

"Grab some of your things, you can stay with me. I'm not letting you stay anywhere you don't feel safe" she nodded quickly stuffing some of her clothes and necessities into a bag, I could see she was trembling, he'd barely been on the ship a few hours and he was already invading her private space, I clenched my fist, I wish I could do more but right now she needed me to just be here.

"I'm sorry Len..." she deflated as she sat on my bed "I... I've just been nothing but a bother... I promised I wouldn't let him get to me... but I..." I ruffled her hair

"Relax, you're not a bother, how about you use my shower to clean up before bed, we have the morning shift." she nodded as she disappeared into the bathroom. I took a breath to calm down, ambassador or not, if he gives me even the slightest excuse I won't hesitate to give him a good knock of sense that he desperately needs. I climbed into the bed beside her and she cuddled into my side "You ok love?" she nodded

"Yeah... I'm glad I met you Len... You've done so much for me... Thank you"

"You're welcome" I kissed the top of her head, "now sleep" she nodded.

I woke up to the sound of my alarm, turning it off Aleriya groaned. "I don't want to go to work... you're comfy... can't we just send out a shipwide notice telling people they're not allowed to get hurt?" she grumbled, I chuckled

"If that worked I'd do it every morning" she said she wasn't much of a morning person, I can relate, I certainly would rather stay like this rather than go to sickbay.

"I guess..." she yawned sitting up to stretch, I couldn't help but smile, she may not be a morning person, but she still was cute, even with her hair tossed around like she'd been in a storm, I'd kiss her now if I wasn't worried it'd scare her off, she was comfortable around me but I didn't want to push it.

"Hey Bones, Aleriya" Jim smiled as he bumped into us on his way to the bridge "Hey Bones can I talk to you for a sec?" I looked to Aleriya who just smiled

"I'll be fine, I'll go on to Sickbay, I should be able to make it myself. See you later, Jim" she waved before heading down the corridor.

"How's she holding up?" Jim asked "he puts up a good front but I've seen it all before, you can see it in their eyes" he growled, probably remembering his step father.

"It's a mixed bag of cats, she's holding together but he was in her room Jim. She's terrified" he furrowed his brow

"I wish there was more I could do... but transferring him was an official mission issued by the federation, he's going to be bridging a treaty or something at this neutral planet, but his ship broke down..."

"seems a bit too convenient if you ask me..." he nodded

"keep an eye on her Bones"

"You don't have to tell me that"

"I know, after all you love her, it's harder for you to keep your eyes off of her" he smirked

"Go back to playing captain Jim" I shook my head as I climbed into the turbolift. When I reached the floor I heard a thump as if someone had been thrown against the wall, I walked in that direction, though when I heard a whimper I found myself breaking into a run, when I found Aleriya slumped against the wall, a man hovering over her whom I'd assume, by the numerous cuts and bruises over her body, was her brother, I rushed to her side, turning her to me "Aleriya!"

"Len..." she groaned. I turned to her brother,

"What the hell do you think you're doing?!" I snarled

"This doesn't concern you!" he retaliated swinging a punch which connected with my jaw, and it hurt like hell

"Len!" she screamed as I hit the wall "You don't touch Len" she growled blocking his next punch clasping his wrist "I wasn't going to cause a scene, one more beating wasn't going to make a difference... but you hurt the people I care about and you get no sympathy" she thrust the palm of her hand at his nose, when he stumbled she rammed her elbow into his humerus, before pushing him back while he howled in pain slumped to the wall, then she came to me, "Len, please tell me you're ok?" she pleaded

"I'm fine darling, that was some good fighting, you should have done that earlier." I stated rising to my feet, "let's get you to sickbay before he drags himself in, let me take care of those cuts" she nodded softly as we headed inside sickbay, I started to clean up her wounds

"Len... you're bleeding..." her eyes began to water, "Because of me... you got hurt... I'm sorry... I'm-" I swiftly brought my lips to hers, I couldn't stand it when she cried, even more so when she was blaming herself for something, pulling away her face was flushed, this time with embarrassment rather than bruises. Instead of panicking she smiled softly "I'm still sorry" she murmured, but her voice was lighter, that was the moment that Jim entered carrying a pained ambassador who was too busy cradling his bleeding nose to notice I was the one beckoning Jim to put him in one of the vip rooms, when the door sealed Jim turned to us

"what the hell happened to your face?" he half joked "God Aleriya" he looked at her as she looked to her hands

"When I caught up to her he was beating her, I tried to step in, he punched me, she retaliated"

"That explains why he's been claiming a member of the crew beat him up" Jim sighed "Certainly sounds like self defence"

"all her injuries are documented, I swear if that punch didn't catch me off guard I would have beaten him up myself, I still have half a mind to"

"Me too" he added as we heard the door opening, we turned to see Aleriya entering the VIP room with a tray of medical supplies. "Aler-"

"Stop Jim... this is something she needs to do."

*Aleriya's POV*

As the door closed behind me, I sat the tray on the table, the sedative hidden in my hand if I needed it, when he looked up realizing it was me he went to leap at me

"Don't." I stated, "I wouldn't if I were you. Everything in sickbay is recorded, for medical negligence and competence things. It wouldn't be a good idea if an ambassador was caught doing something like beating up a woman, his sister no less" I smirked

"Why are you here? where's the doctor?"

"I'll be your attending physician, since you did just clock the CMO around the head a few minutes ago." I stabbed the hypo into his neck, "It'll increase the rate of clotting to stop the blood flow before I reset your nose, I'll repair the fracture of the humerus while I do that. No permanent damage was done."

"You're no doctor" he scoffed

"Why not? I'm smart enough to be at the top of the world, weren't they your words the last time you bashed my head against the wall? I took the exam when I was at the station, passed with flying colours." He simply watched me while I set up the equipment I needed to reset his bones, before simply stating

"You've changed" I scoffed at the sentiment

"You mean I'm no longer that little girl who'll cower in your presence? You're right, I found people who believed in me, they nursed me back to a human being, after you three broke me into a thousand pieces!" I realized I was raising my voice.

"We only wanted you to be what you were destined to be, our family has been a long line of politicians, we're the best of the best. You're the first to walk away and-"

"and what? Disgrace the family name. I never wanted that name. I hated politics, politics get people killed, it got dad killed. Yes I know, I wasn't home but the word spread far, but I'm not stupid, that was no accident, that was murder, to ensure a policy was passed, but you didn't want a scandal, so you probably accepted a fairly large charity donation, right" I grimaced "what a joke." I clenched my fist "I would never be happy there"

"People die, you're in Starfleet, you should know that"

"At least out here they don't die hidden in lies and deceit! How could you raise a family in that environment! There's no love there! Just look at what you did to me! You were my brother! You were supposed to protect me! but because of a political agenda, because of their brainwashing you joined in, you beat me for years and you say I was wrong! I was alone, I felt like I would be alone forever! That I would never love, or be loved, I was nobody..." I trailed off, wiping the tears from my cheeks, rubbing my eyes to force them to stop "... but now, I found someone who accepts me, and I love him with all my heart, I'd like to think... he loves me too... I won't let you take that from me, so don't think you can." I slipped his arm into the machine "One day I'll disown this name, until then forget me, once you step off this ship, forget that Aleriya Stromanski ever existed." I reset his nose earning a satisfying wince "You can tell mother the same thing. Her daughter died at birth. I don't belong to either of you anymore." I finished, packing up the machine and walking out of the room, letting out a satisfying breath of relief, which left me feeling dizzy as I found myself enveloped in safe arms

"I'm so proud of you" he whispered in my ear as he rested his head on mine

"You were listening?" I croaked

"I wasn't leaving you without any defences... How do you feel?"

"Lighter... stronger... like I'm allowed to live again... I feel like I should have done that a long time ago" I laughed, "Thank you" I leaned up lightly pressing my lips to his before noticing that metallic taste, "You're still bleeding. You're a doctor Len, you're supposed to take care of yourself." I huffed grabbing the sealing gel.

"Wow, you two completely forgot that I was here" Jim whined "It's like watching some cheesy 21st century rom com..."

"You watch 21st century rom coms?" I smirked

"No, I liked you better when you were quiet" he chuckled, "I'll talk to him now, I don't think he'll be pressing charges after that, you did good" he smiled patting my shoulder before disappearing into the other room, leaving me alone with Len, who still had a satisfied smile, he probably didn't even realize it,

"So... you've found someone you love? with all your heart" he smirked

"Don't mock me Len. I've just been through an ordeal" I huffed, trying to hide the heat that has swiftly covered my face

"There was no mocking intended" he guided my hands from my cheeks lifting them to his lips as he kissed them lightly "How about after our shift we go to the rec room for a drink?"

"Are you asking me on a date, Mr McCoy?"

"That I am, M'lady" I chuckled

"I accept already so please stop putting on that accent it doesn't suit you" I chuckled

"What accent, m'lady, I know not of what you speak" I shook my head muffling my laughter with the back of my hand. "You're cute when you smile" he kissed the top of my head before wandering to the other side of sickbay to check the handover reports, I shook my head a little, when did I grow so fond of the country doctor... I blushed before smiling, I guess I'm just lucky.

"Come on" he offered me his hand "Let's dance"

"ehh?" I blushed as I took his hand leaving the booth as he directed me to the dance floor, it was a slow song that was playing as he pulled me close, moving softly to the music I closed my eyes, letting the holodeck melt away.

*Jim's POV*

I smirked as Uhura and I watched the live feed from the holodeck on my padd

"So the two of them finally got together?" she smiled "McCoy's been good for her"

"She's been good for him too, they're a good pair... he's been wanting to ask her on a date for weeks, but didn't want to scare her off, you should have seen his face when she said she was in love with someone"

"She said it?!"

"It was kind of by accident, she was arguing with her brother, and she blurted it out,"

"How out of character" she chuckled to herself "She looks happy... we should stop spying on them" she added sipping her drink

"You mean you're not even a little curious? or defensive?"

"Nope" she tugged the padd from my hands disconnecting the feed "You said so yourself he's smitten, he's not going to do anything to hurt her. Though he might hurt you if he finds out you've been spying on them, he does know a lot of your allergies, wouldn't take much"

"It's not spying, it's Captainly concern..." she rolled her eyes

"well keep me out of it" she added before heading off to meet Spock after his shift, while I turned back to my padd, to find them still swaying to the music, I smiled as he lightly cupped her cheek, kissing her softly, I didn't need audio to tell what he'd said, and based on the smile that erupted on the grumpy doctor's face, I'd guess she'd replied with the same phrase, man, I'm going to have to find someone else to drag to bars, maybe Scotty would be up for it? The man drinks twice as much and he's a lot more open to a good night out. I'm sure he'd be a good wing-man, I smirked downing my drink, maybe he'd be as good as me.