Patient History
by indie
set in the The Senator's Wife au universe.
Takes place 7 years after 'Revenge of the Sith',
the morning after the previous piece, Negotiations

Lieutenant Kyah Hess studies the datapad as she enters the private examination room. She does this because it affords her the opportunity to not immediately acknowledge her patient. In truth, she reviewed the test results hours ago. But the datapad provides cover. She can pretend her full attention isn’t absolutely fixated on him. She doesn’t like any man – not even Lord Vader – to think he can ever command her full attention. The secret to keeping a man interested is to always remain a bit beyond his reach. Especially given Lord Vader's unannounced arrival this morning, she doesn’t want to appear too available.

It’s a ruse, of course. Given the subtlest invitation, she would gladly warm Lord Vader’s bed. As a military surgeon, she has seen no end of physical horrors. In truth, she finds his imperfections appealing in their own twisted way. They make him attainable. It helps that not many women are as enlightened as she. While females are undoubtedly drawn to his power and presence, she doubts many women are willing to risk peeking beneath his zeyd cloth robes.

Lord Vader is a powerful, intimidating man. Yet she perceives a vulnerability within him that has nothing to do with his physical frailties. He doesn’t confide in her. Point of fact, he rarely speaks and certainly is not one to make polite conversation. But she clearly senses his loneliness. Given how he refuses to look at his own wounds, she knows he is self-conscious. It’s entirely possible he doesn’t believe any woman is capable of physically desiring him.

But she wants him. She longs to run her hands over his body, not as a surgeon, but as his lover. She longs to set aside the necessary professionalism and show him just how desirable she finds him, just how powerful he truly is. There will be plenty of time for that. She received word today that the Executor will be stationed at Imperial Center indefinitely. Without the Chiss hovering in the periphery, perhaps she will be able to teach Lord Vader what a truly valuable asset she is to the Empire.

“My Lord,” she says, looking up from the datapad with a sultry smile. “Your test results are precisely on target. Better than I hoped for, in fact. But I didn’t realize you would be dropping by this morning.”

“I didn’t come here for a progress report,” he says. “I want to speak with you privately.”

Her smile broadens, but his face remains passive. She continues to look at him and he eventually turns away uncomfortably.

“Your service record is exemplary,” he says, staring at the medical degrees prominently displayed on the wall.

“Thank you, my Lord,” she says, feigning humility. Of course her record is exemplary. She has worked hard for everything she has.

He turns back to her, looking her directly in the eyes. “It won’t be official until tomorrow, but you are being promoted to the rank of Captain.”

“Captain?” she says happily. She knew that a close association with Lord Vader would help her career, but she had no idea it would happen so quickly.

“Yes,” he confirms. “And a new position has just opened up as Chief Medical Officer of the Reprisal.”

Her smile falters. “The Reprisal,” she says. “That’s Ozzel’s ship.”

He clasps his hands behind his back. “Yes.”

She takes a moment to try and comprehend what is transpiring. “I’m being promoted,” she says.

He nods.

“And moved halfway across the galaxy.”

“The Reprisal is stationed in the Selsha Sector,” he confirms.

She stares at him for a moment and then another. How did she misplay this situation so disastrously? The promotion is definitely cause for celebration, as is finally being given the title of Chief Medical Officer. But being stationed in the Selsha Sector with Ozzel of all people is certainly neither expected nor desired.

She tries to regroup. He said the promotion wouldn’t be effective until tomorrow. Perhaps there is still time. She certainly won’t turn down the promotion, but perhaps her post is negotiable.

She purses her lips seductively and looks up at him. “Who will be your new personal physician?” she asks coyly. “I will need to make certain all of the appropriate records are transferred.”

“That won’t be necessary,” he says. “Thanks to your expert care, medical droids should now be more than sufficient.”

She tsks gently. “Droids aren’t a substitute for a competent physician. Your case is complex.”

“I am no different from the thousands of other soldiers wounded in battle.”

“Hardly, my Lord,” she counters. “You are one of the Empire’s most valuable assets.”

He looks at her, smiling mirthlessly. There is a hard edge to his expression. A knowing look that informs her she isn’t the only one who has been playing coy. It appears he grasped far more of her intentions than she realized. “This is not open for discussion, Doctor.”

She stares at him, confused. There is an odd playfulness in his tone that undercuts his words. Perhaps they both feel a rush from finally (somewhat) openly acknowledging the mutual attraction that has always simmered just below the surface of their interactions.

“Then I ask you a personal favor, My Lord. As a parting gift.”

He looks at her both shocked and amused by her audacity. “What, Captain Hess?”

“I would like to examine your grafts,” she says. “I simply would not feel comfortable turning you over to medical droids without a final examination.”

Her request has the opposite effect she intended. She can almost feel him pull away from her. Though he doesn’t move, he visibly retreats. “That won’t be necessary.”

Left with no other options, she pushes harder, rushing the words, “I insist, my Lord.”

He looks at her and if she didn’t know better, she would swear there was a slight blush to his cheeks. “As you wish, Doctor.”

She swallows thickly feeling suddenly awkward. While she has no compunction about leveraging every one of her assets to her best advantage, up until now, that has consisted of innuendo and flirtation. She has never before actually attempted to seduce either a superior officer or a patient. She finds it to be startlingly uncomfortable territory. Self-consciously, she clears her throat. “If you would remove your cloak and shirts,” she says, mortified to feel her own cheeks burning with a blush.

There is a decidedly discomfiting awareness between the two of them as he shrugs out of his cloak. She can feel her pulse beat faster as his hands grasp first his tunic and then his under tunic, pulling them over his head. Bare to the waist, he turns to face her, his eyes a darker blue than she ever thought possible.

She forces her attention away from his face, retreating behind her medical training. She is beginning to suspect there is far more of her heart involved in her association with Lord Vader than she ever dared consider. She makes herself assess him not as a man, but as a patient. After years of practice, it is quite easy.

The grafts are healing well. She was hopeful before the surgery that she could provide him with a great deal of pain relief. But even she is shocked at just how superbly he healed. She has no idea why his previous doctors weren’t able to do more.

And then as suddenly as it began, the examination is over. And she is no longer a doctor, but a woman, standing very close to a half-naked man. She swallows thickly again and is about to speak when something catches her eye. Without thinking, she reaches out and grasps his left arm, studying it closely. She runs her hands lightly over the abrasions on his forearms. Her fingers trail upwards, finding more abrasions on his bicep. She automatically grasps the other arm, finding matching abrasions on the flesh of his right bicep.

She frowns up at him. “What happened?” she demands, not waiting for him to answer as she continues her inspection. She walks around him and gasps aloud at the network of abrasions on his back. Again, she traces them with her fingertips. “What did this? It looks almost like …”

Her voice trails off and she drops her arms, feeling as if she has just been doused with a bucket of ice cold water. “Scratches,” she finishes.

Hands firmly at her side, she retraces her steps until she is once again standing directly in front of him.

He meets her gaze unabashed, no doubt feeling smug. She wrongly assumed his injuries – and his loathing toward them - precluded him from having a physical relationship with a woman. Obviously, that is not the case.

“They will heal,” he says.

She nods, smiling in perverse amusement at the absurdity of situation. “Indeed.” She cannot believe she misread him so profoundly. He may have been lonely stationed on the Executor along the Chiss border, but he obviously isn’t unaccustomed to female attention.

Yet, she refuses to deny the attraction she knows is mutual. “Is this why I’m being promoted?” she asks brazenly.

His face is perfectly impassive for a moment as he studies her. “You are a gifted surgeon. You would have been promoted regardless.”

“But this is why it’s happening now,” she presses. “This is why I’m being moved to the Selsha Sector.”

“Yes,” he finally admits.

“Is she worth it?” she dares to ask.

His smile is answer enough. “Good luck, doctor.”

[End Section]


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