“You okay over there, Tyler? You’re looking a little tired.”
Chris noted that Ash both jumped slightly and blinked more than necessary before answering.
“Fine, Captain, just need some sleep.”
“Then go get some. I can’t have the only person on this bridge with more than three brain cells falling asleep on the job,” Chris said, waving a hand to dismiss him.
“Thank you, sir,” Ash said, and left, looking like he’d just been in a fight with a Tardigrade - and lost.
Christopher was mildly worried about his liaison. He’d been more withdrawn lately, quicker to retire to his quarters when the shift was over and less… there, for lack of a better word.
When the last shift (finally) ended, he made small talk with Nhan about the ship and the crew - she agreed wholeheartedly with his plan to shove Stamets and Culber into a storage room until they stopped being weird and tense whenever they were in the same room - and headed back to his own quarters for some well-needed rest.
And was interrupted by a strange feeling.
He stopped in the corridor, finding himself outside of Ash’s quarters. Had he heard something? Perhaps he was just concerned in a captainly way.
Chris chimed the door.
It took a moment and a brief clatter on the other side for Ash to answer, t-shirt and sweatpants and all, looking as if he hadn’t slept in millennia.
His hair was hastily and messily tied back, the bags under his eyes looked heavier than usual, and there was a defeated sag to his frame, which may or may not have had to do with the mysterious and sticky-looking blue stain on his shirt.
“You sure you’re okay, Ash?”
“This is literally staining my one clean shirt as we speak, Captain,” Ash said, gesturing to the stain with a resigned sigh.
There was a small clatter and a squeak from within the dimly-lit quarters.
“What was that?”
Ash sighed, pinched the bridge of his nose, sighed again, and stepped aside to let him in.
Chris was expecting something more along the lines of a secret puppy than a baby Klingon sitting on the couch, trying to eat the corner of a blanket and demolish a small spoon.
“Ash, that’s a baby.”
“I hadn’t noticed,” Ash snarked back, picking up the baby - he was holding an actual baby - and taking the spoon away.
“Vava!” The baby squeaked, clapping his hands enthusiastically as he was picked up.
“No spoons,” Ash whispered, followed by something in soft Klingon.
Chris didn’t know it could be such a comforting language.
“This is my son,” Ash said, propping the baby Klingon up against his chest and poking him in the nose when he squeaked. “Kind of.”
Christopher was doing his best to be a captain, calm and logical, but he couldn’t really come up with more than a confused stare.
“He’s L’rell and Voq’s son, technically. L’rell couldn’t rule over the Klingons if she kept a human around to look after her baby with albinism. Too much to lose.”
The baby squeaked again, flapping his hands against Ash’s chest and pointing at Chris.
Ash sighed, muttered something at the jubilant little child, and looked back at Chris.
“Do you want to hold him for a bit? I need a new shirt and a minute.”
“Okay,” Chris said, accepting the wiggling infant into his arms and promptly getting poked in the nose by it.
Ash made a relieved face at him and went to change, leaving him with a baby Klingon.
“You’re kind of adorable, you know that?” Chris asked the baby, as if he was going to respond.
He got a squeak and another poke in response. The baby giggled when Chris made a stern face at him, and squeaked when he poked him back, gently, in the nose.
“Why do you poke everyone?”
Ash winced a little at the shriek when he re-entered the room, now wearing a slightly different gray shirt, minus the stain, looking no less tired but a little less exhausted.
“What’s he saying?” Chris asked as he handed the bundle of wiggles back.
“He’s trying to say ‘vav’, but he’s not quite grasping it,” Ash replied, resting his chin on the baby’s head with a soft sigh. “It means ‘father’.”
“Put your three consonants away, you little gremlin. It’s past my bedtime,” Ash said, clearly no less sassy when tired than he usually was.
Chris was expecting tension and awkwardness from a kind-of-Klingon Section 31 liaison, but instead he’d gotten sarcasm, apparently.
“What’s his name?”
Ash sighed. It was becoming routine of him.
“He doesn’t have one yet. L’rell wanted to choose it but she was busy managing the empire, so we started arguing and then she started yelling at me in Klingon, and, as any child from a bilingual household knows, Mom’s not mad until she starts yelling in her native language.”
“Sos!” The child announced, pointing at Chris again.
“What did he call me?”
Ash made a sound like he was trying not to snort.
“He may have just called you ‘mom’.”
“Hmm. How do I tell him he’s a little hobgoblin?” Chris asked.
Ash started laughing properly at that one, a smile finally reaching his eyes.
And okay, perhaps Christopher felt just the tiniest feeling of domesticity in that moment, watching Ash hold a baby and laugh at something he said. It sort of made him long for a distant future.
“You look tired,” Chris said eventually, watching Ash’s eyelids droop.
Chris gave him a Look and herded him to bed, trying to remove the clinging talons that were baby hands from his arm.
“Stay,” Ash said sleepily, already dozing off. “He likes you.”
Chris woke up the next morning to someone small and blue poking him in the eye.
“Your goblin is awake,” he informed Ash, who removed said goblin from his face, looking less like he’d been in a fight with a starship.
“Good morning to you too,” Ash said, giving him a soft kiss on the cheek and wiping a bit of baby drool off his shirt as he got up.
It took them both a moment.
“Did you just-” was cut off by “Did I-”, which was interrupted by a squeak from the baby and a consonant-lacking “Koodoo!”, effectively shutting them both up.
Ash looked like he was about to happy cry. “QorDu is right, you little gremlin,” he said, and went to find his uniform.
“Computer, what does qorDu mean?” Chris asked.
“QorDu is the Klingon word for ‘family’, sir.”