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Hanging From That Very Ledge

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Nick Clegg is glaring at one of the protesters in the lower decks of the ship when David finds him. "Leave them, Nick, they don't matter."

Nick follows David with a sigh, only giving in because he is supposed to be on shift soon. "They do, though," he says once they're back in the officer's section.

When Nick glances at David he shakes his head. "They're religious extremists who believe that the only possible purpose of humanity leaving Earth is to populate other planets. I don't understand why you'd listen to them when people like you don't matter to them, because it's not like you're going to have children, unless there's something you haven't been telling me."

"I didn't say they were pleasant people," Nick mutters. "I just think we should know what they're saying. And yes, David, I'm actually a woman."

"I was thinking more along the lines of you being straight, actually."

"I might be straight if I were female," Nick replies, barely able to keep himself from collapsing in laughter. They've passed the point where he's supposed to head off to his shift, but he's having too much fun with this conversation. He doesn't usually see David so relaxed.

David snorts. "I suppose that might help with the odds of you having children, in this hypothetical universe of yours. Now unlike you, I plan to do work today. Keep the ship moving and all that."

Nick grins. "You and your dedication to keeping us from falling out of the sky."

"I'd appreciate if you'd at least consider doing the same."

"Admitting you can't do both of our jobs at the same time?"

"Someone needs to do the boring work."

"Whatever you tell yourself so you can sleep at night," Nick snaps back with a grin, before retracing the necessary steps and heading down the proper corridor.

As much as Nick will never admit it to David, there's no way to describe his shift that night other than dull. It's a good sign in that it speaks to the ability of the lower ranks to maintain themselves, but as more time passes uneventfully Nick is less likely to be able to effectively deal with any situations that eventually will come up. Having nothing to do exhausts Nick more than anything else.

His comm goes off the next morning, when Nick is rereading one of his favourite books. He sees with a fair deal of surprise that it's David.

Nick drops the book on the floor in his haste to answer the comm.

"I didn't see you last night," David remarks. They usually meet for drinks after their shifts - and have since they learned that they were on the same schedule. Nick can't remember whether he or David initially suggested it. He hopes it wasn't him, just because he prefers not to seem like he's pining. Even when he totally is.

"Sorry. I was too tired to feel up to anything other than bed." The truth is that Nick wasn't that tired, but he doesn't trust himself around David without his filters fully up.

David looks thoughtful for a moment then seems to catch himself and shrug. "Do lunch with me to make up for it?" he offers.

Nick accepts.

There's a small group of protesters who have stationed themselves outside the restaurant David chooses. David apologises and offers that they can go somewhere else. Nick laughs a little. Station security will be here in a matter of minutes anyway; there's no need to inconvenience themselves.

"I don't understand how you can brush them off so easily," David says when they've slipped past and are waiting to be seated.

"Why do they bother you so much?" Nick snaps, even if he can't help but be touched. He's far more annoyed at his own pleasure at David sticking up for him than David's actual actions, which are no more than any friend would do. "You're straight."

David makes a curious humming noise. "I don't buy it," he says eventually.

Nick splutters, only through force of will managing to sound angry rather than hopeful. David can't mean anything from this. "Yeah?"

"Because that wouldn't explain why I keep wanting to kiss you."