Lieutenant Paul Stamets stumbled out of the spore drive chamber with a scowl on his face. He had just finished with a jump because the captain, Gabriel Lorca, wanted to work on some maintenance due to a recent engagement with the Klingons that caused damage to the outer hull. Stamets pinched the bridge of his nose and winced.
“Are you alright sir?” Tilly asked.
“Yeah. Hm. Fine.” He mumbled out tiredly, and not very Stamets-like at all.
“Should I call for Dr. Culber?”
“No. Nooo. All good. You are free to go, Cadet.”
Tilly frowned but left as told, not wanting to upset him or face the wrath of the man.
Once Tilly had left Engineering, Stamets braced himself again the nearest bulkhead, steadying himself.
“You are fine Paul. You are on Discovery. Everything is fine.” He muttered to himself.
A roaring headache was growing in his skull, a residual effect from the jump like usual which was something he never told anyone about. There were some things that just weren’t obvious to the naked eye, but him seeming to be high after each jump from the effects of the Tardigrade DNA in his system, was an obvious effect that you could see. He always tried to ground himself afterwards and did so by running a hand over one of the implants on his arm, his sleeves were rolled up to expose the contrast of metal and flesh. He felt the difference and felt calmer. His genius husband had come up with the invention for the implants and they helped tremendously with all the jumps of late.
‘It is definitely better than being stabbed in the side, like the first few times.’ He thought to himself. He then thought about the first time his husband had talked to him about the implants.
“I think I know a way to help make your integration with the spore drive more comfortable.” Hugh had said as they both sat in their quarters one morning.
Paul sipped his coffee with great care and had a PADD in his other hand.
“And what is your brilliant idea, dear doctor?” He asked, half asleep still.
Hugh handed Paul a new PADD, which then caused him to have to put down the other PADD. He looked over the schematics and was more awake by the end of it. “Hugh...it’s great.” He smiled and kissed the doctor.
“Then you’ll do it?” He asked.
As he came out of the memory, he made his way to his station, grabbing a box out from under his desk. He gently took out a bottle of liquid and a hypospray, then injected himself with it. The headache instantly subsided to a dull roar, which he could actually function and live with. He just finished putting it away as the door to Engineering slid opened and none other than his husband, Hugh, entered.
“Tilly was worried about you. Are you alright? Maybe we should go down to sickbay—“ Hugh started.
“I’m fine dear.” Paul reassured, coming over to the man and putting his hands on his face.
“I’m just worried because Tilly is worried
and—“ Paul cut him off and kissed him softly, yet passionately. He didn’t want to talk about his feelings currently and this was his distraction. He stroked Hugh’s face gently and gave him a small smile, “I’m done with my work. How about we head back to our quarters? That way you won’t have to worry about me as much alright?”
Hugh nodded and the two walked back to their quarters, holding each other’s hands.
Hugh and Paul both got into bed and faced each other.
“Are you sure you are okay?” Hugh asked with a worried expression still on his face.
“I am now. Mostly. Look Hugh...I had a headache earlier...and I didn’t want you to find out. When you walked in...I had just finished giving myself a hypospray to counteract it. I get headaches when I jump, but I’m alright. I’m sorry I’ve been hiding that from you...and it wasn’t right. We told each other we wouldn’t keep secrets. Tilly has been covering for me whenever you come in and I don’t feel well.”
“I’m. So sorry.” He put his head onto Hugh’s chest, and Hugh held him close, “I fail when it comes to being a husband.” His voice cracked. He was crying softly.
“Paul, dear, look at me.” Hugh said gently trying to quiet the man and sooth him, “You are an amazing husband. I love you so much. I know with the war it has been hard, but we will get through it together. Get some sleep okay? I’m right here I’m not going anywhere. Ever.” He repeated the last sentence a few more times to make sure Paul really understood how much the young man meant to him.
Hugh wrapped his arms around Paul and they settled more into bed. Hugh softly hummed Kasseelian opera, which got a small chuckle out of his young mycologist. They soon fell into a blissful sleep, free of nightmares of the war.