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A Clearing In The Forest

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Paul Stamets had been blind since he was born, but that didn’t stop him from joining Starfleet and becoming the best scientist in the fleet. It also hadn’t stopped him from meeting Hugh, the love of his life. Paul got ocular implants when he was young to help assist him in getting around and they showed figures and object in what felt like a 2D world, but he was still somewhat blind with them in. Yet, they helped him find his true love, Astromycology. When he met Hugh though, the man helped show him the world from a new perspective. Not through taking him to various places, but by describing them in extreme detail.

Paul’s favorite thing every night is listening to Hugh tell him stories about the beaches of Kepler 3, or the multiple suns on various planets. Paul did have one other favorite, his dog Augustus (named after one of his favorite mushrooms, the prince mushroom of course). Augustus is his guide dog.

Paul had argued against getting the dog at first stating to Hugh that, “I don’t need assistance I’ve gotten through life just fine so far!”

Hugh had argued back though saying, “Just try it out for a while. Come on. Who wouldn’t love this face?” He held up a tiny golden retriever puppy.

“Well. I can’t see his face so I don’t know.” Paul said, deadpan.

“He will be a fierce and loyal companion if you let him.” Hugh countered.

Paul had been won over, only after the puppy had jumped on top of him and licked him to death.

Once the war had started, Paul knew that although he hated it, he wanted to survive and have a life after it with Hugh still by his side. He knew the line between work and saving the crew. Because of this, he’d injected himself with the Tardigrade DNA. He figured he had nothing else in life to loose. That decision changed him forever.

~\~

“Lieutenant Stamets I believe is hallucinating. He’s also laughing manically. We need to get him to sickbay.” Saru said in a panic.

Stamets the entire way to sickbay, babbled about seeing his “gorgeous network” and how it was so full of life.

“Lieutenant.” Hugh said, seeing his husband coming in on the transport stretcher, unconscious now and bleeding from the wounds in sides.

“He injected himself with the Tardigrade DNA.” Saru said, still in shock from the ordeal.

Hugh got to work. First he stabilized him and healed the wounds on his sides, then he ran multiple tests. Something though was seriously wrong. Hugh couldn’t believe it. When he ran the ocular test and brain scans, it was saying that the man’s sight was 20/20. That was impossible. Paul had been blind from birth. At the time he didn’t realize that the Mycelium network had repaired his sight and made it perfect in the process.

~\~

A few hours later, Paul woke up. He blinked once. Then twice. “Hugh.” He said, his voice horse and raspy. He was frowning and looked confused. He also winced, the lights blinding him.

“Paul.” Hugh said smiling and putting a hand to his husbands face, stroking it softly. In front of him was a man with a rigid jawline, a tight beard and haircut, and gorgeous chocolate brown eyes.

“Hugh...I...you are so...handsome.” Paul said in awe.

“You can see me? You can really see me?” Hugh asked. He quickly went back into doctor mode and starting doing various scans, he was overjoyed. He wanted to kiss Paul right then and there, but he still was wrapping his mind around how it took place.

“Babe. I can see.” Paul reassured him, reaching out for his dear doctor’s hand. He looked around the room, everything was so unfamiliar and new to him, yet he’d seen them. He just wanted to stare into his husband’s eyes forever. “It’s amazing.” He said, still in awe. Everything was in 3D and it was something he’d never experienced before.

“I’m so happy for you Paul.” Hugh said, letting down his guard for a minute to really take in what had happened and kiss his husband’s forehead.

~\~

A day later, Paul was free to leave sickbay. Hugh was right by his side, still guiding him around the Discovery. Even after being so used to it’s corridors due to Hugh’s voice guiding him around, the place seemed foreign that afternoon. “I can see where I’m going babe, you don’t have to tell me.” Paul pointed out.

“I’m sorry, it’s habit. Besides. If you didn’t have me right now you would have gotten lost.” He chuckled, pulling the man to the side of the corridor because Paul wasn’t paying attention and was about to run into someone.

They got back to their quarters, Augustus greeted them, tail wagging.

“Augustus! Buddy!” Paul said smiling. The dog jumped on top of him and started licking him once he’d sat down on the bed. Hugh joined him and kissed Paul. He couldn’t keep his hands off the man because he thought that if he let go, Hugh would disappear and that this was all just a dream. It wasn’t though, and soon Paul was realize that. Things had come full circle for the man, and he was just grateful to be able to see his amazing husband in the flesh and have his adorable guide dog by his side.